AvocaD&D and Tabletop Gaming Thread: Ghosts of Saltmarsh, Session 5

Welcome back to the weekly D&D and Tabletop Gaming thread!  Here’s a place where we can talk about Dungeons & Dragons or any other tabletop games that you nerds might be into.  Tell us about the games you’re playing, speculate about future expansions, recruit your fellow Avocados into new groups, whatever you want.


Discussion topic:  Gritty Realism.  Some D&D players find that normal rules about healing during short and long rests to be somewhat unbelievable.  Under the official rules, a short rest lasts approximately 1 hour and during that time, PCs can spend as many of their available Hit Dice as they like to recover some heath.  A long rest, on the other hand, lasts at least 8 hours, during which the characters sleep, and will fully restore a character’s hit points.  Theoretically, a character on the brink of death can be back to top fighting form after a single night.

To address this potential concern, the Player’s Handbook includes a variant rule on resting referred to as “Gritty Realism.”  Essentially, this rule increases the amount of time it takes to benefit from a short or long rest.  Using this rule, a short rest takes 8 hours, and long rest takes a full week of inactivity.  The goal here is simply to make recovery time more realistic.

Have you ever played using the Gritty Realism rule for rests?  If so, how did it affect your game-play experience?

The Hayes Code is jumping back into the DM seat to guide us through the Ghosts of Saltmarsh campaign, with the setting adjusted to a fantasy version of 1930.

The Saltmarsh Situation Solvers
  • Sgt. Vivian Aequoreus, a Dragonborn Sorcerer, an admiral’s daughter and naval officer serving as representative of the Navy in Saltmarsh (The Wasp)
  • Rainn Cloud, an Air Genasi Bard, of uncertain origin and purpose (Wafflicious)
  • Festuca Glauca, a Human Cleric, raised on a floating brothel and now striking out on her own (Otto)
  • Constable Renard Muldoon, a Half-Elf Paladin, a life-long resident of Saltmarsh assigned to this new task force as liaison to the local town guards (TheCleverGuy)
  • Rielle, a Human Druid, who’s definitely NOT a mermaid transformed into a human through magic (Anna Nomally)
  • Dr. Nickel Ferrous Testling, a Kobold Artificer,  a scientist currently working for the WPA in their cultural archivist project, primarily focusing on folklore and legends, local religious cults, and regional variations in spellcasting technique (Josephus Brown)
On the Sea Ghost

We split up the loot we recovered from the shipwreck last time, and then set out for Crow’s Mouth Cove to start our next mission.  Our objective this time was to board and capture the Sea Ghost, a ship belonging to the smuggling operation we’d uncovered previously. We waited at the Cove until we saw a signal from the ship.  Dr. Testling responded using the signalling lantern and the signals we’d learned from Neddy the Nife, and we rowed out to the Sea Ghost.


We tried to bluff our way on board by pretending to be making a delivery of goods, but it quickly became apparent to the pirates on deck that we didn’t actually have any goods with us.  The ship started to pull away, but Rainn levitated himself up to the deck with a rope, and we all climbed up, leaving our rowboat drifting behind. We were confronted by Captain Snake-Eyes and two of his crew.  Rainn tried valiantly to convince them that we were really there for business, but the Captain wasn’t buying it.  So Festuca hit him and his two lackeys with a Thunderwave, knocking one overboard and alerting the entire ship to our presence.  Sgt. Aequoreus cast Infestation on the captain, causing him to leap off the boat to escape from a swarm of magical insects. Another smuggler came onto the deck to join the battle, but Rainn’s Hideous Laughter spell had her rolling on the deck.  Snake-Eyes and the crewman who’d fallen overboard attempted to climb back only the ship, but the captain slipped and fell back into the water.  As Festuca slammed the laughing pirate with her warhammer, Muldoon bashed the pirate who’d climbed back up to finish him off. Five more pirates rushed up the to the deck, surrounding Rainn, while the bosun came out of another door near Festuca.  Aequoreus shot a Chaos Bolt toward the pirates surrounding Rainn and managed to kill two with one shot!  The bosun attacked Festuca, hurting her badly but also taking some lightning damage from the thunderous rebuke of her god, Procan.  Rainn let off another Thunderwave at the pirates surrounding him, knocking one more into the ocean. Festuca used a Healing Word on herself, and Muldoon ran to her side, but missed his attack on the bosun.  The laughing pirate finally recovered from Rainn’s spell, but was immediately blasted with a Ray of Frost from Aequoreus.  The bosun tried to hit Muldoon, but the constable caught the sword with his shield and wrenched the weapon out of the bosun’s hands.  Rainn stabbed one of the two remaining bandits, and was slashed in return.  Testling used Catapult to launch bosun’s dropped sword at another bandit, killing him, and Rielle stabbed the other with her dagger.  Muldoon tried to knock out the unarmed bosun, but missed again.  The pirate woman who had been laughing finally got up and cast an Acid Arrow spell at Festuca, but her shot missed.  The bosun, with no weapon, decided to flee and jumped overboard.  The pirate wizard was the only left, and she surrendered after Rainn stabbed her a bit.

Captain Snake-Eyes, the bosun, and one other pirate managed to get onto our drifting rowboat and start coming after the ship, but fell behind too fast to be a real threat.  Festuca and Testling took some potshots, and managed to kill the bosun before we were out of range.  The Sea Ghost was ours.

We started to search the ship.  In the first cabin off the main deck, Festuca found 3 lizardfolk in hammocks.  lizardfolkThey spoke with Aequoreus and Testling in Draconic, and claimed they were passengers, and they had a deal with the pirates to buy weapons.  The Lizardfolk wanted us to honor their contract with the pirates, but we didn’t have their weapons. We agreed to let them stay on board until we put in to harbor.  We searched the crew quarters and cabins below decks and and found a few interesting items: at total of 700 silver pieces and 50 gold;  a book listing pirate-friendly bars up and down the coast;  a live parrot that started shouting “Let me go” in Elvish when Festuca picked it up; a few weapons, including a spear, a dagger, and a broken crossbow; 10 electrum ingots, which the Lizardfolk said was their payment to the pirates; a couple healing potions and another unidentified vial; a silver key; a spellbook and scroll of Gust of Wind; a few cloaks (one blue, one grey, and one red); and a pair of shiny leather boots.

We also checked the bilge under the cargo hold.  Muldoon went down to give a quick search and was attacked by a couple of swarms of rot grubs.  Luckily, they couldn’t get to the Constable through his armor, and Muldoon was able to squash the bugs with help from Dr. Testling and Festuca.

We ended for the night there, heading back to the harbor with the Sea Ghost.  We all increased to level 3 after this adventure!