Sunday, September 30, 2012

The Wormwood Mutiny pt. 2

(This entry covers our second session of Skull and Shackles. The party consisted of Jamal the halfling gunslinger, Logan the human rogue, Pig the dwarven alchemist, Jack the oracle and Sandra the ranger. The average party level was 2).

(At this time of writing my memory of the exact duties of every day is clouded. It’s therefore not entirely accurate in any way, but doesn’t seem to be entirely important to the story anyway. For the same reason, the blog is more event-based than a day-to-day story).

Master Scourge didn’t take lightly on the turmoil one bit, seeming almost severely displeased with the result. Violently he hauled the culprits to the deck and started assigning tasks for the day. While Pig would go to help out Kroop again, the rest of the party was sent to the riggings to perform in the masts, while Jamal was sent to the brig.  Logan had the task of seeing to maintenance of the ship and tie up some ropes.

Day 2 – Sails are overrated
Jack wasn’t thrilled about being in the sails. He met up with Rosie there, who repeatedly kept asking whether he’d reclaimed her instrument yet, which he had to admit wasn’t the case. In the same time, Kipper and Patch, Master Scourge’s two goons, did their best to bellow and intimidate him from below deck. Sadly it worked all too well, and a critical mistake up in the mast resulted in the ship being thrown severely off course. At the same time, Logan had a really hard time maintaining his duties on the repairs and Scourge flew into a fit; chaining them both to the middle mast, immediately sending Sandra to take over Jack’s work.
When Sandra finally arrived up there, her result was equally bad (some really nasty rolls there, despite the low DC) and angrily she was nearly hauled down from there and chained up as well.

Mr. Kroop was insanely drunk, leaving only the Pig to fend for himself. He decided to do some improvisation and for one made a great roll that day. The supper that night was a spectacular ordeal of sausage-gruel. But as the hours grew late, Jamal spent time in the brig, talking to a chained up stranger. While not keen on spilling his name or any personal information, he swore that if only the heroes would take pity of him and find some way to make him avoid being keelhauled, he would share some very valuable information. Jamal didn’t buy into this at all but returned from a successful day of work.

On his way up, however, he noticed a towering nearly naked man sitting in the middle deck. He guarded a set of stair and looked at the halfling gloomily. While Jamal tried to make contact, all he got back was some grunts and nasty stares. He then realized he had been chained up there and decided to just head for the deck. Later on he learned about his identity as ‘Owlbear’.

That evening everyone gathered on deck and beheld the lashes delivered to the three amateurs. There was much cheering and rejoicing from Scourge and Plugg, including their faithful crew. As Jack, Logan and Sandra were taken down they were soon after attended to by Sandara and Shortstone. As they spoke, they agreed it was time to get things moving, but first they would have to fetch back their gear from the quartermaster.

Evening 2 – Bottom’s up!
Knowing the quartermaster had a soft spot for a good drink the party hatched their sinister plan. Sending in Pig to knock on her door, he invited her to come and join him and Krook in a cozy time of drinking. Krook had just raised from the drunken stupor and was of course more than eager to indulge himself again. Despite the odd appearance of the little dwarf, the quartermaster reluctantly accepted.

As they went to the cabin, the rest of the party snug in, closed the door behind them and started picking some locks. While they didn’t dare bring along too much stuff from here and feared the traps, they decided to merely take their own stuff and return up on deck soon after. The one exception was of course Rosey’s fiddler. The halfling was ecstatic and embraced Jack in a strong hug, before she played a short piece on it. It was a sad tune that yet instilled their hearts with hope for the evening.
As night approached they went to bed.

The quartermaster
Day 3 – Giant Rats slain: 0/10
As the heroes presented on deck the following day, a frightened sailor emerged from the stairs, whispering to Master Scourge while looking pale. As he finished, Scourged smiled and eyed the heroes.
“Seems like something happened down in the bilges,” he mused “doesn’t sound too pleasant either. I suppose we have your task for the day then. Check it out!”

There was some laughter around them, but the heroes saw no other option than to comply. As they lowered themselves into the darkness below, they noticed said strange man whom Jamal had been speaking to before. He was dead and plenty of flesh picked from his bone by really sharp, small teeth. As the heroes wondered about the cause, a pack of dire rats were upon them.

The rats were of little consequence for them, however. Besides a few flesh wounds they soon emerged unscathed and happily reported back to Scourge. He warmly thanked them by yelling them back to work. Once again Jack was ushered into the riggings and rolled a beautiful 2 on his check, meaning the ship once again set into a turmoil. Hysterical, Scourge went to order him down, when Rosie emerged from behind the sail.

“It was me,” she coldly said. While Scourge pondered on this for a few seconds, he realized picking out his favored victim despite of claims otherwise would prove too suspicious. He sneered and brought her down from there, unleashing the whip that same night.

As they spoke during supper, there was a certain feeling of dissatisfaction onboard. They agreed their time would eventually come.

Day 4 – Boarding School
The following day didn’t involve any mundane tasks. Instead Mr. Plugg took the heroes aside during the morning and with a snarky remark told them they were to be prepared for the upcoming onslaught. Though he didn’t suspect them to live long, being the filthy worms they were, he did want to make sure they would at least make it to the enemy vessel. He therefore directed them to Riaris Krine, master gunner of the Wormwood.  She sailed them out in a jolly boat along with a bunch of grappling hook and instructed them to throw and attach them to the main ship. There was a special prize to the one making it there first.

The ranged attacks went well, everyone in the group managed on their first attempt, and then the horror started.  With a theme-song that could as well have been “It’s raining men” the heroes attempted climbing their way aboard the Wormwood, failing desperately on every attempt. Often, Jack, Logan and Pig would make it out half way there and fail horrendously and plunge into the ocean. After swimming back to the boat, it would all repeat. Jamal barely made it out of the boat at all, before losing his grip and falling. This left Sandra back, who after some splashes made it all the way and was greeted.

It was a small cheer, however, drowned in a massive laughter from Master Scourge and Mr. Plugg, who both eyed them with sadistic glee and a nefarious choir of faithful sailors behind.
As a ‘special honor’ Sandra was nominated to lead the attack during the upcoming days, when the Wormwood would collapse with ‘The Man’s Promise’. They’d better be prepared…

(At this time, observant readers will notice how I left out the events “The Storm” and “The Keelhauling”. Storm comes later and Keelhauling was redundant since the players had already felt harsh pirate-justice.)

During the evening Master Scourge brought up and presented the towering man Jamal had previously encountered. He groaned and stared blankly ahead while Scourge explained the rules. There was a prize to the one able to defeat his combatant in combat. While unarmed attacks were encouraged, accidents were of course prone to happen…

While there was some initial hesitation, two sailors volunteered. The party observed how Owlbear quickly smashed the skull of the first and broke the other’s leg in a swift melee. Below the cheering and shocks, the heroes agreed Pig should make an attempt.

The dwarf jumped in and went enraged. The two combatants locked in combat and in the first round there was a solid dwarven fist in the man’s stomach, sending him staggering backwards. They exchanged punches for a while, before Owlbear hurled a massive barrel against Pig, knocking him down. Then he picked up a club and moved in. Pig wasn’t about to be defeated, however, and in a lunge smashed into the giant. He knocked him down and as Owlbear lay whimpering on the deck, there was a roar of “Finish him!” “Take him down now!”. But Pig refused and the battle ended. The heroes watched an angered Scourge pay up his gold and go to his quarters. As he was hauled below deck, Owlbear watched his opponent with gratitude.

Day 5 – PvP in the bilges
Scourge this morning picked out Pig and sent him to work in the bilges, alone. This seemed odd for the heroes, since they had been attended to recently and it too conveniently was Pig, so they all went down there when nobody paid attention. As they arrived, they noticed a small gang of pirates, who almost looked like they were waiting. While engaging in casual conversation, the heroes noticed they were on edge and waiting, so they watched Pig enter the bilges but remained in the way for the rest. Then the pirates drew daggers and attacked.

It was a quick and decisive fight, in which the party slaughtered the group and had one runner. As they stood there with three corpses, they had to think fast of what to do before something happened…

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