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Sailing Rules and Vessels

Sailing is not like driving a car, riding a horse, or piloting a motorboat.  The mechanics, physics, and atmosphere surrounding sailing open a whole new venue for adventures.  These rules assume that the players have purchased, borrowed, rented, stolen, or purchased passage on a sailing vessel.   These rules will attempt to explain some very basic terms and concepts behind sailing but should be treated only as a primer.

The term ship is one that is too often misused.  The term ship correctly refers to any boat with three or more sails.  Anything less is a boat.  The rear of the boat is the stern or aft.  The front of the boat is the fore or bow.  Every boat no matter the size requires a crew.  Each boat may have a different minimum crew complement.  If the crew is not large enough for the boat there will be problems in course corrections and in dire weather.  The minimum crew required is listed with the statistics for each boat.  The crew has an average level of skill that must be determined.  Anyone with a sailing skill of 01 20% is considered Green.  A skill of 21 50 denotes a Competent sailor.  A skill of 51 70 denotes a Skilled sailor, while a Veteran seaman has a skill of over 71.  There are also a minimum number of officers for each vessel.  An officer must be competent to qualify.  Whichever the majority of the crew falls into is the category for the entire crew.  There will always be the grizzled sailor or the inexperienced youngster aboard.  This should not affect the overall crew skill.

Travel by boat should be broken down into four-hour watches.  A navigation roll will be required for every third watch or every time there is a serious course change.  Tacking should not be considered a major course change. If the navigation roll fails then the boat will be off course by the percentage failed.  Every watch should roll on the random event chart.  Most rolls will result in either no event or a peaceful meeting.  Roll on the appropriate chart for the area being traversed.

Well Populated Waterways

01 20                    No Event

21 50                    Fishing Boat

51 70                    Merchant Boat

71 80                    Naval Patrol Boat

81 90                    Fishing Fleet

91 95                    No Event

96 99                    Pirate or Brigand

100                                       Monster Encounter

 

 

Semi-Populated Waterways

01 40                    No event

41 70                    Fishing Boat

71 85                    Merchant Boat

86 90                    Naval Patrol Boat

91 95                    Pirate or Brigand

96 00                    Monster Encounter

 

 

Non-Populated Waterways

01 60                    No Event

61 70                    Monster Encounter

71 80                    No Event

81 85                    Fishing Boat

86 88                    Merchant Boat

89 90                    Naval Patrol Boat

91 92                    Pirate or Brigand

93 00                    Monster Encounter

 

Weather also plays an important factor in travelling by sail.  If the weather is too inclement or calm then very little travelling will occur.  Roll on the following chart for a quick-roll table for determining the wind.  For the first watch roll as if there is a Good Breeze.

 

 

 

Quick Roll Weather

                                                                Previous Wind Speed

Die Roll                  Calm                       Light Breeze          Good Breeze          Good Wind           Strong Wind

01 05                    Calm                       Calm                       Calm                       L. Breeze                G. Breeze

06 10                    Calm                       Calm                       L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind

11 15                    Calm                       Calm                       L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind

16 20                    Calm                       Calm                       L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind

21 25                    Calm                       Calm                       L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind

26 30                    Calm                       L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind                 S. Wind

31 35                    Calm                       L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind                 S. Wind

36 40                    Calm                       L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind                 S. Wind

41 45                    Calm                       L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind                 S. Wind

46 50                    Calm                       L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind                 S. Wind

51 55                    Calm                       L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind                 S. Wind

56 60                    L. Breeze                L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind                 S. Wind

61 65                    L. Breeze                L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind                 S. Wind

66 70                    L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind                 S. Wind

71 75                    L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind                 S. Wind                  Stormy

76 80                    L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind                 S. Wind                  Stormy

81 85                    L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind                 S. Wind                  Stormy

86 90                    L. Breeze                G. Breeze                G. Wind                 S. Wind                  Stormy

91 95                    G. Breeze                G. Wind                 S. Wind                  S. Wind                  Stormy

96 00                    G. Breeze                G. Wind                 S. Wind                  Stormy                   Stormy

 

 

 

 

Crew Checks

                Crew Checks must be made during storms, dangerous maneuvers, some combat tactics, and other rushed or hurried events.  The overall crew rating (Green, Competent, Skilled, Veteran) will determine the chance for each event to occur.  The SAFE event means that the crew pulled together and was able to prevent any ill effects from occurring.  A SLOW event results in the boat being unable to travel for one watch as minor repairs are made to the sail, ropes, and other minor items.  After this watch the boat can continue to travel with a penalty of ¼ to the normal rate.  This result can only be repaired after a week spent to fully repair all of the damage.  DAMAGE results in serious damage to the vessel.  The vessel loses ¼ of its breakage points to both areas.  In addition the crew must spend two watches to repair the boat before it can continue to travel at ½ the normal rate.  If the DESTROY event occurs the boat has been lost to the sea and all of its crew must make swimming rolls or drown.  Characters still wearing metal armors must include all penalties while swimming.  Spell casters may attempt one spell before being tossed overboard.

 

Die Roll                  Green                      Competent                             Skilled                    Veteran

01 10                    SAFE                      SAFE                                      SAFE                      SAFE

11 20                    SAFE                      SAFE                                      SAFE                      SAFE

21 30                    SAFE                      SAFE                                      SAFE                      SAFE

31 40                    SLOW                    SAFE                                      SAFE                      SAFE

41 50                    SLOW                    SAFE                                      SAFE                      SAFE

51 60                    SLOW                    SLOW                                    SAFE                      SAFE

61 70                    DAMAGE             SLOW                                    SLOW                    SAFE

71 80                    DAMAGE             DAMAGE                             SLOW                    SLOW

81 90                    DESTROY             DAMAGE                             DAMAGE             SLOW

91 00                    DESTROY             DESTROY                             DAMAGE             DAMAGE

 

 

Combat

                Most crews and vessels will encounter pirates or monsters at some point in their journeys.  Thankfully boats are very sturdy and can withstand a good deal of punishment.  Every boat has two areas that have breakage points (BP); the Hull and the Mast.  If the mast ever takes more damage than it has breakage points it has been destroyed and will be unable to move the boat until it is replaced.  If the hull ever received damage in excess of its breakage points the point will begin to sink.  Spells that repair items can be used to regenerate this damage.  Bows, crossbows, and other piercing weapons will inflict no damage to the boat.  Edged and blunt weapons can do injury to the vessel but subtract 5 from all damage dealt.  Fire will deal full injury and can quickly consume a boat if it is not contained.  The GM must determine effects of attacks that deal damage to specific areas of the vessel.  Obvious targets are the sail, the keel, or the cargo.

                Since boats and ships are so valuable very few pirates would choose to destroy such wealth.  Instead a sail-by hail of arrows would deal less damage to the hull itself but prove devastating to any crew or soldiers aboard.  After the first volley the attackers could grapple the ships together and proceed to slaughter any remaining defenders.  With the inclusion of magic and enchantment, the lack of gunpowder or cannons aboard would be nominal at best.  What could be better than a highly precise series of fire darts that would hit whichever targets you choose. 

 

 



Cog, Small

10th 15th Century

 

Hull BP: 500

Mast BP: 200

 

Crew: 8 30

Officers: 2 5

 

Speed (knots / mph / fpr / mi. per watch)

L. Breeze: 2.0 / 2.30 / 20 / 9.2

G. Breeze: 3.9 / 4.49 / 40 / 18.0

G. Wind: 5.5 / 6.33 / 55 / 25.3

S. Wind: 7.0 / 8.06 / 70 / 32.2

 

Cargo: 30 70 Tons

 

 

Cog, Large

12th 15th Century

 

Hull BP: 750

Mast BP: 250

 

Crew: 35 75

Officers: 5

 

Speed (knots / mph / fpr / mi. per watch)

L. Breeze: 1.8 / 2.07 / 20 / 8.3

G. Breeze: 3.6 / 4.15 / 35 / 16.6

G. Wind: 5.0 / 5.75 / 50 / 23.0

S. Wind: 7.0 / 8.06 / 70 / 32.2

 

Cargo: 100 300 Tons

 

 

Cog, Great

13th 15th Century

 

Hull BP: 1000

Mast BP: 300

 

Crew: 75 125

Officers: 5 10

 

Speed (knots / mph / fpr / mi. per watch)

L. Breeze: 1.5 / 1.73 / 15 / 6.9

G. Breeze: 3.0 / 3.45 / 30 / 13.8

G. Wind: 5.0 / 5.75 / 50 / 23.0

S. Wind: 7.0 / 8.06 / 70 / 32.2

 

Cargo: 225 1000 Tons



Caravel

13th 16th Century

 

Hull BP: 500

Mast BP: 200 / 200 / 200

 

Crew: 12 25

Officers: 3 5

 

Speed (knots / mph / fpr / mi. per watch)

L. Breeze: 3.5 / 4.03 / 35 / 16.1

G. Breeze: 5.0 / 5.75 / 50 / 23.0

G. Wind: 7.5 / 8.64 / 75 / 34.5

S. Wind: 9.5 / 10.94 / 95 / 43.8

 

Cargo: 35 50 Tons

 

 

Carrack

15th 16th Century

 

Hull BP: 750

Mast BP: 250

 

Crew: 60 125

Officers: 5 - 10

 

Speed (knots / mph / fpr / mi. per watch)

L. Breeze: 2.5 / 2.88 / 25 / 11.5

G. Breeze: 4.5 / 5.18 / 45 / 20.7

G. Wind: 7.5 / 8.64 / 75 / 34.5

S. Wind: 9.0 / 10.36 / 90 / 41.5

 

Cargo: 150 600 Tons

 

 


© 2000 J.K. Wykowski & T. Coonrod