Game Master: As you move along the beach, taking care to avoid angry and bloodthirsty sea gulls, you spot the wreckage of a pier in the distance. Its jutting and broken polls stick out from the ocean like the pilings in Paul Sheldon’s fevered visions at the beginning of the novel Misery, by Stephen King. And just like those pilings, which were a grand metaphor for Sheldon’s broken legs, these polls can no longer support any weight up them. Some of the pier, however, remains intact. For how much longer, you don’t know. It ends in a frayed mess of timber like Annie Wilkes’ sanity…
Player 1: What the hell are you talking about?
Player 2: And don’t you mean “boardwalk?”
Game Master: No. I mean “pier.” One’s lengthwise along the beach and other…
Player 1: Do we see anything under the boardwalk?
Player 2 [Singing]: “Under the boaaardwaalk, down by the sea-e-e yeah…”
Game Master: “No. It’s a pier. A pier…”
What’s Under the Ruined Pier? Roll 1d8
- The obligatory dead hobo who possesses an empty wine bottle and 1d2 copper pieces.
- An obligatory live hobo, who is also a 5th level wizard fallen on hard times. If he can, he uses his one remaining spell, sleep, to knock the PC’s unconscious and rob them of their stuff.
- A troll. What kind of troll? Roll 1d6: 1. Cave; 2. Two-headed; 3. Spectral; 4. Aquatic (Scrag); 5. Sea Zombie; 6. Internet.
- A recent college graduate, trying to save money to pay off his student loans by living under the pier.
- Bits of ship wreckage. Painted on the remnants of a wooden bow are the words: SEA GHOST.
- A mermaid.
- A harpy.
- A message in a bottle. Roll 1d4: 1. An SOS; 2. A Dear John Letter; 3. It reads: THIS. WILL. HURT. YOU. Explosive Runes spell for 6d6 damage. 4. A treasure map (Roll on the MAP TABLE on page 120 in the AD&D Dungeon Masters Guide to determine what kind of map)
The pictures show the remains of Springmaid Pier in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. In October 2016, Hurricane Matthew demolished most of the structure.
As of the last weekend in March, when I went to Myrtle Beach for a conference, the storm damage to the Hilton Doubletree Hotel and the area had been cleaned up. They still didn’t allow people onto the what was left of the pier.
It was a sunny day, but chilly. I’d expected spring breakers to be running around, but the weather kept them away. Too windy and rainy for most of the weekend. And the Atlantic Ocean was so cold it numbed my feet after wading in it for a few minutes.
Otherwise, Myrtle Beach was a fun little resort. We went to Broadway on the Beach and the Aquarium. I regret not having more time to explore and check out the local gaming scene.
Tip: If you ever go to Myrtle Beach, learn the back roads and streets to get in, out, and around the town quickly. Avoid Highway 501 if you can help it.
Finally, here’s a random pictures of an A-10 Warthog at the nearby war memorial.