Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sea Princes #16: Salvaging

Welcome back followers of Greyhawk, to the triumphant return of the Sea Princes Campaign! For a review of the previous 15 episodes and additional material go to the Best of Greyhawkery page. When last we saw the crew of the Bird of Prey, they were about to embark on another voyage to discover the legendary Well of All Heals. Captain Rennaud and company have been joined by the ship's acting master and representative of Count Erasmus Tydan, one Lord Ronaldo Key. What trouble his presence will bring to the ship is left to be seen. Here is our protagonists:

Victor Emmitt Hammond (rogue, boisterous bosun)
Araxo Tydan (rogue, fumbling first mate)
Cuahtehmoc aka "Cuahto" (ranger, laconic lookout)
Brother Pickles (cleric, chomping cook)
Henri Morgan (rogue, diving deckhand)
The Bird of Prey set out of Port Torvin, east by northeast, bound for Onnwal to consult the sage Lockard Meek about the cryptic map he created long ago that purportedly leads to the Well of All Heals. With moderate winds and warm weather the ship was soon out of Princes waters in two days, going with the currents towards the coastline of Ulek and the Pomarj. A stronger breeze eventually carried their vessel faster along the well travelled sea lane with little or no event. Lord Key a land-lubber, stayed out of sight, still sick and acclimating to the roiling sea. Victor dreamed of arriving at the port of Scant in Onnwal where it is said the human and dwarven smiths of that city craft the finest innovations of war including something called a "flintlock pistol". Six days out of Torvin, the Bird of Prey skirted within view of the rocky Pomarj coast and Cuahto made his first significant sighting from the crow's nest...
A still smoldering wrecked slave galley belonging to the most inept pirates of the seas, Pomarji orcs was spotted half underwater and half beached onto the jagged rocks of it's homeland. Captain Rennaud decided to send Lt. Tydan and his picked away team to check it for any survivors or better yet, salvage. It would need to be a rush job though since these were dangerous waters to linger in. Tydan took with him Victor, Pickles, Cuahto, Morgan and his defacto female bodyguard Scar Medorga.
At the wreckage they found a gaping hole between the above-water deck boards and the bulk of the galley still below the turbulent waters. Morgan and Pickles were sent to search above by way of grapple line while the Amedio ranger and the daring Mr. Hammond took a big gulp of air to search the holds below water. Araxo and Scar of course supervised from the rowboat. On the slanting wreckage Morgan and Pickles found an orc pinned to the deck by a ballista bolt and burned to a cinder. Evidence of a sea battle not long ago. They also broke into a fixed sea chest containing a couple decent pairs of ball and chain manacles.
Below the water Victor and Cuahto would also find evidence of the galley's crew as they swam along the many rows of oar-benches where the drowned bodies of human slaves were still chained to their posts. Headed for a lower cargo deck, they would soon surface to find a pocket of air at the rear of the galley. Here waist deep in water, sat an orc drummer killed by a broken piece of the ship's deck that pinned him to the wall. In the orc's hand was clutched a small leather sack which Cuahto waded over to retrieve. Just then Hammond saw several dark forms rise up from the water next to his ranger ally; water-bloated humanoid soldiers, soggy and stinking of death. These were surely Drowned Ones of tavern tales, slain sailors raised by Nerull to terrorize coastal lands. One of the grisly pack had a masterful dagger still embedded in its eye-socket, and all of them let out a curdling groan that even Araxo heard from the rowboat not far away.
Cuahto figured the sea zombies would be slow and greedily wanted the plunged dagger, so he dove below the waist deep water and came up from behind it to grab the pommel but it wouldn't budge. Victor could only draw his weapon as the pack surged ahead faster then expected to surround them both. Outside, Araxo indicated to Morgan and Pickles that the others were in trouble below, so he signaled for them to go help. Pickles didn't hesitate and executed a perfect dive into the waterlogged breach, even with two pairs of manacles around his neck. Morgan, less encumbered dove behind him but faltered and couldn't get beneath the water as swiftly. Cuahto and Victor fought off the fists and bites of the orcish zombies, until the noise of voices and splashing attracted their attention. All but two of the drowned ones soon submerged, evaded blades and swam in the direction of the other crew members with stunning speed.
Pickles swam along the drowned oarsmen and came face to face with the zombies swimming right at him. Harpoon in hand he stuck one and was surprised to see the others bypass him for the well lit waters behind him where Morgan's feet kicked. Rising from the deep, one of the zombies bit Morgan sending him into a panic toward the rowboat where Araxo and Scar watched in disbelief with weapons in hand. They had backed off the launch just in case making his flight that much longer. Below deck Victor managed to finish off one zombie but Cuahto was being wore down by the dagger-eyed drowned one. Pickles wrestled beneath the water and was bit as well, in a fit of rage he bit it back sending water into his lungs. He wouldn't have much longer to get back to air.
Morgan scrambled back onto the ship and inadvertently kicked Araxo's weapon from his hand and into the drink. Using Morgan's weapon, Araxo severed the arm of one that grabbed Henri, The remaining zombies were fought all around the launch, and at one point Henri stumbled back into the water with them. Victor and Cuahto took a beating but finally slew the last zombie and extracted the dagger before it floated into the dark. Pickles strained and swam back, weighted by the manacles (4 INT folks) but miraculously had the barbaric strength to get back to the surface. Swinging and stabbing with any weapon they had left, the last of the drowned ones submerged and disappeared much to Morgan's relief. Victor and Cuahto soon resurfaced after Pickles, bloodied but richer. Would they head back to their caravel and lick their wounds or go back for another search? To be continued... 


Eric Anondson said...

I might have a Sea Princes/Jeklea Bay map for you in a month or so, fwiw.

If you have any obscure knowledge about the area, I'd be happy to know about anything you got that would influence the appearance of a map of the region.

Mike Bridges said...

Zounds! An Anondson Jeklea map! Everything I've learned/gleaned about the Jeklea region has been stripped from other maps online or various canon and semi sources. Port Torvin is an obscure spot on one LG map I found and I've pretty much co-opted it for my campaign homebase. There is no canon info on it AFAIK. I'm sure you've seen my South Seas map on my Best of Page. That's about the height of my knowledge of the area. As to accuracy of coasts and whatnot I pretty much defered to the Darlene outlines from the big maps and the inset map in the Glossography.
I can't wait to see what you come up with, it'll surely find a place in my regular column.