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Personal Combat Damage Healing Poisons Death Experience
Dogfights Initiative Manoeuvre Firing Guns Missiles Countermeasures

The Q&DRPG System

Believe it or not, the next few paragraphs will describe the entire system that Wing Commander uses for resolving all forms of task queries.

All characters have skills, or at least an inate ability to perform that skill. When the Referee asks you to make a skill roll, this is done by referring to your character’s Skill Number and try to roll less than it’s value on 2d6.

A skill number is calculated by adding the attribute base value to the level number. A level of zero uses the base value, while a skill with no level number, uses half the attribute base value.

If you roll double-6, you automatically fail regardless of the character’s skill level. Rolling double-1, or “snake-eyes” means that the character has made a critical success. For more experienced characters, a critical roll is made when the player rolls less than the value of the skill level, as well as the skill number. In combat, this doubles any damage done, or if the roll was a parry, has an 6-or-less (on 2d6) chance of breaking the opponent’s weapon. Referees can can freely come up with effects of other critical successes. In the event of an auto-failure (double-6), the player rolls again, and if they fail a second time, it becomes a critical failure, indicating a dropped weapon, injury, a statement that is misunderstood, or some other serious problem.

Sometimes the Referee will ask you to make a Moderate or Hard skill roll. These are penalties to the character’s skill level. A Moderate task has a -3 penalty, while a Hard task has a -6 penalty. If the Referee has had a bad day at work, they may ask you to make an Impossible skill roll, which carries a -10 penalty.


Maniac is flying for his life, due to the fact that a lucky hit has taken out his weapon systems and auto pilot on his Arrow light fighter. He approaches the TCS Victory and must make a simple piloting roll, which he unfortunately fails. He must now succeed in a hard piloting roll to avoid the massive carrier and come around for another landing attempt. His Light Fighter SN is 14, but with a -6 penalty becomes 8. Maniac, being the lucky SOB we have all come to know and love, rolls 2+3 and manages to avoid reducing his fighter to scrap metal and himself to a red smear on the bow of the TCS Victory.

Personal Combat

Skill rolls during personal combat work in the same basic way, except that they are often resisted actions. This means that the opponent can make a roll to parry or dodge the blow, and maybe even return the blow.

Characters perform personal combat actions in order of their Agility, modified by the current weapon’s Speed (this can result in negative numbers in particularly slow characters), highest going first. A character may nominate to hold their turn to find out what their opponent is doing, but if all players hold their turn, the round is over and everybody starts again (imagine the stony silence at high noon...).

The attacking character makes their strike roll with the appropriate skill, and for every point they pass the roll, their opponent has a -1 penalty on their weapon or dodge roll (defenders have advantage in the event of a tie).

If a character dodges, they risk loosing their next attack. If the dodge is successful, they may make their attack as normal, but if the dodge fails, they loose their next attack.


Injuries are something that Wing Commander characters soon get used to, as it is something that most NPC’s will want to dish out on a regular basis.

The amount of damage a character can withstand is called Maximum Damage, or MD. This is the sum of the Strength, Endurance and Agility, multiplied by 1.5 (NPC’s have their SEA simpy added together, giving the PC’s a small advantage...)

Damage is done in variety of ways, but the most common is through combat. Damage for all melee weapons is expressed in the weapon section as:-

nD6 + (S-6)

Where ‘n’ is the number of D6, and ‘S-6’ is the character’s Strength less 6 (minimum damage is 1 point per D6 rolled, regardless of penalties).

A Sword does 2D6+2 damage. A character with Strength of 11 would have damage written for their weapon as 2D6+7, with the weapon doing a minimum of 9 points damage. Missile weapons may or may not have Strength bonuses added. A laser pistol will not have any bonuses, while a bow will – if it has been constructed for a character with that level of strength. Thrown weapons get the full bonus a short range, half bonus at medium range, and no bonus at long range.

How damage effects characters

When a character is injured, the damaged parts of the body send messages to the brain, interpreted as acute pain and numbing of limbs.

Whenever the damage reaches one-sixth of the character’s full MD, there is a cumulative -1 penalty on all skills rolls until the damage is healed.

A character with a full MD of 42 would have cumulative -1 penalties when their MD level goes down by 7, 14, 21, 28 and 35.

When the character receives more damage from a single hit than the value of their full Endurance, they must make a test against Endurance with a penalty equal to the difference between the damage done and their Endurance value. Failure results in the character being knocked unconscious by the blow.

When the character’s MD is reduced to 1/6 of its full value (penalty of -5) the player should make a Moderate Endurance test before attempting any action apart from using potions and/or bandages.


When the character’s MD is reduced to zero, they fall into a coma and will require a person who has the Surgery skill to heal them – First Aid will not work. Failure with Surgery will indicate that the character has just died. The maximum time a character will last in a coma is END-2d6 days, with a minimum of one day.

In the event that a character has died, an attempt can be made to rescusitate them by a Medic or anyone with a First Aid higher than 10. This is always a Hard skill test (-6 SN).


Without First Aid treatment after taking damage, wounds will not heal for four days (maybe longer for laser and chemical burns. Characters heal 1 point of damage per day as default, with extra points being healed according to the amount of care they receive. Wounded personnel in a carrier’s sickbay will heal at 4 points per day, while a planetary hospital can heal wounds at 7 points per day. Battlefield surgery, coupled with reasonable medical observation and attention will enable characters to heal 2 points per day while “out in the field”.


Toxins and venoms (the difference being that toxins are man-made, or plant and/or mineral-based poisons, while venons come from animals) work directly against the character’s Endurance, and have strengths according to their effect and level of dilution. A character with an Endurance below the poison’s strength must make a Hard Endurance roll to avoid the normal effect of the poison. Success, or an Endurance higher than the poison’s strength results in the character suffering lesser symptoms (vomiting, nausea, SN penalties, etc.)


As characters go through their chaotic lives, they gain experience in both skills already known as well as skills they might only have at very low levels, or even the chance of learning skills that were not available when the character was created. Whenever a character makes a skill roll with a pass of 3-5, they should put a small tick next to the skill, to signify that they have learned something new from the experience. A pass of 6+ gives the character two ticks. Each tick signifies 1 experience point that is used for increasing that skill alone. Once a tick is put down, no more ticks are earned during the rest of the session. At the end of the scenario, the referee can give out extra experience points for roleplaying (1-5 points per session), good ideas (1-5 points for each idea) and for the level of entertainment that referee got from running the game (1-10 points per session). These extra points can be used to add to skills already ticked.

To spend experience points is relatively simple. The player must spend a number of experience points equal to the current skill number (If Maniac wished to increase his Pilot Light Fighter skill from 12 to 13, he would need 12 XP to do so). You can only increase skills that have been ticked, and can only increase them after the end of a scenario or campaign, and not between sessions of the same scenario. When increasing the skill, the player should add 1 to the skill level, and alter the skill number, rather than just change the skill number.


No, I don’t mean battles between members of the canine species. A dogfight is a battle between fighter craft, and is central to all the Wing Commander computer games. As this is a roleplaying game based on Wing Commander, it would be a little lame not to have a set of rules for dogfighting.

Dogfights follow a sequence, a little like normal combat, but are slightly more involved, with opponents travelling at speeds measured in metres-per-second.

Purists will be pointing out at this point that in the Wing Commander computer games, all speeds are given in km/sec, but this would mean that the Arrow would travel at over 5,000,000km/h. While quite capable of reaching such speeds, combat would be impossible as the fighters would only be visual range for a couple of seconds at the most, taking visual range to be a few kilometres at best. Common sense would dictate that combat velocities will therefore be much slower, and probably slower than those of atmospheric fighter planes, as turns, rolls, and even just the act of slowing down all use fuel. The faster a spacecraft moves in freefall, the more energy is required to change it’s direction, orientation or velocity. If you really care abnout this, the Gametek computer game, Elite II - Frontier, simulates true freefall movement, and proves that flying a spaceship is NOT easy.


The first step in the sequence is Initiative, which uses the character’s Battle Awareness. As all initiative rolls, it is resisted, with the best pass going first.


Once initiative has been rolled, the first character maneuvers their fighter into a firing position, with the opponent resisting the action, using the appropriate piloting roll, modified by their fighter’s SN modifier, plus other adjustments as shown below:-

Initial Approach SN Modifier
Head on +2
From the side 0

From behind


Velocity Difference (m/s) SN Modifier
0-25 0
25-50 -1
50-100 -2
100-250 -3
250-400 -4
400+ -5



Pilot Action Modifiers
Full Attack +2 to hit, -2 resist
Normal no modifiers
Full Defence +3 resist, NO attack

The velocity effects two things. The modifier is a penalty for an opponent's gun turrets, and the faster the fighter moves, the more dificult it is to complete a manoeuvre correctly, so it is also a penalty on the pilot's SN. Remember that while bonuses increase the SN, even if the SN increases beyond normal levels, a double-six is always automatic failure.

If the attacking character (the player that won initiative) beats the opponent’s resistance roll, they are in position for a gunnery action, and can roll to hit their opponent, the modifier being the pass rate of their opponent’s resistance action.

If the attacker fails, the opponent has defeated the manoeuvre, and can make an attack, using the same rules as above. If this attack is unsuccessful, the combat round ends.

Firing Guns

The player must decide which set of guns the character is going to fire, or if they are going to combine them all to fire a barrage of gunfire. If they fire a barrage, the player rolls for each different type of weapon, but there is a penalty of -1 SN for each set of guns used after the first.


Colonel Blair, flying a Thunderbolt VII, is chasing a Kilrathi Vaktoth heavy fighter. Being behind it, he is receiving fire from the rear guns, and doesn’t want to hang around and be shot to bits by the eagle-eyed turret gunner. He decides to use all of the Thunderbolts guns, which are Plasma guns, Photon guns and Meson guns. He will have a SN penalty of -2 on each roll, but he gets to make three rolls, one for each set of guns. That Vaktoth turret gunner is in for a rough time...

Using the character’s Gunnery: Fighters SN, the player rolls to hit, with the speed modifiers above applied to the SN. Success results in damage being done.

A pass of less than 3 is a glancing blow, which does damage equal to the number of dice used to roll damage (3d6+2=3 damage, the modifier being lost).

A pass of between 3 and 5 is a hit, with normal damage (3d6+2 damage), while a pass of 6+ is an excellent hit, damage being the maximum roll possible (3d6+2=20 damage), plus a chance of a critical hit (roll 5 or less on 2d6).

Dumb Fire missiles are fired during the gunnery action, but while they are powerful, they have a -5 SN penalty in use, due to their slow travel time, during which most pilots can avoid them. Of course, using DF missiles against a stationary target suffers no penalty, unless the target subsquently moves, in which case the target has the option to make a +3 SN dodge roll.


A character can fire Dumb Fire and Friend-or-Foe missiles at any time (although it’s best to use DF missiles during the gunnery action), but all other missiles require a targetting lock. To get a lock, the character must be in position for a gunnery action for a number of rounds equal to the lock number of the missile. These, to avoid arguements, must be consecutive rounds


Maniac, flying a Hellcat, is in combat with a Dralthi fighter, and has already been able to get a gunnery action this round. To fire his Spiculum IR missiles, he must get a gunnery action one more time in the next round.


Characters may use countermeasure devices, known as decoys, to tempt the guidance systems of guided missiles. The player rolls the character’s ECM skill, and has to get a greater pass than that of the missile. Success means that the pilot can waste a few precious milliseconds watching stupid missiles chasing little floating ECM pods before getting back into the fight, or turning tail and afterburning back to base.

Just like any other combat, characters can choose their methods, and even try to annoy the GM by having their character perform crazy turns that the players will swear are possible in the WC3/4 games (Q&DRPG is not a system that takes kindly to rules lawyers, it being such a simple system, so if you can’t figure out a way to reproduce the manuevre in the system, just get the player to make a few difficult piloting rolls until you think he succeeds – or fails!

Wing Commander is a trademark of Origin Inc. No challenge to the ownership and copyright is made or intended.
The Original Wing Commander RPG is Copyright 2000, 2002 Michael Coe. All Rights Reserved.