Even though I'm still desperately waiting for Amazon to deliver me Skull & Shackles, I've started campaign planning. Here's a rule that I would like to include that doesn't appear in the Player's Guide (PG). Please tell me what you think.
Oh, I've already changed the sailing speed rules from the PG, such that my speeds are 3x less than the maximum speeds in the PG. Therefore a 120-ft maximum speed equals a speed of 40-ft. My maximum sailing speeds are affected by encumbrance and wind strength.
Careening Water vehicles must be careened on a regular frequency. After four (4) months of the hull being submerged in water since the last careening, the ship speed is reduced by 5 ft. After eight (8) more months for a total of 12 months since careening, the ship speed is reduced again by 5 ft. for a total reduction of 10 ft. Ship speed has a minimum of 5 ft. due to careening effects.
Careening requires a successful Craft (ships) check of DC 20 per day of work for each month since its last careening for both sides. A dry dock can complete two sides per day of work. For example, a ship with five (5) months since careening requires ten (10) successful Craft checks and days of work or five (5) checks and days of work at a dry dock.
1. More realism
2. A game mechanic reason that a ship must be out of the water for a period of time, which motivates cultivating and maintaining safe or secret havens to do the work... other than restocking and fencing plunder.
3. A game mechanic reason for a strategic decision about when to incur a speed penalty. Generally, historical pirates were particularly vulnerable when they were careening their ship, which adds drama opportunity.
4. Potentially, they find ships that are slow due to lack of careening, so it provides an "easy" speed upgrade.
I might be able to come up with more, but that should give you a flavor for why.
Well, looking at careening
1. Realism: Try versimilitude. You want internal consistancy with the game world.
I see nothing that couldn't be handled with magic, so it would be used as a desperate method.
Prestidigitation (cleaning), mending, repel vermin immediately come to mind. I'm sure there are other methods.
This doesn't negate items 2 and 3 (lack of spellcaster), but it does show how valuable a spellcaster would be.
OK verisimilitude as you want.
Yes, magic would work:
Prestidigitation (cleaning) doesn't appear to be able to mend the damage done.
Mending doesn't have the weight
one object of up to 1 lb./level
repel vermin would work to remove the root cause but not repair the damage done.
make whole appears to be the spell of choice, because the SS rules specify that ships are treated as constructs.
I do not really want to tell you how to run your game, and if you as the GM and your players are happy with that added complexity then more power to you. Also remember though that the ship is going to take damage when it is in combat, and that damage is either going to have to be repaired at a dock, or done through magic. This sort of goes into 2 and 3 but not completely.
I like your rules, and your enthusiasm for realism, but for me personally this seems to be more book keeping then I would enjoy. But like I said, if you like that kind of thing, then I think what you have works very well for what you want to do.
repair : most hull repairs can be done at sea, given a competent shipwright and a supply of wood. The big advantage of wood... Cordage can be respun. And there is always supplies from ships plundered. I would except yards and masts, since those require specialised production. Never mind "make whole" and other mid-level spells.
Prestidigitation is certainly NOT strong enough.
The effects are minor and have severe limitations. A prestidigitation can slowly lift 1 pound of material. It can color, clean, or soil items in a 1-foot cube each round. It can...<<snip>> material. It cannot deal damage or affect the concentration of spellcasters.
Since the growth are plantlife, mussles, crabs and worms drilling into the hull, damage would have to be dealt or some very strong force used to remove barnacle shells. Just saying.
As for careening. This can and should be done, but....it is very hard to lift the ship completely out of the water, you would need a drydock or shipyard for that.
Consider copper plating as protection. Consider resinous tar as a paintcoat which was invented by the british in roughly 1750, but suppressed by the Royal Navy Yard's inspectors due to financial interest from the shipwrights.
And to be honest - this AP would IMHO have strongly profited from being slightly more realistic. Ship to ship battle would be more interesting. Your crew would actually matter in many fights (right now, it doesn't). It would be more about a crew of pirates than about some adventurers playing at pirates (and doing not so much piratinbg stuff in the later AP ) Or say, like actually providing a weather table and sea effects, or even considering ship speed with regard to conditions.
People actually enjoy being able to influence non-combat parts of the campaign through smart actions and planning. At least, all of the three groups I play in do^^
just my 2 cents though
Just a quick note, there is a weather table in the Dangers of the Shackles section in AP3, with additional rules for weather/hazards the closer the encounter is to the Eye of Abendego.
yeah, but which is both really unrealistic since it deals with the proximity to the magical storm - no good if you are cruising off Bloodcove - and b) doesn't tell you much about sea conditions or else.