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Quinn offers a hand on the shoulder of the contemplative Pfarna, Captain says wait.
Meanwhile Quillin begins to float into the rigging while Sooty begins the (relatively slow, it'll take a round or so) process of rotating the ballista.
Jake offers an almost sleepy Huh wuh? but it is Smudge who alerts the crew as he begins squawking in alarm. Quillin reaches a few feet off the deck in time to see a mottled blue/black/yellow hand climb aboard to the Poxy. The hand is followed in short order by the face of a Sahuagin raider.
Jake, a little late to the mark yells out, We're bein boarded!
As chaos erupts on the Poxy the away team gets its own welcoming party as the double wide doors to the ships map room flies open and four Sahuagin come pouring out onto the main deck.
Quillin: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (11) + 3 = 14
Shaso: 1d20 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 2 = 17
Sooty: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (14) + 3 = 17
Mel: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (2) + 3 = 5
Quinn: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
Pfarna: 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (20) + 6 = 26
I like come as you are block init these days. The Raiders™ have gone now post away in the order you get here. No surprise, you guys were wary, they were waiting. I will try to get a map up this weekend. I am struggling to find a way to do it. If anyone has recommendations I am all ears.
My mistake. There is a hold door on the deck. I assumed for some reason that she merely opened it and looked not actually climbed down. That now clarified...would you *like* to climb down?
In all the milling about no one else seems to notice the soft scrape and "thunk" that seems to come from the port (farthest facing) side of the boat. Jake Scrimshaw is rolling terribly, and the kids spot is great for an NPC, its why he is in the damn crow's
Shaso looks over the other 5 bodies and finds nothing of interest. Not even any real money or weapons to speak of. But they all were stabbed and all have the same ichor coming out of their mouths.
Jake1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
"Others"1d20 + 6 ⇒ (12) + 6 = 18
Indeed, Shaso can roll some SC if he wants to get to the bottom of the sword at the moment. Can I get one last round of perception checks from folks?
Quinn looks back over the rails and raises her voice, Captain I'm conflicted. Besmara knows you take it if it isn't in another man's hands and sailing wood is sailing wood and the ship seems in good enough shape. But these bodies don't sit right. They didn't drift out here this way and we got bumps and creaks. She could be just settling for sure but... The cleric fidgets with her sword and hat for a second before offering a thought, Should we go below?
Shaso picks up the sword and notes that, indeed, the handle depicts a mermaid wrapped around some sort of coral pillar as a handle but carved well so that the handle is not otherwise unwieldly. The guard features a wave and shell motif that looks like some fine carvig work in the metal. The blade does radiate magic...
Pfaran approaches the main hold doors on the deck and gingerly opens them. Mel stands by with a bow at the ready. The hold looks fairly empty with a smattering of small barrels and crates. Nothing jumps out to the half orc. Nothing jumps out AT the half orc either.
WEll I seemed to have alost a post...again...awesome.
1. Pfarna is a deck below Shaso. No stealing his sword.
2. The sword, unsheathed, is a blue tinged cutlass featuring and ivory engraved handle and bronze guard. At first glance this appears to depict a mermaid but Shaso would need to pick it up to confirm that...
3. Quinn pulls her sword as she looks over at Mel Aye, I heard that.
4. Shaso looks over the side of the ship and sees some blood but not much else in the movement or things of note department.
5. Nothing but surf and wind. Very quiet all of a sudden.
Sorry, got sick, need a root canal, grad thesis is due on wed, holiday weekend. The next week may be slow.
Shaso flips the body over and indeed sees an unsheathed sword sitting beneath the body. A cutlass to be precise featuring an elegant opal handle and some sort of inscription on a very blue tinged steel blade.
The body features the same injuries as the other on the next deck down.
Shaso recognizes the dress and manner as either Shackles natives or long time sailors of the area. The mix of styles, emphasis on certain types of sword belts, etc, are all common to this ares.
Pfarna's guess is trident and some sort of toxin. Based on the coloration and oozing the half-orc would guess a relatively well known poison of the area called "Stone Sting". Its a paralytic but the trident easily could have done the killing. The poison is commonly used by Sahaugin raiders on small coastal villages as it allows them to steal supplies unmolested and has the added advantage of leaving (most) of the victims alive so they come back and raid again once the village has gotten more goods.
As the away team pokes around Jake yells from the crow's Captain! Blood in the water!
Why doesn't everyone go ahead and roll perception checks at this point...
Shaso heads up to the aft deck while Pfarna, Mel and Quinn contemplate jockeying around the bodies.
Pfarna finds a line pole easy and flips the nearest body over as Quinn turns and makes a rude gesture back at Quillin.
Shaso find a pair of other bodies on the aft deck near the wheel. One is clearly an officer or the captain due to their nicer clothes and an elaborate sword sticking out from underneath the body (like he fell on it)
Quillin summons his water creature while Sooty mumble about the away team.
Pfarna, Mel and Quinn are greeted with a human face that has eyes bulging and black ichor coming out of its mouth. A series of three puncture wounds, evenly spaced are prominent on the man's belly and shirt.
Excellent questions Shaso. I will get a map up as soon as I can (its by far my weakest skill as an online GM, I post from many different computers and I have not yet found a good solution.)
You arrive mid deck. Three door (left, center, right) go beneath the rised aft deck and surely lead to officer/captain quarters. The raised aft deck features two stairways (one on either side) to get to the wheel, aft mast, etc.) A large hold grate is closed and locked (10x10) on the main area. Two of the bodies are withing 5' of the left door. 1 within 5' of the right. There is a clear (if winding path) to the center door. The nearest stairway up is not impeded.
Quinn looks over her shoulder and shouts back to Quillin, Not seein anything captain. Disease maybe? We could flip em over... HEr voice is clear she has little enthusiasm for the notion.
Up in the crow's Jake Scrimshaw offers a half hearted reply, I'm sorry cap'n it was like a fleeting flash of white and blue. Like a dolphin or shark? It was real fast and there is a bit of white on the caps so...I'm not sure. I'm keeping a keen eye out though...
Not waiting any more and seeing that Mel is eager to get up too, Quinn climbs the rope with the swashbuckler in tow with Pfarna bringing up the last of the boarding party. Like Shaso the baording party sees 6 bodies on the deck that seem to be bloated and rotting in the sun. They are all dressed and don't appear (from casual inspection) to be injured, just dead.
Sooty and Quillin can't quite see the bodies but as the ships line up and lines are tightened (with good space between for the boarding boat) it is easy enough to see the proceedings.
From up in the crow's a voice calls down, Uhm. I think I see something in the water? But it's gone... The voice trails feebly with the sort of apologetic wincing knowing that the information is probably important but not that helpful.
Quinn rolls her eyes sardonically at the suggestion she should go but grabs her gear none the less and makes her way to the boarding boat.
A couple of the crew do the boarding party a favor and launch grapnels over the stalled boats rail. With ample rope to trail out the group is able to keep the lines in hand as you cross the narow divide and get up the side faster.
Neither Shaso nor Pfarna see anything as the warpriest makes the move to climb with Quinn standing by to follow, quick on his heels.
You are struck with the stench of rot once you get to the deck with 6 bodies littered nearby rotting and bloated in the sun. They seem dead as dead gets and they are all still dressed for sea.
Quinn calls from below. Hey now! Can I come?
Back on your own ship the crew is hit with a crosswind that carries a foul enough stench but it dissipates quickly. The smell of rot is sharp but not so bad as to make it anything but a note of unpleasant.
Enh, its a fantasy game and Quinn is watching your back...as much as you trust a pirate cleric to do that but in the absence of the First Mate, bosuns tend to be the highest on the totem pole. Sail masters were specialty officers and gunners too. If you guys want an alternate structure in the situation that Quillin is not around you just need to tell me what it is. Absent that I go to the job, not the person. :)
Pfarna givers her orders and the crew start barking various things down the chain of command as folks run around working the lines, sails, and distributing basic weapons.
Between Quinn and the NPCs the ship is set for the next few minutes following Pfarna's orders. What would the PCs like to do?
Pfarna turns to see Quillin is off deck. Quinn who is not too far from the half-orc gestures to a nearby halfling, Rosie, spot after the captain... before turning to Pfarna, No Mate on this boat bosun, that makes you acting. Orders? Rosie nods at Quinn and disappears to find Quillin while the rest of the deck crew look on at the newly minted bosun for orders.
The first day of sailing is smooth and despite the heat a good wind carries you in the right direction with ease. Night comes, passes, and the new crew starts acclimating to each other and to your group in command. Problems arise in the morning, mostly around confusion about jobs, but these are quickly set right.
About two hours in to the next day a yell comes down from the crow's to the Pfarna, Bosun ma'am we have a ship! No flag, no colors. Her sails are flat to the wind. I'd say she's adrift ma'am!
Mhmm that name has the benefit of being both disturbing AND wrong, lol Poxy Doxy it is.
The crew loads up. The ship is ready to go. Quinn looks everything over in her capacity as the rest of you look around. Hake seems happy to see you go.
Most of the rumors that the group manages to glean refer to a handful of villages nearby that are ripe for the taking. Additionally a fair number of ships have been spotted south ans west, not flying pirate colors.
Anything specific to follow up on? Out to open water then out? As a point of reference do you guys have access to a map of the Shackles? LINK That might help make up your mind. Anything else at Hake's?
Drinking, drinking, ship prep and drinking are done throughout the next day with a brief stop the next night for the installation of the Besmaran masthead that Hake offered the group in exchange for its efforts.
Quinn invokes a ritual with fire, smoke, and a LOT of liquor as the masthead is set in place and the appropriate words and concessions to the Pirate Queen are made. The masthead will respond to Quillin (as a cleric) and whoever is made captain. Quinn notes that a ritual needs to be done to "transfer" the captaincy and that will make the mastehead unresponsive for 24 hours.
The next morning the ship is brought in out of dry dock through the locks and into the inlet proper. The crew that you have wrangled up (and those that stayed with you from before) get the ship prepped as Pegsworthy offers a cheerful blessing of the boat ready to head to sea.
I should have some rumors for you in a day or so to pursue, what is the new ship name? Anything else to pursue here at Hake's
Harold (the guard) offers, Perhaps I should take the two of them? There are places to hole up in the farmhouse. With a door to barricade I can watch these two over rather than have you draggin them around? The young man does little to hide the hope in his voice that his offer might keep him out of the fray...
@Sooty - Since it is later at nigh he means about 36 hours. So second morning. I realize in retrospect I could have made that out clearer.
Khuzdac and Shaso wrap up at the ship and make their way back to the group which is basically a bunch of drinking and Mel telling stories to the assembled folks in the bar. (I believe you will squeeze another infamy out of the place. I couldn't find my notes this weekend due to my pre-schooler deciding my notebooks were worth of scattering to the four winds but I will either find what I had figured out or go back through and re-calculate.)
So there is basically 36 hours to go. Anything specific you folks want to work on or look at or shall I do a Star Wars screen wipe and get you to hitting the open sea?
No, it wasn't cast but to be fair the magic minded gnome captain was feeling a bit surly about being set out like a low paid skulk so I don't think he was exactly following "best practices" like he does when its own doings he is looking after. Its not a huge thing, not like any of you would use it and it isn't worth THAT much.
Its not the BEST work ever but its damn competent. Not to mention that the work he is having done give you a lot of flexibility. With very little effort you could build on his improvements to make the ship require less crew and maybe even convert its look on the fly with the right gear. True to his word a number of "add-ons" are clearly being added (like smuggling sections) but the work is good and won't be found but anyone who knows where to look. Overall the old man is doing good and what he hasn't made perfect, you have a solid foundation to build on.
After the tour Hake scratches his chin and looks at the pair, Anything else? I'll look to you folk to set that masthead on the morning after today. I mean to push you outta my locks by high sun to get Pegsworthy up and ready.
Pegsworthy offers a dismissive shrug, Plugg struck me as a snake. I reckoned when word came Harrigan got crossed it was him that done it. I don;t know about favors though. Barnabas is the kind to kill the messenger and his family if he is had wrong done to him. Way I hear it you should stay clear.
Offering that little gem in the classic "bar room conspiracy tone" the captain leans back and laughs, So a new ship to make your name! You got plans to sail or ideas on what to do? Crews gotta have a reputation in these parts to get what they want! What's your next play?
HAke lets out an exasperated sigh, Mace is worth more than a fair bit of coin. I leant it out as a means of giving an edge you see? Well a pity I'dve let you keep it for all the work instead it'll sit until I send the next poor bastard I guess. AS to the body that is well enough. Not like the dirt around here is good for buryin anyway...
Hake claps his hands and gestures at the alchemist and warpriest to follow him, pointing at various spots on the ship, We got all the kinks out of the hull, re-finished the deck and now we are on the lines proper... The man rattles off various things that are being done and some "improvements" he is making in the spirit of how cooperative the group has been.
Kno: Engineering Checks or Craft Ship for Shaso and Sooty?
I will post the infamy, I thought I had. My notebook is not right in front of my but I will get it up there. Thought Sooty might reply but I will proceed with the Quillin convo in the mean time...
Pegsworthy nods at Quillin, You are not wrong to judge the man by his company. That damnable Plugg and that toadie of his cast the mean eye on me the whole time I treated with Harrigan the last time. That captain is a right violent bastard but his attack on me was unprovoked. I'm not sorry to hear of his demise. I think Plugg was making a play to get my ship. Probably to bring it here.
The captain takes a long draw and pours himself (and others if they are taking it) another drink, Tell me truthfully were you on your way to Hake's here before or after your mate sent Plugg to the deep?
Hake scratches at his chin and swears to himself, The old cus. Probably too drunk to keep himself up right to defend himself! You bring back his things? A mace? What'd you do with his body?
Shaso sees that the work is indeed good and quite "inventive" you wouldn't think you could make such dramatic changes to a ship's profile but there it is, right in front of you.
Pegsworthy offers a guffaw at the gnome's comment and offers a nod. Hake has been pounding away now that it is cooler. I'm surprised a man that old and shriveled can hold the liquor he does but his reputation proceeds him and all that so I'd think you'll be taken care of in short order. The Man's Promise was a hard catch was it? I notice you not havin Harrigan's mate or bosun might tell some of the difficulty in that ship bein "yours" now?
Pfarna and Mel follow Quillin as he makes his way to the humidly stale hotbox that is the bar. Within, a number of your new crew and others are engaged in drinking of a variety of intensities while Pegsworthy mingles mostly with his own crew. Seeing your lot he waves you over saying something to those he is talking to and waving them away as he gestures at a table for the group to sit at.
The man breaks into a friendly smile as he scoops up a set of mugs and pours rum for each of you, How was your expedition to the lookout?
Sooty leads Shaso back to the ship where it is not long before you find Hake actually overseeing honest work being done as his crew works on dropping the forward mast. Hake seems positively lively as he yells at his staff in a belligerent way but perhaps for the first time it is clear the old schemer knows what he is doing as yells at his folks.
After a minute he yells at a large half-orc to get him when they are ready to set the new lines on the forward mast at which point he turns to Sooty and looks the dwarf up and down, Either it was no big thing or your cap'n set you on me in hopes I not threaten his progress? Whats the word?
Despite the gnome captain's impatience Sooty and Mel (and anyone else) quickly work to wrap the hammock around the dead man, secure it with stones and toss it off the bluff to the waves below.
The parrot flies down and lands percehd on the rowboat looking over at Quillin and the other parrot and keens loudly before it says Peas in a pod!
The lot who are up in the lookout find that the mace is extremely well made. Additionally the old lookout had a pouch and half a jug of rum. The pouch seems to contain the man's savings a casual count looks to be about 50 gold worth of coin.
The lot of you wrap up your business and make your way down to Quillin. By the time your work is done and you row back the bulk of the day is done and the sun has started to settle on the horizon.
IF anyone wanted to do anything else at the lookout we can retcon it in, otherwise where to first? Pegsworthy or HAke or something else?
Sorry Shaso, you are right I missed that.
What Shaso gives offers as a musing Sooty confirms with science SCIENCE! The wound is the right size for a wasp and the other reactions suggest an allergic reaction of some kind. Either from an impaired immune system due to age or drink...probably both.
Looks like the wasps came for the old bastard, he probably fought them off and they gave him a wound and a nasty piece of dead for the trouble.
Its around the time that Sooty wraps up his exam that the parrot exits the jungle cover and lands on the platform.
Get help ya blasted bird! I'm dying ya wretch! The bird keens enthusiastically at those still on the platform.
Pfarna climbs the ladder and though the occasional blast of hot sea air tests the driftwood ladder, it is more sturdy than it appears. The half orc is able to quickly scale to the platform and is greeted by a fetid smell of released bowels.
An older man lies half in and out of a canvas cot, a morningstar having fallen from his hands and many broken rum bottles littered on the ground. His face is controrted in pain and a light ring of foam cakes the old man's lips. He s unshoed and wearing a light linen shirt and pants and both are stained with blood and black ichor that seems to originate from a wound in the man's stomach.
Shaso(and Sooty) note that a keen eyed red parrot hovers at the jungle's edge below bobbing it head at the group as the look about the area.
Sooty also sees a pair of large boars rooting around the jungle edge apparently looking for food. Given that they are bigger than Quillin perhaps it was best you took the water route here.
The lot of you climb the rope (I assume Quillin follows) and reach the rough plateau of the bluff and see the lookout. A rough platform that is 10 x 10 has been placed on stilts about 15 feet off the ground. The platform features a rough ladder cobbled from driftwood and a palm frond and grass cover to help shade from the sun. The ladder is lashed to the platform at the top and seems to be relatively sturdy though likely not too good for too many people at once.
Perception and/or survival checks. Shaso can re-roll since he apparently was zoning out on the climb up. Who is going up the ladder?
On a more serious note I apologize for my spottiness lately and especially the last couple of weeks. Parent to a young child and husband to a wife in a very difficult masters program is bad enough but my wife has been diagnosed with an auto-immune disorder and I recently re-started the process of finishing my own graduate degree on top of working full time. So yeah. I'm still committed to the game and I will do everything in my power to communicate delays as best I can.
Your resident cleric waves you off to see after crew wrangling while the lot of you pile into a smallboat and row the inlet. Surprisingly as you get closer to the sea proper you get occasional gusts of wind that is actually something approaching "cool" though the beating sun reflecting off the water does its fair share to counteract the effect. Strong currents pull the boat down towards the island and Hakes which is what makes the rowing harder and longer to do...though clearly (as you pass the landscape by) way easier to navigate than the jungle.
Rowing for a while your destination comes into view. The small cove that Hake has co-opted features a naturally narrowing inlet that approaches with the other side of the island. Craggy bluff and sheer drop offs make the Westerly side unapproachable at all but the Easterly side is a much more "gentle" slope from Hakes location. Sitting atop the rock crag that overlooks the entrance to the cove a makeshit hut on stilts sit atop facing out to sea, a lookout for those that might approach Hake's and give the estate a chance to make ready.
At the bottom of the crag another rowboat is landed and sits idle. As you pull in you see rough hew steps begin some 15 to 20 feet up with a mostly vertical climb on rough rock takes you from the sand to where the steps begin. From there is looks like stems and outcroppings of rock will take you to the top some 100 feet off the beach. No one yells at your from up top or seems to be moving as you approach to land.
Or PM. Sorry.
The lot of you arrive in the small "bar" that situates the center of the manor house and find it as odor laden and hot as you did previously. Pesgworthy lets out Besmara be merciful! At the ripe stench. Regardless drinking is drinking and food eating is happening though the raucous behavior of before is replaced with a more sullen tension over the recent wasp attack.
As the lot of you mingle you mostly hear talks of the wasps taking some of the workmen and sailors that had been mingling (Eventually Sandara will confirm that you are now missing three crew members but she isn't too worried about that at this point.) Dark magic, ill fortunes and all manner of other notions are put forward as to why but a couple of long time workers of the Squibs note that extreme heat has driven them out of the jungle in years past and this summer has been HOT.
Pegsworthy and Hake rib each other over the situation at the docks, the captain taking the hostility from the old man with a decent amount of grace. Hake grumbles that is lookout seems to have faltered and "suggests" that someone should look into why so that work doesn't suffer any further delays. This suggestion carries a meaningful look at Quillin.
Another idea that seems to gain traction amongst the various folks swilling the local brew is that this new crew and a new ship needs to make a "name" for itself. Treasures need to be won, adventures had and a reputation built. Considering the amount of trouble that got the Man's Promise to the Squibs and everything that has happened since there is a mixture of fear and excitement about what might come next.
Hake reports that you are on track. Two more days and you can leave under cover of dark on the third night. He reiterates that this is assuming there are no more interruptions to which he drunkenly waggles a finger at Pegsworthy who good naturedly feigns apology.
Hake suggests that if the lot of you would go poking about for the lookout, he might have a notion of what to do after you set sail. Pegsworthy also mentions that once the day is done and he has seen to his won business he would be up for a "getting to know you" drink with the soon to be captain Quillin and crew to see if there are ways they might help each other.
Roughly mid afternoon on a heavy tumble day. The lookout was up land about half a day on foot or a couple of hours in a row boat with a bit of a climb. Hake seems interested in knowing what happened but isn't frothing at the mouth for you to check it out so you could probably ignore him if you care to. What next?
Yeah this AP is shockingly social in its scope. I will work on putting a reference together.
Pegsworthy turns to his folks and tells them to return to his new ship and bring it farther in the bay and "sheet it down" to hide the lines while the wait their turn. Having taken Quillin's comment as an invitation the pirate captain moves to follow the group as they lead on...
Bake up to main building and look for food is that the consensus plan here or does anyone else plan to break off and do something else?
Pegsworthy accepts the various introductions and introduces his own crew (whose names are not important enough to merit at the moment unless you really feel a strong desire to get to know them)