In honor of International Talk Like a Pirate Day, I'm posting this puzzle that can be used in pirate-themed games.
Interlude 50: The Puzzle
Treasure maps are a ubiquitous element in pirate adventures, harkening back to the mysterious chart carried by Billy Bones in Treasure Island. In a Skull & Bones campaign, however, it can be difficult coming up with new ways to encode secret messages so as to keep things fresh and challenging for the players. To that end, presented here is another idea for such a puzzle.
At some point, the PC's receive a cryptic verbal message along with a note that consists of compass points. The message is that "The Rose holds the key." The note contains the following.
W E NNE SW S WSW
NNE SSW S ESE SSE W
WSW W S W E NNE
SSW SW ESE NW NNE WNW
SSE N NNE SW W E
NNE ENE NNW NW NNE S
NE SSW NNE SE NNE NNE
A DC 12 Knowledge (local) or Gather Information check reveals that Rose could refer to Lady Rose, the lover of a renowned pirate; DC 18 checks, or asking around town, reveals that she is buried beneath St. Paul's Church in Port Royal. At that point, a clandestine visit to said holy place can reveal a secret door in the back of her burial location, one that opens onto a tunnel leading to a small circular chamber. The walls of that room are lined with letters, as depicted on the map.
It shouldn't take a skill check to recognize that the directions on the note refer to compass points, and thus to letters in the chamber. In this way, the note can be translated as follows.
"The rose points to the prize
under the gaze of Pelee."
That, in turn, is a reference to Rose Point on the island of Martinique, something characters can recognize with a DC 12 Knowledge (navigation) or a DC 18 Knowledge (local) check. Refer to the map of Martinique on page 169 of the Skull & Bones rulebook. Of course, what awaits the PC's there is for the GM to determine.