Starship Movement and Combat

The rules for starship combat are based on the rules for character combat. Unlike character-scale combat, starship battles unfold on a hex grid, with each starship occupying one or more hexs on the grid. As with character-scale combat, starship battles play out in rounds.





Several fundamental statistics determine how well a starship performs in combat. This section summarizes these vital statistics, and the following sections detail how to use them.


An attack roll represents one starship’s attempt to strike another on its turn in a round. Most starships are armed with ranged weapons aimed by gunners.

Gunnery Check = 1d20 + the gunner’s base attack bonus or the gunner’s ranks in the Piloting skill + the gunner’s Dexterity modifier + bonuses from computer systems + bonuses from the captain and science officers + range penalty

Gunner’s Ranged Attack Bonus: Unless noted otherwise, all starship gunners are assumed to have the Starship Gunnery feat. Without this feat, a starship gunner takes a –4 nonproficient penalty on attack rolls with starship weapons.

For simplicity, all npc gunners aboard a starship have identical ranged attack bonuses.

Range Penalty: The range penalty for a ranged weapon depends on what weapon the starship is using and the distance to the target. All ranged weapons have a range increment, as noted in Table: Starship Weapons.

As with character weapons, any attack from a distance of less than one range increment is not penalized for range. However, each full range increment causes a cumulative –2 penalty on the attack roll.

A beam weapon has a maximum range of 10 increments. A projectile weapon has an unlimited range, since projectiles don’t lose inertia in space.

Targeting System’s Equipment Bonus: Most starships have computerized targeting systems to help gunners train weapons on targets. A standard targeting system provides an equipment bonus on the gunner’s attack roll depending on the ship’s size: Huge +1, Gargantuan +2, Colossal +3. Improved targeting systems (see Starship Sensors) grant higher bonuses. Table: Starship Sizes summarizes the targeting system equipment bonuses for ships of different sizes.

Automatic Misses and Hits: As in character combat, a natural 1 on the attack roll is always a miss. A natural 20 is always a hit. A natural 20 also always threatens a critical hit (see Critical Hits, below).


A starship’s Defense represents how difficult it is to hit in combat. It’s the attack roll result that an enemy ship needs to achieve a hit. In general, starships are easy to hit, which is why they rely on armor to absorb damage (see Starship Armor).

This value is used when determining whether direct-fire weapons (see Type) hit a starship. Defense is calculated based on the ship’s size, maneuverability, and physical armor, as well as the pilot’s number of ranks in the Piloting skill.

A starship’s Defense is partly determined by the skill of the pilot or the quality of its automatic pilot system.


All starship pilots are assumed to have the appropriate Starship Operation feat. Consequently, they apply their full Piloting bonus to Defense (instead of one-half the modifier) to a starship’s Defense.


Every starship comes equipped with a basic autopilot system that enables it to dodge enemy fire without need for a pilot. A starship on autopilot has a Defense equal to:

10 + starship’s size modifier + autopilot system’s equipment bonus
Starship’s Size Modifier: Size modifiers are shown on Table: Starship Sizes.

Autopilot System’s Equipment Bonus: An autopilot system provides an equipment bonus to Defense depending on the ship’s size: Huge +1, Gargantuan +2, Colossal +3. A ship equipped with an improved autopilot system (see Starship Defense Systems) gains a higher bonus.


When a starship hits with a weapon, it deals damage according to the type of weapon (see Table: Starship Weapons). Damage is deducted from the target’s current hit points. If a starship’s hit points are reduced to 0 or fewer, the ship is in bad shape (see Hit Points, below).


Sometimes a starship weapon multiplies damage by some factor, such as when it scores a critical hit. Just as in character combat, you can either roll the damage (with all modifiers) multiple times and total the results, or roll the damage once and multiply the result by the given multiplier.

Bonus damage represented as extra dice, such as from the Engineer’s weapon upgrade class ability, is an exception. Do not multiply bonus damage dice when a starship scores a critical hit.


Critical hits by starships work just like critical hits by characters. When a starship makes an attack roll and gets a natural 20, the starship hits regardless of the target’s Defense, and it has scored a threat of a critical hit. To find out whether it is actually a critical hit, the starship immediately makes another attack roll with all the same modifiers as the attack roll that scored the threat. If the second roll also results in a hit against the target’s Defense, the starship’s attack is a critical hit.


A critical hit with a starship weapon normally multiplies the weapon’s damage. The GM may opt to use a randomized critical hit resolution system instead: Whenever a critical hit is scored, the attacker rolls percentile dice and consults Table: Optional Critical Hit Results to determine the effects of the critical hit on the target.

Optional Critical Hit Results

d% Roll Effect(s)
01–35 Normal critical hit
36–50 Normal critical hit, crew casualties
51–55 Severe critical hit, artificial gravity disabled
56–60 Severe critical hit, crew casualties
61–65 Damaged system: comm system
66–70 Damaged system: defense system
71–75 Damaged system: engines
76–80 Damaged system: sensors
81–85 Damaged system: targeting system
86–90 Damaged system: weapon
91–95 Destroyed defensive system
96–100 Destroyed weapon

Normal Critical Hit: Roll critical hit damage normally.

Crew Casualties: A number of crewmembers and passengers are killed (this effect applies only if the ship isn’t destroyed). Roll 1d10 to determine the number of crew fatalities and, if the ship carries passengers, 1d10 to determine the number of passenger casualties. Only supporting GM characters are affected.

A starship with less than one-half of its normal crew complement takes a –2 penalty on all attack rolls and checks.

A starship with less than one-quarter of its normal crew complement takes a –4 penalty on all attack rolls and checks.

A starship with no crew flies on autopilot and cannot attack. If a crewless ship doesn’t have a functional autopilot system, it is immobile. If this result is rolled again and the ship has no living crew or passengers, ignore this result and reroll.

Severe Critical Hit: Roll critical hit damage using a ×10 multiplier instead of the weapon’s normal multiplier. In addition, the ship and its crew are shaken for 1 round.

Artificial Gravity Disabled: The starship’s artificial gravity is disabled for 1d10 rounds. During this time, an untrained crew takes a –4 penalty on all attack rolls and skill checks while coping with the zero-gravity conditions. Trained, expert, or ace crews take no penalties, as they are assumed to have the Zero-G Training feat. Ignore this result if it comes up again while the artificial gravity system is disabled.

Damaged System: A damaged system remains inoperable until it is repaired, which requires 10 hours of work and a successful Repair check (DC 30). A starship’s engineer (or engineering team) can perform jury-rig repairs on the system as a full-round action with a successful Repair check (DC 25), but the repairs last only until the end of the battle (or until the system is disabled again). During that round of jury-rigged repairs, the starship can continue to take actions.

Comm System: One communications system of the attacker’s choice is disabled. If this result is rolled again and the ship has no undamaged comm systems, ignore this result and reroll.

Defense System: One defense system of the attacker’s choice is disabled. If this result is rolled again and the ship has no undamaged defense systems, ignore this result and reroll.

Engines: The starship’s tactical speed decreases by 300 meters until the engines are repaired. If this result is rolled again, the effect is cumulative. If the ship’s tactical speed has already been reduced to 0 feet due to engine damage, ignore this result and reroll.

Sensors: The starship is blinded until repaired. All the ship’s targets gain the equivalent of total concealment (50% miss chance). If this result is rolled again, ignore the result and reroll.

Targeting System: The starship’s targeting system ceases to function. The starship loses the targeting system’s equipment bonus on attack rolls until the system is repaired. Reroll if this result comes up again.

Weapon: One of the starship’s beam weapons, projectile weapons, or missile launchers (attacker’s choice) ceases to function. The weapon remains inoperable until it is repaired. If this result is rolled again and the ship has no functional weapons, ignore this result and reroll.

Destroyed Defensive System: One of the starship’s defensive systems (determined by the attacker) is destroyed. It cannot be repaired and must be replaced. If this result is rolled again and the ship has no defensive systems, ignore this result and reroll.

Destroyed Weapon: One of the starship’s weapons (determined by the attacker) is destroyed. It cannot be repaired and must be replaced. If this result is rolled again and the ship has no weapons, ignore this result and reroll.

If the destroyed weapon was fire-linked, the other weapons to which it was linked continue to function normally. If the destroyed weapon was part of a weapon battery, the remaining weapons in the battery continue to function normally.


Starship armor is designed to absorb damage rather than make a starship harder to hit. Consequently, a starship’s armor plating provides hardness instead of an equipment bonus to Defense.

Subtract a starship’s hardness from the damage each time it takes a hit. If a ship’s hardness is greater than the amount of damage dealt by the attack, the starship takes no damage.

See Starship Armor for the various types of armor available at different Progress Levels, as well as the hardness of each type.


A starship equipped with a damage control system can perform damage control as a move action. With a successful Repair check (DC 15), the ship regains a number of hit points depending on its type, as shown on Table: Damage Control Systems. A ship with an improved or advanced damage control system regains even more hit points (see Starship Defense Systems).

Damage control cannot be performed if the ship has been reduced to negative hit points.


A starship’s hit points represent how much punishment it can take before being disabled or destroyed. A starship’s hit points are based on its type and subtype.

A ship’s hit points decrease when it takes damage. Damage doesn’t have any impact on a ship’s combat ability until its current hit points reach 0 or lower.

At 0 hit points, a ship is disabled.

At negative hit points, a ship begins breaking apart.

When its hit points drop to a certain negative hit point total, the ship is destroyed. The point at which a ship is destroyed varies depending on its type, as shown in Table: Destruction Threshold.

Destruction Threshold

Ship Type Destroyed At
Ultralight –20 hp
Light –150 hp
Midweight –250 hp
Heavy –500 hp
Dreadnought –1000 hp


When a starship’s current hit points drop to exactly 0, it’s disabled. The ship can only take a single move or attack action each turn (not both); it cannot jump to cruising speed or take any other full-round actions. If it attacks, attempts to escape at cruising speed, or performs any other action that would strain its systems, it takes 1 point of damage after the completing the act. Unless the activity increases the starship’s current hit points, it drops to –1 hit point and begins breaking apart (see Breaking Apart, below).

A disabled starship is considered helpless. It has a Defense of 5 + its size modifier.

Repairs that raise a starship above 0 hit points make it fully functional again, just as if it had never been reduced to 0 or lower.


When a starship’s current hit points drop below 0, the starship begins to break apart. At this point, the ship is immobile, helpless, and beyond repair. Any attempt to repair it automatically fails. As a ship breaks apart, its crew can evacuate (see Starship Evacuation, below).

A ship that is breaking apart can take no actions and loses 1 hit point every round. This continues until the ship is destroyed.


When a starship’s current hit points reaches its destruction threshold (as shown above), it explodes. Any crewmembers still aboard the ship at this time take 20d6 points of damage (no save) and are jettisoned into the void of space.


Even ultralight starships are equipped with evacuation pods or fully enclosed, detachable cockpits that jettison the crew to safety in the event of a shipwide catastrophe. In fact, unless noted otherwise, every starship has sufficient evacuation pods or launches to accommodate its normal crew complement and passenger manifest.

A ship’s crew and passengers can evacuate any time before the ship is destroyed (see above). Table: Evacuation Times shows the time required for crews to evacuate, based on the ship’s type. While the crew is evacuating, the starship either flies on autopilot (if it has 1 hp or more remaining) or is stopped dead in space (if it has been disabled or is breaking apart).

Use the statistics for a launch (see below) to represent a typical evacuation pod.

Evacuation Times

Ship Type Untrained Crew Evacuation Time Trained Crew Evacuation Time1
Ultralight 1d3 rounds Move action
Light 1d6 rounds Full-round action
Mediumweight 2d6 rounds 1d4 rounds
Heavy 3d6 rounds 2d4 rounds
Dreadnought 4d6 rounds 3d4 rounds

1.Includes expert and ace crews.


A number of adverse conditions can affect the way a starship or its crew operates, as defined here. If more than one condition affects a starship, apply both if possible. If not possible, apply only the most severe condition.

Blinded: The starship’s sensors are inoperable. All targets have the equivalent of total concealment (50% miss chance).

Breaking Apart: The starship is at negative hit points. It can take no actions, cannot be repaired, and loses 1 hit point each round until it is destroyed.

Dazed: The starship, its crew, and its passengers can take no actions, but they take no penalty to Defense. A dazed condition usually lasts 1 round.

Destroyed: The ship is destroyed and cannot be repaired. Crewmembers aboard the destroyed ship take 20d6 points of damage and are ejected into space.

Entangled: An entangled starship takes a –2 penalty on attack rolls in addition to a –2 penalty to Defense. If the ship is physically anchored to a larger object (such as an asteroid), the entangled ship can’t move. Otherwise, it can move at half tactical speed, but can’t surge forward.

Flat-Footed: A starship that has not yet acted during a combat is flat-footed. A flat-footed starship cannot apply its pilot’s Dexterity bonus to its Defense.

Grappled: When grappled, a starship can’t move. It can attack, attempt to break free from its opponent, or perform other actions. It can’t apply the pilot’s Dexterity bonus to its Defense.

Helpless: A starship that is reduced to negative hit points is helpless. A helpless starship has an effective Defense of 5 + its size modifier.

Immobilized: An immobilized starship is held immobile (but is not helpless), usually in a grapple. It takes a –4 penalty to its Defense and can’t apply the pilot’s Dexterity bonus to its Defense.

Shaken: All passengers and crewmembers (pilots and gunners included) take a –2 penalty on attack rolls, saving throws, and skill checks.

Stunned: All passengers and crewmembers lose their Dexterity bonus, drop what they are holding, and can take no attack or move actions. In addition, they take a –2 penalty to Defense. The starship’s autopilot system kicks in until the pilot regains her senses.


Starships have two basic speeds: tactical speed and cruising speed.


Tactical speed only comes into play when two or more starships engage in battle or otherwise interact with each other. A ship’s tactical speed is measured in 150-meter hexs and tells how far a starship can move in a move action. A starship’s tactical speed depends on the type of ship and the type of engines (see Starship Engines). Certain types of armor can reduce a starship’s tactical speed (see Starship Armor).

A starship normally moves as a move action, leaving an attack action to attack. It can, however, use its attack action as a second move action (see Starship Actions, below). This could let the ship move again, for a total movement of up to double its normal tactical speed. Another option is to surge forward (a full-round action). This lets the ship move up to four times its normal speed, but it can only surge forward in a straight line, and doing so affects its Defense.


Cruising speed determines how quickly a ship moves across vast distances, such as between planets or star systems. A ship’s cruising speed depends on the type of ship and its engines (see Starship Engines).

A ship can enter or leave a battle at cruising speed, but once it enters battle, it automatically drops to tactical speed. Cruising speed does not come into play during starship battles or in any other situation where two or more starships interact.


Every round, each starship gets to do something. The starships’ initiative checks, from highest to lowest, determine the order in which they act.


At the start of a battle, each starship makes a single initiative check. An initiative check is a Dexterity check that uses the starship pilot’s Dexterity modifier. (A ship without a pilot has an initiative check modifier of +0.) A pilot with the Improved Initiative feat gets a +4 bonus on the check.

The GM determines what order starships are acting in, counting down from highest initiative result to lowest, and each starship acts in turn. On all following rounds, the starships act in the same order (unless a starship takes an action that changes its initiative; see Special Initiative Actions). If two or more starships have the same initiative check result, the starships that are tied go in order of total initiative modifier (including Dexterity modifier and Improved Initiative feat bonus, if applicable). If there is still a tie, roll a die.

Flat-Footed Starships: At the start of a battle, before a starship has had a chance to act (specifically, before its first turn in the initiative order), it is flat-footed. It can’t apply the pilot’s Dexterity bonus to Defense while flat-footed.


If starships enter a battle after it has begun, they roll initiative at that time and act whenever their turn comes up in the existing order.


At the start of combat, a starship is surprised if it was not aware of its enemies and they were aware of it. Likewise, a starship can surprise its enemies if it knows about them before they’re aware of it.


The GM determines which starships are aware of which others at the start of any battle. The GM may call for Computer Use checks to operate shipboard sensors (see the expanded Computer Use skill description), Spot checks, or other checks to determine whether one ship detects another.

A starship makes only one roll or check against surprise, regardless of its crew complement.


If some but not all of the starships are aware of their enemies, a surprise round happens before regular rounds begin. Starships that are aware of their enemies can act in the surprise round, so they roll for initiative. In initiative order (highest to lowest), starships that started the battle aware of their opponents each take either an attack action or move action during the surprise round (see Action Types, below). If no starship or all starships are surprised, a surprise round does not occur.


Starships that are unaware at the start of battle do not get to act in the surprise round. Unaware combatants are flat-footed because they have not acted yet. A flat-footed starship loses its pilot’s Dexterity bonus to Defense.


The fundamental actions of moving and attacking cover most of what a starship wants to do in a battle. They’re described here. Other, more specialized options are touched on in Table: Starship Actions, and covered later in Special Initiative Actions.

A starship gets two move actions and one attack action each round. It can take two move actions followed by an attack action, an attack action followed by two move actions, or an attack action sandwiched between two move actions. A ship may choose to not take an attack action on its turn, but it gets only two move actions regardless. It can also forgo all of the above combinations and take a single full-round action. All of these options are discussed below, under Action Types.

A starship’s choices of actions can be summarized as follows.

  • Attack action → move action → move action, or
  • Move action → attack action → move action, or
  • Move action → move action → attack action, or
  • Full-round action


As with character-scale combat, each round of starship combat represents about 6 seconds in the game world.

Each round’s activity begins with the starship with the highest initiative result and then proceeds, in order, from there.

Each round of a combat uses the same initiative order. When a starship’s turn comes up in the initiative sequence, that ship performs its entire round’s worth of actions. (For exceptions, see Attacks of Opportunity and Special Initiative Actions.)


As in character combat, starships may make attack actions, full-round actions, move actions, and free actions. In a normal round, a starship can perform an attack action and two move actions (in any order), two move actions, or a single full-round action. It can also perform as many free actions as the GM allows.

In some situations (such as in the surprise round), a starship may be limited to taking only a single attack or move action.


An attack action allows a starship to make an attack or perform other similar actions.


A move action allows a starship to move its tactical speed or perform some other action that takes a similar amount of time.

If a starship moves no actual distance in a round, it can take one 150-meter shift before, during, or after the action. The ship cannot take a 150-meter shift if it used one or both of its move actions to move.


A full-round action consumes all of a starship’s time during a round. The only movement it can take during a full-round action is a 150-meter shift before, during, or after the action. Some full-round actions do not allow you to take a 150-meter shift. A starship can also perform free actions (see below).


Free actions consume a very small amount of time and effort, and over the span of the round, their impact is so minor that they are considered free. However, the GM puts reasonable limits on what a ship can really do for free.

Starship Actions

Attack Actions Attack of Opportunity?2
Aid another No
Attack (ranged) No
Attack an object No
Escape a grappling ship No
Feint (see Bluff skill) No
Grapple another ship1 Yes
Total defense No
Move Actions Attack of Opportunity?2
Damage control No
Move at tactical speed No
Operate sensors No
Ram3 Yes
Sending/jamming a transmission No
Start/complete a full-round action Varies
Full-Round Actions Attack of Opportunity?2
Jump to cruising speed Yes
Surge forward Yes
Withdraw No
Free Actions Attack of Opportunity?2
Communicate via comm system No
Turn No
Special Initiative Actions Attack of Opportunity?2
Delay No
Ready No
No Action Attack of Opportunity?2
150-meter shift No
Avoid hazard No

1.Technically, a grapple constitutes a single melee attack, not an action. A grapple can be made once in an attack action or as an attack of opportunity.
2.Only starships armed with point-defense systems can make attacks of opportunity.
3.Ramming is considered part of a move action.


Most common attack actions are described below.


As a single attack action, a starship can fire one or more of its ranged weapons at any target or targets within range and within line of sight. A target is in line of sight if there are no solid obstructions between the attacking starship and the target. The maximum range for a beam weapon is 10 range increments. Weapons that fire projectiles have an unlimited range in space.

If firing several weapons, a starship does not need to specify the targets of all of its attacks ahead of time. It can see how the earlier attacks turn out before assigning the later ones.

If a starship fires a ranged weapon at a target that occupies a hex adjacent to an ally, it takes a –4 penalty on its attack roll because the gunner must aim carefully to avoid hitting the ally.

Attacks of Opportunity: A starship can fire its ranged weapons without provoking attacks of opportunity from enemy ships.


Attacking objects follows the same rules for starships as for characters. Table: Space Objects lists the Defense, hardness, and hit points of objects commonly encountered in space and on the cosmic battlefield. Colossal objects occupy four 150-meter hexs (a 300 meter by- 300 meter fighting space). All other objects occupy a single 150-meter hex.

Space Objects

Object Defense Hardness Hit Points
Asteroid, Colossal –3 8 36,000
Asteroid, Gargantuan 1 8 9,000
Asteroid, Huge 3 8 4,500
Asteroid, Large 4 8 1,125
Debris cloud, Colossal –3 0 1,600
Debris cloud, Gargantuan 1 0 400
Iceball, Colossal –3 0 7,200
Iceball, Gargantuan 1 0 1,800
Iceball, Huge 3 0 900
Iceball, Large 4 0 225
Mine (Medium-size) 5 10 50
Space hulk, Colossal –3 10 3,600
Space hulk, Gargantuan 1 10 900
Space hulk, Huge 3 10 450


For rules on using grapplers and tractor beams to hold and immobilize starships, see Grappling Systems.


Grappler arms and tractor beams allow starships to hold and immobilize one other. See Grappling Systems for rules on escaping grapplers and tractor beams.


A starship can help an ally attack or defend by distracting or interfering with an enemy in weapon range. The aiding starship makes an attack roll against Defense 10. If the attack roll succeeds, the starship doesn’t actually damage the enemy ship—but its ally gains either a +2 circumstance bonus on attack rolls against that opponent or a +2 circumstance bonus to Defense against that opponent (your choice) on its next turn.


See the expanded Bluff skill description for details.


Instead of attacking, a ship can use its attack action to defend itself by performing complex evasive maneuvers. This is called a total defense action. A ship that uses the total defense action doesn’t get to attack, but it gains a +4 dodge bonus to its Defense for 1 round. The ship’s Defense improves at the start of this action, so it helps against any attacks of opportunity the ship is subject to during its move action.

Fighting Defensively: Instead of diverting all of its attention to defending itself, a starship can choose to fight defensively while taking a regular attack action. If it does so, it takes a –4 penalty on its attacks in a round to gain a +2 dodge bonus to Defense during the same round.


Unless otherwise noted, move actions don’t require a Pilot check to perform.


A starship can move its tactical speed as a move action. If it takes this kind of move action during its turn, it cannot also take a 150 meter shift.

Attacks of Opportunity: Moving through a threatened hex provokes an attack of opportunity if the enemy ship has a point defense system (see Starship Defense Systems).


A starship equipped with a damage control system can perform damage control as a move action (see Starship Defense Systems).

Damage control cannot be performed if the ship has been reduced to negative hit points.


See the expanded Computer Use skill description and Starship Sensors for details.


Ramming is considered part of a move action. A pilot can use her starship to ram an object, including another starship. First, the pilot must enter the target’s hex or fighting space and declare her attempt to ram the target. If the target has point-defense systems, it can make an attack of opportunity against the ramming starship. Second, the pilot must make a Piloting check (DC = 5 + the target’s Defense). If the Piloting check fails, the ship misses the target and may finish its move. If the check succeeds, the starship collides with the intended target, dealing damage both to itself and the target (reduced by hardness, if applicable).

A pilot cannot ram the same ship or object more than once during a given round. However, a pilot that fails to ram a target may attempt to ram a different target if her starship has sufficient movement left to reach the new target.

Table: Collision Damage shows the amount of damage dealt to both colliding forces, based on the size of the smaller of the two colliding objects.

Collision Damage

Size of Smaller Ship or Object Collision Damage1
Colossal 12d6×10
Gargantuan 6d6×10
Huge 3d6×10
Large 1d6×10
Medium-size or smaller

1.Damage is applied to the ramming starship and its target.


See the expanded Computer Use skill description for details.


The “start/complete full-round action” move action lets a starship begin undertaking a full-round action (such as those listed on Table: Starship Actions) at the end of its turn, or complete a full-round action by using a move action at the beginning of its turn in the round following the round when it started the full-round action. If a starship starts a full-round action at the end of its turn, the next action it takes must be to complete the full-round action—it can’t take another type of action before finishing what it started.


A full-round action requires an entire round to complete. If it doesn’t involve moving any distance, a starship can combine it with a 150-meter shift.


As a full-round action, a starship can leave the battlefield by jumping to cruising speed. Doing so effectively takes the ship out of the fight, although enemy ships can pursue the fleeing ship if they wish.

A starship cannot jump to cruising speed if it has 0 or fewer hit points.

Attacks of Opportunity: A starship that jumps to cruising speed provokes attacks of opportunity from threatening enemy ships armed with point-defense systems (see Starship Defense Systems).


A starship can use its afterburners to surge forward as a full-round action. When a starship surges forward, it can move up to four times its tactical speed in a straight line. (It does not get a 150-meter shift.) It loses its pilot’s Dexterity bonus to Defense and any dodge bonuses to Defense since it can’t avoid attacks.

A starship can surge forward for as many rounds as the pilot likes.

Attacks of Opportunity: A starship that surges forward provokes attacks of opportunity from threatening enemy ships armed with point-defense systems (see Starship Defense Systems).


Withdrawing from combat is a full-round action. When a starship withdraws, it can move up to twice its tactical speed. (It doesn’t also get a 150-meter shift.) The hex it starts from is not considered threatened for purposes of withdrawing, and therefore enemies with point-defense systems do not get attacks of opportunity against it when it moves from that hex.

If, during the process of withdrawing, the starship moves through another threatened hex (other than the one it started in) without stopping, enemies get attacks of opportunity as normal.


A starship can perform multiple free actions during its turn, subject to the GM’s approval. In general, if one or more free actions take longer than 6 seconds to complete, they are not free actions. Free actions include communicating via a comm system and turning.


Starships (and their crews) can communicate and coordinate with each other as a free action. A GM may rule that a particularly long or complex message cannot be communicated as a free action.


Starships—even immensely large ones—are highly maneuverable in space. As a free action, a ship can adjust its orientation on the battle grid by pivoting or turning. The direction a starship is facing has no bearing on combat, since most of its weapons can be trained to fire in any direction.


Starships use the same rules as characters for cover and concealment in combat.


Usually a starship acts as soon as it can in combat, but sometimes it may want to act later, at a better time, or in response to the actions of another ship. Starships can delay or ready actions in the same manner as characters.


A hazard is any unmanned obstacle of Large size or bigger that a starship might hit, either because the starship has entered the hazard’s hex or because the hazard has entered the starship’s fighting space. Sample hazards include asteroids, clouds of space debris, and electromagnetic storms (which deal electricity damage). When a starship enters a hex occupied by a hazard, or vice versa, the pilot of the starship must make a Piloting check. (Making this check does not count as an action.) The DC of the check depends on the size of the obstacle, as shown in Table: Avoid Hazard DCs. If the Piloting check succeeds, the starship avoids the hazard. If the check fails, a collision occurs (use Table: Collision Damage to determine collision damage to both the starship and the hazard). A new check must be made each round the starship and the hazard occupy the same hex.

Avoid Hazard DCs

Hazard Size Pilot Check DC
Colossal 5
Gargantuan 20
Huge 15
Large 10


A starship can pass through a hex occupied by another starship or object.

Ally or Nonopposing Starship: You can safely move through a hex occupied by an ally or nonopposing starshi p.

Enemy Starship: Moving through a hex occupied by an enemy provokes an attack of opportunity if the enemy has a point-defense system (see Starship Defense Systems). You can move safely through a hex occupied by an enemy that doesn’t resist—such as one that is disabled—as if the enemy was nonopposing.

Hazard: Safely moving through a hex occupied by a hazard—such as a cloud of space debris or an asteroid— requires a successful Piloting check (see Avoiding Hazards).


If two allied starships are on opposite sides of an enemy and each within 1,200 meters (4 hexs) of that opponent, they can catch the enemy ship in their crossfire. Because the enemy is forced to defend itself on two fronts, the allied starships gain a +2 bonus on attack rolls made against the ship caught in their crossfire. The enemy ship must be directly between the two allied ships, however.


Attacks of opportunity work differently with starships than with characters.

A starship can only make an attack of opportunity if it is equipped with a point-defense system (see Starship Defense Systems). A starship can use its point-defense system to make an attack of opportunity against an enemy ship that enters or passes through its fighting space (any hex it occupies on the battle grid) or any adjacent hex.


A starship equipped with a point-defense system threatens the hexs it occupies (its fighting space) and all adjacent 300-meter hexs. It can therefore make attacks of opportunity against enemy ships that enter or pass through its fighting space or any adjacent hex.

A starship without a point-defense system does not threaten ships that enter or pass through its fighting space or adjacent hexs.


Two actions can provoke attacks of opportunity: moving out of a threatened hex, and performing an action within a threatened hex that distracts the pilot and forces her to do something other than evade incoming fire.

Moving Out of a Threatened hex: When a starship moves out of a threatened hex, it generally provokes an attack of opportunity. There are two important exceptions, however. A starship doesn’t provoke an attack of opportunity if it limits its movement to a single 150-meter shift or if it withdraws (see Withdraw).

Thus, if the hex a starship occupies at the beginning of its turn is a threatened hex, any movement it makes provokes an attack of opportunity (unless it withdraws or limits it move to a single 150-meter shift). If it doesn’t start in a threatened hex but moves into one, it must stop there, or else it provokes an attack of opportunity as it leaves that hex.

A ship uses its normal weapons during an attack of opportunity but if a ships point defenses are directed to attack the threatened ship, opposed to targeting other threats, it can also target the threatened ship with those weapons as well.

Performing an Action that Distracts the Pilot: Some actions, when performed in a threatened hex, provoke attacks of opportunity because they make the pilot divert her attention from the battle at hand. Firing a starship weapon in a threatened hex does not provoke attacks of opportunity, but Table: Starship Actions notes actions that do.


An attack of opportunity is a single attack made with a ranged starship weapon. A starship can only make one attack of opportunity per round. It doesn’t have to make an attack of opportunity if it doesn’t want to.

An attack of opportunity is made using the starship’s normal attack bonus—even if it’s already attacked in this round.

Starship Movement and Combat

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