Incarna is a system of gritty realism. The mechanics promote deadly combat, intense action, and the intended focus is on story, skills, and a mixture of combat and puzzle/problem solving. Some rules herein may reference concepts unique to Incarna - you will need access to the online rule set for specific details. Most GM’s can assess the Incarna specific elements in context and leave or remove them as needed. Where you see this: , the GM must "plug-in" their own materials to round out the adventure in their campaign. It is strong recommended something such as a Gaming Contract be put into place.
Setting: The Steel Realms
Locale Overview: Troneth Traphaven
Environment: Waterborne, Boat
Recently, a group of adventurers disturbed the island and survived - tales tell of the ship rising to attack anyone near. It seems this recent disturbance has awakened the privateer from his sleep of undeath permanently. Now the ship is seen on the edges of fog banks without the full moon, and has attacked and sunk a few merchant vessels carrying goods to and from Troneth Traphaven. It seems like the old privateer has some personal grudge to settle against the living of the town. Trade is beginning to die and the community is getting desperate - the call has once more gone out for aid in defeating the town's enemies.
Once again, an "interested party" (Sira Lucius Delmond IV) has sought out the group through his intermediary Mr. Foxx - mostly for its notoriety and ability to deal with trouble. This interested party wants to hire the group to do something few are willing - to attack an unsinkable, unkillable enemy - the undead privateer Terrance Blair! Mr Foxx arranges to meet the party member in question.
Assumes the events of Bear Island have been played out previously.
Two hundred years ago, the schooner Gulls Eye went missing on a foggy night. The ship was captained by Terrance Blair, a privateer for hire with the reputation of a treasure-hunting scoundrel. A week after her disappearance, her masts and signature grey sails were spotted above the water line off Bear Island - a small rocky island separated from the mainland by a 200 foot stretch of shallow water, and a known hibernation spot for 3-4 bears every winter. The island was once a sacred place, where the wind roars like a bear as it whistles down from the north through the crags in the winter. Many have sought to find out what happened, but now fog encloses the island whenever anyone makes landfall, and they are never heard from again. Some sailors report seeing a ghost ship crewed by the undead on nights of the full moon - a few ship captains even avoid anchoring in the area because of this persistent story. Dozens of adventuring parties have vanished over the years trying to explore either the wreck or island.
"It is wonderful to see you, looking healthy and prosperous. I wish it were under less dire circumstances. The trouble, as you know now, has not ended for our business interests. It seems like the ancient forces bottled up at Bear Island for so long will not rest. Whatever angry spirits were woken on the previous sojourn to the island will not rest. The ghost ship of the dead privateer Terrence is now launching attacks on local shipping. In the hundreds of years, his ghost ship has only been glimpsed in the fog around the island. We do not know what has emboldened him, or given him strength or courage to now make long forays beyond the safety and protection of the spirits of the island. We need your strength and cleverness in dealing with this - our profit margins are way down, and the people of the town are upset - every fog bank hides a terror from hell, the thought of long drowned family members clawing their way up from a watery grave has caused talk of abandonment by some. A few have already left. Others are terrified of being attacked if they do leave. Rumors circulate of curses and gods angry for various reasons. The interests I represent simply want this impediment to business gone. A handsome fee of a share of the profits will be yours should you take care of this menace and restore trade and calm. What say you?"
Any their/rogue types might know Mr. Foxx as a local criminal element representative - handling legal matters and fronting for them.
He raises a hand, "No one is blaming you at all - whoever had gone there would be in the same do-or-die position. However, the angry spirit will not now rest and and the ship of the dead preys upon the living and many locales feel that your explorations was the direct cause of the once dead pirate coming back to wreck their livelihood."
Mr. Foxx will gladly commit to a figure as high as 500gp, the replacement (at standard cost) of any mundane items used and lost in the process, and no taxes or charges on found goods. He will happily provide any assessment for found items, and the party gets to keep any treasure or incidental items found in the course of their adventure (except of course if such an item were stolen from the town or businesses – and can be proven).
A cold township of a population of 1000 or so, doubling in the time of festivals and big harvests. The distilleries in town give off a faint sickly sweet odor – from the unique local peat burned which infuses the Troneth Whiskey that’s famous all around. The town has a central district on the edge of the water – but no docks. There is a breakwater and safe “harbor” in all but the worst of winds. The mouth of the river is a half mile away south.
Economic Perspective: The town does not have much in the way of local industries for cloth and lumber. Good wood is difficult – many structures are combinations of mud, mud brick and lumber imported. Plenty of fruit and grasses grow (strangely sweet), but it’s not good feed for animals. All wool and leather must be imported in a scale to support the town in its operations – but the whiskey trade and fermented fruit are highly profitable to offset it. Boats are not local though – all trade stems from outside the area. This is why the threat of a single privateer, and now the rumors have gotten out that the danger is the creeping undead sent up from their watery grave. Trade is slowly coming to a halt, cutting off the lifeblood of the community.
Bad Weather/Storm: The party is caught in a terrible storm while trying to wait at sea and ambush the undead pirate. There is a chance they will:
Terrance rams the boat the PC’s are in (it damages his own seriously – he wont do it again), but the PC’s boat begins a slow process of sinking.
Its a full Moon – the crew get charmed.
Using the talisman the Merfolk told the PC’s about, or that was revealed to them in a dream.
Can call upon a Crab Swarm (like Rat Swarm) while PCs are on deck!