View Full Version : DM Help Help with a naval campaign.

2014-06-30, 07:56 AM
I'm currently running a 3.5 D&D campaign set in the 1500s. Its also set in the Dresden Files universe.

I'm in need of ideas for the campaign, So far the party has just been sailing from port to port selling apples and such.
I'm trying to think of some form of over arching story that I could tell with them moving around on a boat so much.
The only reoccurring NPC so far, is a vampire wandering around and spreading vampirism to random villages and then leaving, but that does not fit to well with boats. Vampires take damage from moving water after all.
Does anyone have any ideas?

Edit: They are also in debt to a fey woman. They owe her a favor of some type.

2014-06-30, 08:10 AM
Maybe the fey woman could ask them to eliminate a pirate ship manned by undead and vampires. The vampires have harnessed a powerful air elemental to allow their ship to fly, and the recurring vampire could be their captain, attempting to recruit new members for his ship.

DM Nate
2014-06-30, 08:38 AM
Have you looked at either Stormwrack or Elder Evils? Elder Evils has a nice Leviathan story arc in it.

2014-06-30, 08:41 AM
If you want to keep using the vampire you could also make them a pirate somehow.

Say they have a ring that protects them from the rush of water, kept safe underneath a glove.

Someone with that kind of an artifact could even be the captain of some sort of ship, with human or undead pirates as their shipmates.

Captain Bloodbeard!

2014-06-30, 09:31 AM
vampire pirates....OH MAN THATS COOL. I can imagine these swashbuckling vampires swinging onto ships and just pouncing people and ripping out their necks. I think it kinda falls under the same idea of pirates of the Caribbean. We plunder because....well we can and we need to.

2014-06-30, 09:31 AM
Great ideas! ^_^

I like the flying ship idea combined with a type of artifact. I might keep it a water ship, Bloodbeard sounds like to awesome an NPC to pass up.
I think I'll use a leviathan type thing as something that I'll slowly build up and have come out near the end of the campaign.

Thanks ^_^

2014-06-30, 05:12 PM
Masters of Jade is a book for the Exalted setting, but it's got some pretty sweet plot hooks in it; here are some from its section on the oceanic stretch of Creation's west.

Mining the Grand Amanuta
What appears as an oval island swathed in foliage is actually a behemoth. Jungle plants encrust the Grand Amanuta’s turtle-backed shell; beneath the waves, its myriad tentacles cram seaweed, squid and fish into an austrech-like maw. For centuries it wandered the Western waters unchallenged. Then the Guild discovered a way to use it for profit.
Once a year, the merchant prince Bronze Plume sails just afore of the Grand Amanuta and casts overboard a whale carcass crammed with enough black tar opium to supply a small city for a year. Upon devouring the bait, the behemoth falls into a weeks-long coma, during which Guildsmen peel away tons of its shell’s outer layers. Largely used in lighter-than-water armor for marines or powdered as an aphrodisiac, the shell material has countless other mundane, medicinal and thaumaturgical uses.
The Grand Amanuta grows temperamental due to repeated opium withdrawal. It has taken to destroying ships that cross its path, and its route drifts closer to active shipping lanes.

Luna's Sorrow
Ila-Sharyu is one of countless small islands rising between the Neck and Wavecrest. Its people once made monthly pilgrimage up the tangled green slopes of the mountain Cradle-of-Autumn to the grove called Luna’s Sorrow, where moonlight ripples like water and teardrops turn into spheres of solid silver. When the Guild learned of the place’s power, it sent ships to enslave the people of Ila-Sharyu, herding them up to Luna’s Sorrow and torturing them to wring silver from their eyes. Revolts and infected wounds took their toll on the population, requiring the regular importation of new slaves.
The factor Raia of Windgate recently bought out and overhauled the operation, selling the remaining slaves and replacing them with coffles of the dream-eaten. Onions and capsicum are smeared on their eyes to stimulate a steady flow of tears. Reducing the death toll and removing the need for guards has made Luna’s Sorrow more profitable and—in Raia’s view—more humane.

The Deeps
The vast majority of the West lies beneath the waves. There, amid sargasso forests and abyssal plains, inhuman beings make their homes. Sea dragons, their brows crowned with huge black pearls, oversee meetings of elemental courts in caverns ablaze with Essence lamps. Silt billows up as demjen direct minions of living metal to loot the wreckage of sunken ships. Pelagothropes sculpt ornaments from coral and shell in their towers of kelp-draped stone. These benthic peoples have access to great wealth—wealth that the Guild would claim a share of.
The most notorious site for dealing with such creatures cannot be properly called a trading post. Narwhal’s Horn is a narrow sliver of gray rock that juts out of the sea at a sharp angle. There, Guild ships that wish to deal with the fallen race of the pelagials inscribe messages on iron plaques and cast them into the water. If the pelagial lord who dwells in those depths—his name unknown even to those who have dealt with him—is amenable, he sends a vessel of coral and brass to the surface to accept the slaves and raw metals the Guild offers. He provides in exchange whatever treasure suits his whim.

2014-07-01, 12:48 PM
option one: Pirates, Seaborne Lycanthropes (perhaps raiders), being sent to get a rare substance from an island - go looking in this islands jungles/coral reefs for either monster or substance or whatnot-extra bonus if they establish trading contacts with the natives who are usually hostile, Create a map of uncharted territory and find bring back samples of trade goods (and lists of what they want), deliver emergency supplies to a colony/outpost is desperate need (an is secretly under blockade), look for any survivors of a lost ship that disappeared in island chain known for XXX (insert favorite threat here), prove noble/boyar/captain is involved in the illegal trade of (slaves/drugs/weapons), rescue a hostage from a pirate's den, . . . off thee top of my head

2014-07-01, 05:35 PM
The original novel Dracula has a great primer on how to combine vampires with ships.

The vampire's coffin is loaded into the hold, the crew have no idea what's in it. Crew members start disappearing. A strange figure is sometimes glimpsed above the decks at night. Within a couple of days, the surviving crew are pretty much gibbering wrecks. It's one of the most creepy/disturbing sections of the whole story, because the ship automatically creates an inescapable environment. (There are no lifeboats.)

The vampire pirates idea sounds cool, but if I were a vampire who took damage from moving water, I'd think more than twice about wilfully adopting a career that involved living on a ship indefinitely. If the ship flies, then I'd keep it over land.

2014-07-02, 08:31 AM
Those are all pretty awesome. Thanks everyone! ^_^

I ended up going with pirate vampires for a bit. Then the fey woman called in her favor and they went into the fey plane. The plane had a different flow of time and the party ended up coming out 17 years later. To a vampire apocalypse. There was a very powerful vampire dressed as a plague doctor who just went around spreading vampire to any town he could. Without the party's intervention it spread rampantly and wiped out a lot of life in Europe (kind of like the black death)

So now the party is sailing to the Vatican to get some backup and they are going to go slaughtering vampires. Should be fun lol

2014-07-02, 08:31 AM
Great ideas! ^_^

I like the flying ship idea combined with a type of artifact. I might keep it a water ship, Bloodbeard sounds like to awesome an NPC to pass up.
I think I'll use a leviathan type thing as something that I'll slowly build up and have come out near the end of the campaign.

Thanks ^_^

Glad you like the flying ship idea. The party might be able to rescue the elementals (or whatever is keeping it up) in order to drop the ship onto the ocean to weaken the vampires.