Wooden Ships & Iron Men: The Broken Coast – Naval Warfare in the Iron Kingdoms

I’ve been thinking about what Naval warfare might look like in the Iron Kingdoms… retro-fitted steam-powered warships, thematic weapons, ships driven by the oars of zealots, vicious undead boarding parties, mysterious fogs and character ships like the Talion and Widower. That’s a lot for one post. I’ll try to get the basics covered here.

I mentioned the Wooden Ships & Iron Men Lite rules in my recent post about the Battle of Tamatave. I decided to use these as a basis for an Iron Kingdoms mod. I’ve called it Wooden Ships & Iron Men: The Broken Coast and the modified rules are included here.

It’s worth noting that none of this has been playtested (!), to feel free to modify as required.

Wooden Ships & Iron Men: The Broken Coast

The rules these rules modifications are based on may be found here: Wooden Ships & Iron Men Lite

Rules Modifications

  • If a squadron includes a ship with a Steam-powered upgrade include a ‘Steam-powered’ chit (only one chit regardless of the number of Steam-powered ships) for that player.
    • ‘Steam-powered’: any ship may be retrofitted with a steam engine for a cost of 1 DYO point per mast. When the player’s ‘Steam-powered’ chit is drawn each steam-powered ship in his squadron gets 1 Movement Point. A ship may no longer use its steam engine when half of its hull points are marked as damaged.
  • All ships come with a once-per-game feat. Each faction has a generic feat and some feats become available with upgrades attached to a ship. Players must note the feat for each ship at the beginning of the game. A single ship’s feat may be used as a Command Action.

Faction Rules

All upgrades listed must be paid for in the ship’s DYO points.

Cryx

Cryx favour fast moving light ships and have ghostly winds to push their vessels through the Meridius even when it is a dead calm.

  • Feat: ‘Caustic Mist’ – place a mist marker (covering 2 hexes) starting anywhere within 3 hexes of this ship. It may not be placed over another ship. Non-Cryxian ships starting a movement with any part of the sip in the mist takes 1 point of Gun/crew damage. The mist marker remains in play for the remainder of the game.
  • ‘Ghostly winds’: this is the same as the ‘Steam-powered’ upgrade.
  • ‘Fearless’: Cryxian ships never Strike the Colors. They will always fight boarders. Full DYO points are awarded once they are Dismasted or all Hull points are destroyed. This comes at an added cost of 1 DYO point.
  • Cryxian ships have ‘Cutthroats’ upgrade.
  • Cryxian ships should (typically) be fore and aft rigged ships.

Cygnar

Cygnar have some of the most advanced ranged weaponry in the Iron Kingdoms.

  • Feat: ‘Lightning Storm’ – All non-Cygnar ships within 2 hexes take D3 points of Rigging damage.
  • Cygnaran ships have the ‘Superior Gun Crews’ rule.
  • Cygnaran ships may be of any type.

Khador

The ships of Khador are characterised as heavily armoured. Some of their ships are armed with long range, but very inaccurate bombards. These are often used for attacking coastal fortifications. However, they have a use even on the open sea.

  • Feat: ‘Double Charge’ – All non-Khadoran ships within 2 hexes take D3 points of Hull damage.
  • Khadoran ships have the ‘Yankee Built Ships’ ships to represent their stoutly armoured hulls.
  • ‘Bombards’: A Khadoran ship may have up to two thirds of its guns replaced with bombards. These are evenly divided by broadside. A ship may either fire its bombards or guns when making a firing attack. Bombards have minimum range of 3 hexes and a maximum range of 10 hexes. When attacking a role of a 6 results in a hit. Any other result causes the shot to scatter. Roll a D6 to represent the direction the shot scatters; 1 is North and the numbers go clockwise. Gun/crew damage dealt to a ship with bombards should damage the bombards before the regular guns.
  • Khadoran ships should be square-rigged.

Protectorate of Menoth

The faithful of Menoth do not have a long naval tradition, but they understand the strategic importance of protecting their waters. Protectorate ships uniquely employ fire as a naval weapon trusting in the Creator to protect them.

  • Feat: ‘Burn the Heretics’ – All non-Protectorate ships within 2 hexes take D3 points of Gun/crew damage.
  • ‘Oars’: this is the same as the ‘Steam-powered’ upgrade.
  • ‘Flame Cleansers’: Protectorate ships may have up to two thirds of its guns replaced with flame cleansers. These are evenly divided by broadside. A ship may either fire its cleansers or guns when making a firing attack. Cleansers have a maximum range of 3 hexes. They fire like regular guns, but the number of attack dice rolled is doubled. Raking shot damage is not doubled. Using fire as a weapon on a wooden ship is unwise (!) Roll a D6 every time the cleansers are fired; on a 1 the Protectorate ship takes D6 Hull damage points. Gun/crew damage dealt to a ship with cleansers should damage the cleansers before the regular guns.
  • Protectorate ships may be of any type.
Privateers

Privateers are an eclectic bunch and sail in an equally eclectic array of ships. They tend to have overcrowded ships, allowing them to stay in the fight longer than expected.

  • Feat: ‘Pressgang’ – Privateers may ‘repair’ D3 Gun/crew damage points. Where possible whole gun sections must be repaired, i.e. a player may not ‘half repair’ two sections.
  • Privateer ships may have any combination of upgrades from Wooden Ships & Iron Men.
  • Privateer ships may be of any type.

Until next time,

Owen

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