Ragnarok: Age of Wolves Bonus Material - Ships and the Sea!

Clint Staples

Over the last couple of weeks, I provided you with everything you needed to play our battled including Cormac mac Art, Wulfhere Skulsplitter and their crew of Danish raider, and then all the stats for the heroes and monsters of my Swords & Tentacles short story, "Their Blood is the Sea".

OK - almost everything.

Because Cormac and Wulfhere commanded sea raiders, and Their Blood is the Sea is a story completely dependent on the sea - and I did not provid rules for seafaring and sea battles. Now I am going to fix that. 

 

But first: A little history - as understood in the Mythic North, what we call the lands and waters of the North and Baltic Seas.

The lands of the Mythic North enclose a long and winding neck of sea. Thus, ships and seafaring play a major role in the life of the people. For millennia, boats and ships of various sizes and styles have been used for fishing, whaling trading, exploration and war. In the Axe Age, perhaps the sea offers a haven from marauding Hrimthursar – or perhaps there are other threats just as dire to be found among the waves.

 

The Whale Road

To modern peoples the sea between Scandinavia and the Northern coast of Germany, Latvia, Estonia, Poland and Russia is called Baltic. To the Romans it was Mare Suebicum, named for a Germanic People known in the early days of the Empire. To the people who live fish it, traverse it, and build settlements on its shores, it has no single name. Poets and skalds call it The Whale Road, among other things.

This broad and relatively shallow sea divides the peoples of the northern peninsula of Scanderna from the mainland jarldoms of the Juta, the Angles, the Saxons and the Danes to the west and south.

Further east are numerous tribes who speak their own language. Often they are referred to collectively as Wends by Scandernans. Some are friendly, others hostile, most are cautious of seafarers from the north, having suffered raids in the past. Some are all but indistinguishable from Scandernans themselves, dressing fighting and seafaring in much the same way, but generally retaining their own customs, language and loyalties. Others avoid the seacoast, preferring to live further inland, and be safe from the depredations of pirates.

In the west, the strait of water between the lands of the Juta and Cimbri of the southern peninsula and the shore of the Norge and the Gautar is the Rak (“strait”; Modern name: Skaggerak, is derived from Skagen (“point” or “peninsula”) and Rak (“strait”). The Rak continues to the very extremity of Jutland, called the Skaw. East of the Skaw, the sea gives way to the Jutland Sea – the body of water between the Gautjod to the east, and Jutland and the Danish islands in the south is the Jutland Sea (Modern: Kattegat).

The Oresund between Saeland and Skane, is the way into the Ost Sea, which is bracketed at this western end by the petty pirate jarldoms of Smalland on the north, and numerous Southern Germanic and Wendish tribes to the south. The Great Belt (between Saelland and Funen) and the Little Belt (between Funen and the eastern coast of Jutaland) offer access to the southern lands – if they still exist. Sailors and merchants from the south tell horror stories of entire kingdoms in flames, overseen by the fiery sons of Muspell. The Oresund and the Belts, each is than 20 miles wide at their widest points, are the only ways to reach the Ost Sea by ship from the west. As such, they are crucial to trade, piracy and political control of the region. Anyone who commands one or more of these straits controls passage east and west. In the time of the Ragnarok, these three waterways are patrolled by Danish ships beholden to the Skjolding Kings, Hroar and Halga. Few who are not friendly to the Danish Throne pass through in either direction.

East of the Oresund, many islands, like Oland and Gutaland, are inhabited, some by powerful jarldoms.

Others know the touch only of seals and seabirds. Fish, seals, whales and seabirds are common, and all play a part in the life, and diet of the northern peoples. Too, merchants, or raiders, sometimes one and the other by turns or by opportunity, ply the waves. And where there are riches there are jarls and kings and warriors to defend or seize them.

The waters of the Mythic North are cool and subject to freezing. As the Fimblvintr refuses to relinquish its grip on the Mythic North, much of the coast is frozen over for some distance. East of Orresund, there are places where the ice extends outward from land for dozens of miles. Indeed, some have heard outlandish tales of giants riding huge shaggy mounts from Bjarmaland and Wendland across solid ice to attack Svithjod.

In the Jutaland Sea and westward, the ice is less extensive. Beaches and headlands are still considerably inland, however, and ships must be sledged from their sheds, sometimes for miles, to open water. And everywhere there are massive floating ice mountains to smash unwary ships in the increasing fogs, said to come straight from Niflheim, as well as whales driven mad with hunger and fear, and the monsters that hunt them.

 

Ships of the North

Nearly all vessels that ply the Whale Road are constructed in much the same way. They are “clinker-built” of overlapping planks rising from a central keel that runs the length of the vessel. Successive “layers” of planks create the hull, curve outward at the middle of the ship and inward to join at the bow and stern, forming a ship that appears much the same fore and aft. Ribs are nailed to the insides of the planks to increases stability and add strength. The

The keel is relatively light. This, along with the overlapping plan method allows “clinker-built” ships to absorb impact that might break a more rigid hull.

 

Expense

A ship is a significant, even an enormous investment of time, energy and money. Even a small boat takes weeks to craft, and can be sunk or lost readily, to say nothing of lives lost) in a storm or because of bad ship handling.

 

The Hull

The hull is built up from a keel, a single piece of shaped timber that runs the length of the ship. Wooden strakes build out from the keep to make up the hull, overlapping and directly fastened each to the others by nails, pegs, cordage or more than one of these in combination, in a style referred to as “clinker-built”. Each strake must be planed and shaped to fit the ones before it, and all are shaped to give the hull its overall form. At the hull nears completion, ribs and gunwales are added to add greater strength. Stem and stern boards rise from the keel to fore and aft, oar-holes and other finer points are begun, and gaps in the hull are packed with tar-soaked wool, pounded between them.

Final pieces are such things as decorative carving, which may include a figurehead of some fell beast, but could just as easily be an ornamented or rune-carved wooden post or spiral. A steering oar, shorter, heavier and lashed at the stern, is also added to aid in directing the ship.

The entire process, refined over generations, creates a responsive, fast and flexible craft, capable of sailing many conditions, with extremely shallow draft for movement up rivers and streams, and one that is resistant to damage and comparatively easy to repair. A small faerring might take a pair or three men a week to build if the timber and other supplies were available. A larger ship could employ three times as many for months. Add this to the rarity of quality ship-makers, the cost and effort required to produce the cordage, wood, sails, tar and other supplies, and the cost of a karve or snekjar is one that only a wealthy jarl could bear, and then only at need. Those who form the crew of these vessels are generally the best the owner can recruit.

 

Sails

Sails are expensive, which is why many coasters rely or oar-power.

It can take five weavers a year of weaving to make a single sail for a knarr or similar sized ship. During the same time, they cannot be making cloth for clothing or other needs. The wool, or in rare cases linen, must be available, and the sailmakers must be paid, or kept fed and housed during this time, possibly at the expense of the one who commissions their weaving. And each ship requires its own particular sail, in terms of size and shape. So finding a replacement sale for one that is burnt, lost or ruined, involves significant work in terms of alteration and resewing (all of which are the duties of crewmen, and known well enough by anyone with the Skill: Seafaring).

Most sails would have been of undyed wool. Linen is also possible, made from the stalks of flax and a source of high quality textile for centuries. Most sails are undyed and are of a mottled grey which would blend with the sea and clouds, but richer sails might have been dyed, and even composed of bands of contrasting colors, producing strips, or diagonal checks. Sails of either type might have applique reinforcement bands (which also might be of a differing color), to strengthen the sail. There is consider variety in the quality of sails, and higher quality could add value, appearance and mean greater speed or maneuverability under sail.

 

Paraphernalia

All ships require rope in abundance, more if the ship has a sail. Ropemaking is a specialized craft requiring quality materials (lime bast is a common material for ropemaking, but pine and other woods, walrus, elk, or ox hide, horse or cow hair, flax stalks and other materials are also used. Add to these wood for frames and crafting tools, oils, a winder, knives of various sorts, and a work area, and a range of ground for laying out lines for twisting.  

Generally a ropemaker will have a shed, which might also contain a storage area for the spare cordage that makes up his stock. Because so much of the ropemaker’s stock and trade is flammable, the shed will usually be a separate structure like a kitchen, removed from other buildings, and often near the edge of a settlement, probably closer to the water.

Miscellaneous other items necessary to shipbuilding include: Tar (gotten from the boiling of pine resin) and raw wool in abundance for sealing gaps in the hull. Iron nails and wooden pegs for connecting the members of the ship, an abundance of oil to coat the timbers against exposure.

 

Sea Warfare

Unlike the ships of the lost lands of the Southern Sea, ships in the North do not have rams and rely on other tactics in battle.

Ships represent a huge investment in terms of men and money, usually put forward by the captain, or loaned to him by a jarl or other powerful personage. With this in mind it should come as no surprise that the primary use of the ship was for transport of men and supplies, whether for purposes of occupation, raiding, or warfare. Few captains would intentionally ram their ship into another vessel.

When battle at sea is in the offing, it generally begins with archery, as soon as the range is sufficiently close. As the distance closes, other heavier missiles weapons come into range, and javelins, spears, even axes, might be thrown from one ship to another. If neither ship closes, or if one manages to remain aloof, the battle might remain at this distance until one side flees or surrenders, the arrows are exhausted, or until one of the ships (or sides in larger battles) succeeds in making contact with the enemy ship(s).

A ship going into battle will often remove its mast, clearing the deck for action, and placing the mast in rests designed to hold it secure. Once the mast is down, the ship is no longer sailing, but will only respond to the actions of oars and current Wind conditions.

On contact, crew might either attempt to push off with oars or similar, avoiding the boarding of their ship. Or they might make the two vessels fast with lines and grapples. If the ships were bound together, they became a floating battlefield, to which other ships might join, increasing the scope of the battle. Fighting in such circumstances is tricky, and the Forecastlemen, those who mass at the forecastle of the ship in readiness of boarding the enemy vessel, carrying the fight to the enemy, were usually the toughest fighters aboard.

Breaking free of such a grapple could be difficult, even impossible if the ship that would be free is surrounded by other grapplers. Often this is only accomplished after the fighting is done.

A Note on Draft: The amount of water displaced by vessels in the Mythic North is comparatively low, which means they have quite shallow draft, the depth to which they sink in the water. It was this design feature that allowed viking raiders to beach their craft so readily, to sail so far upriver, and to skim over shoals and reefs that might tear the belly out of craft with greater draft. Drafts of three feet or less are the rule when a ship is lightly laden, allowing most vessels to move through waist-deep water without bottoming out. Of course, a heavily laden ship will have a deeper draft that it would with less cargo. 

 

Ships in Ragnarok: Age of Wolves

There are many styles and names of ships in the Mythic North, from tiny ferjur  sized for a pair of men, to fat-bellied Knarr trading ships; or the fabled Snekkja or Skeid, long, lean war and raiding vessels; or the Karve, a compromise broader in the beam than a Snekkja, but swifter and more maneuverable than a knarr

IN R:AW, we can rate a ship in several terms, depending on size, strength, speed and crew capacity. For this article, we will dispense with the smallest and largest, and concentrate upon those that allow for a significant number of crew, but not so many that battles become unwieldy. By which we mean the Knarr, Snekkja and Karve. Without oversimplifying too much, we can say that these three ships are largely within the same size range in terms of length, if not in terms of tonnage (the amount of cargo a ship can carry based on volume rather than the measurement of weight). The Knarr certainly has the greatest tonnage for its length, and the Snekkja the least, with the Karve, predictably somewhere in the middle. The speed and maneuverability, all other things being equal (which they sometimes were not), is in reverse proportion. Since this is a wargame, we need not concern ourselves with exact measures of cargo capacity. Similarly, length and beam dimensions will likely be dictated by whatever models we have available (more on that later on). The lengths for all of these vessels could vary, but would fall between 30 and 70 feet.

Rather than give beam measurements (Beam being the width of the ship at its widest point), it is more illustrative to give Length to Beam ratios to demonstrate the look of the ships on the tabletop and the other factors of significance - speed, handling, crew and tonnage.

 

Ship Manuever and Combat Rules:

Ships are rated in R:AW much the same way as men and monsters. However, they have some of the qaulities described in the section: Siegecraft in the North, and behave like buildings in respect to weapons, spells and attacks. You can find all the details in the Ragnarok: Age of Wolves rulebook, but to summarize: Ships are essentially immune to many weapon attacks (with a few notable exceptions), because a sword strike or an arrow that might easily kill a man  cannot cause sufficient damage to a ship to to threaten it. Some spells, giants and other larger creatures, two handed axes and other heavier attack CAN harm a ship the same way as described for affecting buildings.

Each ship has the following Attributes:

  • Health: The number of "Wounds" a ship can take before it sinks.
  • Damage: The base amount of damage a ship does in a "Clash" (we will define "clash" later).
  • Defense: The Target Number (TN) required to Wound to a ship with a suitable attack.
  • Speed: These numbers reflect the Inches a ship can travel under oar power and or Close-Hauled, on a reaching Wind, or Running before the wind (see the Wind Direction Indicator, below for the definition of these terms and how they are determined). 
  • Seafaring: The Seaworthiness of the vessel, represented by a Targe Number that must be equaled or exceeded to control the ship, used for maneuvering as well as staying afloat in difficult circumstances. Often used as part of a Contest between two vessels. The lower the Seafaring number, the better. Seafaring rolls are made on 3d6 (including a Wyrd Die if the skipper is a Named Character) + the Skipper's Rank, and modified by the conditions of Wind Direction and Power that apply, this is compared to the Seafaring TN of the ship. A roll equal to or in excess of the TN succeeds.
  • Bonus Dice: Some exceptional ships are so swift or maneuverable, or so fierce (when your ship has a dragon-prow, or even the spirit of a sea-beast bound into it, it can be fierce indeed). Bonus Dice are granted to the crew or Skipper of the ship, who may distribute them each round as required for the ship's operation. Bonus Dice replenish each round unless destroyed in action.

 

Fighting the Ships of the Mythic North:

Resolving Actions: This is done just as described in Ragnarok: Age of Wolves, employing 3d6, usually with a modifier added to the total, and comparing the result to a Target Number (TN) that might be derived in a variety of ways (Defense, Seafaring, etc). A success is a result that equals or exceeds the TN. 

Scale: This system assumes that ships are roughly scaled to the size of the figures being used to play. For 30 mm figures, the ground scale (which applies to the size of the shiip, as well as to distances on the tabletop) is 1 inch = 5 feet. So a ship that is 12 squares long on the table is 60 feet in length in real life. Exact size of models need not fit the  measurements listed in the descriptions, but the distances for speed, as well as for ranged weapons (found in the core R:AW book) are constants. It may be that models will have insufficient room for figures equal to the numbers of crew stated in the ship descriptions. If so, decide on the number of oarsmen required for a full crew based on the number of figures that fit your vessels.

 

Setting up:

What you will need: In addition to figures to represent your forces, you will need ship models or card cutouts to represent the vessels your crews occupy, and at least one protractor (ideally marked such that 10 degree increments are easy to see).  Something to indicate Wind direction is useful. This can be a protractor if necessary. A "Points of Sail" indicator for each player is useful (see the link just below the image header). You will also need a play surface, which may include shore, islands, rocks, or whatever else you want to clutter up your ocean.  You will also need dice, as described in R:AW Core.

Because ships do not turn as quickly as men, it is a good idea to have a larger play area than required for a similar number of figures on land. For two ships, the minimum table size is probably about 3 x 3 feet (4 x 4 would be better). Each additional pair of ships in use means the size of the play area should increase by 1 foot in each dimension.

Selecting Warriors: Choose the men and monsters that make up your force as detailed R:AW Core. Nominate one model (probably a Named Character) as skipper per ship. Place it at the stern (as steersman) or bow (as leader of the Forecastlemen) of the ship. Ensure that your ship(s) can fit the number and size of figures, both in the listed crew and the actual tabletop space on the ship model(s).  Flying or swimming creatures need not have a space on the ship during a battle, but that may be problematic in a campaign game.

Array the forces on your ships according to your preference.

Oarsmen: If the ships are under oars, nominate models as oarsmen. Oarsmen do not have their weapons ready, but benefit from any shields lining the gunwales. Oarsmen provide the motive power noted under Speed and Seafaring, so having oarsmen killed reduces these numbers unless they can be healed or replaced. PLace one figure at the stern as Steersman, unless your skipper is already doing so.

Forecastlemen: The picked fighters are usually arrayed at the bow of the vessel, wargear at the ready, to leap across or repel enemy when a Clash occurs. Forecastlemen equipped with missile attack can use them while they await the Clash of hulls and blades.

Archers, etc: Arrows, slingstones, even spells or hurled boulders can cross the distance and harm the crew, possibly the ship of your foes. Oarsmen cannot shoot on a turn that they row.

Facing: Just as in R:AW Core, facing is to the front 90 degree arc of the model, each flank is the next 90 degree arc, and the rear is what is left. And just as in Core, if the facing is in doubt, err in favor of the defending model. Ships have eight cardinal directions, corresponding to an eight pointed star with one point directly to the ship's bow. This is reflected in the

 

Rules and Rules Changes:

The runes, including turn structure, determining game length, and rules of play are the same as in R:AW Core except as noted here.

 

Phase 1: Initiative

Roll for Initiative as normal.

 

Phase 2: Movement Phase: All ship movement is done as a Move, in R:AW terms. Ships do not have Charge Moves.

Unless a figure has a Movement that includes: Fly or Swim, or a spell that grants one, it cannot leave the ship. It may move about the ship (oarsmen cannot leave their stations without reducing the ship's Speed and Seafaring). The steersman must be at its station or the ship is "Rudderless" (See "Leeward Movement"). Figures without listed Fly or Swim abilities are considered casualties for purposes of the battle, though they may survive if you choose to roll for survival (as detailed in R:AW Core).

Wind and Wave: At the outset of the game, Each side Roll to see if they have maneuvered to take advantage of Wind and Wave. This is done exactly as Turn One: Initiative in R:AW Core (3d6, one of which is  Wyrd Die if the side in question has a Named Character). The higher roll wins has Wind and Wave in their favor. 

NOTE: "Wind and Wave "adds realism and complexity to sea fights. If you want a simpler sea battle, you can ignore the prevailing conditions, and simply move ships according to their speed, rolling against the ship's Seafaring TN for course changes. If you fail to equal the Seafaring TN, the ship continues on its current heading for that turn. In the simplified system, ship speed may be freely changed, allowing the Skipper to move the ship any amount of inches equal to  or lesss than its listed Speed. By agreement, players are welcome to adopt any part or the whole of the Wind and Wave System.

Wind Direction: Lay the flat edge of the protractor at the winning side's table edge. Roll 3d6 (including a Wyrd Die if appropriate), multiplying the result be 10. Count the resulting number of Degrees from Starboard (Right) side of the protractor to determine Wind Direction. You may add, or subtract, Bonus Dice to this roll if you have them (you may use Ship Bonus Dice for this roll if you are so fortunate as to have them), to adjust the Wind by a number of degrees x 10. If your opponent wishes and has Bonus Dice (other than Ship Dice), she may attempt to adjust the wind direction in the same way, adding or subtracting 1d6 x 10 degrees of Wind Direction per dice. When both sides have spent all dice they wish to commit. Place the Wind Direction Indicator in a handy corner to show the prevailing Wind.

Wind Power: Roll 3d6 to determining Wind Power. You and your opponent can commit Bonus Dice (including Ship's Dice if you wish) to raise or lower the result. When both sides have committed all dice you wish, check the table below: 

3-5 Becalmed: Ships move only via Oars. Seafaring: 0

6-8 Light winds: Seafaring Modifier: +/-2

9-11 Moderate Winds: Seafaring Modifier: +/-3

12-14 - Changeable Winds: As Moderate, but roll 1d6 in the End Phase of each turn. If the Number on the die is equal or lower than the Turn Number, roll again to determine Wind Direction and Power. At the beginning of the game, treat this result as Moderate Winds.

16-28 Heavy Winds: Speed: 5. Seafaring Modifier: -3

19-25 Storm: Sails are stormset to run out the weather, Speed: 0. As Heavy, but each ship must make a Seafaring roll (-5) each turn to avoid Calamity

25+ Devastating Storm, whirlpool, etc.  Seafaring (-7) to avoid Calamity

Wind Power and Direction, as compared to the facing of the ship, impose certain modifiers on Seafaring rolls, as well as on the actions of swimmers. If a ship has the wind in its Aft facing, the Seafaring roll adds the Seafaring Modifier when attempting to equal the Ships Seafaring TN. If the Wind Direction is in the Forward Facing of a ship, these modifiers reduce the Speed and Seafaring rolls. Note that Heavy Winds and worse conditions ALWAYS impose a negative modifier to Seafaring rolls, because maneuvering in such circumstances is always fraught with increased danger.

For ships: Speed reflects the modifier to the ship's Speed. Use the Point of Sail Indicator to determine how the Wind will affect  each ship, lining the Black Arrow up with the Wind Direction.

  • A: You cannot sail into the Red Shaded Zone (Zone A for your Ship). Moving under oars imposes a penalty to your  Ship's speed as noted under the prevailing Wind Power.
  • B: Close-Hauled: Beating into the wind is slow and difficult. You can Sail in this direction with a penalty to your Ship's speed as noted under the prevailing Wind Power. The ship also will "Slide" to leeward (move sideways away from the wind direction).
  • C: Beam Reach: The wind pushing directly perpendicular to the beam - the side of the ship. A ship under sail gains the Reaching Speed, and Seafaring rolls are reduced by the Seafaring Modifier. The ship will Slide to leeward as under B.
  • D: Broad Reach: The wind pushing from an aft angle. Ship gains the Reaching Speed and Seafaring rolls are increased by the Seafaring Modifier. The ship will Slide to leeward as under B.
  • E: Running before the Wind: The wind is directly aft. On a square rigged ship with only a single mast and sail (which is to say all sail-equipped ships in the Ragnarok), this facing allows for the best speed and maneuverability. There is no leeward "slide" when running before the wind.

Leeward Movement: A ship under sail moves to leeward (away from the wind direction) by 1/5 of the distance it moves forward (round up to the nearest whole inch). If the ship is "Rudderless", Leeward movement is doubled. So a ship moving 10 inches forward will "slide" 2 Inches to leeward, or 4 inches if rudderless. This movement does not change the facing of the ship, only its position.

Ship Inertia: A ship that is moving cannot simply stop in place, even if the oarsmen cease rowing and the sail is furled or down. A ship will lose "way" slowly, reducing the distance it travels by 4" each turn, to a minimum number of inches equal to the Wind's Seafaring Modifier in inches (such movement also include leeward slide as noted above).  A crew may attempt to slow faster by backing oars, etc, with a Seafaring success.

Moving by the Letters: A ship may take a heading that is between to Cardinal directions on its Point of Sail Indicator. Use the less favorable of the two headings to determine Speed and Seafaring modifiers.

The Clash of Ships: Just as with normal combatants, when two ships come within one inch of each other, they are Engaged. See Melee Phase for what this means for melee combat.

Movement of combatants: Individual figures may move, even charge, as normal, but might be hampered more than normal, due to cramped shipboard conditions, etc. Charging from one ship to another is possible if the ships are in a Clash. If two ships are engaged but not yet in a Clash, Charging across the gap is allowed, unless there are no emtpy spaces available on the enemy ship. Engagement does not preclude such charges, but Evading out of engagement is necessary to avoid attacks from those being disengaged (see "Engagement" in R:AW Core).

 

Phase 3: Magic and Missiles Phase

Ranged attacks, whether magic or conventional missiles like arrows and stones, occur simultaneously, just as they do in R:AW Core - meaning that any casualties are applied AFTER all ranged attacks are completed.

Ranged attacks that can shoot twice when not moving may change facing, but may not move about ship.

Line of Sight: Any ranged attack is assumed to be able to target a ship sized target, even if direct line of sight is blocked.

Choice of Target: Ranged attacks by followers are not targeted and are always directed at the nearest followers on board the target vessel.  Spells and Ranged Attacks by Named Characters may target individuals to which a direct Line of Sight can be traced.

Spells: Some spells will be of reduced effect in a sea battle, especially those that manipulate the battlefield directly (like Create Wall or Snow Step). Icefall, or an Ice elemental can exist in the water, but drift to leeward a number of inches per turn equal to the Seafaring Modifier.

Spells that summon a creature (like wolves, or an elemental): There must be space for the creature to appear, or it appears over the water,, with results that make sense for that circumstance. Wolves and earth elementals become casualties, water elementals are fine, flying creatures begin to fly, etc. Use common sense to determine the outcome for each creature.

 

Phase 4: Melee Phase

When two ships come within 1 inch of each other, they are Engaged. Any combatant on either ship is considered to be engaged with any enemy that has a Weapon Class of 3 or higher. If either of the skippers wish to avert a Clash, they can make a Seafaring Contest against each other. Each skipper makes a Seafaring roll against their ships' current Seafaring TN (including any modifiers for conditions). The skipper who succeeds at his roll by a higher margin (the difference between the TN and his roll) can alter his ship's course by 1 Heading Point. If this is enough to allow the ships to pass without contact next turn, they do not Clash. Fighting occurs across the gap, though only those with Class 3 or longer weapons Engage enemy targets.

If, in a subsequent turn, the two ships are Engaged, and headed toward each other, and neither changed heading to avert a Clash, they contact in a Clash: Make a Seafaring roll, modified by the current conditions and heading, with the enemy ship's Defense as the Target Number. If you equal or exceed the TN, you inflict your ship's Damage on the other vessel, adding 1 Damage for every 5" (or portion thereof) of forward movement in the previous turn.

Effects of Ship Damage: Damage to ships threatens their seaworthiness, reduces their speed and increases their Seafaring TN. Reduce all Speeds, and increases the Seafaring TN, of a damaged ship by the number of damage it has sustained.

If a ship takes damage equal to its Health, it is Broken. It can change heading with a Seafaring Success (at some significant penalty for the damage), but cannot move of its own accord. It will drift to leeward according to conditions. The ship takes on water and wallows low in the swell, imparting a -1 on all attacks originating from the afflicted ship. Unless something is done, the ship will sink or break up after the battle. 

If a ship takes damage in excess of its Health, it is Sinking. See End Phase.

Sustaining a Clash: If either side wishes to sustain a Clash, they may attempt to lash the ships together into a floating battlefield with ropes and grapples. A Contested Seafaring Success  is required if one of the skippers wishes to Evade. Otherwise the ships become locked.

Locked: Two (or more) ships are locked together by ropes and grapples. They move only to leeward according to conditions until one casts off. A Locked and Sinking ship is kept from sinking for the duration of the battle, unless the ship(s0 to which it is locked is also sinking.

 

Taking Enemy Ships:

One of the primary motivations for a sea fight is to gain new vessels. Sometimes this might be motivated by the sinking or breaking of one's own ship. An enemy ship is taken if all enemy are taken out, or if the ship's Skipper surrenders. In such a case, the new owners may crew and sail the ship beginning the following turn. A contested ship is still under the control of the original crew until the skipper is slain or surrenders.

 

Insufficient Crew:

Oarsmen: A ship with fewer than its full complement of oarsmen has its speed reduced by 1 for every four  by which it is short. Oarsmen who are slain or otherwise unable to row, may be replaced by others aboard, who become oarsmen.

Rudderless: A ship without a Steersman doubles it slide to leeward. See Movement.

Skipper: A ship whose skipper is slain or otherwise unable to act, does not add his Rank to Seafaring rolls. Another may take his place at need, adding its Rank to seafaring rolls instead. A Skipper who is not a Named Character does not add a Wyrd Die to any rolls.

 

Phase 5: End Phase:

In addition to other End Phase actions, roll to determine what happens to any ships that are Sinking. A Sinking ship will drift leeward according to conditions, and will suffer 1d6 damage.

 

End of the Game and Victory Conditions: In addition to the normal Victory Point options, you can add any of the following:

Sinking Ships: When its current damage reaches a negative value equal to its original Health, it sinks immediately. Depending on the needs of your game or campaign, you can award to the victors salvaged loot, thralls, and Victory Points, equal to 1d6 per 5 Health (or portion thereof) the vessel originally possessed. 

Broken ships: Broken ships cannot be saved, but they can be more thoroughly looted than those which have sunk. Award 1d6 Victory Points for every 3 points (or portion thereof) of the ships original Health.

Enemy ships that are taken at games end (in which the Skipper is dead, has fled, or surrendered), are extremely valuable. Award the ship's original Health as Victory Points to the new owner's side.

 

 

The Ships:

Coastal Skiff: A typical Skiff will be 30 feet in length and broad enough for a pair of rowers to sit abreast, have 6 pairs of oars and a steering oar, but there are smaller skiff that are more like large faerings, and a few skiffs that have are larger. Skiffs are commonly used in coastal traffic. These vessels sometimes included sails, and served a variety of functions, from lesser war craft to trading vessels, fishing or whaling boats, and more.

Health: 3

Damage: 0

Defense: 14

Speed: 8, Reach 10, Running 12

Seafaring TN: 11

Bonus Dice: 0

Crew: 13

Crew: 1 per oar, +1 steersman.

 

 

Knarr: A deepwater, ocean-going vessel, with a deeper draft and freeboard, roughly 55 feet in length and beam of 15 feet, giving a length to beam ratio of roughly 3.5 to 1. Knarr were broader across the beam than other craft, which allowed them more stability in rough seas and greater carrying capacity (approximately 100 tons). They are often used as transport for traders and their wares. The same factors that made them ideal for cargo and rough weather also made them slower and less maneuverable than sleeker craft. Though most knarr carried oars, they depended primarily on sailing. Few had masts that could be stepped (taken down).

Health: 10

Damage: 1

Defense: 16

Speed: 4, Reaching 8, Running 8

Seafaring TN: 13 (10 to stay afloat)

Bonus Dice: 0

Crew: 20

Crew: Sailors and oarsmen,  +1 steersman.

 

Karve: A compromise design with the broad beam of a Knarr, but the low draft of a longship, the Karve could carry more than a longship, not as quickly, but follow a longship into similarly shallows waters. This flexibility saw them used in war, often as transport ships, where they could carry mounts, supplies, and troops necessary to the effort. Karve might be 40 to 75 feet in length with broader beams than similar longships. The Length: Beam ratio of a karve was something like 4 or 5 to 1. Twelve to sixteen pairs of oars ran the length of the sides.

Health: 8

Damage: 2

Defense: 14

Speed: 6, Reaching 8, Running 10

Seafaring TN: 11

Bonus Dice: 0

Crew: 1 per oar, +1 steersman.

Crew: 1 per oar (24 to 32), +1 Steersman.

 

Snekkja: A small longship of approximately sixty feet in length with 20 rowing benches per side. Such a craft would be roughly 8 feet across the beam and with very shallow draft (less than two feet) allowing it to move over shoals, up rivers, etc. Snekkja make up the majority of longships.

Health: 7

Damage: 2

Defense: 15

Speed: 10, Reaching 12, Running 14

Seafaring TN: 9

Bonus Dice: 1

Crew: 1 per oar (40), +1 Steersman.