On Waves and Travel

Oh, doesn't fall always breed new campaigns? It certainly seems that way to me.
But I'm not talking about the adventure I'm playtesting, or even the game I'm going to be running for family, I'm talking about old, regular, Dungeons & Dragons that happens on a Friday, pretty much every day of the year, excepting football times? I'm not sure, my friends are reprehensible people.

They are in the water and they would sink to the bottom, but those clever bastards build a boat. So they aren't sinking to the bottom. I know, I checked. They are sailing south in mystara, somewhere around 1500 miles. It's hard to tell. It is literally difficult to read the maps.

How do we handle a wave crawl?

I'm a big fan of outlined procedures, so this is the place I'm going to do it. I mean, when I run the wave crawl, I'm going to open up this web page to do it!

"The sea is an awesome place, the home of terrible monsters, the source of unpredictable currents and strange mists, and the scene of terrible storms that can smash the strongest ship to splinters. Perhaps the most deadly of the sea's hazards, however, is the lack of landmarks. Once out of sight of land there is little to steer by. A small mistake in navigation or a sudden storm can drive a ship hopelessly off course until a familiar shore is signed. Only the braves and most hardy adventurers dare challenge the sea!" -Expert Set, page X63

Morning Bells
[  ] Navigation Check: The acting navigator rolls his Navigation skill, +2 for Astrolabe, +1 for Spyglass, and +1 for Maps. (With appropriate training, this grants about an 8% chance of some drift per day)

[  ] Then we roll on the Water Movement Modification Chart from X64, reprinted here for my convenience.

Dice Roll Effect
2 Becalmed. No movement except by oar. Oared movement reduced to 1/3 normal amount to take into account rower fatigue.
3 Extreme light breeze or beating before normal winds. All movement reduced to 1/3 normal rate
4 Light Breeze or Quarter reaching before normal winds. All movement reduced to 1/2 normal rate.
5 Moderate breeze or broad reaching before normal winds. All movement reduced to 2/3 normal.
6-8 Normal winds. Normal movement.
9 Strong breeze. Normal movement plus 1/3 extra movement.
10 High winds. Normal movement plus 1/2 extra movement.
11 Extreme High Winds. Double Normal Movement*
12 Gale. Eighty percent of a galley sinking. Triple normal movement in a random direction**
* 20% chance of galley shipping water, 10% chance for all other ships. Any ship which ships water will have its speed reduced by 1/3 until it can dock and make repairs.
** Roll 1d6: 1 = current direction, 2 = 60 degrees starboard, 3 = 120 degrees starboard, etc.

High Sun
[  ] Check for encounters at Morning, Evening, and Night by rolling on the following table, cribbed from CDD-Encounters References by B. Scot Hoover for uncharted seas:
None Land Natural Encounter
Uncharted 01-79 80-81 82-98 99-00

If land is indicated, I use Chris Tamm's d100 Islands and possibly his d100 castaways tables.

I use the following table for natural marine features (adapted from CDD-Encounters by B. Scot Hoover)

1. Seaweed
2. Sudden storm
3. Dragon turtle
4. Dolphin pod
5. School of fish
6. Whirlpool
7. Maelstrom/Hurricane
8. Birds!
9. Water Elementals race the ship
10. Floatsam!
11. Green glow on the horizon.
12. Lightning storm
13. Kraken. You rolled a 13. What did you expect?
14. Fog. Pea Soup.
15. Corpses of fish and other deep horrors lie on the surface of the water
16. Ball Lightning, maybe will-o-the-wisp, possibly bad mushrooms
17. Whales
18. Sea monster
19. Ghost ship
20. Chris Mcdowell's d10 Odd Ocean Encounters

[  ] Each night, perform a morale check. This check is penalized by 1 for each week it has been since they have seen land, and penalized an additional 1 per day without food. If the check fails check out the camp events on Evelyn's Hireling events table.

When other ships are indicated, I prefer Zak's "Who's on That Passing Ship?" table. down towards the bottom.
If you're looking for a salt water horror, I use Chris Tamm's D100 Deep Water Horrors. Or, if you need fishlike beastment civilizations, check out The Trouble with Beastmen: Wet & Wild.
Frequently you need some junk that washes up on a beach. This table from Death and Axes will generate 100 crazy pieces of washed up flotsam.

Did I miss anything?

Hack & Slash 
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  1. Great resources, thanks! I've been working on a piratical wavecrawl for a month or two. Some useful sailing tables here: https://coinsandscrolls.blogspot.com/2018/08/osr-pirate-exploration-sailing-many.html
    A generic background table (adapt as needed): https://coinsandscrolls.blogspot.com/2018/08/osr-background-table-for-pirate.html

  2. I am not sure if you are familiar with "Walking Hex Maps". Here is an example about weather: http://whatwouldconando.blogspot.com/2017/04/five-dimensional-weather.html

    I am intrigued by this concept (even if I have not been able to test in play so far) because the "map" has a sort of memory that prevents totally random changes. I.e. if you start moving to a specific section, your chances to get a consistent series of results (moving from normal weather to a full storm, for example) increases, as the whole area around the hex is accordingly "themed".


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