Ships as Extras
In Sol Ascendant, ships (and stations) are treated mechanically much like characters (in Fate, Extras often follow what is called the Bronze Rule or “Fate Fractal”). Like characters, ships have the following traits:
- Aspects – Because ships can influence and be influenced by the story.
- Stunts – Because special systems and technology make skills more awesome.
- Stress and Consequences – Because ship systems and resources can be harmed or used up.
Additionally, ships and stations have a couple “new” traits that characters do not:
- Scale – A rating to differentiate between small strike craft and massive capital ships.
- Crew – A rating to simulate the general competence of an NPC crew.
However, ships and stations DO NOT have the following traits of characters:
- Skills – Because ships do not take actions on their own.
Multiple unnamed ships may operate together as a wing.
Every ship class should have both a High Concept and a Trouble.
The High Concept should reflect the class intended role or specialty, and any unique attributes that may define its role in the plot. Examples might include: “Cheap and Reliable Tramp Freighter”; “Fast, Low-Profile Blockade Runner”; or “Heavily Shielded Command-and-Control Carrier”.
The Trouble should reflect the biggest drawback or limitation of the class, such as something the designers had to sacrifice to achieve the class’ specialty. This should not cover any of the same qualities that the High Concept covers. Examples might include: “Defenseless Against Aggression”; “Frequently Used for Piracy”; or “Expensive and Rare Components”.
Additionally, specific ships may have Aspects related to their history, reputation, modifications, crew, etc… It is recommended any PC or NPC with an Aspect tied to a specific ship may contribute an Aspect to that specific ship as well. For example, a ship belonging to the players with a PC captain and PC pilot (who both chose aspects related to ship) would have two Aspects in addition to the High Concept and Trouble from its ship class – these two additional Aspects would be chosen by the players of the captain and pilot.
Stunts represent specific systems or technology that give the ship and its crew advantages in certain situation or when performing certain actions, much like a piece of equipment might grant a stunt to a character directly. Just like a character’s stunts, ship stunts should be something that dramatically impacts a ship’s abilities – for example, you do not need to designate a stunt for basic engines unless the ship has special engines that provide some advantage, as it is assumed otherwise that every ship has basic engines.
Ships have a number of Stunts based on their Scale, though they can gain additional stunts by permanently reducing Stress boxes. Like Aspects, it is also recommended that every major character with an Aspect tied to a ship should be allowed to contribute a single additional stunt to it.
For a full list of example systems and technologies, see Ship Stunts.
Stress and Consequences
Ships can be damaged and destroyed, but they have different types of stress tracks than a character does: Hull and Systems.
The Hull Stress track represents the physical strength and integrity of the ship. It is damaged by weapons and impacts, and roughly corresponds to the Physical Stress track.
The Systems Stress track represents a ship’s computers, power distribution, and other sensitive technology. It can be damaged by disruptive energy, hacking, or overheating, and roughly corresponds to the Mental Stress track.
Ships have a number of Stress boxes and Consequences based on their Scale, though they may permanently reduce their Stress boxes to gain additional Stunts.
Ships are significantly larger that human beings, and themselves can vary wildly in size from single-pilot strike craft to massive capital ships with crews of hundreds. This Scale rating determines the ship’s base number of Stunts, Stress boxes, and Consequence slots.
Additionally, when interacting in conflicts, ships with different Scale ratings modify their rolls. Larger ships add Weapon and Armor ratings equal to the difference in Scale with a smaller ship, while smaller ships add a bonus to Attack and Defend rolls equal to the difference in Scale with larger ships. Essentially, this makes larger ships easier to hit but tougher, while smaller ships are harder to hit but more delicate.
|Scale Rating||Stunts/Stress boxes||Consequence slots||Description|
|0||-||-||These are not actually ships, but this scale can be used to compare roughly human-sized entities interacting with ships.|
|Mild||Strike craft (such as fighter and bombers), shuttles, and other small craft with a single pilot or a crew of less than a dozen.|
|Escort craft (such as destroyers, frigates, and corvettes), light freighters, and private craft with crew and passengers numbering in the dozens.|
|Capital ships (such as cruisers, battleships, and carriers), heavy freighters, and passenger liners with crew and passengers numbering in the hundreds.|
|Rare, truly massive installations that are frequently immobile, with crew and passengers numbering in the thousands.|
Crew rating represents a ship’s unnamed NPC crew, and their general competence in operating the ship’s systems. NPC Crew don’t have specific Skill ratings, but they can roll with their Crew rating for any Skill-based rolls that fit their ship’s Aspects. Nameless Crew assisting a named character’s actions use the Teamwork rules – either by counting as a single assistant (adding + 1 to the roll), or by stacking advantages.
Wings operate just like mobs of nameless NPCs.