Friday, January 6, 2012

Sea Princes #18: Dangerous Diversions

Sorry for the delay. The following is a summary of two short game sessions. Last we saw the crew of the Sea Princes vessel, Bird of Prey, they were still in the Onnwalian capital of Scant looking for the sage Lockard Meek to help them decipher a map to the Well of All Heals. Instead they found his colleague the botanist Olfon Trebus who agreed to aid their search south in the deadly Amedio jungle. But there was still other dangers to present themselves before they'd get far. Here is our protagonists:

Victor Emmitt Hammond (rogue, swinging swordsman)
Araxo Tydan (rogue, temporarily gallant)
Cuahtehmoc aka "Cuahto" (ranger, savage shooter)
Brother Pickles (cleric, shark harpooning)
and Henri Morgan (rogue, boarding partier)
guest starring Gunther Stohl (hacks humanoids)
As he was helping round up everyone to set out of Scant, Henri Morgan overheard gossip in a tavern about a Keoish privateer called Lydia's Light that was on the lookout to capture Captain Rennaud and hang his renegade Bird of Prey crew. Armed with this news he ran back to the ship and told the captain who immediately knew the danger. Lydia's Light is a carrack led by one Captain Rynn, a learned naval veteran and rival of Rennaud's Keoish sailing family. The Sea Princes hastily left Scant bound for the "Hook" of the Amedio when sure enough waiting for them out to sea was the privateer looking for them. Caught unaware however, Lydia's Light was outpaced and after an hours long struggle the Bird of Prey crew could breath easier as they drove westward toward the Pomarj in order to lose the bigger, slower vessel. For now.
This evasion however led them into new trouble. A fog rolled in off the rocky coast and Cuahto sighted a smoking ship derelict in the water. Captain Rennaud was convinced to check it out but was wary given their haste and the area they were in. As Lt. Tydan organized his away team, their ship got closer in view enough to notice the smoldering cog was in fact an orcish pirate ship intentionally sending up smoke to lure them in. Before an order could be made to change tack another orcish pirate ship rowed out of the fog to cut them off, a galley bristling with oars and one catapult. Flaming arrows began to fly from the smaller ship and hit short of the Bird of Prey. The battle was engaged.
Everyone got to their posts except Lord Key who went below deck for his own safety. Ballistae were aimed, and two light cannon were loaded. The majority of the crew however made to turn their ship starboard in order to send a broadside volley back at the orcish cog called the Wounded Eye. Flaming arrows and ballista bolts were traded with the Wounded Eye suffering more damage due to a round of loud cannon fire. From afar the galley called Gruumsh's Fist fired its catapult at the moving caravel and missed. The galley gave chase as the Bird of Prey was ordered to go into the fog for cover. There, a boarding launch would be sent down to hopefully even the odds.
As the speedy Wounded Eye and Bird of Prey circled the stationary cog, missiles flew in all directions. In the chaos of battle Captain Rennaud seemed weakened or wounded and was carried to his quarters by Caine the surgeon while Quartermaster Skullbreaker took his post at the wheel. Just then, from the east another vessel entered the fray, a carrack called Osprem's Kiss, flying the anchor and crown flag of the Lordship of the Isles. Osprem's Kiss was armed for battle apparently and took the fight to Gruumsh's Fist allowing the Bird of Prey a chance to emerge from the fog and begin a boarding action on the Wounded Eye from two directions.
From a launch, Lt. Tydan led Cuahto, Brother Pickles, Gunther Stohl and Henri Morgan climbed over the side of the orcish cog, while swinging in from the Bird of Prey, Victor Hammond led a rag-tag band of Sea Princes from the other side. What orcs remained on the burning ship rushed to repel the boarders but were smashed through by the quick reflexes of Gunther Stohl. Behind him the Olman Cuahto pulled one orc into the water before climbing on deck. A melee broke out all over the Wounded Eye while in the distance the Osprem's Kiss had similarly started a boarding action against the orc galley. The heroes started off by firing their newly bought blackpowder weapons but found that the roiling deck and smoky conditions made it hard to hit even at close range. One orc in fact was miraculously missed three times before his gods deserted him and a fourth shot turned him into paste.
In a turn of temporary insanity, Araxo taunted and called out the captain of the orcs, Glork Spleenstabber who was all too happy to come down and stick his wicked cutlass through the pompous human. Henri Morgan took the chance to throw his poisoned dagger at the distracted captain but missed. As he himself was distracted an orcish ballista flew by his head nearly skewering him. Meanwhile, still in the launch, Pickles harpooned an orc and turned him into chum, then wrestled with the orc that had first fell into the water and got aboard their rowboat. The mad cook raged and eventually choked out the drenched orc pirate.
Defending himself, Araxo took some mean chops from the enraged orc captain and his compatriots rushed to his aid else the hapless first mate fall. Vic dashed in to flank the foe but was already suffering from multiple wounds as was many of the other boarders (Salty Sal lost an arm). Tumbling into the middle of an orc mob, Henri retrieved his poisoned dagger and stabbed Glork who seemed indignant more than affected by the little blade affectionately called "toad". That would still be his undoing as Gunther charged in and cleaved into the side of his head with a brutal swing. Dropping to his knees, Henri knocked Glork over to the brink of death. Araxo had him bound and stabilized to use as a hostage. A few remaining orc pirates leapt into the bloody sea to their own doom. The battle was won. Not far away, victory seemed evident for Osprem's Kiss against the galley, as slave oarsmen spilled out onto deck and began cheering.
The wounded needed healing and the cog needed searching before it could completely burn and sink beneath the Azure Sea. Signals were sent to parley between the "allied" vessels. As they met, it was soon discovered much to their surprise, that the commanding crew of Osprem's Kiss were all women...
Game notes: The first session was ship to ship combat using my hybrid seafaring rules. It went fairly well as an abstract which is all I wanted to achieve. The second session was then the boarding action using normal 3.5 combat rules. My first use of black powder guns in the Sea Princes campaign went well too. Their rate of fire will assure that they aren't going to break this game. All in all a good battle scene. 


Anonymous said...

Cool! Sounds like a good bit of action.

Are the captain and crew of the Lordship's vessel loyal to the Scarlet Brotherhood or will they help our heroes against Lydia's Light? :)


Mike Bridges said...

This campaign is set in 576 so the Lordship is part of the Iron League still.

Argon said...


I was waiting for Lydia's Light to join the fight right now that would be bad for the Bird of Prey. Much like Osprem's Kisses crew whats a lonely pirate to do?