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Command Crew of the Graceful Dame

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I-VI. Santo Domingo, Hispaniola. Thursday, January 11, 1725 Anno Domini

  • Sir Randel wakes, alone in an unfamiliar bed somewhere and thoroughly naked. He finds his clothes on the dresser, along with a pouch of coin and a note telling him to be gone before noon. Vaguely amused, he dresses and departs this sugar plantation, finding a coach waiting for him.
  • With the monies from the previous day’s excursions, Artegal seeks out and purchases the cello that he observed for sale while seeking potential cargos. He then returns to the ship, pausing to finalize the supply replenishment.
  • Captain Hayden arranges for a meeting with the record-keeper regarding the capture of his son by the Spanish on the following day (Friday); he arranged to have Artegal accompany him, knowing that the doctor’s skills will be useful.
  • Everyone spends the rest of Thursday doing odd jobs as appropriate; on Friday, Hayden and Spenser spend a little more than an hour looking over the limited records available for the period from which Hayden’s son was captured, but discover nothing.
  • As the crew prepares to set sail, Robert Moggridge addresses the master of the ship, Hayden, about departing on a Friday; according to sailor superstition, this is hideously bad luck. Hayden does not buy into this but agrees with a suggestion by Mister Bold to bring a priest aboard to bless the Dame and counteract the bad luck. This mollifies Mister Moggridge, though once they set sail and nearly run aground on a sandbar, he gives Hayden a warning look…
  • That day, Artegal notes that Mister Moggridge looks out of sorts and, upon further investigation, determines that the older is developing an inflammation of the lungs. At his suggestion, Hayden puts Moggridge on light duty so Spenser can monitor him.
  • The following day, on Saturday, a sail is sighted heading the same direction that the Graceful Dame is heading; several members of the crew lay bets upon when they will meet with the other ship, identified as the Princess Mary, an English trade ship. Mister Furlong wins the bet. The Proud Mary hails them for news.
  • On Sunday, following divine services, a strange, hairy, naked man climbs aboard the Graceful Dame, much to everyone’s blatant disbelief as there is no land or other ships remotely close to them. This stranger sniffs loudly in the direction of Dora who visibly recoils; he then dives overboard once more … and vanishes although some of the crew later see a larger tiger shark swimming away, prompting Rogers to presume the man was eaten. This bizarre event leaves everyone off-kilter for some time, with Sir Randel becoming thoroughly convinced that merfolk are real and he’s just seen one. Dora is unable to shed any light on this odd matter.
  • A minor hull leak is discovered on Monday the 15th and easily repaired by Mister Bold who has found himself named engineer; that evening, Mister Moggridge’s condition takes a turn for the worse, with a fierce fever setting in that Doctor Spenser focuses on.
  • By Wednesday, January 17, Mister Moggridge’s fever has broken and he is on the mend. Late that evening, the Graceful Dame arrives outside Barbados. Hayden opts to drop anchor until on sunrise Thursday morning when they sail into port.
  • Ashore, the crew split to attend personal business. As Barbados was Davino’s objective, Artegal accompanies him to the hall of records in an attempt to discover the origins of Misericordia. It is revealed that the previous owner was a man named Darragh Campbell who vanished from the boarding house that he was living in; the two then visit this boarding house to question the women who owns it. They learn that other men have, in the past, asked about Darragh’s belongings, and that the Scot spent a great deal of time in a nearby tavern. Thanking her for this (limited) information, the two go to the tavern where they discover Sir Randel already present.
  • At the docks, Leftenant Rogers is keeping a lecherous eye on Dora who is watching the water when he notes the arrival of a familiar cutter: the Rumjack has arrived in Barbados…

Player Notes:

  • The way Randel (CommJunkee’s character) woke up was an intentional homage by Gigermann to an old D&D game that I ran probably close to twenty years ago where I had CommJunkee’s character at the time wake up in an identical manner.
  • Amusingly, all of the PCs failed their Fright Checks vs the naked man who showed up on the boat, sniffed at Dora, then dove back into the water. CommJunkee failed worst and ended up with a 10 pt-delusion that he promptly decided was “Merfolk are real and I’ve seen one.” The player then very much embraced this. After the fact, I (Rigil) should have had Artegal arguing that it was not a merman we’d seen, but rather a selkie (since he’s all about Faerie Lore.)
  • I also failed to properly utilze Artegal’s Serendipity during the bet. Need to keep that in mind.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.

Command Crew of the Graceful Dame

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I-V. Santo Domingo, Hispaniola. Wednesday, January 10, 1725 Anno Domini

  • Having reached Santo Domingo at midnight, the crew of the Graceful Dames wait until the sun comes up before venturing to the shore, some with more plans that others. Sir Randel disappears like smoke in the wind, Artegal and Hayden intend to restock supplies and perhaps seek out some cargo, while Davino wishes to seek additional work for some pocket money and Rogers hangs around on the docks to keep an eye out. Dora indicates to Artegal that she is also eager to go ashore to wash her hair and her clothes, to which Thomas Furlong jumps in: he’s been here before and knows an excellent place for that very thing; he suggests everyone meet there when they are done with their tasks.
  • Upon reaching the dock, the crew note that there are a considerable amount of Spanish soldiers poking around for unknown reasons.
  • After getting the ball rolling for restock, Artegal and Hayden run into a fellow Englishman, Captain James Button of the Fortune, who is happy to encounter men who speak a ‘civilized tongue.’ Button and Hayden get along marvelously, and in the course of their discussion, Hayden references his missing son and the ship he was sailing on, to which he’s surprised that Button has heard some things. Information is exchanged.
  • While this conversation is ongoing, Artegal wanders off and, in the process, encounters a strange man who introduces himself as Damian Rush and speaks with an odd accent that the absent-minded doctor cannot quite place. They have tea, provided by the stranger, and chat without actually saying anything (as Artegal has a strange suspicion that he is speaking with one of the Fair Folk.) The stranger hints at knowing about Artegal’s obsession, but their conversation is interrupted by a woman asking Artegal who he is speaking to: the stranger is gone, as if he was never there…
  • Davino gets paid with some walking around money after a long day moving cargo, and he joins Rogers as they head toward the Cola de Sirena (Mermaid’s Tail), a pub set in the owner’s home; Artegal and Hayden have also rejoined and are en route where they find Furlong relaxing. Dora is present, looking much cleaner with her hair still wet. The crew join Furlong for an excellent meal.
  • “Mamacita”, the free black proprietor of the Mermaid’s Tail and an old friend of Furlong’s, indicates that Thomas left some things here that she wishes removed “as quickly as possible”; when he investigates, he is surprised to discover an old “associate” of his that he introduces as Shifty. Evidently, Shifty has only just escaped from a hangman’s noose which suddenly explains the preponderance of soldiers in the street. Shifty, who was arrested for banditry, is desperate to escape Santo Domingo and begs for Furlong’s aid, implying that Thomas owes him for events in the past. The sound of Spanish soldiers outside gives them little time to react and Hayden, who has automatically fallen into the leadership role, orders Furlong to conceal the man.
  • After the Spanish soldiers enter and fail to find their man, they reveal that there is a 20 peso reward for bringing the bandit and his gang to justice. Once they depart, Furlong leads Shifty back into the pub and reveals that he owes the escaped bandit for past times so he must assist; after some debate, the crew opt to assist as well, though only due to loyalty to Thomas. Dora is left behind at the pub with Mamacita who is satisfied at the young woman’s friendliness (though perhaps a bit wrong-footed by her silence.)
  • Rogers comes up with the plan – they will smuggle Shifty out of the area by pretending he is a thoroughly drunk sailor who must be supported by his crewmembers. Artegal intercedes when several Spanish soldiers glances their way by spinning the tale, while Hayden glowers like a proper captain pissed off at his errant crew. Davino rows like a madman, getting clear before anyone can actually stop them.
  • Once clear of Santo Domingo, the crew hike toward the camp that Shifty’s compatriots are hiding out at. Once they get there, though, they discover that the other bandits are not pleased at Shifty’s escape; evidently, they sold him out to the Spanish because … well … none of them really liked him anyway. This breaks Shifty who produces a knife and springs forward in a berserk rage to tackle the bandit leader to the ground. This immediately leads to a short but fierce skirmish. The bandits find themselves woefully outmatched and are soon felled or captured … save their leader who Shifty is still stabbing madly.
  • Spanish soldiers are detected on approach, and Shifty, who is utterly broken over the betrayal of his “family”, tells Furlong to turn him in for the reward but to get some of that money to his wife. The crew are willing to try and smuggle the bandit away but one look at poor Shifty reveals that he’s just given up on life. Sadly, Furlong agrees, and with Artegal acting as translator, the crew turn over the bandits to the Spanish who grudgingly pay out the reward.
  • The following day, a crowd gathers to watch Shifty hang and the crew solemnly attend. After his crimes are read out, the broken bandit places his head in the noose and steps off the wagon … but does not break his neck. Rather than watch his old friend die in a slow, agonizing way, Thomas steps forward to pull Shifty down so the end comes more quickly.
  • Intentionally not watching the actual hanging, Artegal instead looks at the crowd … and observes Damian Rush staring intently at the spectacle. The crowd shifts slightly … and Mister Rush has vanished once more…

Player Notes:

  • CommJunkee was out for this session; we’d originally though that Herodian was going to be out as well, but he surprised us by showing up.
  • We’re going to be down two characters in episode 5, but the game is still on.
  • I jokingly comments that this was a “loyalty” mission ala the Mass Effect franchise. I also suggested that, like ME2, the GM should discreetly change via PhotoShop the clothes that Furlong is wearing in the images.
  • I’m just guessing that Rush is Fae or, for that matter, supernatural; the GM has (wisely) neither confirmed nor denied.
  • We also joked that we should begin next week with a half-naked Sir Randel desperately fleeing from the governor’s mansion, having enjoyed some time with the governor’s daughter. Which could then lead to a Chase. We’ll see what the GM comes up with…

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief once he publishes it.

Command Crew of the Graceful Dame

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I-IV. Île-à-Vache, Haiti. Saturday, January 6, 1725 Anno Domini

  • The cutter, Rumjack, has arrived and it approaches, gun ports open. Recognizing that they are in no position to escape, the command crew decide to assemble on the beach and wait. While arguing, Sir Randel ducks away from the others and hides the compass that he’d just discovered so it will not be on his person should they be taken into custody.
  • Sir Randel also attempts to sway the escaped slaves to assist the crew should things go ill, but they look at the potential numbers arrayed against them and decline politely before withdrawing into the woods.
  • The Rumjack beaches itself and armed men spring off the ship, led by a man the crew recognize as “Handsome Ned,” who ran a tradehouse back in Kingston. Ned does not hesitate and demands to know if they have “found it.” Sir Randel lies his ass off, claiming that there was nothing there, and is extremely believable.
  • Handsome Ned grumbles, then declares it doesn’t really matter. The crew cannot be allowed to leave this island alive since they know about “it.” Sir Randel counters by pointing out that they’re not the only one who know; this visibly enrages Ned who demands to know who else Payne has told about this. Sir Randel continues to lie, then points out that Ned is going to have to also kill his crew to keep it secret, which causes Ned’s crew to start looking at him oddly.
  • Abruptly, a dark-haired white woman bolts out of the woods and dives into the bay. This causes much confusion which Sir Randel uses to his advantage by turning toward the woods as he draws his pistol while exclaiming, “My God, what is that?” As eyes turn in that direction, he shifts again … and shoots Handsome Ned squarely in the head. The man falls.
  • Sir Randel immediately exclaims to Ned’s crew in a loud voice: “Whoa, whoa, whoa! Before anyone else fires, know this: he was going to kill you all!”
  • Less than a moment later, however, an unknown party of armed men come barrelling out of the woods; Ned’s crew react instantly by turning and firing at the approaching men. Instantly, the air is thick with musket fire as the two groups clash bitterly.
  • Retreating quickly to the boat where Mister Bold is hiding, the crew push off, slowly long enough to grab the swimming woman and pull her aboard. Seeing that one of the Rumjack’s gunners is orienting his cannon on the cockboat, Davino levels his gun, Misericordia, and fires. He hits the gunner and, serendipitiously the lighting match the man was hold tumbles back into waiting gunpowder. There is a terrific boom that causes some minor damage and adds to the chaos.
  • Crowding aboard the Graceful Dame, the crew rush to make ready for sail, hoping to escape the chaos before it spreads to them. At Sir Randel’s urging, they circle to a different spot on the island so he can go aboard and retrieve his Compass. Luckily, nothing bad happens when he does so and once he’s back aboard, they set out again, this time consciously opting to avoid the more frequently travelled sea lanes, destination: Santo Domingo.
  • While under sail, Artegal attempts to converse with the strange woman using his wealth of languages, eventually discovering that she understands Dutch … but cannot speak as she’s mute (and illiterate). Eventually, he determines that she is called “Dora”; he begins trying to develop a method of communication with her. At the same time, Sir Randel begins digging through his accumulated research to determine what his next step should be.
  • The following day, the Graceful Dame encounters a Spanish guardacosta sloop that runs up its colors and signal for the Dame to heave to. Soon after, the Spanish ship sends an inspection crew aboard and the crew cooperate fully, with Artegal acting as translator, not having anything to hide; Rogers gives the inspecting officer a bottle of spiced rum “with his compliments.” The Spanish depart, satisfied that the Graceful Dame is not up to sneaky stuff.
  • The crew spend several additional uneventful days at sea, passing a French schooner late on the 9th. In this time, Artegal is able to determine that Dora is trying to get back to her ship, which is in the west. Beyond that, she can tell him no more.
  • Around midnight on 10 January, the Graceful Dame arrives at the Spanish port of Santo Domingo.

Player Notes:

  • Getting these recaps done on a timely manner is difficult with me (Rigil) running my own game on Friday.
  • We’re going to be down two characters in episode 5, but the game is still on.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.

Command Crew of the Graceful Dame

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I-III. Kingston, Jamaica. Thursday, January 4, 1725 Anno Domini

  • It is hours from dawn. The crew have just apprehended one of the attempted saboteurs and it sounds like Sir Randel’s rival, Maurice Boissonade, is dealing with the same kind of attempts. After some quick discussion, the crew decide to take the saboteur to shore and turn him over to the watch; Sir Randel, Rogers Davino, and a few strong men will do this while Hayden prepares the Dame for departure.
  • While informing the Watch of what took place, Sir Randel also, on the spur of the moment, tells them that he fears the La Dame Blanche may have been successfully seized by these saboteurs and pirates; they will need aid at once! The Watch, excited at the possibility of pirates, rushes to assist and will, Sir Randel hopes, significantly slow down his rival’s departure.
  • The Graceful Dame departs with the dawn, destination: Île-à-Vache, well aware that the La Dame Blanch is preparing (though they have certainly been significantly delayed by the swarming Watch responding to word of pirates), as is a cutter Rogers knows to be the Rumjack.
  • The first day out is eventful: Claude is lightly injured (thanks to Red’s screwup) during the course of his duties and refuses to disrobe in public, much to everyone’s amusement. Artegal convinces him to do so below-decks wherein it is revealed that Claude is actually Claudia; Spenser cares little about this, instead attending to his medical duties and offering some suggestions regarding better bindings that she is wearing upon her chest.
  • The second day is less eventful, though once more, Red (being a landsman) screws up; this time, he is insistent that it because of Faustus, the black cat that came aboard the ship with Artegal, who he is convinced is “out to get him” and is a witch. Artegal counters this, by arguing instead that it is more likely that the cat has been sent here by faerie’s who are keeping an eye on him. This makes things worse.
  • On the third day, they arrive at Île-à-Vache after several uneventful hours of sailing, though Hayden leads a class in navigation for those who wish to learn of it. By late noon, they have set anchor in Ferret Bay.
  • The command crew go ashore, along with Mr. Bold and Red, intent on finding the next spot; leaving Isaac behind with the boat, they hike several miles inland toward the stone house … only to encounter a black man emerging from it. Additional men of African heritage leap out, all armed, and a tense stand-off ensues that Sir Randel manages to assuage with his easy smiles and quick words. It is eventually agreed that the crew will provide some food for the badly malnourished escaped slaves/former marooned sailor types while Sir Randel enters the house for a few moments.
  • Sir Randel promptly heads to the fireplace, finds the slot that the coin enters, and places the doubloon into it. There is a click and one of the bricks falls out, revealing a brass compass-thing. He takes it and is about to replace the brick when a flight of whimsy causes him to scratch his initials
  • Outside, the crew hear a gunshot and, upon looking in the direction of the ship, observe sails on the horizon. It is the cutter, Rumjack

Player Notes:

  • Loki ended up dropping the game for personal reasons so Claude has become a NPC. Ironically, her Secret (she’s actually a girl) was set to trigger this session, so Giger just had it go ahead anyway.
  • We spent a lot of time at the beginning of the game taking care of administrative stuff, so we did not get to the adventure proper until after the midpoint break. When we did, some of our previous assumptions – we had to depart with the tide which was around midday or so – were shot, so we immediately reshuffled our plans and set sail at first opportunity.
  • The sea travel stuff was certainly interesting, but I believe we’re going to have to find a way smooth that out since we wouldn’t want to make those rolls every single day of a voyage.
  • We definitely misused Artegal’s Serendipity to get the ship cat aboard, but it seemed fine.
  • Something I’m going to have to mention in-game is that Giger uses some of the nautical terms without thinking, presuming that we also know what he means. A case in point is the ship that shows up at the end; he referred to it as a cutter and it was not until maybe two days later when I chatted with him in real life that I learned we are massively, massively outgunned. I heard cutter and thought “Oh. That must mean it’s a really small ship, maybe our size or a little smaller?”

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.

Command crew of the Graceful Dame

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I-II. Kingston, Jamaica. Monday, January 1, 1725 Anno Domini

  • Having just returned to Kingston from visiting Old Tom and learning valuable information, the crew have discovered that Billy, Sir Randel’s contact who pointed them toward the old coot, is dead. Artegal attempts to discern some clues from the corpse, but alas, he learns little more than the man has been murdered. The local gendarmes cart away the body and the crew return to the Graceful Dame wherein they are reunited with “Claude” who has been watching the ship.
  • That night, they make plans. Their next likely destination is Île-à-Vache, so they agree that during the following day, Artegal will assist Hayden in gathering supplies for the journey, recalling the rest of the crew, and perhaps seeking out some cargo. Hayden also plans to reach out to the captain of the Nijmegen to network. While this is going on, the other four shall dive for the Coin.
  • The dive takes all day as there is a great deal of territory to cover and it’s all underwater. Around midday, Sir Randel’s rival-enemy, Maurice Boissonade is rowed out to treat with him, presenting a document from the governor insisting that anything discovered in the graveyard rightly belongs to Boissonade. As his crew is not searching in the graveyard (having learned from Old Tom that the Coin is not there), Sir Randel is only too happy to comply, though he does make an effort to “accidentally” tip his rival into the bay. After some difficulty, they are successful and return with the Coin.
  • With Artegal acting as interpreter, Hayden manages to get word to the Dutch captain of the Nijmegen who comes ashore later; the two discuss recent events, with Hayden pressing his fellow captain into carrying some non-secret letters to the Admiralty back in England. They part, not as friends, but certainly as warm associates.
  • Artegal ends up enlisting Sir Randel’s aid in seeking out cargo and/or passengers to Île-à-Vache, no matter the latter’s utter disinterest in this part of the job. Hayden and Rogers handle receiving their supplies and getting the ship to rights as the hired crew trickle back on. While this is going on, Davino is visited by Jacob, the man who attended the now dead priest the day earlier, and relates to the Venetian some information about The Gun (aka Misericordia) – it is the weapon of Hunters, mean and women who seek out and destroy supernatural entities. This weapon is said to be able to kill anything it hits. Clearly not really buying into Jacob’s explanation, Davino effectively blows him off and goes back to work.
  • Time passes as they ready the Dame for sail. Early morning on the 4th, as Artegal is on watch with Isaac Bold, the doctor notes something odd in the bay approaching that appears to be a barrel … with men swimming alongside it! Artegal calls out to the men, who freeze (evidently in surprise), then there is a small light atop the barrel. Isaac calls out for a gun, having identified this as a threat, but Artegal (who has clearly spent too much time in Sir Randel’s company) reacts without thinking and dives into the bay, intent on snuffing out the fuse. This unexpected action causes some confusion – one of the would-be saboteurs attempts to swim away while another is accidentally kicked by Artegal while swimming. Having been roused, Rogers thinks quickly and has the cockboat lowered so he and some of the men can set out to capture the momentarily stunned saboteur.
  • Once Artegal is recovered, along with the now safed barrel of what turns out to be lamp oil, the crew interrogate the captured saboteur and learn only that they were hired by “the man on the docks” to cripple the Dame. Quickly determining to take the cockboat to shore and try to find the “man on the docks” to get some questions answered, the crew start preparing…
  • And then, in the distance, alongside the La Dame Blanche, there is a gunshot followed by an eruption of flame…

Player Notes:

  • Long, long overdue recap. I have no one to blame … but work. And my own laziness.
  • The Skill Challenge worked out rather nicely. Probably one of the best versions of that we’ve seen.
  • We gave Gigermann a bit of crap for the confusing time line.

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.

Command crew of the Graceful Dame

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I-I. Kingston, Jamaica. Monday, January 1, 1725 Anno Domini

  • It is early morning and former-Commander John Hayden is participating in a duel against a merchant named Smith, whom he dared accuse of cheating at business. The duel goes ill for Smith – Hayden was much faster, and struck the other gentleman such that his shot went wide. Smith’s second yields and publicly acknowledges that Hayden was the wronged party.
  • The crew return to Kingston where Sir Randel receives word from Billy who has discovered the location of Old Tom, who sailed with Captain Morgan’ old crew. Randel is desperate to meet with the old man to question him about the focus of his latest obsession. As they are waiting for Artegal to return from aiding the wounded Smith, the crew decide to break their fast.
  • During this repast, Davino is addressed by a stranger who asks for his presence at a church on the outskirts of town with … The Gun. Done with his meal, Rogers decides to accompany him. They go to a church where they discover an exhausted-looking priest tied to a pillar who explains that the Gun’s proper name is Misericordia and that it can kill anything it shoots. The priest states that he recently slew an African shaman near Santiago de Cuba, but was infected by the evil spirit that he (the priest) has been seeking to contain but no longer has to strength. It cannot get free. Nearby, the stranger who sought out Davino is playing a harp, and as he momentarily nods off, the priest’s demeanor shifts to a fierce and angry version. Rogers, feeling quite uncomfortable, urges Davino to do as the priest wishes … and kill the man with his Gun. The stranger, seeing that Davino is quite hesitant over murdering a priest, states that he shall do it if given the opportunity. It is done and the priest is slain. The stranger gives the silver bullets to Davino and the two men depart, more confused than before.
  • Once Artegal rejoins the party, the crew head out from Kingston, heading deeper into the interior intent on finding Old Tom. It is half a days walk and this journey turns out to be uneventful, though upon arrival, Artegal notes some men creeping up upon the shack that is Old Tom’s with obvious hostile intent. Hayden orders Davino to act as overwatch while the rest of the crew sneak forward; once in position, he loudly orders the skulkers to stop and identify themselves. Eventually, however, Old Tom interjects himself by firing his blunderbuss, dropping one of the enemy. Words are exchanged … also, certain bullets, and the surviving thugs flee, leaving their wounded behind.
  • While Artegal attends to the wounded with Davino providing overwatch, the rest of the crew treat with Old Tom, having gained the coot’s assistance thanks to Sir Randel’s wise decision to bring along rum as trade. The two men exchange what they know, with Randel learning that it is not in the sunken Port Royal cemetery, where everyone is looking, but in the old Governor’s Mansion there. The sound of someone on the roof causes some of the crew to react, though they cannot react fast enough to stop the eavesdropper from escaping into the jungle. Sir Randel rushes out, screaming “Boissonade!” Furious, Sir Randel declares that they are now in a chase…
  • After ensuring the surviving wounded are of no threat to Old Tom, the crew rush back to Kingston, making plans about how to proceed. Upon arrival, they discover a strange disturbance and investigate only to discover that Billy, the man who brought info about Old Tom to Sir Randel, has been murdered…

Player Notes:

  • Getting shot in this time period sucks. A lot.
  • Going to take a bit of effort to get accustomed to shot and powder and the like.
  • Need to determine price of laudanum.
  • Found it amusing that CommJunkee automatically presumed his rival was behind the eavesdropper.
  • This marked the beginning of Giger’s initial run. One player was absent, but her PC should be present next week

See the Daniverse Blog for the GM’s post-game debrief.