Skull & Shackles #1: Damn that Rum!

It was night and the Formidably Maid was heaving. Set hard upon the docks in Port Peril this pirate-haunted tavern was blessed with the final performance of the Buccaneer Bards—a travelling troupe of performers led by the handsome, charismatic and skilled Vilimzair Aralivar a noted performer of sea shanties and other rousing tunes.

The performance had been a tremendous success and now, basking in their fans’ adulation the Buccaneer Bards drank, made merry and signed autographs before stumbling to their beds in a drunken stupor. These were the first of many mistakes they would make.

Waking the next morning with horrendous hangovers the bards discovered they were no longer in their rooms at the Formidably Maid. Rather, they seemed to be onboard a ship! No sooner had they discovered this when they were awoken by a burly sailor calling himself Master Scourge. He explained they were aboard the Wormwood and were now pirates as they had signed up the night before. When the Bards objected, he waved a piece of parchment under their noses which displayed a number of very drunken signatures…

Master Scourge dragged the befuddled Bards up onto deck where they were brought before the ship’s captain, Barnabas Harrigan. The captain—a Chelax outcast—was a foul, vicious man who commanded absolute obedience from his crew and brooked no conversation with his men. One man—brought aboard with the Bards—objected to his treatment…and the captain casually broke his neck. Felik tried to intervene at this point, but a female pirate subtly restrained him—probably saving his life.

His point made, Barnabas dismissed his new crew into the care of Mr Plug who explained that most infractions were punishable by keelhauling. He further explained he needed to assign the new crew to their roles. To that end he commanded them to climb to the crow’s nest as fast as possible—the first one to reach it would become a rigger.

The Bards leapt into the rigging (some more successfully than others) and eventually Ilasual reached the crow’s nest. Satisfied, Mr Plug assigned him as a rigger and consigned Fered to the galley. The rest of the Bards were designated as swabs—the lowest of the low…thus began their career as pirates…

The Buccaneer Bards

  • Kanbrar Weaver: CN male half-elf bard (buccaneer) 1/ oracle (waves) 1
  • Ingrid McTerrin: N male half-orc bard (buccaneer) 1/ cleric (Pharasma) 1
  • Ilasual Shakirae: CG male elf bard (buccaneer) 1/ rogue 1
  • Fered-Gilet Cailean: CG male dwarf bard (buccaneer) 1/ inquisitor (Cayden Cailean) 1
  • Alagos: CN half-elf bard (buccaneer) 1/ranger 1
  • Felik: N male half-elf bard (buccaneer) 1/ fighter 1
  • Vilimzair Aralivar: CG male elf ranger (freebooter) 1/bard (sea singer)


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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.

4 thoughts on “Skull & Shackles #1: Damn that Rum!”

  1. Hello, Creighton!

    I’m familiar with your Shattered Star campaign, but I wasn’t aware that you were delving into Skull & Shackles. Is this with your regular group? Also, did you decide to give everyone a free level of buccaneer (or freebooter) to make the campaign a bit easier or is it recommended in the adventure path?

    And, Greyhawk?

    1. I’m not actually GMing this–I’m playing! I’ve got a post coming out later this week explaining the situation, but essentially we are taking a break from the Shattered Star after a disastrous encounter!

      And yes, I am playing the talented, charismatic and skilled Vilimzair Aralivar!

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