Ransom on the High Seas

Monday, May 13, 2013


Illustration by Craig J Spearing

The sunny skies that Paizo has experienced over the past week have provided a great opportunity to get outside and enjoy the weather. Apparently we weren't the only ones thinking that, and true to form, the pirates of the Shackles paid a visit, boarded the vessel carrying our latest shipment of Chronicle sheets, and spent the weekend roistering just beyond our reach. As I have learned in my move from a relatively landlocked area to the Pacific northwest, such is the price we must pay for good seafood.

Once the pirates realized just what a prize they now hold—I hear the boons are the stuff of legend—they offered to ransom the Chronicle sheets back for the paper's weight in gold! Villains! What I propose is more devious and hopefully far more to the liking of the swashbuckling sorts that frequent the Pathfinder Society. We shall build up our strength and launch a daring raid to take back what is rightfully ours.

So hone your blades and sharpen your wits as you do battle with the foes in Season 4 of Pathfinder Society Organized Play. If we see in our reports that you have soundly beaten all that Varisia can throw at you, then we shall launch that raid, share the spoils, and tell stories about it for years to come. If not... I know that the Skull & Shackles Adventure Path promises adventure on the high seas, but I cannot imagine our Chronicle sheets would survive walking the plank.

Rules for sanctioning the Skull and Shackles Adventure Path for Pathfinder Society Organized Play are ready to launch, but we await your reporting of Season 4 scenarios. Play and report as much as you can. The more activity we see, the sooner you shall see rules for new Adventure Paths. Comment in character here, and so long as I see that you have participated in at least one Season 4 scenario since, you may be one of the characters called out in a later blog's narrative should we perform the raid.

John Compton
Developer

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Tags: Craig J Spearing Fighters Iconics Magi Merisiel Pathfinder Adventure Path Pathfinder Society Rogues Seltyiel Skull & Shackles Valeros
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Liberty's Edge 5/5

Well, this year has been quite an adventure. Riddleport is nice this time of year, but foiling the Spider is much nicer. Hopefully I won't have to sit through more boring ceremonies, especially for Cheliaxian gentry. The after party was sure exciting however! But I'm a caravan man, I don't think I'll be taking to the waves if I can avoid it.

Grand Lodge

A raid to retrieve that which was stolen from us? That's a task I can lend my knives to! When do we go? Can we go now? Now?

Sovereign Court 5/5

Hey! How much more does a poor Taldan have to suffer before he's given his just desserts? I mean, by the Gods, we already gave you peons civilization, taught you the virtues of the sword AND continue to act as a shining paragon of wonder in the Inner Sea AND we have to wait to go on a Pirate's raid?!?

Blasphemy, I tell you, blasphemy.

'Join the Pathfinders, see the world' they said. More like 'Join the Pathfinders, wade through sewers and contract deadly diseases' I say. Sigh.

Silver Crusade

Ah, those pirates of Varisia can be quite a nasty bunch. I should know, for even I, the righteous servant of Torag, found myself in their employ for a few hours due to a poor choice of words while canvassing the city for those who formerly preyed on the Cyphermages.

When I refused to carry out their foul business, they marked me for death. But a warrior of Torag does not shy away from well-won enemies, so I returned to deal with Aspis filth, and will return again whenever I am called. Any cleric of Torag knows that the past is worth protecting, and these "chronicles," whatever they contain, must not be lost to the ravages of seafaring scum!

Liberty's Edge 5/5

As I read this communiqué aloud, Kirin (my black tiger animal companion) started growling at the thought of someone stealing from the Society. Maybe I might even find a lead as to where my fellow clansman may have vanished to in the process. We're in!!

Silver Crusade

This is why lawlessness is so dangerous; things spiral out of control so quickly. Once again it is up to the sword of Iomedae to set things right, swiftly and decisively. Your property will be recovered. The guilty will face retribution. And Iomedae as my witness, I will not be stopped.

Sovereign Court

3 people marked this as a favorite.

Pirate pilferings, Aspis agents amok, resurgent Runelords... Varisia is a hotbed of conspiracy, malignat evil, and alliteration! My auguries have shown much turbulence ahead, but the Shadow Lodge stands ready to ensure the Pathfinder in the field is supported properly and bring final justice to the Spider!

He says with all due irony.

Silver Crusade

Hear, hear, Thomas! May Iomedae guide us to vanquish the pirate scum and restore to the Pathfinders what's rightfully theirs. To make theft a way of life is their last mistake as free men. Leave it to the Silver Crusade to reclaim the goods. We will subdue them in the name of justice! To battle!

Silver Crusade

With respect, the minute you're calling them scum it has ceased to be about justice. Check yourself, brother Bergal. Though there's nothing wrong with feeling anger toward those who have done evil, we must be certain that our actions remain centered on righting wrongs and thwarting evil, rather than satisfying our own rage. Otherwise we are like them ourselves and bring dishonor to The Inheritor.

Dark Archive

You speak of the Inheritor as if she were truly concerned for these Chronicles which were so cruelly stolen. It was only her patron, Aroden, who valued the preservation of knowledge. In his name I will ride to recover these documents, and though I may pray to Iomedae to guide my sword arm, it is the fallen Aroden to whom I devote this venture.


Arrrr

AAARRRRRRRGGG

Silver Crusade

Friedel Crafts wrote:
You speak of the Inheritor as if she were truly concerned for these Chronicles which were so cruelly stolen.

No, I speak of her as being willing to stand up for those who have been wronged even when values differ.

Liberty's Edge

Arrghh.

Release the chronicles, says I, else me sword's point, tastes ye.

Dark Archive

Everyone talks about pirates from Varisia as if they're all a bunch of vile, vicious brutes. Come to think of it, that's pretty much true. Living in Riddleport my whole life, I would know.

But let me have a word with them, and I should be able to talk them into returning the Society's property. Of course, one or two of these pirates might get burned by a scorching ray in the process, but that's just my negotiating style.

Liberty's Edge

A large, heavily armored nagaji looks through a book for a minute. You notice the cover is written in Tien, while the material inside seems to be a mix of Tien and the Common tongue of the Inner Sea region.

"Pirate. He pauses. "I sssee," he says, looking up from the book. "You mussst forgive if I ssseem ssslow. I am ssstill new to your language."

"When I return from my current mission in Tian Xia, I will be happy to help defeat thessse piratesss and recover the ssstolen papersss."

OOC: Gorjo is currently in the middle of The Quest for Perfection series.

Sovereign Court

It is quite unfortunate to learn that this sort of theft has occurred. I assume that this shipment was rather large, one which would require a large amount of resources to duplicate.

Fortunately for the Society, the obvious solution is one which will not require any acts of violence. There is no need to send any Pathfinders into the fray, as it would be inappropriate to create so much havoc and risk so many lives and limbs over what is in all practicality a trifle.

The papers the pirates have lifted are just that: paper. Each Chronicle sheet's only value lies in its production, in the ink required to print the requisite words on the page and the time taken to draw the letter. This value is entirely lost on the possessor unless said possessor is a Pathfinder. A Chronicle sheet is worthless in the hands of a pirate, as it can only be traded to a Pathfinder, and even then no Pathfinder needs to possess more than one copy of the same Chronicle sheet. The pirates' ransom demand is entirely based on the amount of effort required for the Society to replicate them, an amount of which the pirates have no knowledge.

Asking for the Chronicle sheets' weight in gold is merely an opening gesture. The proper solution is to offer the pirates a rather small sum in exchange for the Chronicle sheets, enough to compensate them for delivering the cargo to its final destination in Magnimar rather than dumping them into the sea. It's the best offer they will ever hope to receive for them, as all the Chronicle sheets do is take up precious cargo space otherwise.

The pirates would be foolish to reject such an offer, unless they thought they were worth more to the Society than what was being offered to them. They would have to believe that, if pressed, the Society would be willing to offer more. Of course, they would be correct, but the pirates have no knowledge of the amount of effort actually required to duplicate the Chronicle sheets.

Given the choice between accepting the Society's offer and dumping them in the sea, they would be foolish to choose the latter. They know that the Society counts among its ranks a large number of experienced and bloodthirsty adventurers, whose instinctive response to having something stolen from them is to promptly hunt down and slaughter the offending party. They also know that they cannot sell the Chronicles in any marketplace, for reasons aforementioned. Their best choice is to accept the offer, deliver the Chronicle sheets, have a few drinks, and be better off knowing just how worthless Chronicle sheets are to a pirate.

Thus, the pirates will almost certainly accept the Society's offer. And because of this knowledge, that the resolution of this conflict would be quite inexpensive and would not require violence, the Society would thus be foolish to go ahead and launch a raid. Given the payment of a trifling sum and no matters of personal safety, and that the only justice the pirates actually answer to is that of the policies of Magnimar itself, the only reason left to board these pirates' vessel would be out of sheer enjoyment of the practice of separating their heads from their shoulders. I would hope that the Society does not harbor any such deranged murderers amongst its ranks, and if they do pollute the Society's reputation with their presence, it would be advisable to not let them dispense anything resembling their twisted mockery of justice, as such a cruel and violent act would only reflect poorly on the company kept by the Society's sole ally in Magnimar, the Heidmarchs. It would be nice to see the Society welcomed in Magnimar after this piracy incident has run its course.

All that is left is to make the counteroffer, and this conflict will come to a swift resolution.

Sincerely,
Lady Gabrielle d'Apcher

Grand Lodge 5/5

I loathe when pirates raid the Society's halls, it's worse than Aspis Consortium "agents." I think striking back with Tigrul (my tiger companion) and my stalwart Society colleagues would show them what for...

Silver Crusade 5/5

Thomas, if we must do this for anyone, it is for the weak that these savages seek to prey on. If the brigands think that the shadow of the waves can protect them from the light of justice, they are woefully mistaken. They will find that my armor is not be my coffin in the deep, but rather the swift agency of their own damnation. May the Inheritor guide our hands, and may I cleave true to the authority vested in me by the Order of the Nail.

Scarab Sages

Meh. Pirate scum. Almost as bad as undead, in my opinion. Especially when they steal pieces of paper that are as good as gold!

...when they represent gold, that's even worse.

I'm loading my gun, and I'm ready to sail the seas for these brutes!

Liberty's Edge

"Of course they took the chronicles! Pirates know no shame! If I'd been there, Gorum willing, my great blade would have rolled heads! Enough of this loitering and banter, to arms! The glory of Gorum and the Society awaits! May they wash the decks with their own blood!" Raul cries as he waves his greatsword in the air. Then a thought hits him like a wet slap to the face as he cocks his head to one side. "Er, wait. I mean, they can't wash the decks if they're dead, of course. That's uh, not really how I meant..." Raul trails off as his sword lowers and the enthusiasm begins to recede.
"There will be violence!" He declares proudly, once again shaking his sword in the air. "And victory!"

Silver Crusade 4/5

Sure, they're pirates. But are they demon pirates? THAT's what my lady would have me know.

If not, perhaps they can repent of their larcenous ways and embrace the light. Lady knows we need all the help we can get, especially if we're to push back the night into the worldwound.

Like my crusading mother always said, "Everybody needs a second chance. Just think where you'd be if I hadn't given one to your father."

The Exchange

Grayson of Lastwall challenges these pirates to single combat on the field of battle! After facing vile cultists of Lissala in the name of protecting the good people of Varisia, I can see no reason why a shipload of honorless sea-brigands should prove difficult. Perhaps my faithful warpig and I can teach these scum how we do things in Vigil.

Dark Archive

"As I wandered the dusty hazards of Bonekeep, these ne'er-do-wells took it upon themselves to relieve our people of their hard-earned Chronicles", Ritten mutters as he rebuilds his beloved handguns. Taking time to smear a glob of silvery weaponshine onto the barrels, he grunts softly.

"The Paracountess be damned. Her desires have little bearing; without those Chronicles our allies are dead in the water."

The lithe gunslinger holsters his trusty weapons, rises from his workbench, and steps through the doorframe and into the salty air of Magnimar harbor.

"... and with those Chronicles those pirates are, too."

Silver Crusade 3/5

Most recently, a foiled plot... the Spider will not have his way... now - pirates! My life on the downs has yet to prepare me for this, though the chalk was once an ocean...

The Exchange

As concerned as I am for the fate of the Chronicles, I am more intrigued by the fate of the rum... rum that I have not yet tasted... rum that will surely cause me to speak loudly, crudely, and eventually through my bile-stained beard...

There is a drink which I have not yet imbibed, that alone is reason for adventure!

Shadow Lodge 2/5

"i'll must state that thrill of being able to turn those scaly wags in to future zombies... and receive credit for my actions with those dread people who slander the name of pathfinders in the city of Magnimar by committing crimes and leaving evidence implicating the Pathfinder Society makes me feel so joy.. until then they should be leery of my touch and that of my Bombs!"

Grand Lodge

Tsk, once again the Decemvirate sends good Pathfinders to an early grave by sending insufficient forces...

Rally, friends; the sooner we kill those algae-sucking pirates, the sooner we can recover our fallen comrades!

Liberty's Edge

As it is said, "The Dawnflower offers mercy to those who would repent their evil, and justice to those who won't."

While I appreciate Lady Gabrielle's suggestion of negotiating with these pirates, we cannot allow their thievery to continue. Just giving them money for our property will encourage them to continue such behavior in the future, possibly with lives on the line, and victims who cannot afford their ransom. We must be sure they truly repent their sins and see the light, or put them to the sword. For those are the only two possibilities that prevent future evil acts.

The Exchange 5/5 ⦵⦵⦵⦵

Yar-ar-har! Nothin' ta be seein' here, me fellow Pathfinders! Allow me, Cap'n Julius Ignatious John Patrick "Black" Ramsey of th' Ardent Lady and th'Sczarni step forward for a parley, and we'll surely find it's all been a simple misunderstandin!

All ye need t'do is leave me wages from th'Venture Cap'ns with me quartermaster, in advance, aye, and I'll be makin' sure it'll be done!

(Just in case this posts as my VL tag instead of my character, this is for Cap'n Ramsey, yar!)

Silver Crusade

Th-th-th-th-those scoundrels! St-st-st-stealing is bad. I'll let Magdalyn know about them, she'll show them what-for! Maybe I'll tell Magdashae too... but she'll probably just want to talk to them and spreak Shelyn's love or something...

Silver Crusade 5/5

Posting as Iorden of Longacre, professional monster hunter, since VOs can't use aliases on thhe PFS boards.

"All this discussion of murdering pirates, by Iomedaeans no less, smacks of hypocrisy to me. If I should kill a human in self defense, I would be run out of town on a rail as a monster. But should a human kill another human, its perfectly acceptable? Nonsense."

Iorden fiddles absentmindedly with a silver holy symbol of Pharasma as he speaks, and seems lost in thought for a moment before he continues.

"I couldn't care less about thieves. I hunt demons and devils, not elves and men. But if no other can be found better suited to the task, I will lend my sword long enough to offer the pirates an opportunity to surrender peacefully. I will even bring back that which was taken. But I do not kill men. Only monsters. I will not start now."

Scarab Sages

I'm guessing that season 4 might be slow because of shifting to some of the rules play changes, such as 6 being the standard size for tables.

From what I understand, season 4 adventures are much more brutal and less survivable (as in, they're actually challanging! Kudos!) than prior seasons. Maybe people are too afraid to risk their characters in this season's fun?

Ah, and the "in-character" response...

"Pirates!" muttered Damien the Mad Bomber.... "Pirates... do they burn as nicely as gobo's do? Do they explode as sweetly as skeleton's do?"

"Hush," muttered Alex, Paladin of Iomadae. "Idiot," he muttered to himself, though Jhalad Rahiem, wise and old cleric of Irori, overheard and frowned. "Always wanting to burn things. Why does the Society keep things like him around, anyway?"

"Because even vermin need a place to live," responded Jhalad sagely. "Even trash needs to be disposed of, and all the easier, if people like Damien are there to do it. He serves his purpose within the Society, as do I. Why I remember a few years back when I was out with that scoundrel of a wizard, Goblin-"

"No one cares to hear your stories, old man!" snapped Rebo, stomping into the room, his eidolon, Zootie, his wild pink hair waving back and forth, close on the summoner's heals. "The society is concerned about pirates, not the musing of someone who should already be out to pasture. And as to the pirates, I think Damian has the right of it. Burn them. Scum, all, I say!"

Each wrapped themselves in their own thoughts, brooding over the worry of Pirates, Goblins, and other dark matters that faced the Society. Finally, Alex rose to his feet.

"Well, my friends, I must be off. I have a new mission from the Decemvirate. I'm to board a ship called the Throaty Mermaid. Escort mission of some sort. Hush hush, and all that." He winked slyly at the remaining trio, failing to notice Rebo rolling his eyes, and Zootie's snickering. The paladin walked out of the room, feeling galant in the trust that the Society placed upon him.

"Younglings," muttered Jhalad. "Don't know that every adventure turns sour at some point. Smiling, he turned towards the other. "I found myself in the city of Cassomir, with some old friends, years ago, and we heard about some cult. Rats, big rats! Anyway-"

"Shut it!" roared Rebo. "I'd rather listen to the alchemist!"

Silver Crusade 5/5

"Iorden, what is it in the form of a monster that matters? These pirates may be men, or they may not, but they have willfully committed piracy on the high seas. Are those who seek to murder innocents and steal the livelihood from those who can't defend themselves not monsters regardless of their form?" Valeria grasps the gold dragon tooth hanging from her belt. "Any being, no matter how you perceive their form, can harbor a twisted and vile heart. We must be vigilant against such foes. But likewise, there is a potential for good. Would you strike me down as a monster simply because my blood is tainted by the servants of the Prince of Pain? That would make you no better than those who would run you out of town for an act of self-defense. Trust me, I know the persecution that can be found at the hands of the masses. It is a failure of a just system of laws. And I admire your restraint. But there are uncountable evils in this world that beat away at the foundations of civilization, and I intend to stand up against those evils and take them to account for their actions."

Dark Archive 5/5

Wouldn't it be more fun to steal the chronicles right back? I mean, the irony's delicious, and people used to hiding can be really bad at figuring out other people could be hiding too, so they don't notice you sneaking around! And with my abilities and powers, I bet I could get in and out of there, quick and quiet as a rat, blending into the shadows, pick up those papers, just waltz right back out, leave the mark of the Rat Lady somewhere on the way back so they'd know to watch out for Her... It'd be awesome. Because I'm awesome.

Okay, maybe I could bring a few bludgeoner types with. They could be a diversion or something. Not that I'd need one.

Silver Crusade

Arr John Compton, ye villainous scalliwag, holdin' chronicle sheets hostage is th' act of a scurrilous bilge rat. In Besmara's name, let us pirate blooded ride the seas once more; if not, fear the wrathful smite of the goddess of chaos and protean!

Sczarni 2/5

Pirates you say? Well everyone has to earn a living somehow, so I have no normal quarrel with them. However, if I learn that these scurvy riddled criminals are the ones responsible for providing the Aspis Consortium with the surplus of basilisks that they recently seem to have developed, then there shall be a reckoning!!!

Not that I mind the new boots, pants, cloak, and vest I have made from all of these beasties that I have killed, but washing their blood out of my hair every time I need to be unpetrified is amazingly tiring. I know my sister Celeste (the smart one) can back up my claims.

So if anyone needs us to venture forth on Mr. Soggy Whiskers, our captured and somewhat domesticated sea cat, out to these basilisk providing scoundrels' ship and violently liberate some documents then let us know. We will even turn over the documents to their rightful owners for only a marginal fee.

Silver Crusade

Iorden of Longacre wrote:
If I should kill a human in self defense, I would be run out of town on a rail as a monster.

Not if I have anything to say about it.

Let me be rightly understood: at least as far as the material plane is concerned, monstrosity is independent of race.

The brigands will be offered the chance to hand over the stolen goods and walk away. Should they instead choose to draw weapons against the agents of the rightful owners, they will be put down. The choice is theirs, and I will come prepared for either decision.

Silver Crusade 5/5

Posting as Iorden of Longacre because VOs can't use aliases.

"Outward appearances mean nothing. Inherent potential matters. Fiends of the lower planes, the walking dead, and the foul things that dwell beneath the earth and seas are irredeemable, but the shell that carries them is not what makes them monsters. It is the nature of their kind, the irrevocable evil in the hearts of gelugons, ghouls, and gugs that makes them monsters. Unlike bandits, these creatures are powerful and dangerous beyond the abilities of local lordlings and country sheriffs. Capture and rehabilitation are impossible; their extermination is necessary to protect the commoners from the predations of such foul creatures. Because there is no alternative, I will kill these things for a price."

Iorden takes a long, slow breath and turns to respond to Thomas.

"Thomas, I fear the gods disagree that monstrosity is independent of race. Iorden rolls up his sleeves, revealing scars left over from the well-intentioned curative magics of friendly priests. Your priestly magic would wound my flesh, your healing arts hastening me towards Pharasma's welcome rest." Straightening his sleeves once more, he continues. "Any farmer's wife can look upon me and see I am not natural. I am a foul thing, a product of foul deeds by creatures fouler still. By evil old men I was taught the use of sword and spell to protect them in their dotage, to die in their place. Now, with the old men claimed by Pharasma, I wander the Inner Sea hunting my own ilk for coin. Who, I ask, is the monster? The man who steals on the high seas to survive, or the one who murders his own kind?"

The dhampir frowns, as if pondering his own question, before continuing.

"If a priest of the Inheritor believes he can judge his own kind as beyond salvation, then the choice will weigh on his soul in the Boneyard. But I will not claim that simply by virtue of unfortunate circumstance those who attempt to take my life are evil. I do not know them or their past and I will not judge them. I also will not die for them; if I must choose my life or theirs, I will make the selfish choice. But I will not seek to take life if there is hope, however slight, that my victim could find a more peaceful life than mine if shown the way."

Silver Crusade

Skad of Absalom wrote:

Wouldn't it be more fun to steal the chronicles right back? I mean, the irony's delicious, and people used to hiding can be really bad at figuring out other people could be hiding too, so they don't notice you sneaking around! And with my abilities and powers, I bet I could get in and out of there, quick and quiet as a rat, blending into the shadows, pick up those papers, just waltz right back out, leave the mark of the Rat Lady somewhere on the way back so they'd know to watch out for Her... It'd be awesome. Because I'm awesome.

Okay, maybe I could bring a few bludgeoner types with. They could be a diversion or something. Not that I'd need one.

"Heehee. Yeah, that would be pretty funny," says a happy looking gnome with bright blue skin and green hair, grinning at that prospect. "Hi, Skad. My name's Wizzlefarb, and I like the way you think!"

"I'm pretty good at sneaking, too. Gnomes are small and easily go unnoticed by bigger folk, even when they're as handsome as me!" He poses like a model, obviously not taking himself seriously, and just joking around.

"If ya need a hand carrying the stolen goods when you sneak in to retrieve them, let me know. Or I could be the distraction. I'm a stand up philosopher by trade, which means I'm good at entertaining a crowd, making them laugh and all. But you're right that we should bring some extra muscle just in case. From what I've seen on Society missions, these things have a tendency to go downhill quickly, and I'm more of a lover than a fighter."

Dark Archive 5/5

I am still waiting on my chronicles to be returned to me from the last great chronicle debacle. Once the Decemvirate deals with that ongoing issue, I may be willing to help them against these pirates.

Grand Lodge

"Pirates? First, I come back from a deadly forest, near dead from poison, to hear that the man who warned me these things would happen is being hunted. Now I hear that the "men in charge" will be sending Pathfinders to not just one, but two of the deadliest places on Golarion. I speak not just of the Shackles, but the Worldwound. Despicable. I can only hope to see a torch keep illuminated the fault that is made here. Were I to decide to be a crusader or a pirate, I would be there already. These things do not fit my personality, though. This decision to become a Pathfinder seems to be getting worse and worse."

Grand Lodge 5/5

Foolish pirates, they know not what they have begun. I have been thinking about opening up another theatre in Riddleport or Magnimar. This may be a good time for a grand opening with the influx of fellow Pathfinders I shortly expect. I see this as a great opportunity to heighten my fame in Varisia.

Hmm I wonder if my fellow Pathfinders' exploits in this endeavor will inspire a new opera.

Liberty's Edge 4/5

It's, like, so sad that everyone is talking about attacking these pirates to get our Chronicles back. Why can't we just talk with them first? I'm sure with some kind words and a couple of spells, they will be happy to give us our sheets back. We might even become friends!

Silver Crusade

Iorden of Longacre wrote:

"Thomas, I fear the gods disagree that monstrosity is independent of race." Iorden rolls up his sleeves, revealing scars left over from the well-intentioned curative magics of friendly priests. "Your priestly magic would wound my flesh, your healing arts hastening me towards Pharasma's welcome rest." Straightening his sleeves once more, he continues. "Any farmer's wife can look upon me and see I am not natural. I am a foul thing, a product of foul deeds by creatures fouler still. By evil old men I was taught the use of sword and spell to protect them in their dotage, to die in their place. Now, with the old men claimed by Pharasma, I wander the Inner Sea hunting my own ilk for coin. Who, I ask, is the monster? The man who steals on the high seas to survive, or the one who murders his own kind?"

The dhampir frowns, as if pondering his own question, before continuing.

"If a priest of the Inheritor believes he can judge his own kind as beyond salvation, then the choice will weigh on his soul in the Boneyard. But I will not claim that simply by virtue of unfortunate circumstance those who attempt to take my life are evil. I do not know them or their past and I will not judge them. I also will not die for them; if I must choose my life or theirs, I will make the selfish choice. But I will not seek to take life if there is hope, however slight, that my victim could find a more peaceful life than mine if shown the way."

Do you think I know nothing of heritage and circumstance? My own father sought to slay me in my infancy, merely to preserve a public perception of impeccable ancestry - having a tiefling for a son makes it rather difficult to claim a pure bloodline. He'd have succeeded but for my mother stealing me away in the night and traveling, penniless and friendless, all the way from Tian Xia to the Inner Sea. Do you think I don't know what it means to choose between begging, stealing, or death?

Do not mistake my readiness to end evil with an eagerness to see it where it doesn't exist. Rest assured, I know the difference between a man who steals food to survive, and one who owns a ship, pays a crew, and steals more than he needs just so he can feel powerful or fill his coffers.

Scarab Sages

A large form stands from among the gathered crowd of Pathfinders.

"For the glory of Osiria these ruffians shall trouble the Inner Sea no more. You gnomes are welcome to sneak around while I take a direct approach."

He hefts his gear and makes for the docks.

Dark Archive

*A man bedecked in full Hellknight plate strides in, right hand resting lightly on the hilt of his winged hilt cold iron sword,left hand hanging loosely by a flintlock pistol embellished in devils and angels. His heavy armor masks his features, but a stray strand of metallic blue hair that falls from his helm betrays his divine heritage. He strolls into the center of the assembly, turns to the captain, and snaps a crisp, formal Chellish salute.*

"Marek Delfansia, Hellknight of the Scourge reporting for duty! We shall see to it that the Society reclaims what is rightfully theirs! We shall bring justice to the lawless reaches of Golarion, the Shackles inclusive!"

Grand Lodge

A grizzled, one-eyed dwarf sits upon a worn stool amidst the assembly, slowly drinking from a tankard.

"Pirates ya say, lad? A scourge upon my lords realm and a nasty bit of business that. Not to be trifled with. I best lend a hand in sending these villains into Gozreh's watery embrace lest the fool lot of you go and get yourselves killed. No need to thank me, I'm just doing my part."

He drains the last drop of ale from his mug, slings his heavy repeating crossbow on his back and retrieves his trident from a nearby weapons rack.

Grand Lodge 5/5

A child pipes up "Ooo Pirates, sounds like an adventure that!"

A double take and people notice the armour and the holy symbol of Desna hanging around the neck of an immaculately dressed Halfling.

"Pleased to meet you, I'm Bosco, anyone want Desna's luck on such a trip because Pirates sound like bad people!"


What a beautiful illustration.

Paizo Employee Developer

As a reminder, we've previously stated that characters who play at least one Season 4 scenario before the conclusion of Season 4 will be eligible to receive a boon specifically tailored to the character's faction, reflecting the faction's degree of success in attaining its season-long goals. If a player can both qualify for this special boon coming in a few months and help us defeat the dastardly pirates who are holding the Skull & Shackles Chronicle sheets hostage, then that's two birds with one stone!

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