View Full Version : Are you familiar with any good ship combat systems?

2013-04-13, 07:52 PM
It's what it sounds like. :P

Ship combat systems are really cool! Ships are iconic and neat! Everyone likes ships. Airships, warships, merchant ships. Whatever, they'e all good.

I'm looking for good systems to simulate such things.

Personally, I stray towards a more narrative-heavy style, so I'd prefer to go with something easy and light rather than hardcore and time-consuming.

So, what do you think?

Big Fau
2013-04-13, 08:48 PM
Stormwrack's rules (3.5) are decent, if a bit complex.

2013-04-13, 08:49 PM
Well I don't know any systems for regular ship combat, but GURPS Traveler and GURPS Space both have spaceship combat rules which could be ported to a more local level. They have a few differences between them. I remember Traveler being more rules-heavy and Space being more flexible, but being GURPS they're both very heavy on the crunch. But if you're willing to make your own rules they're worth checking out.

Pathfinder seems to have ship rules in Skull & Shackles, but I haven't read them at all so don't take my word for it.

2013-04-13, 08:51 PM
Very few RPGs have any, but many exist that could easily be used, possibly requiring little (or easy) interfacing with the main game rules.

There's a few systems over here (http://www.jimwallman.org.uk/wargame/). I like Shot & Sail (www.jimwallman.org.uk/wargame/NAV-RULE.pdf) (PDF download link) myself. 3 pages of rules.

Conan d20 has some, too, including for boarding actions, in the Pirate Isles supplement. And mass combat rules (www.mongoosepublishing.com/pdf/conanmasscombat.pdf) (PDF download link), that someone's turned into an open version (http://www.scribd.com/doc/7851118/d20-Open-Mass-Combat-System-) (Scribd.com document).

2013-04-14, 01:33 AM
Is there any one set of rules that YOU have used and liked? Stuff that you, personally, actively ran with or used.

2013-04-14, 02:26 AM
BECMI's War Machine mass combat rules have been adapted to handle sea combat (basically, each ship (or flotilla) and its complement of marines is treated as a single "army").

I don't know if it is the most realistic of ways to handle a sea battle, but it gets the job done. However, if the PCs are directly involved, it works better if it is a large sea battle (5+ ships on each side), since PC heroics can take out a ship if done right, which massively influences the overall battle.

Really, a lot depends on the size of the ships involved and how many ships. Two galleys in a boarding action can reduce the ships to terrain features. A hundred galleys on each side, and its definitely time to break out the mass combat rules. Half a dozen, and you might want to make each player a sea captain for the duration and use some kind of tactical boardgame.

2013-04-14, 03:00 AM
Yesterday we ran a naval battle, but it was with hundreds of ships (though just six squadrons on each side, which is what counts) and rather simplistic. It was just some rules I threw together and ran a few tests on, but it was easy to learn, and the players liked it.
If you want, I can type it up here.

2013-04-14, 03:36 AM
If you're talking about starships (or any kind of space-ship, really), SOCS, the Space Opera Combat System from GURPS is pretty good. It was initially published in GURPS Lensmen, and then included in one of the Compediums for GURPS 3rd Ed. I don't know if it's made it into 3rd Edition yet or not.