With that out of the way, I also have a new adventure.
“The Message” is Part 4 of the Come Hell and High Water series of adventures, for use with the Skull & Bones setting for the D20 System, though it can easily be modified for use with more traditional fantasy settings for the Dungeons & Dragons game. It is intended for use with a party of six characters of approximately fourth level, but encounter difficulty can be adjusted for use with more or less powerful parties.
In folktales, good but down-on-their-luck commoners discover treasure troves or other sources of wealth that allow them to overcome diversity and live “happily everafter.” In the case of Mr. Javier Santiago, just the opposite is true. He is a wealthy man and has enjoyed luxury all of his life; when he discovered a lost fortune, however, it has brought him nothing but misfortune and misery.
It all started one day when Mr. Santiago was accompanying his pearling boats out onto the Caribbean Sea from his estate on the island of Tobago. The morning’s production had been slow, with his drivers bringing back only small pearls of little value.
For that reason he decided to move to a new area, territory in which he’d not previously operated. For a while this location seemed to be no more lucrative than the prior one, until one of his divers kicked up to the surface carrying something astonishing.
This wasn’t a pearl, but a statue—a panther carved from pure black onyx, with eyes made of gleaming topaz. Santiago, with great joy, recognized what this discovery implied: they’d located the wreck of a Spanish treasure ship, one loaded with goods pillaged from the new world. He quickly arranged to keep the matter as quiet as possible, finding a fence on his home island who could keep this business secret while processing the loot. What he could not have known was that someone else had long been searching for just that treasure, someone who would stop at nothing to obtain it.
For nearly two centuries Catholic Spanish forces have brought war to the indigenous people of New Spain, attempting to eradicate their old ways and replace them with the civilization and religion of their conquerors. The leaders of this effort are the agents of the Spanish Inquisition, a group of zealots who will not stop until all the people of the world have been led to embrace their true beliefs. Despite their best efforts, however, the surviving Maya have managed to save some of their codices from the fire and some of their treasures from the foundry, concealing them in certain hidden shrines until they can once more be brought to the light. The wreck that Santiago has discovered is one that carried both Inquisitors and evidence that could lead them to one such cache; the loss of this ship was a major blow to the Inquisition’s efforts. As word of the pearl merchant’s discovery begins to spread through the islands of the Caribbean, they move quickly to recover what they lost.
This adventure can begin for the PC’s at any time when they are relaxing on an island that lies to the northwest of Tobago. Port Royal in Jamaica works particularly well as a starting point, but other ports of call can be substituted based upon the needs of the Gm for the campaign. It starts when one character happens to notice what seems to be a full bottle of rum floating unobtrusively in the bay. Assuming that someone is interested enough to retrieve it (if only because it might actually contain rum), it can be found to contain a curious message—a scrap from a Mayan codex, one that contains the glyph for the word blood (see Handout 1).
Although this certainly doesn’t contain a lot of information, it should provide clever PC’s with a few options for beginning their investigation.
Event 1—In Port
First of all, anyone who can read Mayan can recognize the glyph for the word blood. In the event that none of the PC’s are familiar with this language, they should be able to find an expert who can assist with the translation. This can be an excellent opportunity for characters to make use of their contacts; alternately, with a DC 18 Knowledge: local or Gather Information check, they can find just such an expert. Should the adventure begin in a port that is less civilized than Port Royal, however, this task could become notably more difficult. Once such a specialist is located, the business of translation could be quick and easy or could require a fair amount of roleplaying, depending upon the tastes of the players. After all, even an academic could decide to attempt some shrewd bargaining if he suspects that their might be a treasure involved.
Additionally, anyone who succeeds at a DC 10 Spot check notices the mark on the bottom of the bottle, the letters CS over GS. Those who then succeed at a DC 20 Knowledge: local check can recognize these as being the mark of the famed rum maker Clinch Stayner, the one he uses for his trademark Gilboan Screech rum. With this in mind, another DC 20 Knowledge: local or Gather Information check reveals that he maintains a base of operations on the island of Barbados.
Finally, should anyone ask the question of from where the bottle might have come, some consideration of the currents in the Caribbean Sea could provide some insight. A DC 15 Profession: seamanship or DC 18 Knowledge: geography check allows characters to recognize that the flow of current in the Caribbean runs from southeast to the northwest; this means that the bottle would likely have come from somewhere near the eastern end of the Spanish Main, Barbadoes, the southern portion of the Windward Islands, or Trinidad and Tabago. (This information may need to be adjusted, again, if the adventure begins in a location other than Port Royal.) Here, too, the PC’s may be able to make use of their contacts if they lack the skills necessary to gain this information, and the finding of said contacts can be as simple or as difficult as the GM desires.
Event 2—The Inn
Since the markings on the bottle are perhaps the most concrete clue that the PC’s possess, this is perhaps the most like first course of action for them. Perhaps unfortunately for them, this option proves more complicated than they might have suspected.
Mr. Stayner, it turns out, has problems of his own. His stock of the widely popular Gilboan Screech has run rather low as of late, and at present he only has enough to cover his regular order from the governor of Tortuga. The trouble is, a notorious pirate by the name of Captain Horne happens to have a taste for the stuff and, having just taken a large haul of booty from a Spanish prize, he is looking to celebrate his success. When he ran into Stayner at a local watering hole and was refused in his desire to purchase some of the rum, he did not take it well.
Note here that, if the GM doesn't have a specific inn in mind to use for this encounter, the Sign of the Boar's Head from a previous blog listing would work well.
When the PC’s arrive, they find that Stayner and his assistants have fled to the upper floor of the inn; Horne and his men are in hot pursuit, battling their way up the stairs. At this point the PC’s have two main options for dealing with the situation, parlay or force. For the prior, a DC 24 Diplomacy check—adjusted, of course, for good roleplaying, at the GM’s discretion—is enough to calm the bewildered pirate captain and persuade him to spare Stayner. On the other hand, a fight here should provide some exciting fisticuffs but not be too tough on the PC’s; they have plenty more combat to face later.
As long as they manage to rescue Stayner one way or another, the master brewer gladly provides them with the following information: outside of the aforementioned governor of Tortuga, the only other person to whom Stayner has sold his Gilboan Screech in that part of the Caribbean is a wealthy pearl merchant from Trinidad, a fellow by the name of Don Javier Santiago.
Event 3—The Pearl Merchant’s Estate
Depending upon the party’s religious and political views, this next aspect of the investigation could prove difficult. Since Trinidad is a territory ruled by the Spanish Crown and loyal to the Catholic Church, those who are neither Spaniards nor Catholics may find their reception to be cool at best and heated at worst. (This may depend, of course, on the specific time period in which the GM chooses to set this adventure.) Should the heroes have had previous run-ins with either of those groups, it may prove necessary for them to don disguises in order to move around on the island.
Once the PC’s arrive on Trinidad, it is an easy task (DC 10 Gather Information check) to find the Santiago estate. Those who are especially skilled might also learn (DC 20 check) that the pearl merchant has been involved in some particularly secretive business of late, leaving early in the morning and returning well after dark. The locals assume that he has found a rich new pearl bed, however, and know nothing of his true discovery.
When they arrive at the estate the PC’s are greeted at the front gate by the family’s servant, Rinaldo. He is skeptical of them as long as he recognizes them as pirates or other disreputable types; as such he asks them their business before telling that his master is not available and sending them on their way. A DC 15 Sense Motive check here allows a character to recognize that the servant is quite ill-at-ease, following which a DC 20 Diplomacy check is enough to help calm him somewhat. Reduce these DC’s by five if the PC’s mention the bottle they discovered and its possible connection to Santiago.
If the PC’s can earn Rinaldo’s trust, he ushers them into the house and then proceeds upstairs to bring down Dona Isabella, Don Santiago’s daughter. She thanks them for bringing her the information they have discovered, then proceeds to tell what she knows of her father’s misadventure:
A fortnight ago, he and his crew discovered the wreck of a Spanish galleon somewhere in nearby waters.
To help keep the matter secret, knowing that others might try to claim its treasures for themselves, he told no one—not even Isabella—of the wreck’s location.
Seven days ago she received a letter stating that Don Santiago had been kidnapped, and that he would not be harmed as long as nobody tried to interfere with the matter.
Since then she has been agonizing over the situation, not wanting to sit idly by but also not wishing to endanger her father. Now, however, she begun to grow desperate, and would be indebted to the PC’s if they would take action to rescue him. The trouble at this point, of course, is figuring out just where to go looking for him.
This is where the scrap of paper in the bottle comes back into play. As long as the PC’s have a map of the waters surrounding Trinidad, they should be able to spot a likely candidate—the area known as Bloody Bay on Tobago. A DC 15 Knowledge: local check can confirm that that island has been engulfed in conflict of late, with native Caribs and settlers from England, Spain, France and Holland all fighting for control; this lack of a ruling authority has made it an almost ideal base of operations for pirates.
Here again, should it become necessary to know more about the rooms in the house, they are labeled as follows.
1. Sitting Room
2. Dining Room
5. Rinaldo’s Room
7. Isabella’s Room
9. Javier’s Room
Event 4—Bloody Bay
Should the PC’s decide to pay a visit to this location, the manner in which they approach the bay becomes a very important consideration. While Captain Bartleby has split his forces between guarding their camp and escorting Don Santiago to the dive site, there are plenty of pirates here to cause trouble for the PC’s. Because of this, it is in their best interests to be stealthy as they draw near to here.
The village that serves as Bartleby’s base of operations is one that has been ruined by the conflict that has wracked the island. Some of the buildings are still fairly intact, however; the pirates have supplemented these with shelters built from sailcloth and surplus wood, turning them into crude but serviceable and unobtrusive dwellings. More importantly, as far as the PC’s are concerned, is the fact that pairs of guards are posted at each of the locations marked with an A. Each guard is equipped with a cutlass, short musket and pistol, along with a boatswain’s whistle for signaling comrades.
Should any of the guard teams become suspicious of activity in the area, one moves to investigate while the other hangs back, ready to raise the alarm. Naturally, the PC’s should make Hide and Move Silently checks opposed to the guards’ efforts to Spot and Listen for trouble. Since the development of the situation depends upon any number of strategies that the PC’s might employ, considerable GM adjudication is required here.
1. Guard Posts
Each of these buildings is ruined, but provides a location with a good line of sight from which to watch for intruders. The guards have made themselves comfortable here, making tables and chairs out of crates and barrels and finding entertainment such as cards, dice, etc.
2. Crew Quarters
These buildings have been augmented with sailcloth tents, creating dry places for resting crew members to sleep. Although they vary in general layout, each includes hammocks for a dozen sailors (only half of which are currently occupied), sea chests and a variety of personal effects.
This, the best preserved of all the buildings in the village, has been reinforced with stout timbers and mud brick for use as a brig by the pirates. The door is iron-banded wood and has hardness 5 and 30 hit points, while the walls have hardness 8 and 90 hit points. There are two guards posted out front of here at all times, unless they should be called away to help with trouble in another part of the camp.
4. Captain Bartleby’s Quarters
Though not quite as stoutly rebuilt as the brig, this area is definitely more comfortably furnished.
This is where the pirates dump their garbage; it is also where they hide their treasure, in a couple of locked chests. A DC 25 Search check of the area is enough to discover the recently turned soil.
If the PC’s manage to defeat the crew members posted here, they may be able to obtain a good deal of information. So long as the PC’s can Intimidate one or more of the sailors or otherwise persuade them to spill their guts, they can learn the following information.
*Captain Bartleby and the rest of the crew are away at the wreck site, having taken Don Santiago and his pearl divers there each day to continue scour the wreck for treasure.
*The pirate is expected to return with an hour or so.
*When he does, one of the pirates on land is expected to flash him a signal with one of the bull’s-eye lanterns, a combination of three flashes: one long, one short and another long.
*In response, the ship is to signal back with three more flashes: one short, one long and another short.
*The treasures that have been recovered so far are hidden beneath the refuse in the mizzen pit, wrapped in tarred canvas to protect them from being soiled.
This information should be provide to the PC’s through good roleplaying, with each successive detail being a little harder to obtain than the ones before it.
If the PC’s dig up the treasure items, they find quite the haul. Included among this are 5000 doubloons, silver plate with a value of 10,000 pieces of eight, the onyx statue of a panther (1000 poe), and a bag of twenty pearls valued at 2000 poe. Additionally, there is a Mayan codex, largely ruined by seawater but with certain details still legible. As long as the PC’s can again find a translator, they it proves to include the following description:
“From the place of Ix Chel, follow the path of the water serpent. Then descend into the mother’s womb, and make an offering of flesh and _____.”
The missing word, as it were, is the one that Don Santiago managed to rip out of the codex to send his message—blood. Although it is cryptic in nature, those characters who succeed against a DC 20 Knowledge: geography, history or religion check can recognize that “the place of Ix Chel” refers to the island of Cozumel, one of the last bastions of the native Maya and the location of an important shrine to that goddess.
It should also be noted that, if the PC’s stay through the night at Bloody Bay, Captain Bartleby and his crew return from the wreck site. In this case they sail into the harbor, then flash the aforementioned signal with a bull’s-eye lantern. As long as they receive the correct response, they then load the treasure and their prisoners into a shore boat and row ashore; six of the crew members remain aboard the ship in order to guard it. How this situation develops from this point onward depends largely on what sort of surprise the PC’s might have waiting for these cutthroats.
There is another surprise in store for both the PC’s and the pirates, however—the third party in the equation. These are agents of the Spanish Inquisition, and they stop at nothing to acquire the long-lost codex. Provided the PC’s stay for more than one day at Bloody Bay, a team of Inquisitors arrives to investigate the scene. They approach stealthily from the landward side of the village, hoping to sneak in, steal the codex and continue their search for the lost shrine. The Inquisitors are willing to use force, if necessary, but try to avoid a direct confrontation if at all possible.
On the other hand, if the PC’s have already departed by the time that the Inquisitors arrive, they still have business with the pirates who are left behind. Assuming that the PC’s have taken the codex by that time, the Inquisitors still torture the available survivors, learn of the fact that the PC’s have acquired the codex and then go in pursuit. They also bring something of a bargaining chip, as described below.
In order to continue the search, they must eventually head to this island just off of the Yucatan Peninsula. Here again they should be careful, as the Inquisition has a group of agents on the island waiting and watching for any (in their minds) objectionable activities. They can be found at a nearby Catholic mission where they preach their faith in an attempt to convert the locals that has so far been unsuccessful. Shortly after the PC’s arrive, the Inquisitors come in search of them; they also bring along a bargaining chip, as explained below.
Provided they have the knowledge or resources to discern the importance of the “place of Ix Chel,” they should know to begin their search at the temple located on the island. “The path of the serpent” refers to a small stream that runs through the area. While doing so, those who look out for signs of passage might notice that a partially overgrown footpath leads from the stream to a nearby cenote (DC 18 Track check to locate). Of course, it is up to the PC’s to figure out the importance of these clues for themselves.
Just to complicate the situation a little more, the natives themselves are wary of visitors and therefore begin to watch the PC’s from the moment that they arrive. These Mayan hunters are quite at home in their native jungle; they try to watch from a distance, waiting to gauge the newcomers’ intentions before confronting them. Once they do force the issue, however, they are quite direct about it; they surround the party with bows drawn, and demand (through an interpreter) to know just what the PC’s are doing on the island. Here again a little Diplomacy or Bluffing (DC 15) can convince them to refrain from violence, at which point, if the PC’s think to mention the Inquisition’s interest in the shrine, they can win the natives’ cooperation.
Provided they believe that the PC’s do not intend to loot the treasures of the shrine (Diplomacy or Bluff checks, as appropriate), the natives are even kind enough to guide them there. This cooperation is not without its own motivation, however; one of the natives slip away into the jungle to alert the local priestess, Cocay, along with all of the other hunters and warriors that he can find.
Event 6—The Cenote
Just what the PC’s find here depends largely upon the events that have transpired so far. While the physical details of the place don’t vary much, the occupants that are here to greet newcomers could be notably different. Should either Bartleby and his pirates or the Inquisitors have succeeded in stealing the codex, the PC’s might find those individuals here trying to gauge the secret of the place’s defenses. On the other hand, even if the PC’s arrive first, they might be caught by those others a little bit later in the encounter.
At first glance this sinkhole seems to be no different from any of the numerous other sinkholes located on the island. Its edges fall away sharply for about sixty feet, dropping down to the surface of brackish water below. Upon closer inspection, however, it becomes apparent that this cenote is anything but normal.
This path descends from the surrounding ground level to the floor of the cenote; each section of the footpath represents a descent of five feet. While it is not terribly steep, the path is quite narrow.
From here the PC’s can gain a much better view of the situation in the cenote. Those who take a look around the place can automatically notice that an underwater tunnel runs into the wall nearby, and that a broad cage-like structure, made of lashed wood and apparently decorated with skulls and various other bones, hangs against the wall opposite the tunnel entrance. Those who look more closely might be able to discern its purpose, as detailed below.
Characters here should be allowed Spot or Search checks, as appropriate; those who succeed against a DC 15 notice hints of movement in the murky depths of the cenote, while those who beat a DC 20 also discover the secret door built into the wall of the chamber. Closer inspection can reveal that the motion in the water is caused by large, pale eels, and that there is no visible mechanism for the secret door.
Upon casual inspection this structure might seem to be purely decorative, something intended to frighten away potential tomb robbers, or else as part of some grisly ritual of sacrifice. In truth, however, it is a key they’ll need to uncovering the shrine. Those who look closely at the cage (DC 20 Search check) can recognize that it is hooked up to a number of ropes, ones that allow it to be swung out from the wall and lowered into the narrow gap between the platform and the wall opposite it. This is where the codex’s reference to “a sacrifice of flesh and blood” comes into play; if the PC’s throw any kind of living or recently dead animal into the water, the eels that lurk in the depths flock there and begin to devour it. The cage can then be lowered into position so as to block them from reentering the other side of the pool, allowing characters to explore the underwater tunnel unmolested.
This tunnel is dark, cold and constricting. It is also fully two hundred feet long from entrance to end, meaning that anyone who enters it had better be prepared to hold one’s breath for a while. (Should the eels not have been restrained, as mentioned above, it becomes even more dangerous to enter.) At the end of it is a mechanism for releasing the hidden door on the platform, as detailed above.
5. Hidden Shrine
Assuming that the PC’s have some source of light when they open the secret door, they are greeted by the distinctive glitter of gold. Contained in this chamber are many treasures that have been saved from the conquest of the Mayan Empire, including a jade mask (functions as a periapt of wisdom +2), an elaborate quetzal-feather headdress (functions as a lesser strand of prayer beads), a scepter carved from bone in the form of a serpent (functions as a metamagic rod of extending) and a finely crafted +2 mighty shortbow. There are also numerous codices and statues that, while of relatively little value as plunder, are priceless for the Mayans who have hidden them here.
Of course, the PC’s are not the only people interested in this area’s treasures. The priestess, the Grand Inquisitor and Captain Bartleby all have an interest in recovering this treasure, and none is the type to give up easily.
Bartleby and his pirates, for their part, lack much sense when it comes to subtlety. If they have not yet been eliminated, they send a couple of canny buccaneers to track the PC’s and then lead in the rest of the group, who come armed to the teeth and looking for a fight. It is possible that they could be bribed, threatened or otherwise coerced into giving up the chase, likely with a good deal of adjudication by the GM.
The priestess and her warriors are much more subtle than this. They lie in wait in the surrounding jungle—their familiar territory, as it were—and then send a couple of warriors to confront the people who have the treasures. While not overtly hostile, they are simply unwilling to give up their cultural relics. Should a fight with them be unavoidable, they fall back into cover and snipe at their enemies; they also send a band of warriors to set fire to any ships docked at the island, ensuring that outlanders will not escape.
Finally there are the Inquisitors. They bring along a bargaining chip, in the form of Dona Isabella. (If the PC’s have any particular loved ones in the area, the GM could add one or more of those characters, as well.) They approach carefully but directly, produce their hostages and then make their demands. Since they are motivated by holy zeal, they are also unwilling to negotiate.
Now, just how each of these groups makes its appearance is up to the GM; the arrivals should be timed to maximize dramatic conflict in this final confrontation. This could be one massive battle centered right on the cenote, or it could develop into an engagement that sprawls across the island. As long as the PC’s can gain some allies or at least play their enemies against each other, they should be able to escape with their hides intact.
If the heroes can defeat the Inquisitors and prevent the shrine from being looted, they win the unyielding support of the Priestess. While she recognizes that she must find a new location for her shrine and treasures, she acknowledges that the PC’s have prevented the lore of her collection from being lost to the Inquisition. As a sign of her gratitude, she asks the PC’s to join her in a sacred ritual that will aid them in their future adventures. Once they are gathered she sits them around a blazing fire, then provides them with a specially brewed concoction to drink. They are then left to sit until they fall asleep, with their dreams providing a glimpse into their spiritual selves. Each PC sees a vision of a particular animal in his or her dream, the totem animal for that character.
In game terms, identifying a character’s totem animal provides a modifier to a particular skill check, saving throw, attack method, etc., as detailed on Appendix 3.
Even though this particular business is finished, the players involved in it could help to spur numerous further adventures for the PC’s.
*Should Captain Bartleby or any of his crew still be alive, they could easily seek revenge. While this in fairness should not be blamed entirely upon the PC’s, it should be noted that this pirate is not known for his sense of fairness. He might come looking for the PC’s, or could pop up at inconvenient moments during future business.
*The Inquisition, of course, does not take kindly to interference in its mission to bring truth and right belief to the world. They could develop into an ongoing nemesis for the PC’s, as they are not quick to forgive the sins of their enemies.
Considering the ongoing conquest of New Spain, the priestess and her fellow natives could provide any number of adventure hooks. More altruistic PC’s might join them in their battle against the Spanish—particularly if any of the PC’s are natives themselves—while those who are more mercenary could be hired to serve as smugglers or soldiers of fortune.
*Javier Santiago, intrigued by the profits that he might earn from the salvaging of other shipwrecks, decides to make a business enterprise of it; the PC’s top his list of potential employees.
*Finally, Dona Isabella could provide a romantic interest for a PC’s, leading the rest of the party into business involving the upper crust of the New World society. Given the aforementioned conflicts, this could provide for many roleplaying opportunities.
Using this Adventure in a Traditional Fantasy Campaign
If the GM wishes to use this adventure in a setting other than the Caribbean during the Age of Piracy, it can easily be adapted. The main changes to be made involve the two main parties involved in the fight for the codex, the native Maya and the conquering Catholic Spanish. Provided another setting has two such groups, they can readily be substituted.
Due to the magical nature of a high fantasy setting, it could be appropriate to modify at least two of the characters. Both the Grand Inquisitor and the Mayan Priestess could be converted to the standard cleric class, with all of the abilities that that brings. The equipment of many of the characters could also be modified, with at least leather armor for many of them and probably some magical items for the higher-level characters.
Appendix 1—Dramatis Personae
Male Sea Dog 4/Sea Officer 3; CR 7; Size medium; HD 7d0+7; hp 50; Init +3 (+3 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (+3 Dex, +2 buff coat); Atk +8/+3 (1d6+2, cutlass) or +9/+4 (2d4, pistols); SQ Close Quarters +1, Command (morale bonus), Preferred Ship (English ships), Skill Expert +2; AL CN; SV: Fort +6, Ref +8, Will +3; Str 14, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 15.
Background: Sea Devil.
Skills: Appraise +7, Diplomacy +10, Intimidate +10, Knowledge (local) +7, Knowledge (navigation) +7, Knowledge (sea lore) +7, Profession (sailor) +9.
Feats: Crimp, Dodge, Mobility, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot.
Equipment: Cutlass, buccaneer knife, pair of pistols, musket, powder horn, apostles, spyglass.
Bartleby is fairly typical of his pirate ilk; he enjoys nothing more than ship-to-ship combat, taking booty and spending it back in port. While his soul is not a noble one by any stretch of the imagination, he does respect others who demonstrate their skills and daring.
Various Sea Dog 1; CR 1; Size medium; HD 1d10+2; hp 12; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+1 Dex, +1 armor); Atk +3 (1d6+2, cutlass) or +2 (2d4, pistol or 2d6, musket); SQ Close Quarters +1; AL CN; SV: Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +1; Str 15, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.
Background: Sea Devil.
Skills: Balance +5, Climb +6, Jump +6, Profession: sailor +5, Survival +5, Use Rope +5.
Feats: Cleave, Dodge, Power Attack.
Equipment: Dueling jacket, cutlass, musket or pistol, powder horn, apostles.
Male Sea Dog 4/Sea Officer 3; CR 7; Medium-sized; HD 7d10; hp 43; Init +0; Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+2 buff coat); Atk +6/+1 (2d6, pistol) or +6/+1 (1d6, buccaneer knife); SQ Close Quarters +1, Command (morale bonus), Preferred Ship (English ships), Skill Expert +2; AL TN; SV: Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +8; Str 10, Dex 10, Con 10, Int 14, Wis 15, Cha 16.
Background: Sea Devil.
Skills: Appraise +12, Knowledge: local +12, Knowledge: navigation +12, Knowledge: sea lore +12, Listen +15, Profession: sailor +13, Spot +15, Survival +8.
Feats: Alertness, Dodge, Endurance, Great Fortitude, Iron Will, Mobility.
Equipment: Two pistols, buccaneer knife, buff coat, scroll with ship’s articles.
Mr. Clinch Stayner
Expert 13; CR 12; Size medium; HD 13d6+26; hp 74; Init +0; Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+2 buff coat); Atk +9/+4 (1d6, belaying pin); SQ None; AL NG; SV: Fort +8, Ref +4, Will +8; Str 11, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 13.
Skills: Appraise +19, Bluff +15, Craft: brewing +22, Diplomacy +17, Gather Information +17, Knowledge: nature +17, Profession: cooper +19, Sense Motive +16, Spot +14, Swim +14.
Feats: Endurance, Great Fortitude, Negotiator, Quick Draw, Skill Focus (Craft: brewing, Craft: cooper).
Note: This character first appears in the adventure “For Love of Rum” by T.S. Luikart, featured in Buccaneers & Bokor issue 2. He is a jovial fellow, one who is as fond of consuming his wares with friends as he is of producing them. Stayner is also a shrewd businessman and, more importantly, a master brewer.
Rogue 7; CR 7; Size medium; HD 7d6; hp 27; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+2 Dex); Atk +7 (2d4, pistol) or +5 (1d6, rapier); SQ Sneak Attack +4d6, Trapfinding, Evasion, Trap Sense +2, Uncanny Dodge; AL LN; SV: Fort +2, Ref +7, Will +3; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 16.
Skills: Bluff +6, Decipher Script +5, Diplomacy +6, Disable Device +6, Disguise +5, Gather Information +6, Hide +6, Knowledge (local) +5, Knowledge (religion) +4, Move Silently +6, Search +5.
Feats: Investigator, Iron Will, Point Blank Shot, Skill Emphasis (Knowledge: religion).
Equipment: Rapier, dirk, pistol, powder horn, apostles, Bible.
The Inquisitor is a driven, taciturn man whose only goal is to stamp out heresy and false beliefs in the world. His is a black-and-white sense of morality; anyone who stands in the way of his objectives is in league with the devil and an enemy.
Rogue 1; CR 1; Size medium; HD 1d6; hp 6; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+2 Dex); Atk +3 (2d4, pistol) or +2 (1d6+1, rapier); SQ Sneak Attack +1d6, Trapfinding; AL LN; SV: Fort +0, Ref +4, Will +1; Str 13, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 14.
Skills: Bluff +6, Decipher Script +5, Diplomacy +6, Disable Device +6, Disguise +5, Gather Information +6, Hide +6, Knowledge (local) +5, Knowledge (religion) +4, Move Silently +6, Search +5.
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot.
Equipment: Rapier, dirk, pistol, powder horn, apostles, Bible.
Dona Isabella Santiago
Aristocrat 3; CR 2; Size medium; HD 3d8+3; hp 20; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+2 Dex); Atk +2 (1d3, unarmed) or +4 (ranged); SQ None; AL LG; SV: Fort +2, Ref +3, Will +2; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 8, Cha 15.
Skills: Bluff +8, Diplomacy +11, Gather Information +11, Knowledge: local +7, Knowledge: nobility +7, Profession: merchant +3, Read & Write Carib, English, French, Spanish, Speak Carib, English, French, Spanish.
Feats: Skill Focus (Diplomacy, Gather Information).
Isabella, though she is part of the upper crust of the Spanish colonists in the New World, also has something of an adventurous streak. So far in life her exploration has been limited to the realm of books, studying the discoveries that have been made by others, but, if the right opportunity came along, she would happily leave her comfortable life behind her.
Don Javier Santiago
Male Aristocrat 3/Expert 3; CR 5; Size medium; HD 4d8+3d6+6; hp 33; Init -1 (-1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 9 (-1 Dex); Atk +3 (1d3, unarmed) or +2 (ranged); SQ None; AL LN; SV: Fort +3, Ref +1, Will +5; Str 10, Dex 8, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 13, Cha 15.
Skills: Appraise +13, Diplomacy +13, Gather Information +11, Knowledge: local +11, Knowledge: navigation +11, Knowledge: nobility +11, Read & Write Carib, English, French, Spanish, Sense Motive +12, Speak Carib, English, French, Spanish.
Feats: Diligent, Negotiator.
Don Javier is a nervous sort of fellow, one who is meticulous in his business practices and who never stops thinking about his investments. He is also genuinely caring, however, and treats his Carib divers much better than other merchants.
Ranger 1; CR 1; Size medium; HD 1d10+1; hp 11; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+2 Dex); Atk +3 (1d6, javelin) or +3 (1d6, short bow) or +2 (1d6+1, short spear); SQ Favored Enemy (Spaniards), Wild Empathy; AL CG; SV: Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +2; Str 13, Dex 15, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8.
Skills: Climb +5, Heal +6, Hide +6, Listen +6, Move Silently +6, Spot +6, Survival +6, Swim +6.
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Track.
Equipment: Bow and arrows, javelins, short spear, knife.
Ranger 4; CR 4; Size medium; HD 4d10; hp 26; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 11 (+1 Dex); Atk +4 (1d4, knife) or +5 (ranged); SQ Favored Enemy (Spaniards), Wild Empathy, Combat Style (Two-Weapon Fighting), Endurance, Animal Companion; AL CG; SV: Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +6; Str 10, Dex 12, Con 10, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 16.
Skills: Handle Animal +10, Heal +12, Hide +8, Knowledge: religion +5, Listen +10, Move Silently +8, Spot +10, Survival +12.
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Track.
Fortunes: Cause, Enemy.
Equipment: Ceremonial dagger.
The Priestess (she is known by no other name) is a woman who has watched her world be destroyed around her. Now she seeks to find and preserve whatever traces of the old ways that she can, but her greatest desire is to one day lead her people to a place where they can live free of governmental and religious oppression.
Following is a list of possible totem animals, along with the bonus that is granted by the charm that the Mayan priestess creates for the character with that totem.
Totem Animal Effect
Ape +2 to Climb checks
Baboon +2 to Climb checks
Badger +2 to Escape Artist checks
Bat +2 to Listen checks
Bear +1 to Fortitude saves
Bison +1 to bull rush attacks
Boar +1 to Fortitude saves
Camel Benefits of Endurance feat
Cat +1 to Reflex saves
Cheetah +5 to Movement rate
Crocodile +2 to Swim checks
Dog +2 to Survival checks
Donkey Benefits of Endurance feat
Eagle +2 to Spot checks
Elephant +2 to bull rush attacks
Fox +2 to Move Silently checks
Hawk +2 to Spot checks
Horse Benefits of Endurance feat
Hyena +1 to trip attacks
Leopard +2 to Jump checks
Lion +2 to Move Silently checks
Lizard +2 to Balance checks
Manta Ray +2 to Swim checks
Monkey +2 to Climb checks
Mule Benefits of Endurance feat
Octopus +2 to Hide checks
Owl +2 to Listen checks
Pony +5 to Movement rate
Porpoise +2 to Swim checks
Rat +1 to Fortitude saves
Raven +2 to Spot checks
Rhinoceros +1 to charge attacks
Shark +2 to Swim checks
(constrictor) +1 to grapple attacks
Snake (viper) +2 to Fortitude saves vs. poison
Squid +2 to grapple checks
Tiger +2 to Move Silently checks
Toad +2 to Hide checks
Weasel +2 to Hide checks
Whale +2 to Swim checks
Wolf +1 to trip attacks
Wolverine +2 to Climb checks