Basic Rules of Ship Combat: Voidjammer

Originally posted on Random Acts by Aaron Siddall for the Blood & Treasure system:

Voidjammer: Ships and Ship Combat


By the incomparable Jim Holloway

Combat begins with each ship captain rolling to gain advantage. Each captain rolls 1d6 and add’s the Helmsman’s dexterity bonus (see below). The captain that has the advantage can choose to either close or increase the distance between the two vessels by a number of feet equal to its speed. The captain with the advantage also makes the first attack in the action phase.
After the captain with advantage has moved, each captain can make one attack per weapon, beginning with the captain with the advantage, and each captain then taking turns until all their weapons have been fired.
For each weapon, the captain gives an order and rolls 1d20, adding the weapon’s strength. If the roll is equal to or higher than the target’s Armor Class, the effects of the order are carried out.

The possible orders are as follows:

  • Clear the Deck (Crew): The weapon targets the crew on the main deck. Success reduces the target to a skeleton crew (25% of normal), reducing the target ship’s dexterity modifier by four. A ship’s crew can only be attacked at a range of 60 feet or less.
  • Clip Her Wings (Rigging): The weapon targets the vessel’s wings and/or steering veins. If successful, the ship’s dexterity modifier is reduced by 2 and speed is reduced by 50%. Crew must make a successful Reflex save or be sickened for 1d4 rounds due to the disrupted gravity plane.
  • Let Some Air In (Hull): This attack punches a hole in the ship where there was none before.  The DM chooses which part of the ship is holed, either randomly, or according to the positions of the ships, or wherever would make things most interesting at that point.  Any characters within 10′ of the impact point must make a Reflex save (DC 10) or be sucked out into space. NPCs are killed instantly, while PC’s can can hold their breath for one round per two points of constitution if they are not moving, or for one round per three points of constitution if they are active (swimming, fighting, etc). Once they run out of breath, they begin suffering 1d6 points of constitution damage per round until dead.
  • Silence Those Guns (Weapon): The weapon targets one weapon of the opposing vessel. The weapon’s Armor Class is used to resolve the attack. Success destroys that weapon or squadron.
  • Target Helm (Engines): The helmsman must make a Will save (DC 10) or fall unconscious for 1d4 hours.  If failed, he must then make a Fortitude save (DC 10) or it turns into a coma that lasts 1d4 days!  In the case of Series Helms, each creature in the series must save.
  • Rake the Sails (Rigging): The weapon targets the sails. Success reduces the target’s dexterity modifier by 2 and its traveling speed by 50%. Galleys and galleasses, which are powered by both sail and oar, cut these penalties in half.
  • Grapple and Secure (AC 10): You attempt to grapple the enemy ship and begin a boarding action. Normal sailors can make a grapple attack at +0, while archers make the attack at their normal attack bonus. Success brings the boats together and the boarding action begins. Boarding actions can be handled with normal combat rules or mass combat rules, depending on the crew sizes.

A failed weapon attack on a hull, oars or sail that fails can still have an impact. If the attack does not fail by more than 5 points, roll on the following table.

D% Effect
1‐30 No effect
30‐39 Flying splinters; all PC’s suffer 1d10 points of damage (Reflex save for half damage)
40‐49 10‐40% of cargo destroyed
50‐59 Anchor hit and lost to the depths
60‐69 50% of foodstuffs (and rum) is lost; the rest is lost next round if somebody doesn’t douse that fire!
70‐79 Fire on deck! All PCs on the main deck suffer 1d6 points of fire damage this round (Reflex saving throw for half damage)
80‐84 Confusion for one weapon crew; weapon cannot fire next round
85‐89 A random PC is thrown overboard with 1d4 crewmen
90‐94 Important documents are destroyed by shot or fire
95‐99 The ammunition supply / powder magazine floods, leaving the vessel with only enough for 5 more rounds of combat
100 A random officer or PC is struck, taking 3d6 damage (Fortitude saving throw for half damage)

Combat continues until one ship is destroyed or captured, or the distance between the two ships has been increased to 3,000 feet or more.
Spellcasters can make weapon attacks as above with spells that deal damage, the strength of the spell being equal to the spell level. Treasure Keepers must adjudicate other spells as needed.


One comment on “Basic Rules of Ship Combat: Voidjammer

  1. Pingback: Correction to a Previous Post | Wildspace: The Spelljammer Fanzine

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