Questions about Ship to Ship combat

Skull & Shackles


As some point in the near future I will be running Skulls & Shackles for my players and they are very excited to be pirates. From what I have hear and read, the Ship to ship combat rules work, but aren't great. I want to edit them to make them more fun, but I don't want to swap everything over to the Razor Coast ship rules. I wanted to make sure I understood everything about the ship rules as they are, before I started changing them.

Do all players roll initiative, and they take actions in turn like regular combat, or is it more of a everyone gets their actions whenever they want them during the round.

The pilot, and anyone working the siege engines has some actions spelled out for them, but I'm not sure if fire a siege engine can be done at any point, or you have to choose to do it before or after the pilot takes his actions. Same for other party members assisting and casting spells.

Yep, everyone rolls initative. The pilot rolls for the ships intiative and the ship moves on his count.

This is kind of where things get messy with the rules as they are as no-one really knows when to do certain actions. I least thats what I found anyway. The general feel is that if you follow the rules as is it becomes only the piolt and the gunner doing anything and everybody else just sits around waiting for something to do, if any have magic that helps though.

Its a lot easier to change it around a little I think.
I mix the Razor Coast rules with the players guide rules as I find it works better (this is why the Razor Coast rules are so good, they give everyone jobs to do during each round, Players and NPC's can be assigned roles such as Surgeon, gunners mates, repair teams, fire teams, The Captain gets to be the Captian as well which is kind of missing from the players guide rules).

I get the Captain to roll for the ship's initative and he then decides what the ship is going to do movement wise, he can also make actions

The players, crew and Npc's then make initaive rolls. Players can do as they want or co-ordinate fire crews for siege engines. NPC's act on thier own but I let the players decide what they will be doing. Crew act all on one count.

The Piolt does not roll initative as all he can do is move the ship, he goes last in the round (I can never understand why a piolt would be able to do anything other than move the ship anyway). This role I think is better suited to an NPC really but let the players roll for the movement.

Sometimes the firing of siege engines may co-inside with the movement phase though as the ship may need to manouvour first before it can get in to range (broadsides for instance).

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