Or, "Perhaps it was a player and not the miniatures slowing things down."
Sessions five and six were played back-to-back with a change in players and emphasis prompting the second half of last Saturday's game to be considered a separate session (with bennies redistributed to the players and additional experience awarded). The PCs in the first session were Nana, Elias, Gunter, McSliceathroat, Commodore Wendy, and Kit. The second session featured Nana, McSliceathroat, Lady Wendy, and Kit.
Lacking any clear objective, the players looked at the maps and began suggesting places to which to sail. Isla La Blanquilla was selected because it seemed interestingly mysterious. Knowing nothing about the place aside from what's in the PotSM rulebook, I decided it was the home to the Order of St. Brendan -- a Celtic Christian secret order of monks who have catalogued the hiding places of all the weirdness in the world (and who curse like the cast of "The Commitments"). This serendipitously allowed me to introduce the Codex Brendani -- an atlas of possible adventure sites. Thank you, Beedo.
After a failed attempt to scale the limestone cliffs and take the monks by surprise, the crew of the Bloody Revenge instead just snuck up the stairs. They then climbed the roof of the building, entered through the belfry, and found themselves in the Escuela de Cartografia -- an enormous library of maps. They ambushed a trio of monks who had been sent to fetch the abbot some bedtime reading; McSliceathroat sliced a throat, Kit finally got to punch somebody out, and the third monk -- Brother Seamus McGillicutty -- proved so entertainingly profane that he was kidnapped by the group to become their translator and Kif Kroker. When asked to spare the lives of the rest of the monks, McSliceathroat got the biggest laugh of the evening with a well-timed "...Yeah." (You had to be there.)
Using the Codex, they then sailed off to... Crap. I can't figure out which issue of "Buccaneers and Bokor" I took the adventure from and I've only got so much time to blog. It's an adventure about a ghost pirate and his haunted castle near Aruba. I ran a really abbreviated version of things and the PCs finally got really, wildly rich. And everybody got a magic item. Hooray!
(Unfortunately, Gunter's player wasted a lot of time making "jokes" and ignoring his fellow players to the point where three separate PCs beat Gunter unconscious just so we could get on with the story. It didn't work, so I've now got to spend the beginning of the next session having an intervention with Gunter's player. Thanks.)
I had established in Session 4 that Governor Lynch of Jamaica had put Commodore Wendy's lover to death during her back-story years, so as a treat to Wendy and McSliceathroat (who drive an hour-and-a-half down to San Antonio to attend these games and were pretty put out by how little got done in the first part of the night) I ran the story of Wendy's revenge.
First, I allowed her to outright buy -- with money -- the Noble and Secret Identity Edges so she could infiltrate Jamaican high society. (They were loaded after robbing the ghost pirate, so why not?) Then -- at the fancy ball Lady Wendy's money bought them invitations to -- I let McSliceathroat -- who has no Persuasion and +0 Charisma -- talk Sir Christopher Myngs into challenging that usurper Lynch into a duel. (He gave a really good speech and made a great unskilled roll, so why not?)
I let McSliceathroat run Myngs during the saber duel. Lynch put up an amazing fight for someone with few Combat Edges and a d4 Strength (thereby enforcing my opinion that the embedded NPCs in PotSM are ludicrously overpowered). At the end, the PCs had to jump him from surprise. Kit blew away Lynch's seconds with a blunderbuss and Nana really, really tried to not kill Lynch. In the end, though, Lynch wounded Wendy twice during their climactic duel, so Nana was forced to step in with the anti-climax and save her captain.
(Yeah, I let the PCs kill a Legendary NPC. I'd probably step in to save Elminster or Drizzt if my players went after them, but nobody in the Zhentarim would be safe in my Forgotten Realms game.)
Now Myngs owes them his life and his position as Acting Governor -- they're blaming Lynch's death on the Spanish -- and they have an atlas full of treasure maps. It might have been a maddeningly frustrating session in many ways, but it was productive. (And Elias' player wants to start tracking expenditures for provisions and cargoes. I'm actually excited about this!)
Crap! Now I have to put together the entries in the Codex Brendani! Dammit, I assigned myself homework!