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Thursday, April 4, 2019

Moldvay Musings XVI, Part 2: Beat to Quarters!

The HMS Suckerfish, a small sailing warship equipped with a catapult, sets sail from her home port. The ship has a trained crew of 10 sailors, a navigator, and a full complement of 25 marines. Her destination is 450 miles away, a journey of 5 days (90 miles per day base speed) with favorable wind & weather. A roll of 2d6 is made for each day.

Day 1: Roll result = 9 A strong breeze. 120 miles covered (+1/3 move)
Day 2: Roll result = 2 Becalmed. No movement.
Day 3: Roll result = 5 Moderate breeze or broad reaching. 60 miles covered (2/3 move). 180 total miles traveled. But the Ocean wandering encounter roll came up as a 5. A d8 says its a Swimmer. A 9 on the subtable roll says its a Sea Snake. This is really a non-encounter, unless someone goes swimming/overboard. Moving on...
Day 4: Roll result = 3 Ext. light breeze or beating before the wind. Only 30 miles covered. 210 total.
Day 5: Roll result = Normal winds. Normal (90 miles) movement. 300 miles total. But another encounter. This one comes up Men. To simplify, this is our ship to ship encounter.

Normal winds will be simplified to normal weather. Visibility is 24 miles and a full crew means its reasonable that the Suckerfish had a lookout. No surprise possible under such conditions. (X64) Rolling for direction (a d6 for the hex faces) a 1 says the other ship appears off the starboard bow (ahead and to the right). It's an enemy ship! A small galley also fitted with a ram and catapult.

The Suckerfish has the weather gage (they are upwind) and the ships move at the same encounter speeds. Still, the galley has a 50% chance of staying clear (01-50 = success). An 87! The Suckerfish closes the gap and initiative is rolled. 5 for the Suckerfish, 1 for the galley.

At 300 yards, the catapult is fired with flaming pitch. Four marines man the weapon, meaning it fires every 5 rounds and attacks as a 4th level fighter (X64). The galley has AC 8 and the attack roll is a 16, so it's a hit! The flames deal 2 hull points of damage. Dropping the galley from 80 to 78, but the fire continues to burn. The sailors (10) abandon their posts to put out the flames. It will take them 2 turns to put out the fires, and flames will continue to spread and damage the ship. The galley is using the rowers anyway for the encounter, so the sailors can be spared.

Next the galley fires its catapult back. This time its a rock. An 18 hits handily (AC 8), dealing 11 points of (3d6) damage to the Suckerfish's hull. She is now at 69 hull points. Both ships move toward each other, even with the Suckerfish's reduction in speed (-10%) due to damage, the ships will be too close to use their catapults next round.

Initiative comes up a 2 and 2. Simultaneous actions! The galley is attempting to ram and the Suckerfish is trying to grapple. The galley needs an 11 to hit. 15! The ram deals 50 hull points (1d4+4 x 10. Rolling a 1). The galley would rather not grapple and try to evade (so as to ram again). The Suckerfish needs a 1 or 2 on a d6 to tie onto the galley. A 1! The lines snake out and the ships are grappled. At this point melee ensues. The crew and marines of the Suckerfish are at a -2 in the first round as they board the galley. After that, it's just a large combat.

In the end, assuming the Suckerfish is victorious, it still suffered 61 points of damage out of her 80 total hull points. Nearly 80%! Her speed is drastically reduced (18 miles per day instead of 90) and the best the crew can do for repairs at sea will only get the ship back to 50% for a speed of 45 mpd. Licking her wounds, she limps to the nearest friendly port of call for proper refitting.

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