After cleaning up the bodies, the Licktoad Pirates left some of their more trustworthy crewmates (Sandara Quinn, Rosie Cusswell, and Owlbear Hartshorn, in charge of Tidewater Rock and returned to the high seas. The plan: return to Rickity Squibs to sell off plunder and re-supply.
Three days out of Tidewater Rock, while Ent Cleastwood was on lookout duty, sails were spotted on the horizon. The ship appeared to be a Rahadoumi schooner loaded with booty! Captain Spack Jarrow gave the order to pursue and Sea Spite closed in on her quarry. Before they were able to get into catapult range, a creature took off from the deck of the Rahadoumi ship and flew towards Sea Spite. It was a manticore!
As the beast approached, Brodo Faggins directed the catapult crew to try to fire a shot at it. Meanwhile, Captain Spack Jarrow worked magic to summon lighting from the cloudy sky. Miraculously, the catapult’s shot hit the manticore. A lighting bolt scorched the creature, but it was able to summon the strength to launch a volley of spikes from its tail, impaling Gargornne in a last-gasp attack before being brought down and crashing into the sea.
During the battle with the manticore, the enemy ship maneuvered into position to use its ballistae on the Sea Spite. The ship was close enough for the crew to read her name: Sanbalot. The merchant crew managed a few ineffective shots before another lighting bolt killed half the gunnery crew and a boulder from the Sea Spite’s catapult destroyed one of the ballistae.
Sanbalot’s captain and marines fell just as the ship entered boarding range. The inexperienced merchant crew struck their colors. Captain Spack Jarrow offered the crew a choice: join him or die. Only the lone remaining marine was defiant. The rest of Sanbalot’s crew were informed they would sail with the Sea Spite until they reached Rickity Squibs, where they could leave or stay.
Once they reached Rickity Squibs, tales were told of their exploits, including the cracking of Tidewater Rock and nine of the merchant crew chose to stay with the Sea Spite. The Licktoad Pirates offered Rickity a trade: the Sanbalot in exchange for wiping out their debt. The deal was acceptable. The goblins resupplied their ship and headed back to Tidewater Rock. When they arrived, they learned the sahuagin had attacked twice while they were gone. The Licktoad Pirates resolved to deal with their nuisance once and for all….
Another cakewalk for the goblin pirates. I think the sandboxy parts of the adventure are designed to be easy, so the PCs don’t experience a TPK while they’re just sailing around being pirates. The real challenges should come while they’re dealing with major plot points of the adventures rather than the “let’s spread tales of our derring-do and badassery” phase. Since they’re coming up on a couple of major back-to-back plot points, we’ll see.
Once they’ve finishedI plan to take a short hiatus from Pathfinder and GMing. One of the other players has offered to run a few sessions of Star Wars: Edge of the Empire. I may write up those adventures here, and maybe even do a review of the system (which I’ll cross post to various RPG forums and sites that accept such reviews).
I’ve been enjoying the goblin pirate game and I will return to it to see the Licktoad Pirates’ adventure to its conclusion. I don’t think Pathfinder is the right system for me anymore, however. It’s a fine system, don’t get me wrong, but after playing the d20 system and its variants for nearly 14 years now, I yearn for something simpler. I’ve been playing D&D since 1982, everything from Red Box basic to 4E & Pathfinder. The most fun I ever had with the game was 2nd edition AD&D. I’m curious to see how these Paizo adventure paths would translate into a system like AD&D or even Savage Worlds, and once Skull & Shackles is done, I might try Reign of Winter using Savage Worlds. Depending on how the players feel, I may even convert the game during the Skull & Shackles adventure path (though I doubt that will actually happen; I think the character would feel totally different and the transition would be very hard on some players).
The simple fact of the matter is: I can no longer devote the time and energy necessary for a complex system like Pathfinder. My interest in modern versions of D&D, including D&D Next (or 5th Edition…whatever they end up calling it) is lower than its ever been. I’m weary of buying the books all over again because enough has been changed that conversion becomes a pain-in-the-ass. It’s a game, not work. I don’t get paid to GM, so if I don’t have fun doing it, it’s not worth the effort. Paizo makes Pathfinder easier than 3.X ever was thanks to their adventure paths and books like the NPC Codex, but the rules for every situation, the ability for players to game the system to the extent that they can, no longer appeals to me. I get that being able to crunch the numbers and nearly break the game are part of the appeal for some people; that the gaming the system is THE GAME for some players, and that’s fine. It’s just not what I’m looking for these days.
But, that’s all talk for the future. There are still a few more sessions left of Raiders of the Fever sea, and after that, a short hiatus and four more books in this adventure path. The Licktoad Pirates have only begun their terrible career on the high seas of Golarion!