Thelsikar’s Ambition: Scrags from the Sea

This post is about the next adventure in the Thelsikar’s Ambition campaign arc.  I got a request from one of the players to do an adventure based on an island off the coast of Sandpoint called Grubber’s Hermitage.  It’s an isolated, insular fishing village, so it gave me a Stephen King-style horror vibe.  The opening of the adventure is a single-encounter sea voyage.  I didn’t want the adventuring party to bog down on getting there.  I wanted them to get to the cool adventure setting quickly.  It’s my first real attempt at outlining an urban adventure.  I’m using a simplified template, with buildings instead of rooms for adventure locations.

There are two Major Downtime events before the actual plot gets rolling.  In one, I decided to try to role-play a damsel-in-distress of sorts.  I had been told at a game store I went to in the Nineties that I didn’t know how to role-play female characters.  My problem was that I saw characters as characters, first, their gender second.  *meh*  And the second event is a tie-in to the city of Magnimar, with a reference to the activities of one of the NPCs there, Harpy.  I want to use more Magnimar setting material, so I’m weaving it into my adventure outlines.

As part of the plot, I have a random wilderness road encounter table in case the player characters want to travel to Magnimar.  That’s a new element for me.

When the players follow the adventure plot hook and I doubt they’ll avoid it, they will have a patron for this adventure.  He’s a cleric of Abadar I created to help facilitate Magnimar and Sandpoint region plot lines.  He’s willing to cover the expenses for traveling to and from the island by ship as well as hiring four porters to haul any loot they find.  I don’t think mules take sea voyages if they can help it.

Here’s the description of Grubber’s Hermitage as it is approached by boat:

The player characters will probably approach the island by rowboat from the cutter.  The fishing village on Grubber’s Hermitage is a small, sullen gray village squatting on the shore of the island.  In between the various buildings are three small, mean hovels which are so pathetic there is nothing interesting about them.  There are clouds of scavenger birds flying above the island.  They have no game effect.   They are a manifestation of Gozreh’s wrath at the destruction on the island.  Other than their cries and the flapping of their wings, the island is eerily quiet.

There is a broken-down dock which is barely functional.  A rowboat could be tied to it.  It leads to the shore.

From there, I describe the various non-housing building in the village.  So far, each one is teeming with an angry aquatic Troll, a Scrag.  The back story is that Thelsikar, in one of his bonkers schemes to take over Varisia, made contact with a family of Scrags and convinced them to invade the island.  That’s right.  What does Thelsikar do every night?  The same thing he does every night, Pinky.  Try to take over the world!

The climax of the adventure is a boss fight with a shape-changed Ogre Mage that had conned the Scrags into believing that it was a grossly powerful Scrag who would lead them to more food and more loot.  Just the kind of dirt-bag who’d be willing to cut a deal with a happy little maniac like Thelsikar.

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