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Month Index: June, 1996


From:     Leroy Van Camp III <van891@??????.edu>
Date:     Sun, 23 Jun 1996 02:03:24 -0700 (PDT)
Subject:  Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...

On Sun, 23 Jun 1996, Paul Westermeyer wrote:

> >    First, I bumped Elven Armadas up from 100 tons to 200.  This sounds
> >drastic, but there are very few Armadas in my campaigns (generally one per
> >sphere).  Then I made up a helm to power the thing (great helm, 200 ton
> >limit).

> Sounds good so far,  perhaps the Great Helm requires a level 10+
> spellcaster to helm it?

    An interesting idea.  I have to admit I have come up with no hard and
fast rules.  Hell, I might never get around to it unless it becomes
important.
    In general I envision it as working as a minor helm (in speed terms)
when moving a ship of 101+ tons, but as a major helm when moving 100 ton
or less ships.
    I like the 10+ level restriction, at least for ships of 101+ tons.
Sounds like a good tool for drama...

    "Sir!  The helmsman is in jammer shock, and we're starting to list!"
    "By the gods, get another Mage in there!"
    "We can't, sir!  We don't have another mage powerful enough!"
    <Pausing> "Then I guess we die, but I'll be damned we go down
alone..."

> >    Next, I designed a ship to act as fighters (flitters are too small).
> >Called the firefly, it is basically a 4 ton flitter.  It depends on its
> >maneuverability and low AR to survive.  Most are powered by tactical helms
> >(helms that move at tactical speed only), and have a heavy stone-throwing
> >ballista (a weapon I made up).

> The Greeks used a weapon they called a Lithobolos ("Stonethrower")  It
> looked like a ballista,  but the power came from torsion (sinew skiens)
> These weapons could throw a 10-180 pound stone upto 400 meters accurately
> (depending on the size of the Lithobolos).  They'd be a natural for your
> stone throwing ballistas.  For those interested,  John Warry's _Warfare in

    I have seen several accurate drawings of ballistas designed to fire
stones rather than bolts.  In my own campaign I have mostly removed the
bolt throwing ballista as a common ship weapon.  Perhaps it's just me, but
I have a problem envisioning a spear, even at relatively high speeds,
doing that much damage to a ship.

> >    At this point, though, I came to a problem of logisitcs.  The helm,
> >though only capable of tactical speeds, still needs to be piloted by a
> >mage or priest.  And since I envision these ships as being fairly fast,
> >they would have to be piloted by higher level characters.  And the idea of
> >fleets of these ships being piloted by high level mages starts to strain
> >believability.
> >    So, I came up with the idea for this class, the Pilot (or whatever.  I
> >haven't really come up with a decent name.)
> I'm not sure a new class is needed here,  what about an elven Fighter/Mage
> kit, called the pilot?  Give them the spelljamming proficiency(from the
> Spelljammer's Handbook) for free,  and let them spend proficiency points to
> increase  the skill (maybe a max of +3 SR?).  Make this a kit advantage
> others could not emulate.

    In a way this achieves the opposite of what I was trying to achieve.
A multi-classed fighter/mage is going to advanced quite a bit slower.  And
as for the Spelljamming skill, as I mentioned in an earlier post, this
skill does not give a speed bonus in my campaigns.  It's just how I
envision Helms working.

> Then come up with some "special maneuvers" that
> might lower a ships AR,  give the ships a high MC,  and your fleet of
> specialized,  1st level F/M Pilot kits,  maxed out on the proficiency with
> an SR4 and in MC A vessels could _really_ dogfight!

    As for the maneuver part, I am currently doing some work on refining
the SJ ship to ship combat system, which would depend on a pilot's
Spelljammer Piloting skill, and allow for a variety of maneuvers (for
example, a maneuver that allows the pilot to keep the underside of the
ship towards an attacker at all times that turn.  This would raise the AR,
but the ship can't fire or ram.  This would be handy if you have to reload
all weapons that round.)

> What do you think?

    All very sound ideas, but certain aspects don't quite fit.  I have to
admit the, in retrospect, I should have considered this when I posted the
letter.

> Oh,  if you have stats/gifs for your fireflys could you post them?  I'd
> love to see those!

    Well, I wish I had a picture, but I am far from an artist.  The
Firefly looks a lot like a flitter, only bigger, and its wings are not as
large.  Everything is enclosed, except a small deck for the weapon.

The stats are...


Built and Used By: 		Elves
Tonnage: 			4
Hull Points: 			4
Crew: 				2 (1 helmsman and one rigger)
Maneuverability Class: 		A
Landing - Land: 		Yes
Landing - Water:		Yes
Armor Rating:			2*
Save As:			Ceramic
Power Type:			Tactical Helm
Armament:			1 Heavy Stone Ballista, or
				1 Heavy Catapult
				Rigging Shears
Cargo:				Personal gear only
Keel Length:			30'
Beam Length:			10'
Cost:				12,000 gp

* This number is based on my own modifications of the ship construction
rules in WCC.  AR is based on material type (6 for ceramic), modified by
MC (+3 for A.  A more maneuverable ship is harder to hit).  The partial
enclosure gives another +1 (full enclosure, like on the whale ship, gives
a +2).
    Those who like the ship construction rules can use it to assign a
different AC.

    The primary purpose of the Firefly is a close assault.  The typical
strategy is to put as many fireflies against a ship as possible, while
still covering all ships.
    The typical attack run involves flying up behind or to the side of a
bigger ship, so it can't try a ram, and fire its heavy weapon, usually
from one hex away.  It then makes a pass over the ship, trying to rip away
rigging with its shears.  It then loops around, while the weapon is
reloaded, for another run.
    Although a good shoot from a heavier weapon will destroy a firefly,
most of the crew will probably survive.  And since the bigger ship is
still going to have to deal with a dozen more fireflies, it isn't going to
have time to finish off the helpless crew.  So, if the ship is destroyed,
it is a simple matter of going around and picking up casulties.
    Note that the ship has a bigger weapon than it should be carrying, and
has too many crew members, when including the weaponeers.  This will
decrease breathable air.  This isn't really a problem, though, since the
ship is not a long range vessel.  It is unlikely to be away from its
Armada transport for any longer than a day, at most.
    Some fireflies carry greek fire projectors, spraying the decks of the
target ship as it shears rigging.

    Another note: In my campaigns the Spirit Warriors are still used, and
several of them are a standard part of all Armadas, and some Man-O-Wars
(depending on the area they patrol).  There are times when the Admiral of
the ship decides that a Spirit Warrior should be directed at a particular
enemy ship.  In these cases it is a firefly that delivers it.


               Leroy Van Camp III      van891@??????.edu
---------------------------------------------------------------------------
               "Cthulhu, eh?  I'll try and backstab him"
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Previous Message: Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...
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Month Index: June, 1996

SubjectFromDate (UTC)
A New Class for the SJ setting...    Leroy Van Camp III    22 Jun 1996 08:47:48
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    Thomas O. Magann Jr.    23 Jun 1996 00:32:36
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    Paul Westermeyer    23 Jun 1996 02:57:43
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    Leroy Van Camp III    23 Jun 1996 08:04:42
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    Leroy Van Camp III    23 Jun 1996 09:03:24
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    Shelby Michlin    23 Jun 1996 16:01:45
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    Paul Westermeyer    23 Jun 1996 15:04:54
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    Thomas O. Magann Jr.    23 Jun 1996 20:31:57
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    Leroy Van Camp III    24 Jun 1996 10:55:04
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    sinny@?????????.net    24 Jun 1996 12:31:30
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    Eugene Shumu1insky    24 Jun 1996 14:53:47
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    Eugene Shumu1insky    24 Jun 1996 14:55:55
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    Thomas O. Magann Jr.    24 Jun 1996 20:25:42
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    Ken Lipka    25 Jun 1996 12:06:20
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    Jamie Cavanagh    25 Jun 1996 15:02:20
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    Jamie Cavanagh    25 Jun 1996 21:54:53
A New Class for the SJ setting...    Leroy Van Camp III    27 Jun 1996 02:04:53
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    Ken Lipka    27 Jun 1996 12:08:02
Re: A New Class for the SJ setting...    Jamie Cavanagh    27 Jun 1996 13:09:17

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