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Author Topic: Combat in space (and/or vacuum)  (Read 197 times)

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Offline GMLovlie

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Combat in space (and/or vacuum)
« on: January 21, 2017, 08:51:51 AM »
Let's say the players are in space, or a room on a starship without atmosphere. They're fighting and get hit with ranged weapon or slashing weapons, any weapon that could, potentially rip their spacesuits... let's also assume the spacesuits are integrated into armour - like combat or body armour - would that make a difference?

Do you roll malfunction? Do you automatically rule that a hit is a hole in the space suit - and then go for vacuum checks...

"What about the future...? We can only hope, we cannot however account for the minutiae of the quanta, as all accidents in an infinite space are inevitable."

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Offline pyrotech

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Re: Combat in space (and/or vacuum)
« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2017, 02:47:36 PM »
Well in the absence of other replies I guess I'll give my 2 cp.

Having just inflicted 7 hull breaches from a precursor race hyperspace mine on my party I am somewhat familiar with the explosive decompression and vacuum rules for HARP SF.

In a space suit I doubt there would be enough air to really cause any issue with being sucked (pushed) out of the hole in the suit.  So that bit of the rules probably wouldn't apply.  Also as the suit would be providing a supply of fresh air, a character probably won't need to worry about suffocation as long as that air supply holds out.  I would use the water vapor bit however as the characters breath and the moisture in the air begin to freeze inside the suit.  A space suit probably has a mechanism to deal with this condensate in the viewport but probably isn't meant to keep up with a hole.  The cold could be a bit of a problem but will probably take longer to bother the character than they have a supply of air.  The suit's environmental controls should keep the temp survivable but probably not comfortable even with a hole.  So for the most part a hole in the space suit is more of a short term critical issue than an immediate critical issue.  If the character is in microgravity I would also apply a -20 per hole penalty to zero-g operations due to the thrust caused by the holes.

I would assume a space suit comes with a 1 hr air tank (2kg) and a purifier (giving 20 hours of operation under normal conditions), and with a hole in the space suit you would lose air at about 10x the normal rate and the purifier would be ineffective.  So a character would have at most 6 minutes of air once holed.   

I would also assume any space suit that is integrated in with armor somewhat expect to get holed at some point and probably comes with some emergency patches or a self sealing ability (or both).  A patch would probably take 1 round to get, one round to ready, and one round to apply - assuming the character can reach the hole themselves.  I would apply the same penalty for patching your own suit as performing first aid on yourself.  For a self sealing suit I would probably say they contain enough sealant to patch 10 levels of holes.  A tiny hole is 1 level, a small 2, a medium 3, a large 4, and a huge is 5.  Once the suit runs out of sealant any further holes will not seal.  I would also say vehicle scale and larger holes are too large for the suit to seal, in the case of such a hit.  A self sealing suit takes two rounds to seal (one as the sealant covers the hole and the second as it sets).

I would say any puncture, ballistic puncture, slashing, blaster, laser, or shrapnel critical that hits would cause a hole.  Ballistic Impact probably wouldn't as I read the chart (so a space suit with rigid armor would have little chance to be holed by a ballistic weapon).  This interpretation could make combat in a vacuum somewhat more deadly and cumbersome than a GM might like though.  For those GMs I would probably say only worry about hole for a weapon type above if the crit causes a bleed effect.  That should reduce the number of holes mucking up a combat.

I'm sure some of the others here may have some other good ways to handle this.

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-Pyrotech

Offline GMLovlie

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Re: Combat in space (and/or vacuum)
« Reply #2 on: January 27, 2017, 03:11:00 AM »
great ideas and suggestions!

Emergency patches seems more in line with what I think my players will have available - they did the integration themselves anyway.

Thank you!
"What about the future...? We can only hope, we cannot however account for the minutiae of the quanta, as all accidents in an infinite space are inevitable."

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Offline NicholasHMCaldwell

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Re: Combat in space (and/or vacuum)
« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2017, 01:02:45 PM »
Good spacesuits should be self-sealing against most damage. Properly integrated spacesuit and armor should also be self-sealing against most damage.

Emergency patches for cheaper and homemade kit.

Malfunction rolls would be legitimate for serious damage to the suit.

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