Built with Out of the Abyss and my personal campaign in mind, The Schooner is something between a keelboat and a Chinese junk. Whatever she may be, this compact ship is ready for your campaign, Underdark or nay.
Captain Elias Talbard
The Deldranian Imperial Navy created a gruff, cunning, and kind man in Captain Elias Talbard. A respected member of the Navy for decades, he eventually left the life of service in favor of retirement. With his accumulated pay, he purchased a small fishing schooner, the Veteran Vandal. But his life as a sailor had taught him many things about the Navy, and none of them good. This new vessel, manned by a small collection of trusted allies, was all Talbard needed to undo the sins of his past. The ship was meager, elevated by its crew and Talbard’s knowledge of the seas and naval movements. With it, they could smuggle all manner of goods and persons. It was time for Elias to undermine the Navy he had spent his life empowering.
Quartermaster to Talbard, Gunthar Mac’Gail is also his oldest friend among the crew. The two were not always aligned, their relationship dating back to Talbard’s Navy days. Mac’Gail, a strong and scarred half-orc with a quick draw and discerning eye, was once thrown in jail by the then-Lieutenant Talbard. His crimes were numerous and varied, though predominantly non-violent. Upon the formation of his new pursuit, Talbard immediately sought Gunthar. Paying for his release earned a conversation. Years on, the two still speak of their tussles in the ‘good old days’ and the events that lead them to such a menacing partnership.
Argos Hilderbrook is not a man built for sailing. The lithe, clean-cut halfling is far more the type to wander a port town flaunting tall tales and flashing coin. His secret lies in the strategic mind hidden behind his face’s charisma. Hilderbrook’s silver tongue and enchanting magic allow him access to places and people that others could never reach. Talbard is perhaps the only man to have ever seen through the colorful guise, earning Hilderbrook’s respect in doing so. It is for this reason that he acts as the crew’s face, negotiating with ruthless and relentless tact. In exchange, he makes enough coin to entertain his many personal vices and perhaps garners the karma required to outweigh them.
One of Argos’s favorite techniques is to simply drop Maven Julliard’s name before she is seen. A moniker so obviously of noble birth is sure to earn a laugh from the alcohol-stained sailors of the Merchant Isles. This ends when they lay eyes on the woman, formed of toned muscle and snide sarcasm, and draped in the vestments of the Jade Circle. Her hiring was a simple choice for the Captain, in need of loyal strength. Her lightning speed and monk’s dexterity is surpassed only by her impulsive and quick temper. In addition, Maven’s presence on the ship acts as an unspoken agreement of shared information between Talbard and the Jade Circle. And that, above all else, is invaluable.
If there was one to fear among Talbard’s crew, it would be Faron Kristor. Gunthar’s size, Maven’s speed, and Argos’s tricks pale against the deathly energies that spark from Faron’s fingertips. His story a secret to himself, all that can be gathered is that he was one of a rare few to learn the magic of the Outer Isles and survive. His value as a crewmember is obvious, hinging on a basic understanding that Faron has his own goals, and his betrayal would mean his death. What is less obvious is his connections to Azac Vorn, the Slaver King of the Chainspire. Faron believes his updates to the King to be masterfully disguised, though Talbard’s glancing eyes leave him wondering if he underestimated the old sailor.
– by Troy McConnell
More content by Troy
I have left the innards deliberately empty, to accommodate whatever cargo your particular set of PCs or NPCs might be carrying. You might use markers, tokens or descriptive speech to furnish her. Personally, I’ll be printing a lines-only version to keep track of cargo and such, letting my players scribble and erase as they mount ballistae, take prisoners, and all that fun stuff!
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