[RPG] How to the character gain proficiency in vehicles (water)


Our party inadvertently captured a ship.

Is there any way to gain a proficiency now that we're 6th level? If I have to wait two more levels to get the Skilled feat, I'm afraid we'll end up sinking the ship.

If I spend time on board, under the guidance of a skilled captain, is it really going to take 250 days?

Best Answer

Use downtime training rules from Xanathar's Guide to Everything

The standard Training downtime option given in the PHB does indeed require a significant time investment - so significant that it's not a practical option in many campaigns. Luckily, however, the Downtime Revisited chapter in Xanathar's Guide to Everything offers alternative rules for training that require much less time:

Receiving training in a language or tool typically takes at least ten workweeks, but this time is reduced by a number of workweeks equal to the character’s Intelligence modifier (an Intelligence penalty doesn’t increase the time needed). Training costs 25 gp per workweek.

Proficiency with a class of vehicles is considered a tool proficiency, so under these rules - assuming your DM doesn't decide that proficiency with water vehicles is more difficult to learn than usual - an exceptionally smart character might be able to pick up the knack of sailing after just five weeks with an appropriate tutor, but even a dunce can learn the basics with ten weeks of tutelage.

It would seem appropriate for that to take the form of "on the job" training in the case of learning to sail, so you could continue your normal activities and treat all the days you'll inevitably be spending travelling around as downtime to learn the skills - though I would also rule that you'd need still need to have a properly trained crew to handle the ship effectively while you're getting your sea legs, and you will need to pay someone specifically to tutor you.