Pirates of the Caribbean: A Skull & Bones campaign

RichGreen

Explorer
Hi,

Posts detailing what happened in my weekly Skull & Bones pirate game follow.

SPOILER WARNING: These accounts contain spoilers for the Governor's Prize series of adventures published in Buccaneers & Bokor.

There isn't an account of the first session which was basically an encounter that ended with the death of the Fortune's previous captain, Henry "The Fox" Matthews, and the ship being passed on to Scarlett Butler, one of his trusted crew.

Player characters are:

Captain Scarlett Butler aka Bloody Mary Flint the Indigestible, female sea dog, captain of the Fortune
Rodrigo el Trutamundo del Viento, Spanish buccaneer and trainee hougan with a penchant for French whores and getting into trouble.
Peregrine, upper class twit, fop & lieutenant wannabe (fighter)
Rob, short-sighted teenage boy with some skill at carpentry (rogue)
Merritt True, teenage boy with some skill at surgery (rogue/expert)
Willam Henry, shipwrecked ranger with a drink problem

Any questions, please ask.

Cheers


Richard
 
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RichGreen

Explorer
Session #2

Monday 17th April, 1690 AD, Port Royal, Jamaica

With the Fortune repaired, and replacements hired on to bring the crew back up to full strength, Captain Scarlet Butler and her comrades head out to the Feisty Parrot on Thames Street for a night on the town. Rob decides that this is the right environment to tell everyone about the map he was given by the dying Captain Matthews. Unfortunately, he does this quite loudly, and is overheard by several dodgy characters. When a “lady of the night” tries to steal the map from the captain, Scarlet tries to trip her, fails and falls over. Before long, a bar room brawl breaks out. Rob escapes via the kitchen door and Area runs out the front door, as a few drunken pirates attack the captain and Merrick. After a few rounds of combat, the crew of the Fortune decide to beat a hasty retreat and find somewhere quieter to have a drink.

At the Fish & Chutney, Captain Scarlet assigns roles & responsibilites to her crew: Area Ketta is appointed quartermaster, Rodriguez the Spanish buccanneer is the bosun, Rob is the lookout, and Merrick True, in the absence of a surgeon to be assistant to, is given the job of surgeon. Peregrine is eager to be the lieutenant, but the Captain does not appear to be ready to give him this responsibility just yet.

With everyone clear on their new roles, the pirates proceed to mingle with the patrons of the tavern, trying to find out what the word on the street is. As well as hearing rumours about Maggie the pickpocket, Madame Journeau and Albert de Montblanc, they learn that Governor Haverford is planning to offer a reward tomorrow morning at the Square at Queen’s Street.

Back on the ship, Scarlet and Merrick search the captain’s cabin, looking for clues. They find out that Captain Matthews sailed on the Black Unicorn with “Saucy” Jack Turnbull, Bill “Clever Dick” Richards and Fernando de Posada.


Tuesday 18th April

The pirates dress up in their finest clothes (especially Peregrine) and head down to the Square to hear the governor’s clerk announce that a reward of 8,000 crowns will be paid to whoever salvages the Scarborough, an English merchantman, with its cargo wholly intact. Captain Scarlet signs the clerk’s ledger last: as well as the captains of the Mercury, the Southampton, and the Hornet, the dastardly Spanish pirate Gaspar Castillogrande has also signed the register.

The crew spend the rest of the day trying to find out what happened to the crew of the Scarborough, who its captain was and so on. Rodriguez doesn’t manage to find out anything useful – he is distracted by a beautiful French whore – but the others learn some useful information.

The Fortune makes ready to set sail in the morning.
 

RichGreen

Explorer
Session #3

Wednesday 19th April

With a westerly wind blowing, the Fortune sails south to make better time, covering 72 miles. None of the other ships heading for the Scarborough are sighted.


Thursday 20th April

The Fortune changes heading to the southwest to get back on course. Unfortunately, Rob does a poor job as lookout, and the ship runs straight into a reef as she changes heading to the west. It takes three hours to haul the ship off using the boats.

Towards the end of the day, the crew spot a small group of uncharted islands. Could these be the mysterious “Shanty Isles” old Bart had been talking about? If so, they are home to “sea devils”, but also meant to hold a “great treasure”.

The Fortune drops anchor a couple of miles offshore and a landing party composed of Captain Scarlet, Rodrigo and Merritt plus four sailors rows to the shore of the biggest island, crowned with a volcano. As they near the beach, three greenish fish-men attack the boat – sea devils! A fierce battle ensues in which the Fortune’s crew are victorious, but only at the price of the lives of three sailors – one of whom was shot dead by Merritt in his over-enthusiasm.

On the beach, Rodrigo sneaks along the treeline of the jungle towards the bonfire they’d seen burning nearby while the others take cover and try and console “Lazy” Eric, the one surviving crewman. As Rodrigo the stealthy buccaneer sneaks closer, he can see that there about a dozen shipwrecked sailors sitting and standing around the bonfire, roasting pigs. Meanwhile, the others are attacked by two 4’ tall lizardfolk, wearing feathered headdresses and armed with blowguns and obsidian clubs. Fortunately, the captain and Merritt are able to make short work of them, but Scarlet is poisoned by a blow-dart.

When the attack happens, half the shipwrecked sailors run along the beach to investigate. The sailors turn out to be mostly English pirates who served under Captain “Peculiar” Horace on the Rising Eagle. Their spokesman, Samuel, says their vessel was heading from Tortuga to raid Spanish ships off Cartagena when it ran into a big storm a couple of weeks ago and was wrecked on the surrounding reefs. The survivors who managed to escape the sea devils and the sharks have been living on the island ever since, trying to avoid the lizardmen who are based at a big temple in the jungle. One of their shipmates, Pat, was captured a few days ago and has not been seen since.

The Fortune’s crew also learn from Samuel that an old sailor called Saucy Jack can be found slowly drinking himself to death in the bars of Tortuga, and that the Rising Eagle sighted an English merchantman flying the Jolly Roger during the storm that spelt her doom.

With a stirring speech from Captain Scarlet, the shipwrecked pirates agree to join the crew of the Fortune. The bold plan is to plunder the lizardmen’s temple in search of the “great treasure”!
 

RichGreen

Explorer
Session #4

Thursday 20th April (contd)

The three dead crewmen are buried on the island (God rest their souls!). After some to-ing and fro-ing between the Fortune and the beach an "away team" is assembled of Captain Scarlet, Rodrigo, Merritt and Rob to head inland in search of the "great treasure", with "Competent" Samuel as a guide. Diego and Felix, two of the crew of the Rising Eagle, are to stand guard on the beach over the ship's boat.


Friday 21st April

With a storm brewing, the expedition sets off into the dense jungle as the rain starts to fall down. After a short while a brightly coloured parrot starts following the crew as they hack their way through the undergrowth. There is much suspicious muttering about "magic parrots". Soon afterwards, the pirates are surprised by an attack from a carnivorous tropical vine which lashes out at the captain, knocking her unconscious. The vicious plant strikes again, killing Samuel, and taking out the plucky Merritt who tries to drag the captain out of trouble. Rob runs and hides up a tree where he is soon joined by two parrots; Rodrigo also makes a tactical withdrawl from the vicinity.

As the plant pulls the lifeless body of Samuel into its foliage and starts devouring him, Merritt comes round and manages to crawl slowly away. Rodrigo shoots one of the suspicious "magic" parrots off its perch, and Rob stabs the other one to death with her dagger. Then, lieutenant-wannabe Peregrine arrives on the scene, having followed the party's rather obvious tracks from the beach. He suggests lassoing the captain and pulling her unconscious body towards the others. His plan works and the pirates' bold leader is draggged back to safety. She soon comes round, but bears a nasty wound from the lashing tendril which is bound to form into a nasty scar.

Giving the dangerous vine a wide berth, the party presses on. With Rodrigo scouting ahead, they soon reach their goal: a ruined Mayan temple surrounded by crude mud huts, standing in the shadow of the volcano. Small lizardfolk and their not-so-small guard lizard can be seen patrolling the village. The pirates decide caution is the better part of valour and sneak around the camp and behind the waterfall, climbing up the side of the pyramid's steps.

Rodrigo climbs onto the temple roof and then jumps down to attack the giant blackscale lizardman inside. The others run in to help, attacking the huge tribal leader and his smaller henchmen. The pirates prevail and it doesn't take them long to find a secret door beneath the altar leading down into darkness.

At the bottom of the stairs, they find a stone door covered with intricately carved pictograms. Unfortunately, the door is trapped and a savage scything blade swings down to injure Rodrigo. Beyond is a 20 ft square room containing a large, stone sarcophagus on a raised dais. The sarcophagus is carved with skull and snake motifs. As soon as Merritt enters the room, the
sarcophagus lid flies off, slamming into him very hard.

There is a screaming sound and dust swirls out of the sarcophagus, forming into a skeletal human figure clad in a feathered headdress and holding a sceptre. The undead monstrosity says something in a foreign language, laughing in a dry throaty voice, before taking a vicious swipe at Merritt, enough to kill him! Then, it dissolves into a column of tomb dust and swirls past the others and up the stairs.

Everyone present gets the feeling that an ancient evil has been unleashed on the world. However, Captain Scarlet is not easily swayed from her purpose, and checks inside the coffin where she is gratified to discover the great treasure has been left behind, including a crystal skull, gold body ornaments, jade masks and a headdress made of exotic feathers.

The pirates make their way back to the ship and are relieved when Merritt comes round. Like the captain, he will bear a hideous scar forever from the day's adventures!
 

RichGreen

Explorer
Saturday 22nd April


The next morning dawns and the weather is getting worse. Both Captain Scarlet and Merritt are still recovering from their wounds from the previous day.

While examining the treasures found on the volcanic island, the Captain notices a glowing light inside the crystal skull. As she looks closely, peering into it, she sees a moving image: the undead creature the crew released from its tomb on the previous day coalesces from a swirling cloud of tomb dust on the jetty of a Caribbean harbour. It kills a longshoreman with a single savage blow, as panic sweeps through the sailors, workers and merchants nearby. A couple of uniformed guards fire their muskets, but the bullets bounce off to no effect. The hideous figure then heads towards them and breaks both their necks before marching inland, killing everyone in his path and leaving a trail of bodies behind him. The Captain unfortunately freaks out, dropping the skull and running on deck, screaming!

Not long afterwards, the storm hits! Despite the best efforts of the crew, there is quite a bit of damage to the ship’s rigging, and two hands are washed overboard as the ship is blown 100 miles to the southwest.. Plucky Rob is knocked out, but is saved from trouble by the valiant efforts of Peregrine (although his fancy boots aren’t terribly practical on the slippery deck).


Sunday 23rd April

Bart the navigator plots an easterly course to bring the Fortune back on track, and sure enough, at the end of the day, the Scarborough is sighted, but with the Diablo de la Margarita alongside. The crew of the Diablo do not seem to have posted a lookout and the Fortune is able to come quite close before she is sighted. She unleashes a broadside at the Diablo, but the Spaniards are only able to fire back with half of their cannons. Captain Scarlet leads the boarding action, as the cowardly Gaspar Castillogrande retreats below decks. With the Diablo’s crew coming off badly in the fighting, the Spanish pirates surrender when William beheads one of their number with his cutlass. Gaspar also throws down his weapons and surrenders. Captain Scarlet offers the Diablo’s crew a chance to join hers, but shows no such mercy to Gaspar and orders him killed. 18 Spaniards join with the captain; the other six survivors are tied up and taken below decks.

An inventory is taken of the cargo of both of the captured ships.

In the hold of the Scarborough, the crew also find the ship’s logbook, an ornate key, and a female prisoner. She’s been tied up and is somewhat weak from dehydration. She gives her name as Julia Muere, and that says she is from Leogane on Hispaniola. Mrs Muere says that an English pirate named Willows took her prisoner a few weeks back and then traded her to a French pirate, who abandoned the Scarborough and left her here to die. She asks that the crew take her aboard their ship.

Peregrine translates the log book, which is in French and belongs to Albert de Montblanc.
 

RichGreen

Explorer
Session #6

Monday 24th April to Friday 28th April

While Merritt (who is still recovering from his own injuries) nurses the mysterious Mrs Muere back to health, Rob and the crew make repairs to the Scarborough, doing enough to get her seaworthy by the end of the week. With a skeleton crew on each vessel, the pirates set sail for Port Royal where their reward awaits!


Monday 1st May

The pirates arrive at Port Royal, Jamaica, and after a heated debate, sail all three vessels into the Governor’s private harbour at White’s Line. The Scarborough’s cargo is left intact, with just the ornate key and Mrs Muere transferred to the Fortune. At the docks, government inspectors spend a couple of hours checking the Scarborough as Captain Scarlet and the others glower at them from the Fortune. Eventually, the clerk who originally hired them declares himself satisfied, and encourages the captain to take the Fortune and the Diablo round to the main harbour. Captain Scarlet is no fool, however, and insists that he two vessels remain anchored offshore at White’s Line while she goes to dinner with the Governor at the Purple Orchid, accompanied by her dashing lieutenant Peregrine. The others remain with the ships.

After the lavish dinner, Governor Haverford produces three bags of “gold crowns” as the pirates’ reward. In fact, the bags contain only worthless silver cobs! The Governor accuses Scarlet of stealing the captain’s private journal from the Scarborough and orders his guards to place them under arrest. Scarlet dives through the window and into the street, closely followed by Peregrine. The guards open fire with their muskets – fortunately, inaccurately – as the two pirates run for their lives through the streets of Port Royal. When they get to White’s Line, Scarlet and Peregrine frantically signal their ships and a boat is sent over to pick them up. While waiting for the boat to arrive, an old black blind man grabs the captain’s arm and tells her, “You have done a very bad t’ing letting him escape from his grave. You should put t’ings right. Go find Madame Laveau on Hispaniola – she will tell you what to do.”

With the captain being rowed back on the Fortune, the Governor’s soldiers arrive on the docks. Merritt orders the crew of the Fortune to open fire with grapeshot which kills eight of them, despite William managing to jam yet another cannon! Captain Scarlet and Peregrine are picked up and the two pirate ships make sail for Tortuga.

Once they are underway, the widow Muere tells the pirates she will give them a necklace of pearls and gold, and also tell them what she knows of the mysterious key if they take her home to St Domingue.
 

RichGreen

Explorer
Session #7

Friday 5th May

The Fortune and the Diablo sail into heavy fog, flying French flags. Pass an English schooner, the Breeze, without incident.


Saturday 6th May

Arrive Gonaives, St Domingue, without incident. Merritt and Rodrigo accompany Mrs Muere to her estate to collect their reward while Captain Scarlettt takes care of business in the town, selling the Diablo and some of her cargo, and organising repairs for the Fortune.

At the Muere estate, the widow is horrified to find there has been a robbery, although Merritt and Rodrigo are convinced there is something untoward going on. Mrs Muere is relieved to find her secret cache of jewellery has not been touched so she is able to give the pirates the necklace she promised them. In her jewellery box, she also finds a note from her nephew Christophe (a bit of a black sheep), saying he has gone to Leogane. This worries her as Leogane is the home of a feared crime boss named Soliere. Christophe, she says, used to sail with Albert de Montblanc and knows more about the key found on the Scarborough and the iron chest full of doubloons it opens.

On their return to town, Rodrigo and Merritt meet up with the captain, and spend the evening trying to find out useful information about the Fox’s shipmates and Madame Laveau from the local sugar farmers. They fail. Captain Scarlett divides the plunder: each officer gets 58 doublooons; each crewman gets 29 doubloons.


Sunday 7th May

The Fortune repaired, with a full crew aboard, sets sail for Tortuga.


Tuesday 9th May

The Fortune arrives in Tortuga. Before leaving the ship, Captain Scarlett and Rodrigo decide to have another go at getting their six prisoners from the Diablo to join the Fortune’s crew. With some words from the captain, and some threatening behaviour from Rodrigo, all six sign on and are released on shore leave with the rest of the crew.

Rodrigo introduces the captain and Merritt to his fence contact, Willem Credo – a strangely accented Dutchman with a pet iguana sitting on his shoulder. Scarlett sells him the treasure found on the mysterious volcanic island for 700 doubloons. Meanwhile, Rodrigo gives in to his vice and blows lots of cash on three French prostitutes: Fifi, Gigi and Mimi.

Later, in the Blue Boar tavern, Scarlett and Merritt are confronted by a Spanish pirate (and friend of Gaspar Castillogrande) named Ricardo Montalbano, egged on by four of their former prisoners. A fight erupts, with Merritt making a daredevil dash forward and running the villainous Spaniard through. Unfortunately, Ricardo is not mortally wounded and manages to get in a couple of accurate strikes on the young lad with his rapier. Rodrigo who has been canoodling with his Gallic whores in the corner joins in the fray and the men of the Fortune win the day.

While the fight was in progress, an old man with an eyepatch and a peg-leg, sitting at a table near the door, had been laughing and cackling loudly to himself. This turns out to be Saucy Jack, a former shipmate of Henry “the Fox” Matthews. He gives Scarlett the pirate name “Bloody Mary Flint” and proceeds to ask for 1,000 doubloons for his piece of the treasure map leading to Black Bellamy’s hoard. Scarlett and Rodrigo try and negotiate, offering him a chance to sail on the Fortune in search of the treasure, and manage to beat the old man’s price down to 700 doubloons. Merritt is feeling a bit too faint to take much part in the discussions but tries to help as best he can. In the end, Captain Scarlett is unwilling to pay the asking price and Saucy Jack leaves the pub. The stealthy buccanneer Rodrigo follows him but isn’t stealthy enough: Jack spots him and shoots him twice, before hobbling up to him and taking a swipe with his cutlass. Badly wounded, Rodrigo gets the message and withdraws.

Realising that there is no other option, Scarlett and Merritt knock on Jack’s door. He invites them in to his shack and sells them the map for 650 doubloons, as well as telling them where they might track down the other two shipmates (and pieces of the map).
 

RichGreen

Explorer
Session #8

Tuesday 9th May [contd]

Merritt and Rodrigo ask around the taverns of Tortuga, trying to find out where Hell’s Cove is. In the end, they give up and ask Bart who tells them it’s marked on his sea charts.


Wednesday 10th May

After much debate among the crew, the Fortune sets sail for Leogane.


Friday 12th May

Arrive in Leogane. Merritt and Rodrigo head for the raucous Gens Plaisants d’Orleans tavern where they try to find out more about Christophe Muere, Soliere and Madame Laveau, and Rodrigo is yet again tempted by the gorgeous French prostitutes. The two pirates manage to find out roughly where Madame Laveau lives (in a hut on stilts in a swamp that no one has ever returned from) and where to find Soliere (in the hotel Ville du Sucre Bienfaisant). After a while, a couple of men approach, saying they work for Soliere and that the crime boss would like to meet them at a nearby naval supply shop called the Marchand de Gruyere.

Merritt and Rodrigo decide to take Peregrine, Rob and three more of the crew along with them to the meeting. Inside the waterfront store, the pirates are confronted by Grodin (Soliere’s assistant) and a dozen men with muskets who accuse them of working for Albert de Montblanc. Peregrine produces a note from Mrs Muere and another from Christophe – enough to convince Grodin that the men of the Fortune are on the level. He agrees to take the party to Soliere without chaining them up.

Grodin escorts the crew to the Ville du Sucre Bienfaisant. Leaving their weapons outside with their men, Merritt, Rodrigo, Peregrine and Rob are shown into a ballroom where a party is in progress. The bearded Soliere approaches, challenging the pirates to prove they are not with Soliere by “eliminating” six captives who work for Montblanc. He instructs his men to issue both sides with cutlasse and rapiers.

Rodrigo is quickest off the mark, lunging for one of Montblanc’s men before Soliere has finished speaking. Peregrine swishes his sword around in a dazzling display of swordsmanship which serves to demoralise the party’s opponents as battle is joined. Merritt makes one of his trademark reckless charges while Rob leaps up to take refuge in a chandelier, before swinging over to the next one and cutting the rope to drop into the melee. Rodrigo, meanwhile, is fighting his opponents while straddling a French whore. Deciding the battle is too simple as things stand, he complicates the situation by stabbing one of the pirate spectators.

As the fight wears on, the men of the Fortune start to get the better of Montblanc’s lackeys: Peregrine manages to disarm one of them (twice) and Rodrigo takes down four opponents. While this is going on, Rob, who has tried and failed to start a fire, hides behind the curtains and picks a couple of pockets. Unfortunately, Merritt is not so lucky and is run through by a French pirate when his hiding place under a table is discovered. The young lad collapses unconscious.

With all of the French pirates defeated, Soliere applauds the party, giving them a bag of 500 doubloons for the “entertainment”. He also allows them to speak with Christophe Muere who had been watching the battle with interest. Christophe tells them about “Bullhead”, Montblanc, the Governor of Jamaica, the chest and the key.
 

RichGreen

Explorer
Session#9

Saturday 13th May

Rob, William and Lopez head off in search of a healer for the injured Merritt. Hearing about a barber-surgeon named Simon Belmont, they go to his home. When there is no answer to a knock on the front door, Rob picks the lock on the back door and sneaks inside with Lopez. William, meanwhile, puts the unconscious Merritt on the bed in the front room. The other two sneak upstairs where Rob disguises himself as a girl before they wake up the snoring Belmont. The surgeon has clearly been drinking and is somewhat confused when he finds strangers in his house, but eventually agrees to tend to Merritt. The men of the Fortune leave him with Belmont and adjourn to the tavern, later returning to check on Merritt. All appears to be in order: Merritt is clearly on the mend.


Sunday 14th May

Merritt returns to the ship, still in need of rest, but conscious and feeling much better. His healer, Simon Belmont, talks to the captain in one of the taverns about the possibility of serving aboard the Fortune. Meanwhile, Soliere arrives at the dock and comes aboard to give the others instructions on how to find Hell’s Cove once they reach the Yucatan. As he goes to leave, Lopez spots three boats full of armed men heading towards the Fortune through the fog. The men in the boats are clearly associates of Albert de Montblanc, and attempt to board the pirates’ ship. Ably led by Peregrine, the crew of the Fortune repel the French vagabonds with only minimal losses (two of their musketeers). As the enemy retreats, Peregrine orders the gunners to fire a broadside of grapeshot. This tactic is very effective: two boatloads of Montblanc’s men are killed by the cannon fire. By this time, the captain is on the dock with Simon Belmont. The pair are picked up in one of the ship’s boats, and the Fortune leaves Leogane.


Monday 15th May

Heading west from Leogane, the Fortune drops anchor at the entrance to the swamp. Two boats head inland: the first hold Peregrine, Rob, William, Lopez and eight others. The swamp is dark, misty, creepy and filled with mosquitos which cause a fair amount of discomfort as the boats are rowed up the river. When Peregrine’s boat reaches a small village of escaped slaves, the pirates spot a small child, apparently drowning in the river. Peregrine and Lopez dive in to investigate, only to find there is no child at all, and the water is riddled with crocodiles. One takes a bite out of Peregrine, as others capsize the boat and attack everyone in the water. While most of the pirates manage to reach the bank safely, four sailors are not so lucky and are eaten by the hungry reptiles.

Later, as the river narrows, five zombis appear out of the water and attack the boat. A fierce battle ensues, with the pirates surrounded. All the zombis are eventually destroyed, but only at the cost of the lives of Lopez and two other sailors. Rob is seriously wounded in the fight and goes unconscious.
 

RichGreen

Explorer
Session #10

Monday 15th May [contd]

Meanwhile, Captain Scarlett and Rodrigo are also travelling through the swamp in the second boat. Their journey is less eventful than that of Peregrine and the others, but they do manage to ignite some explosive swamp gas, killing four of their crew and gravely injuring two more! Reunited with the first boat, Rodrigo belatedly ties both boats together. The survivors take up the oars in the first boat, towing their dead comrades behind them in the second.

After a short while, the pirates reach a hut on stilts: the home of Madame Laveau. Scarlett, William and Rodrigo venture cautiously inside. Madame Laveau is an old, fairly large black woman dressed in a colourful African dress; she squints a lot and walks with a limp and a stick. Unsurprisingly, her home is decorated with plenty of voodoo accoutrements: skulls, chickens etc. The hougan she knows the “big thing” the party have come about, but first will heal the injured. Scarlett gives her the crystal skull found on the volcanic island as payment. Making a potion of crushed herbs and rum, Madame Laveau pours the concoction down the throats of Rob and the two unconscious sailors. Miraculously, all three start to slowly come round.

Then, Madame Laveau says she is going to call on one of the Loa: Maitre Carrefour, who is the Lord of the Midnight Crossroads. She tells the pirates to sit on the floor in a circle in the back room while she lights several foul-smelling candles which give off plenty of purple smoke. Rodrigo is given a drum to bang. She puts some corn meal into a bowl, pours in some rum, then sacrifices a chicken, allowing its blood to drip into the bowl. She mixes the ingredients together, all the while chanting quietly to herself and swaying from side to side. The candles flare up for a second, and Madame Laveau says “he is here!”

William and Rodrigo look on in horror as Scarlett stands up, arms outstretched to form a cross. Her whole frame shivers as she grabs the bowl and downs the contents; then speaks in a loud, terrifying voice:
“Foolish mortals! You have called me here because in your ignorance you have freed Cuauhtemoc, Sorceror-King of Ixtzul, from his eternal tomb beneath the Pyramid of the Ancients. Cuauhtemoc will not rest until he has had his terrible revenge on the peoples of the Caribbean. He searches now for the Tablets of the Smoking Mirror, terrible writings said to be the words of Tezcatlipoca himself, and containing much forbidden and vile knowledge, including spells and incantations capable of destroying entire cities. Cuauhtemoc will slaughter any who stand in his way: White, black, Maya, Arawak, Carib – it does not matter. You have caused this thing, so you, and you alone, must put things right. Since you are pathetic mortals, you do not have the power needed to defeat him, you must find the holy weapon that vanquished him in ages past: this is the Feathered Staff of Quetzalcouatl. Once wielded by the High Priest of Quetzalcouatl, Lord 18 Rabbit, this staff was plundered from his tomb by pirates such as yourselves. Seek the lost treasure hoard of Black Bellamy --– there you will find the Staff. When you have it, return here!”

When Scarlett returns to normal, the pirates bid a hasty thanks to Madame Laveau and head back through the swamp to the Fortune.


Tuesday 16th May

Arrive back in Leogane. Hire 11 more sailors to replace the missing crew members, bringing the crew back to 58.


Wednesday 17th May

Leave Leogane for Cartagena, flying a Spanish flag.


Sunday 21st May

Nearing the coast of South America, the crew sight an English merchant ship, the Hanby Rose, which has obviously seen some action. With the men restless, Captain Scarlett decides to attack. The Fortune opens fire with four of its cannons when it gets into range, damaging the Hanby Rose further; the merchantman fires back, inflicting some considerable damage to the pirate’s ship. When the Fortune fires the rest of its cannons, the captain of the Hanby Rose surrenders and invites Scarlett and her men to board. As they do so, another ship is spotted – a Spanish privateer. Scarlett offloads a big chest of doubloons and a consignment of French bourbon from the English ship, then orders the Fortune to disengage and make all speed away from the Spaniards. A chase ensues, but thanks to some skillful sailing, the Fortune manages to lose her pursuers.


Tuesday 23rd May

The Fortune is beached along the coast from Cartagena. Rob directs the crew in repairing the ship using lumber from the jungles of New Grenada.


Wednesday 24th May

Arrive in Puerto Bello. Divide the plunder: each crewman gets 34 doubloons with the officers receiving 68 doubloons. The crew spend the night carousing. Captain Scarlett decides to start calling herself by the name given to her by Saucy Jack: she is now Bloody Mary Flint!


Saturday 27th May

Arrive in Cartagena. Bloody Mary dresses up in her finest lady’s clothes and visits the Papagallo Rojo (Scarlet Macaw) to learn more about the governor’s palace where Clever Dick Richards is being held in the jail. It turns out that the Governor of Cartagena is having a ball that evening to try and find a fiancee. Moreover, Clever Dick is due to be hanged tomorrow at midday in the town square. She decides she needs to get an invitation to the ball by using her womanly wiles and gets William to “attack” her. Two Spanish nobles dash to her rescue: one is knocked flying by William, but the other one is able to drive the ruffian off. Mary flirts outrageously (she has a particularly annoying giggle) and with some success: the nobleman, named Carlos del Diaz, invites her to the Governor’s Ball.
 

RichGreen

Explorer
Session #11

Saturday 27th May (contd)

The rogues (well, the pirates) are a-plotting for much of the afternoon: a sleeping drug is bought at great expense from an apothecary and a cross-dressed Merritt scouts out the Governor’s Palace in a widow’s outfit.

At 8pm, Carlos del Diaz escorts Bloody Mary to the ball with Merritt along as her page boy. Peregrine also gets inside the ball, using a stolen invitation. Meanwhile, Rodrigo climbs on to the roof and then inside through a top floor window. William stays on watch in the Plaza Mayor. As Rodrigo sneaks about upstairs, trying to avoid the eyes and ears of the guards, Mary and Peregrine are tripping the light fantastic, and on the whole managing to not make fools on themselves on the dance floor. Merritt has been put to work in the kitchens, bringing canapes and glasses of wines to the frolicking nobility. During his trips back and forth to the kitchens, he observes a tray of food being taken through a mysterious locked door. By questionning the other lads, he learns that this door leads down to the dungeons beneath the palace where Clever Dick is being held until his execution tomorrow.

Outside, William is getting bored when suddenly, a hideous undead form appears in front of the palace entrance, coalescing from a swirling cloud of tomb dust. Cuauhtemoc has arrived at the ball! The mummy kills both guards and goes inside; William, brave enough to resist the aura of despair surrounding the unliving thing follows at a safe distance.
Cuauhtemoc wreaks havoc in the foyer and then moves into the ballroom, causing mass hysteria among the assembled nobility of Cartagena. Bloody Mary, Peregrine and Merritt are all paralysed with fear at his appearance, and Peregrine is doubly unfortunate to be standing in the way and is struck hard with a vicious slam attack. Realising what he is looking for is not in the ballroom, Cuauhtemoc heads upstairs where Rodrigo has been spotted by the guards and shot at by one of them. Rodrigo tries to dive out of the window when the mummy approaches but misjudges his leap and just ends up crashing to the floor. Fortunately, Cuauhtemoc ignores him, bashing down the door into the governor’s study and retrieving what he was looking for – an obsidian tablet – from inside a secret compartment concealed behind one of the bookcases.

Back downstairs, Merritt has shrugged off his fear of the living dead and headed down into the dungeons, closely followed by the captain, William and Peregrine. Merritt’s shout of “the French are attacking!” is enough to send the gullible prison guards racing upstairs, and the pirates are able to spring Clever Dick Richards from his cell after Bloody Mary has won over the dog holding the cell keys. Having achieved their objective, they hurry back to the ship. Upstairs, with Cuauhtemoc nowhere to be seen, Rodrigo picks himself up off the floor and peers into the study where he is happily surprised to find a bag holding 1,000 doubloons and several nice-looking pieces of jewellery left inside the governor’s secret cache. Grabbing the loot, he too makes haste for the Fortune.

Back on the ship, Clever Dick reveals the hiding place of his piece of the treasure map: it’s been tattooed on to his head! Bloody Mary calls for the ship’s barber.

Peregrine is not in a good way – he appears to be suffering from a terrible rotting disease.
 

RichGreen

Explorer
Session #12 Disaster!

Sunday 28th May to Tuesday 30th May

The Fortune sails to Hispaniola. Simon Belmont and Merritt work day and night to keep the disease ravaging Peregrine at bay. The captain spends her time contemplating how best to assertain whether Rodrigo handed over all of the treasure he found in the governor of Cartagena’s mansion or not.


Wednesday 31st May

Arrive off the coast of Saint Domingue. Captain Flint, William and Merritt and four crewmen row the ship’s boat into the bayou with the ailing Peregrine on board. As the mist closes in William is able to direct the rowers in the right direction but none of the pirates spots the two jaguar-sized green lizardlike monsters that leap out of the trees and into the boat! These creatures give off a poisonous gas as they attack that seeps into the blood of the men of the Fortune: enough to send Peregrine hurtling towards the very gates of Hell itself! [loses a life] There is a savage battle, and three sailors and Bloody Mary are next to fall victim to the jaws of the vicious reptiles [also loses a life]. Merritt manages to strike an effective blow on his assailant but it’s William who lands a killer blow on one of the monsters, sending its companion scurrying back into the branches of the cypresses.
Despite the casualties, William and Merritt have little choice but to press on towards Madame Laveau’s hut. Fortunately, the voodoo priestess is able to bring both Peregrine and the captain back from the brink. With William’s help, she performs a magic ritual and breaks the curse on Peregrine, allowing her to cure the rotting disease he is suffering from. She warns the pirates that they must make all haste in stopping Cuauhtemoc: each Tablet he finds grants him increased magical power.


Thursday 1st June

As the Fortune heads for the Yucatan and the pirate port of Hell’s Cove, the ship’s lookouts spy a Spanish merchantman and the captain gives the order to intercept. The Spanish ship, a brigantine named Nuestra Senora del Rosario attempts to outrun the Fortune but the pirates are too close. The Nuestra Senora fires first with its front cannons, inflicting quite a bit of damage to the Fortune. Bloody Mary is not deterred and unleashes a broadside. Unfortunately, this does not have the desired effect and the Nuestra Senora continues to maneuvre away from the pirate sloop. Captain Flint orders the Fortune to move alongside, aware that she is risking a broadside from the Spaniards by doing so. The Nuestra Senora fires all 10 of its broadside culverin, hitting the Fortune hard. Realising that her ship is about to sink, Bloody Mary orders her men to board the brigantine. Despite being outnumbered more than two to one, the men of the Fortune charge on to the Spanish ship. They are heartened by the presence of their captain and some flashy swordplay from Peregrine but this isn’t enough. Once ten of their number have fallen in battle with the enemy, the pirates surrender.

As Bloody Mary and her officers lower their weapons, a smartly dressed Spaniard approaches and introduces himself as Secretario General d’Oficina Finanza Senor Nicholas Chirino. Peregrine’s challenge to a duel is accepted: the secretario is lightning fast and the duel is over before it’s begun. Chirino offers the pirates a deal: if they accompany him to Santo Domingo and help him with a problem he has there, he will spare their lives and those of their crew. Bloody Mary has little choice but to accept. As much as possible is moved off the Fortune on to the Nuestra Senora before the ship sinks below the waves.


Saturday 3rd June

The Nuestra Senora arrives in Santo Domingo where, according to the secretario, many of the town’s slaves are fleeing into the jungles of the island’s interior and not returning. Armed parties sent to bring them back have disappeared. The secretario wants Bloody Mary and her men to look into this matter for him.

In the inn where the pirates have a drink when they first come ashore, an old black guy cleaning the tables is muttering “he is coming” under his breath. Meeting with the secretario, they talk about what happened in Cartagena and explain their theory that Cuauhtemoc might well be on his way to Santo Domingo. After a bit of investigation, the pirates next call on Father Jeremy, an aged hougan living in a hut at the edge of the town. Once they’ve told him their theories, Jeremy produces an obsidian tablet from under a cloth: one of the Tablets of the Smoking Mirror. He is happy to give it to the pirates, and also hands them a feathered stick which they can show to the slaves as a token of trust from Father Jeremy.
 

ninthcouncil

Visitor
This, children, is what happens when your Captain sends an e-mail around the group the morning of the game, swearing that she's going to go up a level this session even if it means attacking everything we meet, including small children and ducks. And, so it transpires, vastly superior Spanish vessels. :eek:

Oh well, some things are improving; that's two combats in a row in which Merritt has taken part without ending up unconscious. :heh:
 

RichGreen

Explorer
Unlucky 13th Session

Sunday 4th June

The mission to bring back the runaway slaves gets underway, with Bloody Mary, Rodrigo, Merritt and William heading inland from Santo Domingo. They pass through miles of sugar plantations before reaching the edge of the jungle at midday, with William and Merritt using their tracking skills to work out where the slaves went.

After a couple of hours of slogging through the jungle in the heat, the pirates decide to stop for a rest. Just as they do so, Merritt catches sight of something metal glinting in the sunlight: a rapier with an eagle-headed hilt is sticking out of the ground. As he goes to investigate, he discovers the mangled remains of two Spanish soldiers in the undergrowth. While some of the others move up to take a look, Rodrigo, at the rear of the group, is pounced on by a giant jaguar with six legs and two large tentacles growing from its shoulder. A desperate fight against the jaguar takes place: the beast lands many savage blows with its tentacles and bite on the party, but is itself very hard to hit, appearing to be somewhere slightly different than where it actually is. Bloody Mary and Rodrigo go down first, followed by Merritt and William…..


A few days (?) later, the former men (and women) of the Fortune come round: Bloody Mary has another hideous scar, this one on her neck [loses a life], and Merritt has lost an eye. Even worse, Rodrigo and William have both lost an arm to the jaguar! Merritt attends to their wounds to make sure they are cauterized and not infected: he does well, despite his lack of depth perception. With no real alternative, they decide to press on and find the slaves.

After an hour or so of walking through the jungle, the pirates come to a small river. Merritt and William are both worried about piranhas, but the Captain steps into the shallow stream and just wades ahead, using a stick and a weird dance routine to make sure she isn’t going to fall into a hole. Although this looks daft, she gets across safely. Merritt and William follow and are attacked by a swarm of piranhas! They do, however, manage to get to the other side with just a few minor wounds. Rodrigo is last to go: he takes a run up and spectacularly leaps the 20’ stream in a single bound.

Beyond the stream, the jungle gets thicker and the trail easier to follow, as the slaves started hacking their way through. The pirates emerge in a clearing with a depression straight ahead, crossed by a fallen tree. Rodrigo tries to jump on to the tree, slips, and falls down into the depression beneath. William and Merritt walk down into the dip, up the other side, and across to where there is a trail leaving the clearing. The captain decides to go round the outside of the clearing, through the undergrowth. Unfortunately, she is attacked by a large humanoid plant creature with nasty-looking spikes protruding from its body. Bloody Mary shoots at it, but her bullet has little effect; she decides a hasty retreat would be a good idea. The others resist being entangled by the undergrowth which has been animated by the plant monster, and move out of the clearing and down the path into the jungle. The creature hits the captain again, hard, but she manages to get out of its immediate vicinity and uses one of Madame Laveau’s concoctions to heal her wounds.

The trail throught the foliage leads into another clearing, this one is dominated by an enormous black monolith, a jagged shard of crystal 12 feet tall. As well as the footprints of the slaves, William and Merritt spot small webbed footprints. There is some speculation that these are from ducks, but this seems unlikely. As the pirates look around, thorns erupt from Bloody Mary’s face, causing her terrible pain and shocking the others!

Pressing on, the party enter another clearing with a large boulder shaped liked a coiled snake in its centre; yellow flowers and moss grow in the cracks between its coils. From here, they reach a bigger clearing, now home to about sixty slaves. The slaves are wary of the one-armed, battle-scarred pirates at first, but Merritt talks to them reassuringly and shows them Father Jeremy’s token. He explains that they are here to help and will draw Cuauhtemoc away from their homes. The slaves agree to return to Santo Domingo with the pirates, but suggest that they talk to the frog people about a safer route back to the coast.
 

ninthcouncil

Visitor
ninthcouncil said:
Oh well, some things are improving; that's two combats in a row in which Merritt has taken part without ending up unconscious. :heh:
I knew that was tempting fate... while the Week 12 debacle was down to sheer recklessness, this week's bloodbath (unlucky 13, eh?) was partly down to our utter inability to roll dice, especially trying to get evens on d6 to bypass the displacement effect.

It's also clear that a setting which discourages armour and where the PC's don't have magic items throws the CR system right out of whack; what should have been moderately challenging for a party of four at 3rd level turned into a TPK (mollified by the "lives" lost and "afflictions" gained, but a TPK nevertheless).

But we're proper pirates now, with hooks and eye-patches and everything; arr!
 

RichGreen

Explorer
Session #14

Thursday 8th June

After spending the night in the jungle clearing with the escaped slaves, the pirates decide that Merritt is the best person to negotiate with the frog people given the wealth of languages he is able to speak. The young lad advances cautiously towards the tree huts, initially unable to spot the brightly-coloured grippli who are training their bows in his direction. He bows, waves Father Jeremy’s feathered stick and tries several languages, getting a reaction from the frog-like humanoids when he speaks Spanish. Merritt explains that he and his friends are looking for a safe way out of the jungle and offers shiny doubloons and pieces of eight in exchange for this information. A large, bright green grippli gives directions once Merritt and Bloody Mary have filled the basket he lowers down on a rope with gold and silver coins.

Following the directions given by the frog people, the pirates head out of the clearing to the south-west where they spot a familiar-looking head peaking out of a pool of quicksand. It’s Peregrine! The swashbuckling fop had formed a rescue party with four men from the Fortune when the others didn’t returns as expected. His companions had succumbed to the dangers of the rainforest, but Peregrine is lucky and is soon rescued by his shipmates. Reunited, they head back to fetch the slaves which they nearly forgot to bring along with them.

Climbing up a set of giant-sized ruined steps covered in vines, the pirates and slaves head south towards the coast. After an hour or so, a jaguar appears from the undergrowth and then pulls back the skin on its head to revealing the bright pink muscles and bone underneath. This freaks out one of the slaves who runs into the bushes. There are some growls and a bloodcurdling scream which is cut short very quickly! Since the strange jaguar has run off after the fleeing slave, the pirates decide to press on. Later, when they reach the river mentioned by the frog-people and spot a winged snake, they refuse to be distracted from their mission and carry on marching south.

Towards the end of the day, the column of weary travellers comes out of the jungle and into the sugar plantations around Santo Domingo. Here, the slaves head back to their homes, with the pirates talking to the plantation foremen to stress that the slaves are not to be punished. They then head into town, stopping off to see Father Jeremy; Bloody Mary is very disappointed that the hougan does not have any lotions or potions for sale. He does, however, advise them to keep hold of the feathered stick he gave them as this may come in handy.

After chatting to Father Jeremy, Bloody Mary and her men head to the Secretario’s hotel. The Spanish official is impressed that they have managed to rescue the slaves and issues the pirates with a pardon in the name of King Charles II. Unfortunately, he has changed his mind about taking them to the Yucatan: the obsidian tablet being a major factor in this decision. Tapping the Secretario with the feathered stick has no effect, so Mary decides they will just have to steal one of the ships in the harbour. Once the men of the Fortune have been freed from where they are being held with the aid of the official pardon, the pirates proceed to the waterfront where they take up position in a pub with William leading the drinking. Meanwhile, Rodrigo, Peregrine and Merritt slip into the waters of the dock and swim across to the Aguila Real, a Spanish schooner. When they’ve climbed aboard, Bloody Mary and the others charge out of the pub and swarm on to the ship. As a pitched battle rages for control of the vessel, the tell-tale signs of the dust-swirling arrival of Cuauhtemoc are visible on the quayside!

The captain and surviving sailors of the Aguila surrender and Bloody Mary gives the orders to sail out of Santo Domingo at full speed. In an effort to lure Cuauhtemoc (who is busy killing the guards on the pier) away from their ship, Peregrine and Merritt strap a knapsack containing the obsidian Tablet of the Smoking Mirror over the muzzle of a cannon and fire it in the direction of the Pantera Rosa, another schooner moored at the docks. This takes out the mast of the other ship but, initially at least, does nothing to distract Cuauhtemoc who heads up the gangplank of the Aguila towards Rodrigo. Yet again, the sight of the hideous mummy causes despair among those nearby and many of the pirate crew are paralysed with fear. Rodrigo is hit very hard by the undead fiend. William tries to help by brandishing the feathered stick but this doesn’t seem to help much and he too is struck by the mummy. Seemingly satisfied with infecting both of the one-armed pirates with the rotting disease, Cuauhtemoc heads for the Pantera Rosa and the Tablet.

Getting a grip on things, the pirates manage to manoeuvre the Aguila Real away from the dock. By this time, Cuauhtemoc has vanished with the Tablet and the Secretario has appeared, shouting orders at his men on the Nuestra Senora. As Bart sails the Aguila out of Santo Domingo, the schooner is struck by a couple of cannon shots from the Senora -– not enough to stop her getting away, but enough to seriously annoy the captain!
 

RichGreen

Explorer
Session #15

Sunday 11th June

The Aguila Real arrives at the entrance to the infamous swamp. Captain Flint orders Rob to make repairs on the ship while herself and Merritt head into the bayou with the sickly Rodrigo and William and four sailors. Unsurprisingly, the boat is attacked, this time, by large crocodile-like humanoids, who shout out “tresor!” They are driven off by throwing knives from William and cutlass slashes from the captain.

Madame Laveau attends to the mummy rot afflicting the two pirates, and warns them all that Cuauhtemoc’s return will lead to more magic in the world and more encounters with strange creatures.


Monday 12th June

With the ship almost fully repaired, Captain Flint orders the Aguila Real to head for Hell’s Cove under full sail. En route, the figurehead of the Madonna is altered to look more like the ship’s modest captain and is renamed “La Maria Sangrienta.”


Monday19th June

La Maria Sangrienta is attacked by a huge, spike-covered sea serpent with foul breath stinking of rotting meat. As the giant monster snaps at the sailors on deck, the captain orders the ship to keep sailing at full speed towards the Yucatan to force it to keep pace. With one crewman dead and gunshots from William and Rodrigo ineffective at penetrating its scaly hide, Bloody Mary leaps up to attack the serpent but is grabbed in its mouth and swallowed whole! As she experiences nasty burns from its stomach acid and tries to cut her way out, Rodrigo makes a dramatic leap from the rigging on top of the serpent. Unluckily, he misses and narrowly avoids falling into the sea. Undeterred, he makes sure he is firmly fastened to a rope and swings along to have another attack. Meanwhile, Bloody Mary has managed to slash her way out of the beast’s belly. The sea serpent, cheated of its meal, sinks beneath the waves in disgust.


Wednesday 21st June

Following the directions given to them in Leogana by Soliere, the pirates arrive in Hell’s Cove with Bloody Mary (“the Indigestible”) at the helm. After talking to the flamboyantly dressed Chief Gustavo at the docks, the men of the Maria head for the taverns and inns with their shares of the plunder burning holes in their pockets. At the Dainty Juarez, the aging lothario Fernando de Posada makes none-too-subtle advances towards the captain but is rebuffed when she learns that he sold his piece of the Black Bellamy treasure map to Albert de Montblanc! The pirates also learn that Montblanc had an argument with Bullhead Willows before leaving Hell’s Cove and that Bullhead himself has also left the settlement with his captive: the governor of Jamaica!

Once all of these revelations have sunk in, it’s back to business! Bloody Mary strikes a deal with the ruddy-faced fence George Goodfellow who agrees to buy her 100 barrels of sugar and the Maria Sangrienta, and to source a suitable sloop for her to captain. William and Rodrigo head off to Old Ned’s Peg Leg Shoppe where they place orders for prosthetic arms, hooks and various guns and weapon attachments before blowing more money on rum and French prostitutes respectively. Mary also arranges for a unique flag to be made for the new ship by Shang of Shang’s Ship Supplies, depicting a skeletal sea serpent. She also hires an additional 21 men to bring her crew back up to full strength.

Later that evening, Mary, Merritt, Rodrigo and William head to Bullhead Willows’ apartment to look for clues. A few attempts are made to open the door once the person inside refuses to do so. Meritt taps the captain on the head with the feathered stick but this doesn’t seem to help. Eventually, Mary kicks down the door and charges in, only to be shot by two pistols fired by Willow’s Mayan first mate, Paolo. Despite the gunplay, the pirates decide to negotiate with Paolo who reveals that Bullhead left in a hurry for Rigas Island where he believed he could get the curse lifted from the locked chest of gold doubloons Montblanc had given him.
 

RichGreen

Explorer
Session #16

Thursday 22nd June

Rodrigo, now a trainee hougan, performs his first ever Caille ritual successfully, and is able to cast spells! He celebrates at the Loose Lady in the companion of a French whore who he pumps for information about Albert de Montblanc. William gets drunk.


Friday 23rd June

Rodrigo and William have their new prosthetics fitted at Old Ned’s Peg Leg Shoppe. They celebrate by giving in to their respective vices yet again. Bloody Mary collects her expensive new flag from Shang’s Ship Supplies.


Saturday 24th June

Bloody Mary hears that the pirate captain Weird Arnie Buckthorn is in town with a captured Dutch sloop. She heads down to the docks with the others to meet him, only to be confronted by the well-spoken English pirate Adrian Locke and his dozen French cutthroats. Locke is working for Albert de Montblanc and demands both the skeleton key and Black Bellamy’s treasure map! Brandishing his asson (ceremonial rattle), Rodrigo casts cause fear on Locke which shakes his confidence, and Bloody Mary does the same to his men by shouting threats at them. Inevitably, a fight breaks out. Mary and her men kill three of the French sailors and wound several others. Adrian Locke fights well but is eventually taken down by a blow from Merritt. When he falls unconscious, his cowardly lackeys run off!

Merritt takes Locke back to the Maria Sangrienta to patch him up while the others loot the bodies of the dead. Next, they head over to where the Mad Dog is docked. Here, Bloody Mary greets Weird Arnie Buckthorn, a tall pirate dressed in green with matted, blond dreadlocks. Weird Arnie invites the party to the Burning Parrot for a few drinks: he has seen Cuauhtemoc in Puerto Bello and wants to find out what Mary and her crew know about him. Since Weird Arnie is known for his violent mood swings and Rodrigo is known for provoking veteran pirates, it is not surprising that the one-armed hougan’s comments on Arnie’s ritual scars cause offence. Weird Arnie flips the table over with an almighty crash, grabs Rodrigo around the neck, strangling him, also striking him with the hilt of his cutlass for good measure. Bloody Mary intervenes and Arnie lets Rodrigo go, but the Spaniard cannot resist another wisecrack. This time, purple with rage, Arnie slashes Rodrigo twice with his cutlass, wounding him badly. Rodrigo runs off. Afterwards, Mary is able to calm Weird Arnie down and negotiate the purchase of the Dutch sloop, the Welstand, for 10,700 doubloons (the same price she will get from George Goodfellow for the Maria Sangrienta). The dreadlocked northerner also tells Mary that the mysterious feathered stick given to her by Father Jeremy is a “talking stick” that helps when negotiating with people.

Back on the Maria Sangrienta, the pirates interrogate the now-conscious Adrian Locke. Mary’s technique of slapping him hard in the face with a glove is enough for Locke to crack: he tells her that he was due to rendezvous with Montblanc off Ambergris Cay in the next couple of days in his dhow (named The Dainty). They decide to keep Locke prisoner for the time being.


Sunday 25th June

The Welstand sets sail from Hell’s Cove with Bloody Mary at the helm and her new flag flying from the mast. As the sloop maneuvers out of the tunnel and into the sea, the lookouts spot Montblanc’s ship, The Vermillion, positioned at ninety degrees to the entrance and apparently at battle stations! Bloody Mary orders the Welstand to sail to the starboard and unleashes a savage broadside at the enemy. For once, the gunners’ aim is true and massive damage is done to the Vermillion which begins to take on water quite rapidly. Montblanc’s cannons reply feebly and Bloody Mary orders her crew to make ready to board.

Bloody Mary, William and Merritt fight alongside the men of the Welstrand who are much less successful with their belaying pins than they were with the cannons! Rodrigo casts shillelagh on his belaying pin and makes for Albert de Montblanc who is standing on the sterncastle of the Vermillion. The Vermillion’s men fight back fiercely, inflicting heavy casulaties on Welstand’s sailors, although Bloody Mary and the other officers are able to clear part of the deck of enemies themselves.

Meanwhile, Rodrigo is in close combat with Albert de Montblanc. His magically enhanced belaying pin is a devastating weapon but Montblanc is a skillful swordsman and is able to land several vicious blows on the Spaniard. As Rodrigo backs away, Bloody Mary arrives on the scene, just in time to deliver a lethal thrust with her cutlass. Albert de Montblanc staggers backwards and falls over the rail and into the sea, mortally wounded. With their captain dead and their ship sinking, the rest of Montblanc’s men surrender. Offered positions aboard the Welstand, they accept and join Bloody Mary’s crew. A quick search of the captain’s cabin before the Vermillion sinks beneath the waves turns up a chest containing 3,200 doubloons, a deed to a plantation in Jamaica, and the fourth and final piece of Black Bellamy’s treasure map!
 

RichGreen

Explorer
Session #17

Wednesday 28th June

The Welstand sets off north in search of Black Bellamy’s treasure.


Thursday 29th June

The Welstand sails past the English merchantman, the Wooden Nichol. Towards the end of the day, she arrives at the mouth of the river marked on Black Bellamy’s treasure map.


Friday 30th June

A hand-picked group of pirates heads inland in one of the ship’s boats. The rowing is hot and thirsty work, and several of the crew succumb to heatstroke as the party head upriver through the Yucatan jungles. At dusk, Bloody Mary orders the men to set up a camp on the north bank of the river, opposite what appears to be some Mayan ruins: the main pyramid can be seen towering over the trees on the other bank. Watches are set. William can’t resist having sharing a few swigs of rum with Sailor Bob and Sailor Chris while on his watch. This might be why seven jaguar-men are able to sneak up on the pirates’ camp without being heard or seen and unleash a volley of poisoned arrows at the trio. Sailor Bob is killed and William is poisoned and gravely wounded. Fortunately, his deafening shouts for help bring the rest of the officers (if not the regular seamen who seem to take an inordinate amount of time to get dressed, find their boots and so on) to his aid. Six of the jaguar-men are killed; the one survivor escapes into the jungle.


Saturday 1st July

In an attempt to keep the sun off the rowers, Merritt and the others try and rig a canopy over the boat using the tents. Sadly, the attempt fails and the pirates are forced to make regular stops in the shade as they did on the day before when the rowers get too hot. Towards the end of the day, they arrive at a tall (100’ high) waterfall, meaning the party will need to press on on foot or portage the boat. Bloody Mary and William decide to scout ahead to see if there is a way to carry the boat around the falls. En route, they run into a small brighly-coloured lizard which seems very curious. They try and befriend the creature, with Mary drawing pictures for it on a piece of parchment. The pair seem unpeturbed as the lizard is joined by more and more of its fellows, and downright surprised as the swarm of little sharp-toothed reptiles attacks, leaping all over them. Both pirates are badly wounded but Bloody Mary’s terrible scream brings the others running. Rodrigo casts shillelagh again, creating a huge club from his trusty belaying pin with which he is able to deliver devastating blows to the swarm. Despite her wounds, the captain charges back in and the little reptiles disperse. Merritt is able to identify the creatures as “needletooths”. After the battle, the pirates go back down the slope and portage the boat.


Sunday 2nd July

The pirates reach the cave entrance to Black Bellamy’s treasure. The shaft descending into the darkness is lined with webs which gives them pause. Rodrigo even contemplates throwing a dead lizard into the pit.
 

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