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Corruption of the Swords - Pirate adventureby John Calvin, Max Monas and Jens "the Stalker" Schnabel
All of yer treasure, argh... belong to us
This adventure is designed to be linked with other Phase I adventures in the Corruption of the Swords campaign. If not running the other adventures in this plot-line, minor modifications will allow this adventure to be played in any campaign.
Unknown to all, one of the Outer Beings is breaking free of its planar prison. It has spent centuries making preparations for this event. By manipulating one of the immortals themselves, the Outer Being has been able to set the stage for its escape. Its plan involves the corruption of the powerful artifacts known as the Swords of Wayland, as well as blood rituals on a scale that could not possibly be imagined by most, be they mortal or immortal. The PCs will be inexorably drawn into this webwork of insane schemes through four seemingly unrelated adventures. Ultimately, it will be up to them to put the pieces together before the Outer Being's dark prophecies come to pass, but the unknowable one has been planning its escape for a long time. Compassion, curiosity, fame, and fortune...all of the stuff that heroes are made of, will insure that wittingly or not, the PCs will play their part in the Outer Beings grand design.
PCs should enter this scenario after having completed adventures 1 through 3, and having gathered clues about one of the Swords or Wayland, Roc. This information will be what ultimately sets them on their path.
Phase I adventures are low level adventures designed to draw the PCs into this plot.
How to Involve PCs
There are several possible ways to involve the PCs in this adventure. Since this should be played as the culminating adventure in this series, it is recommended that all the other adventures be played through first. Each of the previous adventures should have lead ins to this one.
1. The PCs may hear about Attleson's tale from some local villagers. They find Attleson's grave, but no sword is contained there. [This is from adventure 1 Your Trusted Friend, the Necromancer]
2. The PCs meet up with some Corun merchants who tell them the tale of Attleson, and how he lost his sword (of course they leave out their own duplicity in the matter). [This is from adventure 2 The Starving Forest]
3. The PCs buy some of Attleson's artifacts at an auction, but the sword is missing. They may hire a sage to find out where to look for it next. [This is from adventure 3 What Lurks in the Shadows]
Looking for Moana the Fair
The sword Roc has been changing possession for the last 500 years or so. The PCs may thus have a hard time tracking down its current whereabouts. There are, however, several avenues to pursue. Local populations where the sword passed through may tell stories of the famous weapon. Likewise many sages may know bits and pieces of its overall tale. Libraries and long lost scrolls might also be able to point the party in the right direction. See the history of Attleson (Appendix 1), and of Roc (in Appendix 2), for more information.
Eventually, clever PCs will be able to trace the sword's path to Hadric Telmar, a Minrothad merchant prince who went missing 'a few years ago.' It seems that Hadric was also in search of a great treasure, that of a pirate who lived over 125 years ago, and who seems to have disappeared shortly after hiding her treasure. Hadric seems to have disappeared during his quest for that very same treasure.
Fortunately for the PCs, Hadric kept very detailed notes, and had at least one copy scribed for safekeeping. Unfortunately that copy was destroyed by something...leaving only a few readable scraps behind.
"...Moana the...a group of ruthless amazons who terrorised the shipping lan...more than 13 ships...asure was never found". Another brittle page contains the portrait of a beautiful, but bitter looking woman. Her hair is blond, her cheekbones are prominent, and her lips puff out in an almost pouting manner. Underneath the picture is the phrase "...oana th..."
Moana the Fair's treasure was never found, and nothing else is known of her.
Finding Moana the Beardless
While in a port town (either in Darokin or Ierendi) the PCs happen to see a group of women talking with one another.
All of the women are muscular, and their skin is that golden-brown colour that only occurs in those who spend their entire lives working under the sun. Their clothes are a mishmash of colours, and gaudy looking weapons are strapped on their bodies. The women seem to be having a heated conversation, and it is not hard to overhear them. "I say we leave now, Moana!"
The woman being yelled at shoots out a quick backhand, silencing her detractor. "I say when we leave." At this moment the woman notices that you have been watching her. She turns to give your party an unpleasant glare. Her hair is blond, her cheekbones are prominent, and her lips puff out in an almost pouting manner. Seeing that face sends chills running down your spine.
This is, of course, a coincidence. The Moana that the PCs have run into here is Moana the Beardless, a ruthless pirate who has followed in her ancestor's footsteps. Whether or not the PCs decide to approach Moana, the wily pirate will soon notice that she is being watched. She quickly returns to her hideout on Alcove Island.
The PCs may have to scramble to find a ship willing to go after Moana. This is the only lead that they have, after all, and they shouldn't let it get away. There are several merchantmen and a single clipper currently in port.
The clipper, called "Sea Wind" is the only ship that really has a chance of catching up to Moana's and this should be readily apparent to the PCs.
Convincing Captain Arktaen that it is in his best interest to intercept the dangerous pirate will be another matter entirely.
The captain looks at you with a mixture of disbelief and uncertainty. "My cargo holds are empty, so I might be inclined to go a pirate huntin', but I'd sooner kiss a dragon turtle than chase after Moana the Beardless!"
The PCs will have to work fast in order to convince the captain. There are three things that might help to set Captain Arktaen's mind at ease. Filling his purse with gold (and it will take quite a lot of gold to fill it), hiring extra hands as marines to combat the pirates they will be facing, or hiring some of the other merchantmen as support vessels. It will take Moana 2 to 3 hours to round up her crew and set sail. If she has more than a 2 hour head start on the PCs, they will never catch up to her.
If they follow the pirate, Moana is ready. She is suspicious of the PCs and has already made plans to evade them before she gets to Alcove Island's secret cove. If the PCs are on any type of vessel other than a "pirate hunter", Moana assumes that they are adventurers who stumbled upon the story of Moana the Fair's treasure (it's happened before). In this case she prepares her lair for visitors. Otherwise she might assume that the PCs are simply pirate hunters. This might catch her off guard later on.
A thick fog has rolled in, and the captain looks at you dubiously. "We'll never find 'em in this..." Just as he says this a seaman shouts from the crow's nest "Ship ho! Off to port!" It's Moana's ship. The sails have been furled and the ship is adrift. As you get closer you can make out several figures crumpled on the decks. Most of them lay motionless, but a few roll from side to side moaning.
Moana has made it appear that her ship has been attacked in order to lull her pursuers into a false sense of security. She uses this ploy on occasion to gain the advantage of surprise. Clever or observant PCs will notice that the sails have been furled and are not damaged in any way. Nor is any other part of the ship.
It will take the 3 rounds for the Sea Wind to reach Moana's ship. Unknown to the Sea Wind or her crew there is also another ship in these foggy waters. Moana has managed to contact an allied pirate vessel and they are setting an ambush for the Sea Wind. Moana and her crew will act as the bait. 2 rounds after the Sea Wind's crew (and the PCs) board her vessel, Moana will give the signal to attack.
The deck creaks beneath your feet. Everything is quiet except for the pitiful moaning of what appear to be wounded pirates scattered throughout the deck. Suddenly a cry goes out, and the pirates on the deck jump up, swords in hand. Several crew members of the Sea Wind are dispatched quickly or shoved over the side of the vessel.
It will take the second pirate vessel another 4 rounds to approach Moana's ship. Each round the crewman in the Sea Wind's crows nest (or one of the PCs) may make a spot check to determine if the vessel can be seen. Captain Arktaen will realise that he is outmatched as soon as the second pirate vessel is spotted, and will try to disengage and run if possible.
If the Sea Wind cannot disengage in time, and the pirates win, the PCs will be taken prisoner and brought to her secret base on Alcove Island. If this is the case, then Moana the Beardless will make the PCs an offer they can't refuse (possibly holding one of their party captive to ensure their cooperation). Move to the section entitled "Working for Moana."
If the Sea Wind (and the PCs) manage to escape Moana's trap, Captain Arktaen will put ashore on Alcove island. Repairs will be made as soon as possible, and the captain will set off. No amount of gold will convince him to continue the hunt for Moana after her little trap has been sprung.
"There may be someone that I know of who would be willing to help you. His name is Dak, and he runs a small business off of dockside. Go and talk to him...and become his problem. I want nothing more to do with you!" At this the captain spits into the sea, and the party is forcibly removed from his ship.
Move to the section entitled "Dealing with Dak."
Working for Moana
The pirates bind, gag, and blindfold you before unceremoniously dumping you into the bilge. The journey to their base takes only a matter of hours, so it must be close by. Once the ship has docked, you are moved from the stinking bilge into a filthy cave. The entrance is covered with a rusty iron gate and several guards are stationed outside watching you.
After several more hours you are visited by Moana herself. "If you wish to gain your freedom, I have a little job for you to do." Moana smiles at you wickedly. "There is an old pirate named Dak who lives on the other side of the island. He has a certain object that belongs to me...the bust of my great, great grandmother carved in wood. You can't miss her. I'm told that the two of us bear a striking resemblance." Her eyes grow hard, and her expression twisted with hatred. "Kill Dak, and bring the figurehead to me. Otherwise... well, I hear that they treat their slaves fairly well in Jaibul."
Moana is well known by Dak, as well as the port authorities, and so is most of her crew. She has no desire to be seen in town, and even if she did, there is no way for her to get close enough to Dak in order to steal the figurehead. Instead she has decided to send the PCs in to do the job for her.
The PCs may try to escape from the pirate's hidden base. Moana may in fact "arrange" for this to happen, especially if she suspects that the PCs will never follow her orders. The easiest way to do this is for one of Moana's female crew members to "take a liking" to one of the male PCs. That crew member will help the party escape, and will also be in a position to betray them later on. In this case Moana will also arrange for the party to stumble across the portions of the figurehead that she has in her possession, with the hope that the PCs will be able to reunite them and learn the location of the treasure.
Shortly after Moana leaves another Amazonian woman enters the makeshift dungeon. "I want to have some fun with this one before we send them to Jaibul," she tells the guards at the gate, pointing to one of you. The guards give her a look of uncertainty, but accept when she places a hand on the large dagger at her belt. "Separate him from the others."
The pirate, Niadell, has the guards take the single PC back to her private quarters. After dismissing the guards, she begins to make her advances. She is very careful not to let the PC get a hold of her dagger while they "play," and she is not afraid to "play rough" if the PC puts up a fight. Give the character some time to suggest plans of escape with Niadell. If the PC does not think of making these suggestions, Niadell will provide an opening.
"It's really too bad we have to send you away. Oh, you'll fetch a good price at Jaibul, but I'd much rather keep you for myself."
The PC should have no trouble convincing Niadell to help them escape (this is what she has been sent to do, after all). Of course, Niadell won't promise to help based on the PCs good looks alone. She will demand some service of them in return, just to keep up appearances.
Let the PCs work out whatever plan for escape that they want. Niadell will agree to help them with it, as long as they also agree to take her with them. If none of the PCs think of taking Moana's figurehead pieces, Niadell will suggest it.
"I don't know exactly what they're worth, but Moana talks about them to no end. She seems to think that they will lead her to some great treasure. Perhaps if we take them, we could find that treasure for ourselves..."
Once the party makes their escape, Moana plans to follow them to Dak's place, and then attack at the most opportune time. Go to the section labelled "Pirate's Hideout" in order to play through the escape.
Dealing with Dak (on Alcove Island)
Dak is an ex-pirate who now owns a legitimate sea business (legitimate in the sense that he sets up fake treasure hunts for tourists). He owns a small shack on the side of the dock in which he lives, and also does business. He has decorated his shack so that it provides lots of "atmosphere" for his customers. Many of his employees look like the stereotypical pirate, and can always be found nearby.
1. The Dock : This dock appears to be a fairly old construction. It is long and rickety, and tends to sway slightly whenever anyone walks upon it.
There are typically two small sailing vessels moored off the dock, one to each side. Both vessels are owned by Dak and used for his business (of shipping paying customers out to explore underwater wreckages). Their crews can either be found on board, or at many of the nearby taverns.
2. Dak's Shack : This Ramshackled building at the foot of the dock, appears to be falling apart from the outside, but is actually quite sturdy. If at least one of the two sailing vessels is moored at the dock, the lights are on inside the shack, and Dak is open for business. After dark, or when both ships are out to sea, the shack is dark and locked up tight. Dak has had many magical wards placed on his abode in order to discourage would-be thieves. Many of them are very nasty...and quite lethal.
a. The Front Room: Furnishings in this room are sparse. There is a single desk on the far wall that faces the door. Two other chairs are situated in front of that. Behind the desk hangs the partial wooden figurehead with the likeness of a beautiful, but stern, woman. If the party enters Dak's shack during normal business hours he will smile at them broadly and invite them to sit down.
"Welcome to Dak's. The place to be if ya seek adventure and gold. I be Dak, you be takin' a seat!" Dak bellows as the party enters his abode. Behind him, hanging on the wall is the figure of a blond, stern-faced woman. As you move toward Dak and the chairs he has offered it almost seems that her hard wooden eyes follow you across the room.
b. The figurehead on the wall behind the desk is in fact the cursed form of Moana the Fair. Long ago she was turned into a wooden statue by an evil mage who wanted to know the location of her treasure. She is cursed to remain in this form until she reveals the location to someone, but she will not do that until the figurehead is made whole once again.
c. The Back Room : The door to this room is always locked during business hours. It's furnishings are only slightly better than the other room. In one corner is a small bed, and in the other is a desk and small closet. The chair for the desk appears to be an old iron chest stood up on one end. Dak has a few personal possessions in here, but nothing of real value. Valuable items are all stored elsewhere (buried in some obscure location, no doubt).
Moana the Fair hates Dak, but does speak with him about the treasure on occasion, and has even made him a deal. She is tired of being trapped in this form, and believes that she could defeat Dak once she is free. Moana has told Dak that if he can restore the figurehead, she will reveal the location of the treasure. Dak in turn knows that Moana the Beardless has three of the figurehead fragments. He also knows the location of her hidden base, but is not able to enter it in order to retrieve the pieces.
If the PCs have come to Dak for his help in finding Moana the Beardless he will make a deal with them.
"Hmmm..." he pauses while scratching the stubble on his chin. "Surin I'll tell yer where to find that little lass, but ye've got t' do me a favour in return." Dak gets up and walks to the entrance of his shack. "Wait outside, will ye, me boys?" he says to two creatures flanking the shack's only entrance. The two husky lizardmen nod and slowly make their way out the door. After closing and locking the door behind his guards, he gestures to the figurehead on the back of the wall. "Moana just happens to have something I be wantin'. Three fragments o' that fair sculpture ye see afore ye. Two legs and a single arm." With a wink he adds, "I be having the second arm kept in a safe place."
If asked why he wants the figurehead fragments Dak will tell the players the truth. He figures that they are the best chance he has to ever get his hands on the other three fragments.
"She be a magical figurehead," he says with a wink. "Once she be whole again, she'll lead me to her lost treasure. I'd be willin ta share, of course, but I can't get me hands on the other three pieces o' her."
Patient PCs may wait until both sailing vessels have left port before they try to enter Dak's house. After they get past his wards, the party will have to face Dak's two lizardmen guards (the only two who are constantly guarding the shack - and the figurehead). As soon as the figurehead sees the PCs she will begin to cheer them on. Assuming the PCs defeat the guards, Moana will make them the same deal that she made Dak. She knows that Moana the Beardless possesses three of the fragments, but is not sure where Dak keeps the last one. The PCs will have to devise some way to get that information from the once pirate.
Lizardfolk (2): CR 1; Medium-Sized Humanoid (Aquatic, Reptilian); HD 2d8+2; hp 13, 12; Init +0; Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (+5 natural); Attacks 2 claws +2 melee, bite +0 melee (claw 1d4+1, bite 1d4); AL N; SV Fort +1, Ref +3, Will +0; Str 13, Dex 10, Con 13, Int 9, Wis 10, Cha 10. Skills: Balance +4, Jump +7, Swim +9. Feats: Multiattack.
If, on the other hand, the PCs enter the house after business hours, they will have to battle Dak and his two lizardmen guards. After two rounds of battle one of Dak's other men will check up on his captain and sound an alarm. Every two rounds thereafter another 5 of Dak's men will come down form one of the ships. There are 25 men in total who will come to Dak's aid. If the PCs manage to defeat Dak the figurehead is theirs for the taking. Moana the Fair will make the same offer to the PCs that she did to Dak. However, she does not know the location of her second arm. Dak and his two lizardman guards are the only ones with that information.
Dak, human Ftr3: CR 3; Medium Humanoid (5 ft. 11 in. tall); HD 3d10; hp 28; Init +1 (Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 14 (+3 armour, +1 Dex); Atks +6 melee (2d4+4/crit 18-20/x2); AL CN; SV Fort +5, Ref +2, Will +0; Str 16, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 9, Cha 12. Skills: Climb +9, Jump +9, Swim +8. Feats: Endurance, Improved Unarmed Strike, Power Attack, Cleave, Focus (Falchion). Possessions: Leather armour, falchion.
Guards, human Ftr1(25): CR 1; Medium Humanoid (5 ft. 10 in. tall); HD 1d10; hp 5-10; Init +3 (Dex); Spd 30 ft.; AC 15 (+2 armour, +3 Dex); Atks +3 ranged (1d8/crit 19-20/x2 crossbow, 1d6/crit 19-20/x2 short sword); SA sneak attack; AL LE; SV Fort +0, Ref +5, Will -1; Str 11, Dex 17, Con 11, Int 15, Wis 8, Cha 14. Skills: Climb +9, Jump +9, Swim +8. Feats: Point Blank Shot, Precise Shot. Possessions: Leather armour, crossbow, short sword.
The PC's actions will determine how Dak deals with them. He may tell them the whole story of the figurehead (which he knows...the figurehead talks to him after all), or he may decide to keep it a secret. Either way he will give them directions to Moana's cave, and tell them to bring back the missing pieces of the figurehead (it is missing its arms and legs).
If Moana is aware that the PCs are treasure hunters and are looking for Moana the Fair's treasure, then she will have a surprise waiting for them.
The PCs should be able to break into Moana's lair and steal the figurehead pieces without too much trouble. They'll meet token resistance, but Moana and the majority of her crew are nowhere to be found. You see, Moana also knows about the figurehead, but hasn't been able to get close enough to Dak in order to take the main piece. She figures that she will let the PCs do that work for her.
If on the other hand, she believes that the PCs are merely pirate hunters, the security at her base will not be lax. She will be on full alert, and will not hesitate to kill the PCs, and anyone accompanying them. [See the original Secret Cove map in Tome of Mystara #6 for more details.]
1. Hidden Cove : The hidden cove is a well kept secret for the pirates of Alcove island. Many know of its existence, but few know of its true location. Many different pirate organisations share this little cove, and Moana the Beardless is just one of them. She and her crew lay claim to this little section.
2. Makeshift Prison Cell : This filthy cave serves as Moana's makeshift prison. There is little more than a rusty grate bolted to the entrance. Moana uses this cave to keep prisoners that she intends to ransom, or slaves that she intends to sell off. If there are prisoners in the cell, there will always be from 2 to 5 guards outside, otherwise the area will be empty.
3. Moana's Chambers : This room has been hewn out of solid rock, and serves as Moana's private quarters. She keeps few things of value here, preferring to hide her treasure somewhere less obvious. She does however have three pieces of the magical figurehead stored in a secret compartment underneath her bed.
4. Guard Post : These guard posts are scattered throughout Moana's little complex. They are manned at all times by 4 guards (even when Moana is out at sea). [Use the stats for Dak's Guards above.]
5. Back Way Out : This small passageway is known only to Moana and a handful of her most trusted lieutenants. She keeps it open as a last minute escape route just in case her base is overrun by a competing pirate band, or the authorities.
Once the PCs have escaped the hideout with the figurehead pieces, they should head back to Dak's place. If they have not encountered Dak yet, run the section entitled "Dealing with Dak," otherwise move on the next section, entitled "Retrieving the Treasure."
Retrieving the Treasure
Although Dak keeps the figurehead's torso in his shack for all to see, he has hidden the left arm at one of his underwater treasure hunting sites.
Once the PCs have managed to acquire the other pieces from Moana the Beardless, Dak will pack them all up on one of his sailing vessels and head out to one of his treasure hunting sites. Both of his lizardman guards, as well as half his men (12), will accompany him on this journey. The Lizardmen guards will keep a close eye on the figurehead pieces, as well as the PCs.
Once the ship reaches its destination (several small coral islands) Dak will explain to the PCs that he has hidden the last piece at one of his underwater sites. He has equipment stored on board that will equip several people for undersea exploration. Not all of the gear is the same, and Dak will graciously allow the PCs first choice of the equipment. Dak has the following devices: 3 rings of water breathing, a helm of air, and a bulky gnomish apparatus. Dak himself has an extra ring of water breathing, but will not mention this to the PCs.
Before going under, Dak produces several small jars filled with a gel-like substance. "This 'el keep the beasties away. I keep it around fer most o' me customers. I found that land luvvers can't really hold their own under the sea." Dak gives you a wink and adds, "Not that folks as like you nor me need the stuff, but I'm a figurin that we don't want ta take any changes right now."
Dak is telling the truth about the ointment. But only a half truth. This particular sunken ship is the home of a rather large octopus. Dak has had some local alchemist brew up a concoction that the sea creature finds unpalatable. Usually after grabbing someone covered with the stuff, the octopus slinks away in disgust. Most of Daks customers find this experience very exciting. The ointment only works on octopi (no other sea creatures seem to be affected by it), and unfortunately for the PCs, Dak hasn't really given them ointment that works. Since the ointment is purely chemical in nature (and not magical) the PCs will have no way of knowing this before they encounter Dak's little pet down below.
Two rounds after Dak and the PCs have gone overboard to search for the treasure, the two lizardmen will follow them. They are excellent swimmers and can hold their breaths for hours on end. They will attack anyone but Dak who comes up with the last piece of the figurehead. [See the Sunken Ship map in Tome of Mystara #6 for details.]
1. Sunken Ship : This old ship hull has probably been rotting here for more that 50 years. Barnacles and corals cover the exterior, and other sea life abounds as well. There is a large hole in the side of the hull where the ship must have crashed into one of the nearby reefs.
2. Fake Treasure : The floor of the old galley is littered with sand and bones, but occasionally the glimmer from some baubles can be seen. These are mostly worthless trinkets that have been placed around the ship in order for Dak's customers to find. Every once in a while a gold or silver coin can also be seen. Dak won't mind if the PCs tarry to pick up a few of the stray pieces. It will give him extra time to slip into area 3 and grab the figurehead fragment.
3. Octopus Lair : A portion of the ship's interior walls have collapsed creating what appears to be a cavern made of old timbers.
Dak heads straight toward the area, motioning you to follow him. Once you get close enough, he smiles, sticks his hand down into a dark opening, and pulls out a wooden arm. Smiling even wider, Dak grabs the arm by its shoulder, and jabs it back down into the hole. A writhing mass of mottled red tentacles nearly knocks him over. The creature, a very large specimen of octopus, wraps its long arms around Dak...but only for a moment. The creature slides off of Dak as it comes into view completely. You realise that Dak's ointment must have discouraged the beast from attacking him.
Still enraged, the octopus will jet toward the party. Two of its tentacles will shoot out and grab two different PCs.
As the creature's grip tightens, you realise that it is not going to let you go as easily as it did Dak. The wily old sea dog once again reaches back into the dark crevasse and retrieves the figurehead fragment.
With a motion of tipping his hat to you, Dak swims toward the surface.
Octopus (1): CR 3; Medium-Sized Animal (Aquatic); HD 4d8; hp 17; Init +3 (Dex); Spd 20 ft. swim 30 ft.; AC 15 (+3 Dex +2 natural); Attacks 8 arms +5 melee, bite +3 melee (Arms 0, bite 1d3); SA Improved grab; SQ Ink cloud, jet; AL N; SV Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +1; Str 12, Dex 17, Con 11, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 3. Skills: Hide +15, Listen +5, Spot +5. Feats: Weapon Finesse (arms, bite).
4. This is a small hole in the roof of the cabin that Dak will use to escape. Observant PCs may have noticed it during their descent (DC15 Spot check).
PCs returning to the surface will notice that there are two ships waiting for them instead of one. One of the vessels (Dak's) is slowly sinking into the sea, thick clouds of black smoke rising from its decks. Moana the Beardless and her crew have been watching Dak and the PCs from afar, and have chosen this time to attack them. PCs who swim toward the other vessel will be helped aboard by a pair of strong, but feminine, deck hands. Those who wish to stay hidden in the sea will soon be beset upon by a pack of ravenous sharks who have taken notice of the sea battle above them (and several of Dak's dead or wounded crewmen who have been abandoned overboard).
Sharks (5): CR 1; Medium-Sized Animal (Aquatic); HD 3d8+3; hp 12, 14, 14, 15, 16; Init +2 (Dex); Spd 60 ft.; AC 15 (+2 Dex +3 natural); Attacks Bite +4 melee(Bite 1d6+1); SQ keen scent; AL N; SV Fort +4, Ref +5, Will +2; Str 13, Dex 15, Con 13, Int 1, Wis 12, Cha 2. Skills: Listen +7, Spot +7. Feats: Weapon Finesse (bite).
Dak and the PCs will be bound and gagged before Moana the Beardless replaces the final figurehead fragment, making he cursed ancestor whole again. Once the figurehead is restored, Moana the Fair recites the location of her buried treasure, and then comes back to life. Moana the Beardless wastes little time. The sets sail for the island where the lost treasure is hidden.
The Sword Wraith
You and Dak are shoved out of the small row boat and face first onto the sandy shore. "Watch these..." Moana the Beardless growls as she and her ancestor make a brisk run further inland. Niadell grins broadly and begins to toy with her dagger. The majority of Moana's crew follow her to a rocky outcropping leaving you alone with Niadell and one other. As Moana and the others fade into the distance, Niadell bends down and gives you a bite on the ear. "These bonds a little too loose on you?" she asks as she tightens the ropes that are already biting into the flesh of your wrists. The other Amazonian pirate kicks you in the gut and the two sadistic women walk off a few steps laughing, trying to see where Moana has gone to.
From the corner of your eye you catch a glance from Dak. His eyes dart toward his boots where for the first time you notice a dagger cleverly sheathed in the sole. As he edges his feet closer in your direction, you realise that one of you might be able to take the dagger from his boot before the pirate women return.
Let a single character make either a Reflex, or a Move Silently, check to determine if they can obtain the dagger without alerting one of the pirates. If they get the dagger, they may begin to cut their bonds. Only one PC will be able to free himself before the two pirates notice. If their attempt fails, the pirates return and begin to beat them. Read the following during either outcome.
The beating stops as a foul stench fills the air. Your bleary eyes can just barely make out a gaunt figure emerging from the sea as if it had been walking through the murky depths. As the figure quickly approaches, you can see that it is covered in tattered rags, and rusted armour. Sea weed and kelp hang from its head, and are dragged by its legs. Niadell raises her dagger as if to attack, but the creature - whatever it is - is too quick.
Without even losing a step an outstretched hand hits Niadell squarely in the chest, and sends her flying through the air. When she hits the ground, she no longer moves. The other pirate backs off, but the creature doesn't even take notice of her. It heads inland, following the same general path as Moana and the rest of her crew.
The remaining pirate has no more interest in the PCs. She will try to make her way back to the row boat and head out to meet her ship.
"Let the wench go," growls Dak. "We've got us bigger fish ta fry..." with a wink he pulls out several flasks that had been sown into his lapel. "I'd been savin these fer a special occasion." As you hesitate to take one of the flasks, Dak flashes you an apologetic look. "I do be sorry about that octopus incident...it did just be business, ya understand, but unless we act tagether, that foul witch will be takin' all of that there treasure.
Drink up laddies, yell be needing all the strength ye can muster...it's either that or swim back out to our lady friends o'er there!" Dak looks darkly back at the ship anchored several hundred feet to sea as if to make his point.
The flasks are healing potions, and should help the PCs recover from their previous encounters. There should be enough flasks so that each character is able to heal 1d6 to 2d6 points of damage, but as the DM you may feel the need to allow them to heal more.
The sandy tracks are easy to follow. They lead you to a small crevice in the rock outcropping you saw from the beach. The crevice opens up into a large cave from which you hear screams of terror. Entering the cave you see the kelp covered figure quickly dispatch two of the female pirates. The other pirates back off, but cannot go far before their backs are against the wall. The lone figure in the centre of the room turns its head from side to side, as if scanning for something particular. Suddenly it lunges to the left, making its way toward Moana the Fair.
"The curse! The curse!" she screams, throwing up her hands in despair. "It must have come for me!" All of the other pirates move away from her and begin to make their way toward the crevice where you stand.
Moana the Beardless has lost her desire for the treasure (at this particular moment), and has no desire to help her ancestor, or to share whatever fate may befall her. At this time the only thing on her mind (and that of her crew) is to escape. She will push past the PCs if she can, or fight them if she must in order to leave the cave and return to her ship.
Attentive PCs should be allowed to make a Will check in order to surmise that the creature is not intent on Moana the Fair at all, but rather on a stony grey protrusion (shaped very much like a sword) which is jutting out from the wall of the cave. This is the sword Roc, and it is the goal that the Sword Wraith has been seeking.
The party may try to race for the sword themselves. Assuming that the PCs react quickly (and don't bother with Moana the Beardless as she tries to leave) allow them to make an opposed Reflex check against the Sword Wraith, and one another, to see who reaches the sword first. If the one of the PCs manages to grab it, the Sword Wraith will focus its attention on him, and won't rest until it is in possession of the sword. If the Sword Wraith manages to grab the sword first, or if it is able to wrest it from one of the PCs, then it will make its way back toward the beach. If the party does not hinder its movement, the Sword Wraith will ignore them. Otherwise it will try to destroy them. [For more details see the Treasure Trove map in Tome of Mystara #6.]
DMs who wish to go on to Phase II adventures, or simply to extend the adventures here, should read the following sections. This event will occur either when a PC grabs Roc from its resting place, or when a PC otherwise lays hands on it (when trying to wrest it from the Sword Wraith's grip for example). DMs may need to modify the description slightly according to the circumstances. Read this to all those PCs who did not grab the sword:
Time seems to come to a standstill as your companion reaches for the sword. The creature is close behind him, its own sword raised high. As your comrade closes his grip around the hilt of the granite like sword, a flash goes off inside of your heads. Something has happened, but you are not sure what. Time seems to return to its normal speed once again, and you see the creature slash its sword downward at your friend.
Read the following to the PC who grabs the sword:
As your fingers curl around the hilt of the ancient weapon you find yourself standing in another place. It is dark, and only mist swirls around you. You look down at your feet, but feel a rush of vertigo as you realise that you are not "standing" on anything. A buzzing sound permeates the air, as if thousands of insects were flying around you when there are none. A resounding voice speaks into your ear, "The true god will prevail. All of the pretenders will be cast aside, and their abominations will be unmade.
Yield to his wisdom, and you shall be rewarded." Looking back down at your feet you see the desiccated form of a dark crimson rose. As you bend down to pick it up, the buzzing stops, and you find yourself standing in the middle of a deserted field. Off in the distance is a lonely mountain peak.
An old man grabs you by the shoulders. His features keep shifting, and yet they remain familiar. Perhaps he is the old man you met in Corunglain, the one who told you of the painting... Or perhaps he looks like Balri, the old man you met in Gorania... Smiling he says to you, "Power is a fickle mistress. It can bring about great joy and prosperity, or... it can be the cause of pain and suffering beyond your imagining. The key to its outcome is in its use..." You feel a tap on your shoulder and turn from the old man to see who it might be...only to find the old man staring back at you. "You must make the choice," he says before pointing off into the distance. You strain your eyes to see what the old man is pointing at. It's a sickle twirling end over end, flying through the air. The haft is long and rotted, but the blade, though nicked, is polished and keen. As it speeds toward you the sky darkens. You manage to duck just as the sickle slashes at your head, and then you find yourself back in the pirate's old cavern. You are close enough to the foul creature standing next to you, that you can smell the fetid odour on its breath. It grunts...the sound of bone upon bone, as it hefts the blade of its sword from the cavern wall merely two inches from your head.
The first vision is of course sent by Thanatos. He would rather corrupt the PCs than destroy them outright, and if he can tempt just one of them to join his side he will be very pleased with himself. Most likely Thanatos will just have to content himself with killing them. The second vision is a warning from Wayland. In fact Wayland may be using either the mysterious old man from "What Lurks in the Shadows" or Balri from "Your Trusted Friend, the Necromancer" as one of his mortal identities. Whether he is or not is left up to individual DMs, but these are the forms he chooses to use when speaking to the PCs during this encounter.
[Sword Wraith stats reproduced]
Victor Mauricio, Sword Wraith Ftr5: CR 7; Medium Humanoid (5 ft. 10 in. tall); HD 7d12; hp 42; Init +4; Spd 30 ft.; AC 14 (+4 natural); Atks +13 (+5 sword) melee, +5 ranged (1d6+5/crit 19-20/x2); SA sneak attack (+1d6); AL NE; SV Fort +6(+3 template, -2 curse), Ref +3(+2 template), Will +5(+4 template); Str 17, Dex 11, Con --, Int 9, Wis 11, Cha 6. Skills: Climb +13 (+2 sword), Jump +11, Move Silently +6, Hide +6, Listen +6. Feats: Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Sunder, Improved Unarmed Strike, Cleave, Great Cleave. Possessions: None
This is the first Sword Wraith created by the cult and the first the PCs will meet. It is the animated body of Victor Mauricio, a 5th-level fighter from Darokin who found the sword during an adventure and used it until he was killed during his adventures. The Dark Petals Cult was then able to excavate his body and animate it. Victor wasn't very experienced, so the Sword Wraith will have only the basic stats plus those of the sword Lohnibbog.
Along with the sword Roc, the PCs will find the following treasure (which Dak, if still alive, will demand his fair share of):
* Three locked chests containing a total of 1,200 cp, 560 sp, and 120 gp.
* An assortment of gems: 10x25gp, 4x50gp, 2x80gp, and 2x100gp.
* 10 rusted cutlasses, 7 small shields, 2 suits of serviceable chain mail, and assortment of decayed arrows.
* A stone idol of the Old Man of the Sea, weighing 85 lbs and worth 750 gp.
* An assortment of silver utensils and decorative pieces, weighing a total of 200 lbs, and worth 1,500 gp.
Getting off the island will be no trouble for the PCs (unless of course, you as the DM, wishes it). Moana the Beardless set sail from the island as soon as she could and will not bother the PCs again (for the rest of this adventure at least). Ierendi patrol vessels came upon the hulk of Dak's burned vessel and have been patrolling the waters in this area heavily ever since. The PCs will spot a vessel heading toward the island, and should be able to signal them easily by building a large fire. The patrol vessel will drop the party off at the nearest safe port city.
The PCs now have Oliver Attleson's famous sword Roc. They will have to spend some time researching and experimenting with the sword in order to learn about its true powers. Once they discover its full powers, they will be able to track down the other Swords of Wayland. Of course, the Dark Petal Cult will have their own ideas about the swords and will be dogging the party's steps all the way.
DM Note: The sword Roc is a very powerful weapon, and if the DM wishes to run simple adventures for a while, it might be just a little too powerful for his tastes. Naturally, the sword's true powers won't be available until the PCs discover how to 'awaken' the sword, but before that time the DM should carefully consider if he wants to allow the PCs to activate the sword at all. If not, he can simply prevent the PCs from discovering how to activate its powers, and it will remain a 'mere' broad sword +2.
See the Aftermath section for more ideas about where to take the campaign from here.