First Thoughts on Fate Accelerated Vehicle Combat
One request I've received for our Fate Accelerated Star Wars game is the inclusion of some space battles. I've shied away from them as I got my handle on Fate in general.
As I consider this, my inclination is to stay true to Fate Accelerated and keep things simple. Probably the most important factor in Star Wars vehicle battles is the pilot. Han Solo takes a freighter through an asteroid field that destroys smaller and presumably more agile TIE fighters pursuing him. Anakin Skywalker manages to "land" a battleship that is literally falling apart.
With this in mind, I want to stay clear of giving a vehicle full stats. Rather, I will focus on aspects. If a freighter is clunky, that can be realized via aspects. Consider this possible realization of the Millennium Falcon:
- Fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy
- Prone to breakdowns
- Armed with twin quad lasers and antipersonnel guns
- Smuggling compartments
This series of aspects would allow the crew to realize most of what we see the Falcon do in the movies. The aspect "fastest hunk of junk in the galaxy" can be invoked to get more speed out of her. The armaments will most commonly be used to establish facts and to enable characters to shoot at other vessels. It could also be invoked to get bonuses when using those weapons. The breakdowns are a bit of a trouble aspect, likely used deliberately by the crew to get some Fate points or by opposition to trigger breakdowns. The hyperdrive problems in Empire Strikes Back are a clear example of this.
Consider your typical TIE fighter:
- Fast Imperial fighter
- Unshielded and fragile
- Twin blasters
This opens a few questions as to how one handles stress and consequences. Generally speaking, I don't think I'd give a vehicle in Fate Accelerated stress points - rather I'd have the pilot and possibly the co-pilot use theirs, since they come back after every scene. A possible exception would be when I don't even bother statting out the pilot but rather treat the pilot and vessel as one, something one would likely do for mook vessels. Allowing a co-pilot to give stress points might be too much - it would certainly stretch out battles, but that might desirable in such cases.
I believe I would give ships their own consequences, though only for important ships. Mook ships don't get consequences. However, the definition of a mook ship is pretty flexible. In The Force Awakens, the TIE fighter that Poe and Finn commandeer is no mook ship but were it to be piloted by some unnamed character it would be.
I'd also want to consider how to handle a vessel which appears owing to a player having an aspect for it. For example, Han Solo would likely have "Captain of the Millennium Falcon" as one of his aspects. I lean towards that giving him one free invoke per game session of one of the Falcon's aspects.
I'm not fully where I want to be but I am getting close. I'm not quite certain how I want to handle copilots and gunners. I might want to think about allowing some ships to have stunts. But I think if I were to need to do a starship battle in a hurry I could.