Skull and Shackles – Cannibal Isle.

9 February, 2013

After a player dropping out, we retconned Tidewater Rock and had Salty Bob marry the mistress of said stone. She preferred Aliza, but Aliza refused the match.


After taking our two prizes – a warship and a merchantman – we decided what was to be done with them. The warship we sent back to the rock. The merchantman we accompanied back to Rickety Squib’s for sale. And he were taken back a mite that we had brought him yet another ship and crew. Able to take it on, though.

I were starting to think that, seeing as we were legitimate proprietors ‘o Tidewater Rock, perhap we should charge a fee rather than taking the whole ship. Keep the area free ‘o pirates and such rabble. 10% of the goods, perhaps.

In any event, after a bit ‘o shopping we set sail for home. But Mork were in an adventurous mood, so we agreed to heave to at an island and do a raid.

Well, there were a village, right enough. And full of savage warriors it were, at least 50 or maybe more. And they were in the middle of some ceremony – chanting and suchlike. I used a tooth which I had prepared with Comprehend Language, and the chanting were all “Blood! Blood! Blood for the Blood-God!”.

For flavour reasons, Salty Bob’s prepared scrolls are scrimshaw.

Well, we were happy to oblige. Mork and Vorok stepped up to do some damage, but Aliza noticed that there were some men on litters – motionless they were, strapped in. No doubt they be prestst or wizards, lost in whate’r they were about. So she put a Magic Missile into him. There was a scream from the forest, and the barbarians increased their frenzy.

More of the savages came, and then from the sand of the beach emerged a horror – a great worm or centipede, tall as a ship’s mast it were. And I’ll tell ‘ee lad, we looked at the thing, exchanged a glance, and bolted.

But although the thing were slow, the savages were not. And they were in their element – we could not outrun them. So we chose a chokepoint and made our stand.

They had barbarian levels, so had fast movement.

There were two dozen of them, coming at us three and four at a time. Aliza used her spells, and Mork just stood there killing one after another. I called curses down from Besmara over and over.

SB has versatile channeller and selective channel. 2d6 negative energy in a 30′ radius.

But when there were only four or five left, one of the bastards got a lucky hit and felled Mork. Then they advanced towards us, who were not nearly so able to fend them off.

It were a close thing. A very, very close thing. But we managed to kill the last of them between us. Mork were dead outright, I though, so I gave Vorok a little magic. But then Aliza looked at Mork and unbelivably he spat up sme blood. Still breathing! But only just.

Those “Plot Twist” cards to the rescue, again. Andrew (I think) had a card labelled “Best Day Ever”, and the DM pemitted it. Whew!

I used my most potent magics on Mork, and we resumed running. On reaching the shore, I used my hat – Besmara’s Tricorn – and transformed it into a boat, and we got out of there.

So it goes to show, lad, although I’m not sure what. Don’t poke a hornet’s nest without need, perhaps.

Keegan reckons that he pulled no punches, but he was letting the channel negatives do full damage without rolling the will save 😮 . I couldn’t roll over a five. The Blood God was CR 20. There were something like 30 barbarians in all.

We are now level 6. This means Aliza gets Fireball (I expect). Fun times!

Yaaargh! We deals with some unwanted attention.

14 December, 2012

Well mateys, after handing in our first prize ship, we of the Alestorm were feeling a bit cocky, and decided we would raid a village – pickings being slim raiding fishing boats. Upriver, we went, and found a likely spot for some plunder.

First sight of the ship, the natives scattered – they being a bit used to this kind of thing. Four of their fighting men stayed behind, each with a savage, slavering mastiff – four foot high at the shoulder, and with jaws fit to tear a man to shreds

They were riding dogs. CR 1/2, I think.

After a blessing from Besmara, Havok and Mork leapt off the ship, keen for the fight, and Vorok and Aliza following. Meself, having a cooler head, spent a moment summoning a dog or two of my own to keep theirs busy and then headed onto shore. But by the time I got there, it were all but over.

We looted the place for plunder and set sail down the river. But we caught wind of a warship at the river mouth – a Chelaxian pirate hunter, no doubt sent to avenge the loss of the trader.

Bad news that – she were bristling with weapons and Chelaxian marines. Four of them on the trading ship gave us only a little trouble, but sixty be a different kettle of fish. But Aliza it were that saw their helm be in an odd spot – their rudder steered by ropes that could be gotten to by an open porthole.

We anchored behind a bend in the river, out of sight. It seemed to me that the best thing to do would be to send in that sneaky devil Vorak on his own to cut the ropes. Risky, that – if he were spotted, he would have no hope. And so I cast an Augury – “Besmara!”, I called, “If we send Vorak on his own in to deal with the rudder, will it scuttle the lot of us?”

Now, the truth is that I got no reply, Besmara being a temperamental goddess much engaged with business of her own. But I judged it still to be the best plan, and I told the crew that she had answered – although I am not sure they believed it.

Got a 6 on bluff. Oops.

But even then, it were still the best plan. We went overland at night, and rowed Besmara’s Tricorn out to the warship (a magical hat, lad – unfolds into a jolly boat). Quiet as a eel we were. Then Vorak nipped up the bulwark of the warship and into the stern steering house, armed only with his dagger, his natural stealth, and a spell of Mage Armour that Aliza had given him.

Salty Bob has a pretty-much maxed out Profession (Sailor), with Skill Focus and a bonus from Besmara’s Tricorn. It was a skill check to row silently. The DM was kind enough to allow the two of us rowing to average our checks 🙂 .

Well, I be not sure what happened next, there were a fight – but in the gloom Vorak managed to cut the ropes and get out. The ship’s bell rang, and chelaxian marines pured into boats and made for shore. I cast silence and Mork and Havok rowed like the armies of Cheliax were after them – which they would be in short order if we be spotted.

Keegan gave us some Paizo cheat cards, which we burned to get Vorak out of there.

Then we boarded our ship, hoisted the Jolly Roger and set full sail. A bank of catapults, they had. I cast Fog Cloud to throw off their aim, but it were not enough to cover all of them. Still – we only took one direct hit. We passed them, jeering and cursing like sailors true, and out to the blessed sea.

Their captain swore at us departing, threatening to get the mages to scrying us out, but I knew it for a bluff. And so on to the rock, which I will tell ye about after ye have fetched me another pint of grog.

Having a little work done

16 November, 2012

The old man … no, that’s not right. “Older”, perhaps. Silver haired, but not snowy, not yet. Brown and weathered, but spry. Vital. And – to those with an eye to see – radiating the aura of chaos and looty piratical danger that marks a cleric of Besmara, the pirate goddess. To those without such vision, there is a clue nevertheless: an unmistakable skull-and-bones on his left cheek. No tattoo, this, but a birthmark – the goddess staking her territory, marking her claim. “This one”, it said, “this one shall reave the seas”.

But not this evening. This evening he is ashore in a dockside tavern, some weeks since he was last ashore. He is gambling, and winning. A fight breaks out between two of the players – fists flying. A brief break in the game, in other words. And then daggers are drawn, the fight gets serious. Game over, it seems. Salty Bob repairs to the bar. And there a familiar face.

“Arr lad! Ye be back! Good to see ye. Now where were we? Arr – I were telling ye about the Fever Sea. Pull up a share, ye and your mate, and I’ll tell ye a mite more”.

Need to read Treasure Island. SB is just a generic healer at this point, but Besmara is goddess of strife and war. Her clerics need to be dangerous, bloodthirsty cutthroats, and I’m not playing SB that way.

We hove the Mann’s Promise into Rickety Squid’s, and the man himself came out on a boat to speak to a likely customer. A direct man, he was – he knew what we were there for, and we knew that he knew. He gave us a bit of a price list and lad, owning a ship is not for the faint of heart. Just his basic price was an even two thousand gold – more than most will see in a lifetime. More if you wanted extra.

But we had the loot aboard the Promise, as well as some coin and various bits of magic we has found on the cursed island, chief among them being a whale’s skull scribed with spells. Between all that we had enough for the basic package and more besides.

Rickety Squid offers 50% base for items, and 30% (negotiable) for loot. Between Salty Bob’s diplomacy and Vorak’s appraise, we managed a good deal.

The whales skull was clearly loot intended for a wizard – I play a wizard in Kingmaker and reflexively started to drool. It had half a dozen low-level spells on it, and could be used as a scroll. The real value of it was that you can scribe the spells into your book. But our arcanist is a sorcerer, and the skull was not really a lot of use – just some one-shot spells on a skull too big to conveniently carry. Far more useful as loot.

Silk sails we put on her, improvements to the rudder and rigging. Oh, Rickety had prices to fit her out as a warship, but we would be raiding and went for speed. We decided to name her the Alestorm.

And a couple of smuggler’s compartments, but Old Captain Bob is not going to mention that.

We struck hands, and Rickety Squid and his men took the ship in charge. We repaired to the accommodations, which was part of the arrangement.

Well, we were ashore for a week or so. First night Vorak told the story of our mutiny, which did not make much impression. But second night, he told ’em about the haunted isle and was impressive. That, lad, was the very first night our fame began to spread, right there in Rickety Squid’s tavern.

The campaign has an infamy/reputation mechanic, which I will not detail. Bigging yourself up at every opportunity is important.

We had our first sign of the troubles to come the very next day. We were spinning yarns with a group of the locals fishing the river, when something grabbed a line and yanked one of the fishers into the river! A river naga it was, and he were raving mad – screaming and yelling. I summoned a squid to cloud the water so that we could get the fisher ashore. One or two of the lads jumped in and made rescue – “Get ot of the water!” I yells, but Havok has his blood up and dives back in. A few more bolts, and Havok with his dagger, and the Naga is done for. Rickety hears the rukus and comes over. Seems he has a deal with the nagas – actually knows the one we killed. We all decide that he was driven mad by the drought.

Next day, or was it the day after? No matter – next day, a half dozen wasps each the size of a horse come out of the jungle. We take down three of them, and then two more try to carry away one of our workers. We attack them, too, and I discover for the first time the power of the weapon Besmara had seen fit to give me – greyfire, lad, holy greyfire.

Keegan has given us each a character-specific item.

And as we finish the two wasps, another ship comes into port. Now, this be quite the breach of politness, as Rickety Squid’s customers like the privacy. But stap me vitals if it weren’t Captain Insert Name Here. Aye, lad – that Captain Insert Name Here. I didn’t know at the time, being new to the trade, that he was one of the free captains. But Vorak and Havok did – natives of the area y’ see.

Campaign trait

He were a right (insert nautical synonym for top bloke) and offered to christen our ship. That’s right lad – the Alestorm were christened by Capt’n Insert Name Here, and that story be true, even if most of the others ye may have heard are stretching it. Just as well we didn’t back down from the wasps and there’s the lesson lad, if lesson ye need: ye lose every fight ye run from.

If we had hid out and let the wasps attack, it would have gone very badly for our reputation. Don’t know what campaign effect having our ship christened by a notable captain will be, but it’s got to be good.