Blast from the Past – Saga Edition Starship Maneuvers

Copyright FFG/Disney

This article originally appeared on the original d20 Radio blog years ago. 

Most GM’s eventually learn the value of not excessively changing the rules in the RPG’s that he runs.   In my early GMing days I did an excessive amount of house ruling, mainly because I didn’t know the system well enough. But sometimes, the game just needs a few tweaks to allow your players to have the experience they want. In the first long Saga game I ran, one of my players expressed the desire for his character to eventually take command of a Mon Calamari star cruiser. With my limited knowledge of the game system, I thought that it was an awesome idea. He would have to work toward it of course, but it sounded fun. Then I learned how unexciting being the crew of a large ship can be.

Saga is really designed for players to not be flying anything more than a transport, and if you really want to get into space combat, you’re better off all flying fighters. Dangerous, but there are just more things to do as a player. So taking a cue from the Starship Maneuvers system in the Starships of the Galaxy, I developed Capital Ship Maneuvers. They were designed to provide more options to my players aboard their capital ships and make engagements more flavorful.

Now, like most house rules, some of them suffered from poor play testing and limited experience on the part of the game designer (in this case, me). But, for those that love big ship combat, they were a lot of fun to use. So I decided to share them with you, Gamer Nation.

Interestingly enough, my player never did command a Mon Cal cruiser, just a retrofitted Venator-class star destroyer.

Capital Ship Maneuvers Feat
Prerequisite: Trained in Knowledge (Tactics)
Benefit: Learn a number of Capital Ship Maneuvers equal to 1+ your wisdom score modifier. This feat can be taken multiple times.
Special:  If you are the Commander of a starship, your crew can activate any maneuver you know that you order them to use.

(GM Note: The special marker here may seem overly powerful, since only one person needs to burn a feat. However, I found this very useful in enhancing the fun for the players since even those that did not put feats and talents into space related things could still be useful in space combat. It also made it worth it for the Captain character to focus so highly.  Despite this, some players did still decide to take the feat themselves in order to gain more gunner abilities solely for them. Your mileage may vary)

 

Adama Maneuver
Make a short hyperspace jump to place yourself behind enemy lines.
Time: Full-Round Action   Target: Any square within line of site.
Crew: All
Make a Use Computer Check
DC 25- Your ship immediately makes a micro-hyperspace jump to a free square anywhere on the map within line of sight.  As a free action you may make an immediate attack against anything within Point-Blank Range of your weapons at a -10 penalty.
Any craft onboard your ship may make a Combat Launch as a free action before the second jump.
After your attacks you may make a second Use Computer Check to place yourself anywhere on the map within line of site.
DC 30– Same as DC 25 except you only take a -5 and may fire at targets at short range.
DC 35- Same as DC 25 except you only take a -2 and may fire at targets at medium range.
Special: If the first Use Computer Check fails by less than 5, your ship is placed on the map randomly by the GM within 5 squares of your target. No further action can be taken by anyone on your ship. If the second Use Computer Check fails by less than five you fail to re-enter hyperspace.
If either Use Computer Check fails by 5 or more, your hyperdrive is disabled.
Anything that would prevent you from going to hyperspace causes this maneuver to automatically fail.

(GM Note: None of my players ended up testing this one, so not sure how it plays in a game. But it was inspired by this and intended to be a really hard but really badass trick)

 

Angle Deflector Shields [attack pattern]
Same as Starship Maneuver (Starship pg 26) except instead of a pilot check, this is a Use Computer check made by the Operations officer.

(GM Note: Very heavily used. Worked great since it’s based off an existing ability. Can make a ship invulnerable in a one on one. So you always need to send two ships after your players)

 

Emergency Shields
Greatly intensify your shields against an incoming attack
Time: Reaction   Target: You      Crew: Engineering
Make a Mechanics Check
DC 20- Your shield strength is doubled for all attacks until the start of your next turn.  Whenever your shields are hit they drop by 10 points in addition to any normal reduction.
DC 25– Same as DC 20 except your shields only drop by 5 points
DC 30– Same as DC 20 except your shield strength only drops when it would normally do so.
Special: Each round after you activate this maneuver, as a full-round action, your engineer may attempt to maintain the enhanced shields.  Make a new Mechanics check. Whenever your engineer fails the check or does not take this action on his turn your shields are immediately reduced to 1/2 (rounding down) of their current state.
While this state is active you may not use any maneuver that deals with the shields or take the Recharge Shields action.

 

Extend Shields [attack pattern]
Extend your shields farther than they are designed in order to protect your allies.
Time: Standard Action   Target: You      Crew: Operations
Make a Use Computer Check 
If you succeed on a DC 20 Use computer check, you successfully activate this maneuver.  All allies in adjacent squares to you are considered to be protected by your shields. Any damage roll against an ally in that area is compared to your shields first before being applied to the target.
Any time your shields are damaged they automatically lose 5 SR, regardless if the damage exceeded their strength.  This is in addition to any normal reduction that would occur.
Special: This attack pattern can be deactivated as a swift action.

(GM Note: This is a great one for protecting a convoy or other vulnerable ship. At the time there was no precedent in Saga for it but since then Improved Force Shield and the shield extender droid module were added)

 

Flak Screen [attack pattern]
Saturate an area of space with your point defense weapons
Time: Full Round Action   Target: Area of space
Crew: All Point Defense weapons and batteries
Make an attack roll at a -5 penalty against a DC of 10 with a single point defense gun or battery. If the attack succeeds choose an area of space that is 1 square wide and with length equal to the number of guns in the battery (maximum 6). Any ship or missile that passes through this area compares the result of your attack roll to their reflex defense A hit does full damage a miss does half damage.
Special: Any ship that has Vehicular Evasion or Evasion takes half damage on a hit, no damage on a miss.
All squares targeted must be within the 10 square range of point defense batteries.
This attack pattern is maintained from round to round. The area targeted can be changed once per round.  Make a new attack roll each time the area is changed.
A roll of a 1 or less than 10 causes the maneuver to fail.

(GM Note: This ability was used to great effect. I gave the ability to NPC Lancer Frigates that they fought, making them very useful against player fighters and crowd control)

 

Full Broadside
Fire all of your weapons in a single blast against an adjacent enemy of colossal or larger size
Time: Full Round Action   Target: Single Enemy adjacent to you
Crew: Commander- And all gunners
Make a Knowledge (Tactics) check
DC 15- Make a single attack roll using just the Base Attack Bonus of one of your gunners (commander’s choice). If the attack hits, all of your weapons and batteries do damage to the target and are combined together before being applied to the target. In addition, all weapons do half damage on a miss.
DC 20- Same as DC 15 except all guns do +1 die of damage and you get +1 on the attack.
DC 25– Same as DC 20 except all guns do +2 die of damage and you get +2 on the attack.

(GM Note: This one was a mixed bag. In some ways it was overpowered, allowing my players to decimate other ships on a good roll. In others, it made for some interesting tactics. It also got complicated when a ship had multiple different types of weapons: ion, turbolaser, point defense laser. It’s an incredibly cool concept, but be careful with this one)

 

Hard to Port!
Attempt to move your ship to avoid incoming fire.
Time: Reaction   Target: Single attack made against you
Crew: Pilot
Make a Pilot Check
DC 10- Move one square in any direction as a reaction to the attack. Gain a +1 to your reflex defense against this attack
DC 15- Same as DC 10 except you can move up to half your speed and gain a +2 to your reflex defense against this attack
DC 20- Same as DC 15 except if the attack hits it only does half damage.

(GM Note: You may note that the DC’s are pretty low. That’s because of the -10 modifier the big ships hit you with, making even hitting a DC 10 hard, especially at low levels)

 

Intensify Forward Firepower
Fire all your weapons at an enemy attempting to attack you
Time: Reaction   Target: Enemy ship making an Attack Run, Skim the Surface or Collision Attempt   Crew: Commander and Gunners
Make a Knowledge (Tactics) check
DC 15- Make an immediate attack against the target with a single weapon or weapon battery at a -10 modifier
DC 25- Make an immediate attack against the target with a single weapon or weapon battery at a -5 modifier
DC 35- Make an immediate attack against the target with a single weapon or weapon battery at no penalty
Special: If the target is destroyed by your attack no collision occurs and their attack fails

(GM Note: Admiral Piett clearly failed his tactics check)

 

Overwhelming Assault [attack pattern]
Same as the Starship Maneuver except, instead of a Pilot check, this is a Knowledge (Tactics) check made by the commander.

 

Picard Maneuver
Make a short hyperspace jump to place yourself directly next to a target and open fire.
Time: Reaction   Target: Single Enemy about to attack you.
Crew: All
Make a Use Computer Check
DC 25- Your ship immediately makes a micro-hyperspace jump to a free square adjacent to the target. The target’s attack is then rolled at a -10 penalty.
In addition you may choose a single weapon or weapon battery to make an attack as a free action against the target at a -10 penalty.
DC 30– Same as DC 25 except the target takes a -15 penalty and you only take a -5.
DC 35- Same as DC 25 except the target takes a -20 penalty and you only take a -2.
Special: If the Use Computer Check fails by less than 5, your ship is placed on the map randomly by the GM within 5 squares of your target. No further action can be taken by anyone on your ship and the target’s attack proceeds at a -5 penalty.
If the Use Computer Check fails by 5 or more, you collide with your target. It may make a Pilot check to avoid the collision, you may not. If you collide, treat this collision as if you had just taken the Full Speed action.
Anything that would prevent you from going to hyperspace causes this maneuver to automatically fail.

(GM Note: Another one that my players never got a chance to use. Very difficult to pull off and big penalties for failing. But awesome if you can do it)

 

Transfer Power to Shields [attack pattern]
Transfer energy from weapons to the shields
Time: Standard   Target: You      Crew: Engineer
Make a Mechanics Check if you beat a DC 15 check you can increase the shields by 10pts for every 1 die you reduce all of your weapons and/or square of movement you reduce your speed. No weapon may be reduced below 1 die of damage nor may your speed be reduced below 1.
Special You can deactivate this maneuver as a swift action.

 

Gunner Maneuvers

Devastating Hit [gunner]
Same as Starship Maneuver

Engine Hit [gunner]
Same as Starship Maneuver

Explosive Shot [gunner]
Same as Starship Maneuver

Hyperdrive Hit [gunner]
Make a last ditch attack on a fleeing enemy
Time: Reaction   Target: Single Enemy attempting to enter hyperspace
Crew: Commander and 1 Gun or gun battery
Make a Knowledge (Tactics) Check
DC 15- Make a single attack against the target as a free action with a -10 modifier
DC 20- Same as DC 15 except with a -5 modifier, in addition the target fails to enter hyperspace this round if you hit.
DC 25- Same as DC 20 except take a -2 modifier.
Special If the attack exceeds the targets damage threshold the target’s hyperdrive is disabled.

(GM Note: This was great for keeping those pesky bad guys from running away. Can also be used against your PC’s if you don’t like them very much)

Shield Hit [gunner]
Same as Starship Maneuver

Thruster Hit [gunner]
Same as Starship Maneuver

 

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Wayne Basta

Wayne Basta

Editor-in-Chief at d20 Radio
Wayne is the managing editor of d20 Radio's Gaming Blog. He also occasionally writes books.
Wayne Basta

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