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Space Conflicts in Fate Core

Following some discussion on the Fate Core Google+ Group in this thread I said I would write in a bit more detail about how I would handle space conflicts in Fate Core from fighter attacks to capital ship on capital ship action to large fleet battles. So, here goes nothing!

The first step is to decide the ‘zoom level’ of the conflict. Much as we choose a ‘zoom level’ on rules resolution by choosing between an Overcome, a Challenge, A Contest and a Conflict we can also choose the scope of the space conflict. In general there are two zoom levels that are likely to see common use:

1) We see the battle from a distance, watching the overall conflict between a number of ships

2) We see the battle from the perspective of a ship in the fight, where individual crew actions are of great importance

Tactical Fleet Battles

For this level of conflict I suggest taking a leaf out of Fate Accelerated Edition and giving each ship a fairly minimal write-up. The Approaches are great for representing organisations and gestalt constructs and will work perfectly well to represent a spacecraft as well. At this level of detail each ship will also have one or more aspects and perhaps a stunt or two.

The conflict in this case essentially treats the ships involved as characters in their own right. The fate points required to invoke the ship’s aspects and stunts can be spent by any character who can justify it.

In addition any player stationed on one of the ships involved can roll to create advantages logically associated with his or her battle station.

If there are ships of radically different size involved I suggest representing this with weapon and/or armour ratings. Two ships of roughly equal size are treated as weapon and armour 0. If one of them has an advanced weapon this can be invoked to deal extra damage on a given attack. On the other hand a dreadnought shooting at a fighter might be treated as having Weapon 4, whereas when the fighter shoots at the dreadnought it’s counted as having Armour 4.

Some of you will recognise this as essentially being the Scale rules as shown in the original Fate Core draft.

Example:

The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)

Aspects:
United Federation of Planets Flagship
To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before
Reverse The Polarity On The Forward Deflector Dish

Approaches:
Good: Clever
Fair: Forceful, Careful
Average: Flashy, Quick
Mediocre: Sneaky

Stress & Consequences:
Shields – 5 boxes (Stress of more than 5 is applied to the hull. Shield stress can be cleared by the Engineering officer as an Overcome action at a difficulty of the box being cleared)

Hull – 5 boxes
Consequences – Mild, Moderate, Severe

Stunts:
Separate the Saucer Section – If the Enterprise takes enough stress to be Taken Out then the crew can perform an emergency separation of the saucer section, allowing a majority of the civilians and families aboard to escape safely while the remainder of the ship fights a last ditch battle to protect it.

Because the Enterprise has reverse the polarity on the forward deflector dish it gains +2 when it cleverly overcomes a problem using technobabble.

The aspects relating to technobabble can logically be invoked by an engineering officer, the captain or a science officer.

Scotty can roll to create advantage of “Engines at 105% capacity” to give an invokable aspect that might give the Enterprise an advantage in dodging attacks or moving rapidly from one conflict zone to another.

Mr Sulu can roll to create advantage of “Photon Torpedos Away!” to give an invokable aspect that does extra damage on one of the Enterprise’s attacks.

Zoomed In Space Battles

In this type of conflict the characters’ abilities become the important element and the ships become collections of mobile conflict zones. Rather than the ship having a single action on each turn each character gets to act in accordance with their battle station. This type of play requires a little more preparation.

You can track damage to the ship either for the ship as a whole or by splitting it up by location. If you do the latter than an area being Taken Out renders any of its stunts and aspects dysfunctional. If the former then one of the ship’s zones is tied to each of its Consequences; taking that consequence offlines the zone and disables its features. Targeted attacks can be handled in this case by forcing stress into the relevant consequence if sufficient is dealt to overwhelm the ship’s stress track.

Example:

The USS Enterprise (NCC-1701-D)

Aspects:
United Federation of Planets Flagship
To Boldly Go Where No One Has Gone Before
Reverse The Polarity On The Forward Deflector Dish

Stress & Consequences:
Shields – 5 boxes (Stress of more than 5 is applied to the hull. Shield stress can be cleared by the Engineering officer as an Overcome action at a difficulty of the box being cleared)

Hull – 5 boxes
Consequences – Mild, Moderate, Severe

Zones:

Saucer Section (Severe consequence)

Aspect: Primary Phaser Array

Aspect: Children & Families

Contains the main bridge and primary phaser array. More importantly it’s where a majority of the Enterprise’s living space can be found and includes the homes of all the families and civilians on board.

Stunt: Separate the Saucer Section – If the Enterprise takes enough stress to be Taken Out then the crew can perform an emergency separation from the main ship to prevent this from happening. This allows a majority of the civilians and families aboard to escape safely while the battle crew retires to the battle bridge in the remaining portion of the ship to fight a last ditch battle to protect it.

Engineering (Moderate consequence)

Aspect: Warp Core

Aspect: Team Of Disposable Red Shirts

Stunt: Scottish Efficiency – The engines have been customised by Scotty to the extent that he gains a +2 to his rolls to eke extra efficiency out of them when he is creating an advantage to this effect.

Stunt: Eject The Warp Core – If the Enterprise would be Taken Out the crew may jettison the warp core as an emergency measure to prevent this from happening. If they do so then the ship can still move under its impulse engines and fire its weapons but are unable to leave the conflict. As a bonus, any ship in the same zone as the Enterprise takes a 10-stress hit as the ejected warp core explodes unless an emergency defensive action is succeeded, moving all affected ships into a neighbouring zone.

Transporter Room (Mild consequence)

Aspect: Transporter Buffer

Aspect: Heisenberg Compensators

Stunt: Once per conflict the transporter may be used to beam a boarding party from the Enterprise on to an opposing vessel, or to transport the survivors from a ship that has just been Taken Out.

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