Great work, gentlemen -- a veritable explosion of creative collaboration in this thread! I have my own Brigand's Bay development that I have on the shelf for a future development. It goes like this:
THE SEA-WOLF’S DAUGHTER
By Jeff Talanian
An Adventure in HYPERBOREA
For 4–6 Characters of 5th through 7th Levels
© 2014, North Wind Adventures, LLC
Mission: Rescue a Viking chieftain’s daughter.
Location: Blackbeard’s Isle, a small island in Brigand’s Bay, an inlet lined with the petty holdings of thieves, outlaws, and other villainous men.
Presently: The player characters (PCs) dine in the hall of a petty kinglet known as Björn Blackbeard. He has abducted Gunnhildr, the daughter of Ragnarr “The Sea-Wolf”, a Viking chieftain, and he intends to marry her when Selene (the larger of Hyperborea’s two moons) is next full. The young woman is somewhere in the compound. She must be rescued. Meantime, some 40 bloodthirsty Vikings, including Ragnarr himself, lie in wait, hidden in a nearby gulch.
Background (Read or Paraphrase to the Players): Ragnarr “The Sea-Wolf” is Viking of Hyperborea, a jarl from New Vinland. Ragnarr’s land is fertile, his flocks plentisome, his grain stores abundant. His steading is strong, a coastal village hemmed in by a wall of timber and stone. His dragons (Viking longships) number three, and he commands some 400 or more Vikings – thewy, broad-chested men, long-limbed women, and hardy children.
Ragnarr’s best years, are long behind him. One of his tree-trunk legs is locked at the knee, he lost his right hand to a dire wolf, and he lost an eye in a blood feud knife duel. Notwithstanding, Ragnarr is yet mighty; with his one good arm he could snap the neck of any fighting Kelt. How many Vikings of 68 years can boast the same?
Ragnarr has known many triumphs and defeats. His most devastating loss occured 19 years ago when his wife, Geira, took up the shield and spear as faceless devils, inky-black and winged, assaulted the steading from the sky, swarming like bats. One of the abominations lifted Geira from the ground and dropped her to her grisly death. Ragnarr’s Vikings ultimately drove off the otherworldly horrors, but the toll was heavy. Ragnarr never married again.
But before her untimely death, Geira gave Ragnarr a daughter. Gunnhildr became the apple of The Sea-Wolf’s eye, and as the years passed she blossomed into a rare beauty – tall, with long, lean legs, golden locks, ice-blue eyes, and a dimpled smile to melt the heart of any man. Jarls far and wide desired her for a wife or a son’s wife, but despite all the lavish offers, Ragnarr could not bear to let her go.
Most recently, a lowly, self-annointed kinglet from Brigand’s Bay arrived, a swarthy, pock-faced half-Viking called Björn Blackbeard, who claimed to be not only noble-blooded and rich, but gifted by Xathoqqua with powers divine. He offered a king’s ransom for the girl, but Ragnarr went into a rage, offended by the villain’s brash impudence and the leering gaze directed at his daughter. Blackbeard was ousted. That night, Gunnhildr disappeared.
Now, for the past three weeks, Ragnarr has conducted a desperate search to find his lost daughter. In Brigand’s Bay he crossed sails with a foe of old, and a bloody battle ensued. Of his three score Vikings, Ragnar lost a score. But from the lips of a dying enemy he learned the location of Blackbeard’s hideout.
Enter the PCs: How the PCs got involved with Ragnarr is up to the referee. Perhaps he rescued them from that enemy ship. Perhaps he met them shortly after, eager to bolster his own depleted crew. In any case, the old Viking knows that Blackbeard’s forces nearly double his own, and that his compound is secure. A frontal assault would be impossible – and it would endanger Gunnhildr.
The PCs, presenting as capable swordsmen and/or sorcerers, are relative unknowns in the conflict, so enlisting their aid was an easy decision. Ragnarr has offered 8,000 gp in gems and jewelery (the varied spoils of Viking many raids) to enter Björn Blackbeard’s compound under the guise of mercenaries seeking employment. They must then find out where the girl is, rescue her, and bring her to the forested gulch where Ragnarr and his 40 Vikings lie in wait. A simple task, right?