Tag Archives: sailing

Reavers on the Seas of Fate – Season Two, Nineteenth Session

Nineteenth Session (27 page pdf) – “A Pirate’s Life For Me” – More time at sea; the crew gets into the pirate spirit and wavecrawls the hell out of the region. Vikings! Whales! Dead Vikings! Dead whales! Mass hysteria!

We started with role-play.  Sindawe caught a case of the Lawful Goods during the first part of the session, confusing his comrades.  He gives money to the ex-slave family trying to make it in Riddleport, and then has management interventions with the crew over Slasher Jim killing too much and Tommy sexing too much. Eventually the other PCs were like “this is a pirate ship! Come on now!” I thought it was interesting because Sindawe is clearly wrestling with how to perceive himself as a “good guy” while being a pirate and also with the burden of leadership.

Then we got to sea and I started up the random encounters. Man, if anything my “Today at Sea” encounter list was shorter than last time. But it sure expanded out! This session summary is 27 pages long.

First there was an Ulfen longship and a Mordant Spire elf skimmer fighting. This could have been 5 minutes if the PCs bypassed it, but they first threw in with the Ulfen and fought the elves and then fought the Ulfen. And then took Ulfen prisoners, etc. This was a livelier naval combat than usual; it’s the first time they’ve had significant amounts of magic used against them in an engagement.

We find a great deal of hilarity in the fact that Serpent and Wogan always seem to roll 1’s (or at least very low) on Spellcraft and Knowledge: Religion checks.  They are good sports about coming  up with super ignorant incorrect things they believe as a result. In this case, Serpent saw the elven command crew gathering up as their ship was overrun and teleporting out, but with his 1 he interpreted it as some mass disintegration suicide ritual.

I’m not really sure they intended to fight the Ulfen initially, but basically they had their blood up and decided to kill till there was no opposition. Wogan luckily saved all the crew from dying – I need to come up with a better mechanic hooked to my mass combat system to figure out who snuffs it.  I’ve been letting him make a Heal check with his healing burst to see how many downed crewmen he can save and he’s rolled very, very high each time so they haven’t lost anyone in action yet. They end it all up with a new crewman, an Ulfen barbarian named Olgvik.

Then the PCs were confronted with the sad fact that sailors refuse to eat fish! They got some from the fishing ship last time and a bunch of pickled herring from the Ulfen ship, but as in RL Europe, all red blooded sailors eat fish as only a last resort, and feel themselves ill used if they must.

Then over the course of the week, the ship is attacked by an angry whale, then meets the same whale again but it’s undead. (This is from the random encounters; of course as the GM if one day says angry whale and then two days later there’s an undead whale, if they aren’t linked somehow you suck.) Then a homunculus came by. The PCs were horrified and intrigued when it simply gathered information from them about the whale like a modern telephone survey taker. “On a scale of one to five, how terrifying was the whale both before and after it was dead?” This is a good example of how linking some simple random encounters on the fly, you create what seems to be a hideous master plan going on in the world with absolutely no relation to the PCs. Makes the world seem real.

Finally, they take a prize – a small spice merchant. They take his cargo and money but leave him his ship, wife, and life. (The cook’s resultant experiment with “cinnamon eggs” was disgusting.) They enjoyed finding a book of tiefling pornography entitled “Fiend Folio.”

I’ve done a lot of reading up on historical pirates and it’s odd – same captain and crew, sometimes they’ll let someone go, sometimes they’ll sink a perfectly good ship, sometimes they’ll kill everyone with little provocation, sometimes they’ll do some of both! “Took three ships, sank two, killed some of the crew, let the rest get in the third ship and leave.” Not always explainable rhyme or reason to it (the drinking probably helps) but it’s interesting how our PC pirates are kinda turning out the same way.

Lots of great roleplaying fleshed this session out even more – good PC-to-PC interaction and also with various members of the crew.

Reavers on the Seas of Fate – Season Two, Eighteenth Session

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 StarsWavecrawl 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Giant seasnake
  4. A small (if appropriate to type of vessel) passing ship is sighted. What is it?
    Fishing boat (probably lots of food on board).
  5. 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.
  6. Dead calm sea (lose a day of movement)
  7. 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.
  8. 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!!!