[SJ3e] Ships as Monsters?

A project to support the official Spelljammer conversion to 3rd edition rules.

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Re: [SJ3e] Ships as Monsters?

Postby Big Mac » Sun May 30, 2010 10:19 am

Sorry for the delay.

Azaghal wrote:Regarding weapon reload time.

Quoted from Wiki Naval artillery in the Age of Sail.
A typical broadside of a Royal Navy ship of the late 18th century could be fired 2-3 times in approximately 5 minutes, depending on the training of the crew, a well trained one being essential to the simple yet detailed process of preparing to fire.


Hmm. With 3e D&D switching to a combat round of 6 seconds, this is an eternity. 5 minutes is 300 seconds (or 50 rounds), so 3 shots in 50 rounds is one shot every 16.66 recurring rounds. That is even slower (from a PC perspective) than the 2nd edition AD&D "character weapon to ship weapon ratio".

I'm not necessarily saying that wouldn't work as a game - I think it could be made to work, but it would be a lot more effective to grapple another ship, use bows and arrows to clear their ship weapon crews, and board to take care of the crew that were left.

Big guns would essentially turn into things that were fired once or twice and would take a smaller role in combat.

Azaghal wrote:It would seem realistic to me that catapults and balista would be similar.


Perhaps so, but I'd want to see the mathematics on that. I've seen someone doing a demonstration with a crossbowman and an archer firing at full speed and the archer got out 6 arrows for every quarral the crossbowman could load and fire.

I would also like to see if the 3e combat round (6 seconds) was more or less "realistic" than the 2e combat round (1 minute). If 3e isn't duplicating realism in its bows and crossbow speeds, then perhaps it shouldn't be duplicating realism with the larger weapons.

We need Jaid over here, to help logic this out. :lol:
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Re: [SJ3e] Ships as Monsters?

Postby Azaghal » Wed Jun 02, 2010 9:21 pm

Big Mac wrote:Sorry for the delay.

Azaghal wrote:Regarding weapon reload time.

Quoted from Wiki Naval artillery in the Age of Sail.
A typical broadside of a Royal Navy ship of the late 18th century could be fired 2-3 times in approximately 5 minutes, depending on the training of the crew, a well trained one being essential to the simple yet detailed process of preparing to fire.


Hmm. With 3e D&D switching to a combat round of 6 seconds, this is an eternity. 5 minutes is 300 seconds (or 50 rounds), so 3 shots in 50 rounds is one shot every 16.66 recurring rounds. That is even slower (from a PC perspective) than the 2nd edition AD&D "character weapon to ship weapon ratio".

I'm not necessarily saying that wouldn't work as a game - I think it could be made to work, but it would be a lot more effective to grapple another ship, use bows and arrows to clear their ship weapon crews, and board to take care of the crew that were left.

Big guns would essentially turn into things that were fired once or twice and would take a smaller role in combat.

Which would bring us more to a roman era of naval warfare, use marines and archers as the main method of ship to ship combat.


Azaghal wrote:It would seem realistic to me that catapults and balista would be similar.


Perhaps so, but I'd want to see the mathematics on that. I've seen someone doing a demonstration with a crossbowman and an archer firing at full speed and the archer got out 6 arrows for every quarral the crossbowman could load and fire.

I would also like to see if the 3e combat round (6 seconds) was more or less "realistic" than the 2e combat round (1 minute). If 3e isn't duplicating realism in its bows and crossbow speeds, then perhaps it shouldn't be duplicating realism with the larger weapons.

For hand to hand combat it would seem realistic based on the martial arts demonstrations I have seen with and without weapons. But that would not seem realistic for archery, I did target shooting many years ago and 1 shot every 6seconds would be incredible. But remember we are talking Fantasy physics not real life so bring on the HANDWAVIUM!!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

We need Jaid over here, to help logic this out. :lol:
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Re: [SJ3e] Ships as Monsters?

Postby MagusZeal » Thu Jun 16, 2011 12:34 am

There are issues with treating ships as creatures, I have only to point at the rules and issues with the Saga version of Star Wars to really get the point across. That and personally I don't need to have a Str, Dex, and Con for my ship just to get bonus or penalties to saves or have them basically be ignored for the majority of the rules. I seriously doubt we want anything like that for this sort of conversion.

My suggestion would be to work up a series of ships, hulls that determine all of the ships stats. Now looking at the SRD for 3.x, I'm a 2nd ed or Pathfinder guy, I'm not seeing any rules, stats or anything for ships beyond what the equipment sections mentions which is an issue. This means the only thing we have to work with is going to be the weapon damage on siege weapons which is absurdly low normally. So at that point the question is do we leave the weapons alone, say they ignore hardness of structures, which isn't part of any of the rules, apply a multiplier or state SJ groups use a different version of the weapons.

So the primary question is, how do we want to handle siege weapon damage as that determines everything, keeping in mind spells are always an option for attacking another ship if the ranges are right.
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Re: [SJ3e] Ships as Monsters?

Postby dialNforNinja » Wed Feb 15, 2012 9:38 am

Having read this and several other threads and various material from BtM, I think that treating ships in general as Constructs with the helmsman in direct control and other crew as riders seems like the best course. Given the results of the statistic analysis above, you could even give them hit dice! I agree that there's no need to give them actual ability scores except where they have a grappling or cone ram, and need a Strength for grappling purposes, and possibly living ships like those of the Elves and Thri-Kreen having a Constitution and FORT save. REF saves, by all means, based on the helmsman's, probably with a bonus or penalty based on MC. WILL saves are the helmsman again, possibly with a modifier based on the helm - I'm thinking along the lines of them being an enhancement to the helm, to help the user fend of 'jammer shock, illusions/enchantments aimed at messing with his piloting, and possibly disorientation caused by wake attacks from The Spelljammer with it's funky gravity plane, particularly warlike Dwarven Citadels, etc.

Note that this makes Bards the best class for helmsmen, since they're full casters, have good REF and WILL saves and will usually have a good DEX for the sake of their roguish skills. It's an incentive to have one in the group as more than "fifth or sixth PC" at least.

Making weaponeers take a feat to fire in mid-move is, perhaps, not quite as true to the original (as quoted previously) but in line with the need for Spring/Ride-By/Fly-By/Swim-By/etc. Attack, and can be justified in the ship often rolling on its axis as it moves to get better sail angles for full maneuverability, so it's only a stable firing platform (even if it feels it thanks to the gravity moving with the ship) in between maneuvers. As for the weapons themselves and their relatively small damage potential, I seem to recall looking in the 2e DMG and discovering that groundling siege weapons were wimpy then too. In other words, let the dirtkickers play with their little toys, in wildspace we use weapons fit for men!

I think that a method to use Psionic, Spell-Like, and Supernatural abilities more efficiently than the classic Series Helms wouild also be a good thing to include, given the inclusion of psychic player classes in the SRD, and the numerous OGC or not but official base classes with such abilities like the Hexblade and Warlock, and the ability to add 'monster' races at will via Savage Species. Ki users, too, for Monks and Ninja. Some kind of standard and thresholds for the strength of such more esoteric abilities would need to be worked out, though... Major abilities would be the focus of the class, like the Warlock or Shadow Caster from the Tome of Magic, equal to a full caster, while the Hexblade is Moderate, effectively a partial caster like a Ranger or Paladin, and Monks and Ninja would be Minor. Maybe if they just added TR 3, 2, or 1 in a Series helm, respectively?

Another option to consider is making Spelljamming Speed a little less uniform - maybe standardize it on TR2, as the speed of the Furnaces that are the oldest type of helm, with TR1 meaning you have twice the travel time but TR3+ being a more gradual increase, maybe by 20% or 25% per TR. Thus the captain of a particularly fast ship, capable of making trips in half the time, can brag that his baby "can make .5 past cruise" (TR5 or 4 by the above) when he's haggling with a prospective passenger with an urgent need to be elsewhere while avoiding official entanglements. ;) Alternately, perhaps it could be "Make five past cruise" where he's proclaiming the ability to hit a triumphant TR7.

I think the Spider Moon write up had one good idea in extending the Size Category chart and giving ships an offset on it, but rather than bringing the standard ncategory names into it just call them Ship Class 1, 2, 3, etc. or by letters, or even by roman numerals or Boat/Launch/Cutter/Yacht/etc. up to Dreadnaught if that's what floats your coracle. Letting any magic user with Fly or Create Helm and Craft Wonderous Item make a helm if they want, at a price and required caster level based on how big a ship can be moved, is also fine with me - varient propulsion sources like magic oars, rudders, or sails, or Levistones and whatever too - just let the Arcane make better ones. Oh, and don't forget the Kliklikak's phlogiston ramjet drive, that was a cool idea even if it's only Insectare ships that use it.

Switching topics again, while thinking about those attacks at -20 to hit at one ship hex range (and I really disliked 3e's square based maps all along, I have to say) don't forget the AC penalty a ship, or even part of a ship like the sails or a mounted weapon, is going to have from its size. Even so, I wouldn't balk at letting ranged weapons have double-size range increments in zero gravity, once the character throwing or shooting has had a handful of shots to get used to it. I think smoke powder weapons (pistols up to 10 pounders at least) should be if not totally replaced then generally supplanted by enchanted weapons using the Launch Bolt and Launch Item cantrips, for the sake of preserving one's air envelope. Except, blast it, I don't think those are OGC spells - I know they're included in the 3.5e Spell Compendium, which was produced after WotC had abandoned OGC, but I don't know the original sources. Even so, a good low-level Force or motion-based spell can probably be found or even created to fill the role of "magically propel something light enough to hold in one hand to Long range" without actually copying them outright. Being a 0-level spell is good for cost-effectiveness, though I'm not sure on the price of charges of smoke powder versus charges of a 0-level charged item. Giff would probably still shun them in favor of actual smoke powder weapons, but everyone knows Giff are mad anyway.

I'm going to reccomend a System Display map with a third Inner System sized disk for showing lunar orbits when a ship gets into a planet's space, with each lunar orbital position equalling 60,000 miles, or one minute at cruising speed. This allows for an intermediate level of orbital maneuvering without going to the tactical map as such. I've created a poster sized vector art design for one, light grey on white for ease of printing, but don't really know what I'm doing with vector art nor have much familiarity in OpenOffice's drawing package so I haven't managed to actually print a copy. It also has a few eliptical/cometary orbits shown for those objects that don't follow a mostly circular orbital track. Advice o getting it out of my computer onto hardcopy, or just into a multi-Letter-page PDF format would be appreciated.

This has gotten a bit long, so i think I'll start a new one for my one largely-complete Spelljammer conversion, a monster class for Bionoids.

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