Finally, here's a fifth skeleton encounter that fits on two sides of an index card, to follow the previous:
#5 The Foaming Shadow
As the PCs travel by ship they or their crew notice that a shadow under the surface of the water, is tracking them. The crew speculate that this is a whale, or a giant shark, or some chimeric sea monster. Those observing closely will see that the surface of the water is broken by roiling bubbles. At least one old sea dog will surely know the following legend... they did hire an experienced crew, didn’t they?
The PCs’ ship is being pursued by a sunken ship crewed by the undead. The ship was once the Basilisk, captained by the notorious pirate Spittlebeard. Notoriety can be a dangerous thing, and the city states of the coast commissioned a fleet to hunt the pirate. The Basilisk was driven into a deep inlet. The fleet set her ablaze, their catapults launching jars of flaming oil. The legend goes that not a single pirate attempted to escape the flames. The Basilisk with her crew, and all her treasure. This encounter can be used to provide a hook for an underwater adventure to recover the lost treasure of Spittlebeard, but none is carried on the wreck of the Basilisk.
The PCs can attempt to flee the shadow under the water (see Expert p44). Treat the Basilisk as a LONGSHIP. If the PCs fail to escape, the Basilisk will surface – within grappling range – in a great burst of steam. 50 SKELETONS swing and climb across, and, when close enough, leap over the gunwales with daggers held in bony jaws. The Basilisk itself is but a skeleton of a ship, merely charred ribs, keel, stern and bow (with Basilisk figurehead). The ship, and the SKELETONS, are wreathed in barely visible hell-flame.
SPITTLEBEARD= AC: 5, HD: 5, HP: 30, MV: 60’/20’, ATT: 2 Cutlass +2, DAM: 1d8+2/1d8+2, SV: F5, MR: 9, AL: C, XP: 300
These Skeletons are possessed by the lingering personality of SPITTLEBEARD, who has made a pact with a Great Evil in order to continue an unlife of plunder. Dressed in tattered finery, he can speak and reason, but is quite mad, having just two desires, to collect gold, silver and gems, and to kill while doing so. PCs may be able to exploit either of these desires, and SPITTLEBEARD will flee (MR: 9) if the battle looks like it will fulfil neither desire. SPITTLEBEARD carries a map to his underwater lair – presumably a place of interest to a Great Evil – and fights with a CUTLASS +2.