Ship Combat

Vehicle Combat Statistics

Ship Size
Ships, like creatures, use size categories. Ships introduce a new size category-_ Colossal_. Many ships are massive constructions of timber, steel, or occasionally even more exotic materials. They dwarf anything other dragons, titans, or other exceptionally massive creatures. Ships that occupy a space greater than 6×6 are considered “Colossal,” and are either a corvette, a frigate, or a ship of the line.

Size Size Modifier Space
Large -1 2 × 2
Huge -2 3 × 3
Gargantuan -5 4 × 4-6 × 6
Colossal: Corvette -7 7 × 7-9 × 9
Colossal: Frigate -9 10 × 10-13 × 13
Colossal: Ship of the Line -12 14×14+

Apply the size modifier as a penalty to any Sailing or Initiative checks.

Ships are typically mounted with one or more weapons. Attacks with ship mounted weapons are calculated as follows: _d20 + base attack bonus + proficiency bonus + Int or Dex modifier + range modifier _ .
If firing a siege weapon, you use the firer’s Int modifier. As normal, a 20 causes a critical hit and deals maximum damage, while a roll of 1 is an automatic miss.

Siege Damage
Many ships are mounted with fearsome weapons of war known as siege weapons. These represent massive weapons such as ballista, cannons, and catapults. When calculating siege damage, you multiply the damage by the weapon’s listed modifier.

A ship’s defenses represent how agile, armored, and tough it is. Unlike characters or creatures, ships do not typically have a will defense.

Hit Points
A ship’s hit points represent how much damage it can take before it is disabled. If it is an oceangoing vessel, once disabled, it automatically begins to sink, dropping 1 square below the water line every 2 rounds. In addition, it requires a sailing check of DC 15 with a cumulative penalty of -2 per round or it moves out of control. Void sailing vessels are different depending upon whether they are in an atmosphere or not. In atmosphere, they begin falling, and require a sailing check of DC 20 with a cumulative -3 penalty / round or it moves out of control. Should the ship move out of control, creatures on board must make a DC 10 Str or Dex check to stay on their feet. A creature below decks that fails its check is knocked prone, one above decks is knocked prone, and must make a saving throw or be thrown from the ship! Ships sailing in the void must make a DC 15 check, or they move out of control. In addition, after a number of rounds equal to the ship’s Fortitude defense, their engines will fail and they will lose all gravity, heat, and atmosphere!

Crew Cover
Many ships have raised railings or portholes that crew can attack from behind. Depending on the ship and where the crewman is attacking from, passengers may have cover or superior cover.

Characters on Ships
Characters may be performing a variety of actions while crewing a ship.

Helmsman- This character, also referred to as the pilot, is responsible for physically steering the ship. Most ships have only a single helm. Steering the ship is a move action which allows the ship to move up to its speed. Ships may double move. The pilot adds the vehicle’s size modifier and his Dex modifier to Sailing and Initiative checks.

Captain- The captain guides the actions of the ships crew and watches the overall flow of battle. He may issue commands to the crew and use his superior vantage point to use Aid Another to any other character. Furthermore, the ship’s crew may add half the captain’s level bonus when attempting actions not attended to personally by another PC. For example, gunners will use half the Captain’s BAB when firing if they are not specifically commanded by another PC.

Gunner- A gunner directs a team of crew in loading and firing a siege weapon or battery of siege weapons. If commanding a battery, the entire battery will use the PC’s attack.

Crewman- A crewman provides the labor on the ship- working the rigging, loading siege weapons, putting out fires, etc. A player character acting as a crewman may choose to Aid Another either the helmsman or a single gunner. Alternatively, they may make a dc 15 Sailing check to jury rig a repair to the ship, granting 15 temporary hit points. For each point they go over 15, they grant an additional temporary hit point. In addition, every ship has a crewman requirement. Depending on the ship, losing crewman will cause a reduction in the ship’s speed. Any ship that falls below a third of the maximum crew moves out of control.

Passenger- Passengers are all other persons on the ship. They utilize non-siege deck guns, board the enemy ship or fight off attackers.

Starting the Battle

Initiative is determined by each ship’s captain. The captain makes a Sailing check (modified by the ship’s size modifier), and all crew on board act on his initiative. Alternatively, every PC may roll separately for their own initiative in the same manner as the captain.

Ship Actions in Combat

Aid Another: You can assist another character in performing a shipboard function. The Captain can aid any other character, a Crewman can assist the Pilot with Sailing checks or any Gunner with an attack roll.

Attack A player may attack another ship with spells or ranged weapons. If using a spell or a weapon that is not a Siege weapon, a player may pick out specific crewman or area on the other ship if they are within range and line of sight. When using siege weapons, a specific spot on the ship is not chosen; however, a player may declare they are firing to disable an enemy ship. If they choose this action, they take a -4 penalty to hit, however should the enemy ship be reduced to zero hit points by this attack, rather than taking damage the ship’s speed is reduced to zero until it can be repaired.

Sail Defensively The Pilot may sail defensively, granting a +2 dodge bonus to the ship’s AC and Reflex defenses, but imposing a -5 circumstance penalty on any attacks made by siege weapons from the ship.

Engage As a standard action, the Pilot may attempt to engage another ship. Make a Sailing check with a -5 penalty opposed by the enemy ship’s Sailing check. Should you succeed, you are considered engaged with the enemy ship. While engaged, the Pilot must select the engage action every turn or the engagement will end. IN addition, whenever the enemy ship moves your ship will move with it.

Move The Pilot may move the vessel up to its speed as a move action. It must move directly forward or it can move along either either forward diagonal. This movement does not provoke Opportunity Attacks. If the ship passed through terrain it is affected as a creature would be.

Turn The Pilot may execute a turn as a standard action, causing the ship to move half speed. During this movement, the ship can adjust its heading by 45 degrees for every point of maneuverability it has.

Sharp Turn As a DC 15 Sailing check, the Pilot can execute a Turn as a move action. If the check succeeds, proceed as you would a turn. Should it fail, the ship moves out of control.

Stop As a move action, the Pilot moves the ship at half speed and brings it to a stop.

Ram As a standard action, you can initiate a ram against another ship or a creature of gargantuan size. You may only ram a creature if you have a ramming prow mounted on the ship. Make a sailing check at a -10 penalty vs. the targets Reflex Defense. If you pass the check, your ship sustains damage based on the target’s size, while your target takes damage based on your ship’s size. In addition, any creature aboard either the target or your ship take an environmental attack vs. their reflex defense with an attack bonus the size modifier of the opposing ship. If the attack hits, they are knocked prone and every non-minion creature suffers d6 damage from the impact. If the attack misses, they are dazed till the end of their turn.

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Ship Combat

Star Fortress Arcana Fourthnorth