[50F] Ship Combat and You

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GranFalloon
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[50F] Ship Combat and You

#1 Postby GranFalloon » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:47 pm

I've just started a 50 Fathoms campaign with a mix of kids and their parents. So far it's gone pretty well, but I'm a little stuck on the best way to handle ship combat. I don't really use battle grids (preferring the "zone" style that was kicking around on here some time ago), but it seems like ship combat could be fun played a little more tactically like that. Probably somewhere between the Chase rules and the standard Vehicle rules. I'm curious what has worked out best for folks here. Namely:

Matters of Scale: How long do you make a round? Six seconds seems too short. I also can't find cannon reload times for the life o' me. I assume it's a lot. How far do you "zoom out?" 1" = 2 yards would require a table roughly the size of my house.

Keeping everyone involved: A ship only has one captain, and most of my players can't shoot for beans. I'd like to offer them something to do other than making the occasional Shooting rolls for the NPC crew.

Anything else: Really, anything that you've found to be fun and interesting for ships is something I want to hear.

Thanks folks!

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Re: [50F] Ship Combat and You

#2 Postby ValhallaGH » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:45 pm

GranFalloon wrote:II also can't find cannon reload times for the life o' me. I assume it's a lot.

Core Rules, cannons, Reloading "one action to reload with a crew of four, or two actions with less crewmen"


I've made a couple of my players roll for the opposing ship from time to time. Gives the player something to do, despite having an uninvolved character, and it frees me up to spend more time keeping things moving and interesting.
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#3 Postby fanchergw » Wed Oct 03, 2012 2:53 pm

When we played 50F some years ago, we used the old Chase rules for ship combat. We made sure to pick a distance increments such that the cannon ranges were easy multiples of the increment; that way it was easy to figure out the range modifiers. Once they were at 0 range increments, then - depending on the action taken - boarding was a possibility.

We also just assumed that the time for each turn was long enough to allow for reloading, so it was possible to fire as part of each turn. The other issue for Shooting is modifiers. Since ships are big, but also Unstable, we just assumed that the size of the ship offset the Unstable Platform modifiers and called it a wash.

This worked out great for us. Our favorite tactic became getting in close and sweeping the decks with grape shot for several rounds. Once the opposing ship's crew was reduced to critical levels, we'd board and capture the ship. Great way to make money!

Gordon

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warrenss2
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#4 Postby warrenss2 » Sat Oct 06, 2012 11:35 pm

I'm planing on using the ship styles in Pirates of the Spanish Main because we going to be using the WixKids Pirates! ships.

I also like to throw in a wind direction variable... grrrrrrrr....

My search-fu is weak!!

I have a tool that I found somewhere that varies your ship's speed a little bit depending on it's facing to the wind.

I'll see if I can email it to you... but I'd like to give credit due to it's creator.
:blam:

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#5 Postby SeeleyOne » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:25 pm

I would be interested in that wind-speed variation as well. I also have the Pirates of the Spanish Main and the Wizkids ships for the sole purpose of playing Savage Worlds. :)
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warrenss2
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#6 Postby warrenss2 » Mon Oct 08, 2012 2:08 am

I have taken the liberty of going ahead and posting the recently found Wind Gauge.

Remember that I DID NOT make this!

But I sure do wish I could remember who did make it so I could tip my hat to the person.

The Wind Gauge.

I'm going to allow sloops and schooners to sail closer into the direction of the wind than other ships. So those two ships can sail one point into the "No Go!" area of the Wind Gauge. I'm not sure what to do if the ship is exactly on the line between "Full Speed" & "Half Speed" & "No Go!"... I guess I'd give ht e better of the two speeds to the players.

ps - If anyone knows who made this please let me know so I can give proper credit and thanks.

I'm planing on using the ship styles in Pirates of the Spanish Main because we going to be using the WixKids Pirates! ships.
- What I mean by this is I'm going to halve the 50F Top Speed to keep the ships on our gaming table. Going to make our ship-to-ship combat more of a miniatures type game.
:blam:

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Re: [50F] Ship Combat and You

#7 Postby Dylan S » Thu Nov 15, 2012 8:47 pm

ValhallaGH wrote:
GranFalloon wrote:II also can't find cannon reload times for the life o' me. I assume it's a lot.

Core Rules, cannons, Reloading "one action to reload with a crew of four, or two actions with less crewmen"


For the sake of leaner crews, I prefer the Explorer's Edition 50 Fathoms rules, page 30:
"12lb and smaller cannons require two crew to fire to full effect. Larger cannons require four crew. For every man a cannon is missing, it requires two additional rounds to reload."
(Is it okay to quote the book like that?)

I interpret this to mean that two crewmen on a standard 12lb cannon can load, ram, and shoot their gun at no penalty. Otherwise, sea battles become rather drawn-out with either a lot of missed shots (for the -2 multi-action reload penalty) or waiting (with crews alternately firing and reloading each round). I realize that this may be stretching the rules, but given the amount of ship-to-ship action in 50F, speed and excitement are a priority in my mind. I like each broadside to change the battle, if possible.

I use the Deluxe Edition Chase rules for combat at sea, as per the 50F rules on page 40. If both ships are willing to fight, the Chase is a Dogfight, lasting until one is beaten or attempts to flee, at which point it becomes a 10-round Extended Chase. The inclusion of obstacles and the Force maneuver keeps things interesting for the captain, of course, and boarding will make things interesting for everyone. Anytime the players have a Short Range advantage, I let them fire spells and personal firearms at the opposing ship, or even engage in Tests of Will with enemy crew, in addition to the usual ship business of firing the guns. I describe each round as about twenty minutes, until boarding reverts it to six seconds. This gives the impression that a truly hard-fought battle might last the better part of a day, while a foregone conclusion or lucky shot could end things in less than an hour.

If your players' attention is dwindling, you could have the enemy captain decide to board them, or you could introduce a Random Encounter (of the appropriate Sea), or you could encourage the players to lower a boat and try to board the enemy ship "from a distance." Having players in the boat would introduce a third entity into the chase. Rather than fight on the high seas, the players in the boat would dedicate themselves to Force attempts (modified by the Range of their Chase Card) until they succeed and can lash themselves to the enemy's hull and climb up with daggers between their teeth. Of course, the slow little dinghy makes a tempting target for the enemy captain, so it's a particularly daring venture. If they're thrown from the dinghy, that makes things even more interesting as they must choose which direction to swim! There would be nothing cooler than surviving your dinghy's destruction, only to swim toward the enemy ship and climb aboard it soaking wet and ready for payback.

Also, I don't count Unsteady Platform rules for cannon-teams, though I do for small-arms fire. I guess my argument there is that the cannon is fixed to the deck and aimed with mechanical cranks, automatically steadying it. The 'gamey' reason is, again, to avoid a lot of missed shots and drawn-out battles.

But really, their role in ship combat is based on their role aboard the ship in general. A wind mage will be kept busy using Zephyr, Becalm, and Storm to change the nature of the fight. An earth mage could be kept busy repairing damage to the hull and protecting the essential Captain, while a water mage or ship's surgeon will be busy with the incoming casualties. An Atani could take off on his own and bomb the enemy ship (similar to the dinghy example, above). If your players are none of these things, and can't shoot, and also aren't confident sailors, well... beats me!

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#8 Postby jerzamlz » Tue Dec 18, 2012 10:59 pm

warrenss2 wrote:I'm planing on using the ship styles in Pirates of the Spanish Main because we going to be using the WixKids Pirates! ships.

I also like to throw in a wind direction variable... grrrrrrrr....

My search-fu is weak!!

I have a tool that I found somewhere that varies your ship's speed a little bit depending on it's facing to the wind.

I'll see if I can email it to you... but I'd like to give credit due to it's creator.



I think that's a good idea dude.. :)

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