Vehicles and the sorts of exotic adventures featuring them are a big draw for tabletop roleplaying game campaigns. Nerdarchy friend and host of How to be a Great Game Master Guy Sclanders is no stranger to running epic campaigns on the high seas, in the skies or across the blasted landscape of Avernus, and he’s sharing that expertise with A Complete Guide to Nautical Campaigns. The Kickstarter is currently live and by the looks of it by the time I’m done writing this post it will more than likely be funded. Check it out here and navigate your way to the pledge level that works best for you.
How to be a Great GM’s Kickstarter
Guy partnered with World Anvil and Dungeon Fog to translate the already completed content into an indispensible resource for adventure on the open water for Fifth Edition. Because the content for A Complete Guide to Nautical Campaigns developed from Guy’s home game featuring sailing ships, the work was already all done at about 120 pages of text. To prepare for the Kickstarter, the content was tested and rewritten and it’s ready to weigh anchor. The fundraising makes the content come alive with illustrations, maps and exceptional layout.
The core of the content centers on ships, with abundant resources for creating your own aquatic campaign settings and adventures. Everything about ships gets covered. The word “ship” appears on the Kickstarter page over 50 times so you know Guy is focused on the singular goal of making everything ship related extraordinary.
And Guy is super creative, so of course there’s a whole bunch more stuff for players and Game Masters alike. New playable races, magic items, monsters, and perhaps the most useful content of all — How to be a Great GM sidebars. A Complete Guide to Nautical Campaigns includes commentary from Guy with insights and suggestions on incorporating the content into your games.
The Kickstarter has one stretch goal listed, and it’s my favorite kind of RPG accessory — cards. I talked about this Monday night in our Patreon live chat as a matter of fact. If the campaign reaches 10% above the goal, they’ll create print-and-play cards for all of the ship’s actions in the book.
That’s the basics, and the full-color 140+ page book is being produced in PDF and hardcover options.
If you’ve watched Guy’s How to be a Great GM series, or followed the adventures on the D&D Twitch channel where he’s the Dungeon Master for Ghosts of Saltmarsh and Descent into Avernus, you know Guy does a fantastic job creating memorable stories with players. The material in the book was created and designed to help create those same experiences with your friends. There’s plenty of random tables and charts, new mechanics and new elements to add to your games, and along with that ways to enhance the storytelling. A good campaign feels immersive and real, and it looks like A Complete Guide to Nautical Campaigns strikes a nice balance between the two.
And there’s shark people!
Five new playable races include Seabolds, Merfolk, Aquatic Elves, Sharkhaan and Clawfane. I can only assume Sharkhaan are sharkpeople and this excites me. I don’t know if y’all remember a cartoon called TigerSharks but this Kickstarter makes me want to play a campaign based on that classic from my childhood.
I don’t want to speculate too much. But I will indulge a little. I suspect by the time this book winds up in our hands there will be even more content than the Kickstarter pages describes. With the writing done, Guy is going to be coordinating art and design choices while keeping up with the day to day of How to be a Great GM. But there’s gonna be times he’ll think of something cool, or new, or an idea to expand on existing content. He may think it’s all done, but he and his team will develop new ideas and make it even better. That’s my guess.
As a longtime DM for a Spelljammer campaign with my friends, I am certain the material about crews, ship life and upgrading ships will be very popular in my group. They all loved building their crew and turning their vipership into a baller fantasy space vessel and I have no doubt they’ll do the same on the high seas.
There’s endless adventure on the open water, and below it too! All things considered Earth-analog fantasy planets are significantly covered in water. And if ecology in the depths is anything like the surface world there’s just as many ancient empires, mysterious ruins and bewildering number of civilizations and cultures as on dry land. Never a dull moment for an adventurer.
Titanic sea monsters
Just watch out for titanic sea monsters — truly massive beasts that could require multiple ships to take down. The book also has rules from upgrading and making your own aquatic monsters. A titanic aquatic gibbering mouther… Hmm….
In everything he does Guy strives to create memorable moments with other players full of fun and adventure, drama and experiences that last a lifetime. A Complete Guide to Nautical Campaigns is a way to bring How to be a Great GM energy to your group and hit the high seas on your own amazing aquatic adventures for Fifth Edition. Check it out and see what you think here.