Note: The rules below come from the Skull & Shackles Player’s Guide and are intended to be applied to ships and vehicles originally from that book (and Adventure Path.) Use with other ship rules with caution.
A vast variety of boats and ships exist in the real world, from small rafts and longboats to intimidating galleons and swift galleys. To represent the numerous distinctions of shape and size that exist between water-going vessels, the following stat blocks categorize several standard ship sizes and their respective statistics, including all water vehicles that characters can purchase. GMs can use or alter the statistics below to create new ships for specific cultures or races to suit the needs of their individual campaigns. All ships have the following traits.
Name: The name or type of the ship.
Size and Type: The size and type of the ship.
Squares: The number of 30-foot squares the ship takes up on the battle mat, followed by the ship’s actual dimensions. A ship’s width is always considered to be one square.
Cost: The ship’s cost in gp. Sometimes the description or the weapons section provides possible modifications for the ships. These are not included in the cost of the ship, nor are additions like rams or siege engines.
AC and Hardness: The ship’s base Armor Class and hardness, based on its size, defenses, and its construction material (hardness 5 for most wooden ships). To calculate the ship’s actual AC, add the current pilot’s sailing skill modifier (or Wisdom modifier, if she is using that ability to drive the ship) to the ship’s base AC. Touch attacks against a ship ignore its pilot’s sailing skill or ability modifier; thus a ship’s base AC is its touch AC. A ship is never considered flat-footed. If the ship is not in motion, it has an effective Dexterity of 0 (–5 penalty to AC), and an additional –2 penalty to its AC.
hp: The ship’s total hit points. A ship that takes damage in excess of half its total hit points gains the broken condition. At 0 or fewer hit points, a ship gains the sinking condition. A ship that sinks completely is considered destroyed. Ships do not have ability scores, and are immune to ability score damage or drain. They are also immune to bleed damage. Unlike other objects, ships do not take half damage from energy attacks, but do take half damage from all ranged weapons except siege engines. This line also lists the total hit points for the ship’s oars and sails, if any.
Base Save: The ship’s base save modifier. All of the ship’s saving throws (Fortitude, Reflex, and Will) have the same value. To determine a ship’s actual saving throw modifiers, add half the pilot’s sailing skill modifier (or half the pilot’s Wisdom modifier) to the ship’s base saving throw. A ship is immune to most effects that require a Will saving throw (though pilots, crew members, and passengers typically are not).
Maximum Speed: This is the fastest that a ship can move. When a ship has more than one means of propulsion, it may also have more than one maximum speed. If a ship has sails, it can move at double its maximum wind propulsion speed when it moves in the direction of the wind.
Acceleration: This is how fast a ship can increase its speed each round. It also determines the maximum amount a ship can safely decelerate each round.
CMB and CMD: The ship’s base CMB and CMD. To calculate the ship’s actual CMB and CMD, add the current pilot’s sailing skill modifier (or Wisdom modifier, if she is using that ability to drive the ship) to the ship’s base CMB. A ship is never considered flat-footed. If the ship is not in motion, it has an effective Dexterity of 0 (–5 penalty to CMD), and an additional –2 penalty to its CMD.
Ramming Damage: The base damage dealt by the ship on a successful ramming attack (without a ram).
Propulsion: The types of propulsion used by the ship.
Sailing Check: The skills typically used to make a sailing check with this type of ship.
Control Device: The typical control device the pilot uses to steer the ship.
Means of Propulsion: The actual means and amount of propulsion used to move the ship.
Crew: This is the minimum number of crew members needed to move the ship, in addition to the pilot. If a ship uses muscle propulsion, the number and size of creatures providing the propulsion are listed here as well. Any crew required to operate a ship’s siege engines is in addition to this number.
Decks: The usual number of decks on a ship and any important information about those decks is given in this section.
Cargo/Passengers: The amount of cargo (in tons) a ship can hold, as well as the number of non-crew passengers it can carry.
Not all ships are created equally. Players looking for a ship that is faster, tougher, or more agile might consider adding modifications to their vessels. Each of the following ship improvements must be planned, built, or installed (as appropriate) by someone with the Craft (ships) skill or other skill or feat, as described in the Requirements line. In order to alter a ship with one of the following modifications, the shipwright must make a skill check, with the final DC dependent upon the overall complexity of the desired modification. A failed check means that this particular ship-builder is unable to install that feature, though 1/2 of the cost of the feature is nonetheless expended on wasted parts. Another shipwright must be consulted to complete the work, but the DC for his check is increased by 2 if any previous modifications were made by another shipwright (different builders have different techniques).
The following ship improvements can be added to a ship.
The ship’s sailors have more space to sleep and eat.
The ship may support 10% more passengers, but its cargo capacity is decreased by 10%.
Craft (ships) DC 22; Cost: 20% of base ship cost
Benefit: By attaching metal plates to the ship, the hull’s hit points are increased by +15% and its hardness is increased by +4. This modification reduces a ship’s cargo capacity by 15%. The armor plating slows the ship, imposing a –1 penalty on all sailing checks. The ship’s tactical speed in ship-to-ship combat is not affected, but its waterborne speed is reduced by 20%.
Craft (ships) DC 28; Cost: 30% of base ship cost
Benefit: A wide rudder makes a ship more nimble, granting a +1 bonus on all sailing checks.
Craft (ships) DC 16; Cost: 500 gp
Benefit: The ship’s belowdecks area undergoes major reconstruction in order to house Large direct-fire siege engines, such as light ballistae or cannons, if they are in use in the campaign. A concealed weapon port can only be recognized on a successful DC 15 Perception check. Each concealed port reduces a ship’s cargo capacity by 5 tons, in addition to the space required by the weapon itself.
Craft (ships) DC 16; Cost: 100 gp per port (in addition to the cost of the weapons)
The ship’s keel is longer than usual for a vessel of its type.
Benefit: The ship’s measurements from bow to stern are 10% longer than normal, though cargo capacity is not appreciably affected. The ship is more stable, and grants a +1 bonus on all sailing checks. This improvement must be installed at the time of the ship’s construction and cannot be added later.
Craft (ships) DC 19; Cost: 10% of base ship cost
Some ships sport fanciful carvings on their bowsprits.
Benefit: This modification is strictly cosmetic, with no real impact on game play. Players are encouraged to design their own custom figureheads, such as dolphins, mermaids, and other such creatures of myth.
The bottom of the ship is inset with wide windows, permitting those inside to gaze into the ocean.
Benefit: This has no effect on ship performance, other than making the ship’s bottom only as strong as thick glass (hardness 1, hp 3, Break DC 8).
Craft (glass) DC 19; Cost: 5% of base ship cost
An efficient remodeling of the ship’s layout means more room for the ship’s stores.
Benefit: The ship’s cargo capacity is increased by 10%.
Craft (ships) DC 22; Cost: 15% of base ship cost
The features of the ship’s decks are designed to be moved in order to disguise the ship as an altogether different vessel.
Benefit: After pulling up dozens of kingpins, the crew can slide the sterncastle forward on hidden rails, rearrange the position of the masts, extend the gunwales, lower the poop deck, transfer the ship’s wheel, and make other cosmetic changes such as a new figurehead and different-colored sails. The secret pins, levers, and tracks can only be found with a DC 20 Perception check during a close examination of the ship.
Craft (ships) DC 28; Cost: 40% of base ship cost
The ship has been intentionally designed with a more slender hull, enabling it to slip through smaller spaces.
Benefit: The ship’s beam (width) is decreased by 20%, and cargo capacity is reduced by 10%. However, the ship gains a +2 bonus on all sailing checks. This improvement must be installed at the time of the ship’s construction and cannot be added later.
Craft (ships) DC 22; Cost: 15% of base ship cost
The ship bears a standard ram, usually sheathed in bronze or iron, mounted on its bow.
Benefit: A ship equipped with a ram deals an additional 2d8 points of damage with a ramming maneuver, and ignores the damage for the first square it enters of a solid object, and all damage from ramming creatures or other objects (such as other ships).
Craft (ships) DC 10; Cost: 50 gp (Large ship), 100 gp (Huge ship), 300 gp (Gargantuan ship), or 1,000 gp (Colossal ship)
The ship’s rigging undergoes a wholesale change as improvements in engineering enable the sails to be raised and lowered much faster than normal.
Benefit: Any sail adjustments can be made in half the normal time, granting a +1 bonus on all sailing checks.
Few ship improvements are as beautiful as the addition of silk sails. These sails can be designed in whatever color the player desires; they are often embroidered with striking images of the sea. Such sails are usually imported from faraway lands. Silk sails give the ship superior rates of movement, as they capture and displace the wind more efficiently.
Benefit: A ship with silk sails gains a +1 bonus on opposed sailing checks to gain the upper hand. The ship’s tactical speed in ship-to-ship combat is not affected, but its waterborne speed is increased by 10%.
Craft (sails) DC 16; Cost: 15% of base ship cost
The ship’s bulkheads are modified so that gaps between them can serve as hidden cargo storage areas.
Benefit: This does not change a ship’s cargo capacity. A smuggling compartment can hold anything that fits within a 5-foot cubic space. If you are using the plunder rules (see “The Life of a Pirate” in Pathfinder Adventure Path #55 for details on the plunder system), in general, two smuggling compartments are required to hold 1 point of plunder. A DC 20 Perception check is required to locate smuggling compartments in a search of the ship.
Craft (ships) DC 19; Cost: 500 gp per 5-foot-square compartment
The ship’s body has had additional supports and layers of wood added to it, making it thicker and more resilient.
Benefit: The hull’s hardness is increased by 2, but the ship’s cargo capacity is reduced by 10%.
Craft (ships) DC 16; Cost: 10% of base ship cost
For protection during naval combat, this ship has received additional wooden planks nailed to its hull.
Benefit: The hull’s hit points are increased by 5% and its hardness is increased by 2. However, this reduces cargo capacity by 10% as extra room must be made inside for beams to support the reinforcements. The ship’s tactical speed in ship-to-ship combat is not affected, but its waterborne speed is reduced by 10%.
Craft (ships) DC 25; Cost: 20% of base ship cost