Saturday, July 15, 2017

Skyship Combat Mechanics II

Click Here for Part I
1. Introduction
2. Wind Direction & Strength
3. Maneuvering
  3.1. Movement Rates
    3.1.1. Sailing Skyships
    3.1.2. Other Skyships
    3.1.3. Ramming Speed!

(The first article has been updated since its initial posting.)

Continuing the series of posts on skyship & flying monsters' combat. Just for giggles, I'm including here a design that some of you may instantly recognize from way back when I wrote the Voyage of the Princess Ark stories for TSR. 

Calidar Princess Ark
Mischief Managed
3.1.4. Monsters:  Flying monster speeds given in traditional role-playing games are actually very low, compared with a how fast CAL1’s skyships can sail.  For example, a large dragon flies at little more than 8 miles per hour.  Slowing down skyships and using abstract hex numbers instead of mile-per-hour ratings helped tweak together incompatible MV rates and veil a certain lack of realism sacrificed for the sake of playability.  Table 3 suggests MV rates, converting approximate monster speeds in feet per Combat Action (based on the monsters’ original descriptions) into hexes per Battle Round.

Many monsters can fly because they have wings keeping them aloft and driving them forth.  Their flight performances will be affected by wind strength, just like skyships using sails as their primary propulsion.  Wingless creatures, such as ghosts and ogre mages, fly because of other fantastic abilities; they are impervious to wind strength and direction.  A game referee can implement exceptions to this rule (jinn and air elementals, for example, may indeed be able to use prevailing winds or create their own to move more quickly although they possess no wings.)

Diagram 5. Winged Monster POints of Sail
Diagram 5 shows the effect of wind on a small dragon’s flight.  Its innate MV is 3 hexes per Battle Round.  With a moderate tailwind, it flies with an MV of 5 (innate MV 3 PLUS moderate breeze astern 2 = 5 hexes.)  With a red speed rating, the full strength of the wind is subtracted, as explained earlier.  Against a moderate headwind, the small dragon would fly with an MV of 1 (innate MV 3 MINUS moderate breeze ahead 2 = 1 hex.)  If headwinds exceed a monster’s basic MV rating, the monster falls back one or more hexes.  For example, a small dragon heading into a gale (Str 5), would fall back 2 hexes (innate MV 3 MINUS gale conditions 5 = –2 hexes.)  The dragon would be better off weaving back and forth through crosswinds much like a tacking skyship.  Certain magical spells enable creatures to move at double their innate MV, which is allowed in this context.  The spell effect applies directly to the recipient’s innate MV rate.

3.1.5. Powering Through:  A winged creature can fly more quickly than its innate MV suggests, flapping its wings with greater strength.  The decision to power through must be made before moving, in Phase D1 (see 4.4. Combat Sequence.)  This gives a monster a +2 MV bonus, but its stamina needs to be checked during Phase D2.  Failing a stamina check requires the beast to land or at least glide with the wind during the next movement phase until it recovers its strength.  A winded creature sustains a combat penalty (see 4.2.3. Combat Modifiers.)
Skyship Combat Reconciled, Calidar ©2017 Bruce A. Heard. All Rights Reserved.

Click here for Part III
  3.2. Maneuverability
  3.3. Turning
    3.3.1. Basic Turning Capability