50 Fathoms: Session 29

Here’s a problem with long-running campaigns: even with the blog to help me remember what we have and haven’t done, there is a pretty high number of subplots and ongoing threads to keep track of. I basically have a laundry list of what should be done before the campaign wraps up and it is… a not insubstantial amount of stuff. I think I’m going to have to be more proactive in making sure it all happens, rather than picking up one thread and dropping it two sessions later in favor of another.

 

The Party:

Yang Hou, human sailor

Boggsworth Binns, masaquani scoundrel

Skitters, scurillian archmage

 

The Setting:

The Pirate Sea and Shark Bay, on Perck

Caribdus, a drowning world

 

The Story So Far:

With Rana and Livis captured from the fort at Yumas, the group made haste to sail not across the Flotsam Sea, but taking a southern route through the Pirate Sea instead, to return to Fort Rum. While sailing in the Pirate Sea, they encountered a derelict frigate, its masts and sails destroyed. They decided to approach with caution, unsure if whatever had caused this damage was still nearby. Skitters launched himself and Boggsworth over to the other ship with air magic, while Yang Hou took a good old-fashioned rope swing across.

Immediately upon reaching the deck of the other ship, the Conquistador, they were hit with the stench of rotting corpses. The midday sun had been beating down for hours and Boggsworth quickly realized that many of these injuries had not come from ordinary battle – these bodies had been severely mutilated. From across the deck came a stumbling man walking towards them; he made it only a few steps before collapsing. Skitters rushed over to him, ready to heal his wounds – he saw that the man’s nose had been cut off, as had both of his hands. When they roused him to consciousness, he explained what had happened.

A pirate ship had rapidly come up to the Conquistador, and their captain had been unwilling to just take the vessel’s cargo and leave. The crew of the Mad Dog came and slaughtered the Conquistador’s crew, their cruelties directed by the pirate captain. As he described the captain, the party had a moment of realization. Not only did they know this particular pirate, they’d once helped him when marooned. James Low, a recent visitor from Earth who they’d dropped off in Brigandy Bay. Now realizing their responsibility for this event, they were more resolved than ever to stop him.

But, you know, not before stopping in Fort Rum for a couple of weeks to give the men a chance to carouse, to pick up a fresh crew of traumatized interns, and to check up on their nice profitable enterprise. Livis remained in chains and they stuck him in Fort Rum’s small jail, while Rana was permitted to go free. She said that she would likely stay in town for a while before moving on to another region; she’d always wanted to see more of the world than Timin and Kiera. After a week or so, they packed up their refreshed crew on the Potsticker and they decided to take the Kung Pao along as well for good measure.

Not wanting to go back to Brigandy Bay, where they’d caused enough trouble, but instead ventured towards the next most pirate-y town they knew – Shark Bay, on Perck. They’d been here only briefly in the past, but perhaps it was time for another visit. Surely someone else here would know about the Mad Dog and her insane captain. When they arrived, they made their way to the Blue Parrot tavern, named for the owner’s gorgeous mimic parrot, who flew freely about the place, drinking from patron’s tankards and swearing at anyone and anything. They quickly learned that quite a few of the locals knew of the Mad Dog – and their reputation here was not a good one.

The Mad Dog, it was said, docked in Shark Bay for supplies about once a month, but never for more than a day or so. Liam O’Donnell, the owner of the Blue Parrot, suggested that they’d likely be back within the week, but advised the crew of the Potsticker to avoid them at all costs. The crew were savage men, half-crazed from being at sea too long, and their captain was a bottle covey if Liam had ever seen one. The group decided to stay put in Shark Bay until the Mad Dog docked, then leave town and wait to catch the pirate ship at sea when they left the safe harbor.

While relaxing at the Blue Parrot, Boggsworth made friends with the eponymous parrot, named Dublin, giving him one of the many small hats he’d had made for his own parrot. Liam noted that the group had a knack with animals, and asked a favor of them in exchange for a reward. What he needed, he said, was a mate for Dublin. The bird was lonely – they are social creatures after all – and needed a lady friend. But he rejected every mimic parrot brought to him, none of whom could match his levels of profanity. It took little enticing to get the Potsticker crew interested in this mission.

So, they made their way a bit inland from town, tracking down the nests of mimic parrots and stealthily making their way up to capture them. When they’d found three lady parrots that they believed might prove suitable, they undertook their next task: teaching them to be as vulgar and profane as possible. This they did, spending the hours as they went back to town just swearing repeatedly at the parrots (Yang Hou did so in a mix of Caribdan and Chinese, just in case). Back at the Blue Parrot, they set up their very own Avian Bachelor set, and introduced the ladies to Dublin one by one.

Unfortunately for them, he rejected each of them – no love at first sight here. Fortunately, they had the brilliant idea of putting wigs on each of the birds and presenting them to Dublin as if they were brand new potential mates. After all, he was a bird – how smart could he be? This time, they were fortunate enough that one of the lady parrots went off on a screeching tirade of profanity and Dublin was smitten. Liam O’Donnell rewarded them with free drinks for a month, and that evening was a very, very good one.

While they waited for the Mad Dog to show up, they perused the other taverns of Shark Bay. They stopped in at The Long Weight (the scurillian owner’s attempt at a pun, but pretty accurate – they waited over an hour to get their drinks) to observe and gossip with the locals and other visiting ships’ crews. When the clock struck ten bells, a veritable parade of very attractive and completely naked women streamed out of the back room, explaining why so many were willing to wait such a long time for subpar booze. Boggsworth and Skitters whiled away the time talking to some of the beautiful young women, making sure none of them were ready for escape, while Yang Hou singled out the one Chinese woman in the line-up and rejoiced in hearing his native tongue again, and from someone other than a parrot.

Finally, four days after they’d arrived in town, they spotted the Mad Dog being moored in the harbor. All the crew of the Potsticker kept a close eye on the men coming off the pirate ship, tracking their whereabouts and watching the crazed sailors. Unfortunately for them, the captain – the very James Low that they recognized from before – spotted them before they spotted him. He offered them one chance to leave him alone and get out of town – after all, they’d done him a favor before and he was kind enough to return that now. The party refused, and Low whistled up some of his own crew as he drew a matched pair of knives out of their sheaths.

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