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11. Space Adventures

In the depths of space lie vast stellar empires, strange aliens, technology beyond the imagining of today’s science. This chapter explores specific rules for setting your own adventures amongst the stars.

Imagine a world where the limits of time, space and technology are put to the test. What would be possible as humanity approached those limits? What wonders might we uncover and what dangers might we face? What might humanity find out there in the infinite reaches of space? Welcome to science fiction.

In science fiction, stories are based on the effects of scientific discoveries, environmental changes, or technological advancements. These are often extrapolated from current trends in the scientific community. The impact of science on civilization may be the main focus of the story, or it may serve just as a backdrop, providing the setting in which the story unfolds. In some cases the stories may be set “one step ahead” of current technology, while others posit science so far advanced that it borders on the magical. Science fiction has heroes, yet the story does not often focus on them to the exclusion of the current state of the society or civilization they live in.



Science fiction is a very fluid genre. The following list covers some of the more prominent subgenres of science fiction, particularly those involving interplanetary or interstellar space travel.

Alien Invasion

The alien invasion subgenre revolves around the invasion of the earth by one or more space faring alien races. These aliens may seek to exterminate us and take the Earth for themselves, to enslave us, or to use us as a source of food. The invasion could be anything from a full military onslaught to a covert infiltration of human society. Examples of the alien invasion subgenre include Invasion of the Body Snatchers, Independence Day, The Liberation of Earth, and War of the Worlds.

Military Science Fiction

This subgenre is set against a backdrop of interstellar warfare. This galactic conflict may take place between star-spanning human nations, or between humans and one or more alien races. These stories are often told from the point of view of the soldiers fighting the war. Such a campaign emphasizes military ideals such as discipline, honor, duty, loyalty, and courage. The Narrator may want to encourage the heroes to take appropriate virtues. Examples of this subgenre can be found in David Drake’s Counting the Cost, Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War, and Robert Heinlein’s Starship Troopers.

Science Fantasy

Science fantasy is a subgenre combining elements of science fiction and fantasy. Technology may have advanced in ways resembling magic, such as the development of psionic powers or the use of nanotechnology to perform seemingly magical feats. There is speculation about the future and the impact of science, but it’s not overly concerned with realism. Science fantasy focuses more on heroic characters than other types of science fiction and often makes use of classical fantasy archetypes. It may even go so far as to include space-faring dragons, biologically engineered zombies, or techno-mages. For more information on the fantasy genre, refer to Chapter Ten.

Space Opera

Space opera is an epic subgenre of science fiction. It features larger than life heroes journeying across the galaxy on romantic adventures to some of the most exotic locations the universe has to offer. Heroes in such stories often have access to spaceships capable of traveling at incredible speeds. Planets usually have earthlike atmospheres and intelligent alien inhabitants. Various sorts of powers (particularly psychic or mental powers) are common, and there may be orders or organizations of adepts wielding them. Examples of space opera include Babylon 5, Dune, Farscape, Star Trek, and Flash Gordon.

Tech Ratings

Technology is a driving force behind the plot of any science-fiction story. The heroes and antagonists of science fiction make use of a wide range of technological weapons, defenses, and tools. Devices shape the setting in which these characters live, influencing travel, trade, business, communications, and virtually every other area of life. Your choices regarding which technologies are widely available and which are limited or unavailable will have a significant impact on your science- fiction setting.

The tech rating (TR) indicates the technology available in a particular society or civilization. Technological development pervades all aspects of a culture, particularly at higher levels (TR 5 and beyond) when long- range communication is virtually instantaneous. Even at lower levels, it’s unlikely—but not impossible—for a group of humans (or other sentient beings) to be at one tech rating in some respects but not in others. Tech ratings may vary wildly from place to place on the same world or even the same continent.

Tech ratings are a measure of technological progress only. A society may be very advanced technologically, but still be fairly backwards with regard to its social development. Likewise, a society with stone-age technology could be socially or spiritually advanced.

TR 0: Stone Age

The major achievements of a Stone Age society are the use of fire, the domestication of animals, and the invention of agriculture. An individual living in a Stone Age society is primitive, but isn’t necessarily gullible, stupid, or easily frightened by advanced technology. Common weapons in a TR 0 civilization include the club, the dagger, the spear, and the bow. Armor made from hide or leather is possible, as are wicker shields. Communication beyond the local tribe or settlement doesn’t exist. Travel is accomplished by foot or by simple rafts or canoes. Simple pottery, stone-working, and woodworking are possible.

TR 1: Bronze/Iron Age

Early human civilizations learned to work metal toward the end of the Stone Age. The malleability of copper made it the first metal to be “tamed.” Adding tin to copper created bronze, which allowed tools and weapons of great durability to be crafted. In turn, those improved tools made ironworking possible, replacing bronze as the metal of choice for tools and weapons.

In a Bronze/Iron Age society, advances in pottery, construction, and agriculture allow for the concentration of populations into larger groups, with a corresponding upswing in the accumulation and sharing of knowledge. The rise of nations, city-states, and empires begins in the Bronze Age. Organized efforts to improve communications allow regional societies to exist. Galleys and small sailing vessels are capable of longer voyages; some cultures build extensive road or canal networks to link distant places. Improvements in agriculture permit the rise of artisans, craftsmen, professional soldiers, and other occupations not directly concerned with gathering food.

The sword replaces clubs and daggers as the preferred infantry weapon. Chariots briefly dominate warfare before cavalry (aided by the introduction of the stirrup) renders them obsolete. The first true military forces and tactical systems appear. Armor can now be made from sewn plates or scales, metal links, or even forged breastplates. A variety of metal melee weapons dominate the battlefield.

TR 2: Middle Ages

Maturing civilizations experience a period of turmoil and adjustment during the Middle Ages. Developments continue in architecture, commerce, metallurgy, and mathematics. Wider dissemination of information becomes possible thanks to advanced printing techniques. Sturdy seafaring carracks and galleons open the door to future advances.

As population grows and knowledge of agriculture evolves, cities and towns grow larger. Toward the end of this age, feudal systems begin to collapse. Specialized crafts develop, universities appear, and the middle class is born. The first corporations emerge in the form of trade guilds. The evolution of strong systems of trade and finance distribute a society’s wealth more evenly, diluting the power of the nobility.

Tools of warfare undergo a significant revolution. Sophisticated chain and plate armors protect warriors from harm, and elaborate fortifications become both art and science. Toward the end of the Middle Ages, the introduction of simple gunpowder weapons signals the end of knights, heavy armor, and organized armies of swordsmen.

TR 3: Age of Reason

The Age of Reason is an era when the development of ideas takes precedence over technological invention. Experimentation becomes the means by which the physical properties of nature are systematically examined. The study of scientific disciplines—chemistry, electromagnetics, medicine, biology, and astronomy—flourishes. Instruments such as microscopes and telescopes enable scientists to greatly extend the range of their observations and discoveries.

The new reliance on science generates waves on all levels of society. Superstition falls away world exploration reaches its apex. Society begins to experiment with new forms of government. Corporations and economic alliances continue to evolve.

The cannon becomes the dominant factor in naval warfare, while massed musket fire and horse-pulled field pieces rule the battlefield. The bow vanishes, replaced by the flintlock. Light melee weapons remain common.

TR 4: Industrial Age

At this tech rating, the theoretical knowledge of the previous era matures into widespread practical applications. The harnessing of hydraulic, steam, and electric power creates an explosion of commerce and industry. Developments such as the telegraph, telephone, and radio make global communication possible. Breakthroughs in manufacturing techniques allow the construction of heavy ironclad vessels, rail transportation, and architecture of previously unimaginable size. Pioneers venture high into the atmosphere and descend into the sea’s depths.

Urbanization is complete as individuals gather in smaller environments where they can more easily exchange goods and information. Corporations expand in power, many establishing themselves throughout the explored world. Governments are based on political and economic factors.

Warfare changes swiftly through the period. Aircraft and submersibles join the list of military assets. Reliable and accurate rifles, pistols, and machine guns become common. Mechanized war machines herald the first great change in the art of battle since the end of the knight.

TR 5: Information Age

In the Information Age, computer technology and electronics rule supreme. Satellite information systems and the Internet connect the globe digitally. This era also sees the introduction of fission power, reducing the importance of fossil fuels. The automobile replaces the locomotive as the common form of travel. The first steps toward space travel involve massive chemical rockets, unmanned probes and satellites, and short-term manned missions.

The technology of the era also allows greater citizen participation in government. The emergence of international alliances begins to dissolve borders between nations. Corporations gather power and threaten government authority.

Most weapons at this time are refined versions of Industrial Age equipment. Rifles, machine guns, and heavy howitzers are still used by the world’s soldiers. Computerized targeting systems and guided weapons make warfare much more precise and efficient. Strategic weapons of mass destruction, tested but never used, exhibit the species’ power to exterminate itself in minutes.

TR 6: Fusion Age

The development of fusion power provides an efficient, nonexpendable energy source that almost obliterates the need for chemical fuel sources. Advanced space exploration and colonization become possible. Computers become even more accessible, reliable, and powerful, leading to the development of virtual systems and widespread access to the global Internet.

Slowly, individual nations are replaced by world powers including megacorporations, as the line between national citizen and corporate employee is rendered indistinct. Armed with the means to eradicate the entire species, world powers keep conflicts to the level of skirmishing and posturing. Integration of the Information Age’s improvements proceed peacefully.

Scientific advances in genetic engineering lead to the first attempts to genetically manipulate human beings. Early results are encouraging, with the manifestation of positive and negative mutations in the species toward the end of the age. Scientists also perfect cloning technology; the first human clones are created. In the later years of this age, the first crude applications of gravity induction technology appear, in the form of vehicles that can move through the air without using physical propulsion or consumption of fuel.

Chemical-powered explosives and firearms remain the weapons of choice; fusion technology can’t be effectively miniaturized for personal combat. Nevertheless, advanced chemistry and superconducting technology change the materials and capabilities of many weapons. True spaceships become possible, propelled by powerful fusion drives, but still requiring a reaction mass to traverse space. The age sees the tenuous settlement of other planets and asteroids within the same star system.

TR 7: Gravity Age

Control of gravity is one of the key features of TR 7. The development of gravitonic science and gravitonic engineering leads to a host of miraculous devices: levitating cars, interplanetary drives requiring no reaction mass, and a wide range of military tools. Just as the application of electricity was spurred by the discovery of the induction principle, the creation of devices that induce gravitational energy leads to an effective control over weight.

Gravity induction relies on the phenomenon first set forth in Einstein’s Theory of Special Relativity: An object’s mass approaches infinity as the object’s velocity approaches the speed of light. By using a cyclotron to accelerate a tiny particle to near-light speed, the gravity generator creates gravitons between the particle and the surrounding mass. These gravitons can be siphoned off, redirected, or stored by use of the induction coil.

At TR 7, gravity inducers can be miniaturized to the size of hockey pucks for special applications. An inducer powerful enough to negate a human’s gravitational attraction to the Earth is about the size of a discus, while the induction motor in a flying car requires a gravity generator about the size of a spare tire.

At this tech rating, two key technologies herald humanity’s climb to the stars. The gravity induction reactor replaces fusion power as a more efficient source of energy that can be miniaturized with ease. World powers explore, divide, and colonize the entirety of the local star system. At the same time, however, life on the home planet is unchanged.

The second advance of the era brings perhaps the greatest upheaval in the history of human civilization. The introduction and integration of gravity induction technology leads to the creation of the induction engine, which allows starships to bridge the gap between the stars. Political and economic reorganization occurs as the species spreads far from home.

Projectile firearms are in their last days as crude energy weapons become available. Powered armor is available to warriors of this age. Personal (melee) weapons enjoy a resurgence, due in large part to a shift in military tactics—armed conflict between individuals seldom occurs on an army scale, but more frequently involves engagements of small units in conditions where ranged weapons are not effective.

Computer technology links every society, settlement, and outpost of a star system in a single information net, creating an unparalleled exchange of data for business, entertainment, and research.

TR 8: Energy Age

The continuing miniaturization of induction engine technology allows power plants the size of marbles to harness the basic forces of creation. Powerful personal force screens and energy weapons dominate the battlefield, as projectile weapons finally disappear after ruling the battlefield for a thousand years. Miniaturized sensors, shields, and engines allow mass production of small, practical starfighters. At the other end of the spectrum, advanced construction techniques allow humans to build enormous, self-sustaining cities in space.

TR 9 and Higher

These tech ratings are beyond reach or comprehension, although isolated worlds or undiscovered species may exist that have access to them. Practical control of matter at the subatomic level, the ability to travel through time, or the power to “fold space” to shorten travel distances may be possible at this stage of technological development.

Purchasing Items of Varying Tech Ratings

Depending on the economics of a campaign, a Narrator may choose to make items of a different tech rating unavailable, cheaper, or more expensive to purchase. For the sake of game balance, Narrators who want to make lower-TR and higher-TR items available to characters should adjust the purchase Difficulties of items as follows.

  • –2 to Purchase Difficulty for each TR lower than the current one, except in the case of valuable antiques.
  • +5 to Purchase Difficulty for equipment from the next highest TR (the limit for purchasing cutting-edge technology), assuming the technology is available at all.

Space Heroes

Heroes in science-fiction space adventures are many and varied. This section looks at options for creating heroes for a space adventure campaign.

Occupational Backgrounds

In a modern or futuristic True20 campaign, you may wish to use heroic backgrounds based off of the character’s education and job training rather than the culture to which they belong.

Bonus Feats: Connected, Renown, Wealthy

Favored Feats: Inspire, Jack-of-All-Trades


This occupation includes investigative reporters, photojournalists, private investigators, police detectives, criminologists, criminal profilers, espionage agents, and others who use their skills to gather evidence and analyze clues.

Bonus Feats: Firearms Training, Improved Strike, Talented (Gather Information and Search).

Favored Feats: Skill Mastery, Well-Informed

Astronaut Trainee

Law Enforcement

As scientists and pioneers, astronaut trainees have prepared their minds and bodies for the rigors of space travel and life in space. They are elite members of a sophisticated space program, waiting for the opportunity to hurl themselves into the void to shed light on the mysteries of the universe.

Bonus Feats: Skill Focus (Pilot), Talented (Navigate and Survival), Zero-G Training

Favored Feats: Skill Mastery, Tough


Colonists are wayfaring pioneers who set the foundations of new societies on far-flung continents, planets, or moons. To survive in their new surroundings, they must live off the land and defend themselves against indigenous predatory life forms and hostile forces of nature.

Bonus Feats: Endurance, Planetary Adaptation, Skill Focus (Survival)

Favored Feats: Diehard, Tough


A doctor can be a physician (general practitioner or specialist), a surgeon, or a psychiatrist.

Bonus Feats: Skill Focus (Medicine), Talented (Knowledge (sciences)) and Knowledge (physical sciences)), Talented (Knowledge (behavioral sciences) and Knowledge (technology)),

Favored Feats: Jack-of-All-Trades, Skill Mastery


Drifters are aimless, world-wise wanderers who move between cities or star systems, working odd jobs until boredom or fate leads them elsewhere.

Bonus Feats: Contacts, Jack-of-All-Trades, Tireless

Favored Feats: Jack-of-All-Trades, Tough


Entrepreneurs are obsessed with being financially independant. They believe in themselves, have an abundance of confidence, and the ability to acquire the necessary funds to bankroll their newest moneymaking venture.

Bonus Feats: Master Plan, Skill Focus (Knowledge (business)), Wealthy

Favored Feats: Inspire, Skill Mastery


Heirs are the elite sons and daughters of powerful magnates, influential nobles, and imperial monarchs.

Law enforcement personnel can include any sort of police force, or special law enforcement training.

Bonus Feats: Firearms Training, Improved Strike, Talented (Gather Information and Intimidate)

Favored Feats: Chokehold, Stunning Attack


You are trained as a member of the armed forces.

Bonus Feats: Armor Training (Light), Improved Strike, Firearms Training

Favored Feats: Attack Specialization, Improved Attack Focus


“Outcast” is not so much an occupation as a forced way of life. Persecuted and exiled for being different, outcasts are lone pariahs or shunned members of a culture society finds deviant or abhorrent.

Bonus Feats: Skill Focus (Stealth), Skill Focus (Survival), Tough

Favored Feats: Diehard, Tough


Scavengers turn society’s wreckage and discarded trash into useful tools or items for trade. If they’re lucky, their endeavors might even yield one or two objects of special value.

Bonus Feats: Improvised Weapon Training, Salvage, Skill Focus (Search)

Favored Feats: Improvised Tools, Jack-of-All-Trades


Scientists and engineers of all types fit within the scope of this starting occupation.

Bonus Feats: Inventor, Skill Focus (Knowledge (one of business, earth and life sciences, physical sciences, or technology)) Skill Focus (Craft (one of chemical, electronic, mechanical, or structural))

Favored Feats: Skill Mastery, Well-Informed


Skilled drivers and pilots, transporters move people, information, and precious cargo safely from one destination to another.

Bonus Feats: Talented (Computers and Pilot), Skill Focus (Craft (any)), Skill Focus (Navigate)

Favored Feats: Master Plan, Skill Mastery

Designing Alien Backgrounds

Science fiction covers a near infinite number of alien species, variant human races or other character backgrounds. This chapter cannot possibly cover all the possibilities, so we have presented you with rules for creating your own species backgrounds tailored to your specific campaign.

Each background begins with 3 background points to spend and either two favored feats or one favored power. Refer to the Background Modifications table to see options for spending your background points.

Background Modifications
Modification Background Point Costs
Natural Armor Bonus 1 pt. cost/+1 bonus
Ability Increase 2 pts. cost
Ability Decrease 2 pts. bonus
Additional Favored Feats 1 pt. cost/ 2 feats
Additional Favored Power 1 pt. / power
Blindsense 60 ft. 2 pts. cost
Blindsight 60 ft. 3 pts. cost
Bonus Feat (pre-selected) 1 pt. cost
Bonus Feat (player’s choice) 2 pts. cost
Bonus Power 1 pt. cost
Bonus Skill (player’s choice) 1 pt. cost
Burrow 10 ft. 1 pt. cost
Burrow 20 ft. 2 pts. cost
Climb 20 ft., +8 to Climb (can take 10) 2 pts. cost
Climb speed increase 1 pt. cost/ 10 ft.
Darkvision 60 ft. 1 pt. cost
Darkvision 90 ft. 2 pts. cost
Energy Resistance 2 1 pt. cost
Fly 30 ft. (poor) 2 pts. cost
Fly speed increase 1 pt. cost/ 30 ft.
Fly maneuverability class increase 1 pt. cost/ class
Glide 30 ft. (average) 1 pt. cost
Glide Speed Increase 1 pt. cost / 30 ft.
Initiative Bonus 1 pt. cost / +4 bonus
Land speed increase 1 pt. cost / 10 ft.
Large Size 0 pts. cost
Level Lag 7 pt. bonus/level
Natural Attack +1 or less 0 pts. cost
Natural Attack +2 1 pt. cost
Natural Attack +3 2 pts. cost
Natural Attack +4 3 pts. cost
Scent Trait 1 pt. cost
Small Size 0 pts. cost
Skill Bonus 1 pt. cost / +4 bonus.
Swim Speed 20 ft., +8 to Swim (Can take 10)* 2 pts. cost
Swim speed increase 1 pt. cost / 10 ft.
Tremorsense 60 ft. 1 pt. cost

*A creature with a Swim speed receives the Amphibious trait for free if it suits the creature’s nature (Narrator’s choice). The Hold Breath trait costs 1 point, and allows the creature to hold its breath for a number of rounds equal to plus 4x its Constitution.

Sample Alien


The following alien backgrounds are drawn from UFO mythology and are presented as examples you can build, modify or drop directly into your science-fiction setting.


Greys, also known as zetas or reticulians, are a psionic alien race with a history of interaction with and abduction of humans. They look like short, slender and hairless grey humanoids with large heads and bulbous black eyes. Some believe these aliens conduct elaborate scientific experiments on humans.

Ability Adjustments: –1 Str, –1 Con, +1 Int, +1 Wis

Bonus Feats: Adaptation (Low Gravity), Iron Will

Bonus Power: Mind Touch

Favored Power: Mind Touch (Treat total level as adept level for this power)


Also called “nordics,” the nords are a psionic species that appear much like beautiful human beings. This is either the result of a remarkable case of convergent evolution, the result of genetic engineering, or perhaps they are descended from abducted human ancestors. Nordics claim to be from the Pleiades, even though that star cluster is far too young for them to have evolved there.

Bonus Feats: Attractive, Iron Will

Bonus Power: Mind Touch

Favored Power: Mind Touch (Treat total level as adept level for this power)


Reptoids (also known as saurians or sauroids) are a race of reptilian humanoids. Many scientists theorize they evolved on an earthlike planet where reptiles dominated and mammals never evolved. Reptoids are incredibly fast and possess a cold intellectual curiosity. Reptoids show little emotion by human standards.

Ability Adjustments: –1 Str, +1 Dex, –1 Con, +1 Int

Natural Armor: Reptoids gain a +2 natural armor bonus to Toughness.

Bonus Feat: Improved Initiative

Favored Feats: Evasion and Seize Initiative

Natural Attacks: Reptoids have natural claw and bite attacks that inflict 1+ Str damage with a successful unarmed attack.


In a science-fiction setting, experts and warriors will take center stage. Adepts may not even exist in a science fiction campaign, or perhaps their “supernatural” powers are explained through quasi-scientific means. Experts include all manner of scientists, inventors, engineers, and doctors, as well as traders, explorers, and diplomats. Warriors include space marines, soldiers, law enforcers, bounty hunters, gunners and fighter pilots. If there are adepts in the setting, they might be psions, superscience gadgeteers, or technomages.

Expert Variant: The Specialist

Experts are the “skill users” of True20. Their broad range of skills, however, may not reflect the degree of specialization that can occur in technologically advanced societies. Specialists are experts with a narrower focus to their skills, able to achieve higher ranks in their “specialized skills” than other heroes of equivalent level. Specialists gain 6 starting skills and 6 skill points per level. They may pick two Send Transmission: Routine communications (hailing a nearby related skills from their starting skills to be their “specialized skills.” The ship, using a subspace or dimensional transceiver, and so on) are specialist begins with 6 ranks in each of their starting specialized skills; accomplished with a Computers check (Difficulty 10). Communications their maximum rank for these two skills is equal to their level + 5. sent over incredibly long distances (such as between star systems) are

Specialist Core Ability: A specialist may always take 10 on their two subject to distortion; correcting that distortion to ensure a message “specialized skills,” and may spend a Conviction point when making a reaches its intended destination requires a successful Computers specialized skill check to treat the roll as a 20 (meaning you don’t need check (Difficulty 20).

    to roll the die at all, just apply the result of 20 to your skill modifier). The following applications of the Computers skill can’t be used

Skills untrained: Jam Transmission: This skill can be used to prevent a ship or facility

With the possible exception of Knowledge (supernatural) most of the from receiving an incoming transmission. An opposed Computers skills presented in Chapter Two can be put to good use in a space check between the individual receiving the message and the adventure campaign. The Computers skill increases in importance as individual attempting to jam the message determines whether or it is used throughout society. The Craft (mechanical), Craft (electronic) not the message gets through. If an unmanned computer receives and Craft (chemical) skills also gain new importance for building and the transmission, jamming the transmission requires a Computers maintaining high-tech equipment. The Survival skill remains useful for navigating terrestrial environments, but is not well suited for being used Scramble/Unscramble Transmission: Computers can be used to to navigating the vast outer reaches of space. A new “Navigate” skill has scramble a transmission. This is done with an opposed Computers been added to serve this purpose, along with new uses for other skills. check between the individual sending the message and anyone attempting to intercept or unscramble it.

check (Difficulty 15).

Computers (Int)

In addition to all the standard uses, this skill can be used to operate Time: Scrambling or unscrambling a transmission are all full-round actions. Conducting an active sensor scan or sending/ jamming a shipboard sensors as well as send, jam, scramble, and unscramble transmission is a move action.

    transmissions sent through space or across dimensions.

Check: The following applications of the Computers skill can be used Craft (Int) untrained: You can use the appropriate Craft skill to repair vehicles, starships, and another ship or object in sensory range requires a Computers check Check: Repairing damage to a vehicle or starship takes one hour of (Difficulty 15). An active sensor scan conducted over a vast distance work, a mechanical tool kit, and a proper facility such as a workshop (for example, across a star system) or subjected to some form of or hangar bay. (Without a tool kit, you take a –4 penalty on your Craft disturbance (such as interference from a solar flare) applies a –5 or check.) At the end of the hour, make a Craft check (Difficulty 20). Success higher penalty on the check. repairs the most severe damage condition. If damage remains, you mayConduct Active Sensor Scan: Using a starship’s sensors to analyze constructs (including robots).

continue to make repairs for as many hours as it takes to completely restore the vehicle or starship.

The same rules apply to robots and other constructs, except the Craft check is more difficult to achieve (Difficulty 30).

Special: A vehicle, starship, robot, or other construct reduced to “dying” on the damage track cannot be repaired. It can be salvaged for parts, however (see the Salvage feat description).

Disable Device (Int)

You can use this skill to disable a robot.

Check: Disabling a robot is a full-round action and requires a successful Disable Device check (Difficulty 30). The robot must be pinned before the check can be made.

Special: A disabled robot or disabled external cybernetic attachment can be re-enabled with a successful Craft check (see Craft).

Knowledge (technology) (Int)

You can make a Knowledge (technology) check to correctly identify starships, robots, and vehicles, as well as identify unfamiliar technological devices.

Check: The Difficulties for identifying technological items vary depending on the type of information required:

  • Identifying a robot or vehicle by its general type or classification: Difficulty 10
  • Determining the function or purpose of a particular mechanical system: Difficulty 15
  • Recalling the standard, factory-model design specs of a particular type or class of starship, vehicle, or robot: Difficulty 20

When confronted with an unfamiliar piece of technology or alien artifact, you can make a Knowledge (technology) check to correctly surmise the primary purpose of the device. A success does not enable you to activate the item, nor does it make you proficient with the item. The base Difficulty of the Knowledge (technology) check is 10 for simple tools and instruments and 20 for more complex devices such as weapons or vehicles. This Difficulty is increased by 5 for every progress level the alien technology differs from your own.

Navigate (Int)

You’re trained in finding directions and plotting courses from place to place.

Check: Make a Navigate check when trying to find your way to a distant location without directions or other specific guidance. Generally, you do not need to make a check to find a local street or other common urban site, or follow an accurate map. You might make a check, however, to find your way through a dense forest or a labyrinth of underground storm drains.

For movement over a great distance, make a Navigate check. The Difficulty depends on the length of the trip: Difficulty 20 for a few hours, 22 for a few days, 25 for up to a week, and 28 for more than one week. If you succeed, you follow the best reasonable course toward your goal, but it takes twice as long, since you lose time backtracking and correcting your course. If you fail by more than 5, you travel the expected time, but only get halfway to the destination at which point you become lost.

You can make a second Navigate check (Difficulty 20) to find the right path. If you succeed, you continue on to your destination; the total time for the trip is twice the normal time. If you fail, you lose the normal time for the trip before you can try again. You can keep trying until you succeed, losing the normal time for the trip each time.

When faced with multiple choices, such as a branch in a tunnel you can make a Navigate check (Difficulty 20) to intuit the right choice. If unsuccessful, you choose the wrong path, butatthe nextjuncture, with a successful check, you realize your mistake and can correct it. You cannot use this function of Navigate to find a path to a site if you have no idea where the site is. The Narrator may choose to make the Navigate check in secret.

You can use Navigate to determine your location without the use of any high-tech equipment by checking the constellations or other natural landmarks. You must have a clear view of the night sky to make this check. The Difficulty is 15.

Time: A Navigate check is a full round action.

Special: You can take 10 when making a Navigate check. You can take 20 only when determining your location, not when traveling.

Pilot (Dex)

You can use the Pilot skill to feint in starship combat.

Check: You can use a Pilot check to feint in starship combat just like you would use a Bluff check to feint in regular combat. With a successful check, you mislead another starship so it can’t dodge your attack effectively. This check is opposed by the target pilot’s Sense Motive check. If you succeed, the next attack your starship makes against the target ignores its pilot’s Dexterity bonus to Defense (if it has one), thus lowering the target’s Defense score.

Feinting in starship combat is an attack action.

Medicine (Wis)

This skill can be used to treat members of other species.

Check: Using Medicine on creatures of a species that evolved on a different home planet carries a –4 penalty. The Xenomedic feat negates the penalty.

Special: The Medicine skill cannot be used on nonliving or inorganic creatures, such as constructs or undead.


Most of the feats in Chapter Three are suitable for a science-fiction campaign, though the usefulness of adept feats depends on the status of adepts in the game.

Some feats gain new uses in a science fiction setting. Exotic Weapon Training can be used to learn how activate and wield alien weaponry. Catch Arrows may be of limited usefulness, but the Deflect Arrows feat may be used to deflect incoming energy beams with a “plasma sword,” or similar melee weapon made of pure energy. The Vehicular Combat feat becomes critical for any pilot who wants to survive a starship dogfight, and the Animal Empathy feat may be used to interact with any alien creature with an Intelligence of –4 or –5.

The following new feats are suited to True20 science-fiction settings:

Armor Training, Powered (General)

Prerequisites: Armor Training (light), Armor Training (heavy).

You are trained to move and fight while wearing powered armor. You only apply your powered armor’s check penalty to Acrobatics, Climb, Escape Artist, Jump, Sleight of Hand, Stealth, and Swim checks. See Armor Construction for powered armor values.

Normal: Characters without the appropriate Armor Training feat apply their armor’s check penalty to all physical rolls and checks while wearing it, including attack rolls.

Deadly Aim (Warrior or Expert)

You may add half your Dexterity score (rounded up) to the damage you inflict with all crossbows and guns.

Inventor (General)

You can use the Knowledge (technology) and Craft skills to create inventions and temporary devices. See Equipment Invention & Construction in this chapter for more details.

Lightning Calculator (General)

Prerequisite(s): Int +1

You can perform mathematical functions in your head 10 times faster than normal, like a human calculator. You also gain a +4 bonus to Bluff, Computers and Navigate checks where complex calculations must be made.

Planetary Adaptation (General)

Your physiology has been altered by life on a planet with adverse environmental conditions. You gain one of the benefits listed here, depending on your planet of origin.

  • Barren World: You gain a +4 bonus on Survival checks and a +4 bonus on Constitution checks against starvation and thirst.
  • Cold World: You gain a +4 bonus on Fortitude saves against extreme cold, as well as cold resistance 2.
  • Dark World: You gain Darkvision out to a range of 60 feet. Darkvision is black and white only, but otherwise works as normal sight.
  • High-G World: You gain a +1 bonus to all Strength checks. Reduce your height by 6 inches.
  • Hot World: You gain a +4 bonus on Fortitude saves against extreme heat, as well as fire resistance 2.
  • Low-G World: You gain a +1 bonus to all Dexterity checks. Increase your height by 6 inches.
  • Water World: You gain a +4 bonus on Swim checks and can hold your breath for a number of rounds equal to twice your Constitution score.

Special: You may only take this feat at 1st level. You may select this feat more than once, however, if you get multiple feats at 1st level; each time you choose this feat, you gain a different benefit.

Salvage (General)

You can salvage parts from destroyed vehicles, mecha, starships and robots. Salvaging a destroyed vehicle, mecha, or robot takes time, as noted on the Salvage table. At the end of this time, make a Search check. If the check succeeds, you may increase your Wealth score by the amount indicated on the table, either by selling the salvaged parts for scrap or using them to offset the cost of future building projects.

Salvaged Machine’s Size Salvage Time Required Search Check Difficulty Wealth Increase
Tiny or smaller 10 min 15+1 Small, Medium, and Large 30 min 20+2 Huge 1 hr. 25+3 Gargantuan 3 hrs. 30 +4 Colossal 6 hrs. 35+6 Awesome 12 hrs. 40+8

Special: A particular vehicle, mecha, or robot can be successfully salvaged only once. Any further attempts to salvage the wreckage fail automatically.

Time Sense (General)

You always know what time it is and have an accurate idea of the passage of time. You also gain a +4 bonus to Acrobatics, Drive and Pilot skill checks when performing maneuvers that require precise timing.

Ultra Immune System (General)

Prerequisite(s): Constitution +1

You are less susceptible to the ravages of poison, disease, and radiation poisoning. You gain a +2 bonus on Fortitude saving throws to resist poisons, diseases, and radiation sickness. Furthermore, any permanent ability drain inflicted upon you is treated as temporary ability damage instead.

Urban Tracking (General)

You can track down the location of missing persons or wanted individuals. To find the trail of an individual or to follow it for one hour requires a Gather Information check. You must make another Gather Information check every hour of the search, as well as each time the trail becomes difficult to follow, such as when it moves to a different area of town.

The Difficulty of the check and the number of checks required to track down your quarry depend on the community population and the conditions.

Difficulty Checks Required
Urban Tracking Population
Fewer than 2,000 5 2
2,000–9,999 10 3
10,000–49,999 15 4
50,000–99,999 20 5
100,000–499,999 25 6
500,000+ 30 7
Condition Difficulty Modifier
Every three creatures in the group being sought –1
Every 24 hours the quarry has been missing or sought +1
Tracked quarry “lies low” +5

If you fail a Gather Information check, you can retry after one hour of questioning.

Normal: A character without this feat can use Gather Information to find out information about a particular individual. Each check takes around three hours and does not allow effective trailing.

Special: You can cut the time per Gather Information check in half (to 30 minutes per check rather than one hour per check), but you suffer a –5 penalty on the check.

Xenomedic (Expert)

Prerequisites: Knowledge (earth and life sciences) 6 ranks, Medicine 6 ranks.

You know how to provide safe medical treatment to alien life forms. You can, without penalty, use the Treat Injury skill to perform surgery on a living creature regardless of its type.

Normal: Characters without this feat take a –5 penalty on Medicine checks on alien species.

Special: This feat cannot be used to heal or repair nonliving or inorganic creatures, such as constructs or undead.

Zero-G Training (General)

You can function normally in low gravity or zero gravity. You take no penalty on attack rolls in low-gravity or zero-gravity environments. In addition, you do not suffer the debilitating effects of space sickness.

Normal: Without this feat, you take a –4 penalty on attack rolls while operating in zero-gravity environments, or a –2 penalty on attack rolls while operating in low-gravity environments. In addition, you are subject to the effects of Space Adaptation Syndrome, also known as space sickness. (See Zero Gravity Environments for more information.)


Supernatural powers do not often see use in science-fiction settings. When they do appear in the genre, they are typically rare and have some sort of quasi-scientific explanation behind them. Supernatural powers may be used to represent psionic powers (see Psionics in Chapter Ten), bizarre mutations, manipulation of some cosmic force connecting all living beings, or even the effects of controlling nanites or using superscience gadgets to produce seemingly magical effects. In each of these cases, the supernatural powers available are limited to ones that can be logically explained by the adept’s pseudoscientific abilities.


This section provides you with guidelines for designing your own futuristic weapons, armor, and vehicles tailored to your science fiction setting. Rules are also provided for allowing heroes to build and invent their own equipment in play.

Tech Rating (TR)

When creating a piece of equipment, first determine the available technology. This is generally the TR of the setting (see the general Tech Ratings section for details), although TRs may vary locally within a setting, such as some worlds or nations on a world having a lower (or even higher) TR than average.

At the Narrator’s option a character with the Inventor feat may be able to build an item one TR higher than normal as a skill challenge, applying a –5 penalty to all checks associated with designing/building the invention.

Construction Points

The equipment design rules in this section use construction points (CP) and construction point capacity (or CPC) to determine the limits of an item’s capabilities at any given tech rating and generally how difficult and expensive that item is to build.

If you’re just designing a new piece of equipment for use in the setting, the CP total just provides a guideline for how expensive the item should be: a purchase Difficulty of 8 + total CP is a good starting guideline, modified based on how common and accessible you want to item to be. Items with very high CP totals (particularly vehicles) may have a much lower purchase Difficulty, but such items are largely beyond the capability of individuals to build on their own.

If a player is designing the item in order to build or invent it, the CP cost also affects the Difficulty of associated skill and Wealth checks to produce the item. See Equipment Construction and Invention at the Equipment section for details.

Weapon Construction

Science fiction heroes often have a wide array of weaponry to help them out when diplomacy is not an option. This section provides you with basic guidelines for designing your own weapons and other handheld tools.

Step 1: Determine Construction Point Capacity (CPC)

Once the tech rating of the weapon or other piece of equipment you are constructing has been set, refer to the following table to set the number of CP this item can contain.

Weapon Construction Points by Size and tech rating*

Size TR 0TR 1-3TR 4-5TR 6TR 7TR 8Base Reach
Tiny 1 2 3 4 5 6 5 ft.
Small 2 3 4 5 6 7 5 ft.
Medium 3 4 5 6 7 8 5 ft.
Large 4 5 6 7 8 9 5 ft.
Huge 5 6 7 8 9 10 10 ft.
Gargantuan 6 7 8 9 10 11 15 ft.
Colossal 7 8 9 10 11 12 20 ft.

* Simple melee weapons have their maximum CP value lowered by 1. Exotic and heavy weapons have their maximum CP value raised by 1.

Step 2: Determine Damage

Next, purchase the damage rating for the weapon you wish to construct. All weapons begin with a default base damage rating of +0. Each +1 lethal damage costs 1 CP. Every +2 non-lethal damage cost 1 CP. If the weapon is a single-use weapon that is destroyed when it is used (such as a grenade) halve the CP cost of damage. Choose one type of damage you want the weapon to do from the following list: Acid, Autofire, Ballistic, Bludgeoning, Cold, Concussion, Disintegration, Electricity, Energy, Fire, Piercing, Radiation, Slashing, Sonic, or Vibration.

Step 3: Determine Range

If the weapon is a melee weapon, 10 ft. of throwing distance can be purchased for 1 CP. If the weapon is a ranged weapon, it has a base range of 10 ft. per point of damage. Additional range for a ranged weapon can be purchased as indicated on the Extended Range table.

Extended Range Range Extension Cost
+100 ft. 1 CP
+1000 ft. 2 CP
+1 mile 3 CP
+5 miles 4 CP
+20 miles 5 CP
+200 miles 6 CP
+2,000 miles 7 CP
+20,000 miles 8 CP

Step 4: Purchase Features

Features enhance aweaponor alter howitworks, similar tofeats. Thefollowing features can be added to any weapon or similar piece of equipment.


Prerequisites: TR 4 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

any time. This feature is often used to give ranged weapons features like glow-lamps or flares, though it is not limited to those applications. Some weapons may use the integrated equipment feature to incorporate a small computer or sensor module, reducing the amount of equipment the character has to carry.

When selecting the integrated equipment feature, choose a piece of equipment. That equipment is integrated into the base weapon and can be used at any time. Additionally, you must choose whether or not the equipment may be physically separated from the base weapon or not at the time of purchase. This feature may be selected multiple times, each time adding a single additional piece of equipment to the base model.


Cost: 2 CP

This weapon knocks a target back 1 ft. per point by which they failed their Toughness save. They must also make a Dexterity Check with a Difficulty equal to the number of feet they were thrown back in order to avoid falling prone.

Sensor Baffling

Prerequisites: TR 5 or higher

Cost: 1 CP


From simple metal detectors to advanced X-ray scanners, there’s a way to detect every weapon. As the tech rating increases, so does the accuracy of weapon-sensing devices. The ability to confuse these sensors can be invaluable, especially when smuggling weapons past security. Any weapon with the sensor baffling feature grants a +4 bonus on any checks made to conceal the weapon from sensors or other detection devices.

A weapon with this feature is designed to be easily taken apart and put back together, making it easy to transport and hide. When separated into its component pieces, it is almost impossible (Difficulty 30 Search check) to recognize as a weapon. Taking the weapon apart is a full action; putting it back together requires 5 rounds.

Feat Bonus

Cost: 1 CP

Some weapons or pieces of equipment offer their user the benefits of a particular feat. If they already have this feat, the benefits of the actual and virtual feats are added together. Weapons can have the following virtual feats; Improved Defense, Improved Disarm, Improved Grab, Improved Sunder, Improved Trip and Precise Shot. Handheld equipment can have any virtual feat that is not combat oriented.

Improved Critical Bonus

Cost: 1/2 CP

This feature increases the weapon’s critical hit damage bonus by +1. It can be purchased up to three times.

Cost: 1 CP

Prerequisite(s): Weapons of size Small or smaller only

Some weapons are designed to be concealed from sight, then drawn into the hand at a moment’s notice. The spring-loaded feature ensures that small weapons can remain hidden under layers of clothes or armor and still be called to action at any time. The bearer of a spring-loaded weapon automatically gains the benefits of the Quick Draw feat with this specific weapon, even if the weapon is hidden from sight on that hero’s person.

Skill Bonus

Cost: 1 CP/+4 bonus

Some weapons or pieces of equipment offer their user a bonus to a particular skill check. For example, a particularly large or daunting weapon might offer a bonus to Intimidate checks.

Features for Melee Weapons

The following features can be added to most varieties of melee weapons.

Improved Critical Range

Brace vs. Charge

Cost: 1 CP

This feature increases the weapon’s critical threat range by 1 point. It can be purchased up to three times.

Integrated Equipment

Cost: 1 CP

Prerequisites: The inventor must independently build or purchase the piece of equipment before it can be integrated into the weapon as a feature.

A particular piece of equipment (weapon or nonweapon) has been integrated into the weapon and can be used by the weapon’s bearer at Cost: 1/2 CP


Prerequisites: Hafted weapon of Medium or larger

You can brace this weapon against a charge as a full action. You get a +2 bonus to damage against the next opponent to charge you.

Double Weapon

Prerequisites: Exotic Weapon

Cost: 1 CP

This feature for melee weapons allows a single armament to be used as if its wielder held two of the same weapon, granting him an extra attack at a penalty (see Two-Weapon Fighting on page 108). A skilled fighter using this weapon can strike an opponent twice, once with each end. If used to make a single attack as normal, this weapon confers no special bonuses or penalties.


Cost: 1/2 CP/+5 ft.

This is a long weapon designed to strike opponents before they can close to melee range. A weapon with this feature can be used to attack opponents up to 10 feet away.


Cost: 1 CP

A barbed weapon has hooks and flanged blades designed to impale a foe. Anyone hit by a barbed weapon must make a Strength check with a Difficulty equal to the weapon’s damage rating. On a failed check, the victim is caught on the barbs and cannot move without suffering additional damage equal to the weapon’s normal damage in order to pull free. The wielder of the weapon can also tear it free as a move action, causing damage equal to the weapon’s normal damage. An aid action can also free a victim from a barbed weapon, provided the weapon’s weapon does not take action to oppose it.

Features For Ranged Weapons

The following features can be added to most types of ranged weapons, though the Narrator can overrule any nonsensical combination.

maintain that bonus until the end of the current encounter. If you change targets, your bonus resets to 0; you may begin anew against your new target should you miss.

Indirect Fire

Prerequisites: TR 8 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

This weapon can strike targets its user cannot see or trace a direct line to. There must still be a clear path between the weapon and its target, but this route could be from any direction. The weapon’s user must have some way of knowing his target’s location. He can either guess or he can receive information via radio, psychic link, or some other means.

When using the weapon, the attacker targets a spot within range. He then makes an attack against Defense 20. On a hit, his attack lands in the spot he targeted. Otherwise, it scatters 5 feet x (20 – your attack result), to a maximum of half the distance between the attacker and his target. For example, if you rolled a total of 18, the shot scatters 10 feet.

To resolve a scattered attack, roll a die to determine the direction the shoot scatters. To find the direction, pick out a 5-foot square next to the intended target and count in the nine spaces around the target until you reach the result of the die roll. Pick the square you want to count as one before rolling. You can re-roll any result of 19 or 20 to ensure that all the squares have the same chance of being selected.


Prerequisites: TR 5 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

Close Quarters

Cost: 1 CP

Designed with a thick stock, built from exceptionally durable materials, or created with a bayonet mount, a close quarters weapon can be used as a club or spear without penalty, in which case it counts as a melee weapon with a +2 damage rating.

Heavy Recoil Compensation

Prerequisites: TR 5 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

This weapon is exceptionally easy to handle when emptying a clip at a target. This feature is available only to weapons that do Autofire damage. It reduces all penalties for using autofire to attack multiple targets by –1.

Lock System

Prerequisites: TR 6 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

This weapon verifies its user’s identity in some way before functioning (such as checking fingerprints or scanning DNA). The weapon checks a user as a free action, allowing you to draw and use it without spending any additional actions. If someone other than you tries to use it, she must overcome the device’s security system. Defeating this system requires Disable Device check with a Difficulty equal to 10 + the weapon’s TR.

Special: You can take this feature more than once, increasing the Disable Device Difficulty by +2 each time.

Heads-Up Display (HUD)

Prerequisites: TR 6 or higher

Cost: 2 CP

This extra includes a helmet and visor that transmits data to and from the weapon. It includes targeting information, shot paths, and other useful information. A weapon with this feature grants you a +1 bonus per missed shot against a single target until you hit. Once you hit, you

Ranged weapons are designed to accept different types of ammunition, from bullets that explode into thick banks of fog, to beams of energy that stun rather than kill. A multi-ammo weapon can use any of the ammunition types described later in this section.

When you buy this feature, you can select a single use of one type of ammo. You can purchase this feature multiple times; choosing a single ammo type more than once gives you additional uses of that type of ammunition. You can replenish your ammo supply when you reload between encounters. Your Narrator has final authority on whether you have the opportunity to restock. Once you have chosen the ammunition you want to use, you cannot change your choice unless your Narrator allows you to do so.

Scatter Gun

Prerequisites: TR 5 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

This weapon delivers a spread of fire across a wide area, much like a shotgun or similar weapon. When fired, this weapon projects a cone that is 5 feet x the weapon’s damage rating. Normally, you cannot choose to change between a cone and a normal attack. If you increase this feature’s cost to 2 points, you can change between firing modes as a free action.

Targeting System

Prerequisites: TR 5 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

You can use your weapon to ignore a target’s cover bonus to Defense. As either a standard or move action, you can aim at a target and opt to ignore his cover bonus to Defense. You suffer a penalty to your attack’s damage equal to the cover’s Toughness.

Tracking System

Prerequisites: TR 6 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

By acquiring and locking on to a single target, your ranged weapon helps you aim. If you spend a full action aiming at a single target, you gain a +2 bonus to all attacks against him. You suffer a –4 penalty to attack anyone or anything else, however, as your weapon is locked onto your chosen target and will continually try to return to that target until it is deactivated. You can deactivate the targeting computer as either a standard or move action. If you turn off the tracking system, you neither gain the bonus nor suffer the penalty.

Visual Sensor Array

Prerequisites: TR 7 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

This weapon incorporates a series of visual sensors which allow it to sense potential targets before its user notices them. The Narrator may allow the weapon to make a Notice check as a free action to notice an opponent independent of its user. For the purposes of this check, the weapon has 10 ranks in Notice. If it succeeds, the weapon warns the user, who may then spend a half action to gain the benefits of the successful check.

Step 5: Purchase Accessories

Accessories are additional qualities your weapon can have that do not count against its maximum CP total. They do apply, however, to the item’s CP total for figuring its cost and relevant Difficulties for constructing or designing it.

The following weapon accessories are available for addition to most firearms.

Laser Sight

Prerequisites: TR 5 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

A laser sight projects a non-damaging laser beam showing where the weapon is aimed. This grants a +1 bonus on attack rolls with that weapon.

Targeting Scope

Prerequisites: TR 5 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

When you take a full action to aim a weapon with a targeting score, double the normal benefits of aiming: a +4 attack bonus, or +8, if you’re aiming at a stationary object.


Prerequisites: TR 5 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

A suppressor muffles the noise of a ballistic weapon, making it Difficulty 10 for normal hearing to detect it.

Ammunition Types

Ammunition alters how a weapon works. It only works with weapons that have the multi-ammo feature, as most guns and other ranged weapons are designed to work with specific types of ammo. Keep in mind most ranged weapons must draw on some sort of supply, be it arrows, bullets, or energy packs. Alternative forms of ammunition often provide a bonus to an attack balanced out by some penalty, such as a bonus to hit with an attack that deals reduced damage. Other ammunition types give your attack some other effect, such as creating a smoke cloud at the point of impact. Note that your Narrator may rule that certain types of ammo are impossible to use with the type of weapon you want to use. If you cannot reasonably describe how the weapon functions with an ammo type, it might not be a good fit for the weapon.

Alternative Damage Type

An alternative ammunition variety may simply deal a different type of damage.


When this ammo strikes its target, it bursts into a grasping set of wraps or mechanical arms, allowing it to grapple an opponent and hold him in place. This ammunition is considered to have a grapple bonus equal to the weapon’s damage rating.


When this shot hits, it bursts into a thick cloud of smoke. The shot deals no damage. It lingers for a number of minutes equal to the weapon’s damage rating. The cloud fills a roughly spherical area with a diameter of five feet per point of the weapon’s damage rating. The cloud provides total concealment to all within its radius.


The shot produces a flash of light, a sonic burst, or some other effect to overwhelm the target’s senses. Any target stuck by this attack suffers no damage, but instead must make a Fortitude save with a Difficulty of 15 + the weapon’s damage rating or become dazed for a number of rounds equal to the weapon’s damage rating. If they fail their saving throw by 5 or more, they are blinded instead of dazed.


This ammunition is specifically designed to knock a weapon from an opponent’s hand. You may use it to make ranged disarm attacks. You must make an attack to hit your target. If you succeed, follow the rules for disarming (see page 101). If he fails, he is disarmed. His weapon falls to the ground in his current space.


Designed to defeat mechanical devices, this ammunition has no effect on non-machine targets. This ammunition type deals no damage to living or biological organisms, but gains a +2 bonus to damage to constructs, computers or vehicles. This damage is considered an electrical attack.


Ballistic weapons can fire rubber bullets, while bows can fire blunt- tipped arrows or quarrels. This ammunition inflicts non-lethal rather than lethal damage.


This ammunition bursts into a thick glue or similar substance, hindering its target’s movement. The target suffers no damage, but must succeed in a Fortitude save with Difficulty equal to 15 + the weapon’s damage rating or only be able to take partial actions. Slowed characters gain a new Fortitude save each round to recover, with a +1 bonus per successive save.


This ammo traps a target in place. It might pin his arm to a nearby wall or skewer his foot to prevent him from moving. Alternatively, it could spray an area with glue to trap the target. On a successful hit, the target must make a Reflex saving throw. A failed save means the target is bound and helpless, need a Difficulty 20 Strength or Escape Artist check to get free. A successful save means the target isn’t trapped, butmust still contend with the primary effect of the weapon (impaled limbs, sticky ground, and so forth).


On impact this ammunition releases a powerful electric charge, requiring a Fortitude save (Difficulty 15 + the weapon’s damage rating) to avoid being stunned. Stunned characters gain a new Fortitude save each round to recover, with a +1 bonus per successive save.


Coated with powerful sedative or poison, these shots are capable of weakening or befuddling a target. This ammunition works like a normal attack, but instead of inflicting damage it inflicts levels of fatigue. A target that is struck must make a Fortitude save. The Difficulty is equal to 15+ the weapon’s damage rating. If the target fails her saving throw, she suffers one level of fatigue plus an additional level of fatigue for every 5 points by which she missed the saving throw.

Armor Construction

Steady advancements in weapon technology and the exploration of increasingly hostile environments necessitate advancements in armor to protect against them. The following section provides rules for designing your own protective equipment.

Step 1: Determine Construction Point Capacity (CPC)

Once the tech rating of the item you are constructing has been set, refer to the following table to set the number of CP this weapon can contain.

SizeTR 0–1Construction Points

TR 2–4

TR 5TR 6TR 7TR 8
Light 1 2 3 4 5 6
Medium 3 4 5 6 7 8
Heavy 5 6 7 8 9 10
Powered 10 11 12

Powered Armor

Powered armor contains a power supply that allows it to purchase other features that require power to use. The power supply must be kept charged in order for the armor to give the character its benefits beyond its defense bonus. Characters who wish to use powered armor without penalty must have the Powered Armor Training feat.

Step 2: Determine Toughness Bonus

Each point of Toughness bonus costs 1 CP.

Step 3: Purchase Features

The following is a list of features that may be built into a suit of armor.

Ablative Shield

Prerequisites: TR 7 or higher

Cost: 2 CP/1 CP of Toughness bonus

Your armor generates an ablative shield which has its own damage track. Attacks directed at you are absorbed by your shield. The shield dissipates once it reaches disabled status on the damage track; any further damage is handled normally. The ablative shield gains a recovery check with a +3 bonus to the die roll every other round.

Absorption Shield

Prerequisites: TR 6 or higher

Cost: 1 CP/+1 Toughness

Your armor generates an energy shield which helps absorb attacks. It provides a +1 bonus to your Toughness saves for every CP spent for the shield. This feature can be purchased up to a maximum of eight times.

Close Quarters Defense System

Cost: 1 CP

Your armor is covered with sharp spines, electrical outlets, and similar hazards that can burn, cut, or impale anyone who comes too close to you. Anyone who attempts to grapple or grab you automatically suffers +2 damage of a damage type picked at the time of the armor’s creation. Your opponent continues to suffer this damage each round if he maintains a grapple against you.

Concealed Weapon

Cost: 1 CP (Tiny or Small), or 2 CP (Medium)

Prerequisites: Ranged weapons can only be placed in powered armor. The inventor must either buy or build the added weapon separately before it can be integrated into the armor.

Your suit is designed to hold and conceal an extra piece of armament. It pops out of a hidden compartment or looks like a harmless piece of equipment when not in use. The first time you use this weapon during an encounter, you can make a Bluff check as a free action against your target. If you win, your opponent is considered flat-footed against the weapon’s first attack. Your Narrator can judge that opponents you have faced before expect the attack and thus are not affected.

Deflection Shield

Prerequisites: TR 7 or higher

Cost: 1 CP/+1 deflection bonus

Your armor generates a deflection shield that provides a +1 bonus to your defense for every CP spent on this feature. Deflection shield can be purchased no more than ten times.

Energy Resistance

Prerequisites: TR 4 or higher

Cost: 1 CP/+2 energy resistance

This feature gives the hero 2 points of energy resistance per CP. Each time this feature is purchased, it affects a new energy type chosen from the following list: Acid, Cold, Electricity, and Fire.

Environmental Seal

Prerequisites: Medium or Heavy armor, TR 5 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

The environment seal feature transforms any armor into a stable and insulated artificial environment. This provides the wearer with tbreathable air and external pressure to assure comfort and survival for up to eight hours, ensuring that the armor can function in deep sea, deep space, or anywhere in-between. Only armor with an integrated sealed helmet, body glove, and emergency air tanks to generate internal atmosphere can handle this feature.

External Weapon Mount

Cost: 1 CP (tiny, small or medium), 2 CP (large)

Prerequisites: Ranged weapons can only be used with powered armor. The inventor must buy or build the added weapon separately before it can be integrated into the armor.

Your armor contains an attached ranged weapon system. This weapon may be up to 1 size larger than the size of the armor (armor designed to fit a Medium humanoid can hold up to a Large weapon).


Prerequisites: Powered armor, TR 7 or higher

Cost: 3 CP

A holoscreen unit projects a holographic image around the suit of armor, making it appear as something else of roughly similar proportions occupying the same amount of space. For instance, it could make a Medium creature look like a small tree or outcropping of rock.

Although the holographic projection appears real, physical objects can pass through it without difficulty. If the wearer moves, the holographic image moves as well. Attacks made against the wearer are treated as though it had 20% concealment, since the projected image may not perfectly match the creature’s true proportions. A holoscreen is powered by the armor’s internal power source.

Integrated Equipment

Cost: 1 CP

Prerequisites: The inventor must either buy or build the added piece of equipment separately before it can be integrated into the armor.

A particular piece of nonweapon equipment has been integrated into the armor and can be used by the armor’s wearer at any time.

When selecting the integrated equipment gadget, choose a piece of equipment. That equipment is integrated into the base armor and can be used at any time. Additionally, you must choose whether or not the equipment may be physically separated from the base armor at the time of purchase. This gadget may be selected multiple times, each time adding a single additional piece of equipment to the base model. Should the armor be destroyed or lost, the integrated equipment is destroyed or lost as well.

Magnetic Feet

Prerequisites: TR 6 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

This armor comes with electromagnetic grippers, allowing it to cling to ferrous substances such as iron and steel. The wearer gains a Climb speed of 20 feet and does not need to make Climb checks to scale ferrous surfaces. This feature can be used to anchor someone in a zero-g environment.

Personal Flight Jets

Cost: See table

Prerequisites: Powered armor, see table for TR requirements

Personal flight jets consist of a wearable set of propulsion jets attached to powered armor, allowing the wearer to fly. The CP cost and flight speed of the jets depend on their quality as indicated in the following table. The basic maneuverability class for jets is Poor. Maneuverability can be improved by spending an additional 1 CP per maneuverability class raise.

Personal Flight Jet Costs

Flight Jet Class

Minimum TR

Max Speed

Class I 5 30 ft. /round (3 mph) 1/2 pt
Class II 5 60 ft. /round (6 mph) 1 pt
Class III 5 100 ft. /round (10 mph) 2 pts
Class IV 6 250 ft. /round (25 mph) 3 pts
Class V 6 500 ft. /round (50 mph) 4 pts
Class VI 6 1000 ft. /round (100 mph) 5 pts
Class VII 6 2500 ft. /round (250 mph) 6 pts
Class VIII 7 5000 ft. /round (500 mph) 7 pts

Personal Water Turbines

Strength Enhancement

Cost: See Table

Prerequisites: Powered armor, see table for TR requirements

Personal water turbines allow the wearer of the attached suit of armor to propel themselves through water or a similar liquid environment. The CP cost and flight speed of the turbines depend on their quality, as indicated in the following table. The environmental seal feature is required in order to breathe underwater.

Personal Water Turbine Costs

Turbine Class

Minimum TR

Max Speed


Class I 5 20 ft. /round (2 mph) 1/2 CP
Class II 5 30 ft. /round (3 mph) 1 CP
Class III 6 50 ft. /round (5 mph) 2 CP
Class IV 6 100 ft. /round (10 mph) 3 CP
Class V 6 250 ft. /round (25 mph) 4 CP
Class VI 6 500 ft. /round (50 mph) 5 CP
Class VII 7 1000 ft. /round (100 mph) 6 CP
Class VIII


Radar2500 ft. /round (250 mph)7 CP

Prerequisites: TR 6 or higher

Cost: 3 CP

Adding personal radar to a suit of armor gives the armor’s wearer Blindsight out to 90 ft.

Photon Screen

Cost: 4 CP

Prerequisites: Powered armor, TR 8 or higher

Using a series of light reflectors molded to the armor’s frame, this unit bends light around the armor, rendering it and its wearer invisible (see page 105, for the effects of invisibility).

Cost: 2 CP/+1 Str bonus

Prerequisites: Powered armor, TR 6 or higher

This feature gives the armor’s wearer a +1 bonus to Strength for every time this feature is purchased. The bonus only lasts as long as the armor is worn and the power supply is charged. This feature can be purchased up to five times.


Cost: 1 CP

Prerequisites: Light or Medium armor, TR 4 or higher

This feature allows the suit of armor to be hidden under clothing. Spotting it takes a Difficulty 10 Notice check.

Targeting Computer

Prerequisites: Powered armor, TR 6 or higher

Cost: 2 CP

This is a computer system built into a suit of armor that gives the wearer a +1 bonus to all attack rolls using ranged weapons. The bonus does not stack with any bonuses to accuracy the weapon itself may have (from a scope or laser sight, for example).

Voice Modulator

Prerequisites: TR 5 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

This sound system alters your voice, making it impossible to identify you and giving you a more majestic, commanding (and intimidating0 tone. While wearing this armor, you gain a +2 bonus to Intimidate checks and can boost your volume so others can hear you clearly from up to a mile away.

Step 3: Purchase Accessories

Armor accessories do not count against its maximum CP cost, although they do modify its CP total for determining purchase, design, and construction Difficulties.

Radiation Shielding

Communication Unit

Prerequisites: TR 5 or higher, environmental seal

Cost: 1 CP

Cost: 1 CP

Prerequisites: TR 4 or higher

This feature provides the armor’s wearer with a +5 bonus to saves against radiation.

Recovery System

This accessory provides your armor with a built-in two-way radio or other form of verbal communication unit. It can be used to communicate with anyone who is equipped with a similar type of gear. The effective range of this unit depends on its TR.

Prerequisites: Powered armor, TR 6 or higher

TR Effective Range
5 Within orbit of the same planet
6 Within the same star system
7 Within 1 light year

GPS UnitWithin 5 light years

Cost: 1 CP

Skill Bonus

If you are knocked unconscious, the armor’s systems activate an autopilot feature that attempts to return you to a previously chosen location. The recovery system can only store one location at a time. You can toggle this feature on and off as a free action. Your armor uses the full range of its movement abilities to move you to safety.

Cost: 1 CP/+4 bonus

Some suits of armor offer their user a bonus to a particular skill check. A particularly daunting looking suit of armor might offer a bonus to Intimidate checks. Other possibilities include jump jets, stealth devices or climbing spikes. This feature may be purchased twice for any given skill.

Cost: 1 CP

Prerequisites: TR 5 or higher

This suit of armor includes a Global Positioning unit that can record the user’s position on any given planet along with the paths they have previously taken. It grants a +2 to land-based Navigate and Survival checks and prevents the hero from getting lost.

Infrared Goggles

Cost: 1 CP

Prerequisite(s): PL 5 or higher

Your armor is equipped with specialized goggles that provide you with the benefits of the Night Vision feat.

Storage Compartments

Cost: 1 CP

You have enough space in your armor to securely hold up to four items, each of which can be no larger than your hand, pistol, or other Small item. You can secure these compartments, forcing thieves to make an Disable Device check (Difficulty 15) to open them.

Vehicle Construction

Sometimes heroes make use of various vehicles to get around. Vehicles are used primarily for transportation, although they may come with additional capabilities—including weapons—that make them useful in other situations as well.

Step 1: Determine Vehicle Size and Standard Features

Once you have determined the TR of the vehicle you are constructing, you must decide how big the vehicle is going to be. The vehicle’s size will determine some of the vehicle’s basic stats, such as its base Strength, Defense and Toughness values. In addition to those values, most vehicles have a number of standard features depending on their progress level. Standard features are the beginning attributes and traits of any vehicle before any other features have been built or purchased.

TR 0–3: No additional standard features

TR 4: Headlights, seating, radio receiver, seatbelts

TR 5: As TR 4 plus air conditioning, heating, air bags, cruise control

TR 6–8: As TR 5 plus communication gear, breathalyzer, flatscreen digital TV monitor with basic internet browsing capabilities, remote shutdown system

Strength: A vehicle’s Strength, much like a character’s, determines its carrying capacity. Medium vehicles have a base Strength of +0. Each increase in size category increases a vehicle’s base Strength by

+5. A vehicle can move at normal speed carrying up to its medium load, 2/3 speed with a heavy load. It can also pull up to five times its heavy load at 1/2 speed (up to 10 times, if equipped with the proper hauling equipment and given an unobstructed area in which to move).

Defense: A vehicle’s base Defense is 10 + its size modifier.

Toughness: This is the vehicle’s base Toughness rating, which starts out at 5 for a Medium vehicle. Each increase in size category also increases a vehicle’s base Toughness by +2.

Step 2: Determine Construction Point Capacity (CPC)

The number of CP used to build a vehicle depend on its size and TR, as shown in the following table:

Vehicle Size TR 0–3 TR 4 TR 5 TR 6 TR 7 TR 8
Awesome 100 110 120 130 140 150
Colossal 80 90 100 110 120 130
Gargantuan 60 70 80 90 100 110
Huge 40 50 60 70 80 90
Large 20 30 40 50 60 70
Medium 5 10 20 30 40 50
Small 2 5 10 20 30 40

Step 3: Purchase Motivators

The means of propulsion or motion for a vehicle is called its motivator. When designing a vehicle, it’s important to choose a motivator that is in keeping with its intended use and terrain.


Prerequisites: See table

Cost: See table

Propellers and rotors were one of the first motivators developed that can allow a vehicle to fly. The exact cost and speed of the propellers/ rotors are listed in the following table.

Propeller Class Minimum TRMax SpeedCost
Class I 4 50 mph 6 CP
Class II 4 100 mph 8 CP
Class III 4 250 mph 10 CP

Jet Engines

Prerequisites: See table

Cost: See table

Jet engines can include any type of propulsion system meant for flight. The exact prerequisites, costs and speeds of the jet engine depend on its quality and are listed in the following table.

Engine Class Minimum TRMax SpeedCost
Class I 5 500 mph 12 CP
Class II 5 1000 mph 14 CP
Class III 5 2500 mph 16 CP
Class IV 6 5000 mph 18 CP
Vehicle Size Vehicle Size and Standard Features Modifier
Awesome –12 128–250 ft. Space transport +25 +15 –2
Colossal –8 64–128 ft. Passenger jet +20 +13 +2
Gargantuan –4 32–64 ft. Semi, yacht, fighter jet +15 +11 +6
Huge –2 16–32 ft. Stretch limo, SUV, tank +10 +9 +8
Large –1 8–16 ft. Car, truck +5 +7 +9
Medium +0 4–8 ft. Motorcycle +0 +5 +10
Small +1 2–4 ft. Skateboard –1 +3 +11

Tank Treads

Spaceship Drive

Prerequisites: See table

Prerequisites: See table

Cost: See table Cost: See table

Tank treads include a set of treads, a suspension system and an appropriate motor. The exact prerequisites, costs and speeds of the treads depend on their quality and are listed in the following table.

A spaceship drive allows slower-than-light travel through the vacuum of space. The exact prerequisites, costs and speeds of the spaceship drive depends on its quality and are listed in the following table. This

Tread Class Minimum TRMax SpeedCost
Class I 4 25 mph 2 CP
Class II 4 50 mph 3 CP
Class III 5 100 mph 4 CP

feature does not specifically allow the crew to survive the vacuum of space unless you also purchase life support.

Drive Class Minimum TRMax SpeedCost
Class I 5 10,000 mph 10 CP
Class II 5 25,000 mph 11 CP
Class III 6 50,000 mph 12 CP
Class IV 6 100,000 mph 13 CP
Class V 6 250,000 mph 14 CP
Class VI Starship D 6


500,000 mph 15 CP

Automotive Wheels

Prerequisites: See table

Cost: See table

Automotive wheels include a number of wheel axles a suspension system and an appropriate motor. The exact prerequisites, costs and speeds of the wheels depend on their quality and are listed in the following table.

Wheel Class Minimum TRMax SpeedCost
Class I 4 25 mph 2 CP
Class II 4 50 mph 3 CP
Class III 5 100 mph 4 CP
Class IV 5 250 mph 5 CP
Class V 5 500 mph 6 CP
Class VI

Hover Unit

6 1,000 mph 7 CP

Prerequisites: See table

Cost: See table

A hover unit allows a vehicle to hover just above the surface, whether that surface is solid ground or water or a similar liquid. The exact prerequisites, costs and speeds of the hover unit depend on its quality and are listed in the following table.

Hover Unit Class Minimum TRMax SpeedCost
Class I 5 25 mph 3 CP
Class II 5 50 mph 4 CP
Class III 6 100 mph 5 CP
Class IV 6 250 mph 6 CP
Class V 7 500 mph 7 CP
Class VI 7 1,000 mph 8 CP
Class VI 7 2,500 mph 9 CP

Cost: See table

Prerequisites: Spaceship Drive (any), Narrator’s approval, see table

A starship drive allows a ship to travel through the vacuum of space at speeds equal to or exceeding the speed of light. The exact prerequisites, costs and speeds of the spaceship drive depends on its quality and are listed in the following table. This feature does not specifically allow the crew to survive the vacuum of space unless you also purchase life support. It takes 10 rounds and a Difficulty 15 Knowledge (technology) check to engage a starship drive. This time may be halved by adding 5 to the Difficulty.

Step 4: Purchase Features

In addition to the vehicle features listed here, a vehicle can be outfitted with the following armor features listed in the previous section: absorption shield, communication unit, deflection shield, energy resistance, environmental seal, GPS unit, holoscreen, photon screen, radiation shielding, and targeting computer.


Prerequisites: TR 5 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

Anti-Accident System

The vehicle has an alarm system that goes off when an unauthorized access or activation attempt is made. A Disable Device check (Difficulty 20) overcomes the alarm. For each additional CP, the Difficulty increases by 5.

Water Turbines

Prerequisites: See table

Cost: See table

Turbine Class Minimum TRMax SpeedCost
Class I 4 25 mph 4 CP
Class II 4 50 mph 5 CP
Class III 5 100 mph 6 CP
Class IV 5 250 mph 7 CP
Class V 6 500 mph 8 CP

Water turbines allow a vehicle to move over or through a body of water or a similar liquid. The exact prerequisites, costs and speeds of the turbines depends on their quality and are listed in the following table. This feature does not specifically allow the crew to survive underwater unless you also purchase life support.

Cost: 2 CP

Prerequisites: TR 5 or higher

Anti-accident systems use airbags, fire-retardant foam, no-skid brakes, gyroscopic stabilizers, and other safety features to improve a driver’s chances of surviving or averting accidents. The system reduces collision damage by half, though this only applies to the vehicle equipped with an anti-accident system. Further, the operator of a vehicle so equipped gains a +2 bonus on Drive or Pilot checks to make hard-brake or hard- turn maneuvers.

Autocomp, Gunner

Prerequisites: TR 6 or higher

Cost: 2 CP + 2/+1 attack bonus

Drive Class Minimum TR Starship Drive Max Speed Cost
Light speed 7 1 light yr/yr 1 CP
Class I FTL 7 2 light yrs/yr (approx 1 light yr/183 earth days) 2 CP
Class II FTL 7 5 light yrs/yr (approx 1 light yr/73 earth days) 3 CP
Class III FTL 7 10 light yrs/yr (approx 1 light yr/37 earth days) 4 CP
Class IV FTL 7 25 light yrs/yr (approx 1 light yr/15 earth days) 5 CP
Class V FTL 7 50 light yrs/yr (approx 1 light yr/week) 6 CP
Class VI FTL 7 100 light yrs/yr (approx 1 light yr/3.5 earth days) 7 CP
Class VII FTL 7 250 light yrs/yr (approx 1 light yr/35 hours) 8 CP
Class VIII FTL 7 500 light yrs/yr (approx 1 light yr/17.5 hours) 9 CP
Class IX FTL 8 1,000 light yrs/yr (approx 1 light yr/9 hours) 10 CP
Class X FTL 8 2,500 light yrs/yr (approx 1 light yr/3.5 hours) 11 CP
Class XI FTL 8 5,000 light yrs/yr (approx 0.5 light yr/hour) 12 CP
Class XII FTL 8 10,000 light yrs/yr (approx 1 light yr/hour) 13 CP
Class XIII FTL 8 25,000 light yrs/yr (approx 3 light yrs/hour) 14 CP
Class XIV FTL 8 50,000 light yrs/yr (approx 6 light yrs/hour) 15 CP
Class XV FTL 8 100,000 light yrs/yr (approx 12 light yrs/hour) 16 CP
Class XVI FTL 8 250,000 light yrs/yr (approx 29 light yrs/hour) 17 CP

A gunner autocomp is an onboard computer with AI software capable of automatically aiming and firing all of a vehicle’s mounted weapons, thereby removing the need for one or more gunners. Most vehicles equipped with a gunner autocomp still allow the vehicle’s weapons to be controlled manually if the autocomp is deactivated or disabled. Disabling a gunner autocomp requires a successful Disable Device check (Difficulty 15).

The gunner autocomp’s attack bonus, depends on the quality of the system’s AI software.

Special: Additional weapons can be connected to the vehicle’s gunner autocomp at a cost of 2 CP each. A maximum of three weapons may be connected to a single gunner autocomp.

Autopilot Comp

Prerequisites: TR 6 or higher

Cost: 1 CP +1/4 ranks in Drive or Pilot

A driver autocomp consists of an onboard computer with AI software capable of operating a vehicle, thereby removing the need for a driver or pilot. Most vehicles equipped with a driver autocomp still retain a driver’s seat, allowing the vehicle to be controlled manually if the autocomp is deactivated or disabled. Disabling a driver autocomp requires a successful Disable Device check (Difficulty 15).

The autopilot comp has a maximum Drive or Pilot bonus of +4 per TR above 5. This feature may be purchased a number of times equal to the vehicle’s progress level minus five.

Engine Strength Boost

Cost: 1 CP/+2 Str

Raise your vehicles base Strength score (as determined by its size) by 2 points each time you buy this feature.

Hidden Compartments

Cost: 1 CP

The vehicle has hidden compartments or cargo areas holding up to a tenth of the vehicle’s medium load in cargo. A Search check (Difficulty 20) allows the searcher to find the hidden compartment. For each additional CP spent on building hidden compartments, increase the Difficulty by 5.

Life Support

Prerequisite(s): Environmental seal, TR 5 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

This feature provides the necessary life support systems to keep the vehicle’s crew alive in the depths of the ocean or the vacuum of space.

Navigation System

Prerequisites: TR 5 or higher

Cost: 1 CP/+5 bonus

The vehicle has a navigation computer, granting a +5 bonus to Navigation skill checks. This bonus can be increased by +5 feach time this feature is purchased to a maximum of +20.

Remote Control

Prerequisites: TR 5 or higher

Cost: 1 CP

The vehicle’s owner can operate it remotely using a transmitter and control device. Remotely controlling a vehicle requires the same kind of action (usually a move action) as if you were actually behind the wheel of the vehicle.


Prerequisites: TR 5 or higher

Cost: 1pt/+5 bonus

Each time you purchase this feature, it provides a +5 bonus to Computers skill checks to detect nearby or incoming vehicles and objects or perform active sensor scans.

Tech Rating Armor BonusExamples
1 +2 Copper plating, bronze plating, iron plating
2–3 +3 Steel plating
4 +4 Carbon-steel plating
5 +5 Alumisteel, duraplastic, Kevlar, titanium
6 +6 Duralloy, resilium, tritanium
7 +8 Crystal carbon, neovulcanium
8 +10 Megatanium, nano-adaptive, reactive

Sensor Cloak/Jammer

Cost: 1pt/+5 to Difficulty

Prerequisite(s): TR 6 or higher

Each time you purchase this feature, it makes it more difficult to detect your vehicle or run active sensor scans on it. Computers skill checks with those goals have their Difficulty increased by 5.


Cost: 2 CP

Prerequisite(s): TR 4 or higher

The vehicle can generate a smoke screen, creating an area of total concealment behind it 10 feet wide and up to 50-feet long. Activating the smoke cloud is a standard action.

Special: At TR 7 and above, this feature displaces the vehicle, fooling electronic sensors as well as visual detection.

Tractor Beam

Cost: 4 CP

Prerequisite(s): Space vehicle, TR 6 or higher

This feature allows your vehicle to perform grappling checks to immobilize and/or draw in other space vehicles. The target vehicle’s pilot may oppose this grapple check with a Pilot skill check.

Step 5: Purchase Armor

Any vehicle intended for combat may need additional protective plating to survive battle.

Vehicular Armor

Cost: 1pt/+1 Toughness

Each CP spent on vehicular armor gives the vehicle an additional +1 to its Toughness bonus up to the limit determined by its TR.

Step 6: Purchase Weapons

A vehicle intended for combat may be outfitted with weapons from the Weapons section. A vehicle can typically be outfitted with weapons of up to two size classes larger than itself.

Equipment Construction and Invention

Characters with the necessary Knowledge and Craft skills can build equipment from component parts, while characters with the Inventor feat can also create entirely new pieces of equipment using the guidelines in the previous sections.

To create an invention, the inventor works with the Narrator to define its traits, tech rating, and total cost in CP. This cost is used for the necessary skill checks, and determines the time required to create the invention. The tech rating of the invention is determined by the Narrator based on the available technology and the descriptions of what is possible at each tech rating.

Design Check

First, the inventor must design the invention. This is a Knowledge (technology) skill check. The Difficulty is 10 + the invention’s CP cost. It requires an hour’s work per CP. The character can take 10 or 20 on the check. In the latter case, the design process takes 20 times longer (20 hours per CP). You can halve the design time by taking a –5 on the Knowledge check.

If the check is successful, you have a design for the invention. If the check fails, the design is flawed and you must start over. If the check fails by 10 or more, the character is not aware of the design flaw; the design seems correct, but the invention won’t function (or at least won’t function properly) when it’s used. For this reason, the Narrator should make the design check secretly and only inform the player whether or not the character appears to have succeeded.

If the inventor is simply making an existing piece of equipment from scratch and has access to blueprints or directions, skip this step of the invention process and proceed to acquire the proper materials. If the inventor is building an existing piece of equipment, but has no access to blueprints or plans, a design check is still necessary to “reinvent” the item.


Before construction can begin, the inventor must acquire the necessary parts or materials. In most cases this means purchasing equipment with a purchase Difficulty equal to 2 + the item’s total CP cost. The rules for purchasing items of a lower or higher Tech Level apply.

In certain circumstances the inventor may be able to get some or all of the parts by scavenging them from a junkyard, derelict spaceship, or similar source (See the Salvage feat in this chapter). Generally you cannot gain materials to build an invention with a tech rating more than one level higher than the TR of the materials you have available.

Construction Check

Once the design and materials are in-hand, the character can construct the invention. This requires four hours of work per CP, so an invention costing 10 construction points takes 40 hours (about a week’s work normally, or working two days straight without rest) to construct.

When the construction time is complete, make a Craft skill check using the Craft specialty appropriate to the invention (generally chemical, electronic, or mechanical). The Difficulty is 10 + the invention’s CP cost. You can’t take 20 on this check, but you can take 10. You can halve construction time by taking a –5 on the Craft check. Success means the invention is complete and functional. Failure means the invention doesn’t work.

Failure by 10 or more may result in a mishap, at the Narrator’s discretion. Exactly what depends heavily on the invention. Inventing mishaps can become a source of adventure ideas and put the heroes in some difficult situations.

Option: Jury-Rigging Devices

Assuming the proper materials are available or have already been acquired, an inventor can choose to spend a Conviction point to jury-rig an invention. This is ideal for when a particular device is needed right now.

When jury-rigging an invention, skip the design check and reduce the time of the construction check to 1 round per CP of the item’s cost, but increase the Difficulty of the Craft check by +5. The inventor makes the Craft check and, if successful, has use of the jury-rigged item for one encounter before it burns out, falls apart, blows up, or otherwise fails.

You can’t take 10 or take 20 when jury-rigging, nor can you speed up the process any further by taking a skill check penalty. You can jury-rig an invention again for another use by spending another Conviction point and making another skill check.

Jury-rigging devices is highly cinematic, and the Narrator should only allow it for appropriate styles of play. More realistic settings should ignore this option, sticking with the more time-consuming normal requirements of inventing.

Sample Weapons

The following sample weapons follow the same format as those found in Chapter Five with the addition of information about weight and tech rating (TR).

Chain Sword

This sword has a chainsaw-like blade that contains rapidly rotating metal teeth.

Concussion Rod

This mace-like weapon has a miniature artificial gravity generator embedded in its alloy head, which increases in mass at the instant of impact.

High Frequency Sword

This sword is made of a durable metal alloy. Microscopic machines cause the blade to vibrate at high speeds, giving the blade extra cutting power.

Melee Weapons

Weapon Damage Critical Damage Descriptor Range Increment Size Weight Cost

TL6 Simple Weapons

Stun Baton +2 +Stun 20/+3 Bludgeoning Med 1 lb. 16

TR 6 Martial Weapons

Chainsword +5 20/+4 Slashing Med 3 lb. 13
High Frequency Sword +6 19–20/+3 Slashing Large 2 lb. 15

TR 7 Simple Weapons

Concussion Rod +5 20/+3 Bludgeoning/Concussion Med 3 lb. 17

TR 8 Martial Weapons

Plasma Sword +7 19–20/+3 Energy Med 1 lb. 17
Criticald WeaponsDamage DescriptorRange IncrementSizeWeightCost
Weapon Damage Bonus Range

TR 6 Ranged Weapons (Fire Arms)

Laser pistol +5 20/+3 Energy 50 ft. Medium 3 lb. 17
Laser rifle +6 20/+3 Energy, Autofire 60 ft. Large 8 lb. 19
Laser sniper rifle +6 20/+3 Energy 160 ft. Large 14 lb. 21

TL7 Ranged Weapons (Fire Arms)

Concussion rifle +6 plus Knockback 20/+3 Concussion 60 ft. Large 6 lb. 22
Plasma pistol +6 20/+3 Energy 60 ft. Medium 3 lb. 17
Plasma rifle +8 20/+3 Energy 80 ft. Large 8 lb. 19
Rail gun +7 20/+3 Ballistic 170 ft. Large 18 lb. 24

TL8 Ranged Weapons (Fire Arms)

Cryonic rifle +7 20/+3 Cold 70 ft. Large 8 lb. 21
Disintegrator +9 20/+3 Disintegration 90 ft. Large 6 lb. 23
Lightning gun +8 20/+3 Electricity, Autofire 80 ft. Large 30 lb. 19
Pulse rifle +7 20/+3 Energy, Autofire 170 ft. Large 11 lb. 21
Sonic beam +5 plus Stun 20/+3 Sonic 50 ft. Medium 3 lb. 18

Plasma Sword

This sword’s small metal handle generates a solid beam of plasma contained by a gravity-induced force field.

Stun Baton

The stun baton is a long rod similar to those carried by modern-day police officers, though it emits a pulse of stunning energy when it strikes a target, stunning them (see the Stun ammunition type on page 194).

Cryonic Rifle

A cryonic rifle fires beams of freezing energy. A target reduced to dying status by this weapon automatically stabilizes.


Resembling a laser rifle, a disintegrator fires a micro-singularity that obliterates the target’s molecular structure on impact. Anything killed or destroyed by the weapon completely disintegrates.

Laser Weapons

Laser weapons come in many shapes, sizes, and types. All lasers strike with a concentrated blast of light and heat energy.

Lightning Gun

The lightning gun fires a crackling ray of electricity capable of sweeping quickly through large areas.

Plasma Weapons

Plasma occurs when gases become electrically charged after losing electrons. Plasma weapons condense this electrically charged gas into a destructive force that can eat through solid objects and cause severe damage.

Pulse Rifle

The pulse rifle is a fully automatic laser assault rifle capable of firing a rapid barrage of laser rounds.

Rail Gun

A rail gun uses gravity pulses to propel a projectile at high velocities. Metal shards are accelerated along the rail gun’s length, leaving the barrel at an extremely high velocity.

Sonic Beam

The sonic blaster fires a pulse of destructive sound at the target. In addition, any creature damaged by the sonic pulse may be stunned (see the Stun ammunition type on page 194).


Science fiction adventures commonly take the heroes into environments and situations that are lethal. A variety of hazards and challenges heroes face in a general sci-fi or space adventure are outlined here, as well as guidelines for generating star systems and star sectors for these heroes to explore.


From the coldest reaches of space to the star-scorched surface of an irradiated planet, space adventures can take heroes into some of the most inhospitable environments imaginable.$

Radiation Sickness

Radiation can be naturally or artificially produced. All stars produce radiation in some variety, and planets closer to these stars typically suffer more severe effects than worlds farther away. Many starships and other pieces of technology incorporate radioactive parts and fuel cells that can flood an area with harmful radiation when ruptured or exposed. Ancient alien civilizations might leave behind powerful artifacts that emit harmful radiation. Whether the source is natural or artificial, any character in an environment rich with radiation may suffer some negative effects for exposure.

When characters are exposed to radiation, they may be afflicted with radiation sickness. Radiation sickness functions exactly like exposure to any other disease, following the normal rules for diseases. The Fortitude save Difficulty and the effects of radiation sickness vary according to the level of radiation and the length of time the hero has been exposed to it. .

Radiation exposure has five degrees: mild, low, moderate, high, and severe. To determine the degree of exposure, determine whether the character has encountered an irradiated area (the former site of a nuclear explosion) or a radioactive source (a lump of radioactive material). Determine how long the characters were exposed to the radiation within a given 24-hour period (rounding up) and consult the Radiation Exposure table to determine the degree of exposure.

The degree of the exposure determines the severity of the radiation sickness, as indicated on the Radiation Sickness table. At low levels, radiation sickness is a slow disease.

Treating Radiation Sickness

Radiation sickness can be cured using the Medicine skill. Treating radiation sickness requires a medical kit. Advanced medicine and advanced technology can eliminate radiation sickness or obviate its harmful effects.


Gravity determines how easily a person performs certain actions as well as the amount of damage a character takes from falling. For ease of play, these rules present four simplified gravity environments: normal gravity (1.0 g), low gravity (<1.0 g), high gravity (>1.0 g), and zero gravity (0 g).

Normal Gravity

“Normal gravity” equates to gravity on Earth. Environments with normal gravity impose no special modifiers on a character’s ability scores, attack rolls, or skill checks. Likewise, normal gravity does not modify a creature’s speed, carrying capacity, or the amount of damage it takes from a fall.

Low-Gravity Environments

In a low-gravity environment, the pull of gravity is significantly less than what we experience living on Earth. Although an object’s mass doesn’t change, it becomes effectively lighter.

  • Speed: A creature’s speed increases by +5 feet in a low-gravity environment. This bonus applies to all of the creature’s modes of movement.
  • Carrying Capacity: A creature’s normal carrying capacity (See page 91) is doubled in a low-gravity environment. In addition, the creature gains a +10 bonus on any Strength check made to lift or move a heavy unsecured object.
  • Skill Check Bonuses: Creatures in a low-gravity environment gain a +10 bonus on Strength-based skill checks (including Climb, Jump, and Swim checks).
  • Attack Roll Penalty: Creatures take a –2 penalty on attack rolls in a low-gravity environment unless they are native to that environment or have the Zero-G Training feat.

    Radiation Exposure

    Time of Exposure (Minimum)

    Situation 1 round 1 minute 10 minutes 1 hour 1 day
    Character in irradiated area:
    Lightly irradiated Mild Mild Mild Mild Low
    Moderately irradiated Mild Mild Low Low Moderate
    Highly irradiated Low Low Moderate Moderate High
    Severely irradiated Moderate Moderate High High Severe
    Character exposed to radiation source:
    Lightly radioactive materials Mild Mild Low Low Low
    Moderately radioactive materials Low Low Moderate Moderate Moderate
    Highly radioactive materials Moderate Moderate High High High
    Severely radioactive materials High High Severe Severe Severe
    Degree of Exposure Radiation Sickness

    Fortitude Save Difficulty

    Incubation Period

    Initial and Secondary Damage

    Mild 12 1 day Nauseated for 24 hours
    Low 15 12 hours 1 Con
    Moderate 18 9 hours 2 Con
    High 21 6 hours 3 Con
    Severe 24 3 hours 4 Con

    Damage from Falling: Creatures do not fall as quickly in a low-gravity environment as they do in a normal or high-gravity environment. Falling damage is halved.

    Long-Term Effects: Long-term exposure to low-gravity conditions can cause serious problems when returning to normal gravity. A creature that spends 120 hours or more in a low-gravity environment takes 2 points of temporary Strength damage upon returning to normal gravity.

    High Gravity Environments

    In a high-gravity environment, the pull of gravity is significantly greater than we experience living on Earth. Although an object’s mass doesn’t change, it becomes effectively heavier. Even the simple task of walking or lifting one’s arms feels more laborious.

    Speed: A creature’s speed decreases by –5 feet (to a minimum of 0 feet) in a high-gravity environment. This penalty applies to all of the creature’s modes of movement.

    Carrying Capacity: A creature’s normal carrying capacity (See page 91) is halved in a high-gravity environment. In addition, the creature takes a –10 penalty on any Strength check made to lift or move a heavy unsecured object.

    Skill Check Bonuses: Creatures in a high-gravity environment take a –10 penalty on Strength-based skill checks (including Climb, Jump, and Swim checks).

    Attack Roll Penalty: Creatures take a –2 penalty on attack rolls in a high-gravity environment unless they are native to that environment.

    Damage from Falling: Creatures fall more quickly in a high-gravity environment than they do in a normal- or low-gravity environment. Falling damage is doubled.

    Long-Term Effects: Long-term exposure to high-gravity conditions can cause serious problems when returning to normal gravity. A creature that spends 120 hours or more in a heavy-gravity environment takes 2 points of temporary Dexterity damage upon returning to normal gravity.

    Zero-Gravity Environments

    Creatures in a zero-gravity environment can move enormously heavy objects. As movement in zero gravity requires only the ability to grab onto or push away from larger objects, Climb and Jump checks no longer apply.

    Most creatures find zero-gravity environments disorienting, taking penalties on their attack rolls and suffering the effects of Space Adaptation Syndrome (space sickness). In addition, creatures in zero gravity are easier to bull rush than in other gravity environments.

    • Space Adaptation Syndrome: A creature exposed to weightlessness must make a Fortitude save (Difficulty 15) to avoid the effects of space sickness. Those who fail the save are shaken; those who fail by 5 or more are also nauseated. The effects persist for eight hours. A new save is required every eight hours the creature remains in a zero-g environment. Creatures with the Zero-G Training feat do not suffer the effects of space sickness.
    • Speed: While in a zero-gravity environment, a creature gains a fly speed equal to its base land speed or retains its natural fly speed (whichever is greater). However, movement is limited to straight lines only; a creature can change course only by pushing away from larger objects (such as bulkheads).
    • Carrying Capacity: A creature’s normal carrying capacity increases by 10 times in a zero-gravity environment. In addition, the creature gains a +20 bonus on any Strength check made to lift or move a heavy unsecured object.
    • Attack Roll Penalty: Creatures take a –4 penalty on attack rolls and skill checks while operating in a zero-gravity environment unless they are native to that environment or have the Zero-G Training feat.
    • Long-Term Effects: Long-term exposure to zero-gravity conditions can cause serious problems when returning to normal gravity. A creature that spends 120 hours or more in a zero-gravity environment takes 3 points of temporary Strength damage upon returning to normal gravity.
    • Weight vs. Mass: While an object in zero gravity loses weight, it does not lose mass or momentum. Thus, while a character could push a 10-ton piece of equipment around in space, albeit slowly, getting it to stop is a bit more difficult. If a character were to come between that piece of equipment and a solid object, that character would be crushed just as if he were in full gravity—just more slowly.

    For simplicity, assume a Strength check to lift or move an object in zero gravity gains a +20 circumstance bonus. Stopping an object already in motion does not.

    Atmospheric Conditions

    As with variants in gravity, a change in atmospheric conditions can cause major problems for characters. Not every planet will have the same atmospheric density or chemical composition as Earth, meaning that worlds otherwise hospitable to human life may not be ideal for humans born and raised on Earth.

    Corrosive Atmosphere

    Some atmospheres (breathable or not) contain corrosive chemicals and gases. Corrosive atmospheres slowly eat away at equipment and can cause significant equipment failure. The corrosion can be particularly troublesome in atmospheres that demand special survival gear, as any breach in a protective environmental suit renders it useless. Unprotected equipment exposed to a corrosive atmosphere takes +1 acid damage per hour of exposure. This damage ignores hardness and deals damage directly to the equipment, eating away at it slowly.

    Creatures not wearing protective gear in a corrosive atmosphere take +1 acid damage per round of exposure.

    Thin Atmosphere

    Planets with thin atmospheres have less oxygen per breath than the standard Earth atmosphere. Many thin atmospheres are the equivalent of being at a high elevation on Earth, such as on top of a mountain or in the upper atmosphere. A creature exposed to a thin atmosphere must succeed on a Fortitude save (Difficulty 20) every hour. On the first failed save, the creature is fatigued. A fatigued creature that fails a subsequent save becomes exhausted for as long as it remains in the thin atmosphere. After one hour of complete, uninterrupted rest in a normal atmosphere, an exhausted creature becomes fatigued. After eight hours of complete, uninterrupted rest, a fatigued creature is no longer fatigued.

    Thick Atmosphere

    Thick atmospheres contain a more dense concentration of certain elements, like nitrogen, oxygen, or even carbon dioxide, than the standard Earth atmosphere. These dense atmospheres sometimes contain a different balance of elements, while others simply contain a higher number of gas particles in each breath. The effects of exposure to a thick atmosphere are similar to those of a thin atmosphere, except the Fortitude save Difficulty is 15 instead of 20.

    Toxic Atmosphere

    Some atmospheres (breathable or not) contain toxic gases that are debilitating or lethal to some or all forms of life. The atmosphere is treated as always containing a type of inhaled poison.


    Despite some popular myths, moving into a vacuum does not cause the body to explosively decompress, nor does it cause instant freezing as heat bleeds away from the body. Rather, the primary hazards of surviving in the vacuum of space are the lack of air and exposure to unfiltered ionizing radiation.

    On the third round of exposure to vacuum, a creature must succeed on a Constitution check (Difficulty 20) each round or suffer from aeroembolism (“the bends”). A creature that fails the save experiences excruciating pain as small air bubbles form in its bloodstream; such a creature is considered stunned and remains so until returned to normal atmospheric pressure. A creature that fails the Constitution check by 5 or more falls unconscious.

    The real danger of vacuum comes from suffocation, though holding one’s breath in vacuum damages the lungs. A character who attempts to hold his breath must make a Constitution check (Difficulty 15) every round; the Difficulty increases by 1 each round, and on a successful check the character takes 1 point of Constitution damage (from the pressure on the linings of his lungs). If the check fails, or when the character simply stops holding his breath, he begins to suffocate. In the next round, he falls unconscious. The following round, he begins dying. On the third round, he is dead.

    Unfiltered radiation bombards any character trapped in the vacuum of space without protective gear. A creature exposed to this ionizing radiation suffers from severe sunburn as well as the effects of radiation exposure; the degree of exposure depends on the nearest star’s classification (see Star Systems for more information).


    The sudden decompression of a starship, vehicle, or other object can be dangerous to creatures inside. Whenever a sealed environment within a vacuum is breached, all of the air inside rushes out quickly to equalize the air pressure. Creatures within the decompressing environment must succeed on a Reflex save (Difficulty 15) or be thrust toward the breach (and possibly beyond it) at a speed of 60 feet per round. Creatures three size categories larger than the breach’s size category are big enough not to get dragged toward the breach (no Reflex save required). For example, a Fine breach pulls only Fine, Diminutive, and Tiny creatures toward it; creatures of Small size or larger are unaffected.

    If the breach’s size category is larger than the creature’s size category, the creature passes through the opening and is blown out into vacuum. If the breach’s size category is the same as the creature’s size category, the creature is blown out into the vacuum and takes +2 damage as it gets pushed through the breach. If the breach is one or two size categories smaller than the creature’s size category, the creature isn’t thrust into the vacuum but takes +4 damage as it slams against the area around the breach. It takes another +4 damage each round until the air completely evacuates from the decompressed compartment or until the creature pulls itself away from the breach with a successful Strength check (Difficulty 20).

    The time it takes for all of the air to evacuate from a compartment depends on the size of the breach and the volume of the decompressing compartment, as shown on the Decompression Times table. Once the air has completely rushed out through the breach, the pressure equalizes and the interior environment becomes a vacuum.

    Decompression Times
    Breach Size Decompression Time
    Fine (1-inch square) 3 rounds per 10-foot cube of air
    Diminutive (3-inch square) 3 rounds per 10-foot cube of air
    Tiny (6-inch square) 2 rounds per 10-foot cube of air
    Small (1-foot square) 2 rounds per 10-foot cube of air
    Medium (2 1/2-foot square) 1 round per 10-foot cube of air
    Large (5-foot square) 1 round per 10-foot cube of air
    Huge (10-foot square) 1 round per 20-foot cube of air
    Gargantuan (15-foot square) 1 round per 30-foot cube of air
    Colossal (20-foot square) 1 round per 40-foot cube of air

    Universe Building

    The exploration and settlement of our universe is a major theme in many science fiction stories, as are alien visitors from another planet, star system or galaxy. This chapter sets forth some guidelines to help you create your own science fiction universe.

    The Scale of Your Campaign

    The first question to consider when designing a science fiction setting is its scale. In a modern-day or near-future campaign, the heroes may never set foot outside of their home world. In a far-future space-opera or military campaign, however, the heroes may visit hundreds of worlds during the course of their adventures.

    Planetary Campaigns

    In a planetary campaign, the plot and level of available technology confine the heroes to a single reasonably habitable planet or moon. In this kind of campaign, you probably don’t need to put much detail into the rest of the universe. It may be a good idea to make note of how many other planets are in the same star system, and how many moons or other satellites the heroes’ home world has. You won’t need much information about these heavenly bodies aside from their numbers and possibly a brief description of their size, climate and any religious significance the planet’s inhabitants might attach to them.

    Star System Campaigns

    A star system campaign is a setting where technology allows the heroes to travel to other planets and moons within the star system their home world resides in. The plot of such a campaign will often give the heroes reasons to travel between planets and visit moons. If you are running a star system campaign, you can skip to the Star System Generation section of this chapter.

    Star Sector Campaigns

    In a star sector campaign, the heroes have access to technology that allows them to visit other nearby stars. Such a campaign often includes multiple human colonies in different star systems. When running a star sector campaign, you are going to want to map out the star sector the heroes are adventuring in.

    Mapping a Star Sector

    When mapping a star sector, you will first want to determine the size of the area you want to map. First, deciding the approximate number of star systems you want to have in the sector. We suggest the use of graph paper for mapping your star sector. The scale of the map will most likely be in light years, and the recommended scale is for one square (or hex) to equal one light year. For every ten or so star systems you want to place in the sector, map out a 10 light year by 10 light year area. In each 10×10 light year square, place 1d20/2 stars (round up), making sure no two star systems are less than one light year apart. This is as far as you need to go for a simple or soft science fiction star map. For a more realistic three dimensional map, continue with the following steps.

    To add a third dimension to your map, you are going to have to define the distances the star systems are above and below the two dimensional plane that the graph paper represents. Somewhere near the center of your star cluster, pick a star system of particular importance to your campaign. This star will be considered to exist in the same physical plane of the graph paper. The other stars on the map will be marked as being above or below this plane. To determine the distance above or below, roll 2d20 for each star system and subtract 21 from the total. This will result in a range between +19 and -19. If you rolled doubles, roll another d20, adding the result if your current value is positive, and subtracting it if it is negative. Positive numbers represent the number of light years the star system is above the plane of the graph paper, and negative numbers are below. Write this number next to each star system you marked on the graph paper. Once you have your star sector map made, you may want to add further detail to the more important star systems using the Star System Generation guidelines later in this chapter.

    Galaxy-Spanning and Multi- Galaxy Campaigns

    A galaxy-spanning campaign can be an intimidating proposition. Our own galaxy, the Milky Way, spans some 50,000 light years in diameter and contains roughly 100 billion stars. Even the most ambitious Narrator could never hope to develop that many locations in any kind of detail. The key to such a campaign is to only develop the parts of the galaxy your heroes have a high chance of visiting. Inevitably, the heroes will sooner or later get off any course you could have foreseen. In this case you will have to improvise and develop details of the places they visit as needed. Instead of mapping out entire galaxies, simply map out the star sectors that will be the most important to your campaign.

    Star System Generation

    A star system can contain one star or multiple stars. Humans are more likely to find habitable planets in systems with single stars. In reality, more than half of all star systems have two or more stars; these systems typically contain planets that are inhospitable to human life.

    D20 Number of Stars Number of Stars
    1–10 1 star
    11–16 2 stars (Binary system)
    17–19 3 stars (Trinary System)
    20 4 stars (Quaternary System) or more at the Narrator’s option.

    Star Type

    Depending on their initial mass, stars may vary widely in color, surface temperature, brightness and lifespan. Stars are classified using a lettering system that describes the star and gives information about its type. Known as the spectral class of a star, a designation of O, B, A, F, G, K, or M is given to the star based on its mass and energy output. Class O stars are the hottest, largest, and brightest stars, and class M stars as the smallest and coldest, with a gradual scale between them. Since a star’s mass determines how hot it burns (as well as how strong its gravitational pull is), the star’s classification actually helps extrapolate the kinds of planets that might be in that star’s system. Since larger stars burn hotter and smaller stars burn cooler, the mass of a star determines the climate of the worlds that orbit it.

    In addition to the standard array of star types, several other types of stars (or what were once stars) might be found at the center of a star system. Most of these stars (called “non-main sequence stars”) have characteristics that make certain planetary conditions impossible. No type of non-main sequence star is likely to support worlds hospitable to human life. Types of non-main sequence stars include black holes, neutron stars, white dwarf stars, black dwarf stars, brown dwarf stars, and red supergiants.

    Degree of Ionizing Radiation

    Ionizing radiation—radiation that breaks down atoms within living tissue—is common in space. All stars produce and emit harmful levels of ionizing radiation; a star system is considered an “irradiated area” for the purposes of determining radiation exposure, particularly in the vacuum of space. (Planetary atmospheres and protective environment suits can protect a creature from ionizing radiation.)

    The degree of radiation exposure depends on the nearest star’s classification, as shown in the Star Systems table. For systems with two or more stars, increase the degree of radiation by one grade (light becomes moderate, moderate becomes high, and highly becomes severe).

    Number of Planets

    The number of planets in a given star system can be determined by rolling on Table: Star Systems. For systems with multiple stars, use the star with the fewest planets allowable to determine the number of planets in the system.

    Hospitable Stars

    The chief classifications of hospitable stars are F, G, and K. These stars produce the right amounts of heat and the right types of radiation to allow human-compatible worlds to exist. Not every world around a Class F, G, or K star is hospitable; however, even inhospitable worlds within such systems could be made to support human life with artificial modifications to their ecosystems (a long a painstaking process called “terraforming”).

    Inhospitable Stars

    Class O, B, A, and M stars are the least likely to support planets capable of hosting human life. The stars toward the hotter end of the spectrum produce too much heat to allow living, breathing organisms to thrive. Class M stars do not give off enough heat to support life. These stars are also known to be violently unstable and prone to bursts of stellar activity.

    D20 Star Star Classification Systems

    Degree of Radiation*

    Number of Planets (round up)
    1 Class O (blue-white) High 2–5 (d20/5 + 1)
    2 Class B (blue-white) Moderate 3–6 (d20/5 + 2)
    3 Class A (blue) Moderate 1–10 (d20/2)
    4–7 Class F (green) Light 2–11 (d20/2 + 1)
    8–11 Class G (yellow) Light 3–12 (d20/2 + 2)
    12–15 Class K (orange) Moderate 4–13 (d20/2 + 3)
    16–19 Class M (red) High 2–11 (d20/2 + 1)

    Roll again on Non-Main Sequence Star Systems table.

    * Refer to the Radiation Exposure table for details.

    Star Classification

    Degree of Radiation*



    Main Seq uence St ar Systems

    Number of Planets (round up)

    1 Black hole High None
    2–5 Neutron star Severe 0–3 (d20/5 – 1)
    6–9 White dwarf Moderate 2–5 (d20/5 + 1)
    10–13 Black dwarf Light 3–6 (d20/5 + 2)
    14–17 Brown dwarf Light 2–5 (d20/5 + 1)
    18–20 Red supergiant High 0–3 (d20/5 – 1)

    * Refer to the Radiation Exposure table for details.

    Black Holes

    Black holes are stars that have expended their fuel sources and exploded in a massive supernova. Few, if any, planetary bodies survive the initial death of such a star. Once the star has exploded, its gravity is so great that it collapses in on itself and warps light, time, and space around it. Black holes drag all nearby matter into its center, collecting rings of cosmic debris called accretion discs that can be seen at great distances. Some planets and asteroids might survive being pulled into a black hole long enough for some adventuring, but they are incredibly dangerous places to explore.

    Neutron Stars

    A neutron star is a large star that has exhausted its fuel source but hasn’t collapsed in on itself. Instead, the entire star’s remaining matter compresses into a much smaller body, mere kilometers in diameter. Within this tightly packed core, the star’s density crushes the atoms into an object composed entirely of subatomic particles known as neutrons. Planets orbiting a neutron star are typically cold, lifeless, and severely irradiated. Another type of neutron star is the pulsar, which emits severe levels of radiation at great distances.

    White Dwarf Stars

    A white dwarf star is so much smaller than a neutron star that it does not have the mass to collapse in on itself. Instead, white dwarfs are typically small, dense and surrounded by rings of wreckage that were once planetary bodies in its system. White dwarfs emit very little light or energy. The rings that surround them are usually cold and dark. These rings are not bombarded by as much radiation as in a neutron star and could potentially support life, assuming enough heat could be generated.

    Black Dwarf Stars

    Black dwarf stars completely burn out after expending their fuel. The most stable of dead stars, black dwarfs consume their fuel supply and then cool into a cinder that emits no light or heat. Any planetary systems that existed around a black dwarf will remain intact but usually become barren and frozen.

    Brown Dwarf Stars

    In many ways, the brown dwarf is not even a star. Brown dwarf stars are stellar bodies that almost coalesced into true stars but never managed to form completely. Brown dwarfs are dim and small. They may have planets in their system, but these worlds almost never support life due to the lack of heat and light.

    Red Supergiants

    Most red supergiants begin their lives as average-sized stars. However, they burn hot and expend their hydrogen fuel supplies quickly. When its hydrogen supply is depleted, a red supergiant begins burning other, heavier elements such as helium, causing the star to expand to enormous size. An expanding red supergiant consumes its innermost planets and then burns so hot and bright it renders all other planets in its system incapable of supporting life naturally.

    Stellar Hazards

    Two types of stellar hazards can create higher-than-normal levels of ionizing radiation: solar flares and cosmic rays.

    Solar Flares

    Solar flares release tremendous amounts of electromagnetic energy (including harmful ultraviolet rays and X-rays), as well as highly charged protons and electrons. The effects are comparable to a radioactive blast from one hundred million billion tons of TNT (compared to the 20,000-ton equivalent blasts that destroyed Hiroshima and Nagasaki). Fortunately, while solar flares aren’t rare, they are predictable.

    Radiation from a solar flare is treated as “severe” for the purposes of determining the radiation’s effects (see the Radiation Exposure table in this chapter).

    Cosmic Rays

    Cosmic rays, unlike solar flares, cannot be predicted. Consisting of high energy subatomic particles moving at relativistic speeds, these rays can penetrate miles of solid mass (though extremely few get through the Earth’s atmosphere without colliding with other atoms or molecules, effectively rendering them harmless). In space, these subatomic particles can cause severe cell damage, even genetic mutation.

    Radiation from a cosmic ray shower is treated as “high” for the purposes of determining the radiation’s effects (see the Radiation Exposure table).

    Filling in a Star System

    The following tables are meant to help you fill in the details of the more important star systems.*Since planetary orbits are often elliptical, the Au measurements listed here are merely the average distances for single- star systems. For multi-star systems, this is the minimum distance between the planet and any of the stars it is orbiting.

    AU from star*



    nternal Pl anetary Orbits

    Average Thermal Environment**

    1 0.2 Extreme heat
    2 0.3 Extreme heat
    3 0.4 Extreme heat
    4 0.5 Extreme heat
    5 0.6 Very hot
    6 0.7 Very hot
    7 0.8 Hot
    8 0.9 Hot
    9 1.0 Normal
    10 1.1 Normal
    11 1.2 Cold
    12 1.3 Cold
    13 1.4 Cold
    14 1.5 Extreme cold
    15 1.6 Extreme cold
    16 1.7 Extreme cold
    17 1.8 Extreme cold
    18 1.9 Extreme cold
    19 2.0 Severe cold
    20 2.1 Severe cold

    * There is a minimum distance of 0.2 AU between planets. If a die roll places a planet less than

    0.2 AU from its nearest neighbor, then either move it to where it will be 0.2 AU from any other planets or re-roll. In a hard science-fiction setting, the planets in these inner orbits will almost exclusively be Terran planets or asteroid belts. Since planetary orbits are often elliptical, the Au measurements listed here are merely the average distances for single-star systems. For multi-star systems, this is the minimum distance between the planet and any of the stars it is orbiting.

    **These temperatures are for satellites surrounding a class F, G, or K star. Treat satellites around O, B, and A class stars as if they were 0.5 AU closer for purposes of determining temperature. Treat satellites of class M stars as if they were 0.5 AU farther away when determining temperature. See the Cold and Heat sections on pages 110 and 112 for details regarding temperature rules.


    External Planetary

    d20 AU from star*

    1 4 Severe cold
    2 6 Severe cold
    3 8 Severe cold
    4 10 Severe cold
    5 12 Severe cold
    6 14 Severe cold
    7 16 Severe cold
    8 18 Severe cold
    9 20 Severe cold
    10 22 Severe cold
    11 24 Severe cold
    12 26 Severe cold
    13 28 Severe cold
    14 30 Severe cold
    15 32 Severe cold
    16 34 Severe cold
    17 36 Severe cold
    18 38 Severe cold
    19 40 Severe cold
    20 42+ Severe cold
    d20 Satellite Planets and Other Stellar Satellites

    # of Moons*

    Low Density (1–6)

    Medium Density (7–14)

    High Density (15–20)

    1–2 Planetoid d20/5 – 2 Low Gravity Low Gravity Normal Gravity Pluto
    3–6 Sub-Terrestrial d20/5 – 1 Low Gravity Normal Gravity Normal Gravity Mars, Mercury
    7–10 Terrestrial d20/5 – 1 Low Gravity Normal Gravity High Gravity Earth, Venus
    11–13 Super-Terrestrial d20/5 Normal Gravity Normal Gravity High Gravity
    14–15 Mega-Terrestrial d20/5 + 1 Normal Gravity High Gravity High Gravity
    16–17 Asteroid Belt None Zero Gravity Zero Gravity Low Gravity ‘The Main Belt’
    18 Lesser Gas Giant d20/2 + 1 High Gravity High Gravity High Gravity Uranus, Neptune
    19 Gas Giant d20/2 + 4 High Gravity High Gravity High Gravity Saturn, Jupiter
    20 Gas Supergiant d20/2 + 6 High Gravity High Gravity High Gravity

    *Treat moons of terrestrial planets as Planetoids. Moons of a Gas Giant are treated as Planetoids, Sub-Terrestrial or Terrestrial-sized planets. Their characteristics may be rolled on the above table by rolling 1d20/2 (rounded up).


    A manned vehicle uses the pilot’s Notice, Computers and Drive or Pilot skill bonuses, the Captain’s Bluff, Diplomacy and Sense Motive skill bonuses and the technician’s Craft (electronics), and Craft (mechanics) skill bonuses. Vehicles with radar may use the Computers skill in place of Notice and Search checks to detect incoming objects.Feats: NoneTraits: As base vehicle plus construct traits. A manned vehicle also gains the following trait if its pilot has the Vehicular Combat feat:Vehicular Combat: Once each round, a manned vehicle may attempt to avoid an attack that would normally have hit by opposing the attack roll with either a Drive or a Pilot skill check, as appropriate for the base vehicle’s type. A manned vehicle may also substitute this skill check for its Defense for the rest of the round, but doing so requires a full round action if there is only one crew member.Combat: A manned vehicle has the attack bonuses of its gunners and gains one attack for each gunner on board (provided it is outfitted with enough weapons). Defense is as base vehicle. Initiative as Pilot or Commander, or +0, whichever is higher.Saves: Toughness as base vehicle, Reflex as base pilot and Will as base captain. A manned vehicle has no Fortitude save.

    Planetoids are between 2,000 and 4,000 km in diameter. Sub- Terrestrial Planets are between 4,000 and 8,000 km in diameter. Terrestrial Planets, such as Earth and Venus, are between 8,000 and 16,000 km in diameter. Super-Terrestrial Planets are between 16,000 and 36,000 km in diameter. Mega-Terrestrial planets are over 36,000 km in diameter. Lesser Gas Giants are Jovian planets that measure between 36,000 and 72,000 km in diameter. Gas Giants are Jovian planets that measure between 72,000 and 144,000 km in diameter. Gas Supergiants are Jovian planets that measure over 144,000 km in diameter.

    Vehicle Combat

    Science fiction often includes battles between spaceships and other similar vehicles. The following template is meant to help simplify combats involving one or more vehicles manned completely by Narrator characters.

    Manned Vehicle

    A manned vehicle is simply a vehicle controlled by one or more Narrator characters.

    Manned vehicle is an acquired template that can be used to combine a vehicle (referred to hereafter as the base vehicle) and its crew (referred to hereafter as the pilot, captain, gunners, and/or technicians) into a single stat block. In the case of a single crew member, use their statistics for all crew positions.

    Manned Vehicle Template

    Size: As base vehicle

    Type: A manned vehicle is considered a construct.

    Level: As Pilot or Captain

    Speed: As base vehicle

    Abilities: Strength as base vehicle and Dexterity as base Pilot. No Constitution score. Other attributes are effectively zero.

    If you don’t already have statistics for the crew, you can simply pick a crew level. Treat the crewmembers as having skill bonuses equal to their level + 5 in all relevant skills, and combat bonuses equal to their level + 2.

    Vehicles and the Damage Track

    Vehicles are immune to non-lethal damage.

    • Disabled: A vehicle that becomes disabled can only take a single move or attack action each turn (not both); it cannot take any full- round actions. If it attacks, attempts to escape at cruising speed, or performs any other action that would strain its systems, it suffers +5 damage after completing the act. A disabled starship is considered helpless. It has a Defense of 5 + its size modifier. Repairs that remove the disabled condition make it fully functional again.
    • Dying: A vehicle that is “dying” is beginning to break apart. The vehicle is immobilized, helpless and beyond repair. While a vehicle is dying, its crew may attempt to evacuate. The vehicle suffers +5 damage each round. Armor does not protect against this damage.
    • Dead: A ‘dead’ vehicle explodes, dealing damage equal to its base Toughness bonus due to size to any crew left onboard. The vehicle is completely destroyed.