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Skull & Shackles—what do you want to see?!


Skull & Shackles

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Sovereign Court

I hope few of it is underwater. One book would be ok. More would be a pain as it would detract from the main theme.

Now said, I'd want :

- Boarding action
- fights in the masts
- Pursuit rules
- Treasure fleets
- tavern Fights
- Sea Dragons !
- memorable villains
- Parrot familiars
- Abominable Azlant monsters from myth with tentacles
- Bottles of rum

EDIT : leaving enough space / time between modules in the adventure setting to introduce elements from Freeport and other pirate themed products for those DMs who have them.



  • Dangerous reefs.
  • Ship to ship and ship to shore combat as has been mentioned before. I love reading Patrick O'Brian's books as Aubrey takes a ship into the teeth of shore batteries on a cutting out expedition. Although in this case the shore batteries are likely catapults and ballistas.
  • A decent, but not bog you down doing trigonometry, system of sailing where the wind's direction is important. Two days to the Isle of Terror but it's five days back beating up against the wind and, "We've got the weather gauge, and they're against a lee shore, they've no choice but to engage us now!" (The first, traveling, would be pretty easy to do using hex grids with 12 possible wind directions, you can't sail directly into the wind, so if you need to head that direction you have to take a zig-zagging course. And of course with the limited page space in an AP module, this is a low-priority wish.)
  • I agree with a limited underwater adventure, half a module or so would be neat. Maybe an underwater adventure that ends up at a sunken city. This would allow for a hook to bring in aboleths. Their slime allowing for underwater breathing and a hook to keep the PCs in a limited area and headed in a particular direction.*
  • An underwater domed city would be cool. Especially if there's a risk of the dome breaking, say by the module's BBEG.

Ok: An aboleth convinces the party to join it in search of a legendary sunken city. (Maybe their ship sinks in a storm [too close to Sperent's Skull] and it's offer is based on take it or float out here in shark infested water until you die of exposure.) It provides the ability to breath underwater, they provide the muscle, investigative power, landwaker spirit that opens the door to the sunken city, whatever. Of course its true goal is to destroy said city and/or claim an item (magical item, artifact, the opposing team's mascot) within and is thus the BBEG, maybe after they've already defeated what they thought was the BBEG.

So, the first half of the module is meeting up with the aboleth and hunting for the sunken city. The second is exploring it, culminating with fighting the aboleth.

... ok, now I'm going to go off and sketch that out and use it myself. :D

*Depending on level of course, since water breathing is level 3, that'll make it 10 hours duration with a level 5 cleric/wizard. Although casting it for an entire party will be tricky, even with multiple spell casters it'll eat up a number of much needed spell slots.


1) A ship-to-ship fight with the Cheliax navy, including summoning devils on the PC ship's deck before proper boarding.

2) Support rules for "swashbuckling" actions.

3) Memorable NPCs (including recruitable ones).

4) One or two underwater encounters, but not too many of those.

5) Sirens!


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

Ok, I have to ask:

For those clamouring for undersea encounters -- wouldn't that be better served in its own AP?

It is "the Pirate" AP after all, and not the "Atlantis-themed" AP.

I'm not against the underwater encounter aspect. I just think it would be better served in an AP that focuses on that. It just feels like it's being shoe-horned into a pirate AP.

I also worry that it runs the risk of derailing the attention away from ships & sailing to what's under the waves instead. While that would be cool, it's not something I want in my Pirate AP.


BPorter wrote:

Ok, I have to ask:

For those clamouring for undersea encounters -- wouldn't that be better served in its own AP?

It is "the Pirate" AP after all, and not the "Atlantis-themed" AP.

I'm not against the underwater encounter aspect. I just think it would be better served in an AP that focuses on that. It just feels like it's being shoe-horned into a pirate AP.

I also worry that it runs the risk of derailing the attention away from ships & sailing to what's under the waves instead. While that would be cool, it's not something I want in my Pirate AP.

Why do they have to be incompatible? I think an underwater segment (segment, not focus) would make a great addition to a pirate AP.

Anyways, I think the majority of people asking for an underwater part agree that it needs to be limited. Heck many have said less than one module, so I'm not sure how we've given the impression that the whole AP should be Atlantis-themed? Ok, I suggested an underwater city. But if there's a legendary ship, a ship-mounted weapon, artifact, etc. that can be gained by going to said city, hey!

Not to mention; considering there's magic, monsters, and creatures from other planes, this isn't exactly going to be Treasure Island, so why dismiss an underwater part as unpiratey?

-----
Kargo, the one-eyed hermit, former foremast jack of the feared Black Sand, the ship of the infamous Captain Whitebeard leans forward in his chair. His wretchedly molting parrot shifts to his other shoulder and stares at you balefully. "So, ye wanna find Capt'n Whitebeard's treasure do ye? Well now, that is indeed quite the request, quite the request." He breaks off in a fit of phlegm-filled coughs.

Clearing his throat finally, he stares at you again; his single eye locking with yours. The empty socket of his other eye draws you in, hinting at secrets too dark to know. "I was on his boat crew that day. The day we pulled away from the Black Sand. There were eight of us with the captain and we all knew that we were going to die that day. After all, tucked away in the stern sheets was his personal chest, full of treasure, full of power. How could he let any of us live after seeing where he was going to stash it?

"We had been pullin' for hours with no land in sight when the capt'n suddenly ordered us to stop. Puzzled we did so, looking about, wondering if he'd gone mad, for we all had heard his rantings, his ravings in the deep of the night.

"Well lads, the capt'n, he proved he was a sly one all right. For he drew his skull-hilted dagger and sliced his palm, dripping the blood into the water. And what did appear? Hehe, well nothing at first. He just settled back down in the stern sheets and we sat there staring at him and each other. Mayhap twenty minutes went by then the water, she starting boiling and churning. Oh how we were scared, frightened right out of our wits. But the capt'n, he just sat there quietly, staring, staring.

"Then up out of the water rose a spire, a black spear of stone. At first we thought it was the kraken, come to eat us, then a rock thrust up into the air. But no, it was a tower, a black, horrible tower.

"The capt'n. He bade us to row to the doorway, just above the water. We did, although it was so hard, so very hard to approach that back tower. No sooner had the gunnels touched but he sprang across with his chest. He was gone no more than ten minutes although it was hours to us. Then he was back, calmly sitting again, and ordered us back to the ship in that terrible voice that allowed no disobedience. As we rowed, we saw that tower sink back under the waves, taking his treasure with him.

"He let us live. He didn't say anything to us, for he knew that we were well aware that not a one of us could ever dream of reaching that black tower. And even if we found that section of the seas again, for none of us were skilled in the art o' navigating, how would we summon it?

So there lads. There be yer treasure. In a 'undred fathoms of water, guarded by a black tower, summoned only by the blood of Whitebeard himself; and he gone, disappeared into the offing, these past twenty years."

He leans back and puts his pipe back into his mouth, the only thing there besides swollen gums and two broken teeth. "So lads, I told ye my tale. Not that it'll do ye much good." And he begins to laugh a slow, mirthless laugh. In his rheumy eye you can see he's back there, pulling on his oar, watching a black tower sinking below the waves.
-----

The ultimate buried treasure, where no normal man can reach, is deep under the waves. What pirate wouldn't want to do that?

Finally, and sadly, as much as I love the idea of ship to ship combat, ruling the seas, etc., there's going to be a point in the AP where it's probably going to have to divert. Unless every single ship has a high level caster aboard, the second half of the AP is going to go along the lines of "Oh no, an enemy ship ... disintegrate! Oh look, their bow now has a gaping hole in it at the waterline. And *mutters arcanely* that giant octopus should keep them busy."


A Derelict ship:
FIFTEEN MEN ON A DEAD MAN'S CHEST
1. Fifteen men on a dead man's chest
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum
Drink and the devil had done for the rest
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
The mate was fixed by the bosun's pike
The bosun brained with a marlinspike
And cookey's throat was marked belike
It had been gripped by fingers ten;
And there they lay, all good dead men
Like break o'day in a boozing ken
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

2. Fifteen men of the whole ship's list
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Dead and be damned and the rest gone whist!
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
The skipper lay with his nob in gore
Where the scullion's axe his cheek had shore
And the scullion he was stabbed times four
And there they lay, and the soggy skies
Dripped down in up-staring eyes
In murk sunset and foul sunrise
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

3. Fifteen men of 'em stiff and stark
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Ten of the crew had the murder mark!
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Was a cutlass swipe or an ounce of lead
Or a yawing hole in a battered head
And the scuppers' glut with a rotting red
And there they lay, aye, damn my eyes
Looking up at paradise
All souls bound just contrawise
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

4. Fifteen men of 'em good and true
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
Ev'ry man jack could ha' sailed with Old Pew,
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!
There was chest on chest of Spanish gold
With a ton of plate in the middle hold
And the cabins riot of stuff untold,
And they lay there that took the plum
With sightless glare and their lips struck dumb
While we shared all by the rule of thumb,
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

5. More was seen through a sternlight screen
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum
Chartings undoubt where a woman had been
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
Was a flimsy shift on a bunker cot
With a dirk slit sheer through the bosom spot
And the lace stiff dry in a purplish blot
Oh was she wench or some shudderin' maid
That dared the knife and took the blade
By God! she had stuff for a plucky jade
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.

6. Fifteen men on a dead man's chest
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum
Drink and the devil had done for the rest
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum.
We wrapped 'em all in a mains'l tight
With twice ten turns of a hawser's bight
And we heaved 'em over and out of sight,
With a Yo-Heave-Ho! and a fare-you-well
And a sudden plunge in the sullen swell
Ten fathoms deep on the road to hell,
Yo ho ho and a bottle of rum!

All the references to the devil bring to mind a Chelaxian trap. A treasure possessed by a devil who manipulates the whole crew to kill each other off and leave our heroes to figure out what happened and deal with the fiend.

RPG Superstar 2009 Top 32

At this point, given the Chinese New Years based delays, would be for The Wormwood Muntany to actually "show up." :(


A proper keel haulin would be nice.

Scarab Sages

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

Man, no love for Leng around here. I would have thought that a ship full of crazies and a sinister captain would be great.

And a tiny, forked ruby rod. Wrapped in a treasure map drawn on humanoid skin in blood, of course. Or maybe on spider silk. Heh.


I still want it to be rated ARRREE!!!

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