Log in

No account? Create an account
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)?
26th-Jan-2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
Our 10th level party on an underequipped boat had trouble with a dragon turtle.. any aquatic monsters present a problem unless the party as a whole can fly or swim well.

Ship to ship encounters work just like normal encounters. What happens to the ships isn't nearly as important as when it's boarded.
26th-Jan-2007 08:10 pm (UTC)
Oops, missed the 2nd point. There is a spontaneous divine class called "favored soul" which is awesome, and has appeared in several books. There is also a class in the miniatures handbook called "healer" that is a nice class.
26th-Jan-2007 08:17 pm (UTC)
I think the Shujenja in the complete divine (I think) is a sorceror gone the divine route.
26th-Jan-2007 08:22 pm (UTC)
I can't help you with the sea encounters, but I do know something about spontaneous divine casters. Complete Divine has the Favoured Soul divine caster. There's also the Spirit Shaman (druid-like) class, but I can't find rules for it, and you'd probably have to tweak the definition of 'spirit' slightly to make it apply to your game.
26th-Jan-2007 08:24 pm (UTC)
Spontenous Divine Casters, base classes:

Unearthed Arcana/SRD

Shugenja (Oriental Adventures -- own spell list),
Spirit Shaman (Complete Divine -- Druid spell list),
Favoured Soul (Complete Divine -- Cleric list).
Healer (Miniatures Handbook -- own spell list)

There are also some sponteneous PrCs.


As for at-sea encounters, first figure out how much resources just being *at sea* is costing the PCs. If they're memorizing and using Freedom of Movement, Water Breathing, spells to give them swim speeds, weaker weapons (peircing, rather than their usual bludgeoning or slashing), casting Create Food, etc., just being at sea may be a noteable CR encounter in and of itself.

If you can calculate the enviornment as a CR, you could just count it, every day that it becomes relevant, and give that as XP to the PCs. If the CR is well-below party level, it won't matter (people who can usually fly, teleport, etc aren't going to be overly bothered by being at sea). If the CR is close, it should jsut give XP. IMO

26th-Jan-2007 10:34 pm (UTC)
d20 Modern tackled your CR problem early on out of necessity. It became a rather notable issue that a wuss in a tank is tougher than a fairly tough hero. Depending on the vehicular/equipment disparity between the party and the enemy, just jack up the EL one to three points.
26th-Jan-2007 11:35 pm (UTC) - Sea Battles
Great question!

You've looked at the obvious problem with the rowboat vs. battle ship. Disparity in armor, size, crew and speed all change the EL of a battle, and are all variables you need to be aware of. And like the book says, get away from the ship to ship combat as soon as possible. You're not giving your players their time in the spotlight if all they do is watch the ships fight. Even if they're on one of them, you should manuever a boarding immediately. Get your party in the battle, face to face, and you'll all be happier.

But, if you must have information on ship to ship combat, take the ship stats in Stormwrack and give both ships the same abilities. Make them even and you might be able to highlight your party's abilities by letting them fire the ballista. *shrug* You're also making it easier on yourself.

For this, I can really only say Good Luck!
27th-Jan-2007 02:01 pm (UTC)
Personally, I've no problems with ship-to-ship combat. Maybe the PC's aren't in control, and they don't like that, but it's more realistic.

Unless one of them is the captain of the ship, in which case it's not a problem anyways.

The problem I see with monster Vs. ship/crew is that most monsters will just capsize/destroy the boat. Dragon Turtles have the explicit ability to do just that, and unless the party can somehow get back to shore without boats, they're basically screwed. And even if they can, the ship and everything that was on it is gone, which will probably include most of their stuff (unless they insist on walking around a ship with full backpacks on).

I love sea campaigns. Love love love. Ships will rarely survive, unless extra special precautions are taken. =) If you've no problems with stranding players, go for big monsters like a Kraken, Dragon Turtle, water dragons, etc. It can be fun, and bring a whole new element to the game when your PC's are fighting so frikkin hard just to protect their means of conveyance, rather than themselves, each other, and NPC's.
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.
This page was loaded Jul 18th 2019, 2:31 am GMT.