Tactical Systems

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Tactical Systems

These game systems focus on the tactical, combat action in a Star Trek game. Although the Federation and its representatives do their best to avoid violent confrontation whenever possible, it is sometimes necessary, and Starfleet ensures its personnel have the training to come out on the winning side of such conflicts.

Ranged Combat

Ranged combat takes place using weapons that inflict damage at a distance, from muscle-powered primitive weapons like bows and spears to firearms to modern phasers. Most ranged combat in the 24th century uses energy weapons like phasers or disruptors, although there are circumstances where a Crew might be forced to use more primitive weapons, or might encounter opponents using them (particularly on less technologically-advanced worlds).


Many ranged weapons (firearms and energy weapons) can fire multiple shots with a single pull of the trigger, increasing the chance of damaging a target, or allowing the character to hit multiple targets at once. When a character firing an autofire weapon makes an Attack Test, every +1 over the required Difficulty indicates an additional shot from the weapon has hit the target, doing the weapon's normal damage. Apply Resistance (and armor) separately against each shot before determining what damage the target takes. Alternately, each +1 indicates an additional target is hit, provided they are within 2 meters of the previous target. Characters can "target" empty space if desired, in order to "walk" their autofire to another target. This wastes a shot, but otherwise incurs no penalty.

Example: Captain Picard is in the Dixon Hill program on the holodeck when a pair of Borg drones come looking for him. Grabbing a holographic Tommy gun from a nearby gangster, Picard fills the air full of lead, firing on full auto to take down the drones. The Narrator says the drones are at short range for the gun, making the Difficulty of the attack Routine (4). Picard's player makes his Projectile Weapon (Submachine Gun) Skill Test, getting a Test Result of 7, or 3 over the required Difficulty. He decides to hit each Borg with two attacks. The Borg are not prepared for the unexpected use of a projectile weapon, and they take considerable damage.

The drawback of autofire is that it penalizes the character's next attack with the same weapon. Firearms suffer from recoil when fired on automatic; the kickback from the explosion that propels the projectile pushes the gun's muzzle back and upward. Energy weapons suffer from overheating when fired on automatic, making them more difficult to handle. The Difficulty for an attack with the weapon on the following round is increased by one level. This continues until the character does not fire the weapon on automatic for at least one round.

Concentrating Fire

Two or more characters can choose to "concentrate" the fire from their weapons on the same target at the same time. This increases their chances of overcoming the target's Resistance and damaging it. This is more than simply attacking the same target at once-which requires no special action-it requires some coordination. Concentrating fire increases the Difficulty of the attack by +1 for each character involved in the attack. So three characters trying to concentrate their fire do so a +3 Difficulty.

Proper coordination and leadership can help offset this penalty. If the lead character of the group makes a Moderate (7) Command (Combat Leadership) or Planetary Tactics (Small-Unit) Skill Test, reduce the Difficulty penalty for concentrating fire by an amount equal to the character's skill. Note that this takes an action, during which the characters involved in the concentrated fire attack can do nothing but dodge and take orders from the coordinating character.

If a concentrated fire attack is successful, add the total damage of all attacks that hit the target before subtracting the target's Resistance to determine the target's Wound Level.

Example: The Enterprise Away Team is facing off against an automated weapon in the ruins of Minos. The weapon has a deflector shield that's resisting their phaser fire, so the team concentrates their fire, hoping to overload and collapse the shield. Lt. Yar makes her Planetary Tactics (Small-Unit) Skill Test to offset the penalty for the concentrated fire attack while Cmdr. Riker and Data remain under cover. When Tasha shouts "Now!" all three Starfleet officers fire at once, focusing on the same spot. The Narrator adds the damage from all their attacks together before subtracting the Resistance of the weapon's shield. They overwhelm the shield and the weapon is destroyed.

Combat in Zero-G

Nearly all starships and space stations in the known galaxy have some form of artificial gravity. However, there are occasions when characters may find themselves operating under zero-gravity conditions, either on the hull of a ship, in the depths of space, or in the event of a failure of their ship's graviton generators. Security officers trained in zero-G combat operations may even deliberately sabotage the gravity fields on board a starship or station to give them a tactic advantage. The Star Trek: the Next Generation rulebook provides some basic guidelines for zero-gravity combat, this section expands on those guidelines for Narrators interested in some extra detail.

Characters operating in free-fall conditions suffer a +1 Difficulty penalty to all actions and Skill Tests. Characters with the Zero-G Training advantage ignore this penalty. Characters with the Personal Equipment (Environmental Suit) or Unarmed Combat (Zero-G Combat) skills can make a Routine (4) Skill Test to ignore this penalty for the duration of the combat or scene. A failed Skill Test imposes no further penalty, and the character can try again on his next action. A dramatic failure imposes an additional +1 penalty (or some other effect of the Narrator's choosing).

Additionally, characters in free-fall suffer a -1 to their Strength for purposes of causing damage in melee combat, since they lack the firm leverage of gravity. Characters wearing magnetic boots or otherwise anchored down ignore this penalty. Impact-based attacks also cause the attacker and the target to fly away from each other a number of meters equal to half the damage of the attack each (round down). So a brawling attack that does 5 points of damage will cause both the attacker and the target to fly back 2 meters. Likewise, firing a kinetic-based weapon (like a firearm) causes the character to fly backward at a number of meters per round equal to half the weapon's base damage. Characters wearing magnetic boots or otherwise anchored down also ignore this effect.

Movement in zero-G is usually limited to no more than a walk if the character is wearing magnetic boots. Characters moving freely can jump a distance equal to their Strength and continue moving at the same velocity each round until something halts their momentum. Executing more complex maneuvers requires an Athletics (Zero-G) Skill Test. For example, turning off your magnetic boots, leaping across a 4 meter opening, then turning your boots back on to catch the other side before you fly off into space is a Challenging action.