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General If you could put D&D into any other non middle ages genre, what would it be?


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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Part of this depends as well on whether you have low level NPC wizards. Think level 0 casters that can only cast cantrips but have control flames or fire bolt. Maybe they're only trained well enough to use wands. Controlling fire on a boat whether caused by a fireball or a clumsy sailor with a lamp would be incredibly beneficial.
Odds are good that hooded lamps using Continual Flame/Continual Light would be the light source of choice on ships- and cities- as soon as practicable.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Yes, ranged combat in 5E is seriously reeling on the brink; that is, of becoming too close to melee as to make melee superfluous.

It's still a primitive game for that purpose (since there's basically nothing in place to encourage behavior commensurate with ranged tactics) so this is not a good thing.
Cover does a pretty good job.

I find that the game rewards melee quite well, and rewards taking cover from ranged attacks quite well.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Would it really? I guess it depends on whether or not you care much about realism (and I admit I haven't read the Saltmarsh naval rules) but ships don't turn on a dime. It lasts at most for a minute, presumably someone would notice the helmsman wasn't doing their job and stop anything too dramatic from happening.
I'm coming from 1e, where Hold Person lasts a couple of rounds (i.e. minutes) per caster level; far more than long enough for a ship to run into trouble due to a non-functioning helmsman.

Spells would change combat so it depends on the genre you're trying to emulate and how closely. At a certain point if you're going for a feel of historical simulation you're going to have to pretty much get rid of magic altogether, but that has a lot of ripple effects.
I don't think it's as drastic as having to eliminate magic altogether - at least I certainly hope not! - but it absolutely has to be reined in in some aspects, and kept to a reasonably low level.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
At a certain points flying wizards launching off the deck of a large vessel dedicated to caring and providing for said wizards and supported by a flotilla of smaller ships starts to make sense. Actually engaging in ship to ship combat is silly if you can just send some Fight Wizards to attack from above, plus it lets you strike in land with your FW-18 groups.

This can be achieved with either wizards able to cast the Fly spell, or by providing your attackers flying magic items. I can see a large flying carpet and a bag of holding full of alchemists fire being a problem/solution.
That's not Age of Sail, that's Age of Aircraft Carriers. :)
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Not just weather magic- anything vaguely elemental...including summonings. I mean, a fireball is an obvious threat to a classical sailing vessel, even moreso if it has gunpowder. But so are spells like pyrotechnics or any summon spell that unleashes any creature of elemental fire on board.
I have sommoned creatures always appear fairly close to the caster, so no problem there. But yes, ranged damage spells e.g. fireball and pyrotechnics would have to (mostly) go.

Couple that Hold Person with a Gust of Wind?
Yep - I'm kind of fine with the Gust of Wind but the HP is problematic.

Create a Wall of Ice in the course of a wooden hulled ship?
Any decent-size ship would shatter a Wall of Ice on impact (assuming the Wall hadn't just dropped into the sea and then turned on its side to become a big flat ice floe - they don't hold themselves aloft, these walls!), though might take some damage in so doing.

Wall of Force that does hold itself in place and cannot be broken, however, is bad news. No more Walls of Force. :)

Warp Wood?
Make its range 'touch' and I'm cool with this one.

An Everflowing Bottle powering a paddlewheel? Or a steam engine that used a tiny portal to the elemental plane of fire for heat and a similar elemental portal for its water? (Steamjammers?) If you can make an airtight vessel, submarines become possible with a portal to Air.
For true Age of Sail I'd ban steam engines; they ruined it in real life. :) But you're on to something with the paddlewheeler - I like it! :)

Non elemental magic is equally problematic: Magic Missile, Web & Sleep wands deployed at the guys manning the rigging? Illusions making sailors see sea dragons or sahuagin...or sirens?
Magic Missile isn't much worse than a well-aimed crossbow - a low-priority problem. Web and Sleep are more of a concern. Illusions - interesting question. I don't want to completely hose Illusionists here but I'd probably want to put some limits on what they can do.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Still, you get the point: you’d want to take a close look at the magic in the core books at the very least. Analyze it all with your RBDM (Rat Bastard Dungeon Master) hat on.

How many times have you or your players combined Web or Grease with some kind of fire attack?

What can a saboteur do with Animate Rope on a sailing ship?

What happens when someone activates an Immovable Rod in the Hold of a ship...below the waterline?
 
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Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
[video=youtube;5kwIkF6LFDc]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5kwIkF6LFDc[/video]
The events depicted in that video might have played out very differently in a world with D&D magic.

...depending on which sides had what at their disposal, of course.
 

Derren

Hero
That's not Age of Sail, that's Age of Aircraft Carriers. :)
It is the logical evolution of the Age of Sail with D&D magic added.
Even the easy availability of alchemist fire would transform naval warfare into something quite different than what we know as the Age of Sail and then you also have spells and monsters.
 

It is the logical evolution of the Age of Sail with D&D magic added.
Combine too much logic with D&D magic, and it will scuttle(pi) any period, genre, or setting. At the root of it, n/day is a meaningful limitation only to adventurers raiding under time pressure, but to a society with years to accomplish projects or build up war materials, it's a superabundance of magic.

Even the easy availability of alchemist fire would transform naval warfare into something quite different than what we know as the Age of Sail and then you also have spells and monsters.
I don't think that'd be too much of an issue: there're plenty of incendiary options in the Age of Sail, already... I mean, fireships were a thing.
 

Derren

Hero
I don't think that'd be too much of an issue: there're plenty of incendiary options in the Age of Sail, already... I mean, fireships were a thing.
Fireships were used used to drive apart formations and to attack ports. But their effectiveness as a weapon was quite low.
Alchemist fire on the other hand was devastating in naval combat when Byzantium used it. If the knowledge of how to make it had spread instead of going under with them naval warfare would have looked very differently.
 

Fireships were used used to drive apart formations and to attack ports. But their effectiveness as a weapon was quite low....Alchemist fire on the other hand was devastating in naval combat when Byzantium used it.
The other side didn't have cannon. If they had, it'd've been about as effective as a fireship.
 

Dannyalcatraz

Schmoderator
Staff member
Combine too much logic with D&D magic, and it will scuttle(pi) any period, genre, or setting. At the root of it, n/day is a meaningful limitation only to adventurers raiding under time pressure, but to a society with years to accomplish projects or build up war materials, it's a superabundance of magic.
Which is why, as I admitted, even though I can follow the logical trails, I don’t often do so.

Except when I want to. ;)

I don't think that'd be too much of an issue: there're plenty of incendiary options in the Age of Sail, already... I mean, fireships were a thing.
The fire options in D&D are far more plentiful and concealable.

Do you recall how I said Shrink Item was a must-have for saboteurs? The reason: in the spell’s description, it specifically points out, “Even a burning fire and its fuel can be shrunk by this spell.” and it’s duration is 1 day/per level- minimum 6 days since it’s a 3rd level spell. IOW, someone could be walking around with a small bag full of fires ready to be set. Add Grease spells to your daily allotment of casting and you could have a ship’s deck fully engulfed in seconds. Tossing an Itemized fire or fires into the powder room- warding magic aside, of course- could be disastrous.

Wands of Flame Arrow, Fireball? Casting Flaming Sphere or Scorching Ray? Summoned fire elementals that you don’t even have to control? Using magic to become a red dragon? Or a sorcerer of draconic heritage breathing fire left and right?

A single determined pyro spellcaster could “Pearl Harbor” a fleet, and he might not trigger any warning bells until he started.
 

Derren

Hero
The other side didn't have cannon. If they had, it'd've been about as effective as a fireship.
Which other side?
Of course the other side had cannons during the age of sail. Not that they were needed against fire ships, you just needed to have a little foresight from where they might come from. Although in D&D they would be more dangerous if some fire immune person could continue to steer them. But that is a rather inefficient use of magic.

The Byzantines didn't use fire ships. They used ships armed with flamethrowers and no cannon could match that, even very deep into the age of sail except in perfect conditions.
 
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Derren

Hero
Cannon have a significant range advantage over squirting incendiaries at the other guy.
No.
While the maximum range of a cannon was about 3 miles, the effective range of them was much lower, a few hundred yards. You get a few shots off, but eventually you are in range of the projectors unless you had the weather gage, especially as cannons weren't that devastating either unless raking and had a long reload. If low range really were an issue, carronades would have never been invented and no one ever had used double shot.
Also, greek fire was also used in grenade form with a bit longer range than projectors.
 

No.
While the maximum range of a cannon was about 3 miles, the effective range of them was much lower, a few hundred yards.
To clarify: Byzantine 'flame throwers' did not have a range anywhere near 100 yards, so by "No." You mean, "Yes, but..."
You get a few shots off, but eventually you are in range of the projectors unless you had the weather gage, especially as cannons weren't that devastating either unless raking and had a long reload. If low range really were an issue, carronades would have never been invented and no one ever had used double shot.
I suspect carronades'd've had quite the range advantage over said flamethrowers, as well. And that a ship carrying a lot of alchemist fire would be in a lot of trouble if it's projector were hit by a cannon or peppered with grape shot.

But, it's quite correct that age of sail battles could go to short ranges, including boarding. And that incendiaries were used quite a bit, and didn't obviate other weapons & tactics.

I just can't see the impact being that great.

Now, D&D fireballs OTOH...
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
Now, D&D fireballs OTOH...
Why use chain shot when a fireball will destroy any rigging? I assume that's what you're going for, I'm not sure a fireball would quite be enough to set a ship of the line on fire, but it should be enough to render it completely immobile.

No just imagine if Edward Teach were actually a beholder or a mind flayer. Instead of Blackbeard we get Tentacle Face. He's like Pirates of the Caribbean's Davey Jones, but with psychic powers in addition to a squiggly chin. Yarr!
 

Why use chain shot when a fireball will destroy any rigging? I assume that's what you're going for, I'm not sure a fireball would quite be enough to set a ship of the line on fire, but it should be enough to render it completely immobile.
Yep, I was thinking of the effect on rigging. Just, a 20' diameter ball of fire that burns /everything/ it touches. A bomb is not so thorough.
 

Saelorn

Hero
If I could move D&D into another setting, I would choose the Algol system.

Sometimes I just want to hack at evil robots with my laser sword, while traversing a dungeon, in search of cake.
 

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