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The High Space Sphere

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

A new Tactical Maneuver: Disengage

Dramatic Task: Disengage

Although hostile, and even potentially hostile encounters can be ended simply by extending them beyond the distance of PSR (Passive Sensor Range), there is another way to end that that is more pro-active, and this is via a Dramatic Task.

The Disengage takes five actions using the 'Maneouvering' system of the starship, either as an Automatic or a manual Override, and requires an accumulation of five successes.

The commencement of the Disengage Dramatic Task must be announced before the first action. Overall success indicates that the starship has disengaged from the action - either it has somehow maneouvered to outdistance the enemy, or it has maneouvered into the blind spot of enemy sensors and managed to slink off the map! It is even possible, though unlikely, that the starship is still within the tactical sphere of the encounter but that the starship and the enemy are simply obscured from each other.

Disengage can be restarted at any point before the next action that uses the Maneuvering system. Note that because both the starship computer and any of the flight crew can use the Maneuvering system, any one of them an announce that the Disengage is being restarted (and in the case of the starship computer this is unlikely unless the situation is so dire that the heroes also agree with this course of action!)

Cooperative rolls can benefit each action as per the core rules, and Complications apply as normal.

Difficulty modifier: -2 per hostile starship within the starship's Tactical Sphere at the time of each action.

Example: The asteroid-mining ambush at V.K.Mani!

Our heroes are mining an asteroid field in the V.K.Mani system (in the Lantern), when they are jumped by pirates! The pirates were running silent, and using the asteroids to hide, and using their Passive Sensors to track the heroes. The pirates literally start hostilities with ‘The Drop’ on the heroes, before the heroes can act. Let’s call this ‘round zero’.

In round one, as soon as the hero with the highest initiative can act they declare the start of a Disengage (‘tactical retreat!!!!’) with an Override of the Maneuvering system, and they make a Piloting roll with a success and a raise, even after factoring in the -2 Difficulty penalty. The heroes now have two successes towards a successful Disengage. All other actors in the encounter also get to act that round. The starships remain locked in Close range due to the fact that their FTL Cores prevent each other from FTL flight, and they are in normal-space flight although the heroes are trying to put distance between themselves and the pirates.

In round two, the hero who acts first decides instead to take a single action and use a weapon system, the next Initiative is the starship computer. The players agree that it will continue the Disengage, and one player rolls for the starship computer using its Maneuver die-type and gets a single success. The heroes now have three of the five successes required. All other actors have their actions. The pirate starship fails to maneuver properly and the distance between the heroes and the pirates opens up enough to allow FTL flight next round.

In round three, the players continue to agree that the starship computer makes the next Disengage roll. The starship computer fails in the Maneouver test, although both starships are now in FTL flight and they end the round within Close distance. The heroes are still stuck on only three of five successes, after three rounds.

In round four, the starship computer acts first, but at least one player wants to Override the Maneuvering system (although in fact they all agree to this.) When the next hero acts they Override the Maneuvering system and make a Piloting roll. They succeed with a raise. This provides the minimum five successes for the Disengage. All other actors can act that round.

At the end of the fourth round the heroes manage to disengage from the pirates. The GM decides, with the player’s help, that because the two starships were so close when the disengaged happened, that the heroes succeeded because they used the asteroid field, and found their way out of danger by moving from cover to cover until they had escaped. In this situation the pirates are still ‘out there’ somewhere, probably running silent again, but the heroes are safe for now and steering a course around the asteroids that takes them further and further away!



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3 comments on article "A new Tactical Maneuver: Disengage"


Gon (Commander of the Old Reach)

5/10/2016 11:13 PM

Pat. A standard Dramatic Task is pretty hard to get (I mean applying the usual -2). If you try to disengage of a single starship you apply that usual -2. It's fine but if you try to escape from three starfighters, for example, yo have to apply a -6... It is too much IMO.

I suggest to apply -1 per enemy ship with Maneuver higher than heroes starship with a maximum of -4.



5/11/2016 3:48 PM

You are right, facing many opponents is exactly the right time to use Disengage, so I dont want to nerf it under those circumstances.

How about these alternatives...

Difficulty modifier: -1 if no there is no other starship (uncluding hostiles) or astronomical body within Close range at the time of each action. This represents a lack of anything to use as cover.


Difficulty modifier: -2 if no there is one hostile starship, with a +1 bonus (not penalty) for each additional hostile starship, to a maximum of +4 bonus. In effect multiple hostiles begin to get in each others way and can be used as cover.

I like 1) because it is simpler, but 2) adds more tension and might lead heroes to taking more chances. It would also lead to dramatic situations where a bid-bad would actually *want* to face heroes one-on-one... so they can't escape



Philip Larkin

6/17/2016 7:37 AM

I think #2 looses the simplicity of Savage Worlds. It is also illogical. It's clearly harder to get away from more enemies. harder to hide from them, harder to outpace them, harder to avoid being distracted by being shot by them.

I'd vote for Gon's suggestion.

My own suggestion would be -1 per enemy vessel, +1 per friendly vessel or astrological body large enough to be used as cover (at GM's discretion)

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