Skulls and Shackles Module 2 Part 1 – Ship of Fools
Our next session is coming up this Sunday at noon, so hopefully the earlier time makes it easier for everyone to attend. After this session, the adventure path goes into more of a sandbox-style format with an occasional event, so the group will need to decide as a team what to do next.
I made a short list of possible things you could do, but if anyone has different ideas I’m all open for designing something:
- Pirate Ship Raiding – Raid a pirate ship, kill/capture the crew, loot the ship for plunder, then sell the ship to Rickety Hale.
- Big Game Hunting – Explore the jungle of one of the prehistoric throwback islands of the Shackles and hunt a powerful monster from the ancient world.
- Slaver Camp Landing – Talk (or blast) your way into a camp of slavers.
- Dungeon Exploration – Get a tip about a possible treasure or dungeon on one of the many islands of the Shackles.
Also, try to think of a name and a flag for your pirate crew.
1. Session Rundown –
After weeks of rest in the port city of Magnimar, the party is finally ready to set out to Rickety’s Squibs, a secretive shipyard village in the Shackles. Here, the workers will alter the “lines” of the Man’s Promise to evade detection by anyone who may be allied with Barnabas Harrigan. Sheila Heidmarch gives the group a map and a chest of platinum bars to cover the cost of the “squibbing”, along with a letter of recommendation to the proprietor of the village, Rickety Hale.
Only two intrepid sailors volunteered for the billet that the Heidmarch Manor put out: an elven wizard named Garrin Malvane (and his tiny dinosaur), and a dark-skinned Ulfen Pathfinder named “Iceflinger” Matilda. Both seem eager to hit the open sea with the group, having heard of the reputation of the crew that spit in the eye of the infamous Barnabas Harrigan. After some introduction to the crew, the ship charts a course back to the Shackles.
A few calm days at sea later, the crew nears the peninsula where the hidden village is supposed to be located. They’re hailed by a fisherman—actually a shipyard worker on lookout—and after some dialogue about the nature of their business, the worker flashes a sign to another lookout. The ship is directed to sail into the bay behind the rocky promontory, and to ask for Rickety.
The Man’s Promise sails quietly into the bay, and finds a small jungle village steaming in the oppressive heat of the Shackles. They sail towards the docks, which are overseen by Rickety himself and his workers. Rickety introduces himself and his pirating credentials: he served under the Free Captain Ella Gurnett who, as Rickety likes to say, “Fed the kraken at Nollis Point!” He “graciously” accepts the letter and the money, explains the nature of squibbing and says that it’ll take 5 days to complete the work. He tells the crew that room and board have been set up at
the only inn in the village, the Demon and Crow, and that the crew is not to steal, hurt the villagers, or go upstream on the river.
With that, the crew is given free rein to explore the village. Rickety’s Squibs seems to be comprised of little more than some farmland, the buildings used to squib ships, the bar, a small magic shop, and some worker barracks. The villagers are very friendly though, and the crew members waste no time in making their acquaintance.
Theodore finds a small shaded pool and the passed-out form of Pearl, the mermaid (and alcoholic) Keel-specialist of the shipyard. Garrin talks to two farmers, Edevich and Purnell, about the recent drought plaguing their farmlands. Banmoril talks to AwkAwk and Shiza (the tengu bartender and tiefling barmaid) about why they’re here. Likuor, wary of strangers, keeps to himself, but he does take the time to watch the shipyard workers at night.
One villager in particular piques the curiosity of Theodore. A strange confectioner named Grimm Darkknife has set up a shop that specializes in nothing but saltwater taffy. Despite his intimidating appearance he seems friendly to the alchemist, and even directs him to a strange magical object that he insists carries a terrible curse: The Bag of Infinite Taffy.
After Theodore purchases it, he tells the alchemist his story. Grimm was the son of two famous assassins in Absalom and groomed in the arts of assassination and shadowcraft. After a chance meeting at a confectioner’s shop, Grimm knew he found his true calling. He fled to the Shackles to evade the wrath of his parents, and eventually opened his shop in Rickety’s Squibs. Theodore talks over this encounter with the crew, and they offer Grimm the chance to sail with them in order to perfect his craft(s). Grimm accepts, becoming the first crewmember recruited for their new ship.
Besides talking with the villagers, the crew is also occupied with other tasks. Rickety explains the nature of naval siege engines and gifts them with a brand new light ballista, ten ballista bolts, and four mounted heavy crossbows. Kroop advises the crew that they need to fence the plunder they’ve acquired: the tapestry, the horn, and the gun. They talk to AwkAwk, who offers to call his mercantile contacts at Port Peril a day’s sail away.
On the second day, the stifling heatwave and the lack of anything pressing to do leads the main party to the dock to engage in some friendly games of tenpins with two off-duty workers. After a few wins by the Pathfinder, one of the workers is suddenly pulled into the water! A young water naga, crazed by the heat and the salt of the bay, attacks!
Matilda and Theodore jump into the water to save the worker as Garrin, Likuor, and Banmoril launch an assault of spells on the creature. The naga throws out spells with the proficiency of a seventh-level sorcerer and bites with its fearsome poisonous jaw, but eventually the crew knocks it out. Rickety explains that the water naga and the village have an agreement not to interfere with the territory of the other, but the naga must’ve gotten stuck in the bay due to the heat wave and drought. In gratitude, Rickety refunds a bar of platinum from the Heidmarch chest.
Tired from the ordeal of fighting in the heat, the group heads back to the Demon and Crow for the night, whereupon they find AwkAwk’s merchant contacts ready to buy their plunder! The crew taps into some well of creativity to craft stories to embellish the value:
The Carved Rhino Horn:
- Likuor: “The horn came from the last black rhino, and the crew lost ten men recovering it.”
- Garrin: (tries to read the merchants’ expression, mistakenly thinks the merchants are attracted to him)
- Likuor: “A crew member accidentally impaled himself on the horn, and it took three men to get him off.”
- Garrin: “Let me tell you some things you may not know about rhino horns.” (gives a remarkable list of facts about rhino horns)
- Theodore: (intimidates the merchants with a nasty look)
The Pepperbox Pistol:
- Garrin: (holding the gun) “Here you can see the different parts of the gun are like the parts of a ship. Here’s the starboard side, the port side, the fore and aft…”
- Likuor: “And we got it from fighting a ghoul gunslinger in an island fortress!”
- Theodore: (at a loss) “We saw palm fronds!”
- Likuor: “We crashed landed on an island, but we found the island already occupied. One of our number was captured by grindylows!”
- Theodore: “And we killed a giant dire boar!”
A Battle Tapestry of Rahadoum:
- Likuor: (fumbling) “Uh, you can see from the sand and camels that this battle took place in the… Land of the Linnorm Kings?”
- Garrin: “On our journeys here, we fought a giant anaconda longer than a rowboat!”
- Banmoril: “And if there’s one thing we learned it’s that…” (pause, uncomfortable silence)
- Garrin: (tries again to read the room, thinks the nervous merchant is flirting with him)
- Garrin: (wary eye on merchant) “…rowboats don’t have yardmamarms.”
Through their actions, the group receives a total of 3400 gold pieces, along with 4 points of infamy! Happy with the result, the group turns in for the night. There are three days left before the ship can be rechristened; what will happen next in Rickety’s Squibs?
2. Encounters –
- Selissa, young water naga – CR 6
3. Loot –
a. Rickety’s Squibs –
- One bar of platinum
- 3400 gold pieces (from sale of plunder)
4. Module Handouts –
a. Rickety’s Squibs –
5. Customized Module/Character Sheets –
a. New crew members –
- Grimm Darkknife (Human rogue 4)
- “Iceflinger” Matilda (Human (Ulfen) siege engineer fighter 3) (Specialty: light trebuchets and ballistas)
b. Rickety’s Squibs inhabitants –
- AwkAwk (Tengu commoner 1/fighter 2)
- Pearl (Merfolk carpenter/fighter 3)
- Rickety Hake (Human expert 7)
- Shiza (Tiefling commoner 2/fighter 1)
- Puzo/Zedio/Edevich/Purnell (Human expert 1/fighter 2)
6. Session Totals –
- XP: 480
- Gold: 560 a piece (3900/7 – One share for crew)
7. Current Infamy Status –
- Infamy: 5
- Disrepute: 5
- The crew can purchase DISGRACEFUL impositions.
- Current crew level: 2 (A SCRAGGLE OF SCURVY SCALLYWAGS)