Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Black Stars

Here's a write-up for the Black Stars, a secret occult branch of the United States Marshal Service that's introduced in the comic series Shadow Roads.

-Nate






Introduction
While most of the people who live in the American West know about the United States Marshals, not so many are familiar with a special branch of that organization, known as the “Black Stars,” that specializes in the investigation of supernatural activities. It is that agency, then, that this supplement explores.


History
It is commonly known that the US Marshal Service was created by an executive order of President George Washington, singed on 24 September 1789; its purpose was to support the federal court system, arresting suspects, escorting them to trial, and helping maintain order in that broad western territory that lacked any other form of organization. Even so, the powers that be quickly realized that certain happenings required special attention, ones that seemed to have been influenced by supernatural power. With that in mind, the Service appointed a special branch—unknown to most of its other members, and referred to as the Black Stars—to investigate such matters. Their business has included some of the following events.
  • There are still rumors and recriminations regarding accusations of witchcraft in the Salem settlement, ones that led to numerous trials and even executions of purported witches. While some argue that this was nothing more than hysteria fueled by conflict between the settlers, others maintain that demonic forces were called into play.
  • What is more, the notable New England theologian and minister Cotton Mather maintains that the city of Port Royal in Jamaica was devastated by an earthquake in 1692—the same year in which the Salem witch trials took place—because of God's wrath against immoral lifestyles. If that's true, then it becomes important to protect America against such divine retribution.
  • The disappearance of the Roanoke Colony in 1585 is another subject of ongoing investigation, with questions lingering about whether the desperate colonists were assimilated into the local native tribes, or if something more sinister might have taken place.
  • Stories also persist regarding ghosts that haunting of various locations around the United States, especially battlefields where important engagements took place. One such is the spirit of a British spy hanged in New York, and another is that of a Hession mercenary decapitated in battle not far from there.
  • In the same vein, tales tell of ghostly ships that haunt various harbors through the land; it remains to be determined just what unfinished business they have to resolve.
  • A special agent has been assigned the task of investigating the American Indians and their religious practices, especially their beliefs regarding something known as the Ghost Dance, which could greatly upset the American settlement of the western frontier.
  • The same goes for the traditional beliefs brought over from Africa by captures slaves, and especially regarding the tradition known as Voodoo.
  • The strange mounds of Cahokia, created by native people but without any recorded history, are another subject of inquiry. Just who built them, and what might they contain?
  • Recently the Black Stars have also begun to investigate something known as the Winding Way, an otherworldly realm that connects different places on Earth—as well as, some argue, other times in history. The American Indians seem to be able to access it through their rituals, and African Americans talk about places known as Crossroads where it connects to this world, but so far little is known about it for certain.

A Black Stars District Office
Members of this special branch of the U.S. Marshals Service use a number of different facilities in which to conduct their business, and so the building depicted in the map above as well as the following area descriptions should only be used as one example. Each of these offices is located in the center of a particular district, including at least one for each state of the Union, as well as for special jurisdictions such as the District of Columbia. Note that territories not yet granted statehood must make due with small frontier offices, as detailed below. 

A typical District Office is a two-story structure with windows only on the upper story and, as shall be discovered, an underground level. Inside the stout front door is a reception desk (1). That room is flanked by others lined with bookshelves (2), where the Marshals keep their records, and directly behind it is a small study with a desk and chairs. In the rear of the building is the Deputy Marshal's private office (3) along with the staircases that connect the three floors. 

On the upper story are private rooms for the Deputy Marshal and any special investigators that the Service employs (5), each furnished with a bed, wardrobe, desk and chair. There's also a small but functional kitchen (6) and pantry (7). 

The basement is where prisoners are kept. There's a waiting area (8) where guards stand duty and prisoners can be interrogated. Four cells with barred doors (9) line the walls, and there's a privy in which prisoners can take care of their personal needs (10).




The Frontier Marshal's Office
Refer to the map above for the following location descriptions. Most Marshal's offices are relatively small structures, a single story in height. This particular one is thirty feet on a side and built from wood. The building's front room (A) is fifteen feet square, with a desk for the Marshal himself and a couple of filing cabinets. There are also comfortable chairs for those who are waiting to discuss legal matters. From there, one door leads into the deputies' office (B), with a desk and chair for each person who serves in that role. Finally, a hallway behind both those rooms provides access to three cells (C), each furnished with a small cot and a stout, barred door suitable for holding prisoners.


Personnel
Presented here are stats for Black Stars of varying ranks.

US Marshal Recruit (Novice)
New recruits to the U.S. Marshal Service tend to be well-rounded individuals, jacks of all trades but masters of none—but ones who can quickly learn what they need to know in the field to do their jobs, investigating crimes and bringing wrongdoers to justice.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d6, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d6, Investigation d6, Knowledge d6, Notice d6, Persuasion d6, Riding d6, Shooting d6, Streetwise d6
Charisma: --, Pace: 6”, Parry: 5, Toughness: 5
Edges: Alertness
Hindrances: Code of Honor
Gear: Suit, pocket watch, gun belt, Stetson hat, badge, folding knife (Damage Str + d4, -2 to be noticed), Colt Peacemaker (Range 12/24/48, Damage 2d6+1, RoF 1).

Deputy US Marshal (Veteran)
Those recruits who prove their mettle tend to learn more about the various fields in which the Black Stars make their inquiries, becoming practiced both in studying ancient texts as wells as working a crowd to learn about nefarious doings.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d8, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d8, Investigation d8, Knowledge d8, Notice d8, Persuasion d6, Riding d6, Shooting d6, Streetwise d6
Charisma: --, Pace: 6”, Parry: 5, Toughness: 5
Edges: Alertness, Brave, Combat Reflexes, Combat Sense, Connections, Dodge
Hindrances: Code of Honor
Gear: Suit, pocket watch, gun belt, Stetson hat, badge, folding knife (Damage Str + d4, -2 to be noticed), Colt Peacemaker (Range 12/24/48, Damage 2d6+1, RoF 1).


Andrew Llewellyn, Chief Deputy US Marshal for Special Investigations (Legendary)
The head of the Back Stars has seen a lot of things in his time, and has proved himself in battle against forces of which most people are unaware. While he himself cannot utilize any of the magical power that he has witnessed, he is familiar with the eldritch traditions of Europe, Africa and America. What is more, he has command over the other members of his organization, and as such is a formidable foe for those who might use magical powers for evil purposes.
Attributes: Agility d6, Smarts d10, Spirit d6, Strength d6, Vigor d6
Skills: Fighting d8, Investigation d10, Knowledge d10, Notice d10, Persuasion d6, Riding d6, Shooting d6, Streetwise d10
Charisma: --, Pace: 6”, Parry: 5, Toughness: 6
Edges: Alertness, Brave, Combat Reflexes, Combat Sense, Connections, Dodge, Followers, Reputation, Scholar, Tough as Nails
Hindrances: Code of Honor
Gear: Suit, pocket watch, gun belt, Stetson hat, badge, folding knife (Damage Str + d4, -2 to be noticed), Colt Peacemaker (Range 12/24/48, Damage 2d6+1, RoF 1).


Special Agents
In addition to those agents who investigate supernatural goings-on with the usual range of knowledge, the Service employs agents who are studied in all of the arcane schools, including Shamanism, Sorcery and Voodoo. Some suggestions from other supplements include the following characters.
  • Manuela Gonzalez, the bruja, as detailed in the scenario “Reversal of Fortune,” is a good example of a sorcerer.
  • The same is true with Jacques Lemaire, the bokor who masterminds the daring riverboat raid in that adventure, for a Voodoo practitioner.
  • Mama Celeste, who is detailed in “Bad Medicine,” presents a less aggressive representative of a mamba (another practitioner of Voodoo).
  • The supplement “Native People of the American Frontier” presents numerous templates for Indian shamans, ranging from Novice through Legendary characters.



Plot Hooks
The Black Stars could be interested in all of the following business.
  • There have been sightings of undead in the American south, such as the restless corpses of defeated Confederate soldiers, as detailed in “Ill-Gotten Gains.”
  • Some inhabitants in the quiet little settlement known as Smith's Crossing have started to suspect that the town is a little too peaceful, perhaps because of some unwholesome influrence, a matter that is described in “Bad Medicine.”
  • Rumors persist about attacks against outlying farms and even Indian camps not far from there, as detailed in “Blood on the Snow.”
  • Rumor has it that a powerful arcane text lies buried beneath a burned-out ruin located somewhere in the American southwest; refer to “Buried but not Dead” for more details about that location and relic.
  • There's also the matter of some prized artifacts—weapons, shields and religious items—being taken from the native people and put on display by an Eastern collector, as described in “Restless Spirits.”
  • The actors and actresses of the New World Theater in Galveston, Texas are suspected of involvement with eldritch rituals of their own, which they conceal amid the action of their staged dramas, as detailed in “Diablerie.”
  • Tales tell of an onyx mirror—a Mayan artifact that can see into different places, times and possibilities—located somewhere on the Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico; refer to “South of the Border” for more information.
  • Should one of the PCs or their allies be arrested by the Black Stars, then those who remain free might be obligated to stage a jailbreak.
  • When a notorious prisoner is being transported by train to face trial back east, associates of that criminal try to prevent the delivery.
  • It's always possible that a special investigator, Deputy Marshal or even Chief Deputy Marshal goes rogue, collecting relics and lore from around the country but then using them for some evil purpose—in which case the PCs might need to break the law in order to do right.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Adventure: Soldiers of Fortune

The second scenario from Con of the North is a direct follow-up to the previous one.

-Nate



Adventure Background
For some time now, a band of orc space pirates has been preying upon the creatures know as omas that swim through the Void, and that sometimes carry passengers in their bellies. They harvest the meat of the omas, and capture any possible hostages. Recently this plot was exposed by one such voyager, a disciple of Imhotep the Traveler, who managed to move himself aboard a passing aethership using a dimension door spell. The officers and crew of that vessel came to his aid, freeing the hostage's fellows and then taking the battle back to the orcs. Indeed, they managed to overrun the modified dhow Raptor, thereby capturing Captain Darius and his crew. While that was a major victory in and of itself, another, greater danger still remains—the covey of hags that organized the orc pirates and that provided them with weapons capable of slaying the powerful omas. 

With this plot exposed, the Royal Interplanetary Company has decided to take action. That is why Governor Luciano Reda, who runs the Crossroads asteroid colony, has called for an assembly of capable captains crews. He is prepared to give letters of marque and reprisal—essentially, government sanctions for attacking pirates as well as seizing their cargo and making prisoners of their crews—to any adventures willing to undertake such business. To that end, he has called for a gathering of possible candidates at the Sign of the Ourobouros tavern and inn, to discuss the affair and possibly grant letters of marque and reprisal.


For the Gamemaster
The masterminds behind this pirate ring are three hags, members of a coven based on the planet Freya. They have commandeered a floating island, this one the home of a djinni named Khalid. From there they use a hag eye ooze to recover blood crystal and other materials from the planet's surface, and oversee the activities of their orc pirates. Although those servants have been defeated and brought to justice, the hags have other allies—including undead they've created and creatures that they've charmed—with which to defend themselves. Of course, they also possess a sizable quantity of loot, along with information about other nefarious activities throughout the Sol System.


Part 1—A Call to Arms
This adventure begins for the PCs while they are visiting the Crossroads asteroid colony; refer to the maps below for a layout of that settlement, which is built on a floating rock in the Belt. Just after they make landfall, the PCs recognize that something important is happening at the Sign of the Ourobouros tavern and inn. 

The following introduction can be used if the PCs did not participate in the events of the scenario “No Prey, No Pay.” 

As you step off of the docking platform onto the surface of the Crossroads asteroid colony, you hear the sounds of many voices and see a crowd gathered in front of the local tavern and inn. A gentleman in fine clothes moves through the assembled people, flanked by armored knights, and a member of his retinue pauses in front of the doorway to make an announcement.
“Hear ye, hear ye,” he declares. “The Honorable Luciano Reda, governor of the Crossroads colony and agent of the Royal Interplanetary Company, calls upon all brave souls who would apply for Letters of Marque and Reprisal and thus bring to justice certain pirates who lately have preyed upon shipping in the Sol System. All who are interested should attend.”


The asteroid colony is fronted by half a dozen wooden piers that jut out into open space (1); just beyond them is the plaza (2). On the lower tier of development are the Sign of the Ourobouros, a tavern and inn (3), along with the Crossroads Outfitter (4) and the Royal Interplanetary Company warehouse (5). Rising over them are Governor Reda's manner house (6) along with more mundane dwellings (7). Finally, at the crown of the hill stand the settlement's elemental obelisk (8) and a small grove of fruit and other decorative trees (9). 

If the PCs did participate in the events of “No Prey, No Pay,” then the meeting takes place without such fanfare; they are specifically invited by the governor, without the general public being notified. After all, they are clearly the best candidates for the job. 

Refer to the map below for a layout of the tavern, the Sign of the Ourobouros. It boasts a broad front room (1) with plenty of tables, a large bar and stairs leading up to the rooms; in the back are kitchen (2), pantry (3) and two private rooms (4). 


However the PCs come to meet him, Governor Reda—standing atop a table to address the assembled crowd—presents the following information.
  • For close to a year now, a group of pirates has been preying upon omas—huge creatures that swim through the void, and are used to carry passengers in their stomachs—killing them and claiming any loot and prisoners.
  • One week ago, however, those orcs ran afoul of an aethership whose officers and crew managed to turn the tables, capturing the pirates.
  • Interrogation of the pirates has revealed that the orcs are working for a coven of hags who have themselves set up shop in a sky island on the planet Freya, one claimed by a djinni scholar and merchant named Khalid.
  • Recognizing that a threat to any shipping is a threat to all shipping, the Royal Interplanetary Company has decided to offer letters of marque and reprisal to a crew that is willing to engage in a privateering attack against the pirates.
  • As compensation for such an undertaking, the privateers will be paid a reward of 5000 gp. In addition, they will be allowed to keep any loot taken from the hags, not including specific items for which the pirates' victims can prove ownership.
  • Brother Yusuf, a follower of Imhotep the Traveler, can provide a scroll with the divination spell, along with a clear description of Lady Winifred, a paladin of Sol who is still missing and believed to be held by the hags.
This is something of a take-it-or-leave-it offer, but hopefully one that the PCs are willing to undertake—especially if they participated in the events of “No Prey, No Pay.” As long as they do agree, they can make any necessary preparations at the Crossroads settlement, such as laying in provisions, weapons and other supplies, before setting out.

Additional Information
Characters who make Knowledge: local checks can supplement the details from Governor Reda's briefing, depending on the result of the check.

DC—Details
15—Khalid's sky island is known as Jibal al-Nasr, the “mountain of the hawk.”
20—It boasts three docking platforms, a large orchard, stables and the djinni's tower.
25—Khalid keeps a pride of dragonnes to guard his property.
30—In addition to the dragonnes, Khalid commands numerous unseen servants and an invisible stalker.

Ambush!
As long as the PCs do agree to undertake the job—or, perhaps, if they are uncertain about doing so and need a bit of a push—a couple of phase spiders that the hags have charmed appear out of nowhere and attack. They've been spying for the hags for some time now, and now use their ethereal jaunt ability to state an ambush. One attacks the PCs while the other targets Governor Reda, hoping to eliminate him and thus nullify the letters of marque and reprisal.

Phase spiders (2): Refer to page 226 of the Bestiary for details.

The Crossroads Asteroid Colony
Refer to the PDF linked below for more information about the various locations on and inhabitants of Crossroads if the PCs want to do some exploring.





Part 2—Going into Harm's Way
Once the PCs do head for Freya, they could find that it is an easy voyage, or one fraught with peril—depending on the desires of the players and the needs of the campaign. The GM could ask the players to set watches for the journey in order to create a sense of danger, even if no encounters occur. As this adventure is written for a four-hour time slot, however, no extraneous encounters are included. 

The approach to Freya is not entirely without incident, however. As the PCs are descending through the planet's thick, hazy atmosphere—rather like flying through an unending cloud—they are approached and challenged by one of the djinni's dragonnes. It lands on the bow of the aethership and uses its roar ability, trying to chase away the interlopers. Then it leaps into battle, using its Flyby Attack ability to strike and then move out of harm's way.

Dragonne: Refer to page 104 of Bestiary 3 for stats.

This could be a challenging combat, but it is also one that the PCs might be able to avoid. A DC 15 Perception check reveals that the creature wears a leather collar with a monogrammed K on it, revealing that it is a trained pet; hopefully that is enough to let the PCs know it's not a real enemy.


Part 3—The Heart of the Matter
Once the PCs reach Khalid's sky island, refer to the maps and area descriptions below. 


Jibal al-Nasr has three docking platforms jutting out into the open air. Much of the sky island is taken up by a lush orchard containing all manner of fruit trees, in the middle of which stands the elemental obelisk that keeps the place habitable. On the other half of it stand the djinni's stable, which is home to the dragonne guardians, and his tower. 


The stable is home to more dragonnes, which are cared for by their janni handler, Ahmed. He, in turn, is following the orders of the charmed djinni, Khalid. For that reason the PCs, as long as they aren't aggressive, should not need to fight him. Indeed, he can provide information about the inside of the tower and how the hags' minions are distributed.

Dragonnes: Refer to page 104 of Bestiary 3 for stats.

Ahmed the Janni: Refer to page 141 of the Bestiary for stats.

The Tower
Note that the tower has no windows, and an enclosed roof. As the PCs approach the front (and only) entrance, they are confronted by another guardian; this is the invisible stalker, acting on orders from Khalid, which begins to harass them just outside the entrance to the tower. Here again, the PCs could use dispel magic spells or similar methods to break the hags' control over it.

Invisible Stalker: Refer to page 181 of the Bestiary for stats.


Inside the tower on the ground floor (1), the hags have placed three large, bubbling cauldrons. In these they are creating hag eye oozes, creatures that they use—with the help of the jann—to harvest blood crystal from the surface of Freya. That is why there are tools and material that the orcs use for crafting their harpoons, the ones that they use to hunt oma and other colossal creatures that would otherwise be unassailable.

Hag eye oozes (3): Refer to page 140 of Bestiary 5 for stats.

From the ground floor an elaborate lift mechanism (2) leads up to higher levels. The mechanism that operates it is located higher in the tower, though, so the PCs need to find some means of climbing (DC 15 checks) or use magic such as a fly spell to move upward. 

On the next level is where the remaining orc crew members are housed (3). Each of these rooms is furnished with a hammock and a brazier for warmth, along with a small table and a wardrobe. There are clothing and miscellaneous personal items to be found, and perhaps interesting or valuable trinkets, at the GM's discretion. The orcs rush out to defend the hags as soon as they notice intruders.

Orc sailors (5) and ship's mate: See below for stats.

Typical Orc Sailor
CR 1/3
XP 135
Male orc warrior 1
CN Medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0
DEFENSE
AC 12, touch 10, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor)
hp 6 (1d10+1)
Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +0
Defensive Abilities ferocity
Weakness light sensitivity
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Whalespear +5 (1d10+3/x3)
Melee Longsword +4 (1d8+3/19-20)
Ranged Heavy crossbow +1 (1d10)
STATISTICS
Str 15, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +1; CMB +3; CMD 13
Feats Weapon Focus (whalespear)
Skills Profession (sailor) +4
Languages Common, Orc
SQ weapon familiarity
Equipment Clothing, whaleskin coat (treat as leather amor), longsword, whalespear, heavy crossbow, ten bolts

These orc sailors are a rough bunch; their only focus is to find and kill enough whales that they can earn their pay and go back to port in order to spend it.


Orc Ship's Mate
CR 4
XP 1200
Male orc warrior 1/fighter 4
CN Medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0
DEFENSE
AC 12, touch 10, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor)
hp 31 (5d10+5)
Fort +7, Ref +1, Will +1
Defensive Abilities ferocity, bravery +1
Weakness light sensitivity
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Whalespear +9 (1d10+6/x3)
Melee Longsword +8 (1d8+3/19-20)
Ranged Heavy crossbow +5 (1d10)
STATISTICS
Str 16, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +5; CMB +8; CMD 18
Feats Artillerist, Lunge, Splintering Weapon, Weapon Focus (whalespear), Weapon Specialization (whalespear)
Skills Profession (sailor) +8
Languages Common, Orc
SQ weapon familiarity
Equipment Clothing, whaleskin coat (treat as leather amor), longsword, whalespear, heavy crossbow, ten bolts

This orc was once second in command to the captain, Darius, but has been left behind here to take command of the others who assist the hags in harvesting blood crystal and crafting harpoons.




On the next level up (areas 4, 5 and 6) is where the hags reside. At the first sign of trouble, they move to a position from which they can observe the conflict below and inflict their horrific appearance ability, and then cast the evil eye. Then they move together in a relatively safe place and begin casting spells as a coven.

Sea Hags (3): Refer to page 243 of the Bestiary for stats, and to page 167 for more information about the special abilities of hag covens.

As long as all three of the hags are left alive, they use spell-like abilities such as baleful polymorph, bestow curse, blight and forcecage to hinder the PCs. Failing that, they defend themselves as best they can in hand-to-hand combat, and possibly calling upon charmed creatures such as the dragonnnes and invisible stalker for help. Because they know that they are guilty of the crimes of which the are accused, they fight to the death. 

Should the PCs wish to explore a bit, they find that the rooms here include a library (4) with shelves lining its walls along with tables and chairs; a music room (5), with plenty of seating cushions; and a dining room (6) with a long, low table surrounded by more cushions, and small storage areas for extra linens, dishes, silverware and the like. Note that the orcs have made a mess of the dining room, leaving unwashed dishes and empty bottles strewn all over the place. They've also broken all of the instruments from the music room, having used them roughly in inappropriate ways. 

On the next floor up are located the jann servants' quarters (7), which are furnished much like the guest quarters that have been overrun by the orcs. As mentioned above, the jann recognize that Khalid has been charmed by the hags, and thus are not hostile—and may even help—the PCs. There's also a kitchen (8), with two connected pantries, in which Khalid himself is busy preparing a meal for his newfound friends.

Khalid the Djinni: Refer to page 139 in the Bestiary for stats.

Janni (3): Refer to page 141 in the Bestiary for stats.

For his part, Khalid does try to defend the hags as long as he is affected by the charm spell. For that reason, the GM can use him to make combat more complicated, but he ceases his attacks as soon as the hags are defeated.


The penultimate level of the tower is the djinni's personal quarters (9); it is furnished with a large hammock, a wardrobe of colorful and diaphanous clothing, a writing desk and a large wooden, iron-bound, locked chest. That latter item contains the djinni's amassed wealth, including a pair of goggles with crystal lenses (eyes of the eagle), a ring of feather falling a bottle that contains elixir of fire breath, and a collection of mixed coins—3030 gp, 1123 sp and 707 cp. 

On the top floor of the tower (10) is the mechanism for the lift, with a four-legged support structure and a crank for raising and lower the basket-like platform. This level has an onion-shaped roof, in the Arabian style. Finally, chained to the walls are the remaining prisoners, including the aforementioned Lady Winifred.

Lady Winifred and the Pilgrims
Should it become necessary, use the stats for foot soldiers and the holy warrior from pages 286 and 269 from the GameMastery Guide to represent the abilities of the pilgrims and Lady Winifred.




Conclusion
As long as the PCs can defeat the hags, Khalid the djinni is freed from the effect of the charm spell and orders any of his surviving minions to stand down. At that point the only work that remains is releasing prisoners and collecting the loot. Although the djinni looks down on attempts to take his possessions without permission—and can pursue his grievance, since that would be in violations of the PCs' letters of marque and reprisal—he rewards less greedy characters with the magical items from the chest in his bedroom (see Area 10, above). He keeps the money for rebuilding his floating island home. The PCs are, of course, free to keep any loot claimed from the hags and their orc minions.

Further Adventures
Although this business is now concluded, it could lead into all manner of additional adventures; detailed below are just a few of the possibilities.
  • The GM and players could roleplay through the PCs reporting back to Governor Reda at Crossroads; indeed, if he is satisfied, that representative of the Royal Interplanetary Company could have more work to offer them.
  • Since Khalid the djinni deals in rare incense, perfume and other such niceties, he could recruit the PCs to pick up and deliver cargo for his business.
  • The PCs need to decide what to do with the blood crystal that the orcs were using to make weapons; they could use it to improve their own armaments, or they might destroy it to keep it from being used on other victims.
  • Among other items taken from the hags, there could be a letter that notified the pirates of when and where to make an attack on the dhow Venture. That was sent by a member of Lady Winifred's own noble family and thus reveals that someone tried to eliminate her by sacrificing her to them.
  • It's always possible that one of the orcs or hags possesses a treasure map, taken from some unfortunate victim and hidden away until it could be pursued.
  • There's also the unfinished mission of Lady Winifred, who was leading a band of pilgrims to establish a new religious colony; she could offer to hire the PCs to deliver her to that destination aboard their aethership.
  • This is also a chance for the GM to introduce any other NPCs desired, especially ones who have connections to the PCs (to make the business more personal for them) or to provide plot hooks for future adventures.

Appendix 1—Map of the Sol System
To give the players a better idea of their characters' place in the solar system, please refer to the following map.



Appendix 2—The Skylark
Refer to the deck plans below for the following location descriptions.  


The Skylark
Colossal aetherial vehicle
Squares 60 (20 ft. by 75 ft.); Cost 112,500 gp
DEFENSE
AC 2; Hardness 5
hp 900 (449)
Base Save +0
OFFENSE
Maximum Speed 180 ft. (magical); Acceleration 30 ft. (magical)
CMB +8; CMD 18
Ramming Damage 8d8
DESCRIPTION
This modest aethership can carry 150 tons of cargo in addition to its normal crew complement.

Propulsion magic (two masts, 30 squares of sails, hp 150)

Driving Check Profession (pilot) +10 to the DC

Forward Facing the ship's forward

Driving Device orb of control

Driving Space the square or squares occupied by the pilot with the orb of control

Crew 20 (not including weapons crews)

Decks 2

Weapons Up to 20 Large direct-fire siege engines in banks of 10 positioned on the port and starboard sides of the vessel, or up to 5 Huge direct-fire siege engines in banks of 3 positioned on the port and starboard sides of the ship. The siege engines may only fire out the sides of the ship on which they are positioned. They cannot be swiveled to fire out the forward or aft sides of the ship.

The Skylark
Refer to the deck plans above for the following area descriptions.

1.Sterncastle
The ship's wheel is located on this raised platform at the aft of the vessel; it is generally from here that the captain issues orders while sailing.

2. Main Deck
The main deck is a broad, open space, although usually it is filled at least in part with ropes, the ship's anchor, a lifeboat and that sort of thing. In between the two masts is the hatch providing access to the cargo hold below.

3. Private Cabin
For important passengers or, at least, those who can pay for it, this cabin boasts a bed and perhaps a table or a storage trunk. It can also be used for a first mate, if appropriate.

4. Private Cabin
This cabin is laid out in the same manner as the other one, above.

5. Captain's Cabin
By far the most elaborate quarters on the vessel is this small room. It has a table with four chairs for holding meetings, along with a bed, a wardrobe, a chest and a barrel of liquor.

6. Crew Quarters
Ten hammocks are arrayed in this area, in two tiers. The crew members sleep here, usually in shifts. In addition there can usually be found a number of sea chests, one per crewman, arranged beneath the hammocks.

7. Cargo Hold
This space could contain just about anything, provided it can fit in through the cargo hatch.



Typical Sailor
CR ½
XP 200
Various warrior 1
N medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +1
DEFENSE
AC 11, touch 11, flat-footed 10 (+1 Dex)
hp 6 (1d10+1)
Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +1
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Shortsword +2 (1d6+1)
Ranged Light crossbow +1 (1d8)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 13, Dex 10, Con 13, Int 9, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +1; CMB +2; CMD 12
Feats Skill Focus (Profession)
Skills Climb +5, Profession (sailor) +8
Languages Common
SQ None
Combat Gear Shortsword, light crossbow, case of 10 bolts



Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Adventure: No Prey, No Pay

This is the first scenario that I prepared for the 2019 Con of the North; it involves space pirates hunting omas and holding prisoners for ransom.

-Nate



Adventure Background
Before the discovery of the magical items that propel aetherships through the void—the solar hull, flying sails, wind rigging and orb of control—primitive travelers used the massive creatures known as omas to make the journey between worlds. Indeed, those placid beasts have stomachs in which living beings can survive comfortably, thus passing their interplanetary transit time. Although most travelers have long since switched to using wooden vessels, a few still maintain the old ways. 

Ordinarily this is a safe, if not the most pleasant, means of travel. After all, the oma is a massive and powerful creature, one that would be difficult for even well-armed aethership crews to harm, much less slay. That is not the case for one crew of orcs, however, who used to hunt whales on Homeworld and who now have been recruited to serve as space pirates. They are led by a coven of vile hags, ones who've been harvesting blood crystals from the planet Freya and using them to fashion wicked ballista harpoons. Those weapons, because of the crystals, have the bleed quality, and thus are proving too powerful for the omas to endure. In this way the orcs and hags have been able to kill an oma and, then, to capture those who were traveling aboard it.


For the Gamemaster
These acts of piracy might have gone undetected by anyone else in the Sol System, if not for one of the travelers, a cleric named Yusuf. Indeed, he used a dimension door spell to escape from his prison, propelling himself toward the only possible nearby source of solace: an aethership that he could see in the distance. Unfortunately, he was attacked by a charmed lunarma just as he cast the spell. Although Ysusf was able to maintain his concentration, the fact that he was being grappled meant that the lunarma was teleported with him. That's how the PCs find themselves caught up in this conflict, with a life-and-death struggle in their own cargo hold.


Part 1—Unexpected Passengers
This adventure begins for the PCs while they are sailing through the Void aboard their bark aethership, the Skylark. Before the action begins, the players should decide where their characters happen to be located in the vessel; that, in turn, determines their starting positions when the action begins. Based on that, they perceive the wizard's arrival in one of two different ways.
Those who are on the ship's main deck, or in a cabin or the crow's nest, hear the following.

All around you, the endless panoply of the Void presents a sight that mixes both wondrous beauty and profound loneliness. After all, the shining pinpoints of light that paint pictures against the black backdrop of space provide a sense of hope and imagination, but the deep darkness between them leaves only a feeling of isolation and insignificance. Your musing is interrupted, however, by the sudden and loud sounds of crashing and smashing from below decks.
On the other hand, anyone who happens to be in the cargo hold witnesses this sight.

One moment, you are going about your business in the cargo hold, making sure that everything is properly stowed; the next, a tentacled, crab-like monster is thrashing about in this confined space, doing its best to grapple the unfortunate robed human that it has pinned beneath it.

Whatever the case, roll initiative. This should be one of those instances in which each player only learns the specifics of the situation when his or her character arrives on the scene. To that end, only show them the pictures of the monster and the wizard at that moment; until then, they can only make a guess. For his part, Yusuf has been reduced to 0 hit points and is rendered unconscious after suffering one more grapple attack. The lunarma dispatches him first, before moving its attention to anyone else in the cargo hold with it. 

The PCs have a few different options for dealing with the lunarma. Killing it is probably the most straightforward one, since it is hell-bent on defeating its foes. Even so, the PCs could use a detect magic spell to recognize that it has been charmed, and then try to dispel that magical effect. However they manage the task, they may also need to make a DC 15 Heal check to stabilize Yusuf, followed by some use of healing magic or channeling positive energy in order to restore him to consciousness and thus learn his story.

Lunarma: Refer to page 185 of Bestiary 4 for stats.

To set this scene, refer to the appendix to find deck plans for the Skylark.

Yusuf's Tale
As long as the PCs do manage to rescue Yusuf, the cleric can tell his tale. Either through interaction or something more akin to a recitation, they can learn the following details.
  • Yusuf is a cleric of Imhotep the Explorer, the one-time leader of the Church of Ptah who was among the first to venture beyond the heavens of Homeworld and explore the reaches of the Sol System and beyond.
  • He enjoys traveling from planet to planet in the Sol System, using tamed omas as his preferred method of transport.
  • During one journey, the oma in which he was traveling was murdered; he was taken prisoner by the culprits, a band of orc pirates.
  • The orcs shipped him—along with other prisoners—to a remote asteroid, to await ransom or some other fate.
  • Said prisoners include anyone that the GM desires; this is a good opportunity to introduce any NPCs who relate to the PCs' background stories or who can provide future plot hooks, depending on the desires of the players and the needs of the campaign. Refer to the appendix for just a few of the possibilities.
  • While trapped there, he watched the heavens for some possible sign of deliverance, and recognized an opportunity moving between the stars—the PCs aboard their ship. Using a teleport spell, he managed to escape.
Yusuf thanks the PCs profusely for saving his life. What is more, he asks them to help rescue the other prisoners who are still trapped on the asteroid. Finding that exact location might seem like a daunting task, but, if the PCs take Yusuf's description of the heavens that were visible when he cast his teleport spell, and then make a DC 12 Knowledge (geography) check, they can identify a particular part of the belt to explore. 

Finally, although Yusuf doesn't mention it, he wears a necklace of adaptation—an item put on him by the pirates so that he could survive while imprisoned in the asteroid cache. Should the PCs need some encouragement to undertake this rescue mission, then the simple fact that each hostage wears the same valuable magical item could provide monetary incentive for them to attempt such an undertaking. If need be, Yusuf also mentions that his organization would reward the PCs for their help, too.

Brother Yusuf, Cleric of Imhotep the Traveler

CR 6
XP 2400
Various human cleric 7
LN medium humanoid
Init -1; Senses Perception +3
DEFENSE
AC 9, touch 9, flat-footed 9 (-1 Dex)
hp 42 (7d8+7)
Fort +6, Ref +2, Will +9
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Unarmed +5 (1d3)
Special Attacks Spells
STATISTICS
Str 10, Dex 8, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 17, Cha 10
Base Atk +5; CMB +5; CMD 14
Feats Improved Iron Will, Iron Will, Scribe Scroll, Skill Focus
Skills Craft (writing) +16, Heal +13, Knowledge (geography, history, local) +13, Linguistics +13
Languages Common, Elven, Dwarven, Draconic
SQ Aura, channel energy 4d6, orisons, domains (travel, knowledge)
Combat Gear Clothing, necklace of adaptation
Spells per Day: 4/5+1/4+1/3+1/1+1
Spells Prepared: Detect magic, guidance, read magic, resistance; comprehend languages, detect evil, detect magic, endure elements, protection from evil, sanctuary; augury, locate object, make whole, owl's wisdom, spiritual weapon; dispel magic, fly, invisibility purge, magic circle against evil; dimension door, tongues


Brother Yusuf is living proof that not all who wander are lost. He is always on the move, seeking new places to visit throughout the Sol System, as well as interesting people to meet and ideas to share. He enjoys little more than swapping stories with others, and records the most interesting tales so that he can bring them back and add them to the archives that his order keeps at their temple in the Holy City on Homeworld.



Part 2—The Asteroid Cache
As long as the PCs do agree to help, they can work to figure out the asteroid's location. For his part, Yusuf can describe the backdrop of stars and constellations that he saw when he spotted the the party's ship. Given that, along with a DC 18 Knowledge (geography) check, the PCs can choose a likely area in which to start looking. Similarly, the PCs need to make a DC 18 Perception check, and the pilot needs to make four DC 15 Profession (pilot) or Use Magic Device checks. For every five points by which the Knowledge (geography) or Perception checks exceed their base DCs, the pilot needs to make one fewer check; however, every five points by which those efforts fail forces the pilot to make an additional check. Failing a piloting check causes a minor collision, inflicting 8d8 damage to the hull of the Skylark from the impact. 

What is more, the orc pirates and the coven of hags that they serve have left other guardians to protect the asteroid—a trio of wights. They remain in the main chamber, ready to attack anyone who tries to enter or escape.

The Asteroid
Nestled among the other floating space rocks, this one has a telltale giveaway: a tunnel has been bored into its side (DC 12 Perception check to notice). Yusuf can confirm that it is the place in which he was being held captive. 

Refer to the map below for the following location descriptions. 

1. Entrance

The only indication that this asteroid has been worked is a hole fifteen feet in diameter. Should the PC's wish to access it, they'll need to maneuver their aethership along a path that follows the asteroid's drift, requiring a DC 15 check—with failure by five or more indicating a collision. Crew members must snag it with a grappling hook or some other such device, requiring ranged attacks against AC 10 and then a DC 10 Strength check (and multiple characters can combine on the latter).

2. Main Chamber
This broad, open area is nearly fifty feet long as well as wide; it has a ceiling thirty feet high. The interior is pitch dark. Scattered about the floor is evidence of the mine's old purpose—a broken shovel, a rusted pickaxe, and similar detritus, now covered in dust. Closer inspection (a DC 15 Survival check) reveals tracks that seem much fresher than the abandoned tools would indicate.
This is also where the wights reside, hiding and hoping to attack with surprise.

Wights (3): Refer to page 276 of the Bestiary for stats.

3. Tunnels
The height of any given tunnel section generally matches its width. These areas were dug out in pursuit of the asteroid's ore, but have more recently been used by the pirates, who use it as a place for storing the captives whom they want to hold for ransoming. In fact, evidence of this traffic still remains, in the form of messages carved into the walls. These include examples such as “May the gods save us all,” “Ned was here,” and “There are no gods.” 

More notable, however, is the fact that the rest of the prisoners are hiding here. They mistake the PCs for the pirates, and thus hope to put up some kind of a fight. To that end, they wait in concealment until they have an opportunity to strike. The GM can build a sense of tension by having the PCs make Perception checks opposed to the prisoners' Stealth efforts, while describing the sounds of footsteps and whispers in the darkness. Of course, this potential battle can easily be diffused as long as calmer heads prevail.

More of the Story
If the PCs can rescue the prisoners, then they can learn a good deal more about the pirates' scheme, including the details presented below. The GM can present this information in a conversational way, allowing the PCs to interact with the NPCs, or more in the manner of a briefing.
  • The pirates use special weapons with points and edges made from a blood-red crystal to attack the omas; these cause bleeding that the space creatures are unable to staunch, thus killing them.
  • After delivering this group of prisoners to the asteroid, the pirates—aboard their modified dhow, the Raptor—headed back into the asteroid belt to hunt for another oma.
  • One of the prisoners kept a careful eye on the departing vessel, and can tell the PCs the direction in which they headed.
Hopefully this information prompts the PCs to take action against the pirates. The NPCs can provide a little more incentive for them to attempt such heroics, however, such as by offering to give them each a necklace of adaptation, promising payment or other compensation from the organizations to which they belong, or the like. Whatever their inclination, the PCs don't have long to wait, for the pirates have a longboat delivering another batch of prisoners, which arrives ten minutes after the PCs did.


Part 3—Special Delivery
Just how this encounter develops depends on what—if any—precautions the PCs have taken while exploring the asteroid. Should any of them have remained aboard the Skylark, then they might notice the approaching pirate longboats (DC 12 Perception check). Each longboat holds three prisoners; one is crewed by three typical pirates and a veteran, and the other by three typical pirates led by the first mate, Mister Ezra, who is in command of this mission. Refer to the appendix to find stats for the orcs, along with more information about the prisoners. 

If the PCs took pains to conceal their own vessel, then there's a chance that the pirates don't see them. The first mate and veteran should make Perception checks, opposed to the PCs' Profession: sailor or Use Magic Device result, to notice the Skylark. If the PCs did not try to conceal their vessel, then the DC is only 10. At the same time, characters aboard the PCs' ship can also make Perception checks, and the one with the highest result is first to notice the approaching pirates. 

For their part, the pirates try to flee when they see trouble. This could lead into a chase, with them starting out three lengths ahead of the PCs. The character who is piloting the Skylark needs to make Profession: sailor or Use Magic Device checks opposed to those of First Mate Ezra; each time the PC's result is higher, the party gains ground on the orcs. Each time the PCs fail, they lose ground; ties cause no change. Should the pirates achieve an advantage of seven lengths, they are far enough ahead of the PCs that they escape. 

As long as the PCs do manage to close for combat, they should be able to handle the orcs without too much trouble. To make the situation a little more dramatic, they could threaten to kill their captives (in game terms, being ready to make coup de grace attacks against them), if the PCs don't let them flee the scene. That demand could be overcome through the use of ranged attacks, spells, or other such means. 

If the PCs do manage to defeat these newcomers, and keep at least one of them alive, then they can learn more about the situation. The orcs aboard the Raptor are not far away; they are currently harvesting the meat of the oma from which these prisoners were taken. While captured pirates don't directly say it, the implication should be clear—the PCs can catch the orcs unaware if they are willing to strike quickly.


Longboat
Huge space vehicle
Squares 8 (7½ ft. by 20 ft.); Cost 5625 gp
DEFENSE
AC 2; Hardness 5
hp 120 (59)
Base Save +0
OFFENSE
Maximum Speed 180 ft. (magical); Acceleration 30 ft. (magical)
CMB +7; CMD 19
Ramming Damage 7d8
DESCRIPTION
This boat has a small step-up mast and oarlocks for when it is used on the water.

Propulsion magic (1 mast, 15 squares of sails, 75 hp)

Driving Check Profession (pilot)

Forward Facing the boat's forward

Driving Device orb of control

Driving Space the square or squares occupied by the pilot with the orb of control

Crew 1 + 6 passengers (or 200 lbs. cargo per passenger space)

Decks 1

Weapons None




Part 4—Counterattack
If they want to take on the pirates, then the PCs have at least two options for doing so. One is to lie in wait at the asteroid, and then to ambush the pirates when they return. The main drawback for such an approach is that it allows the orcs to murder another oma, a notion that should be difficult for good-aligned characters to accept. The other approach is that they set out after the Raptor, searching for the ship in its hunting grounds and making a surprise attack. That has the advantage of preventing any additional bloodshed, and can allow for a bit of swashbuckling ship-to-ship combat. Whatever the case, the PCs face formidable foes in the orc pirates. Refer to Appendix 3 to find deck plans and area descriptions for the Raptor, along with stats for the orc pirate officers and crew.

Order of Battle
Just how this battle begins depends largely on how the PCs enter it. One option, of course, is just to go charging into battle, throwing caution to the wind. If that is their strategy, then the orcs should make Perception checks; their highest result gives them one round for every five points, rounded down, in which to prepare for the attack.

On the other hand, the PCs can also achieve some surprise by approaching in a stealthier manner, such as by flying in from the side opposite the colossal oma carcass. In that case, the orcs' Perception checks should be opposed to the pilot's Profession: sailor or Use Magic Device check. A higher result means that the PCs have surprise, while a lower one gives the orcs time to prepare as mentioned above.

A variation on that ploy is to have some of the crew members pose as orc pirates returning in the longboat; this requires a Bluff check opposed by the orcs' Perception efforts. Success allows them to go aboard the Raptor before the ruse is revealed, while failure means that they are discovered and immediately attacked.

However this fight is initiated, the orcs respond with generally the same methods. They first open up with their crossbows, attacking from range for as long as possible and firing from cover if they can. Once the battle dissolves into a melee, they wield their whalespears to provide reach, and then draw longswords when that becomes too difficult. The captain and two remaining mates grab blood crystal-bladed harpoons to face off against the toughest hand-to-hand PCs, while crossbowmen snipe at spellcasters toward the back of the party.

During this battle the crew can become involved, too. The GM could have each player roll attack and damage for the twenty crew members, who fire their crossbows during the approach and defend themselves with their shortswords if attacked in melee. For their part, the regular orc crew members surrender if Captain Darius, his two remaining mates and the six veterans are all defeated.

Blood Crystal-Tipped Whalespears
The tips of some of these weapons are made of blood crystal. Refer to pages 48-9 of the Ultimate Equipment guide for more information about this material. Most notably, weapons made from it cause an extra point of damage when the target is already suffering bleed damage. That combines with the effect of the Splintering Weapon feat that the veteran orcs possess, as detailed on page 120 of Ultimate Combat, to provide an effective means of slowly killing omas.



The Angry Oma
In the aftermath of the battle, when the PCs are tending to their wounded, making arrangements for prisoners, and possibly even preparing to tow the damaged Raptor to the nearest port, another oma arrives at the scene. Recognizing its slain fellow, and believing that some of the small creatures (which includes the PCs and the orcs) are the ones responsible, it moves to attack the PCs and their ship. Given the misunderstanding, it's a good opportunity for the PCs to demonstrate that they not only are not guilty, but also have helped to bring the responsible party to justice. That can be accomplished through a Handle Animal check, the use of magic, or other means, at the GM's discretion.


Conclusion
If the PCs can defeat the orcs, then they have won a notable victory against an enemy of all who wish to travel the Sol System freely. What is more, they can claim the necklaces of adaptation that the prisoners have been forced to wear, either to keep for themselves or sell for a tidy profit.

Further Adventures
Although this business is finished, there are plenty more opportunities for related adventures; a few of the possibilities are detailed below.
  • This crew of pirates is just part of a larger organization; in fact, they are led by a coven of hags, based on the planet Freya, which is the source of the blood crystal for the whalespears. In fact, the powers that be, especially the Royal Interplanetary Company, are seeking to hire capable individuals who can bring those villains to justice, too.
  • Indeed, Captain Darious possesses two items that provide additional clues. One is a wanted poster, depicting him, offered by the Royal Interplanetary Company; the other is papers for a dhow named the Venture—the very same that the pirates have rechristened as the Raptor.
  • It's quite possible that some of the rescued prisoners—see the Appendix for more information—have unfinished business of their own, and could recruit the PCs to help them attend to those matters. That is especially the case for Brother Yusuf, who as a cleric of Imhotep the Traveler always has use for a capable crew.
  • Finally, there is the question of the omas' remains, including the most recent carcass and the animated bones.

Appendix 1—Map of the Sol System
To give the players a better idea of their characters' place in the solar system, please refer to the following map. 



Appendix 2—The Skylark
Refer to the deck plans below for the following location descriptions. 


The Skylark
Colossal aetherial vehicle
Squares 60 (20 ft. by 75 ft.); Cost 112,500 gp
DEFENSE
AC 2; Hardness 5
hp 900 (449)
Base Save +0
OFFENSE
Maximum Speed 180 ft. (magical); Acceleration 30 ft. (magical)
CMB +8; CMD 18
Ramming Damage 8d8
DESCRIPTION
This modest aethership can carry 150 tons of cargo in addition to its normal crew complement.

Propulsion magic (two masts, 30 squares of sails, hp 150)

Driving Check Profession (pilot) +10 to the DC

Forward Facing the ship's forward

Driving Device orb of control

Driving Space the square or squares occupied by the pilot with the orb of control

Crew 20 (not including weapons crews)

Decks 2

Weapons Up to 20 Large direct-fire siege engines in banks of 10 positioned on the port and starboard sides of the vessel, or up to 5 Huge direct-fire siege engines in banks of 3 positioned on the port and starboard sides of the ship. The siege engines may only fire out the sides of the ship on which they are positioned. They cannot be swiveled to fire out the forward or aft sides of the ship.

The Skylark
Refer to the deck plans above for the following area descriptions.

1.Sterncastle
The ship's wheel is located on this raised platform at the aft of the vessel; it is generally from here that the captain issues orders while sailing.

2. Main Deck
The main deck is a broad, open space, although usually it is filled at least in part with ropes, the ship's anchor, a lifeboat and that sort of thing. In between the two masts is the hatch providing access to the cargo hold below.

3. Private Cabin
For important passengers or, at least, those who can pay for it, this cabin boasts a bed and perhaps a table or a storage trunk. It can also be used for a first mate, if appropriate.

4. Private Cabin
This cabin is laid out in the same manner as the other one, above.

5. Captain's Cabin
By far the most elaborate quarters on the vessel is this small room. It has a table with four chairs for holding meetings, along with a bed, a wardrobe, a chest and a barrel of liquor.

6. Crew Quarters
Ten hammocks are arrayed in this area, in two tiers. The crew members sleep here, usually in shifts. In addition there can usually be found a number of sea chests, one per crewman, arranged beneath the hammocks.

7. Cargo Hold
This space could contain just about anything, provided it can fit in through the cargo hatch.



Typical Sailor
CR ½
XP 200
Various warrior 1
N medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +1
DEFENSE
AC 11, touch 11, flat-footed 10 (+1 Dex)
hp 6 (1d10+1)
Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +1
Resist None
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Shortsword +2 (1d6+1)
Ranged Light crossbow +1 (1d8)
Special Attacks None
STATISTICS
Str 13, Dex 10, Con 13, Int 9, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +1; CMB +2; CMD 12
Feats Skill Focus (Profession)
Skills Climb +5, Profession (sailor) +8
Languages Common
SQ None
Combat Gear Shortsword, light crossbow, case of 10 bolts


Appendix 3—Orc Pirates of the Raptor
Below are deck plans and area descriptions for the pirate dhow Raptor, along with stats for her crew.

Veteran Orc Sailor
CR 2
XP 600
Male orc warrior 1/fighter 2
CN Medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0
DEFENSE
AC 12, touch 10, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor)
hp 19 (3d10+3)
Fort +6, Ref +0, Will +0
Defensive Abilities ferocity, bravery +1
Weakness light sensitivity
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Whalespear +7 (1d10+3/x3)
Melee Longsword +6 (1d8+3/19-20)
Ranged Heavy crossbow +3 (1d10)
STATISTICS
Str 15, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +3; CMB +5; CMD 15
Feats Artillerist, Lunge, Splintering Weapon, Weapon Focus (whalespear)
Skills Profession (sailor) +6
Languages Common, Orc
SQ weapon familiarity
Equipment Clothing, whaleskin coat (treat as leather amor), longsword, whalespear, heavy crossbow, ten bolts

From among the simply average crew members, these are some of the few who have proven themselves more cunning and more capable. They are old veterans, ones who lead watch teams.
Captain Darius
CR 6
XP 2400
Male orc warrior 1/fighter 6
CN Medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0
DEFENSE
AC 12, touch 10, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor)
hp 44 (7d10+7)
Fort +8, Ref +2, Will +2
Defensive Abilities ferocity, bravery +2
Weakness light sensitivity
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Whalespear +12/+7 (1d10+7/x3)
Melee Longsword +10/+5 (1d8+3/19-20)
Ranged Heavy crossbow +7/+2 (1d10)
STATISTICS
Str 16, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +7/+2; CMB +10; CMD 21
Feats Far Shot, Firearms Proficiency, Lunge, Point Blank Shot, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (whalespear), Weapon Specialization (whalespear)
Skills Profession (sailor) +10
Languages Common, Orc
SQ weapon familiarity (spears)
Equipment Clothing, whaleskin coat (treat as leather amor), longsword, whalespear, heavy crossbow, ten bolts

The captain is tough and ruthless. Now his business, under the influence of the hags, has shifted from whale hunting on Homeworld to preying on omas in aetherspace. He recognizes the opportunity to gain real wealth and power, and is loathe to relent from pursuing them.



Typical Orc Sailor
CR 1/3
XP 135
Male orc warrior 1
CN Medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0
DEFENSE
AC 12, touch 10, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor)
hp 6 (1d10+1)
Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +0
Defensive Abilities ferocity
Weakness light sensitivity
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Whalespear +5 (1d10+3/x3)
Melee Longsword +4 (1d8+3/19-20)
Ranged Heavy crossbow +1 (1d10)
STATISTICS
Str 15, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +1; CMB +3; CMD 13
Feats Weapon Focus (whalespear)
Skills Profession (sailor) +4
Languages Common, Orc
SQ weapon familiarity
Equipment Clothing, whaleskin coat (treat as leather amor), longsword, whalespear, heavy crossbow, ten bolts

These orc sailors are a rough bunch; their only focus is to find and kill enough whales that they can earn their pay and go back to port in order to spend it.


Orc Ship's Mate
CR 4
XP 1200
Male orc warrior 1/fighter 4
CN Medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +0
DEFENSE
AC 12, touch 10, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor)
hp 31 (5d10+5)
Fort +7, Ref +1, Will +1
Defensive Abilities ferocity, bravery +1
Weakness light sensitivity
OFFENSE
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Whalespear +9 (1d10+6/x3)
Melee Longsword +8 (1d8+3/19-20)
Ranged Heavy crossbow +5 (1d10)
STATISTICS
Str 16, Dex 10, Con 12, Int 8, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +5; CMB +8; CMD 18
Feats Artillerist, Lunge, Splintering Weapon, Weapon Focus (whalespear), Weapon Specialization (whalespear)
Skills Profession (sailor) +8
Languages Common, Orc
SQ weapon familiarity
Equipment Clothing, whaleskin coat (treat as leather amor), longsword, whalespear, heavy crossbow, ten bolts

This orc was once second in command to the captain, Darius, but has been left behind here to take command of the others who assist the hags in harvesting blood crystal and crafting harpoons.





The Raptor (Dhow)
The dhow is a very simple type of vessel. It has a broad, open main deck with no castles, although there is a covered space in the stern of the vessel. Beneath that is a cramped cargo deck.

Colossal space vehicle
Squares 39 (15 ft. by 65 ft.); Cost 5000 gp
DEFENSE
AC 2; Hardness 5
hp 585 (292)
Base Save +0
OFFENSE
Maximum Speed 180 ft. (magical); Acceleration 30 ft. (magical)
CMB +7; CMD 19
Ramming Damage 7d8
DESCRIPTION
This small vessel has a main deck and a cramped cargo deck below it. It is usually lateen-rigged, with a large triangular sail. It lacks a true sterncastle, but has a covered area in the stern for inclement weather.

Propulsion magic (1 mast, 15 squares of sails, 75 hp)

Driving Check Profession (pilot)

Forward Facing the ship's forward

Driving Device orb of control

Driving Space the square or squares occupied by the pilot with the orb of control

Crew 10 (not including weapons crews)

Decks 2

Weapons Up to 6 Large direct-fire siege engines in banks of 3 positioned on the port and starboard sides of the vessel, or 2 Huge direct-fire siege engines, each positioned on the port and starboard sides of the vessel. The siege engines may only fire out the sides of the ship on which they are positioned. They cannot be swiveled to fire out the forward or aft sides of the ship.