Airship Ship Rules

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As this is a campaign about air pirates, it would be incomplete without at least some good old fashioned ship to ship combat. While Adventurer’s Vault introduces vehicles, and rules for them, it treats them more as platforms for the characters to battle from and on rather than war machines that are directed by the characters to fight one another. Therefore, I am going to use these rules as inspiration for my own set rather than using them verbatim as I am the rest of the 4e system.

First off, Airships will function more like monsters out of the monster manual than just vehicles. They will act as a creature would, each having one Standard Action, one Move action, one Minor Action, and one Immediate Action per combat round. There will be no Opportunity Attacks in ship combat. NPC ships will in fact be written up just as if they were enemy creatures.

Being as we have limited space on the battle boards, and it will be awkward to be moving ‘creatures’ whose smallest size is gargantuan, I have decided to use a different scale for airships. Since I’m going to be approximating most of this stuff, I see no reason to try exactly set the dimensions of each square on the battle grid. With all ranges and sizes set out in squares anyway, this should not be an issue.

As previously state the airships will be designed along the lines of creatures. This means they will have a Level and a Role (usually Artillery or Controller, but maybe some others). There size will be based relative to other vessels rather than 5 foot squares. Life boats would be small, a 5 person yacht would be Medium, a fishing trawler would be large, a destroyer Huge, and large vessels will be Gargantuan.

Vessel stats will be based off of level and roll just as with any other creature. Noteworthy vessels (such as Armada flagships) will have their Will Defense based off of their assigned captain.

The main thing I will be caring over form the Vehicle Combat Rules are the movement rules.

The following is an except form Adventurer’s Vault P. 16:

Out of Control

Creatures can move, change direction, and come
to a stop whenever they choose. Vehicles don’t have
that luxury. When a vehicle starts moving, it requires
effort to keep it moving and on course. Otherwise, it
goes out of control.

A driver or pilot must use specific actions to steer,
move, or stop a vehicle if he or she doesn’t want the
vehicle to go out of control. In any round in which
no character uses actions to control it, a vehicle
acts according to the “Out of Control” section of its
statistics block. Some out-of-control vehicles—most
commonly those pulled by creatures—come to a stop
automatically. Some vehicles, such as ships, continue
to move ahead until they collide with something.
Other vehicles—especially flying crafts—can crash
quickly.

(An out of control airship moves at the GM’s discretion and whim.)

Turning and Heading

Creatures on a battle grid can change direction at
any point during movement. The rules do not make
a distinction between a creature’s front, back, and
sides because it is assumed that a creature can turn
around in its space. However, you cannot simply turn
a speeding vehicle in the opposite direction, and thus
vehicle combat is more complicated.

Every vehicle has a heading—the direction in
which it currently moves. To track a vehicle’s heading,
place a coin or similar marker along the front edge of
the vehicle’s space on the battle grid. When a vehicle
moves, use the small marker to count off squares in
the direction the vehicle is moving. Then move the
larger vehicle counter or miniature to catch up.

Here are the move actions available to airships (excerpted from AV P. 16 – 17)

DRIVE
Action: Move.
Movement: Move the vehicle a distance up to its speed.
Direction: When you move the vehicle, it must move in the direction of its heading marker. The vehicle can move directly forward or it can move along either forward diagonal adjacent to its heading marker (a 45-degree adjustment). It cannot move in other directions without making a turn.
Opportunity Attacks: A vehicle’s movement does not provoke opportunity attacks against the vehicle or the creatures on it.
Terrain: Terrain affects an airship in the way it affects creatures. If a terrain feature requires a skill or ability check, the driver or pilot must make that check for the airship. If a vehicle does not have the appropriate mode of movement to traverse a terrain, then it cannot move on that terrain.
TURN
Action: Move
Movement: Move the vehicle a distance equal to half its speed.
Direction: When you move the vehicle, it must move in the direction of its heading marker. The vehicle can move directly forward or it can move along either forward diagonal adjacent to its heading marker (a 45-degree adjustment).
Heading Marker: At any point during the vehicle’s movement, move its heading marker from its current position to either side of the vehicle (a 90-degree turn). Reorient the vehicle’s counter or miniature accordingly at the end of the move.
Opportunity Attacks: A vehicle’s movement does not provoke opportunity attacks against the vehicle or the creatures on it.
Terrain: Terrain affects an airship in the way it affects creatures. If a terrain feature requires a skill or ability check, the driver or pilot must make that check for the airship. If a vehicle does not have the appropriate mode of movement to traverse a terrain, then it cannot move on that terrain.
STOP
Action: Move
Movement: Move the airship forward a number of squares equal to the distance it moved in the previous round. At the end of the move, the vehicle is motionless. A vehicle begins moving again when its driver or pilot uses the drive action. A stopped airship can go out of control while motionless unless it is moored.
Direction: The vehicle’s heading marker remains in place. If and when the vehicle moves again, it must initially move in this direction.

Underway

Airships are generally moving constantly, and do not sop on a dime. An airship that has moved under its own power during its last turn is considered to be underway. An underway airship must use at least one drive Move action each turn or use a Move Action to stop.

Since, unlike a normal creature, an airship’s facing matters, it is necessary to note which direction(s) the ships attacks can go. Also, Airship combat is much more cognizant of the 3-dimentional nature of the battlefield. Unless otherwise noted, attacks are presumed to have a 45 degree horizontal arch. That is they can proceed up or down 45 degrees from the attacking ship. A target is within this attack cone (total of 90 degrees) if its horizontal distance is equal to or greater than its vertical distance. If the vertical distance to the target is greater than its horizontal distance, then it is either too high or too low to be hit with the attack, even if its overall range in squares is within the attack power’s range.

Attack Arches

Starboard: The attack may only emanate from the attacking ship’s right side.

Port: The attack may only emanate from the attacking ship’s left side.

Fore: The attack emanates only form the front of the ship.

Aft: The attack emanates only form the rear of the ship.

Broadside: The attack may emanate from either of the attacking ship’s side, but not the front or the rear.

270 Fore: The attack may emanate from either of the attacking ship’s side or the front, but not from the rear.

270 Aft: The attack may emanate from either of the attacking ship’s side or the rear, but not from the front.

270 Starboard: The attack may emanate from either of the attacking ship’s right, front, or the rear, but not from its left.

270 Port: The attack may emanate from either of the attacking ship’s left, front, or the rear, but not from its right.

360: The attack may emanate from any of the ship’s sides.

Spherical: The attack can hit regardless of target elevation as long as the target is within the range and arch of the attack.

Health and Healing

Airships have HP just like other creatures. Being Harried is the airship equivalent to being Bloodied, and occurs at 1/2 HP just as Bloodied does with creatures. Like creatures, airships are assumed to have one healing surge per Tier. (1at heroic, 2 at paragon, and 3 at epic.) However most airships do not have the ability to use their equivalent to Healing Surges. Those that do will have this noted in their descriptions.

When reduced to 0 HP or below, the airship is considered to be either Disabled (the airship equivalent to Unconscious) or Crashing (The airship equivalent to Dying) depending on the intentions of the attacker.

Here are some sample NPC airships:

Valuan Patrol Craft Level 1 Minion
Large Airship XP 25
Space 2 ‘ship’ squares by 1 ‘ship’ square
Initiative +1 Senses Perception +1
HP 1; a missed attack never damages a minion.
AC 14; Fortitude 13, Reflex 11, Will 11
Speed 0; Fly 6
BA Ranged Broadside (standard; broadside; at-will) ✦ Weapon
Ranged 10/20; +5 vs. AC; 5 damage.
Affiliation Valuan Armada
Equipment Cannons (3 per side), moonstone engine, propellers(1 per side; aft).
Valuan Destroyer Level 1 Artillery
Huge Airship XP 100
Space 3 ‘ship’ squares by 2 ‘ship’ squares
Initiative +2 Senses Perception +1
HP 25; Harried 12
AC 13; Fortitude 14, Reflex 12, Will 13
Speed 0; Fly 6
BA Ranged Broadside (standard; broadside; at-will) ✦ Weapon
Ranged 10/20; +7 vs. AC; 1d10 + 3 damage.
Ranged Forward Turrets (standard; 270 fore; recharge ⚄ ⚅) ✦ Weapon
Ranged 15/30; +7 vs. AC; 2d6 + 3 damage.
Affiliation Valuan Armada
Equipment Cannons (4 per side), turrets (3 forward), moonstone engine, propellers (3; aft).
V.A.S. Alexander Level 1 Solo Artillery
Huge Airship XP 500
Space 3 ‘ship’ squares by 2 ‘ship’ squares
Initiative +2 Senses Perception +1
HP 100; Harried 50
AC 15; Fortitude 16, Reflex 14, Will 13
Saving Throws +5
Speed 0; Fly 6
Action Points 2
Ranged Main Guns (standard; 270 fore; at-will) ✦ Weapon
Ranged 15/30; +7 vs. AC; 2d6 + 3 damage.
BA Ranged Secondaries Broadside (minor; broadside; at-will) ✦ Weapon
Ranged 10/20; +7 vs. AC; 1d6 + 3 damage.
Ranged Give’em Heck! (standard; broadside; recharge ⚄ ⚅) ✦ Weapon
The Alexander makes a main guns attack and a secondaries broadside attack on the same target.
Affiliation Valuan Armada
Equipment Cannons (4 per side), turrets (3 forward), moonstone engine, propellers (3; aft).

Flanking

Flanking is done differently with airships. An airship flanks another when it is positioned such that it has at least one available weapon that will bear on the target vessel, but is outside all of said vessels valid firing arches. basically, if you can shoot them, but they can’t shoot you, then you are flanking. The flanked ship grants combat advantage.

To use the above ships to demonstrate: If you are in front of or behind the Valuan Patrol Craft and it is in one of your weapon arches, then you are flanking it since you are not in any of its weapon arches while it is in at least one of yours. The Valuan Destroyer can only be flanked from the rear as long as it’s turrets are charged. However, if it has used its turrets, then it can be flanked from the front until the power recharges. The Alexander can only ever be flanked from the rear.

Conditions

While most of the conditions used in creature combat apply in much the same way to airship combat under this system, a few are slightly different and a few are invalid. The following conditions can be applied to airships:

BLINDED
The airship grants combat advantage.
The airship can’t detect any targets (targets have total concealment).
the airship takes a –10 penalty to Perception checks.
The airship can’t flank an enemy.
CRASHING
The airship is disabled.
The airship is at 0 or negative hit points.
The airship is out of control and descending rapidly into Lower Sky.
You really should abandon ship.
DAZED
The airship grant combat advantage.
The airship can take either a standard action, a move action, or a minor action on its turn (it can also take free actions). It can’t take immediate actions.
The airship can flank an enemy.
DISABLED
The airship is helpless.
The airship takes a –5 penalty to all defenses.
The airship can’t take actions.
The airship is out of control.
The airship can’t flank an enemy.
HELPLESS
The airship grants combat advantage.
The airship can be the target of a coup de grace.
Note: An airship is usually helpless because it’s disabled.
IMMOBILIZED
An immobilized airship cannot move except by a pull, a push, or a slide effect.
If an underway airship is immobilized at the start of its turn then it immediately makes a Stop maneuver as a Free Action.
MARKED
The airship takes a –2 penalty to attack rolls for any attack that doesn’t target the enemy that marked it.
OUT OF CONTROL
The airship grants combat advantage.
The airship cannot control its own movement.
The GM directs the airship’s movement based on their opinion of the winds and the condition of the airship’s engine. This movement does not count as one of the airship’s actions.
PRONE
An airship subject to an effect that would knock it prone instead takes 1d10 damage and is slowed (see below) until the end of the next round.
RESTRAINED
The airship grants combat advantage.
The airship is immobilized.
The airship can’t be forced to move by a pull, a push, or a slide.
If the restrained condition is ended by the escape action, the vehicle uses the pilot’s relevant skill modifier.
SLOWED
The airship’s speed becomes 2. This speed applies to all its movement modes, but it does not apply to teleportation or to a pull, a push, or a slide. The airship can’t increase its speed above 2, and its speed doesn’t increase if it was lower than 2. If an airship is slowed while moving, it stops if it has already moved 2 or more squares.
STUNNED
The airship grants combat advantage.
The airship can’t take actions.
The airship can’t flank an enemy.
The airship is out of control.
SURPRISED
The airship grants combat advantage.
The airship can’t take actions.
The airship can’t flank an enemy.
WEAKENED
The airship’s attacks deal half damage. Ongoing damage it deals is not affected.

Crew Slots

PC vessels can be augmented by their crew in special ways depending on the vessel and its capabilities. there are 5 possible crew slots that can be filled on a PC vessel.

Captain: No prerequisites. The vessel’s Will Defense is taken from its captain. Many vessels allow the captain to coordinate repairs or even offer some buffs. MANDITORY: This slot must be filled for a PC vessel to operate. Special: The Captain and the Helmsman slot can be combined, as long as all prerequisites are met.

Helmsman/Pilot: The helmsman makes all ability checks for the airship related to movement in combat. Prerequisites: Must be trained in Thievery. Training in Nature is highly recommended but not required. MANDITORY: This slot must be filled for a PC vessel to operate. Special: The Captain and the Helmsman slot can be combined, as long as all prerequisites are met.

Lookout: The lookout makes all ability checks related to perception and initiative in combat. Many airships allow the lookout’s feats, class abilities, and powers to affect these aspects. Note: If there is no lookout, then the captain is responsible for these ability checks. Prerequisites: Must be trained in Perception.

Gunner: Many ships allow gunners to use Ranged attack powers with the Weapon keyword with their guns. Prerequisites : Must have at least one at-will dexterity based ranged attack power with the Weapon keyword. Note: Without a gunner, the ship cannot attack in combat. Special: An unqualified character may serve as gunner, but the ship can only use the attack powers listed in its description in this case. Also, the unqualified gunner uses only his half level dexterity bonus for attack rolls, and does not receive the additional bonuses in the power descriptions.

Engineer: Many ships allow the engineer to use any healing abilities they posses to repair the ship, and also often permit them to apply buffs to it as well. Prerequisites: Trained in Thievery and Archana.

Here is a sample PC ship:

Windmill Island Schooner Level 1 Solo Skirmisher
Medium Airship XP —
Space 1 ‘ship’ square by 1 ‘ship’ square
Initiative As per assigned Lookout Senses Perception, As per assigned Lookout
HP 116; Harried 58; see also tough little ship
AC 17; Fortitude 15, Reflex 16, Will As per assigned Captian.
Saving Throws +0
Speed 0; Fly 4
Action Points Each Assigned Crew may contribute 1 Action Point.
Minimum Crew
1 Pilot (acts as captain)
Optimal Crew
5; Captain, pilot, lookout, engineer, gunner.
BA Ranged Pop-gun (standard; fore; at-will) ✦ Weapon
Ranged 5/10; +2 + Gunner’s Half Level Dex Mod vs. AC; 1d4 + Gunner’s Dex Mod damage.
Ranged Hold-out Weaponry ✦ Weapon
The Schooner’s gunner may use any Ranged attack powers with the ‘weapon’ keyword and class features that apply to ranged weapons with the Schooner’s cannon. The cannon is considered to be on that character’s list of special class weapons for purposes of using those powers or class features. Proficiency Bonus +2; Weapon Damage 1d4; Range 5/10.
Desperate Maneuvering (varies; move)
The Schooner’s pilot may use any powers they have on the Schooner that are move actions.
Jury-rigging
The Schooner’s engineer may use any Utility Powers that normally affect themselves and/or their allies on the Schooner.
Crow’s Nest
The Schooner’s lookout may apply/use any Class Features, Feats, or Utility Powers that affect initiative or perception to/on the Schooner.
Tough Little Ship ✦ Healing
The Windmill Island Schooner has the equivalent of 2 Healing Surges, which may be used by the powers of either the Captain or engineer. The Windmill Island Schooner’s Surge Value is 29.
Captain Jessica Dyne Gunner Engineer
Lookout Hanna Pilot Jessica Dyne
Equipment Moonstone engine, sweeps (1 per side; aft), sails (1 masts), 1 lifeboat.

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Airship Ship Rules

Skies of Arcadia Genesplicer