Well, after a year of waiting, delaying procrastinating and preparing, I'm finally going to be running the Savage Tide Adventure Path. Over this time I have accumulated a large set of changes that I intend to incorporate, so I'm going to post them here for scrutiny, ridicule, scorn and hopefully praise.
N.B. despite the time I have had to prepare, much of this may yet change, and some adventures (Lightless Depths onwards) have not been prepared at all.
Character Creation -
Change Level 1 HP to Max HD + CON score
Ability Generation to use Pathfinder Pointbuy (30) or 2d6+6
Background in Sasserine
The situation in Sasserine is a lot more complex than the Players’ Guide makes out, showing that it is more of a tourist guide. However, anybody from Sasserine who even goes to the pub once a week should be able to pick up what is happening in the City.
After the fall of the Sea Princes, several powerful figures rose within the city’s underworld and have been running their own Thieves’ Guilds. While the names of these guilds should be known to the PC’s, the names of their leaders should not be. Knowledge (Local) checks reveal the following facts: -
• Lotus Dragons: DC 15: The Lotus Dragons are a thieves’ guild in Sasserine known for organised acts of burglary. DC 20: Wild animal smuggling too. They are ruled by a mysterious figure known only as Lady Lotus. DC: 25 The Lotus Dragons must be being bank rolled by a rich patron, otherwise they wouldn’t be winning the Guild War.
• Black Harpies: DC 15: The Black Harpies are Sasserine’s ‘mob’. They engage in protection rackets, murder and blackmail. DC 20: It is rumoured that some recent acts of Piracy were linked to this guild. DC 25: If the Black Harpies are engaging in piracy, then they must be backed by a rich patron to afford the ships. They’re leader is known as the watcher.
• Emerald Claws: DC 15: The Emerald Claws are a group of petty thieves operating in the Azure District. DC 20: The claws were recently dealt a blow when a member talked to the watch. Their guildhall was raided (an import/export warehouse). DC 25: They were not hit too hard by this though, indicating that they must have another guildhouse somewhere.
• Dread Eels: DC 15: The Dread Eels are a small band of extortionists and conmen working the waterfront of the Azure District. DC 20: They are also believed to smuggle animals and to run a protection racket. DC 25: It is rumoured that many of Keltar Islaran’s dock workers have links to the Dread Eels.
• Yelloweyes: DC 10: The city watch recently swooped down and arrested most of this guild after a failed assassination attempt on a member of the Dawn Council. They now rot in prison for their burglaries and smuggling. DC 15: The Dawn Council unsuccessfully tried to hush up the fact that the guildmaster was none other than Roth Taskerhill, youngest son of Dawn Councilmember Kalmadar Taskerhill. DC: 20 Roth fled the city with his few surviving lieutenants, and he hasn’t been seen since.
• Cabanites and House of Oquon: Knowledge History DC 18: There was a war long ago between these two guilds, both faded into obscurity with the rise of the artful parrots.
• Artful Parrots: DC 20: Though most believe that they were obliterated under the rule of the Sea Princes, a few members of the Artful Parrots continued their actions but on a smaller scale and more legally. In the decade since Sasserine’s independence, the Artful Parrots have continued their semi-legitimate activities under a variety of different aliases.
Facts the PC’s won’t know about these Guilds
The Lotus Dragons are led by Rowyn Kellani, who used her considerable trust fund from her mother to set up the guild. She has cannily organised and run the guild so it now makes a hefty profit.
The Black Harpies are run by Karne Deskoth, a noble from the Shadowshore district with friends and family in the Crimson Fleet. In a recent move by the Lotus Dragons, Erqua Ashilim and seven other Black Harpies were framed for a massive burglary, and they were forced to leave town. This has weakened Deskoth, but he has put his exiled employees in charge of a scheme to set up a false lighthouse and loot the resulting shipwrecks.
Rowyn Kellani managed to persuade an Emerald Claw to talk to the watch, but he knew less than she thought and so only a handful of thieves were arrested and an unprofitable business confiscated. The guildmaster (Herrin Crawford) continues to operate his guild out of a slurry factory in the Shadowshore. His ship, the Rage, is docked outside.
The Dread Eels were formerly in alliance with the Yelloweyes, but have now begun business with the Lotus Dragons (Kellani doesn’t trust them though). Their leader is a man named Soller Vark, and having commandeered the ship of an apparently helpless young noblewoman, he is using this ship as his offshore base of operations. Neither the Yelloweyes nor the Lotus Dragons like Vark as he managed to effectively monopolise the wild animal black market, making both guilds have to go through him.
The Yelloweyes were run on the same grounds as the Lotus Dragons and with a similarly wealthy leader. Canny as she is, Rowyn Kellani narrowed the possible backers down to a mere half a dozen men, and dated each of them, using her charm and magical power to find out which one was backing the Yelloweyes. She tricked the naïve Roth Taskerhill into attempting to murder Keltar Islan. Though the attempt failed, it was still partially successful in that the watch now had to act as a member of the council was nearly killed. The notoriously zealous Cudgel District watch swooped in and arrested Taskerhill and most of his guild. A few managed to go into hiding. Taskerhill himself was bailed by his father and he fled the city to Seawell with his accomplices, hoping to lose his pursuers during Demonsend, and in this way his guilt has been proven to the courts. Rowyn Kellani pursued Taskerhill to Seawell and assassinated him and his few remaining followers.
The Cabanites and House Oquon lived on in their intelligent magic weapons, and the recent rediscovery of these weapons has led to small scale fighting between the two guilds that threatens to develop into a larger conflict.
The Artful Parrots are run by a council of powerful individuals including an outsider, a cleric of Loki, and an influential nobleman from Sasserine. Their existence is not common knowledge, and their move to semi-legitimate activities means that they are not in open conflict with the other guilds.
The Azure Cathedral
The Azure Cathedral is actually home to worship of different deities to those outlined in the PG. The temple is divided between the worship of Poseidon, Njord and Aegir.
The AP will be set in my own custom campaign world, the group already has an ongoing game set in Greyhawk, and I don't want any potential for confusion or contradiction to arise between DMs.
To give the adventurers a way to be well-known for a recent deed of heroism, the AP will start off with the wreck ashore free WotC adventure.
The Town of Seawell lies to the northwest of Sasserine, and the PC’s are there for the celebration of Demonsend, the 50th anniversary of the slaying of the Demonic Lords of Terror by Offa, a heroic Minotaur from the far north. The PC’s will be celebrating in this town rather than Sasserine (along with a great many other people), as the now venerable Offa has stopped in Seawell on his way home from another adventure. For a variety of reasons (poor planning, good planning, drunkenness, price etc…) the PC’s are all on the Salt Wind, a caravel that leaves during the second week after the festival.
The only important passengers on the ship other than the PC’s themselves are the ship’s captain, a retired human pirate named Valram, his first mate, an enthusiastic Hadozee named Kurgar Saltwind, and a beautiful young noblewoman from Sasserine named Rowyn Kellani, who had been seeing to some business in Seawell (purchasing a custom-made collar of armour for her pet felldrake and killing the last of the Yelloweyes).
1. The Voyage
The PC’s could just about afford a space in one of the small rooms on the ship, a few other strapped-for-cash NPC’s share the other small room. If the PC’s meet Rowyn, then she tries to befriend them (especially if there is a noble in the group), and invites them to her own private (larger) room for their evening meal. She generally makes sure that they have an enjoyable time together.
2. The Wreck
Sometime during the night, towards the end of the meal, there is an almighty crash as the ship hits a reef. Everybody on board must take a DC 12 reflex save or take 2d4 points of subdual damage. This is enough to knock most of the other passengers out, then some survivors fall out through the hole inside and most likely drown or are murdered by the wreckers. Valram, Kurgar, Rowyn and the PC’s should be unaffected by this. Valram calls everybody up onto deck and gets the strongest PC and Kurgar to drag the lifeboat out.
3. Wrecking Crew (EL 4)
As two scrabble for the lifeboat, Valram goes to the side and checks on the damage. A DC 20 spot check by the PC’s notices a rowboat (with no light on it suspiciously) heading out from the lighthouse. If the PC beats DC 25, then he notices one man standing up in the boat with a crossbow pointed at the ship. Unless the players pull Valram back he says “She’s gonna hold, but she ain’t…” he is cut off as the crossbow bolt hits him.
Svingal Stonefist and 5 Pirate Wreckers sail their Pinnace (the Pale Pilgrim) out to the foundering Salt Wind. However, two sahuagin have disabled the ship’s rudder and so it swiftly crashes too.
CREATURES: Svingal Stonefist and 5 Pirate Wreckers.
Tactics: Svingal and the wreckers attempt to flank whenever possible. Retreat is impossible, and so the pirates fight to the death.
After this encounter, approaching storm clouds should be enough to convince the PC’s to get off the ship and into the lifeboat with whatever passengers are still alive.
4. Sahuagin Ambush (EL 4)
Two mean, spiteful Sahuagin have come from a nearby village to investigate a new light seen on the shore (the pirates’ light tower). They have encamped on the beach behind a sand dune and were responsible for disabling the Pale Pilgrim’s rudder, causing the crash.
CREATURES: Sahuagin (2)
Tactics: The Sahuagin hide behind a sand bank and engage the PC’s at range. They defend the Sandbank to the death, not wishing to earn the wrath of the tribe’s priest of Dagon (who sent them on the mission in the first place).
Treasure: The Pirates have buried their treasure beneath the sand bank in a small, wooden chest to prevent it being found if their camp is raided. A DC 20 search check catches sight of this treasure chest under the sand (a corner poking out). It contains 800 GP, a 50 GP ivory statuette of a harpy, a set of masterwork thieves’ tools, a vial containing oil of bless weapon, a divine scroll of purify food and drink, and remove paralysis, and a wand of ray of enfeeblement with 10 charges remaining. The chest itself is worth 10 GP. Additionally, a few letters are addressed to Erqua Ashilim of the Black Harpies telling her to ‘keep low as the watch are onto us.’ and to ‘use that ship for some piracy, you can still be an asset to the guild even outside of Sasserine’. These letters are signed by one Karne Deskoth (DC 15 Knowledge (nobility & royalty) check reveals that he is a rich noble from Shadowshore and personal friend of Emil Dracktus). Rowyn Kellani recognises the name even if the PC’s don’t.
5. The Pirate Camp (EL 5)
The remaining pirates are in and around the camp site. The daylight guards are asleep, but the rest are awake in preparation for the returning Pale Pilgrim. One pirate stands on the light tower, tending to the flame, and Erqua Ashilim (along with the rest) is gambling around the pirates’ dining table.
CREATURES: Pirates (5), Erqua Ashilim.
Tactics: As soon as they realise something isn’t right, Erqua Ashilim wakes the day guards and the pirates gather their money from the gambling table. They then turn the table over and launch their missiles at anybody they see. When they run out of missiles, they draw their cutlasses and charge.
Treasure: Nothing of value remains in the camp (a Black Harpy ship arrived yesterday to pay the wreckers and take the cargo) beyond what is on the pirates themselves.
(Action Point Award): If the PC's drop the watch tower onto unsuspecting pirates, the one who comes up with the idea gets an action point.
1. Lizardfolk Raiding Party (EL 3)
Three Lizardfolk raiders returning from Sasserine attack the PC’s as both groups reach a wooden bridge across a deep, fast river.
Creatures: Lizardfolk (3)
Tactics: The Lizardfolk take cover and try to win the battle from range. If this doesn’t work, then they dive into the river to escape.
Treasure: In addition to their combat gear, the leader of the lizardfolk is carrying a bag of sapphires worth 23 gp.
2. Alligator Attack (EL 2)
The PC’s must cross a narrow walkway over a stagnant pool. An alligator (stats for a crocodile) has other plans though.
E6 Constrictor Snake (EL 2)
A constrictor attacks the players from the tree above.
E7 Viper Attack (EL 2)
A fallen tree blocks the path, and it contains a nest of 4 small vipers that are unhappy to be disturbed.
E8 Jaguars at Rest (EL 4)
A pair of jaguars rest in the jungle. They may be encountered if the PC’s stray from the path, perhaps searching for food.
E9 Jaguar Attack (EL 2)
One night, two hours after the party camps, a jaguar attacks the party, going for the character on watch. Make opposed checks to see if the characters on watch see and hear the beast.
Tactics: The Jaguar goes for the larger of the two characters on watch as they are probably the meatiest.
Concluding the Adventure
With what the PC’s have managed to accomplish, Rowyn Kellani is able to prove the Black Harpy involvement in the crimes and the watch takes action against them. This leaves the Lotus Dragons in a position of power, and the PC’s hailed as local heroes for exposing their evil predations. They are rewarded 50 gp each as a thankyou from the Dawn Council. (At this point, make Arwyn Aribani seem to be quite sinister).
Valram Taskel is a venerable elven rogue 3 (his age counteracting any class levels)
Kurgar Saltwind is a Hadozee Warrior 1
Roqyn Kellani is Rowyn Kellani, but is unlikely to help the PCs directly in combat, instead guarding and trying to help Valram and the other passengers.
[u]Adventure 1: There Is No Honour[/u]
PART 1: A NOBLE IN NEED
When the PC’s return to Sasserine, they are each met by Keltar Islaran. He thanks them for dismantling the pirates’ operation, and awards each PC a bounty of 50 GP. Rowyn Kellani hands the letters from Lord Deskoth to the Shadowshore Watch. Faced with such damming evidence, and having watched the Black Harpies for a long time, the watch swoops in and arrests many of the Black Harpies. The corruption of the watch though allows Karne and some of his key lieutenants to buy their way out of jail, and find out the names of the people who foiled their schemes.
0A. Driveby (EL 2)
Karne Deskoth and four of his lieutenants managed to bribe their way out of custody. They hatch a plan to kill the PC’s. After finding out where they are staying, Karne pays a local boy to find out where they are going by listening in to their conversations. When he does find out, Karne waits at a likely spot on their route. Clothed in a black cloak and hood, he drives a disguised bank cart towards the PC’s from in front. A DC 15 Spot check notices that the approaching cart is behaving oddly. Karne drives past the PC’s. A DC 15 listen check warns the PC’s that several armed men just slid out of the side and back of the cart. Karne rides off at speed as one of the men calls out, “A message from the watcher! You schmucks ‘ll regret crossin’ the Black Harpies!”
Creatures: 4 Black Harpy Gangsters
Tactics: The Black Harpies know that their game is up and the PC’s are responsible. Their fear of their master means that they will fight until incapacitated.
PART 2: TROUBLE ON THE BLUE NIXIE[n]
All of the thugs aboard the Blue Nixie have a tattoo of a fiendish eel on their right arm.
[b]0B. Karne’s Revenge (EL 4)
Karne Deskoth is enraged that his lieutenants failed to kill the PC’s, and so he aims to do it himself. On the morning when the PC’s go to investigate the Blue Nixie, a letter arrives for them from Rowyn Kellani (a DC 5 Forgery or Decipher Script check reveals that this is Karne Deskoth’s handwriting) asking the PC’s to come to meet up with her for a drink in celebration of their heroic deeds at a tavern called the Narrow House in Shadowshore in the evening. When the PC’s approach the tavern (down a side street), Karne Deskoth hides in the crates at the end of the alley they enter from. Rowyn later reveals that she had no knowledge of the letter to the PC’s in Castle Teraknian
Creatures: Karne Deskoth
Tactics: Karne climbs to the top of the crates, calls out his challenge to the PC’s, and then starts throwing daggers at them. When he runs out of these, he draws his bastard sword and leaps in to attack the PC’s. Karne knows that if he loses here, then he will spend the rest of his life in jail for his crimes, something he doesn’t want to contemplate, and so he will fight to the death.
PART 3: THE VANDERBOREN VAULT
The ferry over to Castle Teraknian is operated by one Valram Taskel. Valram explains that he’s doing whatever he can to pay his bills, but he would rather sail the open sea again, he wants to die with a cutlass in his hand, the wind at his back, rum in his belly, and treasure in his hold, not ferrying people about the city. If the players ask about Kurgar Saltwind, Valram says that he is in the local Hadozee house, doing odd jobs to help feed the young ‘uns.
Within Castle Teraknian itself, the clerk is busy doing some sums when Lavinia and the PC’s arrive, and so they must wait around awhile. While they do, Rowyn Kellani comes from one of the passageways with a small pouch (containing 45 PP). After enquiring what brings the PC’s here, she explains that she is here to withdraw funds so she can buy a new dress for her cousin’s birthday party in a few weeks, and personally invites the PC’s for a drink in the Azure District at a tavern she knows called the Bloodthirsty Pelican. She spies Lavinia and the two warmly embrace. Rowyn gives Lavinia condolences on the recent loss of her parents, and says that she will always be there for her. They have a brief conversation where they reminisce about their time together at the Thenalar Academy. They are interrupted by a loud cough from the clerk though, and they go down to the vault.
PART 4: PERIL UNDER PARROT ISLAND
News travels quickly in the underworld, but it isn’t always right. After the recent forcible disbandment of the Black Harpies, the Emerald Claws are suspicious of Lotus Dragon activity. Knowing that both Rowyn Kellani and the PC’s helped in ending the guild, they mistakenly believe that the PC’s are Lotus Dragon Assassins,
Emerald Claw Ambush (EL 3)
Whilst the party is asking about Vanthus Vanderboren, they are likely to go through the Shadowshore District. When the PC’s make a gather information check there, describe them asking around in a tavern called the Skinned Man. Rowyn Kellani is here in disguise on other business, and finds out that the PC’s need to be ‘fixed’ soon. However, she takes no part in what happens next.
A few mysterious people hiding their faces sit around the tavern, and some less afraid of being seen converse openly at the tables in here, drinking and laughing. A group of six people wearing green cloaks sit near the door, conversing in elven, one of them looks up at you as you enter, and after looking you over, goes back to his conversation.
Recognising the PC’s as the alleged Lotus Dragon Assassins, the emerald claw guild member informs his friends that those ‘dratted Lotuses’ are here. As the PC’s converse with their contact (the bar keeper), have them make spot and listen checks to notice as the six emerald claws get into position to attack.
Creatures: Emerald warriors (3), Emerald archers (3).
Tactics: The Emerald Archers open fire on the PC’s and the Warriors draw their swords and rush into the attack, hoping to kill them with a surprise ambush. The other patrons of the bar go silent and watch the fight interestedly, turning back to their drinks once one side has come through. If the PC’s seem to be losing, then Rowyn surreptitiously casts daze and ghost sound (imitating the sound of the watch) to help out.
Development: If the PC’s straight out ask Rowyn Kellani if she’s seen Vanthus, then she’ll say that she has, in the company of a young half elf named Shefton Rusk who hangs around the Plucked Parrot in Shadowshore.
PART 5: THE LOTUS AND THE DRAGON
With the defeat of Karne and the Black Harpies, only the Emerald Claws remain in the way of a Lotus Dragon controlled underworld. The party should be asking around about the Lotus Dragons by now, and Rowyn sends out a squad of eight to make sure that the PC’s are intimidated. However, seeking to impress their guild mistress, the thieves will actually try and kill the PC’s rather than intimidating them.
Lotus Dragon Ambush (EL 4)
While the party walks past an alleyway in the azure district, a Lotus Dragon slips a piece of paper into one of the PC’s pockets. He makes sure that he is noticed, and then flees down an alley. If the players watch, they notice him desperately knocking on the door. If the PC’s follow the thief, then the trap is sprung.
Creatures: 8 Lotus Dragon Thieves
Tactics: As soon as the party is entirely in the alley, the two thieves at either end use their readied actions to throw tanglefoot bags to block off the exits, the three on the roofs draw their bows, two break windows either side, and the one that dropped the note says “Message from the Lotus Dragons: Die!” The thieves fight to kill the PC’s.
Development: 3 rounds after the start of combat, Rowyn Kellani is going to meet the PC’s at the Bloodthirsty Pelican, and to get there has to walk past the alleyway. When she walks past and sees the PC’s in danger, she charges in to help them. She will help them loot and hide the bodies, and will go for the drink with them afterwards.
Treasure: Located in the house on the left (which is otherwise abandoned) is a Lotus Dragon staging post. There is a fine wooden chest (10 GP) which holds 12 GP, and a small, emerald sculpture of a dragon worth 200 GP. Additionally, tucked away in a leather scroll case is a map of Sasserine showing the entrances to the Lotus Dragon Lair.
Developments: Rowyn takes the PC’s for a drink and plays the part of a concerned friend trying to warn off the players from going after the Lotus Dragons because they are too dangerous. If the players insist on going after them, then she tells them that their best bet would be to snoop around the Emerald Claws, as they are direct allies of the Lotus Dragons and taking them out should show the location of the Lotus Dragon’s guildhall (she points to the emerald dragon statue in the safehouse as a clue). If the players decide that instead they wish to go after Vanthus but try to avoid the Lotus Dragons, then Rowyn will say that Shefton was a member of the Emerald Claws, and that points in their direction. She gives the players directions to the Emerald Claw Guildhouse (in Shadowshore).
Emerald Dragon Guildhall (EL 3)
If the PC’s track down the Emerald Dragons to their guildhall, then they notice a ship moored 20 feet away from the hall called the Rage. The doors to the jetty are barred from the inside, but the northern door is unlocked.
This small factory is barely furnished. At the far end is a huge tank of some foul smelling goop over which there is a narrow gantry. An open door leads into an office. Near this door is a table, gathered round which are five elves, playing cards. One of them looks up at you and starts with recognition. He yells ‘Assassins! Kill them!’ and runs into the office. The four elves abruptly stand up, and another elf on the gantry looks over at you.
Creatures: 2 emerald archers, 2 emerald warriors, 1 emerald task mage.
Tactics: The fleeing elf is called Herrin Crawford, and he darts through the secret door in his office, jumps into the rowing boat outside, and hurries to the Rage. He raises his anchor and waits. If an Emerald Claw comes out of the guildhall, he returns to land, if it is a PC that comes out, then he uses his feather token to make haste away from Sasserine.
Treasure: Nothing of value is in the Guildhall itself, but in Crawford’s office lies all of the wealth of the guild in a locked chest (DC 25). 520 GP, 2700 SP, 13 GP brass wine cup, 7 GP azurite, 10 GP teak bowl, thunderstone, Arcane scroll of identify, Wand of Bless (10), Wand of Magic Missile level 1 (10) 7 GP freshwater pearl, 13 GP boarskin hat, bullseye lantern, potion of protection from evil, alchemist’s fire, Scroll of Bless Weapon (D), Wand of Mage Armour (10).
D32. Rowyn’s Bedroom
In addition to the items already described, this room contains a sealed envelope addressed to Vanthus. It is dated to today and its contents are as follows: -
I am writing to you on a personal level and a business level. Just between you and me, I don’t like what you did to your parents; it will bring bad luck on us. If you want to keep my trust, then you will keep your sister and her flunkies out of our affairs, they are proving useful tools for now, but I won’t be able to keep on duping them into offing our enemies.
On a business level, if you want to stay a part of the Lotus Dragons, then you will not proceed with your plan to double-cross the Crimson Fleet. My family has had dealings with them in the past and I know that not only is it dangerous to you to try and double-cross them, but it is also dangerous to me. If you want to stay in my guild, then you will do as I say and NOT go to Kraken’s Cove. It is a fool’s errand that will be the end of you, and the end of ME.
Between TinH and BG, I'll insert a fun little free WotC side quest, Eye of the Sun.
Gather Information Check
DC 15 – Ships and their captains are unwilling to travel east due to trouble at another lighthouse.
When the PC’s return to Vanderboren Manor, Lavinia is in conversation with two people, Kurgar Saltwind (from the wreck ashore), and another Hadozee named Siroo. Kurgar leaps up when he recognises the PC’s and runs to shake their hands, Siroo seems a little confused. Lavinia says, “Here are the people I was talking about, they may be able to help you solve your problem.” Lavinia explains the situation to the PC’s as outlined in the Eye of the Sun adventure.
Assuming that they are willing to help out, and returned the stolen money, Lavinia asks them if they could go to help tomorrow, and gives them a slip of paper. It is written in Infernal and says “I, Xanthram, hereby promise that in return for the item returned to me by the Vanderborens, I shall grant the bearer of this parchment a favour of equal worth.” It is marked with a strange seal and a signature (DC 25 knowledge history check reveals the seal to be that used by the ancient (and long dead) empire of Myra, DC 30 identifies Xanthram as the emperor there) and is also marked with a number, 100,000 Gone, signed by both the Vanderborens and Xanthram. Lavinia warns the PC’s that Xanthram is a little strange.
Knowledge Local (+5 to check for Shadowshore residents)
DC 15: - There is a shop in Shadowshore called Xanthram's Curiosities.
DC 20: - The shop is run by a strange wizard named Xanthram.
DC 25: - Rumour speaks of a member of the Artful Parrots who, in days gone by, tried to rob the curiosity shop. The thief was never seen again, but a morgh haunted and attacked the Artful Parrots' guildhall for a period of about a month.
Xanthram was in fact an emperor of Myra thousands of years ago. He was the finest wizard of his age, and the empire boomed under him. However, he feared that all of his life’s work would be for nought and so he became a lich in an immensely evil ceremony so he could keep himself as a testament to his own greatness. Appalled by what their emperor had done, his viziers overthrew him and cast his phylactery into the abyss where it remained in the treasures of Orcus. Realising the evil of what he had done, Xanthram sought to mend his ways through acts of good. He eventually showed true enough remorse that Pelor forgave him his sins and he became a deathless good lich in reward for his good. However, his phylactery still remained in the possession of Orcus and so he was forced to do the bidding of the Prince of Demons. The elder Vanderborens looted the phylactery from a temple of Orcus where it was being used as the focus for a summoning ritual, and they returned it to Xanthram, now a reclusive writer and craftsman living in Sasserine, operating a curiosity shop, not all of the stuff on display there is for sale (e.g. the trident he keeps that some say belonged to Satan himself)
Xanthram’s Curiosity Shop
Located in the Shadowshore district, this small building is completely free of the usual graffiti in this region, and locals seem to avoid it. Fading gold letters above the door read, “Xanthram's Curiosities”.
This room is filled with all manner of things, old clothing, mysterious boxes, dusty bottles of mysterious liquids, piles of ancient, yellowed scrolls, ancient books bound with dragonhide, pickled… things. A doorway leads into the back over which is an evil-looking trident, bound in silver chains. 2 attendants wearing black robes and spiked armour which hides their faces stand by this doorway.
Allow the PC’s a moment to browse the shop. If one touches anything or calls for attention, then Xanthram comes from the back.
This less than corporeal man was clearly once tall, but immense age has made his frame stoop. He wears long, hooded, black robes of an ancient design covered in dust. Upon his face is set a sinister looking mask made of gold, and in his right glove he holds an ancient staff, he waves his hand and the two attendants dissolve into smoke.
Xanthram is willing to speak to the PC’s, and once he realises that they have connections to the Vanderborens, he shows them into the back room where there is a massive dragon skull. Xanthram explains that the presentation of this note means that he is honour bound to provide them each with a magic item worth around 4,000 GP. He will have the items made over the next few days for them if they give him their orders. He answers questions about anything in the store truthfully before asking the PC’s to leave. He can be played as both a sinister figure and as a forgetful comic relief character.
After their meeting with Xanthram, the PC’s should very soon head out to complete the Eye of the Sun adventure.
Constricted Passageway (EL 5)
On their way to the village, a giant constrictor snake pops out and attacks the PC’s, hungry for a meal.
Creature: Giant Constrictor Snake
Tactics: The snake attacks whoever is at the front and fights to the death.
The Entrance to the Temple of the Sun (EL 5) (EL 6)
This magnificent chamber is blisteringly warm, and a red glow emanates from an iron grate in the centre of the room. A chest made of gnarled wood lies behind the grate, and flanking the room are six statues of ancient Olman Gods.
DC 15 Knowledge (religion), DC 10 if Dolmec or Olman to identify these deities.
1. A bloody skeleton wearing a head dress of owl feathers and paper banners and a necklace of human eyeballs. Mictlantecuhtli, LE king of the underworld, spiders, owls, bats, death, ritual cannibalism.
2. Tezcatlipoca CE omnipotent god of rulers, sorcerers, warriors, night, death, discord, conflict, temptation, change, evil couatls (scalykind sorcerers have couatl blood), evil counterpart to Quetzalcouatl, appears as a flying serpent with no wings.
3. Itzpapolotl - NE Queen of evil star outsiders (tzitzimime) and night outsiders (cihuateteo), queen of Tamoanchan (the place where vile humans were created).
4. Chalchiuhtotolin - NE the Jade Turkey, Disease, Plague, Pestilence
5. Ayauhteotl (f) - NE mist, fog, vanity, fame
6. Zotzilaha – CN/CE god of fire, bats, necromancy and horrid flying creatures.
Creatures: Two of the statues in this room are actually gargoyles. The statues of Mictlantecuhtli and Tezcatlipoca are really gargoyles that will attack the PC’s on the way out unless discovered before then.
Further Creature: If the chest is opened, then the Salamander below summons a xill to fight the party before retreating to the fire pit.
The Basement (EL 7)
The rocks in this room are hot to touch, and a pool of molten lava dominates the centre of the room. In the centre of the pool is a small island upon which rests a chest made of greenish steel.
The salamanders retreat to this room and set up their defence. When they are killed, the lava solidifies within five minutes.
Creatures: Sasselotl the Average Salamander and his four flamebrothers guard the Lizardfolk tribe’s treasury.
Treasure: The chest itself is made out of Baatorian Green Steel and is worth 60 GP; in the chest are 2,000 SP, a finely made silver holy symbol of Itzpapolotl worth 50 GP, an arcane scroll of resist energy and magic circle against evil, a 200 GP solid gold idol of Mictlantecuhtli, a star sapphire worth 80 GP, a small silver chalice worth 20 GP, 30 GP mithral-plated circlet inscribed with a prayer to Quetzlcouatl, an adamantine-plated sword made of silver worth 50 GP, a set of pipes of the sewers, and some dust of appearance in a small bag.
Entrance to the Temple of the Moon
This temple is dank and dreary, with a pale blue light illuminating blank stone blocks. The room is damp and cold, and two weathered statues, their distinguishing features lost, stand sentry over a broken stone chest.
This room once held items of value, but Lavinia’s paternal grandparents broke in and robbed it long ago. Now the room contains nothing of value. There are however, four friendly mice of different colours.
A further, optional detour between TinH and BG is possible if the PC's need/want it.
Bad Light a free WotC adventure
When the PC’s return to Vanderboren Manor, once again, Lavinia is talking to more people interested in employing the PC’s. The high priest of the Azure Cathedral (Dimitri Popadopolis, Cleric of Poseidon V, Lord of the Deep IV), and Oldur Islaran (the reluctant, new harbour master) are both here and wish to get the PCs' aid in solving a problem that has arisen in return for free healing at the Azure Cathedral and free docking for the Vanderborens and their associates.
Pastor Popadopolis explains that ships coming from the east have not been turning up. They need the PC’s to investigate why this has been happening as neither the cathedral nor the watch can spare any men as they are already over-stretched trying to prepare for the Wormfall festival. He further advises them that as the sea route is proving treacherous, they should probably go over land, but should beware of increased activity of local bullywug tribes. Despite what he says, no random encounters occur during this part of the adventure.
Concluding the Adventures
After their deeds, Kurgar is more than willing to help the PC’s in SWW, additionally, the Azure Cathedral is able to provide one or two priests for the voyage, and Lord Islaran is willing to let the PC’s borrow his personal sloop for the trip to Kraken’s Cove. The Azure Cathedral is true to its word, and the PC’s can receive free healing there at any time they wish. They will also not charge for material components below 100 GP in any healing spell, and give a 10-40% discount on spells with larger material components such as Raise Dead.
How it ties in with the AP
Lykast is a captain in the Crimson Fleet, and instead of using the goblins described in the adventure, she uses local bullywugs. The barghest will be a special form of barghest that takes the form of a bullywug. They will come from the tribe later used in BG.
ADVENTURE 2: The Bullywug Gambit
PART 1: Journey to Kraken’s Cove
On the way, the Sable Drake (Stormwrack encounter) attacks the ship. None of sailors aboard the Sloop are capable combatants, and so the defence is left to the PC’s. No treasure is aboard the ship beyond that already described.
PART 2: Kraken’s Cove
Make sure to describe two ships heading away in the distance. (One no doubt containing Vanthus).
Kigante Valeros is a retired pirate, who used to be a terror of the Volhoun Ocean. He grew rich and powerful, but eventually he gained the attention of Shalvara, a Radiant Sister of Malcanthet. The two had an affair, which ended in betrayal when Shalvara drained most of Valeros’ levels. Though Kigante killed Shalvara, his level loss was permanent, and he no longer had the skill to captain a fierce band of pirates. He thus divided the plunder, dismissed the crew, and with a loyal ogre pirate also keen on hanging up his boots, retired to Kraken’s Cove, with his one remaining ship, the Salty Sea Shanty. He made the place a well kept home, but the Crimson Fleet eventually learned of it. They took over most of the cave complex, much to Kigante’s annoyance, and they have been running smuggling operations from here for quite some time.
K11. Tributary Chamber (EL 4)
Brissa Santos has not been entirely devoured by the Savage Hunger. She retains a semblance of humanity and thus benefits from neither the DR 5/magic that most savage pirates get, nor from the death throes ability, instead falling unconscious when she is taken below zero.
K13. Kigante’s Chamber
This cavern has been outfitted with the finest in stolen furniture. Thick rugs cover the floor, and fine silk tapestries and masterful seascape paintings hang from the walls, giving the place an almost regal feel. A four -poster bed takes up much of a large nook to the south, and nearby stands an oak desk with a matching armoire. Alas, much of this furniture is ruined, spattered and stained with gore and deeply scarred by sword play. A tall, old pirate dressed in regal finery lies on the bed, all but motionless. Sitting slumped against the wall next to him is a barely conscious ogre, both appear to be unaffected by the Savage Hunger. Five bodies lie about the room, horribly deformed men and women, some riddled with rapier wounds, others more brutally hacked apart.
Kigante Valeros lies here, stabilised at -3 by his companion, an ogre called Morgan Shipcruncher, who is disabled at 0 hp. The two of them managed to bar both of the doors, but the Savage Pirates didn’t go down without a fight. Morgan is happy to explain what happened, even though he isn’t sure of who the PC’s are, and if he and Kigante can be brought back to consciousness, then they are willing to follow the PC’s. Kigante will stand back and shoot with his musket (or crossbow, depending on tech level), and Shipcruncher will attack from behind the party front line.
The two are shocked at what the Crimson Fleet is doing with dangerous magical artefacts, and are more than willing to get out of Kraken’s Cove before the situation gets any worse. Kigante doesn’t recognise the Sea Wyvern, and assumes that it belongs to the PC’s. Both avoid Harliss Javell.
Restat Diamondback as an elf, make sure that she survives (The ideas that Troy's campaign has given me are tempting. Thanks Troy!)
The Sea Wyvern’s Wake
Securing Vessels: If and when the PC’s get round to talking to Valram or Kurgar, then those two will remind the PC’s about the ships wrecked in Wreck Ashore. Kurgar can get a willing crew of Hadozee to help patch up the ships in no time, and Lavinia or the Azure Temple can provide scrolls of ‘Raise from the Deep’ to keep the ships afloat while they are repaired.
Securing Crew: The PC’s should be fine for crew aboard the Sea Wyvern, but they can recruit new people if they want. There are 8 places available on the Wyvern, 30 on the Salt Wind, and 15 on the Pale Pilgrim. It is recommended that the PC’s stick to the Sea Wyvern as it is the best of the ships. If they do this, then Valram Taskel can be employed as the captain of the Pale Pilgrim along with Kurgar as his first mate. If left to their own devices, then they will recruit Hadozee colonists. Kigante Valeros will happily captain the Salt Wind, with Morgan Shipcruncher as his first mate. Kigante will help find a crew of adventurous colonists who may be of suspect character (a crew consisting of ex-pirates, and half-orc Vikings who worship Grummsh). True to his word, the high priest of the Azure Cathedral is willing to provide up to one 4th level cleric per ship for the voyage. Their service is free as he hopes that they will help in spreading the azure religion to the Isle of Dread, and he owes the PCs as well. Diamondback may be available for recruitment at this stage (or may smuggle herself aboard to help Rowyn).
Supplies and Cargo: There is space on the Sea Wyvern for 30 tons of cargo, 5 on the Pale Pilgrim, and 40 on the Salt Wind. If the PC’s do not wish to use this space, then Lavinia uses it to bring extra supplies to Farshore.
Captain Kigante (CN human male captain of the Salt Wind)
Morgan Shipcruncher (CG ogre male first mate of the Salt Wind)
Vardek (CG human male Viking jarl. Drawn by adventure)
Logan Coldsteel (CN elf male corsair. He has fallen in love with Rosa. Worships Dagon)
Rosa Bladesong (CG elf female paladin of CotWF. seeks adventure)
Bolgathar (CN half-orc male cleric of Grummsh. Viking priest)
Ulgran (CG half-orc male barbarian. Leader of the Vikings)
Shathra (CN half-orc eye of Grummsh. Viking champion)
Aeran Blackdepths (N elf male cleric of Aegir. Sent by Azure Cathedral)
Amella Venkalie (CN human female captain or mate of the Sea Wyvern)
Father Feres (real name, Conrad Dorst) (CN human male conman on the run)
Avner Meravanchi (LN human male aristocrat. Funding the expedition)
Barnaby and Quenge (LN human male manservants to Avner)
Skald (CG feytouched male ranger. Fleeing criminals from the Styes)
Rowyn Kellani (NE female human. Seeks revenge on the PC’s)
Urol Forol (NG gnome male naturalist. Is just curious)
Lirith Veldirose (CN female human. Wants fun and adventure)
Lia “Diamondback” Moondark (N female elf battledancer. Different potential motivations)
Klyra Deepsea (CG female elf cleric of Poseidon. Sent by Azure Cathedral)
Maurice (CG human male doctor and academic)
Captain Valram (CG human male captain of the Pale Pilgrim)
Kurgar Pilgrim (CG Hadozee male first mate of the Pale Pilgrim)
Carnath (NG dwarf male cleric of Njord. Sent by Azure Cathedral)
Siroo Pilgrim (LG Hadozee male. Leader of the Hadozee)
*Maybe a vampire crewmember on one of the ships?
Dinner with Lavinia
Lavinia invites all of the officers (Kigante, Selvo, Vardek, Aeran, Ulgran, Amella, Avner, Kiera, Valram, Joe, the PC’s, the Jade Ravens) and any NPC’s significant to the PC’s for dinner with her.
Rowyn disguises herself as Skald to poison the PC’s food. She will choose to poison the leader of the PC’s.
Rather than seducing a PC to go for a swim, Rowyn will instead shot roll or leave trip wires to make a PC fall into the sea, or if the PC goes in willingly. She will then summon the shark.
Rowyn drops a yardarm on a PC.
When the PCs reach their first land fall, Rowyn maroons Maurice and impersonates him until the next stop. There, a rather ragged Maurice is seen on the beach, having been led there by Olmans, and when the PC’s notice Maurice on the ship, Rowyn Kellani drops the disguise, launches into a foul litany against the PCs, and then attacks.
Dealing with Rowyn in the future
Anything the PC’s decide to do should work. However, if they murder her, then she comes back as an undead (possibly a drowned). And if they kill her again, then she comes back as a thrall to Malcanthet.
Random Encounters with Sharks
The sharks should never pose a direct threat to the ship, but should follow it unnerringly in an unnatural manner (Dagon has sent them to attack those that fall overboard in revenge for the destruction of a Bullywug tribe loyal to him).
Day 1: Rowyn’s Mephit
Day 7: Friendly ship bound for Sasserine
Day 8: Poisoning
Day 12: Wyverns
Day 13: Fort Blackwell, Rowyn ditches Maurice
Day 1: Father Feres’ illness (EL 8)
Day 2: Accident
Day 7: (EL 6) encounter with an Ichthyosaur
Day 8: Accident
Day 9: 4 Medium sharks (EL 4). Then Flotsam Ooze.
Day 2: Rowyn uses the scroll
Day 9: Accident
Day 14: Tamoachan. At the end of the foray into the tombs, several Olman turn up with a distressed Maurice. Here occurs the battle with Rowyn. Insert C1 here too if the players seem up for it. Otherwise, leave it for HTBM.
Day 2: A fleet of crimson fleet pirates attack.
Day 4: Sighting of the ghost ship, then the Brotherhood Blockade.
Day 1: A huge shark (EL 4)
Day 4: Sacrificial valley
Day 9: Ruins of Fort Greenrock.
Day 1: Dire Barracuda (EL 4)
Day 2: A trade ship.
Day 4: River Menace (EL 6)
Day 1: Offerings AND webs
Day 3: (EL 4) Huge Shark
Day 5: (EL 6) Baleen Whale
Day 6: Renkrue
Day 1: Friendly Olman raiders returning home
Day 5: Pirate Hunters, DC 30 Diplomacy/Bluff/Intimidate to get them to leave Kigante and Valram alone. The Pirate hunters sail a grand carrack.
Day 6: Ruja, expand this into a pirate fortress.
Day 1: Dire Barracuda (EL 4)
Day 4: The first storm
Day 3: A crimson fleet Hulk
Day 4: Journey’s End
Day 4: Shatterhull Isle
Day 5: Savage Albatross then Second Storm
For SWW; i made a good part of it (open sea voyage) into one large sea chase/combat between the SW and 3 red fleet ships. It worked out remarkably well, especially using the chase rules from Dragon Mag (some of the obstacles etc, included weather conditions, a whirlpool, migrating sea serpents, an ongoing sahuagin/merman war etc.)
I also go rid of the next adventure, Here there be Monsters, all together, and added in a lot of fab stuff from Nick Logue's sinister adventures (interestingly, Nick wrote the Isle of Dread section for Dungeon and the stuff he had put out for Sinister Adventures is very similar)to the following adventure, as well as a lot more from the original Isle of Dread Mod. HtBM appears to be very repetitive with it's encounters (and not dinos either, but the Terror Birds)and has no real impact to the overall plot. By expanding Isle of Dread, I was able to impliment a lot more long term NPCs, alliances, and give the PCs a lot more sandboxy time on the Isle.
I like alot of your stuff.
Here's some nifty changes that I have made to make it work for me, feel free to add/modify/swipe/disregard any of it as you please.
The first thing I changed was as the pcs go to meet Lavinia the first time I had the Jade Ravens escorting Vanthus off the premises. The idea was that he came to "claim" his half of the inheritance, but in reality he was casing the place for stealable valuables. After some arguing with his sister he is "asked" to leave. He sees the pcs for the first time here.
Then I had some new players join the game so I needed a hook for them (the party had finished looting Castle Teraknian so I needed a way other than "You meet new party members") I had them coming from Cauldron, escorting a scholar with a beautiful box containing a scroll meant for a contact in sasserine. In reality it was a missive for a crimson fleet contact in Sasserine detailing the contents being delivered to Kraken's Cove. Vanthus and his goons kill the 2 crimson fleet agents and set up an ambush. Taking the box and running as his goons are cut down. The party starts looking for Vanthus and his lady friend, eventually learning who he might be. They track him to Vandorboren manner, and after finally meeting with Lavinia they basically hook up with the rest of the party to search for him for her (believing the Brissa is the boss, since Vanthus only shot a crossbow during the fight).
They attempt to find the two eventually finding Briss's place, and meet Shefton as originally planned. He however sends them to Vanthus' camp in the ruins of the work farm he was sent to outside the city. There they meet Vanthus, Brissa, and another rogue (Penkus) who ride off on horses when the pcs are spotted as the party fights the thugs left behind. Had any lived they would have spilled about Parrot Island, but since none did the party was unsure what to do. The fighter and Barbarian tracked down Shefton again, who they "persuaded" to find Vanthus again (he then did so but was caught and Vanthus set up the trap as per the adventure) and That's where we left off with them sort of threatening yet befriending the doomed half-elf who is waiting as they are about to climb down into the caves. What's sad is they really like shefton and I'm almost tempted to leave him alive and wounded when he takes his fall so the pcs can take him as a cohort and redeem him (they have commented out of game that he is the coolest npc they've ever met... he pretty much stays extremely jumpy and frightened at all times, and confused as the party threatens to kill him all the time, then took him drinking and wenching right afterwards. A wierd trip to the Sasserine Sleigh Ride and Mermaid's Secret indeed....)
I did this much for the same reason I think your using Rowyn alot, so that later The Savage Brissa encounter and every Vanthus one means a little more than "Hey its that guy..." instead "Hey, its that sonuva!" :P
I completely agree with you there Stewart, if you can build up a villain/npc, then the players will care more if they have to kill him or if he dies.
I like what you did with Shefton, although I would be wary about doing it myself as one or two of my group would find a way to get Vanthus in the foreshadowing.
I completely agree with you there Stewart, if you can build up a villain/npc, then the players will care more if they have to kill him or if he dies.
I like what you did with Shefton, although I would be wary about doing it myself as one or two of my group would find a way to get Vanthus in the foreshadowing.
Well Shefton kind of developed as such accidentally. If he gets offed, he gets offed. I think the players like him now, but sometimes they get fickle and he might get the Queen of hearts treatment if I'm not careful. :P
I like what you did with the path. Fleshing out the thieves' guilds is a very good idea. The scenes with the criminal elements work very well, and it is rewarding to make them more complex.
I also like the foreshadowing you are doing. The mention of Dagon early on, and the Olman references.
Thanks for the feedback. Stewart - what's "the Queen of Hearts treatment?"
lol sorry, Alice in wonderland joke.... "Off with his head".(in case you don't know alice in wonderland, for whatever reason the queen of hearts is a crazy ruler who has a short fuse and executes people at kind of random.) :P
Great work Laurellien!
One bit of advice, this is a really long adventure path. Our GM run out of batteries, flopped on the floor and wriggled all over the place on the night we decided to end the STAP.
Seriously, its long and could be shortened in places to speed it up. In saying that, there are bits of the STAP that benefit from being expanded on... I don't know how to do SPOILER buttons! (Anyone?)
I really enjoyed it. By the looks of what you've done here, so will your group!
The way you do spoiler tags is [ spoiler ] [ /spoiler ] without the spaces in the square brackets. But don't worry about that. This entire thread is spoiler material.
As far as the AP's length goes, my group has 2 DM's, and when the group gets to a certain point (say, the end of ToD), then we'll swap over and do another campaign for a while.
I'm lucky in that, my group WANTS a loooong campaign. We've had some issues trying to get the right player balance and also basically weed through who will play and who will just show up eat the snacks and bail after an hour or so (seriously some people don't visit long, but commit like they do). So were mostly set up with the people who are good players and all itching to see an entire long game through. So when I said this was a preplanned game that goes into level 20+ they were excited to finally get a chance to break double digit levels.
On a side note I'm also lucky that NPC romances are easy with my group. There is always someone who hits on the npcs. This time the scholarly healer asked Lavinia to examine the library in her home, and then basically started befriending with intent to woo. :P
The way you do spoiler tags is [ spoiler ] [ /spoiler ] without the spaces in the square brackets. But don't worry about that. This entire thread is spoiler material.** spoiler omitted **
(from the spoiler) We do something similar switching off at each adventure (though I try and make two adventures into one). That is why a year and a half after the printing ended, we are only on adventure 5 of 12 O:)
Nice job on the guilds. I would have liked to see more of the affiliation's use, which could work in with much of what you have done.