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 Post subject: Re: Rules for Ships, and Ship to Ship Combat ??
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 8:57 am 
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Crow Caller wrote:
So it would seem regarding speed, that we would need several mechanics to determine the Conditions (this includes wind speed and directions), Encumbrance (this can further be modified by crew skill), and Crew Skill.
Well, I'd use the battle system as a base for all this... The table from TFoB p. 102 for determing the skill (and wages) of the crew, then go trhough the dice pool modifying tables... that need to be partly rewritten for our purpose... Strategy/Leadership modify the base dice pool as well... and that's it basically. We have our TN and dice pool. One roll is made for every day of travel and every hour of storm. Cargo gives negative modifiers to dice pool. Then each success determines some amount of distance covered with no modifier for beating upwind, x2 multiplier for sidewinds and x3 modifier for downwinds.

Then the damage to the ship... Well, in case of a failed crew roll, ship gets damaged. The ship must roll it's structural integrity stat with an TN of Beaufort scale to stay intact.

Corrections? Additions? General opinions? :)

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 Post subject: Re: Rules for Ships, and Ship to Ship Combat ??
PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 9:04 am 
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I'm sick as a dog right now and doped up to boot, so I'm far from thinking clear, however I really like the use of the Beufort Scale, that was a great find.

I think'll I'll retire from the boards until tomorrow now... damn flu :P

Cheers & God Bless!

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 Post subject: Re: Rules for Ships, and Ship to Ship Combat ??
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 12:02 pm 
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Crew skill and wage is determined by the table on p. 102 in TFoB.

Generating the crew pool (minimum result 1 die)
The Base die pool is 4
Skeleton crew -1 die
Sufficient crew -
Large crew +1 die

Crew has not served on this particular ship before -1 die
Crew has served on a couple of voyages on this particular ship -
Crew has served on numerous voyages on this particular ship +1 die

Crew has extremely poor (or no) equipment -2 dice
Crew has poor equipment -1 die
Crew has sufficient equipment -
Crew is well-equipped +1 die
Crew has extremely good equipment +2 dice

Temporary modifiers to crew pool:
Crew has no provisions -2 dice
Crew is poorly provisioned -1 die
Crew has sufficient provisioning -
Crew is well-provisioned +1 die

Crew is seriously fatigued -2 dice
Crew is fatigued -1 die
Crew is rested -
Crew is well-rested +1 die

Wind speed penalty to crew pool:
Strong breeze -1 die
Moderate gale -2 dice
Gale -3 dice
Strong Gale -4 dice
Storm -5 dice
Violent storm -6 dice
Hurricane -7 dice

Other weather modifiers:
The wind is cold -1 die
Rain -1 die
Changing course to avoid bad weather +2 dice

Should the crew pool drop below 1, you can still roll one die, but the ignored number penalty dice is added to the TN. For example, TN7 crew with a pool of 4 stumbles upon a strong gale. Three dice are removed from the pool, reducing it to a single die and one (the remaining number of penalty dice) is added to their TN, making it 8. These are quite bad odds, so, they decide to sail away from the gale (+2 dice). The change in course reduces the strong gale penalty to -2, meaning that the crew can keep their TN7 and roll two dice instead of one to keep their ship intact.

The base speed of a ship is Beaufort scale in knots. Each success rolled on crew roll adds a knot to the speed. If crew roll is failed, ship needs to roll its structural integrity vs. Beaufort scale or take damage.

One point of wind speed penalty can be avoided per two knots of reduced ship speed. For example, moderate gale gives a base speed of 7 knots and -2 penalty to crew rolls. By partly raising the sails and reducing speed to 5 knots, the penalty drops to -1. The speed can furthermore dropped to 3 knots, which removes the wind speed penalty altogether.

These knot speeds are just approximation (I've not done any research on them) and I'm of course open to suggestions, corrections, etc. :)

Ship modifiers to speed:
Ship is large -1 speed
Ship is medium sized -
Ship is small +1 speed

Ship sports a large amount of cannons -1 speed
Ship sports a number of cannons -
Ship sports only a few cannons +1 speed

Ship is heavily stuffed with cargo -1 speed
Ship is loaded with normal amount cargo -
Ship is without cargo +1 speed

I didn't bother with distribution of cargo. Sure, it matters, but I think it's quite safe to assume that a proficient crew is able to do it better and all this is already modelled with crew skill TN and their familiarity with the ship. And the modifiers are way simplified at this point in any rate (at least where Ian's suggestions are concerned).

Wind direction modifiers to speed (round down):
Beating upwind - halve the speed (50%)
Sailing downwind - add half to the speed (150%)

Navigation roll Modifiers (minimum result 1 die)
The Base die is pool MA/Navigation
No map of the area -4 dice and roll Wit instead of MA ("Destiny: discover a new world" comes handy)
Poor map of the area -1 die
Basic map of the area -
Good map of the area +1 die
Local pilot's map of the area +2
Poor knowledge of own crew (new or recent command) -1 die
Basic knowledge of own crew -
Good knowledge of own crew (has led them through several voyages) +1 die

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 Post subject: Re: Rules for Ships, and Ship to Ship Combat ??
PostPosted: Mon Aug 17, 2009 5:30 pm 
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Just double-posting to notice everyone that's I've heavily edited my above post quite a few times. 8-)

Well, this, and I'm also announcing an official ruling that if skeleton crew is -1, then zombie crew must be at least -2 or worse. :mrgreen:

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 Post subject: Re: Rules for Ships, and Ship to Ship Combat ??
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 2:47 pm 
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higgins wrote:
Wind direction modifiers to speed (round down):
Beating upwind - halve the speed (50%)
Sailing downwind - add half to the speed (150%)

A few quick points that should IMO really be mirrored by the system, as they are quite vital for how rigging types are used:

A square rig utilizes the wind at an optimum if it blows right from astern.

A lateen rig and a fore-and-aft rig utilizes the wind at an optimum if it blows at a slight angle from astern.

A lateen rig and a fore-and-aft rig is better able to utilize less-than-perfect winds than a square rig.

Under perfect conditions, a square rig attains better speeds than a lateen rig and a fore-and-aft rig.

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 Post subject: Re: Rules for Ships, and Ship to Ship Combat ??
PostPosted: Tue Aug 18, 2009 7:32 pm 
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Good points, but I'll wait some feedback for my system and I really find out about knot speeds of the period ships before I'll start incorporating the rigging types (quick googling talked about 8 knots being good speed and over 11 being excellent, but I'd like to have a better source). And there should be a rule that the crew roll can only double the Beaufort scale.. Can't increase speed with wind 0, can't go with 4 knots if you roll 3 successes on crew roll and the wind is only 1.

Oh yes, and I'm really fixed on using the Beaufort scale as a reference as it's a great way to get to know it if you already don't (I suddenly discovered I was trying to judge the wind strength by the scale when taking a walk :ugeek: ) and it's actually used for describing wind speeds, with hard numbers if you need to... In other words, it ain't no generic mumbo-jumbo you see so often in RPGs. :)

Also, the percentages are based on what you said about fastest voyages being three times faster with advanced rigging than the slowest, so, there's still a lot to take account here... Pre-1400 riggings, oar speeds and all these other more detailed variables Ian and you were talking about. I know Ian hates the battle system, but this seemed a logical way to go... What did you think of the mechanic in general btw?

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 Post subject: Re: Rules for Ships, and Ship to Ship Combat ??
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 5:51 am 
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higgins wrote:
Also, the percentages are based on what you said about fastest voyages being three times faster with advanced rigging than the slowest, so, there's still a lot to take account here...

Did I actually say that? If so, I was unable to convey what I meant. What I meant is this:

If your ship isn’t any good at tacking, it can’t undertake a voyage if the wind is coming from any more head on than at most 90° perpendicular to the direction into which the ship wants to travel. There are instances where ships had to wait for weeks in port until the wind became favourable, and then to stop their journey underway and again wait for weeks when the wind had once again become unfavourable. This applies to basically all pre-1400 AD ships without oars, and it can blow up actual travel times out of proportion. A journey that might take a week under favourable conditions might take several months if you have to wait for them.

Once a ship can tack effectively (requiring a sophisticated lateen or fore-and-aft rig, or a mixed rig), you don’t need to wait for favourable winds before embarking on a journey; as long as the winds don’t come from head-on, you can make some progress by tacking.

Also, just to make sure we're all clear what tacking is, here’s a picture of it:
Image


You might also want to review Points of Sail in Wikipedia, and maybe also Velocity Made Good.

higgins wrote:
Good points, but I'll wait some feedback for my system and I really find out about knot speeds of the period ships before I'll start incorporating the rigging types (quick googling talked about 8 knots being good speed and over 11 being excellent, but I'd like to have a better source).

I can give you a few sailing times for square-rigged antique ships, as recorded in ancient literature. Under decent to good wind conditions, an ancient warship under sail would have had an average, long-term travel speed of about 5 knots; average travel speeds of up to 6 knots or slightly higher could be attained, but 4 knots or slightly less seems to have been “normal” under even decent conditions, with as little as 1.5 knots under unfavourable ones. The fastst recorded travel speed, attained by a military courier ship with hand-picked oarsmen and additionally under sail, was an average of just under 9 knots over a time of 24 hours.

higgins wrote:
Oh yes, and I'm really fixed on using the Beaufort scale as a reference as it's a great way to get to know it if you already don't (...) In other words, it ain't no generic mumbo-jumbo you see so often in RPGs. :)

Funny thing, is, I stumbled upon it decades ago – in RPGs! Both Rolemaster (Campaign Law, Sea Law) and GURPS (Grimoire) have it. :D

higgins wrote:
What did you think of the mechanic in general btw?

Argh, don’t ask me; you know, I’m not much of a game mechanics man. :?

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 Post subject: Re: Rules for Ships, and Ship to Ship Combat ??
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:39 am 
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Grettir wrote:
Also, just to make sure we're all clear what tacking is, here’s a picture of it:
Image
Ah, wiki led me believe that the process described in your image is called beating and tacking is the actual process of turning the sails... but I get your point of course, I shouldn't be speaking of "ship speeds" in the wind directions, but of "travel distance" or "the actual hard progress made towards the destination".

You might also want to review Points of Sail in Wikipedia, and maybe also Velocity Made Good.

Grettir wrote:
I can give you a few sailing times for square-rigged antique ships, as recorded in ancient literature.
Thanks for the numbers! I' hope my Nelson's Navy provides me with some hard numbers from sailing ships at their height when the book actually arrives.

Also, I'm taking recommendations for books that explain the naval terms, principles and especially rigging. I've been trying to make my sense into the vocabulary, but it's not only mind boggling but I've been trying to build a similar vocabulary in Estonian as well... and I have currently two Estonian sources that offer contradictory terms (though I'm not really surprised that one of them got things wrong, as it's mainly a book with nice colourful pictures)! So, any solid reference book for things like that would be of help. :)

Grettir wrote:
Funny thing, is, I stumbled upon it decades ago – in RPGs! Both Rolemaster (Campaign Law, Sea Law) and GURPS (Grimoire) have it. :D
Wind references in a book of magic? :lol: All I own from GURPS is its historical supplements, and not even the core book. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Rules for Ships, and Ship to Ship Combat ??
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 7:17 am 
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higgins wrote:
Ah, wiki led me believe that the process described in your image is called beating and tacking is the actual process of turning the sails...

Ah, problems of language and terminology. In my native German, "tacking" can apply to both actions, and I think that this can also be the case in English -- but it's certainly "beating" I'm talking about. Anyhow, we're on the same page now, and that's the main thing. :)

higgins wrote:
... but I get your point of course, I shouldn't be speaking of "ship speeds" in the wind directions, but of "travel distance" or "the actual hard progress made towards the destination".

That's why German sailing terminology has the term Etmal, which is not the actual distance sailed, but rather the distance progressed towards the destination, measured from noon to noon and entirely independently from the usually -- due to tacking maneuvers -- much larger actual distance sailed.

higgins wrote:
Wind references in a book of magic? :lol:

Yep, in the section concerned with weather spells. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Rules for Ships, and Ship to Ship Combat ??
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 8:24 am 
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Grettir wrote:
That's why German sailing terminology has the term Etmal, which is not the actual distance sailed, but rather the distance progressed towards the destination, measured from noon to noon and entirely independently from the usually -- due to tacking maneuvers -- much larger actual distance sailed.
The closest match I found was this...

Boy, I really need to comb some antique book stores and find that English-Russian-German-Estonian Yachting Dictionary that was published in 1980 for the yachting regatta held here as part of the olympics. :lol:

Edit: To my amazement, we actually had that book on one of our more obscure shelves. :o And the English term for Etmal is... day's run. :)

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 Post subject: Re: Rules for Ships, and Ship to Ship Combat ??
PostPosted: Wed Aug 19, 2009 9:56 pm 
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Daeruin wrote:
Have you guys ever seen or played Close Action, or Wooden Ships and Iron Men? They're wargames with a high level of realistic rules. I've got Close Action and I really enjoy playing it. I wonder if it would be worth it to look at porting some of those mechanics into something more TROS-like.


Based on your recommendation I have bought a copy of Close Action and the scenario packs. It looks really good. Which figurines do you use? I saw the ranfe of 1"300 and 1:1200 ship figurines produced by Langton but if you have other suggestions that would be handy.

One thing I really liked about the Close Action synopsis was the idea that players have to plot their moves three in advance. A ship doesn't turn on a coin and this seems like a really good way of simulating that.

I have recently started subscribing to rusc.com, where they convert the radio plays of the 30s, 40s, and 50s to MP3. They have the Hornblower series, produced in the 40s, and listening to them is quite fascinating. If you are looking for material that is evocative of life at sea I recommend them.

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: Rules for Ships, and Ship to Ship Combat ??
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 2:54 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
Based on your recommendation I have bought a copy of Close Action and the scenario packs. It looks really good. Which figurines do you use? I saw the ranfe of 1"300 and 1:1200 ship figurines produced by Langton but if you have other suggestions that would be handy.

One thing I really liked about the Close Action synopsis was the idea that players have to plot their moves three in advance. A ship doesn't turn on a coin and this seems like a really good way of simulating that.
I don't want to derail the thread, but . . . here I go!

I haven't bought any figurines yet. I did a little bit of research on them back when I first bought the game, but never did figure out which ones would be best. They can be expensive, too. You could easily spend double the cost of the game just for a good set of figurines, depending on quality, shipping, etc. So I've just been using the cardboard tokens that come with the game. If you invest in some miniatures, I'd definitely like to hear your feedback on what you got and how they worked.

Yeah, I love the plotting idea in Close Action, along with the simultaneous movement. The gameplay is both tactical and at times highly unpredictable. You don't plot three in advance, however. You plot one turn's worth of movement at a time, and your speed depends on the type of ship, the state of the wind, your position with respect to it, the state of your sails, and how fast you moved last turn. You could move 10 hexes in a turn, or none. Turning the ship requires you to figure out how much straight-ahead momentum you currently have, which can extend back into previous turns. The more momentum you have, the longer it takes to turn. Because the map is based on hexes, each turn is 60 degrees, followed by a certain number of straight-ahead hexes depending on your speed before the turn. There's definitely no turning on coins.

I also like the enforcement of limited communication. You have to use flag signals, and there's a limit on how much you can convey in a single turn.

OK, back to something more on-topic.

higgins wrote:
Ah, wiki led me believe that the process described in your image is called beating and tacking is the actual process of turning the sails...

Grettir wrote:
Ah, problems of language and terminology. In my native German, "tacking" can apply to both actions, and I think that this can also be the case in English -- but it's certainly "beating" I'm talking about. Anyhow, we're on the same page now, and that's the main thing. :)
Close Action uses the term tacking to describe the process of turning across the wind—that is, you're going at an angle into the wind, then you turn to face the wind directly and continue turning until you're going the other direction. In Grettir's chart, this would be at the points to the left and right sides where the turn actually occurs. At some point, you have to point the ship directly into the wind in order to head the other direction. It's supposed to be a very tricky maneuver.

Close Action is designed for naval battles, not necessarily extended chases and certainly not voyages. I doubt the movement rules would hold up at longer distances. Of course, I have no idea how accurate Close Action is with regard to mechanics or terminology, since I have no knowledge of sailing. But the game is reputed to be highly realistic.

But this does bring up a question. Are you guys really interested in playing out a blow-by-blow (no pun intended) account of a sea voyage? Personally, I'd be happy figuring out how much time a voyage will take using a single roll, or maybe a few rolls depending on what challenges come up. I've never been very interested in man-vs-nature stories in RPGs. Now, naval battles and perhaps even races would be more interesting. So, I guess I'm wondering how detailed you really want to get with these rules? What kinds of situations are you interested in playing out?

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 Post subject: Re: Rules for Ships, and Ship to Ship Combat ??
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 5:49 am 
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Daeruin wrote:
At some point, you have to point the ship directly into the wind in order to head the other direction. It's supposed to be a very tricky maneuver.

:lol: You can say that. Some five to ten years ago, I did quite a bit of sailing myself -- and the very first time ever that I sailed as skipper and commanded my crew (a whopping two tarnecks) through the run's first tack, the mast broke as we went "though" the wind. :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Rules for Ships, and Ship to Ship Combat ??
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 8:51 am 
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Grettir wrote:
Some five to ten years ago, I did quite a bit of sailing myself -- and the very first time ever that I sailed as skipper and commanded my crew (a whopping two tarnecks) through the run's first tack, the mast broke as we went "though" the wind. :roll:
Ouch... :shock: I've heard about it being a possibility when gybing, so I thought tacking was the safest of the two. :|

Daeruin wrote:
But this does bring up a question. Are you guys really interested in playing out a blow-by-blow (no pun intended) account of a sea voyage? Personally, I'd be happy figuring out how much time a voyage will take using a single roll, or maybe a few rolls depending on what challenges come up. I've never been very interested in man-vs-nature stories in RPGs. Now, naval battles and perhaps even races would be more interesting. So, I guess I'm wondering how detailed you really want to get with these rules? What kinds of situations are you interested in playing out?
Personally, I wouldn't want to see too many rolls either for determining the time and/or distance travelled. My proposed mechanic is scalable... it could be used hourly, daily, weekly or even for the whole trip however long that might be, though the larger the timeframe becomes, the more important it is to know prevalent wind direction and speed in this particular area and season. However, if our goal to fully support a game where large amount (if not most) gaming activity happens aboard a ship, then a single roll for determining the result of a whole voyage might seem as missing the point or be called "skipping" (with no reference to a skipper whatsoever :P). Frankly, rolling for every day and looking for a failure that produces a complication would be both boring an unrealistic. We'd need some mechanic to cover the complications that might happen at sea, but this isn't nearly as easy as it sounds as I firmly believe that we should avoid the "random encounter" pitfall.

Daeruin wrote:
What kinds of situations are you interested in playing out?
Well, the chases and battles you already mentioned are quite obvious, and I do like Ian's proposition of giving the ship a character sheet. Also, maneuvering in hazardous conditions... Rules for dwindling supplies couldn't hurt, but what's most needed I think is the descriptions and ideas for all kinds of complications and hazards we landrats couldn't even think of. :P

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 Post subject: Re: Rules for Ships, and Ship to Ship Combat ??
PostPosted: Thu Aug 20, 2009 11:45 am 
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Grettir wrote:
Some five to ten years ago, I did quite a bit of sailing myself -- and the very first time ever that I sailed as skipper and commanded my crew (a whopping two tarnecks) through the run's first tack, the mast broke as we went "though" the wind. :roll:
higgins wrote:
Ouch... :shock: I've heard about it being a possibility when gybing, so I thought tacking was the safest of the two. :|

In all honesty, it was tremenduous bad luck. Once we had recovered the mast and sail hanging by the lines from the hull and laboured back to the shore, we had the boat checked by a boat builder, who found that there was some kind of fatigue of material on the main bolt keeping the mast upright. He thought that at the exact moment we tacked, a wave running counter to the wind direction must have hit the hull, and the opposing forces where enough to break the bolt and to bring down the mast. So it wasn’t really my fault. ;)

Still, it goes to show what can happen.

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