Combat Test: Sun Dog v. Xanadu Liner (First Space Combat)

My task: familiarize myself with the basic space combat system in GURPS Spaceships. I thought I would test how the player’s ship would stand up against a “standard” liner from the Spaceships books. I chose as an opponent the Xanadu liner, an SM+11 ship on p. 12 of GURPS Spaceships 2. The Xanadu is unarmed–I was mainly curious if the ship could get away from the players before taking too much damage.

Once I started the combat I think I noticed a typo — on Xanadu Liner specs, the single rear hull position for a reactionless drive should grant Super Reactionless for 50G thrust, not “Hot” for 100G?


About 15 seconds after this combat started, still during the first turn, the 940-foot long superliner was destroyed in one shot from one missile turret on the player ship. The big lesson learned for me is that the missiles in space combat are DEVASTATING. This is useful to know — space pirates usually don’t want to obliterate their targets! Also, the basic armor is USELESS! I smiled as I saw that it stopped 8 of the 1,320-1,500,000 of dDamage that one missile could inflict here.

But this was just my first take on the space combat system. Let me know if I messed it up! I’m sure I did. Here are the details:

Combat Test

Sun Dog unique freighter vs. Xanadu-class luxury liner (GURPS Spaceships 2).

Standard scale combat with 20-second turns.

Both ships begin encounter while stopped at a jump point (in open space). They are stopped and engage in hostilities after communicating.

For easy rolling, I assume everyone has a skill of 12 for everything.

  • Turn #1
    • Xanadu
      • Captain rolls Tactics (Defensive): success (+1 dodge this turn)
      • Captain rolls Leadership to inspire crew (-4 multitasking): fails
      • Engineer allocates power: 1 point to power-up FTL drive, 1 point to engines
      • Navigator plots FTL course for escape: success
      • Sensor officer rolls for Engineering Analysis (-6 for turn length): critical failure. Critical failure disables sensor suite. [Ha! Nice job. -ed.]
      • Pilot accelerates at 50G for +1 acceleration bonus
      • Pilot takes evasive Action. Rear facing to enemy.
      • Communications Officer rolls to Supervise Damage Control: success (+1 on damage control)
      • Damage Control Party of 20 people dispatched to control room to repair sensor suite. (5 turns movement required, 1/5 complete).
    • Sundog
      • Captain rolls Motivate Crewman to motivate pilot: success (+1 piloting this turn)
      • Engineer allocates power: all systems powered. Shield at 50% power.
      • Navigator rolls for Tactical Navigation: fails (fails by 4+: -1 penalty to piloting this turn)
      • Sensor officer rolls for Engineering Analysis (-6 for turn length): fails.
      • Pilot accelerates at 100G for +2 acceleration bonus
      • Pilot Holds Course (may not attempt closing maneuver on first turn).
      • Launcher (conventional missile) at long range (half damage): Gunner rolls for Aim and Attack
        • Attack modifiers: target size +11, sAcc +3, attacking streamlined rear hull -1, relative velocity (10 mps) -6 (total +7): success
        • Xanadu attempts dodge: skill 6, + 0 handling modifier, +1 motivated pilot, -1 poor navigation, +1 evasive action: total 7: fails
        • Hits (rear, 6) engine:
          • SCENARIO 1: Conventional Warhead: 132 dDam x 10 V (relative velocity in mps): 1,320 dDam
          • SCENARIO 2: Nuclear Warhead: 150,000 dDam x 10 V (relative velocity in mps): 1,500,000 dDam
        • Armor divisor is 2.  Armor reduced dDam by 8
        • Xanadu is automatically destroyed (damage is more than 6 x HP) 


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