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Thorvald

Heroes of the High Seas open project

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It may also be that my primary experience is with Star Wars, and ship battles are occasionally part of the adventure. We know that one person is usually piloting, there are a few gunners, and we know how on board batteries interact with enemy range and hull. Basic maneuvers were included in the starship battle section of the books, as were the stats for a number of different ships. Though removing the real-world tactical elements from the high-seas adventure books it should still be reasonable to look at a few basic ship designs and have some statistical representation. For example, the high castle caravels are harder to board from a schooner than would be one carrack to another.

 

Oh I wasn't saying stats for ships would be wrong, I just don't think we need to get into detail of whether you have 18 pounders or 20 pounders. Leave that for games where that's a feature like GURPS or HERO.

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Does that make sense?

 

It does, but I think it would be better if we tried to make things a bit more abstract and rules-light. For instance, every ship could have a Maneuverability die code (much like Star Wars D6) to reflect its speed, weight, etc. This Maneuverability code would affect chases, positioning maneuvers, and also the ship's attack rolls.

 

In order to decide who does what and what would be the rolls, we have to know what are the positions in a ship that would affect naval battles. Off the top of my head, I'm thinking a helmsman/pilot for maneuvering the ship (so Dodging, affecting Move, probably attack rolls as well), a master gunner for the cannons (damage rolls), and the captain and first mate for Command rolls to give bonuses to the helmsman and the master gunner.

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Would the helmsman need to make a piloting skill roll, or would he/she just need to roll the maneuverability of the ship? On the one hand it would make sense for the two to stack in a dogfight, but it seems to me that even the best helmsman in the world wouldn't be able to affect the maneuverability of the ship to any great degree.

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it depends. if you want to emphasize the role of helmsman, then you need to make the skill useful for piloting a ship, therefore it should stack. this could be justified by it not only being about how fast the ship is, but knowing where to go based on the terrain (where reefs are, shallows, or any other underwater hazards) based on the current rig, and based on the current winds. all of that can be abstracted into a simple roll of pilot + ship maneuverability. on the other hand, if you want to deemphasize the role of helmsman, just leave it at the ships maneuverability, anyone can make the roll, and they get to focus theirskills on other things.

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I figured I should post my criteria for rules when I design them. They don't have to be the criteria for this project, but they'll give you some insight into what I look at before I say "this is a good rule." The criteria are listed in order with the most important first. The only ones that are required to be met are the first two, but the more it can meet, the better it is.

 

For these criteria, "subsystem" can be inserted any place I use the word "rule"

 

1. Does it add to the fun of the game or take away from it?

 

I prefer games to be fast and simple, so to me that's what defines "fun", getting bogged down in details slows down the game and is, therefore, not fun.

 

2. Does it support the genre of the game?

 

The genre of the game is more important than anything else save fun. Criteria for supporting genre is would the rule make it easier to replicate scenes and actions in movies or books of the genre. Actually, fun and genre are equal, but that's harder to express in a list.

 

3. Can the rule be expressed as an alternate version of another rule?

 

This is important because the more you can combine and reduce the rules, the less needs to be remembered.

 

4. Is it realistic?

 

Realism is important because we expect things to work as they do in our world. If a rule is not realistic, an attempt will be made to make it realistic without sacrificing any of the previous criteria, but if that's impossible, reality gets thrown on the heap.

 

I've never really sat down and formalized my principles, so I may have missed something, and probably did, but that's the gist of my principles.

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*This post is in response to a post made on another thread...a non-directed question/comment that was made.*

 

I wanted to take just a moment to mention something:

 

When this project was first presented, I was mildly interested. I've been following the thread as it's evolved, and it looks like things are moving along, but sadly it appears the direction of the project is generally away from the direction I was hoping. So while I'm not partaking in the brainstorming or idea department, I am still following this and I hope you guys have success in getting this idea together and put out for other people to use.

Edited by Grimace
clarification

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I've been following the thread as it's evolved, and it looks like things are moving along, but sadly it appears the direction of the project is generally away from the direction I was hoping.

 

Out of curiosity, Grimace, what was the direction you were hoping for? :-)

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Something with more detail for the ships and ship combat (a necessity for pirates, IMO)

 

How much detail are we talking about? I was thinking of something along the lines of Star Wars D6, perhaps a bit less. Were you thinking of something more detailed?

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Something with more detail for the ships and ship combat (a necessity for pirates, IMO)

 

Heard! Ships and ship combat would be the biggest draw for me. Something where I can take a small catalog of ships and sprinkle a few varieties into a seafaring campaign would be great. I've got a good setting going already, but I've always felt relatively landlocked.

 

And yeah, about as it is in the Star Wars D6 would suffice. Unlike the space combat which is purely fictional/theoretical the naval engagement could draw on a touch of researched realism and that would really have my attention. So, perhaps it may have a few more details than the Star Wars system would. Of course, there's only so much detail and fine tuning that the D6 system is designed to handle. But Star Wars isn't a bad place to start looking. They at least took into account gun batteries, fire arcs, fire rate, and the like.

 

I'll tell ya, spending an afternoon on the gun deck of the USS Constitution got my gears turning as to the possibilities here. Unfortunately I'm too tied to a couple of other professional projects to really invest the time. But if there's any possibility Heroes of the High Seas had naval elements I could plug in without too much fuss, you'd definitely have me as a customer.

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How much detail are we talking about? I was thinking of something along the lines of Star Wars D6, perhaps a bit less. Were you thinking of something more detailed?

 

Well, more detail than what had been discussed in this thread. It was sounding like ship combat and ships in general were going to largely be glossed over as just a "common vehicle"...designed as nothing more than just a vehicle to get you from A to B. And ship combat was being described as a couple simple die rolls to resolve what would've been a pretty important thing of the time.

 

As cheshire suggested, having options to pick and choose from in terms of ships and what you can put on them would certainly be nice.

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I'm gearing up to do a strange pirates game along the lines of this thread and thought I'd share a few of the thoughts I've had.

 

In keeping with the low-fantasy idea, magic is really not showy, there are no measurable effects of magic (i.e you don't see magic users hurling lightning and fireballs at their opponents). Instead magic is, for the most part, charms, curses, and maybe a mystical item or two (ala Jack Sparrow's compass). Mechanically the effects of magic are buffs/debuffs.

 

Many mythical creatures (werewolves and vampires, I'm looking at you) have found it easier to integrate in pirate crews because the pirates don't particularly care if you've made a pact with the devil, and appreciate the prowess of these creatures, and because most of mainland Europe has organizations specifically for hunting and killing said creatures. Magic users also count among this group.

 

The Pope has granted the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Roman and Universal Inquisition special fleets that are tasked with hunting down these heretics in the New World.

 

Also, I've updated the map I made last year.

SVCbotNs.jpg

 

I am still of the opinion that ship battles are mostly uninteresting to multiple players (due to the limited mechanical interaction available) and intend to have them be chases where the cannon fire/maneuvering/damage control merely makes it easier for your ship to close in and board or escape your opponent, depending on what your goal is.

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