1. #1

    50 Fathoms ship combat

    I'm thinking about running the 50 Fathoms plot point campaign.
    My main concern is how to do ship to ship combat with Fantasy Grounds.

    Does anyone have any pointers on how best to do this?

  2. #2
    Without knowing the setting and how the combat works between ships in 50 Fathoms, for Conan 2d20 games and other sea-faring adventures I used hex based combat map with appropriate watery background along with token facing option enabled to have ships properly arranged and track movement and wind effects.
    There are two maps opened - the ship deck and the naval map.
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  3. #3

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Orlando, FL
    Back in the day when I ran this the first time, I lifted the tabletop rules from Pirates of the Spanish Main to use the Wizkids ships I got cheap on eBay for an in person game. I'm currently running 50F on FG now and am therefore just following the suggestion in the book to just use the chase rules unless and until it looks like a boarding action is necessary, then I can switch to a normal battlemap of the two ships and run the combat normally.

  4. #4
    For the ship-to-ship stuff, a large open water map and some tokens will do just fine.... for boarding action, it gets a little trickier. If you want actual battlemaps of the same exact ships battling it out next to each other, then you're going to have to make them yourself. Not being that much of an artist, and not having that much time, I went with a theater of the mind approach using zones to mark where characters are at. For melee attacks, players could only attack those within their zone. For ranged attacks, firing across zones incurs cover penalties for the rigging and such. Players could move from zone to zone as their normal move. Although I never got to put it to the test... I think it would've worked fairly well, and would've made those kind of scenarios a lot easier to run. See attached image.

    M_Ship to Ship Battle.jpg
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  5. #5
    Honestly, being locked to a grid isn't how SW vehicle combats is supposed to be run. When I did it, I had my own homebrew rules about angles that cannons were allowed to shoot.
    I also used lots of the Pirates of the Spanish Main content to improve it, the naval rules there seemed better.

    The only way that is actually good out of the box is using chases for naval battles. But that's not what I wanted, I really wanted miniature combats.

  6. #6
    I used battle maps of open seas, and large ocean areas with islands on it. Some I found online and others I made myself.

    I'd place ships as letter tokens with facing on them. Ship type representing letter, or if it was a named ship then use that to pick the letter.
    For attacks the cannoneers in the group would make separate character sheets or add onto their own character the cannons as attack options. As last time I tested, the players could not make attack rolls from vehicle entries. As a GM you can do your attacks from the CT.

    I've tried a number of rules and created a number of rollable tables to speed things up. These include 'The Pirates of the Spanish Main', 'Buccaneers Through Hell and High Water', 'SWADE' vehicle rules, both with ruleset wounds per ship or regular SWADE vehicle rule wounds for all, and some homebrew mixing between them all.

    In the end while the first two add some interesting granularity we found it got cumbersome to run and slowed things down to much, so lately we've just been using the SWADE vehicle rules and it's been going well. In the end it's going to be down to your and your groups preferences, all options are interesting in their own right.

    ps. Dealing with a lot of cannons can be a bit tricky. At what point to stop rolling for individual cannons? Should you cluster x amount of cannons together as one attack at some point? For massive ships should you switch to mass combat rules instead of rolling for the cannons? These are things that I have considered, and have yet to make any final decision on.
    Last edited by Styrmir; July 18th, 2019 at 19:16.
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  7. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Orlando, FL
    I literally just finished a session of 50F where the PCs in their ship had to fight Jinka-Tann. I used an open water map with tokens for the PC's ship and one for Jinka Tann. I put the PC's tokens on a second battle map that has their ship's deck plan so they could position themselves on board accordingly. I had the ship move on the pilot's turn (our group has someone with a higher Boating skill than the captain) and it just moved top speed each turn unless the pilot turned, which I limited to one change in facing in the desired direction. PCs manning cannons could shoot, but I found that the vehicle sheets would only let me assign one operator at a time, so I had to keep switching the operator out as various PCs fired different cannons. Since they used their own Shooting to fire, they only needed access to the ship sheet for dmg rolls. In the future, I may just have them all use the chat command to roll damage (/dmg 3d6+1) for the cannons, because swapping them out got old fast. It worked just fine. I had to re-position the tokens on the water map a couple of times when the movement of the ship would have taken it out of bounds otherwise, but other than that, it really wasn't a problem.

    Of course, I wouldn't want to run ship to ship combat between a couple of Man O' Wars this way, but for the party's smaller vessel with just 4 cannons (2 per side) against a single creature, it worked fine.

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