Monday, December 4, 2017

SCENES FROM A SHIPWRECK - HMS Apollyon - Painted Ship on a Painted Sea - Adversary Design

One of the three main potential adversaries/NPCs within the Duke Brimstone Yacht Club area is Murial Coranado a 'Revenant of Debauchery'  who is not especially hostile, but capable of life draining attacks and immune to non-magical weapons.  If treated with respect and caution she is likely to be a curiosity and if plied with liquor may even become something of an ally and source of information about the ship, its history and the region.

I'm not a fan of 'Boss' monsters, and try to design my regions more so they present a puzzle, mystery and story rather then a series of challenges leading to a climactic fight.  The other two potential adversaries (as opposed to simple monsters or random encounters like the Limpet Bears in the last post) are the angry spirit of a petty bureaucrat and a near unstoppable (but very stupid) giant sea slug.  The Bureaucrat will grow increasingly angry if his domain is disturbed, while the slug will hunt the party pushing them deeper into the hull.  All three are designed to present a variety of potential encounters and uses to the players, not only combat - though other then using the slug to dispose of other enemies, it's not really up for conversation.

AREA 16 - Main Bar (Illuminated) [Monster/Treasure] Light streams into this long room from observation windows of thick glass, blindingly to anyone emerging from the darker recesses of the hull.  ‘L’ shaped the longer arm an ornately decorated Bar (Area A16b) and the shorter a Lounge (Area A16a) filled with lushly stuffed leather furniture.

AREA 16a - Club Lounge - (illuminated) [Monster] Chairs and couches upholstered in cracked leather, weathered by the sun, are array around several tables of polished black wood.  Glassware and empty bottles are scattered about, but are especially thickly stacked on a table by the windows overlooking the Pool (Area A2), where a withered corpse [sidebar] in the tattered remains of an evening gown still leans in one of the chairs.
  • chairs and couches - Examination of the chairs will reveal that they appear to be made from a variety of shades of human skin, seemingly confirmed by the presence of a face here and there on the upholstery.
  • Withered corpse - (Murial Coranado, Revenant of Debauchery) [See Sidebar] HD 4 (HP 16), AC 13*, ATK** +5x2 (Claw/Claw)***, INT 0, MV sluggish (3)
    *Immune to normal weapons/explosions, damaged by fire, magic, silver, hexed and blessed weapons.
    ** Murial’s bony talons drain life from the victim on each strike, Save v. Paralysis or lose one level of experience/HD.  Reduction to -1 LVL or 0HD causes instant death without Save.
    *** As a Revenant of Debauchery Murial Coranado exudes reeking alcoholic fumes that will cause any creature in melee combat with her and capable of intoxication to become uselessly, reelingly drunk.  Each round close to Murial combatants must Save vs. Paralysis to act at all.

The corpse in the chair is the Revenant of Murial Coranado, a 1st class passenger and aristocrat who drank herself to death during the long ago class conflict after the H.M.S. Apollyon became lost at sea. Her undead form remains permanently drunk (though she has long ago guzzled all the alcohol in the Yacht Club) and has dozed away the eons here, waiting for bar service.

In her intoxicated state it will take a turn for the revenant to notice intruders, but she is predisposed to behave in a friendly manner (when rolling her reaction check on a 2D6 she will not attack unless provoked). On a poor reaction Murial will be dismissive and angry at intruders, a surly drunk, mistaking adventurers for wait staff, and perturbed that it has taken so long to get table service.  On a good reaction she will be cheerful and effusive, treating the party as fellow club patrons and loudly bemoaning the lack of drink.  Unless alcohol is available, complaining about its lack is all Murial will do (unless attacked of course). She will try to be witty, but is clearly a bit desperate, a bit nasty, and far too amused by her own slurred jokes - a pleasant enough member of the pampered classes, but thoroughly and drenching soused.

If Murial is offered alcohol (she’ll take anything) she’ll become quite gracious and want to share a drink. While Murial will be friendly to anyone who provides booze, like most of the dead she has almost no memory and is trapped in a loop of emotions and memories (in her case the final despondent drinking that ended her life).  She cannot really be reasoned with, and will not accompany the party even if they promise rescue.  Murial will only become violent if offered insult, or if she sees the party possesses alcohol that they refuse to give her.  If the party leaves and returns to the Bar Lounge, Murial will be back in her chair, slumbering again and have little or no memory of them. The Titanic Nudibranch will ignore Murial, as it doesn’t recognize undead as food, and for her part she thinks the giant slug is a hallucination.

For every drink offered Murial will reveal one of the elements of her story from the table below, unless directed towards specific topics.

Drink # or D6
Gossip and Rumors from the Ossified Lips of a Dead Heiress.
Murial’s yacht, “The Mammon’s Gift” is below, fueling with her ‘worthless’ husband “Tedger Coranado” aka “Buzzy”.  The couple intend to get off of this ship which has been stranded for months.
Rioters have been making things difficult lately, they’ve committed atrocities, and it’s only a matter of time before order completely breaks down - Murial has seen it before when she was an ensign in the territorial navy..  The ‘good’ people who are staying have set up in the stern on the “Port” side of Decks 1-6, down the rails, they are calling it “Sterntown”.
Oh, the chairs in the Yacht Club aren’t really human skin, it’s faux - the Club’s members aren’t monsters, just playing at being diabolists.  The plants and some of the fixtures really have been imported from the Hells though - quite valuable some of them.
Rioters already attacked the area once, they blew a hole in her yacht and killed her husband.  She managed to hide until they left, they cleaned all the food out of the yacht and the club. She started drinking then, waiting for rescue.  She has no idea how long it’s been.
Since the way to the “Undersea Gallery”, a Deck 8 shopping district, is flooded, the yacht club is cut off except via the railway, the “spinal rail” which is used to carry yachts down from Deck 5 via a big elevator beyond the hatch in the Dockyard (Area A5).
There might be a way past the hatch other than opening the main hatch, she thinks, but not from the Club.  The Chandlery (Areas A26 - A35) on the other side of the Pool perhaps?  

A16b - Club Bar (Illuminated) [Treasure]
Brightly lit, the interior here is sunbleached, with panels of cracked red wood peeling from the orichalcum plates beneath and overgrown with barbed red-brown diabolic foliage that bursts from intricately glazed shattered planters. Water damaged bar stools and tables covered in drifts of dead leaves stand before a long bar,while rotting red silk drapes hang across the windowed wall opposite.
  • diabolic foliage  - Bursting root-bound from their large planters in the center of the room are reddish trees with twisted barbed branches that press against the ceiling before drooping down like willows. The diabolical plants have blanketed the floor with a layer of rust colored dead leaves. Palm sized black flowers cover many of the branches, and each branch ends in a frond that forms a twisted noose.  Despite its sinister appearance, these decorative bar plants are entirely harmless, though they are nauseatingly bitter if eaten.
  • shattered planters - Porcelain planters, in the form of hip high urns once contained the diabolical foliage but have burst from the slow growth of its roots.  The fragmentary planters, a product of “The 5th Hell of Searing Ice” according to small labels pasted to their rough insides, are black with red glazing depicting jagged sigils and images of souls in torment.  If carefully examined the sigils on the planters can impart arcane knowledge. A successful Arcana check will discover a pot shard that can be used to produce a blast of hellfire - equivalent to magic a 1st level missile (or a 1st level magical attack using maleficence).     
  • long bar -  The long red wood and black marble bar is backed by racks of empty liquor bottles, many exotically shaped and decorated with peeling unknown labels in a variety of bizarre alphabets.  Above the bottle racks, at eye level for patrons sitting or standing at the bar, is a huge mirror of gold flecked glass.  Anyone looking in the mirror will see and more sinister and beautiful version of themselves, with small marks of diabolical influence (cat like yellow pupils or tiny horns).
  • Red silk drapes - Hidden among the diaphanous and decayed drapes are pull chains with faceted fobs forged from the red gold of the Hells (800 GP).


  1. I'm looking to start a new LotFP game for my group and would really like to set in on board the Apollyon... Is any of this close to being for sale?

    1. Not that close to publication or anything. Just sort of moving along - 99% written, maps in redraft - no editor though and need illos.