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Cepheus General General discussion of Cepheus Engine products.

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  #1  
Old December 27th, 2020, 04:25 AM
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Default Ideas for Sword of Cepheus

The Sword of Cepheus has definitely got my brain cells working, along with These Stars Are Ours and UFO. More about those in a different thread.

One area where I thought might use some changes, or at least more input, was with a few of the career choices; Pirate, Sailor (both Wet Navy), and Barbarian.

For Pirate and Sailor, I would rather use the following rank development.
Rank 0 = Deckhand
Rank 1 = Seaman, Skill Rank Bonus = Athletics-1
Rank 2 = Able Seaman, Skill Rank Bonus = Watercraft-1
Rank 3 = Mate, Skill Rank Bonus = Leadership-1
Rank 4 = Lieutenant, Skill Rank Bonus = Artillery-1
Rank 5 = Captain, Skill Rank Bonus = Carousing-1
Rank 6 for Pirate Career, Dread Pirate, Skill Rank Bonus = Tactics-1
Rank 6 for Sailor Career, Commodore, Skill Rank Bonus = Liaison-1
If a Merchant Sailor, rather than a Naval Career, you could change Rank 4 to Master, with a Skill Rank Bonus of Watercraft-2

Ranks for Barbarian Character:
Rank 0 = Brave, Skill Survival-1
Rank 1 = Warrior, Skill Melee Combat-1
Rank 2 = Chief
Rank 3 = Clan Chief, Skill Leadership-1
Rank 4 = Tribal Chief Skill Liaison-1
Rank 5 = War Chief, Skill Tactics-1
Rank 6 = Warlord, Skill Rulership-1

The Ruler Rank Progressin is based on the Roman system, and quite good, but I was thinking of a different set of terms for Barbarian Nobles. The Roman terms just do not seem to fit.
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Old December 28th, 2020, 02:41 AM
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The Sword of Cepheus used the pretty much standard scale of 10 copper pieces to 1 silver piece, and 10 silver pieces to one gold piece. To convert that into either U.S. or British monetary units, it actually is not that hard. If you assume that the Cepheus silver piece is one ounce, that will equate to the U.S. silver dollar at about one ounce of silver. Now, gold was worth about $20 U.S. an ounce up to 1934, with the British Pound worth slightly less that $5 U.S for the same period. Treating the British Pound as equal to 5 U.S. Dollars, you have one silver piece is equal to one U.S. Dollar, and 5 silver pieces are equal to one British Pound. This will be good for U.S. and British prices during the 1800s, which is a bit later than the Medieval Period assumed by the Sword of Cepheus (hereafter referred to as SoC), but prices were pretty stable during that period. and I do have a fair amount of data to work from. I will be checking some other references for prices closer to the Medieval period, but the quoted costs would definitely apply to say Tech Level 3 and 4 worlds for Cepheus. All prices will be drawn from official sources, generally either government purchases or qualified reporters, who will be named. Exact sources will furnished on request to avoid cluttering up posts with a lot of footnotes.
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Last edited by Timerover51; January 9th, 2021 at 01:07 PM..
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Old December 28th, 2020, 03:46 AM
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The following comes from a history of U.S. Army logistics, published in 1997 by the Center for Military History. These are the prices paid during by the Federal government during the U.S Civil War of 1861-65,

Quote:
The standard Army wagon cost $125 and with six horses or mules at roughly $125 each the total cost came to about $900. Maintenance, including forage for the team, cost about $3 per day. By contrast, a railroad car cost $500, carried eight tons, and had relatively little upkeep.

Mules were preferred over horses as draft animals due to their lower cost, better
endurance, and smaller forage requirement.
The following comes from Marcy's The Prairie Traveler, published in 1859 to give guidance to travelers pushing their way to the Pacific Coast territories of California, Washington, and Oregon from the Missouri River area. The book was highly valued for its advice on traveling across the Great Plains.

Quote:
Besides, they are much more economical, a team of six mules costing six hundred dollars, while an eight-ox team only costs upon the frontier about two hundred dollars. Oxen are much less liable to be stampeded and driven off by Indians, and can be pursued and overtaken by horsemen; and, finally, they can, if necessary, be used for beef.
Basically, at this time, a good mule would run between $100 and $125, with the Civil War driving the prices up a bit. A draft horse would be comparable to a mule, although it might go for around $150 during the Civil War. The ox, used as a transport animal for millennia, provided slightly less horsepower than the mule, but was considerably cheaper, being only around $25 on the Frontier. It also had the benefit of not needing any grain feed, as did the mule and horse. When using any type of animal, never forget that they do require food every day, whether used or not. Hay forage was especially bulky for its weight.

Marcy and the Army quartermasters both figured that the standard Army wagon was good for 4,000 pounds of cargo over good roads in good weather. As the roads and weather often were bad and rainy, 2,000 pounds was the safe load. Now, if you have something like a Roman road, then 4,000 pounds is doable.
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Old December 29th, 2020, 12:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Timerover51 View Post
The Sword of Cepheus has definitely got my brain cells working, along with These Stars Are Ours and UFO. More about those in a different thread.

. . .

Ranks for Barbarian Character:
Rank 0 = Brave, Skill Survival-1
Rank 1 = Warrior, Skill Melee Combat-1
Rank 2 = Chief
Rank 3 = Clan Chief, Skill Leadership-1
Rank 4 = Tribal Chief Skill Liaison-1
Rank 5 = War Chief, Skill Tactics-1
Rank 6 = Warlord, Skill Rulership-1

The Ruler Rank Progression is based on the Roman system, and quite good, but I was thinking of a different set of terms for Barbarian Nobles. The Roman terms just do not seem to fit.
Dunno how many you want/need, but for nobles what about:

Knight/Knecht
Thane
Jarl/Earl
King
High King

Or the Irish subking system?
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Old December 30th, 2020, 01:43 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BRover View Post
Dunno how many you want/need, but for nobles what about:

Knight/Knecht
Thane
Jarl/Earl
King
High King

Or the Irish subking system?
I was thinking more along these lines. I do like the use of "Jarl" though, as that was Scandinavian, and would fit the setting better. Now, you could have both a Rome and a Viking civilization in the same world, so you could have multiple Noble careers and designations. I was just not sure how much adventuring a "King" would do, unless temporarily disposed as was Conan in The Hour of the Dragon, which is available on Project Gutenberg. I will admit that some of my ideas are derived from Robert Howard, along with the Harold Shea series by Fletcher Pratt and L. Sprague de Camp. Then there is Tolkien and C.S. Lewis, as well as the fantasy of Andre Norton, and the historical works of C.W.C Oman.

Ranks for Noble Character:

Rank 0 Noble Skill = Melee Combat-1
Rank 1 Thane Skill = Riding-1
Rank 2 Knight
Rank 3 Baron Skill = Leadership-1
Rank 4 Count
Rank 5 Duke Skill = Rulership-1
Rank 6 Prince

I might drop the "Thane" to Rank 0, move "Knight" and "Baron" down one rank and plug "Jarl/Earl" in above "Count". There is nothing to keep you from tailoring the world you are using to your own ideas. Oddly enough, Howard did write a short story using King Kull of Atlantis aiding Bran Mak Morn of the Picts to fight the Romans with a bunch of early Vikings. Good story. Look for "Kings of the Night" online.
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Old December 30th, 2020, 12:10 PM
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You could just pay homage to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master Guide.
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Old December 30th, 2020, 04:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Condottiere View Post
You could just pay homage to Advanced Dungeons and Dragons Dungeon Master Guide.
That is true as well. I have that in hard copy, 1st Edition. It has been marked up a bit. I also picked up the digital edition to make it easier to copy and paste. By the way, thanks for bringing that to mind. I just checked DriveThru, and the Chainmail rules were available, along with the original edition Greyhawk supplement. I figure it you are going to work on designing or modifying a fantasy game, it is hard to overlook D&D. Now, I need to find where I put some of Gary's later game ideas.
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Old January 9th, 2021, 01:47 PM
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After looking at the Ranks for Sailor, a couple of changes for Merchant Sailor are in order.

Rank 4 should be First Mate as the closest equivalent of Lieutenant.
Rank 5 should be Master as the civilian equivalent of Captain.
The head of a merchant ship company with multiple ships was typical called a Commodore. If a civilian Sailor reaches the rank of Commodore, it should be assumed that he controls multiple merchant ships.

During the time of Edward the Third of England, the crew of an English ship was supposed to be one man per 4 tons of ship capacity. That should give you an idea of what size of crew was required for the early sailing ships. Norse ships tended to have large crews as well, simply for self-protection. Remember that the sea captain mentioned in Chaucer's Canterbury Tales was also part pirate when he could get away with it. Piracy was part and parcel of medieval shipping.
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Old January 9th, 2021, 05:33 PM
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I was kinda tempted to insert a picture of Camina Drummer, the crew of the Dewalt, and her flotilla of three ships.
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