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vythvutha
Acolyte

Canada
7 Posts

Posted - 03 Oct 2023 :  17:49:33  Show Profile Send vythvutha a Private Message  Reply with Quote  Delete Topic
Hello again, friends, and well met.

I am in the process of running and creating an adventure for my players. We have recently completed the Dead in Thay campaign and, having destroyed the phylactery vault of Szass Tam, destabilised the political make up of Thay. They emerge from the Doomvault, from help with Syranna, into a Bezantur in revolt. Now that they are wanted folk, both by Szass Tam and his tharchons in revolt, each hoping for an edge over the other, they must rest and escape from the city as quickly as possible. It's an open ended escape, but ideally they were to take the advice of some of the folk in taverns and shops and take the one ship at port going as far away from Thay as possible; ideally heading towards the Border Kingdoms where I had created a hook for a quest line to have them find an exiled Shaaran tribesman who had accumulated power made friends and enemies throughout the Eastern Shaar and had gotten access to Netherese magics and Spelljamming equipment. However, what happened during our last session was that they were contracting a captain to sail them to Cormyr, for a reduced rate for clearing out his cargo and during that unsupervised time they commandeered the ship and set sail with a woefully inadequate crew.

I still plan to throw a few encounters at them, that I had originally cooked up for their journey to Derlusk, simply replacing some of the locations and names. For example:

They must cross the Sharksbane Wall, which has a whale carcass tethered to a trap set by some sahuagin foes.

A couple of days pass, and their ship is then beset by a vampirate crew looking for blood and booty hiding in along the treacherous coasts and island of the Straits of Silvanus or in the Pirate Isles.

Later, the sailing crew are tricked by some merfolk taking advantage of a sailor's natural superstition when they find a dead albatross splayed out on the deck in the morning, forcing them to halt and wait out the supposed dire omen of Umberlee.

Their ship sails into some coastal port to trade what wares exist in their cargo, and, upon arrival, the crew are faced with a dilemma when they notice a trading ship quietly negotiating a sale of humanoids into slavery.

Then a few more stops and encounters along the way.

They made a hard left turn to head towards Cormyr. I don't know if they'll make it there very quickly, given the state of their miserly sailing skills. Nominally, they've decided to take it upon themselves to rehabilitate a victim on Szass Tam's monstrous experiments from the Doomvault by removing an evil god's chosen that was fused with a good god's chosen soul. What was meant to be a one-off NPC has suddenly become The Mission for them. There definitely will be an adversarial Thayan naval expedition against them, either out of Bezantur, Aalor, Murbant, Thasselen, or even Escalant. But, after that, what are some other ideas I can bring to bear against them? Obviously sailing a gargantuan ship with a crew of 4 is not particularly plausible, and I could have them struggle against the storms and other natural hazards.

Does anyone some good ideas about some locations alone the Sea of Fallen Stars that they could stop in at? Some interesting locales or characters that may exist between point A and B? Maybe some mechanics to frustrate their poorly sailing skills? Or lore I could study to help develop some combat and role-play encounters? They're level 12, for what it's worth and we're playing 5e, but I've been using 3/4e lore books to help me develop my ideas so far.

Thank you for reading this rambling account of my party's curious quest.

Delnyn
Senior Scribe

USA
896 Posts

Posted - 03 Oct 2023 :  21:07:53  Show Profile Send Delnyn a Private Message  Reply with Quote
If your campaign occurs after 1396 DR, you could have the crew encounter Xxiphu and it's flying krakens. That will clear the bowels of the sailors.
On a more pragmatic note, what stops the players from taking overland routes to lands away from the Sea of Fallen Stars? I hope your players don't feel railroaded. I just want to account for the possibility the players change plans, and in a rather substantial way. I don't want you to be caught off guard.
Back to the Sea of Fallen Stars. Cormyrean and Sembian navies despise pirates. Would they mistake the players as pirates or at least fugitives from justice? Sembians accept bribes. Cormyreans are much riskier in that regard.

Edited by - Delnyn on 03 Oct 2023 21:19:46
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vythvutha
Acolyte

Canada
7 Posts

Posted - 07 Oct 2023 :  02:41:01  Show Profile Send vythvutha a Private Message  Reply with Quote
Interesting idea to add Xxiphu to the mix. Our campaign takes place sometime in the 1480s/1490s (I'm pretty loose with the actual date). Depending on if they can escape the clutches of the Thayan Navy, maybe they'll encounter something much worse. There's nothing stopping the party from taking overland routes! This is going to be an experiment to see just how "off the rails" I can be as a DM and for the party to explore to their heart's content. I had a lot planned for them, and I was initially a little put off with their free-wheeling choices, but now I'm excited to see what happens and what choices they make. The Cormyrean and Sembian response to their eventual arrival will definitely be interesting. They do have a lot to overcome if they stick to the seas, and probably even more going overland, but definitely Xxiphu and the anti-pirate navies will give me some ammunition to put in my pocket.
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