The party, a disparate group of strangers, find themselves press-ganged on a pirate ship named the Wormwood after a rowdy night at the Formidably Maid. They quickly discover that the Wormwood's bosun and master-at-arms, Master Scourge, holds nothing but contempt for them and is clearly trying to turn the first mate, Mister Plugg, against them. Not only that, but the reputations of the ex-captain Grim and the mysterious Sharjh sometimes referred to as the Lich have followed them to the Wormwood, complicating relations with the crew further.
In their first four days, the party has managed to gather some friends, including the quartermaster Cutthroat Gertie, the ship's cook Ambrose "Fishguts" Kroop, and the mysterious Sandara Quinn, acolyte of Besmara. However, one of their number, the obsessive monster hunter Artorius, lost his temper with Mister Plugg, a mistake that has left him recovering from vicious wounds given to him by the first mate.
Now, in an attempt to discourage discord, Master Scourge is actively separating the newcomers to the Wormwood until they learn their place.