1d10 Realistic Space Hazards

I originally wrote this while preparing for a Mothership game, but it has no game statistics whatsoever. Feel free to use it in whatever science fiction game you’re playing!

Inside of a rocket thruster nozzle.
Photo by Matt Benson on Unsplash
  1. Micrometeoroids. Think like particles of dust or smaller, not large objects that could destroy the ship. These may cause oxygen leaks, throw the ship off course (despite their small size, they travel so fast that they have lots of kinetic energy), or damage sensitive systems.
  2. Space weather. Solar flares, radiation bursts, or (depending on your location) outgassing from a comet.
  3. Computer malfunction. Computer systems are notoriously difficult to maintain. Problems can arise due to software bugs, hardware failures, errant radiation that flips a few bits, or an AI that can’t cope with situations well outside its training models.
  4. Engine malfunction. One of the engines burns out during a maneuver. Or perhaps the reaction control system (RCS) starts firing erratically. At the extreme end, explosions.
  5. Life support malfunction. This doesn’t automatically mean everyone suffocates! But carbon dioxide scrubbers could malfunction and everyone will start getting tired or making poor decisions. Or just the water purification breaks down.
  6. Venting O2 into space. As realistic as it gets (Apollo 13). A valve or an electrical circuit fails and now you’re losing oxygen. Even worse, pure oxygen is incredibly flammable.
  7. Stowaway. Somebody is on the ship who isn’t supposed to be. A passenger who didn’t pay is hiding out someplace, potentially causing problems or just draining resources.
  8. Pest infestation. Something is on the ship that isn’t supposed to be, or maybe a lot of somethings. Getting rid of rats, bugs, or fungus may present a challenge in a closed environment.
  9. Nearby distress signal. Receiving an emergency “MAYDAY” or “SOS” can throw the best plans out of whack. Can the crew even provide assistance?
  10. Nearby military or police action. A few cutters or frigates firing on other ships can be dangerous: projectiles that don’t hit keep going, and debris can be dangerous. Escape pods might even head towards your ship.

One thought on “1d10 Realistic Space Hazards

  1. The board game “Space Truckers” is overall pretty whimsical, but it has a lot of the realistic hazards you mentioned here.

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