|Campaign Dates||Phareast 31 -Gozarn 1, 4712|
Each of the characters awakes after their night at the Formidably Maid. wake up the following morning in the dark hold of the Wormwood (area A10). They all remember the night before—the ringing laughter of a wild night, the heady joy of excess, the scents of rich stewed meat and perfume lingering in their nostrils. Then describe the sensations that the PCs feel—a pounding headache, the sickly taste of cheap wine in their mouths, the hard f loor, a rhythmic creaking noise, and the feeling of the room swaying, as if they were still drunk. Before the PCs can do much more than sit up, however, several pairs of heavy footsteps enter the dark room, and the harsh light of a lantern painfully spears the PCs’ eyes.
Master_Scourge the Wormwood’s bosun, master-at-arms, and infamous disciplinarian, has entered the hold to wake the captives and get them up to the main deck. Six rough-looking Wormwood pirates, armed with saps, accompany him. An expression that might be mistaken for pain but which is clearly an attempt at a smile bruises Scourge’s face as he cracks the whip in his hand and screams at the group:
“Still abed with the sun over the yardarm? On your feet, ye filthy swabs! Get up on deck and report for duty before Cap’n Harrigan flays your flesh into sausage skins and has Fishguts fry ye up for breakfast!”
The group quickly discover that most, if not all, of their weapons and equipment are gone. While Darix briefly considers a fight, it is clear they cannot win against the pirates there. Scourge and the pirates herd the captives up through the middle deck and onto the Wormwood’s main deck to meet the ship’s captain.
As the group makes their way to the main deck, they can begin to adjust to their surroundings and deduce what happened to them. Xeni discerns the aftertaste of oily nutmeg on the tongue and recognizes this as a clear sign of oil of taggit poisoning. They all remember indulging in either spicy food or spicy rum late last night, and as Xeni says this, they realize that the oil was likely added to their food or drink, and the spices hid the taste of the taggit oil.
When they reach the main deck, it’s quickly apparent that they are on a sizable ship in the middle of the ocean, far from any land. Port Peril and the mainland of the Shackles are just an ochre haze many miles astern. Figures cluster around the ship’s mainmast, looking up at the higher deck on the stern, where two figures stand. One of them is a broad, muscular Garundi man with a shaven head, a long beard bound with gold rings, and an eye patch— clearly the captain. The other is a younger, balding man with a long black ponytail, wearing a long coat and carrying a well-used cat-o’-nine-tails whom Tulie remembers from last night.
At this point they also notice that they are not the only new recruits—four others are standing with them on the deck, set apart by their relative cleanliness and their apparent unease with their newfound situation. A dozen or so other pirates, clearly existing members of the crew, stand about on the deck or in the ship’s rigging. Once the group is on deck, the captain,Barnabas_Harrigan, addresses the crew.
“Glad you could join us at last! Welcome to the Wormwood! My thanks for ‘volunteering’ to join my crew. I’m Barnabas Harrigan. That’s Captain Barnabas Harrigan to you, not that you’ll ever need to address me. I have only one rule—don’t speak to me. I like talk, but I don’t like your talk. Follow that rule and we’ll all get along fine.”
“Oh, and one more thing. Even with you new recruits, we’re still short-handed, and I aim to keep what crew I have. There’ll be a keelhaulin’ for anyone caught killin’ anyone. Mr. Plugg! If you’d be so kind as to make pirates out of these landlubbers, it’ll save me having to put them in the sweatbox for a year and a day before I make pies out of ’em.”
At the end of his speech, the captain walks away, leaving behind the man with the cat-o’-nine-tails. This is Mister Plugg, the Wormwood’s first mate. He looks down at the group and other impressed captives and smiles unpleasantly. Plugg has no time for small talk or pleasantries. His intention is to get the new recruits working on the ship as soon as possible. He immediately begins his own unique and cunning evaluations to test the new “recruits” abilities.
|Campaign Dates||Gozarn 1-2, 4712|
Mr_Plugg immediately starts all 7 of the new crew members on to testing. He first sends them up the rigging in a race for the top. Darix and Xeni are neck and neck at first, but Dariax pulls away. There is an actual pause on the ship as the two humanoids do the best on the ropes. Calling Darix a “lizard” he assigns her to be a rigger. Next he asks who can cook to the remaining 6 who all stand mutely shaking their heads. Xeni blurts out all her preparation skills are based on living in the woods. That is good enough for Mr Pugh who assigns her to assist the often drunk Ambrose “Fishguts” Kroop in cooking. The rest are assigned duty as swabs. Plugg then introduces them to the ship’s officers and sends them along to their new jobs. Each day on the ship takes these same basic pattern: After breakfast, the crew work at their allotted jobs until dusk, when they gather on the main deck to witness punishments (the “Bloody Hour”), eat dinner, and receive their rum rations. After punishment time and the evening meal, the crew can do what they wish until dawn bell the next morning.
Darix is sent aloft to be the eyes of the ship, but she is still not feeling well and does a poor job. She is yelled at by Mr. Plugg before dinner hour. While Xeni heads to learn the ways of the galley, the others are sent on various swab duties. Tulie and Red find themselves swabbing the decks, while Pharn is sent to be a runner. While the two swabbing are exhausted by the work, the nimble Pharn is able to perform admirably well.
Xeni has the most interesting day. “Fishguts” tends to all the duties and instead regales her with stories and teachings. Xeni matches him for his drinking and finds she has extra time to move about the ship. The strange goat-lady is mostly tolerated by the others thanks to her maxed out Diplomacy skills and clear skills with water. She finds out much about the crew, including the various attitudes the new crew members can expect from the others. Most importantly, she learns that Cut-Throat Grok, the ship’s quartermaster, often gets drunk and leaves the door to the quartermaster store unlocked in the evenings when she takes up the crew’s run rations. She feels if she could influence the half -orc to be more friendly, perhaps getting back her staff would be easier. Xeni also notes that one of the crew has bandaged hands that have clearly been burnt. She finds out that this member tried to remove Red’s ring while she was drugged and it flashed fire. Red was unhurt but the crewmember’s fingers were burnt.
Just before dinner, everyone is assembled gathers on deck at dusk to witness the keelhauling of Jakes Magpie, a pirate caught stealing from the quartermaster’s store the night before. After a brief interrogation at the hands of Mr. Plugg and Master Scourge, Jakes admitted his crime, and is now brought up from the bilges to be slowly keelhauled before the evening meal. Xeni notices the relish with which Mr. Plugg, in particular, tugs at the rope as the unfortunate Magpie is dragged under the ship for 12 rounds. What appears on the other side has been cut to shreds and is soon thrown overboard to feed the sharks. Witnessing Jakes’s keelhauling impresses upon the new recruits the deadly nature of pirate punishments.
The five most recently pressed crew find themselves eating on deck, as they have their rum ration. The five young women introduce themselves to one another more formally. While they did not know one another before this started, it is clear the importance of making friends in this hostile environment. They spend their free time separated from the rest of the crew activities this night, but they know they will have to engage tomorrow. It is during this time that Sandra Quinn talks to them and reveals herself as a cleric of Besmara the Pirate Queen, goddess of piracy, sea monsters, and strife. She is impressed with the small group, and already at odds with Master Scourge as the result of a recent altercation with him. while the ladies were sleeping, Sandara visited Cut-Throat Grok and convinced the quartermaster to return her personal equipment, claiming the items were righteous artifacts blessed by Besmara that would bring a terrible curse on those who wrongfully held them. She also managed to acquire two items from the group. To Pharn, she produces her thieves tools, and for Tulie she has her ancient elven instrument, Idril’s Harp. Tulie immediately uses it to play a sea shanty, much to the delight of the crew on the deck as the sun sets.
The morning of the next day, the bells ring to call the crew to the deck. Seconds later, four pirates—Aretta Bansion, Fipps Chumlett, Jaundiced Jape, and Slippery Sy Lonegan—block their. “In a hurry?” Chumlett says, and laughs, pushing Tulie in the chest. It is clear that these pirates want a fistfight, as they are here with only spas drawn. Meanwhile, a handful of other sailors loiter on the stairs to watch the fight. Darix is having nothing of it and pushes Chumlett out of the way with an intimidating snarl.
The pirates start forward to attack more cautiously than before. Xeni immediately head butts Bansion, knocking the wind from her. Red uses corrupting touch on Jape, and he is staggered with the infernal energy. Darix strikes Bansion with her tail putting her out. Pharn tries to trip Chumlett but fails. As the pirates respond, Chumlett manages to hit Darix, but the outlander only grins as Tulie starts a wild shanty about combat which enlivens her new friends. As Red keeps Jape staggered, Xeni and Darix drop Lonegan and Pharn trips Jape. Chumlert lands another heavy strike against Darix, but Tulie simple works a healing spell into her song and Darix is as good as new. Pharn sneaks around the ringleader and between her and Darix, he drops as Xeni finishes off Jape.
With all four laying unconscious, Pharn suggests looting, and the quickly take their saps, daggers, and cutlasses. The five now truly feel like pirates as they saunter up on deck for their morning duties.
|Game Date||01/16/2023, 1/20/2023|
|Campaign Dates||Gozarn 2-4, 4712|
The five companions are eyed by Mr. Plugg but he says nothing to them. The hate in his eyes is clear. Plugg seems to sense that there is something different about the group that bothers him greatly. The four pirates who are late are punished with the lash.
Fishguts is not drunk today, so he takes on the cooking task, allowing Xeni to head out early to shop. Full of energy, she offers to trade her newly acquired cutlass for her “stick” the Staff of Waves. Cut Throat is happy to make the trade with Xeni’s infectious energy (and 23 on diplomacy) and Xeni bounds away with her staff.
Darix is sent again on lookout, and today does a fantastic job. She takes time after her shift to visit Cut Throat herself and impresses her with her tale of the fight. Cut Throat is pleased with her vigor and feels there is a kindred spirit. She softens in her relation to Darix and friends, become more friendly.
Pharn and Tulie spend the day catching rats. Tulie works diligently, but Pharn is seeking to influence the Rigger, Ratline. Unfortunately, he does not believe her tales, and ends up hostile to her.
Red works diligently to succeed at tying and untying knots and moving heavy coils. She is successful but tired. She and Darix both turn in early for the night to get a good rest. The other three gather with the crew. Tulie and Xeni both perform, with the bard making the bigger impression. Disgusted for her botched attempt earlier, Pharn sets her sights on the swab, Tibbs, but she fails again that night.
The next morning, there is no one waiting for the group. Xeni is asked to help butcher one of the ship’s pigs, and the skilled survivalist does so with no problem, impressing Fishguts. He is sober again today, so he is able to prepare the feast without Xeni’s help. Xeni proceeds to talk with the Quartermaster during the day, regaling her with tales of her upbringing and moving her from friendly to a friend. That evening, after helping Fishguts serve the feast, Xeni uses the same strategy to become friends with the Ship’s cook.
Today, Red is hunting vermin, as task she barley succeeds at. Tulie is set to work sewing sails, and Pharn is left swabbing the decks. While swabbing, Pharn engages “Barefoot” Toppin while he is up and down the rigging, and manages to make friends, unlike her last disaster. Tulie and Darix double team Rosie Cussewll during the day as they work they find they all have something in common, making a friend out of their fellow pressed companion.
After her rat hunting, Red targets Jaundice Jape, the half-orc crew member she kept at bay with her corrupting touch the day before. Jape is still smarting for the lashes from being late to the deck and eyes Red with hatred. Red uses her past menace as a boost to intimidating Jape, and convinces her that being hostile toward the group is not a good like strategy.
That evening, while Xeni is drinking with Fishguts, Pharn spends the evening with Tilly Bracket, again making a fast friend. Most of the more hostile crew members continue to eye the group his hate in their eyes, but the team is winning over the indifferent crowd. The other three ladies decide to spend the evening sneaking around the ship, and discover more about what is being stored where. Access to the more vital areas would take a skilled hand with locks and traps.
Their fourth day at sea, things are improving. The ladies have smiles and waves from several of the crew they are engaged with. It is about mid-morning when young Jack Scrimshaw rushes onto deck. Pharn, Red, and Tulie notice his ashen face as well as overhear what he reports to Mr. Plugg. It seems Jack was below on rat-catching duty when something big swam out of the bilge water and bit him. Plugg immediately looks for volunteers to investigate, and selects the three on deck and Darix coming down the ropes.
”go down into the bilges and don’t come out until whatever is down there is dead. Take that goat-lady from the gally with you!”
The group prepares for combat, with Xeni and Red casting their shielding spells, and Tulie calls forth the magical weapon from Idril’s harp. The Bilges are hot and stifling. The dim light is not an issue for the special low light vision and darkvision of the party. Unfortunately, two feet of water fills the bilges and helps obscure 6 dire rats that swarm the party. Three get solid hits on the flatfooted Darix but miss Xeni. As Tulie heals their fighter, Pharn moves around the rats to attack, and Red tries an acid burst. Xeni strikes one with her staff. Darix is momentarily set back, having been attacked by so many at once. She drops her cutlass into the dark water, but as her hands come together, her greatsword, Ormskeld, appears in her hands. Not sure how, Darix smashes a rat. The little creatures keep up their attacks, but the party easily bests them in half a minute after the fight starts. Xeni restores Darix fully with healing and the group takes their time to search the area. They find several old weapons, armor, and most wonderfully an old bag Red identifies as a bag of holding.
An hour having past, they head to their lockers on the deck up and lock up their loot, including Ormskeld. Then they saunter back on deck after Red cleans them with use of her prestidigitation cantrip. Mr. Plugg is dumbfounded at their pristine state, commenting they look better than they did when they went down! They show him a couple of dead rats and he is forced to accept they completed their task. He orders Scrimshaw to man the pumps.
After their smug encounter the group goes about their tasks. Xeni finds the hog already dead and Fishguts is still doing better thanks to Xeni’s efforts. Xeni spends time mending the items they wish to trade after Red cleans them with prestidigitation. The other four go to the evening hours at the ship’s store with their new helpful quartermaster. Pharn bargains very well and the group walks away having sold most of their finds with 200 more gold to split between them. They all sleep well that night, happy to have their equipment back.
|Campaign Dates||Gozarn 5-11, 4712|
On the 5th day, the ladies work to influence the crew they can as they go about their duties, trying to create allies. They are unable to do that in the evening, however, as Plugg and his cronies lead Owlbear Hartshorn onto deck just after the evening meal “for a bit of sport” and dare one of the “fightin’ ladies” to take him on—bare-knuckle fists or wrestling only, no magic tricks, “and no horns nor tails, missy” and the last one conscious wins. To make it interesting, Plugg tosses down a purse of 100 gp as a wager on Owlbear.
Owlbear Hartshorn is a large man with meaty fists. He’s a bit simple, and the rest of the crew enjoys having a laugh at the poor fellow’s expense. To try to make friends, Hartshorn has taken to clowning, laughing, and crying out random phrases at the top of his voice, as this seems to make people laugh. Owlbear likes to eat live crabs, breaking the shells with his teeth and fingers, and his shaved skin still shows signs of the tarring and feathering the crew gave him as a cruel joke not so long ago. Mr. Plugg’s “pet,” a simpleminded, hulking brute called Owlbear Hartshorn, is usually kept belowdecks in the middle hold (area A6), but Plugg brings him out on special occasions, such as when he wants someone taught a lesson or killed.
The women are appalled at the state of Owlbear and the use of a simple-minded man. They pick Darix to fight, but refuse a bet. While the hulking man lands some blows, Darix easily lands a critical hit with her fist and Owlbear cries and backs away in tears. The poor man is pushed back into combat by Plugg and his nasty cronies, but Darix withdraws in pity. Plugg angrily eyes the otherlander ans snatches up the bag of gold as no one has won. Yet again, the success of the impressed women gives Plugg more reason to hate them.
Unfortunately, the next day opens with rain and the danger of a building storm. That evening, the group has mixed results as they attempt to perform for the crew, but it is mostly positive. The storm builds through the next day while the group works to influence the crew. Darix struggles to stay aloft in the rigging as the wind is picking up.
On the morning of the 8th, the Wormwood is in the middle of a mighty spring storm. All hands are on the rigging. Xeni is totally unsuccessful in her work, but no one is able to punish her immediately. Frustrated and fatigued, Xeni seeks out Sandra Quinn in the hopes the cleric has a ready lessor restoration. Sandra does, but she is at first unwilling to use it, worried about her own day. As they are talking, everything changes.
Tulie cries out that their new friend, Rosie Cussewll has been just washed overboard. Sandra immediately resorts Xeni who grabs a line and charges over the side of the boat without hesitation. Expecting to see her swimming, everyone is amazed to see the satyr walking on the water, striding over the waves. While Xeni cannot see far, she focus on her hearing and (with a roll of 20) can hear Tulie shouting directions. Rosie comes into view and Xeni reaches down a hand to pull her from the churning sea. Carrying her back to the ship, Darix hauls them both up. There is little time for celebration then as the Woomwood is still in peril.
Everyone works the rest of the day, and through the night, with Darix and Red totally exhausted, with Tulie and Pharn only a bit better. The sleep-work through the next day, exhausting Tulie. While Pharn makes it through dinner, the others sleep before that. Xeni however, charged by her heroics, works through the night and the next day without problem, marking another day she has helped Kroop not drink himself into a stupor. She is able to gut the pig for a nice meal and even puts on a successful bout of singing that evening that all her companions miss. Finally, the next morning the weather is normal, and the rhythm of the ship returns. The ladies are running out of crew who are merely indifferent to them, and begin to try to turn those more hostile to them without much success.
As the afternoon of the 11th wears on, Plugg singles out the five woman and calls them on deck. All have already completed their tasks for the day, but have not been able to influence any crew. At his feet lie four crab pots. Plugg informs them that the captain wants fresh crab for supper. He points to a reef lying some 100 feet north of the ship and instructs the group to them to swim to the reef, fill the pots with crabs, and swim back. As usual, Mr. Plugg brooks no further discussion.
The ladies takes the pots, drop their shoes and swim out to the reef. Xeni again walks on top of the water and carries the pots until they are needed. The water is shallow around the reef, ranging from 5’-30’, but no more than 10’ in most places, making diving down easy. Xeni is sure her experience with the natural world will make this easy. However, nothing seems to be that simple for our heroines. As soon as they are over the reef, Xeni and Darix are attacked by reefclaws.
Darix swims towards the one near her, while Xeni, standing on the water headbutts the creature as it surfaces. The monsters claw and bite at both of them. Darix summons Ormskeld and gravely wounds her foe. Red fires her magic missile at the one on Xeni and Tulie ”make the crab chuckle” with hideous laughter before swimming towards Darix to heal her. Pharn joins Xeni to flank the reefclaw and the kill it, since Darix has her sword. Despite the beasts fighting on after mortal wounds, both are easily killed. Xeni and Tulie make sure everyone is healed before heading back to the ship, crabpots full of crabs and reefclaws.
The Master Gunner of the Wormwood, Reise Karn takes the ladies from their normal duties to teach them boarding actions. Darix and Xeni are first. Placed in a boat and rowed out around 40 feet from the ship, they are told to throw grapples and climb aboard. This is not unhindered, as select members of the crew, Plugg cronies all, are throwing refuse at them to stop them. Darix has no trouble with her throw, and starts scampering up her line. Her progress is stopped by a well placed rotten head of lettuce that strikes her face and sends her into the water. Xeni has other problems. Darix see Xeni vainly trying to throw, but Xeni cannot see much past 30 feet, and to her the boat might as well be in a fog bank. Darix grins toothily and makes a great throw for her friend. They both make it up their respective ropes, taking a few more hits.
Now it is the turn of the other three. Tulie simply tosses the rope and able scampers up it, with a detached attitude. She pulls out her harp and plays a supportive tune for her friends, even if they are out of its effect. Red and Pharn far less well. It takes them some tries to get their ropes up, and then they both have trouble coming up. Finally, however, they make it too the ship. This “training” completed, they have a normal evening, with Red performing her backflips and Xeni singing. Over the next couple of days tensions continue to increase in intensity as the group of heroines continue to increase their popularity among most of the crew. Days of work and nights are spent with the strange group at the center of attention. Plugg grows more and more unhappy, as while the crew still fears him, they do not respect him. Plugg and his cronies are more hostile with each passing day. Line has hardened and it seems like anything could happen.
|Campaign Dates||Gozran 15 -27|
The days wear on and Plugg assigns the worst assignments to everyone but Xeni, who continues to keep Fishguts sober enough during the days and evenings to do his job. Days for the swabs are spent in the bilges or swabbing the decsk, and Darix is often just working on ropes. Most nights, they go to be exhausted. Things reach a peek when Master Scourge decides that Xeni “Has it too good” and sends her to the bilges along with Fipps Chumlett and “Ratline” after making sure she has no weapons. Xeni notices that both of the other crewmembers have daggers secreted on their persons. Only a few minutes in, Fipps stands up and declares that Xeni is slacking. As he and Ratline close, Xeni casts shield of faith and encases herself in ice. Despite the two pirates trying to kill her, Xeni is desperate to not break the rules and not risk getting into trouble with Plugg and Master Scourge. She uses her horns to knock them both out, though after a particularly hard blow, she is forced to heal herself.
After the fight, Xeni fully heals and the drags the two unconscious men to the top deck and throws them at Plugg’s feat exclaiming:
”I was assaulted!”. She grabs her staff rom next to Master Scourge and stalks back down to the bilges to finish her day, leaving a stunned Plugg and Scourge in her wake. Word quickly travels around the ship about the attack, further hardening the various crew relations into the two camps. While the Captain and his officers can easily keep the crew in line, this is not a great situation. Without Xeni, Fishguts immediately gets drunk, and dinner is a disaster.
The following day, Xeni is back as a cook’s mate, as the Captain was none too pleased with dinner the night before. With the crew divided, tensions are high and it seem that something will happen soon. Something does, but it not a fight on the Wormwood. High in the crow’s nest, Darix spies a sail on the horizon. The Wormwood heels about and goes after its foe. It is a Rahadoumi merchant vessel called the Man’s Promise. As soon as she spots the Wormwood, the merchant ship flees, but her sails are no match for those of the pirate ship, which closes over a period of 12 hours. During the last hour, Captain Harrigan instructs Kroop and the PC cook’s mate to slaughter half a dozen pigs, slit their throats, and throw them overboard to attract sharks to the scene of the battle.
on the sterncastle attacking the Wormwood’s rigging in a futile attempt to slow the pirate ship. At the same time, banks of heavy mist suddenly envelop the enemy ship. From now until the conclusion of the battle, combat aboard the Man Promise takes place within multiple fog cloud spells cast by Peppery Longfarthing.
Riaris Krine summons the group and tells them their instructions:
“The ship’s wheel is on the aft deck, just below the sterncastle. You’re going to grapple over, kill the guards on the sterncastle, take the wheel, and guard the ship’s boats. Kill anyone who tries to get away on one of the boats. Don’t move from the wheel until the fighting’s done, or you’ll have to answer to me. Oh yeah, as we get close, it’s going to get foggy. Just stick to what I told you to do.”
Krine puts the Darix in charge of the boarding party. The two ships soon enter into reasonable firing range (120 feet) and close together at a speed of 30 feet per round. The crew of the Man’s Promise begins to bombard the Wormwood with missiles, mainly crossbow bolts, but also with two ballistas. The party remains under cover as the ships close. Soon the two vessels are lashed together. Darix leads the group across to the new ship and orders the group to the stern castle. Tulie opens with her inspire courage performance and her spiritual weapon. Darix, Pharn, and Xeni charge up, while the Rahadoumi sailors use their crossbows to fight. The party quickly overwhelms most of the sailor. Darix cleaves a man in two, and the remaining sailor drop their weapons.
At this point the fog parts, allowing all but Xeni to see Captain Harrigan and two officers rushing madly for the doors to the captain’s cabin below the aft deck, slashing and hacking as they move. They notice a Rahadoumi sailor sneaking up behind Harrigan. Just before the sailor hits the captain from behind. Harrigan notices and immediately kills his attacker he looks around and frowns as he notices the group could have warned him. It is clear to the ladies that there will be repercussion of this later. As they look at each other, there is an explosion inside the ship, and Kipper staggers up to the deck, badly burned.
As the battle rages below, a Rahdoumi office and two sailors burst onto the deck and make their way to the cutter on the side of the ship. The group moves to stop them. Tulie stops the officer with hideous laughter while the rest of the group kills the sailors. By the time the officer has recovered, she faces Darix’s and Pharn’s swords and surrenders. After a few more minutes the battle ends with the pirates victorious. The fog dissipates, and a line of prisoners from the Man’s Promise is paraded before Captain Harrigan and the cheering crew of the Wormwood.
Aboard the Wormwood, a party begins as the pirates celebrate their victory with fine food and drink from the Man’s Promise’s hold. Captain Harrigan holds a meeting with his top officers and divvies up the plunder from the Man’s Promise among the crew in the early evening. Bolstered by gold and good drink, the party lasts for 36 hours, well into the next night. Naturally, no work takes place during the party.
Because the party did not warn Captain Harrigan, he cuts their share of the plunder in half, so they each only get 75 gold. However, the rewards for killing sailors and taking an officer still result in more bounties and treasure: 255 gold three potions of cure moderate wounds and a potion of invisibility. Pharn takes the invisibility, while the three who cannot heal themselves each take a cure potion.
At dawn, a few hours after the celebration finally winds down, the ship’s bell sounds, calling all hands on deck. When the crew is assembled, a long line of captured officers and sailors from the Man’s Promise is brought on deck and paraded before the crew. Captain Harrigan addresses the captives first, offering a place on the Wormwood’s crew for any who want to throw their lot in with pirates. Several of the Rahadoumi sailors step forward; Master Scourge cuts their bonds, and the sailors take their places among the Wormwood’s crew. Harrigan then turns to address the Wormwood’s crew.
“All right, you scurvy tars! You’ve done a right good job by me—we’ve got a second ship now, and she’s quite a prize from the looks of her. But I still have only one crew. So here’s the plan—the Wormwood will sail on to our planned destination with our new shipmates here, while Mr. Plugg will pick a skeleton crew to sail the Man’s Promise to Port Peril, where she’ll be worth a pretty penny as salvage.”
“As for these fine fellows here”—Harrigan gestures at the remainder of the captured ship’s crew—“some of them will no doubt be worth a hefty ransom from their families back in Azir. And for the rest, if the life of a pirate’s not for them, they can spend the rest of their lives at sea!”
To make his point, Harrigan grabs one of the Rahadoumi sailors and throws her overboard to the accompaniment of cheers and laughter from the Wormwood’s crew. As the unfortunate woman sinks beneath the waves, many of the remaining sailors scramble to swear their loyalty to Harrigan. The officers are led belowdecks and the crew begins to disperse to their daily tasks.
As they do, Mr. Plugg and Master Scourge pick out several of the Wormwood’s original crew, telling them to be aboard the Man’s Promise within 10 minutes to set sail for Port Peril. Of course, the ladies are chosen to join the skeleton crew as well, and Scourge smiles evilly at them as he picks them. While they have little time left on the Wormwood, the women visit Cut-Throat Grok, and she cries as they leave. She gives Pharn a set of masterwork thieves tools, and Xeni a potion of haste.
The skeleton crew of the Man’s Promise includes Mr. Plugg, Master Scourge, Owlbear Hartshorn, and all of the surviving members of the Wormwood’s original crew of sailors, Ambrose Kroop (whom the captain is glad to be rid of ), and all the impressed sailors of the Conchobhar Shortstone, Rosie Cusswell, and Sandara Quinn. Filling out the crew are a handful of captured Rahadoumi sailors, all of whom are totally loyal to Plugg.
The Man’s Promise is a three-masted sailing ship, 105 feet long and 30 feet wide. A minimum crew of 20 is required to sail her. As the Man’s Promise sets sail, acting captain Mr. Plugg and his first mate Master Scourge gather the crew together to inform them that although this is a new ship, the rules are the same, though discipline on the Man’s Promise will be a good deal harsher than on the “lackadaisical” Wormwood— all crimes are now punishable with the cat-o-9 tails instead of the whip. All of the crew keep the same jobs they had before on the Wormwood, but they will have to work a good deal harder, as the crew is smaller. Master Scourge ensures that the ladies continue to have the worst jobs of the crew for the remainder of this journey. As night falls, the sails of the Wormwood disappear over the horizon. Mr. Plugg does not believe in crew entertainment or rum rations, and anyone caught above decks after dusk without leave gets six lashes with the cat. That night, Plugg, Scourge, and those pirates loyal to them hold a secret meeting in the captain’s cabin.
The next day, Rosie comes to the group concerned that they are not headed to Port Peril, bust instead that Mr. Plugg plans to claim the ship for himself. Darix, from her post in the rigging can confirm that they are sailing south, not north. During the evening, Kroop suggests to Xeni that he knows where the Man’s Promise might be heading—to a seedy, isolated dry dock on the Slithering Coast west of Bloodcove called Rickety’s Squibs. For a price, old Rickety Hake completely refits ships into “squibs,” providing new identities by changing ships’ lines, silhouettes, and general appearance to be unrecognizable to their former owners or anyone else familiar with them.
Two days later, storms his the ship in the early hours of the morning. All hands are on deck in the rigging as the ship is blown further and further off course. As they work through the night and into the next day, dark shapes loom out of the sea all around the ship—small islets and coral reefs that dot this area. Unknown to anyone, grindylows sneak abord the ship and kidnap two crew members. Embolded by this success, more sneak upon the deck, right into the waiting arms of the lady pirates.
Seeing the creatures, Tulie sends out an alarm. Pharn moves first and kills one before it can board. Nine others climb onto the boat, and Pharn and Darix begin wading through them. Three attack Red and knock her out, and get ready to drag her away. Standing nearby, Tuile reviews her. Seeing their friend fall, Darix an Xeni race to her aid. Once five of the monsters are dead, the others slither back to the sea, and the ladies continue fighting to control the storm.
As the storm begins to abate, the Man’s Promise hits the coral reefs surrounding what will turn out to be Bonewrack Isle and runs aground. As the sun rises and the tide goes out, the members of the crew slowly come to terms with their predicament. The Man’s Promise is holed in the main hold on the starboard side near the ship’s water barrel. Although the ship is not in immediate danger of sinking, she’ll eventually sink unless repairs are made, even if the bilge pumps are operated 24 hours a day. Mr. Plugg immediately instructs several of the crew to begin dismantling the ship’s deck to repair the vessel.
Early in the morning, Mr. Plugg calls the roll of the crew, and two of the ship’s sailors are discovered to be missing. Both Sandara Quinn and Rosie Cusswell are missing. Xeni and Pharn search the hold and finds signs of where the grindylows clambered aboard, as well as Sandara’s holy symbol of Besmara on the deck, dropped when she was captured by the grindylows.
Mr. Plugg is dismissive of the two pirates’ fate, declaring that they were washed overboard during the storm. Xeni protests that the grindylows were responsible but Plugg immediately claims that it is better to lose a few expendable scum and get the ship to Port Peril than to risk crossing Captain Harrigan.
At the same time, the crew discovers that the ship’s water barrel burst when the vessel ran aground and is now empty. Mr. Plugg orders the ladies to take the ship’s cutter and a couple of empty barrels and find fresh water and supplies on the nearby island. When Xeni points out she can make water with her divine magic, Plugg refuses, fearing it might be poisoned. He tells the group that the repairs will take a day and a half, and that the ship will sail at the first high tide thereafter. That gives our heroines 48 hours to get to the island, find supplies, rescue their friends, and return, or the ship will leave without them.
|Campaign Dates||Gozran 27|
The Man’s Promise has been holed on the edges of a coral reef surrounding a small tropical island, called Bonewrack Isle. A huge ridge towers over the island’s western portion. A single raised tor glowers across the isle at the imposing ridge, with miles of jungle lying between the two. With the exception of the swamp to the east, the majority of the isle is covered in thick jungle with heavy undergrowth.
The waters around Bonewrack Isle are crystal clear (visibility 320 feet), but the island is surrounded by coral reefs, which lie between 5 and 25 feet beneath the surface. Despite the beauty, however, the tides around the island are vicious, particularly along the western shore. Even on calm days, the water is rough and one risks being dragged out to sea by the strong currents.
The rocky cliff that towers over the island to the northwest is some 500 feet high and covered by trees in many places, particularly the more shaded northwest slopes. On the eastern side, a glowering fist of rough granite rises from the jungle on the eastern end of the island. The Fist is approximately 50 feet high and is fairly easy to climb. The summit of the Fist commands not only a fine view of the sea and the Man’s Promise / but also a view of the rest of the island.
All along the perimeter of the island, the grindylow inhabitants have left “shepherds”—small, twisted “statues” made of the sinew-twined, scrimshaw covered skeletons of their prey. These statues lurk in the shallows of the sea and on the edges of lagoons and hang from palm trees on the fringes of the jungle. No two are alike; each is the product of twisted imaginations. The bones show signs of trauma and gnawing.
As the ladies row towards the island, they discuss actions. Xeni suggests they climb the Fist to get a view of the island. They clamber up the side and take a look at the island. They can see a form of fields that appear in a break in the jungle, and some sort of structure on the ridge to the west. It looks like the village is the best place to put in close by, or the beach to the south. They decide to go to the old village and walk down the trail they can see into the jungle. Search the area, they see an old beacon fire also sits atop the summit. The beacon is some 10 feet across and consists of trees, branches, and old ship’s timbers, but is unlit. They discover a store of six torches and a pair of tindertwigs in undergrowth nearby which they take.
The head back down and put it at an old dock at the old village. A small gathering of collapsed mud huts sits on the island’s northern beach. The village has not been inhabited for decades, ever since the grindylows first came to the isle. A path leads away from shore into the nearby swamp. There is nothing left here of any value, it all having been taken.
Two hours into the day, the group sets off south through the swamp. After about 20 min, they find the pathway slips suddenly into a large green bog. Remnants of an old wooden bridge cross the bog, but only short timber platforms on either side remain, leaving just the pilings jutting from the mud. A salt river oozes through the swamp here, forming a solid barrier of quicksand and marsh some 70 feet across. This is the only place to cross this stretch of the swamp, unless the PCs want to climb the cliffs at the swamp’s western edge. The mire is composed of quicksand , making it dangerous to cross. While the branches some 20 feet over the mire might create a pathway to climb, or the group might try to use vines to swing across, Xeni decides to water walk and carry two at a time the 70’ across. This is easy for someone with her large frame, and she starts with Darix and Pharn, each riding a shoulder and arm. This goes well until they get midway across and two giant fogs emerge from the muck.
The frogs sticky tongues come out, attacking the two carried women. Pharn is struck and pulled out of Xeni’s arm towards one, as she twists not to be swallowed whole. Pluck is screaming curses in agitation at his owner being attacked. Red and Tulie watch in horror from the north end of the mire. Xeni carries Darix to attack the frog holding their friend, but Darix cannot manage a blow. It is rendered moot as the other frog strikes again, and this time Darix is fighting to stay on the outside of the body rather than the inside. Red throws an acid splash just at the edge of her range to hurt “Pharn’s” frog, while Xeni tries to hit it with her staff unsuccessfully. Finally, Darix manages a hit and kills the frog holding her. She then strongly swims through the quicksand towards her friends. Finally, Pharn manages to stab the frog and it lets her go to swim away to safety. This meal was far too dangerous.
Xeni picks up her friends and carries them to shore. She patches up Phan with a heal check and then goes to get the other two without incident. Over the rest of the hour, Xeni is able to help speed the crew through soft and muddy parts of the path, since she has her walking on water effect up.
As they move southwest, they start to smell a terrible stench that fills the swamp here, a fetid odor of cheap perfume and rotting flesh. A huge tree stands in the middle of a clearing in the swamp, draped with some sort of huge tent. Lurid, painted faces cover both the tree trunk and tent, and both are decorated with rotting humanoid body parts and carpets of squirming insects. Darix sees movement inside the remnants of a considerable tent lashed around a great tree. Inside the tent are more rotting human remains, a huge pile of filthy clothes, and a vast bed of moldering cushions at the base of the tree. Clouds of f lies dance above the decay. Unfortunately, three former ship’s whores are now ghouls, dressed in the rotting remains of their clothes.
Darix moves in and waits for the ghouls to close on her, which they do. She immediately slays one and then cleaves the other in two swift strokes of her mighty sword. This does leave her open to being bitten by the third undead. Darix shakes off the paralyzing effect and Tuile and Pharn surround the other and make quick work of it with there rapiers.
The treasure includes a potion of cure moderate wounds and clothing and various flasks, including 6 flasks of alchemist’s fire and two barrels of cheap perfume. Xeni, with her jungle experience advises they all put on the cheap perfume and take enough to keep adding it. She explains this will help keep the bugs away based on how bad it smells and she is concerned the biting bugs like botflies and mosquitos will now carry the ghoul fever. Fortunately, the bite on Darix seems clean and she has resisted infection, herself. As they move further down the trial the discuss where they go next. Because grindylows tend to live in underwater caves, they first decide to check out the beach and then plan for the structure on the ridge.
The beach is a lovely spot on this otherwise hot and humid island. Towering palm trees stretch along a white sand beach for a mile or so, each around 50 feet high and crowned with a wide canopy of palms brimming with coconuts. Shattered coconuts litter the beach beneath three of the trees that are in a big clump. Xeni notes these are most likely the work of coconut crabs, and Pharn races forward to see followed by Darix. Both are startled with three giant coconut crabs descend from the tree and attack them. They are caught in the large claws of two of the crabs. Red promptly uses her ray of enfeeblement on one of them and Xeni moves to heal Pharn who is now very hurt. Invigorated, Pharn gets out Blindfrost and pierces the crab in a spot between its armor, killing it in a single blow, and freezing over much of its insides in the process.
Darix, on the other hand, struggles to use her two handed weapon against the monster holding her. The third crab grabs Xeni. It is at this point that Tulie decides to field her spiritual weapon with her harp and sends it to help Xeni, while Red sends a magic missile against the one on Darix.
Now free, Pharn lands another key blow against the crab holding Xeni, also “preserving” its flesh. This time, Darix lands a mighty blow and cleaves her crab in two. The group decides to rest and have a crab back on Darix’s giant crab and they spend a couple of hours on the beach, Darix and Pharn braving swims in the treacherous waters.
They group leaves the beach and briefly investigates the edge of the overgrown fields. A clearing in the jungle contains overgrown fields of some sort of corn. In several places, there are scarecrows topped with the heads of dead sailors as a warning of some sort. They are all surrounded by bot flies which The crops have gone wild, creating a high barrier wafting gently in the breeze. While Tulie can get them around it with know direction they decide a search is too much time and work. They carefully head up the cliffs to the structure they saw. There is a narrow pathway up. A well-built timber stockade surrounds a small lodge in a jungle clearing. Vines wrap and strangle a great tree that rises next to the lodge, blocking light from above. Beside it is a bubbling spring.
Pharn moves ahead under the three, and Darix chases after her calling for her to wait. Just then, two vine chokers drop their tendrils and Pharn is dragged up into the tree, unable to breath. While Darix is missed, she struggles to fight back, missing with her swings. Pharn, however, stabs the monster and a magic missile from Red finishes it off. With a steely look on her face, Pharn critically stabs the other monster killing it.
Inside is a single chamber, crowded with a large amount of furniture looted from the wreck of the Infernus, including a comfortable bed (formerly the captain’s), a small writing desk, cooking gear, and several barrels of rotting food. The stench of rot is overpowering and f lies swarm within the room, particularly around the hooded corpse hanging from a chain off a beam in the middle of the room. A stool lies on the floor nearby where it was kicked. Pharn wants to investigate but is scared. Xeni walks up with her and the figure jerks, trying to grab the piper. A stench fills the area as they jump back. Xeni and Darix begin to wretch. Tired of being grabbed today, Pharn steels herself against the stench of the ghast and runs the undead through, ending its existence. They quickly search the lodge, not wanting to remain with the buzzing botflies in danger of biting them.
The view from the hill offers them an ability to see what looks like a drop into what could be underwater caves. They also see the wreck of an underwater ships off the coast. The group decides to rest and recover at the beach and go at the cove refreshed the next day. Xeni suggests they retrieve the ship’s cutter and land it at the beach. By the time this is done, it is close to night. They build a large fire and cook more of the now thawing crabmeat. The smoke and wind on the beach keeps the biting insects at bay.
|Campaign Dates||Gozran 28|
After a good night’s rest on the short of the sea, the ladies awake at dawn and decide to take the boat around to the cavern entrance they saw on the southwest shore. They wait until low tide to Red sees some grindylows under the surface swimming into the caves. Riptide Cove is a series of low natural tunnels and caverns that is submerged totally at high tide. The waters are very murky because of the endless tides, with a visibility of 10 feet. The group anchors the cutter with rocks and rope and they decide to swim in through the tunnel. Even at the lowest tide, there is barely any spots to catch a breath. The tunnel is 100’ into the open cove. Everyone manages to avoid the deliberately sharpened rocks to come into the High cliffs surrounding a deep cove churning with dark seawater. As soon as they emerge, they see stirges nesting on the cliffs, four of which swoop down on Darix who is in the lead. Three manage to attack to her. Tulie acts at the same moment to summon her spiritual weapon and uses it to kill a stirge as it tries to latch on. The other two drain blood from Darix. Xeni pops to the surface and she charges. She and Darix kill the other three. Four more descend and attack Darix again. This time Red tries to throw a dagger, but it misses, plopping into the sea. However as one of the four tries to latch one, Tulie again kills it, and Pharn and Darix kill the other three.
They head deeper into the complex, to the south. Tulie notes that the seaweed has floating hooks rigged into it. These cruelly barbed hooks are attached to pieces of cork by thin, strong sinews and float between 1 and 3 feet from the f loor. While they deal no damage, the hooks grab the clothing and armor of those passing through them. All of the players make it by. Though Pharn gets snagged, the rouge is easily able to wiggle free.
The tunnel leading into this natural tidal cavern is decorated with the jawbones of numerous frightful-looking fish, resembling the throat of some hideous aquatic creature. Eight grindylows swarm the lades as they swim into the room. Very quickly, the crew destroys the attackers, though not without Pharn being stabbed. Tulie heals her in combat and soon the monsters are all dead. They find on them, three scroll cases from Sandra Quinn as well as her Besmara’s Tricorne. They charge ahead more desperate to find their friends.
In the next alcove, there is a set of metal bars along the floor. They choose not to investigate there, reasoning if their friends are down there, they are already dead. Moving into the adjacent cave, Xeni’s light illuminates another passage north with some possible movement. However, they are attacked by a devilfish. It explodes a red cloud in the water, nauseating everyone but Tulie and Xeni who is on the surface. Tulie starts her inspire courage to aid her friends while Xeni moves in. The monster grabs Xeni and pulls her to its mouth, putting her unconscious. When Darix gets control of herself, she charges underwater and strikes at the monster. Tulie prepares a healing spell and then swims to Xeni to heal her. Xeni awakens, but her lungs are out of air. She just manages to struggle free and pops to the surface. A breath full of air and she goes back down.
Meanwhile, Pharn swims in to attack, while Red fires off her magic missile. As the monster lashes out, it misses, and the ladies concentrated attack kills it. Xeni’s light ahead shows them their friends, suspended from the roof of the cavern. Time to get their friends back!
Seeing their friends menaced by a some large mutated grindylow, the group moves forward. Red manages to get caught in the web of hooks, but the rest close. Darix and Pharn move to attack, but as they do, the Brinebrood Queen, mother and leader of the grindylows, screams and cults the lines holding Rosie and Sandra, and they two, wighted by silver ingots, plunge into the murky water.
Hundreds of remains float in this large bowl of water, which churns with bones, scraps of flesh, and the carcasses of trange, almost alien fish. Just visible through the roiling stew are humanoid bodies floating in the water, wan corpses drifting near the bottom of this cauldron like sleeping guardians. The visibility is only around 5 feet.
Pharn and Darix both miss their attacks in the churning water, while Xeni charges forward to the spot her friends when down after casting air bubble on her head. Four more grindylows rise up from the water and vainly try to attack the pirates. The queen summons an octopus who tries to stop Xeni but fails, but one of the grindylows does hurt the oracle as she goes under. Red enfeebles the large monster. The mutant grindylow, known as the whale, snaps up Pharn in its mouth just as Tulie begins singing a performance to encourage the others while summoning her spiritual weapon to attack the grindylow nearest to her.
Xeni dives down to recover her friends, and sees them sinking towards two chained lacedons, underwater ghouls. Rosie is closest to her and most hurt, so Xeni just grabs Rosie before the lacedon can reach her. Sandra sinks down and manages a stunning escape artist roll to unbind her hands. The lacedon bites her, and Sandra heals herself with her positive energy, also healing Xeni and Rosie, helping them heal from the attacks of the octopus and grindylow on attacking Xeni.
On the surface, Pharn gets free, while Red fires her magic missile at the Brinebrood Queen. As the various grindylow attack and miss, Darix kills a gindylow and then lands a solid hit on the mutant. The Queen responds with an entangle catching Tulie and stopping her performance, and Darix on the edge. The others manage to escape and swim free. This time, the Whale snaps at Darix, freeing her from the entangle, but now holding her in is mouth! Pharn attacks and kills the other grindylow under her.
Xeni avoids the monsters on her and puts an air bubble around Sandra before heading to the surface. She emerges next to the whale, the queen and a gindylow. Rosie is on her back as Xeni looks at the situation. Red tries to set the Whale on fire, and burns him with infernal flame, but he douses it in the water. The Queen attacks Darix with her vindictive harpoon that magically returns to her hand. Meanwhile, poor Tulie, while avoiding the mass of entangling plants created by the spell, cannot manage to swim clear in the churning water. Her spiritual weapon floats without a target. Pharn charges the queen, assuming Darix is good on her own. Darix is. She swings her sword and kills the beast who has grabber her. As the queen rages, Xeni attacks. Sandra is able to cast her instant armor and then ascend with her slipstream spell, but not without being bitten by the ghoul.
Tuile finally makes it up and her weapon kills the octopus. Now able to concentrate, the reaming foes drop. Red uses acid splash and even stabs a fleeing grindylow at one point. The Brinebrood Queen dies with a horrifying scream. With her harpoon recovered, it is easy work to deal with the two ghouls below at leisure. The ladies loot the area and Xeni carries Rosie out. While other of the foul grindylows are in the caves, the death of their queen has put them into disarray and they avoid the party.
They take the over full boat back to the beach to rest, heal, recover and plan for the attack on the Man’s Promise the next day.
|Campaign Dates||Gozran 29|
Deciding striking first is the best way to go, Pharn suggests sneaking aboard before light. The group sets out after another batch of crab and bids farewell to the horrors of Bonewrack Isle. Pharn looks at the ship from a distance and sees it is Cog who is in the crow’s nest on watch. She writes a note to Cog and gives it to Pluck and using her animal handling, gets him to carry the message.
Cog is in the nest along with one of the Rahadoumi sailors. He takes the note and reads it, showing it to the sailor. Before the other man can respond however, Cog deftly stabs him in the back, killing him. The path is now clear. Xeni walks Pharn and Darix up to the side and boosts Pharn over the side. With expert stealth, she sneaks past the deck with the officers and into he middle deck with the crew asleep in hammocks. Their she starts waking their friends and, again, with expert stealth, gets them all up. The group is amazingly (roll 15) able to get the remaining crew gagged and secured helpless in their own hammocks.
Pharn starts to lead them upstairs, but this lot is not silent enough and the officers awake. The officers charge to the Deck before Pharn can get her forces up the stairs, in the hopes of pinning them in the lowers decks. However, the rest of the ladies have now moved onto deck and the officers fall back to form a line. As Pharn emerges, Cog joins her. They note their fellow impressed sailor, Conchobhar Shortstone, is now among the officers, which suits them just fine. Darix cries out “Get Plugg!” and the fight is on.
Master Scourge and Kipper charge Pharn but Scourge missies. Pharn strikes critically, deeply wounding Master Scourge and Cog attacks Kipper, slicing him deeply. Cobachar starts a performance to help his side, after a retreat to the stern castle but Tulie responds in kind evening the playing field and then adding her spiritual weapon to the fight. Darix snarls and heads to attack Plugg, their mortal foe. Red makes his life more difficult with a ray of enfeeblement as the Captain of the Man’s Promiseresponds with his Tidwater Cutless. Patch Patchaslt joins in with her captain, bringing her hooked hammer into play. Xeni now charges forward to help Pharn who is double teamed with her Staff of the Waves. Having time, she heals Pharn. Unfortunatly Kipper manages to deeply wound Cog, and Scourge follow up dropping him. However, horribly hurt, Master Scourge abandons the fight and jumps into the sea. .
The evil bard/rouge Conchobhar casts hideous laughter on Darix, who falls almost helpless on the deck. As Tulie’s sword attacks Patch, she responds in kind wot Mr. Plugg, but their foe shrugs off the effect. Plugg, yelling curses at the cowardly Scourge continues the fight, as Owlbear comes up and enters the fight. Pharn drops Kipper, and their dumb friend smashes Kipper’s head in with his club shouting ”You will not hurt my friends!”
The tide is turning. While Darix is down momentarily, Patch is being threatened on two fronts. Kipper cannot stand against Xeni and Pharn’s combined might and he falls. Tulie tries again, and this time, the mighty Mr. Plugg drops under the effect of her hideous laughter. Darix stands in time to see both Patch and Conchobhar making for the side of the ship. She kills Master Scourge with a mighty blow from Ormskeld. Meanwhile Patch does manage to get off the ship, but Red and Pharn make sure Conchobhar dies on deck.
Unwilling to let anyone else get away, Darix rides Xeni, guiding her as the runs across the waves to first kill Master Scourge in the water, dragging his body back. They then recover Patch who begs for her life. It is obvious she is lying, and Darix executes her on the spot.
The Rahamodoumi sailors are eager to swear loyalty to the new regime. Fishguts, who has fallen off the wagon, drunkenly congratulates the women, and suggest they still need to follow the plan to head to the get the ship disguised. No doubt, Captain Harrigan will be most incensed at this turn of events. Then he asks the group, what will you name the ship and who will be Captain?
This starts an argument between Pharn and Darix with Xeni trying to mediate. Red and Tulie look at each other and decide to get a rum to celebrate and let their friends decide. In a act of diplomacy, Xeni takes up the mantal, and Pharn is established as First Mate with Darix as Master at Arms for Boarding actions.
With what established, the ship once known as the Man’s Promise heads towards Rickety’s Squibs and future adventures!
End of Book 1.
|Campaign Dates||Gozran 29 - Densus 3|
The Man’s Promise sits repaired off Bonewrack Isle. Left to decide is the fate of the three remaining allies of Mr. Plugg, who were trapped below in their assault. They decide to put Fipps, Arreta, and Patches to work as impressed crew for the time being. Captain Xeni orders the ship to sail clear of the island and make their way north. Tulie takes the sextant and charts their course north west, while Pharn takes the wheel. The rising sun increased the breeze and their ship, to be renamed Besmara’s Seabiscuit rolls through the water.
After an hour, the lookout spies a cripped ship, limping north. Xeni orders the chase. It is brief, and soon Besmara’s Seabiscuit is pulling alongside the two masted ship. One of its masts is fallen, and there is no way their prey can escape. Darix stands ready to lead a boarding party aboard. Xeni hails the ship and gets a reply.
”I am captain Beryl Lightheart. We know we cannot run. We will surrender our cargo to you in exchange for passage!
Xeni is fast to agree to this, much to Darix’s disappointment. The Major leads her crew to move the cargo from this crippled Chelish ship, Southern Sirocco to their own. The plunder is exotic spices. Xeni comes over to talk with Captain Lightheart, and discovers the ship was caught in the same storm that grounded the Man’s Promise. Several of her crew are wounded and the ship is almost shattered. Xeni offers healing, and she, Sandra, and Tulie aid several of the crew. Xeni also offers and engaged in use of her mending magic to enact some needed repairs. Darix looks on, shaking her head, but Tulie and Pharn, with their good natures, approve.
After a full morning, the two ships separate, with Fipps, Arreta, and Patches transferred to the crew of the Southern Sirocco. The group knows they will need more crew, but they are happy to be rid of the last of their enemies from the Wormwood. They unfurl their sails and begin the trek north. The crew celebrates that only a day into their new ship’s life, they have plunder to spend among them.
On the first of Densus, the ship approaches their goal. Rounding the tall headland reveals a hidden cove at the mouth of a wide jungle river, its sluggish brown waters staining the waters of the blue sea like an ugly bruise. A series of docks has been built upon this estuary, with buildings concealed beneath the overhanging limbs of the jungle beyond. A wooden watchtower stands upon the promontory of the headland, carefully concealed among the trees to provide a clandestine view of the seas. It is clear to the crew that there is a significant drought going on in the area.
As Besmara’s Seabiscuit sails past the headland, a checkered flag of yellow and red is raised above the tower on the promontory, and an answering flag of blue is hoisted upon a yardarm at the docks ahead. A number of humanoid figures emerge from the shaded buildings and gather on a pier. A small, single-masted longboat soon sets out from the boathouse on the estuary to meet the Man’s Promise, and its crew hails the ship asking them to drop anchor to discuss terms. Rickety’s Squibs is run by old Rickety Hake, a retired buccaneer and former mate aboard the Bearded Whore under Free Captain Ella Gurnett and Rickety himself hails the ship from the deck of the longboat Peccarine requesting permission to come aboard. Rickety is accompanied by six sailors armed only with dirks. They are not looking for a fight and retreat back to the settlement if attacked. Rickety Hake himself is a short, stoop-backed old man with a leathery, weatherworn face; watery blue eyes; and a halo of frizzy white hair. Once he is allowed aboard, Rickety gets right down to business, inspecting the ship to see how much work will be needed to “squib” it.
After some negotiations, Rickety makes his offer to squib the ship, and offers others upgrades. Xeni confers with her officers, and they agree to add a well endowed female figurehead, holding a giant sand dollar. They add silk sails, several smuggling compartments, and a larger rudder. All told, the cost is 7400 gold! Fortunately, the group has booty from Bonewrack Isle, and two units of plunder to spend.
Rickeyt’s Squibs is a small village of around 80 souls. It is comprised of the docks, a boathouse, the dry dock, a lookout post, and the commons. When the deal has been struck, Rickety instructs the group to sail their ship into the estuary where cutters will tow it to the dry dock so that work can commence at once. They can stay at the Commons free of charge, but they will have to purchase any food, drink, or equipment during their stay. Xeni goes ashore to get a good deal for their plunder at the village, while Tulie heads to the Commons Taproom to spin tales of their adventures. She plans to make the most of each day to start building their fame, knowing that it will be vital to be more than prey themselves.
A once-grand building with broad wings extending from its ground floor stands at the end of the docks, its octagonal dome topped by a cupola. It was obviously a fine villa in its day but time and the harsh sun and rains of the Slithering Coast have faded its paint and cracked its boards, leaving it a gray ghost of its former self. A painted board above the veranda names it as “Rickety’s Squibs.” Smaller, less grandiose hovels and sheds clapped together of flotsam and jetsam surround the larger building and merge into the jungle behind it. Guests at Rickety’s Squibs are put up in the somewhat shabby accommodations of the main house, which does at least have a taproom, a small market, and a functioning chow hall that serves the entire settlement. The shade of the jungle canopy here is welcome, as the heat is merciless and many of the trees are wilted with browning leaves that show the effects of an extended drought.
Rickety Hake and a few of his menial hirelings reside in the Commons as well, but most of the residents of Rickety’s Squibs live in the smaller huts. Most of these men and women are humans (N human commoners 1–3, though a dozen are experts 3–5 and oversee the actual refitting work) with a handful of halflings as well. None are armored, and few carry anything more dangerous than a knife or hatchet.
The group settles in, and spends a day seeing their ship be hoisted at the dry dock. A massive, wedge-shaped wooden ramp rises directly from the river. It is large enough to hold a ship of the line and has huge mooring points to allow such a ship to be stabilized in place. Wooden scaffolding is erected all along its sides to allow workers easy access to all points of a ship and its hull.
The next day, the 3rd of the month, the sky is cloudless and the color of iron, promising another scorching day. The jungle wilts under the unrelenting sun, and the river is shallow, murky, and sluggish, with wide swaths of cracked mud exposed along its banks. To pass the time, some of Rickety’s off-duty workers invite the PCs to join in a game of ninepins in the shade of the boathouse and share a small cask of beer that’s been cooling in the waters of the estuary. The ladies join in the game, and do moderately well. Red has come, but is napping in the shade when it is her turn. She grabs a ball and amazes the group with a perfect series of rolls. One of the workers says this calls for a drink and he goes to pull on the rope where the keg of beer has been cooling in the water overnight. However, the rope jerks suddenly and one man is pulled into the water with a scream while the woman has the palms of her hands burned bloody where she was holding the line. The screams and thrashing in the water indicate the man who fell into the water 5 feet below is not alone. The water itself is 20 feet deep here and it is clear the man is in trouble.
The group leaps to help. Rolling on the surface is a river naga. She has the advantage of initiative and kills the hapless man she dragged under. However, Red strikes the naga with a scorching ray just as its head rolls up, severely burning the water creature. Darix and Pharn jump in and strike at the monster. Xeni, walks on water and strikes with her staff. The creature thrashes, and Tulie tries to stop it with hideous laughter but the rage filled naga shakes it off. Tulie immediately follows up with blindness as the creature tries to bite Darix. This time it cannot see and falls to the party before it can get away.
The poor soul dragged down is dead, but Xeni heals the hands of the woman pulling up the keg. Thanks to their intervention, Rickety takes 500 gold off the price of their refit in thanks. At this point, Red is back napping in the shade.