It was just yesterday that I was making pirate jokes and telling my wife she needed to get an eyepatch (full disclosure, she had allergy issues). But today I am all about the seafaring adventures detailed within Ghosts of Saltmarsh, sans pirate jokes. In fact, this compilation holds the keys to almost endless possibilities.
When we talk about Dungeons & Dragons we seldom think of anything on the high seas, but the modules have long been available for play. Dungeon Masters the world over have delighted in sending player characters to their doom, er, I mean on adventures.
This is truly a marvel to behold, for great care has been taken to adapt these seven modules for use with the fifth edition rule books. Some of these are classic adventures from as far back as 1981 while some are as recent as 2005, but all are now fully able to be used in current campaigns. And speaking of, you can extract any of these seven for use in your own homebrew setting or run the entire book in one full go, your choice! Ghosts of Saltmarsh is meant to take first level characters up to twelfth level if you play it all the way through, so it is a great way to try something new, if you have yet to set sail on a watery quest.
The main port is Saltmarsh, obviously from the title, but the fishing village has been fleshed out, so to speak, for this new release. As a city of about five thousand people, it has relied on its remoteness to keep it fairly safe but events of late have brought it to the attention of the crown and other aspiring powerful leaders. Much work has gone into the development of this city and player characters will appreciate the robust features it has to offer.
I am not much of a sailor, so I personally appreciated the in-depth look, plans, and explanations that went into each and every ship that shows up in this campaign. Random encounter abound, as always, but there is much more information on the marine oriented creatures than you will find in the Monster Manual. In fact, there is an entire appendix that presents over fifty creatures not detailed in the MM, though several do appear in other expansion rule books. luckily, they are reprinted here for our convenience!
There are a couple of other appendices herein. One deals with newly introduced magic items, of which there are six. They play specific parts in the adventures and are not what I would call overwhelmingly life altering, though some are quite handy to have. The final appendix is specifically tailored to ocean life, life on the seas, and ships (both the layout and usages). This one I found to be extremely informative and will lend itself quite handily to creating further marine and submarine quests.
All in all, I enjoyed picking through Ghosts of Saltmarsh. I loved the fact that it is blending the old with the new and enabling many to enjoy some play that they might not have experienced otherwise. From weather conditions to undiscovered islands, this is a must have for the well-rounded DM. Whether you want to play the seven adventures or just want the data to create your own, the information presented here is going to revolutionize the way some run their games. It will expand their horizons, if you know what I mean.
Happy adventuring and watch out for those sahuagin, they come in some pretty wicked varieties.
Adventure on the High Seas
Explore the waves above and the fathoms below in these watery adventures for the world’s greatest roleplaying game.
Nestled on the coast of the Azure Sea is Saltmarsh, a sleepy fishing village that sits on the precipice of destruction. Smugglers guide their ships to hidden coves, willing to slit the throat of anyone foolhardy enough to cross their path. Cruel sahuagin gather beneath the waves, plotting to sweep away coastal cities. Drowned sailors stir to unnatural life, animated by dark magic and sent forth in search of revenge. The cult of a forbidden god extends its reach outward from a decaying port, hungry for fresh victims and willing recruits. While Saltmarsh slumbers, the evils that seek to plunder it grow stronger. Heroes must arise to keep the waves safe!
Ghosts of Saltmarsh combines some of the most popular classic adventures from the first edition of Dungeons & Dragons including the classic “˜U’ series and some of the best nautical adventures from Dungeon magazine:
The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh
Danger at Dunwater
The Final Enemy
Isle of the Abbey
All adventures have been faithfully adapted to the fifth edition rules of Dungeons & Dragons. Furthermore, this book includes details on the port town of Saltmarsh, as well as plenty of hooks to kick-off each adventure. Play through each story in a seafaring campaign leading characters from level 1 through level 12, or pull out sections to place in ongoing campaigns in any setting. The appendices also cover mechanics for ship-to-ship combat, new magic items, monsters, and more!
“The Saltmarsh series consistently ranks as one of the most popular classic D&D adventures,” said Mike Mearls, franchise creative director of D&D. “With its ties to ocean-based adventuring, it was an obvious step to augment it with additional sea-based adventures and a robust set of rules for managing a nautical campaign.”
Hoist your sails, pull up anchor, and set a course for adventure!