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Sundered Skies catapults
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    Lord Lance

    Here the description found in the book:
    Catapults: catapults fire large boulders. Use the Large Burst Template and inflict the rolled damage to everything within the burst. Catapults suffer a –4 penalty against moving targets, but gain a +2 bonus to hit a static target. A catapults requires a crew of six.

    I have lot of questions about.
    1) Checking the stats at pag. 38, I see “medium burst”. So, what is the right burst?

    2) This weapons don’t seem to be Heavy Weapons. So, the best thing you can do with it’s to try to smash some random people, I guess. Then, a Sky Galley can’t “sink” an enemy vessel, barred the Ram maneuver.

    3) If they can’t damage enemy vessels / forts, then how may I use them in the proposed chase battles? I roll for hit (with huge negative modifiers, ’cause usually the skyships are moving), getting no special advantages from the huge template blast, and if I hit, what are the results? Maybe I can hit the crew, but there are no rules to manage it.

    Thanks in advance for the errata/clarifications.


    1. It’s a Medium Blast Template.
    2. Correct. For the big ships you need cannons, dragonbreath, or explosive harpoons. It’s a usual design “trick” when items of different tech levels are available. So your players urge to get their greedy fingers on those rarer and better items. Though magic (and the Heavy Weapon spells in particular) is an equalizer. Note, that in the Deluxe rules both Burst and Blast count as Heavy Weapons.
    3. Try magic or ramming (the Force maneuver). Be smarter, and outmaneuver your opponent. Eventually, he hits an obstacle hard, and the vessel gets damage. Or his crew is disabled, the vessel thus drifts, and can be boarded.
    It’s not the top priority to “sink” an other ship, but to disable and board it!

    High Priest of Hoenir & Champion of Qedeshet

    Lord Lance

    Thanks for the reply.
    Mostly about the 3rd point, catapults still have no meaning in the game, ’cause I can’t use it in chase/battle rules (no damage vs. Ships) and I have no rules to manage them as anti-crew weapon.


    Not all vehicles have Heavy Armor, and Catapults might damage the crew especially the pilot of a vessel. Like in normal vehicle combat you might attack any crew on deck and in the riggings where they are not protected by the hull of the ship. And a catapult is a fine weapon to discourage any spellcasters on an enemy ship (or on yours).
    This point is especially important in the last phase of confrontation, when a Chase switches to the Boarding action.

    High Priest of Hoenir & Champion of Qedeshet

    Lord Lance

    Enno, I’m not convinced. Catapults have low range (compared with cannons), and -4 to hit another ship. So it’s almost useless to try to aim to a single target on that ship.
    I think I’ll probably start to create an houseruled-weapon, based on cannon’s grapeshot ammunitions.
    Side note: while in other settings there are range infos about grapeshots, here in SS they gave only the Chainshot ammunitions range. However, usually it’s the same (1/2 standard cannonballs range).
    Side note 2: in the Fantasy Companion, catapults have HW designation. Maybe I could add it to the SS equivalent, this could turning them in a sligthly more useful weapon (of course still inferior to cannons, catapults should be useful because cheaper, and “situational”).
    Side note 3: in the SS book there are the prices for cannonballs (they are Rare, also). But no price and rarity for catapult boulders. If they are almost free, and common, well, this could be a sligthly equalizer between the weapon. However, we have no official take on this.

    However, the “new” catapults should be useful to: 1) decimate crews 2) make big damages to stationary targets. Finally, catapults have a steep angled fire, so it’s reasonable they could be 1) difficult to aim 2) powerful even vs. ships, that usually have powerful armor on the sides, not on the top.

    Let’s see:
    Catapult v2, range 50/100/200, damage 2d6. NOTES: HW, AP10, MBT. 6 crew to operate it. -2 to hit moving targets, +2 to hit stationary targets.
    Catapults are mostly used against a target’s crew — particularly those exposed on the upper decks. They cause 1d6+1 crew hits with a success or 2d6+2 with a raise. Totally enclosed ships suffer no crew hits from the catapult blast.

    Note: I left the MBT tag in the notes, mostly because when they are (rarely) used with the standard 1″ = 2 meters combat map, they can be fired with the standard template / deviation rules, so the boulder can hit the ship and the crew characters under the template.

    So, in the end, we have a weapon that has about the same range of that grapeshot cannon, higher penetration, bigger “blast” so more crew is affected, negative modifier to hit ships, positive to hit forts etc. It’s cheaper than a cannon, but surely less versatile.

    Examples with math included (heavily rounded):
    If I shoot a grapeshot loaded cannon to an enemy moving Skiff, at “close” range, with a d8 Shooting hero (+ unstable platform, ’cause in SS there are no rules about ignoring it):
    – I can hit the skiff with a TN 6, ie. 48% chances. I do 2d6 damages to the ship, so 4% chances to inflict a Shaken, or 2,5% to inflict 1 Wound to the skiff. Also, I kill 1d6 crew, so about 3 of them.
    – I can hit the skiff with a TN 10, gaining a Raise, ie. 18% chances. I do 3d6 damages to the ship, so 42% chances to inflict a Shaken, or 21% to inflict 1 Wound to the skiff. Also, I kill 2d6 crew, so about 7 of them.

    If I shoot a catapult v2 to the same moving Skiff, at “close” range, with the same hero:
    – I can hit the skiff with a TN 8, ie. 25% chances. I do 2d6 AP damages to the ship, so 39% chances to inflict a Shaken, or 18% to inflict 1 Wound to the skiff. Also, I kill 1d6+1 crew, so about 4 of them.
    – I can hit the skiff with a TN 12, gaining a Raise, ie. 10% chances. I do 3d6 AP damages to the ship, so 57% chances to inflict a Shaken, or 30% to inflict 1 Wound to the skiff. Also, I kill 2d6+2 crew, so about 9 of them.

    Of course, if I have a galleon as enemy, grapeshots do no damages. Catapults still can do damage, however reducing the crew in a so crowded ship isn’t a critical issue, when – with a standard cannon – I can do the same damage to the galleon from a bigger distance and with about x2 chances to hit.
    Also, 25% chances to remove 4 crew, and 10% chances to remove 9 crew, aren’t chances on which I could normally count on to win a battle! (of course, compared to the old Catapult version, well, here I still have something worth to be on a deck).

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