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D&D 3E
Sea Encounters 
26th-Jan-2007 02:20 pm
I picked up the Stormwrack book a little while ago, and I'm writing up a sea-based adventure. What I'm having a lot of trouble with is figuring out encounter levels at sea. Obviously, a group of opponents on a small boat are going to have a lower EL than the same group on an ironside equipped with all manner of ballista and a firespout. Does anyone have any experience coming up with these sort of encounters? How did you design them? I know the book says to get away from ship-to-ship combat as fast as possible and back to one-on-one stuff, but I haven't found much else about balancing these encounters.

Oh, and while I'm posting, has anyone ever run into a divine spellcasting class that casts spontaneously (ala Sorceror)?
27th-Jan-2007 09:04 pm (UTC)
The problem isn't with capsizing the boat or leaving them stranded, it's with effective ELs. Like I said, if you put an EL 7 group of dwarven pirates in an Ironside boat, then they're not EL 7 anymore. I'm infatuated right now with the idea of sea campaigns, but after reading the book I still feel pretty unprepared to run one.

I can see I'll need to figure out some way to build their attachment to the boat before I send them after wild encounters.
27th-Jan-2007 09:05 pm (UTC)
Whoops, that was me.
27th-Jan-2007 10:20 pm (UTC)
Well, they are EL 7, but they do lose something whilst on the boat, unless the boat has been scaled up with equipment somehow.

:] Really it's for that reason that I have no problems with ship-to-ship battles.

But think of it this way: If a crew would be better suited to fighting hand-to-hand rather than using cannons and such, then they'd be more likely to close range and board than keep at a distance.

Sea battles are tricky, in that you have to rely on the skills of not only the pilot, but also the skills of the individual gunners. Whenever I have some sort of vehicle (be it a car, ship, etc) in combat, I try to make it so that everybody has some sort of responsibility. Everybody does chip in, after all. Maybe a great fighter seems useless at first glance, but he can help pull a line with the best of them.

You have a good point, in that having a ship serves towards being a good equalizer, but I still say that it's reliant on its crew.
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