In my setting, sea serpents are a major obstacle to ocean travel. I need to justify that. What can I do to them to make them an incredible threat to anyone who dares sail out of sight of land?What I've got so far: - Breed/grow quickly for such a large animal - Grow their entire (immortal) lives - Big fucking teeth - Good luck doing shit with bows and primitive firearms - Excellent sense of smell, both above and below waterNo need to worry about food, the world is 4-5 times as fecund as Earth. Go nuts!
>>51034567These serpents will not only cause hassle to open sea trade, they will forever isolate island nations that are not in a Mediterranean esque sea. They will most likely make colonies a joke and prevent any large movement of sea travel.OP, what fucked up world are you sculpting?
>>51034567Those things would just make blue ocean travel impossible. Your nations could utilize clippers to run up and down the coasts, but that's about it until their technology level reaches our own.Depth charges and submarines would fuck their shit right up, senpai.
>>51034567I once ran a D&D game where there were no Dragons. The PCs didnt know that they had been functionally replaced with Sea Serpants in a mostly water based setting. The sea monsters are intelligent greedy powerful and know full well that those gross little landvermin fill their ships full of all kinds of wondrous things for their undersea horde.Try running it like that especially if the PCs think its just a big glorified fish not something that had been watching them from a scrying pool for the last couple of days
>>51034721Sure, the smaller serpents would probably get fucked but if they keep growing forever chances are you've got a fucking Jörmungandr somewhere in the ocean just waiting until it's large enough to eat the planet.
>>51034792i don't care how big it is, a nuclear-tipped torpedo's gonna leave a dent.
>>51034567They come in packsDespite them being sea serpents they're like whales in that they come up to breathe.They absolutely ravage port towns and harbors, making trade impossible and hard to get send fish boats.They feed when they come up for air.How's this?
>>51034567The only things I'd have to add as an adamant monster enthusiast:-If someone gets TOO big it won't concern itself with predating ships and humans: they'd simply be too small and would be akin to an adult lion going after a mouse or something. There's a "magic size" where a creature is just big enough, but just small enough- you'll need to consider this. -Poison will always be relevant to anything no matter how big it gets. Remember this if you ever want to kill something that eats, poops, etc. -Provided they got LARGE and LONG enough your sea serpents would be excellent habitates: creating surface area for kelp, barnacles, corals, etc to grow and latch onto thereby attracting not just parasites but a whole host of organisms. When they finally do die their bodies would cause massive population explosions from the feeding and their bones could develop into reefs unto themselves.
>>51034567>Even with a world five times as resourceful these creatures, if only because they grow so large would start to prey on each other. If you are a ten mile long sea serpent why would you let a more nimble three mile long serpent hunt in your territory?As such, the fighting between sea serpents would create constant Tsunami's on literally all the coasts of the world that they frequent. No mortal civilization would dare settle the coast and would have to limit themselves to fishing from rivers and inland lakes.>Due to beached serpents ivory would be a relatively inexpensive and extremely common building material. Cities close to the beach would likely be built entirely out of old serpent bone.>People would try to investigate alternatives to sea travel, mages would look to investigate portals or flight and ranger-types would try to tame the flying beasts of the world to see if they could scout what was on the other side of the ocean.>A advanced nation could still travel the sea, they would just have to invent a very, very small ship that could outrun the serpent. Simply have five of these quick runner ships escorting your main passenger vessel and have them create loud, distracting noises to catch the attention of any serpent and keep them away from the passenger vessel.
>>51034567Treat them like WWII U-Boats. They pry shipping lanes and sink ships. The are cunning and hunt in packs. They congregate at geographical choke points, usually straits or harbors. The communicate through sonar pulses with juveniles acting as spies calling for massive adults when a ship or convoy is discovered.
>>51034567Maybe have them move in predictable migrations, so there are "ocean seasons" where people can actually leave the shoreline to squeeze in all the trading they can until the massive fucking poseidon fleshlights return.
>>51034567An ocean is still fucking huge. Any large predator needs ridiculous amounts of food and a large hunting ground, no matter how fecund your setting is, you'd need enough fish and fish adjacent thingies that you wouldn't need ships, you could just walk from continent to continent on the backs of all the fantasy tuna, for ocean travel to be impossible because of all the serpents. If you want to make your setting less stupid, add some intelligence guiding the serpents. You don't need infinity serpents camping every port in case someone goes to sea, all you need is like, 1 tribe of islanders or underwater people who can control the serpents and don't like people on their ocean.
>>51034567>They favour certain currents and fish migration routes that are spread out enough that you don't have to cram the oceans full of serpents, but close enough to be tangential or criss-crossed over each and every major shipping route.>They are big and tough enough that merchant vessels need to heavily invest in heavy weaponry and side stuff like serpent-sniffing dogs, but small enough that they can sustainably balance against the native ecosystem.> There are one or two Serpents that are absolutely fucking colossal and live so far out at sea that their existence is the stuff of old sailor talesAll that said, Sea serpents are spectacle monsters. I say nothing fucks sea travel more than wandering shoal-troupes of 50 amphibious baboon sharks.
>>51034641The whole world is one side of an overgod's die. There are only 200,000 souls available, meaning the population can never exceed that number. Also, the entire continent is about the size of Ireland.>>51034721That is the intent.>>51036451Low magic, high fantasy. No nukes for a few hundred years.>>51036816Alright, what should I cap the growth at?Also, poison is pretty much the only way to kill these things right now. Lots and lots of poison.>>51036934Hm, maybe keep sea serpents less enormous so they don't wreck my coastal cities.The ivory thing sounds cool. Even with smaller serpents, there would still be enough for the occasional building.No wizard portals - without going super in depth, imagine the magic system to be like Avatar bending, but with like 200 elements. That sort of thing doesn't play well with the delicate ritual magic needed to make portals.The ranger thing sounds promising, there are many giant birds.>>51036973Sounds good!>>51037010This is sort of a thing. In the fall, serpents breed. Only serpents of a certain size can breed. They swim up certain rivers and lay their eggs in swampy pools. The following spring, the baby serpents hatch and swim down to the sea. There are festivals about murdering the (50 foot) adult serpents as they swim back down to the ocean.>>51037037It isn't huge on this world. It's the size of Ireland and is about 60% land. That aside, I'd rather give the intelligence to the serpents than a group of people.>>51037332Sounds good, besides the merchant vessels. The sail hasn't been invented because every time someone does, they get eaten by serpents. The baboon sharks sound like something a Keeper of Deformity would make.
>>51038165>There are festivals about murdering the (50 foot) adult serpents as they swim back down to the ocean.Why not butcher the eggs and new spawn?
>>51038165>The sail hasn't been inventedI'd find this very hard to believe, since anyone mounting a sail on a ship would have been observed by at least part of their community. The basic principle of a sail isn't hard to reverse engineer.Rather due to erratic winds and having not yet invented a reliable rigging system, sails are deemed too risky to justify as they can bring you straight into dangerous water. Rowing becomes better because you can hug the shallower end of the continental shelf.
Take inspiration from Dune
>>51038961Anyone else now picturing some people or mer-people that live out in the middle of the ocean, constantly on the move, that both worship the sea serpents and use them for transport/weapons/staple product/religious ceremonies?
>>51038165>The sail hasn't been invented because every time someone does, they get eaten by serpents.So there are no lakes, rivers or lagoons, and as soon as you step off dry land you leave the continental shelf and plunge straight into the icy blue depths?
>>51038961>Row without rhythm
>>51034567Reminds me of the campaign we're currently playing. It's naval based and sea serpents are a rare but deadly thread.When the GM first looked them up in hour systems bestiary their size was "20m - 20m". We assumed it was because of our terrible scan or an old version without errata, so we thoght that it was supposed to be 20m - 200m. Suddenly we were all shitting our pants because those things have 200 + (size x 10) HP and the biggest weapon our ship had did 5d6+10 damage. In the next session we a better quality version of the bestiary. Turned out that the size was actually 20m - 40m. Point is: Make them big and hard to kill
For a game I briefly ran, the world straight up had uncrossable 'black' ocean. You can sail blue or green water all you want with the usual hazards, but the moment you cross- willingly or no- into black sea, shit gets ducked up, breh. Tree-trunk sized tentacles groping blindly above the waves, smashing hull or snatching people where they encounter anything. Hundred foot waves with glowing eyes within. Hundreds of strange tentacles slowly latching on to a ship in the night until they abruptly pull the vessel straight down. Icebergs that actively veer into ships. Being able to cross black water was only a new invention and relied on having a good druid or sea priest able to veil you 24/7, and then even if they didn't so much as blink you still ran the risk of random encounters. But hey, there's a new world with spices and silks and cities of gold out there....
>>51038267Because using siege weapons to shoot giant sea serpents is awesome, and I like awesome things. My players have already been to and participated in one of these festivals, so it's a bit late to change it.>>51038802>>51040244Alright, good point. Sails are for lakes, since both seas have sea serpents in them. Erratic winds make sailing very difficult on the open ocean. I don't even want to know what a cubic planet would do to wind patterns.Most boats in the setting are made from giant horseshoe crab shells. The two-bathtubs-sized creatures make perfect fishing coracles, and they're basically everywhere. People just hollow them out and plug the holes with clay.>>51038998There are merpeople on a different face of the cube, but I've only made one face so far.>>51038961>>51040327Sounds awesome, I'm including it.>>51040493My players went on a boat once and saw a sea serpent. Their characters are now afraid of ocean travel.>>51040824There are folks who can veil a ship from sea serpents - the problem is, there are only two of them.
Sea serpents hunt and kill each other, being territorial.This means a sea serpent's enormous fang is perfect for piercing another sea serpent's scales. Daring monster hunters with nothing to lose could coat one in poison and stick it to the bow of their ship, to try ramming into a sea serpent or die gloriously in the attempt.
>>51042066That sounds awesome, but with one problem: how would you get the ship moving fast enough to pierce the skin?
>>51040824>Icebergs that actively veer into ships.
>>51037332>There are one or two Serpents that are absolutely fucking colossal and live so far out at sea that their existence is the stuff of old sailor talesIsn't the center of the ocean usually the most barren part?
>>51042242Lifebergs are no laughing matter, son.OP, if you want to make your weird deathworld seem more realistic, you have to build up an entire ecosystem for the sea monsters. Have them be relatively uncommon (one or two every ten or so nautical miles) but more common at reefs and island chains. Make it so that there's a large amount of equally fantastic animals for them to hunt and snack on: plated seals, magical porpoises, giant-but-not-collossal crabs, carnivorous shoals of fish, that sort of thing. Most importantly, make them not particularly interested in wasting calories. Have them only pursue a target for a few miles at most before returning to its hunting grounds, and have them prefer to target slow or damaged ships.Basically, what I'm saying is take a lesson from Sunless Sea.
>>51040824Isn't that the setting of pirates of dark water?
>>51042462Maybe, never heard of it. What's it like?
>>51041989>My players went on a boat once and saw a sea serpent. Their characters are now afraid of ocean travel.Wasn't that your intention from the very beginning? What else do you need?
>>51042916I wanted a reason for why there is no sea trade.>>51042551Good luck getting 20 other suicidal bastards in there with you.
>>51043348>good luckIt's not like they have to be WILLING to row the boat to do it.
>>51043382...This is why goblins make the best sailors. Troll oarsmen. I can't believe I forgot that little piece. That said, there's a problem with killing serpents:1. Serpents are their own predators2. Serpents breed quickly3. Killing predators means they aren't predating4. More sea serpents survive
>>51043685Serpents must make baby serpents at a higher frequency than they kill other serpents (or the problem of serpents would take care of itself) so killing serpents probably has a net negative effect on serpent numbers.
>>51044033Ah, but serpents only breed when they're half-grown. The big serpents, the ones that pose the biggest threat to shipping, are too big to swim up the rivers to spawn. The trick to keeping the population down would either be to kill the eggs and spawn or kill the breeding age serpents.
>>51042704Pretty good for its one season run
>>51034567An animal can only grow so large and needs a plentiful food source that ensures it's getting sufficient nutrition. I doubt there would be very many sea monsters if you make them all fuck huge
>>51034721I've always meant to ask /tg/ about this. How might civilization develop if sea monsters rendered ocean travel all but impossible?>>51034721We'd probably just skip to air travel instead. Cargo zeppelins and passenger airplanes.>>51036584You're probably fine until you hit the continental shelf, at which point you're fucked.
>>51034721>Your nations could utilize clippers to run up and down the coasts, but that's about it until their technology level reaches our own.This would definitely work, but you'd need a lot of expensive and hazardous trial and error to get decent bathymetric maps; figuring out which routes are safe might be difficult.
The oceans are transparent. When the sun is in just the right position its light can shaft down, down into the depths, revealing a sea floor crawling with serpents and monsters. And they can see right back up.
Little bit of paleontological info on mosasaurs, huge sea reptiles from the time of the dinosaurs that evolved from some coastal reptile similar to the komodo dragon.They evolved extremely fast, possibly due to their unique territorial behavior. Normally animals that fight for territory have a showdown so one of them can back off.Mosasaurs just sneak attacked each other to death. This might have caused the species to experience rapid evolution because while many mosasaurs died throughout the year, they were still the apex predator in the oceans.In previous eras, there were many predators in the oceans. When mosasaurs appeared, they took over all oceans within only a few million years.If they hadn't gone extinct, there wouldn't be killer whales, no sperm whales, no great white sharks. Only mosasaurs.
If there are sea serpents, are there land serpents?
>>51046617There are giant versions of regular snakes. Do 200-foot anacondas count?
>>51042242Maybe they're alive.Maybe they're just being steered by something that prefers to remain out of sight.
>>51034567A lot of the stuff you're listing is pretty redundant and could be summarised as just the serpents being big bad monsters.The exact size and capabilities can be scaled to the desired challenge level but you basically end up with two potential encounter types that can be mixed to various extents.1) A traditional monster fight with some added environmental quirks. The serpent is big with big deadly attacks and a lot of health and natural armour that the adventurers have to whittle away while dealing with reaching the monster over and under water. You can change the size, give them special attacks like poison or fire breathe but it's basically the traditional encounter with all the traditional trouble of scaling appropriate challenges and things getting repetitive.2) It's more of an environmental threat that can't be easily fought. The serpents attack the ship directly from underneath and sink it before an adequate counterattack could be formed. Focus is more about watching for and avoiding the monsters or else distracting them with bait while trying to flee. The trouble there obviously being that handled poorly it can give too much of a feeling of no control and "cheap" losses.>>51036584Along with the idea of "packs" you could have encounters of a wave of weaker beats like sharks that are actually fleeing or being herded by the serpents.
>>51034567I think I'd give the sea serpents a bit of character by making them curious and playful in addition to predatory and destructive.They like ships. They're drawn to ships, or indeed anything out of the ordinary. They like watching ships, they like playing with ships, they like capsizing ships, they like smashing ships into pieces and eating the strange-tasting creatures that fall out of them. Sometimes they'll follow a ship for miles and miles just to see where it's going before they wreck it. Nobody's ever seen a serpent fight for its life.
>>51045084>I've always meant to ask /tg/ about this. How might civilization develop if sea monsters rendered ocean travel all but impossible?I posit sailwagons on wooden rails.
>>51034567just make other types of travel more profitable, the sea doesn't have to be inaccessible also what would the serpents even eat at the size honestly? not enough whales in the sea for a creature that size m8
>>51050099Smaller sea serpents. What do they eat you ask? Sea serpents, even smaller ones.
I really hope you're planning to have the players unexpectedly encounter one in a body of water not connected to the sea. Preferably the middle of a swamp so that they're in a confined, claustrophobic space unable to escape and surrounded by an ecosystem of other monsters that they also have to deal with.
>>51037010>poseidon fleshlightsHoly shit, marry me.
>>51047717>Nobody's ever seen a serpent fight for its life.Stealing this for use in my own setting.
Remember the sea kings from One Piece?They only exist in parts of the sea with no wind or something like that
>>51042279Doesn't have to be center, it could be so far out that you're bound for new shores soon.> The furthest reaches of the ocean have reefs and ecosystems unto themselves formed from the bodies of mountain turtles and mantle whales, and are near oversaturated with smaller sea monsters> The colossal serpents are the final encounter before you hit the new continent, thriving in their own evolutionary corner of megafauna.> They may be lesser godsThere's plenty of poison to pick from.
>>51050099The world is 4-5 times as fertile as Earth. There are plenty of giant sperm whales for these guys to eat.Also, since everything grows ridiculously quickly, there's another problem with sea travel. Barnacles. Barnacles that will devour a wooden ship in months.