We hit the Skull and Shackles campaign last night again. It is still nicely in “sandbox” mode so the players are calling the punches and I am just throwing them! Last night they decided that after their massive haul of four barrels of fish from the trawler they managed to run down that they would instead try their luck along the coast and attempt to bring in some slaves to sell at port.
|The Black Promise got a workout last night|
They were pretty far out to sea so I decided that it would take them a full two days to return to the coast to look for villages. It was lucky that I had done some prep for this and ran through some random encounters. My dice were running hot and it looked as though the players were in for a particularly busy couple of days! It all kicked off with an absolutely horrendous roll on the random encounters as a swarm of six saltwater merrows hit the Black Promise just after noon.
The group had already taken on a marrow or two but they were freshwater creatures and much smaller to their saltwater cousins. The saltwater version made this around a CR 11 encounter for our 4th level players. I would bring all 6 to the table and see if they had an answer to the challenge though. The first step saw three of the merrows board the bow section as three others surfaced near the stern section of the ship. Seeing these 20′ monstrosities Captain Lem immediately ordered the ship to full speed. With a successful sailing check the ship surged forward and became just too fast for the three merrows in the water to be able to get themselves on board.
|The module they are currently playing|
A good start but unfortunately for Daranis, the necromantic first mate he was attacked early and fell unconscious with a couple of well placed blows and grappled as well. A fierce combat began with intimidation and fear spells used to great effect. The creatures have poor will saves and Major, Claude’s Eidolon also followed up with some great skirmish manoeuvres. One of the merrows suffered an awful critical fumble which knocked out its claw attacks (we use the icrit and ifumble apps for Pathfinder) so it fled the ship. Another of the merrows attempted a little bit of an acrobatic action and failed his roll, dropping into the water and that left only one.
This one was surrounded by opponents. Captain Lem, Rosie Cusswell, Claude, Major and Sandara Quinn. Sandara unfortunately got grappled early and as it was a near impossibility for her to escape its grip I decided that she would attempt to use the Ultimate Combat called shot rules to attempt to strike the creature in the eye while she was so high. Unfortunately she never landed a blow. The battle raged on and as the creature continued to harm Sandara her companions tried desperately to free her. Captain Lem eventually got snatched up as well at the same time that Sandara finally fell unconscious. It was Major to the rescue who laid the “killing” blow and the merrow fell to the deck.
|The lookout spots the sharks|
The fall put Captain Lem on 1 hit point, but it killed Sandara. The players rushed forward to save their Cleric only to find she had drawn her last breath. This is a major blow to the party as Sandara was their major source of healing. Daranis can offer some minor healing ability but it is minor and so the party will need to address this in the near future. The party then gave Sandara a sea burial in the evening as a strange cold snap overcame the ship. As they committed her to the sea a giant moray eel surfaced and swallowed her body whole (another random encounter) which caused the Captain and crew to feel as if Besmara had agreed with their actions and would lift the unnatural cold.
The morning had a return to temperature and the ship continued its journey to shore. Just as they reached sight of land on the horizon one of the lookouts called down a strange sight. There were five sharks following the ship in formation! What is more it seemed as if they were gaining on the ship even though they were at top speed. Claude, the Master at Arms called the ship to alert and the Captain was awoken and the situation was assessed. Daranis sent out his new familiar Pluck (a parrot) and Claude sent Major out to see what was happening. Both replied that they simply looked like sharks. There was a deal of nervousness still as Claude said that some weird stuff had gotten on board recently and so Skye was called on to shoot one. She succeeded well which caused the five sharks to head under water.
|Even under full sail they could not pull away
from the were shark boarding party
Major was sent down once again and as the creatures closed on the ship the Eidolon saw their bodies ripple and change into a hybrid human/shark form. Claude made the call after sharing senses with his Eidolon that they were indeed shark men as the opponents leapt on board! The sharks were there to take over the ship and a fierce battle raged on. Captain Lem lost his animal companion (a leopard named Nightmare) to a critical hit from a trident and fought a slow battle with three of the creatures. Skye and Claude fought two of them. In the long run the were sharks were defeated but Captain Lem and Claude were reduced to unconsciousness. Daranis and Skye caused the remaining creatures to be defeated with a combination of arms and magic used nicely.
The players are now ready to ply the coast for slaves as we head to next week. The Captain has decided that he wants to get their infamy up to around the 10 point level before he attempts to “crack the rock” and so there still needs to be some pirating done. The players all levelled up to level 5 at the end of the night and so are busy levelling up their characters. Next week we will not be playing Skull and Shackles as +scott desmond will be unable to join us so I put out an offer of FATE Core, or Atomic Highway, Lords of Gossamer and Shadow so we will see what the rest of us end up playing as a one off next week. There was the suggestion that I run a follow on game for the Serpent Skull characters but I am not too keen to do this without the full group of players present. We will see what happens! Keep rolling.