Mr. Plugg is the Wormwood’s bullying and sadistic first mate. He is Captain Harrigan’s second-in-command, and his word is law on deck. He takes an immediate dislike to the PCs and any friends they make among the crew. Plugg is terrified of Captain Harrigan, however, and has more things on his mind than just the PCs. He’s suspicious of everyone on the crew, and while he grows to hate the PCs, he does not sully his hands with fighting them unless they attack him, in which case he fights with relish, calling on his allies for aid in dealing with the “mutineers.” Plugg is a figure to be hated, though the PCs have little opportunity to get their revenge at first. By the end of the adventure, however, the PCs finally have the opportunity to give him (and his toady, Master Scourge) their just rewards.
Mister Plugg - DM's Details
Male human fighter 5
NE Medium humanoid (human)
Init +3; Senses Perception +2
AC 15, touch 13, flat-footed 12 (+1 armor, +3 Dex, +1 natural)
hp 47 (5d10+15)
Fort +6, Ref +4, Will +2; +1 vs. fear
Defensive Abilities bravery +1
Speed 30 ft.
Melee tidewater cutlass +8 (1d6+6/18–20) and mwk cat-o’-
nine-tails +6 (1d4+1 nonlethal) or
tidewater cutlass +10 (1d6+6/18–20) or
mwk cat–o’–nine–tails* +8 (1d4+2 nonlethal)
Ranged light crossbow +8 (1d8/19–20)
Special Attacks weapon training (heavy blades +1)
During Combat Mr. Plugg always enters combat with his
cutlass and cat drawn, and has no compunctions about
fighting dirty. He regularly uses Combat Expertise (–2 on
attack rolls, +2 AC) to increase his AC, and if he finds that he
is unable to hit opponents, Plugg drops his cat-o’-nine-tails
and attacks with only his tidewater cutlass.
Morale Plugg fights bravely, but if reduced to fewer than 25 hit
points, he backs away. If reduced to 12 hit points or fewer,
he attempts to flee, hoping to fight another day. He has no
loyalty to his captain, crew, or allies, and abandons them
without a second thought if it means saving his own skin.
Str 14, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 13, Wis 8, Cha 10
Base Atk +5; CMB +7 (+11 disarm with cat-o’-nine-tails); CMD
20 (22 vs. disarm)
Feats Combat Expertise, Improved Disarm, Intimidating
Prowess, Iron Will, Two-Weapon Fighting, Weapon Focus
(cutlass), Weapon Specialization (cutlass)
Skills Climb +7, Intimidate +10, Perception +2, Profession
(sailor) +7, Sense Motive +2, Swim +7
SQ armor training 1
Combat Gear potion of cure moderate wounds, screaming bolts
(3); Other Gear tidewater cutlass (+1 cutlass; see page 59),
masterwork cat-o’-nine-tails*, light crossbow with 10 bolts,
amulet of natural armor +1, bracers of armor +1, shackles of
compliance (see page 58), leather drinking cup, betting stash
of 100 sp and 200 gp
- See Pirates of the Inner Sea.
Mr. Plugg is an angry young man. He’s always furious
about something, but somehow his rage simmers like a
stew, and even when he loses his temper he quickly seems
to gain control again. A sadist and bully, Plugg has had
a hard, desperate life—few places are more dangerous
to grow up than the dockside streets of the Shackles.
Only 21 years of age, the memories and scars of Plugg’s
formative years are very fresh, and now he intends to have
Plugg is also incredibly ambitious—he intends to
captain his own ship someday, and he joined the crew
of the Wormwood purely for his own ends. Thanks to
his ruthless devotion to Captain Harrigan’s orders, his
rise has been meteoric. In just 11 months aboard the
Wormwood, he has wormed, blackmailed, and murdered
his way to the position of first mate, in truth a job well
beyond his abilities. He masks his own inadequacies by
pointing out those of others.
Everyone on board the Wormwood knows that the first
mate is the captain’s right hand when it comes to dealing
with the ship’s crew, but Harrigan’s other officers form
a close inner circle that Plugg can’t seem to penetrate, a
fact that vexes him to no end. Nevertheless, Harrigan is
sure to punish anyone who attacks Plugg, a fact that every
member of the crew is acutely aware of.
To Mr. Plugg, honor, friendship, and teamwork are
alien concepts. He believes that discipline is the only
thing that matters at sea, and that the constant threat of
ruthless punishment is the only thing that can keep a crew
of cutthroats and scoundrels in line. He strikes first, and
asks questions later. Plugg is not a forgiving man, and if
someone does get the better of him, Plugg takes time to
plot his revenge in the cruelest way he can think of.
Bald except for a black ponytail and sporting long,
narrow beard, Mr. Plugg somehow looks angry, miserable,
and uncomfortable, all at the same time. Bare-chested, he wears an immaculate coat with pearl buttons and carries
a cat-o’-nine-tails with him at all times. He clearly takes
great pride in himself—everything about him shines,
from the polish on his boots to the dome of his head. His
teeth are gray and yellow, however, and his face is fixed in
an almost constant grimace.
The PCs can learn the following about Mr. Plugg with
successful Diplomacy checks to gather information.
DC 5: If Scourge is a bastard, then Mr. Plugg is his
mother and father. One piece of advice—do as he says.
DC 10: First mate? He’s barely been on board a year!
The apple of the captain’s eye, that one. Harrigan treats
him like a son—but not a legitimate one, of course.
DC 15: That cutlass of his is magical, see, no doubt
about that, and he wields that cat like it was his own arm.
I’ve seen him using both in combat. Despite his pettish
looks, he’s some fighter by all accounts.
DC 20: People who cross Plugg end up dead—stabbed,
poisoned, throttled, thrown overboard. Take your pick,
they always end up dead. He has friends everywhere, high
Mr. Plugg (and to a similar extent his repulsive sidekick
Master Scourge) presents a challenge for you as GM. He
is the main villain of the adventure, yet at the beginning
he has considerable inf luence and is practically
unassailable. The challenge is to make the PCs
loathe him without pushing them to openly
attack him, an act that results in keelhauling.
The penalty for murder on the Wormwood
should be enough to keep a lid on your
player’s desires, but be careful not to overuse
his bullying. Plugg oversees the punishments
for infractions on the ship, and does so with
relish, but it is Master Scourge, his toadying subordinate,
who actually carries out most of the disciplining and
poisons the first mate’s mind against the PCs. Again,
be careful not to overplay the bullying and sadism, but
make sure it is prevalent. With care, you can develop a
brooding hatred in your players for this nasty piece of
work, and they’ll relish their final encounter with him
when the chance eventually presents itself.
If your players are more unequivocal, however,
and likely to bring things to a head before leaving the
Wormwood, you should bluntly remind them of the
consequences of murder. If the keelhauling of Jakes
Magpie on the first night aboard the ship doesn’t do the
trick, you can have an NPC whom the PCs are growing
close to kill someone early on in the adventure, and be
keelhauled as punishment.
Mr. Plugg’s burning ambition leads him to make a
return later in the Adventure Path should he somehow
survive this adventure. At the table, adventures often take
a step away from the predicted plot, and “The Wormwood
Mutiny” is no exception. The PCs’ mutiny aboard the
Man’s Promise may transpire earlier than is written, or
circumstances might dictate that Plugg and some of his
cronies somehow escape. Plugg is certain to brood upon
his lost inf luence, while avoiding his former captain
at all costs. Harrigan is certain to be unforgiving if he
finds that Plugg has lost the Man’s Promise and yet still
lives. Plugg limps away and broods on his failure, slowly
whispering words to the powerful and great as he plots his
revenge. He can appear again as an accomplice of one of
the more powerful pirate lords or as a Free Captain in his
own right, with a handpicked crew of cutthroats
and a dozen disciplinary officers aboard his
new ship, the Severe.