Ship Combat

Ship combat is a common occurrence in the Skies. This page will give a rough breakdown of how it will typically work. As a reference, the following Boating modifiers exist:

Condition Boating Modifier
Ship has higher top speed +2
Ship’s top speed is double +4
Each success and raise from Crew +1

Ship Combat can have the following Phases:


When ships sight each other out in the Void, they are likely very far apart from each other. Once a ship is sighted and decides to give chase (and the other ship decides to flee), each ship makes Opposed Boating rolls. Each roll represents 8 hours of travel. If the chaser wins with a raise, we move to the Engagement phase. If the chased wins with a raise, they escape and combat ends.


Engagement will typically play out with the SWEX Chase Rules. Each round during Engagement represents a few minutes. Ships will typically start 5 Increments apart, where each Increment represents 100 inches (or 200 yards). Each round, a character may make an attack (if in range), assist the Captain’s Boating, or a combination thereof (with MAPs). If a ship is distanced to 10 Increments or greater, the chase if over (return to Contact phase, if dramatically appropriate).

Action cards are dealt to each ship, and all character actions happen on their ship’s action card.


If a ship is dealt an action card with a suit of Clubs, they run into some kind of complication depending on the card’s face. Any Boating rolls made for Complications count as actions, so MAPs will apply if other actions are taken that round.

Card Complication (Clubs)
2 Disaster. Make a Boating roll at (-4). If failed, something disasterous happens that stops the ship. Those being chased are caught, those giving chase lose their quarry
3-10 Major Obstacle: Make a Boating roll at (-2) to avoid obstacles, otherwise suffer damage appropriate to half top speed
J-Q Minor Obstacle: Make a Boating roll to avoid minor obstacles or suffer damage appropriate to half top speed
K Distraction: No attacks possible this round


As an action, ship captains may make the following Maneuvers on their ship’s action card:

Maneuver Max. Range Roll Effect
Move - Boating Move 1 Increment. With a raise, move 2. Result of 1 or less (or crit fail), Out of Control
Steady - None; No Action Maintain Course. Captain may ignore MAP when attacking
Push - Boating As ‘Move’, but move one additional increment with a (-2) penalty, or two additional with (-4)
“Cross the T” 1 Opposed Boating Attack with half cannons instead of quarter
Force 1 Opposed Boating If there are obstacles, opponent hits soft obstacle (hard with raise). Obstacle can be the attacker’s ship, which suffers no damage. On tie, vehicles are locked together, suffer -2 to all Boating rolls, and stay connected until one pilot wins with a raise
Distract 1 Opposed Boating Target gets (-2) to next Boating roll. On Raise, target is also Shaken
Climb the Void 1 Opposed Boating Success, ship adds (+2) to all Shooting and Opposed Boating rolls against target. It is also impossible for the target ship to initiate a Boarding action. Only one ‘Climb’ above can be achieved. Opposing ship can perform Parallell to equal altitude, but does not permit boarding.
Parallel 1 Opposed Boating Success, bring ship right alongside of enemy vehicle. Automatically moves ships to same range increment. Both can attack with half of cannons. A character may leap to enemy ship with Agility roll (failure risks falling overboard).
Boarding 1 Part of Parallel After successful Parallel, crews can make group Throwing to grapple other ship


When a ship Boards another, Ship combat essentially ends in favor of close-combat. If this is the case, ignore this section. If the ships have large crews, however, it may be preferable to run the combat as a Mass Battle.

The side with more combatants is given 10 Tokens to represent their attack force, and the other side is given a proportionate number of Tokens for theirs. Each round, Opposed Battle Rolls are made.

Character Battle Results

Heroes may participate directly in the battle. Before the Opposed Knowledge (Battle) rolls, they may make a Fighting, Shooting, or Arcane Skill roll each action with the results below. Their roll is modified (positively or negatively) by the Token Difference, and by +1 for each rank they are above Novice.

Skill Roll Result
Failure The hero is stopped by overwhelming numbers, an unfortunate tactical development, or bad fortune. He suffers 4d6 damage.
Success The hero fights well and adds +1 to his side’s Battle Roll, though he suffers 3d6 damage.
Raise The hero wreaks havoc, slaying enemy leaders and destroying important assets. He suffers 2d6 damage, but adds +2 to his side’s Battle Roll
Two+ Raises The hero covers himself in glory! Scores of foes fall before him and his success inspires his allies to fight like demons. His efforts add +2 to his side’s Battle Roll and he emerges from the fight unscathed.

Where appropriate, 2d6 Power Points or 3d6 Shots are used in a round.

Battle Rolls

Each round, the sides make Opposed Knowledge (Battle) rolls, modified by the following:

Modifier Circumstance
+1 The side with more tokens adds this for each Token they have more than their foe
0/1/+2 Character Battle Results (see above)
+1 Light Artillery or Air Support
+2 Medium Artillery or Air Support
+3 Heavy Artillery or Air Support
-1 Foe has slight Terrain Advantage
-2 Foe has minor Terrain Advantage
-3 Foe has major Terrain Advantage
+/-? Battle Plan

Each success and raise on the Battle Roll causes the other side to lose one Token. Casualties are usually distributed evenly throughout the force.


Each round in which an army loses a Token, its leader must check for Morale. This is a Spirit roll modified by the circumstances below. With a success, the army fights on. Failure means the army is defeated and the troops conduct an orderly retreat. Make one more Battle Roll and then end the fight. On a result of 1 or less, the troops rout and the battle is over immediately.

Modifier Situation
-1 For each Token lost so far
+2 The army cannot retreat
+2 The army is made of 75% or more Undead (or other fearless drones)
+2 The army is within major fortifications


Roll 1d6 for each token lost. The victor recovers a token on a roll of 4-6. The loser recovers a lost token on a roll of 5-6. A routed army recovers tokens only on a roll of 6. Tokens that are not recovered represent proportionate casualties (Wild cards are not counted as casualties in this way).

Ship Repair

Damage suffered in combat may only be permanently repaired while docked at a port. This typically takes 1d4 days per wound or critical hit. The cost is 10 times the ship’s base Toughness (ignoring Armor) per wound or critical hit.

Makeshift repairs can be made outside of port and require a Repair roll. Each attempt takes 1d6 days and triggers another check for encounters in the ship’s location. These repairs are only temporary and the ship must still be properly overhauled at a port. Any time the vessel takes another wound, each makeshift repair has a 50% chance of coming undone.

Ship Combat

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