4th ed Ship weapon conversions

A project to create a Spelljammer conversion to 4th edition rules.
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Silverblade-T-E
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4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Silverblade-T-E » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:49 pm

stats/discussions on ship wepaons, catapults, rams, ballistae, bombards etc go here :)

In general, the best way to do this, IMHO, is the fabulous "Diffculty Class and Damage By level Table" on page 42 of the 4th ed DMG.

http://1d4chan.org/images/f/ff/Page42chart.PNG

it's important to understand that in 4th ed, damage is an expression of level, not merely "type of weapon".
hence, at higher levels, even player's "at will" attacks do more damage

taking this table, I'd suggest the following basic rules:

LIGHT WEAPON, 2 crew, reload on a 4, 5, 6 (d6), damage is from the "NOrmal Damage Expression" from the HIGH Column

MEDIUM WEAPON, 4 crew, reload 5, 6 (d6), damage is from "Limited Damage Expressions" from Low Column.

HEAVY WEAPON, crew 6, reload 6 (d6), Damage is from the ""Limited Damage Expressions" table, High Column.

RANGE for all of them is 30 squares. However, catapults can't fire for normal game ranges any closer than 10 squares.
Range for Spelljammer space combat hexes (200 yards each iirc?) would be
Light = 2 hexes
Medium = 3 hexes
Heavy = 4 hexes

IIRC, the standard formula for the attack bonus for a critter is level +5 vs AC attacks, and Level +3 for other attacks. But I need to check that.

examples for lvl 10 weapons and crew
LIGHT BALLISTA, 2 crew, reload on 4 5 6, attack +15 vs AC, damage is 3d6+5.
MEDIUM BALLISTA, 4 crew, reload on 5 6, attack +15 vs AC, damage is 3d8+5.
HEAVY BALLISTA, 6 crew, reload on 6, attack +15 vs AC, damage is 4d10+5.
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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Jaid » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:34 pm

that formula for critter attack bonus seems rather high. you sure it isn't 1/2 level instead of level?

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Elvith Jars » Tue Jun 08, 2010 7:56 pm

Yeah it's half you level. This is where a ship's level would be helpful, IMO. Depending upon how many hit points a ship has and how long you want a combat to last, and whether or not you want to emphasize boarding actions or ship-to-ship, you may need to up the weapon's damage and/or have several of them aboard ship. Thanks for pointing out the scaled damage, I'll have to update my ship design guide.

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Azaghal » Tue Jun 08, 2010 9:31 pm

Should the ships lvl be modded by crew quality, ie crack, avg, green?
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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Silverblade-T-E » Tue Jun 08, 2010 10:19 pm

IMHO, trained warships should be treated as "solo monsters", less skilled ones as Elite, and normal ships as normal critters
thinks liek Goblin Porcupines and flitters could even be minions!

crew's skill (or a PCs feats) would add special bonuses for wepaon attacks
so it could be like this:

green: no bonus

Trained: Broadsides! (encounter) all ship's weapons get +1 damage/level for this attack.

Crack: Rapidfire! (stance, daily) weapon firing rate increases, roll twice and take best result for when a weapon recharges.

:)

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Silverblade-T-E » Wed Jun 09, 2010 6:59 pm

was thinking:

Light Catapult - area of effect = Close Burst 2 from impact (2x2 squares)
Medium Catapult - area = Close burst 1 (3x3 quares)
Heavy Catapult - area = burst 2 (5x5 squares)

Light Ballista - area = 1 target and an adjacent one.
Light Ballista - area = close blast 2 (2x2 squares)
Light Ballista - area = Close Burst 1 (3x3 quares)

hm? :)

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Jaid » Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:19 pm

close burst 2 is actually 5x5 (but excluding the center).

did you perhaps mean close blast 2, area burst 1 (so that it also hits the center), and area burst 2 for catapults? and 1 target + 1 adjacent secondary target, close blast 2, and area burst 1 for the light ballista?

personally, i'm leaning towards something more along the lines of how force orb works. you get a primary attack on the main target, which probably deals more damage and maybe has a good chance to knock prone or something (possibly pin for ballistas). and then you have secondary attacks on targets within a certain distance, which should probably be a little less damaging and maybe even have a reduced chance to hit (if you wanted to get really fancy, you could even add a tertiary attack that hits targets a little bit further out, to represent the reduced impact caused by distance)

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Silverblade-T-E » Sun Jun 13, 2010 7:49 pm

Weapon idea, from my artwork ;)
need to work out stats of ocurse but this is just basic idea

NEOGI STORM CANNON
large contruct
does lightning/thunder damage

shaped like a negoi, made of silvery blue metal, with lots of strange thick pipes of strange glowing liquids.
it aims and fires at the command of the nearest neogi (so lsaves cna't attack ship with it). It cna defend itself form sabotage attempts by a using melee attack (with knock down).
can't use cannon fire at ranged less than 10 squares, for safety.
recharge on 6. pretty hard hitter. Knocks prone on a hit.
Move1, climb 1 (not meant for quick movement)
Immune to knockdown.

Hit is an Area burst 2.

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Azaghal » Mon Jun 14, 2010 2:14 am

I like this one and it needs to be retconned....
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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Elvith Jars » Tue Jun 15, 2010 8:05 pm

Somewhat off topic, but does anybody know if there are 4e rules for determining how much damage a monster's attack should do based on its level? I know the DMG lists generic damage but I was wondering if there was a set of rules for customizing how much damage and how many effects are appropriate for a monster of a given level. I ask because if ships are described as creatures, then it makes sense to use those rules as guides for building ship-based attacks.

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Silverblade-T-E » Thu Jun 17, 2010 4:24 pm

Elvith
yes the 4th ed DMG, page 42 table does cover it ;)
"Limited" damage is for encounter or rare/special and bloody nasty powers.

---------------------------------------------------------------------------

Neogi Storm Cannon Level 15 Artillery
Large natural animate XP 1,200
Initiative +15 Senses Perception +15; darkvision
HP 113; Bloodied 56
AC 27; Fortitude 27; Reflex 28; Will 26
Resist 10 lightning, 5 thunder
Speed 4 , Climb 4

Ranged Burst Storm Cannon Blast (standard; recharge 6) • Lightning, Thunder
A massive bolt of blazing blue power, trailing tenderils of eerie beauty, rushes upon you!
Range 40 (can't be used closer than 10 squares); +20 vs Reflex; 4d8 + 6 Burst 3, push 3 and knocked prone. Miss: half damage, no push or knockdown

Melee Storm Cannon Bite (standard; at-will) • Lightning, Thunder
The neogi golem's glowing jaws lunge at your face!
Reach 2; +22 vs AC; 1d10+6, +2d6 Electric and Thunder damage. On a critical hit, the victim is also dazed (save ends)

Steadfast Agility (no action; at-will)
The Neogi Storm Cannon is extremely steady on it's many metal legs, and is allowed an immediate saving throw to avoid being knocked prone or to reduce falling damage by half, and gets a +4 bonus on this and all other saves against being knocked prone or falling.

Great Leap (move; encounter)
The Neogi Storm Cannon jumps 6 squares

Storm Cannon Death (free; at-will) • Lightning, Thunder, Acid
When the Neogi Storm Cannon drops below 0 hit points, it explodes in a shower of terrible force and arcane liquids
Close Burst 3; +20 vs Reflex; 2d8 + 6 electric, thunder and acid damage

Alignment Unaligned Languages Deep Speech
Skills Athletics +17
Str 20 (+12) Dex 26 (+15) Wis 17 (+10)
Con 17 (+10) Int 12 (+8) Cha 10 (+7)

© 2009 Wizards of the Coast LLC, a subsidiary of Hasbro, Inc. All rights reserved. This monster statistics block has been generated using the D&D Adventure Tools.
------------------------------------------------------------------------------
The Neogi Storm Cannon is an 8' tall metal and crystal construct closely resembling a neogi, though it has strange tubes and cylinders of crystal filled with glowing liquids here and there, and it's mouth glows with an eerie blue discharge of electrical power

Some people believe they are made by neogi, a remnant of their once formidable world, while others claim the Arcane make them for the dreaded slavers, in any event, they are the most valuable slave a powerful neogi may posess, after it's own personal umber hulk bodyguard.
Since they are the main ship weapons on a Death Spider battleship, the neogi are very jealous over which one of them can get the best kills, captures or hits with their own Storm Cannon. Luckily for other races, they are expensive, hard to come by, and slow on their feet, so rarely seen outside a ship or major encampment

The Neogi Storm Cannon only obeys the commands of a negoi, with it's master's commands being pre-emminent over others. The greedy neogi often order their servant to aim so as not to kill, when possible. A typical command though is to fire upon anyone detected sneaking up on the neogis' ships or encampments. The Storm Cannon Blast cannot be fired closer than 10 squares, as a safety precaution. Enemies who draw close will be attacked by it's bite, fortunately the jaws aren't very large or strong for such a creature, though the thunder and electrical damage is dangerous.

While very agile, surprisingly, they cannot travel fast, sacrificing locomotion speed for precision and dexterity, and thus reserve their Great Leap to escape melee attackers when bloodied, soft ground or sand in which their great weight may sink, or to reach their master or a safer position to fire from.
Usually, these dreaded constructs are used as the main weapons on the Neogi's Deathspider battleships, or to guard their main encampments, typically overlooking a bridge or other tactical choke point where their ranged attack can do the most damage to an attacker, even one trying to sneak up. As they are a good climbers, neogi sometimes leave them in hidden ledges or even hanging upside down, where they can ambush intruders.

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Silverblade-T-E » Tue Jun 22, 2010 2:12 am

some more work by moi on a thread on Enworld :)


Gort,
yeah, they are hellishly nasty, but as said, only the light ballista, in real life, could target a single guy! unrealistic to suggest they could do otherwise, short of magic, like the "Helmseeker" projectiles in Spelljammer.

You cna't use At-Wills or Dailys with them, and logic dictates high damage expression table.

Range would normally be beyond a typical encounter's size, practically oh up to 100 squares! 200 to 400 yards was their typical ranges.
Catapults though, can't fire close up due to their arc of fire, so not shots closer than 10 squares, to allow them to be used on encounters.

make them slow to recharge so:
light ballista crew 2, :3:, Normal Damage Expression High table
medium ballista crew3 :4: Limited Damage Expression Low table, 2 targets in burst 2
heavy ballista :5: Limited Damage Expression Medium Table, 4 targets in burst 3Always crit on unanttended objects
this shows the ballista penetrating multiple attackers, as they did in RL, and shear through objects, even light stone.
Got a pic in one of my books from Pompei where a siege left bloody big holes, like heavy machine gun bullets, in the town's stone wall, from an early seige
An archeaological dig in England found a ballista bolt had went over 200 yards punched through a pallisade log and stuck in the spine of a defender...ick!
light catapult, crew3, :4: Limited Damage Expression Low table, burst 2
medium catapult, crew 4, :5: Limited Damage Expression Medium Table, burst 3
heavy catapult (the big trebuchets) crew 6, :6: Limited Damage Expression, high table, burst 5
Always crit on an unattended object
flaming oil or single stones from such bounce, burst on impact etc and take out an area of effect.

FYI, a cannon in iirc the US Revolutoinary War? took out 47 folk in 1 hit...cannons though on most battlefields were usually lighter 6 to 18 pounders (weight of shell), not the huge set pieces on ships and forts.
trebuchets could throw up to 300lb weight rocks to near 400 yards so they are just as damn nasty to be hit by, lol
such projectiles simply obliterate walls, gates etc, unless massively reinforced.

loss of EACH crew = have to re-roll for recharge and take worst roll per man lost.
losing crew slows attacks down, forcing a re-roll is easier to work out than say, worsening it by 1 on the dice, and the heavy catapult is slowest you can get anyway at :6:, hence, forcing a re-roll and taking the worst, is easier.

the attack roll:
the light ballista alone can fire against living targets (short of say, a Gargantuan entity that's slow!)
the light ballista allows a ranged basic attack versus REFLEX against any visible enemy with line of sight to
with no proficiency bonus, due to fact you can't really "wield" one due to size etc...but on the other hand, it punches clean through armour like a tin can so hits vs Reflex.

however normal weapon feats, weapon focus etc, for ballistae and catapults, would give usual to hit/damage bonuses. Such professional folk would be in high demand in armies, ships, Spelljammers etc

In RL, the light ballistae was often used to snipe and kill enemy officers, or keep firing through doorways etc
Medium and Heavy Ballistae allow a ranged basic attack against creatures in a specific burst area, that they have line of sight to, the attack is against Reflex.
Catapults attack any square within range even those without line of sight or straight line of effect to as they can lob over walls (but that's a DM call).
Catapults though cannot fire closer than 10 squares due to their arcing trajectories.
Catapults' firing captain makes an attack vs every creature within line of effect of burst against Reflex

Catapults aren't as accurate as ballistae, they must be "sighted in" the weapon crew must make a simple complexity skill challenge to hit the right square for the first time. Each failure = off by 1 square. After this initial try, all shots will land on that square.
Alternatively, for simplicity, the catapult's firing captain must make an attack vs AC of 10+ Captain's level, each point of miss = 1 square off. Again, after first shot, any shot at that particular square will be a hit.
so this generally means that catapult's first shot will often miss, as you'd expect. The burst effect still may hit the victim though.
Catapults set up some time beforehand, to defend say, a castle, a bridge etc, will be sighted in beforehand and so WON'T miss, short of an accident.
Crews will often use the Ready action to wait until an enemy reaches a square they have previously sighted in on. On a castle with well drilled troops, they'd be sighted in on every damn square from long practice, on a battlefield etc it's more likely markers would be left, like a pile of stones painted white on the side only the weapon crew can see.
If you combine that with some nasty type of terrain like Blood Rock or even just hindering terrain so they cna't get way quickly, yikes!

for further variation, catapults could throw the equivalent of "grape shot", rather than one or a few larger rocks. That is, to hurl lots of smaller stones the size of half-bricks, to hit more victims, as anti-personnel weapons.
these would increase the burst size 1 step, but reduce the damage down 1 step as well.

In reality, say on the Fields of Pelenor in the Lord of the Rings cycle, firing ruddy great chunks of entire buildings against orc infantry is stupid! :confused:
You can only kill something ONCE (ahem, undeath excepted hehe), so only enough damage to kill or maim one orc, is all ye need,!
It's much better to splatter 100 orcs with 500 half-bricks, than turn 20 to mush with 15' foot of masonry, lol.
same principle is why cluster bombs and napalm are used vs infantry, not ruddy great bunker busters.

so, in the end, damage is based on level, and affects an area :)

The siege weapons should be treated like creatures if they are attacked, the bigger ones would have damage resistance versus AC attacks or lot sof hit points at yer prefference. Area attacks would be more useful. So I'd go DR 5vs AC , and vulnerability 5 vs Fire (dry wood, rope that can easily catch fire, and God help you if you are near a ballistae or mangonel if the rope snaps! Reflex attack or High damage! in burst 1 around wepaon)

The Crew would be minions, except the "weapon captain", who'd always be an artillerist, a trained soldier etc and thus harder to take out. Probably a "Leader" type. With maybe powers like "Quick Load!", encounter, re-roll recharge dice of their weapon.

Fire, hornets nests and other such nasty weapons would leave a zone of fire, poison or other damage until end of the Next round (or longer), equal to the original burst size. Doing 5 hp damage per tier of of the weapon crew to anyone who enters the zone.

Another nasty load is caltrops. while doing no damage to anyone except the unlucky beggar who gets hit in the initial square (usual catapult damage and turned into a human cactus, lol!), these are bags of many hundreds of caltrops, they burst over the area same as typical catapult of it's type does, leaving caltrops that last until end of the encounter (and longer!)

Caltrop damage I leave up to you and depending on which rule you like for them.
personally I like an attack versus Reflex, they can't kill minions, 1 hp otherwise, Slow the victim until they are healed.

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Elvith Jars » Tue Jun 22, 2010 5:32 pm

Nicely done Steven! I definitely want to do something like that in my game! Since the damage comes from the DMG, it implies that siege engines are doing critter-level damage, like 3d10 + 6. With at most 36 points of damage for such an attack, to take down a ship with several hundred hit points in a reasonable timeframe, you're looking at having HMS Victory-level broadside attacks with 50+ siege engines all firing a salvo.

This gets me thinking about my game... Say I have a level 15 ship (a craft built to a budget equivalent of a level 15 magic item). If I treat the siege engines like magic items for the ship, then the maximum level of the siege engines that the ship may have is up to four levels higher than the ship. Another way for me to look at it is to say that the ship's level determines the damage scale from the DMG; ie a level 15 ship may only have level 15 siege engines.

Now I just have to figure out how to price a siege engine by its level and the effects (like slowed, stunned, etc.) it produces. There doesn't seem to be any guidelines for how to design a monster attack that's appropriate for its level; ie how many effects an attack could produce that I could based said pricing off of...

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Silverblade-T-E » Tue Jun 22, 2010 10:01 pm

Elvith
cheers! :)
hm good point.
maybe make hits against objects/ships auto crits??
or damage PER square damaged added up?
so a burst 5 form heavy catapult 6d6 =36, so 36 x 4d10+6 at lvl 15 ;)

damage for 15th level weapon would be
light ballista 3d6+6
medium ballista/light catapult 3d10+6
heavy ballista/medium catapult 4d8+6
heavy catapult 4d10+6

making an Ogre Mammoth a Solo monster, as would seem logical, with Very High STr and Con (which is +6 to the stat), but low Dex, and average rest except widwon 14., you get a 604 hp monster ac 29, fort 28 ref 26 will 27

so making hits = auto crits would balance it out ? :)

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Elvith Jars » Wed Jun 23, 2010 12:16 am

Auto-crit for inanimate objects makes sense when it's siege engines versus ships. And it occurs to me that the increased damage due to weapon level could represent better quality construction, better crews who know the right places to hit, etc.

I see your logic on this, of using the level of a monster to determine a ship's hit points, does it stand up to the ships found in The Plane Above, The Plane Below (one ship has well over a thousand HP), and Manual of the Planes?

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Silverblade-T-E » Wed Jun 23, 2010 2:36 pm

auto crits it is then :)

on critters I think any hit would also be a "Knock prone" by the way, not only for logic but way higher levle hits always have other effects too.
Epic ones would also "push 4" or the like?


official rules in 4th ed have reduced the number of hit points solo creatures have, to stop fights being such a "drag" with them, I used official monster creator to build those stats :)
Ogre Mammoth though I gave high constitution to though as it seems appropriate
I'd do same for the Hammership and Dwarven Forges.

a fully functioning Dwarven Forge would be an epic level critter due ot it's sheer size/number of "crew" IMHO.

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Elvith Jars » Wed Jun 23, 2010 4:49 pm

I could see catapults with explosive ordinance doing knocked prone and dazed effects, and said effects would be part of higher level weapons. So you'd see:

Heroic Tier:
brutal 2

Paragon Tier:
brutal 2
auto-crit
Speed Load (Encounter, minor): Instead of rolling to recharge the attack, the attack is immediately readied.

Epic Tier:
brutal 2
auto-crit
knocked prone (save ends)
dazed (save ends)
Speed Load (Encounter, minor): Instead of rolling to recharge the attack, the attack is immediately readied.

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Elvith Jars » Wed Jun 23, 2010 7:20 pm

Posted this in the ship conversion thread, but it's probably better to list it here. This is for a level 15 attack.

(Ranged) Light Ballista Salvo * Recharge 4,5,6; Firing Arc Port, Stbd
Requires 2 gunners per ballista; for every 2 gunners missing, reduce the damage multiplier by one.
Attack: Range (one target) 25/50; +Int vs. AC
Hit: 3d10 x 10 damage

Basically you have 20 gunners who fire either port or starboard. Ships can only be damaged by close and area-effect powers as well as shipboard weapons (shamelessly stolen from ship combat rules). Shipboard weapons themselves may be individually targeted and attacked just like creatures. If attacked, simply use the stats for a standard monster of the equivalent level. Obviously the weapon doesn't fight back unless it's a construct...

Note to self for my game: ship squares are bigger than character squares. One square on the ship scale is 100 feet, or 20 squares on the character scale. With everything floating around in microgravity, weapons fire has ten times the range that it would on the ground. Hence you can simply use the attacks listed range on either the character scale or the ship scale depending upon which environment you're currently fighting in.

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Elvith Jars » Tue Jun 29, 2010 3:00 am

Effects:

There are a bunch of effects that a magic shipboard weapon can have including dazed, stunned, slowed, and knockd prone. To keep things from getting out of hand, I think weapons should be restricted on the number of effects they can have, based on level. Page 225 of the PHB describes the maximum enhancement bonus by level, and that seems a resonable place to start. So, a level 10 ballistae can have at most two effects. I can see burst and blast as an effect, and the number of squares (ship squares in my game) as another effect, so burst 1 would count as two effects. Perhaps you can buy additional effects by setting restrictions on the power.

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Big Mac » Thu Jul 15, 2010 9:58 pm

Azaghal wrote:I like this one and it needs to be retconned....
Definitely agree with that. 3e could do with more options.
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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Azaghal » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:09 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Azaghal wrote:I like this one and it needs to be retconned....
Definitely agree with that. 3e could do with more options.
I want it for 2e! :D
Sean "Azaghal" Pennington

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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Big Mac » Thu Jul 15, 2010 10:48 pm

Azaghal wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Azaghal wrote:I like this one and it needs to be retconned....
Definitely agree with that. 3e could do with more options.
I want it for 2e! :D
Dooooo! It! ;)
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Re: 4th ed Ship weapon conversions

Post by Azaghal » Thu Jul 15, 2010 11:21 pm

Big Mac wrote:
Azaghal wrote:
Big Mac wrote:
Azaghal wrote:I like this one and it needs to be retconned....
Definitely agree with that. 3e could do with more options.
I want it for 2e! :D
Dooooo! It! ;)
That and 1000 other things!
Sean "Azaghal" Pennington

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