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T O P I C    R E V I E W
George Krashos Posted - 12 Jun 2019 : 06:08:04
Is there any means to calculate the travel time by sea from say Westgate to Procampur or Suzail to Lyrabar?

— George Krashos
19   L A T E S T    R E P L I E S    (Newest First)
Kentinal Posted - 19 Sep 2019 : 23:22:01
quote:
Originally posted by TBeholder

quote:
Originally posted by ericlboyd

I would also think outside the box a bit. For example, I could imagine captains hiring sea elf rangers to guide them safely through shallow waters. I’m sure there are discern depths spells, perhaps in Stormweack.

Would sea elf rangers want to work for mere humans?



I do not think any ranger would work for just hire. It though might be possible they might aid/guide for benefit to the race, sea and/or to keep those humans away from certain places.
TBeholder Posted - 19 Sep 2019 : 22:39:56
quote:
Originally posted by ericlboyd

I would also think outside the box a bit. For example, I could imagine captains hiring sea elf rangers to guide them safely through shallow waters. I’m sure there are discern depths spells, perhaps in Stormweack.

Would sea elf rangers want to work for mere humans?
ericlboyd Posted - 19 Sep 2019 : 03:21:28
I would also think outside the box a bit. For example, I could imagine captains hiring sea elf rangers to guide them safely through shallow waters. I’m sure there are discern depths spells, perhaps in Stormweack.
jamesewelch Posted - 19 Sep 2019 : 00:20:28
quote:
Originally posted by Seethyr

I’ve wanted sailing times from port to port for ages. Not just in the inner sea, I really wish there was a guide out there. That’s something I’d buy off DMsGuild in a hot second.



I've seen others asking for something like this as well. If someone could make various distance/time tables for different class ships, I'm sure it would make some sales there.

If someone does all the math, I can format it to meet DMsGuild standards (with layout, cover, images, etc.) and email it back to them so they can upload it to DMG. I only ask for a copy of the document in exchange for services rendered :)

Icelander Posted - 19 Sep 2019 : 00:07:44
quote:
Originally posted by George Krashos

Gary, that’s very helpful. Do you think it would be quicker to take the “northern route” - i.e. up the Sembian coast and then across the Dragonreach?

— George Krashos


Almost certainly, from a navigational and security standpoint. You avoid uncharted, pirate infested waters, reefs and other navigational hazards, and can navigate visually most of the way, never getting far away from civilized ports.

Any other route means being far closer to centers of pirate power, not to mention having to navigate shoals and narrows that must be very dangerous, around the Pirate Isles, Vilhon Reach or Altumbel. Basically, if you don't go north of the Traitor's Isle and the Isle of Prespur, you're clearly more interested in fighting pirates than you are sailing safely to any destination on the north coast of the Sea of Fallen Stars.

Realms sailing technology is well within the real world Early Modern Era, with galleons having existed long enough for there to be broken down ships of that type that such rich powers as Cormyr, Sembia and Ravens Bluff to use as training ships, hulks or similar. This should make blue water sailing (i.e. over oceans, out of sight of land) easy, not to mention that ships and their cargo are expensive enough to make it sensible to have a ship's wizard who can back-up navigational computations with magic.

Despite the extant technology and magic, it is canon that most sailors on the Inner Sea prefer not to sail out of sight of land, more specifically, away from friendly coasts. Given that sailors elsewhere on Toril cross oceans, I've always assumed that this is due to the fact that it's pretty hard to find routes around the Sea of Fallen Stars that don't pass through hazardous waters filled with pirates and uncharted shoals unless you follow the known coasts of civilized realms.

In one campaign, my PCs, who started out as pirate hunters and thus came to know the Pirate Isles well, make a lot of money by having their well-armed ships sail through routes near the Unfallen Stars, with especially profitable ones being Lyrabar to Reth and the Vast to Westgate.

They spend a lot on arming their ships and having enchanted items and wizards that make navigation easier and favorable winds more likely, but they make it all back and more by being able to make more trips in less time than competitors.
ElfBane Posted - 13 Jun 2019 : 17:01:56
George, don't make it too hard. As a rule of thumb, keeled sailing vessels traveled at approx.. 7-13 knots. Specialized cargo sailing vessels (like the British Empire's tea cutters) could travel up to 20-22 knots. But those specialized in moving a compact cargo quickly, and didn't carry lots of passengers. They were lightly armed, if at all, because they would depend on their speed to avoid pirates.
A statute mile is 5280 ft., and a nautical mile is 6076 ft. The legends on the maps are (I'm assuming) in statute miles. This works out to Statute Mile x .87 = Nautical Mile (SMx0.87=NM). For example;

Sailing from Westgate to Procampur takes ~560 SM. Using the formula, 560SM x .087= 487NM. If your vessel is doing 8.5 knots, then the travel time would be 487NM ÷ 8.5 knots = 57.3 hours,,, which gives you ~2.4 days.

Now, as for weather vagaries, pirate encounters, shoals/reefs, etc., I suggest just making them "random encounters",,, however you DMs do those things.

Hope this helps.
Gary Dallison Posted - 13 Jun 2019 : 12:34:52
In modern times maybe but the realms is pre-renaissance in most places.

75 - 300 ft depth would be the average for the sea bottom in this area, and it would only take a slight rise near the shoreline or a rise around an island, or a past shipwreck or particularly large rock and you have a large hole in your ship. The big band of shallows running up the middle of the Inner Sea will have parts that are deep enough for ships to get through and that's what the experienced captains will use, but i doubt the depths of those routes would be well documented or widely known.

Getting into and out of port of course involves sailing into shallow water (nowadays i think they use tugs, not sure what they did in the past), but it is expected that a port capable of handling larger ships would have a clear and well travelled (and indicated with buoys) path into the docks that a captain could use safely. Navigating into port, you can drop sail and be dragged in by row boat, but out on the open water you are at the mercy of the wind (if you are sail only), and if it blows you towards a reef or rock or the shallows, then you are sunk.


I'm operating under the assumption that the realms is about the level of nautical knowledge when the West Indies were discovered.

Of course in the realms there is the added complication of actual sea monsters (like scrags) which would try to hole a ship by making hazards deliberately. Then there are the undersea nations that make war upon one another, the tidal waves, volcanoes, and whirlpools could all help to ensure the underwater landscape of the inner sea is ever changing.
Ayrik Posted - 13 Jun 2019 : 12:15:45
Large modern shipping traverses riverways and canals which are much less then "300 to 400 ft" depth, lol. You can refer to many modern nautical charts, chances are you will find freighters and liners and warships moored in docks or waterbreaks which are barely a few fathoms deep at highest tide. Remember that ship captains used to sail with tides to avoid reefs, and sealevels tend to vary by maybe 5-10 feet at most.
Gary Dallison Posted - 13 Jun 2019 : 08:04:14
Just to point out, I'm no sailing expert, I'm just looking at wikipedia for things, so I could be entirely wrong
Gary Dallison Posted - 13 Jun 2019 : 07:57:45
I think, given the low sea levels, that sailing a cargo ship via the northern route would be suicide, but some experienced captains would do it for a hefty price. I'm sure they would know the only possible routes through the shallow waters and their reefs, but pirates and storms make it risky even for them.

However, there must be some traffic between the nations and cities that doesn't involve a 10 day round trip, and I reckon that is smaller vessels, sailing ships, fishing boats, etc, basically any ship that sits shallow in the water.
There could be a large enough demand for ship taxis that there is a number of boats in each port you could charter to take you to Sembia, dragon reach, impiltur. That route would only take 2-3 days, but still runs the risk of pirates (looking for wealthy travellers to capture using these private hire boats).

I reckon the trireme style slave valleys (single deck) of thay would do alright through the shallow waters and so would have no problem reaching the moonsea and Sembia to stock up on slaves.
George Krashos Posted - 13 Jun 2019 : 04:04:40
Gary, that’s very helpful. Do you think it would be quicker to take the “northern route” - i.e. up the Sembian coast and then across the Dragonreach?

— George Krashos
Seethyr Posted - 12 Jun 2019 : 23:31:49
I’ve wanted sailing times from port to port for ages. Not just in the inner sea, I really wish there was a guide out there. That’s something I’d buy off DMsGuild in a hot second.
Gary Dallison Posted - 12 Jun 2019 : 20:37:11
Well i checked pirates of the fallen stars and Sea of fallen Stars to see if there was anything already detailed and thats a big no (surprising given how comprehensive Sea of Fallen Stars is).

I had a look at one of the maps that details the entire sea in one page. I noticed that the pirate isles essentially divide the Sea of Fallen Stars in two from Tsurlagol to Alaghon. The water around the islands and the coast is between 70 and 300 ft. A definition of shallow water is anything between 300 and 400 ft which makes it very dangerous to sail in.

The pirates add an extra complication to things and explain why its been so difficult to root them out (you sail a big navy into those islands and you end up with a lot of ships with holes in the hulls).

So if you wanted to sail from Lyrabar to Suzail in a cargo ship (coastal ships being smaller and able to sail the shallow waters) then you would need to go south all the way to the southern coast of the Inner Sea and sail through a narrow passage that i bet is a big corridor of ship traffic.
The whole trip would take you about 500 miles to go south round the pirate isles then west and north to Suzail. Between 50-100 miles a day was average travel time in medieval ages, so i figure 75 is the average, which means 6 days travelling.



This depth map sheds new light on ship travel in the sea of fallen stars. No wonder the Vilhon Reach is sooo important and rich, all sea travel must go right past their door on its way between Cormyr/Sembia and Chessenta/Impiltur/Thesk. The sea corridor is probably the most heavily patrolled by privateers and heavily pirated in the whole sea.
Wooly Rupert Posted - 12 Jun 2019 : 18:19:14
quote:
Originally posted by ElfBane

Also, the map that I believe came with TGHotR has a legend. But that map is after the Sundering, I think. Waters levels have decreased and there is more land in The Inner Sea.



The maps never showed the effects of the lower water levels of 4E*, and that's been undone with 5E, anyway.

*(The climatic impact of the lower water levels, and the associated political and economic impact, was also simply hand-waved aside)
ElfBane Posted - 12 Jun 2019 : 15:43:31
Also, the map that I believe came with TGHotR has a legend. But that map is after the Sundering, I think. Waters levels have decreased and there is more land in The Inner Sea.
ElfBane Posted - 12 Jun 2019 : 15:36:46
K.W. Fonstad's "The Forgotten Realms Atlas" has a map of The Inner Sea on pages 6-7. The map includes a legend. You can use a small ruler to make distance approximations.
George Krashos Posted - 12 Jun 2019 : 13:41:19
Hmm, I suppose it would help if I knew the distances across the Inner Sea!

-- George Krashos
Kentinal Posted - 12 Jun 2019 : 12:44:57
The speed in part depend on ship. It also depends on if sailed or rowed. The design of ship matters as well. The time of travel tended to be 2 to 4 miles per hour in D&D rule sets I have seen.
ElfBane Posted - 12 Jun 2019 : 10:46:14
As for top speeds, that's easy. Hull speed is a practical limitation of how fast a given displacement hull can move through flat water, and depends solely on waterline length (note that this is the sailing waterline, which may be greater than the displacement waterline as heeling places more of the hull in the water).
In particular, the hull speed in knots is approximately 1.34 times the square root of the waterline length in feet.
For a generic tall ship of, say, 150 feet, this formula gives a practical speed limit of 16.4 knots. 18,000 miles is about 15,600 nm, which corresponds to about 40 days of travel if maintaining top speed continuously. This is our lower bound - in reality, varying conditions, storms, high pressure systems with no wind (doldrums), and inefficiencies in the necessary route will cause the actual velocity made good (closing speed to the destination) to be lower.
Here's a good record for you. In 1851, the 225 foot long clipper ship Flying Cloud set the record for the fastest journey from New York to San Francisco, 16,000 nautical miles in 89 days. As Wikipedia mentions, the average ship during that era took on average around 200 days.

This is copied from the web in a Reddit post.

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