So, how did everyone's first session or two go? *Possible spoilers*


Skull & Shackles

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Dark Archive

Pathfinder Rulebook Subscriber

Our's was fairly eventful. We played through our first six days on the ship, saw each other in the tavern, got assigned our roles, etc.

The party's bard (dervish dancer), alchemist, and true primal barbarian are swabs, the cavalier got assigned to kitchen duty, and the gunslinger's working the sails (without much success in the last couple of days. Scourge was none too pleased).

The GM's running Fishguts like he's a walking corpse. The man's liver is practically failing while we watch, and we've all taken a liking to him just for how utterly pathetic he is. "I need ye to - hiccup - kill this creature." - Ambrose Kroop, handing off a butcher knife to the Cook's Mate to fillet a live reefclaw.

So far we've also managed to get a rival member of the crew keelhauled, another one stuffed in the sweat-box (he has since escaped and vanished), and the dervish dancer is in the process of romancing Cut-Throat Grok.

Our fight with Owlbear was also pretty noteworthy, as he stomped through three of our PCs before the alchemist finally managed to knock him unconscious via bomb to the face.

Sovereign Court

You guys might be one of the first groups to run a session. Our groups' first session is tonight, so I will respond back tomorrow with how it went!

Sovereign Court

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Well we finished our first session last night, here's our group breakdown:

Elf Rogue (Swashbuckler)
Human Magus
Human Cleric of Besmara
Dwarf Alchemist (Grenadier)

Now before I start explainging what happened, I will tell you that my player group is quite... confrontational. So I knew after reading the Wormwood Mutiny that things might be a bit difficult. Man was I in for a surprise. Here's how our first two days on this ship went.

Day One:

After waking up on the ship, the group took a quick stock of their situtaion, some where a bit miffed that they were lacking their equipment minus the clothing on their backs. When Master Scourge comes down and rushes everyone up on deck, the group hurries and lines up. The Captain was about to start his introduction when the Rogue decides to beeline for the poop deck to assault the captain and "rip off his ugly beard". Master Scoruge tries to trip him, but misses. Mr. Plugg intervenes to also try to subdue the Rogue, but the rogue easily avoids and twirls around Mr. Plugg to come face to face with the Captain. The Rogue is about to reach for, and pull on the captain's beard when he is finally subdued by both Mr. Plugg and the ship's wizard (who's name escapes me). The Rogue is sentenced to 3 lashes at the "Bloody Hour" for his transgressions.

The assigning of job's goes off without a hitch, the cleric, assigned to being a swab, tries several times to try to open the door leading to the officer's cabin, but is discovered twice, and is sentenced to work the bilges the next day. The cook's mate (Magus) fails to catch enough fish and is also sentenced to work the bilges the next day.

Sandara introduces her self and gives 1 or 2 items back to the players, most notable she gives the rogue his elven curve blade, the cleric her morningstar, and the magus his aldori dueling blade. She also warns the rogue not to try anything else that is crazy or he might get himself killed, a sentiment that the alchemist repeats to him.

With the day being over, rum rations are handed out. The rogue takes his rum ration and throws it into the face of Master Scourge and the rogue is subdued, tied to the mainmast and given 9 lashes, 3 for his previous crime and 6 for his continued problems. With the start of the Bloody hour, the players witness the kheelhauling of Magpie. Most of the players are exhausted at this point and two head to sleep while the other two decide to gamble. The cleric again tries to sneak into the officers cabin but is unable to get the door open.

Day Two:

The group is assaulted by the pirates trying to make them late. They very nearly kill the main guy who pulls a knife on them, but is convinced by Sandara and the alchemist player to let them go.

Both the Cleric and Magus report to the bilges for the day, where they fail their rolls and end up being exhausted. The rogue however sneaks off from his rigging duties to find the quartermaster where he convinces her that his armor is cursed. He suceeds and he gains his armor back.

At the end of the day, rum rations are distributed, and the rogue again throws his in the face of Master Scourge, who is about to administer punishment when the rogue charges him. Long story short, the rogue is subdued by Mr. Plugg and half a dozen other pirates, but not in time to save Master Scourge, who has been murdered by the Rogue. The rogue is sentensed to kheelhauling, to which the player thinks he can survive, but by about the third round of being under, the player realises that he isn't going walk away from this, so he attempts to escape from the rope and does manage (with a natural 20 on his check) to get loose from the rope. He then climbs up the anchor chain to come face to face with Captain Barnabus, who comments that the rogue has a death wish, but can't seem to be killed. The rogue is sentensed to 24 hours in the sweatbox, after which he will be given direct duties from Mr. Plugg. If the rogue steps one toes out of line again, Captain Barnabus comments that he will rip off all his limbs and leave him for the sharks.

And that's how it went...


wow - I'm not sure if I would have waited so long before xxxxxxx the rogue...

Dark Archive

Tierce, how did the rogue manage to survive 9 lashes in a single day? Don't lashes do 1d3+2 nonlethal damage, I could be wrong I don't have my copy yet but is something I read on another messageboard. Did you roll really low or change the damage? Just curious, your campaign sounds pretty awesome.

Sovereign Court

theHunterD13 wrote:
Tierce, how did the rogue manage to survive 9 lashes in a single day? Don't lashes do 1d3+2 nonlethal damage, I could be wrong I don't have my copy yet but is something I read on another messageboard. Did you roll really low or change the damage? Just curious, your campaign sounds pretty awesome.

Oh he was knocked out from the lashes, and Scourge stopped at that point as they didn't want to beat a new recruit to death on the first day.

Dark Archive

Tierce wrote:
theHunterD13 wrote:
Tierce, how did the rogue manage to survive 9 lashes in a single day? Don't lashes do 1d3+2 nonlethal damage, I could be wrong I don't have my copy yet but is something I read on another messageboard. Did you roll really low or change the damage? Just curious, your campaign sounds pretty awesome.
Oh he was knocked out from the lashes, and Scourge stopped at that point as they didn't want to beat a new recruit to death on the first day.

Ok that makes sense, thanks for the clarification.

Sczarni

See, if I were a pirate captain, I would have killed him right off the bat and nailed his skull to the mainmast. You don't want to let the other recruits think that they can get away with stuff like that!

Sovereign Court

Trinite wrote:
See, if I were a pirate captain, I would have killed him right off the bat and nailed his skull to the mainmast. You don't want to let the other recruits think that they can get away with stuff like that!

I'd rather crush their spirits until they have less then nothing to live for. But not to worry, I have an excellent plan on how to rectify the situation. More to come Friday


Pathfinder Lost Omens Subscriber

Lol I have a player that I can see totally being similar in temperament to the person playing your rogue. I chuckled out loud when the rogue threw the rum at Scourge a second time! What's especially funny is him rolling a natural 20 and surviving the keelhauling. That's where, as the GM, you have just have to laugh and roll with it.

Good posts Kierce!


Ha! Thanks for the retelling Tierce, that was pretty amusing. I can easily see the Captain being pissed about the rogue, but at the same time, can't help but be impressed with his daring and uncanny knack at surviving.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber

That is really great! Personally after that Rogue rolled that 20 ... I would have him encountered some sharks! :)

Before I run this myself I'm having a bit of a "talk" with my players to explain to them that this is not your "normal" adventure where everything the PCs see they can encounter/beat. This ins't a world designed just for them and that if they see a rugged, war-battled pirate crew and they decide to challenge them at 1st level ... expect to die.

I have a feeling that we are going to be reading a lot of similar stories in the next few months where the PCs decide to challenge the crew and end up in Davy Jones' Locker. It's pretty rare to see an adventure like this where the PCs are truly at the mercy of the NPCs and can be killed at will. It's going to be interesting to see how many PC deaths occur over the next few months.

Sovereign Court

Stonesnake wrote:

Before I run this myself I'm having a bit of a "talk" with my players to explain to them that this is not your "normal" adventure where everything the PCs see they can encounter/beat. This ins't a world designed just for them and that if they see a rugged, war-battled pirate crew and they decide to challenge them at 1st level ... expect to die.

More power to ya, I had the same talk with my group and we see where I ended up. But I'm quite glad in the way that it turned out so far and I can't wait to see how it continues

Dark Archive

Tierce wrote:
Stonesnake wrote:

Before I run this myself I'm having a bit of a "talk" with my players to explain to them that this is not your "normal" adventure where everything the PCs see they can encounter/beat. This ins't a world designed just for them and that if they see a rugged, war-battled pirate crew and they decide to challenge them at 1st level ... expect to die.

More power to ya, I had the same talk with my group and we see where I ended up. But I'm quite glad in the way that it turned out so far and I can't wait to see how it continues

Good luck to you, but just remember most of those pirates missing hands, feet and eyes didn't necessarily loose them in battle.

I have found the first time you permanently lop an appendage off a PC they tend to change their play-style almost immediately.

Dark Archive

Pathfinder Roleplaying Game Superscriber; Starfinder Charter Superscriber
Mathwei ap Niall wrote:
Tierce wrote:
Stonesnake wrote:

Before I run this myself I'm having a bit of a "talk" with my players to explain to them that this is not your "normal" adventure where everything the PCs see they can encounter/beat. This ins't a world designed just for them and that if they see a rugged, war-battled pirate crew and they decide to challenge them at 1st level ... expect to die.

More power to ya, I had the same talk with my group and we see where I ended up. But I'm quite glad in the way that it turned out so far and I can't wait to see how it continues

Good luck to you, but just remember most of those pirates missing hands, feet and eyes didn't necessarily loose them in battle.

I have found the first time you permanently lop an appendage off a PC they tend to change their play-style almost immediately.

Wow, that is an excellent idea! And it's great that they have those new rules in the game now for how to handle missing limbs ... always need to try out new rules! :)

The only thing that I can think that might drive more fear into a PC than seeing them lose a limb is when I say the words coup de grâce.


Tierce, I'm cocking my eyebrow at the screen when I read that the rogue tried to pull on the captain's beard. Is this a younger player? I have to ask what motivated the rogue to do that. What does his swashbuckler have to gain from pulling on the captain's beard? Sounds like some metagame funny business is going on there. I probably wouldn't let that player get off the hook, since it sounds like he is testing the limits of the environment his character is in. He might just keep subconsciously or consciously doing that until his character is dead.


Jabborwacky wrote:
Tierce, I'm cocking my eyebrow at the screen when I read that the rogue tried to pull on the captain's beard. Is this a younger player? I have to ask what motivated the rogue to do that. What does his swashbuckler have to gain from pulling on the captain's beard? Sounds like some metagame funny business is going on there. I probably wouldn't let that player get off the hook, since it sounds like he is testing the limits of the environment his character is in. He might just keep subconsciously or consciously doing that until his character is dead.

About my previous comment: If your group is having fun, that is what counts.

Liberty's Edge

xn0o0cl3 wrote:

<snip>

Our fight with Owlbear was also pretty noteworthy, as he stomped through three of our PCs before the alchemist finally managed to knock him unconscious via bomb to the face.

Man oh man. I'm in xn0's group as well. All I can say is damn. The fight with Owlbear was the end of the first session but the ending to the second was even crazier!

The Gunslinger was set up by Plugg. He was attacked, while he was alone and unarmed and unarmored, in the bilge. It was intense! It was him versus Crimson and two other pirates. And to make matters worse they told him "We're going to murder you." So luckily, with no help of the dice(I'm serious the rolls were abysmal in that fight for everyone involved), he was able to disarm crimson and take down all three pirates. He ended that fight with 3hp. After that Plugg came in with some men and apprehended him, threw him in the sweat-box, and plans on keelhauling him after he's had time to stew. And that's where the session ended...

Sovereign Court

Only done one session of Skull and Shackles (second session is tonight) and so far I have to admit that it is probably going to be my favorite AP to GM.


*sigh* None of my group wants to play it and this is really making me want to run it. I'm talking with some other friends and they're interested. Gotta finish Jade Regent first though.


Keep the impressions coming! While I plan on waiting a bit, I've subscribed to this adventure path with plans to bring my current gaming group into Pathfinder. I am a bit concerned that the players won't take to being indentured very long, though. Any tricks a GM can discover will prove helpful!

Dark Archive

Personally I'd have had the Captain grab the rogue by the neck with one hand and toss him over board from the first charge. Demonstrate how much of a badass Barnabas is.

As has been said, if the party is enjoying the rogue's antics, more power to them. As a PC, I'd have slit his throat in the night for making me look bad (as a fellow new recruit).

Sounds to me that it's a case of expecting this to be like any other game.

Shadow Lodge

My group's first session was a resounding success. Intimidated crew, scared by Scourge and more importantly rum rations. Our goblin ended up being the cook's mate (he was the only one that said he had cooked before), which is going to be hilarious. The ambush on the second day was also entertaining. Not much of a challenge (witch's slumber) with a lucky sneak attack crit from the goblin that downed Fipps. Our ranger decided to do an ad hoc nonlethal coup degrace (bit off Aretta's ear).

They started to influence Rosie and Owlbear (found while searching), which is a bit of a waste... they're easy to get auto-helpful, but ce la vie.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

@Tierce: Sounds like your game is going swimmingly. That the rogue escaped the Keelhauling is just icing on the cake. He sounds like officer material to me.


My first session wasn't quite as crazy although I'm now in a bit of a fix. The first day one of the players mouthed off and was given 3 lashes (human sorcerer), they were warned before hand and ironicaly the last game I ran had an NPC 5 levels higher than the PCs who nearly killed them all so the lesson was learned, I thought. Only the wizard failed the grog ration save but this turned out to be for his benefit as he made friends with the quartermaster afterwards. The problem occurred on day two with the ambush. They pushed the wizard which had the primative barbarian jumping in with a bite attack (he's a Kuru) and nearly killing the NPC. This by it's self wouldn't have been too bad except that the magus who was hanging back decided to create a distraction by using Spark to light a hammock on fire. We ended the session with them running around yelling that the boat was on fire and fetching water to put it out. Now what do I do? The book has nothing to cover the PCs lighting the boat on fire when no one's paying attention. Any suggestions would be helpful we play again on Monday night.


I would say they did know what should have happened down there. Give all of the pirates a DC 15 perception check if they witnessed the accident.

If one did see it the responsible char should get at least 6 lashes. If not Plugg will most likely blame all PCs and if they don't tell who did it all will get the chance to appreciate 3 lashes that night.

That is how I would handle it.

Sovereign Court

Second session went a little better for us. Once the rogue was let out of the sweatbox, he noticed that his gear had been taken again. After inquiring around the ship, he discovered that Captain Barnabus was holding his curve blade for ransom, and could only get it back if he caused no trouble. The rogue then become the hardest worker on the ship

And after the death of Master Scourge, the new master of arms was reveiled to be..... Master Scourge, although with a peg leg and a hook hand, and smelling oddly like a corpse. All the players think he's some sort of zombie now.

Other Points:
And they survived the storm with no incident, and they rescued the NPC who went overboard. The female cleric of Besmara challeneged Owlbear to the fight and nearly knocked him out cold, but when Plugg threw him the club, the magus casted Color Spray on Owlbear, which caused everyone to pile in screaming "cheat" and "Foul". Ended up that the cleric only walked away with half the bag of gold.

And the rogue was targeted to work the bilges and fought off the other two pirates who were trying to kill him. He easily subdued them and dragged their unconcious bodies to Mr. Plugg for "discipline"

Third session is tonight, so I'm quite excited


This is making me want to play in a S&S game. If only I could find one.

Dark Archive

Very cool Teirce, glad to see you found a way to reign in the Rogue. I too am curious as to what your plans are concerning Master Scourge.

Liberty's Edge

RogueShadow3 wrote:

<snip>

We ended the session with them running around yelling that the boat was on fire and fetching water to put it out. Now what do I do? The book has nothing to cover the PCs lighting the boat on fire when no one's paying attention. Any suggestions would be helpful we play again on Monday night.

Honestly the fire on the ship is a good way to show your PCs that they can't just "PC" them selves out of this situation. In other words they need to actually think and wait which is tough to do. (Believe me, our group is damn near ready to tear the ship apart.)

Even if the crew doesn't see them lite the fire they can assume. I mean they're the only people on the ship who would think to do that. Considering the ship is weeks away from land. (I assume I'm only a player in this AP). The crew will probably blame the press ganged party and if by some chance they talk themselves out of the situation or are able to lie then have the captain do something drastic. Double the work load, cut rations to the crew, deal out harsher punishments for screw ups until someone steps forward for the incident. Then place 'em in the sweat box until it's time to fight owl bear or until they think the PC has had enough time to stew.

And you can make everything the captain does seem logical as well, not just DM fury. Have him explain the situation to the crew, "Someones has set a fire to me ship. And I know damned well it didn't just appear. You all know we're weeks from land and even further from our destination. So until we can find the guilty party we're cutting rations. We're gonna need to save up while we work the repairs. So that's double to work for ye too! And don't screw this up. Or ol' Pluggs here will get to use the Cat 'o Nine Tails till yer bloody..."

Liberty's Edge

This will also keep the PC's from trying to destroy the ship. Cause if they do not only are the pirates dead but they are as well.

Sovereign Court

CrackedOzy wrote:
Very cool Teirce, glad to see you found a way to reign in the Rogue. I too am curious as to what your plans are concerning Master Scourge.

I have a neat plan, but since my players check this board, I may have to PM you with it.


Tierce wrote:
Third session is tonight, so I'm quite excited

How'd it go, what happened? I've been anxiously waiting all weekend to find out!

Sovereign Court

Macharius wrote:
Tierce wrote:
Third session is tonight, so I'm quite excited
How'd it go, what happened? I've been anxiously waiting all weekend to find out!

LOL, I wasn't actually going to write it out as this thread was only for the first few sessions, so I may have to start my own thread. But for now, I will go through our third session.

Session Three:
The session started off with Boarding School, which tested the PC's at trying to toss a grappling hook and climb to the ship. After several hours of no success, the boarding school was scraped and each PC received several rope bashes, to added grumbling of the PC's.

The next day saw some excitment as sails were spotted and they began preparing for some real piracy. The magus became horrified when he realised it was a merchant ship as he is deep down an honorable man, but fell in with the rest of the party as they boarded and began to engage the merchants. The rogue used the cover of all the fog to his advantage and would appear out of the fog to back stab as many of the merchants as he could, even saved the Captain from being attacked.

The PC's defeated all the merchants, slaying all but one, whom they captured and brought back to their ship. Their were awarded all their share of the plunder, and the rogue received a special amulet from the Captain for helping him during the assault. The PC's partied for countless hours until they were called on board the merchant's ship and told that they would be going with Plugg and Scourge to salvage the ship at Port Peril. The PC's were quite surprised that they were chosed for the task, until they realised that it was some cruel joke by Plugg and Scourge to work them half to death.

The crew was then divided up to various sleeping quarters, Plugg would take the Captain's quarters, Scourge and his cronies would take the officers cabin, along with Rosie and Sandara (to which the male PC's thought was indecent and were quite outraged) and the PC's were sent down to the main hold along with their pirate friends.

The second day on their new ship, the gunslinger and cleric realised within a few moments that they had changed their course from heading north to Port Peril to heading East to Bloodcove. They became even more worried when Rosie told them that Plugg called Scourge and all his cronies to the Captain's quarters that night for several hours.

The PC's then began to formulate a plan for MUTINY!!!

And that's what happened. If its requested for me to write each session, I may create another thread.


Tierce wrote:
And that's what happened. If its requested for me to write each session, I may create another thread.

Requested. Campaign journals are always welcome, and I am eager to hear the continuing adventures of murder Rogue. And the non-psychopaths, of course.


Saturday was my group's second session and we are now up to the part where they have taken the Man's Promise. We play 8 hours a session so we can cover a lot of ground in that time. I would say so far it has been very good. I managed expectations before we started and that really helped. once you make it clear that they will be treated like dirt and they shouldn't lash out right away then it's a much easier game session overall.

And yeah, they haaaaaaaaaaaaate Plugg and Scourge. I hit that right balance of punishing them and taunting them but not to the point where they'd fly off the handle and do something foolish.

Lantern Lodge

The game went well I think. I RP'd Mr. Plugg a lot more than scourge and Plugg became the bad guy really quick. I've been purposely playing the PC's against each other. Plugg picked up a one time mistress from the female elf character and gave her the keys to the sweat-box with the authority to use it.

piratical delaying action, how I ran it:
I sent 8 people down to the sleeping deck. They harassed the pcs as they were getting up, as written in the module specifying them wanting to get into a 'fist fight' not an actual combat. One of the more martial PCS drew a dagger and gave a club to another pc, so I had 4 pirates draw daggers. Two stayed on the stairs to physically block people from going up, 2 moved into attack (two hostile ones). Eventually, one of the fighting pirates was knocked unconscious. So how I played this is Plugg wanted this to happen, he wanted to keelhaul a pc, so he ordered one npc pirate (who was the guy still standing) to kill any wounded and he coup-de-graced him and immediately surrendered to the pcs. 4 of the 8 pirates that first went down there for a fist fight, ran back upstairs on queue shouting that the pcs were causing trouble. Plugg ran onto the deck to 'investigate' the ruckus a couple rounds later. During an 'investigation' it was determined that the pc actually drew the first weapon that ended in a death, and Plugg gave him several chances to name someone else to be keelhauled in his place (like Sandara), he refused and died.

Sovereign Court

Mort the Cleverly Named wrote:
Tierce wrote:
And that's what happened. If its requested for me to write each session, I may create another thread.
Requested. Campaign journals are always welcome, and I am eager to hear the continuing adventures of murder Rogue. And the non-psychopaths, of course.

Done, it has been moved to the campaign journals forum under here:

Tierce's Skull and Shackles - A Murderous Adventure on the High Seas


I GMed our 1st session tonight. I have a big party of 7 PCs so I needed a bit extra work, but it did work out quite well.
Actually it was a blast, but I was very happy, that I did prep some NPCs cards for each NPC!

Our 1st sesion:
My freebooters:
Human Ranger(Skirmisher)
Human Gunslinger(Musketeer)
Elven Cleric of Besmara
Half-Elven Summoner (Dragon form eidolon)
Half-Elven Bard (Sea Singer)
Half-Orc Alchemist (Grenadier)
Half-Orc Barbarian

Most of them did actually take profession (sailor).

As I have 7 players I increased the number of NPCs by a huge amount. My ship is now filled with 37 lower NPCs for the players to influence. (many original unfriendly or hostile. Also I planed with one ship action per day per char.

The Adventure started in the in in Port Peril. The in had a back room for fist fights. The Skirmisher choose a background of a payed pit fighter, so I did start out with an fist fight between him and an newly created NPC. While he rolled well he still lost the fight vs the NPC ending up unconscious. After each round of fighting two of the other PCs introduced themselves to the rest, which worked quite well, as it took the NPC three rounds to knock out the Skirmisher. Also this fight showed the PCs how deadly the ship might be, if a single "lower NPC" can beat them in a one on one fight.

After some talking introducing some gosip about the Wormwood and it's catain Harrigan and how deadly he is it was time for the fort save. All but the gunslinger failed the save and went to sleep. He was easily surrendered by the crew and surrendered.

So at the 1st wakeup they already knew it wasn't time to fight an wile not happy did as told. At this point there was already some hate building vs Master Scrouge. The race to the top was a bit different. They were warned that those that did not make it inside the crow nest would be punished and the nest was certainly to small for all to fit in. So the 1st four made it and the other three had to work the bilges later that day.
On the way down the summoner botched the climb check and did fall 60ft. For this I had Peppery Longfarthing standing on the fore deck to cast feather fall. She instructed Mr Plugg to grind, but not to kill them, before going below deck.

As the Alchemist actually did take profession (cook) he was assigned the job of the cooks mate.

In the bilge the PCs did talk a bit to Jakes Magpie, who was already giving up his live but the PCs did not understand what he meant, when he said, that this would be his last day in the bilge.

The barbarian did misbehave a lot during the day and was greeted with 6 lashes. The priest received 3 for asking to many questions. At the end the keelhauling and how much Scourge enjoyed it did get to the PCs.
At the evening Sandara gave them some equipement and they were able to make the 1st 1-2 friends (at a whole).

The next morning started with the barbarian almost killing one of the NPCs that just wanted to delay them with a fist fight and was also almost killed in return. Thankfully the other PCs were able to stop the fight before someone got killed. None the less the barbarian was sentenced to the sweatbox.
After that incident her head cooled down a bit esp as the other PCs told her how stupid this action was and that she would get herself killed if she could not control her temper a bit more.

The next day I selected 4 PCs to clean the bilge as it is just to small for 7 PCs. They managed to kill all the rats, but had a hard time with the last as it did hide in the water and none did really see it for quite some time.

The skirmisher did fight vs Owlbear the next day and was able to easily beat him but choose to spare him, gaining Owlbears gratitude. The priest started a daily ritual to tell stories of Besmara gaining some more influence with the NPCs over the time by doing so.

After that day we went into fast forward mode. The PCs already had a feel for how hard the work on the ship was and how ruthless Scourge and Plugg are and already the cooks mate and the skimisher were on helpful terms with Abrose and Cut-Throat. So we only did the short version of each day without much rolelaying, but it was clear that they hated Scourge and he hated them.

I changed the plans so that the storm started to be inevitable while they were still between the isles. So the 1st job was for all the help to set all sails despite the bad weather so that they could reach the open sea before the real storm should hit the ship. They made it but that meant they already had a lot work to do before the storm hit the ship. As I allowed the cooks mate the luxury to stay on deck he was able to quickly threw a rope the the drowning friend, which he perfectly did with a natural 20. Thanks to this they were able to save the friend.

On the beach in increased the number of reefclaws to three. Thankfully the gunslinger gained his weapon just the day before the "fishing" and did watch over the reef from an rock. Still the group was scattered by the time of the attack and two PCs did not manage to reach the others before the fight was over. They were still be able to beat them without a death but the cleric was down to a STR of 4 and 1hp.

The last action this session was the boarding action. About half the PCs were lucky and managed to board the ship on their 1st try. Fastest with much luck was the priest, who has boasted hersef that she would not need any training. As she was actually the fasted Riaris left this unpunished, as it seemed that she was right. The only one not to make it at all was the barbarian, who was good at climbing, but fumbled the reflex saves.

I already mentioned that the things get harder on the Wormwood and while the still isn't an open confrontation, there was the 1st talk between the PCs that they had to do something about Scourge and Mr Plugg.

At this point our 1st session did end. It seemed the PCs had as much fun as I had. It will be interesting how the next session will go.

Contributor

I take my hat off to you for sharing your experiences and I'm glad you're having fun - I'm particularly pleased that Scourge and Plugg are becoming such figures of hate - it's not an easy one for GMs to carry off and there's only so much the adventure can guide you for your own players, so bravo.

Please keep posting - your suggestions and discoveries will help others who don't have your experience or who have may players like yours who would appreciate some input.

There are perhaps inevitably going to be some sticky moments in a ship full of tough NPCs and heady brand new PCs but as ever the fine people here will help out if they can, me included of course.

Keep pirating and I hope you all enjoy the rest of the AP.

Ahaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar!
Rich


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Rich, I just wanted to say kudos--I just ran the first session this weekend (I'm usually a player, but I'm DMing this) and it was the most fun I've had gaming in a long time.

Yesterday I was typing up a synopsis of the session, but it got erased. When I have time I'll type it again, but we finished after Day/Night 8. Rosie was washed overboard and the party Cad jumped in and saved her. That put them over the hump to 2nd level, so it was a good stopping point.

The players were really getting into the arm wrestling and gambling (I had Conchobar being kind of a bookie for everything). Our Drunken Master/Master of Many Forms has perform skill from the Barroom Talespinner trait. He knocked out Owlbear (Crane Wing, FTW), then that night succeeded at entertainment. On the following Day he influenced 4 times with a huge bonus. Good times.

I'm having lots of fun RPing Plugg and Scourge, and the players hate them. Our Oracle got caught twice dumping the rum ration, and all of the players were late on decks Day 2, so she had quite a few lashes her way. After a couple days (I carry over the lashes after they pass out, only giving one lash on them when they're unconscious) of the cleric healing her when she passed out, I had Plugg approach the party while the Oracle was getting whipped.

He forbade them from healing her, telling them to let her keep her punishment, so they just put her to bed. When she came to she was too afraid to heal herself of the lethal damage, because when she got the remainder of her lashes the next day Scourge would see the wounds healed. So she just left it.

Meanwhile, while she was passed out and the rum ration was being distributed, Scourge walks up to the Cad with another drink in his hand. He says it's the Oracle's ration, and if he (the Cad) doesn't drink it, he'll pour it down her throat while she's unconscious. So the Cad downs both rum rations and I get max damage on both--Bam, 6 Con damage.

Anyway, it seems that the players really like the story, characters, and the ship action/job subsystems. So again, thanks for creating such an entertaining game.


GM'd first session. First of all, want to say I love the sandbox and RP centric early encounters, rather than contrived crawls assigned by friendly high level NPCs that for some reason are too lazy to do it themselves.

The First Session:

Thomas: Human Fighter (archer) N
Gambler, traveler, and all round smooth talker.
Means: Human Alchemist CN
Besmaran worshipper and experienced ship's surgeon.
Hugo: Human Ranger LE
Slave catcher for Chilesh well-to-dos. Literally caught the following PC hours before getting caught himself.
Orange: Grippli rogue (knife expert) CN
Orange isn't his actual name. Plugg misheard it and socked him when the PC tried to correct him. So now he's Mr. Orange.
Anette: Human monk of the 4 winds. LN

PCs wake up in the hold. A couple PCs figure out the poisoning, and all recognize Scourge. The Fighter even places him sitting down for a game (which the PC won). Fighter demands to see the captain. Scourge whips him in the face (crit) to put him in his place and then makes his speech. A couple more smart lines nets a kick which staggers him.

PC's tone changes. When Plugg looks for a cook's mate he responds with a "If you need me to, sir." Good enough for Plugg. Not shocking, the frog man is the rigger. Rest are swabs.

Bloody Hour discouraged stupid and obvious thefts. Had to have magpie steal something worth noticing. Made it a masterwork cutlass.

For the actual ship's day followed the basic format. Random job, with an action mixed in there. You got your grog and another action. We did a lot more role playing rather than just making some checks so the PCs got to interact with some of the crew and see the ship and do other little things.

2nd day, PCs got on board quickly (ended the fight in 3 rounds) and got moving. The rogue shanked one right quick another got beat up, and a 3rd didn't want to fight because of RP reasons. No one died.

Exceptional stuff
A lot of minor NPCs are ascending. Ratters is now a sort of mentor to Orange.

Thomas went gambling the first night... with the band of thugs that Scourge will get to beat them up next day. With no cash, they try and get him to wager fingers. PC manages to convince sly (CE) to loan him some coin to get in. Wins, pays her back right there with interest. That and some diplomacy checks, he's already notching her loyalty to Fipps/Scourge. She went full defense in the Delay the PCs encounter.

The alchemist began talking to Giffer Tibbs, the one eyed female gnome. She doesn't even wear an eye patch, broken in spirit, she rambles nostalgically about far off forests and creatures. Her mind and body show obvious signs of 'bleaching,' an effect that makes her a compliant worker. The alchemist took a night action to fashion her a simple glass eye, but halting her progressing dementia will be more complex.

The LE ranger got assigned to the bilges. He informed Scourge of the spiders and that they should be cleaned out. Scourge smiles and takes this as volunteering and gives him a lamp and sack, and makes his night action hunting spiders. Rather than getting angry, the PC just asks if he can bring along some help... this a couple other encounters may lead to Scourge trying to make him a toady. The PC is heartless, but Scourge is cruel, petty, and sloppy about it.

I know Scourge's primary job is to give the PCs something to hate before really worrying about Plugg, but Fipps seems to have interjected himself before hand. Of course, it is only 2 days so far. Gonna be interesting.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've got a group of 6 PCs, so it was a bit of dance to keep things balanced. I think they also felt emboldened because there were so many of them. My group started talking mutiny on the first day..."How many do we need to sail the ship?"

2nd session:
They made their move on the 19th day, when the barbarian was led down into the bilges to be murdered. However, he never got that far and got a surprise attack on the two pirates on the lower deck. He ran to his duffel, pulled out his weapon and shabang...two dead pirates. Then when Scourge came down to "check on how things were going," the barbarian got a critical hit and kablowie...one dead Master Scourge. Then things went crazy on the upper deck with the other PCs. The barbarian, still going strong with 2 HPs, then attacked Mr. Plugg when HE came down. However, Plugg was too much for him and he went down. The Captain himself had to show up for the first time on the voyage to stop the mutiny, killing the nearest sailor to him(who wasn't taking part in the mutiny) in one blow. (I thought this would get the PCs attention.) Sadly, while the other PCs dropped their weapons, the sorcerer decided to cast color spray on the Captain, which of course had zero effect. The Captain walked over to the sorcerer and did 12 points of damage with one blow (he had a HP total of 6 at level one). The Captain then lifted her up with one hand and threw her in the sweat box. The alchemist PC said, "Can I make a check for first aid?", but the Captain had one foot on the sweatbox and wasn't moving. The sorcerer failed his next four checks to stabalize and died in the box. We finished up the session with the barbarian tied to the main mast, unconsicous, scheduled to be keelhauled in the evening. We ended up with one dead PC, two dead pirates, one scheduled to be keelhauled, and one dead Master Scourge.

Sovereign Court

Just posted our fourth session over at my campaign journal

Tierce's Skull and Shackles

Lantern Lodge

I'm running it with ONE PC: a cleric of Besmara. Luckily the player is very experienced both with RPG's and Naval ship life; he's done well so far.

GM Klothars Skull Shackles SOLO Game.

Lantern Lodge

My second session went well. due to irl concerns two folks got new assignments at work and can no longer make our play date/times. So now I have 4.5 characters (5 but the 5th is a new lady that just rolls along with her boyfriend).

Two character deaths, one got keelhauled due to getting blamed for the delaying action death (who was actually coup-de-graced by one of the attackers.) A special assignment by Mr. Plugg to blame a death on a PC of his choosing. It just so happened or most CG irl player (said boyfriend above) took the death on his own character and refused to name another. That dead pc did draw the first weapon in the fight after 8 went downstairs for a real fist fight. 4 retreated, 2 blocked the stairs, and the dead npc and the npc that actually killed the first drew daggers in response. the pcs whacked the npc to unconsciousness so the other npc on the special mission coup-de-graced the first npc and immediately surrendered.

I also had another character death via someone getting caught red handed twice (the same night) trying to dump the rum ration. He was confronted by Plugg and Scourge and attempted to feign death TWICE after a whipping for punishment. Plugg believed him, but Scourge was used to shirking pirates(+8 sense motive, and another 20 dc change due to an outrageous lie on the second attempt to bluff lol) and saw right through the feigned attempt.

After repeatedly kicking the ever living crap out of the PC, I had another trouble making pc (dwarven monk-zen archer) given an ultimatum. Toss the feigning pc overboard, of his ever growing list of transgressions would get him killed to. So he did toss him overboard and was sent to back to the sweatbox for killing a crew member. That dwarf has been the biggest trouble maker so far, but is constantly getting out of it or surviving punishment. He shall be the one to go one on three in the bilge next session. That dwarf was the guy that faced and beat owlbear easily. The dwarf monk knocked him into unconsciousness and never backed off so owlbear is not a friend to the party.

I used the man over board day to have the ship pick up a lost at sea Tengu Rogue Pirate (the barbarian's new character). The new pirate has been through this life before and was assigned as the new rigger (the previous was one of the characters than can no longer come)

I also had them face 4 reefclaws. No one died, but one was really close and was in fact paralyzed and dragged back to the boat (that same rogue Tengu). Their cleric (who has a whopping 7/day channel and selective channeling) kept them alive.

I am trying to speed up the task lists to get to the boarding action. Next session we will have that happen.

I am continuing to play the pcs off each other and loving every minute of it. The only female character is Pluggs off and on mistress, and now owes the Captain for 2 potions of cure critical wounds, some gear, two nights of peaceful bed rest from injuries suffered while failing her swab duties, etc. Instead of normal punishment I'm putting that character on the hook for later. She was assigned by Plugg to be the key keeper of the sweatbox and has power to put people in there. It is certainly a big change to our standard bar party approach.

Lantern Lodge

Oh, heres a keeper I have yet to launch consequences for.

The new rogue does not have trapfinding (pirate archetype). He managed to sneak into the storage area but was almost killed by a trapped chest. He left empty handed except for one thing.

Grok left the lock to the storage/quartermasters open and hanging (I ruled it like a padlock).

The rogue took that lock, the dart that poisoned him and hid them in Sandaara's bunk area to implicate her.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

First session (ok, actually second session, but first one in path ) yesterday

First session spoiler:

Things went ...comparatively smoothly. Players were forewarned that shanghai-ing was involved.
Everybody awoke, some with a stupid grin.
Initial session with the NPCs went smoothly. Witch griped quite a bit until her rat turned up later. Dex-based Rogue lost the rigger-contest to the Oracle. Some rivalry developed for the cooking spot, with the witch commenting "that it was no-good-picking-the-fat-gnome, means half-serving for everyone" (Rogue/Alchemist to be). Got the job.
Scourge made himself rather unpopular quite easily, leading to intense preparation for his "offing" by the party.
NPC Cleric intervened, got laughed at. Rosie became instant fan-favorite, cussing-sessions are right now everyone's delight.

Magpie's death was generally commented on as "no fri***ng surprise"

Players instantly went for getting NPCs on their side, massively helped by Sleep spell and gaze of the Witch. Coggy made their enemy list and went for a fight with the Demon-Tiefling (he had not noticed the tail yet) , who twisted his arms out of the sockets.... healing helped some.
The gnome bard Connachtan died due to a block dropping from the rigging (5D6 for a heavy object is... very dangerous) after fondling the "fat-gnome"; blame was put on "Coggy" who went for the sweatbox, swearing innocence. He was than brought back "to life" by the witch, who further insinuated that "Plugg has it in for you". Diplomacy of 26, shall see how that works.

Nobody likes Grok : "Lazy B****" is the friendliest of comments. Same goes for most of the officers who obviously cannot be counted for with "taking a hand"... given how the players work, that is the only choice, though.
They are weary of the captain and his "magey" second in command. "Fishgut" is more of a nuisance, Sandara is unpopular and considered a "captain's agent". Well especially since the witch hates her.

Bilge went ....very well, players are now rather well equipped, even if Grok is uncoooperative so far. Rat-Tossing = hand him one, toss him four more with the Dire-Rats was....nice. They kept one dire rat (after sleeping all) below, considering to toss it into someone's hammock at night.

Owlbear was uninteresting, as the Demon-Tiefling basically whipped his ass on round three (IUAC on fighters = nasty) when he went for the tossed weapon, then left him alone when he retreated as "a wimpy bastard". Since we do run "intimidation by obvious strength" Owlbear will stay off the Tiefling for now.

Ended with "Storm" on day Eight, where, in absolutely "no visibility", Scourge got "Colour Sprayed" at 0 range, kicked in the face and dropped out of the rigging and into the churning sea. Players than, when he was quite a bit off, raised the alarm of "man overboard" ....simultaneously dropping the rigging once again, making the ship lean over sideways and putting everyone into danger... we ended there.

The way it looks atm, with the ship drifting, he will be out of sight and lost in the storm before anyone can even consider how he went.... Noone saw much in the storm, with even the deck out of sight at 30'. Plus, noone actually in the rigging cared for Scourge.
Also slightly stumped whether one should continue with another "man overboard" immediately after. Probably will have to lull the storm for a day or two.

Sure, Plugg will be suspicious... but now he also lacks his "second in command" which might give him some pause.

overall, the hazing went... well, the players are very much into counter-hazing at the moment. Things may have to cool off, next time around. Lot's of work to do.

The obvious problem being : the NPCs are wickedly unaware of the players' classes ( how should they) so noone actually knows they have casters aboard and what anyone can do. They currently pose as Barbarian, Rogue ( Alchemist to be), Rogue ( Oracle of Callistria) and Rogue ( Witch)... Plus a fifth player joining in, who will probably be taking over Rosie

Shadow Lodge

vikingson wrote:
The obvious problem being : the NPCs are wickedly unaware of the players' classes ( how should they) so noone actually knows they have casters aboard and what anyone can do.

In my first session, I had Plugg demand that anyone with "special talents" make them known, if they're found out later severe punishments... after Sandara and Conchobar stepped forward, so too did my magic users.

Another journal I read had Scourge knowing about their abilities before-hand, which is why they've been shanghai'd to the begin with.


Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber
Varthanna wrote:
vikingson wrote:
The obvious problem being : the NPCs are wickedly unaware of the players' classes ( how should they) so noone actually knows they have casters aboard and what anyone can do.

In my first session, I had Plugg demand that anyone with "special talents" make them known, if they're found out later severe punishments... after Sandara and Conchobar stepped forward, so too did my magic users.

Another journal I read had Scourge knowing about their abilities before-hand, which is why they've been shanghai'd to the begin with.

Talking to Plugg ? lol, pull the other one. Please ! To the guys kidnapping them.... *facepalm*

Yeah sure, but no, not really.... Speaking for myself - none of my PC runs around with a prancing wizard's hat, unless the role obviously demands it. Same for everybody else. And at level one you don't see many arcane robes or full plates. Rules apply to both sides and the GM already has every advantage at his hands, so no need for further "fudging".

Nevermind for the whole "pressing" outline should reasonably have occured in a harbour where the actually "roofy" trick is less well known and un-expected. Rahadoum, Andoranm Ilizmagorti, Sargava.... yeah, but not really in the capital of the Shackles.

So he presses a bunch of unknown (of chaotic neutral or neutral alignments) , with most of the crew, if the adventures' outline is to be acknowledged. Which overall by ingame logic means either Harrigan having a stupendous advantage (like +14 levels ?) or of course him being rather silly. My players went for "many levels" and hence played "dumb". But they are also collecting crowbars to jam the rudder, a barrel of kitchen oil to set the ship aflame and other stuff. I am not sure the "Wormwood" will get safely away from the "Man's Promise"...

And as long as they play their stuff intelligently, and speaking for the adventure, looking at all the stupid disadvantages handed-out because a mutiny is "needed", they are wise to do so. They are the protagonists, not some "fluffy headed" NPC.

Spoiler:

And the adventure outline really makes me wonder where exactly he met Mr. Plugg if he is not part of the "Great Conspiracy" ? Who "has known him" for a year.... nevermind that no-one in the Shackles seems to wonder what actually happened to the old crew etc etc etc... *headshake*

What really set me to wonder is why should the PCs work together (as shown in another part here) if they had not met before....

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