25 Seafaring Adventure Seeds

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Picture Credit: RadoJavor

By popular demand, we have some great Seafaring Adventure Seeds today! We set sail across the oceans and seas into a world of nautical novelty!

I had a lot of fun coming up with these, but some are more closely aligned to adventure or encounter ideas that simple seeds. Sometimes the ideas I had needed to be a bit more developed to break the normal mold since there is so many basic types of encounters that start, and potentially end, in the ocean.

I have no assumptions this time around other than what is stated in the individual seeds themselves, but I do urge you to frame them however you want! For instance, if a seed mentions witnessing a ship do something or hearing a rumor, by all means make the ship that something happened to your players’ ship and catch them off guard! Vice versa for things you want to be rumors that say they happened to the players’ ship!

And now here are the adventure seeds:

  1. Miles from land, out in the sea ahead appears to be a town built upon high stilts. The flag that flies above it belong to pirates, but ships with all flags friend and foe alike are docked there.
  2. Rumors abound about “Runaground Island” or “Ghost Island”- an island that apparently materializes in the ocean and destroys or damages ships that suddenly find themselves inside of the island.
  3. For the past month a patch of sea has turned a deeper blue than the rest, and it seems to be actively pushing ships out with gigantic waves out of nowhere when they enter the patch.
  4. Ship wreckage floats out in the ocean, very likely a merchant vessel based on some of the goods floating about. A small group of lifeboats float among the wreckage, filled with not people but treasure, and the word “choices” carved into the side of one.
  5. An avian humanoid is spotted on the distance and lands on ships offering their services as a messenger. But even with wings how did they fly a few days travel out here?!
  6. A castaway was found on a piece of driftwood and when brought aboard, warns the ship to turn around. According to them, a huge human hand came up from under the water and crushed their ship with ease before pulling most of the ship under.
  7. At first the colorful algae that is common in these waters were fun to look at, but now it is obvious that they are eating through the ship’s hull due to their acidity, and the ship is taking on water!
  8. An entrepreneurial gnome has started a gnomish diving company, salvaging wreckage from ships at the bottom of the ocean. Their latest employer has them investigating the wreckage of a pirate vessel that sunk around a century ago.
  9. A glowing maelstrom appears in the ocean, but repels ships away rather than pulls them in. A ship was witnessed being ejected from the whirlpool intact and the crew is alive, though very confused.
  10. For about a month dim, glowing lights under the water have been making their toward the closest port. However, now under a full moon their true nature is revealed- iridescent skeletons marching on the seafloor, and only a few days from port!
  11. A large island that has been known to float around due to actually being a giant turtle has seen volcanic activity for the first time. The turtle has been approaching ships for help, but none seem to want to step foot onto the living island.
  12. A ship bearing a flag of a parrot skull draws nearer, and from the telescope can be seen parrots turning into large, rideable mounts and pirates riding them towards the ship!
  13. A message in a bottle was pulled up, and included a map to an uncharted island with promises of riches. The next day, en route to said island, a second bottle was found warning whoever found it to avoid the island at all costs.
  14. Lately, whenever ships get into trouble on the open sea, a giant cephalopod has been grabbing them and safely placing them down in front of them before asking a riddle. If the crew of the ship gets it right, they get a random sunken chest from the bottom of the ocean. Answer wrong, and they are simply sent on their way with the aid of the cephalopod.
  15. Merfolk have become uncharacteristically vicious as of late, attacking the bottom of ships so that they fill with water, and dragging anyone who goes down to fix the leaks through the holes they made, never to be seen again.
  16. After reaching their last port of call, the crew has begun feeling ill one by one. Slowly, once the illness sets in they have been turning slimy and jelly-like over the course of a week, but seem to still live as jelly.
  17. An ogre ship- if the pile of driftwood and scavenged wood can be called that- has been the ire of many sailors lately, accidentally ramming into them and causing damage due to the poor construction and control of their own vessel. However, the number of incidents seems a little high to just be an accident.
  18. Apparently, whenever a map is opened up on deck, the edge of the map becomes the edge of the world in a certain spot of ocean. If a map is opened with only 200 feet to spare, either a new map needs to be opened, or all hands on deck to turn around!
  19. A body was picked up out of the water and was still alive! They thanked the crew for saving them, but after 2 days jumped overboard in the middle of the night. Now one of the crew have been following suit every few nights since, leaving a shortage of hands and a bad feeling for those who remain without answers.
  20. Everytime the ship tries to dock, it is turned away due to a strong presence of evil on board. None of the on board priests can sense anything wrong and the ship itself is starting to run out of supplies and options.
  21. Rumor has it that if you find leaves out on the open ocean who just missed The Seagarden; a ship made from living wood than can change shape and grow, crewed entirely by nymphs who live inside the wood itself.
  22. An otherwise reputable merchant vessel approaches offering goods at extremely low prices, likely due to the fact that they are either illegal substances in most lands or appear to be stolen goods. The merchant denies any wrongdoing, but insists no one says they bought anything from him.
  23. After discarding meat that was not properly prepared and has rotten, a slew of giant sharks have begun following the ship. Unless more food is dumped into the ocean, that bite at and ram the ship itself. Between what the crew needs and how much is needed to keep the sharks at bay, there is not enough to find any port of call.
  24. A crew member has fished up a small sea serpent, at first thinking it was an eel. Now they claim they can see a large shadow following the boat, but no one else can see it.
  25. While seemingly friendly at first, a ship full of turtlefolk fire themselves out of cannons, breaching into the lower hulls of ships, grabbing treasure, and then swimming back to their own!

As always, please let us know what type of adventure seeds you’d like to see next!


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