A fire breaking out on deck, men being tossed overboard or a band of Sahuagin climbing the sides of the ship; all of these are potential ways to turn the players from ordinary crewmen, into heroes of the seas.
From the humble rowboat to the mighty frigate, all types of ships are capable of being emulated using specifications as outlined. However, not all ships are created equal, and thus, the following statistics are used to differentiate ships from one another and determine their strengths and weaknesses.
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Armour Class (AC) Functioning exactly the same as regular Armour Class, this determines the threshold that needs to be beaten when attempting an attack roll against the ship.
Hull Points (HP) Determines how much damage a ship can take before it is incapacitated and starts to sink. Related to the ship’s Hull Points are its Hull Dice. These function similarly to a creature’s Hit Dice. A ship’s maximum Hull Points is determined by the maximum value of its Hull Dice multiplied by its pool of Hull Dice.
Damage Threshold Most ships have damage thresholds that state how much damage the ship must take in a single instance before the damage is considered to have an effect. Any instance of damage below this number (after modifiers) is considered superficial and is not detracted from the ship’s current Hull Points.
Crew Members Expressed as two numbers (XX/YY). The first number represents the minimum number of able-bodied crew members that must be on board for the ship to have the barest function. The second number determines the maximum number of crew members that are able to contribute to the operation of a ship. A ship that has less than the minimum number of crew members on board cannot benefit from the Sail Crew Action. Any crew members above the maximum number of crew members cannot perform any Crew Actions.
Passengers How many creatures are capable of lodging on a ship comfortably and safely. This number includes crew members.
Ships are differentiated by their size. A ship’s size generally determines its Hull Dice, the number of crew members able to operate it, as well as any upgrades or Weapon Slots that can be attached to it. Size is given in two ways: the actual dimensions of the ship (bow to stern and maximum width) as well as which size category it belongs to. Sizes in ascending order are: small (less than or equal to 30 feet in length), medium (30 to 80 feet in length), large (80 to 150 feet in length), huge (over 150 feet in length).
Initiative Unlike creatures, ships do not roll for initiative, or have initiative bonuses. Instead, they have static initiative scores that determine the order they move during the Ship Phase. However, crew members can raise a ship’s initiative through the Command Crew Action, allowing that ship to act earlier than comparable ships. In general, smaller ships have higher initiative scores, reflecting their smaller crew sizes and ease of movement.
Tonnage How much weight a ship can carry in its hold safely. If a ship attempts to carry more weight than this, it enters “Sinking” status. This weight does not include the weight used by the ship’s weapons.
Weapon Slots This determines the maximum number of ship weapons on board. Ships are not allowed to install a weapon if that weapon’s Weapon Slots would send its total Weapon Slots over its maximum Speed Unit How much movement speed the ship gains per successful Sail Crew Action.
Sail Stations How many Sail Crew Actions can be undertaken simultaneously on board the ship. These Sail Stations may represent rigging areas, sail controls, rowing banks, coal engines, magical orbs of energy or more depending on the vessel. There is however no mechanical difference between any of the different types of Sail Station unless otherwise stated.
Maximum Speed The maximum amount of speed that a ship can naturally generate without external bonuses. It is calculated by the ship’s Speed Unit multiplied by its number of Sail Stations. The number listed in parentheses denotes how fast that ship would go, assuming that all of its Sail Stations were occupied by an average Sailor creature and is intended for the DM to use when NPCing a ship.
Properties Most ships have special properties that set them apart from similarly sized ships. These usually cause them to be operated differently or open up a different tactic or condition on the ship.