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Comments: 7
Ideas: 0
Rating: 2.8333
Condition: Normal
ID: 8


October 24, 2005, 3:26 pm

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Galley Slaves


They awaken with the tilt of a ship on the open sea. Any glimpses they see of the water is an endless expanse of blue. They are chained at their wrists and ankles with the chain going through an eye hook in the floorboard and then connecting them to their bench mate. A stowed oar is resting in front of them ready to be deployed. Life as a galley slave can be hard.

Needing a replacement weapon, Reglas and his three companions make their way to a well known weaponsmith that has his shop down by the docks. It is said he tempers his steel in the blessed salt water of the bay giving it extra strength. His tradition of forging steel in the darkness of the night added to the mysteries of the weaponsmith, as well as his location far from anybody to bother with the incessant banging of hammer on anvil. Either way he came highly recommended and having to go to the empty docks at night was no worry to the four adventurers.

Taking yet another turn through an even darker alley, the adventurers hear the lapping of the waves on the docks. They also hear a clamor of loosed steel and the motion of feet as they are quickly surrounded. A fight ensues, but grossly outnumbered the great adventurers are finely taken down.

They awaken with the tilt of a ship on the open sea. Any glimpses they see of the water is an endless expanse of blue. They are chained at their wrists and ankles with the chain going through an eye hook in the floorboard and then connecting them to their bench mate. A stowed oar is resting in front of them ready to be deployed. Life as a galley slave can be hard.

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Comments ( 7 )
Commenters gain extra XP from Author votes.

January 7, 2003, 12:16
Getting pressganged is no fun at all. This might be a good way to wake a party up to how they've been treating some NPC's. If they've been a bullying, swaggering bunch and been cocky because you've given them a few too many toys, this is a perfect opprtunity to strip them of thier booty and crush thier egos.

When the ship gets to a port, they are used to the new help trying to make a break for it and expect it. Maybe they drug the newbies untill they are away. At that first port would be the best time for the captin to sell of or gamble away the PC's most abused or exploited possesions.

Save their most neccesary things so they can continue to adventure when they break out, but if a wizard had a particually over-powering spell in his book, I doubt it will be able to be memorized as well after being used as a placemat while the captin had some barbeque ribs.

This shouldn't be the end of thier carrers, but it should be a setback that makes them use what they've learned instead of what they've plundered.
September 19, 2004, 23:54
No offense, but there is no plot here; it's only a transitional scene. There is nothing the PC's have done, or could do, to affect any of this. Looking for weapons is a red herring (sorry, seemed appropriate to the setting ;-)) - ANY excuse that puts the PC's near the docks is sufficient, and completely incidental to the shanghai. Then they wake up chained to the oars. Their only choice of action is to row or not.

There could be a number of plots starting here: Interaction with the captain could lead to an offer to trade PC skills and knowledge for freedom, or maybe join the crew; slave uprising or mutiny could leave the PC's potentially running the boat; and, of course, arriving at a foreign port could be the start of all sorts of plot lines.

Full disclaimer: Having been a PC in this scene (twice!), it's one that just leaves the players to shrug and wait for the DM to do something else.
Voted Wulfhere
February 26, 2007, 16:20
If you're going to use this sort of scenario, you have to make it seem fair. Either start out the PCs in this situation, using it to open up a game, or play out the scene where they are captured, giving them at least the facade of escaping the situation.

If you have the captain selling off their most treasured (and game breaking) possessions, be prepared for grumbling. I would discuss the situation with the players beforehand ("You know your Amulet of Transforming into a Triple Strength Iron Spike Golem? It has got to go!") and get some sort of agreement to lowering the power level of the game a bit.

Additionally, you should give them a chance to get revenge against the ones that shanghaied them. It could even become a major plot focus: "In the Thieves' Quarter, Fordall overheard something. Apparently there's a ship that calls here regularly: A ship with golden sails!"
Voted valadaar
April 25, 2011, 20:17

Wulf is spot on with this.  Since there is not much adventure in rowing and getting whipped, this would have to be a short scene ended by something more dramatic. Like, looking left and seeing an oncoming enemy galley about to ram... 

Voted Kassy
July 26, 2011, 9:25
Only voted
Voted PoisonAlchemist
August 14, 2011, 15:15

Fankly I don't care for the ship idea at all. Hunting down that interesting blacksmith, however, has flavor and could serve as a way to buff your PCs that are havng problems instead of bringing them down a notch. Perhaps he is reclusive and lives on an island in the center of the bay, what is in the water? Does he only come out at night? What if his ritual is sinister and includes more than just salt water?

Voted Murometz
November 3, 2016, 12:37
Shanghaied!! Used variations of this scenario quite often...with mixed results.

Random Idea Seed View All Idea Seeds

Unfortunate fortune

       By: increddibelly

One of the camels in the caravan trips over a dark rock protruding from the sandy dunes. The poor animal has broken its leg and cannot continue. A cacaphony ensues as the animal suffers and the caravan train overseers complain passionately as they redistribute the animal's load across the caravan. (Let's just hope none of the PC's was riding this camel, shall we?)

As the camel is put out of its misery and the camel is skewered over a campfire - waste nothing! - someone takes a minute to inspect the root cause of all the trouble. To their surprise, the upturned rock is worked stone. Some frantic digging may excavate the bottom half of a gorgeously worked1 obelisk, and maybe even the small square forum below; but a more rigorous exploration of the surrounding dunes reveals a buried tomb doorway on each side of the forum.

Encounter  ( Desert ) | December 22, 2015 | View | UpVote 7xp

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