Watercraft is a broad category covering any vehicle that moves through or across water. They can range in size from a kayak to an aircraft carrier, can be manned or unmanned. Generally speaking, they can be divided into ships and boats, using the general principle that a boat can fit on a ship, but a ship can't fit on a boat. But watercraft also includes vessels that fit into neither category, such as rafts, surfboards, jet skis and underwater robots.
Types of Watercraft
Game and Story Use
- From a game master perspective, water craft are often a large and (often) non-permanent investment. They are, quite frankly, a costly pain in the neck during the off-season. You will usually want to rig the story line to allow the players to "borrow" a boat and either sink or surrender it to an appropriate owner at the end of the campaign. Or… if you've got a rich player you want to soak some money from, hit them with docking and cleaning fees at the end of the season :)
- As noted, they make a great money sink - if you've given the PCs too much money, have something fall off or break down. For a working ship, there may well be no "off season" - even if your home port is ice-bound in winter, this may just mean steaming south at the end of autumn and being away from home until the thaw.
- This might actually be a "thing" in your campaign setting, much like the medieval "annual sailings" from the Hanse down into the Mediterranean - as the ice starts to close the Northern Ports, all the Northern merchants finish loading their trade goods and set off on the long trading run to the South, returning in the spring with exotic goods.
- They also make a great mobile base in the right campaign. For this, and the previous point, see Firefly, recycled-not-in-space.