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In Pathfinder I am currently trying to design a few encounters with a supposed ghost ship (actually a Colossal Animated Object) complete with a crew of Haunted Objects (again, Animated Objects), but I am having a few difficulties with the logistics behind my concept that I cannot ignore.

One of the biggest concerns I have is with the ship's Size vs. its occupied Spaces. While looking over the Space, Reach & Threatened Area Templates, I found that a Colossal creature is either 64 feet tall or long, which would be a perfect length for a small ship that the party could board and fight with the crew. However, in the same row, it says that they also cover a space of 30ftX30ft. Since the creature in question is a ship, and a large raft with a 65ft sail is dumb, could I fit the ship in a 60ftX30ft area that the party can climb/board on top of? If not, could I slide around a 30ftx30ft square for the hull of the ship, and have a separate map that represents the deck/quarters of the ship?

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    \$\begingroup\$ If you're keeping this in the rules, I don't the party can legally stand on top of the ship. You might be going into houserule terroritory already. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Dec 17 '15 at 14:27
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik uuuuuuugh \$\endgroup\$ – Areadbhair Dec 17 '15 at 14:31
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    \$\begingroup\$ @Erik Houserules of such sort are good things to design. "It is not described in the rules properly" is a bad reason to give up good story idea and (most likely) interesting encounter model! \$\endgroup\$ – annoying imp Dec 17 '15 at 14:41
  • \$\begingroup\$ I feel "give me houserules for this" is a very different question from how it's worded now. \$\endgroup\$ – Erik Dec 17 '15 at 14:52
  • \$\begingroup\$ @Erik Question also lacks RAW tag. So it might be solwed by wise houserulling if needed. \$\endgroup\$ – annoying imp Dec 17 '15 at 14:58
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The values on the table Space, Reach, & Threatened Area Templates are just guidelines, most creatures will follow those rules but not all of them have to.

One example of a creature that completely ignores the table can be found on AP#27: Council of Thieves - What Lies in Dust, which has the Aspidochelone, a CR 17 N Colossal creature with a listed Space of 150 ft..

While the Great Old One, Cthulhu, has a listed size of 40 ft. and reach of also 40 ft..

If you allow me to give you a suggestion, you can use the Boarding Action (or another similar map) flip mat to represent the creature's actual size.

Boarding Action

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It's your creation. So while you might not like this answer you are totally within your rights as DM to give custom monsters custom features. (Assuming you aren't running according to the rules of Adventurers League.) The players are unlikely to make a big deal out of it — what they might make a big deal out of is not being able to board it.

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    \$\begingroup\$ Welcome to the site! Take the tour! As many, many of the site's questions can be answered with Just make up your own stuff, telling the asker that he can safely make up such things isn't usually helpful. If this answer can include your experiences with having created your own Colossal animated ships for your campaigns, that'd be great. Thank you for participating and have fun. \$\endgroup\$ – Hey I Can Chan Sep 21 '18 at 0:39

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