Tobold's Blog
Monday, September 26, 2022
Saltmarsh - Session 4

I think I might have forgotten to journal the events of session 3 of my D&D pirate campaign, which is using the Ghosts of Saltmarsh adventure as a starting point. Well, in session 3 the group finished The Sinister Secret of Saltmarsh, and gained a proper ship. Then unfortunately one of my players quit for family reasons, so there are only 3 players left. So I decided this was the right moment to quit the written adventure and custom-make an adventure for a smaller group.

I used homebrew rules for a small hex crawl for the adventure of session 4 (and presumably 5). One of the players is a dwarf who has spent years stranded on an island with only a faerie to keep him company. I decided to give that faerie a name, Friday, obviously, and use it as adventure hook: Friday is contacting the dwarf to tell him that the island he was stranded on has been taken over by goblin cannibals (using the Pathfinder goblins as image). And now another pirate ship has stranded, and the cannibals captured the pirate crew. As the group has a ship, but no crew, that is a great opportunity for them to rescue one.

The hex crawl worked pretty nicely. The group rolled high pretty often on the encounter tables, and so got into a lot of combat encounters: Once against a patrol of goblin cannibals, and three times against random monsters. They also had a few terrain encounters, once with quicksand on the beach, and once with a volcanic eruption in the volcanic region.

Besides their goal, the cannibal village, I had added two more major points of interest to the island: A temple of Umberlee, a sea goddess, and a cave with a salamander. The salamander wants to burn the island down, while the goddess wants that salamander dead. Now with those hex crawl rules and the encounter tables I created, I put in the possibility to get a "clue" result, to steer the group in the right direction. I had prepared a clue of encountering Cookie, the mad pirate cook, who had escaped from the cannibals. That was mainly to tell them that the cannibals are eating one crew member per day, to give them a bit of time pressure. But unfortunately they never rolled the "clue" result, so they first stumbled upon the water temple. There they got a promise of a boon from the sea goddess if they killed the salamander, and so they promptly set out to do so. They managed that, got a permanent water breathing spell on them, which will come in handy for future underwater adventures, but still hadn't rolled a clue result.

So I forced things and let Cookie appear at the water temple to which the group had returned. Cookie was horrified: The cannibals cooked the pirates in boiling water, with no spices, and far too much salt. Cookie thought that grilling them with a bit of rosemary would have been the way to do it. Well, he is a bit mad. So now the group knows that they should hurry to the cannibal village and got approximate directions where to go. We will play that in the next session.


It's been a long time since i played in Ghost of Saltmarsh and i know my DM homebrewed a LOT of it. We sadly didnt finish it but i hope we get back to it soon.

That small hex crawl idea is a great one! I'll put this on my list.

Thanks for keeping us (me) up to date :)
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