Monday, April 27, 2009

Big Guns

One thing that the Star Wars D6 RPG never had was a really great system for capital ship combat. In the original rules, in fact, capital ships weren't even given hull ratings because it was arbitrarily determined that 'players wouldn't be going up against them in combat anyway'. While its true that large-scale ship-to-ship combat really doesn't capture the fast-paced feel of most Star Wars adventures, there were times in my campaign where I would have liked more structured rules so I could at least approximate it. Plus, statistics help GMs figure out just how ships match up to each other and what might happen if two different classes of vessel ever had to duke it out.

In my own campaigns, there have even been times when the characters have assumed control of capital starships and even commanded them in combat. The first of these instances was during the Vermillion campaign's time in the Minos Cluster. Arianne became 'captain' of a captured Lancer-Class frigate. A second happened when the crew tried to recapture the hijacked gunship Handree (in the Isis Coordinates module). And finally, Arianne became a ship captain once more- commanding the refurbished Handree during the battle of Endor, in a ship-to-ship duel with her nemesis Rina Nothos (who was commanding a Nebulon-B frigate, as I recall). 

The Star Wars Rules Companion offered up a sketchy set of rules for capital-ship combat. I used these through most of my campaigns, though they were slowly modified through gameplay. Certain things had to change, as we quickly found out that Corvette and even Frigate-sized ships were quickly outmatched by a few souped-up and PC-crewed armed freighters. This has lead me to tinker with a capital ship system of my own. My buddy, Steve2, recently came up with a new system that greatly augments the strength of capital starship hulls and ups the damage of capital-scale weaponry accordingly (especially proton torpedoes). The system is workable, but like many things, I feel the need to tinker with it some more. 

What I have come to a conclusion about, however, is something that is pretty much ignored in the D6 rules, and that is the existence of weapons on an even larger scale than your typical turbolasers or even heavy turbolasers (at least as presented in the D6 stat system). If you look at starship designs from the movies—the Original trilogy, but especially the prequels—you see a lot of capital ships sporting massive guns clearly designed for use against other capital ships. You get to see several of these in use during the battle of Coruscant in the opening minutes of Revenge of the Sith. Republic Venator starships and Imperial Star Destroyers both sport gigantic turrets on their flanks that would hold this 'mega' scale weaponry. To me, these weapons would be on a scale above 'capital ship' but below 'death star' in their damage and targeting capabilities. I haven't worked out the exact stats and applications of it all, but its interesting to consider.

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