Spoiler Warning: Many spoilers for the Skull & Shackles adventure path are contained within these story recap posts. If you don’t want your campaign spoiled, don’t read these!
Dolce saw what had transpired on The Purr through her spyglass and had since spoken to Mirielle about it. The captain informed her it was the man’s wish to fulfill his duty to his family and his country. Dolce couldn’t help thinking the man was a fool for the latter. Sacrificing himself would only ensure he toiled in the fires of Hell for eternity. She could tell, even from the brief correspondence Message allowed, that Mirielle was shaken.
‘Still too soft for her own good.’ Dolce thought. A day out from Senghor they saw an abandoned boat. Rather than board it with the full crew, Mirielle signaled Dolce and Revel to join her and Nasha and the four of them went aboard. Soon they found themselves fighting off a sahuagin ambush, but it posed little trouble for them. They had made the boat look as though it were sinking and had cleaned up the signs of their combat with her previous crew.
Ultimately the trouble of transporting the boat would have only netted them a small profit and it could only carry a small crew. Mirielle allowed the twelve pirates from the Vorsfang to claim it and to leave with it to make their own fortunes. They were grateful for the opportunity and to have a boat at all, and so they named it Miri’s Kiss in her honor.
Dolce was amused at the name and was pretty sure it made Mirielle blush. They continued to Senghor, once again being subject to detailed searching of their two holds and interviewing of the crew of The Famished Mane. They made port and allowed the Chelaxian pirate hunters off the ship. Dolce magically mended, cleaned, sealed, and painted The Lady’s Purr‘s figurehead, taking the time to visit Gidras for more scrolls…
Only the bastard didn’t sell her scrolls. He made her copy the spells from his spellbook. And when she made a mistake he rapped her knuckles with the long rod she’d seen him wield against his students before. It was infuriating being treated like a child in Dolce’s mind, but he was the single best source of spells of the like she was seeking in all of Senghor.. At least, of those that would willingly deal with pirates. Also… irritatingly… he helped her master spells she might not have by stopping her from making foolish mistakes.
Dolce also noted while in Senghor, when she sang their tales in taverns at night, the common populace were more eager to hear them. They remembered them from before. And that brought a smile to the elf’s lips. Soon enough they set sail again, leaving Senghor behind them.
This time they were only two days out from Senghor when the short bursts of the whistle pierced the day’s doldrums. Soon after a female halfling’s voice, “SAIL!!” She was gesturing to port.
Looking through the spyglass, Dolce saw s Rahadoumi schooner. Not a pirate vessel, nor a pirate hunter, nor any other ship Dolce knew by name. “Rahadoumi. Sails as white as clouds… And.. something big on deck.” Dolce couldn’t see clearly enough to identify what the big thing was.
Mirielle gave pursuit, ordering their course changed. This one proved elusive, staying out of firing range for a whole two days of their chase. When finally they drew closer the large thing they had on deck took flight.
Dolce’s hair stood on end. She’d learned the spell Earthbind and prepared it every day, but this was because she’d seen large avians in the distance one day when they were entering a storm. She hadn’t anticipated anything flying off of an enemy ship. She looked through the spyglass, by the size of it, at this distance.. Perhaps a hippogriff, gryphon, manticore, or wyvern. None would bode well for ship combat.
“FIRE GREED!” She heard Revel shout triumphantly. They’d closed the distance considerably and her hobgoblin friend was beaming at having beaten Nasha to the order. The lizardfolk took no delight or dismay as she started preparing to aid reloading. Greed was loaded with chain shot, and when the sails were met they were thoroughly shredded, part of the mast collapsed.
Dolce didn’t have time to dwell on that though, for the creature had drawn closer. It was a manticore! “Captain, that one will have dangerous spikes it can fire at us from a distance. Might want to ready the ballistae, though I do have a contingency.”
Mirielle looked from the catapult to the flying terror and said, “Do what you can. I mean to cripple that ship!” She ordered another fire of Greed as soon as she was ready.
Dolce nodded, weaving her magic as soon as the manticore was close enough. The magic worked, weighing down on the beast and dragging it into the sea, but unfortunately it was more resilient than Dolce hoped, shaking off the effect and taking flight again after a brief struggle.
The second shot of Greed was fired and shortly after whistling reached them from the other ship. Their mast was completely gone now, and they were dead in the water. The manticore seemed to heed their whistles well, for it turned and flew toward the ship.
Mirielle wasted no time in boarding the enemy, who promptly requested a parley. She said she would hear them out.
“It is in your best interest, Captain, to agree to our terms. We propose you take the bounty in our hold and let us leave with our ship.”
Mirielle raised an eyebrow. “Why would I do that?”
“Because we’ve scuttled it,” the Rahadoumi captain said with confidence. “She’s taking on water even now.”
“Mm. Dolce, if you woul-” Mirielle began, but the enemy captain must have realized she meant to ask the elf to mend it for suddenly she drew her blade and combat erupted on the deck.
The manticore acted swiftly, taking to the air and landing on the bowsprit. It launched a volley of its deadly spines at Mirielle and struck her true. She didn’t fall, but barely kept her footing. Dolce sprang to action, tumbling through the legs of one sailor to line up a Lightning Bolt. Her spell hit two marines, the captain, and the manticore. The marines died from the spell, but the captain took it better than they had. The manticore was unharmed.
Nasha and Revel advanced next, not allowing the enemy captain time to close on Mirielle. They surrounded her, and with claw and fang tore her flesh. She was nothing but a dead body at the end of it.
Mirielle turned her focus on the manticore. The ship’s morale had broken, her crew were fleeing and jumping into the sea. Not wanting to try and withstand another barrage of spines, Mirielle called upon her own magic and said, “Flee,” as she invoked the spell, Command. The authority of her voice rang true.
The creature, as it caught it’s breath, took in the scene but briefly before taking flight and turning away, just as it had been bidden. “Very nice, Captain. Are you alright?” Dolce asked, moving to Mirielle’s side.
“I will be fine. You tend the boat.” The enemy crew was still trying to flee themselves, and Mirielle, beleaguered by her injuries and the needless combat said, “WAIT! If you try to swim only death awaits you! We have no intention of killing you!” But the crew didn’t listen. They swam for an island in the distance. Near enough some would surely make it, but not large enough to support the life of man upon it.
Mirielle sighed as she called upon her angelic heritage, her halo glowing around her head. She knit her wounds with magic, watching the spines eject from her arm where some had lingered. It took a number of spells to fully heal her, and yet not as many as if it had been Revel who had been so injured.
Dolce magically mended The Sandbalot, but it required true repair work to be done if it were to be seaworthy again. They would need wood for that, which meant anchoring at a distant shore. And so, with magic keeping the ocean at bay in the bilges, Mirielle and Dolce set a course due east to the shores of Sargava.
Eveth, meanwhile, was allowed first choice of the non-magical items onboard The Sandbalot. She took an item from the captain’s cabin, though she would not tell anyone what it was. She did, of course, submit to a Detect Magic spell so they could verify it hadn’t been of a magical nature. But beyond that, she wouldn’t say a word.
Literally the day after The Sandbalot another sail was sighted. This one was engaged in combat. It also flew a jolly roger. Dolce chuckled. “That’s The Devil’s Pallor. Believe her captain is Gortus Svard. You might-“
“What?” Revel’s voice cut Dolce’s jest short.
She sounded so angry Dolce wondered if her teeth were already bared. She lowered the spyglass. “You know him?”
“Yeah, I know that fucker. One of the bastards that left me in Port Peril.” Revel was seething.
Dolce looked back at The Devil’s Pallor. It was a Shackles drekar. It’s prey was a galleon Dolce didn’t know. She cast her gaze toward The Lady’s Purr. Mirielle was at the wheel, but on the side closest to Dolce, allowing their communication via Message. “Are we engaging, Captain?” The elf could practically feel Revel’s gaze intent upon her as the magical message whisked away and returned Mirielle’s answer just as quickly. Dolce looked at Revel. “Our crew’s spread too thin.”
“FUCK!” Revel slammed her fist into the railing and Dolce swore she heard it splinter. She’d be sure to mend that. “Of course we find that fucker while I’m stuck babysitting a sinking fucking ship!” Revel turned on her heel and strode down among the crew on The Sandbalot. They were all Purr crewman, for the Rahadoumi had all fled.
Dolce looked back toward The Pallor. She’d remember that about Gortus Svard. Mirielle was right not to fight him. Dolce’s ship was currently undermanned and The Purr had only exactly as many hands as was needed to pilot her aboard at the moment. But perhaps in some future port or trade lane…
As it was, Dolce was using all of her most powerful spells just keeping The Sandbalot afloat. Every eight hours she had to cast Shipwright lest they take on too much water, and she was eager to make landfall and get repairs underway.
Gidras granted Dolce a +2 to her efforts to copy spells into her spellbooks with his harsh instruction and it did make the difference in her succeeding or failing with two of the spells she copied.
Also, the girls got to pick a favored port where it is easier to gain Infamy and Disrepute (mechanics for their pirate shenanigans) and they chose Senghor. They get a +2 to story telling there now.
You may remember that Mirielle’s aasimar quality is the authority of her voice. For this reason she is harder to impersonate and Dolce has a +2 to her deception DC when pretending to be her. Likewise Mirielle has a +2 to deception when trying to impersonate any specific person because her voice is so distinctive. Well, we also gave her a +1 to her DC when she uses the spell Command because her voice rings with authority.
Ironically, in this instance, the manticore made its save, and Mirielle knows this. She did not enlighten the crew, and just let them believe she scared the creature away with her magic.
Revel’s backstory was that she was left in Port Peril at a very young age. I created her without knowing there were any hobgoblins statted out in the adventure. My husband thought it would be cool to have her recognize the name of this pirate as one of the hobgoblins that abandoned her in her youth. It was not an expected plot twist, but quite a fun one to me.
In 1E you could use the Mending spell to repair a ship, but in 2E it is quite limited by the size of items it can repair, so my husband made a homebrew spell called Shipwright to allow for the same sorts of things Mending could do in the original adventure path. Casting it can either restore 15 HP to a section of the ship, or can prevent sinking for 8 hours. Dolce is currently using all three of her 3rd level castings to keep The Sandbalot afloat. No Lightning Bolts for her until she’s done with that.