Naomi Novak's 'Temeraire'

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locarno24
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Naomi Novak's 'Temeraire'

Postby locarno24 » Thu Feb 20, 2020 11:19 am

Okay...so. Wordy post incoming. Apologies.
Part brain dump, part request for assistance.
Context, in case you don't recognise the thread title.

Naomi Novak is a really good author of fantasy fiction. I first came across her work via my wife, and the books Uprooted and Spinning Silver, which are basically interesting takes on classic fairy* tales.
They were good but at the same time didn't grab me as much as they might have done.
A couple of days ago, I came across a previous novel she wrote, called Temeraire (or possibly His Majesty's Dragon, if you're in the States), and I'm pretty much hooked, going through book 1 inside twenty-four hours. Firstly it's a series, secondly it's really well written and thirdly it combines some of my favourite things in one package.

The short version is that it's a Napoleonic War series, but...with Dragons, dogfighting above the rest of the war.

Not as in "ooh look, sparkly magic", but as natural, vaguely pterdaon-esque animals, which - though terrifying - are an ultimately mundane thing, and have been for much of recorded history (albeit selective breeding has produced ever larger and more dangerous beasts). They're rare, and expensive - because even a medium-weight dragon is a bloody 10-tonne macro-predator that probably eats the better part of a cow a day, and taming a dragon is a hard thing to do. Many of the breeds are just as smart as their handlers and the only reliable way to tame them is the fact that most breeds 'imprint' on whoever's at the dragonet’s hatching, much like chicks.

In the setting, there is a Royal Aviator's Corps, alongside the historical Royal Navy, British Army, and the Militia, although they're a bit of a breed apart from society proper, because they only have a limited ability to leave their bonded dragons behind, and it's not like a dragon can be left in the middle of Hyde Park or Portsmouth whilst the officers attend fashionable soirees. Plus - because some breeds will only accept a female handler - they're a mixed service, which isn't precisely 'secret' but isn't advertised either because, obviously, women on the front line was a pretty taboo concept in the early 1800s.

The world, aside from the presence of Dragons, is - by and large - as you expect given Napoleonic history; Nelson and Trafalgar still occurs, for example, albeit with 'top cover' from dragons at the battle itself, and with Villeneuve's escape from Toulon results from a French air attack pushing the British back rather than spotting Nelson's trap, and Nelson’s injuries coming from a strafing run on the Victory from a French Flamme-de-Gloire dragon rather than a marksman.

Dragons are scary but not invincible - major fortifications have 'shrapnel guns', often firing poisoned shot, which makes a suitable 1800's analogue to a flak battery, but the larger dragon's ability to fly above their range and drop black-powder grenades - or in some cases use their assorted flame or acid breath - is still terrifyingly lethal to a wooden warship, no matter how many marksmen with rifles it may cram in the mast-tops (though it’s obviously comparatively less threatening to a well-designed stone fortification).

They're a terrifying and devastating weapon, but not completely world-changing because there aren't that many of them (the RN's channel squadron prior to Trafalgar is covered by about a dozen or so, barely a quarter of which are heavyweights), and because they're still, ultimately, a living creature; you hit one with a heavy-calibre gun and they will die (one forced down by a wing injury into the elevation of a frigate’s broadside undergoes what can best be described as ‘spontaneous existence failure’), and replacements can take years to hatch. They're fast by any standard of 'normal' cavalry, but like any living thing, several hours is the limit of their serious endurance (aside from the smaller 'scout' breeds) and food is not something that can be sourced for them without a bit of planning (or really, really making the local farmers angry!); these are not jet fighters and covering a hundred miles or so in a day's flying is quite a realistic limit for a big breed.

Equally, to underlie the scale of these things, the really big dragons and their captains - the heavyweights - are not solitary fighters. Heavyweights like Temeraire himself run up to 50 tonnes when full-grown, and in addition to their captain on their harness (they wear a webbing harness around their shoulders and chest you can lock onto with carabineers, rather than the slightly unrealistic 'just hang on' depicted in many fantasy settings!) they have navy-style signal officers with flags, bombardiers, and a team of marksmen with carbines to watch their flanks.



Basically, a C.S Forester**/Jane Austen*** period setting, plus massive Dragons doing battle-of-britain-esque aerial combat over the top of the major Napoleonic battles.





Anyway. I really, really love the idea of this setting, and my first thought was 'is there an RPG version of this?'
Since the answer appears to be 'No', my next thought is 'how do I make an RPG version of this?'
Yes, fantasy stuff seems more like I should be looking at Legend, but Dogfighting and aerial combat feels like it should be more suited to Traveller rules.

....And that's where I start hitting problems I want to work my way through. Advice is welcomed, and basically the reason for this thread.

Main thoughts:
1. The PCs should probably be Captains. Having everyone be the various crew members of a single heavyweight is cool, but unlike, say, a small armed trading starship where you have the pilot, gunner, engineer, and so on, you’ve got the Dragon who flies, attacks and so on, the Captain who directs the dragon, and….some supporting extras. A volley of carbine fire is nice but hardly feels like a fair character role compared to being the one flying the 40-tonne fire-breathing dragon.
2. I don’t think having the dragon as a PC works. Yes, they’re just as smart as the humans, but having the dragon be a PC is even more imbalancing than having the captain and crew be PCs; not least because the dragon is by default completely excluded from any social scene 'indoors'.
3. Different dragon roles – lightweights, middleweights and heavyweights do different jobs – the lights are scouts and harrassers, the heavys are big bombers and melee combatants but don’t usually have the ability to breath poison/fire/whatever unlike the middleweights, who are jack of all trades with the rare-even-amongst-dragons offensive breath. So I don’t mind having different PCs have different weight dragons as long as they all feel like they’re necessary during a mission. Each PC being a pairing of Captain-and-their-dragon feels ‘right’.
4. Having any marksmen work in the same way as missile or squadron volleys – roll once with a DM for the number of attackers, roll damage once and multiply by effect – seems a sensible way to allow heavyweights to have their marksmen crew without vastly increasing the number of dice the PCs playing their captains have to roll per round. Since they won’t be getting a damage increase from effect, they should be very limited in what they can do to a dragon, but they should be able to inflict the odd point of damage, which means a dragon’s armour is limited to something which can be credibly, if not reliably, hurt by an antique rifle (3D-3). Basically, the non-captain crew are NPCs that don't need much attention paying to them; they have a name and (maybe) are namechecked as being 'good' or 'bad', potentially generating a DM to appropriate checks.
5. Careers/character creation is probably the easy bit to work through – obviously character creation would need fettling as you don’t want people to fail to qualify or to be thrown out by mishaps (injury’s fine!). Broadly people fall into one of a few categories that I can see having different skill tables:

a. Aviator Corps– people basically raised to be part of the dragon corps from barely-teenage, much like RN midshipmen. Obviously the big advantage here is that all the basic dragon-handling skills will be on their table, so having it as your first career instead of transferring into it later means you get Aviator Corps basic training and hence rank 0 in everything, especially knowledge about different breeds and their capabilities. (Most other European nations do much the same thing)
b. Transferred Officers – someone who’s served in the Navy, or Army, who happened to be present when a dragon hatched (Temeraire’s captain takes the ship transporting his egg as a prize) or when a dragon lost its previous captain and who’s had the dragon bond with them instead. Again, short on basic skills like dragon-handling as they’ll have had the ‘emergency crash course’ but bringing better at leadership and tactics (being older officers) and probably significantly better with pistol and blade for similar reasons.
c. Nobility – prior to the corps being a thing, some noble families (at ruinous expense) maintained dragons on behalf of the crown, and some still do via funding provided. As a quid pro quo, second and third sons are often palmed off with the expectation that a mount would be found for them. Higher SOC, better abilities as a diplomat and (in theory) leader, at a cost of some of the aviator’s skills you might be expected to learn as a junior ‘midwingman’ and that might get missed when you skip straight into the big saddle.
d. Émigré – Napoleonic Europe is full of stateless individuals; exiled Bourbon aristocrats, Prussians who fled Napoleon, Finns who fled Russia, and Republicans who fought for France against their original nations. Some of them are veterans with their own dragons. The reverse of Nobility - much lower SOC (after all, you’re a stateless foreigner whatever title you might have once had), but probably a veteran captain.


So far, so good. Then we hit the mechanical bits, and I come unstuck at the single most important bit: how the heck do I model someone riding an intelligent mount in an aerial fight in Traveller?

6. The riding rules….. are basically non-existent as they stand. “Make an Animals (Handling) check to control the mount for a number of minutes equal to the effect” – what if you fail? What if it’s wounded? It’s a very simplistic rule for a reason – Traveller campaigns as a general rule are not big on ‘cavalry charge’ scenes – but it’s obviously an issue here.
7. Dogfighting rules, with everything working by relative arcs of fire, are fine enough, once you know what’s replacing pilot checks. Vehicle combat doesn’t include reactions, though, and feels like it should. With most of the fighting that matters being melee rather than shooting, the interplay of stuff analogous to dodge and parry is important to keep things interesting. In fact controlling reactions feels like it should be very important because a big part of mounted combat is persuading the mount NOT to react when its instinct is to break off and evade rather than press home an attack.
8. Treating the Dragon as an Animal means merely having a hits score removes the possibility of an END or DEX wound (as if they were a PC) or a critical hit to the Wing (as if they were a biotech vehicle), and not having stats other than skills feels like it removes a lot of room for ‘personalisation’ of a specific breed.
9. Having them have a conventional END or DEX feels like they would have to have stats at ridiculous levels to tolerate the amount of damage they should logically be able to sustain, or else give them a ridiculously high armour (which creates a situation where they’re “fine….fine….fine….dead”, as is often the case with a PC in battle dress, rather than suffering increasing minor wounds – once you manage enough damage to bypass the armour, the actual extra damage require to cripple a human is trivial), whilst a wounded dragon should have a fighting chance of extricating itself and its rider(s) from a fight – indeed intercepting and recovering a wounded dragon back home is the first action Temeraire sees in the series.
10. Vehicles….feel like there’s too much stuff in the default rules you’d be ignoring, pretty much starting from the default speed/range limits and going on from there. Yes, you could start by considering them a biotech ornithopter, but you’d want to rework the critical table (yes, the system already rerolls irrelevant criticals but you’d be rerolling a lot), and the range values are very high, and…ultimately, it doesn’t feel much like a living thing. Plus, melee isn’t really a thing vehicle rules are designed to support. Yes, there’s the biotech Scything Claw, but it’s Devastating, which means you ignore effect, making it a completely finesse-free weapon, and ultimately, with vehicles only taking criticals on an effect 6+ hit, rather than every 10% damage like a starship, they feel like you’d go most of a fight just attacking a ‘generic’ pool of hit points (similar to my problem with the Animal model). On the other hand, it’s the model where you most obviously have a mechanism for a crew member being hit and killed, and you can borrow the ‘boarding action’ rules for bigger dragons dropping armed crew onto an enemy (with the aforementioned bond, if you can put a gun to the captain’s head, the dragon will generally surrender)
11. Plus, since as noted they may be at least as smart as the PCs, they should have skills (or skill modifiers) for their riders – the skill of the PC riding a dragon should matter, but at the same time it’s an issue of handling and leadership, they’re not the one sat behind a gunsight, and the melee skill and STR which should vary from one dragon to another (and certainly from one breed to another) should also matter, arguably more.






Sorry. Bit of a brain dump.
Essentially, It's an amazing story and setting, and I can see the edges of a campaign I really, really want to run, but I'd like to figure out how to use mechanical detail to support it (even if I need to write some of it myself).





* A warning to anyone planning to read these to your children. I mean fairy tales as in 'Titania, Orion and the Wild Hunt'. Traditional British ‘Fair Folk’ are not twee little Tinkerbelle wanabees and are definitely not 'nice'.
** Laurence, Temeraire’s captain, is a Royal Navy officer when you first meet him (hence the name he gives the dragon) and there’s a very ‘Hornblower’ feel to much of the series.
*** It’s not all dogfighting. There’s a fair amount of just period-appropriate social interaction. There’s even a ‘Pride and Prejudice’ pastiche short story ‘Dragons and Decorum’.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
steelbrok
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Re: Naomi Novak's 'Temeraire'

Postby steelbrok » Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:27 pm

Also a fan of the series. I kicked around a few ideas for a Savage Worlds conversion.
I had the idea of starting the dragon as being big enough to carry its captain and then buying more sizes as the character (not the dragon) advanced. Alternatively gain fire breath or increased speed as an advance.

gives a player the chance to customise their dragon as it "grows"
Condottiere
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Re: Naomi Novak's 'Temeraire'

Postby Condottiere » Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:57 pm

It's hard to comment without having read any of the books.

My first thought was, what would Anne McCaffrey think?
locarno24
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Re: Naomi Novak's 'Temeraire'

Postby locarno24 » Thu Feb 20, 2020 2:33 pm

steelbrok wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:27 pm
Also a fan of the series. I kicked around a few ideas for a Savage Worlds conversion.
I had the idea of starting the dragon as being big enough to carry its captain and then buying more sizes as the character (not the dragon) advanced. Alternatively gain fire breath or increased speed as an advance.

gives a player the chance to customise their dragon as it "grows"
I suspect you'd 'know' what breed your particular dragon is from when it hatches, but generating your dragon at that point should be a key element in terms of size, breath, etc. However, Traveller's not so big on character stat development post-start-of-the-campaign, and it's very rare that dragons would be sent on a mission before they're essentially full-grown, so it's not like you'd have a lightweight become a heavyweight by increments during a campaign.

In traveller career terms, the Corps career would have specialisations of Light, Medium, and Heavy, with different specialist skill tables, but there is a difference between a full-grown medium and an immature heavy (the latter can rarely breath fire, for example).
I'd suggest that once a character receives their dragon during character creation, they generate it at the same time as their own character. I don't mind giving trivial bonuses for an older dragon, but I don't want the person who rolls their dragon during term 1 to have a massively superior mount to one who doesn't roll it till term 4, for example.

Essentially, something happens alongside the PC's normal character development which eventually says "here, have a dragon", providing a 'clock' on the number of terms of anything other than serving in the corps (kind of akin to aging - it is inevitable because if it didn't happen to the character you wouldn't be playing them); once you get your dragon you automatically transfer to the Corps at Rank whatever-a-captain's-rank-is, like Laurence (which probably ought to have Flyer/0 at minimum as a rank bonus attached to it or some characters will be epically screwed!), or get promoted to that rank if you were already a lieutenant or midwingman IN the corps, like Hollins.



Condottiere wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:57 pm
It's hard to comment without having read any of the books.
Not really - my main issue isn't so much capturing the feel of the books so much as a mechanical quandary "If you had a PC, riding a dragon that's almost as smart as them into aerial combat, how - mechanically - do you think it's best to cover this within the traveller rules?"

Character generation is easy to do, and frankly kind of irrelevant, if the single most important bit of such a campaign - the dragon-borne fights - don't feel easy to do but also feel 'right' (like its a character with a supporting character, not a person in an inert vehicle) and engaging enough to care about both dragon and rider.

I can see three broad concepts for modelling it - [1] Biotech Ornithopter (critical hits, etc), [2] Animal with the Flyer (x) trait (hits) , and [3] essentially a massive non-human PC (STR/DEX/etc) - or some hybrid of two or more of these.

Each of them has issues, and I'm not sure how best to attack the concept.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
steelbrok
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Re: Naomi Novak's 'Temeraire'

Postby steelbrok » Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:25 pm

Wasn't there a 1st Ed supplement on Biotech vehicles?
Can't remember much detail but it might have some useful ideas in it
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Re: Naomi Novak's 'Temeraire'

Postby Condottiere » Thu Feb 20, 2020 10:07 pm

I vaguely recall Robert Jordan in the Wheel of Time had the pseudo Chinese use short guys as airborned cavalry dismounts; have to get around reading the last few books.
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Re: Naomi Novak's 'Temeraire'

Postby locarno24 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 8:10 am

steelbrok wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 7:25 pm
Wasn't there a 1st Ed supplement on Biotech vehicles?
Can't remember much detail but it might have some useful ideas in it
Yes - I mentioned it above. The 2nd edition Vehicle Handbook has a Biotech chapter with most of the important elements from the 1st edition supplement in it.
Biotech Vehicles - or vehicles in general - have the advantage that the dogfighting rules are built around them, and the critical effects/severity approach already exists.
I think I'd feel like you'd want to rewrite or add a whole hunk of other stuff, though; the vehicle combat rules don't deal with melee as a concept terribly well, and only inflicting criticals on an effect 6+ hit presumes a rigid chassis that can suffer non-essential gunshot damage that I don't think really works for a vertebrate creature which suffers pain, blood loss and generally consists of at least 3/4 'important bits' rather than 'structure'.

The starship combat approach - criticals on effect 6+ OR on 10% of damage taken - might work (I never understood why that wasn't a thing for conventional vehicles anyway).Obviously the critical table as it stands doesn't really follow logically, and yes it has 'reroll until you have a result which applies' but you'll spend a long time trying to get a useful result.

A vehicle can have skills associated with it (via a computer with expert programmes and intellect) but not really stats. I have to say I think the 'your stats are your hit points' is one of the most elegant bits of Mongoose's Traveller rules, and covers injury in a nice, simplistic way.


Speed and range would need looking at.
Speed-based DMs are a big part of the vehicle rules, but dragons only really clock about 35-50 mph, so splitting up the lower speed bands might be a good idea. Only having two speed bands to describe all the potential speeds feels like you're not leaving yourself much mechanical wiggle room.

Animals have the Size trait, which gives guidance to damage with natural weapons and a positive DM to hit them - though, in a fit of questionable consistency, the DM to hit an elephant (+4) is significantly more than to hit an all-up 200 dTon starship (+2). That's not inherently a problem if there are no starships in the campaign, of course.

A heavyweight dragon would be probably Large (+6), middleweights Large (+5) and lightweights Large (+4), based on the size examples. Which gives them recommended melee damage of 7D, 6D and 5D respectively.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
locarno24
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Re: Naomi Novak's 'Temeraire'

Postby locarno24 » Fri Feb 21, 2020 10:57 am

Continued brain dump - careers.

Tried to slim things down a bit. Yes, you could flesh out a million careers like the core book does, but since the idea is a campaign where the players are all officers of the Royal Aviator's Corps, there are only so many walks of life where you could credibly find yourself either capturing, inheriting or earning a dragon...


Boiled it down to three:

Corps - a member of the Royal Aviator's Corps. Everyone ends up here, but obviously starting here has its advantages
focus on dragon-handling skills
Specialisation:
Lightweight - often non-combat couriers and scouts. Features Recon & Diplomat, and possibly survival, as they're small enough that hunting to live off the land is practical.
Mediumweight - formation combatants - tactics as well as recon, some combat skills
Heavyweight - formation commanders and centrepieces - leadership as well as tactics, comparatively reduced focus on Animals/Survival as you'd have crews and infrastructure rather than the captain doing everything; heavyweights can't really live off the land and don't get sent out solo.

Ranks
0 - Midwingman
1 - Lieutenant
2 - Captain - (any PC will be this rank at minimum in a campaign, and when receiving a dragon will transfer into the corps at this rank )
3 - Senior Captain
4 - Commodore
5 - Admiral


Transferred Officer- an army, navy, or militia officer who took an egg as a prize or was present when a dragon lost its previous handler.
focus on military skills
Specialisation
Army - survival, gun combat, leadership
Navy - navigation and athletics
Militia - mix of combat and social skills

Nobility - someone who's inherited their egg - either a really rich noble who supports a dragon directly, or a landed gentry who's lands a dragon covert is on or borders, or an Émigré who's turned up with a dragon of their own from 'abroad'.
Focus on social and leadership skills
Specialisation
Aristocracy - similar to traveller nobility - diplomat/persuade/leadership, and probably +SOC
Gentry - slightly less influential, has some access to Animals skill instead of some social skills; there by historical association with dragons rather than sheer affluance.
Émigré - Relatively few social skills and probably -SOC; a similar skill set to corps pilots - more access to survival and broker as has to look after their own mount, probably shy on tactics and navigation as not in their home country and service.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
locarno24
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Re: Naomi Novak's 'Temeraire'

Postby locarno24 » Mon Feb 24, 2020 9:41 am

Suggesting - at least initially - using the Animals rules, but with some sort of critical effect as per vehicles.

So, a middleweight dragon (20-30 tonnes, so ~ Carnosaur sized) would be a Size (+5) beast.
For the sake of some randomness, give it 90+6D hits (95-130), and a 6D melee attack.


If you've got a DM+5 to attack it, attacks of effect 6+ shouldn't actually be that rare, so sticking with Effect 6+ = critical should be fine; it should come up often enough to be interesting without needing an equivalent of the 'sustained damage' rule for starships.

Armour - it should have some, but a black powder weapon should still be able to wound it, even if not much. The antique pistol is 2D-3, the duck's-foot pistol and antique rifle 3d-3, and the coach pistol 4d-3.

An antique pistol requiring a decent effect to wound it, but a musket or carbine shot wounding pretty reliably feels about right. Armour (7) seems appropriate as a starting point, therefore.

For the sake of argument (and having multiple speed bands available) I'm going to slightly up their speed from the novels, and give a middleweight Flyer (2), or about 30 miles per hour.

10m seems sensible for ground move, and it would definitely have the 'killer' archetype.

That gives it a net statline of

ANIMAL
Middlewight Dragon (Generic Breed)

HITS
90+6D

SPEED
10m

SKILLS
Melee 1, Survival 1

ATTACKS
Claws (6D)

TRAITS
Flyer (2), Armour (7), Critical Wounds

BEHAVIOUR
Killer, Hunter



Critical Wounds Trait:
If an attack roll against this animal has an Effect of 6 or higher and it causes damage (rather than just bouncing off armour), a critical wound has been scored – some vital
element of the animal's physiology has been injured by the attack, reducing it's effectiveness.

Critical Wounds Location
1 - Head (stunned, and impacts breath attacks?)
2 - Rider/Crew (Equivalent of occupants hit)
3 - Wings (large impact to speed, minor impact to agility)
4 - Claws (melee attack effectiveness reduced)
5 - Torso ('bleeding' - persistent damage?)
6 - Tail (large impact to agility)


Suggestions for effects welcomed!
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
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Re: Naomi Novak's 'Temeraire'

Postby NOLATrav » Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:10 pm

Nice work, locarno! I’m not familiar with the source material but it feels like you’re on the right track.

If the Tail is subject to a Crit, perhaps it should be available as an attack as well - for instance, Sweep - successful Athletics (Dex) check or anyone in the swath takes 1D and is knocked prone.

I don’t know, just spitballing. Just for fun:

Taking another cue from the Vehicle Rules, at 25 tons an average Carnosaur takes up 100 spaces. Assuming a Dragon is roughly 2 x Length to 1 x Height, that’s roughly (cube root of 100 = 4.64) 9.28 spaces long by 4.64 spaces high. At 1.5 meters per space your Middleweight wyrm is 13.92 meters long nose-to-tail and 6.96 meters tall when standing ‘upright.’ I suppose the wing span would be roughly equivalent to the length, so about 14 meters.

Again, don’t know the source material but that seems a little too big. But maybe not if you figure the thing is flying around with a fully loaded human on its back. If you figure the tail is about a third of dragon’s length, 3 spaces in this case, that tail sweep is 4.5 meters long or 3 squares on a standard battle map. That’s pretty cool actually... and that wing span could churn up tons of dust and pebbles...

Consider this yoinked! Cheers! :lol:
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Re: Naomi Novak's 'Temeraire'

Postby locarno24 » Tue Feb 25, 2020 8:16 am

NOLATrav wrote:
Mon Feb 24, 2020 4:10 pm
Nice work, locarno! I’m not familiar with the source material but it feels like you’re on the right track.
Thanks!
If the Tail is subject to a Crit, perhaps it should be available as an attack as well - for instance, Sweep - successful Athletics (Dex) check or anyone in the swath takes 1D and is knocked prone.
That's a nice idea, and helps make the tail something distinct from the wings. The Dragons don't ever really fight on the ground, and I've not come across any breeds in the series with 'sharp' tails stegosaurus-fashion, but if this isn't an 'official' version then there's no reason I couldn't add the possibility of certain breeds having spikes or even stingers, wyvern-fashion. I'd mentally rather show them as wyverns (four-limbed creatures, with the front limbs hybrids of wings and arms, like Smaug in the films) than classic dragons (six-limbed) anyway, as it makes them look recognisably more pteradon-like. In that situation, making the tail often be an additional weapon makes a degree of evolutionary sense.


I don’t know, just spitballing. Just for fun:

Taking another cue from the Vehicle Rules, at 25 tons an average Carnosaur takes up 100 spaces. Assuming a Dragon is roughly 2 x Length to 1 x Height, that’s roughly (cube root of 100 = 4.64) 9.28 spaces long by 4.64 spaces high. At 1.5 meters per space your Middleweight wyrm is 13.92 meters long nose-to-tail and 6.96 meters tall when standing ‘upright.’ I suppose the wing span would be roughly equivalent to the length, so about 14 meters.

Again, don’t know the source material but that seems a little too big.
Yeah.... Not really a standard battle map beastie! :mrgreen: I offer an example of a full-grown heavyweight:
Image


if you figure the thing is flying around with a fully loaded human on its back.
I think Temeraire (a celestial, as shown above) has a crew of somewhere between six and ten when harnessed up.
Consider this yoinked! Cheers! :lol:
You're welcome!




Consider Critical Wounds table amended:

Critical Wounds Location
1 - Head (stunned, and impacts breath attacks?)
2 - Rider/Crew (Equivalent of occupants hit)
3 - Wings (large impact to speed, minor impact to agility)
4 - Claws (melee attack effectiveness reduced)
5 - Torso ('bleeding' - persistent damage?)
6 - Tail (large impact to agility, tail attack effectiveness reduced)


I had a rough idea of a sort of 'service skills' table for developing a dragon's abilities - it wouldn't pick up abilities over terms (it's either full grown or not) but giving several rolls to let it develop a unique balance of stats seemed sensible.

I figured you could also use that to create a 'draft' so that you don't know what breed you're getting. The weight-classes are roughly split by proportion, then some sub-types added.

Light-Weight (Courier)
1-2 - Speed, 3-4 - Endurance, 5-6 Intelligence

Light-Weight (Reconnaissance)
1 - Speed, 2 - Agility, 3 - Endurance, 4 - Melee, 5 - Intelligence, 6 - Offensive Ability

Medium-Weight (Forward Scout)
1 - Speed, 2 - Agility, 3 - Endurance, 4-5 - Melee, 6 - Armour

Medium-Weight (Aerial Strike)
1 - Endurance, 2 - Armour, 3 - Intelligence, 4-6 - Offensive Ability

Medium-Weight (Formation Combatant)
1 - Speed, 2-3 - Melee, 4 - Armour, 5 - Agility, 6 - Offensive Ability

Heavy-Weight (Heavy Combatant)
1-2 - Melee, 3-4 - Armour, 5 - Agility, 6 - Intelligence



Benefits:
Speed - increases the animal's maximum speed - presumably increases top speed by 1 speed band?
Endurance - adds both maximum hits and time-in-air endurance (I.e. range).
Agility - Gives bonuses to the rider's flyer checks, gives passive effect similar to evade software
Melee - speaks for itself. Increases damage for claws - or, taking NOLATrav's suggestion, adds a tail attack.
Intelligence - Increases the animal's intelligence, specifically giving it extra skill ranks or bonuses to rider's non-flyer, non-melee skill checks.
Offensive Ability - adds breath attack (fire or venom spit) - or, taking NOLATrav's suggestion, adds a tail attack.
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
locarno24
Cosmic Mongoose
Posts: 3159
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Location: Wildly Variable

Re: Naomi Novak's 'Temeraire'

Postby locarno24 » Wed Feb 26, 2020 8:48 am

Attempts at career tables:

Nobility

Service Skills
1- Carouse
2- Diplomat
3- Gambler
4- Investigate
5- Leadership
6- Persuade

Aristocracy
1- Advocate
2- Carouse
3- Deception
4- Diplomat
5- Leadership
6 -Persuade

Rank 1 - SOC+1
Rank 3 - Diplomat 1

Gentry
1- Animals
2- Carouse
3- Diplomat
4- Gambler
5 -Investigate
6- Persuade

Rank 1 - Admin 1
Rank 3 - Persuade 1

Émigré
1- Animals
2- Athletics
3- Flyer
4- Persuade
5- Recon
6- Survival

Rank 1 - SOC-1, Jack-Of-All-Trades 1
Rank 3 - Flyer 1


Transferred Officer

Service Skills
1- Gun Combat
2- Leadership
3- Melee
4- Navigation
5- Recon
6- Tactics

Army
1- Animals
2- Gun Combat
3- Leadership
4- Melee
5- Recon
6- Survival

Rank 1 - Leadership 1
Rank 3 - Tactics 1

Navy
1- Athletics
2- Gun Combat
3- Leadership
4- Melee
5- Navigation
6- Seafaring

Rank 1 - Signals (Navy) 1
Rank 3 - Navigation 1

Militia
1- Carouse
2- Diplomat
3- Gun Combat
4- Leadership
5- Melee
6- Tactics

Rank 1 - Persuade 1
Rank 3 - Leadership 1


Corps

Service Skills
1- Animals
2- Athletics
3- Flyer
4- Navigation
5- Signals
6- Tactics

Light-Weight
1- Animals
2- Diplomat
3- Flyer
4- Navigation
5- Recon
6- Survival

Medium-Weight
1- Animals
2- Athletics
3- Flyer
4- Melee
5- Recon
6- Tactics

Heavy-Weight
1- Athletics
2- Flyer
3- Leadership
4- Melee
5- Signals
6- Tactics

Rank 1 - Midwingman - Animals 1
Rank 2 - Lieutenant - Athletics 1
Rank 3 - Captain - Flyer 1, Dragon
Rank 4 - Senior Captain - Leadership 1
Rank 5 - Commodore - Tactics 1
Rank 6 - Admiral - Diplomat 1


Signals Skill
The signals skill covers the use of signal flags to convey messages

Specialities
- Navy - The Royal Navy uses signal flag codes strung from mastheads to co-ordinate warships.
- Corps - Dragons cannot afford to trail extended flag strings whilst airborne so uses far more differing flags in combinations to send messages with fewer individual flags required. One key weakness is the inability to spell out non-standard messages, unlike Naval signals, allowing less flexibility when trying to communicate names.
- Enemy - Whilst recognition signals and pre-arranged messages are changed on a regular basis, familiarity with enemy signals can often pick out key details not sent in code, such as longhand names or messages of distress.

Understanding a simple, clearly visible signal: Average (8+) Signals check (1D seconds, EDU)
Communicating a non-standard message intelligibly using shorthand codes: Average (8+) Signals check (1D minutes, INT)


I'm not sure about the promotion/event/survival chain of events.
1) We don't want to have people ejected from careers - everyone ends up as a captain.
2) Everyone must ultimately end up receiving a dragon after a reasonable number of terms

I figure rather than a survival roll, just roll an event, but have mishaps and events all bundled onto the same table, and have a second roll for the you-get-your-dragon-now roll. I'm thinking a D3 rolling under the number of terms (note - explicitely 'under' not 'under or equal to', so it'll happen at the end of either your second, third or fourth term). Anyone gaining a Dragon Benefit from this roll immediately transfers to Rank 3 Corps at their next term (a Rank 3 Corps character receives their Dragon as a rank benefit).




Thoughts? Suggestions?
Understand that I'm not advocating violence.
I'm just saying that it's highly effective and I strongly recommend using it.
Jame Rowe
Greater Spotted Mongoose
Posts: 1225
Joined: Tue Oct 30, 2007 7:52 pm
Location: Boston Area, MA/USA
Contact:

Re: Naomi Novak's 'Temeraire'

Postby Jame Rowe » Sun Mar 15, 2020 10:59 pm

steelbrok wrote:
Thu Feb 20, 2020 1:27 pm
Also a fan of the series. I kicked around a few ideas for a Savage Worlds conversion.
I had the idea of starting the dragon as being big enough to carry its captain and then buying more sizes as the character (not the dragon) advanced. Alternatively gain fire breath or increased speed as an advance.

gives a player the chance to customise their dragon as it "grows"
I'm all for game conversions of all book series.

(As an aside I'm not really a fan of the books, mostly it's the "we're the Napoleonic Wars but with dragons!!!" that I find off-putting. Do it anyways, for those who are fans!)
"Are you in charge here?"
"No, but I'm full of ideas!"

Baron Damascaa Kiikiigulii/Sakhag/Antares. Deal with it - come visit!

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