Actual Play – Man’s Promise (11/19/2015)

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

This was our final session of Skull and Shackles, so I tried to make it a special one. I wrote up the letters to Vyv and handed them all to Meg at the start of the session for her to read. I also handed Rocky an envelope labeled the Call of Besmara with instructions for him to read it immediately. Finally I gave Adrienne an envelope with instructions to open it if Davey was dropped to 0 hit points, knocked unconscious in other means, or a command phrase was spoken. Though this didn’t happen, at the end of the session I asked Adrienne so she could find out about the modified Clockwork Parasite Habbly slipped into Davey’s spinal column when he was stitching him up long ago.

Who will be next first mate?

(From the hand of Adrienne Mueller, many thanks!)

Barnabas plucks Plugg’s Tidewater Cutlass from the deck of the Man’s Promise. “Whoever brings me this sword will be the new first mate!” And heaves it over board into a sea seething with sharks and their victims. Davey can’t bring himself to risk his life, but Jape, Caulky, Cog, Ratliner, Barefoot Sams, Aretta and a Rahadoumi captive (who likes a slim chance better than none) all shuck off their boots and go after the sword. Madi, unencumbered, dived in as well – a surprise to everyone. They are followed quickly by Anand, once Vyv patches him up.

Jape and Madi both see the sword and go after it, but Jape has the edge. Madi also has an edge though – her dagger. She sneaks up behind him and stabs, but doesn’t succeed in hurting him.

The rest of those in the water search for the sword, but are dodging sharks. Davey tries to help, shooting at the sharks, but Ratliner and Barefoot Sams are both unlucky. Bitten frequently – Ratliner goes limp first. Vyv quickly drops into the water to heal him, while Anand rips the crossbow bolt out of the beast and stabs it in its eye – killing it utterly (12pts of damage when it had 2 left!!!). The shark starts to sink with Ratliner still in its clutches, but Anand pries Ratliner (and a tooth!) out of its jaws. Tendons rip. Ratliner is helped to safety, but Barefoot doesn’t make it.

Madi can’t manage to grab the sword, and now Cog is closing in on it too. Jape holds it first, but it won’t matter. “Fuck the sword.” Madi skewers him in the spine, and with a crazy look in her eye, pushes the blade in some more. 7pts of damage to a man already chewed on by a shark. Death. And out of the corner of his eye, Jape knows it was her. (Yay, Team Murder!)

And Besmara is *pleased*. The blood spray on Madi’s throat is a blessing. But then Cog grabs the sword.

Meanwhile Anand has chosen Aretta as his target, and stabs her with his shark tooth once, then twice, and finally grapples her til she can’t break free without drowning. Then Anand grapples with his own conscience and decides to pull her up to the surface with him.

Madi uses her powers to urge a shark to go after Cog and it takes a big bite of out him. But Cog pushes back at it with a surge from the Tidewater Cutlass. The Rahadoumi then immediately takes the sword off of him. While Cog remains locked in combat the shark, Madi closes on the Rahadoumi who is struggling to swim. Madi fails to disarm him, and Cog eludes the shark only to find Anand waiting for him (successfully grappled). He soon gets bit again. He passes out, and Anand, gripped by another plight of conscience, decides to help him to the surface.

As the Rahadoumi is about to expire Madi considers helping him… or not. She shivers as his last breath escapes past her – in a good or maybe a bad way.

Vyv spots Scourge, hiding with his whip at the ready and uses a hydraulic push to send him into the sea. Barnabas approves and Anand rejoices. Scourge tries to climb out – but Ratliner stealthily cuts the rope (Nat 20!) to keep him down.

Madi pops up with the sword. Barnabas. Is. Amazed.

Anand grapple-‘helps’ Scourge. “Just let it happen” and pulls him underwater.

As Madi steps back on board she intimidates the entire crew. Caulky’s bow thunks to the ground. Conchobar falls out of the rigging.

Anand is in a deathly embrace with Scourge, and Vyv’s attempts to sway the shark and distract it with their summoned sea turtle are to no avail! It takes a bite out of Anand. But Anand will not be deterred and trades blows with Scourge!

Madi commands, “We’re not paying you to sit on your asses. Get those two crewmen out of the water!”* For a second there is silence, then Riaris’ bellow propels everyone into action.

Anand lands another blow to Scourge, but a final bite from the shark takes him negative. Vyv and the crew come to the rescue! Anand is saved.


Madi identified the properties of the dragon amulet found by Vyv along with the letters as an Amulet of the Blooded. She also becomes the new first mate and as such, is put in charge of the Man’s Promise, which the captain tells her to take back to Port Peril, but she ignores him, becomes the new Captain of the Man’s promise, and Ratliner her first mate.

Vyv escapes from her unwatchful eye when they next make port – and gets the freedom they’ve longed for so much.

Madi as a new Captain, sometimes needs dirty jobs done, but makes sure Davey never knows who is behind them. Davey gets to have pleasant moments with all of his friends and looks forward to comfortable retirement in the not-to-distant future. Narwhal gets his hide whipped.

Anand goes on a beautiful recruitment run for Team Murder – Aretta and Cog both ‘eagerly’ join up.

What Rocked

The struggle for the sword was great. It lasted longer than I expected but we got to use all sorts of fun rules for underwater combat, holding your breath, grappling while nearly unconscious, and sharks! Vyv spotting Scourge hiding and thwarting his ambush was great. I really, really didn’t want to see his evil plan work out. That Vyv knocked him in the water, Ratliner cut the rope, and Anand pummeled him was all the better!

I did have fun tempting Madi to be evil. She’d been holding back on account of Davey but I was pretty confident with a bit of assistance offered, she wouldn’t shy away from making an offering to Besmara. I similarly liked how similar opportunities presented themselves to Anand (both Aretta and Cog’s lives in his hands) and he chose a different path.

Davey’s “cowardness” might have saved them all. His crossbow bolts sank deep in those shark’s flanks, and gave Anand an improvised weapon to use!

I was glad that the letters to Vyv were moving, but the final results weren’t quite what I expected (see below)

What could have improved

My big folley this session was not having a special letter for Anand. Perhaps an old Chelaxian comrade bound in chains on the Man’s Promise. Perhaps an offering form a Devil. Or maybe just something more mundane, all the folks that he’s intimidated starting some infighting and some assertion of authority needed (Pack Alpha style) to not only settle their dispute, but assert his his control over Team Murder definitively.

I wish in my final round when I rolled randomly to determine who the shark attacked and it was going to be Anand (instead of Scourge) I gave the characters with Wild Empathy (both Vyv and Madi) an opportunity to coax it to attack Scourge instead. That failing, I should have offered Davey another shot with his crossbow! Initiative order be damned, it would have been good to see a “fair” fight between Anand and Scourge underwater.

The letters to Vyv were intended to inspire vengeance for a lost comrade who had fought the Chelish and been deceived by the Rahadoumi. Vyv didn’t have a purpose on a pirate ship up till then and I was hoping the letters would have offered them one. Alas, Meg appreciated them, but they mostly made her sad rather than angry.

Speaking more generally about the adventure path, I think the day/night actions are important for putting limits on how quickly the PCs can win over the crew and start a mutiny, but they quickly became a tiring procedure rather than a novelty or structure to work in. There were quite a few options that were never taken. For instance, most of the places the would have liked to explore were locked (and trapped!) and the difficulties to open them were well past what a 1st or 2nd level character could muster. Sure, there are other ways to get into a place, but when you’re told “okay, it’s your 5th day on the ship and you’re sent to pump the bilges, what do you do?” It’s pretty tempting for a player to say “I pump the bilges” and not progress as the adventure path intents.

Starting the game with the PCs being press ganged into service also gave it a bitter note. The adventure path assumes that the PCs will have more or less warmed up to the captain by the time they get around to real piracy, but there is little done to engender warm fuzzies between them. In fact, I felt like I was making the captain more accessible and human than the adventure path called for, and there was still that moment where everyone has a chance to help him and each of them were like “meh, let him get stabbed.” Overall I feel like “lets start the game by taking away all of your agency” is a rough way to do it. Creating characters that are already part of a terrible pirate crew but signed up of their own accord would be a premise I think my players would have appreciated more. It’s a good thing for me to watch out for. If an adventure says “okay, first take away all their stuff, their freedom and their agency” I’ll probably take a pass on it next time.

Actual Play – Pulling the Plugg (10/23/2015)

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

Piracy be done! From Adrienne’s notes:

Round 1:
Vyv goes on scythe-based active defense. Madi is hit for 10. Davey sneak attacks Mook 1. Madi runs behind Vyv; casts Evil Eye to give opponent -2 to Attack. Anand clobbers Mook 2 with a winch. Ratliner kills Mook 1.

Round 2:
Vyv stormblasts, but misses. Remaining cutlass-guy (Mook 2) surrenders. Davey is hit twice (bolt, sword). Davey maces sword guy (Mook 3). Madi fails to intimidate surrendered Mook 2, fails, cackles and runs toward the wheel. Anand bullrushes but misses. Tense interlock at the wheel.

Round 3:
Vyv sees Barnabas being snuck up on, but doesn’t warn him. Vyv heals Davey for 10. Davey gets hit twice more. Davey hits SwordMook 3, killing him. Madi doesn’t warn the Captain; casts ear-splitting scream for 3 damage + dazing of Mook 4. Anand doesn’t warn the Captain and flurries: 6 damage, 8 damage, dead Mook 4. Ratliner holds the wheel.

Round 4:
Vyv holds the wheel, takes damage from crossbow. Barnabas is not felled and sees us. Davey hits a crossbowman. Madi ear-piercing screams. Sly falls to the deck. Anand ‘checks out the rudder’, to find Scourge and Plugg. Anand flurries and misses a crossbowman.

Round 5:
Explosion! Mady and Vyv miss reflex saves. Fires on the ship. Vyv climbs over the side to get in position for spell. Davey kills a crossbowman. Madi gets up and throws a dagger at crossbowman; misses. Sail ripped loose when Anand flurries at a crossbowman.

Round 6:
Vyv sees people trying to escape in a dinghy; climbs incredibly well; puts out the fire with a giant Wave spell and sees someone in the hold. Radoomi make progress on boat. Anand hit for two. Davey disables the dinghy-lowering device. Madi helps Ratliner hold the wheel. Anand goes toward rudder – sees some mass around it. Spots Plugg and sees Sly is near him.

Round 7:
Vyv climbs into hole, sees Kipper heal himself with a potion, senses motive, realizes he blew the place up. Radoomi cut the dinghy ropes. Davey bullrushes but misses. Madi evil eyes one of the Radoomi. Anand tries to stealth attack Plugg, but doesn’t stealth. Plugg gives Anand an order, but Anand attacks anyway. Chairbreaker; 9 damage from the winch. Sly smiles.

Round 8:
Vyv searches the hold and finds freshwater, apples, and a trunk with silks, letters and an emerald/dragon-claw pendant. Radoomi all fail to jump into the boat. Davey cracks the boat (disable device). Madi evil eyes Plugg. “You mutinous dog!” Plugg says to Anand. Plugg botches twice. Anand attacks: 1x miss, 1x 13 damage. Sly fails to hit.

Round 9:
Vyv tries to break open a door’s lock with a cannonball but misses. Radoomi officer +2 crew try to leave with other dinghy. Davey misses with crossbow. Madi cackles to keep evil eye on Plugg and holds the wheel, calling for Ratliner. Plugg does 7 damage to Anand with one weapon. Neither Anand nor Sly hit Plugg.

Round 10:
Vyv goes up on deck; sees all the fighting. Tries to water-blast Plugg, but fails. Radoomi officer doesn’t hit Davey with elongated staff. Davey doesn’t hit her with crossbow. Plugg hits Anand for 9 – knocking him out, misses Sly. Madi emits an earpiercing scream: Plugg is dazed.

Round 11:
Vyv heals Anand. Lady Arese &co start to escape. Davey shoots and misses. Madi casts Undine’s curse on Plugg and succeeds. Anand gets up. Swings the boom. Hits Plugg for max damage (15, 12 needed). Sly, Sandara and Shivikah smoothly push the corpse overboard.

Unexpected outcomes

With only moments left Sly, Shivkah, and Sandara all grabbed Plugg’s body and heaved it over the edge into the water for the sharks to devour. Moments later the fog cleared and the Captain bellowed in triumph. That day was won and the Man’s Promise was taken! Little did he know that his first mate was being devoured by sharks as he celebrated a victory.

Looking forward to next session where the players have some downtime and we find out who will take on the station of the new first mate!


  • We capture and hold the wheel! (Some Radoomi loss of life.)
  • We do not take the opportunity to help Barnabas out.
  • We don’t really stop people from escaping on the dinghys.
  • Vyv stops the ship from going up in flames!
  • Anand (with some help from Madi, Sly and healing from Vyv) kills Plugg.
  • Plugg is dead. Plugg is dead. Plugg is DEAD!

XP Awarded

Defeating 8 Rahadoumi Sailors – 400
Defeating Plugg – 300

New XP Total: 4025

Treasure doled out

  • 3 x Potion of Cure Moderate Wounds
  • 1 x Potion of Invisibility
  • 850 GP in rewards, plunder, and bounty!
  • Emerald Dragon Claw Amulet

What rocked

Plugg is dead. Dead, dead, dead. Like, really, really dead.

What could have improved

Much as I hate the idea of breaking out miniatures, there was definitely some confusion about what was where, so for future fights we may want to use some kind of battle map, even if it’s just very general.

Actual Play – Ship ahoy! (10/8/2015)

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

Day 19

Started bad. The captain announced an inquisition and Peppery Longfarthing started taking people individually into the captain’s quarters with Kipper and interrogating them with her magic.

Meanwhile everyone was sent off to do their least favorite jobs.

Vyv was sent back down into the bilges with Cog and Fipps. Anand sent Shivikah to go with them in order to keep Vyv safe, though later when Shivkah revealed she had hidden weapons and was ready to jump Jape, Maddie visited and told her to hold stead.

Madi swabs (passed a roll to not be fatigued) and asks Sandara about what we’re missing on the ship, who is happy to tell Maddie about some of the more secret parts of the ship (the captain’s private storage, the armory, the laboratory, and treasures ferreted away in the quartermaster’s store.

Finding out the “Truth”

During the day the crew is interrogated by Peppery. She casts a spell which fills the air with motes of light. As they speak some of the motes burst open, others continue to twinkle. Peppery’s eyes glow red and she tells them if they lie, she will know.

Davey is interrogated and likes the dust. Anand is interrogated and doesn’t like the dust. Madi is interrogated and knows the dust is bullshit. Argues she has the soul of a Kraken. Rolls really well for bluff and because Longfarthing plays along with it, seems to intimidate Kipper!

More work for the weary

Anand is lookout. Fails perception check but sees an unusual bird landing on the crow’s nest. Attacks it. Catches it. Puts it in a net.

As he climbs down Anand is cut off by Pugg who sends him back to work, but still gets a shout out to Maheem who later joins him. He asks Maheem about the bird (the Rhadoomi has a tattoo of the bird on his chest). The bird is a Radoomi Gadfly. There is a Radoomi ship and sorcerer nearby!

Anand kills the bird. Sorcerers are bad, right?

A red light flares and dies down slowly in the captain’s quarters

Ratliner is identified as the traitor. Captain starts speech about whether he wants a fast or slow death. Anand calls out ‘There’s a ship’, loud enough to partially distract the crew. He climbs down, facing off with Plugg and trying to get Captain’s attention.

Davey succeeds in a diplomacy roll (lots of help: Anand, Ratliner, Jack, Devil’s Bargain – hell to pay later) against Penny Longfathing, to capture the Captain’s attention. Barnabas grabs his spyglass and sees the ship!

Lets do some Piracy!

Ratlier is practically forgotten in the zeal to take a ship as the officers start barking orders to chase the ship down as a fast as they can.

Several rolls of seamanship to capture the ship, and roll out the ballista. (We all succeed, Vyv particularly well. Madi least well, but okay with minimal contribution to piracy.)

Davey steals some stuff from some lockboxes with Kroop’s help. (Tanglefoot bag, Cool Lantern, 2x Vials of Sobriety, 1x brandy, 10gp). Kroop also gives him his trusted steadfast grapple, and wishes him the bets of luck.

It takes all day to to catch the ship but when they do Riaris tells our heroes they will be part of the boarding party and must defend the wheel and prevent anyone from getting off the boats.

Anand is to lead the charge! Takes Ratliner in tow. Krine allows it (begrudgingly)

– Vyv fails to grapple, as does Anand. Davey, Ratliner and Madi succeed.
– Vyv doesn’t grapple, Anand does. Davey climbs, Ratliner falls and Madi climbs with a little bit of help from Anand.
– Vyv summons a dolphin to save Ratliner. Anand’s rope is cut and he falls. Davey hides on the new deck. Madi inches her way along the rope.
– Ratliner is saved by Vyv’s dolphin. Vyv successfully grapples. Anand climbs back up and sees Plugg’s pommel. Davey pushes a guy over the side and he’s attacked by sharks. Ratliner makes it up. Madi hides really well.
– Vyv and Anand make it over with some assistance from Krine. Davey and Madi hide. Vyv, Anand and Ratliner are attacked!

XP Awarded

Saving Ratliner: 50
Boarding the Man’s Promise: 100

New XP Total: 3325

What rocked

There was some fun tension about trying to save Ratliner from the fate they had inadvertently gotten him into. I did let off a little in the end because, frankly, the officers cared a lot more about taking another ship than about disciplining a halfling with missing fingers. I was still happy to see the party so invested in helping out the little guy!

Playing out the scene of Peppery casting Prestidigitation over and over was fun. I knew Maddie would make her Spellcraft check to identify it, but I didn’t think she’s use it to convince Kipper that she was a leviathan! Great stuff there!

There was nothing planned for Vyv in the bilges, but I just love how looming they seemed after the last session. I also really dig that they almost turned it around and jumped Cog and Fipps on their own accord!

Many, many thanks to Adrienne for taking notes during the session so I didn’t have to. This AP report is courtesy of her!

What could have improved

I really should have made Plugg more of an obstacle to Anand. I would have like to have seen him either deck the guy, or have to do some crazy rope swinging over his head. That would have added a little more tension to Davey’s mad dash to get the captain’s attention.

We didn’t get to the actual taking on the Man’s Promise during this session, I think in large part because I was too obscure with the whole “you failed a perception check, so you find this bird, and this bird remind you of Maheem, and Maheem tells you…” I should have just said “you see a ship!”.

Actual Play – Joining Team Murder (9/22/2015)

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

Day 18

Another terrible day on the Wormwood. Tensions were still high and fingers were being pointed. Ratliner, because he was an easy target, but trouble also came to Vyv, Sandara, Rosie, Jack, and Shivikah. It was a rough day.

Madeline – Worked diligently on swabbing the decks, thankfully without amorous attention from Scourge.

Vyv – Sent to work the bilges but shirked their duties. Ratted out by Jape and given the Cat-o-Nine for dereliction of duties.

Anand – Send to do boring line work. During that time he made Sly an offer “Do you want to join the side that’s going to get murdered in their sleep, or the side that’s going to do the murdering?” Sly grinned at him “Oh yeah, I’m Team Murder all the way!” [She is now Friendly].

Davey – Spent his morning trying to cheer up the sullen Kroop, but made a terrible meal because of it. I think he knocked the jar of salt into the soup.

Bloody Hour

Rosie, Sandara, Jack, and Shivkiah were all whipped for one offense or another. Vyv was given the cat.

Night Activities

Anand – got in a fight with Fipps in order to impress Maheem. It worked! [Maheem now friendly. Officers now angrier at Anand]

Madeline – went to sleep early.

Davey – Conveyed a message to Barnabas that he though Scourge might have been the one to warn off the ship. He had been doing something strange that day. Also suggested that the captain use magic to find out who did it. Davey agreed to feel the crew out and make sure they wouldn’t riot if a sorcerer was the one to test them.

Vyv – Tried to meditate but was too distracted by the pain and then anguish around them.

Late Night Activities

Davey – Stayed up late to watch over Madeline.

Madeline – Woke up with murderous plans but was dissuaded from carrying them out by the watchful McTavish.

Day 19

The start of the day began with an round of heckling from the crew as Badger found her long hair scattered about her, obviously hacked off without grace during the night and left to pile under her hammock. Anand, meat head that he is, tried to cheer her up by saying “you could try just shaving your head. It works for me.” Badger was not amused.

Anand – assigned to the boring line work. He asked around all day, none of the swabs or riggers had any useful information about who did it, though plenty of them had theories.

Jaundiced Jape
Jaundiced Jape

Vyy – Sent the bilges again, this time with Tilly and Jape. Some time into their work Jape accused Vyv of slacking again! Tilly joined in and started getting pushy. Soon the pushing escalated to threats, and soon after Jape and Tilly both drew hidden daggers. Then things got ugly. Vyv had the power of Goreh’s storm blasts to knock back her foes, but in these cramped quarters it was hard to get away. They fought for a moment, but after taking several wicked cuts and getting knocked into the bilges proper, Vvy realized it was time to make a break for it. They cast obscuring mist and then made their way to the ladder. Unfortunately Jape, cunning old half-ork, that he was, went for the ladder as well and Vyv had to unleash a storm blast to knock him back and then quickly (very quickly) scamper up the ladder and to get free. Bleeding from their arms and head, they ran to Davey who stood ready to protect them… but the attackers gave up as easily as they started. And nobody said anything to the officers…

Madeline – Unaware of all this was swabbing the deck again. A terrible job and it left her sore and stiff [Fatigued].

Davey – Cooking again on account of Kroop being back on the bottle. He managed to get Habbly down in the galley to cook with him and over the pot they shared stories, specifically stories of Vincent the Vile, of which Habbly was very interested in knowing the specifics. Some grim stories later and the ancient sawbones was smiling. [Habbly now Friendly]

Bloody Hour

Davey was whipped on account of his terrible meal from yesterday “Trying to poison us all!” and was threatened with worse if tonight’s meal was as bad. Thankfully, it was quite tasty!

Sandara was also whipped. Basically for being a priestess of Besmara and the pirates deciding that was a bad thing right now.

Night Activities

Madeline – Went to sleep early

Davey – Stayed up late talking with Habbly about a crazy conspiracy theory. Namely that only Captain Barnabas, his sailing master Peppery Longfarthing, and Habbly knew of the charter with the Chelaxian sea routes on it. Habbly didn’t warn them off… sot it must have been one of them.

Anand – Just stayed up to wake up Maddie, to enact Team Murder.

Vyv – Had originally intended to make something for Badger from her hair (which she had collected), but all of that got soaked with bilge water during the fight.  Instead she made badger a fine necklace from waxed cord to put her son’s ring on, as her finger had grown too thin to secure it. [Badger now friendly]

Late Night Activities

Sure enough Anand woke Madeline up. As planned. Fuck all this dancing around with it. They were going to kill Jape tonight.

Madeline casts a spell to make Jape choke in the night as he slept [Undine’s Curse]. She had to do so quietly though so as not to wake the any of the crew. She found a space that was relatively secluded but unfortunately close enough to Davey that it did wake him [Devil’s Bargain] and blearily he watched Madeline cast a spell that would murder Jape in his sleep (go Team Murder!).

The half-ork coughed, choked, seized up, and then coughed again and vomited a fair bit of his rum rations over the side of the hammock. After that, he went back to sleeping peacefully. [I rolled a natural 20 on his saving throw].

Habbly Quarne the “Stitchman”

XP Awarded

Escaping from Jape and Tilly: 100
Making Habbly Helpful: 400

New XP Total: 3175

What Rocked

Wow, this ship has made the PCs grim. Murdering someone in the night? Teaming up with known killers and slavers. Sure, the people they hate are awful, but they are becoming pretty awful themselves.

The fight with Vyv was a really hard one. Jape and Tilly rolled well, and in just a few rounds Vyv was down to handful of hit points and nobody coming to help. The spells and domain granted powers really shined here, as did some fancy skill use. The obscuring mist meant I made everyone make perception check to see where they were and Tilly lost Vyv completely (and continued to fail the check on the following rounds). The storm blast gave Jape a -2 on his attacks, which was exactly what was needed (he just barely missed on his last attack). Finally, using accelerated climbing to get up to the lower hold in one move action instead of two meant they got out just in time. It was kind of intense!

Oh Habbly and Davey retelling stories of days past. I now know what Habbly inserted into Davey. It’s kind of horrifying but not disgusting. I suspect it will be a while before it comes into play.

deaa_critical_hit_d20Go Team Murder. I was so sad that Jape made his saving thrown. And rolled a natural 20 on the cursed die that normally rolls 4s. Just the same. I love the tension of the party splitting along the lines of what is acceptable and what isn’t. Yes, they failed, but the can certainly try again…

WHO DONE IT? The sorcerers inquisition will start next session. I can’t wait to see how it goes.

What could have improved

Wow, I seriously fail at reading sometimes! At the end of the adventure there are these great write ups on some of the NPCs including what can be learned about them through gather information roles, and what their ambitions are. None of these would have affected the story in drastic ways, but I would have loved to have know them before. Should have read everything after the adventures as well.

Tip to my players – Spend next session asking around about Plugg, Kroop, Scourge, and maybe bug Sandara about whats in some of the locations on the ship that you haven’t explored. Or even one’s you have.

Actual Play – A traitor on board (9/15/2015)

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

Day 13

During the day, as most of the crew did their duties, albeit reluctantly, Vyv wasted away in the sweat box. It was hot as a Salamander’s kiss that day, and Vyv was suffering because of it. They made it out, but only barely, and only because of their allies doing everything they could to keep Vyv alive.

Anand decided that day that Scourge and Plug, or at least one of them had to die.

Bloody Hour

That night Tilly was put to the mast for punishment, but in a yet unheard of measure of mercy, Scourge merely gave her a single rope bosh, barely hard enough to leave a mark. While many wondered at the cause of his lax punishment Madeline was sure he was giving some kind of sign. Some conspiracy was in motion and she was sure the stars or sea would show the truth of it at midnight!

Nighttime activities

Anand asked Ratliner what was up with Tilly’s punishment, but he wasn’t sure either. He’d ask around though.

Davey took Vyv to Habbly for ministrations. Habbly gave them some tonics to re-hydrate and some salves to help with the sores that formed from confinement in the hot and cramped box.

Madeline planned to stay up till midnight, she had done all sorts calculations of the stars, but she passed out in the galley, her head flat against piles her her notes. Notes which Jape later used to blow his nose during a quest for more rum.

Vyv, after being tended to wet to the bow of the the boat, looked out over the sea, and, realizing they were now too far from land to swim, relented the idea of leaping off the boat and swimming… to any place other than this.

Davey found the captain and tried to get a read on him as to whether or not it would be okay to, you know, murder, Scourge or Plug. The captain’s response was “It’s their job to make you hate them so much, you lie awake at night dreaming of slitting their throats instead of dreaming of slitting mine. It seems like they are doing their job well enough.” I.e. no, I don’t endorse you killing them you little shit.

Late night activities

While most of the crew slept out on the deck (by the gods it was hot!), Davey and Jack snuck off to the netting under the bowsprit. One of the only places you could find privacy on the ship. A nice place to be on lookout for suspicious activity and a nice place to for coitus.  As Jack and Davey caressed each other, Davey took special care to be on the look out. Jack’s attention was quite distracting, but nevertheless he saw it. The reflection of a light on the water. At first he thought it was the moon, but then he realized it blinked off and on again, in some kind of pattern. A pattern like a code! After a few moments though it stopped, the ship was dark and quiet again, and Jack’s attention pulled Davey away from his troubled thoughts.

Day 14

Anand woke to the warriors call of Riaris Kraine. “WHAT THE FUCK WERE YOU DOING LAST NIGHT?” Though it was loud enough to wake the dead, Anand soon realized she wan’t talking to him. Riaris had dragged Ratliner down from the crows nest and was hanging him by one foot over the edge of the deck. “I’m going to cut you, wait for your blood to draw the sharks, and then drown your pathetic, worthless, self in the Fever Sea!”

Riaris was upset. Ratliner was scared. So were most of the crew. Eventually the master gunner calmed down and let Ratliner back on the deck, though she said has was going to pay for his incompetence.

Word got around quickly that a ship was supposed to be in sight today, but it was nowhere to be seen. Ratliner was up in the crows nest as lookout last night but he fell asleep. There was much muttering on board and nobody was feeling very friendly to Ratliner. The officers were expecting some action toady, and once the crew found out they missed an opportunity to slit throats and take coin, they were equally dismayed.

As punishment, and in some part as preparation, Riaris called out that today would be a training day, and everyone would learn how to board a ship with grappling hooks, or they would drown trying!

The process was a challenging one for those unaccustomed to it. The took the dinghy forty feet out (the distance you’d normally start trying to board from) and on that wobbly wreck, in groups of three the crew had to throw a grapple so it caught hold of the Wormwood, fasten the end to the dinghy, and then climb the rope onto the boat. As they approached, the other crew members were tossing all sorts of refuse and the occasional scrap of broken rigging at the “assailants”.

The results were not ones Ratliner would have bet on. Vyv and Davey both fell in the drink enough times that Riaris eventually told them just to swim back, others needed time practicing. Anand, and to everyone’s surprise Madeline, made it though. Scampering along the rope and getting on deck despite the harassment from their crew.

Night time activities

Anand asked Ratliner what happened. The halfling thinks he was poisoned with tanic oil, just like they used to press gang the crew. He doesn’t know who did it though. The brawler then went to go find out what Tilly was up to, what her story was. She found sitting beside scourge, braiding his beard.


At this point we rushed things a long a bit to move some days forward. Each player chose some actions for the days and we rolled some dice. Here were the results.

Day 15

Vyv failed to influence Badger. Discussion of loss came up and if not for Sandra, Badger’s disposition would have gotten worse!

Davey and Madeline tried to influence Habbly and though they failed, he was not put off by them [Devil’s bargain: Habbly inserted something inside Davey while he was stitching him up.]

Madeline and Anand worked together to improve Maheem’s disposition. Success! [He is now indifferent]

Day 16

Vyv – failed to influence Badger (though did not make it worse)

Davey and Madeline – failed to influence Habbly.

Anand – succeeded at influencing Slippery Sly Lonegan. More knivsies! [She is now indifferent]

Day 17

The day of interrogations. Without a traitor found yet, tensions were on a razors edge, so the captain started bringing everyone in to account for their whereabouts on the night the Chelaxian ship was supposed to travel by.

Of our friends Vyv and Ratliner seemed the most suspicious. Vyv, because they had always been so vocal about hating being on this ship, and Ratliner, well, because he was on lookout.

The crew became further polarized after this and it was clearly team Scourge vs. team McTavish. Everyone who hadn’t picked a side started drawing heat. The shorties faction disbanded, some siding with Jape, Fipps, and Tate, some with Anand and Maddie, and a precious few holding out, still yet unaligned.

XP Awarded

Boarding School: 100
New XP Total: 2675

What Rocked

I figured out a few more voices for my NPCs. I was listening to Three Body Problem, narrated by Luke Daniels. There is a character in the book named Shi Qiang (often called Da Shi, which means “Big Shi”). Whenever Luke speaks his dialog, it sounds like he takes a giant breath in first and contracts his diaphragm to have a gravely voice. I decided this was the voice to use for the captain. It came off a little more “Batman” than I wanted, but it was still good, still distinct.

I love that our crew has each others backs. When Madeline and Anand were first attempting the climb, Davey and Vyv were bumping people and getting in the way, making it harder for them to throw things at them. When they finished Anand and Madeline did the same for their friends [Mechanically I handled it as an aid action, bumping up their allies AC by +2]. Its a small thing but it’s great to see that despite the horrors of the sea, the characters are good to each other.

I didn’t even ask for something this creepy but Adrienne had the idea of Habbly inserting something into Davey while he was working on him. Sure, that makes sense. It took me a few weeks to decide what it even was. Something that was serious but didn’t turn the game into some kind of body horror show. I found something… and it’s good!

I love the moxie Davey showed to just straight up ask the Captain if they could kill Scourge or Plugg. It didn’t work out, but wow, was that fun.

Poor Ratliner. I so hope he makes it out of this alive.

Davey and Jack and pretty darn adorable together. I’m glad someone found love on this rotten ship.

Whatever this thing Anand and Sly have is really unhealthy and really fascinating. There is some strange tension and attraction between the two of them. Sly is impressed by Anand. He’s clearly capable and in her mind brave. Anand thinks she’s fucking unhinged (not inaccurate) but it fascinated him. I’m glad we haven’t gone with a frankly tired trope of making their relationship a sexual one. I want to see how this plays out.

What could have improved

I realize I’ve forgotten some details about the characters. Jape is supposed to be mute. Whoops. Scratch that. Ratliner is missing three fingers. I guess that will come up at some point.

My notes! I can hardly read them after the game. It’s easier for me to do when I’m playing that when I’m running because I can write down notes when I’m not active, but as a GM I’m active all the time. So they end up getting scrawled very hastily. I may start recruiting volunteers [read: Adrienne] to help me keep track of events and day/night actions.

I need to remember my own advice about mysteries. Don’t give people clues that lead to more clues. Give them clues that lead to situations they have to deal with, that then lead to more clues or answers. I feel like the “who done it” has been a lot of the players trying to figure it out, with me only giving them scraps of information, not consequences from getting that information.

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…

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.

Actual Play – A rat onboard! (8/6/2015)

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

In the night…

In the middle of the night Davey and Vyv were dragged out of their hammocks and into to the captains cabin. Their with Jape, Scourge, and Plug to watch them, the captain asked them how they answered to Mr. Plug’s charge of mutiny.

Davey leapt forward in defense of Vyv, saying he acted completely on his own accord to save Jack and that he was only doing it for the good of the crew. Captain Barnabas was moved by his plea [Adrienne rolled something like a 28 on Davey’s diplomacy check] but still need an answer for the assault on officer (Mr. Plug sported a black eye from when Davey elbowed him off the wheel) as well as the danger the two of them put the entire ship in… “Had she gone over, she would have never come back up in that storm.”

HarriganIn response to the captain’s question of what can I do Davey offered up anything he could possibly give, and Barnabas raised an eye at that). Much to their chagrin the other pirates were asked to step outside, while the captain, and these two lowly crewmates bartered for their lives. Captain wanted a spy in his ranks, someone to watch out for trouble on the ship that wasn’t being reported to him by his officers, especially if the trouble was coming from his officers. Davey agreed in a moment by Vyv held back. They didn’t want to be a part of the captain’s politics and refused. Disappointed, Barnabas settled on three lashes from the Cat-o-nine for the both of them. The crew had to see some discipline.

Day 9

Still being smacked around hard by the rain, the crew of the Wormwood were back at work. Some of them more tired than others.

  • Madeline worked hard at delivering messages from the crow’s next to the captain, and because of her speed they only barely missed hitting some coral reefs.
  • Davey, after getting Babbly the “stichman” to patch him up some more, tried to go fishing, but with all the rain he accidentally cast out the nets without securing them and lost all the fishing gear. Fipps saw it happen and laughed hysterically, rejoicing in the trouble McTavish would get in when he Fipps reported that the lost the fishing nets overboard. Davey got right up in his face and told him he was the grandson of Vincent the Vile, and if he knew was was good for him, he’d shut the hell up and never speak a word of this. He was aided by a piece of block and tackle falling from the rigging and just barely missing Fipps, courtesy of Anand. It worked, he cowed Fipps but word of Vincent the Vile’s grandson will be getting around [Thanks Devil’s Bargain].
  • Vyv was set to do repairs, and did fine job of it. Good old Knots!
  • Riaris_KrineAnand was idly sent to do knot work, but mostly he was looking to find out who had tried to off him the day before. He put word out through Ratliner, which worked a little too well. Anand found out that Fipps had cut the line, because he paid Scourges special wooden chits to Sly, Tate, and Jape, to put the hurt on him. Luckily his friends came to his aid and the thugs got more than they bargained for. Also not long after Mr. Plug and Riaris Krine came to break up the fight. Vyv slowed Plug down with an obscuring mist spell “where did all this fog come from” but Madeline only aggravated Krine by trying (and failing) to charm her. Krine looked with daggers in her eyes at the witch who tried to ensorcel her, but she had work to do, which was namely to break up the fight. Everyone but Sly got the message clearly. After a round they broke off their scuffle, but Sly was crazy for blood and ended up with own dagger through her hand pinning her to the formast, courtesy of Krine.

The Bloody Hour

Before the whipping time, Davey appealed to Krine to have mercy on him for the night. He was already going to get the cat for punching plug, please don’t whip him tonight for fighting as well. He had also heard (from Kroop) that Krine suffered from a bit of sciatica, or as he liked to say “itch of the butt” and said he had strong hands that could help with that. She shook his hand and squeezed to find out just how strong they were.  He would do, but it’s a chronic pain, and he be doing it every night.

Oh, and he’d be getting his whipping just like everyone else [failed diplomacy roll]

When whipping came a lot of people were getting lashed. Mostly by Scourge with his whip, but Davey and Vyv got the cat-o-nine tails as well. Vyv was hardy and ready for it (they hadn’t been caught fighting as well) but Davey had already passed out from the pain of his whipping from Scourge. Anand pleaded that he not get the cat as well, it might kill him. “What’s the point of beating a man who is already unconscious?” Eventually the captain relented, called on a toadstool named Kipper to wake him with smelling salts, pour a healing potion down his throat, and then proceeded with the whipping.

Madeline and Shivikah were not impressed. Magical healing takes the sport out of it.

The night

  • Vyy, after casting a healing spell on Davey to get him on his feet, got a good night’s rest, it was needed.
  • Madeline drank her rum rations with Shivikah and finally made true friends with the ex-slaver [Helpful] and learned that Shivikah was a former slave herself. The two bonded over cruelty.
  • Davey made busy rubbing the master gunners back, but not well enough to truly impress her. When he emerged from the officer’s quarters, Tilly saw him and called him the officer’s pet. How right she was, but about the wrong officer.
  • Anand went out and found Slippery Sly Lonagan still stuck on the formast. He pulled the dagger from the post and told her she was the worst with knives. Still a bit crazy (and more loopy from the blood loss) she said “wanna bet?” And he did, and so they played knifesies. Anand lost the first game but Sly was willing to do it again. She lost the second bout and stabbing herself led to unconsciousness. Anand didn’t make a friend, but he was pretty fascinated by this crazy woman. He dropped her off at the stichman’s quarters and put the knife under her pillow. As a present?

XP Awarded

  • 150 (Defeating Tate, Jape, and Sly)
  • 50 (Befriending Shivikah)
  • 150 (Securing the the position of captain’s informant)
  • 50 (“Winning” at Knifesies)

Total gained: 400
New XP total: 2025

A favorite moment of mine

When Anand and Madeline where chastising Davey for being a rat and Ratliner overheard the word and butted into their conversation. Someone call me?

Actual Play – The Storm (6/11/2015)

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

A short synopsis

Day 7 – Heavy rains, sodden dispositions. Someone tried to kill Anand by cutting at rope he was climbing up from the crows nest!

Day 8 – The storm hit. Jack went overboard and the heroes took action to save him including knocking Mr. Plug off the wheel to turn the ship around and charming Maheem to lend a hand pulling him in.


  • Vyv makes contact with a parrot named Pluck.
  • Davey gets healed and chats up the ship’s sawbones, Habley.
  • Anand beats Maheem at armwrestling!
  • Madi dances well enough to get the crew off their feet as well.
  • We all pull together to save Jack! Anand swims out to rescue him, Madi throws ropes, Davey turns the ship, and Vyv keeps us afloat!

XP Awarded

  • 150 (Surviving the storm)
  • 50 (Rescuing Jack)
  • 50 (Winning at games)
  • 50 (Entertaining the crew)

Total gained: 300
New XP total: 1625

Actual Play – Owlbear unchained (5/26/2015)

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

Day 5

Jack Scrimshaw ran up to the top decks with dread in his eyes. “Rats. Huge Rats in the bildge”

Our brave heroes went down there and with a combination of magic and might slayed the dire rats, but not before being bitten first!

Are you not entertained?

Brought from the officers quarters came Owlbear Hawthorn, a half blind brute who had been tarred and feathered. He aped about the deck making silly noises to get a laugh, before Plugg set him about to beat up any contenders. Anand stepped up and pummeled him squarely.

Owlbear HarshronOther interactions

  • Ambrose – Attitude changed to Helpful
  • “Caulky” Tarroon – Attitude changed to Friendly
  • Shivikah – Attitude changed to Friendly

XP Awarded

  • 200 (Dire Rats!)
  • 50 (Davey getting back his gear)
  • 50 (Vyv getting back their gear)
  • 100 (Ambrose “Fishguts” Kroop Helpful)
  • 100 (Defeating Owlbear Hawthorn)

Total gained: 500.
New XP Total: 1325