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Old 08-01-2017, 07:14 PM   #1
VariousRen
 
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Default Creating TL4 Sailing Ships

My gaming group is starting a TL4 pirate themed game soon. It's not set on Earth, but there is no magic so technology will end up very closely resembling ours. The players will end up in possession of a ship and a crew very quickly, and the campaign will follow them as they sail around and do pirate things.

Because ships are such a big part of a pirate themed game, I was hoping to either find a large list of already stated ships that could be used, or modify the Spaceship system to create sailing ships of any size and design we could want. The low tech books offer a few examples of trade and war ships, but not enough to build our whole campaign around without most ships being very rough approximations made by DM fiat.

For building ships with the Spaceships system I found that Spaceships 7 and Pryamid 3/64 "Pirates and Swashbucklers" had a lot of useful information and systems, including details for Sails, Oars, and Wooden Armour. I haven't been able to find any rules for cannon based weapon systems, and figured the closest approximation would just be taking a cargo hold system and filling it with an equivalent tonnage of guns.

Does anyone have experience running a ship based game like this, or know of any useful resources I should take a look at?
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Old 08-01-2017, 07:27 PM   #2
sir_pudding
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Default Re: Creating TL4 Sailing Ships

I ran a 3e game like this and I used Vehicles which mostly resulted in the PCs avoiding naval engagements altogether. I think if I were to do it over, I would consider adapting Close Action to GURPS.
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Old 08-01-2017, 07:49 PM   #3
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Creating TL4 Sailing Ships

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Originally Posted by VariousRen View Post
, I was hoping to either find a large list of already stated ships that could be used,
Fantasy has a medium-sized list of ships and a comparatively large list of guns for them. That's probably why the material was not repeated in LT.
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Old 08-01-2017, 07:56 PM   #4
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Default Re: Creating TL4 Sailing Ships

I have run this before, under 3e, and I'm tooling up for this now in 4e. The GURPS Swashbucklers 3e supplement is an excellent abstract system for this. I would use it instead of Spaceships. It has conversions for Vehicles from 3e, so you can convert from Low-Tech for guns and then you're good to go. There's also a lot of great background content and other rules in there that work fine for 4e -- granted a good bit found its way into Martial Arts for 4e. Between the guidelines for ships in Swashbucklers, and the basic vehicles rules and stats in Basic Set and Low-Tech, you should have no problem coming up with ship stats. I plan to use David Pulver's fixes for ship HP in Pyramid 34 Alternate GURPS so ships will survive a reasonable number of shots. It goes without saying you want to get the Supporting Cast on the Age of Sail and look at the rules on using the wind there. The Musketeer article by Matt Riggsby in Pyramid 36 Dungeon Fantasy Swashbucklers has some excellent stuff, too, for generic low-tech personal firearms. Also, surprisingly, check out GURPS Vikings. It has a similar ship guideline section, which may be useful in a fantasy game, but has some rules I'll be using in the pirates game (underloading, navigation, etc.). There are some other Pyramid articles to check out, including C.R. Rice's work on commerce, and David Pulver's Medieval Sea Trade article in Pyramid 87 -- this one has a good generic list of ship cargo booty, err.. trade goods for honest merchants, plus a system for selling it at port. Generally, there's a lot of support for this genre in GURPS.
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Old 08-01-2017, 08:45 PM   #5
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Default Re: Creating TL4 Sailing Ships

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Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
Fantasy has a medium-sized list of ships and a comparatively large list of guns for them. That's probably why the material was not repeated in LT.
It wasn't in Low-Tech because the scope of that book was mainly character gear, not larger items. A lot of the big stuff is in LT Companion 2. Transport, including ships, is Chapter 4. There are three TL4 ships in the stat table. It has rules for fighting at sea and ship-to-ship combat too - boarding, ramming, incendiaries, catapults, gunnery, etc.
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Last edited by DanHoward; 08-01-2017 at 08:56 PM.
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Old 08-01-2017, 09:32 PM   #6
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Default Re: Creating TL4 Sailing Ships

While not written for GURPS, I had to deal with sailing ships for my campaign recently.

First off if you want a detail treatment that is well designed and about complex as Spaceship or Classic Traveller, I highly recommend the Pilot Almanac. While for Harnmaster it percentage based so it can be converted to GURPS easily enough. The ship design system is top notch and has a merchant system that very playable. The thing about Harn is that it is very definition of a medieval setting. So most of the stuff works well in other fantasy campaigns.

However that was overkill for my current campaign, so I came up with my own set of rules which you can download from my personal site here. If you like the general idea, let me know and I can rework it in a few days for GURPS.

Note in both 1d = 1 silver penny or $4.

Note: Sorry I misread the tech level, so the above two doesn't deal with cannon and other bits of TL 4 technology.

Last edited by robertsconley; 08-01-2017 at 09:33 PM. Reason: Misread the Tech Level
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Old 08-01-2017, 10:59 PM   #7
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Default Re: Creating TL4 Sailing Ships

I seem to remember that they are mostly slightly earlier tech level, but there was a thread a while back which had stats for a large number of sailing ships.

http://forums.sjgames.com/showthread.php?t=47403
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Old 08-02-2017, 12:13 PM   #8
hal
 
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Default Re: Creating TL4 Sailing Ships

Quote:
Originally Posted by robertsconley View Post
While not written for GURPS, I had to deal with sailing ships for my campaign recently.

First off if you want a detail treatment that is well designed and about complex as Spaceship or Classic Traveller, I highly recommend the Pilot Almanac. While for Harnmaster it percentage based so it can be converted to GURPS easily enough. The ship design system is top notch and has a merchant system that very playable. The thing about Harn is that it is very definition of a medieval setting. So most of the stuff works well in other fantasy campaigns.

However that was overkill for my current campaign, so I came up with my own set of rules which you can download from my personal site here. If you like the general idea, let me know and I can rework it in a few days for GURPS.

Note in both 1d = 1 silver penny or $4.

Note: Sorry I misread the tech level, so the above two doesn't deal with cannon and other bits of TL 4 technology.

Depending on what you're interested in, you may wish to see if you can get your hands on RUN OUT THE GUNS by Iron Crown or PIRATES! also by Iron Crown.

Here is an ebay copy available for $20 if you're interested (I have nothing to do with the seller or product per se - I purchased it years ago when it was in print, and will not give it up until I enter into a nursing home!).

In any event, the rules are for a different system than for GURPS, but can be adapted to some extent for use at your table top gaming group. RUN OUT THE GUNS has some pretty snazzy color maps as well as black and white maps of the Caribbean that might prove useful for your needs.

In addition, you may want to consider the use of miniatures rules in lieu of role playing material. Again, I'd check with Ebay to see if you can score a game cheaply rather than paying a lot of money for out of print material.
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Old 08-02-2017, 12:29 PM   #9
Fred Brackin
 
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Default Re: Creating TL4 Sailing Ships

Quote:
Originally Posted by hal View Post
or PIRATES! also by Iron Crown.
I believe I have that one and read through it several times years ago. I thought here was Hero Games pirate book but a search turns up this

https://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/16/16287.phtml

...whose cover looks familiar and is dual-statted for Rolemaster and Hero.

I wouldn't rate it over Gurps Swashbucklers though and I suspect the pdf for Swashbucklers is more easily come by.
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Old 08-02-2017, 02:16 PM   #10
hal
 
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Default Re: Creating TL4 Sailing Ships

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fred Brackin View Post
I believe I have that one and read through it several times years ago. I thought here was Hero Games pirate book but a search turns up this

https://www.rpg.net/reviews/archive/16/16287.phtml

...whose cover looks familiar and is dual-statted for Rolemaster and Hero.

I wouldn't rate it over Gurps Swashbucklers though and I suspect the pdf for Swashbucklers is more easily come by.
PIRATES! is indeed, dual statted for both ROLEMASTER and HERO. What I will say is that rarely will ONE book have everything I want. The SWASHBUCKLER abstract rules for Ship to ship combat is a bit lacking in my eyes for one reason...


Take a Large merchant ship and outfit it with zero cannons. Take a smaller ship and arm it with a single 3 lbr cannon. Then use the rules as written to see what the outcome is. I think you'll be surprised at the devastation involved simply because the one ship is unarmed while the other is minimally armed.

In reality, the scantlings of larger ships are more substantial and the hull is also somewhat thicker such that smaller caliber cannons aren't going to do as much against the ship's hull as would say, a demi-cannon or cannon.

The maps that are available, along with the ship descriptions are rather nice in PIRATES! and the other material contained within RUN OUT THE GUNS (essentially a more robust version of PIRATES! for Rolemaster) are what make them useful in addition to GURPS SWASHBUCKLER

To each their own. Some people might find GURPS SWASHBUCKLER sufficient for their needs, others might want more information, more background and ideas.
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