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Bones & Manacles

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This campaign is essentially the Pathfinder Adventure Path for Skulls & Shackles but the major differences lie in the fact that the players begin the game at level 6 and do not start play aboard the Wormwood. They instead begin play on the Thresher.

Prologue

It was a rainy night in Port Peril and Leon Maelstrom had just begun seeking shelter from the downpour. He was currently between ships and looking for work, so he decided to stop at a tavern called the Formidaly Maid for a few drinks. After drinking his fill and discovering the whereabouts of a local inn, Leon decided to be on his way. The cries of a damsel in distress from the alleyway beside the tavern alerted Leon that there was a woman in need and on this night he would be the man to save her. Unfortunately he didn’t notice the thugs hiding nearby, but he did realize what was happening as soon as he felt the blow of the sap on the back of his neck.

Leon awoke some time later to find himself already aboard a ship and out to sea. He knew he was at sea because of the sway of the boat and looking around, he was not alone. From the looks of the strange people around him, he was in for quite a ride. There was a very large orc with red skin, an almost demonic-looking black-skinned creature, a fish-man, and a rugged human man. Leon explained to those around him that they had been press ganged, and they would likely need to work for their freedom. Leon’s new companions were known as Kelben Urgir, Zerris Xerrarn, Kara Vosh, and Red, in the order that he had seen them.

It wasn’t long before Leon and his new friends discovered that they were aboard the Wormwood, a vessel under the command of Captain Barnabas Harrigan, a very notorious free captain in the Shackles. Harrigan was not a kind individual and his crew harbored similar characteristics. More notably so, Mister Plugg and Master Scourge, the first mate and boatswain aboard the Wormwood. The duo were cruel at every turn and over the next month they made everyone’s lives a special kind of hell. Leon, Kelben, Zerris, Kara, and Red were not alone in their victimization. They found like-minded individuals among the crew who were treated just as poorly and began to discuss plans of mutiny. Almost as if Besmara had heard their prayers, an opportunity was presented to take their freedom in addition to vengeance for the way they had been treated. The Wormwood encountered a Rahadoumi merchant vessel close to a nearby trade route and after a quick skirmish the vessel was Harrigan’s. He appointed a small crew to the new boat with the plans of it being sailed back to Port Peril and sold. Plugg was named acting captain of this new vessel and Scourge was taken on as the first mate. In addition to Leon and the companions he had been press-ganged with; Sandara Quinn, Rosie Cusswell, Ambrose Kroop, Conchobar Shortstone, Jimmy Scrimshaw, and a dozen or so of Scourge’s lackeys were chosen as crew of the merchant vessel.

Never had an opportunity been presented so clearly, they knew with Harrigan out of the picture this would be much easier. As the Wormwood sailed away, they began to hatch their plan so that everything would go off without a hitch. It was all set, they would mutiny on deck the next morning and persuade those not involved to join them, if they refused then they would be killed. Just as quickly as the opportunity presented itself, it was gone. That night the merchant vessel was assaulted by a much bigger ship. In the commotion of the battle, Kelben took Scourge’s head and the combined effort of Kara and Jimmy Scrimshaw left Plugg impaled on a wooden pike. After the fighting drew to a close, they found themselves once again slaves to a cruel captain. They were at the mercy of Captain Isabella “Inkskin” Locke, regarded as Inkskin for the many tattoos that adorned her minimal covered body.

Over the next three weeks, they came to miss their time on the Wormwood. The previous hardships they had endured seemed like a tropical vacation compared to what Captain Locke put them through. She was the most bloodthirsty and murderous pirate they had ever met and she never missed an opportunity to remind everyone of that. Almost a day ago, however, Captain Locke took seventy-five crew members for a raid on Tidewater Rock and never returned. Her first mate, Knuckles Grype assumed command of the Thresher and fled to an unnamed island with the remainder of the crew. With Captain Locke missing and the crew on board the Thresher at less than half of capacity, it is quite possible that taking the boat is a goal within reach.

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