Monday, July 31, 2017

And now...Zarak!

Those of you of a certain age may remember the Advanced Dungeons & Dragons toyline line and a certain half-orc assassin by the name of Zarak. I found a nice image of Zarak from 1983's Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Characters coloring book that had a bit of a Jack Kirby-esque vibe about it. I believe the artist is actually Jim Mooney.

I thought it would be cool to color and give him a logo:

I might do a few more of the characters in a similar style, if I get the time.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Rifts 1970

Rifts, arriving in 1990, is certainly a product of the 1980s. Could Rifts be scrubbed of its 80s chrome and be translated to another era? Why not? Let me pitch you Rifts 1970.

Now, you might say (but don't, because I will have already said it!): "Isn't Rifts 1970 just Gamma World?" Well, they're both post-apocalyptic games, but Gamma World is right down the middle of post-apocalyptic stuff, whereas Rifts wants to throw a kitchen sink at you: you've got cyberpunk, mecha, magic, Star Wars-style fascism, and the Rifts themselves that can get you pretty much anything else can appear.

In Rifts 1970, the mix is a little different, but there are analogous inspirations. Anime/Manga haven't really made a big impact in the U.S. yet, but there's kaiju films and Astro Boy. Fighting giant monsters would be a bigger thing in Rifts 1970, I think. Mecha would look more like Rog from the Doom Patrol, but the real Glitter Boy replacements might be guys with giant robot friends like Frankenstein Jr.

Cyberpunk hasn't arrived yet either, but computers have and concerns about the possibility of AI. Think Star Trek or Colossus: The Forbin Project. Cyborgs are already around like the Cybermen or the various Robotmen in DC Comics. Probably high tech equipment should be more T.H.U.N.D.E.R. Agents than Appleseed. This might push things in a bit more of a "superhero" direction, but there is an argument to be made that that's what it always has been.

Magic, of course, works well in either era. A distinctly Ditko-esque Doctor Strange vibe would set Rifts 1970 apart, though.

The Coalition and their not-stormtroopers, the Deadboys, become some other Nazi stand-ins, like HYDRA or any number of villainous comic book organizations or '50s comics alien invaders that were either Nazi or commie substitutes. Of course, Starship Troopers was written in 1959, and we saw how easy it was to paint those guys with a fascist brush in the film adaptation. Maybe the Deadboys can have their powered armor after all?

Friday, July 28, 2017

Weird Revisited: Nautical Fantasy Inspirations

The original version of this post appeared on July 15, 2011. Since then, there have been some fantasy stuff usuable with a nautical campaign--including an upcoming project from Richard Guy:

Taking a look at Driftwood Verses or planning a visit to Swordfish Island? This might help. What follows is pretty much off the top of my head and it sticks to nautical or sea- themed fantasy (so no Horatio Hornblower or Treasure Island here), but I figure it's a backbone to start with.

Classical Literature:
The Odyssey
One Thousand and One Nights. Particularly the Sinbad stories, of course.

Modern Literature:
Alan Cole and Chris Bunch. The Anteros series.
Leigh Brackett. The Sword of Rhiannon, “The Enchantress of Venus,” and “The Moon that Vanished.” These last two are on (or under) the strange gaseous seas of Venus, but I think that only adds to their exotic inspiration value.
Robert E. Howard. Conan stories: “Pool of the Black One,” “Queen of the Black Coast,” and “The Black Stranger.”
William Hope Hodgson. The Boats of the "Glen Carrig" and other nautical horror stories. "The Derelict" and "The Voice in the Night" are probably my favorites.
Ursula K. LeGuin. A Wizard of Earthsea.
Fritz Leiber. From the tales of Fafhrd and Gray Mouser: “Their Mistress, the Sea,” “When the Sea-King’s Away,” “Trapped in the Sea of Stars,” and “The Frost Mostreme.”
C.S. Lewis. The Voyage of the Dawn-Treader.
Abraham Merritt. The Ship of Ishtar.
China Mieville. The Scar.
Tim Powers. On Stranger Tides.
Cherie Priest. Fathom.
Karl Edward Wagner. “In the Wake of Night.” Okay, only a fragment of this exists, but the idea of the story is great.

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (1954). The original novel might be inspirational, too, but its this films visuals that really capture the imagination.
Jason and the Argonauts (1963).
King Kong (the 1933 and 2005).
The Lost Continent (1968).
Pirates of the Caribbean series.
The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958), The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1974), Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger (1977).

Pirates of Dark Water (1991).
One Piece. Which is also a manga.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Two Maps, One Candy Island

Here's an excerpt from the upcoming Azurth Adventures Digest. This is Jeff Call's map of the Candy Isle with lettering by me:

And here for comparison is the original map I made for the game:

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Wednesday Comics: Storm: The Seven of Aromater

My exploration of the long-running euro-comic Storm, continues with his adventures in the world of Pandarve. Earlier installments can be found here.

Storm: The Seven of Aromater (1984) 
(Dutch: De Zeven van Aromater) (part 4)
Art by Don Lawrence; script by Martin Lodewijk

Nomad wakes up on the beach of the Red Tear, the weird low hanging moon, amid the wreckage of the ship. Ember appears from the water. Too heavy to float in her new form and not needing oxygen, she walked across the bottom of the ocean.

The oppressive gravity leaves Nomad unable to move. Ember says she'll come back to get him later and heads off to find Storm. His calls for help bring her back.

Ember scatters the creatures. She decides to pick up Nomad and the Prince and carries them with her. The heavy gravity means the Seven have left an unmistakable trail for her to follow. They pass through storms, but Ember's body absorbs and dissipates the lightning. They cross a desert of glass caused by some unimaginable explosion.

As they near the equator of the Red Tear, the gravity lessens. Nomad is able to walk now, as they approach a structure of rock:

Traveling down a passage, they pass the bones of the beings they assume built this place. The come to a stairway going down. At its bottom is a thick yellow-green fog, a poisonous atmosphere. Entering it nearly kills Nomad and the Prince. They will have to stay while Ember goes on.

After what seems like hours, she gets through the fog and enters a passage with what appear to be dead snakes on the floor.

They aren't dead, and they aren't snakes!


Monday, July 24, 2017

If You Go Down in the Woods Today

Yesterday, our Land of Azurth 5e campaign continued last night...

ROLL CALL: Kully the Bard, Shade the Ranger, Dagmar the Cleric, Kairon the Sorcerer, Waylon the Thief, and Erekose the Fighter!

The riverside village of Lumberton has fallen on hard times. The owners of the local sawmill bought some automatons from a mysterious traveling salesman and now the things are running amok! Day and night, these Iron Woodsmen are clearing the forest and killing anyone that gets in their way.

Our heroes happen upon a desperate discussion between Mayor Bole Wood and his advisors, and succumb to the Mayor's desperate plea for aid (and promise of compensation). Eavesdropping on the conversation, the ranger hears mention of someone or something called "snarts" and is immediately suspicious they aren't getting the full story.

A talk with the alehouse matron, Burl, reveals that Snarts are in fact small, mischievous fey that the townspeople believe have cursed them and made the Iron Woodsmen go crazy. Armed with this knowledge they set out to find the hidden Snart village.

Just outside of town, they find a dilapidated manor inhabited by the wizard Gargam. Gargam is not the most pleasant of wizards or a great conversationalist, but they discover (a) that he hates Snarts, but wishes to use them for some undisclosed magical purpose, and (b) he says they have been captured by the Iron Woodsmen and taken to the mill.

The party heads toward the mill and comes upon an Iron Woodsmen work crew. A battle is joined. and our heroes discover that the Woodsmen are tough opponents--and they explode in steam and shrapnel if they are too heavily damaged. Destroying the 4 automata, but bloodied and battered themselves, the party retreats to town, where they confront the Mayor, who also believes the Snart curse levied due to their extensive clearing of the forest is the cause of their misfortune.

The party resolves to locate the Snarts and set this problem right.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Azurth Adventure Digest

Here's the cover for the upcoming Azurth Adventure Digest (still a couple of months away). Jason Sholtis provides a great rendition of some angry Candy Islanders.

The planned contents of the digest are: Random tables for generating Motley Pirates and pirate captains, random weird encounters in the Boundless Sea, thumbnail descriptions of a handful of interesting islands, a few NPC write-ups, and the Candy Isle adventure locale. Internal art and cartography will mostly be Jeff Call, who did Mortzengersturm. It will be available in pdf and print at 5.5 x 7.75" size.

Here's part of the Candy Island Temple as rendered by Jeff

Friday, July 21, 2017


Luc Besson's new film Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets is based on the French comic book series Valérian et Laureline by by writer Pierre Christin and artist Jean-Claude Mézières (The film seems largely drawn from the sixth story in the series, Ambassador of Shadows). It's good source material for Besson, has the exotic locales of the comic and multitude of aliens give plenty of opportunity for him to engage in the in the stunning visuals that have been part of his previous science fiction efforts.

Valerian and Laureline are special agents of the Federation, with a bantering, unresolved sexual tension thing going. After acquiring a cute and valuable alien organism, the Mul Converter, to the massive, multi-species space station Alpha, to save it from a mysterious threat. All is not as it seems, and Alpha's Commander has secret plans of his own. Our heroes make their way through the alien locales of the station to solve the mystery and save everybody.

The plot is perfunctory, its drama is simplistic, and the characters are thin, but the sort of science fiction films Besson makes have never particularly focused on those things. The Fifth Element had an breeziness about some of the core dramatic elements, but did a lot with action, humor, and a Heavy Metal visual sensibility. Valerian may not become a the cult classic it has, but would make a good double feature with it.

In rpg terms, the visuals in Besson's film will likely give plenty of fodder with sci-fi gaming. Valerian and the City of A Thousand Planets: The Art of the Film, is worth picking up for that purpose, even if you don't like the film.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Wednesday Comics: The Seven of Aromater

My exploration of the long-running euro-comic Storm, continues with his adventures in the world of Pandarve. Earlier installments can be found here.

Storm: The Seven of Aromater (1984) 
(Dutch: De Zeven van Aromater) (part 3)
Art by Don Lawrence; script by Martin Lodewijk

Ember and Nomad watch from hiding as the Prince's steamship launches a smaller boat with the Seven or Aromater aboard. As they head toward the waterspout beneath the red, Ember realizes in horror what they plan.

She breaks from hiding to try to reach Storm. She is quickly captured and the former Storm, now the Seventh, ignores her cries. The ship sails on:

The Prince has Ember and Nomad in changes. He plans to keep them alive until the the survivors of the Seven return from the Red Tear with the Brain Coral. Until then, his ship will circle the waterspout and wait.

Ember and Nomad don't plan to be idle. They have hidden the remainder of the potion that converted Storm into a monster. Ember drinks it quickly and:

With enhanced strength and resistance to harm, Ember makes short work of the sailors. She and Nomad take over the ship. Ember isn't mindless like Storm and the others, she guides the ship toward the waterspout! The ship rides through the Storm--and is ultimately smashed!


Monday, July 17, 2017

3 Pitches, 4 Colors 3: Agents of A.X.E.

This is the third in a series of posts with brief campaign pitches for superhero games. This one is written by Jason Sholtis of  The Dungeon Dozen:

(based on a rejected proposal found in a briefcase left on the subway by Steve Ditko
in 1968...)

Dateline 1999: Thirty years after the total victory of the hippie counterculture,
a unilaterally disarmed America watches helplessly as nation after nation falls before an unstoppable blitzkrieg of super soldiers, futuristic war machines and weapons from newly independent Transylvania.

Shocking the world in a live press conference, President Tom Hayden unveils the existence of the Agents of A.X.E., secret defenders of America. These highly trained super-operatives, each a paragon of American virtue, are entrusted with the use of super-devices derived from the technology of an alien civilization (details still classified) such as the Gauntlets of Potential, the Girdle of Density, and the Eye of Mastery.  

Moments later, the secret headquarters of the National Institute of Xenostudies beneath
Mt. Shasta falls to a sudden strike by Transylvanian stormtroopers, the scientists and leaders
who created A.X.E. all either dead or missing. If only the Agents had been there to help instead of
a Washington dog and pony show! How can you Agents ever forgive yourselves?

There is only one way: Defend America from the Transylvanian menace until they have to peel the Girdle of Density from your cold, dead midsection.

Style/influence: In a nutshell, THUNDER Agents vs. MARS Patrol written by Pat Mills in the 80's as reactionary silver age satire but drawn by Wally Wood and Steve Ditko in their prime, so it looks cool. Old school in tone, emphasizing all-out super-hero war on beach head America, so there will be black humor, super mayhem, and super death. But fear not, when Captain Density perishes, sidekick girl is there to pick up the girdle.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

War for the Planet of the Apes

It's five years after a brief and unease truce between humans and apes in Northern California led to war.  The latest films is at turns The Outlaw Josey Wales and The Great Escape rather than a war film unless the title is more clever than it appears and references a war where the apes or not the primary combats--and gives a sly hint to its outcome.

Andy Serkis is again great as Caesar, and so are the other motion-capture actors. The special effects have gotten so good the apes don't really seen CGI at all, other than of course they are. Steve Zahn sort of steals the show here is the new character "Bad Ape" adding a bit of tastefully done levity to otherwise fairly grim precedings. Woody Harrelson is playing crazy, as usual, in the flavor of Kurtz from Apocalypse Now.

If you liked the previous installments in the current trilogy, you'll like this one. If you haven't seen any of this current series, you should start with Rise.

One thing I've noticed, when the first film came out it was widely commented that it was essentially a reworking/re-imaging of Conquest of the Planet of the Apes. This is sort of true and viewed from that perspective Dawn and War are then a two part reworking of Battle for the Planet of the Apes. (Dawn, particularly has a lot of specific scene parallels to Battle.)

Friday, July 14, 2017

3 Pitches, 4 Colors 2: Days of Dr. Nightmare

This is the second in a series of posts with brief campaign pitches for superhero games. This one is written by Michael "Aos" Gibbons of  The Metal Earth and Cosmic Tales:

The world lies at the feet of Dr. Nightmare and has for these 30 years. The lands he rules strain under the burden of his mad and sadistic ambition; those he does not struggle in vain to remain free, or exist now only as mutant infested wastelands, scorched by Zero-Bombs and stinking with the taint of gene-gas.

But the weed of hope grows in the garden of despair. A few individuals, scattered across the globe, locked in disparate lives, have begun to experience lucid waking-dreams of another, better world, where they were heroes. All of them know, even if they refuse to face it, that something has gone wrong with time, and only they can fix it- and at the cost of everything they know.

They are the Awakened, and Dr. Nightmare can taste their dreams.

Inspirations: Days of Future Past, Age Of Apocalyse, Uncanny X-Men in general. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

3 Pitches 4-Colors 1: OMEGA TEAM!

This is the first in a series of posts with brief campaign pitches for superhero games. The others to follow are written by some other gaming bloggers you might know...

All of the world, individuals with anomalous and fantastic powers are increasing in number: mutants or victims of strange accidents, these individuals are feared and ostracized. A secret organization located beneath a governmental office building has need of these so-called freaks. The voice of Control describes the coming threat: The work of a brilliant Dr. Rankin has clearly indicated the danger. The ever-increasing number of “freaks,” extraterrestrial contacts, and weird phenomena, can be plotted on a curve showing inexorable progress nothing less that the destruction of humankind as we know it, if it’s trajectory is not altered. A team of special individuals--freaks--can bend this curve. They are the last line of defense: the Omega Team!

Style: Silver Age veneer on Modern Age construction; like Arnold Drake writing Grant Morrison’s  Doom Patrol, or maybe Steve Gerber writing Drake’s Doom Patrol.
Inspirations: Doom Patrol, Challengers of the Unknown, Atlas-era  monsters/horror, Xombi, Thriller, Outer Limits, X-Men.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Wednesday Comics: Nocturnals: Sinister Path

I backed the Kickstarter for Dan Brereton's latest Nocturnals graphic novel, Sinster Path. The Kindle/Comixology versions are available now, and the hardcover should soon be available to the nonbacker public.

If you're not familiar with horror/pulp/superhero mashup The Nocturnals, you might want to read this post first.  If you are, then you know Brereton presents his tough guy underworld where super-science and magic exist in a matter of fact way, without a lot of explanation. Sinister Path continues this tradition, so no one evidences any surprise when Doc Horror and his crew head into the mansion of a deceased judge to get the files of dirt he kept on various underworld and government figures and encounter supernatural menaces. All in a days work for a werewolf/mob enforcer/scientist from a parallel dimension!

If that makes the Nocturnals sound like camp, it is not. The tone is serious for the most part, and Brereton makes his unusual concept work. His moody and lurid art probably helps.

Sinster Path could be read as a standalone, but it's probably, but best to start a little earlier so you know the relationships. It's fairly open-ended, promising more to come.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Looking for Adventure on the DMs Guild

While mostly I've been content to translate old school adventures for my 5e campaign, I decided to go looking for some adventures there. I haven't been too impressed with what I've found so far, though. They are no worse in basic conception than any number of older modules--indeed, they often have a more interesting high concept--but they tend to be sort of slight and written with a particular scene-based structure that doesn't give you a lot to work with if you're not going to follow their script.

While I don't absolutely reject a scene-based structure (if it's fairly "open"), as a general rule, if there isn't anything interesting about the setup or setting of the adventure, an author's pre-planned idea of a "cool scene" isn't going to work for me.

The DMs Guild 5e adventures I've read have one advantage over the Pathfinder adventures/adventure paths I've read in that at least they aren't as overwritten (though they aren't terse). They don't tend to be as interesting in details though.

Anybody got in 5e adventure recommendations?

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Spider-Man: Homecoming and the Backdrop of the MCU

One of the good things about Spider-Man: Homecoming is that it brings Spider-Man into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Not in the comic fetishist dream of now having Spider-Man in the same scene with Iron Man, but in the sense of the increasingly cohesive backstory of the CMU undergirding the plot. I am not found of the CMU in its homogenization of plot and uninspired sameness of production design, but the ways that it increasingly portrays a world being changed by the consequences of an alien invasion and the co-occurrent emergence of superheroes I like a lot.

They didn't plan this from the beginning. There is no unification of the origins of any of the Phase One characters, and only some of their villains. As late as Winter Soldier, the Falcon's flying prosthetic wings are just some Army contractors invention, with no need of Stark genius or reverse engineered alien tech.  The small screen is where things begin to change. Daredevil season one has as its setting New York in the aftermath of a very destructive alien invasion (i.e. the Chitauri as seen in Avengers). Agents of SHIELD and Agent Carter deal with (and build on) things in the periphery of the films.

Of course, Civil War deals with the political consequences of Age of Ultron (which in turn, sort of grew out of the events of Avengers), but Homecoming shows us the origins of several of Spider-Man's foes in the Roadside Picnic-esque salvage of the Chitauri visitation. It's an interesting thematic element, having the "neighborhood hero" have to deal with the personifications of the mess left behind when the big players leave the field, but it also makes the universe seem more cohesive and real. It's a step away from the Marvel Silver Age comics toward  (again) the Ultimate Marvel Universe in approach.

I think this would be a good thing to emulate in superhero rpgs or really any genre where you wanted a sustain cohesive setting. Thirty years ago, the writers of the Wild Cards books argued a unified origin for super-powers aided suspension of disbelief. That's probably true, but given the proliferation of superheroes today, it seems less necessary. What is still somewhat novel, and still worth considering is the "ripples" in the pond of the setting when a new fantastic element is dropped in. There's a lot that can be mined from that idea, I think.

Friday, July 7, 2017

Dictionary of Azurth Update

I hadn't done one of these in a while, so I figured it was time. Here's the updated Dictionary of the Land of Azurth with entries for Zorka, Tsar of the Shooting Stars, and House Perilous, among others.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Spock has a 12th-level Intellect

This is something I was thinking about while traveling the other day: certain parallels between comic book alien species and those in Star Trek. What's the use of it? I don't know. Trek with different aliens or different backstories for the aliens? Supers with Trek aliens? Some sort of Wold-Newton Space (Woldspace)? Make of it what you will.

Skrulls and the Founders/Changelings
The Founders are a shapeshifting race that runs an expansionist space empire and so are the Skrulls. DC's Durlans would fit in a way, too. They've faced prejudice like the Changelings, but they don't run an empire.

Shi'ar and the Romulans
One species has a space empire with a bird motif and a sprinkling of Roman Empire terminology and the other is the Romulans. Sure, the Romulan Star Empire never seems as multi-species as the Shi'ar, but no reason it couldn't be. Might want to drop the link to Vulcan, though...

Coluans and Vulcans
Turning to DC comics for the Federation species, I'll not the somewhat emotionlessness and computer-like logic of the Vulcans and Brainiac's people, the Coluans.

The other other identifications I thought of, but some are too similar to add anything particularly interesting (The Khunds and the Klingons) and some distant enough to be suggest substitution (Thanagarians and Andorians. Thanagarians might stand-in for Romulans, too, depending on which version we're talking about) but you get the idea.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Wednesday Comics: Storm: The Seven of Aromater

My exploration of the long-running euro-comic Storm, continues with his adventures in the world of Pandarve. Earlier installments can be found here.

Storm: The Seven of Aromater (1984) 
(Dutch: De Zeven van Aromater) (part 2)
Art by Don Lawrence; script by Martin Lodewijk

Storm has changed into some sort of monster--the Seventh--then he and the Eternal Prince disappear to prepare themselves for the mission ahead.

Ember and Nomad have no idea what's going on. They go back to the merchant who tried to buy Ember earlier. He tells them the story of the history of  Aromater.

Once Aromater was an incredibly prosperous trading city, ruled by two young and apparently immortal Princes who controlled the forces of nature. Then, for unknown reasons, a rift developed between the twins. One of them used a device called the Brain Coral [or Brain Cell, in some translations] to create a potion from the Blood of Pandarve. It turned the Prince into a "dark demon" and his seven trusted followers into monsters. They slaughtered the guards and stole the Brain Coral.

From they time on, luck was no longer with Aromater. Their crops were destroyed, their ships lost, and their remaining Prince began to age.

The Prince formulated a plan to regain the Brain Coral. A had a fountain made surrounded by seven swords. Only the bravest and strongest citizens were allowed to try to pull them free. Those that succeeded became members of the Seven of Aromater. From the goblets left behind by the fleeing Prince and his followers, the remaining Prince and his confederates were able to synthesize the potion and change the six victors into creatures that could reclaim Aromater's lost glory. Storm is the Seventh. Now, they will go to reclaim the Brain Coral.

For their remaining questions, the merchant jokes they'll have to ask the Eternal Prince. Ember decides to go to his Tower and do just that.

Nomad has to meditate to center himself to throw a grapple across the magma moat. He succeeds! Ember crawls along the rope to an opening in the Tower.

Nomad follows, but the rope catches fire and he would would have fallen in without Ember's help.

Meanwhile, the Eternal Prince and his Second are preparing to leave. Their may only be enough of the Blood of Pandarve for one more transformation left. the Prince puts it in a chest for safe keeping. As they leave the room, Nomad pokes his head up through a hatch in the floor...

The next, morning the Prince, the Seventh, and his men leave in a paddle steamer to the cheers of the crowd. The ship heads out into the great ocean. The next morning, The Red Tear appears on the horizon. As the ship draws loser they see the Red Tear fully:


Monday, July 3, 2017

Strange Encounters in the Boundless Sea

Here's a short random table of unusual encounters in the Boundless Sea west of the Land of Azurth. Some of these are likely to appear in the upcoming Azurth Adventures Digest:

Roll d8:
1 - Zoobian Pleasure Barque - Storm-damaged and adrift, 1d4 winsome, green-haired maidens in silken veils cry out for succor. They claim to be brides to be on their way to the harem of a Zoobian potentate. They are actually harpies looking for a meal.
2 - Brazen Devil - With a screeching of rusty hinges, a brass gargoyle, corroded green and white, its wings festooned with seaweed, claws its way aboard. With determined spite--and mutterings of “Trifling jackanapes!” and “I’ll not be the butt of your japery. Not I!"-- it will stalk and kill everyone aboard, if it can.*
3 - Lovelorn Sea Serpent  - The beast begins following in the ship’s wake, occasionally moving close enough to gently nuzzle the vessel’s stern suggestively. Its head and neck are above water at times, and its expression is comically lovestruck. It will place sea creature carcasses on the deck at night as tokens of affection.
4 -  Iceberg - It drifts on the current. A frozen Viking longship and crew can be seen inside.
5 - Eight-Armed Bandit - An immense octopus demands to be giving all the gold aboard, hinting at some dire consequence if its demand is not satisfied. 
6 - War Party - A double-hulled war canoe of the Gator Folk attacks. They wield spears and alligator-toothed war-clubs.
7 - Professorial Sea Cows - A pair of large and apparently quite learned Steller's sea cows can be heard conversing about metaphysics and the nature of the universe. Eavesdropping might well illicit useful information for magical research into spells related to other planes, but attempts to enter into the conversation or even requests to clarification or elucidation will lead them to either give disinformation out of spite or simply submerge (50% of either).**
8 - Strange Shipwreck Survivors - 3 former ship's crew, adrift on debris of their smashed vessel, cry out weakly for rescue. Each offers a different account of the destruction of their ship--and each tale is more terrifying and apocalyptic than the last. They wail and sob hysterically if question about these contradictions.**

*Inspired by a random table by GusL
**Based on suggestions by Jason Sholtis