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Author Topic: Port Empire City  (Read 11635 times)
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« Reply #15 on: September 04, 2008, 10:28:46 AM »

My basic assumption was you were talking about posting info to the boards. If instead you were discussing how much information to put into a large, multi-purpose product (e.g. 10kb), my balance shifts a little further away from detailed information on one subject.

I would appreciate seeing a small, PDF-only supplement dealing with ports. I'd want information primarily on operations and security (though I admit to not knowing enough about ports to know if I want something else). The greatest utility would porbably come from covering three time periods: sail, steam, and modern. I'd also want a discussion on how a high-magic setting might change ops, security, and whatever else you are discussing -- this could be independent of time period or specific to each time period, depending on how you view things. I would prefer leaving specific campaign tie-ins out of this focused product.

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« Reply #16 on: September 04, 2008, 10:39:15 AM »

I'm not quite sure how much information is wanted, so I'll try and start simple.  If I start throwing around terms you don't know, ask.  If you think I left something out, ask 'cause I probably did leave it out.

Ships need to declare their intentions to the Coast Guard at least 72 96 hours prior to arriving in coastal waters.  (The port they go to can change once the CG has notice of arrival in waters.)  Faxes and emails get this done much easier these days.  If the ship has not been inspected recently or the Coasties feel like it, she'll be boarded and inspected, generally where the ship picks up her pilot.  (Cargo manifests, bills of lading, ship store lists, crew lists and such are emailed to Customs and the agent days in advance.)

Pilots are locals with detailed knowledge of the harbor.  They work for the ship, but the ship is liable for any damage a pilot might cause.  In New York harbor they are required on large ships.  There is often a second pilot who is on board to guide the tugs into the berth.

Often ships enter the harbor with too deep a draft (vertical distance between the waterline and the bottom of the keel) to reach their berth.  They lighter in the harbor to a barge, sometimes all their cargo is lightered and they sail without tying up to land.

[Edited to make right, since I was wrong the first time.]
« Last Edit: September 06, 2008, 06:41:39 AM by MilitiaJim » Logged

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« Reply #17 on: September 04, 2008, 10:54:14 AM »

The general question was for how much to put into the 10kB book.  There does come a point when too much reality intruding on a game setting fouls up the fun.

The vast majority of what I know is about modern ports, and while security has always been an issue, it's a lot more difficult to steal a barrel of rum than a bottle of it, until very recently security has focused on keeping away thieves. 

Everything in shipping boils down to money.  If the price isn't high enough, the voyage isn't made.  If there is a lot of crime in a port and the owner has to hire extra security or pay more insurance, then he raises the price of sailing there.  A shipper (cargo owner) would then turn around and ship to another port and have the cargo trucked into town.  Even back in the bad ol' days in Brooklyn the mobsters kept theft off the wharves, they needed the ships to tie up.
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"Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est."  ("A sword is never a killer, it's a tool  in the killer's hands.")
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« Reply #18 on: September 04, 2008, 04:32:01 PM »

Pilots are locals with detailed knowledge of the harbor.  They work for the ship, but the ship is liable for any damage a pilot might cause.  In New York harbor they are required on large ships.  There is often a second pilot who is on board to guide the tugs into the berth.

Pilots work for the ship, and not the port? When (or where) is a pilot taken on board?

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« Reply #19 on: September 04, 2008, 05:02:09 PM »

Just outside the limits of the port.  The pilots are also paid by the ship, and many (most) ports require ships to hire them.

Remember this past spring, I believe, when the Chinese container ship hit one of the towers of the Golden Gate bridge and spilled bunkers into the bay?  Pilot's foul up, ship's bill.

(Bunkers being ship fuel, harkening back to the days when the coal stored on shore was kept in a bunker.)
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"Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est."  ("A sword is never a killer, it's a tool  in the killer's hands.")
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« Reply #20 on: September 04, 2008, 06:23:19 PM »

Just outside the limits of the port.  The pilots are also paid by the ship, and many (most) ports require ships to hire them.

Huh. I knew it was common to require a pilot, but had thought they were port employees and the port charged a fee to recoup expenses. Interesting.

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« Reply #21 on: September 04, 2008, 09:42:53 PM »

Bunkers being ship fuel, harkening back to the days when the coal stored on shore was kept in a bunker.

Ah... bunker oil... also know as the sludge the refinery scrapes out of the bottom of the refining tower. Wink

The place the coal was kept on ship were called bunkers too, and the term's been carried over to oil as well.
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« Reply #22 on: September 05, 2008, 01:04:00 AM »

Quote
My basic assumption was you were talking about posting info to the boards. If instead you were discussing how much information to put into a large, multi-purpose product (e.g. 10kb), my balance shifts a little further away from detailed information on one subject.

I would appreciate seeing a small, PDF-only supplement dealing with ports. I'd want information primarily on operations and security (though I admit to not knowing enough about ports to know if I want something else). The greatest utility would porbably come from covering three time periods: sail, steam, and modern. I'd also want a discussion on how a high-magic setting might change ops, security, and whatever else you are discussing -- this could be independent of time period or specific to each time period, depending on how you view things. I would prefer leaving specific campaign tie-ins out of this focused product.

I tend to agree with separating out some extra content, but if it plays a major part in the 10KB setting, then why not have it in the main book?  In my experience so far, having everything in the book (even if it makes it somewhat bigger) makes the material more accessible and lets GCs use the material without swapping sources constantly in the middle of the action/planning.  Now, if the entirety of the material is going to be largely fluff and the like and not mechanics, I'm all for putting it into a supplement that I can pick up and read and set aside.  The only sad part about WOF was that there was like 100 pages of story/etc, and 50 pages of new rules/content.  In a perfect world, those numbers would be swapped, or even equal.  Maybe my table is different than most, but the players always skip past the story to get to the goodies so they can mess with their characters.

I understand that its hard to make a bunch of new stuff when SC2 is already so awesome.  I'd just like things a little more even.  So, I say, go stat crazy.  Tables are cool and all that good stuff.  If there are mechanics for something, someone will find a way to use it.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2008, 01:06:17 AM by gaghiel42 » Logged

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« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2008, 08:07:13 AM »

The problem is what people consider essential to the setting may differ. The fact that it's on a port might allow for wacky adventures in Customs, but that's not necessarily the focus of the setting. If you devote too much space to it, you end up diluting what you want to focus on.
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« Reply #24 on: September 05, 2008, 08:35:18 AM »

If you devote too much space to it, you end up diluting what you want to focus on.

Which is exactly why the port doesn't deserve too much attention.  I want to avoid flipping open a shiney new book and screaming "IT DOESN'T WORK LIKE THAT!!!"

I'm all in favor of (mostly) chucking reality out the window for a cool story, but it's even better when the cool story actually could happen.
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« Reply #25 on: September 05, 2008, 09:01:20 AM »

The problem is what people consider essential to the setting may differ. The fact that it's on a port might allow for wacky adventures in Customs, but that's not necessarily the focus of the setting. If you devote too much space to it, you end up diluting what you want to focus on.

Exactly. Plus, with the separate PDF I get more detail, and I get detail not applicable to the 10kb setting (e.g. high-magic fantasy ports). Smiley

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« Reply #26 on: September 05, 2008, 11:36:24 AM »

Most of it you can still use.  To a large degree, a port is a port is a port.  If magic is around, secure storage sheds will have anti-scrying spells on them to keep out criminal diviners.  Where magical invisibility is commonplace, guards will have dogs (or something with a sharp nose) and anti-magic scrolls or grenades or somesuch that disrupts the effect.

The major fixtures will be there too:  Harbor patrol, customs houses.  If it's a modern setting the merchant ships will be nearly unarmed as well.
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"Quemadmodum gladius neminem occidit, occidentis telum est."  ("A sword is never a killer, it's a tool  in the killer's hands.")
- Lucius Annaeus Seneca "the younger" ca. (4 BC - 65 AD)
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« Reply #27 on: September 05, 2008, 04:16:29 PM »

Most of it you can still use.  To a large degree, a port is a port is a port.

Agreed, though some differences would exist (e.g. shipping methods, capacities, times; typical draft capacity; etc). Note the (entirely expected) interrelation of ships and ports. If a product like this got off the ground it probably ought to discuss both ships and ports, now that I think on the matter.

If magic is around, secure storage sheds will have anti-scrying spells on them to keep out criminal diviners.  Where magical invisibility is commonplace, guards will have dogs (or something with a sharp nose) and anti-magic scrolls or grenades or somesuch that disrupts the effect.

I had envisioned this handled one of two ways: 1) a separate section with a period-generic discussion of the availability of magic on port design, ops, and security; or 2) a sidebar within each of the period-specific (sail, coal, modern?) discussions of ports. I lean torward the latter.

You'll note my discussion applies to the separate PDf project concept.

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« Reply #28 on: September 05, 2008, 04:26:53 PM »

Agreed, though some differences would exist (e.g. shipping methods, capacities, times; typical draft capacity; etc). Note the (entirely expected) interrelation of ships and ports. If a product like this got off the ground it probably ought to discuss both ships and ports, now that I think on the matter.

Actually, pretty much any time before, roughly, the 1960s a cargo port would function largely the same as it did centuries ago.
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« Reply #29 on: September 05, 2008, 04:54:22 PM »

Actually, pretty much any time before, roughly, the 1960s a cargo port would function largely the same as it did centuries ago.

Even easier, then. Two "periods": historic and modern. Smiley

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