Skull & Shackles

Week 4 Summary - Man's Promise
The Road to Ruin...or Redemption
15-21 Desnus, 4713

The PCs begin this week on the Wormwood but are soon transferred to Harrigan’s newest ship the Man’s Promise under the command of Mr Plugg. The treatment of the last week does not improve on the new ship, in fact it worsens. On the second day, it becomes clear that Plugg and Scourge have some alternate plans than the orders given by Captain Harrigan as the ship is obviously not heading toward Port Peril. The crew begins to whisper rumors of starting a mutiny (after a suggestion from Surah) and approach Dalteri and the PCs to lead it. However, Plugg gets word and threatens the entire crew. A couple of days later, the ship is caught in a msssive storm and winds up run aground on a small uncharted island.

As the crew assesses the damage, they realize two crewmembers are missing. The PCs request to lead a rescue mission to the island, but are refused intially by Plugg. However, the ships water supply is contaminated and the PCs are sent ashore anyway to gather fresh water and all the food supplies they can find in 48 hours.

Once ashore the PCs discover the island is home to several ghouls and desease-infested swarms of botflies. They learn the ghouls originated from an infected crew from an earlier shipwreck, the Cheliaxain scout ship Infernus. They also discover a sea-cave system which is home to a large pack of grindylows. Exploring the caves they find and rescue their missing shipmates and destroys the entire pack. Afterwards, they investigate the wreck of the Infernus and save a cecaelion warrior being attacked by undead pirates. Because of the PCs assistance, he offers His service and joins them as an ally.

After collecting all food stuff and water they can carry, the PCs return to Man’s Promise. As expected, Plugg and Scourge order an attack upon the PCs. Holding off the initial assault,the party and their allies push back and eventually subdue or kill all the pirates loyal to Scourge and Plugg. Addtionally,they kill both of the rwo leaders abord the ship. Dalteri is appointed as Captain. Mykale is named the First Mate. Dalteri elects to delay departure until He can assess the repairs and determine where they will go.

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The Man's Promise - Mutiny
Take this job and shove it
21st of Desnus, 4713

Shortly before midnight the party arouses from their rest and makes final preparations for returning to the ship. Spellcasters and clerics all prepare the spells they feel will aide in the expected fight. Although Sandara and Dalteri feel weak, they know they can not wait and must act. All stores and water are loaded into the cutter to return and Dalteri, Shanun, Sandara and Syl row it back while Mykale, Surah and Qichalo swim out. Surah uses message to signal the others when they are in place on the far side of the ship. As the crew in the cutter approaches the ship, the watch rouses the crew and Scourge and Plugg assemble the crew on deck.

Seeing Sandara and Syl climb aboard the ship, Plugg immediately calls out the two remaining PCs and asks where the others are. Dalteri says they were killed on the island. Scourge says how fortunate as “it saves me from having to kill them myself.” Plugg orders an attack on the PCs and their allies quickly comes to their defense as those loyal to Plugg and Scourge move to carry out the Captain’s order. Scourge and Plugg hang back intially as the pirates move forward. The initial rush is hectic and chaotic. The party absorbs the initial rush and as Plugg and Scourge join the fray, the other PCs come over the side and flank the group with their attack. Shanun and Surah are able to incompacitate three sailors with hold person and sleep spells. Sandara is able to put three pirates asleep before Scourge scores a critical hit on Mykale which almost kills him, but Mykale is able to slip away in the confusion of combat and take a healing potion and get a healing spell from Surah. Qichalo claims the first kill when he guts one of the sailors with his spear and then hurls his body overboard. Sandara hits Scourge with a inflict light wounds spell which causes him to seek a way to escape, but as He turns to flee Syl runs him through from behind, killing him. Plugg witnesses his partner in crime fall and senses a shift in fortunes. He redoubles his efforts to kill Dalteri, striking a critical hit which runs him through. It does not kill him but does significant damage, but Zahir stabs him in the back and it brings him to his knees and then unconcious. Mykale jumps in and lands a near fatal blow on Plugg, but it is fitting that Owlbear, mistreated by the brutal First Mate for all these years is the one who lands the killing blow.

With Scourge and Plugg killed, all remaining sailors surrender and combat comes to an end. Shanun unleashes a wave of positive energy and Dalteri is restored to life. The PCs are cheered by their allies and those that sat out the fight pledge their support and allegiance. The PCs strip the bodies of Scourge, Plugg and Rubani the Rahadoumi sailor then discard of them overboard. Afterwards the crew and PCs elect Dalteri as the Captain. He appoints Mykale as his First Mate. Dalteri’s first order is to unload all the food and water supplies gathered on board as well as any treasures they discovered. He tells the crew to rest up and departure is delayed by one day so that He can inspect the ship and take the measure of the situation.

In the privacy of the captain’s cabin, Surah casts cure spells on Dalteri until he has sufficient strength to manage the challenge of being Captain

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Bonewrack Isle - Fields Return
Children of the Corn
21st of Desnus, 4713
1030

The party returns to the coastal beach area at the foot of the high ridge on the western side of the rise by coming around the southern tip. This brings them to the back side edge of the wild corn field that they saw on day one. Shanun reminds the group of the warning they saw in Aaron’s diary, they decide that they can afford to pass up the possibility of so much food. AS the party starts to collect the corn they attract the attention of two ankhegs…and a diseased botfly swarm. Shanun summons a giant frog who attacks and disperses the swarm. The ankhegs deal some critical damage to Mykale, “killing” him and Dalteri who is significantly injured. Shanun and Sandara both channel energy to heal the party some. Afterwards, the party searches the cornfield and finds some lost treasure.

1100

The party begins the long trek to where they stowed their boat to return to the Man’s Promise. As they journey back to the deserted village where they landed they discuss their plans for arrival back at the ship and what to expect. Even following their previous trail, it takes the party over 2 hours to return to the village.

1300

Dalteri recommends that the group not camp in the village itself because it can be seen from the ship and may let Plugg and Scourge know that they are returning soon. Party sets up camp just slightly back into the woods and does not build a fire. They eat cold rations and rest up with plans to begin heading back after midnight so the crew aboard the Man’s Promise will be tired or still groggy.

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Bonewrack Isle - The Infernus
Seahunt
21st of Desnus, 4713
0700

The sun begins to peak over the horizon, but because the party is camped on the western side of the island they do not begin to rise until the sun is higher iin the sky and the sun begins to crest over the ridgeline of the high hill. Surah communes with ChikChak and Shanun and Sandara pray to their gods to prepare spells. However, Sandara is now also showing signs of being infected the same as Dalteri.

0900

After breakfast and breaking camp, the party prepares to swim out to the wreck and investigate. They reach the site of the wreck, they can detect a struggle taking place beneath the waves. Surah informs the party that there appears to be 4 undead pirates fighting some sort of human/octopus hybrid creature and a moray eel. Before the party can really react, the devilfish dives to aide its brethren creatures against the pirates. The battle is quick but brutal. Both Mykale and Syl take lethal damage, but Sandara uses positive energy to heal them and bring them back while in the process kills two of the undead pirates. During the second round, the human/octopus hybrid kills off the eel with his spear while the Mykale and Surah each hit a pirate and kills them off. Because the party helped him in the battle, the cecaelia joins the party as an ally and introduces himself as Qichalo (Ke-cha-lo).

With the battle over, the party and their new allies explore the wreckage of the Infernus. They don’t find many valuables, but do find some sealed jugs with any markings long worn away by the sea. They are not able to determine what they are, but were obviously treated with great care before the wreck. the party and allies return to shore and begin scavenging for more food and make plans for their return to the Man’s Promise

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Bonewrack Isle - Night Watch
Sleepless in Bonewrack

21st of Desnus, 4713

0200

Mykale is on watch when he detects something trying to sneak up on him along the coast. It is a tiny creature that looks like a small gremlin with a hard shell on its back and is draped with seaweed. The creature attacks by launching itself at Mykale, who easily dodges (thanks to a critical fumble) and flips him into the fire. The creature is skewered on a log and is killed and burned. The commotion wakes up Syl and Dalteri (who is sleeping with Sandara). After doing a quick double check around the camp to make sure there are no others, they all return to the watch pattern. However, Dalteri is already showing signs of his infection.

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Bonewrack Isle - Riptide Cove
Oh look -- a cave
20th of Desnus, 4713
1500

After a climb down the jungle covered slopes, the party reaches the beach area outside of the entrance to the cave complex (D2). The party can see what looks like 4 grindylows guarding the entrance and so far they do not think they have been spotted. The party strikes with surprise and easily wipes out the guards and enter the caves. The party is attacked by stirges when they get to the cliffs they previously examined from above (D1). After a long hectic struggle in which Dalteri and Mykale both get hit and have blood drained, they eventually kill off the horrid birds. After that battle, the party finds their way into a small cavern (D7) carved to resemble the interior of some great sea creature with “ribs” towering over and around the chamber. Upon entering, the party is attacked by a group of grindylows. After a short but deadly struggle, the party defeats them, but take siginificant damage which requires the cleric to channel energy to heal the group. After defeating the grindlows, the party discovers some treasure in and among the seaweed and skeleton fetishes.

1600

After a short pause to rest and bind wounds, the party presses deeper into the caverns. Slipping through narrow cuts in the stone, they pass through two non-descript caverns with barnacles and carvings much like the previous one. Like that one there are snags woven into the seaweed which hinder the parties movement but cause no real damage. They come to a third chamber and something seems different. Dalteri detects a disguised metal grate in the ceiling which is set to fall and trap the PC beneath the water. Mykale finds the trigger mechanism and successfully disables the trap. The party moves carefully to the next chamber which ChikChak tells Surah has some kind of large tentacled beast in a pool of water guarding an exit tunnel. Surah ask the party to hold back and let try and calm the creature. She does more than that, she is able to be friend the creature and turn it into an ally with her Sea Creature Empathy (Nat 20). She is able to establish some minor communications with the fish who says “the Brinebrood Queen keeps two humans in cages in the cauldron.” and indicates down a specific tunnel.

1700

The party makes its way down the indicated tunnel and after slipping and pulling free of the various hooks sewn through the seaweed, they come into a large naturally carved cavern. Hundreds of remains float in this large bowl of water, churning with bones, scraps of flesh and the carcasses of strange, almost alien fish. Just visible through the roiling stew are humanoid bodies floating in the water, wan corpses drifting near the bottom of this cauldron like sleeping guardians. Hanging by seaweed ropes are the two captive pirates from the Man’s Promise, Sandara and Syl. They each have their hands tied and looks to have metal bars tied around their wrists and ankles to weight them down. Both look like they have been savaged a bit by either the grindlows or by the two abberrations floating in the water in this room: a slightly larger grindylow whom the party assumes is the queen, and a bloated monstrosity with a gaping toothy maw. As the party enters, the queen shrieks out and cuts the ropes which hold the captives, sending them splashing and sinking into the maelstrom that fills this room.

There is an intial flurry of intense activity. The queen attempts to cast barkskin but she is hit mid cast and it fails but she does summon an octopus with her wand. Mykale and Surah make intial attacks then dive to save their crewmates. Dalteri is attacked by the bloated monstrosity while Shanun goes after the queen. The party takes advantage of some well-timed critical hits by party members and critical misses by the animals. Plus the devilfish make some crucial hits.

As Mykale and Surah dive to save their shipmates, he is able to see that the bodies they saw when entering are actually lacedons; a form of sea ghouls, but they are chained in place and have limited range to attack. The bloated beast, although weakened from the hits it absorbed manages to swallow Dalteri whole before the queen casts entangle which ensnares Shanun. The octopus attacks Shanun and grapples her while Mykale kills off the Queen just as Dalteri cuts his way out of the monstous beast killing it off. The party turns their attention to the lacedons.

The party dives down into the cauldron of churning water and quickly dispatches the lacedons getting one critical hit by Mykale and the others taking their shots at the other one. However, the lacedons both get in some damaging shots before they are killed off, which do not individually do much, but collectively brings the parties hit points down to a lower level. Shanun continues to struggle with the octopus

As soon as the lacedons are defeated, another wave of grindylows pour int the room and attack. Mykale and the Devilfish move to block the passage but it is Surah who deals the real damage as she takes out two with her claw attacks and as one tries to move around, she takes it out with an attack of opportunity as it turns its back. As the front line of grindlows tangle with the Devilfish two others move to flank it and encounter Dalteri who is impaled by a critical hit and is left to die and drown as the grindylows turn to focus on the rest of the party. Sandara dives into the cauldron and rescues Dalteri from drowning. She also stabilizes the bleeding and prevents him from dying. Mykale and Surah struggle for two more rounds but eventually finish off the grindylows as the devilfish draws their attacks. Shanun continues to grapple with the octopus. After the grindylows are destroyed, Surah gets a critical hit on the octopus which finishes it off and brings combat to a merciful end.

The party uses the time after combat to heal and collect treasure in the cauldron as the water level slowly retreats toward low tide. Amongst the treasure the party finds a cure potion which they use on Dalteri. Shanun uses the last of her energy channeling to heal the group. After a couple of hours the party decides to depart the cave system to find shelter for the night. The party gives Sandara her holy symbol back and she uses her channel energy as well although she can not cast spells

1800

As the party makes their way from the caverns, they pass through a small naturally carved chamber with a metal grate mesh on the floor As they work their way through the room, two lacedons reach up through the bars of the grate to surprise attack. Sandara and Surah are both hit and paralyzed. The rest of the party attacks and easily dispatches the ghouls. Once the paralysis wears off, they continue out of the caves. They pass through another large room that is decorated with fish bones and resembles the throat of a large sea creature. The party finds the rest of Sandara’s gear in here and returns it to her.

1900

As the party emerges from the cave complex they notice the sun is setting and decide to set up camp on the beach here. As the water hits low tide they can detect just a hint of a sunken ship off the coast. The party makes plans to investigate in the morning. As the group settles down for the night, Sandara informs them of Plugg’s plan to eliminate the group as soon as possible. She expects that he will use this as an opportunity to do sonow that the PCs are away from the ship. The watch order is set as follows: Shanun, Surah, Dalteri, Mykale, Syl, Sandara.

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Bonewrack Isle - The Coastal Fields
The view is killer
20th of Desnus, 4713
1000

After slogging through the swamp for a couple hours, the party finally breaks out into a wide expansive beach. Towering palm tress stretch along a white sand beach for a mile or so. Dalteri notices and points out a small set of palms where coconuts seem to have fallen and busted. “Whatever is on this island appears to like eating at those trees.” As the party approaches the closest tree, they can hear a rustling come from the palmtop and a giant crab attacks. The commotion from the attack draws the attention of two other crabs who also join the fight. The first one is dispacthed fairly quickly and the party moves to attack the second of the trio. Dalteri uses the pike to pin the second one with Mykale and Shanun move in for the kill. The third one proves to be the most trouble as it grabs and squeezes Dalteri. The others work to free him and eventually kill off the beast. After the battle, wounds are bound and Shanun channels energy to heal the party a bit. After eating a bit of fallen coconuts, they gather some up more and collect some crab meat along with a sack full of small regular crabs to take back to the ship.

1100

The PCs come to a fork in the path. Left leads through a clearing and into what appears to be an overgrown field of some kind of corn. Going right leads up the slopes of the jungle-covered hills to the cliffs that stretch along the northwest side of the island. Although they can gather supplies in the field, the group decides to check out the cliffs for any signs of their lost shipmates.

1300

It takes the party a couple of hours of hacking their way up the steep path, but they eventually come to a clearing with where a small well-built timber stockade surrounds a small lodge. Vines wrap and strangle a great tree next to the lodge, blocking out light from above. There is a small bubbling spring next to the cabin. The gate to the stockade is ajar and the spiked wooden posts stand 7 ft high. The party can see a spyglass fixed atop the stockade wall. Surah and Dalteri investigate and discover the spyglass is fixed to look at a specific location. As Mykale looks through the spyglass, he notices several grindylows playing in the waters outside a cave…and one appears to be wearing Quinn’s hat. At about the time this happens, a squawk from ChikChak alerts the party to the approaching vine chokers. After a brief struggle against the quick tiny beasts the party kills them off. After the fight Shanun channel energy sgain, but when she does, something cries out from inside the lodge and the group rushes in to investigate. Inside they find what looks like a decayed dead body with a metal collar hanging from a chain. Rather than approach within arm’s reach, Mykale pumps it full of arrows until it dies. Even trapped, it takes 3 shots before it is killed. As the party fully enters the lodge, they can smell the stench of from Ivy’s decayed body and are swarmed by a huge swarm of botflies that has been drawn there because of the smell. Dalteri tells the party to create as much smoke as possible so they make few impromptu torches from rags and let them create smoke and fumes to keep the swarm at bay. After the party investigates the lodge, ChikChak informs Surah of a nest in the trees. Mykale climbs up and discovers the chokers nest.

Once all investigation at the stockade is complete the party decides to descend to the cove they saw though the spyglass. As the party decends from the stockade down to the southwest beach, Mykale notices a dark shape off the coast in the water that could be a sunken ship. Group decides that if they have time, they might investigate after searching the caves.

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Bonewrack Isle - The Swamp
All ashore who's going ashore
20th of Desnus, 4713
0700

The party pushes away from the Man’s Promise and begin rowing ashore. Surah sends her familiar on ahead to scout out the island and see if she can detect and obvious signs of inhabitants and places to land. The waters around the island are crystal clear and with the weather clearing quickly, you can makeout several details. There are coral reefs surrounding the island on nearly all sides and it is one of these just off the northeast tip of the island. The island is covered mostly with a thick jungle growth with the exception of the tall crag on the very northern tip of the island. As the party draws nearer, they can see a series of small skeletons dotted along the coastline. These skeleton statues are in various poses and different states of decay, but as far as you can tell, they are not animated.

After 30 minutes of searching for an adequate spot to land the party finally comes ashore at what appears to be an abandoned fishing village on the north shore between the cliffline of the western short and the crag at the northeast tip. The village consists of several mud huts which are delabidated and in ruin. It appears this vllage was abandoned long ago. A quick search reveals a worn path leading away from the village and deeper into the surrounding jungle. Following the path soon leads the party through a dense overgrown swamp. Dalteri take the lead with Mykale and they begin hacking their way through the overgrowth.

0800

The pathway slips slowly down a slight incline to a large green bog. Remnants of an old wooden bridge cross the bog, but there are only short timber platforms at each end, leaving the pilings jutting up from the brackish muddy water. A quick survey reveals the area is largely quicksand with the exception o the salt river running through the area. Surah and Shanun notice the thick canopy of trees above the swamp. Surah attempts to climb across trhough the branches, but is unsuccessful and falls into the river. She does not take damage from the fall, but does draw the attention of two giant frogs. The frogs attack with surprise, but weeks of not feeding cause them to be sluggish and they miss as the adversaries square off. Two quick blows from Mykale and one frog is dead. ChikChak even attacks and two claw attacks dig in deep for a serious wound on the second one before Mykale swiftly moves over to finish it off. The party manages to finally cross the bog and continues along the path.

0900

The path suddenly opens into a clearing in the swamp. A terrible stench fills the air, a fetid odor of cheap perfume and rotting flesh. A huge tree stands in the middle of the clearing, draped with some sort of huge tent. Lurid painted faces cover both the tree trunk and the tent, and both are decorated with rotting humanoid body parts and carpets of swarming insects. The party draws weapons as they causiously approach the tent. As they draw near, Mykale peeks through the a slit in the side of the tent and sees that the tent is lashed around the trunk of the tree with several piles of filthy clothes and rotting human remains. At the base of the tree is a vast bed of moldering cushions upon which lounges three horrid desicated humans wearing the attire of prostitutes. Swarms of flies buzz around the bodies. The party sets up an attck parameter around the entrance. Surah sends ChiChak inside to fly around and startle and arouse them, and three ghouls come running out to try and catch the offending beast. The party gets surprise and all hit once. The party is able to finish off two of the ghouls on the first attack round when Shanun channels positive energy, but Dalteri is bitten and concocts ghoul fever. He is later hit with a claw attack and is paralyzed before Mykale finishes it off. After battle, the paralysis wears off and the party searches and discovers the whore’s treasure in and amongst the cushion pile. After vacating the tent, the party continues with their search of the island.

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The Man's Promise - Day 5
Land Ho!!
20th of Desnus, 4713

The storms continues through the night with the crew working shifts as described earlier. The ship is woefully off course and just as the light of the morning sun begins to the lighten the sky, a cry goes out of land ho!! And within miuntes of the cry, the ship is ricked and shudders as it runs aground. The crew begins to make preparations to abandon ship, but a quick investigation reveals that the ship although holed on the starboard side in the main hold area adjacent to the ship’s water barrel. The ship is not in immediate danger but will eventually sink if repairs are not made.

As dawn breaks, Plugg calls the crew together on deck to hand out new orders. He wants the the deck to be disassembled in order to repair the hull. Master Scourge will lead the effort. As the roll is taken, it is discovered that Sandara Quinn and Slippery Syl are missing. Plugg declares they must have been washed overboard during the storm. As the repair work begins, one of the crew finds signs of something climbing aboard the ship….and the clerics holy symbol. The PCs relate the story of how they too were attacked by some creatures that look like a cross between goblins and octopii. One of the crew claims these to be grindylows. Mykale points out that if Quinn was washed overboard she would have not dropped her symbol; it was obviously left as a clue for the crew to find. Plugg dismisses this theory and says that if the missing crew couldn’t fend off a “few measly miniature squidmen, then they don’t need to be part of this crew as I expect bloodthirsty swags.” Mykale then asks to lead a search party ashore to search for them. Plugg again dismisses this idea. “It is better to lose a few expendable scum and get the ship to Port Peril than to risk crossing Captain Harrigan.”

Dalteri retorts, “Why are you worried about crossing Captain Harrigan now? We haven’t been headed for Port Peril since we lost sight of the Wormwood.” Plugg’s hand goes to the hilt of his cutlass but before he can draw it a sailor comes up on deck screaming that the water barrel has been punctured and the ship has lost its fresh water supply. Plugg grumbles and then declares that the PCs will go ashore and find fresh water and provisions. He also declares that the repairs will take until darkness the next day and that the ship will leave at high tide on the day after.

The party gears up and takes the cutter ashore. This starts the clock ticking for the PCs

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The Man's Promise - Day 4
Riders on the storm
19th of Desnus, 4713

The party is awoken early and as a bright red sky at sunrise signals a coming storm. The storm is not yet on the ship, but it will hit soon and Plugg and Scourge are barking out orders to prepare the ship to ride it out as the seas quickly grow rough. It is all hands on deck and the PCs are all given rigger duties to secure the sails and ropes. In spite of the crews best efforts, the ship is tossed about violently in the high winds and there is a lot of damage as two sails are ripped. Plugg struggles with the wheel to keep the ship as close to course as possible, but there is no way to navigate as neither sun nor stars are visible to navigate.

All the PCs succeed with their tasks except Shanun, but since the storm is still raging as the night falls, there is no Bloody Hour as all hands are required as the crew struggles throughout the night to keep the ship afloat. At night, each sailor is allowed a 30 minute break every 2 hours to prevent complete exhaustion, except the PCs which are only given 15 min. As the PCs begin their break and are headed for the stairs to below deck, they are surprise attacked by some grindylows. Surah and Mykale are tripped and Mykale is swept overboard. As the party squares off to defend themselves, Cog Cogward throws a rope to Mykale and hauls him up to the ship. The PCs wind up fighting through the storm and fighting off the grindylows, although they suffer some slight injuries from the attack. The PCs clear the deck and go below for their break. Once below deck, Shanun uses her positive energy to heal any damage

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