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Skull and Blood (A Skull and Shackles Dragonlance campaign)

Campaign Journals

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It's been longer than usual since my last update and this is not a very long chapter, but I haven't had a lot of time or energy these days. I'll try to keep this updated quite often but it's getting a bit harder. Well, here is some more, starting with one of the scenes that made me be more amused of my players: the cyclops and the nettles! XD


The pirates took the captured cyclops to the room with the mysterious dome, and prepared a dose of incense to blind him. With him still unconscious, they made him breathe the blinding smoke, and then healed him enough to get him awake.

But there were two problems with their plan: first, the cyclops wasn't willing to collaborate; and second, he couldn't understand common, so he didn't even knew what they wanted him to do.

At first, they thought that it could be enough just to press him against the dome until he crossed the gate, but after hitting him against the wall a few times, they began suspecting it wouldn't work. So they tried to convince him to do it by his own. As they couldn't explain it to him, they just kept pushing him against the wall until he understood. But he still wasn't willing to collaborate... so they went to the garden in the center of Sumitha, picked some nettles, and put them inside the cyclops' pants. In the end, beaten and with a serious rash in his butt, the cyclops decided that he'd rather do what the mad pirates were compelling him to do. He walked towards the gate that only he could see and disappeared through the wall of the dome.

For a couple of seconds, nothing happened. Then the walls faded and disappeared, revealing what they had been protecting. There was an oval room with a pedestal on its center. On the pedestal there was a single jewel, which distorted the light creating strange reflections. Flanking the pedestal were a couple of cyclops-like creatures. It was pretty obvious that they were undead. And just a couple of steps further from the place where he had crossed lay the corpse of the hapless cyclops, withered and still with some nettles popping out from his pants.

As soon as the wall disappeared, an energy pulse formed on the jewel, blasting a ray towards Sandara, who couldn't avoid being hit. Her flesh and skin started withering.

-It's sucking my life!- she announced, genuinely scared.

She wanted to cast Righteous Might, but she realized that the same energy that was debilitating her also cut partially the connection with her goddess, so she casted Divine Power instead. Kiani activated her bardic performance and casted Haste on everybody, while commanding Fox to enter the dome and remove the stone from the pedestal as soon as possible. The Haste spell proved to be providential, as Fox was affected by a Slow effect as he got into the dome, but it was countered by Haste.

Fox approached the pedestal, which was almost as tall as him (and taller than any other member of the party), taking a couple of attacks of oportunity. He was able to parry and counterattack the blow from the first undead cyclops, but the second one hit him with his claw. Nothing to worry about. Fox grabbed the stone with his free hand.

(I had an evil smile at this point. I thought: "I am killing my first PC on this campaign. It's Fox. There's no way he can make this saving throw." )

Fox felt the stone siphoning his living force. It was trying to trap his soul. He tried to resist, but it was too much for him. In an attempt to fight the power of the jewel, he made use of his Charmed Life ability... and he made the saving throw!!!

(It was DC21, he got a 19 before using Charmed Life.)

The undead cyclops fell over him, dealing massive damage with their rotting claws. They decided not to risk their lives and teleported away with the stone.

«What do we do with this thing?» asked Fox, looking suspiciously to the stone he was holding. «It tried to eat my soul!»
«It made me lose my connection to my goddess!» Sandara had never looked so furious and determined. She pointed to the stone with Zul. «Leave it to me!»

Kiani gave her a crooked smile.

«It's all yours!»

It took more than a couple of hits to destroy the stone: the powerful magic it held inside protected it. But in the end the jewel exploded, releasing the souls that it had trapped inside by Bikendi's ritual and the hag's magic.
Unknown to the party, both the sister of the hag that Bikendi had killed and the phase spider that they had left alive were spying on them, waiting to recover the Immortal Dreamstone from their hands as soon as they got it. But the pirates had been too quick on destroying it. With the Immortal Dreamstone destroyed and knowing that Bikendi would soon be eliminated too by the PCs, the hag hadn't nothing left there. She wasn't willing to risk her life for no reason. She left without revealing herself, and the party never knew they had been watched all the time.

After that, they realized that Fox had been infected by some foul disease from the claws of the undead creatures. Sandara still had negative levels on her. They decided to retreat and come back later to deal with the undead. Resting until the next day wouldn't be a bad thing to do. And the next day, they'd come back with full energy and teach those undead a lesson.
This time, Darren went with them. They were well prepared with spells to deal with undead, and also witb bows to finish the statues near the teleporters from the air (as they couldn't fly).
And how did they enter the dome again? Easy: Sandara blinded Darren with a spell and then dispelled the effect as soon as he entered the place with Invisibility on himself. This time, with all the party ready, it was an easy fight.

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Kileanna wrote:
«I just asked about whores and, Zeboim knows why, she thought I was calling HER a whore, so I ended having to punch her on the face repeatedly and pushing her into the water» was all the explanation she gave.
Kileanna wrote:

She approached the triceratops again, waving the leaves in front of the animal's nose like a fan and hitting it with them.

«It is stupid! It won't open its mouth! Come on, silly beast, eat some leaves!»

Kileanna wrote:
As they couldn't explain it to him, they just kept pushing the cyclops against the wall until he understood.

Indeed, we are great communicators!

Kileanna wrote:

«Fox! We wanted to interrogate her!» complained Kiani.

«It was an accident, I swear! She grabbed my rapier with her heart!»

Diplomacy done the pirate way.

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Orcish Diplomacy is what we call that. Oh, and you may be interested in leaning that my party has enchanted the ship against scrying. Took a page out of your playbook for that! Not that it will help them, as they still have a spy on board!

Who is the spy?

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Someone they will never expect. And someone who has been with them from the beginning. Also not a gnome, or a cook. May or may not be Sandara. (It isn't.) Truth be told, it isn't set in stone yet. But will depend on the parties actions/inactions. Hell, they may never find out to begin with. lol

Are you sure it isn't that Sandara? She seems suspicious. Redhairs are always into no good ;-)
And she worships Besmara, what kind of goddess is that Besmara? I wouldn't trust her.

She's just jealous of her alternate versions.

Why should I? I am the best Sandara Quinn ever! But having alternate versions everywhere is disturbing.

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With the Immortal Dreamstone destroyed and no more cyclops to deal with, they only needed to get rid of Bikendi and secure the rest of the island.

They fought prerodactyls, crabs, coconut throwing ents, and a giant anaconda. After fighting the undead cyclops and the animate dreams, these enemies looked easy.

Meanwhile, Darren had been studying the diaries of Bikendi and found a map drawn in invisible ink on the back of a page. They wouldn't need Bikendi to reveal the location of his hidden treasure. It didn't seem to be so far from the island, so they decided to go for it.

When they got to the place, they realized it was submerged, but Sandara had the right spells prepared so they could go and get the treasure inmediately. Darren Kiani, Sandara and Isabella were the ones to do the underwater incursion, while Fox stayed watching the ship.

They spotted the sunken shrine as soon as they submerged. The waters were infested by sharks, but they managed to avoid them as they dived unto the underwater ruins.

The shrine was surrounded by strong tides and sharp corals, but the sorcerers and Kiani were awesome swimmers and Sandara had Freedom of Movement casted on her. They found some statues covered in seaweed, some of them with jewels in their eyes. They resembled the ones on the island.

«They are representations of the Gods the way the cyclops see them.» explained Sandara. She was just guessing, but she recognized some symbolism that was common in representations of the Gods in any culture.
«Would it be blasphemous if we looted them?» asked Darren.
«This place was claimed by Zeboim a lot of time ago. Everything we find is free for us to take. With her consent.»
«How do we know if we have her consent?» suddenly, Darren was worried.
«We are alive.» said Sandara with a smirk. Then she realized that Darren looked still worried and added: «See, everything that is underwater belongs to her. She gives, we take, that is OK. She is generous.»
«Do you ever worry about taking the wrong thing and upsetting her?»
«Why? If she didn't want us to do something, she'd stop us. She's a goddess. There's nothing we could do against her.»
«And that doesn't make you worried.»
«Not the slightest. Should it?»
Not very sure of being following Sandara's line of thought, Darren just let it be. They had things to do and treasures to loot.

After having taken the gems from the statues, they approached the doors of the shrine, which were completely broken. Although Detect Magic didn't reveal anything, Kiani spotted a trap on the doorway. As they weren't able to disable it, they just decided to summon an octopus with their wand and make it cross the doorway.

And here comes the revenge of the octopus! The party deserved this, for using this hapless cephalopod for triggering all their traps. As soon as it crossed the doorway, an Insanity trap triggered. The area of the effect was wider than the party had guessed, so they were all targeted by it. Darren and Isabella were affected, but Kiani had an ongoing Bardic Performance, just in case something went wrong (as it did). She casted Saving Finale on Isabella, thinking that her spells could be more dangerous than Darren's.

(This decision was taken out of the game again. We had another mini session with Darren in the middle of the week again (so Fox was out), which consisted on basically slaying a few monsters on the island and I planned to finish it with the group raiding the sunken shrine with Darren to give him something relevant to do, but the session was slowed by some roleplaying among players that they were enjoying more than action. So it was getting late and Darren's player said: "allow Isabella a reroll, and use this as an excuse to remove Darren and bring Fox next day". So we aggreed that it would be a cool thing to do)

And what happened to the octopus? Our tiny little octopus was actually Cthulhu in disguise and was above mortal conceptions on sanity... or maybe it just rolled a natural 20 on its will save.

Soon Darren started to act funny. He had a vivid hallucination of being attacked by a bat swarm and tried to defend himself against them. In a moment of lucidity, Darren moved away from the party to avoid harming them, but the effect didn't seem to disappear. In the end, they restrained Darren until he was collaborative and teleported back to the ship.

As they didn't have a way to heal Darren from the effect, they tied him next to Ederleigh, who was already much better and also scared as hell of the raving maniac on his side.

With Darren incapacitated, they got back to the place with Fox. But the Symbol of Insanity was still active and the party hadn't counted on it. Again, Fox was saved by his Charmed Life ability. That was close!
He might have succeeded in overcoming one one of his worst nightmares (effects targeting his will save), but another one was coming on. As they entered the shrine, they crashed into a giant jellyfish which glowed with a ghostly blueish light.

As soon as they entered, it delivered an electric blast, which only affected Fox and Sandara. Both of them could overcome its damage reduction, but the massive size of the creature made it difficult to approach and its amorphous form made it immune to precision damage. Fox delivered some good hits, but when the jellyfish attacked he was unable to parry it. The poison soon started to debilitate Fox, and before the fight was over he was KOed. After that, the jellyfish focused on Sandara, who'd rather focus on slaying the creature than attempt to save Fox in such a risky position.
Meanwhile, Kiani focused on keeping her Bardic Performance going so she could keep allowing Fox to reroll his saves against the poison so he wouldn't die from constitution loss. It was a tough fight, but Sandara avoided being poisoned and she did well tanking the creature so Kiani and Isabella were safe to do their thing.

«What's up with men from our crew?» asked Kiani. «Why do they always end half dead or insane?»
«Because we are here to prevent them from being completely dead.» reasoned Isabella.
«Fair enough.»

Meanwhile Sandara was treating Fox's wounds. She was also badly injured, but he had almost died. Fortunately, Bikendi's treasure would soon alleviate all their suffering. They took their time collecting it and then got back to the ship. The poison had hit Fox badly and he'd need some time to recover (at least until next day, when Sandara could prepare and cast more Restoration spells).

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Three really hunky boys tied to their beds. Who said piracy doesn't pay?

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The next day, Ederleigh seemed to feel much better, though he hadn't got any sleep at all "thanks" to Darren, who hadn't stop babbling and yelling in all the night. Fox still suffered constant spasms because of the severe poisoning that he had suffered on the fight against the sapphire jellyfish.

They had already enough men tied to their beds (actually, their hammocks). They had to do something about that.

After Sandara prepared her spells she made good use of Restoration and Break Enchantment to heal both the bodies and minds of her crewmates.

Darren was confused, Fox felt humiliated, and Ederleigh was more lucid than ever but sleepless.

(We used sanity rules to help Ederleigh to recover, so Sandara spent a week casting Lesser Restoration on him everyday until he could make a check at a DC of 0 to get rid of his madness)

But before untying Ederleigh they wanted to interrogate him to see what kind of person he was and if he could be dangerous to them.

Ederleigh explained that Bikendi had taken him as an apprentice when he was still a pre-teen and tried to teach him magic, but he had always feared both magic and his master so he wasn't a very good apprentice. He watched horrified how his master got involved in darker practises of magic and accepted to help him out of fear, but he despised him and thought he had to be stopped.

Our pirates chose to believe him, as he looked like the kind of person who wasn't able to tell a lie if his life depended on it. He was a survivor, but also very shy and naive. They told him he could chose to join the crew (under test) or start from anew anywhere else.

«You have helped me. I want to stay. And if you're going to hunt my master, I'd like to go with you.»
«You know we are pirates, as Bikendi, right?» asked Kiani.
«I don't care. I've lived among pirates for many years. As soon as you aren't like him, it's fine with me.»

And that's how Ederleigh Baines joined the crew of the Mustakrakish. He was released from his knots, and the first thing he did was taking a good bath, getting new clothes and reluctantly allowing Sandara (who claimed to be an awesome hairdresser but wasn't) to cut his hair.

«But don't cut it too much! I need it!» he pleaded.

The results weren't impressive but at least he didn't lose an ear.

As morally exhausted as everybody was, they decided to sail away from the island for a time, so they could sell some plunder and also test Ederleigh to see if he could fit in the crew. He resulted to be a hardworking boy with some hidden talents. He seemed to be able to fly without casting spells (as Sandara was still keeping his spellbook) and Fox found out that he was also kinda proficient with a scimitar. So with hard work and martial training together he ended the days exhausted. He didn't seem to be able to measure his efforts.

When they got back to the island, they returned him his spellbook and told him that he was no longer under test. He was more than glad to join the crew as a full fledged member.

The next part deserves to be told both from IC and OOC. The party had decided to hunt Bikendi, and Fox's player had a good idea:
«We are going to hunt a Witch and Fox will be slumber hexed the first round if not something worse. Ederleigh must be there, he has asked us to take him with us. Fox has not doing very well lately and he will be useless here. Let me play the Magus.»

We had already been talking about letting him play Ederleigh for a time when he recovered, and the player had even been taking a lot of decissions on his definitive build. So I said OK to that and we got back in character. The other PCs told Fox their decision not to take him with them.

«Why?» asked Fox, annoyed. «You think I have been screwing up lately and that I will be useless, right? You fear that I will end falling to some of the ghost's mind tricks, don't you?»
«Nobody has said that.» answered Kiani.
«Those are your own insecurities popping out.» added Sandara.
«What insecurities? I don't have insecurities! I am awesome!»
«Fine, Mr. Awesome, but this time you are staying.» stated Kiani.
«OK... OK... I'll stay, watch Darren, and make sure he does something.»
«Stop saying that! I have done most of the magic stuff you are wearing!»
«Mom knits our clothes, how cute.» laughed Fox, still a bit upset.

Finally the group left. This was the last test to prove what was Ederleigh made of. Would he cower at the sight of his former master? Would he betray the party?

Previous to the battle, Sandara casted Anti-Incorporeal Shield and Magic Circle Against Law for everybody and Death Ward on Ederleigh. The young apprentice casted on himseld Mirror Image and Illusion of Calm, and also imbued his scimitar with eldritch power. They had never seen him doing that, so they were curious about what kind of powers the new recruit had. On the last moment, Kiani casted Haste and Good Hope and Isabella teleported them directly to the room that was Bikendi's prison.

The Witch wasn't surprised. He had already felt the destruction of the Immortal Dreamstone and guessed that he had been betrayed.

«Ederleigh. You?» he said with contempt. «What a laughable attempt.»

Before anyone else could act, Ederleigh charged his former master with a Bladed Dash, surrounded by a bunch of illusions of himself. Lightning cracked many times with the hits of Ederleigh's scimitar, but he seemed to be immobile at the place.

Not taking his apprentice seriously, the ghost tried to take control of Sandara's body, only to realize he couldn't even approach her and causing an AoO from Ederleigh. Not being able to do what he had planned, he casted defensively a Feeblemind spell on Kiani, but she made the save. Sandara casted a Spiritual Weapon to contribute to damage, while Kiani did something that I cannot remember and Isabella casted a Lightning Bolt.

Next round Bikendi tried to retreat, flying to the top of the room. He couldn't hide in the walls, as he was trapped, so his fate was sealed. Ederleigh could fly (actually, everybody had Air Walk again), and the other members of the party had ranged spells. There was nowhere he could hide and they were protected against everything he could do. He was defeated without being able to harm the party.

Ederleigh delivered the last hit. With a flurry of hits of his apprentice's scimitar, Bikendi was banished.

«Are you OK?» asked Kiani.

Ederleigh rubbed the back of his head, checking that the scar that Bikendi had placed on him had disappeared.

«Yes. It had to be done. I wouldn't feel safe until he was destroyed.» answered Ederleigh with determination.
«And you had to do it by yourself. It was your privilege.» added Isabella, looking at him approvingly.
«I... guess so.»

Kiani patted Ederleigh on the back, with such intensity that she caught him by surprise and almost made him into the ground.

«Hey! Cheer up! You did it! The bastard is dead! And you did a great job!»
«I... I am happy!» coughed Ederleigh, still surprised.
«Now let's get out of here.» said Sandara. «There are strange lights on the top of the wall too.» informed Ederleigh. «But they only come out at nights.»
«We'll get back at night, then. There's no hurry.» said Kiani. «Now, back to the ship.»

But before they got back to the ship, Kiani would face someone from her past... more or less. That will be told next time.

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I like how you have incorporated Ederleigh. My crew beat him unconscious and then kinda forgot about him. In my head he is still in that room, after it has been repaired, too afraid too come out. I also have a bit of head cannon that one of the serving girls they hired is taking care of him. As for Mr. Bikendi, they just helped him accomplish his goal. Mostly out of curiosity.

My group almost laughed in Bikendi's face when he said that he wanted to leave the world of the flesh to go the Astral Plane.
As a group of bon vivants they thought he was insane. The best things were on the world of the flesh!!!

I love knowing how things went for another groups and the view of other GMs. It's amusing how the same story can develop in such different ways.

Ederleigh became a frequent replacement for Fox in some of the next parts. Fox's player really try something different and he was happy to play Ederleigh from time to time. The fact that Fox was Ederleigh's trainer in swordfighting was something funny.

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As they were returning to the Mustakrakish, the party went close to a narrow bay on the South of Sefina's lair. The tides had washed a big amount of kelp and other seaweed. As they went by, walking on air, Kiani saw something among the weeds. She widely opened her eyes and tried to rush to the bay. Sandara tried to react and grab her, but she wasn't quick enough. Fortunately, Isabella and Ederleigh were.

-Don't go! Whatever you are seeing is not real!- warned Sandara, who had also noticed something messing with her head.
-I am seeing it too, but I know it's in my head.- said Ederleigh.
-But he's real! He's my father!
-Your father is not there! It's just a bunch of seaweed!- argued Sandara.
-You are the only one seeing that.- explained Ederleigh.

But Kiani wouldn't listen to reasons. She'd keep claiming that her father was there, bathing in the kelp field, and seemed confused of her friends claiming him to be nothing more than seaweed.

-I'm going to end all this nonsense.- grunted Isabella. She looked very upset.- One way or another.

She released Kiani and stepped away from her, casting a Lightning Bolt on the mass of kelp. Sandara called out a Lightning Storm and Ederleigh a Scorching Ray. Kiani released herself from the grapple and pulled out her bow. For a moment she looked like she was about to attack her own friends, but she shot whoever she thought to be her father.

The creature was made out of seaweed, and before it could take cover, it was defeated from the air. Aside from its hallucinogenic powers it wasn't so strong.

-I knew you would never harm my father so I was clearly making a mistake.- said Kiani with an unusual beatific smile after defeating the creature. A closer examination revealed that it was an amorphous being made of seaweed, but Kiani kept insisting that it slightly resembled her father.

They went back to the Mustakrakish, laughing and making jokes about Kiani being the daughter of a plant. She was the first to join the fun, but inside she realized that, after decades away from her people, she had started to miss them.

That night she confessed it to Isabella, and told her she was worried because nobody seemed to have seen an undine before.

-You should look for them.- said the sorceress.- If I had some family left I would like to know about them. We have an island and a lot of time before we have to greet the petty pirate lords. Maybe it's about time.
-You're right. I have never really tried before.

And that's how Kiani took the decission to start searching for her lost family. When all the crew was reunited, she told them about what she was willing to do, and asked them about their families. Did they know that they were now pirates? Did they miss them? Fox had lost track of them when they had departed Neraka years ago, and didn't really feel he had something to do with them anyway. Darren thought that his father wouldn't be very happy about his life choices and didn't want to have to confront him or his older sisters. He knew they'd be OK. Isabella and Ederleigh didn't even had a family. Only Sandara wanted to make a visit to her hometown and let her elderly mother that she was still alive. After almost two years she might have started to worry.

So the decision was taken: first they'd visit Sandara's hometown and then they'd search for Kiani's lost people.

They spent a couple more days to finish cleaning up the island of possible threats and then sailed away.

(I had planned in advance to take Darren to his hometown. I wanted to reflect a happy and tranquil life in a pleasant fishing village before I got to what comes next. I also had a short story arc for Darren. As Darren's player wouldn't be able to come, I had to cut that part, and I replaced it with a single scene visiting Sandara's home instead of Darren's. It got the desired effect, but I'd have liked to take Darren back home with his strict father and his pushy sisters xD)

Whoops! I forgot to give a title to last chapter!

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For those who want to know how our pirates look like here is the lineart of the party.
From left to right: Ederleigh, Isabella, Darren, Kiani, Fox and Sandara.

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Kileanna wrote:
Whoops! I forgot to give a title to last chapter!


Aaaah! The seaweed is talking!!! XD

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Sandara's town was a small fishing village. All the ships in the docks were small boats, so when the Mustakrakish dropped the anchor in the port it caused instant commotion among the peaceful inhabitants of the town.

Everybody seemed to know Sandara, but they looked at her with contempt and mistrust: she was in the company of obvious pirates and she didn't look much different from them. Sandara didn't look worried for the gossip of her neighbors, she just walked around like she owned the place.

They headed to a small wooden house next to the docks, where Sandara's mother lived. The old woman looked shocked at first, but she was glad to see her daughter back. She invited all the group to come in and have some snacks and hot drinks, while trying not to seem too overwhelmed by the fact that her daughter's friends were pirates. Honestly, she was not surprised at all.

Of course, the woman wanted to know what her "Sandy" had been doing all the time she was away, and Kiani and the others were too proud to share the awesome stories of their adventures... And you already know how imaginative can Kiani be with her stories. She told everything in her typical tavern boasting fashion, while Sandara's mother tried very hard not to judge. Meanwhile, Sandara didn't notice her mother's embarrassment and added her own details to the story. At least she made an (useless) effort to keep the curse words to a minimum.

They spent a full day there. Sandara's mom tried to play the matchmaker with Fox and Sandara, but she didn't get any success: Fox stated clearly that he wasn't interested in any serious relationships and Sandara looked strangely dismissive about that idea.

The next destination of the Mustakrakish was Sea Reach, to start making some questions about undine sightings. Being a pretty big settlement, it was a good place to gather rumors.

It was way more easy than they had thought. After just a few questions they were pointed towards a single male undine that had been trying to hire a passage to Tidewater Rock a few weeks ago. As Kiani was already (in)famous a lot of people had thought he was her family.

Kiani was intrigued: who was that mysterious male undine? He might be looking for her, as Tidewater Rock was known as her base of operations. The Mustakrakish lifted anchors immediately towards Tidewater Rock.

As they arrived, they were received with many news. Not only they had a guest who had arrived in one of Agasta's merchant vessels asking for the Captain Kiani "the Blue", but they also had heard a rumor that could be of interest for our pirates: a massive cargo of rum was being carried from Death's Teeth to Flotsam by a smuggler called Fargo Vitterande to be sent from there to Neraka.

-Isn't Death's Teeth the domain of a pirate lord who is a renegade from the Dark Knights?- asked Fox.
-Arronax Endymion.- recalled Sandara.
-This doesn't smell good.- added Kiani.- And serving rum destined to the Dark Knights in our feast for the Pirate Lords could be awesome.
The rest of the crew laughed hard and agreed.

After getting some details about the route of Fargo's ship, The Jester's Grin, Kiani asked to be taken to see the undine guest. As she was told, he had arrived a couple of weeks ago, looking confused, tired and wary, asking for Kiani. He had refused to answer to questions but they had allowed him to stay thinking that Kiani could be interested on him.

Kiani didn't knock at his door, as it was open. Inside the room was a shaved male undine. He was probably younger than Kiani. As he turned to face her, she recognized him as one of the former inhabitants of her old town. She also realized he had an ill-looking round scar on the back of his head. He looked at Kiani with a confused glare.

-Kiani... It has been a long time.- he spoke with some difficulty, like he was having a hard time finding the words on his head.
-Why were you looking for me, after all this time?
-I couldn't trust anyone. I ran away and I got to a human village. I asked about more undines. Everybody knew you. They told me I would find you here. So I came.

Kiani asked a lot of questions to her former neighbor: Where had they been? What had happened to them? Where her parents alive?

Even if he seemed to have a lot of difficulties making his mind clear, Kiani managed to get some useful answers from him:

After having to leave their town because of the Dark Knights, Kiani's people had tried to start from anew in a more isolated place. This made Kiani a bit upset, as she thought they were repeating old mistakes. They had lived peacefully for a time, until the sahuagins arrived. They attacked their settlement, killing many people. Then the sea elves arrived, offering them protection against the sahuagins. They would welcome the undines to their elven town under the sea, where they would be safe. Only Kiani's father could breathe underwater, but the elves promised that it wouldn't be an issue. Being in a critical situation, the undines gratefully accepted the offer from the elves.
As soon as they had arrived in the elven town, they had done something to them. The undine couldn't recall any details, more than having spent many months completely deprived of his will, working as a miner extracting some strange metal from the sea bed. He could barely have organized thoughts and he couldn't even think of rebelling against his programming. Until there was an accident on the mines and he was hit on the head. Suddenly he had regained his free will and, though confused, he knew he had to escape to avoid being caught again. So he had swimmed away looking for help. But, after his people being treated as they had been by other races he felt like he could only trust other undines, and that's because he had ended looking for Kiani.

-You are stupid.- said Kiani after hearing the story.- This is what you get for isolating yourselves. There is a lot of good people out there, but you don't get to know them because you keep hiding instead of facing the world.

She asked about her father and her mother too. As far as he knew, they were alive and fine, but they were also working as slaves. She examined the scar on his head too, it looked like some animal with a round mouth had bitten him.

Kiani joined the crew again to decide what to do next. They expected her to forget about everything else and go to save her people, but she surprised them when she spoke her will to go get the rum first: her people were being kept as slave workers, so they would be healthy, well fed and safe for now. There was a big risk of losing the opportunity to capture the ship if the rescue took too much time, so they'd go for the rum first.

Even if they were surprised for their captain's cold blood, they all agreed to her decision.

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The trip to the best location to attack The Jester's Grin took a few days, but the Mustakrakish managed to arrive on time. As the information they had about the ship's schedule was pretty accurate, they didn't have to wait for long.

As they spotted The Jester's Grin they started the chase. After winning the Free Captain's Regatta, boarding another ship was an easy task and the chase didn't last long. The Mustakrakish rammed The Jester's Grin and then the crew got on board using the corvus. While the rest of the crew dealt with the defenders, the party (consisting on Ederleigh, Kiani, Sandara and Isabella) started looking for the captain.

As they crashed to the main cabin they ran into four buff men willing to engage them in combat. They arrived just in time to see a long hairless tail slithering out of the room from the cabin's window.

The four men weren't too much of a threat, but they managed to keep the party busy for a couple of rounds. Meanwhile, they heard someone casting a Greater Invisibility above them.

The party went back to the deck, where they saw Fargo waiting for them at the other side of the ship. He seemed conciliatory, but Isabella casted a Snowball on him anyway. The spell went through him inoffensively.

-It's an illusion!- she announced.
-Glitterdust!- commanded Kiani.

Everyone but Sandara focused on casting Glitterdust on different locations of the ship, attempting to reveal the invisible captain. Isabella didn't know the spell, but she used a wand.

Meanwhile, Fargo casted Confusion, affecting both the attackers and his own crew. All the party members made their saves, but they weren't able to know where had the spell came from, as they didn't see or hear anything being casted.

A new wave of Glitterdust spells was released, blinding many of the people under the Confusion spell. Aside from revealing possible invisible creatures it also helped to stop the confused sailors from killing each other. Finally, with his only prepared Glitterdust spell, Ederleigh chose the right location and outlined Fargo with sparkling dust motes. But the revealed creature didn't look human at all: he had a long tail, limbs bent in an awkward way and a rat-like head. He was standing at the top of the rigging.

Using her Surge ability, Sandara got him to fall to the deck, and the rest of the party fell on him. Kiani used her Watersinger powers to sicken him.

-So you are a rat?- smiled Isabella.- Then behave like one!

She had been longing to tests one of her newer spells, but she never had an opportunity until then. She casted Feeblemind on Fargo Vitterande, who was specially susceptible to it, being a multiclass arcane spellcaster with a low Will save. Suddenly, the smuggler was reduced to an almost animal mind. He tried to fight his way out, but without any of his tricks he couldn't do too much and he was easily taken.

After having captured and looted the ship, given Fargo's spellbook to Ederleigh to copy (sacrificing it to Zeboim would have to wait) and tied him up, Sandara broke Isabella's spell to interrogate him.

Fargo (now in his human shape) admitted to have been paid to take the rum shipping to Flotsam and give it to a contact on Neraka. Knowing Arronax Endymion well, as he had worked for him in the past, he hadn't found much trouble in stealing the rum from one of his warehouses. He didn't know who had payed him to do it, as an intermediary had always been used, but Fargo suspected of one of Arronax rivals or Arronax himself (as a way to send the rum to Neraka while making it look like it had been stolen from him).

After getting all the information they could, Isabella feebleminded Fargo again, and he was taken to Tessa Fairwind in Sea Reach so she could interrogate her too. A second interrogatory was made there, with Tessa and the PCs more interested in making puns about rats and cheese than in getting real information out of him.

Our pirates pondered the idea of giving the rum back to Arronax to try to earn his trust, but in the end they considered that he might even feel humiliated, and they didn't even trust him. The most important reason not to give it back was that the rum was now theirs, it was high quality and they wanted to keep it. After Sandara casted detect poison on it and confirmed it was safe to use it, they decided they already had drinks and a good story to tell at the reception for the Pirate Lords.

Now, they'd go to search Kiani's lost people, but not before buying some stuff at Sea Reach. They had been planning for quite a bit time to buy a Lyre of Building to reshape the architecture of Sumitha to fit their needs and turn it into their perfect haven.

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And, of course, before all of that we had to celebrate with Tessa. Ederlaigh was not in the best mood to it (Why? Who knows...), but in the end I think he enjoyed it.

Fortunately, we had a lot of rum; one barrel or two less didn't make any difference for the upcoming party.

Now, to rescue the seaweed! Err... my father!

I guess he felt intimidated by the pretty half elf!

It was good to have Ederleigh around. Suddenly I was no longer the formal one.

You are the formal one. Ederleigh was just shy... and not for a long time!

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This story arc was ripped and adapted from The Age of Mortals trilogy AP from Dragonlance. When I GMed it there were large parts that were cut to add homebrewed stuff. This one was one of them. I didn't even think it was a specially brilliant plotline, but years later I had an idea to insert it into the Skull and Shackles AP so I went with it.


Our pirates were led to a place in the middle of the Blood Sea by the undine fugitive. He told them they were just above the settlement of the dargonesti, the sea elves.

After Sandara casted some spells on the party so they could move freely underwater, they went down to meet the elves. Ederleigh stayed on the ship to watch over it, and Darren had decided to stay for a few days in Tidewater Rock to start organizing everything to move their base to the Island of the Empty eyes as soon as they had made it inhabitable and given it a better name.

The dargonesti town was idilic. It was built on a coral reef and around a gigantic brain coral garden. In the middle of the garden an impressive tower carved on coral dominated the view. The elves had shaped the coral to build their homes, and there were also some coral spires that seemed to be some kind of watchtowers. At both sides of the town, carved on a rift that hosted the town, there were two open scars on the rock that spoiled the otherwise beautiful and organic view. A black rock formation had been exposed, and even from the distance, some workers could be seen working on mining the ore.

As the party approached the town, they were spotted by a patrol of dargonesti elves, who approached them. They greeted them and asked what they were doing there. They looked pretty welcoming and kind, considering the reclusive reputation that sea elves, specially dargonesti elves, had.

Kiani explained that she was looking for her parents and the elves admitted that some undines were living among them, and helping them working on the mines. Kiani asked to be taken to her parents, but the elves insisted that they had to take the newcomers to be presented to their chieftain, Lankaos.

Fox asked some questions about what they where mining and why. The "what" was clear: deep platinum. The "why", on the other hand, seemed to cause some kind of inquietude and distress on the elves. More than looking like they were hiding something they seemed like they didn't know and they didn't want to think about it... or weren't allowed to do it.

While they were talking, Kiani realized that there was something in the back of the neck of both dargonesti, something black and slimy, well hidden behind their thick manes and their coral armors.

Not wanting to be taken to their leaders, Kiani convinced the elves to be allowed to leave their baggage (as they had so much) on their new rooms. The elves looked like they wanted them badly to stay, so they finally agreed. As soon as they were taken to a private place, they stroke quickly, attacking not the elves but the slimy things attached to their backs. They were difficult to spot and hit, but not very resistant to damage, so both were destroyed by a single hit. The elves were apparently unharmed, but looking shocked and confused.

A couple of black leeches of the size of a human fist floated lifeless in the middle of the room. They looked like unintelligent vermin.

-So this things were controlling them?- said Kiani.- They don't seem so threatening.

They examined the leeches without discovering anything of relevance and then interrogated the elves. They were too confused at first, but soon they came back into their minds. They revealed all that they knew: there was a sea ogre called Marwuk-Sar who had brought the parasites. He was a priest of Zeboim, and he had used the leeches for controlling all elves, but they were unaware how. All they could tell was that they had felt how the turbidus leech (that was how they called it) had sucked away their resolution and implanted a subconscious urge to hide it, but in any case did the leech directly control them. It was probably Marwuk-Sar who had Charmed or implanted Suggestions on them, but they couldn't remember.

Sandara was furious. Zeboim represented for her the freedom to do whatever she wanted. Most of her followers were self centered enough not to care about other people's personal freedom, just about their own, but Sandara was different. To her, the idea of a priest of her own goddess bending other people's will was blasphemous to her personal faith. And the fact that the parents of Kiani seemed to be some of his victims only made it worse.

Isabella was pretty annoyed too. She held a personal grudge against slavers even if she didn't want to openly admit it, as she felt it went against her philosophy of "everyone should take care of themselves".

Kiani, on the other side, looked disturbingly calm and focused. Being the one that should be more personally touched, it was surprising to see her acting with such a cold blood. When she was later asked about that she just smiled and said: "You humans get so easily carried away by your emotions. Now it isn't of any use to let them blind us." Kiani was so adapted to living among humans that it was too easy to forget that she belonged to a much more long lived, more alien race (despite her having blue skin, blueish white hair and gills).

After getting some information from the elves and convicing them to accompany the party for a while, they went on releasing all the other elves on the watchtowers from the power of the turbidus leeches. It wasn't until they were done with that, that they decided to approach the workers on the mines.

Most of the workers were dargonesti elves, the ones more physically strong among them, but some of them were undines. They worked without paying attention to their surroundings, like there wasn't anything else on the world but extracting the ore. They weren't under watch, as they were unable of rebelling or slacking. Kiani spotted her father and approached him. He greeted her with an emotionless voice while he kept working. Kiani asked him a few questions, but he only asked in monosyllabes, like someone who is speaking in dreams. Kiani wasn't an expert on mind controlling magic, but she realized that the workers of the mines, unlike the other elves, were under a Dominate effect, not under Charm or Suggestion. But, due to their alien nature, undines were protected against all Dominate effects but the most powerful ones. What kind of mighty creature could have Dominated Kiani's father? A closer examination on the other undines casted more light on the subject: all of them but Kiani's father (who, like his daughter, had gills) seemed to be covered by an invisible coat of mucus.

-No, no, no, not again!- protested Fox.-Not mindcontrolling monkfish again!
-Aboleth.- growled Kiani.
-Be careful, Fox, they have already branded you as their property.- added Isabella with a wicked smile.
-Oh, shut up!- laughed Fox.

They freed all the workers on the mines from their leeches, what instantly broke the Dominate effects on them. But after so much time under mind controlling magic, they would need some time to recover. They commanded the released elves to take the workers to a safe place and headed to meet the chieftain, Lankaos. They still had to find Kiani's mother, who wasn't among the workers of the mines.

They found Lankaos in his coral cottage, in the company of Velyora, a female dargonesti who looked like a spellcaster of sorts. According to what the party was told, she was a foreigner who had come from the seas of Ergoth to get to know and possibly marry Lankaos. They were engaged a short time before Makwur-Sal and the turbidus leeches appeared, and they probably had their marriage delayed by all the ongoing trouble.

Knowing what they were looking for, it wasn't difficult for the PCs to spot the leeches on the neck of both dargonesti elves. It seemed that, despite of being the leaders of the elves, they had been victims too.

After being released they were able to provide some more useful information: Makwur-Sal had his lair on the tower in the center of the brain coral gardens, which had been a temple before it was abandoned when the gods left Krynn for the second time. Some of the undines had been taken to work there, and all of them were taken there too once in a week (but only one each time) to renew whatever magic allowed them to breathe underwater. They spent some hours there before they came back unharmed. Lankaos and Velyora hadn't been allowed to the gardens after Marwuk-Sal had arrived so they didn't know too much about what the party would find there, but they suspected that they were raising more turbidus leeches there.

With all the information gathered, the pirates didn't have a reason to delay more. Lankaos and Velyora would do the job of releasing the dargonesti who hadn't already been released, so they only had to find the missing undines and deal with Marwuk-Sar and the possible aboleth now.

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About the turbidus leeches: They are creatures that appeared on the original Dragonlance 3.5 story. The most relevant information about them is that the effect of having one of them attached allows any mind affecting spell to have a permanent duration no matter what was the original duration of the spell and also lower will saves. So they were being used to keep the elves and undines controlled. But the leeches themselves don't have any kind of control magic aside from a mild compulsion on the host to keep the parasite hidden.

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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Very cool. I can't wait to see what happens!

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I am writing the next part but I haven't had a lot of time lately.

For now, I'll post the finished picture of the characters:
Behold the crew of the Mustakrakish!!! (At least some of them)

I bet that you recognize each one ;-D

The pirates entered the brain coral gardens, which looked like a maze. Not far from the entrance, they found a couple of magic traps, but they were surprised to find out that they did nothing at all. After a closer examination with magic, they realized that the traps were set to target lawful and good creatures, being useless against this bunch of chaotic and neutral people (Fox was still true neutral and Isabella Chaotic Evil, though both of them had strong tendencies towards CN too).

Despite the gardens looking like a maze, the right way towards the Coral Citadel was pretty straightforward, and our pirates didn't see the point on exploring the whole place.

They found out the Citadel was watched by a group of fishlike people which they recognized as Kuo Toa. As most of the non elven aquatic races, the Kuo Toa were known for being devoted to Zeboim. One of them was even carrying her holy symbol. He was probably some kind of priest or cleric, but the party never knew, because he was knocked out before he could say his prayers. The other Kuo Toa weren't hard to defeat either.

(I adapted the original 3.5 stuff updating it to Pathfinder, but it was still a couple of levels below the optimal encounter level for the party. I decided not to upgrade most of the encounters because I didn't want this sidequest to be too exhausting or time consuming for the PCs, so I didn't care if some encounters were a bit easier than usual)

The entry door to the citadel was closed and it looked difficult to break, but the insertion place to the walls looked somewhat soft and fleshy, much easier to break. The whole place looked organic, like it was built inside a massive sponge or a similar still living creature.

Sandara power attacked the door junctions and the pirates crashed into the citadel. As we already know, subtlety wasn't their specialty, and Sandara seemed to be specially eager to pick up a fight this time. She disapproved that other followers of her goddess were involved in all the mess. She could understand that Zeboim, as a goddess of freedom, gave her followers enough freedom to do whatever they wanted, but Sandara felt also free to punish them if she felt like they were acting like total morons. And that was what she was intending to do. She might be a cleric, but her loyalty was to her faith, not to other followers of her goddess (specially if they were oh so f*cking wrong).

The coral citadel had an organic radial symmetry on the inside. A round vertical tunnel went up and down, and there were many lateral doors on a circular structure. They just decided to start opening doors until they found something, but as they opened the first one a swarm of leech larvae fell on them. Fortunately, Sandara was blocking the door and the rest of the party prepared to attack. While the leeches fell on her and started sucking her blood, the rest of the party quickly focused on them and managed to bring them down really quick, avoiding further damage. Fortunately, even though the vermin had quickly drained a lot of blood from Sandara, a single Restoration spell was able to put her into full health.

The rest of the level was populated by kuo toa, who apparently lived there, and an otyugh that they were keeping on the kitchens for some reason. They also found a nursery full of kuo toa eggs, but they left them unmolested. If the elves didn't want kuo toa babies swimming all around their place let them do something about them, but our pirates weren't baby murderers.
They found also a room dedicated to be a shrine for Zeboim, with a small altar for the goddess, a statuette that represented her and luminiscent algae that gave a ghostly reflection to the room. Kiani made a silent prayer to Zeboim, but Sandara just got out of the room.

-Where are you going?- asked Kiani.

Sandara gave her a playful smile.

-You will know soon.

She searched specifically for the body of the kuo toa who carried Zeboim's holy symbol.

Sandara was disappointed to realize he was dead. So she picked up another one who still had a glimpse of life and dragged him into the altar.

-This one will have to suffice.- she said. Then she used the healing wand to get him back into consciousness, while the rest of the party just watched.

She grabbed Zul with both hands, with the forked part pointing down onto the kuo toa's chest.

-Goddess! I'm sending this faithful follower back to you! Take him!

And she impaled the hapless fish folk with Zul without hesitation or remorse. The other party members were shocked.

-Why have you done that?- asked Fox.

Sandara shrugged.

-It felt appropriate.
-Should I perform a sacrifice too?- wondered Kiani.

Sandara shrugged again.

-Maybe. Faith is personal, so I cannot tell.
-Should I sacrifice you to the Goddess?- added the undine, playfully- I'm pretty sure you'd make a worthy sacrifice.
-I definitely would. But that doesn't mean I'd let you. Feel free to try, though.- she added with a cocky smile while carelessly swinging Zul.

Kiani grabbed the spiky handle of Zul with her bare hand and pushed it aside while kissing Sandara.

-Trying to asphyxiate her to death, huh?- laughed Fox.- Good idea, but we'd better keep moving.

After dealing with all the kuo toa on the base level, the pirates had the option to go up or down. There weren't any stairs, just a vertical orifice in the middle of the building. Sandara casted some buff spells on herself, growing to large size thanks to Righteous Might (an all time favorite), and positioned herself first.

They entered a great room with a single creature: an aquatic ogre prepared to battle the party. He must be Marwuk-Sar, the ogre cleric. Sandara didn't lose any time, she got close and inflicted a Flesworm Infestation to him. A voice came from the other side of one of the walls, casting something that Kiani recognized as a Dominate Monster effect (which targeted Sandara who, having the highest will save on the group, made her roll without effort).

-There you are!- she gleefully cried.

Remembering their previous fight against an aboleth, she casted a Dispel Magic, focused on the wall in front of her, which instantly disappeared, revealing an aboleth. But it wasn't alone: a single undine, that Kiani recognized as one of her former neighbors, was held next to the slimy creature, covered in a layer of mucus. That was how they were given the ability to breathe underwater.

-Go for it! - she commanded, using her watersinger abilities to move the water inside the ogre cleric and sicken him. They wouldn't be stopped because the aboleth was keeping a hostage.

Using his lunge feat in combination with his magic scarf, Fox (who was the only one to notice the Bane effect on the room, as it only affected people who weren't Zeboim's worshippers) was able to do a full attack from his position. He was extremely lucky with his attacks, scoring two critical hits in a row. Aside from the massive amount of physical damage caused, the magic of his rapier (which used to be Isabella's) drained the water from its body causing additional damage.
Kiani casted Haste defensively, while Isabella readied an action to attack Marwuk-Sar if he attempted to cast a spell. Ignoring Fox, and fortunately its hostage, the aboleth attacked Sandara with its tentacles. Even if it missed some hits and didn't cause so much damage, Sandara's skin and flesh turned into a soft, clear and slimy membrane, weakening her. Strangely enough, nobody pulled out the joke about her being too pale at that time.

Marwuk-Sar stepped back from Sandara and attempted to cast a spell, but Isabella countered it by casting a reach Vampiric touch and making him lose the spell. Sandara stepped onto him and made a full attack, using Zul to start turning his body into coral. The Fleshworm Infestation was already sapping his dexterity, so he could barely move. The next round, Marwuk-Sar failed his save against the worms again. He made a good attack on Sandara, who was already pretty wounded because of her frail skin. Then she made her attack, and a fortunate roll for Zul's calcific effect dropped his dexterity to zero, permanently turned Marwuk-Sar into coral... worm infested coral.

-How appropriate.- said Sandara with a cocky smile. She had enjoyed the fight way too much.

Meanwhile, the other members of the group dealt with the aboleth in a much more traditional fashion: stab and blast until dead. The downside was that they wouldn't be able to interrogate them, and they were curious about what was the big deal with the deep platinum and the aboleth.

Later, after speaking to the elves, undines and a few kuo toa survivors, they would learn that the aboleth, called Oxpatcha, had came from the deep and made a deal with Marwuk-Sar to control the elves and extract the ore and send it somewhere on the oceanic depths. Marwuk-Sar seemed to be motivated by pure greed, but Oxpatcha's motivations were unknown. The only thing they knew is that it seemed to be the one more interested on the deep platinum.

After defeating Oxpatcha and Marwuk-Sar, they went down to the dungeon level, looking for a few undines that were still missing, among which was Kiani's mother. After fighting some more Kuo Toa, they found them there, unharmed, working at piling and packaging deep platinum to be sent elsewhere. There were rooms full of it. They took enough of it to fill their bags of storing: their charge for freeing the dargonesti. Pirates don't work for free.

But they found another interesting guest on the dungeon: chained on one of the rooms there was a young bronze dragon. He looked malnourished, weakened and sad, but he was still a dragon. He could barely move, but he took a defensive position as soon as he saw the pirates entering the room. Not only they were obvious pirates, but one of them openly worshipped Zeboim. He became instantly suspicious of the party, and for a moment it looked like they would have to end killing it, as in it weakened state he didn't look very reasonable.

But in the end, they realized that the dragon wasn't suicidal and didn't feel he was in conditions to pick up a fight, so they released it. The dragon, who called himself Seaquake, showed real gratitude for being released, and even agreed to help them to carry some more deep platinum to their ship. When they parted ways, they had earned the dragon's trust and he even visited them on their island later, as he was curious about what they were building there. He didn't want to stay with them, though. Such a shame, a dragon warden for their island would have been cool.

(Of course I'd rather don't do that to my players unless they insisted too much on it. Even if a dragon keeper might seem cool, it isn't if you think that the dragon is LG and they are pirates. Like trying to get a paladin into a full evil party, this couldn't end well)

They went out of the Coral Citadel, with the rescued undines and the dragon by their side. The Dargonesti wanted to reward them for their help, but they had already looted everything that they could and their bags were full. They had also got a Pearl of the Sirines from Makwur-Sar, which would be really useful, so they felt well paid.

But they couldn't leave yet. They wanted to take the undines with them, and most still had a week worth of aboleth slime on them. Sandara and Fox were also covered on it (at least Sandara didn't have frail skin for long). So they decided to keep the Mustakrakish around for a week and have some rest while Kiani closed ties with her family again.

Kiani's family was a bit more conservative than her and had some difficulties in accepting that she was now a foul mouthed pirate captain, but they tried their best to be tolerant (at first they were worried that the pirates were a bad influence on their daughter but they were relieved to discover that it was the other way around).

In the end, the pirates came to an agreement with the undines (who were just half a dozen), and they became inhabitants of the island, agreeing to work on its protection and welfare.

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Hmmm... I may have to add a brine dragon to become a potential ally.

That could be cool!!!

I mostly followed the maps and encounters as written on the original story, which in some cases were pretty fun. The original story favors good characters, and some lawful factions, so there were many traps thought for them. Being mostly CN they didn't even spot some of the traps and never noticed them. But I thought it was too funny to leave it as it was. And the fact that they were fighting followers of their same goddess was cool. Sandara was mad with anger, Fox was really affected by the slavery thing and Kiani... was kinda calm for being herself.

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Slavery is a big no no for me. I do what I want and I'd be the greatest hypocrite if I didn't defend everyone's right to do whatever they want. Mind control is just ten hundred times worse.

About another topic... When Kiani met my mother I thought she was telling her all those stories to try to embarrass me or test me to see if I tried to play the good girl in front of my mother...

But when I saw her with her parents I realized that she just was being herself. She told them the same stories and damn! She was proud of them!

That's why you gotta love our captain.

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After capturing the rum and rescueing the undines, the pirates thought it was about time to fetch Darren from Tidewater Rock and get back to their island to start remodelling it as soon as possible.

But as they were approaching the bay, they spotted some figures camping on the beach. A closer look with a spyglass revealed that they were a small group of beautiful men and women dressed in fancy clothes who had their luggage with them and had set a small camp. The pirates were immediately suspicious of them.

They landed and talked to their leader, a woman called Audessa Reyquio, but they still found her story to be rather unbelievable.

Audessa told them that they all were former prostitutes from Cuda, who suffered continuous mistreatment from their abusive overseer. So they had secured their life savings and bought a passage on a ship to Kalaman, thinking of starting there from anew, as they no longer wanted to be prostitutes.

But how had they ended abandoned on the island with all their belongings? They had refused to have sex with the crew, resulting on them becoming violent and almost starting a mutiny. So the captain of the ship decided to solve everything by abandoning the former prostitutes on the closest island, which was our pirate's island.

Audessa offered the pirates to work for them to pay for new passages to Kalaman. They didn't want to work as prostitutes, but they all were also artists and entertainers, and they knew also how to attend an inn or a tavern.

Kiani thought this was too convenient. They were planning a party and some professional entertainers appeared from nothingness? She feared that someone was sending them as spies or saboteurs. But after questioning them for a while, they seemed to be sincere. The group still didn't understand how they had ended way north from the usual trade routes, but when Audessa explained that they were caught on a storm and lost one of the sails because a small fire was started on the ship Kiani had her own answer: Sirrion and Zeboim wanted to reward their faith and sacrifices by giving them prostitutes!

In the end, they decided to have Audessa and his people helping them at the banquet, and let them choose if they wanted to stay or leave after that. When planning the banquet, Audessa proved to be an intelligent and helpful woman who knew better than them what had to be done (our pirates were experienced on parties, but their celebrations were way too casual and improvised).

After getting Audessa's help, the crew spent many weeks planning the party and making the island into a good place to live. They reformed the Nerakese fort to look not like a fort but like a small settlement, with a classic architecture and even a fountain in the main place. They also started to work in reshaping Sumitha. With the lyre of building they were able to work incredibly fast.

While they wanted the former fort to be a welcoming place for guests, they wanted Sumitha to be a good place to live for the crew of the Mustakrakish and all their allies. Their island would be a paradise of peace and freedom. They built a dock on the bay too, and installed some siege weapons both at the fort and at the entrance of the bay. After all, they had lot of ballistae from the Thresher and Isabella was glad to put them into use.

While reshaping the fort, they found a hidden cave, which entrance they had to clear, that led to a big room that had a teleportation circle similar to the ones on Sumitha. Trying to check if it took to Sumitha, and following unwise advice from Darren, they all ended being teleported to the middle of the jungle... many feet above ground. When the whole party hit the ground but Darren (gods know why, he had Fly casted on himself), they were pretty upset with him.

After that, Darren managed to fix the portal, aligning it with the ones on Sumitha. Then they did the most logical thing: they both disrupted the portal again and then they hid it: They wanted it to be easy to fix, but not to be ready to use, as they didn't want unwelcome guests at Sumitha.

There was another room which also looked built by the cyclops, that probably was an old shrine, but water from the close sea had filtered into it and half of the room was drenched. They just decided to leave it as it was.

They spent the rest of the time accommodating their crew to live on the island. They even created some crops snd brought some farm animals. They wanted people on the island to be able to sustain themselves.

They rechristened the Island of the Empty Eyes as The Island of Broken Shackles (a small pun on the original title of the AP xD), and got rid of all those ugly, blind, cyclopean statues, using them as raw materials to build the docks and fix the walls of the fort.

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