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Thread: So...keelboats

  1. #41
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    I don't think it quite occurred to me that these are still standard-length rounds.
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  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by doctorbadwolf View Post
    So, is the keelboat supposed to stand in for pilot boats? Jk obv not, that would be absurd.

    I dont suppose yall would be willing to stay up a 1-2 crew pilot cutter? My character used to be a harbor pilot in a rough harbor, and Im curious about the specs translation there. Fast little ships.

    Also, how do folks feel about all ships having the same turn speed? Seems to me that it short-sells many of the more maneuverable ships, and tbh maneuverability is one of the pillar factors in choosing a ship in any game.
    Great questions!

    1. My intention was that the sloop statistics would handle all small sailboats of this type (even though many such sailboats are technically not "sloops"). It's like how you can use the statistics for a glaive to represent a wide variety of polearms.

    If we want to differentiate ships further, we can do it with minor tweaks, rather than entirely new stat blocks. You know how some monsters in the Monster Manual have sidebars with variations? The swarm of insects is a good example: you can turn it into a spider swarm, wasp swarm, etc. just by adding or removing a few traits. So if a cutter is substantially different than a sloop, we could have a sidebar that says something like, "Cutter: Reduce the passenger capacity to 1, decrease the hit points to 50, and increase the speed to 35 feet." (I am just making those stats up: I don't really know how a cutter, or any other pilot ship, differs from other small sailboats. Although I do suspect that it doesn't need to be super "fast" because I'm guessing most ships don't come racing into the harbor at top speed.)

    2. For turning radius: My favorite system for this that I've ever seen was Star Wars d20 Revised. Every ship had the exact same turning radius, acceleration, etc. But you could overcome those limitations with a piloting check, and each ship had a maneuverability modifier to this check. I love it because it was very easy to remember (each ship gets a number -- a modifier -- instead of a new set of turning rules) and because it was extremely flexible (any wacky move a pilot wanted to try -- it was way easier to do with a tie fighter than a star destroyer).

    For ships, I'm planning to adopt a similar system. Simply applying the ship's Dexterity modifier to such checks would be good, except that ships have very little variation in their Dex mods (they cluster tightly around -3). It make sense to base these checks on the ship's length, since longer ships should be harder to turn, and ship lengths are generally multiples of 20 (DC 5 per 20 feet of length works well). Or, we could give some ships a special trait, probably as part of the helm/tiller: "Maneuverable. When you make an ability check or saving throw for this ship to turn sharply, avoid an obstacle, change its speed suddenly, or perform a similar fancy nautical maneuver, you make the check or save with advantage."

    What makes the most sense to everybody else? I'm really trying to avoid "retconning" the statistics from Ghosts of Saltmarsh, but I'm open to doing that as a variant/optional thing, if it works.
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  3. #43
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    Oh! I just saw your post here, where you already answer my questions about cutters. Thanks!
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  4. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by 77IM View Post
    Oh! I just saw your post here, where you already answer my questions about cutters. Thanks!
    I point back to sailing video games like Sid Meiers Pirates! You want a small ship that can run circles around a galleon, is better at cutting into the wind, but has little firepower and a small crew.

    Quote Originally Posted by 77IM View Post
    Great questions!

    1. My intention was that the sloop statistics would handle all small sailboats of this type (even though many such sailboats are technically not "sloops"). It's like how you can use the statistics for a glaive to represent a wide variety of polearms.

    If we want to differentiate ships further, we can do it with minor tweaks, rather than entirely new stat blocks. You know how some monsters in the Monster Manual have sidebars with variations? The swarm of insects is a good example: you can turn it into a spider swarm, wasp swarm, etc. just by adding or removing a few traits. So if a cutter is substantially different than a sloop, we could have a sidebar that says something like, "Cutter: Reduce the passenger capacity to 1, decrease the hit points to 50, and increase the speed to 35 feet." (I am just making those stats up: I don't really know how a cutter, or any other pilot ship, differs from other small sailboats. Although I do suspect that it doesn't need to be super "fast" because I'm guessing most ships don't come racing into the harbor at top speed.)

    2. For turning radius: My favorite system for this that I've ever seen was Star Wars d20 Revised. Every ship had the exact same turning radius, acceleration, etc. But you could overcome those limitations with a piloting check, and each ship had a maneuverability modifier to this check. I love it because it was very easy to remember (each ship gets a number -- a modifier -- instead of a new set of turning rules) and because it was extremely flexible (any wacky move a pilot wanted to try -- it was way easier to do with a tie fighter than a star destroyer).

    For ships, I'm planning to adopt a similar system. Simply applying the ship's Dexterity modifier to such checks would be good, except that ships have very little variation in their Dex mods (they cluster tightly around -3). It make sense to base these checks on the ship's length, since longer ships should be harder to turn, and ship lengths are generally multiples of 20 (DC 5 per 20 feet of length works well). Or, we could give some ships a special trait, probably as part of the helm/tiller: "Maneuverable. When you make an ability check or saving throw for this ship to turn sharply, avoid an obstacle, change its speed suddenly, or perform a similar fancy nautical maneuver, you make the check or save with advantage."

    What makes the most sense to everybody else? I'm really trying to avoid "retconning" the statistics from Ghosts of Saltmarsh, but I'm open to doing that as a variant/optional thing, if it works.
    I found the ship stuff in the Star Wars d20 game much too complex to be enjoyable, but a maneuverability score might be good! Also, piloting checks to move at a diagonal or make two turns in a round or whatever could make sense.

    Giving some ships a maneuverability trait probably works better than going by length, bc a longship can make a tighter turn than a similarly sized sailing ship, because of how it sits in the water, and IIRC because of its hull design.

    Pilot cutters (and larger cutters in general), btw, were very fast by virtue of having a lot of sails designed to catch the wind regardless of direction, and very little weight. Very cool little ships. I may stay up some gnomish or halfling ships of similar design.
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  5. #45
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasper View Post
    I don't think it matters. We are dealing with 6 seconds of combat. So ACCEPT the Wonky.
    Nah. Im gonna continue to examine and consider, thanks.

  6. #46
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    So How do decide which part of the ship is pivot point? If you go with center on some the ships you move the targets in the aft section far away. If you go with the bow, you have placed all the targets farther away. If you pivot on the stern, you have move the targets closer to the action.
    Also the Crew and passenger sizes don't make sense, A longship which is smaller that a sailing/warship holds the most passengers. A sailing ship holds less passengers than a warship? I know the maps are not showing any hammocks but the numbers seem off.
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  7. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by jasper View Post
    The numbers seem off.
    I think you've hit (one of the) point(s) of this thread. The numbers are not just a little off, I'm afraid, but are pretty much totally borked. We've been trying to be kind, I think, and leave as much of what they've done intact as we can, while we discuss what to do about it... but I think what they've got is nearly unworkable.
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  8. #48
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    Well, for passenger size, the missing ingredient is, how do you convert cargo space to passenger space? If you turned the hold into more cabins, I'm guessing the sailing ship and the warship could transport a lot more people than the longship. There's actually a ship in Waterdeep: Dragon Heist that's like this (the Eyecatcher has had its upper hold converted to cabins).

    Side note: the ship deck plans in Waterdeep: Dragon Heist are the only ones that show the steering "column" and the rudder. The ships in Ghosts of Saltmarsh are mysteriously rudderless -- the ship's wheel sits on deck, and is connected to NOTHING below decks. It's almost like D&D is committed to deliberately undermining historical accuracy and real-world consideration in their products. (And I'm the kind of person who usually doesn't care much about "realism...")

  9. #49
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    I just kind of assumed that the steering column is there, they just didn't draw it in for clarity and space, for the same reason that most of the ships are too wide - You can't use things for D&D maps when you need a clear 5-foot square per person. (I constantly remind my players that all 7 of us play within the same 10-foot square.) They didn't draw every rope-locker either, right?

  10. #50
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    So I've been hand-drawing some deck plans (I've started with small craft - boats and canoes and stuff, though I've done roughs on a Cog and a Caravel) and I have a few musings to share (the deck plans I will begin to share soon!):

    1: It's really hard to be accurate and make a map that works well for a D&D grid. Everything winds up fat and/or empty space. (This is similar to my point above).
    2: If you go for something that *looks* right for a D&D map, it's not very historical. You can't really have both too well.
    3: When I come up with a design I like for, say, a Captain's Cabin, I want to put it in every ship. But this would cost us variety. Of course, the alternative is to make every ship different, just *because*.
    4: I really like the way GoS made all the ships quite heavily armed. In a D&D setting, I'm not sure anyone would want to leave their house without weapons, far or less cross a sea.
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