Monday, August 30, 2010

Starship Morale Rules (or, "I have not yet begun to fight!")

Awhile back, I posted an optional morale rule for individual vessels to the Galactic Knights Yahoo group in response to another member's fleet morale system.  As I said at the time, while reading up on real-world naval battles, I noticed instances in which captains who belived their ships were too damaged decided to leave the battle.  I thought it might make starship combat more interesting than when everything remains on the board, fighting untilit blows up.  Since it's been three years since this idea has seen the light of day, I thought I would pull it out, dust it off, and share it with you:

Carnivoran Lion-class battlecruiser: Is its captain a 'fraidy cat?
STARSHIP MORALE:  At the end of each combat phase, players must make a morale roll on a d10 for any vessel taking one or more critical hits.  If the roll is less than or equal to the number of critical hit points remaining, the starship will fight on.  If the roll is greater than the remaining number of critical hit points, the vessel must flee the battle during the next movement phase.
  • EXAMPLE 1: An undamaged super galactic dreadnaught takes 2 crits in a combat phase. It won't have to bother with a morale roll (it starts with 12, and with 10 crits remaining, a morale roll is unnecessary). The next turn, it takes one more hit, so that turn it must roll a 9 or less to stay in the game.
  • EXAMPLE 2: A pristine cruiser (6 starting crits) loses one critical hit point. It must roll a 5 or less to avoid fleeing the battle during the next movement phase.
  • EXAMPLE 3: An untouched star bomber loses 1 of its 2 crits. Unless it rolls a 1, it will skedaddle.
There are two options for handling fleeing ships:
  1. If you think the game background allows starships to jump only at certain warp points, then a fleeing ship must attempt to move off the board (generally, by accelerating at its maximum rate in the direction it's already going) while avoiding enemy craft.
  2. If you think the game background lets starfaring vessels jump from any point in space, then it is removed from the table when activated during that sides movement phase.
Although I came up with this idea for Galactic Knights, the morale rule seems pretty adaptable to other starship combat games as well.

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