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Space Battles In Ortus Novae


A thousand years from now, giant stellar empires sprawl across the galaxy and reach to places far beyond. Great fleets ply the stars and clash amid the jeweled darkness in the deepest parts of space. Colonies on alien worlds are rich and prosperous, but their ownership can turn in the course of a single desperate battle.

Ortus Novae: Space is a modification to the Ortus Novae rules that will allow you to conduct massive tabletop armada battles using starships you've assembled (or printed) yourself. Using the same quick and frantic rule set as the core game of Ortus Novae, you can simulate clashes between massive hordes of starships with devastating weaponry without getting bogged down by spreadsheets, arcane rule loopholes or unnecessary bookkeeping.

To show the versatility of the Ortus Novae system, you can use the basic rules without any modifications to simulate your space battles, but the New Optional Special Rules below can also be used in addition to the basic rules in order to make the whole experience that much more fun and exciting. Note: Ortus Novae: Space isn't really a 6mm scale game. It's more somewhere in the range of 1:1000 to 1:3000 scale. Ultimately, the size of the miniatures and the scale you use is up to you.


All Ships Are Elite
Battles in Ortus Novae are quick and bloody. This is great for a post-apocalyptic wasteland where decisive strikes can turn a battlefield into a gritty storm of aluminum carnage in the space of a few seconds, but battles between starships in deep space tend to be more fun if they are more cinematic. The easiest way to do this with the Ortus Novae system is to make every ship "Elite," giving them two dice instead of just one. This, of course, pumps up the point value of each unit and makes for a bit of basic bookkeeping, but it can also make your interstellar conflicts a little longer and more dramatic. If you make each ship Elite, I recommend either putting dice with each ship (to keep track of hull damage and weaponry) or keeping a sheet with ship names and die values on it. A simple index card with check boxes next to ship names is all you'll really need for keeping track of each unit's damage and combat effectiveness.

Boarding Parties / Hacking (Takeover)
Instead of attacking, a starship with this ability may move to attach itself to any other starship within three inches. While attached, it uses its target as cover (see cover rules), but may detach at the beginning of its move any number of turns out. The target also counts as being in cover, and shots at either ship risk hitting the other. This includes if the target fires on the attached ship, meaning the target can fire on the ship attached to it, but risks damaging itself. The attached ship cannot fire as normal while attached. 

Once attached (even on the initial turn) a starship with this ability may attack with its crew. Roll two dice against the target ship. If the Boarding Party ship wins the roll, the target takes no damage and is now under the control of the owner of the Boarding Party ship. If the target wins the roll, or if the roll results in a tie, there is no effect. When movement occurs, both players may move their vessels, but the attached vessels move as one regardless of who is moving them.

Note: If both ships are equipped with boarding parties, they may both make boarding party attacks while attached.

Ships equipped with a Boarding Party cost 1.5x to deploy.

Ramming (Mass Driver)
Instead of moving or firing as normal, a starship designed to ram may ram-attack another ship no more than twice its move distance away. A ship must be facing its target in order to ram. Resolve this as an attack, but give the ramming ship two dice to roll and add the totals together. If the ramming ship rolls higher, its target takes one point of damage. If the ramming ship rolls lower, both ships take one point of damage. Either way, place the ramming ship (if it survives) on the other side of the target unit. Ships built to ram cost 2x the die value of the ship.

Hardpoints (Elite Elites)
If you're looking to pump up the armor and devastating power of your starships, you might consider using hardpoints to bolster Elite ships. Each hardpoint adds a Chassis Damage Point to a starship, but does not add an extra die for rolling. Ships with hardpoints roll two dice like an ordinary Elite, and do not lose that extra die while they still have hardpoints to lose. Hardpoints are lost first, and only when a ship takes damage after losing all hardpoints will it lose its Elite die. Each Hardpoint on a ship increases the final cost of the ship by a total equal to its die value (d10 = 10 points) but a single ship can have an unlimited number of hardpoints.

When calculating unit costs, you can use the base costs (if all units are the same and only from the initial list of four units) or calculate using PEMDAS.

Space Battles using the Ortus Novae system presumably take place in a different universe (or at least a different century) than the post-apocalyptic setting of the main game. As such, there are additional factions that can be fielded in place of the factions of the base game.

Kyklos Commonwealth:
Rising like a phoenix from the ashes of the Terran Commonwealth, the Kyklos Commonwealth is a federation of starfaring species from all over the galaxy that have come to be united under a single flag. Demographically, most of the citizens of the Kyklos Commonwealth are human (or human-derived) but those numbers are changing as more species are added as members with each passing day. Rumors of renegade fleets of xenophobic human-supremacists are considered largely unfounded, but the government of the Kyklos Commonwealth considers them to be a very real threat and shots are said to have been exchanged on the rim of Kyklos space.

Special Ability: Adaptive
Your units may give up their move to add +3 to their attack range this turn, or may give up their attack to add +3 to their move range this turn.

The Rowanian Coalition
Until quite recently, the Rowanians were a civilization of refugees exiled from their homeworld by various invading forces. Their fleet of monolithic starships, once lightly crewed and flown proudly as testaments to Rowanian engineering, became a ragtag armada of city-ships tightly packed with Rowanian civilians. As far as starfaring species go, the Rowanians are hardy and independent, with no real interstellar allies and little interest in the cultures and worlds of species other than their own. Most of their efforts go toward beautification and restoration of their monolithic starships, the ancient cathedral-castles of their homeworld and the biosphere there as well.

Special Ability: Stout and Sturdy
+1 to all rolls involving Boarding and Ramming. +2 to Carrier capacity.

Asenite Empire
The noble Asenites hail from Madurulfr, an icy super-earth of beautiful glacial vistas and verdant fjords. Wolf-like in features, their fur ranges across shades of white and gray, though those who rise through the ranks of the warrior-shaman clades have been known to dye their fur in vibrant shades of cobalt blue, or to wear similarly-colored ornaments on their armor. Most of the population, despite being very intelligent, technical and rational, maintains strong ties to the animistic spirituality of their deep ancestors. Asenites almost unilaterally follow the word of law as set down by the supreme Alpha of their species, the Dawn Empress, who reins from her throne on the cobalt-blue flagship of the Asenite Empire. They make war only very rarely, but can be stirred to action for a noble cause, if the Dawn Empress herself issues the call to war.

Special Ability: Pack Mentality
Ships gain +1 to rolls if there is at least 1 friendly ship within two inches.

Krybix Technocracy:
Also called "The Cutters," the individuals of the Krybix Technocracy are so linked together with the use of cybernetic augmentation technology that outsiders often have a hard time differentiating where one of their species ends and another begins. Motivated by an amplified superiority complex, the Krybix Technocracy developed a contempt for all species but their own, and began to see all other sentients of the galaxy merely as prey for the hunting and harvesting. The entire species augments their bodies seemingly on whim, always experimenting on ways to improve themselves and their tribe as much as they can, regardless of any physical, bodily cost. As such, they may appear as ordinary as a weathered, implant-studded mobile corpse (if indeed that could be seen as ordinary) or as exotic as a web of meat and steel strung throughout the innards of a ship with a dozen minds co-operating inside of it. In battle, they are incredibly fast, and use subtle manipulations of time itself (bending it with specialized implants) to render themselves utterly invisible to others. 

Special Ability: Chronomanipulation
Once per turn, at the end of your turn, you may remove one of your units from play and redeploy it anywhere on the play area at the end of next turn.

Gnarian Alliance:
Even before they were advanced enough to make stone tools, the Gnarians were delicately tending the balance of nature around them, working together as a species to care for all of the other species of their world, not just those that they preyed on. Under their care, their world, and the many worlds that they have colonized, have become lush gardens of carefully-curated living masterpieces as functional as they are beautiful. Even their gold-colored starships are grown from genetically-engineered trees, harvested and pressed into service as living works of tungsten-tough art. Their government is a royal oligarchy, with four main families ruling the entire Alliance of Gnarian tribes. In battle, they are a force to be reckoned with, whether on foot or in needle-sharp interceptor craft that are more maneuverable than hard-hitting. 

Ability: Living Ships
Once per turn, at the end of your turn, you may roll a six-sided die. If the result is even, you may heal one point of damage on one of your ships.

Cygnan Coralate:
During a dark and difficult period of humanity's starfaring past, a vicious race of blue skinned machine-insectoids cut a fiery swath through the Terran Commonwealth and nearly obliterated the core of human holdings in the galaxy. Even centuries later, not much is known about where the Coralate came from or why they attacked humanity so suddenly and so relentlessly. Their biology is complex and cultivated, likely indicating that they are a species engineered by some great and powerful intelligence that has remained hidden behind the scenes even to this day. Captured specimens are precious few in number and all only consist of incomplete remains salvaged from the wreckages of downed fightercraft. What is known of their culture is that, while they seem to be composed of individual units, they gather and operate primarily as a collective whole, a swarm or a "Coralate" as one media pundit called them, focusing on the coral-like structures of their starbases. For better or worse, the neologism has stuck, even after all this time. Their most iconic traits are their sapphire blue skin, their ominous language of sharp clicks and deep, rumbling vibrations, and their ability to use naturally-occurring magnetic fields within their bodies to manipulate metals so that they run like viscous liquid (without a temperature increase) and can be directed in shape, speed and trajectory. Few things are more terrifying than watching old, declassified war footage of Cygnan boarding parties reaching out and shaping starship deckplating as if it were clay, sharpening liquid steel to vicious razors and then slinging them into human soldiers, all with only a series of deep vibrations and gestures. For now, the images of their sleek, silver interceptors and great, planet-cracking weapons are seen only in the media, in simulation games and war documentaries, where they are as ubiquitously applied as stock villains as the Nazis or any other terror that once brought humanity to the edge of darkness.

Ability: Quick As Liquid Steel
d4 die scale units gain +1 to all rolls and have +2 to movement range.

The Glyphpath:
No one can agree on what the catastrophe was that fractured and obliterated the Glyphpath culture. There is some indication that they merely left the local galactic group to avoid something massive, but even on that point, there is no firm agreement between scholars on the subject. What we do know is that they left buried ark structures on various worlds in the Milky Way galaxy that seemed designed to survive some great catastrophe. These arks are almost always packed with DNA samples of strange alien life and technology, though they never seem to contain any intelligent life, making their purpose a complete mystery. Further deepening the mystery, these arks awaken at odd and seemingly unrelated times, as if a timer has gone off and instructed the ark to completely terraform a given world with an alien ecology. Those who claim to have seen their ships are often laughed off as crazy, just spacers who stood too long staring off into the void, but it is said that if you were ever to encounter them, their technology and their motivations would be truly alien and terrifyingly powerful.

Ability: Carving Lasers
If one of your ships does one point of damage to another unit but does not destroy it, roll a die. If the result is even, the attack does an additional point of damage.