The second session of our new Pathfinder campaign, Reavers on the Seas of Fate, went off like gangbusters. Hearken to “The Tale of the Sea Bear.”
Second Session (15 page pdf) – Insanity and chaos reigns as the crew of the Albers investigates the derelict Sea Bear. Soon, they are turning their suspicions against each other. And then, things get out of hand.
Later, the survivors struggle against the uncaring sea and the fury of random encounters!
This is the second part of the intro adventure I was running as a heavily modded combo of Maiden Voyage (3e, Atlas Games) and the new Mysteries of the Razor Sea (3.5e, Sinister Adventures). In this episode, the PCs board a ghost ship that had its mainmast replaced with a native totem pole. As you might expect, things started getting weird fast. I was impressed with how much the players went with it – I started passing them notes about “You think person X is acting suspicious” and they just up and started stabbing one another.
Fun scene – Ellis went running down into the hold to stop Ox and Bull, and Ox failed a Perception check so he got “a figure suddenly looms behind you in the hold!” He stuck his pike right through the poor sea dog’s chest.
The biggest DM dilemma I faced was when the PCs had the good idea of tossing the skeletons overboard. The skeletons, incidentally, were the new Pathfinder “bloody skeletons” that have fast healing. I had the totem pole raise them back to full unlife with two rounds of its drumming (it couldn’t attack with animated objects during those rounds). So Chris, quite innovatively, dumped them overboard when killed. The big question – can a skeleton swim? I ruled yes just to keep the heat on, but await the rogues’ gallery’s dissection of the physics involved.
I’m really happy with how the NPCs are working out. Thalios Dondrell and Vincenz especially are being treated like “real people.” In find that by portraying NPCs as competent, but not infallible Mary Sues, PCs respect them – it’s just that most NPCs you meet in games are such one-dimensional chumps, they don’t get that.
After the ghost ship, a pretty large percentage of the crew was dead, including the navigator. I am using a combination of the Stormwrack (WotC) and Broadsides! (Living Imagination) sea/shipfaring rules, so as they wandered the seas they exercised their skills trying to follow the charts and keep safe and on course as storms hit. They weathered a big one, but got blown somewhat off course and got their rigging fairly jacked up. They’ve come up on some islands they think delimit the Gulf of Varisia and stopped in a cove to refit, and had a more lighthearted combat with a dozen demented goblins.
I love the Paizo take on goblins; they are well and truly insane. Dangerous in their way, but spend half their combat actions running around like butt monkeys instead of actually fighting. One clambered up to the crow’s nest and was doing the Pantsless Goblin Victory Dance over the shrieking Old Pete when Ox finally got to it.
Seems like everyone enjoyed themselves! Wogan was happy to get a wheellock pistol off the dead captain of the Sea Bear, Serpent was happy that his snake had the biggest kill count in the goblin fight, Ox liked being able to go nuts and kill allies, Sindawe liked the massive combat, and Blacktoes… liked fleeing a lot, I think.
As a final bonus – it turns our our group played Maiden Voyage once before! I didn’t remember because I was a player then and GMing now, and it was like four years ago. Here’s the session summary of our Eberron party going through Maiden Voyage! I think you’ll see some similarities and some differences…