Welcome back, scurvy dogs, to our recap of the Skulls & Shackles Adventure Path for the Pathfinder roleplaying game! If you missed the first installment of this series, check it out here. As before, this post will contain spoilers for the first book of the adventure path, The Wormwood Mutiny, so if you’re currently playing Skulls & Shackles or plan to play it, proceed at your own peril! Otherwise, let’s dive in and see what misadventures our heroes get into this week!
When we last left our heroes, their ship, The Man’s Promise, was shipwrecked on a foreboding island, and two of her crew members were discovered missing. The ship’s captain, Plugg, tasked the party with exploring the island and finding materials to repair the ship. And if they found the missing crew, the more the better, but Plugg made it clear that his first priority was getting the ship back on the seas. The party set out to explore the isle, and came upon a small deserted village, made up of a few scattered huts. Poking around they found nothing but a path leading into the marshy swamps further inland, so they proceeded onwards.
Walking through the mire, the team was set upon by a swarm of mosquitoes, and only then discovered how ill-equipped they were to deal with what should have been a minor annoyance. With Max and Sadie’s swords, Broma’s bow, and Worm’s fists, the only one really able to do any damage was Avar with his fiery spells granted by Sekhmet. Eventually, the party was able to chase off the mosquito menace with torches, but not before taking a few nasty bites. Proceeding through the mire, the group came upon a river with only stone pillars from a bridge long since dilapidated to aid in its crossing. However, as they approached the shores, Broma and Worm were snatched by two giant frogs that lie waiting in the muddy waters. As the frogs tried to consume the helpless ranger and monk, the rest of the party jumped in to save them. After a brief struggle, the frogs were no more and our heroes crossed the stream with no further incidents.
Still not finding any sign of their missing friends, the crew happened upon a large, gaudy tent in the middle of the island. Sneaking up closer for a better view, they saw three shambling humanoids inside. While Max had his apprehensions, the rest of the party wanted to dispatch of the ghoulish creatures so they wouldn’t come after the team — and besides, was that some treasure they spotted inside the tent? So the group closed in, and poor Max found himself bewitched by one of the creatures. Fortunately, the feline swashbuckler was able to shake the enchantment and rejoin the party in dispatching the undead harlots before anyone succumbed to the ghoul fever. After searching around the tent, the party found a small collection of treasure, among which was an ornate wedding dress. Apparently the fate of these ex-ladies was ironic, like ghoul fever on your wedding day.
The crew continued making their way around the island, towards a structure they had seen from the village. It was a large stockade, where they hope to find their missing crewmates. Before reaching the enclosure however, they found themselves face to face to face… With another mosquito swarm. In addition, a giant mantis like insect burrowed its way out of the ground to meet the crew. The team had learned their lesson from the last time and lit some torches right away to fend off the swarm. Even still, the little bugs were vicious attacking and biting the crew mercilessly. In addition, the giant insect, an ankheg, attempted to grab the party members and drag them down to its lair. Eventually the party defeated the bugs, but again not without taking a few bites and scratches. Healing up their wounds, they begin to approach the stockade with caution. Hearing another swarm inside, Worm peered over the wall to see what he could see. From atop the wooden fence, he noticed two plantlike humanoids lurking in the trees above. He described them to the rest of the party, and someone recognized them as chokers, vicious monsters who attempted to grab and strangle their victims. Rather than walk into their trap, the crew decided to draw them outside by opening the gate to the stockade slightly and making some commotion. This worked, and the viney creatures dropped down from their hiding spots and rushed through the gate, unwittingly stepping into the ambush that was laid for them. The party made quick work of the foe as they came through the door to be attacked all at once. Once they were dispatched, the crew could still here buzzing of a swarm inside so Worm shimmied up a tree for a better vantage point. He saw a smaller enclosure within the stockade but not much else. he reported back to the rest of the team who stealthily made their way inside the main enclosure. They crept up to the small fenced-in area and again peered over its wall to see what was inside. This time it was another ghoul laying in wait for them. The team got in formation around the enclosure’s door, and again tried to make noise to draw the creature out. After several unsuccessful attempts, Avar climbed the tree himself to get a better view down into the pen. Unleashing one of his fire spells, he discovered that the “ghoul” was just the husk of a long dead man, inhabited by the disease carrying botflies the party had been encountering around the island. The fire burned up the corpse and the flies along with it, so the party could continue on their quest.
The group had found wood and supplies in the stockade, but still no sign of their friends. However, when he was up in the tree Worm spied a sunken shipwreck off the coast of the island not far from where they were. With no other leads to follow, the crew made their way to the beach, ready to dive in and search the wreckage. Fortunately the water wasn’t deep and the ship wasn’t far out, so it didn’t take long to reach it. The team dove down, splitting up to search the ship from bow to stern. As Avar approached the rear of the ship, he found a creature rather than treasure. A large moray eel that had taken up residence in the ship lashed out at the hapless cleric. Everyone else hurriedly swam over to the beast, struggling to hold their breath while they fought. After a hasty struggle, the eel was defeated and the crew swam back to the surface to catch their breath. Diving back down to search the the ship in earnest, they found a few clay urns and other various items, and brought up the gargoyle figurehead of the ship, which a detect magic spell identified as having an aura of magical abjuration. Surfacing once again and turning back towards the island, the crew noticed a small cove carved into the rock. They decided that as the last unexplored place on the island, this must be where their compatriots would be, if they were indeed on the isle. So they swam to the beach and killed time waiting for low tide by fashioning a crude raft to use to explore the cave.
Join us the next time on Chronicles from the Crow’s Nest to see what our intrepid heroes find within the cove!