Rob Nieves
▶ Stars Without Number

Modifying Star ships:

How much impact to game balance would increasing power or mass to a standard hull will have?

I gave my PCs a patrol boat, but wanted to increase its mass to give them extra space for mods but I fear this may just shift game balance.

Kevin Crawford

That's pretty much what starship mods are for, and the changes they provide shouldn't cause major issues in play. Simply giving the base hull more free mass would make it almost universally superior to the free merchant, however, which isn't usually a good thing.

Josh Peters

The Patrol Boat and other smaller ships are moddable, but it takes a few different mods to really make them special. And those usually include pretech components.

I've been toying with a few ideas:
Eternal Reactor will free up the space usually taken up by the standard Fuel Scoops and Fuel Bunkers (3 mass points that most Patrol Boats would have to use up). Best to keep Atmospheric Configuration on a ship like that though.

If you want to free up more space after that, use Specialized Mountings on the Spike Drive (assuming it's Spike 2 or Spike 3). That one doesn't require any pretech components. The only problem with using Specialized Mountings on the Spike Drive is that it prevents you from using it on a weapon of your choice, mounting two plasma beams for the price of one, for example. Or, you know, 4 Multifocal lasers for the price of two.

But if they want to mount two plasma beams on a patrol boat, then Specialized Mountings for plasma beams, Eternal Reactor for more mass, and then they can slap a Spike-2 drive in the ship. That means that they'll have 4 points of mass and 8 points of power left to play with, after Atmospheric Configuration. That's not amazing, but additional pretech components (and cash) will allow them to trade in power for more mass. Or they can mount a few power-hungry, low-mass mods, like workshops, emissions dampers, etc.

The trick for the 10 points of mass in a PC group's patrol boat is to avoid using any for the "mundane" things like fuel. Minimal cargo space too (1 or 2 points), because they're driving around in a small military craft, not a small merchant ship. Think more Rosinante (Expanse) instead of Serenity (Firefly).