Starship Engineering

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Skill Type: Specialty Skill
Base Skill: Technology

  • Technology 4+
  • Mental Attributes cannot be Tertiary
  • Engineer Guild Membership or Engineer Status of 3+

A hellishly difficult skill to master, Starship Engineering covers the broad strokes of building, maintaining, and refitting starships. While some basic familiarity with the components of a ship is gained through this skill, the character cannot be considered an expert on fusion reactors, jumpdrives, think machines, and other systems. However, experts in those skills cannot integrate such systems into a functioning starship the way a character who has this skill can do, nor can they design ships from the ground up.

Most starship engineers do not actually design and build starships. One of the Guild’s closely guarded secrets is that there are a few new ships in design for selected clients, namely the Charioteer’s guild and the Emperor, but such designs pale in the face of the glorious Second Republic craft. Thus far not even the most brilliant of Engineers can match that level of technology, and the Guild is not interested in spending resources on allowing many Engineers to try. Only the top two or three Engineers in this field are allowed to even dream of creating new ships.

That said, this skill is enormously useful. It speeds up repairs on ships, enables the refitting of more and more powerful systems into an existing ship, and having a good starship engineer on board means the ship will be running better than usual. An Engineer with this skill can kludge in things that regular engineers have no idea how to add to a ship, or make repairs to systems that others would consider scrapped.

This skill gives more knowledge of some systems than others, the following list shows what penalties might exist for trying to use this skill to design a system that is part of a starship, but specialized enough to require its own skill.

  • Thrusters, Main Engines, Life Support, Sensors: Starship engineering covers more than just the hull. These essential ship systems are covered by an education in Starship Engineering and do not impose any extra penalty.
  • Reactors: Some information on reactors is covered by this skill, but the most advanced applications require skill in Second Republic Power Engineering. -1 die to any attempt to design a reactor with Starship Engineering.
  • Think Machines: The data connections between the Think Machine and the ship’s systems are covered by this skill, but Think Machines themselves are extremely complex and require much study on their own. -3 dice to any attempt to design a think machine.
  • Weapons Systems: Weapons and other similar systems can be designed by this skill, with one exception. Ship-size plasma weapons were a miracle of second republic engineering, and are included in an education on Second Republic Power Engineering. As with reactors, -1 die to design large energy weapons. No penalty for more conventional guns.
  • Jump Drive: Jump drives are fantastic and arcane pieces of technology, and require years of study on the Jump Gates themselves as well as obscure principles of particle physics. Starship Engineers cannot design Jump Drives. Indeed, no Engineer currently living can replicate these ancient and wondrous devices.

Advanced Use: When the character has at least 3 dots in this specialty skill, she becomes confident enough to build ships above the Frigate level. Before that, larger ships are simply too complex for the inexperienced Engineer to design.

  • Also at this level, the Engineer can integrate alien tech into existing ships or new designs.

Non-Human Tech: Obun and Ukar tech are easy enough to use, and require no modifiers to the rolls. Vau tech is very difficult to integrate as it operates from an entirely different perspective on design and technology. -3 to any roll to integrate Vau tech, assuming the character can even do so.

Annunki Tech: No one has ever found an actual Annunki spacecraft, or at least, not one they recognized. Such would be the find of the century. Technically Annunki tech is already integrated into most ships, in the form of a Jumpdrive. Other types of Annunki technology might be integrated into a ship at a hefty penalty, and at the GM’s discretion.

Starship Engineering

The Unblinking Eye Drascus