Fourth Session (13 page pdf) – “Ra-ha-DOOM! Part II” – Planning, a hard boiled egg eating contest, and a prisoner escape – Port Godless has everything!
Crewwoman Zorzi has been bought by a local man obsessed with green eyes. The PCs have diva Octavia Selene, who also has green eyes, and they try to broker a swap but my random roll decides Atomy’s pretty happy with the current deal. The “two women with green eyes” thing, as you might surmise, was ad-libbed as a Big Trouble in Little China reference (the whole slaver thing was made up on the spot due to bad shore leave rolls). I considered spinning it into a bigger Lo Pan kind of thing but in the last season I had asked how in depth the PCs wanted each leg of the journey to be, and they said “not much Rahadoum.” They sure got into it once they were there, but I respected their earlier vote and didn’t go too nuts.
They hire a navigator to get them to Ilizmagorti, secret island of the Red Mantis! Well, not that secret, it’s a big port. But secret, they destroy all maps! Somewhat confusing in the lore, so I decide that maps are out but navigators who’ve been there before are in, and a valuable commodity. Also, high level crewwoman Kitty the Cantankerous came down pregnant from a bad shore leave roll months ago and absents herself on pregnancy leave.
They go to a sage named Rombom to research the black stone egg they cut out of a xill survivor. I made that shit up off a random roll in the first place so I had to scramble, off a random Google I decided it’s related to a nalusa falaya, a Choctaw shadow-type spirit. They were into it enough I decided that having it in you (embedded, swallowed) would protect you against inhabitation by the nalusa falaya and related stuff, like say the recurring shadow demon villain who likes to possess the PCs. So Serpent swallows it (using his serpent transformation to make that feasible).
After this the session took a turn for the increasingly more hilarious.
The egg thing “inspires” the PCs to hold a Cool Hand Luke style egg eating contest to gamble with the locals about. I forget the exact mechanic I used, but it was like a Fort save that got incrementally harder with each egg eaten… It couldn’t have been more than +1 because Billy Breadbasket managed to make it to 23 eggs and defeat all comers.
Drunk and full of eggs they wander back to the ship. Crew craftsman Karomander had gotten a good shore leave roll and so got something… I don’t remember how “clown puppet” made the list but it was probably stolen from something a player said. So Karomander decides to put his new clown marionette guarding the ship’s gangplank. To a crew of PCs, ‘creepy clown figure’ is just another day in the life, but typically, they start ultra botching the fight against an inanimate object. Wogan nearly shoots Serpent in a panic when the clown jumps on him. Good times. I gave it 50/50 whether Sindawe would murder the man, but he was so impressed with its ability to inspire incontinence in potential boarders he gave his approval to the whole scheme.
And then, having a Chelish diva on board leads inevitably to DRAMA!!! So the Argentate Blades, a bunch of swashbuckling do-gooders from the Rival Guide, come to spring her! Sindawe’s the only one who notices a noise on deck and goes out there…
They exchange blows while Sindawe yells, “Boarders!”
From the map room, Wogan yells back, “Charge them rent!”
Serpent yells, “Hoarders?!? The bane of every tidy ship!”
A caster hidden by the fog shoots a blinding light at Sindawe that dazzles him for a round, then Estella stabs him. Then she steps back into the mist.
Serpent charges out and seeing no one else demands, “Captain! Settle a bet. What did you yell – boarders or hoarders?”
Sindawe grits his teeth.
So the Blades fight with the three PCs, with the swordswoman Estrella giving Sindawe a run for his money, their little halfling mom popping out of the mist to cast spells, and…
A voice rings out, “Haha! You are too late!” A man wearing light armor and hot pants is standing on the rail with Octavia clinging tightly to his torso. The man grabs a rope and swings them to the pier. Wogan shouts, “How did we see that? There’s fog and darkness!” The man yells back from the pier, “I used my cloak to swish the fog away. Drama!”
Wogan keeps trying to find the halfling in the dark and mist and he just keeps rolling so badly, I couldn’t keep from punking him…
Wogan finally hears the stealthy halfling and slaps her with a held cause critical wounds. But it turns out to only be the ship’s clown doll, Mr. Smiles. “Come on!!!” he laments.
So Billy Breadbasket, as careful readers of the summaries may note, has been eyeing Pirro for a while, and Pirro is pretty drunk right now; they didn’t quite make it back to the ship but as the fight moves to the dock…
Serpent runs after them only to slam into the partially naked figures of Billy Breadbasket and Pirro who are emerging from behind the crates to figure out what the heck is going on. All three pirates go down in a heap.
I’m a big fan of “the dice are often more right than I am.” Sindawe demands to know who was supposed to be on watch when these goons got on board. I roll randomly on the crew table and it falls on a couple crewmen who died, but no one took them off the Word doc we use as a crew list. So I decided that in-game, too, no one had noticed that the people who were supposed to be on watch weren’t around any more. The group found that immediately plausible. “The bane of every pirate – paperwork!!!” They updated their list.
And we end with a civilized sit-down and deal with the Argentate Blades. It’s really, really hard in D&D to pull off the otherwise common trope of fighting someone and then befriending or at least dealing civilly with them; usually it just puts them on the ETERNAL IMMEDIATE HATE MURDER LIST so I was proud of me and my players that we managed to pull it off.
This whole session was pretty much driven off a couple random rolls and whatever the PCs got it in their minds to do and me brainstorming ways to make their lives interesting while in port. It was a very successful session, from my side of the table it seemed at least! It’s these kinds of sessions that get us these 13-page summaries, whereas combat heavy ones are just like “and we fought something, done.” There’s a lesson there somewhere.