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Pathfinder 2E Skull & Shackles (2E Conversion), solo campaign

Richards

Legend
Working nights also meant we did all of our moving between like 8pm and 5am most days, so very little traffic to contend with and much cooler temperatures (summer in Texas is not a fun time to move, even at night).
You know, I never really paid attention to it before but I now notice you two have a tendency to post in the wee hours of the morning. Night owls, huh? (I guess that technically makes your husband a "Nightowlbrarian.")

In any case, cool write-up! And I'm glad you didn't end up skipping the Tidewater Rock encounter; it made for a different set of tactics than a ship-to-ship fight entails. And good job, Nasha! She really pulled her weight in this fight, practically saving the Purr on her own.

Johnathan
 

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Nthal

Lizard folk in disguise
I have been following this on her blog site, and this one was a nice one to see Nasha step up a bit. More credible and competent lizardfolk are needed in adventures.

Unrelated; my hour has now dipped its toe into the realm of pirates. But yours would have been more 'fun' to run into as a story goes. Keep it up.
 

Crys

daydreamer and poet
You know, I never really paid attention to it before but I now notice you two have a tendency to post in the wee hours of the morning. Night owls, huh? (I guess that technically makes your husband a "Nightowlbrarian.")

Yes, we are decidedly nocturnal Texans. Typically waking up around 7pm and going to sleep around 9am. Lately we have been awake until noon due to moving and getting settled, but hopefully we'll get back on track soon. :)

In any case, cool write-up! And I'm glad you didn't end up skipping the Tidewater Rock encounter; it made for a different set of tactics than a ship-to-ship fight entails. And good job, Nasha! She really pulled her weight in this fight, practically saving the Purr on her own.

I have been following this on her blog site, and this one was a nice one to see Nasha step up a bit. More credible and competent lizardfolk are needed in adventures.

And it is nice to see Nasha have an opportunity to shine a little. Honestly I didn't expect her to have as much trouble as she did with the damage they dealt to her, but Owlbrarian was rolling high so they were nickel and diming her. She got down to I think 20ish hit points before climbing over the edge, so 25% or so. Luckily she is really good at athletics so she made the roll to climb the tower wall easily enough.

Unrelated; my hour has now dipped its toe into the realm of pirates. But yours would have been more 'fun' to run into as a story goes. Keep it up.

I need to catch up on a few story hours. I fell behind during the move, but I look forward to reading it! :D




Spoiler Warning: Many spoilers for the Skull & Shackles adventure path are contained within these story recap posts. If you don’t want your campaign spoiled, don’t read these!



Session 18 – In the Dark of the Night

They were returning from gathering the last plunder to be had on the sunken Deathknell. A leisurely course had been laid, and no trouble and no sails had been sighted the previous day while they toiled or while they traveled. The ship had been sleeping peacefully when a burst of whistling pierced the relative silence.

Dolce awoke instantly. They were long whistles. Not a monster, not a sail. She was grateful she’d bought the whistles, for their sound carried three miles on land and just as surely carried to the whole of the ship. She wouldn’t have to worry about Vixi not hearing in the Quartermaster’s chamber, or those in the lower hold sleeping through this.

The elf lamented not taking the time before sleeping to substitute a casting of Mage Armor for her usual casting of True Strike. Normally she just relied on her leather armor, but she didn’t sleep in it and likely didn’t have time to-

“Shut that whistle up!” An unfamiliar voice said.

No. She didn’t have time. Dolce grabbed her rapier and cast Invisibility. She had plans for whoever that was and already heard others rousing in the officers’ quarters.

Revel lurched out of her hammock with the first blows of the whistle, sending Cog sprawling to the ground in the process. The hobgoblin snorted drowsily. “Ship? Ah heck, I don’t remember which whistles mean what. Get up, Cog!” she said, snatching her trusty polearm and heading for the deck.

The man rubbed his head, “Obviously.”

When Revel opened the door she was faced with a foreboding scene. There were several strangers on the deck, most of them engaged in fighting Owlbear, who wasn’t looking very good. The big fella was terrifying to behold ever since they’d outfitted him with real armor and a spiked chain, but he still wasn’t invincible.

Revel started to charge to his aid, but one of the invaders, a big tough fella himself, barred her path by stepping into the doorway. “Where you going, Missy?” The intruder swiped at her with a cutlass and managed to slice into her skin.

“Out of my way!” Revel snarled in response.

Nasha, having heard the whistle bursts and being faster than anyone else aboard, was the first to reach the trapdoor to the deck. She threw it open, and had but a brief moment to take in the scene before being swarmed. Nasha saw at least 6 men on deck, one pressing forward toward the Captain’s chambers. Soon though, she was fielding attacks from most of them.

“It’s probably with the captain! Find her!” A woman’s voice barked.

The man who’d been heading toward Mirielle’s room opened her door, but Mirielle was nowhere to be seen. The aasimar’s sleep had been disturbed by an odd, soft light and a subtle vibration on her chest.

Her holy symbol of Besmara, fashioned from a very expensive chunk of deep platinum and golden coral the girls had claimed off the bodies of some sahuagin, was glowing in the darkness and seemed to be vibrating. Moments later she’d heard the sound of people outside, and soon after that the whistles.

Mirielle had taken hold of Besmara’s Grace, a powerful Staff of Healing that Dolce had commissioned an artisan to craft in the form of a bejeweled golden cutlass, and hidden in the darkness of the chamber. Now she saw the pirate seeking her, and he did not see her. “No sign of her, Captain!” The man called back to his superior.

“What?” Another man’s voice. This one came inside the room. “She has to be here somewhere.” He took but a few more steps inside before Mirielle was in his sights. “Aha! Found her!” Then he closed the distance to her, his hand on his own blade.

Mirielle had hidden the holy symbol under her nightshirt, and thankfully the glowing was dim enough it didn’t shine through the fabric. She swallowed nervously with the man now so close at hand, but summoned her authority and said, “FLEE.”

Her eyes glowed with golden light as the Command spell was issued and took hold. She could see he was already turning to run.

Meanwhile, Revel faced off with the man in the door of the officer’s quarters, unaware of Dolce slipping past her and beneath his legs unseen. The Shark got some solid bites in on the man and boasted she’d soon know what his heart tasted like, but he said he’d kill her first and returned her blows with his own blade slices.

Dolce, speckled with the blood of both of them, but invisible to the naked eye, surveyed the deck. Nasha had just broken free of the throng of sailors that had been nearly surrounding her, unfortunately putting herself directly in the line of Dolce’s plans. The opportunity was too good to pass up though so the elf simply muttered, “Sorry, Nasha.”

Her invisibility faltered and failed as she called upon her next spell’s magic. A single stab she made with her new rapier, Brine’s Sting, and all of the enemy crew save those engaged at the forecastle and aftcastle were struck by the magically multiplied attack. A flawless use of Weapon Storm from such a position of advantage.

Unfortunately, Nasha was cut as well. The lizardfolk had been uninjured prior to this, but didn’t seem irate. She simply snorted and continued fighting the foes before her.

The enemy captain cursed as Dolce’s replicated blade cut into her. “Like magic, do you?” She sidestepped so there was a clear line between her and Dolce and fired off an all-too-familiar spell. Hydraulic Push.

It caught the elf completely flat-footed and sent her sprawling through the ship’s railing and into the sea below. “Great shot, Cap’n!” bellowed one of the intruder’s crewmen.

The captain laughed, pleased with herself. “We’re here for the necklace. Surrender it and no more need to die.” She said simply.

Mirielle saw Dolce be flung from the ship and heard the captain’s words from inside her cabin, one sailor fleeing from her now, tearing clear across the deck and climbing onto the aftcastle. The other pirate, still standing in the door paused to see how Mirielle would respond. With a flash of inspiration, Mirielle proclaimed, “You just sent the cursed thing overboard!”

Her pronouncement was flawless, and as she’d hoped the enemy sailors didn’t even pause to wonder how she knew which necklace they meant. The mysterious captain cursed and ordered her men to pursue, which they eagerly did, diving overboard after Dolce.

Mirielle, meanwhile, took advantage of this distraction and called upon a Searing Light spell. The man who had stood in her doorway was literally reduced to ashes by the holy flames that consumed him.

Revel cut down the man who’d been barring her path and she, Shade, and the rest of the officers joined the fighting. Nasha finished off some of the sailors injured by Dolce’s brilliant weapon strike. Things were looking grim for their enemy captain as only she and three others remained on deck.

Still, she seemed supremely confident and unleashed another spell on them rather than fleeing. Her three crewmen fought alongside her until she was knocked unconscious, and then surrendered hastily, one of them even asking Mirielle, “I don’t suppose you need any crew?”

Captain Mirielle regarded him coolly, but decided it would be best to suggest they might have a future aboard rather than have to completely subdue them. “We will see.” She stepped to the edge of the boat and looked in their wake. There she saw Dolce, struggling to get free of the grasping hands of their assailant's crew.

It was a comical, if guilt-inducing scene for Mirielle, for she knew good and well the necklace was with her. After a moment she suppressed her smile and called upon her angelic heritage, growing wings of light from her back and flying over the water. “Your captain is fallen and your crew surrendered. I suggest you follow suit if you wish your lives to be spared.”

The men in the water, once they were all made aware of her presence by her glowing wings, agreed, and Mirielle helped Dolce to the deck of The Purr. She let the rest help themselves, for her flight only lasted a short while and the ephemeral wings were gone.

“You,” Dolce started, sounding agitated, but soon the agitation melted into amusement. “I would not have expected that from you, Captain.”

Mirielle pretended to tip her hat to Dolce, though she was still only wearing a nightshirt.

“The boat,” Nasha said, nodding her reptilian head in the direction of a ship so black it was hard to see in the night, “she flees.”

Mirielle followed her gaze and saw she was right. They were running from the battle. “It is no matter. We’ll give chase when our new crew is aboard. We can use the extra hands for the ballistae.”

Nasha nodded. Mirielle retreated to her room to pull on her proper clothing. Dolce did the same, for she was wearing even less than the aasimar as she slept in nothing but a thigh sheath for her dagger. Despite this, she didn’t rush, or blush, or even seem phased by the catcalls of crew members telling her how good she looked. She simply smirked at them and made her way inside.




New Music

Mirielle was the first to re-emerge, completely dressed. She had no armor to worry about. Nasha, who normally wore nothing but a harness and belt, hadn’t bothered to dress at all and simply was getting things ready to get underway. Soon enough they were doing just that.

When Dolce emerged from the officer’s quarters her sensitive ears picked out the sound of strings being plucked. One of their assailants was playing a guitar, singing lines about the blushing captain and the naked elf and the lizardfolk with knives for claws. It made Dolce smile. She was always happy to hear new music.

Mirielle gave the new crew a trial by fire, barking orders at them and putting them to work on the arduous rigging tasks. Her usual crew did their jobs as well, of course, but she wanted to see that these new faces would perform for her.

Soon enough they were underway in pursuit of The Thresher. A boat with black, silk, sails and ten ballistae, five in each bank. Thanks to Mirielle’s captaining, the chase was rather short. The Thresher, however, proved a capable opponent. As The Lady’s Purr was still quite a ways out, The Thresher had aligned its side facing her. They broadsided The Purr, firing five ballistae in a brutal attack. The structure of The Purr was badly damaged, and several crewman fell limp.

The Thresher then turned hard to port, and Mirielle realized they were about to do the same with the ballistae on their other side. Rather than let this happen, Mirielle rammed The Thresher. She had intended to clip her sails first with Greed’s brutal attacks, but she couldn’t afford to stay at a distance long enough to do so.

The grapple was successful and The Purr‘s crew boarded, but Revel recognized the man currently captaining the ship. Knuckles Grype, was his name, and he and Revel had a history on the docks of Port Peril. She used to fight for money there, as often as for survival. “I WANT THIS ONE!” Revel bellowed, closing the distance between them.

Knuckles roared loudly, and all of them to a man felt it in their core, but none so much as Mirielle, who thought if her crew were not around her she might tremble in fear. She masked the reaction behind her captain’s facade and firmly said, “Have at it then, Revel.” Grateful for an excuse to draw no closer to the enemy.

Revel grinned wickedly and said, “Remember me?” Her fear was still upon her, but it didn’t stop her from tapping into her natural rage in combat. Her jaw elongated and her teeth surfaced as she tried to chomp Knuckles’ head off, only catching him in the arm when he fended off the blow.

“Wh-what the hell is wrong with you!?” The human noted Nasha had moved close, but held back because of Mirielle’s command. He seemed content to just try and take Revel down with him, and the two began exchanging blows.

In the end, Revel was victorious, and the rest of The Thresher‘s crew joined The Purr‘s. Knuckles was dead from his bout with Revel, and with the rest of the dead he was thrown overboard.

Mirielle and Quinn tended the injured aboard The Purr, and to their delight, no one had died, though some had gained nasty scars from the broadside. The ship was another matter. Dolce tended to that with her magic, watching as splintered wood drew itself together again.

When all of this was said and done they inspected Inkskin, this was the female captain’s name, and found a quill in her mouth. They’d seen these before, in the mouths of the sahuagin they’d had conflict with. The creatures had used them to end their lives so they couldn’t be questioned. They carefully removed the barb and roused the captain, trying to question her.

It took Dolce’s magic to wear down her defenses, til eventually she explained the necklace had belonged to the son of a particular sahuagin who laired at Mancatcher Cove. Fishguts and the girls also noted a map tattooed on Inkskin… One they suspected might lead to the renowned treasure of Captain Wolfe…

Dolce, ever the performer, sang a song to the crew after Mirielle had explained to them what the map might be...

The Story of Late Captain Wolfe

There once lived a pirate ’twas named Cyrus Wolfe
And a fearsome Free Captain was he!
His ship terrorized every trade lane and gulf
That was known on the rough Fever Sea.

Captain Wolfe once raided a Thuvian port,
And we all know of Aspenthar’s fate!
The captain set fire to twelve ladies at court,
And for peasants he charged them by weight!

This audacious act in the bright light of day
Earned the captain the hurricane crown!
Alas his true calling he could not betray
And the council he quickly turned down.

Let’s have a toast to the infamous pirate,
To his victories we can aspire!
Still we give thanks to be free of the tyrant,
Though his handiwork we yet admire!

‘Twas said Captain Wolfe caught himself quite a gem
From a convoy of far Katapesh.
Fair silks and fine treasures he’d taken from them,
Which he guarded with a pound of flesh.

Wolfe’s treasures lay hidden from isle to isle,
But the best of them saved til the last-
For Mancatcher Cove with wit and with guile,
And a creature he’d met in the past.

The fiend bought with his blood was one he knew well,
They were bound by an infernal pact,
And this wicked beast from the bowels of Hell,
Is still laboring for their contract.

Let’s have a toast to the infamous pirate,
To his victories we can aspire!
Still we give thanks to be free of the tyrant,
Though his handiwork we yet admire!​




OOC Notes

So, I used Weapon Storm a bit incorrectly here. There's a feat Dolce has that allows her to apply sneak attack damage to spell attacks as long as the enemy is flat footed to her. They were all flat footed courtesy of Invisibility, but my brain took the flavor text of Weapon Storm ("You swing a weapon you're holding, and the weapon magically multiplies into duplicates that swipe at all creatures in either a cone or an emanation...") and was like, hey it's an attack spell. Later it dawned on me it's based on a Reflex save, and thus wouldn't actually benefit from the feat. Owlbrarian doesn't think this particular misuse tipped the scale too far and it only happened once, so no big I suppose. Still, the rules lawyer in me hates it when I make mistakes like that.

Moving on, there were a lot of crits in the first combat. A lot.
• The pirate Mirielle targeted with Command critically failed his saving throw (meaning he ran for his entire turn instead of for just 1 action).
• Two of the mooks critically failed against Dolce's Weapon Storm.
• The enemy captain crit Dolce with Hydraulic Push. If she hadn't crit, Dolce would have been knocked into the railing, but not the additional 5 ft past it and into the sea.
• Mirielle rolled a natural 20 on her Deception check to convince them they'd knocked the necklace from the ship (I believe I used a hero point off a bad roll to get that, but it's been a while now so I'm not certain).
• Mirielle then immediately followed up with a critical Searing Ray that took the other pirate in her quarters from full HP to 0 and Owlbrarian decided that she turned him to ash (the spell does not do that by default).
• Mirielle then rolled well enough to critically succeed her diplomacy check to get the crew to come aboard peacefully (as well as releasing Dolce). This was not a natural 20, just a high roll with a high bonus and a lower DC courtesy of her shiny wings of light.
• Lastly, Nasha rolled a natural 20 on the perception check to seek the boat they'd come from. She actually made this roll very early in the fight so she was able to keep tabs on the ship as the combat was unfolding.

The broadside was terrifying. It was the first time Owlbrarian used the maneuver on us in combat, as well as the first time we fought a ship with more than two or three ballistae in each bank. It nearly took our ship to the broken condition (which would have given us a penalty to captaining checks, but not stopped us from progressing).

And then the poor guy from the second combat.
• Mirielle critically failed her save against Knuckles' demoralize. Meaning she was Frightened 2. She made a deception check not to show it and successfully fooled all of my other player characters (and thus probably all of the NPCs present).
• Revel failed her initial save too, but not critically, so only Frightened 1. While frightened she made her own intimidate check to scare Knuckles, which succeeded.
• Then came a long list of terrible rolls for Knuckles and mediocre to good ones for Revel. The fight was rather one-sided, but Owlbrarian said the guy should have been a decent challenge, particularly one-on-one. Sometimes the dice have other plans.

This song I wrote based the NPC's actual history. A couple clarifications that I think are probably easy enough to guess, but no reason not to explain:
"The captain set fire to twelve ladies at court," - Captain Wolfe burned 12 ships in the guarded port in broad daylight. It was considered quite a bold assault.
"And for peasants he charged them by weight!" - He charged the port for their own citizens taken during said daylight raid.
"Still we give thanks to be free of the tyrant," - The other pirates were Captain Wolfe's victims as often as merchant ships so no one particularly liked the man and the Fever Sea breathed a sigh of relief with his demise.
 

Owlbrarian

The Librarian is Here
So the encounter with Inkskin was supposed to happen at Tidewater Rock but I knew that the PC’s wouldn’t really spend much time there so I shifted it to happening onboard the Purr. How inkskin finds the boat is...well sorta not explained. At least from my reading of it.

There is mention of the Deep Platinum giving the PC’s a bonus to finding a secret door later so I ended up coming up with this as a reason:

Deep Platinum is created in a single almost crystalized formation around deep sea vents. If broken apart magic can be cast into the platinum to resonate allowing the one holding a chunk of it to “feel” the direction toward other pieces from the same vein of tthe metal. Thus Inkskin being given a small piece used cantrips to “track” the PC’s ship.

The encounter with Inkskin herself was awesome. The exchange with her knocking Dolce off the ship with Mirielle rolling that natural 20 was so good.

From that high you then had the Knuckles fight. God it ended up being so pathetic. Revel was a dockside fighter just like Knuckles was. I decided on the fly to have had them have a history. Though the actual combat ended up lasting maybe one or two rounds.

At least the ship battle where I managed to broadside her put a bit of fear in ‘er. ;)

All in all this was a good session. Lots of good highs and lows.
 

Crys

daydreamer and poet
Spoiler Warning: Many spoilers for the Skull & Shackles adventure path are contained within these story recap posts. If you don’t want your campaign spoiled, don’t read these!



Session 19 – Mancatcher Cove Part 1

Studying the collection of nautical charts they’d amassed from the various ships they’d captured, the girls and Ambrose believed they’d figured out where Inkskin’s treasure map led. Dolce had resorted to interrogating Inskin without the use of magic since the captain had proven quite strong of will. To her surprise, Revel was the key to getting her to talk.

Inkskin was quite unhappy at the idea of suffering Revel’s teeth, and had eventually said she would tell Dolce all they wanted to know if Dolce would agree to end her life afterward, sever her body apart, and scatter it in different places. This told Dolce she was afraid of being brought back from death and made the elf wonder just what they’d be up against when they pursued her benefactor.

She relayed the woman’s wishes to Mirielle, who considered denying her and trying to bring the pirate to her cause, but Inkskin’s reputation was one of pure ruthlessness and hate. Mirielle ultimately didn’t want Inkskin in her crew, so she agreed. Inkskin gave them all the information they required, even showing them on the naval charts where the cove was located, confirming Ambrose and the girls’ suspicions.

They gave her death, and Dolce left Shade in charge of ‘preparing’ her body for the treatment she’d requested. The drow took the liberty of removing the map tattoo from her, skin and all, and preserved it so they could reference the poem beside it later if needed. He then did as bidden.

Ultimately it was Revel who ‘disposed’ of Inkskin’s remains. But rather than scatter them in differing directions, Revel chummed the water with Captain Inkskin's blood and starting feeding sharks as they came near the boat, tossing a hand to one, a foot to another, until nothing was left. Dolce felt certain this fate would have horrified Inkskin, but the woman was no longer alive to suffer that mental anguish.

They took The Thresher back to Tidewater Rock, and there left eight of their most trusted pirates alongside an equal number of The Thresher‘s crew. Mirielle chose the less-able of the crew from The Thresher to remain behind. The entirety of the Rock was placed under Maheem’s authority, for Mirielle prized him quite highly and trusted his esteem for her to be a strong motivation. None of The Purr‘s crew particularly wanted to linger on the rock, but all were willing if their captain asked it of them. It made Dolce smile.

The Thresher itself was left with six ballistae, three to a bank, while The Purr claimed four of its original ten for her own banks. Now The Purr boasted Greed & Gluttony, her fearsome catapults, as well as ten light ballistae. The ballistae were named in pairs too, all by Mirielle, and situated opposite each other on the ship. They were called Ebony & Ivory, Secret & Riddle, Pleasure & Pain, Hope & Fear, and Rise & Shine.

It all amused Dolce very much, though she had plans for Greed & Gluttony. After all, with Greed positioned at the forecastle and Gluttony on the aftcastle, a line about leading with greed and following with gluttony seemed too good to pass up in her tavern songs.




Heat

On their second day toward Mancatcher Cove it was brutally hot despite occasional showers. Shade, still covered from head to toe, collapsed from the heat. His hat flew from his head and his silver hair was bared to the crew, causing much murmuring even as Dolce and Nasha quickly moved him to the sick bay. Quinn was close behind them, though paused as he saw Dolce pulling off Shade’s wrappings. “He’s a drow,” Nasha said.

Dolce snorted. “Aye, he is. Captain’s aware, says we’re going to keep him until he gives us reason not to,” she said it like she was talking about a dog more than a person, and peeled off his heavy coat.

“Drow are dangerous…” Quinn said quietly, but he moved to aid the elf.

“Aye, they are. She said she’s well aware, but she’s the bloody captain and I’m the bloody first mate so I do what she says.” Now Dolce was grumbling. When she had peeled off his coat, gloves and the wrappings he wore over his face around his dark goggles she said, “That’s enough of this nonsense though. Not gonna have him passing out when we need our Bosun. Tell him his coat and gloves are in his room, but I burned the rest and he’s not to wear those barring cold weather.”

The likelihood of them being in cold weather in the Shackles was slim. Dolce took off, leaving Quinn to deal with the detestable drow. Nasha closed the door to sick bay as she followed the elf. They went to the kitchen, where Dolce did burn the wrappings he’d been wearing. She used magic to set them ablaze where they wouldn’t catch anything else on fire and lingered to watch them burn.

As they watched the burning Nasha said, “I’ve never seen you so agitated.. Well, not since The Wormwood at least.”

Dolce popped her neck. “You’ve never seen me around a drow.”

“Mm.” Nasha sounded like she was considering something. “Never have I seen one. Are they really so dangerous?”

“They are treacherous, is what they are. Some have command of magic. Most worship demons. Though, Shade claims he and his kin worshiped a devil.” She poked the burning fabric with a cooking utensil.

“So like the men from Cheliax?” Nasha asked.

The elf scowled. “Like them, I guess. But drow, and untrustworthy.” Her bias was ingrained. She’d never seen a drow in her life, but she’d been taught from infancy to hate them. In fact, her hatred for drow surpassed even her resentment of the elves on Kepre Dua who had given her such a hard time about leaving the place behind her.

“Mm. Maybe.” Nasha said quietly. Dolce shot her a questioning look and the lizardfolk continued. “You were not on The Lady’s Purr when Vulpius Scariano took his own life.”

“What about it?” Dolce asked sharply.

Nasha’s reptilian lips curled back in a semblance of a smile, though her eyes remained quite neutral. “He did it to protect his family because he was oathbound by a devil. If this drow worships a devil, perhaps he too will uphold his word, no?”

“Tch, not likely. He’s still a drow,” Dolce said flatly.

The rest of the burning passed in silence, and the elf supervised the flames til naught was left. They went above deck, where Dolce gathered the crew and said, “You all need to know, Shade is a drow. And because we can’t afford for his dark hide to be passed out in the heat of combat he’s not going to be wearing these anymore.” She shook the coat and gloves for them to see. “You will continue to respect him and listen to him, and you will do your jobs, or Revel, or maybe Shade himself, will take the cost of it in lashes, understood?”

They answered in a clamor of ‘Aye, Sir’s, and Dolce nodded, striding off toward Officer’s Quarters. She took the coat and gloves to Shade’s room. There had been a sign on his door that stated ‘Knock before entering.’ This she snatched off the door. She used Prestidigitation to clean the sweat from the clothing items and left them folded on his bed, the gloves set neatly atop the greatcoat. The sign, he would never see again.

Tempted though she was, the elf did resist the urge to go through the rest of his belongings, and simply went back about her business. Within the hour, the drow was above deck again and had everything running smoothly where the rigging was concerned.

It made sense that he and Revel got along so well, for they had become quite friendly discussing how best to wield a lash to garner the desired result. Dolce had overheard one of these discussions. ‘And how many elves tasted the sting of your lash to teach you those methods?’ She wondered bitterly.




Those That Live With Sharks

There was tension between Dolce and Shade, but Dolce found it was primarily on her own part. Shade, if anything, seemed amused at the elf’s agitation around him. Dolce supposed it was just as well for him.

She did find herself pondering Nasha’s comment regarding Vulpius Scariano’s honor. It was true, she knew, devils were more ‘honorable’ than demons or daemons. Still… they were devils and Shade was a drow. Then there was Mirielle. She’d made her presence felt in the aftermath of the crew’s revelation that they had a drow among them. She’d done it subtly, just being present on deck more than she might have, giving more orders directly. She was gauging the crew.

Dolce had every faith in her captain as a captain. She felt the aasimar was short-sighted about the drow, but… But she had also seen Mirielle’s ability to connect with people. She couldn’t help wondering if Mirielle would truly be able to win over Shade’s loyalty. If the aasimar did, Dolce would have no choice but to swallow her misery on the matter and just make good.

These thoughts were still tumbling around in her head when they found Mancatcher Cove. It was almost a perfect sphere in the face of the cliffs on the island’s edge. The ship easily fit within it. They sailed within and positioned themselves near one of the cliff faces in such a way that you would have to be facing the opening of the cove from a precise angle to even notice them.

The poem that accompanied Inkskin’s tattoo indicated that some secret would be revealed at dawn, and so they settled in to wait for the night.

From blue bight’s embrace
Spy the Grave Lady’s prize tooth
With the Dawnflower’s first kiss
Climb the Captain’s wayward orb
To claim old king’s hoard
-Inkskin's poem tattoo​

The crew rarely experienced such lulls on the sea. They were anchored and with nothing to do once the sails were furled. Soon gambling broke out on the deck.

To Dolce’s delight, both Rosie and Lyric, the guitarist from The Thresher, were playing music. And not just cordially, they were competing for attention, each evolving notes from the others’ performance directly before their own and trying to steal the spotlight. It helped chase the thoughts of Shade from Dolce’s mind.

When night was coming on, Dolce was roped into the gambling and drinking. Still, her sharp hearing carried Revel’s words to her when the hobgobglin said, “Huh, that’s a lot of fins.”

Dolce got up from the game, snatching her gold before it vanished, and walked alongside Revel. The hobgoblin was watching the narrow slit of sky in the distance between the opening of the cliff faces. “Fins?” She asked.

“Yeah, they was right there. Shark fins, I think.” Revel didn’t know much about the natural world, but she loved sharks. Could tell you just about anything about them. “There were three of em and.. moving kinda odd.” Dolce watched the water with Revel for a few moments, but Revel seemed to decide the matter bore a more direct investigation even though she had no actual affinity with the creatures. “Be right back,” the hobgoblin said, and hopped overboard. Dolce snorted a little, but hardly had time to respond before Revel called up, “Sahuagin! They’ve jammed the rudder!”

Nasha was overboard next with a splash of her own. Dolce, meanwhile, fished into her satchel and retrieved two Potions of Waterbreathing. She had access to the spell, but it wasn’t prepared and she didn’t really have time to swap it out. Even if it had been, it took a minute to cast. “Here,” the elf said, offering one of the potions to Mirielle.

In the water were three sahuagin accompanied by three sharks. Revel looked over at Nasha. “I’m not keen on fighting sharks,” the hobgoblin said.

“Mm. So fight the ‘riders’.” Nasha prepared herself and waited for the sharks and the sahuagin holding onto their bellies to draw nearer… Revel did the same.

Mirielle took the offered Water Breathing potion and drank it before jumping into the water herself. Once in the sea she called forth her halo in preparation to bolster her healing powers for her comrades.

Dolce had her hand on the rail and was about to drink her own potion when something slammed on the deck behind her. Turning back she saw a creature composed of vines. It seemed to come from the canopy above. Before Dolce could even draw her blade, the creature’s vines lashed out and coiled around her. The elf called out in pain.

The sharks did advance, swimming to the side of Revel. It got a nasty bite in her, but as soon as it had Revel visited similar aggression on its rider, chomping ruthlessly into the sahuagin’s flesh. Nasha swam up behind the sahuagin, who was already quite desperately wounded, and clawed into its back. The life left the creature’s eyes and it’s body drifted from the shark.

The other two sahuagin, seeing this, drew close, but stayed together and had their weapons ready. Their intent seemed to be to force Revel and Nasha to close the distance.

Mirielle, who had heard Dolce cry out above her and seen blood in the water near Revel and Nasha, was quite torn. Rather than choose between her friends she pulled further on her angelic heritage. Her halo grew brighter as the wings of light spread from her back and she took to the air, hovering between her companions in the water and the sailors contending with the creature.

Dolce identified her attacker as a Canopy Creeper. Weak to cold. Great for Dolce, who always had one Chilling Spray prepared in case she needed to slow down her opponents. She struggled against the vines, but was unable to get free. Rather than continue struggling fruitlessly, the elf struggled to free her rapier. She managed to draw the blade, but could do little else.

Just as the plant creature was pulling her toward its gaping maw, another blade cut through the vines. Shade’s blade. ‘Of course it would be the drow that rescues me,’ Dolce thought bitterly. But soon enough he’d cut her free of the vines and she fell to the deck. The crew was engaging the creature, and Dolce saw the glow of Mirielle’s wings nearing the deck.

Revel, with her adrenaline pumping and her fangs bared, shied at the prospect of harming the shark the sahuagin had been clinging to. Nasha could tell her friend was reluctant to attack it, and the lizardfolk said. “Go on, I will handle this.” Revel nodded, and swam off after the other two sharks with their ‘riders’.

Nasha began laying into the shark the first sahuagin had been riding, and her claws cut cleanly through its thick skin. The shark bit back, of course, and Nasha was soon bleeding in the water. Mirielle moved as high as she could while keeping Nasha in the range of her halo’s light and healed her friend in the water. She could see Dolce now, sprawled on the deck while the agitated plant creature turned its attention on Shade.

Dolce was keenly aware of the vines that lashed out and wrapped around Shade. He’d just saved her life and drawn the thing’s attention, and now he was the one tangled up in it. The first barrage had missed, but the drow was snugly wrapped now, and being dragged nearer to the plant creature’s maw.

Dolce got to her feet, rapier still in hand. She hacked at the vines binding Shade, with little effect. Wish some agitation the elf redoubled her efforts, she did just enough damage to cut the drow free. She had no intention of being in his debt.

Revel bit into the first sahuagin, but she was soon surrounded by both the sahuagin riders and the sharks they rode on. Bite after bite landed on the hobgoblin and the zest of combat wore thin until their attacks were leaving her more ragged.

Nasha, meanwhile, brought the first shark down, leaving it dead in the water, she swam to join her companion. Mirielle flew overhead, looking between Dolce and Revel, she decided the elf was capable of taking care of herself and moved to Revel’s aid. Healing magic reached forth and embraced her companion, knitting her bleeding flesh and granting her renewed determination.

The vines of the plant creature lashed for Dolce again, missing the first time, but securing her the second. It drew her toward its maw and she writhed in the vines, trying to free herself, but again had to be cut free. And again, Shade was the first to do it. The elf scowled, but wasted no time scrambling to her feet and running to the railing.

Revel still looked quite bloody, and Dolce was not comfortable with that. After a moment of consideration she bellowed, “Conch – Fire the ballistae! ALL OF THEM!”

The gnome’s voice boomed with enthusiasm, “Aye aye, Sir! YOU HEARD HER, FIRE THEM ALL!”

Dolce heard him cackling maniacally as the crew scrambled to do as they’d been bidden. Normally it would have amused her, but right now she was just concerned for her friends. The ballistae fired, the shot was awkward because they were so near the ship and in the water, but luckily Revel had baited them close enough to the surface that some of the bolts connected. One of the sharks died. It would take too long to load the ballistae again, so Dolce prepared to dive into the water.

Revel ripped the throat out of one of the two sahuagin and swam at the remaining one. Nasha flanked the opponent, her claws striking true. She nearly laid the creature low. Mirielle’s healing ushered forth, restoring fresh wounds on the hobgoblin. Her wings were beginning to fade.

Dolce was grabbed a third time, and this time the monster actually got its teeth on her before the crew finally slew it. The elf scowled as she pulled herself free of the vines and moved to the edge of the ship to see how her companions' battle was going.

The sahuagin and shark made an ineffective onslaught against Revel, and then they were slain at last. Dolce sighed with relief, and even as she did Mirielle alighted on the deck beside her. “That almost seemed coordinated,” the aasimar observed.

“Mm, maybe planned, but I’m doubtful of coordination. Canopy Creepers are not particularly intelligent, but they are normally dormant in the daylight.” Dolce cast her eyes up at the darkening sky.

“Planned then. Did anyone else fall?” Her eyes were scanning the crew, faces both familiar and new.

Dolce shook her head, “Shade and I kept its attention.” She sighed, realizing that in the end he had freed her twice and she was indebted to the bastard. She reached into her satchel and pulled out her healer’s tools, beginning to bandage her wounds. When Shade started to walk away she said, “Hold still. And REVEL, GET UP HERE!”

She needn’t have yelled. The hobgoblin was already climbing aboard the ship. Soon enough Nasha, Revel, Shade, and Dolce were all tended to. Their wounds bandaged and stitched where necessary, and soothing salves applied where they would help.

Nasha had brought a sahuagin aboard. The only one she’d tried to keep alive. Mirielle was quick with the use of a cantrip that let her keep it from slipping into death, and they had one prisoner to question.




OOC Notes

Worth noting... The ballistae didn't have the volley trait (a penalty for firing at things within a certain range), but catapults do. This is part of why the Purr has so many ballistae. They aren't giving up much range and they don't have to worry as much about being too close. However, Owlbrarian gave us a minor penalty for firing at creatures that were not on the surface of the water, but rather just below it.
 
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Owlbrarian

The Librarian is Here
Mancatcher Cove!

It’s funny that while I do get sick of doing dungeon after dungeon I do start to miss them. I was looking forward to this dungeon especially since a good portion of it was underwater. I always have wanted to run a completely underwater campaign and this adventure path is as close as I have ever gotten to doing just that.

Though first getting to Mancatcher Cove. I kinda hate riddles in RPGs. They are either too easy or they are so hard as the party can never solve them. It feels kinda bad to have them come down to skill checks as well.

Honestly part of me wonders if you are going to do something with riddles. Maybe a small minigame of some sort is better? Have multiple choices you can choose for each step of the riddle and have consequences that aren't a disaster if you fail? That’s the real annoying bit if you have a riddle that is needed to keep the story going.

Especially in the case of something like Mancatcher Cove where this is a treasure that has been lost but the PC’s are able to figure it out with the map on Inkskins back. I suppose anyone else who has figured this out from other copies of the maps were eaten by the wildlife on the island or the Sea Devils. -shrugs-

The Sea Devil encounter was pretty fun. I used it as an opportunity to separate the party from one another so they had to deal with multiple threats at the same time. I think I might have run the encounter “wrong” compared to how the book intended it to be. Though not any major mistakes, I make a few of those in book 3 though.

I am pretty happy with the rules for aquatic combat save for they sorta screwed over Dolce. We didn’t read about it until they came up in the game late in book 1. It was there we discovered that in addition to water giving resistance to fire and also gives the person resistance to acid. This means Acid Arrow along with corrosive weapons deal less damage to creatures in the water.

At least it doesn’t come up all the time!
 

Crys

daydreamer and poet
Spoiler Warning: Many spoilers for the Skull & Shackles adventure path are contained within these story recap posts. If you don’t want your campaign spoiled, don’t read these!




Session 20 – Mancatcher Cove Part 2

Dolce, Mirielle, Quinn, and Shade tended to the injuries of the rest of the crew. They were minor by comparison to those of Revel and Dolce. Grudging as the elf was, she realized Shade had really done her a solid. It irked her beyond belief.

The sahuagin captive had the poison quill they’d become all-too-familiar with. They removed it from his mouth before reviving him, and there on the dark deck of The Lady’s Purr, they questioned the creature. It was reluctant to help them. It even managed not to wholly succumb to their Shackles of Compliance.

Still, Dolce had a few seconds of precious time in which it was ‘cooperating’ per the Suggestion she had cast through the shackles. She used it to ask about the riddle, and soon they learned which caves in the walls of the cliffs they should be concerned with, as well as that one of them was trapped.

When the effects of the spell wore off the creature became completely uncooperative. Dolce looked to Mirielle to see what the captain wanted to do. She decided to press forward that night, and so Dolce left the sahuagin in Shade’s capable, devious hands.

Of course, the cave resembled a skull. They entered through the left eye socket and were met with a tangle of roots. Within the roots, another skull, facing downward. They dug into the dirt, a long, slow process without any shovels. Eventually they came to wooden flooring.

Revel tore through that with relative ease, and inside they saw a tunnel. The remains of a wooden platform and stairs clung to the walls of the tunnel, but they were not serviceable in the least. Dancing Lights soon spiraled down the length of the shaft, and at the bottom there was water. Dolce took some time to prepare and cast Water Breathing and then Darkvision twice. She thought it would be best if they didn’t announce their presence in the tunnels below with light that would be starkly out of place.

She also decided the next time they were in a major city, like Senghor, she’d root around and find them a more permanent solution to water breathing. It seemed a prudent idea considering how often they were below the water.

Without further delay the girls descended. The climbing kits made it a simple matter to get down, and the rope they left secured behind them would make it simple to get back up again. Of course, they knew there must be another way in since the sahuagin hadn’t dug through the earth in the cave behind them.

The series of caves proved long and twisting. There was a single chamber that was above the water level, and within it a dangerous plant… Dangerous, but slow, and Mirielle had recognized it for what it was before they drew near. The resulting combat was done at range with their Returning weapons and cantrips. When the plant was fallen, Mirielle asked Nasha to attempt retrieving some of its beautiful, violet blooms.

Nasha nodded and knelt near the plant. “You want just the petals?” she asked, looking up at Mirielle.

The aasimar paused. “Umm, no, I’d like some of the stem so I can put them in a vase later.” She blushed a little.

Dolce snorted, “A vase? How very cute!” She clapped Mirielle on the shoulder as she said it.

“Oh stop it!” The aasimar protested, brushing the elf’s hand off her.

“I suppose if nothing else, others will know you have dangerous tastes.. But they won’t live long, you realize?” They’d killed the core of the plant and the blooms would not last long on their own.

“That’s why I was going to have you dry them and preserve them… If you’re willing,” Mirielle said, smiling at Dolce sweetly.

‘That really is precious. Imagine if the Fever Sea could see my captain now…’ the elf thought. She shook her head. “Aye, Cap. I can dry em for you, somehow, on a ship at sea. I don’t know how, exactly, but I’ll manage.” Dolce hooked some of her hair out of her face and returned her attention to Nasha.

The lizardfolk had carefully clipped the stems of the flowers now that she knew what Mirielle was seeking. Then she’d stood and walked to Mirielle’s side, though the captain hadn’t noticed as she engaged with Dolce. Nasha stood quietly, watching the two and listening to them. When Mirielle’s gaze followed Dolce’s the aasimar actually started a little from the lizardfolk being so close.

Nasha looked down at Mirielle, her head canted slightly to a side. “I.. apologize.” Her words were slowly spoken and purposeful as was her way. She offered Mirielle the flowers all the same.

Mirielle chuckled, though Dolce was laughing outright and Revel had joined in too. “There’s no need to be sorry, Nasha. I just spooked a little is all.” She took the flowers from Nasha’s scaled hands.

“Why do you want them? Their potency is lost in death,” Nasha said.

Mirielle smiled, “Because they’re pretty. Don’t you like flowers?”

Nasha considered this for a time. She watched as Mirielle handed them to Dolce and the elf stowed them in the magical satchel. After this Nasha said, “No.”

Mirielle looked surprised, though Nasha couldn’t say why. Shortly the captain asked, “Well, what sort of things do you find pretty?”

Nasha scratched her cheek briefly and said, “Shells, polished stones, pearls in the water, seaweed, Revaress and Cupiir, fish like them, that are bright and colorful… Things like that.”

Both Dolce and Mirielle had scritched their familiars when the lizardfolk mentioned them. It made Nasha pleased to see. After she finished Dolce said, “I find a lot of those things pretty too. I posit that perhaps you just haven’t seen the right flower yet. There are a great many kinds and some of them have some pretty bright colors too.”

Nasha thought about her time in Port Peril and the breaks she would take in the edges of the jungle when she had finished her work. “Maybe,” she said. “Maybe I just don’t like flowers.”

Mirielle considered that for a moment, then smiled to herself. “We’ll see.”

Dolce caught a hint of mischief in Miri’s voice and raised an eyebrow, but the captain said nothing further on the matter. As the girls explored the chamber more closely they found what must have been Inkskin’s bed and personal effects, including the preserved head of her previous captain. They took everything of value and returned to the water.




Underwater

In the twisting, underwater caves the girls fought many sharks and many sahuagin. They found their possessions, simple and warlike as they were, and killed every sahuagin they came across. Nasha did her best to knock the sharks unconscious, though as oft as not her claws left them bleeding too severely to be saved. In one room they encountered a giant crab protecting a collection of spears and other weapons.

Eventually they came into a strange chamber filled with eggs. At first they thought the eggs were those of the sahuagin, but on closer inspection Mirielle recognized them as locathah eggs. In the next cavern was a locathah matriarch, but the poor creature had been savagely brutalized. The sahuagin had even removed her legs.

All of the girls were disturbed by what they saw, but none were moved as much as Nasha with her love of children and families. Mirielle hesitantly approached the locathah. “Hello..” she said. She’d had to draw rather close due to the muffling nature of the water. The female didn’t seem to understand her at all, staring blankly forward.

Mirielle paused for a moment, then looked at Nasha, “See if she responds to Aquan, Nasha.”

Nasha nodded and swam forward as well. “Hello,” she said, speaking the Aquan tongue. This drew the creature’s gaze briefly. To Mirielle Nasha said in common, “I think she knew the word.”

Mirielle nodded. “Tell her…” She hesitated, looking back toward the room with all the eggs. “Tell her we are going to help her.”

Nasha nodded again. “We will help you,” she said in Aquan.

The locathah now met her gaze and asked in a weary voice, “Why?”

Nasha nodded toward her captain, and said in Aquan, “My captain told me to… but… But I would anyway because it is right.” The locathah, looking tired and weak, simply watched Nasha. Eventually the lizardfolk said, “The elf will approach you now. Do not be alarmed.”

The female nodded her understanding and Nasha told Dolce she could undo the manacles. The elf swam forward and observed the locks in more detail. She felt intense compassion for the poor creature. Soon enough she worked her picks in the locks and had them open.

“Thank you,” the matriarch said, but she immediately started swimming for the other room, pulling herself with just the strength of her arms. The girls followed her.

Soon they saw her objective. She started collecting the strands that dangled by each of the eggs, pulling them to her. “I will help.” Nasha said simply. Rather than assist with the eggs directly, the lizardfolk moved beside the matriarch. “Hold my shoulders. I will help carry you.”

The matriarch hesitated and said, “It is.. very sticky.” She seemed to think this was a matter of some concern.

Nasha’s tail swished briefly and she said, “I do not care. I will help you.”

The matriarch nodded and wrapped one arm around Nasha’s abdomen. She clung to the lizardfolk with that arm while gathering strands with the other. “I am sorry,” she said as some of the eggs stuck to Nasha.

“No,” Nasha said. She looked back at the female, craning her slender neck to get a better view. “They are your children. It matters not.” She tried to offer her a reassuring smile, though her reptilian face sometimes made the gesture have the opposite of the desired effect.

The locathah returned the smile. “Th-thank you.”

They gathered all of the eggs. Mirielle, Dolce, and Revel watching as they did so. “Should we help?” Dolce asked as Nasha drew near enough to hear.

Nasha shook her head no and said in the common tongue, “I think she will be happiest to hold them herself.”

The others nodded. On occasion, Nasha used her tail or one of her long, lithe arms to coral one of the eggs closer to the locathah. When the last egg was collected Nasha asked, “What will you do now?”

The matriarch looked at her and said, “I will make my way home. I- I think I can make it there, though it is a far way.”

Nasha frowned, another gesture that her facial structure didn’t always translate correctly. “I do not think that wise.”

“What then?” The locathah asked. “I cannot stay here.”

“Mm. Maybe for a short time? We have only seen part of the cave, but we are going through the rest. The way we came in would be hard for you to leave… But if you wait and we find a better way out, the way the sahuagin use…”

The locathah, “You did not come that way?”

Nasha shook her head no. “The way we came would involve climbing out of the water.” She looked purposefully at the cloud of eggs sticking to one another. “I do not know how you would fare leaving that way.”

The locathah frowned now. “It is better than staying to die.”

Nasha considered. “Let us make an arrangement. You wait by the entrance we came in from, and if we do not return within three hours, you leave that way. Otherwise we will show you the way out and take you home.”

The locathah’s eyes grew wider, “You would escort me back to my people?” she asked.

Nasha nodded. “It is right. You should be reunited with your family.” Her eyes strayed to the eggs again.

The locathah nodded. “I will do this.”

Nasha explained to her friends and then swiftly swam to the entrance. Dolce, Revel, and Mirielle kept watch in the chamber. There shouldn’t be anything in the caves behind them, so they figured it would be faster to let Nasha go alone since she was the fastest swimmer among them by far.
Nasha rejoined them, and the girls wandered into another hatchery, but this one was full of sahuagin eggs. They were not in the chamber long before an immensely large sahuagin female entered the room. She fought them fiercely, attempting to protect the eggs.

Nasha, who had moved up against one of the walls to which the eggs were stuck, swung wildly at one point and destroyed several of them. The matriarch attacked her relentlessly after this. Thankfully she didn’t live much longer and Dolce was able to treat Nasha’s wounds while Revel destroyed the rest of the sahuagin eggs.

While exploring the tunnels the girls came across a sea drake. It proved far more challenging than any sahuagin they’d faced within the tunnels. Its electric breath arcing between them. When they recovered from this encounter they found they’d doubled back and Dolce surmised that the branching path they hadn’t taken likely led outside since the sea drake had come from that direction.

Finally they found the throne room of the sahuagin, and there contended with the strongest among them. It was a fairly fierce battle in which their king wielded a vicious trident that attempted to rob the wielder of their mobility. He also flew into quite a rage, dealing considerable damage with his attacks. The girls overcame him, Dolce unleashing two Lightning Bolts to aid in this.

They found two chests beyond the king’s throne, one made of stone and the other of wood and metal that showed no signs of water damage. Magic, Dolce knew. They took both chests to their ship, though not before Nasha found the matriarch of the locathah and aided her in leaving the caves as well. They were right in their assumption that the caves they hadn’t traveled led outside. There were quite a few dead jellyfish near the entrance as they made their way up.

The locathah agreed to wait while they moved the chests. A net was lowered into the water so the locathah could hold to it. When the chests were aboard, Nasha joined the matriarch in the net. She aided her in keeping the eggs close during the voyage as they sailed her out to where she said her people were and returned her to them.

Nasha and the captain swam down with the locathah matriarch. They were met by a group of other locathah who noted their approach and swam up to meet them. “Shalnoxx!” they called, swimming up and embracing her. Only then did it occur to the girls that they hadn’t asked the locathah’s name. “Thank Lysianassa you’re alright.”

Shalnoxx returned the embrace of the one who had greeted her and handed some of the eggs off to other locathah. “I would not be if not for these surface-dwellers,” she said, indicating the group.

“You saved our queen?” the male asked.

Nasha inclined her head to him, though she also held out a sack in which was a locathah head. “I’m afraid we could only save her. The head was all that remained of this one.”

The man frowned and looked inside briefly. “Oh Drolneer, so that’s what became of you.” Shalnoxx put a hand on the male’s shoulder. “We sent him to find you, with four others. None returned and my ring stopped working.”

Shalnoxx frowned. “It pains me that we lost so many on my account.” She spoke sadly. “We cannot thank you enough though, for you have saved our children,” the queen was speaking to Nasha now.

The lizardfolk nodded, “I was happy to help. Forgive me a moment, I wish to tell my friends what has been said.” The two locathah nodded and Nasha translated to Mirielle and the others.

Ultimately Nasha acted as an translator between Mirielle and the male locathah, whose name they soon learned was Loxshon. Mirielle asked how they would manage with so few remaining, and Loxshon said other tribes were near and they might join one or seek others to join them. Mirielle did mention she’d considered visiting some herself, with the intent of recruiting some to guard her ship in the water.

Loxshon shared the location of the major tribes he knew were nearby, but told her while a locathah might sign on for a short sting they were not likely to travel with any vessel for long. Mirielle thanked him for the information all the same, but wondered if she couldn’t find one more likely to hang around if she put some effort into it.

Just before they left Loxshon handed Nasha his ring, explaining it was a Greater Messenger’s Ring that had been used to communicate with their scouting party, in thanks. Nasha thanked him for it, and gave Shalnoxx a hug. “Take care of yourself and your family,” Nasha said softly.

Shalnoxx nodded and patted Nasha in turn. “I will. You, you do the same, even if they look like strange family.” Her eyes passed to Mirielle and the others.

It gave Nasha brief pause. She’d been growing closer to the pirates with every passing day, but that an outsider would observe them together and assume the bond was that strong was telling to Nasha. She inclined her head again. “I will do so.”

When they left the locathah Nasha gave Mirielle the ring. “I think you have more use for this than I.”

Mirielle smiled and said, “It will certainly make it easier to communicate with Maheem at Tidewater Rock. Still, if you ever wish to use it, don’t hesitate to ask. The ring’s power should be able to be called upon many times in a single day.”

Nasha nodded. Perhaps she would. It had been some time since she’d spoken with her true family.

The girls returned to the ship and made for Mancatcher Cove again. On the way there Dolce enlisted Shade’s assistance (though it pained her to do so) in disarming the trap she’d discovered on the stone chest. Inside they discovered absolutely nothing. The other chest, however, opened with a key Dolce had discovered in the throne room. It contained quite a large sum of treasure, and now Mirielle and Dolce both were convinced the Hurricane King would grant Miri the title of Free Captain.




The Ancient Mariner

Inside the cave they investigated one last thing, a strange crevice Dolce had taken note of. It took them two hours to dig out the passage so they could enter the chamber beyond. Thankfully it was a new day and they had a fresh allotment of spells.

When they at last entered the chamber they saw a massive anchor, showing all signs of age and neglect. Chains ran across it, and still bound within them was the corpse of a man. The girls drew nearer, but as they did the corpse broke free of the chains and a sudden, unshakable dread came over them.

Nasha had been nearest, and was effected first. Her whole body went stiff and struggle though she might she couldn’t move. The corpse, a deceased captain if Dolce were to guess by the remnants of his clothing, pressed its lips to Nasha’s while she was still trapped by it’s aura. Nasha, even graced with the ability to breathe water, started feeling as though she had no air.

Revel tried to charge forward, but she too fell to the aura’s effect, her body going rigid. Dolce swam to a position that would let her cast Lightning Bolt without hitting her friends and did precisely that. Mirielle, meanwhile, summoned forth her halo of light and moved toward the entrance to the chamber.

The decrepit captain swam to Revel next, doing the same to her as he had done to Nasha. The putrid sea water it spit into her mouth threatened to rob her of her breath, and there was naught she could do while held captive.

Nasha had shaken off her paralysis, and swam into the fray, striking the creature twice. Dolce cast another Lightning Bolt, narrowly missing her lizardfolk ally, but she was trapped fairly close to the enemy. Not quite close enough to be paralyzed herself…

Until he moved. He moved near to Dolce and she was the next to suffer his kiss and its ill effects. Revel and Nasha laid into him, and though she was loath to bite the creature, Revel did so. She couldn’t afford to pull her punches here.

Mirielle saw an opportunity to both heal her friends of some of the damage they had taken and to harm her foe. She was just close enough to catch everyone but Dolce in the spell’s effect. She cast Heal in its most powerful form and bathed the creature in positive energy while restoring some vigor to Revel and Nasha.

This got the creature’s attention, and it was moving toward Mirielle intent on inflicting its curse on her when Revel got the last blow, severing its head from its shoulders with her brutal bite.

The aasimar shuddered. They did, of course, retrieve the deep platinum necklace the captain was wearing and searched the room for anything else. Nothing of value was found. With this completed the girls returned to the boat. Mirielle cast Detect Disease on each of them, primarily to be certain Revel hadn’t gotten herself in trouble biting something so vile and disgusting. None showed any trace of having one.

That done, they set sail for Port Peril, intent on making their bid for Mirielle’s position as a Free Captain.




OOC Notes

It was quite comical the way Revel hesitated to fight the sharks. She even let the first one get a few bites on her before she decided that she was tougher than they were and they should basically ‘know their place’ in the pecking line.

It was also comical the way half of them died. When Nasha crits with her Tiger Strike she inflicts persistent bleeding damage, which can prove incredibly lethal if you don’t have magical healing. You can bet Mirielle wasn’t sparing any of her spells to save sharks.

Notedly, they don’t speak much when they are using water breathing. Owlbrarian said because sound is muffled in water, they would have to be very close to be able to communicate with spoken words. This seems reasonable to me, and is why there isn’t much dialogue recorded in this entry for their time in the submerged caves.

Nasha critically fumbled when she attacked the matron and ended up swiping the eggs on the wall. The critical fumble card said she basically attacked every creature adjacent to her and she was up against the wall the eggs were on so we treated it like her claws swinging beyond her intended arc. She also hurt Dolce with this strike, but honestly she was more disturbed at harming eggs than harming her friend.

Owlbrarian hadn’t read the treasure in detail and didn’t realize the stone chest was fixed to the ground, so he allowed the girls to spend considerable time and effort moving it to their ship.

At the end of this adventure, after all the fighting was done, I realized I’d forgotten to level up my character’s “static” class features. See, I plan their level choices ahead, so spells, stat bonuses, feats, etc. But missing this meant missing some very big things, like Revel’s 2d10+6 damage while raging becoming 2d12+11. Imagine how much easier this all would have been. As it was, I’m really glad we didn’t explore the secret room until we’d rested.

Owlbrarian allowed me to have a homebrew Detect Disease spell since it doesn’t exist in PF2E.

Lastly, Heal is a 1st level divine spell that has three uses. Casting with 1 action, it heals 1d8 to a creature you touch. With 2 actions, it heals 1d8+8 to a creature within 30ft. With 3 actions it heals 1d8 to all creatures within 30 ft (or deals 1d8 damage to undead). When you heighten the spell by casting it with a higher level slot the number of dice goes up by 1 per spell level (as well as an additional +8 healed per spell level for the 2 action version). The 'most powerful' form I was referring to when Mirielle used it in their fight with the ancient captain was the 3 action cast, so healing her allies while harming the undead captain.
 

Owlbrarian

The Librarian is Here
Oh man the locathah matriarch.

It’s funny I happen to own the papercraft pdf’s for Skull & Shackles. I kind of wish they still made these since they are great to have for some of the stranger creatures, and to say “This is what this NPC looks like.”

So the Locathaan Matriarch miniature still has their legs. So when I read that part I was pretty shocked. Wasn’t expecting that level of cruelty for sure!

There is actually another error because of these papercraft miniatures that I make though that won’t come home to roost until the next book.

“Owlbrarian hadn’t read the treasure in detail…” I think this can honestly be said about a lot of different things. So many little details hidden in paragraphs.

This more or less marks the end of this book however.

Review
Overall I enjoyed this adventure pretty well. Part three: The Lady of the Rock was my least favorite of the four chapters.

There were some great encounters though I kinda feel the gimmick for the end of this adventure getting them to Mancatcher Cove was weak. Though honestly I have yet to find a good riddle based encounter in a D&D style game. Not saying it can’t be done, just haven’t found one that wasn’t “Here are some skill checks, oh and if they fail have a NPC tell them.”

Overall Rating: ★★★☆☆ (Good, Part two or the sandbox pirate stuff was the highlight of this adventure with a sort of weak ending.)
Conversion Difficulty: ★★★☆☆ (Sort of difficult, good number of spellcasters and a few unique monsters)
 

Crys

daydreamer and poet
One of my favorite sessions in this post. :)

Also, the game is on hold. Owlbrarian decided to postpone it since he lost some steam for it during the chaos of our move and then the following renovations. He's hoping when we get in the rest of our underwater miniatures and our pirate ships in from Reaper Miniatures' most recent Bones kickstarter it will jump start his enthusiasm to continue the story.

I'm going to post up to Session 28 since that's where we stopped. If we end up picking the story back up it will either continue following the same party, or if I'm feeling too disconnected from them due to the time gap... I'll be fighting them in the first session with a new crew. Guess we'll see. For now I hope you guys enjoy the rest of what we have from The Lady's Purr. :)




Spoiler Warning: Many spoilers for the Skull & Shackles adventure path are contained within these story recap posts. If you don’t want your campaign spoiled, don’t read these!




Session 21 – Port Peril

Five days it took them to reach Port Peril, and each of them was quiet. Dolce was apprehensive the entire time the shoreline of Kepre Dua was in view, but the elf had known they would be passing near her home. She spent the majority of the four days considering what may await them in Port Peril. Occasionally she discussed this with relevant parties. It was tradition to bribe Captain Bonefist’s first mate, Tsadok Goldtooh, with a substantial sum of plunder… Typically goods worth at least four thousand gold coins. Gods knew they had the plunder after Mancatcher Cove.

“So you’re telling me, I’m just gonna take four thousand gold worth of goods and leave it there?” Revel asked, sounding incredulous.

Dolce chuckled. “It’s tradition, Revel.”

“What if they say I didn’t?” the hobgoblin pressed.

“They won’t say you didn’t. If they did that they wouldn’t get many people seeking to be Free Captains, would they?” Dolce countered calmly. Mirielle was smiling a little.

“I’m just saying, that’s a lot of hard-won wealth to just drop off,” Revel said. She looked from Dolce to Mirielle. “Captain?”

Mirielle’s smile grew, “It is a lot of money, Revel. Think of it this way… It’s less than a quarter of what’s in our hold.” In fact, they’d only had room for all the treasure of Mancatcher Cove because Mirielle had left some of their plunder with The Thresher and the men they’d stationed at Tidewater Rock. Maheem would keep it safe until they returned to claim it.

Revel still didn’t look happy at the prospect of letting the money go. “Can’t you have someone else do this?” she asked Dolce.

The elf just smiled and said, “Revel, you’re The Shark. People know you. And they fear you, and they love you. You can be polished when you want to. I know it, I’ve seen it. And you’re smarter than most people think. I would trust no one else to do the job.”

Revel blinked a little, the praise had been unexpected. She felt a warmth come over her that she didn’t want to admit to her captain or the elf so she cleared her throat. “Well, you’re right. They fear me, and I’ll make sure they keep fearing me til I drop it off.”

Dolce’s smile grew broader and she nodded. “Just what I was counting on.”

“So,” Mirielle said, “what happens after we give him the goods?”

Dolce grinned and turned toward Jack Scrimshaw, “Run and fetch Mama Nasha, would ya?”

Jack nodded eagerly and took off to find the lizardfolk he had taken to calling ‘Mama Nasha’. Dolce turned back to Revel and Mirielle, “The fun part… But we should wait for Nasha. Anyone else thirsty?” She was gesturing at one of Mirielle’s bottles of wine.

The captain smirked a little, “Help yourself. Pour me a glass while you’re at it.”

The elf opened the cabinet and withdrew the bottle as well as two glasses though she glanced at Revel questioningly. “Naw, wasted on me. If I can’t chug from the bottle without making an elf cry I shouldn’t be drinking it,” the hobgoblin said.

Dolce nodded, suspecting Revel rarely cared about offending most elves, but had developed a soft spot for her. At least, she liked to think so. She certainly had a fondness for the hobgoblin. What would her parents think about that?

Nasha entered the captain’s cabin with Jack Scrimshaw as the second glass, the one for Mirielle, was poured. “Nasha?” Dolce offered, tilting the bottle.

The lizardfolk shook her head no and said, “I am fine.”

Dolce replaced the bottle and took her seat. “After the bribe is given to Tsadok Goldtooth there will be a test.”

“A test?” Revel asked.

“Mm,” Dolce took a sip of the wine and said, “It’s a tradition. He’ll come and insult us and try to see what kind of pirates we are, what skills we have. There’s usually some fighting, some sailing work, and some gambling involved.”

“Dibs on the fighting,” Revel said.

Dolce chuckled, “I figured you’d be keen on that part, but the test isn’t always the same so we’ll wait to assign tasks until we’re in the moment.” She looked at Mirielle, seeking the captain’s approval.

“Sounds reasonable to me,” Mirielle said.

“After the test,” Dolce continued, “we will meet with the Hurricane King. Assuming, of course, we passed muster.”

“And you have case to think we won’t?” Mirielle asked.

Dolce smiled and said. “Of course not, Captain. This part will rely heavily on our social skills, probably with you and I having the most influence.”

Mirielle nodded again.

Nasha quietly said, “Why is there a bribe?”

Revel looked from Dolce to Mirielle to Nasha again and started laughing. Soon Mirielle was chuckling too and Dolce said, “I’m sorry, you missed the first part of the conversation. We’re bribing Tsadok Goldtooth to introduce us to his captain, Captain Bonefist, the Hurricane King.”

“Ah,” Nasha said. Then, “Do you require me for this?”

Dolce chuckled some, “We will see. Perhaps you can accompany Revel to drop off the bribe. Likely we will need you for the tests that follow, so probably no going into port for you when we make anchor.”

Nasha looked at Jack, who was still in the cabin, “I see. I will plan for this.”

Dolce could practically hear Jack protesting in her mind, for Nasha always went into port with him and Owlbear. “Maheem will be sad he missed this, Captain,” the elf said.

Mirielle sighed, “Yeah. Him and Fipps, and Ratline, and the list goes on. It’s a shame they’re the ones I trust most to hold down the Rock. Though at this point I’m pretty sure The Thresher‘s old crew will be true to us.”

Dolce nodded her agreement and finished off her wine. “Well, that handled, I’m going to go see what Ambrose is up to.”

Mirielle nodded. She saw Dolce cast Prestidigitation to clean her wine glass and set it with others before she headed out of the cabin. Revel and Nasha soon followed.




Tsadok Goldtooth

Revel and Nasha did as Dolce bid when The Purr docked at Port Peril. They escorted four thousand gold worth of plunder to Fort Hazard, where they left it for Tsadok Bonefist because Revel had been ordered by Dolce to be on her best behavior.

They returned to The Lady’s Purr, and that was where they spent the night. Cog gave Revel some trouble for not getting an inn room while they had the opportunity, but the hobgoblin reminded him her loyalty was to the captain first and the captain wanted her on the ship… So Cog also remained aboard. Shade, who no longer hid his purple skin, Vixi, Ambrose, Conchobar, and Quinn were also aboard, meaning all the officers were there.

When morning came, so did Tsadok Goldtooth, his voice carrying clear above the harbor, a crowd gathered around him already. “What sorry swabs here think they’re fitting to meet with the Hurricane King?” He challenged.

Mirielle had risen early, as was her custom, and so was dressed in her finest for the day’s events. “I do.”

The half-orc’s voice rang out again, “You’d be Captain Mirielle, then? Such a fine lass you are.” He did a very mocking bow to Mirielle, earning laughter from the crowd. “Permission to come aboard, Milady?” More laughter from the gathering crowd.

“Of course,” Mirielle said plainly. Dolce had suggested they should try not to offend Tsadok or insult him.

The Lady’s Purr, is it? I bet it’s a lovely purr to hear,” the half-orc went on as he approached the deck.

“Aye, it is a lovely purr, so long as you’re aboard and not facing her down,” Dolce said with a smile, casting her voice so it too would carry over the crowd.

“Oh, I think I’d be happy to face her down,” Tsadok was indicating the Captain when he spoke rather than the ship.

Dolce smiled, “Indeed. So was Captain Astian of The Red Mariah and Captain Tisserond of The Famished Mane… Alas, no one need fear their switches any longer.” Dolce’s hand ran along the frame of the nearest ballista for emphasis. She’d spread their stories well enough that the Shackles would know they claimed to have defeated both the free captain and the pirate hunter. This was Dolce’s tactic, brag at every opportunity so she could distract from Tsadok’s insults without insulting him in turn.

Tsadok snorted, “Which one are you? An officer, I’m sure, but which?”

“First mate, like yourself, Tsadok, though I daresay Captain Mirielle is a fairer face to answer to,” Dolce said. She’d been working hard to spread rumors of the captain’s beauty. There was no reason her appearance shouldn’t work in their favor.

“Fairer?” Tsadok asked. “We pirates like things dirty, right boys?” He said it as though explaining to outsiders. More laughter from the crowd. Dolce was fairly certain some of them were purposefully egging the others on.

Revel looked about ready to pound the half-orc, but Nasha put a hand on the hobgoblin’s shoulder and quietly said, “Just watch.” Revel only growled in response.

Dolce swept her fingers through her hair and said, “Oh, we’re not afraid to get our hands dirty. How else would we have claimed Tidewater Rock when Captain Harrigan failed to do so before us?”

Tsadok grunted. “Claimed the Rock, did ya? Too bad she’s not what she used to be. I suppose one fine lady replacing another there won’t make much difference in the Shackles!”

More laughter, but it was lessening as people whispered to each other. Them claiming the Rock was not common knowledge… yet. This really would have been easier if Dolce were willing to insult him, but the man was a renowned pirate and the elf had a deep respect for pretty much every pirate that showed an ounce of loyalty to their captain despite their greed.

Before Dolce could get in another boast Tsadok said, “Well then, let’s see if the ladies of Tidewater Rock have what it takes to be a pirate, ey?” Cheering from the crowd. He faced the captain. “Choose any one among yours to face mine. We’ll see who can unfurl a sail more quickly. Not on this ship though, no.. We’ll go over to…” He cast his gaze out at the docks and all the vessels lingering there when finally he said, “The Stingray.”

Dolce had suspicions he may have had the vessel in mind all along, but she didn’t voice them aloud. Mirielle nodded to Tsadok and much of the crew of The Purr that was still aboard joined them as they followed Tsadok and his crowd to the indicated ship. The Stingray was about the same size as The Lady’s Purr.

“Haines, get over here!” Tsadok bellowed. A sailor stepped forth. He didn’t look like any of the descriptions of Bonefist’s officers that Dolce or Mirielle had heard. Now the half-orc turned to Mirielle. “Choose your man.”

Mirielle looked between Revel and Nasha. The lizardfolk was faster and it seemed only fair to meet a regular crewman with a regular crewman of her own. “Nasha, if you please.” Nasha simply nodded and stepped forward, her eyes traveling up the mast.

“A lizard, eh? Seems almost unfair. Won’t matter. Haines Boyne won’t lose to a lizard. GO!” Tsadok had been almost rambling before he suddenly shouted go.

Nasha sprang to action, scrambling up the mast. The rope that had been nearest her was slick with something. Oil if her nose was trustworthy. It mattered little. She was easily the most skilled rigger aboard The Purr and her natural speed only made her more suited to the task.

Haines Boyne was not too shabby though. He nearly kept pace with Nasha.. Nearly. The crew of The Purr – the girls included – cheered Nasha on, but none so enthusiastically as Jack Scrimshaw who was bellowing, “Go on, Mama Nasha! Kick is butt!”

Revel couldn’t help but smile at Jack, and perhaps this was why she noticed another man who’d been keeping close to Tsadok cutting the line Nasha was climbing with. “What?” Revel said loudly, “Couldn’t win honestly?”

The man blinked when he realized he’d been seen, looked at Tsadok and shrugged his shoulders before cutting the line. “We’re pirates,” he said.

Nasha, who heard them from below, simply sprung onto the mast itself as the rope plummeted down behind her. She was no longer relying on any ropes to aid her climb. Soon enough she’d topped the mast and began unfurling the sail, putting Dolce’s lessons in quickly completing tasks requiring finesse to good use.

Boyne joined her at the top and began loosing his own knot. They were neck-and-neck at the end, but ultimately the small lead Nasha had was enough to secure her victory as her side of the sail came lose.

Tsadok grumbled to himself before saying aloud, “Well I guess that’s not bad, for a crew that relies on a lizard to do their climbing.” It was a weaker insult than some of his earlier ones, but still it drew chuckles from the crowd. “Right, time to see how lucky you are. Luck is an important part of piracy, after all. Let’s return to The Lady’s Purr.”




A Measure of Luck

Dolce wondered how he’d go about testing their luck. She felt sure this would be where the gambling came in… Although, there had been gambling on who would win the race. Onboard The Purr Tsadok sat by an overturned barrel and said, “Now, to measure your luck we’re going to play a little game of Bastard’s Fool. Are you familiar with the rules?” Again, his voice made it sound like he didn’t think they would be.

Dolce moved forward, she bent low beside Conchobar to whisper, “Let’s see if I’ve learned anything from you, ey Conch?” , for she knew he was a professional gambler. Really she was ‘borrowing’ his playing cards because she knew Tsadok would make fun of her if she didn’t bring any to the deck for the game. No one seemed to notice, not even Conch, and she took her seat opposite Tsadok. “Sounds like fun.”

Tsadok raised an eyebrow. “Really? See, when we play every hand you win you get to drink some of my own special gutrot rum.” Just then the pirate who’d cut Nasha’s line set down a bottle and a small mug. “Thank you, Bilgerat,” Tsadok said, though it sounded more like a threat than actual appreciation.

Dolce actually wondered if she would regret this. She’d drunk her share of alcohol in her years traveling from tavern to tavern. She was quite accustomed to the antics of drunken sailors as well, and had a high tolerance for their ‘attentions’. Still, this particular pirate was rumored to have quite a constitution. He’d once been an arena slave if rumors were to be believed.. And he probably took very hard alcohol with very little trouble at all. “Sounds lovely,” she said, with the most convincing tone she could muster. Somewhere behind her she heard Revel complaining that she hadn’t been chosen for this task.

Tsadok gave her a toothy grin. “Good, good. We’ll be starting with one hundred platinum pieces.. Assuming of course, you have a hundred platinum pieces.” More chuckles from the onlookers.

Dolce found herself grateful she was the one who’d taken the Bag of Holding. Otherwise she’d have had to send someone to fetch the coin. As it was she reached into her satchel and pulled out her stake. “No trouble at all, Tsadok.” She set the coins on the overturned barrel and handed Conch’s cards to the dealer. Her coins were gold, of course, but Tsadok had brought a money changer, and mercilessly he didn’t let the pirate charge her anything. Dolce was pretty sure he expected to be winning all of her share.

Tsadok took them before they were shuffled in. The cards were beautifully crafted and the artwork upon them beautifully drawn… Of course, each bore the image of a naked woman. Conch seemed to enjoy all manner of women, so the races were quite varied. At least they were of good quality. “Mm, pretty little cards you have here,” Tsadok said. “Looks like a full set, even.” He handed them back to the dealer.

Tsadok’s cards, of course, were covered in skulls. Both decks were a common enough theme to be found in the Shackles. Dolce was pretty sure she saw Conch checking his pockets out of the corner of her eye, but when he found his cards missing he didn’t say a thing about it. “Right then. Who’s betting first?”

Tsadok grinned, “I am.” They each began with a one platinum buy in. Then were each dealt their starting hand. Dolce’s was weak. Only seven points between her cards. She emphasized her frustration in her facial expression, hoping he’d play a bit foolishly as a result. “And I’m starting with thirty,” Tsadok said, sliding the coins to the center of the barrel.

Well, her plan had at least worked in part. Dolce matched his bet, sliding her own coins toward the center. Dolce drew a large number of cards in the draw phase. She was at no real risk of going over the desired twenty points. It wasn’t a perfect draw, but it was still good enough. She kept her smirk to herself and focused on reading her opponent.

When the hands were revealed they each had seventeen points. Another hand was played, lower wagers this time since Tsadok was realizing Dolce was better than he’d initially suspected. Another draw. At the end of the third hand, however, Dolce had nineteen points and Tsadok had seventeen. The elf smiled and pulled her winnings to her.

“Mm. Now drink,” Tsadok said, pouring her a glass.

Dolce had forgotten the alcohol. She took the offered glass, pretending she felt no apprehension. Normally she made sure to drink lighter alcohols when she performed in taverns. This stuff.. Rotgut Rum, surely harder than she was accustomed to. She couldn’t lose face though, or give him anything to harass them about, and so she slammed back the glass and drank it down, not daring to let herself cough despite its burn.

She was successful and set the mug down on the barrel. “Strong stuff,” she said, as though it wasn’t unusual for her. Her sensitive ears picked out the sound of Captain Mirielle snickering behind her. And somehow she already felt her senses were dulling.

Several hands followed the first, most of them ties. She was grateful she didn’t have to drink on a tie. The bets were smaller, but she already had a big advantage from the first hand. Still, his hands were brutally high. Not once did he have lower than fifteen points. Whereas she came up with thirteen once, and even eleven.

By the time she was three drinks in, Dolce had figured out why this was.. The dealer was cheating for Tsadok, shuffling certain cards to the top. Dolce’s keen mind, hazy though it was now, started tracking them too. ‘If I play my cards right I can use this to my advantage…’ It struck the elf how ironic it was to be thinking that in a literal sense for once.

The crew of The Purr was accustomed to seeing Dolce in various stages of drunkenness, and her very friendly, flirty, almost cute persona was showing in full after three swigs of Rotgut. It certainly gave the onlookers plenty to laugh about, but Dolce was accustomed to being under scrutiny and performing despite it. She simply didn’t let the laughter and jests phase her.

Finally the bastard decided he had the winning hand and went all in. Dolce was pretty sure she knew the cards coming up and matched his bet, an easy thing for her since she had the bulk of the money now. She drew her cards and contained her smile. When their hands were revealed Dolce had a perfect twenty to Tsadok’s nineteen!

“YEAH!!!” Revel bellowed from behind the elf.

Tsadok said, “Ah well, ye seem to be lucky after all.” He was trying to take his coins from the table as he said it. “That’s that then.”

“What is this? I won didn’t I?” Dolce said, slurring her words and leaning forward, smiling at the half-orc.
Tsadok nodded, “Oh of course, of course, but the betting was just for motivation.”

She put her hand on his, stopping him from moving anymore coins, and said, “Should have said so at the beginning, Love!” The crowd around them cheered and agreed and Tsadok grumpily released the coins to her. Dolce collected them quickly and stood, wobbling a little more than she naturally would have, she leaned over and kissed his cheek. “There’s a good sport.”

“Speaking of,” Tsadok said, “DRINK.” He poured her one last glass of the rum, filling this one to the very brim. Some of it sloshed to the deck below.

Dolce grimaced inwardly, but she had won and she made him give her the coin. She couldn’t very well refuse. So the elf took the burning swill and knocked it back as well, gulping down the alcohol as it burned her throat.

It seemed to please the half-orc.




Boarded!

“Right then,” Tsadok boomed, “Time for the boarding party!” The crowd cheered. The combat portion was always the favorite. Dolce wrapped an arm around Nasha and the girls waited for Tsadok to continue. “You can choose four, Captain, including yourself… After all, a captain should fight alongside their crew.”

Dolce snorted and giggled a little as she said, “C-Cap’n Mirielle always boards with us.”

The crowd was loving the tipsy elf’s antics. Even Tsadok was enjoying them, though he tried not to show it. “As it should be. So choose which three will fight with you, Captain.”

Mirielle nodded, “Dolce, Revel, and Nasha.” There was no hesitation. The four had done so much together already. In fact, the captain wasn’t done. She went on to say, “It seems fitting that those who helped me lay claim to Captain Cyrus Wolfe’s treasure should aid me in this test before I’m named a Free Captain.”

Tsadok’s eyebrows rose, as did many others. More murmuring broke out in the crowd. Meanwhile, Dolce was grinning from ear-to-ear. She’d been prepared to make the claim herself, but had hoped Mirielle would be the one to do it… What with her voice always being so believable. “At’s right, folks. We got the treasure of Mancatcher Cove~” She sang the words more than spoke them, and on the heels of the phrase was a hiccup.

Nasha looked down at Dolce as the elf leaned on her side. The lizardfolk did not see the appeal of drinking, but even like this Dolce seemed to know how to play people, for the crowd responded to her sing-songy words with cheering.

“QUIET!” Tsadok boomed. “Suppose we’ll see if that’s true or no. BUT NOW PREPARE TO BE BOARDED!” His thundering voice made Dolce sway on her feet. Of course, she was being a bit dramatic, but he really was quite loud.

Mirielle smiled and said, “Alright, ladies, this will be unfamiliar territory. The Purr‘s never been boarded before, but we’ll make quick work of this, hm?”

More cheering from the crowd, and Dolce felt like she was floating. Mirielle was really shining. Not only was she saying the right things, she had taken his earlier insult and owned it. ‘I wonder if she learned that from me…’ Dolce thought to herself. She released Nasha and followed Mirielle to the aftcastle.

Revel and Nasha stayed on the main deck. The girls were positioning themselves roughly where they’d be if they were battling an enemy at sea. “The Filthy Lucre‘s never been boarded either,” Dolce heard Tsadok grumble. It actually made her giggle. “BRING OUT FISHPORK!”

The crowd started cheering louder. “FISHPORK! FISHPORK! FISHPOOOORRRRKK!!!!”

A large cage was moved into position near the foot of the ramp that led aboard The Purr. Inside Dolce could see a marsh giant. They were quite unnerving creatures to behold, with mouths resembling those of fish baring sharp, jagged teeth. Their skin, slimy and gray-green in color. This one had glassy blue eyes. She knew they had certain abilities, and she hoped… she hoped it would use one in particular. One that would give her cover to use magic without anyone really seeing any of her tricks.

“Are you ready?” Tsadok asked, but before they could answer he said, “I don’t care. OPEN THE CAGE!” Two of his pirates ran in and released the cage door. Soon the marsh giant emerged and Dolce could see rocks littering the floor of his cage.

Immediately the creature did what she’d wished, casting an innate Obscuring Mist. The creature had centered it in front of the aftcastle. It was positioned in such a way that it would obscure not only Mirielle and Dolce, but Revel and Nasha as well. “Perfect~” Dolce sang.

She clapped a hand on Mirielle’s shoulder and cast a Stoneskin spell on her. Last thing they needed in Port Peril was for the world to see their captain get knocked out, and she was easily the most fragile of the four even with the added stamina of her pink rhomboid aeon stone. Mirielle in turn, called forth her halo and cast Bless.

Revel moved to the railing, peering into the mist. She hurled Zul, her new trident that was previously wielded by the king of the sahuagin, at the marsh giant, but the weapon flew wide before returning to her hand. Nasha also threw her returning spear. She managed to strike it once.

The creature threw a boulder at Revel, but he also missed, though the girls heard it scrape along the deck of The Purr. “That clown picked this thing on purpossse-” Dolce slurred. She clapped her hand down on Mirielle again and this time bestowed her with Haste to help her navigate the field of battle. “Let’s get down there!” The elf exclaimed, moving clumsily down the stairs of the aftcastle.

Mirielle had had the same idea. She increased the radius of Bless and followed Dolce down the stairs, ending her movement near Revel and Nasha, close enough they were both within the amplifying effect of her halo.

Revel and Nasha made three more throws a piece at the marsh giant. The odd one connected, but the creature didn’t seem deterred in the least. Another boulder was thrown, but this one aimed for Mirielle and this one struck true. The aasimar called out in pain as the rock slammed into her, but she didn’t fall. Dolce’s stoneskin made all the difference.

Dolce was flummoxed, but even so she remembered not to hurl her spells outside the mist’s concealing area. Instead she moved into a better position for when the creature boarded and took out her Wand of Mirror Image.

The elf didn’t have to wait long, for after another barrage from Nasha and Revel the giant came striding aboard the ship. It slammed its gaff into Revel mercilessly, tearing her flesh open with ease. Dolce stabbed it in the side, taking advantage of her ally’s distraction.

Mirielle could tell Revel was injured, but for the time being she focused on herself. So close was she to falling she knew the thing might knock her cold if it focused on her. A powerful healing spell flowed through her, giving off golden light as it did so.

Revel’s veins seemed to bulge as fury overtook her and she gnashed her sharp teeth into the creature’s slimy hide. It seemed she didn’t find the taste of it nearly as distasteful as she’d found the undead, for she bit again with relish. Nasha’s claws were soon upon it too, staggering it slightly and wounding it more severely.

Still, the marsh giant persisted. It was formidable to be sure, and it violently twisted and yanked on the hook in Revel’s flesh. The hobgoblin actually cried out in pain with no excitement for this particular wound. Dolce didn’t think she’d ever heard that from Revel.

The elf stabbed the giant again and again, wielding her rapier expertly. Between her and Nasha’s claws and Revel’s fangs, it started to sway on its feet. Mirielle bolstered Revel, mending much of the wound the creature had dealt her, but still the hobgoblin’s blood was flowing.

The creature struck Revel with the gaff again and again, for she was wounding him the most. It struck true, twice in quick succession, but the hobgoblin managed to shrug off the last of its blows before sinking her fangs in it once more.

And then… then it was over. Mirielle poured healing magic into Revel, restoring her before the blood loss could claim her. It took a lot of healing, but when the mist cleared and the crowd saw all the girls still standing there was uproarious cheering.

Dolce, still tipsy despite the adrenaline in her veins, strode to the top of the gangplank. “Thank you, thank you, we’re here all week,” the elf said, doing a flourished bow much to the crowd’s delight.

Ironic how excited they were considering so much of the show had been obscured from them. Tsadok grunted, “Well done.” He toed the marsh giant with his boot and saw it slump back limply. “Tch. Dispose of this Bilgerat.”

“Why me?” The pirate asked, but Tsadok gave him a hard stare and he quickly nodded.

“You lot… You lot did well! I guess you’re pirates after all! Tonight we’ll see the Hurricane King!” The cheering only grew from that. They were given the day to prepare for the evening’s celebrations. Tsadok said he’d lead them from the docks himself.




The Hurricane King

True to his word, Tsadok led them to Fort Hazard, the home of Kerdak Bonefist, the Hurricane King. All of the officers, except Shade, followed them to the fort. The drow stayed aboard The Purr. Inside Fort Hazard, the celebrations began. Dolce circulated in the crowd, listening to them telling the girls’ stories, correcting them when they made mistakes. She kept an eye on Mirielle though, just in case her captain got into trouble.

Nasha was thinking the same, Dolce suspected, because the lizardfolk was Mirielle’s shadow throughout the evening. Eventually, when they were deep into the night and a larger crowd had gathered, Kerdak tried to get the crowd’s attention. No one listened at first, but silence soon followed when he fired his iconic flintlock.

The Hurricane King then tossed it to a servant who hurriedly scrambled to reload the chambers while he addressed the crowd, “Well now! I hear we’ve had quite a showing today! Quite a showing indeed. You know normally, Captain Mirielle, those seeking to be Free Captains come in under another’s protection. Now I’d like to hear just what makes you think you’re so special!”

Mirielle glanced through the crowd and, finding Dolce, returned her gaze to Bonefist. “Aye, I thought you might. Allow my shantyman to earn her keep then, Captain Bonefist.”

Bonefist didn’t seem to care who did the talking. He simply wanted entertainment. Dolce noted him gesture at the servant just as the poor soul finished with the flintlock and returned it. The servant looked relieved. ‘This one’s got a sadistic streak, eh? No surprise I suppose..’ Dolce thought to herself.

She would cater to that to a degree, but also to the crowd. And now that Mirielle had claimed they’d taken the treasure of Mancatcher Cove everyone wanted to hear that story. Dolce launched into the tale without hesitation, singing songs she’d heard before to introduce it and songs of her own making to tell them of the girl’s adventures.

Conquering Mancatcher Cove

By hook or by crook we come to the sea!
By hook or by crook we sail!
By hook or by crook we say unto thee,
In battle we never fail!

From blue bight's embrace, our journey began -
There in the deepest sea -
And every soul down to the helmsman
Knew what the cost may be!

By hook or by crook we come to the sea!
By hook or by crook we sail!
By hook or by crook we say unto thee,
In battle we never fail!

Oh the sharks came biting soon as we stopped
To spy the Grave Lady's prize tooth,
And from high above in the canopy dropped
A vine that would drink our youth!

By hook or by crook we come to the sea!
By hook or by crook we sail!
By hook or by crook we say unto thee,
In battle we never fail!

We laid them all low most variously;
As guards they were remiss.
The way forward shown precariously
With the Dawnflower's first kiss!

By hook or by crook we come to the sea!
By hook or by crook we sail!
By hook or by crook we say unto thee,
In battle we never fail!

We all witnessed a grin made of gold
And its meaning did we absorb.
Forward pressed we as would only the bold
Climb the Captain’s wayward orb!

By hook or by crook we come to the sea!
By hook or by crook we sail!
By hook or by crook we say unto thee,
In battle we never fail!

From the eye of a skull our path led us now -
Through root, and earth, and board -
And into the depths below them somehow,
To claim old king’s hoard!

By hook or by crook we come to the sea!
By hook or by crook we sail!
By hook or by crook we say unto thee,
In battle we never fail!

The shark-kin which met us we brought to an end,
Their souls were put to the sword.
Up from the depths we soon did ascend
And their treasures we brought aboard!

By hook or by crook we come to the sea!
By hook or by crook we sail!
By hook or by crook we say unto thee,
In battle we never fail!​

After Mancatcher Cove’s tale was related she started in on some of their other exploits. Her telling and singing was flawless, and yet there were hecklers in the crowd. She might have tried to silence them herself, but she noticed Revel moving toward one. Her sharp ears carried the hobgoblin’s words to her as she drew abreast of the man, “Say now.. I wonder what you taste like.” Revel grinned, leaned forward close enough to the man’s neck he could feel her breath on it, and licked her lips.

The heckler went pale and slipped off into the crowd. There had been two more, but Revel only needed to look at them to send them running. It was good having good friends, Dolce reflected. At the end of the night the Hurricane King was quite impressed and awarded Mirielle her Letter of Marque in grandiose fashion.




Reunion

The night’s celebrations continued for a time, but eventually people started dispersing. By this time Mirielle had committed to joining in on The Free Captain’s Regatta to happen later in the year.

She was leaving with her arm in Quinn’s, leaning up against him as they strolled leisurely toward the inn he’d booked. A familiar voice called out to her, “Lady Mirielle.” This time it held no mockery or disdain and Mirielle felt her hair stand on end as she looked up.

It had been bound to happen eventually, that someone from her old life would catch up to her. And here stood a member of her guard. The very guard she’d been separated from that fateful night in Port Peril.

“Abadar’s scale, it’s really you,” he said, disbelief evident in his voice.

She’d never seen Tertius look so haggard before. Stubble was growing on his face and his eyes had bags under them. The man looked like he’d aged years in the months they’d been apart. Mirielle’s heart ached because he’d always been kind to her. “It’s Captain Mirielle now, Tertius.”

“You can’t be serious. You can’t stay. Return home, before it’s too late,” his tone was one of concern.

Revel took a step forward, “Is there a problem here, Captain?”

“No, Revel,” Mirielle said, raising a hand to signal she should back down. “It’s too late for that, Tertius. Perhaps in the first days after, but not now.”

The guard shook his head and said, “No, no it’s not. Your father doesn’t think so. Return now, and everything will be forgiven.”

Mirielle was quiet for a time, the celebratory atmosphere suddenly seeming years in the past to her. She could return back, he said.. But really, that ship had sailed. She’d tasted freedom now, and not even claiming Tidewater Rock under her own power had been enough to make her assent to marriage. Returning to her father’s control felt like a road she could never walk. “It is, Tertius.”

“My lady, please-“

“It is, because I have made my choice, Tertius. I cannot go back, even…” She let that hang in the air a moment, wanting him to take the meaning of her next words well, “...if I wanted to.”

The man looked shocked and dismayed. “You know,” he said at length, “this will not end well.”

Mirielle sighed. She didn’t wish ill upon her family, but she knew her father could not let his daughter be a terror on any sea while they still professed to worship Abadar. He would send ships for her, and she would have to fight them and win. “No, it won’t.”

Tertius nodded, straightened, took on a cold, professional demeanor, and bowed before turning into the night.

As he walked away Mirielle felt her heart ache. She truly wished to inflict no further agonies upon this old friend. “Tertius, please..” He paused, turning back toward her. She swallowed, steeling her resolve. “Take care of yourself.”

“And you, my lady.” Another bow, and then he did leave.

There had been a crowd at hand, of course, witness to the entire conversation. If her noble heritage had not been known previously, it certainly would be now. “Are you alright, Captain?” Quinn’s voice. She was still holding his arm and he leaned over to ask her quietly.

“Of course,” Mirielle responded, letting her ‘Captain’s Mask’ fall back into place. She hid her pains and regained her stride, continuing down toward the city.




OOC Notes

Nasha just picked up Rogue Dedication. Hence ‘Dolce’s lessons in quickly completing tasks requiring finesse’. I had no idea what would follow bribing Tsadok in character beyond what Dolce shared with the others, but I found it quite fitting to be using Thievery to unfurl the sails when Nasha just learned that from Dolce. She could have used other skills to accomplish the task if she hadn’t, but it was cool to me so that’s the route I went.

I really liked the rules for the card game. I honestly think it’s my favorite mechanic for a card game I’ve seen yet. You can check out the rules on this post on the Paizo forums. I enjoyed them enough myself I might just have the girls play some in downtime to play the ‘minigame’ again.

I can’t remember if I’ve said this before or not, but Dolce’s heritage is Whisper Elf. They have sharper hearing than others. I try to reference what she hears a lot because of this.

During the combat I rolled for concealment every throw (DC 5 flat check). The idea was if a throw ever missed for concealment we’d say the weapon flew into the crowd, potentially injuring someone. It actually never came up.

Also, yes, I’m using terrible metaphors on purpose. It brings me joy.

Finally, gotta hand it to Owlbrarian for the guard showing up. I’d finally forgotten she was a noble from a lawful family supported by merchants and he dropped that guy in with perfect timing. Great job, Babe. ♥
 


Richards

Legend
Personally, I hope you end up sticking with these four PCs because I've grown rather fond of them...but if you end up going a different way I'm sure I'll enjoy the new PCs as well. Thanks for the update!

Johnathan
 

Crys

daydreamer and poet
The scene with the guard is a touching moment. Well played...both of you :)

Thank you! Yeah, it was so unexpected for me. He waited just long enough it had completely slipped off my radar and I had a 'Oh man..' moment when he told me who was talking to Mirielle.

Personally, I hope you end up sticking with these four PCs because I've grown rather fond of them...but if you end up going a different way I'm sure I'll enjoy the new PCs as well. Thanks for the update!

Honestly, it's pretty rare for me to get disconnected from a character, but this is going to be a year long wait or so. Because of that we discussed what we would do if I couldn't get back in the right head space for these four and he suggested playing another pirate crew who spotted their ship and decided to take it. More than likely I'll pick up these gals though. Especially with all the written up story to look back on to help remind me of their 'feel'. :) I'm glad you're enjoying them! :)




More OOC Notes for Session 21

On the previous post I forgot to mention, I forced myself to incorporate the module's existing poem of clues for where the treasure was into Dolce's song about them finding it. Since I did list the poem in a previous post, I imagine some picked up on that, but just for reference, here's the poem from the module again:

From blue bight’s embrace
Spy the Grave Lady’s prize tooth
With the Dawnflower’s first kiss
Climb the Captain’s wayward orb
To claim old king’s hoard​
 

Owlbrarian

The Librarian is Here
Tsadok was a fun encounter. The tests ended up being pretty easy, especially the first one since Nasha is such a good climber.

When it came to the card game this is something that would honestly have been super boring with a group. It mostly involves a single player and I have read that lots of groups got frustrated with it. I ended up using the 3.0 rules for alcohol here since I hate the rules in PF2 and PF1 for that matter.

Overall I actually really enjoyed the mechanics for the card game, and it is something I will likely use in the future at least in my solo games with my wife. I think you could do a full group game but at that point I almost feel you should just play Three Dragon Ante and implement rules that let you “cheat” using your skills in the game. At least if you are going to have cheating play a role.

I was happy that I actually had a Marsh Giant miniature, I have used him for lots of things over the years but never for what he actually was.

I decided on a whim to have Mirielle meet up with her family here or at least someone from her old life. She is getting famous enough that her old life will catch up with her. I never got around to it before the game paused but I had plans involving the Dominator and some captain that Mirielle knew before she became a pirate that would be hunting her down to bring her back home.

I guess we will see if that comes to fruition some day! :)
 

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