Monday, June 27, 2011


This scenario is Part 7 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 fifth-level characters. Although it is intended as part of an ongoing collection of scenarios, it can also be run as a stand-alone adventure.

During their last voyage, the PC's sailed to an islet off the coast of Martinique in order to secure a type of narcotic liana needed to treat Captain Nneka and his crew of Maroon pirates. This was all part of a much larger conspiracy, however, orchestrated by a wicked bokor name Mabhena. He dispatched an old pirate who also sought revenge on the PC's, to stir the islet's natives into a frenzy in hopes that they would eliminate the common enemy. Although the PC's have managed to survived this trap, they're about to learn that it was only a small part of the bokor's plan.

While they were distracted, Mabhena sought out Edward Chapman. The bokor then arranged to drug him with the dreaded zombi poison, who, upon ingesting it, fell into a death-like stupor. Local medical experts, not recognizing the true nature of his condition, declared him dead and had him interred in the family crypt beneath St. Paul's church. Later, under the cover of night, Mabhena returned to complete the process of zombifying the Englishman, leaving the crypt empty. The two then set sail, heading for the island of Turneffe. At the same time, the bokor planted evidence that Nneka and his Maroons were responsible for poisoning him. Now a fiery Puritan minister, Jonathan Gow, has rallied the people of Port Royal to seek justice for the slain and punishment for those he believes are responsible.

The bokor's ultimate aim is this. By taking control of Chapman, he has gained access to the Clavicula Salomonis, a book of powerful secrets regarding the summoning and control of demons. With this he intends to summon a Mayan demon, one that will help him discover even more dangerous lore. That is the situation when the PC's return to Jamaica, with Mabhena and his thrall sailing for the mainland across from the island of Turneffe.

What the bokor doesn't know is that Chapman is already set by an evil force from beyond this world. When he acquired the Clavicula Salomonis, he gained the enmity of the ghost of Jean de Chartres, a Templar Knight. That spirit still lingers around the Englishman, waiting for an opportunity to take control of him. When that chance does arise, the ghost intends to dominate him and thus acquire his newly found insights, with which he could begin a reign of terror unlike any the world has seen.

Introduction—The Long Arm of the Law
Just how this scenario begins for the PC's depends on how they left things before sailing for Martinique. In particular, it's important to know whom they asked to watch over Nneka and his sickened crew. Unless they took some extraordinary measures for protecting the Maroons, the chances are good that they've fallen into the clutches of Minister Gow. He, in turn, has called for a hasty trial and is now about to oversee the Nneka's execution.

Note: For a good map of Port Royal, refer to Issue 3 of Buccaneers & Bokor magazine, available through online sellers. Alternately, Wikipedia has a passable version, available at .

The PC's receive their first inklings of this situation as they are approaching Port Royal harbor. Those who are perceptive (DC 18 Spot checks) can notice two important details. One is a large crowd gathered in the midst of High Street; in their midst stands the gallows. The other detail is a guard of uniformed soldiers posted on and around Nneka's ship, which is docked. Closer examination of each of these situations (DC 21 Search checks) reveals that the Maroon captain is in chains, standing next to the gallows; nobody but the soldiers are visible aboard the Liberty.

Event 1—Judge, Jury and Executioner
Just how this situation develops depends largely on how the PC's react to what they see in the harbor. Given that there are two situations with which they probably need to deal, and they likely must deal with each at the same time, it could very well be necessary for them to split the party.

Regaining Liberty
A squad of eight local soldiers, led by Sergeant Burns, stands guard at the dock over the Maroons' ship. He has orders not to let anyone on or off of it, and brooks no nonsense in following that command. Four of his men are positioned at the top of the ramp, while four more stand with him at the bottom of it. Although they can not be seen from afar, the crew members are below decks behind hatches sealed from the outside.

The PC's have a few options in approaching this situation. Perhaps the best is to use stealth, perhaps having a rogue or someone similar slip aboard and free the prisoners. Keep in mind, however, that the Maroons are still sick, so they can't move very quickly. Trickery might also work, but it takes a good story to slip past the wary guards (+2 circumstance bonus to Sense Motive checks). Failing these ideas, using force is another possibility.

However they manage to do it, if the PC's gain control of the Liberty, they must then decide what to do with it. As long as they can slip enough people aboard to crew it, they could sail it away. Transferring prisoners onto their own ship could also work. As usual, it's never possible to anticipate every decision that a party might make, so a little GM adjudication is likely to be necessary. Keep in mind here that the local authorities can bring at least six more squads of soldiers in as reinforcements, and perhaps even an elite squad if the PC's are putting up a strong resistance.

Out of the Clutches of Death
In many ways, approaching the hanging is the same as trying to slip aboard the ship. The soldiers here know that nothing is supposed to interrupt the execution, though, so attempts to fast-talk them are at a -5 circumstance penalty. They stand in a ring around the gallows, holding back the drunk and hostile crowd. Minister Gow himself is also present, reading the last rites to the bewildered victim, and the executioner presents another challenge. It is important that the PC's act quickly here, since the execution proceeds until they disrupt it. In game terms, Nneka is hanged five minutes after the PC's first become aware of the situation.

Assuming that the PC's do disrupt these proceedings, they earn the immediate enmity of the gathered spectators. Those who are present—and who didn't use them as Nneka was being lead to his final reckoning—hurl their remaining rotten fruits and vegetables. The people in the crowd have +2 to their attack rolls, against the characters' touch AC's. Although the attacks do no damage, this can add a little bit of fun to the scene. Here again, the authorities can call in reinforcements if need be.

Once again, the PC's would do well to have a plan for extracting themselves from this situation after they intervene.

Making an Exit
Both of the situations detailed above put the PC's into a difficult positions. They are violating local law by intervening, so they would do well to leave the area. Sailing away is one option, as is making a run through the streets of Port Royal. In the latter case, those who think ahead might procure some horses. Otherwise, a DC 18 Search check allows characters to notice a party of mounted commoners, while a DC 21 check lets them locate an influential local with a carriage.

Since the authorities have not anticipated any kind of resistance to these proceedings, they are not prepared to pursue escapees. Although they can certainly give chase on foot, the PC's can easily out-distance them if they procure horses or take to the sea. Even so, escaping from the immediate danger still leaves the PC's facing an important dilemma. If they are going to find out just what has happened, they must find a safe place where they can reconnoiter in order to do so. There is also the difficulty of bringing together characters, if the PC's have split the party.

There is always the possibility that the PC's choose to talk instead of fighting. Just how this develops depends on a number of factors. Roleplaying should be an important consideration, as is any positive history that the PC's might have with the powers that be. On the other hand, any reports of the PC's helping to free slaves count as a mark against them, as does any other conflict they might have had with the authorities.

The best chance for the PC's, especially if they suspect the involvement of an enemy bokor, is if they insist to see the body. Should they think to do so, they might be able to convince the authorities to visit the Chapman family tomb; see below for details about resolving such a situation.

Event 2—Investigations
Hopefully the PC's are familiar with Jamaica, so that they can find a decent place to hide. A DC 15 Knowledge: local or geography check allows characters to think of a decent bay in which they can hide the ship. If they are on foot, a similar check, or perhaps the use of contacts or information from previous adventures, allows them to find a place in Port Royal to hide. (For example, those who are in good standing with George Hughes or Maggie McGraw at the Sign of the Boar's Head could take shelter there.)

Once they are able to reconnoiter, the PC's should have a number of questions to ask. For his part, Nneka, if he has survived, can answer a few of them.
*He was arrested by Sergeant Gerald Burns, who accused him for the murder of Edward Chapman.
*At that point, his ship was put under quarantine.
*Nneka did meet with him, while the PC's were away, to see if he could provide assistance—but the Maroon only did this after he knew he was healthy.
*Shortly after their interaction, Edward Chapman took ill and died.
*Witnesses testified that Chapman had met with a man of African descent, and thus the locals authorities came to suspect Nneka. Some were uncertain if the contact was Nneka, but the judge seemed sure enough to convict him and sentence him to die.
*He suspects that his history as an escaped slave, and one who has helped liberate other slaves, counted against him during the legal proceedings.
Although it is up to the PC's to make the connection, this should be another clue that Mabhena is working against them. The news of Edward Chapman's death might come as a shock, but skeptical characters should have their doubts. If they want to see for themselves, however, they face a significant challenge.

Back to Town
In order to learn more about the situation, the PC's probably need to go back to Port Royal. Knowing that they are now fugitives, they would do well to don disguises or otherwise conceal their identities before returning there.

If they do go back to the city, they find patrols of soldiers searching the streets for them, and wanted posters with crude depictions and the promise of a reward—five hundred pieces of eight per fugitive—posted in common areas around Port Royal. If they run into a patrol, the PC's should have their Disguise efforts tested against the soldiers' Search checks, with modifiers based on the roleplaying that occurs.

Old Haunts
As mentioned above, the best way for the PC's to find out what is going on here is to visit the tomb of the Chapman family, underneath St. Paul's church. (Those PC's who participated in the events of “An Ill Wind Blows” should be familiar with this location; otherwise, a DC 20 Knowledge: local check, or a DC 15 Gather Information check can provide this information.)

Refer to the map of the church for a layout of this area. The double stone doors now show signs of recently being opened. Characters with the Track feat can, with a DC 15 Survival check, recognize one pair of booted feet, and half a dozen pairs of bare ones, entering the tomb. The boots walk over to one tomb, which now stands empty. Given that the bodies of Chapman's mother and father are still present, it should be apparent that his body has been removed.

Close inspection of that tomb (DC 10 Search or Spot check) reveals the presence of streaks of blood, along with a fingernail, smeared across the stone of Chapman's burial chamber. This should be another hint to the fact that the PC's are pitted against a bokor. If the PC's think to ask, two sets of booted feet, along with the barefoot ones, lead from there back to the tomb entrance, and from there a few feet into the street before disappearing; only one pair of footprints of each type lead from the entrance to the burial niche. (It is up to the PC's to deduce that this is because Mabhena and a zombie entered the tomb and recovered the now controlled Chapman, then all three exited the tomb, boarded a coach and departed.)

With this in mind, the PC's should want to take a closer look at the carriage's tracks. They lead from the church down toward the harbor, and three DC 15 Survival checks allow one to follow them from the church down to one of the docks in the harbor. At that point, a DC 15 Gather Information check allows characters to discover that a ship named the Intrepid had until recently been docked there. Armed with that knowledge, the PC's can do some more investigation. Asking question around Port Royal (DC 20 Gather Information check) can reveal that Captain Wallace recently mentioned that he was preparing for a voyage to the Spanish Main, and more specific questions (DC 25 check) reveal that he had asked specifically about Turneffe Island. At the GM's discretion, the PC's can earn a circumstance bonus to these checks by spending some money while they make their investigations.

Event 3—Hunters and Hunted
It takes a DC 15 Knowledge: geography or sea lore check to recognize that Turneffe Island is a place inhabited by pirates, buccaneers and others who prefer to stay way from civilization. Some would describe it as a squatter colony, inhabited only by ne'er-do-wells. A DC 20 check reveals that the main settlement on the island is a crude village by the name of Squatter Bay.

Paying a Visit
Refer to the map of and article about Squatter Bay for the layout of the settlement. The PC's, as they approach, find it deserted. This is because of recent animal attacks, ones that can provide yet another hint to the nature of the threat that the PC's face.

Allow the PC's a little time to look around, finding none of the local inhabitants. After that they should make Spot and Listen checks, while the prowling fiendish boars use Hide and Move Silently efforts as they try to sneak up on their prey. Once they're as close as possible, they charge to the attack. During the combat, it should become apparent to the PC's that these creatures are tougher than expected. This is yet another hint to the true nature of the enemy that they face.

Talking to the Locals
Once the PC's have dispatched the boars, the locals emerge from hiding. They thank their saviors for dealing with the unholy threat, and invite them into the Ebon Terrapin to discuss business. The proprietor, Miles Jameson, serves up glasses of rum and steaming bowls of salmagundi before the discussion begins. At that point, the PC's can learn the following details; they should be revealed in a conversational manner.
*The fiendish boars began preying on the settlement about a week ago.
*They seem to be corrupted by an unholy influence.
*A local priest, Brother Rafael, disappeared some six weeks before that.
*He had taken an interest in a band of logcutters working across the sea on the mainland.
*One local recalls that he was concerned about something they'd found, something he felt was “an evil unlike any he'd encountered before.”
Nobody knows just what happened to him, but if pressed they think he might have crossed over to the mainland to seek out whatever it was that the logcutters found. This isn't much information with which to work, but it should give the PC's an idea of where to go next. The GM could add some wilderness encounters to the journey, or could let the PC's reach their destination without difficulty.

Event 4—Into the Mouth of Hell
The voyage to the mainland is short but uneventful. Once the PC's arrive there, a DC 15 Profession: sailor or Knowledge: sea lore check allows them to recognize the most like place for building a camp, a small harbor with a trail leading up from it into the jungle.

The tracks, if the PC's can find them (DC 15 check) indicate that the party from the shore landing explored the bay area, then headed further inland. They lead further inland and eventually into a cave, one that was once buried but that has recently been unearthed. From this point forward, the trail disappears into darkness. From this point onward it is important to note what kind of light sources the PC's have, along with who carries them and what marching order everyone maintains.

1. Cave Entrance
The cave entrance is occupied by a delusional and aggressively defensive priest. He fires on the first target appears, shouting a righteous battle cry as he does so—“Stand back you fiends from the bowels of hell, or feel the holy vengeance of the Lord!” It takes a DC 25 Diplomacy check for the PC's to talk him down from his last stand, or they could just incapacitate him and ask questions later. Once they've managed to pacify the priest, he can answer the characters' questions.
*He has indeed been investigating the activities of the logcutters, because he believes they've found “an ancient secret that is terribly dangerous.”
*Recently he found one of the buccaneers who'd managed to cross over to Turneffe, and began the rite of exorcism over him.
*He was able to cast the possessing demon out into a pig, but it ran away before he could kill it.
*Following these difficulties, he sent a letter to Edward Chapman of Jamaica, an old associate and ally he knew was interested in the study of demonology.
*At the same time, he decided to visit the mainland to learn more about the situation.
*He ran into more of the logcutters in the cave, but managed to defend himself. He has been unable to venture farther into the cave, however, since the possessed buccaneers have repelled him each time he tried to do so.
Rafael has no recollection of anyone else entering the caves, but this is because Mabhena used a sleep spell to incapacitate him before he was aware of any threat.

2. Chasm
The tunnel leading from the entrance ends abruptly at a small cliff, opening onto a broad and deep pit. An old rope bridge spans the gap, covering almost a hundred feet of space. In game terms, it has hardness 0 and 15 hit points. This should become important when the possessed logcutters come out to defend it. That happens once one character passes the halfway point, at which time the enemies walk out and shout a challenge. The first of these charges the PC in front, engaging in melee combat.

Should the battle turn against the lead sentry, the other one takes more drastic measures. He turns his cutlass against the bridge, hoping to cleave it twain and send everyone to their deaths. Considering that this is a fifty-foot drop, it causes 5d6 damage to all who cannot catch hold by making a DC 15 Reflex save.

If the bridge is cut, it takes DC 10 Climb checks to scale each of the walls. Any surviving logcutters use their ranged attacks to fire at climbing characters; hits force additional checks, with a DC equal to 10 + damage suffered, possibly causing dangerous falls.

3. Lake
Once again the tunnel ends on a small platform, this one opening onto a chamber filled with murky water. The walls are sheer and the water is twenty feet deep, meaning that characters entering it must make DC 10 Swim checks in order to move. This passage is also inhabited by a fiendish constrictor snake, which attacks anyone who enters the water.

4. Crypt
Here the tunnel opens up into a broad chamber, one filled with columns of stone that stretch from floor to ceiling. What is more, a number of stone doors line the otherwise natural walls, and piles of bones fill the spaces between them. Closer inspection of the corpses reveals that many of them where either old-fashioned Spanish armor, the same that the conquistadors wore, or simply the brown robes of a Franciscan friar.

What is not readily apparent is that the air in this chamber is fouled. Any character who enters should make a DC 15 Survival check to realize this. After three rounds, those in the area must make a DC 10 Fortitude save, and a similar check on each subsequent round to remain conscious. Those who fail are treated as drowning.

Among the many doors, the sixth is the key to escaping. A DC 20 Search check allows a character to identify it. While it is possible to take twenty on this check, keep in mind that such an effort takes twenty rounds to accomplish.

Along one wall is a side cavern which, with a DC 12 Spot check, the PC's notice contains a glint of silver. This proves to be the cutlass, helmet and breastplate of a Spanish soldier, now tarnished by the passing of a century and a half. While this does not present any actual danger, it should give the PC's an idea of just how much history lies buried in these caverns. Additionally, each of the items in question is engraved with religious phrases (in Latin) and functions as a +1 item.

5. Shrine
Here again the passage ends abruptly, this time in a roughly circular natural chamber. Mabhena, Chapman and half a dozen logcutters are present; the latter individuals work at smashing the various holy symbols attached to the walls. The walls themselves are engraved with bas-reliefs carvings and Mayan glyphs depicting various demons and other supernatural entities.

Mabhena's intentions here are twofold. On the one hand, he has already caused Edward Chapman to become possessed. (Given that the Englishman had already lost his soul to the bokor's use of a gros bon ange, and that Mabhena has gained the lore of the Clavicula Salomonis, Chapman fell easy prey to one of the Mayan demons.) On the other hand, he hopes to unleash the demons and let one of them “ride” him in the manner of a loa.

This scene should make for a tough battle. The fiendish logcutters charge to attack while Mabhena uses his magic to the best affect. If need be, Chapman can even interject on behalf of the PC's in order to help win their trust.

Once they have dealt with the bokor and his minions, the PC's should have a sense of accomplishment. They can make their way back out of the tunnels and back toward the coast, and then from there wherever they choose. Chapman, once restored, thanks them profusely for rescuing him. This is all a ruse, however, because the ghost of Jean de Chartres intervenes to take control of Chapman's body.

Astute players may ask about the Intrepid, which brought Chapman and Mabhena to the mainland. Captain Wallace has taken his ship to survey the coast, looking for more sources of the valuable logwood. If the PC's ask about him, they could have an encounter that can be resolved through roleplaying.

By the end of this scenario, the PC's should earn enough experience to gain 6th level. Additionally, Chapman presents each of them with a reward of one thousand doubloons for saving his life. At some point it may be necessary for the PC's to return to Port Royal, in order to clear Nneka's name. If they do so, the possessed Chapman proves enough evidence to exonerate everyone involved. This could be something that happens behind the scenes, after the conclusion of the adventure, or it might provide an opportunity for some elaborate roleplaying.

Note that the PC's should feel like they have succeeded, but that is not entirely the case. While this is an unfortunate end to the scenario, they'll have a shot at redemption in the future, one the true nature of the threat they face has been revealed.

Continuing Adventures
This scenario could provide numerous opportunities for further adventures, however; a few of the possibilities are detailed below.
*There is still the matter of curing the Maroons' disease, a task that requires a DC 15 Heal check per affected character. As usual, this could be resolved through dice rolling, or could provide a chance for some good roleplaying.
*More of the infected boars could still haunt Turneffe, requiring hunting parties to venture into the jungles to find and eliminate them.
*This could lead to further interactions with the people of Squatter Bay, too. The settlement could serve as a hiding place or resting place for the PC's when they need it.
*The dead body of a Spaniard in the tunnels might possess a scroll with important information of one kind or another, some piece of business that he left unfinished at the time of his death.
However this scenario is resolved, there will be more pressing business when the possessed Edward Chapman unleashes the full power of his new knowledge, as will be detailed in the next scenario in the campaign.

Appendix 1—Dramatis Personae

Port Royal Soldiers
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.

Elite Port Royal Soldiers
Warrior 2; CR 1; Size medium; HD 2d8+4; hp 16; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 14 (+2 Dex, +2 armor); Atk +4 (2d6, short musket) or +3 (1d6+1, cutlass); AL LN; SV: Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +1; Str 13, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10.
Background: Military.
Skills: Climb +4, Jump +4, Survival +4, Swim +4.
Feats: Armor Proficiency (light), Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Proficiencies (simple, martial).
Fortunes: None.
Equipment: Buff coat, short musket, cutlass.

Both the regular and the elite soldiers of Port Royal consist of disciplined fellows who take their jobs seriously. They follow orders to the best of their ability, but aren't stupid and don't sacrifice themselves needlessly when confronted by a superior foe.

Warrior 4; CR 3; Size medium; HD 4d8+8; hp 29; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 13 (+1 Dex, +2 armor); +7 (1d8+3, boarding axe); AL LN; SV: Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +2; Str 16, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10.
Background: Military.
Skills: Climb +10, Jump +10, Survival +8, Swim +10.
Feats: Armor Proficiency (light), Cleave, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (boarding axe), Weapon Proficiencies (simple, martial).
Fortunes: Doll's Eyes.
Equipment: Buff coat, short musket, cutlass.

At one point this fellow was just doing his duty in carrying out executions, but now he has actually come to relish the job. As such, he has a grim and joyless personality, and is prone to drinking when not on the job. In combat he is merciless, viewing all opponents as personal enemies with whom he must settle the score.

Sergeant Gerald Burns
Warrior 3; CR 2; Size medium; HD 3d8+6; hp 23; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 14 (+2 Dex, +2 armor); Atk +5 (2d6, short musket) or +4 (1d6+1, cutlass); AL LN; SV: Fort +5, Ref +3, Will +2; Str 13, Dex 15, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10.
Background: Military.
Skills: Climb +5, Jump +5, Survival +5, Swim +5.
Feats: Armor Proficiency (light), Far Shot, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Proficiencies (simple, martial).
Fortunes: None.
Equipment: Buff coat, short musket, cutlass.

Sergeant Burns is brusque and pompous, with an inflated idea of his own importance. This is plainly evident in his impeccable uniform as well as in the elaborate mustache and connected sideburns that he wears. Even so, those who win his respect, even begrudgingly, find him to be a stout friend.

Captain Josiah Henderson
Warrior 7; CR 6; Size medium; HD 7d8+14; hp 49; Init +3 (+3 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (+3 Dex, +2 armor); Atk +10/+5 (2d6, short musket) or +8/+3 (1d6+1, cutlass); AL LN; SV: Fort +7, Ref +5, Will +1; Str 13, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 8, Cha 12.
Background: Military.
Skills: Climb +11, Intimidate +11, Jump +11, Swim +11.
Feats: Armor Proficiency (light), Far Shot, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Weapon Focus (pistol), Weapon Proficiencies (simple, martial).
Fortunes: None.
Equipment: Buff coat, short musket, cutlass, pair of pistols, spyglass, whistle.

The captain is a resourceful and capable officer but, sadly, one who is all too susceptible to the biases of the time. As such, he is quick to believe that the Maroons are a deadly threat. This prejudice is only exceeded by his very low opinion of pirates. Because of this, he is quick to judgement and sees himself as a bastion of protection and civilization in Port Royal. His precise military bearing and plain good looks reflect his ideas of his role in the world.

Minister Jonathan Gow
Expert 4; CR 3; Size medium; HD 4d6+4; hp 20; Init -1 (-1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 9 (-1 Dex); Atk +3 (1d6, walking stick) or +2 (ranged); AL LG; SV: Fort +2, Ref +0, Will +6; Str 10, Dex 8, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 15, Cha 14.
Background: Religious.
Skills: Decipher Script +8, Diplomacy +12, Gather Information +9, Heal +12, Knowledge: local +5, Knowledge: religion +11, Listen +9, Sense Motive +9, Spot +9.
Feats: Skill Foci (Diplomacy, Heal, Knowledge: religion), Weapon Proficiency (simple).
Fortunes: Code of Honor.
Equipment: Vestments, scripture, religious paraphernalia.

Jonathan Gow is a devout and zealous Puritan minister. He sees Port Royal as “the wickedest city in the world” and is determined to help its people find the path of righteousness. Barring that, he intends to see that they receive the punishments he believes they deserve.

Fiendish Boars
Magical Beast; CR 2; Size medium; HD 3d8+12; hp 25; Init +0 (+0 Dex); Spd 40 ft.; AC 16 (+6 natural); Atk +4 (1d8+3, gore); SQ Ferocity, Low-Light Vision, Scent, Darkvision 60 ft, Cold and Fire Resistance 5, SR 8, Smite Good; AL NE; SV: Fort +6, Ref +3, Will +2; Str 15, Dex 10, Con 17, Int 3, Wis 13, Cha 4.
Skills: Listen +7, Spot +5.
Feats: Alertness, Toughness.

These vile creatures lurk in the shadows of the jungle, watching for prey, and then rush out to attack when an opportunity presents itself.

Fiendish Logcutters
Buccaneer 1 (Outsider); CR 1; Size medium; HD 1d10+2; hp 12; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 13 (+1 Dex, +2 buff coat); Atk +4 (1d8+2, boarding axe) or +2 (1d6+2, throwing axe); SQ Survivor +1, Smite Good, Darkvision 60ft, Cold and Fire Resistance 5, SR 6; AL NE; SV: Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +1; Str 15, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.
Background: Sea Devil.
Skills: Climb +6, Heal +5, Jump +6, Profession: sailor +5, Survival +5, Swim +6, Use Rope +5.
Feats: Cleave, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (boarding axe).
Fortunes: Superstitious.
Equipment: Buff coat, boarding axe, two throwing axes, miscellaneous personal items.

Normally these are fun-long individuals, capable of hard work when it is necessary, but preferring the simple life of the wilderness. Now they have fallen under the influence of Mayan demons, however, and have become violent and aggressive.

Half-Fiend Edward Chapman
Male Rogue 6 (Outsider); CR 7; Size Medium; HD 6d6+6; hp 30; Init +4 (+4 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 16 (+1 Fencing jacket, +4 Dex, +1 natural); Atk +6 (1d6+2, rapier) or +8 (2d4, pistols); SQ Trap Sense +2, Sneak Attack +3d6, Trapfinding, Evasion, Uncanny Dodge, Smite Good, Darkvision, Poison Immunity, Resistance to Cold, Acid, Electricity and Fire 10, DR 5/Magic, SR 16; AL LE; SV: Fort +3, Ref +9, Will +2; Str 14, Dex 18, Con 12, Int 20, Wis 10, Cha 19.
Background: Gentleman-Adventurer.
Skills: Bluff +12, Decipher Script +12, Diplomacy +14, Disable Device +11, Disguise +14, Forgery +15, Hide +14, Knowledge (local) +13, Knowledge (religion) +13, Listen +7, Move Silently +14, Search +13, Sense Motive +9.
Feats: Deceitful, Leadership, Negotiator, Stealthy.
Spell-Like Abilities (As level 6 sorcerer): Darkness 3/day, Desecrate 1/day, Unholy Blight 1/day.
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.
Note: This character uses the half-fiend template, but none of the overt changes—bat wings, claws or fangs and the like—are manifested. Rather, he represents a non-corporeal demon in control of a human host.

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.
All of this has changed, however, now that he is possessed by a Mayan demon. Now he intends to use his knowledge and powers for evil, and all hell is going to break loose.

Bokor 7; CR 7; Size medium; HD 7d6+14; hp 41; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+2 Dex); Atk +3 (unarmed) or +5 (2d4, pistols); SQ Djab's Call; AL NE; SV: Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +6; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 12.
Background: Scum.
Skills: Bluff +11, Concentration +12, Craft (alchemy) +11, Hide +4, Knowledge (alchemy) +11, Sense Motive +11, Sleight of Hand +4, Voodoo Ritual +11.
Feats: Create Zombi, Point Blank Shot.
Fortunes: Doll's Eyes.
Wanga (3/2/2/1/1): Daze, Detect Poison, Resistance; Mage Armor, Sleep; Cat's Grace, Summon Swarm; Greater Magic Weapon; Haste.
Equipment: Clothing, brace of pistols, gros bon ange of Edward Chapman.

Mabhena is the rare kind of person who has embraced evil for the sheer love of committing misdeeds. It is for this reason that he accepted the wicked patronage of Baron Samedhi, serving that loa and in turn gaining greater power to pursue his own evil plans. He can act in a friendly manner when it suits his purposes, but there is not a spark of love for his fellow humans left inside him; the only think that matters to the bokor is gaining even greater power.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Squatter Bay

Today's post is an article about a crude settlement on the edge of civilization, the kind of pirate camp that might have sprung up on many a far-flung island. There is also a new relic, the Cross of San Andreas, at the end of the article.


Squatter Bay
Many and varied are the settlements of the Caribbean. Some are bulwarks of civilization, places like Port Royal and Havana that were built many years ago and can boast stone structures and generations of habitation. Just as vital, however, are those locations that seem to spring up overnight and only last a few months or even weeks. Among the latter category, Squatter Bay is a classic example.

According to the tales that Miles Jameson himself tells, the settlement was founded following the maiden voyage of his own ship, the Fortunate. It was a journey fraught with peril, including a run-in with a Spanish galleon and a hurricane. Jameson and his shipmates (he was the owner of the vessel, not the captain) barely escaped from the prior threat only through the occurrence of the latter and managed to steer their vessel into a safe harbor on the island of Turneffe. This first experience at sea voyaging had made a distinctly bad impression on Jameson, and it was while the crew was careening the vessel that he had a new inspiration.

He ordered the men to completely upend the damaged ship, after cutting down what remained of the masts; in this way it looked like nothing more than a beached turtle. They then set about making repairs to the hull, after which they gave it several coats of pitch to keep it waterproof. At the same time the carpenter set to work remodeling the interior, so that it could function as a makeshift tavern and inn. The finishing touch was a pitch-blackened tortoise shell hung outside the place, painted in white with the establishment's new name—the Ebon Terrapin.

This place proved to become the nucleus of the new settlement. As word of the haven spread and more ships began visiting, Jameson and others began to expand their operation. He added a broad sailcloth awning on one side of it, creating a sheltered marketplace that came to be known as the Souk. Others moved in, some in passing and others permanently. Over time a makeshift village emerged and began to take its current shape.

Detailed below are some of the permanent structures of Squatter Bay.

The Ebon Terrapin
As mentioned above, the core of the settlement is built from an overturned ship. Although crude in comparison to other drinking holes around the world, it is nonetheless a beloved place in the hearts of the locals.

Common Room
Formed by what was once the main deck of the ship, this room has a floor of hard-packed dirt. The aft end of the room is walled, while the bow disappears into a hillock of sand and grass. A collection of mismatched table and cheers fills the space, providing seating for guests. From here a set of stairs leads up to Jameson's room, while ladders provide access to the sleeping area for everyone else.

This area was once cabins for the ship's captain and mates, but the dividing walls have been cut away to provide a single larger room. Preparation tables stand against the opposite walls, while a hearth stands against the rear of the old ship. Baskets hang from the ceiling, and sacks and barrels fill the wooden floor.

Sleeping Area
There is little more than open space here, with room to string up some hammocks if visitors are so motivated. Usually, by the time they have finished carousing, people are not, but Jameson encourages the practice because it allows him to fit more bodies in the room.

Jameson's Room
By far the most comfortable location in the whole establishment is this room, the proprietor's own private quarters. It has a large bed with a feather mattress, and a broad desk at which he keeps his records and relaxes. Underneath the desk there is a loose plank (DC 20 Search or Spot check to find). Buried in the sand beneath it is a strongbox (DC 20 to open; hardness 10 and 15 hit points) that contains 200 doubloons and 500 pieces of eight.

The Souk
Taking its name from the covered marketplaces of the Middle East, this is little more than an open space covered by a broad sailcloth awning. This is where locals come in to sell fruits and vegetables along with handcrafted items such as clothing, baskets, pottery, skins and the like. Sometimes this area is bustling with activity, and sometimes it is deserted.

Doctor MacGillifray makes his home here, along with his wife, Rosa. This is a mud-and-thatch structure with a roof of the same. It boasts a pair of broad tables on which the doctor works, along with a crude but effective hearth. From the rafters hang a variety of baskets and other such containers, containing herbs, foodstuffs and other items. When it comes time to settle in for the night, the doctor and his wife hang a large hammock in the middle of the room.

Shrine of San Andreas
This is the only brick building in the settlement; Brother Rafael made them himself in preparation for building the shrine. Inside is an altar of the same material, along with a large saltire cross on the wall behind it. The altar is covered with small offerings from the locals, including coins, a small pearl (50 poe), a flagon of rum and the like.

Stout, hewn logs form the walls and roof of this large building. This is where Jameson conducts the other half of his business, buying and selling goods brought in by various ships. It has a door of iron-banded wood sealed with a stout padlock (DC 20 to open; hardness 10 and 30 hit points). At any given time the structure might hold any number of items from the Goods and Services table (6-10) in the Skull & Bones core rulebook.

Drying Platforms
Each of these structures is a broad, open platform protected from the elements by a flat roof. Here is where the local fishermen dry whatever part of their catch is not meant for pickling or immediate use. Because of the lingering smell, the platforms are kept further away from the rest of the settlement, but occasionally squatters take up residence beneath them.

Shacks and Tents
Beyond the Souk, on the side opposite from the Ebon Terrapin, is an area known as the Sprawl. It consists of a motley collection of sailcloth tents, lean-tos and similar dwellings. Oftentimes, visitors simply turn over their shore boats and elevate one end, using it for a shelter during their stay.

Detailed below are a few of the notable characters who inhabit Squatter Bay.

Miles Jameson
Buccaneer 4/Sea Officer 2; CR 6; Size medium; HD 6d10-6; hp 32; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 11 (+1 Dex); Atk +5 (1d6, club) or +5 (ranged); SQ Survivor +2, Expert Pilot, Resilient, Skill Expert (Diplomacy) +1, Command (morale bonus); AL NG; SV: Fort +3, Ref +2, Will +2; Str 10, Dex 13, Con 8, Int 15, Wis 12, Cha 15.
Background: Sea Devil.
Skills: Appraise +13, Diplomacy +10, Knowledge (local) +8, Knowledge (sea lore) +8, Listen +10, Profession (sailor) +5, Search +8, Spot +9, Sense Motive +9, Survival +3.
Feats: Alertness, Diligent, Negotiator, Skill Focus (Appraise).
Fortunes: Strange Luck.
Equipment: Clothing, ring of keys, pouch containing 20 doubloons and 30 pieces of eight.

Miles Jameson was born and raised to be a sailor, growing up on the island of Port Royal amidst the buccaneers there. There were two problems, however. One was that he has always been of a rather delicate nature; the other is that his luck takes odd turns from time to time. It was this latter fact that led to his first voyage ending in disaster. Upon reaching Turneffe, Jameson forswore life at sea and founded his settlement. Now he makes a comfortable living, acting as a host at the Ebon Terrapin and dealing in the merchandise that others bring to the island.

Brother Raphael
Cleric 5; CR 5; Size medium; HD 5d8+5; hp 31; Init -1 (-1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 9 (-1 Dex); Atk +4 (1d6+1, staff) or +2 (ranged); SQ Turn Undead; AL NG; SV: Fort +5, Ref +0, Will +6; Str 13, Dex 8, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 15, Cha 15.
Background: Religious.
Skills: Concentration +5, Diplomacy +10, Heal +10, Knowledge (religion) +9.
Feats: Great Fortitude, Improved Turning, Iron Will.
Fortunes: Code of Honor.
Spells (5/4+1/3+1/1+1): Cure Minor Wounds, Guidance, Purify Food and Drink, Resistance, Virtue; Bless, Divine Favor, Magic Weapon, Protection from Evil, Shield of Faith; Aid, Align Weapon, Consecrate, Delay Poison; Dispel Magic, Magic Circle Against Evil.
Domains: Good, Protection.
Equipment: Clothing, staff, Cross of San Andreas.

Brother Rafael is a former Catholic priest who has grown dissatisfied with the dogmatic, intolerant nature of organized churches, having witnessed firsthand some of the clashes between his own church and the Protestants. Because of this he went out in search of a place where he could be free from such repression, and found it on the island of Turneffe. Now he maintains a simple shrine there, and uses his abilities to help the people who eke out a living there.

“Cavalier” Richard Cavanaugh
Fighter 6/Duelist 1; CR 7; Size medium; HD 7d10+14; hp 57; Init +3 (+3 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 14 (+3 Dex, +1 dueling jacket); Atk +12/+7 (1d6+3, rapier) or +10 (ranged); SQ Canny Defense; AL TN; SV: Fort +7, Ref +7, Will +1; Str 13, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 8, Cha 12.
Background: Gentleman-Adventurer.
Skills: Diplomacy +3, Knowledge (nobility) +3, Perform +5, Tumble +7.
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Dodge, Improved Initiative, Mobility, Weapon Finesse (rapier), Weapon Focus (rapier), Weapon Specialization (rapier).
Fortunes: Code of Honor.
Equipment: Gentleman's outfit, dueling jacket, masterwork rapier, pouch with 20 pieces of eight.

Richard Cavanaugh, known to the people of Squatter Bay as “Cavalier,” is a highly trained swordsman whose skills do not allow him to defeat his most dangerous foe—love. He is madly stricken by Manuela de los Santos, and cannot accept the fact that she does not share his amorous intentions. As a result, he has turned to drink, and he demands that any suitor intending to win her hand face him in single combat first. Usually such individuals are crafty enough to circumvent his vigilance, but occasionally one is foolish to accept the Cavalier's challenge.

Manuela de los Santos
Shantyman 7; CR 7; Size medium; HD 7d8+7; hp 42; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+2 Dex); Atk +5 (unarmed) or +7 (ranged); SQ Bardic Music, Bardic Knowledge, Bonus Contacts, Vaporing, Fame Tale; AL CN; SV: Fort +3, Ref +7, Will +4; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 13, Wis 8, Cha 16.
Background: Gentlewoman-Adventurer.
Skills: Bluff +16, Diplomacy +13, Gather Information +16, Perform +16, Knowledge (sea lore) +5, Knowledge (local) +13, Sleight of Hand +12.
Feats: Skill Focus (Bluff, Gather Information, Perform).
Fortunes: Ally and Enemy (Richard Cavanaugh).
Equipment: Clothing, Spanish guitar, various books.

Manuela de los Santos, known as “the siren of Squatter Bay,” is a raven-haired beauty of Spanish descent. Rather than accepting the life of a traditional noblewoman, she took up the guitar and began to travel the Caribbean, learning the music and legends of many places. Her adventures eventually brought her to Squatter Bay, where she makes a living providing entertainment to (and taking it from, when she can) the people there.

Warrior 1; CR 1/2; Medium-sized; HD 1d8+2; hp 10; Init +5 (+1 Dex, +4 Improved Initiative); Spd 30 ft.; AC 13 (+1 Dex, +2 buff coat); Atk +4 (1d6+2, cudgel) or +2 (ranged); AL LN; SV: Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +0; Str 15, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 12.
Background: Colonist.
Skills: Climb +4, Intimidate +5, Jump +4, Knowledge: local +1, Profession: bouncer +2.
Feats: Improved Initiative, Weapon Focus (club).
Fortunes: None.
Equipment: Cudgel, buff coat.

Doctor Padraig MacGillifray
Buccaneer 3/Warrant Officer 1; CR 4; Size medium; HD 3d10-3; hp 18; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 11 (+1 Dex); Atk +3 (unarmed) or +4 (ranged); SQ Bonus Feat, Survivor +1, Expert Pilot, Resilient; AL LG; SV: Fort +2, Ref +2, Will +4; Str 10, Dex 13, Con 8, Int 14, Wis 16, Cha 12.
Background: Colonist.
Skills: Concentration +6, Craft (Alchemy) +9, Heal +15, Knowledge (arcana) +9, Knowledge (local) +4, Knowledge (religion) +9, Listen +11, Profession (surgeon) +10, Search +4, Spot +11, Survival +13.
Feats: Alertness, Self-Sufficient, Skill Focus (Heal).
Fortunes: Englightened.
Equipment: Clothing, surgeon's tools.

Padraig MacGillifray could have lived a comfortable life in Port Royal, working as a surgeon. Some say that it was a sense of adventure that made him give up such opportunities; others maintain that he made a mistake that cost a patient's life. Whatever the reason, he went to sea with Miles Jameson on the ill-fated voyage of the Fortunate. When that captain gave up his command, the doctor chose once again to follow his lead. This decision was influenced, no doubt, by the fact that he met and fell in love with a local woman named Rosa. Now he lives by doctoring the inhabitants of Squatter Bay, with his wife at his side.

Ranger 4; CR 4; Size medium; HD 4d10; hp 26; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 13 (+1 Dex, +2 leather armor); Atk +4 (1d4, knife) or +5 (1d6, shortbow); 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.
Background: Native.
Skills: Handle Animal +10, Heal +12, Hide +10, Knowledge (religion) +5, Listen +10, Move Silently +8, Spot +10, Survival +14.
Feats: Herbalist, Self-Sufficient, Track.
Fortunes: Superstitious.
Equipment: Clothing, Pharmacopoeia, two knives, leather armor, shortbow, quiver of 20 arrows.

Rosa is a Mayan woman who went to live on the island of Turneffe in order to escape the conquering Spaniards. It was while living there that she encountered the shipwrecked sailors of the Fortunate, including the ship's doctor. In him she found a gentle soul, one eager to learn her ways and respectful of them. Now she and Paddy (as she calls him) make a happy home. She assists her husband, harvesting local herbs with which he makes his medicines. Additionally, she serves as a connection to native people on the mainland, helping them trade their goods with the settlement.

Using Squatter Bay in a Campaign
This rough settlement could serve a number of purposes in various piratical adventures; a few of the possibilities are detailed below.
*Should the PC's need a safe place to recuperate and relax after a bit of illicit business, this could be an ideal place for it.
*At the same time, Miles Jameson could act as a fence to buy ill-gotten gains, or to sell the PC's needed materials.
*One of the other locals could also be a contact for a character, providing some other necessary service.
*As the PC's develop enemies through their adventures, such villains could use a character's association with the settlement to set a trap.
*Given the settlement's far-flung location, it could serve as a stepping stone to business in South America and beyond.

New Magical Item—The Cross of San Andreas
This item is a hollow silver cross hanging on a chain of the same material. It contains a fragment of bone from the apostle Saint Andrew, the patron of, among other things, fishermen. It is obviously of great age, but is unremarkable except that a smaller, saltire (x-shaped) cross is superimposed over the main one.

As a holy relic, clerics who possess this cross are able to cast divine spells.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Three New Feats

Here's another short update, three new feats for any d20 game. One is clearly inspired by the recent Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides film, while the other two are adapted from other non-fantasy d20 material.


Leaping Attack
Your combat prowess and powerful swimming ability allow you to attack by leaping up out of the water, then diving back into it.
Prerequisites: Swim speed, base attack bonus +4, Dodge and Mobility feats
Benefit: As a full-round action, you may take a single move that carries you out of the water and past a target, make a single attack, then move again back into the water.
Normal: You may only make a single move action in addition to an attack action in one round.
Note: For the most part this feat functions just as the Spring Attack feat, except that it is for use by aquatic creatures.

Run and Gun
You are skilled at making ranged attacks while moving.
Prerequisites: Shot on the Run feat
Benefit: You may take a double move in the same round in which you fire a weapon.
Normal: You may only take a single move action in a round in which you make a ranged attack.
Note: This feat functions in much the same way as a charge attack, except that there is not bonus to hit or penalty to armor class granted by using it.

Skill Mastery
You are so practiced at a given task that you are calm and cool when completing it, even under adverse conditions.
Prerequisites: Minimum 4 ranks in the chosen skill.
Benefit: Choose one skill. You can taken ten when performing this task, even if circumstances would not normally permit you to do so.
Normal: You may not take ten with certain skills, especially in certain situations that don't allow you to take your time and concentrate.
Note: You may select this feat multiple times. Each time you do, it applies to a different skill.