Fargrim will spend some time with the new warriors they picked up from the island to get them outfitted with armor and weapons. "You boys did well, you listened and adapted. That is good, some folks let themselves get drawn into the taunts. You gave into the fury and the rage, but you still allowed it to help you and not hurt you. If you want to learn more, I can teach you. You have potential to be good warriors. I'm the fiercest bastard on the Covenant. Stick with me and I'll show you glory or vengeance if that is what you prefer."
|The Many-Faced GM|
Baltzar, you can roll both.
It takes the better part of a day to hook the newly captured Slip Knot up to the Covenent for towing. Most of the crew not in the rigging or steering head down to the oars to get the ships moving. It's a slow and tedious process but eventually the ships are underway, albeit slowly. Fishguts helps to lay out a course back to Rickety's that will avoid most of the main waterways.
"It'll take a couple of weeks but with any luck, we'll avoid any problems" he says.
About a week into the trek, a thick bank of fog rolls in with the evening, reducing visibility to only a few yards and navigation to guesswork. From the gloom comes the dull clanking of a rusted ship's bell somewhere nearby, echoing eerily in the fog. Suddenly, the hulk of a ship looms in the fog off the port bow. Its hull is rotten and stained black with age and rot. Before the mists swallow the ship once more, the ship's name can momentarily be seen on its worm-eaten bow-Deathknell.
Before any orders can be followed, or even shouted, she's lost again in the mist. For the next few minutes, the clanking of the bell continues occasionally until everything eventually falls silent. About an hour later, the fog lifts.
Stories are told of the ghost ship Deathknell and her terrible captain Whalebone Pilk, who sails the Fever Sea in search of sailors to feed his ever-hungry crew and fuel his ghostly ship.
Rumor has it that the Deathknell attacks on the third sighting.
Knowledge Local: 1d20 + 4 ⇒ (3) + 4 = 7
"Nothing I have heard of." Sandman said staring after the Deathknell.
Can Rosie, Conch, or Kroop make a check if none of us make it? Seems like the kind of pirate legend stuff any of them might know.
Knowledge: Local: 1d20 + 3 ⇒ (20) + 3 = 23
Fargrim's keen sight spots the strange ship as it sails passed suddenly. "The Deathknell! I heard tales of that ghost ship and it's captain, Whalebone Pilk. Superstitious folk say he and his crew sail the seas in search of sailors to feast upon and fuel the ship. They also claim that the ship only attacks on its third sighting." Fargrim shakes his head and gathers the crew to give a little inspirational speech. "Now, I've seen enough in this world to know that there might be some truth to the crew being undead of some form or another. It's a good chance he uses these legends to his advantage to create fear in his enemies. So, we should be aware that she may be hunting us now. The fog and bells would be a distraction to make hardened men and women give into the chaos of fear. We, however, will not give in to such nonsense. We are the Covenant! We do not give into fear, we sow it among our enemies. Should this vessel attack, we will be prepared and ready! We are no meek prey, we are the predators!"
Afterward he gathers the captains together. "It is likely that either the Deathknell creates this fog or simply utilizes it to their advantage. Should we encounter more fog while tethered, we should have all hands on deck and prepared for a fight."
Sandman listened gravely to Fargrim's tale.
That night he addressed the crew during their evening meal. "Lookouts, bosun's mates, all hands are to be called to arms on any nearby fog sightings, starting now."
"All hands are to keep weapons within arms reach at all times, even while off duty. If you've have armor, you're to wear it while on duty until told otherwise. I'd recommend you wear it off duty as well."
"Mister Kroop, see me after you're finished with evening mess."
---Later, speaking with Fishguts Kroop---
"Mister Kroop, are you familiar with Ghost Salt?"
Johara moves about the deck quietly, always keeping busy, avoiding spending more than a few moments in any one place. She keeps an eye on the new recruits and says little.
Oh yes, Nivian was busy. *smug grin* And once I things settle into normalcy again, I'll find time to respond to the PM! :)
Lore(Sailor Superstitions/Nautical Folklore): 1d20 + 12 ⇒ (20) + 12 = 32 I think it applies there...
Nivian nods her agreement with their First Mate:"Aye, Fargrim's got the right of it. I haven't heared of the ship ever making portfall...chances are it's truly crewed by the damned. I suppose they choose us as target because they long to be released into the afterlife. Either way, the man should probably steel themselves to fight against the unliving. If there's no storm brewing, we should place some barricades on deck, to use as chokepoints if the Deathknell attempts to board us - a few spears can go a long way if the battlefield is set up to take advantage of them."
Aside from her time on the helm, Nivian attempts to position herself such that Johara remains in her field of vision. That night was...memorable. But who was she trying to fool, even before, during the giant wasps attack, she had felt protective of the younger woman - more so than could reasonably be expected if she was only a crew member.
A daughter and a lover, at once. But the old ones whispered to me about fate...and this one won't be taken from me...
|The Many-Faced GM|
"Ghost salt? Aye, I've heard of it, but it's not like we just got that goo that ya' need lying around. If in I never see a ghost that'll be good enough with me." Never an openly religious man, Fishguts does mutter something about "gods protect us" or something along those lines as he turns and starts to walk away from Sandman.
The next few days are tense. Everyone is on edge and people jump at the slightest noises, which if quite often on a ship. After a few days, half the crew look asleep on their feet. The other half look closer to dead and a few even smell like it.
Thankfully a familiar cove is spotted before the Deathknell is and the shouts are heard cutting through the air.
"See, what'd I tell ya. Made it back to Rickety's with nary a problem. It'll be good to get some fresh food and water again. Our stores could use 'em" Fishguts says standing on the deck.
Sandman hadn't left the top deck in days. He worked tirelessly through he day, and at night he paced the deck with his mask down, glaring balefully out into the mist and dark. He never slept and he never slowed.
Still, in spite of his seemingly endless endurance, he visibly relaxed and breathed easier when Rickety's was called by the lookout.
As they neared the docks Sandman gave Conch a sack of coins and had him dole out spending money to the crew so they could enjoy their shore leave right away without having to wait for all the trade to finish.
I have 20 gold. I'm giving it to the crew. They've earned more, but we're still light on actual money so it's what I can do to keep their morale up.
As he passed Conch the money he said "Nivian will be handling the trade of our captured ship and the plunder we're carrying. Once she's done she'll take our cut and pass the rest to you. I want the Covenant fully stocked on fresh water, salt, dried fruit, rum, soap, and bandages. Get a list from Mister Kroop about what he needs for the galley. Once all that's done, pick up a few bolts of cloth and any tailoring supplies you need to start making some decent clothing for the crew."
"Pay the crew from whatever's left over. When you're done, leave the ledger with Nivian and the ship's manifest with Fargrim. You're on shore leave after that."
|The Many-Faced GM|
"I think 2 colors would be preferable...either red...it hides blood, and wounds. Enemies will have no confirmation for the success of their attacks, and our own will not be distracted worrying about friends or comrades being wounded."
Nivian pauses shortly, then continues:"Or Blue. It blends into the night, the sky, and the ocean. If we ever want to employ stealth, sneak up on a fort, or swim towards a ship to raid it, we'll want a color that works as a camouflage. Either of those would be preferable, I'd say. But I'm not an expert on the manner."
After the make portfall, Nivian will seek out Rickety. She had dealt with them last time as acting captain...it was not her turn for this time, but it probably made sense if she was the one to negotiate the sale of their prize.
Diplomacy(to haggle a price/finalize the sale): 1d20 + 8 ⇒ (17) + 8 = 25
Sandman agreed. "I'm partial to contrasts myself. Blue with red accents sounds rather nice."
|The Many-Faced GM|
As before, a longboat rows out to greet you. Rickety gives a shout "I thought I recognized my handiwork. Good to see you haven't wasted it. And you seem to have been successful in bringing me more work. I thank you for that. Come, come. Let us speak business. Bring your prize in first."
With a nod of his head, several of his crew dive into the water and head towards the Slip Knot. Within an hour the ship is headed to the dry dock and the Covenant is up river, concealed behind the trees.
Rickety's is as hot as ever but it's still nice to be on dry land for a while, especially after the long nights since seeing the Deathknell. The crew spend half of the sleeping and the rest of the time enjoying shore leave. Fishguts and Conch see to purchasing supplies and having them delivered. By the first night fall, the Covenant is ready to set sail.
Rickety's has plenty of supplies and trade goods, finding any number of cloth and color only takes time.
You can fully restock the ship with as many supplies as the Covenant can carry and still make 2 more plunder points off of the Slip Knot. You can stay as long as you like. You can also shop a little more or even have Rickety make modifications to the Covenant. It's up to you.
I always meant to check up on the modifications stuff to 'browse', so to say. Windowshopping. But most of those I found seemed rather mundane- nothing of a level of necessity that we would go for before being able to casually afford it, I guess? If someone has a differing opinion, do speak up - magically treated stuff e.g. sounds nice but situational - I think we can do without, for now, but am willing to have my mind changed.
"Thanks, Rickety, it is good to be back. Did Wasps or Naga give you any more trouble since our departure?", Nivian inquires. Not because she particularily cared about the people here, but because she believed Rickety would take kindly to that sort of interest being shown.
With the crew on shore leave, there was also little reason to hide their most recent encounter:"We had a run in with the Deathknell a few nights ago. When we set sail, we'll want to be well equipped for that third time. You got any whale oil? I think burning Mister Pilks relic down with it might be a poetic end..."
The ship was, after all, a ghost ship. Held afloat by magical means and curses - if they won, it would probably sink to the bottom of the sea, anyway. And if they could not take it as a prize, they could as well burn it all, and make their battle against the damned that much shorter.
(thinking of hurling plenty of oil over at the ship, then setting it ablaze with fire arrows, preferably before they manage to close into melee - but even so, they would need to come to us, and I would still use barricades and longspears to defend against the boarding)
|The Many-Faced GM|
"Well we'll definitely appreciate the coin and entertainment. I'm happy to say that things have been pretty quiet since last we spoke. Business has been good. The local wildlife seems to have learned their lesson, thanks to you and your crew."
"The Deathknell you say? Why I haven't heard that name uttered in quite some time. Oil? We got plenty of oil. Be happy to empty your holds too. Come now, let's get out of this heat and fill our mugs. If you've seen the Deathknell, I reckon you have other stories to share as well."
Rickety leads you back to the common room where he immediately sets runners and servants in motion. Before long bowls of fruits are brought out and bottles of wines are opened. Music begins to play and some of even the harder crew members display smiles on their faces as they dance or talk or gamble their time away.
|1 person marked this as a favorite.|
Before he left the Covenant, Sandman went down to the bilge where he'd dragged the bones of the manticore after Mister Kroop had butchered it. He hung his mask on it's customary nail and let it work.
Slowly, the suffering the manticore had wrought, and what it had endured, were absorbed by the mask. As it worked the bilgewater brightened and the remnants of flesh vanished. Hours later, only clean water and bones remained. By the time Sandman returned, the bilge was the cleanest space on the ship.
He was beginning to accumulate quite a collection of bleached bones down in the bilge. Two humans, a giant boar, a few giant wasps who's empty carapace had been hung in hammocks to keep them out of the water, and now a manticore. Eventually one of the crew would break his standing orders not to go down there, and there would be some explaining to do, but today was not that day. With luck, it would not be an issue until the fruits of his labor could be revealed.
This post is mostly just a reminder that Sandman's been slowly accumulating a horrorshow in the basement.
Once off the ship he gladly lets Nivian and Baltzar take the captain's hat, playing the role of ship's doctor and relaxing.
Johara enjoys the time off-ship, even dancing with the crew for a bit and for everyone's entertainment. Afterward, she likewise enjoys the fresh fruit, but does not stray far from Nivian's side.
Hey. I AM still here though I've been unable to post the past week or so, no idea why...
Fargrim will spend the time on shore checking the crew's arms and armor to ensure they are up to snuff. If anyone is in need of better weapons or armor, he will approach the captains with a request for coinage to provide such items. He will make it clear that should they encounter the undead ship, they will need every advantage they can muster.
|The Many-Faced GM|
Breakfast is still warm when an aged halfling comes running into the commons. He's huffing and puffing, trying to get words out when Rickety shushes him and tells him to catch his breath. After a tense moment with all eyes on him, the halfling begins.
"They've found us sir. Pirate hunter. Blocking the cove. Looks to be a Chelish ship. She's...big, huge even. The biggest ship I've ever seen."
"Are you drunk again Jim?"
"No sir. Honest. Too early."
"Alright, alright. Let's go have a look."
The walk up to the lookout post is hot and hurried, the temperature already rising this morning. The small, one room shack barely has enough room for three people, but with the spy glass, the halfling's story is confirmed.
The cove is completely dominated by a huge warship named, appropriately enough, Dominator. Atop the rigging of the massive four-masted ship fly the colors of the Empire of Cheliax. It is clear that the heavily armed vessel, with a full company of armored marines on deck, is a pirate hunter.
She's not currently positioned for battle. Her guns are not brought to bear.
Perception: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (5) + 7 = 12
Johara is stuck on the ramp outside the lookout post, as the triumvirate of captains take a look. She peers this way and that, unable to get a good look at the huge ship, but a look of concern crosses her face. "Why haven't they started bombarding the cove?" she wonders aloud.
Profession Sailor: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (15) + 7 = 22
"Her guns aren't deployed. She's not going to attack. She's here for parlay."
"Well, they are still flying the colors of Cheliax. Chances are they're not opting to turn and waiting their turn for a refit."
Nivian turns to Rickety: "That ever happen before? Question is, what are they doing? Blocking escape while waiting for reinforcements? Are they planning to storm the place? They would have done better coming in at night, over land, if they knew where to find you."
Nivian takes another look through the spy glass:"Could it be they are not aware of you and simply taking on supplies? We should probably not draw attention to ourselves - if they mean to parley, let them send a rowboat..."
Moving the spy glass to the waterline, Nivian looks for a rudder or some other means of steering before continuing to speak to Rickety:"But just in case...prepare a barrel water-proofed with oiled cloth and filled with powder if you have it, or lamp oil if not...tangle it up in a fishing net, with just enough stones in the net that it doesn't float. I'll dive over there and attach it. If we need to make a quick exit, it'll make sure they won't follow us. And they won't risk pursuing you into the wilderness upstream, risking their ship and getting marooned here..."
|The Many-Faced GM|
"That's not a bad idea" Rickety comments. He snaps his fingers and speaks down to Jim waiting below with Johara.
"Fill a water-proofed barrel with oiled cloth and powder."
"Aye boss" the man called up.
"Well? What are ye waitin for?"
The man spins on his heels and sets off back down the trail back towards the commons area.
"Neve' seen a Chelish ship this close to our cove before, least one not brought in by pirates. Don't know what their waitin' for."
"Nothing good. If they meant to talk, they would have come. If they meant to take on supplies, your lookouts would have seen that. If it's randomly checking the place, they wouldn't hold position at the cove, but sail further inland. There's no storm coming, either, I believe. There are reasons they could anchor for a day or two, but in most of these cases they would send shore parties if only to see if they could find some fresh food or water. We'd best prepare for the worst. If they are simply entrapping us here and waiting for reinforcements...", Nivian motions with her finger across her throat..."That ship would make a fine upgrade, but they usually carry a whole company of armed marines...I doubt we could take them in a fair battle..."
Honestly, I am at a loss there and totally open for suggestions. We could try and sneak away in the night, and blow up their rudder if they notice us...but then they will need materials for repair and inevitable find Ricketys...we could try and wait them out, but that may worsen the situation. We could try and lure them into a trap, but that could heavily backfire. We could try and surprise attack them, but metagaming kind of tells me we're not supposed to upgrade our ship to a heavily-armed 4-masted warship just yet...(I'm totally open to that idea, but it kind of screams "suicidal" to me thinking we could take them)...
"Let's prepare for the worst case scenarios and observe further. Maybe we can learn something that will help guide our decision..."
That is, not act and post lookouts in the undergrowth watching what they do? I feel if we understand the reason for their presence in the cove, we'll have an easier time deciding on a course of action. Just a thought.
"All right. Maybe we can gather some rumors - some of the dockworkers have to have overheard conversations from the dockmaster and the captain, or gotten orders about supplies to load or unload... someone has probably heard something about why that ship is here in port, or will by nightfall," says Johara.
|The Many-Faced GM|
Despite numerous conversations, nobody has heard anything, or at least isn't willing to share the information. There are few secrets among such a small, tight-knit community, but whatever the ship's purpose, it seemed to remain a mystery.
Time inches along like a watching a worm crossing a field. The sun seems to hang in the air for days and even the birds seem to know something is coming. The tension is almost palpable and Rickety is constantly giving out orders in an effort to busy his people.
As the sun crests the horizon, Rickety has food prepared for lunch. Despite almost everyone gathered in the common room, few words are spoken. It's like eating lunch in a graveyard.
It's late afternoon and the sun has already begun it's descent when a runner comes sprinting into the common room. Out of breath and huffing and puffing, it seems ages before he finally speaks.
"She's...she's...gone sir. Pushed on...it seems."
Cheers are echoed again and again as dour moods are suddenly replaced with joyful exuberance. Casks are tapped and mugs are filled as a few pick up instruments and the music starts. The ensuing celebration carries on for the rest of the day and half of the night.
The following morning you set sail again, fully provisioned and well stocked. The crew seems rejuvenated and the winds favor your sails.
|The Many-Faced GM|
It's less than a full day later when a plume of smoke draws calls from the crow's nest. Not an hour later you can see a Sargavan galleon lurch from the impact of a catapult shot upon its stern that shatters its rudder. It heels over hard and feathers until its sails luff and it drifts to a stop. Its attacker, a Shackles drekar, runs in hard to guard its prize.
The drekar's name plate reads Devil's Pallor.
The Sargavan galleon is the Sea Chanty.
The Devil's Pallor is captained by Free Captain Gortus Svard, a vindictive hobgoblin. Not one to be trifled with.
The Sargavan galleon still flies a flag of Eleder out of Cheliax.
Perception: 1d20 + 11 ⇒ (1) + 11 = 12
KN(Local): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (11) + 6 = 17 I think that might depend on the Perception check...but if someone makes it-
KN(Local): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (3) + 6 = 9
"Ah, two for the price of one! Now, shall we swoop in and help the losers, or politely wait until they are done?", Nivian asks of her comrades.
One had, after all, what one could hold. The Drekar did maneuver to guard it's prize - so it clearly knew what was likely to happen.
"Wouldn't want it to limp away while we waste our strenght on the other hunter...I'd say we pretend to pass, then swoop in after they began boarding?"
Whatever was decided, Nivian made sure to expertly steer the Covenant to set their plan in action - while minimizing the area of attack just in case the Drekar intended to fire a 'warning' shot with that catapult of theirs.
Profession(Sailor/Helmswoman): 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (16) + 13 = 29
Sandman peered over the water, but his eyes weren't good enough to make out the markings.
"Who are they?"
"The galleon's lost its rudder. They're not going anywhere - we can deal with the drakkar first, they still have some fight," suggests Johara from up in the rigging.
Nivain's straightforward call to action and Johara's enthusiasm were infectious. Sandman's usual caution was cast aside and a rare smile crept over his face.
His scars rippled and hardened.
Casting Mage Armor now. Casting Ironskin, Long Arm, and Enlarge Person about 30 seconds before we make contact.
|The Many-Faced GM|
Nivian's deft handling of the wheel keeps the Devil's Pallor guessing. No shots are fired yet as the Covenant creeps along.
The Ship Combat rules are in the Player's Guide. I wanted to at least try a ship battle. You've won initiative and can determine your first move. The Covenant is a Sailing Ship as detailed on Page 25 of the Player's Guide.
Map squares are 30 feet and your speed is currently 30 feet.
The roll20 map has been updated.
Nivian attempts to bring the Covenant closer to the Devils Pallor. They had few if any ranged weaponry, and would need to rely on boarding to take the enemy ship.
When she lets the ship drift sideways, the sails fail to catch the wind properly, and Nivian curses as they inch closer at a snails pace.
The Upper Hand: 1d20 + 13 + 2 ⇒ (15) + 13 + 2 = 30 Assuming regular win. If lost, shift one to the right, if won more than regular, shift to left for every +5
Full ahead!: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (2) + 13 = 15 Speed stays 30 feet(1 square), move directly forward.
Stay the course!: 1d20 + 13 ⇒ (16) + 13 = 29 Move forward - diagonally so if Upper Hand lost, straight otherwise.
Can't edit the map but the assumed new position of the covenant is marked.
Johara stays in the rigging, listening for her captain's orders.
Any skill checks needed from me yet?