Behind the scenes – Sailing

In Crestfallen, roads are rare. Civilisation is in it’s infancy, and has yet to tame the wilderness. If a journey is required, people will turn to the waterways first—travelling on foot or by donkey (horse riding is rare, breeds are small and the stirrup hasn’t been invented yet) is a distant second choice. Sailing is quicker, less tiring and moderately safer. You avoid bandits and wild beasts, but a confrontation with bad weather can be much more dangerous. Then there are the slave raiders………….

Traders are especially interested in sailing, land caravans are vulnerable to all manner of misfortunes, and heavy goods are slow to move. Trading by sea is generally more profitable, trading networks and cities are strung all along the coasts and rivers of Rivanon, civilisation flourishes there. Further inland lies untamed wilderness.

We have provided details of typical bronze age ships (though expanding the time frames for varieties sake), from the tiny coracle to the mighty Trireme and merchant Cog. Rules for warfare at sea have been included, though they focus on duels rather than mass warfare. These duels emulate the cat-and-mouse manoeuvring leading up to a ram, grappling action or escape. PCs can own a ship, aid the ships crew using teamwork rules, and it is possible to drop down to deck level during a boarding action and run the scene as a combat. Ranged combat and fire arrows are also detailed.

Weather magic can be used to alter the wind and turn the tide of battle, or stop you being stranded in a calm featureless ocean. The weather itself can attack the ship, damaging it, capsizing or running it aground.

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