Wednesday, November 29, 2017

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

Below are some sample rooms from areas of the HMS Apollyon that I have been writing up over the last year or so. These are partial and scattered selections from a much larger work, but I am happy to share them, giving some preview of the project (which may or may not ever be completed).  I recently asked some people what ongoing project they'd like to see finished, so I will be working on this and perhaps posting additional updates and samples.

They also show my current approach to dungeon keying, which tries to both preserve the level of detail I find interesting and remain immediately useful to a Game Master during play.

HMS - cover processed faded.jpg

Duke Brimstone Yacht Club - Area A

“The HMS Apollyon is graced with a special chapter of the The Duke Brimstone Yacht Club, many of that storied order of light-hearted nautical diabolists having joined our great experiment! While the camaraderie shared aboard ship, even one as great as ours, has allowed the ‘Duke’s Men’ to accept non-members holding 1st Class, 2nd Class and Elite Cabin Class tickets (and up to two of their guests) for visits and enjoyment of its sinfully excellent bar, join club approved day charters, or view any member’s yachts currently in its whimsically decorated pool, the club offices, lounge and other areas are limited to members.

Members, and non-members alike may avail themselves of the Club’s generous yacht storage area and use its launching facilities, chandlery and naval architecture firm for a small fee.”
                    -HMS APOLLYON, Cabin Class Entertainment Guide.
Formerly an opulent outpost of rich hobbyists, the years have been unkind to the Yacht Club.  First it was an obvious target of looters during the unrest following the Apollyon’s ‘Great Marooning’ and second, the burst sea door has led to interaction with the ocean outside the vessel, inviting corrosion and destructive sealife into its sheltered pool.  However, despite these destructive forces the Duke Brimstone Club offers both natural light and water (though primarily salt water), the basis of a rich ecosystem.  The Club has remained largely sealed since the disaster, though of late lost Sterntown explorers and their Cult of the Ravenous pursuers have made their way there. Being open to the sea means that nightmarish sea creatures lair within, including the region’s alpha predator, a Titanic Nudibranch.

AREA A2 - Pool (Dim) [Supplies]
Light leaks in from the sundered sea door and reflects of a great pool thick with weed, darting life and debris. The smells of salt, rotten seaweed and dead fish is strong, but with the non-threatening natural purity of a tidal lagoon or beach cave. High above (50’) is vaulted ceiling of black metal supported by fanciful trusses and buttresses.  The wreck of a white hulled Yacht (Areas A3-5), bow down, partially ashore, is immediately noticeable as are the stone facades of the Yacht Club (Area A8-20) and Chandlery (Area A26 - A35) along with several easily accessible stone stairways, ramps and piers.
  • great pool  - The 15’ deep pool is easy enough to navigate, through broken bits of verdigris covered metal and even wooden parts of small yachts and dinghies jut from the water or are visible hazards beneath a dense mass of green, orange and black kelp. The walls of pool are coral pink tile, with badly decayed mosaics showing horned, red skinned devils cavorting in small boats and other nautical follies.  
  • darting life -  Life is abundant and varied here: fish, crabs, eels, black dragonflies, emerald green giant water striders, purple crayfish and a swarming haze of midges - some bioluminescent. A character with the survival skill or a successful 3D6 roll against Intelligence can collect one food ration worth of fresh seafood in the pool in a turn.

AREA A7 - Repair Yard (Dark) [Monster] - Concealed inside and around moribund machinery here are twelve Limpet Bears.  Concrete boat ramps ramps and sets of stairs draped in slime lead into The Pool (Area A2) with the wreck of the yacht the Mammon’s Gift (Areas A3 - A6) slumping on the largest of them. A thin railway, tracks laid into the concrete work floor leads away from the water and towards a huge hatch at the rear (port) of the area.  Otherwise the space is filled with machines and fragments of machines covered in corrosion and puckered with decay, piles of rotten canvas, and rusted tools.  The half built skeleton of a yacht and a large tank near a set of sliding doors on the left (aft) wall provide additional landmarks.
  • Limpet Bears (12) - HD ½ (HP 1) AC 11, ATK +0 Bite, INT -1, SV F0, ML 12, MV Sluggish (30'). Resembling tardigrades, and roughly the size of a large terrier, with snapping ringed maws, these mobile fungal infestations can leap to attack.  Sliced open they appear to have no internal organs, just a damp greyish-pink flesh with spongy consistency and a single digestive gullet filled with rust. The fungal Limpet Bears drop from their perches with plopping noises like a falling sack of wet meat, and begin moving towards any living creature (except the Titanic Nudibranch which even they fear) entering the dockyard, intent on adding it to their diet.  They are unlikely to gain surprise (normal chance), but their waddling gait is deceptive and their eight stubby ‘legs’ can propel them on dangerous leaps. 
  • huge hatch - An enormous hatch of thick metal, reinforced and at least two feet thick, interrupts the rail tracks.  The entire hatch appears to slide into the floor, though corrosion and a scum of pinkish lichens indicate it has been shut for some time. A giant ‘7’ in peeling paint and the words “RAIL ACCESS” and “CREW SPACE BEYOND” decorate the hatch. Next to the hatch someone has scrawled in black paint “Food, Water, Shelter” with an arrow pointing towards the hatch. Investigation will reveal a numeric keypad (round buttons like those on a vintage typewriter) beside the door, but pressing them is (even with the correct code ‘1337’) has no effect as the door unpowered (something a character with the Engineering skill can easily determine).  
  • machines - Destroyed by the infection of crawling death that has spawned the Limpet Bears, various machines break up the dock area, scaled with rust, marred by odd patches of corrosion and splotched with grey and pink lichen: a hulking galvanic generator, tangled hoses of yacht fueling apparatus, a mobile crane gantry, the drum of a power washer, grinders, a small crushed cart, and workbenches looted of hand tools. 
  • tank - 12’ in diameter and 20’ tall, a huge tank is bolted to the floor and covered in corrosion, with dark lines of thick liquid leaking from its aging seams.  The tanks has a strong chemical smell and is filled with volatile alchemical naphtha, once used to fuel yachts with a nearby hose rig.  The sludge in the tank is still highly combustible and if an explosive or fire is applied directly to the tank it will explode in 1D6/2 rounds creating a large fireball (EV 12 ‘artillery’ - save or die if not in Cover, damage 3D6).  There are 100 flasks worth of fuel in the tank that can be easily drawn with a spigot on the front of the tank and used to light lamps or create firebombs. 
  • sliding doors - A pair of fancifully weathered wooden doors leading to the , with ‘Brimstone Chandlery and Yacht Builders’ painted in black spidery letters above. The facade above was once stuccoed and set with fake stones.  An awning of green copper sheeting overhangs the doors. The doors have a rusted padlock and hasp but it can be easily smashed or pried off of the rotten wood.

AREA 19 - Cold Storage (Dark) [Trap/Supplies] The metal door is trapped with a grenade trap. The interior of the storage is slightly cooler than the kitchen, and a putrid corpse rests on the floor, back leaning against a heavy steel coldbox.  
  • grenade trap - A thread, easily found if the door is examined, breaks when the door is opened, dropping a crude grenade with a simple percussion fuse to the floor.  The grenade blast can harm (1D6) anyone in the Kitchen (Area A18) and has a burst value of five (5).  The grenade trap can be easily diffused by partially opening the door and carefully removing the grenade (explosive, BV5).
  • putrid corpse - The rotting body of a man (A Survival or Medicine check will show he died about a month ago but cause of death is unclear) wearing armor made from salt stained walrus hide and covered with spirals of shell beads.  The armor is usable (light armor AC - 13) but could use a cleaning.  In the dead man’s lap is a boarding axe [overpowering] drop forged from a simple billet of bronze.  A complete examination of the body reveals a necklace of ivory charms, carved with mollusks and tentacled sea creatures (10 GP).
  • coldbox - The power that kept this unlocked steel and zinc chest cold inside is long gone, there are ancient are beef, pork, and chicken bones within.