The 50 Fathoms campaign book is interspersed with adventures that are based on real-world phenomena or other famous works of fiction. There’s a little note for the GMs that indicates when that happens, so you’re not too surprised when your players hear something in-game and go “oh lol like that thing from ______”. I like it; I think it adds flavor to the game (reality is often stranger than fiction, after all). But on the other hand, I wonder if it breaks immersion when things are too apparent from the get-go.
Yang Hou, human sailor
Lars, doreen hunter
Boggsworth, masaquani scoundrel
Theodore, human archmage
Skitters, scurillian archmage
The Village of Calib’s Rock, on Taratos
Caribdus, a drowning world
The Story So Far:
The group had made their way from Tuck, down the coast of Taratos, to Calib’s Rock, where they believed there might be one of the legendary golden triangles that would lead to Redbeard’s fortune. When they arrived, they scouted out the local tavern (the village was so small that the tavern didn’t even have a name; everyone just called it “the tavern”) to see what type of rumors they could pick up. After all, this party had had really quite excellent luck just operating based on rumors and hearsay.
They knew they were looking for one Owen McDougal who would know what they were seeking, so they walked into the tavern and asked “Hello, is there an Owen McDougal here?” The townsfolk in near-unison turned and pointed to the lone old drunk, half-passed-out in the corner. The party approached him, with the gift of a bottle of fine rum, and asked him about the local buried treasure. When they did, a few locals gathered around as well – this tale was one of McDougal’s most popular. He told of a time when he had drunk a bit too much and gone wandering off into the nearby woods, managing to fall into a deep pit that had been hidden by debris. His famed sense for gold lead him to believe that there was a fortune lying at the bottom of that pit, if only he could reach it. He dug and dug and dug, but to no avail. As best as he knew, the treasure was still down there, waiting for an opportunistic crew to excavate it.
The party sent for some of their crew of interns from the Potsticker, as well as some more shovels so they could properly get to the bottom of this pit. They paid McDougal with another bottle of fine rum to lead them to the site of the pit, which he was more than happy to do. The pit was half-covered with fallen palm leaves and branches, as well as some shattered coconut shells, but they found it and began to clear it out. They all took turns digging into the deep, black pit, with Yang Hou taking the time to set up some safety equipment so they didn’t all fall to their deaths in this endeavor.
The first day, they made significant progress, but did not see any sign of treasure yet. They camped out at a small sheltered area near the pit so that they could get started right away again in the morning. The next day, when they began digging, they got down another 20 feet or so, and then the pit began to flood. Neither Skitters’ and Ted’s water-controlling powers nor a bucket-bailing-system were enough to keep the water entirely out of the pit, though they did use their earth magic to shore up the walls. Lars noticed that it smelled of sea water, and decided to head back to the town at the cliffside and see if there were any underwater passages that would lead to the treasure more easily than continuing to dig.
He made a crude dye out of beets (which the town grew plentifully), then released it underwater to see if there were any currents leading into the caverns or around the island. He managed to find a small gap in the rock that he believed would lead to the right place, but it would be a tough squeeze to fit through it himself. On his way back up to the surface, he contended with a small swarm of the local bloodfish, picking up a few nicks and bites, but escaping relatively unscathed. He informed the group as to what he’d found, but they decided to keep digging a day longer to see what they could get to.
On the final day of the dig, they managed to reach layers of unsealed wooden planks, through which they could see the faintest glimpse of gold. They used their strength to break through the planks, managing to retrieve some of the gold, but sending more of it careening down the tunnel. When they saw no golden triangle among their haul, Lars and one of the other crewmen of the Potsticker, a fellow doreen, made their way back to the cavern they’d found underwater so they could get the rest of the gold out. They picked up a couple of scrapes getting through the tight-fitting passageway, but did manage to get through.
From there, the passage split into five different tunnels, and they were unsure of which way to go. They decided to work their way from left to right, for thoroughness, while those above waited to see a sign of the two doreen. The first tunnel was a dead-end. The second one turned and went back out to sea on the other side of the island. The third one was their destination – they saw the gold glinting in a pile on a ledge above them, including the golden triangle. They bundled up all that they could and made their way out, though they also checked out the other two passages just to be sure there was no more gold hiding in them. The final tunnel contained an entire bloodfish spawning ground, and the group decided to net a bunch of them up for cooking, and take a couple of barrels of eggs for exotic caviar.
With their fourth golden triangle claimed and a vast haul of cash in hand, the group decided to go back to Fort Rum and check on how things were going there. As soon as they arrived back in town, they were approached by the veteran crewmen they’d left in charge here. They were informed that about a week back, a mid-size pirate fleet had attempted to raid Fort Rum, knowing that it was a lucrative target. The pirates had underestimated the defenses of the town and were easily turned away, but there was concern that they could come back with a larger fleet at any time. Furious and incensed to hear of an attack on their home, the party decided to stick around for a time and see if they could learn more. They met with their neighboring towns – neither had been attacked recently, nor had they seen this fleet come sailing by their own ports.
They had a comparatively restful few days in town – keeping an eye out for unwelcome visitors, hitting up the casinos they’d built, making some needed repairs on all the ships of the Happy Family fleet, finding a mate for Boggsworth’s pet komodo dragon, Sancho. When they saw no sign of the fleet that had attacked the town – or any pirate fleets at all – they decided to take matters into their own hands and hunt down the treacherous dogs who would come to regret their choice of targets. Sailing through the Pirate Sea, they stopped in at the city of Baltimus, where they knew they had friends, and tried to learn more information about the pirates in question.
Head of the British East India Company, Edward Lazenby, was quite glad to see that the Potsticker was in town, and requested that the group meet him for dinner, along with Admiral Duckworth while they were here. He had an offer for them that he strongly hoped they’d accept. They all met up that evening at a luxe and lavish restaurant (the food was good, though not quite as good as what they made onboard, of course). Duckworth let them all enjoy their fine dining before cutting to the chase – he was planning a huge attack on Brigandy Bay, to be done with the pirates there once and for all, to ensure that they had no safe haven on that island and to turn it into a trading post for the British East India Company.
After some discussion – they had no interest in wiping out innocents or razing the town – the crew agreed, and began to make their plans.