(or "To Boldly Thrust...") Rules for using Full Thrust in the Star Trek universe by W. Scott Field [email@example.com]
These rules are intended to depict TNG-era Trek, although they could be used for original Trek with few modifications. In attempting to simulate Star Trek style space battles, I have tried to steer a compromise, staying relatively "canon" while changing as few FT rules as possible. I have kept the FT core rules largely intact, and merely introduced "new" systems that act a little differently than FT systems. The costs and mass of these systems are, I believe, balanced within this framework, but could be unbalanced if you try to export them to "standard" FT games.
One common complaint among FT gamers is the relative lack of variety of weapons in Star Trek -- basically just beams and torpedoes. I have tried to address this by making photon torpedoes operate distinctly differently than beams, as well as by increasing the number of non-weapons systems (tractor beams, transporters, etc) used. On the other hand, I decided to treat phasers and disrupters as interchangeable; instead I played with the ship designs to give Federation ships greater firepower at long range, while giving Klingons greater firepower at short range.
Lastly, a number of people have proposed ways to reflect the "non-military" nature of Starfleet ships by limiting the number of weapons they can have and so forth. While this make sense logically, I feel that it doesn't really reflect the "flavor" of the Star Trek universe, where any Starfleet ship can beat any alien "warship" of the same class. It's silly, I know; if you want realism, watch Babylon 5!
Enough editorializing. On to the rules....
|1 per ship mass||1 per 20 ship mass||1/3 ship mass|
|3 per 2 ship mass||1 per 10 ship mass||½ ship mass|
|1 per 2 ship mass||1 per 30 ship mass||¼ ship mass|
Unlike FT screens, ST shields are ablative (i.e. -- shot away bit by bit). Initially, all damage is absorbed by the shields. Score the dice rolls as against an unscreened ship but instead of filling the damage point tracks, record the damage by making "hash marks" in the top right corner of the ship record box (opposite the ID number).
Once the shields have absorbed damage equal to half their strength, draw a line under the marks; shields are then considered to be at half strength. On subsequent attacks, the shields will absorb half damage (continue making marks underneath the line you just drew) while the other half makes it through to the ship itself and is recorded normally. Round odd numbered damage in the shield's "favor," so a ship with half strength shields that gets hit for 3 damage would absorb 2 points with its shields and take 1 point of structural damage.
Once the shields have absorbed damage equal to their strength, they are down and all damage is applied to the damage tracks. Note that the shield generator itself may still be knocked out as a result of threshold checks or needle attacks. (See the section on damage control below.)
All are considered the same, and they act as standard beam weapons in FT, except that they can also be used like needle beams to attack specific systems. "Gunner, target engines only... understood?"
Needle attacks require one fire con per target system as well as functioning enhanced/ superior sensors. Roll the number of dice indicated above and the targeted system is destroyed on a 6.
Needle attacks cannot be made against ships with shields above 1/2 strength, and ships with shields below 1/2 strength roll 1d6 less than indicated above. (C-batteries firing on 1/2-strength shields roll 1d6 up to 3".)
May be fired in direct-fire mode, in which case they act as pulse torpedoes in FT, but their damage is absorbed by shields, the same as beams. Alternately, they may be fired in a spread (usually when attempting to guestimate the position of a cloaked ship). In this case they act like a 1-turn missile with an area effect.
Photon spreads are launched after orders are written, but before any ships are moved. Each torpedo tube may fire 1 spread up to 24" with up to a 2-point turn in mid move. All ships are then moved, as normal. Once all ships have been moved, all photon spreads detonate, causing :-
again, they are affected by shields.
Although we know that ships carry a limited number of photon torpedoes, we've never actually seen anyone run out; so I assume they carry enough that we don't need to worry about it.
As for quantum torpedoes, I haven't put together any rules for them; your guess is as good as mine.
There are numerous examples of Star Trek ships firing weapons through their aft arc. Rather than doing away with the FT restriction altogether, the following compromise is suggested: weapons may be mounted to fire through a ship's rear arc, but such weapons cost twice as much as normal and take up 1 more mass than normal (PSB to reflect special targeting systems required to compensate for distortion caused by the warp field). Aft-firing weapons may be 1-arc only, i.e. -multiple-arc weapons may not include the aft arc.
In addition to functioning as FTL engines, warp engines are also used for combat maneuvering. To simulate this, when a ship loses its warp engine (either to a threshold check or a needle attack) its thrust rating is halved, as if its drive systems had been hit. "Aye, we can wallow like a garbage scow...." If the ship's thrust is already halved, then its thrust is reduced to zero. Two hits on the impulse engines will also drop thrust to zero as per FT.
Since practically all ships in Star Trek are warp-driven, I see no need to change the ship design rules to reflect this: simply buy thrust and FTL drives as normal. If you add non-warp ships (perhaps from a less advanced race?), then they should pay for thrust at twice the usual cost.
Any time a ship loses its warp drive to a threshold check, it rolls a die: on 1-4, the warp engines are down, as described above. A 5 or 6 indicates a warp core breach, and the player must roll a second die. On a 1-4, (on the second roll) the ship is able to safely eject the warp core and sustains no damage, but the warp engine cannot later be repaired by damage control parties. On a 5 or 6 they fail to eject the core in time and the ship is disintegrated! (This works out to a 1 in 9 chance of a fatal core breech anytime a ship loses its warp drive.)
Note that this rule does not apply to damage from needle attacks! (In theory it should, but that would seriously unbalance things!) Warp engines lost to needle attacks are merely considered down as above.
|Escorts & Merchants||1||5|
Transporters can be used to beam boarding parties onto enemy ships; this requires a dedicated fire con and functioning active sensors. The target ship must be within 9" and its shields must be down; the boarding ship must lower its shields for that turn.
You then must compare the ships' velocities and courses as follows: if the ships' courses differ by 1 point or less, the difference between their velocities must be 6 or less for transport to be possible; if their courses differ by 2-4 points, the average of their velocities must be 6 or less; if their courses differ by 5 or 6 points, the sum of their velocities must be 6 or less.
A Klingon ship is on heading 12, velocity 5 when it decloaks within 9" of 3 Federation ships: F1 is on heading 11, F2 is on heading 3 and F3 is on heading 7. All are at velocity 3 with shields down. F1's heading is one point off, so the difference is 2. F2 is 3 points off, so the average is 4. F3 is 5 points off, so the sum is 8. The Klingons may board F1 or F2, but not F3.
Instead of the MT concept of a small party of heavily armed-and-armored boarders, Star Trek boarding parties are larger, but armed mainly with hand weapons. However, this evens out, so the standard MT rules for resolving boarding actions can be used, i.e. -military ships field 1 factor for every 4 current damage points, and merchant ships field 1 for every 10.
If the attackers win, they are in control of the ship & crew, but are assumed to be locked out of the computer. The attacker may beam back the survivors, leaving 1 factor on the captured ship as a prize crew.
At the end of each turn thereafter, roll 1d6; on a 6 the prize crew has broken the computer lock-out and may fly the ship. They may not use any weapons or other systems - they don't have enough crew to fight the ship, merely enough to escape.
Klingons take boarding actions much more seriously than most other races! As a result of this, Klingon ships field 1 factor for every 3 current damage points.
Using a tractor beam requires a dedicated fire con, which may not be used for anything else that turn. Tractor beams are activated during fire resolution phase, although the effects do not take place until the following movement phase.
Subtract the range to target (in inches) from the tractor's strength; also subtract 1 for every 10 points of shields the target has currently. The result (x") is the effective strength of the beam. On the following movement phase, both ships are moved normally in accordance with their written orders, and then the tractor drag is applied as follows.
If the two ships are the same size, both are dragged 1/2 x" towards each other. If the size difference is one class, the smaller ship is dragged x" and the larger ship is dragged 1/4 x". If the size difference is two classes, the smaller ship is dragged 2x" and the larger ship is not dragged. (Note that it makes no difference whether the grabbing ship is the larger or smaller of the two.)
A capital ship with a class-B tractor is trying to seize an escort that is 7" away; the escort's shields currently have 8 points. Subtracting 7 for range and 1 for shields gives the tractor an effective strength of 4. On the next turn, both ships are moved in accordance with their written orders; the escort is then dragged 8" towards the capital. The capital is not dragged. Had the target ship been a cruiser, it would have been dragged 4" and the capital 1". If both ships had been capitals, they would each have been dragged 2".
Note that range, effective strength and arc are determined before any ships are moved; if a ship's written orders take it temporarily outside the tractor's range or arc, the tractor lock is not broken. (The effect of the beam is continuous, after all.) On the next turn, effective strength and arc are determined anew, based on the new positions.
|3 per 2 ship mass||1 per 18 ship mass|
Unlike MT cloaks, ST cloaks allow a ship to use passive sensors while cloaked. To cloak a ship, the player writes in his orders that he will cloak that turn, but does not have to specify how many turns he will remain cloaked. All ships are then moved normally. The cloaking ship may not use any weapons or shields for that turn.
When the cloaking player activates that ship during the fire resolution phase, the ship's miniature is removed from the table and replaced by a marker. The next ship activated by the opposing player may shoot at the cloaking ship (assuming it is in range/arc, etc) but no other ships activated after that may. This gives the opposing player one shot as the ship is cloaking.
While cloaked, a player writes his moves normally, but must estimate his ship's position on the table. The cloaked ship may not use any weapons, shields or other systems except for sensors. (There are examples of cloaked ships using transporters, but to allow this in the game would be unbalancing IMHO.) It may not be targeted by phasers/ disrupters, but is subject to damage from area effect weapons like photon torpedo spreads. Cloaked ships may use passive sensors normally.
They may also use active sensors, but doing so reveals the ship's position; the player moves his cloaking point marker to the cloaked ship's current position in accordance with the orders he has written. This position fix is not exact enough for the cloaked ship to be targeted with phasers/disrupters, although the opposing player now knows where to launch his photon spreads! Ships may attempt to detect cloaked ships (see the sensor rules below).
If you are playing a game with a lot of cloaked ships and do not have a referee, it may be helpful to have a simple grid pattern laid out on the gaming area. Players can then plot their cloaked ships on a sheet of graph paper (not shown to his enemy), which can be used to determine the effects of photon torpedoes and sensor sweeps.
To decloak, the player writes in the ship's orders that it is decloaking. All uncloaked ships are then moved normally. During the fire resolution phase, when the player chooses to activate the decloaking ship, he announces that the ship is decloaking and plots the ship's moves from the point where it cloaked (or from its last known position, if it had been revealed in some way). The ship's miniature is then placed at its current location. The ship may then fire any offensive weaponry, but may not use any shields that turn. Any opposing ships that have not yet fired may then fire on the uncloaked (& unshielded!) ship during their turns.
If you are using graph paper to plot cloaked movement (as described above), or if you are playing a PBM/PBeM game, cloaked players will be able to compute their positions exactly. If you wish to introduce further positional uncertainty (say, due to the slight distortion the cloak causes), then when a ship decloaks, roll 1d6 for every turn of cloaked movement and score the dice like beam attacks, i.e. -- 1-3: 0, 4-5: 1, 6: 2. The decloaking ship is then displaced that many inches in a random direction.
Almost all ST ships have at least enhanced sensors, and most Federation ships have superior sensors. Passive sensors work the same as in FT/MT, but will also reveal the general shield status (full strength, below half, or down) of any ships within 36." Active sensors work as in FT/MT, with the following addition:
Ships may use active sensors to sweep an arc for cloaked ships. Each ship may sweep 1 arc. (Cruisers & capitals may use their additional scans normally on other (uncloaked) ships, but may only sweep 1 arc.) Any cloaked ships in the designated arc out to 54" are detected on a roll of 6 on 1d6, modified as follows:
Again, the location of the cloaked ship is not precise enough to be targeted directly. Note that sensor sweeps will reveal the scanning ship to any ships in range & arc, just as with regular active scans.
Damage control parties may attempt to restore damaged shields. When shields are below half strength, each successful repair roll on the shields restores 1-3 points up to half strength. Once the shields are above ½ , each successful repair roll only restores 1 point up to full strength. If the shield generator fails a threshold check and is later repaired, the shields will be restored at the strength they had before they were knocked out. (You cannot repair the shield generator and restore the shield strength at the same time.)
Federation damage control parties always seem to be miracle workers. To reflect this, if a damage control party has been working unsuccessfully on the same system for 3 or more turns, it will repair the system on a roll of 5 or 6.
last updated 11 October 1996