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D&D 3E
Adventure ideas 
19th-Jul-2006 10:16 am
Sometime soon (within the next week probably) I'm going to be starting my next campaign. It is the naval campaign which I've posted about here before. Now that I've got most of the world put together, I need to come up with stuff for the PCs to do. Here is the start of the adventure tree I'm currently considering:

* PCs begin the game as all being hired on the same merchant ship (level 1 characters). They may be hired as sailors, marines, guards whatever suits them. The ship sails, and eventually it's attacked by pirates! This is intended in part to give the PCs an example of ship-to-ship combat. The pirates will be tough enough that the merchant will lose if the PCs don't do anything; if the PCs are clever or especially lucky, they may drive off the pirates.
** If the PCs lose, they are captured along with the ship. The pirate captain (who I'm going to try and make a recurring NPC) takes them back to a pirate town. If the PCs were knocked out and captured, then they will be sold as slaves [probably to the same pirate captain, who has decided they're impressive fighters). He then puts them on a ship, perhaps with one of his higher level crew-members to "watch" them. If the PCs tried to surrender or negotiated somehow, they will be let out around town. The PCs should eventually try and aquire a ship, and find out they have to clear it with the "pirate king" NPC. I'm thinking there needs to be some kind of loyalty test for them to get a ship. Maybe going and collecting the year's exorbitant tribute from the nearby peaceful fishing hamlet. If the PCs pass, they get a ship, perhaps with a higher level pirate to "watch" them. Once the PCs have aquired a ship, they are sent off to become pirates. They may try and mutinee against the pirate "watching" them and then go do whatever they like. Otherwise, they attack a few merchant ships, gaining wealth, experience, and infamy.
** If the PCs win, the merchant ship sails on. Upon reaching port, news spreads of how they "saved" the ship against the pirates--rumors primarily spread by the merchant himself (who wants to show off how awesome his hires are). But because of these rumors, the PCs get roped into performing some kind of heroics--maybe doing basic adventure stuff, or even helping to lead a raid against the very pirates who attacked them! I haven't planned out this branch as intricately. This may be a kind of side-quest, after which the merchant ship sails to new exotic ports where other adventures could occur (depending on what the PCs want to do).

Does this sound like a good start to an adventure? Does anyone have any ideas for
1) A pirate loyalty test
2) Interesting jobs to do as a low-level pirate
3) Tasks the reported "pirate-slayers" might be asked to do?
19th-Jul-2006 05:29 pm (UTC)
You can always send them through a storm as a mini-adventure.

Other than that, watch some Pirate movies to see what they do-- the buried treasure plot is a solid one-- like a split map that the Captain has a part of, and the crew/adventurers have to find other bits of it, then go find the treasure itself.

There could be rival pirate gangs, and you could do a mini 'guild war' style setup as well. Raiding the other gangs' ships, attacking their hidden base, defending their own base. etc.
19th-Jul-2006 10:38 pm (UTC)
Oh, I like the map piece adventure idea. Collection adventures are fun :)
19th-Jul-2006 05:48 pm (UTC)
Sounds like a sweet adventure to me.

Having to fight sea creatues is always sweet.

As for jobs for a low-level pirate, here's a couple of ideas:
-Recruiting other pirates
-Making a map of an area
-Scouting a port (to plan future assault?)
19th-Jul-2006 06:30 pm (UTC)
They should not be "issued" a pirate ship. They should either have to steal one like a good pirate, or earn enough gold (read: steal and swindle enough) to buy a ship from a pirate.

Pirate king gives them a ship for loyalty test sounds too much like level 2 of some video game.
19th-Jul-2006 10:42 pm (UTC)
Pirate king gives them a ship for loyalty test sounds too much like level 2 of some video game.

Yeah. But ships cost quite a bit of money, and I think it would be a lot funner if the PCs were driving rather than the NPCs. So I was trying to think of a way to get them a ship quickly. But based on people's suggestions maybe I will make it more difficult.
20th-Jul-2006 02:01 am (UTC)
Pirate king gives them a ship for loyalty test sounds too much like level 2 of some video game.

What's wrong with having them have to prove their sword mastery, their theivery, and their... er... treasure hunt-ery?

And then drink grog!
19th-Jul-2006 08:10 pm (UTC)
Low level pirates? Genocide of monstrous humanoids.

"Yarrr, there be skums pestering our harborrrr. Be finding their bloody nest and send em to davey jones yarrrr."

course, then they meet the aboleth....
19th-Jul-2006 08:35 pm (UTC)
Historically-speaking, it was fairly common practice for pirates to press into service any useful members of a ship's crew they stole from. Specialists with rare and important skills were especially valuable--doctors, engineers, navigators, etc. In D&D terms, this probably translates into PC classes, especially spellcasters. Folks pressed into service aboard a pirate ship were treated like any other member of the crew, and were paid their share according to the articles of the ship. This was a far better deal then most men who were pressed into service aboard "honest" vessels.

My point is, pirates who get paid are far more likely to be good at their jobs than pirates who are slaves. Even if a PC is especially stubborn about joining the crew (which, if you've set this up to become a pirate game, should be unlikely), when faced with certain death, he should play along until the opportunity for escape presents itself. Good doesn't mean stupid, after all.

As for acquiring their own ship, the best test of loyalty the PCs could perform is to be the best pirates they can be. Become friends with the rest of the crew, establish themselves as leaders among men, come up with brilliant ideas and attack plans to get on the good side of the captain, etc. Sooner or later, a ship will be captured and kept, and if the PCs have proven themselves useful, the pirate king may grant them the prize to sail as their own under his flag.

Or they can use their influnce with the crew to lead a mutiny against the commanders of the ship.

Or they can make friends in town and steal a ship under cover of darkness.
19th-Jul-2006 10:43 pm (UTC)
I'm going to set up the game as open for pirating, but the PCs don't have to go that route. But I thought it would be a nice way to start off with ship-to-ship stuff before they get to the huge sea monsters and all ;p
20th-Jul-2006 07:58 pm (UTC)
Your icon looks like Will Riker as Jack Sparrow. It's rather fun. =)
21st-Jul-2006 12:01 am (UTC)
Actually it's me as Jack Sparrow, but thanks. :)

I like yours too...I love that scene.
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