Last time we examined ship purposes, ship based plots, and ship quirks. This time we’ll look at the different parts of the ship, a ship template, and water hazard examples.

Ship Related Words

  1. Abaft: toward or at the stern of a ship; further aft
  2. Affreightment: hiring of a vessel
  3. Aft: in or toward the back part of a ship or airplane
  4. Afterdeck: deck behind a ship’s bridge
  5. Afterguard: men who work the aft sails on the quarterdeck and poop deck
  6. Ahull: with sails furled and helm lashed to the lee-side
  7. Amidships: in the middle part of a ship
  8. Astern: at the stern of a ship
  9. Backstay: stay extending from ship’s mastheads to the side of the ship
  10. Ballaster: one who supplies ships with ballast
  11. Bargemaster: owner of a barge
  12. Bay: an area in an airplane or a ship that is used for carrying goods or equipment
  13. Beam: the widest part of a ship from one side to the other
  14. Bee: hardwood on either side of bowsprit through which forestays are reeved
  15. Belay: to secure a rope by winding on a pin or cleat
  16. Berth: a bed on a train or ship
  17. Bilge: the bottom part of a boat
  18. Binnacle: case in which a ship’s compass is kept
  19. Bitts: posts mounted on a ship for fastening ropes
  20. Blade: one of the flat parts of a propeller that spins around and pushes a boat or airplane forward
  21. Bluepeter: blue flag with a white square in center used as ship’s signal
  22. Boatswain (bosun): ship’s crewmember in charge of equipment and maintenance
  23. Bobstay: rope used on ships to steady the bowsprit
  24. Bollard: short post on a wharf or ship to which ropes are tied
  25. Boltrope: strong rope stitched to edges of a sail
  26. Boom: a long pole fixed to the bottom of a boat’s sail, that is used for changing the direction of the sail
  27. Bottomry using the ship as collateral to finance a sea voyage
  28. Bow: front of a ship
  29. Bower: anchor carried at bow of a ship
  30. Bowline: rope used to keep weather edge of a sail taut
  31. Bowsprit: a long pole (spar) that sticks out from the front of a ship
  32. Brails: ropes on edge of sail for hauling up
  33. Bream: to clean a ship’s bottom by burning off seaweed
  34. Bridge: the part of a ship from which it is controlled
  35. Brig: a place on a ship where prisoners are kept
  36. Bulwark(s): the side of a ship above the deck
  37. Bumpkin: spar projecting from stern of ship
  38. Bunt: middle of sail, fish-net or cloth when slack
  39. Buntline: rope attached to middle of square sail to haul it up to the yard
  40. Burgee: small ship’s flag used for identification or signaling
  41. Cabin: a private room on a ship for a passenger or one of the people working on the ship
  42. Cable: heavy rope or chain for mooring a ship
  43. Cabotage: shipping and sailing between points in the same country
  44. Camber: slight arch or convexity to a beam or deck of a ship
  45. Capstan: upright device for winding in heavy ropes or cables, especially on a ship or at a port
  46. Careen: to turn a ship on its side in order to clean or repair it
  47. Catapult: a piece of equipment on a ship used for sending aircraft into the air
  48. Cathead: projection near the bow of a ship to which anchor is secured
  49. Chine: the intersection of the middle and sides of a boat
  50. Chock: metal casting with curved arms for passing ropes for mooring ship
  51. Cleat: a metal object that you tie a rope around in order to fasten something in place, especially on a ship
  52. Clew: corner of sail with hole to attach ropes
  53. Coaming: raised edge around ship’s hatches to keep water out
  54. Cocket: official shipping seal; customs clearance form
  55. Cockpit: the part of a boat where the controls are
  56. Cofferdam: narrow vacant space between two bulkheads of a ship
  57. Companionway: stairs from upper deck of ship to lower deck
  58. Conning: tower the part on top of a submarine from which the periscope sticks out
  59. Cordage: ropes in the rigging of a ship
  60. Cringle: loop at corner of sail to which a line is attached
  61. Crosstrees: horizontal crosspieces at a masthead used to support ship’s mast
  62. Crow’s nest: a place near the top of a ship’s mast where a sailor stands to look out over the ocean
  63. Davit: device for hoisting and lowering a boat
  64. Deadeye: rounded wooden block with hole used to set up ship’s stays
  65. Deadwood: timbers built into ends of ship when too narrow to permit framing
  66. Deck: one of the levels on a ship, train, or stadium
  67. Demurrage: delay of vessel’s departure or loading with cargo
  68. Dodger: shield against rain or spray on a ship’s bridge
  69. Dogwatch: a short, evening period of watch duty on a ship
  70. Downhaul: rope for holding down or hauling down a sail or spar
  71. Dyogram: ship’s chart indicating compass deflection due to ship’s iron
  72. Earing: line for fastening corner of a sail to the gaff or yard
  73. Ensign: large naval flag
  74. Escape hatch: a small door for escaping from a ship, aircraft, or submarine in an emergency
  75. Escutcheon part of ship’s stern where name is displayed
  76. Fairlead: ring through which rope is led to change its direction without friction
  77. Fardage: wood placed in bottom of ship to keep cargo dry
  78. Fender: a piece of rope or a tire that protects the side of a boat from knocks
  79. Fiddley: iron framework around hatchway opening
  80. Figurehead: a wooden model of a person attached to the front of an old-fashioned ship
  81. Flagstaff: flag pole at stern of a ship
  82. Flight deck: the open area on a large ship where aircraft can take off and land
  83. Fluke: part of an anchor that fastens in the ground
  84. Forebitt: post for fastening cables at a ship’s foremast
  85. Forecabin: cabin in fore part of ship
  86. Forecastle (fo’c’sle): the front part of a ship, under the main deck
  87. Forefoot: foremost end of ship’s keel
  88. Foremast: mast nearest the bow of a ship
  89. Foresail: lowest sail set on the foremast of square-rigged ship
  90. Forestay: stay leading from the foremast to the bow of a ship
  91. Frap: to draw a sail tight with ropes or cables
  92. Freeboard: distance between waterline and main deck of a ship
  93. Funnel (smokestack): a tube that lets out smoke and steam from the engine of a boat or old-fashioned train
  94. Futtock: rib of a ship
  95. Gaff: spar on which head of fore-and-aft sail is extended
  96. Gaff-topsail: triangular topsail with its foot extended upon the gaff
  97. Galley: the kitchen on a boat or airplane
  98. Gangplank: a long narrow board that you put between a boat and the land, or between two boats, so that you can walk across
  99. Gangway: a flat board or metal structure that can be put in place between a ship and land to let people get off or on the ship
  100. Garboard: plank on a ship’s bottom next to the keel
  101. Genoa: large jib that overlaps the mainsail
  102. Grapnel: small anchor used for dragging or grappling
  103. Groundage: a charge on a ship in port
  104. Gudgeon: metal socket into which the pintle of a boat’s rudder fits
  105. Gunnage: number of guns carried on a warship
  106. Gunwale (singular gunnel): the upper edge of the side of a boat or ship
  107. Gybe: to swing a sail from one side to another
  108. Halyard: rope or tackle for hoisting and lowering sails
  109. Hank: series of rings or clips for attaching a jib or staysail to a stay
  110. Hawse: distance between ship’s bow and its anchor
  111. Hawsehole: hole for ship’s cable
  112. Hawser: large rope for mooring or towing a ship
  113. Headsail: sail set forward of the foremast of a ship
  114. Helm: a wheel or handle used for making a boat go in the direction you want
  115. Hold: the area in an airplane or ship that is used for goods, vehicles, or suitcases
  116. Holystone: sandstone material used to scrape ships’ decks
  117. Hull: the part of a ship or boat that floats on the water.
  118. Hydrofoil: one of the wing-shaped pieces attached to the bottom of a hydrofoil
  119. Inboard: inside the line of a ship’s bulwarks or hull
  120. Jack: ship’s flag flown from jack-staff at bow of vessel
  121. Jack-block: pulley system for raising topgallant masts
  122. Jack-cross-tree: single iron cross-tree at head of a topgallant mast
  123. Jackstaff: short staff at ship’s bow from which the jack is hoisted
  124. Jackstay: iron or wooden bar running along yard of ship to which sails fastened
  125. Jackyard: spar used to spread the foot of a gaff-topsail
  126. Jib: small triangular sail extending from the head of the foremast
  127. Jibboom: spar forming an extension of the bowsprit
  128. Jibe: to change a ship’s course to make the boom shift sides
  129. Jurymast: mast erected on ship in place of one lost
  130. Kedge: small anchor to keep a ship steady
  131. Keel: a long thin piece of wood or metal along the bottom of a boat that helps it to balance in the water
  132. Keelhaul: to punish by dragging under keel of ship
  133. Keelson: lengthwise wooden or steel beam in ship for bearing stress
  134. Kentledge: pig-iron used as ballast in ship’s hold
  135. Lagan: cargo jettisoned from ship but marked by buoys for recovery
  136. Lanyard: a short rope used on ships for fastening things such as the sails
  137. Lastage: room for stowing goods in a ship
  138. Lateen: triangular sail rigged on ship’s spar
  139. Laveer: to sail against the wind
  140. Lazaret: space in ship between decks used for storage
  141. Leeboard: wood or metal planes attached to hull to prevent leeway
  142. Leech: a vertical edge of a square sail
  143. Loxodograph: device used to record ship’s travels
  144. Luff: windward side of a ship; forward edge of fore-and-aft sail
  145. Lugsail: four-sided sail bent to an obliquely hanging yard
  146. Lutchet: fitting on ship’s deck to allow mast to pivot to pass under bridges
  147. Mainmast: sailing ship’s principal mast
  148. Mainsail: principal sail on a ship’s mainmast
  149. Mainsheet: rope by which mainsail is trimmed and secured
  150. Mainstay: stay that extends from the main-top to the foot of the foremast
  151. Manrope: rope used as a handrail on a ship
  152. Martingale: lower stay of rope used to sustain strain of the forestays
  153. Mast: a tall pole that the sails hang from on a ship. The masthead is the top of the mast
  154. Mizzen: the mast that holds the mizzen sail or the sail behind the main sail on a ship
  155. Mizzenmast: mast aft or next aft of the mainmast in a ship
  156. Moonraker: topmost sail of a ship, above the skyscraper
  157. Muster: station a place, especially on a ship, where people should gather if there is an emergency
  158. Oakum: old ropes untwisted for caulking the seams of ships
  159. Oarlock: American the piece of metal that holds the oar of a boat
  160. Orlop: lowest deck in a ship having four or more decks
  161. Outhaul: rope used to haul a sail taut along a spar
  162. Outrigger: spar extended from side of ship to help secure mast and helps it to float
  163. Paddle: one of the long flat boards that are joined together in the shape of a wheel, used for moving a paddle boat through the water
  164. Painter: a rope attached to the front of a boat and used for tying it to something such as a post
  165. Pallograph: instrument measuring ship’s vibration
  166. Parrel: band by which a yard is fastened to a mast
  167. Patroon: captain of a ship; coxswain of a longboat
  168. Poop: the higher part at the back of an old sailing ship
  169. Port (larboard): when facing forward, the left side of a ship
  170. Porthole (scuttles): a small window in the side of a ship or airplane
  171. Primage: fee paid to loaders for loading ship
  172. Promenade: deck the upper area of a ship where people walk for pleasure
  173. Propeller: a piece of equipment with blades that spin, used for moving a ship or aircraft
  174. Prow: the front of a ship or boat
  175. Purser: ship’s officer in charge of finances and passengers
  176. Quarterdeck: part of ship’s deck set aside by captain for ceremonial functions OR the back part of a ship’s upper deck, where the officers often live
  177. Quartering: sailing nearly before the wind
  178. Rake: the inclination of a mast or another part of a ship
  179. Ratline: small rope forming a rung of a rope ladder on a ship
  180. Reef: to reduce area of a sail by rolling or folding part of it
  181. Reeve: to pass a rope through a ring
  182. Rigging: the ropes and chains used for supporting a ship’s sails and masts
  183. Roach: curved cut in edge of sail for preventing chafing
  184. Roband: piece of yarn used to fasten a sail to a spar
  185. Rostrum: spike on prow of warship for ramming
  186. Rowlock: contrivance serving as a fulcrum for an oar
  187. Royal: small sail on royal mast just above topgallant sail
  188. Rudder: a flat piece of wood or other material at the back of a boat or airplane that is moved to change the direction of travel
  189. Sail: a large piece of strong cloth attached to a tall pole on a boat, used for catching wind to move the boat across water
  190. Saloon: a big room on a ship where passengers can sit together and talk, play games, etc.
  191. Scud: to sail swiftly before a gale
  192. Scupper: hole allowing water to drain from ship’s deck
  193. Scuttlebutt: cask of drinking water aboard a ship; rumor, idle gossip
  194. Sheer: fore-and-aft curvature of a ship from bow to stern
  195. Sheet: on a sailboat, the rope that is used for controlling the sail
  196. Shrouds: ropes supporting the mast of a ship
  197. Sickbay: a room where sick people go to rest and get medical treatment on a ship
  198. Side: the edge of a boat
  199. Sidelight: colored lights on side of a ship under way at night
  200. Skeg: part of ship connecting the keel with the bottom of the rudderpost
  201. Skysail: sail above the royal sail
  202. Skyscraper: triangular sail on a ship above the royal
  203. Slipway: ramp sloping into water for supporting a ship
  204. Snotty: naval midshipman
  205. Spanker: sail on the mast nearest the stern of a square-rigged ship
  206. Spar: any ship’s mast, boom, yard, or gaff
  207. Spinnaker: an extra sail sometimes put on the front of a boat used for racing OR a large triangular sail opposite the mainsail
  208. Spirketting: inside planking between ports and waterways of a ship
  209. Sponson: platform jutting from ship’s deck for gun or wheel
  210. Sprit: spar crossing a fore-and-aft sail diagonally
  211. Spritsail: sail extended by a sprit
  212. Starboard when facing forward, the right side of a ship
  213. Starbolins: sailors of the starboard watch
  214. Stay: large rope used to support a mast
  215. Staysail: fore-and-aft sail hoisted on a stay
  216. Steerage: the part of a passenger ship in which people who had the most inexpensive tickets traveled
  217. Steeve: to set a ship’s bowsprit at an upward inclination
  218. Stemson: supporting timber of a ship
  219. Stern: back part of a ship
  220. Sternpost: main member at stern of a ship extending from keel to deck
  221. Sternway: movement of a ship backwards
  222. Stevedore: dock worker who loads and unloads ships
  223. Stokehold: ship’s furnace chamber
  224. Stowage: space for storing things in a boat or vehicle
  225. Strake: continuous band of plates on side of a ship
  226. Stunsail: light auxiliary sail to the side of principal sails
  227. Sun deck: an open area on a ship where you can enjoy the sun
  228. Supercargo: ship’s official in charge of business affairs
  229. Superstructure: the part of a ship that is above the main deck
  230. Taffrail: rail round the stern of a ship
  231. Thole: pin in the side of a boat to keep oar in place
  232. Thwart: a seat across the middle of a rowboat
  233. Tiller: handle or lever for turning a ship’s rudder
  234. Timberhead: top end of ship’s timber used above the gunwale
  235. Timenoguy: rope stretched from place to place in a ship
  236. Topgallant: mast or sail above the topmast and below the royal mast
  237. Topmast: ship’s mast above the lower mast
  238. Topsail: ship’s sail above the lowermost sail
  239. Topside: on or relating to the deck of a ship
  240. Transship: to transfer from one ship to another
  241. Transire: ship’s customs warrant for clearing goods
  242. Transom: transverse timbers attached to ship’s sternpost
  243. Treenail: long wooden pin used to fix planks of ship to the timbers
  244. Trice: to haul in and lash secure a sail with a small rope
  245. Trunnel: wooden shipbuilding peg used for fastening timbers
  246. Trysail: ship’s sail bent to a gaff and hoisted on a lower mast
  247. Tuck: part of ship where ends of lower planks meet under the stern
  248. Turret: a high part on a military ship or vehicle where guns are attached. You can turn it in order to shoot the guns in any direction.
  249. Turtleback: structure over ship’s bows or stern
  250. Unreeve: to withdraw a rope from an opening
  251. Waist: the central part of a ship or an airplane
  252. Walty: inclined to tip over or lean
  253. Wardroom: a room on a warship used by all the officers except for the captain
  254. Washboard: broad thin plank along ship’s gunwale to keep out sea water
  255. Watching: fully afloat
  256. Waterline: the highest point where water touches the side of a boat
  257. Waveson: goods floating on the sea after a shipwreck
  258. Wear: to turn a ship’s stern to windward to alter its course
  259. Weatherboard: weather side of a ship
  260. Weatherly: able to sail close to the wind with little leeway
  261. Wheelhouse: a small room on a boat where the wheel and other controls are
  262. Whipstaff: vertical lever controlling ship’s rudder
  263. Windbound: hindered from sailing by contrary winds
  264. Windlass: winch used to raise a ship’s anchor
  265. Yard: tapering spar attached to ship’s mast to spread the head of a square sail
  266. Yardarm: either end of the yard of a square-rigged ship


Ship Template

Name of Ship: What the ship’s name is.
Type of ship: See here for a list of types of ships.
Size of Ship: the ship’s dimensions, if other than standard for its type.
Crew: Number of crew on board, and positions.
Crew Racial Makeup: What races are aboard the ship, if applicable.
Armor: the defensive capabilities of the ship, if applicable.
Armory: the offensive capabilities of the ship, i.e. what types of canons the ship holds and the sizes, if applicable.
Cargo: What the ship’s carrying, if applicable.
Propulsion: how it gets around: e.g. wind, steam, magic, oars, etc.
Maneuverability: how easily it gets around.

Blank Ship Template

Name of Ship:
Type of ship:
Size of Ship:
Crew Racial Makeup:

D30 Ship-based / Water Hazards

  1. Calm weather: the ship can’t go anywhere because there’s not a breeze to catch the sails
  2. Lack of visibility: If you can’t see where you’re going, the ship can run aground, or you can get lost.
  3. Hot metal: The sun beating down on metal objects can cause them to become too hot to handle.
  4. Scurvy: caused by lack of nutrients. Causes teeth to fall out
  5. Airy Water: This is an area of air that is filled with bubbles that allow things that are able to breathe water are able to survive in. Most fish will avoid these areas.
  6. Slippery Surfaces: The surface of a deck. This includes such things as the ropes, wood and metal surfaces
  7. Coral Scratch: Injuries from coral don’t heal normally, and must be healed either magically or takes .
  8. Sunburn: The characters are exposed to sunlight for many hours may get burned by the sun
  9. Seasickness: The characters get ill due to the motion of the sea
  10. Poisonous marine life: catching and eating this marine life is bad for characters, causes them to be poisoned
  11. No sea legs: The character is unsteady on his/her feet on a boat
  12. Boiling Water: Underwater volcanic vents boil water in the vicinity where they form.
  13. Venomous marine life: contact with this marine life is similar to the sting of an insect.
  14. Airless Water: an area of water that is devoid of air, a dead zone, devoid of fish.
  15. Lost Islands: places that don’t show up on the maps. What’s on these lost islands, or why they’re there is up to the DMs.
  16. Whirlpool: a body of swirling water produced by the meeting of opposing currents.
  17. Inability to swim: the character either naturally has no ability to swim or has lost it for some reason (think the Devil Fruit users in One Piece)
  18. Other Ships Attack: Another ship attacks the ship the characters are on
  19. Man Overboard: A person gets swept or falls overboard for some reason
  20. Violent seas: the ship is being tossed about by bad weather / choppy seas. This includes such hazards as waterspouts.
  21. Monster attack: a giant squid, shark, or other monster attacks the ship
  22. Underwater caves: a water filled cave must be navigated by the ship (or by an underwater expedition team)
  23. Depth: the water is too deep to dive, either by the ship or characters. Even with rebreathers and SCUBA gear, characters can suffer “the bends”
  24. Drowning: not being able to breathe underwater or having magics that allow one to do so expire
  25. Hypothermia: characters get bad effects from swimming/ being exposed to cold weather/ water
  26. Currents: boats can be swept away by strong currents
  27. Fire: a fire breaks out on the ship and those aboard need to find out how to put it out (if it *can* be put out)
  28. Radiation: the ship is nuclear and has a radiation leak
  29. Shipwreck: the ship sinks and those aboard need to get off it
  30. Defiling Sludge: This sludge is a potential hazard games where all sorts of evil runs amuck. It is the remnants of vile magic that have flowed into the sea. Momentary contact with it weakens an object and continuous contact with it quickly dissolves it. It is corrosive to the flesh. The sludge can’t be easily destroyed, only driven away with such things as crystal and jade. This is the stuff that shows up in “The Pirates of Dark Water.”

Now you have some vocabulary, a template to use your ships, and some ship and water based hazards, you’ll be more equipped to send your player characters on a voyage to use ships as a dungeon.

Thanks for reading!