Corsair: The Definitive D20 Guide to Ships is a 64 page PDF (67 with Full color cover, credits & OGL notice page.) It features a system for sailing ships and shipboard combat focusing on the sailing ships of the mid-1600s and 1700s. It also includes rules for adapting the system for ships of earlier eras, and for the age of sail. The guide is made up of 7 chapters and an introduction. Chapter one provides for quantifying the abilities of a ships crew. Chapter two provides an overview of ships as represented in the system, along with stats for several types. Chapter Three provides rules on sailing, including how wind speed and direction affects travel. Chapter four describes the ship to ship combat system. Chapter six provides advanced rules covering topics such as ship repairs, legendary ship types, and crew improvement. Chapter seven provides a selection of rules modifications for adapting the system for sailing vessels in a fantasy situation or during different time periods. Finally, chapter 8 includes a set of deck plans for a brigantine ship, a ship record sheet and crew roster form round out the book.
Corsair quantifies ship combat and sailing vessels in two main ways. First, it quantifies ships by describing the crew as a gestalt entity based on the crewmen that comprise it, and second by defining a ships structural integrity, seaworthiness, and agility via a short-hand stat block. This makes it familiar and easy to use system similar to that presented for combat and monsters in the core rules. The sailing rules provide a decent amount of detail for handling sailing on the open seas, without bogging down land-lubbing dice chuckers with tons of unfamiliar minutiae regarding splice knots, rigging types, the difference between a bosun and focsale, etc. Basically, you get your ?Pirates of the Caribbean? fun without having to learn the history of sail. This is what most players are likely to be after.
The PDF itself is nicely laid out. It is laid out in two columns, with a clear readable font. It features blue gradient sidebars reminiscent of the sea. The cover is a nice full-color piece of a ship engaged in a battle. Pretty, but you will probably want to skip printing it to save on ink. The artwork is of decent to good quality, mostly line illustrations.
Overall, this is a solid product. It features enough detail and ship to ship combat fun to engage players in the imagined salt spray, without having to deal with the drudgery of sanding the barnacles of sailing minutiae. However, it is less use if your not using ships from the period on which it focuses. If you are looking to add sailing rules to your game and feature ships like those present historically from the mid-1600 to 1700s, this is a good buy.
<b>LIKED</b>: Fun ship to ship combat system without the drudgery.<br><br><b>DISLIKED</b>: Limited appeal for other historical/non-historical periods.<br><br><b>QUALITY</b>: Excellent<br><br><b>VALUE</b>: Very Satisfied<br>
[4 of 5 Stars!]