Rules for Thought #36 – Abandon Ship to save Crew

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  • #7112

    Ben
    Keymaster

    Now that the Rules survey has some results (43 responses as of this post), I think it would be a good idea to discuss some various options in detail.  This is the last topic for now so take the survey (if you haven’t already) if you want these threads to continue!

    Are there any other changes to the 4 main actions you would recommend? Any new main actions you would add?

    I think it would be interesting to add an “Abandon Ship” option if a damaged ship facing imminent destruction can take. The crew plate gets placed at the stern and receives a S move rating. They can be destroyed with a single hit per crew but this gives them the chance to escape a doomed or trapped ship.

    I think this has potential and it reminds me of selvaxri’s “Swim to Shore” idea:

    Swim to Shore

    If a ship sinks within S-range of an Island, for each crew on that ship, it’s owner rolls a d6. On a 5 or 6, that crew is placed on the island. A psuedo- Raft .

    Another argument. I literally sank a ship that was slowly moving toward it’s home island [thanks to an oarsman], and it was just shy to docking. The player asked “why can’t my crew swim to shore?! I’m Right THERE!”

    I came up with this house rule on the fly. Both his crew drowned.

    I think the latter makes a bit more sense due to how hard it would be to swim a decent distance, especially in a time when plenty of sailors didn’t know how to swim.  If you didn’t limit how many turns a crew could swim around at S speed, they could just stay in the water for a long time and somehow swim all the way to your HI like a fish.  XD  I also think that enemy ships should be able to kill them by ramming, similar to Turtles (but still let shots work as well of course).  However, if a friendly ship comes into contact with them, they can go aboard that ship as a free action if there is enough cargo available of course.

    I like Swim to Shore a little better; feel free to comment your thoughts on either or both of them!

    #7371

    Woelf
    Moderator

    Any sort of action of system for recovering crew after a ship sinks is already largely covered by Raft, which would become obsolete with an Abandoned Ship, Swim to Shore, or comparable house rule. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, considering it’s a single-use thing that costs build points, but also far from essential.

    For the most part, I like that crew are out of the game once their ship has sunk. In terms of gameplay, aside from the handful of effects that might happen immediately (Eternal, Raft, Divers, etc.), it means there’s less and less stuff to constantly mess with as the game goes on, which helps accelerate things at the end.

    Thematically it makes sense too. Most of the crew may technically still be alive, but they’re sitting in lifeboats, swimming around, marooned on an island, or even tossed in a brig somewhere; whatever the reason is, they’re far enough removed from any action that they’re no longer relevant to the remainder of the game. That’s why they get “removed from the game” instead of “eliminated”. They’re not dead, and they could very well find their way home again, but it won’t happen quickly enough to affect the current game.

    In a campaign setup it would be perfectly reasonable for some or all of the sunken crew to return to the player between games to be useable again in subsequent games, especially members of various navies who would be compelled to return to duty (as opposed to pirates or other loosely-affiliated people). There are lots of thematic things you could do with them too. Perhaps some crew take longer to return due to the circumstances of their sinking, others may come back injured (lost/reduced abilities), and others may come back changed or stronger than ever (alternate versions of the same character).

    In a shorter-term sense, a rule that allowed friendly ships to immediately recover crew might work, if the right conditions and restrictions are put on it. Perhaps the ship has to be within S when the other ship sinks, and then has the option to grab one or two crew if it has space for them. You could add a roll to see if it’s successful, you could require the crew to remain face down for some number of turns, you could require the ship to return to home or a safe port before the crew can be used, or any number of other things. If there weren’t any friendly ships nearby, maybe the enemy ship that just blasted the sinking ship could take prisoners that are worth gold or something like that (although this would be better suited to an actual crew/ship ability rather than a full-time option).

    #7372

    Ben
    Keymaster

    That’s why they get “removed from the game” instead of “eliminated”. They’re not dead, and they could very well find their way home again, but it won’t happen quickly enough to affect the current game.

    Interesting insight.

    If there weren’t any friendly ships nearby, maybe the enemy ship that just blasted the sinking ship could take prisoners that are worth gold or something like that (although this would be better suited to an actual crew/ship ability rather than a full-time option).

    I do think Ransom and Gold Capture could have been much more frequently seen abilities.  Game pieces of the Pirate faction could perhaps “press” the survivors into service.  But perhaps other things would be changed along the way so crew might die more frequently – perhaps cannon rolls of 6 eliminate crew or cargo.

    I feel like this game has an endless amount of potential tweaks and small house rules that you could play around with for decades of playing.  Kinda overwhelming to think about though.

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