Sails Full of Stars
The ship’s crew includes general hands as well as officers who fill any roles the PCs haven’t. The crew can perform any ship duty on their own, including navigating and plotting courses, operating the sails and guns, repairing damage, keeping lookout, operating signal lanterns, transferring cargo, and so forth. When the crew performs a task on their own, they roll actions using their own skill rank .
If a PC takes direct command of the crew to perform a specific task, roll using the PC’s skill rank. In these cases, the PC must be actively involved in the task alongside the crew. The crew can perform any reasonable number of tasks at the same time, with or without PC leadership, but any one PC may only take command of one task at a time.
Bailey orders the ship’s guns to fire. He decides to lead the gun crew, so he uses his own Shoot rank instead of the crew’s Shoot rank. Shortly after, the ship is damaged by return fire, and Bailey wants to lead the repair effort. To do this, he gives up command of the gun crew. When the guns are fired again, the crew operates the guns, using their own Shoot rank.
You may wish to invent names and backgrounds for some NPC crew members, but you don’t need to choose skills for these characters—they have the skills and skill ranks as the rest of the crew.
When running battles with large portions of the crew, such as ship-to-ship boarding actions, use the mass combat rules from the Fate System Toolkit (page 163) with the modifications in this section.
At the start of the battle, divide friendly and enemy forces into units of equal size, such as five or ten combatants per unit. Create enough units so that each player can command at least one unit, but without creating too many units to track easily. If the units have fewer than five combatants each, run the battle as a normal conflict, not a mass combat, and group nameless NPCs together using the mob rules from Fate Core (page 216).
Next, determine the statistics for each unit. Units composed of ship’s crew will have the skills and the crew aspect associated with their ship. For non-crew units, just assign skills as appropriate using the templates for nameless NPC’s. Units have no stress boxes and 1 mild consequence. If you’re using maps or other props, use a two-sided counter to represent each unit. When a unit takes a mild consequence, flip the counter over. When it is taken out, remove the counter from the battlefield.
During the battle, you can combine units into groups. A group of units acts as a single unit, combining their skills using the teamwork rules from Fate Core (page 174). The entire group can benefit from having a leader as if it were a single unit. However, if you roll Will to remove a consequence from your troops, remove a consequence from one unit in your group, not from all the units in your group.
Multiple characters can attach themselves to a unit group, but only one attached character can serve as the group’s leader. Attached characters who are not leaders can invoke their aspects on behalf of their unit, and can engage enemy leaders in single combat, but they cannot perform any of the other functions of a leader.
Units use Fight to attack enemies in the same zone, and use Shoot to attack enemies in distant zones. Attacked units defend against Fight with Fight or Athletics, and defend against Shoot with Athletics. When a group takes shifts from a successful attack, the player controlling the group chooses how to assign those shifts among the comprising units and attached characters.
A unit cannot prevent another unit from entering its zone. However, a unit entering a zone with an enemy unit cannot leave that zone until the next exchange. Also, whenever a zone contains opposing units, any of those units can overcome using Fight to move an enemy unit into an adjacent zone. The target can oppose this action with Fight or Athletics.
At the end of the combat, take note of which units are uninjured, injured, and taken out. After combat, injured units immediately recover and become available for duty. If any crew members are taken out, each character with the Doctor stunt can roll Alchemy once against a Mediocre (+0) difficulty to attempt to prevent the crew members from dying. Characters with Alchemy at Average (+1) or higher can provide teamwork bonuses to these rolls, even without the Doctor stunt. Each shift preserves the life of ten crew members. Any crew members who were taken out and not healed with Alchemy will perish.