Actual Play – Into the sweatbox for you! (9/1/2015)

Skull and ShacklesGM: Sean Nittner
Players: Karen Twelves, Meg Pressley, Rocko Moran, and Adrienne Mueller
System: Pathfinder
Adventure Path: Skull and Shackles

Day 11

The filth fever continued to wrack our heroes with pain. Some resisted the debilitating sickness, other grew worse over time. Vyv prepared the Remove Sickness spell [technically it only allows disease to be suppressed for its duration but given that you get a save every day, I gave the PCs an extra save against it at +4, as though the spell was cast before they were infected] and cured all of her companions except herself.

Events of the day:

  • Anand – Assigned to rigging and slipped because one of wrong ropes was greased (he found out by Sly, though he wasn’t sure if it was intentional or not). While in the rigging he swung a block and tackle so close that it nearly took Slippery Sly Lonagan’s head off. She was bemused by this [her attitude changed from Hostile to merely Unfriendly].
  • Madeline – Assigned to hauling rope and knot work. In order to impress Vyv, she worked diligently and was able to do a satisfactory job.
  • Vyv – Also assigned hauling rope and knot work, and also worked diligently but mostly because that is all that Vyv finds peace in doing.
  • McTavish – Since the nets are still missing, Davey was sent to slaughter a pig for dinner. He did so magnificently [Huzzah for putting a skill rank in profession (cook)] and the crew would be mighty pleased with their supper. Davey also saw Habbly the Stitchman to get a restorative tonic to help him recover from his recent ailments (disease and poison). [Habbly effectively granted him long term care].

Events of the night:

  • Anand played Hob Log and nearly won, only beat out a foot by Grok. Please as she was for winning, and impressed that Anand threw so well, she let out a little secret, that part of the reason the Wyrmwood was docked was that the captain planned on taking a ship soon. Boarding training would be coming soon!
  • Madeline sidled up to Maheem while he was arm wrestling and asked him who would win. He sneered at her as though it was was a stupid question. She bet 10gp on him and then as he wrestled Jaundiced Jape she gave Jape the Evil Eye. Maheem won and his perpetual sneer momentarily twisted into an unfamiliar smile. [Maheem now Unfriendly. Jape: Hostile ++]
  • Vyv found badger outside on the deck looking at the stars. Vyv shared their sense of loss and loneliness with Badger, and their hatred for the ship. Badger, who is naturally mistrusting of all, imagined she might see a kindred spirit in Vyv. Possibly. [Attitude changed from Unfriendly to Indifferent].
  • Davey – Sure that Rosie was the linchpin in winning over the Shorties, tried to win her favor. First, he complimented her fiddle playing, which she took for soothing platitudes only. They he talked of his loathing of Scourge and Plugg, at which she scoffed. “Oh yeah, if you hate those bastards so much, prove it!” [Davey failed the diplomacy roll to influence her but he was so close that she gave him the option of punching Scourge to win her trust, or at least improve her attitude from Unfriendly to Indifferent]. Davey also failed to give Riaris a decent massage and was banished from her chambers for the night. [-4 on all social rolls with her until he can give a decent massage]. Finally, Davey brought Madeline some fish scales, taken from the galley, and for use with her witchy magic!

Day 12

Events of the Day:

  • Anand – Sent up to the crow’s nest as look out, and believing a ship my be coming any minute, he mistook a low flying bird for a ship on the horizon and called out that a ship was coming. A shout of “to arms” was cast out and Mr. Plugg was quickly handing out sabers and cutlasses from the weapons locker. After the first few were given out though, the captain looked with his own spyglass and growled “It’s only a heron, flying low over the water. Put that steel down and get back to work!”
  • Madeline – Told to swab the decks, and as usual when in such a vulnerable position, was given unwanted attention by Scourge. He ogled her under the pretense of correcting her work, but soon his advances were more that she could bear. Madeline tried to push him but only ended up having her wrists caught in his hands and being pulled in close to him and he threatened her with innuendo and his own perverse fantasies. Anand saw this from above and tried to fly down the rigging but got caught up on the way down [Attempted accelerated climbing and failed by less than 5].
  • Vyv  – saw this as well and decided that was enough of Scourge’s disgusting advances. She summoned the power of Gozreh and unleashed a blast of wind, water, and lightning onto the boatswain. Scourge, after regaining his sense was enraged, and threatened to keelhaul Vyv on the spot. Barbabas countermanded him. You can’t keelhaul a pirate if the ship isn’t moving! Vyv would spend 24 hours in the sweatbox!
  • Davey was sent to go spear fishing. He took Jack with him (thought Jack was still a bit afraid of jumping off the boat into the water) and caught food for the night. He was underwater when the whole thing went down with Scourge and didn’t hear about it till after.

Events of the Night:

  • Anand – Asked around and eventually procured a potion that would help one resist the elements form Riaris Kaine [Potion of Endure Elements].
  • Madeline – Cast a light spell on her Raven and then told Ratliner to shout that he saw another ship’s torches off the bow. Anand started shouting about needing to get swords and with all those distractions Davey was able to sneak the potion of Endure Elements to Vyv by pouring it slowly through the grate in the cage.
  • Vyv – Sweated. A lot.
  • Davey – Spoke with Rosie and found that enraging Scourge that much had really won her over (she moved from Unfriendly to Friendly!]

Late night activities:

  • Davey pleaded with Plugg not to let the “best sailor on this ship” be killed in the box. He must have found Plugg’s single soft spot as the sadist let Vyv out for an hour during the middle of the night.
  • Anand meanwhile convinced Sandara to sneak out and cast a cure spell on Vyv while they were getting some fresh air.

As the sun rose the next day, even with with magic afforded to them by Sandara’s healing and Kaine’s potion, Vvy was still beaten down by the sun. When the box was opened, they rolled out unconscious but alive!

[Both Davey and Anand made their DC 14 constitution checks to take late night actions so they were not Fatigued, but I gave Vyv the Exhausted condition for the next day]

XP Awarded

200 Enduring the Sweatbox

Total Gained: 200
New XP Total: 2575

What rocked

Well, Vyv survived some pretty harsh piratical punishment! And much of that thanks to the aid Davey, Anand, and Madeline!

I felt pretty good about letting slip the events of the next couple days. The nature of playing through a scripted module like Wormwood Mutiny is that as a GM you’re pretty reluctant to tip your hand for fear of everything going off course. But in this case, and with the case of Madeline doing a bit of weather prediction, I feel pretty good about seeing what the players do with a bit of foreknowledge.

Oh wow, Vyv just rocked this session. That scene with Badger and Vyv talking about all they lost and why they were still going on. Storm Blasting Scourge (and taking the Devil’s Bargain to make a magical attack be considered even worse than a physical assault), and then surviving the sweatbox. So cool.

The multiple false alarms (one accidental, once intentional) were just fucking hilarious. I loved seeing everyone getting ready for a fight and then super disappointed when there wasn’t one.

What could have improved

I had to think on my toes to figure out if there was anyone that would have a potion of Endure Elements on the ship. No one’s inventory specifically includes it, but as a 1st level spell, having a potion of it lying around makes sense. I eventually figured out a way to work it into the story (Kraine’s reputation for spending a week on deck in the Fever Sea came from her carrying these potions with her) but it did slow down the game.

I should have looked up what happens when your non-lethal damage exceeded your hit points. I was pretty sure it started turning into lethal (correct) but didn’t get it 100% right. In either case, the players worked super hard to keep Vyv alive, so it worked out well enough.

Ugh… I just feel so gross playing Scourge. We’ve all agreed he’s a disgusting figure, but, yuck, I don’t like playing him at all.

I’ve been forgetting to advance Scourge and Plugg’s influence on the ship. Which means a few folks that should be more antagonistic to the players aren’t. That’s probably not the worst thing, since all sorts of other troubles have been introduced, they don’t really need more enemies…

1 Comment

  1. Adrienne

    Favourite Bits:
    – Three different ways of diplomacizing! Vyv v Badger – honest, unaffected, neutral. Anand v Sly – scaring her towards friendship. Madi v Maheem – demonstrating her magic to persuade Maheem into respecting her.
    – Also Meg, Rocky and Karens strong sense of their characters. Rocky deciding how close Madi was willing to get to the ocean and carefully deliberating about how she felt about certain actions and certain people. Vyv playing hard to True Neutral in the way their magic worked, the way they talked to / related with others, and the way they dealt with authority. Anand gauging the reactions to Sly and also acting aggressive yet helpful toward Krine and Grok.
    – Vyv to Scourge: “You and I both know what you were doing was wrong. I was just reminding you.” One of the best moments in the game for me so far.

    – Felt like we really hit our stride as a group, coming together to help Vyv. Working together felt less contrived than it has to me in the past. All of us tried, though only Vyv succeeded at, helping Madi. And then all of us did our best to aid Vyv. I think we’ve each risked ourselves for the others enough now to have established a solid foundation of mutual trust.

    – We’re also seeing more hints of intrigue that will be fun to explore. The mysterious Chelaxian book. Officers having secret conversations behind closed doors.

    – Thanks to Sean especially for 1) making up that extremely useful potion, 2) letting me retcon for a crucial +2, and 3) improving our favor with Rosie two fold instead of just once. (Also for including the blackened teeth!)

    – I think we’re all enjoying hating Scourge. The more loathsome you make him the more joy we’ll get get out of taking him down. Your suffering is not for naught! (I also bet we’re all enjoying having less antagonism from the Scourge/Plugg influence. Please feel free to keep on ‘needing to improve’ on that front.)

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