Here is a fun event to add to your game. This can be added to a space travel, fantasy, or historic game. The only requirement for this event to work is there needs to be something explosive on the ship somewhere, or at least highly flammable.
It Starts With a Horrible Sound
The event starts with a large ship of some sort crashing near the players. The PCs can either witness this up close or maybe from afar. This ship is badly damaged, and not from just the crash. Fires can be seen on the hull. Ask your players the following questions to help fill in a few blanks.
- What flag/markings does the ship have?
- How many bodies do you see on the deck?
- What is strange about this ship?
Next is assuming the PCs decide to investigate. I’m going to give you a situation and not a railroaded plot. Let the players explore organically. What I will give you is a list of events that happen as the players explore the ship. These events should trigger when it seems appropriate and when the players roll poorly. Their roll doesn’t need to be the reason why the event triggers. Say for example the wizard wants to investigate the body he found and rolls poorly. You could say he doesn’t find anything, but instead you give him some important fact (like the sailor died from a knife wound and not the crash) and while he’s busy examining the body one of the events happen. Remember to have failure keep the story moving forward. Never just have a fail be just that. Something should happen.
The Mysterious Crashed Ship
Once on the ship start describing what the ship looks like. There should be fires, an injured/dead crew (your call), and sounds of the ship not being structurally stable. As the players begin to explore use the following events in any order. These are more so random encounters. The list of events following this should be used for when really bad things need to start happening.
- Blind sailor is screaming and scrambling through the ship
- Open a door and the room is full of fire and the coughs of someone
- The floor breaks as the PCs walk over it and they fall deeper in the ship
- The PCs are “attacked” by a few animals that were in the cargo hold and are trying to get the hell out
This is something from the wonderful game of Dungeon World. This is a list of events that make the situation worse and will be what happens if the players do nothing to stop it. Bring these up in order and when appropriate (bad rolls or when story demands it).
- Small explosion rocks the boat as the supply of gunpowder/engine/whatever has exploded. Explosion allows something (BBEG) to escape it’s cage in the deepest hold.
- BBEG ghosts (kills silently) the captain and his first mate.
- Another explosion occurs. Boat rolls and rolls 90 degrees. PCs now have to walk on walls.
- BBEG leaves a message for PCs. Could be a literal note written in blood or in the case of unintelligent monster leaves a teddy bear with blood on it, letting the PCs know that the BBEG has taken the captains daughter somewhere on the ship.
- Another explosion rocks the boat.
Impending Doom-Everyone dies. The ship continues to burn and explode as more fuel/gunpowder/etc explodes and any NPCs on the boat still are killed. The PCs can escape but that’s up to you.
Every story should have a good twist. In this one the BBEG is actually trying to protect the girl. The girl has known of this killer for some time and had been sneaking down to the hold to talk to it and feeding it. When the chaos started the BBEG went to find the girl and wanted to protect her by going the one place it knew well. It’s lair in the ship. The BBEG is to dumb or too far gone mentally to understand they need to leave the ship to survive.
Hope you all enjoyed and let me know if you use this in your game. Leave a note here on this website if you have anything you’d add or have questions about.