Skull and Shackles – Democracy in Action


Next day, lad, I prayed Besmara for a spell to help the lads underwater, and a right strange spell she gave me: to create a bubble of air around yer head to breathe [“Air Bubble“, of course]. There are better spells, but this one were simple enough for old Bob to cast. I were new to the religion game, back then. We made for the cove – stopping off on the way to ransack some sort of house in the swamp. There were a few vials of alchemists fire aboard, which would have come in right handy when we were fending off those insects, but no matter.

To the cove, and the sunken ship. Home to an eel it was, and gave the lads a nasty moment or two. But we had picked up a potion or three of Water Breathing – gave them to Vorak, Aliza, and Mork – so there was more than enough to deal with a single eel. Big though it were. After that, we headed into the cave. And were attacked by bloody stirges, damn little bloodsuckers. No joke, lad – those things will drink yer blood till yer die of it, and they run in swarms. Easy to kill, but you have to do it quick.

And what rotten luck – the caves were mostly sunken, with the odd air pocket. But three of us had Water Breathing, one of those a decent swimmer, so we tied a rope to one of the lad’s ankles and he scouted ahead. Two tugs, and we followed him in.

[this was last week, so memory a little hazy]

We came up into a cave with an air pocket – stale, but breathable. And full of grindylows. One of them with Sendara’s hat. We fought and beat them, and reclaimed Sendara’s hat and holy symbol, which I kept for safekeepin. The hat was magic – one of Besmara’s Tricornes. Made it easier to swim, among other things.

After that, we swam some more. There was a chamber with ghouls at the bottom, behind a grate. Ghouls are simple to create lad, you just lock some bad men up together without food until they turn cannibal. They die and rise as undead if they are wicked enough. Only way to stop it is if the men come from a place where cannibalism is an acceptable thing to do, or if the men cast lots to decide who gets eaten. Even then – a man who has decided in his heart not to abide by the result of the lot if he is chosen, and who eats his shipmate regardless can still rise as a ghoul. (Most men will fight once they have been chosen – that’s different and to be expected.)

But that’s by-the-bye lad – they were sensible enough to swim up for their priest treading water on the surface, and I swam below and called down the power. Once, then twice, and they were laid to rest. The lads had ripped out the grate, and a thing or two had fallen down.

We explored some more, untangling ourselves from the traps the grindylow had lined their passages with, and came to a chamber with a ledge and Besmara bless me Sendara and Maheem hanging from the roof on ropes, alive but unconscious, their feet ballasted with bars of silver. In a moment we were attacked – a grindylow giant (a giant of it’s kind, you understand) and another one, some sort of spellcaster. The giant swallowed Vorak in one gulp, but our sorceress blasted him with a Color Spray and knocked him senseless, it spitting up Vorak in the process. The spellcaster were wielding a magical spear of narwhal horn, which returned to the hand after it was cast. I never can picture in my mind exactly how she managed it, but somehow she speared her own head and killed herself.

It gets pretty random when you are rocking the Critical Hit and Critical Fumble decks

“Please,” she said as her last words, “do not kill my son!”. We gutted the abomination quick, before it recovered from Aliza’s spell, and made calamari of his tentacles.

Then we recovered Sendara and Maheem. There were a cage of ghouls below the water (where they would drop if they were loosed). Mork took care of them himself, which were foolhardy but no accident came of it. Maheem told us that Mr Plug fully intended to kill us when we made ship again.

Well now. Weren’t that a thing.

The rest of the cave had more grindylows, but with their queen dead they ran off right quick [Keegan was keen to wind up, I think]. There was a trap at one point, a spiked grate in the ceiling, which Vorak disabled by way of setting it off while he was under it. Nothing like a few holes in you to teach a lad to be more careful next time!


A few more bits and bobs, then we loaded the loot into the longboat and rowed back to the ship. We didn’t have the water, ‘o course, but between me and Sendara we didn’t really need it – were only Plug didn’t like the idea of spelled water.

What to do? Well, we were pirates. No point mucking about – we decided to simply attack and kill Plug and Scourge if we could. Almost all of the old crew were on our side. Mork, the well-spoken young half-orc, told us he had prepared something.

We made fast the boat and climbed the cargo net. Them Mork stepped up and accused Captn Plug of mutiny and drew his steel.

Funny enough, I think it were effective. Certainly it confused him for a vital second or two. We attacked him and Scourge, Havok with his greatsword splitting Scourge clean in two, and Vorok gutting Plug. Aliza has an interesting trick – firing mer magic missiles solid enough to tip someone over, which she used to fine effect. And I have a trick or two of my own: calling down the power ‘o healin but withholding it from one or two in the blast. Between us all, and with most of the older crew on side, the matter was over quickly. The other sailors cried for quarter, and that was that.


We decided to continue on to Bloodcove and rename the ship – the silver would more than pay for it. Now don’t give me that look lad. Yes, it were what Plug was going to do, but Plug had been given charge of the ship by Harrigan and then turned around and betrayed him like a scurvy dog. We, on the other hand, had pirated the ship from its captain fair and square, and so it were ours. And if that’s slicing the salt pork a little fine, no-one cared to object.

Sendara gave me the hat to keep, and part of its blessing be to improve your skills at sailing, so I were made ship’s master and got us underway. Vorak [I assume] turned out to be decent with a sextant, and set course for Bloodcove. We left off electing a captain for a bit.

And it were plain sailing for the next few days. And that be the tale of the Wormwood Mutiny, and as to whether it were us or Plug and Scourge who were the mutineers, only Besmara can judge.

Now see those two lads in the corner with the wench? Watch closely: in a moment the wench will start them fighting, then pick their pockets while … arr, there you go. Watch her hands, lad. It might come this way, so we should shift. If ye be here next week, I might tell ye the tale of the Raiders of the Fever Sea.

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