T'Skrang ships

Discussion on game mastering Earthdawn. May contain spoilers; caution is recommended!
Sharkforce
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Re: T'Skrang ships

Post by Sharkforce » Fri Apr 05, 2019 5:09 am

is cargo listed by weight or volume? perhaps the water ship has an advantage in one of those options that isn't listed. actually, i'm quite surprised to hear they're at all competitive in that regard, because i would have expected the water ships to be superior in both.

i would also guess that the water ships are tougher; barsaivian airships are generally very light, and made of wood. you might get a decently tough theran ship, but then you won't exactly be welcome flying around in one of those ;)

as to greater utility, it has been noted that the serpent river is a truly remarkable geographic feature that make it incredibly appealing to trade ships, and it is worth considering that cities are generally built along rivers in the first place, so the water ships probably do just fine in terms of being able to reach desirable destinations.

perhaps the water ships only require an engine, and the t'skrang can just salvage it if the ship is destroyed, with the ship itself being an otherwise normal hull? that would mean that if a ship is sunk, the engine could be salvaged and the financial loss would be much smaller...

also, it is quite frankly probably safer. if an airship is damaged enough to crash, well, some adepts have a parachute equivalent, but most people are gonna die. meanwhile, if a ship is sinking, especially given most crew are t'skrang, yeah it sucks, but it isn't likely to inherently mean they die (they might be killed by whatever sunk the ship, of course). and i would suspect nasty weather is more of a concern for airships too.

alternately, it could simply be crew. i presume you need (or at least very strongly desire) good air sailors (or sky raiders) to operate an airship, and neither discipline seems to be extremely common except for sky raiders amongst the mountain trolls... and for some reason i imagine not too many merchants are looking to hire on to an air raider ship :p

Bonhumm
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Re: T'Skrang ships

Post by Bonhumm » Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:58 am

Lursi wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:18 pm
Why would anyone want a riverboat? I look at the buying price and see the Purchasing/Cargo ratio being about the same. In terms of mobility and risk of robbery, the airship is clearly in advantage.

In short, they must be a factor 10 cheaper, otherwise there is no logical reason to go for them.

On a cargo/price ratio, riverboats are much cheaper than airship, although not by a factor of 10.

An air galley with cargo of 300 cost 150 000 while a merchant riverboat with the same cargo cost 'only' 40 000, that's nearly 75% cheaper.

I would say also that there is also the question of movement. Although speed is about the same, we have to take into account that a riverboat is always able to move due to the fire engines while an airship depends on the wind. If the wind goes down the galley is not moving. Yes, I know there are airships that also use oars but that would be on smaller ship and much slower than wind/fire engine.

Telarus
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Re: T'Skrang ships

Post by Telarus » Fri Apr 05, 2019 9:55 pm

is cargo listed by weight or volume?
In all editions cargo has been listed in both. A 'duari' is a large barrel that can hold 300 lb of rice (or 36 gallons of water, or like 1 very uncomfortable namegiver).
Although speed is about the same, we have to take into account that a riverboat is always able to move due to the fire engines while an airship depends on the wind. If the wind goes down the galley is not moving. Yes, I know there are airships that also use oars but that would be on smaller ship and much slower than wind/fire engine.
You might think so, but previous books had sections discussing the "Sympathetic Magic" of airships, where the symbolic act of rowing or working the sails and rigging gives the ship impetus (momentum). There is _that_ _much_ true elemental magic woven into airships (most of them are also Named patterns). There is a LOT of political activity in Barsaive around gathering intelligence on who is constructing airships for which parties. Jerris is a spooky place, a lot happens under cover of the ash-storms... at least it was, until the Iopans jumped on them out of nowhere at the end of the 2nd war. Now it's probably worse, but the Iopans know they have to give populations under their control not "on board" with the Denairastas cult a little lee-way in order to not blow their cover.

Slimcreeper
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Re: T'Skrang ships

Post by Slimcreeper » Sat Apr 06, 2019 12:36 am

Now everywhere has airship towers, either, and moving heavy cargo without is probably slow going, even with a crane.

As far as airship vs riverboat combat, I'm going to go out on a limb and say that most riverboats have cannon carriages that take into account the existence of airships. Also most combat is raiding, so if you do manage to drop a rock on a moving riverboat it'll be really hard to salvage usable cargo from the bottom of the river.

Lursi
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Re: T'Skrang ships

Post by Lursi » Sun Apr 07, 2019 4:43 pm

Bonhumm wrote:
Fri Apr 05, 2019 11:58 am
Lursi wrote:
Thu Apr 04, 2019 7:18 pm
Why would anyone want a riverboat? I look at the buying price and see the Purchasing/Cargo ratio being about the same. In terms of mobility and risk of robbery, the airship is clearly in advantage.

In short, they must be a factor 10 cheaper, otherwise there is no logical reason to go for them.

On a cargo/price ratio, riverboats are much cheaper than airship, although not by a factor of 10.

An air galley with cargo of 300 cost 150 000 while a merchant riverboat with the same cargo cost 'only' 40 000, that's nearly 75% cheaper.

I would say also that there is also the question of movement. Although speed is about the same, we have to take into account that a riverboat is always able to move due to the fire engines while an airship depends on the wind. If the wind goes down the galley is not moving. Yes, I know there are airships that also use oars but that would be on smaller ship and much slower than wind/fire engine.
Yes, the river boat costs 75% less. The Airship in comparison is at speedstep 10 and the rivership at speedstep 7. This means the speed is 40% higher. Now rivers often bend and the way is easily a factor 2 longer.

The Airship can hence do triple the amount of kilometers per months with triple upfront investment.

Surely the needed crew size is larger probably the repair more difficult and hence a lot more expensive and that is an additional factor for heroes owning a ship.

So, whenever my buds capture or buy a small drakkar, they have to work hard to pay the bills to keep it flying.

For new rules however these numbers should be tweaked a little to make river transport much more economical than just flying in the pine apples.
Of all things I lost, sanity I held dearest.

Sharkforce
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Re: T'Skrang ships

Post by Sharkforce » Sun Apr 07, 2019 9:42 pm

right, so first off, if the water ship is 75% less expensive, that's 1/4 the cost, not 1/3 (meaning the airship costs 4 times as much).

apart from that, it's important to remember that for the most part, the costs of those things are not exclusively for the PCs. yes, for the needs of an adventuring party, the airship is probably better. even if the airship was slower, and could carry a tiny fraction of the weight, so long as it could carry enough for the PCs the simple fact that the airship can go where needed would make it better for them. but that doesn't make it better for the purposes of the main customers: merchants.

because first off, a *lot* of destinations a merchant is going to want to go to are not off the rivers. so the fact that an airship can go anywhere, well, that's nice, but the merchant doesn't really care. they're not going "anywhere", so that advantage does nothing for them. their destinations will be along the river, so the direction the river goes is the direction they want to go anyways, most likely making minor trades along the way. secondly, i doubt the distance they need to travel is doubled. to use a nice easy example, consider a right angle triangle with sides 3, 4, and 5 units in length. that length of 5 might be the straight line, which the riverboat cannot take, but they still only need to travel the length of the 3 and 4 unit long sides, a total distance of 7, or not even quite 50% longer. thirdly, the land along the river is going to be more settled. it is a major trade route, and likely safer. if they decide to dock somewhere, it will most likely be in a community with some sort of armed group of its own to supplement their own crew in protecting the ship, and they will most likely find some way to make money (taking on or dropping off passengers or cargo). lastly, that up-front investment is a huge deal. from the merchant's perspective, they could own 4 water ships, or one air ship. more importantly, they can start making money much much earlier with a much smaller investment. by the time they could have bought an air ship, they might have been making money for years, or even decades, and they'll be making more money because with the added earning power of their water ship they can earn more money towards buying the next one. lastly, operating costs. if the operating cost of the airship is substantially higher, then not only is that big initial investment a big hurdle, but they'll be making less money per trip.

now, obviously, for some merchants they won't have the choice. i will also add that an airship is likely much more useful from a military perspective, at least beyond the first one or two. they're better for exploration as well (unless you're exploring a river), so that's a thing.

but where a t'skrang ship is an option, it is probably the better option for most people that might be looking to buy a ship.

Lursi
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Re: T'Skrang ships

Post by Lursi » Mon Apr 08, 2019 5:49 am

I like most of your reasoning.

Just that thing with the river, distance and the triangle...

There is 1036 river kilometers on the Rhine between Constanze and Hoek van Holland and here is the distance as the crow flies:

https://www.freemaptools.com/how-far-is ... m?units=KM

So 600km vs. 1036km for a river that has been straightened to a waterbased Autobahn.

So, the meandering of a river is hard to catch in triangles.

That is a bit like calculation of elevation difference when hiking. Once you have walked in a spot where the last ice age has created many waves of about 3m amplitude in the ground and 50m wavelength... nothing shows on the map but at the end of the day you know you went up and down a lot! (240m per 1km, which will roughly triple the time you need to walk compared to a complete level track and double to some average hiking track that shows no big difference in altitude.

But again, your reasoning regarding safe harbor and upfront investment is good.
Of all things I lost, sanity I held dearest.

Sharkforce
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Re: T'Skrang ships

Post by Sharkforce » Mon Apr 08, 2019 9:15 am

the triangle is for one bend. obviously the river isn't going to be perfectly straight, but should be straight enough for that to more or less work out. and you're going to want to stop along the way at the communities that will naturally form along the river, mostly because namegivers enjoy not dying of thirst and not watching their crops wither and die because they don't get irrigated (man, what a bunch of whiners! :P )

so any large deviation the river makes, well, you probably wanted to go that way on an airship too, at least for trading purposes :P

i will say that airships are *definitely* more useful for low-volume high-value goods, and goods that spoil quickly. so, for example, if you've got the freshest of fresh fish from the aras sea loaded into pots of grumbah that you sell in a super-premium fish market in the most well-to-do parts of throal, an airship may be your best bet... because let's face it, slightly less fresh fish tastes like garbage compared to fish fresh out of the water, so it doesn't much matter if the trip is cheaper by riverboat... you either get it there ASAP or you may as well not even ship it. no noble is going to buy almost-fresh fish :P

the same may be true of goods like alchemical supplies, enchanting materials, and enchanted goods... certain kinds of passengers too (potentially: adventurers, diplomats, important messengers, and others). that said, it does seem odd (i dug out my redbrick stuff) that a galleon would be the primary merchant vessel in that case. for my money, out of that book i'd take a small drakkar every time; 9,000 lbs/840 gallons (i did the math, pretty sure it's 28 gallons rather than 36 per duari EDIT: my mistake, that's 28 cubic feet, give or take... which google says is around 7.5 gallons per cubic foot, so 6,200ish gallons) of cargo space is plenty for that sort of thing

(though speculatively, some portion of that cargo space probably has to go to provisions... as i said above, those namegivers just won't shut up about wanting enough food and water to survive. i recommend having a high-circle nethermancer turn them all into undead to save on supplies :P )

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