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DoomHat
2008-12-03, 05:51 AM
My fellow 4E enthusiasts, I present to you a cautionary hypothetical.

Team Generic, a four character party, has just reached level 10 and realized that if they split the cost between them, they could have their very own Greatship for less then a magic 8th level magic item a piece.
It is huge and glorious. Forty feet wide and a hundred feet long, this seaborne titian requires the services of no less the 20 NPC lackeys to operate at full effectiveness. Little do they know however, it is apparently crafted entirely from papier-m‚chť.
Wasting no time, Team Generic sets out for their first adventure on the high seas. It isnít long before, Le Gasp! A random encounter with a Fen Hydra on the port side! Not to worry, itís only a 12th level solo monster, with a little time and gumption, itíll be but a memory.
Ahh! But whatís that sneaking up on the starboard side? Itís a team on goblins on a rowboat (an exotic and mysterious craft for which no information can be found) being pulled along by a par of riding sharks!
But this is merely a level 3 encounter group, four Cutters, four Warriors, and two Sharpshooters. What could they possibly hope to achieve?
While Team Generic is distracted with the Hydra and its four reach attacks a round, the Gobs set to work.
The Gob Cutters are first level minions. They have an attack of-
+5 Vs. Ac; 4 damage
The Gob Warriors are first leverl Skirmishers, their ranged attack is-
+6 Vs. Ac; 1d6+2 damage
The Gob Sharpshooters are second level Artillery. Their bolts do-
+9 Vs. Ac; 1d6+4

The Greatship is Gargantuan war vessel capable of carrying 200 medium creatures along with 500 TONS of cargoÖ.
Ö It has an Ac of 4.
In the name of sportsmanship, let us say that over the course of 10 rounds (one minute) each Gob with roll two automatic misses on their attack rolls. Given that-
The Cutters will do 112 damage
The Warriors will do an average of 160 damage
The Sharpshooters with do an average of 128
For a total of 400 points of damage, which is handy, because thatís the EXACT number of hit points a Greatship HAS!

Over the course of exactly a minute, ten Small creatures armed only with rusty knives and pointed sticks can completely dismantle a Gargantuan FLOATING FORTRESS.

Thatís not the half of it. No vehicle has a ref defense higher then 5. Any level 3 wizard with Icy Rays can send an Airship spiraling out of control so long as he doesnít fumble. You throw slow effects into the equation and the mind boggles.

What the hell WotC? WHAT. THE. HELL?!

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-12-03, 05:59 AM
Not to support anything about 4.0, but I noticed some issues.
Ahh! But whatís that sneaking up on the starboard side? Itís a team on goblins on a rowboat (an exotic and mysterious craft for which no information can be found) being pulled along by a par of riding sharks!
But this is merely a level 3 encounter group, four Cutters, four Warriors, and two Sharpshooters. What could they possibly hope to achieve?
While Team Generic is distracted with the Hydra and its four reach attacks a round, the Gobs set to work.
The Gob Cutters are first level minions. They have an attack of-
+5 Vs. Ac; 4 damage
The Gob Warriors are first leverl Skirmishers, their ranged attack is-
+6 Vs. Ac; 1d6+2 damage
The Gob Sharpshooters are second level Artillery. Their bolts do-
+9 Vs. Ac; 1d6+4Where are the 20 NPCs right now? I'm sure 20 anything can take out a level 3 encounter.
Over the course of exactly a minute, ten Small creatures armed only with rusty knives and pointed sticks can completely dismantle a Gargantuan FLOATING FORTRESS.If you assume they're breaking through the side, yes it's a bit odd. However, assume you have a stick. Now assume you're trying to break a ship. It has a wooden hull(I assume). Your initial action is going to be holing it below the water line. Anything afterward is just icing, it will die unless someone interferes.
Thatís not the half of it. No vehicle has a ref defense higher then 5. Any level 3 wizard with Icy Rays can send an Airship spiraling out of control so long as he doesnít fumble. You throw slow effects into the equation and the mind boggles.Rapidly cool the metal in your car's engine. See how well your hydraulics work afterward.

DoomHat
2008-12-03, 06:15 AM
It's my understanding that non-combat oriented NPCs tend to be non entities during combat. Also, they could doubtlessly count as minions. You think Team Generic is going to risk even ONE of them being eaten by the Hydra?
Besides all that, the point is that you are not likely to get any trouble from gobs that near paragon level, but you will get paragon level monsters trying to kill you and your ship, and if it's even POSSIBLE for gobs to sink you then how tough do you think it would be for a full encounter at your own scale?

Massive vehicles are paragon and higher scale items, nothing of a level lower then 8 should have any significant impact on them. But I have shown that they do. The do hardcore. And that is crazy.

BobVosh
2008-12-03, 06:40 AM
Is there no system of siege damage or dr on the ship? Hardness? Because I'm impressed it is possible to use arrows to shoot a ship to death.

DoomHat
2008-12-03, 06:43 AM
Not a single word on the subject. I tried looking for rules for damaging objects in the PHB and the DMG, but to no avail.

Kurald Galain
2008-12-03, 07:05 AM
Is there no system of siege damage or dr on the ship? Hardness? Because I'm impressed it is possible to use arrows to shoot a ship to death.

Hey, it works in Warcraft :smallbiggrin:

(just like everybody knows you can set a building on fire by repeatedly punching it...)

Oslecamo
2008-12-03, 07:23 AM
Hey, it works in Warcraft :smallbiggrin:

(just like everybody knows you can set a building on fire by repeatedly punching it...)

I'm pretty sure the laws of physics say that if you rub/beat two things togheter, their temperature rises.

This is, you try geting a dozen guys with swords beating an animated tree that coughs up elfs and then we'll talk.:smalltongue:

hamishspence
2008-12-03, 09:07 AM
Vehicles being weak may be a little silly, but Vehicles being too strong might be worse.

Airships- for the inflatable kind, a certain fragility is to be expected. Harder to explain for the flying ship kind though.

Sea ships- a monster smashing the side in with head or tail is a classic trope.

lord_khaine
2008-12-03, 09:21 AM
Sea ships- a monster smashing the side in with head or tail is a classic trope

unfortunately in this case its 10 goblings with arrows doing the job of the seamonster.

hewhosaysfish
2008-12-03, 09:52 AM
I'll admit that the fact that the rules don't differentiate between arrows and axes can produce some odd outcomes...
But ten guys left entirely unmolested for one minute chopping a hole in the side of a ship and sinking it? Perhaps a little quick but wooaah! crazy madness!!"

Knaight
2008-12-03, 10:12 AM
That said DR would deal with this issue easily, so that should have been kept in.

GoC
2008-12-03, 10:14 AM
Vehicles being weak may be a little silly, but Vehicles being too strong might be worse.

Airships- for the inflatable kind, a certain fragility is to be expected. Harder to explain for the flying ship kind though.

Sea ships- a monster smashing the side in with head or tail is a classic trope.

There was a pretty large inconsistency on how damage capabilities scale with size in 3.5. I assume it's the same in 4e.
Doesn't make any sense that goblins can take an ironclad down with arrows though...

Starbuck_II
2008-12-03, 10:25 AM
There was a pretty large inconsistency on how damage capabilities scale with size in 3.5. I assume it's the same in 4e.
Doesn't make any sense that goblins can take an ironclad down with arrows though...

Actually, remember these Goblins were attacking unmolested: you never leave something to attack you.

And I thought Goblin Cutters didn't have ranged weapons...how did they attack a floating ship?

hamishspence
2008-12-03, 01:41 PM
it may be an artefact of the fact that D&D 4th ed take the approach that All damage is the same.

if target was a high level adventurer, one mighty blow from a big monster does the damage that a group of small monsters would take a while to do.

But applied to an object, treating all damage the same, leads to a hail of arrows sinking a ship, just as a few mighty blows would.

in 3.5, piercing attacks weren't as damaging to objects as bludgeoning.

But in 4th ed, type of damage makes no difference.

Does this view make sense- that its not a matter of objects being unusually fragile, but of all damage being treated the same way?

Kris Strife
2008-12-03, 06:16 PM
Hey, it works in Warcraft :smallbiggrin:

(just like everybody knows you can set a building on fire by repeatedly punching it...)

In Warcraft different weapon types work better than others for different jobs.
Plus Blizzard corrects errors for free rather than making you buy a $30+ expansion pack book. Oh, wait... Never mind. (this is a Starcraft 2 complaint BTW)

Quellian-dyrae
2008-12-03, 08:24 PM
Ironically, should the force on the other side of the boat be an epic-level wizard, the ship becomes a juggernaut of endurance, able to take somewhere in the vicinity of ten meteor swarms before going down.

Grynning
2008-12-03, 08:51 PM
That said DR would deal with this issue easily, so that should have been kept in.

It was, to a certain degree, it's just now another type of "resistance". A houserule fix would be to give all vehicles resistance to all (or just physical/untyped) damage based on their size, maybe 5 for large, 10 for huge, 15 for gargantuan, etc.

Mando Knight
2008-12-03, 08:59 PM
Quick fix (without precedence in any of the books...): state that vehicles can't be damaged by an opponent of a lower level than its captain/commander/pilot (provided the commander is on board), whichever is most appropriate for the vehicle, unless the attacker has fire and is on board. This keeps real threats (black dragons, hydras, Kraken...) threatening, but prevents Ninja Goblin Mook from hacking at your rudder while you aren't looking. The "on ur deck, hackin' ur shipz" clause allows for players to get on board and scuttle the ship while fighting off the pirate captain.

Roderick_BR
2008-12-03, 09:19 PM
Question 1: Which species of goblins will be brave enough to approach a ship being attacked by giant sea monsters?

Question 2: Won't anyone notice a bunch of goblins approaching in a boat, starting to make holes, and call one of the adventurers? I guess Team Generic can space a member for some rounds to deal with some level 3 goblins.

That said, yes, someone making holes in a ship will make it sink. See Titanic, for example.

Starbuck_II
2008-12-03, 09:37 PM
That said, yes, someone making holes in a ship will make it sink. See Titanic, for example.

Wait, so the ice berge story was a conspiracy and the Titanic was sunk by raiders?
Somehow I believe it.

mikeejimbo
2008-12-03, 10:50 PM
Hate to put a hole in and sink your complaint, but it's a good thing these "rowboats" don't exist, or we'd be up the creek without a paddle.

Artanis
2008-12-03, 10:54 PM
Ahh! But what’s that sneaking up on the starboard side? It’s a team on goblins on a rowboat (an exotic and mysterious craft for which no information can be found) being pulled along by a par of riding sharks!
But this is merely a level 3 encounter group, four Cutters, four Warriors, and two Sharpshooters.
That's a big rowboat to fit ten goblins in it :smalltongue:

Draco Dracul
2008-12-03, 10:54 PM
Wait, so the ice berge story was a conspiracy and the Titanic was sunk by raiders?
Somehow I believe it.

Ah, so another has realized the the truth. (http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=af07):smalltongue:

Da Beast
2008-12-03, 10:55 PM
Wait, so the ice berge story was a conspiracy and the Titanic was sunk by raiders?
Somehow I believe it.

Apparently by raiders with crossbows.

RS14
2008-12-03, 11:52 PM
I don't have the Adventurer's Vault, but I think part of the problem is that you're seeing the ship as nothing but transport and a different battle map. Four adventurers simply aren't adequate as the combatants of a ship.

Take an Athenian trireme. Wikipedia tells me that the typical crew consisted of 170 rowers and 10-20 marines. I'd take that to indicate that the crew of this ship should consist of 17-18 sailors and 2-3 low-leveled combatants who would be up to defeating the goblins. Also recognize that the large area to be defended and the difficulty of closing in melee makes the encounter a bit more difficult, thus justifying the extra help.

You probably also want a ritual to repair the ship. Does one exist? If not, it should. It's reasonable for it to take damage, but it should stay afloat for at least a few encounters.

Artanis
2008-12-04, 12:26 AM
After looking through the three core books, AV, and even the Artificer article, I don't think that this problem exists. It's blatantly obvious that the MM entries carry with them the caveat that, in large part, RAI is RAW. The goblins' attack powers, like the vast majority of monster powers in the MM, don't specify what is a valid target the way a PC power entry would, so if the DM isn't supposed to take RAI (the goblins being able to use the attack on the PCs), the game instantly ceases to work.

So the situation becomes this: like with targetting the PCs, the DM has to decide whether a greatship is a legitimate target for a goblin's attempt to actually hurt the thing. So the only way by RAW for goblins to hack and shoot a greatship to death with hand weapons is for the DM to decide that yes, it makes sense for them to be able to do so.

And if your DM is going to pull that, then he's killing the ship via DM fiat, regardless of what method he's using.




Oh, and the comment about Icy Rays tearing the ship a new one? It doesn't work by RAW since as a PC power, it does have to specify all the valid targets. It would have to specify objects as a valid target (like Force Orb and Disintegrate do), but it only says it can target creatures. So no shooting Icy Rays at a boat.

Yahzi
2008-12-04, 01:26 AM
I don't think that this problem exists.
It's exactly the problem DR was meant to solve. Look for DR's triumphant return in 4.1e. :smallbiggrin:

skywalker
2008-12-04, 02:14 AM
Ah, so another has realized the the truth. (http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net/c.cgi?u=af07):smalltongue:

That makes me sad.


Actually, remember these Goblins were attacking unmolested: you never leave something to attack you.

And I thought Goblin Cutters didn't have ranged weapons...how did they attack a floating ship?

They're in a boat.

DoomHat
2008-12-04, 03:33 AM
After looking through the three core books, AV, and even the Artificer article, I don't think that this problem exists. It's blatantly obvious that the MM entries carry with them the caveat that, in large part, RAI is RAW. The goblins' attack powers, like the vast majority of monster powers in the MM, don't specify what is a valid target the way a PC power entry would, so if the DM isn't supposed to take RAI (the goblins being able to use the attack on the PCs), the game instantly ceases to work.

So the situation becomes this: like with targetting the PCs, the DM has to decide whether a greatship is a legitimate target for a goblin's attempt to actually hurt the thing. So the only way by RAW for goblins to hack and shoot a greatship to death with hand weapons is for the DM to decide that yes, it makes sense for them to be able to do so.

And if your DM is going to pull that, then he's killing the ship via DM fiat, regardless of what method he's using.


You make excellent points. However the problem is just that.
The rules for vehicles, rules in a game revolving around combat, do not seem to take combat into account. The DM should not have to make this kind of ruling, because they damn well ought to have been made explicit.


Oh, and the comment about Icy Rays tearing the ship a new one? It doesn't work by RAW since as a PC power, it does have to specify all the valid targets. It would have to specify objects as a valid target (like Force Orb and Disintegrate do), but it only says it can target creatures. So no shooting Icy Rays at a boat.

Then I am made to wonder why it goes into the subject of effects that target maneuverability if player powers are not meant to be a concern at all.

ALSO!

As for you lot poking holes in the goblin analogy, you miss the point entirely. I was just trying to show how pitifully easy it is to utterly destroy these vehicles with little effort. I would not expect a Greatship to come up against Gobs. I WOULD however expect it to come up against Sea Devils, Blue Dragons, and Aboleths oh my. They can do a damn site more damage per round and have no fear of molestation by NPC grunts.

Artanis
2008-12-04, 01:22 PM
You make excellent points. However the problem is just that.
The rules for vehicles, rules in a game revolving around combat, do not seem to take combat into account. The DM should not have to make this kind of ruling, because they damn well ought to have been made explicit.
Then that's a problem with the MM, not the vehicle rules. Like I said, in the vast majority of cases, the MM is not even explicit on whether or not a monster is allowed to attack the PCs, much less a target that's categorized as an object. While this judgement is easy and obvious ("well duh they can attack the PCs"), technically, he has to make this judgement every time he decides to have a goblin try to stab Urist the Dwarf Fighter.



Then I am made to wonder why it goes into the subject of effects that target maneuverability if player powers are not meant to be a concern at all.
I can think of plenty of things that both A) are not player powers, and B) could inflict status effects on vehicles. The first thing that came to mind is a wagon getting stuck in a mud hole that, mechanically speaking, inflicts the Immobilized effect on it. You could probably do that with the DMG section on terrain hazards.


ALSO!

As for you lot poking holes in the goblin analogy, you miss the point entirely. I was just trying to show how pitifully easy it is to utterly destroy these vehicles with little effort. I would not expect a Greatship to come up against Gobs. I WOULD however expect it to come up against Sea Devils, Blue Dragons, and Aboleths oh my. They can do a damn site more damage per round and have no fear of molestation by NPC grunts.
Again with not necessarily being able to actually attack the ship. Yes, it would be quite reasonable to decide that it can, in fact, damage the ship. Actually, that would actually be a pretty good premise for an encounter, having to stop a dragon or something that's trying to sink the boat.

However, one showing up in the middle of a fight where the PCs are distracted and cannot stop it would still be DM fiat. Saying, "oh yeah, while you're fighting the pirate boarders, an Aboleth shows up and starts whacking the boat, and you have two rounds to stop him before he sinks it" is little different than saying that goblins show up and start hacking the boat in the middle of a fight, or saying "rocks fall, everybody sinks...unless you clear the rocks this round."


Now, the point of giving it HP? Again, situations where the DM wants the players to worry about the ship being wrecked BUT them being able to do something about it. The situation I mentioned where they're trying to keep something from sinking the boat would be one. Some sort of warship firing magic cannons at it (edit: and the PCs firing their own cannons back) would be one. Saying that something starts attacking the boat and there isn't a damn thing the players can do about it, on the other hand, is where you don't bother with HP and just say it sinks in X rounds.

Roderick_BR
2008-12-04, 01:36 PM
Wait, so the ice berge story was a conspiracy and the Titanic was sunk by raiders?
Somehow I believe it.
That giant iceberg was a polymorphed wizard.

Narmoth
2008-12-04, 01:53 PM
Give me an axe, and I'll sink any wooden ship alone.
Take a viking ship:
It is build out of sturdy wooden boards. It takes me maybe a minute to axe through one if the ship isn't moving and I'm not disturbed. There you go, you have a hole in the ship, and water flows in. Now, give me more time, and I'll make you enough holes / big enough hole that the ship sinks. So I think it's rather realistic

Artanis
2008-12-04, 01:58 PM
The OP was about a greatship being sunk, which usually a bit harder to hack through than a Viking boat...

hamishspence
2008-12-04, 02:03 PM
classic greatships are one bad storm away from sinking anyway- look what happened to the Armada. Admittedly that was a Very bad storm.

Artanis
2008-12-04, 02:05 PM
Storms have nothing to do with a guy wielding an axe. Unless it's raining axes, of course. Which would be awesome :smallcool:

hamishspence
2008-12-04, 02:15 PM
true. Merging damage types, so that an arrow and an axe can both damage an object like a door, just as well as they can a person, may save on complexity, but it does lead to this sort of thing.

Artanis
2008-12-04, 02:26 PM
*headdesk*

But it doesn't lead to this sort of thing. The only way by RAW for this to work is if the DM wants to pretty up a 10-round countdown until the boat sinks. Having DR and different damage types would literally do nothing besides make the DM be a little more creative when trying to cover up a 10-round timer until rocks fall and everybody sinks.

hamishspence
2008-12-04, 02:29 PM
I'm not sure if any DM goes with "Basic attacks do not damage objects" Which is the only RAW way to disallow this.

The phrasing was "Vehicles can be attacked just like other objects" They have HP, AC, Saves.

It seems more Fiat-ey to disallow attacking objects, than to allow it, when the objects are statted as if they were creatures.

Gralamin
2008-12-04, 02:30 PM
Usually, it doesnít matter what kind of attack you make against an object: Damage is damage. However, there are a few exceptions.
All objects are immune to poison damage, psychic damage, and necrotic damage.
Objects donít have a Will defense and are immune to attacks that target Will defense.
Some unusual materials might be particularly resistant to some or all kinds of damage. In addition, you might rule that some kinds of damage are particularly effective against certain objects and grant the object vulnerability to that damage type. For example, a gauzy curtain or a pile of dry papers might have vulnerability 5 to fire because any spark is likely to destroy it.

This is the sort of situation this rule comes into effect. Say it has resistance versus the goblins weapons, or resistance to all weapons that aren't axes. The point is, there are rules to take care of common sense. It also fixes the while Meteor Swarm problem, because the DM also can say that it has vulnerability to fire.


Also, The NPCs aren't just going to sit there. Chances are a few of them are still moving the ship (Call it half speed), While the others are busy patching the ship and firing on the goblins. Throw in a few improvised attack rolls (or you know, they'd probably have ranged weapons of some sort), and a few healing rolls (say roll 1d6 and multiply the result by 4 or something to get the healing).

Sstoopidtallkid
2008-12-04, 02:31 PM
*headdesk*

But it doesn't lead to this sort of thing. The only way by RAW for this to work is if the DM wants to pretty up a 10-round countdown until the boat sinks. Having DR and different damage types would literally do nothing besides make the DM be a little more creative when trying to cover up a 10-round timer until rocks fall and everybody sinks.The issue was that you can destroy the ship with a minimal challenge using weapons that just shouldn't be able to do that. I don't play 4.0, but a single large Controller seems like it would be able to keep the party distracted for a few rounds while his Archer minions(spread out to avoid one deadly burst attack) destroy the ship. Archers. Sinking a galleon. Yeah. If that were even possible, England wouldn't have worried about the Spanish Armada.

Artanis
2008-12-04, 02:32 PM
I'm not sure if any DM goes with "Basic attacks do not damage objects" Which is the only RAW way to disallow this.

The phrasing was "Vehicles can be attacked just like other objects" They have HP, AC, Saves.

It seems more Fiat-ey to disallow attacking objects, than to allow it, when the objects are statted as if they were creatures.
*points up*

I described this earlier. I have to go now, but I'll be back in a few minutes.

hamishspence
2008-12-04, 02:33 PM
there are times when a piercing attack should be pathetic against an object (arrows) and times when it shouldn't- "All ahead full! Ramming speed!"

Maybe some things object should be Immune (or resistant) to, and some, it shouldn't.

Artanis
2008-12-04, 03:30 PM
Sorry 'bout that. I was planning to go to the store later, but it started snowing so I had to go before the roads iced up. Now, where were we? Ah yes...



I think the problem here is that many people, including the OP, are still in the 3.5 mindset that everything must have stats in order to be used, and in turn, anything with stats can be used on anything else with stats. Now don't get me wrong, this is a perfectly valid mindset for 3.5. However, many things in 4e that people mistake for simplification is not that, but is rather the system being less simulationist than 3.5.

In 3.5, if Thing A has an attack and Thing B has hp, then it pretty much by definition means that Thing A is capable of using said attack on Thing B. Even if no DM in his right mind would bother doing something like having an archer sink a greatship, the theoretical possibility is still there, and as such, Thing B would have stuff like DR to make sure that such absurdities don't work.

4e is not that way. 4e gives the DM the freedom to choose whether or not the goblins are capable of taking out the greatship, and the RAW backs that up. Goblins have an attack, but it does not specify what it can target, so the only way by RAW for that attack to be useable against something is if the DM decides that it can be.

So look at the scenario the OP presents from the 4e mindset, not the 3.5 mindset: a level 3 encounter worth of goblins attacking a greatship. A greatship is under attack by a sea monster. Goblins' arrows, as mere piercing attacks, shouldn't be able to hurt a greatship, but the DM wants a boatful of goblins off the port bow anyways so that the party can have some bonus XP after the fight. Well, the MM doesn't specify that the goblins are even capable of attacking the greatship. So the DM decides that the goblins don't do a damn thing to the ship, because by RAW arrows can't actually hurt it. 400hp? Doesn't matter because the goblins' antics have about as much mechanical effect as a description of the color of the ship's sails.

hamishspence
2008-12-04, 04:08 PM
seems like a bit of a stretch- the "damage is damage" lines on pages 65 and 66 of DMG, under Attacking an Object- says nothing about- "Requires DM's permission to attack objects"

Only way is to treat "target- 1 creature" utterly literally.

What it does say in DMG is- Object may be relatively intact, but its functionality is useless.

This seems closer to ther wording of attacking ships- until fixed, its not going anywhere, but it is still there, just "nonfunctional" It's sails are down, say.

Artanis
2008-12-04, 04:31 PM
Actually, the PC powers in the PHB do take "Target: 1 creature" and "Target: 1 Creature or Object" and the like absolutely literally. And pages 65 and 66 say nothing about what is or is not allowed to attack objects, merely what happens when something does. The only place where it even thinks about letting players attack objects without a power explicitly allowing it is page 40 under "Legitimate Targets", where what it says can be taken to imply that it would probably be a good idea to let players attack objects, but that's not RAW by a long shot.

But that all irrelevant because the PCs aren't a level 3 goblin encounter.

As I've stated before, look at the goblin entries in the MM. Their attacks do not say that they can attack objects. They do not say that they can attack PCs, either. And virtually every single power in the entire book is the exact same way. So there's only two possible ways to interpret this fact:
1) Goblins cannot, in fact, attack anything. In this case, 99% of the book instantly and completely ceases to work, period.
2) It's the DM's discretion what said enemies can and cannot use their powers on.

Assuming you go with #2, it follows that the DM decides whether or not an enemy's attacks will hurt the ship. A sea monster attacking a ship? Yeah, a DM would probably decide that that's going to inflict some damage, and it is completely legal by RAW for that sea monster to hurt the ship. A goblin shooting arrows into a ship's hull? A DM would probably decide that that won't do much of anything, and it's perfectly legal by RAW for the goblin arrows to do squat.

hamishspence
2008-12-04, 04:39 PM
or 3- that the Attack line- means- it can attack things- Objects- PCs- NPCs. Not everything is "Dm's discretion"

evry attack in monster statblock is:

vs AC, vs Fort, Vs Reflex, Vs Will. Which depends on the attack. says noting about what it can attack- Conclusion- anything that has a Defence or AC.

an object always has AC, Ref, Fort. (But not Will)

So, by RAW, monsters can hit anything, its PCs that have to look to DMG for evidence that they can use their powers on objects (hardly any powers in the whole PHB mention objects, and that includes basic attacks)

Artanis
2008-12-04, 04:58 PM
That sounds an awful lot like the Air Bud Clause. Just because it doesn't specify it can't doesn't necessarily mean it can. Especially since some - not many, but some - monster attacks do, in fact, specify valid targets (the first that comes to mind is Beholders having one).

So it STILL comes down to the DM's choice on how to interpret it. If the DM agrees and it means what you say, then yeah, the goblins can attack the boat. But the DM can still interpret otherwise and that other interpretation would be just as supported by RAW.



And like I said, PCs work differently in this regard: the PHB makes it clear that by RAW, if a power can be used on an object, then it will say so. The DMG strongly implies the obvious conclusion that it would be a good idea to let the PCs try anyways, but that is RAI, not RAW.

DoomHat
2008-12-05, 12:53 AM
I guess my problem is that I was thinking of a ship at 0 hit points as a twisted heap of functionless wood. If zero Hp just means it has at least one whole in it big enough to sink it then Iíll eat crow by all means.

But all the same, there still seems to be a lot of confusion about my intent, so Iíll try to clarify one last time.
I took the largest thing in the Adventurers Vault, and pitted against the smallest thing I could find in the MM. I did this in an effort to determine what would happen in a level appropriate encounter.
If a third level encounter could turn the ship into wreckage in ten rounds, I am led to believe that a thirteenth could do the same in fewer rounds, regardless of opposition.
What happens when a ship half this size (with half the hit points), that the PCs would more reasonably own, comes under attack by a blue dragon with a couple henchmen? Theyíd be sunk before they even bloodied the damn thing!
Then again, if zero Hp simply means nonfunctional rather then utterly ravaged, I suppose that makes sense.

Artanis
2008-12-05, 02:02 AM
You are missing my point entirely.

You want to know what would happen if the biggest thing in the AV was attacked by a level 3 encounter group. Here's what happens: nothing. Nothing at all. It's stupid for a goblin to be able to use a measely bow to turn the boat into a flaming heap, and thus the DM will make a completely RAW-encouraged ruling that the goblins won't do squat to the boat.

Now, a smaller boat taking on a dragon? Dragons are big and good at smashing stuff. I have no problem believing that a dragon could take out a smaller boat in no time, and any DM who felt the same way would make a completely RAW-encouraged ruling that the dragon is going to take some chunks out of the ship if it's inclined to attack it.

JBento
2008-12-05, 05:36 AM
Artanis, GET THE HELL OUT!!!

How dare you, sir, bring sound reasoning and good logic into teh INTERWEBZ?!?!

...
We don't like your kind here
...

Oslecamo
2008-12-05, 05:57 AM
You are missing my point entirely.

You want to know what would happen if the biggest thing in the AV was attacked by a level 3 encounter group. Here's what happens: nothing. Nothing at all. It's stupid for a goblin to be able to use a measely bow to turn the boat into a flaming heap, and thus the DM will make a completely RAW-encouraged ruling that the goblins won't do squat to the boat.


Ok, then why do the adventurers can use bows and spears to hurt that dragon whose scales are suposedly harder than the ship itself?

Or that golem made of pure adamantium?

Or that fire elemental wich is, well, made of fire?

Everything in D&D is stupid if you look it from a certain point of view. HP rules means you're either defenseless bleeding to death on the floor or perfectly fine despite having three spears stuck on your chest and 4 arrows at your back while swimming in lava.

So, a bunch of goblins bringing down a giant ship with pointy sticks isn't that bad. Heck, isn't what the party is doing after all?

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 07:56 AM
Point is, your RAW does not take into account the DMG, which explicitly states- yes, unless the DM rules otherwise, you can attack objects, and provides ACs, Defense, Hit points.

An object fully statted out like that is supposed to be attacked. It benefits from the normal object immunities, but other than that, it is fair game.

The DMG stuff expands upon the PHB. it says, in effect, that just because a power has "Target 1 creature", or "Blast- all creatures in area" doesn't mean objects are immune- if players or monsters specifically try to attack an object- having it not take any damage when they beat its AC/ Defense, is DM fiat, not RAW.

TwystidMynd
2008-12-05, 10:39 AM
Ok, then why do the adventurers can use bows and spears to hurt that dragon whose scales are suposedly harder than the ship itself?

Or that golem made of pure adamantium?

Or that fire elemental wich is, well, made of fire?

Everything in D&D is stupid if you look it from a certain point of view. HP rules means you're either defenseless bleeding to death on the floor or perfectly fine despite having three spears stuck on your chest and 4 arrows at your back while swimming in lava.

So, a bunch of goblins bringing down a giant ship with pointy sticks isn't that bad. Heck, isn't what the party is doing after all?


I tend to lean more towards Oslecamo's interpretation here than Artanis'. If the DM can arbitrarily decide what can and cannot be damaged by certain weapons/attacks, then that means you get to the point where the DM decides that Chain Mail is better at deflecting Swords than Arrows, so Archers are attacking a lower AC than Swordsmen when they both attack someone wearing Chain Mail.

This is a perfectly fine way to play an RPG, but it's not the way D&D 4e is designed... 4e deals a LOT with abstractions, so that things are easy to calculate, and it leaves a lot up to the imagination. 4e does also put a lot of power back into the DMs hands, as compared to 3.5 (in my opinion, again), so the DM is free to decide that the goblins can't harm the ship, I just feel that doing so breaks away from the abstractions that 4e has worked so hard to build up, and is therefore more of a houserule to say that the goblins can't hurt the ship than it is to say that they can.

Personally, I'd be much more comfortable with houseruling the number of HP the ship has, or houseruling in a sort of DR for objects, or fluff the damage to the ship as "needing repairs badly, but still able to float for a bit longer" by way of making every section of the ship have a hitpoint amount, or any number of houserules that make the situation less silly ... but I recognize that these are all houserules (and therefore exceptions) and I wouldn't expect any other DM to do the same, although I would suggest it.

Of course, I haven't read the rules for warships, and I'm basing all of my argument on the original poster's descriptions of the rules, so if errata has been released, or if the rules can be interpreted differently, then my opinion probably has very ltitle meaning =P

Saph
2008-12-05, 10:49 AM
In 3.5, if Thing A has an attack and Thing B has hp, then it pretty much by definition means that Thing A is capable of using said attack on Thing B.

...

4e is not that way. 4e gives the DM the freedom to choose whether or not the goblins are capable of taking out the greatship, and the RAW backs that up.

Could you cite your sources, please?

Because I've DMed both 3.5 and 4e, and I'm pretty sure there's nothing in the books that supports this distinction you're claiming.

- Saph

Telok
2008-12-05, 12:01 PM
Alright, question here: What happens if merfolk or sahuagin attack the ship and PCs, controllers and artillery engaging the players while soldiers, brutes, and minions take axes and drills to the waterline? So half of a level appropriate encounter distracts the PCs while the other half alternately tries to hole the ship or evade direct combat by swimming underwater. In a spirit of generosity we won't have the water breathers do the logical thing and cut thier hole in the bottom of the ship when the PCs are on the deck.

How is the survivability of the biggest ship in the book under those circumstances?

BadJuJu
2008-12-05, 12:23 PM
Hey, it works in Warcraft :smallbiggrin:

(just like everybody knows you can set a building on fire by repeatedly punching it...)

Two words. Chuck Norris.

Tacoma
2008-12-05, 12:48 PM
Imagine if the boat were in drydock. Does reducing its HP to zero still just cause a hole? Because that's fine, dude, we're still on our ship and it's all cool. After all there's no reason to believe that reducing object HP to zero does anything different from reducing a human HP to zero - that is, he has holes in him but is structurally complete. So zero HP for a ship means taking on water. How long does this take to sink? Does it say?

That said, the argument that every attack has a list of valid targets, and no other targets are valid, is silly. If an axe wielded by a human can damage an object, then the same axe wielded by his goblin friend must have the same options. And I think we can all agree that an axe can strike a tree and damage it.

This is how lumberjacks make the money.

What we want is some system whereby very large creatures can damage a ship but smaller creatures cannot. An arrow just sticks in the side but a ballista bolt could cause damage. Damage Reduction seems like a good choice. I always liked DR. It made a lot of sense. And it takes into account that a hugely heroic archer could plug arrows into a small ship until it sank. It might take him a long time, but whatever.

The USS Monitor was involved in the first ironclad vs ironclad battle with the CSS Virginia. The Monitor had 11-inch guns (evidently firing something like a 60-pound slug or explosive shell) that were unable to pierce the Virginia's 4" iron armor. As in, they fought for four hours, probably expending all their ammunition, and in game terms not one point of damage occurred. They quickly realized this and began ramming each other fruitlessly.

I say no goblin is as powerful as a naval gun with a barrel you might be able to stick your head in.

Please bear with me but this is important. I don't care what the rules say. A goblin with an axe cannot exert as much force as a cannonball one foot across fired at point blank. The God of All Goblins maybe. But not a goblin.

And sure, maybe the ship doesn't have four inches of iron armor. But the disparity here is so astounding that it doesn't matter. In reality, no human archer in the world firing the best bow modern technology can create for him would be able to sink a wooden ship. Maybe this mystical "rowboat" of which you all speak. But certainly not a ship that requires a crew of 20 men.

That is a big ship and a very small arrow.

Artanis
2008-12-05, 01:24 PM
Could you cite your sources, please?

Because I've DMed both 3.5 and 4e, and I'm pretty sure there's nothing in the books that supports this distinction you're claiming.

- Saph
*points to the second paragraph of the following quote*


Point is, your RAW does not take into account the DMG, which explicitly states- yes, unless the DM rules otherwise, you can attack objects, and provides ACs, Defense, Hit points.

An object fully statted out like that is supposed to be attacked. It benefits from the normal object immunities, but other than that, it is fair game.

The DMG stuff expands upon the PHB. it says, in effect, that just because a power has "Target 1 creature", or "Blast- all creatures in area" doesn't mean objects are immune- if players or monsters specifically try to attack an object- having it not take any damage when they beat its AC/ Defense, is DM fiat, not RAW.
Page number, please? Given that PC powers are very specific, with the part describing the meaning of the "Target:" line makes a distinction between targetting objects and targetting creatures, AND that several powers explicitly state that they can, in fact, target objects in addition to the usual stuff, I doubt it's in there. However, I won't rule out the possibility of having missed somewhere that it explicitly states by RAW that powers that specify creatures are automatically allowed to be used on objects anyways.



Edit: addendum

Alright, question here: What happens if merfolk or sahuagin attack the ship and PCs, controllers and artillery engaging the players while soldiers, brutes, and minions take axes and drills to the waterline? So half of a level appropriate encounter distracts the PCs while the other half alternately tries to hole the ship or evade direct combat by swimming underwater. In a spirit of generosity we won't have the water breathers do the logical thing and cut thier hole in the bottom of the ship when the PCs are on the deck.

How is the survivability of the biggest ship in the book under those circumstances?
In this case, the water-people are using tactics and equipment specifically designed for taking down a ship. The MM isn't exactly overflowing with attack powers that say they're a drill, after all. So in this case, it's the DM who's coming up with the ability to use a drill in the first place, and thus the ship's survivability is whatever the DM says it is. The axes fall either into this category or into the same category as monster-entry attacks (which has been debated for the past several posts).

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 01:50 PM
in the description of objects- on page 65: "Like characters, objects have hit points and defense scores"

"An object reduced to 0 hit points is destroyed or otherwise rendered useless. At your judgement, the object might even be more or less whole, but its functionality is ruined"

the description of the "legimate targets" effect on page 40, make it clear that its only effects that occur upon hitting a target, that don't work if target is not a threat.

You can't heal your allies by whacking away at an object, but you can damage the object.

In adventurer's vault, it even specifies vehicle can be affected by the conditions- Immobilized, Prone, Restrained, Slowed. And you can't really do any of these unless your attack or power can affect the vehicle.

Given the number of creatures with just basic melee attacks and basic ranged attacks, both of which say in PHB simply- Target: One creature, and given the above fact that vehicles can be affected by conditions that most objects can't meaningfully be described as being under, saying "Only the DMs decision allows this to happen- when playing without houserule, none of this can happen" seems a bit of a stretch.

Also, PHB- any melee or ranged attack can target a square- even if there is nothing in it. So if you can target Nothing, it shouldn't be to hard to target Something- when Something has Defences, and HP.

Artanis
2008-12-05, 02:16 PM
in the description of objects- on page 65: "Like characters, objects have hit points and defense scores"
Which is all well and good if you attack it, but it says nothing about being able to attack it in the first place. Force Orb can attack it. Disintegrate can attack it. Some item powers (such as a Ring of Ramming) can attack it. But this does not show that it can be attacked by something that does not specify objects as a valid target.


"An object reduced to 0 hit points is destroyed or otherwise rendered useless. At your judgement, the object might even be more or less whole, but its functionality is ruined"
Again, this says nothing about being able to use powers without "objects" as a specified target.



the description of the "legimate targets" effect on page 40, make it clear that its only effects that occur upon hitting a target, that don't work if target is not a threat.
A) This does not change what can be targetted at all, only what you can target and still get something useful out of it.
B) This says nothing that explicitly allows PCs to target objects without the power saying they can.

Now, it strongly implies that the DM should break RAW and let them attack it anyways, but that is exactly that: breaking RAW.


You can't heal your allies by whacking away at an object, but you can damage the object.
This is correct if you can attack the object in the first place. Again, it says nothing about being able to attack the object in the first place.


In adventurer's vault, it even specifies vehicle can be affected by the conditions- Immobilized, Prone, Restrained, Slowed. And you can't really do any of these unless your attack or power can affect the vehicle.
This does not show that the vehicle can be attacked in the first place by a power that does not say it can do so. Just because there do not currently exist powers that both work on objects and inflict status effects does not mean there never will be. WotC could simply be covering its bases in this regard.



Given the number of creatures with just basic melee attacks and basic ranged attacks, both of which say in PHB simply- Target: One creature, and given the above fact that vehicles can be affected by conditions that most objects can't meaningfully be described as being under, saying "Only the DMs decision allows this to happen- when playing without houserule, none of this can happen" seems a bit of a stretch.
The vast majority of said basic attacks - maybe even all of them - do not, I repeat, do NOT specify that they target a creature. And like I said, just because object-targetting, status-effect-inflicting attacks don't exist does not mean there should not be rules for it because there may (and probably will) be such powers in the future.



So in conclusion, you have shown nothing that I have not already stated. There are no rules explicitly allowing a power to target an object unless it says it can do so, despite it being implied that it would be a good idea for a DM to ignore this fact.

Tadanori Oyama
2008-12-05, 02:17 PM
Seems to me that this proves that attacking a vehicale proves to be a highly effective tactic, one that should be used to create drama and a real threat to the PCs.

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 02:36 PM
"there are no rules that explicitly allow it" can be as bad as "there are no rules that explicitly forbid it" when taken to extremes. Maybe errata have more to say.

Or, for that matter, all those traps which can be defeated by destroying parts of them- at low level, so Force orb and disintegrate really don't come into play- Keep on the Shadowfell- various hazards that can be destroyed by hitting them. A hazard is a very aggressive object, not exactly a creature.

Artanis
2008-12-05, 02:39 PM
Force Orb is level 1.


And "there are no rules that explicitly allow it" is what you look at when it is made perfectly clear that that is the situation at hand. PC powers are quite clear that they can target only what they say they can target, period. So unless there's something that overrides that rule by RAW, then there is nothing that overrides that rule by RAW. RAI, yes. Common sense, yes. But not RAW.



Edit:
As for KotS, I have not played this module. Do the hazards say that you can hit them with powers whose entries only specify creatures? Or some part of the module saying something to that effect? Or is it another "you can attack the object to disable it" like is in the DMG?

RPGuru1331
2008-12-05, 02:41 PM
"there are no rules that explicitly allow it" can be as bad as "there are no rules that explicitly forbid it" when taken to extremes. Maybe errata have more to say.

Isn't the whole complaint here that by RAW, ships are freaking fragile because 1st levels can disassemble them?

Granted, this solution is no less intuitive.

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 02:43 PM
I got the impression that that was what "hazards" and "objects" in the DMG were- examples of exceptions to the rule. PHB is not the only book to use.

the idea that swords/axes etc cannot damage any object without DMs permission seems odd.

Especially given that only the wizard has this- maybe the writers weren't all working from the same principles.

KOTS- The Chamber of Statues, they all have HP, AC, Saves (not reflex, unlike most objects) and says- You can defeat the challenge by destroying the statues. As an encounter power, Force Orb won't be much help against hazard with 40 or more hit points.

Maybe online FAQ or errata clears this up.

Tacoma
2008-12-05, 02:43 PM
Nope. You can "target" whatever you like. Will it have a noticeable effect? Possibly not.

I mean, I can target the moon with a thrown egg. But I'm reasonably assured such an action will have no effect on the moon.

Furthermore, let us take as an example a spell that freezes things and causes cold damage when I throw this freezing orb thing but says it can target only a single creature. To say that the spell will have no cooling effect on my glass of orange juice should I target it is just silly and absolutely wrong.

EDIT: I am using this to claim that RAW is frivolous and not an authority to which an appeal must approach rather than common sense or a house rule.

Artanis
2008-12-05, 02:48 PM
Huh, lemme check the errata right quick.

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 02:51 PM
the moon doesn't have Hit points, AC, saves. Yet. Plus its waaay out of range :smallbiggrin:

I remember a line in Munchkin rulebook "If you've ever said: "I don't care if it's a deity. It has stats. We can kill it." : you might be a munchkin.

I tend to a view slightly similar for objects- if it has stats, (HP, AC, Defenses) it can be damaged/broken/made non-functional. (Depending on its specified immunities)

Artanis
2008-12-05, 02:59 PM
The PHB errata supports my point that it's up to the DM:
"Target [Addition]
Player’s Handbook, page 57
Add the following sentences to the end of the first paragraph: “Some powers
include objects as targets. At the DM’s discretion, a power that targets a creature can also target an object, whether or not the power lists an object as a potential target.”" (Emphasis mine).

So a power that does not say it can target an object cannot target an object unless the DM says so. That pretty much formalizes my point for PCs.


The MM errata says nothing even remotely relevant to the discussion


The DMG errata doesn't say anything either.


The FAQs for those three and the AV have nothing relevant.


There is nothing in any of them that explicitly refutes or supports my overall point that a monster can only attack an object if the DM says it can. The PHB errata implies it, but does not explicitly state it.

Dervag
2008-12-05, 03:08 PM
Artanis, the DM would have to be a complete fool not to allow monsters to attack objects under circumstances like this. Are we to believe that goblins are incapable of basic activities like woodcutting and mining because they cannot damage things like trees and rocks?

Clearly, goblins with axes should be able to chop a hole in a ship eventually. There's something wrong with the game if a reasonably strong being can pound on a piece of wood all day with an axe and never make a dent. The questions are in the details. A goblin can chop a hole in the bottom of a ship. How long should it take- ten minutes, or ten hours? If they can use an axe, could they use a sword (less suitable), a spear (even less suitable), or a bow (totally unsuitable)?

For another example, what about doors? Doors are presumably objects, but they are also presumably vulnerable to being broken down by enemies with axes or battering rams. Otherwise, I could secure myself against any number of goblins just by going into my little shack in the woods and closing the door. Which is nonsense.

So the question is not whether the squad of goblins should be able to damage a wooden ship, and even do enough damage to sink it, given time. The question is how much time it should take them to destroy the ship. And the answer really ought to be "more than a minute."


Seems to me that this proves that attacking a vehicale proves to be a highly effective tactic, one that should be used to create drama and a real threat to the PCs.But the scale of the threat should be reasonable. In real life, it was damned near impossible to sink wooden ships. You could literally sit right next to them blasting them at point blank range with hundreds of cannoballs and not sink the ship outright. The reason is simple. These ships are made of wood. Wood floats. And wood is flexible enough that even when you punch a hole in it, the wood around the hole retains its structural strength. So you can't wreck or truly sink a wooden ship without pounding just about every last bit of it into pieces.

Humanoid monsters of roughly human strength should not be able to do this in a reasonable span of time. Giant monsters, yes. But not goblins. Moreover, the tools you can use to damage a ship are limited. Axes can damage wood, but arrows can't. You could shoot a thousand arrows into the hull of a wooden ship and not damage it at all.

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 03:12 PM
and, "non-functional" doesn't have to mean sinking, if the attack is that unsuitable- it can be Immobile. Arrows cutting ropes, wrecking sails, etc. Result- one stationary ship- can't be repaired until the goblins are driven off.

though the simpler option is to say "resistant 10, arrows"

but than, thats DM's discretion, mentioned in DMG, as to what the result of making something non-functional can be.

other interesting questions might be- what about indiscriminate area attacks- can a red dragon set the ship on fire with a big flaming blast or burst? If it is directed at both ship and people on it?

BRC
2008-12-05, 03:15 PM
The problem is that DnD uses "Sponteneous Existance Failure" For death. It makes sense that these goblins could put a hole in the side of a ship, however, according to the current rules, they could hit the exact same spot on the ship enough and then the entire thing falls apart, or all the sails break, or whatever. And they would need to make quite a big hole to sink it before somebody came to stop them and try to fix the ship. Ships had ways to cope with holes in the hull, usually by fixing it before the ship sank.

Tacoma
2008-12-05, 03:16 PM
What ho! Goblins with huge axes and poisoned arrows? What shall I do?

Oh yes. I forgot. My entire body is covered in clothing and goblins are unable to damage objects. Since they cannot produce a hole in an object, their arrows cannot penetrate my clothing.

Or,

I have a wicker dome that I walk around covered with. The strongest Goblin Ballista cannot rattle my frail wicker cage because goblins cannot damage objects.

Or,

I have a priceless vase in my foyer. Goblins on the rampage? Not a problem. If a goblin should wander by, he could not break my windows, nor could he climb through said broken window and knock over my vase. If somehow a goblin snuck in and threw my vase to the floor it would bounce away undamaged because his attack can target only a single creature.

Artanis ... this is just weird.

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 03:17 PM
Mending rituals, or similar homebrewed Craft checks to repair damage. Stretching a tarred sail over the hole was usual for keeping water out for a short time. Except- not easy to do while being attacked.

BRC
2008-12-05, 03:22 PM
But the scale of the threat should be reasonable. In real life, it was damned near impossible to sink wooden ships. You could literally sit right next to them blasting them at point blank range with hundreds of cannoballs and not sink the ship outright. The reason is simple. These ships are made of wood. Wood floats. And wood is flexible enough that even when you punch a hole in it, the wood around the hole retains its structural strength. So you can't wreck or truly sink a wooden ship without pounding just about every last bit of it into pieces.

Humanoid monsters of roughly human strength should not be able to do this in a reasonable span of time. Giant monsters, yes. But not goblins. Moreover, the tools you can use to damage a ship are limited. Axes can damage wood, but arrows can't. You could shoot a thousand arrows into the hull of a wooden ship and not damage it at all.
Um, No. Wood floats, the idea wasn't that you put enough holes in it that it couldn't float, it was that you put holes in it so that water flowed into the ship, which would cause it to sink. It won't sink if you put a hole in the direct bottom, but if you got a hole in the side under the waterline it would start sinking.

Artanis
2008-12-05, 03:28 PM
Artanis, the DM would have to be a complete fool not to allow monsters to attack objects under circumstances like this. Are we to believe that goblins are incapable of basic activities like woodcutting and mining because they cannot damage things like trees and rocks?

Clearly, goblins with axes should be able to chop a hole in a ship eventually. There's something wrong with the game if a reasonably strong being can pound on a piece of wood all day with an axe and never make a dent. The questions are in the details. A goblin can chop a hole in the bottom of a ship. How long should it take- ten minutes, or ten hours? If they can use an axe, could they use a sword (less suitable), a spear (even less suitable), or a bow (totally unsuitable)?

For another example, what about doors? Doors are presumably objects, but they are also presumably vulnerable to being broken down by enemies with axes or battering rams. Otherwise, I could secure myself against any number of goblins just by going into my little shack in the woods and closing the door. Which is nonsense.

So the question is not whether the squad of goblins should be able to damage a wooden ship, and even do enough damage to sink it, given time. The question is how much time it should take them to destroy the ship. And the answer really ought to be "more than a minute."

But the scale of the threat should be reasonable. In real life, it was damned near impossible to sink wooden ships. You could literally sit right next to them blasting them at point blank range with hundreds of cannoballs and not sink the ship outright. The reason is simple. These ships are made of wood. Wood floats. And wood is flexible enough that even when you punch a hole in it, the wood around the hole retains its structural strength. So you can't wreck or truly sink a wooden ship without pounding just about every last bit of it into pieces.

Humanoid monsters of roughly human strength should not be able to do this in a reasonable span of time. Giant monsters, yes. But not goblins. Moreover, the tools you can use to damage a ship are limited. Axes can damage wood, but arrows can't. You could shoot a thousand arrows into the hull of a wooden ship and not damage it at all.
But using arrows and spears to sink a ship was the exact scenario the OP used, and using arrows and spears was exact scenario that I said would not happen unless the DM wanted the ship disabled anyways. Your last paragraph is my entire ****ing point.



*stuff*
This is so bizarre that I have no idea how to respond to it. I cannot fathom how you could possibly come to the conclusion that this is even remotely my point.

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 03:41 PM
he's pointing out that if RAW says Basic Melee and Ranged Attacks cannot harm objects without the direct intervention of the DM, this will result. 20th level fighter can't cut a book in half with a sword? oops.

the interpretation of RAW that comes out this way seems a bigger stretch than its counterpart (1st level goblin can sink a ship, with enough time)

Artanis
2008-12-05, 03:52 PM
OP: "The AV is broken. A bunch of goblins can sink a greatship in 10 rounds"

Me: "Only if the DM lets it."

hamishspence et al.: "The only way to prevent this is to have things like DR, which they took away."

Me: "No, it's prevented by 4e letting the DM be able to choose whether or not attacking the boat works."

hamishspence et al.: "No, it doesn't let the DM choose."

*long tangent*

DoomHat
2008-12-05, 04:07 PM
But using arrows and spears to sink a ship was the exact scenario the OP used, and using arrows and spears was exact scenario that I said would not happen unless the DM wanted the ship disabled anyways. Your last paragraph is my entire ****ing point.



Then you are being silly because it IS however, MY entire ****ing point! We are not talking about arrows and spears. You want I should edit my original post to say "2nd level humans with axes"? Because what sort of weapons they where using was irrelevant to my point. My point is that a handful of humanoids should be able to take down a massive boat, but not in under a god damn minute! I have already tried to explain this.
Please calm down.

Awesomologist
2008-12-05, 04:13 PM
While arguments may be flawed, I agree with Artanis here. Level 1 minions attacking a gargantuan ship from a row boat is not a problem in game testing, it's a problem with the DM.
Level appropriate monsters attacking the hull? make that as part of the encounter. Be sure to include the 20+ NPCs too.
There's no excuse for being a lazy DM.

RPGuru1331
2008-12-05, 04:14 PM
Then you are being silly because it IS however, MY entire ****ing point! We are not talking about arrows and spears. You want I should edit my original post to say "2nd level humans with axes"? Because what sort of weapons they where using was irrelevant to my point. My point is that a handful of humanoids should be able to take down a massive boat, but not in under a god damn minute! I have already tried to explain this.
Please calm down.

The guy cursing is telling someone else to calm down? Well, not the point.

Why not just give it Resistance 5? It'll take humanoid peons considerably longer, but still be doable if completely undisturbed.

Siegel
2008-12-05, 04:17 PM
Can someone please explain to me how to sink a ship by firing bolts/arrows at it ? Wouldn't they just hit the wood and get stuck in it ?

1. Buy a small ship
2. Fire Arrows at a bigger ship
3. ???????
4. Boat with arrows in it ?

you know, no profit !

BRC
2008-12-05, 04:19 PM
Can someone please explain to me how to sink a ship by firing bolts/arrows at it ? Wouldn't they just hit the wood and get stuck in it ?

1. Buy a small ship
2. Fire Arrows at a bigger ship
3. ???????
4. Boat with arrows in it ?

you know, no profit !
That's why in 3.5, objects generally arn't damaged by any ranged attack short of a siege weapon.

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 04:20 PM
considering many living creatures in the game have much, much more HP- the OP has a point- its the low number of hit points for the biggest ships that causes the disparity.

They have used a "low level creatures just can't harm it" for certain monsters- Blazing Rorn The Fury, Tiamat, but not Orcus.

DoomHat
2008-12-05, 04:23 PM
The guy cursing is telling someone else to calm down? Well, not the point.

Why not just give it Resistance 5? It'll take humanoid peons considerably longer, but still be doable if completely undisturbed.

But Teacher, he did it fiiirst! D=\
Also, I could do that, in fact, if I run a game, I'll HAVE to. I just want to know why WotC didn't think to do it for me.

Artanis
2008-12-05, 04:34 PM
Then you are being silly because it IS however, MY entire ****ing point! We are not talking about arrows and spears. You want I should edit my original post to say "2nd level humans with axes"? Because what sort of weapons they where using was irrelevant to my point. My point is that a handful of humanoids should be able to take down a massive boat, but not in under a god damn minute! I have already tried to explain this.
Please calm down.
Hey, the monsters you used had arrows and spears. So I responded with that fact in mind :smallwink:



But Teacher, he did it fiiirst! D=\
Also, I could do that, in fact, if I run a game, I'll HAVE to. I just want to know why WotC didn't think to do it for me.
Or just do what me and the 4e RAW suggests and...you know...not try to go through the middleman of dinky attacks like that in the first place? If all you want is a countdown to put a time limit on the PCs, why not do exactly that?

*"You notice a small boat come up alongside, and the inhabitants start chopping the hull with axes."
*Later: "The people in the boat seem to be doing some damage to the ship."
*Even later: "It's looking like they're making some real progress, you might want to do something about they guys trying to put a hole in the ship."
*Not long before your desired time limit expires: "The hull is looking quite weak where the enemies are attacking it. It won't be long before they break through."
*Time runs out: "CRACK! They break through the hull and water starts flooding in! The ship begins to sink!"

Tacoma
2008-12-05, 04:37 PM
Artanis is just ignoring my point.

My point is that the game can simply and quickly model a balanced system for object damage.

Artanis argues that the system appears to exclude object damage except in certain cases and when the DM wants to include it due to common sense.

But appeals to common sense are arbitrary. At exactly what size of ship can the goblins sink it? At exactly what size of goblin can the goblin sink the Big Ship? Is there some chance the goblin only partially broke the window? The game can answer these questions with the rules already built in.

Artanis? He'd rather assume the DM always gets it right and the players are always satisfied with his arbitrary ruling. This does not always happen.

But this game does have rules, and they appear to work when they're properly balanced, but the ship rules simply aren't balanced enough to be usable.

An allegorical example is the effect of catching things on fire with a Wall of Fire. What if you're in a dry grassland? What if there are dry leaves lying all around? What if it's the dry season but it just rained yesterday? What if it's just kind of dry? These questions don't get asked often enough and the complete answer is too complicated to bother with.

But damage to objects happens constantly, I would say perhaps at least once per game session, and the answer is simple and elegant. This is a rule that is needed and we shouldn't appeal to DM fiat.

EDIT: RAW is wrong. At least in this case.

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 04:45 PM
RAW is wrong- whose interpretation? That vehicles can be attacked (cos they have hit points and saves) or they can't (cos words used in PHB errata were At DM's Discretion)?

interestingly, in 3.5, the issue of Things catching Fire on ships could be a little variable- some fire spells could set the ship on fire, some couldn't, even if they damaged it- (Fire Storm, Wall of Fire)

the jump from 100 Hp (wagon) to 400 (greatship) is too small, by surface area alone.

some properties in the What happens to Destroyed vehicles in Adventurer's Vault, may have interesting results applied to ships.

It creates a zone of difficult terrain, with everybody on board knocked prone, on top of the zone.

so, in that sense, it Floats. and because it is difficult terrain- people can move about on it, stand up, etc.

Artanis
2008-12-05, 04:48 PM
Artanis is just ignoring my point.

My point is that the game can simply and quickly model a balanced system for object damage.
Yup. So says the RAW.




Artanis argues that the system appears to exclude object damage except in certain cases and when the DM wants to include it due to common sense.
Appears? By RAW it DOES.



But appeals to common sense are arbitrary. At exactly what size of ship can the goblins sink it? At exactly what size of goblin can the goblin sink the Big Ship? Is there some chance the goblin only partially broke the window? The game can answer these questions with the rules already built in.
At what size? At any size if he just goes by the numbers the way you want and the way the OP assumes must happen. But if he wants to, the DM is free to do otherwise.

Partially broken window pane? We aren't talking about partially breaking things, so let's not start yet another tangent.



Artanis? He'd rather assume the DM always gets it right and the players are always satisfied with his arbitrary ruling. This does not always happen.
I assume no such thing.

The DM is perfectly capable of using the rules as you or the OP want to use them. The DM can, if he wishes, have those goblin arrows disable a ship. However, right or wrong, he is free to do otherwise.




But this game does have rules, and they appear to work when they're properly balanced, but the ship rules simply aren't balanced enough to be usable.
And now who's ignoring the other one's point?



An allegorical example is the effect of catching things on fire with a Wall of Fire. What if you're in a dry grassland? What if there are dry leaves lying all around? What if it's the dry season but it just rained yesterday? What if it's just kind of dry? These questions don't get asked often enough and the complete answer is too complicated to bother with.

But damage to objects happens constantly, I would say perhaps at least once per game session, and the answer is simple and elegant. This is a rule that is needed and we shouldn't appeal to DM fiat.
There is a rule. Look at the errata quote up above: if the DM says it works, it works. THAT IS RAW. You don't like it? Don't use RAW.



EDIT: RAW is wrong. At least in this case.
Right or wrong, RAW is RAW. And since this debate is regarding RAW, saying "it's wrong" is completely irrelevant.

RPGuru1331
2008-12-05, 04:49 PM
But appeals to common sense are arbitrary. At exactly what size of ship can the goblins sink it? At exactly what size of goblin can the goblin sink the Big Ship? Is there some chance the goblin only partially broke the window? The game can answer these questions with the rules already built in.
This is a rule that is needed and we shouldn't appeal to DM fiat.

EDIT: RAW is wrong. At least in this case.

Wait, you're bitching about the RAW being wrong, but disdain the idea of the DM having a say?

How the hell do you play? :smallconfused:

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 04:53 PM
RAW is separate from Rule 0, - when DM changes the rules to make objects undamagable, thats Rule 0. When objects can be damaged by basic melee attacks, thats RAW.

At least- thats what it looked like to me.

What you appear to be saying is: RAW- nothing that targets a creature can target an object- unless DM chooses otherwise- Which is what we call Rule 0.

which is right? Hard to tell.

DoomHat
2008-12-05, 05:13 PM
OkayÖ You win. New example.
Team Generic is a half mile out to sea. Suddenly a Sahuagin Baron crawls up on deck and says, ďHowdy!Ē.
Meanwhile his four Raiders have crawled up along side and start wailing on the ship with their coal axes (which happen to be stated like tridents), while a couple Priests fire off water bolts from out in the water.
The Raiders each do 1d8+5 damage, an average of 9
The Priests each do 2d8+5 damage, and average of 13
Each their combined efforts will do about 62 damage.
This gives Team Generic 7 rounds (optimistically) to win the battle, or be screwed.

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 05:15 PM
How about examples of things we've seen- in movies- the Huge shark from adventurer's vault vs a Pinnace. How long before the pinnace becomes a wreck?

I think its the Greatship- which is of medium-sized carrack proportions- that is the outlier- bulk for bulk it is much bigger than anything else, but its Hit Points aren't much higher.

Tacoma
2008-12-05, 05:19 PM
Wait, you're bitching about the RAW being wrong, but disdain the idea of the DM having a say?

How the hell do you play? :smallconfused:

You edit the RAW to make something that actually works.

I distain the idea of a DM making up all the rules. That's silly. We want to have a strong rule structure for events that both happen very frequently and for which a rule is simple and balanced.

It's perfectly fine to have events that almost never happen, or for which the rule would be complex and slow, to be arbitrarily DM choice.

As for Artanis, I say this:

The Rules are written by mortal folks who make mistakes on a regular basis. The Rules are often conflicting or irrelevant. The Rules are not a bastion of stability to which we may cling. Appealing to RAW when in this case the rules shrug responsibility and place it upon DM arbitration is frivolous.

The original poster posted saying the rules are funky and do not work. And he is right. When you say the book tells the DM to decide, that is not an actual rule. That's a lack of a rule. A rule would have laid out a cause and effect situation for which there would generally be no variation. Of course when there is variation a DM must step up and come up with something.

But simply put the RAW claim has failed you because there is no legitimate rule. The book just says "Rule 0, baby" and moves on to other things.

kc0bbq
2008-12-05, 05:37 PM
I distain the idea of a DM making up all the rules. That's silly. We want to have a strong rule structure for events that both happen very frequently and for which a rule is simple and balanced. No, the person running the game uses their brain for something other than reverse munchkinism. The rules should state what's possible, not what's reasonable, because that varies constantly. And this is what 4th ed does.

In the real world I doubt you'd make much of an impact on a ship with an axe from any angle you can get to from a boat outside. I don't care how strong you are or what design of axe you're using. By the end of wooden warship building these things were so strong that cannon were fairly useless for anything other than damaging stuff above deck. Full broadsides bounced off the ships built from the best trees.

If the US Navy were willing to let you try hacking on a commissioned warship and national treasure, I'm sure you'd find you could hack away uselessly on the USS Constitution day and night forever on end until you draw your last breath and do nothing more than make superficial scars.

As for wood floating, liveoak of a quality for shipbuilding barely does, and ballast certainly does not. If you could find a way for a ship to stop displacing water it'll sink like a brick unless the crew can clear it out well enough.

You do as the rules state, you don't allow powers to work on things they wouldn't work on. Hence "DM discretion".

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 05:41 PM
for comparison- the old Greatship needed 60 sections destroyed to sink it- each had 80 HP, hardness 5. that is a lot more HP. Admittedly destroying one section could damage others.

in the earlier Planar Handbook (still 3.5) the Living Astral Ship was 8d10 + 10d10 hp, if 100 ft long. so, average of 909 hp.

Still way more.

DoomHat
2008-12-05, 05:45 PM
How about examples of things we've seen- in movies- the Huge shark from adventurer's vault vs a Pinnace. How long before the pinnace becomes a wreck?


I seem to remember the shark was in fact LARGER then the boat in Jaws, but all the same. Your average direshark does 3d6+5, about 14 damage a round.
We're looking at about 17 rounds for a 14th level skirmisher all by it's lonesome.

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 05:47 PM
yes- pinnace is slightly bigger. But how many times did the shark actually hit the ship? Not all that many.

The boat looked about 30 ft long- to the shark's 25 ft (20 ft in book)

the idea of a 14th level creature wrecking a boat, over a period of time- sporadic attacks- isn't so bad.

But the idea of relatively small squad wrecking it in short time- with weapons totally unsuited for the purpose,- I can see why the complaints.

now, when the attack form is fire based, and inflicts ongoing damage- one attack burning the boat up (slowly, at 5 pts damage per round), not such an unrealistic concept. Because- boats are waterproofed with tar. Fire anything was feared in sea battles, way back.

Tacoma
2008-12-05, 05:55 PM
In 2E, in Pirates of the Fallen Stars, ships had Seaworthiness and only seige weapons that caused critical hits could reduce seaworthiness. It kind of worked but ships were very durable and often escaped damage completely, though the crew would get torn up and the sails might be down.

In 2E spelljammer, hull points were different from hit point and the two did not cross. Seige weapons and spells like fireball caused a small amount of hull damage. Ramming and crashing was devastating though. It worked but ships often took a little damage per round and would be whittled away since repair spells weren't introduced.

In 1E structures had structural points. Seige weapons, giants, and some spells could cause structural damage and it was less than the HP damage of the attack. It worked but it required new magic and large creatures to be added to the table. Eventually that table would be way too large.

In 3E objects had HP and Hardness. Object HP was just like creature HP. And in all my playing we didn't see undesirable unexpected consequences from that system. A low level fireball damaged but didn't destroy a wagon. A mid level lightning bolt destroyed a section of ship allowing boarders to crawl right in. It was completely scalable, balanced, fast, used the existing rule set, and didn't involve arbitrary DM decisions. It ... worked. Completely worked.

In 4E, apparently, the DM decides on a case by case basis, from snapping a twig to cutting someone's spellbook in half to breaking a window or door to damaging a ship, whether each attack type is usable and whether it has some modifier to its effectiveness.

I guess it's plain to me that while this might work, it has a lot going wrong.

D&D is typically not freeform gaming. It's not a system where the rulebook is 30 pages of fluff and directions that the DM is making the rules and the players are playing their characters.

Look at man to man combat. That is excessively well defined in terms of the battle map, tokens, movement, area of effect, chance of success, character roles, skills, etc. Why isn't that more abstracted? Why doesn't the player say "I slash at him with my sword. I'm trying to hit him in the sword arm or his hand so he drops his sword" and the DM thinks about it and says "Okay the two of you circle a while and he lunges at you with a big overhand attack. You rush up inside his attack range and stab him in the arm with your sword. It looks like he's bleeding."

The reason is that the game did the right thing in making rules for such a situation. We don't need to rely completely on the DM every moment of every session.

If you're playing a game like that, though, cool. You really don't need D&D books.

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 05:58 PM
Like I said, it is not entirely clear whether attacking objects is that freeform.

It all depends on interpretation.

some things are more freeform than others- skill challenges.

Artanis
2008-12-05, 06:00 PM
RAW is separate from Rule 0, - when DM changes the rules to make objects undamagable, thats Rule 0. When objects can be damaged by basic melee attacks, thats RAW.

At least- thats what it looked like to me.
*Ahem*



Melee Basic Attack
*stuff*
Target: One Creature
*more stuff*



"Target [Addition]
Player’s Handbook, page 57
Add the following sentences to the end of the first paragraph: “Some powers include objects as targets. At the DM’s discretion, a power that targets a creature can also target an object, whether or not the power lists an object as a potential target.”"

So, by RAW, PCs can attack an object if they meet one of two requirements:
1) The power says it can target objects (e.g. Force Orb)
2) Both the power says it can target creatures AND the DM gives the OK.

That is the RAW. The DM making the decision is what the RAW says to do. So going by the letter of the RAW, in order to use a melee basic attack against an object the attempt would have to fulfillrequirement #2.

And if you go by the letter of the RAW, then by definition that is not Rule 0.



What you appear to be saying is: RAW- nothing that targets a creature can target an object- unless DM chooses otherwise- Which is what we call Rule 0.

As I keep saying, letting the DM decide is what the RAW says. If you let the DM decide, then you are going by RAW. And if you're going by RAW, you are not using Rule 0.



Okay… You win. New example.
Team Generic is a half mile out to sea. Suddenly a Sahuagin Baron crawls up on deck and says, “Howdy!”.
Meanwhile his four Raiders have crawled up along side and start wailing on the ship with their coal axes (which happen to be stated like tridents), while a couple Priests fire off water bolts from out in the water.
The Raiders each do 1d8+5 damage, an average of 9
The Priests each do 2d8+5 damage, and average of 13
Each their combined efforts will do about 62 damage.
This gives Team Generic 7 rounds (optimistically) to win the battle, or be screwed.
*shrug* If that's what you want to happen, then by all means, do it that way. If you want them to have more time, use less guys wailing on the ship. Or use the "it looks like attacking but really isn't" countdown thing I outlined earlier.

By RAW, it's up to you :smalltongue:


You edit the RAW to make something that actually works.
...which, by definition, is still the DM making the decision. So you are still advocating something that your other statements imply is greatly offensive to you.


I distain the idea of a DM making up all the rules. That's silly. We want to have a strong rule structure for events that both happen very frequently and for which a rule is simple and balanced.

It's perfectly fine to have events that almost never happen, or for which the rule would be complex and slow, to be arbitrarily DM choice.
Yes, but that has nothing to do with the discussion at hand.




As for Artanis, I say this:

The Rules are written by mortal folks who make mistakes on a regular basis. The Rules are often conflicting or irrelevant. The Rules are not a bastion of stability to which we may cling. Appealing to RAW when in this case the rules shrug responsibility and place it upon DM arbitration is frivolous.

The original poster posted saying the rules are funky and do not work. And he is right. When you say the book tells the DM to decide, that is not an actual rule. That's a lack of a rule. A rule would have laid out a cause and effect situation for which there would generally be no variation. Of course when there is variation a DM must step up and come up with something.

But simply put the RAW claim has failed you because there is no legitimate rule. The book just says "Rule 0, baby" and moves on to other things.
That's right, it's written by mortals who make mistakes. And there's plenty of mistakes that we can point to. Hell, the fact that errata exists is proof that they make mistakes :smallwink:

But you don't seem to grasp that if RAW says that the DM decides, then that is still RAW.

There is indeed a legitimate rule, which means that no, it is NOT the book saying just to use Rule 0. The RAW is that the DM decides, and by definition, going by Rules As Written is NOT Rule 0. It doesn't matter how much you dislike the fact that the RAW says that because it doesn't change the fact that the RAW does, in fact, say that. Spouting off about Rule 0 is irrelevant when, by definition, you aren't using it.

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 06:05 PM
I thought Rule 0 was anything the DM makes up- even if you are encouraged to do that. Saying that paper has Vulnerability 5 Fire is Rule 0. and so on. The description of objects has that sort of thing in it.

Also- in most object cases- the default "dm's discretion" answer is Yes. Otherwise melee characters/monsters of any kind could not damage anything in the absence of a DM's call.

and what happens if you're using an area effect and aren't intending to hit objects? Throwing a fireball into the evil wizard who's in a room full of books you plan to take with you? Does it default to "It's in the area- it takes damage" or "Unless DM chooses otherwise, books near ground zero of a fireball take no damage"?

Tacoma
2008-12-05, 06:17 PM
Artanis.

Rule 0 comes before all other rules.

Just because later in the rules it repeats that the DM can make his own decisions, does not mean that Rule 0 is now in the main body of the other rules.

Are there names for all your logical fallacies?

What you're saying is that the rules leave it up to DM option.

What I am saying is that the rules need to be changed because having a rule is superior to making the DM choose every single time. Partly because the DM could certainly make a decision one way and make the opposite decision in the next round.

They slipped up. They messed up with this rule. It is wrong. It's just as wrong as a rule that says the DM should just decide when a character dies instead of using the HP system.

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 06:21 PM
Now if they'd worded it as "always affects objects as well, unless DM decides otherwise" I'd have been happier.

DoomHat
2008-12-05, 06:25 PM
*shrug* If that's what you want to happen, then by all means, do it that way. If you want them to have more time, use less guys wailing on the ship. Or use the "it looks like attacking but really isn't" countdown thing I outlined earlier.

By RAW, it's up to you :smalltongue:


Okay then, oh wise one, advise me. How do you suggest I run a nautical encounter with these rules? How am I to present a Greatship as something formidable despite their stats telling me that, should the enemy want it to sink (and it makes sense that they would), they could do so in less time then it takes to toast a poptart.

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 06:28 PM
options include- assuming its a misprint and it should actually be 4000 Hp. Which would, considering its volume, not be far off.

Also- assuming the "Additional vulnerabilities" bit in DMG can be used- fire- in this case- the whole thing is coated in tar anyway.

Ressurrecting the Hardness rule (5 at most) is a third possibility.

Tacoma
2008-12-05, 06:34 PM
The answer requires knowledge of the attackers' statistics and general proportions of the ship and its value compared to other investments.

Say you have a 100' long ship with an enclosed top deck, maybe a deck underwater, and a fore and aft castle.

Goblins slide up with a rowboat? Their hand weapons shouldn't do anything. If they have some kind of underwater drill thing that two of them dive overboard and swim up to the hull to drill with, then sure. Give them 10 minutes to half an hour to drill a big enough hole to take on water.

A bunch of sahuagin with hand drills? Gimme a break. You need a big tool. But if they work on it for an hour maybe a hole that takes on water.

A kraken / giant octopus / other huge thing that's about 30' long? It should crush a lot of the rigging but shouldn't destroy the ship. It might drag it under and make water flood into the ship, though, reducing its buoyancy before it lets ago.

Sea monster that's as big as the ship? It should take about three rounds to entangle the ship, then slowly crush it to peices over the course of another five rounds.

Sea monster big enough to swallow the ship? One bash should knock the ship down to the waterline and destroy the rigging, a second bash knocks it apart.

As someone said earlier, ship wood doesn't necessarily float. It's the large internal air volume vs. the weight of the ship and everything on it that gives buoyancy.

But this is all completely just storytelling. If they were 50th level goblins with hand axes I still wouldn't have them break through the ship. But that's because I don't think Riddick could carve a hole in the ship. You know? It's not really believable.

If we were using rules for it the hand axe of the supergoblins might cause enough damage to eventually make a hole. After all, they cause that much damage otherwise to dragons the size of that ship!

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 06:38 PM
swordfish have put holes through two-foot planking, but one hole isn't much.

Sharks can bite holes in small boats, by biting or ramming, but jaws would not do much to the thick planking of a greatship.

Really though, its a bit out of place among the other, rather flimsier, vehicles.

Though it is a carrack, not a galleon- just how tough were the carracks of the early Wars of the Roses era?

RPGuru1331
2008-12-05, 06:39 PM
Ressurrecting the Hardness rule (5 at most) is a third possibility.

Why would you resurrect the Hardness rule? How is Resistance 5 not sufficient?

And yes, I am aware that they're the same thing. But the idea of 'resurrecting rules' is more then slightly more effort.

hamishspence
2008-12-05, 06:40 PM
well, close enough- Resistance 5 Everything, or Resistance 5 Physical (leaving room for energy, fire, lightning, etc)

RPGuru1331
2008-12-05, 06:41 PM
well, close enough- Resistance 5 Everything, or Resistance 5 Physical (leaving room for energy, fire, lightning, etc)

Hardness applied to energy damage too, actually. I just said 5 untyped resistance so that low levels take a while to saw through it

Shadowtraveler
2008-12-05, 07:05 PM
In response to the OP, you probably should have bought some Ballistas, or at least some men-at-arms. Going out to see when Hydra attack is a greater than 0 percent possibility is suicide, to say nothing of pirates.

Tacoma
2008-12-05, 07:40 PM
Says the man with a pirate avatar.

Methinks this is some kind of ship insurance scam.

Artanis
2008-12-05, 10:04 PM
Artanis.

Rule 0 comes before all other rules.

Just because later in the rules it repeats that the DM can make his own decisions, does not mean that Rule 0 is now in the main body of the other rules.

Are there names for all your logical fallacies?

What you're saying is that the rules leave it up to DM option.

What I am saying is that the rules need to be changed because having a rule is superior to making the DM choose every single time. Partly because the DM could certainly make a decision one way and make the opposite decision in the next round.

They slipped up. They messed up with this rule. It is wrong. It's just as wrong as a rule that says the DM should just decide when a character dies instead of using the HP system.
All of which is completely irrelevant. I am discussing what the rules SAY, right or wrong, good or bad. If you want to discuss what the rules should say or whether WotC screwed up or whatever, that's fine, so long as you stop trying to drag me into your little tangent that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with what I'm talking about.


I thought Rule 0 was anything the DM makes up- even if you are encouraged to do that. Saying that paper has Vulnerability 5 Fire is Rule 0. and so on. The description of objects has that sort of thing in it.
Rule 0 is that the DM is allowed to ignore and/or change the rules if he thinks it'll make things better.

Deciding whether or not something affects an object is exactly what the rules tell the DM to do. If the DM is following the rules to the letter, then he isn't ignoring them or changing them or making up new RULES, now is he?



Also- in most object cases- the default "dm's discretion" answer is Yes. Otherwise melee characters/monsters of any kind could not damage anything in the absence of a DM's call.
Probably, yeah. Most times, a DM would probably let the player attack an object. But there's times when he wouldn't ("you want to shoot an arrow at the enemy boat? Have fun wasting ammo.")



and what happens if you're using an area effect and aren't intending to hit objects? Throwing a fireball into the evil wizard who's in a room full of books you plan to take with you? Does it default to "It's in the area- it takes damage" or "Unless DM chooses otherwise, books near ground zero of a fireball take no damage"?
You ask the DM. Just like in every single other edition of every single system ever, if you aren't sure, you ask the DM.



Okay then, oh wise one, advise me. How do you suggest I run a nautical encounter with these rules? How am I to present a Greatship as something formidable despite their stats telling me that, should the enemy want it to sink (and it makes sense that they would), they could do so in less time then it takes to toast a poptart.
I said it a few posts ago. Describe the bad guys' progress, and when it's been however long you want it to take, there ya go, bad guys have disabled the boat.

skywalker
2008-12-06, 01:28 AM
Wow, people are still arguing about a boat. How many adventurers do you think will actually even use the damn thing? It's expensive enough that by the time you can buy it, you've got better means of transportation, right? I wanted to contribute tangentially to the discussion:

Hardness applied to energy damage too, actually. I just said 5 untyped resistance so that low levels take a while to saw through it

Really, I think a ship should have resistance to most of these things anyway. Lightning damage? That's not really dangerous to something made of wood. Fire damage? I mean, it's wet wood that's been treated, etc. Normal wood is hard enough to get to catch. Cold might be the only thing you'd have a hard time saying a ship should have resistance to, actually.

Shadowtraveler
2008-12-06, 01:33 AM
Says the man with a pirate avatar.

Methinks this is some kind of ship insurance scam.Pirate? Now that's just racial profiling. I'm a legitimate business man with well-intentioned concerns about other people's mechandise.

Dervag
2008-12-06, 02:51 AM
Um, No. Wood floats, the idea wasn't that you put enough holes in it that it couldn't float, it was that you put holes in it so that water flowed into the ship, which would cause it to sink. It won't sink if you put a hole in the direct bottom, but if you got a hole in the side under the waterline it would start sinking.No matter how much water you pump into a wooden ship, it will not slip beneath the waves unless it is loaded with a lot of heavy stuff like rocks and metal. As a rule, the worst that happens is that the ship gets "swamped" (waves washing over the deck). At this point, the actions of wind, wave, and current will destroy the ship in short order.

But the practical point is that you can't really sink a wooden ship simply by shooting it full of holes, unless you manage to break it into pieces. The ship may sink eventually after a storm finishes it off for you, but it won't go under just because you inflicted 400 points of damage on it.
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But using arrows and spears to sink a ship was the exact scenario the OP used, and using arrows and spears was exact scenario that I said would not happen unless the DM wanted the ship disabled anyways. Your last paragraph is my entire ****ing point.Somehow, you managed to conceal this fact from me under a veil of "can only happen by DM fiat." Sorry; I missed it.

On the other hand, maybe I didn't make my point clear, either. My point is that if the system allows a large wooden ship to be sunk thanks to one minute of actions by bow-wielding goblins, something is wrong with the system. It is not enough to say "this can only happen if the DM wants it to." The DM should have to outright suspend rules that are normally in operation to make this happen, because the very laws of nature prevent this from happening.

And the DM doesn't. It is clearly NOT a normal rule that monsters cannot damage objects. Monsters need to damage objects all the time in the background just to live and work. I mean, where did the goblins get the wood in their bows from if they can't chop down trees? How do goblins threaten a peasant who has run into his hovel and shut the door if they can't break down doors?

Arguing that it requires special DM fiat for this to happen because monsters can only attack objects by DM fiat is an argument that creates a larger problem. It punches a hole in suspension of disbelief when goblins would "normally" be unable to chop down trees, break down doors, or cut holes in ships except by DM fiat.

And even if we grant your claim, there is still something wrong with the system, because once goblins are allowed any ability to harm the ship at all (which logic suggests they have), then they gain the ability to destroy it as a functioning ship in about a minute. Even if they have no useful woodworking tools.

Therefore, there is in fact a bug in the system, and one that cannot be papered over by invoking a "monsters cannot attack objects" rule. When monsters are allowed to attack objects, their attack should be reasonably effective or ineffective.


the interpretation of RAW that comes out this way seems a bigger stretch than its counterpart (1st level goblin can sink a ship, with enough time)Oh, if a 1st level goblin is given an axe and unlimited access to the hold, I'm sure he could do it eventually. It's just that it should take him an enormous amount of time and labor- not something he could do in ten minutes, or even a hundred, and possibly not even in a thousand minutes.


Or just do what me and the 4e RAW suggests and...you know...not try to go through the middleman of dinky attacks like that in the first place? If all you want is a countdown to put a time limit on the PCs, why not do exactly that?

*"You notice a small boat come up alongside, and the inhabitants start chopping the hull with axes."
*Later: "The people in the boat seem to be doing some damage to the ship."
*Even later: "It's looking like they're making some real progress, you might want to do something about they guys trying to put a hole in the ship."
*Not long before your desired time limit expires: "The hull is looking quite weak where the enemies are attacking it. It won't be long before they break through."
*Time runs out: "CRACK! They break through the hull and water starts flooding in! The ship begins to sink!"Let me put it to you this way:

Imagine the PCs are interacting with a bunch of natives on an island. The natives get angry and start chasing the PCs, shooting arrows at them. There are enough natives with enough high-level leaders that the PCs are overwhelmed and flee back to their ship. Now the ship has to raise anchor and get away with angry natives shooting arrows at them.

This strikes me as a reasonable D&D scenario, one that the mechanics should support. But it looks like if we use 4e mechanics, there's a problem. Any arrow that can hit the ship damages it, and the ship is a big target. If there are thirty or forty guys with bows attacking the ship it will take 400 points of damage very quickly and be destroyed.

The only solutions are:

-Make the ship invulnerable to random arrows
-Do not make the ship invulnerable to random arrows.

If we choose (2) we wind up with a ridiculous situation in which ships can be nibbled to death by piranha or sunk by a volley of arrows. If we choose (1), and do not want to simply pull an arbitrary fiat out of our hats, we need to modify the 4e rules to make objects harder to kill using random low-damage attacks. Which is what everyone else is calling for, and what you seem to oppose.

It's fine for ships to be threatened by level-appropriate monsters. But it's really stupid for us to have to pretend that the only living creatures in a D&D universe are the level-appropriate ones because the system breaks down when low-level monsters attack the property of a high-level character.

Which seems to be what you're suggesting.
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If the US Navy were willing to let you try hacking on a commissioned warship and national treasure, I'm sure you'd find you could hack away uselessly on the USS Constitution day and night forever on end until you draw your last breath and do nothing more than make superficial scars.Nah, you could do it. It would take a LONG time, but you could do it. Remember, the USS Constitution is made out of squared timbers cut from liveoak. The timbers were cut using axes and saws in the first place. If you attack them with an axe or saw long enough, you will break through.

I mean, how do you think they repaired these ships once they were built? The carpenters had to be able to work on the ship- which meant being able to work the wood the ship was made from. Doing that kind of work could take hours. Splitting a big log or beam in half with an axe across the grain takes a LONG time, even if you use a very sharp axe. But while it's hard work, it's not physically impossible.


As for wood floating, liveoak of a quality for shipbuilding barely does, and ballast certainly does not. If you could find a way for a ship to stop displacing water it'll sink like a brick unless the crew can clear it out well enough.Point.


You do as the rules state, you don't allow powers to work on things they wouldn't work on. Hence "DM discretion".Thing is, if a wizard has "throw balls of fire" powers, it's going to be hard for me as a DM to claim with a straight face that those powers can't be used to set objects on fire. Is that what I have to do?
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yes- pinnace is slightly bigger. But how many times did the shark actually hit the ship? Not all that many.

The boat looked about 30 ft long- to the shark's 25 ft (20 ft in book)

the idea of a 14th level creature wrecking a boat, over a period of time- sporadic attacks- isn't so bad.Worked for Moby... uh, Richard.

(The board censors the title of that famous whaling novel).
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I said it a few posts ago. Describe the bad guys' progress, and when it's been however long you want it to take, there ya go, bad guys have disabled the boat.So, sinking a ship always takes however long the DM says it should?

Fine. That's called "freeform." It's OK, it works.

But it isn't what I want to play. I want a rule that makes sense and that I, as DM can rely on. The rule means I have to worry less about how long it takes goblins to chop holes in ships and more about the stuff that only an intelligent DM can provide. Like interesting characters.

Given that D&D comes with these big rulebooks, I don't think I'm out of line in wanting the rules to make sense and cover an easily foreseen event like "someone is shooting arrows at my ship; can they sink it?"

hamishspence
2008-12-06, 06:19 AM
Concerning lightning and wood- lightning can set fire to things- and cans live wood to explode (doesn't do much to dead wood)

The problem applies both ways- A DM who sees stats and doesn't think of ruling "no damage" when he sends swarms of weak monsters, and players who see stats, and act as group of not so weak monsters, in a sea battle. If none are mages, and all are armed, they may get miffed at "you cannot damage vehicles"

Maybe Adventurer's Vault will eventually get an errata.

Chrono22
2008-12-06, 06:32 AM
In 3.5, wood had a hardness of 5, and 10 hp per inch of thickness. It was never discussed as a hard rule per se, but the spell Wall of Ice mentions creatures being able to create, then pass through a breach by dealing enough damage to break the wall within a five foot space. It is complicated, but it makes some sense.

In 4e... :smallfrown:

hamishspence
2008-12-06, 06:39 AM
the problem is- it has rules- they are just inconsistant, and its not clear which to follow, or use as the "default"

Similarly- the Dm's option on what "non-functional" actually means. Some DMs might rule that the cart just has broken wheelshaft, others, that its a pile of kindling- though it does allow for narration- you fire arrows- finally several stick between the wheel and the shaft- cart moves- wheel breaks off- vehicle is Non-Functional.

Not a great way, but better than nothing.

DoomHat
2008-12-06, 12:21 PM
Dervag
You are my hero. Everything said in the above post is everything I've been trying to get at this whole time.

Artanis
2008-12-06, 01:52 PM
Wow. Normally I'd make a snarky comment about a wall of text, but it's filled with good points that are well worth reading :smallwink:




Somehow, you managed to conceal this fact from me under a veil of "can only happen by DM fiat." Sorry; I missed it.
My apologies :smallredface:

(And since sarcasm is hard to detect, no, this apology is not sarcastic :smallsmile:)



On the other hand, maybe I didn't make my point clear, either. My point is that if the system allows a large wooden ship to be sunk thanks to one minute of actions by bow-wielding goblins, something is wrong with the system. It is not enough to say "this can only happen if the DM wants it to." The DM should have to outright suspend rules that are normally in operation to make this happen, because the very laws of nature prevent this from happening.

And the DM doesn't. It is clearly NOT a normal rule that monsters cannot damage objects. Monsters need to damage objects all the time in the background just to live and work. I mean, where did the goblins get the wood in their bows from if they can't chop down trees? How do goblins threaten a peasant who has run into his hovel and shut the door if they can't break down doors?

Arguing that it requires special DM fiat for this to happen because monsters can only attack objects by DM fiat is an argument that creates a larger problem. It punches a hole in suspension of disbelief when goblins would "normally" be unable to chop down trees, break down doors, or cut holes in ships except by DM fiat.

And even if we grant your claim, there is still something wrong with the system, because once goblins are allowed any ability to harm the ship at all (which logic suggests they have), then they gain the ability to destroy it as a functioning ship in about a minute. Even if they have no useful woodworking tools.

Therefore, there is in fact a bug in the system, and one that cannot be papered over by invoking a "monsters cannot attack objects" rule. When monsters are allowed to attack objects, their attack should be reasonably effective or ineffective.
I agree wholeheartedly, the system has plenty of problems. A lot of the complaints about 4e, in fact, have been along these lines, that it is not simulationist enough, rather saying "I'm a game, and if you don't like it, too damn bad". Hell, I know a guy who considers 4e to be an overglorified board game, and not an RPG at all :smalleek:.

The presentation of the vehicle rules is one area where it does get a bit out-of-whack even for people who would prefer a "rules-lighter" approach. The rules are indeed lacking. At the very least some sort of example would be nice, but they don't even bother the courtesy of giving us that much . The DMG tells the DM to ignore the "pack of rats" thing (which IIRC was part of one of the more infamous exploits in 3.5), but not an inkling of what to do about attacking objects. The Errata only extends the concept to PC attacks, but doesn't really give any guidance :smallannoyed:

This is another area where I probably wasn't too clear. I'm not trying to say that the rules are good, because they aren't (and two sides of an internet arguement agreeing on something is usually a good sign of something being true :smalltongue:), but rather trying to discuss RAW.

To illustrate in another way what I tend to do, on a football forum, I might look something like this:

Person 1: "Who's your favorite Dallas Cowboys player?"
Person 2: "Dude, screw the Cowboys. The Cowboys suck."
Me: "The Cowboys can burn in hell for all I care, but that isn't what he's asking. To answer what he's asking, I'd have to say Witten. I'd send him to a slightly less terrible circle of hell."

Agreeing with an opinion about a situation, but sticking within the arguement at hand.

I tend to do that a lot, and it tends to land me in situations like this :smallredface:


Let me put it to you this way:

Imagine the PCs are interacting with a bunch of natives on an island. The natives get angry and start chasing the PCs, shooting arrows at them. There are enough natives with enough high-level leaders that the PCs are overwhelmed and flee back to their ship. Now the ship has to raise anchor and get away with angry natives shooting arrows at them.

This strikes me as a reasonable D&D scenario, one that the mechanics should support. But it looks like if we use 4e mechanics, there's a problem. Any arrow that can hit the ship damages it, and the ship is a big target. If there are thirty or forty guys with bows attacking the ship it will take 400 points of damage very quickly and be destroyed.

The only solutions are:

-Make the ship invulnerable to random arrows
-Do not make the ship invulnerable to random arrows.

If we choose (2) we wind up with a ridiculous situation in which ships can be nibbled to death by piranha or sunk by a volley of arrows. If we choose (1), and do not want to simply pull an arbitrary fiat out of our hats, we need to modify the 4e rules to make objects harder to kill using random low-damage attacks. Which is what everyone else is calling for, and what you seem to oppose.

It's fine for ships to be threatened by level-appropriate monsters. But it's really stupid for us to have to pretend that the only living creatures in a D&D universe are the level-appropriate ones because the system breaks down when low-level monsters attack the property of a high-level character.

Which seems to be what you're suggesting.
That's not what I'm suggesting. I completely agree that the RAW is flawed, no matter how much somebody likes its fundamental basis. I'm just saying that, like it or not, RAW is RAW, and we either have to change it or deal with it :smallfrown:


So, sinking a ship always takes however long the DM says it should?

Fine. That's called "freeform." It's OK, it works.

But it isn't what I want to play. I want a rule that makes sense and that I, as DM can rely on. The rule means I have to worry less about how long it takes goblins to chop holes in ships and more about the stuff that only an intelligent DM can provide. Like interesting characters.

Given that D&D comes with these big rulebooks, I don't think I'm out of line in wanting the rules to make sense and cover an easily foreseen event like "someone is shooting arrows at my ship; can they sink it?"
I agree that wanting rules is not out of line. My problem is that like it or not, they don't, and I'm trying to look for ways to work within that system. Would it be a better solution just to change things? Sure. I'm just saying that that's outside of what I'm trying to discuss :smallwink:

As for freeform, I don't know if I'd consider it completely freeform because whether the DM basically takes an egg timer and sets it to X turns or sets up the enemies in such a way that it would take X turns' worth of attacks to sink the boat, it'll still take X turns and still. I'm just trying to suggest what to do if you resign yourself to what you hate and using the egg timer, even though the egg timer is a bad way of doing it.



So in conclusion, my arguement in this thread is basically this:
1) The RAW sucks.
2) But if you decide to use the RAW anyways, despite it sucking...*points up*
:smallwink:

Tacoma
2008-12-06, 03:29 PM
Cool. Sorry for the kind of pointless arguing.

Seems I just feel that the textbook RAW has no value and should be houseruled to death until it actually works.

Well. Little value. It exists as a scaffold anyway.

skywalker
2008-12-06, 04:08 PM
Concerning lightning and wood- lightning can set fire to things- and cans live wood to explode (doesn't do much to dead wood)

I'm pretty sure ships are definitively dead wood.

It would be pretty crazy if they weren't.

Maybe if you had a ship tree...

Oslecamo
2008-12-06, 07:06 PM
But it isn't what I want to play. I want a rule that makes sense and that I, as DM can rely on. The rule means I have to worry less about how long it takes goblins to chop holes in ships and more about the stuff that only an intelligent DM can provide. Like interesting characters.

Given that D&D comes with these big rulebooks, I don't think I'm out of line in wanting the rules to make sense and cover an easily foreseen event like "someone is shooting arrows at my ship; can they sink it?"

Someone is shooting arrows at my:
-Metal golem.
-Big dragon with metal like scales.
-Air/fire/lighting/granite/water elemental.

Can they destroy it? HELL YES! This is D&D! Everybody is suposed to be able to damage anything with pointy sticks! The wizard has shot down logic a long time ago and it is now bleeding on the floor, so of course the goblins can take down your ship, because otherwise they aren't a threat.

Specially 4e. It's one of the main balancing factors. If you take it, you start to go down the path of brokeness.

hamishspence
2008-12-07, 03:38 PM
Also- point to remember- the 3.5 ed Greatship, a Carrack (old style merchant ship- Wars of the Rose era and before- was 150 ft long. This is a 100 ft long Greatship. Its not exactly the Mary Rose- maybe the "cannonballs bouncing off the hull" thing overestimates the durability of an early-model Greatship.