Ship Combat Rules

Over the next few months I'll be posting ship combat rules a bit at a time. Please feel free to offer feedback and comments regards balance issues, ease of playability, simplicity, brevity, logic etc.

In progress, more to come. Lots more.

Information has been reprinted from Cheethorne's Design Factory. Very Cool Stuff! Shameless Plug!

Key Terms for Ship Combat


Speeds in ship combat fall under one of three categories: Station Keeping, Sublight, and Faster than Light.

Station Keeping speed is generally between Dead Slow and All Stop. This is essentially the speeds at which a ship can travel on maneuvering thrusters alone, and by and large, are unsuitable for combat.

  • Station Keeping speeds are measured in mph. (Miles per hour)

Faster than Light speeds are those used outside of normal combat and are generally considered Ferry Speeds; those used to get from location to location, battle to battle, over long distances. Sadly the actual speed of a Fold has never been canonically established beyond the fact that on older Fold Drives the Time Dilation equates to 10 days of time passed in Real Space for every hour spent in Fold Space.

  • Faster than Light speeds are measured in lyph (Light Years per Hour)

Sublight speeds are where a ship spends the majority of its time. Combat and inter-system transit is handled within sublight. (Although Micro-Folds can be used in some instances. I.e. an Emerson Fold.)

  • Sublight speeds are measures in m/s (Miles per Second).

For comparisons sake: Mach 1 is 343 m/s. A more abbreviated way to display these speeds would be in percents of light speed. For example a Garfish at Flank Speed travels at .20 (20%) of light speed, which is equal to 37,200 m/s.


Due to the speeds and weapons ranges involved in space combat distances are handled in miles for short ranges, in other words, ‘knife fights’ between capital ships, with Light Seconds, Minutes, and Hours for longer ranges. For all intents and purposes ALL combat will occur within Light Second range (or, Real Time range) whereas detection and tracking of a target can occur accurately at the Minute and not so accurately at the Hour ranges.

1 light-second 186,000 miles
1 light-minute 11 million miles
1 light-hour 670 million miles

Some examples:

Distance from the Earth to the Moon 1.282 light-seconds
Distance from the Earth to the Sun 8.317 light-minutes
Distance from the Earth to Jupiter 35.492 light-minutes
Distance from the Earth to Pluto 5.75 light-hours

So, a Garfish at Flank traveling from the Earth to the Moon would make the trip in 7.45 seconds, to travel to Jupiter would take 3.43 hours.

Since we are more interested in ship to ship combat, truly great distances such as the AU (92.9 million miles) and the Parsec (19 trillion miles or 3.26 Light years) will be the purview of FTL speeds.

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