Skull & Shackles

Week 1 Summary - The Wormwood
Join the Navy, see the world
24-30 Gozran, 4713

The party is pressganged in Port Peril and forced into service aboard the Wormwood under the command of Captain Barnabas Harrigan. They are each assigned duties and are harrassed by the officers of the ship, but primarily by Master Scourge and Mr Plugg. Through stealth and cunning the players eventually recover all their gear. They find a friend in the form of Sandara Quinn who helps them get accomodated with the routine and patterns of life aboard the ship. Over the coarse of the week, the party is able to make friends with several crewmembers.

On the second day, the party is assaulted by several pirates who pick a fight, but the party easily dispatches them and makes morning rounds which infuriates Scourge. This encounter places a mark on the party in the eyes of Scourge for the embarassment of his “trap” backfiring. He seeks any opportunity to humiliate and punish the party members.

The parties first real encounter is when they are sent below deck to clear out some dire rats who have somehow hidden in a grain shipment. Surah puts the rats to sleep and the men dispatch them, however, before the spell is cast Dalteri is bitten and is infected with filth fever. Because the disease does not manifest itself for a few days, he inadvertantly infects several crew members and a small epidemic is unleashed.

Prior to the epidemic hitting, Dalteri is singled out for punishment one night and is forced to fight Mr Plugg’s “pet”; Owlbear Hartshorn. After taking a massive blow which hurts him significantly, Dalteri discovers Owlbear’s weakness, blindness in the left eye, and is able to avoid any further attacks and in turn is able to subdue the brute, thus winning his friendship and Scourge’s enmity.

The day after the fight, the epidemic begins to hit the crew and a storm begins to brew at sea.

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The Wormwood - Day 7
Surviving the first week at sea
30th of Gozran, 4713

The heavy seas and wind from yesterday has been joined by a beating rain but the entire crew knows the worst is yet to come. All patry members are healed except Dalteri who is finally cured from his disease, but now Fishguts Kroop is showing signs of the disease. Quarne is concerned that there could be an epidemic on board if any more show signs. He convinces the Captain that all who show signs be confined to quarters until cured. The growing storm shows signs of worsening. Surah must prepare the entire meal for all the crew. Mr Scourge comes to the pantry and “inspects” the crew’s food. She discovers Scourge trying to poison food for Dalteri, but she does not let on her discovery. Rather she purifies it with a spell once he leaves.

Mykale is tasked to work the upper rigging which he succeeds in doing but is fatigued by days end for having to work extra duties because a rigger was moved to take over for Dalteri’s jobs. Shanun is kept busy treating the sick and making repairs to the ship as the storm begins to intensify.

After the rum rations are handed out, the crew settles down and prepares for the upcoming storm but Surah and Shanun are able to improve the attitude of two crewmembers.

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The Wormwood - Day 6
A storm is a brewing
29th of Gozran, 4713

The party wakes to choppy seas. There is an increase in clouds and the winds are beginning to pick up. A storm is coming and the entire crew is scrambling to make preparations before the storm hits. Dalteri exhibits signs of disease and Shanun determines it is filth fever, most likely from the dire rats from earlier in the week. she begins treatment. Quarne “The Stitchman” orders an extra ration of rum for all crew for the next 2 days.

For the evening shift, Shanun continues to treat Dalteri thus does not mingle with the crew. Mykale says something to offend Shortstone and he becomes unfriendly to the party. Surah is able to positively influence another crew member.

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The Wormwood - Day 5
Getting to know the Owlbear
28th of Gozran, 4713

The day starts out much like the others however, Mykale is reassigned to rigger duties after Scourge and Plugg have a discussion to break up the group a bit. Mykale learns the detail fairly quickly, but since it is a new task, he is fatigued at the end of the day. But he does manage to improve the attitude of one sailor (Shortstone) toward the party. Dalteri is assigned rope work for the first time and is pretty sloppy with it. He is targeted for punishment for poor work. Surah is tasked with preparing all the meals as Kroop is drunk most of the day. She finds out it is his birthday and makes him a small treat without the Captain finding out. Shanun goes about her duties of treating wounds and making minor repairs as needed. Between Surah and Shanun’s Heal skills, all party members regain 2 hp from yesterdays fight.

At the evening bell, when the crew is gathered to watch the handing out of lashes, Plugg suggest rather than lashes, Dalteri face “The Owlbear for a bit of sport.” The crew is excited as they have not seen a decent fight in such a long time. The fight starts out with both men trading blows. Dalteri notices that Owlbear is blind in his left eye and uses that to keep himself out of his line of direct vision which gives him the ability to dodge Owlbear’s rather clumsy attacks. After landing his first blow, Owlbear never lays another finger on Dalteri. Eventually Plugg throws him a club to use, but he still misses with his attacks and Dalteri never takes up a weapon so as not to kill him. Eventually Dalteri beats him to the point where he tries to back away from the fight and even though Scourge and Plugg try to force the action, Dalteri allows him to retreat rather than beat him mercilessly. Scourge gives Dalteri a lash for showing mercy, Dalteri responds “I’ll be sure to not show any mercy if you are in the circle.” Scourge begins to step in, but then backs down and the circle breaks up. The rest of the evening goes as normal. Mykale and Dalteri sleep to recover from fatigue and damage. Surah entertains the crew with a dance after losing a bet with Cogsward.

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The Wormwood - Day 4
Aw rats!
27th of Gozran, 4713

Another day … another opportunity for being berated and mistreated by Plugg and Scourge. The party is getting accustomed to the routine of ship life. They are in the midst of carrying out their daily tasks when Jack Scrimshaw comes up onto the deck from below screaming. He is carrying on about the bilges being infested with rats. Scourge and Plugg see this as an opportunity and task the party with clearing the bilges of all rats. Even Shanun is pulled from her repair and healing chores to accompany the group. The party dispatches the rats easily after Surah casts a sleep spell, however, before this happens, Dalteri is bitten and is unknowingly infected with the disease filth fever. While the rats are sleeping, Mykale and Dalteri kill them off. After the battle, the party searches the bilges area for a few minutes and discovers a heavy mace.

After the fight the party is sent back to their tasks and the rest of the day is spent doing those while trying to recoup from their injuries and talking to the crew when they can. They are able to improve the attitudes of three crew members. At night Shanun is able to entertain the crew with a song.

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The Wormwood - Day 2
How to make friends and influence people
25th of Gozran, 4713

The characters wake and make preparations as best they can for the day to come. As a recognized cleric, Shanun is allowed to pray to her diety and prepare spells but is threatened that any offensive spells cast against crew will result in punishment. Since Surah has not been able to establish contact with her familiar, she is unable to prepare new spells. Since Mykale and Dalteri have both faced punishment aboard the ship, they form a mutual alliance to aid each other escape as soon as feasible. Mykale relays the story of him and Surah to Dalteri so he knows that they must leave together. Because Shanun has helped them both with healing, they ask if she wants in on any plans and she agrees. Thus the players have come together as a group working toward the goal of escaping the ship.

As the characters start to head upstairs for duty, they are blocked by four sailors; Aretta Bansion, Jaundice Jape, Flipps Chumlett and Slippery Syl Lonegan. Lonegan pushes Mykale back down the stairs and a fist fight breaks out. After a single round of combat, Dalteri coldcocks Lonegan (nat 20 +2) is dazed and blinded in his eye and Flipps decides the better part of valor and the sailors back off leaving the party to report to duty on time which causes Scourge no manner of consternation. They suffer no punishment, but Scourge decides to give each of the others 3 lashes for fighting. Duties are assigned and carried out with no more incidents during the day. Shanun does provide healing to the injured sailors which gives a positive influence for these four to show no grudges held, but they remain unfriendly.

During the course of the day, Mykale figures out that Surah’s familiar has taken a roost on the cage where the body of Harmak Gruft lies dead. He also notices there are feathers scattered about as if there was a fight between two birds. He notifies her and she recovers her familiar which she keeps in the mess with Kroops. She tells him it is a new ship mascot.

Because of stories of the morning’s fight making the rounds, Dalteri is challenged to arm wrestling. He wins three matches before losing to Owlbear Hartshorn. While Dalteri keeps the crew entertained, Mykale breaks into the Quartermaster’s store and recovers the player’s gear and Rosie’s fiddle.

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The Wormwood - Day 1
It started from a tropic port aboard a tiny ship
24th of Gozran, 4713

The characters wake in the dark, musty hold of the Wormword, After a few seconds of disorientation, the characters realize that they wear nothing more than the clothes on their back, all their gear has been stripped away. Aside from the PCs, there are five other “sailors” with them that have obviously suffered the same fate: they have been pressganged.

The sound of heavy boots approach the door and they hear the jingle of keys as a lock is turned. The the door is kicked open and the light of a bright lantern pierces the darkness and temporarily blinds you. The crack of a whip is the first introduction the characters get to Mister Scourge. Dalteri attempts to bull rush him but is met by three pirates who gut punch him and hit him with a sap. Another of the sailors make a break for the door and he is caught around the neck by Scourge’s whip and he is also soundly beaten. After the initial meeting, the players are all escorted up to the main deck.

Once on the deck, the characters are introduced to Captain Barnabas Harrigan and the First Mate, Mister Plugg. The Captain threatens the characters. When Mykale speaks up, he too is whipped by Scourge. After the beating the Captain gives a speech about his one rule: “Don’t speak to me.” He commands Plugg to get the “crew” in shape and ready for duty. The characters are given the first test of climbing the rigging to the crow’s nest. In the process of taking the test, one of the other conscripts falls from the rigging from near the crow’s nest and lands on the deck breaking his neck and killing him. His body is discarded over the side. The test is won by one of the non-player crew. Surah is appointed as the Cook’s mate and is sent down to meet Fishguts Kroop. Dalteri, Mykale and Shanun are appointed as swabs and become part of the general crew.

The rest of the day is spent learning their various jobs and trying to avoid punishment. Shanun is found to be a cleric and is appointed to assist the ship’s surgeon; Habbly Quarne. The characters manage to make it through the rest of their first day without getting any additional punishment beyond what has already been suffered. They spend their time trying to learn the general layout of the ship and the daily workings of the ship: schedule, duties, other crew members, etc.

At the evening meal time, the crew witnesses “The Bloody Hour” where a crew member is punished for stealing from the quartermaster. The man, Jakes Magpie, is questioned by Scourge and admits his crime. The Captain orders him to be keelhauled which is carried out by Mr Plugg. Mykale notices how much Plugg relishes carrying out the punishment which results in Jakes dying. Shanun notices the severity of the wounds but is unable to tell how much blood was lost. It appears that the injuries caused the man to lose consciousness and he drowned. His body is thrown overboard and it attracts several sharks which consume what little is left.

After dinner, all crew members, including the PCs are given their rum ration and are allowed to relax until bed time. Sandara Quinn approaches Shanun and returns her choker with holy symbol attached. She also returns Mykale’s thieves tools. She gives all the PCs a rundown on how things work on the ship and who all the crew members are. The rest of the night is spent recovering from the injuries from the first day with the help of some secretive healing from Sandara.

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