Once again, blog/design commentary looks like this, but if you don't care about my pontificating:
Actual rules looks like this.
“Voyage” is the generic term for any travel between the colonists’ home territory and the site of their colony: it might mean a literal sea voyage, a journey by caravan, or some complicated magical ritual. The only required distinguishing characteristics are that it take a reasonably long time, has limited cargo capacity, and is exposed to danger en route.
Distance from Home to Colony
The distance from the adventurers’ home country to the colony can be chosen or determined randomly. The length of every voyage is randomly determined as indicated by the distance
- 2. Borderlands (1d2 weeks)
- 3-5. Distant Lands (1d6+2 weeks)
- 7-8. Far, Far Away (2d6+12 weeks)
- 9-11. Half a World Away (3d6+12 weeks)
- 12. A World Away (3d6+18 weeks)
These travel times are roughly extrapolated from the following times I found doing some research. It turns out travel by sail is insanely complex! One of the big complexities I’ve totally ignored is the predictable differences in travel time depending on which direction you were going. For example, sailing *to* North America from England takes much longer because you’re going against the prevailing winds and currents, but the return trip is much faster. Like I said, I ignored this except for the fact that every voyage is of random length. I also ignored the quality of ships or sailors, but you could modify the voyage length rolls with these if you like.
Sample travel times:
England to North America: roughly 30-60 days
North America to England: 20-30 days
Europe to India: 7-8 months
India to Europe: 5-7 months
By default, voyages are dispatched from the home country once every six months. Certain events can alter this frequency, and it should be marked on the colony record sheet. The date that the founding voyage left the home country is considered the first voyage for determining frequency (so for long enough voyages, a resupply voyage may leave before ground is broken on the colony).
Roll on the Voyage Events table once every 4 weeks or portion thereof (example: 4.5 weeks = 2 rolls)
Utterly lost! Shipwrecked or baking in the sun of a desolate land.
Attacked by Pirates or Bandits. Lose half carried cargo value. If rolled again, lose voyage.
Uneventful month, the seemingly endless sea or landscape rolls on.
Pleasant travel conditions! Reduce total voyage time by 2 weeks.
Excellent Travel Conditions! Reduce total voyage time by 4 weeks
This table’s a bit weak sauce compared to the colony events table, but I decided that the focus of these rules is on the colony and its expeditions, not on the voyages to and from them. If you want to insert a more comprehensive table, by all means do. I figure there’s plenty of stuff out there for doing naval stuff with D&D, like Zak's wavecrawl rules.
Voyages use the same cargo rules as expeditions (one unit = one cargo slot filled). It is assumed that any distance that would simply be walked can be handled by an expedition, and so voyages assume ships, riding animals, or other means of conveyance. Therefore, each passenger/crew member takes up 10 cargo slots.
Example Ships with Required Crew and Cargo Slots
Total Cargo Slots
Cargo Slots After Crew
See my last post for my assumptions that led to treating each unit as roughly 20 lbs, and I assumed that each person weighs roughly 150-170 lbs plus their equipment/supplies not counted as a cargo gets to around 200 lbs, which makes for an easy 10 slots per person. This might be assuming fairly skinny people, but blame malnourishment in the early modern period. I’m not sure if the cargo values from LotFP that I used as a starting point count weight from passengers or crew, but I’m hoping all these intersecting assumptions even out overall.
I arrived at values between 10,000 and 68,500 units for ships by taking LotFP cargo capacity values in tons and multiplying by 100 (which is itself a simplification of tons multiplied by 2,000 pounds per (American or “short”) ton divided by 20 pounds per unit). I then cherry picked a few of the ships that seemed most relevant to the implicit setting and useful as examples without wanting to over-complicate it with options.