Rules question, targeting smaller ships

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  • #171092
    Luke
    Participant

    Hi all

    Just looking for clarification on rules.

    If a ship fails its skill check to target a smaller vessel, can it then declare a different target?

    We were unsure so we just played it as the relevant officers would designate a differnt target.

    #171104
    Lotharius
    Participant

    the important thing is to play in the spirit of the time.

    why shoot a small target (harder to hit) than a bigger one?

    As this is contrary to the doctrine of the time I will tend to say that if the test is missed shooting does not take place (even on another target) for this phase of movement. from a playful point of view it will also deter excessive testing. But I recognize that the rule is not explicit on this point it will be more of the gentleman agreement

    #171105
    invisible officer
    Participant

    There was no fire control center in these times, most guns had not even sights.
    There was no way for the officer to “fail its skill check” and just say, OK, aim at the bigger target.

    Fire on a target was normally ordered by the highest ranking alive, ideally the captain. If the master next god say fire at X – you better fire.

    So I would not allow a change of target.


    There had been reasons to fire at the smaller target. For example on convoy escort, if you see a brig attacking the big EIC ship it would be no career booster to ignore that and fight the frigate. Even if you capture it the EIC will make your life very xxxxx. 😉

    #171222
    Lotharius
    Participant

    There had been reasons to fire at the smaller target. For example on convoy escort, if you see a brig attacking the big EIC ship it would be no career booster to ignore that and fight the frigate. Even if you capture it the EIC will make your life very xxxxx.

    you mark the point.
    But then what is the point of doing a test to shoot a smaller ship? would it not be more fluid to forget this point? does this not risk giving a big advantage to a smaller ship (than its target) attempting a boarding maneuver (knowing that the tests are relatively difficult by example for a merchant ship)?

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Lotharius.
    #171226
    invisible officer
    Participant

    Well, low targets are hard to hit in that age. With the rudimentary aiming options, the sides going up and down, most shots just went over the vessel. To loose the guns in right moment was difficult enough against a SOL.

    So small corsair vesels had a good chance to board large merchants.

    The rule seems to be written to represent that.

    #171242
    Lotharius
    Participant

    ok thx (sorry for my poor english)

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 7 months ago by Lotharius.
    #171520
    Luke
    Participant

    Now you have explained like that it does make sense. I was thinking it was more the captain deciding whether to target the smaller vessel.

    But yes it does make sense if a skill test is failed the consequence is not firing.

    Thanks for the help and food for thought!

    #177276
    Vincent
    Participant

    The thing is not because the target is smaller. That’s dealt with in the modifier. The thing is it was simply ‘not done’. It wasn’t the honorable thing to do. This sentiment did matter in those days. Another example of this: it was perfectly viable to surrender to a bigger ship, but not before the bigger ship had fired at least one gun in the general direction of the smaller ship. Thus honour was saved. This is what the ‘rules of engagement’ special rule reflects. Mind you, the little bugger must not take it in it’s bold head to shoot at the big guy or he’ll have it back.

    Of course it did occur that bigger ships fired upon smaller ones. Yet this did take a decision to act against the ruling ethics. So that’s what you test for. All guns are trained on the smaller vessel as prime target. The men’s hands are itching to fire the guns. However on the last moment the captain decided to be an officer and a gentleman and does not give the order to fire.

    This can be a poor decision as I found out once. The brig that thus escaped a broadside returned the compliment by firing a stren rake at close range! You just cannot trust them, can you? 😉

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