Sunday, May 24, 2020

Thurstle Island: Smuggler's Caves

I started brainstorming how to layout the Smuggler's Cave dungeon for Thurstle Island and the doodle turned into something I liked.

It is widely believed that Thurstle Island has only one navigable beach, but several years ago Skarde the Boneless found a hidden inlet accessible via a system of caves. He recruited a tight-knit gang (the Willing Few) and together they make enormous profits circumventing the Governor's taxes and importing contraband. They have a sideline manufacturing berserker drugs derived from the island's ice snakes.

The smuggler gang, could be an invaluable ally to PCs who fall afoul of the island's authorities. Alternatively, if the PCs want to hunt the outlaws, their hideout is a small, vertically-oriented dungeon.
  • This is intended as a low-level adventure, but could be easily scaled up. 
  • Smugglers have stats as bandits or pirates (5e or OSE) and will attempt to imprison intruders. They are not bloodthirsty and will likely negotiate. They will flee tough resistance and summon help. 
  • If they are alerted and have time to prepare, some will take berserker salts which grant bonuses equivalent of a barbarian's rage. While berserking, they will not listen or negotiate.
Map key below:

Entrance Hall: Large chain hoist dominates the room. Large double doors straight ahead (E) and a smaller padlocked door to the left (N).
  • Hoist can be used to raise/lower items (up to several hundred lbs) from the top (Entrance) to the bottom (Beach) of the hideout. It's noisy, but doesn't require much strength. 
  • The double doors are rigged with a fire trap that will explode when opened. Everyone in vicinity 2d6 damage, save for half. Door goes nowhere.
  • Small padlocked door opens to staircase that goes both up (to lookout) and down (to landing). 
Lookout Point: Overlooks the cliffs and ocean from highest point on the cliff-wall.
  • One smuggler guard: Will be sleeping, unless PCs were noisy on approach. Will surrender  easily if outnumbered. 
  • A large, unwieldy brass telescope
  • Panoramic view: Clear view of surrounding sea zone. Also visible
    • To the north: A cliff side clearing with small henge. (Fog Cliff on Old Forest pathcrawl).  
    • To the near south: View of the abandoned Crusader's Fort. An easy scramble down the rocks puts you on a path to the Fort.
    • To the far south: Lighthouse
Floor plan: Landing, Overlook & Platform

Landing: Stone landing, with no cover. Looks across central chasm at a Platform. two doors on north wall. First (teal) leads to stairs up to entrance. Second (purple) leads to passage to Upper Overlook. 
  • Two smugglers armed with bows on Platform have a clear shot. They have very strong cover behind a rock outcropping unless they are targeted from the Landing and the Overlook simultaneously. If they face effective ranged attacks, they'll flee down stairs. HP 5, bows and knives.
  • Ladder down to Store Room. In full view of archers on platform.
Upper Overlook: Accessible via passage from Landing and has view of Platform.
  • Two smugglers armed with bows on Platform have a clear shot. They have very strong cover behind a stone outcropping unless they are targeted from Landing and the Overlook simultaneously. If they face effective ranged attacks, they'll flee down stairs.
Floor plan: Store Room, Smelly Room and Lower Overlook

Store Room: Full of mead casks, assorted contraband and a man-sized iron cage. There is likely evidence of the gang's berserker salt production (like dead snakes or a roid ogre corpse). 
  • North Door: Passage to Lower Overlook. 
  • West Door: To Smelly Room.
  • Ladder Up: To Landing
  • Ladder Down: To Beach
  • Winch: Raises/lowers portcullis for Lobster Cage.
Smelly Room: Boxes of garbage and rotting fish. Only door goes to Store Room.
  • Chum Chute to Lobster Cage: Pouring fish/trash down chute will lure the Lobster into the cage room.  
Lower Overlook: Accessible via passage from Store Room. Stairs up to Platform. 
  • Offers a clear view of beach area. 
Not exactly a lobster but close enough. From Darkest Dungeon.

Beach: Wide expanse of sand, strewn with boxes and casks. Several smugglers likely present sorting goods. 
  • A giant lobster lives in cove. It will not come on land, but will attack anyone in the water. Heavily armored with massive claws. He should outmatch the PCs.
  • If a ship is in: Longship with 20+ smugglers unloading cargo.
    • Lobster will be in cage with portcullis down, unless PCs have released it.
  • If there's no ship: A handful of smugglers sorting goods.
Lobster Cage: Where the smugglers keep the lobster when they need access to water.
  • Portcullis: Raised/Lowered from Store Room.
  • Chum chute: Scraps are dropped into the cage room to lure the Lobster in.
Secret of Kells
Wandering Encounters: Roll a d6
  • 1-3: 1d6 smugglers. Before dungeon is alerted, they'll be easily surprised or avoided. If dungeon is on alert will attempt ambush.
  • 4-5: 1d6 elite smugglers with shields or long-axes, better armor and more HP.   
  • 6: d4 elites escorting prisoner. If rolled again, no prisoner.
Search the body: Their weapon (likely made of glass) and roll a D10
  • 1: Horn flask full of mead.
  • 2: 1d4 doses berserker-salts in paper packets.
  • 3: Sketched map of part of the  Old Forest.
  • 4: Jug of rat poison. 
  • 5: Gold armband
  • 6 - 10: Number rolled, silver coins.
Edit: I wrote another whole post on the Willing Few with a better Search the Body table.

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