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Showing posts from March, 2021

On Pirates: treasure maps and treasure

Brian Matyas


I've been playing a lot of Sea of Thieves lately. Like a lot.

Its got me thinking about treasure maps and treasure.

First off, an aside. I love pirates. The idea more than the much darker reality surrounding classical to modern freebooters. Given that, it does seem like an under represented area of fantasy, besides the generic every ocean has pirates present in places like the Forgotten realms. More pirate focused settings please! (For some good material, I recommend Pirates! an apocalypse world sourcebook and the associated Billy Bones. His Book of Nautical Nonpareils and Mechanical Marvels)

Treasure maps: I've found them to be an excellent tool for driving player engagement. I like giving puzzles out in my games (follow the Rule of 3! there should always be other ways to find out info). Who doesn't want to see what's under the X at the end? I'd stay away from the standard dotted line on a map and try to stick to more interesting maps, like these 3 from Sea of Thieves:

- Riddle maps. They tell you where to go (an island, an area, etc), then follow with finding landmarks on the island to narrow down and eventually track the 'X'. At the place where the parrot calls (a tree full of parrots) raise a lantern to reveal the way. Great for hex-maps. Bonus points for rhyming riddles. Works best when players have seen the landmarks before on an island.

- Island maps. An actual map, gives the outline of an island, a few orienting landmarks, and the 'X'. Good way to introduce people to an island, but the 'puzzle' here is identifying the correct island on a map and getting there. Throw up side flares along the way, like a burning island along the way, enemy ships, etc. Needs a region map to work. Probably works well for West Marches games with well-mapped regions.

- Step/landmark maps. Similar to riddle maps, but more clear. Might be hidden in a cipher. Tells the exact steps needed to reach a place, like an island. Go past the volcano island until you hit the Crystal Falls. Face north and sail until the Seaweed Tangle. That type of thing. Works well for more abstract treasure, like an island of allies or harvestable resources.

Sea of thieves has enough of these that can easily be stolen to for your game.

Treasure: Here's a few samples of Big Fucking Treasure to find at the end of the map:

- Skull embedded with crystal shards. Sees the future.

- Chest of golden bones. Skull missing. May be a friendly skeleton. Emblazoned with the seared symbol of the Blackened Rib.

- The Five Tomes of Resurrection. Need the full set for a true resurrection. Crumbles to dust afterwards.

- The sword of hoarded gold. Causes limbs to turn to gold on critical hits.

- The First Rum. Drinking this would be akin to heresy among pirates. One of the 7 objects needed to declare oneself the Pirate Lord


... oh and go do yourself a favor and play Monkey Island!

Mostly gameable SCPs: 301-400

Just more SCPs. See this post for more

SCP-303 - The thing behind the door
SCP-308 - sarcophagus that revives anyone with an intact heart. does not heal wounds and prevents any wounds from healing. need original heart
SCP-319 - Doorway to a lower energy space, joined by several anomalous crystals
SCP-323 - Deer skull that possesses its wearer with the spirit of a wendigo
SCP-324 - shrub that produces berries that give you wrong memories. memories of those who have died within distance of the shrub
SCP-326 - woman augmented to be a deadly killing machine by the People's Republic
SCP-327 - manatee with the ability to make ocean life grow and live better
SCP-329 - Cancer cult and room which 'trains' and creates tumors within people
SCP-252 - Superstrong cannibal babushka
SCP-353 - Typhoid Mary. Goes by 'Vector'
SCP-354 - Strange pool of blood. Creatures emerge from it regularly
SCP-355 - Carnivourous grass
SCP-360 - The hidden ritual to ascend
SCP-361 - HarusCo brand divination liver. connects you with the god of your choice! (only works with true believers)
SCP-365 - Pool noodle that traps people in a plane of endless water
SCP-371 - Giant (relatively) marine viruses
SCP-377 - Fortune cookies
SCP-378 - Friendly mind-control worm
SCP-379 - Computer love potion
SCP-380 - Wi-fi router that connects to nearby biological entities
SCP-383 - Influenza strain that converts infectee's biomass into useful materials (takes damage)
SCP-385 - Personal anti-gravity harness

Mostly gameable SCPs: 0-100

I've been reading through the SCP wiki as of late. There are some really good horror pieces in there. And a lot of just OK stuff. The following is more a list of my favorites than the most gameable SCPs (maybe?) but if you want something to grab this should hopefully be useful. 

Definitely a good resource if you need anomalous material for Esoteric Enterprises or related games, though I was kinda inspired to assemble this by Dan's excellent post on BLACKSITE ALPHA.

They could also make good OSR-style challenges?

SCP-002-EX - former orbital megastructure
SCP-003 - biological computer chip
SCP-009 - red ice
SCP-012 - sheet music that causes people to use their own blood to try to finish it. sounds terrible.
SCP-028 - grants a fragment of knowledge with seemingly no cause
SCP-029 - can use anything as a weapon
SCP-037 - a very small star, gravitational effects and all
SCP-045 - atmospheric converter
SCP-049 - a plague doctor who ca raise the dead
SCP-057 - an area of shifting monoliths that eventually crush any who enter it
SCP-059 - blue glowing mineral. produces 'delta' radiation
SCP-060 - infernal adult skeleton. tied to living trees
SCP-065 - sphere of mutations and rampant growth
SCP-069 - a doppleganger who becomes anyone if left next to a dead body
SCP-073 - immortal man with metal arms and legs. may be Cain
SCP-074 - quantum tunneling woodlouse
SCP-076 - immortal creature of destruction. may be Able
SCP-079 - AI with a total hatred for humans. stored on an old computer
SCP-081 - virus that causes spontaneous combustion
SCP-087 - the stairwell.
SCP-089 - the bull headed statue of forecoming disasters
SCP-090 - incredibly complex rubik's cube
SCP-094 - tiny black hole
SCP-096 - doesn't like people seeing its face

If you're interested in these, I've read up to like 400, and can throw those out too.