Powers and Perils

Sea of Tears: Sea Travel, Creatures & Storms

Sea Travel

Legitimate travel on the High Seas is usually restricted to trade routes. When a vessel travels one of these routes use Encounter Chart A. In all areas out of sight of trade routes, and whenever a vessel is blown off course, use Encounter Chart B. For Human Encounters, each chart has two sections. Use Section One if the vessel is NOT operating in a zone of piracy or a Climan patrol zone. Section Two applies when they are in such areas. The basic encounter charts are as follows:

Creature Encounters

Creature Encounters
Encounter Chart A Encounter Chart B
Creature Human Storm None Creature Human Storm None
01-05 06-15 16-20 21-100 01-10 11-15 16-20 21-100
Night Night
Creature Human Storm None Creature Human Storm None
01-05 06-10 11-15 16-100 01-15 16-18 19-24 25-100
Roll Creature Roll Creature
01-20 Tiny Sea Birds 01-05 Small Seals
20-27 Small Seals 06-12 Small Dolphins
28-33 Small Dolphins 13-20 Medium Whales
34+35 Medium Whales 21+22 Large Whales
36 Large Whales 23-26 Large Fish
37+38 Large Fish 27-40 Medium Fish
39-60 Medium Fish 41-55 Tiny Fish
61-70 Tiny Fish 56-60 Water Serpent
71-75 Water Serpent 61-75 Nymph
76-85 Nymph 76+77 Other Elemental*
86-89 Slyph 78+79 Sea Dragon
90+91 Other Elemental* 80+81 Wyrm
92-94 Sea Dragon 82-91 Merfolk
95 Wyrm 92-94 Kraken
96-99 Merfolk 95-97 Ghost Ship
100 Kraken 98-100 Sea Giant
Day Night
Roll Creature Roll Creature
01-20 Tiny Sea Birds 01-03 Small Seals
21-25 Small Seals 04+05 Small Dolphins
26-28 Small Dolphins 06+07 Medium Whales
29 Medium Whales 08+09 Large Whales
30 Large Whales 10-15 Large Fish
31-33 Large Fish 16-25 Tiny Fish
34-50 Tiny Fish 26-40 Tiny Fish
51-60 Water Serpent 41-55 Nymph
61-65 Slyph 56-61 Other Elemental*
66-75 Nymph 62+63 Sea Giant
76-80 Other Elemental* 64-68 Sea Dragon
81-85 Merfolk 69-88 Medium Fish
86-88 Sea Dragon 89 Wyrm
89-98 Medium Fish 90-92 Small Kraken
99 Sea Giant 93-99 Merfolk
100 Kraken 100 Kraken (x2)**
* Any Water or Air Elemental in Powers and Perils
** The Kraken is twice normal size. See Kraken.

Encounter Descriptions

General Creatures

Where the adjective tiny, small, medium or large is used to describe a creature, determine its AHP using the Creature Generation system in Book Three. Other factors should be set as the Referee sees fit within the ranges specified in that section. The MR selected should not exceed 50% of the AHP for any swimming creature with these prefixes. For Birds, the flight MR should be set between 28 and 40 depending on the type of bird desired.

Number Encountered

Creatures with the adjectives above roll below to determine the number found.

Roll Tiny Small Medium Large
1-5 1D6 1D3 1D2* 1
6-8 2D10 1D6 1D3 1D2*
9+10 D100 2D6 1D6 1D3
11 D100x2 2D10 2D6 1D6

Roll 1D10 above. If the encounter occurs in a chart B area add ONE to your roll.

NOTE - Most creatures with a prefix are not dangerous to people in a boat unless they are attacked. They can be dangerous to swimmers, people in small boats or people on a raft. In either case, tiny and small creatures are usually harmless. Medium and Large creatures could damage or sink the party's boat and can be dangerous to people in the water.

Old Creatures

Creatures on the tables above that are found in Powers & Perils, i.e. Elementals, Water Serpent, Wyrm, etc., continue to use the rules and values provided therein.

New Creatures

The following sea creatures are new to Powers & Perils. If you do not choose to use them. create random sea creatures of your own to replace them.


Kraken Chaos
HPV 250 OCV 63 DCV 0(7) NWI-4(-12)*
S 250(+8) St 125(+5) D 10 A 1(-1)
MR (-12) NAV 8 MDV 10 EnL 40
*The parenthesized NWI applies when they ram a vessel or creature while swimming at full speed. It does not apply at any other time.

The Kraken are scaled monstrosities with four, octopoid tentacles at their head. Their average body length is more than 80 feet (HPV/3) and their weight is measured in tons. They are one of the great beasts of the sea.


During the day Kraken sleep on the surface. At such times, large Kraken can be mistaken for small islands from a distance. If they are disturbed, uncontrollable battle fury against the vessel or creature responsible results. Kraken forced to fight during the day have an MR of 6 because of their fatigue.

Krakens hunt at night. Kraken have been caught because they chased a vessel into shallow water and got stuck. (Kraken's need 15 feet of water to avoid beaching. If they move into shallower water, they can get stuck.) They can sense minor disturbances in the water (such as oats rowing) for five miles. Once on a good scent they pursue stubbornly. Kraken are known as ship breakers who feed on whales, large fish and men.

Krakens have FOUR tentacles which they use to surround their prey and crush it. When the prey is a ship, the ship itself is what they try to crush. Afterwards, they scoop up the food (people) on it. Due to their inumense size and total lack of agility, Kraken may only make one 45 degree turn every four phases. Their most common hunting technique, against ships, is to approach under water and surface for their charge when they are within 30 feet of the vessel.

NOTE - Large Kraken (Krakenx2) have an INT of 2. They rarely beach themselves.

Ghost Ship

This encounter only occurs under a full moon at midnight. The party sees a ghostly ship crewed by tattered shades of dead seamen. Such men are doomed to sail the seas by the goddess Tielia until another takes their place. The cargo of such vessels is a rich treasure from the hoard of the sea (2D10 items). When such a ship is encountered it moves close to entice mortids to board it. When any do, it pulls away. Unless the men who board the vessel escape by dawn they are doomed to sail for eternity. A Will x 2 roll is required to resist the summons of the ghost crew when their vessel closes to within 20 feet 12 hexes).

Each ghost ship is crewed by 4D10 seamen. If a man is on their deck, they are treated as specified for THE DEAD in combat. Otherwise, they are treated as ghosts. The MDV of the ship is 15. Ail other factors are as for Ghosts.


Merfolk Chaos/Kotothi
HPV 15 OCV 5 DCV 3(4) NWI -1 NF
S 20(+1) St 20(+1) D 9 A 12 1-6 1D3
MR 6(15) NAV 1 MDV 4 EnL 30 7-9 2D10*
DTV -2 CL 0 INT 6 CDF 2 10 1D6 per female
*A warband. The leader is a Myrmidon.
HPV 10 OCV 2 DCV 4(6) NWI6 NF
S 10 St 10 D 20(+1) A 20(+1) 1-9 1
MR 10(28) NAV 0 MDV 2D6+8 EnL 2D6x10 10 1D6
*with male roll 10
HPV 30 OCV 10 DCV 5(7) NWI -3 NF
S 40(+2) St 40(+2) D 18(+1) A 24(+1) Only with
MR 8(20) NAV 2 MDV 8 EnL 60 a warband
DTV -3* CL 1 INT 6 CDF 4 unless summoned

Mermen and Myrmidons are heavily-built scaled humanoids with webbed ringers, claws and sharp teeth. Most have a knobby texture to their scaly hide and are colored green and brown. Mermen range from five to six feet in height. Myrmidons are six to seven feet tall and somewhat more bestial in appearance.

Merwomen are beautiful creatures (Ap D100 + 50) with sharp, pointed teeth. All have fish tails on the lower half of their body which can be removed as for a Vily's wings (with the same effect if stolen). Most are five to five and a half feet tall with deep. seductive eyes, long fingers and long, flowing hair. They are both nightmare and fantasy to many a sailor.


Mer-people are amphibious. They lose 2D10 energy points per day until they die if they are kept out of contact with Salt Water for more than 24 hours. Most Mer are hostile to mankind and carnivorous. They love the taste of human flesh. Mermen are especially fond of it. Encountered Mermen are armed with tridents (fighting spear with + 1WSB, FV8). They have EL3 with this weapon. Myrmidons also use a trident. It is MEL2D6/EL1D6 modified for Hit Chance AND Damage Bonus. They are EL6 in its use and may use the trident, at the MEL/EL determined, to summon 1 Large Fish (usually sharks) per EL to aid the warband in combat. Other than this, no Mermen can use magic of any kind.

All Merwomen are trained magic-users with innate power in, roll 1D3*, 1) compulsion, 2) Fascination or 3) Both. They are trained in Sea Powers and MEL other Chaos or Elder spells. They may not use any fire spell. Their EL in their innate power is FOUR. Their trained magic EL is MEL/3, rounded up. Their MEL for both is determined by rouing 2D6, i.e. one roll applies for both.

Merwomen are salacious creatures. According to legend, they take human lovers (either by going with them to the land or taking them into the sea). Often as not, those taken into the sea are eaten when they are no longer needed. The chance that a Merwoman is attracted to a man equals his Ap/2, rounded down.

Sea Dragon

Sea Dragon Varies
HPV 60 OCV 19 DCV 3(9) NWI -10 NF
S 60(+3) St 80(+4) D NA A 20(+1) 1-6 1
MR -(24) NAV 5 MDV 19 EnL 70 7-9 1D3*
DTV -5* CL 0 INT 7 CDF 8 10 1D3+1

These creatures have the basic appearance of Dragons except they are not winged and have tapered bodies with fins. They are normally twenty to twenty-five feet in length. The massive jaws of large sea dragons can snap the masts of ships. Their color varies with alignment (a legend known to some seamen). The list below applies:

Alignment Common Color % Chance
Law White, red streaks 01-30
Chaos Black, gray mottling 31-50
Elder Blue 51-80
Kotothi Green, brown streaks 81-100

Sea Dragon's powers and significance in legend vary with their alignment. Depending on the alignment encountered, consult the appropriate section below:


These dragons are the 'Hounds of Enki' and enemy of Chaos in the water. They are blessed with the powers of Light, Radiant Light and Killing Light only, by Inanna and also have all Sea Powers. Their MEL is EIGHT. Their EL is FOUR. They use these powers to protect man at sea, hunt Kraken and destroy the forces of Chaos.


Chaos Sea Dragons are the guardians of the hoard of Tiella and the mounts of Kingu's Myrmidons. They are a physical force with no magical powers. Increase the factors above for HPV, S, St and NAV by 20% without any reductions in other statistics. They can, if hungry or enraged, sink human ships. They do not make a habit out of doing so though they do enjoy the novelty of eating 'land flesh'.


Elder Sea Dragons are mavericks. They can serve beneficient ends in the sea, more often they serve themselves. They are the Hoarders of the Sea and go out of their way to enhance their treasure collection. These dragons can use any Elder Power (non-fire) at MEL10/EL5. They prefer to get their wishes by trickery and guile but are more than capable of force if they are insulted or angered.


These dragons are children of Tiamat who refused to align with Chaos in defiance of the will of Kototh. They are his loyal servants and the bane of the Mer, when Kototh allows them to be. All statistics are as for Chaos Dragons. In addition they are capable of using any Telepathic Power at MEL8/EL4. Because of greed, or intelligence, they are usually encountered with 1D6 Medium Fish as companions. These fish are enthralled to the dragon and obey its commands. (They will continue to do so until the dragon decides it is time for lunch, most likely.)

Sea Giant

Sea Giant Kotothi/Elder
HPV 120 OCV 34 DCV 3 NWI -4
S 145(+6) St 105(+4) D 12 A 4(-1)
MR 10** NAV 3 MDV 10 EnL 80 NF -1
DTV -8* CL 2 INT 6 CDF 15
**Sea Giants are capable of walking on the surface of the water at this movement rate. When they swim their movement rate is 24.

These giants appear as old men armed with a trident and net. Their countenance is somewhat ugly, their phvsique is very powerful. Those that have been seen have an average height of 40 feet.


Sea Giants are an elemental force of the sea. Elder Sea Giants are the masters of Sea Nymphs and guardians of piscine life. The Kotothi are hoarders of treasure and enemies of their cousins. All have innate power, MEL6/EL6, at Shape Changing and Sea Powers. Those that are larger than normal size also have the power to cast Thunderheads and, for double size Sea Giants only, are trained magic-users (MEL9/EL9 in all non-fire, Elder magics)

NOTE - Any larger than nomal size Sea Giant wears a beautifully-made metal crown, worth HPVx1D10SC. Sea Giants have been known to net vessels and drag them away. Kotothi Sea Giants are fond of collecting 'human toys' to entertain them. When these toys become boring, they are broken and/or eaten.

Human Sea Encounters

Human Sea Encounters
Chart A
Number Encountered
Roll Number
1-5 1
6-9 1D3
10 *
Chart B
Number Encountered
Roll Number
0-7 1
8+9 1D2
10 *

NOTE - On Chart B above, subtract one if the area is NOT a Climan patrol zone.

Single Ship Encounters
(All results where only one ship is found)
Chart A
Roll Motivation
01-50 Merchant
51-75 Small Vessel
76-90 Military
91-95 Pirate or Climan**
96-100 Other
**Referee's choice.
Chart B
Roll Motivation
01-20 Pirate
21-35 Small Vessel
36-45 Military
46-80 Merchant
86-100 Climan Patrol*
*If the area is not a Climan patrol zone, subtract 15 from your roll.
Multiple Ship Encounters
(Where two or three ships are encountered)
Chart A
Roll Motivation
01-40 Merchant Convoy
41-70 Small Vessels
71-90 Military Convoy
91-94 Military Patrol
95-97 Pirates or Climans**
98-100 Other
**As specified for single ships.
Chart B
Roll Motivation
01-10 Pirates
11-45 Merchant Convoy
46-55 Small Vessels
56-65 Military Convoy
66-70 Military Patrol
71-75 Other
76-85 Pirates with Prize
86-100 Climan Patrol*
*As specified for single ships.
* Encounters
Chart A
Roll Motivation
01-30 Fishing Fleet (2D10)
31-60 Merchant Fleet (2D6)
61-90 Military Fleet (2D6)
91-100 Climan Raid (2D6+2)

NOTE - The number in parentheses in this table indicates the number of vessels encountered.

Chart B
Roll Motivation
01-05 Pirate Fleet (1D6)
06-20 Fishing Fleet (2D6)
21-35 Merchant Fleet (1D10+1)
36-50 Military Fleet (3D6)
51-65 Small vessels (2D6)
66-70 Other (1D6+2)
71-100 Climan Fleet or Raid (2D6+2)

NOTE - The number in parentheses in this table indicates the number of vessels encountered.

Human Encounter Descriptions


Merchant convoys are composed of vessels from the same merchant house, headed for the same destination. Vessels in these convoys are Medium merchant ships unescorted. Military convoys are composed of one warship escorting one or two Medium merchant ships. The cargo carried on the merchant vessels are, roll 1D2*, 1) Supplies or 2) Troops.


Large concentrations of shipping performing a specific task or function. Fishing fleets operate with all vessels in sight of at least three others (if they have that many) and a great deal of spacing between vessels. Merchant fleets are carrying a rich cargo to a specific location for one of the major merchant houses (40% chance it is one of the five houses listed in this article). Ten percent of the fleet's vessels, rounded up, are small warships. Sixty percent, rounded down, are Medium merchants. The rest are Large merchant vessels. Military fleets are, roll 1D3*, 1) moving from one base to another, 2) conducting an anti-piracy patrol or 3) seeking to engage an enemy fleet. In the last two cases, they run down any vessel they encounter if they can. In the first case, they ignore it if it does not arouse their suspicion. Climan fleets are, roll 1D2, 1) moving to a new base or 2) raiding. In either case, they chase down any non-Climan vessel they come across if they can. See Raid.


A single vessel carrying a cargo to some distant port.


There is a 40% chance this vessel is a messenger. If so, it is small and fast and avoids contact with other vessels unless they are in distress. Otherwise. the vessel is on patrol and may try to stop the encountered vessel (60%) to check its cargo and passengers.


The Referee can make this any type of vessel that he desires. Where circumstances are appropriate, this includes non-human vessels, vessels belonging to nations outside of the Sea of Tears, magical vessels, etc. The full parameters are entirely at the Referee's discretion.


Military and Climan patrols are both trying to spot enemy vessels, counter piracy and regulate other criminal activity. Climans are also exacting tribute from passing vessels they catch. The chance that a Military patrol will try to stop a vessel is 40%. If the vessel acts suspiciously, the chance is automatic. Climan patrols always try to stop non-Climan vessels runless the vessel is military and/or the Climans are outmanned).


The vessel encountered is a pirate. If it is not outnumbered or outmanned, it tries to run down the encountered vessel. Should the pirates win, those who are not killed in the battle are taken captive (held for ransom or sold as slaves), offered a position in the crew [impressive fighters, slaves or criminals only), killed (people the pirates deem useless) or set adrift (potential enemies who are hated, are too dangerous to keep alive. etc.). The Referee should determine what happens based on the events of the encounter.

Pirate Or Climan

The vessel is either a Pirate or a Climan warship. The Referee chooses which based on where the encounter occurs and what he deems the local situation to be.

Pirates With Prize

One or more pirate vessels escorting a prize, with captives, to the closest safe harbor. Unless the encountered ship is, in the pirate's eyes, an easy mark, they ignore it. If they are attacked, they run or fight depending on how badly they think they are outmanned.


Climan raiding fleets attack any non-Climan vessel encountered. Such vessels are stopped and boarded. Persons on board are allowed to purchase their freedom at a cost of 2D10SC each in money or equipment. If they can't, they are enslaved. Cargos on vessels stopped are taken unless a sum equal to 1/5th their estimated worth is paid. If the encountered vessel resists boarding, the Climans attack. enslave all survivors, take the cargo and sink the ship. They do not tolerate those who contest their control of the sea.

Small Vessel(s)

People encountered in vessels of this type are independent merchants, travellers, fishermen, civilian messengers, adventurers and others. Roll 1D6 to determine which and handle the encounter accordingly. If the encounter occurs in a Chart B area, the fishermen result will indicate Smugglers instead. Smugglers are always armed but will not fight if they can avoid it. They try to pass as a normal Merchant vessel in encounters.

Ship Crews

The basic crews present on encountered vessels are shown in the table below.

Crew Table
Ship Type Small Medium Large
Fisher 1D6 2D6 3D6
Merchant 2D6 2D6+5 3D6+5
Military 40 100 300
Pirate 20 40 100
Climan 50 100 350
Roll 1-6 7-9 10

NOTE - Where the size of an encountered vessel is not specified, roll 1D10 where indicated for each ship.


Storms can have a dramatic effect on sea travel. When the encounter is a storm, roll D100 to determine its intensity.

Storm Table
Roll Intensity Roll Intensity
01-50 Easy 91-99 Very Difficult
51-75 Moderate 100 Impossible
76-90 Difficult

The intensity levels specified are keyed to the problem solving system in Book One. The skill used to combat a storm is the Captain's EL in NAVIGATION and/or (as the Referee wishes) the Steersman's EL as a SEAMAN. Success indicates that the ship is undamaged and stays on course. Partial Success blows it off course with some damage. Failure blows the vessel off course and could sink it, see Sinking.

Avoiding Storms

The chance to notice a storm before it strikes is based on its intensity on the Storm Table. When this roll is made, re-roll with D100. If the second roll is less than or equal to the first roll, the vessel has a chance to alter its course and avoid the storm before it strikes. Roll Navigation, applying the modifier for the storm's intensity, to do so.

EXAMPLE - An EL60 Navigator sees an Easy storm coming. He can avoid it, or ride it out, with little difficulty. If he sees an impossible storm, the same navigator has a 15% chance to avoid it or ride it out.


The seaworthiness of a vessel has a dramatic effect an the chance of riding out a storm. The factors that apply are the vessels size, condition and the sturdiness of its construction. These factors only apply in riding out storms, not in avoiding them. The factors listed for this are added directly to the Navigator's chance of success. They may not reduce this chance by more than 75%, rounded up, no matter how terrible the condition of the vessel is.

Seaworthiness Tables
Size Condition Sturdiness
Size Mod. Condition Mod. Sturdiness Mod.
Tiny -20 Poor -10 Very Little -15
Small -10 Fair -5 Little -5
Medium 0 Good 0 Good +5
Large +10 Excellent +10 Excellent +15

Each time that a vessel is driven off course. reduce its Condition and Sturdiness modifiers by one, i.e. +5 becomes +4. -10 becomes -11. When it is damaged and driven off course, reduce these factors by 1D6 + the Storm Divisor each BEFORE seeing if the vessel sinks.

EXAMPLE - Our EL60 Navigator is in a medium-sized vessel that is in good condition but has very little sturdiness. He subtracts 15 from his chance of surviving a storm. He still beats an easy storm but his chance to ride out an impossible storm is reduced to its mimimum level of 4% (1/4 of his oiginal 15% chance, rounded up). In a large vessel with excellent seaworthiness and excellent condition his chance in an impossible storm increases from 15% to 50%. The vessel you are in can make the difference.

Blown Off Course

If a vessel is blown off course a successful Navigation roll is required to find the right course again. The Navigator can roll once each week at sea to find his position relative to where he is supposed to be. If the result is partial success or failure, he continues sailing on the wrong course. (Navigators who let it be known that they don't know where the ship is have been known to be lynched on the spot.)


To determine whether a vessel sinks add its size, condition and sturdiness factor to the EL of its navigator divided by THREE, rounded up. Once this number is determined consult the table below to find the chance that the vessel sinks.

Sinking Table
Storm Factor Easy Mod. Difficult Very Difficult Impossible
-44 to -30 50% 70% 80% 90% 100%
-29 to -15 40% 60% 70% 80% 90%
-14 to 0 30% 50% 60% 70% 80%
1 to 15 20% 30% 40% 50% 60%
16 to 25 10% 20% 30% 40% 50%
26 to 35 5% 10% 20% 30% 40%
36 to 45 2% 5% 10% 20% 30%
46 to 55 1% 2% 5% 10% 20%
56 and up None 1% 2% 5% 10%

When the vessel sinks, all hands may drown. If it does not sink, each person on deck using his Seaman skill must roll. If the result is a failure, he must roll the sinking chance above to see if he is thrown overboard.

Vessels will take severe damage to condition and sturdiness from this. The amount that each of these factors is reduced equals the Sinking Chance divided by 5, rounded up (in addition to any damage taken for being blown off course). If this loss reduces the vessels condition or sturdiness to -25 or less it begins to founder and sinks in 2D6+(Highest Seaman EL/ 10. rounded down) days if it is not taken to a port for repairs. If BOTH condition and sturdiness are reduced to -25 or less, it sinks in Highest Seaman EL/40, rounded down, days. If the result is zero, it sinks in 1D6 hours.

IMPORTANT - The effects of multiple storms is cumulative. The best ship in the world is unlikely to ride out many storms unless it is handled competently.

Heroes, Vol. II, No. 2


The Sea of Tears

Scans of the original article.

Design: Kurgan