Generally speaking, the most popular items for sale on DMs Guild are not one-shot adventures or supplemental classes and backgrounds but items for DMs to add to their toolkits. Whether it’s something wonderful like Hamund’s Harvesting Handbook or a more literal, albeit digital, toolbox like The Solo Adventurer’s Toolbox, these products clearly appeal to buyers. I don’t think it’s because there aren’t great adventures published on the Guild. I think it’s merely a testament to dungeon masters’ desire to create. An adventure is nice because you can read it, make some tweaks here or there, and then run it. But tools like Hamund’s, the Toolbox, and Blood, Salt & Bones help DMs scratch an itch. It fuels their creativity and they get to increase their agency while maintaining their autonomy to operate within their own worlds in which they have modified from an official setting at a minimum or built from scratch in many cases.
Blood, Salt & Bones
Creators Christopher Walz, Oliver Clegg, Alex Clippinger, R P Davis, Benjamin L. Eastman & Matt Dunn, Christian Eichhorn, Anne Gregersen, Bryan Holmes, Jeromy Schulz-Arnold, Janek Sielicki
Publisher: DMs Guild
Product Length: 105 pages
Blood, Salt & Bones is a Ghosts of Saltmarsh compatible accessory featuring 24 ships along with a map and detail of the crew for each one. Additionally, each ship entry includes some rich history and suggested hooks for using them. While you might use it if you were to sit down and plan a big campaign, it’s more likely a tool you’d use if you needed to produce something on the fly. The included ships are detailed enough that you can easily drop them into an adventure or even use one of them for traveling between adventures. This could actually be great for an interlude of sorts.
My Reaction to Blood, Salt & Bones
Several of these creators are familiar to me and their reputations precede them. When I see them attached to collaborations I expect quality work and so far, they haven’t disappointed. I love getting exposed to new creators through these collaborations and it’s encouraging to see so many passionate people in this hobby. Blood, Salt & Bones is a fairly niche product but it is inviting, useful, and engaging. Sometimes the ship’s stat blocks could feel monotonous but it’s the same as if you were to sit and read the Monster Manual cover to cover. Each monster is unique and some are perhaps more exciting than others, but it’s hard to read them all unless you have a reason to. However, each and every entry in this product is great.
There are simply too many ships and designers to single out anyone in particular. This collective work truly is a masterpiece of collaboration. Currently an Electrum Best Seller, I’m surprised it isn’t that it’s not at least Gold. I suspect it circles back to dungeon masters’ creativity I mentioned previously (they just want to create things from scratch). But I also suspect it’s because perhaps many a DM shies away from nautical adventures in general. That’s a real shame because there is great fantasy to be had on the high seas. This accessory won’t teach you to run nautical adventures, but it’ll give you compelling motivations for seafarers and their ships not to mention a burning desire to set sail with your group and explore something new.
- compelling and unique ships w/ fleshed out history, crews, maps, and hooks
- lots of variety for good, evil, and indifferent crews