Scenario Designer Updates 12-13-2010
Starship Combat Scenario Designer (Update)
Note; This write-up is in a very early construction period, its a learning phase for me and I haven't entirely 'converted' the Flames non-direct updates to direct updates.
This write-up more or less represents the design mechanics and rules presented in The White Flame and the Starship Combat games in a form of an outline to suggest methods on creating your own scenarios and to update STCS with FASA rules that where published after.
These new "rules" are based on FASA's defined terms and guidelines used in the STCS Rulebook and approved by FASA for a finished official release. Due to the fact that the STCS book only uses a rough outline (when compared to the White Flame) to present the scenario creation and training scenarios, I chose to use the The White Flame book as a rule update template to provide FASA-Like source material.
The White Flame Book wasn't actually published in the form of a sourcebook to present the new STCS rules, you sorta of discover them when progressing throughout the 15 scenarios. If a designer where to examine the book carefully, it could show you, indirectly, how to outline different types of custom Starship Scenarios; single, linear or campaign style. The inclusion of new rules isn't really anything new, since much of FASA's supplements and adventures seem to include some sort of mechanic or rule 'update' that expand the core RPG rules. These new extensions are normally done or designed from the author of the particular module or book.
Due to the fact the entire finished White Flame Book is not presented here, you may need a copy of The White Flame Book in order to get the complete idea of how things where done. However I'm confident that after reading this write-up you should be able to come up with your own scenarios or scenario module using the new-ish mechanics and rules found here. Feel free to skip any of the lengthy steps in this write-up if you wish to present a simpler scenario. Refer to the STCS Scenario Sections (pages 8, 20 , 22-23, 31-32, 53) for a basic designer in comparison.
(This is not the complete manuals, but portions of them are discussed,
text has been Modified)
In many games, the rules of the game often include the following: conditions at the start of the game; detailed descriptions that cover all the possible rules interpretations and situations that can occur in play; and victory conditions. In the STCS game, the possibilities are too numerous for this to be shown, however I will try to explain many possibilities. The gamers and/or the designer must decide these functions and matters on their own.
Because the game may be played with an infinite number of different ship combinations, starting positions, and so on, the gamers and/or the designer must decide on the conditions by which the game will be played and won. These conditions are called the scenario.
The scenario spells out what the sides are in the game, and what the goal of each side is. It tells how many ships each side will have, which ships will be involved in the battle, what is their state of repair, and where they will start on the playing board. The scenario also tells if any planets, asteroid fields, suns, mines, or other objects will be found on the playing board, and where they will be located. During play, if a side gets reinforcements, the scenario will tell when this can occur. Finally, the scenario specifies the victory conditions for the game.
The Scenario Design
What are the sides? (For beginners, there should be only two sides.) For Advance players, in most cases, captains will find it more enjoyable to control several ships (though the practical limit is about three), and to have several captains on a side. In these expanded games, a gamemaster almost always is required, whether he plays or not.
What are the goals and victory conditions of each side? (For Beginners, usually this is merely to destroy the opposing ships.)
How many ships of each type will each side have? (For beginners, it is a good idea to give each captain only one ship. Use the D and WDF combat efficiency values of each ship to help balance the sides, making sure that all the ships used have approximately equal Combat Efficiencies. For example, the Constitution Class, the D7-M Class, and the D-10 Class cruisers are all nearly equal to one another, and the Reliant Class cruiser is a match for the L-9 Class frigate. In larger battles, it is a good idea to have the total D of one side equal the total D of the other, and the total WDF of one side equal the total WDF of the other.
There are three basic types of scenarios your group can play.
Each scenario you design can recreate a single battle or encounter, or you may want to have several scenarios interrelated, maybe four, representing an Operation with various actions and responses. If you want something a bit longer you can try to provide a Campaign, several scenarios as a single, continuous battle. In these campaign scenarios, players keep track of battle damage taken by various vessels from one engagement to another, with earlier damage and losses affecting the condition and make-up of the forces involved. This damage must be recorded and carried over in each of the following scenarios. To ease your concerns: In rare cases, between campaign battles the Special Rule section may allow a repair to take place. This is up to the scenario designer.
Players may use these rules to create unrelated combats, though many will also want to pit their skill against others in a continuing effort, where the results of one combat have an effect on those of another.
For a campaign, it is recommended that each ship have a permanent Master Control Panel In this way, the damage done in one combat may be carried over into another if the scenario calls for it. Furthermore, it is recommended that individual captains and crews command and run the ships.
While not necessary, due to the nature of some of the combats and the use of cloaking devices, a referee is suggested. In some scenarios, The player will need to keep track of damage to his ships as the campaign progress.
The Various playing pieces that are laid out for gameplay.
The Playing Board
Lay out the Starfield Mapsheet on a flat surface such as a table or the floor.
The players can attach several Starfield Mapsheets together to make a very large playing area. (For Beginners, usually only one sheet is used) The second mapsheet should be attached along the long sides to make the playing area as square as possible. If two more are added, they should be attached to the short sides. Combats rarely spread out over a larger area than four mapsheets, unless the scenario specifically calls for it. For chase scenarios, the mapsheets should be placed to give the longest possible run.
Asteroid, Planet, And Moon Counters
Counters have been provided for large and small bodies that could be found in solar systems. These counters fit on the Starfield Mapsheet, taking up one hex or as many as seven hexes. How they are laid out is determined by the scenario being played.
Find the Colored, hexagonalStarship Silhouette Counters that are going to be used in the scenario. Place the counters on the mapsheet to mark their starting positions. This varies depending on what the scenario calls for.
You may want to provide Extensive History and background of the Fleets involved in all the scenarios you make, such as FASA did with the White Flame. Its time consuming but its worth it especially if your doing something of a 'canonical' representation. This may be skipped in favor of simplicity.
Also a list of OFFICER's should be provided. Such as Fleet Admiral, and various Captains. At the minimum again for simplicity sake, each Officer should include brief stats such as Captain's Skill Rating (Starship Combat Strategy/Tactics) and a Crew Efficiency Rating. Since each Commander usually are made to have an experienced crew onboard that have been working together with the same type of starship. (See the STCS pg31-32)
Other extended stats the Officer's can have are:
They should also have Physical Description, Personal History, Physiological Makeup and Crew Description profiles. These are not terribly important and can be skipped for simplicity.
Scenario rules should include all necessary information for understanding and playing
the game. Each scenario should open with a narrative description of the combat, followed
be a brief description of the battle's historical content, or cannon occurrences.
The Game Set-Up section should provide the map or maps arrangement, special terrain features, attacking and defending forces, and their deployment locations. Special damage or deviation from the listed statistics should be given.
The Victory Conditions should describe the various conditions necessary for possible outcomes of each scenario. Because combat between two sides rarely continues until one or the other is destroyed, the Victory Conditions usually list objectives and goals for both sides, as well as any point values used or a set number of turns for ending combat( See WHITE FLAME CUSTOM RULES and RULE EXTENSIONS after the Template for Victory Rules and Tables)
Finally, most scenarios include custom special rules and escape parameters not covered in the
Tactical Combat Simulator manual. These are discussed in the Special Rules
section of each scenario. See WHITE FLAME CUSTOM RULES and
RULE EXTENSIONS after the Template for Special Rules listed.
CAPTAIN SKILL AND CREW EFFICIENCY
The Captain's Skill and the Crew Efficiency ratings for each side are listed under the appropriate commander's description. Opponents' ratings are either listed in the scenario, or rolled up using the rules in the Starship Tactical Combat Simulator. (See the STCS pg31-32)
Tell the players the warp speed at which the combat will occur. Brief them on the goals of each side, clearly stating the victory conditions for each. Make sure all players know what ships are on each side.
VICTORY CONDITIONS AND TABLES
The White Flame uses two methods for Victory Conditions, the more familiar method as presented in the STCS is providing a short paragraph defining what is considered a win or loss. The more elaborate method is to provide a custom chart along with brief descriptions of those charts. For simplicity sake you may choose to stick with the STCS method, if not examine the following section to see how the White Flame uses Victory Conditions.
Either player wins by moving the Searcher off their edge of the mapboard. If the Research vessel is destroyed, both players lose.
The Defender adjusts the victory down one step for each of the attacking D-18s destroyed.
VICTORY CONDITIONS FOR CAMPAIGNS
VICTORY CONDITION FOR A CAMPAIGN
The Defender's victory is based on victory points given for vessels destroyed or forced to retreat. Use the following chart for determining victory. All vessels forced to retreat are worth 1/2 the normal Victory Points.
Note that both sides may claim victory in this scenario.WFVC9-2
The Attacker's victory is based on the number of turns required to destroy the Defender. See the chart below.
The Defender's victory is based on the Victory Point total for all Attacker's ships destroyed or forced to retreat. Retreating vessels are worth 1/2 the victory points.
Note that both players may claim victory in this scenario.
The Defender's victory is based on the Victory Point total for all Attacking vessels destroyed or forced to retreat. Any ship that escapes is worth 1/2 the Victory Points.
Note that both players could claim victory in this scenario.
Each player receives Victory Points for each Freighter they retreat off the map. The Orions retreat off any map edge, but the Klingon only retreats off the right edge. Refer to the appropriate table for victory points.
Victory is determined by victory points given to the attacker. The attacker receives one victory point for each point of damage done to the planet, and loses 15 victory points for each attacking vessel destroyed. Escaping ships do not acquire VP loss. The degree of victory or loss is determined by the following chart.
CUSTOM RULES & RULE EXTENSIONS
These are all the examples of the kind of rules that where supplied in the White Flame Book. The rules use all of STCS rules and in some cases expands on them to add to a customized scenario, rarely are these rules re-used in more than one scenario; some are created for specific scenario types and some are general and used several times. These new rules are fairly straight forward and nothing extensive.
These are rules that are used in every scenario, unless the scenario specifically disallows it.
General Rule One;
General Rule Two;
This will count as a victory for the opposing side, but the captain is still alive and may be given another command if his host ship or base survives. The crew, of course, is also rescued but they will be absorbed by other ships, and will not remain together. The captain retains his Skill Rating, which he will use in his next command, but the Crew Efficiency Rating is lost.
BEAMING AND REPAIRING
RELUCTANCE TO FIRE FIRST
THE RED WING
FIRING ON THE PLANET
The following is WIP and is not near completion.
The Captain's Skill Rating and Crew Efficiency Rating may be increased by successful missions. The starting ratings for campaigns should be calculated as given above. To these ratings will be added victory points, as described below. The captain's rating is his until he is killed, no matter what ship he commands. The crew's rating is only good for the specific ship designated, no matter who commands.
STCS VICTORY POINTS: