100 Random Ocean Encounters for D&D

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Feel free to use this list of 100 random ocean encounters for your fantasy tabletop RPG campaign.

  1. A ship approaches the ship. It is flying a flag of a strange design. It is a ship of the sea elves, who are at war with the merfolk, who live beneath the waves.
  2. The ship is flying a flag of a strange design. It is a ship of the merfolk, who are at war with the sea elves, who live beneath the waves. 
  3. A ship approaches the ship. It is flying the banner of a strange city. It is a ship of the air elves, who are at war with the ground elves, who live in the forests and mountains. 
  4. A ship approaches the ship. It is flying a flag of a strange design. It is a ship of the ground elves, who are at war with the air elves, who live in the forests and mountains. 
  5. The ship is attacked by a band of pirates. 
  6. The ship is attacked by a band of pirates. They appear to be friendly, but they are actually bandits who have been hired to attack the ship. 
  7. A ship approaches the ship. It is flying a flag of a strange design. It is a ship of the water elves, who are at war with the fire elves, who live in the deserts and volcanoes. 
  8. A ship approaches the ship. It is flying a flag of a strange design. It is a ship of the fire elves, who are at war with the water elves, who live in the deserts and volcanoes. 
  9. A ship approaches the ship. It is flying a flag of a strange design. It is a ship of the air elves, who are at war with the ground elves, who live in the forests and mountains. 
  10. A ship approaches the ship. It is flying a flag of a strange design. It is a ship of the ground elves, who are at war with the air elves, who live in the forests and mountains. 
  11. A group of pirates are attacking a merchant ship. (+Players can choose to help the pirates or help the merchants. 
  12. A group of pirates are attacking a merchant ship. Players can choose to help the pirates or help the merchants. Attack the ship and loot their treasure. They will find 1d4 gems worth 2d10 gp each, and 1d4 potions of healing. 
  13. The ship is attacked by a giant shark. A group of young mermaids are hiding in the water. They will ask the players to help them kill the shark. If the players kill the shark, they will be rewarded with 1d6 gems worth 1d10 gp each and 1d6 potions of healing. 
  14. A group of pirates attack the ship. The pirates are led by a pirate named Captain Crocodile. Captain Crocodile will offer to sell the players a magic sword for 1d10 x 100 gold pieces. If players refuse to buy the sword, Captain Crocodile will attack. 
  15. The ship is attacked by a giant squid. If players kill the squid, they will receive 1d4 gems worth 4d10 gp each and 1d4 potions of heroism. 
  16. The ship is attacked by a giant turtle. A group of mermaids are hiding in the water. They will ask the players to help them kill the turtle. If the players kill the turtle, they will be rewarded with 1d4 gems worth 10d10 gp each and 1d6 potions of healing. 
  17. The ship is attacked by a giant shark. A group of mermaids are hiding in the water. They will ask the players to help them kill the shark. If the players kill the shark, they will be rewarded with 1d6 gems worth 5d10 gp each and 1d6 potions of healing. 
  18. The ship is attacked by a giant squid. A group of merfolk are hiding in the water. They will ask the players to help them fight the squid. If players kill the squid, they will be rewarded with 1d4 gems worth 6d10 gp each and 1d4 potions of heroism. 
  19. The ship is attacked by a giant turtle. A group of merfolk are hiding in the water. They will ask the players to help them fight the turtle. If the players kill the turtle, they will be rewarded with 1d4 gems worth 7d10 gp each and 1d4 potions of healing. 
  20. The ship is set upon by a giant flying squid monster known as a razortooth squid. The razortooth squid attacks from above and tries to slam into the ship and destroy it. 
  21. Players encounter a ship shipwrecked on the ocean. The ship is empty, except for one sailor. He is lying on the deck and is still alive. He is badly wounded, but he will not die as long as he does not get wet or exposed to the air. If the players save him, he will reward them with a magic item. If the players leave him there, he will die. 
  22. In a storm, the players see a ship sinking. They can save the ship, but they will have to fight pirates. 
  23. A ship approaches the ship the players are on. It appears to be flying a flag of truce. The ship flies up alongside the players’ ship and a man on a rope climbs aboard the players’ ship. He says he is a messenger and he has a message for the captain of the ship. The man’s name is Jonas and he is a merchant. He says he has a message for the captain from her brother and he will only give it to her. He will not give it to anyone else. The man is so desperate for the captain to take this message that he will do anything to get it to her. He will even give the players anything they want if they will help him get the message to the captain. His message is simple: ‘Help me!’ 
  24. A mysterious green light is seen on the horizon. As it moves closer, it resolves into a huge green dragon flying through the air! It flies over the top of the ship and banks around for another pass! It’s huge! 
  25. A giant octopus lurches out of the sea and grabs one of the ship’s oars! It’s huge! 
  26. Players see a small island ahead. There is a small village on this island and a small fort on top of the hill overlooking the town. As the players approach, they see men in leather jerkins running down to the docks, armed with shields and spears. They are fishermen in this village and they are prepared to defend themselves against pirates and raiders! 
  27. A ship approaches the ship the players are on. It appears to be an old, fat merchant ship. It looks like it’s full of cargo and it is slowing down and it’s coming towards them! This is not a friendly ship! It’s a pirate ship! 
  28. The players see a small island ahead. It looks like there is a small village on top of this island and there are three fires burning high on top of three poles around the village. 
  29. A small fishing boat approaches the ship that the players are on. The captain of this fishing boat tells them that there is an island ahead with an old fort on top of it that has been abandoned for years. There have been stories of strange creatures seen coming out of that fort at night and people have been disappearing from the nearby village recently… 
  30. The players see a ship approaching them. It seems to be flying a flag of truce. There is no sign of any attack… The ship flies up alongside the players’ ship and a man on a rope climbs aboard the players’ ship. He says he is a messenger and has news for the captain of the ship. 
  31. A ship comes into view. It’s a ship of the air. It’s flying above the water. As you get closer, you see that it is a pirate ship. It has a flag on it with a skull and crossbones. It’s flying upside down. As you get closer, you see that it is a pirate ship upside down. 
  32. A giant bird swoops down and snatches the player. 
  33. A giant bird swoops down and steals a player’s helmet. 
  34. A ship approaches from the horizon. As it gets closer, you see that it’s a pirate ship. 
  35. A large squid attacks the ship. If a player is on deck, he will get wet. 
  36. A large squid attacks the ship. If a player is on deck, he will be attacked. The squid will attack for 1d4+1 rounds and then retreat into the ocean. 
  37. A battle between an airship and a giant squid rages above you. The airship is painted with the symbol of a wizard’s guild. 
  38. A battle between an airship and a giant squid rages above you. The squid is painted with the symbol of a pirate guild. It has a flag on it with a skull and crossbones. 
  39. You see a giant whale in the distance. It appears to be flying toward you at great speed. 
  40. You see a giant flying whale in the distance. It appears to be flying toward you at great speed. 
  41. A fishing boat with a single sail approaches the ship. Its captain offers to sell the players fish from his boat. The fish smell bad and are half price. 
  42. A group of 3d6 fishermen approach the ship and ask the party to help them catch fish. They will pay well, but the party must put on smelly leather clothes and help them for an hour. If the party does not do this, the fishermen will attack. They are pirates who want to make sure the party is not a threat. 
  43. A young man named Wesley approaches the party and offers to sell them a map to a lost city. He will not reveal the price until they see the map. The map is actually a map of an island with a volcano in the center. When they reach the volcano, they will realize there is no city, just a ruin in the middle of the island. 
  44. A fishing boat approaches the ship and offers to sell the players fish. The fish are normal and are half price. 
  45. A ship approaches the ship and offers to sell the players weapons at half price. 
  46. Two men approach the party and offer to sell them expensive jewelry from their ship. 
  47. A group of 3d10 mercenaries approach the party and offer to join them on their adventure for 10 gold pieces each per week. They will follow orders, but they are not very good at following orders and are likely to cause trouble for players. 
  48. A group of 3d4 stonemasons approach the party and offer to do odd jobs for them for 10 gold pieces each per week. They will do anything from carrying goods to digging holes in the ground. 
  49. A merchant ship approaches the ship and offers to sell the players magic items at half price. 
  50. A merchant ship approaches the ship and offers to sell the players normal goods at half price. 
  51. Players find a sunken ship. Inside, they find a mermaid. She will tell them she is the guardian of the ship and that they must go on without her because she is cursed to remain here forever. 
  52. Players find a ship, but it is not the ship they are looking for. A group of pirates are on the ship. After talking to the players, they realize that the players are not members of the navy and attack them. 
  53. Players find a ship that is sinking. There are a group of sailors on the deck, who are singing the song of the sea. They will not answer any questions or help the players in any way. 
  54. Players find a ship that has been sinking for some time. There is nothing there except a giant squid that is feeding on the remains of the ship and its crew. 
  55. Players find an old, abandoned ship. The ship is full of merfolk who are trying to hide from a group of pirates that are searching for them. 
  56. Players find an abandoned ship in which there are 5d6 kobolds who have been torturing a group of captured humans for information about the nearby islands and towns. 
  57. Players find an abandoned ship in which there are a group of adventurers who have been turned into kobolds by a group of kobolds who have been hiding in the hold of the ship, waiting for players to board it so they can attack them and steal their stuff. 
  58. Players find a ship that looks like it was once a merchant ship but now has no sails and is being moved by magic. If players investigate, they will find that the ship is being controlled by a group of elementals that were brought here by a wizard who is using them to power his ship by force. 
  59. Players find a ship that is being moved by magic. The ship will try to ram them if they get too close. 
  60. Players find an empty ship that has one oar missing and one oar broken. If players investigate, they will find that a group of sea nymphs have been using this ship to attack ships and then feed on the bodies of the sailors once they have been killed by the nymphs’ songs. 
  61. A ship approaches, flying the flag of a far-off land. It is the first ship from that land to reach these shores. 
  62. A ship approaches, flying the flag of a far-off land. It is a ship of war, and its captain is looking for trouble. 
  63. A ship approaches, flying the flag of a far-off land. It is a trade ship, and it is carrying a rare and valuable cargo. 
  64. A ship approaches, flying the flag of a far-off land. It flies no flag, and its captain has no name. 
  65. A ship approaches, flying the flag of a far-off land. It flies no flag, and its captain has no name. This ship is actually a pirate ship, and its captain is looking for easy prey on which to raid. 
  66. A ship approaches, flying a foreign flag. It is actually a pirate ship, and its captain has decided that this is as good a place as any to strike. 
  67. A ship approaches, flying a foreign flag. It is actually a pirate ship, and its captain has decided that this is as good a place as any to strike. The captain is actually an insane wizard who has been driven mad by his years at sea and his desire for gold and precious gems. He has been known to cast spells at random with little regard for whether or not he will hit his target. 
  68. The sea seems to be growing darker, and a storm seems to be coming on fast. 
  69. A strange creature, part fish and part man, swims by. It does not seem to notice the players. 
  70. A strange creature, part fish and part man, swims by. It sees the players and attacks! 
  71. A group of orc pirates are having a celebration. They are drinking and laughing. The orcs are wearing armor and carrying weapons. A fight breaks out between the orcs. They will attack the party if they get too close. 
  72. A group of elven rangers are walking along the beach. They are looking for tracks. They appear to be looking for something lost in the water. They will ask the party for help. 
  73. A ship is washed up on shore. It appears to have been attacked by pirates. The ship is wrecked and has no sails, oars, or masts. The ship has several holes in it. 
  74. A ship is seen approaching shore. The ship is flying the flag of a kingdom. The ship is flying under the flag of a nation that has no diplomatic ties with the kingdom or the region. 
  75. A ship is seen approaching shore. It is flying a flag that is not recognized by the players. The ship is flying under the flag of a nation that has no diplomatic ties with the kingdom or region. The ship is seen approaching shore. Two smaller ships approach the larger ship and attack it! 
  76. A group of men and women are gathered together praying for their dead comrades and for the souls of their dead comrades. They are from a nearby town or village and are here paying their respects to their dead comrades who died at sea and were washed up on shore here. 
  77. A group of cultists are gathered together chanting and praying to their dark god for more power for their dark god. The cultists are armed with short swords and shields. 
  78. A group of armed men and women are gathered together praying for their dead comrades and for the souls of their dead comrades who died at sea and were washed up on shore here. They are from a nearby town or village and are here paying respects to their dead comrades who died at sea and were washed up on shore here. 
  79. A group of pirates are sitting around a campfire singing sea songs. They appear to be drunk and will attack if provoked or challenged. 
  80. A group of pirates are sitting around a campfire singing sea songs. They appear to be sober and will attack if provoked or challenged. 
  81. A ship passes by, but nobody on board will answer any questions. They will just keep their heads down and eyes averted. 
  82. A ship passes by, and the captain asks if anyone has seen a man named ‘George.’ 
  83. A ship passes by, and the captain asks if anyone has seen a man named ‘George.’ The captain’s name is George. 
  84. A ship passes by and a passenger looks at the party and grins. The passenger is actually a demon in disguise and the grin is actually a mouth full of fangs. 
  85. A ship passes by and the captain tells the party that they are looking for a man named ‘George.’ The captain’s name is George and he has been missing for three days. 
  86. A ship passes by and the captain tells the party that they are looking for a man named ‘George.’ The captain’s name is George and he has been missing for three days. The captain is actually a demon in disguise. 
  87. A ship passes by and the captain tells the party that they are looking for a man named ‘George.’ He has been missing for three days. The captain is actually a demon in disguise and he transformed himself into the captain and killed the real captain and took his place as part of an evil plot to take over the world. 
  88. A ship passes by and the captain tells the party that they are looking for a man named ‘George.’ He has been missing for three days. The captain is actually a demon in disguise and he transformed himself into the captain and killed the real captain and took his place as part of an evil plot to take over the world. The captain’s name is George. 
  89. A ship passes by and it has no captain. It is being steered by a skeleton with an eyepatch. 
  90. A ship passes by and it has no captain. It is being steered by a skeleton with an eyepatch. The skeleton says, ‘Arrr! Look what I found!’ It holds up a bottle of wine like a trophy. 
  91. The ship encounters a small island in the middle of the water. It is beautiful and inviting, but if players walk on the grass, they will be attacked by centipedes the size of dogs. 
  92. The ship encounters a large island in the middle of the water. It is beautiful, and there is a large marble statue of a woman in the center of the island. If players approach the statue, they will be attacked by 2d10+10 giant ants. 
  93. A ship approaches the ship and asks for help. The ship is full of women who were kidnapped and are being held for ransom. If the players agree to help, they will find out that the women are actually 2d6+6 kobolds in disguise. 
  94. The ship encounters a ship that is sinking. If players approach, they will find out that it is a ship full of pirates who were trying to attack the ship the players are on. The pirates are trying to steal as much as they can before they sink. 
  95. A huge storm approaches. If players don’t find shelter, they will be blown off course and end up in a different part of the world.. 
  96. A group of 2d6+6 humans approach the ship and ask for help. They are looking for a lost city full of gold. If they are not stopped, they will cause trouble for the players later on down the line when they return to port and tell everyone what happened. 
  97. A lonely lighthouse appears on the horizon. If players approach, they will find out that it is really a magic lamp that will summon a djinn if rubbed hard enough. 
  98. The ship is boarded by seagulls that attack everyone on board. 
  99. A ship approaches the ship and asks for help. The ship is full of women who are being held for ransom by a tribe of sea-people known as Merfolk. If players agree to help, they will find out that the women are actually Merfolk in disguise. 
  100. A sea serpent attacks!

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Ocean Encounters D&D
Ocean Encounters D&D