We played the Skull and Shackles again last night after a fortnight off. The players had swung the ship in close to the shore in an effort to find a native village that they could steal away some slaves in. I started following the details on their chances for this and the players got locked into two days of random encounters but no sign of a village. The villagers along the Slithering Coast have spent a lot of time being raided and know a thing or two about concealing their location it would seem!
|The Black Promise saw some use last night|
The first random encounter worked well with Captain Lem as last game saw his jaguar (or leopard or big cat of some form) Nightmare killed in a battle. Captain Lem locked himself away for a day to meditate on receiving his next animal companion. A chimpanzee (big chimpanzee actually) who is to be called Good Monkey! Well, I had a random encounter ready with a seaweed leshy that I had no idea how I was going to include and this gave me the perfect opportunity.
The Captain was called from the cabin as his crew call out about some “plunder” floating in the sea near the ship. On arriving on deck they see a crate floating just above the water line with a large monkeys hand and lips poking through a break in the crate as it kept it’s head above water. Standing defiantly on top of the crate though was a seaweed leshy who had taken the crate for his own and was setting himself for a showdown with the oncoming pirates!
The players were very intrigued by the leshy as they had never (in any game) come across something of the like of this diminutive creature. They tried to communicate with it but the languages the leshy knew were alien to all the characters, even the Tengu, Claude. The Captain leaped into the sea and got to the crate trying to figure out a way of finding out what it wanted. The leshy splurted water over him several times and I think the Captain may have thought it was trying to communicate in this form! That was until it got him in the eyes and blinded him for a round.
Long story short was as soon as our friend the Leshy damaged the captain Claude had the crew open fire and the Captain drew his trident. Skye had stealthily swum over and was attempting to unlock the crate as well. The leshy was overpowered and then killed by the Captain and finally Good Monkey got let out of his crate!
The next day a massive thunderstorm closed in on the ship but they were determined to push on and find the village that they would raid. Mid morning one of the sailors in the crows nest called out to the Captain but before he could complete what he was saying he was thrown out of the crows nest and died on hitting the deck. The crew all mentioned how windy it must be but the Captain felt something was up and sent Skye aloft to deal with the issue and report on what she found.
|I remembered my hat last night!|
Claude helped out by casting Spider Climb on her and she stealthily made her way to the crows nest and peeked in. Her stealth roll was OK and it got her over the line as in fact inside their was a diminutive dragon called a Tidepool Dragon playing in the collected water that was left over from the Hydraulic Push it had used to knock the crew member overboard. Skye drew her rapier and caught the creature by surprise allowing her to get off her sneak attack damage in the surprise round and then acted by far the swifter in the second round hitting it again with sneak attack damage.
The two strikes brought the Dragon to near death but it defiantly let loose its breath weapon at Skye who easily evaded it. With a third stroke of the rapier Skye became a fearless dragon slayer! Making it back to the deck Skye showed the Captain the cause of the fuss. He dismissed it and forced the crew back to watching for the villages on the coast.
The thunder storm got worse and more violent until a large number of the crew were suffering from sea sickness. None of the players suffered from the malady though and it was near noon that Skye saw what she thought looked like a wave moving in the opposite direction to the other waves beyond the stern of the ship (not that she knows what the stern is!). At the same time the Captain had to begin fighting the wheel of the ship as it seemed to shudder and try to move the ship toward the shore.
In reality what Skye had seen was a young Imperial Sea Dragon who had taken to attacking pirate ships and stealing their plunder. The Captain felt that something was likely messing with the rudder and so Claude sent his eidolon Major under the ship to find out what the deal was. Getting down there it found that there were nothing fouling the rudder. In reality it was the Imperial Dragon using mage hand to try and drive the ship onto rocks.
|Crew was back in strength after a week off!|
The party was alerted and they sought to keep a good eye out and before too long the Dragon pounced. Most of the players had gathered on the stern and it took advantage with its breath weapon although most made their saves. The very next round saw the Dragon grasp the stern and attempt to Colour Spray its opponents but again their saves were good and the crew began to rain blows on the creature. The following round it had again built up its breath weapon so moved into position to best engulf as many opponents as it could. This time it was a lot more successful with some of its opponents being caught by the full attack.
Claude in the meantime buffed Major up in strength and the Dragon was beaten down a great deal. It would have run at this point but Skye had caused a critical wound that pinned it in place and it could not escape. It fought tooth and nail though and scored a critical hit on the Captain. We use the critical hit deck and in this circumstance it scored a decapitation! The Captain got a save vs. the effect though and luckily managed to keep his head on his shoulders. His lover, Rosie Cusswell was unfortunately not as lucky. Collected by the tail slap and the gore attack it put her two hit points beyond the cost of a trip on the ferryman’s boat across the river Strix. This hit Captain Lem hard and finally when the Dragon was felled (by the necromancer Daranis and a +2 Howling crossbow bolt) Lem severed the head of the beast and collected up Rosie, committing her body to the sea with a steely resolution.
Daranis took some skin of the Dragon and used his spell Create Treasure Map to locate the beasts lair and as soon as the thunderstorm abated the Captain ordered that they would travel there immediately. They ended up in place late that evening and rested up until morning. In the morning they prepared to dive and find the lair, the Captain was resolute that he would take everything from the Dragon in recompense for Rosie’s sacrifice. Some dives later, Skye surfaced having found the lair.
|So far travelling the coast has yielded no slaves for the
The group entered the lair and Skye moved forward stealthily finding a Kobold categorising bits and pieces into a journal for the Dragon. With a skilled bow shot the Kobold was silenced and the remainder of the group approached and found the nest of treasure that the Dragon had claimed from other pirates over time. The remainder of the night was spent categorising treasure and the Quartermaster (Skye) noting down all the particulars. There was around 14000 copper pieces which the Captain normally ignores but the suggestion that they would leave it behind this time was met with a snappy response. The Dragon would pay with every ounce of its treasure for the death of Rosie. The Captain’s heart became that little bit darker on this day and the result saw him become a little bit more evil and hard than he had before.
It was a great game all round last night. There were some fun encounters and some hard encounters. Plenty of roleplaying was had and it was all borne out of some great random encounters. The infamy that the players will build out of these encounters once they hit a port will be well worth the trouble and begin their meteoric rise in the Shackles! No game next week as it is my wife’s birthday so it will be a fortnight before I can report on if the players find a village to take slaves from. Keep rolling!