Thursday, March 24, 2011

Sea Princes Campaign: A Secret in Saltmarsh

This week counts as my first official session of the Hold of Sea Princes Campaign. This is a 3.5e game using a variety of optional and house rules. Character stats were rolled 3d6 straight down the line, including the apocryphal comeliness stat from the 1983 Glossography. I intend this campaign to be a mix of random voyaging with some home-spun intrigue and a few old school classic modules sprinkled in-between. For starters, if you are playing the Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh be prepared to look away (spoilers!). Our dramatis personae are:

Victor Emmitt Hammond (rum-soaked human fighter)
Araxo Tydan (conniving human rogue)
Cuahtehmoc aka "Seemo" (obsidian obsessed Olman ranger)
Brother "Pickles" (human cleric of culinary concerns and the sea)

Araxo Tydan, black sheep step-son of the influential Count of Port Torvin is promised a swift voyage out of his family's hair. He and some like acquaintances wait to serve on their commissioned ship which still lays in dry dock. Until then they take a short tour across the bay on a merchant cog called the "Foam Runner" to the sleepy little village of Saltmarsh, part of the Kingdom of Keoland. Here, they follow the crowd that night to the only tavern in town for a night of rum and revelry. Word quickly reaches their ears about a nearby haunted house that blights the village. The house once belonged to an alchemist of ill repute who disappeared and has never been seen for nearly two decades. Since then ghosts and strange sounds have been witnessed by the fearful locals. The town drunk brags openly about once going in the back door of the place a couple years ago only to flee from the wailing ghosts within. Those of the Town Council express their desires for the place to be exorcised so that the land can be properly put to use for the village, yet no cleric has ever come brave enough to try this.

Enter Brother Pickles. He is volunteered for the job by his fellow crew mates and after lengthy deliberation amongst everyone in the bar, two more people in the bar bravely step up for their own reasons to join an immediate mission to cleanse the house with the promise of a reward (and a cask of rum) in return for the clearing of the haunted house. Joining the band of four is Astenon of Burle, a spindly wizard who seeks the alchemical knowledge left behind and Redric a red-haired dockhand.

The trip to the haunted house was quick and uneventful. The house is a two story high gabled affair overlooking the Saltmarsh bay with a crumbling fence around its yard and an invitingly open iron gate. Following the town drunk's story, the group headed for a rear patio entrance. Gaining entry and stepping in behind the lantern bearing Astenon, they were almost instantly assailed by a ghostly voice from above, threatening and laughing at the party as four of the six fled in fright back outside. Vic (too drunk to be scared) and Pickles (too curious where the sounds came from) unabashedly continued further inside, splitting the party temporarily until the rest caught their wits and returned. The pair searched around a few rooms and found barely more than a pile of books (no use to a sea-dog like Vic or an uneducated sea-preacher like Pickles). Vic did manage to find a small metal box hidden in a fireplace, and for his trouble he skewered the giant spider that lurked there.

Back in the first room, Araxo and Semo discovered a trap door in the floor after following footprints in the dust. While this went on, the party further sundered as Astenon and Redric collected books from the ruined library. Some of these non-magical works were penned by Tenser and Nystul. Meanwhile, Araxo and his Olman compatriot plotted to reduce the number of people getting a cut of the reward and conned the pair of Keolanders into going down the trapdoor first. Once they were down there, the Holders barricaded the door so the two couldn't get back out and swiftly made to catch up with Vic and Pickles.

Light a couple members, the four remaining continued to search room after room of the ground floor. Not much was found, but giant centipedes were fought with frying pans and well heeled boots, and a certain amethyst was discreetly swallowed by one member while no one was looking...The four then took to the second floor, following more footprints. A few rooms later, to their surprise, a man was discovered already tied up and gagged. Lord only knows with this group, if the man is better off in his current predicament....

(to be continued)

Campaign note: Cuahtehmoc is using a sword-like obsidian toothed weapon from Aztec lore called a macuahuatil (also found in the old 2nd edition Maztica setting). We couldn't find any official 3rd edition stats on this weapon so I fudged 1d10/x2 critical. 6 pounds and slashing. If anyone knows more about this weapon or some credible 3e rules on it please comment.


Anonymous said...

This is of great interest to me, Mort, and I thank you for posting it.

I intend Saltmarsh for my group's first "away from CoG" adventure. I'm very interested in seeing how your own adventure "there" progresses. And "self-interest" already seems to be playing a very big part in your "story." LOL

So keep it coming, my friend. :)

Mystic Scholar

Unknown said...

First let me say:

4:26 AM!!!! Yowsa!

Next I'll say, this sounds great. Oftimes these sort of campaign recaps can be a bit too technical or shall we say 'rulesy'. But yours reads more like an oral storytelling style. I like it.

Your party seems off to quite a gruesome start! I can recall runnning a party of adventurer's through this series myself, something like 20 years ago. Your guys seem much more dangerous than the bunch of goody two shoes I had. But anyone who names a character 'Pickles' is all right in my book!

Valkaun_Dain said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Gamerstable Eric said...

1. Don't mistake Araxo's disinterest in the correct pronunciation of C-mo's name for laziness.

2. Pickles is 100% better than his original name of Dingus.

3. Who always gets it first? The native guide, Alfred Molina.

Victor Von Dave said...

Your stats for the macuahuatil seem right. It's essentially a lighter version of the greatclub that does slashing instead of bludgeoning damage.

Looks like the campaign is off to an interesting start.

Mike Bridges said...

Valkaun: Sorry about that. Not sure how I miswrote that name as you spelled it out to me.

VVD: Cool. I saw homemade ones online and they were essentially planed-off ball bats with obsidian teeth.

Grol: I work midnights so I had time to hash this out after the game session. I might not make a habit of it, but I'll try.

Valkaun_Dain said...

Boz: so it's just blatant "who cares what the brown guy thinks?". Why not Kuato or Moke?


Sam said...

"We couldn't find any official 3rd edition stats on this weapon so I fudged 1d10/x2 critical. 6 pounds and slashing. If anyone knows more about this weapon or some credible 3e rules on it please comment."

MM IV, page 88.
They make it 10 lbs., 2-handed, bludgeoning and slashing, but same damage as you have.