Skull & Shackles

The Man's Promise - Day 3
Maybe on second thought
18th of Desnus, 4713

Today is not much different than the day before except that Plugg addresses the crew at the morning bell. “There have been accusations made that Master Scourge or myself have scurulous plans to betray the crew and Captain Harrigan’s orders. If I find out who is spreading these slanderous lies, I will have their tongue cut out.” He turns away from the other crew and looks toward the PCs (Dalteri in particular). “As is the way of the Shackles, any one who feels they are more capable of leading this ship, I challenge them to come forward and try and claim My sword.” Several of the crew look toward Dalteri from behind Plugg, but Dalteri, (and no others) does not accept the baited challenge. After several seconds of silence he continues, “Now that we have all agreed it will be me leading this ship, then I will broach no more talk of mutiny.”

With that, the crew begins its daily tasks. As has been normal of late, the PCs are given the worse tasks but manage survive the day with minimal trouble, but are subjecte to a near endless stream of verbal abuse from Scourge. As the day ends, storm clouds are seen on the far horizon.

Below decks, the discussion of mutiny is more subdued and everyone is cautious as they know there is a snitch within their midst. Most everyone turns in early as Scourge and Plugg have been hard on the entire crew, not just the PCs.

The Man's Promise - Day 2
Did you hear the news?
17th of Desnus, 4713

As the party makes preparations for the day, Surah easily detects the change in direction and notifies the party. Nothing unusual happens, but word of the course change easily makes it s way through the crew and rumors begin to run rampant. Sometime during the course of the day, Surah casts sow thought on Slippery Syl without being detected and plants the idea of mutiny in his mind. The PCs manage to make it through the day wothout incurring any punishment.

After night fall and the crew has relocated to below deck, the sailors begin to voice their concerns and fears. After a few minutes and some wild accusations, Syl brings up the idea of a mutiny and suggests the PCs should stand up to Plugg and Scourge. The PCs try and dissuade the idea because they know that Plugg or Scourge will accuse them of starting the talk. After several more minutes of arguments and discussions, it is clear that there are several crew who are still loyal to Harrigan, and by extension, Plugg and Scourge. The PCs quell the rebellion for the moment saying that they will not lead a mutiny, but they will also not allow the crew to be sacrificed for any reason.

In a side conversation, Fishguts tells Surah that he thinks he knows where the ship is headed and tells her about Rickety Squibbs

The Man's Promise - Day 1
Meet the new boss, same as the old boss
16th of Desnus, 4713

As the morning bell sounds, the crew gathers on the main deck. As the party forms up, the prisoners from the other ship are paraded onto the deck and are forced to stand in shame in front of the crew. The Captain stands in front of the crew and addresses the line of prisoners, “As Captain of the Wormwood I welcome you all aboard my ship. I know you all feel shame and embarassed—that you have let down your nation and superiors because you lost to the finest crew in the Fever Sea.” A cheer goes up from the crew and the party. After a slight pause to let the cheers die down he continues, “but there is no shame in losing to your betters. As it seems that your ship has fallen on hard times any of you who would seek to better ye lot life are welcome to join with me crew and reap the rewards that comes to sailing under the flag of Captain Barnabus Harrigan. If that is what ye seek, step forward.” Five sailors step forward and Scourge cuts their bonds and the five Rahadoumi join the rest of the Wormwood’s crew, coincidently standing next to the party.

The Captain turns to face and address the crew, “All right you scurvy tars! You’ve done a right good job by me—we’ve got a second ship now and she’s quite a prize from the looks of her. But I still have only one crew. So here’s the plan—the Wormwood will sail on to our planned destination with our new shipmates here, while Mr Plugg will pick a skeleton crew to sail the Man’s Promise to Port Peril, where she’ll be worth a pretty penny as salvage.”

He turns to face the prisoners once more and walks slowly down the line, inspecting them one by one as he speaks, “As for these fine fellows here, some of them will no doubt be worth a hefty ransom from their families back in Azir.” Stopping in front of a small female sailor before he continues, “And for the rest, if the life of a pirate’s not for them, they can spend the rest of their lives at sea.” As if sensing what is to come her eyes widen as He grabs her and lifts her over his head kicking and screaming and steps to the starboard side and throws her overboard into the sea. Her cries are frantic as she struggles initially, then suddenly there is a jerk and a tug as if something is pulling at her. A fountain of blood spews up around her and then suddenly she is gone as it appears that the sharks are still very present in the area. As the crew of the Wormwood cheers, the shocked remnants of the Man’s Promise crew scramble to plead their newly energized loyalty to Captain Harrigan. A few more selected to join up in order to ensure there are enough crewmen to fill out skeleton crews for both ships. The officers are led back to the cells belowdeck.

Plugg begins the process to selecting the skeleton crew and as anticipated, the PCs are selected as are several of their associates. Dalteri notices that most of those selected are what the PCs know to be the original crew. Naturally, Scourge and Owlbear are also appointed, but as Plugg leads Owlbear over on his chain leash, Owlbear gives a smile to Dalteri. Before the ships separate, Cut-throat Grok comes and says her goodbyes to the PCs as she is staying with the Wormwood. She gives the party a small chest with 8 tar bombs inside, 2 for each PC. All crew are given 10 minutes to collect their gear and get on board the Man’s Promise before the ship pulls anchor and sets sail.

As the Man’s Promise pulls away, it becomes immediately clear that there is no change in the way the PCs are treated as Mr Plugg is an even more ruthless individual as a Captain that he was as teh first mate. Each PC is given the worst possible assignments and since it is a skeleton crew, there is little chance to rest as one chore is followed by another along with a near constant barrage of insults and harassment and Scourge is even quicker with the lash than he was before. As the day draws to a close, the crew gather for evening rum rations and Plugg informs everyone that there will be no rations with him as Captain and if anyone is found on the deck after dark, “you’ll be paying the cat.”

Reluctantly the crew withdraws to below decks and there is little commaraderie as they find bunks and turn in to rest for the evening.

The Wormwood - Day 22
Tonight were gonna party likes its 4699
15th of Desnus, 4713

The celebration continues throughout the day however, the Captain does call the crew together to pass out shares of the spoils and give our rewards for exceptional performances. The PCs are recognized for outstanding duty which of course upsets Scourge and Plugg. The PCs continue to celebrate but does find some time to gain new spells and practice their new skills. Surah and Shanun are both able to “charm” a pirate into giving them some of their spoils and gain a set of officer clothes with pearls (75 gp) and 2 hematites (10gp each) respectively. At some point in the day the party members make time to trade/sell/buy goods from Gronk in the Quartermaster’s office.

Even though the celebrations continue into the night, the PCs become aware of the scheming of Plugg and Scourge when ChikChak overhears the conversations of a meeting of the officers planning on splitting the crews to man both ships.

Week 3 Summary - The Wormwood
Why is everybody always picking on me?
8-14 Desnus, 4713

Where last week the party was able to flex its muscles a bit and engage with their fellow crewmen, this week, Mr Plugg and Master Scourge increased the pressure on the PCs in an effort to discredit them more. Each of them were given their most hated duty to perform on an almost daily basis, but they were largely worked to a frazzle every day so that they were fatigued at the end of the day and had not time to interact and influence their mates.

There were however, three critical events during the week. First Surah is attacked and raped by Narwhal Tate. She survives the attack and the next day exacts her revenge by placing an arcane mark on him that only he could see and then hypnotized him to think that the mark was heating up whenever he lied. This led to a scene on the main deck during morning bells that eventually led to him throwing himself overboard where he was caught by a giant octopus and dragged below the waves to his death.

Second, Dalteri was sent down into the bilges along with two of Plugg’s loyal henchmen. Once below deck and busy at work, the two thugs tried to ambush Dalteri in hopes of killing him and staging it to look like an accident. However, Dalteri was able to use some makeshift weapons and shields to deflect the initial attack and fight of the two men. In fact, he was able to do this without killing either one which would have provoked the Captain’s punishment of a keelhauling, which would have also suited Plugg.

However, the main event of the week was the sighting and capture of the Man’s Promise, a large Rahadoumi merchant vessel. The party is given the daunting task of taking and holding the aft part of the ship with the goal of securing the wheel and silencing the ballistae. The party is outnumbered initially, but a well coordinated attack plan sonn leads them to victory. Additionally, they capture a Rahadoumi officer while preventing anyone from escaping in the launch boats. The party is awarded with not only their share of the spoils, but are also rewarded a few extra gold and treasure items for performing beyond expectations, namely saving the Captain from a blindside attack during the battle. The week ends with the party swept up in the wild celebrations by the men and women of The Wormwood after their victory

The Wormwood - Day 21
14th of Desnus, 4713

As the sun rises the ships have closed ranks but it will be several more hours before engaging in combat. All the crew works as one, including the PCs to position the ship and close the gap. The other ship is a large Rahadoumi merchant vessel so the Wormwood easily closes the distance and can outmaneuver the ship. The officers are running about and crying out orders as the Captain keeps an eye on the prize. When the ships finally draw close enough that battle is less than an hour away, the Captain summons Kroop and Surah on deck and orders them to slaughter a half dozen pigs and toss them overboard in order to attract sharks.

As the pirates draw into range, the Rahadoumi sailors begin to fire crossbows in hopes of hitting pirates by chance. The PCs are called to the poopdeck by Rianis Krine and given assignments for boarding the ship. Sudden;y a pair of crossbow ballistae are launched in hpes of damaging the sails and slowing the pirates down; itis unsuccessful. Krine changes the orders and tells the PCs:

“The ship’s wheel is on the aft deck just below the sterncastle. Grapple over, kill the guards on the sterncastle and silence those ballistae. Take control of the wheel and guard the boats. Kill anyone who tries to get away on the boats. Don’t move from the wheel until the fighting is done, or you’ answer to me, then I will hand you over to the Captain. Oh yeah, it’s going to get foggy, so stick to what I told you.”

As if on cue, a thick bank of fog suddenly enfolds over the merchant ship and the Captain manuveurs the ship to come alongside the Rahadoumi vessel. Shanun and Surah cast the following spells on party members: Shanun – disguise self (on self to appear as heavily armored half-ogre), shield of faith (on self), resistance (on Mykale); Surah – resistance (on Dalteri), mage armor (on self),

As the pirates pull next to the merchant ship there is a bump as the ships bang against each other. All of the PCs stand and successfully grapple the merchant ship and planks are dropped to begin the assault. Surah charms one of the sailors on the aft deck and then crawls across while Mykale leaps across from ship to ship and takes up the defense while the others come over. Shanun casts cause fear and the other aft deck sailor abandons his post to hide on the stern while she comes across on the rope. As the stern sailors charge to the attack, one trips and falls down the stairs between decks and is knocked unconscious. A lucky shot from a crossbow catches Mykale in the gut (crit – 2 Con dam) In the next round, 2 Rahadoumi sailors are killed. As the fighting continues, the fog breaks and Dalteri sees a sailor sneaking up behind the Captain as he and two officers move toward the cabins below the deck. He throws his spear over the Captains shoulder and hits the sailor. The Captain spins and kills him, making note of who saved him. Two rounds later the entire ship shakes as an explosion takes place below deck.

The distraction is enough for the party to eliminate the last of the sterncastle guards. Surah commands her charmed pirate to follow her and guard the lifeboats and keep anyone from leaving. Dalteri takes the wheel while Mykale and Shanon guard the port side boats. As Surah and her pirate get on the main deck three sailors are trying to untie the lifeboats. Under the panic of trying to flee, they are unable to get the boat released before Surah casts a sleep spell which effects two of them. The charmed pirate hits his fellow Rahadoumi mate and severly wounds him. The pirate realizes he can not get away so dives over the side of the ship where he is soon torn apart by the sharks attracted by the dumped pigs and other dead bodies. While the Surah and tells the charmed pirate secure the sleeping pirates as prisoners, she sees Harrigan come out of the officers cabins with what looks like a human heart in his hand. The battle begins to subside as fewer and fewer Rahadoumi sailors are putting up a fight.

In a last ditch effort to get away an officer and two sailors try to escape in the starboard boats. The officer commands the pirates to attack the PCs while she releases the boat. She uses a magic pike to try and repel the PCs from the boats but misses Mykale who successfully attacks and hits her. Surah also slips past and casts touch of fatigue and hits her (crit for double duration). Dalteri steps in to attack a pirate but misses while Shanun casts magic stone (makes 3) and hits a pirate from the aft deck. In the next round Mykale hits the officer again who is now exhausted. One of the pirates swings at Dalteri but misses. Shanun continues to pepper the pirates with stones. Surah goes after the officer and hits while her charmed pirate keeps the other pirates away from her. Dalteri critically hits the other pirate who collapses and slowly bleeds to death. With the officer completely exhausted by the fatigue, she is quickly subdued and surrenders. The PCs hit the other pirate a few times and he jumps overboard rather than surrenders, where he is eaten by sharks.

There are a few minutes before the ship is finally secured and the dead are checked for any valuables or gear worth keeping. Eventually, the ship is secured and there is much rejoicing amongst the crew. All remaining crewmen from the Man’s Promise are taken prisoner and all spells wear off. The celebration lasts throughout the night and into the next day. During the celebration, the party is able conduct several actions:

Mykale: scouts out the layout of the new ship and discovers a bit of plunder; an iron box with 6 candles. The rest of the night is spent gambling and celebrating with the crew.
Dalteri: celebrates for a bit and then slips off to have sex with Tilly Brackett.
Shanun: celebrates for a bit and then slips off to have sex with Jack Scrimshaw.
Surah: celebrates with the crew and then sneaks off to investigate the new ship a bit, finds some plunder; a wand.

The Wormwood - Day 20
Sails on the horizon
13th of Desnus, 4713

This day begins as much of the last week, a clear divide exists between elements of the crew because it has been too many days at sea without interaction with humanity. This is making the crew a bit stir crazy and eager to pick a fight with almost anyone, but mainly between factions for the PCs and followers of Scourge and Plugg. Scourge and Plugg assign the PCs as much work as possible and berate them at every opportunity. Another day of near backbreaking drudgery is suddenly broken in the afternoon by the cry of “Sails on the horizon!”

After a hastened meal time, the crew is sent back to work to try and close the distance on the prey. Even though most are tired, there is a renewed energy with the anticipation of action. Eventually all are sent to bed to get some rest as it becomes apparent that any attack will take place tomorrow.

The Wormwood - Day 19
Set up to fail
12th of Desnus,4713

Today starts as most every other day aboard ship, the sailors gather on deck to receive their assignments, but Plugg has something special in mind today. Mykale is assigned to upper rigging work while Dalteri is assigned to the bilges which effectively separates them to opposite ends of the ship. As Dalteri moves down to the bilges, he bumps into Scourge who demands to “inspect him for duty” and then proceeds to search him for any weapons. As this is going on, Dalteri notices Plugg whispering something to two other sailors who soon follow behind to join him in the bilges.

As the three man the pumps, Dalteri can notice the outline of a hidden dagger in the boots of the men. He suspects some kind of attack and remains vigilant. Even though he is easily working harder than both men, after about an hour, one the men accuses Dalteri of shirking his duties and draws a knife. The other sailor tries to grab Dalteri to hold him, but he is not surprised and is able to grab the wooden top to a crate to use as a makeshift shield and smashes it into the face of the man attempting to grapple him. As his grappler now fumbles to retrieve his dagger, Dalteri is able to smash the other sailor in the face as well and now both of the attackers are bloodied. Finally after a couple of passes where neither side makes contact, the pirates eventually both take bites out of Dalteri. The next round Dalteri knocks one of the pirates unconscious which causes his compatriot to trip and jam his weapon into a post and snap the blade as he lunges at Dalteri. Dalteri challenges the man to take his friend and leave while he can otherwise he won’t “like what happens next.” The pirate gathers up the unconscious body of his partner and runs off.

Dalteri binds his wounds and stashes the attackers dropped dagger. He returns to work and is dutifully manning the pumps when Scourge comes down to investigate why the pirates assigned to the detail came up and discovers Dalteri working away and relatively unhurt. Dalteri asks him if he is the replacement help and he goes storming off. Eventually two more crewmen arrive, but there is no more trouble. However, at Bloody Hour, Scourge and Plugg conspire to give Dalteri three lashes “for instigating a fight between crewmen.” Mykale is also given lashes for slacking in his duties.

After Bloody Hour, the PCs retreat to their berths while the others gamble and carry on with normal evening activities. Based on the increase on attacks on the PCs, they decide to establish a night watch until they are able to get off the ship. Shanun uses her channel energy to heal Dalteri

The Wormwood - Day 18
Drawing lines in the sand...
11th of Desnus, 4713

As the day dawns, there is a definitive edge on ship. What was seemingly lying just below the surface has apparently risen above the surface now as the crew seems to be openly divided between Scourge and Plugg and the PCs. However, Scourge and Plugg know they still have the upper hand and are exceedingly brutal toward Mykale and Dalteri and work them extra hard. Scourge even “encourages” Fishguts to give Surah fishing duty so he can harrass her while she is trying to work. Plugg manages to find a few extra “broken” items, the PC’s own lockers, in order to overwork Shanun and ensures the many repairs are scattered all over different parts of the ship.

Scourge manages to concoct an excuse to dish out 3 lashes to all PCs except Surah. All characters are fatigued and go to sleep after Bloody Hour.

The Wormwood - Day 17
Revenge of the sea witch
10th of Desnus, 4713

As the party make preparations for the day, Narwhal confronts Surah about the mark she put on him. She acts as if there is nothing there because she knows that the others can not see it. Narwhal tries to attack her again but is prevented from getting to her by Mykale and Dalteri. Dalteri threatens Narwhal to confess to his crime or things will not be pleasant if he does not. Dalteri means to beat the man into a confession but Surah stops him because she knows what she plans to do. Just before they all convene to the deck for morning call, she hypnotizes him so that if he lies, he will think the mark is burning him. She has also stored cause fear in ChikChak.

At the morning call, Narwhal keeps looking nervously about as if everyone is staring at him. finally Riaris Kriane asks him what is wrong with him. He tells her that “the witch” has painted him up. Naturally she does not see anything and accuses him of being drunk. The commotion he makes draws the attention of other sailors. Eventually one of the party infers that he might have a quilty conscious. Narwhal takes the bait and asks why would he have a guilty conscious. Shanun accuses him of attacking Surah and he denies it. When he lies, it triggers the hypnosis and he begins to scream and clutch his head as if in agony. He screams about being on fire. He starts to run about looking for a bucket of water and sailors scramble to get out of his way. Scourge and Plugg scream at Narwhal to stop but it does no good as he feels as if his head is burning up. Several sailors try and stop him and he keeps pushing them away until he eventually dives over the side of the ship. Before anyone can throw him a rope or net, his splashing attracts the attention of a squid. The squid attacks him and grapples him and drags him under where he drowns.

After the incident, Plugg is upset at losing one of his more loyal men. All of the PCs are worked harder, but Mykale and Dalteri are singled out for harsh treatment. Both are exhausted and fatigued at the end of their shift. Plugg wants to try and single out Surah but with rumors circulating about “the witch”, he is not sure what to make of her. Surah spends the day in the galley and out of sight, but ChikChak is flying about and she can hear and see through him what the crew is saying. More importantly, she learns that Plugg is having a meeting with the ship’s sorceror, Peppery Longfarthing and Captain Harrigan, presumedly about her. Shanun is kept extra busy making repairs to the sails and checking in on the last of the epidemic sufferers.


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