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Question about the Sea Wyvern shipwreck


Savage Tide Adventure Path

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Luna eladrin wrote:

Thanks!

It will take a while, though. My group is playing once every 2-3 weeks and it is a very roleplay-heavy game (so the pace is not so fast).

RP-heavy is a good and blessed thing. Encourage it. The game may take longer, but it will be so much better. Make it last!

Eww, that sounds creepy. You know what I mean. Role-playing good. Hack-and-slash good, but not AS good.

(blush)

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Hmmm, the game's tonight and the email traffic is heating up.

"Can we make enough tar with minor creation?"

1 cubic foot per level... and tar comes from decayed vegetable matter...

Oh dear. Any ideas, guys?


carborundum wrote:

Hmmm, the game's tonight and the email traffic is heating up.

"Can we make enough tar with minor creation?"

1 cubic foot per level... and tar comes from decayed vegetable matter...

Oh dear. Any ideas, guys?

Let me get this straight - they intend to go to sea in a ship tarred with pitch created by a spell which has a duration of some hours? And which an unfriendly spellcaster (having just cast detect magic) could then dispel, thus causing the ship to fall apart?

Maybe that came across as a bit sarcastic (for which I apologise), but as a character I certainly would not be enthused by the prospect.

Have you considered having Emraag cruise by in a threatening manner, or otherwise turn up?

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Yeah... I just read up on the spell (it's never been used before) and noticed the duration after the edit timer ran out on my post. They just really, really want to fix the ship and not take the survivors through the jungle.

The good/ exalted characters don't want to subject those poor families to the Isle if they can possibly help it. On the one hand, I'm extra sensitive and sympathetic because of railroading the crash (with Emraag), and on the other hand - if they're determined I'm happy to skip to ToD.

Now I just need some way to let them fix the boat that's mutually acceptable.
Laminating the new hull sections with planks at 90 degrees?
Gluing each plank to the next with Undaunted Fixture? (Hmmm, both planks Large size - won't work)

Argh!


carborundum wrote:

Yeah... I just read up on the spell (it's never been used before) and noticed the duration after the edit timer ran out on my post. They just really, really want to fix the ship and not take the survivors through the jungle.

The good/ exalted characters don't want to subject those poor families to the Isle if they can possibly help it. On the one hand, I'm extra sensitive and sympathetic because of railroading the crash (with Emraag), and on the other hand - if they're determined I'm happy to skip to ToD.

Now I just need some way to let them fix the boat that's mutually acceptable.
Laminating the new hull sections with planks at 90 degrees?
Gluing each plank to the next with Undaunted Fixture? (Hmmm, both planks Large size - won't work)

Argh!

Has the party considered finding a defensible location (such as high caves) for the rest of the survivors, and then making the slog overland themselves? If the families, etc., can be left in a reasonably safe location with enough supplies, would that be sufficient to assuage the good/exalted characters' conscience?

If the party is in doubt, they could use some sort of "contact the divine switchboard" spell to hear what the other survivors' chances are if left in said cave/whatever.


Perhaps you could let Urol conclude (with knowledge nature) that there is tar on the island, and that there probably will be a tar pit somewhere (e.g. he finds little bits of tar in the sand). Then the group could go and look for the tar (Urol does not know where it is on the island) and make some kind of hideout for the NPCs. You could even let them trace the tar residue to the tar pits.

Urol always thinks everything is easy for adventurers, so he probably thinks they will have found tar in 1-2 days.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

Well, the players <i>really</i> didn't want to be wrecked on the coast, and since Urol's dead (chopped up by the barbarian under the influence of the gibbering mouther) no-one could persuade them it was a good idea.

They took a week to repair the ship and survived the few encounters the island threw at them. Lots of PCs took ranks in Carpentry and Sailing, and they had a lot of spare beams on board. They took a few more days to use Warp Wood (with concentration and carpentry checks) to thin out a few large planks. They nailed them over the fixed sections to hopefully make something that will keep them sailing fo a few days (with 2 masts).

Not strictly according to the rules but I'm not going to force them to play it the way it says when they're trying so hard to get to Farshore :)

I'll let them limp to the harbour and start ToD. One player mailed me that he was fed up with his cohort so only his hand has been found. They're dropping off the passengers and going to rescue him.

I've a few issues with ToD but that's another thread.


You are right, of course. Cannot force them.

Good luck with the next adventure. And you can always use HTBM during one of the missions in Tides of dread.


Yesterday I played out the dream scene I have described earlier. It worked really great. It reminded the PCs of Sindbad stories in which Sindbad is cursed by an evil wizard. It created a nice sense of doom. And they were nicely reminded of Vanthus.

I got lucky and another thing came up which gave me the opportunity to foreshadow the events around the shipwreck. We had reached the point of the brotherhood blockade. So I let Lavinia suggest that they split up. However, the players did not want to do that, and came up with another plan: they would use illusions, disguises etc. to pretend the Sea Wyvern was a ghost ship chasing the Blue Nixie. For this they wanted to paint the Sea Wyvern black. I told them that there was no paint on board, but that there was tar which they could use. I also told them they could not repair leaks in the hull anymore when they used the tar.

They ultimately decided to use the tar anyway, since they could buy new tar in Fort Greenrock. Then I let the plan work (after a successfull bluff check). They saw Purity's Prow in the distance, but it did not approach. The pirates were very superstitious.

Later they discovered that Fort Greenrock was burned down, so they could not find any tar there. They inquired again in Renkrue, where they heard that tar was to be had in Tanaroa. They reacted as follows: "O, then it is OK!"

So if they want to repair the Sea Wyvern after the storm and they do not have any tar, they now have a good reason for travelling over land to Tanaroa. And they can only blame themselves for using up all the tar.

Qadira RPG Superstar 2010 Top 32

LOL - nice one Luna!


Didn't I say, "tar"? Powerful stuff. That's the bad stuff in ciggies, right?


Well it looks like the shipwreck becomes less of a railroad. I hope my players will see it as such...


Luna eladrin wrote:
Well it looks like the shipwreck becomes less of a railroad. I hope my players will see it as such...

Gosh, in your case, it's like the players did everything they could to MAKE the scenario play out as written. I mean, it's akin to throwing down your weapons and armor and running into the dragon's lair blindfolded. Kind of hard to complain when the inevitable happens.


Lucky me!


Last session they were worrying about the lack of tar. One player remarked that they should not use too much oil, as they could use it instead of tar. I told them that the 2 characters with craft (shipwright) know that oil will not do, since it is too thin and fluid. Moreover, they have only a few flasks of oil, just enough to grease the steering wheel mechanism or do something similar.


Luna eladrin wrote:
Last session they were worrying about the lack of tar. One player remarked that they should not use too much oil, as they could use it instead of tar. I told them that the 2 characters with craft (shipwright) know that oil will not do, since it is too thin and fluid. Moreover, they have only a few flasks of oil, just enough to grease the steering wheel mechanism or do something similar.

Yeah, oil is okay for treating the wood for the sake of waterproofing, but it does nothing to seal joins and cracks - that's what the tar is for.


I also think shooting the albatross is a great idea. I'm going to have Avner shoot it to give the party yet another reason to hate him. He'll shoot it before the first storm. When the Sea Wyvern reaches Journey's End the crew will blame Avner.


Nice touch!

My group is discussing a reason for keelhauling Avner at the moment :-)


Well, Saturday we finally arrived at the scene of the shipwreck. It has been a long voyage indeed!

I made it very atmospheric. When they escaped from the sargasso I commented that the wood had suffered from the sargasso and was weaker than normal, and that it would be a risk in case of a storm.
They have Urol predicting the weather each morning, and he commented that the approaching storm was unnatural. Also, the day was an official holiday in my campaign world, so some sailors commented that it was unlucky to sail on that day, because of disrespect for the gods.

I used the tips from this forum for extra profession sailor checks, and the player playing the captain could really shine. She succeeded in several checks to avoid rolls and washes and to stay on course. Then she succeeded in a check to decide to let the ship run aground in order to save it. However, she failed the profession sailor check to succesfully let the ship run aground, so the rudder was broken and the ship began making water. This gave the PC who had craft (shipwright) the chance to make an emergency repair. However, it would not hold, because they had no tar. But they could safely evacuate everyone. So they started to evacuate all the passengers with the two rowboats. I let them make profession sailor checks for this and for keeping the Sea Wyvern from making more water or capsizing. They successfully evacuated everyone and some PCs remained behind, with a water breathing just in case. The final check to keep the Sea Wyvern from capsizing was failed, so the ship began to heel. They then decided to cut down the masts and use them to support the Sea Wyvern, so that it could heel no further. They also stored the cargo on the higher deck to keep it dry, and took enough food. By letting them make a check every hour after the Sea Wyvern was run aground, I made them realize that it was not safe to stay on the ship any longer, and that they had to get repairs somewhere else. The shipwright also knew (with a check) that they needed docks in order to repair the ship.
The captain remained until the end and left the ship as the last person, leaving a note for salvagers to contact them in Farshore if they salvaged the ship, and for thieves that stealing the Sea Wyvern would be avenged.

In the meantime one of the PCs had organized things on the beach, making a large camp fire and improvising a pallisade. Of course it was not high enough for the t-rex!

All was pretty calm and quite until the T-rex came!

The evening ended with two exciting combats, one against the T-rex, who managed to kill two minor NPCs and swallowed the half-orc fighter. They managed to save him in the nick of time, and only because he was a barbarian with a lot of hit points.

Then, after consulting with Urol, they left for the jungle. I made them walk single file along a small jungle trail, and then had 3 terror birds attack from the sides. During this attack Avner and his horse were killed, and one of the PCs was heavily wounded.

The players are convinced now the Isle of Dread is a very dangerous place, and are thinking up strategies of limiting the danger somewhat.

When they went home, one of my players (the one playing the captain) commented that it was one of the most exciting sessions ever. I was glad. The railroad moment has passed and the players loved every minute of it. Phew!


It looks like you're doing excellently, Luna. I hope to do as well.

Right now in my campaign, the characters were still 4th level so they're doing a short adventure comprised of about 1/2 or the Paizo module River of Darkness. Basically the party is trying to break the siege at a Taskerhill lumber company outpost because they won't pay back Lavinia unless this outpost is back online. The characters sh7t the bed when the first ambush happened, the Girillon hit and rended the party tank and the rangers critted the healer. Essentially the party started calling for surrender before cooler heads prevailed. I was amused. I am disappointed that I did not ramp up the atmosphere as much as I would have wanted to. I had a few too many barley pops to blame for that.

Anyway, SWW is coming up immediately following, and I've borrowed some of Moonbeam's NPCs (Belessa's campaign journal)and found pictures in PDFs, printed them out, and am displaying them when speaking in those characters. I figure that should help immersion. They also have the female kobold cook who is a source of humor, as is one of the PCs who had the savage phanaton call him his new nickname "meatbag". I'm also trying to get the PCs romantically interested in NPCs and am moderately successful so far. I will borrow your albatross incident, but so far I'm planning on making it due to Avner's boredom that he shoots one with a crossbow. Then the crew will freak out and mayhem ensue.

My PCs have so much thought invested in the ship that I wouldn't wreck them unless they fail the skill checks (did you create some kind of list of all the skill checks?). Otherwise I'm planning on having the Blue Nixie wrecked and some NPCs kidnapped by gargoyle tribes (again ala Belessa's campaign). I think that should get the PCs unto the island. I don't think any circumstance would stop the players from staying with the ship, so I'll try to echo what happened in Belessa's campaign.


I based it on something I found on this forum. I tried to locate it again, but I could not find it. So I am quoting from a copy I made for my own use during my campaign. I do not know who the original writer was, but he or she made the shipwreck a real success in my campaign, and I thank him or her for it.

unknown wrote:

As the storm kicks up, the ship begins to roll as huge swells buffet the ship's port side. The first time the captain succeeds in a profession (sailor) check to avoid rolling, it means he realizes the ship has no choice but to heave to and hope to ride out the storm without being blown onto the lee shore of the Isle of Dread. Heaving to means turning the ship's bow into the wind to minimize rolls. All the sails would be lowered except a small storm sail on the mizzen mast, and the ship's anchor would be lowered a couple of hundred feet into the water to provide drag to stabilize the ship and keep the bow pointed into the seas. Any failed profession (sailor) checks after this mean that the ship takes wash, rather than roll. Success means the sails and sea anchor are adjusted to prevent wash. However, whatever the captain does, the ship drifts inexorably toward the lee shore, which cannot be seen in the stormy conditions.

After sunset, have anyone stationed near the stern make a DC 15 listen check. Success means they hear breakers off the starboard quarter over the noise of the storm, and a DC 15 profession (sailor) check interprets the sound of breakers as evidence of a reef. Have the captain make a DC 25 prof (sailor) check. If he succeeds, he is able to alter the ship's course (by manipulating the sails and rudder) so it drifts to port slightly. In this case, the reef will strike the ship amidships on the starboard side, and can be freed as described in the adventure--a successful prof (sailor) DC 20 check indicates that the captain manipulates the sails to spin the ship to port and free it from the reef. If the initial check to alter course and avoid the reef is failed, the ship's stern strikes the reef, destroying the rudder. A DC 30 prof (sailor) check is now required to free the ship as above, and if this is failed by more than 10, the ship swings to starboard and broaches (turns sideways to the reef). In that event, the ship is grounded on the reef for 2d20 minutes, during which time it is vulnerable to the attacks of the mashers (as written). After that time, the tide rises and a huge swell drags the Wyvern right over the top of the reef. If the ship broaches, the DM should reduce the amount of cargo that can be salvaged from the wreck, reduce the number of surviving passengers, and increase the difficulty of repairing the ship later on in the adventure path.
In any event, once the ship is free of the reef, it is inside the dangerous barrier reef that protects the Isle's eastern shore. These waters are not well charted and not safe for a ship the size of a caravel due to numerous reefs and rocks. Although the seas are not as heavy inside the reef, the wind is still howling, and it is impossible to make any course east of due south or north of due west. Basically the ship is sinking, and it is trapped in the large bay on the northeastern coast, and the best hope for survival is to ground the ship on a soft and relatively protected beach. A DC 25 prof (sailor) check allows the captain to do this--if this check is failed, reduce salvageable cargo and surviving passengers and increase the difficulty of repair. However the PCs manage to survive the final stranding of the Wyvern, they wake up on the beach exhausted and battered from their ordeal.

River of darkness is an adventure with a lot of atmosphere. I have been toying with the idea of adding it to the STAP, but I had too much additions already.

I wish you good luck with DM-ing SWW. It is a great adventure to DM.


Failed Saving Throw wrote:
DMs - how did you handle character gold at the start of "Here There be Monsters?" The adventure text states that the characters wake up with whatever weapons, armor and items they had on their person, and the rest is assumed lost.

Our last session saw the PCs wake up on the beach. Before the session, I had created homemade "item cards" for every item every one had, plus lots of stuff from the NPCs and the ship.

I cut-and-paste my GMing notes below so you can see how I handled searching the flotsam and jetsam littering the beach. My goals were to add an element of risk/tension for the PCs in finding their best gear, throwing in some conflict wherever warranted, and maybe making their equipment lists a little more realistic in the process.

Pre-session
- Put all equipment onto cards. Apply effects of storm, water, etc.
- Make them somewhat generic. Add reference codes so they aren't necessarily identified if not found by their proper owners.
- Be sure to include a few loose things from the ship as well as NPC equipment.
- Be sure to note encumbrance on the cards.
- Separate out things that each PC would not lose (clothing, rings, boots, etc). These go back into PC folders.
- Separate out things in each PC's backpack. These go into Backpack piles for each PC.
- All remaining cards go into an Unknown Fate pile for each PC. Shuffle each PC's Unknown Fate pile.
- Remove old equipment sheets from PC folders (archive in case they are needed later).

Start of session
- Working with one PC at a time, deal 3 cards from their Unknown Fate pile face down. Immediately take 1 card away without looking at it and place in Search pile.
- Ask player to look at remaining 2 cards and decide which is most likely to have stayed with him through the storm.
- Each time they reject a card, it goes to the Search pile. (Don't tell the players this. Let them think the items are gone for good. I know... evil.)
- When all PCs have gone through this exercise, any who selected a backpack may have all but one (randomly drawn) card in their Backpack pile. Discarded card goes to Search pile.
- When all Unknown Fate piles have been processed, shuffle the Search pile.

During session
- Describe scene as PCs awaken on beach.
- Those who search the beach, sea, or shipwreck may find cards from the Search pile.

Beach: Search DC 10, increases by 5 with each success.
(mark off as each DC is attained: 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60)

Water: Search DC 5, increases by 5 with each success.
(mark off as each DC is attained: 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60)

Shipwreck: Search DC0, increases by 5 with each success.
(mark off as each DC is attained: 0 5 10 15 20 25 30 35 40 45 50 55 60)

- Botch: Find 1 card from Search pile, but item is permanently and totally destroyed.
- Failure: Find nothing.
- Success: Find d4 cards from Search pile + 1 card per 5 points over DC.
- Crit: As success, but double total cards found.

As discoveries were made, each PC was allowed to pull one item per round from each stack located... other PCs and NPCs usually gathered around and began picking at the items, too, leading to all sorts of interesting discussions and mix-ups.

At one point, the eladrin in the group found a cold iron buccaneer's knife, which had been among another PC's things. He conspired with another player to throw the knife out into the sea, as cold iron is hated by fey. The ruse didn't work, and a nice tension-filled scene ensued.

All in all, it was a fair bit of work to pull off, but the result was nice.

And yes, we too had a nicely piratical "buried treasure" scene wherein the PCs hid some of the bigger items that they couldn't haul across land with them.

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