Tuesday, August 2, 2016

The Barsoom Project: Sky ship rules! Boarding rules added!

Just to share and to inspire. All feedback is welcome!

Sky Ships of Barsoom
These rules are written with Witchfinder General or En Garde! in mind, but are actually quite generic. They assume ships are ponderous moving pieces of terrain, from which the figures take their actions. For nautical ships, simply ignore all rules regarding altitude, descending and ascending.

Turn sequence:
Ships move before all figures in the Ship Phase, giving these the chance to react to their movement. Ships roll for Initiative, the highest result moving first. Ships execute their Movement options alternatively, starting with the player with Initiative and his first option, then the second player with his first option, then the Initiative player with his second option et cetera until all are executed. After all ship movement is done, the standard WFG phases start.

Ships may execute three movement actions from the following options: Ahead, Reverse, Turn right, Turn left, Stop, Descend or Ascend. The players must plot these in advance for a turn, by choosing Movement Cards from the deck and revealing these in turn. The card deck contains:
- 3 x Ahead (move Speed number in inches forward)
- 1 x Reverse (move Speed number in inches backward)
- 2 x Turn right (up to 45 degrees)
- 2 x Turn left (up to 45 degrees)
- 3 x Stop
- 3 x Descend (lose 1 level of altitude)
- 1 x Ascend (gain 1 level of altitude)
- 1 x Extra Ascend (for small ships)

Ships are free to choose these options in any order with the following restrictions:
·         A ship may only Ascend once per turn, unless specifically stated otherwise in the ship’s stats
·         A ship must precede any turn with a Ahead of Reverse move, unless specifically stated otherwise in the ship’s stats
·         A ship may only Reverse once per turn, unless specifically stated otherwise in the ship’s stats
·         A ship must make a stop between Ahead and Reverse moves and vice versa.

Ships may descend to ground level and thereby Land. However, if a ship involuntarily hits ground level, it is a Crash (landing). Crashed ships roll a d10 on the Damage table for every preceding consecutive Descend move.

Ships that move into unintended contact with another ship Collide. Colliding ships roll a d10 on the Damage table for every preceding Ahead move leading up to the Collision. Ships Colliding with each other head-on add up their Ahead/Reverse moves.
Ships that move their bow or stern into intended contact with another ship Ram. Ramming ships roll a d10 -2 on the Damage table for every preceding Ahead move leading up to the Ram. Ships Ramming each other head-on add up their Ahead/Reverse moves. The Rammed ship rolls a D10+2 on the Damage table.

Ships which are Out of control due to steering damage, incapacitated helmsmen or other reasons will execute two random Movement options per turn and then Descend one level.

Ships may get in each other’s way without colliding, due to altitude differences. In that case move both bases aside until the bases will fit into contact on the table.

In terms of combat, ships are terrain over which figures may move within the restrictions of that terrain.
Ship-borne weapons fire in the Activation Phase of the figures that operate them.
Figures may freely cross over to another ship when and where:
- the ships make contact
- the ships are no more than 3 inches apart lengthwise and/or heightwise
In all other cases figures may attempt to jump on the other ship. Roll an extra D6 for movement. If the distance rolled is insufficient, the figure will either miss his target and fall to the ground level or (when jumping down on a ship directly below) take a hit when landing.

Ship's armament
Ships carry armament of three types: Light, Medium and Heavy. All fixed Guns have a 45 degree up and down elevation.

Range modifiers for En Garde!:
·         Under 18”                     +0
·         Between 18 and 36”      -1
·         Between 36 and 54”      -2
·         Over 54”                       -3

·         Heavy weapons can harm all ships and may fire as normal on ships. A Heavy weapon hit on a ship may result in 1 or more rolls on the Damage table, depending on the weapon. Firing heavy weapons on crew comes with a -2 To Hit modifier and any hit results in a Kill. Heavy guns always need to reload for one turn. Examples are 2-pounder cannon, Martian shock cannon and all heavier stuff.
Range 72”

·         Medium Weapons get a -2 modifier on the Damage Table against ships. They may fire on crew as normal with a +3 benefit to the Wound roll. 

Roll all to hit rolls for automatic weapons (use multicoloured dice to avoid confusion) at once. Two or more results of 1 mean the weapon must be reloaded/unjammed for one turn.
Examples are Bombs, Quick firing cannon and Martian Pulse guns.
Range 60”

·         Light weapons cannot harm ships and may fire as normal on crew. E.g. hand weapons and normal machine guns. Roll all to hit rolls for automatic weapons (use multicoloured dice to avoid confusion) at once. Two or more results of one mean the weapon must be reloaded/unjammed for one turn.
Examples are Gardner or Nordenfelt Machineguns, grenades and all hand weapons.
Range 48”

Bombs and grenades:
Grenades may be thrown as per the rules. Bombs (+2 Wound benefit) are too heavy to throw and may only be dropped straight down. A succesful To Hit roll is still required (+2 on all stationary targets).

All damage to ships is determined by a d10 roll on the Damage table. Damage is rolled if called for at the end of the Ship Phase and during the turn. Apply results immediately. For En Garde, determine hits as normal: roll 2D6 – 6 +/- modifiers. Ignore all movement modifiers. A positive result is a hit.
·         Stunned           : roll one DED and apply results immediately
·         Light Hit           : roll 1D10 on the Damage table and apply results immediately
·         Grievous Hit     : roll 2D10 on the Damage table and apply results immediately

·         Critical Hit        : roll 3D10 on the Damage table and apply results immediately

Damage Table

1 No Effect
2 Descend one level. If already on the ground: roll again. Ignore a second result of 1.
3 Lose the ability to Reverse. Discard the Reverse option. May be Repaired. Roll DED.
4 Lose the ability to ascend. Discard the Ascend option. If already on the ground, the ship is stranded. May be Repaired. Roll DED.
5 Turning ability impaired. Discard a random Turn option. May be Repaired. Roll DED.
6 Control damage. From now on the ship has one less Movement option per turn. May be Repaired. Roll DED.
7 Speed loss. Discard one Ahead option. May be Repaired. Roll DED.
8 Lose one weapon on the side the damage was caused from. Ship owner’s choice. May not be Repaired. Roll DED.
9 A Fire breaks out on board. Succesfull Repairs will extinghuish it. A Fire causes one roll on this table per turn. 
10 Only valid when rolled twice in the same turn: the ship’s hull integrity is destroyed and it is wrecked crashing to the ground. May not be Repaired.

Make a Damage Effect Die (DED) with 2 Stops, 2 Arrows and 2 Turns. Roll in addition to Damage Effects 3 to 8. Result dictates immediate (additional) move of the ship on top of the plotted Move of that turn. Roll DED.

Optional rule: 
When manoeuvering, ships may opt to ignore Movement restrictions. This however comes with risks for the ships construction. A ship may only ignore ONE restriction per turn, execute the Move, immediately roll a D10 for Damage and add its effect to the Move.

Crews may board other ships and may Grapple with them within throwing range. This will connect both grappled ships. Appoint crewmembers as (un)grapplers. Roll 1D6 per crewmember. A 6 is a successful (un)grapple. (Un)grapplers may not do anything else in that turn. Grappled ships of equal size may only execute 1 Movement option, which the other ship must follow (but may counter with its own Movement Option). Countered moves (i.e. 1 Ascend vs 1 Descend) cancel each other. In all other cases the smaller ship simply follows the larger ship.

In addition to side-by-side boarding boarders may also grapple ships no more than 3 height levels below it by dropping down the distance with no risk of damage by using abseil or vertical grappling lines. 

Some Damage results may be Repaired. Select a number of crewmembers for the Repair crew and move them to a central location. Roll 1D6 for each crewmember selected. As soon as three results of 6 have been rolled the damage is repaired. Repair crews may do nothing else during the turn that they are repairing. Crew members may leave or join the Repair crew during the repairs. Rolled 6s are saved.

Ship classes:
Ships may be divided into three classes:
·         Capital ships: Speed 4. May descend 2 levels in one turn before landing without having to roll for damage, due to their heavy construction. May carry D6 bombs and all the crew that will fit.
·         Medium ships: Speed 6. May carry D3 bombs and all the crew that will fit.

·         Small craft: Speed 8, Ascend 2 levels/turn, 2 Turns/Forward. Light weapons may damage them (-4 on the DT). All Heavy weapon hits are +1 on the DT. May carry 1 bomb and all the crew that will fit.


An excellent question from Roger: 

Hi there, i have just been reading your Sky ships of Barsoom rules on your blog. Could you tell me where I can find the ship stats?

The ships do not have stats as such. The standard Movement rate per Move is usually 6". But it may be varied. So fast ships may move 8"per Move and if I ever become crazy enough to build me a dreadnought it might move only 4". 
The Movement cards provide movement and manoeuverability and when all three slots are destroyed, the ship cannot manoeuver anymore. It will still take damage so Damage Effect Dice will be rolled which will result in loss of altitude and eventually a crash. When a ship hits the ground involuntarily it will be required to roll for more damage and this will destroy all means to move. The ship will in effect become a wreck until repaired.
Since these ship rules are meant to use ships as moving terrain for a skirmish game, the “indestructability” of the hulls is intentional. It means the crew can still function (and be played with). 
Only two 10s on the Damage Effect table in the same turn will destroy the ship completely and result in it being an irreparable wreck. But it will not destroy the ship and its crew.
So there are no ship stats.  


  1. Very interesting. The rules sound well though out.


  2. These are really great! Thanks for sharing them!