A Copper Sea Rules

Combat Round Procedure:

• Determine Surprise – generally, each side surprised on 1 or 2 on d6. In the surprise round, you can do one thing: move, direct fire to full ROF, or declare covering fire.
• In the first normal round, only direct fire and covering fire can take effect.
• If you’re Covering: Can’t move this round. Interrupt movement. Extra shot.
• Roll initiative, proceed through each phase in order, winner of initiative going first each time:
1. Declare covering fire, indirect fire, grenades, etc.
2. Direct Fire up to full ROF
3. Movement . Covering fire resolved up to fill ROF plus an extra shot
4. Direct Fire #2 remaining ROF
5. Melee
6. Results of Indirect Fire

To Hit Determination:

Roll a d20 and add your level, any characteristic modifier, and your opponents AC. If the result hits 20 or higher, you hit: roll your damage. If you roll a 20, you double the damage you roll. If you roll a 1, a fumble may occur, according to the situation. If circumstances are notably bad for you hitting, like if your opponent is behind significant cover, you have to roll TWO d20 and hit with each. If your circumstances are particularly good, roll TWO d20 and if either roll is a success, you hit.

Taking Damage:

This rule governs how PCs and other important characters take damage. Like regular D&D hitpoints, this system is quite abstract about exactly what kind of injury characters sustain. Most characters and creatures simply mark off hit points from their rolled total and die when they reach zero as per regular D&D. PCs have a number of hit dice equal to their level. For starmen, the hit dice are d8. These hit dice are rolled one at a time as the character loses hit points (CON modifier applies). If a hit die is “blown through” – the next hit die has been affected, or the character has dropped to negative hit points – then that hit die is lost until the character has had a good night’s rest. Otherwise, the hit die is completely restored at the end of the current dangerous situation. Characters can drop to negative hit points equal to their level without dying.

  • The point of this: the results of combat are less certain, which encourages other solutions to problems, but it also effectively increases the hit points of PCs over the long term. PCs are less likely to die the death of a thousand cuts.
  • An example: Starman Jones is 1st level. A killer orchid has surprised him with a stabbing tendril. It hits, rolling a d4 for damage: 2. Jones rolls his d8 hit die: 5. He is down to 3. His buddy Starman Spork lasers the orchid. When Jones has a few minutes to collect himself, his hit die is restored. He can ignore the damage taken and erase that 3. If he gets in trouble and takes damage again, he will roll his d8 anew, maybe getting a better or worse roll.
  • Another example: Starman Spork is 2nd level. A blaster-wielding maniac gets a shot at him, which hits for 2d6: 7. Spork rolls one of his d8 hit dice: 5. 5 points of damage are absorbed, but 2 remain, so that hit die is blown through. Now Spork rolls his one remaining hit die: 3. Now that hit die is down to 1. If Spork survives the battle, one of hit dice will be fully restored, but one is gone. The blaster burn must be slowing him down.


Generally, characters hear or spot something on a 1/d6. Favorable circumstances, like using appropriate sensors or being a space elf, can increase this chance to 1-2/d6.

Doing Other Things:

The GM will make a ruling on the probability of an action succeeding. Often, a characteristic roll of some number of d6 under an appropriate characteristic will work.

Gaining Experience:

PCs can earn experience points a number of ways. If they reach 1,000 xp, they become 2nd level starmen, with all the glorious benefits. Here are some of the ways to earn xp.

1 XP for every stardollar won by plunder, reward, or trading profit, but none for salary or per diem work.
100 XP per hit die of opponent defeated, with modifications for special abilities per some D&Dish XP system. Only haldf reward for dumb animals that are easy to kill, and none for pointless slaughter.
10 XP per light year traveled.
100 XP every time a new alien creature is encountered, if the creature presents a significant challenge or opportunity, or is simply fascinating.
5 XP for every point of damage suffered.
500 XP for being in a space battle.
100 XP for being in a shoot out.
For gaining a new Follower 100X their level/hit dice.
For every planet you set foot on: 100 XP
For a strange culture you significantly interact with: 500 XP
For discovering a new alien intelligence: 5,000 XP
For discovering an unknown inhabited planet: 2,000 XP
For increasing one rank in the Scout Service: 1,000 XP
For saving a regular old planet: 10,000 XP
For experiencing a significant personal transformation, such as having your consciousness transplanted into a conical thing from a previous eon: 10,000 XP (if you survive)

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