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Nautical Travel Events

Nautical Travels

T he ocean makes up over 70% of Earth’s surface, and it is fair to say that Golarion probably has a similar situation. Whether or not this is the case, it is true that there is a LOT of ocean. Unfortunately, for many campaigns ocean travel just isn’t that interesting. Even though it can take days, weeks, or even months to get from one place to another, nautical travel is often skipped over, or perhaps briefly described as mostly uneventful- unless some pre-planned happening takes place partway through. But if you just want some spontaneous nautical encounters, it’s rather uncharted territory. This page is an attempt at remedying that situation, by offering a solution to the boringness of nautical travel.

Random Events

The following list offers a system that the Game Master can use to determine what sorts of happenings can occur during oceanic travel. Of course, the final decision is up to the Game Master, and they can tweak, change, or interpret any of these suggestions as they see fit.

Basics of the Trip

The first thing that should be done when a party of adventurers decides to sail on the high seas is to determine the approximate duration of the journey. Many factors can be taking into account when determining this, but the most important are the distance being traveled and the speed of the ship. Other factors like currents, winds, and other persistent environmental factors can be accounted at the Game Master’s discretion. Once the approximate duration has been determined, the Game Master should decide how frequently a random event should occur. If the waters are relatively untravelled, then it may be more desirable to have a very eventful trip, whereas sailing along a common trade route is probably more of an uninteresting trip. Consult the table to the right for recommended event frequencies.

Determining the Events

Now that you have a good idea of how long the trip is, and how often events will have, break out your fancy GM dice! If you prefer to plan everything out ahead of time, it would be a good idea to do this before you get together to play. Otherwise, you can just do this part on the spot with your players, for a truly spontaneous experience. As your players sail along the great blue road, make an event roll at the proper frequency (one roll every other day for a very eventful trip, one roll a week for an uninteresting trip, etc.). For the event roll, roll 1d20, and have several other dice prepared in case you need to roll for event details. Check your roll against the following chart to see what event happens.


Detailing the Events

If you’re planning these events in advance, then after rolling, you should flesh them out. Come up with details for encounters, a list of possible npcs the party may come in contact with, details and stats for the npcs (in case one of the players desides his alignment should be more evil…), and things of that sort. The more you come up with in advance, the easier it will be in the middle of playing to incorporate things. Even if you don’t roll for the events until game time, it’s a good idea to have a quick mockup of stats of pirates, maybe a floating colony name, and a few other things that’ll make improvisation a little easier and keeping the game smooth. One other way to help detail the events is to roll for specifics. Several of the events above have a “Detail Die” and refer you to the chart below for specifics. If you intend to use this chart, then see what rolls for the Random Nautical Events chart have a Detail Die. If one of these events comes up when you’re rolling for the events, immediately follow up by rolling the specified Detail Die, and checking the chart below to see what details now apply to the event. These added specifics help to keep the possible events very fresh, and offer even more opportunity for interesting spontaneous events.