The Ends of the Earth
This scenario is Part 15 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. Note also that this scenario, much more than the ones that have come before it, is of a “sandbox” style, allowing for many different developments depending on the course of action chosen by the PC's.
There's an organization that operates out of England, a group of occultists known only as The Cabal. Their ultimate goal is the acquisition of arcane power, by any means necessary. To that end, they study ceaselessly the history and folklore of the world, looking for secrets to discover. Most recently they have decided to explore a curious anecdote from the report of Francis Fletcher, chaplain to no less than Sir Francis Drake, from when they and their crew sailed around the world.
During that voyage, Fletcher and some of the sailors mentioned seeing towering natives, albeit from a distance. One claimed to have seen graves for figures who stood some twelve feet in height, and one even mentioned an attack by said giants. These tales were dismissed at the time as fanciful, in the same way that other mariners have seen mermaids or other such oddities, but members of the Cabal have come to wonder if there's some truth to them.
Given the ancient tales about a race of giants—the nephilim—being descended from the angels, some believe that the giants could possess relics or lore from before the rise of Christianity. For that reason, one member of the Cabal, Muriel Grey, has decided to outfit an expedition bound for Patagonia to seek out the giants and acquire their goods and knowledge—by force, if need be. She has been overseeing preparations for the vessel Duchess, along with members of the Crimson Company mercenary group, and is now ready to embark on the voyage. The only thing for which she is waiting is the return of her brother, Ephraim.
Muriel and her allies are not the only people interested in this business, however. A member of the Knights of Christ--a holy order out of Portugal--has learned of the Cabal's activities. What is more, one of their number has chartered a ship to go in search of the giants and hopefully make friendly contact before the others arrive. Unfortunately, they have run afoul of a band of cannibals along the coast of Brazil, and now only a few survivors remain.
Recently said brother, while visiting the island of Aeaea in pursuit of lost lore from the witch Circe, encountered a band of pirates—the PC's. Given the unpredictable nature of heroes, this encounter could have ended in any number of ways. A few of the possibilities are detailed below.
- The PC's might have been able to defeat Ephraim and his mercenaries, and perhaps even to gain control of his ship, the Duke, along with a cryptic message from Muriel. Should that be the case, they could sail right in to the rendezvous, perhaps while pretending to be the people they've defeated.
- On the other hand, the PC's might have been defeated by their enemies, and are now being brought as prisoners aboard the Duke. In that case, they might need to find an opportunity to escape their bonds before taking further action.
- Another possibility is that the PC's reached some kind of middle ground with Ephraim and the mercenaries, perhaps offering their services after demonstrating their abilities. Should this have happened, they could enter this new business as partners.
- If the GM is using this as a one-shot scenario, the PC's could become involved through other means. Perhaps they are members of the Crimson Company, recruited by Muriel Grey. They could also be sailors, part of the Duchess's crew. For a twist on this, they could be agents of the Inquisition or even other Knights of Christ, sent to infiltrate the expedition.
- Finally, the PC's could also acquire a copy of the secret message and, after interpreting it, decide to seek out more information about it.
Needless to say, these possibilities allow for many different ways in which the PC's can make their appearance at the White Keep.
The Secret Message
As mentioned above, Muriel sent an encoded message to her brother to summon him. To find more information about it, refer to Appendix 4 in the previous scenario, “Living Legends.”
Encounter 1—The White Keep
The encoded message refers to a “White Keep.” A DC 15 Knowledge (geography or history) check can reveal this as a reference to the Tower of London, the main part of which—a keep—is known as the White Tower. This was built starting in 1066, and since then has served as a royal residence, an armory, a treasury, a prison, and even a menagerie. For this business it is simply a landmark, but it could prove much more important in the future.
Visiting the Old Country
If this is the first time that the PC's have paid a visit to London, it should be memorable. They can make the voyage, either across the Atlantic or around Europe, and then into the English Channel and up the Thames River, along the shore of which many vessels lie at anchor. As they do so, the GM should keep in mind a number of different factors.
- Should the voyage take the PCs through any waters controlled by their enemies, they might have a run-in with an old foe. This could especially be the case if the PC's have defied any Spanish authorities. For that reason, it's important to know in which vessel they're sailing, what colors they are flying, and the like.
- If the PC's are free to act, the voyage to London could also include any of the Interludes mentioned as part of Encounter 2, below.
- On the other hand, if the PC's are being brought in as prisoners aboard the Duke, they can watch as that ship drops anchor next to the Duchess and Ephraim (or someone else who has survived) is rowed over to it in a longboat.
Once they've arrived on the scene, the PC's can make DC 10 Search or Spot checks to notice the ship Duchess, lying at anchor; from there, it is up to them to decide how to approach the situation (unless they're being held prisoner, as mentioned above).
The next task the PC's face is devising a means of joining the expedition. As mentioned above, this could happen naturally as a result of events from the scenario “Living Legends,” if they participated in it. Alternately, they could seek to be hired on as crew members. Doing so requires a DC 10 Gather Information check, followed by a similar Diplomacy effort to make a good impression. Of course, PC's who possess useful abilities can increase their chances of being hired. Captain Dolan handles this business, which takes place in a dockside tavern, but it could also provide a good chance to introduce Muriel or other NPC's for a little added drama. It also provides an opportunity for good roleplaying, as the Captain questions the PC's about their experience and abilities.
As long as the PC's are successful, one way or another, they can go onboard the Duchess. Once that happens, refer to the next encounter.
Exploring London Town and the White Keep
Given that it's one of the largest cities in the world, it would be perfectly understandable if the PC's wanted to see the sights and sample the offerings of London. Such doings are beyond the scope of this adventure, but the GM is free to indulge the players if that is their wish. Similarly, the Tower serves as nothing more than a landmark for these events, but may become important depending on future developments.
Encounter 2—At Sea
Once the Duchess sets sail, this scenario becomes quite open-ended. As usual, the GM should add or develop interactions as suits the desires of the players and the needs of the campaign. There should be some chance for the PC's to explore and to meet other crew members and passengers, however, so as to better establish various elements and conflicts for later in the adventure.
Refer to the deck plans for a refitted slave ship to find a layout of the Duchess; it is outfitted as detailed below.
1. Main Deck
All of the usual business takes place here.
2. Passenger Cabins
Depending on how the PC's come aboard the Duchess, they might be assigned to these quarters. Given the makeup of the party, some characters might need to double up in cabins. Furthermore, the Inquisitor, Oliver Lemaire, has been assigned to one cabin, and could be required to share with a PC. .
3. Captain's Cabin
As expected, Captain Russel Dolan has his quarters here. If the PC's are interested in learning more about the nature of the voyage, they could do well to check out his logbook and charts, which he keeps in a locked sea chest when not in use.
4. Muriel's Cabin
This location is an even better source of information, but gaining access to it should prove quite the challenge. For one thing, Muriel is very protective of her private space and doesn't allow just anyone to access it. What is more, her personal possessions are kept locked in a solid trunk that is also protected with an arcane lock spell.
5. Crew Quarters
The sailors who man the Duchess sleep, eat and otherwise spend their non-working hours here. If the PC's should come aboard in this guise, they would also be assigned to hammocks amid this mass of humanity.
Outside of coils of rope, there is nothing of interest here.
This is a common place for passengers to spend their time while the ship is under way, keeping them out of the way of the crew.
A helmsman and assistant are stationed here at all times, and Captain Dolan can also usually be found here. In fair weather tables and chairs can be brought out for meals, and occasionally for entertainments such as music or games.
9. Upper Hold and Gun Deck
The gun deck here is kept clear of baggage, in preparation for necessary action. Crates, barrels and sacks of foodstuffs are kept in the aft section, providing easy access for the ship's cook and his assistants.
10. Storage and Mess
Not surprisingly, meals are prepared here; some of the crew also dine in this area, and food and drink are also brought to sailors who are on duty.
11. Lower Hold and Gun Deck
Here again, the area amdiships is kept clear in case of action. In the aft compartment is stored the other equipment for the expedition, including crates of firearms, casks of gunpowder, racks of sharpened cutlasses and the like.
This area has been outfitted with tables and beds for performing surgery and for resting patients. It is, of course, unoccupied at the start of the scenario, but could come to be filled as the voyage progresses. The doctor, Owen Acheson, also has his quarters here.
This is another good opportunity to include some of the previous interludes. During the crossing of the Atlantic, particularly appropriate are “The Storm,” “The Stowaway,” “The Serpent,” “The Menagerie,” “The Competition 2,” or “The Jonah” or “The Hazards.” For those who want even more action, “The Timingila” could be a good option.
Muriel and the Cabal
The PC's could attract Muriel's attention in a number of different ways. Perhaps they respond well to a crisis, thereby saving the lives of other passengers or crew members, or they could demonstrate exceptional skills during a competition. Whatever the case, she is bound to recognize that they are more than just typical sailors. Just how she reacts to this is open to interpretation by the GM. It should be noted, however, that she is dedicated to her task, and it would take some serious romantic developments for her to take an interest in an available male.
The Crimson Company
These mercenaries, who function like a company of marines aboard the ship, can serve as rivals to the PC's. After all, they are proud of their martial skills and tend to scoff at others who claim to possess prowess. They could be interested in non-lethal sparring with one or more of the PC's; this might even lead to friendly wagers amongst members and others. The mercenaries have enough discipline not to let things go too far, though.
Stopping in Port
The final preparation before heading for the Strait of Magellan is to stop and resupply in Port Royal. As the ship enters the Caribbean, it could happen that the Duchess encounters another vessel carrying someone from the party's past, perhaps an old enemy or even ally. This could make for another roleplaying opportunity, as the PC's have to scramble to hide their true identities from a foe or communicate surreptitiously with a friend. The chances of such an encounter are even greater when the ship docks, allowing for any number of familiar faces to make an appearance.
Encounter 3—En Route
In addition to all of the possible encounters detailed above, as the ship makes it way from the Caribbean, along the coast of the Spanish Main and South America, and toward the Strait, the ship and its crew come across the scene of a vicious attack; the details of this are provided below.
Crossing the Line
There is an old naval tradition of making a formal observance when a ship crosses the equator. Since this voyage does so, discussion arises about a day before the crossing. Those people aboard the Duchess who have not done so before are singled out for this special initiation. At the appropriate time, Captain Dolan takes on the part of Poseidon, donning mop-head wig and beard, while Muriel is transformed into Amphitrite, his wife. They hold court, calling before themselves all of the aforementioned initiates. There is, of course, a copious amount of rum punch served to help add to the festivities.
The initiation ceremony consists of a mock baptism. Each of the initiates, one at a time, is tied into a harness which in turn is affixed to a line through a block and tackle hung from the main yardarm. Those sailors who have already crossed the line handle the other end of the rope, hoisting the initiates over the side for three duckings. This could be handled strictly through description and roleplaying; alternately, the initiates could make three DC 10 Fortitude saves to resist crying out or otherwise giving the others fodder for taunting. Characters who can “take it like men” might be toasted with extra rum punch and earn bragging rights for such a display of fortitude.
This encounter can happen anywhere close to Brazil. As they are sailing, everyone aboard the ship who is in a position to do so should make a Search or Spot check; the character with the highest result is the first to notice a vessel lying at anchor close to the mainland. This is the Intrepido, the Portuguese vessel chartered by the Knights of Christ. It has suffered the misfortune of being overrun by natives of the Tupinamba tribe. As a result, the survivors of the attack have been carried off to the natives' village.
The ship itself is in pristine condition, as is the cargo that it carries. (Refer to the deck plans for a sloop for the layout of this vessel.) There seems to be nobody aboard, however--that is, until the woman hiding in the crow's nest realizes that the newcomers are not natives. This survivor, Amelia--who is the daughter of the captain, Claudio Cordeiro--is the sole witness to the tragedy that unfolded here. Once the attack was in full swing, and her father and the crewmen were being overrun, Amelia managed to escape and climb the ratline to the crow's nest. At that point she cut the rope ladders, and then fought like a wildcat to defend her position. The attackers eventually gave up and let her be, and for the better part of a day she's been trapped there.
Assuming that the PC's can make it clear that they are not cannibals, they can gain her cooperation. There is still the matter of helping her down from the crow's next, although sufficient use of the Climb or Use Rope skills should allow for a rescue. As long as someone can speak Portuguese--or, failing that, Spanish--they can learn of the attack and the fact that her fellows have been taken back to the mainland. At that point she asks them to help stage a rescue, pleading for the lives of her father and his men if need be. She has nothing to offer that the PC's and their associates cannot simply take, but hopefully there is no need for her to bargain in such a manner.
Even so, this situation should make for some interesting roleplaying. After all, Ephraim and Muriel Grey don't wish to be delayed by this business, but they do acquiesce if the PC's make a case for helping these unfortunates. While they are mercenary individuals, they don't care to wallow in this fact. What is more, Amelia takes her time to feel out the PC's and determine if they are trustworthy. As long as she believes that to be the case, she opens up to them about the truth behind her identity and her mission.
About half a mile into the Brazilian jungle is the cannibals' village. It sits in a clearing on a small hill; Refer to the map for a layout. The edge of the jungle is represented by the outer line, while the inner line represents a five-foot increase in elevation.
The huts themselves are simple mud-and-wattle affairs, each one housing a warrior and his family. Each one has a fire pit in the middle, along with crude beds around the outside of it. At the GM's discretion, there could be various trinkets, along with crude weapons and other equipment, in each of them.
In the middle of the village is a large cage made from logs lashed together. This is where the surviving prisoners--including a dozen sailors, but, sadly, not Capitan Cordeiro, who has been eaten--are being held. They are guarded at all times by four warriors, along with a champion. The challenge here, if the PC's have agreed to stage a rescue, is to incapicate the guards without raising the alarm. Stealth and a quick strike are probably the best options for achieving this. Of course, given that this encounter is not the main focus of the adventure, the GM may wish to give them the benefit of the doubt when it comes to devising stratagems when it comes to staging a rescue.
Should the cannibals manage to raise an alarm, the situation becomes a good deal more difficult. There are a total of seven warriors, three champions and one chief who can respond to it, meaning that the PC's and their allies should have their hands full if they intend to stand their ground and fight. Of course, at the GM's discretion, there could also be more warriors and champions out hunting in the surrounding jungle,
Whether or not the PC's succeed in rescuing the Portuguese sailors, the presence of an empty ship presents another important decision for the members of the expedition. After all, it is a valuable prize, and as such should not simply be left to rot. Ephraim and Muriel would prefer this option, of course, but they are not so obstinate as to insist upon it. For that reason, it may become necessary to put a prize crew aboard it. This could allow the PC's to gain a little bit of freedom and privacy, especially if they insisted upon staging the rescue. After all, Amelia has legal claim to the ship, and any surviving sailors swear loyalty to their rescuers and to her. She also hopes to complete her mission by undermining the efforts of the Cabal's agents. How this plays out is up to one or more PC's and the GM.
Encounter 4—The Southern Passage
Whatever hijinks and other business has transpired during the voyage, the primary goal of the voyage comes into focus once again as the Duchess makes its approach on the Strait of Magellan. There are at least a couple of reasons for this. For one, the weather begins to turn cold. Then there's the fact that the passage through the strait makes for slow and difficult travel. This doesn't even mention the fact that everyone is sailing into territory occupied by the giants. All of these developments are detailed below.
“Cold... So cold...” (Again)
Declining temperatures present a danger to the crew and passengers. Those who venture out on deck must make a DC 15 Fortitude save for each hour of exposure, with a cumulative +1 modifier for each additional hour spent outside. Proper clothing provides a +2 equipment bonus to these saves, a reward for those who thought to purchase such items before setting sail. Failure causes 1d6 subdual damage. These checks should be used to represent a standard day aboard ship, depending on the characters' involvement in watches and reactions to other dangers.
As the Duchess passes into the Strait of Magellan, it creates an ominous scene. In addition to the icebergs that present their own hazards, the stone walls of the passage tower above the ship, creating an almost claustrophobic effect. Amidst all of this, the snow begins to fall. This makes for difficult sailing, to the extent that it becomes important for everyone to be on the lookout for rocks. The difficulty for seeing them, along with the damage that they can do, depends on the size of the rocks in question. Note, too, that the characters suffer a -2 circumstance penalty to checks due to the falling snow. The GM should feel free to choose a number of obstacles to make the scene exciting, but not so many that this dominates the rest of the encounter.
Huge—DC 26 to notice—DC 20 to avoid—Damage 4d8
Gargantuan—DC 23 to notice—DC 23 to avoid—Damage 6d8
Colossal—DC 20 to notice—DC 26 to avoid—Damage 8d8
Furthermore, a vessel that suffers more than 50% of its hull points in damage from a collision is stopped dead in the water. In order to free it, the crew of the ship must succeed at a DC 24 Profession: sailor check, a process that last one hour. The DC of this check is reduced by two for every step that the tide rises, representing the fact that rising water can simply float a ship free (see below for more details). This means that ships which hit an obstacle during high tide are in big trouble. At the GM's discretion, each time the tide falls by a step, the obstacle does one quarter the original damage again to a trapped ship; this represents new stresses on the hull due to the falling water level. Woe to those poor ships that should be trapped in such a way if a storm arises.
During the voyage, as the ship approaches the Strait of Magellan, it attracts the attention of a whale. This isn't a normal one, however; rather, it is the animal companion of a giant shaman named Gath. As such, it comes to check out the newly arrived vessel, swimming for a while alongside it. The PC with the highest Search or Spot check is the first to notice it, at which point that person and the rest of the party can react accordingly.
This encounter thus functions as a kind of test, since any hostile actions toward the whale indicate the party's wicked intentions and thus make the giants unfriendly or even hostile once actual contact occurs. The crew members of the Duchess suggest harpooning the whale so as to gain meat to eat; indeed, the bloodthirsty members of the Crimson Company relish the idea of hunting it. After all, the whale companion's shaman is watching, and judges the humans accordingly.
While all of this is happening, there's also a chance that the PC's or someone else notices Gath. Doing so requires a Search or Spot check opposed to his efforts to Hide, and he receives a +5 equipment bonus due to the clothing that he wears. From this distance—he is standing atop a nearby cliff—all that the PC's and their fellow can tell is that he is a towering figure much bigger than a normal person. Even so, it gives the characters their first confirmation that they've made a truly grand discovery, and could influence how the rest of the giants react to these newcomers.
Encounter 5—Giants in the Earth
There's still the question, of course, of what to do about this discovery. A number of characters have their own ideas on that subject, which should make for some intriguing conflicts. The response should start with Muriel, but could then go in any number of directions. Her intention is to make a landing and scout out the area with a small party, until they can locate the giants' lair. At that point, she is willing to unload the mercenaries of the Crimson Company and take the lair by force, so as to acquire any relics or lore that the giants might possess. While this might seem ostentatious, the fact that they possess the four stones of David means that they present a deadly threat to the giants.
As always, the PC's could have their own ideas. This is where a good deal of GM adjudication becomes necessary, although the following guidelines should be considered. Roll a Diplomacy check to determine the attitude of the giants, keeping in mind the following circumstances and modifiers. It could also be possible that the PC's decide to approach the giants seperately, allowing them to make their own check and first impression.
Result / Attitude
4 or less / Hostile
5 - 14 / Unfriendly
15 - 24 / Indifferent
25 - 34 / Friendly
35 or more / Helpful
Modifier / Circumstance
+5 / The PC's prevented anyone from harming the whale.
+2 / The PC's act in an appropriate deferential manner.
-2 / Someone hurt the whale but did not kill it.
-5 / Somebody killed the whale.
-2 / The PC's or their associates are shown to possess the stones of David.
All of these modifiers are cumulative.
From the point of first contact onward, this scenario could go in any number of directions. While it's never possible to predict what the PC's will do, and thus how the NPC's will respond, a few of the more likely possibilities are detailed here.
For there part, Muriel and Ephraim Grey want nothing more than to visit the giants' lair and acquire any relics or lore that they possess. To that end, they try diplomacy force, stealth second and force third. If the newcomers make a suitable first impression--indifferent or better--the giants invite them into their home. After all, they are hesitant to provoke open combat, and instead hope that they can bide their time and perhaps leave if it looks like the humans wish to settle the area. As mentioned above, Gath might seek to meet with the PC's seperately from the rest of the expedition if they have suitably impressed him. As long as anyone receives such an invitation, refer to the description and map of the giants' lair, below, for additional details.
Another possibility is that Muriel can use her familiar, Shadow, to spy on the giants. The raven is quite intelligent, and she can augment him with her own spells. In this way, he presents the GM with an opportunity to advance the plot in a climactic direction, even if the PC's are doing their best to prevent hostilities.
On the subject of hostilities, probably the most action-oriented of the potential outcomes for this scenario is if Muriel and her mercenaries go to war with the giants to claim their treasures. Given their contingent of mercenaries, and the fact that they possess the stones of David, they should present a roughly even match for the giants. Here again, it's up to the PC's to decide on which side they want to fight. Whatever the case, refer to the map of the giants' island and lair for a layout of the area and details of how this could develop.
A short, broad spire of rock rising out of the sea, the island stands amidts a cluster of other such bodies on the edge of Magellan's passage. It stands about seventy-five feet tall at its highest point. At about fifty feet of elevation, two cavern mouths are concealed amidst the craggy rock; noticing the main one requires a DC 15 Search or Spot check, while the other is more carefully hidden and thus needs a DC 25 check to be found. From each cave, a tunnel that varies between fifteen and twenty feet in width leads back for about a hundred feet to their lair. At any given time, at least one giant is posted at each entrance. If the giants are given a reason to suspect danger, this increases to two or three of their number.
Refer to Chapter 13 of the Skull & Bones rulebook to find stats for normal island giants. What is more, the article "The Giants of Patagonia" introduces stats for young giants, along with those for hunters and wizards. All in all, the lair is home to four adult male giants and five adult females, along with six adolescents and three juveniles. They are led by Gath, the shaman.
Refer to the appropriate map for the following area descriptions. The giants' lair is located in a natural cavern that has been expanded, creating one broad chamber with a handful of passages and tunnels leading from it. There is a broad wooden table, surrounded by eight stools, in the center of it. Along two walls there are piles of skins, furs and blankets that the giants use for beds. A large fireplace dominates one wall, and along with it a number of torch sconces throughout the chamber provide ample albeit smoky light. Two tunnels lead out to the entrances, one of which is secret. There is also a well in one corner, and a midden pit down a short passage in another. Finally, a narrow tunnel leads upward above the hearth, providing a vent for the smoke; it takes a DC 15 Escape Artist check, along with a DC 5 Climb check, to pass through it. This passage rises upward for fifteen feet before exiting atop the island.
What should interest a number of characters the most, however, is a rather anomalous statue that sits in front of the wall opposite the hearth. This depicts the giant Antaeus, a figure who was slain by Herakles in Greek mythology. A secret door (DC 25 Search or Spot to notice) is built into the wall behind it, although the means of opening this door is not readily apparent. The trick here is to recall the story of how Herakles defeated Antaeus, something that can be done with a DC 25 Knowledge (history or religion) check. According to legend, Antaeus was invincible when in contact with his mother, Gaea--also known as the earth. He was not so powerful, however, when lifted off of his feet, something that Herakles did in order to defeat the giant. With this in mind, one or more characters must raise the statue (DC 30 Strength check) in order to open the secret door.
Beyond that is a small chamber that contains the giants' treasures. These include Goliath's armor and spear; the Cross of Saint Christopher; and a collection of ancient tablets, scrolls and the like. Refer to Appendix 2, below, for more information regarding the giants' treasures and the lore that they possess.
As mentioned above, this scenario could end in all kinds of different ways. The two most likely possibilities are these:
1. The PC's could double-cross the Cabal, either by helping to defeat the agents and their mercenaries, by helping the giants to escape with their relics and lore, or something else. In that event, the chances are good that they would find themselves hunted by other Cabal agents--once word reaches England, that is.
2. On the other hand, the PC's could help the agents recover said items, and therefore find themselves in that organization's good graces. Should that happen, they could be taken back to England and offered employment pursuing similar business.
Whichever is the case, these outcomes should have huge implications for the future direction of the campaign, as detailed below. Additionally, the PC's should gain enough experience to reach 10th level.
Depending on the situations mentioned above, the PC's could be looking at any number of future adventures.
1. The giants, if they managed to defeat the agents of the Cabal, probably need to find a new home. This could involve taking them aboard a ship and sailing into the South Sea for an uncharted island, or a similar situation. All the while, Muriel would continue to spy on the PC's, perhaps using Shadow to do so, in order to monitor their movements and perhaps learn what she can from them. She and her allies are likely to seek vengeance against the PC's, and to continue efforts toward acquiring the antedeluvian texts.
2. The other option, undertaking service to the Cabal, could lead to a variety of quests: recovering relics from far-flung locations, seeking out previously undiscovered places and cultures, and the like.
3. There is also the matter of Amelia Cordeiro, who wishes to return to Portugal so as to report to her superiors and decide how best to pursue this business.
In all of these cases, and any others that might arise, the subsequent scenarios are likely to require a good deal of modification on the part of the GM to tailor them according to the appropriate circumstances.
Appendix 1—Dramatis Personae
Paladin 9; CR 9; Size; HD 9d10+20; hp 74; Init +0 (+0 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 10 (+0 Dex); Atk +11 (1d6+2, rapier) or +9 (2d6, muskets); SQ Aura of good, detect evil, smite evil 2/day, divine grace, aura of courage, divine health, special mount; AL LG; SV: Fort +11, Ref +6, Will +8; Str 14, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 16.
Background: Lady-Adventurer (Diplomacy, Knowledge: nobility).
Skills: Diplomacy +15, Heal +14, Knowledge (religion) +12.
Feats: Dodge, Improved Critical (rapier), Riposte, Swordsman's Gambit, Weapon Focus (rapier).
Fortunes: Obligation, Cause.
Equipment: Clothing, rapier +2, six muskets, powder and shot, holy symbol.
Amelia Cordeiro is something of an anomaly, a female member of the Knights of Christ. In this capacity she has served as an aide to her father, providing him with both a capable assistant and and ace in the hole when others would underestimate her abilities. Now that he is dead, however, she vows to complete his mission--preventing the Cabal from gaining access to unprecedented and unholy power.
Ranger 5; CR 5; Size medium; HD 5d10+5; hp 37; Init +3 (+3 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (+3 Dex, +2 armor); Atk +8/+3 (1d6, short bow) or +6/+1 (1d6+1, machete); SQ Favored Enemy (humans, pygmies), Wild Empathy, Combat Style (archery), Endurance, Animal Companion; AL CN; SV: Fort +5, Ref +7, Will +3; Str 13, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8.
Skills: Climb +10, Heal +6, Hide +11, Listen +10, Move Silently +11, Spot +10, Survival +10, Swim +10.
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot,Track.
Equipment: Bow and arrows, machete (treat as buccaneer knife).
Ranger 11; CR 11; Size medium; HD 11d10+11; hp 76; Init +3 (+3 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (+3 Dex, +2 armor); Atk +14/+9/+5 (1d6, short bow) or +13/+8/+3 (1d6+2, machete); SQ Favored Enemy (humans, pygmies, onijegi), Wild Empathy, Combat Style (archery), Endurance, Animal Companion, Improved Combat Style, Woodland Stride, Swift Tracker, Evasion, Combat Style Mastery; AL CN; SV: Fort +8, Ref +10, Will +5; Str 14, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8.
Skills: Climb +17, Heal +6, Hide +17, Listen +16, Move Silently +17, Spot +16, Survival +16, Swim +17.
Feats: Improved Critical (short bow), Improved Precise Shot, Manyshot, Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot, Rapid Shot,Track.
Equipment: Bow and arrows, machete (treat as buccaneer knife).
Ranger 1; CR 1; Size medium; HD 1d10+1; hp 11; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 12 (+2 Dex); Atk +3 (1d6, shortbow) or +2 (1d6+1, machete); SQ Favored Enemy (humans), Wild Empathy; AL CN; SV: Fort +3, Ref +4, Will +2; Str 13, Dex 15, Con 12, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 8.
Skills: Climb +5, Heal +6, Hide +6, Listen +6, Move Silently +6, Spot +6, Survival +6, Swim +6.
Feats: Point Blank Shot, Track.
Equipment: Bow and arrows, machete (treat as buccaneer knife).
These warriors wear primitive clothing, adorning themselves with the skins and bones of their victims. When they are on the hunt, they also add a variety of intimidating warpaint, along with an array of deadly weapons. At the GM's discretion, they could also possess some minor magical items or other such trinkets and treasures.
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.
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.
Giant Cleric 4; CR 11; Size large; HD 16d8+48; hp 120; Init -1 (-1 Dex); Spd 40 ft., swim 30 ft.; AC 20 (-1 size, -1 Dex, +9 natural, +3 hide armor); Atk +17/+12/+7 (2d8+7, large greatclub) or +11/+6/+1 (2d6+5, rock); SQ Rock throwing and catching, turn or rebuke undead, spells; AL N; SV: Fort +15, Ref +4, Will +12; Str 20, Dex 8, Con 17, Int 6, Wis 18, Cha 17.
Skills: Climb +7, Heal +11, Jump +6, Knowledge: religion +7, Spot +8, Swim +14.
Feats: Cleave, Improved Bull Rush, Improved Overrun, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (greatclub).
Fortunes: Obligation, Whale's Watcher (This functions in the same manner as the Parrot Perch, Monkey Magnet and Dog's Best Friend fortunes, except that it applies, of course, to a whale).
Equipment: Greatclub, throwing rocks.
Spells per day: 5/4+1/3+1. Domains: Animal and Plant.
Despite his impressive stature, Gath is a quiet and contemplative fellow. He would rather meditate in the remote places of the wilderness than interact with other beings, although he does enjoy discursing with like-minded individuals. Of late he has begun to worry about the spreading human population and the possibility that these people will soon encroach on the peace and freedom that he and his fellows have enjoyed.
Gath's Whale Companion (Spray)
Use the statistics for a cachalot whale, as detailed in the Monster Manual.
Wizard 11; CR 11; Size medium; HD 11d4; hp 29; Init +0 (+0 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 13 (+2 armor, +1 deflection); Atk +5 (ranged) or +4 (melee); SQ spells; AL CN; SV: Fort +4, Ref +4, Will +7; Str 8, Dex 10, Con 10, Int 20, Wis 8, Cha 14.
Skills: Appraise +8, Concentration +14, Craft (writing) +13, Decipher Script +19, Knowledge (arcane) +19, Knowledge (geography) +19, Knowledge (history) +19, Knowledge (religion) +13, Spellcraft +19.
Feats: Combat Casting, Craft Wondrous Item, Dodge, Improved Counterspell, Scribe Scroll, Spell Focus (enchantment/charm), Spell Mastery (Details).
Equipment: Clothing, spellbook, pouch with components, pouch containing 20 poe, cloak of resistance +1, amulet of natural armor +2, ring of protection +1.
Spells per Day: 4/4+1/4+1/4+1/3+1/2+1/1.
Spells Known: Level 0—Arcane mark, detect magic, read magic, resistance; identify, mage armor, magic weapon, shield, true strike; cat's grace, fox's cunning, misdirection, protection from arrows; arcane sight, dispel magic, haste, heroism, keen edge; bestow curse, locate creature, remove curse; break enchantment, dream, nightmare, permanency; analyze dweomer, greater dispel magic, greater heroism.
Muriel seeks one thing in this world--arcane power. This is why she joined the Cabal, and why she now leads the expedition to Patagonia. She is willing to use any means of achieving that goal, including exploiting others if they might be useful to her. To that end, Muriel can be downright charming, but this is only a veneer. She is highly knowledgeable when it comes to the ancient traditions of the world, but always seeks more information in hopes of unlocking the deeper secrets of eldritch might.
Muriel's Raven Familiar (Shadow)
Animal; CR 1/6; Size tiny; HD 11d4; hp 14; Init +2 (+2 Dex); Spd 10 ft., fly 40 ft.; AC 14 (+2 size, +2 Dex); Atk +13 (claws, 1d2-5); SQ low-light vision, Alertness, Improved Evasion, share spells, deliver touch spells, speak with master, speak with animals of its kind, speak English, SR 16; AL N; SV: Fort +3, Ref +5, Will +9; Str 1, Dex 15, Con 10, Int 2, Wis 14, Cha 6.
Skills: Listen +16, Spot +16.
Feats: Weapon Finesse.
Warrior 1; CR 1/2; Size medium; HD 1d8+2; hp 10; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 11 (+1 Dex); Atk +3 (1d6+2, belaying pin or gaff hook) or +2 (ranged); SQ details; AL LN; SV: Fort +4, Ref +1, Will +1; Str 15, Dex 13, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 12, Cha 10.
Skills: Climb +6, Knowledge (sea lore) +3, Profession (sailor) +5.
Feats: Power Attack, Seagoing.
Equipment: Sailor's clothing, gaff hook or belaying pin, miscellaneous possessions.
Sea Dog 4/Sea Officer 5; CR 9; Size medium; HD 9d10+18; hp 72; Init +1 (+1 Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 13 (+2 armor, +1 Dex); Atk +9/+4 (1d6+1, cutlass) or +9/+4 (2d4, pistols); SQ details; AL N; SV: Fort +7, Ref +6, Will +6; Str 12, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 12, Cha 16.
Skills: Diplomacy +15, Knowledge (sea lore) +13, Listen +14, Profession (sailor) +16, Spot +14, Use Rope +8.
Feats: Alertness, Dodge, Guidance, Skill Focus (Profession: sailor).
Equipment: Clothing, masterwork cutlass, masterwork pistols.
Russel Dolan is a dedicated ship's captain, one whose primary interests in life are the success of his voyage and the well-being of his crew. Beyond those he pays little attention to the purpose of an expedition or the business of his passengers, making him an ideal captain for hire by the Cabal. It is not that he is immoral, but rather that such matters are of no concern to him.
Appendix 2—New Magical Items
Amulets against Giants
Each of these items is a small disk cast from bronze, hung from a loop of leather. They are engraved with certain passages from the tale of David and Goliath, written in Hebrew, such as "David said moreover, The Lord that delivered me out of the paw of the lion, and out of the paw of the bear, he will deliver me out of the hand of this Philistine." The amulets provide a +1 enchancement bonus to all saving throws made to resist giants' spells or similar magical effects, and a +1 dodge bonus to AC made to resist their attacks.
The Cross of Saint Christopher
According to legends, Saint Christopher was a Canaanite who stood more than seven feet in height, perhaps descended from the nephilim. He sought to serve the mightiest king in the world, but eventually discovered that Christ was most mighty of all. Having learned this, he set out converting others to Christianity, and was martyred via decapitation because of this. Fittingly, this large silver cross is oversized, but otherwise plain.
In game terms, this holy relic allows a cleric to cast all divine spells of 3rd level or lower, not just those considered to be subtle. (Refer to the article "Clerics in the New World" for more information about subtle versus vulgar magic.)
The characteristic of the giants that the Cabal agents find most interesting is the fact that their cultures harkens back to before the Flood, an event that set back human civilizations for centuries and that destroyed some of their earliest arcane discoveries. Although it can only be pieced together based on scraps and fragments that have survived in myriad traditions, here are a few of the important details.
According to the story of the Tower of Babel, a group of humans came together and began building a tower in hopes of reaching the heavens. Because they were succeeding in their plan, God inflicted a confusion of tongues upon them, making it so that they couldn't effectively communicate. This explains why the people of the world speak so many different languages.
This is paralleled in the Greek story of Otus and Ephialtes, who according to the legends tried to gain access to Mount Olympus by stacking mountains one on top of another. This effort the gods thwarted, naturally, and the two giants faced punishment in Hades as a result.
It is also said in the Bible, of course, that "In those days there were giants in the earth." What is more, the giants, or nephilim, were the offspring of mortal women and immortal males, perhaps fallen angels. Eventually these giants are overrun by the Israelites, including the famous battle between a young David and the mighty warrior Goliath.
In game terms, this collection of ancient scrolls, tablets and other writings has the potential to unlock powerful magical secrets, in the same manner as a book of infinite spells. These materials are not enough in and of themselves to do so, however; moreover, adding to them to fill in the gaps is a matter that must wait for another adventure.