What additions and / or changes have you made to Skull And Shackles?


Skull & Shackles


So like the title say, What changes have you made in your game? I'm curious to see how other peoples game turned out.

So far in mine:
1.After my players took the Dominator, I added the Majestrix Mallus as essentially the Chelish Navy Seals bent on killing the PC's.
2.Isabella has been charmed and given a letter of marque by The Commodore of the Majestrix Mallus.

Plus other smaller changes I cant think of right now. So what have all you other GM's added?


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Your players captured the Dominator in Book 2? How'd they pull that off?


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mbauers wrote:
Your players captured the Dominator in Book 2? How'd they pull that off?

Well they followed the book and disabled the tiller but the Rogue and Magus were still sneaking around under the protection of invisibility. The Stormbane (Man's Promise) was waiting for the signal to drift by and give a full broadside of all 20 cannons half of which had been moved to one side. The magus, who is captain gave the signal and the crew started their stealthy approach. While this was happening the rogue was snooping down below and found some sailors moving kegs of powder up from the stores. well he threw a bottle of alchemist fire at the pile and ran. So the last thing the magus see's is a hasted tengu appear on deck sprinting and leap into the bay before a massive explosion rocks the ship.

All hell breaks loose as half our crew (Including Owlbear, Besmara rest his soul) die in the explosion along with a majority of the sleeping Chelish. The ghouls get free and set upon the remainder of the surviving marines. About 6.5 hours worth of combat later, Rosie is missing an eye, crimson 2 fingers, Concobar dies horrifically protecting a unconscious Rosie and only 12 of our other crew members remain(all of whom now have names).

It was a all out brawl but our remaining crew fixed the Dominator back up enough to back to rickety's and have it Re-christened the Dragon's Jewel.


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yeah, i would've ruled it destroyed and sunk, with that carnage i can't imagine a ship being salvageable, still great story:)


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It was only 10 kegs of powder, Not the full Magazine plus it was in a shallow bay at the time . And taking it away from the party would of been uncool after all the trouble they put into planning the raid on the spot. plus it took them 3 weeks to get it to limping condition and a ton of money(50k+) to get it seaworthy afterwards.

I decided to reward them for quick-thinking and determination. Plus the idea was cool and you just gotta follow the rule of cool sometimes :P.


The 20 cannons ripping into the dominator, the powder going off and pirates plus ghouls tearing into marines All out once was a pretty good blitz to start off the raid. while that was happening the pcs Faced the Commodore Guy, his marine lackeys, and the level 8 gunslinging Captain I wrote up just in case they got frisky .It was an epic fight that deserved a reward, not a punishment for their efforts.


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i agree to reward them, there are other ways, but like i said good times:)


Yeah I hemmed and hawed over what I should do at the time. But what a great way to start the careers of our Notorious pirate crew.

But enough about My crew for the moment, what have you guys changed?


Pegsworthy is sailing under the banner of Tessa Fairwind and has been a constant friend to my PCs. He was down in the area hunting the Dominator and so when the PCs ran into the Dominator they snuck away and called for aid from Pegsworthy.

Together they set a trap for the Dominator and captured it. Pegsworthy took most of the damage, but he also took the Dominator back to Tessa.

This gave the PCs an automatic in with Tessa, and set them up as her semi agents before they actually get to meet her in Port Peril.

Currently my PCs are trying their hand the plug in Raid on the Emperors Hand. They captured the ship by holding it in a bottle (magical item that they picked up by robbing a treasure hunter) and now still have no plan to deal with that ships massive weapons and crew numbers. They have been going over this plan for three weeks!

Sadly my PCs haven't gotten into the real meat of the adventure path. They have just been sailing around attacking pirate ships. So I haven't gotten to change much.


During book 2 and 3, my PCs went on a side quest to fight the Dominator and capture a ton of ships to get lumber. Then they bought lyres of building and constructed a ship of the line. During that point, I had them discover an alien craft that crashed on the mwangi coast that was infecting fey with Nanites. It concluded with them fighting a robot-templated Clockwork Leviathan and the Dominator at the same time. They ended up using the leviathan's head on their ship. Also they did a run for a guy to clad their ship in iron.

their ship has stomped over everythingin the campaign, and by the time they got to the end of The Island of Empty eyes, they had an enterprise of cloned Rosie Cusswells playing the lyres of building to build like 5 of the ships.


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We started an all animal race campaign, we had grand plans about it being like Noah's Ark, however it turns out when you get a bunch of animals (even humanoid animals) on a pirate ship things get..... Dark, and is now more like Animal Farm then Noah's Ark


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My players were so afraid of Harrigan that after they defeated Captain Plugg they sailed to Port Peril like he was supposed to do and handed the Man's Promise back to Harrigan. They are now secretly in service to him, and have been instructed to obtain a letter of marque and build a fleet.

I'm also using the Skull & Shackles adventure path plug-ins from Legendary Games, which are proving really good for additional flavour.


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A ton of changes mainly due to the fact we are sandboxing it as well.

Book 1: Pretty much as is but shortend the days on the Wormwood to 12 which made it tighter, I found the players were getting a little bored of daily rolls and just wanted to move the story forward. (They found book 1 to be one of the toughest adventures they have ever played but liked it none the less.

Book 2: Huge changes here, rickety as is, sandbox once the have the ship re-fitted. Home port senghor, they own a pub there, they also had a beer made skull wompa ale which they are trying to distrupt through the shackles. They have visited the isle of Smugglers Shiv, angered a tribe of vegepygmies by stealing their god (a clockwork parrot) which turned out to be an avavtar of Besmara (it inducted the ships capatin in to a Cleric of Besmara, then vanished). Tidewater Rock was as is but no shaugin, instead it was attacked by Inkskin and Pirates who were ordered by Harrigan to attack. They captured Inkskin keeping her alive. Sandara stayed on Tidewater turning it in to a hospice/temple to Besmara. I then changed the ending to a treasure hunt on an island (Bonjo Tomo from Dead Man's Chest) and had Pilks ship chase them at the end as the enraged Dead captain of said treasure.

Part 3: Bonefist meeting as normal. Kept the Spy ring but simplified it and changed the encounters. Ship of fools I changed for the illustionary ship and I changed the Brine Banshee for The sunken Pyramid adventure the spyring part ended as normal. I then added in Razor Caost Night of the Shark questlines and had Bloodport cahnged to Port Shaw, this took out the race at the end of book 3.

Book 4: Rescue Mission, Tessa gone missing on island of empty Eyes, mixed in some elemnets of Razor Coast(her son is in Port Shaw and his father is a dead ghost that knows where she is, his spirit is on the Brine Banshee lies on the sea floor near the Eye guarded by the Dragon turtle). Book 4 unchanged up to end of Ruin. Escaping the Island they are blockaded by Wormwood and 2 more ships. Fight to get out.

Book 5: Ganet Island unchanged (no mention of fleet though). Ends with Players killing Harrigan.

Books 4 - 5 changed in this way as the players have no desires to be Hurricane King, go up against Bonefist or be part of a council. There home port is senghor and they seem taken with the idea of just getting revenge on Harrigan, setting up a brewery and living the life of a pirate. Who am I to change this. They have stopped the spyring so as far as Im concerned the invasion has been stopped anyway. The only loose end that might get tied up is the Dominator...they really want her so that may be a fitting end to a really good AP..


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I was going to run this AP awhile back. I decided to add a prelude using most of Souls for the Smuggler's Shiv starting with a shipwreck and ultimately being "rescued" by the Wormwood. I thought it was more interesting than just waking up on a ship press-ganged. Plus, I love this module anyway, JJ writes some awesome stuff.

Most of the following notes were how I scaled down the harder encounters to remain challenging for a party remaining at level 1.

Smuggler's Shiv Adjustments:
Prelude - Souls for Smuggler's Shiv.
a) This adventure will be run using the long experience point track and all encounters scaled down to level 1.
b) The adventure will begin with the shipwrecking of the Jenivere, and end with the Thrunefang cannibals.
c) Ieana/Yarzoth, the Tide Stone, the Azlanti Temple and it's story elements should be omitted.
d) The Castaways are optional. Any or all of them could be used as fodder, NPCs,etc.
e) The Red Mountain devil is optional, but should be a weaker creature (CR3). Choices include Cockatrice (bestiary, p48), Moss Troll (bestiary 3, p273), etc. The dryad named Aycenia can provide information on the Red Mountain Devil if the PCs help her.
f) Personal preference-wise, keep Ishirou of Bloodcove (give him the Profession:Woodcutter skill), and Sasha Nevah of Ilizmagorti (give her the Profession:Engineer skill). Both will be useful in fixing the lighthouse, as well as their survival skills and use as camp guards. Both NPCs should be scaled down to level 1, and at least one of them should always remain at the camp.

Plot Hook Adjustments-
*****Replace First Mate Alton Devers with one of the castaways (Preferably Sasha). This NPC may or may not survive.
The PCs board the Jenivere from various ports of call on its return voyage to Sargava, though their destination is Port Peril as per the Skull and Shackles Player's Guide.
The party wakes up one storm-tossed night to shouting from the main deck. When they investigate, they find the First Mate and the Captain fighting. The captain looks crazed but has the upper hand when the main mast swings around slamming into him and knocking him overboard. The first mate runs to the upper deck to try and steer the ship to safety while yelling at the PCs to secure the mast. It's too late though, the ship strikes the rocky reef off the northern coast of the Shiv. The first mate releases the damaged lifeboat as the currents carry them to shore further south.
Later the first mate will reveal that the captain was behaving erratically for the past few days. Through luck (and a Fortitude save) the first mate woke up and found the rest of the crew dead, apparently poisoned by the captain as the ship was led off course. He does not know where they are, as he does not know how long he was unconscious. They are effectively marooned regardless, even the lifeboat is too badly damaged to be seaworthy. Captain Kovack survives and will be encountered again on the island.

Changes -
1) Sinister Omens... remove Ghosts in the Surf (except for Area G, The Brine Demon) and Strange Dreams. Adapt Wings in the Dark for the Moss Troll (Eyes in the Dark).
2) Predator Dens (area C)... C6 only has a single Shocker Lizard.
3) Shipwrecks (area D)... If haunted, these shipwrecks will have half the number of undead.
4) Creeper's Clearing (area H)... The PCs should encounter the Yellow Musk Zombies and the Yellow Musk Creeper separately.
5) The Treasure Pit (area K)... The PCs should only encounter one Lacedon Ghoul.
6) The Nightvoice (area R)... The PCs should encounter the Vegepygmies and the Vegepygmy Boss separately.
7) Thrunefang Camp (area V)... Remove one level of Barbarian from Klorak the Red. Additionally, there will be no pit in V2, as the Caves of the Mother and it's denizens are removed. Captain Kovack should be a prisoner somewhere in the camp, perhaps he is there next meal!
8) Trapped Shark (area Y4)... The Blue Shark is not trapped and wandered into the channels looking for food.
9) The Salty Strumpet (area Y6)... Remove the Spear Urchin and replace it with another Giant Crab which Ekubus considers dangerous, effectively separating him from his magic rope which has nothing more than sentimental value. Ekubus will attempt to enlist the aid of the PCs in retrieving his beloved rope.

Souls for the Smuggler's Shiv ends when the PCs repair the lighthouse, and eventually attract the attention of a passing ship called "The Wormwood ".


Yep thats what I would do if I ran again, its such a good starting point I think and nothing in s&s needs to change (maybe the pc levels but that should be easy to jig around with)


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I added liars dice, from POTC. They love it to the point that if someone's gambling, it's likely at a game of liars dice lol. Since everyone got sea sick during the storm, I instead had harsh waves hit the ship, requiring an acrobatics roll or go almost flying off the ship. If they failed the reflex save, they would fall overboard. Nearly lost 2 PCs, but then they tied themselves to the ship, with them saving Conchobar shortly after.


I made a bunch of changes to this AP (its my favorite) which I've expounded on at length in other threads, but the two biggest and the two I'd recommend the most is that I had Aron Ivey be alive in book 1 and I switched around most of the events in books 5 and 6 so that the big sea battle against the invading Chellish fleet was the climax rather than a dungeon crawl.

Any questions about either, I'll be happy to expound upon.


mbauers wrote:
Your players captured the Dominator in Book 2? How'd they pull that off?

The Dominator was one of the best 'villains' in the AP for my group. Early on in Blood Cove they were convinced by another captain to work together to take down a Chellish convoy of ships, but were unprepared for the Dominator travelling with the convoy as an escort. Their fellow pirate pressed ahead with his attack and the PC's tried to assist, but the Dominator destroyed the other ship and came after them. A three day cat-and-mouse game took place with them finally able to give them the slip...

...then later, when they had leveled a bit (7th), they encountered the Dominator again, this time moored at the mouth of a river they were about to sail down, trapping them. they anchored upriver and scouted a bit, and then our Master Summoner really got one of his moments to shine. He flew over (Fly spell) invisibly (Invisibility spell) and summoned 45 augmented small fire elementals to reign chaos aboard ship (Summon Monster IV SLA 10 times with Superior Summoning resulting in 1d4+1+1 x 10 small elementals from SMII list), giving the PC's time to slip past the Dominator with only a couple of shots fired. Sure, he blew his load going for the nuclear option, but it paid off big time.

The Dominator made a final appearance in the big sea battle that served as the climax of our campaign as part of the invading Chellish fleet. The PC's loved seeing it again and finally sinking their old nemesis for good.

Sovereign Court

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Nitro-13 wrote:
The 20 cannons ripping into the dominator, the powder going off and pirates plus ghouls tearing into marines All out once was a pretty good blitz to start off the raid. while that was happening the pcs Faced the Commodore Guy, his marine lackeys, and the level 8 gunslinging Captain I wrote up just in case they got frisky .It was an epic fight that deserved a reward, not a punishment for their efforts.

great story! however I think you were generous giving them a cannon, let alone 20! all my players had was four ballistas and 2 catapults... and that's after capturing 4 ships... are you playing "guns everywhere" mode? I went "emerging guns" so as to make siege firearms special...


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I'm also playing "emerging guns", and I'm saying that Bonefist doesn't want other people using gunpowder. So far they've stayed off his radar, but we'll see how long that continues. Having twenty cannons would certainly draw his attention in a hurry, not to mention Omara Culverin's (whose job it is to protect Alkenstar's monopoly as long as possible, if I understand correctly).


I went for Emerging guns in my game. Plus we already went to Alkenstar and bought 11 cannons on a buisness trip/also the captain could visit his family in Nex...but that is a long story that involves Zombies,Dinoaurs,the Steel Falcons,a Drow Bandit, and the Sun Orchid Elixer

Sovereign Court

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Nitro-13 wrote:
I went for Emerging guns in my game. Plus we already went to Alkenstar and bought 11 cannons on a buisness trip/also the captain could visit his family in Nex...but that is a long story that involves Zombies,Dinoaurs,the Steel Falcons,a Drow Bandit, and the Sun Orchid Elixer

Your chaoticness... impresses me... I tend to run APs by the book... maybe I got to start loosening up...


Trying a plethora of homebrew rules at play in our game at the moment...

physical armor provides dr instead of ac
there is no max dex cap on any armor you wear
items/spells that provide an armor bonus provide dr
items/spells that provide shield or deflect bonuses still provide ac
magical bonuses on armor are still limited to +5 of numerical bonus, but this bonus applies either to ac or to dr, but not to both.
magical bonuses to weapons also are capped at +5 still but the bonus can be chosen to affect attack or damage bonus, but not both.
magic bonuses that are rider damage do automatically bypass dr, but only the rider damage
magical damage that is not rider damage does automatically bypass dr
adamantine does not bypass this dr.
masterwork items cost 20 times the cost of the normal item
we use cp in place of gp for pretty much all commodities including gems. however treasures made of precious metal maintain their value by weight of the metal they are created from.
on critical hits, we only double the weapon damage dice. we do not apply the bonuses as if an entire second attack ocurred.
We didnt follow the grog rules for obvious reasons... particularly in the drink off entertainment...
Replacing any 'swarm' encounter with a non swarm encounter of similar dc...
Emerging guns...

Party is a dwarven musketmaster, elven hunter, tengu cleric, and orc barbarian...

So far these have been playing out quite well. Fights last longer so there's less alphastrikey rocket taggy going on...

Also created a pretty granular and diverse barter matrix since the party will make most of their coin trying to buy and sell stuff including ships...

Only things plot wise that havent gone textbook are

Spoiler:
two of the players spent a lot of time trying to befriend plug and scourge... when plug and scourge were propositioned to let the party explore the cave and they said 'not worth our time' the party followed orders. Didnt have the grindylow queen launch the ambush as published... Party came back to the cave several weeks later with their own ship and found what happens when an npc doesnt get rescued. RIP Sandara Quinn and One-foot-Fipps

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