Fragged Seas: Skull & Shackles

Session 1
Press-Ganged!

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.

View
Session 2
Trouble in the Sun

On the fifth day of their involuntary voyage, the party encountered Bear Hartshorn, Mr. Plugg's "pet." Plugg threw a pouch of coins on deck and challenged anyone to take on Bear in a fist fight, a challenge that Shiv gladly took. She discovered that the Bear was as tough as his namesake, however, and it wasn't until Plugg doubled-down and offered another prize to any other challenger that she and Rip were able to start repelling the beast. In the end, Shiv was knocked out cold on the deck, Bear, now armed with a club from Master Scourge, was trying to back down, and Rip graciously allowed the fight to end there. Plugg, unimpressed, retrieved his gold.

A few days later, a massive storm rocked the ship and the captain called for all hands on deck. The crew worked all through the night, and in the dark hours before dawn, young Jack Scrimshaw was washed overboard. Fortunately, Shiv, Rip, and Tilly were able to throw him a rope and pull him to safety. 

The storm died down over the next couple days, and with the rocky coast of Lover's Run in sight, the captain sent the party to hunt some crabs from a nearby reef. Unbeknown to them, however, a pair of reefclaws, corrupted crustacean monstrosities, also hunted in the reef. After a skirmish in the water, the party was able to return to the Wormwood with four buckets of fresh crab and two reefclaw corpses. The captain, impressed with their find, returned all of Grim's belongings as a reward.

Mr. Plugg was not very pleased at seeing the captain's good graces falling on the party, however…

View
Session 3
Risky Business in the Bilges

The drudgery of swab-work continued for the party for days, until Riaris Krine, the Master Gunner, excused them all from work one day to learn how to properly board an unwilling vessel. Dane showed great aptitude in the boarding action, earning him a spot of leadership in any upcoming raids. 

As they made more friends, the party realized that they were at the center of a rift in the crew. Some of the crew, including the officers, started regarding the new blood as little more than dissenters and rabble-rousers, while others on the crew thought that maybe Plugg and Scourge were being too harsh with the new blood. The tension came to a head when Rip discovered that Scourge had intimidated Kroop into poisoning one of the new blood. Rip knocked out Kroop and revealed Scourge's ploy to everyone during the dinner hour. Some of the crew nearly came to blows, and Sandara quickly tried to calm tempers. It was apparent that Scourge, even after giving Rip nine lashes for slandering an officer, had had enough of the old Sharjh.

The following day, Rip was assigned to pump the bilges with Slippery Sy and Jaundiced Jape. His friends were all stationed far away and carefully watched by Plugg, Scourge, and their cronies. He knew going in that the thugs would try to kill him.

He was not wrong.

After an intense minute of fighting, Slippery Sy was nowhere to be found, Jape was bleeding out of his femoral artery, and Rip was covered in their blood. This was how the captain found him,  and thus sentenced him to twelve hours in the sweatbox followed by keelhauling to be performed the following day.

Fortunately for Rip, sails spied on the horizon the next morning necessitated all hands on deck, even those scheduled for keelhauling…

View
Session 4
Piracy!

With sails spotted on the horizon, the Wormwood gave chase. The Sharjhan merchant vessel Man's Promise fled at the first sight of the pirates' flag, but the Wormwood proved the faster of the two ships. 

The party was tasked with taking and holding the sterncastle and wheel and making sure no one made it to the boats. With Dane leading the charge, the party grappled to the other ship under the cover of magical fog provided by Pepper Longfarthing. The Sharjhan defenders, cut down by blade, fire, and fist, and then finding themselves facing their fallen comrades under Rip's control, quickly surrendered the wheel, but not without taking terrible losses.

During the battle, Shiv bravely leapt to Captain Harrigan's defense, saving him from a skulking Sharjhan. Not long after, the boat was rocked with an explosion, the cause of which the party has still not discovered. Finally, they caught a glimpse of Captain Harrigan leaving the captain's cabin carrying what appeared to be a human heart.

As the battle wound down and it became clear that they had lost, the Sharjhan first mate led the remainder of the defenders in a mad rush to the boats. With a host of raised undead blocking the way however, she and the other sailors surrendered at Rip's command.

The celebration afterward lasted for a full day and a half, during which the party discovered that Mister Plugg would be taking command of the Man's Promise and returning it to Gillespie. Sure enough, they were selected to be part of the skeleton crew, a move that would surely put them and their few friends in danger of Plugg and Scourge's wrath…

View
Session 5
Crashed!

Chosen as part of the skeleton crew for the stolen Man's Promise, the party finds themselves under the now-absolute power of Mister Plugg and his toadie Master Scourge, who immediately forbid grog rations and evening entertainment in favor of "disciplining this ragtag crew of misfits."

After a closed meeting between the officers and the rest of Plugg and Scourge's lackeys, the remaining crew starts to wonder what their fate will be, a worry compounded by Rosie's assertion that the ship has changed course and might be heading for the slaver's port of Bloodcove. Sandara, meanwhile, offers the suggestion that maybe they are heading for a hidden cove and hideout called Rickety's Squibs to "squib" the ship to make it unrecognizable to those familiar with it. Either way, if Plugg has changed course away from Gillespie, Sandara assumes that means that he is breaking away from Captain Harrigan's orders and striking out on his own.

The next few days are filled with grueling labor as Plugg and Scourge push the crew to their limit. The party was spared the whip, surprisingly, but when Conch convinced Jack Scrimshaw to gamble below decks one evening, the two were not so lucky and were savagely beaten by Plugg.

On the fourth day, a savage storm caught the ship and tossed it about. In the raging chaos, a small group of tentacled horrors known as grindylows slithered aboard the ship. The party was able to defeat this scouting party, but not long after, the ship crashed against a hidden reef, ripping a hole in the hull and grounding the vessel. A small island could be seen in the dark about a mile away.

When Plugg called roll the next morning, it was discovered that both Sandara and Maheem had gone missing. Plugg dismissed them as dead, washed away during the storm, but Tilly argued that they were taken by the grindylows and needed to be saved. Plugg forbade a rescue party, but when the defected Sharjhan sailors reported that the water barrels had been ruptured in the crash, Plugg commanded the party to sail a cutter to the island and fetch supplies. He told them they were to return in 48 hours—enough time for the repairs to be completed—or he would set sail without them.

Heading to the island, the party spied a fishing village they could dock at. They discovered that the mud huts were abandoned but remained guarded by eerie skeletal statues carved with toothmarks. Deciding to forgo the path through the mire on the far side of the village, the party crossed through jungle to reach a fist of rock that rose above the tree line. From this vantage point, they had a good view of the island and spotted a large planted field and a small fort on the other side of the island.

Returning to the boat, the party sailed around the island until they found a beach they could land at. Bypassing mysterious craters in the sand, the party hiked into the high ridges on the west side of the island to the fort. Inside, they were ambushed by a pair of plant-like creatures who used their vine-like arms to choke and entangle as well as a draugr who had apparently hung himself in life. Driving off the creatures, the party found a bubbling spring to fill their barrels and a nice cache of treasure, including a mysterious blue vial filled with continually settling sediment. However, Shiv had also been bitten by the draugr, and it was feared that she had contracted the disease that would transform her into the undead creature.

As the sun started to set, they finished transferring what loot they could carry back to the boat as a chilling call echoed across the island…

View
Session 6
Rescue in Riptide Cove

The party, loading the supplies and plunder they located at the cliff-top stockade, made their way southerly through the overgrown corn fields on the far end of the island. Wandering and losing their way, they happened upon (or rather it could be said they were happened upon) a hunting Anunaki—a burrowing insectoid about 10 feet in length with iron-shearing mandibles and caustic spittle. Due to Shiv's vigilance, however, they were not taken by surprise and quickly dispatched the beast.

Finally navigating through the field, they came upon the southern coast of the island, where two grindylow taunted them with Sandara's tricorne hat. Deciding that attempting to hunt the beasts in the dark would be a foolish endeavor, the party made camp for the night, fearfully aware of the now-multiple draugr calls echoing from the north end of the island.

Much to their surprise, the party slept the night in peace. Climbing the ridges through the dense jungle, they discovered a sunken ship about a mile off the coast of the island as well as a shortcut into the grindylow's nearby lair. Deciding that they should wait until low tide before assaulting the grindylows, they made preparations for several hours.

Finally, with the sun directly overhead, they plunged into the dark waters of the grindylow's cave and fought off the first round of defenders…

View
Session 7
Against the Brinebrood Queen

Continuing their attempt to rescue their lost mates Sandara and Maheem, the party formed two groups to cover more ground in the grindylows' cavern.  Fighting slowly through the deepspawns' defenses, they eventually regrouped as a hulking devilfish burst from the water and tried to drag a few of them into the depths of a dark chamber. 

Pushing back the beast and a flanking group of grindylow, the grindylow matron revealed herself in the light of unholy flame, empowering her allies before dropping Sandara and Maheem into the murky depths, silver ingots tied to their feet.

Desperately trying to reach the two captive pirates in time, Dane dashed ahead of the group, latching on to one of the devilfish's tentacles and riding it into the chamber. He nearly lost his head to the powerful bite of the beast, though, and he found that the situation was more dire than he imagined when a hideously corpulent grindylow emerged from the corpse- and bone-ridden waters intent on making Dane a snack.

With the situation looking grim, Rip called on the powers of the Deep Gods, sacrificing his lifeblood in a dark spell to entrance the sea monsters. In the lull, Tilly dove into the depths and cut Sandara free, but sadly Maheem, severely tortured by the grindylow, had already drowned.

As the party made their mad dash for escape, Grim covered them with musket fire and an amazing shot that removed a significant portion of the grindylow matron's skull. A portion of the cavern caved in, and the party retreated to the surface where they patched up their wounds and welcomed Sandara back into the fold. 

View
Session 8
Mutiny!

Having rescued Sandara from the cruel grindylows, the party made their way back to the Man's Promise with mutinous intent. Plugg and Scourge had similar thoughts, however. When the party returned, their friends were tied up and Plugg, with weapon bared, gave them an ultimatum:  leave the ship and be marooned on the nearby island, or die.

The party did not take very kindly to the threat. 

Incapacitating those pirates who might still be brought around (and killing the others) the party quickly cut a swath to Plugg and Scourge. To his credit, however, Plugg rallied the Sharjhan defectors and displayed incredible prowess with his enchanted cutlass and trademark cat-o'-nine. When Scourge was unexpectedly knocked overboard by a swinging jib, however, the Sharjhans surrendered, and Plugg followed suit soon after Rip gave him the ultimatum Plugg had recently delivered to them.

With the Man's Promise taken, a vote amongst the remaining crew resulted in the now vacant captaincy going to Grimgar. Heeding the advice of Sandara and Kroop, Grim decided that avoiding the wrath of Captain Harrigan and getting the Promise squibbed was the best course of action, even if it meant dealing with the miserly Rickety himself.

View

I'm sorry, but we no longer support this web browser. Please upgrade your browser or install Chrome or Firefox to enjoy the full functionality of this site.