Starship Design, Repairs And Modifications

Starship Design/Modification for d20

Designing a new starship for the Star Wars Roleplaying Game is fairly simple process. Each ship is defined by a number of factors, including its Size, it Class, and its nine traits: Automation, Life Support, Stowage, Consumables, Hyperdrive, Ion Engines, Shields, Superstructure, and Weapon Suite. Each of these factors has a construction point cost, which determines the amount of resources required for building that part of the ship. After you’ve determined the total number of construction points a ship requires (from Tables 1-1 through 1-11), you can determine the ship’s base cost on Table 1-12.

Although there is no limit to the number of construction points in a ship’s design, as the number of construction points rises, the cost of a ship increases dramatically. A ship’s size also typically limits its performance. These limitations are given for each core system. Some levels of performance are impossible for stock ships to manage – only extensively modified ships can attain them (see Modifying Starships in Chapter 3). After a ship’s base price has been established, it’s possible to add other systems, such as specific weapons, cloaking devices, and communications gear.

As a practical matter, no ship with a total cost of greater than 715,000 credits will be constructed for sale to a common individual, although ships built for corporations, militaries, and the extremely wealthy frequently cost far more. Some private owners make modifications to their ships, increasing their estimated value well above this range.

Size and Class

The first two facts that must be decided when designing a starship are its size and class. All of a ship’s systems are based on these two traits. The table shows the standard sizes and classes for starships, based on their length and approximate mass. It’s important to note that “length” refers to a starship’s longest dimension, which may actually be its height or width. There are nine sizes of starships (Fine through Colossal) and three major classes (Starfighter, Space Transport, and Capital class). Each class can be divided into different subclasses. For instance, Interdictor-class, Victory-class, and Imperial-class starships represent three different subclasses of capital class ships.

Because larger ships take more resources to build than smaller ones, they cost considerably more construction points. This cost represents the expense of laying down the basic frame of a ship. Additional construction poins are spent later for the ship’s complete superstructure.

A ship’s damage reduction (DR) is a function of its total frame strength and mass, and is thus based on its size. A ship needs at least 10 points of armor to be spaceworthy (which adds to its Defense). Most ships don’t carry extra armor (but for more information, see Extra Armor, under Additional Systems).

Table 1-1 Ship Size
Construction Points Size Size Modifier Class DR Armor Length (meters) Mass (metric tons)
150 Colossal -8 Capital 30 10 1,001-2,500 5,000+
100 Gargantuan -4 Capital 25 10 501-1,000 3,500-4,999
48 Huge -2 Capital 20 10 251-500 2,000-3,499
24 Large -1 Capital 20 10 101-250 500-1,999
12 Medium +0 Space Transport 15 10 50.1-100 200-499
3 Small +1 Space Transport 10 10 20.1-50 50-199
1 Tiny +2 Starfighter 5 10 10.1-20 20-49
1 Diminutive +4 Starfighter 5 10 5.1-10 5-19
1 Fine +8 Starfighter 5 10 5 or less 1-4


A ship’s Automation trait determines how large a crew is needed to run it. Small ships that don’t have space for large crews must include extensive automation to enable a few people to do everything. Larger ships don’t need as much automation – in fact, due to their vast size and extensive technical needs, they can’t automate all their functions. Some ships try to reduce crew minimums even further with droid automation (see Droid Automation, under Other Ship Systems).

Table 1-2 Automation
Construction Points Minimum Crew Ship Size Restrictions
0 30,001-50,000 Colossal
1 15,001-30,000 Gargantuan or Colossal
2 2,501—15,000 Large, Huge, Gargantuan, or Colossal
3 1,001-2,500 Large, Huge, Gargantuan, or Colossal
4 701-1,000 Medium, Large, Huge, or Gargantuan
5 101-700 Medium, Large, Huge, or Gargantuan
6 65-100 Medium, Large, or Huge
7 17-64 Small, Medium, or Large
8 5-16 Small or Medium
9 3-4 Diminutive, Tiny, or Small
10 1-2 Fine, Diminutive, Tiny, or Small

Life Support

A ship’s Life Support trait determines how many beings it can sustain. In addition to the crew, its life support must cover any troops, prisoners, or passengers the ship is designed to transport. Typical accommodations for such individuals are included in the base construction cost of life support. In an emergency, a ship can manage to carry up to double its maximum sustainable personnel for a short period of time, but risks damaging its life support systems when doing so.

Living beings can be stored in cargo areas, but this poses a serious risk. Cargo areas are not designed to support life and cannot do so for more than a few hours. Living creatures should only be placed in a ship’s cargo hold in dire circumstances.

Table 1-3 Life Support
Construction Points Maximum Sustainable Personnel Ship Size Restrictions
0 0 Any size ship*
1 1-2 Any size ship
2 3-4 Any size ship
4 5-16 Diminutive and greater
6 17-32 Tiny and greater
8 33-64 Small and greater
10 65-120 Small and greater
12 121-200 Medium and greater
15 201-300 Medium and greater
18 301-425 Medium and greater
21 426-500 Medium and greater
24 501-850 Medium and greater
29 851-1,500 Medium and greater
34 1,501-3,000 Medium and greater
39 3,001-8,000 Medium and greater
44 8,001-20,000 Medium and greater
50 20,001-50,000 Large and greater


A ship’s stowage system allows it to load and carry cargo. A ship’s Stowage trait reflects the size of its cargo hold and other storage spaces. The more extensive a ship’s stowage systems are, the more cargo it can carry safely. Because bulk transports must carry massive amounts of common cargo to make their trips profitable, they also need large, advanced stowage systems. Because small cargo ships have smaller cargo loads, they are more likely to carry valuable items with high profit margins instead. Many smaller traders eventually turn to contraband cargos because of the huge profits they can provide, even though this requires them to avoid docking authorities. More information on trade can be found in Adventures in Space.

Military ships use their stowage systems for wings of fighters and planetary landing craft. No more than half a ship’s total cargo capacity can be used for vehicles or starships. Also, a ship may only store a vessel or vehicle that is at least one size smaller than it is. To determine how much cargo capacity is needed to carry a vehicle or starship, compare its size in meters to Table 1-1: Ship Size. To calculate the cargo space required to carry a vehicle, use the maximum mass listed for a starship of that size. For example, an AT-AT is 20.6 meters long, putting it in the same size category as a Small starship, which has a maximum mass of 200,000 kilograms. Therefore a ship must use 200 metric tons of cargo space to carry a single AT-AT.

Table 1-4 Stowage
Construction Points Cargo Capacity Ship Size Restrictions
0 0 kg Fine, Diminutive, Tiny
1 1-65 kg Fine, Diminutive, Tiny, Small
2 66-110 kg Fine, Diminutive, Tiny, Small
3 111-500 kg Diminutive, Tiny, Small
4 501 kg – 1 ton Tiny, Small, Medium, Large
5 1.1-50 tons Tiny, Small, Medium, Large, Huge
7 51-100 tons Small or greater
11 101-150 tons Small or greater
15 151-200 tons Small or greater
20 201-500 tons Medium or greater
25 501-1,000 tons Medium or greater
30 1,001-5,000 tons Medium or greater
35 5,001-20,000 tons Medium or greater
45 20,001-35,000 tons Medium or greater
55 35,001-50,000 tons Medium or greater
65 50,001-65,000 tons Medium or greater
75 65,001-80,000 tons Medium or greater
85 80,001-100,000 tons Medium or greater


The Consumables trait determines how long a ship can support its personnel before it needs to take on additional supplies. Smaller ships can only carry a limited supply of consumables, while larger ships are almost always designed to spend months (or even years) in deep space before they need to resupply. Although it is theoretically possible to design a Colossal ship with only a week of consumables, such a ship would spend more time loading material than traveling, and could only make extremely short hyperspace jumps.

Table 1-5 Consumables
Construction Points Consumables Duration Ship Size Restrictions
0 1 day Any Size
1 2 days Any Size
2 3 days Any Size
3 1 week Diminutive or greater
4 2 weeks Tiny or greater
5 3 weeks Small or greater
6 1 month Small or greater
7 2 months Small or greater
8 3 months Small or greater
9 6 months Small or greater
10 9 months Medium or greater
11 1 year Medium or greater
12 1.5 years Medium or greater
13 2 years Medium or greater
14 3 years Medium or greater
15 4 years Large or greater
16 5 years Large or greater
17 6 years Large or greater


A hyperdrive is an amazing device that allows a ship to enter an alternative dimension known as hyperspace, where it can move faster than the speed of light. Hyperdrives allow transport between the millions of worlds in the known galaxy, but traveling through hyperspace can be dangerous. Objects in “realspace” cast mass shadows (or “gravity shadows”) into hyperspace, creating serious hazards. A ship that hits a mass shadow in hyperspace is instantly destroyed. As a result, before a ship can make the jump to hyperspace, its navicomputers must plot a course to avoid stars, planets, and asteroid fields. Once a ship enters hyperspace, it cannot change course.

A ship’s Hyperdrive trait is listed as a multiple of travel time. Thus, a hyperdrive with a low number is faster than a hyperdrive with a high number. Commercial ships usually have x3 hyperdrives. Military vessels typically use x2 or x1 hyperdrives. Smugglers and outlaws often try to modify their ships’ hyperdrives, fine tuning them to x0.75 or even 0.5 multiples. Performance this good cannot be built into mass-marketed ships – it can only be achieved through individual ship modification.

Because hyperdrives are so vital, many ships install a second hyperdrive as a backup. These systems only come into play if the ship’s primary hyperdrive is damaged (see Battle Damage). Since Fine and Diminutive ships are normally too small to mount backup hyperdrives, installing one cost double the construction points listed.

During the Rebellion era, the Empire tried to limit x1.5 or better hyperdrives to military vessels, but without much success. In any era, x0.75 and x0.5 hyperdrives are very rare, and can only be attuned and installed on a ship as a major modification. (See Modifying Starships for more information.)

Table 1-6 Hyperdrives
Construction Points Hyperdrive Multiple Notes
1 x6 Any size ship
2 x3 Any size ship
7 x2 Any size ship
14 x1.5 Any size ship
21 x1 Any size ship
50 x0.75 Only as a Major Modification
75 x0.5 Only as a Major Modification
Table 1-7 Backup Hyperdrives
Construction Points Hyperdrive Multiple
1 x12+
2 x10-x11
3 x8-x9
4 x4-x7

Ion Engines

A ship’s ion engines (or “sublight engines”) allow it to land on and lift off from planets. They’re also used to move and maneuver the ship when it isn’t in hyperspace. A ship’s Ion Engines trait also affects its maneuverability. This is often a critical factor in ship combat, since all space battles are fought at sublight speeds. Smaller ships are capable of greater speed and better control than larger ships; thus, they often have more advanced ion engine systems. Some larger ships can barely move at all at sublight speeds. These spaceships depend on their own ion engines only to move them far enough away from a planet to use their hyperdrives.

Table 1-8 Ion Engines
Construction Points Maximum Speed Restrictions Maneuverability Check Modifiers
2 Cruising (2 sq/action) - Poor -4 penalty on Pilot checks
3 Cruising (3 sq/action) - Poor -2 penalty on Pilot checks
4 Cruising (4 sq/action) - Average -
8 Attack (5-8 sq/action) Medium or greater Average -
12 Ramming (9 sq/action) Fine to Small Average -
20 Ramming (10 sq/action) Fine to Tiny Good +2 equipment bonus to attack & Pilot checks
30 Ramming (11 sq/action) Fine to Tiny Excellent +3 equipment bonus to attack & Pilot checks
40 Ramming (12 sq/action) Fine to Diminutive Excellent +4 equipment bonus to attack & Pilot checks


A ship’s shield generators form a protective field of energy, protecting the ship from both energy attacks and physical threats. A shield can only take a certain amount of damage before the generator shorts out and the shield drops. Until then, the shield provides almost complete protection for the ship. On smaller ships, there is a limit to the strength of the shield generator. While it is possible to overcome this limit by mounting multiple shield generators, doing so is expensive and takes a great deal of space and power, doubling the number of construction points required.

Military-grade shield generators are generally limited to ships authorized to mount them by government permission. The Empire outlawed any generator that could produce more than 60 shield points, while the Old Republic and New Republic allowed generators up to 120 shield points. A few ships mount backup shield generators. These recover shield points at twice the normal rate (see Other Systems and Exceptions later in this chapter). This practice is considered illegal by the Empire, but acceptable to the Old Republic and New Republic.

Table 1- Shield Generators
Construction Points Shield Points Double Construction Points Size Restriction
0 0 - -
1 1-5 - -
2 6-10 - -
3 11-30 - -
5 31-60 - -
7 61-90 Diminutive or less -
10 91-120 Tiny or less -
15 121-150 Small or less -
20 151-200 Medium or less -
30 201-250 Large or less -
40 251-300 Huge or less -
60 301-350 Gargantuan or less -
180 351-400 - Gargantuan, Colossal
240 401-550 - Gargantuan, Colossal


A ship’s superstructure includes its bulkheads, bracing, deck plates, and dozens of other components designed to give its frame structural strength. The stronger a ship’s superstructure is, the more hull points it has. Smaller ships have less resilient superstructures than larger ships. Larger ships must have a minimum amount of bracing to survive the stresses of moving their large masses through space.

Table 1-10 Superstructure
Construction Points Hull Points Ship Size Restrictions
0 10-40 Fine to Small
1 41-60 Fine to Small
2 61-90 Fine to Small
3 91-120 Fine to Small
5 121-150 Tiny, Small
7 151-180 Small to Huge
9 181-240 Medium to Huge
14 241-300 Medium to Huge
19 301-360 Medium to Gargantuan
24 361-480 Large or greater
30 481-600 Huge or greater
40 601-700 Huge or greater
60 701-800 Huge or greater
80 801-1,000 Huge or greater

Weapon Suite

A ship’s Weapon Suite trait defines the total number of weapon emplacement points it can mount. Emplacement points are part of an abstract system designed to keep track of how many weapon systems a ship can handle without defining the exact weight, size, and energy needs of each one. Emplacement points cover far more than just space. Factors such as power requirements, bracing, stress, and targeting computer capacity are all included in a weapon’s emplacement cost.

The emplacement cost for weapons are listed on Table 1-13 Master Starship Weapons. It may be useful to decide the weapons you want for your starship first – and figure out how many emplacement points they take up – instead of starting out by setting a limit for your emplacement points. Many weapon systems are designed for ships of a specific class (that is, starfighter, space transport, or capital). Placing one of these systems on a smaller class ship requires additional bracing, more power, and larger redesign requirements. Thus, some weapons cost double the listed emplacement points when installed on a smaller class ship. For this reason, starfighters rarely have tractor beams and space transports rarely mount heavy tubrolasers.

Medium and greater ships cannot have more than half of their total emplacement points taken up by weapon systems in the same firing arc. Turreted weapons count as an independent arc; they’re limited to no more than one-quarter of a Medium or greater ship’s emplacement points. Occasionally, starship designs allow for more emplacement points than are used by its weapon systems. In such cases, the ship’s total emplacement points determine how many weapons can be placed in one firing arc, not the number of emplacement points used.

Table 1-11 Weapon Suite
Construction Points Emplacement Points Ship Size Restrictions
0 0 -
1 1-4 -
2 5-8 -
3 913 -
6 14-18 -
9 19-32 Tiny or greater
12 33-46 Small or greater
17 47-60 Medium or greater
22 61-90 Medium or greater
32 91-150 Large or greater
42 151-210 Huge or greater
57 211-270 Huge or greater
72 271-360 Huge or greater
92 361-450 Gargantuan, Colossal
110 451-550 Gargantuan, Colossal
135 551-700 Gargantuan, Colossal
170 701-900 Colossal
210 901-1,000 Colossal
260 1,001-1,300 Colossal
320 1,301-1,600 Colossal
400 1,601-2,000 Colossal

Starship Base Price

When determining the base price for a starship design, reference its total construction points on the table below. If the number of construction points falls between two categories, add the “+1” cost for each additional construction point. This final number is the cost for the starship’s basic frame and core systems. Other systems, such as specific devices and such, are priced separately. Add their cost to the starship’s base price.

Ships that are mass produced, in great demand, or constructed wholly by a single corporation may vary in price from the cost derived by these rules. In general, a new ship’s price should stay within 20% of the figured price. Rarely, a ship might be manufactured for as little as one-quarter of its figured price, such as the mass-produced droid starfighters, used by the Trade Federation. Used ships are often much cheaper, sometimes costing as little as one-third of its new cost. Buying a used starship is risky, however, as it may have several serious flaws. (See Chapter 11 of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game for more information.) During times of heavy conflict, ships (especially warships) may cost as much as double their normal price, and used ships may be sold for an amount much closer to their new value.

Table 1-12 Base Price
Cost by Construction Points
10 +1 20 +1 30 +1 40 +1 50 +1 60 +1
50k +.5k 55k +.75k 65k +1k 80k +1.5k 100k +2k 125k +2.5k
70 +1 80 +1 90 +1 100 +1 110 +1 120 +1
155k +5k 215k +10k 325k +15k 490k +20k 715k +25k 1m +30k
130 +1 140 +1 150 +1 160 +1 170 +1 180 +1
1.33m +35k 2.05m +40k 2.49m +50k 3.04m +60k 3.7m +80k 4.58m +100k
190 +1 200 +1 210 +1 220 +1 230 +1 240 +1
5.68m +120k 7m +140k 8.54m +160k 10.3m +180k 12.28m +200k 14.48m +225k
500 +1 1,000 +1 1,500 +1 2,000 +1
72.98m +250k 197.98m +500k 447.98m +1m 947.98m +1.5m
k=1,000 credits, m=1,000,000 credits

Starship Weapons

Starships can be outfitted with a wide variety of weapons. The choices, and the specific characteristics of each weapon type, are summarized on Table 1-13.

Weapon Descriptions
Blasters: The term “blaster” is used interchangeably with laser in common conversation. In fact, the two types of weapons are virtually identical. A blaster is a particle beam weapon that fires a “bolt” of intense energy, dealing considerable damage to whatever it hits. Blasters use somewhat older design than lasers. They are less common in newer ships, although some designers prefer them to modern laser designs. Blasters have high fire cycle rates, making them multifire weapons, but they do less damage than lasers of comparable size. Very few companies still manufacture new blasters for starships, although some are still in use from older starship designs.

The triple blaster is a very old weapon design, dating back to the old days of the Republic. It uses three separate blasters – each hooked to the same targeting system – to fire a coordinated blast at a single target. Triple blasters were often linked in sets of two or four, but they have not been common since the Rise of the Empire. No major company still mass-produces triple blasters.

The autoblaster is a modern redesign of the blaster. It has an even higher fire rate than a standard blaster, making it an autofire weapon. The autoblaster was first designed for use on the B-wing fighter, but it is not available for use in other designs until after the Battle of Endor. A standard example of an autoblaster is the Gyrhil 72.

Blaster weapons are generally accepted as suitable for civilian vessels, although the Empire restricted heavy blaster cannons to corporations with Imperial licenses.

Lasers: The laser is the standard weapon of choice in most starship designs. Like blasters, lasers are high-energy weapons that fire bolts of cohesive energy. More modern than most blasters, lasers are accurate, small, and deliver consistent damage. Dozens of standard laser designs exist, ranging from small point-defense guns to massive heavy laser cannons. Lasers are the most common weapons for space transports and fighters.

The twin laser cannon (also called a double laser) uses two laser barrels that alternate fire. This allows for a higher rate of fire, making the twin laser a multifire weapon. The Dymek double laser cannon is typical model.

Quadlasers use the same principle, but have four lasers firing in alternating sets of two. These are also autofire weapons. Longshot quadlasers are designed to fire at greater range than most lasers. Escort quadlasers are smaller weapons designed for antifighter protection. The most common escort quadlaser design is the Corellian AG-2G quadlaser cannon. (This weapon can be turned into a full quad laser cannon by increasing its power source, as was done on the Millennium Falcon.) Numerous companies manufacture laser cannons. Examples include the Sienar Fleet Systems L-S1 and the Taim & Bak KX9. The Gyrhil R-9X laser cannon is a typical example of an assault laser.

Most laser weapons are restricted to licensed owners by most governments, requiring official registration. Many smugglers and bounty hunters ignore these laws, which are generally only enforced in the Core Worlds.

Turbolasers: Standard laser weapons diffuse too quickly to damage targets past short range. A turbolaser fires a tightly focused bolt of energy, using galven coils along the weapon’s barrel to double or triple its range. However, a turbolaser requires a great deal more power and space than standard laser weapons, including its own dedicated turbines and rows of capacitors. Turbolasers are generally only found on capital ships. The Taim & Bak XX-9 is a typical example.

Turbolaser cannons are laser cannons that have been augmented with only some of the features of a full turbolaser. Double turbolasers and turbo quadlasers are larger versions of standard twin laser cannons and quadlasers. A typical model of the double turbolaser is the Taim & Bak H9. Turbo quadlasers are sometimes just called quadlasers, but should not be confused with the smaller weapon of the same name. The heavy turbolaser is a truly massive weapon that’s too large even for most capital ships to mount, largely restricting its use to space stations.

Turbolasres are considered military hardware, and most governments (including the Old Republic, Empire, and New Republic) outlaw civilian ownership of these weapons.

Missile Weapons: Concussion missiles, energy torpedoes, and proton torpedoes all qualify as missile weapons. Missile weapons use a somewhat different set of rules in combat (see Resolving the Attack). In addition to the price of missile-launching weapon, prices are given for the individual missiles for that weapon. (A starship’s cost does not include the price of a full load of missile weapons.) Heavy versions of missile weapons (such as heavy concussion missiles) fit into the same launchers as normal missiles – they just have more powerful warheads. The price given are for missiles with ordinary quality guidance systems. Missiles with marginal guidance systems cost 200 credits less than those with ordinary systems. Missiles with good guidance systems cost 200 credits more than those with ordinary systems. Missiles with amazing guidance systems cost 500 credits more than those with ordinary systems.

Concussion Missiles: Concussion missiles are explosive projectiles. They are generally short-range weapons designed to give smaller ships a limited amount of heavy firepower. The two main drawbacks to concussion missiles are their limited magazines (compared to the unlimited fire of laser cannons) and their expense. Ships with large amount of space, including most capital ships, avoid these weapons in favor of turbolasers. The most common concussion missile system is the Arakyd ST2 concussion missile rack. Assault concussion missiles are heavy planetary bombardment missiles not normally used in ship-to-ship combat (partly because of their great expense).

Multipurpose fighters and transports generally have small concussion missile launchers, using them only for specific missions or when faced by much larger vessels. Bombers and fighter-bombers usually have two or more full-size concussion missile launchers. This gives them the heavy firepower to take out hardened targets, such as planetary targets and capital class ships.

During the reign of the Old Republic, concussion missiles were legal for any vessel to mount. The Empire required extensive licenses for concussion missiles, but often ignored these regulations outside the Core Worlds. The New Republic required ships with concussion missiles to be registered, but allows anyone to do so at no cost.

Energy Torpedo Launcher: Energy torpedoes were invented near the end of the Old Republic as alternatives to concussion missiles. Energy torpedoes are sheathed in a field of high-energy particles that explode on contact with a target of sufficient size.

The resulting energy wave does more damage than old concussion missile designs. Torpedo launchers are fairly expensive due to the extensive shielding they must incorporate, but energy torpedoes are fairly cheap. However, the advancement of concussion missile technology and the development of the proton torpedo overshadowed the energy torpedo. Energy torpedoes had fallen out of common use by the time of the Rebellion era. The Xi Char ETLd was a fairly typical model.

Most governments limit energy torpedo launchers with the same legal restrictions as proton torpedo launchers.

Proton Torpedoes: Proton torpedoes are essentially updated version of concussion missiles. In addition to a more powerful warhead, the proton torpedo has a proton energy shield. This prevents accidental detonation by contact with debris or near misses from energy weapons. Proton torpedoes are the most powerful weapons most starfighters can carry, hitting hard enough to destroy other fighters with one or two well-placed shots. Proton torpedoes also allow starfighters to affect capital class ships, which frequently have armor too strong to be penetrated by energy weapons. Two common weapon suites used to launch proton torpedoes are the Krupx MG7 and Arakyd Flex Tub.

Proton tracking beacons are unusual weapons that do no damage. Instead, they place a beacon on any ship hit, allowing it to be tracked anywhere in the galaxy through the HoloNet. However, HoloNet transceivers are so expensive and rare that these beacons are rarely used.

Proton torpedo launchers are seen as military hardware. No government is likely to legalize their possession by civilians. Disguising a proton torpedo launcher as a concussion missile tube costs 5,000 credits. The few smugglers who can afford such hardware frequently make this modification.

Tractor Beam Projector: Tractor beam projectors create invisible beams of energy that can immobilize and draw in objects. Most capital class starships carry at least a few tractor beams for capturing enemy ships and recovering damaged starfighters. Commercial cargo vessels often use tractor beams to move or maneuver large cargos and transfer cargos between ships in space. Tractor beams are not generally effective against small ships because they usually have low-quality fire control computers. Usually, a ship’s tractor beam is built into its ship bay or near its airlock. Thus, if one starship captures another, the crew can board the captured ship after the tractor beam has held it at point blank range for a full minute. Because of their large size and massive energy requirements, tractor beams are rarely mounted on anything smaller than a Medium-size ship. The Phylon Q7 is a typical beam projector.

Catching a ship or some other object in a tractor beam requires an attack roll, but the target receives no armor bonus to its Defense

As a move action, a tractor beam can pull a caught target towards itself or push it away a number of squares based on the size of the tractoring ship. The tractor beam does not have to move its target the full given distance.

Table 11-12: Tractor Beam Power
Size Tractor Squares
Colossal 10
Gargantuan 8
Huge 6
Large 5
Medium 4
Small 3
Tiny 2
Diminutive 1
Fine 0

While caught in a tractor beam a starship cannot move, perform stunts, or change facing. Resisting or escaping a tractor beam requires a successful Pilot check (see the resist/escape tractor beam stunt description). Attempting this Pilot check is a move action.

Under most government regulations, tractor beams are legal, although the Empire required ships armed with them to be registered.

Gravity Well Projectors: Gravity well projectors are massive devices designed by Imperial engineers to create artificial gravity ripples in hyperspace, simulating the effect of large stellar bodies. Since it is impossible for a ship to travel through hyperspace within a gravity well, the projector prevents ships from entering hyperspace. The projector forces ships already in hyperspace to drop into realspace, and thus do not pose threats to ships flying near them.

It takes 1 minute for a gravity well projector to warm up. Once warm, the projector can operate for 5 minutes before it must cool down again; this takes another minute. Most ships armed with these devices keep them cold unless they know they are about to ambush a vessel. A single gravity well projector casts its hyperspace ripple out to point blank range. If a ship has multiple projectors, it can use them together; this increase the range of the ripples by one range category for each projector used. For instance, an Interdictor-class cruiser with four projectors can send ripples out to long range. Within this range, no ship can escape to hyperspace. If a ship travelling through hyperspace runs into a gravity well, it drops into realspace at the maximum range of the projector. The ship enters realspace moving at cruising speed facing a randomly determined direction.

Gravity well projectors are military hardware. The question of their legality for civilians is unlikely to ever come up, however, due to their expense and rarity.

Mass Pulse Generator Tubes: The mass pulse generator tube is a Hapan weapon similar to the gravity well projector. Each tube holds up to four mass pulse mines that it can deploy at point blank range. These mines function as a single gravity well projector for 1 minute. This prevents ships within point blank range from escaping into hyperspace. A pulse mine forces ships in hyperspace flying within point blank range to drop into realspace. Each mine functions for 1 minute before burning out.

Only the Hapans use this technology on a regular basis, and they restrict it to military vessels.

Ion Cannon: Ion cannons don’t actually damage their targets. Instead, any hit by an ion cannon to the hull by an ion cannon deals damage against a ship’s systems, shorting them out. The ship cannot move, fire weapons, or perform stunts until the damage is repaired. Whenever an ion cannon deals damage, simply use the amount of damage to determine the Repair check DC, as indicated on Table 11-11. After 2 rounds, the crew can make Repair checks.

Table 11-11: Ion Damage
Damage Effect Repair Check DC
11-20 Superficial ionization 10
21-40 Minor ionization 15
41-60 System ionization 20
61-80 Major ionization 25
81+ Catastrophic ionization 30

An ion cannon is built for one of the three classes of starships (that is, designed for a Starfighter, Space Transport, or Capital class ship). An ion cannon can affect all ships of the same or lesser class as the cannon itself. For example, an ion cannon built for a space transport could affect another transport or a starfighter, but not a capital class ship.

Additionally, the ion cannon can affect targets up to one size larger than the ship it is mounted on. For example, a starfighter scale cannon mounted on a Y-wing (a Tiny ship) can affect all starfighter class ships, as well as Small ships. (Small ships are one size category larger than Tiny ships). A Tiny starfighter that managed to mount a capital scale ion cannon could use it against starfighters, transports, and capital ships – this would include all starships. A Colossal ship with light ion cannons could affect all ships, but most capital class ships use heavy ion cannons because of their greater range. Typical examples of light ion cannons are the ArMek SW-4 and SW-7a. More powerful ion cannons tend to be custom-built for the ships that use them.

Ion cannons are considered legitimate defensive weapons by most governments. The Empire allowed light ion cannons to be used freely, but required special licensing for anything heavier.

Personal Scale Weapons: A ship can have personal weapons mounted for use when docked or landed. All such weapons have a cost as given in weapons and have an emplacement rating of 1. The ranges of these weapons are so short, however, that they cannot be used in starship combat. Most governments ignored personal scale weapons mounted on starships, but the Empire outlawed them on the assumption they would be used primarily against customs officials.

Fire Control: Any weapon system purchased includes a base fire control rating of +2. A fire control system with a +4 rating costs 5,000 credits per weapon system; a system with a +6 costs 10,000 credits; a system with a +8 costs 20,000 credits. Fire-linked weapons only need a single fire control system, but otherwise, each separate weapon needs its own fire control computer. Fire control systems with modifiers greater than +4 are considered military equipment.

Weapon Batteries
Most capital ships have weapons grouped in batteries. These weapons are designed to fill an area of space with swaths of blaster fire. A battery is usually a group of up to five identical weapons that fire as one (using a single attack roll to determine success). When using battery fire, each additional weapon after the first in a battery adds a +1 circumstance bonus to the attack roll, to a maximum of +4 for a five-weapon battery. If the attack succeeds, roll damage as if one of the weapons had hit. For every 3 points by which the attack result exceeded the target’s Defense, an additional weapon (up to the maximum number of weapons firing) hits the target, dealing its normal damage as well.

If an attack roll with battery fire results in a threat, use the above procedure to determine which shots are considered critical hits (and thus deal hull damage instead of shield damage). Weapons in the battery that do not achieve a critical hit are treated as ordinary shots.

Fire-links: Fire-linked weapons require fewer emplacement points, since they have the same power and structural requirements. Each additional weapon after the first in a fire-linked group adds one emplacement point. However, the cost of fire-linked weapons is greater, since additional computer hardware and synchronization circuits must be added. For each weapon in a fire-link, add 1,000 credits to the cost. Each doubling of the number of fire-linked weapons (two, four, eight, and so forth) adds one die of damage (before multiplication. Thus, if two weapons that normally deal 4d10x2 points of damage are fire-linked, they would attack together and deal 5d10x2 points of damage for the pair. Only identical weapons can be fire-linked. Batteries have no effect on emplacement point requirements or costs. Fire-links are generally legal for civilians, as long as they are applied to legal weapons.

Point Defense Weapons: Because capital ships are vulnerable to starfighters, many mount point-defense weapons. A point defense weapon is designed to destroy starfighters, performing as if it was fired from a Medium-size ship, regardless of the size of the ship carrying it. However, point defense weapons cannot fire at ships at greater than point blank range. Only capital ships can mount point defense weapons; there is no additional emplacement point or credit cost to do so.

Turrets: Ships can place weapons in partial turrets, giving the weapon two adjacent arcs of fire (such as front and right). This modification costs 1,000 credits per turret for Large or lesser ships; adding partial turrets to Huge or greater ships costs 2,000 credits. Ships can also place weapons in full turrets, giving them all four firing arcs. A full turret costs 1,500 credits for a Medium-size or lesser ship; each full turret cost 3,000 credits for a Large or greater ship.

Damage: How much damage the weapon does on a successful hit.
Maximum Range: The maximum range for the weapon.
Special: Whether the weapon is capable of autofire or multifire.
Cost: The weapon’s cost in credits.
Emplacement Points: The number of emplacement points each weapon uses.
Class: Each weapon is designed for use on a specific class of starship. A starship may use a weapon designed for a smaller class ship without penalty. If a starship mounts a weapon designed for a larger class, it cost double the emplacement points. For example, a starfighter mounted turbolaser, it would cost 20 emplacement points instead of 10. Station class weapons are designed for space stations. Capital ships may mount station class weapons by paying double the normal emplacement point cost, but space transports and starfighters are too small to mount them at all.

Additional Systems
Extra Armor: Most starships mount as much armor as they can carry without suffering speed and maneuverability penalties. The average starship has 10 points of armor (increasing its total Defense) and damage reduction as determined by its size at no additional cost. Occasionally, however, design considerations require heavier armor, regardless of the problems this causes. These ships pay massive costs in terms of space, weight, and maneuverability in return for slightly increased resistance to damage. The cost and effect of extra armor varies by size category, as defined on Table 1-14.

Backup Shield Generators: The Mon Calamari invented backup shield generators. These generators are not found on ships built in other systems prior to the Battle of Endor. In general, the cost and space required for backup generators make them unattractive to military designers. However, because of the Mon Calamari’s limited shipyard facilities during the Rebellion era, Mon Calamari engineers needed a way to make their ships more durable. Backup generators filled this role nicely.

Although backup shield generators don’t improve a ship’s total shield points, they do allow shields to recover faster from damage. A ship with backup generators recovers lost shield points at the rate of 2 per minute rather than 1 per minute. Since backup generators can be mounted near the outside of the ship’s hull (rather than in the center, as shield generators must be), they take weapon emplacement points rather than adding to a shield system’s quality rating. The emplacement points and cost for a backup shield generator depend on the size of the ship to be equipped.

Cloaking Devices: A cloaking device is a generator that creates a nearly perfect invisibility field around a ship, making it almost inpossible to detect with sensors or the naked eye. Two different technologies are used to create cloaking devices. The stygium crystal cloaker is an older device that uses rare crystals found only on Aeten II, a planet of the Outer Rim. These devices were used extensively on military craft during the time of the Old Republic. Although fantastically expensive, they were fairly small and extremely effective. Unfortunately, the supply of stygium crystals was so limited that by the time the Empire came to power, they were almost impossible to find. A second technology was then developed using hibridium, an ore found on the planet Garos IV. These cloaking devices were not only much larger, but also produced a “double-blind” effect, making it impossible for those within the ship to scan outside it as long as the cloaking field was operable.

A cloaked ship cannot be spotted if it remains immobile, ceases all communications transmissions, and doesn’t attack. A cloaked ship that moves or communicates without attacking can be spotted at short or point blank range, but the DC for Computer Use checks used to find it with sensors are increased by 10. A cloaked starship that makes an attack automatically reveals its range and fire arc to any ship within sensor range. It can be detected with sensors, although the DC for the Computer Use check is still increased by 10. A ship can attack targets it cannot detect if it knows (or guesses) the target’s range and direction, but each attack has a 50% chance of missing regardless of the attack roll.

Both types of cloaking devices take up cargo space when they’re installed on a starship. Subtract the amount of cargo space the cloaking device requires from the ship’s total cargo capacity. Cloaking devices are always restricted military hardware.

Communications: All starships are equipped with two basic communications systems: speed-of-light comms and subspace transceivers. These basic systems are included in new starships at no extra cost. The prices given below are included for replacing, crafting, or modifying these systems.

Comms are short-range devices designed to allow for communication within a star system, and are generally used for ship-to-ship and ship-to-ground communication. They are usually linked to the ship’s intercom and can send and receive signals to personal comlinks. Most comms are designed only for audio signals, although some video-capable comms exist. Subspace transceivers can send audio, video, and hologram transmissions over a range of a few dozen light-years. This is more often than enough to communicate with anyone within or near the star system the transceiver is in, but does not allow for communication between systems or into hyperspace. Most ships only use their subspace transceivers for emergency messages and distress signals.

Some ships require superior communications – these are equipped with hypertransceivers or HoloNet transceivers. Hypertransceivers are similar to subspace transceivers, but send their signals through hyperspace instead of realspace. This gives them an effectively unlimited range, allowing ships at opposite ends of the galaxy to communicate with each other, although such communications can experience significant time lag. Most military vessels carry hypertransceivers.

HoloNet transceivers are extremely rare and expensive systems that allow for real-time audio, visuall, and holographic communications over an unlimited range. HoloNet transceivers function by taking advantage of the vast system of HoloNet satellites built during the days of the Old Republic. Only the most important ships carry HoloNet transceivers. The Empire and New Republic legally limited the use of HoloNet transceivers to licensed ships.

Droid Automation: Even the most advanced automations systems can’t allow a single person to operate a Small-size or greater ship. However, there are always individuals, including bounty hunters and even Jedi, who want to be able to handle larger ships without help. To do this, it’s necessary to resort to droid automation, a system of specialty-built droids of limited mobility that take the place of living crew members.

A droid automation system costs 2,000 credits per crew position filled by droids. Droids typically act as Normal quality crew with a +2 bonus on all appropriate rolls. It is possible to get droid automation that acts as a Skilled crew (+4), but that costs 5,000 credits per crew position filled.

Escape Pods: Escape pods are short-range, one-use landing craft designed to take a number of crew members to safety in the event of a disaster aboard a starship. (See Chapter 6 for more information on the capabilities of escape pods). Starfighters almost never have escape pods, due to their small size. Space transports generally have two or three escape pods. Capital ships normally have six escape pods, plus six for every size category above Large. The cost and space for these escape pods are figured into the base cost for a ship.

Of course, this means that a Star Destroyer with a crew of up to 37,085 personnel has only 24 escape pods. In many designs, this is considered acceptable, since in a genuine disaster only a small percentage of the crew is likely to survive. However, it is possible to modify cargo space to carry additional escape pods. Each additional pod requires 10 metric tons of cargo space and counts as a minor modification. (See Modifying Starships in Chapter 3 for more information). An escape pod costs 20,000 credits, and it can only be used once.

Maneuvering Systems: Numerous systems can be added to a starship to increase its maneuverability, ranging from lateral thrusters to solar sails and maneuvering fins. All these systems provide the same game result: They grant an equipment bonus on Pilot checks made with the vehicle. (These bonuses do not stack with other equipment bonues on Pilot checks, such as those given by ion engines). Maneuvering systems can have quite a bit of mass, reducing available cargo space in the vessel in which they’re installed. They can also be quite expensive. The mass requirements and costs for maneuvering systems are listed on Table 1-18. The Empire outlawed maneuvering systems on any ship not currently in military use. Most other governments simply require them to be licensed, cutting down on their use by smugglers.

Ship Size +1 Maneuver System Cost/Mass (credits/metric tons) +2 Maneuver System Cost/Mass (credits/metric tons) +3 Maneuver

Slave Circuits: Slave circuits allow a pilot to link his ship to a remote control, such as a handheld communicator or the controls of another ship. This type of system has numerous advantages. First, slave circuits allow the slaved ship to make exactly the same maneuvers as the ship to which it is linked. (The pilot of the control ship makes one roll for any maneuver performed, and all slaved ships use that result). The pilot can also control the ship while he’s on the ground or aboard another ship. This enables large groups of ships to jump through hyperspace, all arriving in the same relative positions in a new location.

However, slave circuits also involve serious risks. If the pilot of the master ship makes a serious error, every ship slaved to it suffers the consequences. An excellent historical example is the Old Republic Katana fleet, which was slave-linked when it jumped into hyperspace and not seen again until after the fall of the Empire. A ship controlled by a handheld device suffers a serious loss of control, and is treated as if it had a crew with a Poor rating (+0).

The cost of a slave circuit system is dependent on the size of the ship on which it’s installed, as shown on Table 1-19. Under most government regulations, slave circuits are legal.

Sensor Masks: The high cost of cloaking devices, as well as their various limitations, has led to the development of sensor masks and sensor stealth systems. Unlike cloaking devices, sensor masks do not make a ship invisible. Instead, they simply mask the energy emission of the ship, making it more difficult to spot with sensors. A ship with a sensor mask system increases the DC of all Computer Use checks made to locate the ship with sensors. The amount of the increase depends on the quality of the sensor mask, as determined by Table 1-20. Like cloaking devices, sensor masks are restricted military equipment.

Other Systems and Exceptions
In a place as diverse as the Star Wars galaxy, there are bound to be unusual ship systems and designs these rules do not expressly cover. You may want to include systems not listed here, or make exceptions to the normal rules for what is and isn’t allowed on ships of various sizes. There’s nothing wrong with this, as long as you balance a ship’s advantages in some way. Ask yourself how the ship manages to exceed the normal limitations. Then consider why it hasn’t become the most popular ship design in existence.

For example, Hapan Battle Dragons use a rotary ring to mount their turbolasers and ion cannons. This is bought as a turret for each weapon, even though Huge ships are not normally allowed to mount more than one-quarter of their total emplacement points in turrets. However, the ship’s turbolasers are an antiquated design, able to fire only once every 3 rounds. This prevents the Battle Dragons from having a massive advantage and explains why other engineers haven’t attempted to copy their design.

When making these kinds of changes, use the existing systems and the ship modification rules for guidelines on how much a unique system might cost and how long it might take to install. As a rule of thumb, anything that seems like a minor system (such as concealed compartments for cargo smuggling) should be close to 5,000 credits and 1 construction point for each size category of the ship on which it’s installed. Major systems (such as concealing the military nature of a ship, or installing hidden fighter bays) should cost around 15,000 credits and 3 construction points per size category of the ship. Thus, hidden smuggling cargo space in a YT-1300 (a Small ship) cost about 20,000 credits and 4 construction points. If systems are added after a ship has been built, they count as modifications (see Modifying Starships in Chapter 3).

Modifying Starships

Traders, smugglers, bounty hunters, mercenaries, explorers, Jedi, and even Soldiers all have different transportation needs. Starships rarely come off the production line with systems and abilities that meet the needs of all these groups. As a result, many starships owners modify their ships themselves or pay someone else to do it for them. The older a starship is, the more likely it’s had some changes made somewhere along the way. Some ships are so heavily modified that it’s difficult to tell what they originally looked like. Others have their improvements carefully hidden, making them appear far more innocuous than they really are.

Modifying a starship can be an expensive and time-consuming endeavor for characters, but it can also give them numerous advantages once they have a ship that meets their every specification.

Defining a Modification

Anything done to a ship that changes its abilities after it comes off the assembly line is considered a modification. Minor alterations, such as changing a ship’s paint or modifying its seats to accommodate a Wookiee, aren’t considered modifications because they have no real impact on what the ship is capable of doing. Changing the exterior of a patrol ship so it looks like an unarmed freighter is considered a modification because it allows the ship to do something new (namely, pass for an unarmed ship).

Most modifications involve either increasing the capacity of one of the ship’s nine core systems (Automation, Life Support, Stowage, Consumables, Hyperdrive, Ion Engines, Shields, Superstructure, and Weapon Suite) or adding a new secondary system. All modifications are defined as either major or minor.

When adding to a core system’s capacity, any modification that fits in the same construction point range on Tables 1-2 through 1-11 is considered minor, while those that would require moving to a higher construction point range are considered major. For example, increasing the maximum shields of a Y-wing from 50 to 60 would be a minor modification because it remains in the range of 5 construction points on Table 1-9. If the Y-wing’s owner wanted to increase its hyperdrive from a x1 to x0.75, that would be a major modification because its listing goes from 21 construction point level to the 35 construction point level.

When adding a new system that isn’t a core system, the primary factor is cost. Any system that costs 50,000 credits or less can be added as a minor modification. Adding a system that costs more than 50,000 credits is generally a major modification.

Time, Cost, and Difficulty

Makin a minor modification has a base Repair check DC of 15. Making a major modification has a base DC of 20. A major modification that increases a core system by more than one level on the appropriate construction point table (such as increasing a ship’s hyperdrive from x1 to x0.5) adds 5 to the DC for each additional level on the table. If a modification is attempted without the assistance of a shipyard or similarly equipped facility, add 5 to the DC. A modification cannot be attempted without a complete set of tools.

Making any modification takes a number of hours equal to the DC of the Repair check. This work can be divided between a number of different people. (Double the number of additional people who can work on modifying a ship for each size category it is above Fine). The cost in materials to make the modification is equal to 1,000 credits multiplied by the DC of the Repair check. This cost does not include the price of the systems to be installed or the construction point cost of the core systems with increased capacities. If a shipyard makes the modification, it charges an additional fee equal to the material price to cover its labor costs.

It’s possible to reduce the DC of a modification’s Repair check – and therefore reduce time and cost of the modification – by downgrading other core systems in the ship. Each system reduced to the minimum value one level lower on its construction point table lowers the DC of the modification by 5. A modification cannot have its DC lowered to less than 10.

For example, the owner of a Nebulon-B escort frigate wants to increase its automation systems so that its minimum crew is only 65. That moves its automation to a new level on the construction point table, making it a major modification with a DC of 20. There’s no shipyard available for the modification, increasing the DC to 25. To save time and money, the owner of the Nebulon-B decides to use a lot of the ship’s cargo space for this modification. The ship’s maximum cargo is reduced to 300 metric tons. This is the minimum cargo for the construction level below what the Nebulon-B normally has, and thus reduces the total modification’s DC by 5 to 20. In addition to paying the cost of an additional construction point (from Table 1-12), the owner of the Nebulon-B must pay 20,000 credits for materials. He must pay another 20,000 credits for labor if he has the job done in a shipyard.

Starship Maintenance

The Star Wars Roleplaying Game focuses on daring adventures rather than the more mundane aspects of space travel. As a result, the game does not have complex rules for the exact cost of maintaining a ship’s hyperdrives, fueling its ion engines, and restocking its supplies. Too much time spent on such details tends to detract from the fun of a cinematic roleplaying game. On the other hand, the need for money to keep a starship in good working condition can spur further adventures. Table 3-5 attempts to balance these two factors by giving a single maintenance cost for a starship, based on the ship’s size and the facility where it receives maintenance. (Larger starports tend to be better supplied and are able to maintain a starship for a lower cost.)

This cost must be paid every twenty hyperspace jumps or six months (whichever comes first). If a ship is not properly maintained, the Gamemaster should begin giving the ship flaws or apply penalties to the ship’s systems, such as reducing its consumables supply or reducing its top speed by a category. (See Chapter 11 of the Star Wars Roleplaying Game for more information.)

Buying a Used Starship

Buying a used starship can be tricky, particularly if the ship sports a defective shield generator or a jury-rigged system. To simulate this situation, the Gamemaster can roll d% to determine a used starship’s general quality. The result indicates the flaw (or flaws) possessed by the ship.

The GM should generate these flaws secretly. Unfortunately, unscrupulous sellers discourage careful inspection of their wares, and the new owners might not discover these flaws until a system actually fails. In most cases, a malfunction or flaw can be detected by a successful Repair check (DC 20). The GM can also allow characters to use alternative skills for these checks. For instance, a Computer Use check might notice problems with the nav computer, sensors, or fire control systems. The GM should also make this check for the heroes – one check per flaw.

Repairing a flaw usually requires at least an hour of work, although the GM can increase the time or difficulty as necessary. A fiendish GM might require the character to acquire esoteric replacement parts, bargain for vital components, bribe docking bay officials, or travel to appropriate facilities before repairs can begin. The GM should feel free to add or subtract flaws and systems as he sees fit to create unique vessels.

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