Beachcombing and coast-hugging, fantasy style. Animal, mineral, and vegetable. Sea-Junk. Flotsam and jetsam. Encounters and other oddities.
A walk along the beach. A sail along the shore. Sea-Junk and other oddities, and surprises, both mundane and otherwise. This 30 works somewhat better along desolate stretches of shoreline, rather than beaches of civilized, heavily populated kingdoms. This can also be useful any time the PCs visit an island, or are aboard a ship, exploring a coastline.
Message in a bottle An old bottle, with either an intricate model of a ship or a romantic letter or even a map rolled-up inside the bottles protective confines.
Mermaid Bracers These washed-up, leathery armbands, are actually made of some kind of fish-scale, upon closer examination. In fact, they were made from the scales of a mermaids tail, by a particularly odious wizard. Morbid and usable, but in no way magical are the bracers.
Gems? Countless mounds of washed up smooth, sea-glass pebbles and beans of every imaginable color, perfectly suitable as beads for necklaces, bracelets, and rings.
Whale Vomit Gray Amber or more appropriately, Ambergris, these waxy chunks and sometimes blocks, are the bile and intestinal secretions of whales, and are quite valuable, despite their unimpressive appearance. The substance is prized by those aware of its properties and potential uses.
Grindaknivur A rare whaling knife used by the infamous whalers of the Targovhul Isles, far to the north. A knife sporting a wicked, twelve-inch blade, of exquisite craftsmanship, the haft and sheath made of walrus ivory, the Grindaknivur is traditionally used by the Targovhuls to sever the spinal cords of pilot whales.
Amber Long-prized in many cultures for its beauty and mystery, amber shards may often be found along stretches of coastline, hardened resin, sometimes holding insects or other oddities within its transparent confines.
Soup Crabs and Ghost Crabs Soup crabs are just that, delectable little blue-black crabs, known for their succulent meat, and often used in local stews and hot-pots. Tragically, the soup crabs are not themselves aware of their own humiliating appellation, and thus snip feverishly with bony claws at the grasping fingers of those looking to harvest them for dinner. Ghost Crabs on the other hand are rather sedate, and not as cantankerous as their better-tasting cousins. Their lone oddity lies in the fact that their shells are wholly transparent, giving them a ghost-like appearance and their names.
Rock Formations These wave-and-wind eroded masterpieces of nature, form archways and natural bridges, along coastlines. Impressive structures of sea-stone, lapped by the foaming surf, could be simply a pleasant visual, or serve as the perfect locale for some sea-deity cult to stage their ceremonial rituals and sacrifices to the sea. Alternately, the PCs may come across a noble's wedding, being held atop the rock. These mystical structures can also serve as lairs for mermaids and sirens. Hidden sea-caves can sometimes be found carved into these mineral edifices. If nothing else, a great place for contemplation.
Leviathan The near perfectly preserved skeletal frame of an unidentifiable ocean creature of impressive size. Gulls feed on the clinging gristle, in a joyous ruckus. From a distance it can be mistaken for the hull of a wreckage.
Wreckage Husk The remains of an old rotting hulk, some long-destroyed ship's skeletal frame, from a bygone age. This ship last plied the waves nary a millennium ago.
Seal-King A corrugated iron crown, calcified and salt-encrusted, the symbol of some once-proud sovereign, of some once-proud kingdom, has somehow nestled its way around the washed-up skull of a seal or walrus. An eerie visual upon the sands, caused by pure serendipity. Perhaps it can be interpreted as a prophecy or omen by the PCs.
Shell-Midden A huge dump, a massive pile of thousands of mollusk shells, hundreds of years old. This was once a refuse deposit of a shore-dwelling tribe of aboriginals. Powdered, these can be used to make dyes.
Playing Dead A strange, seemingly dried-out and dead, grayish sea anemone, this creature is actually a nasty predator, a distant cousin of the Dungeon Anemone,whose death-like appearance, is a camouflage. It lies motionless on the beach, but upon anyones approach, the anemone lashes out with its paralyzing feelers, looking to then slowly digest its meal, by releasing acidic enzymes upon the flesh of its victim. The creature is the size of a small mule.
Brain Coral Dead coral, peppering the beach, in cauliflower-like clumps. Used as an ingredient in many alchemical concoctions, if powdered.
Jelly Everywhere! Sailors know these slimy jellies by their scientific name, Velella velella. Velella live offshore and have a triangular, clear sail-like membrane, which is set in a northwest to southeast direction. In the southern hemisphere, their sails are reversed. As long as the winds blow gently, Velella stay offshore. When winds are strong, Velella lose their tacking ability, begin spinning, and are swept onto beaches by the thousands.
Agates Semi-precious stones, in all shapes and sizes, smooth, like the glass beads of the beach, but more valuable to those that find them, these lustrous, translucent stones, are among the true treasures of the coast, along with amber.
Nautilus Shell (of Doom) A shell of considerable size. Even at first glance it seems a thing from uncharted depths. Inside this shell is bound the spirit of Lalbazagkhul the Harbinger, a spectre bound by magic. If the nautilus is held to ones ear, a vile, muted whispering can be heard, not unlike the actual sound of the sea one may normally hear. This eldred phylactery radiates magic and holds the essence of the Mad Prophet. Will the PCs listen to his prophecies? The longer one listens to the whispers of Lalbazagkhul, the quicker a particuarly morbid dementia sets upon the listener's mind. One will feel an uncontrollable urge to somehow free the Harbinger, and will fully be convinced of the madman's apocalyptic predictions and visions of the future.
Fossil Fossilized stones and shells of mollusks, such as clams and snails, and occasionally whale bones, fish teeth, and turtle shells, as well as harder to recognize, ancient imprints of creatures long extinct.
Freirdrackers Ligan A Ligan refers to 'goods' which have been stored and hidden, but marked by a buoy, allowing the owner of the Ligan's contents to retrieve the "stuff" at some later date. Freirdracker was an infamous rapscallion and pirate, and old sailor songs speak of the man's Ligan, laden with valuables of course. The PCs notice a floating buoy off-shore, along a lonely stretch of coastline, on some uninhabited island they are currently exploring. A small flag, purple, green, and white, the colors of Feirdracker, bobs barely a foot above the water, indicating the buoy. Could this be the long-lost Ligan of the legend himelf, floating in the water?!
Driftwood (Frogger) The coast is littered with drifting logs, of all shapes and sizes. If the tide is close, it takes only about an inch of water to float and roll a log, a potentially unpredictable hazard to the beachcomber.
Drowned A still figure of a beautiful, raven-haired woman, freshly drowned, only now starting to turn blue, lays upon the sand, gentle waves lapping and washing over her form intermittently. Logic dictates she has washed ashore and died only recently. Such a shame.
Captain's Log This water-proof sailor's sack, holds the journal of one, Captain Jona Widebealm, an adventurer's adventurer, if ever there was one!
Mermaid Purses As they are called for their shapes and resemblence to a Actually, these are the egg-cluster casings of skates and rays, washed ashore. These alien looking "pouches" have a bizarre appearence when seen by beachcombers drying out in the sun. Many alchemical virtues are ascribed to thess oddities of nature.
Glass-Floats Though a somewhat more modern contraption, these floating fish-traps can be found among glass-blowing socities. Simply hemp-secured globes, they can often be seen simply floating off-shore, soemtimes filled with oddities.
Ghost-Nets A fisherman's legend, ghost nets are semi-sentient fishing nets, somehow imbued with necromantic magic. No one is sure as to the bizarre nature of this sentience, but sages put forth a theory that the suffering of those creatures caught inside these huge, floating and often forgotten nets, effect the hempen web in some unknown sinsiter fashion. Ghost nets lurk along shorelines, waiting for lone swimmers, then move in insidiously, looking to grasp, clutch, and ultimately drown its victim. These creatures, are rightfully feared by fishermen and sailors alike.
Baby Sea-Turtle Hatching An eruption of small brownish lumps from the sands surprise beachcombers, as dozens of newborn turtles begin to scurry and scramble to the reach sea.
Marching Barnacles A single member of a peculiar species, usually found in clusters, this little creature is quickly marching across the sands, oblivious to all other stimuli, having been somehow separated from its fellows. If followed casually, perhaps this fellow can lead the Pcs to a true bonanza. Beach cliffs, where clusters of these fascinating creatures abound!
Lonesome Boatswain Even beaches may be haunted. This forlorn creature is the ghost of the boatswain of an erstwhile, infamous pirate's galleon. His life was not unusual in any way, except for the fact that his heart had been broken countless times in his life, and so wrapped in sorrow and angst was he when swept from board one fine day during a strom, disappearing into the waves (it was rumored he committed suicide, but no one was sure), that his spirit remained behind, wracked with pangs of unfulfilled longing and desire to be loved.
He now wanders the coasts and beaches as a ghost, and has become a well-known sailor's yarn. If encountered, the Boatswain appears as an immaterial apparition, intent on finding love, in any shape, way or form. If someone ever truly falls in love with this ghost, a near impossibility to be sure, his spirit would at last know peace, and flee the material world happily and forever.
Skinny-Dippers Nearing a calm pool of tidal water, the PCs can see a group of naked bathers, their clothes tossed about the sands. They will either wave, and invite the PCs to swim with them with suggestive comments, or stare in embarasment, surprised to be discovered. Of course, taking their swimmers' clothes may prove a tempting prank for a mischievous PC.
Cultists of the Watery Doom The PCs come upon a clutch of Ma-O the Water Deamon cultists, praying in the shallows, waist-deep in frothy cold-water. These men and women do not take kindly to having their ritual interrupted. Before turning irrevocably hostile, the cultists will give a one-time offer to the PCs. Convert! they scream, allow Ma-O's holy waters to wash into your lungs, so ye remember where ye came from!
31) Children along the shore
They could be here for the fun of it, collecting shells or rocks. They could be here for food, scavaging fish that washed up, shellfish/ crabs in the sand, or collecting dulce. They could be here for any number of reasons. What ever their reason, they will be annoying to the PCs.
32) The Lone Monk
There is a lone man, you would assume a holy man by the accoutriments, sitting on the beach. They are staring out into the water (or closed eyes and meditating, up to you). They basically ignore the PCs unless the PCs make a bother of themselves trying to get his attention.
33) Family on Holiday
It is nothing much really. Just a family eating a meal out here at the beach. They are from near by and thought that it would be nice to picnic.
34) Beached Creature
The creature is of a moderately large size and is aquatic. It seems to be sick (or sad) and has allowed the tide to bring it up out of the water.
35) A group of people clustering around the Beached Creature
Some want to help, others are thinking about putting it out of its misery.
36) Sand Flies (from Hell)
It is a nice day. However the sand flies/ gnat/ ticki are in swarm mode and they are just being quite the bother.
37) Seagull with a complex
The gull seems to be following the people for reasons that only its tiny mind can fathom. It is noisy. It occasionally makes diving runs at the people, trying to poop on them.
38) A dozen burned out campfires and some trash
The area has a number of fires and a lot of trash, as if 100 people had camped here. It could of been a festival or just a large group travelling that stopped here. The remains are only a day or two old.
39) Beach Ranger
This is a man, charged by the crown, to patrol the seasides. Intiially such men were to look for invaders, but most of the time they look for smugglers and enforce the Crown's Laws upon the water (usually beyond the scope of the local noble). He is an expert in the ways of the sea, and knows much about the natural world where surf and sand meet.
Four of Amphoras are washed up on the shore. They look old and worn.
41) Dug Site
It is a big broad shallow ditch from the water up the beach. A dug site is where a larger boat has been dragged up onto the beach to get out of the water. Usually this is done for repair work, but any time the ship needs to be beached it creates a dug.
42) An old hut
Nobody has lived here for a while, but it has been used as a "pinch" shelterd recently.
43) Lots of Green - maybe it was the storm last night. Much of the undersea greenery is washed up here, covering the sand, reminding of the smell of the sea, and already drying up and starting to rot. It will smell quite badly soon.
44) The Mill - a small current enters the ocean, and a children's water mill merrily clap-clap-claps on the water. There is a strange mechanism attatched to it, that pulls a flag on a nearby tree, when there is a high tide and the flow is reversed.
45) Statue - a wooden statue is planted in the sand, possibly a former figurehead from a wrecked ship. There is no ship anywhere, but the statue is well preserved. Locals like to leave flowers on it.
46) Time - a rather large sundial is carved into the cliffs, it a good place for a walk or just rest. The waves send here a fine spray at times.
47) The Fisherman - a boat is dragged up the shore, a man snores inside, not willing to be awoken by anyone or anything. The boat leaks.
48) The Pillar - on a rocky outcropping is placed a tall pillar. It can't be reached by foot, someone has to swim there to see it.
49) Treasures! - walking in the water, one can often see something glistening among the many stones. It is all fool's gold.
50) A Pergola
Someone has set up a Pergola here to protect themselves from direct sun when they are at the beach.
51) Sand Sink Hole
It is two men's height across easy and currently about one man deep.
52) Odd Colored Sand
The sand along this strech of beach has more of a salt and pepper appearance than other sand in the area.
53) Stairs down the cliff
Okay it is not much of a cliff, but there are some wooden stairs here created for ease of access to the beach.
54) Hitches and a rolled field
Just up off the beach is a set of horse hitches and a hard rolled field to keep your horses, buggies, and other carts, while you are down on the beach
55) Wind Mill
There is always wind here at the coast.
56) Cliff full of birds
The cliffside is covered with nests and bird crap. Give the winter time, they are not occupied. However, come spring, they will be filled with squwacking birds.
57) Three Sea Lions sunning themselves
They are on their way to better nesting grounds, but right now they have stopped here to rest.
58) Flute Grass
This sleder grass like bamboo grows in a variety of earthtone hues from green to yellows to reds (full of salt). They provide an errie whistle to the barren stretch of beach.
59) Kid's Surfsledding
The local kids spend time out on the water with light flat small shield sized pieces of wood. They use them to sled along on waves as they come into shore. Some even stand up on them, though usually they fall down and hurt themselves.
60) Glass Bottles/Jars
These empty things have been washed up on the beach in near mass.
61) A lone yellow toy duck bobs in the waves off the coast
62) Nautilus Shell
A coiled shell, with a whitish exterior, and a mother-of-pearl interior.
63) Whale Bones
Rib bones forming parallel posts are all that is left of this hulking creature.
64) Mound of Bird Droppings
For whatever reason, this spot has been used for quite some while as a place for seabirds to dump some excess weight before flying on to their destinations.
65) Chunk of Purple Glass
Partially buried in the sand is an apple-sized piece of purple-colored glass.
66) Busted Cask
This hogshead-sized wooden container has been partially busted by wave action.
67) Torn Fishing Net
A torn and frayed section of fishing net lies tangled in some driftwood.
68) Partial Spar and Sail with Rigging
Obviously from a ship damaged in a storm.
69) Shattered Oars
A few planks and shafts of what used to be a pair of oars is scattered across a small section of beach.
70) Drift Seed/Sea-Bean
The ocean has washed up an intact, though spoiled, coconut.
71) Waterlogged Sailor's Duffle
This seafaring bag, contains a few torn rags and some waterlogged clothing.
72) Length of hawser
A short section of thick rope lies here.
73) Empty Barrel
Bleached by the action of the sun, sea, and air, this barrel is otherwise relatively intact, however warping of the wood makes it useless for containing liquids.
74) Sea Chest
Mostly buried in the sand is this former ship captain's sea chest, containing his personal diary, rutter, and navigation tools. While the contents are undamaged, the documents are written and annotated in a foreign language.
This small boat lies on some rocks, wedged in by wave action and with bow clearly smashed in.
76) Shredded Signal Flag
Little more than a section of colored cloth, the remains of this flag are soaked with water.
78) Worn Belaying Pin
Cracked and rough, this piece of flotsam is of limited use.
79) Figurehead Remnants
Rearing up from the beach like a magnificent statue, this former ship's figurehead is carved to resemble the Blessed Lady of the Ocean. Strangely, the paint on this figurehead is unblemished. Small offerings of food and flowers can be found at the base of the figurehead.
80) Section of Hull with Partial Writing
This bit of jetsam appears to have been from the hull of a ship, a few partially destroyed letters are all that is visible.
81) Hatch Cover
A large door lies hear, gently floating at the edge of the beach.
82) Pile of Shellfish Remains
A small pile of shucked oysters sits near the remains of a small pit.
83) Dead Fish
Several decaying fish lay scattered about the beach.
84) Sand Castle
This citadel of sand seems to have no purpose, but looks impressive.
A small wooden with hole in the bottom and an intact rope handle.
86) A beautiful sunset
A beautiful cascade of reds and oranges, with hints of yellows in the declining sky of violet and deepening blue. (Make sure the see is on a west sided coast.) Otherwise it needs to be a sunrise.
87) A sailboat just off the coast
88) Black nodules spread along the beach
No one has seen these before. They are sticky and oily to the touch. (They are nodules from an natural crude oil release.)
89) A shield washed up on the shore.
It is weathered and faded, but the heraldry is still there - though nobody can recognize it. If in a modern setting, make it a car tire with language that nobody recognizes.
90) Just after sunset, you see dancing lights in the water just off the coast.
91) A series of small and middle sized turtles are all over the beach
92) A series of low rocks that make a number of tide pools
93) What appears to be a large octopus crawling along the shoreline out of the water. As you approach, it crawls back into the ocean.
94) Dozens of wooden balls with "tunnels" in them
The wood is quite light and covered in some kind of semi-transparent laquer. These are used to support nets and as floats for lobster/ crab traps. They may not be used around these parts, so they have been floating on the current for a while.
95) A giant flock of sea birds
They are not the seabirds that are normally in these parts, but they are all literally filling the beach. They are white with blue tips on their wings. Their beaks are hooked, made for tearing fish. They will waddle out of the way when people approach.
96) A half dozen horses running along the beach
They are splashing along the water line, splaying out sand under their thundering hooves. Magnificent animals moving in time.
97) The Groom chasing them
He is a few minutes behind and quite out of breath.
98) A beachcomber
He looks as old as this streach of beach. He is walking along the beach looking for interesting things. His bucket is full of tiny crabs and interesting shells.
99) An inlet for a small creek/ river Here the fresh water meets the salt. There are reeds filling this areas. It is not deep, but it is a broad reach.
100) Just off the beach, a headstone
It lists the names of a crew lost on the rocks just off the water here.
101) A strong brisk wind coming in off the ocean. The clouds overhead are moving fast, but you can see fog a bit off the coast... rolling in like an avalanche.
102-A small blue ringed octopus in a pool-deadly poisonous, so don't touch
103-the ashy remains of a campfire
104-a broken pier with one part on the shore and the other part far out at sea.
105. An Unknown Creature
A strange creature, vaguely humanoid is discovered. It is waterlogged and dead, and has an assortment of strange features. It decomposes rapidly over the next several hours
106. An Amphora full of good wine
107. Driftwood Sculptures
A local beach hermit has spent weeks building sculptures out of drift wood and other debris that washes ashore.
108. Giant Wooden Statue
A statue 12-20 foot tall made of wood, it resembles a strangely proportioned humanoid with a giant head and claws instead of hands.
109. A Broken Carriage
It's wood, the ship carrying it wrecked and it washed ashore. A new tongue, a few new wheels and a team of horses and it's ready to go.
110. Giant Fish Carcass
111. Starfish Swarm
112. A Dead Horse
113. A Dead Man
114. A Dead Woman of Obvious Noble/Royal Blood
115. A Dead Sea Serpent
116. A Kraken (dead or dying)
117. A Reverse Mermaid
118. A Dead Mermaid
119. Seashells that are 100x larger than they should be
120. A Dead Whale
121. A 2-Headed Shark
122. A glowing sea snail
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? Responses (21)
This should be in the 30 Codex. 5/5
Love it! Who doesn't like to wander the beach looking for random items? A thoroughly useful scroll.
On a side note, it appears there is some error with the suggested submissions here, as they fill up about a screen-and-a-half of text. Someone wanna fix that?
Thanks for the note, Dozus. Guys, please let's not fix it yet, it needs to be analyzed.
Heh, the descriptions really do it for me. Nice one Muro!
So, I noticed it is not a scroll. Are you going to make this a scroll, where we can have terrain features for a beach/ coastal area? It would easily go to 101.
Fixed Freetext to 30s. Assigned to The Other 30s
Yep, 'Other 30', thanks. Hmm, I dont know, I guess this could go to 101. I'd be shocked if it did though :)
And WOW, on all the multiple links. Good catch!
I stand corrected. I guess I _wont_ be shocked if Moon gets this to 101 :)
So do I get a yawn for pushing it over the top?
No, but you get a loud cheer!
It is really a catch-all collection of anything washed down on, or found at, a beach... and it is a good collection. :)
Ghost-nets are my favorite. What a short piece, and what a potential. "...and they say that it sometimes hides beneath a small piece of kelp, and floats around boats, looking for someone to drown. Don't be afraid, boy, it's only a story! Now go and scrub the outside of the ship."
Ditto what Manfred said, the ghost nets and the mermaid bracers were gold!
Ghost Nets should be made a stub, so you can remember to advance it into a sub, when you can.
will do, Kemosabe. And nice additions!
And that wasn't even me.
I loooove this and I can definitely use it.
Some more items to play with for an great idea.
Changed freetext to 101
Somewhere the waves creep cool along the sand,
The ebbing tide forsakes the listless land
With the old murmur, long and musical;
The windy waves mount up and curve and fall,
And round the rocks the foam blows up like snow
Then with the ebbing I should drift and be
Less than the smallest shell along the shoal,
Less than the seagulls calling to the sea.
I just like this one. It is not HoH worthy, as we currently define HoHs. But it is a fun little thread more should read... then emulate.
Simple but very interesting. Any number of variations and plot hooks present themselves. A good starter point or better, dream sequence for a game master.