Monday, April 29, 2019

Ships of the California Lost Wastes - An OSR Encounter Or An Encounter Setting For Any OSR Old School Campaign

A wind comes in from the sea,
And rolls through the hollow dark
Like loud, tempestuous waters.
As the swift recurrent tide,
It pours adown the sky,
And rears at the cliffs of night
Uppiled against the vast.

Like the soul of the sea—
Hungry, unsatisfied
With ravin of shores and of ships—
Come forth on the land to seek
New prey of tideless coasts,
It raves, made hoarse with desire,
And the sounds of the night are dumb
With the sound of its passing.

The Soul of the Sea  (1912) 
by Clark Ashton Smith

For most treasure ships seem like something that would be found in a garden variety Dungeons & Dragons game instead these ships are found deep in the deserts & post apocalyptic wastelands of California luring adventurers, cowboys, capes, pulp adventurers, & many others to their deaths.

The small communities around  Lake Cahuilla (also known as Lake LeConte and Blake Sea) in the Great California Wastes experience time mirages that cross space & time itself after the use of the Entropy weapons used during the End War. These communities have been receiving help from Project Over Reach to help reestablish satellite communications & they've reported strange wreckage of ships & other alien craft out in the Great California Waste basins.

The Salton Trough and Colorado River Delta from space

The fishing village of Last Blake has seen an uptick in Morlock raider activity but there have been a number of time lost adventurers who have come looking for the lost vessel of Spanish explorer Juan de Iturbe. Many of these adventurers have strange radiation burns & injuries reportedly having been attacked by giant scorpions, mutant rattle snakes, & worse.

The legends of the Spanish explorer always seem to go like this; 

"This legend may refer to the same ship as the Lost Galleon, but its own story has always placed it in a distinct location, closer to the sand hills west of El Centro, California. Descriptions suggest it is closer to the size of one of Christopher Columbus' small caravels. The pearl ship is rumored to have been seen as recently as the 1970s[citation needed].
The story goes that in 1615, Spanish explorer Juan de Iturbe embarked on a pearl-harvesting expedition, during which his crew sailed a shallow-drafted caravel up the Gulf of California. A high tidal bore carried him across a strait into Lake Cahuilla, a postulated contemporaneous saltwater basin periodically connected to the gulf which was already in the process of drying up permanently. After exploring the lake for several days, Iturbe found himself unable to sail out again, whereupon he beached his craft and made his way back to the nearest Spanish settlement on foot, leaving behind a fortune in black pearls. Sixteenth-century records from New Spain indicate that the De La Cadena family had a pearl-diving monopoly in Baja California.
Iturbe's alleged ship has been seen and lost several times, and there are several stories about it having been looted. A mule driver traveling with the de Anza expeditions through Alta California was said to have removed the pearls in 1774. Around 1917, an El Centro farmer named Jacobsen was said to have found a very small chest of jewels, which he quietly sold in Los Angeles, and to have used timber from the pearl ship to build his pig pens." 
Travelers from an alternative 1900 expedition  timeline deep into the in the wasteland badlands west of Mexicali, Mexico. have reportedly been searching for the Serpent Necked Canoe. They came to the small community of Julian, California, after nearly dying from an encounter with a giant mutant tarantula species. They were following the following legends; "The Viking stories originated around 1900 from the Mexicans and Indians who live in the Colorado River delta region near the Laguna Salada basin. The ship is consistently described as an open boat with round metal shields on its sides in the badlands west of Mexicali, Mexico.
Around 1933, Myrtle Botts, a librarian from Julian, California, had an encounter with an old prospector who showed her photos of what she called a Viking ship. He gave her and her husband directions to the location but an earthquake prevented the Botts from following the prospector's trail to the ship. Julian's Pioneer Museum, which inherited Myrtle Botts' papers, also inherited those directions.
The Julian Pioneer Museum is not in possession of any records regarding the Viking ship mentioned in this story."

The Restorers post apocalyptic faction has been able to telepathically reconstruct most of the data from the scrambled remains of some of the expeditions members after being telepathically attacked by a giant floating mutant head. They reportedly came in contact with a cache of green radioactive diamonds they found scattered on the ground.

Finally there is the tale of two separate expeditions that were found wandering in the desert after brief encounter with the wastes around the Salton Sink has been dried out around the Salton Sea. They have reported a dangerous encounter with monsters, the wreckage of a paddle wheel ship beached in stinking fen & a fevered encounter with a wizard. They had several small caches of gold & jewels but some of the members were insane.

1d20 Random Encounters Out In The Wastelands of California 
  1. 1d6 gunfighters & adventurers on horse back lost & looking for a way back from their nightmare. They are haggard in bad need of water & are completely lost. 
  2. Mutant adventurers armed with bows & arrows on the backs of giant spider like mutants. They are bounty hunters after an alien outlaw. 
  3. 1d10 American first nationer warriors out on a hunting party. They are friendly & armed with guns that do 1d8 points of damage at a range of 50 yards. These are 4th level fighters and not to be trifled with. 
  4. 1d6 desert Gnoll warriors on horse back looking for a raid to cause problems.  They are armed with short bows & long swords. 
  5. 1d6 goblin raiders on giant coyotes they are a hunting party looking to slay humans & eat man flesh for the evening. 
  6. A very pissed off war golem armed with shoulder mounted  heavy crossbows, he's hell bent on revenge for being lost in the wastelands for weeks 
  7. 1d6 human prospectors leading mule train completely unaware that their out of their own time lost element 
  8. Cowboy nearly dead on a mutant horse mount with his pockets stuffed with bones & map to the lost mines Hollywood 
  9. Group of traveling Hollywood silent era  cowboys & production company  on route to a movie location but getting very worried by the moment! 
  10. 1d20 1300 Spanish missionaries from South America on their way to the missions of California but now armed with 1d6 energy weapons they took from a band of mutant marauders that attacked them. Their trigger happy & highly dangerous! 
  11. 1d8 Green Martian warriors on Throats on a raid! 
  12. Green skinned mutant tribesmen on their way to a meeting with another tribe who have food & water to trade. 
  13. 1d8 D&D adventurers of 2nd level who on their way to the ruins of a former wizard but a bit shocked at their surroundings. 
  14. A posse of 1d20 cowboys, lawmen, etc. on the hunt for an escaped fugitive on horse back 
  15. Demon in human disguise looking for an escaped  soul of a damned man 
  16. A female first nationer princess whose escaped a group of orcs from the San Bernadino tribes. She's armed with two crossbows & some ammo but is running out of food & supplies. 
  17. Undead prospector looking for gold & souls! 
  18. Restorers expedition on their own in the middle of the wastes but armed with energy & gun powder weapons. 
  19. 1d20 bandits & marauders on the hunt for victims to murder, rob, & eat. 
  20. 1d10 giant blood sucking mutant hornets in a swarm looking murder their latest meal! 

This is an experiment to see about combining Labyrinth Lord, Mutant Future, Amazing Adventures!, & Astonishing Swordsmen & Sorcerers of Hyperborea into a OSR setting. I'm also throwing in a bit of the free adventure The Wreck of the Anubis byGus LaRu.
I was also thinking of throwing in a wreck or two from Bruce Heard's Calidar 

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