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I'm using the ship combat rules provided by Ghosts of Saltmarsh, and unless I'm missing it, how initiative works is not very well explained. It explains how a ship's initiative is calculated but nothing else. I've been assuming that the players share initiative with the ship, but am I wrong?

And as a follow up to that question, I wasn't sure if there was a distinction between passenger PCs and crew PCs when it comes to initiative.

And as a follow up to both of those questions, and one I was unable to ask in the title, if PCs have their own initiative even as crewmates, do they still count as crew when it comes to the crew quantity required for a greater number of ship actions? I would assume that because they are acting independently from the ship, unlike the NPC crew, they would not, but am I wrong?

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The ship is sort of an additional combatant with its own turn.

The rules for ship combat state:

A ship rolls initiative using its Dexterity, and it uses its crew’s quality score as a modifier to that roll.

On a ship’s turn, the captain decides which of the ship’s actions to use.

This doesn’t make it entirely clear, however, the next section makes it clear that the PCs and important crew members also have their own turns:

Special Officer Actions


During an encounter, the captain, first mate, and bosun each have access to two special action options: Take Aim and Full Speed Ahead, both detailed below.

These three special crew members all have access to these additional actions, to be taken on their turns, and so they have their own turns and the ship has its own turn.

And since the PCs are not acting as the general crew, they would not count toward the number of crew working to do ship things.

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