Sunday, December 16, 2012

Setting Sail on the Blue Dragon

The Blue Dragon is a single-masted cog equipped with a square-rigged sail. The vessel is capable of open ocean travel and averages 5 knots per hour. If the ship is becalmed or has to navigate in a harbor, long oars can be deployed from the portholes on the cargo deck to achieve 1 knot per hour. Each oar can be pulled by two men, with the bosun coordinating their efforts and the captain manning the rudder from the quarterdeck.

     Per the Player's Handbook, the cog is worth 10,000 gp.

     The Blue Dragon requires a minimum crew of ten. The ten positions are listed below. In parenthesis are the Nonweapon Proficiency(ies) (See AD&D 2e Player's Handbook) that each position requires. Also listed is the monthly salary for the position.

     -Captain (Navigation, Rope Use, Seamanship, Weather Sense) 10 gp
     -Navigator (Navigation, Seamanship, Weather Sense) 5 gp
     -Bosun (Rope Use, Seamanship, Weather Sense)  5 gp
     -Cook (Cooking) 3 gp
     -Carpenter (Carpentry, Seamanship) 3 gp
     -Sailors (5) (Rope Use, Seamanship and Tailor or Fishing) 1 gp

     The PCs can choose which positions they want to hold, then NPCs can be created to round out the roster. It is not necessary for a PC playing the role of captain to have all four NWPs, but he will garner more respect from the crew if he does.

     Ten is the minimum number of crew for the Blue Dragon. Eighteen is ideal and ensures that the vessel can operate at peak efficiency. The DM should occasionally mention slow progress at sea, fatigued sailors and lingering repairs that never get done. Conversely, ten is an easily managed number of NPCs/PCs and may allow the DM to give each crewman a memorable personality.

     Anyone familiar with boats is familiar with the adage, "A boat is a hole in the water lined with a hull into which one pours money." With that in mind, the Blue Dragon requires 100 gp/month in upkeep in order to remain seaworthy. This is separate from any salaries owed to crew members.

     In addition to the 100 gp/month upkeep and crew salaries, each crewman eats 3 sp worth of food per day. Doing some quick math, the cost of operating the Blue Dragon per month is as follows:

100 gp upkeep
  90 gp food for the crew (10 crewmen at 30 sp/day x 30 days)
190 gp (This figure still does not take into account crew salaries.)

     A rough map of the Blue Dragon follows. There is no scale provided, but the Blue Dragon is 20' wide and 55' long. The fore and aft cabins can sleep two crew members each, although the bosun may wish to have his own cabin. The remaining five (or six) crew members can sleep in hammocks hung in the cargo hold. 


  1. I used an awesome picture of a Cog as my screen Wallpaper.

    Great stuff!

    1. I think medieval ships are so cool. It must have taken a lot of guts to set out to sea in some of those vessels!

  2. Oh! A few too many "cabins," really. Only Officers -- in this case, the First Mate -- would have cabins. The rest of the crew sleeps in hammocks!

    Of course, I know you knew that. ;)

    1. Actually, I did not know that! Thanks for the tip. When I drew the cabins I did so with the voices of my players in my head, "Arkon the Gray does NOT sleep in the hold on a hammock! or "Kylie the Footpad also wants her own room. These other jerks probably snore and fart in their sleep and I need privacy!"

  3. Excellent looking model -- is it your handiwork?

    1. Yeah, I made that tub. I wish I was better at model building but at least the /idea/ of a ship is conveyed. ;)