SHIP Captain - A Space Combat RP Framework

SHIP Captain Space Combat System

This (experimental) system is meant to be a simple-ish framework for RPing space battles – particularly when PvP is involved. In the simplest possible terms, each player chooses the template that best matches their ship and then everybody takes turns fighting until only one team remains.

This is not a substitute for RP or creativity and is designed to help streamline situations where multiple players are each controlling their own ships. The actions are broad strokes and, time permitting, I recommend everyone fill in the blanks with emotes and flavor text.

The focus of this system is on strategy and RP decision making, rather than RNG or stat-building. In general, ships are assumed to be built to high standards with crews that are capable and competent. Though there are a couple dice rolls scattered about, failed rolls should always be considered outstanding successes by the defender, rather than failures of the player.

Please note that the ship templates are not balanced around “fair” fights 1-on-1. The composition of your team’s fleet will have an effect on the outcome. Certain situations may be more favorable than others, and it’s definitely possible to create unwinnable scenarios. Don’t cry about balance if you Kobayashi Maru yourself!

That said, this is very much a work in progress and I welcome any and all feedback.

SHIP Captain Attributes

  • Shields absorb hits to protect your ship from damage. They can be recharged on your turn. Note that shields do not bleed excess damage. If you have 2 shield HP remaining, and you receive 3 damage, your shields will be fully depleted but the excess 1 damage is ignored.

  • Hull is your ship’s fixed HP or health. It typically cannot be repaired during battle. If it reaches 0, your ship is destroyed.

  • Impulse represents your ship’s combat speed and maneuverability, and is used to help avoid attacks.

  • Power is what lets your ship function. It regenerates to a set max capacity at the start of your turn, and is the currency used for basically everything. Each point of power spent on something translates on a 1:1 basis. If you spend power to attack, you deal 1 damage per power spent. If you spend power to recharge shields, you gain 1 shield point per power spent.

  • Captain’s Orders are consumable special actions. Each ship role has a set number of captain’s orders slots which determine how many orders can be used, and from which categories they can be chosen.

Captain’s Orders

If you have slots remaining, Captain’s Orders may be used on your own turn, or when being attacked by an enemy. You may only use orders from the category allowed by your ship class. Only one order can be used at a time. Universal orders can be substituted for any other category.

When selecting your orders, please consider the IC implications. For example, a ship that is not equipped with a cloaking device should not be using the Cloaking Device order.


Tactical Orders

  • Fire At Will
    Add 1 to any power spent on attacking this turn. You may then split your total power spent attacking between multiple targets.

  • Fire to Disable
    If your next attack hits, reduce your target’s current power reserve by the amount of power spent on your attack.

  • Weapon Overcharge
    Your next attack deals 2 additional damage, and excess damage penetrates shields and damages hull. (Ex: If your attack does 3 damage, and your enemy has 1 shield remaining, they also take 2 hull damage.)

Crew Orders

  • Boarding Party
    Choose a target whose shields are down. Until the boarding party is repelled, the target ship cannot regenerate power (Reserve power is still available).

  • Coordinate Fleet
    Designate a focus target for your team. That target’s impulse rating is reduced by 20 until your next turn.

  • Deploy Repair Teams
    Restore 2 Hull HP to your own ship or a ship of your choice.

  • Extend Shields
    Choose another ship to protect, and absorb any damage they would otherwise receive. Lasts until your shields are depleted or you manually end the effect.

Tech Orders

  • Reverse Shield Polarity
    Your shields take no damage from the next attack that hits you.

  • Tachyon Pulse
    All cloaked enemies must make a roll to remain hidden (see Cloaking Device order). If your tachyon pulse reveals an enemy and you successfully attack that enemy on the same turn, your attack ignores their shields and deals 1 additional damage.

  • Tractor Beam
    Perform a free (zero-power) attack against an enemy, in place of your regular attack. If successful, the enemy takes 1 shield damage and may not conduct evasive maneuvers until your next turn.

  • Viral Matrix
    Choose a target and roll 1d6 for one of the following effects:
    1 - Target’s shields are disabled until your next turn.
    2 - Target takes 1 hull damage. (If this reduces the target to 0 HP, they are disabled, not destroyed)
    3 - Target is unable to evade the next attack against them.
    4 - Target is unable to return fire until their next turn.
    5 - Target is unable to use Captain’s Orders.
    6 - Nothing happens.
    All effects end at the start of YOUR next turn, regardless of whether they have been fully utilized.

Universal Orders

  • Cloaking Device
    Instead of attacking, you may spend power to cloak your ship. Your detection threshold is your impulse rating plus 10 for every power you choose to spend on cloaking. You may remain cloaked, unless detected, by spending the same amount of power again on subsequent turns. Your first attack after decloaking deals 2 additional damage and cannot be evaded.

    If any enemy uses Tachyon Pulse while you are cloaked, you must roll 1d100. In order to remain undetected, your roll must be LOWER than your detection threshold.

  • Emergency Power
    Only usable while under attack: gain 1 additional power to use on either evasive maneuvers or return fire. Start your next turn with 1 less power.

  • Fighter Strike
    Deal 1 damage to the next target that evades one of your attacks.

  • Repel Boarders
    Remove the negative effect caused by Boarding Party.

  • Ramming Speed
    Choose a target to ram. Target must either brace for impact or make an evasive maneuvers attempt using all available power against your 1d100 roll. If they succeed, they suffer no damage, but start the next turn with 0 power available. You suffer return fire damage equal to their power capacity. If they fail to evade, both ships are immediately destroyed.

Ship Role Templates

Because the vast majority of ships in the Star Trek universe are standardized and mass-produced, it’s assumed that ships of any class in each general role will have relatively similar combat performance. Each ship template therefore has a set number of each of the five SHIP Captain attributes.

Note that these are intentionally very broad categories and not every ship class will have an obvious counterpart. Everyone should use their own judgment to place their ship in the role that seems most appropriate.

Shields:4 HP
Hull:8 HP
Power:3 capacity
Captain:2 Orders (Any Type)

Shields:4 HP
Hull:6 HP
Power:4 capacity
Captain:3 Crew Orders

Science Vessel
Shields:4 HP
Hull:2 HP
Power:1 capacity
Captain:5 Tech Orders

Shields:2 HP
Hull:4 HP
Power:2 capacity
Captain:4 Tactical Orders

How to Play

Turn Order is decided with a simple dice roll by each participating player. Everybody rolls 1d100 and the turn order is set from highest-to-lowest, alternating between teams. If there are any ties, those players should reroll until they land on a unique number.

On your turn your available power refills to capacity. You may then take one or more actions:

  1. Use a captain’s order.
  2. Recharge - Spend power to recover shields. (1 power = 1 shield HP)
  3. Retreat - Leave the combat area for the remainder of the event.
  4. Attack - Spend power to fire your weapons and end your turn. (1 power = 1 damage)
  5. End Turn - If you choose not to attack, you can simply end your turn.

Any leftover power not used during your turn is kept in reserve and available to be used if you are attacked before your next turn.

When you are targeted you have an important decision to make which will determine how the attacker proceeds:

  1. Evasive Maneuvers
    Spend power to try to evade the attack. Multiply your impulse rating by the power spent. Your attacker must beat that rating with a 1d100 roll to deal damage. If you have not taken any other action since you last used Evasive Maneuvers (eg. if you’re attacked again before you’ve had a chance to take a turn) you may use the same evasion rating without spending additional power.

  2. Return Fire
    Spend power to deal damage to your attacker in return. The attacker cannot evade this, and takes damage even if you are destroyed.

  3. Use a Captain’s Order
    Some orders may be useful when under attack.

  4. Brace For Impact
    Prepare your ship and take the hit. If you have no available orders or power this is your only option! If your ship reaches 0 Hull HP after using Brace For Impact, you may choose to leave it disabled, adrift, and out of the fight, rather than totally destroyed.

What It Looks Like

In an ideal world, each player should write a descriptive emote on their turn to include with their gamified action. The results can be included as part of each player’s next action, in order to keep things moving.

A simple turn might look something like this:

Nathaa Thraz: Saratoga banks hard to port and accelerates, bringing its forward torpedo launchers to bear on Atlantis and launching a volley of simulated munitions. (attack atlantis, 3 power)

Kermit: “Evasive maneuvers!” the Commander calls to his crew as the century-old cruiser struggles to get out of the way of the incoming torpedoes. (2 power)

Nathaa Thraz: rolls 61 (1-100)

GM: Atlantis takes 3 damage

      (other players take their turns in sequence)

Kermit: As engineering struggles to restore power to shields, Atlantis turns its attention on the unsuspecting science ship! (recharge 2 shields, attack Asimov 2 power)

Disclaimer: I have no idea if this is going to work or be any fun at all for anybody. Apologies in advance if it’s garbage! :joy:

Updated 26 Oct 2022
  • Ship role stats have been rebalanced. Overall, there are bigger HP pools, higher impulse, and more orders.
  • The turn order now alternates between teams.
  • Description text for Captain’s Orders has been updated to be more clear. tldr: you get a set number from a set category.
  • Captain’s Orders can now be used when you get attacked, in addition to on your own turn.
  • Only one Captain’s Order can be used at a time. That means, at most, you can use one on your own turn, and one when you get attacked.
  • Passive orders have been removed. No need to declare any orders in advance, they can all be chosen on the fly during events. Please take care not to use orders that don’t make IC sense for your ship.
  • Various Captain’s Orders have been reworked/rewritten.
  • Brace For Impact now prevents total ship destruction, and is an option vs. ramming speed.

A note on ship destruction:
With live combat coming up, please note that reaching 0 Hull HP is intended to mean the literal destruction of the ship. ICly and permanently. Yes. Really.

Obviously, we don’t want to FORCE anyone into losing their ship OOCly, so there are some built-in safeguards to prevent it happening without your permission. First, and most significantly, using Brace For Impact when attacked will prevent the destruction of your ship. It will still be out of the fight, but it will be recoverable ICly afterwards. This means that in order to lose your ship, you must consciously choose to try to remain in the fight at the risk of losing your ship.

The intention is for you and your characters to play smart, like good captains who care about the lives of their crew. If things are going poorly, it is most advisable to retreat from battle before you’re in a position to have to choose between critical damage and total destruction. Let me say that again: fighting all the way to 0 HP every time is not how this is meant to work. Please remember to retreat!

Finally, because no system is perfect, in the event that something unexpected happens and you wind up ‘destroyed’ but are uncomfortable with that outcome, please RP the ship as crippled and abandoned to allow the event to continue, and then immediately open a ticket in discord to address what happened with Staff. After the event is over, we’ll find a way to work it out to everyone’s satisfaction.

With all of that said…

Azedi NPC Ship Stats:
Etnoziroh-class Dreadnought
Shields: 0 HP
Hull: 20 HP
Impulse: 10
Power: 10 capacity
Captain: ∞ "Brink Reactor"
Vulnerable to Teleraptor/Telemammoth

Rayopa-class Support Cruiser
Shields: 3 HP
Hull: 3 HP
Impulse: 40
Power: 1 capacity
Captain: 6 "Azedi Malware"

Raligiv-class Starbase
Shields: 10 HP
Hull: 50 HP
Impulse: 0
Power: 5 capacity
Captain: 0 Orders
Vulnerable to Teleraptor/Telemammoth

Arenonac-class Destroyer
Shields: 2 HP
Hull: 3 HP
Impulse: 50
Power: 3 capacity
Captain: 0 Orders


  • When fighting the Azedi, Starfleet and Terran ships have access to Teleraptor/Telemammoth beams respectively. This requires using your ship’s full power reserve, and is used on your turn in place of an attack. Teleraptor reduces a vulnerable enemy’s power available to 0. Telemammoth causes a vulnerable enemy to take 10 hull damage.

  • “Brink Reactor” Order - Azedi Dreadnoughts can open wormholes at will to allow themselves and their support fleets to enter or retreat from battle. Azedi ships will not retreat from their own territory, even when faced with certain defeat.

  • “Azedi Malware” Order - Identical to viral matrix, but targets two ships per use. 38th Fleet ships are totally immune. Terrans and other factions beware!


I threw this spreadsheet together to help manage the events last week, and figured it might be helpful for everyone to have so I prettied it up and set the permissions so anyone can edit the stuff you need to edit, and you can’t change anything that would break anything.