Adventuring at sea can be simple or more complicated, depending on what you enjoy in your game. If you want to move the party easily from one area to another, you can have a professional crew in a stalwart vessel do the heavy lifting. You can also hire that cantankerous, one-eyed salt with the questionable dinghy to take them up river, all with a little narrative flair, but with little interaction with the environment. Or you can make things riskier by rolling some dice and letting fate take a hand at the tiller.
The current rules in 5e are very light on what happens on and in the water. Below are some optional rules that shouldn’t add too much complexity while still imparting more interest from being surrounded or submerged in water. Continue reading Shipboard Adventures
In describing a scene, the heavy hitters like slathering demons, bubbling lava, and glowing baubles normally take up the lion’s share of the narrative. Weather sounds like something you talk about when you’ve run out of exciting things to mention. Breezy with a couple clouds that look like a puppy chasing a cupcake? Yawn.
Once we introduce mechanical effects, weather could matter, at least in some edge cases. Slick grass, lower visibility, maybe a chance to replenish the waterskins. But what about at sea?
Weather is as important as the dungeon room’s lighting, terrain, and size. Unless you’re simply narrating quick travel, weather is one of the primary mechanical drivers on the sea. Take a storm, add in the boat and crew capabilities, and you don’t even need ghost pirates or dire piranha. But even a smooth sea and steady breeze can affect a party’s decision to deliver the king’s message or investigate the weird tower that’s not on the map. Continue reading Blow Me Down: Weather On the High Seas
Do not turn from the water for it holds death. —The Ypos, from the song Otanna, Her Eyes Narrow
From slender flask to heaving ocean, water has always held opportunity and danger in shifting parts. No other necessary element to life holds such fearsome power or potential and all significant habitations are bound to some source, often at great risk. It offers ease of travel, a ready source of sustenance, and potential for unspeakable destruction. Seas and rivers play vital roles in most great civilizations. In the Serpent Lake Valley, the water defines it. Continue reading The Old Polyhedron and the Sea