My nautical campaign.

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Hi!

This is my first post here, and I am starting my first 4E campaign tonight. I have played in a few 4e campaigns, and have played dnd back to second edition. This is my first time running my own campaign though so I thought I would put my ideas out there and see what people think, and solicit suggestions or ideas.

The overall theme is a nautical campaign based around an archipelago. I eventually want the party to either have one large ship, or each character to have their own smaller ship like a clipper.  My initial hook is a shipwreck, the party washes ashore as the lone survivors. That they know of at least ;)  Soon after I plan on them encountering a ruined lighthouse with a natural harbor which can become their base of operations. This will encompass the first couple adventures.

Other then that all I really have right now is a rough list of things I want to incorporate.

Some of these are-
A crystal cave. Full of crystals, treasure and who knows. 

A city on an island in the mountains. The city is surrounded by a vale of very hostile creatures, not sure what yet. This city uses airships to get around, but the PC's may take the hard way in through the vale.

A ruined underwater civilization. Lots of treasure and underwater adventures. That civilization was crushed by demons from an abyssal portal which is still open. Eventually have the PC's encounter abyssal monsters on land only to realize at some point the portal they must close is hidden away under the sea.

Singing stones. Group of rocks or small islands populated by sea nymphs. Cliche, but I still want it.

Castle Bleak. Dark obsidian castle that can be seen off in the distance on a seperate island from the starting point. Ghost ships and such here.

Sahuagin. Somewhere, somehow, haven't come up with anything else there yet.

So...that is what I have so far. What I really need an idea for is how to get the party their first ship. I'm having a total brain fart on that. Any thoughts on that, or anything else really would be appreciated!
Island town burning to the ground after Duergars (or pretty much anything really) attack tends to drive most people running for the ships. They could get hired on by the captain of their ship after helping to save the townsfolk from attack on the waters on the way to a neighboring port city.

Be sure to check out this month's Dragon & Dungeon articles. A lot of sea faring crunch and fluff to be found this month.

Happy Gaming
I am also about to run a nautical campaign, which will be my first campaign to DM.  I'm starting the PCs in a port town, where they have been called to by a letter from the mayor.  In the town, it is the night of the harvest moon, where all of the sailors of the nearby seas come to the town for discounted liquor, as it is named; The Liquorblade Festival.  

Long story short the region is swamped by plague and wereviruses, and the mayor wants the team to travel the seas in search for people vital to the regions recovery.  The town is seperate, yet connected to the last kingdom in the region still standing without plague.  I'll have 6 ships docked at the port, with different crews, all for whatever the party decides seems most fit.  When the moon rises, a werebear, weregoat, and gnoll invade the town.  [pcs' first combat encounter].

I have been working on a whole ship to ship combat system for weeks, and it is getting legit.  I have been playtesting it with friends lately and fixing bugs.  

Also, at paragon I plan to take the party to the astral sea, and at epic, to elemental chaos for the first 3 levels, underdark ocean (darkwater?) the next three, and back to the Astral sea for 26+ (maybe going back and forth between the 3 by portals).  Hope some of this inspires, some of your ideas did to me.
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