[PotSM] Ship to Ship Combat...Examples?

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Semper Mortalitas
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[PotSM] Ship to Ship Combat...Examples?

#1 Postby Semper Mortalitas » Sun Oct 26, 2008 11:10 am

Greetings Savages,
Well Pirates arrived in my SW collection a few weeks ago and after reading through it we launched into it. Needless to say by the above subject line the ship to ship battle was a complete disaster. I almost broke down in tears of joy when the party chose to close and board the ship that was chasing them. I own the SWEX book and 50F, but I can not seam to wrap my mind around the Ship to Ship rules.

Are there any detailed examples of combat starting from sighting to contact to conclusion?

Which rules do you prefer/use the regular vehicle rules or the chase rules?

Any help would be fantastic, thanks.

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#2 Postby luisto » Sun Oct 26, 2008 7:42 pm

I had problems with my first ship-to-ship fight, too, but after a few sessions we got the hang of it to the level that the final confrontation in my campaign was a battle between three ships and SEVEN enemy ships! It took a while, but was awesome! :-D

Some things we did to make ship combats easier:
1. every ship had a little pile of mini poker chips next to it to mark its speed. That way we always knew just by looking at the board how fast each ship was travelling, and therefore we could calculate the shooting penalty faster. We also had poker chips of a different color to mark the number of wounds a ship had.
2. Before the combat, each player would take control of one quarter of the ship guns, so as to avoid confusion.
3. In the starting combats I decided to rule that each ship had ONE initiative card, and all players acted on that single initiative card. That meant that in a two-ship fight, there were only two initiative cards on the table. This is not how the game "officially" plays, but helped me and the players get a hang of things.
4. We created and printed our own table for all the different cannon sizes and ammo types, so it would be easy for each player to decide what type of ammunition to use. Check the table in my skydrive: http://cid-05046455060ca2cc.skydrive.live.com/self.aspx/Public/Cannons.pdf.
5. For simplicity, we decided to let players load and shoot in the same turn. The point was, again, to make it easy to decide what kind of ammo tu use.

I also asked A LOT of questions in this forum :-D

After we got accustomed to the gameplay we started making things a bit more complicated, little by little.

I've not used chase rules in my campaigns yet, so I can't comment on those, except that I would probably use the SWEX chase rules rather than the PotSM chase rules.

Exactly what problems did you have?


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#3 Postby Magnus » Mon Oct 27, 2008 3:59 am

I think Luis made some good points, it's much the same way we handle it in our campaign (though I hadn't thought about speed-markers, good idea).
One thing we do in addition to what Luis suggested is making each "round" of ship-to-ship combat be 5 normal combat rounds. This means that as soon as there is a successful boarding action you zoom in on that and fight five rounds of combat (which is often enought to settle the fight) before you zoom out and continue the rest of the battle.

Saturday we had a skirmish between 2 brigantines, 2 sloops and 8 indian war canoes - which worked out fine. Only one sloop and two war canoes were actually destroyed by cannon fire since most shots missed completely or failed to "wound" the brigantines with their high toughness.


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#4 Postby Semper Mortalitas » Tue Oct 28, 2008 11:13 am

Thanks for the suggestions. As for problems it may just be inexperience with the ship combat rules. We have been running a successful SWEX fantasy game for a few months so we know the "human scale" rules quite well. There was much confusion over range; After the ships "closed to combat range" and we began the table top maneuvering it was confusing as to whether 2 ships with a Top Speed of 4 would ever close or open the range. We missed the 20 yard conversion for ship cannons so we had confusion as to whether the musketeer could hit enemy crew with his rifled musket. Then the turning template...

Well lets just go back to the original statement "inexperience with the ship combat rules." maybe a few more, like you said Luis is what I need to get the hang of it.

As for stones we use the Alea Tools from here;
We use Dark blue for Shaken and Red for each Wound in human scale and we plan to use them for ship combat also.

Once again thanks for the advice we are taking a break form SW (GASP!!) to play one game of Feng Shui but the Pirates game has everyone hyped.

So by next weekend I will be back at the helm and ready for the next broadside. :)

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#5 Postby Pfr_Fate » Tue Oct 28, 2008 12:59 pm

Hey...I put together something for Age of Sail combat in Savage Worlds: Savage Sails. Due to my employment status, I was HOPING to sell it to Pinnacle or through RPGNow, rather than just upload to a free site. Hey, I need the money!

It takes into account (in a FFF way) wind direction, lacking in the normal rules. It simplifies cannon types into a general 'Firepower' - which normalizes cannon sizes and reduces die rolls. There's more...

What I am looking for is some playtesters. Though my group plays PotSM, we simply don't meet enough to get play-testing done efficiently and in a timely manner.

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#6 Postby JesterOC » Sat Jan 03, 2009 5:08 am


I am trying to get a regular game going with PotSM (first attempt failed due to 3 of the 4 players having a bad cold). While I don't think we will be able to play enough to provide proper playtest results, please keep me and the rest of us on the board up to date on your progess.


p.s. Great Name, from The Great Race I presume?

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#7 Postby Pfr_Fate » Sat Jan 03, 2009 9:33 am

Yes! I am always amazed at the amount of people that recall the odd adventures of the Great Leslie (curses!).

As to what I am calling 'Savage Sails', I am reveiwing and simplifying on the third pass as of now. I find I write up some rules, hammer them into shape and am happy for a while. Then i think on them and find that I can streamline them even more for Fast Furious Fun. So i go back and hack away, hammer them again into shape and ...so on.

I am reaching the best and finest point soon, I think. I'll let you all know, because that's the moment when you need an outsider's point-of-veiw to catch things you hadn't considered.

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#8 Postby fanchergw » Sat Jan 03, 2009 1:40 pm

To be honest, back when we played 50F, the SWEX rules hadn't come out yet. We actually played all of our ship combats using the old Chases & Dogfights rules, augmented with the modifications in 50F. Whenever the ships were within weapons range - based on the range increment - they could shoot at each other. Certain maneuvers allowed them to bring more weapons to bear, or give other modifiers. Worked out fine.


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#9 Postby AFDia » Sat Jan 03, 2009 7:10 pm

In my future 50F campaign, I plan to try out a slightly modified version of the SWEX case rules.

In short, as long as there are only 2 ships, I will use the official rules, but if there are more than 2 ships, I will expand the 1D-Case-Line (the line with 10 RI) to a 2D version (a 10x10 board)

You can not only move forward or backward, but you can also move left or right. Most of the rules will remain the same and a ship escapes if there are at least 10 RI between this ship and every other ship on the 10x10 plan.

I don't know if it works, but if it doesn't, I will use the SWR case rules. :)

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