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D&D: Saltmarsh Sneak Peeks, DM Screen Rules

4 Minute Read
Apr 17 2019

Thanks to Gale Force 9, we’ve got a preview of the upcoming Ghosts of Saltmarsh by way of their new DM screen and Sword Coast map. Check ’em out!

Gale Force 9, who make the excellent Vault of the Dragon board game and other D&D creations (including everyone’s favorite Rashemi Ranger and miniature giant space hamster companion, Minsc & Boo), are at it again. This time we’ve got a look at the upcoming DMs Screen made to accompany Ghosts of Saltmarsh, the upcoming aquatic adventure anthology from Wizards of the Coast. This is already cause enough for jubilation, but then on the back of the DM Screen there’s also some previews of references in the upcoming book. Lord your knowledge over your friends. BE LIKE UNTO A GOD WITH YOUR OMNISCIENCE.

Okay that started getting away from me for a moment. I guess this is really just an opportunity to try and learn the lesson that Riker does in that one episode of TNG (only you can be much less smug about it).

Show John de Lancie that you know how to handle godlike knowledge and power responsibly. Otherwise you might get caught by weird space jellyfish. Anyway–here’s a look at Gale Force 9’s new DM screen.

via GF9

As you can see, carved onto each of the panels of the screen is a gorgeous piece of art, and on the opposite side, some handy reference tables. And it’s here we can get our preemptive look into the accompanying book. Here’s a quick look at creating a random ship and the accompanying conditions/rule that govern it.


I love that you get some status effects for ships, basically. Depending on how terribly things are going, your ship might experience a mutiny or a crisis–there’s a lot of stuff you can either inflict on your players’ ship, or have them learn about a ship they should encounter while out on the deep blue sea. Having this chart handy is great–it helps the seas feel both more and less mysterious. After all the empty ocean is breathtakingly beautiful but also an isolating experience. Seeing a ship’s silhouette means you’re not alone–for better or worse.

But as you can see, any dream of being alone is just a beautiful, comforting lie. You’re always one d100 roll away from getting attacked by a giant shark, some kind of dragon, (bronze or turtle), or just like some Koalinths–which, hey Koalinths are in this book! That’s pretty exciting to see.

And in case you were doubting that the ocean is a beautiful, terrifying hellscape that will kill you the second it gets a chance, here’s all the ways it can do that just for being out on the water.

This is so great–there’s a ton of stuff you can throw at your players here. And most of these situations are interesting if nothing else. They’ll keep you on your toes and have you doing things your characters might never have thought about. How often does your fighter have to put out a shipboard fire? If it’s more than never, I want to play at your table.


It also helps that the artwork is amazing. Sure the ocean will kill you, but what a way to go. There’s a Kraken, getting ready to feed on some hungry adventurers.

Here’s a Sahuagin cosplaying as Namor and wondering very much why you have showed up to his party unannounced.

And a ship having an encounter that, well the faster they get away the better.

See you soon on the open waters. Happy Adventuring!

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