Cover of The Bullywug Gambit

The Bullywug Gambit

When an attempt to arrange an early inheritance backfires, a man of lesser ambition than Vanthus Vanderboren would no doubt withdraw into his sister's manse to hide under her skirts and pray that the truth of his patricide remain hidden. Fortunately for Vanthus, lack of ambition has never been a problem. Now the Vanderobrens' prodigal son slinks east along the coast of Blood Bay, lured by rumors of an incredible prize kept in a smuggler's hideout called Kraken's Cove. Yet what he is destined to find there is far more than a lucrative bit of banditry. What awaits him is the savage tide.

"The Bullywug Gambit" is the second chapter of the Savage Tides Adventure Path, a complete campaign consisting of 12 adventures appearing in Dungeon magazine. For additional aid in running this campaign, check out Dragon magazine's "Savage Tidings" articles, a series that helps players and DMs prepare for and expand upon the campaign. Issue #349 of Dragon magazine looks into the region surrounding Sasserine, and provides useful information if your PCs wish to explore this area more thoroughly than they do in the course of this adventure.

The hidden caves of Kraken's Cove have long served the pirates of the Crimson Fleet as a place to stage their smuggling operations. When their latest cargo backfires, the PCs find themselves faced with something far worse than murderous pirates.

Pgs. 12-48

Written By
Nicolas Logue
Publication Year
Battle Mats?
Includes Characters?
Levels 3–5
Boss Monsters and Villains
Common Monsters
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DGoldDragon28 has played this adventure and would recommend it.

Like my review of "There Is No Honour," this review will focus on this specific adventure, not the Savage Tide AP as a whole, but I will say the AP looks promising. I never expect the very low level adventures to be the representative of the path as a whole.

"The Bullywug Gambit" is another adventure that I am conflicted on, but I view it a bit more positively than its prequel. Contending with the savage creatures of Kraken's Cove works as a disturbing experience, made worse when the players learn that they were mutated by the strange mist. It's excellent exposition for the storyline. That being said, the savage creatures were generally more tough (for my party, at least) than their CR would otherwise indicate. It's a strong template at these low levels. That being said, it was an excellent challenge, and I only wound up killing one character, so I think the difficulty of the adventure was great (but if you have novice players or are allergic to any player death, maybe tone it down).

My group had played Age of Worms before starting this AP, so the Wormfall Festival provided a nice opportunity for a callback and a bit of humour -- I had the group see the depictions and hear the legends of our old characters, as twisted and embellished by rumour and retelling. If the group hasn't played Age of Worms, I suggest glossing over the Wormfall, but for a group that has it was a nice touch.

The eponymous section of the adventure was a bit of a let down. The bullywugs were really no threat at all. The idea of "rush back to Sasserine to save Lady Vanderboren from a misunderstanding" is a decent enough hook, and the fact that the five people to be "rescued" are all capable of helping to an extent rather than being complete liabilities is refreshing, but the bullywugs are laughable. Especially when contrasted with the first section of the adventure.