Skull and Shackles

20 The Shadow in the Sea

Session Twenty

In this session of the Skulls and Shackles campaign, the band of adventurers continue to explore the bordello in an attempt to find an entrance to the lower levels. They encounter a few stray resistance in the form of an animate dream on the first floor, a symbol of debauchery, and a mimic on the second floor. Eventually the adventurers find a secret passage and the stairwell that leads down into the lower levels. They manage to evade a trap on the stairs and continue down to where the malenti keep their slaves in pens. The mutant marsh giants aren’t much of a challenge to the group, as they easily defeat the monsters with a combination of spell and blade. They free the slaves and move up to explore the rest of the lower level, where they encountered a trapper that was blocking another entrance to the surface. After killing the trapper and giving the slaves a easier access to the surface, the party moved on to a watery sinkhole where they knew they had to descend to face the sea devil threat of Dagon.

Tidus led the way while the others secured themselves by rope and swam into the darkness of the watery sahuagin tunnels. They encountered more mutants, this time in the form of sightless sahuagin, and managed to defeat the squad with fire and electricity. Not wanting any more further surprises, Dalvika shows off her mastery of psionic magic by calling upon the depths of her mythic might by placing an enchanted sleep spell over a mile radius. She selectively avoids placing her companions to sleep as the sleep spell spreads across the dungeon complex below and above.

Confident in Dalvika’s magic, the group continues to go south to explore the tunnels further, only to find a dead end. They turn back and explore another passage which leads up to an air pocket. Within the air pocket they find unconscious human women, one of them pregnant, along with children, and babies in the back room. They decide to leave the family alone and continue to explore the tunnels for a possible secret door. They learn to their horror that the southern passage’s wall was in truth an illusory wall, and guarding the passage is an aberration monstrosity known as an Eye of the Deep. The Eye of the Deep blinds a few of the companions with its baleful flash, but is put to sleep by Wynter and then cut down by Tidus and Quade.

The group investigate what the Eye of the Deep was protecting, finding scores of locathah eggs. At the end of the tunnel, shackled to the wall, is the mother of the eggs, Queen Sloopdilmonpolop.

De’de and Wynter is well aware of the stories that the locathah matriarch is believed to be dead by the aquatic communities of the Coral Kingdom, where she ruled jointly with her husband, Sea King Gla’gool. But she disappeared many years ago when her caravan was attacked by sea devil raiders. Among those protecting the caravan, was Tidus’s mother, Tymora of Murdrak Hold. When Tymora escaped from the clutches of the cult of Dagon, pregnant with Tidus, the tritons of Murdrak Hold wasn’t aware where the cult kept their base of operations so that they may conduct a retribution counter attack.

Now Tidus knows.

The party unshackled the abused locathah matriarch and learned from her the whereabouts of the temple of Dagon within the sea tunnels. They also learn that the sea devils were planning to develop more malenti that would be able to disguise themselves as locathahs and infiltrate the Coral Kingdom. Handing the eggs over to the matriarch, they warn her to stay while they clear the tunnels of the sea devil threat. Meanwhile Tidus keeps one egg for himself.

The group moves on further into the sea devil tunnels, finding the rest of the tribe in an enchanted sleep. It would seem that Dalvika’s magic worked really well, as the hammerhead shark defenders, the sea devil barbarians, and even their devilfish ally were all sleeping. The pirates conduct the long and gruesome task of killing the sea devils in their sleep. They even killed the young, the infirm, and the old among the sea devils. De’de could recognize that nearly all of the sea devils in the tribe were mutated in some degree or another with loathsome deformities.

The session ends with the group confronting one member of the tribe that is still awake: the Matron. The prehistoric sea devil was protecting the tribe’s hatchery, where baby sea devils swam in large swarms. The group manages to defeat the Matron and the swarms with fire, blade, and more sleep enchantments

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Exploring the Fever Sea 07

The next session for Skull and Shackles is Sunday the 13th of March, 10 am, Hawaii time. The PCs have raided the bordello known as Porphyry House and must now journey further into the dungeon to hunt after the night hag responsible for the Fragmentation. Why is the night hag stealing people’s memories? What is the cult of Dagon and the night hag up to? And will the PCs manage to keep their sanity while they face off against the horrors of Porphyry House?

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19 The Porphyry House Horror

Session Nineteen

In this session of the Skulls and Shackles campaign, the companions recovered from their injuries at the Rusty Shunt for the night as they attempted to decipher Keward Bone’s journals. They learn from Bone’s journals that Giles Halmis has been out of touch with the Sczarni drug lord for three months and has not recently been assigned to hunt down Pezcock and Aerys. But they do learn from Bone’s journals that the drug lord has been investigating the cause of the Fragmentation and attempting to figure out a method on how to benefit from it. Keward believes the Fragmentation is caused by cytillesh fungi spores and reasons that someone may be experimenting upon the populace. De’de and Wynter determine that cytillesh fungi is only grow deep underground, and wouldn’t be native in a volcanic region. So that means the fungi is being imported into town.

Lars, the owner of the Rusty Shunt, warns Quade that there is a two thousand gold bounty on the collective heads of Pezcock and Aerys. The pair seemed to have angered the lord of Shark Island when they attempted to “rescue” Agasta Smythee. Quade thanks Lars and informs the man to watch over the pair.

The next morning, the Femme Fatale pirates journey to the water front where they begin to shop around, for their own personal shopping and for information on cytillesh fungi spores. They learn from a fungi merchant that he does indeed have the spores for sell, but it seems a large number of people have been asking about it of late. He figures the companions are investigating the Fragmentation and shares his theory that the Chelaxian government is behind it. That all the victims have been sleepwalking agents, and once their purpose is over, their memories are erased!

Determined to learn more information about the Fragmentation, the Femme Fatale pirates move on to Eralakni’s Emporium, for more shopping and to wait for the meeting being conducted by the Fragmentation support group. They observed that the support group meet at the Emporium’s basement, and every member seems to be disguised in some form or another. The companions then disguised themselves and journey into the basement after the other members of the support group, and manage to bypass the enforcers at the door with a password provided to them by Fitch.

Once inside the safe room, they are confronted by the support group’s leader, a disguised halfling called Slip. They bluff their way into claiming to be victims of the Fragmentation and sponsored by Fitch. Convinced, Slip introduces them to the other members of the Fragmentation support group. Each member of the support group shares their own theories, with the common theory among the support group that the ur-priests of the Holy Triad are behind the insidious banditry of memories. While the pirates are busy listening to the theories of the masked support members, a magical message is sent in the direction of Quade, directing him that: “if you wish to know more about what is going on, come to the Ollo Arena.” With this new lead, the pirates leave the safe house and head in the direction of the Arena.

While on route to the arena, the group is attacked by a iron-clad bulette! Wynter is able to determine that the bulette is an extraplanar being known as Saint Ironhide, an minor herald of Gorum. Unsure as to why they angered the god of war, the pirates defend themselves against Saint Ironhide and even manage to defeat the conjured beast.

Emerging out of the shadows, the mysterious messenger that sent Quade on his errand to the Arena reveals herself to be a Kelid human called the Duchess. A cleric of Gorum and a monster hunter, the Duchess apologizes for the attack and explains that she needed to test them in order to determine if they’re capable of facing a common enemy. She explains that she wants the party’s aid in tracking down and finding the night hag, Lodhotha, who is responsible for the Fragmentation in the Fever Sea and elsewhere.

The Duchess started her hunt in the Ustalavan city of Tamrivena, and has been tracking the night hag across the known world. She is aware that Lodhotha is working with a cult worshiping a demon known as the Shadow in the Sea, and that the cult is quite large and powerful in the city. She then proposes a partnership: she knows that the cult are up to no good and her chances of defeating them improve greatly if she allies with the pirates. She is willing to split the treasure into equal shares as long as the night hag is put down.

After some discussion the group then decides to accept the Duchess’s offer, with Quade taking responsibility to watch the Duchess. With this new lead in the case in the Fragmentation, the group attempts to determine the likely hide out of the cult of Dagon.

Bordello of Blood

The Femme Fatale pirates spend the rest of the evening looking at all the possible locations that might be the residence of the cult, their investigations ending at the Porphyry House bordello. They pay their way in and are ushered into the foyer, where they wait among other pirates and customers waiting to be escorted into the bordello. De’de and Tidus is led inside, separated from the others, and are taken to the registration room. Once at the registration room, the pair are asked a number of personal questions about themselves and about their sexual preferences. Tidus is led away upstairs by a madame who calls herself Wilarue. De’de is led aside to one of the many side rooms where a pleasure slave is waiting for him.

Meanwhile Quade, Wynter, and the Duchess enter next, led to another registration room. Quade manages to bluff his way into wanting a special request and is led upstairs to the special registration room.

De’de learns that the pleasure slave seems to be under the effects of a curse. While Tidus learns that Wilarue managed to see through his magical disguise and knows that he is a triton. Wilarue shares that she knows about Tidus’s abyssal bloodline and attempts to seduce him to join the cult. Tidus refuses her. That is when Wilarue reveals she knows about the Femme Fatale’s mind link as she was able to read the triton pirate’s mind.

Alarmed of this news, De’de leaves behind the pleasure slave and attacks a incoming bordello guardsman. Quade, Wynter, and the Duchess manage to kill the house madame attempting to register them, learning that she is in truth a alu demon.

Suddenly the group is drawn into a battle that rages across the upstairs and downstairs of the bordello, as they face off against stone golems, cultists, and the succubus Wilarue. In the chaos of the battle, the Duchess falls victim to a symbol of insanity in one of the rooms, while De’de was almost permanently blinded by a curse but cured by Wynter’s arcane magic. Tidus rages as he shouts defiance against the cult of Dagon, as he blames them for his mother’s death. Quade defeats many of the golems upstairs with his critical precise strikes. Wynter and De’de kills scores of cultists with their magic. Close to death, the succubus Wilarue teleports away.

Once the battle is over, the group is reunited downstairs, recovering from the massacre. To De’de’s surprise, after studying some of the dead cultists, he determines that they’re sahuagin. Sahuagin mutants that appear closely to resemble humans. The Malenti.

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Exploring the Fever Sea 06

The next session for Skull and Shackles is Sunday the 6th of March, 10 am, Hawaii time. The PCs have defeated the drug lord Kedward Bone, but are no closer to solving the mysteries of the Fragmentation. They must continue their investigation if they wish to restore their companion’s mind, and be wary of the City of Cannibals’s urban and hidden dangers.

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18 From Shore to Sea

Session Eighteen

In this session of the Skulls and Shackles campaign, the Femme Fatale pirates held a trial to determine the fate of the mutinous Tidus.

Eventually it was decided by the captain to demote Tidus to the rank of swab in order to teach the hot headed triton a lesson. Yet Wynter cautioned the other officers: they need Tidus alive, as she believes they may yet need Tidus for whatever destiny has planned ahead for them.

Bertok, Wynter’s familiar, then urged Wynter to follow him back to Blackblood Cay where the pair witnessed a meeting in a townhouse held by Simon Smythee’s surviving captains. Among the captains was Pierce Jerrel, the man that flirted with Tidus back at the Fallen From Grace tavern, Duwella Morin, the high priest of Cayden Cailean in town, and Commodore Gregory Bonedeuce. The group argued back and forth to determine what they should do next. Some believed they should strike back at the sea devils, while others cautioned to rebuild their fleet. Commodore Bonedeuce attempted to sway the group into picking a new admiral among their ranks, but was interrupted by the arrival of Avimar Sorrinash.

Sorrinash took credit in allowing the sea devils to attack Blackblood Cay, reminding all the captains that it is only thru him that the sea devils have yet to ravage the coast of Shark Island.

While Sorrinash speaks with the other captains, Bertok informs Wynter that the captain of the Bloodmoon is not with his ship nor protecting Agasta Smythee. Seeing this as a sign, Wynter quickly returns to the Femme Fatale and advises the others to make haste for Ollo.

After the trial, the officers of the Femme Fatale then attempted to determine the origins of Smythee’s treasure, the Jawbone of Kaho Ali’i. They learn that the item is a talisman of the sphere, a legendary artifact that can control a sphere of annihilation. But unlike any other talisman of the sphere, only those blessed with divine power may use it safely. Quade and Wynter suggest De’de should try on the jawbone necklace, thinking that since he is a Mwangi, he may be the chosen of Pele and be safe to hold the necklace. De’de tries it on, only to burn from the talisman’s magic. it is quickly deduced that he isn’t the chosen of Pele.

The Femme Fatale holds another meeting between its officers, including Tidus, to determine how they should approach Ollo and scout ahead. An advance team made up of Dalvika, Captain Quade, De’de, Tidus, and Wynter are to scout the city for their missing companions. Fishguts and Cut Throat Grok caution Quade about the dangers of Ollo, and revealed that Varossa Lanteri was once captain of the Shark Queen, a vessel that flew the banner of Avimar Sorrinash. Many of the crew are no strangers to the dangers of Ollo.

The City of Cannibals

The scouting team departs the Femme Fatale and make their way to the crowded waterfront, looking over some of the merchant wares while also following behind Quade as he uses his supernatural talent to track Aerys. While at the waterfront they meet some harlots and then come across a crazed doomsayer known as the Brine Pauper. The Brine Pauper warns the group, “the stars are aligned! Beware the black shark! His maw is oblivion. And in his house, the dead waits for us in our dreams.” Shrugging off the insanity of the waterfront, the group then proceeds to the Rusty Shunt inn.

They meet the Rusty Shunt inn’s proprietor, Lars Landicaster, and purchase a few rooms for the night. Quade then leads the group to a room suite where they believe Aerys may be staying. They’re shocked to learn that she is a guest of Lars, and that the inn’s guards are protecting her. Confused at first, they soon learn the reason why: Pezcock paid Lars and the guards to watch over her, because Aerys is currently suffering from amnesia. They learn that she isn’t the only one. There is a large number of victims of unusual memory loss, known as the Fragmented among the locals. The majority of these folk who go missing do so from the waterfronts. The missing people eventually turn up, living as homeless wretches in the slums. Those who were questioned proved to have amnesia and had no idea of where they had been during their disappearance. They seem none the worse for wear other than their amnesia and the effects of their deplorable living conditions. Aerys went to bed one night and awoke with no memory of who she was the next morning. Pezock left to gather more information on the disease.

Paying Lars to watch over Aerys, the group then head off to follow after Pezcock using the same supernatural method they used to track Aerys. They journey across the city, avoiding some thugs, and eventually make their way into the city’s slums, a place where pirates go to die when they can’t afford to be killed in a barroom brawl.

They find Pezcock at the residence of Haneilius Fitch, one of the Fragmented. Pezcock is happy to be reunited with his companions. The tengu is ushered out of the residence so that the group can interrogate Fitch, but Pezcock is shot in the head with a crossbow bolt! The Femme Fatale pirates search the alley as they face off against a sniper, destroying some of the nearby ramshackle buildings with their careless magic. Wynter manages to find the sniper and place the man into a enchanted sleep with a hex. They bring his body over to Quade, who in a rage, accidentally kills the man with a miscalculated shocking grasp spell.

Wynter raises Pezcock back from the dead with a raise dead scroll. The tengu shares what he knows. Aerys and Pezcock came to Ollo to find Agasta Smythee. They snuck aboard the Bloodmoon and when they found Agasta, she didn’t want to leave with them. They were forced to flee when the Bloodmoon Pirates became aware of their presence aboard the ship. They stayed at Rusty Shunt, trying to come up with a plan to rescue Agasta. The next morning Aerys awoke with no memory of who she was nor who Pezock is.

From speaking with Fitch, the group learns that the Fragmented are victims of unusual memory loss and a support group. The Fragmented meet in secret in order to discuss methods for recovering what is missing and uncovering the cause behind the fragmentation. “We seek to regain our true histories and put an end to such meddling. But against an enemy who can erase all memory from us… progress has been painfully slow.” The Fragmented have a meeting tomorrow over at Eralakni’s Emporium’s basement. But they won’t allow anyone entry, only sponsored members and those with the password. After some threats by the group, Fitch gives up the password: the truth is out there.

Wynter exams the severed leg of the sniper and notices the Varisian tattoos on the leg. The group is able to determined that the sniper was a member of the Bilge Rats, and that the local Sczarni like to hang out at the Violated Troll.

The Harrowing

The group arrives at the Violated Troll, while Pezcock returned back to the Rusty Shunt. The Violated Troll is a tavern that caters mostly to visiting adventurers, sailors, and gangsters. Naturally, the clientele of the Violated Troll are a foul and surly lot. The place gets its name from its most popular form of entertainment, which consists of a wretched masochist troll on display on a small stage in the center of the room. The Femme Fatal pirates spend two hours entertaining themselves at the tavern while trying to gather information about the Bilge Rats. They’re eventually directed to go speak with the Filthy Bandits, a rival group of Sczarni thugs. Wynter and Quade then speak with the Filthy Bandits’ leader, a Varisian woman named Isabella “Inkskin” Locke. After being paid for the information and shown the severed leg with the tattoos, Inksin is able to deduce that the leg belonged to a Sczarni enforcer named Giles Halmis. Giles did odd jobs for the drug lord Kedward Bone at the Jasperleaf Apothecary, who gives him his contracts and payments. With this information, the group moves on to exact their revenge.

They arrive at the Jasperlead Apothecary late in the night. Breaking in from the store’s front door, the Femme Fatale pirates then conducted a room to room search for inhabitants. They come across the Apothecary’s pirate guard and there is a grand melee on the first floor. After disabling many of the guards with enchanted laughter, Wynter places them all to sleep and leave the job of slaughtering them to Tidus. Quade and De’de move ahead to the second floor and eventually to the third floor in search of Keward Bone. Dalvika searches the second floor and much to her surprise, finds Keward Bone in his laboratory. The alchemist is angry to find burglars in his establishment and proceeds to bomb the poor goblin at the doorway. Wynter is trapped in the kitchen by a insidious trap, but lucky for her, she is unaffected by the trap’s sleeping gas. Tidus runs up to join Dalvika, along with De’de and Quade, and eventually Wynter breaks free from her entrapment to join her companions to face off against a well prepared Keward Bone. The alchemist drops Dalvika with another bomb and nearly kills De’de. But Quade ends the melee with a well placed critical strike that brings down the alchemist.

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Interlude IV

The following dream sequence is for Wynter:

We are bound, you and I…

Before the destruction of our family and my entrapment, the bond between us would have been simple. We would have found a balance in our mind, heart, and soul. We would have been stalwart hunters of those that would renounce the balance of life and death and rebirth… You would have been trained in your duties. I would help you usher those damned souls to their rightful afterlife.

Our old life was taken from us, my friend.

To you, Wynter, truly, I am sorry. These are things you should have learned as part of your training, your upbringing. But let me educate you both now. The voice you hear, the eidolon you have bonded with. Her name is Seraix. She, like myself and others, have served Pharasma with your clan for many thousands of years.

The gifted, such as yourself, are chosen as servants of Pharasma. Those that bond with Seraix are hunters as Seraix has told you. Myself? I speak with your ancestors. I teach witches, those that came before and those that will come after. I also chronicle the happenings of your people.

But there came a day where that all ended. I was told to flee with the ages of knowledge, to preserve that which could be passed to be rebuilt before it was stolen and lost for all ages.

Flight was most certainly the correct course of action, scholar. I remember blood. But little else. It was like being struck by lightning, it was over with that quick… Try as I did, with such a quick death I was unable to complete the transfer to my new mask because you, Wynter, were but a babe a few hours old and unable to. I could feel necromantic energies binding me away from you and our family. I was locked in darkness in turbid power that I could feel seeping into my being, infecting me in ways I couldn’t comprehend through new uncontrolled feelings. I realize now, that this energy was having the same effect on you as well. 15 years. 15 years that has infected us both with its corrupting influence of whatever magic was used against us…

Knowledgable I may be, but summoning, aside from its basics, is beyond my ability to teach. I taught you the ways of witchcraft. Fortunately, the hand of Pharasma has guided our steps and fates to one who could complete the bonding…

Being freed from the prison did not free me from the corruption that infected us both. Our power as summoner and eidolon is based on indifferent balance except where undead are concerned. Undead are a perversion and are dealt with accordingly with a dispassionate removal. Think fulfilling duty without thought to law, chaos, good, or evil… But this darkness. I can feel it, and you can too. It’s the whisper of chaos, of emotion before thought of balance. Of seeking control of fate. The passion, and the warfare… I feel the fear in you, as we are mirrors of each other.

You both must find that balance, and soon. Seraix, my friend… I have not seen a Sahik in ages, but that anger you displayed is a terrifying sign. We have not had one of ours fall since before Starfall. But your anger with Smythee… It was a thing to chill even our blood. And you, child. Your heart seeks to control everything around you through blood and destruction, and your passions burn so much so that those around you will burn in that uncontrolled conflagration of emotion…

It is so much to process… I’m a little freaked out by you both right now. Intellectually, I can see the wisdom in what you have told me. I had decided, before I knew you as a pair of psychopomps, that Pharasma was my path. But unlike you, Seraix, I was born to this chaos in our hearts.

I can only be what I am…

I need to think about all this.


The following dream sequence is for De’de:

You awoke to the sensation of the wind upon your flesh. You know you are dreaming, and yet you can recall the gentle caress of the wind’s touch upon your skin as it blows in from the ocean. A phantom memory, fresh from your collective thoughts. You feel the shifting of sand beneath your hands, your feet. Your logical mind reminds you that this too is just a memory of sensation. The sand clings to your naked flesh as you rise up to survey your surroundings. Familiar surroundings.

You have been here before. This particular beach. You remember it fondly. You were but a child when you swam in these waters, laughing and playing with your friends. It isn’t far from your village by the shore. The ocean that was blue, lapping the golden sands with the cold water of an early spring tide is now more black than the night sky. The surface moves in the slick way oil does with a rainbow sheen that holds no beauty. You look up into the sky and see that there are no stars out.

Just a uncomfortable darkness.

But even in this canvas of darkness you can see everything as if it was clear as day.

There are people ahead of you.

Several women and a few men. The men were garbed in ceremonial robes, carrying torches that dance angrily in the night. The women shuffle behind their elders, garbed in sheer white robes. You could see the swell of their hips, the curve of their breasts, and further details of their femininity against the soft fabric. All of them wore masks. The ugly visages of totems displaying whale, turtle, dolphin, and shark. The shark masks oddly remind you of the horrible piscine heads and toothy maws of the sahuagin.

And that is when you see them. The sahuagin. The devil men of the deep depths. They rise out of the sea as silent predators and begin to approach the masked villagers upon the beach with ill intent. The women are afraid, but the men hold their ground. They are not afraid. That is when you realize they’re not going to fight. That is when you realize the sea devils are here to collect the daughters of the Tulita. The men welcome them as aumakua.

You remember from the chants that the sahuagin acted as the Devourer’s evangelists, teaching the Tulita horrific, bloody arts. They led the converted in battle against worshippers of the old gods, and when no tribe stood against the Devourer, the Shark God set his loyal Tulita against each other to keep the blood flowing.

The sea devils provided bountiful harvests of fish to the converted. They offered protection from the many predatory dangers of the Fever Sea, and an occasional exotic treasure from the ancient past dredged up from the depths of the ocean. In exchange, the Tulita paid homage.

In sacrifice. In blood. In flesh.

One of the women breaks away from the others and begins to flee. Screaming. She does not want to take part in the Tulita traditions. In the traditions of the Devourer. You know you are powerless to intervene.

This is just a dream, your logical mind reminds you. You are a watcher and cannot take part in what is to come. This is your history. The history of your people.

You cannot help her.

She falls before your feet in the sand, crying. Her mask has fallen and you can’t help but notice that her mask resembles a shark.

Not a shark. A sahuagin.

The Tulita men pull her up to her feet as she struggles against them, screaming the words, “No! No!” over and over again as a primal chant of panic.

You can see in the darkness as if it is clear as daylight. Because this is a dream. You can see the men, and how some of them look familiar. Uncles. Cousins. Family friends.

The horror begins to sink in. The doubt begins to sink in. You think this can’t be true. Dreams often take what you know and warp them as a metaphor. They take what is familiar and twist it. It is your mind trying to make logical sense of a situation using your memories as puzzle pieces to form a picture. But you can’t help but feel dread begin to creep in as you see them take away your mother.

So young. You don’t remember seeing her so young. And she is screaming, reaching her hand out to you. You make eye contact and you can see that her fear matches your own.

You feel a pain in your stomach. A cramp. You reach down with your hands. With your finger tips.

You feathery touch your navel, a navel that resembles a gaping fish mouth. With rows of sharp teeth.

The mouth is laughing.

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Exploring the Fever Sea 05

The next session for Skull and Shackles is Sunday the 21th of February, 10 am, Hawaii time. The largest and oldest surviving town of Shark Island is Ollo, a miserable place of tumbledown hovels surrounded by dilapidated warehouses and the seediest of brothels, gambling houses, and taverns to be found in all the Shackles. An ugly town, unfriendly to strangers and squatting amid the nastiest stretch of swamp on Shark Island, Ollo seems to breed rumor and madness, and those who speak of it always whisper of strange disappearances, misshapen shadows, and sacrifices to things terrible and forgotten.

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17 Blood Frenzy

Session Seventeen

In this session of the Skulls and Shackles campaign, the Femme Fatale pirates emerged out of the sewers to find that the town of Blackblood Cay is drowning. The muddy, surging waters of the Fever Sea had torn through the center of the community with a terrible fury – many of the buildings that once sat comfortably on the shore were already flooding and in danger of collapsing from the rushing water. Ships that once rested in the harbor had been dragged onto land by the rushing waters, and many of them were already capsized or colliding with dockside buildings.

A group of children and a woman huddled aboard one of the old ferryboats, the tiny flood-bashed vessel lodged up against the fifteen foot tall wooden statue of Cayden Cailean and threatening to capsize at any moment. Beyond, the town’s church stood solid, its foundations already three feet deep in floodwaters. Frantic movement was visible in the upstairs windows as townsfolk trapped inside rushed about in a desperate attempt to save scriptures, comfort the sick, and pray for deliverance.

Fort Stormshield was under attack by a ship in the bay, obscured by magical conjured fog. Sahuagin and aquatic horrors prowled the flooded streets and hunted down man, woman, and child alike. And buildings such as the Fallen From Grace, the Harbor Master’s Tower, and the temple of Calistria were on fire. Quade also knew that the weather was magically being manipulated as the clouds blocked out the light of the sun, allowing the light sensitive sea devils free reign to terrorize the surface.

Gelik pleaded with the group that they should head for the Femme Fatal and escape. Captain Quade led Wynter and De’de to rescue the school children and frightened schoolmarm. While they were helping the children, the pirates drew the attention of a blood thirsty band of sahuagin. De’de’s psionic magic, Wynter’s hexes, and Quade’s skill at arms managed to defeat the advancing sea devil wave.

The group then led the rescued townsfolk to the nearest shelter, Cailean’s Keg. But once they reached the church of the god of fools and heroes, De’de noticed what at first appeared to be a huge black tree being swept into town on a collision course with the church was in truth an unusually large sahuagin. The sight of the immense monster rising sent the towns people of Blackblood Cay into a blind panic. If left to her own devices, the adacthys prepared to destroy the church.

Wary of this new foe, Quade, Wynter, De’de, and Tidus used their magic to set up protective wards and enchantments in preparation for the fight against the prehistoric sea devil. De’de drew the adacthys’ attention with his magic, and after a long and fierce battle, Tidus managed to kill the beast by hobbling it and then chopping off it’s head.

After the prehistoric sahuagin was defeated, a cheer rose from the townsfolk who had gathered to watch. It took the companions only a moment for them to notice that the floodwaters seemed to be receding.

The Tulita Trinket

Taking shelter within Cailean’s Keg, the Femme Fatale pirates met up with the chief cleric of the Accidental God in Blackblood Cay, Duwella Morin, the town’s spiritual leader and among its most respected citizens. Morin thanked the group and asked them if they were willing to do one more good deed in the defense of the town. Morin explained that one of her patients, an injured warrior, knew information on why the sahuagin were here. Directed by Anyabwile Saabwa, the warrior’s healer, the church acolyte led them to a injured Royster McCleagh.

McCleagh was surprised to learn that the pirates weren’t affiliated with the sea devils, and after much convincing, shared what he knew. He believed that the sea devils were unleashed by Pirate Lord Sorrinash, lord of Shark Island. Simeon Smythee possess a item that Sorrinash craves, a Tulita trinket that was collected in one of the old Ghol Gan ruins on the island. Sorrinash did everything he could to collect the trinket. He at first attempted to buy the trinket. And when Simeon didn’t sell, he attempted to use intimidation. When intimidation didn’t work, he sent men to steal it but they were caught. When that didn’t work, Sorrniash hired trained killers, but they were also turned back by the elite Dragoons. Sorrinash didn’t dare to attack Simeon and risk angering Smythee’s fleet of pirates, and his other allies, the influential Aspis Consortium.

So Sorrniash sent the Magpies to kidnap something precious of Simeon’s. But Simeon was so proud that he would not even give up the Tulita treasure for his own beloved flesh and blood. Which is why Royster believes that Sorrniash has turned a blind eye to the activities of the sea devils and allowed them free reign to raid the town. He believes that by convincing the governor to give up the Tulita treasure, Sorrinash will make the sea devils leave.

With a new plan in mind, Quade sends Gelik, Sasha, and Dalvika back to the Femme Fatale. Quade, De’de, Tidus, and Wynter then leave the church for the governor’s manor. While on route to the governor’s manor, Wynter attempts to dispel the magical spell affecting the weather. While she flies up into the sky, Tidus mulls over the vision he received while in the sewers below the city.

While in the sewers below, time had stopped. Tidus met the insidious Blackwarn, an herald of Besmara, a octopoid monstrosity that scolded Tidus for his current behavior but promised him power in exchange for a job. Tidus was to acquire a certain trinket that everyone wanted. Retrieve the trinket and return it to Blackwarn. In exchange Blackwarn offered to make Tidus immortal.

Back to the present time, Wynter had flown so high that she got a good glimpse of the battle occurring between Fort Stormshield and the dark bulk of a derelict whaler looming out of the mists in the bay. The pirate ship’s hull was rotten and stained black with age and rot. Before the mists swallow the ship once more, Wynter saw that the ship’s flag could momentarily be seen – the Black Rose. Flying over Fort Stormshield, Wynter used her extraordinary talent of magic to dispel the charm over the clouds. Sunlight shined down upon the flood damaged town of Blackblood Cay and blinded the sea devils with its radiance.

The Femme Fatale pirates eventually reached the governor’s manor, where they discovered that it was on fire. Thick plumes of pea green smoke billowed into the air from the front doorway and open windows. Bodies of dragoon soldiers lie scattered across the cobblestones where they fell beneath the onslaught of aquatic predators. A small band of sea devils were watching the manor burn from alchemical fire. The Femme Fatale pirates and the sea devils fought, with the pirates coming out of the fight as the victors.

The group then forced their way into the burning manor where they were confronted by not Simeon Smythee the Vain, but a mutated monstrosity known as a merrow. Simeon the Vain had become the salt husband of Mother Grund, the sea hag. The sea hag of Besmara taunted the pirates and promised that the fallen king Irons would soon return to his slumber. The pirates and the two monsters fought a fierce battle, with Quade nearly succumbing to the witch’s magic. Tidus once more saved the day by striking down Mother Grund and ignoring her promises of working together as allies against a common foe of the Pirate Queen. Tidus had chosen to side with the crew of the Femme Fatal.

With Mother Grund’s death, the merrow reverted back to a naked and confused Simeon the Vain. Royster tried to convince Simeon to give up the hiding place of the Tulita treasure, but the governor of Blackblood Cay refused. He even condemned Royster for working with his daughter’s kidnappers and believed they were all working for Sorrinash. Tired of the governor’s refusal and blaming him for the Dragoon’s treatment of Sasha Nevah, Quade chopped off Simeon the Vain’s hand from his wrist. Intimidated by the Femme Fatal pirates, Simeon led them to his study where he showed them the hiding place of his treasure: the Jawbone of Kaho Ali’i.

Before Tidus could snatch up the treasure and fulfill his quest, Quade took the item in hand and found that it burned him. With a flick of his wrist, he sent the item into a extra dimensional space within his glove. While looting the dead, De’de suggested that the group should flee from the burning residence. Tidus was about to kill the governor but was talked down by the others. Still hungry with blood lust and not trusting Royster, Tidus swung his blade and struck at the ex-Dragoon’s back. Quade and De’de stood by and watched as Tidus was about to kill Royster. But Wynter used her hex magic to put the mad triton to sleep. Not wishing for Tidus to be killed, Quade knocked out Royster before the other man could strike down the fallen triton. Collecting their injured, the pirates attempted to leave the manor.

But as they left the burning residence they were confronted by a large band of Dragoon soldiers led by Commodore Gregory Bonedeuce. Regaining courage by the sight of the Dragoons and the Commodore’s presence, Simeon the Vain ordered Commodore Bonedeuce to kill the Femme Fatal pirates. Bonedeuce drew his pistol and with a magical blast of arcane energy, shot the governor down. With Simeon the Vain dead, Bonedeuce then turned to the pirates and offered them a twenty four hour head start. He also advised them to leave the city.

Tired, injured, and most of their resources spent on fighting the sea devils and dragoons, the weary Femme Fatale pirates left while Wynter raged at the injustice of being manipulated. As they were leaving Blackblood Cay, townsfolk were sending out the cry: “Commodore Bonedeuce had returned! He saved the day! He drove the sea devils back into the Fever Sea!”

And the Femme Fatale pirates were blamed for the death of governor Simeon Smythee the Vain.

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Exploring the Fever Sea 04

The next session for Skull and Shackles is Sunday the 31st of January, 10 am, Hawaii time. The PCs must determine their next course of action before heading south for the sea port of Ollo where the shark lord rules his court of lycantropes. Will they help defend the port town of Blackblood Cay against the invading sea devils? Or will they slip out of town and use the mayhem of the attack as a means to escape without notice?

Or will they attempt to gain revenge against Simeon the Vain for breaking his promise on keeping Sasha Nevah safe and unharmed?

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16 Jail Break

Session Sixteen

In this session of the Skulls and Shackles campaign, the scoundrels of the Femme Fatale spent some downtime in the port town of Hell Harbor. While in Hell Harbor, De’de and Wynter attempted to gain some answers about De’de’s strange dreams. From the advice of a local priest of Pharasma and Jayhalle Messierre, the party learns that De’de’s dreams are associated with a common theme: the Elder Sign. Meanwhile the senior officers of the Femme Fatale decide to dock their secondary ship, the Crimson Maelstrom back at the Island of the Empty Eyes. With their plans set for Shark Island to retrieve their left behind companions, the Femme Fatal sets sail out of Hell Harbor.

As they draw closer to Shark Island, De’de’s dreams grow more vivid. He wakes up from a nightmare, dreaming about a beautiful shark-like mermaid, while also suffering from cramps in his sides. Dalvika uses her psionic magic to keep tabs on Agasta Smythee, and learns that she is still alive.

At the end of their journey, the Femme Fatale comes across a sinking fishing trawler. After observing that there were signs of battle aboard the ship and the crew is missing, Quade and Tidus goes over to investigate. The captain and the bosun encounters sahuagin hiding in the ship’s hull. There is a brief battle as De’de, Dalvika, and Wynter join their companions to turn the tide of the conflict. While looting the dead, Tidus claims a necklace made from deep platinum, a rare mineral that can only be found in the deep trenches of the ocean.

The Femme Fatale finally arrives at Blackblood Cay, but rather then docking in town, captain Quade follows Fishguts’ advice to park the ship in the secluded cove that the Magpie Princess once took shelter a few months ago. The rest of the crew remains behind as an advance scouting team made up of De’de, Dalvika, Tidus, Wynter, and Quade head to town in magical disguises.

The group splits up, with De’de, Dalvika and Quade heading to the old Tulita safe house in the outskirts of the town to look for their missing companions. Tidus heads to the Fallen From Grace Inn to acquire some information about Agasta. He isn’t aware that he is being followed by a protective Wynter. Dalvika and company learns from their friend, Mokoli, that Sasha Nevah was captured by the Dragoons. He isn’t aware where the other companions are, except for the gnome Gelik, who often frequents at the town inn. Quade uses his magic to determine the whereabouts of Aerys, the bounty hunter, and learns that she is not in town but somewhere south. Dalvika and De’de determine that Aerys is at the capital of Shark Island, Ollo.

Meanwhile elsewhere, while at the Fallen From Grace, Tidus meets the friendly and flirtatious free captain Pierce Jerrell. He learns from Pierce that Simeon the Vain refused to pay for the ransom of his kidnapped daughter, Agasta Smythee, and declared her dead. Seeking more answers, Tidus begins to go around questioning the patrons while Wynter watches on in disguise.

The other companions eventually meet up with Tidus when they converge around the drunken gnome Gelik. Gelik is surprised to see the companions, and shares what he knows: that Sasha was captured by the Dragoons, and Aerys made arrangements with the local governor, Simeon the Vain, to prevent Sasha’s hanging. To free Sasha, Aerys is to return with Agasta Smythee. Aerys left Blackblood Cay and took Pezcock with her.

While conversing with Gelik, Wynter and Dalvika noticed that they were being watched by two other bar patrons. When one of the patrons break away to leave upstairs, Dalvika decides to follow him. She learns to her shock that the patron is none other then Hyrix Snowfeather. Using her mind link, Dalvika warns the others about the spy. Meanwhile downstairs, the others also notice that Royster McCleagh, Agasta’s bodyguard, is wandering out of his booth and heading out of the tavern.

Quade decides to intercept Royster and pull him aside for a conversation, using a free drink as a lure. The other companions all head upstairs to confront the fleeing Hyrix. Dalvika manages to stop the tengu from escaping, and Tidus pulls the bird man into a grapple. Knowing that he is cornered and beaten, Hyrix surrenders and offers to give information to the companions.

Once Quade bids Royster farewell and directing him to go after Agasta, knowing that the other man wasn’t able to pierce their disguises, he goes upstairs to join the others in interrogating the tengu. From Hyrix they learn that the Dragoons have been watching Gelik and are on the look out for the pirates of the Magpie Princess. He shares what he knows about Fort Stormshield, the Dragoon’s base of operations, and tells them of another way that they can sneak into the fort. The companions bind the tengu spy and leave him behind, heading in the direction of the sewers.

While in the sewers, with Gelik in tow, the group encounters another band of sahuagin scouts. De’de notes that the Fever Sea has a serious infestation of sea devils jokely after the companions defeat the shark men.

The stealthy band manages to sneak their way into Fort Stormshield, where they slew a number of guards and defeated the brig’s notorious jailer, Lorag the Gaoler. Also known in some social circles as Lorag the Rapist. They rescue the brig’s only prisoner, a crippled Sasha, and sneak back into the sewers.

While in the sewers they experience a brief earthquake that puts a scare into the gnome Gelik. After traveling for an hour and emerging out of the sewers, they find that the town has been devastated by a tsunami and is mostly flooded!

Blackblood Cay is under attack by the sahuagin.

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