I just started a game where the players want to engage in ocean navigation for trade and exploration. They are siblings, and their mother is a wealthy merchant who financed a ship and crew. The players will run the ship. One is a navigator & astrologer, another is a quartermaster, and another is a pilot. And they are beginners playing their first game and I haven’t run this sort of game before so I thought I should brush up on what skills might be useful and how they might come into play.
I’m hoping you’ll check my work.
Useful Seafaring Skills
• Artillerist (if it has a catapult or similar)
• Astrology (as a fork to Navigation)
• Command (effectively giving orders)
• Heraldry (to identify other ships)
• Navigation (plot a course)
• Pilot (steer a ship through storms, ports, and shallow waters)
• Rigging (complex maneuvers, boarding actions)
• Seamanship (ship maintenance, mending stuff, pumping water)
• Ship Management (supplying a ship for a voyage)
• Shipwright (building and repairing big ships)
• Signalling (communication with another ship)
I could see a series of tests like this for a “routine” jaunt from one port to another: Astrology to pick a good date to depart as a linked test to Navigation to see if you get where you want to go, and Pilot to steer into a foreign port or through dangerous waters.
If they run into problems and are delayed at sea perhaps a Ship Management test to see if the ship is well-enough supplied to not suffer problems. A failed Ship Management failure could lead to a Seamanship test.
Running into another ship would probably start with a Heraldry test to identify it, and a Signalling test to communicate with it. If a fight breaks out, Pilot test to avoid a fight or engage skillfully, a Rigging test to ensnare or un-ensnare from another ship, Command to effectively lead a crew in battle, and Shipwright to repair the ship if it’s majorly damaged and manages to limp to shore (another Pilot test) in a place where repairs could be effected.
I’m having trouble thinking of a Knots test that wouldn’t seem nit-picky. Although I could see it forking into a Rigging test.
Dealing with foreign port authorities might require Haggling, Resources tests, and various social skills. Problems could lead to Bureaucracy tests or gods-know-what. Finding a buyer or seller could be Streetwise to safely find the right part of town, followed by a Circles test and doing deals will probably be Haggling and Resources.
It seems the profits on trade deals are all these fricking Resources tests, with Haggling reinforcing these opportunities.
Of course all this needs to be angled depending on their beliefs. They’re still working on that. For now I’m just trying to build a framework to tweak from.