Bruce Heard Takes a Look at D&D Ship MV Rates

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Bruce Heard Takes a Look at D&D Ship MV Rates

Postby Havard » Sat Nov 11, 2017 7:08 pm

https://bruce-heard.blogspot.no/2017/11 ... rates.html

Thoughts on the article and the suggested MV rates for Ships from the D&D Rules Cyclopedia? :)

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Re: Bruce Heard Takes a Look at D&D Ship MV Rates

Postby Tom Bulls Eye » Wed Nov 29, 2017 5:24 pm

It’s a difficult topic since wind and weather really are the masters at sea, when it comes to sailing speed, so a lot of discretion is needed by the DM when determining the actual speed.

Nevertheless, I'm glad there is an update.

Being a descendant of vikings, it always irritated me that the cannon rules were off by so much compared to the historic facts about viking ships, since tests with copies of historical viking ships showed average day-rates in good sailing conditions of 4-5 knots or between 100 to 120 nautical miles/day and about 25 nautical miles/day on tack confirming the written travel times of sagas, Ottars' account of his journey to King Alfred, etc.

Compared to reality (top-speeds exceeding 110 nautical miles/day or 125 land miles/day), cannon rules' 90 land miles/day top-speed understates the actual value by about 30%.

It meant, that you could assemble the fleet and get from Scandinavia to England in less than a week, providing very little time for a defender to prepare for a mass incursion.

But in defense of cannon rules, the sailing tests were not systematically performed until after the mid-eighties.
Last edited by Tom Bulls Eye on Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:40 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Bruce Heard Takes a Look at D&D Ship MV Rates

Postby ghendar » Wed Nov 29, 2017 6:07 pm

It's an interesting exercise but since D&D is not, nor has ever been, a historical simulation, I'm not sure I see the point in trying to come up with realistic ship movement rates. I could see this being of some value for a ship based war game but for an RPG seems like too much minutia. ymmv
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Re: Bruce Heard Takes a Look at D&D Ship MV Rates

Postby Tom Bulls Eye » Wed Nov 29, 2017 8:09 pm

ghendar wrote:It's an interesting exercise but since D&D is not, nor has ever been, a historical simulation, I'm not sure I see the point in trying to come up with realistic ship movement rates. I could see this being of some value for a ship based war game but for an RPG seems like too much minutia. ymmv


I disagree.

It is not the old: "Does it matter if you bow is a composite or all-yew, when they both do 1d6 damage and fire 250 yards?" discussion yet another time over.

It matters if the princess was captured by Norse raiders in a fast seagoing vessel and all you have for persuit is a rowing galley with 5 catapults in front. You can only get a shot at the enemy if you can catch them.

The old rules pretty much followed the castle-building principle where the bigger was the better, since tonnage was decoupled from sailing speed. This decoupling, however, was not achieved over (long distances) in real world until the advent of the engine-propelled ships (short distances being covered by rowing).

Posing realistic problems to your players allows them to contemplate realistic solutions within the framework of the game, such as e.g: Hiring a magic user to enchant your galley with a permanent lightness spell to change the tonnage to sail ratio while maintaining size such that your galley may catch up to the longboat and rescue the princess. Etc.
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