[HR] New Stronghold: Pirate Cove & Maritime Hijinks

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koewn
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[HR] New Stronghold: Pirate Cove & Maritime Hijinks

Inspired by Rhynn's Corsair (http://autarch.co/forums/house-rules/hr-campaign-class-corsair) I've been hacking up an alternative Maritime Hijink system, which I present here for advice and opinion in a pre-finished form.

I've still cogitating on a couple things:

1) The rewards should be greater. I ballpark various ship's maintenance and crew costs per month to be between 700 and 5200 GP per month. I expect what I'd do is rework the awards to reflect the same values in the Monthly Hijink Income table on pg 141, taking into account the costs of running ships and the extra costs of failure.

Those extra costs of failure include damage and loss of crew and ship, and captured crew being automatically charged with piracy, which increases legal costs tremendously. This should be riskier, but the rewards should be better.

2) I'm not in love with the current solution for basic ship combat. What I'd really want to do is turn ACKS ships into modular D@W:Campaigns units, and use the D@W:C battle resolution mechanic, but that feels way too complicated for this - yes?

=== The Pirate Cove ===

At 9th level, corsairs may establish a secret stronghold called a cove. As they are secret, coves do not secure domains and do not attract peasant families. When a cove is established, the corsair becomes the captain of a crew of 1d6 1st level followers of her own class. Every level gained thereafter, the corsair attracts another 1d6 1st level followers.

Coves must be established in a coastal or island location, with ready access to open water. Whether a particular large lake or river would support such an operation is left to the GM.

The range class of the cove determines what range of operations hijinks may be performed at. The cove has the same range as a market class of it's same type does for water trade. For example, a Class III cove equates to a Class III Market, so hijinks may be performed in settlements or open water up to 40 hexes away. The cove is not based within a settlement, and it's size is independent of any settlement size.

Unlike thieves, corsairs require extra equipment to perform their hijinks - ships. While many of the corsair's followers may do duty as ship's crew (at the GM's discretion, followers who join the corsair may often have maritime proficiencies), she may often need to hire additional mariners to properly crew her fleet.

Each month, a properly outfitted ship can perform a maritime hijink against a targeted ship.

==Target Ships and Target Value==

Pirates ply common trade routes seeking easy targets randomly, or may be hired clandestinely to attack a certain ship. Corsairs may target rival corsairs, traders or domain rulers for harrassment.

The target value of a given ship is equal to the level of the person most interested in the successful voyage of the ship. This may be the person who commissioned the voyage, or the intended buyer of the merchandise. It may be the domain ruler who hired the mercenaries on board being carried to their new employer, or the ruler that commissioned the ship for counter-piracy action. In some cases it may simply be the captain of the ship.

This is not necessarily the highest level person involved.

==Maritime Hijinks==

Most maritime hijinks require two successful rolls - one to successfully intercept the target ship, and a second to execute the hijink. The interception roll is an inverse of the Sea Evasion chart on page 100 of the ACKS rulebook, and is presented to the right.

A captain with a third Seafaring proficiency (Master Mariner) gains a +5 bonus to his Interception roll. If the captain of the target vessel is also a Master Mariner, that bonus is cancelled out.

A ship with a qualified navigator receives an additional +2 to the Interception roll, which may be cancelled by a navigator on the opposing ship.


Target Vessel is.....Roll
Faster...............16+
0-30' slower.........10+
31-60' slower........8+
61-90' slower........6+
91-120' slower.......4+
121'+ slower.........2+

Interdiction

Interdiction is the destruction of a target ship; for purposes of destroying cargo, assassination of passengers, or other subterfuge. Interdiction of a ship of the player character's or a suspicious NPC shipowner/crewmember/passenger is an adventure, not a hijink.

An interdiction may be performed as a boarding action as well.

To successfully interdict a ship, it must first be caught with an interception roll. Then, the captain of the ship makes an attack throw, where the target AC is the experience level of the opposing captain. If successful, the target ship is destroyed with all hands. The corsair is paid 1,000GP multiplied by the level of the highest level passenger marked for assassination, or multiplied by the target value of the ship.

If the attack throw fails, the attack was repulsed, and the corsair's ship has gotten away, albeit
damaged by the amount the roll failed (5% per point). If the attack throw fails by 14 or more, or is an unmodified 2, the attack was repulsed, and the corsair's ship was captured or sank, and 50% of the crew captured (the rest killed). The crew is charged with piracy.

On an unmodified 1, the attack was repulsed, and the corsair's ship was sunk with all hands.

Interdiction requires an interception roll.

Smuggling

A ship in the captain's flotilla is able to successfully offload contraband to a port within range. The perpetrator may move 10 loads per level (this may be the captain of the ship, or another assigned crew member). The captain receives 12% of the value of these goods.

If the proficiency throw fails, the perpetrator was not able to move the merchandise. If it fails by 14 or more, or is a natural 1, they have been caught and the merchandise confiscated. Determine charges with 1d6: contraband (1-3), smuggling (4-5), racketeering (6).

Smuggling does not require an interception roll.

Trailing

The targeted ship is followed to its destination. Information on the ship, its route, any cargo or passengers, or other information is worth 3d12*5 gp times the target value.

Trailing requires an interception roll.

Boarding

Boarding is the interception and boarding of the target ship in order to steal any valuable or needed cargo, while optionally leaving the target ship and crew mostly intact.

To successfully board a ship, it must first be caught with an interception roll. Then, the captain of the ship makes an attack throw, where the target AC is the experience level of the opposing captain. If successful, the target ship is boarded. Any valuables are seized, and the corsair is paid 60% of the value of the goods.

Boarding requires an interception roll.

If the attack throw fails, the attack was repulsed, and the corsair's ship has gotten away, albeit damaged by the amount the roll failed (5% per point), If the attack throw fails by 14 or more, or is an unmodified 2, the attack was repulsed, and the corsair's ship was captured, and 50% of the crew captured (the rest killed). The crew is charged with piracy.

On an unmodified 1, the attack was repulsed, and the corsair's ship was sunk with all hands.

Capture

Capture is the interception and boarding of the target ship in order to acquire it as whole as possible. Existing crew may be pressed into service (amicably or not) or summarily executed. To successfully board a ship, it must first be caught with an interception roll. Then, the captain of the ship makes an attack throw, where the target AC is the experience level of the opposing captain. If successful, the target ship is boarded. Any valuables are seized, and the corsair is paid 60% of the value of the goods.

Capture requires an interception roll.

If the attack throw fails, the attack was repulsed, and the corsair's ship has gotten away, albeit damaged by the amount the roll failed (5% per point). If the attack throw fails by 14 or more, or is an unmodified 2, the attack was repulsed, and the corsair's ship was captured, and 50% of the crew captured (the rest killed). The crew is charged with piracy.

On an unmodified 1, the attack was repulsed, and the corsair's ship was sunk with all hands.

==Shorebased Hijinks==

A corsair may have her crew perform regular hijinks as detailed in the ACKS core rules, in water-adjacent settlements.

The settlement must be within range of her crew as defined for Maritime Hijinks. She must first establish a presence in the settlement, with the founding of a Class VI hideout, which cannot grow larger. Crew members here may perform hijinks as usual.

However, the membership and levels of the local crew may not allow for more profitable hijinks. The corsair may assign a higher level crewmember to perform a hijink in a settlement, but one of her own ships must take that crewmember (or multiple crewmembers) to and from the settlement for that month. That ship is then not available for maritime hijinks.

At the Judge's discretion, the corsair's hideout may conflict with pre-established syndicates in the settlement. Hijinks performed outside wharf districts may cause territorial contests.

moorcrys
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Koewn,

This is a really cool idea and I'm no expert but as far as I can tell really well implemented.

Question: does the 5% per point damage for a failed interdiction/capture also apply to the corsair's crew as well as the ships? Does he lose them to the sea and the sword if the attack is repulsed? Does the corsair lose any crew if the attempt is successful?

koewn
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It's very likely he should, yes, and I'll add that in.

As a more general comment on why I went with an attack throw, for any other readers:

It's my understanding in this that most corsairs wouldn't float anything but a galley versus other ships, due to the ability to field a naval ram. I'd only expect the ship-mounted catapult to be super useful against shore-based targets. I'm thinking a catapult on a moving platform against a moving target is tricky, at best, but some light Googling hasn't gotten me much.

I'm not an expert on ancient ship warfare; I don't know nothin' 'bout nothin' before the advent of naval aviation except what I learned playing Sid Meier's Pirates!.

So, I went with the offensive skill of the attacking captain (represented by his attack throw) versus the defensive skill of the opposing captain (represented by his level) - you're trying to hit his ship with your ship as a general rule.

I've yet to tabulate the success chances on that, however.

(the troop transport and longship would be most useful for boarding/capture operations, due to the marines available, in which case the mechanics still hold, since you're trying to get alongside the ship, which is another way of hitting it)

Antiquities
Joined: 2013-07-05 19:55

I have some ideas on naval things, but it'll be a while before I'll have time to work on it.

Regarding the catapults and ballistae, the catapults used by Romans were generally onagers. Back in the 60s, E.W. Marsden did experimental archaeology using ancient descriptions, and was getting ranges of 200-300 meters with onagers. They're relatively inaccurate, but a hit could be badly damaging. The "three-span arrow-shooting catapult" was the ballista used on ships, and it was accurate and had a range of around 300 meters, while it could penetrate hulls at closer ranges, allowing it to hit rowers and disrupt the "engine" of a galley-style vessel.

At the time of Augustus' war with Marc Antony, artillery armament ranged from one onager and one ballista for a liburnia (bireme) up to the massive deceres ("ten"), which mounted a dozen onagers and ten ballistae. The standard warship was the quinquireme ("five"), which had four onagers and three ballistae.

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

Great rules! Yaaarrrrr, mateys.

Rhynn
Joined: 2013-05-31 10:53

Looks great! I haven't had a chance to think about rules for piracy, but something abstract is definitely required; I imagine a 14th-level Corsair would be running an entire Brotherhood of the Coast -type organization with multiple captains and many, many ships. I'm certainly going to use this stuff as a jumping-off point and basis.

I think that whatever rules I end up with for piracy, they'll be accessible to other classes: a Fighter or Thief could make a fine pirate captain, but a Corsair will be better; Seafaring II will be a requisite, and Seafaring III will be a huge advantage. (A high-level Corsair with Seafaring III should be able to pull off Bart Roberts -level epic raids, e.g. sailing into the middle of a military escort to capture two treasure ships.)

I like the idea of using ships as part of the stronghold/hideout value. Modifying the Syndicate rules for a fleet with multiple sub-captains should be a cinch. Corsairs will also be able to engage in regular hijinks according to their available thief skills (Assassinatings, Smuggling, and Spying).

I might find a way to mix the domain rules into it, too. I think I'll definitely want non-henchman followers to be making Morale/Loyalty Rolls.

I've never yet found a satisfactory solution to naval combat rules in RPGs; I've got several free naval wargames with very simple rules, but haven't settled on any. I might also steal something from Mongoose's The Pirate Isles (for their Conan RPG); it has a basic chase system, handles boarding action as mass combat between a few small units, and has a bunch of random tables for creating coastal settlements for raiding. I think I will make coastal raiding at least as important as attacking ships at sea.

My early thoughts are that naval combat will pretty much consist of chase/capture and then D@W style combat; a few volleys (depending on relative speeds) of arrows etc. while closing, then boarding action.

I'll dive into all this more when I have time in January...

koewn
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I look forward to seeing what you come up with. I've been puttering with ship maintenance costs a bit but haven't solidified anything more on this yet.

Frog God Games recently released Razor Coast: Fire As She Bears, a Pathfinder-compatible ship combat system. Evidently there was supposed to be a conversion to Swords & Wizardry for it, but they couldn't make it work (which is weird); in either case, that's another resource if you see it about.

koewn
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So, getting back into this, some tables.

This first is the deduced monthly cost of operations for a given ship, fully outfitted in crew, minus available weapon mounts:


........................cost....Maint...Crew............Total
Galley.(Small)..........10000...500.....605.............1105
Galley.(Large)..........30000...1500....1385............2885
Galley.(War)............60000...3000....2105............5105
Longship................15000...750.....1025............1775
Sailing.Ship.(Large)....20000...1000....245.............1245
Sailing.Ship.(Small)....10000...500.....197.............697
Troop.Transport.(Small).15000...750.....497.............1247
Troop.Transport.(Large).30000...1500....845.............2345
River.Boat..............4000....200.....3...............203
Barge...................1200....60......12..............72

That includes captains and navigators, except on the river boat and barge (barge is assumed to be 30x40, I guessed 4 rowers/polers)

Next, I took the Merchandise Tables on page 145 of ACKS and with the data from the two sailing ships deduced the same values for the rest (that hold cargo). Cargo is in stone, I divided up the average value of cargo carried from the sailing ships and used the Small Sailing Ship ratio as figuring each type of boat carried cargo worth 2 GP per stone, on average. There may or may not be call to reduce that on the smaller boats where you'd expect lesser value things going between smaller markets, I'll see if I can find some support in ACKS to give me a number on that.

Profit, same thing.


........................Cargo...Avg.Val.Val/St..Profit..Profit/Val
Galley.(Small)..........2000....4000....2.......175.....0.04375
Galley.(Large)..........4000....8000....2.......350.....0.04375
Galley.(War)............6000....12000...2.......525.....0.04375
Longship................2000....4000....2.......175.....0.04375
Sailing.Ship.(Large)....30000...64000...2.13....2600....0.040625
Sailing.Ship.(Small)....10000...20000...2.......875.....0.04375
Troop.Transport.(Small).~...............................
Troop.Transport.(Large).~...............................
River.Boat..............400.....800.....2.......35......0.04375
Barge...................5000....10000...2.......437.5...0.04375

So you'd certainly be looking at finding and interdicting those fat sailing ships, but, as long as there's cargo, each month a successful ship should earn back it's keep.

TODO:

Find a avg. Value/Stone for a given ship based on destination market class or just vary it on ship type.

Enforce cargo loss depending on how tough the fight was - also, the larger ships will need to be completely boarded and taken back to the cove to get all the value out of them. (alternatively, how would they dump all the grain and keep all the gems and rum? Look at common/precious value per stone/load and percentages)

Random ship cargo generator!

Figure out how to model escort ships on either side...distill The Dark's naval rules into a D@W:Campaigns style battlesystem?