Skull & Shackles

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.

View
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.

View
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.

View
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

View
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

View
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.

View
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

View
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.

View
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.

View
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

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.