Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Skyship Combat Mechanics VII

Previously Posted Sections

1. Introduction
2. Wind Direction & Strength
3. Maneuvering
  3.1. Movement Rates
    3.1.1. Sailing Skyships
    3.1.2. Other Skyships
    3.1.3. Ramming Speed!

    3.1.4. Monsters
    3.1.5. Powering Through

  3.2. Maneuverability
  3.3. Turning
    3.3.1. Basic Turning Capability

    3.3.2. Tight Turns
    3.3.3. Caught In Irons
    3.3.4. Slowing Down
    3.3.5. Emergency Maneuver

  3.4. Climbing & Diving
    3.4.1. Ascending
    3.4.2. Descending
    3.4.3. Effects of Altitude
    3.4.4. Gales & Storms
  3.5. Collisions & Boarding Maneuvers

4. Combat
  4.1. Deck Weaponry
    4.1.1. Weapon Types
    4.1.2. Armor Ratings

The Grand War Galley of Meryath
4.2. Hitting a Target

The mechanics presented here are intended as an extension to existing role-playing games. 

4.2.1. Skyships:  Especially if established RPG heroes operate deck weapons, then use the combat mechanics of the chosen role-playing; use the crew’s attack rolls in order to hit targets.  There are a few methods on how to plug in armor ratings (AR) to an existing RPG.  Method 3 remains independent from RPG mechanics.  Pick what works best.

Method 1:  Convert the target’s AR to the chosen game system, and run combat accordingly.  Combat modifiers (see 4.2.3). can be subtracted directly from the target’s original AR if this is the better way to convert numbers.  For example, an elite artillerist bonus of +20% would reduce a mighty dragon’s AR of 65 to just 45.

Method 2:  Convert the target’s AR and add combat modifiers to the die roll to hit the target.  For example, the elite bonus of +20% could be applied to a d20 hit roll, where +20% equals a +4 bonus to hit.

Method 3:  If neither of the first two approaches are desirable, the third does away with conversion entirely.  Assume a basic score to hit a target of 50%.  Add the target’s AR to this score.  Roll percentile dice and apply the modifiers listed in 4.2.3 to the roll of the dice.  If the result is equal or higher than the hit score, the attack succeeds.  If a target’s hit score exceeds 100%, an unmodified roll of 95+ with the dice still succeeds (considered a critical hit).  An unmodified roll of 5 or less is a critical failure.

Line-of-Sight Limitations:  A deck weapon cannot shoot past intervening masts and sails on the same deck.  This is particularly true to swivel (*) weapons.  For example: a deck-mounted scorpion on a ship’s port side cannot aim at anything off the vessel’s starboard unless the helmsman deliberately tips the vessel on the target’s side (a piloting skill check may be needed for this).  One skyship can hide another if the line of sight crosses through any part of the intervening vessel, unless the one farther back is at least twice as large or at a different altitude level.  Use your best judgement.

Diagram 9. Monsters' Ranged Attacks
4.2.2. Monsters:  With an RPG’s combat system, use the monsters’ attack routines in order to hit a target.  Otherwise, set the monsters’ attack score at 50 minus the monster’s SR.  For example, a small white dragon with an SR of 20 has a basic hit score of 30, while a large red with an SR of 40 would enjoy a hit score of 10.  Proceed as described in 4.2.1. (apply the target AR and any other combat modifiers; see 4.2.3).  If a hit score is in the negatives, an unmodified roll of 5 or less still misses (considered a critical failure).  An unmodified roll of 95 or more is a critical hit.

Bear in mind that some monsters’ ranged attacks may not necessarily be limited to a 60˚ arc-of-fire.  For example, a dragon can turn its head and breathe fire off to one side, aiming at any single target in its three front hexsides.  Likewise a manticore shooting spikes with its tail: its arc-of-fire would be the three rear hexsides.  See Diagram 9 above.

4.2.3. Combat Modifiers:  Without wanting to add too many variables, several combat modifiers stick out as unavoidable, especially if running combat independently from a role-playing game’s established mechanics.

Skyship Crew Experience:
–10%     Crew is unfamiliar with siege weapon operation* (or)
  Nil.       Crew has basic knowledge of siege weapon operation (or)
+10%     Crew has trained with the specific siege weapon’s type (or)
+20%     Crew is veteran or elite class

(*) Operating salvaged starfolk weapons incurs an additional –10% penalty.  Non-starfolk operators have at best basic knowledge of alien technology, unless trained by starfolk such as the Kahuulkin (see CAL1 “In Stranger Skies,” pg. 59).

Commander’s Skill:
–10%     If poor, with a –4 penalty to the vessel’s initiative in Phase A1 (see 4.4. Combat Sequence).
–5%       If mediocre, with a –2 penalty to initiative
+5%       If good, with a +2 bonus to initiative
+10%     If excellent, with a +4 bonus to initiative

If skill is unknown, make a random roll: 2d10—1-3. Poor, 4-7. Mediocre, 8-13. Average, 14-17. Good, 18-20. Excellent.  Also check 4.3.4. Boarding Attacks.

Range:
+5%        Short range
–5%        Long range
Shots at extreme range (beyond long range, see 4.1.1) are limited to experienced crews or better.  They require an unmodified critical hit unless some special aiming device is used (dwarven optics, combat prescience, or an item specially enchanted for this purpose).

Diagram 10. Various Bearings in Combat
Relative Velocities:
  • Different Bearings:  Subtract current MV rates of both target and attacker if moving with different bearings.  For example: a skyship with an MV of 5 aiming at a dragon with an MV of 3 incurs a –8% penalty to hit.
  • Parallel Bearings:  Subtract the slower MV from the fastest; the difference is the attack penalty if both have identical bearings.
  • Pursuit/Head-on Bearing:  One follows another with identical bearings, or both head directly toward one another results in no modifier to hit each other.  The same holds true if both attacker and target are motionless (sails furled, hovering, or has not moved during the previous Movement Phase).

Skyship’s a-Jolly-Swayin’
Shooting deck weapons while a skyship is turning (it hasn’t yet moved a hex forward to stabilize) incurs a –10% penalty to hit, or –20% during a tight turn (see 3.3.2. Tight Turns).

Target Size:
+5%       Target is Class C monster or vessel 45’ or larger
+10%     Target is vessel 90’ or larger
+15%     Target is Class D monster or vessel 180’ or larger
Use normal role-playing game mechanics for monsters Class B or smaller, and individual heroes riding them.

Sun Glare
–10%     Target is higher and sun lies within the attacker’s field-of-fire (a 60˚ cone).

Cloud Obstruction
–20%     Clouds partially block line-of-sight
–40%     Inside a storm cloud or at night (see 3.4.4. Gales and Storm Clouds)
Clouds can otherwise completely mask the presence of a monster or a skyship from 4 hexes away or more.  An observation roll may be needed to detect a hidden target.  Clouds are much larger than any battle side portrayed here, so if clouds are present at all, divide the playing surface into two or more large sections to show which areas are affected.  Clouds may also negate sun glare.

Dealing with Altitude:  Most siege weapons on skyships are designed to shoot at targets on the same horizontal plan.  Aiming any deck weapon upward is limited to a 45˚ angle (one level higher per hex of distance).  Aiming a deck weapon with line-of-sight trajectory at a lower altitude is limited to approx. 22 degrees (one level lower for every two hexes of distance).  Deck weapons with parabolic trajectories can always aim at a lower target, provided it flies outside their minimal ranges, their projectiles eventually dropping vertically until they hit or crash into the ground below.  See the notes at the end of Table 8 in 4.1.1. Deck Weaponry, about how altitude affects range.

4.2.4. Fighting in the Great Vault:  There are no parabolic trajectories in the Great Vault.  Anything thrown, catapulted, or otherwise propelled keeps on going until it hits something or is pulled into a nearby world’s orbit.  Damage is never halved at medium and long ranges.  Siege weapons with parabolic trajectories can be set to hurl projectiles in straight line-of-sight trajectories level with their ships’ decks.  Vessels fitted for navigation in the Great Vault are enchanted with artificial gravity, enabling roll maneuvers for the purpose of aiming deck weapons at targets immediately above or under.

Void-enabled skyships possess individual life-preserving envelopes, artificial gravity, and enchanted sails able to trap ethereal and atmospheric winds equally well.  Winged monsters able to travel the Great Vault can use ethereal winds like sailing skyships.  There is no such thing as “burning up in reentry” as skyships rely on different sorts of long range travel which do not involve physical velocity.  Ship combat takes place at more “earthly” speeds.  Use common sense when addressing combat in outer space, although keep in mind that absolute scientific orthodoxy is neither required nor necessarily welcome, as Calidar embodies first and foremost a world of fantasy.

©2017 Bruce A. Heard. All Rights Reserved.

Coming Up Next:
  4.3 Damage
    4.3.1. Structure Rating (SR)
    4.3.2. Damage Location & Effects
    4.3.3. Boarding Attacks
    4.3.4. Area of Effect Attacks
    4.3.5. Fire Damage
    4.3.6. Swarm Attack
    4.3.7. Proportional Damage

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Sunday, July 23, 2017

Skyship Combat Mechanics V

Previously Posted Sections

1. Introduction
2. Wind Direction & Strength
3. Maneuvering
  3.1. Movement Rates
    3.1.1. Sailing Skyships
    3.1.2. Other Skyships
    3.1.3. Ramming Speed!

    3.1.4. Monsters
    3.1.5. Powering Through

  3.2. Maneuverability
  3.3. Turning
    3.3.1. Basic Turning Capability

    3.3.2. Tight Turns
    3.3.3. Caught In Irons
    3.3.4. Slowing Down
    3.3.5. Emergency Maneuver

Quad-Masted Draconic Warship
3.4. Climbing & Diving

Altitude levels are optional, though they do add realism to what a fantasy 3D aerial battle should be.  Due to the change in scale from CAL1 “In Stranger Skies,” altitude levels represent approximately 100’.  Because of its enchantment providing basic lift, a skyship remains level when changing altitude, unlike a fixed wing aircraft that would point up or down.  Winged monsters, however, have different options, as they rely on the use of wings combined with physical strength.

3.4.1. Ascending:  Class A, B, and C skyships and wingless monsters, as well as Class A winged monsters can, at no MV cost, ascend up to 2 altitude levels per Battle Round.  Class D vessels and wingless monsters can only climb 1 altitude level per Battle Round.  Unless stated otherwise in their individual descriptions, Class B, C, and D winged monsters and fixed-wing aircraft can climb 1 altitude level for each hex of horizontal motion.

Example:  A large dragon starts its Battle Round with a strong breeze tailwind, with an MV of 7.  It trades 3 hexes forward motion to climb 3 altitude levels, moving 4 hexes forward.

3.4.2. Descending:  Skyships and wingless monsters, as well as Class A winged monsters can, at no MV cost, safely descend up to 2 altitude levels per Battle Round.  In a shallow dive, all winged monsters and fixed-wing aircraft can, at no MV cost, drop up to 1 altitude level per hex of horizontal movement.  In a power-dive, winged monsters and fixed-wing aircraft stay in the same hex, but drop a number of altitude levels equal to quadruple their innate MV rate.  Recovering from a power dive requires winged monsters Class B or higher and fixed-wing aircraft pilots to roll an ability check.  The check is rolled whenever the attempt to pull up is made.  A Class B ability checks should incur a –1 penalty for every 5 altitude levels dropped, 4 levels for Class C, and 3 levels for Class D.

Example: A large dragon starts its Battle Round with a strong breeze tailwind and an MV of 7.  In a shallow dive, it can spend 7 MV and drop as many as 7 altitude levels (this can be combined with altitude loss due to performing tight turns—see 3.3.2.)  In a power dive, it could instead drop as many as 16 altitude levels (innate MV 4 x 4 = 16) per Battle Round, demanding an ability check with a –4 penalty to resume level flight.  A common altitude for skyship encounters could be 3,300’, allowing for two attempts to pull out of a power dive before crashing into the ground.

3.4.3. Effects of Altitude:  Most skyships have some measure of life support enchantments allowing navigation at high altitude or in the Great Vault.  Here are some things to keep in mind.  Clouds likely to affect line-of-sight begin to form at about 6,500ft., up to 20,000ft.  Depending on latitude, rain typically forms at about 8,000ft., 30,000ft. for snow.  Above 8,000ft. clouds are made of ice crystals rather than water droplets, which could cause icing on skyships and creatures flying there.  Calidar being a fantasy world, it should not be altogether surprising to encounter solid or semi-solid clouds with creatures dwelling on or inside them.  Reportedly, flying beasties, miscellaneous giants, flying gelatinous spheres, and other giant tunnel-digging worms have been sighted in such places.  If there is solid cloud material, its density increases gradually from the outside in, which may cause flying vessels to run “aground” and become stuck.  Force fields preserving both heat and air pressure aboard skyships are recommended above 12,000ft.  Critical hypoxia occurs at 18,000ft.  Death from lack of breathable air follows at 26,000ft.—air-breathing monsters do not typically fly higher than this.

3.4.4. Gales and Storm Clouds:  Navigating in dangerous conditions is likely to result in damage to the monster or the vessel brave enough to take such risk.  Roll 1d6 during Phase A4 (see 4.4. Combat Sequence).  For gales and storm clouds, on a roll of 1, damage takes place possibly in the form of high winds, turbulence, and/or lightning strikes.  For a strong gale, damage occurs with a roll of 1-2.  Allocate damage as described in Table 9 (see 4.3.2. Damage Location.)

3.5. Collisions & Boarding Maneuvers

Ships and monsters can occupy the same hex.  If their headings intersect, vessels collide either accidentally or because one is using a ship’s ram against another.  One of the two could be initiating a boarding attack (see 4.3.4. Boarding Attacks.)  In all three cases, sailing skyships’ riggings are considered fouled (tangled); resuming normal movement will require a full Battle Round to cut loose.  While involved in a boarding maneuver, all involved skyships come to a full stop unless one is large enough to carry the other (as may be the case with a dwarven dreadnought.)  Monsters do have to enter a skyship’s hex in order to perform melee attacks.  Monsters are never considered “fouled” when on a sailing skyship.

©2017 Bruce A. Heard. All Rights Reserved.

4. Combat
  4.1. Deck Weaponry
    4.1.1. Weapon Types
    4.1.2. Armor Rating

Your feedback is welcome.  If you enjoy this series of articles, plus them or share them.  Thank you.


Skyship Combat Mechanics VI

Previously Posted Sections

1. Introduction
2. Wind Direction & Strength
3. Maneuvering
  3.1. Movement Rates
    3.1.1. Sailing Skyships
    3.1.2. Other Skyships
    3.1.3. Ramming Speed!

    3.1.4. Monsters
    3.1.5. Powering Through

  3.2. Maneuverability
  3.3. Turning
    3.3.1. Basic Turning Capability

    3.3.2. Tight Turns
    3.3.3. Caught In Irons
    3.3.4. Slowing Down
    3.3.5. Emergency Maneuver

  3.4. Climbing & Diving
    3.4.1. Ascending
    3.4.2. Descending
    3.4.3. Effects of Altitude
    3.4.4. Gales & Storms
  3.5. Collisions & Boarding Maneuvers

Kragdûras Fetzgrim-Powered Ironclad.  To the elves in a rocky voice: "You're going down!" 
4. Combat

There are two sorts of fighting: individual hero actions from heroes and ship combat.  This reflects how time is measured, as explained in the introduction:
  • Battle Rounds (rounds) involving skyship maneuvers and attacks, approximately 40 seconds
  • Combat Actions (actions) involving heroes’ individual actions, approximately 10 seconds (thus 4 actions per round.)  The fourth action takes place simultaneously with a Battle Round.

Much of the information provided in this chapter connects with generic statistics described in CC1 “Beyond the Skies,” pg. 8-11.  Combat actions are primarily resolved according to the players’ chosen game mechanics.  This section provides the detail needed to help understand how effective skyship combat is intended to be in the World of Calidar.

4.1. Deck Weaponry

4.1.1. Weapon Types:  Skyships use deck weapons and any other magical attacks available to them.  Monsters use whatever natural attacks and fantastic abilities described in their original role-playing game.  Since it is assumed that combat mechanics will be those from the players’ chosen role-playing game, all statistics provided here will need to be adapted (the generic system in CC1 should help with conversion.)  Hex scale is approximately 100 feet.  Altitude levels also come in 100’ increments.  Table 8 lists common deck weapons used in the World of Calidar.

Scorpions & Ballistae:  Line-of-sight trajectory at short range, otherwise parabolic; no minimum range; half-damage rounded up at medium and greater ranges.

Catapults & Trebuchets:  Parabolic trajectories only.  Munaani and Calidaran projectiles are occasionally fitted with incendiaries or alchemical explosives.

Culverins & Firemouths:  As scorpion; dwarven darkpowder cannon.  Smoke may obscure line-of-sight.

Thornbush:  As scorpion; organically grown elven weapon; ensnares target area in razor-sharp thorns 15’ radius until burned or hacked away.

Podkin:  Parabolic trajectory; organically grown elven weapon; inflicts acid damage 15’ radius; unless doused, breaches a hull when the next Battle Phase starts (see 4.4.)

Hwacha Battery:  Parabolic trajectory only; Lao-Kweian arrow launcher; inflicts fire damage (M+4) and individual VL+1 damage to any exposed crew within a 15’ radius.

Chu-Lung Rocket:  Line-of-sight trajectory at all ranges; Lao-Kweian dragon rockets inflict blast damage 10’ radius.

Laser Blaster & Rail Gun:  Salvaged starfolk weapon; line-of-sight targeting; improper handling results in erratic targeting and odds of catastrophic malfunction or explosion.

Battle Rods:  Line-of-sight trajectory; twin-mounted synchronized gnomish weapon shooting bullets fitted with smuggled dwarven darkpowder cartridges; keep rolling attacks until one misses or battle-rods jam on a critical fail.

Ship Rams:  Same hex only if attacking vessel rams another; without a purpose-built ram, damage is M+8 to both vessels. Dwarven steam-powered ram open a breach through which marines can board the enemy vessel’s lower deck.

Diagram 8. Limited Field of Fire
4.1.2. Armor Rating (AR):  A ship’s or a monster’s AR indicates how tough it is to actually hit on a scale of 1-100 (1 being easiest and 100 being toughest.)  AR can exceed 100 as the result of modifiers for creatures well beyond this scale.  The AR percentile scale is intended to help plug ship and monster statistics into a role-playing game’s combat mechanics.

Lightweight or fragile vessels, such as rafts, river boats, canoes, or longships have an AR10 or less.  A typical wooden, multi-decked skyship, such as the Star Phoenix, possesses an AR25.  A dwarven ironclad could reach AR40.  Magic can easily modify these ratings.  As a comparison, the AR of dragons could range from AR35 to AR65 depending on breed and maturity.  Individual ship cards given for the mechanics devised here offer more varied statistics.

©2017 Bruce A. Heard. All Rights Reserved.

  4.2 Hitting a Target
    4.2.1. Skyships
    4.2.2. Monsters
    4.2.3. Combat Modifiers
    4.2.4. Fighting in the Great Vault 

Your feedback is welcome.  If you enjoy this series of articles, plus them or share them.  Thank you.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Skyship Combat Mechanics IV

Previously Posted Sections

1. Introduction
2. Wind Direction & Strength
3. Maneuvering
  3.1. Movement Rates
    3.1.1. Sailing Skyships
    3.1.2. Other Skyships
    3.1.3. Ramming Speed!

    3.1.4. Monsters
    3.1.5. Powering Through

  3.2. Maneuverability
  3.3. Turning
    3.3.1. Basic Turning Capability

3.3.2. Tight Turns:  Skyships and monsters can turn more hexsides than allowed for in Table 5 when flying at a modified MV rating of 5 or less.  Each turn performed with less than the required number of hexes of forward flight costs 2 MV instead of 1 (at least 1 hex of forward flight is still required between separate turn maneuvers.)  For simplicity, these maneuvers are called tight turns.  Only winged monsters can perform more than one tight turn during the same Battle Round.  Winged monsters and fixed-wing aircraft (if ever used in this context) can either pay the 2 MV cost or reduce it with the loss of altitude levels (if altitude mechanics are used—see 3.4. Climbing & Diving), or combine both as the consequence of tight turns.

Diagram 7. Tight Turns
Example:  A large dragon in moderate 90˚ crosswinds starts its Battle Round with an innate MV of 4.  As a Class C winged monster, it can fly 3 hexes forward and spend its last MV performing a normal single-hexside turn.  Instead, it performs a tight turn leeward before moving at all.  Rather than spending 2 MV, it pays a 1 MV cost and drops an altitude level.  Now with a moderate tailwind, the dragon still enjoys a remaining MV of 4 (innate MV 4 PLUS tailwind 2 PLUS turning modifier –1 MINUS 1 MV already spent = 4 hexes.)  The dragon moves one hex forward (required between separate turns), followed by a second tight turn leeward, dropping another altitude level and paying 1 MV.  Still incurring a tailwind, its MV requires no updating, leaving the dragon with a remaining MV 2 to move (and so on.)

Note:  Winged monsters and fixed-wing aircraft lean toward the inside of a turn.  However, when beam-reaching or turning, sailing skyships do not heel like seagoing vessels thanks to their outrigger sails.  During a turn, while the crew adjusts the sails, some may start luffing while others suddenly fill with wind, causing a vessel to roll and weave at high speeds.  Airmen call this odd motion, often sickening to land lubbers, the jolly sway.  It takes a hex of forward movement to stabilize after a turn.  That Scarlet Witch, she be a jolly swayin’ curse, matey!

3.3.3. Caught In Irons:          A sailing skyship starting its Battle Round in irons can make one single-hexside turn, after which it ends its move.  A skyship’s hull enchantment favors forward motion along its centerline, thus preventing the vessel from drifting abaft when facing headwinds.  See Diagram 5’s adjoining text, earlier, about monsters directly facing headwinds.

Example 1:  The Star Phoenix, a Class B galleon, starts its move close reaching through a moderate breeze.  Its initial MV is 3.  It flies one hex forward and turns into the wind.  Its remaining MV is 0 (in irons 0 MINUS moderate breeze 2 PLUS turning modifier +1 MINUS 2 MV already spent = –3 hexes.)  The Star Phoenix ends its move in irons.  It can make a single turn at the beginning of the next Battle Round.

Example 2:  The Lucky Deuce, a Class A cutter, flies close hauled in a strong breeze.  Its initial MV is 3.  The Lucky Deuce is nimble enough to move 1 hex forward and perform a sudden two-hexside turn as a single maneuver clear across headwinds costing only 1 MV.  The Lucky Deuce is now beam reaching, with 2 MV remaining (beam reaching 2 PLUS strong breeze 3 PLUS turning modifier –1 MINUS 2 MV already spent = 2 hexes.)

3.3.4. Slowing Down:  Sailing skyships can opt to move fewer hexes than what their MV ratings suggest, or even come to a full stop, by lowering or furling their sails.  Due to inertia and crew response time, sailing skyships (and Class D monsters) must spend at least half their initial MV before coming to a full stop.  The same applies to vessels powered with machinery or magic, though they can reverse power and move backward.  

Galleys, longships, and Class C monsters only require a quarter move before coming to a full stop.  Class B monsters only require 1 hex of forward motion to come to a full stop if their current speed is 4 or more (otherwise they just stop instantly, as would Class A monsters.)  

Winged monsters above Class A don’t generally like hovering, which can be exhausting; stamina checks are needed after each Battle Round spent hovering.  If a check fails, the winged monster must resume normal flight.  Fixed-wing aircraft, if any, cannot hover.  Winged monsters and fixed-wing aircraft can remain aloft using at least half their innate MV rating.  If they fail to spend the minimum required MV to stay aloft, altitude is lost at the rate of 1 level per missing MV.

Once sails have been completely dropped, hoisting them again takes time:  subtract 1 MV from a Class A skyship’s subsequent MV, 2 for Class B, 3 for Class C or D.  If half or fewer of the crew is available, hoisting sails takes a full Battle Round.  While its sails are dropped, a sailing skyship cannot perform any maneuvers.

Example:  The Queen’s Fury, a Class C draconic warship, starts its move beam reaching in a strong breeze.  Its initial MV is 7.  It needs to spend 4 MV in any kinds of maneuvers before coming to a full stop.  It can remain aloft even if motionless due its permanent hull enchantment, which provides basic lift.  A galley racing at MV 5 could stop with 2 MV.  A small dragon in the same situation, with an innate MV of 3, could stop with 1 MV.  A stray pixie would have a good laugh and stop instantly, without spending any MV.

3.3.5. Emergency Maneuver:  Most skyships are fitted with one or more air anchors.  These are magical devices intended to remain in a stationary position after being dropped.  An air anchor’s enchantment comes into effect when its chain is fully unrolled.  Its proper positioning on a vessel is crucial as its chain could easily sheer off masts below deck level.  An air anchor can be used to perform an emergency stop (at no MV cost.)  

If the anchor is fastened to the bow, the vessel immediately pivots opposite its original heading and stops.  Crew will likely get knocked off their feet.  Merchandise in the hold and any other unsecured objects may become loose, deck weapons could be thrown out of alignment, and any unfurled sails could become fouled.  An emergency maneuver will cause hull damage equal to the vessel’s initial MV (see 4.3. Damage.)  No deck weapons may be used for the remainder of the Battle Round.  Furthermore, the vessel will incur a –5 penalty to initiative during the upcoming Phase A1 (see 4.4. Combat Sequence.)

Weighing anchor requires a command word to deactivate and a –2 MV penalty (or a whole Battle Round, whichever is shortest.)  If half or fewer of the crew is available, the penalty is –3 MV, –4 with a quarter or fewer.  While anchored, a vessel cannot perform any maneuvers.

©2017 Bruce A. Heard. All Rights Reserved.

  3.4. Climbing & Diving
    3.4.1. Ascending
    3.4.2. Descending
    3.4.3. Effects of Altitude
    3.4.4. Gales & Storms
  3.5. Collisions & Boarding Maneuvers

Your feedback is welcome.  If you enjoy this series of articles, plus them or share them.  Thank you.

Monday, July 17, 2017

Skyship Combat Mechanics III

Previously Posted Sections

1. Introduction
2. Wind Direction & Strength
3. Maneuvering
  3.1. Movement Rates
    3.1.1. Sailing Skyships
    3.1.2. Other Skyships
    3.1.3. Ramming Speed!

    3.1.4. Monsters
    3.1.5. Powering Through


3.2. Maneuverability

Flight performance often depends on the nature of a flying monster or the general design of a skyship (Munaani, Kragdûras, Alorean, Lao-Kweian, etc.)  Class rating directly affects the ability to turn, which is explained in the following section.

Class A:  Galleys and longship move at a fixed oar speed, typically up to 3 hexes per Battle Round.  They are the nimblest of vessels because of their oars and relatively simple sail configuration. Twin-masted sailing skyships (one vertical mast above deck and one more below deck, or two-outrigger masts) belong in this category as well.  Small airships (30’ or less) powered solely with magic should also be included here, along with creatures relying on magic alone to fly and monsters smaller than mankind.

Class B:  These are Calidar’s jacks-of-all-trades, possibly the most common skycraft.  Reasonably fast and maneuverable, these vessels include tri-masted configurations (typically, one mast upright, plus two outboard masts extending below deck.)  Medium-sized airship (90’ or less) relying solely on magic to fly, as well as winged monsters the size of a horse or smaller also belong in this category.

Class C:  Draconic warships and Alorean clippers fit in this category.  This includes quad-masted vessels (two masts above deck in a V-configuration, plus two others below deck), which are typically faster than Class B skyships, but less maneuverable.  Large airships (more than 90’ long) relying solely on magic to fly, fixed-wing aircraft, as well as a large winged monsters (chimeras, wyverns, dragons, etc.) are also part of this category.

Class D:  Designs that are hardest to steer belong here, typically huge lumbering skycraft, dwarven ironclads, flying rafts, magically-powered monoliths, etc.  Most of these are magically powered, such as Kragdûras vessels relying on blackstone-powered Fetzgrim engines, which generate both lift and propulsion.  Any huge, gargantuan, colossal, or titan-sized winged creature (as defined in their respective role-playing games) belongs here.

3.3. Turning

3.3.1 Basic Turning Capability:  The ability of skyships and monsters to turn depends on their class ratings and initial speeds (their MV at the beginning of their movement phase.)  Table 5 shows how many hexsides a vessel or a monster can change per hex of forward motion.  Each turn costs 1 MV to perform.  A skyship or monster starting a Battle Round with a modified MV of 0 (or in the negatives) can always perform a 1 hexside turn.  Forward movement performed at the end of a Battle Round can count toward the following round’s turn requirements.

In Table 5, Class A skyships or monsters flying at a slow speed (shaded in green) can face in any direction after a hex of forward movement.  Changing multiple hexsides as a single maneuver costing only 1 MV is limited to Class A and B vessels, where turning capability is printed in blue.  Compare with Class D at fast speeds (shaded in blue), which allows one adjoining hexside change for every 5 hexes of forward movement.

Sailing skyships’ and winged monsters’ MV rates must be updated after each turn maneuver resulting in different wind modifiers.  For example, turning from a beam reaching to a close hauled heading results in a less favorable wind modifier.  A turning modifier listed in Table 6 reflects a fast-moving skyship’s initial momentum, or the inertia of a slow one catching a more favorable wind.  When updating MVs, apply to the new heading’s MV the turning modifier and subtract any MV already spent during this Battle Round.  If an updated MV is zero or less, or all current MV are actually spent, movement ends for this Battle Round.  Normal flight speed resumes at the beginning of the next round.  Table 6 should be kept handy while running a battle.

















Diagram 6. The Wind Thorn
Example 1:  The Wind Thorn, a Class C Alorean clipper, beam reaching (5) under high winds (4), starts its round with an MV of 9.  It can turn once for every 4 hexes of forward motion.  It flies 4 hexes straight and makes a windward turn.  The Wind Thorn is now close hauled (1); its new MV should be 3.  The actual remaining MV is therefore 1 (MV 3 PLUS turn modifier +3 MINUS 5 MV already spent = 1 hex.)

Example 2: The reverse case works this way:  the Wind Thorn is close hauled (1), with an initial MV of 3.  The clipper moves forward 3 hexes and, at the beginning of the following Battle Round, immediately performs a leeward turn.  It is now beam reaching again.  Its remaining MV should therefore be 5 (MV 9 PLUS turn modifier –3 MINUS 1 MV already spent = 5 hexes)

©2017 Bruce A. Heard. All Rights Reserved.

    3.3.2. Tight Turns
    3.3.3. Caught In Irons
    3.3.4. Slowing Down
    3.3.5. Emergency Maneuver