Last Tuesday night was a long game of Pathfinder that involved two of the players attempting to sneak on board a pirate ship to find out exactly what they were up against. The attempt went belly up and the two that went to the ship were killed while the two that attempted to save them barely got out alive. It was the first major crushing defeat for the players and one that left them with some clear pointers to issues on board the ship.
It was an unfortunate setup for the party as the pirate ship was actually moored where the players were headed as they were discussing a contract with a Sahuagin chief to capture and kill the players as well as return a valued necklace. The idea for the party was to have the vishkanya assassin creep on board the vessel and (a Junk) find out what was going on and how they should handle it. She also traveled with the parties summoner who offered her a boost up with his Eidolon which with 20/20 hindsight may have solved a lot of the following complications.
|The Blackheart awaits the signal to attack|
You see, the assassin decided she was going to climb the side just to eliminate any sound that could occur. She is renowned for falling from great heights so the next part should not shock anyone, she got almost to the point she needed to be and then needed to make a short climb along an under-hang to a window and she was home free. It was the under-hang that was her undoing and she fell to the sea, failing her swimming roll also so the fine dive turned into a back slapping splash.
This drew the crew to the side of the ship but instead of diving for cover the assassin decided to attempt to bluff the guards and called for help! Well, a longboat was dispatched and she was collected. At least one of the pirates believed her to be a mermaid (for why else would ladies be raining from the sky on a remote uninhabited (apart from Sahuagin) island. It all went down hill from there.
A battle started when the Captain pulled apart the assassin’s story. The Captain (as it so happens) was a skilled 9th level Sorcerer and when battle was joined she realised the danger presented by the Summoner and Eidolon and dealt with the Summoner first. The other two back on the ship furled their sails to come rushing in to save the pair but they found actually having a “skeleton” crew which the Necromancer prided so much was like asking a bunch of pre-schoolers to build a nuclear bomb. They do not go so well.
|The Thresher: the Junk that the Blackheart sought to take on|
Finally, when the ships finally met the Summoner was down but not dead and the assassin was dead. They then found that when a crew of 30 or so skeletons are met with a force of 20 or so buccaneers with a couple of fighter levels to their name the skeletons soon turn into bone dust and most of the buccaneers live to tell the tale.
Of course (as you can tell from yesterday’s post) the sorcerer was blinded by this stage and so her First Mate took the opportunity and her ship began to leave without her (such is a pirate’s lot in life). The sorcerer did what she could by summoning a couple of giant scorpions on board the ship (one of these in the end decapitated the Summoner – we use the critical hit deck from Paizo) but the fight was lost for her and she knew it.
With the Necromancer and her the only two souls still conscious on board the ship she took her own life as the Necromancer was reduced to rapier attacks and crossbow shots. It truly was a death by a thousand cuts so with pride she took her own life.
The take home messages that I think the party should look at here are the following;
- The group needs to think about their pirating abilities. Sure a ship of skeletons is eerie and unsettling but if an experienced crew is attacked by them the skeletons go down quick.
- Skeletons have no skills so they really suck at doing anything that requires skill – like sailing a ship
- They needed to look at their roles as a group
- Protect the summoner and buff the Eidolon
- They seriously needed a way to heal
- They seriously needed a damage dealer
|Captain Daranis the Necromancer was left with a sword in hand to finish