Kobold Press

Top 5 Seagoing Dangers in Fantasy

scylla and charybdisAs of today there are just five days left to join Journeys to the West as a patron before prices go up. To mark this milestone, here are five typical dangers that mariners face in fantasy fiction and roleplaying games.

1. Life vests not yet invented in your world.
2. For 200 years after life vests are invented, they will come only in human sizes. Demi-humans on sinking ships watch bitterly as humans bob cheerfully on the waves.
3. Island paradise is actually the forested back of a giant marine creature that will submerge ten minutes after you step onto it. Also, the fresh springwater is poison and the trees are homicidal plant-men. The island maidens explode in fireballs when you say hello.
4. Huge rocks inexplicably crash together, smashing ships between them. What the hell, rocks?
5. Zeus releases the Kraken.

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15 Replies to "Top 5 Seagoing Dangers in Fantasy"


December 15, 2011 at 8:58am

Wouldn’t Neptune or Poseidon release the Kraken?

Wade Rockett

December 15, 2011 at 9:10am

As chief of the gods, Zeus would of course not release the Kraken himself. He would delegate responsibility to Poseidon, who in turn would assign the task to an employee — maybe an intern. However, Zeus bears ultimate responsibility for the Kraken’s release and its outcome.

This documentary clip might clarify things: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gb2zIR2rvRQ


December 15, 2011 at 9:30am

Where does “The heavy plate armor that adventurers always wear makes them sink even with the life vest” rank on the list?


December 15, 2011 at 9:51am

That heavy plate armor definitely would make a Top 10 list. But as it’s sort of a self-inflicted hazard, I guess it didn’t make Top 5.


December 15, 2011 at 9:59am

And here was me thinking kraken-waking had been delegated to a Captain D. Jones as this documentary clip shows…


What do you mean krakens have a franchise?

Also, a lack of whirlpools or maelström which is odd given the picture but that’s probably went down to number 6 :)


December 15, 2011 at 10:00am

I knew I should have done the spoiler thing and done a video capture of the kraken. Ah, well, we do have the inexplicably-clashing rocks.

Wade Rockett

December 15, 2011 at 11:14am

As a life vest enthusiast, I suggested to Wolfgang that a picture of the Seachoice 50-86020 (Yellow) would be an exciting accompaniment to this post. Unsure whether he received my email?


December 15, 2011 at 12:07pm

Another seagoing danger: You’re on a ship with a first mate named Gilligan.


December 15, 2011 at 2:52pm

And of course, #0:


Wade Rockett

December 15, 2011 at 3:57pm

I propose a bumbling first mate who is also a giant radioactive monster: Godzilligan.

Todd the Bladesmith

December 15, 2011 at 4:05pm

Why does Zeus always get to release the Kraken? I want to release the Kraken!


December 15, 2011 at 4:34pm

Godzilligan. GODZILLIGAN! Brilliant! :-)


December 15, 2011 at 4:49pm

Kraken is a child of Poseidon, your documentary shows this.

Yet, Zeus commands it……

That is some dubious parenting.


December 16, 2011 at 9:06am


Oh, it burns, it burns…


December 16, 2011 at 3:51pm

If you know your mythology, you know that Zeus releases the Kraken all the time… he has very poor impulse control.