Whales come from hell--everyone knows that. They swim up from the blackest abysses. They are formed from the souls of gluttons, who's insatiable hunger inevitably led their swollen bodies back to the light of the living lands, where they can feed on the living. Either way, two things are certain:
- They have magic.
- They can speak.
Their voices are deep and grinding things, like a thousand teeth being pulverized in a mill beneath the earth. They speak from fog or from darkness, never allowing the ships a chance for a free harpoon. They speak eldrune (the language of the ancient elves) but blaspheme in common gospeltongue.
Why Hunt Whales?
I'm going to steal from Dunkey here, so don't click that link if you want to continue to believe me capable of original thought.
Each whale yields up 4 resources when butchered. A failed Whaling or Butchery check yields up only half of the possible bounty.
Flesh - 1d6+6 Whalesteaks
Each whalesteak counts as a week's rations. No amount of cooking skill can improve the disgusting taste of whale.
Bone - Ribules equal to the number of whalesteaks.
Whaleribs can be made into armor and clothing that can safely contort the wearer to an impossible degree. You could make whalebone armor that--when properly tightened--squeezes your torso to be twice as long and half as wide. You could craft a whalebone collar that rotates your head backwards.
Sidebar: these are called caitiffettes in Noth, where they are forcibly applied to those who fled from battle. The collars are constructed in such a way that they decapitate the wearer if they are removed.
Whale Oil - 3d6+10 Flasks of Whale Oil
The most sought-after oil available, whale oil sells for 10 times the price of regular lamp oil. All sorts of spectacular powers have been attributed to it (most of which are false). It does, however, smell pleasant and offer an even flame.
Spermaceti - 2d6-3 Chunks of Uprocessed Head-Melon
Processed by perfumers, a chunk of head-melon can be turned into a flask of spermaceti, which is very valuable as perfume. If the chunks are instead processed by a high level psychonaut, they can be used to make odochrysm. Odochrysm has two uses:
- Perfectly lucid dreaming, including entering the dreams of others who are sleeping adjacent to you.
- Regaining a lost MD.
Level 1d6+6 (Same as Flesh and Bone, above) Armor none
Bite 2d20 Ram 1d6 (ship)
Int 10 Dis malevolent
All whales have 1d3 special abilities. The first ability is always summon wave, but the others are random.
1. Summon Wave - All unsecured items are knocked off a ship. People on the ship must succeed on Strength checks to avoid being washed off. Has a chance to deposit sea creatures onboard (see Tritonspawn Table below). Usable every 1d4 turns.
2. Albino - Anyone who damages a scarback whale and does not kill it before the next full moon will die in an unfortunate accident soon. This is common knowledge to all sailors.
3. Whirlpool - Deals 1d6 nonlethal damage to the ship each round (successful sailing check for half damage). (Nonlethal damage to a ship heals after combat, and is usually just flooding). The only escape from the whirlpool is to cut the lines.
4. Seagull Symbiotes - Seagull swarm (Lv 3, Swarm Immunities, 1d4 damage to up to 3 targets). They live inside its blowhole.
5. Aquakinesis - Capable of entrapping the ship under a "hill" of water. The ship is basically held underwater until the whale releases it.
6. Sonic Blast - Everyone takes 1d6 sonic damage and begins to hallucinate. A save cuts the damage in half and negates the hallucination.
7. Siren Song - All who hear it must save or jump into the ocean.
8. Storm of Rage - Ship takes 1d6 damage (Sailing check for half). Transports you 1d3-1 (min 0) hexes in a random direction (potentially causing you to lose your bearings).
9. Summon another whale.
10. Whale hermit. This whale's left eye has been replaced with a glass cage. Living inside the cage is a scrim-wizard of Level 1d4+1. They'll crawl out once the whale is wounded. Sample spells: water to ice, magnesis, fog, warp wood, heal whale.
11. Runic. Has a spell carved into it's back by an absent scrim-wizard. (See above for sample spells.)
12. Favored Pet of the Sea King. Wearing a harness of gold and chalcedony worth 1000s. This counts as a treasure. Killing this whale will have consequences.
13. Mock Whale. A ruse of the merfolk. Once harpooned, the false whale splits open
14. Claimed Whale. Already harpooned and dragging a barrel, with the barrel's colors indicating the whaling ship that has claimed this whale. 50% chance that the other whaling ship shows up shortly.
15. Carrion Whale. Undead. Being eaten by 2d6 sharks. It is currently swimming to a secret cove, where minions of the Necromancer King stand ready to transport it back to their master. It will form one of the legs of the Colossus.
1 - Giant Crab (Lv 4, plate, 1d10)
2 - 2d4 Sea Snakes (Lv 1, leather, 1d4+poison)
3 - Giant Squid (Lv 5, unarmored, 1d6+grapple, will attempt to flee with a meal)
4 - 1d6 Drowned Men (50% chance of being Lv 2 Undead, 50% regular corpses)
5 - Sea Jelly (as a Lv 6 black pudding, only damaged by fire)
6 - 3d6 delicious, ordinary fish. As rations (except they're still flopping around). 1-in-20 chance of getting a golden wishing fish that will grant a wish if caught and then released. Hurry! Catch it before it flops off the deck.
|Faroe Island Whalers|
How to Catch a Whale
I'm not sure about the exact details, but it'll have to have a few steps, each of which will have to have some interesting choices to make.
Finding a Whale
Choose between safe (staying close to shore) and risky (more distant waters). Maybe younger/older whales frequent different waters, so that you have some control over what level whale you want to hunt.
Harpooning a Whale
Use as much of the combat ruleset as possible. The whale might not be able to attack PCs directly (if they're on the deck), but it can still damage the boat, pull them out into deeper water, or attract unwanted attention.
Regular Hexcrawl Considerations
And there's always the issue of: how long do we want to stay out here, vs returning to a safe port. If resources deplete in a predictable way, this is a trivial calculation to make, so of course we need to have resources that deplete irregularly. Maybe food is supplemented by fishing and water by rain.
I remember that post... weird to look back at all the dead images now. Still dream about expanding Moby Dick into a whole setting.ReplyDelete
Bonus evil whales: https://abookofcreatures.com/category/illhveli/ReplyDelete
I had a very similar idea for one of my home settings. The whales were intelligent and aggressive, and they were worshipped as gods by island people, who would armor the whales and accompany them with catamaran flotillas to engage in piracy. People called them "leviathans," and it took the players quite some time to even realize they were what the players know as whales.ReplyDelete
No magic or diabolical origins, though. Just asshole cetaceans doing their thing.
If whales come from hell, giant squid fall from heaven. Mostly they successfully dive into the ocean, but sometimes they, uh, miss? And go splat. It's very sad. But then we have a calamari buffet. So??ReplyDelete
This explains the mitre.Delete
There's something so... eldritch about whales. Well captured in this post, i feelReplyDelete
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Okay real talk now I have to know: are you the inspiration for *a spell called Catherine*?Delete
My god, if the Catherine spell was real people would absolutely use her for marketing. Tons of spells would, actually. We would get so sick of magic mouth.Delete
Concept: ghosts forced into servitude as advertisers.Delete
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Freaking love the idea, need to add this ASAP. Thanks for sharing.ReplyDelete