When working on the Sword of Terra rules, I knew that I wanted damage to be more interesting than just marking off a hull point. The rules needed to capture the feeling of a ship being crippled from damage well before it is completely destroyed.
In order to accomplish that, I decided on having a random damage effect happen each time a ship is damaged. After some play testing, I added the threshold statistic to ships so that they can take a few hits before systems start to fail.
Each time that a ship is damaged beyond its threshold, the attacking player rolls a d10 and consults the following table to determine the damage effect.
1. Crew Shaken. The hit jostles the ship’s crew, making them less effective for a few seconds. The ship takes a –1 penalty to accuracy with all of its weapons during the next round.
2. Crew Shocked. The damage from the hit throws the crew around and forces them to focus on protecting themselves. The ship cannot make any attacks during the next round.
3. Crew Stunned. The crew is stunned as the ship takes the powerful hit. The ship cannot move or attack during the next round.
4. Maneuvering System Hit. The small thrusters and guidance systems that allow a ship to maneuver in space are damaged by the hit. The ship adds 1 to its turning cost for the rest of the engagement.
5. Targeting System Hit. The hit damages the sensitive electronics that aid the ship’s gunners. The ship takes a –1 penalty to accuracy with all of its weapons for the rest of the engagement.
6. Engines Hit. The ship’s main engines are damaged forcing it to reduce its thrust. The ship reduces its thrust by 1 for the rest of the engagement.
7. Weapon or System Destroyed. The hit destroys one of the ship’s weapons or special systems. The attacking player chooses one weapon or special system on the ship, and that weapon or system cannot be used for the rest of the engagement. The chosen weapon must be capable of firing into the arc where the ship was hit.
8. Engines Destroyed. The ship takes a critical hit to its main thrusters and is forced to come to a stop. The ship is reduced to 0 thrust for the rest of the engagement.
9. Critical Hit. Structural braces are taken out by the hit causing the ship’s structure to shudder. The ship takes an extra point of damage from the hit.
10. Catastrophic Hit. The damage sets off an internal explosion as a fuel tank or ammunition feed ignites. The ship takes two extra points of damage from the hit.
The table is set up so that a higher roll has a more serious effect. This is a nice feature because it means that the attacking player wants to roll high just like with every other roll in the system. It also enables rules that add bonuses or penalties to the damage effect roll to represent weapons that are more likely to cause system damage, like Gravity Pulse Cannons, and ships that are more robust than normal.