Cost of manning a ship (Ghosts of Saltmarsh, DMG)

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
Let me see if I have this right... According to the DMG (p. 190), sailors are expert hirelings who make 2gp per day. An ordinary sailing ship has a crew of 20 sailors, which means that the cost of manning a ship is 40gp per day. I guess that's reasonable, though it's a lot higher than I expected. I would have thought that sailors would be considered unskilled hirelings, in which case the cost of manning a ship would be 40sp per day.

For those of you in the know, do the DMG's wages seem reasonable to you? What about the fact that ordinary sailors (apparently) make the same amount of money as officers? (Maybe sailors should be unskilled hirelings, and officers skilled?)

Also, neither the DMG nor Ghosts of Saltmarsh explain what happens when a ship is docked. This is probably dummy-level stuff, but I really have no idea. Are crews usually permanent members of a ship, or are they hired on a voyage-by-voyage basis? In other words, when a voyage ends, does the crew typically stick around and wait for the next voyage, or do they go off and join other crews? If it's the former, then are they still getting paid when the ship is docked?

Thanks!
 

Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
What about the fact that ordinary sailors (apparently) make the same amount of money as officers? (Maybe sailors should be unskilled hirelings, and officers skilled?)
I would say that most sailors are unskilled hirelings. Commissioned officers, Warrant officers, Interior Warrant/Petty officers are probably all skilled laborers though.

It depends on the ship, crew #'s, etc.

Here's one source to check out on that kind of stuff: Ranks & Duties
For a more historical look: Royal Navy ranks, rates, and uniforms of the 18th and 19th centuries - Wikipedia

Are crews usually permanent members of a ship, or are they hired on a voyage-by-voyage basis? In other words, when a voyage ends, does the crew typically stick around and wait for the next voyage, or do they go off and join other crews?
I'd say... this depends. Is the ship a merchant vessel? Is it a privateer? A pirate? A navy vessel?
 

Tonguez

Adventurer
Also, neither the DMG nor Ghosts of Saltmarsh explain what happens when a ship is docked. This is probably dummy-level stuff, but I really have no idea. Are crews usually permanent members of a ship, or are they hired on a voyage-by-voyage basis? In other words, when a voyage ends, does the crew typically stick around and wait for the next voyage, or do they go off and join other crews? If it's the former, then are they still getting paid when the ship is docked?

Thanks!
there were no permanent crews in Medieval/Renaiisance times and even no standing navies until the wide use of canons became a thing. Instead ship owners would hire a captain who would then muster a crew. Sometimes these captains had there own small crew (most ships can be handled with as few as 10 men), other times they would go to the docks/bars hire crewman and at other times random men would crimped (forcibly kidnapped or tricked onboard), which became a common practice of the British Navy Press gangs and also became commercially viable with the rise of boarding masters - men whose job was to find crews for ships.
It was difficult to find skilled crewman and so maritime law made ships contracts watertight, the captains word was law and jumping ship a crime punishable by imprisonment.

Anyway most crew should be unskilled with a smaller number of skilled officers (Captain, Boatswain, Pilot, Navigator etc). Youd also need to hire marines for defence.

Also for Pirates/Privateers and sometimes Merchant ships, skilled crew were offered a share of profits rather than being directly paid.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
I would say it varies on paying crews a salary if they are docked. So you could have Rotten Jasper who only pays his crew if he makes a profit. And Nice Nimrod who pays 5 sp retainer to his off duty crew.
 
The problem is that the costs are generalized between only skilled and unskilled. Some occupations require a minimal amount of skill (even a ditch digger needs to know how to shovel efficiently) to an extreme amount of skill (e.g. sage). There's a LOT of variance in between. I've been using unskilled workers for regular sailors, and skilled workers for officers (as noted in the appendix). If you're concerned that it's too cheap, you could just double it, which still leaves it much less than skilled.

As for shore leave, I think it depends on how the captain wants to run things. If you want a regular crew, you either have to pay really well or ship out regularly, so in either case the sailors don't run out of money on leave. If you don't care about the regular crew, you could not pay them on leave, and they'll just pick up work on any ship when they're ready to leave. Officers and crew would probably stay on with a good captain anyway, so long as they provide regular work.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Look at page 196 Ghosts of Saltmarsh most crew appear to be commoners. With that information, I would say the First Mate, Bosun, Quartermaster, Surgeon, are paid 2 gp. The rest will depend on the dm.
 

Beleriphon

Totally Awesome Pirate Brain
I'd say it depends. Remember most of the crew of a ship aren't actually skilled sailors per se. They're kind of like the construction workers of the sea. They know what end of a rope to use, can tie a few knots and lift heavy things, but they aren't the same as a nautical electrician (lets say the ship bosun) or layout designer (say our navigator). Crew that have been sailing a particularly long time should probably be skilled labourers as well.

As for how you get a shipped crewed, most ship owners hire a captain who then hires a crew. In a lot of ways the easiest way to this is think of a captain as a general contractor who is building a house. The captain will have a few people he relies on regularly (this would be the officers and skilled labourer pool) so he hires them to work on the voyage. Then if need be he'll hire the rest of the crew, or leave it up to his regulars to find the right people.

Lets say its a merchant vessel and our captain is hired to sail from Waterdeep to Athkatla and back. She hires a crew, maybe they'll stay on board there an back maybe not. The senior crew probably will, but the deck crew depends on what they agree to. They make a brief stop in Baldur's Gate to get fresh water, some of the crew gets off the ship and never comes back, so they hire some more crew. They get to Athkatla. There the crew unloads the ship, and half of them disappear. So the captain has to heir some more crew for the return voyage. So, by the time all is said an done, three-quarters of the crew the ship left with in Waterdeep might be dispersed along the Sword Coast.
 

aco175

Adventurer
There are also other members of a crew such as a cook and surgeon. Not sure if the links above go over all of these other types of crew.

What about shares, like what pirates do. Not sure if regular crews did this as well but new memebers got one share and if you have been a good (?) pirate you got 5 shares. The cook got 5 and the 2nd in command may have gotten 25 with the captain getting 40 or more. More gritty than what I would need though. I would mostly go with something off the cuff like 25gp for a normal size ship.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
heh. We've had threads before here about 'just what do 5E PCs need with piles of gold?" Running a ship could be one of the answers to that...
No kidding. The ship upgrades in Ghosts of Saltmarsh cost 15,000 gp each.
 

Tonguez

Adventurer
There are also other members of a crew such as a cook and surgeon. Not sure if the links above go over all of these other types of crew.
Ships surgeons are really a 18th Century innovation and really only show up on Naval Ships or as pirates :). Most ships had a medicine chest but few had a real surgeon.
 

Azzy

Cyclone Ranger
Ships surgeons are really a 18th Century innovation and really only show up on Naval Ships or as pirates :). Most ships had a medicine chest but few had a real surgeon.
This might still be relevant to those playing in Eberron given its more "modern" feel.
 

Zardnaar

Legend
A ancient Greek Trireme cost one talent to run a year iirc my classics correctly.

That's 57 pounds of cold or 2850 gp a year.
 
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Salthorae

Imperial Mountain Dew Taster
Ships surgeons are really a 18th Century innovation and really only show up on Naval Ships or as pirates :). Most ships had a medicine chest but few had a real surgeon.
There are so many anachronisms in D&D already, having a ship's surgeon should be acceptable, especially given the prevalence of healing magics, healer's kits, and medicine skills.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Ok Since the ship is going to a local discount (aka the equipment list in PHB/SRD are for tourist um Adventurers) Let take a look those prices and cut them in half. What would a ship need?
Ammo for various weapons. Call it 5 Gp for 200 rounds.
Barrels 30+ 15 gp
Block and tackle 2 1 gp
Chain 100 feet 25 gp
Crowbar (and other type tools say 4 each) 4 gp
Grappling hooks 10+ 10 gp
Hammers 20 of different types 10 gp
Healers kit 2 5 gp
Hourglass 12 gP
Hooded lantern 10+ 25 gp
Oil for lantern 1 gp for the voyage
Rope hempen various too much due to ship rigging but say 20 gp
can people think of anything else
 

jasper

Rotten DM
From the weapon chart and some are repurposed.
Pikes 2 5 gp
Nets Fishing, hauling, cargo 1 gp per 10 square foot.
Great Axe 15 gp each
Clubs 20 for 1 sp
Fishing trident 3 for 5 gp
Whip morale improvement 2 GP.
 

jasper

Rotten DM
Now what type of cool but mostly useless to adventurers magic items can we come up with.
Magic stove box. So no open flames.
Barrel of Purified Water.
Self mending sails. Only good for normal wear and tear. If E Flynn messes up your sails, hit him.
Ever true compass. Or have one which always point toward home port.
Self rowing oar for rowboats and other small boat.
Anchor of recall. Never have to cut the chain.
Anti insect bedding.
Rescue floating ring. Gives a healing potion to user
Blessed fishing rod/net. improves catch chances
 

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