In the coastal town of [insert town here] the party passes by some docks and one of them trips over an outstretched foot. The man who was kicked comes alive and screams, “barnacles are actually quite friendly!”
Clearly hungover, the man begins to pat himself down and collect his thoughts, though he still seems extremely hazy. As he sits in a pile of chests and barrels, he squints at the party and hiccups.
He introduces himself as Captain William Adultt, a once great pirate captain who sailed the Azure Sea with a crew of 100+. After leaving his crew (definitely his choice), he and two of his most loyal crew members have been searching for a lost treasure and is at the current port in search of more clues. The only problem is, they parrrtied a little too hard the night before and have lost his treasure map and his ship.
The captain determines that they must find his crewmates, and retrace the steps from the night before.
If the party offers to assist him, he will pay them back and offer them a ride to their next location. He also offers them a cut of his treasure, though he’s not quite sure what that means quite yet. “Let’s get going!” He laughs and slaps a party member on the back then proceeds to puke behind them.
“Arrrr much better, now where to?” The party might have some creative thoughts, but be sure to call out the presence of a fresh face tattoo on William’s face. A check will reveal that it’s a tiny parrot squawking and saying something unreadable in a little bubble.
His eyes go into a thousand-yard stare as he shouts out “Meg’s Magic Inks and Drinks,” and starts to sprint off.
You tattooed what on where?
Arriving at Meg’s Magic Inks and Drinks, Captain William stumbles forward and asks “who’s responsible for this atrocity?!” pointing at the bird that now perches forever on his eyebrow.
A large figure rises from the dark corner and walks out. She appears to be a wereshark, a rare lycanthrope that is an upright shark with a human lower half. She snarls and introduces herself as Meg as she and the pirate butt heads and growl at each other. As things become tense they both rear back in laughter and Meg pokes at the parrot, assessing her work. “I don’t think I did too poorly here. Can’t say the same for the tattoo on your backside though.” Captain Adultt looks horrified and begins to blush.
The party will need to encourage him to take off his pants as he isn’t wanting to do so willingly. Sure enough, as soon as his butt is exposed, they see some markings on the small of his back, just above his butt.
Meg cackles as she sees the newly inked tattoo. “You guys were so far gone, but you kept rambling about this damn map.” The captain gives a nervous chuckle and begins to pull his pants back up. “Haha, yeah, what a fun tattoo, a bunch of lines.”
“Oh no,” Meg replies, “do you not remember the whole thing? You and your buddies came in and begged me to tattoo your “friendship map” on your butts and backs.” Captain Adultt’s jaw drops at this as Meg looks at the party. “These idiots came in and said they were best friends and needed a way to keep the map safe, so I helped ‘em out. No idea what the map is for, but must be something secret.”
She continues that they were so sure of the tattoos that they burned the map up, fearing someone would steal it. William pukes again at the idea, and sullenly leaves the shop.
The party can stick around and ask questions about where the other two might be. If they inquire, she’ll note that the heavyset one kept mentioning some sort of cave while the small one just wanted to go to the tiny island just to the north.
With Friends Like These
Learning about the whereabouts of the two crew members, the party and the captain can venture in any order. The cave is to the south and the island is to the north. Outlined below are the two encounters with the crew members.
Island In the Sun
Traveling north is pretty easy overall, taking a mostly clear path through some jungle areas and emerging onto a beach. To the north they see the island in question, along with a tiny figure dangling upside down from a palm tree. Reef sharks circle the island, and three chuul patrol the edges of the water.
“They’ve got Timbers!” shouts the captain, sprinting out into the water. The party must decide how to get to the island which lies 100 yards off the shore. If they do nothing, the pirate will be nibbled on by sharks and will ultimately be murdered by the chuul.
If the party gets past the sharks and defeats the chuul, they will be able to get Timbers down easily. He and the captain hug and the captain yells, “Now drop yer pants!” Confused, but never one to disobey an order, the pirate halfling pulls his pants down revealing another third of the map, this one located on his upper left butt cheek.
Captain Adultt shouts at the party, “well? What do ye see?”
There are some poorly drawn lines meandering around the map, but no clear understanding of the full picture.
DMs Playtest Note: The party ended up swimming directly past the sharks, so consider either forgetting about the sharks, or increasing the quantity/making them a bit more perceptive.
The party also approached the island stealthily and got Timbers without the Chuul noticing. I had the Chuul be angered by this and ended up regrouping with more and trailing behind the party until they got back to the treasure.
Have Your Cave And Eat It Too
To the south, the cave follows a similar path, jungle that leads into a rocky outcropping where a series of small caves exist, but only one that appears large enough for a human to get into.
The party hears a scream and some skittering from the large cave mouth. The captain yells, “Shivverr, nooooooo!” and sprints into the cave.
Inside the cave are two hook horrors who seem to be nesting and are now rather upset that the man who wandered in was eating one of their eggs.
Shivverr is in fact a super heavyset individual and weirdly resembles a cannonball. Once the hook horrors are dispatched he will be grateful to the party and captain for saving him. He’d fallen asleep in the cave and was looking for breakfast when the hook horrors came back.
His pants are already sagging a bit and the captain will cajole him to show the tattoo (on his right butt cheek). They smush together and sure enough, the map connects.
Two Cheeks, One Back
With all of the map cheeks in place, the captain will insist that the party assist in pointing them to the treasure. “We’ve got Shivverr, me, Timbers, in that order, so we’re good to go!”
The three will all recognize some special markings and realize that is where the treasure is. On the way to the treasure, further to the east, the pirates are giddy with excitement. DM’s flavor, you can throw several more jungle or beach encounters at the party at this point if you want, with the pirates taking on the bandit thug stat block.
Arriving at the area the pirates skip ahead and come to a screeching halt as they make a horrifying discovery. At the spot is a shovel and an empty hole. Whatever was there is no longer there. The three men begin to weep, saddened by everything that has transpired over the past day.
If the party investigates, they will find footsteps trailing off to a nearby shoreline. Opening onto the beach, the party will see a small schooner where Meg is hustling to get all of the treasure onto the boat. It consists of several chests, bags, and barrels overflowing with gold and other rarities.
It is possible, though difficult for the party to catch up with Meg prior to her setting sail, but it’s doable if they’re creative or crafty. If they figure out a way to stop Meg (as Shivverr, Timbers, and Captain Adultt all screech at their misfortune) the treasure will be a hodge podge of gems, jewels, and gold (whatever the DM feels is acceptable for a large haul). The pirates will bicker and argue over who should get what and Captain Adultt will forget about the deal he made with the party. It’s a quiet beach though, no one would know if they went missing again…
If Meg manages to sail away, there will be one small chest left on the dock, full of copper pieces (1,000). The party can determine how it should be split up.