Airships and Riverboats Peak

Discussion on the Earthdawn game line, errata, and feedback not related to playing or GMing.
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Airships and Riverboats Peak

Post by Telarus » Sat Jan 14, 2017 6:24 am

I mentioned earlier that I had the "chase" rules done for the Airships & Riverboats revision. As a sneak peak to go along with the great Discipline previews we have been getting, here is that section of the chapter (may undergo further edits).
Travelers who encounter each other in the skies, waterways, and territories of Barsaive may react in two ways: either they engage the other party (for parley or combat), or they avoid engagement. How ships and other large groups of characters react is determined by the ship's captain or the group's leader.
If all parties or ships involved decide to avoid engagement, they simply go their separate ways. If all parties decide to engage, players may use the rules below to initiate combat or parley. If some parties wish to avoid engagement and others want to engage them, those determined to engage begin a Pursuit. At times, through ambush or other subterfuge, one group may surprise the other and in these cases the gamemaster may immediately call for Engagement rolls, granting the surprising group 2 initial successes.
A Pursuit is a situation where one party follows another party over a relatively long time-period. The pursuing party may hope to close distance to engage the pursued or they may merely wish to shadow their prey—hoping to learn something important. The gamemaster first determines a time scale for the pursuit, how long each turn will last. Use a 1 hour pursuit turn for ship-to-ship or overland pursuits that will cover miles of territory. Use a 10 minute pursuit turn for smaller locations, like around a town, kaer, or ruin.
Inform the players of the turn scale chosen. At the beginning of each turn all parties in the pursuit with at least the “Crack Crew” success level may attempt to increase their Speed Step by activating the “Make Sail/Full Ahead” Maneuver. Next, the fastest pursuing party makes a Pursuit test using its Speed step. The target number of the Pursuit test is the lowest Speed step of the parties being pursued.
If the Pursuit test is successful the encounter has closed to Engagement range, where ships chase each other while jockeying for position at the edges of their weapon ranges.
If the Pursuit test fails, the gamemaster describes the events of the pursuit turn—such as changes in weather, scenery, or new obstacles—and may make a Hazard test, as described in the Hazards section. If a second Pursuit test fails, the quarry has lost the pursuer. The gamemaster may allow certain abilities to find a lost quarry, but this should be handled on a case-by-case basis.
For more detailed chases with obstacles and rapid action, use the Engagement rules below with 1 minute turns. Make the current turn-scale clear to the players, especially as you shift from one mode to another.
Each engagement turn, all ship make a Speed(5) test. The first ship to achieve 6 successes in total achieves their objective—either to close or to flee the situation. If ships are tied with 6 or more successes, continue the engagement turns until one is clearly in the lead. During the first engagement turn, ships will use the modified Speed step from their last action. Allow each ship that qualifies to modify their Speed on following turns.
The winning ship of an engagement determines what occurs next. A fleeing ship causes the action to drop back to the long range pursuit scale. A ship that successfully closes may initiate combat, or may attempt to parley with the other group.
To call for “parley” is to offer a temporary truce while a situation is handled through negotiation. If the other party does not already have Attitude rating towards those calling for parley, the gamemaster may make a Reaction test to determine a random starting attitude, as described in the Hazards section on Possible Hostilities.
From here use roleplaying and the Social Interaction rules (Gamemaster’s Guide, p.142-155) to resolve the scene, starting with Making an Impression—and using the other Social Interaction rules as appropriate. These negotiations may take one or more 1-minute turns, and lead to a negotiated settlement, a trading of Favors, or even to violence as Hostile character attempt to hide their intentions right up to the moment of attack.

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Re: Airships and Riverboats Peak

Post by Telarus » Wed Jan 18, 2017 3:36 am

Ok, since I have things together enough to let some of the beta testers review the rules, I thought I'd post another peak here for some feedback.

This is the new rules for the Assault Ship Maneuver.
Officer: Chief Gunner
The Assault maneuver is used when a captain attacks an enemy ship or a stationary target. Captains who wish to fire upon more than one ship per turn must use the Volley Fire/Return Fire Officer Maneuver.

The Chief Gunner adds the ship’s Maneuverability step to his step in the relevant ship ability and rolls this as a Maneuver test against the target’s Maneuverability step, or difficulty 2 for stationary targets. Success allows the Chief Gunner to change the current range before or after firing and to bring weapon Batteries to bear against the target. The Chief Gunner may activate two ship weapon Battery Units (or Crew Units with missile weapons if the range allows) on a successful Assault, plus one for each additional success on the Maneuver test.

When each Unit is activated, determine an Attack Result by adding the Unit Size step to the unit commander’s Missile Weapons step. Adept commanders choosing to spend their karma point for the turn now may add their Karma step to the Attack Result. Compare this Attack Result to the enemy’s Maneuverability step (do not roll this as a test). The Unit scores a hit with a ship weapon (or squad) for each success on the Attack Result. Each success above the number of squads in the Unit adds +2 to all Squad Steps for this action.

For each hit scored, the unit commander selects a weapon and rolls the weapon’s Damage step plus the current Squad Step for the crew running that weapon. Adept commanders choosing to spend their karma point for the turn now may add their Karma dice to one of the Damage rolls the unit makes. Only ship weapons with at least the minimum number of crew in the squad assigned to them may be selected for Damage tests. All weapons in a Battery except for those “under crewed” are considered to have been fired for ammunition tracking purposes.

Subtract the target’s Armor rating from each Damage result, and if damage remains add this to the current damage rating for the ship. If the modified damage result equals or exceeds a ship’s Wound Threshold, it takes a Wound. Each Wound reduces the ship’s Speed, Maneuverability, and Armor steps by 1, similar to a character’s attributes. If the ship has taken one or more Wounds after resolving all hits, it must check for a Hazard (see Hazards in Combat later in this section).

Called Shots may be made against the following ship Attribute targets—Officers or Passengers, Speed and Maneuverability (together), Armor, Cargo, Weapons, and Crew. For Called Shots the acting Officer takes a -3 penalty to the Assault Maneuver step, and hits and damage are determined normally. If the Wounds from a Called Shot cause a Hazard, then it is applied against the chosen Attribute instead of randomly.
Ship Maneuvers have been reduced to 4: Assault, Board, Break Off, and Ram. Other reactions during the turn are handled by activating various Officer Maneuvers in response to the action.

The key idea with this Maneuver is that the "attack roll" determines how many weapon batteries you can line up on the target, each weapon battery's "attack rolls" are actually combined into one "Attack Result" without rolling, which tells you how many Firecannon damage rolls to make for that Unit (the FUN part).

Base Firecannon Damage in my notes is Step 18, but ship scale weapons gets a +2 bonus for each crewmember running it (minimum crew: 3) to represent being that much more accurate, so it usually ranges between 24-28.

This is, of course, all subject to change.

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Re: Airships and Riverboats Peak

Post by Telarus » Thu Jan 19, 2017 8:13 am

Aaah. This, I think is one of the KEY things that makes this whole "abstract 1-minute combat turns" thing work.
Decisive Moments
At times of hazard or in ship combat turns, individual characters may leap into action—often performing feats of such daring and perfect timing that they prevent events that would otherwise be catastrophic. A crewman may save a comrade from serious injury or death at the last moment, pulling them from collapsing rigging, clearing tangled lines and tackle blocks before they wreak havoc on the deck, putting out fires, noticing dangerous terrain features, or responding to other hazards. Characters using this option may take two 6-second combat rounds worth of actions in order to respond to the hazard. For hazards other than combat with creatures or characters, each acting character takes the current Hazard Level as a Damage test, representing the risk and consequences of leaping into a dangerous situation.

Players may often want to take Decisive Moments to respond to the situation in play if the scale is currently larger than 6-second combat rounds. Each player may take one Decisive Moment in a turn, and players taking Decisive Moments at the same time may work together. It is recommended that gamemasters limit NPC Decisive Moments to around half the number of players present at the game session, as this places the spotlight firmly on the players to influence events. If the whole player-character party is invested in the outcome of the situation, it may be better to shift scales to 6-second combat rounds and play out the scene in that mode.

Tattered Rags
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Re: Airships and Riverboats Peak

Post by Tattered Rags » Fri Jan 20, 2017 3:15 pm

Didn't want to clutter up the Companion Optional Rules thread with this question.

Regarding the squad/unit rules, how are non-wounding damage rolls handled? It could be frustrating to keep hitting and damaging but never wounding and so never causing a casualty and never reducing the unit's size.

I could see a need to track the damage and say a casualty is rolled whenever the total is an increment of the wound threshold. I'd suggest not actually tracking the total over every round but instead reset the damage tracked to 0 each time a Wound is given.

That is, if the wound threshold is 10, and in the first round 9 damage is given, write down 9. If 8 damage is then given, erase the 9 and write 7 damage and 1 wound.

When the unit is down to individuals, the remainder damage can then be applied to them.
Adventure I'm running:
Under the Stars

Adventure GM post-mortem:
Under the Stars Postmortem

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Re: Airships and Riverboats Peak

Post by Telarus » Mon Jan 23, 2017 4:31 am

Hi Rags, good questions. Non Wounding rolls are ignored, you've spread that damage among at least 3 people, it's not worth tracking as even the math of adding up all the damage rolls to a target in one round/turn would slow down play. I've tried to be very mathematically rigorous with these new rules.

Units follow the basic attack rules as laid out for ships in the Assault Maneuver, except they activate one squad for damage for each success on the calculated Attack Result. Squads in 6-second rounds roll their Standard action with a bonus equal to the Squad Step, which is squad size times 2. We then handle damage from a whole squad of people with one roll (one damage roll per ship weapon, or one damage roll for each attack a base-member is allowed), so we add the acting Squad Step (2-10). That can be up to Step 23 (d20+2d10) for five Str 6 characters with Polearms. Average armor is around 5 points, and average character Wound Threshold is 10. According to, Step 23 has a ~83% chance of causing one Wound (15+), and a ~21% chance of 4 Wounds (30+). Active defense abilities obviously will change these numbers. So, non-adepts using real-world unit tactics are _dangerous_, both at Unit and Squad scales.

As it stands, a Casualty means that an individual is too wounded to continue fighting _with_ their Unit or Squad effectively, and the Unit usually tries to get them away from the front line. In 6-second combat rounds, if it becomes important to determine how wounded a Casualty is (if they need to act on their own, receive healing, or take additional damage), this is the current text describing that rule for Casualties.

"Assume the character has 1 Wound, then roll the individual’s Wound Threshold as a Damage step, and check for another Wound. If the individual is a Casualty, add the Wound Threshold value to the result of the Damage test. If a Fatality, add the Unconsciousness rating to the result of the Damage test. Any direct healing over the character’s Wound Threshold will send a Casualty back into the action, or (hopefully) turn the Fatality into a manageable Casualty."

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