Bidmaron wrote: Big Mac wrote:
night_druid wrote:The biggest problem with "ships as monsters" is one of scalability. Basically, if you use d20 object rules or even a hp approximation that is even close to that, you get hp totals that are very high (typically in the thousands or tens of thousands). Artillery weapons have very low damage in comparison (IIRC, 5d6 is very high damage for them). End result is that catapults, ballista, and cannons are all useless; they cannot inflict enough damage to hamper in any way a spelljammer. I'm not sure that this fundamental problem has ever been worked out in official products. The most common work-around I've seen from WotC was to shrink ships to reduce HP to a more managable level.
I think we will need to keep ship weapon damage and ship hit points in proportion.
If both are multiplied by 10 then that fits in with the 2e system. If that isn't entirely true to 3e, then we can consider other multiples.
Jaid's ship weapon rant thread is probably a good place to look at for finding any imbalance within the existing 2e system. It would be nice if we could make the 3e version of the system favor the sizes of weapons that SJ should favor.
I'm not sure we need to fix the exact values now. We can try different ways of doing things, see what we can break and then see what is left.
Well, I don't think we should wait long. So far, we don't have any dissenting opinions. Let's go with it. Or, should we make a poll and put it to the vote and go with majority rules?
The reasons why I don't feel inclined to rush this is that:
- There are already two combat systems out there that people can use for the time it takes us to investigate all the options,
- I'm not totally happy with either of those systems and want to spend the extra time it needs to address certain issues that seem to be causing imbalance.
On one issue, we have Jaid having a pop at the weapons. If this issue can be thrashed out (2e or 3e) we can ensure that the big weapons do have some sort of real advantage.
On another issue, Night Druid was recently talking about the sizes of the original AD&D Adventures in Wildspace boxed set (and how they seemed to follow some sort of rule). Now if ships were monsters, we would expect ships of a certain number of Hull Points to be equally matched. If one ship gets one small weapon, but another ship gets ten weapons, then the second ship gets an "unfair advantage".
With 3e monsters, this "unfair advantage" is addressed by giving monsters a "challange raiting" that gives people extra XP for tackling a monster that is "harder than normal". I think that we either have to create a level playing field or
build the wonkyness (especially of the Lost Ships ships and some of the hull variants) into the system.
We also have the "level adjustment" mechanic for playable monsters. With ships being things that can be "owned" by the players (as well as by NPCs) some people are inevitably going to want to min-max. I don't know if that sort of side of things can be put into the "system". I can't see us being able to declare ships as too "epic" to be available to player characters. But perhaps a GM can be given some sort of numbers that show how "easy" it is to get hold of certain ships.
Certainly, we have a few things like the Netherese ships and the Quad of Thay that seem to be totally over the top.
Bidmaron wrote: Big Mac wrote:
Bidmaron wrote:I think we have to stay with the ship as monster idea and not use d20 object scaling rules. After all, if you took a dragon scale shield and upscaled it to a dragon using d20 object rules, you'd have the same problem. Conversely, if you took a dragon and downscaled it to a shield's size, it would be easier to break than an egg shell.
I think we should approach ship hit points by staying fairly true to 2nd edition. That is, multiply hit points by 10 and then subtract out some amount for the 3rd edition hardness so that the same number of, say, light catapult hits that it would take under 2nd edition to achieve a ship break-up would still do it under 3rd edition.
That gets my initial vote for best candidate. But Jaid's weapon rant proves that the original system has its flaws. I think we need to make sure we don't come up with a conversion of a flawed system.
I invite Night Druid to break the system. If he can break it, I'll look elsewhere.
OK, Night Druid, take the challenge. Otherwise, let's move on.
I definitely believe we should go with the rebalancing of the weapons rant thread. The larger weapons should have clear benefits. They should have longer range and more damage, obviously. Their 'to hit' numbers should basically be the same as a function of range increment, true to 3rd edition (which means that, at a given range, the larger weapon would have a higher chance to hit). This is in keeping with personal weapons, where the 'to hit' numbers are only a function of range increment and the user (that is, a long bow has a better chance to hit at a given range because it is a more powerful weapon, not because of any inherent quality of the weapon).
I'm not into holding things up more than they need to be held up, but on the other hand we have multiple hull types, multiple hull variants and combinations of weapons.
I once saw someone on ENWorld do a "battle of all monsters" kind-of thing to work out what was the best monster of each type. They threw all the conversions (from the Creature Catalogue) into the battle and gave some feedback on the CRs of monsters that looked too powerful.
I don't think we have time to wait for that
level of R&D, but I suspect that we can use our "mark one eyeball" to identify a few ships that might highlight wonkyness and see if we can find some way to balance it (or increase XP). I also think it would be OK, to create a set of provisional rules and then make revisions when someone finds something that looks wrong.
Bidmaron wrote: Big Mac wrote:
Bidmaron wrote:As for the issue of a ship's dexterity, I'd propose that we simply convert the MC into a dexterity modifier, i.e. A=+3;B=+2;C=+1;D=0;E=-1;F=-2. I'm not sure how often you'd need an actual dexterity score for a ship, and if you did, you could simply work it backwards from the modifier.
A dexterity modifier sounds good, but I'd like the helmsman to be in control of the ship, so I'd like to add in his/her dex modifier too.
I'm thinking of an equasion where
- a better hull type gives your ship more dex,
- a better helm type gives your ship more dex,
- a helmsman with a higher spellcasting level gives your ship more dex and
- a helmsman with a good dex score gives your ship more dex
I'm not sure why a better hull type would give the ship a higher dex. If the ship has a higher MC under 2nd edition, it should have a higher dex. Maybe that's what you meant by 'better hull type'.
Yes, that was exactly what I meant. To put this into real examples (for anyone confused by my other statements):
- A flitter has a better MC than an amarda, so should get a better "dex score",
- A flitter with a major helm generally has a better SR than a flitter with a minor helm so should get a better "dex score",
- A helmsman with a higher spellcasting level generally has a better SR than a helmsman with a lower spellcasting level so should generate a better "dex score" for the ship and
- A helmsman with a good "physical dexterity" would have good reaction times (reflex save) and should pass some of that onto the ship they control.
Actually, rewriting this, I've realised that my second and third point both are factored in with the Ship's Raiting. So if we used Tactical Raiting it would cover both things. Then we could just use the hull type's inherant MC*, the Tactical Raiting and the helmsman's reflex save to work out the ship's reflex save.
I'm not sure exactly where to go with this (yet), but I would like to see a system where one helmsman can learn to be "better" at flying the ship than another helmsman. All helmsmen generate "Spelljammer Speed" in the depths of wildspace, but there needs to be "payback" for a 15th level spellcaster loosing their spells instead of dumping a 1st level apprentice on the helm. Specifically, we should also allow spacefaring spellcasters to "specialise" in spelljamming and get an advantage over a high level groundling. (And that advantage should be more than "are you a groundling or a spacefarer?". It should be more like "what are your reactions like?" and "have you specialised in flying flitters?".)
The SRD has feats dealing with ranged weapons. I see us needing to create feats dealing with ship weapons.
The SRD has feats dealing with mounted combat. I see us needing to create feats dealing with helm control.
The SRD has feats dealing with specialisation in weapons and even spells. I see us needing to create feats dealing with specialisation in a specific hull type.
The SRD has the concept of Metamagic Feats that allow a spellcaster to burn up a bigger spell slot to make a lesser spell do things in a better way. So perhaps we should allow some sort of metamagic to allow a helmsman to trade "time on the helm" for better ship performance. Perhaps the 3e SJ crew could have a ship combat specialist who jumps on the helm just prior to a fight, "pushes" out spelljamming energy at a greater rate and then "burns out for the day" after 6 hours, 3 hours or 1.5 hours (depending on what their special metajamming trick is). (Provisional Metajamming Feats would include Enhanced Tactical Raiting, Enhanced Manouverability and Enhanced "Footprint"* but we could thrash out other options as we go along.)
* = Enhanced Footprint (this needs a better name) would be a Metajamming feat that allows a helmsman to increase the range at which other nearby objects drop out of Spelljamming Speed and are forced to travel at Tactical Speed. This would allow a GM to give a nasty ship (like a Mind Flayer Nautiloid) a helmsman who can exert a bigger pull that can stop the players "doing a Han Solo" and vanishing off at top speed after a few rounds of manouvering. The same feat could be taken by a PC helmsman who wanted to be a pirate, privateer or other helmsman who is better at stoping enemy ships.
There are also a couple of feats that allow people to do a parital move, attack and then finish their move. With a ship effectively having one "brain" for the movement and other brains for the weapons, I don't see the ship acting on one initiative roll (unless everyone with bad rolls refocuses** and the ship spends one round to catch up with the best roll). So I'm not sure that is appropriate. But I think we need to address that sort of thing.
** = Here is a question. If a helmsman takes no action (other than to fly their ship in a straight line) should they be allowed to refocus and get a better initiative score for the next round?
(And if you can do anything else on foot, on a horse or on the back of a dragon, you should be able to do it on a moving spelljamming ship.)
We might not even need to invent all new feats for this. We might be able to say that if a character can do Uncanny Dodge then it can automatically apply that "mental training" to the way they operate a spelljamming helm. Unless anyone sees a problem with this line of thought, I think it might be good to allow a helmsman to literally treat the ship as a second body - a sluggish body admittedly, but one that responds to the same sort of things they can do with some of their normal feats.
Bidmaron wrote: Big Mac wrote:
Bidmaron wrote:A general question: Why are we doing 3e conversion? Why not go straight to 3.5? Are there really that many people who didn't make the leap from 3 to 3.5?
We probably will go straight to 3.5, but if rules work out as 3.x then they will work for both groups.
Ultimately the Seeker High Council will get the judgement call, but I suspect they will go with what people want to make.
Who is the Seeker High Council?
Good question. They are the people who approve things for Beyond the Moons. I'm not sure if it is just the webmaster, or if he has other people with him. I know I'm
not on the Seeker High Council (and for me, that is enough information).
Bidmaron wrote: Big Mac wrote:
(What we will need to look out for is 3.0 conversions that don't work under 3.5 rules.)
Bidmaron wrote:I really like the idea of assigning PCs functions for the crew. As a Navy man, I'm a fan of using 'Mate' or 'Boatswain' for the 'rigger'.
My initial names were placeholders. I'm happy to use more proper nautical terms (especially if they date back to the Age of Sail). Some of them might be a bit hard for non-native English speakers to pronounce, so I think we would want to look at a list of shipboard job titles.
Some names might be so "cool" that we want to build Prestige Classes around the concept.
I'm all for the PrC concept! We should use the strengths of the 3rd edition. Obviously, the 2nd ed kits would be PrC's (or, perhaps a straight character class, if that made the best sense).
IIRC, we only had kits in The Complete Spacefarer's Handbook. Lets have a quick look at them:
- Corsair - can be applied to fighters, rangers or paladins, so a PrC would be best.
- Crusader - a religious warrior, so something similar to the Divine Champion (page 42 FRCS) would be a good replacement or starting point.
- Frontiersman - seems like a Ranger based PrC to me.
- Marine - this might work as a class or prestige class.
- Merchant - this might work as a class - personally, I think this is a bit naff, but DLCS has the noble class and the Merchant could take that role. This might also be a prestige class aimed at Experts.
- Arcanist - obviously a PrC rather than a class. These guys are "magic item junkies". The requirements should include magic item possesion.
- Astronomer - I see no reason why this isn't open to all characters. I'd make it a PrC anyone can take, but I would fold it into Astrology (and not use the name Astronomy).
- Geomancer - Another thing that seems a bit naff to me. This guy just seems to be someone who doesn't dislike groundlings. And everyone dislikes him a bit because he "thinks groundlings are cool". Personally, I think the "dislike of groundling" thing is too much like racisim - it is an element of SJ that I think is a bit naff. I think the stuff a Geomancer can do with a spyglass is pretty cool. And I think that some sort of spacefarer Anthropologist is an interesting idea. But I don't see this as a wizard thing. This needs a reboot or one or two replacement feats.
- Imposter - This is actually a very interesting concept. I wouldn't make it a class. It is pitched like a PrC restricted to Illusionists, but it might work well for anyone with the natural or magical ability to change shape.
- War Mage - Obviously a PrC pitched at wizards and sorcerers, but probably ok for bards. This person has two roles magical firepower on ships and helmsman. I'd be inclined to put combat spells into the requirements of the PrC. The 10 percent penalty on all spells doesn't make sense if this guy is a "magic canon", so I'd be inclined to only apply that to spells that don't cause damage (or maybe even spells that don't cause hull damage).
- Astrologer - Fold into Astronomer, but keep this name. Astrology predates Astronomy. This has nothing to do with religion (or magic).
- Diplomat - This kit ties in with an NPC boss, so I've got issues with it. In some ways, it feels like it should be a backwards Leadership feat (where the Diplomat becomes the cohort of a powerful NPC).
- Evangelist - I love this. It shouldn't be limited to clerics. Anyone with a religion should qualify. It could be built up to a PrC or cut down to a feat. As a feat the benifits would be resources from the religion. It might also work as a Leadership "reboot", where you get religious followers instead of regular ones. Maybe it could stack with any existing Leadership score to help clerics gain enough followers in a new sphere to "import" their god.
- Medicus - This sounds like it is just metamagic for healing spells. I'd be inclined to make the Healing domain a prerequisit, advance spells as if the character advanced as a cleric and give free metamagic feats that only apply to healing spells. I would make these guys obsessed with being able to save lives (to proove their skill) rather than make them blindly compassionate. So an Medicus in the elven navy, could cure a strange plague that a scro prisioner has and then happily let that same scro sit in jail for the rest of their life.
- Missionary - This is great and has to be a PrC (rather than a feat). I see no tie in with spells, so like the Evangelist, it could be open to "lay clerics". (We might need a "Lay Cleric" feat that could be a prerequisit of this and the Evangilist PrC if people are not spellcasters.)
- Aperusa - IIRC Beyond the Moons has done this already. Personally, I think it should be very similar to the Ethran feat/Hathran PrC that FRCS uses to shape the Witches of Rasheman. I'd suggest a feat that gives one basic thing and a PrC (or Class) that does the rest. One of the requirements for the feat should be that one of your parents were from the Aperusa clan. The PrC should build on that feat.
- Courier - This sounds more like a memory feat than a PrC. I wouldn't limit it to any particular class, but would use Int or Wis.
- Harlequin - This should be a PrC pitched at rogues and bards. They don't seem magical and don't seem like thieves, so maybe they could gain the Bardic Music stuff that bards have and also gain the backstabbing and dodging stuff that rogues have. If this all stacked, they would be a sort of specialist "middle man".
- Privateer - SJ needs Privateers. I wouldn't limit them to rogues and am not sure it would be a PrC or even a feat. The benifits are largely an organisational thing. So if we had a PrC we would need to add new stuff that gives this guy shipboard "Leadership" as long as he possesses a "Letter of Marque".
- Salvager - Pah! This kit is naff.
I really don't see us having a need to turn any of these into classes. An Aperusa class (for humans from the Aperusa clan) would be the same as a Tinkerer class for gnomes.
Other things (like Weaponeer, Helmsman and Pirate) are missing from this line up.
Bidmaron wrote: Big Mac wrote:
<snip = you didn't answer this particular sentence>
Bidmaron wrote:I like the idea of reducing the hex size to make the tactical speeds the same as a function of time (i.e. divide hex size by 10). Also, I think we should move to the 3rd edition square rather than a hex and use the rule that every other diagonal is 2 squares.
I'm really torn by this "dump the hex" suggestion. On one hand it would fit in well with non hex maps. On the other hand we are going to limit the amount of angle a ship can turn.
I think we need to play one against the other and see which system we can crash.
I don't understand how this limits the amount a ship can turn. In fact, it improves the amount a ship can turn. Counting the corners, you can turn 8 directions with a square system. With the hexes, you can only turn 6 directions. I really can't see any '2nd ed charm' associated with the hexes. 3rd edition doesn't do hexes, and, since it isn't critical to making a conversion from 2d ed and isn't part of the 'feel' of 2nd edition (since you can get more turning on a square), I say we go with the square model.
Having rechecked the diagonal rules in the SRD, I agree with you. If every second diagonal counts as two squares it would
I think we would need to create a SJ "tactical square" that was round about the same size as a hex (or scaled down from that size, to fit in with combat movement in 3e rounds), but I also think that we should have a parallel system that works in "normal squares", so that people can switch over to that for ship vs dragon or ship grappling combat. (This seems similar to what Adam said they did for HackJammer. I think that if the SJ square was a multiple of the other type of square we could get the big and small systems to work together better*.)
** = I've seen various arguments about slowing things down (because 3e rounds are faster than 2e rounds), but Tactical Speed is not Spelljammer Speed and I consider getting the combat system to "feel right" to be more important than retaining the same "movement rate" as in 2e. If ships are faster in combat (in line with conventional 3e round boosts), but take the same time to go from Realmspace to Krynnspace, I think that most elements of SJ movement and combat will feel good to me.
I think we might also need to review the entire Movement, Position and Distance part of the SRD
, to see how each bit might work. For example, we might need to put in rules that "slow down" ships moving through "thick air" at Tactical Speed. I think that Spelljammer Speed should be exactly the same as in 2e.