Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Living Legends

To kick off the new year, I have the next adventure in the Come Hell and High Water series. It allows for a bit of a hiatus following the events of "Fortune & Glory," and marks the beginning of a major new story arc.

Happy 2013!


Living Legends
This scenario is Part 14 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 ninth-level characters. Although it is intended as part of an ongoing collection of scenarios, it can also be run as a stand-alone adventure with a bit of modification.

For a long time now, the use of arcane magic has been on decline in the world. This is due to a number of factors. One is the growing use of technology, especially with such inventions as gunpowder; it is now much easier to create powerful weapons without relying on magic to do so. Another influence is the persecution of those who practice the eldritch arts, especially by representatives of the monotheistic traditions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam. Together these elements have made such practices so rare that many people believe tales of sorcery to be nothing more than tenacious folklore or flights of fancy.

The rather recent discovery of the New World has added some credence to those old stories. For example, reputable sources who have visited the Caribbean and the Spanish Main have brought back to Europe reports of Voodoo practitioners, Aztec and Mayan rituals in the like. This has brought about a resurgence of interest in the subject, and thus has caused people to look with renewed credulity on old traditions regarding the arcane arts.

Nowhere is this interest more evident than in London, where an organization known only as the Cabal operates. This secretive band of scholars is steeped in occult research, studying everything including reports of witchcraft, Arthurian legend, native traditions, Biblical scholarship, mythology and the like. All throughout these myriad subjects they seek a common thread, any hint of means by which to harness eldritch influence.

Not long ago one agent of the Cabal, Ephraim, learned of recent events in the Mediterranean and Caribbean Seas involving a band of pirates, a sea witch and a North African scholar familiar with ancient legends. Through his investigations he tracked down Mustafa Al-Aqil, an associate of the Algerian corsairs who had studied the legends of the region in detail. Once he learned the extent of Mustafa's expertise, Ephraim pressed him into service of the Cabal. What he did not know, however, was that his prisoner's servant, Yusuf, witnessed the kidnapping and decided to do something about it. Knowing that it was an Englishman who was behind the crime, and that Mustafa had recently had a run-in with certain scallywags from the Caribbean, Yusuf decided to gamble on a desperate ploy: he sailed for Jamaica, hoping to find said scallywags and recruit them for a rescue mission.

At the same time, the agents of the Cabal and their associates remain on the island, searching for the treasures of the witch Circe. So far they have been stymied by the puzzles that they have found. For that reason they've moved their ship away from the island, so as not to attract attention, but a team of agents remains among the ruins.

This adventure is meant to take place some time after the events of “Fortune & Glory,” detailed previously. It is not so much a direct sequel, however, and provides a good opportunity to introduce a new group of heroes into this series of scenarios.

If this adventure is being used as part of the Come Hell or High Water campaign, then some time should pass between the end of “Fortune and Glory” and the start of these events. By this point in the series, the PC's have become ship's captains and other influential individuals, and no doubt have business of their own to pursue. That might include enjoying the spoils of previous scenarios, recruiting sailors to serve as part of a growing band of ships, hunting for prizes and plunder, tying up loose ends from previous story lines or even settling old scores from characters' background tales. Whatever the case, some time has passed since their last adventure.

On the other hand, if this is being used as a stand-alone scenario or as an introduction to the next series of adventures, the GM might need to do a little finagling. In such a case, the servant Yusuf might head for Port Royal in search of a Non-Player Character, albeit one who is familiar to one or more of the PC's. Alternately, one of the PC's might have met Mustafa al-Aqil during prior business, and made an impression that leaves him willing to seek help from that PC. Of course, the PC's could just happen to be in the right place at the right time, and thus become embroiled in these events.

Whatever the case, the PC's happen to be in Port Royal when the mob gathers to exact its misconstrued justice on an innocent man.

Encounter 0—Downtime
Before this adventure even begins, it is important to know what the PC's have been doing up to this point. If this adventure is being used as a one-shot scenario, this information could be part of the Player Characters' backstories. On the other hand, if the GM is using this as part of the Come Hell and High Water campaign, those details reveal what the PC's have been doing since the events of “Fortune and Glory.” The chances are good that, in possession of a sizable treasure, they have been expanding their spheres of influence and celebrating their windfall. This could include buying and outfitting ships, setting off on personal business, whooping it up in port, and the like.

Once these decisions have been made, they set the stage for the start of this adventure. The PC's could have something of a homecoming, perhaps meeting up at the Sign of the Boar's Head or a similar location. Alternately, they might be down at the docks, having just arrived in town, when news of trouble reaches them. Whatever the case, they can share tales of their doings sooner or later, prior to or during their run-in with the mob.

Encounter 1—The Mob
There's no kind of justice like angry mob justice. At least, this is the guiding principle when a group of Port Royal sailors and similar types learns that a vessel from the Barbary Coast has arrived at the docks, and they decide to take the law into their own hands. As such, they gather a group of civically minded associates and head to the docks to deal with the menace once and for all. They gather a variety of weapons with which to do their worst. To set this scene, refer to the map of the dock and sloop. When the PC's arrive, the dock is filled with angry sailor and other malcontents who are out for blood. As such, they have a number of options for dealing with the mob.

One is to try using Diplomacy. The base DC for talking down these bloodthirsty cutthroats is 30. The GM should feel free to apply various +2 circumstance bonuses, however, depending on specific developments. Some of the possibilities include the following:
  • Good roleplaying, including an appropriate speech
  • An impressive show of force, perhaps along with an Intimidate check
  • Being festooned with weapons, and displaying skill in using them
  • Other tactics, at the GM's discretion
Of course, the flip side of these benefits could arise in the form of penalties for poor attempts to cow the cutthroats.

There's always a chance, of course, that the PC's aren't interested in helping out these strangers. Should that happen, Yusuf takes it upon himself to make contact with them. To do so he first appears on deck and calls out to them, asking for assistance. If need be, he next tries to reach them directly, hoping to be able to share his story and thus win their cooperation. He might even resort to offering wealth or other such enticements—after all, through his research, Mustafa is almost certain to know where such things can be found.

Mob Tactics
Should the PC's choose not to intervene, or fail in their efforts to do so, then in the end the mob has its violent way with the newcomers. These enraged ruffians could even turn their wrath upon the PC's, if they come to the conclusion that they're working with the “foreign spies.” There could still be a chance to learn what has transpired regarding Mustafa, however—perhaps from evidence aboard the ship or from something that a member of the mob overhears—unless the PC's are decidedly disinterested in following such a course.

Encounter 2—Making Ready
As long as the PC's do have an interest in such matters, they can set about pursuing this business.

The Servant's Story
Once he is safe, Yusuf can tell his story. The GM can make this as straightforward or elaborate as desired; it includes the following details.
  • Two months ago, his master was kidnapped by a group of Englishmen. They had previously sought to consult with him about his research, but he refused to do business with them.
  • Yusuf does recall that they mentioned one word repeatedly—moly.
  • He did manage to learn that they sailed aboard a ship known as the Duke, and that they were headed northward from Djerba when they departed.
  • The servant believes that they sought his master in order to employ his extensive knowledge of the world's legends—but to what end, he has no idea.
  • Suspecting that he would do better with the aid of other Englishmen, Yusuf decided to seek out the PC's.
Although this isn't much information with which to work, it should provide a place from which to start.

Learning More
What is more, the PC's can supplement these details using their own knowledge or investigation. Checks in relevant fields of Knowledge, as detailed below, can reveal the following tidbits, depending on their results.

Result / Details (Knowledge: local or nobility)
0-9 / Nothing
10-19 / The Duke is a vessel that belongs to a small company out of London known as the English Expedition Society. It is believed to have considerable wealth and influence from its supporters.
20-29 / That organization is known to deal in trade goods from around the world, but more specifically specializes in exploring distant lands—those beyond the edge of existing maps.
30+ / The Society is even rumored to pursue relics and lore pertaining to occult research.

Result / Details (Knowledge: arcane)
0-9 / Odysseus is the hero in the Greek epic The Odyssey, written by the poet Homer.
10-19 / In that tale, Odysseus encountered the enchantress on her island, Aeaea. The story has it that she turned his men into animals.
20-29 / He was able to defend against her magic by using an herb known as moly, shown to him by the god Hermes.
30+ / Some scholars believe that the island known as Aeaea lies off the coast of Elba, based on claims made in the later epic Argonautica by Apollonius of Rhodes.

Should they fail to acquire any of these details, either through Knowledge checks or the use of the Gather Information skill, the PC's could spend some coin and hire a specialist for help. This could entail another roleplaying challenge, as the PC's may not wish to divulge the full nature of their plans. What is more, at the GM's discretion, said person could take a particular interest in the matter, perhaps providing additional complications in the future.

Other Preparations
Once they possess the necessary information, the PC's can make ready their ship and crew. This could entail laying in provisions, acquiring additional weapons or other gear, perhaps hiring additional hands and the like. There is also the matter of making room for Yusuf, who suggest that he should sail aboard the party's vessel.
After they've completed the necessary tasks, the PC's can set sail.

Encounter 3—In Transit
As during previous adventures, such as “Treacherous Waters” and “Fortune and Glory,” the voyage across the Atlantic can be as quick and easy or as fraught with peril as is appropriate to the desires of the GM and players, as well as the needs of the campaign. Refer to the prior scenario for suggestions about handling navigation and other shipboard affairs during the crossing.

It takes about a month to make the run from the Caribbean Sea to the mouth of the Mediterranean at Gibraltar. During that time the GM could introduce any number of encounters. Particularly appropriate would be such Interludes as “The Storm,” “The Stowaway,” “The Serpent,” “The Menagerie,” “The Competition 2,” or “The Jonah.” Once they've reached the Mediterranean, the PC's might have run-ins such as “The Sirens,” “The Ship-Wrecker” or “The Hazards.”

Additionally, if the PC's participated in the events of “Treacherous Waters” and/or “The Eye of the Storm,” they could find unfinished business from those scenarios awaiting them. For example, depending on how they treated such characters as Hussein “The Hunter” Ra'is and Captain Luciano Vittorio, either of those people could be on the lookout for the characters' return.

Refer to the article “Corsairs of the Mediterranean” for a map of this region.

Stopping by Djerba
If the PC's were unable previously to acquire the necessary information, they might think to make a stop at Mustafa's home on the island of Djerba. Should that be the case, refer to the appropriate encounter in the scenario “Treacherous Waters” for details regarding that location and what they might find there.

Encounter 4—Landfall
As mentioned above, the island of Aeaea lies not far from the island of Elba, along the western coast of Italy to the northwest of Rome. It rises out of the sea almost like a spire, a tower of rock with a sandy shore around its base and scrubby forest surrounding its crown. At first glance it might seem to be uninhabited, as there are no signs of ships or settlements. There is a small bay for making a landing, however (something that the PC's could notice with a DC 15 Search or Spot check). Similarly, nested atop the hill amongst the tangle of greenery, is an ancient palace (DC 20 check). Once the PC's do make landfall, refer to the following area descriptions for more details.

A. Bay
In addition to providing a safe and secure anchorage for vessels, the PC's could find evidence of their opponents' movements here. To that end, a DC 15 Survival check to track reveals a number of details. For one thing, a number of people made landfall, and then trekked up the hillside to the castle at the top (Area D). Succeeding by five or more reveals that the same people—albeit a slightly smaller number—made the return trip. This should imply that there are still agents of the Cabal on the island, but it is up to the PC's to determine the meaning of these details.

B. Cave
This natural location has long provided a place of shelter; those PC's who are familiar with The Odyssey might recognize it as resembling (or being?) the one mentioned in that tale. What is more, a DC 20 Search check here reveals, mostly buried in the mud, a gold coin with the picture of a king on one side, along with a name in Greek letters—ΠΡΙΑΜ ΒΑΣΣΙΛΕΥΣ.

C. Moly
One of the Cabal's objectives on this island is the acquisition of moly, the magical herb that protects against arcane magic. Its agents have already run roughshod over the area, leaving little for the PC's to harvest. Even so, those who are careful could still (DC 25 Search check, given the right information, or DC 20 Survival check) find some of the plant—enough for two doses—that is still useful.

Refer to Appendix 3 to find rules for harvesting and using moly.

D. Palace
This structure, the focus of the Cabal's activities on the island, is detailed in the next encounter, below. It is important to note as the PC's approach, however, that the Cabal does have guards posted around the palace. They might be relatively sedate, if they don't expect trouble, or they could be on the alert if they've sighted a ship or heard gunfire.

Other Encounters
While they are exploring, the PC's might also run into a variety of encounters. Some of them could be useful, while others might only be distracting. The GM can introduce them with discretion, depending on the allowance of time, the desires of players and the needs of the campaign.

For one thing, the island is inhabited by the offspring of animals descended from people who were ensorcelled by Circe. Because of that, these creatures are much more intelligent than ordinary beasts. These include, in particular, wild boards and monkeys. The monkeys, given their normal level of intelligence, could be especially amusing. They might take an interest in something shiny that the PC's possess, swooping in to snatch it before making an escape. In addition to providing comic relief, they could—if the PC's figure out how to communicate with them—be able to provide information about what has been happening on the island. The wild pigs tend to be much more elusive, preferring to live and let live. Even so, should the PC's seek to do some hunting, they might find their prey to be surprisingly intelligent and communicative. Refer to Appendix 2 to find stats for these creatures.

Depending on their own actions, the PC's might provoke an encounter with agents of the Cabal before reaching the palace. For example, should one of the characters fire a pistol or musket while on the island, it would surely attract some attention. In such a case, a few of the mercenaries come to investigate the matter.

Encounter 5—The Palace
Refer to the appropriate map for the following area details. At first glance, the PC's see the following sight.

Rising out of the surrounding jungle is a building of polished white marble, one that was probably once beautiful but that now has fallen on hard times. One or two of the columns have toppled, and part of the roof has collapsed.

Remember that, as mentioned above, that there could be mercenaries on alert around the palace, depending on previous developments. For that reason, the PC's might need to use stealth as they make their approach.

1. Main Hall
Broad marble steps lead up to a pair of large stone doors; they are closed when the PC's arrive. This presents them with an obstacle, since opening them requires a DC 15 Strength but causes a cumulative -1 penalty on any efforts to Move Silently for every point less than 25. Of course, just how the PC's approach this situation in many different ways depending on what has happened previously.

2. Servants' Quarters
Although this area once provided sleeping quarters for those who served in the palace, it is now empty but for a pile of burned wood used by interlopers as a fire.

3. Dining Room
This room is empty; visitors have long since pillaged anything of value and burned or disposed of anything else.

4. Kitchen
The far end of this chamber is occupied by a broad hearth filled with now cold ashes. There's also a spit for roasting meat that could serve as an improvised tool or weapon if needed.

5. Shrine to Hecate
One end of this chamber is dominated by an elaborate shrine, one with a broad base and a small roof over the top of it. There is a life-sized (for humans) depiction of the goddess. Closer inspection reveals that she is holding her hands outward, with them slightly open as if ready to hold things in them. With that in mind, a DC 15 Knowledge (arcane or religion) check reveals that Hecate is commonly depicted with a pair of torches. Should a pair of such items be lit and put into her hands, the heat that they generate unlocks a hidden vault at the base of the shrine. A DC 25 Search check can reveal the presence of the vault, but not necessarily how to open it.

Inside that area are the palace's lost treasures; refer to Appendix 3 to find some suggestions for what it might contain.

6. Bedchamber
Outside of a small dais where Circe's bed once stood, there is nothing of interest here.

7. Bath
A short set of stairs leads down into this waist-deep pool. Now, instead of holding luxuriously warm water, however, it is partially filled with detritus and debris. Among the rotting plant material, burned wood and the like is the nest for a mated pair of huge viper snakes. They defend their nest if anyone should stumble into it, but do not actively go in search of prey.

When the PC's arrive here, they are likely to find the Cabal agent, Ephraim Grey, along with a number of mercenaries. Mustafa is also present and looking the worse for wear, as Ephraim has been encouraging him to share his knowledge in a less-than-gentle manner. Given the situation, Ephraim and his men are feeling more than a little defensive, but not necessarily hostile. Since they're having trouble finding the hidden cache beneath the shrine, Ephraim is even willing to parley if it might help him find a solution.

For that reason, should the PC's decide to conceal their true purpose, they might be able to play off their arrival as a coincidence. This could lead to a good roleplaying situation in which Mustafa tries to communicate surreptitiously with the PC's. Since Ephraim is eager to recruit new help, PC's who seek to hide their true purpose receive a +2 circumstance bonus to such efforts. Of course, even if the Cabal's agent is willing to accept assistance, it doesn't mean that he won't betray his ersatz allies when an opportunity presents itself.

Encounter 6—Landfall, Again
Said opportunity could arise when the rest of the Cabal's agents, aboard the Duke, returns to the island. Here again, just how the situation plays out is likely to require a good deal of adjudication on the part of the GM. Should it be necessary, refer to the deckplans below for the layout of the vessel.

As the Duke approaches the island, it's important to know if any of the PC's or their allies is in position to notice it. Characters who might do so should make Search or Spot checks, with the outcome determining how much time they have to react. Refer to the following table for times based on check results.

Check / Time to React
0 – 9 / 5 minutes
10 – 19 / 10 minutes
20 – 29 / 15 minutes
30 – 39 / 20 minutes
40+ / 25 minutes

During this time, the crew of the Duke maneuver it into the bay, drops anchor and lowers its shore boats—that is, unless they're given a reason to do otherwise. Assuming that the party's vessel is anchored in the bay, the crew of the Duke can make a similar Search or Spot check, albeit with the DC's increased by five to represent the benefit of cover. If they notice the newcomers before reaching the bay, they instead drop anchor outside of it, then lower longboats and send ashore soldiers before moving closer and hailing the unknown vessel. On the other hand, if they don't notice the party's ship until reaching the bay, they may be forced to parley before being able to employ other strategies.

In the event that the mercenaries do hail the party's vessel, this could provide an opportunity for troupe-style play. Should this occur, one player might be chosen to portray the ranking officer, with other players assigned to various supporting characters. Indeed, this could providing an interesting change of pace if someone accustomed to a less eloquent PC's is called upon to speak for a smooth-talking crew member. (Refer to the article “A Motley Crew” for suggestions regarding keeping track of the lower-ranking crew aboard a ship.)

While all of this is transpiring, the PC's should be going about their own business. Here again, GM adjudication is crucial. It might be possible that, if the heroes reach an accord with Ephraim and his fellows, they can diffuse any possible conflicts. On the other hand, if a fight should erupt, it could sprawl across the island and onto the waters. Whatever the case, it should lay the groundwork for future intrigues.

This scenario can end in many different ways; a few of the possibilities are detailed here.

For one thing, the heroes could actually ingratiate themselves with Ephraim and perhaps even offer their services to the Cabal. Should that happen, it would have huge implications for this as well as future adventures. This could lead to a number of roleplaying-based encounters, in which the PC's meet higher-ranking members of that organization and try to enter their good graces. Should this go smashingly well for the PC's, they might even be given a chance to see Ephraim's secret message.

Another possibility is that the PC's fight with the Cabal's agents; this could end in at least two ways. One is that the PC's defeat these new enemies and claim the spoils, both what the agents carry and the treasures from the hidden cache. At that point they'd be free to go on their merry way, although the Cabal would certainly investigate the matter and perhaps come seeking revenge against them.

On the other hand, the PC's could also be defeated. In that case, if they aren't killed, they could be taken prisoner to face interrogation and punishment at the hands of the Cabal. Should that occur, they would face a lengthy voyage while locked in irons, and then be delivered to London. At the GM's discretion, they might find chances to escape from captivity, and maybe even pursue other adventures, provided they can seize the opportunity for doing so.

The Cypher
If the PC's do manage to acquire Ephraim's possession, they find among the goods a cryptic note that consists of numerous sets of four numbers. This is an encoded message, one that uses Shakespeare's play The Tempest as its cypher. Refer to Appendix 4 for more information about this.

Further Adventures
A few of the possibilities for continuing the story are detailed below.
  • There's a good chance that the PC's have made a powerful enemy. This could manifest in a number of ways, such as clandestine thieves or assassins sent to settle score.
  • If they have made a good impression, on the other hand, they might be able to glean more information and perhaps even be hired for future business.
  • Should a PC be interested in acquiring a particularly intelligent animal from the island, it could make for all manner of shenanigans.
  • The message is, of course, a seed for another adventure.
  • Some of the items in the cache, too, could be incorporated into other plots. Circe's information about summoning and questioning spirits is one such, for obvious reasons; in a more subtle way, someone who could brew an elixir of love could also cause some trouble.

Appendix 1—Dramatis Personae

Mustafa al-Aqil
Shantyman 7; CR 7; Size medium; HD 7d8+7; hp 41; Init +0; Spd 30 ft.; AC 14 (+4 chain shirt); Atk +5 (1d6, staff) or +5 (ranged); SQ Bardic Music, Bardic Knowledge, Bonus Contacts (3), Vaporing, Fame Tale; AL N; SV: Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +6; Str 10, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 17.
Background: Gentleman-Adventurer (Diplomacy, Knowledge: local, Knowledge: sea lore).
Skills: Appraise +12, Diplomacy +15, Gather Information +13, Knowledge: local +12, Knowledge: sea lore +12, Perform: oratory +16, Sense Motive +9.
Feats: Armor Proficiency (light), Negotiator, Port Savvy, Skill Focus (Perform: oratory).
Fortunes: Superstitious.
Equipment: Masterwork chain shirt, clothing, walking stick, pouch holding 24 p.o.e.

Mustafa al-Aqil is fascinated by the legendary tales told around the world. Although a devout Muslim, he is especially interested in researching Greek and Roman myths and the possibility that there is truth behind the stories. In addition to providing a scholarly pursuit, he has turned it into a lucrative business by brewing lotus wine and selling it to unsuspecting buyers, who then make easy prey for Algerian corsairs. Despite this close connection with the corsairs, however, Mustafa is not so loyal that he won't consider other employment if his current occupation becomes too hazardous.

Mustafa's Guards
Ranger 4; CR 4; Size medium; HD 4d10+8; hp 34; Init +3 (+3 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (+3 Dex, +2 buff coat); Atk +7 (2d6 or 2d4, short musket or pistol) or +6 (1d6+2, cutlass or 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 +6, Hide +12, Listen +9, Move Silently +12, Spot +9, Survival +9, Swim +9, Use Rope +10.
Feats: Armor Proficiency (light), Endurance, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Stealthy, Track Weapon Proficiencies (simple, martial).
Fortunes: Doll’s Eyes.
Equipment: Short musket, pair of pistols, cutlass, buccaneer knife, backpack.

These fellows are highly mercenary. Although they have a good arrangement with Mustafa, they are none too zealous in their convictions and thus can be persuaded to cooperate with enemies who are much more skilled in the ways of battle.

Ephraim Grey, Agent of the Cabal
Male Wizard 9; CR 9; Size medium; HD 9d4; hp 24; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+2 Dex); Atk +4 (1d4, dagger) or +6 (ranged); SQ Spells; AL N; SV: Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +9; Str 10, Dex 14, Con 10, Int 17, Wis 10, Cha 16.
Background: Scholar.
Skills: Appraise + 5, Concentration +12, Decipher Script +15, Knowledge (arcane) +15, Knowledge (geography) +15, Knowledge (history) +15, Spellcraft +18.
Feats: Combat Casting, Leadership, Mental Acumen, Scribe Scroll, Skill Focus (Spellcraft); Spell Focus (School).
Fortunes: Enemy, Magic.
Equipment: Clothing, spellbook, writing materials, pouch of spell components, pouch holding 50 poe, ring of keys.
Spells per Day: 4/4+1/4+1/3+1/2/1. Spells Known: (0) Arcane mark, detect magic, read magic, resistance; (1) Endure elements, identify, mage armor, magic weapon, protection from chaos/evil/good/law, shield, true strike; (2) cat's grace, fox's cunning, owl's wisdom, protection from arrows; (3) arcane sight, dispel magic, haste, heroism; (4) bestow curse, lesser globe of invulnerability, locate creature, remove curse; (5) break enchantment, contact other plane.

Ephraim is a dedicated agent of the Cabal, working to fulfill its objectives around the world. He is not so zealous as to eschew possible allies, however, and as such will exploit anyone he can. To that end he can be quite charming and even witty, but this is only a front for his cunning and calculating nature. Grey dresses like a proper English gentleman, with a tophat, coat and vest. He is unfailingly polite, until he dismisses someone as an enemy.

Mercenary Soldier
Fighter 1; 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, cutlass) or +2 (2d6, musket); AL LN; SV: Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +1; Str 15, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.
Background: Military (Survival 2 ranks).
Skills: Climb +6, Jump +6, Professions (sailor) +5, Survival +5.
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Rugged, Weapon Focus (cutlass).
Fortunes: None.
Equipment: Buff coat, cutlass, musket, powder and shot.

Mercenary Sergeant
Fighter 3; CR 3; Size medium; HD 3d10+6; hp 27; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 13 (+1 Dex, +2 buff coat); Atk +6 (1d8+2, cutlass) or +4 (2d6, musket); AL LN; SV: Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +2; Str 15, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.
Background: Military (Survival 2 ranks).
Skills: Climb +8, Jump +8, Professions (sailor) +7, Survival +5.
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Rugged, Weapon Focus (cutlass).
Fortunes: None.
Equipment: Buff coat, cutlass, musket, powder and shot.

Mercenary Lieutenant
Fighter 6; CR 6; Size medium; HD 6d10+12; hp 49; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 13 (+1 Dex, +2 buff coat); Atk +9/+4 (1d8+7, cutlass) or +6 (2d6, musket); AL LN; SV: Fort +8, Ref +3, Will +3; Str 16, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.
Background: Military (Survival 2 ranks).
Skills: Climb +12, Jump +12, Professions (sailor) +11, Survival +5.
Feats: Cleave, Far Shot, Point Blank Shot, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Rugged, Weapon Focus (cutlass), Weapon Specialization (cutlass).
Fortunes: None.
Equipment: Buff coat, cutlass, musket, powder and shot.

Mercenary Captain
Fighter 10; CR 10; Size medium; HD 10d10+20; hp 75; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 14 (+2 Dex, +2 buff coat); Atk +15/+10 (1d8+9, cutlass) or +11 (2d6, musket); AL LN; SV: Fort +10, Ref +4, Will +4; Str 16, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 12, Cha 8.
Background: Military (Survival 2 ranks).
Skills: Climb +16, Jump +16, Professions (sailor) +15, Survival +5.
Feats: Cleave, Far Shot, Great Cleave, Greater Weapon Focus (cutlass), Greater Weapon Specialization (cutlass), Point Blank Shot, Power Attack, Precise Shot, Rugged, Weapon Focus (cutlass), Weapon Specialization (cutlass).
Fortunes: None.
Equipment: Buff coat, masterwork cutlass, masterwork musket, powder and shot.

These soldiers of fortune are all business. They sell their services to the highest bidder, working to support that patron in whatever pursuits he or she might have. For that reason, they do not take the actions of opponents personally, but that does not mean they aren't ruthless toward their enemies. They would rather shoot first and ask questions later, if at all. Of course, should someone offer them more money, that could always change the situation.

Pirate Toughs
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.

Appendix 2—Intelligent Animals
The animals that live on this island are descended from humans who were turned into beasts by Circe's magic. Because of this, they are notably more intelligent than others of their kind. In game terms, they use the elite array of ability scores rather than the standard selection. They are smart enough that they can communicate with people, although they do not speak English or other human languages. As far as communication is concerned, they could try to use movements and gestures, along with animal sounds and body language.

The GM can use these ability score adjustments for inspiration about how to play the animals. All of them are more intelligent than normal animals, of course, but other changes can provide additional personality traits. For example, the boar is also wiser and tougher, making for a careful but relentless foe. The lion, on the other hand, is more charismatic than others of its kind, relying on its fearsome presence to cow others. Finally, the monkey is more agile but less wise, given to mischief.

Medium Animal
Hit Dice:
3d8+15 (28 hp)
40 ft. (8 squares)
Armor Class:
17 (+6 natural, +1 Dex), touch 11, flat-footed 16
Base Attack/Grapple:
Gore +4 melee (1d8+3)
Full Attack:
Gore +4 melee (1d8+3)
5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks:
Special Qualities:
Low-light vision, scent
Fort +7, Ref +4, Will +4
Str 15, Dex 13, Con 19, Int 6, Wis 17, Cha 4
Hide +4, Listen +9, Move Silently + 3, Spot +7, Survival +8
Alertness, Toughness
Temperate forests
Solitary or herd (5–8)
Challenge Rating:
4–5 HD (Medium)
Level Adjustment:
Though not carnivores, these wild swine are bad-tempered and usually charge anyone who disturbs them. A boar is covered in coarse, grayish-black fur. Adult males are about 4 feet long and 3 feet high at the shoulder.
Ferocity (Ex): A boar is such a tenacious combatant that it continues to fight without penalty even while disabled or dying.

Large Animal
Hit Dice:
5d8+10 (32 hp)
40 ft. (8 squares)
Armor Class:
14 (–1 size, +2 Dex, +3 natural), touch 11, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple:
Claw +8 melee (1d4+6)
Full Attack:
2 claws +8 melee (1d4+6) and bite +3 melee (1d8+3)
10 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks:
Pounce, improved grab, rake 1d4+3
Special Qualities:
Low-light vision, scent
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +5
Str 23, Dex 15, Con 15, Int 6, Wis 14, Cha 10
Balance +6, Hide +3*, Intimidate +6, Listen +6, Move Silently +10, Spot +6, Survival +6
Alertness, Run
Warm plains
Solitary, pair, or pride (6–10)
Challenge Rating:
6–8 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment:
The statistics presented here describe a male African lion, which is 5 to 8 feet long and weighs 330 to 550 pounds. Females are slightly smaller but use the same statistics.
Pounce (Ex): If a lion charges a foe, it can make a full attack, including two rake attacks.
Improved Grab (Ex): To use this ability, a lion must hit with its bite attack. It can then attempt to start a grapple as a free action without provoking an attack of opportunity. If it wins the grapple check, it establishes a hold and can rake.
Rake (Ex): Attack bonus +7 melee, damage 1d4+2.
Skills: Lions have a +4 racial bonus on Balance, Hide, and Move Silently checks. *In areas of tall grass or heavy undergrowth, the Hide bonus improves to +12.

Tiny Animal
Hit Dice:
1d8 (4 hp)
30 ft. (6 squares), climb 30 ft.
Armor Class:
16 (+2 size, +4 Dex), touch 16, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple:
Bite +4 melee (1d3–3)
Full Attack:
Bite +4 melee (1d3–3)
2-1/2 ft./0 ft.
Special Attacks:
Special Qualities:
Low-light vision
Fort +2, Ref +6, Will +0
Str 5, Dex 19, Con 10, Int 6, Wis 10, Cha 7
Balance + 12, Climb +11, Hide +12, Listen +2, Move Silently +12, Spot +2, Tumble +8
Weapon Finesse
Warm forests
Troop (10–40)
Challenge Rating:
2–3 HD (Small)
Level Adjustment:
The statistics presented here can describe any arboreal monkey that is no bigger than a housecat, such as a colobus or capuchin.
Monkeys generally flee into the safety of the trees, but if cornered can fight ferociously.
Skills: Monkeys have a +8 racial bonus on Balance and Climb checks. They can always choose to take 10 on Climb checks, even if rushed or threatened. They use their Dexterity modifier instead of their Strength modifier for Climb checks.

Medium Animal
Hit Dice:
2d8+6 (15 hp)
50 ft. (10 squares)
Armor Class:
15 (+3 Dex, +2 natural), touch 13, flat-footed 12
Base Attack/Grapple:
Bite +3 melee (1d6+1)
Full Attack:
Bite +3 melee (1d6+1)
5 ft./5 ft.
Special Attacks:
Special Qualities:
Low-light vision, scent
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +3
Str 13, Dex 17, Con 17, Int 6, Wis 16, Cha 4
Hide +5, Listen +7, Move Silently +5, Spot +7, Survival +7*
Feats: TrackB, Weapon Focus (bite)
Temperate forests
Solitary, pair, or pack (7–16)
Challenge Rating:
3 HD (Medium); 4–6 HD (Large)
Level Adjustment:
Wolves are pack hunters known for their persistence and cunning.
A favorite tactic is to send a few individuals against the foe’s front while the rest of the pack circles and attacks from the flanks or rear.
Trip (Ex): A wolf that hits with a bite attack can attempt to trip the opponent (+1 check modifier) as a free action without making a touch attack or provoking an attack of opportunity. If the attempt fails, the opponent cannot react to trip the wolf.
Skills: *Wolves have a +4 racial bonus on Survival checks when tracking by scent.

Appendix 3—Magical Items

Circe's Scrolls
Contained in the cache of items beneath the shrine to Hecate is a collection of scrolls that could include one or more of the following. The GM should feel free to pick and choose from among them depending on the desires of the players and the needs of the campaign. This could be a good way to introduce specific spells to a wizard's repertoire.

One set contains recipes for elixirs and other concoctions. As such, they provide access to the Brew Potion feat, along with recipes for specific items. Most appropriate among these would be recipes for making potions of bear's endurance, bull's strength, cat's grace, eagle's splendor, fox's cunning and owl's wisdom, along with, perhaps, an elixir of love.

A more powerful item, and the one that has attracted the attention of the Cabal, deals with summoning and questioning the spirits of the dead. As described in the Odyssey, this entails finding an appropriate location and then making the requisite sacrifice and/or libation. In game terms this could function like a speak with dead spell, or perhaps even like legend lore.

Circe's Wand
This elaborate ivory wand is inscribed with an intricate series of arcane symbols—astronomical and the like—and can be recognized for what it is with a DC 15 Spellcraft check. If it is wielded by a caster in the act of completing a spell, it grants a +1 enhancement bonus to the DC to resist said spell.

This rare herb has the power to protect people who consume it from various kinds of sorcery. In game terms, harvesting and preparing a sprig of moly requires a Knowledge: nature check, with a synergy bonus for having at least five ranks in Knowledge: arcana. The result of the check determines the risk of being poisoned by the plant instead of gaining its beneficial effects, a +5 circumstance bonus to all saves made to risk magical effects for the next four hours. Once the herb has been harvested, it remains fresh for one day's time. After that it can be dried, but its effectiveness is reduced to a +2 bonus.

Result / Effects
0-9 / DC 21 Fortitude save; damage 1d6 Constitution initial and secondary
10-19 / DC 18 Fortitude save; damage 1d4 Constitution initial and secondary
20-29 / DC 15 Fortitude save; damage 1d2 Constitution initial and secondary
30+ / No risk of harm

Appendix 4—The Cypher
In order to protect their messages from snooping, members of the Cabal use a code consisting of four-number sets. These correspond to different plays written by William Shakespeare. They tend to prefer using The Tempest, since its portrayal of a wizard who uses his powers to influence others reflects some of their own goals. The numbers represent the act, scene and line on which a word can be found, and then the position in the line of the specific world. For example, the series 2-2-1-6 refers to Act II, Scene 2, Line 1, the sixth word in it—sun. In Julius Caesar, on the other hand, it would refer to the word been.

Given that they know the secret of the cypher, the Cabal operatives generally carry a folio of Shakespeare's plays among their many other books. Should the PC's discover one of the encoded messages, searching through the operative's library could provided a clue to decoding it. Additionally, agents going out into the field are sometimes told to deliver a message with a single line from the play to indicate which one should be used for decoding. In such cases, “Now all my charms are o'erthrown” would indicate that The Tempest should be used, while “I am constant as the northern star” would identify Julius Caesar as the appropriate text.

The message that Ephraim carries is this:

3-2-1-4   2-1-1-6   2-2-8-4   1-2-16-4   2-1-774-11   1-2-8-3   1-2-2-2

4-1-1762-2   1-2-493-8   1-2-8-3   4-1-1901-3   1-1-79-10   2-1-0-1   5-1-2266-8.

The translation is, “When you are done, return to the white keep to prepare for another voyage.” When it says the keep it is in reference to the Tower of London, but that is for the PC's to deduce (or to trick or coerce the enemies into revealing). Following up on this clue, however, is a matter for another adventure.

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