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Greetings Captains! For the purposes of this training manual, we will assume that you are familiar with SAILING a tall ship, and that you have acquired your own vessel. Ship to Ship combat is an intense affair that will require your utmost concentration and planning to successfully defeat your enemy. Ship to Ship combat is a strategic and tactical battle, where you attempt to outmaneuver your enemy in order to avoid his weapons fire, while at the same time you want to bring your weapons to bear upon his ship. Once a ship attempts to TARGET another ship, combat ensues. During each combat round (which is significantly longer than a round of melee combat), each ship's captain will set a COURSE for their ship, LOAD weapons, and AIM weapons. They may be performed in any order, but failure to enter a command within the combat round will result in no action of that type occurring for that combat round.
For setting COURSE, only the ship's captain may plot a course. A course can consist of any number of direction commands in the direction the ship last travelled, up to a maximum of the ship's speed. The last direction MAY be a different direction, which indicates the ship is turning instead of moving in that direction. For example, a ship with a speed of 3 enters a COURSE NORTH NORTH NORTH. This would mean the ship travels 3 north for the combat round. On the next round, the captain could enter COURSE NORTH NORTH EAST or COURSE NORTH EAST or COURSE EAST. In the first example, the ship would travel 2 north and turn (but not move 1 east). In the second example, the ship would move 1 north and turn. In the third example, the ship merely turns. Entering an invalid course setting will result in your ship sitting dead in the water. If you are able to put more range between you and your opponent than the terrain permits (greater than range 10 on open waters, potentially less on inlets and such), you will exit combat as you have effectively outrun your enemy. You can only attempt to outrun your enemy in a direction that has an adjacent water exit. For example, if you are on a north-south river, you CAN maneuver east and west within the combat area, but only NORTH or SOUTH will allow you to outrun your enemy. It is therefore important for you to monitor your position relative to your enemy, both to keep him in range of your weapons, and to know how to maneuver to get out of combat should the tides turn against you.
LOADing weapons may be performed by the captain or any crew member. The command to load a weapon is LOAD [AMMUNITION] [WEAPONNAME]. Each weapon uses a specific type of ammunition built with the SIEGECRAFT skill. CATAPULTs use BOULDERs, BALLISTAs use BOLTs, TREBUCHETs use SHOTs. Different types of ammunition will have different affects. Standard ammunition damages the ship's hull. Flaming ammunition may start fires on the enemy ship, possibly destroying ammunition and weapons. Disease ammunition may sicken the crew. Light siege engines may LOAD multiple rounds of ammunition and fire them simultaneously, but only affect the crew (no ship damage). A weapon must be LOADed before you can AIM a weapon at an enemy. You will need an ample supply of ammunition for each of your ships weapons. If you run out of ammunition, then you had best hope you can outrun your enemy.
AIMing loaded weapons may also be performed by the captain or any crew member, and each weapon may be aimed once per combat round. Aiming the weapon is in the format AIM [WEAPONNAME] [NUMBER], where [WEAPONNAME] is replaced by whatever loaded armament you wish to aim, and [NUMBER] is a prediction of the number of times ^rthe enemy ship^? will move forward. While different weapons have different maximum ranges, the actual range between ships is not as important as how the enemy ship moves on the round that you fire. In the three examples from the COURSE section above, a gunner would need to AIM 2 to hit the ship in the first example (N-N-E), since it moved forward 2 and turned. A gunner would need to AIM WEAPON 1 to score a direct hit on the second example, and AIM WEAPON 0 to hit a ship that is only turning, or issuing no move command. NOTE: GRAPPLES and RAMMING PROW do not need to be LOADed to use, but must still be AIMed. Both of these special weapons have a very limited range. If your ship is GRAPPLED, a portal will open between the two ships, allowing enemy boarders on your ship (or vice versa) and locking the range of the two vessels. Picking up a GRAPPLE will prevent that grapple path between the two ships.
BOARDing enemy ships during combat requires approaching it from a small boat (canoe, rowboat, etc) and CLIMBing on board, or using a GRAPPLE (see AIMing above). It is possible for some of your crewmember to engage in ranged combat with enemies on small boats with bows and spells. If you have a skilled crew, they should make as many such attacks as possible.REPAIRing your ship can be done during combat with the SHIP BUILDING skill from anywhere on the ship with the command SHIPWRIGHT MEND <shipname>. This takes the shipwright some time to complete the repairs, which will restore some of your ship's health.