Skull & Shackles #2: Whipping the Bards into Shape

At the end of last session, we left our heroes as the newer members of the Wormwood’s crew.

Their first proper day would be a hard one. All the Bards worked hard at their assigned tasks. Fered slaved away in the kitchen while drinking heavily and trying to ingratiate himself with Fishguts. Meanwhile, the rest of the Bards—doing proper jobs—coiled ropes, carried messages and clean the deck. Vilimzair kept the entire crews spirits up with several excellently chosen and sung sea shanties.

After work was done, the crew gathered to watch Jakes Magpie’s punishment for stealing from the Quartermaster. Sadly, Jakes was to be keelhauled—a punishment he did not survive; nothing but a jagged mass of flesh emerged from the other end of the Wormwood. It seemed discipline was tough on the Wormwood.

It was now time for the daily rum ration. The rum was foul and strong. Vilimzair immediately tried to sell or swap his rum, but it turned out this was against the ship’s rules. Master Scourge took great delight in whipping the talented performer into unconsciousness. The brave bard stoically bore his punishment with barely a whimper. Later that evening, one of his friends—Kanbrar—healed his wounds, but the talented singer still bore the livid scars on his back; testimony to Master Scourge’s sadistic nature.

That night, the crew gathered below decks to rest. Several of the Bards tried to entertain the crew, but bafflingly the pirates seemed oblivious to the talents of their entertainers (except for some music played by Ilasual which sparked some vague interest among the philistines gathered about).

The next morning, the Bards struggled from their hammocks and prepared for another hard day on the ocean waves. However, several other pirates (Aretta Banison, Fipps Chumlet, Slippery Syl Lonegan and Jaundiced Jape) had a different idea. Led by Jaundiced Jape—at the behest of Master Scourge—they tried to beat the Bards black and blue. It did not go well for them.

Vilimzair roused his fellows with inspiring words of courage and quickly the pirates were beaten into unconsciousness or forced to flee. With the bullies defeated, the Bards sauntered up onto the deck to begin another hard day’s work. It seemed—for some reason—Master Scourge hated them; clearly something would have to be done about the boatswain…

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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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