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Author Topic: [Skull&Bones] Campaign Dev.  (Read 4788 times)
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arnon
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« on: May 11, 2007, 04:02:42 PM »

I'm feeling like a heretic (even a  bit dirty) posting this here, but i'm doing this for two reasons:

1. The forum where Skull & Bones is usually discussed is not very active.
and,
2. I respect the creativity and opinion of many of the people around here.

Mods: If you think this is inappropriate here, than please move it to wherever you deem right.

======================================

As some of you know (perhaps seen) i'm currently playing in a Ptolus campaign. Being the nice guy that I am, I offered my DM a much needed break in the form of a 5-6 session short campaign run by me. I put forth to the group Midnight and Skull & Bones and the pirates won by a slight majority (and in all honesty, i'm glad because i believe that Midnight should be a longer and more involved campaign.).

For those not in the know:
Skull & Bones (Green Ronin) is a pirates setting in the historical Caribbean but with all the swashbuckling of all the pirates movies (and books) you've ever read turned to the max... and the supernatural.

In short, Pirates of the Caribbean.

The reason why i'm developing this short campaign more than a normal short campaign should (I think) be, is that there is a possibility that once we resume the Ptolus campaign I will go on with the Ptolus DM (and perhaps his wife too) and continue the his story in a one-on-one game once every two weeks or so. That way, he will not get burned out as a DM and i get to practice my DMing muscles (lax as they are right now).

I'd appreciate any and all comments, ideas, suggestions, etc.


Oh and Amir, if perhaps you are reading this, PRESS BACK NOW
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arnon
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« Reply #1 on: May 11, 2007, 04:10:10 PM »

I've created a wiki for my campaign: Arnon's Skull & Bones Campaign

My PCs so far:
Quote
1. An amnesiac character who wakes up on a deserted island in the Caribbean near the body of a dead woman. He speaks fluently (with no accent): English, German, and as yet to be determined Scandinavian language... a fact that doesn't help him learn his identity.

2. A son of a Hindu arms merchant family. His ship was attacked just as he arrived at the Caribbean, he fell overboard and managed to survive by holding on to some driftwood... strangely enough finding himself on the same island as the amnesiac.

3. A huge escaped slave speaking only just a bit of French.

4. An English old salt, a long time cook on many vessels, and current cook on the Scavenger's Daughter.

5. Yet unknown but probably some ruthless pirate (probably to offset the players current Paladin character in Ptolus)  Wink


The players that will continue (if that option will go through) are the Amnesiac and perhaps the Hindu (Hindi? ) as well. And so, the idea is to mess around with the amnesiac fella till he's totally confused and then turn him around some more... truly, can any DM ask for more?  twisted

That being said, i'm still not sure what to do with him...
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Nifelhein
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« Reply #2 on: May 11, 2007, 06:33:14 PM »

arnon,

I aimed to allow those who like these boards and the people in it to post things like this with the recent changes to the site, so I won't move anywhere else, I want to discuss any rpg game out there with the people here instead of anywhere else because I like the kind of feedback given here.

I do not think this will make AtS less of what it is, though, mainly because it is first and foremost made by the nice people posting here. Wink

First you would like to have some sort of common language there, I would say either English or Spanish should be the best choices there. Have you thought about the plot of the mini campaign there? I would say a curse would be good, i would probably use a cursed ship, a slaver ship, where a large number of Africans died (or were killed, as slavers throw people to the sea with weight if they may be found (after english laws made slave ships outlaws, that was how it worked here in Brazil, at least).

The curse came to be when a witch doctor or shaman was about to be thrown to the blue depths, he then spoke in an unknown language, dark omens and words of power, since then, every man (or woman) who goes on board is cursed, never again will them lust for woman (they may desire them, but it won't work at all, women might have a lighter version, or something else), ale will no longer satisfy them, all gold and silver they get is soon lost, fake or taken away, they can only be killed on the ocean, drowned, they still feel pain, and every time they die, their minds are wiped, a new existence, without any knowledge of what they were or what happened, all they know, is the curse, for the moment of its casting is forever engraved in their souls. (I would keep them without knowledge of this undying thing).

Unknown to them, the curse can be broken when they collect a thousand slaves and sail them back to their homes, you can then use vodoo priestesses, slavers, supernatural creatures being employed by slavers, islands, and lots of action on board of ships of all kind.

Not very good, i know, but what came to me at the first couple of thoughts. Someone will probably make it a better thing or come up with something way better, I am certain.
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arnon
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« Reply #3 on: May 12, 2007, 02:37:04 PM »

Thanks for the ideas Nif, but i kinda already have a basic concept for my short campaign.

The ideas are taken from two main sources: Pirates for Rolemaster (ICE) and the Flashing Blades supplement High Seas (Fantasy Games Unlimited). Both these (really nice) products have scenarios at the end which i think capture very nicely the pirate-y feel i hope to pass to the players in such a short time.

The campaign will start with 3 of the players already a part of the pirate crew of the Scavenger's Daughter (from High Seas) and the two others (amnesiac and Hindi) will be picked up from the deserted island they found themselves on (did not get there together... the Hindi knows that, but the amnesiac...) by a French ship and probably held prisoner (come on, two strange looking fellas on a deserted island, probably marooned pirates!) till the French ship is attacked by the Scavenger's Daughter. They'll get a chance to help once the battle starts (a stray canon shot) and then will either join voluntarily or pressed gang into joining the pirates (a common practice back in the days).

Then:

1. Pike's Trove (High Sesas): After finding a piece (or maybe two) of a treasure map, the captain of the PCs ship has the last piece and they set of to the island to recover it. This is a nice little scenario with a cave\dungeon where the treasure rests with some traps and the constant fear of "skeleton" attack. I figure this to take about 1-2 sessions.

2. Guede-je-Rouge (High Seas): from the book "...the Governor's daughter has been cursed by a jealous pirate captain with the help of a local sorcerer." Investigating a bit deeper into voodoo tradition, some friendly and some not so friendly, and finally confronting the Bokor (voodoo sorcerer). I want the players to never be sure if there was actually any 'real' voodoo magic involved. I figure this to take about 1-2 sessions.

3. The Treasue of Peg-leg Le Clerc (rolemaster): securing a map to the treasure of peg-leg Le Clerc from a cell in the a Spanish fort on Santo Domingo, Hispaniola, which functions as a prison; head to the island that is full of cannibalistic Carib Indians; and once back on their ship, finding out that they were followed by the captain of the above mentioned fort. I figure this to take about 2-3 sessions.

===

As you may notice, i want to keep magic on the low burner, just out of sight with the players never really sure if it actually exists or not... not for a while at any rate. In my House Rules you might have noticed that I do not allow players to play any of the spellcasting classes right off the bat. Though they might "come into" the class at a later time, however.

===

The order of the scenarios is not set in stone. Maybe one of the pieces of the treasure map from #1 will be found hidden in a room in an inn, or maybe it'll be in the possessions of the Bokor from #2. I still got to figure out how to connect everything together and mesh it with the PCs stories so they do not just feel like they are there for just that short ride.

My main focus will be the Amnesiac and the Hindi who will continue to have adventures, and still not to leave the rest on the sidelines.
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« Reply #4 on: May 12, 2007, 07:12:43 PM »

I want to play in this campaign.

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arnon
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2007, 04:34:14 AM »

I want to play in this campaign.

We're starting in June... just catch a plane. Wink




OK, I'm gonna throw down here some NPCs and other Plot Ideas i'm coming up with, and since this will turn out to be a 1-on-1 later on, as i see it,  i'll be needing plenty of deep NPCs.

My comments on each entry will come after the text, and hopefully your ideas as well...
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arnon
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2007, 04:49:50 AM »

Brother Dominique (French, middle aged)

Brother Dominique (born Andre Roux) came to the Caribbean at the age of 24 to preach the word of God. That’s the official version of his coming. The real reason is that Brother Dominique is actually a member of the Order, a secret society of the Catholic Church which is set on studying and combating supernatural threats to the Catholic world. Dominique was sent to investigate the religion of the slaves that were brought to the Caribbean and how it has changed from what has already been collected by the order in the Africa. In short, Brother Dominique was to investigate (and stop if he can) Voodoo.

For almost eight years Dominique has hoped from island to island getting in contact with the local slaves (and not a few escaped slaves) and learned all he could from them, which in actuality not much. Dominique found the blacks to be quite secretive… and then he learned about the Crossroads Deal.

Desperate to gain more information (and sick with the yellow fever as well, as if that wasn’t enough) Brother Dominique learned the ritual and gathered the ingredients, hoping to trick Maître Carrefour out of knowledge and certain that he will be protected by his faith. The Loa saw right into Dominique’s hear but instead of killing him on the spot gave him his wish… by the tonnage!

Poor Brother Dominique’s mind has collapsed upon him with the weight of knowledge and the screams and cursing of the angry spirits who had to give it to him. For days we wondered in a haze; raving a mixture of Voodoo knowledge and his own Christian faith until finally he learned that the best way to keep the spirits quite is by him being heavily intoxicated. So he started drinking and has not stopped for the past twenty years. Forgotten by his order Brother Dominique settled himself in Tortuga long ago but due to the lawless nature of that island, isn’t really being noticed by anyone and only rarely approached for spiritual help of confessions.

If Brother Dominique would stop drinking just long enough to clear his head some, he would notice that the spirits that hunted him have left him alone and that they also left the vast knowledge of New World voodoo he sought for so long.

========================

I was thinking of Amnesia Guy (aka: noname) as i wrote this one up. I'm thinking maybe noname's amnesia isn't just from a hit on the head... Perhaps he was searching for something\someone and in the process pissed off a powerful Bokor (voodoo sorcerer) that cursed him to forget what he learned about him and then threw him overboard (or perhaps noname jump after the woman he found dead besides him). In the process of trying to get to shore in the storm noname was hit in the head and his mind, already weak from the tinkering of the Bokor, suffered total amnesia. That way, even if he finds the Bokor and manages to remove the curse, he still will not know much about himself and why he came here...

As for the Bokor. I've set my eye on Monsignor Domino, an impressive NPC introduced in a short scenario at the end of the Skull & Bones book, but is not really developed. I'll have to work on him some.

Brother Dominique is a treasure trove of voodoo information that the characters will need to learn to tap in the right way...
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2007, 07:28:08 AM »

We're starting in June... just catch a plane. Wink

Heh.  Thanks.  Sadly, I think that might make for rather an expensive commute for each session. Wink
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arnon
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2007, 06:23:04 AM »

Captain ‘Hard’ Henry Flint (English)

Henry Flint was born in Birmingham and has never seen the sea before that one fine cloudy morning he decided to leave his father shoe shop in order to join the Royal Navy, all that did not matter for young Flint was a natural sea man. He took to the sea as if he was born on a ship and learned everything quickly (from navigation to ship warfare and tactics, and more) and accomplished all tasks brought upon with great success. Henry soared quickly through the ranks.

Being a favorite of his commanders for all the right reasons caused Henry to look down at people. First it were his fellow sailor buddies who received his scorn and then, as he saw that only a few of his officers were as good as he is (or thought he was) they received his scorn too. And so, Henry Flint understood that if he wanted people to act to his high standards he’ll have to enforce discipline harshly… and he did. Flint was appointed Bosun on the HMS Sovereign of the Seas and probably would have risen higher but for the unfortunate death of three sailors under his command while he administrated discipline. Flint served no time but was booted out of the Royal Navy.

Shortly after, Flint found himself in position as First Mate on the ‘Alberta’, one of five ships belonging to the ‘Sandor Trading Company’ shipping mainly between England and the colonies of North America. The Navy incident made Henry Flint a bit more apprehensive when he deals out discipline, but he was still hard and demanding of his crew; and while there was resentment from the crew, his captain and employers liked him due to him being effective at his job. A year later Flint was appointed Captain of the ‘Alberta’ and held that position for three years.

His employers knew of course of his reputation among the crew and were always pleased with him because his ship was never late and he managed many times to avoid pirates. And so they appointed him with a very valuable cargo sent from England to Charlestown. What it was he was never told and has never learned, but when the crew mutinied against him just several days from the end of the voyage, he knew he was lost. It happened at dusk and he managed to kill three of the mutineers before that damnable cook cut his fighting arm off; Flint had no other choice, he knew that if he surrendered he will be killed, and so, he rushed outside and threw himself into the Atlantic remembering that several small islands were nearby and praying to the Maker that he had enough strength to reach them.

When he was finally rescued his employers were not at all happy. He was paid his last wage and for losing his hand and was dismissed. Angry and unhappy, Henry Flint got better and signed up as a navigator on a ship bound to Port Royal, on his way to seek revenge and the missing cargo that cost him his hand and job. With his skills and knowledge he easily found jobs aboard ships but never stopped his search. After several years it was he who led a mutiny against the pirate Captain Theodore Kip and became captain of the pirate ship ‘Hazard’.

This crew also called him Hard Flint, but Flint was not a stupid man and learned his lessons well. While he was still enforcing hard discipline he never got extreme and his crew appreciated him and were loyal to him.

Why?

Simple answer: Booty. Hard Flint never failed them on that regard.

Now, at the age of thirty-three, Henry has already caught up with and eliminated most of his former crew. Three were still missing with that old cook at the top of the list. And the cargo, he never could find out what it was… or what happened with it.


The Cargo: When the mutinous crew of the ‘Alberta’ checked the cargo the ship was carrying they discovered various crates of assorted finished goods, a crate of books, and one crate full of sawdust  and in the centre a simple, yet heavy looking and well made chest, with an impressive lock. Not managing to open the lock they figured the chest to be filled with whatever their wild imagination let them. Once at Nassau, they sold some of the cargo and hired someone to open the lock and once the chest was opened, they found nothing within.


The Truth: The ‘Sandor Trading Company’ is owned by the reclusive Sandor family and is currently co-managed by the brothers Edwin and Trent Sandor. Rumors are that the family deals in the supernatural, practice black magic, and have signed a deal with the Devil. The truth is that they do deal in the supernatural but not the rest. Trying to bury the shameful burning of Valerie Sandor (grandmother to the brothers) and Melanie Snador their great aunt) for witchcraft, the family has put itself secretly in the hands of the Church, hoping to redeem themselves by performing odd jobs: especially the transportation of religious artifacts, or artifacts deemed dangerous by the Church. The empty chest was, in fact, the object being carried; believed by the Church to be the chest in which Alexius I Comnenus, Emperor of Constantinople, sent Henry I some pieces of the True Cross 1116.

==============================

Part of the story of my cook PC was that he was in a mutiny (not participating) and when the captain stormed into the kitchen and accused the cook (trying to kill him and his drunken monkey) the cook sliced off his hand.

This write-up was supposed to be short, just for me to get an idea of who the cook's Enemy was... it got a little out of hand and turned out to be something much more. This has the potential for a whole campaign i think, and i do not believe any of it will be shown in my short campaign, other than maybe Hard Henry facing of with the Cook.

... though it might pop up later on in the 1-on-1 i'll have running.
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arnon
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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2007, 01:52:23 PM »

Item: Adi Granth

Quote from: Wikipedia
Historicaly: The Adi Granth, literally "the first book" is an early compilation of the Sikh scriptures by Guru Arjan, the fifth Sikh Guru. he original copy of the Adi Granth remains in the hands of the Sodhi family of Kartarpur and is known as the Kartarpur Bir. It is said to be eight inches thick with 1,948 pages of which some were left blank for the subsequent Gurus to complete. The original Granth was stolen by Guru Hargobind's grandson, Dhir Mal.

The holy book of Adi Granth, beautifully illuminated with a gem studded cover and a golden Khanda symbol, was stolen from the house of the Guru Arjun Dev by a follower of a rival guru. The thief was half way back to his guru when sudden remorse and shame took a hold of him, he sat down crying under a Bodhi tree and after a time fell asleep, only to wake up and find the book gone.

The book was taken by a one handed thief who could not believe his luck. And since he couldn’t (although for no lack of trying) remove any of the gems studded on the cover nor the golden symbol for he was clumsy and weak, he decided to try and sell. The underworld merchant who bought it recognize the book, but was almost blinded by the golden symbol and gems that he didn’t really care what will happen after he manages to sell; he paid a handsome amount of money to the simple one handed thief, and then sent a brute after him to crushed his skull and take the money back. The crime lord took the book with him on his next journey to sell it to a business associate of his. The “friend” bought it with great greed (the crime lord died of some sickness on his way back) and he, gave it as a present to the governor of Diu (a coastal town along the western shore, on the Arabian Sea) friend of his in order to gain more favour, respect, and perhaps business  with  the Portuguese.

The governor gave his friend some honours and land (all went up in flames a year later, along with the friend), and proudly displayed the book to his close friends and business associates from overseas. Anotonio Gomes y Pereira, a captain from the Portuguese navy and the son of a collector convinced the governor to sell it to him but as he was passing off the Slave Coast of Africa he spotted a pirate ship and attacked, but was killed by said pirates, who, having caused too much trouble in the region already set their sails to the Caribbean. They were there attacked by Red Pike who recovered the book at last.

Red Pike managed to remove the gems from the cover and split them amongst his crew, kept to himself the golden Khanda symbol (and some of the gems as well), and sold the book to a book dealer in Charles Town on Nevis, who did not recognize the script but did recognize the excellent workmanship and illuminations on the book. He wisely did not ask the pirate where he obtained it happy to have this fine work of art even without the gems and golden symbol.

As for Red Pike, he threw the symbol and the gems with the rest of his treasure in his secret cave without giving it any more thoughts.

========================

Obviously this item was written to entice the Hindu PC. Again, i got a little carried away during writing but i'm satisfied with the end result.

Historically the book was stolen by the son of some other Guru and was later returned... but that's no fun for a Caribbean pirates adventure. Smiley
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