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Basic Information

A houseboat is a watercraft which has been designed or modified so that it can be used for permanent human habitation.

These may be mobile - especially in the case of those that serve as homes for a population that work along the course of a waterway - or static (theoretically mobile, but generally permanently moored in a fixed location). Static houseboats may, indeed, be moored to one another to create a significant area of "floating town". The ultimate expression of the static houseboat would probably be a full sized ship, hulked and docked and used, effectively, as a floating apartment building.



Houseboat Floor Plans (External Links)

Game and Story Use

  • Houseboats will be common in any watery regions - including archipelagos, lakes, and other coastal regions.
    • In campaigns taking place in such regions, they might be a mobile home base for player characters - and the players will be certain to customize them to their specifications.
      • Someone will try to mount a machine gun on deck sooner or later.
  • Fight scenes involving houseboats are interesting, as they can be placed in any sorts of watery terrain - a harbor, a canal, even a swamp - each of which represents interesting tactical challenges in their own right.
    • Either defending or assaulting a houseboat can be interesting, depending on the objectives of the fight.
  • A sprawling area of houseboats could be a really interesting feature for a city - such an area will probably be poorly regulated and likely poorly policed and could be a challenge to move about. Expect this in costal cities with problems expanding landward but plenty of low rent waterfront. Mix in homes on piles if the anchorage is, or becomes, shallow enough1.
  • Some "water gypsy" culture could also be a useful addition to a campaign - probably working either as migrant labour or as full time cargo haulers up and down an major river or river network.
  • The "apartment ship" could also be interesting - again, expect this where anchorage is cheap compared to ground rent. Perhaps even surround it with boat-town.
    • Sooner or later either the mooring will silt up or the bottom will go through on the ship. Or both. Again, an "island" consisting of a grounded ship that has pretty much rotted into the harbour bottom could be interesting.
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