Damage to Ships

I think I’m missing something about how ship damage works.

  • The book says if you take damage you apply it to the track for a section.
  • It also implies the players choose what gets damaged.
  • The damage reduces the quality.
  • The damage can damage modules.


  • What if you take more damage than the quality of a system?
  • Are modules automatically damaged when a quality point is damaged or you choose for each point of damage to damage a module or a quality?

Here’s how I approach this!

I think of system quality ratings as more like action ratings. That is, when you have a 0 in a particular action, you can still roll it in the usual way (2d6 keep lowest). If a system’s quality is brought below 0, then it’s disabled. What that means depends on the system. So Comms less than 0 means the computer systems are out, - ship sensors are out, communications are down, etc. Engines less than 0 basically means the ship can’t move, back-up power is offline, etc. Weapons less than 0 means the weapons are offline. Hull less than 0 probably means the ship has suffered some serious hull breaches and is now vacuum.

With respect to modules, I personally don’t apply damage to modules when the quality is reduced. The modules just operate at whatever the current quality is. For example, suppose a ship with Comms 2 has the Targeting Computer module. If the Comms system is brought from 2 to 0, I’d say the Targeting Computer would still work, it just would do so with a rating of 0. However, I think I might be willing to go along with damaging a module instead of reducing system quality, depending on the situation.

EDIT: While my house rules might be interesting, to answer your second question I think the intent of the book is that one of the modules is damaged when the system’s quality falls below the number of modules for that system. For example, suppose a ship has Comms 3 and has the Long Range Sensors and Nexus Link modules. If damage causes the Comms to be reduced to quality 2, my understanding is that no modules would be damage. However, if damage reduces the Comms to quality 1, then my understanding is that one of the modules would be damaged.

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I tend to think of it in the context of sci-fi tropes, more than simulating anything, with a little bit of burning wheel armor rules and FTL power failures. When a ship is about to take damage, i say to the players, “your ship is about to take 3 hits, what gets wrecked” and i’ll give them some choices. Most of the time i’ll make them divide the damage between 2 different system, or choose an upgrade that gets damage.

When a system gets damaged, its quality decreases - and quality decides how much ‘space’ it has for modules. I portray this as physical damage to the ship, and power failures in the systems. For example, the Firedrake with Weapons 2 has Missiles and Particle Cannons. They get hit for 1 damage to the weapons, at which point i ask the players which module they’d like to turn off. A Rig or Hack roll could probably get the module/upgrade back online, for a while at least (This is how you get those scenes where the engineer has to fix the ship during a battle).

As far as potraying getting a system to zero goes, for me it depends on what system it is. Weapons, i would portray as all weapons going offline. Comms going down means no sensors and no talking to anyone. Engines being down means no moving. Hull being down means no atmosphere (hull breaches).

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