Naval Encounters for D&D 5th Edition

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Ahoy lubbers! Part 1 of this series covered basic naval combat, Part 2 looked at some more advanced options and Part 3 provided more ideas on how to run a sea battle. Each week, my players and I visit the Seas of Vodari, my homebrew world of islands. In part 4, I wanted to conclude the series with a simplified and streamlined look at how I handle Naval Encounters for D&D 5e after playing a D&D 5e seafaring campaign for almost a year now. My goal for these updated rules is to prioritize player actions and speed up encounters versus simulating realistic naval combat. This article collects and updates much of the content of the previous entries and provides some specific scenarios for naval encounters.

If you are looking for more realistic naval combat, Pathfinder Skull & Shackles and Part 2 of this series are a good place to start.

Naval Combat Rules for D&D 5th Edition – Part 3

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

Ahoy lubbers! Part 1 of this series covered basic naval combat and Part 2 looked at some more advanced options. For part 3 of my series on naval combat, I wanted to really dig in with more ideas on how to run a sea battle. In part 4, I will provide a final battle demo using most of the content below.

Pathfinder’s Skull & Shackles is an excellent system for adding realistic naval combat to a d20 game and it can be run pretty much as is for D&D 5th edition (if you want cannons, you’ll need to convert heavy siege engines). For my game, Skull & Shackles is not the right fit. My current campaign has a heroic/swashbuckling feel with gunpowder. My naval combat preference is for something focusing on the heroic actions of my players, versus a realistic simulation. As always, pick and choose what works to create the feel you desire, from a tactical sea battle to a narrative challenge that happens to be on a boat.

Naval Combat Rules for D&D 5th Edition – Part 2

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

For my homebrew seafaring campaign setting (called Vodari), I needed to create a way to run naval battles for the 5th edition rules of D&D. I wanted something that fit into the elegant simplicity of 5th edition, versus adding a bunch of complicated math to run sea battles. Part 1 of this series covered basic naval combat. This article continues the series and digs deeper, providing more naval combat rules ideas and examples. Pick and choose what works and add your own rules. Create the type of naval combat your want to run, whether its a tactical grid  battle or more of a narrative challenge where your PCs determine the outcome of the battle.

Naval Combat Rules for D&D 5th Edition – Part 1

Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4

I just started running a new campaign set in Vodari, a homebrew world where an entire continent sunk nearly 1000 years ago. Today, my players find themselves in a world where civilization has risen again on the scattered islands that remain. Adventurers in Vodari need to travel by sea and sometimes they run into other ships or monsters.

I needed to create a  way to run these battles for the 5th edition rules of D&D. For ideas I looked at Pathfinder’s Skull & Shackles, D&D’s 2nd Edition Forgotten Realms: Pirates of the Fallen Stars, D&D’s excellent Stormwrack book, Furry Pirates and other sources. If you are looking for really detailed ship to ship combat rules, converting Pathfinder’s rules to 5th edition would be a good fix, but if you just want to slip in the odd sea battle, then these rules might work well.