You are on page 1of 9


(aka Hordes of the Nautical Things ) A variant/expansion for Hordes of the Things for recreating large but indeterminate scale fantasy naval battles. By Martin Costa
(A joint production of Crustacium games and Obsessive Game designers Workshop)

Original draft date 10/1/00 Current draft date 10/9/00 Version 0.21
Material from Hordes of the Things (including unit names and play mechanics) and Classis by Dan varelli are used without permission, and such use is in no way intended as a challenge to ownership. Except as above, all material copyright 2000, M Martin Costa; This is a playtest copy - please do not distribute electronically unless approved by the author.

Introduction I've long been a nautical geek - just ask any of my friends, parents, wife, acquaintances, fellow worthless gamers or SCA types. I'm also a _BIG_ HOTT/DBA geek. Ask most of the same group. Take a lunch. Anyway, I've always wanted to do a set of multi-period nautical fast play rules - Dan Varelli inspired me by developing a fine set of DBx style rules for the classical period, and some of his ideas have doubtless contributed to this product (thanks !). My problem has always been the result of my mavenry - i.e. worries such as "should a Venetii type classical ship and a cog factor out the same given the former's lack of a keel ? " or "did the battle of espagnol-sur-mer demonstrate the inferiority of carvel built ships over clinker built ships in a pre gunpowder situation involving ramming" or even " how do you easily model the effects of wind bearing on classical sailing ships compared to post Napoleonic sloops". and etc. Luckily, the format of HOTT allowed me to turn a blind eye to anachronisms, and concentrate on effects of various ship designs in interaction, as well as providing me with a vehicle for inserting blatant literary & hollywood -style nautical combat . Finally, the excuse-word " fantasy" does provide a useful cover-all for butt headed mistakes, as Jack Aubery would say (sort of, anyway). In short, I've tried to meld a high adventure & ripping yarns sensibility with a simulation of how floaties work. Oh yeah. I've intentionally tried to develop a Barkerese style of rule writing for maximum backwards obfuscatory compatability with HOTT. Hee Hee. Enjoy. Martin Costa Please send comments, editorial s or certificates for buckets of Doubloons to, after removing the obvious null "spamremove"

Element Types: Except as noted below, all HOTT element types are included exactly as presented in the original rules. Needless to say, in a purely nautical environment, many will be less effective, due to a distressing tendency to sink. Of particular usefulness in this variant will be airborne elements (including Fliers, Airboats, Gods, and Flying Heroes), personality types (Hero, cleric, Paladin, Magician) who are assumed to be able to obtain a boat or ship from which to perform; water lurkers, and missile elements which are able to engage nauticals within range from the land. (See below for comments on Wizards) With regard to interactions between the two, nautical elements that shoot count as shooters for combat outcome (mainly to keep heroes from being slaughtered in an artillery rich environment) whereas land based artillery counts as shooting frigates for purposes of outcome on nautical units; shooters have no special results when shooting at nauticals. All other effects, unless noted specifically, are resolved as if no special type was involved. One element must be designated as containing the Admiral. This element cannot be a Lurker, Sea monster, Sea serpent, Dragon, God, Paladin or Buccaneer (way too anarchistic and unreliable to be trusted with overall command). If both land and nautical elements are included in the scenario, the general or admiral must be of the predominating type and type of which the opponent has at least one element, Heroes, Paladins clerics and Magicians are counted as mixed for movement purposes (only) if on water, as normal HOTT type if on land. For combat outcome use the most advantagous classification (nautical or non-nautical) if on water and again as normal HOTT type if on land. They can move with impunity from land to sea & vice versa. Nautical elements FOTT introduces a new class of elements: Nauticals. Elements are furtherclassified by movement type: Oared, Sail or Mixed. All new elements presented below are Nauticals Galleon Large high charged ships with castles and buckets of marines. Artillery, if carried is either antipersonnel or on field carriages & used at close range as an adjunct to boarding. Vulnerable to pinnaces for literary reasons. Examples include the Great harry, and all huge gilded spanish treasure ships from hollywood. Move: 3" Type: Sail Cog Name chosen for coolness -functionally similar types include include the nau, knarr, carrack, hulk, caravella redonda etc. All smaller ships relying on wind for movement and boarding for combat. Often converted merchantmen. Examples include medieval cinque port warship, early chinese junks. Move: 3" Type: Sail Frigate Large, fast flush decked ships relying on heavy gunnery at range, but capable of boarding against most ships, except Galleons ( due to lack of castles and light artillery). (Note "frigate" is somewhat of an anachronism; luckily this setting allows the purist in me to relax, and say that this class explicitly includes Elizabethan race built galleons) Examples include H.M.S. Surprise, H.M.S. Revenge, & the Arabella. Move: 4" Type: Sail Sloop Smaller sail and gunnery ships, more likely to bugger off if overmatched, seldom willing to close and board. Rigged so as to be more weatherly than most sail. Examples include the Golden Hind/Pelican, H.M.S. Hotspur, Atropos and Sophie (to drop names again) Move: 5" Type: Sail

Galleass Big huge sail, oar and artillery barges. Comments as per galleons, except some ranged shooting is possible. Examples include big-ass roman quinqueremes as well as Venetian Lepanto-era galleasses, big fantasy Orc-type hulks (tm). Move: 2" Type: Oar Galley Low decked, oar propelled ships, relying on ramming to destroy enemy. Artillery, if carried is used as ether anti boarding (classical period) or as an adjunct/replacement for a ram (renaissance). Galleys can hold their own in boarding actions with other galleys and smaller ships and boats, but are vulnerable to high sided ships, such as cogs. Examples include Greek & persian triremes, carthageneian galleys, really annoyed English Olympic rowing sculls. Move: 3" Type: Oar (second move option & mandatory follow-up) Longship : Oar and and sail ships, crammed full of heavily armed criminal sociopaths. Extremely agile and fast but with a light hull vulnerable to rams and missiles. Willing and able to board & swarm over any other ship of less than capital size. Examples include the Gokstad ship, and numerous finds at Skuldev; as well as saxon warships, Big irish Curraghs, pacific dragon boats and larger war canoes. Note that in many cases the vessle used could also be classified as a Cog or a galley; its the over enthusiastic crew that makes the difference. Examples include Horn-helmed literary Vikings, Pierre LaGrand, Dyak warboats. Move: 4" Type: Oar (second move option & mandatory follow-up) Pinnaces Mobs of small boats of varied propulsion. nautical Hordes. A destroyed pinnacemay be replaced by expending 1 pip & reappears at the owning player's entry edge. Examples include Dutch flyboats, "honest fishermen" from Devon & Rye. As well, Pacific Northwest Amerinds in war canoes, mobs of piratical esquimaux in kayaks (as reported in various travel narratives of the time). Move: 2" Type: mixed Sea Serpent: HOTT dragons with milieux appropriate name . Not fliers, really, but hard to engage, so we keep them that way ;) Sea monster Monsters. In the sea. With big nasty point teeth. Kraken, Cecil (on a bad day); also, the disney Nautilus. Tend to charge and bite and ask questions later. Examples include : most reported sea monsters, Kraken, non-melville whales in a surly mood, huge killer mutant trout and Narwhals Move: 3" Type: mixed (second move option & mandatory follow-up)) Deep ones Dudes who live underwater and are fond of swamping or swarming smaller ships or larger sea creatures. Examples: mermen, those nasty D&D guys with a trademarked name, and coastal inhabitants of certain decaying New England fishing towns. Also, smaller, more numerous sea monsters, such as, say smaller mutant walking killer trout, or swarms of hungry crawdads, for instance. Move: 4" Type: Oar (second move option) Leviathan BIG things that float and run other things down. Examples include Moby dick, Melnebonean war barges. Oddly enough, includes the Nautilus (Jules Verne version) in combat situations. Move: 2" Type: mixed Dreadnaught BIG or effectively invulnerable things that fire immense weights of artillery Examples include H.M.S. Victory, K.M.S. Bismarck, Korean turtle boats, civil war (or dwarvish )Monitors. Move: 3" Type: mixed Submersible Ships capable of limited submergance that rely on surprise and ramming to destroy foe. Very fragile in all other situations. Examples include C.S.S. Hunley, Evil empire dwarf Subs, the Ben Franklinesque subs used in the movie

"buccaneer" (I think). Much more effective than historical examples. Move: 2" Type: Oar (second move option) Fireship/Hellburner Currently unable to decide which name is cooler. Represent all manner of floating disaster areas loaded with combustables or explosives and aimed at the enemy with a lashed helm; very much a one-shot weapon. (second and subsequent move option) Buccaneer Ships commanded by a dashing and heroic rogue, (often cruelly wronged by his homeland and /or love) and a crew of good-hearted murderers who cheerfully capture enemy ships for the good of their homeland and the entirely incidental plunder. Primary propulsion is literary, so no worries about wind direction. Unlike Hordes or Pinnaces, replacement represents the same unit reappearing after a Cunning Escape or a sequel. Examples include, PETER BLOOD, Francis Drake in his hollywood "Seahawks" guise, a monumentally revisionist Blackbeard. A destroyed buccaneer may be replaced by expending 6 pips & reappears at the owning player's entry edge; Note: the high cost represents both play balance and everyone watching in awe while the Star reappears). Move: 5" Type: mixed Aquamancers/Boccour: Currently unable to decide which name is cooler. HOTT mages with milleaux appropriate name, and modified so they don't suck at sea (remember the rules about spells and water ?). Ignore the penalty for casting across water; replace with same penalty for casting across land. Otherwise the same, except that they are encorcelled as a fish or other suitable aquatic type on the second bepelling roll of a 1. Note: HOTT magicians, if used as is, cost 3 points if used in FOTT battles. Lurkers: For the normal pip costs, water lurkers may be placed anywhere in the water in contact with an element that counts as being in bad going ; note that this explicitly includes the effects of wind and weather. They also may be placed anywhere in the water for double the current replacement value. Regular lurkers may only be placed in rough going on land, (or, optionally, sagassos) New Element Costs Leviathan, Dreadnoughts, Buccaneers, Sea Serpents, Aquamancers/Boccours & Sea monsters cost 4 points Galleons, Frigates, Galleasses & Submersibles cost 3 points Unmodified HOTT magicians cost 3 points. Pinnaces cost 1 point All other cost 2 points. Fleet limitations are as in HOTT - maximum of half the cost may be in 3 or 4 point elements. Scale & Basing: At present, the scale & basing system is constrained by the contents of my collection and is quite varied with regard to scale. However, the basing convention used thus far is one model/base on a 20mm frontage x 40mm + depth base. Pinnaces are currently mounted three to a base, on 20mm x 20mm base. Overall scale is approximated as 1/1200, but includes both 1/1000, 1/600 and 1/2400 models, as well as some 25mm figures (gods, monsters, etc...).

Movement is in inches, and, being indeterminate fantasy-type scaling units, 1" can be assumed to equal 100p for combined land/sea HOTT games in 15mm. Model/element representation is left purposely indeterminate. In some ways the elements act like squadrons, and in more ways like individual ships, allowing for the parts of the story where the fleets clash, and then zoom in on the hero's ship. Movement Movement is by groups or individual elements as regulated by pip expenditure. Each player rolls a D6 at the beginning of their bound, and then allocates pips for movement, replacement , bespelling, desorcellement and capturing elements as needed throught the bound. Unused pips may be reserved for spellcasting or capturing in the opponents bound but are lost if not used by the end of the opponent's next bound. Groups may be any elements in contact; all elements must have the same heading, unless moving as a one element wide column. A group may not contain both Sail and Oar types, or elves and dwarves (for maximum compatibility with the main rules ;) ) . Oared elements or groups require a pip to move; otherwise they remain in place. Sail elements or groups move a full move ahead, _unless_ a pip is spent. which allows maneuvering. Groups of any type must move forward or by wheels, or ,if oared, directly to the rear. yadda yah wheel thru same arcs yadda yah. Individual sail elements, if moving, move directly ahead ; but may turn turn to any heading _once_ at any point during movement (or without movement) or maintain position and heading (boxhauling, belike, arr) for one pip. Individual oar or mixed elements may move in any direction including directly to the rear and may make any number of heading changes. Movement expended to turn is not counted against a Nautical element's allowance. A sail element uses the movement allowance it STARTS its movement with regardless of changes of heading or wind. thus moving from reaching to beating does not reduce the elements overall movement; not would the reverse increase it. Justification: 1. I think it more effectively models how sailing ships move compared to land units (inertia being a big factor at sea) and 2. makes group movement MUCH simpler. Elements in contact with enemy elements at the beginning of a bound may not move, except to break contact with a slower opponent, moving and costing pips as an individual element. Elements in contact and not allocated a pip for movement (or station keeping, as appropriate) drift 1" directly downwind, each bound, after ALL player movement is completed. If able to otherwise move, Galleys, Sea Monsters and Submersibles may make a second normal move for an extra pip if such move results in the element ending in frontal contact . Foot and mounted units may only enter shallow water if part of the element is in contact with dry land (yes, they're wading - and can engage nauticals by so doing ! This is fantasy, after all) but may not enter deep water at all, and are destroyed if forced to do so.

(Digression & rationalization: compared to infantry types, mounted and behemoths can go further : they are, after all taller, whereas blades are more heavily armored than shooters or warbands, and more likely to drown; and beasts can swim some, after all. Dog paddle anyone ?) Terrain Wind and weather are treated as terrain factors at sea in addition to physical features. Wind direction and weather are determined before the scenario, and may change during its course. Sailing ships except for sloops count as beating if the wind is forward of the beam (90 degrees); sloops if it is forward of 45 degrees. Sail movement treats beating movement and storm conditions as bad going; and are becalmed if no wind exists. Oar treats rough seas conditions and worse as bad going. Mixed treat storm conditions as bad going Airborne treat storm and worse as bad going. Wind and weather effects are cumulative with other terrain. Other terrain Shallows count as bad going for Galleons, Galleasses, Frigates, Leviathans Dreadnoughts and Sea monsters Rough seas (waterspout, maelstrom, white water/breakers, insanely strong currents) count as bad going for all except airborne types. Reefs are treated as rivers, and while not bad going, require a roll to pass for all except airborne types, pinnaces, deep ones and buccaneers and heroes (who always know the secret passage). Sargassos are bad going for all and require a roll to pass, except for deep ones and sea monsters (they live there, after all). NOTE: for maximum fun, allow foot units to move by individual elements on sargassos (remember the movie where they used balloons and pontoons ! fun fun fun). Note: randomly firing cannons are NOT terrain. Included at the insistance of my local gaming group (Hi, Pete !)

Combat Shooting Elements shoot as in HOTT; extra elements beyond the first count as overlaps, etc. Note that a shooting element cannot act as a support if it can itself be shot at. Shooting ranges : Artillery Dreadnaught Frigate, Buccaneer Sloop Galleass

5" shooting from front edge 4" from any side 3" from either side 2" from either side 1" from any side

Nautical elements fire only in their own bound, unless shot at, and may only fire at one target, which must be any element able to shoot at it if such is available.

Once captured (or recaptured) by any other than Buccaneer, elements may not shoot again within the timeframe of a battle. Close combat Element in full edge contact with a fireship or opposing elements, (front, rear or either side) fight as in HOTT with the following changes. Contact occurs when any part of an element touches any part of an opposing element. If this does not involve an edge of the attacking elements (front, rear or either side) being in full contact, the attacking ship is moved the minimum neccessary such that one edge of the attacker fully contacts the opponent; multiple elements may contact the same element if space permits. When multiple ships are in contact with a single opponent, the owner chooses which is to be the primary element for factors and outcome, with extra ships in contact counting for overlap, or outcome, if worse than that of the primary contact. Ships which have any contact less than a full edge with an opponent after all movement count as overlaps; elements in full side or front or rear contact with the friendly primary element count as overlaps. An overlapping element may count as an overlap for multiple combats, but a primary element may not be count as an overlap for another combat. All overlapping elements share the outcome of the primary element. Combat factors See outcome results for individual element factors. In addition : -2 captured element; Galleass shooting; Sea Monster , Dreadnaught or Leviathan in contact in shallow water; or if any shooting in storm. -1 per overlap or extra contact after the primary; Galleon, Frigate, Submersible or Galleass in contact or shooting; or Dreadnaught shooting in shallow water; or Galley , Longship or Pinnaces in contact or if any shooting in rough seas or worse. +1 Admiral's element +2 Galley, Submersible, or sea monster ramming (moved into frontal contact this bound).

Combat outcome If final combat result is: Greater than opponent's Destroyed if fireship Tied Both destroyed if either element is a submersible or sea monster in ramming contact; or if in contact and either element and either dice is a six. Destroyed if sail or oar in contact with foot or if fireship/hellburner and shot at or in contact with pinnaces; Else, remain in contact;

Less than opponent's but greater than half: Destroyed by Fireship in contact, unless pinnaces; or any except god or leviathan in contact with leviathan front edge; Captured by Buccaneer in contact Destroyed if sail or oar in contact with foot. Recoil if Foot or Mounted in contact with nautical If not specified above: Galleon Cog Frigate Sloop Galleass Galley Longship: +5 +3 +3 +2 +4 +2* +2 destroyed by shooting frigate, galley in ram contact , captured by pinnaces in contact destroyed by galley in ram contact, captured by longship destroyed by galleon in contact, galley in ram contact, captured by frigate destroyed by Galleon or Cog in contact. Captured by longship. Flee from sea monster, shooting or deep ones destroyed by galley in ram contact destroyed by shooting frigate, cog or galleon in contact ,galley in ram contact; recoil from Galleass; captured by longship. destroyed by shooting, cog in contact, contact; captured by longship, or deep ones destroyed by longships or cogs in contact; captured by deep ones destroyed by deep Ones, pinnaces or longship in contact ignore shooting unless on land or in shallow water;otherwise, destroyed by longship, sea monster or or pinnaces in contact destroyed by airboat or shooting dreadnaught destroyed by submersible in contact or flier destroyed by flier, or any in contact. Ignore shooting in own bound. destroyed if in contact.

Pinnaces +1 Sea monster +3* Deep Ones +2 Leviathan +5 Dreadnaught +4 Submersible +0* Buccaneer +3

Hero, Cleric, Paladin, fliers, airboat, water lurkers, or sneakers as in HOTT If in contact and not specified above, remain in contact . If if shot at and not specified above, turn away and recoil from shooting Note: ram contact is any situatiation in which the element in question has moved into frontal contact this bound, and otherwise qualifies for the +2 ramming bonus. Half or less than opponent's: Deep Ones not in shallow water or on land Flee 6" Else If shot at, captured or destroyed If in contact, destroyed unless captured by a less extreme result (above). Capturing elements. Captured elements are moved into contact with the winning element if not already in contact; capturing player must pay

pips equal to the cost of the element -1 immediately (using reserved pips) or at the beginning of the winning players next bound . If pips are not expended, element is destroyed. If the losing player is able to move an element into contact with the captured element BEFORE the pips can be paid, the element is recaptured automatically, but cannot be moved that bound and is still classed as a captured ship for combat. Combat must take place if enemy in contact, with recaptured ship counting as primary or overlap as described above. 2/15/01: the capturing rules were revised, (read: simplified) due to not working in several playtest situations...picky,picky,picky.... Following up When an opponent recoils or is destroyed, elements required to follow up do so by moving forward the depth of their base, or the enemies base, if enemy unit was destroyed Victory As in HOTT. Optional rules: Merchants : each merchant added to players fleet (up to a maximum of 4) allows 1 bonus points of extra units, but if lost or captured, count as 2 pts each toward defeat. If all are sunk or captured, the owner is defeated regardless of other conditions. Merchants are initially declared as sail or oar at owning player's discretion. Combat factor: +1 combat result less than but greater than half: destroyed by sea monsters, deep ones, submersible or leviathan in front edge contact ; captured by any other in contact or shooting. combat result less than half : destroyed by shooting, captured by oar or sail in contact, destroyed by other in contact. This rule is untested and chrome, pure and simple. Raking: add to combat factors table "-1 if shot at and shortest line distance from shooter to target is through targets front edge, and " This was deleted because long bitter experience has taught me that the most contentuous part of any age of sail game is that of raking. And indeed , just the above sentence generated a paragraph of questions and need for clarification. So, THWI. Crew Quality: Crew quality is an important factor in maritime battles, and cool to boot. Elite crew gain a +1 at all times. Element cost x 2 Crack crews gain a +1 when scoring less than or equal to their opponent in shooting or close contact. Element cost x 1 1/2 Green crews suffer a -1 when scoring less than or equal to their opponent in shooting or close contact Element cost x 3/4 Poor crews gain a -1 at all times Element cost x x 1/2 1 and 4 point elements cannot be modified by the above.