Friday, June 8, 2012

The Shoal of Grey Bones


The the area the party was theoretically headed for when they decided to detour to the Obelisk of Forgotten MemoriesI would have given them 9-1 odds of dying on the way, but I like shipwrecks so I still wrote up a table or two. 

Küstenlandschaft - Michael Hutter 1994

The shoal of Grey Bones is a natural, and likely supernatural, magnet for shipping.  Its shallow waters appear to the unprepared mariner as a flat and safe sea while the ancient abandoned lighthouse complex, the 'Tower Plenary' perched on and in the rocks above exerts a malign influence, its abandoned lights reportedly flashing false symbols to vessels leading them onto the merciless crags.  Currents also push abandoned vessels an flotsam onto the grey rocks of the shoals,and over the years a layer of shipwrecks has virtually covered the beaches, sandbars and pools that make up the region.

Among the shoal's gritty grey beaches, jagged cliffs and sucking mud flats many intact vessels can be found.  Some contain treasures, but many are haunted, the lair to wreckers and mad hermits or inhabited by dangerous carrion feeding sea creatures.  Sometimes crews even survive the wrecks and form ad hoc tribes of creature and men from distant lands, hopelessly waiting for rescue.  Below is a list of some vessels that can be found stranded on the shoals.

1D13 Lost Vessal
1 Dreadnaught - Armored Gun Boat, powered by hold full of tireless zombie labor and a ghost energized reactor. The vessel is armed with turreted cannons that fire blast of necromantic energies capable of inducing rapid decay. The ship now rusts away almost upright, with necromantic energies leaking from its torn hull creating a magical hazard and surrounding itself with a slowly growing ring of unlife large and small.
2 Leviathan - Giant magically and mechanically augmented whale-like creature, dead and beginning to stink with rot and gnawed by scavengers.  It's huge jaws are clamped shut and whatever crew and cargo it carried within its cavernous belly are unable or unwilling to leave
3 Fishing Boat - This local fishing boat, manned by an entire family of poor villagers has broken its keel on the rocks a presents a site of tragedy rather than mystery.  The catch and crew lie scatter about it salt stained and tangled in the vessel's nets.
4 Coracle – a tiny boat made of the overturned skull of a giant and patched with pitch.  The skull boat now rests jaw side down, half buried in the sand with a crude stone chimney built onto its top. It is was likely the boat of a mad hermit or Wizard but the thin trickle of smoke from the chimney give no indication of its current inhabitant
5 Submarine - Ancient beyond counting the hull of this submersible is made of strange bluish metal covered with eons of barnacles. It's open missile ports are glassed over, except where some sort of wild hydroponic growth has broken through. A faint hum can be heard near the vessel and it appears some sort of power source is still operational within
6 Cog - The storm tossed wreck of a halfling crewed Cog. The hold of the crude ship is smashed open on the beach and sodden trade goods are scattered about.  It's rigging and sails are tattered as if by storm and all means of entrance except for the smashed hold appear firmly shut.
7 Derelict - The original nature of this ship is unclear as it appears to have been washed up from the depths and is completely covered in sea life.  It may be an ancient yacht, a moribund trawler or a funeral barge but from the exterior it's purpose and age are completely obscured.
8 Sidewheeler - This coastal trader and passenger vessel looks eerily undamaged, it's steam engine pumping at a low cycle as it rests calmly on the shingle. Light even emanates from the ship's upper deck ballroom while luggage and cargo is strapped soundly to the lower decks.  A character knowledgeable about local history or sailing might remark that the sidewheeler is off a design that has not been used in these waters for approximately 300 years.
9 Galley - A recent military galley, most of its oars are snapped, the ram broken and fire damage is visible on its decking.  Whatever happened to this ship it is amazing it remained afloat and came to rest here.  The sail still shows the emblem of Morio the Sea's Bastard, a flamboyant Wizard who rules a roving nation of pirates.
10 Whaler - This moribund whaler would be a common enough ship, but it is infected with a bizarre sea growth.  Bulbous man sized lumps of reddish seaweed burst from the overturned whaler's hull and stringy vegetable tentacles coated with red slime radiate from the vessel.
11 Catamaran – Two 'viking' style longships held together by a twisted rope bridge and the tangles of their shared sail lay on their sides amongst the jagged rocks.  It is unclear where the raiders that normally crew these vessels disappeared to, but their battered shields still line the ships' sides, clearly visible.
12 Raft - A village raft of the sea people, now obviously deserted.  The wood and whale bone used in its construction are worn to a uniform silver by decades of salt and wind, and barely a trace of the garish paints favored by the sea people remain. It is unclear how the raft floated so far from the traditional Southern ocean range of the sea people, but it bobs gentle in the shallows inviting investigators to come aboard.  

Note: Look up Michael Hutter's work, much has a morbidly erotic tinge, but it's amazingly atmospheric.

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