Connect with us

dungeons and dragons

D&D Editorial: Don’t Get on a Boat

It’s my strong opinion that any large body of water is a bad body of water. Here’s why!



It’s a Landlubbers Life For Me

The more I play Dungeons and Dragons, the more I start to develop my own rules.  Sometimes they are rules that others share and one I think most players eventually learn is “Don’t get on a boat.”  Ever.  If the DM tries to put you on a boat, don’t.  Don’t get on the boat.  There are plenty of reasons but I think the main reason is it opens up a new adventure and new dangers. 

Have you ever seen some of the aquatic monsters in the monster manual?  Some of them are so cool.  And because they are so cool, DMs can’t wait to play with them.  Oh, look.  There’s a giant octopus!  The players will never run into that on land.  How can I get them on a boat?  I’m going to make them fight this giant octopus!  

My friend was DMing and sure enough, the first time we got on a boat, we were jumped by a giant octopus.  We’re dodging tentacles.  It’s shooting ink at us.  And the whole time I’m wondering if we could’ve taken a land route.  But no, we were going to an island.  So we had to get on the boat. 

The Dangers of Being on a Boat

And being on a boat is insanely dangerous.  Because there’s always the risk of falling off.  If you ever want to see the look of terror, find a new player, deck him out in heavy plate armor, and then tell him to get on the boat and set sail for adventure.  The second that player gets tossed overboard in full plate, they’ll sink to the bottom and have fun rolling up a new character.  

Now, not all DMs are that evil.  But the temptation is there.  Why?  Because we’ve all seen Pirates of the Caribbean.  Or better yet Clash of the Titans.  Everyone just has it in the back of their minds.  We all want to shout “release the Kraken!”  And the DM will absolutely release the Kraken.  DMs will rip that boat apart with a giant Kraken.  Maybe you’ll drown.  Kiss all your items and gear goodbye at the very least.  Because why not?  How often are you going to be on a boat?  I’m hoping it is far less likely now.  Don’t get on the boat. 

So we were on a boat.  There were five of us.  But for this story I only really need to focus on three characters: One was a human fighter/mage, another human mage, and I was playing a human monk.  It wasn’t the first time we’d been on this boat.  We’ve made the trip a few times and every time we get jumped by something.  We fought the giant octopus.  We’ve had to deal with pirates.  Well, this time it was Merrow.  Merrow are the evil fish people.  If you’ve ever read or seen any of the cartoons of Aquaman, Ocean Master is kinda what a merrow looks like.  They have that tentacled-up face but they are still vaguely human looking.  These merrows had to be extra cool and they came up on the boat riding on sharks.  Like I said, DMs can’t wait to play in the water.

The player with the human fighter/mage was a fairly new player.  He’d just recently joined our group and I’m not sure if he’d played much before this.  But what I know is the first thing he did when the merrow attacked was to jump off the boat and attempt to melee these merrows on top of their mighty battle sharks.  And the answer is yes.  He was in heavy plate armor at the time.  I think you can see where this is going.  

The DM not wanting to kill off a player just yet allowed the attack to happen but then our other human mage immediately cast levitate on him.  Thus saving him from a watery grave of no return.  

I’m Not a Monkfish. I’m a Monk

But this is where I started to get ideas.  I’m a monk.  I’m not wearing armor.  At all.  I could jump down and I’ll be fine.  And there he is.  Just floating there.  Surrounded by merrows.  Floating.  I could move him out of the way.  But where’s the fun in that?  

I should back up for a bit.  I was playing a human monk.  A chaotic good human monk.  Emphasis on chaotic.  Throughout the entire campaign, I’d pick up random things for use later.  If we run into enemies with bows, I’d break the bows and keep the bowstrings.  I’d make sure to buy glass bottles.  Some I’d keep in a sack and break them just so I’d have a pouch of broken glass.  Just things like that where I can use a lot of improvised weapons.  

Improvised weapons!  And that was when I had the idea.  Anything being levitated can be picked up and moved around.  So I jump down, grab my companion by the leg, and swing him as hard as I can at the nearest merrow.  And as is common in stories like this, I rolled a natural twenty!  I swung him like a baseball bat and connected with this merrow who flew several feet and was splattered against the hull of the ship like he was in a roadrunner cartoon.  Another thing about mid-level monks is they get a second attack.  And I had other targets.  I was still in possession of my makeshift sentient weapon but the next merrow was too far away.  What was I to do?  Two words: improvised projectile.  My companion, this guy in heavy armor just went from being an unwilling baseball bat, into an unwilling javelin.  

Despite my many warnings about going anywhere near a body of water in D&D, part of me wants to recommend you do it.  Well, do it once.  Just because there is a bit of a feeling-out process between DM and players.  Players want to know how sadistic the DM is and the DM wants to know how creative the players are.  So, maybe you should get on that boat.  But not rafts.  That’s just asking for Lizardmen with spears to cut the raft apart.

To all board game fanatics! Check out our Twitch schedule and see what we’re cooking up over at sixsidesofgaming. Subscribers get access to giveaways, exclusive content, sneak peeks at upcoming games and most importantly, some damn fine entertainment.

Continue Reading

Recent Posts