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Yanecky's picture
Naval Combat
naval battles


I'm new to 7th sea (but experienced GM otherwise). My players want to be crew members of a ship, so it looks like our adventures will involve a lot of sailing and ships. But, since I'm new to the game, I don't really understand how naval combat works. Can you give me an example, round by round? I get it that the ship's pilot/captain can spend their raises on negating damage (which represents clever sailing etc.). What about other PCs? And crew?

I have the expanded ship rules from ES, and going to use them in the future, but can you explain naval combat with basic, core book rules, for now? Thanks!

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BluSponge blusp...
BluSponge blusponge@verizon.net's picture

You aren't alone.  The naval battle guidelines in the core book turn my brain into spaghetti.  So I'm working on a project that may help with that in the very near future.  In the meantime, I believe naval battles are meant to be played out like any other action sequence.  You ask the players what they are doing, set Approaches, and let them spend raises.  You can present Opportunities to them, and set the terms of what those are, and give them consequences.  Don't overthink it too much, it's not meant to be a tactical scenario.

Remember that most naval battles have one of two objectives in mind: board the ship to capture or plunder it, or scuttle the ship.  Most of your conflicts are going to be the former, with the ships jockeying for position until proper boarding actions can proceed.  With this in mind, one thing you could do is tell the group, "the enemy ship will be in position to board you in 2 rounds.  Until then, have at it."  This way, you are working towards a clear goal with set stakes.  If the players want to escape, you could set that as a group opportunity (say 2 raises for each hero in the scene).  So if they can spend those raises before the time limit is up, or the enemy ship hammers their ship into submission (4 Critical Hits) they get away.

Yanecky's picture

Thanks for the ideas! So for I've come up with this: before combat the captain assigns the crew - some to man the cannons, some to manage the rigging and so on. Then each PC decides which part of the crew they're going to command. During the battle, the hero rolls as normal, with extra crew as extra dice. For example Captain Jack sees an enemy vessel and assigns 2 crew to sailing, 5 to guns and 3 to repairs. During combat, Captain Jack rolls his sailing + 2, Bosun Morgan (another PC) rolls for guns +5. And so on. Crew can be reassigned during combat (or kept in reserve), but changing positions takes them out for 1 round.

So basically, crew is treated as extra resource. It's quick and dirty, but should work :)

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