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Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Pirates of the Spanish Main Session Report 8

The most recent Pirates of the Spanish Main game was fast, furious, and fun – which is ironic, because it was the first session of my Frankengame, Savages + Intrigue, and I really didn’t expect a half-assed house rule to work so well.  Converting characters to Careers instead of Skills took about ten minutes or so (everyone had really strong ideas about their characters’ back stories) and then we jumped into exploring the mystery of the walking crocodiles in the Cayman Islands. 

The crew this time was Nana, Elias, Silas, the Mad Arab (who is neither mad nor an Arab), and Kit; Brother Seamus was technically there, but he was trying hard to hide.  I have to admit that the actual events of that session are a blur.  I was not drinking, but I was in the last stages of recovering from near-pneumonia and my memories are a bit blurred by codeine.  Plus, I kept throwing in flashbacks when I realized I should have done some more explication.

They began the game in with the first cooperative sailing roll this group has ever mustered as they sailed in toward the Cayman Islands – and then I realized we should have some idea what the reward was and flashed back to Tortuga, asking resident Ben Franklin clone Richard Poore what they could get for walking crocodiles.  Poore promised them a helpful smattering of items from his laboratory while hinting that the Royal Society in London could offer a lot more. Back in the present, the PCs spotted the ships of embedded superstar NPCs Jack Hawkins and Calico Cat being careened in the distance; the crew decided they had no interest in sharing potential spoils with NPCs and pointedly ignored the chance to meet the local celebrities.

I forget who was on lookout (but the fact that it was a PC was pretty awesome) when a strange dust devil was spotted amidst the scrub grass and palms of a nearby island.  Three reptile dudes (who looked more snakelike than crocodilian; I rolled a d4 and it came up Robert E. Howard-style snake-men) appeared out of the dust and slunk away into the nearby waters.  The players chose to land on the island’s opposite shore and an away team of Nana, Elias, Silas, and the Mad Arab trekked overland with some of their redshirts.  They eventually reached the clearing and set a trap.

The dust devil turned out to be the effect of a disguised elevator, so the crew hid a net under the sand that disguised it.  The crew pounced when the snake-men returned, cutting down one and taking the other two prisoner.  The one who died was apparently just a bodyguard; he was only armed with a strange, envenomed dagger made of steel-hard bronze (fabled orichalcum!) while the other two also carried crystalline magic wands and a crystal-edged mirror (some kind of communicator or PADD?).  The attack caused some alarms down below so a patrol of four snake-men warriors in orichalcum loricas were sent up – and the Mad Arab dropped a grenado down the elevator shaft.  The armor would probably stop a bullet, but it ends at the waist.

The away team quickly bustled back to the Bloody Revenge and weighed anchor.  The PCs all managed to squeeze into the orichalcum loricas (which, like mithril shirts, conveniently fit under clothes) and divided up the fancy daggers.  The surviving snake-men turned out to be a vicious sorcerer and his docile apprentice; I don’t remember ever giving them names.  The snakes spoke only prehistoric human languages, but the Mad Arab was able to use his familiarity with Lovecraftian horrors to interpret their attempts to speak in Ur, the mother tongue of Babylonia and Sumeria.  The chief snake turned out to have a very low opinion of humans.

They dumped the grouchy snake-man on Richard Poore and got the pick of the ($100 or less) “magic” items Poore had in his lab, then they took off for England.  An easy voyage (run as an Extended Action) and a good bit of smooth-talking from Silas brought the crew to the British Museum offices of Dr. James What Watt, inventor of the steam engine and David Tennant impersonator.  (Yes, I am fully aware how much the timeline has broken down in this game.)  Fascinated by the snake-tech (especially the fabled orichalcum!) Dr. Watt made an offer on behalf of the Invisible College to turn the Bloody Revenge into a steamship if the crew guided an expedition back to the serpent-people’s home.  Realizing that a steamship would be really fast but equally likely to explode and impossible to disguise, the crew upped the stakes and talked Watt into giving them a new four-master and experimenting on the Bloody Revenge. 

It seemed like the pirates had gotten the better of the deal, but then the day came to sail back to the Spanish Main – and a full company of barely-disguised Royal Marines marched down to the wharf to sail back with them.

2 comments:

  1. Not sure how I missed this earlier - great after-action report!

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    1. Thanks! The greatest joy of this campaign is that I have no idea what will happen next!

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