Naval Encounter Ideas

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I'm a new DM and I'm about to start a home-brew campaign in a home-brew world. However, the characters won't be in that world at the start of the campaign.

I don't want to have my characters simply meet at a bar, because this is going to be our main campaign for a while and I want it to be more interesting and engaging.

So my plan is to do an introductory one-shot where I get all the players together in one way or another and force them to work together. My current plan is to have them each on the same ship for one reason or another, whether as passengers or as crewmen.

I'm having some trouble coming up with where I want the general direction of this to go. Have any other DMs done something like this before? I know I want them to end up back on land somehow. But I need some inspiration. Anyone want to help?
So my plan is to do an introductory one-shot where I get all the players together in one way or another and force them to work together. My current plan is to have them each on the same ship for one reason or another, whether as passengers or as crewmen.

I'm having some trouble coming up with where I want the general direction of this to go. Have any other DMs done something like this before? I know I want them to end up back on land somehow. But I need some inspiration. Anyone want to help?

I haven't done this sort of thing specifically, but I've tried bringing the characters together in an interesting way, and it's generally problematic.

I recommend talking to the players in advance, first to see if this is how they would like to start the adventure, and then as them about the direction they want it to go. Connect their creativity in parallel with yours, and come up with something that's not only cooler than you could come up with by yourself, but something everyone is already on board with.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

...but something everyone is already on board with.



Pun intended? Laughing

...but something everyone is already on board with.

Pun intended?

I saw it coming, and decided just to steer into it.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

...but something everyone is already on board with.



Pun intended?




Pun absolutely intended. Tongue Out
I'm a new DM and I'm about to start a home-brew campaign in a home-brew world. However, the characters won't be in that world at the start of the campaign.

I don't want to have my characters simply meet at a bar, because this is going to be our main campaign for a while and I want it to be more interesting and engaging.

So my plan is to do an introductory one-shot where I get all the players together in one way or another and force them to work together. My current plan is to have them each on the same ship for one reason or another, whether as passengers or as crewmen.

I'm having some trouble coming up with where I want the general direction of this to go. Have any other DMs done something like this before? I know I want them to end up back on land somehow. But I need some inspiration. Anyone want to help?

Having them on a ship sounds like a strong idea, I suppose it would be good to start the campaign with a pretty long narrative and then steering it straight into a naval combat, maybe with some interesting rope-swinging mechanics and movement across the sails and masts, something spectacular to engage them. And then you could slow down for a while, so players will be eager to go further, as they will be eager to progress and participiate in more things like the opening action-packed encounter.
The key problem with a major event forcing players with disparate backgrounds together is that once the immediate event is solved its sometimes hard to justify staying together.

One thing that you could do, if you plan to separate things a from session 1 to session 2 is go with a time-skip idea.  Basically have them all on a ship and have that ship get attacked.  During the ensuing battle its easy to separate enemies from allies (allies are non-squidfaced people, enemies have squidfaces).  Have them fight desperately and either have the fight end at a predetermined spot or have the players triumph only to have the ship crash headlong into a cliff face and everyone but the players are killed.

Then comes the time skip.  Make it storyline clear that the island they crash on is a tiny tiny atoll  (1-2 square miles) with very little food and almost nothing in the way of materials to get off the island.  Have them talk to one another about how their characters deal with being stuck on the island.  The players have had a combat encounter to see eachother, now let the next in-game month be about how their characters have to bond together to survive on a deserted isle.  Even hated enemies can become friends when there is nothing to do but survive.  Then, through whatever means, they get off the island and can start on their adventure.

Some ideas that occur to me:

Have the ship be transporting someone of import (noble's son, the captain was in love with the queen, first mate was youngest son of a high priest of Pelor).  During the fight the squidmen (or whatever enemy) take a lot of the passengers (including the one in question) over the side and disappear before the ship crashes into the rocky sholes.  A ship sent to find this person discovers the PCs on the isle and offers the PCs a chance at revenge against the squidlies as well as fame and fortune should the NPC still be alive as they head out after them.

There wasn't anyone important on the ship, but what there were was a new type of material used for amplification of magical items.  The PCs didn't know at first and found out after sifting through the wrekcage on shore.  After exploring the island they find ruins of some ancient outpost in the center of the island, but are confounded as to how anyone got out here since there is no obvious port.  After exploring the ruins for some time a collapse occurs and they are brought into what must have been the bottom of the central tower in the ancient ruins and it turns out to be one of the few standing shelters on the island.  They bring things from the wreck, everything that could be salvaged, into their newfound home and see that when the magical catalyst is brought in that a portal hums to life in the center of the room.  The problem of how the ancients got to this outpost has been solved, but do they dare enter the portal?  Where does the portal lead?  To the ruins of some bygone empire?  To the underdark?  To the capital city where they set out from? 

There are a ton more ways to take it, but hopefully this gets your mind working on something interesting. 
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