[HR] Naval Rules

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The Dark
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[HR] Naval Rules

This is a very rough draft. If there's any clarification necessary or suggestions, please feel free to offer ideas. Sources used for this document include:
Adventurer, Conqueror, King
HackJammer
"Actium: End of the Roman Republic" (Strategy & Tactics #281, Jul-Aug 2013)

Technical notes: HackJammer was used only to derive a formula for the cost of ships, since I couldn't get ACKS' galley costs to work nicely for me. The SHP of the small and large galley were used to derive a formula for calculating SHP for larger vessels. The Actium article was used for information on crew size and artillery loadout. The rule for replacing artillery with marines is based on the (large) discrepancies in sources for amount of artillery and number of soldiers carried at various times aboard these types of ships. The number of turns is based on maneuverability ratings from "Actium" and technical reports on the trireme Olympias that reported it could make a 180 degree turn in 1 minute.

Naval combat:

Use a hex map. Each hex is considered to be 30 feet (10 yards) across.

Sustained rowing: Sustained rowing is a steady stroke from the oarsmen that can be sustained for hours if needed. It is just quick enough to ram an enemy if they get close, but since most oared ships have similar sustained speeds, it is difficult to close with an unwilling enemy using sustained rowing.

Burst rowing: Burst rowing is an all-out effort from the oarsmen, and is tiring. A ship can automatically burst row for 2d3 rounds; each round after that, it must make a morale check, with each check after the first at a cumulative -1 penalty. Note that most rowers are considered conscripts (-2 morale). On a result of hostility or resignation, the rowers can no longer maintain burst rowing. The ship immediately drops to Sustained speed and takes a -1 speed penalty for 2d6 rounds. After this time is up, the Sustained speed returns to normal and the ship can Burst speed again.

Example: A octeres wants to close with a trireme. Its captain has a 14 charisma, granting +1 to morale rolls, and the crew are conscripts, inflicting a -2 penalty to morale rolls. The captain rolls 2d3, and the ship can Burst row for 5 rounds. The sixth round, the crew makes a morale check at -1 (+1 for CHA, -2 for conscripts). The captain rolls an 8, modified to 7, and the ship can continue at Burst speed. The seventh round, the crew makes a morale check at -2 (+1 for CHA, -2 conscripts, -1 cumulative penalty). The captain rolls a 3, modified to 1, and the ship immediately drops to its Sustained speed with a -1 hex speed penalty. The captain rolls 2d6, and finds his ship will be slowed for 10 rounds while the rowers recover.

Turns: Each ship has a fractional turn rating. The bireme may make one turn per round. Triremes can only turn every other round, while the largest warships can only make one turn every 6 rounds. Note that ships do not have to move in order to turn, but stationary ships do not normally turn any faster than moving ships. A stationary ship can choose to back one bank of oars. If it does so, it requires one round stationary to prepare. It may then turn at one hexside per round for any number of rounds, then requires one round to prepare to move forward again.

Light Hulls, Standard Hulls, and Armored Hulls: The ship stats presented below are for Standard Hulls. Ships may be built with lighter planking for improved speed or can be sheathed with bronze armor for more protection. A light-hulled ship reduces its AC from 5 to 3, but gains +1 to morale checks for Burst rowing. An armored ship improves its AC from 5 to 6, but has a -1 penalty to morale checks for Burst rowing.

Artillery: Most vessels carry artillery on board. The age of ramming declined when massed fleets became more common, and the large polyremes are less suited for a battle of maneuver than the old biremes. Each ship is presented with the maximum number of artillery weapons that can be placed on its deck. Artillery can be removed for additional sailors or marines. Heavy combat ships use towers to improve the field of fire of their artillery. Ships with towers may carry two ballistas in the towers. Each ballista can fire into either broadside. One can fire to the fore, the other to the aft. All heavy combat ships can carry two weapons (of any type) firing to the fire and two (of any type) firing after. Half of all their non-tower weapons can fire into each broadside.
Biremes and Triremes are Light combat ships, and do not have towers. Biremes can mount one weapon firing forward and one firing aft, with each able to fire into either broadside. Triremes mount two weapons firing one direction and one firing the other (either two fore and one aft or one fore and two aft); the lone weapon can fire into either broadside, while the paired weapons can each fire into one broadside.

Firing arcs: The broadside covers all hexes except those directly in front of or behind the ship. Ships either directly in front of or behind another ship can only be fired on by their fore or aft weapons respectively. Thus, a fore tower ballista can fire into any hex within range except the line of hexes directly behind the ship, while an aft port onager can fire directly behind the ship or into any hex to the left of the ship in an arc that extends to (but does not include) the line of hexes directly in front of the ship.

Marines: Marines are used in close combat or boarding combat. They can be hired per the mercenary table in the ACKs core rulebook. For each artillery weapon removed from a ship, 10 additional marines may be carried. Since the type of marine carried will vary, cost of marines is not included in the crew cost of a ship. Marines are assumed to be responsible for the firing of artillery; if no marines are carried, sailors can fire the artillery, but at a -1 attack penalty.

Monthly crew cost: The monthly crew costs in this document include the cost for a captain and a navigator, and utilize the Mariner costs from page 54 of ACKs. Costs exclude the cost of marines, as their equipment (and thus cost) will vary.

Missile weapon ranges in hexes:
Arbalest – short range 3, medium range 6, long range 12
Bow, Composite or Bow, Long – short range 2, medium range 4, long range 7
Bow, Short – short range 1, medium range 3, long range 5
Crossbow – short range 2, medium range 5, long range 8
Dart – short range 0, medium range 1, long range 2
Javelin – short range 0, medium range 1, long range 2
Sling – short range 1, medium range 3, long range 6
Ballista – short range 5, medium range 10, long range 20
Onager – minimum range 5, short range 10, medium range 20, long range 40
Only the ballista and onager do shp damage. They may be aimed at a ship in general or at a specific target on board the ship. All other weapons must be aimed at a specific target. The onager cannot fire at targets closer than 5 hexes, due to the arc of its projectile.

Crew on deck are considered exposed and may be fired at using their standard AC. Rowers on bottom levels are considered behind a barrier and cannot be shot (although they may be accidentally struck by ballista or onager shots). Top level rowers are considered covered and are attacked as if they were AC 4.

Ballista:
Rate of Fire, Attacks As and Damage are as per ACKs. Range is per the missile weapons information in this file.

Onager:
Rate of Fire, Attacks As and Damage are as per ACKs. Range is per the missile weapons information in this file.

Ship information:
Bireme (Light Warship)
SHP: 100
AC: 5
Sustained speed: 3
Burst speed: 6
Turns: 1/1
Onagers: 1
Ballistae: 1
Rowers: 144
Sailors: 10
Marines: 15
Light ship cost: 9,750 gp
Standard ship cost: 13,000 gp
Armored ship cost: 32,500 gp
Artillery cost: 280 gp
Monthly crew cost: 605 gp

Trireme (Light Warship)
SHP: 120
AC: 5
Sustained speed: 3
Burst speed: 5
Turns: 1/2
Onagers: 2
Ballistae: 1
Rowers: 180
Sailors: 15
Marines: 20
Light ship cost: 12,000 gp
Standard ship cost: 16,000 gp
Armored ship cost: 40,000 gp
Artillery cost: 480 gp
Monthly crew cost: 743 gp

Quadrireme (Heavy Warship)
SHP: 175
AC: 5
Sustained speed: 3
Burst speed: 5
Turns: 1/2
Onagers: 3
Ballistae: 2
Rowers: 220
Sailors: 30
Marines: 30
Light ship cost: 18,000 gp
Standard ship cost: 24,000 gp
Armored ship cost: 60,000 gp
Artillery cost: 760 gp
Monthly crew cost: 953 gp

Quinquereme (Heavy Warship)
SHP: 215
AC: 5
Sustained speed: 3
Burst speed: 5
Turns: 1/2
Onagers: 4
Ballistae: 3
Rowers: 270
Sailors: 30
Marines: 40
Light ship cost: 22,500 gp
Standard ship cost: 30,000 gp
Armored ship cost: 75,000 gp
Artillery cost: 1,040 gp
Monthly crew cost: 1,103 gp

Hexareme (Heavy Warship)
SHP: 250
AC: 5
Sustained speed: 3
Burst speed: 5
Turns: 1/3
Onagers: 5
Ballistae: 4
Rowers: 330
Sailors: 30
Marines: 50
Light ship cost: 27,000 gp
Standard ship cost: 36,000 gp
Armored ship cost: 90,000 gp
Artillery cost: 1,320 gp
Monthly crew cost: 1,283 gp

Septireme (Heavy Warship)
SHP: 285
AC: 5
Sustained speed: 3
Burst speed: 5
Turns: 1/3
Onagers: 6
Ballistae: 5
Rowers: 385
Sailors: 30
Marines: 60
Light ship cost: 31,500 gp
Standard ship cost: 42,000 gp
Armored ship cost: 105,000 gp
Artillery cost: 1,600 gp
Monthly crew cost: 1,448 gp

Octeres (Heavy Warship)
SHP: 315
AC: 5
Sustained speed: 3
Burst speed: 5
Turns: 1/6
Onagers: 8
Ballistae: 6
Rowers: 440
Sailors: 30
Marines: 70
Light ship cost: 36,000 gp
Standard ship cost: 48,000 gp
Armored ship cost: 120,000 gp
Artillery cost: 2,080 gp
Monthly crew cost: 1,613 gp

Enneres (Heavy Warship)
SHP: 345
AC: 5
Sustained speed: 3
Burst speed: 5
Turns: 1/6
Onagers: 10
Ballistae: 8
Rowers: 504
Sailors: 30
Marines: 80
Light ship cost: 40,500 gp
Standard ship cost: 54,000 gp
Armored ship cost: 135,000 gp
Artillery cost: 2,640 gp
Monthly crew cost: 1,805 gp

Deceres (Heavy Warship)
SHP: 370
AC: 5
Sustained speed: 3
Burst speed: 5
Turns: 1/6
Onagers: 12
Ballistae: 10
Rowers: 570
Sailors: 30
Marines: 90
Light ship cost: 45,000 gp
Standard ship cost: 60,000 gp
Armored ship cost: 150,000 gp
Artillery cost: 3,200 gp
Monthly crew cost: 2,003 gp

The Dark
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Joined: 2013-07-05 19:55

Two tweaks I'm currently working on:

1. A Critical Hit table to allow for weapons to be damaged/destroyed, ship speed to be damaged, rudders to be jammed/destroyed, etc.

2. Narrowing firing arcs a bit. After a little testing, the lack of maneuverability of the super-heavy polyremes isn't as much of a liability as it should be because of the wide arcs. There will end up being 10 arcs a weapon can be placed into - Forward, Forward Port, Forward Starboard, Port Broadside, Starboard Broadside, Aft, Aft Port, Aft Starboard, Fore Tower, and Aft Tower.

koewn
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Neat! I really like the usage of the Reaction table for the rowing.

Random thoughts:

Are any of the ships larger than a hex?

Is there a use in knowing rowers per row/side, in the case of needing to have them affected by damage (crit hit, etc.?)

All those parts and locations gets me imagining a Battletech-style sheet for the ships :)

The Dark
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"Are any of the ships larger than a hex?"

Yes, all of them are (and that's something I didn't think of before). Which is going to require some thought on how multi-hex ships will interact with firing arcs and how turning will operate (current thought is that a weapon can fire on a ship if any of its hexes are in the weapon's arc, and that ships will turn around the front inside corner, so a left turn will mean the front left hex is the pivot, mirrored for a right turn).
Biremes through quadriremes will be 3 hexes long and 2 hexes wide (due to oars - they range from 108 feet by 16 feet with 16-foot-long oars to 115 feet by 16 feet with 20-foot-long oars). It looks like fives, sixes, and sevens will be 4 x 2, while eights and nines will be 4 x 3 and tens will be 5 x 3.

One positive side effect is that it'll be possible to position marines on the decks of ships for boarding actions so that (for example) missile troops can stay on the starboard side if they're being boarded from the port side.

"Is there a use in knowing rowers per row/side, in the case of needing to have them affected by damage (crit hit, etc.?)"

I'm not totally sure yet, but probably. To avoid the argument on whether polyremes were rowed as biremes or triremes, I'm expecting the crit for rower casualties to be something along the lines of "inflict normal damage and kill 1d6 columns of rowers," while small missile weapons can attempt to pick off individual rowers (or marines, or the captain if they're unsporting types and can get a clear shot at him). For a bireme, loss of 1d6 columns would mean losing 2 to 12 rowers (because each column is 2 rowers), while for a deceres it would be 10 to 60 (because each column is 10 rowers). I don't want to get down to it mattering exactly where they're lost, because tracking that for each ship would slow play down quite a lot if there are multiple ships on each side. It's much quicker to just note that you've lost X rowers and have Y rowers remaining.

I'll need some playtesting on it, but currently I'm thinking loss of 1 point of Sustained speed and 2 points of Burst speed will happen at 1/4 and 1/2 rowers lost, so most ships will drop to 2/3 when they've lost 1/4 of their rowers and 1 when they've lost 1/2 (with the bireme dropping to 2/4 and 1/2). Other crits will involve throwing off the rowers rhythm (loss of speed for a short time), breaking oars (hope you brought spares), destroying weapons, inflicting splinter damage to the navigator, captain, or marines, or rudder damage (can only turn in one direction or needs one more round to make any turn).

"All those parts and locations gets me imagining a Battletech-style sheet for the ships :)"
I want to keep it a little more abstract than that. My inspiration for this was actually Spelljammer, since that treated space combat like naval combat and (mostly) worked. While I like BattleTech, it tends to slow down horribly when large battles occur. By keeping it more abstract and referencing fewer charts during combat, it keeps things a little quicker. It probably will be useful to have some sort of ship sheet, but it'll be mostly to record the shp, number of crew, and the weapon arcs.

koewn
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You know, I've never even seen Spelljammer. I should see about rectifying that.

Are the 8s+ the only ones wider than a hex discounting oar length? Would it be worth "assuming" the oar space to get more ships 1 hex wide, under the rationale that space gets taken up by alongside actions? (keeping in mind the ability to get up alongside and break oars in certain situations). You could then just have the ships turn on their center (lengthwise) hex's facing, perhaps. Like a clock hand extending past it's face.

I don't have it with me; do your hex ranges for missile/siege weaponry track alongside Domains At War's for that hex (company scale)? Could cheat a bit and have a second scale (like D@W Epic) for when the big ships come through, though you'd have some issues with movement rates (probably have to alternate 1 or 2 hexes per round)

The Dark
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I wasn't a D@W backer, so I don't have the hex ranges for that. All of the missile ranges were taken from the ACKS core book, by taking feet of range and dividing by 30 to get hexes, with the onager and ballista tweaked slightly to give them S/M/L instead of just a generic range.

As far as ship widths go, all of them are one hex wide ignoring the oars (even the deceres' hull is no more than 8.5 meters wide, which is 28 feet). After watching some video of Olympias, I'm OK with all of the ships being one hex - I was adding the length of the oars to the width of the ship, but a lot of that length will be used vertically to reach the water, so the only real potential from interference should come from multiple deceres next to each other, which is just enough of a fringe case to not worry about. For turns, moving on the center hex looks like it will work, with the 4 hex ships turning on their second hex (so the aft swings further than the bow).

The Dark
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OK, tweak to firing arcs and weapon mounts:

Firing arcs are described by a pair of numbers. These numbers are facings that the weapon can fire into, starting with 1 being the hex face directly in front of the ship, progressing clockwise to 6 being the front left hex face. All arcs are described clockwise, so an arc of 5-1 means that the weapon can fire into any hex bounded by lines extending from hex face 5 (rear left) to hex face 1 (directly in front), including those lines.

Arcs:
Forward (F) - 6-2
Forward Port (FP) - 6-1
Forward Starboard (FS) - 1-2
Port Broadside (PB) - 5-6
Starboard Broadside (SB) - 2-3
Aft (A) - 3-5
Aft Port (AP) - 4-5
Aft Starboard (AS) - 3-4
Fore Tower (FT) - 4-2
Aft Tower (AT) - 2-6

Mounts: Any ship can mount 1 F or 1 FP and 1 FS, 1 A or 1 AP and 1 AS. Each heavy warship can mount 1 ballista each FT and AT. Any ship may mount any number of weapons broadside.

Ramming: A ram attack is carried out as an attack by a 0-level fighter, modified by the captain's INT modifier. An attack from ahead or behind uses the target's AC. An attack from the side subtracts the target's length in hexes from AC (examples: A trireme is AC 5, 3 hexes long. From the side, it is treated as AC 2 for ramming attacks only. An armored deceres is AC 6, 5 hexes long. From the side, it is treated as AC 1 for ramming attacks only). A successful ram, in addition to the standard ACKS damage, also inflicts a Hull Holed critical on the target.

Onager update: due to the lack of a stable platform on a ship at sea, and because the onager fires indirectly (as opposed to the direct-firing ballista), all onager attacks have a -1 penalty to hit.

General siege weapon update: Siege weapons can only be fired at ships, not at individual targets. The critical hit tables will account for striking crew.

Critical Hit Tables:
Ballista:
2 - Left Rudder Destroyed
3 - Captain Hit
4 - Weapon Destroyed
5 - Oars Fouled
6 - Oars Destroyed
7 - No Additional Effect
8 - Marines Hit
9 - Marines Hit
10 - Rowers Killed
11 - Navigator Hit
12 - Right Rudder Destroyed

Onager:
2 - Left Rudder Destroyed
3 - Captain Hit
4 - Weapon Destroyed
5 - Oars Fouled
6 - Marines Hit
7 - Oars Destroyed
8 - Hull Holed
9 - Hull Holed
10 - Rowers Killed
11 - Navigator Hit
12 - Right Rudder Destroyed

Critical Hit Effects:
Captain Hit - the captain suffers splinter damage
Navigator Hit - the navigator suffers splinter damage
Marines Hit - 1d4 marines suffer splinter damage. If there are multiple types of marines on board, 50% of the time the attacker chooses which type of marine, 50% of the time the target chooses which type of marine
Weapon Destroyed - 1 weapon is destroyed. 50% of the time the attacker chooses the specific weapon, 50% of the time the target chooses the specific weapon
Hull Holed - Target ship suffers a -1 turn rate (a turn rate of 1/3 becomes 1/4, etc)
Oars Fouled - Target ship suffers a -1 to speed for 1d3 rounds. Before rolling, the target can choose to reduce speed to 0 for 1 round instead
Oars Destroyed - 1d3 columns of oars are destroyed. If spare oars are not available, the ship is considered to have 1d3 fewer columns of rowers until spare oars become available. A bireme needs 2 spare oars per column, all other ships need 3 spare oars per column.
Rowers Killed - 1d6 columns of rowers are killed. Because oars are loosely tied to the ship to prevent rowers from dropping them overboard, they are not lost.

Columns of Oars: This is the total number of columns on board the ship. Half of the columns are on each side of the ship.
Bireme - 72
Trireme - 60
Quadrireme - 72
Quinquereme - 90
Hexareme - 110
Septireme - 128
Octeres - 148
Enneres - 168
Deceres - 190

If the active columns drop below 3/4, Sustained speed is reduced by 1 and Burst speed is reduced by 2. If the active columns drop below 1/2, Sustained speed is reduced by an additional 1 (2 total) and Burst speed is reduced by an additional 2 (4 total).

Note: I am adding these rules to my master document, so once the revisions are mostly done, a single post can be made with the updated rules.

The Dark
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Because I really shouldn't assume anything - the critical hit charts are rolled on 2d6, and a critical is scored when a natural 20 is rolled to hit.

koewn
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Just because I'd mentioned it, I thought I'd see how they compare:

Ballista – short range 5, medium range 10, long range 20
Onager – minimum range 5, short range 10, medium range 20, long range 40

At 30' hexes (Domains At War Platoon Scale, platoons are 30 men or 15 mounted troops) ranges are:

D@W Ballista:

Light: Min 1, Max 16 hexes
Light, Repeating: Min 1 hex, max 16 hexes
Medium: 1-16 hexes
Heavy: 1-20 hexes

Catapults:

Light: min 10, max 20
Medium: min 12, max 28
Heavy: min 12, max 28

All Trebuchet: 12-32 hexes

Works out pretty similar!

There's no range penalties in D@W; they also do a set amount of damage, but they're stationary actors firing at stationary targets (fortifications) mostly, so artillery in that sense is more of a physics problem than an exchange of missiles.

Is splinter damage as per the damage dealt by the weapon?

The Dark
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For the critical hits, yes. It was an abstraction of the "damage to all creatures in a 5' line" for the ballista and "damage to all creatures in a 5' area" for the onager, but I didn't define it thoroughly.

I'm also glad to see that the ranges mostly worked out. I wanted to have S/M/L so that they could be treated similarly to individual ranged weapons. The onager probably is a little bit long-ranged, but I haven't had a chance to see how the combination of long range and poor accuracy (-6 at 21-40 hexes) actually works out.

New rule:
Initiative: Ships move on their captain's initiative, with a +1 bonus for each time the captain has taken the Seafaring proficiency. Marines and weapon crews act on a separate initiative roll, with a bonus if the leader of the marines has ranks in Martial Strategy. (Note: if a campaign will focus on both sea and land battles, a Naval Strategy proficiency that functions identically to Martial Strategy but with MS specific to land and NS specific to sea may be prudent)

Clarification on firing arcs: broadside weapons may trace their line of fire from any hex that the ship occupies. F, FP, FS, and FT weapons trace line of fire from the front hex, while A, AP, AS, and AT weapons trace line of fire from the rear hex.

Topic for discussion: I am considering having a rammed ship forfeit its next movement and take a penalty to shots for one round to reflect the ship being shaken up. This would tie in to fleet rules, where initiative determines who moves first, with each "class" of ship moving before heavier ships, letting the light ships try to disrupt heavier ships by ramming.

koewn
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Gotcha.

I'm gonna fly off into some D@W stuff here, so please don't think I'm giving you the business, though I may be "selling" D@W a bit here. I'm just showing what ACKS "will have" in a couple weeks or so that might be conceptually usable:

So, officers in D@W have a few characteristics that might aid here:

Leadership Ability: Equal to your # of henchmen you can hire - 4+ChaMod+Proficiency if any.

Zone of Control: 1/2 the Leadership Ability, representing the radius in hexes a commander may activate units without penalty (give them orders)

Strategic Ability: Highest of Int or Wis bonus, minus worst of Int or Wis penalty if any, then Military Strategy added to that. That determines your initiative bonus in mass combat for the commander's units.

Morale Modifier: CHA plus any class powers (battlefield prowess, etc)

So, you gain a number of activation points equal to your Leadership Ability that you spend to activate your units. (it also determines how many divisions you can have in the army you command).

I could see splitting the marines and weapon crews into separate "units", that can be activated in the particular order the captain wishes, with the ship perhaps counting as it's own "unit" for movement.

Furthermore, each ship can be it's own "division", thus limiting any given captain's fleet size to what he or she is able to handle.

Zone of Control could be reworked to reflect whatever the historical signalling method (and effective range thereof) was between ships of the time, perhaps with bonuses from the Signalling proficiency, or overload the Naval Strategy proficiency.

Separating Naval from Military, proficiency wise, is a really good idea; they are two different beasts. Make the PC that wants to be a terror on land and sea work for it.

Regarding the rammed ship effects: There's the concept of "shock" in D@W, if a unit takes enough damage or magical damage; a morale roll determines effects (rout, flee, recoil, stand firm). That might be something worth modifying, since you're already using a morale roll in several different places.

Pursuant to that, a unit can become "disordered", requiring another Activation Point to use. If a successful ramming would cause each unit on board to have to roll for "shock", and those units fail the roll, the captain perhaps wouldn't have enough AP in that round to activate everyone on ship, and may have to forgo movement or marines firing or weapons firing depending on who failed, thus reflecting the on-deck disorder of a rammed ship.

Or do it for the whole ship.

Perhaps a critical hit (a particularly good ramming) (if you know what I mean) might also force the roll for the ramming ship in addition to double damage or what-have-you.

Completely random thought: is it worth the complexity to have a "warm up" to gaining speed, espc. from a stationary start? Perhaps using burst rowing to reduce the effect?

The Dark
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Quick reply to the non-D@W question: "Completely random thought: is it worth the complexity to have a "warm up" to gaining speed, espc. from a stationary start? Perhaps using burst rowing to reduce the effect?"

Not really. During the Olympias trials, they were able to get to their average sustained speed in three to four strokes, which is quick enough that I don't see it being beneficial to have an acceleration limit.

For the D@W ideas, I wouldn't be surprised if I end up doing a tweaked set of rules incorporating D@W ideas, so that there will be both an "ACKS core" naval rule and an "ACKS+D@W" naval rule. Unless, of course, Alex plans to have naval rules in a supplement, at which point I'll just be modifying the heck out of them to fit my own feeling of how things should be done.

koewn
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Huh. That's interesting. I guess the number of oars; etc. Someone on the internet probably has the physics on it.

D@W: Alternatively, he may just publish yours. :)

Alex
The Autarch
Joined: 2011-06-30 18:10

The Dark, would you mind dropping me an email at alex@autarch.co to discuss?

I do not currently have plans for naval rules but they are in hot demand. What I have read so far has been impressive and I'd like to further the discussion.

The Dark
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Alex - I've sent you an email from my gmail account.

Additional polyreme variations:
The standard polyremes described above are cataphract, multi-level ships. This means they have a full deck and have rowers on 2 (bireme) or 3 (all others) levels. However, this is not how all polyremes were rowed.

Aphract - this variation does not have a full deck, but narrow partial decks. This type of polyreme is somewhat lighter and thus faster and more maneuverable, but more fragile and with less room for artillery and soldiers.
Aphract modifiers: -10% shp (round to nearest 5), 1/2 marines, 1/2 artillery (rounded up), +1 turn (turn 1 round sooner), +1 crew morale when Burst rowing.

Single-level - this variation uses as many rowers as possible on the fewest number of oars. Archaeological evidence shows that up to 8 rowers could be placed on a single oar. This type of polyreme was wider than the multi-level polyreme. This gave it more deck space for marines and requires fewer trained rowers, but it was less maneuverable due to the wider hull. Technically, enneres and deceres with this modification are rowed on two levels (4 and 5 rowers for the enneres, 5 and 5 for the deceres), but the end result is the same.
Single-level modifiers: -1 turn (turns take 1 more round to complete), +50% marines, -1gp monthly maintenance per 2 rowers.

The Dark
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Time for a mildly fantastic addition to the rules:

Transports:
Old warships can be converted to animal transports. As these ships are intended to be protected by warships, they carry neither weapons nor marines. However, they can carry one horse (or other horse-sized animal) for each marine they could normally carry. While the horses are larger than the marines, they are carried in slings without room to move around, allowing them to be carried closer to each other.

Flying transport:
Some nations that have both navies and soldiers who ride flying creatures, such as pegasi, griffons, or hippogriffs, have had the idea to combine the two for use as scouts and light combatants. Because these animals need room to move around, take off, and land, they cannot be stabled as close together as animals that are solely being transported. Thus, for each three marines removed from a ship, one flying animal and its rider may be added.

(non-rule author's note: The potential number of mount-plus-rider pairs ranges from 2 for an aphract bireme to 45 for a single-level deceres. However, a wise captain will ensure he keeps enough marines on board to man the artillery. The ships that can fully man their artillery and fly the most creatures are the single-level octeres, enneres, or deceres, all of which can fly 16 pairs while still having a full group of artillerists)

koewn
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Hot damn. Aircraft carriers.

I've got this dream of the biggest barge ever built launching rocs.

The Dark
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Ptolemy IV Philopator's tesserakonteres ("forty") might do it (for the giant roc, at least - the smaller ones could be used from existing ships). It was a catamaran hull (two "twenties" held together by a deck) that was 420 feet long, 57 feet wide, and on its trial run had over 4,000 rowers, 400 sailors, and 2,850 marines.

As a side note, I haven't done up any ships larger than a deceres ("ten") for a couple reasons. First, there's fairly little information on them. Ptolemy's beast is the only one I'm aware of with known dimensions. Also, there seems to be no evidence for any larger ships taking part in naval battles (although some may have participated in sieges).

koewn
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That's impressive. That's only a little smaller than the first US carrier (converted from a different sort of ship), and about half the length of the first true carriers. For that matter, the small rocs have about the same wingspan as the late biplanes.

If I were to want to siege a coastal city, if I could weaken their navy first I'd certainly want to have engines on either side of the walls I'm trying to down. Just a good enough screen of smaller ships to protect what is essentially a mobile catapult platform.

The Dark
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Going back to my comment about the tesserakonteres being the only giant polyreme with known dimensions, if anyone has sources for any ancient or medieval (pre-gunpowder) ship sizes, I would appreciate it, particularly ones that mention length and beam and either draft or tonnage. The ones I've been trying to find information recently on are Chinese river warships and Imjin War ships, but good information on them is scarce (particularly after the rise in popularity of Zheng He thanks to Menzies' work of historical fiction).

The Dark
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Sailing will be interesting, since there are multiple factors (some of which are "known unknowns" at this point). Obviously, wind direction and wind speed matter. So, also, does the type of rig (square sails, fore-and-aft, etc). That rig can have effects on the crew size (lateen rigs in particular require more crew for a given sail size).

WARNING: HIGHLY TECHNICAL (and potentially boring to laymen) DISCUSSION BELOW

One thing I am trying to do right now is work on some mathematical formulas to help me work out ships I'm not terribly familiar with. Part of this has involved learning about block coefficients and hull speeds.

Block coefficient is a way of describing (in a number) the overall shape of the hull underwater. To illustrate, if you multiply the length, beam, and draft of a hull, you get a number that assumes the shape is a perfect cube. However, ship's hulls are streamlined to some extent, even on barges. The ratio of the actual volume of the hull underwater to the perfect cube is the block coefficient. Most ships are between a .4 (for a sleek yacht) and .8 (for a ultra large crude carrier - the giant oil tankers). This, in turn, ties into the tonnage of the ship, since the volume of water actually displaced has a mass equal to the tonnage of the ship. Being able to estimate block coefficient based on known dimensions lets me estimate tonnage for ships that don't have a listed tonnage (or, on the flip side, if I have length, beam, and tonnage, I can estimate draft). The polyremes already done have block coefficients ranging from .35 (for the bireme) to .54 (for the quinquereme), averaging .47. This suggests they're adequately streamlined, and that the bireme and trireme may be a bit light (they're at .35 and .36, every other polyreme is at .47 or higher). Then again, they are the light warships.

Hull speed is the theoretical maximum speed of a hull, which is directly related to length - it's 1.37 times the square root of the length of the hull (in feet). Many modern ships can go faster than this through planing or shaping the hull to change how waves form off the bow and stern, but for ancient ships, it's an adequate rule of thumb for determining maximum speed. In my case, I'm also using a factor based on the block coefficient to figure hull shape into speed - that sleek racing yacht will, for the same length of hull, be faster than the blocky tanker (or, in ancient terms, the galley will perform better than the cog). Based on this, the maximum theoretical speed for the polyremes ranges from 13 knots to 15 knots, so I'm pretty happy with the burst rowing speeds of 9 to 11 knots, since those are under the maximum speeds and the power produced by the rowers may not be enough to get to maximum speed.

Kiero
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Excellent stuff. A few little nitpicks - your numbers of crew (sailors and marines) are on the high side. Any additional people not actually required for powering or steering a polyreme are endangering the vessel. The standard marine complement for a trieres/trireme was 14 marines (12 heavy infantry and two archers). They'd then throw themselves around as outboard steerage when necessary. Standard sailor complement was 10. The Romans did like to overload their ships with marines, but that was because they were poor sailors and usually operating close to land. If you were travelling any distance, those numbers would risk the ship if a storm blew up.

A bireme refers more to the oar arrangement than its size; you could get a ship with a similar number of rowers to a trireme that is a bireme (indeed it's likely a lot of the larger polyremes used a bireme arrangement). I reckoned the "small galley" in the book was equivalent to a pentekonter or hemiolia. I then slotted in a "medium galley" representing a trihemiolia (again not necessarily accurate, it could also refer to a trireme that could lower its sails without taking their masts apart) with 120 rowers.

How will you measure oarsman quality (ie training/experience), condition (fatigue and food) and morale? Raw conscripts is fine for slaves chained to their benches or green crews, but what about professional oarsmen? Or well-trained citizen oarsmen like Athens could draw upon?

If you've distinguished Light Hulls, they should be undecked (since that aids in lightening). Which means you can target the rowers, since there's just boards for moving about up top, rather than a complete coverage. It does mean better ventilation for the rowers, since they're not enclosed in a small space.

A trireme was probably faster under oar than a quinquireme, something about the power:weight ratio. A quadrireme was also reckoned slightly faster, but nowhere near as durable in a fight. The heavier polyremes (sixes, sevens, etc) should probably be slower; there's a number of good reasons the five remained the mainstay of any serious navy.

Lastly, I see ramming, but not oar-shearing as an attack. Skilled navies like the Rhodians preferred to attack the oars rather than risk getting stuck in another vessel and being boarded.

The Dark
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Kiero - thanks for the input. I know you did a lot of work for your Greek-inspired campaign, and I appreciate having another pair of eyes look this over.

The number of crew comes directly from the article Actium: End of the Roman Republic, by David R. Higgins, in Strategy & Tactics #201. While the numbers you cited for a Greek trieres are correct, a Greek trieres under these rules would be a light aphract trireme, and would have a maximum of 10 marines, 4 fewer than the historical number. The 15 "sailors" are all non-rower, non-soldier crew, which (on a Greek trieres) consisted of the trierarch (captain), kybernetes (helmsman), prorates (lookout), keleustes (bosun), pentekonteros (quartermaster), naupegos (carpenter/shipwright), auletes (piper), and 10 actual sailors, for a total of 17 "sailors", 2 more than listed on the trireme description. I will admit to having 10 more rowers than the Greek trieres is generally listed with, so under the current rules, a Greek trieres will have 4 more people on board than it should - 10 extra rowers, 4 fewer marines, and 2 fewer sailors. If you have any sources regarding the crewing of larger polyremes, I would appreciate knowing what they are, since I am always looking for more information.

With regards to bireme, trireme, etc, the reme portion comes from Latin remus ("oar"), while the Greek version is eres ("rowing") - hence a trireme in Latin is a trieres in Greek. The Latin is clearly not literal (i.e. "two-oared" up to "ten-oared"), since a quadrireme would not work, let alone a decireme, if it was literal oars. Three is the maximum number of rows that works. Four doesn't work at all. Five is right out. Instead, the Greek is more correct in its terminology, and it refers to the number of rowers in each vertical column - a "two-rowing", a "three-rowing," etc, up to Ptolemy's tesserakonteres, the "forty-rowing," which was a catamaran of two "twenty-rowing" vessels attached to each other, thus being a (twenty plus twenty) "forty-rowing." The number of levels is irrelevant with regards to the nomenclature of the ship in the Greek, and the Latin is just confusing. As hull length and ship mass grew, the number of rowers needed to move it adequately increased, which is why the "two-rowing" is smaller than the "three-rowing," etc.

Oarsman quality is currently only tracked indirectly. The single-level modification abstracts the ability to use the a scaloccio rowing style (to anachronistically use a Renaissance Italian term for a method used well before the Renaissance) into a reduced maneuverability and lower cost for rowers, as the ship needs only one trained oarsman per oar. The use of slave rowers would mean lower morale, as with other hirelings, which will affect attempts to reach and maintain top speed.

The Light Hull modification was intended to reflect a thinner hull more than an open hull, but I will think about how to incorporate open hull forms into the rules so that rowers are easier to target.

Speeds are another area where I expect to have revision. The current numbers are from the Actium article, but I am still doing research on this plus other topics (I have around 5,500 pages of various naval archaeology papers on my to-read list at the moment). I also need to make a short road trip to one of my alma maters, since they have copies of "The Shorter Science and Civilization in China: Vol. 5", "The Archaeology of the Roman Economy", and "Mechanics of Pre-industrial Technology : Introduction to the Mechanics of Ancient and Traditional Material Culture", all of which I believe will help me add to the rules. Right now, the maneuverability of the heavy polyreme is its only disadvantage, but that's subject to change.

On the topic of oar-shearing, I just haven't gotten there yet. As with rules for sailing vessels, it's on the to-do list.

Kiero
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I don't have sources, I'm afraid, going from memory of a range of things read where the author had sources, but I didn't go back and check them specifically. I did always get the impression that the Romans had very high numbers of marines to compensate for their poor seamanship. They'd rather close and board than test their opponent's skill. Plus it was leveraging their advantage in manpower.

It would be good to feature oarsman quality more directly - it gives the players an incentive to hire a professional crew or even train up one of their own if they have the opportunity to do so if it materially affects performance. And indeed it should.

Otherwise, carry on, looking good! I look forward to being able to playtest them at some point, when my Greek game resumes.

The Dark
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Updates on what I'm working on, although without significant rules updates:

I managed to get some good research in yesterday. It's amazing what you can learn when you remember your college gives alumni access to the research library. I have a very rough draft of a system where I can input the dimensions of a ship and the number of crew, and get outputs regarding maximum sail size, speed, and "cargo" mass available (cargo in quotes because it includes passengers, artillery, etc). I don't want to release the current form because it's very much based on interpolating polynomials and has some extremely fugly maths in it.

I also have a rough draft of how sailing will function. Maximum sail sizes will be based on the number of sailors, again using historical numbers and calculating averages. Basically, a ship with square sails and brails only (such as Peloponessian War Greek ships) can have up to 12m^3 of sails per sailor, while ships with more developed systems of stays can have up to 16m^3 of sails per sailor. Most ships will carry far less, since having sailors sick or dead would reduce the crew available and make those large sails unmanageable. The longer a ship will be away from port, the smaller the ratio of sail size to maximum sail size should be. Also, it is possible to "over-canvas" a hull, where it carries more sail than it should for its size. This makes the ship less controllable, and the excessive heeling and broaching will actually reduce speed. I'm trying to include this in the calculations by looking at when a ship's (calculated) speed under sails exceeds its theoretical hull speed; this is when a ship will start running over its own bow wave, and for an unpowered ship, this is when that sort of wallowing can be expected.

With regards to "cargo", my current assumptions are:
1. Maximum available tonnage is 60% of displacement tonnage. This is based on a 17th century estimate that tons burthen was 60% of tons displacement.
2. Crew averages 150 pounds per member. This does not include equipment for marines. Crew mass subtracts from available cargo space.
3. Rations (food and water) averages 1 stone per crew per day.
Equipment will have to be manually subtracted, at approximately .05 tons per stone (or 20 stone per ton).

To show some of the results, the Trireme above has 180 rowers, 16 officers and sailors, and 20 marines. Based on her dimensions and the number of rowers, her speed should be around 6.3 knots sustained and 9.5 knots maximum. (For comparison, Olympias achieved around 6.0 knots sustained and 8.9 knots maximum, but they had difficulties getting maximum power from their rowers because modern athletes are generally too large for the rowers' space in a trireme). While she could carry 120 m^3 of sail, she actually carries a 95 m^3 mainsail (as well as a foresail that is primarily used for steering control and is not counted for speed) and is capable of 9.2 knots in perfect condition (note that this will probably be dropped by a rule limiting what wind conditions galleys can sail in - the rules don't yet take into account sea state). The trireme can carry 48 tons of cargo, but 16.2 tons of that is the crew, and a single day's rations is another 10.8 tons. Add in weapons for the marines and sailors, and there's not a lot of spare mass left, particularly since the cargo is an absolute maximum and there would be some tools on board for the carpenter to effect repairs.

For comparison, Columbus' ship Nina goes to the opposite extreme, carrying only 24 sailors on a 100 ton hull. She would have 150 shp, and is capable of carrying 320 m^3 of sail. The actual Nina only carried around 180 m^3 of sail, and this still left her over-canvassed according to my system. The Nina can carry 60.18 tons of cargo. Subtracting crew allows 58.38 tons, but adding 40 days' rations reduces it to 10.38 tons; the most she can carry is 48 days' rations with 0.78 tons of cargo space remaining. This puts the five week journey across the Atlantic within her range with some extra factor for delays, but there's not much excess, and very little cargo space for such a long journey. Santa Maria, on the other hand, could carry 49 days' rations and still have 33.34 tons of cargo space left over. Nina's top sailing speed is 7.2 knots; Santa Maria could only accomplish 6.3 knots, while the swift Pinta was capable of 8.5. While this doesn't perfectly accord with the Spanish reproductions' speeds (6 knots for Santa Maria and 7 each for Nina and Pinta), it does accord with Columbus' writings that the Pinta was swifter than the Nina.

Anyway, this is a long post and there's a lot of broad detail in it. I'm not yet entirely happy with the sailing speeds for Greco-Roman polyremes, but I'm still reading on that. As mentioned above, I need to play with limiting their ability to sail in high winds, which will have the effect of limiting their practical speed under sail.
I am quite happy with sailing speeds for rounder ships, since I've run them on vessels varying from a 14th-century cog through the 15th-century Columbus vessels and up to a 18th-century 104-gun ship-of-the-line, and I haven't broken anything so far (except for missing a parentheses early on and having the 104-gun ship sailing at 43 knots...)

Kiero
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"3. Rations (food and water) averages 1 stone per crew per day.
Equipment will have to be manually subtracted, at approximately .05 tons per stone (or 20 stone per ton)."

For rowers, I'd say assume 2 stone per oarsman per day; they needed more water than a sailor would. Rowing is sweaty work, and indeed hungry work too, so a double allowance for lots more water and some more food is probably appropriate.

What impact (if any) will insufficient food and water have on rowers performance? Is it just going to be a morale hit?

The Dark
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I agree. According to Professor Boris Rankov, during the Olympias trials, they went through 1.7 tons of water per day for 170 rowers and 30 crew. This works out to 17 pounds of water per crew member. This is in line with the estimates of 2 gallons of water per rower per day, which is 16.68 pounds of water per rower (at 8.34 pounds per US liquid gallon). Add in food, and it'll be 2 stone per rower per day.

Sailors, on the other hand, did get much less for drinking. I don't have truly ancient numbers handy, but during the Armada campaign, Spanish sailors received 3 pints of water and 1 to 1 1/3 pints of wine (along with 1.5 to 2 pounds of bread and around half a pound of bacon, cheese, fish, rice, or beans), while English sailors received a gallon of beer a day (plus 4 ounces of cheese and 2 ounces of butter, plus either 2 pounds of beef, 1/4 of a stockfish, or 1 pound of bacon, plus either 1 pound of biscuit or 1 pint of peas). This is around 6.5 to 7 pounds of total rations for the Spanish, and around 11 pounds for the English. Based on that, I think 1 stone per sailor/officer/marine and 2 stone per rower/paddler will work out as a good enough round number.

Insufficient food/water will cause both a morale hit for all crew and a penalty on the speed table for rowers/paddlers.

Incidentally, bonuses/penalties on the speed table will probably also be how rowing ships handle crew quality (while sailing ships will have their maneuverability affected).

Aryxymaraki
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For what it's worth (I haven't read the full thread and it is possible that you already know this and have decided to do it differently), ACKS Core page 96 says that rowers need 3 gallons of water (3 stone) a day.

The Dark
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I had missed that, but it's a change that I'm going to stick with for now. I'll use rules from ACKS where they're important and/or where I don't have anything suggesting different numbers, but I'm willing to change it where there's historical evidence or where I feel small tweaks need to be made (for example, I'm planning to adapt the wind chart from Core page 96 so that instead of multipliers, it will use bonus/penalty bumps, and damage can be mitigated by reefing).

The weight of rations will change things slightly, but galleys will still be very short-ranged strategically, dependent on shore support. The difference shows up with the heavier troop transport trireme (170 rowers, 16 sailors, 40 hoplites) - at 3 stone per rower, the transport will have excess capacity of 55 stone to equip 40 soldiers, when post-Iphicrates hoplites need 167 stone, and heavy hoplites need 287. At 2 stone per rower, the ship can devote 225 stone to equipping soldiers, which allows a blend of heavy hoplites, light hoplites, and missile troops (toxotai).

The Dark
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One last post for tonight. I've recently begun a new health program for work, and it involves a lot of treadmill time, which is brainstorming time for ideas that just aren't working for me. This time, it was on how to try to make speed more rational.

Accounting for speed
Speed is measured using the following table:

|Speed | Movement Points in Round: | 1| 2| 3| 4| 5| 6| 7|
| 4| | 4| 4| 4| 4| 4| 4| 4|
| 3| | 3| 3| 3| 3| 3| 3| 3|
| 2| | 2| 2| 2| 2| 2| 2| 2|
| 1| | 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1| 1|
| 1/2| | 0| 1| 0| 1| 0| 1| 0|
| 1/3| | 0| 0| 1| 0| 0| 1| 0|
| 1/4| | 0| 0| 0| 1| 0| 0| 0|

(laugh, laugh at my lack of HTML ability ;) )

One movement point is roughly equivalent to two knots. If a ship has a speed that can best be represented by multiple speeds, it gets the cumulative movement profiles of those speeds. Example: a ship with a speed of 7 knots has a movement profile of 3.5, so it uses both the 3 and the 1/2 movement numbers.

Movement bonuses or penalties will move ships up or down a step on the charts. A ship with multiple movement profiles moves all of its profiles by the bonus or penalty. If the bonus would take a movement profile over 4, then the ship gains an additional profile 1 movement for the duration of the bonus; if a penalty would take a ship below profile 1/4, that profile becomes 0 for the duration of the penalty. Example: Our ship with profiles 3 and 1/2 gets a 2 step bonus. The 3 becomes a 4 and a 1, while the 1/2 becomes a 2, so this ship is now moving at a total speed of 7. After this bonus has worn off and the ship has returned to 3 1/2, it takes a two step penalty. The 3 becomes a 1 and the 1/2 becomes a 1/4. If it takes a third penalty, the 1 will become a 1/2 and the 1/4 will drop to 0.

Examples of bonuses would be the existing Burst Rowing or magic spells that speed travel. Penalties include weapon strikes disrupting rowers, sailing in light or excessive winds, and sailing at a close reach or a run.

Kiero
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I'm about to start a PbP game based around the crew of a trireme, so I might try to use these rules, if that's alright.

The Dark
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Please do. I would particularly appreciate any playtest results. My local wargaming group is in the middle of a US Civil War campaign, so I don't have my usual playtesters for at least two or three months. Right now everything is based on data and math, which is good in theory but sometimes doesn't work out so well on the table.

I do have some refined speed formulas, but they're still in rough form. If you're going to use the chart rules, here's a slight refinement:
Burst Rowing still uses the morale rules, but counts as a 2 point bonus on the speed chart (i.e. a 2 becomes a 4, a 3 becomes a 4 and a 1, etc).

Rowing MPs:
Trireme: 2 + 1/4
Quadrireme: 2 + 1/3
Quinquereme: 2 + 1/4
Hexeres: 2 + 1/4
Septeres: 2 + 1/4
Octeres: 2
Enneres: 2
Deceres: 2

Light ships of a base type with a fractional movement get a +2 to that movement (so the 1/4 become 1/2, the 1/3 becomes 1). Light ships of a type with no fractional movement get an additional 1/3 movement. Heavy ships of a type with a fractional movement lose the fraction. Heavy ships of a type without a fractional movement reduce their movement by 1 and gain a 1/2 movement.

The Dark
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No major update today, but I did want to share my bibliography (so far), so that anyone who's interested can look into the sources I'm using.

Books/articles I have read (either entirely or in sections):
Bass, George F. Beneath the Seven Seas: Adventures with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology.
Casson, Lionel. Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World.
Cotterell, Brian and Johan Kamminga. Mechanics of Pre-industrial Technology: An Introduction to the Mechanics of Ancient and Traditional Material Culture.
Higgins, David R. “Actium: End of the Roman Republic.” Strategy & Tactics 281 (pp. 50-60)
Lo, Jung-Pang. China's Paddle-Wheel Boats: Mechanized Craft Used in The Opium War And Their Historical Background.
Morrison, J. S., J. F. Coates and N. B. Rankov. The Athenian Trireme: The History and Reconstruction of an Ancient Greek Warship.
Ronan, Colin A. The Shorter Science and Civilisation in China: Volume 5.

There are a few more books on my to-read list; I have William Murray's The Age of Titans: The Rise and Fall of the Great Hellenistic Navies on my shelf, and there are two more books that I know a semi-local library has, but they're out on loan.

Kiero
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A neat little package of Proficiencies for a "trained oarsman", which has already come up in my naval PbP game. Endurance, Labour (oarsman) and Seasoned Voyager (which is an Adventuring analogue for experience at sea, making camps on beaches etc). That leaves a Normal Man who is a trained oarsman with one free General Proficiency slot for personalisation.

The Dark
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Some thoughts on areas I need to work on (both for people to see and for me to have a written reminder I can check up on):

1. I need to drop shp for ships in the next draft. I had missed the development post on structures (including ships) generally having 1 shp per ton. I had instead taken the core book values for galleys and fitted them to a formula curve based on tonnages I had for similar vessels. The formula was elegant, it worked within the limits of what was previously published...and it's totally broken with larger ships. I tested it on Ptolemy's "forty" mentioned above, and each hull would have had over 14,000 shp, which is just a wee smidgen higher than I want anything to have.

2. Tying into 1, I need to go back and recalculate tonnages. I was using numbers from the Actium article, but the more I read of experimental archaeology and more scholarly works, the less I like the numbers from the article. I like the light/normal/heavy, aphract/cataphract, and multi-bank/single-bank splits, but need to figure how those would affect the size of the ship. I've gotten decent information on how to figure the length and width of ships based on the number of rowers, so that will help.

3. I also need to figure how many soldiers can actually fit on a ship. I have some data points (Greek aphract triremes carried 14 marines, while cataphracts carried 40, and Roman cataphract quinqueremes carried 120).

4. Tying into 3, I need to figure how engines of war replace soldiers. Again, I have a data point that a Roman cataphract quinquerene with a specific artillery load carried only 40 marines instead of 120.

5. I need to finish up the sailing rules. Included in this will be small tweaks to the wind charts, which will affect sailing speed and potentially damage ships at high winds.

6. I want to change cargo capacities to stone, to make them mesh better with how weights are measured in ACKS. This should also make it easier to figure how much is left over after adding crew and equipment.

7. I want to add rules reflecting that war galleys typically didn't carry masts in battle, and you really didn't want to ram with a mast standing. This will involve rules for stepping or unstepping a mast, carrying an unstepped mast, and variants for the hemiolia/trihemiolia, which were much quicker to unstep the mast.

8. Speaking of ramming, I want to tweak it so that different ships do different ramming damage. A bireme/liburnian just isn't going to do the same damage as an enneres/deceres. Also, rules for shearing oars need to be worked out. I have an idea for this, but haven't fully worked it out yet.

9. I'm not totally happy with my speed chart. It works, but it's more bookkeeping than I like.

The Dark
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#1 (ship hull points) is done. #8 (ramming and shearing) is done (shearing can be a captain's choice of attack or a random critical). #5 (sailing) is mostly done. #6 (using stone) is just a math change, and I have started recording things in stone rather than pounds or tons, using a 10 pounds to 1 stone ratio (or 200 stone to 1 ton when working with larger numbers). I think I will just live with #9 (the speed chart) unless I get some sudden spark of inspiration. It is mildly clunky on the bookkeeping side, but it works well enough as a unified mechanic that I don't have a better replacement.

#2 (ship tonnages) I need to sit down and work math on; I was traveling for work last week, and didn't have a chance to do any reading or number crunching. This goes likewise for #3 (number of marines that can comfortable fit on deck). #4 (siege engines on deck) may need to wait for D@W's release, since I'll want to utilize that information as best as possible.

#7 (masts) I will possibly get to this weekend. I'm still mulling over ideas.

#10 (ships for other races) has a tiny bit of work done so far. There's a special piece of equipment for elves, and a type of ship for dwarves. Both are based on actual historical nautical things, but ones which I believe are unusual enough to work well for nonhumans.

Kiero
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Joined: 2013-04-26 07:13

Just a post to say I'm looking forward to seeing how these turn out.

Alex
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The Dark - I'll be very interested to see where your historical research leads you. The ACKS ship statistics were, partly, "legacy" statistics inherited from earlier iterations of D&D, so you might find that a deeper dive into history leads to needed corrections.

One area I spotted early on was how absurdly small the tonnages of cargo carried by B/X D&D ships were relative to their size. But the fact that those cargo sizes were so off suggests there might be other data flaws.

The Dark
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Joined: 2013-07-05 19:55

The best information I've found so far on cargo ships came from Lionel Casson's dissertation, which was published by Yale. He used references from Greek and Roman sources to extrapolate information on merchant galleys. One of the vaguer ones is the lembas, which was a 50-oar galley that carried 25 tons of cargo.

However, far more detailed was the curcuros. This was a broad range of ships, which (according to source material) varied from around 9,000 to 18,000 artabs. From other sources, it is known that 40 artabs equal a modern ton (so these ships ranged from 225 to 450 tons burden, or around 375 to 750 tons displacement). It's also known that a cubic cubit was considered to be 3 3/8 artabs, and that 10 cubic cubits is 1 cubic meter. Casson knew that merchant galleys had a beam:length ratio of about 6:1 (compared to 10:1 for war galleys), and that merchant galleys had their maximum beam for about 70% of their length, and that they had around a 2 meter depth of hold. Based on this, he estimated the size of a 750 displacement ton curcuros at 50 meters long and 7.7 meters maximum beam.

I'm still waiting for an opportunity to examine The Archaeology of the Roman Economy, which I am hoping will help further with developing non-warships. Honestly, though, the developments were so relatively minor from Greek to Medieval times (compared to the massive changes wrought by gunpowder and the need for gunports), that most sailing ships at this level of granularity have no distinguishing characteristics by era.

Also, there is a 10 that I forgot - ideas for nonhuman ships. This is partially done.

The Dark
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I have a few questions for the peanut gall...I mean crowdsourcing participants.

1. Does anyone have any good fiction references for ships? I'm keeping a bibliographic list, and currently it's entirely non-fiction - useful for research, but unbalanced. I'm aware of (though I haven't read) the Aubrey/Maturin and Hornblower series, but there seems to be very little fiction predating the Age of Sail that focuses on naval travel or combat. I suppose I could include the first few novels of David Weber's Safehold series, since up until Like A Mighty Army it's heavily naval-based, with the technology being late Renaissance to Elizabethan up through A Mighty Fortress.

2. Are there any particular cultural parallels that people see with the nonhuman species (i.e. elves, dwarves, gnomes, Thalassians, orcs, goblins, etc) that would allow me to focus on making their ships a certain way? I already have ideas for dwarves, and I have a really nice reference work I want to incorporate into another species' ship types (although I may have to really file off the serial numbers to avoid the appearance of Unfortunate Implications). However, if people say "oh, I see goblins as being similar to X," then I can try to make their ships fit in with what X culture made.

Kiero
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Joined: 2013-04-26 07:13

For the first one, both of Christian Cameron's series, The Long War and Tyrant have a lot of ancient Greek historical naval stuff in them.

koewn
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Kiero
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Joined: 2013-04-26 07:13

I had an exchange, ironically, with Christian Cameron on his fora about ships. Apparently as far as ancient naval vessels go, research is really rather thin, and what we have is quite old (predating the reconstruction of the Olympias, for example).

The Dark
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Yes, I've been running into that. Quite a bit of what I've been reading are the books that were written by the Olympias builders as they were working on the ship. I also found a copy of Lionel Casson's "Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World," which is amazing (although very mildly outdated by newer research). My other major source so far for ancient ships is William Murray's new book, "The Age of Titans," which was published in 2012.

I'm looking a bit further forward, also, since I have Osprey books on the Tudor navy of Henry and Elizabeth, and the local libraries have extremely good works on the Grande y Felicísima Armada by people who dove the wrecks for archaeology. The books I've currently been unable to find are the ones by G. R. G. Worcester on Chinese ships (Junks and Sampans of the Upper Yangtze, Junks and Sampans of the Yangtze, and Chinese War-Junk).

I did find a Vietnam War-era American assessment of Vietnamese sampans, which I'm slowly reading through, since many of them were still built in traditional fashions.

I've also read a bit on Arab-Indian ships, but technical detail has so far been lacking.

Tom Hudson
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If you're willing to go as far forward as the Tudor navy, there's a book on the Venetian shipyards: "The art and archaeology of Venetian ships and boats", 2001.

Kiero
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I just got a copy of Casson's book from my local library. It's thinner than I was expecting, but I'm looking forward to digging in.

The Dark
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If it's slim, it's probably "Ships and Seafaring in Ancient Times" from University of Texas Press, which is 160 pages. "Ships and Seamanship in the Ancient World" from Johns Hopkins University Press is 592 pages.

Kiero
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Joined: 2013-04-26 07:13

Ah, you are exactly right. I have the shorter work.

The Dark
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Actual! New! Rules!

Crew quality: As with armies, historical writings on navies focus on the captains and the admirals, but it is the quality of the crew that is vital, yet overlooked. Well-trained rowers are better able to maintain their rhythm and are more efficient with their stroke. Well-trained sailors can read the wind and adjust sails to better take advantage of the varying zephyrs.
Green crew: A green crew can be gathered anywhere, whether it's on a coast or not. These can be bored farmboys, down-on-their-luck mercenaries, or just people too drunk to avoid the press gang. These are the same sort of folks that become spear-carriers in armies, and are paid 3 gp per month. Ships with green crews suffer a 1 point penalty to initiative, morale, and turn rate. Green crew members have the same availability as light infantry in any city.
Average crew: An average crew is made up of people who are familiar with living on water. They include fishermen and ferrymen, as well as formerly green crew that have survived a voyage or two. They are competent to run a ship with minimal oversight. They are paid 6 gp per month, and a ship with an average crew has no modifier to its stats. Average crew have the same availability as light infantry in coastal cities or heavy infantry in inland cities.
Veteran crew: A veteran crew has been on the water their entire life or been heavily trained for their job. They've often served on multiple ship types, or at least multiple ships, and have either sailed widely across the known world or served in at least one military campaign. Veteran crew are paid 9 gp per month, and a ship with a veteran crew gets a 1 point bonus to initiative, morale, and turn rate. Veteran crew members have the same availability as medium cavalry in coastal cities and heavy cavalry in inland cities.
Elite crew: An elite crew cannot be hired. This is a veteran crew that has served on a particular ship for at least six months and in at least one battle. An elite crew, like a veteran crew, is paid 9 gp per month, and gets an additional 1 point bonus to morale.

Hiring and improving a crew: A crew hired on to a ship has the same rating as the majority of its members, and is paid accordingly. Thus, a sailing ship that hires 4 green, 2 average, and 3 veteran crew is considered to have a green crew, and pays them accordingly (and suffers the penalties for a green crew). A green crew becomes average after one month of active travel (time in port does not count). An average crew becomes veteran after three months of active travel, and a veteran crew becomes elite after another six months of active travel.

Replacing crew: As long as at least 50% of the crew remains intact, the crew's rating does not change. If less than half the original crew constitutes the new crew, treat it as a new hiring, counting the existing crew as their current rating. If a ship with 5 surviving Veteran crew hires 6 Green crew, 3 Average crew, and 2 Veteran crew, it now has 6 Green crew, 3 Average crew, and 7 Veteran crew, and still counts as a Veteran crew.

Kiero
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Joined: 2013-04-26 07:13

Awesome stuff!

Traditionally sailors were paid more than oarsmen. Indeed oarsmen were paid different amounts depending on where they sat - those at the bottom were paid the least.

The Dark
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Joined: 2013-07-05 19:55

As with so many things about ancient times, pay depends on when precisely we're looking at. Thucydides mentions that all of the sailors received 3 obols per day (8.45.2), while during the blockade/siege of Poteideia, pay was increased to 1 drachma per day for sailors and 2 per day for hoplites (who had an unpaid servant with them) (3.17.4). During the Quadruple Alliance of 420 BCE, the four allied states stipulated by treaty that the pay for a hoplite, sailor/oarsman, or toxotai was 3 obols per day, while a horseman would receive 6 obols. This suggests (to me, at least), that the 3/6 obol level was for domestic service, while the 1/2 drachma level was for expeditions away from the city (a sort of hazard pay, or, if you will, the difference between garrison forces and expeditionary forces). Individual captains might offer more to get better thranites, but Thuc. 6.31 states it was the captain's decision: "The fleet had been elaborately equipped at great cost to the captains and the state; the treasury giving a drachma a day to each seaman...while the captains gave a bounty in addition to the pay from the treasury to the thranitae and crews generally..."

Roman sailors in the Imperial era were paid roughly the same as auxilia, or about 5/6 of a legionary's pay. To the best of my knowledge, there's no evidence of the pay varying, except for some of the immunes (like doctors or carpenters). That said, I haven't looked that much at the Roman era yet, so it's possible there are sources that I haven't encountered yet.

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