5E Enhancing "Ghosts of Saltmarsh"

jasper

Rotten DM
More wandering encounters.
Floating wreckage
Floating supplies
Floating body.
Half empty Huge barrel of beer with a drunk dwarf tied to it.
Barrel of monkeys.
Fake shark.
Huge floating leg half the size of ship. You don't want to know what took the leg or find who the leg belongs too.
Seaweed patch slows the ship by half for 1d4 hours.
Soccer ball
Message in a bottle
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
By the way, the reason I think the Open Waters encounters are kind of dull for ship-bound parties is because they're obviously supposed to serve for treading-water, swimming, and floating-on-raft situations too. In which case a swarm of quippers or a giant shark is an interesting and even potentially deadly encounter. But I think it would be better to have two separate tables: one for sailing and one for swimming/rafting/exploring underwater.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
Here's a first pass at improved random encounter tables. They pretty much just remove the boring stuff and expand the existing entries' ranges to fill out the table.

Open Water Encounters (Levels 1-4)
01-14 1 giant octopus, which attacks the ship’s hull
15-34 1d4 sahuagin
34-37 1d4 koalinth
38-45 1d4 locathahs
46-51 1d3 harpies
52-54 2 merrow
55-57 1 sahuagin priestess and 1d4 sahuagin
58-59 1 koalinth sergeant and 2d4 koalinth
60-64 1d3 sea hags
65-67 1d4 blood hawks
68-70 1 sahuagin champion and 1d4 sahuagin
71-80 A ghost ship (4d4+4 skeletons, 1d3 specters, 1 wraith)
81-90 A pirate ship (4d4+4 bandits, 1d4 bandit captains)
91-99 Sahuagin raiding party (1 high priestess, 2 wave shapers, 2 champions, and 4d4 sahuagin)
00 1 young dragon (good or evil)

Open Water Encounters (Levels 5-10)
01-25 1 sahuagin high priestess and 1 sahuagin wave shaper
26-40 1d4 water elementals
41-47 1 harpy matriarch and 1d4 harpies
48-49 2d4 merrow
50-52 1 sahuagin baron and 1d4 sahuagin
53-57 1 koalinth sergeant and 2d4 koalinth
58-565 1d4 sahuagin blademasters
66-69 1 hydra
70 1 marid (genie)
71-80 A ghost ship (4d4+4 skeletons, 2d4 ghasts, 1d3 wraiths)
81-90 A pirate ship (4d4+4 bandit captains, 1d4 veterans, 1 mage)
91-99 Sahuagin raiding party (1 baron, 1 high priestess, 2 wave shapers, 3 champions, and 4d4+4 sahuagin)
00 1 adult dragon (good or evil)

Open Water Encounters (Levels 11-20)
01-18 1 sahuagin high priestess and 2d4 sahuagin champions
19-25 1 sahuagin baron and 1d4 sahuagin blademasters
26-39 A rank 3 whirlpool connected to the Elemental Plane of Water (p. 206)
40-43 A rank 4 whirlpool connected to the Elemental Plane of Water (p. 206)
44-45 1d3 hydras
46-48 1d4 koalinth sergeants and 3d10 koalinths
49-53 3d6 merrow
54-57 1 harpy matriarch and 2d8 harpies
58-60 1 dragon turtle
61-64 1 adult dragon (good or evil)
65-70 Mysterious island
71-80 A ghost ship (4d4+4 phantom warriors (Curse of Strahd), 1d4 wraiths, 1 sword wraith commander (Tome of Foes))
81-90 A pirate ship (4d6+4 bandit captains, 1d4+1 veterans, 1d2 mages)
91-99 Sahuagin raiding party (1 baron, 1 high priestess, 2 wave shapers, 3 champions, 2 blademasters, and 4d4+10 sahuagin, all riding shell sharks)
00 1 kraken
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
So... as much as I like the Appendix on ships and the sea, there are a few glaring omissions. Boarding, for example, is a pretty big part of ship-to-ship combat, but the book doesn't say anything about it or how it works. How do you handle a pirate encounter without boarding rules?
 
So... as much as I like the Appendix on ships and the sea, there are a few glaring omissions. Boarding, for example, is a pretty big part of ship-to-ship combat, but the book doesn't say anything about it or how it works. How do you handle a pirate encounter without boarding rules?
The ships move adjacent and then you use normal combat rules.
 

uzirath

Adventurer
So... as much as I like the Appendix on ships and the sea, there are a few glaring omissions. Boarding, for example, is a pretty big part of ship-to-ship combat, but the book doesn't say anything about it or how it works. How do you handle a pirate encounter without boarding rules?
I would roll a piloting roll for each ship. The boarders would be attempting to get into a good position while the target would attempt to evade. That might provide a bonus or penalty to the attempt to board (or advantage/disadvantage). For actually getting individuals from ship to ship, I would use an acrobatics or athletics check, adding plenty of spice through description (some boarders may be leaping from the spars to the target ratlines; others are leaping from deck to deck; some may drop a spiked plank across, etc.). I would roll individually for PCs and key NPCs. If the rest of the crew mattered, I might base their success on how the PCs do or you could roll for them as a group to determine relative success.

Then I'd run it as a wild melee, adding disadvantage liberally to rolls to reflect tossing decks. Keep in mind that the two ships might separate or get their rigging entangled to spice things up.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
Another error I noticed: One of the scenarios in the Appendix includes an iron cobra, which doesn't have a stat block. It can be found in Mordenkainen's Tome of Foes. So either they forgot to reprint it in Ghosts, or the iron cobra is actually supposed to be some other monster.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
This has to be an error. Koalinths have 30 ft. of movement on land, but only 20 ft. of movement underwater, whereas koalinth sergeants have 30 ft./30 ft.

30 ft./30 ft. is correct for both, wouldn't you think? Otherwise (non-sergeant) koalinths are the only aquatic race with slower swim speed than land speed.
 

jayoungr

Adventurer
This has to be an error. Koalinths have 30 ft. of movement on land, but only 20 ft. of movement underwater, whereas koalinth sergeants have 30 ft./30 ft.

30 ft./30 ft. is correct for both, wouldn't you think? Otherwise (non-sergeant) koalinths are the only aquatic race with slower swim speed than land speed.
Unless it's supposed to be 20/20 for the regular ones and 30/30 for the sergeants? But 20 ft./round seems pretty slow.
 

Prakriti

Hi, I'm a Mindflayer, but don't let that worry you
Unless it's supposed to be 20/20 for the regular ones and 30/30 for the sergeants? But 20 ft./round seems pretty slow.
Hm. If we consider that all the different types of sahuagin and lizardfolk have the same movement speeds, then it makes sense that both types of koalinth would have the same movement speeds as well. To me, 30/30 makes the most sense, so I think I'll go with that.
 
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uzirath

Adventurer
If we consider that all the different types of sahuagin and lizardfolk have the same movement speeds, then it makes sense for both types of koalinth to have the same movement speeds as well. To me, 30/30 makes the most sense, so I think I'll go with that.
That's the call I would make, too.
 

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