The next stretch goal that we are funding on the Tales From the Sorcerer Under the Mountain is Neil Shaw’s The Curse of the Emerald Swan adventure for both 5th Edition and OSR rulesets.
This is Neil’s basic description:
A mysterious mist shroud gallon has come into port at night and is blocking vessels leaving the narrow harbour. Brave fishermen have tried to approach and those who did flee from the mournful wailing they heard as they approached, never returned. Now the mayor is worried that if his fishing fleet cannot sail his town is wither and die.
Your group of brave adventures have been hired to board the cursed ship, brave its sinister inhabitants and finally discover the ships purpose and reason for being here.
So like Paul Mitchener before him, I asked him five questions about his adventure:
Q1. What influences are you drawing on for this adventure?
For me I tend to work off one set piece or idea and use that a skeleton and work out from there. In this case oddly the core idea came from Terry Pratchett’s Sorcery which to the best of my recollection doesn’t contain any boats, haunted or otherwise. Beyond that I tend to expand outwards from there until I have a story. When it comes to naval things in general I tend to fall back on Master and Commander as it gives me a good understanding of life on an old navy vessel and I find it a highly enjoyable film, always worth another watch.
Q2. Which flavour of FRP do you favour, Old School or New School?
I enjoy new school more as some of the creative minds out there are taking the rules light history they came from and adds to them without adding too much or making the game a quagmire of optional books that in reality are essential. I find that D&D5e captures the feel and spirit of old school D&D while addressing its short comings very well.
Q3. Your description gives the adventure an air of mystery. Is this a mystery adventure, with an investigation at its heart. Or is there more to it than that?
There is a mystery as to why the Emerald Swan has come to roost in this small harbour and how it came to be the creepy mist shrouded terror it has become. For those willing to piece the clues together it is possible to answer these questions and more. However don’t expect a run of the mill haunted boat, this is something more.
Q4. What sort of foes will the adventurers meet?
Without spoiling too much there’s ghoulish bilge rats, an undead cook, and some giants, that last one may seem out of place but that is part of the mystery.
Q5. Maximum Game Fun or Logical Fantastic Realism?
I see it on a sliding scale with the baseline being a simple down to earth medieval setting. I want players to be able to visit a town, city or village and feel like it makes sense, at least initially. This grounding is essential for the outlandish and crazy things a group of adventures will encounter when they go into that part of the map that is blank or says “here be dragons”. Once the adventure is in full swing I want the players to expect the rug to be pulled out from under them and have a great time. At no point should an adventurer see a beholder floating towards them and think “well this is normal”.