[RPG] Spaceship Combat in Fate Core


I'm trying to run a space-opera RPG in Fate Core, and ship-to-ship combat is a central focus. I'm looking to emulate the kind of fighting we see in Star Wars, Wing Commander, FreeSpace, etc, but without getting too crunchy. It should be cinematic, and I'd like there to be some significant differences in the feel of various ships (fighters, freighters, capital ships, etc). I don't feel like aspects and stunts go quite far enough–much of what a ship can do should depend as much on the operator as it does on the ship, and yet surely the ship adds new bonuses and constraints.

I've looked at the Fate Core System, as well as the Fate System Toolkit, and all the options I've found seem a little too abstract for my purposes. I'm hoping that someone else out there has stumbled upon a workable solution to this problem.

So far, the best solution I can find is at
http://speakingofgaming.blogspot.com/2013/05/fate-of-galaxy-starship-rules-for-fate.html Unfortunately, this solution does not include constraints on skill rolls (due to limitations of the ships), or really much in the way of mechanical differentiation of ships.

I'm also interested in the potential of narrative drama that comes with long-range seeking projectile weapons, such as missiles or torpedoes. They represent a threat that is concrete, can be reacted to, and can be anticipated, as opposed to the nearly instantaneous beam weapons that seem to pervade science fiction. Torpedoes can act as a character in their own right, and with the Fate Fractal, it probably makes sense to model them as such.

Best Answer

Fate Worlds: Kriegszeppelin Valkyrie

You might find what you want in Fate Worlds Vol.1, specifically "Kriegszeppelin Valkyrie" (KV). It is a mod/campaign where PCs are WWI pilots. Their planes are stationed on a giant flying aircraft carrier, the eponym Kriegszeppelin Valkyrie. Change "planes" to fighters and "flying aircraft carrier" to "capital ship", and you have a good start!

Now, that's probably not enough detail for you, so let's mention some rule points and how they might fit what you would like to do. I will avoid quoting extensively considering the book is not open source, but here it is.


Fighters are represented by Stunts. Each fighter costs a given amount of Refresh (between 0 and 3) and gives specific bonuses. One fighter would for example cost 2 Refresh and grant a +2 to Pilot rolls to defend and create an advantage due to high maneuvrability. Another would cost 1 Refresh and grant Weapon: 2 once per combat due to heavy guns.

As for damage, the combination Pilot+Fighter symply uses the pilot's stress tracks as is. You could however create a separate "Piloting stress track", with additional stress boxes for higher Pilot skills.


Dogfights in "Kriegszeppelin Valkyrie" are handled through a simple rule. Fighters making a straight attack without first placing an advantage on their target can do no more than one stress damage, no matter their Stunts, their roll, their final result, and so on. A fighter needs to first succesfully create an advantage on their target to be able to do full damage.

Capital ships

The Valkyrie in "Kriegszeppelin Valkyrie" is treated as its own character. It has its own stress track, Aspects, Trouble, Stunts, and skills. It uses its captain's skills and stress tracks for mental attacks.

This makes sense, considering a ship with a huge crew is less dependent on its pilot's skill. Put Han Solo at the helm of a capital ship, and it probably won't be much nimbler despite his superior skills.

Other ships

"Kriegszeppelin Valkyrie" has a couple of other ships described as opponents:

  • Gunship: Heavy guns and bombs
  • Troopship: Transport carrier
  • AA Gun: Anti-aircraft gun
  • Airship: A big flying ship, but smaller than the Valkyrie.

Fate System Toolkit: Scale

You mentioned it already, but for the sake of completeness I would like to point out the Scale subsystem in the Toolkit which might help you reach what you want.

You define a number of scale steps (3 or 4). Larger entities have a number of bonuses against smaller ones. This allows you to split ships into size categories (fighters, freighters, small capital ships, big capital ships). The more categories you have, the more difficult it becomes for small ships to affect bigger ships, which might or might not fit what you have in mind.

You could change the bonuses to be more similar to Star Wars RCR: for every step separating two ships, the smaller one has bonuses to attack and defense, but the larger one has bonuses to damage and armor.

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