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    Greyhawk Naval Rules
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    Encyclopedia Greyhawkaniac

    Joined: May 29, 2018
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    Tue Nov 26, 2019 1:20 pm  
    Greyhawk Naval Rules

    I haven't done much with naval combat or shipboard adventuring and I'm looking to change that. I have Ghosts of Saltmars h for 5e and a pdf of the 2e Of Ships and the Sea. I also have the Birthright Naval Battle Rules which I'm not going to use but instead canniblize for ideas. Hasd anyone done work on Greyhawk Naval rules?
    Adept Greytalker

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    Tue Nov 26, 2019 4:56 pm  
    Edition

    I don't think naval rules are setting specific but rather rules specific. I believe Original, Basic, and Advanced cover naval encounters.
    Encyclopedia Greyhawkaniac

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    Tue Nov 26, 2019 5:13 pm  
    Re: Edition

    Raymond wrote:
    I don't think naval rules are setting specific but rather rules specific. I believe Original, Basic, and Advanced cover naval encounters.


    For me Greyhawk has a specific flavor that I try to maintain. Rules must be blended to suit Greyhawk, not Greyhawk made bland to suit rules.
    Adept Greytalker

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    From: Aspedri

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    Tue Nov 26, 2019 6:44 pm  

    I liked the rules in the 2nd Edition Forgotten Realms supplement Pirates of the Fallen Stars. They had fairly simple rules, but additionally a lot of the background material could be converted for Greyhawk, especially the islands off the coast of the Hold of the Sea Princes.
    Encyclopedia Greyhawkaniac

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    Tue Nov 26, 2019 11:22 pm  

    tarelton wrote:
    I liked the rules in the 2nd Edition Forgotten Realms supplement Pirates of the Fallen Stars. They had fairly simple rules, but additionally a lot of the background material could be converted for Greyhawk, especially the islands off the coast of the Hold of the Sea Princes.


    I will have to see if they have a pdf of that. Ive owned it but dont think I do anymore. I take it that it is different than Of Ships and the Sea?
    Journeyman Greytalker

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    Wed Nov 27, 2019 8:32 am  
    Re: Greyhawk Naval Rules

    JasonZavoda wrote:
    I haven't done much with naval combat or shipboard adventuring and I'm looking to change that. I have Ghosts of Saltmars h for 5e and a pdf of the 2e Of Ships and the Sea. I also have the Birthright Naval Battle Rules which I'm not going to use but instead canniblize for ideas. Hasd anyone done work on Greyhawk Naval rules?


    I agree with the other recommended sources mentioned and also have another, the module Slavers. Slavers has a small area containing rules for naval combat that's pretty cool. You could also use SpellJammer rules, and it would still fit the Greyhawk mold because Oerth is heavily featured in SpellJammer.
    CF Admin

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    From: Rel Astra

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    Tue Dec 17, 2019 5:46 pm  

    I just took the 3 plane aspect out of spelljammer and dumbed it down to 2 planes and has worked for me fantastically for years.
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    From: Rel Astra

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    Tue Dec 17, 2019 5:53 pm  

    I actually what I converted in a word doc if anyone wants it. PM me a email. its for 2nd ed
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    CF Admin

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    Sat Dec 21, 2019 1:04 pm  

    abysslin wrote:
    I actually what I converted in a word doc if anyone wants it. PM me a email. its for 2nd ed


    Would be happy to check that out, abysslin, thanks!: grodog@gmail.com

    Allan.
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    CF Admin

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    From: Rel Astra

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    Sat Jan 04, 2020 10:08 pm  

    Ill send it your way tomorrow, Gro.
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    Sun Jan 05, 2020 7:19 am  

    Alan,

    They should be shared to your google drive. Please confirm.

    Jason,

    Looking at these documents (I made them in 2007,) The encounter chart has some Greyhawk flavor. I think doctoring some of it up wouldn't be too difficult and perhaps I'll throw them on a forum here or something as my next project.
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    Paladin

    Joined: Sep 07, 2011
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    Thu Jan 30, 2020 9:30 am  

    A friend of mine ,Guy Sclanders of Great GM fame, had a kickstarter and patreon site that addresses this very problem.... most settings do a terrible job at the adventure on the open seas, and he hopes to remedy that... I have read through the rough draft and it looks promising. It will be available on DriveThruRPG fairly soon. So check out the kickstarter page for an over view.

    Though not Greyhawk specific, I have hopes of cannibalizing it and meshing it with other less cumbersome pieces.

    DLG
    https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/guysclanders/a-complete-guide-to-nautical-campaigns
    CF Admin

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    From: on the way to Bellport

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    Mon Jul 13, 2020 7:02 pm  

    Friends,

    Reviewing some of your discussions on the subject of naval rules, strengths, etc. for Greyhawk, I'm writing to ask: (1) which rule set(s) you prefer (and why); (2) your thoughts on naval strengths; and (3) your thoughts on ship technologies.

    First, as gleaned from this thread and also Ships and the Sea, I understand that CF! posters have used the following naval rule sets:
      BECMI - ?

      1e - Dragon 116, Margaret Foy, "High Seas: Ships, fore and aft, in fantasy gaming," pp. 10-27.

      2e - Of Ships and the Sea

      2e - Pirates of the Fallen Stars

      2e - Slavers

      2e - Spelljammer

      3.5e - Stormwrack

      Pathfinder (1e) - Skull & Shackles Players Guide (see also Gamemastery Guide / Ships of the Inner Sea

      4e - ?

      5e - Ghosts of Saltmarsh
    Second, a poster in Naval Strengths of the Realms of Greyhawk compiled assertions of naval strengths from early issues of Dragon Magazine, Ivid the Undying, and The Marklands:
    smillan_31 wrote:
    Almor's Relmor Bay fleet (under joint Nyrondal command) consisted of 13 warships, 8 large galleys, 57 transports, and 1000 marines. . . .

    The Lordship of the Isles lost 4 warships and 3 loaded cogs at the Battle of Medegia against the Sea Barons, and that seemed a significant loss.

    Sea Barons sent a squadron to Bellport in 578 consisting of 6 large galleys and a score of other warships.

    After the wars, sourced from Ivid and Marklands:

    Ahlissa has 22 cogs and coasters, 7 galleys, and 4 galleons.

    Free Cities: Roland has 3 coasters. Winetha has 6 war galleys.

    Nyrond has 9 galleys, 30 caravels, and 20 coasters. It notes that there were losses to Ahlissan vessels during the wars but they were replenished by galleys and caravels fleeing Onnwall when the SB took over there. . . .

    Sea Barons: Asperd Isle's fleet is 3 galleons and 12 coasters. Oakisle's fleet is 5 galleons and 12 coasters. Fairisle's fleet is 3 galleons and 10 coasters. Leastisle is made up of independent pirates hostile to the Sea Barons, with a half-dozen cogs and coasters.

    Have any of you adopted, or changed, these numbers? If you've changed them, how so?

    Third, how advanced have you allowed sailing ships to be IYC? The 2e sources mentioned galleons and the LGG mentions frigates. In Earth's history, both developed several centuries after the caravel. Do you go so far? If so, which naval power first developed them?

    Okay, that's it for this post. Before sharing my thoughts, I'll wait to see what folks share.

    PS - I dimly recall discussing this subject on GreyTalk many, many moons ago, but all that I concretely recall is a consensus about the Sea Princes using not only cogs and caravels but also huge galleys to explore the Hook of the Amedio Jungle. (I think some people allowed for galleons but no frigates—although this would have been before the LGG was published.)
    GreySage

    Joined: Jul 26, 2010
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    From: LG Dyvers

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    Mon Jul 13, 2020 9:40 pm  

    In my campaign...

    I like the numbers posted and allow for ships up to and including the galleon for national forces. The main concern I have is with the influence of magic. Here's how I envision it.

    Magic is generally common enough in my WoG that everyone is aware of it. However, it is expensive and nations don't have the money, nor the man-power (ie. wizards) to equip every soldier with magical arms and armor. That goes doubly for enchanting huge warships.

    So, most warships are mundane. But, each nation will focus the resources they have on their navy's flagship, which will be equipped with as much magical and mundane protection and fire-power as can be afforded. As inspiration, I use La Dama Rosa (from The Lady Rose, Dungeon Magazine #34) as an example of the flagship of a mid-level naval power. Some nations may have a better flagship, or even two or three of them, while others may have lesser ones. But, none can magically enhance all of their warships.

    That makes any ship the PC party acquires and outfits at their own expense a very special vessel.

    SirXaris
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    Thu Jul 16, 2020 12:22 pm  

    1) I have previously made hybrid rules using BECMI, 3.5(and PF) plus at times the Dragon 116 info. mind you I have rarely stuck with ship combat rules since its rare, I've needed it mostly for long voyages (weather rules important too). I have dabbled in the 5E stuff now since I use 5E regular, but we haven't had ship combat.

    2) Naval strengths in the Flanaess have always been vague in my writings for the Sea Princes and the South Seas. I use terms like Small, Medium and Large for fleet strengths. I base this on naval culture not just population. The Sea Princes for instance can support two large fleets and smaller ones because the sea is so integral to their defense, trade and exploration. By comparison, Keoland is a heavily populated nation that can support a large fleet if it wants, but does it need a navy more than it needs a land army? Probably not. Its also more a numerical strength. The barbarians of the north for instance can have a large fleet of longships, but due to technology a small fleet from the Sea Barons would still be a challenge (until they get boarded of course).

    3) I personally tend to use higher naval tech like caravels, occasionally a galleon for a flagship etc, while smaller coastal fleets use galleys and cogs. My players have never possessed anything higher than a caravel. I don't try to ascribe too much real world equivalency to this, but I associate galleys with bronze age which would be more pre-migrations Flanaess. I'd hope in 1000 years we'd have caravels or better on Oerth.

    Also, don't get me started on blackpowder... Happy
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    Fri Jul 17, 2020 10:52 am  

    Thanks for responding SirXaris and mortellan.

    I started playing AD&D 1e and never played the BECMI rule set (although I purchased and enjoyed reading the Immortals Rule Set), so Foy's article really captured my imagination when I first read it, and it seems like a high point in technical rules for the subject.

    At the same time, I don't anticipate needing or wanting a high degree of complexity in my new campaign, so I'm using her work mostly for greater details, particularly regarding ship sizes, crew numbers, and relative ship speeds and hardiness. Also, since my players want to try out 5e, and I like how Ghosts of Saltmarsh made the ship rules relate to other rules (e.g., giving ships some of the same characteristics as characters), my current plan is to "translate" some of Foy's complexity into 5e and also to draw on Pathfinder 1e's Skull & Shackles Players Guide (which is available online for free, fyi).

    Regarding naval strengths, the few published numbers seem too small offhand, but I also recall thinking that The Scarlet Brotherhood's assertions about the frequency of ships crossing the Tilva Strait seemed too much. I like mortellan's idea to abstract this issue, particularly since I don't anticipate featuring naval fleet battles but instead only one-on-one fights or attacks by sea monsters during transit to the Amedio Jungle (and hopefully beyond).

    At the same time I want to provide some detail for the players when they first visit Monmurg, Port Toli, Gradsul, Saltmarsh, Seaton, etc. While I will likely research more about medieval and Renaissance navies, until then I'll use the published numbers for Nyrond and the Sea Barons in the following ways. First, if Nyrond's royal navy reportedly consisted of 9 galleys, 30 caravels, and 20 coasters at the end of the Greyhawk Wars (after some losses to Ahlissa and some gains from Onnwal), then in CY 576 and 585, the Sea Princes navy should be larger.

    However, although an independent country, the Hold of the Sea Princes are not so centralized as the kingdom of Nyrond. Therefore, they don't have a single "royal" navy but instead, as mortellan holds, several fleets that are loyal to particular Sea Princes, with Jeon II having the largest fleet, closely followed by the fleet of Port Toli, and then the fleets of the three Commodores. Beyond those major fleets, there are then numerous other, small, fleets loyal to many but not all of the remaining Sea Princes (which totaled thirty in CY 583). Even Sea Princes with landlocked holdings tend to own several ships in order to be economically competitive, but a few might have none (e.g., the "Grand" Duke of Berghof) and possibly a few of the poorest Sea Princes.

    Regarding technology, if the Sea Barons used galleons, cogs, and coasters according to Ivid the Undying, and "6 large galleys and a score of other warships" according to Dragon Magazine, then I think that the cog was the peak of naval technology around CY 303 (when the Toli checked the Keoish navy, and Tavish I led his army through the Hool Marshes to found Westkeep, supply Monmurg, and ultimately take Port Toli), and I think shipwrights of House Rhola at Gradsul and Monmurg developed the caravel in the following century such that the Sea Prince was one of the first when Luschan Vilchar V disappeared in CY 433.

    By the Battle of Jetsom Island, in CY 464, cogs still predominated, as caravels were not only more expensive but only built under the direction of a handful of master shipwrights at Gradsul, Monmurg, and eventually Gryrax and Port Toli. In the following century, caravels became more numerous, and the Sea Princes innovated toward the carrack and galleon, but, like mortellan, I'll keep these to flagships and/or very low in number.

    Finally, regarding galleys, what I can recall of the old GreyTalk discussion was that even in later centuries they would be useful in Jeklea Bay, but especially during the exploration and conquest of the western Hook by the Toli and later Keoland: in those early centuries, the larger the galley, the larger the armed force you brought as the rowers were trained not only in rowing but also in fighting, and the galleys provided bulwarks for what eventually became the various Sea Princes "forts."

    By CY 576 and thereafter, I think that galleys are uncommon on Jeklea Bay and the western Azure Sea but probably still used on the Javan and Sheldomar rivers.

    Okay, that's it for now. I look forward to any comments on the above.

    Finally, has anyone detailed Monmurg or Port Toli? I'm beginning to do so but would love to build off of another's foundation (or at least look closely at it).
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    Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:30 am  

    I put up a basic article on Ships and Naval travel on this site. You may want to read that for some ideas to help you out.

    (EDIT: Excel file link at the bottom of this page: http://www.canonfire.com/cf/modules.php?name=Downloads&d_op=viewdownload&cid=12 )
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    Tue Jul 28, 2020 6:36 pm  

    Thanks for sharing your spreadsheets Rich. I enjoyed reading your article, Ships and Naval Travel, and have begun reviewing your ship design spreadsheet.

    It's fascinating seeing how different sources differently represent ship dimensions, speeds, etc.
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    Tue Jul 28, 2020 6:50 pm  

    Being an excel sheet you can play around with the formulas if you want yo tweak things so you can customize for your game.
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