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Pirates Campaign: Treasure Hunting
A fantasy RPG campaign for Rolemaster and Midgard set in a pirates scenario.

Copyright Robert Wenner ©2001

Edited by Lowell R. Matthews for The Guild Companion

In this scenario, the PC's try getting the pirates' hidden treasure.

As the pirates' treasure is buried on a small secret island (in good old pirate tradition), the PC's will have to get a ship.  As a ship of the required size (usable on the open sea, far away from shores) cannot be maneuvered by only four or five people (most of them having no knowledge in sailing), the PC's also need a crew.  If this scenario is used as the ending to my pirates campaign, the PC's will probably take over Hassal's ship or maybe have a free choice, if their attack was successful and no pirate captain stands to protest.  They can also hire a crew (and maybe even rent a ship if the GM so decides).

The Map

... has to be created by the GM according to the following instructions:

(Hint:  Place the map in the front of a car and park it outside in summer sun to get a nice old-yellow paper.)

  • The map shows a little island and some coordinates and references to stars aiding a navigator to locate the island.
  • At the southern beach, a tree is painted on the map.  Beside it is written, "Follow the great branch for 50 steps."
  • An arrow pointing to the island's middle has "Beware!" written right beside it.
  • At the map's right edge follow the other instructions for treasure hunters:  "The old witch is sitting on the chest, or above."
  • Then a line is left blank, and the text continues with "Three feet to the fool, six to those who know or don't care."

The Great Branch

The party will have no problems finding a large tree on the southern beach, but it has no significant branches pointing as indicated by the text on the map.  There is also no evidence of removed branches.  Nearly buried in the sand beneath the tree lies a skeleton, its torn clothes hanging from bare bones.  The man was hanged (hint:  broken neck) here for initiating a revolt on his ship.  The unstable gallows has been destroyed by wind and weather, but the main part can be found by some digging around the skeleton.  Examining the found wood, a player will find two holes in one end; one of these still has a rusty nail attached to it.  A closer look at the tree will reveal two other holes, so the original gallows may be reconstructed.  This is the branch to follow.

The Arrow

The warning Beware! has no special meaning and is only for scaring thieves of the map.

The "Old Witch"

The term "old witch" refers to a poisonous spider hiding in the bushes that grow all over the island.  When the treasure chest was buried, the pirates took care to put a spider's nest in the bush under which the treasure was hidden.  By now, the adventurers will meet 1D6 spiders at the bush.  These spiders don't weave webs, but drop from the trees upon their victims.  They usually hunt rodents and animals up to the size of a monkey.  Besides surprise, their main weapon is their poison, which will kill a rodent in 2 rounds and a monkey in 46 rounds.  When these spiders feel disturbed or backed into a corner, they also try spitting their poison over a distance up to 4 m (13').  (Digging close to their nests will disturb them.)

The Depths

The depths written to the map refer to the fact that the pirates buried two chests.  The first one is hidden only 1 meter (3'3") deep and is filled with some nice looking yet worthless glass pieces, old coins, and false jewelry.  Six feet (1.80 meters) deep rests the right treasure.  Careless characters who have been killed by the spiders may be exchanged for the chest, as this is the proper depth for a grave.

Persuaders

As the scenario is fairly simple in this form, the party should be persuaded.  This may be by the owner of the map (as described in my Pirates Campaign) or any other scum who know about the map.  Maybe some people tried to get the treasure themselves and now intend to sell the map and follow the buyer to steal the treasure from him?  An original owner of the map will try sinking the player's ship before they reach the island, while people following the party for the treasure will wait until the party has done the work and then try to rob them.

An extra option is a crew that betrays them.  This may be the crew just demanding more money than agreed upon, but the crew may also take the whole treasure (and possibly leave the players marooned on the island).

And More...?

The Pirates Campaign ends here, maybe with a last showdown between PC's and pirates.  But their revenge is done and they should have made some material profit as well.

Of course, the GM may use the treasures found for a new campaign and give some (cursed?) special items to the players.  Or maybe the chest includes yet another treasure map...?

Master Beast Chart

Rolemaster Beast Chart
Name  Lvl Hits AT (DB) Sh Gr Melee OB Missile OB Mov
Spider 4 40 3 (20) N N 50MBi 45 (special) 30
The poison is a 4th level reduction poison.  The spiders may spray their poison up to 3 times/day. Use the Fire Bolt attack table with RC3 Acid criticals.

Robert Wenner.

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