Eighteenth Session (12 page pdf) – “The Fishwife’s Lament” – The motley crew of the Teeth of Araska heads to sea, and immediately decides that they are on a search and destroy mission for every random encounter ever! And then, they meet the dreaded fishwife.
I didn’t really expect this leg of the voyage to take a whole (long) session. Behold the power of the random generator. I was using Zak from D&D With Porn Stars‘ Wavecrawl Kit, specifically as administered by the great “Today at Sea” random generator on Abulafia.
Here’s what turned into six hours of gaming, once roleplay and PC initiative was added in… Randomly generated plus a preening pass from me.
- Annoying weather. Make a control roll. Failure results in… Amid the ship’s tossing and confusion on deck, someone slips over the rails. Man overboard! Determine who it is randomly.
- Annoying weather. Make a control roll. Failure results in… Some miscellaneous marine leviathan has crashed into the hull in its sleep, starting planks all along one side before plunging down into the depths in its startlement. The ship is leaking badly, gaining on the pumps by 2d6 inches per hour, and will eventually founder unless something is done to alleviate the situation.
- Giant seasnake
- A small (if appropriate to type of vessel) passing ship is sighted. What is it?
Fishing boat (probably lots of food on board).
- Bad weather–Make 12 control or piloting rolls to avoid damage to the ship. Failure results in…
Something caught in the rudder–someone needs to climb down there and get it.
- Dead calm sea (lose a day of movement)
- A medium-sized passing ship is sighted. What is it? A fishwife sailing the seas in a waterlogged cog, seeking a husband. She sends her harpies to go fetch a pretty one.
- A quiet day at sea
They tried hard to get their money’s worth from each encounter – like they were determined to take that “small fishing boat” back to its home port and then work it over. I rolled randomly and the place was just Godawful. I find visiting some places like that make PCs feel validated in their choice of being wandering adventurers, as they pity the poor local bastards in their squalor.
And I got to use pretty much all of our add-on rulesets this session. First it was sailing in general, and having storms and other problems requiring various ship control rolls to overcome. Then, when they were becalmed and bored, Captain Sindawe set up a melee between two halves of the crew, which used my quickie mass combat rules. And finally, when the fishwife tried to escape they used my naval combat rules (a mix of my chase rules and cannon rules). But it wasn’t all rules minigames, there were also more developments in the Serpent/Samaritha pregnancy drama.
They got to fight a fishwife – also courtesy Zak. This definitely got their juices going!
Once they got to Sandpoint they wanted to investigate Sandpoint, which was easy enough since I had both the old (Rise of the Runelords) and new (Jade Regent) versions in Paizo AP installments. In fact, it was a little entertaining because our brand new PCs were just leaving Sandpoint in our other Jade Regent campaign, so we put some easter eggs in both ways (the Teeth of Araska sold its old dragon figurehead to the Rusty Dragon, for example).
Easter egg – the orichalcum statue of Shelyn that Wogan buys is directly inspired by the Macguffin in the first season of the anime series Slayers. The fishwife had reminded me of Noonsa, the Flaming Fish-man, from that same series, so I riffed on it.
Also, I roll reactions routinely when meeting NPCs; Lavender Lil and Ameiko Kaijitsu rolled 1’s against each other and everyone enjoyed the not unfamiliar sight of two women deciding to hate each other at first sight for no reason anyone else can fathom.
And then unexpectedly they wanted to go to Magnimar to shop. Realizing that at this rate such a side trek might take two more weeks, I told them we had to handle it in “montage” fashion. This allowed us to get through it in reasonably short order; they got their must-haves done and I think it went OK. This group kinda tripped out at a similar narrativist insertion back in my Redeemers campaign but this one went fine.
Next time – more random encounters!!!