The Swift Sparrow

Haunted caravel


The Swift Sparrow (l’Epervier vif), captained by Bertrand Bretteur, disappeared in 1581 off the coast of Vodacce. Bretteur had kidnapped the recipient of his unrequited love, Bianca Villanova, who took her own life to curse her abductor and his ship to sail the seas eternally and know no rest.

in 1674, the ghost ship manifested to board the Hrvid Siren (White Lilac), captained by Sigrid Kiersted, Vendel captain and associate of Baron Symon von Nebelstreif. The Hrvid Siren was sunk and its crew captured, doomed to join the ghostly crew of the Swift Sparrow.

The players, aboard the Hrvid Siren and on their way to Avalon, refused to submit and managed to break the curse, freeing a grateful Bretteur, and his crew, from the curse.

Now under the players’ control, the Swift Sparrow is a preternaturally fast ship with auto-repair abilities. It it captained by Sigrid Kiersted and crewed by a mixed crew from both the Hrvid Siren and the Swift Sparrow. Baptiste de Louvois, Bretteur’s previous navigator, charismatic and well-liked by the crew, now acts as the ship’s first mate.

Bianca Villanova’s ghost still haunts the ship, whose fate seems to be linked to her own. Indeed, the ship’s speed and general state seems to reflect her emotional state; the happier she is, the better the ship works. In the months that followed the breaking of the curse, a romance has developed between the spectral strega and Sir Terrance Cavendish the Fourth, one of the party members. These newfound emotions have allowed Bianca to assume physical form for short periods of time.


A. Crow’s Nest
Mounted high on the main mast is the Crow’s Nest, a wooden platform that can be used as an observation tower. For protection from the elements, the nest is surrounded by a rail and a canvas screen. The nest will remain unmanned until the presence of the pirates on board is discovered. Entry to the nest can be gained by climbing rope ladders and passing through the Lubbers Hole.

B. Quarter Deck
Mounted in the center of the rectangular quarter deck is a short pole with the handsome figure of a sitting wolf carved into the top. This pole apparently serves as a stanchion to hold the relieving tackle that is still attached to the whipstaff. (The whipstaff being the long tiller that controls the rudder on the starboard side.) Hanging from the front of this pole is a brass lamp and a small cabinet containing a sand glass and a bullocks horn. At the back of the Quarter Deck is a false poop deck, providing shade from the sun.

C. Foc’sle
This overhanging, triangular deck is designed for use by archers. The height advantage and the partial cover provided by the rail and the sloping deck provide an excellent location for using such missile fire against boarding parties.
The room beneath the forecastle apparently serves as the crew’s sleeping quarters, as double rows of hammocks have been rolled up and tied to the walls. In the center, hung between two bits, stands a horizontal windlass with an anchor cable running through the hawsehole. This hole is normally plugged by a hawse bag, but it currently stands open. At the fore is a door leading to the head and the bowsprit.

D. Main Deck
Just aft of midship on this deck stands the main mast. Rope ladders to either side of the mast climb up to the crow’s nest. A storm lantern hangs from a hook on the front of this mast, and currently glows with an eerie green light as a result of the illusion spell. Forward of the mast, on either side of the deck, are windlass pumps with buckets. In front of the mast is a raised, double-winged grill that covers the cargo hold opening. A horizontal capstan, in combination with a block and tackle suspended between the masts, is used to raise or lower the cargo.
From fore and aft, narrow companionways lead down to doors into the lower deck. Open wood steps lead up to the Foc’sle and Quarter decks, with the space underneath the stairs used for the stowage of boarding planks, worn ropes, large wicker shields, and heavy weather canvas. (The wicker shields can be used by the crew as protection from missiles fired by the heroes. They function as +3 DCV shields versus missiles, but will crumble against heavier melee weapons.) The foremast forms part of the Foc’sle, and from here a single rope ladder runs up the mast.

E. Captain’s Quarters
Located on the starboard side, this small but handsomely-decorated cabin is the Captain’s quarters. The majority of this small cabin is occupied by the bunk. Three shuttered windows provide a view of the surrounding waters. A polished brass Astrolabe, the prize from some past capture, is hung prominently from the inner wall. Also hanging from the wall is an extra sword and scabbard, foul-weather gear, an oil painting of a Lord, and two tri-cornered hats.
Drawers beneath the bunk contain most of the Captain’s clothing and personal possessions, including captured finery; long leather boots; wide belts; and books on navigating the western shores, great sea battles, provisioning ships, and an illustrated guide to swordsmanship. At the back of the cabin is an exquisite sea chest with multiple drawers containing 21 pieces of gold, several strings of pearls, a fine emerald clasp, two silver bracelets, a fine hand mirror, several gold earrings, and a shark’s tooth necklace.

F. Mate’s Quarters
This small cabin on the port side is normally the quarters for the First Mate. However, Ohra Ghulard has been using this room for her activities. As a result, the place has a most unpleasant odor, and is decorated with necromantic oddities. Most of the narrow room is occupied by a bunk. There is also a foot locker containing most of Ohra’s garb and some personal possessions, but nothing of significant value or interest. However, a hidden panel behind the bunk is used to keep Ohra’s operating funds safe from the pirates. It currently contains 128 silvers in a leather pouch.
Rows of slotted shelves along the outer wall contain coastal navigation maps, many little more than rough sketches. These have either been purchased in Port Regency or stolen during pirate raids. A small wood table will unhook and fold down from this wall, turning the quarters into a chart room. Three shuttered windows on the outside provide illumination.

G. Bosun’s Stores
Located at the closed, triangular area in the bow of the lower deck is the Bosun’s Stores. This dark room serves as a storage area for supplies needed to operate the ship. In the niche before the door stands the scuttle butt, a water-filled barrel with a dipping spoon. On a ledge beside the door is a tallow-dip lamp that is usually kept lit.
Hung from pegs along the walls is a variety of ropes for different rigging, plus hemp rope, rope yarn, and frayed oakum ends. Stacked in bundles along the sides are spare sheets, materials and tools for patching tears in the fabric, and the customary black pirate pennants to signal no quarter given. The room also contains pulleys, buckets, stiff-bristled brooms, holystones, sounding leads, grease pots, barrels and pots of pitch, boxes of resin, tallow for lamps, oil jugs, oakum strips, boxes of scupper nails, lead sheets for sealing leaks, crates of fire wood for the stove, and fishing line and hooks on hand frames.
Shelves along the inner wall contain a collection of poorly maintained carpenter’s tools, including a hatchet, reaming iron, calipers, brace and bits, pincers, auger, hand saws, cauling iron, draw knife, chisels, adze, gouges, mallet, sledge hammer, crowbar, and several common hammers. Several of these tools will serve as weapons in a pinch.

H. Galley
This busy room is obviously the galley. The sides and back are lined with fenced shelves choked with all manner of pots, kettles, tankards, glasses, bowls, dishes, and cutlery. The center is occupied by a copper-plated work bench covered by some chopped food bits, two cutting knives, and slop. Beneath the bench is a bowl of slush, bottles of garlic and olive oil, and a portable iron firebox that can be carried on deck to cook food.

I. Food Storage
Opposite the galley is the food storage locker. This unlit, shelf-lined larder is used to store food supplies during the summer raiding period. Although much of the ship’s stock has been off loaded, there are still a respectable number of such containers present.
Inside can be found sacks of hard biscuit and rice; a canvas bag of smoked bacon hanging from the ceiling; casks of salted meat, flour, and fish; bags of chick peas and lentils; a jar of honey; sacks of rice; a box of almonds, a barrel of pigs bones; earthenware jugs of wine and vinegar; hard cheese wrapped in canvas; and jars of raisins and sweetmeat. However, some of the food supplies are wormy and rancid. There are also several small barrels of fresh water, two of which have been unknowingly fouled.

J. Aft Quarters
This room at the aft part of the ship has been cleared as sleeping quarters for additional pirate’s crew. Most of the hammocks have been bundled against the walls, but there are six hammocks strung from the ceiling. Low cabinets stand against the sides, containing the clothing and meager possessions of the reduced pirate crew. From here, stairs lead up to the main deck, a door opens to the armory. There are two port holes to port and starboard.

K. Port Storage
This small room is currently used for storing assundry souvenirs stolen by the pirates during their raids. There are many articles of clothing including finery, two somewhat battered oil paintings, a bronze vase, bottles of scented bath water, a five-ringed iron ornament, two matching marble statuettes of a rearing horse, a crate filled with assorted oddities, several candles in a box, and a heap of banners, broken mast heads, and other ornaments.

L. Starboard Storage
Another small storage room, primarily used as a brig for holding hostages. There are two hammocks, a bucket, and a dirty blanket hung from a peg. Currently the room is also being used to stow some fire wood.

M. Armory
Behind the aft quarters is a secondary storage room that has been converted into an armory for the crew. The weapon selection is somewhat limited as most of the land-based pirates have already armed themselves from this room. Nevertheless, there are several spears, a pair of spiked clubs, dozens of poor quality knives, two casting nets, several sheafs of low grade arrows, a broken shield, grappling hooks, and a bronze falchion which apparently once had several inset stones.
While the Necromancer is on board, the Mate has been making this tight space his private quarters. His hammock is stowed in the wall space, and a sea chest of his clothing and some personal artifacts still stands against the port side. The room is stuffy and barely illuminated by two small port holes.

N. Cargo Hold
The lowest portion of the ship serves as the hold, an area normally used for stowing cargo and ballast. At the moment, however, the hold is nearly empty, save for several stacks of the remaining crates of corpses. Besides the two masts, the hold is split by three stanchions that provide support for the lower deck. A rectangular opening between the hold and the main deck allows the cargo to be loaded and unloaded. A single companionway leads up to the lower deck, aft of the galley, while a ladder climbs to the main deck.

O. Bilge
This narrow space between the hold and the ships hull is nearly completely flooded, as the pumps have not been manned since the grounding. A hatch in the floor of the hold allows access. The place is dark and damp, with a horrid smell caused by bad air and dumping of wastes. Nests along the sides are home to several packs of rats, all thin from starvation. While it is possible for a human to crawl through this space, there is little of interest.

The Swift Sparrow

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