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[ Dark Eras ] Viking Era travel times

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  • [ Dark Eras ] Viking Era travel times

    With Uratha so connected to lunar cycle, it's very important to know how long travel between various settlements take - and I could not found approximation of those in Wolf and Raven chapter. Also, so basic rules on sailing across seas could be nice addition, if anyone have idea how to make those.


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  • #2
    I suppose if you have a wind speed you could use whatever you're using for the Sailing skill to catch enough of it, you could even go faster than the wind if you catch it right. I've never been in a viking ship but they were likely made for it. Plus there's all the magic they can do.

    Wikipedia says this, 'The average speed of Viking ships varied from ship to ship, but lay in the range of 5–10 knots (9.3–18.5 km/h) and the maximum speed of a longship under favorable conditions was around 15 knots (28 km/h).'

    I'm sure someone posted something about medieval travel times somewhere but I don't remember where. It shouldn't be hard to find with a search online, however. Here's one source, referencing several.
    Last edited by nofather; 02-10-2017, 12:19 PM.

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    • #3
      ORBIS is a really helpful tool that shows travel times between settlements in the Roman world. It's mostly about the Mediterranean region, but there are sites in northern Europe. Either way, it's great for getting a sense of specific numbers that are accurate enough for RPG purposes.


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      • #4
        More I think on the Skills subject, the more I'm convinced our Sailing Skill should be Survival. Sailing is all about reading weather and pathfinding, which Survival is all about.

        I think that general 'saling roll' for one day would be Wits+Survival, on Success you make 10 km/h and on Exceptional you make 20 km/h. Dramatic Failure should take you off the course. All the classical 'battle with sea' scenes will be Teamwork actions, to fight the element and not make this day roll in to Dramatic Failure.

        So what do you think about those rules?


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        • #5
          Sure, though you're delving strongly into the realm of micromanagement. You might just go with whatevers better for the story you want to tell, as you've done with other things.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by nofather View Post
            Sure, though you're delving strongly into the realm of micromanagement. You might just go with whatevers better for the story you want to tell, as you've done with other things.
            I can always 'go with whatevers better for the story', but problem is just sometimes you are not sure - mechanics are for using them to build story on those conditions. That's why we have combat subsystems, Social Manuvering. Chase and all of them.


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            • #7
              Those are for use in revolving conflict central to the story. We also have rules to sidestep them when placing focus on them is unnecessary, such as Quick and Dirty combat and rolling Presence+Persuasion.

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              • #8
                For the sake of the topic, let's assume I really need some rules estimation on how long can sail travel take from Ireland, England or Byzantium, okay? So let's not dwell on idea of inventing rules or some calculations in the first place - let's just assume I need them.

                Returning to topic - Ships sail all the time, I suspect, so one day speed made from Sailing roll would be for 24 hours? At least if not getting storm or other random variable?

                If yes, then on favorable weather ( and good rolls each day ) it would be like 240-480 km/day, on previous roll propositions.

                Or we could simply use this Sea Distance Calculator and just assume that Failed roll longer the trip for one day more and Dramatic Failure takes us off the course ( probably taking 2 days longer to destination ).


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                • #9
                  Originally posted by wyrdhamster View Post

                  Returning to topic - Ships sail all the time, I suspect, so one day speed made from Sailing roll would be for 24 hours? At least if not getting storm or other random variable?
                  ​Ships don't sail all the time, no, on account of crew needing to rest, dangers that need to be navigated, and so forth. Furthermore, weather was very much not a constant factor; wind was a huge variable depending on the general direction you were going. It was only about three days for Vikings to reach Norway on the return trip from Britain, but it took longer to get there in the first place because the winds were generally westerly. If your crew are having to row against the wind, not only will you be going slower than with the sail and the aid of the wind, but it'll tire the crew out.

                  ​You could, of course, wait for fair winds, but depending on the direction you want to go, those could literally be events lasting a few days on a few occasions in one season of the year.

                  ​As a side-note, if you wanted to get from Scandinavia to Byzantium, from the 700s onwards most people wouldn't go via longship round the coasts; they'd more likely use the much shorter waterway routes across the Poland/Ukraine/Balkans area.


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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Acrozatarim View Post

                    ​As a side-note, if you wanted to get from Scandinavia to Byzantium, from the 700s onwards most people wouldn't go via longship round the coasts; they'd more likely use the much shorter waterway routes across the Poland/Ukraine/Balkans area.
                    Which also involved carrying or dragging the ship over land at various points, or else changing ships. It was a pain, but made worthwhile by Byzantium's extraordinary wealth.

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Acrozatarim View Post
                      Ships don't sail all the time, no, on account of crew needing to rest, dangers that need to be navigated, and so forth. Furthermore, weather was very much not a constant factor; wind was a huge variable depending on the general direction you were going. It was only about three days for Vikings to reach Norway on the return trip from Britain, but it took longer to get there in the first place because the winds were generally westerly. If your crew are having to row against the wind, not only will you be going slower than with the sail and the aid of the wind, but it'll tire the crew out.
                      Still trying to parse it - you imply that Sail rolls should be done more often than one per day?


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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Eggs Maledict View Post

                        Which also involved carrying or dragging the ship over land at various points, or else changing ships. It was a pain, but made worthwhile by Byzantium's extraordinary wealth.
                        I'll point out that longships were specifically designed to be easy to portage.
                        Yes, it's a pain, but not as much as with larger ships.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Seidmadr View Post
                          I'll point out that longships were specifically designed to be easy to portage. Yes, it's a pain, but not as much as with larger ships.
                          It was pretty common on the West coast of Scotland. There are a lot of villages called Tarbert, which comes roughly from an old gaelic word for a portage site.


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                          • #14
                            According to the Viking Ship Museum:
                            Skuldelev 1 (ocean going trader, picture is Ottar a modern reproduction): Average speed 5-7 knots, top 13 knots


                            Skuldelev 2 (longship, picture is Sea Stallion of Glendalough): Average speed: 6-8 knots, top 13-17 knots
                            [RESIZE=400][/RESIZE]

                            Skuldelev 3 (coastal trader): Average speed 4-5 knots, top 8-10 knots


                            Skuldelev 5 (longship, pictured Helge Ask (I think)): Average speed 6-7 knots, top 15 knots


                            Skuldelev 6 (fishing ship): Average speed 4-5 knots, top 9-12 knots
                            No pic due to post limits, also as it is probably not going to come up very often in a game.
                            Last edited by grimjaws; 03-30-2017, 08:53 AM.


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                            • #15
                              grimjaws, I assume that are speeds per day of travel, yes?

                              So I would solve Sailing by this Skill advice.


                              Sailing as Survival
                              Sailing from the beginning of time was about understanding the sea and knowledge of terrain in water. Of understanding how currents works and how to follow sun and stars. In modern times we use computer navigation and satellite maps for it, but basic function of sailing on seas is largely the same – to find shortest paths and stay on your course against weather. That’s why Sailing is series of Specialty in Survival, adding few special actions to use it.
                              Sailing in Survival Skill
                              In addition finding and staying on trails on land, Survival can let maneuver ships on the sea or rivers .
                              Possessed by: Sailors, navigators, stowaways
                              Specialties: Navigation, Rivers, Sea, Storms, Weather,

                              Roll Results
                              Using Survival as Sailing works almost identical to use it for Trekking or Pathfinding. Much like cars, ships have Handling scores. As a rough guideline, an ships Handling score is its Durability rating. Sailing operates rather on Mental and Physical Attributes. Roll mean one day of travel and navigation and often can be Teamwork action, like when using paddles.
                              Dramatic Failure: Dramatic failure on Sailing almost always involves swerve from the course or going in to hazardous situation – like Storm – that need to be resolved by Teamwork of crew on Extended or Chase actions.
                              Failure: Ship did not do any meaningful distance this day, as ship was going in to different courses and returning to original one.
                              Success: Ship makes average speed of it’s class.
                              Exceptional Success: Ship makes top speed of it’s class or crew found shorter course.


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