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[Need Assistance] Maritime WoD/CofD setting nearing completion

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  • [Need Assistance] Maritime WoD/CofD setting nearing completion

    tl;dr - I need help making ship-rules from someone who actually knows something about ships.


    Lately I've become obsessed with completing the now-defunct Tenebrous Seas Wiki, a fan-made sourcebook for nautical WoD chronicles, previously helmed by the illustrious TheKingsRaven. It's taken me a while, what with school and all, but the project is nearing completion, and I'm almost ready to pronounce it "playable". There's just one glaring hole in the system: it lacks rules for handling, maintaining, and repairing ships and boats. In an attempt to fix this, I've borrowed (read: stolen) extensively from the Exalted rules for naval combat, but asides from having no idea whether my "translations" are balanced, I also don't have any idea how ships work IRL.

    I'm looking for someone with firsthand knowledge of boats, ships, oceanography, and/or marine animals who's willing to check over my work and make sure I haven't gotten it all totally wrong. Any feedback you can offer would be greatly appreciated. In particular, I'm looking for help with the Rules for Boats and Ships, but I would also appreciate any help with combatant NPCs and stats for marine animals.

    Thank you in advance for your expertise and guidance. I'm just a poor landlubber who dreams of the sea.


    Author of Motor City Breakdown, [New Seeming] Mechanicals, and [Entitlement] Divers of the Cerulean Pearl
    Accuracy Consultant on Ashes of the Motor City, Author of Devil's Night in the D
    Editor, Compiler, and Senior Contributor to Tenebrous Seas
    Current Project(s): Late Antiquity/Early Medieval Dark Era for Genius: The Transgression

  • #2
    While I am not a naval combat expert, I would like to pitch in some sources of inspiration that might be useful.

    First is that perhaps highly advanced naval combat that focuses on the internals of the ships could be simulated by dissecting FTL:

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/FTL:...Light#Gameplay

    But if you want a broader strokes kind of approach, the ship battles in Skies of Arcadia models the ship combat with the party acting as one cohesive unit. It also does a cool job of modeling crew abilities:

    https://skiesofarcadia.fandom.com/wiki/Ship_Battle

    You can see an example here:

    https://youtu.be/OMgNXrW7UQU

    Lastly, the game Sunless Seas simulates these systems while maintaining a very tabletop game feel to it. You can find an overview here:

    https://youtu.be/jeh0KXqOQPU

    Hope that helps


    New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

    The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
    The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

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    • #3
      Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
      While I am not a naval combat expert, I would like to pitch in some sources of inspiration that might be useful.

      First is that perhaps highly advanced naval combat that focuses on the internals of the ships could be simulated by dissecting FTL:

      But if you want a broader strokes kind of approach, the ship battles in Skies of Arcadia models the ship combat with the party acting as one cohesive unit. It also does a cool job of modeling crew abilities:

      Lastly, the game Sunless Seas simulates these systems while maintaining a very tabletop game feel to it. You can find an overview here:
      I've heard good things about FTL. Never played before, but maybe now I'll have to check it out. It's been YEARS since I played Skies of Arcadia (back in the Gamecube days), but you bring up a good point, the airship battles would be a good place to find inspiration. I'm surprised I didn't think of going back to it until you mentioned that.

      I think the system I've cribbed from Exalted should work alright, and allow players a more granular experience than the normal WoD vehicle rules, but honestly I kind of wonder if I'm reinventing the wheel here. Part of the beauty of d10 is how simplified and abstract it is, and the "ships and boats" system as I've adapted it might be more detail than the average player needs or wants. Do you think the Rules for Ships and Boats are excessively detailed? Should I just use standard vehicle rules and the list of sample aquatic vehicles from Armory?


      Author of Motor City Breakdown, [New Seeming] Mechanicals, and [Entitlement] Divers of the Cerulean Pearl
      Accuracy Consultant on Ashes of the Motor City, Author of Devil's Night in the D
      Editor, Compiler, and Senior Contributor to Tenebrous Seas
      Current Project(s): Late Antiquity/Early Medieval Dark Era for Genius: The Transgression

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      • #4
        They sound fine to me, but you can always test them with some hypothetical scenarios. Here are some examples:

        1- If players are traveling by boat, can they engage in broader strokes combat without a long explanation ?

        2- If they are acting on the ship, as crew or support, do they know how to contribute?

        3- If they are buying or custom making a vessel, can they clearly design one ? Are they aware of the resources, costs and tradeoffs involved ? Do they know where to procure all the materials and expertise needed ?

        4- When boarding, sabotaging or infiltrating a boat, how does the layout shape their approach ?

        If you simulate those, you can tell how intuitive and adaptable your approach is.


        New experiences are the font of creativity, when seeking inspiration, break your routine.

        The Agathos Kai Sophos, an Acanthus Legacy of strategists (Mind/Time)
        The Szary Strażnik, an Obrimos Legacy of Scholars of the Glyphs of Fate (Fate/Prime)

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        • #5
          Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
          1- If players are traveling by boat, can they engage in broader strokes combat without a long explanation ?
          You mean ship-to-ship combat, or boarding the enemy vessel? I guess that depends on how complexly the Storyteller wants to render combat. They could choose to do a mass-combat, bird's-eye-view approach that broadly simulates the activities of different boarding parties (maybe using the group combat mechanics from Genius: The Transgression), or they could do a round-by-round approach where each gunshot fired is tracked individually.

          Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
          2- If they are acting on the ship, as crew or support, do they know how to contribute?
          I guess that the players could use Teamwork Actions to aid each other in steering the ship, making repairs, or outmaneuvering the other vessel, and/or some of them could man the guns while the others steer the ship, repel boarders, issue commands, or man the engines.

          Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
          3- If they are buying or custom making a vessel, can they clearly design one ? Are they aware of the resources, costs and tradeoffs involved ? Do they know where to procure all the materials and expertise needed ?
          I don't really have a system (yet) for building custom vessels, but the price of anything larger than a moderate-sized yacht would be well beyond the ability of all but the wealthiest PCs to afford. According to my cursory research, even a 30-foot fishing trawler can easily cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, which translates to Resources 4 or higher.

          But you do bring up a good point. It would probably be a good idea to make up some stats for sample vessels. I'll take another look at the ships from WoD: Armory and see what I can come up with.

          Originally posted by KaiserAfini View Post
          4- When boarding, sabotaging or infiltrating a boat, how does the layout shape their approach ?
          That would vary from ship to ship, wouldn't it? I don't know anything about small unit tactics, so I really can't say how boarding an oil tanker would require different strategies than boarding a cruise ship.


          Author of Motor City Breakdown, [New Seeming] Mechanicals, and [Entitlement] Divers of the Cerulean Pearl
          Accuracy Consultant on Ashes of the Motor City, Author of Devil's Night in the D
          Editor, Compiler, and Senior Contributor to Tenebrous Seas
          Current Project(s): Late Antiquity/Early Medieval Dark Era for Genius: The Transgression

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          • #6
            To add something more to subject - Pirates of Pugmire, sourcebook for Realms of Pugmire D&D 5E-like Onyx Path game - has rules for ship combat. It assumes that each player choose a Role on the ship - and when the ship need to do action related to Role, the character roles. Roles are assigned by the Abilities ( Str, Dex, Con, Int, Wis, Cha ), so in CoD rules engine, those would be Attributes. Players roll Initiative normally - and when characters turn comes, he do the thing he is responsible on the ship.

            Also, Pirates of Pugmire puts ships Hit Points as literat structural damage - and things like spoiled food, broken masts, or other 'we cannot easily sail' situations. Using more abstract Health/Corpus/Structure of the ship may also be good idea.


            My stuff for Realms of Pugmire, Scion 2E, CoD Contagion, Dark Eras, VtR 2E, WtF 2E, MtAw 2E, MtC 2E & BtP
            LGBT+ through Ages
            LGBT+ in CoD games

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