Thursday, February 9, 2017

Savage Seas: Blackbeard's Black Plan

The final plot as I ran it worked out a bit differently than the plotline below....but if you're interested in a weird blend of Cthulhu Mythos and Pirates of the Spanish Main, read on! This plot was used in the Savage Worlds' powered Pirates of the Spanish Main, but could easily work with a Blood Tide/Call of Cthulhu cross-over, too.

Blackbeard’s Black Plan

Edward Teach has conspired to seek out immortality as part of his plan to “retire” from piracy. He has communicated at length with one “Leopold George Rakoczi of Transylvania*” regarding an artifact that Teach found in a cave off the coast of Grand Cayman near Bodden Town. The odd, pyramidical device seems to be some sort of container….and he alludes only to those around him that opening the box is very difficult; indeed, Teach performed a dark ceremony and sacrificed a dozen men to even reveal the hidden passage to prehuman ruins which contained the pyramidical container.

Teach confided in a letter to Rakoczi that he knew the box contained a unique skull made of worked crystal, and that the skull gave him a strong compulsion to seek out its rightful resting place….a place which Teach claims showed him a great road beneath the waves, which led to a submerged city of “twin gods of the sea.” Unknown to Rakoczi, Teach did not mention that with the arrival of this artifact on his flotilla of ships a weird plague befell the sailors. He grew desperate as he also contracted the strange rotting disease and sailed to Charleston, SC where he blockaded the city until medical supplies were procured to treat his crew. In the interim, Teach placed the skull back in to the pyramidical case and sealed it up….only then did the plague recede. Appalled at the black magic if the device he handed it off to Captain Pierce, on the Black Cormorant, a schooner which Teach then commands to carry the box back to Nassau.

From reading in John Dee’s tome Heptarchiae Mysticae, Rakoczi feels may be a relic of divine angels, an artifact that points to a greater power. He wrote back to Teach and told hi his suspicions, and after a second exchange they agreed to meet…..Rakoczi receiving ill-gotten funds from Teach to head to the West Indies on the HSM Enigma, once Morgan’s ship. With the Enigma was a diving bell, specially commissioned….Captain James Shaw was in command of the HMS Enigma, a royal merchantship but captained by a man loyal to Edward Teach who felt he owed his life to the pirate.
While Teach established an alliance with SC’s Governor Eden to gain a certain immunity, the Black Cormorant arrived in April of 1718 at Nassau, per instructions. There, Rakoczi and Shaw set about to waiting, but a strange man claiming to be an ally of Blackbeard named Obeah Chinonso awaits them, with his own crew of followers on the Black Cormorant (assuming the PCs take an offer…), formerly one of Blackbeard’s ships freshly arrived from South Carolina….he claims that Blackbeard’s ultimate destiny lies near, and that the pyramidical box is Rakoczi’s to bear should he so desire.

Chinonso’s goals: to get the ship(s) to Bimini, where he informs Rakoczi the box calls them to. The box, in fact, did reveal this….but only after Chinonso, who was stowed on board the Black Cormorant as a slave, opened the box in a ritual that sacrificed the entire crew of the ship. The undead crew now haunts the Enigma, and will climb aboard on the nights of a new moon to slaughter any living crew.

Chinonso believes that the box contains the means by which he can control a great Loa: the Ghede Dagon and his sister, Scylla. He has had it revealed to him that he must use a powerful bokor’s blood to power the ritual on Bimini to reveal the temple of Dagon. To do so, he is determined to sacrifice Rakoczi, which he has divined is special in a unique way, since Blackbeard remains cleverly out of reach in South Carolina (because Blackbeard’s own visions of his fate have shocked him in to abandoning his interest in the box).

Rakoczi’s Goals: the man who will become the Comte de St. Germain has not yet polymorphed into an ascended immortal but his sorcerous nature runs strong. He realizes that the relic skull in the box is of such power that being exposed to it seals any man’s fate, but he also believes it alludes to a reference in John Dee’s writings which imply that the location the skull draws one to is the source of a fallen angel’s corpse…and the wellspring of a spring of eternal life. He is not wrong….something (just not an angel) did indeed fall there, and it does provide a source of hideous, immortal unlife.
The important thing from Dee’s perspective is that the calling has been revealed to both Teach and now Chinonso. He can use Chinonso to find the wellspring of eternal life without himself being exposed to the curse of the skull. To sweeten the deal, he has convinced James Shaw and will also try to speak to the adventurers about the possibility that the wellspring of life exists at the end of this trail…and there will be plenty for all. He also alludes to the possibility that Ponce de Leon, in his search for the fountain of youth, did succeed and had he not been poisoned he would have lived without aging. Furthermore he may have left some riches concealed in the location, realizing how secure and difficult to find it was, explaining an absence of wealth recorded in old Spanish records from Puerto Rico.

James Shaw’s Goals: James Shaw intends to follow through on this, and has developed a keen trust for Rakoczi, who has confided his bastard noble heritage from Transylvania in him. The man is mad, Shaw feels, but in a way safely different from Edward Teach.

Blackbeard’s Goals: Edward Teach had a close call with the box, and it also revealed that his fate was near. After establishing his alliance with Governor Eden he grows bolder, raiding up and down the American coast constantly, before deciding it is time to resume his quest for immortality before his final doom arrives. He sails back to Nassau in time to realize that the Enigma has gone missing…and stories in Nassau of the suspicion that the ship arrived commanded by no crew, only the obeah Chinonso leave him to suspect betrayal…..he will set off to find him (and the Black Cormorant) at once, following his visions revealed by the skull to Bimini.

At Bimini

Bimini and the rest of the Bahamas was once populated by a remote tribe called the Lucayans (the Lukku-Cairi). Although the islands were all but depopulated by Spanish efforts to enslave the local peoples, there are still a handful of ancient Lucayans left….each of the lucayans who remain are immortal, having bathed in the sacred pool of the Tenu-Aiki, the “Pool of the Eternal One” in their all but dead language.

The two dozen or so who remain on the island hide well, and avoid contact with all visitors. However, they will stalk and attempt to stop any who arrive from finding any of the following three objects on the island: the The Bimini Road, the Pool of Eternal life (the Tenu-Aiki) or the crumbling remains of the temple mount entrance at the high point on the island. More on these three secrets:

The Temple Mount: on the north island is a rock formation at the high point on the island of basalt, which one who is possessed by the divination of the pyramid-case of the ancient skull can find. This will reveal an ancient entrance to a forgotten deep one temple, in which a circular structure holds a mount exactly sized for this box, as well as what appear to be slots for eleven others. Placing just one box on the altar is sufficient to create an image of the island, and show the sprawling remains of a great city and a massive road that leads north from the island to an immense temple that appears to be made entirely of gold….all now beneath the water.

The temple mount is guarded by an ancient dimensional shambler which will come when the device is activated. It will slay any who do not have deep one blood in them and seek to drive them out of the temple (it will not pursue). If it is left alone, the dimensional shamble will take the box and skull and spirit the artifacts away to a new location, possibly the very ruin in the cave Blackbeard found them in.

Still, once the image is seen by all, it will be impossible not to walk out and know just where a diving bell could be used to see an ancient ruin…

The Fountain of Youth (Tunu-Aiki):

Any who are touched by the skull know inherently where to go. Located on the south island, this area is dense with foliage and obscured from sight until stumbled upon. Once found it seems to be an anomalous fresh spring that is also a blue hole, but if the party has not dealt with the protectors of the last Lucayans they will attack….the Lucayans are more than human now, ancient but powerful, and seem resistant to harm. They have such hatred for foreigners and what has happened to their people that they are unlikely to listen to any reason. They will strike and seek to kill all who would try to find the pool.

The pool itself seems so calm and inviting, but each person must make a Spirit check, and get a +2 if they have an arcane background like voudon. The pool is deep, and at the bottom is the sense that the rest of the body of the creature that had the head in the box can be found. Voudon practitioners will realize that this is an area simultaneously blessed and cursed….blessed by Ezruli and cursed by Azagon (Baron La Croix). One who bathes will find immortality, but only because the spirit of the body is not allowed to escape death….the person who bathes becomes ageless, but his or her soul will also never escape the body, which is still vulnerable to unnatural causes of death such as wounds or poison. Trapped as ghosts (duppies) in the mortal plane, tethered to their rotting, corporeal remains, the person quickly goes mad.

Despite this, Chinonso will bathe in the water and proclaim his loyalty to Azagon. When he does, a great skeletal hand will rise up from the waters and grab him, dragging him down!
Blackbeard, should he find the pool, will also bathe….but quickly and be out of the water, even if he witnessed what happened to the Ougun. It is by this means which he may elude his later fate at the hands of Maynard, though he does not realize that even the ritual he cast to reveal the skull has cursed him for certain…

Rakoczi will first perform an invocation from Dee’s tome and drink a tonic he has crafted before entering the pool. When he emerges, refreshed, he proclaims that Rakoczi is dead, and he will hereafter be known only as Comte de Saint Germain. If players ask for the chance to do the same, he explains that he will let them read the tome….for it is now useless to him….but that the ritual is personal, and he has spent a decade perfecting it. Imbued with the essence of a fallen angel, St. Germain now believes himself an ascended immortal.

The Bimini Road and the Temple of Dagon:

Beneath the waters of the north island of Bimini are the submerged ruins of a lost Deep One city, which thrived six thousand years ago and was a major source of activity for the aquatic race. Now the ruins are a haunted graveyard, all but abandoned by the deep ones who have gone deep beneath the waters, but the awakening of Azagons’ skull in the High Mount Temple will call forth the guardian of the ruins….a special breed of Kraken. Its purposes it to destroy all who would reveal the temple. The Kraken will spawn creatures comparable to nightgaunts which it will send out to destroy those on land.

The adventurers who witnessed the “map” made in the Upper Mount Temple will know that the mysterious temple appears to have an entry and possibly air pockets in its interior…the diving bell can reach the ancient temple, filled with its lost relics of gold and crystal. Assuming they are crazy enough to do this, they will first encounter a lone deep one priest of Dagon, once a Lucayan long ago named Unaki, who still manages a few human words of warning….he is the last protector of the ancient temple.  “Dagon’s daughter waits,” he explains. “Only the gift of the twelve fallen will awaken her, to do less invites doom.”

In the heart of the temple lies a great octagonal chamber in the center of which appears to be a massive statue of a strange, many headed serpent creature made of crystal, with a beautiful, fair-skinned woman tapped in the center. Nearby lie the eleven other pyramidical coffins containing the heads of fallen sky-beings….the Azagon pyramid would be the twelfth. If all 12 are placed in their positions around the statue, the crystal flows away and the human nymph form of Scylla awakens, speaking either an ancient deep one dialect of ancient Greek, and appearing bemused at her existence. If fewer than twelve boxes are placed around the crystalline statue, the adventurers watch as her human form is subsumed and ripped apart within the crystal, which pumps red with her blood and viscera as 1D4 rounds later the statue comes to hideous life as the dire god Skylla, a protected servitor of Dagon. She will then demolish the entire temple in the process of trying to slay the PCs and everyone else nearby.

If PCs are too cautious, have Shaw, Blackbeard or someone else take the diving bell and try the stunt…it will lead to a suitably bizarre ending to the whole sordid affair!

*In later years to become Comte de St. Germain.....

1 comment:

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