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50 Fathoms Encounters

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  • 50 Fathoms Encounters

    A lot of the random encounters are vague on the number encountered. For example, for pirate/privateer/merchant encounters, there's a table for determining they type of ship encountered, but how do you determine the size of the crew? Just estimate based on the crew required to man the ship and fire the cannons?

  • #2
    I should preface this by saying I have never played in a 50F game, nor do I own the book, so someone else can probably give you a more qualified answer. But based on your question, I'm assuming you are asking this in the context of a combat encounter. If so, I'd say that, generally, any randomly-encountered ship would be fully crewed... or at least adequately crewed. If the characters are in a bad way (most of them have 2 or more wounds, their ship is out of cannon balls, etc) then you as the GM might go lenient on them and determine that the enemy ship only has a skeleton crew and/or low on supplies, and they are attacking out of desperation.

    Essentially, I think any "hard numbers" are less relevant than the circumstances surrounding the situation.


    • #3
      I own 50 Fathoms and was GM for our game, but I don't know much more.
      If you really want to go by the book, it mentions under Ship types what ships usually carry "a full complement of marines", which I always assumed to be the maximum of passengers the ship could conveniently carry. Also, I assumed the marines to man the cannons as well (but that's rather GM-laziness than historical correctness). For crews without marines, I just estimated how big a crew has to be to operate the ship and man the cannons and then maybe added a few.
      Other than that: What Deskepticon said.


      • #4
        No estimation needed. There ships have how many they need in crew + the number of passengers. A "Full Compliment" of marines would be as many as can be on board and still have the ship be manned. I typically have merchant ships with just as many as needed to man the vessel, pirates and privateers with a full compliment.