View Full Version : [4.0] D&D Ship Combat

2011-01-30, 12:57 PM
So I have a point in my campaign the party will be involved in some ship combat. How ever even using 2 battle mats there won't really be enough space. A great ship is 4 squares by 8 squares, the big main ship is actually 15 squares by 39 squares.

So my idea was, flip a mat over to the hex side (by the way I wish D&D used hexes instead of squares oh well) Use the ships From Pirates of the burning sea. Each hex is 8 squares, but to make things easy I'll say 5 squares for combat combat powers of the players. Which I assume can be on any part of the ship when they use a power

A fast ship can move 3 hexes, a medium ship 2 and a slow 1.

A fast ship can use one move action to either turn 1 face and move 1 hex or move one hex and turn one face.

a medium ship can use a move action to move 1 hex and then turn 1 face

a slow ship needs to move actions to turn. One to move 1 hex and one to turn one face.

Movement for a ship is always forward.

For ever crew member above the minimum to steer the ship you can add +1 to attack rolls using cannons to a max of +15. Cannons hit fort. and for every 10 damage the ship takes 2 crew are out of the fight.

Everything else is pretty much the same for vehicles in combat.

So do people think this will work?

2011-01-30, 01:09 PM
It'll work. If you want to get fancy, since you already have facing incorporated, you should also work in "crossing the T," which is part of sail-powered naval combat tactics. The bow, and particularly the stern, of an old sailing ship, are the least heavily-armored parts, and so the ideal maneuver was to sail past the front or back of the opponent's ship, firing a broadside into the vulnerable parts. I'd say vulnerable 5 if you attack from directly ahead of the enemy, and vulnerable 10 if you attack from directly behind.

Also, the bow and stern generally had the fewest cannon. If you're using multiple attack rolls to represent multiple guns, you might want to have lower numbers firing straight ahead or back. If you're using single attack rolls, a penalty to damage would be better.

2011-01-30, 01:28 PM
Maybe give the ships the PCs are aboard a special ability?

For instance, take away one of the +1s, and let the Sorcerer throw some lightning at one of the ships, or maybe the Ranger wants to fire a volley of arrows, or the Shaman wants to tend to the wounded crew for a chance to get them back on their feet?

I think the PCs will appreciate it if you let their characters have an impact in how the battle's going.

2011-01-30, 10:10 PM
My plan was they can use their powers when with in range. Granted it will normally be within 1 or 2 hexes at most.

2011-01-30, 10:20 PM
Kind of irrelevant but the hexes are used for d&d. They are used to replicate long land travel (hexcrawling). Pre 3e they were probably use more than grids as miniatures seem to have rarely been used.

2011-01-30, 10:32 PM
They have ship combat in the Planes Above, check it out if you want a 3D ship fight.

2011-01-30, 11:38 PM
Woah, something good DID come out of that source book!?!

2011-01-30, 11:54 PM
You should also determine the direction of the wind and apply movement penalties for moving into the wind (and the angle of moving into the wind should vary ship by ship, with advanced rigging capable of tacking closer to the wind) and bonuses for moving with it.

Wind direction was a big deal in ship combat and 'holding the wind gage' allowed you to either get a few free salvos in at the start of combat or, if done properly, rake an enemy's stern as you cut behind them.

The addition of a random chance for the wind to shift would also be quite important, as sudden shifts in the wind can turn the course of naval battles (in the age of sail). This would be especially important as spells like control weather could allow players to have a very large impact on battles.

Lastly, keep in mind that naval combat was slow. Being able to fire twice in three minutes (or some figure within a factor of two of this) made the British navy incredibly fast, while maneuvering before a battle took hours and 'chase scenes' took days.

2011-01-30, 11:54 PM
Yeah, I swear it's the best thing in it. They also have a FANTASTIC skill challenge where a ship is crashing into hell. While it is being boarded by demons.