Tobold's Blog
Sunday, March 12, 2023
Saltmarsh - Sessions 5 to 7

I haven't written much about my ongoing D&D campaign lately. Last weekend we played session 7 of that campaign, and I noticed that I hadn't written a journal for sessions 5 and 6. So this is a recap of sessions 5 and 6, and 7.

In this campaign the players are pirates operating in the seas around the coastal town of Saltmarsh, as described in the Ghosts of Saltmarsh adventure collection. But I am not playing the adventures from that collection anymore, but rather a mix of indie and self-created adventures. In session 5 the players finished a hex-crawl adventure in which they succeeded to liberate the crew of a stranded pirate ship from goblin cannibals. So now they have a ship and a crew.

As the player who was the pirate captain left, the captain of the pirate ship is now the tabaxi wizard of the group. He has a background story in which he was cursed by a magical goldfish, for trying to eat the fish. In session 6 the group encountered that magical goldfish, but it was now enormously big, larger than the largest whale. And after it emerged from the ocean it was flying in the air. When they encountered the goldfish on the open sea, they witnessed a group of water genasi on a boat approaching the fish. The fish swallowed one of the genasi whole, and flew away. The genasi told the group that this was their priestess, who had come to heal the goldfish, who was a venerated deity of their tribe, and apparently sick. The group agreed to help the genasi, found out where the goldfish was hiding in an ancient mountain temple, and made their way up to the fish. They discovered that the goldfish was suffering from an internal parasite, so they entered the fish and battled the parasite spawns inside. Thus they healed the fish, free the priestess, and removed the curse from the tabaxi.

Session 7 began with an encounter on the open sea at midnight, with a ghost pirate ship that was glowing green. The ghost ship was attacking, but it turned out that the enemies and their weapons were ghostly, and just passed through the heroes without doing any harm. Only the ship was solid, so the group could search it. They encountered a lot of undead pirates, but neither side could hurt the other. Unfortunately the treasures on the ghost ship were also ghostly and couldn't be touched. Finally they met the ghost pirate captain, Calabran, a revenant. He told them that when their ship was still real, their first mate Osric had found a treasure map and used it to recover a large black pearl from an underwater cave. The captain wanted to share the treasure between the whole crew, as usual, but the first mate wanted the black pearl for himself. So the first mate betrayed the captain and his mates, and sunk the ship, escaping with the black pearl. But the black pearl was a cursed artifact, and the power of the artifact combined with the Calabran's thirst for vengeance turned the whole ship into a ghost ship. Nobody knows what happened to Osric, but Calabran is somehow aware that the black pearl returned to the underwater cave where they had found it.

So the ghost captain offered the group a deal: If they could recover the black pearl, Calabran could use it to "phase in" the ghost ship with the real world. Then, depending on what the heroes want, they could either fight the undead pirates, or just receive the treasures on the ghost ship in exchange for the black pearl. The group agreed to just getting the treasures, and set off to the small island, with the map and instructions left behind by the first mate. They fought some sahuagin patrol on the island, found the ritual site, and managed to perform the ritual that made a water vortex appear nearby. Diving in (and having been blessed with permanent water breathing in session 3) they made it to the underground cave. There they fought some merrow, managed to avoid swarms of piranhas, and had an epic fight in the last room with several giant octopuses. They found the black pearl, and despite it obviously having great powers, traded it with the ghost pirate captain. The captain kept his word, gave them his treasures, and they separated peacefully. They didn't even consider that unleashing a ghost ship on the local waters might not have been such a good idea. But that is for some future session. :)


So cool!

My dM also mixed in small quests from older D&D editions and other rpg games into Saltmarsh and it worked fine.

Sadly, we never finished it.
Hey Tobold, my 10 year old daughter is getting a set of the three books to run her own campaigns with school friends - if you want to use the digital tools do you need to buy again digitally?
@Baelnor sadly yes. WotC doesnt have any code or coupon for digital books. The printed one are great for playing with friends around a table :)
At this time, some of the D&D books I had to buy three times: A physical copy, a digital copy on D&D Beyond, and another digital copy on Roll20. The next edition of D&D will come with its own virtual tabletop, so that is one less digital copy to buy.
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