Monday, May 23, 2011

Interlude--The Map

Interlude: The Map
This encounter can occur at any time after the PC's have acquired some loot, either a small personal stash or a larger hoard. At first glance it seems that the item in question is nothing more than an ordinary tinderbox, but opening it reveals a small scrap of parchment folded into a neat little parcel. The scrap contains the following words:

The Archipelago of Mary
Rock Island

Characters who succeed at a DC 15 Knowledge: geography check can confirm that no such archipelago exists in this part of the world. There are, however, the Virgin Islands and, given that Mary is the virgin mother of Jesus in Christian tradition, someone might make the connection. If that happens, those who look closely at a map of that chain of islands might notice one named St. Peter. At that point, a DC 15 Knowledge: religion check recognizes that St. Peter, one of the apostles of Jesus, is also considered to be the first Catholic Pope, “the rock” on which that church was built.

With that information in mind, the PC's can look to the second item, a small crucifix wrapped up in the scrap of parchment. It is made of silver but otherwise quite ordinary, except for one small detail that requires a DC 18 Spot check to notice. On the back side of the cross are scratched four small letters, corresponding to the cardinal directions—N, S, E and W. When the pirate who left these clues buried the treasure, he/she chose a spot equidistant between the points on the island that were furthest in each direction. In this case, X does mark the spot.

Armed with this information, the PC's can head out in search of the treasure.

The Passerby
The Island of St. Peter is inhabited by a small colony of Dutch settlers. One of that number is Albert Vandemere, a man who enjoys hiking throughout the island and hunting the wild goats living on it. He is also intrigued to note a band of interlopers searching the otherwise unoccupied territory, and immediately begins to suspect that a treasure might be involved. For that reason he approaches the PC's and makes casual conversation with them, hoping to discern the true nature of their purpose for visiting. If he can do so, or as long as he has sufficient reason to suspect that they do possess a treasure map, he tries to act casual before making excuses for leaving. At that point he returns to the small settlement on the island and gathers reinforcements, intending to come back and claim the treasure for the locals.

The Shrine
Once they're on the island, a DC 15 Knowledge: geography or similar check allows the PC's to take their bearings and thus find the spot indicated by the clues. There is only one location of interest in that area, a small shrine to Mary herself. This was of course set up by the pirates in order to hide their treasure in plain sight, but it could also present a problem for the PC's. Once it becomes clear that they must disturb the shrine in order to discover what lies beneath it, those who have the Superstitious fortune should take exception to such an idea. After all, Mother Mary is a compassionate soul who intercedes on behalf of the penitent, so vandalizing her shrine should seem like a bad idea.

The shrine itself is a compact structure, five feet by five feet in its footprint and only a little taller in height. It contains a small altar with a statue of Mary, along with a number of candles and offerings of little value such as pieces of eight and other trinkets. Buried beneath it, however, is the cache that the PC's seek. This includes a chest containing 1250 pieces of eight, a large pearl in a scrap of cloth (300 gp), a cutlass +1 elaborately engraved with Arabic phrases, a bandolier with twelve apostles and a wind cord. As usual, the GM should supplement or modify this cache based on the wants of the players and the needs of the campaign.

The Passerby, Again
If Albert Vandemere, after his first interaction with the PC's, had suitable reason to believe that they're involved in a treasure hunt, he returns with a party of local hunters and a few hunting dogs. His intention is to make sure that the locals receive their share of the booty, and he things a fifty-fifty split is appropriate. To this end, he and and cronies make a show of their muskets, but do not initiate actual hostilities if they can avoid doing so.

The PC's have a number of options for handling this situation. One is to parley, allowing one or more characters to make Diplomacy checks and talk the Dutchman down to a smaller share. In this case, the amount of the split can be reduced by five percent (from fifty) for every five points by which the PC's check exceeds his own. Of course, these negotiations should provide a good chance for roleplaying, with the GM assigning appropriate bonuses or penalties to checks based on who says what.

Fighting is another option. Albert and his hunting party consider themselves to be pretty tough, but a strong show of force can convince them otherwise. If defeated, the Dutchman could become a new ally or a recurring enemy, depending on how the PC's treat him.

Albert Vandemere
Male Buccaneer 5; CR 5; Size medium; HD 5d10 +5; hp 37; Init +3 (+3 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (+3 Dex, +2 buff coat); Atk +8 (2d6, long musket) or +6 (1d6+1, buccaneer knife); SQ Survivor +2, Expert Pilot, Resilient; AL TN; SV: Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +3; Str 13, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8.
Background: Colonist.
Skills: Appraise +8, Climb +9, Heal +10, Hide +11, Knowledge (local) +2, Move Silently +11, Profession (guide) +4, Survival +10, Swim +9.
Feats: Alertness, Far Shot, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Focus (musket).
Fortunes: None.
Equipment: Buff coat, necklace of boar's tusks, two long muskets, buccaneer knife, backpack, bedroll, tinder box, salt pork, cheese, biscuit and water for three days, gallon jug of ale.

Albert Vandemere is a boisterous and robust fellow with rosy cheeks and a shock of curly blonde hair. He enjoys nothing more than sleeping out under the stars while hunting various kinds of game. Nevertheless, he is quick to seize any opportunity for gain with which he is presented. Although friendly and outgoing, he can turn ruthless when it is to his advantage.

Male Buccaneer 2; CR 2; Size medium; HD 2d10+2; hp 19; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 13 (+1 Dex, +2 buff coat); Atk +4 (1d6+2, cutlass or buccaneer knife) or +3 (2d6, short musket); SQ Survivor +1, Expert Pilot; AL CN; SV: Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +1; Str 15, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.
Background: Colonist.
Skills: Climb +7, Heal +6, Hide +6, Knowledge (local) +2, Move Silently +6, Profession (guide) +4, Survival +6, Swim +7, Use Rope +6.
Feats: Alertness, Power Attack.
Fortunes: None.
Equipment: Buff coat, long musket, buccaneer knife, cutlass, backpack, bedroll, tinder box, salt pork, cheese, biscuit and water for three days, gallon jug of ale, pipe and tobacco.

These hunters are a varied lot, generally surly toward newcomers and little better toward each other.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Two More Relics

Today's update includes two new treasures, Selkirk's Bible and the Apostles.


It is a common practice among pirates and soldiers to prepare rounds of ammunition for use in battle, combining powder and ball with a paper jacket; in this way, the whole assemblage can be rammed down the barrel of a weapon, instead of taking time to do so with individual items. Because these cartridges were often assembled in groups of twelve, they earned the nickname “Apostles.” One enterprising priest has worked to make this an even truer name, however. The ones he makes include silver shot, each engraved with the names of one of the twelve disciples of Christ—Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James, Thaddeus, Simon the Zealot, Judas Iscariot. Some even believe that crumbs from the blessed Host are included amidst the gunpowder.

Those who have used Father Raphael's creation swear by its efficacy. In game terms, these Apostles function as +1 holy ammunition. If ever the Judas round is used and the attack roll is a natural 1, the weapon explodes and causes full damage to the wielder.

Selkirk's Bible
Among pirates and other sailors there are many forms of punishment for disobedient crew members—lashes, bastinado and loss of shares are just a few. None was more feared, however, than being marooned. Those unfortunates who suffered this penalty were provided usually with a firearm and power, and perhaps a few other items, before being put ashore on a desert island; they were then abandoned, usually forever. Few and far between are the stories of maroons who survived to return to civilization.

One person who did is the famous Alexander Selkirk. Following a disagreement with a Captain Stradling, during which Selkirk tried to persuade others to desert, the captain marooned him on a small island. There he stayed for more than four years, surviving by hunting goats and taming cats. One of the items that helped him keep up his morale was a Bible from which he read every day. It is a small volume, the King James version, one with a black leather cover embossed in gold. In game terms, the Bible grants to the person who possesses a +1 enhancement bonus to all saving throws. Furthermore, the book can be used to invoke the benefits of a remove fear spell, three times per day.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Two New Feats

Detailed below are two new feats for use with any d20 game, but that are especially appropriate for buccaneers and natives.


You are adept at concealing yourself in wilderness areas and then making ranged attacks against your enemies.
Prerequisites: Hide 4 ranks
Benefit: You take a -10 penalty when trying to use the Hide skill after making a ranged attack. If you take more than one ranged attack, this penalty increases by -5 per additional attack that you take.
Normal: You may only take one ranged attack before trying to use the Hide skill, and take a -10 penalty to the skill check when doing so.

You are familiar with the sounds of local fauna and can impersonate them, using them to communicate with others.
Prerequisites: Survival or Knowledge: nature 4 ranks
Benefit: With an appropriate skill check (see Prerequisites, above) you can impersonate the sounds of local fauna. Only those who make a similar check and beat your result recognize that it is not the real thing.
Special: It is assumed that you have worked out a set of signals with your associates in advances of making any checks. Communication is not complex in nature, usually involving the sound of a particular animal for each type of message. For example, the squawk of parrot could mean enemies are near, while the cry of a seagull might indicate that the coast is clear.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Trial by Fire

Today's update is an adventure, the next in the series.


Trial by Fire
This scenario is Part 6 of the Come Hell and High Water campaign, an adventure series for the Skull & Bones historical setting, for use with the Dungeons & Dragons roleplaying game version 3.5. It is intended for a party of fourth-level characters. It is intended to be used as part of an ongoing collection of scenarios, but it can also be run as a stand-alone adventure with some work on the part of the GM.

Recently the PC's aided Edward Chapman in the recovery of a powerful artifact, the fabled Clavicula Salomonis. This book contains the assembled occult knowledge of the legendary King Solomon; it contains rituals for communicating with, summoning and binding demonic powers. In doing so they came to battle the long-dead spirit of a Templar Warrior, Jean de Montsegur, who had found the book in the Holy Land and then carried it via Europe to the New World. After defeating the ghost, they might have thought that the book was now in safe hands, but they would have been wrong.

Even before that, the PC's foiled a plot to steal merchant ships masterminded by a bokor named Mhlongo. In doing so they earned the ire of that voodoo practitioner's teacher, Mabhena. Now the elder bokor has a plan for revenge, one that will simultaneously allow him to eliminate the offending heroes and gain tremendous power for himself. Posing as a merchant and hougan, he introduced himself to Nneka's band of maroons. Thus he managed to sell them goods infected with whooping cough, a disease that quickly decimated the crew of the Liberty. This was all part a plan to force the PC's to make a journey to Martinique, the nearest island where can be found a narcotic liana that is vital to treating the disease. Mabhena then contacted an old enemy of the PC's, a pirate by the name of Captain Bartleby. (In the event that he was killed during the events of the scenario “The Message,” the GM could substitute one of the Carlisle brothers from the adventure “Reprisal” or even someone else entirely.) These cutthroats the bokor hired to make a journey for that same islet, in order to provoke the local population and turn them against any other interlopers who might appear. The pirates started a forest fire and shot at the islet's inhabitants, then retired to their ship and found a quiet inlet from which to await the PC's. At the same time, they unleashed some of Mabhena's zombies to continue their attacks on the locals.

So far the bokor's plan has worked like a charm. The islet is inhabited by descendants of the Amazons, warrior women who are normally very territorial. Their wrath has indeed been provoked, and they are ready to take revenge against who might set foot on the island.

At the same time, Mabhena is making his move against Edward Chapman, but the details of that plot must wait until after the PC's have survived the trap that awaits them.

Introduction—A Friend in Need
This adventure begins while the PC's are relaxing in Port Royal. To add some local color at the start of the scenario, it could be helpful to have each player determine how his/her character is spending the downtime. Whichever one is in the best position to do so can notice the arrival of the Liberty and then go in search of the others, perhaps making a Gather Information check to find out where everyone is located, and finding them in potentially entertaining situations.

Event 1—Salvage Rights
As the PC's approach the Port Royal harbor, read or paraphrase the following.

Word has quickly spread throughout the city; there's a ship in harbor, one that flies two flags. One is a black field with a white skull and crossed spears, and the other is the dreaded yellow ensign. The fact there is disease on board the ship doesn't seem to be enough to scare away the opportunistic, however, as a group of scallywags bearing weapons and grappling lines begins rowing out toward the drifting vessel.

PC's who participated in the events of “Out of the Darkness” should recognize the flag as that of their old ally, Nneka. Given that he didn't bother to take it down and run up the English colors should be a clue that the Maroon and his crew are in a bad situation.

Of course, if the PC's are going to learn anything more about the situation, they must first deal with the erstwhile salvage team that is already heading out to board the drifting vessel. Said scavengers don't take kindly to such interference, of course, and put up a fight to defend their intended prize. This should set up an entertaining if not especially dangerous fight scene, with characters shooting between boats and perhaps even swimming between them. At the same time, the characters working the oars should make Strength checks to represent their rowing power. The boats can move fifteen feet per round, with the group that has the highest tally each round gaining an extra square on their opponents.

Unless the PC's are particularly ruthless toward the pirates, they're not the kind to bear a grudge about the battle. Indeed, this could even be a chance for them to gain a useful ally for the future.

Nneka's Story
As long as the PC's can deal with the interlopers, they can find the badly weakened Nneka and learn his story. Feverish and wracked by a powerful cough, he relates the following information.
*Recently his village on the island of Turneffe was overrun by the disease, one that broke out two weeks before.
*It brings on fever, body pain and wicked coughing.
*There is a cure, however, a narcotic liana that grows on an islet off the coast of Martinique.
At that point the Maroon thanks the PC's for their past services and asks them to recover the plant. Hopefully the PC's don't feel like haggling, for Nneka is in a truly desperate situation and has little to offer in exchange for help.

Note that anyone who actually touches any of the Maroons must make a Fortitude save in order to avoid contracting the disease.

Whooping Cough: Infection: contact; DC: 15; Incubation: 1d6 days; Damage: 1d6 Constitution.

Once the PC's have provided what aid they can, they can ask Nneka a few questions.
*Nneka learned of the antidote for the disease from a Voodoo practitioner name LeGris.
*According to his own explanation, LeGris is a hougan and a peddler of medicines; Nneka has copied a page from his pharmacoepia, detailing the plant and where it can be found.
*LeGris first visited the Maroons some two weeks before the outbreak of the disease.
These details could make the situation seem might suspicious to the PC's, and for good reasons. Those who make a DC 20 Spot check notice that there is something familiar about the handwriting on the copied page; if they still have the letter from Mabhena to Mhlongo, they can see that it is the same. Even so, given the urgency of the situation and the difficulty of going in search of Mhlongo/LeGris, they have little choice but to go in pursuit of the liana.

Event 2—Setting Sail
Whether or not they know to expect trouble, the PC's can make preparations to sail for Martinique. Before they can do that, however, they must decide what to do about the sick Maroons. For this they could call on any number of NPC's, but some of them present greater complications than others.
*Edward Chapman is probably the best choice, given his history with the PC's, but this could create additional problems during future business in Port Royal (refer to the next scenario in the Come Hell and High Water campaign for details).
*Ned Carstens isn't thrilled about the idea, but he does agree to take the Maroons under his protection if the PC's press him.
*Given the Maroon's status as escaped slaves, the local authorities are probably not a good option.
*If the PC's have any useful contacts, either as a result of their Backgrounds or due to other business, those could come into play as well.
Depending on the preferences of the players, these details could be resolved through roleplaying or simply be discussed and decided. Once this has been settled, the PC's can make any other necessary arrangements before hoisting anchor, unfurling the sails and steering for Martinique.

The voyage itself can be as uneventful or as full of difficulties and danger as the GM and players prefer. There's plenty of peril waiting for the party already on the islet, as becomes apparent when the ship reaches its destination.

Event 3—First Impressions and Second Guessing
As the PC's approach the islet, they are greeted by the following sight.

Like a shroud on a body not yet dead, a cloud of dark smoke hangs over the islet. The strong wind that blows outward from the land carries on it the smell of burning wood.

This development should give the PC's another clue that the situation is more complicated than they might have expected. Given the importance of their task, however, they have little alternative but to press onward, into the face of danger.

Encounters on the Islet
From this point onward, the PC's might experience one or more of the following events, depending on their chosen course of action.

1. Amazons
Alarmed by the fire, and then enraged by the pirates' attack, this patrol of warrior women is out for blood. They charge the PC's mounted on horseback, drawing into a circle around the interlopers with rifles raised, and demand that they throw down their arms. This should be an interesting test for the PC's, requiring humility and diplomacy instead of aggression and force.

As long as they are able to parlay, the PC's can learn some important details about the situation. The Amazons assumed that they are part of the same group who fired on them, and thus are also responsible for starting the fire. If asked, the women explain that it was a band of men dressed in similar garb, who then fled back to a boat and escaped to a waiting ship before sailing away.

2. The Fire
A good way for the PC's to earn the Amazons' favor is to help in fighting the fire. To that end, bulding a firebreak is the best way to keep it from spreading across the islet. Characters who think to ask can easily ascertain the direction of the wind, thereby determining how the flames are spreading. With that in mind, a DC 15 Survival check allows them to find a suitable location where chopping down some trees could halt the flames.

Now the PC's have a chance to step up and use their particular skills and other abilities. Treat the trees as having Hardness 5 and 120 hit points; allowing combat-oriented PC's to show off their prowess in felling them. Indeed, this could become an informal competition pitting pirates against Amazons, perhaps allowing each group to win the other's admiration. In a similar way, PC's could use Profession: sailor checks and ropes for tying trees to the horses for removing them, or even Knowledge: engineering and gunpowder for blasting out difficult stumps. Those who have access to suitable magic could use it in any number of ways.

3. Zombies
There is also the matter of a band of zombis that Captain Bartleby has let loose on the islet. They are not affected by the smoke, and therefore lurk on the edge of the fire while awaiting their victims. When it is least convenient for the PC's, they strike, probably catching them in a difficult situation. Depending on the level of the party, the GM should adjust the number of zombies accordingly.

Event 4—Sweet Revenge
After watching the PC's set sail from Port Royal, Mabhena sent word via a carrier pigeon to the waiting Captain Bartleby. Thus he has lookouts posted along the shore of Martinique, who report the arrival of their ship at the islet. Now he has taken a party ashore, moving toward the Player Characters' position with as much stealth as possible. If possible, he tries to catch them after the zombies have already weakened the PC's This should prove a challenging confrontation, forcing the PC's to take cover behind downed trees while their enemies snipe at them from the protection of the surrounding forest. Of course, bold characters could always take the fight to the attackers by charging into melee.

Calling in Reinforcements
If the PC's are hard-pressed to fight off their enemies, and if it would be dramatically appropriate to do so, they could try to summon the other amazons for aid. Indeed, this could be a good chance for a less combat-oriented character to do something heroic by mounting a horse, probably with one of the Amazons riding behind him, and then ride through the enemy lines while avoiding gunfire.

Event 5—The Aftermath
If they can defeat Captain Bartleby and his band of cutthroats (again), the PC's can win a valuable ally and gain an important clue as to the nature of their true enemy. If he can be questioned, he admits to his involvement with LeGris and that the whole situation was an elaborate trap. Should he and all of his men be killed, the PC's might still be able to dress up in the pirates' garb, sneak onto their waiting vessel and then take control of it after catching the waiting crew members by surprise.

Additionally, the PC's have an opportunity to acquire a powerful relic. As long as they participated in the events of the scenario “The Message,” and were rewarded by the Mayan priestess with talismans, they have the following encounter. Before they do so, however, it is important for the GM to know which type of talisman each character was given; these details become important as the scene develops.

Sister Sophia, a cleric, was one of the first Amazons to respond to the fire. Despite her efforts, she eventually succumbed to smoke inhalation and was dragged to safety. While she was incapacitated, however, she had a curious vision. In it, she lied in the midst of the smokey haze; altough unable to see, she could sense that a malevolent presence lurked beyond it. It was then that a number of animals gathered around her, and she felt a sense of hope emanating from them. She then continues to describe the very same types of animals that correspond to the Player Characters' talismans.

It is then that she calls forward two over her fellow warriors, bearing a gift for the PC's. Sister Sophia believes that her vision was caused by the sacred beam from the prow of the Argo, the relic that helped the Amazons make the voyage across the Atlantic Ocean many years prior. Although she doesn't understand the full import of her vision, she believes the PC's are destined to fight a great evil and therefore wants them to have the artifact.

Once they have finished their business on the islet, the PC's can prepare to set sail and return to Jamaica. When they do, they'll find that the adventure has only just begun for them. This can continue in the scenario “Love and War,” Part 7 of the Come Hell and High Water campaign.

Appendix 1—Dramatis Personae

Amazon Commander
Fighter 3; CR 3; Size medium; HD 3d10+3; hp 24; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 17 (+4 armor, +2 shield, +1 Dex); Atk +5 (1d8+2, longsword) or +X (damage, type); AL LN; SV: Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +1; Str 15, Dex 13, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 16.
Background: Amazon.
Skills: Craft: weaponsmith +2, Climb +8. Intimidate +12, Jump +8, Knowledge: history +2, Swim +8.
Feats: Cleave, Power Attack, Quick Draw, Skill Focus (Intimidate), Weapon Focus (longspear).
Fortunes: None.
Equipment: Chain shirt, buckler, longspear, quiver of six shortspears, longsword.

Amazon Elite Archer
Fighter 1; CR 1; Size medium; HD 1d10+1; hp 11; Init +3 (+3 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 17 (+4 chain shirt, +3 Dex); Atk +4 (1d8, longbow) or +2 (1d8+2, longsword); AL LN; SV: Fort +3, Ref +3, Will +0; Str 15, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 13.
Background: Amazon.
Skills: Craft: bowyer +2, Handle Animal +1, Hide +7, Knowledge: history +2, Move Silently +7.
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Rapid Shot, Stealthy.
Fortunes: None.
Equipment: Chain shirt, longsword, composite longbow, quiver of 20 arrows.

Amazon Elite Infantry
Fighter 1; CR 1; Size medium; HD 1d10+1; hp 11; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 18 (+4 armor, +2 Dex, +2 shield); Atk +5 (1d8+3, longspear) or +3 (1d8, shortspear); AL LN; SV: Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +0; Str 16, Dex 15, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 11, Cha 13.
Background: Amazon.
Skills: Climb +7, Craft: weaponsmith +2, Jump +7, Knowledge: history +2, Swim +7.
Feats: Cleave, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (longspear).
Fortunes: None.
Equipment: Chain shirt, small steel shield, lonspear, quiver of six shortspears, longsword.

Amazon Priestess
Cleric 3; CR 3; Size medium; HD 3d8; hp X; Init +0 (+0 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 16 (+4 armor, +2 shield); Atk +3 (1d8+2, longsword) or +2 (1d8, longbow); SQ Cleric abilities; AL LN; SV: Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +6; Str 13, Dex 11, Con 12, Int 15, Wis 16, Cha 12.
Background: Amazon.
Skills: Concentration +7, Craft: armor +4, Diplomacy +7, Heal +9, Knowledge: history +4, Knowledge: religion +8, Survival +9.
Feats: Combat Casting, Track.
Fortunes: None.
Domains: Protection and War.
Equipment: Chain shirt, small steel shield, longsword, longbow, quiver of 20 arrows, holy symbol.

Amazon Warrior—Refer to the Skull & Bones book for statistics.

Captain Bartleby
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.
Fortunes: Superstitious.
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.

Edward Chapman
Male Rogue 6; CR 6; Size Medium; HD 6d6; hp 24; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 13 (+1 Fencing jacket, +2 Dex); Atk +4 (1d6, rapier) or +6 (2d4, pistols); SQ Trap Sense +2,Sneak Attack +3d6, Trapfinding, Evasion, Uncanny Dodge; AL LN; SV: Fort +2, Ref +7, Will +2; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 16, Wis 10, Cha 17.
Background: Gentleman-Adventurer.
Skills: Bluff +11, Decipher Script +10, Diplomacy +13, Disable Device +9, Disguise +13, Forgery +13, Hide +12, Knowledge (local) +11, Knowledge (religion) +11, Listen +7, Move Silently +12, Search +11, Sense Motive +9.
Feats: Deceitful, Leadership, Negotiator, Stealthy.
Fortunes: Cause, Obligation.
Equipment: Gentleman's clothing, dueling jacket, pair of pistols, rapier, stiletto, pouch of 200 poe, various books, vials of ink, quills and paper.

Edward Chapman is, on the surface, a proper young English gentleman, albeit one who is not particularly striking. He has dark hair and dark eyes, and is of medium height and build. Normally he dresses the part of a young aristocrat, although his natural charisma makes him equally home among the lower classes when he deems it necessary.
Chapman is highly educated, having studied at Oxford and abroad, and has recently even been accepted as a member of the Invisible College in London. In fact he serves as an agent of the Majesty's government, although the exact nature of his business is a closely guarded secret.

Maroon Scouts
Warrior 1; CR 1/2; Size medium; HD 1d8+2; hp 10; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 14 (+2 Dex, +2 armor); Atk +3 (2d6, short musket) or +2 (1d6+1, cutlass); AL LN; SV: Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +1; Str 13, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10.
Background: Military.
Skills: Climb +3, Jump +3, Survival +3, Swim +3.
Feats: Armor Proficiency (light), Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Proficiencies (simple, martial).
Fortunes: None.
Equipment: Buff coat, short musket, cutlass.

These warriors are gathered from many different tribes and places, but all are dedicated to Nneka and his vision of freeing others from bondage.

Ranger 5; CR 4; Size medium; HD 5d10+10*; hp 42*; Init +3 (+3 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (+3 Dex, +2 buff coat); Atk +8 (2d6, short musket) or +7 (1d6+2, buccaneer knife); AL CN; SV: Fort +6*, Ref +7, Will +3; Str 14, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8.
Background: Native.
Skills: Heal +7, Hide +13, Listen +10, Move Silently +13, Spot +10, Survival +10, Swim +10, Use Rope +11.
Feats: Armor Proficiency (light), Endurance, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Stealthy, Track Weapon Proficiencies (simple, martial).
Fortunes: Doll’s Eyes.
Equipment: Short musket, buccaneer knife, backpack.

Nneka is one with the wilderness, a warrior who can appear from the jungle to strike and then disappear just as quickly. At times when he can pause from his duty to his people, however, he is a downright jovial soul who enjoys the simple pleasures of life. His avowed purpose is to liberate as many of his people as possible from life as slaves.

*Nneka begins play having suffered six points of Constitution damage from the whooping cough.

Raymond and Roderick Carlisle
Sea Dog 3; CR 3; Medium; HD 3d10; hp 21; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 14 (+2 Dex, +2 buff coat); Atk +3 (1d6, cutlass) or +5 (2d4, pistol); SQ Close Quarters +1, Dodge, Favored Ship; AL CN; SV: Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +3; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 11, Wis 14, Cha 14.
Background: Sea Devil.
Skills: Hide +8, Intimidate +8, Knowledge (sea lore) +6, Move Silently +8, Profession (sailor) +8.
Feats: Far Shot, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot.
Fortunes: Superstitious.
Equipment: Buff coat, two pistols, cutlass.

The brothers Carlisle are typically swarthy and swaggering, but still with a certain kind of charm, as befits pirates.

Tough Pirate
Sea Dog 2; CR 2; HD 2d10+4; hp 19; Medium-sized; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+1 Dex, +1 dueling jacket); Atk +4 (1d6+2, club) or +3 (ranged); SQ Favored Ship (English ships); AL CN; SV: Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +1; Str 15, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.
Background: Sea Devil.
Skills: Balance +6, Climb +7, Jump +7, Profession (sailor) +6, Survival +6, Use Rope +6.
Feats: Cleave, Dodge, Power Attack.
Fortunes: Superstitious.
Equipment: Dueling jacket, buccaneer knife, various improvised weapons.

Typical Pirate
Sea Dog 1; CR 1; Medium-sized; HD 1d10+2; hp 12; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+1 Dex, +1 dueling jacket); Atk +3 (1d6+2, club) or +2 (ranged); 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.
Fortunes: Superstitious.
Equipment: Dueling jacket, buccaneer knife, various improvised weapons.

Zombies--Refer to the Skull & Bones book for statistics.

Barbarian Zombi
Undead Barbarian 5; CR 7; Size Medium; HD 5d12; hp 38; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 40 ft.; AC 21 (+4 armor, +1 Dex, +6 natural); Atk +11 (1d12+6, greataxe) or +11 (1d6+6, slam); SQ Fast movement, Illiteracy, Rage 2/Day, Trap Sense +1, Improved Uncanny Dodge, DR 15/Magic, Cold Immunity, Turn Resistance +4; AL CN; SV: Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +3; Str 22, Dex 12, Con --, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8.
Background: Native.
Skills: Climb +10, Handle Animal +4, Jump +10, Listen +6, Move Silently +3, Survival +6, Swim +10.
Feats: Cleave, Great Cleave, Power Attack.
Fortunes: None.
Equipment: Hide armor, greataxe.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

New Treasure--Mission's Banner

Today's update is another relic, the flag of the unusual Captain Mission.


The Mission Banner
Many and varied are the flags that have been flown on pirate vessels. Some have been fairly simple, such as those of Calico Jack Rackham or Black Sam Bellamy; others had more complicated messages, such as those of Bartholomew Roberts and Edward “Blackbeard” Teach. None of these notorious banners, however, is quite like that of the curious Captain Mission.

Captain Mission was a French navy man who, when given the opportunity, talked his crew into going on the account—but under a much different philosophy. Instead of the usual “no prey, no pay” motivation, his guiding principles were regularity, tranquility and humanity. It was his practice to spare enemy sailors, sending them to a nearby port, and to free any slaves who came into his custody. In this way he built a loyal cadre of crew members who followed him to an island near Madagascar, where they established a colony known as Libertalia.

Mission's banner is a rectangle of white cloth, embroidered with a Latin phrase:

A Deo a Libertate (For God and Liberty)

In game terms, the banner grants the crew of the ship that flies it the benefits of a bless spell, provided that group embodies Mission's own tenets. Should the captain or crew take actions that stray from such principles, the effect is reversed and should be treated as a curse spell for as long as said instigator remains aboard that vessel.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Another New Treasure

Splinter from the Coffin of Henry Morgan
Few pirate captains if any have matched the fame and fortune of “Bloody” Henry Morgan. It was he who led successful attacks on Porto Bello, Maracaibo and Panama, eventually claiming a hoard of valuables and building the loyal group of buccaneers known as the Brethren of the Coast. He died in Jamaica and was buried in a cemetery near Port Royal.

The old buccaneer's story doesn't end there, however. It is said that the 1692 earthquake, which destroyed some two thirds of Port Royal, also disturbed Morgan's resting place. Some say that his coffin rose to the surface of the water, showing the pirate's indomitable spirit. There are even those who claim to have recovered splinters from the coffin, ones that are imbued with Morgan's own temerity.

In game terms, a character who possesses a splinter from Morgan's coffin gains the benefits of the Die Hard feat. Those who already possess that feat become even harder to kill, able to fight until reaching a negative number of hit points equal to their Constitution scores.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Legendary Treasures--The Beam from the Argo's Prow

Today's post is another treasure, one sure to be desired by all captains who learn of its existence.


Beam from the Argo's Prow
Of all the voyages ever undertaken at sea, few are more famous than that of the ship Argo and its crew of heroes. These Greek adventures set sail from their homeland, heading out in search of the fabulous golden fleece as a prize for their captain, Jason. According to the legends, their vessel's prow contained a beam of oakwood from the sacred grove at Dodona, one that protected the vessel and that even possessed the gift of prophecy. While the tales of their adventures are well known, the ultimate fate of their vessel and of this marvelous component itself is not. The only clue is one story that Jason was killed when struck in the head with a timber from his ship, implying that it was eventually removed, but then it disappears into the shadows of history.

There is another possibility, however. According to various authors, the Amazons originally lived on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea, but somehow managed to sail across the Atlantic to the Caribbean Sea and South America. Although they are well regarded for their skill at arms, however, the Amazons were never known for their sailing prowess. Because of this, some scholars have speculated that the women managed to acquire the beam from the Argo, building it into their own vessel and thereby gaining its protection for the perilous voyage across the ocean. If this is true, the beam could still be in their possession and would certainly be a treasure that they guard well.

Judged by appearance, this item seems to be unremarkable, just a stout but otherwise ordinary oak beam. When built into the prow of a vessel, however, the beam grants it a +3 deflection bonus to armor class and a +3 enhancement bonus to hardness. Additionally, characters traveling aboard the ship sometimes experience dreams of a prophetic nature, ones relating to important upcoming events. These might be straightforward in nature, but they are just as likely to take the former of cryptic hints or even riddles.