H is for Hot rod


image from inside a WWII-era B-29 bomber cockpit (from http://justacarguy.blogspot.com)

I’ve been thinking a lot about how Han Solo’s space ship, the Millenium Falcon, stands apart. The very first ship shown in Star Wars, which came to be known as the Blockade Runner, was originally built to be Han’s ship, or what the film crew referred to as the “Pirate Ship.” Lucas’ model maker Joe Johnson, explained:

“It was supposed to look like a ship that had been assembled from other ships… George wanted it to look like it’d been hot-rodded, so we put we put bigger engines on it and stripped things off of it.”

The 90’s cult-classic video game Star Control had a similar way of thinking about the protagonist’s main space faring vessel. Throughout the course of the games interstellar campaign, the player is able to add , piece by piece, onto the frame of the starship. Slowly, the craft is built into a devastating warship of the player’s own design; reflecting his or her own style and the benefits granted through playing well and finding the game hidden secrets. Remembering back, this was an immensely satisfying way to play a video game and an element of game design that I often try to imitate.

falcon cockpitThus, for Star Wars: Edge of the Empire, I have created a set of House Rules to allow for greater depth of starship customization at character generation at the start of a campaign. I took the time to backwards-engineer the starting stats for the 3 potential starting ships in the Edge of the Empire Beta (sorry, the Silhouette 5 Wayfarer is out of the scope of this article) and created a baseline, minimalist starship which could then be upgraded outside of the realm of Hard Points by a one-time opportunity pick-and-pay method. The goal here is to foster emotional investment on the part of the players into their starship by giving them a more direct hand in establishing that starship’s abilities, much the same way that a typical character is created. Opening up this level of customization is an oft-tread path towards game imbalance and out of control build combinations. I welcome such sights and challenge readers to find out the most outrageous strategies using this system and to share them here in the comments.

Each Crew starts with a baseline starship of the following:

Silhouette: 4
Main Hyperdrive: Class III (Backup Class XV)
Sensors: Short
Crew: 6
Cargo Hold: 40 encumbrance
Speed: 3
Armor: 3
Shields: 1/1
Handling: -1
Hull Threshold: 15
System Strain Threshold: 12
Hard Points: 4
Weapons: None

In addition, the Crew has 25,000 credits that must be used to upgrade their starship according to the
following tables. Leftover credits are discarded.

Cost (credits)   Upgrade
500 Class II Hyperdrive (Class XII Backup)
1,000 Medium Range Sensors
850 Increased cargo hold capacity (80 enc.)
1,750 Increased cargo hold capacity (165 enc.)
2,500 Increased cargo hold capacity (205 enc.)
3,250 Increased cargo hold capacity (250 enc.)
8,500 +1 Speed
4,000 +1 Handling
2,500 Armor 4
5,000 Armor 5
250 / point Increased Hull Threshold
1,000 / point Increased System Strain Threshold
2,000 / point Additional Hard Points
4,000 One defense zone (Fore or Aft) at 2

As Listed Starship Weapons

Cost (credits)   Weapon
3,000 Auto-Blaster
4,000 Blaster Cannon (light)
5,000 Blaster Cannon (heavy)
7,500 Concussion Missile Launcher (Limited Ammo 3)
5,000 Ion Cannon (light)
5,500 Laser Cannon (light)
7,000 Laser Cannon (medium)
7,500 Laser Cannon (heavy)
8,000 Quad Laser Cannon
6,000 Tractor Beam (light)
9,000 Proton Torpedo Launcher (Limited Ammo 3)


Check My Math

Here’s a quick summary of the three starships (my data sets) used to generate these tables and how their own abilities stack up against this method.

Ghtroc 720

Cost (credits)   Weapon
500 Class II Hyperdrive (Class XII Backup)
1,000 Medium Range Sensors
3,250 Increased cargo hold capacity (250 enc.)
5,000  Armor 5
3,250 +13 Hull Threshold
3,000 +3 System Strain Threshold
2,000 +1 Hard Point
7,000 Laser Cannon (medium)
25,000   TOTAL



Cost (credits)   Weapon
500 Class II Hyperdrive (Class XII Backup)
1,750 Increased cargo hold capacity (165 enc.)
1,750 +7 Hull Threshold
3,000  +3 System Strain Threshold
4,000 +2 Hard Points
14,000 Laser Cannon (medium) x2
25,000 TOTAL



Cost (credits)   Weapon
8,500 +1 Speed
5,000 +1 Handling
2,500 Armor 4
6,000 Tractor Beam (light)
3,000 Auto-Blaster
25,000  TOTAL



About C. Steven Ross

C. Steven Ross is the founder of Triumph & Despair. View all posts by C. Steven Ross

3 responses to “H is for Hot rod

  • freexenon

    Great work! Seriously man, silhouette 5 sounds like fun!

  • Brandon

    As far as the minimalist ship goes, is this supposed to be an entirely unique ship, or is the intent that you have one of the starter ships custom built to the fancy of the players? I know I can choose either way at the table, just wanted your thoughts.

    • C. Steven Ross

      Both. My intent was to have an entirely unique ship that is then custom-made to the desires of the players. Although, for me, the custom aspect of things is the most important part of it all.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: