View Full Version : DM Help What's a reasonable "blown off course by a major storm" distance?

2017-12-22, 01:52 PM
I'm considering a "lost in unknown lands" campaign, and need to know plausible distances (where to place the land).

Ship type: Roughly something of the Cog type or possibly caravel-ish nature. Lateen/square-rigged, 1-2 masts. 20-30 crew (including the party).
Ocean type: Tropical oceans, deep water.
Storm type: Equivalent to a good tropical storm/light hurricane. As strong as would be reasonably survivable. Assume the ship is running pretty-much downwind for several days.
Crew: experienced sailors.

If the storm lasts for (say) 2 days, is several hundred miles a reasonable distance? Or are we looking more like high hundreds of miles?

2017-12-22, 02:04 PM
A quick google search gave me this source: http://www.aoml.noaa.gov/hrd/tcfaq/G16.html

So bases on this, 1400 km or more for two days wouldn't be too odd.

2017-12-22, 04:29 PM
Ships have considerable drag in the water and the crew would avoid catching the wind with their sails to avoid being drifted off too far.

But say they are pushed at 20 km/h, that's still 960 km over 48 hours. Mid hundreds of miles should be quite reasonable. This can easily be way off from the regular shiping lanes between charted islands. If the region isn't charted well and the island not very high, then it might not get spotted until a few dozen miles away.

You can increase distances by quite a lot by having the ship getting damaged and unable to steer effectively until it can be repaired with material from an island. Then they can just keep drifting until a current takes them close to an island. Ships have drifted across the entire pacific this way.

2017-12-25, 10:41 PM
How far is it from England to Lilliput? :smallbiggrin: