Betrayal is the only truth that sticks

Posted: October 28, 2012 by mearrin69 in Gaming
Tags: , , , ,

This Sunday in Skull & Shackles, the PCs explored the castaway’s lodge, picked up some supplies for Man’s Promise, and received a concerning message from their spy still aboard. When we left off last week, Valana had just opened the door to the lodge and barely had time to take in the hanging corpse and awful stench before she was swarmed by flies flooding out of the stinking place.

Valana fell backward as the flies swarmed around her, biting fiercely. She turned and ran for the stockade gate with the flies still surrounding her. Killian, still examining the spyglass, thinks quickly and retrieves a torch and lights it. As Valana moves past Shiera the bugs go after her as well and they both continue toward the gate. Keeya creates some dancing lights in a vain attempt to draw the swarm off, but they appear to prefer the fresher meat offered by the two fleeing ladies. Afari realized there not much he can do so he too exits by the gate, followed by Keeya.

By now, even sturdy Valana has been badly bitten and she falls to the ground. More delicate, Shiera has also met her match and collapses near her friend. Still the flies swarm around the fallen crewmates. Realizing their danger, the group rallies: Keeya and Rosie both stop their rout and produce and light torches, charging into the swarm with Killian coming at the bugs from the other direction. Afari manifests a glowing humanoid form (MA: dancing lights again) and uses it to lead the swarm away from his comrades. This time it works, thanks to the burning flames wielded by Keeya, Killian, and Rosie!

Keeya lifts Shiera’s head and helps her drink the contents of the vials given to her by Harrigan after the taking of Promise. The healing effects of these potions bring her back to consciousness, thrashing and still trying to run to escape the cloud of biting insects. After she comes to her senses Shiera turns to Valana to help her, with a little assistance from blessed Besmara. Until now, Afari has been keeping a keen eye on his apparition and the swarm but now it has begun to break up, spreading out into the jungle.

After a brief rest, the group was ready to look into the lodge again. Inside they found a great deal of salvage from a Chelish ship called the Infernus: the former captain’s bed, a fine spice cabinet with waxed bags of pepper, suits of quality clothing, logs and charts, and so on. As Killian cataloged the lodge’s contents and Valana tapped the floor looking for secret compartments, Shiera examined the hanging corpse. As she drew near to do so…it grabbed at her! The man wasn’t dead after all, or so it seemed. Fortunately it missed and the others quickly surrounded it and put it to rest…again.

The final survivor of the Infernus was the ship’s former carpenter, Aaron Ivy…so they gathered from the scrawled notes they found in the margins of the ship’s logs and on the back of sea charts. There were originally several survivors of the storm that badly damaged their ship but the wreck had also torn open a cage containing the ship’s ghouls (MA: Yeah. What’s Golarion’s version of “WTF?!”) and several crewmen were infected by their bites. As the infection spread and more crewmembers died and rose again as ghouls. He managed to kill all but the three former ship’s whores…his locket containing a likeness of one of the three may explain his inability to finish off those particular creatures.

Ivy took refuge atop the ridge and built his stockade and lodge. He also cleared the jungle and planted the crops, though it was difficult to maintain these while dodging the former whores and the swarms of ghoul-fever-infected mosquitoes and bot flies. One day, several years ago, he was returning from the field and encountered his former love. She bit him and, though he escaped to his lodge, he soon took ill. Rather than die of the illness and rise as a ghoul, Ivy decided to take his own life by hanging.

Apparently he didn’t succeed. The Chelish hangman’s color is a delicate device and Ivy had donned it incorrectly. Instead of dying from a snapped neck, he must have hanged there for days before finally succumbing to the fever and turning into a ghoul. (MA: The wonder of the English language: “Hanged” is actually the correct usage, even though I so very much want to say “hung”)

With nothing much left to see, the group headed back to the field and gathered some corn and grains in sacks. Then they returned to the coconut palm beach for some coconuts and fresh crab, including three particularly large specimens. Finally, they headed back to the north shore and their gig, passing back through the swamp on their way. At the gig, they loaded their finds and looked to the Man’s Promise to see how things were on the ship.

Through the spyglass they saw the crew at work on repairs but one sailor was apparently loafing by the foreward rail, looking toward shore. It was Killian’s old friend, Crimson Cogward, keeping an eye out for their return. They signaled him and he disappeared, quickly replaced by the dark figure of Slippery Syl Lonegan. She took up her dagger and began flashing a signal toward them:

V: P and S plan maroon you. S wanted kill, P said exile. Some crew support. Friends all with you. Watch back. -SSL (MA: Honestly we don’t know what form this code took. I suppose it’s not Morse but surely there’s some sort of sailor mirror-flashing-sunlight code, right? Well, I guess there is now!)

The group flashed acknowledgement and then discussed what to do. They decided to stay the night on the island and rest up before returning to the ship and a confrontation with Scourge and Plugg. The night passed without event and they took up the gig at first light and headed back to Promise. The crew all took a break to greet them and unload the cargo. After it was done, Plugg faced the returning group, with Scourge grinning evilly at his side, and the massive Owlbear behind, club in hand.

He told them, somewhat uncertainly, “It looks as if you did well on the island. I’m glad, because it is going to be your new home…at least until you can catch the attention of a passing ship. You have become a disruptive influence on morale aboard ship and I can’t have you dividing the crew’s loyalties. We will leave you with some supplies and say goodbye in the morning, after the repairs are complete.”

And that’s where we left it. Other GMs and players of this AP will notice that our Plugg isn’t as bad as written. Scourge is every bit the scurvy jerk Richard Pett intended him to be but I didn’t take Plugg there. The PCs have actively attempted to do a good job on the ship and have worked hard to impress Plugg. He sees that, and doesn’t hate them, but he has Scourge in his ear and *does* see that they’ve built up a following aboard that’s more loyal to them than to him. That’s a situation that just can’t stand.

NB: I should have noted in the recap above that Ivy’s “journal” also dealt with the island’s grindylow population. The grindylows dwell in a series of sea caves on the island’s southwestern tip and harass passing ships, one of the reasons Ivy was never able to signal a ship for rescue. Infernus, like Man’s Promise, ran into a storm before its crash and there was a grindylow incursion during that storm as well. Crewmen were captured and never heard from again. Apparently the grindylows don’t venture inland so Ivy had little to do with them as long as he stayed away from the water…though they were a problem while the crew was trying to salvage what they could from Infernus before it sank. Some time ago they attacked another passing ship and captured crewmen. The ship itself survived the storm and attack and sent a rescue team to the cove…but it retreated without the missing crewmen and the ship went on its way. The PCs have decided that if Sandara Quinn and Concho are being held by the grindylows there’s not a lot they can do about it, so they’re going to abandon their former friends to their fates. Too bad. Sandara might have been able to do something about that ghoul fever four of the PC seem to have contracted while on the island…

  1. archivest says:

    “The PCs have actively attempted to do a good job on the ship and have worked hard to impress Plugg. ”

    I bet he is impressed now.

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