My Ship Obsession: Ship 1 - The Sea Wyvern

We play Pathfinder 1E. I've been running a conversion-in-progress Savage Tide campaign for a little over 3 years now. The Sea Wyvern runs through the plot and, while a ship map was provided, I found it blurry and cluttered and kind of awful (you can find it on Google or Pintrest). I wanted a cleaner, less cluttered version. For example, I don't like maps prepopulated with non-stationary objects like cargo or tiny books on tables. I don't mind furniture though as those are fixtures that are less likely to be moved around. My ships are all designed to maximize free miniature space without flash or unnecessary pretties. I'm a cartographic claustrophobe. :)

Annoyingly, only the adventure text mentions the ship having armaments so I had to add those. The original design is also flawed (an ultralong multideck stairway with multiple deck exit doors?). Anyway, I redrew the ship multiple times and finally landed on a format I could live with, which is what you see below. I also cut out each deck with a transparent background (not shown because they're huge) so that I could move the ship around in Roll20 on an ocean background. My games are usually in person and so I would have mounted this on foam board instead but I had to move my games online for obvious current event reasons.

The campaign provides no other ship maps but mentions several, which is where my ship obsession comes into play. I've drawn several other ships and will post those as well. I also have all ships statted up for sea battles.

QuentenTheschabiMonsenWeathermanSwedenLoopysueMediozace66WyvernMarkOlsenRalfand 2 others.


  • I could scarcely let the name pass without comment!

    Wasn't familiar with this, but checking around online, I gather Savage Seas was originally a series of linked adventures published in Dragon magazine in 2006-2007 for D&D. It's taken a lot of digging around, but I think the blurry map of the Sea Wyvern you mentioned, and which seems to be that shown online in places, was originally published as a loose poster-sized map in Dungeon #141, so was presumably much clearer that way. Sadly, I don't have a copy of the magazine to confirm, however!

    It looks as if there were other ship plans published for some of the other vessels encountered during this campaign, judging by what I chanced-upon online (as low-res images, or simply from comments made), and I did come across what seemed to be an online conversion of the whole campaign to Pathfinder as well, but that seemed to have few images overall - aside from a blurry Sea Wyvern drawing, much as I imagine you were working from.

    Nice-looking drawings, by the way!

  • @Wyvern Yeah, Savage Tide is an adventure path created in the pages of Dungeon before Pathfinder and before Paizo was calling them adventure paths. I have the issue with the poster map and it's clearer but still cluttered. I don't know about the online conversion stuff but I tend to trust my own conversion work over that of others. Try finding a picture of the Hellfish and you'll see what I mean. ;)

  • I can imagine for online game use, you'd need less clutter in general than you'd get on some published maps. Just trying to work details out from the low-res stuff online is certainly not helpful! And I figured you'd likely be happier with your own conversion than someone else's, but it was where I found one of the relatively clearer images of the Sea Wyvern.

    As for Hellfish, the first thing Google came up with was the fighting hellfish tattoo from the Simpsons! I gave up at that point 😁

  • @Wyvern I'll post the Hellfish soon! :)

  • Savage Tides was actually the third of Paizo's "adventure paths" to be called that. They started using the name before Dragon and Dungeon magazines were taken in-house by Wizards of the Coast.

    The first one was The Shackled City Adventure Path, the second was the Age of Wyrms Adventure Path, and then they really perfected it with Savage Tides. I'm 90% sure that they had more maps between the two magazines and I don't recall them being at all blurry but unfortunately all my Dragon and Dungeon magazines (a more or less complete set from around 1978 up until it went going digital-only) are in storage so I can't quickly get to them to confirm that.

    I really love your version of the map though - great job on it and I hope you share some of your others too.

  • @MarkOlsen I refered to Savage Tide as an adventure path above. I was simply drawing a distinction between D&D 3.5 and Pathfinder as well as moving the format from episodic magazine article to full-blown dedicated Adventure Path. For example, the first Adventure Path for Pathfinder was Curse of the Crimson Throne.

    The maps being cluttered is more of an issue than their being blurry but then I'm referring to digital copies and not the printed copies. The PDF maps don't copy or transfer well to Roll20, i.e. from non-battlemat size to battlemat size. I'm making battlemat-sized maps from maps that aren't battlemats so of course they're blurry. Also, some of the maps are just flat boring. The temple in the Lightless Depths is dull and barely seems like a temple at all. It's mostly a big square with water in it. Some maps don't make sense and sometimes you can tell when designers are just on a deadline and don't put out the best maps. Some maps should have been poster-sized like the aboleth city of Golismorga beneath the Isle of Dread, which I'm currently redoing since it has loads of creepy detail at a hard to read size.

    Thanks! I plan to share more of my work for sure. :)

  • These look nice. I could have really used them in my game about a month ago lol.

  • If you're wanting help drawing ship plans @Autumn Getty you might try the Sailing Ships style pack in the March 2009 Cartographer's Annual. I was using it myself recently, though it does lack some things, such as chains and anchors, ropes and ship's boats, all of which would have been useful as additional symbols. It does let you draw vertical cross-sections through a ship as well as deck plans, however.

    Autumn Getty
  • Yes I did look at it, and it looks really good. I was in a hurry though, so I took one of the PDFs from the style and used it. Next time I'll have to do my own. I think the players have had enough of sailing for now, sadly.

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