Saturday, December 26, 2009

Making it your own: The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh

The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh is considered one of the classic modules from the TSR AD&D 1e line. It is for first level character and has a straight forward setup.

There a house that is "haunted" but in reality is the lair of smugglers using it as a depot for the town of Saltmarsh. The climax of the adventures comes as the adventurers are hired to turn the tables on the smugglers and hit their ship the Sea Ghost.

In my campaign I adapted this module in several ways. First is the house itself; while "haunted" by the smugglers, it was once the home of a sinister alchemist/magician. If some plot in your campaign involves magical lore or a old magic-users this may serve as the perfect place to plant the initial seeds of this portion of your plot.

This module leads into U2 Danger at Dunwater and U3 the Final Enemy which climax with a fight against the Sahaugins. If you decide not to go with that plot the smugglers can serve as the initial plot seed for a larger criminal organization that becomes the nemesis (or allies as the case may be) of the PCs. In my own Majestic Wilderlands it has served as an initial lead into the Slaver's network and as a lead into a plot involving the Skandian Vikings.

Finally the Sea Ghost portion of the module serves as a useful template for a sea-faring ship. I used this as template in a number of campaigns where the player owned their own ship. It it is one of the few sources for a complete deckplan of a sailing ship.


Rick said...

i agree totally with your assessment. a great module for many reasons. In my recently started campaign (in a variant Wilderlands), I contemplated starting with Saltmarsh, but chose to begin inland instead. [my starting mod was a heavily modified Hommelet]. But I sort of wish I'd started with Saltmarsh.
-Geleg (Rick)

Robert Conley said...

A river or something like the estuary of the roglaroon could work instead of a coastline.

Paul said...

Love that adventure, and wish we had seen more out of the UK line.

If you're a fan of Firefly, you might get a kick out of this very well done Harn supplement and its NPC packet:
It's great for the maps alone. I'm toying with creating a mashup with it and Tales of the Gold Monkey: PCs tooling around the fantasy South Seas running afoul of ancient sorcerers, flesh-eating mermaids, monkey gods, pirates in sanpans, the Men of Leng in their long black galleys, and whatnot...