Solo Campaign: Skull & Shackles

Yo ho yo ho a pirate’s life for me…

Popularized movie pirate songs and lyrics have been bouncing around in my head for the last week or so. You see, my husband, decided to run the Skull & Shackles adventure path from 1st edition Pathfinder for me, only of course we’re doing it in 2nd edition.

But my friends who know me well know that my husband runs a lot of solo campaigns for me… That is to say campaigns where I control multiple characters. It makes gaming much more convenient since there’s no requirement to leave the house or coordinate schedules. So in the last week or so we’ve gotten clear through the first adventure… And my friends enjoy hearing my descriptions of our games… Well, they suggested I start a blog about our solo games and detail the stories online.

So, there you have it, and here I am, about to start describing to you the four characters I built for his Pathfinder 2nd Edition version of Skull & Shackles. I am not going to really go into the mechanics of these characters at great depth, but I will probably occasionally explain how they come by certain abilities (for more info on Pathfinder 2nd Edition mechanics check out Archives of Nethys). Many proper dates and geographical locations referenced will, of course, be referring to material from the canon of Pathfinder’s campaign setting, Golarion. Should you be curious about the setting, you can likely find answers here, if not from the use of a search engine.

Worth noting is that none of these characters are good aligned. This is a departure from the norm with our solo campaigns, as I usually play the heroes striving to bring others joy and safety in the chaos of most fantasy settings. These four are more interested in securing joy and comfort for themselves and those they consider kin.

Revel

Revel is a hobgoblin female who was born on the 12th of Sarenith, 4687 AR (Absalom Reckoning). She was part of a journey to Port Peril while still a young child, and ultimately was separated from her ship and left in the Port by her kin. As a result, this hobgoblin lacks much of the discipline and order of her kind after spending a lifetime fending for herself on the docks. Her family did impart the viciousness of their race upon her, and it has served her well. She is never one to shy from a fight, and has found she possesses a certain tenacity that others lack. She feels a connection to sharks, and enjoys any opportunity to watch them in the water. Her affinity must have some merit, for in the heat of battle when her rages overtake her her jaw warps and elongates and her teeth grow sharp and vicious as several more rows emerge behind them. She is an expert at bullying others, and one of the few individuals aboard her ship that can earnestly say they’ve tasted the blood of humans.

As an ally, Revel proves a valuable asset. She will jump into danger for those she considers friends, and is willing to suffer to ensure their safety. She is pretty laid back when it comes to making decisions, which makes her a useful tool if she likes you. She enjoys contests of strength and athletic prowess, but is always willing to help out those that have shown her kindness. To the surprise of many, the hobgoblin has quite a lovely singing voice and carries a rhythm well. She enjoys tavern songs especially much, and has never been known to turn down a drink… Well… except when she has a hard day of labor aboard a punishing vessel in her future. She also learned quite a bit about a lot of topics from her days on the docks. Overheard snippets of conversation from merchants, pirates, sailors, and guards have left her with more knowledge about the wider world than most would give her credit for.

Revel abandoned the name of the family that abandoned her, taking in its place the common word “revel” because there are so many things she passionately enjoys. Combat, song, competition, prowess, and of course camaraderie.

Mirielle

Mirielle is an aasimar (my husband found a supplement he rather likes with rules for aasimars and tieflings until the official rules come out) female who was born on a ship at sea on the 27th of Rova, 4688 AR. She was born to a human noble family and was promised to be married to a prominent noble in Sargava. Fate did not let this happen. Mirielle is undergoing quite a bit of character growth. She began this venture as a timid and weak individual caught up in things well out of her control, but has come into her own as she’s realized she now has authority she lacked when she was her parents’ child. Of course, she’s also realized that, having engaged in piracy, she cannot return home to the life she knew.

In battle Mirielle calls upon her angelic heritage to bolster and revive her allies, granting succor to their wounds and helping their weapons strike true. Superstition is catching up with her, partially because of her allies’ own beliefs, but she’s actually come to believe they were right when they said she had Besmara’s favor. How else could a girl groomed to be a wonderful wife to a noble lord survive all the perils of a pirate ship relatively unharmed? How else could she find herself named captain and suddenly in charge of a life she was once living under someone else’s direction? Sure, a few quick and clever lies did help her get through these ordeals, but something greater truly does seem to be at play.

Outside of combat Mirielle is easily the most charming of my characters. She makes friends easily and is generally willing to forgive those who wrong her… Her kindness is not entirely without ulterior motives, for she recognizes her ability to ingratiate (as well as her ability to deceive) are some of her most powerful strengths… That and her divine healing abilities.

Nasha

Nasha is a lizardfolk female who was born on the 24th of Desnus, 4680 AR. She is a wetlander lizardfolk, with muted blue scales that are lighter on her abdomen than on her back. The claws on her hands and feet are dangerously sharp and easily deadly in combat if she desires them to be so. Nasha originally made her living diving. With her agile swim speed and her ability to hold her breath far longer than any human, she was a natural choice for checking traps and recovering pearls. At just over seven feet tall she has little trouble reaching most anything. When not working in the water, the lizardfolk enjoyed taking leisurely breaks in the fringes of the jungle.

In combat, Nasha is swift and dangerous. She has learned to fight from her environs and self-reflection. There is an odd sort of peace in the chaos of combat for her, and she’s found it in few other places… Though she’s beginning to feel the same sense of peace in the chaos of a ship caught in a storm or being lashed by powerful waves.

Outside of combat, Nasha says little. She prefers to observe others, and decides upon her feelings about those around her based upon the actions they take. She has a strong soft spot for children and families, and will go out of her way to help reunite or comfort them if she has the opportunity to do so. When a kindness is shown to her, she does not forget it. Likewise when she is subject to needless cruelty. She is not forgiving, and will not hesitate to kill someone who has attempted to bring harm to her or anyone she considers close.

Dolce

Dolce is an elf female born under the name Inara on the Isle of Kepre Dua the 23rd of Pharast, 4623 AR. Dolce was a special child to her family, for she was among the first born in Kepre Dua after it was established. Unfortunately for them, the only calling Dolce heard from the world around her was that of the sea. Her parents and indeed every elf on the island seemed enamored of it and their elven “queen”, but Dolce felt no pull to it. Rather, she fixated on and devoured every story she could of ships at sea and piracy. When she had the opportunity she left to make her own way in the world and traveled from port to port performing songs in taverns and collecting stories.

Dolce dabbles in a bit of everything. She is quite skilled with her rapier and very capable of exploiting weaknesses shown by her opponents, but she also carries a wizard’s spellbook disguised as a book of her own musical compositions called The Tome of Arcane Whimsy. Many think her a bard, and she’s content to let them do so. Others believe her a simple sailor, and again, she allows this to be the case. It serves her well that potential opponents don’t expect her to fight the way she does or call upon the powers she possesses.

Outside of combat, Dolce is a very good friend to have. The elf has explored a great many fields of study and is usually at the very least helpful in any undertaking. She truly excels at trickery, performance, and medicine. The last being a talent she only really began cultivating in order to better care for her new friends. She is a fervent worshiper of Besmara, tithing 10% of any treasure she finds at sea and 5% of any landlocked prize she claims to the fickle Pirate Queen.

Dolce is also the mastermind of the party, though she readily hears what others have to say on any topic… She has plans, and she intends to see them become reality. She skillfully manipulates those around her as required to achieve her goals, and is not above misleading others to accomplish this. Truly most of what she desires is benign where her crew and comrades are concerned, for she just wants adventures on the high sea and to someday become a member of Besmara’s crew in death.

Notes

So, some notes for those of you curious about mechanics at play here… Revel is an Animal Instinct (Shark) Barbarian and most of her feats relate to the Intimidation or Athletics skills.

Mirielle is an Angelic Bloodline Sorcerer and serves as the healer for this party. Most of her feats relate to Diplomacy.

Nasha is a Monk who primarily uses Tiger Stance (that 10 foot step is insanely useful). Thanks to her ancestry feat she can use her claws to do 1d6 piercing or slashing and she can just punch someone with 1d6 bludgeoning because of being a monk. Tiger Stance gives her a d8 attack. Her skills lean toward Survival, Nature, and Athletics.

Dolce is special. I wanted to have an arcane spell caster, but did not want to make a 5th character so my husband suggested playing one character as a Dual-Class character to try out those optional rules. She is a Scoundrel Rogue and a Universalist Wizard as a result. He also had me start all of her ability scores at 12 instead of 10 (all the others were made with standard creation rules). As a result of this she began with an 18 Dex, 18 Int, and 18 Cha. We basically consider her a prodigy who wanted nothing to do with the elven island she was born on and wasted her time and potential wandering around singing bawdy tavern songs until she got press ganged. Now she’s coming into her own and combining her many talents (she began play trained in literally every skill) to her advantage. Dual-Class is a lot of fun to me. I don’t honestly think it tips the scale particularly much as far as balance goes. I think, honestly, her starting with all 12s in her ability scores did more for her than her having access to both classes. Though she certainly has more options.

Another variant rule in play for this game is Automatic Bonus Progression. Since my husband is converting this module to 2nd Edition he wanted to use Automatic Bonus Progression to save him some time finagling with treasure. I honestly rather enjoy it… It means never having to invest a huge amount of money into a magical weapon because you hit just as hard with any weapon you pick up. I think it would also do well for campaigns set in settings where people are more the source of power than items. It’s been fun.

Also, I colored their names the colors I use to denote them on my character sheet. It is a single sheet (with several pages) that condenses them so I can see all of their skills, saves, AC, Perception, etc. on a single page front and the rest is written out in later pages.

In Conclusion…

I hope you enjoyed reading about the girls. I will begin a synopsis of noteworthy events to date in the near future, and after that will give much more detailed accounts of their adventures going forward.

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