Energy shields provide an added layer of protection against enemy attacks, though their effectiveness varies depending on the nature of the incoming assault. The shields absorb most kinds of physical and energy damage so long as they do not fall below a certain velocity, and because they are an energy field, can self repair in combat, provided they have not been damaged.
Energy shields work as a pool of damage points against which certain kinds of weapon damage are automatically applied before resolving them against the armor and hull below. In addition, each level of shield has a regeneration rate, which is the number of damage points it gains back every round of combat so long as the system is still functioning properly and undamaged, and the engines are still providing power. If a shield is completely drained, however, it takes a round for the system to generate sufficient power to begin regenerating again.
When purchasing shields, handle them as an add-on system, requiring 40 tons of cargo space within the hull in order to install. The types and costs of the shield levels are as follows:
In combat, shields react differently to each weapon type, as follows:
- Beam Weapons: Shields completely absorb the damage from a beam weapon, talking only half-damage from the beam, and allowing no damage through even if the beam does sufficient damage to drain the shield.
- Burst Weapons and Mass Drivers: These weapons strike the shield first, doing normal damage, and should the shield be drained by the attack, any remaining damage carries over to the hull and armor below as normal.
- Ion Weapons: These deal double damage against shields, and temporarily disable their recharge ability for 1d6 rounds.
- Missiles: These relatively slow moving projectiles are unaffected by energy shields, and ignore them completely.
When attacking a ship with shields, simply roll and resolve the attack as normal, but subtract any damage absorbed by the shield first.
Zoltan have an additional type of shield they employ on their ships. Zoltan shields can be equipped in addition to regular shields, and provide an added layer of temporary protection against all forms of attack. Zoltan shields have a damage capacity of 100, but do not regenerate in combat, and will in fact only regenerate by capturing power from subspace, requiring an FTL jump in order to recharge.
Zoltan shields soak all forms of damage, though they still take double damage from ion weapons.
Adding a Zoltan shield to a ship requires an additional 20 tons of cargo space and costs 200,000 credits.