ROOTS Skull & Shackles

Lets shove off
Game synopsis from 05/17/2014

Holy symbol crumbles to reveal a map or something encased in wax.
Arrive at Mancatcher Cove and sahuagin disable rutter.
Party had to leave the cave system after the battle with the sharks and the barracks.
Party re-enters caves and defeats sahuagin but Katarina is now a coral statue.
Once back aboard ship, Fishguts tells the remaining members of the party to go present themselves to the Hurricane King in Port Peril. After telling them this Fishguts fades away.

Trying to keep the Keep.

The Key leaves Tidewater Rock and heads out for the port Goatshead on Firegrass Isle. The port of Goatshead is very much a “No lawss, nor lords, evry won is hez oon mastr” Most of the wharfs are owned by private individuals or companies. It is well advised that you do not wonder around by yourself. Once at Goatshead, you sell some plunder, pay the crew, gain some Infamy, and get notice to return to Tidewater Rock.
Once back at Tidewater Rock, the sahuagin have attacked again with only eight but this time a ship was noticed nearby just before and during the attack. Not many details could be made out about the ship because of it running with black sails and running with no colors. Agasta saved a sahuagin in case Jonah wanted to Speak with Dead again. You explore the islands around Tidewater Rock to see if you can find the ship but no luck. During the night, the ship is seen again but there is no sahuagin attack.
The following morning, the black sailed ship parks itself of the other major beach. An obscuring mist rolls into the shore. Once in position, the Thresher lowers two longboats full of buccaneers into the water. Captain Isabella Locke goes with the boats. Once the boats are close enough to shore, she blasts the keep doors with two lightning bolts. Although the doors hold, they are weakened. The majority of the keeps defenders take position on the 1st floor awaiting the siege. The ballistae, on the roof of the keep, fire onto the boats and men below. The defenders on the 1st floor open fire on the raiders from the arrow holes.
Meanwhile up on the roof with Cap’n Jonah, Captain Locke makes her prescience known by blasting Cap’n Jonah full of magic missile holes. She then sends a summoned salt mephit down the stairs, where she had previously secretly sent her invisible viper familiar. The roof defenders fight back but to little avail for Captain Locke can fly and just downs most of the rooftop defenders, including Cap’n Jonah.
The Battle of First Floor goes far better. The invaders pour in through the breached door and attack. Maxwell starts recounted tails of victories past to inspire everyone to fight on and with great ability. Dakkiah, Katarina, and Thaddeus wade through the invaders, cutting them down time and again. The salt mephit, unable to get into the battle on the 4th floor, flies down and attacks Thaddeus. The salt attack has an extra nasty effect on Thaddeus of course. Dakkiah moves into the door way. He is making it harder for invaders to enter? Is he setting up flanking? His true plan is revealed when he starts channeling negative energy, damaging friend and foe alike. “Pain to all!” The salt mephit gets taken out easily enough. Raiders and guards alike, drop as Dakkiah blasts away with more negative energy. Thaddeus and Katarina head upstairs after hearing a girlish scream coming from the rooftop. Dakkiah heads out to finish off the invaders outside and with help from a Hold Person from Maxwell. Dakkiah succeeds in killing the last of the invaders on the ground. After which, he heads upstairs.
As Katarina and Thaddeus are rounding the last of the stairs to head up to the roof, they are greeted by a lightning bolt from Captain Locke. Thaddeus goes down just like Cap’n Jonah had done earlier on the roof from magic missiles. Katarina makes it to the roof. Girl on girl action ensues. So they are joined by Maxwell, who drops an anchor, not a literal one though, to keep Captain Locke from taking flight again. The battle turns south for Captain Locke once Dakkiah gets there to help out. The fight goes only a few more seconds before Locke is defeated.

Once Locke is killed, on her body is a very elaborate tattoo is found. Further study of the tattoo reveals the map on her back to be a copy of the map to Cyrus Wolfe’s lost treasure hoard at Mancatcher Cove. The map tattooed on the Locke’s back depicts the outlines of several small islands. A stylized half sun sits to the right of the islands, while simple images of a monstrous eye and the face of an aged, bearded king are to the left. Beneath the map are five lines of crude verse:
From blue bight’s embrace
Spy the Grave Lady’s prize tooth
With the Dawnflower’s first kiss
Climb the Captain’s wayward orb
To claim old king’s hoard
The map shows the way to Mancatcher Cove, the site of Cyrus Wolfe’s fabled hidden treasure, but it must be deciphered first.
A knowledge of geography reveals the islands to be an unnamed archipelago in the Shackles north of the Ushinawa Isles and west of Besmara’s Throne. These islands lie 110 miles northwest of Tidewater Rock as the albatross f lies, but the Key will likely have to sail a bit farther through the numerous atolls and archipelagos of the southern Shackles.
The stylized sun could represent either a sunrise or sunset, though its position to the right (east) of the islands hints that sunrise is the proper interpretation. The monstrous eye represents the Beast of Mancatcher Cove, recognizable with a knowledge of history or knowledge of local. The strange king’s image is merely reference to the root system of a tree that vaguely resembles a bearded monarch, under which Wolfe buried his treasure. The means of finding this burial place from Mancatcher Cove is revealed in the enigmatic lines of verse.
“Blue bight’s embrace” means to begin the treasure hunt from within Mancatcher Cove itself. The “Grave Lady” is the goddess of death, Pharasma, also known as the Lady of Graves, recognizable with knowledge of religion. This line refers to a rock formation that resembles a death’s head when seen from the correct angle in the correct light. Her “prize tooth” refers to a deposit of pyrite in the rock that glitters like a gold tooth in the skull’s mouth when the light hits it.
“Dawnflower’s first kiss” refers to the goddess of the sun, Sarenrae, called the Dawnflower, whose identity is hinted at by the stylized image of the sun on the map. A knowledge of religion also identifies the goddess. This line indicates that the Key must be within the cove at the first light of dawn in order to see the skull-like formation and its “gold tooth,” which indicates the location of the treasure.
“Climb the Captain’s wayward orb” is an instruction to climb the rock formation into one of the caves that form the skull’s eyes. A knowledge of local reveals that Captain Wolfe was known to have lost an eye in battle, it was his right eye. Therefore, his “wayward orb” is his right eye, and the PCs must enter the right eye of the skull formation to find the treasure.
The “old king’s hoard” is another reference to the tree’s roots, which look like a bearded king, designating the proper place to dig within the cave.
The tattoo map is much easier to read once Dakkiah makes a nice tanned version of it for the trip to Mancatcher Cove.
The Shackle’s Key makes it to Mancatcher Cove without issue. Well ok, they did get chased by a dragon ship manned by undead because of Thaddeus. But moving on…..
Mancatcher Cove forms an almost perfectly round bowl in the side of this jungle-cloaked island. The water in this circular bowl is an almost indigo hue compared to the turquoise of the waters surrounding the island, hinting at the extreme depth of the cove. Cliffs surround the bowl on all sides except the entrance, and a few small beaches have formed where the water meets the rock face. The jungle grows thickly atop these cliffs, the massive trees spreading their branches out and over the cove. From these trees a series of interlaced vines have grown like a loose net canopy 100 feet above the water, giving the cove a cave like quality in the shadows of predawn or twilight. More vines, creepers, and roots extend down the cliffs, creating a dense maze of twisting tendrils that shroud numerous dark hollows in the rock.
The Key pulls out and away from the group of islands for the evening and come back in the morning before dawn to identify the cave from the tattoo. The next morning, the Key goes to sail back to the Cove but finds that the rudder had been sabotaged during the night. Someone thought they heard something but there was a lot of noise on the ship that night.
You take a boat in the Cove, while the Key is repaired. You manage to get there at the exact time that reveals which cave holes are referred to as the skull from the tattoo. A short and, for most, simple climb gets you up to the two openings that have to be the “eyes”. You go into the one on your left because that seems to be the one indicated on the map. Katarina takes the lead looking for traps along the way. You find a hole in the floor of the cave that has been covered in boards and dust and dirt. Once removed you find a shaft leading down into darkness but a small ledge can be seen about 10 feet down the shaft. Maxwell drops a lite rock down the shaft. It clanks to the bottom not too far down, maybe 60 or 70 feet.
Before heading down that hole you decide to investigate the other “eye” to make sure nothing sneaks up on you. Katarina searches for traps but this not is not so lucky. A spiked log trap is strung. The trap does enough damage to down Cap’n Jonah again. Jonah is brought back to conscience and you continue checking out the cave to find nothing of value.
The group heads back over the shaft and Maxwell heads down to investigate. He finds an empty cave with a boarded up opening behind which he can smell and hear water.

So we have gotten rid of one enemy off the list......
Of course, we added another.......

After the “death” of Pilk he and his ship and crew vanish just like your hopes for victory. The green Deathknell fog clear quickly as you float in the water. The net ladder is lowered over the side to let you climb aboard. After drying off and healing up, a strategy session to see how to deal with Pilk and his bell if you should meet him again. The best offense seems to be buff up and have Thaddeus head after the bell. You know that you have damaged the bell and that it will or at least it should not heal itself. You know that it weighs a good deal due to its size and the fact that it seems to be made of some metal that Maxwell does not recognize. Thaddeus finds only minor scraps from the Deathknell ram.
You turn the Key towards your home port of Bloodcove. A few days out from port, Thaddeus and Katarina spot a ship and give chase. It is a lugger (long ship), the Kurstav, of some nationality they cannot determine. Cap’n Jonah determines that the ship is Kellid. You successfully attack and board the ship. During the moving of plunder from the Kurstav, making on the crates identifying them as belonging to the Aspis Consortium are discovered. Looking in the captain’s cabin confirms that the ship is working for the Consortium. Cap’n Jonah order the ship, the emptied crates, and the crew all be sent to the bottom of the Fever Sea.
The Key reaches Bloodcove without further incident. You sell off some plunder, gain a good bit of infamy, and resupply the ship and for Tidewater. After a couple of days in Bloodcove, the Key leaves port and heads out to sea. You start to head back to Tidewater Rock to drop off perishables. About half way back to Tidewater, Katarina and Thaddeus spot another ship and close with it. Once they get close enough, they realize that is the Chelish Man-o-war Dominator. At this time, the crew also notices that the gnome bard, Shortstone is gone and no one remembers him being aboard ship after Bloodcove. The Dominator spots the Key and gives chase. They close and then you manage to widen the gap and lose them eventually, sort of. Using the Farglass, you can tell the Dominator is still proceeding along the same course that the Key was on.
Before the sun rises the next day, a green fog appears on the western horizon. Through the Farglass, you can see the faint image of a ship in the fog. You manage to stay hidden from the Dominator the following day and sure enough midway to dawn from the midnight hour the green fog returns. That makes two out of three and if things follow as they should, the Deathknell will attack the Key the following morning some time before dawn. Cap’n Jonah commands to ready the ship for battle.
True to his modus operandi, Pilk attacks. The green fog arrives in the blink of an eye, thicker and heavy than the previous time. Cap’n Jonah starts to buff up both Thaddeus and Katarina, who stand next to him, and to hide them with a Hide from Undead. Maxwell begins to sing a tall tale to inspire those that can hear him. The crew stands ready to be boarded by Pilk’s zombies, but is treated to an attack by sahuagin instead. The sahuagin cause the Hide from Undead to vanish since Thaddeus and Katarina have to engage them in combat. One of the sahuagin nets Maxwell and tries to take off with him but fails. This still leaves Maxwell to cut himself free of the barbed net. Just before the last of the sahuagin are dispatched, Pilk’s zombies arrive on the scene. Cap’n Jonah once again uses Hide from Undead to try and give them advantage during the battle with Pilk. The crew is also told not to kill all the zombies so Pilk cannot summon more during the fight. Pilk rams the Deathknell into the Key and hard this time knocking several of the crew prone. The battle goes back and forth mainly in the Key’s favor until Pilk pulls the Deathknell away. This makes it impossible for you to just stole on over to the Deathknell. So several of the crew just stand on the Key and stare at Pilk while he attacks with his ghostly green touch from afar. Cap’n Jonah tries to maneuver the Key next to the Deathknell but soon finds it more difficult than he is used. Could it be that the Deathknell is tied to this undead creature and he can control it without the wheel. Meanwhile Katarina has a déjà vu of the last encounter with good Captain Pilk and has her heart squeezed almost out of her chest. Cap’n Jonah does finally manage a brief encounter with the Deathknell but not before a couple of the crew have had enough and try, with varying degrees of success, to jump the distance. Meanwhile, on the Key, Dakkiah and Owlbear keep the last of the zombies busy. Dakkiah keeps knocking them off their feet while Owlbear slowly beats them back to death. Quinn tries to keep everyone healthy and heal Katarina of her damage. Thaddeus makes it over to the Deathknell to try and destroy the bell. He manages to give it a good crack but he also gets Pilk’s full attention. Dakkiah and Owlbear finish off the zombies and head onto the Deathknell. Pilk’s downs Thaddeus and then reaches his treasured bell to summon more zombies. The zombies appear surrounding Dakkiah and Owlbear. Owlbear takes on the zombies as Dakkiah makes a mad dash them the undead to make an attempt at the bell. Before Pilk can try to poke Dakkiah with his harpoon, Dakkiah swings his spike chain making contact. One of the spikes catches in the crack and with a yank the bell splits in half and clangs to the deck off the Deathknell. Pilk screams in anger, pain, and surprised relief. As the bell halves rocks back and forth, what appears to be a mist or smoke rises from the inside of the bell halves. You realize the fog is the spirits of the slain being released from imprisonment in the bell. As the spirits disperse, a skull rolls onto the deck of the Deathknell. You quickly search the Deathknell before it too dissipates. You gain 4 points of plunder and find an astrolabe called Svingli’s Eye.
You inspect the damage caused by the ramming with the Deathknell and find it to be minimal. The Key continues on to Tidewater Rock. As you are approaching the rock you see smoke rising from the island the keep is on and Jonah gets a ring from his “wedding ring”. The Key enters the harbor and you go ashore to find the sahuagin have attacked. They were repelled but a couple guards are dead and Mardus is mortally wounded. Cap’n Jonah heals Mardus. Talking with Agasta provides few clues to why the sahuagin attacked, but the fact that it is not that common. After hiding your Consortium plunder on your island vault, you head out to sea. On your way out of the harbor, you spot sahuagin heading in. The Key turns around and drops anchor to await the coming attack. As the sun falls below the horizon the sahuagin come forth from the sea. You easily defeat the sahuagin including the one Maxwell manages to cast Hold on. Thaddeus, Katarina, and Jonah follow them into the water to try and get a prisoner to question. Well, all the sahuagin get dead. The following day, Jonah casts Speak with Dead and asks the sahuagin,
“Why are you attacking” …. “Vengeance”
“How can we stop the attacks” …. “Your death”
“Are you following us” …. “Sort of”
Something else you notice is that the sahuagin always attack in threes, but you only killed eight.

I now pronounce you, Cap'n and Ghost Ship
Bad touch, bad touch

After surviving the battle with the Dowager Queen, you turn north to head to Rickety’s. Cap’n Jonah tries his hand at dispelling the curse that has Katarina as a chicken. His first try turns her into a goat by miss casting the dispel. The following day he tries again and returns Katarina to human form. There is currently no one squibbing so you are able to pull into harbor. Your newest recruit, Maxwell, tries his hand at gaining you infamy. He does not do so well. But in his defense, he had only been with you for a day. The following day, Dakkiah, easily gets you the infamy desired. Maxwell does manage to acquire a nice map of the area were the Rock is located.
Once you leave Rickety’s, the Key turns to head to the Tidewater Rock. The Chelish Man-o-War, Dominator, pursues you. With the Man-o-War bristling with ballista and catapults, the discussion is made to hide up a river. Thaddeus takes on of the dingys out as diversion while Cap’n Johan creates a fog cloud to hide the Key heading up river. The key sails up river and hides. Thaddeus abandons the dingy as a green fog starts to form. Out the green fog, the ghost sip that had been tailing the Key, appears and wards off the Dominator. Thaddeus does get a good look at the ghost ship and sees the name is the Deathknell. He then turns tail and heads back toward land and a rendezvous with the Shackle’s Key.
The morning comes and the Key heads back down river only to have the crow’s nest spot a ship anchored at the mouth of the river. It is the Dominator that has returned in the night. A plan is hatched to sabotage the Dominator. The plan is to slow her down or stop her from pursuit while you sneak away in the night. After the moon has set, Dakkiah, Katarina, Maxwell, Thaddeus, and Quinn head down river in a boat. At the mouth of the river they discover that they are not the only landing craft out tonight. Further down the beach two boats of Chelish marines have landed and are heading into the jungle.
Dakkiah and Quinn remain on shore with the rescue boat while Katarina, Maxwell, and Thaddeus head to the Dominator to cause havoc. Katarina and Maxwell use water breathing potions to aid in their staying submerged to remain unseen. Thaddeus heads down to the rudder to see what damage he can do there.
Katarina and Maxwell climb up the side of the man-o-war to sabotage the pulley and tackle that helps steer the ship. Maxwell has a few issues climbing the side of the ship at first. He does finally reach the window where Katarina is waiting. The ornaments on the side of the ship that they use to help with their assent start to get warm to the touch. Maxwell throws open the window and starts to address the two marines in the room. He manages to catch the one marine’s attention but the other bolts for the door for help. Katarina jumps into the room hacks at the rope but does not break it with the first hit. Maxwell tells Katarina to close the door. She hits it at the same time as marines are trying to come into the room. She manages to slam the door close before they manage to come in the room. She turns hacks the rest of the rope threw and drives out the window. On her way down to the water, Katarina grabs Maxwell off the side of the ship as he is tossing a bottle of alchemy fire into the room.
Thaddeus is below the water line trying to ruin the rudder. He uses spells and skills to royally mess up the rudder. It gets bad enough that it is stuck at an angle and in the same position. He hears a couple of splashes to let him know that Katarina and Maxwell must either be done or something else. He heads for the splash and does find that it is them and they are ready to head back.
On shore Dakkiah and Quinn can see that there is a lot of activity on the Dominator. They ready the boat to head out. Maxwell, Katarina, and Thaddeus come ashore up the beach from where they are at so they set out to catch up with them and then head out to wait for the Key.
At the Shackle’s Key, the ship comes under attack from the marines of the Dominator. The marines use tarred arrows to try and set the Key aflame. Cap’n Jonah uses a fog cloud to help protect the ship from the attackers. The attackers fall behind quickly as the Key floats down river.
The Key floats out in the mouth of the river. You quickly head out after picking up the sabotage party. The Key does come under fire from the Dominator and takes some hits. The Shackle’s Key gets away though because the damage done causes the Dominator just to go around in circles.
The following day is spent checking out the condition of the ship and making the repairs required. Cap’n Johan decides to head south to hopefully avoid the Dominator. Tries as you might, you keep getting turned to the west and Tidewater Rock. You finally give up and head toward the Rock. You arrive at the group of islands that contains the Rock and drop anchor for the night. During the night you are attacked by sahuagin again. You easily drive them off even though the captain is pushed overboard. Cap’n Jonah wants a live sahuagin, if/when they attack again.
Once morning comes, you head off to the Keep of Tidewater Rock. A tower rises like a solid block from the sea at the edge of this island. The pounding surf rolls around its base and partially covers the steps that lead up to its front gate. A few arrow slits pierce its walls here and there, and a single shuttered window opens high upon the face of the fortress. A roof of metal shingles rises from its battlements where sentries keep lookout and siege weapons stand ready on corner turrets. You are greeted from the top of the battlements by Lady Agasta Smythee, the owner of the Rock. You proceed to convince Lady Agasta that you do not have any violate intention and that you have come on more of a to see what you might be able to do for each other. She asks two things, for you to go back to your ship and drop off your magic and weapons and come back for diner and two that one of you act as hostage. You do as she asks and Thaddeus is taken as the hostage.
During the diner you manage to come to a mutual beneficial agreement cemented by Lady Agasta and Cap’n Jonah get married. By getting married, it gives the Key a place to store valuables and a place to hide if they want. She gets protection and a way of easy resupply. Now if she was to die, the Rock would become Jonah’s. But if Johan were to die, the Key would technically become hers. The vault that she gives over to the Key to use is completely empty and is completely theirs for the duration of the marriage. The marriage contract is for one year. She gives you for use for the year, a farglass and a buccaneer’s breastplate. She also gives Jonah a ring that will merge with any other ring he wears and not count towards the limit he can wear. With this ring, she can let him know when the Rock is under siege and needs to return. You also find out more information about the Deathknell and Captain Pilk. You find out that he was cursed by a wizard that he betrayed. That he is cursed to reform, even after being “killed”, after a cycle of the moon, which is not true. The Deathknell attacks ships to feed the special zombies that Pilk has a crew. It is rumored that he can end the curse if he can get more than 1000 souls fed to his crew. It is also known that Pilk attacks on the third night of stalking.
The Key and the Deathknell finally meet for what might be the first and last time or not. The battle starts off badly for the Key. Pilk’s zombies attack even before the Deathknell is near. Jonah is attacked and almost brought low. He manages to turn himself and Rosie invisible to the zombie, allowing Maxwell to deal with the zombie. The rest of the officers deal with the zombies the best they can until the Deathknell rams the Key. Pilk joins the combat by reaching out with a ghostly green hand and grabs onto Katarina’s heart and squeezes it crushing her constitution and fatiguing her. Rosie runs to Jonah’s cabin to get scrolls after ordered to do so. After killing off most of the zombies, several of the crew jump onto the Deathknell to go after Captain Pilk. Pilk releases his grasp on Katarina and now aims it at Dakkiah and hit, leaving him fatigued and hurting. Most of the officers make it to the upper deck of the Deathknell where Pilk is hold up. Rosie goes against Cap’n Jonah’s orders and drops the scrolls by his cabin and takes out the last of the first wave of the zombies. Once the last of his zombies is defeated, Pilk reaches out and touches the ships bell. There is a ghostly ring and 6 more zombie crawl onto the deck. You remember hearing this ghostly ring before the first wave of zombies crawled onboard the Key. This new batch of zombies is not lasting long against bursts from Quinn and Jonah. Maxwell gets a good look at the bell and definitely id’s it as the center of Pilk’s power. You start to damage the bell but before you can destroy it, Pilk is dealt enough to dismiss him and his ship. Everyone who had boarded the Deathknell splashes down into the water of the Fever Sea.

Ghost ships, Devil ships, Death, and a Chicken
All in all, not a bad week

You prepare to set sail from Bloodcove when Gallen is approached by an individual interested in joining your crew, Soltharon, Dakkiah Soltharon. Being always in the need of new crew, especially ones with any sort of talent, you give him permission to board. After a brief talk with Cap’n Jonah, Dakkiah is given a variety of tasks to do to see which he fits best in. He fits best in the kitchen, apparently.
After a couple of days, you spy a fresh village to try and capture slaves. The raid goes off swimmingly, especially in Thadius’ case. You capture enough slave and material to get two plunder from the village.
You next come upon a fishing vessel listing to port. There seems to be no damage other than a breach in the haul, at least at first. On closer inspection, the ship shows that there are holes where cross bolts have been removed. And you spy the ships dingy slowly sinking and moving under the other ship. Thadius jumps in to investigate while some others board the sinking ship. At that same time, the sahuagin bust forth from below deck. You easily dispatch them and get some coins and an unusual necklace. One of the sahuagin wears a necklace of golden corral and strange, silvery metal with blue-black whorls worth 1,500 gp. The silvery metal is a platinum alloy known as “deep platinum”.
You decide to head back to Bloodcove to liquid date some of your plunder and try and raise you infamy. Bloodcove turns out better than you could have expected. Your new crew member, Dakkiah, gets your infamy to amazing new levels with the help of throwing some plunder out there. Apparently he has a gift for infamy for some reason. You also sell off some treasure, including the deep platinum necklace, and some plunder. You decide to make Bloodcove your home port. Now with your level of infamy you are Disgraceful. You grow ready to head out further from the coast and test your ship and crew.
On your way into Bloodcove you are followed by what can only be described as a “ghost ship” that disappears at first light of day. You encounter it once again several days out of Bloodcove. You are also raided by sahuagin again. They are easily driven off but not before one of them gurgles something to you about “the necklace”. Thadius drives into the water after the sahuagin and a crew they have dragged with them only to find that he is not alone in the water. After almost being killed, Thadius exits the water and calls off the search for the missing crew.
You soon come upon a Chelish caravel, the Dowager Queen. You easily catch up with the sailing ship and prepare to board her and take all she is worth. As soon as you come along side and grapple, you find out why it was so easy to catch her. The first volley is shot off by the Chelish sorcerer on the aft castle. Laying waste to your clustered closely together troops with nowhere to go. Your crew bravely runs forward to board the Chelish ship despite your loses. Gallan jumps onto the enemy ship with blood in his eye set for revenge. But he is promptly held by one of the Chelish clerics, Coup De Grace by one of their crew, and dies without drawing a bit of blood other than his own. Cap’n Jonah gives the order to retreat but not everyone hears the order over the Chelish marines boarding your vessel. Dakkiah dashes onto the Dowager Queen and takes out some crew and damages others with a negative energy burst. Thadius moves forward and starts to take out the opposing crew with spells. Meanwhile Cap’n Jonah is busy dodging a spiritual weapon sent to attack him. Katarina retreats back aboard your ship as ordered. The tide of battle turns when the sorcerer is taken out by negative energy bursts and magic missiles, one of the enemy clerics is push over board by spell, Dakkiah uses a skull shaped lantern to shoot flames, and the other is attacked by a spiritual weapon of Cap’n Johan’s doing. After climbing back on board, the second enemy cleric is slain and soon after is the last one. The two remaining Chelish marines “surrender” but take poison and die rather than be captured by the likes of you.
The sailing crew surrenders quickly. The remaining crew easily give up information that the two clerics you killed where cousins of Queen Abrogail II. The sorcerer was a distant cousin as well. You find a set of keys on the sorcerer that looks as they should unlock the doors to the captain’s cabin and several others. The head of each key is a little different and match the pattern above each lock on the doors you investigate. No longer having a thief, Katarina uses the key that matches to open the one door to the captain’s cabin. There is a greenish sulfur puff of smoke and where Katarina once stood; there is now a chicken instead. A loudly clucking, fussing chicken. Johan discovers by doing a detect magic that the true shape of the keys can be seen and that Katarina has actually been cursed, not polymorphed. You search the rest of the ship and find another locked metal door on the entrance to the main hold. When you unlock the door, a set of devilish red eye appear on it, glare at you and then disappear. Once the metal door is open you find a hold full of unusual plunder and a caged naked gnome. You release the gnome, Maxwell Gushan, Bard. The chest, with child sized clothing and possessions, now makes sense. Soon after releasing Maxwell, you notice that the ship is started to self-destruct. You do manage to get the plunder off the ship before it disintegrates itself with little pentagram symbols.
The 5 points of plunder that you get from the hold is a temple/shrine “starter set” for Asmodeus, bound for Sargava. You also have a talk with your new boson about what he actually is and his intent. You already know that he is a follower of Zon-Kuthon. Dakkiah discloses that he is an anti-paladin.

Woo Hoo! We captured our first ship!
OK, now what do we do with it...........

You and your landing party make it safely back aboard ship. You come back with some plunder, a couple of goats, no captives, and a disgruntled crew. After Cap’n Jonah gets back to his cabin, he gets a surprise visit from Kroop and a bottle of wine. Kroop talks about what he heard happened during the adventure ashore. He gives Jonah a few suggestions of what he thinks might help next time.
The following morning, a mild punishment is handed out to Katarina of doing the jobs of the crew that she had belittled on shore. The crew finds it humorous.
After a few days a sailing you do find another village to raid and get a cabin boy.
Still hugging the coast, you happen upon a Sargavan fishing hooker (keelboat), Elten Baide, the captained by a dwarf named Vesgal Falkirk. Falkirk negotiates a “bribe” to have you leave him be by giving you half of his haul of fish for the day. During the exchange, he suggests that you put in Hidefast for the evening. Hidefast is one of a few hidden ports in the Shackles that are neutral ground. Although not all that big, Hidefast can buy and sell things that would not be available in places of the same size. The town is very well hidden by the jungle and other vegetation. The people, of the town, keep to themselves for the most part. There is a lot of activity at all hours of the day and night. You try but fail to raise your infamy while docked in town.
You head further along the Slithering Coast for a couple of days without much incident. You eventually come upon a ship and start a chase. After a few hours, you catch the ship and board her, the Truewind. The Truewind is an Absalom barque (sailing ship). After a very brief battle, with no loses on your side and the Truewind losing only first mate and some crew, you take the ship. The captain disappeared into her cabin during the fight after the first mate was taken out. Gallen proceeds to investigate the captain’s cabin where she disappeared but before he can check the door out Katarina tries to break it down and sets off a trap. BOOM! The trap is gone and so is the captain. Checking out the cabin provides a few clues to where she went, open window, empty bottle, and a bird in the distance?
After a discussion about what to do with your captive ship, you sail for Bloodcove to sell her. You get to Bloodcove without issue and sell the Truewind for a nice price. Fifteen of the Truewind’s crew stays with you. You also sell some more plunder but no boost to your infamy.

Wait, Wait, Come Back......
We only want to enslave you.....

After having killed the giant wasps that were attacking the area that you are in, Rickety and a plainly dressed half orc approach you.
Rickety thinks that something must have happened to his lookout in the watchtower Pegsworthy has already confirmed that he did not see any signal flag from the watchtower when he sailed into the cove. Rickety tells the PCs that he’ll knock 100 gp off the price of their squib if they’ll follow the trail out to the watchtower to check on Lyle Godwin. He suggests that you take the half-orc with you since he was a great help fighting the wasps off in the area that Rickety was at the time.
The trail itself winds through the jungle behind the Commons, and then follows the knife-edged ridgeline as it climbs along the headland. The way is rocky and steep, overgrown with jungle foliage, and drops precipitously to the cove 50 or more feet below. As you make your way along this trail, you come upon wild boars that are hungrily rooting around. The boars are aggressive and immediately attack.
When you get to the tower, they find a number of broken rum bottles on the ground below the tower. Katarina climbs the ladder to the tower’s simple wooden platform, while Gallen scales the outside of the tower. The others remain on the ground beneath the tower. Once, Gallen and Katarina are both at the top, a giant wasp appears from the top of the tower where it had been resting. The wasp first attacks Gallen while he is hanging on the outside of the tower. Gallen manages to drive into the tower and while the others exterminate the giant wasp. They find the twisted remains of a rope hammock and a few scattered items of clothing. Lying beneath the hammock, with one boot on and the other lying across the floor from it, is the flyspecked corpse of an elderly man. He is recently deceased, and one side of his neck is black and swollen to the size of a melon. A dried ring of foam cakes the man’s beard and moustache around his lips. The parrot f laps over, alights on the corpse, and squawks again, “Shoo, fly, don’t bother me!”
This is the mortal remains of the lookout Lyle Godwin. One of the giant wasps discovered him here and attacked. He managed to drive off the wasp with his morningstar +1 but not before it stung him. Godwin suffered a major allergic reaction to the wasp’s poison and died. As a result, no signal f lag was raised to warn away the Strix as it entered the cove.
Since you carried Godwin’s body back to Rickety, he allows tells you to keep the weapon as a reward for checking on the lookout. Godwin’s parrot, Rotgut, takes a liking to Thadius.
The following day, you have your games to test and see who may make a good pirate. Not many of the locals participate that day or the ones that follow. While you do not gain any more than one new crew from the games, you do build a stable alliance with Pegsworthy and his crew. You also continue to raise your infamy while in port.
The day finally has come for you to leave dry dock. With Free Captain Pegsworthy and before the chocks are released and the ship slides down into the estuary, a bottle of Sargavan wine is smashed upon its keel. Captain Pegsworthy offers this bit of Shackles lore as a toast before you set out to make their fortunes: “Good fortune and sure sail await what one can crack the Tidewater Rock.”
You are familiar with this old Shackles adage, and some of their crew certainly knows it also. It refers to a small castle called Tidewater Rock that commands a small, protected harbor on a remote island south of Motaku Isle. It is said that anyone who can claim Tidewater Rock as their own will have good luck, as the castle makes a strategic watch point from which one can strike the nearby shipping lanes. Most Free Captains have better things to do than pursue old wives’ tales, but a new pirate captain would surely find a boost to her reputation were they able to claim that they had “cracked the Rock.”
You put out to sea the next morning. Kroop being an experienced old salt, and possesses a wealth of knowledge about sailing, piracy, and the Shackles or at least it seems that way. Kroop suggests you might want to raid isolated settlements on the Mwangi and Sargavan coasts in order to increase their plunder and Infamy at first. You can use these smaller raids as a way to get the feeling for being in command of your own ship. Larger settlements, such as Bloodcove, Eleder, and Senghor, are certainly beyond the your means—even smaller and more isolated locales such as Crown’s End and Port Freedom are too big to tackle without a fleet of ships. However, there are numerous small, unnamed coastal villages along the Mwangi and Sargavan coasts that would be prime targets for such a raid. You are under no obligation to follow his counsel, of course, but newly minted pirates such as yourselves would be wise to heed his guidance.
A couple of hours before eight bells, the end of the late-night watch and the beginning of the morning watch (about 4 a.m.) raiders are stopped by Rosie as they board your ship. They are three sahuagin. Luckily the crew, on duty, also sees them and they are ready for their attack. Up on deck, the battle begins as shouts to alarm the rest of the ship go out. The crew, below deck, is woken up by some flying creature that disappears up and out of the hold before they can get a good look at it. The battle on deck does not last long with Udoros fish frying two of the sahuagin. Although the battle is won, there is no sign of the creature that was flapping around below decks at the start of the battle. Most everyone that is not on watch heads back to bed, except Jonah. He remains awake to see if the flying spy ever comes back. The rest of the night is uneventful.
Morning brings renewed interest in finding a village to sack. A village is found that looks ripe for the picking. The plan is for most of the officers and some of the crew to land away from the village and then head into it through the jungle. All goes as planned until the party is stopped/heard by the village guard dogs. At that point, the villagers let loose the hounds. The dogs attack the first person they see, which is Katarina. Gallen dramatically runs, jumps, and easily leaps up onto the roof of the nearest hut. Of course, the huts roof is mainly made to keep the rain out and not tumbling characters, so he falls right through to be attack by a villager. The rest of you join the battle with Johan going down during the fight. After a few rounds of fighting the remaining warrior villagers run away having accomplished what they were supposed to do and that was to be a distraction. A distraction, so that the rest of the villagers can get away and not be captured. During the battle, the rest of the crew hangs back and does not join the fight. This fact does not go unnoticed by Katarina, who proceeds to threaten and intimidate them for not doing anything. Her theatrics are brought to an abrupt end when Sandara reminds her that the crew was never given any orders for the battle and they did start to engage once they were belittled about it by Katarina. Much like an octopus’s ink jet spreading through the water, the truth of Sandara’s words spreads through the rest of the crew and officers, and they start at sore.
You manage to get some plunder from the village but no slaves. But the issue of the crew and officers not taking to Katarina’s outburst are not going to be taken lightly it seems. Punishment of some sort perhaps? Lashes, keelhauling, abandoned on a deserted island with only a bottle of rum and a dagger perhaps?

WE ARE SO BORED! Lets invent our own games.
Here's a game for you, "Dodge the giant wasp."

At the conclusion of “The Wormwood Mutiny,” you mutinied against Barnabas Harrigan’s prize crew under Mr. Plugg and Master Scourge, and claimed their own ship, the captured Rahadoumi vessel Man’s Promise. Though you are now free to commence your own careers as pirates, you must clear up a few matters first. They now control a ship that was seized by one of the most notorious Free Captains of the Shackles, and he likely still considers it to be his property. The wrath of Captain Harrigan, should he catch up with you and the Man’s Promise would be terrible indeed.

Most ships that sail the Inner Sea region, such as the Man’s Promise, were crafted by hand in shipyards throughout Avistan and Garund. Though ships of the same type are similar in attributes and size, they each have their own look and lines, which the practiced eye of an experienced sailor can recognize in the dark by the silhouette alone. Successfully stealing a ship and hiding it from its owners requires more than a name change and a new coat of paint—there must be a complete rebuild of the superstructures and rigging in order to change the way it looks. Such an overhaul is superficial in nature and changes none of a ship’s characteristics, but it does give a ship a different appearance and lines so that even someone familiar with the original ship can only determine the falsehood after several minutes of careful study.

Changing the identity of a ship in such a way is not cheap and must be done in secret or word would quickly get out of the ship’s new identity. Powerful Free Captains with their own home ports are able to do such modifications in their own private shipyards and dry docks. But you do not have such a resource so you will have to look elsewhere for a place to do it for you. Just such an outfitter called Rickety’s Squibs, located in a remote estuary on the Slithering Coast, is relatively close your current position. So you head there to get squibbed.

Rickety’s Squibs refits and modifies the lines and profiles of ships without changing a ship’s size, characteristics, or deck layout, providing both discretion and a new identity for a price. These rebuilt vessels are referred to as “squibs.” In fact, “It’s like as not to be a squib,” is a common saying among the pirates of the Shackles for a ship of suspicious origin.

Rickety’s Squibs lies in the estuary of a nameless river on the Slithering Coast. The river mouth is concealed from passing ships by a protruding headland, so that it is difficult to find if one doesn’t know where to look, and the facilities are hidden under the eaves of the encroaching jungle, further warding them from prying eyes.

Another obstacle (perhaps the most important) remains, however—the matter of sailing within the Shackles. Even if you manage to remake the Man’s Promise into a new vessel that will not be recognized by Captain Harrigan or his associates, you still face the prospect of being a new ship in pirate waters with no reputation to back them up. The Free Captains of the Shackles have a name for this sort of vessel: prey. Unless you want to constantly fend off attacks from their fellow freebooters, they have to make a name for themselves as pirates along the fringes of the Shackles first in order to be accepted and respected as peers among the other Free Captains. In order establish this name and acquire a reputation, you must accumulate both plunder and Infamy by performing acts of piracy.

After having set up yourselves as officers and determining who in the rest might be helpful officers, you set sail for Rickety’s Squibs. Along the way you manage by some wonder luck to change all the crew you have over into a helpful attitude.
Rounding the tall headland reveals a hidden cove at the mouth of a wide jungle river, its sluggish brown waters staining the waters of the blue sea like an ugly bruise. A series of docks has been built upon this estuary, with buildings concealed beneath the overhanging limbs of the jungle beyond. A wooden watchtower stands upon the promontory of the headland, carefully concealed among the trees to provide a clandestine view of the seas.

A small, single-masted longboat soon sets out from the boathouse on the estuary to meet the Man’s Promise, and its crew hails the PCs, asking them to drop anchor to discuss terms. Rickety is accompanied by six sailors armed only with dirks. Once he is allowed aboard, Rickety gets right down to business, inspecting the ship to see how much work will be needed to “squib” it. Rickety quotes a price of 2,000 GP and 8 days to squib her. The party agrees to the price and time, so the ship is dry docked by Rickety’s people.

You settle in the Commons, a once-grand building with broad wings extending from its ground floor stands at the end of the docks, its octagonal dome topped by a cupola. It was obviously a fine villa in its day but time and the harsh sun and rains of the Slithering Coast have faded its paint and cracked its boards, leaving it a gray ghost of its former self. A painted board above the veranda names it as “Rickety’s Squibs.” Smaller, less grandiose hovels and sheds clapped together of flotsam and jetsam surround the larger building and merge into the jungle behind it. Rickety’s main building was once the summer retreat of a Sargavan noble until resentful water nagas forced her from their territory. Rickety was much more careful to negotiate his use of the lands with the nagas, which has enabled him to exist here peacefully for 13 years.

You manage to sell off one of your plunder points to pay your new crew. You are a bit short handed so you start to look for additional crew. It is recommended that you do not “press” any one into service here at Rickety’s, but are free to find people to hire. You have the barkeep spread the word that you are looking for crew.

For the first few days not much happens that is interesting. You find out the area has been experiencing a drought of late. It has been getting so hot and dry from the heat, which the workers take off during the middle of the day. During this down time, they fish, gamble, or just find shade somewhere. You start to investigate the area a little bit more. You find that to the west of the harbor is some opened up area that is not jungle but is farmland. These are the farms that help support the village and Rickety’s business. The farmers are very suspicious of anyone they do not know for fear of pirates looking for new “hires”. You discover a druid, named Chandra Bristlewick, is assisting the farmers through the drought.

Your crew and Rickety’s start to intermingle well, which is a good thing. You too start to relax more with the locals. On one day, of an afternoon break, you are on the docks with some of the locals when a couple of them are attacked and dragged off by a water naga. With some daring acrobatics and cunning struts, you defeat the naga and rescue the locals. Lucky for you, the locals you recued just happen to work for Rickety and he agrees to knock off 500 gp from the price of the squib. Instead you ask if you can install a broad rudder and he will make it so. You take care of your injuries. You retrieve the captain’s special hammock off your ship to help with the healing.

The following day, soon after everyone starts to head back out after the afternoon break, the village is attack by what you first think is a flock of birds but these birds are buzzing. The birds turn out to be giant wasps. You manage to kill off the wasps that attack the area you are in.

Suddenly, someone shouts an alarm and people once more scatter for cover. A Chelish galleon can be seen anchored in the cove and an armed party is clambering onto the docks from their launch.

Normally when the dry dock is already occupied, the lookout signals to shore and Rickety launches the longboat to meet the incoming ship and advise the crew to return at a later date. The Free Captains are careful to honor Rickety’s requests for privacy to protect the identities of the ships he is working on because they know the same courtesy will be afforded to them.

The ship in the cove is the Chelish galleon Strix, recently captured by Free Captain Merrill Pegsworthy and brought to Rickety’s to be squibbed. While those ashore were dealing with the hornets, the Strix entered the cove unnoticed and Captain Pegsworthy and a landing party was able to row to the docks before anyone realized they had arrived.
Captain Pegsworthy and eight buccaneers are just climbing onto the docks when they are spotted. Once on land, Pegsworthy can see that the dry dock is occupied with a ship currently being squibbed and immediately realizes the jeopardy that he has placed himself in with the ship’s original owner. As a result, he orders his buccaneers to form a defensive semicircle on the dock.

After some very tense moments, Pegsworthy asks to parley with what he hopes to be the captain of the ship in dry dock. Pegsworthy admits his error in coming into harbor without being signaled. But he also states that there was no signal at all and he was curious as to why there was not. From your parley with him, you find him an amiable sort. He recognizes the Man’s Promise by its distinct Rahadoumi lines and the recent tales of its theft from Captain Barnabas Harrigan. No friend of Harrigan’s, Pegsworthy fully supports your actions and assures you its secret is safe with him. In fact, he even requests permission to rechristen the vessel when its refitting is completed in the next couple of days.

Pegsworthy and his landing party head back out to his ship until evening. As Pegsworthy heads out, Rickety shows up and asks you to investigate what has happened to his look out.


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