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Rescue From The Scarlet Mark
Author: Alan Jones
System: AD&D 2nd Edition
Requirements: 4 to 6 PCs of levels 5 to 7
PC’s are hired to rescue the hirer’s husband from the slaver vessel ‘The Scarlet Mark’. The adventure is set entirely aboard the ship. It can be set in any large seaport in any campaign setting. It is suitable for 4 to 6 PCs of levels 5 to 7. Strategy and tactics are needed if the PC’s are to avoid capture or death.
The city of Tameronikas has a large sheltered harbour and is the capital of the province of Nicostenia in Ylaruam. It is a cosmopolitan city with a population of about four thousand. Trade is carried out with many other nations. Silk, velvet, satin, linen, brocade, fine cloth, porcelain, precious woods, lamps and paper are common imports. Exports include carpets, weapons, fine jewellery, perfumes, horses and precious metals. Another less savoury trade is that in slaves. The emir knows it goes on and does what he can to stop it but the profits are high.
The PCs may already have a reputation for bravery and honour after carrying out other good deeds in the city. The PCs are approached by a Ylari woman of late middle age, swathed in long flowing sea-green robes. After furtively looking over her shoulder she will kneel and grab the hem of the largest of the PCs.
“Oh sir, in Al-Kalim’s name, please help me.” she pleads. “My husband and I were walking home from the market last night when we were attacked by a pair of slavers. Urabi held them up for long enough to let me get away, Al-Kalim be praised! I hid in the shadows as they bound him and carried him away to a small boat which they rowed out to a larger ship out in the harbour. I returned home to my sisters and told them what had happened. They told me that other men had been taken like this and that the Caliph, Al-Kalim protect him, hasn’t been able to do anything about it. He has extra guards on duty, but this is a big city and there are too many strangers.” She looks up at the PCs with large, moist, brown eyes. “Please help me.”
If the PCs agree to help then she will guide them to the harbour and point out a largish ship moored near the mouth of the harbour. If the PCs refuse she will sob loudly and move on to another group of PCs in the travellers quarter.
The Adventure Description
The Harbour Side
During the day the harbour is a bustling port. People are moving around intent on their own business only noticing the PCs if they happen to get in their way. If that happens a quick curse or a glare is all that occurs, fighting takes to much time and there are guards around to stop any such events. There are a wide range of peoples here. Olive skinned traders from Darokin, blond sailors from the Northern Realms, a few dwarven shipwrights from Rockholme and a few elven merchants. Dominating all others though are the dark-skinned Ylari people. Merchants and bureaucrats in rich brocaded robes. Tall, lithe guards with oiled skin and long curved blades walking beside their charges, eyes alert for any trouble. Sweating workers running back and forth from boat to quay and back again with heavy sacks and chests. Smells of spices and perfumes, fish and tar fill the air. Quay side stalls sell spicy pastries, chunks of fish on thin sticks, fruit and iced drinks their owners loudly hawking their wares. A number of boats are riding at anchor out in the harbour. Some waiting clearance to unload, some waiting for the tides to be right while one flies a flag of quarantine.
“That’s the one.” Says Meera. “That is the one my husband was taken to.” She points with a ring bedecked hand at the ship flying the quarantine flag.
There is little or no chance of approaching the Scarlet Mark in the daytime. Guards patrol the deck and the ballistas are manned.
The harbour is quiet at night. Waves slop up against the piers and a cooling breeze sighs through rigging. Occasionally a group of sailors may return to their ship or a pair of the emir’s guards will march pass on duty.
If the PCs spend more than 30 minutes in the dock at night they will be challenged by the guards. If they can give a good reason for being there the guards will let them go (hunting slavers is a good reason).
If the PCs try and steal a rowing boat then there is a 25% chance that the boat’s owner will see them and call the guards.
If the PCs want to hire a boat from ship’s captain then after a brief haggle the captain will agree though he will try to drive a hard bargain.
There is a 10% chance that the PCs will see a pair of slavers attacking a lone sailor returning to his boat. The slavers will not attack the PC’s unless the PCs lay a trap for them. Even so there is only a 65% chance of this ploy succeeding. Use the statistics for two crew members for the press gang.
The Scarlet Mark
Seen from a distance the Scarlet Mark appears to be a standard trading barque, sturdy, well maintained with three masts. Presently it flies a flag of quarantine from its mizzen mast.
A closer inspection reveals that the ship is not in good condition. Its hull has not be caulked in some time, barnacles and boring worms infest the timbers. It’s sails are patched and encrusted with salt. Four small catapults (2 on the forecastle, 2 on the sterncastle ) appear to be its only armament. There are a number of guards on duty (PCs can see 6+2d6).
· Captain - Jeramiah Goss (L10 Thief)
· 1st Mate - Mallen Herod (L7 Magic User)
· Petronius Orf (L7 Cleric)
· Odus (L8 Fighter)
· Gark (L8 Fighter)
· Mullah (L8 Fighter)
· Guards - 14 With Leather Armour and cutlasses (L4 Thieves
· (+2 AC Dexterity, +1 Attack Strength)
· Crew - 20 Pirates
· 10 Leather + Cutlass,
· 6 Leather + Cutlass + Crossbow
· 4 Chain + Cutlass
During the day there will be 12 crew, 7 guards and 1 officer on deck.
At night there will be just 1 officer and 7 guards on deck, the captain, 1st mate and medic will always be in their cabins, as will the remaining 3 officers. If an alarm sounds it will take them 2 turns to pull on armour and get on deck.
1. The Captain’s Cabin
A bright airy cabin with an air of faded opulence about it. A large canopied four-poster bed stands to the right of the door, it’s red velvet curtains dusty and salt stained. A large oak table is under one of the many large windows opposite the bed. It is strewn with rolls of parchment. Two large sea chests are against the stern wall. Another large table with 4 chairs is to the left of the door. This has the remains of a meal upon it while a lantern hangs above it.
The captain will be here unless needed on deck.
The rolls of parchment on the desk are sea maps. There are ten, worth in total 575 gold pieces. In the desk are some blank sheets of parchment, a bottle of ink and a handful of quills.
In the chests are several changes of clothes, some of fine quality. Some pewter tableware a large iron ring with a number of rusty iron keys and a pouch which contains a number of gems (10 opals, 5 rubies, 1 piece of quartz, 2 pearls, 1 piece of polished amber and a piece of onyx).
2. The Surgery
A scored and bloodstained table stands under the window opposite the door. A bucket filled with blood stained water is under the table. On the wall is rack containing an assortment of knives, saws and hammers.
The surgeon will be in here 35% of the time during the day.
3. The Medicinal Store & Surgeon’s Room
A neatly made bed is under the window set into the stern wall. The room is clean and sweat smelling. There are a number of shelves on each wall containing flasks and vials.
The surgeon will be in here 35% of the time during the day.
Amongst the jars of medicinal herbs there are 2 potions of antidote, 3 potions of healing and 4 potions of super healing.
4. First Mate’s Cabin
A large cabin with a canopied bed, 2 large sea chests, a long bench and a desk. The large bench is stained and blackened while behind it is a rack containing a variety of tubes, beakers and vials. The desk has a single drawer. The top is clear except for a silver inkwell (worth 25sp) and a quill.
The first mate is here during the day and night, he rarely leaves his cabin.
The drawer is wizard locked and contains the mage’s spellbook.
Both chests are locked. In the first chest are a selection of clothes and bed linen. The second contains a potion of water breathing and a potion of poison.
5. Corridor & Storage Space
A large, hall like room with six doors leading from it. Large coils of thick, heavy, rope are neatly stacked between the doors in the eastern wall.
6. Open Deck
The large open main deck of the Scarlet Mark, shows signs of wear and tear. The rails are splintered in places and repairs have been poorly carried out. The hinges on the large hatch are rusty and the doors chipped and loose. There are stairs at each end of the ship that lead up to the fore and sterncastles and others that lead down into the lower decks. There are also two doors set into the east wall that leads to the senior officers’ quarters.
7. The Lounge
A once opulent room, now fallen on hard times. Several worn, padded chairs, a sturdy table and a sideboard are the only furnishings. On the sideboard are 3 crystal decanters each containing strong alcoholic drinks. (10 gold pieces each).
8. The Galley
This room is dominated by a large iron range on the west wall with its rusty smoke stack zigzagging through the ceiling. A cupboard and a table are the only other furnishings of note.
9. The Sterncastle
A large open area with a 3’ high wooden rail around the perimeter. Two catapults and the large ship’s wheel stand here.
10. The Forecastle
The forecastle is dominated by the capstan and the two catapults.
11. The Crew’s Quarters
There are at least 20 hammocks hung here each with a locker beneath the head of the hammock. It smells damp, salty and stale. There are no windows and the only light comes from four smoky oil lanterns.
There are usually twelve crew resting in here.
Searching the lockers takes time. In total there is 330 sp, a clay jar containing toenail clippings, a stick of sealing wax, 3 little white mice in a metal cage, a small wicker strainer filled with tea leaves and 3 1” diameter red wooden disks.
12. Guards Quarters
There are fourteen hammocks hung in here and a similar number of small wooden sea chests are neatly stacked against the walls. The air is thick with a musty smell of unwashed humanity.
There are usually 7 guards resting in here.
Searching the chests take time as each has a cheep lock (+20% to pick lock skill). In total there are 300gp, a brightly coloured gourd on a stick, a red stocking with a lump of coal in it, peal from a strange yellow fruit, a bone button with red thread in the holes, a head of garlic and a handful of black beans.
13 - 16. Officers’ Quarters.
These rooms are each lit by a single lantern hung from a central beam. The rooms each contain a plain rug that covers about a third of the bare planked floor, a hard bed, a table, a chair and a chest.
The chests contain:
14. Spare dress uniform, 4000cp, 3000ep a shed snake skin with out a head.
15. Spare clothes, bed linen, 6000cp, 3000sp and a snapped bow string.
16. Spare clothes, potion of antidote, 50’ rope.
17. Store Room
This room acts both as a store room and a stairwell. Several barrels, containing wine, salted pork, grain, rice, dried fish, lemons, pitch, nails etc. as well as coils of rope are neatly stacked out of the way of the stairs.
18. Slave Hold
The stench of sweat, stale air, dampness, fungus, unwashed people, fear and disease fills the air. As you enter the main cargo hold, the cargo moves, not far, as they are chained both to the walls and to each other. There are about forty men in various states of health in the hold which is barely a quarter full.
The keys from the captain’s cabin will unlock the locks on the chains. Most are too weak to climb out unaided. Urabi is one of the prisoners in the hold and is fitter than most. Some of the prisoners have been held here for several weeks and are in very poor health. Rats, mice and occasionally scorpions can be seen scuttling around the hold.
19. Store Room
This room acts both as a store room and a stairwell. Several barrels, containing wine, salted pork, grain, rice, dried fish, lemons, pitch, nails etc. as well as coils of rope are neatly stacked around the room.
Appendix 1 - Monster Statistics
Captain Goss - T10
AC 6 Thaco 13 HP 28
Bastard Sword (1d8+1), Short Bow +1(1d6 +1), Silver Dagger(1d4)
Mullen Herod - M7
AC 10 Tahco 18 HP 25
Dagger (1d4), Sling(1d4)
Gark - F8
AC 3 Thac0 12 HP 28
Short Sword +1 (1d6+4), Light X-Bow +1(1d6+1)
Petronius Orf - C7
AC 5 Thaco 18 HP 27
Odus - F8
AC 6 Thaco 14 HP 37
Hand Axe +1 (1d6+2,) Light X-Bow +1(1d6+1)
Mullah - F8
AC 5 Thaco 14 HP 37
Mace +1(1d6+2), Throwing Hammer +3 (1d4+4)
(14)Guards - T4
AC 5 Thaco 17 HP 11
(16)Pirate - F1
AC 7 Thaco 19 HP 3
Cutlass (1d6) Crossbow (1d6)
Appendix 2 - Treasure
Location Treasure Description GP Value
1 Maps 575
1 Gems 27160
3 Potions 0
4 Spellbook 0
4 Inkwell 2.5
7 Decanters 30
11 Coins 33
12 Coins 30
14 Coins 340
15 Coins 360
16 Potion 0
Appendix 3 - Story & Role Playing Bonuses
· Rescue Urabi 2000xp
· Healing & rescuing slaves 1000xp
· Returning slaves to city 1000xp
· Capturing Captain and handing over to city guard 1000xp
· For each Officer handed over 250xp