Monday, December 17, 2012

Navigating the River Mouth

The river mouth is difficult to navigate. It is shallow and has shifting sandbars that make sailing across it challenging at best, perilous at worse. Making the passage is worth it, though. The extensive waterways beyond are pregnant with opportunities for trade and adventure. Unfortunately, the wreckage of shattered vessels on the beach stand as mute testimony to the challenge at hand.

     The base chance for sailing across the river mouth is DC 15 Profession (sailor). It is permissible to Take 10 on this check. It can be quite helpful for the helmsman to have a spotter on the bow, so Aid Another is an option as well.

     Modify the DC using the conditions below. To randomly determine the tide, wave height and light, you will roll either a 1d6 or 1d8.

Tide, 1d6
1-2) High Tide (2.9' or higher): +0 to DC
3-4) Mid Tide (0.1' to 2.9'): +5 to DC
5-6) Low Tide (0.1' or lower): +10 to DC

     If the crew of the ship finds the tide too low for a safe transit, they can simply wait six hours for the tide to rise.

Wave Height, 1d8
1-5) 2' or less: +0 to DC
6-7) 2.1' to 4': +5 to DC
8) 4' or higher: +10 to DC

     If the swell is too challenging for the crew to navigate, the vessel can wait 1d4 days for the swell to wane and for the seas to calm to a wave height less than 2'.

Light, 1d6
1-3) Day: +0 to DC
4-6) Night: +10 to DC

Other Conditions
     Light rain will add a +1 to the DC while heavy rain will add +3. Fog will result in a +5 DC penalty.

     The penalty for failure is dependent upon the conditions.

     Failure on the sailing check during a low tide passage results in the vessel becoming grounded on a sandbar. Provided the wave height is 2' or smaller, the crew simply has to wait 1d4+2 hours for the tide to rise so that the ship can proceed. The grounding will result in 5d10 gp worth of damage to the ship.

     Failure on the sailing check during a mid tide passage results in the vessel brushing a sand bar. The crew will received quite a scare, but will be able to continue without worry.

     Failure during wave heights of 4' or higher mean that the ship has been swamped. An immediate DC 15 Sailing check must be made or the ship will be hit by another wave and will be tipped on its side. This check cannot be made by Taking 10.

     The most dangerous situation is for the sailing check to be failed during low tide while wave heights are 4' or greater. The ship will become grounded on a sandbar and will soon capsize and break apart.

     Sailing across the river mouth in favorable conditions is a rather routine task. However, doing so at other times is perilous. There may be occasions when the ship's crew will have no choice but to attempt the passage in a less than ideal circumstance. Perhaps the ship is being pursued by a superior opponent during a storm and risking the passage is preferable to a fight.

XP Award
     Succesfully navigating the passage will earn the helmsman and crew 50 xp.

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