Pathfinder Adventure Path #55: The Wormwood Mutiny (Skull & Shackles 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

****( ) (based on 21 ratings)
Pathfinder Adventure Path #55: The Wormwood Mutiny (Skull & Shackles 1 of 6) (PFRPG)

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Chapter 1: "The Wormwood Mutiny"
by Richard Pett

Pirates take whatever they please, whether it be ships, plunder, or people! The adventurers wake to find themselves press-ganged into the crew of the pirate ship Wormwood, the vessel of the nefarious Captain Barnabus Harrigan. They’ll have to learn how to survive as pirates if they’re to have any hope of weathering rough waves, brutal crew members, enemy pirates, ravenous beasts, and worse. But when fortune turns to their favor, it’s up to the new crew to decide whether they’ll remain the pirate’s swabs or seize control and set sail for adventures all their own.

This volume of Pathfinder Adventure Path launches the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path and includes:

  • “The Wormwood Mutiny,” a Pathfinder RPG adventure for 1st-level characters, by Richard Pett.
  • Details of life aboard a pirate vessel and rules for becoming the most infamous scallywag to sail the seas, by Jesse Benner, Richard Pett, and F. Wesley Schneider.
  • Revelations on the daring faith of Besmara, goddess of pirates, strife, and sea monsters, by Sean K Reynolds.
  • Death and plunder in the Pathfinder’s Journal, by Robin D. Laws.
  • Four new monsters, by Jesse Benner, Sean K Reynolds, and Steven D. Russell

Each monthly full-color softcover Pathfinder Adventure Path volume contains an in-depth adventure scenario, stats for several new monsters, and support articles meant to give Game Masters additional material to expand their campaign. Pathfinder Adventure Path volumes use the Open Game License and work with both the Pathfinder RPG and the world's oldest fantasy RPG.

ISBN–13: 978-1-60125-404-7

The Wormwood Mutiny is sanctioned for use in Pathfinder Society Organized Play. The rules for running this Adventure Path and Chronicle sheet are available as a free download (479 KB zip/PDF).

Note: This product is part of the Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscription.

Product Availability

PDF: Will be added to your My Downloads Page immediately upon purchase of PDF.

Print Edition: This product is out of print.

Are there errors or omissions in this product information? Got corrections? Let us know at store@paizo.com.

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Fun Premise, Good Delivery

****( )

I ran a group of mid-level gamers through this module. I find the feedback of other gamers to be incredibly useful and mostly agree with the other comments. A few things I didn't see, but made running the module difficult:

1) The information is way too scattered. If you need a specific NPC's stats, you'll thumb through about 16 times in order to find it. Same with the rules for Plunder, Infamy, Ship to Ship combat, etc. It seems to be an Achilles' heel of the AP overall. Now that it's out of print, my suggestion to Paizo, if they ever decide to compile it as a hardback in the same vein as earlier APs, is that they consolidate the heck out of it. Lump all the NPCs together in one section. Put all the new rules together. Etc.

2) Where it drags on--day by day as pirates--can be a drudge. You'll have to work with your players, and do a bit of homework as a GM to make it interesting.

3) For a group playing a "non evil pirates" campaign, be prepared to swap out some encounters. This is a bigger challenge in Module 2, where people can be sold into slavery, but still worth mentioning here.

4) Make sure your players have enough resources to survive swarm encounters before they get on the island! I had to cheat a little bit by stuffing a few flasks of alchemist fire and acid in some of the treasure on the island. Otherwise it would have been a TPK after 1-2 botfly encounters.

5) The final encounter is a weird setup that you will have to adjust. Plugg and Scourge give the PCs a short amount of time to get supplies, but at the same time there's no way to run through all the encounters in that time. Maybe make it one of the reasons they are mad at the PCs?

6) The ghouls deserve a story! I made the underwater encounter a bit more interesting and added some plunder for recovering the wreck, otherwise there's absolutely nothing there for anyone.


Some Assembly Required

***( )( )

I ran this adventure for a group of 5 new players. I cut some encounters and used the fast advancement track due to time constraints. Including building and leveling PCs, the adventure took 20 hours to run.

Richard Pett provides great information to build on here, with 8 fully detailed NPCs (friend and foe) and over a dozen more with enough information to inspire the GM. Even the mundane treasure is interesting. As a GM, though, you'll need to figure out how to introduce a number of the NPCs on your own. Instead of using space to provide advice in this area, the adventure has rules for daily job roles that can quickly get tedious.

The supplementary material for the adventure is solid, although one of the magic items is a bit expensive for the level range. The Life of a Pirate article contains more campaign-specific rules that I found confusing and hard to convey to the players. SKR's article on Besmara is up to his usual high standard, and the fiction should inspire a magic item or 2. The monsters compliment the adventure well, but the pirate familiars are missing any mention of bonuses (or lack thereof) for those who choose them.

Summary: Can be a blast to play, but only if the GM puts in the prep time. Most of the back matter is good quality.


Reading it is Brilliant, Playing it is a Different Story

***( )( )

I read this module and it immediately hooked me as a GM. This is an excellent, nay brilliant adventure that has much going for it. I put in massive amounts of work to encourage the players to get excited to play this and they were.

But I had not realised the effect this module would have. This module basically is about kidnapping the players, grind them down and subject them to a harsh ship experience. Sure, in the end they rise up and get a ship of their own and escape the yoke of the evil Captain and his minions but the lead up can be very depressing for players that get seriously into character.

This module nearly broke my group. The players in my group got tied up in their characters and it was not pleasurable to see how they attempted to balance who would get the beating and who would not. I felt for them as they felt the helplessness of their characters. In the long run it ended in a massive argument and the group nearly broke up for good. I had to spend a good amount of time rebuilding burnt bridges and assuring them that they were moments away from a great resolution to the module.

In the end I loved how this module read, hated how it played. So this review puts it right in the middle of the ratings. Consider running it (and the AP as a whole is awesome) but be aware of the dangers that lie in it.


Pulling the Plugg on the Wormwood

*****

Alright, I'm running this adventure for a second time with a different group simply because of the amount of enjoyment it brings, first things first there will be some minor spoilers within this review, if you're going to play in this as a player- don't read ahead just know its awesome- sorry. Okay

Day 1, my PC's had a tough time picking all of their gear (They're new to pathfinder) Someone took 'Fake footprint shoes' someone got some thieves tools and almost all of them got a class bag and then one of my favorite players took the 'rich parents' feat, I know- Wasted. I warned him he wouldn't be advised but bang-

Now I know this has nothing to do with the adventure but the first thing I got to do as a GM was say... "You awaken in a strange room, one that seems to be rocking side to side lightly, you can hear the creak of the wood around you, each creak pounds like a hammer blow to your head, you feel as though you may have had a few to many as you stand up to get your bearings you notice that all of your gear is gone..." The look on their faces. Amazing, now I wouldn't recommend this to a brand new GM, you need to be able to work with what your players do and on the first day you have a small confined area with around 20 NPC's the players need to interact with, it can be daunting but the NPC's they give in this AP are well written, likeable or down right teachable and destined to be hated by the PCs one thing as well as this book expects the players to be put down, its a different experience from most your job as the GM is to make certain that things that can go wrong, do go wrong for the PCs and when they get their chance for revenge, its brilliant. Long story short, highly recommend the series.


Ring Side Report-Pathfinder Adventure Path Skull and Shackles-The Wormwood Mutin

***( )( )

Originally posted on www.throatpunchgames.com

TL;DR-Better then Ok adventure. Has some elements that drag on a bit, but its to be expected in a 1st-3rd level adventure. Definitely worth your time! 3.5/5

Plot-Spoilers ahead!- The PCs wake up on a ship after being kidnapped. They join the crew under the cruel Captain Harrigan. They work as crew for a bit before joining in on their first pirate raid. The crew is split and the PCs are now under the even crueler 2nd in command and his cronies. The ship is damaged in a storm and the PCs have to fix the ship, rescue their friends, and finally mutiny against their captors.

GM Impressions-Good adventure, but it does drag on a bit in the first act. Like any good adventure, the goal is to get the PCs out of the level one “death zone” as quick as possible. If the PCs take a single crit from a goblin, the show is over before it begins! To get past this, the adventure does a series of day job checks. That’s ok, but if nothing really exciting happens for five days, the PCs are just rolling dice. As a GM it gets hard to spice up the fifth day of that. However, the PCs didn’t seem to notice too much and they had a good time. Its fun to really ramp up the hate from the PCs to a villain and then have them kill that person. Its cathartic for them.

Good-You’re pirates in Pathfinder. You don’t have to be good, you’re pirates! Let’s be bad guys!

Bad-Some dragging moments as they PCs have to do menial jobs. Its not heroic, but its grunt work for several days strait.

Final Thoughts-Good adventure, but not the greatest. Memorial cast that you can really ramp up hate for an excellent ending to the adventure. Keep the drag in mind and maybe skip ahead if your players get bored. 3.5/5


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RPG Superstar 2008 Top 32

Announced! Cover image is a mockup.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

Wow, first level PCs versus Rich Pett. I can already see the multiple page obituary thread.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Sir Pett! YES! Bring it on!

Lantern Lodge

Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion, Roleplaying Game Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

Arrr, me harties!


Huzzah for our great lord and master!


Since we get rules for caravans with Jade Regent, I'd presume there'll be rules for running your own pirate ship eh? Yay!

Jon Brazer Enterprises

Yeah!

Sovereign Court

I SOOOOOO Want to play a Fair Pyrate Lass in this adventure. Hope I can talk one of the DM's in running it.

Contributor

Looking forward to welcoming you aboard the Wormwood me hearties...

a

h

aaaar


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Companion Subscriber

We be pirates.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Campaign Setting, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

It looks like you could use this and Souls for Smugglers Shiv to supplement each other very well.

Dark Archive

Reminds me a bit of the start of SS AP, not that that's a bad thing just the stuck on a island again. I liked the SS start though.


Pathfinder Comics Subscriber; Pathfinder Modules, Tales Subscriber

Of course, at the start of Serpent's Skull, the PCs still had their starting equipment. From what I remember of one of the podcast-recordings made at PaizoCon, this time all they get is a loincloth (and a dirty one at that)... if they're lucky.

Contributor

Blimmey, that would be cruel...

Dark Archive

2 people marked this as a favorite.
Richard Pett wrote:
Blimmey, that would be cruel...

Knowing you, they won't even get a loin cloth and the island will be full of tentacle monsters. :)


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber

When this AP was first announced I had no desire to either run nor play in it not being to big into the whole pirate theme.

After reading the descriptions I cant imagine not running it.

Contributor

uncanny:)

Contributor

atheral wrote:

When this AP was first announced I had no desire to either run nor play in it not being to big into the whole pirate theme.

After reading the descriptions I cant imagine not running it.

Ahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!


With Logue out of the biz, and James Jacobs spending most of his time fleshing out Golarion, I figured it would be a safe bet to cancel my subscriptions... but I'd forgotten about Richard Pett. He's a very good reason to stick with it another year.

And it's not just Pett. It's Pett with PIRATES. Who could say "no" to that?

Dark Archive

Kirth Gersen wrote:
And it's not just Pett. It's Pett with PIRATES. Who could say "no" to that?

Ninja?

Dark Archive

Wait wait wait a minute.
You're giving Richard Pett access to underwater monstrosities, deserted islands and PIRATES, and then you are going to inflict what seeps out of that twisted brain of his onto my first level PC's?

What ever did we do to deserve that?

I guess I'd better stock up on bleach for my minds eye.

Dark Archive

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Wait wait wait a minute.

You're giving Richard Pett access to underwater monstrosities, deserted islands and PIRATES, and then you are going to inflict what seeps out of that twisted brain of his onto my first level PC's?

What ever did we do to deserve that?

I guess I'd better stock up on bleach for my minds eye.

While they are only wearing loin cloths at best. :)

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Avast ye!

This adventure path be the most anticipated yet! How can I decide whether to run or play this. If I play I can be a salty sea cap'n. If I run it I can read the books as they're released.

The sea be a fickle mistress.

Scarab Sages

Adventure Path Charter Subscriber; Pathfinder Campaign Setting, Cards, Companion, Modules, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game, Tales Subscriber; Pathfinder Comics Subscriber

Away, haul away! We'll haul away for Rosie.

Drink up lads, this one's going to call for extra rum.

Contributor

Well, this is all just terribly uncanny, you'll be mentioning the kraken I put in next:)


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Richard Pett wrote:
Well, this is all just terribly uncanny, you'll be mentioning the kraken I put in next:)

Some still remember your last adventure that featured a kraken. :)

Contributor

1 person marked this as a favorite.
Turin the Mad wrote:
Richard Pett wrote:
Well, this is all just terribly uncanny, you'll be mentioning the kraken I put in next:)
Some still remember your last adventure that featured a kraken. :)

Ah bless you, it's been a while since the Styes was mentioned.

Rich


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I heart pirates. Actually, our whole game store is pirate-themed, so this will go over very well with the local groups.

However, I'm a little iffy about the opening, as it seems like Serpent's Skull redux. However, I also heart Richard Pett's writing, and I'm excited to see him on this project. Maybe it will serve as a creative continuation of the ill-fated Razor Coast?


Evil to Chaotic neutral campaign? I mean, pirates are supposed to steal stuff from the helpless.. right? Or then a bit of a poser, just the wear, language and stuff. But never actually robbing anyone :D

If they can find the time to go north and prey upon ships going from the inner inner sea to the east coast. Or just much too busy staying alive, finding treasure and protecting bases? :p

...evil crystal balls... 3 shows already and the pirate afaicr only managed a single act of piracy at the start of the first movie. Or maybe that other variety, wizards busy sharing spells to eachothers spellbooks.


A real sea themed campaign? My players and their hatred for water will love this one...

Actually they believe that a river is more dangerous than a band of angry trolls... I´ll have to take a picture of their faces when I tell them about this xD

Dark Archive

Yeeeehaaaa !

I really can't wait for this one !!!
We need a bit of fresh air and piracy !

And Richard Pett REALLY thrilled me in the second AP of Rotrl....


hm, mixed feelings

it sounds to much like the serpent skull start
but it is written by one the best
I gues I will have to trust Mr.Pett on this one

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder

Mathwei ap Niall wrote:

Wait wait wait a minute.

You're giving Richard Pett access to underwater monstrosities, deserted islands and PIRATES, and then you are going to inflict what seeps out of that twisted brain of his onto my first level PC's?

Yup! :)

Paizo Employee Creative Director, Starfinder

Although the PCs are stranded on an island for a portion of this adventure, that is the only similarity with Souls for Smuggler's Shiv.

Just like Castaway and Treasure Island both feature people stranded on islands, but are two very different stories.

Paizo Employee Creative Director

aeglos wrote:

hm, mixed feelings

it sounds to much like the serpent skull start
but it is written by one the best
I gues I will have to trust Mr.Pett on this one

While there are a few superficial similarities... the adventures ARE going to be pretty different. They both involve ships and islands, but you're going to spend a lot more time ON your ship in this one, and a lot less time being shipwrecked.

In any case, we'll be doing our best to make sure that "Wormwood" and "Smuggler's Shiv" feel like different adventures!

AND: Ninjaed by Rob!


My players will love this Path and I get to use my pirate voice. Now if I can only find a way to discourage the players from refitting the Wormwood as an airship...


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Card Game, Class Deck, Companion, Roleplaying Game, Starfinder Accessories, Starfinder Adventure Path, Starfinder Roleplaying Game Subscriber
Quote:
The adventurers wake up in the hold of a ship at sea, only to discover they’ve been press-ganged into a crew of scoundrels, thieves, and buccaneers from the pirate isles of the Shackles.

Best answer to "How do the PCs first meet each other" ever.

Contributor

Rob McCreary wrote:


Just like Castaway and Treasure Island both feature people stranded on islands, but are two very different stories.

:)

Dark Archive

Kirth Gersen wrote:
And it's not just Pett. It's Pett with PIRATES. Who could say "no" to that?

Uh, anyone with at least some shred of sanity and decency? But I guess that excludes most people on these forums... ;P


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Pawns Subscriber

I am really torn! I really want to run this for my group, but I so want to play it! Decisions, Decisions....


Besmara, Goddess of Piracy?

*sigh*
I guess it was inevitable, that Golarion would approach a FR - like amount of gods someday.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Hyla Arborea wrote:

Besmara, Goddess of Piracy?

*sigh*
I guess it was inevitable, that Golarion would approach a FR - like amount of gods someday.

Well, she's out since at least the Gazzetter from 2008, in the "small gods" bracket together with Groetus, Kugress, Milani, Hanspur and Ghalunder.

Silver Crusade

Besmara the goddess of being a badbutt. :)
She has a planehopping ship and leads pirate raids on the heavens, hells, city of brass and other elemental attractions of note, and so much more.
She is the scourge of everywhere there is a sea, whether it be one of water, fire, shadow, blood, souls, you get the idea.

I ran a piratey adventure for some friends and they ended up battling cheliaxian and andoren warships, raiding korvosa, being captured and forced into a aquatic themed gladiatorial execution match in Corentyn(escaped after surviving of course), and finally throwing in their lot with a Nidalese shadow fleet that battled it out with a Leng themed attack fleet on the plane of shadow. All the while singing the praises of Besmara. Good times.


samerandomhero wrote:


She has a planehopping ship and leads pirate raids on the heavens, hells, city of brass and other elemental attractions of note, and so much more.
She is the scourge of everywhere there is a sea, whether it be one of water, fire, shadow, blood, souls, you get the idea.

Ok, I'm sold. That sounds really cool.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I'm so playing this one. I've got a character for this AP since they anounced it. Teruawa, a CN half-elf sorcerer, with Ekujae and mwangi parents and the draconic bloodline, ex-pleasure slave follower of Calistria, that wants to be a pirate to get his revenge against the keleshite slavers and his chelaxian ex-master. And his lover, Kaleb Fogreader, a halfling jinxer and oracle of water.


"When they’re assigned to a captured ship as part of a skeleton crew"

Just so we're clear here: That means "just the bare minimum of personnel to keep the ship running". I mean, this is a fantasy game with undead, and we're talking Pett here.


KaeYoss wrote:

"When they’re assigned to a captured ship as part of a skeleton crew"

Just so we're clear here: That means "just the bare minimum of personnel to keep the ship running". I mean, this is a fantasy game with undead, and we're talking Pett here.

Um...maaaybe...


I've so wanted to play the guy with the bombs and pistols from the 'Pyrat's' animation (http://www.pyrats.net)now I can - one Gunslinger / Alchemist coming up :)

Liberty's Edge

I'm definitely running this for my group once it comes out. And we'll probably use our Pirates of the Spanish Main minis for any sea battles that come up.

Yup, definitely waiting for this one. :)

Contributor

Ahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!

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