Tag Archives: campaign setting

Ocean Adventures in D&D, Part 3 – Sea Monsters

The Player’s Handbook, Dungeon Master’s Guide, and Monster Manual all provide great resources for undersea or ocean-based D&D campaigns. We’ve offered you an Undersea Guide to the Player’s Handbook and an Undersea Guide to the Dungeons Master’s Guide. Today we’ll be talking sea monsters with the Dungeons & Dragons Monster Manual.

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This week’s post is part of the RPG Blog Carnival. This month the carnival is hosted by NukeTown.com, and the theme is “All These Worlds.” Be sure to check them out and see what others have shared on the topic.

The Monster Manual is full of useful creatures for your undersea campaign, and the easiest way to access these is to refer to appendix B in the Dungeon Master’s Guide, which lists coastal and underwater monsters. Below is a list of suggestions for expanding on those lists.

Sea monsters
Image credits: Laura College

Aquatic and Amphibious Variants

Many creatures can become sea monsters by giving them the ability to breathe underwater and a swim speed. Twig blights could become seaweed blights, while you could replace a frost giant’s greataxe with a trident and call it a sea giant. Be careful with some monster abilities though, an ocean basilisk could pose a real problem for characters who can’t breathe underwater.

Undead Creatures

Most undead creatures can survive underwater, without any modification. Adding a swim speed is usually all that’s needed to make them effective threats. Ethereal undead, such as ghosts, can use their fly speed instead of a swimming speed, making them difficult to escape.


Similar to the undead, constructs don’t need to breathe, so giving them a swimming speed is usually enough to make them useful. A homunculus might have a swimming tail instead of wings, while golems might be formed like sharks or dolphins, giving them a swimming speed and a reduced base speed. You can also replace some golem abilities with ones from other sea monsters; like giving a flesh golem tentacle attacks to replace its slam attacks.

Common sense if your greatest ally here — a stone golem is more likely to sink than swim.

Sea monsters
Image credits: Jonas Allert

When it comes to sea monsters, a little creativity goes a long way, and the Monster Manual serves as an excellent starting point for populating your campaign world.

What’s Next?

What would you like us to cover for your undersea campaign next? Let us know in the comments below.

We recently asked about trinkets in your D&D game, and we’d love to hear your ideas, especially if you’ve got some ocean themed ones.

Till next time, play good games!

Rodney Sloan
Rising Phoenix Games

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Avernos – South Fort

“South Fort will fall, its heart is blacker than any would guess. It is but a small bother on the great road to the destruction of the Alliance Nations. Then, and it shall be soon, the Tyrant will hold all Avernos as his kingdom.

– Karleethia Darkhand


A while back I gave an overview of Avernos, the Land of Adventure, and a brief introduction to South Fort, which is the city setting for the solo adventure Sentinels Watching. In this post I’m going to give you a heap of extra setting information so that you can use South Fort in your own campaign.

City On Watch

South Fort was established as a garrison in the Wilderlands, an inhospitable stretch of land on the Southern edge of the human kingdom. To the West lies the deadly mountain range known as the Jaws, and beyond that the Abyss, from whence every manner of foul darkness issues forth. To the east lies the Dead Wood, a forest older than time and said to be haunted by the spirits of ancient trees.

The city has seen more than it’s fair share of conflict, and yet has grown as a major commercial hub, due to the fact that it sits on three important trading routes. As the city has grown so too has the power struggle within it between South Fort’s elite. While the city is officially led by the Keep Captain, there is growing evidence to suggest that an influential gang within the city holds the real power.

Law, if you can call it that, is maintained by the city watch known as the Blue Capes. They owe this title to the blue capes of rank they wear to distinguish themselves from the civilian population. If the leaders within the Capes are doing anything to stem the corruption in the city they are keeping very quiet.


Districts of South Fort

South Fort is divided up into several districts, each with its own unique character:

The Keep: The military and municipal heart of the city. Here you’ll find clerks, judges, officers and other administrative personnel, along with a heavier presence of Blue Capes and South Fort militia. Other than at times of siege, common folk have little business in the Keep and the few merchants that have stalls here are solely concerned with selling stationery, inks and the stamps required for the daily running of the administrative offices.

Inner City: Surrounded by the main defensive wall of the city and the watchtowers known as the Sentinels, the Inner City is home to the richest citizens of South Fort. Built on top of a rising outcrop of rock, the Inner City commands a grand view of the rest of South Fort and the Wilderlands beyond. Foreign and trade goods are sold on Market Way, a wide thoroughfare, which draws merchants from far and wide, while the best craftsmen line South Fort’s famous Trade Road.

Outer City: Those living in the Inner City would describe the Outer City as “home to everyone else”. The Outer City sees more traders and travellers than the rest of the city as many visitors to South Fort prefer to ply their trade outside of the city walls and away from the high taxes they can expect to pay within. The Outer City black market does a roaring trade, with coin traded for goods from the Northern Kingdom, the Free South and the Eastern Ports in alleys, taverns, back rooms and through secret agencies such as The Raven.

The Sewers: The sewers of South Fort are an impressive feat of human and dwarven architecture hailing back from the first days of the Alliance. Having since fallen into decay, the sewers are now home to all manner of ne’er-do-wells, not to mention a growing rat population.


Organisations and Societies

South Fort is home to a number of organisations and societies, each with their own agendas.

The Sentinels: A secret organisation said to be operating within the Inner City. There is evidence to suggest that they control the taxation of trade within the city, which would make them powerful indeed.

The Blue Capes: The city watch of South Fort. Their main jurisdiction is within the city, but at times they help the militia patrol further abroad. Duties of the Capes include maintaining the peace, running messages and extracting taxes from visiting merchants.

The Raven: A clandestine organisation trading on the Outer City black market. The Raven have a reputation as heroes to the lower classes and as thieves to the wealthy, although much of their reputation comes from bar room chatter and old wives’ talk.

The Hoods: A large group of robbers, cut-throats and bandits who target the surrounds of South Fort. They are a constant blight on the trade routes and a thorn in the side of the South Fort militia.

The Fixers: A guild that hires and assigns unusual jobs to mercenaries and other adventurous types. It’s said that if you need extra coin and don’t mind a few scars then the Fixers are just the people to contact.   


More Adventures

Want to experience more of South Fort and have a chance to influence the future of this intriguing city? Hop on over to The Rising Dark for another completely free adventure set in the City of Sentinels.

Well, that’s it for this week. Let me know what you think by posting a comment below. Your comments could help shape the future of South Fort, Avernos and the world beyond.

Avernos – A Land of Adventure


This is for the dreamers
The ones who see big things in small places
The ones who hope for better days
While making the most of now.

This is for everyone who ever had monsters under their beds
Or saw dragons in the clouds
Or fought a swashbuckling duel with their shadow
Or flew over rooftops in their dreams.

You may think you’re strange
Others may mock you
But you have something desirable
You have imagination

You have greatness
And adventure
You have hope
And you have dreams.



Over the last two months I’ve been hard at work thinking, planning and building on the campaign world that had it’s birth around 2009 with my first convention module. In the next couple of weeks I’ll be posting a full adventure for solo play set in this world, so I thought I’d take a moment to share some of the main locations and aspects of the world. I’m hoping you’ll join me for many adventures in the world of Avernos.

 NOTE: Avernos means “the land we have”. For the race of man this means the land they were given, the land they fight for and the earth upon which they will make their last stand.


The Age of Alliance

Avernos is a land at war. The Nations of the Alliance stand with their backs to the wall while evil stalks the land, baying at the gates of humanity, baying for blood. Holding the thinning strings of the existence of the Alliance Nations together is the Alliance, a treaty between men, elves, dwarves and other races less populous races who hope for peace.  The Alliance is controlled by kings known as the Alliance Kings, rulers and representatives from each of the good races. The war, and its course, is governed by these kings.


The Very Jaws of the Abyss

In the centre of the lands once dominated by men, dwarves and elves, rises up a ring of mountains known as The Jaws, a ragged range of rock that encircles a might chasm, the very pits of the Abyss. From here all manner of foul creature issues forth to assault the lands, directed by a greater evil known only as The Tyrant. It is the will of the Tyrant that the lives of men, elves and dwarves should be extinguished forever, and forgotten for all time.


South Fort

Like a might bastion against the ravages of evil, South Fort stands, a citadel alone in the Wilderlands. Brave men and women stand watch against the terrors creeping in from the West, and heroes rise and fall in mighty battles against those who would crush man below their clawed feet.


Rats in the Sewers, Rats in the Streets

For all the greatness of South Fort, from its gleaming white walls to the impressive towers known as the Sentinels, the heart of South Fort is as black and corrupt as the rat infested sewers below it. Secret criminal organisations ply their trade with stolen money and a warm hand shake, while their agents stalk the alleys and close lanes, a cold blade hidden with a hearty greeting.


The Misty City and the Hidden Lands

The corruption of humanity is well known to the Dwarves, who sigh and continue their fight against evil, from their hidden fortress of the Misty City in the Jaws, looking always to Elves for aid, but their aid does not come. The Hidden Lands of the elves are almost forgotten, a distant thought of those who honour the Alliance with words but seldom with action.


Days of Darkness, Dawn of Heroes

These are dark days indeed, and Avernos has few days left. Avernos calls for heroes. Who will answer the call? Will it be unpredictable men, or the silent elves, the grim dwarves, the mysterious people of the rocks, the outcast half casts, the strange gnomes, or will hope come from the very races that would oppress the races of the Alliance. All this is for you to decide, for it’s your world to explore and it is you who will write the great sagas of the age.


Leave a comment and tell me what you think, I’m interested to hear your thoughts and ideas. Be sure to check out the first part of our solo campaign, Sentinels Watching.