Skull & Shackles #4: Rats!

At the end of last session, we left our heroes after they’d entertained the crew with a tale of a terrifying shark/octopus hybrid. Sadly, the crew were less than impressed with the performance, mainly because Vilimzair’s backing singers just weren’t up to scratch.


No matter, the next day the Bards hurled themselves back into work. However, today would bring different challenges. Fishguts was “ill” and couldn’t cook—thus Fered had to cook for the entire crew. Vilimzair—singing a beautifully crafted song—wooed Quartermaster Grok and retrieved his performing finery (for tonight’s performance of Ghost Shark). Ingrid also managed to sweet-talk Grok out of a potion of cure light wounds while Felik spread rumours among the crew that the Wormwood was doomed. His sedition, however, was interrupted by Scrimshaw Jack rushing up on deck clutching his bleeding leg. It turned out something in the bilge had bitten him! Master Plugg—a glint of sadistic pleasure in his eyes—commanded the Bards to kill whatever was down there.

Heroically, Vilimzair led from rear and guided the Bards to bilges—a place he knew well. Brave Ilasual was the first down the stairs. He was immediately set upon by a gigantic rat and as the rest of the party rushed to help more rats emerged from their hiding places. The water in the bilges hindered the Bard’s combat prowess and the rats seemed rather adept at nibbling at their foes’ ankles.

Several of the Bards were injured in the ensuing fighting. Eventually most of the rats were slain, but the commotion had awoken a new foe—a venomous spider that dropped down on Ferid’s head. This foe—along with he remainder of the rats—were slain and the Bard’s stood triumphant, in no small part to Vilimzair’s rousing rendition of the Doom of Ilasual—an ancient song about an elf warrior who falls in love with a kobold chieftain’s concubine.

Wounds were bound and (minor) treasure was recovered before the party returned above decks to report their success.

That night, Vilimzair once again entertained the crew. This time, his backing singers—led by the parrot Pluck who turned out to be passable singer—were much better and the performance—a gripping tail of a ghostly shark terrorising a small coastal community—went marvellously. Wisely, Vilimzair decided to end the tale halfway through—you’ve got to leave them wanting more after all and tomorrow would be soon enough for his fans to learn how the ghost shark was slain…

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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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