Life support equipment is a group of systems that are essential for supporting living beings in a self-contained environment, like a spaceship, Space Station or arcology. Life support is not one system within a ship or station, but a set of specialized systems that make-up the entire life-support system. They include tanks for water, liquid oxygen, bio-waste, etc. Hydroponic and algae tanks. Air and waste possessors. Circulation pipes and vents. All together, these systems are complex, require a large computer system to regulate everything, and regular maintenance to keep it all in running order.

Official Rules

Knight Hawks Expanded Rulebook pp. 14

Life support systems on spaceships provide all the elements necessary to keep creatures on board those ships alive. These include food storage and preparation, and water, atmosphere and waste processing and disposal.

A life support (LS) system consists of the machinery that performs the various functions and a level 1 computer program to control the machinery. The complexity of a Life Support system varies with the number of creatures that must be supported, not with the size of the ship.

The Life Support System Rating Chart shows how many kilograms of LS equipment is needed to support various numbers of creatures (including animals!). The number in parentheses following each weight is the number of computer function points required by the system's level 1 program.


Mass (kg) and
Function Points
Cost of
Cost of
3 (1)
300 Cr
1,000 Cr
5 (2)
500 Cr
2,000 Cr
9 (2)
900 Cr
2,000 Cr
15 (2)
1,500 Cr
2,000 Cr
25 (3)
5,000 Cr
3,000 Cr
50 (3)
5,000 Cr
3,000 Cr
90 (3)
9,000 Cr
3,000 Cr
180 (4)
18,000 Cr
4,000 Cr
300 (4)
30,000 Cr
4,000 Cr
600 (4)
60,000 Cr
4,000 Cr

The cost of a Life Support system is divided between the computer program and the actual equipment. The program costs 1,000 Cr x the number of function points needed. The equipment costs 100 Cr x the weight of the system in kg. An LS system must be replenished with fresh food capsules and water every six months. Replenishment costs half as much as the original LS equipment - not including the computer program.


A spaceship or space station cannot have more creatures living in it than its life support system will sustain. If for some reason (rescued castaways, stowaways, etc.) a ship has more creatures on board than its LS system can handle, a backup life support system will be engaged. If the ship has no backup, or if the backup's capacity is exceeded, each creature aboard the ship will lose one stamina point per hour, due to shortage of air.

Obviously, the ship must reach a source of air quickly or its occupants will begin to suffocate. If a creature reaches 0 stamina points, it dies. When enough creatures have died to bring the number of occupants down to the LS capacity, no more stamina points will be lost. At that point, surviving individuals will regain stamina points at the rate of 1 per hour.

Several things can be done to protect passengers in an over loaded ship. Characters that are placed in freeze fields require no life support while the field is operating. If spacesuits are available, persons can put them on and use the suit's life support instead of draining the ship's systems. Spacesuits are a short-term solution at best.

Backup Life Support SystemsEdit

Any ship that has a little extra space can carry up to three backup life support systems. There are two advantages to this.

First, a backup LS system makes it safe for a ship to carry more passengers than the main life support system can handle. It is not hard to imagine any number of situations where a backup Life Support system could save many lives.

Second, a ship with a backup life support system can keep functioning normally if its primary LS system malfunctions or is sabotaged. A disastrous fire, however, will knockout all LS systems because it impairs the computer's ability to control the ship. Losing LS during combat has no effect, because everyone will be wearing spacesuits. The system must be repaired as quickly as possible after the battle, however.

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