The largest distinction between vessels and vehicles is the whim of the Storyteller - namely, "Do I think this should use the Pilot, or Drive ability?" To assist Storytellers in this decision are the following points of differentiation.
The vessel stat block is designed specifically with simplicity in mind. An extensive effort has been made to integrate vessel systems in with the core system of Exalted, without any significant rules changes. If you would like to see a vessel system that is, perhaps, more complex than this, this author invites you to do so! He recognizes that the concept of vessels may be pushed far further than this publication dares, with a system that is not qutie so simple.
Vessels require a trained crew for operation. This statistic represents the bare minimum crew a vessel may be staffed with to operate at full capacity. Each crewmember must have a Pilot score of ** or higher. For each crewmember less than this total, the difficulties for all rolls involving the vessel increase by +1. Crewmembers with less than ** in Pilot do not count towards the crew minimum, though they may still make rolls in emergencies. Note that this value is the bare minimum - many times, vessels are normally staffed with many times this amount in crewmembers. As a rule of thumb, multiply the crew minimum by the vessel's bulk to find out the comfortable average. This is the normal amount of trained personnel involved in maintaining the vessel regularly.
The velocity stat represents the difficulty in navigating and calibrating the instruments of a vessel while in motion. For nearly all vessel related rolls, the velocity stat is used as a base difficulty. Many rolls that would normally fail because of the velocity modifier may become extended rolls, so that it may be attempted again next turn, in order to stack successes.
Armament represents the various weapons systems a vessel may be privy to. The rate of a vessel's weapons systems defaults to 1. However, a vessel may improve this rate by +1 by dividing the armament rating in half (round down). This improved rate and diminished damage output represents secondary or auxillary weapons systems. For example, a vessel with a primary weapons system of 12L (rate 1), will have secondary weapons system at 6L (rate 2), and a tertiary weapons system at 3L (rate 3).
Defenses represent the various ways in which the vessel may resist direct damage. The base value equals the lethal soak of the vessel. Double this value to determine its bashing soak. Halve it to determine the vessel's hardness. It should be noted that traditional, nonmagic (and nonexplosive) lethal damage dealt from ranged and melee weaponry is converted into bashing damage. Magical damage (Charms, artifact weaponry) and explosive damage (rocket launchers, grenades) deals lethal damage as normal.
As with vehicles, vessels have a response rating, which is a bonus added to all dice rolls involving guiding or maneuvering the vessel or its weapons systems. All rolls aided by response are subject to the increased difficulty from a vessel's velocity.
Bulk is the largest departure from standard Exalted rules mechanisms in the vessel system. Whenever a vessel does damage, multiply the resulting damage dealt (after it is rolled) by a vessel's bulk. Similarly, before applying soak, multiply the vessel's appropriate defense value by its bulk. Finally, when dealing ramming damage, a vessel deals lethal damage equal to its velocity multiplied by its bulk.
Travel times in the vessel system are left to the exclusive decision of the Storyteller. Instead, vessels are documented based on how vast a distance they are engineered to cross in the first place. Below are the various range levels. Note that at level 10 range (omnipresence) the vessel is actually simultaneously at all places at once, and there is no greater than one hour's worth of travel time to arrive at any standard destination (though more complex, or unknown arrivals are subject to Storyteller discretion).
The dice rolls appropriate to vessel combat are slightly modified from normal combat. They are as follows. In the cases of vessels with many crewmembers capable of piloting the vessel, always use the highest pilot pool.
A vessel has a number of health (or condition) levels equal to its bulk rating for each normal wound penalty (0, -1, -2, -4, Incapacitated). This means a vessel with a bulk of x5 has 25 health levels. However, the rules for transitioning between these penalties are somewhat different.
Whenever a vessel is dealt enough health levels to drive it to the next wound penalty, a breach occurs. This means the hull of the vessel has been somehow compromised. The crewmember with the highest Wits + Pilot pool must reflexively roll to keep the vessel from capsizing due to the breach, at a difficulty equal to the damage dealt plus the vessel's velocity. If this roll is successful, no further attention need be paid to the breach (that is, of course, until the next breach occurs). In the event this roll fails, the vessel begins to capsize; it loses a number of health levels every turn equal to its velocity, and may no longer be adequately guided by any onboard pilots. The vessel will, in time, be completely inoperable pending repairs.
Vessel repairs may be done over time, to ensure solidity, or may be jury-rigged in emergencies. Jury-rigging takes one turn per roll, Wits + Craft (Engineering), at a difficulty equal to the vessel's bulk. One success indicates one restored level of breach (and one base health level); additional successes determine how repaired that breach is - each additional success returns one health level to the vessel. Many engineers may engage in simultaneous repairs on the same vessel, adding together their results.
If repairs are done over time, the roll is Intelligence + Craft (Engineering). Success indicates the ship is fully repaired, though the repairs take one week per point of the vessel's bulk rating. This roll does not incorporate the increased velocity difficulty if the vessel is not in motion while it is being repaired.
To create a new vessel, begin with the base vessel stat block.
Points may be spent on...
Vessels receive 1 extra point for...