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  1. - Top - End - #1
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Encounters of the High Seas!

    Some time ago I Started DMing a pirating/ sea faring campaign, which is mostly (though not wholly) a sandbox. a bit of a challenge for me, but I hope it will turn well. the players made a few enemies, stood up to The Empire (TM- an oppressive human colonial force) and have just got a ship!

    when due to real life we had to stop for awhile... but now we might return! I'm not yet sure of the players plans, but I know they will involve quite a bit of sailing in the isles, which leads me to the topic of this thread- what lovely, bizarre, dangerous, nasty, puzzling, bewildering, funny, awkward (and so on) things might they encounter in their travels?

    In short, I want to build an interesting "random" encounter table- not just battles and such, but interesting encounters that have either complex battles, evoke roleplay opportunities, involve mystery, and most of all- bring interesting choices to the fore.

    preferably these encounters could be mostly solved within themselves, and take 1-3 hours to deal with at most, but some clues or hooks for greater adventures are also welcome.

    some facts about the world:
    Spoiler
    Show
    • There are TONS of isles, many might hold their own mini cultures, races and so on
    • there are tow main cultures- one is a multitude of races, chaotic, freedom loving and well, "piraty", these are the islanders (from which the PCs hail) they encompass all the common races but humans. the humans form another culture- The Empire, which is superior in training, equipment and more. They are sort of "the bad guys", only that is just the view the islanders get. they can be ok guys as well.
    • magic: islanders magic uses mostly a combination of spontaneous casting and similar magic (sorcerers, favored souls, binders, warlocks, and so on) with heavy overtones of voodoo magic and instinctual approach. the Empire uses learned/ prepared magic (mostly wizards and clerics). THESE cannot be changed,.. part of the Theme for the campaign.
    • the 3 major races of the islanders: the orcs who are sort of the WoW orcs (powerful honorable shamanistic warriors), the elves (excellent seamen ruthless bastards of the seas), dwarves (diplomats and merchants, they get a bonus to diplomacy in these house rules) and shoalings (aquatic halflings, migrating gypsy like)
    • the empire has vast fleets that patrol the seas, and on the whole their ships are better.. they don't care much except for direct threats to the Empire and it's people, and making sure their trade is intact. The party however just stole an Empire ship, and killed quite a few Empire people. So the Empire does want to capture them
    • lots of old relics and ruins amongst the isles, mostly from a bygone age of horror and so on, you know the drill...


    What ideas do you have? help me make the players adventure more intriguing!



    Search word: piratewitch
    Last edited by Kol Korran; 2013-02-20 at 11:45 AM.

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  2. - Top - End - #2
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Greenish's Avatar

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    Default Re: Encounters of the High Seas!



    Scale up according to the size of the vessel.
    Quotes:
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    Quote Originally Posted by Claudius Maximus View Post
    Also fixed the money issue by sacrificing a goat.
    Quote Originally Posted by subject42 View Post
    This board needs a "you're technically right but I still want to crawl into the fetal position and cry" emoticon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yukitsu View Post
    I define [optimization] as "the process by which one attains a build meeting all mechanical and characterization goals set out by the creator prior to its creation."
    Praise for avatar may be directed to Derjuin.

  3. - Top - End - #3
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
    Kobold

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    Default Re: Encounters of the High Seas!

    http://www.hoax-slayer.com/kayak-mouth-whale.shtml

    Ahem... that was a hoax! :P :P

    Besides, that would be a cruel thing to do as a DM; have the groups face a colossal+++ epic threat that snaps the boat in half? Seriously, even if they have the hard counter -- ray of stupidity, or shivering touch and the methods of doing that at range, than they STILL might not win, just because the creature's muscles are paralyzed, what with sheer inertia and mass of the creature involved...

  4. - Top - End - #4
    Titan in the Playground
     
    Greenish's Avatar

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    Default Re: Encounters of the High Seas!

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavinfoxx View Post
    Ahem... that was a hoax!

    The Ocean Strider does not care.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gavinfoxx View Post
    Besides, that would be a cruel thing to do as a DM; have the groups face a colossal+++ epic threat that snaps the boat in half?
    Scale it up more, have it swallow the whole ship, the adventure will be about sailing your ship out of the stomach of the giant whale.
    Quotes:
    Spoiler
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    Quote Originally Posted by Claudius Maximus View Post
    Also fixed the money issue by sacrificing a goat.
    Quote Originally Posted by subject42 View Post
    This board needs a "you're technically right but I still want to crawl into the fetal position and cry" emoticon.
    Quote Originally Posted by Yukitsu View Post
    I define [optimization] as "the process by which one attains a build meeting all mechanical and characterization goals set out by the creator prior to its creation."
    Praise for avatar may be directed to Derjuin.

  5. - Top - End - #5
    Colossus in the Playground
     
    hamishspence's Avatar

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    Default Re: Encounters of the High Seas!

    From the same book- Leviathan:

    Marut-2 Avatar by Serpentine
    New Marut Avatar by Linkele

  6. - Top - End - #6
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Encounters of the High Seas!

    Hey there, glad to hear your seafaring campaign is ready to weigh anchor again.

    Here's a few basic ideas, one of them fairly goofy, the others more serious.

    1. The Iceman Cometh

    The islands are fairly tropical, right? Let your PCs come across a great mountain of ice drifting in the current, half a mile wide with ice-cliffs rising for hundreds of feet above the ocean's surface.

    How does a fragment of ice-shelf survive on the tropical seas? It's the mobile lair of an ice-druid from the far north, who's come down to warmer seas to wreak icy havoc. You can give him Snowcasting and some other frozen goodies from Frostburn. If you want to be extra-harsh on your PCs, have them make a series of Profession (sailor) checks to avoid their hull being punctured by the ice-reefs that extend out from the ice-shelf below the waterline.

    For extra silliness, base him on a Siberian shaman who trips out on cold-adapted psychedelic mushrooms, and whose master plan involves recreating Arctic conditions in more populated regions so the mushrooms will flourish and all humanity can peacefully mellow out. (Yes, it's goofy. Told you.)

    2. Time and Tide Wait for No Man

    More seriously, give the PCs a pressing reason to navigate a narrow passage between several steep, towering tropical islands. Being chased by one of the Empire's frigates could be a good incentive.

    Then give them a tricky situation: they have a decent wind at their back, but the tides are running hard against them, and the pursuing Imperial ship is captained by an expert mariner who's maneuvering to close the distance.

    The narrow passage between the islands creates a stiff current as well as contrary winds, forcing the PCs to make hard choices from a tactical as well as a purely nautical perspective. Use terrain, currents, wind and tide to challenge the PCs in their own element, with the Imperial ship stalking them closely, waiting for the slightest mistake.

    3. Dire Anglerfish. Need I Say More?

    Finally, let me direct you to Mephibosheth's excellent homebrewed anglerfish, including the Anglerfish Swarm (Pseudoceratias accumulans) and the dreaded Dire Anglerfish (Megaceratias profundis), which are just awesome.

    Every seafaring campaign could use a Dire Anglerfish. Just sayin'.

    .
    Last edited by Palanan; 2013-02-20 at 09:01 PM.

  7. - Top - End - #7
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Encounters of the High Seas!

    This thread had quite a few ideas, several provided by myself. About halfway down that page is one of the best sets of encounters I've ever designed.

  8. - Top - End - #8
    Firbolg in the Playground
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    Default Re: Encounters of the High Seas!

    In fact, that's a thread which is still relevant to my own seafaring campaign, so my players stay out.



    And I do have to say, my hat's off to BF for his crazy-inventive encounter design. This guy is dangerous with the shocker lizards.

  9. - Top - End - #9
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Encounters of the High Seas!

    Quote Originally Posted by Greenish View Post

    The Ocean Strider does not care.
    While I don't much like the ocean strider as it is, I think that this (somewhat of a joke?) idea might turn into something useful- a certain kind of sea faring colossal nomadic giant/s? msot of the "ocean" in the campaign is called the shallow sea- it's not that deep, so giants (fantasy giant size, not D&D large/ huge giant size) might actually stride it. hmmmm, need more developing...


    Quote Originally Posted by Palanan View Post
    Hey there, glad to hear your seafaring campaign is ready to weigh anchor again.

    Here's a few basic ideas, one of them fairly goofy, the others more serious.

    1. The Iceman Cometh

    The islands are fairly tropical, right? Let your PCs come across a great mountain of ice drifting in the current, half a mile wide with ice-cliffs rising for hundreds of feet above the ocean's surface.

    How does a fragment of ice-shelf survive on the tropical seas? It's the mobile lair of an ice-druid from the far north, who's come down to warmer seas to wreak icy havoc. You can give him Snowcasting and some other frozen goodies from Frostburn. If you want to be extra-harsh on your PCs, have them make a series of Profession (sailor) checks to avoid their hull being punctured by the ice-reefs that extend out from the ice-shelf below the waterline.

    For extra silliness, base him on a Siberian shaman who trips out on cold-adapted psychedelic mushrooms, and whose master plan involves recreating Arctic conditions in more populated regions so the mushrooms will flourish and all humanity can peacefully mellow out. (Yes, it's goofy. Told you.)
    The ice shelf coming to the tropical might be a really cool idea. Not sure about the druid's presence, but perhaps something else? or perhaps some enterprizing merchant who cut off a BIG bloke of ice from the north, and is bringing it up, trying to trade the ice? hhhhmmmmm...

    2. Time and Tide Wait for No Man

    More seriously, give the PCs a pressing reason to navigate a narrow passage between several steep, towering tropical islands. Being chased by one of the Empire's frigates could be a good incentive.

    Then give them a tricky situation: they have a decent wind at their back, but the tides are running hard against them, and the pursuing Imperial ship is captained by an expert mariner who's maneuvering to close the distance.

    The narrow passage between the islands creates a stiff current as well as contrary winds, forcing the PCs to make hard choices from a tactical as well as a purely nautical perspective. Use terrain, currents, wind and tide to challenge the PCs in their own element, with the Imperial ship stalking them closely, waiting for the slightest mistake.
    This probably won't fit a random encounter, as it requires a bit more particular planning. but i'll keep it in mind for more planned adventures in the future, thanks!
    3. Dire Anglerfish. Need I Say More?

    Finally, let me direct you to Mephibosheth's excellent homebrewed anglerfish, including the Anglerfish Swarm (Pseudoceratias accumulans) and the dreaded Dire Anglerfish (Megaceratias profundis), which are just awesome.

    Every seafaring campaign could use a Dire Angler fish. Just sayin'.
    I don't quite get the big deal about them, except as a pretty distraction, maybe put some pretty pictures or even a movie as a slight break from the normal adventuring... what did you have in mind exactly? what drew you to the angel fish?

    .[/QUOTE]

    Quote Originally Posted by Biffoniacus_Furiou View Post
    This thread had quite a few ideas, several provided by myself. About halfway down that page is one of the best sets of encounters I've ever designed.
    ha, I posted on that thread myself. but your ideas are probably better. I liked the Grell's idea, and the abandoned sailors harassed by the mephits. thanks!

    some other general ideas of my own (all need more work, just the core ideas):
    1. the ambush:
    The Empire learns of the general sailing waters of the arty, and puts 2-3 lonely merchant ships as targets to the PCs piracy, only the "cargo" is a bunch of Empire soldiers.

    2. the traveling gypsies: a large group of pinnaces manned by shoalings (partly aquatic halflings) meet the PCs' ship, offering trade in all kinds of trinkets, including the "useless/ household magic items" found on all kind of threads on this forum. they may have 1-2 really interesting/ powerful magical items to sell, but with a strange price (marry one of their own, or transport her to a different local, or some other mission requiring less fighting skills, more guile)

    3. flying snatcher:A roc harasses the party, and might grab 2 of their crew members, then flying away to it's (just visible) island. the party needs to go on a rescue mission., but may find roc eggs to compensate?

    4. the prince: the ship the party attacks turns out to holda high noble (doesn't have to be a prince, but very high up) who used this voyage to explore the seas incognito. s/he however decide that the PC pirates are more interesting, and decides to join their ship. if they kill him/ her- they are now even more wanted. if they refuse- he calls them enemies of their state. if they agree- well, s/he acts like s/he owns the ship, being quite obnoxious. playing it right though, the PCs might get a very valuable ally! (or a dire enemy)

    5. the ambush 2: The Empire hire a group of mercenery islanders to capture the ship. they make a show of their ship being crippled, asking the PCs to let them on board till a new port. only once the weaker shift is on, and the others are asleep, is when they try to take over the ship themselves.

    need to think of others as well, but these and the ones you've gieven me are a start...

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

  10. - Top - End - #10
    Troll in the Playground
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    Default Re: Encounters of the High Seas!

    Quote Originally Posted by Kol Korran View Post
    The ice shelf coming to the tropical might be a really cool idea. Not sure about the druid's presence, but perhaps something else? or perhaps some enterprizing merchant who cut off a BIG bloke of ice from the north, and is bringing it up, trying to trade the ice? hhhhmmmmm...
    The White Worm ?

    "From spaces beyond the limits of the north he hath come in his floating citadel, the ice-mountain Yikilth, to voyage the mundane oceans and to blast with a chill spendour the puny peoples of humankind."

  11. - Top - End - #11
    Titan in the Playground
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    Default Re: Encounters of the High Seas!

    Here are some ideas, not very well built, but a general concept that could be fleshed out.

    The Island Hungers
    Spoiler
    Show

    The Party finds a young woman floating on a piece of wood and brings her aboard. She appears unconscious and is wearing tribal garments which, after a relevant local or religion check, turns out to be of sacrificial nature. The woman is treated from her illness by the party's healer and she reveals that she escaped an island not too far from their location. An island sealed off by the Empire itself. The details of the ban on the island are blurry at best, having been taken off the charts decades ago.

    Upon arrival, have the party meet some of the locals, who will try by all means to sacrifice the girl. The inhabitants believe greatly in the Island- referring to it as their very own Sea Mother. They do, however, stress that it must be fed every X amount of years, lest she decides to leave them- which would result in death for all.

    The problem- the Island is actually a Fastitocatlon. The creature was a project launched at beginning of the last century by a cabal of imperial wizards who wished to create the ultimate sea weapon. The project backfired, since the beast could not be domesticated, and the research team that helped the wizards was abandoned on the beast to cover their mess up, believing the creature would submerge and kill them. The creature bonded with the initial crew team, who began their own customs in the island and generations later, came to revere the turtle as a goddess of sorts. Given its very low metabolism, the island sleeps. However, when it awakens, every so many years, it is hungry, and it has learned to take food from the inhabitants on its back. Failure to feed the beast would have it go on a rampage across the known ocean. This, of course, could prove to be very good for the PCs if they wish to expose the Empire's dirty little secret.


    The Terrors of Tearra Rehm

    Spoiler
    Show
    A darfellan Shaman secreted himself in this tower long ago, yearning to channel the power of the Plane of Water to give his people an edge in a log lost war. The truth is that the Tearra Rehm, an old lighthouse from the Golden Days of the Empire is now inhabited by all manner of vile creatures called forth by an entity the crazed darfellan believes to be a god from the Plane of water. Actually, the power that calls all these creatures to the rocky islet is a most malicious Caller from the Deeps, who has corrupted the shaman and wishes to be released from the tower which acts as its prison.

  12. - Top - End - #12
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    ElfPirate

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    Default Re: Encounters of the High Seas!

    Daddy!

    The party meets a stranger who wants to get to know his/her father. Who is apparently one of the PCs.

    Of course, that's just on the surface. Actually the stranger just wants to stay on board long enough to let the Empire know (via animal messenger, whispering wind spell, or otherwise) exactly where the PCs are and where they're going and then to get off the ship before they meet the Empire's ambush. Not getting his/her disguise penetrated is also a priority. Unless the players have some utterly mouthwatering loot which the stranger thinks it might just be possible to get away with ...

    The Dragon's Princess

    This depends on the ship actually having a figurehead; seems likely but not certain.

    While anchored somewhere a sea serpent or similar shows up and starts making mournful noises near the front of the ship. If communicated with it will say that the figurehead looks just like a druid/shaman/whatever who was once its friend and it really wants the figurehead. Taking it off the ship is not good for the integrity of the ship, but saying so undiplomatically will land the party with a fight.

  13. - Top - End - #13
    Ogre in the Playground
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    Default Re: Encounters of the High Seas!

    some interesting ideas...
    Quote Originally Posted by Rhynn View Post
    The White Worm ?

    "From spaces beyond the limits of the north he hath come in his floating citadel, the ice-mountain Yikilth, to voyage the mundane oceans and to blast with a chill spendour the puny peoples of humankind."
    I'll give it a more thorough reading, but from the brief look i've got, it seems something quite sinister and epic in scope. I'm looking more for things that can be resolved fairly on the spot. This one might open a whole new adventure or campaign.

    hmmmm, I might incorporate it in the major game nonetheless?

    Quote Originally Posted by AlanBruce View Post
    Here are some ideas, not very well built, but a general concept that could be fleshed out.

    The Island Hungers
    Spoiler
    Show

    The Party finds a young woman floating on a piece of wood and brings her aboard. She appears unconscious and is wearing tribal garments which, after a relevant local or religion check, turns out to be of sacrificial nature. The woman is treated from her illness by the party's healer and she reveals that she escaped an island not too far from their location. An island sealed off by the Empire itself. The details of the ban on the island are blurry at best, having been taken off the charts decades ago.

    Upon arrival, have the party meet some of the locals, who will try by all means to sacrifice the girl. The inhabitants believe greatly in the Island- referring to it as their very own Sea Mother. They do, however, stress that it must be fed every X amount of years, lest she decides to leave them- which would result in death for all.

    The problem- the Island is actually a Fastitocatlon. The creature was a project launched at beginning of the last century by a cabal of imperial wizards who wished to create the ultimate sea weapon. The project backfired, since the beast could not be domesticated, and the research team that helped the wizards was abandoned on the beast to cover their mess up, believing the creature would submerge and kill them. The creature bonded with the initial crew team, who began their own customs in the island and generations later, came to revere the turtle as a goddess of sorts. Given its very low metabolism, the island sleeps. However, when it awakens, every so many years, it is hungry, and it has learned to take food from the inhabitants on its back. Failure to feed the beast would have it go on a rampage across the known ocean. This, of course, could prove to be very good for the PCs if they wish to expose the Empire's dirty little secret.
    An interesting idea. The creature detailed in the wiki is quite underwhelming though, and seems a bit poorly constructed, but I get the main jist of the idea. I'm not sure the Empire will create such a creature (not quite fitting with their methods) but it just might be perfect for something the islanders have created to try and fight the Empire.

    Intriguing... intriguing indeed!

    The Terrors of Tearra Rehm

    Spoiler
    Show
    A darfellan Shaman secreted himself in this tower long ago, yearning to channel the power of the Plane of Water to give his people an edge in a log lost war. The truth is that the Tearra Rehm, an old lighthouse from the Golden Days of the Empire is now inhabited by all manner of vile creatures called forth by an entity the crazed darfellan believes to be a god from the Plane of water. Actually, the power that calls all these creatures to the rocky islet is a most malicious Caller from the Deeps, who has corrupted the shaman and wishes to be released from the tower which acts as its prison.
    Interesting idea. I find the Caller from the Deeps a bit simplistic, but maybe that could be arranged. though a battle with it and the shaman might prove very quite challenging. My prty is level 4 right now, so this will probably have to wait a bit.

    How to get the party interested in this however? needs a bit of work.

    Quote Originally Posted by avr View Post
    Daddy!

    The party meets a stranger who wants to get to know his/her father. Who is apparently one of the PCs.

    Of course, that's just on the surface. Actually the stranger just wants to stay on board long enough to let the Empire know (via animal messenger, whispering wind spell, or otherwise) exactly where the PCs are and where they're going and then to get off the ship before they meet the Empire's ambush. Not getting his/her disguise penetrated is also a priority. Unless the players have some utterly mouthwatering loot which the stranger thinks it might just be possible to get away with ...
    This is an AWESOME idea! especially since one of the PCs is a sort of dashing charming ladies man who has a woman art every port and such. it would be great to spring this on him! however, I intend this to be his real child, who out of spite might work for the Empire, or whatever.

    The Dragon's Princess

    This depends on the ship actually having a figurehead; seems likely but not certain.

    While anchored somewhere a sea serpent or similar shows up and starts making mournful noises near the front of the ship. If communicated with it will say that the figurehead looks just like a druid/shaman/whatever who was once its friend and it really wants the figurehead. Taking it off the ship is not good for the integrity of the ship, but saying so undiplomatically will land the party with a fight.
    cool idea, I like it! Just need to make sure the ship as an interesting figurehead, one that the party might be attached too. (possibly magical?) thanks!

    keep 'em coming!

    1. Special projects:
    Campaign logs archive, Campaign planning log, Tactical mass combat Homebrew, A unique monsters compendium.
    2. My campaign logs:
    Three from a GM's POV, One from a player's POV. Very detailed, including design and GMing discussions.
    3. Various roleplay and real life musings and anecdotes:
    For those interested, from serious to funny!

    Thanks for reading!

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