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Don't rock the boat!


Savage Tide Adventure Path


In the very near future (even though I'm not currently running the STAP), I'm going to have a small aquatic adventure for my PCs. They'll have come through a portal into a small archipelago of islands, and on one of the other islands is the exit portal and the key to open it.

Having the PCs get to the other island, among the half-dozen or so islands in the chain, is half the fun. But encounters along the way will no doubt make things interesting as well.

As it turns out, one of the PCs has a robe of many things (which I houseruled to have a non-expended item (such as, for example, a rowboat) usable once per week and able to be put "back on" to the robe; it makes the thing less of a one-shot wonder). One of the patches on there is, in fact, a rowboat/launch (using the Launch stats from Stormwrack) -- which should make their getting from island to island in unfriendly waters a little bit less hazardous.

Naturally, no expedition would be complete without unfriendly natives. In this case, the first thing I'd like to throw at my 9th-10th would be a sahuagin raiding party -- sixteen sahuagin scout-raiders with a raid-leader. Given that the sahuagin would no doubt like to drag the air-breathers down to their own level, the better to claim the advantage, what kind of ruling would you make for them to tip the boat over and sink it?

I've looked in Stormwrack, and though there are rules regarding the damaging of a ship there don't seem to be any specifically relating to what happens if a beastie or beasties just decides to try to turn the thing over. Perhaps opposed grapple checks -- with attacks of opportunity as the PCs try desperately to cut down the sahuagin raiders? The Launch is considered Huge, but what would be used as the base stat for it to avoid being swamped? Profession (sailor), perhaps?

Additionally, if the sahuagin give up on that and just decide to stab at the underside of the Launch with their tridents (possible, given their leader's STR, even with half-damage taken by piercing weapons), what spells might be used to repair the damage as it's being taken? Could mending serve as a stopgap measure, repairing something like 1d4 hull HP per casting? Might make whole wholly repair the boat's hull?


Hardness 5, 84 Hit Points for purposes of damaging/destroying the launch.

Presuming PF Beta stats:

I'd rate it at a CMB of +7 (setting the base DC to flip it over at a 22). Characters may contribute one BAB and various Aid checks to this to resist the swimmers' attempts to capsize the launch. However, doing so compromises one standard action per Aid check and a full-round for whomever is contributing the BAB. If the BAB character has a STR higher than 20, than consider the launch's Huge size bonus of +2 to be added to that character's CMB for purposes of resisting being forcibly capsized.

EDIT: And remember, Piercing weapons deal full damage underwater. Slashing weapons deal half, Bludgeoning does nothing. Why would an underwater creature wield a trident if it did only half damage? (As a non-magical weapon that is.)

I'm presuming you've ramped the sahuagin raiding party up quite a bit from the vanilla stat block in the MM.

I would recommend a "shark shaman" in the raiding party at that level. Or at least assigning Improved Grapple to your scouts, so they can leap up out of the drink and attempt to pull characters out of the launch the old-fashioned way. Or both to make it nasty.

Watery black tentacles variant spell .... mmmmm ....


Substantially up, yes -- I've statted the base sahuagin raiders as 3rd level scouts and the raid-leader as a four-armed 2nd level ranger/7th level scout with Swift Hunter, Improved Skirmish, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (for a full attack of four strikes at -2 and four strikes at -7), and Swim-By Attack. Regardless of whether he's doing a hit-and-run or a toe-to-toe, he deals out impressive damage.

I know that piercing weapons deal full underwater -- though I'd personally say that something like a spiked chain, which requires a lot of swinging about, wouldn't work so well in those environs -- but based on the rules in Stormwrack piercing melee weapons deal half damage to ships.

Currently, I'm running it in 3.5 -- though I plan to eventually adapt Savage Tide to the Pathfinder rules. The CMB idea is good, though, and I'll try to run with it.


Kurukami wrote:

Substantially up, yes -- I've statted the base sahuagin raiders as 3rd level scouts and the raid-leader as a four-armed 2nd level ranger/7th level scout with Swift Hunter, Improved Skirmish, Improved Two-Weapon Fighting (for a full attack of four strikes at -2 and four strikes at -7), and Swim-By Attack. Regardless of whether he's doing a hit-and-run or a toe-to-toe, he deals out impressive damage.

I know that piercing weapons deal full underwater -- though I'd personally say that something like a spiked chain, which requires a lot of swinging about, wouldn't work so well in those environs -- but based on the rules in Stormwrack piercing melee weapons deal half damage to ships.

Currently, I'm running it in 3.5 -- though I plan to eventually adapt Savage Tide to the Pathfinder rules. The CMB idea is good, though, and I'll try to run with it.

Ah, yes - the ubiquitous spiked chain. I would agree - although perhaps a creature such as a sahuagin could potentially learn how to overcome that limitation by using different methods of "winding up" the chain.

In 3.5, I would rule it as opposed STR checks.

Sahuagin boss as primary, scouts all Aid his STR check. (Most should succeed, given the low DC.)

The launch by itself would have a STR bonus of +8 to resist from its size alone. Characters who would aid the boat can do so with their own DC 10 STR checks made to aid the launch.

This opposed roll situation could very well work, especially once the players realize that they need to beat you on a straight die roll. If you do not normally 'open roll', such moments are a good candidate. "Hey, you all read the die, that's the way it goes."

I think the Stormwrack rules on piercing weapons doing half damage to a ship makes no sense, since "ramming" ship-to-ship deals primarily piercing damage. I would just use the wood hull's Hardness of 5 instead and leave it at that.

On its own right, the launch is irreparable by Mending (far too massive) while make whole would require a sufficiently high caster level to work. The spell is measured in cubic feet, so you will need the rough dimensions of the launch. Basing it on a Huge space would be brutal though - 15'x15'x15' is 3,375 cubic feet, FAR too large for any normal caster! I'd say perhaps it is perhaps the size of a sedan, somewhere from 150 to 200 cubic feet. Since your robe is 1/week, the launch could well be destroyed, so they'll get it back in a week...


Good to keep in mind. I suspect that (not having the book immediately to hand) for the "piercing weapons do half damage" thing it's because said melee weapons are usually wielded by Medium or at best Large creatures. A ship's ram, on the other hand, is effectively a Colossal or Gargantuan amount of piercing damage. *grin*

And to bring rationality into it (gaaah, rationality in a discussion about D&D rules! *cringe* ; ) ), trying to destroy a ship's mast or hull is much easier to do with a greatclub or an axe than with a spear.

Quote:
Since your robe is 1/week, the launch could well be destroyed, so they'll get it back in a week...

Not exactly. The way I've got it house-ruled is that if the thing in question isn't expended (like a potion of cure moderate wounds) or spent (like the gold or gems) or destroyed (as would be the case if the launch was sundered) then it can be replaced onto the robe and used again in a week.


Not really helpful, but fun anecdote...
if your sahuagin are chaotic evil and worship demons instead of Sekolah, why....then you can have frenzied berserker sahuagin.
MWAHAHAHAHA!
Along the lines of shark shaman....maybe a sahuagin druid that could warp the wood of their ship.

I think at that level though, they might want to do a fly spell or something...maybe polymorph into a wyvern and fly everybody from island to island. How far are the islands?


dungeonmaster heathy wrote:

Not really helpful, but fun anecdote...

if your sahuagin are chaotic evil and worship demons instead of Sekolah, why....then you can have frenzied berserker sahuagin.
MWAHAHAHAHA!
Along the lines of shark shaman....maybe a sahuagin druid that could warp the wood of their ship.

I think at that level though, they might want to do a fly spell or something...maybe polymorph into a wyvern and fly everybody from island to island. How far are the islands?

I figure no more than two or three miles, all told -- so, at the rate of standard rowing for a rowboat, perhaps 2 hours travel. Plenty of time to be noticed by the sahuagin. *evil grin*

The party's currently around 9th level, on average. They've currently only got the one wizard, a focused conjurer who banned enchantment, evocation and... something else I can't remember at present. Not illusion, and not transmutation I don't think. Regardless, I don't think he bothered to invest in polymorph as a spell.

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