House Rules

«Last Updated on November 3, 2023 »

Welcome to the first edition of the “House Rules” section of the STSTCS.

House Rules is a term used here at STSTCS to describe unique and specialized rules, most often created by fans, to help spice up Starship Combat. Many of these rules deal with new equipment, combat, tactics and the interaction between combatants. These rules will often give an advantage to one race or the other and are often used to help explain what’s seen on screen or described in other material. House rules should be chosen carefully by players and referees alike to ensure a pleasant (and fair) gaming experience.

Players do not NEED to use any of the described house rules when using new equipment or engaging in published scenarios – and in fact some house rules may deter from published works. STSTCS strived to provide balance in it publishing of equipment, starships and scenarios. New rules that must be used to provide balance are described in the appropriate places. All STSTCS material is specifically designed to conform to the original published FASA combat system when ever possible.

Remember to use house rules that make the game fun for you! If you try something and it just doesn’t work, try something else. Feel free to modify these listed rules any way you see fit. Some of these house rules may conflict with other rules, or may slow the game – but all are designed to bring some variety to the Tactical Starship Combat system.


HEAVY WEAPON – Quadrant Rule:
Suggested by Curtis Williams
All heavy weapons, including Phaser Cannons, Heavy Phasers, Heavy Disruptors, Heavy Lasers and other heavy combat weapons may only fire in a single “quadrant” equal to 90 degrees covering the listed arc.

PLASMA WEAPON DAMAGE – Increased Damage Rule:
Suggested by Curtis Williams
All armed plasma weapons (plasma torpedoes, plasma bolts, plasma missiles) that are armed and damaged before they are fired will do double impact damage to the firing ship.

SYSTEM TARGETING – Targeting rule variation 1:
Suggested by Zook, Developed by Curtis Williams
When a captain declares which ship is being targeted, then anything specific. Such as weapons or shields, or whatever. You would need an efficiency roll for the shooter. If the efficiency roll is made, then the damage chart is not consulted. Damage goes to the specified area. If the roll is not made, then you could roll for incidental damage. Perhaps, you got the shield generator instead of my phaser bank. Would it be funny, if on a failed roll, the damage chart is consulted, and low and behold, “Weapon hit”.

SYSTEM TARGETING – Targeting rule variation 2:
Suggested by TheCrmsnPyrut
In the old days we did a skill roll to target a system, and a skill roll to evade with success being either partial or total. Partial success left the possibility that the ship was still hit, even if the targeted system was missed, and damage was allocated normally. You also have to look at the facings of the two vessels, and the systems that could be targeted. You couldn’t target something blocked from your line of sight by something else.

CREW EFFICIENCY – Campaign Rule:
Suggested by T. Shannon
Our old group played around with different ways to incorporate target selection in the game. We played it as a crew efficiency skill that could be ‘earned’ during the course of a campaign setting. Points were awarded to crew efficiency based on the performance of a specific ship in a given scenario. Each ship started with a base line between 40% and 50% crew efficiency. For every 15% earned to crew efficiency, the crew could either roll or choose (we experimented with both approaches) from the following list:

1) +1 to Sensor Lock roll. Sensors lock on a roll of 1-7 and the locking ship’s captain gets to ask 2 ‘additional’ sensor questions instead of one.
2) +1 to repair rolls (self-explanatory)
3) +1 to ‘to hit’ rolls (self explanatory)
4) +1 to ‘detect cloaked ships’ rolls
5) Target selection

Of course, heavy crew casualties could cost you these extra capabilities. 25% crew casualty in a given combat required a ‘save’ to see if the crewmen crucial to the skill were among the casualties. 50% crew casualty means the bonus is lost for that combat and 70% crew casualty meant the extra skill is lost permanently (but can be re-earned).

Target selection was limited to systems exposed to direct fire on the shield side being fired upon on the target ship. This was determined by consulting the Detailed Damage Tables. For example, Bridge and Sensors can be targeted if you are firing on shields 1,2 or 3. Since the Bridge and Sensors aren’t listed as possible targets on the shield 4,5 and 6 tables, the Bridge and Sensors can’t be selected as targets when firing on shields 4,5 and 6.

We also limited which weapons could be targeted. Starboard side weapons couldn’t be targeted if you were firing from the port side, aft weapons couldn’t be targeted if firing at forward shield arcs, etc.

Engineering could only be specifically targeted when firing on shield 5. We did not allow for specific targeting of power grids. The player had to roll on the Engineering Damage Table as normal when a hit to Engineering was successful.

We later incorporated target selection for non-campaign settings by assigning a Tactical (or Weapons) Officer with a percentage efficiency rating like the Captain and Crew. Before firing weapons in a given phase, the player could roll a percentage roll vs. the Tac Officer’s percentage rating. If successful, target selection was allowed for that firing phase.

We did not differentiate between beam weapons and torpedos for target selection. Both weapon systems could be used for target selection.

Suggested/Designed by Joey the Marvelous
Kinshaya Rules 1997

Kinshaya Shield Rules:
There are always 1 primary and 2 adjacent shields raised. If the shields are raised The 2 adjacent shields must “agree” with regards to the number of “power points” applied to them.

Kinshaya “Shield Flipping”
A nasty trick, this allows the Kinshaya to declare any shield side as the “primary” at the beginning of phase 2 & 3. In doing so, the total power available to its primary and secondary shields now applies to the new primary and secondary shields. The secondary shields are always the 2 hexsides adjacent to the primary. The primary shield may have either more, less or the same amount of power applied to it than the secondary, but the secondary must be balanced (i.e. have the same power). If a secondary shield suffers damage in phase 1 or 2, it may draw power from the other secondary at the beginning of the next phase in order to balance. If the other secondary has an odd number of power points applied to it the “leftover goes to the primary shield

The Kinshaya can never power more than 3 shields, but they can power 1. This is, however, only done if an adjacent shield generator is inoperable in which case its counterpart will must balance out and have zero power points applied to it.

Kinshaya Armor:
The globes are “hardened.” They have some ablative armor (+3 per Hexside) but that goes away fairly quickly and cannot be replaced. They have very strong superstructures. But Shielding is not a Kinshaya specialty; they do not have any trinary (or better) shields.

Kinshaya Engines and Power:
The Globes have 2 engines mounted internally through the center of the sphere. The larger spheres have their Bussard collectors and Warp field generators mounted in pods extending away from the hull. These can be jettisoned if the ship is in danger of suffering a warp field imbalance, But the warp core and intermix chambers remain internal to the ship. If a Kinshaya ship suffers a warp core breach it cannot eject its core and the explosion is truly satisfying. The outrigger pods on these larger ships are a result of a Kinshaya Design Theory which is based on the practical consideration of how large the sphere would have to be built in order to contain all the components internally. They suffer along with their Klingon enemies, with the higher Turn/Stress ratings that come with non-spherical designs. These are the “Cruisers” and “Dreadnaughts.”

For the smaller ships that so not have the external pods, all is internal. These ships have one general advantage. Their Turn/Stress Charts run from A-D and are dangerous to opponents that think that they have a great advantage while not approaching “head-on.” These are the “Scouts” and “Destroyers”

Kinshaya Weapons Arrangement:
The weapons arrangement on Kinshaya warships is largely the same regardless of ship class.

The Beam Weapons are mounted in banks forward and aft and the firing arcs are generally as follows f/p, f/s, a/p & a/s. Two banks of beam weapons can be brought to bear on any target

Each Quadrant of the sphere has 1 Torpedo Launcher. When you count the quadrants, there are 4 (such is the nature of “quadrants”), but when you remember that there are upper and lower quadrants you will realize that there are 8 tubes per sphere. Normally there will be 4 that can be brought to bear against any enemy, no matter which way the ship is oriented.

Kinshaya Weapon Types:
The Kinshaya have unusual weapons compared to other FASA Trek Races. First, they have Enhanced Plasma Beams (EPB’s). The EPB’s are based on an idea I originally thought up for the Romulan “Drill Beam” weapons of the Romulan War. But they have some effects that are related to Plasma Weaponry as well. The General line of thought is that this “effect” results in subsidiary damage to the vessel that is hit by an EPB. The subsidiary damage can be more than one might expect. For instance, if I fired an EPB that had a damage factor of 2, it would strike its target for 2 points of damage. EPB’s, however, cause additional damage on succeeding phases. In the phase immediately following the one in which the weapon is fired, 3 additional damage points are dealt to the target ship, and in the phase following that, another damage point is dealt to the ship. So the initial 2 power points will yield 6 damage points altogether. The subsidiary damage is never greater than 3 in the second phase, and 1 in the 3rd, no matter how many EPB’s strike the target in a phase. On the other hand, a Kinshaya commander will rarely fire all his EPB’s in the same phase. Say, for instance, that he fires one bank in phase 1 and one bank in phase 3. The damage would go as follows (assuming the same damage factor of 2 for the EPB)

—Turn 1—
Phase 1 f/p Bank [2 weapons fired] hit — 4 points damage
Phase 2 subsidiary damage —————- 3 points damage
Phase 3 f/s Bank [2 weapons fired] hit — 4 points damage
subsidiary damage —————- 1 point damage

—Turn 2—
Phase 1 subsidiary damage —————- 3 points damage
Phase 2 subsidiary damage —————- 1 point damage

Now Keep in mind that this would be a scout. Larger vessels have more than one bank per firing arc so that initial damage would increase. There is also the threat of subsidiary damage increasing if he makes shots in all 3 phases.

Here’s an example of a Heavy Cruiser:
(CH’s have 2 panks per arc that can do 8 damage/weapon.)

—Turn 1—
Phase 1 1 f/p Bank [2 weapons fired] hit — 16 points damage
Phase 2 1 f/s Bank [2 weapons fired] hit — 16 points damage
subsidiary damage —————— 3 points damage
Phase 3 1 f/s Bank [2 weapons fired] hit — 16 points damage
1 f/p Bank [2 weapons fired] hit — 16 points damage
subsidiary damage —————— 3 points damage
subsidiary damage —————— 1 point damage

—Turn 2—
Phase 1 subsidiary damage —————— 3 points damage
Phase 2 subsidiary damage —————— 1 point damage
Phase 3 subsidiary damage —————— 1 point damage

Kinshaya EPB’s have standard damage yeilds (like photon torpedoes).2, 4, 6, 8 & 10 and a “power to arm” requirement. The “power to arm” is either 1, 2 or 3. EPB’s have long ranges, but in order to get an EPB to travel full range you have to allocate 3 power units. If you have a Heavy Cruiser with an EPB-8, it is on firing chart Y and:
3 power units will propel it 24 hexes
2 power units will propel it 16 hexes
1 power unit will propel it 8 hexes
Double that power requirement for banked weapons. In any case, you stick to firing chart Y for your result, ignoring any “hits” that are beyond your range due to using less “power to arm.”

Consider that a Kinshaya ship allocating 2 power units per weapon at 16 hexes is not the same as another race. When their maximum range is 16 they are on firing chart R or S, The Kinshaya is on W, X, or Y!

Kinshaya Rules for the Energy Dampening Torpedoes.
The torpedoes are unusual, of course. They have some characteristics of beam weapons. The Kinshaya did not know there were rules on such matters. Unlike everyone else’s torpedoes, Kinshaya torpedoes only come in one “ilk.” In other words, they only have one kind of torpedo (one size fits all)! It’s a bit of a power vampire. The Energy Dampening Torpedo (EDT) does not cause any structural damage at all, It can’t hurt SS, cant damage a weapon mount, can’t damage a shield generator etc. But, it can suck the life out of any powered system. It steals power on a 1:1 ratio and there is a 10 point limit on the amount of power that can be applied to it. Keep in mind what I wrote earlier, four tubes can normally bear on any target. If you were loaded for bear (and had a ship with the power available) you could suck 40 units of power out of an enemy in one firing phase.

The EDT’s (torpedoes) are usually used before the EPB’s (beam weapons) are fired in the hopes of taking down a shield before the Beams hit, or at least reducing it. The more ambitious you are with EDT’s the more it will cost you. Obviously, larger ships with more Total Power Available, will employ them, while smaller ships will have trouble sparing much power for them.

Rules for EDT’s

Power to Arm: ……….. 1-10
Max Range: ……….. 20
Firing Chart U ……. To Hit Bonus +2
Damage Bonuses None
Enemy can attempt to evade Nay


Shield Points 1:1 Until depleted, then affects
Warp Power Points 1:1 Until depleted, then affects
Impulse Power Points 1:1 Until depleted, then affects
Power to Weapons 1:1 Until depleted

EDT’s will be blind to ships without any power

Notice it kills Shield Points -Not- Power allocated to the shields, so if you’re the target, your SPR is your buffer there.

Rat Likes to call these “Tracking” or “Homing” Torpedoes because he was hit by them more times than a person could count. Actually they can miss.

Kinshaya Commanders “drive” their ships into combat in a very straight-forward fashion and here are some of their common tactics

—One Globe—
Bull in a China Closet
When the CE of the Kinshaya ship is greater than his opponent He will fire torpedoes and continue to close, at close range, head to head, he becomes extremely formidable.

Outnumbered and Outgunned
He will make most of his shots at extreme range where he has the advantage. He will keep rack of Sensors for who has weapons powered and “flip” shields as necessarry.

—More than one Globe—
Picket Ship
The smaller ship will close and arm the maximum number of EDT’s and fire at the target, allowing the larger ship to take out its systems with EPB’s. The smaller ship protects itself with shield flipping and emergency heading changes.

HEAVY PHASERS – Direct Line-of-Site Rule:
Suggested by Bryan Jecko
Vulcan heavy phasers are direct line of sight weapons that require significant time to aim. Vulcan captains must declare what arc they are aiming toward (if a heavy phaser covers more than one arc.) and may not fire the weapon until the second or third phase of the turn. For example – a heavy phaser with a firing arc of f/p may fire at targets either in the forward or port firing arc but not both. If a target vessel moves from the declared arc (say from the forward TO the port arc), the heavy phaser can no longer fire at it.

HEAVY DISRUPTORS – Direct Lino-of-Site Rule:
Suggested by “unknown”
Romulan and Gorn heavy disruptors, like phaser cannons, are direct line of sight weapons. Heavy disruptors may only have a single firing arc (forward, port, starboard or aft). Unlike phaser cannons, heavy disruptors may target any vessel in the listed arc.

PLASMA DISRUPTORS – Damage Distribution Rule:
Suggested by “unknown”
Ferengi plasma disruptors can be set to distribute their damage along the three facing arcs of a target vessel. Ferengi captains must declare their action and may not fire their weapons until the second phase of the turn. Damage is divided evenly among the three arcs, with odd numbered damage being applied to the primary target arc. (For example – 10 points of damage would be divided into 3, 4, 3 along the facing shield side.) If a Ferengi captain does NOT declare he is distributing damage, he/she may fire in phase 1 of the turn and all Plasma Distruptors are handled as standard beam weapons.

Suggested by Bryan Jecko
Cardassian SWD’s may be double charged and fire in two separate phases of any given turn. SWD’s may not exceed listed damage in any one phase. Double armed SWD’s may NOT be armed in the subsequent turn once both shots have been made. Power that has NOT been discharged CAN be held over for 1 turn. If the power is not discharged in the following turn, the damage is lost and 1/3 the armed damage is done to the firing vessel. SWD’s that are double charged will do double damage is hit during combat. (Example: A CSD-2 can be charged to 24 points of damage and make two 12-point attacks against the same target in two separate phases. If only 12 points of damage are used, the remaining power can be kept in the SWD and used in the next turn. If it is NOT used in the next turn, the power is lost with a total of 4 points of damage down to the Cardassian ship.)

PULSE DISRUPTORS – Double Shot Rule:
Suggested by Chris C.
Klingon Pulse Disruptors can be Double Charged and fired twice in any phase of a turn. They can not be armed in the subsequent turn. Both shots can be made in one phase or split between any two phases. Power that is not used is lost and the weapon can not be armed during the next turn. Double Charge weapons that are hit while armed only do the weapons standard damage.

DISRUPTOR MISSILES – Disruption Damage:
Suggested by Bryan Jecko
Andorian DM’s can be set to spread their damage across three facing arcs of a target vessel. Damage is distributed evenly with odd-damage going to the primary facing arc. Andorian captains do not need to declare their intention to spread damage to the target vessel. The information CAN be obtained by a successful sensor roll from the target vessel. Disruptor Missiles CAN be saved across turns.

Suggested by Bryan Jecko
Romulan Plasma Missiles are designed to spread their damage across three facing arcs of the target vessels. Each missile will automatically distribute 5 points of damage to the two support shield arcs. The remainder of the damage is applied to the target arc. If the supporting shield arcs are energized, the damage is absorbed. If they are NOT energized – the damage is applied directly to the Superstructure. Plasma Missiles CAN be saved across turn until used.

Pulse Torpedoes – TPT Alternate Rule:
Suggested by Bryan Jecko
Tellarite Pulse Torpedoes can be set to spread their damage across three phases of any one turn. If a shield generator is knocked out during that turn, a full 1/3 of the torpedoes damage is done to that arc. Odd damage is added to the final damage roll. (Example: A TAMT-6 can be set to do 8 points of damage against a single shield arc in three subsequent phases. If the shield generator is damaged in phase 1, the full 8 points are done to that shield arc in phase 2 and phase 3.) Pulse torpedoes may only be fired in phase 1 of any turn.