Shipwright Profession – Part 1

A Shipwright looks over his design

For newcomers, I’ll refer you to Secondary Professions and Skill Checks and Training and Improving Secondary Skills.

For campaigns that take place on the high seas, having a fleet of ships at your command is extremely helpful. Even underground, exploring the still lakes and hidden rivers of the Underdark can be made easier with the addition of a Shipwright. This professions focuses on the construction of vessels, hiring crews, and influencing those who respect the Shipwright’s craft. Learning this craft is rather expensive, but so are the ships being constructed.

Major Stat: INT     Minor Stat: WIS or DEX

Rank 1: Requires logs, nails, rope, wood glue, parchment, geometry tools, pencil, feather pen, etc. 150gp initial cost.

  • Make a skill check to craft a raft, canoe, sailing boat, or lifeboat. Failure indicates that half the materials are lost and it must be reattempted.
  • Make a skill check to craft a dock. Failure indicates that half the materials are lost and it must be reattempted.
  • Make a skill check to determine if a vessel is sea-worthy. Failure indicates a false determination half the time, uncertainty the other half. It cannot be reattempted on the same vessel until the character levels up again.
  • Make a skill check to determine one’s location and/or date reasonably accurately. This does require the proper astronomical equipment and no significant travel can be made that day.

Rank 2:

  • Make a skill check instead of a CHA check to influence the disposition of dockworkers and sailors.
  • Make a skill check to craft a river boat, small galley, a small sailing ship, and a longship. Failure indicates that half the materials are lost and it must be reattempted.
  • All Rank 1 vessel types do not require a skill check to craft.
  • Make a skill check to hire an especially skilled construction crew. This reduces building time by 10% (rounded up to the nearest full day) but increases the cost by 10%. The reverse is also possible. Failure indicates only ordinary builders are available, though the DM may decide that no workers are available at all.
  • Make a separate skill check to add weapons to a vessel that is not described as having one by default. Adding a ram costs 30% of the base cost. Adding a catapult costs 20% and a ballista is 25%. Failure reduces the SHP of the finished vessel by 20%.

Rank 3:

  • Make a skill check instead of a CHA check to influence the disposition of dockworkers, sailors, captains, and pirates.
  • Make a skill check to craft a large galley, war galley, a large sailing ship, and a transport sailing ship. Failure indicates that half the materials are lost and it must be reattempted.
  • Make a skill check to build a dry-dock. Failure indicates that half the materials are lost and it must be reattempted.
  • Make a skill check to hire an especially skill construction team. This will reduce the construction time needed by 20% but increasing the cost by 10%. Conversely, make a skill check to reduce the cost by 20% by increasing the time required by 10%. This replaces the Rank 2 ability.
  • When rolling for the SHP of a new vessel (or if the DM rolls for SHP at the time of purchase), roll twice and use the better result. No check required. Alternatively, a shipwright can tell whether two vessels have more, less, or roughly equal SHP compared to one another. This ability does not provide an exact value.
  • Make a skill check to create nautical astronomic equipment, including a spyglass for 75% of the cost. Failure indicates that half the materials are lost and it must be reattempted.
  • Make a skill check to hire a ship crew that can repair SHP 50% faster than normal.

Rank 4:

  • Make a skill check instead of a CHA check to influence the disposition of dockworkers, sailors, captains, pirates, admirals, and pirate kings.
  • Make a skill check to craft a Dreadnought.
  • Adding a weapon to a vessel now requires no check.
  • Make a skill check to reduce the cost of adding weapons to a vessel that doesn’t have on by default by half. Failure doubles the cost of a single weapon (the most expensive one).
  • May purchase vessels built by others for 75% of the retail value

Notes on the construction of vessels:

As a general rule, building any sea vessel requires the following:

  • Lumber, materials, and construction crew totaling half the purchase price of the vessel. Each takes up a third of the total cost. It is possible to stockpile building materials. To make things simple, however, it’s easier to merely purchase the materials at the time of construction. I mention these mainly for players that want to minimize a price.
    • For Rank 1 vessels: 1 gp of lumber weighs 5 lbs. For Rank 2 vessels: 1 gp of lumber weighs 10 lbs. For Rank 3+ vessels: 1 gp of lumber weighs 20 lbs. This represents the fact that one is buying in bulk and the quality of the lumber. Smaller vessels need high quality, lighter woods. Larger vessels need mostly cut lumber. To stockpile lumber for Rank 2 vessels and above, characters must purchase lumber in bundles of at least 5x short tons (10,000 lbs total). When building a new ship, if a character’s stockpile has less what is needed, a lumberyard will often charge double if it is less than 10,000 lbs.
    • On average, 1 gp of miscellaneous materials weighs 1 lb. These can be purchased in any quantity.
    • Crews take up the final third of the cost and are paid up front for their work. Hiring double the crew will reduce the construction time by 50%, but double the pay the crew members will need. Doubling the crew again will reduce the time by an additional 50% (so a total of 75% reduced time), but again double the cost. Halving the number of workers keeps the total cost the same (due to accidents and screw ups on the job), but doubles the amount of time needed.
      • One cannot double a crew of one (yourself), but if the character hires or enlists another character to assist, pay the assistant his third. Even if payment is refused, it must be spent in some other way (food, lodgings, etc).
  • In the wild, building a raft or canoe still requires the expenditure of resources, even if the tools are makeshift and the wood is local. With proper tools, materials can found in 1 day, preparation takes 1 day, the remainder of the normal building time. Without proper tools, all aspects of construction take twice as long.
  • Creating a raft or a canoe does not require a dock because they are small and relatively lightweight. All vessels need to be built in a shelter protected from the elements. Anything that requires a crew to build may need a frame built, but that is included in the cost. However, a dock will be needed to launch the vessel. A dock is generally the same length as the vessel + 20 ft so that the water will be deep enough.
  • For very large vessels, a dry-dock may be desirable for repairs and for easy construction of new ships. A dry-dock reduces repair time by 25% and only the dry-dock is needed to launch ships.

Next week, I’ll be posting the prices, times, and crews needed for the various vessels and items I’ve described above.

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One thought on “Shipwright Profession – Part 1

  1. Pingback: Shipwright Professions – Part 2 | The Dais and Column

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