Waterborne Adventuring


Sequence of Play Per Day

  1. Decide course: The players decide on their course of travel for the day.
  2. Losing direction: The referee determines whether the party gets lost.
  3. Weather: The referee determines the Wind Conditions.
  4. Wandering monsters: The referee makes checks as applicable.
  5. Description: The referee describes the regions passed through and any sites of interest that the party comes across, asking players for their actions, as required. If monsters are encountered, follow the procedure described in Encounters.
  6. End of day: The referee updates time records, with special attention to rations, spell durations, and the crew’s need to rest.

Distance and Measurement

Ranges and movement rates: Are measured in yards, instead of feet. This means that ranges and movement rates are tripled.

Areas: Of spell effects, breath weapons, etc. are still measured in feet.

Losing Direction

With a navigator aboard: The chance of getting lost is 2-in-6.

Without a navigator aboard: The chance of getting lost is 100% on the open seas and 2-in-6 within sight of land.

Effects: See Losing Direction.


Aquatic monsters are usually not surprised by ships. Special circumstances (e.g. thick fog) may alter this.

Travel on the Water

Miles per day: The number of miles a creature or vessel can travel in a day is determined by dividing its base movement rate by five. For example, a vessel with a base movement rate of 360’ could travel up to 72 miles in a day.


The distance travelled in a day may be affected by the prevailing water and weather conditions:

  • River travel: Water currents may increase (when moving downstream) or decrease (when moving upstream) the distance travelled by 1d6+6 miles per day.
  • Sailing: The movement rate of sailing vessels is affected by the prevailing wind conditions. See Wind Conditions.


Land: On a clear day, land can be spotted at a distance of 24 miles. This may be reduced based on light and weather conditions.

Ships: May be sighted and identified at 300 yards on a clear day or as little as 40 yards in dense fog.

Wandering Monsters

Frequency: A check is typically rolled once per day, but the referee may choose to make more checks: up to 3 or 4 a day.

Chance: The chance of encountering a wandering monster is 2-in-6 on oceans or rivers, 3-in-6 in swamps.

Distance: Wandering monsters are encountered 4d6 × 10 yards away. If either side is surprised (see Encounters), this is reduced to 1d4 × 10 yards.

Location: Aquatic encounters may occur either on the open water or on land, if the party docks at some point during the day.

Wind Conditions

Wind conditions at sea affect the rate at which a sailing vessel can travel. Extreme winds can also make travel hazardous. The referee should check the wind conditions at the start of each day, rolling 2d6:

  • 2: No wind; sailing is not possible.
  • 3–11: Normal sailing is possible.
  • 12: Gale or storm; sailing vessels’ speed tripled (see Gales and Storms).

Variable Wind Conditions (Optional Rule)

2d6 Wind Effect
2 No wind Sailing impossible. Movement by oar at 1/3 rate (due to fatigue).
3 Faint breeze Sailing movement rate reduced to 1/3 normal.
4 Gentle breeze Sailing movement rate reduced to 1/2 normal.
5 Moderate breeze Sailing movement rate reduced to 2/3 normal.
6–8 Fresh breeze Normal sailing movement rate.
9 Strong breeze Sailing movement rate increased by 1/3.
10 High wind Sailing movement rate increased by 1/2.
11 Near gale Sailing movement rate doubled. See Near Gales.
12 Gale or storm Sailing movement rate tripled. See Gales and Storms.

Groups who prefer a slightly more detailed system of sea travel may use the table above, which adds extra detail to the daily 2d6 wind conditions roll.

Near Gales

Seaworthy vessels: Have a 10% chance of taking on water.

Unseaworthy vessels: Have a 20% chance of taking on water.

Effect of taking on water: The ship’s movement rare is reduced by one third until repaired at a dock.

Gales and Storms

Seaworthy vessels: Sailing vessels can attempt to move with the wind to avoid damage. This is handled as follows:

  • The vessel travels at three times its normal speed in a randomly determined direction. (The referee may roll 1d6, with 1 indicating the intended direction of travel, 2 indicating 60° to the right, 3 indicating 120° to the right, and so on.)
  • If the ship encounters land during this travel, there is a 75% chance of it wrecking against the shore.

Unseaworthy vessels:

  • There is an 80% chance of the vessel being overrun with water and sinking.
  • If the vessel is in sight of land when the gale hits, it may attempt to beach. If the shore is relatively clear of physical dangers (rocks, cliffs, etc.), this is automatically successful; otherwise there is a 2-in-6 chance of finding a safe harbour to weather the storm.