Here is something a little bit different for the final entry of this series: Roleplaying with Twilight Imperium – meaning not just using the 4X’s setting as a backdrop but actually using the game’s components, especially its mapboard, and its rules (at least for the galactic scale events) – is something that we are discussing time and again. However. If the galactic map is used as part of the RPG then, obviously, the players need a ship to travel around that map with. Ideally, there will be a little rules modules dealing with designing the ship (more to come?), for starters though, I would probably go with the time honoured tradition of small armed freighters as player starships – a destroyer with a capacity of 2 (so that some players may also hop into fighters) and a reduced anti-fighter barrage (just 1 die).
Also, to increase survivability a bit, as long as the player characters command their ship themselves, they may ignore the first hit suffered during each combat.