Solution is simple- try to use rules for onboard fight from Wayfinder 8- crew is still in background, but their influence for encounter is way over standard rules.
I did just this for our last gaming session and it worked like a charm! :D Great advice!
I have a question.
Soon our group will start with part 2 of the adventure path. Somewhere around the time this AP came out I heard about an adventure of a dungeon that fills itself with water while the PCs try to free some townspeople that were kidnapped by (Monk)Zombies.
That sounded really interesting and I wanted to add it after the wasp attack, but I can't find it any more.
Can anybody give me a link / hint in the right direction?
I used Jamis Buck's npc generator to create the skeletons and then added some extra flesh. It is a 3.5 generator, but it is still useful!
You can find it and his other generators (dungeons, loot, towns) online at Myth Weavers.
Same is true for the hut and the trails. The field is also huge for a single person creating it without (modern) tools.I just said that these are symbolic markers, so that you can even see the ship and the other POI on the map.
I'm running with a group of 7. This is what I did so far:
All major NPCs get full hp. If there is no major NPC all NPC get full hp and I might add additional NPC when it fits.
Actual changes to the adventure:
I doubled the number of normal pirates for the wake up commando (some with crossbows with special bolts dealing nonlethal damage).
The brawling had 6 pirated attacking them.
Only 4 PCs chosen at random did the bilge action. (The "room" is to small for more PCs.
I added an additional reefclaw at the reefclaw reef.
The assassination attempt was changed to a sabotage attempt in the rigging.
At the attack on the Man's Promise I added about 50% more sailors and an additional officer (also a ranger) who did use two weapon fighting.
I added an additional ship wench (but they did not get near the tent).
In the riptide cave I increased the total number of grindylows by 50% and added an additional melee based "boss" in one of the 1st two chambers and a wight in the room north of the trap (with a few grindylows waiting in the outer tunnels driving the PCs towards the wight or ambushing them if the encounter the wight without the need to drive them there.
My group just rested before entering the riptide cove. Everything worked out quite well so far. It will be interesting to see how they do in the cave as there are some reports about the final encounter in the cave being very hard with some groups fleeing by just seeing what awaits them.
Actually I was lucky with my start.
Peppery Longfarthing & Grok:
I did not want to kill ca character before the adventure even started, so I set it up, that Peppery would save a falling PC with casting feather fall from a quite high distance for the spell (showing that she is at least a mid level caster). He actually had to do that or one char would have fallen from 50ft to his almost certain death on the way back.
Beside that a PC trying to get some benefits from Grok got into a drinking game with Grok that ended with them as "friends with benefits" (and a PC with a Con of 3).
So Harrigan has a the reason to think of both of them as conspirators and I will set it up as that as we go on from now.
Just let some NPCs suggest that Harrigan would never believe them. He would certainly assume that they mutinied vs Plugg and him and only got doubts afterwards.
Tell them, that the chance of being killed before they would even have a chance to speak would be much higher then the chance that he "trusts" the PCs.
If they still want to team up with him they 1st have to find him. As they are looking for rumors where Harrigan is they would hear rumors (have an encounter) themselves, that Harrigan put out a bounty on their head. He will pay more for them alive, as he would like to torture them himself.
If they still want to team up with him after that, it's their own fault.
Rob McCreary wrote:
Oh I didn't think it was Jack's fault. Actually I think he did a really great job with the art of the miniatures! And he also did a great job to fix any problems brought up and also his new Caulky miniature is just great!
I tried to keep the officers away from the PCs as good as I could and it worked out for most of them, but as it was Caulky's duty to collect the meals for the officers, she had many interactions with the cooks mate. As my cooks mate is actually an alchemist, it was important to show that she tasted the food for poison and actually playing out how she tasted the food (as written in the AP) started the connection between the cooks mate and Caulky. ;)
Hero Lab just makes it easy to create valid characters, without adding to much or forgetting something. Also it calculates any modifier from class features, feats and items. It also calculates the value of the gear of each char helping you to balance the wealth.
Also the tactical pad can be really useful for mass battles, as it not just helps you to have all stats of all NPCs at hand, but also orders the NPC by initiative count helping you to keep track of which NPC already acted this round and which round it is. I created a set with all NPCs for the mutiny. I don't know how I should handle so many NPCs on a piece of paper without missing some things.
WOW! I was surprised by the image of Caulky in Tempest Rising. (Based on his comment even Rob McCreary was suprised!)
Inspired by the image I played Caulky as a frightened, insecure girl that is about 12 years old, that did not really want to be on the ship and esp. didn't like to be close the Harrigan. The cooks mate even sympathized with her after she was so afraid to try the food he was cooking for the captain, 'cause she feared to be poisoned.
Now in Tempest Rising Caulky looks like a mostly handsome young woman with an eye patch. Also she now tries to poison people in a tavern, probably to "recruit" them for Harrigan and tries to avoid the PCs.
Based on how Caulky interacted with my PCs by now, Caulkys actions in Tempest Rising wouldn't make sense.
Do you have a similar problem? How do you plan to solve it?
I guess the new Caulky and the old will be two different characters in my campaign.
p.s. This Problem shows why it would have been better to have more then a single line about NPCs that will get a greater spotlight later in the adventure, like some already suggested after reading part 1. :-/
WOW! What a transformation of Caulky! The new image is great, but I guess the new Caulky and the old will be two different characters in my campaign.
Inspired by the image I played Caulky as a frightened, insecure girl, that did not really want to be on the ship and esp. didn't like to be close the Harrigan. The cooks mate even sympathized with her after she was so afraid to try the food he was cooking for the captain, 'cause she feared to be poisoned.
Based on that Caulkys actions in Tempest Rising wouldn't make sense.
Actually Tempest Rising was added to my downloads yesterday. ;)
But I started my Skull & Shackles campaign already and it would have been nice to show them an image of the town they started right at the beginning instead of a month later.
I actually played an interesting intro how the PCs came on board the Wormwood and also used the intro to show the PCs how powerful the NPCs are without just plainly telling them.
I really liked the bestiary part of the book, but had my problems with the gazetteer, as the positions and relations between the locations were missing. But that is fixed now.
The map really helps to bring the content of the book more to life. The only thing missing now would be an image how port peril looks as you head towards it from the sea. I know, I know, but you can always ask for more. ;)
I only had to redefine one of the isles, as a player choose it as his home isle and wrote a great background article about it. ;)
The Psychic Warrior from Psionics Unleashed might be what you are looking for:
Just take a look. I think it might fit perfectly. ;)
I like to give players this option: Roll 4d6 drop the lowest in order; if you don't like the results, you can do point buy. Sort of the best of both worlds approach: the creativity brought about by randomness, without the cruelty of terrible scores.
I wouldn't do that. Either they decide to try their luck and may have to live with bad stats or they use point buy and will have mediocre stats.
Personally I'm all in favor of point buy as a singe player that is lucky while rolling stats has a chance to outperform many other characters for the whole campaign (esp. the early levels).
That depends how many pirates died during the attack on the Promise. It's not written in the AP, but I know, that several pirates will die during the attack in my game.
Also remember that Plugg, Scourge, Owlbear, Kroop and the cooks mate do not count as crew. At max Plugg and Scourge would count as one for stearing the ship.
I also thought it would not fit to have an bunch of pirated running around trying everything they can to avoid drinking alcohol.
I actually used "normal rum" for most nights, but one of the PCs wanted to impress Grok of his drinking capabilities. So I used this rum for a game between the two. He actually took 8 points of constitution damage in that drinking game, which still wasn't healed when they met the reefclaws. But as he really played well and took the damage and never faltered, he was able to befriend Grok.
I choose a similar solution:
I "placed" a stair above the stair leading down to the sleeping quarters with the exit being a door next to the door to the officer cabin. As the PCs will never get the chance to enter the officer cabin they won't see that there isn't really a stair coming up at this place.
You should take a look at the Shackles Campaign Setting Book. ;)
I guess the problem is, that MS Office does not understand the latest version of the open document format.
I added a .doc version for users of MS Office. I hope that helps.
Remember I removed the images due to copyright. My main source for the images was the PDF version of the adventure and Pathfinder Paper Minis—Skull & Shackles Adventure Path Part 1: "The Wormwood Mutiny" PDF
I GMed our 1st session tonight. I have a big party of 7 PCs so I needed a bit extra work, but it did work out quite well.
Our 1st sesion:
Elven Cleric of Besmara
Half-Elven Summoner (Dragon form eidolon)
Half-Elven Bard (Sea Singer)
Half-Orc Alchemist (Grenadier)
Most of them did actually take profession (sailor).
As I have 7 players I increased the number of NPCs by a huge amount. My ship is now filled with 37 lower NPCs for the players to influence. (many original unfriendly or hostile. Also I planed with one ship action per day per char.
The Adventure started in the in in Port Peril. The in had a back room for fist fights. The Skirmisher choose a background of a payed pit fighter, so I did start out with an fist fight between him and an newly created NPC. While he rolled well he still lost the fight vs the NPC ending up unconscious. After each round of fighting two of the other PCs introduced themselves to the rest, which worked quite well, as it took the NPC three rounds to knock out the Skirmisher. Also this fight showed the PCs how deadly the ship might be, if a single "lower NPC" can beat them in a one on one fight.
After some talking introducing some gosip about the Wormwood and it's catain Harrigan and how deadly he is it was time for the fort save. All but the gunslinger failed the save and went to sleep. He was easily surrendered by the crew and surrendered.
So at the 1st wakeup they already knew it wasn't time to fight an wile not happy did as told. At this point there was already some hate building vs Master Scrouge. The race to the top was a bit different. They were warned that those that did not make it inside the crow nest would be punished and the nest was certainly to small for all to fit in. So the 1st four made it and the other three had to work the bilges later that day.
As the Alchemist actually did take profession (cook) he was assigned the job of the cooks mate.
In the bilge the PCs did talk a bit to Jakes Magpie, who was already giving up his live but the PCs did not understand what he meant, when he said, that this would be his last day in the bilge.
The barbarian did misbehave a lot during the day and was greeted with 6 lashes. The priest received 3 for asking to many questions. At the end the keelhauling and how much Scourge enjoyed it did get to the PCs.
The next morning started with the barbarian almost killing one of the NPCs that just wanted to delay them with a fist fight and was also almost killed in return. Thankfully the other PCs were able to stop the fight before someone got killed. None the less the barbarian was sentenced to the sweatbox.
The next day I selected 4 PCs to clean the bilge as it is just to small for 7 PCs. They managed to kill all the rats, but had a hard time with the last as it did hide in the water and none did really see it for quite some time.
The skirmisher did fight vs Owlbear the next day and was able to easily beat him but choose to spare him, gaining Owlbears gratitude. The priest started a daily ritual to tell stories of Besmara gaining some more influence with the NPCs over the time by doing so.
After that day we went into fast forward mode. The PCs already had a feel for how hard the work on the ship was and how ruthless Scourge and Plugg are and already the cooks mate and the skimisher were on helpful terms with Abrose and Cut-Throat. So we only did the short version of each day without much rolelaying, but it was clear that they hated Scourge and he hated them.
I changed the plans so that the storm started to be inevitable while they were still between the isles. So the 1st job was for all the help to set all sails despite the bad weather so that they could reach the open sea before the real storm should hit the ship. They made it but that meant they already had a lot work to do before the storm hit the ship. As I allowed the cooks mate the luxury to stay on deck he was able to quickly threw a rope the the drowning friend, which he perfectly did with a natural 20. Thanks to this they were able to save the friend.
On the beach in increased the number of reefclaws to three. Thankfully the gunslinger gained his weapon just the day before the "fishing" and did watch over the reef from an rock. Still the group was scattered by the time of the attack and two PCs did not manage to reach the others before the fight was over. They were still be able to beat them without a death but the cleric was down to a STR of 4 and 1hp.
The last action this session was the boarding action. About half the PCs were lucky and managed to board the ship on their 1st try. Fastest with much luck was the priest, who has boasted hersef that she would not need any training. As she was actually the fasted Riaris left this unpunished, as it seemed that she was right. The only one not to make it at all was the barbarian, who was good at climbing, but fumbled the reflex saves.
I already mentioned that the things get harder on the Wormwood and while the still isn't an open confrontation, there was the 1st talk between the PCs that they had to do something about Scourge and Mr Plugg.
At this point our 1st session did end. It seemed the PCs had as much fun as I had. It will be interesting how the next session will go.
I did something similar. I created a LibreOffice Document that includes 4 crew cards per page.
You can download it here.
For each NPC you can influence I have the following information:
That leaves enough room for some NPC related notes on each card.
I did remove the difference from swab and rigger as all will have to do everything on "my ship" and most of the locker content comes from an other xls sheet from this forum.
I only used every 2nd side so you can place images on the empty page that represent the NPCs. If you then print it double-sided you should have the images of the NPCs on the backside of the cards. (I removed my images to avoid possible copyright problems.)
The extra pages at the end are for your own NPCs or additional NPCs you want to track.
I hope the cards will be helpful for some of you.
p.s. I created a 2d6 roll system for the jobs favoring the regular jobs and having the seldom jobs at the low chances. (i.e. working the sails is 7 and 8, runner is the 2 and lookout is the 12) If some of you are interested I can also post my "work schedule".
I would have loved to buy this product, but it will be to late. My round starts this Saturday.
So I ended up buying Pathfinder Paper Minis—Skull & Shackles Adventure Path Part 1: "The Wormwood Mutiny" PDF. It is from the 3rd party publisher Crystal Clear Design.
It would probably be better if Paizo would also release its pawn collection at a "one collection per AP volume" rate with maybe a subscription or a package including all pawn collections of an AP.
So I will probably stay with the miniatures from Crystal Clear Design, to keep a single style for the AP.
Actually for a ship with three masts even 40 sailors wouldn't be much for this time period. That may be the number of sailors in the rigging at the same time not including people sleeping, resting, or repairing the ship.
But for the D&D rules they use lower numbers.
As by the rules from the player's guide the ship needs a crew of 20 as its minimum crew to steer the ship without a penalty.
I would say they did know what should have happened down there. Give all of the pirates a DC 15 perception check if they witnessed the accident.
If one did see it the responsible char should get at least 6 lashes. If not Plugg will most likely blame all PCs and if they don't tell who did it all will get the chance to appreciate 3 lashes that night.
That is how I would handle it.
An easy solution would be to increase the number of "simple" npcs by 75% and to max the hp of the "named" npcs.
That should work out OK for most situations.
If you want you can also add some extra nameds npcs once in a while to beef some fights up or to change an easy fight to a demanding fight.
I gm a game with 7 players at 20 point buy with most likely at least one player missing per session. They normally do not tend to fully maximize their chars and also add RP choices.
For the ship I created additional 9 unique and 9 generic chars to interact with. 2/3 of them start hostile, so the final encounter should still be challenging. I might even add the dwarf from the GM thread or replace one of these chars with him.
To keep track of all the Chars I have a quick text file containing all NPC with their name, a short description (incl. behavior), their job and their attitude and will most likely create a card for each NPC that I can put in a box to present their location.
For the normal encounters I plan to increase all rolls of the NPC by 1 and add some additional non-named creatures depending on the number of players present and maybe some extra bosses (as part of normally non-named encounters) if all are present. I will also most likely max the hp of the named creatures.
Beside that I will give less XP so that the PCs end the 1st part as high 3rd level. and will stay one level below the recommendations form that on.