Shipwrecks and sunken boats are a common enough site along the shores, but not when traveling down a road more than 100 miles from the nearest body of water!
The Jubilant Gazelle was traveling from a world beyond this one to bring a shipment of gunpowder and cannons to a Gnome community (if you are playing in the Forgotten Realms, you can use Gnomengard, has been trying to deal with a White Dragon), when it was set upon by a dragon. While they were able to drive off the dragon, the ship was damaged and crashed.
Most of the Giff were killed on impact, but a small squad of them has scavenged what they could and have camped out on the ridge to the south-east.
Set along a road in a plain or lightly wooded location, this encounter is a drop-in ready random encounter, or can be a part of a quest to rescue or recover the goods the Giff were transporting.
The Crash Site
Nearly 60 feet long, the Jubilant Gazelle featured a single mast with an Ethereal sail that allowd it to navigate in virtually any environment, and until it crashed, it’s enchanted hull granted it a maximum speed of 175 ft (~2 mph). The remains of the ethereal sail, tattered and torn, flutter and flail as though under a strong wind, even though there isn’t much wind when the party arrives.
Both the aft and the forward deck are completely caved in and collapsed from the impact, and clearly the forward deck continued sliding forward digging deep ruts and scraping away the turf.
Scattered among the wreckage are a number of crates and barrels, mostly broken open and the goods within are ruined.
Positioned near the wreckage at the aft deck, and the foreward deck, the Giff survivors have placed a barrel of gunpowder, intending to fire at it if anyone tries to loot the wreckage, preferring to destroy their remaining cargo instead of allowing it to be salvaged.
A DC 15 investigation check will yield signs of tracks that have been clearly disguised leading to the south east ridge, and signs of some large objects being dragged.
Hidden on the ridge line to the south east is an encampment of Giff survivors, comprised of Captain Hayden Cunningham, who is a Giff (Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes), a Giff Sharpshooter, and 3 Giff Crewmen.
The survivors are hostile to anyone who attempts to salvage anything from the ship, holding until the right opportunity. If one or more intruders are within 10 feet of either the gunpowder kegs, the sharpshooter will fire on the keg, causing it to ignore and start to burn. The next round, the keg will explode (30′ radius, 7d6 fire damage, DC 12 Dexterity save for half damage). Afterwards Captain Cunningham will offer Parlay and request that their wreck be left alone. Captain Cunningham would like to hire the group to bring back several wagons to transport the salvage, and his crew to the gnome community, but will also fight to the death to defend them. If the party returns with two wagons, Captain Cunningham will give them 250gp, and a letter of credit for an additional 250gp drawn on the Fraternity of Order, Sigil Headquarters. If pressed, he will provide the name of Aldin Haverschmidt, a Lawful Neutral Human Mage in Baldur’s Gate who will honour the letter of credit (and is also secretly from Sigil, and a member of the Fraternity of Order)
In addition to the remaining survivors here, Captain Cunningham sent an expedition to the gnome community seeking help to haul their remaining cargo. This expedition is comprised of a Giff Sharpshooter, and two Giff Crewmen, and left three days ago.
If you don’t have Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, it turns out the Captain Cunningham didn’t make it; in his place there is an additional Giff Sharpshooter, Alexis Harrison, and two more Giff Crewmen. Alexis is the ranking crew member, and will use the same tactics as Captain Cunningham
With a DC 15 investigation check of the wreckage, they can find a satchel containing a contract with the gnomish community to deliver two cannons, 200 rounds of cannon shot, and 10 kegs of gunpowder. The contract contains details about the community. Bringing the damaged, but repairable cannons and the shot to them would yeild a reward of 500gp, and make the gnomes of the community friendly to the group.
In addition to the firearms the crew has, and the remaining 3 kegs of gunpowder, and approximately 300 rounds of shot, the party find provisions to last several weeks, a small chest containing 300gp, 100 sp, and two books Navigating the Phlogiston, and Atlas of the Crystal Spheres. With access to either of these two books, a player who is making an Arcana check related to the planes can choose to spend an hour researching to gain advantage on the check. The books are work 150gp each if they can find the right buyer, but even trying to sell them may attract interest the adventurers may not want…
In addition to the Giff from Mordenkainen’s Tome of Foes, there are two other types of Giff presented below.
The Giff Crewman is the rank and file crew member of a Giff ship; less skilled and experienced in direct combat, they are still effective, and their knowledge of firearms can make them dangerous opponents. In combat they will often fall back to find cover to make ranged attacks, but once they are in hand to hand combat will work together to flank their opponents.
Giff Sharpshooters are skilled musketmen that prefer to use stealth and range to take out their opponents. Extremely skilled marksmen, they are fond of setting traps, or using Crewmen to lure out targets.
The full resolution maps can be found here