Welcome to Salthaven!

The beginning of a coastal adventuring hub

13-12-2021 - 2 minutes, 45 seconds -
osr homebrew creativity setting adventure writing


I'm a huge fan of coastal and maritime settings. Curse of the Emerald Sea and Pastel Paradise are proof of that. Those were both pretty much experimental. The former's hex tile system was based on Undying Sands by Games Omnivorous and the latter was my first try at making something for Troika while trying to create art by myself using watercolor and markers.

This one is different. It's a homage to one of my favorite roleplaying adventures: The Sinister Secret Secret of Saltmarsh and its sequels Danger at Dunwater and Final Enemy. The Ghosts of Saltmarsh book for D&D 5e collects these and other classic adventures into a fantastic anthology, and it was the first campaign I ran for 5e.

I wanted to return to those themes, so I started working on Salthaven (working name), which is a town similar to Saltmarsh in some ways but very different in others. It's not a town with optimism and adventure on the high seas, but a town that sees the end approaching. I hope to detail the development of the book here on the blog. So far I have around 20 jam-packed handwritten pages with NPCs and locations. I have yet to decide on the system I will be writing for, but probably some kind of old school D&D flavor such as Knave or Old School Essentials. For now, here is a little intro to the town.

Note to my Salthaven players: This is the last post you shall read about Salthaven before the end of our game. There will be plenty of spoilers!

Here is an accessible version of the text from the image:

A fishing town has been locked down by constant storms and rumors of monsters roaming the sea. No ships may dock or leave. The lands are infertile and the woods sparse. Yet the ocean holds unimaginable riches, just out of reach. The town tries to scrape by, but for how much longer? A mass exodus looms on the horizon.

Three faiths are at odds with each other. The old faith that recalls the days of bounty: the Sea Goddess Unda. The new faith that sees a brighter future ahead: Solum, the God of Sunbathed Fields and Life. And the odd faith that offers relief from a world of suffering: Belakhar, the Lord of Thorns. The Old, The New, The Odd.

The town is remote and doesn't get many visitors. Out on the streets, the townsfolk pass by grim and cold. But once inside by their hearths, they warm up to even the most peculiar strangers and offer what little they have with open arms.

The cliffs and the seaside are a clear cut border between rich and poor. The affluent live on the hill up above, overlooking the grey sea below where the poor brave the elements and cower in front of the forces of nature.

An odd council of five govern the town. Recent events have toppled existing power structures and the townsmaster is struggling to stay in control. Smuggling is officially forbidden but everyone knows it's needed for the survival of town. The council mostly lets it keep going on for the peace of the town. Now you and a group of strangers have been called upon to help with an urgent matter in the town.