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Old 11-08-2008, 07:57 PM   #11
Icelander
 
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Default Re: Sailing Ships -At least until CCoI (Low-Tech) arrives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgellis
What he said. :)

I suppose if I had to pick, I'd say the later ships, the ones likely to be used in swashbuckling campaigns.

Mark
That would be b and c for GURPS Swashbucklers proper, with f and g fitting in spirit and being relevant for high piracy in the 17th-18th century.

The last two, h and j, are more properly post-Swashbuckling era and the others are earlier than most buckles were swashed, at least in the fiction that inspires such campaigns.
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Old 11-08-2008, 11:46 PM   #12
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Default Re: Sailing Ships -At least until CCoI (Low-Tech) arrives

Viking Ships

Not all vessels used by the Scandinavians of the so-called Viking Age were dragon-prowed longships. I realise that this is shocking and nearly as painful as the news that we didn‘t wear horned helmets and charge into battle naked and screaming, but it‘s the truth nonetheless.

The Danish and Norse were great traders and it is unlikely that most of their legendary voyages were made in longships. Those longboats were meant for warfare and carried a crew much too large to be practical in a trading or exploration vessel. Even when a large group of men set sail to settle a new land, it‘s probable that they did so in the seaworthy and versatile karves, not in dragon-prowed longboats that could not carry enough food and water for journeys of that length.

All Norse boats and ships of the period are constructed using the same clinker-built method. The keel is usually made of oak, with pine used for masts and decking. The most common vessels are boats known as færings (four-oarings), which literally refers to the number of oars used to propel the boat. They were used as fishing boats and sometimes carried by larger vessels as ship‘s boats. A larger færing is called a sexæring (six-oaring) Both types can reach lengths of over 20‘ and carry a similar single-mast as Norse ships.

Larger vessels may be broadly (for the purposes of gaming, at least), by divided into three types of ships. Knarrer and smaller trading craft such as the byrðing had rounded keels and higher freeboards, being designed primarily as sailing ships that carried cargo and having oars only as a back-up to the sails. Karves were all-purpose craft, adaptable for both war and trade. They were long and narrow, but not as narrow as a swift-running longship. The freeboard was also higher than on most longships.

The most famous vessels of the Vikings, the longships, ranged in size from the small snekkjas at just over a 50‘ to the monstrous 150‘ long Serpent-Ships of kings and great lords. No wreck of a longship over 120‘ long has yet been found, but enough evidence for their existence can be found in contempoary sagas to make it credible that such ships were used in warfare, at least.

Byrðing (46‘)
TL: 3
ST/HP: 86
Hnd/SR: -3/3
HT: 12c
Move: 0.1/5
EWt: 5t
LWt: 9.6t
Load: 4.6t
SM: +5
Occ: 6
DR: 3
Range: F
Cost: $5K
Locations: M,O
Draft: 3‘
Notes: Listed move is for under sail. When being rowed without a sail, Move is 0.03/2.5.

Byrðings are coastal trading vessels, probably used in the Baltic and the waters around Denmark. It is the kind of boat that might be used by a well-to-do farmer to travel to market. It has two to three oars on either side and a small open hold for cargo or personal belongings. This example is based on the Skuldelev 3 wreck, reconstructed as the Roar Ege.

Optional Modifiers: Byrðings are a small craft, open-decked with a low freeboard, and not intended for deep sea sailing. As such, Hnd penalties for weather and high seas are increased by 1 each. These penalties are cumulaltive when appropriate.

Knarr (52‘)
TL: 3
ST/HP: 115
Hnd/SR: -3/4
HT: 12c
Move: 0.2/6
EWt: 12t
LWt: 36t
Load: 24t
SM: +6
Occ: 8
DR: 5
Range: F
Cost: $12K
Locations: M,O
Draft: 4.2‘
Notes: Listed move is for under sail. When being rowed without a sail, Move is 0.02/2.

A knarr is a versatile, fast, seaworthy and cheap merchant vessel that can operate almost anywhere in the world. As such, it dominated trade over a large part of the known world for a very long time. Knarrer routinely crossed the North Atlantic carrying livestock and stores to Norse settlements in Iceland and Greenland as well as trading goods to trading posts in the British Isles, Continental Europe and possibly the Middle East.

The knarr was a merchant vessel and as such did not carry enough rowers to be as fast and manouverable under oar as longhips. There were only four oars on boar, for example. As sailing ships, however, knarrer were exceptionally fast and only needed a very small crew. This example is based on the wreck Skuldelev 1, reproduced as the vessel Ottar.

While knarrer were more comfortable than longships, long journeys in them still subjected their crew to hardship nearly undreamed of for a modern man. It was far from unknown for a large proportion of settlers‘ ships to be lost in transit and no man could be sure of returning to shore when he set sail on a knarr.

Optional Modifiers: Knarrer are amazingly seaworthy and capable of crossing great oceans, but they remain an open-decked vessel with little in the way of shelter. As such, any Hnd penalties for weather are increased by 1.

Karve (77‘)
TL: 3
ST/HP: 141†
Hnd/SR: -3/3
HT: 12c
Move: 0.2/7
EWt: 22t
LWt: 71t
Load: 34t (+5t ballast)
SM: +7
Occ: 35+35
DR: 5
Range: F
Cost: $44K
Locations: M, O
Draft: 3.3‘
Notes: Listed move is for under sail. When being rowed without a sail, Move is 0.1/3.

An all-purpose vessel useful for both war and trade, it has sixteen oars on each side and usually carries two sets of oarsmen that can spell each other at the oar. Karves are almost as seaworthy as knarrer and have the additional benefit of being a warship. As such, they are a very good vessel to go viking (raiding). Their cargo capacity is enough for the crew, weapons and armour and perhaps some seized loot on the way back. There is no proper hold and little shelter, howver, as in longships.

This vessel is based on the Gokstad wreck. Many reconstructions of it have been made, including the Viking and Íslendingur, both of which have sailed across the Atlantic to America. This demonstrates the seaworthiness of the design.

Optional Modifiers: Since karves are a open-decked vessels, any Hnd penalties for weather are increased by 1. Hnd under oars gets a +1 bonus when turn radius might
influence it.

Karve (80‘)
TL: 3
ST/HP: 141†
Hnd/SR: -3/3
HT: 12c
Move: 0.2/7
EWt: 22t
LWt: 80t
Load: 53t (+5t ballast)
SM: +7
Occ: 35+35
DR: 5
Range: F
Cost: $44K
Locations: M, O
Draft: 5.5‘
Notes: Listed move is for under sail. When being rowed without a sail, Move is 0.1/3.

This is the replica Íslendingur, with a deep draft for a Viking vessel and a much larger displacement than other replicas. This does not appear to affect the seaworthiness of the craft and enables it to carry enough food and water for a long journey.

Optional Modifiers: Since karves are a open-decked vessels, any Hnd penalties for weather are increased by 1. Hnd under oars gets a +1 bonus when turn radius might influence it.

© 2008 Garðar Steinn Ólafsson
All rights reserved.
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Last edited by Icelander; 11-20-2008 at 05:12 AM.
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Old 11-09-2008, 12:34 AM   #13
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Default Re: Sailing Ships -At least until CCoI (Low-Tech) arrives

Longships

Not all longships are dragon ships, though nearly all dragon ships were longships (those few that were not would have been karves). Longship describes a shape of hull while dragon ship refers to a social and tactical role, i.e. the ships that went raiding. A ship could be a dragon ship while it carried out a raid on Ireland and then remove the prow to sail into London as a peaceful merchant.

As the existence of a dragon prow does not make a difference to the GURPS stats of a vehicle, I have chosen to present each type and ignore the consideration of whether or not that is considered a dragon ship.

Snekkja, Danish (54‘)
TL: 3
ST/HP: 63†
Hnd/SR: -2/2
HT: 12f
Move: 0.2/7
EWt: 2t
LWt: 6t
Load: 6500 lbs. (+1500 lbs. ballast)
SM: +6
Occ: 27+3
DR: 3
Range: F
Cost: $6K
Locations: M,O
Draft: 1.6‘
Notes: Listed move is for under sail. When being rowed without a sail, Move is 0.2/4.

The smallest vessel to be termed a longship, the snekkja is swift and handy. Its shallow draft allows it to operate where others ships cannot go and it is relatively cheap for a warship. Unlike some larger longships, a snekkja does not carry a complete fresh team of oarsmen and thus cannot maintain her speed under oars as long. It is also too small to carry supplies for a long trip.

While larger and more seaworthy examples existed in Norway and formed a major part of many invasion fleets to England, those vessels gave up some of the advantages of the design, such as the shallow draft. This then, is a Danish snekkja that is decidedly superior in the more protected waters of the Baltic, but somewhat too light to be taken for long voyages over the Atlantic. It based on the wreck Skuldelev 5, which has been reproduced as the Helge Ask and Sebbe Als.

Optional Modifiers: As a small open-decked craft, any Hnd penalties for weather are increased by 1 and due to its low freeboard; any Hnd penalties for high seas are increased by 2. These penalties are cumulative, if appropriate. Hnd under oars gets a +1 bonus when turn radius might influence it.

Snekkja, Norse (70‘)
TL: 3
ST/HP: 95†
Hnd/SR: -3/3
HT: 12c
Move: 0.2/7
EWt: 6.6t
LWt: 14t
Load: 5.2t (+2.2t ballast)
SM: +7
Occ: 31+4
DR: 3
Range: F
Cost: $14K
Locations: M,O
Draft: 2.25‘
Notes: Listed move is for under sail. When being rowed without a sail, Move is 0.2/3.5.

This is an example of the larger king of snekkja, a vessel that might have been used for longer sea voyages. The longships of William the Conqueror would have been very similar to this ship. It’s based on the Ladby wreck, reproduced as the Imme Gram, but differs from that reproduction in having only 15 pairs of oars (instead of the sixsteen that were chosen for that replica).

Optional Modifiers: As a small open-decked craft, any Hnd penalties for weather are increased by 1 and due to its low freeboard, any Hnd penalties for high seas are increased by 1. These penalties are cumulative, if appropriate. Hnd under oars gets a +1 bonus when turn radius might influence it.

Leidangskip (100‘)
TL: 3
ST/HP: 115†
Hnd/SR: -3/3
HT: 12c
Move: 0.2/6
EWt: 12t
LWt: 35t
Load: 23t
SM: +8
Occ: 45+45
DR: 7
Range: F
Cost: $24K
Locations: M,O
Draft: 3.5‘
Notes: Listed move is for under sail. When being rowed without a sail, Move is 0.15/3.

Unlike the other vessels provided here, this ship is not reconstructed from an archaeological find. Instead, it is a projection of what a standard longship of this size might be like, based on other wrecks and contemporary documentary evidence. This ship would form a standard part of Norwegian coastal defence and warfare, as the ship that each group of men was required to maintain for their own use when called out (similar to an Anglo-Saxon fyrd, but on water).

As such, it has room for twenty oarsmen on each side. It is broader and has a higher freeboard than the faster skeide, being classified as a busse (longship with a broader keel). This makes it able to carry more supplies and men than its more narrow-hulled cousin, but costs it some speed.

Optional Modifiers: Any Hnd penalties for weather or high seas are increased by 1 because of the open-deck and low freeboard of the longship. These penalties are cumulative, if appropriate. Hnd under oars gets a +1 bonus when turn radius might influence it.

Skeide (98‘)
TL: 3
ST/HP: 107†
Hnd/SR: -3/3
HT: 12c
Move: 0.2/7.5
EWt: 9.6t
LWt: 25t
Load: 15.4t
SM: +7
Occ: 61+20
DR: 5
Range: F
Cost: $30K
Locations: M, O
Draft: 3‘
Notes: Listed move is for under sail. When being rowed without a sail, Move is 0.2/4.

The skeide is a narrow-hulled and fast vessel built purely for warfare. It cannot sail long distances without revictualing (research showed that more than 5 days of water for the crew are prohibitively heavy) and while it can survive Atlantic gales, no captain would welcome the chance to prove it. But it is a marvellously fast vessel.

The ship has thirty oars on each side, each one manned by a single man. It does not carry a full replacement crew, but can manage enough extra oarsmen to allow some respite. As with all Viking vessels, though, the primary form of propulsion outside of battle is the sail.

This ship is based on the Skuldelev 2, reproduced as the Havhingsten fra Glendalough (The Sea Stallion from Glendalough), which is the holder of the current speed record for a Viking ship replica (13.4 knots), although claims abound of faster speed achieved by some of the competiors.

Optional Modifiers: Any Hnd penalties for weather or high seas are increased by 1 because of the open-deck and low freeboard of the longship. These penalties are cumulative, if appropriate. Hnd under oars gets a +1 bonus when turn radius might influence it.

Serpent Ship (150‘)
TL: 3
ST/HP: 190†
Hnd/SR: -4/3
HT: 12c
Move: 0.1/4
EWt: 54t
LWt: 118t
Load: 64t
SM: +8
Occ: 140+140
DR: 10
Range: F
Cost: $120K
Locations: M,O
Draft: 5‘
Notes: Listed move is for under sail. When being rowed without a sail, Move is 0.1/2.

A Serpent-Ship is a huge longship that usually serves as the flagship for a Norse leader. They are attested to in writings from the 13th century and purportedly existed as far back as the 10th century. Even so, their heyday was after the Viking Age proper had passed.

There is some dispute about their precise form, in that they appear to have carried as many oars as smaller longships, but unequivocally had a larger crew. This probably means a broader keel, but by how much is not certain. The freeboard was also reputed to be much higher than on other longships, according to one source ‘as high as a merchant vessel’. I have chosen to make this ship very broad and heavy compared to other longships, reasoning that cargo capacity and the ability to serve as a fighting platform for a large number of warriors trumped weatherly lines or a racy keel.

This vessel is meant to represent Ólaf Tryggjason’s flagship Ormr inn langi or a similar vessel for a later king. It carries 34 oars on each side of the ship and two men handle each oar. A full reserve crew stands by and serves as warriors in battle.

Optional Modifiers: Any Hnd penalties for weather are increased by 1 because of the open-deck. Hnd under oars gets a +1 bonus when turn radius might influence it.

© 2008 Garðar Steinn Ólafsson
All rights reserved.
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Last edited by Icelander; 11-20-2008 at 05:13 AM.
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Old 11-09-2008, 01:59 AM   #14
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Default Re: Sailing Ships -At least until CCoI (Low-Tech) arrives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander
Viking Ships

Not all vessels used by the Scandinavians of the so-called Viking Age were dragon-prowed longships. I realise that this is shocking and nearly as painful as the news that we didn‘t wear horned helmets and charge into battle naked and screaming, but it‘s the truth nonetheless.
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Old 11-09-2008, 06:55 AM   #15
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Default Re: Sailing Ships -At least until CCoI (Low-Tech) arrives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk
Will you marry me?
Far more important, could you write up a few dozen of these and send them into SJG and get them published (probably by e-23) as GURPS Sailing Ships of the World? Seriously, you should do this. It would sell. Your details are accurate and useful and your descriptive prose is both informative and quite readable.

Mark
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Old 11-09-2008, 09:35 AM   #16
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Default Re: Sailing Ships -At least until CCoI (Low-Tech) arrives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander
The type of vessels you're most likely to use are seperated by 700 years of technical development? And you're not likely to use a single type of vessel in between?

You're right. It's bizarre. ;)
It's a Supers game with a few historically-knowledgable players taking part. They're knowledgable about different eras of history, hence the odd spread for their characters...

Thanks for the writeups!
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Old 11-09-2008, 10:21 AM   #17
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Default Re: Sailing Ships -At least until CCoI (Low-Tech) arrives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Crakkerjakk
Will you marry me?
You'll have to apply to my father.

He'll want to know whether you're the head of your family, how much land you own and whether you bring us any useful political allegiances. A gift of a fine sword or a fighting stallion might serve to sweeten his disposition.
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Old 11-09-2008, 10:37 AM   #18
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Default Re: Sailing Ships -At least until CCoI (Low-Tech) arrives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Mgellis
Far more important, could you write up a few dozen of these and send them into SJG and get them published (probably by e-23) as GURPS Sailing Ships of the World? Seriously, you should do this. It would sell. Your details are accurate and useful and your descriptive prose is both informative and quite readable.

Mark
The problem is that while the details are reasonably accurate (as accurate as I can make them), each vessel is based on one or at most two primary sources and maybe a few secondary ones.

I demand more rigorous historical research and bibliography than that from SJ Games authors, so it is inconceivable that I should do less. If I ever submitted anything to SJ Games, I'd be forced to buy four or five reference books for each era that I planned to cover. And that would cost far more than I'd ever get paid for such a work.

The stats are also guesstimated when it comes to Acceleration and Cost. I don't have a system for calculating motive thrust, weight and finese ratio and thereby arriving at a precise Acceleration. I can find Move from reports of top speed for replicas, but those testing those replicas don't measure second by second Acceleration. And Cost has to figured by comparing the vessel to other similar ones, except that I don't really have a pool of similar vessels to compare it against, which makes my figures there shaky. I have the least confidence in the Cost stat in my write-up.

I'd also have to spend much more time than a quick write-up like this takes. I'm fine with using five hours of my day off to knock up something that I and others can use in a game, but for an actual publication I'd have to polish the prose. I'd also have to add more information about each vessel (beam, depth of hold, DR on more locations, etc.), some of which I already have, but some of which I might have to do considerable digging in order to find.

In order for such a book to be useful, there is also a need for at least simplified sailing rules, dealing with the speed rose and points of sailing, the weather gauge and similar subjects. Am I expected to write that too?


I might be willing to do this if SJ Games was prepared to pay me the same as my regular job. Depending on what I'm doing, I charge $50-$100/hour, but I'd be willing to give them a favourable rate. If I thought that I'd get a return of more than $25 for each hour that I spent, I'd do it.

But that's out of the question. Role-playing authors do not make a living wage. Even the big and popular ones have to struggle. And I'm not a noble artistic soul that is willing to suffer for my chosen profession.

I'm a lawyer who chose what I do based on the ratio between actual work and the reward. ;)
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Old 11-09-2008, 10:59 AM   #19
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Default Re: Sailing Ships -At least until CCoI (Low-Tech) arrives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander
The problem is that while the details are reasonably accurate (as accurate as I can make them), each vessel is based on one or at most two primary sources and maybe a few secondary ones.

I demand more rigorous historical research and bibliography than that from SJ Games authors, so it is inconceivable that I should do less. If I ever submitted anything to SJ Games, I'd be forced to buy four or five reference books for each era that I planned to cover. And that would cost far more than I'd ever get paid for such a work.
Ah - but there's also the other GURPS-heads who could help do the research and who probably already own the reference books you'd need.

I hasten to add I'm not volunteering myself - I've got a few Osprey books and some of Guilmartin and NAM Rodger's stuff but I'm a complete nautical novice...

Cheers

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Old 11-09-2008, 11:24 AM   #20
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Default Re: Sailing Ships -At least until CCoI (Low-Tech) arrives

Quote:
Originally Posted by Icelander
If I ever submitted anything to SJ Games, I'd be forced to buy four or five reference books for each era that I planned to cover. And that would cost far more than I'd ever get paid for such a work.
Well, I'd recommend a library, but my university's holding in the subject matter have been so poor I had to drop several hundred dollars into reference books, so my faith in them is a bit shattered.

Great work on the ship stats though! I will certainly bookmark them for my own reference! Thanks!
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