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Need a ride?
Spend enough time roaming the world, and you are bound to find your way onto the deck of a ship. Whether sailing the seas, flying among the clouds, or rumbling on earth, ships of all shapes and sizes venture far and wide across Faerûn. And while certain mages may be able to provide a faster alternative, there may be nothing more incredible than the freedom and peace one can find while traveling on a ship.
In some stories, mages and alchemists have created various airships and balloons to travel the vast skies of the world. In contrast, others claim to have seen great artificers and blacksmiths tinkering away at hulking mechanical earthen travelers. However, you and your adventuring party will more commonly find yourselves part of a crew, crashing through the waves of the many seas throughout Toril.
Depending on your quest, you may employ the stealthy assistance of a keelboat, the carrying capacity of a longship, or even the raw combat power of a warship. Whatever you choose, every ship must have a captain and a crew. The size of that crew depends entirely on the size and purpose of the vessel you charter. There is limited space and storage on most ships, so there is a high chance that your adventuring party will find themselves tasked with some of the sailor’s responsibilities. If you are lucky and skilled enough, a captain may appoint you to an officer’s rank. Such a rank could include the duties of the first mate, bosun, quartermaster, priest or surgeon, or even a cook. Although, you could just as easily find yourselves among the common sailors, rowers, engineers, or guards.
What could go wrong?
Real-life author, Samuel Johnson, may have said it best: “…being in a ship is being in jail with a chance of drowning.” Though the freedom of sailing may be enticing, it can come at a great price. The gods may release any number of storms throughout your journey, including churning seas, sudden squalls, hurricanes, waterspouts, and unseen shoals and reefs. Giant creatures of all types lurk in the depths, hunting for their next meal. Even manufactured hazards and traps devised by pirates and thieves may impede and threaten your expedition.
However, the perils of ocean life do not exclusively originate from external sources. Many sailors have perished from the dangers within the ship itself. Occupational hazards like falling from the rigging, being struck dead by heavy equipment, or washing overboard are not uncommon. Although, many have also fallen victim to starvation, dehydration, disease, and the madness of isolation and malnutrition. The sea is a fair but fickle mistress. Prepare well and stay vigilant, and you might live to see land a second time.
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