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Run a Tight Ship
The ability to travel by sea may not be a part of every campaign, but it is often necessary for those needing to traverse the expansive vastness of a Dungeons & Dragons fantasy world. Whether navigating treacherous oceans or crossing dangerous rivers, adventurers will eventually need a sturdy and reliable vessel to transport them safely to their destination. And for those requiring a ship, there may be no better tradesperson than a shipwright.
A good ship is paramount for any party traveling by sea. It provides a means of transportation and serves as a home away from home. Well-built ships can withstand harsh weather conditions, fend off attacks from sea monsters, and keep the crew safe and comfortable during long voyages. Shipwrights are skilled craftspeople specializing in ship construction and maintenance. They deeply understand naval architecture and the engineering needed to create maritime vessels of all shapes and sizes.
Adventurers looking to commission a vessel will be delighted that shipwrights can offer various customization options. From the number of decks to the material used in construction, shipwrights can tailor the ship to meet the party's specific needs. They can also add special features, such as hidden compartments or weapons systems, to help the party defend against pirates or other threats.
However, even the best-built ships require regular maintenance and occasional repairs. Thankfully, shipbuilders are skilled at diagnosing and fixing any problems that may arise, from leaks in the hull to damaged rigging. They can also perform routine maintenance tasks, such as tarring, painting, and varnishing, to keep the ship in top condition.
Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea
Shipwrights are inventive carpenters and makers, but since sea travel is not an everyday expense for most city residents, finding one can be particularly challenging. Larger port cities or coastal towns are a great place to start. Some more skilled boatbuilders tend to travel with naval fleets, serving as officers if for no other reason than to collect a steady paycheck. Still, not all are willing to dedicate themselves in this manner, and many can be found by inquiring at the local docks or requesting recommendations from reputable ship captains. Another safe bet would be to check in at the local seaside tavern, as many invaluable artisans have dedicated spots at the bar.
If all else fails, the adventuring party may want to look inward. Players proficient in carpenters' tools may wish to train to become a shipwright. Finding a school or mentor could be just as tricky, but the rewards may far outweigh the time and effort. Like most artisans, shipwrights are fond of working with their hands and are known for feats of carpentry that might seem like divine actions to those unfamiliar with the craft. Becoming a shipbuilder could also open doors to new quests and adventures for the players. The ability to patch a broken hull quickly may allow the group to join the crew of a warship to turn the tide of war or venture out on a fishing vessel to capture rare aquatic beasts. With the right tools and a few good rolls, the party's designated shipwright could open a new realm of adventurous possibilities.