Ad Astra: Starships using PDQ rules

When you have a look at the PDQ core rules you’ll notice that there is no section about how vehicles, space ships, etc. could be added to the system. In my opinion the easiest way is to handle vehicles just like characters. They get a name, a description, a few qualities and perhaps even a weakness.

ExcerptTake a space ship for example. In one of my early posts about the Ad Astra setting I posted the D6 Space stats for the Theseus Starfighter. Let’s now have a look at how we could rebuild this starfighter using PDQ rules:

Let’s first start with the vehicle type. Every vehicle should have at least one quality that designates the basic type of the ship. This quality should start at Average [0]. The GM can of course choose to improve this quality if the vehicle is exceptional for its class. So we write down Average Starfighter [+0]. I imagine the Theseus fighter as an old workhorse model that has been in use for quite some time now. So I assign Good Workhorse [+2]. The fighter should neither be very fast or have superior armor, but I think Average Armor [+0] is in order. We shouldn’t forget that we need some qualities written down, so that the fighter can take a beating. Finally I add the weapons as Average Medium Lasers [+0] and Good “Artemis” Missile Launcher [+2]. Finally lets add a weakness to make the design a bit more interesting. Since it’s an outdated model it’s not up to par with some of the more fancy designs. So, we add Poor Outdated Model [-2] as last quality. Ok, let’s review our design:

Theseus Starfighter
Average Starfighter [+0]
Good Workhorse [+2]
Average Armor [+0]
Average Medium Lasers [+0]
Good “Artemis” Missile Launcher [+2]
Poor Outdated Model [-2]

In order to totally disable the ship you’ll need 16 hits, which is pretty decent for a starfighter. The pilot can also decide to reduce the Armor or Workhorse qualities by one level in order to “take it on the chin” and ignore all damage from a single attack.

So, how does starship combat work? It works just like normal combat. But pilots may use both their own and their ship’s qualities. For example a pilot with the Good Starfighter Pilot [+2] quality wants to fire a volley of missiles at an enemy craft. He can add not only the bonus from his piloting quality but also the bonus from the weapon he used. In this particular case he rolls 2d6+4. In most cases player and GM should be able to decide which qualities and weaknesses are relevant for any given action.

Michael Wolf is a German games designer and enthusiast best known for his English language role-playing games blog, Stargazer's World, and for creating the free rules-light medieval fantasy adventure game Warrior, Rogue & Mage. He has also worked as an English translator on the German-language Dungeonslayers role-playing game and was part of its editorial team. In addition to his work on Warrior, Rogue & Mage and Dungeonslayers, he has created several self-published games and also performed layout services and published other independent role-playing games such as A Wanderer's Romance, Badass, and the Wyrm System derivative Resolute, Adventurer & Genius, all released through his imprint Stargazer Games. Professionally, he works as a video technician and information technologies specialist. Stargazer's World was started by Michael in August 2008.

3 thoughts on “Ad Astra: Starships using PDQ rules”

  1. I've been circling around PDQ# here, lately, and reading your posts about SF stuff makes me more interested in itstill. Please consider your vehicle rules officially co-opted by me, Dr Rotwang!. I'm gonna copy this post, paste it into a .doc file, format it, print it out, punch three holes in it and put it in my binder alongside the PDQ and PDQ# rules.

    Thanks for writing this!

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