Home of the Odd Duk

Tag: shipbuilding

Dungeon World Hack Begins

I was quite happy to post in the Dungeon World Tavern that I was developing a campaign front about my crazy mishmash setting I've been playing in since I was a kid. You know, the Spelljammer + Centurion Legion + B/X + C from BECMI + 1e PHB + 1e Unearthed Arcana + Best of Dragon Vol V + 1e Oriental Adventures +2e Monstrous Compendium - 2e PHB - 2eDMG? Over the past couple of days, I hatched a way to handle the spacefaring fantasy ships. I'm open to feedback. I do not believe I have figured out the best way to play any game, much less Dungeon World, so constructive criticism is welcomed.

I still have a lot to learn about DW, though I really enjoy the group I play in. I sometimes still wait for my "turn" because I'm used to initiative. Otherwise, I enjoy the Barbarian and I doing all kinds of fun things. Nothing gets in the way of two crazy people and their fiction:

We appear on a ship being attacked by a sea monster. He rolls a 12 to rip the harpoon gun off its mooring and use it in an attack from point-blank range. When the sea monster died, he jumped in the water, swam underwater to the sea monster carcass and retrieved nine harpoons. I keep the gun and ammo in my bag of holding.

I'm a Cleric, and Cure Light Wounds is rote for me. You can see why we are friends.

Weren't You Going to Talk About Ships?

For some pirates, their ships became iconic. The Golden Hind went around the world with Drake. Queen Anne's Revenge is as famous as her captain. The Royal Fortune is a bit of an exception as she was whatever ship Bartholomew captured and renamed.

So in some ways, it seemed that a ship in my space fantasy would be like a magic item. It was magical enough in that it can fly, traverse interstellar space, be airtight, and everything else needed to make a ship from the Age of Sail travel among the stars. The issue with treating them like a magic item is that they were either all the same or I would be creating a lot of magic items.

So then I thought that a ship is a piece of equipment that is an extension of her captain and crew. This feels right for Dungeon World because the no one should get bogged down in the details of the ship while a good story is going on. Better to build an epic story of the characters chasing down the dread pirate windows through asteroids than to get all hung up on the equipment. It would be like playing a Fighter and talking about a sword all night.

Still, a ship should have Armor and Hit Points. Epic ship battles shouldn't end when the mizzenmast is lost to cannon bursting through it. There should be a way to measure how much punishment a ship can handle. It could be my lack of experience with Dungeon World, but I couldn't figure out a way to handle hit points or toughness by equipment tags. (And I tried a lot, let me tell you.)

I then made the mistake of thinking of a ship as a monster or character itself, complete with stats, moves, and class damage. I over-complicated the use of ships attempting to define a bunch of moves that I wanted in a space battle. Looking for inspiration, I went through notes for Microlite20's way of handling space combat and realized my error. I certainly didn't need to invent "moves" for a ship as anything that I wanted a ship to do could be done by the character piloting the ship. Evasive Maneuvers? Describe it or roll Defy Danger. Attack another ship? Volley. Ram and/or Board an enemy vessel? Hack and Slash.

So the answer is this. When a character pilots or captains a ship, any rolls that need to be made are based on the character's stats. The only exceptions to this rule are that a ship would have it's own damage die to roll instead of the character's class and it would have its own hit points. The ship can be further described by two pairs of tags of which three are already equipment tags:

Quick vs Clumsy (still -1 to all rolls)
Fast vs Slow

As for the ship's size, we'll use the tags from monsters: Huge, Large, Small, Tiny.

To set the Armor and Hit Points of the ship, there are four base types of ship (in order from smallest to largest): Corvette, Caravel, Man-O-War, and Carrack. A Corvette is similar to individual Tie-Fighters or X-Wings in Star Wars. A Man-O-War is a military ship akin to a Destroyer. It is usually heavily armored and has overwhelming firepower. A Carrack is a colossal ship used for hauling cargo. Without others to defend it, a Carrack is an easy target. The final type, the Caravel, is a jack-of-all-trades type of ship similar to the Millennium Falcon. It is larger than a small fighter. It can haul some cargo. It has more weapons that a small fighter, but cannot compete with the armor and weaponry of a Man-O-War. (I imagine that new merchants to space start with a Caravel.)

Starting with these four types of ships, you can modify the tags. For example, you may buy off the clumsy tag. You can add or remove armor if you like. You can also add or modify weapons. Adding a Cannon, for example, gives you a +1 piercing weapon. Adding a second ballista gives you weapons with a far tag.

TL;DR How Exactly Do You Do Flying Ships?

I haven't worked out the prices, yet, but here is what I have so far.

Ship Types

Corvette Class Ship; fast, quick, Armor 1, Hit Points 8, Damage d6

Caravel Class Ship; Armor 2, Hit Points 12, Damage d6

Man-O-War Class Ship; fast, Armor 4, Hit Points 16, Damage d10

Carrack Class Ship; clumsy, Armor 2, Hit Points 20, Damage d4


Ballista; far, reload
; near, +1 damage
Magic Missile Launcher; near, 2 piercing

Next post, I will have the coin costs and provide a few examples of creating ships.


How the Worlds Tie Together

This is post 199. More about the history of this site in the next post.

For now, this is about how the various worlds of Andras tie together. In some ways, this is sparked by Vincent Florio's post about mixing Sci-Fi with Fantasy. Where it differs, however, deals with how the rules for various settings can work together.

Lorica is about mechs and/or tanks and Tiezerekan is about space fantasy. A far future setting has some elements in common with space fantasy, namely interplanetary travel. More than that, both setting rely on creating various ships and other craft to accomplish goals. Lorica has many classes of mechs, air ships and the colossal drop ships. Tiezerekan has many classes of space craft to explore, conduct trade, transport and fight in wars.

The idea behind Andras is to provide one system to make craft for both worlds. While it may require some amount of abstraction, I really didn't want a lot of hand-waving to be part of the process. I want something straight-forward with lots of options that doesn't bog down players that just want to get started.

More than that, I want a system that also connects with Dweneyarda. High fantasy vessel making? Sure. Sooner or later, you may want to create naval vessels. When the system is complete, I also hope that the rules can incorporate generation of medieval-ish artillery, golems, and other magical creations.

Let's start with making mechs/tanks for Lorica as a part of this walk-through, we will re-create the Loanza light mech:

  1. Choose a power source.The Loanza uses a fusion engine with a power rating of 1300. It has a mass value of 12. (This is important later)
  2. Choose Shields, Armor, Weapons, and special attachments.Everything has a mass and power usage score. Both of these scores affect the amount of drain on the power source. There are trade-offs that make the game interesting.In Lorica, Shields directly benefit Armor Class, making a mech more difficult to hit. The more powerful the shields, the more power required. Shields do not weigh much, but because of the high power requirements, too much shielding can leave little power for weapons and movement.The Loanza uses Rating 6 shields providing an AC bonus of 6. The power drain is a relatively low 31 points and the mass is 2. These numbers are important later.

    Armor uses no power, but has a high mass. In Lorica, Armor provides the Hull points. One point of armor costs 1 point of mass. The Loanza has a lighter amount of armor, 60 units of armor costing 60 mass points.

    The pilot is a special attachment. The space for the pilot costs 3 power points and 3 mass points. Another special attachment could allow space to carry infantry, but that won't be used for the Loanza.

    Weapons have varying values for mass and power. Lasers use a lot of power, but have the greatest range. Missiles costs very little power, but have limited range. Slug thrower do great amounts of damage, but are quite massive.

    The Loanza has the following weapon systems:

    Weapons Range Power Mass Damage
    Form III Laser
    20 10 4 8+1d8
    125mm Slug
    15 6 47 28+1d12
    SR Missiles(12) 6 2 15 1d12 x 6
  3. Now for the math to calculate the movement rate and the Hull points. Optionally, the rough size can be calculated as well as the total cost.Here's what we have so far:
    power mass cost
    Engine 1300
    12 650000
    Shields 6 31 2 30000
    Armor 60
    60 3000
    Pilot 1 3 3 300
    Special Att 0 0 0 0

    Form III 10 4 72000

    125mm 6 47 218000

    SR(12) 2 15 30000

    52 143 1003300 8

    First we'll calculate the movement rating:
    Start with the Engine Rating (1300) and subtract the total power points for the shields, weapons and other components. In this case, all systems drain 52 power points. 1300 - 52 = 1248.

    Now divide the subtotal by the total mass points dropping any remainder. The total mass points for the Loanza is 143. 1248/143 rounds down to 8. A movement rate of 8 means that the vehicle can move 8 hexes per round.

    Now to calculate the Hull points:
    In Lorica, one unit of armor provide 12 Hull points. It is assumed that the armor is a futuristic alloy. 60 times 12 equals 720 Hull points.

    For estimated size, I use a unit of volume I call a ton. It is 1000 cubic feet or a 10' x 10' x 10' cube. One mass point equals one ton. Since the Loanza has 143 total mass points, it is 143 tons in size. This is 143,000 cubic feet. It is about the size of an oil tanker.

  4. With these numbers, provide a good description of the vessel.

How could something like this apply to Tiezerakan or Dweneyarda?

Tiezerkan vessel would use similar engines. Keep in mind that a 1300 rated engine in one world is not necessarily equivalent to a 1300 rated engine in another. In Tiezerkan, vessels are moving at speeds hundreds or thousands of times faster than tanks. However, to keep the math simple, there no need to create a master table of engines, use the same ones. For crossover, simply come up with a conversion rate.

Weapons in different settings will vary in damage. A GM may decide that weapons do absolute damage. For example, a 17th century cannons may only do 1d4 Hull points of damage as opposed to the large values of damage for Lorica weapons. Tiezerakan weapons may be a factor of 10 or 100 times more damaging than Lorica.

A GM may also decide that weapons do relative damage. A 17th century cannon may do 1d10 Hull Points of damage in a fantasy setting, but very little if brought into another. Again, if you do crossover, create a conversion factor.

You may decide to assign different numbers of Hull points per one unit of armor depending on the material. Steel may be 8 Hull points per unit of armor, for example. Wood may be 6 Hull points per unit of armor. A GM could define as few or as many materials as desired.

Special attachments vary considerably. Mechs do not need living quarters or galleys, but interstellar vessels do. Some settings may not have energy shields like Lorica. In each setting, special attachments are better defined.

Lastly, a ton may not be the same in every setting. In some settings, a ton may be a 5' x 5' x 5' cube or 125 cubic feet. In others, it may be thousands of cubic feet. Like engines, relative values help to simply things. I have not found a need to do this, using this system, I have re-created a 16th century Portugese Nau with close to real-life values.

After post 200, some more concrete examples of this system in other settings.

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