What follows are three adventures to be run in sequence. They are designed for the setting found in Refuge Beneath the Waves. Each adventure is designed to expose the PCs to a different area of the setting.
- Pirate Attack in the Undersea: While en route to jobs in a mine, the PCs are caught up in an attack by pirates. The ultimate goal of the sea raiders is to take a wealthy man hostage and turn the other passengers into slave labor.
- Infiltrating An Undersea Cult: Grateful for their assistance, the family of the man the pirates attempted to take hostage hires the PCs to find, and possible return, a favored daughter who was last seen headed to an outlying settlement. It turns out that she has been brainwashed by a cult.
- Thwarting a Kalleum Bomb: The cult, from which the PCs save the favored daughter, is ready to severely damage her home city by placing Kalleum bombs at key points. The PCs are the only ones she has a chance of convincing to uncover and stop the threat.
Pirate Attack In The Undersea
Pirates attack a subaquatic pod in order to take the member of a wealthy family hostage for ransom. If the PCs can return this person safely to his family there will be a substantial reward. They may receive a considerably smaller reward if all they bring back is bad news.
Bradley Forthnit, middle-aged, stocky of build, and heir to the Forthnit estate, tried shifting in his seat to find a less uncomfortable position. These damnable inspections always took so bloody long and he could not wait to see this one through and return to his estate in Rawlwick City.
"Less than a day to go, you say?" Bradley asked the pilot of the subaquatic. His own seat was placed in close proximity to the pilot and he was able to see the various gauges and dials showing the state of the craft. He could also see through the front porthole the expanse of undersea black. "How do you navigate in this?" He asked with a hint of fear. He could never really feel safe when under the care of others.
"It's the maps. And the magnetoscopes. I know exactly where we are, sir. No need to fret. We'll be there in ten, eleven hours. Tops."
Bradley looked behind him at the row of workers, all miners and support personnel, and gave them all his most reassuring smile before turning forward and letting that smile melt into a grimace.
"What the devil..." the pilot said, reaching for the controls in a panic.
Bradley clutched the arms of his seat in sudden dread.
A clang sounded on the port side and the subaquatic shuddered. A barbed point shot through the bulkhead and locked in place. Small jets of water pushed through around the edges and sprayed the inside of the cabin. The entire craft shifted sideways and everyone reflexively tried to keep from being tossed out of their seats.
A few minutes later, the craft shuddered from another shock and stopped suddenly.
The hatch popped open and in poured a half-dozen pirates, each holding a knife in one hand and a pistol in the other.
"Everybody down on the deck before somebody starts bleeding!"
Bradley Forthnit is heir to the Forthnit estate and a prime shareholder in a mining concern. He is on his way to perform a semi-annual tour and inspection of the main mining facilities. Meanwhile, pirates who have made a haven in the tunnels not far from those mines have gotten wind of this and have decided to take Bradley hostage and ransom him back to his family.
The PCs are also en route to the mine. As this particular subaquatic pod is run by the mining company, they PCs may be filling the role of mine workers, security team members, lawmen, bureaucrats, or geologists.
While en route to the mines, the subaquatic pod is surrounded and boarded by the pirates. They are more interested in taking everyone alive than in killing, in the hope that they will be able to ransom more than Bradley. They also need manual labor to add to their own attempts at mining.
- The party is captured and taken back to the pirate base.
- The party manages to fight off the pirates but must then fight their way forward to the mines. Odds are more subaquatics will show up to finish what the first failed at. Also, Bradley will offer them a reward to find the pirate base straightaway.
Entering The Base
- Everyone is taken back to the pirate base. Bradley begs the PCs to help him escape, for he does not trust the pirates to allow him to ever return to his family, even if the ransom is paid. He is sure to tell them they will be richly rewarded.
- The PCs manage to escape and take over the subaquatic before they reach the pirate base. However, the subaquatic was damaged in the fight and they must continue to the base before the pod fails and they all drown.
- If the PCs were never captured, Bradley offers them a large reward to help him track down the base so that he can report the location back to the lawmen at home for clearing out. This will require going directly to the pirate base before they have a chance to realize their failure and clear out. This also means the group could still be captured by pirate sentries.
Leaving the Base
- Escaping captivity and finding a way off of the base will require heroics from the PCs.
- Bradley's successful return to his family will pay substantially better than reporting his demise.
Infiltrating An Undersea Cult
Impressed by their work helping Bradley Forthnit escape (hopefully) and rooting out the pirates from their previous adventure, the Forthnit family offers the PCs a reward for returning a wayward member of the family. She is only a minor daughter of one of the lesser members of the family but she was well loved and her disappearance among a small settlement on the outskirts has the rest of the family worried. Attempts to locate or contact her have failed. The family reports that the settlement is not amenable to outsiders entering their midst.
"My many thanks for your assistance in that most unfortunate experience with those dreadful pirates," Bradley Forthnit said as he handed the PCs a hefty bag of coins. "This should show you the meaning of Forthnit appreciation."
Before the group can leave, Mr Forthnit clears his throat and says, "If the lot of you have no other current plans, I may be in need of your services once more.
"You see, I have a relative, a lovely young woman, daughter of a cousin, you see, who has gone missing. She can be a bit flighty, you see; this isn't her first foray out into the wider world. But the rest of us have become a bit concerned. No one has heard from her in months, and that just isn't like her. If you could see your way to tracking her down and ascertaining her current state, I would be greatly appreciative. More coins, you see."
The reality is that the settlement is ruled by a cult which believes the rest of human civilization is wicked and unclean. They have brainwashed poor Sarah Forthnit into becoming one of their own so that she could become one of the wives of their charismatic and controlling leader. She is quite miserable and often thinks of leaving, but, due to the brainwashing, she cannot make herself do so. Even if she did fully decide to leave, she can find no way out. Visitors are rarely accepted in, all trade is done elsewhere by only the most highly trusted members, and she has no means of transportation nor the ability to commandeer a subaquatic on her own.
Getting into the settlement will be extremely difficult. It will be possible to learn about the cult by asking around. The investigation will lead to a trading post regularly used by the settlement members. From there the PCs will be able to determine the nature of the cult, although they will be unable to learn anything about the missing girl.
Ingress into the settlement can be accomplished by various means. They may be able to charm their way in with one of the traders by successfully feigning interest in joining the cult. Outsiders are not easily trusted, however, and they will be closely watched. The PCs may also be able to enter by stealth if they have the skills to do so.
The settlement itself is quite small and any outsiders will be immediately obvious if seen. There is one small agrodome, a set of units where the majority of the populace lives, and a larger dome that is the place of worship and the dwelling place of the cult leaders and their wives.
Getting to Sarah will be difficult. She is constantly surrounded by others very loyal to the cult. Talking with her or observing her will reveal that she is cracking under the strain of wanting to believe while also sometimes admitting to herself that she wishes to leave. Convincing her to go will be difficult in the extreme and she will likely change her mind and betray the PCs at the worst possible moment. It may become necessary to either leaver her or forcibly abduct her.
If the PCs are successful, Sarah will mention to them that she overheard the leader talking about bombing her home city sometime in the near future.
Thwarting A Kalleum Bomb
After once again rescuing another member of the Forthnit family, the PCs have caught wind of a possible attack on the family's home city. The only detail they are sure of is that there will be a bomb of some kind used against the home city of the Forthnit family.
The PCs have been warned that the cult adhered to by the settlement from which they (hopefully) saved Sarah Forthnit has planned to set off some kind of explosive device in her home city. The PCs must thwart this attempt. Sarah only knows that the city is the target; she does not know where in the city, how it will be accomplished, or when it will happen.
The cult believes strongly that humankind has proven itself to be unclean and that the rest of civilization must be wiped from existence. The first step in accomplishing this vision is the plan to bomb the home city of the Forthnit family. This plan was already in the works before her abduction/escape. The members of the cult are unaware that she overheard their plans and so they are continuing on as planned. In fact, they are even more determined to get back at Sarah's family for "stealing" her away.
The bomb itself is rather simple in design. Over the years, the group has managed to accumulate a fair amount of Kalleum. The idea is to place Kalleum in sealed containers along with water. The resulting pressure caused by the water attempting to turn to steam will cause the containers to explode. They plan to place the containers at key points of the city's infrastructure where the explosions will cause tears in the walls and allow the sea to come rushing in, simultaneously flooding and crippling the city. The main targets are the agrodome, the residences of the rich, the university, and the air production plants. While the cult members do have escape plans, they are more than ready to die in the pursuit of their cause.
Once the cult members enter the city and have finished getting everything they need together, they will separate into independent teams. Each team will work separately, meaning that they will each need to be discovered individually of the others (interrogation is not likely to provide many details.)
The local constabulary do not believe that such backwards settlers would have the means or the knowledge to threaten the city, and so refuse to investigate. Sarah is very emphatic about it, so hopefully the PCs will take her seriously.
Cast of Characters
- Cult member in charge of the bombing
- Cult thugs
- Sarah Forthnit
This could happen as a cliff-hanger from the previous adventure. As they near Sarah's home city, she mentions to them what she heard about the bomb and how serious she believes them to be.
If this isn't enough, she will track the PCs down shortly after she returns to her family to let them know that the locals have not taken the threat seriously. She has little money of her own to offer but will do her best to plead her case.
Possible Routes of Investigation
- Finding cult members to interrogate. This would require returning to either the trading post (and hoping there are cult members present, and that they know something of relevance) or the cult's home settlement. This could be costly, as the journey is long and likely to take too long to prevent the destruction.
- Figuring out what kind of bomb could be used or even where the most likely points of attack could be and searching for evidence.
- Searching the city for cult members. This could involve questioning members in the poorer neighborhoods about anyone new or suspicious. (Gaining trust of the very poor can be a task in itself.) This can be helped along if any of the PCs were originally locals or at least have a poor background.
- If they need a nudge, present an NPC who had once been a member of the cult and is now living in the poorer sections of the city. This person will report seeing people he used to know from his days in the cult hiding out and acting suspiciously. This could lead the PCs to one of the groups as they attempt to plant one of the bombs in the area they were spotted in. Once they've seen one device, and hopefully dismantled it, the PCs should be able to extrapolate other potential areas that would be vulnerable to attack. At this point the clock should be ticking. Feel free to have at least one bomb go off while they track down the others.