View Full Version : [Rivalry] To Ocean's Heart

2007-02-14, 10:49 AM
"Ocean's Heart. A myth. A fantasy told to school children when their parents want them to grow up to be accountants. Fabled city of marble and jade, nacre and gold, sunken beneath the sea for thousands of years waiting for the daring to recover its riches.
And it's all absolutely true.
Well, the descriptions of the lost wealth are certainly exaggerated, but the fact remains that there is a sunken city under the waves. And today I will tell you its name, I will show you a picture of its streets, and I will give you a map of how to get there."

Liam Traggle
Speech delivered to the Royal Explorers' Society

The port city of Jothur was once a thriving metropolis, bustling with the wealth of civilizations. History is unclear as to how or why it happened, but it is clear that Jothur and much of its surrounding countryside sank into the ocean in what can only be described as a massive tectonic event. Over the last 3500 years, memories of the city have faded to myths, but a few tantalizing clues remain.

Now, the city at Ocean's Heart is the dream of treasure hunters and prospectors across the world. It is the subject of tales of riches beyond compare waiting unguarded at the bottom of the sea for anyone with the capability of collecting it. However, the initial problem is finding it. Many expeditions of varying capability have gone out in search of riches, yet none have found a trace of the fabled lost city. Many experts have given up on the thought of finding Ocean's Heart, believing no city of that size could prove this elusive for so long.

But one gnome is out to prove them wrong.

"These coins were recovered from a shipwreck off the Platinum Coast which dated back roughly four thousand years. They were covered with layers upon layers of coral, silt and oxidation. However, our restoration has uncovered these markings, which are found on no other coins known to exist today. We are confident that these are the minter's marks of the city of Jothur, the city at Ocean's Heart."

Liam Traggle
Speech delivered to the Royal Explorers' Society

Liam Traggle is the world's foremost expert in underwater archeology. He has been pulling relics from the bottom of the sea for much of the last forty years. In that time, he has assembled a land based research and development team that produces both the information and equipment to continue his expeditions. He also has a specially outfitted ship which can carry his Apparatus of Kwalish to any point on the oceans. If anything has been recovered from water of any depth, chances are it has passed through the hands of Liam Traggle.

Liam Traggle
Male Gnome Bard 8/Legendary Captain 3/Maester 4
Challenge Rating: 15
Small Humanoid
Hit Dice: 8d6+3d8+4d4+15 (67 hp)
Initiative: +3
Speed: 20 (4 squares)
Armor Class: 18 (+1 size, +3 dexterity, +4 bracers of armor), touch 18, flat-footed 15
Base Attack: +10/+5, Grapple: +6
Attack: +11 melee (1d4 rapier), or +15 ranged (1d4 masterwork short bow)
Full Attack: +11/+6 melee (1d4 rapier), or +15/+9 ranged (1d4 masterwork short bow)
Special Attacks: spells, spell like abilities
Special Qualities: Bardic Knowledge +10, Bardic Music 8/day, Gnome Traits, Identification, Leadership +2, Luck of the Wind 1/day, Quick Crafting, Uncanny Navigation, Weather Gauge
Saves: Fort +7, Ref +11, Will +14
Abilities: Str 10, Dex 16, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 12, Cha 16
Skills: Craft (Shipmaking) +12, Craft (Blacksmithing) +10, Craft (Cartography) +6, Knowledge (Arcana) +17, Knowledge (Architecture and
Engineering) +20, Knowledge (Geography) +16, Profession (Sailor) +17, Spellcraft +19, Survival +4, Swim +14, Use Magic Device +20.
Feats: Craft Rod b, Craft Wondrous Item, Forge Ring, Great Captain b, Leadership, Magical Aptitude, Practiced Spellcaster, Scribe Scroll.
Alignment: Neutral
Possessions: Apparatus of Kwalish, Bracers of Armor 4, 10 Immovable Rods, Major Ring of Cold Resistance, Ring of Freedom of Movement, Rod of Metal and Mineral Detection, Shoalfinder, Theurgeme.
Bard Spells Known (3/4/4/4/1 per day; caster level 15th): 0 -- detect magic, know direction, light, mage hand, mending, read magic; 1st -- animate rope, comprehend languages, disguise self, unseen servant; 2nd -- eagle's splendor, invisibility, levitate*, locate object; 3rd -- cure serious wounds, daylight, detect ship, secret page; 4th dimension door, freedom of movement, legend lore.

*levitate is not normally on the bard spell list, but this character learned it anyway.

Traggle is obsessed with the one discovery that has eluded him throughout his notable career. Everything he does is geared toward finding Ocean's Heart. Many of his colleagues and contemporaries want to believe he is chasing the impossible, except Liam keeps finding more and more evidence that the city exists. He seems to be one step away from finding the city itself, a state he's been in for quite some time.

Liam's off in the western ocean chasing another sunken ship. Jothur was a port city with a fleet of ships... finding one won't lead to the city itself. Most of the references point to the south, to a city under cliffs... under cliffs... It must be...

Kip Hightower, notes.

No man is an island, and Liam has surrounded himself with a great many people who can help in his quest. Historians, artificers, sailors, bodyguards, anyone with a skill that can move the quest forward. Nobody has contributed more than his one-time protégé, Kip Hightower. Kip started in the project as a sailor/mage, but quickly took on more and more responsibility across the board. He's been involved in every aspect of the project, from leading the research team to co-piloting the Apparatus of Kwalish. For years, Kip was Liam's right hand man.

Unfortunately, the two had a falling out over a single incident. When Liam was out on an expedition, Kip believed he had made a breakthrough in his research and put together his own expedition to investigate. Liam returned to the base upset over his own group's lack of progress to find Kip and a significant amount of equipment gone without explanation. No amount of apologies or explanations have been considered enough by Liam, and Kip eventually gave up on trying.

Now Hightower has built his own support system and his own reputation as an explorer. His dives use a combination of water breathing magic and shapeshifting to avoid the limitations of the Apparatus of Kwalish.

Kip Hightower
Male Halfling Wizard 8, Rogue 3, Arcane Trickster 2
Challenge Rating: 13
Small Humanoid
Hit Dice: 8d4+3d6+2d4+13 (50 hp)
Initiative: +2
Speed: 20 (4 squares)
Armor Class: 17 (+1 size, +2 dexterity, +4 leather), touch 13,
flat-footed 15
Base Attack: +7/+2, Grapple: +2
Attack: +8 melee (1d3+1 +2 aquatic dagger)
Full Attack: +8/+3 melee (1d3+1 +2 aquatic dagger)
Special Attacks: sneak attack +3d6, spells
Special Qualities: evasion, familiar (small water elemental), familiar
benefits, trap sense +1, trapfinding
Saves: Fort +4, Ref +10, Will +10
Abilities: Str 8, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 21, Wis 10, Cha 12
Skills: Craft (Cartography) +16, Decipher Script +16, Disable Device
+12, Escape Artist +9, Knowledge (Arcana) +21, Knowledge (Geography) +19, Knowledge (History) +13, Profession (Sailor) +10, Search +16, Spellcraft +21, Swim +15.
Feats: Craft Magic Arms and Armor b, Craft Wondrous Item, Improved Familiar, Improved Swimming, Leadership, Scribe Scroll b, Ship's Mage.
Alignment: Chaotic Good
Possessions: Caravel, +2 Aquatic Dagger, Folding Boat, Goggles of
Minute Seeing, Helm of Underwater Action, +2 Deep Leather Armor, Shoalfinder, Trident of Warning.
Wizard Spells Prepared (caster level 10th): 0--detect magic, light, mage hand, mage hand; 1st--endure elements, identify, quickswim, shield; 2nd--alter self, locate object, locate object, resist energy; 3rd--clairaudience/clairvoyance, dispel magic, water breathing; 4th--dimension door, scrying, summon monster IV; 5th--contact other plane, transformation of the deeps.

Denied again! How many more times can the paths be dead ends? How much more ocean can there be to search? the explorer's society is on the verge of having me declared a laughing stock for all my failed expeditions. Each hint points in a different direction, each reference to a different point on the map. How long before I've seen them all?

Liam Traggle, journal

The primary tool of both explorers is the shoalfinder. While many ships' captains are content to use this item to find and avoid dangerous shallows (hence the name), these two rivals use this marvelous item not just to map out the ocean floor, but as a record of every place they've already explored, and a guide to the areas left to see.

This item appears to be a normal, if finely made, vellum map of the world. However, its true purpose comes to light when taken within 50 feet of the floor of a body of water. The map automatically fills in the water's depth on its surface, plotting out the seaways as it goes.

Shoalfinders are completely waterproof and function in all conditions, including when in a case, hung on a bulkhead, or carried by a shapeshifted creature.

Moderate divination; CL 7;Craft Wondrous Item, know direction, Scribe Scroll, secret page; Price 10,000 gp.
While the two former friends have not actively opposed each other, it is clear neither would lift a finger to help the other. It is only a matter of time before one is credited with finding the lost city at Ocean's Heart, but whoever wins the race neither will acknowledge that they couldn't have done it without the other.

2007-02-14, 11:29 AM
What is the Apparatus of Kwalish?

2007-02-14, 11:36 AM
From the SRD:

Apparatus of the Crab

This item appears to be a large, sealed iron barrel, but it has a secret catch (Search (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/search.htm) DC 20 to locate) that opens a hatch in one end. Anyone who crawls inside finds ten (unlabeled) levers: The device has the following characteristics: hp 200; hardness (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/exploration.htm#hardness) 15; Spd 20 ft., swim 20 ft.; AC 20 (-1 size, +11 natural); Atk +12 melee (2d8, 2 pincers).
Lever (1d10) Lever Function 1 Extend/retract legs and tail 2 Uncover/cover forward porthole 3 Uncover/cover side portholes 4 Extend/retract pincers and feelers 5 Snap pincers 6 Move forward/backward 7 Turn left/right 8 Open "eyes" with continual flame (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/continualFlame.htm) inside/close "eyes" 9 Rise/sink in water 10 Open/close hatch Operating a lever is a full-round action (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/combat/actionsInCombat.htm#fullRoundActions), and no lever may be operated more than once per round. However, since two Medium characters can fit inside, the apparatus can move and attack in the same round. The device can function in water up to 900 feet deep. It holds enough air for a crew of two to survive 1d4+1 hours (twice as long for a single occupant). When activated, the apparatus looks something like a giant lobster.
Strong evocation and transmutation; CL 19th; Craft Wondrous Item (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/feats.htm#craftWondrousItem), animate objects (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/animateObjects.htm), continual flame (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/spells/continualFlame.htm), creator must have 8 ranks in the Knowledge (http://www.d20srd.org/srd/skills/knowledge.htm) (architecture and engineering) skill; Price 90,000 gp;Weight 500 lb.
In the DMG, it's called the "Apparatus of Kwalish", why they changed the name is beyond me.