GMDQ's Skull and Shackles

Game Master DeathQuaker

A small band of mariners find themselves press-ganged into service on the Wormwood, led by the fearsome Barnabas Harrigan. Will they turn their misfortune to glory on the high seas, or will folly lead them to an ignominious watery death?


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Male Sylph Witch 7 |HP: 49/49| AC/T/FF 18/14/16| F 2 R 4 W 5 CMD 17| Init +3, Per +3, Prof (Sailor) +1

Thanks and happy to be of service. I had no idea what I would do with that spell when I took it, but it seemed appropriately witchy and I figured bugs have lots of utility. Looks like that's working out.


Female Changeling? Magician 20

Loved the spider as much as the rest of the crew. That's why casters rock :)


Ghoral-Rey + Land Battle Map + Ship Battle Map + Loot+ Besmara's Whim and her Crew

Folks, I have two gamers who contacted me with interest in applying to this game, when they saw me offer to pick up some GM-less players from another PBP (that PBP got their own new GM).

These are the interested folks. From what I can see they are both applicants worth considering.

https://paizo.com/people/TheArchlich
https://paizo.com/people/TheEmeraldDuke

I have told them I will open up recruitment shortly. I have not promised a spot but said we would discuss and check their submissions. One is working on a druid and another a freebooter ranger. We can welcome one or both to the party (or neither, if there are concerns). We are (clearly) toward the end of this adventure (though it's up to you how much exploration you engage in after this, but you have completed the main objective), and you could easily recruit them in Hell Harbor or another convenient location soon enough.

Are you okay with proceeding with recruitment?

If you don't feel comfortable doing so here, you are always welcome to PM me any questions, concerns, or comments.


Female Changeling? Magician 20

I'm fine with going ahead. Both of those two ideas will work well I think and reading through some of their posts as they're going through recruitment makes me think these two will work well. And like you said, a stop in Hell Harbor or whatnot will make it easy to slip them in.


I second Lathiira. A quick skim of some of their posts looks good to me and we're certainly at a natural point to regroup.


Male Sylph Witch 7 |HP: 49/49| AC/T/FF 18/14/16| F 2 R 4 W 5 CMD 17| Init +3, Per +3, Prof (Sailor) +1

I'm good with new blood. Any chance that ship is sail worthy? Could we suddenly have a fleet?


Female Changeling? Magician 20

Fleet, or sell it perhaps?


Ghoral-Rey + Land Battle Map + Ship Battle Map + Loot+ Besmara's Whim and her Crew

I've asked the two who contacted me to post in the recruitment thread when they have a chance. One may be out as he just got recruited to a different S&S game.

I can't speak yet to the condition of the ship, but sale or keeping it are viable options, bearing in mind with the latter you'll probably need to get it fixed up, especially if you are going to sail it all the way back to Brightglass Island. You are also fixing up a more ancient ship in Ghoral Rey right now.


Female Changeling? Magician 20

Guess we should get over to it before we decide. But first it sounds like our captain wants us to celebrate our victory, so maybe in the morning we can do some exploring :)


I just couldn't let the moment past without a little shouting. No need to RP the pig roast unless we're really feeling the urge. Diagnosing and curing Kahuranga (and Taniwha!) is the real priority, followed by checking out Yoha's ship and settlement. Hopefully we can get back to Hell Harbor for recruiting in short order.


Ghoral-Rey + Land Battle Map + Ship Battle Map + Loot+ Besmara's Whim and her Crew

I'm sure you've seen, but the two people who initially expressed interest in playing have posted rough draft builds. Would appreciate your feedback, via PM. Also feel free to ask them questions. One (per the background options I suggested) has tied his backstory to the Aurora's Kiss, so see what you think.

A few more folks have PMed me expressing interest in the game, but I'm currently waitlisting them (which was made clear would happen in the thread). I don't want to spend a long time in recruitment right now. At the same time I want to be sure we get folks who'll work well with the party.


GMDQ, I PM'd you.


Female Changeling? Magician 20

You'll find one from me as well in the way of PMs if you haven't already.


Male Human Druid 6 / Ranger 1 | HP 46/46 | AC 20 TO 15 FF 16 | F +9 R +9 W +9 | CMD 19 | Init +4 | Perc +13

Hi team! Thanks for having me! I have some adjusts to make on the story and profile, and will take the next days to do so and get to know you better. :) Happy to be here!


Male Sylph Ranger (Freebooter) 7 | AC 19 / 21 vs ranged T 14 / 16 vs ranged FF 15 /17 vs ranged | HP 70/70 | F +5 R +8 W +4 | Spells: LVL 1: 2/2; LVL 2: 1/1 | Init +3 | Perc +12

Likewise, I am very happy to be welcomed aboard, as it were. I am still making some edits here and there but I think I have just about everything in a workable condition (though I still need to think up how he looks physically... should have that done tomorrow).

For those of you who looked at his backstory previously, you will notice that I have made some changes to coincide with his profession change (among other things). I also changed both of his traits and a few of his skills to reflect the changes in profession.

I also think I finally managed to have his gear hammered out. The itemized list section provides actual weights, but keep in mind that a lot of that gets reduced by other items.

As always I would appreciate any feedback from y'all, and I am looking forward to playing with you guys!


Male Human Druid 6 / Ranger 1 | HP 46/46 | AC 20 TO 15 FF 16 | F +9 R +9 W +9 | CMD 19 | Init +4 | Perc +13

Also, is there any skill particularly missing (like, carpentry or siege weapons, this kind of stuff?)


Female Changeling? Magician 20

We're light on Knowledge skills actually. Thren's an arcane duelist and has been putting points in skills suited to life at sea, so we probably need to round that out a bit.


Well, I am bringing Knowledge: Geography.... as well as Appraise. I could swap Geo to Nature though if needed.


Male Sylph Witch 7 |HP: 49/49| AC/T/FF 18/14/16| F 2 R 4 W 5 CMD 17| Init +3, Per +3, Prof (Sailor) +1

Welcome, new recruits!

I have Arcana, Nature, and Planes.


Female Changeling? Magician 20

Geography's one that'd be useful. Keep it. Lark has a little bit of Dungeoneering and Local. Sandara (my cohort) has Religion.


Male Human Druid 6 / Ranger 1 | HP 46/46 | AC 20 TO 15 FF 16 | F +9 R +9 W +9 | CMD 19 | Init +4 | Perc +13

I got nature as well. How are we on carpentry, heal and siege engineering?


Female Changeling? Magician 20

Sandara's Heal is only +7. No carpentry for Thren or Sandara. Chad, did you grab Profession (carpentry)?


No, I was originally going for that and heal, but I swapped it for Profession: Quartermaster and Appraise so that I wasn't directly overlapping Lark's abilities.


Female Changeling? Magician 20

One of my followers is acting Quartermaster. But it's ok. Appraise can't hurt.


Welcome, y'all! I'm looking forward to having you join us aboard Besmara's Whim.

Lark has a tiny bit of carpentry and healing. I don't think we have anything siege related.


Female Changeling? Magician 20

We barely remember we have a light ballista and haven't done ship to ship combat of that sort really.


Ghoral-Rey + Land Battle Map + Ship Battle Map + Loot+ Besmara's Whim and her Crew

I specifically advised Emerald Duke (PC Chad Wassen) against carpentry, because you have recruited 3 NPCs who are exceedingly good at carpentry, and while it is an important ship skill, I don't think routine ship repairs are something the PCs need to be focused on (although your two best NPC carpenters back at your stronghold, but I don't know if you intend to keep it that way once Doc Imogene is done fixing up Redclaw's ship. IIRC Gorton as "reward" for your roleplaying on Plumetown acts as a "team" of craftsmen by himself so he doesn't need others with him to do his job). I suggested Quartermaster as one alternative, as Threnody's follower is only a level 1 Aristocrat and it is probably good to have PC in charge of loot (but if that was important to you Thren we can ask for adjustments; didn't mean to step on your toes). Thren's followers will eventually level but it will be awhile.

You may see more ship to ship combat in the future. This is a pirate adventure. At some point piracy is going to happen. Because we did the Plunder and Peril route you saw less of it than you would have in book 2 otherwise. No one on your crew has Profession: Siege Engineer. (You can also choose of course to attack a ship anytime you like.)

Therefore, yes, siege engineering could come in handy.

Kahuranga has several Knowledges (Arcana, Planes, and Nature if I am remembering correctly). The most important skills for this AP are Geography, Nature, and Local, and all of the others are important for monster identification. Probably least important is Engineering, but that could still come in handy for some specific situations, both adventuring and dealing with your stronghold.

Ship roles: I strongly advise reviewing the crew list (see the link "crew" in my profile). We have lost our Master-at-Arms (battle leader, trainer, charge of the armory specifically). Emberar was a "second mate" since Quinn is officially ship's doctor; he also assisted with navigation and piloting (so Belina desn't have to be awake 24/7). You can make up and/or come up with other roles -- cartographer, morale officer, etc. Crimson is Master Gunner because he enjoys violence, but he doesn't actually have Profession: Siege Engineer, and I don't think he'd be insulted if he was relegated to be Gunner's Mate to a more experienced person.


Male Human Druid 6 / Ranger 1 | HP 46/46 | AC 20 TO 15 FF 16 | F +9 R +9 W +9 | CMD 19 | Init +4 | Perc +13

I can go for master gunner and rebuild my skills to add siege engineer (I think I just need the skills, right? Or do I need any feats to use the ship weaponry?)

Are we using background skills?


Ghoral-Rey + Land Battle Map + Ship Battle Map + Loot+ Besmara's Whim and her Crew

No background skills. With a giant pool of NPCs to support the PCs for mundane activities, I felt background skills were over the top.

Siege engines: You may wish to review the rules here.

I'm glad you asked because I misremembered. You need Exotic Weapon Proficiency to use a siege engine effectively (in the fights were siege engines were used, everyone who used them were at a -4 penalty). The proficiency must be taken per each siege engine you want to use, OR you can take proficiency in one type of siege engine and then take the Siege Engineer feat, which is where the ranks in Profession siege engineer (or Knowledge engineering) come in:

Siege Engineer (Combat)
You are proficient with all siege weaponry.
Prerequisites: Knowledge (engineering) 5 ranks or Profession (siege engineer) 5 ranks, proficiency with one siege engine.
Benefit: You are considered to be proficient with all siege weapons. Also, when you are crew lead for a siege engine, you do not generate mishaps on the roll of a natural 1.
Normal: Each siege engine is an exotic weapon.

(There are other feats that tree off of Siege Engineer to become better at it, including specifically being better at commanding others and doing effective siege attacks)

Your build is feat-dependent to make your multiclassing work, so that might be something to think about.

Proficiency in firearms also makes you proficient in cannons, but I don't remember off the top of my head if those really become available as possible weapons in the campaign. I've only been throwing in firearms in the AP where they are pre-written in.


Female Changeling? Magician 20

I've got no problem with the Quartermaster role going to a PC; my follower can do that work at the stronghold, the PC aboard ship.


Male Human Druid 6 / Ranger 1 | HP 46/46 | AC 20 TO 15 FF 16 | F +9 R +9 W +9 | CMD 19 | Init +4 | Perc +13

I can change my race to half elf (get proficiency with one siege engine via ancestral arms) and sacrifice one of my feats (agile maneuvers) to get siege engineer. My build truly feat starved but I might be able to manage it, and it might be a cool role to perform at the ship. Let me investigate my options and get back here :) I could also use the ioun stone(s) for the proficiency (like a “heirloom” from the bottom of the oceans of sorts) and stick with my race (which I think is perfect for this game).


Ghoral-Rey + Land Battle Map + Ship Battle Map + Loot+ Besmara's Whim and her Crew

I'd advise against relying on an ioun stone for a critical piece of your build--they can be snatched away, and there's a lot of intelligent enemies in this game who would think of that.

While it would take away some of your synergies, you could dip into Fighter instead of Ranger for extra feats. Although that would almost be a total rebuild, and you'd lose that combined level for determining Wild Shape.

I think undine is cool and of course it's appropriate for the AP. Throwing this out there though... if you are thinking about alternate races, remember that all "planarkin" like undines are at their core actually human with some extraworldly influence. You could also build a human or half-elf with undine/watery heritage (with the progenitor archetype, likely the ancestor is actually a watery fey), using alternate racial abilities to reflect it (like the human "Touched by the Sea" or half-elf "water child") as well as your progenitor druidy nature. You could even still call yourself an undine if you wanted. I think the human bonus feat would be a little less cheesy than half-elf ancestral weapon (are there really communities out there with light ballistae as an ancestral/cultural weapon? but I am also urging letting fluff and mechanics suit each other as they will, so), but either could work. If you want to keep undine that is also fine of course!


Male Sylph Ranger (Freebooter) 7 | AC 19 / 21 vs ranged T 14 / 16 vs ranged FF 15 /17 vs ranged | HP 70/70 | F +5 R +8 W +4 | Spells: LVL 1: 2/2; LVL 2: 1/1 | Init +3 | Perc +12
Lathiira wrote:
I've got no problem with the Quartermaster role going to a PC; my follower can do that work at the stronghold, the PC aboard ship.

Makes sense to me... my backstory is focused on being able to get supplies in various ports. Chad is more the "in person negotiations" type, instead of the "order it and trust it will get there" type.

Personally I have no interest in siege weapons, so if you want the Chakam they are all yours. I am more focused on trying to pick off folks one at a time with my bow. I also come equipped with javelins and extra bows, in case other crew members need them in a pinch.

Between the mistmail and the natural breeze AC from my racial, I can theoretically become a very hard to hit target picking off key personnel on any ship we wanted to take.


Female Changeling? Magician 20

You'll need that defense Chad. The die roller is rather evil in this PbP, I can't speak for your experiences elsewhere. I've taken to calling it the Crankipator. Lark's been flattened (well, fried, really) once and Thren's been smashed, stabbed, and impaled (it was an epic impaling to be sure) a good pile of times (four at least on our island).


Male Human Druid 6 / Ranger 1 | HP 46/46 | AC 20 TO 15 FF 16 | F +9 R +9 W +9 | CMD 19 | Init +4 | Perc +13

So - Chakam is now rather different :) I updated his background and crunch to reflect what we talked about. Please feel free to take a look and let me know your thoughts!


Female Changeling? Magician 20

You have 3 traits, is that right?


Male Human Druid 6 / Ranger 1 | HP 46/46 | AC 20 TO 15 FF 16 | F +9 R +9 W +9 | CMD 19 | Init +4 | Perc +13

I added a drawback (power hungry) so I could get a trait to improve my knowledge engineering. Are drawbacks not okay?


Ghoral-Rey + Land Battle Map + Ship Battle Map + Loot+ Besmara's Whim and her Crew

No drawbacks (they are not in the char creation rules, sorry).

Philosophically I don't mind the idea of drawbacks, but as written too many of them are way too conditional to work as actual flaws/weaknesses. This includes power hungry unfortunately, where the "if offers power" AND "does something that requires a Will save" is going to come up so rarely you're basically getting an extra trait for free with no real consequences.

I do want to make sure that you saw that you do not have to take a campaign trait. Many GMs require it, I do not. However, if you only chose Besmara's Blessing because you thought you needed a campaign trait, you do not have to take it.


Male Human Druid 6 / Ranger 1 | HP 46/46 | AC 20 TO 15 FF 16 | F +9 R +9 W +9 | CMD 19 | Init +4 | Perc +13

Sure thing, not a problem! I’ll remove the drawback and maybe besmara’s blessing as well. What about the background? Is it more fitting now? I hope I tied well with the group.

Mechanically speaking I can also change the character completely to be truly a more “siege specialist”. Since we have a Ranger now as well, the Druid is still different enough but has some overlap. I’d change to something less feat starving and we could have some true strength for ship to ship combat. What do you guys think?


Ghoral-Rey + Land Battle Map + Ship Battle Map + Loot+ Besmara's Whim and her Crew

I need to give it a closer look, but so far I really like it.

Either you are good either way -- full druid has benefits and could free up your feats. Ranger gives you a skoch more combat flexibility. Chad's Freebooter takes a different direction.


Female Changeling? Magician 20

I'm not too worried about your strength; if you can fire the ballista you're ahead of the rest of us! You're likely to be a strong fighter given your build and what we often face.


Male Human Druid 6 / Ranger 1 | HP 46/46 | AC 20 TO 15 FF 16 | F +9 R +9 W +9 | CMD 19 | Init +4 | Perc +13

I’ll probably stick as it is then! I might get another couple levels of ranger for a couple feats, or take the rest of levels in Druid. :)


Ghoral-Rey + Land Battle Map + Ship Battle Map + Loot+ Besmara's Whim and her Crew

As far as I can see both Chad and Chakam's crunch look good. The party is about to... um... totally not get into a fight... and that's the last sidequest (unless they get creative).

Fluff looks good for both of you. Chakam, love the extra deets in the background, this is good stuff.

Chad, a couple background notes (no crit, just some FYIs):

Spoiler:

The Aurora's Kiss was sunk at this point about three months ago (but the party just showed up in Hell Harbor a few days ago). Just making sure you are aware of the timeline--it's been awhile since you've seen them. How long were you in your post-sinking coma? (Up to you).

Since you have chosen to be based out of Hell Harbor, a few notes:
- Someone DEFINITELY matching Thren's description was described as making an amazing performance at the Thrice Horned Hall opera house. Unfortunately the show was one night only, due to efforts of sabotage upon the show by a rogue arcanist and some imps.
- Someone matching Lark's appearance, alongside a very large man whose description you are not familiar with, was described as bragging about the piratical might of the Besmara's Whim
- If you ask about people matching Lark or Thren's description, you have heard Besmara's Whim is headed to Yoha's Graveyard, in the tone of voice of, "well, I guess they are going to die." Yoha's Graveyard is a cursed island nearby that a lot of local adventurers visit and never come back from.
- In general, life in Hell Harbor lately has been... interesting. Ever since the naval battle that nearly took your life--where the Chelish Navy battled the Free Captains in Port Peril--Lord Endymion, ex-Chelish pirate lord of Hell Harbor, has become increasingly paranoid about Chelish spies. Guards have been randomly stop-and-frisking people, and people, especially spellcasters, are getting arrested for being spies for sometimes entirely seemingly nonsensical reasons. The rumors you've heard is that suspecting the Chells are trying to find ways into the Shackles to conquer it is true given the fierceness of that battle, but the degree of paranoia in town probably exceeds the reality of the situation. (The oppressive atmosphere might be one more reason to get the hell out of dodge...)
- On the other hand, you've probably been able to earn some bounties shooting the imps that infest the city the way other cities have pigeons. The imps aren't Chelish... they've been on the island since time immemorial, something to do with ancient ruins nearby, but a decent source of funding is a decent source of funding. (This is probably how you've recently purchased some of your nice gear.)
- On the other hand, if you did capture an actual (or "actual") Chelish spy while in town, it'd definitely impress Lord Endymion. Having a Free Captain of the Shackles be able to put in a good word for an aspiring pirate crew could be helpful.... but it isn't necessary. Just something you are aware of.


Male Sylph Ranger (Freebooter) 7 | AC 19 / 21 vs ranged T 14 / 16 vs ranged FF 15 /17 vs ranged | HP 70/70 | F +5 R +8 W +4 | Spells: LVL 1: 2/2; LVL 2: 1/1 | Init +3 | Perc +12

Appreciate the review.

@ GM:

Will make some tweaks to the recent month backstory... I think that he would have been out cold for at least a month, being very lucky that his family was looking after him and not just random strangers.

Given he would have been awake for two months (and probably on his feet for about a 3/4ths of that time) about how many close calls would he have had from your reported sightings? Would the opera event have been an old rumor, for example, or something he heard about a day or so after the fact? Also, being a native, would he have any insight on Yoha's Graveyard (or at least any tall tales or rumors, true or not)?

He definitely would have been hunting imps. And after the Chelish Navy's actions (he would blame them more than the Free Captains for his fellow crewmembers' deaths, being a local son and all) he would be on the hunt for any Chelish spies for personal reasons, not just for the potential rewards.


Ghoral-Rey + Land Battle Map + Ship Battle Map + Loot+ Besmara's Whim and her Crew

Apologies, folks. Busier weekend than expected; as you might be anticipating, combat is about to happen and I need to pull up some notes I don't have with me at the moment. I apologize for being so disorganized, and plan to get us going later tonight.

Chad:
Thanks, sounds good.

To clarify the timeline: from the time you will enter the game, the Aurora's Kiss was sunk about three months ago.

You LITERALLY have just heard about the sightings of Lark and Thren in town within the last three days. They sailed out for Yoha's Graveyard the day after the opera was shut down (you probably went to look for Thren and that led you to hearing from the dock guards that the Whim set sail).

You haven't heard anything about Lark and Thren before that point. You may have heard rumors that the ship that sank the Kiss, the Wormwood, has been in the area and press-ganged crew after the battle only to have lost them again, and has been viciously and desperately trying to fill out its ranks.

It may be moot by the time you join in, but Yoha's Graveyard is less than a day's sail from here. For 70 years it has been surrounded by a crimson fog that many sail has demonic origins. Every once in awhile, the weather blows some of the fog westward, and anyone who breathes it in becomes ravenously hungry, some even attacking and biting into other people. A ship has been anchored there, and the mist always thinned out on certain full moon nights that happen a few times a year, so adventurers have gone to explore the ship and loot treasure there, but either people never come back or if they do, they come back maddened and talking of horrible monsters and undead and a horrible hunger. It was NOT one of these full moon nights when the Whim set sail.

If you think you'd actually approach the Graveyard (you'd need to borrow a ship) to see what's happened to the Whim you could certainly have recruited Chakam and tried. Whatever happens--either whether if you stay on Hell Harbor or follow--the crimson mists begin clearing away from Yoha's Graveyard about 30-36 hours after the Whim departed.


[/spoiler]


Male Human Druid 6 / Ranger 1 | HP 46/46 | AC 20 TO 15 FF 16 | F +9 R +9 W +9 | CMD 19 | Init +4 | Perc +13

Chakam is ready and complete, just waiting at this point! Have fun at the combat, guys :)


Ghoral-Rey + Land Battle Map + Ship Battle Map + Loot+ Besmara's Whim and her Crew

Thanks Chakam, when both you and Chad are ready, I am going to start a side scene where the two of you can chat while we wrap up stuff on the island.


Male Sylph Ranger (Freebooter) 7 | AC 19 / 21 vs ranged T 14 / 16 vs ranged FF 15 /17 vs ranged | HP 70/70 | F +5 R +8 W +4 | Spells: LVL 1: 2/2; LVL 2: 1/1 | Init +3 | Perc +12

OK, I should be ready. Chad would not have tried to sail off after them, but he might have run into Chakam the day after the Whim sailed as he was imp hunting... or earlier, your call. He has been mobile in Hell's Harbor for a month and a half, trying to track down Lark and Thren.


Ghoral-Rey + Land Battle Map + Ship Battle Map + Loot+ Besmara's Whim and her Crew

Actually, Lark, Thren, and a halfling sorcerer named Lee (who would have co-mated with you on quartermastery) were the bodies never recovered. Hell Harbor is in the one area they hadn't YET made much of a name for themselves until you hear about Thren at the opera a couple days ago.

Chakam and Chad, have you been imp hunting together? (bounty on imps in Hell Harbor.) Where might you meet up?


Male Human Druid 6 / Ranger 1 | HP 46/46 | AC 20 TO 15 FF 16 | F +9 R +9 W +9 | CMD 19 | Init +4 | Perc +13

It sounds like a plan to me! Maybe we were hunting separately, met in the wild and started hunting together once we shared our story and found out we were seeking the same crew

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