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While relaxing in a local seaside tavern, the door bursts open and a large, bearded man enters, dressed in expensive leathers and bearing a gold-trimmed sword sheathed on his belt. He strides to the bar and orders an ale, then quaffs it down in an extended gulp before slamming the empty mug onto the counter. He turns to survey the room, then begins slowly walking around the crowded tables.
“I am Captain Mordecai Avery,” he bellows, silencing the chatter in the room. “I seek people of good character, stout of heart and unafraid to travel into danger. Who among you is willing to risk all, take up arms and stand by me against villains and miscreants who waylaid my ship? A handsome reward awaits any bold enough to step forward. What say you?”
Should you indeed be bold enough to express your interest, Captain Avery looks at you with approval and takes a seat at your table. He describes an attack on his ship, the Hemingway, on a recent voyage.
“Through a heavy fog on calm waters they came,” he says. “They were on board my ship before we knew what was happening, forcing our surrender and putting us into the longboat before taking possession of my vessel. I have sailed the seas for three decades, yet never seen corsairs perform their sordid craft with such skill.
“I have mused on this mystery for weeks since, and came to the only conclusion; they came out of nowhere! I see the skepticism in your eyes, but I tell you in truth, the corsairs came from another dimension. I visited a learned magician recently and after winning a drinking contest, wrangled the secrets of traveling the stars from him. I intended to return to my ship through this strange magic immediately, but my crew were drunk and in no shape to fight.”
Captain Avery pulls an amulet out of his tunic and shows a purple gem mounted in a silver surround. He asks if you are prepared, and if you should inquire more about what you’ll be facing, he provides this answer.
“Pirates, my friend, pirates,” he exclaims. “Lightly armored men and women of disreputable character, skilled in the use of blades and led by a powerful sorcerer who grants them the power to travel between the realms of the cosmos. My own crew were no match for them, but I can tell from the cut of your jib you’re not unaccustomed to danger. Together, we’ll route the fiends and take back my ship.” Should you agree to assist, Avery bids you join him outside for this.
“Damnable weather,” he mutters as you stand in the street with rain drizzling down around you. At his suggestion, you gather around as he takes out the purple gemstone amulet and speaks a phrase of carefully rehearsed magical words. The street around you fades away, replaced by the wooden deck of a ship.
The sky overhead changes to a vast expanse of stars and clouds of purple mist, which continues down past the side of the ship, for in this strange realm, there is neither land nor water save for the rocky outcropping the ship appears tethered to.
“The Hemingway!” Avery breathes, taking in the sight of his beloved ship. “The incantation worked perfectly, returning us straight to the deck of my ship. But she’s damaged and fouled up with ropes and bridges. The scoundrels have turned her into part of their base. This will not stand!” He looks around and points to a tower not far from the ship.
“Avast, the ship off the Hemingway’s bow appears to be a wreck. Doubtless these miscreants have stolen other ships before, use and discard them at will, then seek out replacements as needed. The tower off the starboard bow is where we’ll find these brigands. Gird your loins as we press onward and deal with this scum before they can organize a defense. Then, we’ll cut the Hemingway loose and return back to the sea, where she belongs.”
Should you follow, Avery leads you across the wooden bridge attached to the front of the ship and towards the tower. You can see movement through the windows as your approach is spotted by the occupants. Avery rushes forward, sword drawn and crashes through the door into the battle!
The corsairs are trying to keep you busy while they pull back to another, larger ship across the way. It’s too heavily damaged to move, but the narrow approach will allow their archers to pick off your approach at their leisure.
The sounds of magical energies being summoned can be heard during the fight as the sorcerer at the base of the tower comes to the fore, trying to delay your approach with powerful magic.
Should you succeed in defeating the corsairs, you can find a hoard of loot in the hold of their ship to take with you, before Avery sets their base ship on fire and cuts the Hemingway free. As she drifts away from the burning island, the captain takes out the amulet again and embeds it into the tiller. Speaking the incantation, he brings you and his vessel back through the mystical pathway to appear in the ocean, within sight of the docks of the town you began in.
Avery thanks you profusely for helping him regain his ship, and grants you a small bag of gold along with an item useful to your particular profession, before dropping you off at the docks and storming off to look for his drunken crew.
The player(s) begin on the smaller ship in the bottom right of the map. The corsairs are a group of fighters and thieves wielding fast, accurate weapons. They know the terrain, and try to keep the player(s) from advancing. The sorcerer is a real threat, and tries hit and run tactics to keep out of personal danger. They’ll try to retreat to the larger wrecked ship to make their stand there.
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Inventor of the SabreRPG system (which we love), Steve's the wonderful GM who hosted many fantastic campaigns for the Seafoot family. He's been writing, illustrating, and publishing his own books for over a decade, and is best known for The Aielund Saga. We're so glad to have him on our team writing these fantastic adventure modules, as well as Adventurer's Guides. His experience as both writer and GM makes him incredible at what he does, and we think you'll agree when you read his work!