Capsizing question

Rules Questions

My players have asked about a naval adventure and I've decided to oblige. Most of them have read Stormwrack inside out and backwards, so rather than set them against the usual aquatic terrors like dragon turtles, krakens and sea serpents, I want to throw something at them to catch 'em off-guard. The idea I settled on was using a run-of-the-mill white dragon, but rather than flying out to attack the PCs' ship, it swims up from under the waves, preferring to fight from the water. Conceptually it made sense to me: whites have a pretty nice swim speed, their Swim modifier is head and shoulders above their Fly modifier, their high Con means they can hold their breath for upwards of 4 minutes (2 if regularly attacking), and the water protects them from fire-based attacks. Combine these with a well-placed anchor feather token and liberal use of the dragon's fog cloud spell-like ability to shroud the ship, and I think my PCs will have their hands full. Plus, if the PCs prove too powerful in melee, the dragon could always go back underwater and attack the ship directly, making Strength checks or full attacks to punch holes in their ride.

All this being said, my question is this: what would the rules be if the dragon tried to just capsize the whole ship. I know some monsters have the Capsize ability, but white dragons do not, so can they just not do it? I mean, elderly whites are just as large and strong as dragon turtles and actually have a better swim speed, so conceptually I'd think they could do it. I just don't know what the rules mechanic would be.

I did look at the brine dragon in the Bestiary 2 as an alternative, since they have the Capsize ability, but the white would fit my setting better.

Any advice?

Wight_Dragon wrote:
Any advice?

Two suggestions:

1. Give the dragon the capsize ability. Adjust CR is you think it warrants it.

2. Don't give the dragon the capsize ability, and just run the dragon the way you've already planned.


I would suggest a successful grapple then a set # of rounds depending on the boats size later would allow it to capsize, as opposed to a percentile roll to either capsize or not capsize. grapple from under the water... next round the boat begins to roll, that gives PCs a chance to react, but until at least half the rounds are past the dragon is completely submerged... the last half of the rounds part of his body will be above water, but to get to it (without flying or swimming) PCs would have to make balance checks across the wet hull as it was being rolled. A boat up to the dragons size could take it 4 rounds, a bigger boat would take 6-8 rounds, and a boat 1.5 times the dragons size or larger would be too big to capsize if it was not already damaged/taking on water, or overloaded.

This is all house rules and/or made up on the spot... however you want to describe it, but seems a lot more fun than a percentile roll.

That's a neat idea. Thanks for the advice guys!

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