Our goblin player couldn’t attend this week, but we were able to introduce the new PC to the party played by Linda. The final days aboard The Wormwood prove dangerous… And the players learn just how hard things are when they only rely on themselves and not the NPCs they’ve been making friends with. Warning: This contains spoilers for the Skulls & Shackles adventure path.
So, we introduce the halfling druid, Kelara. She is played by Linda, who’s last character (Renza a human rogue) was killed two sessions ago in a terrible Reef Claw incident. She and Padre ended up playing a game of dice, gambling through night sixteen. On the morning of day seventeen, Plugg and his mates seemed more on edge, rather than assigning characters jobs that were needed; he started assigning jobs that were just plain hard. By now, most of the players have realized that they’re much further south than the Slithering Coast, now right on top of Rahadomi trade routes.
On day eighteen the players worked hard and set up to gamble during the night. When the beloved cleric of Besmara lost in the last round of dice, she flipped a coin which landed on its side. Those that know Besmara, know that that is a sign of luck. Though, the cleric said that “Fortune favors no sides.” an ill omen to what may come soon.
Day nineteen came around with calm waters and steady breeze. Kelara befriended the ladies man gnome known as Conchobar. But, by nightfall the players were alerted to the death of another character. A terrible accident happened when Rook was assigned to help pump the bilges. Crates had toppled over and snapped her neck. The players soon found this to be a lie. Though they couldn’t figure out what had happened. In reality, she had been jumped by three of Plugg’s mates and stabbed to death while unarmed. Or so it would seem.
“Ship Ahoy!” All hands are called on deck and The Wormwood gives chase to a Rahadomi trading vessel. Rook slips in and out of consciousness in the officers quarter. She spots a familiar journal. The entire day and night is spent catching up to the vessel. On the morning of day twenty one, the remaining players get their orders. Get to the sterncastle and hold it at all costs. Don’t let anyone near the wheel.
They were warned of a deep fog that would move along with the ship, and should prepare for it. But, they instead rushed to the edge of the ship, tossed their grappling hooks and rushed the other vessel, now known as The Man’s Promise. The players ended up outnumbered, two to one. Only Padre, Machev, and Kelara were there to fight. Scorch had gone missing days before, and Rook was assumed dead.
Machev was overcome by three Rahadomi tradesmen armed with tridents. He was tossed overboard into waters infested with great whites. Apparently someone had chummed the waters before the attack. The thick fog gave way to four more Rahadomi men and women guarding the sterncastle. The tridents they were armed with offered some reach. Padre, played by Rob, decided to back out to cast a spell. Six attacks of opportunity ensured he fell into the waters below, bleeding out and uunconscious
Machev tried to save Padre, but Padre died in his arms. A few thrown tridents made their mark on Machev and he died in the waters soon after that.
Now only Kelara was on board. She fought back as best she could, but trident after trident came at her. They were losing the sterncastle, but in her last moments she could see Captain Harrigan nearly winning the ship single-handedly. With Scourge and Plugg behind… The players provided the perfect distraction, and even got rid of themselves, much to Plugg’s delight.
Holy crap. Never made it to level two. The players learned the harsh reality of an adventure path designed to use NPCs to your advantage. The whole reason for them is so you don’t go at it alone. They never asked for a few more to go with them, they just rushed in and died. Just what Plugg had hoped for. In any “TPK” scenario I always ask, is everything alright; do you want to continue?
The players and I had a good 30 minute discussion. And, they decided they want to keep going at it. They love the challenge, and didn’t really think they didn’t do anything wrong; they just didn’t realize what they could do (with the NPCs). As a reward for pressing on, I bumped everyone to level two. Three new characters will join us in session six. We’ll find the whereabouts of Scorch. And, Rook seems to be Plugg’s new pet. Though he’s hardly replacing Owlbear with her.
The new characters will come from those captured aboard The Man’s Promise. They are restricted to human, half elf, and half orc. Everyone was awarded 500 gold, and extra gold was handed out at the end of the night to characters mentioned for “Cool things other players did.”
In any case, I look forward to the next session! I wonder what the players have truly learned, and how they wish to apply it.