Friday, January 29, 2010

Adventure Funnel: Skeletal Corsairs of the Barbary Coast

And now for a little experiment...

Today I'm going to take Dr-Rotwang's Adventure Funnel and use it to develop a scenario for Sunday's Pirates vs. Vampire game. Before I can jump in and start creating, I do need to consider my player characters:
Alaric Anchorman: Swashbuckling former lieutenant of the Royal Navy and aspiring young "privateer".
Hector Valdez: A former blood thrall and current member of the anti-vampire resistance.
John "Mad Jack" Murphy: Ships' doctor and resident vampire-hunting specialist (and my own npc/occasional pc).
(As-Yet-Unnamed): A merchant-trader with an interest in Jewish mysticism.
I'm going to assume that the characters are already serving on a privateer ship that is operating at the behest of anti-vampire personages in the British government. Young Alaric is not currently captain, but I expect that he will be thrust into that role early in the adventure.

SPOILER ALERT [My Players Should Turn Back]


Goal: Find and eliminate the undead threat to allied shipping and free settlements in and around the Mediterranean.

  1. The Captain is secretly working for the other team
  2. No witnesses at sea
  3. Villages razed with an undead raiding party left behind
  4. Galleys crewed by skeletons and skeletal warrior champions
  5. Barbary pirates in league with the Necromancer
  6. Notorious pirate port on the island of Al Amarja
  7. Skeleton base is in a hidden cove
  8. Giant Fell Beast patrols the sky
  9. Giant scorpions in the desert
  10. Bedouin minions
  11. Secret desert lair
  12. Skeletal Minotaur
  13. Gladiatorial arena
  14. Hulking sword-wielding henchman 
  15. The Necromancer
  16. Bound Ifrit 

  • The characters are crew-members aboard the Spear of St. George. Captain Christian Kent carries a coded royal decree from King Charles II (the year is sometime between 1680 and 1685) granting it permission to commit piracy against the interests of known vampire clans. It should be noted that the decree would only be recognized by British officials who are also members of a secret anti-vampire organization and is thus no guarantee of clemency in the case of capture.
  • Captain Kent is being blackmailed/extorted into working for an unidentified vampire aristocrat, identified only as "R" in various correspondences locked away in his quarters.
  • "R" has ordered Kent to continue on his mission but that he must find the source of the Necromancer's power [the bound Ifrit] and deliver it to "R".  
  • The party has at least heard rumors of skeletal raiders. Several allied ships have gone missing and at least on anti-vampire sanctuary has been obliterated.
  • Possibility of stumbling on at least one burning wreck left behind after an attack by skeletal corsairs. The ship is the Comet, another anti-vampire privateer ship out of Port Royal.
  • Possibility of encountering smoke coming from the village of Salernius. The party is too late to save the town, but they will certainly stumble upon a stranded skeletal raiding party. It will be a grizzly scene and human survivors will be very difficult to find.
  • Certain Barbary Pirates (by no means all of them) have struck deals with the Necromancer and will challenge foreign ships.
  • The port of Al Amarja (yes, that Al Amarja for those of you familiar with Over the Edge) is considered to be a free city. That doesn't mean it is a friendly city... the words "you will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy" certainly apply. Members of the resistance, foreign spies, vampires, smugglers, ninjas, warlocks, and (of course) pirates can be found in abundance.
  • The skeletal corsairs launch their attacks from a secret cove on the Tunisian coast. Undead replacements are continuously marched over trackless dunes and through twisting canyons from the Necromancer's secret lair. Stray from the path and face giant scorpions, wandering undead, or worse.
  • The Necromancer's lair resembles Jabba's palace from Return of the Jedi.
  • The Necromancer is fond of gladiatorial games and will seek to capture foes for use in the pits. His ultimate prize is an enormous skeletal minotaur of his own construction (which resides in a labyrinth below the slave pits). 
  • The Necromancer's right-hand man is a scimitar-wielding blood thrall of prodigious size known only as Armando. 
  • The Necromancer himself is a vampire of uncertain age with Mediterranean features. He is the scion of one of Europe's foremost vampire clans and hopes to use his skeletal fleet to amass enough resources to reclaim his rightful position. Despite his name, he is only a middling sorcerer who owes his power to an Ifrit bottle that he discovered shortly after being forced into the dessert. 
Assistance and Rewards
  • Hector may have resistance contacts in the pirate port
  • The Necromancer has captured and is in the process of turning Lady Magdalene Aston. She is eager to escape and will assist the player characters if possible.
  • The Ifrit, bound to a brass bottle, is a dangerous reward as it is a malevolent entity who will pervert its instructions unless the person issuing the orders knows what he is doing. It could be used to help bring down the Necromancer.  
I could keep going and going but I am specifically trying to minimize my advance preparation so as to leave room for organic development. I'm also quite sure that we won't get very far into this particular adventure on Sunday so there will be plenty of time to revisit and re-funnel at a later date.


m.s. jackson said...

You sure kept your prep to a minimum! ;-)
Awesome stuff!

Moni said...

By all means, let us know how it goes :). I'm curious to see how much of this will hook the players and what they make of it.