As a group my in-person game has headed back to the Skull and Shackles and we are having an absolute ball! The party finds it refreshing due to the self paced nature of the game and I love this particular module Raiders of the Fever Sea due to the non-linear approach that the game offers up for the GM to run it.
|The current module (image from Paizo.com)|
The players have found themselves agents of their own destiny now that they have control of their own ship and are free to raid just outside of the Shackles. They eventually want to seek permission to join the ranks of the pirates of the Shackles but need to build themselves a reputation before the pirate council will even consider them able to raid the more fruitful areas. Thus the players have been sailing the Fever Sea raiding sea side villages and attacking ships on the open water in acts of piracy.
The group are yet to hit a major settlement to build their Infamy, a score that relates to respect in the pirating community but they have certainly been conducting acts that will allow for that to be built in the long run. Last night they saved a pirate crew from being burnt to death, locked in their hold by a Cheliax pirate hunter and the ship burnt down. They then captured a ship of the Aspis Consortium and rather than risk reprisals from the Aspis sent the crew into the hold and set that ship alight so none survived the encounter to tell the tale.
The mini-game that allows for ship to ship battles is awesome and while at this level only uses two ships as a whole the game will open up as the group gathers more ships. The crew are now sailing in a merchant ship from Absalom and have sent the Black Promise (formerly the Man’s Promise) to Bloodcove to be sold off. The crew and Captain have begun to experiment with tactics that are having an impressive effect. The Vishkanya rogue places herself in the crows nest and attempts to snipe the Captain as they close in. The Necromancer/Oracle is making good use of spectral hand and blindness spells once the ship is grappled.
The Summoner is beginning to find his feet as he is using his spells to buff his Eidolon who runs into battle whilst he launches javelins from the rigging. The captain (a ranger) in combination with his leopard are a force to be reckoned with as he leads from the front, hurling his trident and fighting with two short-swords.
As a GM I am getting a huge amount of enjoyment out of watching the players in this game. Seeing them take on their roles on the ship and work out how they are most effective. Watching the joy as they get to investigate the holds of captured ships for plunder and the quartermaster so wrapped up in lists of inventory! This module really does give the players a sense that they are out and about in an open sandbox and I simply look at them and go, what is up tonight? Fantastic stuff. It is hard to believe that they are close to sixth level and there are only really another eight levels to take them through before the series is over.
|The props getting a good workout!|
I am also seriously enjoying this as we are finally at the point where we are using the props that I made on a regular basis. We pull out the boat several times a night to have the battles depicted and it is great. Seeing the model get so much use is exactly what I wanted, though I did note I need to do some maintenance on it last night!
I still think that this series rates as my favourite Adventure Path (AP). Admittedly I have not had time to read Wrath of the Righteous yet and the Curse of the Mummies Mask sounds intriguing but this is the AP that I was always going to love. It hearkens back to my time as a kid on school holidays when they would show all the old adventure movies on TV including those wonderful pirate movies like Treasure Island. Also, I swallow the pulp pirate books whole and I loved them.
Also, this AP is so well set up that each module tends to give a real reward to the players so they get a massive boost in confidence and a desire to move on. The game has been on hiatus for a while but I can really see the players beginning to get the taste for it. Three of the group have recently watched a show called Black Sails that I am trying to find for legal download to watch as it sounds just like what I need to spice things up in game.
Anyway, I am done with my unabashed drooling over this game. But seriously, if you only ever play one Pathfinder AP, take a look at this one! Until next time, keep rolling!