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"Mystaraizing" the Savage Tide: Tides of Dreadby David Keyser
Dungeon #143 Tides of Dread, Fifth adventure of the Savage Tide AP
This adventure begins on Farshore, the colony founded by Sasserine in the "safe" area of the Isle of Dread, that being the southeastern section where the more peaceable natives live. This adventure is the most non-linear of four set on the Isle of Dread, and closely follows the spirit of the original X1. The main goal in this adventure is to gather resources and make alliances in order to defend Farshore from attacks by the Crimson Fleet, with the major assault providing a satisfying conclusion to the adventure. To accomplish this, the players begin exploring the island and meeting the various inhabitants, along with plenty of wandering monsters. It is time for some serious hex-crawling, and the first few parts of this conversion will analyze the wandering monster tables in both the original X1 and this adventure.
So first let's break out X1.
This being the first adventure for the Expert box set you also find plenty of references on the three wandering monster charts to creatures in the basic and expert set monster chapters, including, but not limited to, cave bears, centaurs, giant crocodiles, cyclops, dire wolves, black, green and red dragons, dryads, prehistoric elephants, ghouls, hill and stone giants, hydras, living statues, giant lizards, lizardmen, lycanthropes, mummies, neanderthals, rhagodessas, robber flies, rocs, rock baboons, giant scorpions, skeletons and zombies, giant snakes and spiders, giant toads, treants, trolls, wights and wraiths, and wyverns. That is in addition to all the dinosaurs and prehistoric mammals like the great saber-toothed cat and the megatherium(a twenty foot tall giant ground sloth).
There are a few fixed encounters featuring monsters which don't appear as wandering monsters for whatever reason...they include sea snakes, water termites, pirates, hippogriffs, gargoyles, bugbears, ogres, troglodytes, and giant crabs and oysters.
Now considering the sheer number of monsters I listed above, DMs faithfully rolling on those wandering monster tables back in the day were eventually going to populate the island with all sorts of creatures from very different eras of real world history as well as standard D&D sapient and non-sapient races.
One interesting fact is that the south eastern peninsula behind the wall is covered by Table 1 which has just conventional D&D monsters. You only start to see the prehistoric creatures once you leave that area, with prehistoric mammals(Table 2) predominant in the southern areas of the island past the great wall, and dinosaurs(Table 3) predominant in areas north of the central river which cuts in a northeast/southwest direction across the island and central plateau. There isn't much in the way of explanation for how they tend to stay segregated like that. Triceratops do appear in both tables, and even on the central plateau(!) although I won't address the plateau for now as it does not come into play until a later adventure.
The Savage Tide AP shifts things around a bit. Just a couple of degrees, to go for a more consistent theme. This issue also begins to detail more of the history of the Isle of Dread in the Savage Tide campaign. It explains that the Isle of Dread originally did not have dinosaurs, but instead they came later, along with demons when Demogorgon's influence began to sway heavily over the island. Many of the local fauna were wiped out by this invasion, but a few species persisted, including wild boars, rock baboons and terror birds.
It then provides three wandering monster tables of its own. The first table is for the area behind the great wall, called Islands and Peninsula encounters. This covers the same area as Table 1 in X1, the "safe" part of the Isle of Dread. The second table is Aquatic encounters, which covers the seas surrounding the Isle of Dread. X1 only used fixed encounters for the sea. And third is the Mainland encounters, covering the rest of the Isle of Dread. The Mainland encounter table has separate entries for each of the major terrain types, including jungle, swamp, savannah, mountain and the interior lakes.
For the Savage Tide Isle of Dread, most of the prehistoric mammals can only be found behind the great wall(Islands and Peninsula), often as the dire form of the animal from the 3.5 Monster Manual. Only terror birds and dire bats made it onto the Mainland encounter table. Dinosaurs only appear on the Mainland encounter table and in the surrounding seas Aquatic table.
I'll address each table's specifics and make some substitution suggestions in the next few posts.
With regard to the origin of dinosaurs on the island, I prefer staying true to X1 with the idea that dinosaurs have always been there and did not go extinct there as they did elsewhere in the world. One could explain this by way of the Carnifex who preserved them or that the Immortal Ka did so. C. Davies suggested the latter idea here.
One paragraph in this adventure caught my attention which I reproduce here in full.
"These wandering monster charts differ slightly from those presented in the Isle of Dread backdrop in Dungeon #114. This is intentional;, not only are these new charts tailored for a group of 9th-10th level characters, but they incorporate some additional monsters while phasing out other monsters that shouldn't be as commonly encountered in the Savage Tide version of the Isle of Dread."
What? Tailored for a group of 9th-10th level characters???
Contrast this with the original module X1.
"When describing wandering monster encounters, don't rely just on sight. Use all five senses to give the players the mood or feel of an encounter. For example, the characters may first hear a monster crashing through the underbrush, or find its tracks, rather than just meeting the monster face-to-face. This is a good way to 'signal' characters that an encounter may be too difficult for them to handle. Also try to avoid letting unplanned wandering monsters disrupt the balance of the adventure."
RPGs have come a long way since 1981, but I liked the days when there was a little less hand-holding and players did not expect that everything they faced would be "level appropriate".
Island and Peninsula Encounters table
Overall, I am pretty happy with this list and the idea that prehistoric mammals can be found in this area and the central plateau, out of reach of the carnivorous dinosaurs. I only have one substitution suggestion and a few window dressing changes.
For all the dire animals, I would use the Monster Manual stats for the creature but re-skin it to make it more fitting as a giant version of the creature or a prehistoric creature or even just bring back a BECMI classic.
Dire Tiger becomes a Saber-tooth Tiger.
Dire Boars become Giant Boars(which appear in both B10 and GAZ12).
Dire Apes become White Apes.
Dire Rats become Giant Rats.
The only creature that I would suggest tossing out entirely is the third entry in the table, the ahuizotl. It is essentially an aquatic leucrotta. Instead of that I would suggest putting normal boars on the table, and swapping entries with the dire boars so it is more likely to encounter the normal sized boars than the giant ones.
03-08 1d8 boars
09-10 1d4 dire boars
That way the natives can have hunting be a little safer.
Another nice touch Paizo did was to give specific names to the snakes and giant spiders by using real world species rather than just use "huge spider" or "large viper". This lets you look up the real world species for more description. The real life shrieking spider is disturbing enough, the giant one may cause some fear.
Should you want to mix this table up more with some D&D basic giant spiders, the details are here and here.
And robber flies are here....if you happen to roll up a second wasp swarm and want an alternative.
And alternatives for the monitor lizard are some classic D&D giant lizards options.
Aquatic Encounters table
This one has a good mix of dangerous giant creatures as well as dinosaurs. This is consistent with the Mystaran almanacs which state aquatic dinosaurs exist around the Thanegioth Archipelago.
I do suggest one substitution, the first entry in the list is an Octopus Tree from the Fiend Folio. It is not much to my liking, any intelligent race would want these things wiped out in any area they happen to find them. So instead, I suggest substituting an encounter with members of the Twaelar Empire, the underwater empire that controls much of the area around the Thanegioth Archipelago. I will address these guys more in a later post.
There isn't much documentation on Twaelar forces, but I scoured Pandius and came up with the following for a base patrol in conjunction with the 3.5 Monster Manual. Note that merfolk are called merrow in Mystara, and the 3.5 D&D merrow is actually called an aquatic ogre in Mystara.
Here are the stats for a patrol the PCs can encounter should you roll percentile 01-02 on the Aquatic Encounters table.
Merrow Patrol Leader
Elite (Merfolk) bard 6
Init +2, Listen +0, Spot +0
AC 14, touch 12, flat-footed 12
hp 36 (6 HD)
Fort +6, Ref +6, Will +6
Spd Land 5ft, Swim 50ft
Melee mwk trident +6(d8+1) or mwk heavy crossbow +7(+8 in 30 ft range) (d10/19-20)
Base Atk +4, Grp +5
Str 13, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 10, Cha 16
Special Actions: Bardic Music, Countersong, Fascinate, Inspire Courage +1, Inspire competence, Suggestion
Combat Gear: Wand of Bless, Wand of Mage Armor
Bardic Spells (CL 6th)
2nd (3/day) - Animal Messenger, Heroism, Hypnotic Pattern
1st (4/day) - Cause Fear(DC 14), Charm Person (DC 14), Cure Light Wounds, Summon Monster I
0th (4/day) - Flare, Know Direction, Mage Hand, Message, Resistance, Summon Instrument
SQ: Bardic Knowledge +6
Feats: Dodge, Great Fortitude, Point Blank Shot
Skills: Balance +4, Bluff +7, Concentration +7, Hide +5, Listen +5, Perform(sing) +13, Sense Motive +4, Spellcraft +5, Swim +9, Tumble +7, Use Magical Device +9(for scrolls +11)
Extra Languages: Thyatian, Olman(Thanegioth Archipelago)
Possessions: Leather Armor, Masterwork Trident, Masterwork Heavy Crossbow
Shock Trooper Aquatic Ogre
(Merrow) barbarian 2
Init +1, Listen +4, Spot +2
AC 18, touch 10, flat-footed 17
HD 4d8+19 plus 2d12+8 hp 70
Fort +11, Ref +2, Will +1
Spd Swim 50ft
Melee mwk longspear +12 (d8+9)
Base Atk +5, Grp +16
Str 24, Dex 12, Con 18, Int 6, Wis 10, Cha 6
Special Actions: Rage 1/day
SQ: Darkvision 60 ft, low-light vision, uncanny dodge
Feats: Power Attack, Toughness, Weapon Focus(longspear)
Skills: Intimidate +2, Listen +4, Swim +13*
Possessions: Partial Carapace Armor, Longspear
I changed the Climb +5 ogres get to Swim +5 for aquatic ogres in the Twaelar Empire, I would also give them the same racial bonuses for Swim as merfolk(+8 racial bonus to Swim checks and they can take 10 for a check when swimming).
10 Merrow Warriors
(Merfolk) hp 8, Monster Manual page 185
The Twaelar Empire does not normally send its patrols too close to the Isle of Dread, but this patrol has taken an interest in the PCs and their ship, having determined that they are not with Thyatis, which is the only nation's shipping the Twaelar have agreed not to harm after the recent 1015-1017 AC war. They are cautious as the patrol leader is a veteran from that war.
The merrow swim alongside the ship(or approach the ship if it is stationary) staying just inside range with their heavy crossbows, with the ogre and half the merrow hidden deeper underwater. The patrol leader calls out to the captain and PCs, demanding to know their business. He then demands that they depart the area immediately, wanting their ship to either turn around and head back, or, if they are currently repairing the Sea Wyvern, to abandon the wrecked ship.
The PCs may use diplomacy, the merrow patrol leader is unfriendly. If he can be made at least friendly he will leave them in peace. If only made indifferent the patrol will not attack but will resort to other measures(see aftermath of a fight breaking out).
Should diplomacy fail to move the patrol leader at all, the entire patrol will engage except for the ogre, who will remain hidden near the patrol leader, protecting him should anyone attempt to engage the leader in melee. The entire patrol remains in the water to benefit from the improved cover(-8 to AC, +4 to Reflex saves). The merrow warriors will snipe at crew and support NPCs first rather than target the main combatants. The merrow patrol leader will have already pre-cast bless on his men and mage armor on himself, he will use his singing and magic to support his fellows.
Any merrow that gets wounded will go underwater and flee. Should any be incapacitated a fellow merrow will disengage and swim the victim to safety. Once half the patrol has fled the rest will withdraw and flee, regrouping later.
In the aftermath of hostilities, the patrol leader sends a message for reinforcements, and begins to use his patrol to shadow the PCs and attempt to drive local aquatic monsters into their path. This effectively raises the percentage chance of an aquatic encounter from now on (from 4% to 10%). This will continue indefinitely, although there will be no encounters during any time period when the ship is at Farshore. This ongoing harassment only stops when one of the following conditions occurs...
1) The patrol observes or finds strong evidence* the PCs have killed any kopru.
2) The patrol observes or finds strong evidence* the PCs have killed any devilfish.
3) Emraag the Dragon Turtle is slain by the PCs. (The PCs encounter him in Issue #144.)
4) The PCs figure out what is going on and manage to approach the patrol and either wipe it out or re-engage with diplomacy successfully.
5) A Twaelar military company arrives to destroy the PCs ship. Note this company will not arrive if conditions 1-3 are satisfied, or if the merrow patrol is successfully made friendly at some point with diplomacy.
* Consider strong evidence if the patrol comes across the location where the kopru or devilfish were slain within three days of the PCs having been there.
Basically, for 1) or 2) the Twaelar decide that the PCs are enemies of their enemies and leave them alone to see how much they can weaken each other. The Twaelar may return at a later date, but likely not until after the Savage Tide AP is over.
For 3) the Twaelar will figure out who slew Emraag and then avoid tangling with the PCs as Emraag was greatly feared and a powerful enemy.
For 4) should the patrol be wiped out the chance of future aquatic encounters will decrease back to 4%, but the Twaelar military company will still arrive at some point to destroy the PCs ship. They have an accurate description and will be able to find it.
For 5) this has the danger of turning the campaign from a focus on the kopru to fighting the Twaelar. The PCs should be able to avoid this result, so I leave it up to DMs to decide how long before this military company arrives.
And I will leave actual statistics of this company for another day, I am bit tired from making stat blocks.
Mainland Encounters table
There is no distinction between the north and south regions of the island separated by the main river, just the different terrain features. Dinosaurs dominate the mainland, along with a few wandering demons, but you can still find a number of classics from the original X1 as well. They even added a few monstrous plants, and while I might quibble with the presence of the red sundew and the tendriculous, it isn't a bad idea to have a few rare plants around that can worry even a tyrannosaur. The greenvise reminds me of the Cestian gobbler and might be a distant relative.
Other than throwing in some boars or giant boars onto the table somewhere, I have the following suggestions.
Dire bats become giant bats.
Bullywugs become frogmen.
Baboons become rock baboons.
For the one substitution, the Brotherhood scout band becomes a Heldannic Knight scout band. In the stat block below I changed them from monk/clerics to fighter/clerics built in the classic style as they were presented by Bruce Heard back in Dragon Magazine. These guys are ready to hack off some dino legs or carve up some PCs with their greatswords.
Heldannic Knight Scout
Elite Human fighter 2/cleric 3
Init +6, Listen +5, Spot +3
AC 20, touch 12, flat-footed 18
hp 40 (5 HD)
Fort +8, Ref +5, Will +6
Melee mwk greatsword +10 (2d6+4)
Base Atk +4, Grp +8
Str 18, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 16, Cha 9
Atk Options: Combat Reflexes, Death Touch, Smite 1/day(+4 attack, +3 damage)
Special Actions: rebuke undead 2/day(+1, 2d6+2)
Combat Gear: See adventure magazine
Spells Prepared: (CL 3rd, +8 touch, +6 ranged touch)
2nd - bull's strength, death knell, sound burst(DC 15)
1st - bane, endure elements(precast), inflict light wounds, shield of faith
0 - cure minor wounds(2), guidance, resistance
SQ: spontaneous casting(inflict spells)
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, Power Attack, Weapon Focus(greatsword)
Skills: Concentration +9, Heal +4, Intimidate +3, Knowledge(religion) +6, Listen +5, Survival +5
Possessions: Combat Gear, Masterwork Greatsword, Full Plate
The map of the Isle of Dread in this issue marks the Scarlet Brotherhood/Heldannic Knight encampment on a small island not too far from Farshore. I like C Richard Davies idea of making this particular group all or mostly followers of Thanatos. Thanatos has now managed to make some headway into Vanya's Heldannic Knights after successfully infiltrating the Hattians.
As mentioned in the adventure they are a vanguard searching for hidden magic and relics, and will likely only try to murder the PCs. However, a PC with the Heldannic Knight affiliation should still have a chance for a peaceful settlement.
This encampment has been influence by Thanatos to come to the island so he can keep a closer eye on what Demogorgon is doing. The Savage Tide isn't subtle, but Thanatos can't complain about the unleashed chaos and is aware of the distribution of shadow pearls. However, he does suspect that Demogorgon may also be planning to use the unleashed power to score a coup and/or unseat the Entropic hierarchy. As a result, Thanatos is preparing his own contingency plans.
Fixing the Introduction of the Totemic Demonslayer
Paizo created a custom prestige class for the Savage Tide AP, the Totemic Demonslayer. It was published in Dragon Magazine #354, and a slightly different version of it can be found here.
But there was a communications error between the Dungeon adventure writers and the Dragon writer who created the prestige class. The Dungeon authors were expecting a 5 level prestige class, but the Dragon author made totemic demonslayer 10 levels.
This in and of itself isn't a problem...unless a player wants to pick up all ten levels of this class by the end of the campaign. The problem is that the players are first introduced to the totemic demonslayer in Dungeon Magazine #145, by an NPC they rescue in Issue #144. Issue #145 expects the PCs to be 13th level. So if you want no more than 6 or 7 levels in the class, you can leave this introduction as is.
But if a player wants to start this off at level 10 and go through all ten levels, then you should have the NPC, Jakara the totemic demonslayer meet the PCs during this adventure, as they complete quests needed to prepare the colony for the final Crimson Fleet attack. You can review the information he provides in Issue #145, and have most of his conversation in this adventure instead. He will not yet have the scroll tube to give to the PCs at this point. Also, the missionary Noltus will not have undertaken his journey to the central plateau, you can have Jakara tell him that he is still seeking allies elsewhere on the island mainland, or perhaps he is searching for any sign of rakasta.
Jakara can volunteer to find Noltus in order to carry their plea for him to return to aid Farshore should they think of that, but Noltus will not be able to return in time and Jakara will have to be rescued in the next adventure.
If one of your PCs has the Church of the Whirling Fury affiliation, they can raise their score by searching for Noltus for at least two weeks. But the adventure never has any details or payoff for this effort. So should a player take this action, you can have him or her find Jakara who gives them his information as a reward for this effort, instead of having Jakara first approach them. Jakara will also journey with the PC back to Farshore.
In any case, before Jakara departs to find Noltus once again, he teaches any PCs interested as well as the local native shamans, and the Church of the Whirling Fury, the magic of the tattoos and the prestige class.
In case you are interested in my conversion work and are otherwise unaware of it, you can find both CRichardDavies and my Mystara conversion notes in Threshold Magazine #4. All of my efforts for converting Savage Tide's first eight adventures, as well as Dungeon Magazine #114's Isle of Dread adventure, went into that article and issue.
But as I continue to play through the campaign, I am making changes and new additions here and there, so I am reviving some of my threads to add some additional pieces which might be of use to others.
Today's entry deals with Part Three: Zotzilaha's Wrath
In the Wings of Fire section, the village of Tanaroa is attacked by fire bats, which are a small elemental type creature from the Plane of Fire. I wanted to beef up this encounter a bit, using a more Mystara-themed monster to supplement the fire bats rather than a complete substitution. As it stands, I think the encounter is a bit easy for most 9th level PC parties, though each DM will need to judge what his PC party is capable of.
I recommend using fire fundamentals, using their d20 stats by Jamie Baty. When the fire bats appear spiraling into the air above the effigy, the smaller fire fundamentals being streaming out of the flaming effigy as well. Whether Zotzilaha/Camazotz actually controls and/or has power over fire fundamentals is unimportant. He may have summoned them alongside the fire bats, or fire fundamentals may simply have been in the vicinity and taken advantage of the portal to the Plane of Fire. They stick close to the fire bats and will attack the targets of the fir ebats. Anywhere from 2-3 fire fundamentals per fire bat should be sufficient and makes an impressive swarm if you put lay them all out on a combat grid. Up to four fire fundamentals can occupy a single 5 foot square.
For the Shrine of Zotzilaha section, most parties should be able to appease the bat god...er exalted, resolving the conflict without combat. If you prefer to add a combat encounter, the PCs can be attacked by earth fundamentals ( d20 stats here ) somewhere around the halfway point of the three mile winding tunnel inside the volcano. Like earth elementals, earth fundamentals can move through solid ground and stone as easily as air and take full advantage of this ability along with their Earthen Hammer ability to overrun opponents and avoid counter attacks as much as possible.
15-25 earth fundamentals attack the PCs, assume the tunnel is approximately ten feet in diameter.
When the PC are confronted by Zotzilaha/Camazotz in the volcanic shaft, you can optionally have more fire fundamentals flitting about along with the fire bats. He can either summon and control them along with the fire bats, or alternatively, he doesn't control them and the fire fundamentals are just drawn to this volcano in a similar way as they appeared in X8 Drums on Fire Mountain. Should Zotzilaha/Camazotz be appeased, he will banish the fire fundamentals back to the Plane of Fire once they begin attacking the PCs.
Part Five : Temple of the Jaguar
In 3.0/3.5 D&D, couatls are native outsiders, meaning that they have mortal ancestors or a strong connection to the Material Plane. In short, they are native to the Material Plane. They need food and sleep and can be raised, reincarnated or resurrected.
On Mystara, couatls are known in the Hollow World as feathered serpents, and their life cycle is described in HWA2 Nightrage. In their first stage of life, they start out with an animal level of intelligence, and are used by some people as shepherd dogs in the Azcan empire and elsewhere. When they are ready to breed they head for a floating continent named Ashmorain. Once they mate and breed they undergo a metamorphosis and become much more intelligent, achieving full sapience. They have a civilization on Ashmorain and there is a hint that some feathered serpents become so powerful that they leave Ashorain and the Hollow World for somewhere else.
Tonatiuh is one of these feathered serpents who has achieved this further stage and made his home on the Isle of Dread in the outer world of Mystara. Should friendly communication be established, Tonatiuh may mention that his homeland lies deep beneath the earth, and may make references to the land of the ever-shining red sun. This is assuming that the Savage Tide campaign takes place sometime after 1010 AC, when the Known World becomes aware of the Hollow World. This news will have spread to Sasserine during the intervening years, albeit with great skepticism, at least at first.
Part Six : Reclaiming the Wyvern
I already discussed Skephilipika, the kopru druid, in Threshold #4. Having now played the encounter, I noticed a couple of errors in his stat block. First, with a Charisma of 14, Skephilipika's Dominate Person special ability is more powerful than the average kopru(who has a Charisma of 10). Thus, the Skephilipika's Dominate Person ability forces the target to make a DC 18 Will Save.
Second, the kopru druid is wearing an amulet of mighty fists +1, but that hasn't been factored into Skephilipika's claw and bite damage attacks, which should be 1d4+3 each, not 1d4+2.
The details for the election of Lord Mayor of Farshore is covered in the Farshore backdrop article in Dungeon Magazine #143. It starts off with 80 votes in favor of Manthalay Meravanchi and 80 votes in favor of Lavinia Vanderboren, and 80 votes undecided.
The text assumes that there will be enough campaigning going on between the PCs and Avner Meravanchi and enough successes and failures that one of the candidates will have 41 votes out of the undecided. In my case, however, Avner failed his first two rolls and gave up without winning anyone over to his uncle. (There is a 1/4 chance of that happening in your campaign.) The text assumes that Meravanchi wins if no one campaigns, but how does the undecided break down exactly? If you assume that Meravanchi has a 51% majority of the undecided than, in my case, Avner just decided the election for Lavinia without the PCs doing anything.
I wanted the PCs efforts to matter so I came up with the following. 75%- d20% of the undecided who have not been swayed to either candidate will vote for Meravanchi in the election. Thus, before Avner and the PCs do anything, the undecided will go 60 to Meravanchi and 20 to Lavinia as an upper bound and 44 to Meravanchi and 36 to Lavinia as a lower bound. Technically this makes Avner more effective if he just stays home but he doesn't know that.
In any case, between Avner's failures and my PCs successes there were 30 undecided swayed to Lavinia and 50 still undecided when the election took place. I let the PCs roll the d20 and they got a 15. So 60% of the 50 remaining undecided went to Manthalay and the final result was Lavinia 130 votes and Manthalay 110 votes. The players were a bit disturbed the election was that close because they considered the plan to press gang the Oltecs crazy, but it is not like the upcoming US presidential election is any less crazy.
As of now my campaign is in the midst of fighting the Battle for Farshore against the Crimson Fleet Pirates, and things have expanded even beyond the details I provided in Threshold Magazine #4. So I plan to add some further updates and details to this thread, including some mass combat stats for the various forces, and a new pirate captain NPC.
But first, I suggested in Threshold #4 that each pirate ship not already assigned a captain who is a major NPC(like Vanthus or the baldandar) could be assigned a pirate captain with the same statistics as a Scuttlecove Thug as detailed in Dungeon Magazine #146(page 78). Those thugs are each a 4th level fighter/4th level rogue and so a good matching officer in command for the standard Crimson Fleet pirate described in Tides of Dread.
So I am still using the Scuttlecove Thug, but have made the following adjustments to make them more suited to be a pirate captain.
1) Intelligence score raised to 11.
2) Swap out the feat Stealthy for the feat Alertness.
3) Skill points completely reallocated and adjusted for feats and synergies as well as the armor check penalty for the masterwork chain shirt and buckler they wear.
Balance +11, Climb +11, Intimidate +9, Listen +3, Profession(sailor) +10, Spot +3, Swim +7, Tumble +11
I detailed an additional Crimson Fleet pirate captain in Threshold magazine, a baldandar, as captain of the caravel The Kraken. By the time my campaign reached the Battle for Farshore, I was up to six players, so I needed another formidable pirate captain to keep things challenging.
Captain Tenoch is the rarest of individuals, a native of the Atruaghin Clans and a child of the Tiger tribe, who became a citizen of Thyatis.
When Tenoch was ten years old, he was kidnapped by a chapter of the Iron Ring. This chapter set up operations in Darokin in order to launch raids into the lands of the Children of the Tiger, believing they would be easy targets. The chapter did not survive long, and the raid on Tenoch’s home was one of its few successes.
Tenoch was tall and strong for his age, but still young enough that his Thyatian master believed he could educate and raise him in the culture of the Empire. Tenoch was a fast learner, but in his heart he never stopped loving his homeland. He prayed to the patron of his tribe, Atzanteotl, observing the faith of his people in secret even as he learned Thyatian culture. His secret was discovered when he was sixteen, and he was sold once again to a local keeper of gladiators.
Here Tenoch was supposed to die quickly in the sands…but it never happened. The Children of the Tiger begin learning how to fight at a young age, and Tenoch blended the rudimentary lessons he received as a gladiator with the fighting style he had practiced since a small boy. He began to win. Soon, he became a crowd favorite…Thyatians loved him as an underdog and his natural showmanship helped promote him as a savage from a distant land. He continued to make a name for himself after he was brought to Thyatis City to fight for bigger stakes. He kept fighting, until he had received enough gifts to purchase his freedom with a substantial sum left over.
He did not depart Thyatis when that happened, instead he acquired citizenship and proceeded to enroll in a martial academy. There he learned fighting techniques and military tactics widely practiced in the Thyatian legions. He then joined a Thyatian mercenary company and fought with them for several years, achieving a command rank.
Once he was convinced he had learned all he could, he returned to his homeland. While he could never rejoin the Children of the Tiger, he was able to renew his worship of Atzanteotl and gain the Immortal’s blessing while presenting himself as a traveler from distant villages to the local priests. After a few more years, he left once again. Since then he has traveled wherever he can find conflict and war, selling his skills as a mercenary captain for whoever has the coin.
He has accepted this assignment from the Crimson Fleet in part due to curiosity about the Thanegioth Archipelago. He believes there are historical links between the natives of the Isle of Dread and his ancestors. For Tenoch, conquering the only foreign settlement amidst the seven tribes is a strategic challenge as well as a pleasurable indulgence.
Tenoch wears the carapace armor made from a giant crab, with a fearsome helm fashioned as a death mask. His polearm features a cloth banner featuring a tiger against a crimson background.
Tenoch, Favored of Atzanteotl, and Crimson Fleet Pirate Captain CR 12
Male human fighter 10/dreadlord* 2
CE Medium humanoid
Init +4; Senses Listen +3, Spot +3
Languages: Thyatian(Common), Atruaghin(Tiger and Turtle dialects)
AC 22 , touch 14, flat-footed 18; Dodge
hp 130 (12d10 +24) (12 HD);
Fort +12, Ref +7, Will +8,
Spd 20 ft
BAB +12; Grp +17
Atk Options: Braced for Charge, Combat Expertise/Riposte, Great Cleave, Power Attack
Melee (The statistics below assume Tenoch is using 2 points of power attack and is not using combat expertise.
+3 voulge +20 (1d10+14/19-20) or
+3 voulge +20/+15/+10 (1d10+14/19-20)
Abilities Str 20, Dex 18, Con 15, Int 13, Wis 16, Cha 14
Feats (14, including 8** fighter bonus feats)
Braced for Charge, Combat Expertise, Cleave, Dodge, Great Cleave, Greater Weapon Focus(voulge), Improved Critical, Improved Sunder, Iron Will, Power Attack, Riposte, Shorten Grip, Weapon Focus(voulge), Weapon Specialization(voulge),
Skills: Command +15, Intimidate +16, Knowledge(Religion) +5, Profession(Sailor) +7, Swim +10
Possessions: Masterwork Chitin Armor(ACP -2), Masterwork Voulge, Potion of Cure Critical Wounds(x2), Potion of Barkskin +4(will use before combat), Oil of Greater Magic Weapon +3(x2)(will use one before combat), Jade Amulet worth 400 gp
*The dreadlord prestige class can be found in Fields of Blood : Book of War by Eden Odyssey. With two levels in dreadlord, Tenoch gains the Brutal Discipline ability and a fighter bonus feat.
Brutal Discipline: All allied units with line of sight to dreadlord add +2 to their Command checks. A unit the dreadlord leads adds +4 to their Command checks.
**As a favored disciple of Atzanteotl, Tenoch gains one additional fighter bonus feat he would not otherwise qualify for.
In the unlikely event the PCs win the Battle of Farshore and Tenoch survives and escapes, he will abandon the Crimson Fleet, stealing a rowboat if necessary. He will begin exploring the Isle of Dread while fervently praying and making sacrifices to Atzanteotl. Atzanteotl will grant Tenoch a vision showing him how to sacrifice dinosaurs on the island in order to gain the Ka-tainted template. This template and its background is described in Dragon Magazine #315. Once Tenoch gains the template(likely from the sacrifice of a tyrannosaurus), he will seek out and stalk the PCs as they continue their missions on the Isle of Dread. This time Tenoch will fight to the death.
Regardless of exactly where or when Tenoch is slain in battle, Atzanteotl will not seek revenge on those who have slain his favored champion. For the Children of the Tiger, a glorious death in battle is a life that fulfilled its purpose, and Atzanteotl is satisfied with Tenoch’s service.
EDIT: Oh, and I made Tenoch captain of the Sea Witch's Curse caravel.
I need to correct a mistake and explain how I built the skill points, since it makes a difference if you start from level 1 as a rogue versus level 1 as a fighter. I used the crimson fleet pirate skill points as a baseline(which is two levels of fighter and rogue) and added the skill points for two more levels of fighter and rogue, rather than start from scratch.
I also failed to add in the skill points granted by the feat Alertness, which adds two more to Listen and Spot checks, so the correct skill points for the default pirate captain are...
Balance +11, Climb +11, Intimidate +9, Listen +5, Profession(sailor) +10, Spot +5, Swim +7, Tumble +11
As for Tenoch, the pirate captains based on Scuttlecove thugs have a potion of invisibility and a potion of haste in their inventory along with a cure potion, so feel free to add either or both of those potions to his inventory. If he survives in my campaign, I will do another build of him later using that template, but my PCs are efficient killers...
And I forgot using Power Attack with a two handed weapon gives double the damage bonus, and that the voulge allows crits x3.
Here are some different styles for Tenoch fighting in hand to hand, remember, anytime he uses Combat Expertise, he benefits from Riposte and can counterattack when someone misses him...
1)Using 2 points of power attack, no combat expertise
+3 voulge +20 (1d10+16/19-20x3) or
+3 voulge +20/+15/+10 (1d10+16/19-20x3)
2)Going full defensive, no power attack, using Combat Expertise to raise AC to 27, touch 19, flat-footed 23
+3 voulge +17 (1d10+12/19-20x3) or
+3 voulge +17/+12/+7 (1d10+12/19-20x3)
3) Mix style, 1 point of power attack, 3 points of Combat Expertise to raise AC to 25, touch 17, flat-footed 21
+3 voulge +18 (1d10+14/19-20x3) or
+3 voulge +18/+13/+8 (1d10+14/19-20x3)