Welcome to another session of my Hold of Sea Princes campaign. When last we saw, the crew of Captain Rennaud's Bird of Prey sailed into port at the city of Sasserine to deliver home the wayward daughter of the lord of the Taskerhill family. It was planned to be a time of rejoicing but nefarious things were afoot. Here is our dramatis personae...
Proud Olman deckhand, Cuahto made to provoke his tormentors, Megaron the Bold and Handsome Griff as they left the ship on their shore leave. Megaron was ready to take the bait, but only through the slick and confident demeanor of Griff did they ignore the challenges. That's when first mate, Araxo Tydan dragged the riled-up ranger along with him to make some more contacts in town. Asking around, it was soon learned that most black market trade went on in the district of Sasserine called Shadowshore. Going straight for the top, Araxo used his silver tongue to get an audience with the reprehensible Emil Dracktus, lord of Shadowshore. After going around several times in their cant, Dracktus gave Araxo a contact named Barrasso to get in touch with anytime he was ready to do business in Sasserine.
Meanwhile, Cpt. Rennaud, Skullbreaker Rotario and Victor Hammond escorted Anna Taskerhill back to her family manor in the Cudgel District and at first the gate guards did not believe she was who she claimed to be but soon they came before her father, Lord Kalmadar Taskerhill and the entire court was overjoyed at her safe return. As the crewmen mingled with Anna's adoring family and friends a singing was heard from outside the hall. Everyone was drawn to it and that's when the flock of harpies attacked! Diving at the crowd, many fled while others stood transfixed. Anna on the other hand was grabbed up in the talons of one and was carried away to the north. Captain Rennaud and Vic were also grabbed by their steely talons (each wore an arcane metal anklet) and were taken to the sky a short distance to be dropped on Parrot Island. Here, the last departing harpy gave a shrill message to them:
"The Ironclaw will release the lost daughter for the Owl's nest-egg. Sail alone toward the setting sun or by sunrise she becomes Osprem's handmaiden!"
Once off the island, Lord Taskerhill was informed of her capture and ransoming by the Crimson Fleet's own Captain Ironclaw McGrath of the Hideous (the same ship they had encountered back in Narisban when they found Anna) notorious for his tamed harpies. Rotario quickly went to round up the most of the crew who were on leave (Five were not found) and Victor got back to the ship to get their vessel ready for a hasty departure. Once the captain had returned to the ship, he was joined by several men of the Taskerhill house guard, including Major Trowton and Cpl Henri Morgan. They carried a treasure chest, ready to pay for her return from the pirates if necessary. Speculation abounded on board as to what the "Owl's nest-egg" was, but Araxo learned discreetly that the captain is also known as "the Owl" in some parts shedding some more light on his past. A plan was soon formulated among the assembled forces to double-cross Cpt. Ironclaw before he could.
Not too far out of Sasserine to the northwest, Victor spotted a ship anchored off on the horizon bearing the flag of the Crimson Fleet (red with a black skull). Before the Bird of Prey could close the entire distance another ship was noticed on a course to intercept. Major Trowton recognized it as the Pearly Eye, an Amedio Trading Concern ship owned by the Bevenin family, the Taskerhill's rivals and to whom Anna was originally betrothed. Apparently the family had been tipped off to Anna's return and capture by someone in the Taskerhill court. As the sun began to set the three ships anchored and began to angrily parley. Captain Rennaud claimed to Ironclaw he did not have what this so called nest-egg, Major Trowton was angry that the Bevenins were intruding on a ransom negotiation and Ironclaw was further enflamed when he was tipped off that the Bird of Prey had a rare black-powder cannon discreetly pointed at their ship.
All the while, the PCs (including Scar Medorga and Cpl Morgan) took a launch was taken under cover of dark to the aft of the Hideous. Climbing up a rope they gained intrance to Cpt. McGrath's cluttered chambers. Seeing no sign of Anna so far, they rifled through the room. Among the knick-knacks pocketed, they found a map of the south seas, a golden key and the captain's personal log. Going out of the room they heard sounds of a fight brewing outside, and soon found the room Anna was held in, yet not before a team of four pirates were sent down to retrive her for Ironclaw.
The away team fought valiantly (Brother Pickles harpooned one guy and reeled him in), easily overcoming the pirates. At one point, a loud explosion was heard resulting in an iron ball tearing a big hole into a side chamber near their melee. With Anna rescued, the team made their way out the stern and down the rope while a battle still ensued elsewhere. Before they could all get back to the rowboat, a single harpy was loosed and attacked them. After firing arrows, harpoons and insults at the winged wench, she fled the scene and the crew was free to make it back to the Bird of Prey, still unsure of the outcome of the greater battle going on...
Game note: I'm not sure if I mentioned it before, but I'm using cannons Murlynd be damned! As this is a lower magic campaign than even what I'm used to running for Greyhawk I think the use of cannons is a fair trade off for ubiquitously using fireballs instead. And y'know, it feels more like a pirate campaign this way. However, I don't have any plans for using pistols or rifles yet.