Campaign of the Month: December 2013
Fate: Warhammer 40,000
Ramming and Boarding
Starships hurl through the void at incredible speeds, and there are few things that make for a deadlier weapon than the sheer mass of an accelerating warship. Ramming is a frequently used tactic in the Imperium, particularly amongst more aggressive minded captains, as evident in the curved armored prows ubiquitous amongst Imperial cruisers. Ramming is a calculated risk on the part of the initiating captain, as is almost surely to cause damage to both ships — one merely hopes the damage is more severe on the enemy! Regardless, ramming is also an excellent prelude to a shipboard assault.
Ramming can be initiated during either Tactics Phase by a ship against a target that is in the same zone. This counts as an attack action. The target may choose to fire their weapons now at any target if they haven’t done so already. The two vessel make a contest Maneuver Rating check to see if collision occurs. Add one to the attacker’s roll if they had the Weather Gauge this turn.
If collision occurs, both ships deal damage to each other. Use the length of the Hull track as each the attack skill, defended by the Armor Rating (do not apply the Armor Rating as damage reduction). If a ship moved during this turn, add one to their attack roll.
If any ship takes damage, the two ships are now Tethered.
Tethered Vessels are joined together. A vessel may attempt to free itself by making a contested check against the other vessel. The relevant Ratings here are Engine (when forcing itself free by engine power, or using it to negate force exerted by the other ship) or Operations (to cut the ship free, or prevent the other ship from doing so).
While Tethered, crew from one ship may board the other for an assault. This is declared as an attack action, and may only be declared during the Opening Tactics phase. Doing so will consume one Tactics action from the defender.
Shipboard assaults are treated as a single contested Skill roll, typically between respective leaders, with the loser taking damage to their Crew track equal to the difference. Typical skills include Assault, Marksmanship, and Tactica. Overflow damage must be absorbed as a Consequence on the respective vessel. Alternatively, the attacker may choose to force a confrontation with the bridge crew of the other ship.
If two ships are in the same zone, a particularly adventurous character may attempt to take a small team and raid the opposing vessel by taking a light craft.
A raid may be launched as a ship action during the Tactics Phases, or during the Command Phase. The party may include any number of player characters, and a small number of other crewmen. A character of the raiding party must make a Machine Handling check against the target vessel’s Maneuver Rating to successfully board.
At the end of each Strategic Round, a raiding party onboard a ship make a shipboard assault against the target, with the following differences:
- The raiding party has no stress, and must absorb any damage as Consequences on the player characters or be taken out
- Defending against a raid does not consume an action
After this exchange, the raiding party may choose to retreat. If the friendly vessel is within 1 zone, they return to it at the end of the next Strategic Round.
The raiding party may also Concede, which allows them to escape, but removes them from the rest of the battle (considered adrift until they are picked up).
A raiding party that is Taken Out is at the mercy of the defenders.