New Weapons

This page is intended to add a variety of new weapons for use with the SKY GALLEONS OF MARS boardgame.

Dr. Adams' Advanced Rod Gun

This weapon is not so much a new weapon as a refinement of an old one. Dr. Terrence Adams of Pittsburgh, PA, a well-known and respected metallurgist and inventor, emigrated to the American quarter of Thymiamata on Mars in 1887. After having a look at Martian weaponry he was inspired to invent a few things to make them more efficient without being more complicated. His most noteworthy one is the Adams' Advanced Rod, for use with the Martian Rod Gun.

The Adams' Rod is a cylinder of solid high-strength steel, which is honed to a point at the front end. That point has deep radial grooves that run in a spiral pattern. The overall effect is that air passing through the spiral grooves causes the rod to spin, resulting in a straighter flight path and longer range, and that plus the superior quality of the steel and point give an increase to the penetration of the weapon.

Upgrading a normal Rod Gun to an Adams' Gun takes virtually no work at all, but the Adams' Rods are fairly expensive, so a Rod gun equipped with Adams' Rods is assumed to cost 2000 pounds instead of 800.

Thanks to the positive relationship Between the USA and the Tossian Empire, many of these items have found their way into Tossian service; in fact, the Tossian Empire is Dr. Adams' chief customer. However, a few other city-states have purchased them as well, mostly in the Mare Acidalium and Bosporos regions. Thanks to a few corrupt Tossian officials, however, some of these shells have been re-sold to other Martian states, and some might find their way into the hands of the Oenotrians, though these will be rare.

Here are the stats for the Dr. Adams' Rod Gun:

Weight 30 Tons
Penetration 4
Damage Value 1
Reload 6
ROF (1)
Traverse 1
Crew 2
Range 4/8
Cost £2,000

Lob Gun Modifications

Another thing Dr. Adams thought he could improve the performance of was the Martian Lob Gun, though the advancements made are not (and cannot be) patented by Dr. Adams.

The Martian Lob Gun uses as ammunition large boulders with bands of iron strapped around them. They are very heavy and when striking a vessel they can destabilize it, causing a loss of trim. However, the stone shell tends to fragment easily and does not do too much actual damage to the ship compared to it's size and weight.

The first and most obvious thing to do occurred to Dr. Adams almost immediately, which is to make lead shot for the Lob gun. While metals are rare on Mars, and Martian mettalurgists might not be up to the task of forging a four-foot wide lead ball, the foundries of Earth are more than capable of the task. lead shot improves both the damage rating and penetration of a Lob gun, though the heavier ammo makes loading the weapon take longer.

The second step was to create an exploding cannonball for the Lob Gun. This task, while more difficult, inevitably met with success, and so exploding shot is available for Lob Guns as well. Again, the weight and ginger care necessary with these shots makes the reloading time higher than a regular Lob Gun.

While these weapon modifications have become popular among some Martian naval circles, the exploding shot Lob Gun has become of particular value as an artillery bombardment and siege weapon.

Converting a normal Lob Gun to fire these types of ammo takes very little work, but the high price tag of the ammo (especially as compared to rocks) means that a Lob Gun equipped with these types of ammo will be considered more expensive.

While Dr Adams' company, Adams Metals, has sold a fair quantity of these items to the Tossian Empire, other companies have imitated this work and are selling them in many places on Mars. Dr. Adams can do little about it since one can hardly patent a lead ball, or a spherical bomb. However, Dr. Adams' company does have a good reputation for high quality which many other firms do not.

Below are some Stats for improved Lob Guns.

Lob Gun - Lead ShotLob Gun - Exploding Shot
Weight 200 TonsWeight 200 Tons
Penetration 2Penetration 2
Damage Value 6+TDamage Value 8+T
Reload 10Reload 10
ROF (2)ROF (2)
Traverse -1Traverse -1
Crew 3Crew 3
Range 6Range 6
Cost £4,000Cost £6,000


Another thing Dr. Adams began producing in his workshop on Mars was the Carronade. Originally produced in Falkirk, Scotland, by the Carron Company, these guns are short-barreled smoothbore guns, with a barrel length typically half that of a conventional gun of the same caliber. The end result is a gun which has very poor range but is able to deliver a much heavier shot than a normal cannon of the same size and weight.

Though Dr. Adams did not invent the Carronade, after looking at Martian ship designs he quickly realized the potential of this type of weapon. Ideal for fast-moving ships, the Carronade weighs much less than a conventional cannon of the same caliber, and if a vessel can get close enough its carronades can do a terrific amount of damage.

Making a Carronade takes a degree of greater precision in production than a conventional smoothbore cannon, since the windage (the gap between the shot and the barrel) is much smaller in a carronade. Martian metallurgists were not up to the task, but with the application of Dr. Adams' know-how a carronade foundry was built in Thymiamata.

Dr. Adams originally began producing his carronades in 42-pounder and 24-pounder sizes, so that conventional Rogue and Heavy cannon shot could be used in them. As old earth 68-pounder guns began finding their way to Mars, he decided to build this type of weapon as well, and then he began production of the smaller 12-pounders as well. Stats for these weapons are below.

68-pdr Carronade42-pdr Carronade
Weight 40 TonsWeight 30 Tons
Penetration 2Penetration 1
Damage Value 3Damage Value 3
Reload 4Reload 4
Traverse 1Traverse 1
Crew 2Crew 2
Range 2/3Range 1/2
Cost £1,500Cost £1,200

24-pdr Carronade12-pdr Carronade
Weight 20 TonsWeight 10 Tons
Penetration 1Penetration 0
Damage Value 2Damage Value 1
Reload 4Reload 2
Traverse 1Traverse 1
Crew 2Crew 2
Range 1/2Range 0/1
Cost £900Cost £600

There is really no market on Earth for Carronades anymore, but were one to purchase a carronade on Earth the cost would be roughly two thirds the prices listed here, which are for Mars.

Sand Dropper

The Sand dropper is a simple Martian device that has since been copied by Europeans. Essentially a Sand Dropper is a large bin of sand with an opening in the bottom that can be opened remotely, by pulling a cord. This will cause the sand to drop out onto whatever is below.

The primary value of a Sand Dropper is to douse fires. Any time a Sand Dropper drops sand on a burning ship, roll a D6 and subtract an amount equal to the difference in altitude between the Sand Dropper and the burning ship. The result is the amount of fire points that are extinguished by the Sand Dropper. This type of damage is recorded as "W" on the weapon lists.

Sand Droppers can also be used as a crude antipersonnel weapon as well, since the sand and dust tends to choke and blind crewmen, having a stunning effect. The rating of fire that is extinguished is also the amount of crew hits generated by the Sand Dropper, unless the crew has stood back from fighting the fire altogether (if the target ship is not on fire, then the crew takes full damage since this is a deliberate attack).

However, these crew hits are only temporary; at the start of each turn the owning player may make a saving roll for each of his affected crewmen; this attempt is the same as the roll to unjam a gun. Crew that have been disabled by a Sand Dropper recover on that turn if the roll is made. Should the roll fail, then they will be out of action until a turn occurs where the roll is successfully made.

Here are the Stats for Sand Droppers:

Weight 5 Tons
Penetration -
Damage Value W
Reload -
Traverse -
Crew -
Range -
Cost £20

4-Pounder Guns

The Four-Pounder is hardly a "new" invention, having been in use for some time both on Earth and Mars. The Four-Pounder was rarely used as an ordinary naval weapon, being far too small to do any real damage, despite the ease with which the weapon could be reloaded. The four-pounder was usually used on smaller vessels like Brigs which were designed to harass coastal shipping rather than engage actual enemy combat vessels.

The Four-Pounder's damage rating of 1/2 means that aginst ordianry ships the shot is too small to do damage all the time; after a successful hit is rolled, another roll must be made on a D6; four or higher means a single damage point has been scored, while less than four means that no damage has been scored. However, against zeppelins the damage rating for this weapon is equal to one.

In Martian service, the use of solid shot in a four-pounder (which they refer to as a Sweeper) has never caught on, and instead they almost universally use grapeshot. However, due to the small bore size of the gun, the use of grapeshot makes the gun perform like an antipersonnel gun. The use of a sweeper in such a way is well covered by the rules.

However, should a person wish to use the Sweepers on his or her ships with solid shot, the below stats apply:

Weight 10 Tons
Penetration 0
Damage Value ½
Reload 2
Traverse 3
Crew 1
Range 1/2
Cost £200 (Martian-built)

Liquid Fire Cannon

The Liquid Fire Pump is a martian invention that has had similar historic counterparts on Earth. Essentially the Liquid Fire pump uses a bellows-like structure to squirt Liquid Fire at opposing ships at the same (or similar) altitude level. It works based on manual pressure applied by the operators, who must pump the Liquid Fire by hand. A successful hit causes a single point of Fire Damage.

While this may not seem like a lot, nevertheless Fire Damage can be very dangerous to a wooden vessel, and the use of this weapon can be very decisive against such vessels. It is only rarely found on ships designed to capture ships, such as those equipped with large Marine compliments or rams, or vessels used as Privateers or Pirates, since fire tends to destroy or damage a ship without necessarily making it easier to capture.

Here are the stats for the Liquid Fire Cannon:
Weight 30 Tons
Penetration -
Damage Value F
Reload 4
Traverse 0
Crew 3
Range 0/1
Cost £500

Water Cannon

The Water Cannon design is based on the Liquid Fire Cannon, but instead pumps out water rather than Liquid Fire. It was developed by Europeans as a means of extinguishing fires and the Syrtis Major Fire Brigade operates a flyer with these weapons mounted on it. While the weapons can extinguish fires, they can also knock down and stun people, so the cannon can be used as a legitimate (if weak) weapon. These crew hits have the same recovery rate as crew hits from a Sand Dropper.

Martians never bothered developing such a weapon, because while water does extinguish normal fires it does not extinguish Liquid Fire. The W damage value for a water cannon can only extinguish fires started by conventional damage (unlike the Sand Dropper). When used against Liquid Fire damage, the Water Cannon can never:

Here are the stats for the Water Cannon:
Weight 30 Tons
Penetration -
Damage Value W/P
Reload 4
Traverse 0
Crew 3
Range 0/1
Cost £50

Lateral Rockets

Hale Rockets are a popular way of engaging targets at a higher or lower altitude as the firing vessel. While not especially accurate they can be fired in volleys which have a good chance of striking a target based on volume of fire. Because of this efectiveness, some ship designers have decided to mount Hale Rocket batteries to fire laterally, in an attempt to use Hale Rockets in a broadside attack.

Placing a Hale Rocket battery in a lateral mount is quite simple. In this case, the Battery retains all the stats that it normally has when used in a vertical mount. However, in this case the battery is mounted in a conventional gun mount, and appears on the ship's deck plan as using up a gun space. Hale Rocket batteries mounted laterally count as guns and are treated as such for the purpose of gun and magazine hits, though no gun crew are assigned to man a lateral battery. Like a normal Hale Rocket battery, once the weapon has been used it can not be re-used again during the same battle.

Lateral batteries can never fire into more than one firing aspect.

Linked Machineguns

Swedish inventor Klaus Stellasborg, working for H.M. out of Syrtis Major, has invented the "Linked Machinegun Carriage," an apparatus that allows two machineguns to be operated by the same man simultaneously, at a slight reduction of weight compared to mounting two such guns separately.

Stellasborg's first design in 1888 was built for the .50-calibre Gatling Gun, and allowed a gunner operating the crank to use the same action to operate both guns simultaneously. The two guns are aimed together at the same target and fire simultaneously. He shortly follwed up with a design for the 1" Gatling gun. In mid-1889 Stellasborg developed a similar mounting that could be used with the more modern Maxim gun, and is reputed to be working on a design that uses twin 1-pounder Hotchkiss Rotating Cannons.

The weakness of the design is that should one of the two guns jam the whole apparatus is rendered inoperable until the jam is cleared. When firing the weapon, the rolls for both guns are made together, and should a jam result then one of the two guns has jammed and must be cleared. Should two jams be rolled then both guns are jammed, and the gunner must make two separate successful unjam attempts for the gun to work again.

Note that for a Maxim Gun, two 1's must be rolled for one gun to jam, so four 1's must be rolled for both barrels to be jammed. Note also that the dual HRC has a low/high rate of fire, and in the dual mount is subject to normal jamming rules as with gatling guns.

Dual Mount .50-cal GatlingDual Mount Maxim
Weight 5 TonsWeight 5 Tons
Penetration -Penetration -
Damage Value PDamage Value P
Reload 4Reload 4
ROF 4/8ROF 6/12
Traverse 3Traverse 3
Crew 1Crew 1
Range 1/2Range 1/2
Cost £120Cost £450

Dual Mount 1" GatlingDual Mount 1-pounder HRC
Weight 8 TonsWeight 15 Tons
Penetration 0Penetration 0
Damage Value 1Damage Value 1
Reload 4Reload 4
ROF 4/8ROF 4/6
Traverse 3Traverse 3
Crew 1Crew 1
Range 1/2Range 2/4
Cost £200Cost £500

Martian Screamer Rockets

While backward technically compared to Earth of 1889, nevertheless Mars posesses a fully adequate technical level to build crude rockets. Known as "Screamers," these weapons are unpopular in most Martian principalities as they are considered rather unreliable and dangerous, but some city states in the Mare Sirenum and Mesomarian (meaning "between the seas," referring to the regions of Syria, Thaumasia, Memnonia, Mesogaea, amd Tharsis) regions still construct and use these weapons.

Similar in use to Hale Rockets, Screamers are less accurate and efficient and as a result a larger battery is required to have a similar effect. Likewise, the Screamer rocket design is heavier and larger, and does not have quite the same level of power, so the range of the screamer rocket is less than that of a Hale rocket.

Screamer rockets work using the same rules as Hale Rockets, but when rolling to hit, roll 1D6 and subtract 1 to see how many rockets strike their target. Likewise they have a maximum range of three hexes/altitude levels instead of four.

Perhaps the most significant difference in performance is the tendency for these rockets to misfire. Whenever a screamer battery is fired, if a "1" is rolled then this counts as if the Screamer battery in question has been struck by a magazine hit. Roll a D6 again to determine how many hits are scored against the firing ship, and do not subtract one this time. Though the rocket battery in question does not have a crewman assigned to it, a deckhand must be present to fire the weapon; this deckhand is killed during a misfire as well.

Legend has it that when the aerial fleet of Seldon the Great attacked the city of Korsoon, the Mighty armada was driven off through the use of these weapons. This did not save the city, since Seldon's land forces and canal boats laid siege to the city and took it after about four months, but the battle of Korsoon is legendary for this purpose. Supposedly after capturing the city Seldon gave great honour to the craftsmen who built the rockets, even though his advisors counselled him to put them to death. They joined his forces and produced rockets for the Empire after that.

Weight 10 Tons
Notation SC
Penetration 1
Damage Value 1
Reload -
ROF 1D6-1
Traverse -1
Crew (1)
Range 3
Cost £50

Martian Fire Blossom Rockets

A variant on the Screamer Rocket, the Martian Fire Blossom Rocket differs from the Screamer in that the warhead of a Fire Blossom rocket is a canister containing Martian Liquid Fire. When these rockets hit, they automatically do a point of Fire critical damage instead of normal damage. Hit locations need not be rolled.

Likewise, for misfires Fire damage is scored against the firing ship instead of hull damage. If some other critical damage is rolled, count the rockets as if they had a damage value of 1.

Otherwise the Fire Blossom rocket follows all the same rules as the Screamer rocket.

Weight 10 Tons
Notation FB
Penetration -
Damage Value F
Reload -
ROF 1D6-1
Traverse -1
Crew (1)
Range 3
Cost £200

by Bret Foland and Lester W. Smith
Copyright ©1990, Challenge

Before the arrival of the humans on Mars, Martian culture had reached a point of stagnation in which innovation had nearly died out. In the years before the onset of this stagnation, Martian engineers developed a number of interesting and innovative weapons, which have never entered common usage for one reason or another. One of these items is listed below.

Thunderbolt Quick-firing Light Gun

The Thunderbolt is a variation on the theme of Earth's 15th century Veuglaire, which uses a removable firing chamber. This removable canister allows the Thunderbolt to have a longer barrel than standard light guns, since the weapon need not be muzzle-loaded. The canister is held in place by one or more wedges in primitive models. After firing, the crew loosens and removes the expended cartridge, replaces it with a loaded one, and tightens it in place.

This means of loading raises the gun's rate of fire somewhat, although three gunners are required to crew the weapon. The canister must be loaded with powder and shot in conventional fashion, but a number can be prepared ahead of time, at leisure, ensuring a better measured charge than is possible in the heat of battle. The increased rate of fire is achieved at a loss of range, however, because the seal at the breach is usually poor (due to corrosive effects of Martian gunpowder), and considerable pressure is lost, with consequent reduction in range. Despite this, Thunderbolts are still popular with some captains.

Weight 30 Tons
Notation T
Penetration 0
Damage Value 1
Reload 2
Traverse 2
Crew 3
Range 2/3
Cost £600 (Martian-built)

Calculated Smuts Torpedo Weight

The Smuts Torpedo launcher is a potentially decisive weapon when used correctly; it can potentially cripple just about any ship flying. However, such a device would normally be designed for ships that cannot carry heavy cannons, which are more efficient because of their ability to be fired over and over again.

However, because the rules give the torpedoes themselves no weight, and instead allow a limited number of torpedoes based on hull size, the launchers themselves are quite heavy and make it nearly impossible for small "Torpedo Boats" to be built. Instead, the Smuts Discharger is a weapon which is best suited to larger vesels, which are precisely the sort that don't need them.

These rules allow the weight for the Smuts torpedoes to be calculated separately, which allows more options for the shp designer, and enables smaller, fast torpedo boats to be built. The stats for the Triumph (the only vessel from Sky Galleons of Mars canon to be built with such a weapon) are unaffected.

Note that each torpedo still requires an "interior" space for storage, in addition to it's weight. A vessel has as many interior spaces as it's Hull Size.

Smuts DischargerSmuts Discharger - Advanced
Weight 150 TonsWeight 40 Tons
Penetration -Penetration -
Damage Value -Damage Value -
Reload 6Reload 6
ROF (1)ROF (1)
Traverse 0Traverse 0
Crew (3)Crew (3)
Range -Range -
Cost £1,000Cost £3,000

Smuts Torpedo 
Penetration for a Smuts Torpedo decreases over time due to declining momentum based on the following table:

Range Pen

0-6   3
7-12   2
13-24   1
25-30   0

Weight 10 Tons
Penetration *
Damage Value 4D6+T
Reload -
Traverse -
Crew -
Range 30
Cost £500

Männlicher Aerial Torpedo

Realizing the advantages of an aerial torpedo, the German Government sponsored a program to invent a German version of theis weapon. The result was the Männlicher Aerial Torpedo.

This Aerial Torpedo is simpler in design than Smuts' and has no trailing grapnels or other folderol; it is just a simple and straightforward torpedo that happens to fly through the air.

Of course, without all those cables, the Männlicher Torpedo has a reduced chance (-1) to hit an opponent, though it always hits on a 6. Likewise it cannot hit a target at a different altitude level than it.

Two types of Launchers are available for the Männlicher Torpedo. The Basic Launcher weighs only 5 tons, and uses vented steam from the ship's boiler to launch the Torpedo. The problem with this is that in a turn that the Torpedo is to be fired, the tube must be primed with steam pressure from the boiler, reducing the efficiency of it. In a turn that a Basic Launcher is to be used, the ship's boiler is considered to be one size level less, even if the launcher is not actually fired that turn. The effects on the vessel's speed are recalculated, rounding down. Several launchers may be present on such a vessel, but the boiler effect is cumulative, and a ship's effective boiler size may never be reduced below zero.

The Advanced Launcher weighs 20 tons and contains it's own small boiler which it can use to power itself, so that the reduction of power from the ship's main boiler is not necessary. However, the secondary boiler is not kept running at all times, so when a vessel clears for action (i.e. at the beginning of an encounter or scenario), the steam must be brought up. Each turn the player makes a roll; if a 6 (or a 5 or 6 if the crew is Crack) is rolled, the Advanced Launcher is ready. It can be fired in the manner of a Basic Launcher if it has not raised steam yet.

In addition, the Advanced Launcher may be built into a turret, allowing the torpedo to be fired in other than a fixed direction. This system is quite heavy, however, and the weight of a launcher in a swivel mount is 50 tons. This mount comes with it's own crew.

Interior spaces are used to hold Männlicher torpedoes, but the Launchers themselves may each store a single torpedo as well.