So I'm the dm of a skull and shackles ruin. My party recently went to Hesmenes grotto. The place is run by a Rusalka sorceress 9. Does this mean taking a cr12 creature and adding 9 levels of sorcerer to her? Cause wow. That's powerful.
The bind I'm in is that the PCs were taken as her prisoners. Any suggestion as to how to get them out of such a tight spot? I'm not ready to end the campaign yet, but fighting her might be their end. Suggestions?
If this is about a specific encounter or place in the Skull & Shackles AP, you should ask in the Skull & Shackles forum. I've flagged this thread to be moved there, where people who are familiar with the campaign can hopefully help you out.
Yes, that's what it means. It's not quite as powerful as it looks for the same reason a bard 12 / sorcerer 9 isn't as powerful as a sorcerer 21: low caster level, and not getting access to the high level spells you'd expect at that encounter level.
Joana is correct that you'll get better advice from the Skull & Shackles forum. It should be possible for the PCs to talk or sneak their way out but it would be important to know the NPC's motivations and the physical obstacles keeping the party imprisoned. EDIT: Wow, that was a speedy move.
They list rusalka as a skilled type of monster so the class levels would add 1/2 the CR for a CR 16 or 17 creature.
As for ideas, they could have been kidnapped by any other appropriate creature that she charmed with charm monster. Then you just need to give your group an opening, PCs can be quite creative.
They could also be rescued by any captain that you want to introduce, or to re-enforce a relationship with Tessa maybe?
Can you tell us more about the situation? What were they doing when they were captured? What level are they? Hesmene's Grotto has a portal to the First World; could they escape through that? Have they run into either the Merry Pranksters or the Penitents? What is their objective?
When Hesmene tires of her playthings, she often releases them on the island to fend for themselves.
If any players are wanting to retire a PC, Hesmene could slay/abduct forever that one and "tire" of the other PCs, releasing them to the wilds of the island.
I have a book called Isles of v the Shackles, which provides a little history and major player info for the npcs. It's a fun little book that really helps a lot when your players want to go off book :)
I agree; there are a ton of little plot hooks in there, some of them suggestive of great challenges. I'm glad I picked it up. Now my challenge is to remind myself that I don't have to treat the entirety of the Shackles as a maritime mega-dungeon. I don't have to remember every single nautical mile of implied encouters. I can still just let my players sail somewhere without aggro-ing the entire archipelago.
Well they were just looking for something to do while the island is being renovated (book 4) and they haven't been to a port since they set out feelers for enough rum to let everyone drink and be merry. They didn't do well on the knowledge roll, so they knew nothing of the place. Went there and found footprints leading in one direction (toward the penitents) and they looked like they'd been fleeing. They went towards the danger and a group of laraby got most of them.
After some bargaining with the captain and hesmenne, they made a deal where they would fight for her entertainment. They won the fight against a fey she herself had created (a grimm) and took their leave, hesmene letting them, not wanting to lose any more pets. The PCs (captain specifically) want to burn it to the ground once they build a fleet. She may return.