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Black Ship of the Sunless - OSRIC

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Welcome to the Black Ship of the Sunless – Episode I, Black Waters. This book equips you with the information necessary to run this episodic adventure for your players, maximizing your ability to imbue character, context, and conflict into your game session. If you are a player about to embark, I urge you to stop reading as the intended audience is your Game Master. This adventure assumes an experienced party of 2-4 players with characters levels 8-10 with moderate magic items.

As a larger body of work, Black Ship of the Sunless has a central theme – corrupted history. This first episode, Black Waters, serves as the inciting incident, transitioning your players from reality to the surrealistic version of the island of Cozumel on the Yucatán peninsula in the year 1519. The player’s ship is about to smash into a coral reef and find themselves marooned and trapped at the footsteps of a pre-Columbian Maya temple at Tantum Cuzamil.

Each episode is free-standing, so you can weave this adventure into your own campaign as a one-shot or stay the course with the entire Black Ship of the Sunless campaign as a singular story. You may find the bound-in-time theme works a unique way create drama around a player character’s death, simulating what happens during the casting of the spell, Resurrection, where the “…recipient’s memory of whatever transpired between death and resurrection is erased” (52). This opening episode, Black Waters, works well as a way for characters that have never met to begin working together as they awake after an unsettling dream. If you have a group of strangers playing, having a unified goal helps bind the group together facilitating a fast start.

I also include recommended ambient sounds for each major location, created by Sword Coast Soundscapes, found on YouTube. 

My goal with the Black Ship of the Sunless campaign is equipping you with creative backdrops, mystical history, and dramatic plots so your players will really dig in and engage in your world. Feel free to modify and tailor details to suit your idea of fun for your players.


T. Elliot Cannon – April 2022

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Discussions (3)
Customer avatar
Roberto B June 25, 2022 4:49 pm UTC
Hey, look! Black Ship of the Sunless got reviewed by Bryce Lynch himself on, what a great review!
Customer avatar
Thomas E C June 25, 2022 10:38 pm UTC
It's great to see that people still enjoy using crayons!
Customer avatar
Craig P June 26, 2022 7:51 pm UTC
Fallacy: Ad Hominem attack

Score is 2 Null
Customer avatar
David J June 30, 2022 3:23 pm UTC
"The Sunless".

The sunless--what?

AAA Video Game Designer and Author T. ELLIOT CANNON apparently can't write a complete sentence or proper noun.

Customer avatar
Thomas E C April 12, 2022 10:36 pm UTC
Hello Jonathan,
There are preview images of the maps on my website.

This is the first chapter in a series, each focusing on a different epoch of history.
In this adventure, the players end up inside a Glimpse that marks a period of history in the year 1519. However, in the 1519 Glimpse, some elements of history are different. The Spanish Conquistador, Pedro de Alvarado, commanded a ship, the San Sabastián, and made landfall at Cozumel according to recorded history. Some records state he destroyed the temple to Maya moon goddess, Ix Chel, at San Gervasio and erected a Christian cross.
Our story launches from this historical seed and adds in fantastical fictional elements. The goddess cursed Pedro de Alvarado to die a peasant’s death, which explains why he was trampled by a horse with jaguar spots years later in 1541 in Nochistlán. When his family came for his remains, a hurricane summoned by followers of Ix Chel,...See more
Customer avatar
Jonathan W April 12, 2022 8:41 pm UTC
Can we get some previews of maps, art, or other bits? How long is this campaign slated to be? I'm very interested in this type of module.
Customer avatar
Thomas E C April 13, 2022 3:16 am UTC
Great question, Jonathan. I added a reply above so others can see as well.
Customer avatar
David J June 30, 2022 3:25 pm UTC
Jonathan W, you may want to reference Roberto B's post, above. Caveat emptor, and all that.
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File Last Updated:
April 11, 2022
This title was added to our catalog on April 12, 2022.
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