Once the players have decided on their characters, read the following to introduce them to Savage Island.

When you dreamed of becoming an adventurer you never expected it to start this way. On your way to make your fortune in the Empire you took passage on the cheapest ship sailing across the Bay of Yacsib. But then the crew mutinied, murdered the Captain and gave you a choice: join them in a life of piracy or take your chances in an open boat, hundreds of miles from land. Looking at the ragged, bloodthirsty crew it wasn't a hard choice. Piracy meant certain death, either at the hands of your crewmates or the hands of the Empire's ruthlessly efficient navy. At least in the open boat you had a chance.

Over the last week you've had plenty of time to reconsider your decision.

Four days ago the food ran out. Two days ago the water ran out. You've been baked by the sun and soaked by the rain. Yesterday a storm almost overturned the boat and only thing you can imagine worse than drowning is spending another day afloat in this boat.

But all that is now forgotten.

Land has been sighted, an island. Just a distant speck on the horizon, but the currents are taking you towards it. It's time to start using the oars.

In the boat there are five pieces of equipment: a rope, a lantern (with oil), a flint & steel and two water skins (empty). Let the players share out this equipment and add it to their character sheets as mundane equipment.

Landing the Boat

The boat has six oars and it takes one person to use each oar. Rowers sit with their backs to the prow, meaning they cannot see where they are going. In open water, rowing and steering is easy and can be done by one of the rowers looking over their shoulder. Nearer the shore, where rocks, reefs and breaking waves pose a challenge, someone needs to take control and call out instructions.

Drawing closer to the island you see that it is ten to fifteen miles long with two huge mountains rising several thousand feet up from its centre. Both are snow-capped and there seems to be a high plateau between them, surrounded by cliffs as much as two thousand feet tall. At the base of the cliffs a lower plateau spreads across much of the island and looks heavily forested. At the eastern end of the forest there seems to be a thin haze rising up, which may be smoke. At the far western end of the island a long thin promontory juts maybe a mile into the sea with what appears to be a tower at the western end.

The current is taking you towards the easternmost of a series of three sandy coves hemmed in by cliffs. At the top of the cliffs there are stone objects the height of several men, that may be statues or natural rock formations.

Almost too late you spy the massive reef several hundred feet from the shore. Unless you change course, the current will smash you against the rocks with no chance of reaching the shore. Your only hope is to steer the boat into the middle cove.

Landing the boat is life and death for the characters. Caught in the tidal currents they cannot resist, the boat is being carried towards the reef guarding the eastern cove ([L8] Dead Man's Cove). The only option the characters have is to fight the currents and direct the boat into the middle cove ([L1] Landing Cove). There they will need to steer the boat past the hidden rocks and keep it afloat through the churning surf and breaking waves.

In each challenge, the characters must find a way to help keep the boat afloat and guide it towards shore. The success or failure of the individual actions by the characters add towards the ultimate result of a safe landing or disaster. The challenges are designed to teach players the basics of the 6d6 RPG and make them think imaginatively about how to use their advantages. Game Leaders should allow almost any form of action or combination of advantages.

Characters have a variety of ways in which they can act:

  • Row
  • Assist those rowing by chanting time
  • Keep watch and guide the boat
  • Bail the boat out
  • Use magic in an imaginative way

The resistance is the same for each character regardless of what they do. Each failed action makes the next challenge harder and increases the likelihood that the boat will sink. If a character refuses to act or does something that is not helpful to the boat, it counts as a failure. The resistance for any action is 3d6+0 for the first challenge (Outer Reef) and increases to 3d6+2 and 3d6+4 for the second and third challenges. Additionally, each failed action adds 0d6+2 to the resistance for next stage of the challenge and these accumulate: e.g. one failure in the first stage adds 0d6+2 to the resistance of each character's action in the second stage. Two further failures in the second stage would increase the penalty for all characters to 0d6+6 in the third stage.

Outer Reef

The current is carrying the boat quickly towards the reef in front of the eastern cove. The boat needs to be guided westward into the middle of the three coves and actions are against a resistance of 3d6+0. The current will carry the boat just past the reef and into the middle cove even if all the characters' actions fail. However, the nearer the reef the characters go (i.e. the more failures) the rougher the sea and the more water the boat takes on. It also leaves the boat closer to the jagged rocks and rough water at the edge of the cove.


The shape of the cove funnels the current and even near the entrance the waves are over 6' high. While riding the waves the characters must dodge the jagged rocks just below the surface. The resistance is 3d6+2 plus any penalties for failures in the previous challenge. If all the characters fail, the boat hits a rock and sinks.


The beach and safety is just 50' away but now the waves are a monstrous 15' high. The characters' only hope is to keep the boat upright and let a wave carry them to shore. The resistance is 3d6+4 plus penalties from the two previous challenges. To land on the beach, all the characters must be successful. If any single character fails in their action, the boat turns over and the characters are in the water.

Swim For It

If the characters end up in the water they must fight their way to shore. This is a narrative action, allowing the characters to use all their potential. If the boat struck a rock in the second challenge the resistance is 4d6+4 but if it overturned in the third challenge the resistance is 3d6+4. However, characters wearing light armour (e.g. leather) have an additional resistance of 1d6+0, and wearing heavy armour (anything metal) adds 2d6+0.

Characters who beat the resistance find themselves lying on the shore, struggling to breathe, with the wreckage of the boat around them. They can take stock of the situation (see [L1] Landing Cove). The unlucky ones who fail to swim will slip beneath the waves and be caught by the current.

Caught by the Current

As most characters are untrained in swimming or wear heavy armour, the chances are that one or more characters will find themselves sinking.

As a wave knocks the last air from your lungs and the water closes over your head, you feel a current pull you down even faster. Your life flashes before your eyes, and it is disappointingly short. As the light fades and everything goes quiet your last thought is "I should have become a pirate."

Game Leaders should leave it at this until any characters who successfully made it to shore have had a chance to assess the situation before returning to the 'drowned' characters.

It is dark, but opening your eyes hasn't helped. Your upper body lies on hard rocks and it feels like a great big hand has bounced your head repeatedly against them. Your lower body is still in the water and you guess the currents must have swept you into an underwater cave. Listening closely, you can hear the faint crash of waves breaking on rocks.

'Drowned' characters awaken in The Pool [U2].

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open/oneshots/savage_island/landingtheboat.txt · Last modified: 2014/02/15 15:32 by darth_tigger
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