Archive for March, 2013

Life as a starship technician

Posted in Intercept, Rules on March 1, 2013 by Mr Backman

We the technicians are the unsung heroes of the spacelanes I tell you. Them flyboys get all the credit but if it wasn’t for us tech-monkeys the ships would be dead in orbit and all the flyboys could do would be to wank their joysticks.

We are always ordered to the places most likely to get hit and when we work on the outside, fixing breached hullplating or misaligned laser mirrors, we are only protected by our worn, greasy, smelly vaccsuits. The commander and his flyboys rarely consider us when they kick off those fancy maneuvers so we are used to get banged about in our safety harness or worse – every tech-monkey has a friend that fell off a thrusting ship and was left behind to suffocate in his suit. The old fusion-torches at least gave you a merciful instant death as you fell into the drive plume, todays Impulse drives are as cold and indifferent as the commander and his cronies.

So when you see us monkeys in a bar winding down between missions give us a toast or better yet, buy us a beer, in honor of our thankless job.

A ship needs one technician for every 50 MCr in price or fraction thereof, more expensive parts need more love from the techs, maintenance, calibration, vacuum-arcing protection etc. Technicians does not need stations as the rest of the crew does, it is assumed that any readout panels, interfaces etc are located on the devices themselves.

Technicians roam the ship as they do their maintenance chores and this is reflected in the rules by having a check box for what location the repair crew (RC) is in at the moment, failure to check a box is treated as having the RC in the Payload section.

Two of the ship sections are considered outside, Hull and Surface, while the rest are inside the ship. Being outside is dangerous as any attacks that hit that location will do damage to the RC ignoring armor, there is also the risk of falling off a maneuvering ship. The Crew section cannot be repaired by the RC but they can still be located there for whatever reason (Crew being the safest indoor location for attacks from the rear for example). The Repair Crew itself cannot be repaired, it cannot even be topped off from Frozen Watch revival. Damaged RC is for keep so treat them carefully.

The number of required technicians for a large spaceship can be staggering, one or every 50 MCr, and one way to reduce that number is to employ robots that assist the technicians. How many robots can be handled per handler rises with Tech level, from one robot per handler at TL 8 to a 100% robot repair crew at TL 14 or higher. Robot stables etc are included when adding robots to your design. If you enter more robots than needed the cell will turn red.

Too many robots

Technicians repairing battle damage can only jury-rig the damaged components. There is neither time nor spare parts for proper repairs, this has to be done at a starport or Naval base later. Repair crew is moved between locations at the start of the Repairs phase and roll a task to repair that location.

  • 4+ for Light damage
  • 7+ for Severe damage
  • 10+ for Critical damage
  • Destroyed locations cannot be repaired.

There are lots of more modifiers to the Jury-rig roll in the rulebook. Note especially the -1/Gs DM for Thrusting. This modifier applies to all repair attempts but reduce that figure by the number of Floorfield Gs in the Crew section and in the Payload section if the Floorfield covers the cargo hold as well.

A succesful Jury-Rig does not reduce the damage marked on the Ship form, instead tick off the JR check box (for Jury-Rig) to indicate that the damage should be treated as one level less than it actually read, Jury-Rigs also remove any Continuing Damage. Jury-Rigs revert whenever that location is hit for any damage, even if the hit didn’t actually increase the damage level, that is why the (Scratch) damage level is on the damage table.

There is an optional rule that limit Repair Crew mobility when they are Severely damaged to two locations up or down per turn. Whenever a location is hit that the Repair Crew is in roll damage separately for the location and the crew, for hits on Hull or Surface also ignore any detrimental PEN vs ARMOR effects when rolling the Repair Crew damage. Hits that are completely stopped by armor  will still do full DAM – DAB to the Repair Crew. Yeah, that is half of why the Repair Crew hate the commander for ordering them outside, see Falling off below for the other half.

Repair crew can never be ‘repaired’ during battles, neither by technicians nor by activation of the Frozen watch, if they are gone they are gone, get replacements at the next starport, the same goes for their robots.

If an indoor section suffers damage when the repair crew is located there the repair crew suffer the same damage. Track damage to repair crew separately, including cumulative effects. If the repair crew is in the Power section that already has suffered Light damage and a new hit gives another Light damage the Power section becomes Severe damage (from cumulative damage, new damage of the same degree raises the damage one level) while the RC is now Light damaged.

Falling off
Repair Crew working on the outside of the ship (Hull or Surface locationa) may fall off when the ship is maneuvering. Consult the optional G-Loc rules for details. Falling off a ship with an active Fission or Fusion thruster will kill the fallen instantly, you have been warned.

Familiar space technician