Fate Space Toolkit

Ship Ownership

Ship Ownership

If players want their characters to own a ship, you can handle this in one of three ways.

1. Access to the ship is a story detail, probably defined by a situation aspect. PCs may be on a ship together, but who owns it and who pays to keep it running are not part of their identities. They could even lose access to the ship permanently. This method emphasizes how the characters get along in the universe.

In Pax Galactica, the characters are citizens of the star-spanning Principate. They might begin the game together as passengers and crew aboard a space yacht, given to the highest-ranking citizen aboard, at least temporarily, as a Gift from the Emperor. When space pirates hijack the ship and take everyone onboard as hostages, it’s a case of easy come, easy go.

2. Access to the ship is implied by a character aspect. Hotshot Fighter Pilot, for example, establishes facts about the universe (there are fighters), tells us something about this character (they’re a hotshot), and tells the GM that the player wants this fact to be part of the fate point economy—they want to often be more effective when piloting a fighter, but also more likely to get in trouble for being a spaceborne showoff. This method emphasizes how a character interacts with a type of ship.

In The High Frontiersmen, the characters belong to either a U.S. or Soviet space agency, and so space-planes, rocketships, and shuttlecraft are available to characters depending on their assigned duties. An Orbital Bomber Pilot might be assigned to an orbital bombing station and called upon to perform orbital bombing missions—potentially suicidal ones!—with atomic weapons.

3. Access to the ship is an extra. One or more players invests some of their character resources—whether stunts or refresh, skill ranks, or aspects—into a ship, making it part of the character, and any separation of character from the ship is temporary. This method emphasizes the character’s relationship with a specific ship as a part of their identity.

In Mass Drivers, the characters are all members of the same asteroid freighter crew, and all have aspects describing their relationships with each other, with the ship itself, or both. This gives them access to and communal control of the freighter that they define together. The focus of the game stays on the ship, so if a character leaves the crew, generally their player will create a new crew member rather than following the original character. If the ship is damaged or destroyed, how it is fixed or replaced becomes a new story problem for the characters to solve.