The space combat rules as presented in the Edge of the Empire core rulebook, and the expansions added during the Age of Rebellion beta, serves as a solid basis for space combat in the Star Wars universe. Its narrative and open to customization, perhaps too open to some people’s liking.
This post is not about drastically changing or tweaking the system, but rather discuss how to expand upon it within its framework, in the spirit of the rules and the game. Its the first part of two. The second will cover less structured options, based more on narration and creativity during play.
I have to thank a few people from the FFG forums, particularly Aservan and Aramis, both commented and made their opinions clearly understood, I have to respect that, regardless of our difference of opinions.
This first expansion serves as an easy addition. Using existing mechanics and conventions I’ve come up with a series of new Starship Actions for the pilot to use during combat, these will be presented in Cartol’s Emporium, but I will cover the basic idea behind them here and post the current version of them. Again, I have not come up with these completely on my own, the aforementioned – and others – have inspired me.
The intention of these Actions is to be used to add flavour to combat, they’re not all powerful boosts that will ensure or shorten space combat – they would probably prolong it slightly, they are alternatives to Gain the Advantage, Stay on Target and Evasive Maneuvres. Which are the three basic, and arguably only, combat oriented manoeuvres and action in the EotE corebook. AoR introduces some new actions, but mainly for capital ships.
The first new Action I will cover is the one I’ve called Suicidal Mynock. This action is actually based on a suggestion made by Aservan, and I’ve kept it very close to his original idea. The basic idea behind this is to become the only possible target of an enemy ship, for instance to cover a friendly ship’s escape. It is limited to one fire arc of the enemy ship, but with some good tactics, narration and roleplaying, this should work pretty well. Starships can also alternate between who’s going to be the target, while another can attack within that fire arc/defensive zone. Of course sound reasoning should prevail, this would be hard for one starship to do against a whole fire arc of different weapons on a Stardestroyer or any Silhouette 6+ capital ship, so keep in mind the balance between rules, fun and whatever dosage of reason and “reality” you want part of in your game.
Where the Suicidal Mynock is the crazy pilot’s wish for lethal attention, the Defensive Screen is another protective Action a pilot can perform. Flying interference, overlapping shields and the like, this Action allows one starship to increase the Defence of one allied starship – alternately it could just add a Setback die to the opponent’s attack checks on the allied ship. Larger capital ships cannot really benefit from this Action from too small ships, unless one is talking about a whole lot of squadrons of course, but Silhouette 4 to 5 should be able to gain the beneift from silhouette 3 and 4 starships, a series of starfighters or transports, flying this kind of defensive interference against enemy starfighters and capital ships. Silhouette 6 capital ships would require silhouette 5 starships to gain these benefits. Where the Suicidal Mynock forces the enemy to attack you, the Defensive Screen increases the ally’s defence, and if you roll well upgrades combat checks against the allied ship – and this upgrade cannot be ignored by Gain the Advantage.
These two Actions would be typical wingman or escort type actions used to protect a weaker or more important allied ships. The pilot is basically making himself a target, but this an acceptable course of action when fighting the Empire, protecting civilians from pirates and stuff like that.
Of the next two actions I present the outlines for here, one is directly related to Suicidal Mynock, and is intended as a way to break that action’s “hold” on the target ship. It is called Run the Blockade and will break the temporary hold that a Suicidal Mynock gains for one or more rounds.
The last action is a variant of Evasive Maneuvres, except its an action and can be performed by slower and larger ships than Evasive Maneuvres. This one is simply called Evasive Action. Instead of adding upgrades to the combat check difficulty of enemy ships, this action adds defence, and on Triumphs can turn these defence bonuses into upgrades instead. It can be used in conjunction with Evasive Maneuvres is the ship is fast and small enough.
That some of these actions provide defence bonus might be considered powerful and unbalancing, but considering the limitations that the core rules put in place for number of defence dice per defensive zone I figured that it wouldn’t be that bad, and also the upgrades can become a real nuisance in the long run for both side when multiple Despairs are rolled. Although, as mentioned above, these defence bonuses can be changed into adding environmental setback dice to the enemies’ combat checks, thereby bypassing any potential defence cap.
This option is of course only a small addition in my mind, but it does help to add flair to the story telling as a fellow pilot attempts to defend his allies, or getting a clear shot at an important target while a bunch of TIEs run interference, suicidal or otherwise. While the actions will appear in the catalogue, I present them below in all their “glory” for you to consider and criticise.
Pilot Only: Yes
Make a Pilot check using difficulties outlined in Table 7-3 (EotE core book page: 234) against an opponent attacking or attempting Gain the Advantage against one allied ship. Success increases defence of allied starship by +1 until the end of acting ship’s next turn. Additional three successes or advantages can be spent to upgrade combat checks against defended allied ship by one. Any pilot or combat checks made by defending ship adds one Setback die.
Notes: Silhouette 3 and 4 starships/vehicles cannot gain this benefit more than two allied ships. Silhouette 5 and 6 can only receive the benefits if 2 or more ships execute the Action to a maximum of four allied ships, halve defence bonuses and upgrades. Larger ships cannot benefit from this Action.
Pilot Only: Yes
Pick an enemy ship and make an opposed Pilot check, success gives evading ship +1 defence to one defensive zone. Three advantages can be spent to gain another +1 defence to same or another defensive zone (to a total maximum of +2), limited as per defensive zone maximum outlined on page 226 in the EotE core book. Triumph can turn a defence increase into an upgrade instead. Any attacks originating from Evasive vehicle receives an equal amount of setback dice (or upgrades) to combat checks against opponents.
Note: This Action can be used in combination with Evasive Manoeuvres, if starship is small and fast enough to perform this Manoeuvre.
Run the Blockade
Pilot Only: Yes
Make a Pilot check using difficulties outlined in Table 7-3 (EotE page 234) against an opponent who has successfully used Suicidal Mynock against acting ship. Success lets acting starship attack any other target on the following turn. Failure prevents acting ship from attacking any other target for another turn.
Pilot Only: Yes
Make a Hard [♦♦♦] Pilot check and pick one enemy ship. Success results in target ship not being able attack any other target than the starship performing this action on its next turn. Additional two advantages may increase the duration for another round up to a total of three rounds. The enemy’s weapons not able to target the ship may attack other targets as normal. Any other ships that take the Suicidal Mynock action against the same target in the same fire arc becomes the only ship the target may attack. A pilot may cancel this manoeuvre on his or her turn as an Incidental.