I've got some prices of buying boats in D&D games, but no prices for booking passage down a river or across a sea. A range of high and low would help.

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    \$\begingroup\$ while not perfect, I ended up backward converting the cost of early river boat trips in recorded history, based on the price of 1800s dollars, then converted the price of 1800s gold into ounces, then lbs, then gp. I did the same for the cost of trips across the ocean for pounds sterling during colonial periods. For two passengers and cargo, came to about 8 gp for the river boat (hundreds of miles), and about 12 gp for the ocean ship (over 1000 miles). Hope this helps others. \$\endgroup\$
    – Tristian
    Aug 24, 2019 at 15:35
  • \$\begingroup\$ Hi Tristian. I hadn't seen your question. I was a DM and player in the AD&D settings and I might have found a fair answer to your question. I've posted it for your. Hope it helps. \$\endgroup\$
    – Senmurv
    Dec 30, 2019 at 0:29

2 Answers 2


If you are parting from a village or city, I would treat this as finding and engaging with Hirelings (sailors, captain).

In the PHB is suggests the DM will provide the costs depending on the campaign. "Your DM has more information about employment costs, since he may need to alter these to fit his campaign." (p. 115)

Now onto the Ships! :)

On the rivers, it's all about the Fishing Boats, or a canoe.

In the AD&D supplement Of Ships and the Sea (OS&S p.7) it says that "fishing boats represent the most common type of ship encountered near civilized areas". I would suggest also that even in remote areas any local groups of humanoids with access to a river or lake are mostly likely to have a fishing boat or a canoe.

The cost of the actual vessels are: fishing boat = 350gp (takes 3 weeks to build) five-person canoe = 45gp (takes 3 days to build) (OS&S p.13)

The fishing boat needs a minimum of 1 crew member to navigate and can take up to 5 passengers. It can take up to 1000 lbs in cargo.

The five-person canoe can carry up to 5 people in total (adapted as per guidance in OS&S). It has no "passengers" per se, but you could allow 4 characters to act as "crew" and put some elbow grease into getting where they want to. The five-person canoe can take up to 650 lbs in cargo.

The movement of these vessels is: 6 (or 60 yards per round). (OS&S p.14) It explains to multiply the ships movement by 2 which will equal the number of miles traveled in a single day. (OS&S p.20) So both the fishing boat and canoe could travel up to 12 miles per day.

For travel across the Seas & Oceans, onto the Edge of the World!

Here, I would opt to find a specialised vessel. Most likely the Caravel: "Of all seagoing vessels, the caravel proves the safest and most reliable for extended sea voyages." (OS&S p.9)

cost/time to build: 30,000 gp/5 months movement: 12, or 24 miles per day crew: minimum of 10 passengers****: up to 20 cargo: up to 200 tons

We are hiring, sailors, boatmen and the like!

So, as regard to cost of hire, it depends on how well-seasoned they are? In OS&S there is a section on Crew Experience (pp. 34-35). It divides their experience and cost to hire accordingly: - Landlubbers 2gp per month - Scurvy Rats 3gp per month - Mates 4gp per month - Mariner 5gp per month - Old Salts 6gp per month

So, I guess the cost here will be determined by the number/type of crew you need to hire and the distance or number of days you will be traveling.

I would suggest as a base rate if you are traveling you pay by days or miles x2 (unless you are doing a round trip). The vessel and its crew needs to make her way back, too.

Fishing Boat (up to 5 passengers)

  • 1 crew member (mariner)
  • 5gp per month
  • 18sp per day or 18sp per 12 miles

Canoe (up to 4 passengers)

  • 1 crew member (mariner)
  • 5gp per month
  • 18sp per day or 18sp per 12 miles

Caravel (up to 20 passengers)

  • 10 crew members (1 old salts, 9 mariners)
  • 51gp per month
  • 1.8gp per day or per 24 miles (possibly a lot more if ocean travel is rare in the campaign)

I hope this helps. I would use the following as guidelines but remember to factor in other interesting things like: the weather/seasons, circumventing danger zones, availability/rarity, superstitions that the captain, sailors or locals might have, etc.

May the Zaratans guide your way, me Matey!


Not sure if you were entertaining using pricing from 5e but the Player's Handbook (p. 159) provides a suggested price for travel by ship.

[...] Ship's passage 1 sp per mile

5e tends to opt for all in pricing rather than ranges for things like lifestyle expenses, food & drink, and in this case services (e.g. hiring staff).

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    \$\begingroup\$ Honest question: did you notice the original question asked about AD&D2e, the version of D&D "live" during most of the 90s? I know at least one downvote (mine) comes from this answer mentioning 5e pricing but nothing about why that might be appropriate in a 2e game. \$\endgroup\$
    – nitsua60
    Aug 4, 2019 at 3:19

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