Merfolk PCs in Skull & Shackles

Skull & Shackles

I'm surprised I don't see a topic about this already; but what are peoples' opinions on merfolk PCs in this AP?

Merfolk are powerful. Their only real weakness is their awful land speed, which is a legitimate concern in most normal campaigns, but offset by the high amount of water in this one.

So would you allow it if a player heard "pirate adventure" and wanted to take the opportunity to play the game's big aquatic race? Would you consider it too overpowered compared to other PC races in an aquatic campaign? I'm curious.

Even with the stat bonuses, I don't really see Merfolk (and by extension, Aasimar or Tieflings) as being very overpowered as races. Duergar and Svirfneblin are another story. Even though I know next to nothing of Skull & Shackles, I would allow a Merfolk if a player really wants to play one.

Silver Crusade

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Their biggest advantage is water breathing, so I'd make sure all other PCs can get their hands on something that covers that problem quickly. Apart from that, fine.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

I've been considering Gillmen and Aquatic Elves as player options but I hit a major snag with this option. Escaping the Wormwood seems much easier for these races rather than staging a mutiny later on. Merfolk seemed less PC friendly to me because of time spent in port and other land-related travel.

d@ncingNumfar wrote:
Escaping the Wormwood seems much easier for these races rather than staging a mutiny later on.

I didn't allow any 'Aquatic' races in my S&S game for exactly that reason. There's also the very Very interesting curveball they could throw you if they played an Undine/Gillman/Merfolk with an evil alignment who decided that (instead of simply swimming away and out of the campaign) they weren't going to put up with this crap, got a hold of a handaxe, (or three) jumped overboard and spent the better part of the day cutting a substantial hole in the bottom of the ship. Suddenly you have a sinking ship, and with it, your Adventure Path. Extreme example, I know, but I think it's better if the players don't play (For at least the first AP) something that could simply say "Screw this" and leave. Just my opinion.

d@ncingNumfar wrote:
Escaping the Wormwood seems much easier for these races rather than staging a mutiny later on.

Not as easy as it appears at first glance, although better than standard races. There are three big problems:

1) Navigation. No landmarks on the surface, and going deep to find them has its' own issues. There's also the fact that they're going to be 'naked' so no weapons or aquatic hunting supplies. So any aquatic PC that wants to escape is going to need their gear back and a decent Survival score at a bare minimum. Knowledge (Geography) is also just about required so that the PC in question doesn't get lost. Not impossible, but if your player(s) are going to try this hard to escape the campaign, it's probably best to let them and run something else.

2) Mister Plugg isn't stupid. Any PC with an obvious means of water-breathing will be kept an eye on and not allowed any job where they have access above-decks. At least until they've been paid.

3) The underwater Shackles are ludicrously dangerous. Packs of Sahaugan are pretty rampant, and that's probably the least dangerous hostile encounter. This ties back into number one, in that a lone 1st-level (or 2nd-level, for that matter) PC without weapons isn't likely to last very long. No matter how unpleasant, their odds are better with the pirates.

I haven't seen this AP yet, but in real life it wasn't unusual for slave ships to be trailed by sharks, drawn by the dead bodies thrown overboard. I would have to imagine, even if a PC was aquatic, he wouldn't last long with no equipment if he jumped overboard.

Pathfinder Adventure Path Subscriber

Looks like I have a little more food for thought on the subject; thanks everyone!

I have an aquatic elf monk and a merfolk bard in my game and they have made no attempts to leave as they elf is busy mending rigging up aloft and the bullying is mostly aimed at the drunken brawler character. The merman sits on the windlass singing robb Johnson songs and sea shanties. But we are still early days about the wormwood.

Grand Lodge

And now I know who Robb Johnson is...

Grand Lodge

My whole crew wanted to go aquatic. I said only 1 of any race at a time. We will see how long that lasts.

Had a merfolk bard in my group and it was great.
Plugg bought her (like owlbear)as a concubine, Harrigan said she had to work too. She haid a pretty large chain-and-ball (someone had to assist her by carrying it). During the crab-fishing and boarding training an anchorchain was used to hold her. During the fight for the Mans Promise she was tied to another group member with a lighter chain (plus sharks in the water). After the battle Plugg claimed a magical slavecollar to controll her, but Sandara managed to snatch the spare key

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