Actual Play – Reefclaws, Good eats! (8/27/2015)

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

Leveling up

We started the game session getting everyone to level 2. Woohoo, Anand got a brawler’s fury. Madeline took the cackle hex, Vyv learned woodland stride (though more on that later), and Davey took the rogue talent Charmer (more on that as well).

We’ve got  the Sick

Three days and many adventures after their encounter with the rats in the bilges, the filth fever took hold. The heroes woke in a cold sweat, their numb hands shaking, and burning up inside. [2 points of Dex damage, 1 point of Con damage. All failed their save except McTavish]

Day 11 – A day in the sun

Near the coral reefs of the Slithering Coast, some poor swabs were sent to go catch some crabs while the others repaired the ship. Since Davey had lost the fishing nets the day before, he and the other PCs were sent to collect them.

They commissioned a dingy, much to Scourge’s chagrin, and made their way to the shallow coral reef. As Vyv and Davey dove down into the reefs, the spotted the crabs, but something else spotted them as well. Reefclaws!

ReefclawFighting underwater is hard

Reefclaws, aberrations. Blood-red spines run the length of this frightening creature, which resembles a lobster in the front and an eel in the back.

The reefclaws poisoned claws, their adept movement underwater, and their death frenzy all made them challenging opponents. But soon after they were dispatched, the water itself was a hazard, as both everyone who had been underwater started to run out of air.

First Davey was knocked out by the death throws of the of one Reeclaw and then Anand barely had enough in him to get him out of the drink. Vyv summoned a dolphin just before they passed out and the Dolpin raised them up and onto reef that was above water.

It took a lot out of them (loosing the anchor and a craw basket with devil’s bargains and three of the characters getting knocked out either from injury or drowning, but they also came home with quite a prize. Three crab pots filled and two reefclaws, which as Barefoot Samms told everyone, are good eats! [Barefoot went from indifferent to friendly]

XP Awarded

  • 300 (Defeating the reefclaws, CR 2 due to fighting under water]
  • 50 (Bringing back reefclaw meat for supper)

Total Gained: 350
New XP Total: 2375

What Rocked

I love how detailed the world of Golarion is. As the players were sent to go crab fishing, Vyv made a successful Knowledge (Geography) to identify they were on the Slithering Coast. Later, as they considered the idea of making a break for it McTavish made a Knowledge (Local) roll to remember what he had heard about it. Instead of having to make something up on the spot, I pulled up the PathfinderWiki and found this:

The Slithering Coast runs along the south of the Shackles’ mainland, which borders the Fever Sea. It takes its name from the large populations of sea snakes and water nagas found there.

Good stuff!

This fight took us all night, and it was exciting. Anand figured out that grappling was he most effective way to fight underwater and he literally crushed the reefclaws by wrapping a rope around them and squeezing!  Davey put his short sword to through a crack in the shell of a reefclaw and skewered it, but in it’s death throws, it clawed at him again, and cut him badly.

Summoning a dolphin was…awesome!

What could have improved

I feel more and more like there needs to be something more at stake on the ship than “will we be whipped for this?” I had some ideas of starting up a pipe weed trade but that didn’t really take off, primarily because I introduced it rater than letting it develop from the player’s actions. I think it has to be something the PCs invest in themselves for it to take off. I’m going to keep looking for opportunities to create hidden economies or investments.

Somehow, on 6/11 I deleted the portfolio for our our Skull and Shackles characters. I know this because Dropbox keeps a record of everything you do. However, I don’t pay the $40 a year to have more than 30 day retention on lost files. So… it’s gone. Because of that I had to wing it and we leveled up without all the right archetype info. Davey shouldn’t have gotten a rogue feat, but instead the Swinging Reposition ability. So no charmer talent but the whole swinging on ropes and dodging through mooring as part of movement is pretty darn cool. Also the 5′ of movement after the attack is awesome for setting up flanks and or a retreat.

One thought on “Actual Play – Reefclaws, Good eats! (8/27/2015)”

  1. Favourite bits:
    – Anand rassling with the beast and single-handedly defeating it. Seeing competent people do their things effectively is always a treat. (Also a thrill to see Karen make the roll to pull Davey out. It was the last possible opportunity – and she rolled a 20!)
    – Celebrating with Meg after she made Vyv’s concentration roll! Man, that was a relief. (I also enjoyed our bonding over our shared dice-misfortune.)
    – Madeline’s wonderful relationship to the water! (Also her Naga-knowledge exposition! Who doesn’t want to know all the details of Naga-gestation?)
    – Sean’s descriptions of poison entering flesh and also reefclaw anatomy. Very vivid. Brings me back to the disgusting images of our rat battle.
    – But mainly, of course, everyone pulling together and risking themselves to save Davey! (Especially poor Madi!) This was incredibly heartwarming.

    – The threat of drowning is potent. And the ability of those things to hold you under was really worrisome. Great enemies.

    – Thanks for the healing potion, Sean. It was a nice balm after a rather punishing session. (Such terrible rolls. Such physical damage. Such proximity to death.) Didn’t even mind the Strength drains, it felt so good to get full health again.

    – I liked the change of pace of having the extended battle! Around the middle of it, I wasn’t sure I was so keen on Big Fights and thought I preferred our usual routine of ship’s actions. (More variation, turns slightly faster.) But there was more than enough excitement to make up for that at the end.

    – Feel bad some of the joking caused trouble. Need to work on cueing in to what is character vs what is player irritation.

    – Devil’s Bargains! It’s sometimes hard to think of good ones. If we do get some currency to care about (other than lashings) this will be a great source of fodder. I checked out the Blades in the Dark rules and there are maybe a couple options that I never think of.
    – Betraying someone (Maybe more opportunities for this will open up. I think several secrets have already been spilled: Anand is Chelaxian, Vyv and Madi are Magic-Users and Davey is related to Vincent the Vile.)
    – Making a dangerous promise (To Besmara? To the Captain? To Sly? To Owlbear?)
    – Suffering Stress or a lasting effect (Would these be things like -1 to Dex, or could they also be flavor? Mud sticks to your fingers so everything you touch gets dirty? One eye won’t open? Unless these come with a mechanical penalty they might be too ‘weak’ for a devil’s bargain, but they could be fun narratively.)

    – Shame the pipeweed trade didn’t work out! Didn’t even occur to me that we could get in on that action. Narwal is so disagreeable, I think we might instinctively use opportunities to make his life shit instead of improving our own.

    – I’m sorry about your files being lost! You know, if you haven’t already gone to all the effort of replicating everything, I’m sure we’ll be fine just using the print-outs.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *