After defeating the smugglers that were hiding at the old abandoned house outside of Saltmarsh, the adventuring group was hired by the town council to take care of the sea bound side of the smuggling operation. Lacking proper funds to pay the heroes, the council offered that if they killed or captured the smugglers, and handed over any contraband, the party could keep the smuggler’s ship and any personal goods found aboard. Lacking other means to get out of this small backwater town, they readily agreed.
Our party consists of 4 members. Each of my sons is playing two characters, still at 3rd level. We’ve used some backgrounds and subclasses from around the blogosphere, and I’ll be linking them…
Garret Tealeaf. Lightfoot halfling con artist rouge with the criminal background.
Then the smugglers started to gain some ground. Crossbow fire peppered the group, as well as magic missiles from Punketah. Will, reduced to 1 hit point, climbed back over the railing and back to the boat. Four bullywugs came hopping out of a cabin, leaping around the deck and attacking. Their bites and spears hurting everyone. Cap’n Sigurd lept from the for’castle and started hacking with his greatsword, dropping Garret. A failed death save kept everyone on edge until Anders cast word of healing, healing up the entire party. Will climbed back up to join the fray. Henk, in his rage, went toe to toe with the captain, but thanks to his damage reduction, was able to stand up to the attacks. Faen loaded up a scorching ray to target Punketah, while Tim scurried up the mast to take on the smuggler in the crow’s nest, grappling and throwing him onto the deck below.
Punketah, severely wounded, backed away from the railing and out of sight on the rear castle, while the party focused on the bullywugs and Cap’n Sigurd, dropping them. The main deck temporarily cleared, Frithoff the bosun and the remaining nine smugglers came out on deck and saw the carnage, and promptly surrendered. They were taken into custody and tied up, to be turned over to the Saltmarsh council.
A search of the ship turned up some valuables, Punketah’s spell book, and the captain’s magical greatsword. A few healing potions were also found. Letters in the captain’s cabin shed light on the bullywugs on board. Seems that the smugglers had taken on a contract to smuggle weapons to the bullywugs, arming them for war. An aquatic elf prisoner was also found, Oceanus, who was sent by his tribe to check up on the Sea Ghost, since it had been acting suspiciously near the elves’ colony. Thankful for the rescue, Manaan has agreed to join with the party for the time being.
Once the Sea Ghost had been explored and looted, the party found that their jolly boat, which had been loaded with contraband silks and brandy, was missing. Seems that Punketah, gravely wounded, cast spider climb on himself, shimmied down the side of the ship and into the jolly boat before casting off and sailing away. He may have lost his spell book and been forced to flee, but a boat full of goods will provide a fresh start and a chance to plot his revenge…
Sailing back to Saltmarsh, the remaining smugglers were imprisoned to stand trial, and the contraband turned over. The Sea Ghost needs some minor repairs from the battle, and a crew needs hired before the party can sail off. Unfortunately, none of the characters have any background in sailing, and in such a small town there are not enough willing sailors to get even a skeleton crew. They’ll have to just wait until the next merchant ship comes in and hopefully can hire some sailors away. Until then, they may just have to investigate the goings on of the bullywugs. The council fears that the bullywugs are planning an attack on Saltmarsh!
Overall, this was a pretty easy conversion to 5e rules. I used bullywugs instead of lizardfolk because I like bullywugs. Same CR, so an easy change to make. Punketah I just sort of lowered the power of the Battle Mage NPC, making him the equivalent of a 3rd level caster, and using the spell list from the original adventure. For Cap’n Sigurd I used the Knight NPC, and First Mate Bjorn and Bosun Frithoff I used Thugs. The rest of the smugglers I used Bandits. For Tim and Will, who joined the party, used the Guard stats.