Content of the article: "Travelling the Seas – A Homebrew Module"
TL/DR: Check out both links, and if you still don't understand things then read the top part of this post, and if you STILL don't understand then read the bottom.
My players are obsessed with the idea of becoming pirates and roaming the seas, so after much planning I've borrowed/changed/created something to make it enjoyable and challenging. (hopefully)
First, to get it out of the way, a lot of this stuff is either directly from the Unearthed Arcana module on ships and the sea, or is modified from their information. But I feel like I've changed and added enough that it can be considered it's own thing, while still holding true to the goal of the UA module.
First, the actual document. This is broad enough that both players and DM could/should read it. It gives basically every bit of info that you'll need to actually properly run ocean travel. It's quite similar to the UA document, however I changed a few things to allow every player a bit more of a role in actually running the ship, running combat, etc. There's also a bit more reward for making good decisions and punishments for bad decisions. That sort of thing. You can find that here.
Next is the creme de la creme, and what I feel really sets my module apart from the UA. This is for DM's eyes only, and it's the Google Sheets document. It's quite complicated at first glance, but also fairly automated. Things highlighted in yellow are the only things you'll ever need to touch. I'll break it down below for those who don't understand it, but if you can figure it out then don't worry about reading past the end.
And that is my homebrew module on travelling the seas. It's the first real thing I've made that I'm actually posting, but if it's well received I'll try and gather some of the other stuff I've made into legible documents. If you have any questions, or criticisms, please feel free to comment. My ego, though incredibly fragile, can take some minor criticisms.
For those who need help understanding the google sheets document:
Weather: The weather section at the top is broken into four factors. Each factor has a little number underneath that is constantly updating. That number is a weighted value, and corresponds to different weather outcomes. There is a statistically larger chance of having nice weather than bad weather, and a very low chance of having very bad weather. You must manually edit the larger, bolded numbers in yellow, based on the random number you see below., because those numbers are constantly changing. A storm occurs when extreme enough temperature, rain, and wind occur, and will automatically let you know when a storm is actually occuring.
Storm: The storm module is just 7 simple checks. Captain rolls for him/herself and the crew. Other officers role for their own station, and any missing rolls are a zero. Total roll automatically updates, and then results are below.
Navigation: This is how you know whether you're at your destination yet. Total distance and boat speed will be put in at the beginning of the trip, and boat speed will only be changed if the boat gets damaged. Distance left will be calculated at the end of each day, subtracting the daily distance traveled from the total. If a storm occurs, the ship does not make any progress for the day.
Morale: A simple drop down menu from -10 to +10. Change this as necessary.
Rations: Start this with whatever you think is fair for a ship to carry. This is how many days worth of rations. Change this as necessary.
Cook/Rations Check: Change the rations DC based on how difficult you think it would be to forage new rations. If they're in an area with tons of fish, nice clean water, it's probably a low number. Middle of a deadly ocean with no edible animals in sight? Higher number. Then, at the end of each day, the cook will roll a Nature check and a Survival check. Input those two numbers, and it'll automatically tell you whether the rations check succeeded for the day. If it failed, subtract a days worth of rations from the counter. You cannot do this check on a day with a storm.
Quartermaster/Navigation Check: Same as the rations check, change the DC to how difficult it would be to navigate through your area for the day. Then have the Quartermaster roll an Insight and Investigation check, inputting those numbers. The result will automatically change the Navigation Modifier above.
Daily Activities: One officer per activity per day, doesn't matter who does what role. Captain decides who does what. Roll the checks, and input the results. Forage and Map activities will automatically populate their modifier into the above checks.
Disaster Event: On a non-storm day, if the result is 10 or less, there's a disaster. It will be outlined below, make sure you read it fully and deal with it before changing any other numbers, because it will automatically change.
Mutiny Check: If the Morale Score is lower than 0, the First Mate must roll a mutiny check. If there is no First Mate, an officer must switch to the First Mate role, or a mutiny will automatically trigger.
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