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Chapter 9: Starships / Building Starships

Understanding Starships

Source Starfinder Core Rulebook pg. 292
Starships and their base frames are described using stat blocks that include information about how they move, the size of their crews, and more. When you’re reading a starship or base frame stat block, the statistics and definitions below define its capabilities. A starship sheet is provided at the end of this book.
  • Name and Tier: This is the designation of the starship and its power level. Starships of different tiers vary to a greater degree in terms of power and abilities than monsters whose Challenge Rating (CR) differs by a similar amount.
  • Size Category and Frame: This describes the overall size of the vessel (see Starship Scale on page 294). A starship’s size provides a modifier to its Armor Class and Target Lock (see below). This entry also notes the base frame of the starship (see page 294).
  • Speed: This is the number of hexes the starship can move using most pilot actions.
  • Maneuverability: A starship’s maneuverability is rated clumsy, poor, average, good, or perfect. This is generally tied to the mass and size of the starship, and it both indicates how agile the starship is in space and determines the minimum number of hexes the starship must move before it can turn (see page 319).
  • Drift: This is a starship’s Drift engine rating. When determining how long it takes a starship to travel to a location through the Drift, divide the die roll by this number (see page 291). If this entry is absent, the starship can’t travel into the Drift.
  • Armor Class (AC): This value is used when determining whether direct-fire weapons (see Type on page 303) hit a starship. AC is calculated based on the ship’s size, maneuverability, and physical armor, as well as the pilot’s number of ranks in the Piloting skill. See page 320 for details on calculating AC.
  • Target Lock (TL): This value is used when determining whether tracking weapons (see Type on page 303) hit a starship. TL is calculated based on the starship’s size, defensive countermeasures (see page 298), and armor, plus the pilot’s number of ranks in the Piloting skill. See page 320 for details.
  • Hull Points (HP): This is the total amount of damage a starship can take before it becomes inoperative. A starship with 0 Hull Points isn’t destroyed, though many of its systems are no longer functioning and it is no longer a threat to its enemies. In a base frame stat block, the Hull Points entry also lists the HP increment, which is the number of Hull Points a starship with that frame automatically gains when its tier increases to 4 (and every 4 tiers thereafter; see page 294).
  • Damage Threshold (DT): If an attack deals less damage than this value, that damage isn’t counted against the ship’s total Hull Points. Only Huge or larger ships have a Damage Threshold, and it matters only when such a starship’s shields are depleted (see page 320).
  • Critical Threshold (CT): Whenever the total amount of damage that has been dealt to a starship’s Hull Points reaches a multiple of this value, one of its systems takes critical damage (see page 321). This value is always one-fifth of the starship’s maximum number of Hull Points.
  • Shields: In a starship stat block, this lists the ship’s shield system and the Shield Points (SP), which represent the damage shields can take before they’re depleted. Shield Points are assigned to particular quadrants (forward, port, starboard, or aft). These quadrants correspond in orientation to the firing arcs shown in the diagram on page 318.
  • Attacks: A starship has four firing arcs: forward, port, starboard, and aft (see the diagram on page 318). Most nonturret weapons can fire only in the firing arc where they’re mounted; turret weapons can be fired in any arc. The attack entries list the various weapons mounted on the ship that can fire in each of the arcs. Each weapon also lists its damage, range, and other special properties.
  • Mounts: In a base frame stat block, this entry lists the class of weapon that can be mounted on the starship (see page 303).
  • Power Core: This lists a starship’s power core or cores (see page 296) and the power core units (PCU) it produces.
  • Drift Engine: The starship’s Drift engine, if any, is listed here.
  • Systems: This entry lists a starship’s major systems, such as armor, defensive countermeasures, sensors, and weapons (see page 297).
  • Expansion Bays: This entry lists any expansion bays—cargo spaces that can be used for special purposes (see page 298).
  • Modifiers: This entry lists the bonuses (or penalties) to certain skill checks during starship combat gained from a starship’s speed and maneuverability, as well as from some starship systems.
  • Minimum and Maximum Crew: In a base frame stat block, these entries note the minimum and maximum number of characters who can take actions on that vessel during starship combat. Larger starships use teams that report to a higher officer who performs an assigned role in starship combat (see Large and Small Crews on page 316 for more about large crews). A starship without its minimum crew can’t be operated.
  • Complement: In a starship stat block, this section lists the total size of the crew aboard that ship.
  • Crew: In a starship stat block, this section lists those filling various roles in combat (see page 316), as well as their bonuses to skills used during starship combat and number of ranks in those skills—see page 316 for more on determining these. Any modifiers listed earlier in the stat block are accounted for here. If a starship has teams supporting officers who fill roles, this entry also lists the number and size of teams. This section is listed only for ships under the GM’s control—PCs can perform their own actions aboard starships they control; for more on these actions, see Starship Combat on page 316.
  • Special Abilities: Any unique actions or qualities a starship has due to its crew or its equipment are listed here.
  • Cost: In a base frame stat block, this lists the frame’s Build Point cost. Build Points (BP) are an abstract resource used for creating and upgrading starships.