Saltmarsh

Isle of the Abbey

Hanging out at the nearby tavern, a new contract posting is drawing some attention from the locals.

A local mariners’ guild would like to claim a small, strategically located island and build a lighthouse there. But so far, its representatives have not been able to land safely on the island—every attempt to come ashore has been met by a horde of undead.

The guild posts a lucrative contract offer in nearby coastal communities, seeking adventurers willing to secure the island and its burned-out abbey.

Checking in at the local mariner’s guild, the group learns the following:

  • Pirates recently ransacked Abbey Isle, an island just off the coast populated by evil clerics and their followers. Much to the guild’s delight, the battle between the two factions weakened them both.
  • The mariners’ guild then sent a force ashore, and the remaining pirates were killed or driven off by the guild’ soldiers.
  • The island, though now apparently abandoned, remains a danger due to undead guarding the only safe approach: a beach called the Skull Dunes.
  • The mariners’ guild is willing to pay 2,000 gp to the characters if they can land, explore the island, and clear it entirely of threats so that the guild can construct a lighthouse on the site. Payment is made upon completion of the job, which will be verified by guild members.
  • The mariners’ guild contact in the region is Major Ursa, who keeps a lighthouse on an island nearby. He will provide additional information to any group that takes on the assignment. Anyone who accepts the contract will be provided with a large, sturdy rowboat for transportation to Major Ursa’s location.

The group accepts the contract and travel to a nearby island by boat and meet their contact for the job, Major Ursa. The major shares what he knows about the situation on the island and offers advice before sending them on their way:

  • “The only safe place to get ashore on the reef-ringed, rocky little island is a large sandy beach known as the Skull Dunes. The dunes are full of undead, because the clerics of the abbey created an army of skeletons to guard the beach. The skeletons lie under the sand and attack anyone who comes near.”
  • “The pirates got ashore somehow. There’s probably a path through the undead, but finding it’s the problem. We didn’t catch up with the pirates till after they’d left the island. They’d taken as good as they gave. They were a miserable, sorry lot when we attacked and routed what was left of them. One shipload escaped, but we sank the others. The sea and the sharks got the survivors, so we never got a firsthand account of what happened on the island or of how the pirates got through the dunes.”
  • “As for the abbey, who knows for sure? We never got anywhere near the place. Smoke rose from the island for days after the pirates attacked. Maybe that means the island’s been abandoned, or maybe the abbey burned and the clerics are waiting to rebuild. I don’t know. That’s what you’ve been hired to find out.”

Landing on the sandy shore in the the Skull Dunes, Kosh rolls a natural 20 and continues rolling well to get the party through a large portion of the pirates path without triggering the undead. It does eventually happen and the party fights off a couple of hordes of undead skeletons, skeletal swarms, and a skeletal juggernaut.

Afterwards, they take a short break and continue on to the center of the island where the abbey is located.

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