Adventures of the Feldspar Queen
A ship requires two things to keep it moving—a pilot and a means of propulsion. A pilot is a creature with an Intelligence score of 3 or higher who is physically able to use the ship’s control device. A ship’s captain is often (but not always) the pilot. The pilot uses the control
device and either her sailing skill or her Wisdom to control the ship.
Without a pilot, a ship will not move or will continue moving in a straight line, depending on the ship’s state when it becomes pilotless.
Sailing skill checks can be one of the following, depending on the boat’s means of propulsion:
- A current-propelled ship uses a Profession (sailor) check for the sailing check.
- Muscle-propelled ships use oars and rowers to push the ship forward. Sailing skills for muscle propelled ships tend to be Diplomacy, Intimidate, or Handle Animal, depending on the intelligence and attitude of the creatures supplying the muscle for the propulsion.
- Wind-propelled ships use sails to harness the power of the wind for propulsion. A wind-propelled ship requires a Profession (sailor) check for the sailing check.
A ship without a full crew complement, but with at least half its crew, takes a –10 penalty on all sailing checks. A ship needs at least half its crew complement in order to be piloted at all. If more than half of a ship’s crew is killed, dazed, stunned, or rendered unconscious, the ship can only take the “uncontrolled” action. Crew members can take no action while the ship is in motion except to aid in that ship’s movement. Any crew required to operate siege engines are in addition to those crew needed to operate the ship.
Facing and Movement
Facing: Unlike creatures, ships have a forward facing. Ships move best when moving in the
direction of their forward facing, and it takes time and skill to move them in other directions. Ships can move straight ahead, diagonally, or a mix of both within the same movement.
Movement: Ships have a maximum speed and an acceleration listing. The maximum speed is the fastest rate the ship can travel per round (though a windpropelled ship sailing in the direction of the wind can double this speed). A ship cannot usually start at its maximum speed. Each round, the pilot can attempt to accelerate the ship or decelerate it by a rate equal to its acceleration.
Travel over long distances across seas or oceans uses waterborne movement, measured in miles per hour or day. For muscle-propelled ships, a day represents 10 hours of rowing. For a windpropelled sailing ship, it represents 24 hours. Waterborne speeds for the most common ship types can be found on page 174 of the Core Rulebook.
To control a ship in combat, a pilot must make a sailing check to determine the maneuverability and speed of the ship that round. If a ship is using two means of propulsion at the same time, such as wind and muscle, the pilot chooses which skill to use, and takes a –5 penalty on all sailing checks. A pilot can always make a Wisdom check in place of a sailing check. Outside of combat, the base DC for all sailing checks is DC 5. In combat, the base DC for all sailing checks is DC 20.
Aid Another: Just as with other skills, a character can spend a standard action to use the aid another action. This represents an extra pair of eyes observing the enemy, giving orders to the crew, or simply helpful advice. The helping character makes a sailing check as well. If the result is 10 or higher, the pilot gains a +2 bonus on her sailing check. Only one character can use the aid another action to help a pilot on a single sailing check.
Every vehicle has a control device for steering (such as a wheel or oars). When a control device gains the broken condition, all sailing checks take a –10 penalty. When a control device is destroyed, a ship cannot be piloted until the control device is repaired.
Propulsion and Sailing Skills
Current: All boats and ships can use water currents for propulsion. Ships travelling by current can only move in the direction and at the speed of a current unless they also employ some other means of propulsion or manipulation. A current-propelled ship’s maximum speed depends on the speed of the current (often as high as 120 feet). The acceleration of a current-propelled ship is 30 feet.
Muscle: For intelligent creatures, use Diplomacy if the creatures providing the propulsion have an attitude of indifferent, friendly, or helpful (Core Rulebook 94). If the creatures providing the propulsion are friendly or helpful, Diplomacy sailing checks are made with a +5
bonus. Intimidate is used for intelligent creatures with an attitude of unfriendly or hostile, such as captive rowers on a slave galley. Handle Animal is used if the creatures providing the propulsion are not intelligent.
The maximum speed and acceleration of a musclepropelled ship depends on the number of creatures providing the propulsion, but most muscle-propelled ship have a maximum speed of 30 feet and an acceleration of 30 feet. Larger muscle-propelled ships with many rowers have a maximum speed of 60 feet and an acceleration of 30 feet.
Wind: Small wind-propelled ships can move at a maximum speed of 30 feet. Larger ships that are also muscle propelled often have a maximum speed of 60 feet when using only wind propulsion. Large ships with multiple masts and many sails can have maximum speeds of up
to 90 feet. The acceleration of a wind-propelled ship is 30 feet.
All wind-propelled ships can move twice their normal maximum speed when moving in the direction of the wind. A ship using wind propulsion cannot move in the opposite direction from the wind.
All wind-propelled ships require the use of sails and rigging. To move at full speed, a ship
requires 10 5-foot squares of sails per mast per square of the ship. For example, a 3-square ship with three masts requires 90 squares of sails.
Mixed Means of Propulsion: Some ships use multiple forms of propulsion. Multiple methods of propulsion add flexibility and can work in concert to create faster movement. If a ship has two means of propulsion, such as wind and muscle, it generally adds its two maximum speeds together to determine its maximum speed. Acceleration remains the same. Nothing is added for a third form of propulsion, except for the flexibility of having a back-up form of propulsion. A ship with multiple methods of propulsion often requires a large crew to get it going and keep it moving.
Evasion and Pursuit
If one ship wants to avoid combat, however, a chase ensues. At the GM’s discretion, a faster ship can always catch a slower ship.
When two ships first encounter one another, the pilots of the two ships must make three opposed sailing checks. Whichever pilot wins at least two out of three of the opposed checks is victorious. If the pursuing ship wins, it catches up to the f leeing ship and ship-to-ship combat begins. If the f leeing ship wins, it escapes. If the result is a tie, the pilots should begin a new series of three opposed checks.
Such chases can take days, as one ship struggles to outmaneuver the other. At the GM’s discretion, roll 1d4 to determine the number of days a chase lasts.
Withdrawing: Once in ship-to-ship combat, a ship can withdraw from combat by simply moving off the edge of the battle mat, ending ship-to-ship combat immediately. At the GM’s discretion, the ship has either escaped completely, or the two ships can go back to the evasion and pursuit rules above.
Ships in Combat
On the battlemap, a single square corresponds to 30 feet of distance.
To establish the starting position of the ships on the battle mat, roll 1d4 to determine the ships’ heading (the direction they are facing). Since both ships are coming out of a chase, they are both assumed to have the same heading. A roll of 1 is north, 2 is east, 3 is south, and 4 is west. Place the defending ship as close to the center of the map as possible on the correct heading.
Next, roll 1d8 to determine the bearing of the attacking ship (its position relative to the other ship). Follow the guidelines for missed splash weapons (Core Rulebook 202), with a roll of 1 indicating north, and counting squares clockwise for a roll of 2 through 8 to determine the bearing. In some cases, this will put the attacking ship ahead of the defending ship—this simply means the attacking ship overshot its quarry as the chase came to a close.
Finally, roll 1d4+2 to determine the number of squares on the battle mat between the two ships. Place the attacking ship on the map at the appropriate bearing and distance from the opposing ship.
Unless otherwise detailed in an encounter, assume that each ship begins combat with a speed of 30 feet. Any siege engines carried on a ship are likewise assumed to be loaded at the beginning of combat.
Wind: If any of the ships in the battle rely on sails and wind to move, randomly determine what direction the wind is blowing by rolling 1d4 and using the same guidelines for determining heading.
The Upper Hand
At the beginning of every round, each pilot makes an opposed sailing check to determine who has the upper hand that round. The pilot who succeeds at the check gains the upper hand, and can immediately reposition her ship by one square in any direction as a free action. For every 5 by which the successful pilot’s check exceeds the opposing pilot’s check, the pilot with the upper hand can reposition her ship by an additional square. On a tie, neither pilot gains the upper hand.
Alternatively, the pilot who wins the upper hand can change the heading of her ship by 90 degrees. For every 5 by which the successful pilot’s check exceeds the opposing pilot’s check, the pilot with the upper hand can change the heading of her ship by an additional 90 degrees.
A ship that is upwind of another ship (closer to the direction of the wind) is said to “hold the weather gage,” and gains a +2 bonus on the opposed check to gain the upper hand.
At the start of a pilot’s turn, she can take any of the following sailing actions (except the “uncontrolled” action) by making a sailing check to control the ship. The pilot must take whatever action is required before doing anything else that turn. Just as in normal combat,
a pilot can perform a standard action and a move action each round. Once the pilot has selected an action, or takes some other action forcing the ship to become uncontrolled, the ship moves. If a ship has less than half its crew or has no pilot, or if the pilot takes no action, takes some other action instead of piloting the ship, or delays or readies an action, the ship takes the “uncontrolled” action.
Full Ahead (standard action): With a successful sailing check, the ship’s current speed increases by its acceleration (usually 30 feet), but no higher than its maximum speed. The ship can move forward or forward diagonally. In other words, each time a ship enters a new 30-foot square, it can choose any of its forward facing squares—the one directly in front or either of the squares directly forward and diagonal. This allows the ship to swerve. A pilot who fails her sailing check does not accelerate and can only move into a square directly in front of the ship’s forward facing.
Hard to Port or Hard to Starboard (standard action): The pilot can turn the ship while it moves forward at its current speed. With a successful sailing check, the pilot can change the ship’s forward facing either left (port) or right (starboard) by 90 degrees at any point during the ship’s movement. Do this by pivoting the ship so that the rear square of the ship takes the place of the ship’s former forward facing square. If a ship’s current speed is twice its acceleration, the pilot takes a –5 penalty on the sailing check. If a ship’s current speed is three times its acceleration, the pilot takes a –10 penalty on the sailing check. If its current speed is four or more times its acceleration, the pilot takes a –20 penalty. On a failed check, the ship does not turn, but can be moved forward diagonally during its movement. Note: A wind-propelled ship that turns into the wind (its forward facing is pointed in the opposite direction from the wind) is said to be “in irons” and takes the uncontrolled action until its pilot turns it to face another direction.
Heave To (standard action): With a successful sailing check, the ship’s current speed decreases by 30 feet. On a failed check, the ship does not decelerate. Either way, the ship can move forward on its current facing and can move forward diagonally. If deceleration reduces a ship’s speed to 0, some amount of inertia will continue to move the ship forward. The ship moves forward (either directly forward or forward diagonally) 1d4×30 feet before coming to a complete stop.
Make Way (standard action): With a successful sailing check, a pilot can make a tricky or difficult maneuver that forces an enemy pilot to react. The result of this sailing check then becomes the DC of the enemy pilot’s next sailing check. On a failed check, the ship’s speed remains constant, but the ship cannot move forward diagonally, and the enemy pilot makes his next sailing check at the normal DC.
Stay the Course (move action): With a successful sailing check, the pilot can move the ship forward on its current facing at its current speed, and it can move directly forward or forward diagonally. Failing the check keeps the speed constant, but the ship can only move directly forward, not forward diagonally.
Full Astern (full-round action): With a successful sailing check, the pilot can move the ship backward at a speed of 30 feet, moving either directly backward (the reverse of its forward facing) or backward diagonally. On a failed check, it does not move backward. A ship may only be moved in reverse if its current speed is 0.
Uncontrolled (no action): When the pilot does nothing, if there is no pilot, or if the ship has less than half its crew, the ship is uncontrolled. An uncontrolled ship does nothing except take the uncontrolled action until it stops or someone becomes its new pilot. An uncontrolled ship moves forward only (it cannot move forward diagonally) and automatically decelerates by 30 feet. Even if a ship does nothing, it can still perform ramming maneuvers (see Ramming, below).
While individuals aboard a ship generally don’t play a significant role in ship-to-ship combat, important characters such as PCs might still become involved if they wish to fire siege engines or if an enemy ship is in range of their ranged attacks or spells. When attacking a ship, you can attack the ship’s structure, occupants, propulsion, or control device. You can also attempt to grapple and board a ship. In addition, a ship can make a ramming maneuver or shearing maneuver as
part of its movement.
Attacking the Structure: This is an attack against the ship itself. If the attack is successful, the ship takes damage normally.
Attacking an Occupant: This is a normal attack against a ship’s occupant—any creature that is a passenger, pilot, crew, or providing propulsion on a ship. Occupants get partial cover (+ 2 to AC and + 1 on Reflex saving throws) or greater against attacks coming from outside of the ship. Occupants in a forecastle or sterncastle have cover (+ 4 to AC and + 2 on Reflex saving throws), while those inside a port or hatch have improved cover (+ 8 to AC and + 4 on Reflex saving throws). In general, once combat begins among the occupants of two ships (such as when boarding), ship-to ship combat should be replaced with shipboard combat.
Attacking Propulsion: A ship’s means of propulsion usually has its own set of statistics, while creatures propelling a ship use their own statistics. See Attacking an Occupant above if crew members providing propulsion are attacked. Individual ship stat blocks detail their means of propulsion.
Attacking the Control Device: A ship’s control device (such as the wheel) is an object with its own statistics. When a control device is destroyed, the ship can no longer be piloted.
Attacking a Siege Engine: Siege engines mounted on a ship have their own statistics. Siege engines benefit from cover as occupants on a ship.
Broadsides: Some ships can carry a large number of siege engines. Rather than bog down ship-to-ship combat with numerous individual attack rolls, siege engines can be fired in “broadsides.” All siege engines of the same type on a single side of the ship can fire at once. Broadside attacks can only be used to attack the structure of a ship or propulsion. Make a single attack roll for all of the siege engines in the broadside. If the attack roll is successful, all of the weapons hit their target. If the attack roll fails, all of the weapons miss. On a successful attack roll, take the average damage of a single weapon and multiply it by the number of weapons in the broadside to determine the total damage dealt.
For example, a sailing ship with a bank of 10 light ballistae on its port side fires a broadside attack. A single light ballista deals 3d8 points of damage, for an average of 13.5 points of damage. If the attack hits, the broadside deals 13.5 × 10, or 135 points of damage.
Grappling and Boarding
When the crew of one ship wishes to board an enemy ship and attack its crew, they must first grapple the other ship. To grapple, the two ships must be within 30 feet of one another. If both pilots want to grapple, grappling is automatically successful. The two crews throw out grappling lines and draw the ships together. If both ships are reduced to a speed of 0 as the result of a ramming maneuver, they are also considered grappled.
If only one pilot wants to grapple, she must make a combat maneuver check (as a standard) against the target ship’s CMD, using the base CMB of the ship plus the pilot’s sailing skill modifier (or Wisdom skill modifier if she is using that ability to control the ship) as the total CMB of the grappling maneuver. If the check is successful, the target ship is grappled. On the next round, the two ships are moved adjacent to one another, and the speed of both ships is reduced to 0. If a ship has less than its full crew complement, the pilot takes a –10 penalty on her combat maneuver check to make a grappling maneuver.
Breaking a Grapple: The pilot of a grappled ship can attempt to break the grapple by making a combat maneuver check against the opposing ship’s CMD, but at a –4 penalty. If the check is successful, the crew has cut the grappling lines and the freed ship may now move as normal.
Boarding: Once two ships are grappled, a crew can board the other ship. The pilot with the highest initiative can choose whether to board the opposing ship with her crew first or wait for the opposing crew to board her ship. Characters boarding an opposing ship are considered f lat-footed for the first round of shipboard combat, due to the difficulty of climbing over the ships’ rails and finding footing on the enemy deck.
Combat After Boarding
Shipboard combat is normally a battle between the “primaries” of the two ships—usually meaning that the PCs fight the enemy ship’s captain and any other major NPCs on the enemy ship in normal combat. Meanwhile, the two ships’ crews are assumed to be fighting each other in the background.
Whoever wins the “primary” combat (either the PCs or the enemy NPCs) wins the entire battle. In other words, a ship’s crew is victorious over an enemy crew if their captain defeats the enemy captain. While a ship’s crew will likely take losses in a battle, it is assumed that enough members of the defeated crew join the victorious crew to replenish any losses. This keeps the PCs from having to play out combat between large numbers of low-level opponents, and from needing to track exactly how many casualties their crew takes in each battle.
The PCs earn normal XP for the foes they defeat in shipboard combat. In most circumstances, the ship-to-ship battle just serves as a prelude to the main combat. If, however, the PCs decided to fight out an entire ship-to-ship battle and they sink or destroy a ship without ever fighting the ship’s captain and NPCs, then they earn XP based on the captain’s CR (as the captain is the only one piloting the enemy ship in ship-to-ship combat).
To ram a target, a ship must move at least 30 feet and end with its forward square in a square adjacent to the target. The ship’s pilot must make a ramming combat maneuver check against the target’s CMD, using the base CMB of the ship plus the pilot’s sailing skill modifier (or Wisdom
skill modifier if she is using that ability to control the ship) as the total CMB of the ramming maneuver. If the check is successful, the ship hits its target, dealing its ramming damage to the target. The ramming ship takes half that damage. If the pilot’s combat maneuver check exceeds the target’s CMD by 5 or more, the target takes twice the ship’s ramming damage. If the combat maneuver check exceeds the target’s CMD by 10 or more, the target takes twice the ship’s ramming damage and the target’s speed is immediately reduced to 0. Regardless of the result of the combat maneuver check, the ramming ship’s speed is reduced to 0.
You’re also allowed to ram stationary (non-boat) objects. Please see the full rules for more information about how this works.
If a ship has less than its full crew complement, but has at least half its crew, the pilot takes a –10 penalty on her combat maneuver check to make a ramming maneuver. A ship without at least half its crew complement cannot make a ramming maneuver.
A ship may attempt to shear off the oars of an opposing ship, if the target ship uses oars for muscle propulsion. To attempt a shearing maneuver, a ship must be adjacent to the target’s forward or rear square and move along the side of the target for a number of adjacent squares
equal to the target ship’s number of squares. The ship’s pilot must make a shearing combat maneuver check against the target’s CMD, using the base CMB of the ship plus the pilot’s sailing skill modif ier (or Wisdom skill modifier if she is using that ability to control the ship) as the total CMB of the shearing maneuver. If the check is successful, the ship shears the target’s oars. The target’s oars take damage that reduces their hit points to half their maximum hit point total and gain the broken condition, thus reducing the ship’s maximum speed by half and preventing its pilot from gaining the upper hand. If the target ship is in motion, and is traveling faster than its new maximum speed, it automatically decelerates to its new maximum speed.
If a ship has less than its full crew complement, but has at least half its crew, the pilot takes a –10 penalty on her combat maneuver check to make a shearing maneuver. A ship without at least half its crew complement cannot make a shearing maneuver.
Taking Control of a Ship
If a ship has no pilot, another creature can take control of the ship as long as the creature is adjacent to the ship’s control device and makes a sailing check as a free action. The ship’s pilot can always give over control to another adjacent creature as a free action. If a creature wants to take control of a ship from another forcefully, it must kill the pilot or otherwise remove the pilot from the control device. When a new creature becomes the pilot, the ship moves on the new pilot’s turn, but not on the new pilot’s first turn after taking control of the ship.
Damaging a Ship
When a ship is reduced to below half its hit points, it gains the broken condition. When it reaches 0 hit points, it gains the sinking condition.
Broken: Ships—and sometimes their means of propulsion—are objects, and like any other object, when they take damage in excess of half their hit points, they gain the broken condition. When a ship gains the broken condition, it takes a –2 penalty to AC, on sailing checks, saving throws, and on combat maneuver checks. If a ship or its means of propulsion becomes broken, the ship’s maximum speed is halved and the ship can no longer gain the upper hand until repaired. If the ship is in motion and traveling faster than its new maximum speed, it automatically decelerates to its new maximum speed.
Sinking: A ship that is reduced to 0 or fewer hit points gains the sinking condition. A sinking ship cannot move or attack, and it sinks completely 10 rounds after it gains the sinking condition. Each additional hit on a sinking ship that deals more than 25 points of damage reduces the remaining time for it to sink by 1 round. A ship that sinks completely drops to the bottom of the body of water and is considered destroyed. A destroyed ship cannot be repaired—it is so significantly damaged it cannot even be used for scrap material. Magic (such as make whole) can repair a sinking ship if the ship’s hit points are raised above 0, at which point the ship loses the sinking condition. Generally, nonmagical repairs take too long to save a ship from sinking once it begins to go down.
Repairing a Ship
The fastest and easiest way to repair a ship is with spells. Mending is not powerful enough to meaningfully affect an object as large as a ship, but make whole affects a ship as if it were a construct, repairing 1d6 points of damage per level. In addition, more mundane methods can also be used to repair ships. Because of their specialized construction, ships (as well as oars and sails) usually require the Craft (ships) skill to repair. Depending on the nature of the damage, skills such as Craft (carpentry) or Craft (sails), or even various Profession skills, can be used to repair ships with the GM’s approval. In general, a day’s worth of work by a single person using the appropriate skill to repair a ship requires 10 gp of raw materials and a DC 10 skill check, and repairs 10 points of damage on a success, or 5 hit points on a failure. Fabricate can also be used to create the raw material needed for repairs. New oars can be purchased for 2 gp each
When a ship takes fire damage (such as from alchemist’s fire, f laming arrows, certain spells, and other effects at the GM’s discretion), it must immediately make a Fortitude save (DC 10 + damage dealt) or catch fire. Unless an attack specifically targets a ship’s means of propulsion (such as sails), it is assumed that such attacks affect the structure of a ship itself.
Once a ship has caught fire, it automatically takes 2d6 points of fire damage per round (ignoring hardness) as the fire spreads. The ship’s crew can attempt to extinguish the flames as a full-round action for the entire crew, allowing the ship to make a Ref lex save (DC 15 + the number of rounds the ship has been on fire). A successful saving throw means the fire has been put out. A failed saving throw results in the ship taking the normal 2d6 points of fire damage for the round.
A ship must take the “uncontrolled” action each round that its crew attempts to put out a fire, as they are not sailing the ship at this time.
How Spells Affect Ships
Acid Fog, Solid Fog: The effects created by these spells
do not move with a ship, but they do reduce the speed of a
ship moving through them to half.
Align Weapon, Keen Edge, Magic Weapon, Greater Magic
Weapon: These spells also affect siege engines and siege
Animate Objects: A ship under the control of a pilot
cannot be animated with this spell without the pilot’s
consent. An animated ship moves as the caster directs.
It needs no crew other than the caster, who is considered
the ship’s pilot. An animated ship’s statistics, such as its
hit points, do not change.
Black Tentacles: This spell can be cast on the surface of the
water or on a ship’s deck. The tentacles do not attack ships.
Blade Barrier, Cloudkill, Fog Cloud, Mind Fog, Obscuring
Mist, Pyrotechnics, Stinking Cloud, Storm of Vengeance: The
effects created by these spells do not move with a ship.
Call Lightning, Call Lightning Storm, Chain Lightning,
Lightning Bolt, Scorching Ray, Storm of Vengeance: These
spells do not start fires on a ship.
Control Water: A ship cannot leave the area affected by
this spell and must take the “uncontrolled” action for the
duration of the spell.
Control Winds: The area of winds created by this spell
does not move with a ship.
Delayed Blast Fireball, Fireball, Fire Seeds, Flame Arrow,
Flame Blade, Flaming Sphere, Meteor Swarm, Produce Flame:
These spells can start fires on a ship.
Dimension Door, Greater Teleport, Teleport, Teleportation
Circle: Because ships are constantly in motion, the caster
of spells of the teleportation subschool must have line of
sight to teleport onto a ship. Otherwise, a caster must scry
upon a particular ship first, then immediately teleport
to the scryed destination. Any delay in casting means the
ship has moved from its scryed location and the spell fails.
Disintegrate: This spell deals 2d6 points of damage per
caster level (maximum 40d6) to a ship.
Earthquake: This spell has no effect in the deep waters
of the ocean.
Fabricate: The materials created by this spell can be
used to repair a ship (see page 16).
Fire Storm, Flame Strike: These spells do not start fires
on a ship unless the ship rolls a natural 1 on its saving
throw against fire damage.
Forcecage, Resilient Sphere, Wall of Force: The effects of these
spells move with a ship if they are anchored to it. Otherwise,
they do not move with a ship, and a ship running into them
makes a ramming maneuver (see page 14).
Freezing Sphere: This spell can be used to attempt to
trap a ship in ice by targeting the water around the ship
rather than the ship itself. The ship’s speed is reduced to
0 for the duration of the spell unless the pilot of the ship
makes a DC 25 sailing check to break free of the ice.
Gaseous Form: A creature in gaseous form does not move
with a ship.
Globe of Invulnerability, Lesser Globe of Invulnerability,
Tiny Hut, Wall of Ice, Wall of Thorns: The effects created by
these spells move with a ship.
Guards and Wards, Mage’s Private Sanctum, Screen: These
spells can be cast on a ship.
Make Whole: This spell affects a ship as if it were a construct.
Mage’s Magnificent Mansion, Rope Trick: The entrances
to the extradimensional spaces created by these spells do
not move with a ship.
Mirage Arcana: Ships are considered structures for the
purposes of this spell.
Ice Storm, Sleet Storm: The sleet, snow, and ice created
by these spells do not move with a ship, but the deck is
considered icy. These spells also allow a ship to make an
additional saving throw to extinguish fires.
Incendiary Cloud: The cloud created by this spell does
not move with a ship, but the caster can concentrate to
move the cloud along with a ship. This spell can start
fires on a ship.
Passwall: A ship can make a Fortitude save to negate the
effects of this spell. A ship affected by this spell gains the
broken condition and the sinking condition, but the ship
is restored to its normal condition when the spell ends
(though a sunken ship remains sunk).
Polymorph Any Object: A ship is a collection of numerous
objects. As a result, any ship of Huge size or larger is too
big to be affected by this spell.
Prismatic Sphere, Prismatic Spray, Prismatic Wall: These
spells do not start fires on a ship unless the ship passes
through the spell effect and rolls a natural 1 on its saving
throw against fire damage. A prismatic sphere or prismatic
wall moves with a ship if it is anchored to the ship.
Otherwise, it does not move with a ship.
Repel Wood: If you are standing on a ship, that ship is
considered a fixed object in relation to you and is not
affected by this spell. Loose objects on your ship, or on
other ships within range, are affected normally. A ship
under the control of a pilot can make a Will save to negate
the effects of this spell.
Reverse Gravity: A ship must fit entirely within the
spell’s area to be affected by this spell, though creatures
and objects on a ship’s deck are affected normally. If an
entire ship is affected and falls back down more than 50
feet, the pilot must succeed at a DC 20 sailing check when
the ship lands or it gains the sinking condition.
Sunbeam, Sunburst: These spells deal only half damage
Sympathetic Vibration: A ship is considered a freestanding
structure for the purposes of this spell.
Wall of Fire: A wall of fire cast on the deck of a ship moves
with the ship and can start on-board fires. Otherwise, the wall
does not move with the ship, and does not start on-board fires.
Warp Wood: A warped ship springs a leak and gains the
broken condition. If the ship is reduced to below half its
hit points while warped, it gains the sinking condition.
Whirlwind: Most ships are too large to be affected by
this spell, but loose objects and creatures on the ship’s
deck may still be affected.
Wind Wall: The effects of this spell move with a ship if
it is anchored to the ship.
All spells work (or don’t work) on ships at the discretion of the GM.
Proficiency: Siege engines are exotic weapons. The Exotic Weapon Proficiency feat allows a character to fire a single type of siege engine without penalty.
Crew: The sheer size of a siege engine often necessitates a crew for its use. One person of that crew is the crew leader. Usually the crew leader controls the movement of a siege engine or designates its targets; sometimes the crew leader does both. Often the crew leader is required to take actions and make specific checks in order for a siege engine to function. The rest of the crew members are required to spend actions and make checks in order for a siege engine to function. The crew of a siege engine is in addition to the crew needed to operate the ship.
Disabling Siege Engines: A siege engine is considered a difficult device to disable, requiring 2d4 rounds of effort and a DC 20 Disable Device check to do so. When a siege engine is disabled, it either doesn’t work or is sabotaged and stops working after 1d4 minutes of use.
Repairing Siege Engines: Repairing a broken or disabled siege engine requires a DC 20 Craft (siege engine), Disable Device, or Knowledge (engineering) check. It takes 10 minutes to fix the device, and the check can be retried if the fix fails.
Defense and Hit Points: A siege engine has a Dexterity of 0 (–5 penalty) and a further penalty based on its size. Armored siege engines gain an armor bonus to AC equal to that normally granted by the specific armor (shields have no effect on a siege engine), a hardness and hit points equal to that of the armor, and bonus hit points equal to the armor bonus ×5.
Assembling Siege Engines: Siege engines can be broken down for storage or transport and can be reassembled on a ship’s deck. A Large siege engine requires 1 hour and four workers to assemble. A Huge siege engine requires 2 hours and six workers to assemble. Each assembly worker must make a DC 10 Craft (siege engine) check; if untrained, the worker may not take 10. Assembly can be performed with at least half the required number of workers by doubling the time required. If fewer than half are available, the siege engine cannot be assembled.
Firing Siege Engines
Load Ammunition: In order for a siege engine to fire, it must be loaded with ammunition. Loading ammunition takes a number of full-round actions depending on the siege engine. For example, a light ballista loaded by two creatures takes 1 round to load the siege weapon, since the creatures each take one of the two necessary full-round actions to do so.
Aiming a Siege Engine: Siege engines must be aimed in order to attack a desired target (in the case of direct-fire siege engines) or square (in the case of indirect-fire siege engines). Aiming takes a number of full-round actions depending on the siege engine. Aiming a siege engine with a diminished crew doubles the amount of time it takes to aim the siege engine. Each time a new target or square is chosen as the target of a siege engine’s attack, that siege engine must be aimed anew. For example, a light catapult aimed by two creatures would have to spend a turn aiming the catapult in order to fire it on the next round, since a light catapult takes two full-round actions to aim. If the same light catapult were instead crewed by three creatures, two could spend full-round actions aiming it and the remaining creature could fire it with a standard action.
Direct-Fire Siege Engines: Direct-fire weapons launch their projectiles on a relatively flat trajectory, allowing them to more easily target creatures or pummel barriers directly in front of them.
A direct-fire weapon uses a normal ranged attack roll, with the normal penalty for nonproficient use if none of the crew operating it have proficiency in siege engines. In addition, a direct-fire weapon takes a penalty on attack rolls of –2 per size category that the weapon is larger than the creature aiming it. Creatures with ranks in Knowledge (engineering) are not adversely affected by their size when firing direct-fire siege engines.
Sheer manpower can also reduce the penalties for size. Increasing the crew of these weapons by 1 or more can reduce the attack roll penalty for creature size: as long as an extra crew member is no more than three size categories smaller than the direct-fire weapon, it can reduce the penalty due to the aiming creature’s size by 2. For example, a Huge ballista fired by a Medium creature that is part of a crew of four (one more than the minimum number of crew members required) takes only a –2 penalty on attack rolls, and a crew of five would negate the penalty altogether.
Indirect-Fire Siege Engines: Indirect-fire weapons launch projectiles in high arcs toward their targets. They typically lob heavier missiles and payloads than direct-fire weapons, but they are harder to aim accurately. Indirect fire weapons can bypass many forms of fortification, delivering their payloads of solid shot, scatter shot, or even disease-ridden offal to targets on other ships.
Indirect Attack: To fire an indirect-f ire siege engine, the crew leader makes a targeting check against the DC of the siege engine. This check uses his base attack bonus, his Knowledge (engineering) skill modifier if trained in that skill (or his Intelligence modifier, if not trained), any non-proficiency penalty, and the appropriate modifiers from Table 2. If the check succeeds, the ammunition of the indirect attack hits the square the siege engine was aimed at, dealing the indicated damage or effect to any object or creature within the area of its attack. Creatures may get a saving throw to limit the effect of the attack; this is typically based on the type of ammunition used.
If the attack misses the intended square, roll 1d8 to determine in what direction the shot veers. A roll of 1 indicates the ammunition falls short (toward the siege engine), with rolls of 2 through 8 counting squares clockwise around the target square. Roll 1d4 for every range increment at which the attack was made (1d4 if the target square is within the engine’s first range increment, 2d4 if the target square is within the second range increment, and so on). The total is the number of squares by which the attack misses. The ammunition deals its damage and any other effects in the square it lands on.
TABLE 2: INDIRECT ATTACK CHECK MODIFIERS
No line of sight to target square ~ –6
Successive shots (crew can see where most recent miss landed) ~ + 2 (Cumulative +2 per previous miss (maximum +10))
Successive shots (crew can’t see where most recent missed shot landed, but observer is providing feedback) ~ + 1 (Cumulative +1 per previous miss (maximum +5) Successive shots after a hit +10)
Critical Hits: When a direct-fire siege engine scores a critical hit, it confirms the critical and deals critical hit damage just like any other weapon. If an indirect-fire siege engine rolls a natural 20 on its targeting check, it can also score a critical hit. The crew leader must reroll the targeting check to confirm the critical. If the confirmation targeting check is successful, the attack is a critical hit, and the siege engine multiplies its damage by its critical multiplier. Unlike normal attacks, siege engine attacks can deal critical hit damage to objects. Siege engines do not gain the benefit of critical feats the crew or the crew leader may have.
Mishaps and Misfires: Rolling a natural 1 on an attack roll with a direct-fire siege engine or a targeting check made by an indirect-fire siege engine produces a mishap. Usually a mishap applies the broken condition. A siege engine with the broken condition takes a –2 penalty on attack rolls, targeting checks, and damage rolls. If the creature that serves as crew leader has the Siege Engineer feat, that creature does not generate a mishap on a natural 1 when firing the siege engine.
It is heavily encourage that at least the captain of the ship have a copy of the full ship-to-ship combat rules. Topics covered there that aren’t here include but aren’t limited to: types of siege weapons, types of siege weapon ammo, ship stats, and types of ship upgrades.