Skull & Shackles #13: Island? What Island?

At the end of the last session, we left our heroes aboard the Man’s Promise, plotting against Plugg and Scourge.

 

However, things did not go smoothly. When the crew retired—exhausted to bed—naught seemed amiss but by the time they awoke the next day another storm had blown up and the ship was in peril!

It was all hands on deck and the Bards were sent aloft into the rigging. This they managed with aplomb—Vilimzair in particular climbing the rigging like a monkey! Fered was consigned to the crow’s nest, but the short-sighted dwarf could make out nothing through the driving rain.

Although the crew battled valiantly, and the ship stayed afloat, worse was to come. Toward the late afternoon the storm grew even worse. To make matters worse the ship passed through a section of shallow sea pockmarked by barely-hidden reefs.

All the crew were put to work watching for submerged reefs. Unfortunately, at this very moment the ship was attacked by strange, small aquatic humanoids who had tentacles for legs. Later identified as grindylow, the creatures swarmed aboard.

Luckily, the Bard’s rallied to the ship’s defence and—inspired by Vilimzair—quickly saw off the menace (but not before Felik was badly wounded and Grindin slew three of the foul beasts in an impressive display of martial prowess).

Although the beasts were driven off, the storm did not abate. In the early morning, as dawn was breaking, the Man’s Promise finally hit a submerged reef. It was then—rather belatedly—that Fered spotted a large, mountainous island barely a mile away! His ineptitude at lookout was the matter of some consternation among the rest of the crew. (Vilimzair quipped that surely his stonecutting ability should have helped the dwarf spot the mountain).

In any event, as Plugg and Scourge assessed the damage to the Man’s Promise the rest of the crew suddenly realised Sandara and Rosie were missing. Plugg and Scrouge didn’t care, but were worried about the lack of fresh water aboard—the ship’s only water barrel having been damaged during the storm.

As the crew began repairs, Plugg sent the Bards to the mountainous, swampy island in search of fresh water.

Reaching the island was no problem for the Bards—as many of them were skilled rowers. The party came ashore (for the first time in a month) near the ruins of a small village that had evidently been abandoned for years.

A single, disused trail headed away from the village into the interior. With no other real options, the party set out down the trail. The going was relatively easy, but swamp bordered the trail and it seemed the party had little choice but to continue forward. Shortly thereafter, they discovered disturbing signs that the island was almost certainly not uninhabited.

Here and there among the trees, someone—or something—had arranged whole articulated skeletons (perhaps as macabre way markers or gruesome territorial boundary markers).

Undeterred by such primitive displays, and now pondering the possibility that Sandara and Rosie had been carried away by the grindylow to this island, the party pushed forward.

Their progress would be short-lived, however, for the trail intersected a broad river bounded by what looked like swaths of quicksand. A bridge once spanned the river, but it had mostly collapsed leaving nothing but wooden pilings emerging from the water…

Creighton is the publisher at Raging Swan Press and the designer of the award winning adventure Madness at Gardmore Abbey. He has designed many critically acclaimed modules such as Retribution and Shadowed Keep on the Borderlands and worked with Wizards of the Coast, Paizo, Expeditious Retreat Press, Rite Publishing and Kobold Press.

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2 thoughts on “Skull & Shackles #13: Island? What Island?

  1. Fered clearly didn’t see the island mountain because he was just too focused on looking for submerged reefs. Wait – that didn’t go so well, either…