Here, I introduced you to the Chinese treasure junk, massive ships that existed in the 15th century AD. This post is a continuation of that one.
One of the reasons that I like the idea of a big ship is that it makes a bigger location to explore. I like location based adventures: I am a fan of dungeons; I am a fan of megadungeons. While no ship could be a megadungeon, it could make a very nice sized dungeon.
Previously, with my belief that the biggest ships of the day were perhaps 100x35 ft (and with 2-3 decks (levels) at most), I didn’t feel that there was enough room for exploration. Even when some of my PCs bought a ship for nautical exploration, and I was able to draw a floor plan for it, I was underwhelmed by the result.
BUT, when you have a ship that is 450x175 ft (and with 4-5 decks), you are looking at a large area to explore, as big if not bigger than the largest ‘published’ dungeons out there.
Here are some other possibilities for adventuring in such massive ships.
What if the ship moved while the PCs were exploring it? Say, for instance, a large, seemingly-abandoned ship appears on the coast of the realm where the PCs are based. The PCs find themselves sent out to explore it (pick your hook). They sail out (or fly out, or row out) and enter the vessel. After some exploration, they decide that they need to return to their home base for resupply, healing, etc. But as they exit the ship, they realize that it is no longer located where they entered it: Perhaps it has only moved some distance down the coast that they are familiar with; perhaps it is sitting off a coast that they do not recognize; perhaps it is in the open ocean with no means for the PCs to return home. [While the last might be a form of railroading, at least it is more believable than some other methods of doing so.]
Let’s say that you are not a fan of location-based adventures. Use it as you would a small town or a fort, where the social interactions, the conducting of daily business, etc become the fodder for interesting adventures. A ship of the size that I am referring to could quite possibly be larger than the smaller villages that occur in many of our games. All of those “village life” adventures could occur on a location that moves, en mass, from place to place.
And I will probably develop that idea further in the next post…