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Command Crew of the Graceful Dame

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I-IX. Saint Christopher Island, West Indies. Tuesday, January 23, 1725 Anno Domini

  • Having arrived at Saint Christopher Island – better known as Saint Kitts – very early in the morning, the crew goes ashore.
  • While entering, Sir Randel and Doctor Spenser discover a man in a gibbet who pleads for water; the sign on the gibbet proclaims that this prisoner is a grave-robber, and Sir Randel, his curiosity piqued, provides water. The man introduces himself as Geoffrey de Saloman, who insists it was all a misunderstanding; he asks Sir Randel to pass on a message to the baliff, specifically “Who will help the widow’s son?” Sir Randel agrees to pass on this message. It takes them a bit of time to locate the baliff, but upon relating the message, the two observe the man pale somewhat and ask if the prisoner had a ring … like this one. Upon confirming this, the baliff sends word to have the man released and refuses to discuss the matter further.
  • Captain Hayden, accompanied by the silent Dora, seeks out the records clerk and spends some time researching. He finds no further indication of his son, but learns that if his son had been taken as a prisoner of war which is the current theory, then following the war, he would have been returned, likely to Jamaica. If he wasn’t returned, then he either died in prison or escaped. This further narrows down things somewhat.
  • Mister Palange unsuccessfully seeks out further work on the docks for pocket change while Leftenant Rogers studies the incoming ships as is his wont.
  • While returning to the gibbet with Sir Randel, Doctor Spenser is momentarily distracted by Miriam, a woman he recognizes from his time in Bedlam; the woman, who is visibly quite mad, exclaims her delight that he has been let out for some fresh air. Initially unsure if the woman is truly there or not, the doctor is hesitant to respond out of fear that he will be seen responding to something that isn’t there; Sir Randel joins him, however, and asks who his new friend is, just as the woman’s minders rush forward to take control of their patient, apologizing profusely for the interruption. When Sir Randel inquires whether his old friend is well, Doctor Spenser turns it on him: is Sir Randel well? He’s been acting quite strange of late!
  • Mister de Saloman is no longer in the gibbet, but he will eventually join the two while they are in the process of selling the cotton purchased in Barbados. He asks if they are sailing to Port-de-Paix as he is seeking passage and can pay.
  • Early on the 25th, the Graceful Dame departs Saint Kitt with light rain. Heading West-Northwest, they make tolerable time. During the trip, Mister de Saloman asks to be put to work and, late one night, reveals that he is an amazing storyteller. On the middle-watch on the 27th, they narrowly avoid an uncharted reef which Captain Hayden marks down on his maps. They reach Port-de-Paix on the 28th, shortly after midnight.
  • Once the sun rises, they plan to go ashore, each to their own interests. Mister de Saloman asks if, at some point when convenient, they could sail across to Tortuga (which is only about 5 miles away) as he has some old debts to settle; once more, Sir Randel and Doctor Spenser find their curiosity piqued and agree to assist once they have completed their merchanting for the day. As before, Mister Palange finds work with a local gunsmith who happens to speak English, while Leftenant Rogers opts to seek out a brothel he has heard good things about. Captain Hayden once again seeks out information on his missing son as it is something of an obsession of his, though he finds the French to be less than helpful. Dora initially tags along with Leftenant Rogers, but abandons him once she realizes where he’s going.
  • As he is entering the red light district, Leftenant Rogers runs into an old associate of his, Miss Wilhelmina Deering, whom he knows to be something of a spy. They are both surprised to see one another, and after a moment, she suggests they share a dinner later that evening to ‘catch up.’ Leftenant Rogers gladly accepts.
  • Their merchanting complete, Sir Randel and Doctor Spenser join Mister de Saloman and cross over to Tortuga where he explains that he wishes them to take a message to an old associate of his, one Falko Rijnders. They agree to do so and, upon finding Mister Rijnders, observe his extreme displeasure at having received this missive. The Dutchman agrees to meet Mister de Saloman at the specified time and place. At that place, Mister de Saloman goes alone, asking the two to stay behind, but their curiosity is such that they cannot do so, especially when Mister Rijnders arrives and passes them without a word. Stealthfully, the two follow and observe a duel unlike any they have ever witnessed. The skill of the two swordsmen is frankly inhuman and odd atmospheric conditions cause wild sparks as the blades meet. Injuries are meted out and absorbed, but in the end, Mister de Saloman is victorious … and takes the Dutchman’s head. Instantly, lightning erupts all around the the duelists with both the victorious man and the corpse floating for a moment. When it is over, Mister de Saloman joins the two somewhat confused watchers and speaks in Dutch, a language that Doctor Spenser knows that he did not previously know…
  • At Miss Deering’s hotel, Leftenant Rogers has a pleasant meal with her as they chat amicably, speaking of days long past. Eventually, they migrate to the lounge where the suddenly coquettish Miss Deering has a proposal for Leftenant Rogers, if he is willing to listen. He admits that he is and she sidles up to him, gives him a big doe-eyed look as she takes his hand … before sliding a ring on his finger. “I need you to marry me,” she says.

Player Notes:

  • Backtracking slightly, we learned that Captain Hayden discovered that the Rumjack crew were in possession of a current British Navy codebook, something they should not have had access to; he kept it for the moment. Sir Randel found a bit of money in Florins and a non-functional dagger-pistol.
  • I recognized Geoffrey as an Immortal because Gigermann created this character a gajillion years ago and he was intended on being a mentor to an Immortal character of mine in a (sadly) aborted World of Darkness game. Everyone else clued in on it much later, right before the final duel. Many were the jokes about which of the PCs is about to die and wake up as a baby Immortal.
  • The phrase Who will help the widow’s son? is a password reputedly used by the Freemasons to request aid.
  • Clearly, Spenser’s secret – spent time in Bedlam – kicked off here and he did a mediocre job of covering it up with Randel, though hopefully, amusement was had by his efforts to change the subject.
  • That ending was perfect. Clearly, Rogers’ treasure map finally kicked off!

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

Command Crew of the Graceful Dame

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I-VIII. Departing Bridgetown, Barbados. Saturday, January 20, 1725 Anno Domini

  • With the Princess Mary at her side, the Graceful Dame departs Barbados, well aware that the Rumjack is in pursuit. It’s now going to become a stern chase, Captain Hayden intent on reaching the rendezvous point in the 17-mile separation between Dominica and Guadeloupe where he expect the H.M.S. Pelican to be waiting.
  • Captain Hayden opts to split the crew up into two shifts, with him commanding one and Leftenant Rogers in charge of the second. A pair of “dog watches” cover the 16:00 to 20:00 period to allow for dinner; the captain is quite aware that this watch shift would be untenable in the long run for such a small crew, but the rendezvous spot is only two days away and he wishes someone on watch at all times in case the Rumjack attempts something sneaky.
  • While reviewing his journal, Doctor Spenser notes something strange: his memories of the encounter with “Miss Anansi” do not line up with what he wrote; cautious questioning of Sir Randel and Mister Palange reveal they do not recall anything odd either, which the good doctor would take as indicating he hallucinated that part … were it not for the odd injury to his hand.
  • The first day is tense but uneventful, with night setting in quickly and concealing the Rumjack from view. The pursuing cutter is sailing without any lights, forcing Leftenant Rogers to consults Captain Hayden about whether they should increase speed. Ultimately, it is decided that they will hold the course.
  • With dawn, they discover that the Princess Mary has drifted off-course somewhat; the larger merchant vessel quickly slides back into formation. The Rumjack is still on their tail.
  • Early on the second day, a ship in distress is observed. After considering the distance between their convoy and the Rumjack, the command crew of the Graceful Dame decide that they must lend assistance; recognizing their intent, the Princess Mary also comes about and brings man survivors aboard.
  • The French captain of the now lost merchantman, one Bastien Dufresne, admits that they struck a reef; his first officer, a Portugese man named Bruno, grumbles that his captain as an incompetent fool responsible for this entire fiasco. The two men nearly come to blows over this dispute, but Doctor Spenser steps in to convince them that this is not the place for a duel. They agree to set it aside for the time being.
  • As they near the rendezvous point in the afternoon, a strange fog begins to settle in, which confuses nearly everyone who has any understanding of the weather. There is no sign of the H.M.S. Pelican which is mildly disconcerting, even as the visibility drops sharply to the point that they can barely see more than a half mile. Behind them, the Rumjack increases its speed to keep up, though it does not seem they are yet committed to an attack.
  • Abruptly, Mister Lucroy, who is acting as lookout, calls that a sail has been sighted, dead ahead. It is not the Pelican, but rather a fifth-rate sitting quietly in the fog, its commissioning pennant so long that drags into the water. Captain Hayden recalls abruptly the story of a ship known as the Charon that was cursed to never enter port, and how its commissioning pennant grows longer each year that it is barred from entry.
  • As Captain Hayden begins ordering a minor course change to avoid this mystery ship, it begins moving toward them, clearly violating the laws of physics to do so. The ship passes by the Graceful Dame at less than pistol shot distance, which allows everyone the opportunity to see its crew: there is something undefinably … weird about the unnaturally silent sailors aboard the unknown vessel, enough so that everyone shivers or, in the case of poor Mister Sherd, passes out on deck.
  • The ghostly ship gathers speed, seemingly intent on ramming the Rumjack who desperately try to get out of the way but are too slow and caught by surprise … but there is not horrific crash. Instead, the Charon (presuming that is who the fifth-rate is) passes through the cutter and continues on its way, eventually vanishing entirely in the fog. As it does so, the crew of the Rumjack simply collapse.
  • As the fog rapidly (and mysteriously) burns off, the Pelican appears and races toward the now drifting Rumjack. The cutter is warned to heave-to, but there is no response and, soon after, Captain Lockhart of the Pelican dispatches boarders.
  • Captain Hayden and his command crew are summoned to the Pelican to discuss the events where they discover from Captain Lockhart that they found only corpses aboard the Rumjack. Even the bloody rats were dead! Doctor Spenser innocently declares that it must have been the ghost ship, which prompts a further discussion about what they witnessed. Had they not witnessed this with their own eyes, Captain Hayden declares, they would not have believed it. Still, as the Rumjack was quite obviously “engaging” the Graceful Dame, Captain Lockhart is able to take her as a prize; in appreciation of this fact, he not only allows several of the Dame’s crew to go aboard the Rumjack to try and seek answers as to why the cutter was pursuing them, but he also allows them to take all four of the 4-lb guns, much to Mister Palange’s delight.
  • The French crew pulled from the sinking ship go aboard the Princess Mary as her captain has a schedule to meet and cannot tarry while the cannon are transferred, though he is happy to have lent assistance to the Graceful Dame.
  • A little after midnight on January 22, the Graceful Dame at Saint Kitts.

Player Notes:

  • Our expectations were subverted. All of us were expecting a naval battle, but instead we got a ghost ship.
  • This is the second time we’ve encountered real supernatural stuff and this time, no one has “forgotten” like the encounter with Miss Anansi.
  • The Portugese sailor “Bruno” who we pulled out of the sinking French ship was named for one of our constant Twitch audience members, exactly like the Captain Button we encountered back in episode 5.
  • Something that didn’t really occur to me until after the fact and is really something I may need to consider for other games as well is some indication of how the NPC crew react when Fright Checks are called for. Now obviously, a GM may not want to roll a check for each character … perhaps I should recommend that each player be assigned a NPC and roll for them? Something to consider, I suppose…

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

Command Crew of the Graceful Dame

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I-VII. Bridgetown, Barbados. Thursday, January 18, 1725 Anno Domini

  • Captain John Hayden enters the “Anchor and Chain” where he finds Sir Randel already entertaining the pub-goers with his wild tales about merfolk; among those that Sir Randel is addressing happens to be one Leftenant Reginald Bull of H.M.S. Pelican who has his own tale to tell as, while on patrol, the Pelican observed a legitimate ghost ship that vanished without a trace! Sir Randel is fascinated and, when Doctor Spenser and Mister Palange enter soon after, get the doctor drawn into the discussion while Davino asks about the previous owner of The Gun, learning that the (believed deceased) Darragh Campbell ventured out to the local “devil’s house” to investigate another missing man and was never seen again…
  • Soon after Sir Randel, Doctor Spenser and Mister Palange begin talking about an expedition to visit this mysterious “devil house”, Leftenant Rogers enters the Anchor and Chain with word that the Rumjack has arrived in harbor! Concerned over this turn of events, the crew discuss their options with Captain Hayden informing Leftenant Bull about the trouble that has just sailed into Bridgetown; the leftenant promises to advise his captain, one Henry Lockhart who Hayden recognizes as a fellow officer that he stepped on during his climb up the ranks.
  • Concerned about the presence of the Rumjack, Captain Hayden and Leftenant Rogers head to the docks to observe her arrival, finding Miss Dora there who is lounging around with Mister Lucroy; from their observations, it seems that the surviving crew of the Rumjack appear to have teamed up with those who attacked them in the first place! Miss Dora displays a fierce anger at the presence of some of the men, and Captain Hayden makes a mental note to have Doctor Spenser try and get more information from their mute guest about this situation. The Rumjack sends some crew ashore, likely to seek out reprovisions. Opting to ensure that Miss Dora is not immediately visible, Captain Hayden asks Mister Lucroy to take her to the Anchor and Chain.
  • Eventually, the crew end up back aboard the Graceful Dame for the evening where a watch is most definitely in place, but the Rumjack crew do not try anything; that night, Mister Palange overhears Doctor Spenser talking in his sleep, murmuring that he’s “much better now and no longer needs the straitjacket.” He shrugs this off, not thinking anything of it.
  • The following morning, Sir Randel, Doctor Spenser, Mister Palange, and Miss Dora go ashore for some cargo and provision purposes; before they depart, Captain Hayden asks Doctor Spenser to attempt to gain more information from Miss Dora about her capture. During this, Sir Randel meets with a widow who has inherited her late husband’s cotton business; Sir Randel turns on the charm and makes a very good impression, to the point that she is amenable to him visiting him that evening. The second appointment that morning is an older gentleman who is selling sugar and rum; though this does not go as well as the crew would like, they still end up purchasing several tonnes of speculative goods. Throughout this, Sir Randel happens to note that Doctor Spenser refers to Mister Lucroy by the female pronoun; he opts to say nothing but instead, keep a closer eye on the two to see if he can pick up additional information.
  • While overseeing the loading of cargo, Captain Hayden notes that they are under observation by the Rumjack crew.
  • In the afternoon, following the completion of their tasks, Sir Randel leads a party consisting of Doctor Spenser, Misters Palange, and Lucroy to investigate the “devil’s house.” No one else is remotely interested in going – Red, especially, is vehement that he’s not going anywhere near a place that’s called that. The two former navy officers simply roll their eyes and go back to formulating a way to deal with the Rumjack; they note that the Princess Mary, the cargo ship they passed some days earlier, is pulling into dock now.
  • The “devil’s house” turns out to be an old cottage off in the jungle; as they approach, they observe a dark-skinned Negress outside the cottage; Mister Palange immediately locks eyes with her and follows her into the cottage. Notably, Boom, the powder monkey utterly refuses to enter the cottage. The rest of the group do follow, however, where they find the cottage empty! And then, the floor abruptly drops out from under them so they slide down a tunnel into a dark sea-cave. From the shadows, a feminine voice asks in strangely accented English, “Is this one come to destroy us? It bears the slayer’s weapon.” In those shadows, beyond arms reach, they can just barely make out the Negress, as if she’d always been standing there and was perfectly camouflaged. Only Mister Palange has any clue as to what she means regarding the “Slayer’s weapon” and when Sir Randel and Doctor Spenser try to talk themselves out of this mess, he answer with a hesitant “I wasn’t planning on killing anyone today.” This only adds to the confusion to Sir Randel, Doctor Spenser and Mister Lucroy, forcing Mister Palange to offer a very quick explanation. Doctor Spenser, falling back on what he knows, asks if she is of the Fae, but the Negress responds by declaring that “the dark ones call us Anansi,” an answer that means nothing to him or the rest of the crew present; if she is not Fae nor an ally of the Master of Crows, he declares then he has no quarrel with her.
  • To her question about why have they come here, Doctor Spenser declares curiosity, as this house has a dark reputation and they sought to uncover the truth. This prompts “Miss Anansi” to state that, “We follow the vibrations in the Great Web, followed them here. We seek answers to mysteries, questions we have not yet asked. We found strange patterns here.” This prompts both Sir Randel and Doctor Spenser to ask for more information; the former wants to know about these patterns while the latter wishes to know if she can teach others this ability. She responds with “The Slayer came to destroy us. It was strong and fearless. We mated with it and then we consumed it.” This revelation causes Mister Palange to attempt a discreet loading of his Gun with one of the silver rounds, but the Negress clearly notes this and disintegrates into a pile of spiders, a sight that causes all of the crew save Doctor Spenser to react in utter panic.
  • As his crew react in horror at this turn of events, Doctor Spenser desperately tries to salvage the situation by addressing the darkness and insisting that they mean no harm and that Mister Palange acted in haste. They have no quarrel with her. From behind the doctor, the voice states, “It said it would not destroy us.” He continues to try and reassure the unseen entity, while Mister Lucroy begins eyeing the chute they slid down and seriously considering fleeing. “We touched the Slayer’s great Weapon and sensed its path. We returned the Weapon to its room to be found to continue its journey. We saw that you would come this day. You are at the center of a strange web not of the Weaver’s making. We will watch you to discover its Maker.” To Doctor Spenser, this sounds like a fantastic idea, though he hesitates briefly when the dark woman-shaped figure, now barely visible once more in the shadows, states, “This one will give us its hand. It will give it freely and it will not be harmed.” Clinging to his Britishness, Doctor Spenser offers his hand as a gentleman to seal the bargain…
  • “Miss Anansi” blurs forward and bites the doctor on the arm, then withdraws just as quickly. This is enough for Mister Lucroy who clambers up the chute and flees as the shadows tell Doctor Spenser, “We have tasted its Essence. We can find it wherever it goes. It may leave us now.” With those words, the shadow opens its eyes. All eight of them. Once again, Doctor Spenser is the only one who is unaffected; Sir Randel is once again frozen in place while Mister Palange simply faints in terror. A moment later, the shadows toss out a book and some miscellaneous items, all webbed together. Still embracing his Britishness, Doctor Spenser thanks her for her kindness and hospitality, while wryly commenting that Mister Palange was clearly overcome by her generosity so it may take a few moments for him to recover. In parting, Miss Anansi states, “The Slayer left behind a journal-book. It knew so many things yet it had no answers. You will take it now. It is part of the Path.
  • After they depart, the cottage now appears to be little more than ruins. Of Mister Lucroy, there is no sign as he has already fled back to the Graceful Dame and Sir Randel desperately longs for arms of the merchant woman he met earlier to wash out these memories, while Doctor Spenser and Mister Palange are both eager to study this journal-book though the latter wants a stiff drink beforehand. Perhaps three.
  • While the ashore party is off interacting with Miss Anansi, Captain Hayden and Leftenant Rogers have a meal with the captain of the Princess Mary and agree to form a convoy for mutual protection; this will require a few additional days as the Princess Mary have to resupply. At the Anchor and Chain, the two encounter Leftenant Bull who has been informed that Captain Lockhart is quite willing to meet with his old acquaintance at the fort. Opting to take Leftenant Rogers with him, Captain Hayden heads to the fort to pay his respects and request assistance.
  • Needless to say, this meeting is quite tense due to the harsh feelings between the two captains, but once they get down to brass tacks and work through the ramifications of what it will mean for Captain Lockhart’s career should the Rumjack act as expected. Eventually, the captain agrees to have the Pelican arrive at a certain location on a certain day, hoping to catch the cutter in the process of committing piracy so they can legally take her as a prize. As they make ready to depart, Captain Hayden offers a heartfelt apology to his old rival, who accepts it in the spirit that is offered.
  • Time passes, during which time the Princess Mary race to make ready to set sail once more. By noon on the 20th, they have finished and send word to Captain Hayden that they are preparing to embark. Sir Randel composes a provoking letter that he has delivered to the Rumjack. As the crew of the Graceful Dame make ready to sail themselves, a stranger rushes up to the Dame, hoping to speak with the captain; this is a Mister Atwell, who has a post he would like them to deliver to a Raynard Adler should they reach Nassau. He offers a shilling for this with a promise of another shilling upon receipt, which is far more than the post is usually worth. Mister Atwell shrugs off Captain Hayden’s mention that this is too much.
  • As the Graceful Dame sets sail with the Princess Mary, the crew can see that the Rumjack is also making ready to depart as well…

Player Notes:

  • After the fact, I discovered that the reference to a straitjacket is anachronistic as the first reference to them dates to 1772 according to Wikipedia … which never lies to us.
  • I’m experimenting with the use of titles for the characters in an attempt to entertain myself and double-down on the Britishness … which means I need to run this through a British spell-check, at some point. I think the use of “Negress” is also period appropriate and is not intended to be used offensively. God, I hate that I have to throw in disclaimers like that in this day and age…
  • The encounter with “Ms. Anansi” should have been Davino’s time to shine … but he basically freaked out due to the dice (alongside Sir Randel) so Artegal had to step up. Clearly, Spenser leaned heavily into the whole “Stiff Upper Lip” angle. Now that he’s aware that the Gun is supposed to be able to kill anything, he’s going to be far more interested in its capabilities in the future…
  • Interestingly, I think this is the first time that Artegal has referred to the “Master of Crows” around any of the other PCs, but no one seemed to notice it at the time.
  • This is also the first time we’ve seen real supernatural stuff instead of presumed ones.
  • After the fact, some of us realized that Captain Hayden failed to ask Captain Lockhart about the ghost ship and his son. We may need to retcon that a tiny bit with a flashback or something.

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

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.

Dramatis Personæ

Too Late

The team follows Andris Milic, Brooks’ contact in Medvedev’s organization, to a place where they can discuss the situation in private. They tell him they are looking for Breznikov (C/S Loki), whom he admits he helped smuggle into the country, and that he knows his current whereabouts. He says he will give up the location for $1M euros. The team dips into the funds seized from C/S Heimdall’s accounts, probably for the last time, and pays the requested amount. Milic then reveals, as promised, that Breznikov is in the custody of a large, probably-Russian team, on a research vessel, the Azov, just offshore at an anchorage in the Gulf of Riga. It is expected to depart around 07:00 tomorrow for parts unknown.

With Milic’s aid, the team kits up for a fight. They include night-vision, plus an inflatable electric motorboat and cold-weather swim gear for their insertion onto the boat. Brooks researches deck plans and specs for the boat, and Mahoney looks them over for the most-likely placement of explosives to sink the ship, while Lynch and Baum brave the winter weather to get eyes-on the objective. They wait until around 02:00 the next morning to make their approach.

Despite (or because of) the rough weather, the team’s motorboat slips up alongside the ship, unseen and unheard. They climb aboard quietly, and split up. Baum garrotes the officer on the bridge, and gets set to cut the power. Brooks and Lynch take down the two roving sentries at opposite ends of the ship. Mahoney immediately heads for the ship’s hold, avoiding being seen by the late-shift, and finds charges set at the location he had previously identified; he immediately starts working to defuse the bomb. Lynch, Baum and Brooks regroup on the main deck and start toward the cabins on the next deck up when they surprise Delacroix (C/S Bragi). He bolts back into the research lab he had emerged from, and triggers an alarm. The ship erupts with activity, and the team fights off several Russian operators, while giving chase. They find Breznikov in the lab, shot in the stomach by Dealcroix and left to die. Baum and Brooks run down and corner Delacroix, who was clearly looking for an escape. They gun him down, about the same time Mahoney successfully disarms the bomb below. None of the team aboard see the incoming anti-ship missile until it’s too late…