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The Indigo Galleon

by John Aegard


The Indigo Galleon by John Aegard INTRODUCTORY ADVENTURE f OR f IR s T l EVE

Last week, a once-in-a-decade tempest forced your party to take shelter in the tiny fishing village of Codcliffea hardscrabble settlement far from the heart of the Empire.

This morning, after the storm broke, you were joined there by a Captain-Senator and his bodyguard. These impressive persons are castaways from HMS Relentless, an indigo-sailed Imperial treasure galleon. She lies beached on a nearby tide flat that is shunned by

the villagers, a place where the octopus folk gather to bellow at the


These ragged Imperials come not as guests but as overseers, and they

demand the service their Empire is due. For in the chaos of the wreck, Relentless lost her most valuable cargo: the prisoner Mr. Hobart and his notorious crew of corsairs. The Emperor has commanded

that Hobart’s marauders be presented to the Court in time for High Season, so that he might proclaim a nine-day execution feast in their honor. The Captain-Senator will do whatever is necessary to fulfil his Emperor’s wishes, and he demands Codcliffe’s assistance.

The villagers are apprehensive. They loathe the tax-hungry Imperials, they are terrified of marauders, and they have known for generations

that it is unwise to trespass on the lands of the octopus folk ...

For use with the Dungeon World RPG

Summary of the Situation

The octopus folk magically summoned the storm and directed it to drive Relentless aground. They did this so they could capture the notorious marauder Hobart.

Hobart’s  villainous  soul  and  blood-soaked  hands  make  him  a  sacrifice  of  epochal 

potence. The octopus folk will use his death to summon the Void Ark and trigger the Great migration.  If all goes as planned, they will be carried up to hyperspace,  where they will resume their true forms and live lives of mad joy. If all goes poorly, their entire host will swarm from the sea and wreak furious, indiscriminate revenge.

So  far,  their  plan  has  proceeded  perfectly.   Hobart  was  captured  and  brought  to  the  ritual  caves  to  await  his  ritualized  drowning  by  the  tide.  However,  the  remainder  of 

the marauders escaped Relentless  and  established  a  camp  within  an  abandoned  dwarven iron mine. They are preparing to rescue their leader from the octopus folk.

Meanwhile, the crew of Relentless continue to see to their duty. The disaster triggered the necromatic protocols encoded in their loyalty oaths. Living or dead, they transformed into fanged sea ghouls,  and  their  minds  harnessed  by  a  single  crude  impulse—kill any who dares to interfere with the Emperor’s treasure!

Beginning Play
Beginning Play

Begin the game by introducing Codcliffe and the storm—the first paragraph from the 

cover should suffice.  Ask the characters if they have come to know any villagers in the 

past week. Use their responses to populate the village.

Then read the remaining introduction and go straight to a scene in the village square.

The  villagers  have  gathered  to  listen  to  Balbus’  call  for  hunters  to  find  the  escaped  Hobart. No one steps forward. Codcliffers are fishers, not bounty hunters! If the party  hesitates to act, then tick off the first Grim Portent of the Unwanted Imperials front.

From  there,  be  sure  to  use  your  answers  to  their  knowledge-gathering  moves  to  reveal the  backstory  and  point to the three  encounter  locations.  And  give them this  bit  of  knowledge  for  free:  the  Imperials  forbid  them  to  tamper  with  Relentless, as she is guarded by the Emperor’s strongest magics ... 

Location: Codcliffe
Location: Codcliffe

Codcliffe  is perched upon  a 100’  cliff.  Two  hundred souls live  humble  but stable lives  here.  They  do  a  modest  trade  in smoked  fish  and  oil  with  nearby  dwarf settlements.   Tags: moderate wealth, steady population, no defenses, resource: fish

Species: Octopus Folk

Octopus folk are truly amphibious, equally comfortable at sea or on land.  At sea, they  move  by  jetting  water  from  muscular  bellows.   On  land,  octopus  folk  can “walk”  on 

4-8 of their legs, and are especially adept brachiators. 

They  have  three  different  modes  of  communication.   Passionate  feelings  cause  their  skin  to  flare  purple-red.  They  can  whistle  alarms  and  greetings  through  their  water  bellows.  For detailed, nuanced communication, a pair of octopus folk will link one or 

more arms and exchange information using a language of twitches and grasps.

NPC Names
NPC Names

VillaGerS:  Calix Felix Fatime Atria Henoc  Dolfina  Beatriz marauDerS: Todd  Obby Mutt Jovon  Penny Hargs  Burl Hefney


WritinG + DeSiGn John Aegard. illuStration + maPS Zach Fischer.

DunGeon WorlD BY Sage  LaTorra  &  Adam  Koebel.  PlaYteStinG Fred

Lott Adrienne Mueller   Peter Adkison  Seth Johnson Jon Leitheusser Dylan

Mayo Kristian

Haapa-Aho   Christian  Griffen    Matthew  Gagan   Alex  Cooley 

Bryan Yarrow.  VerSion 1.0 - August 15, 2012

Front: Hobart’s Fortune

Doom: The tide drags Relentless out to sea and its treasure is lost forever. StakeS:

•  Will the party recover the real treasure from the galleon? CaSt •  Unlucky sailors and marines, now transformed into treasure-guarding sea ghouls Grim PortentS:

ɶ Your feet are awash ɶ Water is over your ankles ɶ It is a struggle to move against the onrushing waters ɶ Relentless is afloat and is drifting uncontrollably towards the open water ɶ Swim for your lives!

Front: Unwelcome Imperials

Doom: Hobart is not recaptured and Codcliffe suffers Balbus’ wrath.


•  Are Balbus’ hostages restored to their human form? •  Does Balbus summon summon an Imperial detachment to occupy Codcliffe?

CaSt •  Captain-Senator Balbus, owner of the Relentless •  apothiko Vitula, Balbus’ bodyguard, alchemist, and sorceror

Grim PortentS ɶ Apothiko Vitula polymorphs some villagers into chickens and promises to reverse the process if Hobart is apprehended ɶ A villager begs the party to reverse the polymorph ɶ Another villager asks the party to kill the Imperials ɶ A villager tries to kill Balbus but Apothik Vitula foils the attempt ɶ Balbus sends a message via pigeon to the nearest Imperial detachment ɶ An  imperial  detachment  arrives,  turning  Codcliffe  into  an  occupied  camp,  collecting taxes and enslaving useful villagers

Front: The Marauders’ New Home

Doom: Marauders seize Codcliffe as a base from which to rebuild their fortunes.

CaSt •  Pretty Pete, leader of the free marauders.

Grim PortentS ɶ Marauders learn that Codcliffe is nearby ɶ Marauders scout Codcliffe, seeing it is nearly undefended ɶ Marauders test Codcliffe, raiding it, seizing hostages, food, and goods ɶ Marauders make demands: Codcliffe must yield or be pillaged

Front: The Great Migration

Doom: The octopus folk sacrifice their prisoner and summon their void-ark StakeS

•  Will the ritual be spoiled by the rescue of Hobart?

•  If it is, will Codcliffe survive the rage of the thwarted octopus folk?

CaSt •  the Decaturge, ten-armed high priest of the octopus folk •  Hobart, battered marauder leader and intended sacrifice •  talley, lonely halfling octopus folk cultist

Grim PortentS ɶ The decaturge’s consorts are painting ritual sigils on the prisoners ɶ The tides are rolling into the caves ɶ A huge wave of octopus folk surge out of the water, towards the ritual caves ɶ The marauders are drowning

Location: The Beached Hulk of HMS Relentless Relentless  will  still  float,  but  with  her  rigging  in 
Location: The Beached Hulk of HMS Relentless
Relentless  will  still  float,  but  with  her  rigging  in  tatters,  she  is  not 
Her DeCkS anD riGGinG u swarm with spry sea ghouls. They will
fight  viciously  to  keep  the  party  away  from  the 
CaPtain’S CaBin v
and  its sealed treasure  vault.  The seal  will  detonate  into  a spray  of  acid (3 
damage / penetrate 2 to all in the cabin) if anyone but the Captain-Senator 
touches the lock.  Inside the vault are coin and gems (2000 coin, 20 weight).  
This treasure is actually a swarm of tiny golems who will drop their illusion
and attack when the party next makes camp.
oFFiCerS’ CaBinS w and the CreW BunkS x will each yield
80 coin in coin and jewelry.  The armorY y contains 500 coin worth of 
arms, all in good repair.  Any weapon or light armor can be found here.
The HolD z is half given over to a SeaGoinG PriSon { and is
still  rank  with  the  smell  of  its  last  occupants.   Graffiti  testifies  to  weeks  at 
sea.  Underneath the hold,  along the keel, is the ballast.  The true (but still 
cursed) treasure (3000 coin worth of gems, coin, and jewelry, 30 weight) is 
concealed within the stones. Recovering the whole treasure will take much
of the day and will check off a number of Grim Portents.
OLD iron mine
Location: Octopus Folk Ritual Islet Caves
All areas except the Circle of the Tempest are fully innundated at high tide.  
Only  those  octopus  folk  who  are  involved  in  the  Great  Migration,  or  who 
are siring young, will be here.  The rest all live beneath the waves.
The  halfling Talley  lurks  at  the  CaVe moutH. u  He  has  been  stung  by 
tide flat
the  Decaturge  and  yearns  to  join  the  Great  Migration,  but 
is  not  allowed 
ritual islet
inside the caves. Talley has learned to communicate with the Octopus Folk
and will be eager to lend assistance if he thinks it will earn him his ticket.
In the SirinG Den v female octopus folk weave great lattices of rubbery 
vines from which their eggs hang like grapes. Octopus sires stand vigil
or  brachiate  the  vines,  fertilizing  the  choicest  eggs.   Fertilized  eggs  are  a 
delicacy and a powerful reagent. (25 eggs, 1 weight, 25 coin).  There are two 
hundred such eggs here.
Atop the islet, the CirCle oF tHe temPeSt w is  above the  high tide 
line.  This is the ritual space used by the Decaturge to summon the storm.  
The lightning-blasted corpses of many  of his kin are scattered here.  Their 
SEA at
bodies are studded with ornate piercings (55 coin, 1 weight). 
The Vault oF tHe VoiD-ark x is an impressive tall-ceilinged
chamber  decorated  with  golden  alien  hieroglyphics  and  black  ink  frescos.  
Within are the Decaturge, his warriors, and the marauder prisoners. The
marauders  are  trussed  up  in  ropes  stolen  from  Codcliffe  and  are  secured 
to a heavy chunk of broken mast from Relentless.
Location: Marauder Refuge / Old d warven Mine
The  ragged  marauders,  with  Pretty  Pete  in  command,  have  sheltered  in  an 
abandoned iron mine.  Pete has posted lookouts at both entranCeS . u
Any unstealthy daytime approaches to the mine will be observed.
Beyond  the  mine  entrance  runs  a  Central rail line. v This line
pierces  the  entire  hill  west  to  east,  running  about  a  mile.  The  marauders 
know this line and will use it to escape if they face serious trouble.
Their main encampment is located at a SHaFt Station w  about  a 
hundred yards in from the east entrance. A working crane provides access
to the levels below.   The marauders have not expored downwards.  This is 
fortunate, as this mine was abandoned due to a monster infestation.
The SHrine oF tHe iron GoD x dominates the north wall. A
mezzanine y  surrounds  the  rest  of  the  chamber;  doors  lead  off  to 
offices  for  dwarven  priests,  bosses,  and  merchants.  These  offices  serve  as 
the marauders’ sleeping quarters.
1 mile
100 yds


organized group

Fisherman: 7 hp  0 armor 

improvised weapon (close) d4+1

Stay away from trouble


organized magical hoarders

Cpt-Sen Balbus 12 hp 

2 armor  saber (close) d10

Recover the prisoners • Slip away from danger

apothiko Vitula 19 hp 

2 armor  acid (reach) d10

Obey your patron

• Melt/char a foe’s weapon • Stay awake and alert for a month • Hear the stealthy, see

through disguises and ruses

• Transform people to animals

• Heal wounds, regrow limbs

Sea Ghoul 5 hp  0 armor 

claws / fangs (close) d6+1

Guard the Emperor’s treasure • Entangle w/ whiplike tongue • Pounce from the rigging.

tiny Golems 2 hp  0 armor 

 bite (hand) 1d2 (piercing 3)

• Disguise self as treasure • Feed when prey is asleep • Get inside armor and clothes • Take ½ dmg from weapons

Cursed treasure

Return to the Emperor

• Attract bounty hunters • Turn wine to vinegar

• Spoil food / consumables • Make sleep restless

e SCAP ed M ARAU de RS

organized group

Take revenge on Balbus Establish a new stronghold

Pretty Pete 8 hp  1 armor 

cutlass (close) 1d8+2

marauder 3 hp  0 armor 

improvised wpn (close) 1d6


gibbous small organized horde

Decaturge 12 hp  2 armor 

weapons (close) 1d8x2

• Drag foe underwater

• Whip followers into fury

with stinging tentacles

Folk 3 hp  1 armor  beak 

(hand) 1d6

Those marked with the killing

ink must be slain

Disregard all others unless they

interfere with your tasks. • Mark your opponent with the killing ink.

• Drag foe underwater


• Monster/danger/place move • Reveal unwelcome truth

• Show signs of doom

• Deal damage

• Use up their resources • Show opportunity, perhaps with cost

• Put someone in a spot • Say the requirements or

consequences and ask

AG e N dA

• Make the world fantastic • Fill the characters’ lives 

with adventure

• Play to see what happens


• Draw maps, leave blanks

• Address characters, not players

• Embrace the fantastic

• Make your move, but 


• Never speak the name of 

your move

• Give every monster life

• Name every person

• Ask questions, use answers • Be a fan of the characters

• Think dangerous • Begin and end with fiction

• Think offscreen, too