Wrack & Rune

This is a non-traditional adventure that focuses around the salvage of cargo from a sunken ship. It’s a very open-concept type of exploration that probably has more in common with a hex crawl than a traditional dungeoncrawl of wilderness adventure. There’s a great deal of options and freedom for the players to take advantage of.

A wizard is building a new tower and has commissioned a group of dwarves to create a massive stone statue for it, destined for stone golem-hood. The dwarves have finished it and are shipping it by sea. The ship is late and the wizard wants his statue. He hires the party to go find it. Just one catch: there’s a time limit. The more time the party spends screwing around the less they going to receive in payment. The introduction is short, which I prefer, and the time limit adds some motivation for the party to Get Things Done in an environment which could otherwise be laid-back.

The adventure will essentially center around two locations. The first is a small village by the name of Wrack. I have a special place in my heart for moronic villagers. My heart grew three sizes when reviewing the village: they are truly pitiful idiots. It’s a small fishing village with an inn, small store, and a temple. The inn smells of stale beer, old fish, smokey peat, wet wool and cooked cabbage. Whoa boy! The people are pretty universally described as poor and shiftless. I LOVED the village. The adventure probably begins in earnest with the players talking to the various people in and around it. The village is sparsely described however the people detailed are all pretty memorable. There’s a pretty nice rumor table and several of the other villagers have some interesting things to say if the party can track them down. It’s an investigation, however it’s mostly an exercise in gathering more information and trying to push the odds more in the players favor. The information, and a few specialized supplies in the village, will make success more likely.

The second part of the adventure is the search for and salvage of the wrecked ship including the raising for several statue pieces, each weight a couple of thousand pounds. This is a very open portion of the adventure. It reminds me a lot of the pearl beds in Isle of Dread. In that encounter there’s goodies on the bottom of the ocean and sea snakes that mess with the players if they try to collect them. In this adventure there is essentially only a wandering monster chart for the ocean (1 in 6 per hour) and otherwise it’s up to the players to locate and recover the massive statue parts. This is going to be an exercise in ingenuity for the players. How can they locate the wreck? How can they manage the cold water and requirement to breathe? There are several other related issues as well. A great deal of information is presented, in a clear and easy to follow format, on how the various challenges the players may encounter in exploring the shoals and in recovering the statue. Tides, sunrise, sunset, and so on. Essentially the authors have provided a framework that you can turn the party loose in, along with the specialized information the DM may need to call upon.

This sort of adventure concept is one of my favorites. You give the players an objective, have a set up, and turn them loose. We used to do this all the time in high school when we played Danger International. The adventure always ended with an assault on the Evil Bad Guy Lair. Nothing fixed by the DM, just a base with it’s various buildings, guards, NPC’s and schedules. How the players assaulted or infiltrated was up to them. That sort of player agency, along with a prepared DM, is what can truly result in a stellar adventure. Adding in the twist, an island that appears during mists, makes this an excellent little adventure. It IS a little adventure, but it’s a very nice one and should provide for an excellent evening of play.

Oh, and one more thing. These sorts of adventures typically throw in some magic items to help the players get by and survive underwater. This one doesn’t really do that. Figuring out how to deal with the water is a major part of the adventure. I like that. It also has no Sahuagin in it. I loathe Sahuagin. They are COMPLETELY overused in water adventures. I’m glad to see a water based adventure that doesn’t involve pirates or smugglers or Sahuagin. This is a refreshing little romp.

This is available on DriveThru.


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