• Mark S. Cookman

20 Treasures to Find in a Shipwreck


This week's list continues the nautical theme of shipwrecks that began last week. A shipwreck of your own vessel can be compared to the death of a close friend or family member. The captain and crew experience, albeit in a hurried manner, the five stages of grief. For those of you who are not familiar with these, they are: 1) Denial, 2) Anger, 3) Bargaining, 4) Depression, and finally 5) Acceptance. In the case of a shipwreck or a sinking vessel, the first three stages represent the time that the crew (or at least the majority of them) believe that the ship (their home) can be saved. The last two stages represent the time when the crew abandons the vessel, taking with them whatever items of value that they can manage. The key thing to realize here is that the crew CANNOT possibly take every item of value from the ship before they must seek safety. Thus, when you come across a shipwreck, an abandoned boat, a burned out hulk or just a "ghost" ship, there is almost always going to be something interesting on board. That is what today's list is about.

As always, this is hardly meant to be an exhaustive list. It is provided to give you some great ideas for developing treasures that your PC's might find. Also, while some of the items below might be specific to ships, there is no reason that these things couldn't be found in burned out warehouses or abandoned cellars. However you might use them, it is my hope that you enjoy reading through them. Without further ado, here are 20 Treasures to Find in a Shipwreck. Until next time my maties - fair winds, following seas, and happy gaming!

1. A fine silver tea tray engraved with Elven script and vines with tiny flowers. It's worth 200 gold.

2. A dented and rusty breast plate, stained with blood. It's worth nothing.

3. A water-soaked book entitled, "The Log of the Esmeralda". It is too damaged to be read, but perhaps a mend spell would fix it.

4. A small crate of Dragon Spice. Some say it's magical; others say that's squid spit. Whatever the case, it's worth 1000 gold.

5. Two crates filled with smoked venison. It's fresh, delicious, and worth about 25 gold.

6. A falconer's gauntlet and hood made from a fine leather and dyed burgundy. The gauntlet is well-used and the set is only worth about 5 gold. It is so old, you can't make out the crest on it.

7. The hold, the gun decks, and even the captain’s cabin is filled with hundreds of potted poppy plants. I'm sure they're worth a lot to the right person.

8. A map of an unknown to the PC's archipelago covered in a thin, spidery script that details the path, the guardians, and the secret location of the magical library of the Blood Moon Coven.

9. A small ornate crystal vial half-filled with an expensive and intoxicating cologne that adds 1 to Charisma for 1 hour. There are 6 doses. It's worth 500 gold.

10. The decks are covered in blood, but there's not a soul to be found onboard. The navigator's table is covered in extra planar charts. The captain's desk has a most unfortunate tarot reading laid out on it and the hold is filled with brownish, leathery eggs. What was that skittering sound?

11. A simple bone scroll case containing a number of letters, including one of introduction from the Archmage Xander Crass to the Registrar of the fabled Carcossca College of Magic entreating that the bearer be given access to the school's library to do research for Master Crass.

12. A chest filled with 22 fist-sized black pearls. Each one is worth between 200 to 500 gold.

13. A fine set of leatherworker's tools, knives, punches and stamps in a leather-lined hardwood case. It bears the crest of the Royal Leatherworker's Guild. It's worth about 100 gold.

14. A crate full of fancy, bejewelled merkins. I'm sure there must be a pimp or a madam somewhere that would pay 200 gold for such a treasure as this.

15. 9 crates of Bohea Black Tea with proper tax stamps and everything. It's worth 100 gold a crate in the right market.

16. The hold was filled with hundreds of barrels of saltpeter. Most have been destroyed, but a handful remain undamaged. Each barrel is worth 500 gold in the right port.

17. A crate of fine red wine from the Imperial Wine cellars has somehow survived the shipwreck. Each of the 12 bottles is worth 300 gold, but don't get caught selling them.

18. A small leather pouch contains a collection of 25 tiny metal toy soldiers like hoplites which are magically animated. They march in lines, form a phalanx, and move forwards and backwards on command. The set is worth 500 gold.

19. Hidden in a hollowed out religious text in the captain's cabin is a set of marked cards, a set of loaded dice, and 25 counterfeit silver coins. In the right place this stuff could go for 100 gold. In the wrong place it can get you thrown in jail.

20. A scroll containing the Royal Navy's current signal flag codes and patrol schedules for the region. This is worth thousands to the right buyer, but is more likely to get you killed or imprisoned if you sell it to the wrong person.

#treasure #pirates #dmadvice #gmadvice #dnd

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