Monday, December 17, 2012

Boarding Action

Flashing Blades' maritime supplement, High Seas, introduces rules for creating characters such as pirates and sailors and their careers, building and crewing ships, and shipboard combat, including boarding actions. The rule for boarding are bloody, in my experience, as the fight begins with each side raked by musket and pont gunfire, followed by a general melee.

Player characters are treated a bit differently, as described on page 21 of High Seas.
In boarding melee, player-characters should not be subjected to the normal brawl and chaos, and should not be counted among those killed by gunfire and melee combat. Player-characters in boarding melee should be forced to fight, using the personal combat rules. Assume that one enemy will engage a player-character in combat every [shipboard combat] turn (once every five normal personal combat turns) if he is not already engaged. In addition, player-characters may attempt to perform Heroic Actions . . .
The rules as written are fine, but in combats involving, say, a pair of galleons with hundreds of crew members, they are slow. In contrast, the rules for military campaign engagements are faster, so I've adapted the engagement rules for shipboard action.

As per the original campaign rules, all characters participating in a boarding party must roll for injury and special events.
. . . All characters must choose their attitude during combat, before the results of each encounter are determined: cowardly, average, or heroic. Chance of injury is rolled on 2D6.
The following modifiers are applied to the 2D6 roll and the results determined from the table below.

Rank:
Master at Arms + 1
Chief Gunner - 1
First Officer - 1
Sailmaster - 2
Ship's Pilot - 3
First Mate - 3
Captain - 3
Fleet Commander - 4
Admiral - 5
Duties:
Sail Crew - 1
Gunnery Crew + 1
Helm Crew - 1
Marines + 2
Officers + 1
Attitude and Results of Engagement modifiers are as per the original rules.

Modified RollResult
7 or lessno injury
8powder burns (1 pt. general damage)
9-10minor pistol wound (2 pts. damage to a random location)
11minor hand axe wound (3 pts. damage to a random location)
12-13minor cutlass wound (4 pts. damage to a random location)
14minor swivel gun wound (5 pts. damage to a random location)
15-16serious pistol wound (2 + 1D6 pts. damage to a random location)
17serious hand axe wound (3 + 1D6 pts. damage to a random location)
18-19serious cutlass wound (4 + 1D6 pts. damage to a random location)
20-21serious swivel gun wound (5 + 1D6 pts. damage to a random location)


Each character also rolls for a special event.
Directly after rolling for injury, roll for special events (there is no time to rest or regain Hit Points). The chance for special events is also rolled on 2D6, . . . . There are three special events tables, one for each of the three possible outcomes of the encounter: French Victory, French Defeat, and Draw.
The modifiers for the special events roll are below.

Rank:
Captain - 1
Squadron commander or above - 2
Duties:
Sail Crew - 1
Gunnery Crew + 1
Helm Crew - 3
Marines + 2 Officers - 1
The modifiers for Attitude - Heroic, Average, or Cowardly - taken during the battle are as per the military campaign rules.

Modified RollSpecial Events for Victory
8 or lessNo special event
9Personal Encounter with enemy sailor (character must fight one-on-one at close range with an enemy sailor, rolled up by the Gamemaster)
10Personal Encounter with enemy marine or trained fighter (character must fight one-on-one at close range with an enemy marine or other trained fighter, rolled up by the Gamemaster)
11-12Fight to gain control of strategic position (character takes part in a heroic action - cutting sails and rigging, lighting the ship's magazine, or ungrappling, per the rules on pages 21 and 22 of High Seas, plus another roll on the injury table)
13Personal Encounter with an enemy Officer (character must fight one-on-one, at close range with an enemy Officer, rolled up by the Gamemaster; if reduced to 1/2 of his Hit Points, he may be subdued, taken prisoner, and ransomed back to his side)
14-17Chance to take enemy flag (this includes a Personal Encounter with a marine, and two more rolls on the injury table)


Modified RollSpecial Events for Draw
9 or lessNo special event
10-11Personal Encounter with enemy sailor (as listed above)
12-13Personal Encounter with enemy marine or trained fighter (as listed above)
14-17Personal Encounter with an enemy Officer (as listed above)


Modified RollSpecial Events for Defeat
7 or lessNo special event
8-10Personal Encounter with enemy sailor (as listed above)
11-12Personal Encounter with enemy marine or trained fighter (as listed above)
13Surrounded (character must fight his way through an enemy sailor, or be captured)
14Fight to defend strategic position (character takes part in a desperate defense of the ship's magazine, &c.; this includes a Personal Encounter with an enemy marine or trained fighter, plus another roll on the injury table)
15-17Chance to regain ship's flag (character attempts to regain the ship's flag; this includes a Personal Encounter with a marine, and two more rolls on the injury table)


Taking a heroic action successfully, capturing the enemy's flag, defending a strategic position, or regaining the ship's flag all qualify for either an extra share or a bonus, as per High Seas, page 22.

(A special thanks to Beedo at Dreams in the Lich House for reminding me to get this done.)

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