We All Live in a Dragonborn Submarine

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Fix it with a Submarine

All right, onto the goods. Last week I wrote about creating adventure sites in RPGs. Well take a quick look at this adventure site I’ve included in the Exploration Age Campaign Guide.

The Deepest Light. There is a deep ocean trench just off the coast of ReJong that sparkles with radiant light. Thousands of small, star-shaped crystals line the ocean floor which can only be reached by deep submersible. These star crystals explode when thrown, dealing 4d6 radiant damage to everyone in a 20 foot radius. A successful DC 14 dexterity saving throw means the target only takes half damage. Harvesting the crystals is dangerous work however, since a group of sahaugin call the canyon home and don’t take kindly to the invasion of others.

Not bad, I mean there’s danger, but also a good reason for venturing into the site, so the risk-reward balance is there. There’s just one little problem…

Eventually, I realized (and so have you, probably) that there was no convenient way for a few PCs to get to the bottom of the ocean, let alone a mining operation. My first reaction was to move the adventure site to deep in The Underdark or a volcano, but I already have a few adventure sites in those locations in Exploration Age and I wanted this to be a unique underwater experience.

Then I remember that Exploration Age is a world of mechs, firearms, airships, bombs, and more. Why not throw in a submarine? I know some of you are already rolling your eyes and I’m preparing to hear about it in the comments section from Joe Lastowski for a while (who is a great dude and who’s feedback I appreciate), but I gotta go with what my gut says is going to provide some awesome adventure – and that’s a submafrigginrine.

A submarine also allows for further exploration of the world of Canus, which is unsurprisingly a theme of Exploration Age. An underwater adventure into an uncharted area of the deep is my kind of adventure.

The Dragornborn Built It

I know, you want the submarine to be built by gnomes. Well, a gnomish submarine makes those of you old enough to remember Warcraft II think of this…

Warcraft II: Tides of Darkness Gnomish Submarine

While it wouldn’t be entirely out of the question for Canus’ gnomes to pull off a similar feat, in my mind it makes more sense in Canus for the dragonborn, who live on a collection of islands and love the water, to have created the submarine. Also, since it was invented primarily as a means of exploration and transportation and while it can defend itself, it does not shoot torpedoes (but it does shoot magic). How else is the dragonborn submarine different from it’s Warcraft counterpart? Take a look at the excerpt below from the Exploration Age Campaign Guide.

The Crustaceans

What began as a simple underwater mining and exploration vessel has change naval warfare on Canus. Dragonborn inventors were curious about what might lie in the depths of the ocean, and so they took years to create the world’s fist submersible vessel. Their discoveries were endless once they had their vehicle in the water – never before seen creatures and plant life. The most important of their discoveries were the gems in The Deepest Light.

Once the precious stones were discovered in the dangerous depths, the rush to mine them became tied to the purpose and spurred the invention of more submarines. The dragonborn outfitted the vessel with two arms to aid in the mining – one arm ending in a large drill, the other in a large two-pronged claw, thus giving the submersible its name, the Crab. Both drill and claw still exist on the vessel today and can be used in mining and combat.

As the Crab began to face dangers in the deep, its drill and claw proved to be ineffective against foes who might attack from a distance and so four pressurized spear guns and bulky armor were added to the vessel. These guns are placed on the fore, aft, starboard, and port sides of the submarine which required a larger body to make room for gunners. The submarine’s hull became larger in the models which have these spearguns and as such is known as the Lobster.

During The Fourth Great War, a final feature was added to some of the submersibles so they might be used in battle. An arcane cannon was affixed to the tops of these vessels and could be used only when the submarines surfaced. It wasn’t a perfect plan, but it did allow Marrial to sneak up on their enemies. These War Lobsters were outfitted with even heavier armor and painted black so they were hard to find in the sea at night after they had surfaced. During the war some of Marrial’s inventors sold submarines to other nations, since Marrial’s lax laws did not require them to keep the submarines exclusive to Marrial’s navy.

There are rumors that some dragonborn inventors are currently working on a special arcane cannon that can fire force shot below the surface of the water, but these rumors have not been proven.

Submarine HP AC Speed Size Right Arm Left Arm Price Special Attacks
Crab 120 16 30 ft. Large Drill Claw 30,000 gp None
Lobster 200 18 40 ft. Huge Drill Claw 80,000 gp Spearguns
War Lobster 350 20 40 ft. Huge Claw Claw 150,000 gp Rend, Spearguns, Arcane Cannon

Sinking. Once a vessel is reduced to 0 Hit Points, it ceases to function and sinks at a rate of 30 feet per round until it reaches the sea floor.

Obliteration. If a submarine’s Hit Points are reduced to negative its max HP, the submarine is obliterated and crew and cargo find themselves in the deep.

Repairs. A damaged submarine cannot have its Hit Points restored the way a creature can, since it is an object. In general, ship repairs cost 10 gp per 1 HP restored and take a number of hours to complete equal to the number of Hit Points restored.

Crab. The smallest of the submersibles, the Crab is mainly a mining and research vessel. A creature proficient in vehicles (water) can pilot the submarine using its move to move the vessel. The pilot can also use its action to make one attack with the Crab’s claw or the drill. In addition to the pilot, the submarine can hold three other Medium or Small creatures.

  • Claw. Melee weapon attack. +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 12 (2d8 + 3) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 13). The Crab can only grapple on creature at a time. While the Crab has a creature grappled, it may only use its claw attack against that creature as it continues to crush it.
  • Drill. Melee weapon attack. +5 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 16 (3d8 + 3) piercing damage.

Lobster. The Lobster is a larger, better armored submersible. A creature proficient in vehicles (water) can pilot the submarine using its move to move the vessel. The pilot can also use its action to make one attack with the Lobster’s claw or the drill. Four other creatures can work the spearguns located on the fore, aft, starboard, and port sides of vessel. In addition to the pilot and four gunners, the submarine can hold four other Medium or Small creatures.

  • Claw. Melee weapon attack. +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 15 (2d10 + 4) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 14). The Lobster can only grapple on creature at a time. While the Lobster has a creature grappled, it may only use its claw attack against that creature as it continues to crush it.
  • Drill. Melee weapon attack. +6 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 20 (3d10 + 4) piercing damage.
  • Spearguns. Spearguns are attached to the vessel and can swivel. To attack, a creature must make a ranged attack roll and can add its proficiency bonus if it has proficiency with heavy crossbows. Spearguns deal 1d12 piercing damage, and have the ammunition (range 100/400), loading, and two-handed properties.

War Lobster. When it comes to dealing damage beneath the waves, nothing comes close to the heavy-armored War Lobster. It is designed strictly for battle and sports two over-sized claws. A creature proficient in vehicles (water) can pilot the submarine using its move to move the vessel. The pilot can also use its action to make one attack with one of the claws. Four other creatures can work the spear guns located on the fore, aft, starboard, and port sides of vessel. In addition to the pilot and four gunners, the submarine can hold four other Medium or Small creatures. While surfaced, a team can also work the arcane cannon atop the vessel.

  • Claw. Melee weapon attack. +7 to hit, reach 10 ft., one target. Hit: 21 (3d10 + 5) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 15). The War Lobster may only grapple one creature at a time with each claw.
  • Rend. This attack requires the War Lobster to be grappling a creature with one claw and have no creature in the grip of its other. The War Lobster makes two attacks against the grappled creature with both claws.
  • Spearguns. Spearguns are attached to the vessel and can swivel. To attack, a creature must make a ranged attack roll and can add its proficiency bonus if it has proficiency with heavy crossbows. Spearguns deal 1d12 piercing damage, and have the ammunition (range 100/400), loading, and two-handed properties.
  • Arcane Cannon. While surfaced, the arcane cannon can be fired, per its mechanics.

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