Command Crew of the Graceful Dame

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I-X. Port-de-Paix, St. Domingue. Monday, January 29, 1725 Anno Domini

  • Leftenant Rogers, having heard the unexpected proposal from Miss Wilhelmina Deering, drains his wine, much to her amusement. She reveals that she needs to meet with a contact at a party and attending as a single woman would draw far more attention than as a married one. Leftenant Rogers considers, then agrees to assist. She then suggests he ensure there is some back-up.
  • Meanwhile, Sir Randel and Doctor Spenser return to shore with Geoffrey de Saloman following his duel; he does his best to avoid properly explaining what just happened and insists that he doesn’t need medical attention. All he needs, he claims, is a bit of sleep.
  • Once Mister de Saloman disembarks and heads to his hotel, Sir Randel seeks out an alehouse where he finds Captain Hayden. Soon after, Leftenant Rogers enters the alehouse, seeking out his captain. Seeing Sir Randel present, he decides to include both of them and asks them to accompany him to the party to serve as back-up; both men enthusiastically agree.
  • While this is transpiring, Doctor Spenser goes wandering through Port-de-Paix and, when he looks up, he finds himself completely lost. Glancing around, he realizes he’s at a crossroads and suddenly, an elderly mulatto woman who identifies herself as Madame Cassandra is abruptly standing there. She knows him by name and offers him some tea from her house which the doctor is almost certain wasn’t there before. Inside, she reveals that she can see a large crow on his shoulder, cawing loudly in his ear; she instructs the crow to be silent and suddenly, Doctor Spenser finds his thoughts clear for the first time in a long while. They converse, with Madame Cassandra stating that Doctor Spenser has the “Gift” and that the Master of Crows has laid a curse of absent-mindedness upon him, a curse that only the faerie prince can lift. She states that Doctor Spenser already has a third of the answer in his hand and he realizes that he’s been carrying the book of faerie tales given to him in his youth; there are two other books that, when brought together, will allow him to discover the truename of the Master of Crows. Geoffrey de Saloman can assist in this first step, she says. Later, Doctor Spenser will realize that he failed to even ask the woman who she was or why she’s helping him, but at the time, that simply does not occur to him.
  • The following morning, everyone scatters yet again to their own objectives. Mister Palange once more seeks out work from the gun maker; Leftenant Rogers spends much of the day with Miss Deering, getting fit for a “proper” suit; Captain Hayden visits a church and becomes acquainted with the priest who is quite fascinated with a sailor’s life; while Sir Randel and Doctor Spenser are ready to continue their buying and selling of goods on the market. Before they do that, however, the doctor tracks down Mister de Saloman who is breakfasting with Dora; Doctor Spenser hesitates not at all by asking about The Book, and Mister de Saloman immediately recognizes it from a library he frequented in London; he believed the Book was sold to a man who lives in Curaçao. While looking through the book, Mister de Saloman’s eyes go out of focus as he identifies pages that he recalls as being different (which Doctor Spenser realizes explains the “code” reference made by Madame Cassandra); when Mister de Saloman glances at Dora, he reacts with surprise and asks her ‘what the devil are you?’ She smiles and puts a finger to her lips.
  • During the day, Leftenant Rogers notes that he is being watched, and Doctor Spenser accidentally stumbles into a man who has been following him; the man flees immediately, leaving behind an odd-looking necklace that was serendipitously torn free in the collision. None of the other members of the crew recognize the necklace when Doctor Spenser shows it to them, and the doctor is dismayed to discover that his hotel room has been trashed! This will lead him to relocating entirely to the Graceful Dame where he continues studying the Book.
  • After having negotiated a deal with a local merchant to purchase the cargo in the hold, Sir Randel returns to the Graceful Dame but is accosted by a French customs boat; the officer in charge demands his papers, and Sir Randel recognizes what is behind this so he wisely includes an appropriate bribe when he passes over the papers.
  • The evening of the party approaches and, rather than pretend to be a servant to “Mister and Mistress Deering,” Sir Randel seeks out his own way into the gathering and discovers a young woman who is less than enthusiastic about attending. He convinces her otherwise, however, and decides to recruit Doctor Spenser to serve as their attendant. Only Mister Palange is not attending, but that’s because no one can find him (as he’s working with the gunmaker.)
  • At the party, the attendees have their own moments. Something triggers Doctor Spenser and he struggles to ignore the fact that the clock will not shut up; noticing this, Sir Randel worries about his friend’s health, but must also concentrate on the woman he is with as she is consistently bothered by younger bachelors; Captain Hayden interacts with a man who he eventually discovers is the owner of this plantation; and Leftenant Rogers attempts (and fails) to discover exactly who Miss Deering is working for. A squad of French soldiers enters the party and declare they are looking for someone.
  • Upon seeing some signal left by her contact, Miss Deering leads Leftenant Rogers toward the kitchen … but they discover a man with a bloody knife standing over a fallen man! Cursing in Spanish, this assassin dives through the nearby window to escape, prompting Leftenant Rogers calling out for Captain Hayden to follow as he pursues. The two men race after the assassin as he flees through the cane field. This chase eventually ends when Leftenant Rogers thrusts his sword into the man’s back; recovering the letter that was Miss Deering’s objective, the two British officers quickly interrogate the Spaniard and learn very little of serious use. French soldiers arrive and promptly arrest the murderer.
  • Upon leaving with his young lady, Sir Randel learns that she is frustrated because her father is pressuring her to wed one of the boring bachelors available, but they’re all simply interested in her father’s money. Being a rake and a rogue, Sir Randel promptly seduces the young woman.
  • The retrieved letter – which is in Greek and requires Doctor Spenser to translate – which turns out to be addressed to the governor of Havana’s spymaster and informs him of an upcoming treaty being signed in Vienna between the Hapsburgs of the Holy Roman Empire and the Bourbons in Spain. Despite this treaty being couched as a defensive pact only, Miss Deering declares that this is clearly a pretext for a full military alliance between the two and will likely be used as an excuse to retake Gibraltar. This letter must be taken to Havana immediately, so as to not arouse suspicion, and Leftenant Rogers offers to do so as that is on their way.
  • Later that evening, as he’s taking some air following the party, Captain Hayden has a coughing fit. He spits out blood, murmurs something … and collapses. Everything goes dark.

Player Notes:

  • I originally intended for these dang outlines to be shorter!
  • After discussing the whole magic thing offline, Gigermann and I came to the conclusion that we didn’t really like any of the existing magic systems in GURPS. In the end, we decided that I (Rigil) would use the Psionic Powers book and we’d just call it magic. As a result, we retooled his existing Serendipity to the “Coincidence” power in Psionic Powers.
  • The mystery about Dora deepens slightly. I (Rigil) have already determined that next “power” he’s going to pick up is “True Sight” which will allow Spenser to see through glamours and illusions. Not going to happen until the next run of this game, though.
  • From what I understand, Gigermann realized after the fact that he should have had us being harassed by customs personnel a great deal more than we had been in the past. As a result, Sir Randel got hassled a bit and we should expect to see a lot more of that.
  • Hayden failed his HT check for the Terminally Ill … so technically, he’s dead. His player and Giger had already discussed some alternate house rules for how this will play out that I’m not entirely aware of – I know that after this, Hayden will pick up Chronic Pain and the next time he makes a check, he’s at -1. As I understand it, he’ll keep picking up some disads that can’t be bought off, and eventually, he’s actually going to die. Several of us have joked that the real reason he’s looking for his son is because that’s his replacement character so he can’t die before he finds him.

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