Advanced Small Ship Combat

Note: These rules were originally written in 1980. No attempt has been made to check them against current ship combat rules, and these rules are published here verbatim from my original rule variant. This system is based on "High Guard" 1980 edition. The idea behind these rules was to create a ship combat system that allowed for role play by characters who were acting as crew. Corrections or comments are always welcome. --ed.

The following is an alternative form of small ship combat providing for more detailed action while still allowing for role playing. Unless otherwise stated, cost, tonnage and energy point requirements are the same as in High Guard, 1980 edition.

This system is intended for ships and boats massing less than 1000 tons.

New Weapons and Weapon Systems

In addition to existing weapons and systems as presented in High Guard, two new weapons are introduced, along with a new variety of missile.

Antimissile Missiles are similar to conventional missiles except that they are used to intercept incoming enemy missiles and torpedoes. The AM Missile features a proximity detonated warhead which, when the AM missile comes close to an enemy missile, causes the AM missile warhead to detonate, showering the enemy missile with high speed fragments which destroy it. AM Missiles may be fired from standard missile racks and require the program INTERCEPT., which fills one space of computer storage and costs 0.8 MCr.

Torpedoes are very large, sophisticated missiles. They contain a fusion drive and onboard computer and are not effected by ECM. Because of their discretionary programming, they can avoid sand, a thus are nit effected by it. Internal hardwired programming gives them the equivalent of the program AUTO EVADE.

Torpedoes are launched from tubes installed on the carrying ship. One tube may be installed per 100 tons of ship displacement not otherwise allocated to weaponry. Installation costs 1.5MCr if the tube is specified at the time of construction. Retrofitting on a completed ship costs 2.5MCr. Torpedo tubes displace 3 tins and each tub can launch 1 (one) torpedo every other turn. Five torpedoes, massing 500kg each are the normal load in the launching tray, but numbers in excess of this may be carried if space is available.

To fire the torpedo, the program TORPEDO LAUNCH must be loaded. This program fills on space of computer storage and costs 2.5MCr. Torpedoes have no energy point requirement.

Infinite Repeaters are rapid fire linear accelerators (rail guns) which propel hundreds of 100g spheres per second at tremendous velocity. Infinite repeaters are used for close range attacks and antimissile fire. 1 (one) infinite repeater my be installed per turret, exclusive of other weapons, at a cost of 1.5 MCr, and displaces 3 tons.

Infinite repeaters require the TARGET program and use 2 energy points. For antimissile fire, they use the program MISSILE DEFENSE which requires 2 spaces of storage and costs 0.8MCr. A special program, ANTI-MISSILE II, is available that will allow both laser and infinite repeater antimissile fire from the same program. ANTI_MISSILE II requires 3 spaces of computer storage and costs 2.5Mcr.

In addition, ship's armor may be designated as SPACED. Spaced armor reduces the effectiveness of spallation attacks. Spaced armor requires twice the tonnage of nonspaced armor.

Combat Resolution

In the event that two hostile ships encounter one another and engage in combat, the results if that combat will have to be determined. To achieve that end, the following procedure is followed:

1. Determine Initiative: Each Captain rolls 1D, adding Ship's Tactics as a +DM. The Captain with the higher roll has the initiative and is termed the ATTACKER. The other Captain is the DEFENDER. If, on the initial encounter, one player achieves an initiative roll of three or better above his adversary, he has caught the enemy Captain during computer down load and receives one turn of surprise, during which the enemy ship may conduct no offensive fire, and if the ship is not a naval vessel, no defensive fire as well (naval commanders are assumed to have the sense to at least have defensive programs running when approaching unidentified ships).

2. Determine Range: For game purposes, there are three ranges in space combat: close, short and long ranges. Initial encounters always take place at long range. Thereafter, the player with initiative elects to reduce range, remain at the current range or increase range. Range may be altered by one step only. Thus a ship may go from long to short, or short to close, but never from long to close in one turn.

3. Attacker's Offensive Fire: At this time the ATTACKER fires its offensive weapons.

4. Defender's Defensive Fire: The DEFENDER fires its defensive weapons at the ATTACKER'S incoming fire in an attempt to intercept.

5. Defender's Damage: The DEFENDER records damage caused by any of the ATTACKER's offensive fire which the DEFENDER failed to intercept. The damage effects are applied immediately.

6. Defender's Offensive Fire: The DEFENDER fires any undamaged offensive weapon desired, do long as they were not used for defense during the DEFENDER'S defensive fire phase.

7. Attacker's Defensive Fire: The ATTACKER fires any of his defensive weapons (not already used during the ATTACKER'S offensive fire), at the DEFENDER'S incoming offensive fire.

8. Attacker's Damage: The ATTACKER records any damage caused by the DEFENDER's incoming offensive fire, which the ATTACKER failed to intercept. All damage takes effect immediately.

9. Computer reprogramming: Both the ATTACKER and the DEFENDER alter any programs in their respective computers at this time. one turn is now complete. If combat continues, return to step 1.

Breaking Off Action: If the engaged ships are at long range, the ship with the higher maneuver may break off action in lieu of his offensive fire (step 3 or 6).

NOTE: In the event of simultaneous initiative, the above steps are still retained with one exception. The DEFENDER does not record his damage or its effects until STEP 8.


During the offensive firing phase, the Captain of the firing ship notes the range, determines the weapons to be used and initiates fire. The gunners for each weapon station then roll 2D, adding the appropriate DM's for expertise, computer programming, etc. If the number rolled equals or exceeds the TO HIT for the weapon fired, the weapon fired will strike the enemy ship unless it is intercepted.

To Hit
Weapon Close Short Long Die Modifiers
Missile No 7+ 6+ Gunner Interact, Selective
Torpedo No 7+ 5+ Gunner Interact, Selective
Infinite Repeater 5+ No No Predict, Gunner Interact, Selective
Pulse Laser 8+ 9+ 10+ Predict, Gunner Interact, Selective
Beam Laser 7+ 8+ 9+ Predict, Gunner Interact, Selective
Plasma Gun 8+ 8+ No Gunner Interact, Selective
Fusion Gun 8+ 9+ No Gunner Interact, Selective
Particle Accelerator 8+ 9+ 9+ Gunner Interact, Selective
If the firing gunner made a selective attack, he should secretly note the general location aimed and the weapon used.


After the player conducting his offensive fire has completed his firing, the targeted player may attempt to intercept any successful attacks with any defensive weapons still in operation and not already used this turn. The targeted player indicates which defensive systems he will use against each attack. The gunners then roll 2D, assigning any appropriate DM's. If the number rolled equals of exceeds the required TO INTERCEPT then the attack has been intercepted, with whatever effects are indicated on the table below.

NOTE: Repulsor and nuclear damper fields effect every incoming missile or nuclear attack, regardless of if they have already been used to intercept a previous attack during the current turn.

Defensive System
Attack Laser Energy Sand AMM Inf Rptr ECM NDamper* Effect
Missile 8+ 7+ 7+ 6+ 5+ 7+ 7+ destroyed
Torpedo 11+ 10+ No 8+ 8+ No 11+ destroyed
Laser No No 7+ No No No No Reduce Hit
Energy Weapon No No 9+ No No No No Redice Hit
Inf Rptr No No No No No No No No Effect
*Nuclear dampers only effect nuclear missiles and torpedoes. Damped missiles and torpedoes have no effect. Roll is for factor 1, treat higher factors as a DM per each factor over 1.

NOTE: GUNNER INTERACT is not applicable to ECM, or nuclear damper.

Particle Accelerator
Ship Config 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
To Penetrate 8+ 7+ 6+ 3+ 2+ 5+ 11+ 0 10+


At the conclusion of defensive fire, the damage effects of attacks which penetrated defensive fire are determined. Note the weapon type and determine the rated damage. If the weapon is a beam weapon or infinite repeater, multiply the damage by the number of weapons in the turret or battery. Note any reduction in weapon factor caused by sand. Any remaining damage will be applied to the ship, less hits stopped by armor.

Armor affixed to the ship is always the first target attacked. Ship's armor absorbs 1 point per factor per hit. Thus armor subtracts from each attack. If any points are not stopped by the armor, then the remaining points do internal damage on the target ship. Those hits stopped by the armor are taken against the armor itself. A ship can receive hits equal to its tonnage/10 before its armor is reduced by a factor of 1. For example: If a 100 ton Scout was armored to factor 3, 10 hits would reduce the armor to factor 2, 20 hits would reduce it to factor 1, and 30 hits would reduce its armor factor to 0. A ships' armor factor may never be reduced below 0.

If there are enough damage points to penetrate the armor, ot the ship is not fitted with armor, the effects of the damage table are determined. First, roll on the general location table. If selective fire was used, then the general location will have already been determined. Locate the specific hit location table for the general location hit. Roll specific location and apply the damage effects as noted on the effect explanation table. Do this for each successful attack.

Weapons And Damage
Weapon Damage +1 DAM TL +2 DAM TL Additional Effects
HE Mssile 1D 13+ Spallation
Nuclear Missile X5 Spallation and radiation
HE Torpedo 3D 13+ Spallation
Nuclear Torpedo X5 Spallation and radiation
Pulse Laser 1 13+
Beam Laser 2 13+
Infinite Rptr 1 12+ Spallation
Plasma Gun 2 11+ 12+
Fusion Gun 3 14+
Particle Beam 2 Radiation
Particle Barbette 1 Radiation
Damage is for one weapon. If more than one weapon makes up a battery or turret, weapons of the same type have their damage added together, excepting missiles or torpedoes.


General Location (2D)
2 Bridge
3 Weapons
4 Fuel
5 Hold
6 Hold
7 Hold
8 Hold
9 Fuel
10 Weapons
11 Engineering
12 Engineering
Bridge (1D)
1 Crew
2,3 Computer
4,5 Controls
6 Sensors
Fuel (1D)
1 Crew
2 Fuel Scoops
3 Purification
4,5, 6 Fuel
Engineering (1D)
1 Crew
2 Power Plant
3/4 M-Drive
5/6 J-Drive
1 Crew
2,3 Fire Control
4.5.6 Weapon
Hold (1D)
1 Crew
2,3 Cargo for 12
4,5 Quarters
6 Hangerage

Cargo- The ship has been hit in the cargo bay. Each hit destroys 1 ton of cargo.

Computer- The ship's computer has been hit. Reduce the effective computer factor by 1 for each hit received.

Controls- The ship's controls ( steering, power plant, life support, etc.) have been damaged. Each hit reduces the control factor by 1. Ships have controls equal to the computer factor plus one. The GM may determine specific effects.

Crew- The crew in the general location have been attacked. Determine the to hit and damage according to the weapon.

HE Missiles: Treat as LAG with HE at medium range.
Nuclear Missile: Crew killed on a 8 (2D), otherwise 2 attributes reduced to 0.
HE Torpedo: Treat as HE Ram Grenade at medium range.
Nuclear Torpedo: Crew killed.
Infinite Repeater: Treat as shotgun at medium range.
Laser: Treat as laser rifle at medium range.
Plasma gun: Treat as PGMP12 at medium range.
Fusion gun: Treat as FGMP14 at medium range.
Particle Accelerator: Treat as PGMP14 at medium range.

Fire Control- The fire control system for 1 turret has been disabled. The gunner loses all computer enhancement and must track targets manually. DM -4 + Gunnery skill.

Fuel- 1 ton of fuel is lost per hit inflicted.

Fuel Scoops- The sip's fuel scoops have been destroyed. If there are no fuel scoops mounted on this ship, treat this as a fuel hit.

Hangerage- Small craft hangerage aboard the ship has been damaged. The target ship may not launch or recover small craft suing the damaged hanger. In addition each hit will destroy 10 tons of small craft. Small craft not destroyed are disabled.

Jump Drive- The ship's jump drive has been hit. Reduce the jump drive factor by 1 for each hit received.

Maneuver Drive- The sip's maneuver drive has been hit. Reduce the maneuver drive by 1 factor for each hit received.

Power Plant- The ship's power plant has been hit. Reduce power plant factor by 1 for each hit received. Maneuver and jump may not exceed the power plant factor.

Purification- The ship's purification plant has been destroyed. If there is no purification plant installed, treat this hit as fuel.

Quarters- One random quarters or stateroom has been hit (this includes low berths). If occupied, the inhabitant is subjected to a Crew attack. All fixtures and possessions in the room are destroyed.

Radiation- Weapons which do radiation damage receive automatic radiation attacks against crew and computer. Roll on the radiation table. If the roll equals of exceeds the required number then the computer takes o1 additional hit (ignore this if the computer has fiber optic backup). In addition, all crew in the general location hit take 1D damage immediately, and will die in 1D days if they do not receive antiradiation treatments.

Sensors- The ship has been hit in its sensors. Reduce sensors by 1 factor for each hit received. Ships have sensors equal to their computer factor. Naval vessels will have double the amount of sensors.

Spallation- Weapons which do spallation damage receive automatic spallation attacks against crew in the general location hit, in addition to their normal damage. Roll on the spallation table, If the roll equals or exceeds the required number, spallation has occurred. Treat spallation as shotgun at medium range for To Hit and Damage.

Weapon- One of the ship's weapons has been destroyed. One weapon in a turret is destroyed for each hit received.

Radiation To Hit
Ship's Armor 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
Nuclear Missile * * 3+ 4+ 6+ 8+ 10+ 12+ No No No No No No No No
Nuclear Torpedo * * * 3+ 4+ 5+ 6+ 7+ 8+ 9+ 10+ 11+ 12+ No No No
Particle Accelerator * 3+ 4+ 5+ 5+ 6+ 6+ 7+ 7+ 8+ 8+ 9+ 9+ 10+ 11+ 12+
* Automatic Hit

Spallation To Hit
Ship's Armor 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 A B C D E F
HE Missile * 3+ 5+ 7+ 10+ No No No Not Allowed
Nuclear Missile * * * 3+ 4+ 6+ 9+ 12+
HE Torpedo * 3+ 4+ 6+ 8+ 11+ No No
Nuclear Torpedo * * * * 3+ 4+ 7+ 10+
Infinite Repeater * * 3+ 5+ 7+ 10+ No No
* Automatic Hit

a DM of -3 to spallation attacks is applied if the ship is fitted with Spaced armor.

Option: Ramming

A ship at close range may attempt to ram an enemy vessel during his offensive fire phase, and in addition to weapons fire. The base roll for ramming is:

To Hit 8+
2D +/- DMs
Attacker DMs Defender DMs
+Attacker Acceleration -Defender Acceleration
+ Attacker Pilot Skill -Defender Pilot Skill
-Auto Evade

If Ramming Occurs:

Each ship takes 1 critical hit
Each ship take 1 hit per each G of relative acceleration
The ship with the lesser mass receives 1 hit per difference of 100 tons
The ship with the lesser armor receives on hit per unit of difference in armor
Both crews receive spallation attacks
Ships are fouled on a roll of 6+. To unfoul, 9+ on 2D; +1 per G of acceleration