Skull and Shackles

Game 3 - Boarding School & Practicum

Day fourteen of your journey on the Wormwood proves to be a break from your regular routine of duty. Riaris Krine, master gunner, is an officer whom you’ve had little contact with so far. She’s tough and competent, and her peg leg does not hinder her duties. She takes you in hand to show you, and make you practice the ways of boarding another ship.

She launches the jolly boat and for the rest of the day you practice grappling the Wormwood, 40’ away, tying off your rope, then attempting to board the Wormwood by climbing along the rope. Crew members on deck pelt you with random objects and garbage, trying to knock you off as you climb, simulating a real attack. Krine makes everyone attempt it at least three times, though if they fail three times she relents, figuring they know the process even if they suck at it.

Over the next few days you continue to make friends with the ship’s crew. In fact, except for those crew members who are dedicated Plugg and Scourge cronies, you successfully befriend the whole crew! You also notice that the friendship you’ve offered Ambrose Kroop seems to be improving his attitude to the point that he is drinking somewhat less [there was only a 25% chance of his being too drunk to be able to cook each day].

Also during this time Scourge and Plugg pay special attention to your group [no taking 10 on rigging climb checks]. Plugg assigns you the worst duties every day and soundly abuses, bullies, and tries to humiliate you. Barnaby and Ragnar are sentenced to the lash again (bringing Ragnar and Maisie even on the lashes-taken tally). Ragnar, being assigned to the bilge almost constantly, fights off more bilge spiders.

Maisie gets Kroop a bit more friendly (less hostile) towards her. She also finds some very expensive sealed brandy lost in the kitchen and manages to move it to a locked locker without Kroop’s noticing.

On the nineteenth day, Scourge again assigns Ragnar to man the bilges. Scourge has a particularly nasty smirk as he also assigns Jaundiced Jape and Aretta Bansion to the same task. Plugg and Scourge “just happen” to search Ragnar for hidden weapons before he goes down to work. After not a very long time, Aretta accuses Ragnar of slacking and attacks with her previously concealed dagger. Jape joins in and it is obvious that they intend to kill Ragnar. After a harrowing battle, Ragnar and his eidolon win, but Aretta and Jape are dead. And the penalty for killing a member of the crew is keelhauling.

Scourge and Plugg seem angry that their catspaws are dead, but happy enough that Ragnar is to be keelhauled. Ragnar is locked in the sweatbox to await keelhauling at the end of the following day. On the next day, as Ragnar languishes in the sweatbox, the rest of the group frantically tries to figure out how to save him. Barnaby starts a trend of a work strike, earning tongue lashings and rope bashes.

In the afternoon the lookout cries “Ship ahoy!” Captain Harrigan immediately turns the Wormwood to pursue, and Ragnar is released from sweatbox. All hands will be needed for boarding and conquering the Rahadoumi merchant vessel Man’s Promise! Over 12 hours later, the ships close in distance. Harrigan orders Kroop and Maisie to slaughter 6 pigs and toss them overboard to attract sharks.

Krine gives your group orders for the upcoming battle. You’re to grapple over, kill the sterncastle guards, then guard the ship’s wheel and lifeboats and kill anyone who tries to escape. You manage to convince her that you need help, and two of your friendly pirates are assigned to help.

The battle is fierce. Ranged attacks both mundane and magical fly between the ships as they close the last distance. Peppery Longfarthing unleashes clouds of fog on the prey ship to confound ranged defenses (and continues to do so over the course of the battle as the fog blows away). The battle rages, and as you fight you catch glimpses of the farther-away fighting as the fog billows. You hear the clash of arms and the screams of sailors in the water being attacked by sharks.

The battle is also quite brief [16 rounds]. During that time your group slays the 6 sailors who guard the sterncastle and aft deck. You see Captain Harrigan about to be backstabbed by a Rahadoumi sailor and yell out a warning. An explosion rocks the Man’s Promise (you later discover that Kipper set off a barrel of alchemist’s fire belowdecks, and survived). You successfully defeat 3 Rahadoumi sailors who attempt to flee by lifeboat. You glimpse Captain Harrigan through a break in the fog, holding what appears to be a human heart in his hands. In the final moments of the battle, a Rahadoumi officer and two sailors try to fight by you to escape and you defeat them as well. As the battle ends, the fog dissipates and a line of prisoners is paraded before Captain Harrigan and the cheering crew of the Wormwood.

The party that follows is filled with fine food and drink from the Man’s Promise’s hold, and lasts for 36 hours, well into the next night (naturally, no work takes place during the party)[you’ll be able to take 5 ship actions if you wish, during next game]. Captain Harrigan and his top officers divvy up the plunder and your group gets bonuses for good work, for warning Captain Harrigan, for each Rahadoumi sailor you slew, and another bonus for defeating the Rahadoumi officer.

Plugg and Scourge glower as you receive rewards, but they cannot argue against Captain Harrigan’s decisions and your obvious victories.


**In desperation, and fearing death-by-keelhauling for Ragnar, Barnaby and Rosie and Maisie conclude that culling the crew of Scourge and Plugg’s cronies might make the captain think twice about killing Ragnar (as it will force the boat to be short-handed). So in the night, the three (plus Cusswell and Cog) conspire to kill the remaining two members that were harassing them — trusting that the rest of the crew will keep quiet. They do.


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