Welcome back mateys, to the ongoing misadventures of the "Bird of Prey" in my Hold of the Sea Princes campaign. When last we played, the PCs had set out from Port Torvin, got into a situation with a sea hag, and then made port in the small town of Sybar, on route to their finaly destination of Narisban. So far so good. Here are the dramatis personae for this session:
Victor Emmitt Hammond (fighter, fought on croc)
Araxo Tydan (rogue, sought crooks out)
Cuahtehmoc aka "Cuahto" (ranger, did not croak)
Brother "Pickles" (cleric, carried crock pot)
"Bullseye" Arborious of Hool (isn't crack shot)
Billy Palsy (creaks alot)
After dining with the Governor of Sybar, and some fooling around with the help, the PCs learned more clues about their leader, "the Blackguard" Captain Rennaud. It seems the good captain is not liked among half the populace of the Hold due to his untold origins in the Kingdom of Keoland, the Sea Prince's primary rival. Captain Rennaud once served on Prince Jeon II's ship as well, before gaining his own commission. Related to their captain's secret background, there is also politics coming to light between those loyal to the Prince and those loyal to the House Toli. Luckily(or unforunately) for the PCs and the rest of the crew, Hold politics is the least of the Bird of Prey's worries. Fully restocked, the ship set sail again, bound for "the Hook" of the Amedio Jungle and the Olman Islands to the south.
Procan and the wind gods favored them that week with strong winds, but extremely hot temperatures. Araxo's high-class hide blistered in the sun while he barked out orders to his more tanned compatriots. After they had rounded the cape of the Amedio to their starboard (bypassing Fort Blackwell) the lookouts sighted a monstrous lizard coming out of a lagoon on the far shore. This excitement was met with much speculation about what it was exactly, but it was the jungle-born Cuahto that knew for sure it was a giant crocodile. Upon hearing this Victor began to lust for a crocdile hide coat. "Left-tenant" Tydan went to the captain and convinced him to give the men some sport and hunt the great beast for its valuable body parts.
Five volunteers were called on to take to shore and slay the creature. Araxo exempted himself on this death-defying mission despite the protests of Cuahto for a leader on the away team. Captain Rennaud put "Mr. Hammond" in charge since he seemed so eager to skin the croc. Added to this team was the ranger skills of Cuahto and "Bullseye" Arborius who claimed he could put an arrow in the eye of the croc from 100 yards out. Brother Pickles the cook blithely joined the rowboat, bringing a chicken for bait and a crock pot of chili for the others. One last person was reluctantly added, Billy Palsy son ofnfellow crew member Old Bill Palsy. His hands shook not from fear of the croc but merely an inherited condition.
Going ashore, the plan was to use a grapple and line, with a chicken attached to fish for the large croc and hopefully wind it up helplessly in the rope. The other end of the rope was tied to a tree, while the others waited nearby to react (Bullseye kept his short bow readied). The croc warily watched the approach of Cuahto but took the bait anyhow. Thus began a fierce struggle. Cuahto, Billy and Vic started a tug of war with the croc, while the lame-brained Pickles threw caution to the wind and ran knee deep into the water to whack it over the head with a ladle. Bullseye fired at it, but missed (his inaccuracy blamed on Pickles being in the way). Victor yelled threats and obscenities at the archer since he wanted no holes in the hide that would someday be his coat. Things got worse as the rope broke and it began to drag them in a tug of war toward the water.
Losing their edge, Cuahto scrambled for a new rope to bind it with and Billy hung on for dear life. Victor on the other hand let go and leapt onto the back of the croc. Araxo, watching from the ship with the others could only wince as the croc rolled and thrashed about in the water's edge. A second arrow missed from Arborius (not going unnoticed by Vic), Pickles bent his ladle incessantly attacking, and soon Cuahto managed to lasso the snout of the angered croc. Just as the large beast was on the verge of throwing off all its bonds and attackers, Victor managed to deliver a killing cut to the throat of the croc thus ending a long and drawn out hunt. The crew celebrated while Bullseye was slapped around a bit.
After the crocodile fishing expedition, the Bird of Prey continued on unabated for a week. The hot temperature persisted and their tail win died a bit. The island port of Narisban was reached at last and their ship put in and began moving cargo to trade for local goods of fruit, rare wood and rum. The PCs got their shore leave later that night and headed to the main rowdy bar in port, the "Last Respite." Here, Araxo Tydan chanced to meet and talk illicit business with Symeon Flinch, an officer on the Hideous, a part of the piratical "Crimson Fleet" and avowed enemies of the Blackguard. This did not bode well for the scheming first mate, but due to his wily personality, an agreement to meet for a transaction was made.
This dealing of course was hushed as Cpt. Rennaud entered the bar room. The PCs looked on as he was hugged by one of the barmaids who evidently was either an old friend or family member. This simple reunion brought attention to her and suddenly the girl's identity was recognized by a third group of surly sailors who looked ready to make a reward with her capture. Looking at each other, the PCs knew trouble was brewing and they were caught in the middle...
Game note: I plan on the Crimson Fleet being an important faction in this campaign. They were originally seen in the Dungeon Magazine Adventure Path, Savage Tide.