Raiders of the Fever Sea (GM Reference)


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Shaun wrote:


I'm making NPCs to join the crew. They just reached 20, about a week out of Rickety Squibs. The majority of my players and myself prefer to have characters on the ship who can offer more interesting drama and interactions instead of just a number of henchmen. My other purpose with doing it this way is to create some real repercusions for pirating when crew they like die. Make them choose their battles. I think doing it this way, however, crew would always be on the smaller side.

Well, since the chars never really fought by using the crew, and since I massively changed the AP finale ( no fleet battles there ), the PCs never needed/required more than two watches, plus some specialists (shipwright, barrelwright etc. ) and a little reserve of spare pirates if something untoward did happen.

that being said : we played with per head shares for the players, the NPCs and everyone on the crew (the PCs saw roughly 30% of the take of most plunder, extra shares for captain and master, boatswains etc took double shares, etc. ), which kept them wary of hiring too many people to share the money with.

And yes EVERY person on board had a name, personality writeup, general level of competence and attitude and some nice background story aboard (later on). Loosing Jeb Harmington, hired at Quent, out trusty lookout really smarts... far more than just loosing "1 crew to that serpent".

my brother is running the campaign even more extremely limited right now, permitting character replacement ONLY from the crew (while not in harbour), which makes them very interested in who precisely the group intends to hire. "If we hire an alchemist, do we truly want it to be a gnome ?" etc etc.... Sure, they look about for "fitting" reserve chars, but, yeah well, it makes the players pretty careful^^ And they don't hire just anyone


My players have been capturing ships and recruiting a lot of sailors. The rules make it difficult to sink ships so when it comes to ship to ship combat they trounce the opposition presented in the books (finishing Raiders on the Fever Sea) and take their crew and ships.

This is making them become pretty high powered. I want them to feel like heroes but I feel like the AP isn't challenging them. Especially developing a fleet so early. Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.


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danmasucci wrote:

My players have been capturing ships and recruiting a lot of sailors. The rules make it difficult to sink ships so when it comes to ship to ship combat they trounce the opposition presented in the books (finishing Raiders on the Fever Sea) and take their crew and ships.

This is making them become pretty high powered. I want them to feel like heroes but I feel like the AP isn't challenging them. Especially developing a fleet so early. Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

It's a shame some of these GM reference threads get way off base and into campaign logs. Makes it difficult to find GM reference material.

Once you go down the path of allowing a group to create a "fleet" I can imagine that it would be difficult to go back. This is one aspect of the RotFS that DMs need to keep a close eye on. For other GMs that might experience this, first I'll into how to stop it from happening.

1) Adhere strictly to the Crew recruitment rules. Allow crew recruitment rolls once per port of call and once per ship captured. Influxes of slaves (if players choose that option) suffer supply vs. demand price fluctuations.

2) If players stay in ports all the time instead of pirating to increase crew members, crew members may abandon the ship. Get restless. Get into trouble. In other words, attrition.

3) Ships require crew. Assume the crew compliment allows for a day of travel and not around the clock travel unless they double the crew of a ship. Bad things can happen on a ship in the ocean when no one is prepared. Like attrition, for example.

4) Every port of call should have you paying 1 point of plunder. That reduces plunder, which reduces benefits. If you do get to the point where they keep a ship instead of selling it for plunder, which means you've probably let crew get out of hand, charge them a plunder per operating ship.

5) Discuss with your players that right now, the AP is about a group of upstart pirates. If they want to be accepted among the Free Captains. they are going to have to get plunder and especially infamy. More plunder means easier infamy. More crew and ships means more upkeep, which means less plunder, which means less infamy.

6) Keep dangling the goals in front of them through either Player/GM discussions or through NPCs. Gain infamy. Break the rock. Get accepted as "real" pirates aka Free Captains.

Now for solutions, and these solutions are based on the fact that a fleet shouldn't even be crossing their minds at this point.. To solve the issue you are having, you have to counter-balance the situation by perhaps being a bit more cruel.

1) Chexlian Man-o-Wars. There is one stated up in this adventure. Have it find them in the open seas. The captain of the vessel and other officers are not even stated up in this module. Make it cost them ships, to set the stage back to where it should be at this point. There is always a bigger fish in the sea solution I.

2) There is always a bigger fish in the sea solution II. Use the ghost ship to eliminate a ship the PCs have little presence on.

3) Mutiny. Either the PCs are split to keep this at bay, but the entire crew could probably overpower a single PC. Or they are all on one ship, and the crews could easily mutiny against another. This especially makes sense as a correction if you've been a bit lax on the crew recruitment rules. And it can set up a future plot hook. The PCs have their Harrigan and now the PCs are also someone else's Harrigan.

4) Wandering encounter with massive sea creature. Unleash the Kraken.

5) Raise the DC for infamy checks. It's one thing to impress a group in a port when you overcome a foe with one ship. It's very non-impressive to overtake a solo ship with a fleet.

6) Talk to your players as a GM and explain that there will be time for fleet action later. This section of the AP just isn't about that.

In my experience the best solution in both of these situations were the crew recruitment rules, dropping some hints, and having player that understood them, and occasionally just talking to them as adults. So I never really had much problem with these things as I've run RotFS. And frankly, after a point, the players got bored rather quickly of raiding ships and wanted to get on with the story.


As a GM I find your advice here pretty useful. Did I pass by the rules for finding crew? How many at each port?

Are you suggesting that to put into any port will cost one plunder point? What is that based on? I am not sharp shooting you, nor do I think it's a bad idea. Just trying to see it all the way through.

As for the bigger fish, the ship combat doesn't seem to do much, especially with wizards and "mending." Placing some high powered NPCs would do the trick though.

I really appreciate your message and thoughts regarding this.

Riggler wrote:
danmasucci wrote:

My players have been capturing ships and recruiting a lot of sailors. The rules make it difficult to sink ships so when it comes to ship to ship combat they trounce the opposition presented in the books (finishing Raiders on the Fever Sea) and take their crew and ships.

This is making them become pretty high powered. I want them to feel like heroes but I feel like the AP isn't challenging them. Especially developing a fleet so early. Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

It's a shame some of these GM reference threads get way off base and into campaign logs. Makes it difficult to find GM reference material.

Once you go down the path of allowing a group to create a "fleet" I can imagine that it would be difficult to go back. This is one aspect of the RotFS that DMs need to keep a close eye on. For other GMs that might experience this, first I'll into how to stop it from happening.

1) Adhere strictly to the Crew recruitment rules. Allow crew recruitment rolls once per port of call and once per ship captured. Influxes of slaves (if players choose that option) suffer supply vs. demand price fluctuations.

2) If players stay in ports all the time instead of pirating to increase crew members, crew members may abandon the ship. Get restless. Get into trouble. In other words, attrition.

3) Ships require crew. Assume the crew compliment allows for a day of travel and not around the clock travel unless they double the crew of a ship. Bad things can happen on a ship in the ocean when no one is prepared. Like attrition, for example.

4) Every port of call should have you paying 1 point of plunder. That reduces plunder, which reduces benefits. If you do get to the point where they keep a ship instead of selling it for plunder, which means you've probably let crew get out of hand, charge them a plunder per operating ship.

5) Discuss with your players that right now, the AP is about a group of upstart pirates. If they want to be accepted among the Free Captains....


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danmasucci wrote:

My players have been capturing ships and recruiting a lot of sailors. The rules make it difficult to sink ships so when it comes to ship to ship combat they trounce the opposition presented in the books (finishing Raiders on the Fever Sea) and take their crew and ships.

This is making them become pretty high powered. I want them to feel like heroes but I feel like the AP isn't challenging them. Especially developing a fleet so early. Would love to hear your thoughts and experiences.

I agree with Riggler. Yes, this AP makes it hard to sink ships.

- I talked to my players about what this AP is about and the others. I told them is too early for a fleet and talked to them about the hindrance of having too many ships in terms of upkeep/plunder.

- They have been getting several ships (I hate Make Whole spell). I always make sure to only leave behind some NPC's of the captured ship. This makes it difficult/impossible for the PC's to man more than 2 ships at once. If things get out of control in terms of them figuiring out a way to man them, then the Kraken will dispose of one of them or mutiny or have 3 Cheliax Man-o-War ships hunt them down (which fits w/ the AP).

You can always find ways reduce the number of ships.

I think the developers did not took this fact into account in terms of how easy is to get/defeat ships.


danmasucci wrote:

As a GM I find your advice here pretty useful. Did I pass by the rules for finding crew? How many at each port?

Are you suggesting that to put into any port will cost one plunder point? What is that based on? I am not sharp shooting you, nor do I think it's a bad idea. Just trying to see it all the way through.

As for the bigger fish, the ship combat doesn't seem to do much, especially with wizards and "mending." Placing some high powered NPCs would do the trick though.

I really appreciate your message and thoughts regarding this.

I don't know if you passed on the rules for finding crew or not. I don't have the books available. It's either the support articles of Wormwood Munity or in the support articles or adventure for RotFS. I think it's a roll of Bluff, Intimidate or Diplomacy for a chance to recruit 1d4+4 crew members in a port (all day work) or to make a roll once a ship is captured. If it occurs during a ship capture, basically the rest of the crew chooses, slavery, walking the plank, death, etc. -- but not joining the crew. I restrict the crew recruitment to once per port of call, as that is not specifically said. But the logic there is that it is all the abled-bodied that the PCs can find to coerce into joining the crew at that time. I use the crew gets restless, ready to go, attrition side of things if they just camp out and relax in port until more people come through. Then they aren't playing a pirate game, they are playing WAR.

As for plunder, that is also included in this AP as a suggestion. I also forget which of the first two modules this was in, since I don't have the books, but the suggestion is 1 point of plunder to the crew every time they go into port to "keep them happy." This is also a way to keep ships down, either they are having to haul a ship back to port, thus losing the gains of the raid or else sell the ship in order to afford the "crew happy tax."


Thanks very much! Do you have a campaign journal? Would be interested in hearing how your story unfolded.

Best,
Dan

QUOTE="Riggler"]

danmasucci wrote:

As a GM I find your advice here pretty useful. Did I pass by the rules for finding crew? How many at each port?

Are you suggesting that to put into any port will cost one plunder point? What is that based on? I am not sharp shooting you, nor do I think it's a bad idea. Just trying to see it all the way through.

As for the bigger fish, the ship combat doesn't seem to do much, especially with wizards and "mending." Placing some high powered NPCs would do the trick though.

I really appreciate your message and thoughts regarding this.

I don't know if you passed on the rules for finding crew or not. I don't have the books available. It's either the support articles of Wormwood Munity or in the support articles or adventure for RotFS. I think it's a roll of Bluff, Intimidate or Diplomacy for a chance to recruit 1d4+4 crew members in a port (all day work) or to make a roll once a ship is captured. If it occurs during a ship capture, basically the rest of the crew chooses, slavery, walking the plank, death, etc. -- but not joining the crew. I restrict the crew recruitment to once per port of call, as that is not specifically said. But the logic there is that it is all the abled-bodied that the PCs can find to coerce into joining the crew at that time. I use the crew gets restless, ready to go, attrition side of things if they just camp out and relax in port until more people come through. Then they aren't playing a pirate game, they are playing WAR.

As for plunder, that is also included in this AP as a suggestion. I also forget which of the first two modules this was in, since I don't have the books, but the suggestion is 1 point of plunder to the crew every time they go into port to "keep them happy." This is also a way to keep ships down, either they are having to haul a ship back to port, thus losing the gains of the raid or else sell the ship in order to afford the "crew happy tax."


danmasucci wrote:

Thanks very much! Do you have a campaign journal? Would be interested in hearing how your story unfolded.

Best,
Dan

Dan,

I haven't been keeping one. If I do I'll let you know.


We lost a player due to school commitments and he was the captain of the second ship so I sent the Dominator after it after the ships separated. It was a former Chelian ship so it could be tracked easily.
The rest of the group headed to the Rock to meet with the Lady. The cleric upon seeing her stated that "He would take one for the team" so guess who ended up as her boy toy! It was either him or Fish Guts and actually Fish Guts had a higher charisma, but the captain would not let Ambrose go as she said he was spoken for. (Yes the DM does somewhat resemble Ambrose! And the captain is my wife)


We had a Labor Day S&S game today and had 4 players. They went out after a ship they had spotted but after 2 attempts to pursue it and failing they returned to the Rock after 6 days. The Sahaigun had made their attack so they debated and decided to set watches aboard ship. On second watch the fighter noticed The Thresher and alerted the rest of the ship. The Thresher broadsided them and then sat at the mouth of the harbor while Inkskin went ashore with her landing party.
The players arose and got on deck just in time to see the first lightning bolt hit the tower! They immediately launched the jolly boat towards the Rock. The wizard summoned an air elemental to speed them ashore so they were only 2 rounds behind. Instead of doing it per book I had all 30 buccaneers in the fight and all the NPCs from the rock. This made for a much more interesting fight. Royster and 6 of the guards held them off while the lady and the remaining guard went to the roof to man the ballistae. Inkskin flew invisible to the roof and attacked the lady and got her down to 0 HP. The lady yelled for help and Royster came to her aid. Meanwhile the PCs fought 15 of the Buccaneers on shore while the other 15 attacked the tower. Royster gave one of his potions of CLW to the guard to run around to give to the lady while he kept Inkskin busy. It was a tough fight until she cast hydraulic push sending him over the side! Isabel then descended the tower as Andromedra had cast spiderclimb and rescued the lady. The final battle ended up being between Inkskin and Royster back down on level one as he survived the fall. Sandara had to show up late in the fight to do some healing as the cleric was out for the day.


Question: What is the purpose and role of The Rock in this campaign? As near as I can tell... Well, I can't actually tell. I'm not sure why it's there or what I'm supposed to do with it. Why do pirates need a stronghold, especially so early in their career when they don't have the men, the guns, or the loyalty to defend it?


In our game Sandara stayed, all of the soldiers inside survived the attck bar 1 so they still have a high complimnet of guards. The rock has been used by the players as I kind of safe port of call. Sandara is using it as a hospice come shrine to Besmara. I think its maninly used as bragging rights for infamy. Its near enough inpreganble so to actaully have it the players have some major bragging rights. Also look where it is on the map. Its in a perfect place for hit and run tactics inside the Fever Sea, hunt ships, grab plunder head back to rock for save staorage, rinse and repeat, Anyone comes seeking revenge they will have a hard time of it if you are holed up within (its the stairs inside that give the advantage, 2 ways in through the frontdoor and up a small ladder or through the roof, once you play out the assault you relise how effctive it is, The buccaneers in my game just ended up as piles of bodeis at the base of the ladder).


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simon hacker wrote:
Anyone comes seeking revenge they will have a hard time of it if you are holed up within (its the stairs inside that give the advantage, 2 ways in through the frontdoor and up a small ladder or through the roof, once you play out the assault you relise how effctive it is, The buccaneers in my game just ended up as piles of bodeis at the base of the ladder).

Well someone might just decide to

a) destroy the tower with a Trebuchet/Catapult fire. smash the foundation, watch it lean over, sift through the ruins.
b) blast the front door, than set alight some oil/combustibles (say, like the tar used for caulking and fixing ships) afire inside, and smoke everyone out. Or having the towers interior catch fire - wooden floors and all, since it will admirably work like a chimney...
c) simply blockade the tower, easy since there is no wildlife or foodsource ( gardens outside, seven (!) goats.. no water inside the tower on the isle and have the characters die from hunger

the whole "the tower is hard to crack" scenario is just nonsense from a more realistic point of view *shrug*

Liberty's Edge

Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I'm having some trouble with the alliance approach to the Rock. As written, it more or less seems like, the PCs make one Diplomacy check, Lady Smythee turns friendly and offers marriage. The end. It's like, wow, no other captain ever came up with that before? This is the mythical Tidewater Rock that nobody has been able to crack? Just sail up to it, roll Diplomacy and win? Nobody has ever bothered trying that before?

Of course you can put in some fluff by having a lot of interaction with the inhabitants, but has anybody added any more crunch to the alliance route? Maybe Agasta would want them to complete some quests for her or something? Retrieve Bert's remains from the depths?


I have planned to have part of map needed for the treasure to be found within a labyrinthine set of multiple maps painted over each other, painted on the walls of the tower (in her Ladyships chambers). The Lady knows which part is the real one, but also has some alternates to "show" if mistreated/blackmailed.

I have also planned to her only being eligible to a man of standing : real nobility, or presenting some really well done forgeries and bluffing their way into her charms and good grace. After all, she is the renowned "Lady of the Rock", not some wench to be enticed to the haystack in the barn !

So the team either needs some continuous perform (acting) or some very good bluffs from the suitable bachelor. Plus possbilby some guts because most characters are urrently in (more or less loose) relationships with crewmembers^^

Or some nefarious blackmail.

I am not sure what the crew will actually do, but first off, I need to introduce them to Isabella....


My players did the whole diplomacy thing around the dinner table...which is when I did the whole Inkskin attacks thing. Worked out well as Smythe thought it was a double cross..


I just restarted my campaign tonight after a two month break. They are just starting Mancatcher Cove. Unfortunately I missed the part about the Canopy Creeper being silent during the day. They took the Jolly boat into the cove and got attacked. Took them about 10 rounds to get out! No one died at least, but it took a lot of resources and the captain is now way down on strength.


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I am trying to come up with some contingencies for what is to be done when my group captures ships as they're starting to do. I have a very reasonable group and we talk stuff over, so there isn't any conflict involved, I'm just trying to come up with some rules for some things not covered in the AP regarding this. Below is what I wrote to my group. I'm looking for some outside opinions on what I should set some DCs to. Specifically survival DCs to find a secluded anchorage to hide a ship and the survival DC to be able to find that spot again. Do you think that a DC 10 Craft: Cartography is reasonable to allow them to make a map that will give a +2 bonus to finding the cached ship? Any other ideas regarding this?

"Metagame, the important things are: It's too soon for you guys to command a fleet (that comes later). It's not good to split the party with multiple PCs on multiple ships. It's important not to throw off Wealth By Level by adding 5,000 GP to each and every ship battle you win (which realisitically should be the majority of them). If we want to maintain a crew that's a collection of personalities and not a number of flat henchmen, I need to keep NPC crew manageable to my ability to make them different people. That's where I'm coming from here. With that being said, here are some thoughts.

In most cases, it'll be most convenient for you to raid a ship for loot then leave it to be sailed off by it's remaining crew. If the ship is another pirate ship, they'll most likely have some crew to join you. Merchant ships might have some crew that join. Military it's less likely. Most press-ganged crew are going to be more likely to mutiny. You could do what Harrigan did but depending on who you crew the ship with, it may or may not show up when you want it to.

A ship without crew can be towed, but your ship moves at half speed and you take a -15 penalty to sailor checks while doing so. You are also always going to be caught if chased while towing. If you encounter a storm with a ship in tow, that's bad.

You can split crew, to sail with a skeleton crew, but it has to be 10 people, the minimum to sail it, and if it's less than 20, you take a -10 sailor check on both ships.

Ships can be sold at Bloodcove, Eleder or Senghor, as well as some ports in the Shackles like Port Peril, Quent, Hell Harbor, Drenchport, etc. They go for 5,000 gp if in good condition. If damaged as much as the Sea Lash is, less. It takes time to sell something that big, and depending on who owned the ship (a navy or organization might try to reclaim an unaltered ship it can recognize making it more dangerous for a buyer to take a known Imperial ship for example), it could be hard to find a buyer. Squibbing it helps and that costs 2,000 GP, cutting down the profit. I say it'll take 1d6 days in port to find a buyer.

Rickety Squibbs does't want to buy most ships. He doesn't want to start collecting ships as he's trying to stay hidden and doesn't want governments or powerful interests to start showing up to try to recover ships. He is safer if ships move in and out fast. He alters ships, he's not running a used lot.

You guys can try ot hide a ship in a secluded cove or island. I'd develop a survival DC to discover an anchorage and there will be another survival DC to find the hiding spot again (making a map with a DC 10 craft: cartography will give a bonus). There will be a percentage chance that the ship will not be as you left it when you return. Possibly discovered by others, possibly inhabited by monsters."


The Canopy Creeper looks like it could be a very deadly encounter. How have those of you who've ran it already done it? What strategies did you use with it? What did the PCs do that were effective against it? It's 100 feet above the ship's deck. How close could they get to it by climbing the mainmast?


I warned my players against it's tactics by having it grab and pull NPC crewmen for the first 2-3 rounds, and only grappling (but not pulling) PC's in these rounds. That meant the players had an idea what they were up against, and could withdraw to the safety of cabins and plan.

If I had grapped and pulled, I would be pretty close to a TPK. The first man on deck was the wizard, who would be chanceless if he was grappled and 20 feet above deck.


So, I had the idea of having Krelloort's concubines be Malenti mutants, maybe one with a level of bard and one with a level of oracle (instead of the advanced template). Would that work, or would they need to be level 2 to keep the CR the same?

Just think it would be cool if they pretended to be Aquatic Elf slaves and then start throwing spells around during the brawl.


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Does anyone have some good advice for tactics in running the Inkskin Locke encounter? I'm looking to make it a challenge and would like to know how some of your games have panned out using her. Clearly with her ability to fly, she's at an advantage if she can get the PCs to fight her on top of the tower as opposed to inside of it.

Spoiler:
My player party has a gunslinger with a early pistol he just got enchanted to a +1 and the bard has a +1 light crossbow so her protection from arrows spell won't make a difference. Other party members are a witch with lightning bolt and a rogue/fighter with a +1 keen falcata and a non-magical composite longbow. If Inkskin can stay >20 feet away from the gunslinger he can't hit her touch AC but he'll ground her up otherwise (he almost can't miss touch AC and gets something like +11 to his 1d6 damage rolls) Considering using aqueous orb early to try to soak his gun and give it the broken condition for the fight. If he fails his reflex and gets drenched she'd be more willing to go toe to toe, but otherwise she's going to have to stay back and use geyser and lightning bolt to survive. I don't know how much of a factor the salt mephit's going to be. Once her spells are gone (it looks like she's going to expend a good amount of them in the lead up to the fight) she may be more willing to meet them up close. Basically just looking for advice on how to make this a good one.


Regarding my last post, the fight turned out alright. When the attack happened, the bard and witch went down to the entrance to help the guards fend off the pirates while the gunslinger and rogue went to the parapet to try to repel down and flank them.

Spoiler:
Inkskin surprised them by flying up over the side and letting loose with an aqueous orb that hit the gunslinger. The mephit attacked from the ohter side of the roof, causing the two to retreat back inside, realizing that they were at a disadvantage. Meanwhile Royster McCleagh sent the others back upstairs assuring them that his men could hold the line and to see to the safety of the Lady.

The mephit followed them down to the top floor where it fought the rogue and gunslinger and died. INskin landed, turned invisible and her familiar slithered down stairs invisibly and took up a post by the door. Inksin sent the aqueous orb down the stairs then followed. Most of the battle happened in the top floor with Inkskin standing in the doorway, moving the orb around the room and firing geysers against the party. When the rogue critted her, her familiar hit him with vampiric touch which pepped her up. The fight went well with the witch getting hit hard by geyser burning her, knocking her into the ceiling and taking some falling damage. The rogue was close to passing out from subdual damage done by the aqueous orb. I mitigated the gunslinger's nearly auto-hitting in close quarters by keeping her flying at first, and then when in the tower having the aqueous orb end its movement to give her partial cover and keep the rogue boxed into a corner. The only change I made was giving her the spell bullet shield instead of protection from arrows as the gunslinger had a +1 pistol at this point so it would've been meaningless. This was justifiable as the sahuagin have been attacking them regularly and survivors would've reported the gunslinger to Krelloort, as I'm playing this with guns being very rare. The gunslinger got lucky and resisted two blindness spells.

One thing as a hint to others if you want to really play hardball with this fight: If you can get the PCs to fight Inkskin on the roof, use geyser. It launches them 50 feet into the air, adding 5d6 to its 3d6 fire damage. If they're on the battlements, there's a 3/8 chance that they'll roll the random landing square off the side of the tower. That's 3d6 fire damage followed by 12d6 falling damage. Using it indoors is no slouch though. 3d6 fire damamge plus I ruled another 1d6 from forcefully hitting the ceiling and 1d6 for the 12 foot fall. Plus they land prone and everyone within proximity to the geyser's point takes 1d6 fire damage with no save.


So, back to the Canopy Creeper...

Spoiler:
I fear this thing has serious potential to wipe my PC party. The party are 6th level: rogue, gunslinger (optimised for close combat), bard and witch (animal patron). The rogue has the highest STR in the group at a +1 or +2. The gunslinger and bard are +0 and the witch is -1. The rogue has no credible range attacks and no darkvision, the gunslinger has darkvision but will be shooting at -8 to hit normal AC. The bard has no darkvision and a +1 light crossbow. The witch is going to be in real bad shape because her two offensive spells are lightning bolt (which won't hurt the creeper at all) and burning gaze (which won't hurt it much). I don't think there is much to summon that will really threaten this thing. Neither the witch nor bard have any strong cold-based evocations on their spell lists, so I can't really even put in a scroll to help.

I want a good fight, but I'm afriad this is going to be one of those fights that won't even be fun to try and lose because they just won't be able to do much to this thing that I can see.

They'll be able to fire the ship's ballistas at it and I am also going to give them a chance to get some +1 frost bolts as loot from an encounter I'm planning beforehand (using the Rule of Law ship encounter). Any other ideas or advice for me?

Scarab Sages

Shaun wrote:

So, back to the Canopy Creeper...

** spoiler omitted **

If a canopy creeper isn't a good option for your table, you could always substitute another opponent.

Spoiler:
The electricity immunity and fire resistance problems are particular to this plant. Maybe you could replace it with a hangman tree near the skull rock, or replace the canopy creeper with several enemies inside the canopy. (Bird- or monkey-related creatures?)


Regarding perception checks in Mancatcher Cove:

Spoiler:
The book says that it takes the sahuagin one hour to disable the ship's rudder and that during that time a PC can hear them working on it with a perception check. How often should a check be allowed for this? According to the CRB, a reactive check seems like an immediate action in response to the noise, but just allowing them to do it until they get it seems like it defeats the purpose of even necessitating a check to begin with. So do the PCs only get one crack at this check? How's this supposed to work?

Also, when trying to spot the Thresher hiding in the Cove, it says that a PC makes a perception check versus the Thresher's sailor check. Assuming he's trying to stealth a colossal object, this check takes a -16 penalty. But each square is 300 feet, so each square away the Thresher is, the PC takes a -30 on perception. This once again seems like a meaningless check unless it's a straight perception v. sailor with no modifiers, which I'm assuming is the intent.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

PC's Only get one crack at it unfortunately. That's part of the fun of the game. Some would treat it as taking 8 hours of work, allowing up to 8 checks. But only to characters within the general vicinity. Your rutter is in the back of the ship. I don't remember what the penalty is, the purpose of this is supposed to give the enemy the element of surprise and to fluster your players into hopefully panicing. All in all it is an easy fight, the painful part has already past. As for the creeper, we did well against it, using magic missles, etc. Takes alot of teamwork to pull off though. I am a fan of multiclassing as a rogue, or taking exotic weapon prof(Bastard Sword) so I can do strength and a half, and power attack. If the elven curve blade is allowed, I would use that instead. :) Was playing this fight as a rogue 2, sorc 3, Dragon Disciple 1.


Pathfinder Adventure Path, Lost Omens, Rulebook Subscriber

Another thing is, if you want, if it becomes bloodied you can have the creeper retreat also. Recurring villain!


I ended up handling the creeper by introducing other NPCs. They demonstrated tactics like using a ballista against the monster and attacking its vines instead of trying to escape artist. Everyone lived but it was close; the gunslinger was dropped into negatives twice and stayed there the second time. The bard got a pirate wound and was dropped into the negatives as well. One thing that probably saved the day was the witch managing to cast slow on the creeper. Going from 4 ranged attacks down to 1 per round made a big difference.


Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

Does Pathfinder even have a way to cause a drought? What are the options for adding a story reason that it's happening? Is there a kind of fey that can do this?


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Here is the Giant Rock Crab from the final dungeon with its giant template applied:

Giant Rock Crab

Spoiler:

GIANT ROCK CRAB CR 4
XP 1200
N Large vermin (aquatic)
Init +0; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +4

DEFENSE

AC 17, touch 10, flat-footed 17 (+8 natural, -1 size)
hp 48 (5d8+20)
Fort +7, Ref +1, Will +1
Immune mind-affecting effects

OFFENSE

Speed 30 ft., swim 20 ft.
Melee 2 claws +5 (1d6+4 plus grab)
Special Attacks constrict (1d6+4)

STATISTICS

Str 19, Dex 11, Con 18, Int —, Wis 10, Cha 2
Base Atk +2; CMB +7 (+11 grapple); CMD 17 (29 vs. trip)
Skills Perception +4, Swim +12; Racial Modifiers +4 Perception
SQ water dependency

ECOLOGY

Environment any aquatic
Organization solitary or cast (2–12)
Treasure none

SPECIAL ABILITIES

Water Dependency (Ex) Giant crabs can survive out of the water for 1 hour per point of Constitution. Beyond this limit, a giant crab runs the risk of suffocation, as if it were drowning.


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Biobeast wrote:
In my camapign sailing to Senghor just seems to easy to me. So, I'm gonig to make Senghor a very anti-pirate city where pirates and stolen loot is outlawed. The players have a chance of being recognized and selling stolen loot has to be done stealtily or they might lose it. So I'll let them go but it's going to be much tougher then going to Bloodcove or eventually later in the AP Port Peril

In case it hasn't been said yet, Senghor is very anti-pirate. Check them out in Heart of the Jungle. They have a navy, and are very tough on piracy. In my campaign, if they try sailing to Senghor it will be a very challenging encounter.

Bloodcove is really only the safe port to take their ill gotten gains.

I would greatly suggest reading Isles of the Shackles, Heart of the Jungle, and Sargava: The Lost Colony. These three books have a large selection of ports to visit.

Here is the list I have put together so far:

Mwangi Expanse
- Bloodcove

Sargava:
- Eledar (Capitol)
- Crown’s End
- Port Freedom
- New Krane

The Shackles: (This is incomplete sadly as I have yet to add every Port in the Shackles. I am still compiling a list of all the named pirates and locations, and pirate lords listed in Isles of the Shackles.)
- Drenchport
- Ollo
- Hell Harbor
- Neruma (Not a Port)
- Slipcove
- Colvaas Gibbet

Sodden Lands:
- Hyrantam
- Jula


Shaun wrote:
I'm beginning "Raiders of the Fever Sea" and we're now at Rickety Squibs. When I rolled to see how long it would take to complete the ship upgrades, I got 7 days. Realisitically, the AP has probably about 2 days worth of stuff for the PCs to do while there. Did anyone add anything during this time that worked particularly well? I'd prefer not to have to montage the days after Pegsworthy arrives just to get through it. Thanks!

I got 6 days for my group. In the AP it suggests that a few days pass before the events start. So I let them treat Rickety Squibs as a normal port to get use to port time activities.

Port Activities: (Each activity takes the 'day')

-Sell Plunder
-Go Shopping
-Sell Loot
-Gather Information (Very handy if you want to include the treasures in the front of each AP. I also let them run into 'The Pelican' from book one on their way to Rickety's. It's basically a ghost ship and was a really curious, and enjoyable encounter. They had a couple plunder from this.
-Raise Infamy
-Diplomacy NPCs
- Gain Crew

After a few days I then used the Weather rules for Extreme heat to impress upon them the dangers of heat waves and build up their irritation. (Heat makes you irritated after awhile!) Also it made their fights more challenging because more than one had failed their save each day.


Cojonuda wrote:

Hi ferri,

I agree the PC's fight the Cpt and other Major NPC's

However, when the PC's and 7 crew members boarded Whalebone's ship, there was no enemy crew to fight in the background. The monsters the PC's had to face "alone" where Whalebone and the zombies.

In this case how can this be avoided. I do not want to tell them: "you can't do it" because is their crew.

I follow mostly with the AP and the just leave the crew fighting in the background. We use ambient music for boarding fights so that the players can hear sword fighting going on around them. The AP I believe also states that any losses from the crew are replaced with the captured crew.

One idea I was toying with was to roll for each crew for heavier losses on both sides, but I don't think I'm going to end up using it.

What I have been doing is only allowing them to recruit like they could recruit on land, and the rest of the sailors refuse to become pirates.

This created a problem for my players, as what to do with the crew that refused to join them. I wanted to see what they would do, as one player is NE and the others are CN and N. Would they force them to walk the plank? Maroon them? They decided to take them as slaves and sell them for plunder later. In the AP it says that slaves from villages sell for 1 plunder. I don't think an additional plunder every once in awhile would be that big of a deal. Hopefully it goes well.

This may not work for every party. My group only has 3 PCs so I am intentionally letting them be a bit over character level wealth to make up for it being just the 3 of them.

If you're worried about too much plunder, then just have less plunder on the ships that they also take the slaves from.


So my PCs don't really want to do ship to ship combat. They want to use quick rules and just get to the boarding actions.

I'm fine with this but I'm concerned about how to figure out damage to ships, because otherwise they will end up with ships to sell and add to fleets without a scratch on them.

Because even the quick rules you basically have ship to ship combat.

I was thinking of just breaking the ship up into sections, they either hit or don't hit. They roll a d10 to determine how bad the damage say, section 1 got hit with a 5 so its at 50%. On a roll of 0, the PCs have punctured a hole through the ship.

And of course sails or ores count as their own section.

Then its just a roll to grapple and begin boarding.

Any thoughts? Has anyone skipped the actual ship combat parts and just did the boarding? How did you handle it?

Thanks.


LadyIrithyl wrote:

So my PCs don't really want to do ship to ship combat. They want to use quick rules and just get to the boarding actions.

I'm fine with this but I'm concerned about how to figure out damage to ships, because otherwise they will end up with ships to sell and add to fleets without a scratch on them.

Because even the quick rules you basically have ship to ship combat.

I was thinking of just breaking the ship up into sections, they either hit or don't hit. They roll a d10 to determine how bad the damage say, section 1 got hit with a 5 so its at 50%. On a roll of 0, the PCs have punctured a hole through the ship.

And of course sails or ores count as their own section.

Then its just a roll to grapple and begin boarding.

Any thoughts? Has anyone skipped the actual ship combat parts and just did the boarding? How did you handle it?

Thanks.

It really depends, unless they are firing ballista/cannons/spells at each other crossbows are not going to do a whole lot. The ships hardness will take care of most small arms fire (the sail not so much). I just make the player make sailing checks in the rules to gain ground or use spells to give them a speed advantage. each round they are not in boarding range to the ship they are attacking is a round they take a ballista shot / spell from the enemy ship (rolling to hit as normal). This can all be done very quickly as they don't want to damage the ship they are trying to take, we do all the rolls in about a min or two.

I find more often then not, the players ship takes quite a bit of damage while the opponent's ship is fairly unscathed. I also force my players to squib ships before they can sell them, people are not going to buy a ship that can be easily identified as stolen. It's bad for business. So they have their own repair costs and the squib costs.

This has made the acquisition of ships dangerous and more often then not the players break even (not including cargo). This has also made it so they don't just hit merchant ships, they also hit villages and I give them treasure maps/charts/letters all the time (from the enemy captain's cabin) to promote normal adventuring between the main story line.


Yeah, I found ship to ship combat to be over really quickly, if the players use magic they can quickly disable a ship ready to board.

Flaming sphere on the pilot/captain/ships wheel, damage to the rudder, set light to the sails and Stone call on the crew on the deck is normally all that's needed. There is a also a druid in the party who changes into a gull then hits the ship with spells when he flies over.

Now if there was no magic that would be a different tale all together....

Ship to ship combat with magic is far too easy


Thank you for the information, PoisonToast and Simon Hacker.

I'm hoping since tonight we are going to get into the ship to ship combat I'll find out either way if they like it or don't like it.

If it ends up going fast with magic use, I might not have any problems.


LadyIrithyl wrote:

So my PCs don't really want to do ship to ship combat. They want to use quick rules and just get to the boarding actions.

I'm fine with this but I'm concerned about how to figure out damage to ships, because otherwise they will end up with ships to sell and add to fleets without a scratch on them.

Because even the quick rules you basically have ship to ship combat.

I was thinking of just breaking the ship up into sections, they either hit or don't hit. They roll a d10 to determine how bad the damage say, section 1 got hit with a 5 so its at 50%. On a roll of 0, the PCs have punctured a hole through the ship.

And of course sails or ores count as their own section.

Then its just a roll to grapple and begin boarding.

Any thoughts? Has anyone skipped the actual ship combat parts and just did the boarding? How did you handle it?

Thanks.

I was hesitant about ship to ship combat too, because I feared it would be repetitive and, as written, it was basically just the pilot doing everything and the other party members sitting there waiting for boarding.

You should check out this thread--awesome suggestions here and my party was into it when I tried it:

Naval Combat For a Whole Party


My party didn't enjoy ship-to-ship and as the AP stated, we just cut it out entirely and it hasn't been missed at all.

We do 3 opposed prof: sailor skill checks to see whether the pursuer catches the other ship or not. If they do, I roll a die to see how many squares apart the ships start and we go into boarding actions from there.

I don't worry about damaging the ship generally becayse ballistas do almost nothing and the catapult rules are extremely unweildy as well. In the balance, they don't think damaging ships would add any excitement or fun to the game, so that's what we do.


Makes sense, I am hoping that Fire as She Bears will help with that.

Grand Lodge

Did anyone add sea cats to their Mid-Ocean Encounters?

Scarab Sages

Not yet, but I might.

Grand Lodge

Do they not show up in the tables because they are native to the Plane of Water and inhabit the Jungle of Worms?


I made up a pirate captain with pet sea cats that he feeds his foes to.

Aquatic monsters without the ability to attack the crew from the water or climb up onto the ship are of limited use because they don't really threaten anything unless the party goes into the water for some reason. Even sahuagin who are out of the water lose their movement advantage making them way easier.

Interesting encounter rolls are flying creatures or things that can enter the ship without too much trouble. When I roll sharks mostly all I do is say "You see some sharks off the starboard." and they keep sailing, haha!

Sea drakes and storm elementals frighten the party. I once had a group of salt water merrows board the ship and begin grappling PCs and throwing them overboard. The players got frightened because they thought they were being hijacked!

Grand Lodge

Shaun wrote:

I made up a pirate captain with pet sea cats that he feeds his foes to.

Aquatic monsters without the ability to attack the crew from the water or climb up onto the ship are of limited use because they don't really threaten anything unless the party goes into the water for some reason. Even sahuagin who are out of the water lose their movement advantage making them way easier.

Interesting encounter rolls are flying creatures or things that can enter the ship without too much trouble. When I roll sharks mostly all I do is say "You see some sharks off the starboard." and they keep sailing, haha!

Sea drakes and storm elementals frighten the party. I once had a group of salt water merrows board the ship and begin grappling PCs and throwing them overboard. The players got frightened because they thought they were being hijacked!

I was surprised that Skull & Shackles didn't make use of the sea cat considering the beasts CR and the miniature created for the beast. I thought that they were pretty cool considering the creatures we named sea leopards and sealoins.

I would be interested in hearing more about the pirate captain with pet sea cats you created, Shaun.

Perhaps I should be more willing to go off script from the adventures and develop some of the elements presented in the bestiary etc that I was disappointed weren't included in the main narrative.


TritonOne wrote:
I would be interested in hearing more about the pirate captain with pet sea cats you created, Shaun.

I wrote more about there here: http://paizo.com/threads/rzs2qwg1?Tarins-Crown.

Shadow Lodge

Shaun wrote:


I was surprised that Skull & Shackles didn't make use of the sea cat considering the beasts CR and the miniature created for the beast. I thought that they were pretty cool considering the creatures we named sea leopards and sealoins.

I would be interested in hearing more about the pirate captain with pet sea cats you created, Shaun.

Perhaps I should be more willing to go off script from the adventures and develop some of the elements presented in the bestiary etc that I was disappointed weren't included in the main narrative.

Hehehe, "Sealoins".

I once rolled a random encounter and ended up with an Inctilus or two. I basically described two people in a rowboat out at sea, both of whom had big mollusc shells on their heads. Nobody knew anything about them, so they decided to keep sailing and ask about them later on. I worked them in by telling them that there's a kind of symbiotic mollusc that just sits on people's heads and tries to be inconspicuous, but everyone notices them. A couple of people in the bar the were in had them, but nobody wanted any for themselves.

It involved changing them into not being dangerous at all, but that also meant they sailed right by two stranded people.


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I used incutiluses a few times. The first time they came upon a shipwreck and decided to explore it and ran into incutiluses inhabiting the dead sailors.

My group wasn't big on raiding native villages after the first time they did it and the gunslinger dropped one of the warriors with one shot of his pistol. All the other warriors ran and hid in their huts. The PCs were like "Oh god, we're monsters!" and retreated to the ship. They definitely tack towards the good side of neutral. So, to entice them to another village raid, I had them come across a village being attacked by incutiluses inhabiting fallen warriors. As a repayment for helping them the headman gave them the village's plunder.

The best use of them was after Book 1. Scourge was knocked out but not killed in the battle so they tied him to the main mast. They flogged him and gave him some pay back but were having a hard time deciding what they'd ultimately do with him. One night the alarm was raised and incutiluses had clammored aboard the ship. Scourage was still tied to the mast and one took advantage of his helpless state to inhabit him, which pretty much solved their dilemma.


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Pathfinder Companion Subscriber

I may have overdone Captain Harrigan's fearsomeness. My players have successfully slain Captain Plugg and First Mate Scourge after the ambush (on their return to the Man's Promise from Bonewrack Isle), and now they're planning on sailing to Port Peril, just like Harrigan wanted Plugg to do. They don't have Plugg's contacts, so their plan is to dock the ship and wait for Harrigan to show up and tell him what happened.

Harrigan will, of course, refuse to believe them. The solution is that they'll volunteer for Abadar's truthtelling and repeat to him exactly what actually happened. Since it's the truth, odds are that the NPCs will mostly back them up, too.

I think that this is hilarious, and plan to allow it. It's right around now that Harrigan stops trying to raise capital and starts building a fleet, so he's going to tell the PCs to go get the ship squibbed and change their names, then build a fleet of their own that he will requisition at some point down the line. He'll want a certain amount of tribute, but under no circumstances are they to reveal to anyone that their true allegiance is to him. He'll even pay to have the ship squibbed.

Mostly for the near future this just means that they're paying a small bit of tribute to him, but things will get tricky right around the time of the regatta. Harrigan really wants a seat on the Council, so he's going to tell the PCs to take out competition until they're disqualified for doing so, which will allow him to win. I don't expect this to sit well with them, so it should be interesting to see how they react.

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