The Norse are a coastal people with great seafaring expertise, so it is no surprise that they have developed several varieties of ship specialized for certain tasks and that their ships are among the fastest and most maneuverable in the world. All varieties of ship available in this campaign and their statistics are given below.

Ship Classes

Class Purpose Price (sp)
Skute War 800
Byrding Merchant 4,800
Karvi Transport 1,300
Knarr Merchant 9,900
Snekkja War 3,400
Skeið War 13,400
Busse Transport 19,800

A ship’s purpose—whether it is designed to be a quick and maneuverable troop ship (War), a slow and plodding hauler (Merchant), or somewhere in between (Transport)—is listed here to give a quick idea of a ship’s strengths. The purpose indirectly affects other factors such as speed and cargo capacity, which are already factored into the statistics below.

The Skute, meaning “quick,” is the smallest ship. Measuring only 35 feet from bow to stern, it is meant to serve as a courier or escort within clan waters and as a scout or explorer outside of them.

The Byrding, meaning “to or of the coast,” is the main trading ship. As its name implies, it is intended to stick to coastlines, not risking its precious cargo to the dangers of the open ocean.

The Karvi, meaning “sail-less,” is a support ship. It is generally confined to rivers, fjords, and coastlines where its lack of sails won’t be a problem, but in exchange for sacrificing its sails it can carry proportionally more cargo than a combat ship and has proportionally more speed and maneuverability than a merchant ship.

The Knarr, meaning “crosses the ocean,” is an expeditionary ship. It is the ship of choice when packing the most men and cargo into the least space is a priority, and it is the ship best suited for sailing in open ocean.

The Snekkja, meaning “thin and projecting,” is a raiding ship. Everything about it is optimized for speed so that its crew can carry out a lightning raid and retreat again before the defenders can be reinforced.

The Skeið, meaning “cuts through water,” is a true warship. When the horns of war are winded it is the skeiðar that answer the call, and the sight of a row of skeið coming over the horizon strikes fear into the hearts of any enemies of the Norse.

The Busse, meaning “massive,” is the flagship of a clan fleet. They are rarely built due to their expense and bulk, but each one can serve as two or three ships in one.

Ship Composition

Class Dimensions Hull
Skute 35 × 10 × 2 9 (2)
Byrding 40 × 10 × 10 10 (2)
Karvi 55 × 10 × 2 13 (3)
Knarr 55 × 15 × 10 14 (3)
Snekkja 70 × 20 × 2 18 (4)
Skeið 95 × 25 × 5 24 (5)
Busse 165 × 20 × 5 37 (8)

Ship dimensions are given in length × width × draft format. A ship’s draft is the portion of its hull that is underwater when loaded, and determines both its general maneuverability and the bodies of water it can enter: ships with a shallow draft of 2 feet can safely travel practically everywhere and can be beached easily, ships with an average draft of 5 feet can safely travel down most normal rivers and can be anchored within walking distance of the short, and ships with a deep draft of 10 feet can safely travel in most fjords and must be tied up to a dock or anchored far enough from land that smaller ships might be necessary to unload cargo and crew.

Rather than having a single hit point total, a ship divides its hit points into five-foot-square hull sections, each of which has 50 HP and hardness 5 (unless constructed of something other than wood). The first number in this column is the number of hull sections the ship possesses; the second number is the number of sections that must be destroyed for the ship to begin to sink. For more information on targeting certain hull sections and the penalties a ship suffers when damaged, see Seafaring.

Manning A Ship

Class Crew Complement Cargo Slots Sailed Speed Rowed Speed
Skute 3 10 5 20 15
Byrding 5 20 120 5 10
Karvi 30* 30 30 * 15
Knarr 5 30 160 5 10
Snekkja 5 40 10 15 15
Skeið 5 60 60 10 15
Busse 5 70 95 10 15

A ship’s crew is the number of crewmembers needed to sail the ship, and is the minimum necessary crew to operate a ship at peak performance; the value includes one lookout and navigator, one captain, and one tiller, plus as many others as are needed to maneuver with the sails. A ship’s complement is the number of crewmembers needed to row the ship at peak performance, and is the maximum number of crew that can be carried without dipping into the ship’s cargo slots (see below); the value includes the standard three crewmen from the watch, plus a coxswain, with the rest rowing in pairs up and down the ship. (As the karvi lacks sails, its crew is the same as its complement and it has no listed sailed speed.)

The ship’s sailed speed is the base speed with a full watch and favorable wind; sailed speed is reduced by half if there are one or two missing crew, and the ship cannot be effectively sailed if there are fewer crew than that aboard. For wind speed and direction modifiers to sailed speed, see Seafaring. The ship’s rowed speed is the speed that a full complement of rowers can achieve; this speed can be maintained for one watch by alternating groups of rowers, after which the crew must begin making Endurance checks to continue until they rest for at least one watch. Speed is reduced proportionally if the ship lacks a full complement, and below one-third complement the ship cannot be effectively rowed.

Ship Cargo

For convenience, a ship’s capacity beyond the space allotted for its crew and basic necessities is abstracted into cargo slots. Cargo slots can be filled as follows:

  • 1 extra person beyond the crew limits, plus any of their personal gear, takes up 1 cargo slot.
  • 1 goat, plus any equipment needed to hold and maintain them, takes up 2 cargo slots.
  • 1 horse, plus any gear necessary for their grooming, takes up 3 cargo slots.
  • 1 ton of cargo takes up 4 cargo slots (When working with clan resources instead of concrete gear, 1 ton ~= 100 sp Coins, 50 sp Consumables, or 20 sp Coffers)

For instance, a Snekkja-class ship with 10 cargo slots could carry 10 additional soldiers, or 4 additional soldiers and 2 horses, or 2 tons of lumber and 2 additional soldiers, or any other valid combination.

If more than half of a warship’s cargo capacity or more than 2/3 of a transport’s cargo capacity is filled, the ship is encumbered: its speed is halved and any checks made to steer or maneuver it take a -4 penalty.


Saga of the Northlands PsychicTheurge