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My current campaign is following the adventures of a group of heroic-types as they head north in search of a villainous wizard… in their flying dragon turtle boat.

Olaus Magnus Historia om de nordiska folken

A regular part of these games of course is arriving at a new city. So first I describe the city’s appearance in broad strokes (since they get a bird’s eye view of the place), but then I give them something small and personal when they dock their boat. If at a waterfront city, they usually take advantage of the standard docks, which lead me to writing this version of events up that will be useful for just about any boat-going adventure.

In that vein, I present to you

d12 Dockside Events

  1. A battered ship with tattered sails has recently docked and everyone’s attention is around it. Few of the crew have survived their harrowing journey here.
  2. The figurehead of one of the other ships at port engages the party in conversation as they walk past. It has been in service for at least d10 decades now, and has a lot to share with those whom it decides it enjoys the company of.
  3. Massive clouds of gulls engulf the dock in a cacophony of feathers and birdshit as a few fishermen are cleaning their catches and throwing the excess to the birds.
  4. A beggar offers to sell his severed hand to passers by.
  5. Someone is having a small party under the docks. Laughter, shouts and empty bottles floating away indicate where the debauchery is occurring.
  6. Broiled Squid! Broiled Squid-on-a-Stick! Get your hot, spicy, Broiled Squid-on-a-Stick!
  7. A sailor is being dragged back to his ship by town guards. He seems very upset and angry. Roll 1d4 – (1) his sweetheart got married while he was away. (2) his mistress was killed while he was away. (3) his home burned down. (4) his debts are beyond his ability to cover, and the guards are trying to help him avoid debtor’s prison by getting him back on the ship as soon as possible.
  8. Someone trying to get his horses onto a ship is kicked by one of the terrified animals and falls into the water.
  9. The horses are out of control, the carriage driver is hanging on to the side of the carriage for dear life, and the whole thing is rolling at breakneck speeds down the dock and heading for the drink!
  10. Four trolls have been hired by the harbourmaster to collect the taxes from incoming vessels. They live in a house that’s been built under the docks, because it just seems right.
  11. A luggage stand selling questionable cases and crates has been hastily erected by a local down-on-his-luck trickster. Who knows what’s in some of them… (“What’s in the fucking box?!?”)
  12. A huge naked half-ogre comes running out of the nearby steamhouse, straight towards the party, aiming to jump in the chilly water.