1d20 Encounters at Sea

Welcome to the master list for the 10 Encounters At Sea and 10 More Ocean Encounters lists. Following is an abbreviated list of all 20 encounters, which is a little more convenient for use at the table. Just click the items on the list to go to the expanded write-ups.

Loose the mainsails and take to those perilous seas! Godspeed!


1 An abandoned, yet undamaged ship floats in the water. Aboard is a single man, scrawling strange runes across the deck.

2 A thick fog and storm drifts over the ship, and the shadow of a much larger vessel lurks within.

3 Illegal animal traffickers had been ferrying exotic beasts, but were slaughtered when some of their trophies broke free.

4 The party’s ship is slowed to a halt by tendrils of constricting seaweed. Within the underwater forest hides a sahuagin ambush.

5 The party happens upon what they think is a crewless ship. They don’t realize that the previous crew fled from a nest of mimic stowaways.

6 A rocky shoreline holds a ship’s broken ruins, with illusions of crew waving for help.

7 A strange, ghostly ship comes into view, with spectral apparitions on board. Below the surface, a creature waits for its lure to attract prey.

8 The tip of a ruined tower peeks out from the ocean’s surface, in a place where all maps say should be empty.

9 A school of large, brightly colored fish swim alongside the boat. They could feed the crew for days, but their meat is highly hallucinogenic.

10 A beautiful aurora appears in the night sky and a warm rain falls, but winds blow in all directions and stars seem to move, disrupting navigation.

11 A mutinied captain floats along the ocean on a single plank of wood, offering a reward for safety and even more for the delivery of his ship.

12 A pod of dolphins crests the waves beside the ship, but their numbers decrease over time. A shark is picking them off. Right as the party realize, a much larger shark eats the first.

13 A single man is found in a rowboat, rowing in circles. Lights dance in the water beneath him, as water faeries enchant his mind.

14 A tiny island can be seen nearby with only a single tree giving shade to a table and four seats. On one of them sits a ghost, who would gamble his greatest prize: a medallion that his soul is secretly bound to.

15 A pod of kelpies crest alongside the ship. They are harmless if left alone, but touching them causes a person to become attached and pulled under the waves.

16 An enormous shadow appears under the boat, following it for hours. Over time, crew members enter unresponsive standing comas. The effect eventually targets the party as well.

17 A ring of jagged rocks encircle a hole in the ocean. The bottom is too deep to see, and the cascading vortex is pulling in nearby ships.

18 An emaciated pirate is found drifting in a rowboat, and promises the location of treasure to anyone that would ferry him to a nearby port. Authorities are after him, and offering a much smaller reward.

19 From a mile away, the crew is engulfed in the smell of rot. They can follow it to an enormous shell, being harvested for meat by poachers. The men they find are embarrassed for being found, but not equipped for combat.

20 A ship of affluent travelers with a live band pulls alongside the party, offering for them to come aboard and celebrate with them.

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One comment

  1. This is great. I built a campaign world (for 5e) that had a sea in the centre of all the continents and this would definitely have been good for when players crossed it.

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