Jared Dahl wrote in message <email@example.com>... > >Hey DMs!! > >What are some house rules/resources that you use/reference >when you are running a campaign that takes place mainly at >sea? Anyone have modules or mini-encounters that take >place on the high seas?
It shouldn't be too hard to come up with some good ones here... there's lots and lots of sea-folklore. The ocean is a dangerous, unforgiving, and mysterious place. These are minor in themselves, but could develop into something big if the party shows interest and pursues it.... Off the top of my head...
1) Someone spots a strange looking creature(s), which no one has seen before. Bigger things it could lead to... attempts to capture, communicate with, observe, or learn more about these creatures... perhaps they are just ordinary animals, or perhaps it's a dangerous sea monster that's best avoided (if so you'll probably find out the hard way)... perhaps they have their own language, maybe even a civilization, maybe they can offer information or advice, who knows. Perhaps the information gained from studying/communicating with these things can be of value to a naturalist or sage... Maybe some of the old sailors know of the things, but are superstitious and afraid of them, don't like talking about them, and act strangely when they're even mentioned... what's going on?
2) Some debris is found floating in the water. bigger things it could lead to... mystery: what is this thing, where did it come from, and how did it get here? perhaps a nearby and recent shipwreck or attack--by a monster? or by pirates? is there bad weather or a hidden hazard sinking ships in the area? perhaps more is found, a location of a wreck, or a life-boat with occupants, or a ship's log. can a salvage operation be attempted? can the danger be stopped?
3) bad weather storms, high winds and high seas... ship could risk sinking or be damaged, people could wash overboard (and perhaps drown, perhaps be rescued by dolphins or sea elves).... or dead calm and a delay in travel. crew grows increasingly bored and uneasy, supplies dwindle dangerously low and rationing becomes stricter. perhaps magical weather control attempts fail--strangely. what's going on? have the gods been offended? do they demand a sacrifice?
4) funky weather--you've just entered the twilight zone. Natural laws seem to run backwards, sideways, and in spirals. Strange lights, sky is an odd color, eerie silence and stillness, the stars move in ways they shouldn't, the sun sets on the wrong horizon, or doesn't set at all, for weeks... compasses behave strangely (if they exist) Direction-sense is scrambled, navigation hopeless. Odd fog, rain falling up, water spouts... a rain of mice, beetles, toads, serpents or fish... but they're all inland or freshwater species that live thousands of miles away(!) Sky does Van Gogh things, Lucy with Diamonds things... Visions (meaningful? Omens?) in the clouds that only some people can see... Then, strangely, and with no explanation, everything returns to normal. Or does it?
could lead to.... Perhaps you find yourself to be way off course... or that the trip has taken much longer than it seemed to.. felt like a few weeks, but you arrive years late for your rendezvous at the destination, and were presumed lost. You don't even notice until the bard sings of your lost ship's "final voyage" and of the bold adventurers (you) "who never were to be heard from again." Or perhaps upon landing on the far shore, you realize that you're no longer even on the same planet you were on when you set sail... your longitude and latitude are right, but nothing fits with your maps... or maybe the geography's all correct, but where human settlements had long stood, there are now sand dunes... or perhaps strange (alien?) creatures living there, and who claim to never have seen your like before.
5) ships crew becomes restless--the captain has made some questionable decisions lately, and the crew is growing to resent him. Perhaps a mutiny is likely. Who's side are the players on? Is the captain a liability to the ships safe passage? Or are the crew members right?
6) ship encounter--pirates? a fellow traveler? a ship in need? lost? low on supplies? without a rudder or broken masts? Perhaps they have news... or disease!
7) The entire ship is swallowed during the night by some IMMENSE beast. Everything's fine and nothing's damaged. If anyone is on deck that night, all they see are the stars being blacked out, as though something MASSIVE has come between them and the ship. The ship continues to sail as normal, and there's even weather in the beast's belly, and no shore is in sight... Then, perhaps a few days later (who can tell?) the sky reveals itself again, and now it's a bright, clear day. Maybe the ship is completely lost (or was it brought somewhere?) or perhaps it's just outside the port of its original destination? No matter who you tell your story to (and everyone on the ship swears it to be true) no one believes a word of it. Could it have all been a mass-dream or hallucination?
8) Minor mishap--a mistake in navigational measurements has put you off course. Or perhaps someone fell from the crow's nest, or was crushed by a yardarm, or fell overboard and drowned. could lead to... if there's a fatality, there could be a ghost... especially if the body's not put to rest properly. maybe the ghost won't let the ship find land again until things have been set right, or perhaps it just makes its presence felt and causes mischief.
9) Stow away found on board. Put on trial. What will happen to him? What's his story?
10) Someone has committed a crime on board, and everyone is a suspect. It's a mere minor theft, but the captain reacts harshly and turns everything upside down looking for clues to see who's the guilty party. People begin to get paranoid, accuse each other. Maybe fights break out?