Wherein your humble scribe presents three characters and a monster for Tunnels & Trolls. I believe tapas is in order…
In the late summer of 1526 the Spanish explorer Martin Hidalgo Guadalupe Ramirez y Sanchez set sail for Hispaniola from Seville with but a single caravel (the Santa Inez) and a small number of men, which was all the dwindling fortunes of his family could afford. The ultimate goal of the Hidalgo expedition was, of course, to discover as much information about (and plunder as much gold from) the New World as possible. The ship and its crew never reached Santo Domingo and was presumed lost at sea. At the time it was theorized that the ship may have encountered Hurricane San Francisco, which later caused significant damage across Hispaniola.
The tragic loss of he expedition would likely have faded into history but for the “reappearances” – three in total, spread out over the course of more than a century – of men who claimed to be survivors of the ill-fated voyage of the Santa Inez. The first of these men, a middle-aged Spaniard who called himself Juan Albano De Urquiza, “reappeared” in Madrid in 1539, telling tales of a terrible storm that “swept the Santa Inez into the skies themselves” and her safe arrival upon shores where “the snakes walked like men and devils mined gold from the earth.” De Urquiza expired from an unknown illness shortly after telling his tale to a number of sailors at a dockside taverna in Málaga.
The second reaparecido surfaced in 1588 in London. Upon his deathbed, Theodorus Van Waerwijk – a wealthy Dutch merchant who had only recently set up shop in England, confessed to an unnamed Anglican priest that his vast fortune came not from hard work but from the hands of snakes and devils he met “after Saint Agnes delivered me to that other world.” So vivid were Van Waerwijk’s descriptions that the priest entered them into the church’s records as proof of the power of Satan over the minds of even the most righteous of men. How it came to be that these words appeared several times within a series of Irish broadside ballads in the 1790s is unknown.
The story of the final person to claim connection to the Hidalgo Expedition is perhaps the unlikeliest of all. In August of 1692, at the height of the Salem Witch Trials, a “deshevel’d and derrang’d man who spoketh both in tonnegues and in the language of the Portugal” appeared out of thin air on the streets of Boston. Jose Marcelo Teixeira, as he was finally identified, was at that time a mere 19 years of age, exhibited innumerable strange behaviors and is reported to have “called upone the names of demons and cast spelles of a magickal nature.” These accusations most certainly led to his inclusion amongst those who were hanged during that dark stretch. Before he was executed, however a sympathetic old sailor who had settled in Salem and spoke a small amount of Portuguese recorded several conversations with Teixeira, the written notes of which were discovered amongst the personal effects of some distant relative only within the past decade. In these notes, the terrified and tormented Teixeira details a land similar to that described by both De Urquiza and Van Waerwijk, including references to walking snakes and devils under the hills.
Juan Albano De Urquiza / Warrior / Human / 1
STR 10 CON 13 DEX 11 SPD 16
INT 13 WIZ 12 LK 11 CHR 12
Height 5′ 11″ Weight 170 lbs.
Adventure Points 0
Combat Adds +3
Talents Navigation (+4)
Languages Spanish, Hissanthi
Cutlass (3+3), Dagg (5+15), Cuirass (10), Open-face Helm (4)
Theodorus Van Waerwijk / Warrior / Human / 1
STR 10 CON 10 DEX 8 SPD 11
INT 17 WIZ 10 LK 14 CHR 8
Height 5′ 1″ Weight 250 lbs.
Adventure Points 0
Combat Adds +2
Talents Trading (+3)
Languages Dutch, Spanish, English, Hissanthi
Gladius (3+2), Arquebus (8+30), Cuirass (10), Open-face Helm (4)
Jose Marcelo Teixeira / Paragon / Human / 2
STR 15 CON 16 DEX 13 SPD 12
INT 21 WIZ 15 LK 15 CHR 14
Height 5′ 8″ Weight 180 lbs.
Adventure Points 0
Combat Adds +7
Magic Will-o-Wisp, Got A Match?, Psychic Compass
Talents Seamanship (+4), Singing (+1)
Languages Portuguese, Spanish, French, Hissanthi
Broadsword (3+4), Buckler (6), Cuirass (10), Open-face Helm (4)
Monster Rating: 30-130
Combat Dice: 4d6+15 to 14d6+65
Special Damage: 1/2 – Hissanthi are vicious fighters; 4/Poison Bite – Hissanthi possess a caustic venom that does 2d6 damage directly to Strength (no armor) if it is delivered.
Special Abilities: The scaly hide of Hissanthi acts as 5 point armor.
Hissanthi are the snake-men native to that other world where the Lost Expedition of Martin Hidalgo found themselves after the Santa Inez was lost at sea. Some Hissanthi know a few spells, but mostly they are not given to magic use.
This is fascinating. Weaving historical tidbits in with Age-of-Sail fantasy. I especially like the mixing of exotic firearms with magic beasties, a hallmark of classic T & T.
Thanks, G-Man. I’m glad it interests you. I normally don’t dig mixing guns and fantasy, but I happened to be flipping through T&T and actually stopped to look at the “Gunnes” entry. And then this little scenario/setting thing snuck up behind me and whacked me on the head. When I woke up the next day, I found that I’d written this 🙂