Eleventh Session (10 page pdf), “Mansion of Shadows, Part I” – After the PCs kill Jasker Gant, one of crime lord Boss Croat’s lieutenants, they decide to go on the lam for a while. They get “loaned out” by Saul to Captain Clap of the pirate ship Wandering Dagger, who has a little job for them. Also, the triumphal return of Thalios Dondrel, son of Mordekai! [Reavers on the Seas of Fate Home]
Thanks to Paul (Serpent Johansson) who has taken on session scribe duties. You’ll notice I included some pics in this session summary – for the sessions, I Google for random images and pull images from the adventure PDFs as props. The players said that for their use at least, it would be a lot more helpful to have the NPC pics in the session summaries for their reference. I hope no one objects to me using them in this way; if you have a beef just let me know.
Mansion of Shadows is a Green Ronin “Bleeding Edge” adventure from back in the day. I liked the line, they were all pretty good.
Using this adventure illustrates two important principles useful for everyone running a pirate campaign (the best kind of campaign).
1. It’s easy to take any adventure location and make it an island. When 3e was new, my gaming group and I (rotating DMs) ran a pirate campaign. I bought all the initial wave of third party d20 adventures and handed them out. Since most of them try to be “generic” by placing themselves in some semi isolated location that doesn’t have too much relation to the surrounding world, you can usually wave your magic wand and call it an island with zero additional work. One of them I remember had a map that was a huge field of mountains, with one road leading in, and the town/adventure location right there in the middle of it! Might as well have been an island in the first place. This one is no exception – the town of Staufendorf is largely encircled by rivers. A wave of my lasso tool in GIMP and oh look it’s an island.
2. It’s easy to take any adventure and make it suitable for evil (or neutral-piratey) characters. A lot of adventures – and Paizo and Green Ronin’s are frequently examples – have several factions of bad guys for you to play off each other. Paladin-heavy parties have angst about that but piratey parties sure don’t. Frankly most adventures have a fairly simplistic view of good – “go kill the bad guys and take their stuff!” Well, that’s as rousing a battle cry for bad PCs – good sticks together, but evil is happy to cannibalize itself.
Behind the Scenes
The party totally did not want to go help the slaves, but Ox (now in NPC form since Bruce moved) wasn’t to be persuaded to leave them behind. So it was the worst of all worlds, in that only Ox and Sindawe were there for the fight! No worries, however – Jasker Gant rolled totally crappy and Ox got a megacrit on him and then on one of the goons in short order. The party’s general conclusion was “Oh sure, now he becomes effective!”
I knew they wouldn’t be able to resist killing another crime lord’s capp (“made man”/lieutenant) for long. They barely refrained from killing Braddikar Faje earlier, and this time they didn’t even worry about it. (Tommy’s player Kevin was playing Ox for the encounter).
Anyway, they went and wangled themselves a gig with a pirate ship to go raid a Chelaxian manor house. After the pirates put them on board a pleasure yacht, I rolled two random encounters. The first, a wyvern, was pretty tough. The second was a dire shark!!! I’m not a big believer in “level appropriate” when it comes to wilderness encounters. But I had mercy – they killed the wyvern and had it on a tow rope, so when the shark showed up it just ate the wyvern. Seeing a 60 foot shark go by caused a real brown pants moment.
Then they wandered around Staufendorf a while. Everyone they talked to, they tried to get at “why are there crucified commoners about?” but everyone would just say in a loud voice, pretty much verbatim, “Staufendorf is a lovely place to live, full of honest and hard-working folk. It’s a great place to raise a family!” It got the point across, heh heh heh.
So now they’re infiltrating the nobles’ mansion, trying to figure out how to weaken it enough that 30 pirates can take the place. They’re kinda worried about it since it’s very well defended. I’m not sure how they’re going to do it, but I’m sure they’ll figure it out.