GreenTongue
 member, 899 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Sat 4 Jan 2020
at 14:16
Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
When a lot of exploration was historically done by ship, why are ships not a centerpiece for most adventure games?

I guess this would be true for Viking style games but what about Sinbad, Jason and Odysseus?
Are these not good adventures to model games after?
Mad Mick
 member, 992 posts
 GURPS beyond measure,
 outlander
Sat 4 Jan 2020
at 18:37
Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
Sci-fi games like Traveller and Star Trek do center around ships, as do pirate games. Many RPGs use land travel, though, not water travel, similar to Thorin Oakenshield’s company in The Hobbit or the fellowship in The Lord of the Rings. Other games take place within a city or in exploring dungeons, where a ship would be less useful.
tmagann
 member, 599 posts
Sat 4 Jan 2020
at 18:46
Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
I tried a Ship centered fantasy game, but the problem is that ne landfall can take months in PbP and it becomes a land game again. The ship mostly turned into a transport than a center point. Just  way to get form one island to the next.
donsr
 member, 1799 posts
Sat 4 Jan 2020
at 18:49
Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
 in my space game, the  Ship is the 'home base'  more or less like star Trek...or to a lesser  extent , the Tigar's claw  in Wing Commander... there is  as much going on in the ship, as  when we hit planes   or get into battles

 if some one ruins a  (space)  sci-fi  game or  an 'age  of sail'  game,  the ship has to be a major  player , unless you just hop from battle to battle and that gets old, real quick.
Mad Mick
 member, 993 posts
 GURPS beyond measure,
 outlander
Sat 4 Jan 2020
at 18:58
Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
I’ve actually played in a number of ship-based games—a Traveller game, a couple of Star Wars games, a short-lived Star Trek game, a Space 1886 game, and  a nifty home-brewed pirate game. It can definitely work. It’s good to have a home base for players, and the ship provides a means of reaching other adventures. Ship-to-ship combat and repelling boarding parties is fun, as is upgrading ships, a good investment of loot from adventures.
GreenTongue
 member, 901 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Sat 4 Jan 2020
at 19:14
Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
In reply to tmagann (msg # 3):

I don't understand how "and you arrive at" can take months?

There may be more port adventures than following the treasure map ones but still, the actual getting to the next location should move at the speed of Plot.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15836 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Sat 4 Jan 2020
at 19:25
Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
In reply to GreenTongue (msg # 6):

I read it as when you arrive at land, the adventure that takes place there can take far longer than the time spent aboard the ship, effectively reducing the ship to just a means of transport where something happens occasionally.
donsr
 member, 1800 posts
Sat 4 Jan 2020
at 19:29
Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
yep BigBad,  the ship, especially  in space, almost becomes  a character   itself?...look it star trek when  the   ( many)  enterprises  die.. fans are shocked and appalled

  giving areas  on the ship for players  to move about , hang out  and RP  is all part of that GAme for a GM..and the players  will use it?  those who 'ghost' when there  is no  battels    or planet landings, are better off in an arena  game.
gmpax
 member, 1157 posts
 {insert witty quote here}
Sat 4 Jan 2020
at 19:41
Re: Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
bigbadron:
I read it as [...]


Same here.  A brief stint - a week or two real-time - on the ship, travelling from A to B.

Then months of real-time spent exploring B on foot.

In the end, out of twenty weeks of play, maybe two or three were on the ship ... the other seventeen or eighteen, on land.
evileeyore
 member, 271 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Sat 4 Jan 2020
at 22:17
Re: Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
GreenTongue:
When a lot of exploration was historically done by ship, why are ships not a centerpiece for most adventure games?

Because most ships aren't big enough to have an adventure in.  Are you dungeon bashing on the ship itself, or is the ship your conveyance to the adventure.  If the later, what now makes the ship any different than a wagon, or horse, or walking?

For reference, as someone mentioned, Star Trek.  The ship is a place on which adventure occur, a full 1/3 of all episodes take place entirely in the ship.

This message was last edited by the user at 22:18, Sat 04 Jan.

donsr
 member, 1801 posts
Sat 4 Jan 2020
at 22:28
Re: Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
  for my part, our set up works  rather well.. 'down  time' RP... incedents...contests..actions   during battles? It  comes  down as common sense to me after  watching tons  of movies  of  sci-fi... ships of sail..and WWII..and reading reams of  books in those  same Genres? it seems natural to have a lot of interaction  on the ship.
Hunter
 member, 1546 posts
 Captain Oblivious!
 Lurker
Sat 4 Jan 2020
at 22:53
Re: Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
evileeyore:
For reference, as someone mentioned, Star Trek.  The ship is a place on which adventure occur, a full 1/3 of all episodes take place entirely in the ship.


Because Star Trek isn't a sailing ship, which is what I think the original poster is going for.  A starship of that kind is going to be it's own self contained city, including it's own manufacturing and food production.  The tech simply isn't high enough, unless you actively have magical means of producing materials of this nature.

But a campaign like this will work, which requires a bit of creatively and some Handwavium.  Alternately, you simply create a world that no longer has land.
Brianna
 member, 2207 posts
Sun 5 Jan 2020
at 01:38
Re: Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
In reply to Hunter (msg # 12):

The Enterprise is also large enough to provide a good mix of possible characters.  So in game terms, if a player leaves, it's relatively easy to pull in other players/characters to replace him.  On a sailing ship, unless you land somewhere to pick up new people, it's rather clunky to suddenly have someone 'appear' from the relatively small space.
GreenTongue
 member, 902 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Sun 5 Jan 2020
at 04:37
Re: Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
Vikings, Sinbad, Jason and Odysseus all went multiple places by ship and had their ship as a base of operations.
I don't get the feeling that there is such a large crew as to be an inconvenience.
If you have a problem with henchmen and followers then I can see where it might not be a good fit.
Otherwise, having a safe place you can take with you seems handy.
gmpax
 member, 1159 posts
 {insert witty quote here}
Sun 5 Jan 2020
at 17:54
Re: Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
GreenTongue:
Otherwise, having a safe place you can take with you seems handy.


... which doesn't have to be a ship, per se.

In D&D, years ago, I had a Wizard who had a Portable Hole.  I had a wooden "insert" built for it, similar to a Gypsy wagon.  It completely filled the hole, and provided me with a wee tiny little "hut" that simultaneously provided a secure place to sleep each night (he had a Cauldron of Air inside, along with a Decanter of Endless Water, so he could close up the hole from inside indefinitely), but also secure storage for all his spell components, spellbooks, food and drink, etc.
Mad Mick
 member, 996 posts
 GURPS beyond measure,
 outlander
Sun 5 Jan 2020
at 18:44
Re: Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
A crew of adventurers could be based out of a gypsy caravan, too. Skyrim has a number of cool caravan mods that a player can use as a portable home. It doesn’t have the precedence of a ship in classic stories, but both The Wind in the Willows and Stardust use it as a vehicle for adventure, as does The Wheel of Time briefly, though the Tinkers in the WOT have a caravan of caravans.
korodikrisz
 member, 21 posts
Mon 6 Jan 2020
at 13:46
Re: Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
All three examples are bad for RPG btw. as all of them have only one character upfront, because while they might have a crew, they are like minor characters in the big story. In RPG, you want 3-15 interesting, important characters, as the already mentioned Star Trek.

Hunter: if it's set in a world where starships are not self-contained, this is not a problem. As well, a sailing ship can have a food/wood/water creator/teleporter service.
GreenTongue
 member, 905 posts
 Game Archaeologist
Mon 6 Jan 2020
at 14:53
Re: Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
I guess it risks being a "Railroad" type of adventure but it seems to me that shore excursions can make good adventures.

A band of friends can have adventures at every port, or stop, as the ship travels from port to port either doing its normal trading business or exploring opportunities.

The players can be "The Crew" while on the ship and what they do there can be played out or handwaved to the next port of call.
gmpax
 member, 1161 posts
 {insert witty quote here}
Mon 6 Jan 2020
at 21:18
Re: Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
GreenTongue:
it seems to me that shore excursions can make good adventures.


C.S. Lewis certainly seems to have thought so, when he wrote Voyage of the Dawn Treader ... :)
evileeyore
 member, 272 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Mon 6 Jan 2020
at 22:40
Re: Adventures Centered Around a Ship. Why Not the Default?
GreenTongue:
I guess it risks being a "Railroad" type of adventure but it seems to me that shore excursions can make good adventures.

I once ran a full on Railroad Campaign*, where in the PCs were on an actual railroad.  Premise was a posse (two Texas Marshals, an Indian tracker, and a pair of gunfighters) got trapped on my version of the Galaxy Express 999 after chasing a trio of short banditos (who turned out to be greys stealing cultural artifacts from Earth) onto the train.  At every stop the PCs had so much time before the train left station again, so it was very much Stargate Universe, just I ran it about a decade before that show (I'd actually based my entire premise on a mashup of GE999, the western genre, and stole the variable time limit idea from Sliders).

They had roughly 1 out of 4 of their adventures right there on the train between stops now that I think about it.


* Mostly because at the end of the previous campaign my Players complained about having "too much freedom" they wanted some more scripting, some rails to follow, so the game wouldn't bog down into a quagmire of Player Indecision.  So they got what they asked for.  That group never asked for rails again.  :P