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Return to Treasure Island
Author: Simon Lee
System: d20 Dungeons and Dragons
Requirements: 4-6 characters of levels 4-6
On dark nights when the rain lashes at the shutters of The Spyglass Tavern and dogs howl in fear of the sea, old Elijah steps forward to tell his tale. He speaks of Balthazar Ash, a pirate who buried his treasure on a remote island and then sailed his ship out of human ken. With a swig on his bottle and a growl, Elijah cautions those who would seek the treasure of Balthazar Ash: "Ther is only one map that shows where the treasure is hid, and if ye is wise ye would stay away from buried riches. For it is said that the ghosts of men long dead haunt ther hoards, and none can pass such demons and live."
Graphic: Player's Map
Graphic: Dungeon Master's Map
Return to Treasure Island
By Simon Lee
Chapter 1: At the Sign of the Spyglass
The seaport of Oslir Bay. A fine place to ply your trade. An even better place to die. At the maritime crossroads of two nations, Oslir Bay plays host to wealthy sea barons and independent trading families who monopolise the better harbour bays and the finest inland accommodation. Oslir Bay also serves as refuge to crooked merchants, broken seamen and fugitives of all kinds. Naturally the city has a reputation of a place where fortunes can be made overnight, and lost almost as quickly. To its worm-holed tenements and steamy streets the city draws the young and old, the ambitious and the predatory. Among these are the group of characters who will soon undertake this adventure. At present they find themselves himself strapped for cash and lodging at the somewhat disreputable dockside Inn, The Spyglass. The 'Glass (as the old stone building is known to the regulars) plays host to a variety of seagoing men, from honest merchant traders to privateers, deserters and worse.
Among this garbage and riffraff the characters have been able to befriend a leathery seadog by the name of Elijah Fleckspittle. Elijah does little all day but drink copious quantities of rum and tell tales of his seafaring exploits. In exchange for a few bottles of grog, Elijah is more than willing to share his closest secrets with anyone in earshot. When playing Elijah, the game master should end every second sentence with fits of hacking and coughing. Also remember to "salt" the conversation with some choice oaths! If his drunken ramblings are be believed, Elijah had once served on the ship of the infamous pirate king Balthazar Ash, feared in many cities and upon all merchant vessels. Elijah maintains that he had been a crewmember on Ash's ship, The Screaming Banshee, on her last recorded voyage. On that journey the pirate king, in an orgy of destruction, had gutted five merchant ships and sunk three of the four marine vessels sent to destroy him. Mortally wounded, Ash buried his loot and abandoned his companions on a secluded island. Elijah and two companions managed to construct a crude raft and drifted at sea for five days before a passing vessel rescued them. What became of Balthazar and the Screaming Banshee remains a mystery. Elijah did, however, manage to draw a fairly accurate map of the island and surrounding waters. With a sly wink he pulls a dog-eared piece of parchment out of his belt pouch, briefly shows it to the characters and then replaces it in the pouch again.
While the characters are engaged with questioning Elijah about the parchment, the door to The Spyglass opens abruptly, scattering nearby patrons to the far corners of the room. Silhouetted in the open doorway is a tall, white-haired man dressed in hooded seaman's robes. He carries a long stick in his right hand, and a small ivory box in his left. As he moves into the common room, the characters will notice that he uses the stick to feel his way towards their table: the man is obviously completely blind. Observant characters will also notice a band of heavily armed, disreputable-looking privateers standing just outside the doorway.
As soon as Elijah sees the blind man, his entire demeanour changes. His face whitens, he clenches the sides of the table and mutters a phrase under his breath: " 'tis Blind Hugh. The time has come. Lord have mercy on my soul". The hooded stranger is indeed Blind Hugh, former shipmate of Elijah on the Screaming Banshee. Blind Hugh moves directly towards Elijah, his tapping cane the only sound in a room that has become suddenly quiet. When he reaches Elijah he pulls his hood back and smiles, revealing a row of rotting teeth and exhaling fetid breath over everyone seated at the table. After he has stared at all present with his hideously scarred eye sockets, the blind man speaks to Elijah, his voice rasping over a rum-stained tongue: "good day to ye Elijah. Are ye not glad to see your old shipmate Blind Hugh? I have brought ye a gift, Elijah. Something that ye have deserved for many a year now". Hugh opens the ivory box and scoops a small object into his left hand. The object is a Black spot (see statistics at the end of the adventure). Hugh can hold this damnable object for 1 minute before it activates. At the sight of the spot Elijah begins to shake and blubber uncontrollably. Blind Hugh continues: "...but perhaps ye would rather give me a gift, shipmate. Perhaps ye would give me the map we made on old Balthazar's island". Elijah begins to whimper, but he doesn't offer the map to Blind Hugh. Suddenly he leaps up from the table and makes a run for the back door. Blind Hugh was expecting exactly this, and hurls the object he is holding at the retreating sailor. The black spot strikes Elijah squarely in the back. The old seadog collapses to the ground, twitches once and then lies still. Blind Hugh gestures to the men at the door and wheezes: "find the map". If anyone has sprung to Elijah's aid by this time he adds: "kill the others".
Chapter 2: Blind Man's Bluff
While the bartender and the serving wenches take cover behind chairs and tables, chaos erupts in the common room of The Spyglass. Blind Hugh grovels on the floor and attempts to recover the map from dead Elijah's body. The brawny ruffians storm in through the open door and accost anyone who was seen to be drinking with Elijah. Most of the characters are likely to be involved in combat within a matter of seconds, and those who are not immediately engaged could reasonably introduce themselves by wading into the fray at any point. The game master should make this initial conflict as colourful as possible: tables being thrown over, bottles being flung around - a tavern brawl of significant proportions.
Blind Hugh's primary aim is to secure the map and then leave the bar as quickly as possible. One of the characters will probably try to get to the map before him, or to grab it from him once he has in his hands. As Hugh is sightless and there is a huge commotion going on around him, he is effectively without the means to orientate or defend himself. It should be fairly easy for any character to knock him over and snatch the map. If none of the characters think to grab the map, have Hugh stumble and drop the map as he is leaving the common room. It is important that one of the characters has the map at the conclusion of this little fracas. The remainder of the characters should get the upper hand over the ruffians within a few combat rounds. As soon as the ruffians realise that they are losing, they will break off combat and flee, dragging a kicking and screaming Hugh will them. As Hugh is manhandled out of the door the characters will hear him ranting: "Ye have not won yet, ye lubbery swabs! Blind Hugh will be back for his map, and for ye bodies a-dangling on the end of the hangman's noose!"
As the common room clears and the action subsides, the characters will hear the familiar sounds of the king's guards approaching. The characters should realise that they have very little chance of explaining everything to the authorities. Someone should suggest that they leave the area quickly and find a safe place to heal their wounds and study the map. If nobody thinks to leave in a hurry, the bartender reminds the characters that anyone suspected of bloodletting in the city of Oslir Bay is summarily imprisoned and sentenced to either lashings or amputation, or both. Characters of "dubious reputation" will know of any number of safe houses where the party can lay low for a few days. If they are still undecided as to whether they should leave The Spyglass or not, a troop of king's guards arrives, intent on arresting troublemakers. This should prompt the characters to quickly vanish into the night.
Chapter 3: The Open Sea
Once the proverbial dust has settled and the king's guards have retired to barracks, the characters will be able to emerge from their safe house and do a little bit of investigation. They will soon discover that Blind Hugh has not been idle. Wherever they go they will see that the authorities are on the lookout for a band of "ruthless cut-throats" who match their descriptions exactly. These "cut-throats" are wanted to answer for the murder of one Elijah Fleckspittle, retired seaman first class. This alone should encourage the characters to remain hidden for a few more days. If they insist on parading around the city, have them see a few "wanted dead or alive" posters that feature passable sketches of their own faces. If they consider going to the authorities to clear their names, remind them that their records are not exactly without blemish, and that the powers that be are unlikely to set any store by the testimony of suspected murderers.
If any of the characters enquire among their underworld contacts, they will quickly discover that Blind Hugh has also put out contracts on all their lives. They only way they are likely to avoid a nasty death is to leave the city for a good few months. Unfortunately, Hugh's bounty extends to the shipping lanes, and most crew (and ship captains, for that matter) would far rather turn the characters in than transport them anywhere. The characters should realise that they need to contact a reliable, private ship owner and leave the city on his vessel as soon as possible. If they dally in the city, or try too many harebrained schemes, the game master should have a few bounty hunters come after them. Initially this should be a mere annoyance factor (a few drunken warriors looking for some easy money), but as Blind Hugh raises the value of the contracts, the attacks should become a lot more serious (the exact nature of the attacks is left up to the game master's imagination).
Of course, the greatest incentive for the characters to leave Oslir Bay is contained in the map they obtained from poor dead Elijah. As soon as the characters indicate that they are studying the battered scroll closely, the game master should hand them a copy of the map diagram. The map clearly indicates the location of Balthazar Ash's buried treasure, as well as a few other areas of note in the remote archipelago where the treasure island is located. All the characters have compelling reasons to get their hands on Balthazar Ash's treasure hoard. This, together with the repeated attempts being made on their lives, should convince them that they need a ship and a star to sail her by (and a captain, a crew and other minor administrative requirements that adventurers never really concern themselves with). Discreet enquiry among the local seafarers will turn up the name of only one seafarer who is likely to provide what the characters require: a Captain Thomas Silver, better known as Long Tom Silver. Long Tom commands the merchant vessel The Magnola, although her present condition has resulted in many privateers referring to her as the "dirty holer". Nevertheless, Long Tom Silver and his boat is the only ready-to-sail outfit available at such short notice. Beggars (and fugitives from justice) cannot be choosers.
Characters approaching Long Tom will receive a guarded but friendly welcome. He will agree to meet them at a shady wharf side inn called the Old Captain's Arms. When the characters first encounter Long Tom, they will be impressed by his educated turn of phrase and his obviously vast nautical knowledge. (The game master could also punctuate Tom's speech with a few squawks from his “pet” parrot, Quince) Long Tom will indicate that he is happy to transport them to an undisclosed destination, provided they pay him half his dues before the voyage commences. He will quote 500 gold florins as his fee for the assignment (expensive, but not grossly so, given the nature of the undertaking). Long Tom will indicate that he could be ready to leave in one day, and that the characters should meet him at The Magnola at dawn of the following morning. He will then bid them good day, saying that he needs to buy in provisions and other essentials.
The characters may now regard their problems as something of the past. Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth. Long Tom Silver is undoubtedly a competent ship's captain, but not of the kind that the characters would have wanted. Long Tom has often been in contact with Blind Hugh, and is entirely aware of the characters' true destination. He has also gathered enough information from Hugh to know that the characters are in possession of Elijah's map. Long Tom bears an implacable grudge against Balthazar Ash, and nothing would please him better than to recover Ash's entire treasure hoard for himself. Of course, he is likely to keep the characters in the dark as long as possible. Once they are well out to sea, he will take the map, maroon his unfortunate passengers and claim the vast wealth of the treasure island for himself.
The following morning at dawn the characters will find The Magnola to be a cauldron of activity. Equipment and provisions are being crated aboard, and a contingent of swarthy, slant-eyed men (the gunnery crew) is loading cannonballs into a specially prepared section of the hold. The ship does appear somewhat run-down, but is clearly seaworthy and almost ready to sail. If the characters express an interest in the crew, describe them as hardened, salty veterans with an obvious relish for the seafarer's life. There are a total of 38 men (excluding Long Tom) who make up the crew of The Magnola. As soon as the characters have embarked, Long Tom will give the order to cast off and The Magnola will sail quietly out of the harbour of Oslir Bay.
According to the map the ship will have to sail for 3 days before entering the archipelago of islands where the treasure is buried. The game master should allow these days to pass fairly quickly. The weather is good, the wind is brisk and The Magnola makes good time towards her destination. The characters will not observe any strange behaviour from either the crew or the captain: everyone has already been briefed and they are waiting for Long Tom's signal before they do anything. The crew is as polite to the characters as circumstances require, but the do not answer any questions regarding their background, future plans, etc. Long Tom will be a little more open, regaling the characters with stories of his past exploits. He will not, however, mention his rivalry with Balthazar Ash, or his contacts with Blind Hugh.
At some point during these 3 days the ship is attacked by a sea serpent (see statistics section for more information on the serpent). The game master should decide on an appropriate time for this to happen. Although the serpent is powerful, it is no real match for the characters and a full crew of sailors. This encounter allows characters to enjoy a touch of high-paced action, as well as giving them some indication of how Long Tom and his crew function in a combat situation. If time is running short, the game master can ignore the sea serpent encounter.
The day after the serpent attack, and when the ship is roughly opposite the first islands of the archipelago, Long Tom springs his little surprise on the characters. He instructs the cook to drug their food and drink with a powerful soporific (make a Fortitude check vs. DC 15 or fall asleep for 3 hours). That night the characters' rooms are opened (Long Tom has spare keys), they are overpowered in their drugged sleep and securely trussed up with rope. They are then blindfolded and manhandled onto the deck. If the characters resist, they are clubbed unconscious and revived on deck by having salt water splashed in their faces. If the characters have taken elaborate precautions to prevent just such an attack, Long Tom will simply ask them to hand themselves over or face certain death. The characters should realise that they are no real match for 40-odd hardened pirates and a powerful mage. If the seem intent on fighting, run a few rounds of combat and have them overpowered by sheer numbers.
Once the characters are on deck, Long Tom removes the map and any other choice, easily portable items (clever characters will have made a copy of the map long before this, of course). He then informs the characters that their presence is no longer required on board, and that they are kindly requested to walk the plank off the side of the ship. To give emphasis to his words, the pirates begin to prod the characters towards the plank with various sharp implements. Note that the characters are bound and blindfolded: co-ordinated movement or spell casting is impossible. With the pirate jeering and cursing, the characters fall over the edge of the plank and splash into the sea.
Chapter 4: Here be Dragons
Once the ship has sailed a fair distance away, the characters can begin to think about rescuing themselves. This should not be as difficult as it seems. Any character can make a co-ordination check at difficulty 15 to escape from their waterlogged bonds. Certain magical abilities (e.g. shape change) will render the bonds useless in a matter of seconds, as will an Escape Artist check vs. DC 20. Once the characters are mobile, they can make use of whatever resources are at their disposal to ensure that they reach dry land. The closest island (marked "A" on the game master's map) is about 1 mile away. The characters are free to swim to other islands, but the distances involved are far greater (refer to the map). Remember that unless supported magically, characters will have to discard all heavy equipment (including armour) if they wish to swim for more than a few minutes. If they look to see where the ship is heading, the characters will observe that it is making directly for the island marked on Elijah's map (and marked "C" on the game master's map).
The game master should allow the characters a fair amount of time to agree on an appropriate course of action. If they decide to swim (or travel by other means) to more distant islands, refer to the game master's map for descriptions of the islands in question. Stress that the furthest islands (including the treasure island) are entirely beyond their means at present. If the characters make for the closest island (the most likely outcome) they will be able to reach a sandy shore within the hour. The island itself is quite small, supporting only a few clumps of vegetation among its rocky outcrops. The presence of trees does indicate that fresh water is to be found somewhere on the island. The characters can spend a few minutes exploring among the rocks before one of them finds a large cave entrance towards the centre of the island. Scattered around the mouth of the cave are relics from any number of seagoing craft: chests, boxes, scraps of sail, splintered masts, even the wheel and rudder of a large warship! Picking through this debris will not turn up anything of real value, however. If the characters think to ask, there are also no bones or personal items to be found here.
If anyone has been keeping watch on the cave entrance itself, they will be rewarded with seeing a large shape moving in the gloom just inside the cavern. A blast of steam will suddenly erupt from the cavern to a distance of some 20 feet (but will not strike any of the characters). This will be followed almost immediately by a loud bellow, which (if the characters are not already running at this point) suddenly switches to understandable phrases: "Ahoy me maties! It is a blustery day for salty seadogs to be a-sailing! Bring me some rum I say, and be damned with the rest!" If the characters remain around for a few more moments, or if they call out a reply to the speaker, they will see a huge reptilian head emerging from the cave. This is the front end of the dragon Ianum Oricalcum, better known as One-eyed Ori. The characters will immediately notice that this dragon is somewhat odd: he sports a huge black eyepatch over his right eye, and a pair of ship's lanterns worn as earrings. He has also collected a wide variety of colourful clothing that he has knotted to the scaly protrusions on his back. The explanation for all of this is that Ori has a desperate desire to be a pirate. He collects everything pirate-related that he can lay his clutches on, and even goes so far as to speak as if he were a crusty old buccaneer.
After having greeted the characters in proper buccaneer style, Ori will begin hurling insults of a very imaginative kind at them. Any seafarer can make a check vs. Memory to realise that this is an old pirate game played to amuse ship's hands while they are busy on deck. Whoever can arrive at the most startling insult wins the game. The purpose is not to be vulgar in any way, but rather to insult your opponent so skilfully that he is at a complete loss for words. If both contestants have exhausted their phrases, they can resort to staring and growling at each other until one flinches. Ori launches into the contest with the following choice one-liners:
"Mangy egg-mate of a diseased iguana"; "barnacle-blistered bilge rat", "Shrivelled cutlet of albino oyster bait"; "sticky patch of limpid prawn phlegm"
Note that despite thinking of himself as a hardened pirate, Ori is still very much a dragon: insulting a human as the "egg-mate of an iguana" is unlikely to provoke much response, but the same phrase directed at a dragon is guaranteed to make it very angry. If any character can go head-to-head with Ori for a bit of growling after the insults, so much the better.
Once the game is over, Ori is quite happy to spin a few yarns with the characters. In exchange for some everyday information (on cities, ships and places far away) he is more than willing to discuss Balthazar Ash and the Screaming Banshee. He remembers the Banshee entering the archipelago about fifteen years ago, hotly pursued by two marine vessels. The Banshee sunk both vessels, but was badly damaged in the exchange of fire. The Banshee then put in at the large north-western island and remained there for a few days. She left again amid a hail of musket fire and sailed to the small island to the east. As far as Ori can remember, the ship never sailed from that island again. If asked about the other islands, Ori will indicate that a group of mermen live in underwater caves surrounding two islands to the north (marked "B" on the game master's map). He adds that these creatures are often friendly to humans if approached with intentions of trade.
After their conversation, Ori is willing to listen to any reasonable proposals. He is not interested in getting involved in combat, but he is prepared to fly the characters (two at a time) to any of the local islands. He will confirm that The Magnola is already anchored in the bay off the treasure island. He will fly the characters where they want to go, wish them well and then return to his island.
Chapter 5: Treasure Island
While they are being whisked through the air on the back of a large dragon, the characters should formulate some idea of how they are going to overcome Long Tom and recover the fabled treasure of Balthazar Ash. The game master should be aware that there are many ways the characters could go about this process, some more effective than others. The first part of this section concerns the various options that are available to resourceful players. Whatever their initial plan, sooner or later they will have to confront Long Tom Silver and his pirate crew. The second part of this section concerns the final conflict.
Before travelling to the treasure island itself, the characters may want to try to enlist the aid of the merman tribe. Locating the islands where they are encamped is not at all difficult, but to make contact with them is a little trickier. Characters will have to be able to swim underwater to a depth of at least 20 feet, and remain submerged for at least 5 minutes to attract the attention of a merman guard. If the character in question makes no threatening actions, the guard will approach and attempt to communicate with the character. The guard speaks only a smattering of common, so it will only be possible to convey simple concepts. If the character indicates that s/he wishes to discuss trade, the guard will agree to summon a tribal elder to discuss the matter. The elder will arrive in 5 minutes and will listen courteously to anything the character has to say. If they mention the ship that has recently passed by, the elder will become visibly angry. Apparently Long Tom and his crew inflicted some harm on a merman hunting party that happened to cross their path. If the characters suggest that the mermen aid them against the pirates, they will receive a guarded response. If they offer goods in payment, or a share of any spoils recovered, the mermen will become far more enthusiastic. They will agree to transport the characters to the treasure island bay, where the ship is anchored. They will then attempt to board the vessel and overpower the crew. The characters will have to take care of any pirates left on the island itself.
If the characters agree to these terms, the mermen will dispatch a raiding party of 25 warriors and 3 giant eels to the treasure island (see statistics section for more information on mermen warriors and giant eels). The characters will have to ride the eels on the surface of the sea. The warriors and the eels will submerge on entering the bay and will resurface right next to The Magnola. They will then board the ship and attempt to subdue (or, if unavoidable, kill) the crew on board. The game master should refer to the second part of this section for information on a final conflict involving the mermen as allies.
The Screaming Banshee:
Strong-hearted characters may want to discover if this legendary pirate vessel is still moored somewhere near the small island directly to the east of the Treasure Island (marked "D" on the map). If they request Ori to fly them to this island, he will set them down on the centre of a barren volcanic outcropping with no vegetation. An hour or so of searching will reveal extensive rock overhangs near the edge of the island. Some of these are almost completely enclosed, resulting in natural caverns with deep-water inlets. Moored in the largest of these caverns is what remains of the Screaming Banshee. The ship is severely damaged, and what remains of it is badly rotted and overgrown with marine vegetation. How the ship stays afloat should be a mystery to the characters. Although the vessel appears deserted, it is actually inhabited by the undead remains of its former crews, as well as the vengeful spirit of Balthazar Ash.
If the characters attempt to board the Banshee they will immediately encounter the rotting remains of several former pirates (these are zombies, see statistics section for more details). If they are persistent in their investigations, Balthazar Ash himself may emerge from the lower deck to drive off the unwanted intruders. If the characters attempt to communicate with Ash, or give some indication that they are not just interested in plundering the ship, Ash will call off his undead crew long enough to hear what the characters have to say. As a spectre, Balthazar Ash is an entirely malignant creature and will do nothing for the characters if it is not in his own interests to do so. He is far more likely, however, to pursue those who have wronged him than mere incidentals who happen to board his ship. If the characters state that they were marooned, he will simply laugh. If however, the characters mention that the man responsible for their present condition is Long Tom Silver, Ash will become very much more interested. If they also add that Long Tom is at that very moment removing treasure from the nearby island, Ash will become violent. He will tear pieces of wood from the ship and fling these into the air, while uttering a stream of curses that will astound even the pirates among the party. He will then command his crew to weigh anchor and to sail out of the cavern onto the open sea. With a sickening creak and a shudder that can be felt through every plank, the Screaming Banshee begins to move again.
If the characters manage to prompt Balthazar Ash into action, they will be no more than spectators as long as they remain on the Banshee. Ash will not accept any advice from them and will sail the Banshee directly towards the Magnola with the intention of boarding. The undead on the Banshee will begin to howl and slaver, alerting pirates on the Magnola to their presence when they are within 200 feet or so. The crew of the Magnola will brace themselves to face this new horror, allowing the characters to implement their own plans without too much difficulty.
The Final Confrontation:
The characters can attempt to thwart Long Tom Silver either on their own, or with the aid of either the mermen or Balthazar Ash (or both - anything is possible...) From previous experience it should be clear to them that they stand very little chance on their own. As the characters approach the Magnola, Long Tom is supervising the loading of the first cache of treasure to be recovered from the island. He is standing on the shore issuing commands, but will try to get back to the boat as soon as the impending attack is detected. Eight pirates are on shore with Long Tom. The remaining 30 pirates are on board the ship. The game master can run this conflict in as much detail as s/he feels comfortable with. Given time constraints, however, it is recommended that the overall conflict only be described in broad terms, while attention is focused on the main protagonists: the characters, Ash/the mermen and Long Tom Silver. As a rule of thumb, assume that the "allies" (mermen or undead) and the pirates on the ship will fight to a standstill, with the combat between the characters and the pirate leaders determining which side carries the day. If both sets of allies are present, the battle becomes somewhat of a rout. Long Tom attempts to flee as soon as possible, taking choice items of treasure with him. If Long Tom escapes, the remainder of the pirate crew will surrender. If Balthazar Ash is present, he will seem rejuvenated by being in battle again. He will bequeath all his treasure to the characters, saying that he hasn't this much fun in years. He will then sail the Screaming Banshee into the sunset.
What of the treasure? Balthazar Ash's final haul is what the characters would have hoped for: thousands of coins, bars of precious metals and glinting gems. There are also some magical items (the exact nature of these is left to the Game Master's imagination, but should not include items that pirates could easily identify and use). It will take a full day to move all the treasure from the island to the Magnola. If the characters enlisted the aid of the mermen they will have to honour their agreement and pay roughly 25% of the treasure to the tribe. The remainder is theirs to keep. If the Dungeon Master feels this is too generous, remember that news of recovered treasure spreads very quickly. When the characters return to Oslir Bay (or any city within a thousand miles) they will most likely have to deal with tax collectors, debtors (real and feigned), long-lost relatives, assassins and suchlike. How the characters try to spend their wealth should at least be as interesting as how they obtained it.
Blind Hugh, wizened pirate
5th level Human Rogue
STR 10, INT 12, WIS 9, DEX 16, CON 12, CHA 9
5d6+5 (25 hit points)
17 (+2 Armour, +1 Shield, +3 Dex, +1 Ring)
Fort +2, Ref +7, Will +0
Shortsword +3 melee, Dagger +8 melee (including finesse and magical bonus)
Shortwsword 1d6, Dagger 1d4+2 (including magical bonus)
Leather Armour, Small Shield, Shortsword, 3 normal daggers
Dagger +2, Ring of Protection +1
Sneak Attack +3d6, Evasion, Uncanny Dodge
Appraise +7, Bluff +7, Gather Information +9, Innuendo +5, Intimidate +5,
Knowledge (Oslir Bay) +7, Listen +12, Move Silently +11, Pick Pocket +10,
Sense Motive +4
Alertness (+4 Listen), Blind-Fight, Weapon Finesse (Dagger)
Unkempt, foul and diseased, Blind Hugh is the worst kind of shore town pirate. A former member of Balthazar Ash's crew, he escaped marooning on the Treasure Island, but lost his eyes (and some of his fingers) to carnivorous fish while swimming to safety. Hugh always carries a shortsword and a collection of small, sharp daggers. He is particularly adept at sneak attacks. Hugh is in league with Long Tom Silver, although the characters have no way of knowing this. Hugh carries the Black Spot in a small ivory box.
The Black Spot: This object appears to be nothing more than an innocuous piece of lacquered wood. It is actually a very deadly assassination tool. When held against bare flesh for longer than a few minutes the black spot begins to exude a very powerful poison. Any creature coming into contact with the poison must make a Fortitude test vs. DC 20. Failure means the target dies within 1 minute. Each black spot may only be used once.
Cutthroats and ruffians, companions of Blind Hugh
2nd level Human Rogues
STR 13, INT 10, WIS 10, DEX 15, CON 13, CHA 11
2d6+1 (11 hit points)
15 (+2 Armour, +1 Shield, +2 Dex)
Fort +1, Ref +5, Will +0
Club +2 melee, Dagger +2 melee
Club 1d6+1, Dagger 1d4+1
Leather Armour, Small Shield, Club, Dagger
Sneak Attack +1d6, Evasion
Bluff +5, Hide +6, Intimidate +5, Knowledge (Oslir Bay) +5, Move Silently +6,
Pick Pocket +6, Search +5, Spot +5, Use Rope +6
Dodge, Power Attack
There are 6 of these bullyboys in total. They are all of the worst kind: thieves, deserters and out-of-luck pirates. They are armed with clubs and daggers. Although they can be quite dangerous in a brawl, they lack any real fighting spirit and will flee as soon as things start to go against them.
Captain Thomas "Long Tom" Silver, cunning and bloodthirsty buccaneer
6th level fighter / 4th level sorcerer, Human
STR 14, INT 13, WIS 10, DEX 16, CON 15, CHA 16
6d10+4d4+20 (68 hit points)
15 (+2 Dex, +3 Magical Leather)
19 (With Mage Armour), 26 (With Mage Armour and Shield)
Fort +8, Ref +6, Will +6
Scimitar +13 / +8 melee (including focus and magical bonus)
Dagger +12 / +7 melee (including focus and magical bonus)
Light Crossbow +8 Ranged
Scimitar 1d6+6 (including specialisation and magical bonus)
Dagger 1d4+5 (including specialisation and magical bonus)
Light Crossbow 1d8
Leather Armour +1 (10% Arcane Spell Failure), Light Crossbow
Keen Scimitar +2 (Doubles Threat Range to 15-20)
Dagger of Venom +1 (Inflicts DC 14 Poison spell on target once per day)
Climb +7, Concentration +9 (+13), Jump +8, Listen +2, Profession (Sailor) +9,
Spellcraft +9, Spot +5, Swim +8
Weapon Focus (Scimitar and Dagger), Weapon Specialisation (Scimitar and Dagger), Ambidexterity, Two-weapon Fighting, Expertise, Combat Casting, Spell Penetration
0: Resistance x 2, Detect Magic x 2, Detect Poison, Mage Hand x 2
1: Chill Touch, Mage Armour x 2, True Strike x 2, Shield x 2
2: Ghoul Touch x 2, Protection from Arrows x 2
Quince, a large, brightly-plumed parrot
Hit Dice 4 (18 hit points), Armour Class 15, Bite +2 Melee, Damage 1d2
Quince speaks the common tongue, pirate-style. His insults and curses are legendary. Long Tom uses Quince to deliver touch attacks (Chill Touch, Ghoul Touch). He will always protect his familiar with Mage Armour, Shield and Protection from Arrows spells. True Strike cast on the parrot can make its attacks extremely dangerous.
Long Tom Silver has a bad reputation, even among pirates. "As black-hearted as silver" is an insult in certain buccaneer crews. Long Tom has coveted the fabled treasure of Balthazar Ash ever since Ash denied Long Tom a place on the crew of the Screaming Banshee. It was Long Tom who betrayed Balthazar Ash's whereabouts to the authorities, which eventually resulted in Ash's death.
The Crew of the "Dirty Holer", privateers and pirates
2nd level fighters
STR 13, INT 10, WIS 11, DEX 13, CON 14, CHA 11
2d10+2 (17 hit points)
15 (+3 Armour, +1 Shield, +1 Dex)
Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +0
Scimitar +4 Melee or Club +4 Melee (including focus), Dagger +3 Ranged
Scimitar 1d8+1, Club 1d6+1, Dagger 1d4
Studded Leather Armour, Small Shield, Scimitar or Club, 4 Daggers
Climb +6, Jump +4, Profession (Sailor) +4, Swim +6
Dodge, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (scimitar or club)
There are 28 crewmembers in total. They are all scarred and salt-stained veterans of many voyages and conflicts. Long Tom has assembled them not only for their sailing ability, but also for their combat skills, should this be necessary. The crew is loyal to Long Tom, more out of fear than any sense of camaraderie.
Sea Serpent, Terror of the Deep
STR 20, INT 3, WIS 10, DEX 14, CON 19, CHA 6
10d12+20 (85 hit points)
17 (-2 Size, +1 Dexterity, +8 Natural)
10 feet, Swim 40 feet
Fort +7, Ref +9, Will +4
Bite +8 Melee, Crush +6 Melee
Bite 1d8+5, Crush 1d10+5
Bite is poisonous (DC 17, Initial Damage 2d6 Con, Secondary Damage 2d6 Con)
Spot +10, Swim +20
A Sea serpent is simply a very large amphibious snake (30 feet long, 3 feet wide). This creature has enough intelligence to know that attacking a sailing vessel will likely result in a few tasty morsels. Its standard approach to wrap itself around any large object on the ship (anchor chain, mast, etc.) and then proceed to grab unlucky individuals on the deck, poisoning them and tossing their bodies into the sea. Once it has acquired 3 or 4 sailors in this way, it uncoils itself and drops back into the water to feast on its catch.
Ianum Oricalcum, Dragon
STR 30, INT 16, WIS 17, DEX 12, CON 22, CHA 17
20d12+100 (230 hit points)
30 (-2 Size, +1 Dexterity, +21 Natural)
+5 (Dexterity, Improved Initiative)
40 feet, Fly 150 feet
Fort +18, Ref +15, Will +16
Bite +25 Melee, 2 Claws +22 Melee, 2 Wings +22 Melee, Tail Slap +22 Melee
Bite 2d8+10, Claws 2d6+10, Wing 1d8+3, Tail Slap 2d6+12
Breath Weapon, Frightful Presence, Immunities, Damage Reduction 8 / +1, Spell
Resistance 18, Keen Senses
Bluff +20, Concentration +25, Intimidate +20, Jump +30,
Knowledge (history) +18, Listen +20, Scry +22, Search +24, Spellcraft +18
Alertness, Blindsight, Cleave, Flyby Attack, Improved Initiative, Power Attack,
Weapon Focus (claw)
Cone of Fire 50 feet long, usable every 1d4 rounds. Causes 10d10 points of damage.
Target can make a Reflex save vs. DC 28 to halve the damage.
Ori is a medium-sized (75' body, 40' tail) dragon of moderate age (250 years). He is extremely fond of humanoids, particularly the seafaring kind. He likes nothing better than to trade ship's yarns with other salty sea dogs. In fact, Ori fancies himself as something of a draconic buccaneer. He sports an eye patch (even though both his eyes are in perfect order), a set of earrings and a blustery accent that defies description.
Balthazar Ash, undead pirate
STR 18, INT 11, WIS 10, DEX 15, CON 17, CHA 6
8d10+24 (65 hit points)
19 (+2 Dex, +7 Natural)
30 feet (can move across water, sand or most other surfaces)
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +8
Shadowy cutlass +10 / +5 Melee
Shadowy cutlass 1d8+4 (plus energy drain)
Immune to mind-influencing spells, poison, sleep, disease and stunning
Damage Reduction 15 / +1, Energy Drain: 2 negative levels per hit
Hide +10, Intimidate +10, Knowledge (Seafaring) +12, Move Silently +8,
Balthazar Ash's undead husk despises its present condition and will attack with absolute relish any living creature it encounters. It will, however, discriminate between casual passers-by and those who have wronged it in life. It is quite willing to negotiate on this point: if the characters tell it where to find Long Tom Silver, for example, it would be happy to leave them be in order to pursue and destroy this hated adversary.
The crew of the Screaming Banshee (zombie pirates)
STR 15, INT 2, WIS 10, DEX 9, CON 14, CHA 8
2d12+4 (19 hit points)
12 (Studded Leather, -1 Dexterity)
Fort +0, Ref -1, Will +3
Scimitar +2 Melee, Claw +3 Melee
Scimitar 1d8+2, Claw 1d4+2
Immune to mind-influencing spells, poison, sleep, disease and stunning
Not subject to critical hits, Half damage from piercing and crushing weapons
Move Silently +9, Spot +10
The Screaming Banshee is crewed by a hideous collection of undead corpses, the remains of sailors who swore to sail with Balthazar Ash forever.
Mermen, aquatic nomads
STR 14, INT 10, WIS 10, DEX 16, CON 13, CHA 11
2d10+2 (13 hit points)
15 (Leather Harness +2, Dex +3)
20 feet, 30 feet swimming
Fort +5, Ref +4, Will +1
Trident +4 Melee, Dagger +4 Melee, Light Crossbow +5 Ranged, Net +6 Ranged
Trident 1d8+2, Dagger 1d4+2, Light Crossbow 1d8
Climb +6, Spot +8, Swim +18, Ride (Giant Eel) +8
Dodge, Exotic Weapon Proficiency (Net)
Mermen have a fair degree of technological sophistication, and are able to craft and use various tools and weapons (including underwater crossbows). Mermen are traders, willing to exchange their goods for other goods or materials that they find useful. They are particularly fond of metal items. Mermen warriors sometimes ride giant eels into battle.
STR 17, INT 2, WIS 10, DEX 17, CON 11, CHA 4
3d12+6 (26 hit points)
16 (Dex +3, Natural +3)
40 feet swimming
Fort +4, Ref +7, Will +2
Bite +7 Melee (including finesse)
Spot +10, Swim +20
Weapon Finesse (Bite)