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"Mystaraizing" the Savage Tide: The Bullywug Gambit

by David Keyser

As part of my Savage Tide Mystara campaign, I have been making some changes to adapt the adventures to the campaign setting even more closely.

The first adventure, There is No Honor, I didn't feel the need to make any adjustments.

For the second adventure, the Bullywug Gambit, I did. This adventure is broken up into two main parts, a pirate cove which has been overrun with the remaining savage creatures that survived a localized outbreak of the magical chaos-mutating Savage Tide, and a siege of the PC patron's manor which has been captured by a tribe of bullywugs led by one of the pirates that survived the aforementioned tide.

For the first section, most of it I left unchanged, although I went with a bit of flavor text regarding two mutated krenshar in the adventure, making them native to Davania but they aren't called krenshar, instead they are called "skulldogs". The second change was actually adding an encounter that had been cut from the publication. On the Paizo boards they mentioned they planned to included a blackscale lizardman which is a type first released in the Monster Manual 2 or 3. So I added that encounter back in, but I used a Sis'thik. Since the pirates were trading in slaves it was originally from the Aryptian Desert but captured and sold into slavery, eventually being transported to the cove as property of the Crimson Fleet.

I used Jamie Baty's stats for it, then added a level of barbarian to him and then added on the savage tide template found in the adventure. He is found in the room with the cages where all the slaves are kept, only he has broken free.

For the second part of the adventure, to change bullywugs into Mystara frogfolk, I broke out Dave Arneson's Blackmoor and just added some features of the froglin to the bullywug stats. This included Alien Smile(-8 penalty when making Sense Motive checks at a Frogfolk), Hop (+4 attack bonus when they jump to attack, and they can jump higher than their height), and +20 bonus to Jump checks, +4 bonus to Escape Artist checks, and +8 bonus to Swim checks.

Of course, given the confrontational nature of the situation, in my game the only parts that came into play were the Hop ability and Jump checks.

I haven't laid down if these particular frogfolk which live near Sasserine(starting city of the Savage Tide campaign) have ties all the way back to the frog cult in Blackmoor, but that is a question that doesn't really need an answer. They may be able to trace back their lineage that far, or to someone much later who rediscovered the technique, possibly even an Immortal.

It occurs to me to add details on another modification I made to this adventure based on contributors to the Paizo forums, which isn't a Mystara adoption, but does round out the encounters.

The reason for the chaos-mutating outbreak at the pirates cove is due to an accidental magical release caused by a pair of NPCs(which the PCs are tracking) having brought their own mercenary force to the cove to launch a surprise attack. By the time the PCs arrive that force has departed the area with one of the NPCs, but the only trace of it is the second NPC who has turned savage and is still in the cove.

If your players are aware of this mercenary company, as mine were, you can sprinkle in a few mercs turned savage amongst the savage pirates. Basically take a level 1 warrior or fighter with baseline equipment from the DMG, and then apply the savage template from the adventure. Good places to put them are on the beach area of K1, which is otherwise deserted, and in the small maze deep in the caverns, which is area K12. For my PCs I had a couple of savage mercs on the beach and replaced one of the three savage pirates in K12 with a savage merc.

You can also have some aquatic animal menacing the water in the cove should any of your PCs happen to fall in there. I took a baseline medium sized shark and then applied the savage template once again.

I will note that my PCs were 4th level when they visited Kraken's Cove, so be careful adding more encounters and opponents to the cove should your PCs be at the recommended level 3.

Although I made it clear in my Sasserine timeline I will also note in this thread that I changed the Wormfall Festival which features strongly in the second half of this adventure into something more appropriate for a Sasserine which never deals with Kyuss or the Age of Worms AP.

The holiday gets changed to Independence Day to celebrate Sasserine liberating itself from the only foreign power that ever conquered them. This is the Sea Princes in the Greyhawk Sasserine, but Thyatis in my historical timeline.

During the all day celebration PCs will be nearby when a wagon made up as a parade float of a huge humanoid figure shrouded in wriggling worms starts careening downhill out of control. This is the Worm's Revenge encounter, although it is just an accident, not a malevolent attack. For this encounter I changed the parade float wagon to be a replica of a Heldannic Flying Warbird. The people of Sasserine honor these warships as several of them provided aid to the citizens of Sasserine when they rebelled and threw the Thyatians out of the city. This is also why the city of Sasserine allows the Heldannic Knights to maintain an embassy in the city.

One last note for those of you using the affiliation rules in the PHBII. The Dawn Council, which is the collected guilds and noble families that form the government of Sasserine, is one of the affiliations which has the power to throw a holiday. According to the PHBII rules, during a holiday all affiliation members as well as citizens of a government gain a +1 morale bonus to attacks, skill checks and saves. For the entire second half of the adventure I would let the PCs benefit from this as soon as they return to the city. It lets them see a benefit from an affiliation early on which otherwise takes some time to achieve as the benefits don't begin to kick in until the PCs reach the higher mid-levels.