by Robert J. Hall
This scenario was released on the Internet in 1999 by Robert J. Hall but has been generally unavailable since the Tripod site was closed many years ago. It is written for the 4th edition of the Hero System, but is easily adaptable to more recent editions. There have been minor edits for the sake of space.
This scenario is designed for six or more Fantasy HERO characters of heroic caliber, preferably with at least one Mage. It requires a balanced mix of investigative and combat skills, and favors heroes who think before acting. Secret of Saltham Shore is designed to be an introduction to a longer running campaign during a period of grave threats to the settled lands. Most of this adventure occurs in the manorial village of Saltham, at the edge of the Duchy of Irolo. Further details on the Western Shores setting is available from the Fantasy HERO supplement.
Wizard and priest non-player characters use a Variable Power Pool for their spells. Magi require a bulky spell book to change their spells (-1/2), while priests can only change spells as a result of prayers requiring several days, or by a visit to a temple, shrine, or holy site of their god (-1/2).
Villagers: Bellamy Cordwainer, an alewife; Eppy Ludlow, a carpenter; Rupert Miller, a baker; Durvan Ironwright, a smithy.
Notables: Konrad Dhiamus, the Lord of Saltham Manor; Sharena Langwurt, the Lady of Irolo Duchy;
Gresham Lott, the Village Reeve; Trent Polliard, a Priest of Lhyanord
The Unearthing Rite: Bowen e'Brongar, a villein; Ohra Ghulard, a necromantic adept; Mortius Kalaner, leader of the Unearthing Rite, Tory Middlewood, a villein; Ingel Piraster, a Captain of the Alkax; Jordan Tiriol, Mate of the Alkax
Deep within the Grey Bogs, a sinister plot begins to unfold as a death cult plans the demise of the neighboring Duchy of Irolo. The active faction of this cult is an unscrupulous band of grave robbers known as the Unearthing Rite. This unholy band is composed of various scum and villainy, with members drawn from groups of brigands and pirates which have always plagued the western shores. They are commanded by a powerful clique of Necromancers, headed by Mortius Kalaner.
The members of the Unearthing Rite have built a secret network of contacts throughout the western shores. They have been quietly but steadily unearthing corpses, then carrying the bodies into the Bogs. The village of Saltham, being the closest harbor in the Duchy to the Grey Bogs, has been unknowlingly serving as a port of embarkation for these cadavers. The stacked corpses are carried by pirate ships to the otherwise inaccessible Citadel of the Dead, hidden deep within the winding estuaries of the Bogs.
Lately, as the Rite have gained funds from stolen treasures, their activities have grown bolder. As part of their campaign to disrupt the Duchy, the Necromancers have plotted the kidnapping of the daughter of an important Lord. Lady Sharena and her hand-maiden were successfully abducted from their summer manor, then hidden in a secret cave to the north of Saltham. Unfortunately for the kidnappers, the plot ran into a snag as the lightly crewed transport ship ran aground on a sand bar during a freakish and severe summer storm.
With several key hands lost at sea during the ferocious weather, the Captain and his Mate were now down to a minimum crew. They also had the awkward task of trying to offload a cargo of cadavers before salvage crews from the village could arrive. After some clever scheming with his Necromantic cohort, the Captain decided to make his wrecked vessel appear to be a ghost ship. With the aid of animated corpses and a few well-placed illusion spells from a scroll of magic, most of the intrepid villagers were successfully scared away.
Now the Captain and his "skeleton" crew are slowly offloading their cargo at night onto a raft, then towing the goods to the hidden sea cave complex along the cliffs to the north. To keep up the illusion of a haunted ship, the surviving members of the crew are lying low in the hold during the daytime, then continuing to offload the ship at night. When the ship load is sufficiently lightened, the Captain plans to free his ship from the bar during a peak tide in ten days. The vessel will then sail north to the cave, where it will load the stacked cadavers and the two prisoners on board before making sail for the Citadel of the Dead.
Prelude - A Broken Wagon
The scenario begins in the Duchy of Irolo when the heroes come upon a horse-drawn wagon that has lost a wheel and lies in the rough at the side of the dirt road. The driver, a shady looking individual with a very unkempt appearance, fell from his seat during the mishap and now lies beside the vehicle in obvious pain. Sebastian Tiver suffered a broken hip and collar bone, and is succumbing to shock and the beginnings of a fever.
If the Sebastian is approached by the characters, he urgently motions the most trustworthy-looking individual forward and places a leather pouch in his hands. The pouch clinks invitingly with a solid weight of coins, and a careful count will reveal a handsome sum of 59 silvers. The owner manages to croak out the words, "Yours... deliver wagon to Bowen... Saltham... on the coast. More gold... Go quickly! Urgent!", before passing out from pain.
Anybody in the party with healing skills can help to alleviate some of his pain, but it is obvious that the skills of a bone setter and many weeks of bed rest will be required to fully heal the damage. When the wagon driver is resuscitated, he will be deeply feverish and mumbles incoherent lines about an urgent mission and the doom that lies at hand. He will suffer from delirium, so much of what he says thereafter makes no sense.
The wagon requires some labor to repair, but once the wheel is back in place it proves road-worthy. The team of two horses is still tied to the harness, although they dragged the wagon into the rough in order to feed on the grasses and shrubs. In the back of the wagon are four large wooden crates, about two meters in length. All are sealed along the edges with iron bands held by nails, so it would be extremely difficult to open the crates without breaking in the sides. The crates are marked with a mysterious symbol shaped as three overlapping diamonds inside a circle - possibly a guild symbol of some type. Inside the crates are the corpses of long-buried warriors, packed in sweet-scented herbs to mask any odor, and wood shavings to prevent further breakage.
If the party decide to deliver the wagon to the coastal village of Saltham, it will require a trip of nine full days through the Irolo countryside. They will probably decide to deliver the wagon owner to a nearby town in the process, a necessity if he is to survive. Once in town, they may be tempted to open the crates to find out what lies within. As the remainder of the adventure depends on the safe delivery of the crates to Bowen e'Brongar in the village of Saltham, however, they are best served by the temptation of more money upon delivery.
During the journey, the characters will need to obtain forage for the horses from the villages and towns through which they pass. Since they are unlikely to be travelling along the routes known to the Unearthing Rite, the heroes will also need to deal with such mundane matters as toll payments and inquisitive guards. Unless the wagon is properly repaired by a wagon wright, there is a small chance each day that the wheel will break and throw the driver into the road. It is even possible that the heroes will have an adventurous interlude or two that are entirely unrelated to the main plot. Finally, it is likely that they will hear a rumor or two about the disappearance of a young noblewoman, and the uproar this has caused among the nobility. The following table can be used to randomly select events on the road to Saltham.
4d6 Random Encounters on the Road to Saltham
2 A dark omen befalls one of the characters. He or she is cursed with ill luck for the remainder of the adventure. (Temporary 1d6 Unlucky disadvantage.)
3 One of the characters finds a bloody hide of a sheep beside the road. If the heroes take the hide, they are later approached by a group of angry farmers carrying forks, hoes, sickles, and other farming implements. Apparently a group of bandits butchered most of their flock of sheep during the night, and the trail leads back toward the heroes. While the farmers are easy to defeat in combat, any casualties will call down the wrath of the local Lord and his men-at-arms.
4 While passing near some light woods, the characters spot a hunter standing with his bow unstrung. He appears to be casually watching the heroes, but upon spotting the crates on the cart he turns ashen and flees into the woods. This is Herold Glydver, a poacher of some ability. He is somewhat familiar with the Unearthing Rite, having seen their activities near a local burial mound.
5-6 While stopping at a watering hole, one of the characters hears a rumor that a young noble woman of some importance has vanished. Foul play is suspected and a reward has been offered by no less a personage than the Duke of Irolo. (This is the Lady Langwurt who appears in Act II.)
7-8 The bridge across this small river charges a toll for passage. The toll house master is protected by a pair of no-nonsense guards armed with broad sword and long knife, and wearing brigandine armor, leather breeches, boots, and an iron helm. The minimum charge is 1cp per head, including the horses, and 2cp for a wagon. By barony writ, detours around the toll bridge are not allowed.
9-10 The characters are stopped by a patrol of men-at-arms from a nearby prominent castle. They will question the heroes as to their activities, then warn them of a grazing tax for stays of longer than a day in the nearby fields.
11-12 A road side Inn is found that serves decent food and beverages. This being the summer months, however, rooms are limited and more expensive than normal. The Inn will often have a minstrel, jongleur, or musician working for his keep, providing a night of entertainment to the guests. Characters with suitable skills can also earn their meal and bed by this means.
13-15 Select an event, or make up a new one.
16-18 The heroes reach a manorial village where they can seek lodgings for the night. The food and beds are of the poorest sort, and the company is usually both dull and inquisitive. Occasionally these poor settlements will have a feature of minor interest, such as a shrine, a distinctive dish, or a prominent landmark.
19-20 If the wagon has not yet been repaired, the wheel works loose again and throws the driver from his seat. This fall is from a height of two meters and has a good chance to take the driver by surprise. (To make it more interesting, roll for a random hit location before determining damage.) An observant character with the Mechanics skill or Transport Familiarity: Wagons will have an opportunity to spot the problem before it occurs.
21 A wide stream is reached, and an earthy-looking character stands waiting besides the ford to collect a toll for passage. If he is bypassed and a crossing is attempted at a deeper spot, the characters will be followed and ambushed that night by a group of 3-5 toughs. These are pitiful bandits at best, with no armor and poor quality weapons.
22 A religious apostle will ask to join the group during their meal time, then proceed to espouse the creed of one of the twelve deities worshipped in Irolo. He is very persuasive, and may cause some internal dissent if there is a priest in the party.
23 Road traffic in this part of the Duchy is practically non-existent, leading the characters to wonder what is amiss. After several hours, however, they reach a river with a wooden bridge that has burnt to the waterline. This river is slow-moving, but deep enough to present a problem crossing with the wagon.
24 A favorable omen appears before one of the characters. He or she is blessed with good luck for the remainder of the adventure. (Temporary 1d6 Luck perk.)
Act I - Village of Saltham
Located next to the coast, the manorial village of Saltham is a grain and fish producing settlement. The majority of the modest village dwellings lie beside the single dirt lane that descends from the northeast to the southwest, down to the coast. At the end of the lane is a sheltered harbor where the villages' modest fleet of fishing vessels are beached. A commons and mill lie to the north of the village, alongside the small Cork creek. Beyond stands a heavy copse of deciduous trees, the primary source of firewood and timber for the village. South of the lane is Saltham Manor and Lhyanord Abbey.
Much of the outlying land around the village has been tilled for farming, with lots divided by low stone walls and narrow paths. The ground beyond the periphery is mainly low rolling hillside, with fens to the south and the town of Farnth several days ride to the north and east. Save for an old abandoned watch tower to the south, there is little else of obvious interest.
The village has seen some hard times of late, what with poor harvests the past few years and a particularly heavy tax lien from the Baron. The wrecked ship appeared to be a god-send, and volunteers quickly made their way across the treacherous waters to the vessel. Unfortunately, the ship was haunted by ungodly creatures. As the village had little more than a small abbey run by a priest of little merit, they lacked the means to purify the ship. Messengers had been sent to the nearby town of Farnth to ask for help, but it was feared that suitable aid would not arrive for at least a month.
Now disaster has befallen the village as the son of Lord Dhiamus was slain while investigating the mysterious death of a Shepherd and the loss of several sheep and pigs from the commons. The Lord is rightfully heartbroken over the death of his sole heir and has spent the past three days in solitary mourning. By the time the heroes arrive in the village, the entire settlement had turned out to witness the burial rites of the young nobleman.
When the characters are set to enter the village, read the following text aloud to the players.
Many long days you have ridden along this dusty road toward the sea and the village of Saltham. The summer sun has thoroughly dried the surrounding landscape, leaving the rolling hills blanketed in yellow grass and your throats parched with thirst. Fortunately, the ocean draws near, bringing a cool breeze and a welcome freshness to the air.
As you crest a long, low hill, you finally sight the thin line of the ocean stretched before you in all its glory. Your mounts pick up a step as they smell tempting odors from the rustic manorial village some distance ahead. The surrounding lands show many signs of farm work, as low stone walls segregate the sandy ground into modest fields. Some of the plots lie fallow - overgrown with weeds that wait for burning. Other fields grow meager crops of grain, or poor harvests of beans and tubers.
Riding on toward the sea, you soon arrive at the quaint village. Simple stone, daub, and thatch hovels line both sides of the single road that runs down to the harbor. All the hovels are crudely made, as if assembled in haste without thought for style or permanence. Each dwelling is enclosed by a low stone wall, and the enclosed ground beside the crude dwellings has been tilled for vegetables.
You quickly notice that the village appears to be all but abandoned. Only a few stray dogs wander the deeply-rutted lane, and an old, blind invalid shelters beneath a maple tree. Peering about, you spot a large congregation of villagers on a low hill behind the manor house. A solemn ceremony appears to be underway - most likely a funeral as the local priest is leading a prayer ritual. Obviously somebody of significant has recently passed away, bringing the village activities to a near halt.
This isolated village rarely receives visitors, so any newcomers are normally cause for much interest and gossip. However, the mood of the village is very solemn following the death of the well-liked Lord's son, and the heroes will initially be treated with coolness and some suspicion. After all, the death occurred under mysterious circumstances, and the group of adventurers arrived almost immediately thereafter. The village Reeve will certainly make inquiries about the plans and whereabouts of the newcomers.
Most of the villagers are an average lot, with primary stats in the range 9 to 11, standard figured characteristics, and a CV of 3. Unless otherwise noted, they have the following Everyman Skills: Climbing, Concealment, Conversation, Deduction, Shadowing, and Stealth. All speak the Duchy language fluently, but with a distinctly provincial accent. Most have never left the vicinity of their humble village, so they have scant knowledge of the neighboring lands. A respectable number have familiarity with handling small fishing boats, however, as the fishing trade is much relied upon when the crops are poor. Few have more than a passing familiarity with any sort of weapon, although they can wield farming implements with some degree of skill.
To determine the weather conditions throughout the characters stay in Saltham, consult appendix C. The starting weather on the day of arrival is shown under column A as a roll of 9. Thus, the weather on the following day will be determined by rolling 2d6 on column C.
What follows are descriptions of particular sites of interest throughout the village. Once the heroes are settled and their mounts are being tended, they will no doubt want to search out the villein Bowen e'Brongar at site E.
A. Ale Lodge
There are no Inns or rooms for rent within the small village. However, a place beside the open fire pit at the Ale Lodge may be had for a modest fee. The lodge is an oval-shaped, thatch-roofed building that serves as both a pub and the local meeting hall. The majority of the building structure serves as the main hall, containing a number of solid oak tables and benches, plus the pit fire for cooking food. Pairs of heavy wooden columns support the arched ceiling and create a series of private curtained booths for small groups of customers. The Lodge serves ale, mead, coarse bread rolls, pork and bean soup, and a hearty fish stew.
Bellamy Cordwainer: Female Human, 14 PRE, Conversation 13-, Trading 12-, KS: Brewing Ale 12-, KS: Cooking 11-, PS: Ale Woman 12-.
Bellamy is a heavyset woman, with a pleasant demeanor but a somewhat fiery temper. The widow of the village shoe maker, she now runs the Lodge with the assistance of her two daughters, both of marriageable age. Once her suspicions are allayed, Bellamy will be glad to fill the heroes in on local events in exchange for news from abroad. She will almost certainly mention the grounded ghost ship and the mysterious death of the Lord's son.
B. Lhyanord Abbey
This abbey was built to worship Lhyanord, the village patron deity and a manifestation of the goddess of the autumn harvest. This is one of the only two permanent structures in the village, the second being the manor house. Built more than two centuries in the past, this aging chapel has a modest gathering hall for daily services, plus several private chambers and a hospital ward. All villagers who can afford it are expected to pay a yearly tithe, which serves to support the priest and provides a small fund for invalids and religious ceremonies. The only item of note within the abbey is a fine bronze statue of the goddess Lhyanord.
Trent Polliard: Male Human, 8 DEX, 14 PRE, Magic Skill 12-, FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons, Oratory 12-, Persuasion 12-, Conversation 12-, Paramedic 11-, Riding 11-, KS: Religious Dogma, KS: Religious Procedures, Age 40+, Magic Skill (Church of Healing) 12-, Religious Power Pool (6 pts), Known Spells: Detect Ailment, Dispel, Exalted Healing, Major Healing, Minor Healing, Restore Physique.
An elderly man with a surprisingly wiry frame for one his age, Trent serves as the village priest. He usually runs the abbey alone, although he is aided by labor from the poorer villagers. Trent is a somewhat simple man who abandoned his life as a fisherman when he was called to task by a great whale spirit. He deeply believes in his faith and is well respected by both the villagers and his Lordship. However, although he will gladly aid anyone who seeks to ward his followers, he is somewhat out of his depth in the current circumstances.
C. Saltham Manor
When the heroes approach the manor during the daylight, read the following to the players:
Easily the largest building in the village, this old manor house stands two stories in height, with a heavily canted, slate-tiled roof and turrets to either side of the front door. The manor is made from heavy granite blocks that are covered in lichen, and have moss growing in the many cracks. The blocks incrementally decrease in size with height, until timber- reinforced bricks form most of the second story. All of the windows are paned, with the glass mounted in reinforced frames designed to withstand the heavy winter storms. On the roof are a number of old brick chimneys, a few in need of some minor repairs.
At the end of the L-shaped Manor is a small, wood stable with doors to the five stalls. The grounds around the manor are occupied by an orchard of fruit trees, possibly bearing Peach, Apple, and Pear. A dirt lane runs in a circle before the main entrance, enclosing a small but elegant garden inside a low stone wall.
This fine stone manor has been in the possession of the Lord's family for over one hundred and fifty years. A somewhat L-shaped building with a granite, timber, and brick exterior; many glass-paned windows; and a slate-tiled roof, the two-story Saltham Manor has ample room for an extended family plus guests and servants.
There are three heavy outer doors made from solid oak timbers - all reinforced with decorative bronze bands. All doors are built to withstand a heavy pummeling, and can be barred from the inside. On either side of the main entrance are decorative turrets with functioning arrow slits. The front and side doors have a small viewing port behind an iron grille, while the servant's entrance is plain.
As befits an old country manor, the interior is comfortably decorated and carefully kept up by the four permanent servants. A cook and his young apprentice prepare all meals for the family, including baking the bread and pastries from the finer grains of wheat grown in the village. The manor also contains a great hall with balcony; antechamber; master bedroom; chambers for a guest and family members; quarters for the servants; storage rooms; day room; roof-top conservatory; scriptorium where the Lord works on his political treatise; kitchen and scullery; and a small cellar. Many of the rooms have a stone fireplace which are kept supplied with chopped firewood by the villeins. The walls are decorated by tapestries, and lightened by white-washed plaster.
At the end of the brief north wing is a wooden stable where the lord keeps his prized war horse Regorand, as well as two riding horses for the day-to-day maintenance of the manor. The stable has stalls for up to five horses, and contains bales of hay, a covered cart, tack for the mounts, plus various tools and grooming gear. The stable boy sleeps in the loft among the warm piles of hay.
In the back of the manor is a pigeon roost. Following an old family tradition, the lord raises and trains these birds - although at one time they had a real purpose as messengers when the coast was being invaded. A shed next to the roost is used to stack and dry the firewood in preparation for the next winter season.
The manor is surrounded by a grove of fruit-bearing trees, which the Lady Dhiamus attends. These fruit are used to bake the delicious pastries enjoyed by the family, and occasionally sent as gifts to the village priest or friends in the nearest manors.
When the Reeve has met with the heroes and discussed their plans, he will pass this information on to the Lord. Thus the greeting the party receives at the Manor will depend heavily on the Reeve's opinion. Konrad is still in mourning over his lost son, so he will not perform his usual twice daily ride around the village grounds for a few weeks. Hence, the characters may not have an opportunity to meet with the Lord until they begin turning up some useful information.
Bella Dhiamus: Female Human, 13 EGO, Conversation 12-, High Society 13-, Riding 11-, KS: Gardening, KS: Singing, Perk: Well Off, Perk: Member of the Lower Nobility, Talent: Perfect Pitch, Contact: Wealthy Family, Age 40+.
The Lady Bella Dhiamus is an elegant woman who is approaching her later years with a certain grace and dignity. Although her marriage with the Lord was an arranged affair, she has grown fond of Konrad over the years. Bella had some trepidation that her failure to bear children might end the marriage, but the Lord has stayed close to her throughout these trials, and has never been unfaithful or grown abusive.
Bella was born the fourth daughter of a wealthy noble family in the city of Alasrenoa, and still occasionally longs for the bustle of the urban life. However, she has learned to put her skills to good use and occupy her time with running the Manor. She has little or no knowledge of the arts of combat, but will remain calm and dignified during a crisis.
D. Reeve Cottage
Gresham Lott: Male Human, 15 STR, 13 INT, 13 PRE, Persuasion 12-, Deduction 12-, Riding 11-, Trading 11-, Fam w/ Pole Arms, PS: Farming, Perk: Reeve, Knife (+1, 1/2d6K). Armed: Leather Tunic and Cap (2 DEF, 3-4/9-14), Fauchard (2d6K).
One of the most prosperous cottages in the village, this well-maintained hovel is home to the village Reeve, Gresham Lott. The Reeve serves as the overseer of the Lord's manor. He is in charge of the servants and commands the duties of the villeins. While the office of Reeve is supposedly filled anew each year, Gresham has the full confidence of the Lord and so has been the village Reeve for the past six years. His position has made him prosperous, and it shows in both his dwelling and attire. Gresham lives with his wife, an invalid mother, and three lively children.
Given the morose condition of his Lordship following the son's death, the Reeve will be most concerned and will certainly investigate any newcomers to the village. Initially, at least, he is unaware of the activities of the Unearthing Rite in the area as he has been busy worrying about the poor season harvest. If the characters demonstrate that they are operating in the best interest of the village, however, Gresham will be most cooperative and may even accompany the heroes on their investigations.
E. Villein Hovels
A cluster of particularly pitiful hovels to the southwest of the Manor is home to the village villeins. These serfs owe their labors directly to the lord, and frequently work under his supervision. They have various jobs throughout the year, such as working the Lord's demesne, picking the fruit trees for the Lady, repairing walls in the village, gathering firewood from the Copse, and so on. All are severely impoverished, even compared to the generally mediocre lot of the Saltham peasants.
The villeins Tory Middlewood and Bowen e'Brongar have long been disaffected by their impoverished position in the village. So when they were approached by members of the Unearthing Rite, both were immediately taken by the prospect of earning a little extra silver behind the Lord's back. They plan to earn enough to travel to a city and remain for the year and a day required to earn their freedom.
Bowen e'Brongar has been responsible for the many purchases required by the Unearthing Rite. Meanwhile, Tory Middlewood has been charged with obtaining food, fodder, and other goods for the smugglers. Both are aware of the other's activities, and each has grown ever more fearful of being caught. Thus far they have escaped detection through a combination of good fortune and human nature, but now they are terrified of being connected with the death of the Lord's son. If suspected, they are likely to flee to the sea caves and attempt to join up with the pirates.
Bowen e'Brongar : Male Human, 13 STR, Concealment 11-, Transport Familiarity: Wagons, Fam: Persuasion, PS: Farming, Poor, Hunted (Watched as a Villein).
Bowen is a typical uneducated villein, with shabby clothing, a dirty face, and a very menial attitude. He has long brown hair that hangs down to his shoulders, and is tied away from his face by a worn strip of leather. His feet are bare and hardened, and his hands are dirty and calloused from years of tough labor.
Upon first meeting the characters who deliver his wagon of crates, Bowen will turn ashen and be left nearly speechless. He will be extremely nervous and, at the first opportunity, will lead the cart back to the edge of the village and thence to the copse of trees. He is most reluctant to answer any questions about the crates, or his connection to the injured driver. If pressed, he will make up a rather lame story about a great surprise for his Lordship during the upcoming harvest festival.
Before paying the characters a few coppers for their delivery, Bowen will carefully check each of the crates to see if they have been damaged. When the wagon is hitched safely out of sight, he will reluctantly thank the heroes, then urge them to leave the village. Thereafter, Bowen will attempt to avoid the characters as much as possible during their stay.
If he is told that a reward was promised by the injured driver, he will reluctantly pull out a concealed pouch from his belt and pay off the characters with five silver pieces each, counted off as if every coin were immensely valuable. At the end of the exchange, Bowen will glance about once more as if looking for witnesses, then say "Now leave, quickly. You must! No more questions... I must go", before scurrying off back to the village.
Tory Middlewood : Male Human, 14 STR, 8 INT, 15 CON, Stealth 11-, PS: Farming, Poor, Hunted (Watched as a Villein).
Hardened by years of work in the field, Tory is a valued laborer and is often commanded to perform the most menial and back-breaking work for his lordship. Although easily cowed by his betters, Tory has grown bitterly resentful of his lowly status and is willing to perform almost any task that may raise his station. Thus, when approached by Bowen to join the Unearthing Rite, he was more than eager to enter the cult.
So far, however, he has seen little reward for his dangerous labors and is now beginning to worry about his prospects. Being none too bright, Tory is unlikely to see the dangers of turning against the cult. Hence he has stayed away from the sea cave, and has even taken to avoiding Bowen whenever possible. A confrontation has been brewing between the two ever since the death of the Lord's son.
Most of the surrounding fields are ploughed by teams of work horses that are kept in the village stables during the winter months. At this time of the year, there are plenty of stalls available for the mounts of visitors, and a minimum fee is charged for fodder and a brush down. The stable is run by Sachs Prentise, with the aid of two inquisitive stable boys. Sachs is a short man with much weathered skin and thin, grey hair that is usually covered by a felt cap. He bobs his head frequently and addresses all visitors as milord or milady. Directly behind the Stables is an old stone well that is used to water the animals.
G. Eppy's Carpentry
The carpenter's workshop consists of the usual rude village hovel attached to a wooden work shed. Inside the shed are a number of tools of the trade, plus several work benches and a pair of storage rooms. The floor of this shed is raised to make it easier to keep the wood dry.
Eppy Ludlow: Male Human, Transport Familiarity: Wagons, Concealment 11-, Trading 11-, PS: Carpenter 11-, AK: Torleo.
With a balding scalp and only four teeth, Eppy is not considered a handsome man. However, his craft is much appreciated by the villagers. He is married with two daughters and a son, all of whom assist him in the workshop.
If anybody in Saltham were to have suspicions over the activities of the Unearthing Rite, it would be Eppy Ludlow. In the past, the village carpenter has been paid by the villein Bowen e'Brongar to build a number of coffin-sized crates and a pair of poor quality carts. This alone should have been cause for concern, as villeins are most unlikely sources of income. However, the handsome payments have thus far kept Eppy's mouth tightly closed and his pockets lined with silver.
Stored behind his work shed is a four-wheeled wagon which Eppy uses to carry wood; deliver furniture; and to make an occasional trip into the nearby town of Farnth. This wagon was his attempt at a "Master Piece" while he worked the trade in the city of Torleo. Unfortunately, it was not quite up to standard, so Eppy remained a journeyman Carpenter and came to practice his craft in this lonely village.
The villagers have grown to wonder about Eppy's new-found earnings, as he has been known to bring home a number of fine gifts from Farnth after delivering his works. However, lacking any understanding of the craft, most attribute the windfall to Eppy's improved skill. Indeed, some worry that he may soon settle in a city to better practice his trade. Characters with a PS in Carpentry will observe that Eppy's skill is still somewhat lacking, however, especially if they see some local examples of the work.
This crude smithy consists of a lean-to at the side of a low hovel. Under this cover is a modest forge, an anvil mounted on an old stump, a long workbench, a number of forging tools, and a bucket of sand. The tools and implements are all kept in good condition despite the salty air. Next to the lean-to stands a water barrel, which is used to douse the hot iron.
Durvan Ironwright: Male Dwarf, 19 STR, 16 CON, Trading 12-, Weaponsmith 14-, KS: Forging Iron 13-, PS: Ironsmith 14-, AK: Torleo, 3" Running, Lim: Blind in one eye, Lim: lost both legs below knees, Hunted 8- (More Powerful, Limited Area: Torleo, Wants to Maim).
At one time Durvan was a much respected Iron Smith in the city of Torleo. However, he lost an eye during a violent disagreement with a member of the Smithy Guild, then lost both legs below the knee in an "accident". As a result, he was barely able to perform his craft and finally left the city for the calm of a country life. Despite his physical disabilities, Durvan is still a powerful dwarf and is capable of forging good quality tools and weapons, albeit at a slower than normal pace.
Lately Durvan's business has picked up in large part due to Eppy's orders for crates, carts, and other implements. He has been producing a large number of iron nails, plus some pick and shovel blades. Not one to question his good fortune, Durvan has been greedily accepting the funds and plans a visit to a Magi to get new legs magically attached.
While he can repair weapons and armor for the heroes, the rates he charges are unusually high for a village smithy, and the gruff and demanding dwarf will always drive a hard bargain. Any such work will require up to a week, as the dwarf is still backlogged with orders from Eppy. However, he has just completed a broad sword, pot helm, and a fine mail hauberk, which had been planned for use by the Lord's son. With the unfortunate death of the young noble, however, Durvan is willing to part with the arms and armor at fair city market rates.
When the heroes follow the dirt lane down to the small harbor, read the following description to the players:
The small harbor is home to several single-masted fishing boats that are beached on the mud flats. Although somewhat shallow, the harbor is well sheltered by an arm of rock that creates the bay of Saltham. Along the rocky beach, nets are hung from various poles for mending, while piles of rude-smelling fish parts, crab shells, and oysters lie beside the cleaning rocks. A number of wicker traps sit along the beach in various stages of construction.
Your movements disturb a flock of seagulls, and they take to the wind and circle about the harbor. Their cries are carried to you by a fresh, steady breeze that blows in from the ocean. The beach carries the mingled odors of saltwater spray, dead fish, and drying seaweed.
Further out to sea, a strange, two-masted vessel appears to be firmly stranded on a sand bar some distance to the north. Even from this distance, it appears poorly kept, as if it had lain there for many months. The sails are patched and torn, and the rigging is frayed and loose. You find something very disturbing about the dark vessel, although you can't quite place your finger on the cause. A eerie chill runs up your neck at the sight.
The village owns eight fishing boats, and most will be out to sea when the ocean is calm. These boats ply the coastal waters, using nets, baited hooks, and wicker traps to catch fish and crustaceans. Each open boat has room for a crew of up to four men, a hinged mast, four oars with locks, a fish locker, sturdy rope, and a canvas sail. All are decorated on the outside with bright, primary colors, although the paint is faded somewhat and has been heavily worn by the actions of sun and saltwater.
The rocky arm has been extended over the years with many crushed stones that have been carried out to the end of the pier and dumped into the water. The pier is covered by a rough path that will allow a horse and cart to travel out to the end, and serves as a handsome site for the spear fishermen. Unfortunately, the arm of rock is gradually causing the bay to silt up.
The chill experienced by characters observing the ship is caused by a powerful spell cast from a scroll of ancient magic. For more details on the stranded ship, see Act III.
J. Village Commons
The commons is a large, grassy field, bounded by stone walls, shrub-lined gulleys, low trees, and the Cork creek. The village folk are free to lead their sheep, swine, and other cattle here for grazing. The swine are often left to forage for roots in the large copse at the edge of the commons. The Cork creek separates the commons from this copse, and provides fresh water for the herd.
The modest herd was tended by the Villein Rowen Anse, who traded his labor for a meager share of the crops and goods. Several days before the heroes arrived at the village, however, Rowen and a number of the cattle went missing. The pirates at the sea cave, hungry for some fresh provisions, had come raiding the village at dusk and managed to steal several animals. However, they were interrupted in this task by the young Rowen Anse whom they promptly slew. The raiders dragged his body into the copse, then stole away with their captive livestock.
Eventually the Lord was called upon to investigate, and he sent his son to track down the missing Shepherd. He quickly found the body of Rowen in the woods, then picked up the trail of the pirates. This he followed back to the cave, where he was ambushed and slain. To cover their deed, the pirates dragged the body back to the village and threw him into the mill pond.
K. Mill Pond
Rupert Miller: Male Human, 11 STR, Trading 12-, Transport Familiarity: Wagons, PS: Miller, Perk: Right to mill Lord's grain.
By the license of the Lord Konrad Dhiamus, Rupert Miller is permitted to grind all the grains produced by the local farmers. These grains are sorted into two grades, a coarser grain that produces the rough brown bread that is eaten by the common lot, and a finer kernel that is ground into a white flour for his lordship. A water wheel along the Cork creek is used to drive the large stone which grinds the seed into flour. Behind the wheel, a large mill pond has built up, which is home to many frogs and water fowl during the warmer months.
This pond is where the body of the Lord's son was discovered just a day before the heroes arrived in town. As the young man was slain some distance from the pond, little blood was released into the stream - a fact that a sharp character may pick up. A careful search of the pond requires wading through the muck and some persistence. However, a lucky individual may turn up a gold earring that was lost by one of the pirates. Several pieces of the ropes used to carry the young noble may also be found floating among the reeds.
L. Watch Tower
At one time this two-story stone tower was used to watch the coast for invasions from the Sultane of Zylistan. However, the structure was eventually abandoned and has been steadily decaying ever since. It has recently become occupied by a Giant Beetle. (See the HERO Bestiary for details.)
When the players decide to enter the ruined tower, read the following:
The upper floor and a portion of the mossy tower walls have fallen inward, burying the interior beneath a jumble of rocks. The pile has since become covered in grassy dirt and hardy weeds. Over time the rocks have shifted slightly, revealing a cellar entrance to the right of the main entry.
The back of the cellar contains a cluster of large, pale yellow, translucent eggs. The piles of debris have been shifted around the eggs to form a nest, which has been supplemented by dirt dragged down the stone steps. The Beetle is usually out hunting for prey, but it never strays far from the den. Several of the eggs are close to hatching, and a number of larva will be crawling about the cellar after a week. Besides the eggs and the debris, there appears to be little else of interest here.
Behind a loose stone in the cellar wall is a small compartment where the post captain stored his valuables. There is an old, crumbling scroll that contains ink signs that were used for passing messages to friendly military ships. There are also 129 very old copper coins, all corroded from the salty air and firmly attached to each other.
Act II - The Craghorn Caverns
Beyond the village, the land along the coast rises sharply to form a gently curving cliff that extends for at least a day's march to the northwest. Many caverns and passages have formed in the limestone cliffs due to the constant wave action. One of the larger such formations is the Craghorn Caverns. This cave system connects a large pit on the rise with a sea cave almost directly below. The Unearthed Rite have been using this cavern system for the last few years to conceal their deliveries of cadavers. Indeed, a heavily rutted dirt road now leads away from the mouth of the cave before dispersing into the surrounding countryside. The caves are extensive enough to allow a hundred men to take refuge, and the pirate crew have been using the caverns for exactly this purpose.
Due to the forays of the pirates from the caverns into the village of Saltham, several fresh and obvious trails lead back to the land entrance of this cave system. A successful Tracking roll is sufficient to follow the trail back to this opening. Following the death of the Lord's son, further such raids have been expressly forbidden by the Mate Jordan. Thus the pirates remain huddled within the dark and damp caves for the time being.
There has been some grumbling by the crew over this turn of events, so the Mate has been keeping the discontented pirates busy hauling and stacking the long crates, skinning and smoking the sheep and pork, drilling for combat, and maintaining a double watch on both the land and sea entrances to the cave. For this purpose, the Mate has organized the hands into shore "teams" of four to six pirates each, with a leader responsible for each group. Naturally the pirates grumble even more about all this extra labor.
Except where noted below, most of the pirates are average humans with primary stats in the range from 9-11, standard figured attributes, and a CV of 4. They all speak Dornican and are knowledgeable about the islands. They are also skilled sea hands with a solid knowledge of boat handling. In addition, they have familiarities with Melee Weapons, Climbing, Concealment, Conversation, Deduction, Shadowing, and Stealth. As pirates, they are all hunted to some degree, although some have a worse repute than others.
All pirates wear sturdy, well-worn clothing (1 DEF, areas 7-16), but most have bare feet, little or no armor of note, and only a common weapon. A few dozen copper coins can be found on the lot, plus the occasional earring or other simple jewelry.
Shega "Rake" Starwin: Elf Male, 9 BODY, 15 DEX, Breakfall 11-, Stealth 12-, +1 w/ Bows, 8" Running, UV Vision, Lightsleep, Hatred: Land Elves, Leather Armor (2 DEF, 10-13), Medium Bow (1d6+1K) w/ 24 Arrows, Dagger (+1, 1d6-1K). The group leader, Starwin is a taciturn Elf who bears a deep hatred of his land-bound cousins. Oddly, he has become fast friends with Darvey Stallon as a result.
Barkley Baker: Human Male, 16 BODY, 14 EGO, 5" Running, PS: Cooking, Club (4d6N), Leather Apron (2 DEF, 10-14). An obese man with a greasy goatee, he serves as the ship's rather poor cook. Barkley likes to wield a heavy pin in combat. His meals are sometimes so bad that the crew have threatened to feed him to the sharks. Ron Guidian: Human Male, 7 STR, 7 BODY, 14 INT, 7" Run, Concealment 12-, Deduction 12-, Survival 12-, Knife (1/2d6K). While young to be at sea, Ron is a bright lad who manages to survive by his wits among his mates. He will hide among the shadows, waiting for a favorable opportunity to turn the tables.
Shorty Redfur: Human Male, 12 BODY, Climbing 11-, Shadowing 11-, Enraged (11-, 11-), 3 Daggers (1d6-1K). A short, bad-tempered man who will skewer you just for looking at him funny. He is particularly close with Lanc, whom he admires for his courage. Lanc Kraugh: Half-Orc Male, 15 STR, 14 BODY, 7 INT, 6 COM, +1 w/ H-to-H, Broad Sword (+1, 1d6+1K), Buckler. A powerful and tough half-breed who has gained acceptance in the crew due to his fearlessness during combat. He is, however, none too bright.
Dirk Gooden: Human Male, 19 STR, 12 BODY, 14 PRE, Persuasion 12-, Paramedic 11-, Leather Vest (2 DEF, 11-13), Maul (+1+1/2K). A great bull of a man, Dirk became the group leader through sheer physical presence. However, he is a cautious fighter and is easily induced to withdraw from a tough fight. Kray Wrangler: Human Male, 10 BODY, 17 COM, Seduction 11-, Short Sword (+1, 1d6K). Due to his remarkable good lucks, Kray fancies himself a ladies man and has had some luck in that department. He wears a patch over one eye to appear more dashing, even though his sight is normal. He constantly tries to steal fine apparel so as to appear noble.
Audrey "Swiggy" Parrin: Human Male, 13 STR, 10 BODY, 8 CON, Streetwise 12-, KS: Brewing, Dependency (Alcohol, 1d6 per Day), Fransisca (-1, 2d6K). An incurable alcoholic, Audrey is adept at obtaining or brewing booze. His besotted state has often incurred the wrath of the Mate, but the alcohol makes him fearless. Skoogle: Human Male, 18 BODY, 17 CON, Security Systems 10-, Lim: Unable to Speak, Lim: One-armed, Hammer (1d6K, -1 STUNx), Lock Picks. Physically, Skoogle is a hardy specimen, a trait that allowed him to survive a shark attack. As a result, he can no longer speak and has lost the use of his sword arm. Consequently he is restricted to deck duty. His use of the sword is still somewhat limited.
Erin Black: Human Male, 8 BODY, 15 INT, 17 PRE, Climbing 11-, Seamanship 12-, Persuasion 13-, Ambidexterity, Distinctive Features, FAM w/ Bow, Medium Bow (1d6+1K) w/ 24 Arrows, Club (4d6N). Horribly scarred across his face, Erin wears a heavy beard and head band to cover his marks. He is a wily fighter and a strong, authoritative presence that has earned him the equivalent of Bosun's rank on board the "Alkax". Petur Klosonik: Human Male, 11 BODY, 14 EGO, Persuasion 11-, KS: Reading Omens, Lim: Superstitious, War Club (5d6N), Charms. A highly superstitious man, Petur wears a garland of charms about his neck, none of which serve any useful function. He is constantly searching for signs and omens of good fortune. Unfortunately, he is highly persuasive and the others are likely to look at his foretellings with some interest.
Dal "Stick" Koldune: Human Male, 10 BODY, 13 DEX, Streetwise 12-, FAM w/ Thrown Knives/Axes, +2 OCV w/ Thrown Dagger, Lim: Wooden Leg, 9 Daggers (+1, 1d6-1K). The son of a whore, Dal is a bastard who has lived by his wits since a youth. His leg was lost below the knee when it was crushed by a rolling oil barrel. He is particularly adept with throwing daggers, and enjoy tossing them at animals or birds. Dungee Wallace: Human Male, 12 STR, 6 CON, 8 BODY, Forgery 13-, Lim: Habitual Liar, FAM w/ Crossbows, Light Crossbow (+1, 1d6+1K) w/ 10 Bolts. Dungee wears stringy hair over his close-set eyes and has an old cloth tied across his nose and mouth. He has proved his worth several times by forging documents, but he is often bullied by his crew mates due to constant allergies. The skinny Dungee is incapable of telling the truth, even when his life is at stake.
Errol Perlot: Human Male, 11 BODY, 14 DEX, Climbing 12-, Sleight of Hand 12-, Lim: Greedy, Morningstar (1+1/2d6K, 1.5h). Physically less than impressive in appearance, Errol is surprisingly adept at picking pockets or scaling walls. He will alway volunteer for raids with an opportunity for good pickings. Errol has a weak chin and unusually bushy brown sideburns. Ermite Ransom: Human Male, 16 DEX, 14 BODY, Stealth 12-, +1 w/ Swords, Lim: Bully, Reputation 11-, Short Sword (+1, 1d6K). A lanky renegade with a price on his head in several ports, Ermite is a ruthless, cold-blooded killer. He especially enjoys bullying his opponents before dispatching them with his sword. So wanted is Ermite that there is a price on his head in most ports of the Western Shores.
Corn Bagwit: Dwarf Male, 15 STR, 14 DEX, 12 BODY, Climbing 12-, Lockpicking 13-, Stealth 12-, PS: Burglar, Lim: Malicious, Lim: Lazy, Leather Jack (3 DEF, 7-13), Large Pick (1d6+1K AP), Pipe. A lazy Dwarf with a malicious sense of humor, Corn particularly enjoys stealing from the rich then giving to his favorite charity - himself. His thieving skills are especially valuable during land raids, so he has been made group leader by a reluctant Mate. Eppy Seward: Human Male, 14 STR, 9 BODY, Paramedic 11-, Survival 11-, FAM w/ Bows, +1 w/ Bows, Lim: Frequently Seasick, Heavy Bow (1+1/2d6K) w/ 18 Arrows. A former seaman turned pirate, Eppy has a severe hatred for wealthy shipping merchants. He is a dead-eye with the bow, so he is usually called upon to fire warning shots during a sea chase. However, he is often sick in rough water, despite his many years at sea.
Kaz el Fhalid: Human Male, 17 STR, 12 BODY, 14 CON, 18 PRE, Interrogation 14-, Tracking 11-, Lim: Strong Religious Convictions, Distinctive Features, Round Shield (+2 DCV), Falchion (+1, 1+1/2d6K). Kaz is most notable for the tattoos that cover much of his face and bare upper body. He is a tough, powerful man who fights with a bronze Falchion and shield. Kaz has no compunctions whatsoever against torturing infidels for information. Brin Turung: Human Male, 10 BODY, 12 DEX, Climbing 13-, Seamanship 11-, +2 to Sight PER, +1 w/ Crossbows, Lt. Crossbow (1d6+1K) w/ 10 Bolts, Lim: Fear of Horses. A veteran sea hand who has served with the Captain from the beginning. Brin has excellent vision, so he is usually placed on watch in the crows nest.
Soshie Reed: Human Female, 13 STR, 13 DEX, 10 BODY, Acrobatics 14-, Breakfall 12-, Climbing 12-, Berserk (8-, 11-), Quarterstaff (+1, 4d6N). Being one of only two females in a crew of bawdy pirates, her strong spirit and irreverent nature have served Soshie well. However, her fiery temper has placed Soshie in more than one dangerous situation. She is a top hand with the canvas work, and has absolutely no fear of heights.
Billy Jack Rupert: Human Male, 8 BODY, 7 CON, 5" Running, Gambling 12-, 1d6 Luck, Club (4d6N). This old sea hand has a club foot that limits his mobility somewhat. The crew tolerate old Jack because they consider him lucky. He is fond of games of chance and risky actions. Billy has a small pet monkey that he often carries on his shoulder.
Bristol Burns: Human Male, 16 STR, 11 BODY, 8 CON, 13 PRE, Acting 12-, Seduction 12-, Susceptibility (Uncommon, 1d6/turn), FAM w/ Bows, Heavy Bow (1+1/2d6K) w/ 20 Arrows. A tall, cocky fellow with a flair for the dramatic, Bristol is notable for his finery and a heavy moustache. He is a solid, muscular man, although a lung ailment limits his endurance and sends him into coughing spasms during heavy exertion.
Charlie Beeson: Human Male, 6 INT, 14 STR, 11 BODY, Mimicry 12-, Lim: Sadistic, Broad Sword (+1, 1d6+1K). A sadistic brute with the common sense of a child, Charlie requires constant attention to prevent stupid errors. He particularly enjoys performing cruel tricks on helpless animals and lubbers, and has carefully honed his ability to mimic for this purpose. Kurk Cogwing: Human Male, 14 DEX, 10 BODY, Climbing 12-, Sleight of Hand 12-, Stealth 13-, +1 OCV w/ Short Sword, Lim: Hatred of Ambrians, Leather Jack (3 DEF, 7-13), Short Sword (+1, 1d6K). A flamboyant adventurer whose only true love is gold, Kurk would be equally at home on land as a brigand. He has an intense hatred of Ambria and will seek out any from that land to slake his desire for revenge.
Salty Field: Human Male, 13 STR, 9 BODY, 15 CON, Bribery 11-, Concealment 12-, +1 w/ Unarmed Combat, Leather Helm (2 DEF, 3-4), War Hammer (-1, 1d6+1K, 1.5h). A rotund man with a cruel sense of humor, Orden is the leader of this group and enjoys ordering his men to perform meaningless tasks. He particularly enjoys eating raw meat and finds others reactions to this habit most amusing. Charity Heart: Human Female, 13 STR, 10 BODY, 15 CON, Acting 12-, Conversation 11-, Disguise 11-, +1 w/ Swords, Short Sword (+1, 1d6K). A pretty though coarse and uncultured woman, Charity has occasionally been employed by the Captain as a spy, a task at which she excels. Oddly, the two women on board the ship have developed a strong dislike for each other, and they have sometimes come to blows.
Briney Tipps: Human Male, 14 BODY, Survival 11-, FAM w/ Javelins, PS: Whaling, 2 Medium Spears (-1, 1+1/2d6K, 1.5h). Once a successful whaler, Briney is a tough, veteran seaman with a taste for danger. He is an exceedingly gloomy individual - always expecting the worse possible outcome - and has never been known to smile even from cruelty. Ben Crow: Human Male, 10 BODY, Climbing 11-, Conversation 12-, Concealment 11-, FAM w/ Sling, Sling (-1 RMod, 1d6K, +1 STUNx), Knife (+1, 1/2d6K). A jovial cove who is much appreciated on board the ship, Ben seems little like a pirate. Nevertheless, Ben greatly enjoys the life of a sea raider, especially when stealing from fat, rich, and lazy city merchants.
During the daylight hours, only Shega, Dirk, and Erin's groups are awake and available to guard both entrances plus the Lady Landwurt and her Hand Maiden. At best it will require several minutes to fully rouse the remaining pirates, giving the heroes the opportunity to take out the defenders piecemeal. Nevertheless, these are steep odds for the characters, and their first attack may well fail with some losses. If severely pressed, the pirates will fall back to cavern C, where they will build a barricade with the various barrels and sea chests.
Should the characters be driven away from the base of the Unearthing Rite, this is an opportunity for some amusing role-playing by the GM. The lusty pirates, much cheered by the hasty retreat of the characters, will hurl all manner of well-chosen insults toward their fleeing foes. These will include bawdy references to improper parentage; comparisons to domesticated animals or unpleasant diseases; mention of inadequate or missing body parts; bold assertions about their lack of character; exaggerations about certain bodily odors and functions; and so on. The heroes will also be bombarded by pieces of garbage, which will only add to their humiliation and should fuel the desire for a rematch.
Once the pirate leaders realize their location has been discovered by the villagers, they will react accordingly. If the ship is still secure, the Mate will first row out to consult with his Captain. The most likely plan of action will be to send a strong raiding party into the village to capture the Lord as a hostage. This raid will consist of Shega and Dirk's groups, led by the Mate. If this raid fails in its mission, the pirates sow mischief by driving off all the horses, setting hovels ablaze, and generally acting like barbarians. Meanwhile, the Necromancer and eight of her animated corpses will patiently lie in wait along the return trail to ambush anybody trailing the raiders back to the caves.
The greatest fear of the pirates at this point is that a detachment of guards will be summoned from the town of Farnth to deal with the situation. Thus, the Mate will send a group of pirates out to watch the village lane and ambush anybody attempting to deliver a message. These groups will be switched once every four hours, and fully withdrawn at night. The pirates will also begin daytime offloading of the ship, greatly speeding up the process of getting the vessel off the bar.
Should the heroes manage to seize the ship, the priorities of the land- based pirates change and they will attempt to take the vessel back with a surprise assault. Since the long boat will only hold nine men at best, several trips to the sand bar will be required to form a strong boarding party. Alert guards on board the ship may detect the gathering force, especially if one of the observers has any form of night vision.
Meanwhile, the heroes could be planning a renewed attack on the cave system. Several villagers will be able to provide a general layout of the complex, as they played in the caves during their youth. The characters may also need allies from the local village in order to successfully storm the cave entrance. A feint from land followed by a seaborne attack is another alternative, and the battle-trained Lord would suggest this as a possible course of action if he is consulted.
If worse comes to worse, and the pirates are unable to take back their ship or drive off the attacks of the villagers, they will attempt to steal some of the fishing boats from the harbor and make for their homeland of Dornica. In doing so they will undoubtedly steal as much of the livestock and other staples as they can carry, plus whatever prizes of any worth they can find. They may even kidnap a few of the healthier villagers to sell as slaves in distant markets.
A. Land Opening
The opening to the caves is a pit that drops down over two meters before a sloping pile of dirt joins a wide tunnel leading to cave E. Two crude wooden ladders are stored along this tunnel wall, allowing easy egress. The ground about the entry has several deep gulleys that provide good cover for staging an ambush. The pirates will always have two or three alert lookouts posted near this entrance, so they will be ready should anybody approach.
B. Entrance Cave
This cramped, sandstone cave is located just inside the land entrance, and is constantly manned by four to six of the pirates. However, the pirates are usually busy playing games of chance or napping on a stool, unless the Mate is on duty. From here, a short tunnel leads to the much larger cave C. A longer, smooth and winding tunnel leads downward toward the sea entrance in cave G.
C. Main Cavern
Normally the local base for the Unearthing Rite, this sizeable cavern has been adopted as the main sleeping quarters for the pirate crew. The bean-shaped cavern is some five meters in height near the land entrance tunnel, and slowly decreases in height and width until it reaches a second tunnel at the far end. This wide, smooth tunnel curves back on itself before leading down to cave G.
Sea chests and bed rolls have been laid around the perimeter. The chest contain clothing and other possessions of the pirates. In the center, planks have been laid across several empty barrels to serve as a dining table, with smaller barrels turned on their ends for stools. A lit oil lantern is left on the table at all hours to illuminate the area. Barrels of food stocks, including dried biscuit and salted meat and fish, have been stowed at the low end of the cavern. A clear pool on the back side of the curved cavern provides a source of drinking water.
At the high end of the cavern, a ledge some three meters above the floor provides additional storage area for ropes, four sheafs of arrows, a case of crossbow bolts, oil barrels, various gray robes, empty clay urns, bottles of embalming fluid, and other assundry tools and items belonging to the Unearthing Rite. A simple wood ladder leads up to the ledge from the main floor. Several small bats make their nest in the upper reaches of this cavern. These will usually leave at night via the entrance cave to eat fruit and bugs.
D. Prison Cave
This small, damp cave is being used to hold the Lady Langwurt and her Hand Maiden. The tunnel from this cave joins the winding passage from cave G, just before it joins cave B. Two guards from Salty's group are stationed in the Cave entrance tunnel at all times. The crew have been made very aware that the women must be delivered unharmed to the Citadel, and thus far they have remained safe from the bawdy pirates. If the cave complex is successfully assaulted from the outside, however, the noble woman will be used by the Mate to bargain for safe passage.
The bunks for the two women have been placed on a one meter high shelf that runs two thirds the way around the outside of the cave. A sea chest with some clothing for the women has been carried here, along with a washing bowl, a small barrel of drinking water with cup, and an oil lantern.
Sharena Langwurt: Female Human, 12 DEX, 14 INT, 17 EGO, FAM w/ Swords, Conversation 12-, High Society 13-, Paramedic 8-, Persuasion 11-, Riding 12-, KS: Weaving, PS: Embroidery, Lim: Strong Religious Convictions, Skill Enhancer: Well Connected, Perk: Well Off, Perk: Member of Nobility.
The Lady Langwurt is a strong-willed and intelligent young woman who is well regarded in the elite social circles of the Duchy. Her disappearance came at a most inopportune moment, as she was about to be married off to a member of the Royal Family. As a result, the politics of the Duchy have been thrown into turmoil, as was no doubt intended by her kidnappers.
While less than stunning in appearance, Sharena has been using her well-schooled social skills to good effect and has gained the grudging interest of the Mate. He visits the cave once or twice a day to check up on his guests, and usually stops to converse with the ladies. Sharena has been able to gain a few tidbits of information about the nature of the plot against the Duchy. In particular, she knows of the existence and approximate location of the Citadel within the Grey Bogs.
E. Crab Cavern
The smooth, winding tunnel between rooms B and G has a junction at the mid-point. One branch leads downward for about twenty meters before suddenly ending in a smooth bore hole. Careless individuals who do not watch their footing may suddenly find themselves sliding down this slick tunnel toward the bore hole. After losing a couple of men down this hole, the pirates have learned to avoid the opening.
The hole opening is somewhat narrow, so a successful Breakfall roll with a -1 penalty is sufficient for a character to catch the sides before falling down the smooth, vertical chimney. At the bottom is a rough cave that is home to a pair of Giant Crabs. (See the HERO Bestiary for stats.) The cave is roughly twenty meters wide and slides slowly beneath the waves before reaching an underwater opening into the ocean. The small cave beach is usually submerged, except at high tide.
F. Storage Cave
This small cave is connected to the end of cave G by a wide, bending tunnel. During extreme tides this cave can be submerged, so the bottom is covered in soft sand and some dry seaweed. At the moment this cave is serving as a store room for the smoked meat and miscellaneous supplies. Several barrels have been hauled inside, and the unused meat is slowly being stowed in the salt. Three barrels of brandy are also stacked against the wall, so the cave is constantly guarded by one of the pirate leaders.
G. Lower Cave
The low, wide entry from the sea entrance H leads to this oval, sand-chocked cave. Currently this serves as the sleeping quarters for the twenty pirates who serve as the late night crew. They sleep during the daylight hours and may require several turns to rouse during a fight. Their bed rolls are stowed behind a low wall of stacked crates and empty barrels near the far wall. A smooth, winding tunnel runs between here and cave B. The smaller passage at the opposite end leads to cave F.
H. Sea Entrance
The ship's long boat and a raft of barrels is beached at the sheltered sea entrance to the cave complex during the daytime. Smokey driftwood fires in two sand pits have been used to salt, smoke, and dry thin strips of the sheep and pig. These were the same livestock that were raided from the villagers. The entrance is not guarded on a regular basis, although there are usually several pirates relaxing on barrels along the shore during the daytime.
Act III - The Sand Bar
The Caravel "Alkax" is firmly grounded on a large sand bar, about 200 meters from the shoreline to the north of the village. At low tide the bar is firm enough to land upon and approach the vessel, but there are several shallow pools of quicksand. Most of these are less than one meter in depth, so they will merely pose an obstacle unless there is a pet or small character in the group. The sand bar is nearly completely submerged at high tide, making a ground approach to the Caravel more difficult.
The "Alkax" is an 80 ton Caravel that has been slightly modified for Privateering. It is a two-masted cargo vessel with lanteen-rigged sails, masts raked slightly forward, and prominent, sloping Foc'sle and Quarter Decks. A modest merchant ship in dimensions, its length is twenty one meters and the beam width is seven meters. The hull is wrapped in overlapping planking with reinforcing strakes, built to withstand heavy seas.
Due to the strong illusionary spell, the heavily patched sails appear dirty and ragged with age, and the rigging is frayed and hangs loose from the mast. The ship is canted at a slight angle due to the grounding on the sand bar, but the slope is not enough to affect footing on the deck. The "Alkax" is unadorned, save for an eye painted on either side of the bow.
Following the storm that grounded the "Alkax", the first action of the crew was to empty the barrels full of stones that were used for ballast in the bilge. This created a large pile of stones that will be noticed by anybody moving around the bow of ship. Unfortunately for the crew, emptying the ballast and hauling with the long boat were insufficient to release the Caravel. The barrels have since been strapped together to serve as a raft.
During the hours between night fall and first light, a longboat will land close to the Caravel, and a crew of four to five pirates arrive to offload crates from the ship. While the long boat was not designed to serve as a lighter, the crates can be tied to a raft of barrels that the crew can tow to the cave. There is barely enough time to make four round trips from the cave before first light, so the pirates can offload sixteen crates per day. As there are a total of one hundred and fifty crates remaining on board, it requires nearly the full ten days to complete the task. By the end of that time, the tides will be more favorable for floating the ship.
If the heroes land on the sand bar in the early morning before the next high tide, a cursory search of the bar near the ship will reveal the multitude of prints from the landings on the previous night. A successful Tracking Skill roll will identify five distinct bare human prints travelling from the Caravel and back. The prints are deeper and travel in pairs on the return trip, indicating that a load was being carried between two people.
The decks of the Caravel are being patrolled by ten skeletons, all wearing heavily frayed sailor's garb, and armed with cutlass, belaying pins, and boarding pikes. They will watch the adventurers land on the bar and approach, but make no move to attack until the party attempts to board the ship. Upon doing so, they will immediately close on the first person coming up the side. There is no organization to this action, however, and the skeletons are easily deceived into concentrating their attack on the first boarder.
The only crewmen aboard the ship are the Captain, the Necromancer, and four of the pirate hands. Initially they will ignore any attacks against the skeletons, believing it to be more villagers attempting to salvage the ship. If most of the skeletons are cut down, however, the crew will immediately storm the party in a no-holds-barred contest. Since they are very familiar with the ship layout, some of the pirates can attack from surprising directions and they may catch the heroes off guard.
Pearl "Sticky" Skinner: Human Male, 9 BODY, KS: Sea Chanties, FAM w/ Bow, Medium Bow (1d6+1K) w/ 24 Arrows, Small Mace (1d6K). A short, swarthy-fleshed man with a balding head and bushy sideburns. Pearl is an accomplished singer and enjoys regaling his mates with bawdy sea chanties. Celt O'Brien: Human Male, 15 STR, 12 BODY, +5 PRE when Screaming, Climbing 11-, +1 w/ Hand-to-Hand, 3x Francisca (1+1/2d6K). A rude, northern barbarian, Celt always wears a kilt and blue body paint. In the manner of his tribesmen, he erupts with a ferocious scream before storming into a fight.
John Wrightson: Human Male, 12 STR, 10 BODY, Climbing 11-, PS: Carpenter, FAM w/ Crossbow, Light Crossbow (+1 RMod, 1d6+1K) w/ 20 Bolts, Club (4d6N). John is the ship's only true carpenter, so he is much valued by the Captain. Nevertheless, he is a typical rude and unkempt pirate with little interest in anything besides gold.
Darvey Stallon: Dwarf Male, 13 STR, 14 CON, 13 BODY, Mechanics 11-, Lim: Hates Elves, +1 w/ Axes, Battle Axe (-1, 2d6-1K, 1.5h). A murderous mountain Dwarf that was banished from his homeland, Darvey lived for a time as a brigand before joining the ship. Due to his short stature, Darvey can use his axe below decks without penalty.
If the heroes have bow weapons, they can attempt to pick off the skeletons one at a time, although targeting is more difficult due to obstacles and steady movement. Once the crew joins the fight, however, the characters will have a more difficult time of it since the pirates will be able to fire down on them from the Foc'sle. The Necromancer will also be more effective in this situation, since he can use his ranged spells.
Should the contest go poorly for the pirates - especially if they have lost the Captain or Necromancer - they will withdraw into the lower decks where they can better fight at the poor odds. This will usually occur when they have lost half their number without comparable losses on the part of the heroes. At this point the pirates will immediately wave a parley flag and ask for quarter. The conditions are that they be allowed to leave the ship with their hand weapons and wait until nightfall for their pickup. Should quarter be acceptable to the heroes, then the pirates will leave for the sea cave during the night. Naturally, should they believe they can take back the ship with greater numbers, then they will perform a surprise attack several days later.
If the pirates in the cave have been defeated, the crew on board the ship may be wondering what happened to their mates. After two days the Necromancer will be growing concerned and will use her powers to animate as many of the remaining corpses as his strength will allow. These will form a small reserve which the Necromancer will keep hidden under the bay closest to the ship. The crates will be dumped overboard to lighten the load in preparation for the upcoming high tide.
The reserve of corpses beneath the bay will attract a large number of small predators which will gradually gnaw on the remaining flesh and leave the corpses as bare skeletons. These skeletons will be unarmed, so they pose less of a threat to the adventurers than the skeletons on board. However, if they are introduced during the boarding attempt, they can still tip the scales in favor of the pirates.
Listed below are descriptions for the various parts of the ship, in order from top to bottom. Below decks the quarters are particularly dark and cramped, with little air circulation and various unpleasant odors. Fighting under these conditions is handicapped, save for close melee with smaller weapons. Large or unwieldy weapons should receive a combat penalty from -1 to -3, depending on their size and usage.
Somewhere within the hull the characters will encounter the Smokey, the ship's feral cat. (See the HERO Bestiary for stats on the Domestic Cat.) Smokey has been existing on scraps of stolen food plus the occasional scrawny rat.
A. Crow's Nest
Mounted high on the main mast is the Crow's Nest, a wooden platform that can be used as an observation tower. For protection from the elements, the nest is surrounded by a rail and a canvas screen. The nest will remain unmanned until the presence of the pirates on board is discovered. Entry to the nest can be gained by climbing rope ladders and passing through the Lubbers Hole.
B. Quarter Deck
Mounted in the center of the rectangular quarter deck is a short pole with the handsome figure of a sitting wolf carved into the top. This pole apparently serves as a stanchion to hold the relieving tackle that is still attached to the whipstaff. (The whipstaff being the long tiller that controls the rudder on the starboard side.) Hanging from the front of this pole is a brass lamp and a small cabinet containing a sand glass and a bullocks horn. At the back of the Quarter Deck is a false poop deck, providing shade from the sun.
This overhanging, triangular deck is designed for use by archers. The height advantage and the partial cover provided by the rail and the sloping deck provide an excellent location for using such missile fire against boarding parties.
The room beneath the forecastle apparently serves as the crew's sleeping quarters, as double rows of hammocks have been rolled up and tied to the walls. In the center, hung between two bits, stands a horizontal windlass with an anchor cable running through the hawsehole. This hole is normally plugged by a hawse bag, but it currently stands open. At the fore is a door leading to the head and the bowsprit.
D. Main Deck
Just aft of midship on this deck stands the main mast. Rope ladders to either side of the mast climb up to the crow's nest. A storm lantern hangs from a hook on the front of this mast, and currently glows with an eerie green light as a result of the illusion spell. Forward of the mast, on either side of the deck, are windlass pumps with buckets. In front of the mast is a raised, double-winged grill that covers the cargo hold opening. A horizontal capstan, in combination with a block and tackle suspended between the masts, is used to raise or lower the cargo.
From fore and aft, narrow companionways lead down to doors into the lower deck. Open wood steps lead up to the Foc'sle and Quarter decks, with the space underneath the stairs used for the stowage of boarding planks, worn ropes, large wicker shields, and heavy weather canvas. (The wicker shields can be used by the crew as protection from missiles fired by the heroes. They function as +3 DCV shields versus missiles, but will crumble against heavier melee weapons.) The foremast forms part of the Foc'sle, and from here a single rope ladder runs up the mast.
E. Captain's Quarters
Located on the starboard side, this small but handsomely-decorated cabin is the Captain's quarters. The majority of this small cabin is occupied by the bunk. Three shuttered windows provide a view of the surrounding waters. A polished brass Astrolabe, the prize from some past capture, is hung prominently from the inner wall. Also hanging from the wall is an extra sword and scabbard, foul-weather gear, an oil painting of a Lord, and two tri-cornered hats.
Drawers beneath the bunk contain most of the Captain's clothing and personal possessions, including captured finery; long leather boots; wide belts; and books on navigating the western shores, great sea battles, provisioning ships, and an illustrated guide to swordsmanship. At the back of the cabin is an exquisite sea chest with multiple drawers containing 21 pieces of gold, several strings of pearls, a fine emerald clasp, two silver bracelets, a fine hand mirror, several gold earrings, and a shark's tooth necklace.
F. Mate's Quarters
This small cabin on the port side is normally the quarters for the First Mate. However, Ohra Ghulard has been using this room for her activities. As a result, the place has a most unpleasant odor, and is decorated with necromantic oddities. Most of the narrow room is occupied by a bunk. There is also a foot locker containing most of Ohra's garb and some personal possessions, but nothing of significant value or interest. However, a hidden panel behind the bunk is used to keep Ohra's operating funds safe from the pirates. It currently contains 128 silvers in a leather pouch.
Rows of slotted shelves along the outer wall contain coastal navigation maps, many little more than rough sketches. These have either been purchased in Port Regency or stolen during pirate raids. A small wood table will unhook and fold down from this wall, turning the quarters into a chart room. Three shuttered windows on the outside provide illumination.
G. Bosun's Stores
Located at the closed, triangular area in the bow of the lower deck is the Bosun's Stores. This dark room serves as a storage area for supplies needed to operate the ship. In the niche before the door stands the scuttle butt, a water-filled barrel with a dipping spoon. On a ledge beside the door is a tallow-dip lamp that is usually kept lit.
Hung from pegs along the walls is a variety of ropes for different rigging, plus hemp rope, rope yarn, and frayed oakum ends. Stacked in bundles along the sides are spare sheets, materials and tools for patching tears in the fabric, and the customary black pirate pennants to signal no quarter given. The room also contains pulleys, buckets, stiff-bristled brooms, holystones, sounding leads, grease pots, barrels and pots of pitch, boxes of resin, tallow for lamps, oil jugs, oakum strips, boxes of scupper nails, lead sheets for sealing leaks, crates of fire wood for the stove, and fishing line and hooks on hand frames.
Shelves along the inner wall contain a collection of poorly maintained carpenter's tools, including a hatchet, reaming iron, calipers, brace and bits, pincers, auger, hand saws, cauling iron, draw knife, chisels, adze, gouges, mallet, sledge hammer, crowbar, and several common hammers. Several of these tools will serve as weapons in a pinch.
This busy room is obviously the galley. The sides and back are lined with fenced shelves choked with all manner of pots, kettles, tankards, glasses, bowls, dishes, and cutlery. The center is occupied by a copper-plated work bench covered by some chopped food bits, two cutting knives, and slop. Beneath the bench is a bowl of slush, bottles of garlic and olive oil, and a portable iron firebox that can be carried on deck to cook food.
I. Food Storage
Opposite the galley is the food storage locker. This unlit, shelf-lined larder is used to store food supplies during the summer raiding period. Although much of the ship's stock has been off loaded, there are still a respectable number of such containers present.
Inside can be found sacks of hard biscuit and rice; a canvas bag of smoked bacon hanging from the ceiling; casks of salted meat, flour, and fish; bags of chick peas and lentils; a jar of honey; sacks of rice; a box of almonds, a barrel of pigs bones; earthenware jugs of wine and vinegar; hard cheese wrapped in canvas; and jars of raisins and sweetmeat. However, some of the food supplies are wormy and rancid. There are also several small barrels of fresh water, two of which have been unknowingly fouled.
J. Aft Quarters
This room at the aft part of the ship has been cleared as sleeping quarters for additional pirate's crew. Most of the hammocks have been bundled against the walls, but there are six hammocks strung from the ceiling. Low cabinets stand against the sides, containing the clothing and meager possessions of the reduced pirate crew. From here, stairs lead up to the main deck, a door opens to the armory. There are two port holes to port and starboard.
K. Port Storage
This small room is currently used for storing assundry souvenirs stolen by the pirates during their raids. There are many articles of clothing including finery, two somewhat battered oil paintings, a bronze vase, bottles of scented bath water, a five-ringed iron ornament, two matching marble statuettes of a rearing horse, a crate filled with assorted oddities, several candles in a box, and a heap of banners, broken mast heads, and other ornaments.
L. Starboard Storage
Another small storage room, primarily used as a brig for holding hostages. There are two hammocks, a bucket, and a dirty blanket hung from a peg. Currently the room is also being used to stow some fire wood.
Behind the aft quarters is a secondary storage room that has been converted into an armory for the crew. The weapon selection is somewhat limited as most of the land-based pirates have already armed themselves from this room. Nevertheless, there are several spears, a pair of spiked clubs, dozens of poor quality knives, two casting nets, several sheafs of low grade arrows, a broken shield, grappling hooks, and a bronze falchion which apparently once had several inset stones.
While the Necromancer is on board, the Mate has been making this tight space his private quarters. His hammock is stowed in the wall space, and a sea chest of his clothing and some personal artifacts still stands against the port side. The room is stuffy and barely illuminated by two small port holes.
N. Cargo Hold
The lowest portion of the ship serves as the hold, an area normally used for stowing cargo and ballast. At the moment, however, the hold is nearly empty, save for several stacks of the remaining crates of corpses. Besides the two masts, the hold is split by three stanchions that provide support for the lower deck. A rectangular opening between the hold and the main deck allows the cargo to be loaded and unloaded. A single companionway leads up to the lower deck, aft of the galley, while a ladder climbs to the main deck.
This narrow space between the hold and the ships hull is nearly completely flooded, as the pumps have not been manned since the grounding. A hatch in the floor of the hold allows access. The place is dark and damp, with a horrid smell caused by bad air and dumping of wastes. Nests along the sides are home to several packs of rats, all thin from starvation. While it is possible for a human to crawl through this space, there is little of interest.
The End of Episode 1
This setback for the pirates and the Unearthing Rite is only the beginning of the tale, as much greater dangers lie ahead. The young woman who was rescued from the cave will want to see her captors punished, and the resources of her father will soon be directed toward finding the hidden Citadel. The surviving heroes will undoubtedly be amply rewarded for their deeds and will be asked to serve in this new campaign. The events that follow, however, await another telling.
Appendix A - Leading Characters
While showing signs of his age at forty, the Lord is still a robust man and is capable of wielding his sword in a most respectable manner. His family has lived at this dwelling for seven generations, and they have saved the village from numerous troubles over the decades. While he devotes most of his time to seeing to the commerce and well-being of Saltham, Konrad considers himself something of a scholar and has been working on a book on the world of politics and intrigue within of Irolo. However, this work will not be published in his lifetime.
As a youth, Lord Dhiamus was brought into an arranged marriage with the Lady Lieserhan, and over the years the two have grown a strong affection for each other. The first two pregnancies of the Lady were stillborn, so their son was a source of great pleasure and pride to the couple. Now with his only heir slain, Konrad is deeply melancholic and is not easily stirred to investigate the surrounding events.
Once the Lord is made aware that the pirates in the sea cave are responsible for the death of his son, however, he will rouse out the village militia and expect the characters to aid his revenge. The village has little to offer the adventurers for their assistance, other than food and shelter, so a significant cut of the sack will be used as an inducement.
When preparing for combat, the Lord will don his Mail Hauberk and Gauntlets (6 DEF, 6-14), Iron Helm (8 DEF, 4-5), and leather riding boots (3 DEF, 15-18). He carries a Heater Shield (+2 DCV), a Hand Axe (1d6+1K) and a glowing blue magical Long Sword (+2, 2d6-1K) known as Ixeter. His light war horse Regorand, although aging somewhat, is still a valiant beast. (See HERO Bestiary for stats.)
STR 15, DEX 13, CON 12, BODY 11, INT 14, EGO 16, PRE 16, COM 12
PD 4, ED 3, SPD 3, REC 6, END 20, STUN 30
Owns Ixeter*, Owns Regorand, Owns Saltham Manor (40"x20", 2 BODY, 4 DEF), Perk: Member of Lower Nobility, Perk: Well-Off, Transport Familiarity: Horses, FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons, +3 w/ Swords,
Animal Handling 13-, Riding 13-, Paramedic 12-, Tactics 12-, Oratory 12-, High Society 12-, KS: Irolo Politics 13-,
KS: Code of Honor 11-, KS: History of famous deeds 11-, Literate w/ Local Language,
ES: Climbing, Concealment, Deduction, Conversation, Shadowing, Stealth 8- (ea)
AK: Duchy of Irolo, PS: Manorial Lord
Knight Package Bonus, Psych Lim: Follows Code of Honor, Psych Lim: Protective of Villagers, Age 40+, Reputation 8-, Professional Rival: Count Flavio
OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 5; Phases: 4, 8, 12
* See Appendix B for details.
As with others of her ilk, Ohra Ghulard shows the pale, thin, and cadaverous appearance of a Necromantic Adept. She is constantly surrounded by a dark and unpleasant aura which many people find uncomfortable and most animals instinctively fear. For this reason she is loath to ride a mount of any kind, although she will reluctantly drive a cart when the beasts have been hitched by another. Despite her calling, Ohra is not overtly sinister or otherwise foul. However, she does have a noticeable disdain for the living and much prefers the company of a corpse. She is fascinated by all aspects of death and will often pause to observe a newly fallen body as if to watch for the spirit leaving the corpse.
As an Adept and a leader of the Unearthing Rite, Ohra is much feared and respected by both the pirates and the tomb raiders. She is closely linked with Mortius Kalaner, and operates with his full authority in the field. Ohra is currently charged with bringing a further thousand corpses to the Citadel, a task for which she was granted a sizeable sum of silvers. The remainder of this sum is hidden in her quarters on board the "Alkax".
She wears the simple dark brown robes of an Adept, and carries a sturdy cudgel of hardwood carved in the form of a thigh bone. Most of her research material has been left behind in her study within the Citadel of the Dead. On her right hand is a light-blue crystal ring that magically allows Ohra to breath underwater and survive crushing depths. If all else fails, she will use this ring to escape into the ocean with her remaining undead.
Memorized Spells: Animate Dead, Chilling Gaze, Control Undead, Create Lesser Undead, Death Form*, Detect Magic, Sleep of the Dead, Undead Aura*.
STR 9, DEX 12, CON 8, BODY 12, INT 19, EGO 12, PRE 18, COM 8
PD 2, ED 3, SPD 3, REC 7, END 26, STUN 20
Magic Power Pool (45 points), Ring of Underwater Breathing*, Magic Skill 16- , +1 w/ Chilling Gaze, Control Undead, and Create Lesser Undead 17-, Spell Research 13-, Concealment 13-, Deduction 13-, Embalming 13-, Paramedic 13-, Disguise 11-, Stealth 11-, Weapon Familiarity: Clubs, Transport Familiarity: Cart, KS: The Undead 12-, KS: Tombs and Graves 11-, KS: Chiromancy 11-, PS: Embalmer 11-, PS: Bookbinding 11-, AK: Gulf of Opals region
Perk: Unearthing Rite Leader, Linguist, Language: Necromantic, Language: Maldric, Language: Dornican,
ES: Climbing, Conversation, Shadowing 8- ea
Necromancer Package Bonus, Major Magic Restrictions, Distinctive Features (Not Concealable, Major reaction by Sensitives), Disdain for the living, Hatred of All Priests (Uncommon, Strong), Curse: x1.5 Vulnerability to Holy Objects (Uncommon)
OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 4; Phases: 4, 8, 12
* See Appendix B for details.
Captain Ingel Piraster is a short, stocky man, with a swarthy flesh that has been heavily weathered from many years at sea. His thick, greasy black hair is tied back in a sailor's tail, and he sports a hairy, unkempt beard. Ingel's demeanor is usually dour, save whilst in the company of the fairer sex.
A mercenary pirate, the Captain owns and commands the Caravel "Alkax". In the past he has served as a privateer, coastal raider, smuggler, courier, and even a legitimate trader. Ruthless and greedy, he drives a hard bargain for his services, but is ultimately loyal to his small crew. He is currently under hire to the grisly Unearthing Rite, and carries their boxed corpses to the Citadel of the Dead in the Grey Bogs.
Ingel favors a well-sharpened Cutlass in a fight, and he wears a tri-corner hat, leather jerkin, heavy canvas breeches, and a pair of tough shark-skin boots.
STR 16, DEX 12, CON 18, BODY 13, INT 12, EGO 14, PRE 15, COM 8
PD 4, ED 4, SPD 3, REC 7, END 36, STUN 32
Perk: Owns the Caravel "Alkax", FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons, +1 w/ Hand-to-Hand, +2 OCV w/ Cutlass, Transport Familiarity: Boats, Seamanship 13-, Trading 12-, Combat Driving: Boats 11-, Navigation 11-, Concealment 11-, Tactics 11-, Persuasion 12-, Bribery 12-, Climbing 11-, Riding 11-, FAM: Forgery, Interrogation 8-
ES: Conversation, Deduction, Shadowing, Stealth 8-
AK: Western Shores, Language: Dornican (Fluent), PS: Ship Captain, KS: Sailing Procedures 11-, AK: Dornica 8-
AK: Ports of Call 11-, AK: Oceans 11-, Swimming: +2" (4" total)
Sailor Package Bonus, Wanted for Piracy 11- (More Powerful, Extensive NCI, Kill), Never considers future, Greedy (Common, Strong), Loyal to Crew (Common, Moderate)
OCV: 4; DCV: 4; ECV: 5; Phases: 4, 8, 12
A former sergeant in the Ulgrad light cavalry, Jordan was falsely accused of practicing the dark arts and was forced to flee. While at sea, his vessel was accosted by the Caravel "Alkax", and Jordan used this opportunity to jump ship. While it took some doing to earn the Captain's trust, in time he became a noted accomplice of the privateer.
While lacking Captain Piraster's experience, Jordan has proven a quick study and has become an accomplished sailor in only a few years. He has earned the respect of the shipboard pirates for his fearless and daring boarding actions. Jordan Tiriol is easily the most accomplished fighter among the crew, an honor that has cost several rivals their lives.
Despite his years at sea, Jordan retains a fair complexion and a heavily freckled face and shoulders. His hair is fiery red, a distinction that has earned Jordan the nickname "Bloody Jo". He retains the sleek, muscular physique from his Darian cavalry days, although he now favors the Falchion and buckler in combat. He wears only a loose shirt, leather jacket, tights, and boots for protection.
Despite the crime for which he was falsely accused, Jordan retains the superstitious nature of his former countrymen and almost instinctively dislikes Magi of all stripes. The work for the Unearthing Rite has been a particularly trying time for Jordan, and he has a strong resentment of Ohra's presence on the ship. Fortunately, the Captain has seen the wisdom of separating the two and Jordan has taken command of the pirate band at the sea caves.
STR 14 DEX 14 CON 12 BODY 14 INT 11 EGO 12 PRE 13 COM 13
PD 5 ED 4 SPD 3 REC 6 END 24 STUN 32
Defense Maneuver, FAM w/ Common Melee Weapons, FAM w/ Common Missile Weapons, +2 w/ Hand-to-Hand, +2 w/ Swords, +1 OCV w/ Bow, Transport Familiarity: Boats, Transport Familiarity: Horse, Riding 14-, Tactics 12-, Seamanship 11-, Tracking 11-, Breakfall 12-, Climbing 12-, Navigation 11-, Paramedic 11-, Oratory 12-
ES: Concealment, Conversation, Deduction, Shadowing, Stealth 8-
KS: Famous Military Strategies 11-, KS: Military Procedures 11-, KS: Sailing Procedures 11-, AK: Western Shores,
AK: Daria, AK: Ports of Call 11-, AK Oceans 11-, PS: First Mate, Swimming: +2" (4" total)
Leader Package Bonus, Wanted for Piracy 8- (More Powerful, Extensive NCI, Kill), Obeys Orders, Dislike of Magi (Common, Moderate), Reputation 8-
OCV: 5; DCV: 5; ECV: 4; Phases: 4, 8, 12
Appendix B - Spells and Magic Items
Death Form College of Necromancy
This spell allows the Necromancer to assume the form of any undead being he has observed. However, the Necromancer does not gain any of the special abilities of the new form. When combined with the Simulate Death ability, this allows the Necromancer to appear to be a long-dead corpse.
Power: Shape Shift, Any Undead
Modifiers: Incantations (-1/4), Character must have at least 30 points in spells from Necromancy College (-3/4), Requires Magic Skill Roll (-1/2), OAF - rotting flesh (-1), Limitation: does not work in bright sunlight (-1/4), Limitation: does not work on ground sanctified to a "good" religion (-1/4), Side Effects (2d6 Cumulative Minor
Transformation: caster ages five years) (-1/2).
Active Cost = 20 points. END Cost: 2; Magic Roll: -2; Casting Time: 1/2 phase. Real Cost: 4.
Undead Aura College of Necromancy
Upon casting this spell, the target gains a faint green aura that gives him an especially commanding presence among undead creatures. Even the most powerful undead beings will seek to placate the empowered being. Maintaining this spell for several phases can increase the target's PRE versus undead by a maximum of +30.
Power: 3d6 Aid to PRE, Maximum +30 PRE
Modifiers: Lose 5/minute (+1/4); Only versus Undead (-1), Incantations (-1/4), Requires Magic Skill Roll (-1/2), Character must have at least 20 points in spells from Necromancy College (-1/2), Limitation: does not work in bright sunlight (-1/4), Limitation: does not work on ground sanctified to a "good" religion (-1/4), OIF - ashes (-1/2), Side Effects (2d6 Cumulative Minor Transformation: caster ages five years) (-1/2).
Active Cost = 34 points., END Cost: 3; Magic Roll: -3; Casting Time: 1/2 phase. Real Cost: 7.
Ring of Underwater Breathing
This deep blue crystal ring has been exquisitely carved in a subtle wave pattern. Veins of lighter white run through the ring, and have been merged into the pattern to form white caps. On the inner surface of the ring is carved the mysterious message, "Calm the depths of solitude". When placed on a finger, the ring magically changes size to fit then begins to glow with a pale blue light. When the ring owner enters a body of water, he is able to inhale the surrounding liquid much like a fish. He can also survive the freezing temperatures of the northern waters, and the crushing pressures at the bottom.
Life Support: Breath Underwater, Life Support: Immune to Cold, Only from cold water (-1/2), Life Support: High Pressure, Only from deep water (-1/2), Combined: OIF - Ring (-1/2), Independent (-2).
Active Cost: 11; Real Cost: 3.
A fine sword for a knight, the Ixeter has been a family heirloom of the Dhiamus lineage for seven generations. The original sword was enchanted by a little known Magi called Hydonius, and has since been well marked with the heroic family deeds. The long, double-sided blade bears an exquisite sheen that is impossible to tarnish, and glows with an eerie blue light whenever it is wielded by a member of the Dhiamus line. This magic has been used to prove the true family lineage each generation.
2d6-1 HKA, Has 11 STR Minimum (-1), +2 w/ Ixeter, Defense Maneuver, Images to Sight, Trigger (Wielded by Dhiamus lineage) (+1/4), 0 END (+1/2), Only blue glow (-1/2), Sense Touch of Dhiamus Lineage, Only for use by trigger (-1) Combined: OAF - Ixeter (-1), Independent (-2).
Active Cost: 58; Real Cost: 12.
Appendix C - Weather Conditions
To determine the weather, roll two six-sided dice and consult the appropriate column on the table below. The resulting number indicates the weather condition for the day as listed on the second table. The letter determines the weather condition column to be used for the following day.
Determine the actual weather conditions from the following list. The weather type can have significant effects on ranged attacks, perception rolls, and seamanship. Severe weather can also increase long term endurance rates, and limit certain colleges of magic.
1. Uncomfortably hot and dry, with no wind and clear skies.
2. Hot and dry, with clear skies and no wind.
3. Hot and dry, with mostly clear skies and a slight breeze.
4. Dry and clear with a strong, shifting wind throughout the day.
5. Comfortable temperatures with clear skies and a mild breeze.
6. A light morning breeze which dies off by noon, leaving clear skies.
7. Warm and clear, with a slight breeze that picks up during the day.
8. Warm with light clouds and a cooling breeze.
9. A light morning fog followed by clear skies and a gentle breeze.
10. An early morning fog followed by partially overcast skies and increasing winds.
11. Heavy fog that lasts until the afternoon, followed by lightly overcast skies and a moderate breeze.
12. Light showers in the morning, followed by partially overcast skies with a swirling wind.
13. Moderate winds that pick up during the day, accompanied by mostly overcast skies.
14. Strong winds blowing in from the ocean with partially overcast skies.
15. Low hanging clouds with a stiff wind and occasional showers.
16. Overcast skies accompanied by a squall that brings up white tops.
17. Mostly overcast with light winds and rain.
18. Overcast skies and steady drizzle throughout the day, with mild, shifting winds.
19. Heavily overcast skies with swirling winds and intermittent rains.
20. Steady rain and moderate winds throughout the day.
21. Moderate winds and steady downpour building to an evening storm.
22. Stormy conditions at night, gradually calming to steady rain during the day.
23. Varying weather conditions with strong wind and rains.
24. Heavy thunderstorm at mid-day, followed by heavy, driving rain.
25. Severe stormy weather with strong winds and rain.