Fate of the Norns

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 Post subject: Sea battles
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:05 am 
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Hey,

since Vikings were, you know, seafarers, and attacked using, you know, ships, I thought we might need some sea battle systems that at least simplified a few of the encounters where two fifty-foot ships with forty guys on each assaulting one another might be resolved slightly faster than with the original RGS. So last weekend, I whipped together a few basic rules and tested them with my group. The result is this:

Fate of the Norns: Naval Quick Battle
1. Setup
Treat each participating ship as a character with Essence and Destiny (and thus Physical, Mental and Spiritual runes) but no powers or skills. These runes represent the ship's crew size and skill in Ranged Combat (P), Maneuverability (M) and Defense (S) and are allocated before the combat when the crewmembers determine whether they will be firing arrows, doing the rowing or protecting the crew by acting as shieldmen.
EXAMPLE: The Starfarer is a small (35-foot) Lv20 dragonship with a motivated crew, destined by the Norns for greatness. It has 10 Essence, 5 Destiny. These, for example, could be distributed 4P, 4M and 2S for a fast offensive layout, or to 1P, 3M and 5S for drawing fire away from other, more vulnerable ships, or any other combination of P, M and S depending how the crew is distributed.

If at least one of the ships decides to travel with sails set, randomly determine the dominant wind direction for the battlefield, or if one of the participants has a tactical choice of when to battle, allow them to determine the dominant wind direction. Name one of the six directions of a hex field as that direction.

Draw Initiative as you would at the beginning of a normal RGS combat.

2. Wyrd
At the beginning of each turn, each ship Wyrds as though it were a character. P runes drawn determine Ranged Combat, M runes drawn determine Maneuverability and S runes drawn determine Defense. This is this ship's Battle Pile for the turn.

If player characters are to play a more heroic part, each of them, after Wyrding, may pick one of their Runes and add them to the Battle Pile, thus strengthening the crew's efforts in that regard.

3. Preparation
Each ship may choose to set aside from their Battle Pile:

1 P rune for a battle cry that increases that ship's Destiny by 1 for the next turn
1 M rune for a +1 or -1 of that ship in the Initiative Order for the next turn
as many S runes as they want to heal that many Wounded runes during next turn's Preparation phase. Healed Runes return to the Essence pile.

These runes are set aside secretly and revealed at the same time. After that, they are returned to the ship's Essence Pile.

4. Combat
In initiative order, each ship may
a) move and turn
b) fire at one other ship within 5 hexes
c) declare a Boarding attack at an adjacent ship
a) and b) may be done in any order, c) must be the last thing that ship does this turn.

4a. Maneuvering
Each ship may move a number of hexes equal to its Maneuverability. However, it may only move into the direction its bow is facing and may only turn one hex-side per hex moved. This turn may be taken before or after moving into the new hex.

If the ship has their sails set and is traveling into the exact dominant wind direction during its first hex move, it gets an additional 2 Maneuverability for this turn. If it is traveling one hex side to the left or the right of the dominant wind direction, it gets an additional 1 Maneuverability for this turn.

4b. Ranged Attacking
Each ship may fire at one other ship with bows and arrows if it is within 5 hexes. This attack deals damage equal to the Ranged Combat (R) runes of the attacker minus the Defense (S) runes in the defender's combat pile. Defense runes that prevent damage that way are moved to the defending ship's Essence after the attack is resolved.

If a ship has their sails set, only ranged attacks from the ships broadsides have this full effect. If the target is within the ship's bow or stern firing arc, the attack is Weak instead. The bow and stern firing arc are drawn by taking the first hex in front and in the back of the ship and drawing a cone forward and backward, starting from those hexes.

Each point of damage infliced leads to the other ship losing that many Runes from Essence to their Wounded pile. If there are no further Runes in Essence, instead take these Runes from the Battle Pile AND take the same number of Runes from the Wounded pile and put them into the Dead Pile. These are lives lost during the battle.

Also, if the heroes actively support their crew, each point of damage taken moves one of their Runes into their own Death pile.

(continuing right after I had lunch)


Last edited by Taleweaver on Tue Aug 26, 2014 7:02 am, edited 3 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Sea battles
PostPosted: Tue Aug 26, 2014 6:54 am 
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4c. Boarding attack
When a Boarding attack is initiated, both ships are the last ships in the sea battle, and the ships' crews are of a reasonably small size, switch to the RGS for resolving the combat.

If one of these conditions isn't fulfilled, use the following rules instead:

As the Boarding attack begins (and only then), the ship against which the attack was declared does damage to the attacking ship equal to the R runes in their Battle pile UNLESS the defending ship did initiate a Ranged Attack this turn.

Then, the battle aboard the defending vessel starts. Attacker and defender both compare the number of Runes in their Battle piles. Starting with the attacker, they then do damage to one another. The side with more Runes does 2 damage, the side with less runes does 1 damage. On a tie, the defender does 2 damage, the attacker 1. This damage follows the same rules as Ranged damage (4b), i.e. it puts Runes into the Wounded and Dead piles but it is not reduced in any way. Note that if the defender started with more Runes in their Battle pile but, because of damage taken, ends up with less Runes after resolving the attacker's damage, they only do 1 damage in return.

Heroes may take damage as described in 4b.

None of the ships in a Boarding attack may perform actions until one side is completely defeated (i.e. reduced to 0 Essence). The battle aboard continues on the attacker's next Initiative.

If another ship does a Boarding attack on one of the ships currently IN a Boarding attack, they add their Battle pile to a side of their choosing. The other side decides which of the two crews to assign their damage to.

5. Cleanup
After all actions have been resolved, all players return their Battle Piles into their Essence Piles. If the Norn allows it, players may now roleplay their characters' actions during the battle (skills, powers etc.) to gain special effects (e.g. a Galdr could try changing the dominant wind direction, or a Seithkona could try sowing chaos aboard another ship, or a Maiden could taunt another ship's crew to make their ship the next target, or so on). These effects should be useful but not balance-breaking.



---

Well, y'all, what do you think? Good enough for house rules?


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 Post subject: Re: Sea battles
PostPosted: Tue Sep 02, 2014 8:25 am 
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Heya Taleweaver, great work! This is just the stuff we were hoping would come out of a system that gives you enough to run the usual situations and hopefully gives you enough to create your own derivatives for specific situations. Even though we never intended the core rules to get into great detail for specific situations, naval combat may be one we explore for a future supplement. This is really inspirational! :)

I like the way you segway from your high level ship battle to RGS once boarding commences. You may consider starting off some crews somewhat injured based on the ship damage. This also opens up some great possibilities for "generic/cinematic" actions while closing range. Blacksmiths could also have a field day designing ships.

Keep it up! :)

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 Post subject: Re: Sea battles
PostPosted: Fri Sep 05, 2014 6:34 am 
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Pretty cool... how did it play out with your group?


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 Post subject: Re: Sea battles
PostPosted: Mon Sep 08, 2014 4:32 am 
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It worked quite well. I had them fight it out with three slow, bulky Crusader transport ships while they had a very small, maneuverable dragonship to work with. They basically drove circles around the other ships, staying just out of the more dangerous broadside firing arcs and totally decimated two crews while whittling down the third enough for a successful boarding attack. No use of sails, so that they could fire freely. Next time, I'm giving them a bigger challenge ^_^


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 Post subject: Re: Sea battles
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 7:33 am 
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I have to say, you've got my game designer brain on naval rules ever since you posted this. Now I wish there was time to add this to DotN but we're getting too close to done. There's another thread about longships and minis which led me to order 2 longships from Amazon. I wonder what the demand would be for a stand alone naval supplement using modified RGS and ship minis.

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 Post subject: Re: Sea battles
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 9:07 am 
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I think for me, I tend to do very protagonist focused games. Thus, things like naval battles tend to detract from that a bit. it's not to say that it doesn't come up, but it's not like we're doing "broadside the land lubbers!" or something. The longship was, in many ways, just a very good platform for transporting guys around. They might have an initial volley of arrows, spears and axes, but no actual real ship-to-ship battles. Maybe ship-to-kraken though!

If the rules were something that could be dealt with in a short amount of time (this is how to set a battle on ships, using RGS to set the stage for a Denizen/Dweller battle), I think it would appeal to me. Some shipboard maps, some viking naval details (chests for benches, different sized ships, etc) and it would be pretty cool. Maybe talk to Fat Dragon Games and see if there is a possibility to do a longship. Heck, they have 2 sailing ships and an airship that are really close already, as well as hex terrain.

edit: or, you know, this one https://dl.dropboxusercontent.com/u/151 ... Ship01.pdf which is made by someone in canada who apparently likes this stuff http://inkjetpaperscissors.blogspot.com ... gship.html Osberg cart, a faering, etc.


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 Post subject: Re: Sea battles
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 11:33 am 
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Weren't Viking naval battles mostly a matter of tying their longships together to make little islands and then get close and duke it out like a land battle?


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 Post subject: Re: Sea battles
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 12:13 pm 
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Moldof wrote:
Weren't Viking naval battles mostly a matter of tying their longships together to make little islands and then get close and duke it out like a land battle?


pretty much, but there might be some epic to extract out of it. I can see some pretty cool alkas out on the ocean.


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 Post subject: Re: Sea battles
PostPosted: Thu Oct 02, 2014 6:25 pm 
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That would be cool. Or even just casting one onto an enemy ship. Not much to do but jump over board if it's big enough. Hmmmm. I'm not very familiar with all of the alkas yet. But a thought just came to me that, if possible, would definitely fit into the realm of epic. If you opened up a big enough alka on the ocean(the idea being to create some kind of "mega" gate), you could have some kind of vessel come out of it from whichever world the alka is linked to. It could just start attacking whatever is closest to it. For simplicity sake, I'd give it some actual in game effects but make it more cinematic than anything. Or you could open up a mega gate right in front of a vessel coming in to ram you and send it sailing into another world. I'm just trying to think of some ways to create a few super epic moments. If I were to gm that, I'd make it a complete surprise for the players. Have a preset size that would trigger it and drop a few hints in an effort to get them to try it. Then bame! Out comes a longship from another world. Or an enemy ship enters, but doesn't come out. Ewww. It could come out, but sans people. Like a ghost longship. You could turn it into an encounter somewhat like that movie Event Horizon. If they board it, they start having all kinds of crazy visions and have to fight of going crazy or something.

When we do get into a naval battle, I think I'll try a somewhat abstract opposed skill check pre-boarding. I'm hoping this will create a more cinematic pacing for everything leading up to the moment when they start boarding actions and initiate the actual combat system. Our group really eats up the role play part of tabeltop rpgs. So I think this will really fit the group dynamic well.


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