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Thursday, October 15

Chapter 61: Red Skies at Morning - Introduction

This scenario is from the Black Sails Over Freeport adventure “Red Skies at Morning” by Green Ronin, adapted to the Arcanis setting. You can read more about Arcanis at http://www.onaraonline.org. Please note: This adventure contains spoilers!

Our cast of characters includes:

This is the beginning of the home stretch. If you’ve played Black Sails Over Freeport, you know how it ends and you know who Leviathan is. It’s the answer to Sebastian’s question several chapters back: “Whatever happened with that sextant we picked up?”

Well, now we know. I had to think long and hard about how this adventure would accommodate the “old school” style of D&D. Like the Castle Amber adventure series, Black Sails Over Freeport is very much a resource management, long slog to the death kind of game. Which means PCs are going to die more often. So I had to nudge a caster (Peg-Leg Peligro) that could cast raise dead and resurrection to go along.

The other problem is that this adventure ultimately ends up stranding our characters on another plane with only their ship as a home. That means everything the PCs need between adventures has to be there with them, including the aforementioned cleric. This is where the Arcanis game shifts from traditional skullduggery, politics, and questions of honor and family to good old fashioned blowing things up and taking their stuff.

Black Sails Over Freeport has some problems, like the assumption that PCs of 6th level or higher won’t have access to fly, which is ironic since one of the cultists had access to a potion of fly. Then there’s the fact that the main villain, Billy Bones, is a poor imitation of Frank Booth (Dennis Hopper) from Blue Velvet. I never liked Blue Velvet and I disliked the technology-bending requirements of having a villain who breathes from an air mask. Also, he’s always high on Abyss Dust, which I’ve replaced with Ghoul Juice…so the whole thing didn’t work for me.

Instead, I made Billy a foul-mouthed version of Jack Nicholson, sans breathing apparatus. I gave him a spellcaster’s bandolier that allowed him to draw several of his potions on the fly. In the end it didn’t matter: Billy knew the heroes were coming and swigged all the relevant potions he would need. The battle took a surprise twist that would have repercussions on the rest of the campaign.

Overall, I was happy with the drama and angst this adventure generated. It was a clear sign to the PCs that the gloves are off, as represented by the “loss” of the King in Yellow’s protection. We’re now playing in the big leagues, and the heroes are going to have to step it up if they plan to survive. more


posted by Michael Tresca at 6:23 AM

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