[FGG] Fire As She Bears


Product Discussion


I enjoyed the first read through on Fire As She Bears by Frog God Games for Razor Coast. I have a few questions though, first of all on trying to convert existing ships that do not follow the 20' format. What do you do about ships that are 30' wide like the ones in Skulls & Shackles? I am interested in using the system with S&S, but need conversion help please.


brvheart wrote:
I enjoyed the first read through on Fire As She Bears by Frog God Games for Razor Coast. I have a few questions though, first of all on trying to convert existing ships that do not follow the 20' format. What do you do about ships that are 30' wide like the ones in Skulls & Shackles? I am interested in using the system with S&S, but need conversion help please.

I'd be interested in this as well. I like the looks of FaSB but why the designers went with a different ship design system rather than one that aligns with PathFinder (which FaSB is supposed to be compatible with) is a puzzler.

One easy fix would be to ignore the 20' rule and assume the ship boxes are 30' instead. However, this could have the effect of reducing the overall number of boxes in a ship, and I haven't had time to crunch the numbers to see how much of a "ripple" effect this might have on the rest of the ship design, as a lot of it relies on the total number of boxes a ship contains to determine carrying capacity, number of masts and sails, and so on.

Another potential snag is the FaSB suggestion to just treat ballistas, catapults and other non-gunpowder weapons as different types of cannon and assign them the appropriate FaSB damage for ship-to-ship combat. Since naval combat in PF is mostly fought using non-gunpowder weapons this means you'll have to track one kind of damage for naval combat and another type when firing at everything else, which is another complication that could have been avoided. (Either that or use the FaSB numbers in non-naval combat as well and thus give ballistas and the like a considerable increase in destructive power.)

Don't get me wrong - I like Fire as She Bears a great deal - but it does contain a few frustrating inconsistencies for a product that was intended to be PF-compatible that I wish the developers had been able to avoid.


My initial thought is to make those sections rather 20'x15' rather than 20'x30' and reduce their hit points by some sort of factor retaining the total hit points as the RAW hit points of the ship. This way you still have 10 hull sections for the 30'x100' ships. I am not sure whether doing the 15' or 30' sections is going to make more of a problem that is why we need advice here.


I seriously though you were talking about flaming female bears.


So you have met my ex-wife then Scott? LOL
Seriously though, we are referring to this new product
Fire As She Bears by Frog God Games.


Fitzwalrus, looking at Pathfinder itself there isn't an incompatibility. It is only when you look at Skulls and Shackles do the ships move from 20' to 30' wide and I think this is why the change was made. A sailing ship in Pathfinder is listed as 20'x75' and 900 HP while in S&S it is 30'x90' and 1620 HP, quite a difference.


brvheart wrote:
Fitzwalrus, looking at Pathfinder itself there isn't an incompatibility. It is only when you look at Skulls and Shackles do the ships move from 20' to 30' wide and I think this is why the change was made. A sailing ship in Pathfinder is listed as 20'x75' and 900 HP while in S&S it is 30'x90' and 1620 HP, quite a difference.

That may be so, but the Skull and Shackles ship designs and rules specifically say they are intended to better represent sailing ships and movement than the more generic Pathfinder "Vehicle" rules, and as I'm looking at using the FaSB rules for ship-to-ship in my Skull and Shackles campaign.... there's a problem.

I suspect most people are going to look at using these rules in the S&S setting, so compatibility is kinda important. ;D


I just re-jigged the ships rounding up or down as I felt was right. I made the man's promise 100ft long by 40ft wide instead of 105ft long and 30ft wide. The HP work themselves out when you decide how many loctaions you have. It takes a little bit of time to convert the ships over but in the end its worth it.

The biggest difference is the speed of the ships. Ships using s&s have a top speed of around 90ft (3 squares of 30ft) a sail ship in fasb with 7 rigging locations has a base sail speed of 180ft (9 sqaures of 20ft) but if with the wind its 360ft (18 squares of 20ft). You will need to think of either a bigger table or smaller squares for tactical ship combat.

But I would seriously consider using the 20ftx20ft locations and the 30ft squares as FASB as it will make the whole thing easier. Converting the ships over is pretty easy if you just round up or down to the nearest 20ft. Also as well if you are still using inch squares like I am, using the ship counters is easy, just cut them down to size and stick them on to paper to bulk out to the width of the ship then grid them up. This way you also have a graphic depiction on the map of the hull locations as you can add the numbers to them.


True or not about wanting to use FASB with S&S, there are legal IP issues involved here. I suspect that the S&S content is not open content unlike the generic vehicle rules. This gives players a choice, use the S&S naval rules or another set. In a perfect world everything would be compatible with each other, but it is not a perfect world and that includes gaming. If Paizo copyrights using a 30' square for its ships in S&S then other companies must use another size. I am not a lawyer, but I can make an educated guess.

I think ferrinwulf is on the right track about converting the ships. We could be helpful to each other and share the conversions so we are not all reinventing the wheel so to speak.


To be honest its not as daunting as it seems, once you have the dimensions of the ship, how many masts and how tall they and whether there is a bow or stern castle is pretty straightforward. I didn't go into huge amounts of detail like adding hull type, mast and rigging type, and weight of the ships either. I just boiled it down to hull and rigging locations. I figured I would try it out as a simple form to begin with and see how it goes (I have still yet to try it all out as we have only just started back on the ap after a break). I'm 95% sure that these rules will work much better though. I think the one thing you have to bear in mind is that as brvheart says the 2 are not completely compatible and a certain amount of conversion or waving of ceratin rules is needed. I find a mix of the 2 works better. For example for a sailing ship such as the mans promise to work in fasb you need a minimum of 60 sailors, in s&s you need 20 so im sticking with s&s at the mo and the speeds are vastly different too so its afsb for this. Also there is no mention in FASB where the ships will be at the start of the combat so I just used the s&s ones and doubled the range of the pursuer.

I would share what I have but at the mo I don't have the time to type it all out or have access to a copier (I hand wrote them). Sorry.

I think if you are like me and part way through the ap you need to look at all the aspects and just hand wave it. If you are just starting the AP then I figure you are in luck and can go with FASB from the get go though.


I started to take a look at it and tried to figure it based on 40' wide and come up with far too many hull locations at 24. Remember the Man's Promise has 3 decks and a fore and aft castle. I think the figures work better if you base your building figures on 20' wide and just hand wave the other 10'. This gives 12 hull locations and 4 rigging locations, much more like I think what is intended here for this ship especially with a stated value of 10,000 GP. Unless you can somehow get 3 decks out of one hull location of 20' high!
As for the minimum amount of sailors to man it I would say S&S is using minimum crew and FASB is for a proper crew, 20 sailors in 3 shifts.


Ahh thats the mistake I made. The decks hulls are 2Oft cubes don't forget, this means that you have the deck, then below that the crew quarters with a cieling height of 10ft then below that the cargo hold (bilges I didnt bother with).

------------------------------ (main deck)
10ft high (crew deck
------------------------------ from main deck to water 20ft
10ft high (cargo hold)
------------------------------ (waterline)

Bilges I hand waved


You would still need 14 hull locations though, 2 each for the fore and aft castles. I guess that is doable. Just seems like an awfully big ship! That is the size of the Albatross.


yeah again the ships don't match very well do they. When you get down to look at it its plain to see the 2 systems are really quiet different. To mesh the 2 takes some thinking on how you do it. My thinking is that instead of trying to change too much just go with S&S as much as you can and covnvert FASB rather than go the other way. I still have no idea if it will all work though as I have yet to try it. I'm just trying to go with the easy solution first lol.


Hopefully when the frogs get back from NTRPG Con they will weigh in here.


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Our Mans Promise is 5 hull locations at waterlevel, +2 for front and aft castle. Then we add 4 rigging locations, and we have a ship.

We've been through two naval battles, and they worked fine. They were much more enjoyable than the S&S-ones, and in one of them a ship actually sank (something which was almost impossible in S&S).

I spent about 20 minutes building a quick excel-sheet for punching in enemy ships. It takes about 2 minutes to design a ship for the PC's to fight. All the detailed stuff is only important for ships they're going to use, so we just skip that for the prey. Give them a number of hull and rigging locations, make up some quick stats for officers (BAB, dex, sailing modifier, important skills), and the rest is pretty simple calculations, which excell will do for you. Even the officer stats can be easily assumed just from giving them a level (I go with lvl+8 for sailing and other skills, lvl-1 for BAB, and have a fixed dex modifier of 0-2, depending on position).

So basicly I decide on number of locations, level of enemy officers, and weapons. Them the ship is ready to go!


I think you have it about right BzAli. Mine comes out to a Str of 37 and a Dex of 7, does that sound right? So far the total weight is a little over 24,000 lbs and have nothing on the ship.
Level+8 seems a bit high to me, maybe I am wrong. I figure class skill plus stat add, what else are you using for that? I would think more like +6.


I'm assuming that enemy captains and navigators are experts (or perhaps experts/fighters). Since this is their entire living, I also assume that hey'll have taken skill focus (sailing).

Thus: Level (for maximum ranks) +3 (skill focus) + 3 (class skill) + 2 (wisdom modifer... again, these are the professionals, so I assume they were handpicked for their abilities in this field). This leads to lvl+8.

Sure, that's pretty high, but since most merchantmen doesn't have the specialized design of the PC's ships, or use magic items to further boost their sailing skills, it actually evens out, and makes for a battle with captains of about equal skill.

Likewise, I assume all enemy mates have proficiency in whatever siege weapons they're using. This is what they do for a living, and they do get feats to spend, so they'll off course spend them on the things they do the most, just like any PC does.


Thanks, I had not considered skill focus. That makes sense.


With regard to actual ship dimensions I'd pretty much given up on the 20' cubes as anything more than target locations. Bethany Razor's pirate hunting sloop "Quell's Whore" is stat'ed up as 40'x60'x40'. Even a dutch merchant's fluyt would be embarrassed by a ratio like that :)

Sovereign Court Contributor

Definitely one of the areas where we chose playability and flexibility over a more rigid adherence to historical reality. Target locations, limiting factor governing equipment load, and general size of ship are the best uses of the 20' cube abstraction in my opinion.


Definitely something I have to ponder for awhile. I can understand some abstraction, but the ships IMHO should reasonably represent what a ship is supposed to look like. I doubt a 40'x'60'x40' ship is even sea worthy, yet be the fast clipper ship that Quell's Whore is supposed to be.

Sovereign Court Contributor

Actually, those dimensions strike me as rectangular but not inherently non-sea worthy. Although, that wouldn't be a clipper, as a clipper was typically single deck.

Is that really what Quell's Whore got statted up as? :/

Most of the thinking for FaSB ship dimensions took the historical HMS Surprise for a baseline.

Surprise was about 129 long by 31 wide, so call her 6 cubes long by 2 cubes wide. Her draught is approximately 14' so call it 2 cubes high.


BzAli, would you mind sharing that ship excel sheet of yours? Wouldn't mind taking a look at it.


I offer alternative dimensions for Quell's Whore and perhaps the Albatross: 100'x40'x20' with 2 fore and aft castles. This still gives her 14 hull sections and allows for the 9 rigging locations. I would do the same for the Albatross except for the 40' aft castle instead of the 2 castles. It just makes them look more like a sloop and light frigate than boxes floating on water. Sloop.


My excell-file for quickly preparing FaSB-ships. I haven't bothered with exact calculations of carrying capacity, so I'll just wing it as needed. Bacily, I assume that most encountered ships will be carrying a medium load, but I can set that to light or heavy if needed:

Link: https://drive.google.com/#folders/0BxM-ZjqQrsuLQnBRc3lKSmNUeG8


Thanks, but the folder is empty.


How about this one, then:

https://www.dropbox.com/s/5jwd6e9yjgh01ev/FaSB%20ships.xlsx

Sovereign Court Contributor

@brvheart - yeah. I like those dimensions. If you do a full workup of Quell's Whore and/or the Albatross, would you post a PDF SRS? I'd love to see another designer's take. Seeing/hearing what people do with what you create (play reports, characters, ships, etc.) is one of my greatest joys writing RPG material.

@BzAli - freaking awesome man! Thanks!


BzAli wrote:
How about this one, then:

Linked for you


I did a bit of digging round in Wikipedia when looking at the design rules - Lou's HMS Surprise is pretty typical, a ratio of just under 4:1 seemed pretty standard for Napoleonic ships from sloops to ships of the line, staying much the same when you go back to the Wasa. Most every other dimension that early is just speculation. Cutty Sark as a true speed machine has a ratio of 6:1 but whether that's allowed by the iron frame I couldn't say.

One thing I had been wondering about was whether the decks below the waterline counted in the dimensions - I take it from Lou's counting the draft, that they do.


@BzAli That worked and it looks cool! Thanks!

@Lou I will see what I can do. I am still trying to get the Ship Record Sheet to accept text blocks even with Adobe Pro, but I haven't worked with Pro much.

@Arquestan Yeah, it is hard to maintain those ratios with 20' cubes, but it sets the bar at least. Like I said, we can deal with some abstraction here and allow 100'x40' to represent most 100'x30' ships.

Edit: Lou, I am not familiar with the format your are referring to PDF SRS. I have edited the file with the changes with the help of BzAli's spreadsheet.


See if this works. I am just learning dropbox, too!

Quell's Whore.


I prefer 100x20 for most merchantmen and pirates. It looks neater on the battleboard, and makes the ships more fragile. The below waterline has fewer HP, and it's the same location that's hit, even if the ship turns and presents the other side.

For a battle between a 8 gun merchant and a 10 gun pirate, that's pretty important, as it means locations and ships can be destroyed while the battle is still fun. If it takes to long, the energy dissolves, it stops being fun, and turns into a "load, fire"-exercise.
I haven't tried with 20-gun warships yet, for those I imagine 100x40 would work, as the damage output is much greater, and that would offer the opportinity to turn in order to present a less damage side to the enemy.

When the action moves to boarding, a 30 ft deck could be used for both 100x20 and 100x40.


The Quell's Whore is a very special 18 gun sloop. She isn't meant to be fragile! Although I get what you are saying about the below the water line hit points. The Albatross is even higher and comes in at 500 hit points below the water line this way. It is a function of the wood used on these two ships, darkwood and reinforced oak.


It's not very clear in the rules, but based on the example ships, it seems that Below Waterline hp is only based on waterlevel hull locations, not all hull locations. So ships height, or the addition of castles, has no influence on Below Waterline HP.


I got that, but a 100'x40' ship has 10 water line hull locations and darkwood has 200 hp so 10x200x.2=400. Reinforced oak has 250 hp so at 10 water line hull locations that would be 10x250x.2=500. Or is there something wrong with my math here?


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I've modified my spreadsheet. It now contains drop-down menus, hull material, sail materiale. As before, most of it can be left as it is (normal hulls, normal riggings, medium load, no weather gauge, mates proficient in siege weapons, captain and navigator not), but you can now alter these choices if you so desire.

I haven't made any effort at making it look good. I'm much more into functionality than looks. :)

Link


I am the same and sometimes get knocked for lack of style points:) The links to the drop downs on the data sheet didn't carry over for some reason.

The Exchange

I have to say that when I pushed the Victory through the creation I think it came out a bit neater not counting the below waterline stuff in the 20' boxes, I think I also counted each gun as a gun per broadside rather than a single gun.

Also you can get 4 decks into a 20' square though it is a little cramped space wise.


Nychus wrote:
Also you can get 4 decks into a 20' square though it is a little cramped space wise.

With 4 decks pr. 20' cube, that would mean 5 feet pr. deck, and that's even before we include the actual width of the wood itself... and a solid wooden board do take up a non-neglible amount of space.

Every medium sized creature would be cramped in these conditions. It would be next to impossible to work in such decks, especially if the work involves heavy physical labour, such as lifting crates or loading a cannon/ballista.

I'd say two decks pr. 20 ft. is much closer to reaslity... unless you are building a slaveship, in which case you could have slavequarters of very low height.

Sovereign Court Contributor

Two decks per 20' makes sense - except on a fey war galleon. :)


And maybe goblins, which could get 3. One never knows what gnomes would come up with, half decks, decks going to no where, elevators to the crows nest....Dwarves might do only one deck per 20' and have huge hall-like decks! I don't even want to think about kender<G>! They'd have half the ship in their pockets.

The Exchange

BzAli wrote:
Nychus wrote:
Also you can get 4 decks into a 20' square though it is a little cramped space wise.

With 4 decks pr. 20' cube, that would mean 5 feet pr. deck, and that's even before we include the actual width of the wood itself... and a solid wooden board do take up a non-neglible amount of space.

Every medium sized creature would be cramped in these conditions. It would be next to impossible to work in such decks, especially if the work involves heavy physical labour, such as lifting crates or loading a cannon/ballista.

I'd say two decks pr. 20 ft. is much closer to reaslity... unless you are building a slaveship, in which case you could have slavequarters of very low height.

Top deck is the top of the cube meaning you can get decks in at between 6'and 7' per deck with space for the board, and still get 4 decks, 2 decks below decks at 10' per deck that positively roomy and would still give 3 decks total,(For a 3 decker like this I'd adjust to 2 different deck heights turning one of the decks into the hold at about 12' clearance)


You are still not accounting for the space of the decking which remember has to be able to support heavy cannons. So on a 2 decker you have floor, ceiling and top deck for around 4c feet for only around 8' for those 2 decks or only 5' for the 3 decker. For a 100'x30' ship the planking itself has to be at least 2.5" thick on top of the 2x12 beams.

Sovereign Court Contributor

I think I should host a big FaSB ship-2-ship battle at my Saturday Gen Con shindig. Give everyone a certain amount of gp and allow a group of people to bring their best designs -- then fight to the death arena style with ship models...

Hm...


Sounds cool! Make sure to take some video and post it up so we can all enjoy!


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Quick question: does this product have rules for fleet battles (mass combat for ships)?


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roguerouge wrote:
Quick question: does this product have rules for fleet battles (mass combat for ships)?

It doesn't. Only file in my collection that does is Legendary Games - Ultimate War

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