Gareth shrugs at Martin. "You're right. About the Black Dragon and about us not completing our mission. But I think the situation has changed. We don't know who or what caused these wights to attack and leave all of these people homeless. The last thing we can do now is abandon them before we get them to shelter."
"Trust me, I want to get to the bottom of this as much as you do. But at least one of us should oversee this voyage back to Silverkeep."
"Good. I like The Black Dragon a lot more." Leto looks at the mass of people. "But we have a handful of warriors to protect a thousand people. I will not leave them to their fates with such a small defense. If anything were to happen to them I could not forgive myself. Whether we wanted it or not, when we agreed to enter the city and protect that tower we made these people our charges.
"We cannot abandon them when there may still be a threat to their lives. They are still our charges."
Leto looks around at the ships. " I will take the largest civilian ship, The Triumph. It is the slowest and will contain the largest number of people, making it the most vulnerable of the vessels."
"Oh! And how about I take an eagle to the ship? That way I can join the fray if I am needed and The Triumph is safe. Or I can use the eagle to simply keep tabs on the other ships if need be."
Okay, as I see it, three options have been proposed:
- Martin wants to head back to Carron and investigate Milea's presence on Windrip Isle. He argued that the survivors should be able to defend themselves as they head to Silverkeep.
- Gareth wants to follow up on the Milea angle, but not at the cost of leaving the survivors unprotected. Proposed that at least one party member helps escort convoy to Silverkeep should the others travel to Carron.
- Leto wants to focus on protecting the survivors. He argued that the whole group should stay together and escort the survivors back to Silverkeep first, and worry about other issues later.
You'll need to decide what you want to do. A party split is doable, but it could be a while before the groups reunite due to the travel distances involved.
Okay. To Silverkeep it is!
Over the next several hours, Daren rustles up a crew for the Black Dragon. You have 20 experienced sailors (ranks in the skill) and ten eager but inexperienced sailors (untrained). Among the experienced crew is Art Pookie, a veteran helmsman. You also have eleven of the musketeers with you.
Leto departs for the Triumph on his eagle, and the whole convoy sets sail in the early evening.
The Lancer patrols up and down, keeping tabs on the civilian ships while the black dragon leads.
- Gareth, Hascya, Martin, Ankou & 3 eagles aboard.
- 30 crew, 11 musketmen, 0 passengers.
- 8 Cannons (Two bow guns, 3 on each broadside)
- Undamaged (brand new)
- Daren Kuros and 30 crew (4 musketeers, 3 swordsmen)
- 0 Passengers
- 2 Ballistae
- In good repair
- Leto and 1 eagle aboard.
- 400 passengers (including crewmen)
- 8 swordsmen
- Seaworthy, but old and slow
- 200 passengers (crew included)
- 4 swordsmen
- In good repair
- 200 passengers (crew included)
- 4 swordsmen
- In fair shape
- 200 passengers (crew included)
- 4 swordsmen
- In fair shape
I will be tracking the condition of each ship in the flotilla.
You can open both spoilers, as they're just organizational.
No. You may only regain spells once in a 24 hour period.
The fellow captaining this ship, Hovarth Bartum, is a fat, greasy man who nonetheless seems to know what he's doing. He directs the crewmembers loudly and is fairly abrasive to those who he perceives as getting in his way, but he gets the ship up and running in reasonably good time.
The refugees are staying below decks, at his insistence, so that his crew can work unimpeded.
Give me an in character post about what Leto does during all this.
Let me know what your characters do while aboard the ship.
The flotilla gets underway without overmuch drama, although the Albatross has some trouble with its rigging. While it doesn't slow the convoy, the Albatross falls behind the other caravels and keeps pace with the Triumph. The first night of travel otherwise passes uneventfully.
The morning dawns, grey and foggy, as your convoy sails north along Windrip Isle's eastern coast.
Now your spells refresh.
Which? 1d100 ⇒ 45 Damaged Rigging
Time: 1d4 + 3 ⇒ (1) + 3 = 4
Ship: 1d6 ⇒ 2
RE 2 chance: 1d100 ⇒ 27
Which? 1d100 ⇒ 62
Time: 1d4 ⇒ 3
Estimated travel time: 1d8 + 7 ⇒ (2) + 7 = 9
Martin spends his mainly on the deck of the ship, again he has removed his armor in favor of some masterwork chainmail (assuming we could find some in the tower). While in general he faces forward, you can see him occasionally glance over the stern, his thoughts lingering on the island the party just left behind.
The morning is grey and foggy. The wind allows you to keep a decent pace as you head north along the coast. The crew of the Albatross begins to repair the ship's damaged rigging. Just before noon, you spy movement through a gap in the fog. It looks like several ships.
Knowledge (Nobility) to identify the flag they fly. Knowledge (Engineering) to identify what kind of ships they are.
Which: 1d100 ⇒ 55 Outbreak of Dysentery
Which ship: 1d6 ⇒ 4 The Triumph
Onset: 1d3 ⇒ 3 Symptoms begin on Day 5
Perception (Leto): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (4) + 4 = 8
Perception (Louis): 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (16) + 9 = 25
Louis whispers to Leto for a few seconds. "Attention! I just spotted three ships on the horizon! They are coming in from the northeast. They just turned to face us. They look like warships. Ready your weapons in case they are hostile! Does anyone know what it means that the flag they are flying are black and gold?!
Leto gets out his wand of unseen servant casts it once and then trades back to his wand of magic missile.
Leto casts dancing lights, sending two illuminated orbs aloft.
Knowledge (Engineering): 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (18) + 4 = 22
Knowledge (Nobility): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (6) + 6 = 12
"Looks like tha elves are comin'," he says. "I don' rec'nize tha flag, bu' them ships be "wingships." Fast elf warships, packed wit' lots 'f archers. Weird ter see 'em out 'ere. Maybe they're wit' tha lass who fried tha wights?"
You see Leto mount his eagle and begin to fly out to the approaching ships.
You may attempt Knowledge (Nobility) and Knowledge (Engineering) to identify the ships if you are trained in those skills.
Now that you are closer, you can see more details. The three ships are a little longer and broader than the Black Dragon, and while pack on a bit more sail, they have no large weaponry (like ballistae or cannons).
When you get within four hundred feet of the lead vessel, an elven man wearing a black breastplate with gold trim shouts out to you with a magically amplified voice. "Identify yourselves. I am Captain Kallinol of the Imperial Knights of Sardis. You may not land or otherwise set foot aboard these vessels. What is your business in these waters?"
Sardis is a major elven city, nearly a thousand miles north of Silverkeep along the Merin'he river.
Knowledge (Geography or History) to know more about Sardis.
Knowledge (HIstory) (About Sardis): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (10) + 11 = 21
"I apologize! I can't really hover! So I will do have to do a spiral thing around the ships! I can get closer and use message so that we can talk more easily if I get within 150 feet of you! Would that be acceptable?! Don't worry! I will not land! Just want to talk! Could you please not move forward to make this conversation easier?!"
The elven military is fiercely protective of its secrets, including their warships. You have never heard of one in non-elven hands. The crews of these vessels would almost certainly kill or imprison anyone who set foot aboard one without the commander's permission. Otherwise, the elven military is by all accounts standoffish but professional.
The Imperial Knights are an elite military order dedicated to the service of the emperor or empress. Since the last empress' disappearance twelve hundred years ago, they most often dedicate themselves to the service of high ranking nobles (usually those at or above ducal level). It is entirely possible that the order has split at times over which noble(s) to serve. That these soldiers claim to hail from Sardis may indicate that they serve one of the nobles who reside there. In any event, you've heard that the order is extremely small, so it's probable that only the commander of this ship is a member, and that he simply holds a high enough rank to order the other vessels to join him.
The ships continue to advance, and you notice that they move faster than the Black Dragon.
Also, there was a typo in my earlier spoiler describing the elven ships. They are longer and narrower than the Black Dragon.
Leto casts message so that he can communicate with the fellow speaking with him. He continues to circle. "I am Leto Anguis. These ships hail from Westwend. Which was just destroyed almost entirely. These are the survivors. We have no desire for any interaction or conflagration. All we wish is to get to safe harbor in Silverkeep where the survivors can restart their lives. That is where these ships are headed. May we continue with our journey? We wish for nothing more than the safe harbor of Silverkeep."
He will order his vessels to resume their original course, southwest, shortly.
So I realized that we might need maps for the other ships in the flotilla. Here are the deck dimensions should we need to use them for combat. The three classes of ship in your convoy are depicted below. I am working on maps for the lower decks of each, but they're still works in progress.
"Thank you for the warning. That is dire news indeed. I fear you may be correct about our vessels. May the wind be at your back and the tides with you." With that Leto flies away.
Leto flies to The Black Dragon and lands on the deck.
"Good news, they are heading away and even gave us some information to help us in our journey. Bad news: Carron has sent a fleet to blockade the mouth of the Merin'he. We need to beat them there. Whatever possible speed we can gather must be achieved." If no one has any questions Leto heads over to each ship and informs them of the news before returning to The Triumph informing them and dismounting.
After Leto departs, Hascya spends a few minutes blowing into the sails before realizing the futility of that to increase speed.
Twohey will speak with the wind spirits, but I doubt they will be inclined to intervene. Do we have any other way to increase our speed? If not, we had best prepare for a sea battle.
The brigs (Lancer and Black Dragon) are fast, the caravels (Albatross, Kestrel, and Porpoise) can move at a moderate pace, and the Triumph is very slow. The Albatross is currently no faster than the Triumph due to damaged rigging, but its crew is working to repair it.
Another option would be to try and wait out the blockade, but you would have to find some way to hide your fleet while watching the blockading one, and you would need to hope that you can outlast them. Leaving the slowest ship(s) behind might also work and allow the fleet to travel faster, but at the probable expense of that ship's safety.
I don't care what the rules say, this profession check may be attempted untrained. Martin's background gives him a +4 circumstance bonus on it.
You've also heard of ships being disguised to look more or less threatening, possibly luring foes into a false sense of security or intimidating them into not attacking. Some fleets have sacrificed less capable ships as distractions so that the stronger ships can escape an overwhelming foe, although this is seldom done lightly.
Sea voyages are limited by provisioning. If the ship or ships run low on provisions, they typically turn towards the nearest friendly port to restock. Alternately, a ship may be sent to fetch more provisions for a larger fleet, creating a gap in that fleet's coverage while it is away. A patient adversary could wait for such a gap to appear before making his or her move.
As this survival check does not pertain to tracking, it may be attempted untrained.
Knowledge (History): 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (13) + 11 = 24
Leto flies over the The Black Dragon and pulls everyone aside where no one can hear them.
He then recites what he knows of naval history: "Favorable or unfavorable winds can make or break a sea voyage. Many fleets attacking Carron have wrecked themselves on the reef outside its port following a sudden shift in the winds. An expedition out of Altin only escaped pirates a few years ago when they jettisoned their shipboard weapons and provisions, lightening their ships and allowing them to outpace the pirates. The explorers found safe harbor in a secluded bay, where they restocked by trading with the natives.
I've also heard of ships being disguised to look more or less threatening, possibly luring foes into a false sense of security or intimidating them into not attacking. Some fleets have sacrificed less capable ships as distractions so that the stronger ships can escape an overwhelming foe, although this is seldom done lightly."
Leto pauses from this lengthy monologe. "These are some strategies. I suggest we employ one of them. We could get rid of the things we can to gain speed. We could abandon the Triumph. But we aren't going to do that. Because I am not going to abandon the Triumph. We could disguise the ships. Well, we have options. They aren't nice, but they are options."
Saker's expanse is the term used in Silverkeep for the region to that city's southwest. The region is heavily forested, with small mountain peaks and rocky gorges breaking up the terrain. Little overland trade of any significance takes place there, so there are few known settlements in the area.
Everyone else continues to refer to the region as the Dryadhearth Forests. The story behind the region's ancient name was that a traveler, on the run from a great evil, took refuge in the woods. A fae creature took interest in the man and spirited him away. The being then tasked the man with a quest, but the man refused. The fae sealed him away for many years, releasing him on the last day of his life. The old man staggered into the nearest village, where he died warning the townsfolk of capricious fae.
The commonly-accepted moral of the story is that when you travel through fae lands, you play by their rules or risk their ire.
Sorry it has taken a couple of days
Knowledge (History): 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (20) + 10 = 30
"We are definitely not going over those lands. Ever. Ever Ever Ever Ever. Fae control the area and there are many legendary stories of the tricks they can pull and the deaths they create. Besides that, I don't think we could get 1000 people across land without losing some of them. It would be impossible to protect them with our small amounts in any meaningful way. No. For better or worse our best options are with the ships. I advise that we try to look like trading vessels if we can. Or that we try to make ourselves lighter in some manner. What do you think?"
If they are looking for us, we'll not sneak past them, nor will we if they are blockading all traffic to your port. Perhaps we should leave the citizens of Westwind behind, run the blockade before it is formed, and return with allies. If not that, we should attack with subtlety. If you cannot be the tiger, be the flea.
Hascya makes some good suggestions, but I don't think you should be so hasty Leto. We could make it over the land if we make sure to respect it, paying the Fae that live there some form of tribute. I know that while infrequent, some traders from the elven lands do past that way unpestered.
As you guys discuss options, the Lancer comes alongside your ship. "So Carron's going to blockade the way to Silverkeep?" Daren calls out, "Do you have a plan? Usually, their fleets consist of a few small, fast ships lightly armed but carrying big crews, some heavily armed medium ships, and a few large ships to carry supplies. If they're really pissed off, they'll send the Dominance or one of her sister ships with a force of those halfling eagle riders."
I realized that, "Oh yeah, Westwend and Carron have been at war for a very long time. Daren would know a bit about Carron's ships and tactics."
"She's the biggest ship I've ever seen. No sails, but she's frighteningly fast. I haven't gotten more than a distant look at her." He pauses for a moment, "She carries a lot of halflings and their eagles, along with some cannons. Worse, I've heard the sailors talk about more than one of these ships being used by Carron."
Daren looks confused, calling back "To Silverkeep? By sea? It's pretty much a straight shot from here to the mouth of the Merin'he. In any case, if Carron has sent a blockading fleet, they'll be sailing with all haste to reach the mouth of the river. They'll only be as fast as their slowest ships, but unless we know exactly when they left Carron it's hard to say exactly when the fleet will arrive."
"I know what I am going to do. I am going to make it look like I have summoned a giant black dragon or a fiend. I would get the hell out of there if I was on their ship. It is a bit of an all or nothing strategy though. What other ideas to we have if that doesn't work?"
"A dragon would be appropriate, given the name of your ship," Daren responds. "Our fleet being apparently defended by a dragon would certainly be enough to give an opposing fleet pause before attacking. As for other ideas, fire is a threat to any ship, especially those carrying cannons. If you can alter the weather, it could be used to speed our journey or hinder theirs. I am no mage, though, and I don't know the extent of what magics you command or of those commanded by Carron."
"Weather changes aren't in my bag of tricks. Anyone else? Anyway, does anyone else have ideas apart from bombing the ships with the bags of explosives? You know what we could do actually. We could put the powder into bags and possibly with lantern oil in a glass container to spread the fire. Do we have the materials to do this?"
You have three fifty-pound kegs of powder in the magazine (you can turn these into bombs, but you may lose the ability to use your ship's cannons if you drop them all), and various bags were used to carry goods onto the ship. You have lantern oil as well. Most of the mugs and dinnerware are wood or pewter, but there are six nice pieces of glassware in the captain's closet that could serve as containers for small charges (no more than five pounds of powder can fit in each of these containers).
"Alright then. I say we take half of one of these kegs and some of the bags that used to hold food but have since been emptied by people eating it. Fill said bag with some of the powder. I also suggest that we use those 6 nice glasses for small explosives. Sorry captain. How many explosives would that get us?"