So my players are currently easing through the swamp in Wormwood Mutiny and I'm worried. Due to the alchemist and druid reaching level 3 before the Island, they're pretty tough. They owned a mosquito swarm in a single round. While this may make the island too easy,I'm not terribly concerned just yet. What I worry about is them defeating Plug and Scourge too easily. They have most of the crew on their side, so I dunno, maybe it should be easy. But I don't want them to get bored. Suggestions on beefing up the island/the final encounter?
|Paladin of Baha-who?|
Make sure to use the rules that inflict disease on them for sleeping on the island if they do. Have the ghouls on the island take every chance they can to inflict ghoul fever -- even if they save against it, it will weaken them.
Have Plugg and Scourge be strategic -- if the PCs aren't sneaky about returning to the ship, they can have all the PCs allies locked in the hold so they can't get any assistance. You can have Sandara Quinn very weak and barely able to cast spells to help. If you can arrange to have the Brinebrood Queen survive the encounter in the grindylow lair (have her hide behind the Whale and use a hidden escape tunnel if he dies) she can show up in the middle of the battle to attack and serve as another threat -- not that she's likely to be on the side of P&S, but she's happy to cause additional trouble for the people who killed her brood.
You can also rebuild Plugg and Scourge using the Swashbuckler and Slayer classes from the ACG, which I recommend. Applying some system mastery to these two can make them significantly more challenging.
My PCs thought it was going to be a push over...
Unfortunately for them, all their allies were either locked up or so whacked out on Grog that they were virtually no help. Also, they are not the biggest 'people persons' so, they didn't have the whole crew on their side.
Using the rail of the ship and some well placed bull rushes, several of them were out of the fight for many rounds trying to re board the ship. They still took the ship but they lost several PCs to Scourge dumping any unconscious PCs over the side to drown. Yeah, he is/was a nasty bugger!
Paladin of Baha-who has some great ideas also, love the idea of Briny Queen showing up to gnaw on / cast at the PCs during the fight from the water unseen. That would be butt biter for most groups for sure!
Have Fun Out There!!
Yeah, the mutiny wasn't too hard in my game either. I had the PC's allies fight most of the NPC foes as a backdrop like in normal combat. I did have 4 hostile crewmen back up Plugg and Scourge.
After the PCs rescued their friends on Bonewrack, I had it so Plugg announced he was going to ambush them when they returned. Learning of this, Fishguts challenged Plugg to a duel for command of the ship to create a diversion while Conchobhar, Jack and Ratline fled to the island in a rowboat to warn the PCs.
After Bonewrack, the five PCs, plus five NPCs (the two they rescued and three that came looking for them on the island) approached the ship in two rowboats. One of their allies was still on board having feigned loyalty to Plugg, and Owlbear was in shackles below deck and their last NPC ally was manacled with the shackles of compliance on deck. Fishguts was thought killed but was actually being held in the captain's quarters. Everyone else was hostile.
Plugg saw the rowboats coming and told his men to drop alchemists fire in their boats as they tried to board. The NPC's rowboat got fired but their secret ally dropped a smokestick into their boat instead to cover their boarding.
On deck, Plugg, Scourge, Syl, Fipps and Savika fought the PCs while Narwhal sniped at them from the crow's nest with a crossbow. Fipps got hit with a sleep effect, Savika and Syl died pretty quickly, Scourge disarmed the gunslinger with his whip but was also dropped into the negatives before too long. Plugg withdrew to the cabin where he had Fishguts tied by the neck to a rafter and standing on a stool. He kicked the stool out from under Fishguts who started suffocating and then jumped out a window in the cabin to make his escape. The PCs could follow him or save Fishguts and they chose Fishguts. Narwhal surrendered in the crows nest and Fipps surrendered upon being awakened. They kept Scourge tied to the mainmast while deciding what to do with him, although he was ultimately killed by an incutilis random encounter one night as he was still tied up to the mast and helpless.
I did a lot to make the ending dramatic but as far as a combat challenge, even Plugg and Scourge with 4 helpers weren't much of a threat for 5 PCs. It was still fun though.
I think an easy success should be the reward for all their planning and hard work setting things up. However if they wing it hit em with both barrels as the captain isn't a moron.
When i ran the game all the allies of the PCs were locked up separate and under guard at night while the hostiles kept watch. They made a plan and carefully passed the word around to their allies. Then , before the island led a successful mutiny by opening a hole into the guarded room and jumping a large majority by surprise and stealth. The best part was when they caught plugg sleeping (the stealth rolls were silly good). They tied him up and chucked him out the port hole. Scourge was then rushed by the full team who took some major hits but dropped him pretty fast.
We had a different experience that might be of use, or maybe not.
Scourge was killed by members of our group in retaliation for his rape of one of the PC's before the Man's Promise was ever taken, so he wasn't part of the final battle. Instead it was Plugg and nine level 2 warriors as well as Patch Patchsalt who took Scourge's place when he disappeared overboard. There were six Rahadoumi sailors onboard as well, but they took a neutral stance in the battle, unwilling to take sides.
The party was made up of four characters, all 3rd level, along with Rosey Cuswell and Sandara Quinn. The group chose to mutiny before they ran afoul of Bonewrack Isle, suspecting that Plugg had nefarious intentions towards them and they needed to act first. Rosey and Sandara were being kept with the officers while the PC's were sleeping belowdecks with the Rahadoumi. The group had also befriended Hartshorn who was kept chained to the foremast.
The Rogue and the Bard snuck on deck and took out one sailor and Patch without the alarm being raised (Charm Person by the Bard on Patch and then his being bull-rushed overboard by the Barbarian), and then they and the Master Summoner went to the officer's quarters - the first two threw open the door as the Summoner began spamming MSII's, filling the cabin with more than a dozen dire rats. Rosie and Sandara made it out and were armed by the PC's - Rosey and the Rogue held the door with the aid of the Master Summoner and the flanking Dire Rats while Sandara joined the Barbarian who was calling out Plugg from the captain's quarters in a long-awaited showdown.
Sandara and the Barbarian battled Plugg while the Bard tried to stay between the two groups, buffing with Inspire Courage. The fight with Plugg was a tough one until he got within reach of Hartshorn and the big man attacked him. He was ineffective and Plugg killed him for it, but the distraction was enough to allow the PC's to gain the upper hand and finish him. Only three of Plugg's men survived long enough to surrender.
The group had the aid of two NPC's (and a third when it mattered) and were a level higher than they were originally intended to be against 9 moderate opponents and 2 whom were very tough. However, they also had no magical equipment to speak of. They had a bit of luck otherwise things could have gone south quickly, but they also planned very well. Still by the end two were near death even after they had exhausted all of their healing.
The storm hit them the following night, and shorthanded as they were they were run aground on the rocks of Bonewrack Isle with Sandara and one of the men formerly under Plugg taken.
My groups mutiny was an extremely hard fought affair. 3 of the characters (human bard, elven witch, human fighter) had been doing a really good job of influencing the crew/joining an already brewing plot. 1 of the characters (human rogue) was actively trying to remain neutral. And the 5th (human wizard)? He was trying to play both sides....
It was assumed - by PC & NPC alike - that there'd be an attack on another ship soon. The training sessions, the fact that the Wormwood was heading back into the shipping lanes, overheard comments from the officers, etc.
So the working plan was to steal one of the ships during the combat. PCs 1-4 had this all worked out, allied NPCs all had tasks/targets, etc.
The plan II:
Harrigan & his officers ALREADY knew a mutiny was brewing. And Who's fault it was (mostly Plugg & Scourge + the newcomers). The plan was to take the next available ship, loot it, & assign the troublemakers to sail it back to his fortress. If it turned out that they kill each other during the voyage or go missing? Then so what/so be it. He's got plans & Plug/Scourge/PCs aren't fitting in. But he needs them until he can get his hands upon more crew (Wich the next ship will also provide) And if Plugg can bring the ship home? Bonus. Then he dies.
So on the evening I'd planned to run the Man's Promise attack? PC#5 gets into it with the PC Witch. Shoots his mouth off about threatening to expose the coming mutiny. Interprets (probably correctly) the Witches reply as being confirmation that she'd kill him if he tried.
So the wizard bolts for it, saving vrs the slumber hex, screaming that the Witch was trying to kill him, that it's a mutiny & he knows who's in on it.
There's about 1 round of complete surprise on all sides as the wizard runs screaming across the deck trying to get to the Poop deck (& the presumed safety of the officers).
The bard & witch players? They look at each other, shrug, & the bard fires up the tune they'd selected as the mutiny signal. Initiatives are rolled & the entire ship erupts into unplanned combat. A very very hard combat.
When the smoke cleared, the dead included: the wizard (pc5), the fighter(pc4), the rogue (pc3), Plugg, Scourge, Maheem, Arreta, Badger, Tilly, Samms, Tibbs, Ratline, Fipps, Grok, Kipper, and 5 or 6 of the unnamed pirates.
Harrigan, Krine, & Haably fled in one of the ships boats.
As he fled, Harrigan hurled a flask of something nasty & magical at the Wormwood, & cursed all those who were still aboard.
Any crew not already listed as being killed/fled are surrvive & are now magically soul bound to the Wormwood - wether or not they were allied with the PCs to begin with. Death only results in the PC/NPC being resurrected several days later on board and 1 lv. Lower.
As you can see, our game took a slight detour....:)