Golden Age of Fantasy Piracy

Pirates log
a fishman, kobold, and some dutchmen walk into a boat

Press ganged out of Port Royal, the heroes found themselves aboard the pirate vessel Wormwood. The ship’s captain Barnabas Harrigan is looking to crew his ship after fleeing Spain. The new shipmates had to quickly adapt to their surroundings because if they didn’t they would likely wind up keel hauled.

Their daily taskmaster is a vicious cur named Master Scourge who closely follows the orders of the ship’s first mate [[Mr. Plugg]] . Scourge quickly took a disliking of the new recruits after they soundly beat some of his lackeys. This has lead to a split between the crew, those loyal to Mr. Plugg and those the heroes have befriended.

Below is an account of the crew and their standing.

Master Scourge hostile
Chonchobar Shortstone hostile Rigger
Jaundiced Jape hostile Swab
Kipper hostile Gunners Mate
Patch Patchsalt hostile Bowsun mate
Maheem hostile Swab
Aretta Bansion hostile Swab/Harlot
Crimson Cogward neutral Swab
Barefoot Samms Toppin neutral Rigger
Giffer Tibbs neutral Swab
“Ratline” Rattsberger neutral Rigger
Tilly Brackett neutral Swab
Shivikah neutral Swab
Fipps Chumlett neutral Swab
Peppery Longfarthing neutral Sailing Master
Barnabas Harrigan unfriendly Captain
Riaris Krine unfriendly Master Gunner
Habbly Quarne,Stitchman unfriendly Surgeon, Carpenter
“Caulky” Tarroon neutral Cabin Girl
Owlbear Hartshorn friendly Swab
Cut-Throat Grok friendly Quartermaser
Rosie Cusswell friendly Swab
“Badger” Medlar friendly Swab
Jack Scrimshaw friendly Swab
Slippery Syl Lonegan friendly Rigger
Sandara Quinn friendly Swab

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Marlo's Memories
What a fish thinks

My thoughts upon awakening on the Wormwood were driven by anger. Nobody deserves to be drafted into work, especially for the blasted curs that run this ship. I should have just left, there is no way the humans could have stopped me from leaving once I’m over the side. But I didn’t because while that may save my stinkin’ arse it wouldn’t do a lick of good for the rest of these lubbers. Barely even have their sea-legs and forced to do deckwork. No wonder I made the job of rigger, the rest can barely tie a knot to save their life. It is my calling to be out at sea and it would seem that aboard this ship is where I am needed now. I’ll show the swabs how to work the lines. And I’ll show the curs how to run a boat. Just like Cap’n Hector taught me.

And if my plan goes to hell then Gozreh take us all to the depths.
Marlo

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Mounting tension
Two old friends meeting in the hold...

“We’ve really gotten ourselves into it this time, Skabswerth!”
Anders knelt in the ship’s hold, nervously looking around the stacked barrels that formed his temporary hiding spot.

“I detect concern in your voice, Anders. Are we in danger?”
Skabswerth voice was a metallic baritone, originating somewhere within his shining carapace.

“We most definitely are…”
The gnome paused, straining to hear a potential eavesdropper.
“…and it is WONDERFUL.”

“I am not understanding. Shall I prepare for battle?”
Skabswerth’s clockwork mandibles clicked together eagerly. A thin jet of steam issued from one of the exhaust vents on his left flank.

“Don’t go being silly. We are not in danger this instant. But we are being pirates now, danger is our constant companion.”

“If you are not needing my protection, why have you called me?”

Anders lovingly patted the metal creature.
“I have summoned you, because we are needing to practice. The next time the horn of battle is sounding, we shall be fighting side by side, or above and below rather.”

“I am not understanding, Anders. Is this a riddle?”

“Oh no, Schatzie. I am most serious. Now let me climb onto your back, and be trying not to break anything…”

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Journal Entry 1
The dark musings of Richard Percy Stonehammer III

15th May – Location: in the middle of the fucking ocean

First, let me say that I am no navigator. Maps are something I lived without; England was small and understandable. This is a deficiency at sea. Thus, I have begun to steal looks at the maps of the ship’s sorcerer whenever possible. I am relatively certain that she thinks I enjoy looking at her form, and I have a gnawing, terrifying suspicion that she has a dwarf fetish. My lack of beard is throwing her off for now. Regardless, Peppery allows me into her lab thanks to my alchemical talents (for once, this is not a reference to drugs). I have access to several maps. In time, perhaps I can decipher them, and offer a less fluid location than “water”.

Second, if this journal smells like fish, it is because I have been conscripted, against my will, into a band of what I shall very loosely call pirates. In the future, if any pirate breaks the code I write this journal in, please understand that I have no intention to insult you by comparing you to the crew of the Wormwood, however I found “pigfuckers” to be too unspecific of a term. These men are more like desperate, yet comically incompetent brigands; the first mate is a lunatic, I am relatively sure that one of my gnomish companions is insane, and the least personable member of the crew is also the most valiant. Furthermore, he’s a clownfishman. The captain does not speak to the crew, I was forced to throw a bomb at a half-orc (also dying of jaundice, as even a one-eyed brain-damaged town surgeon could have noticed) during a fight, and the quartermaster is senile. Also, these are the good things I can say about them.

Third, I can sense a rising tension in the crew. There will be blood soon. During my time in the kitchen, while the cook is too drunk to remember anything, I have been working on a few new concoctions. My latest has some rather unorthodox side effects, but it does give me a degree of bite that I did not previously have. Perhaps I can convince the shambling pigfucker idiots that hold me captive I have contracted lycanthropy and escape. I also figured out how to make healing potions that others can use. Haven’t bothered to tell anyone yet. Might keep it to myself.

Oh yes. Chariots.

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Summoned to Adventure
off the coast of Bonewrack Island

“Anders, why are we breaking your speerschleuder?”

“We are not breaking it, liebchen. We are making it more difficult for somebody else to be fixing it. There is a difference.”
Anders hunched under the bow of the half-constructed ballista, in the dimly-lit armory of the Man’s Promise.

The work had already taken too long. Up on deck, the rest of the exploration party could be heard assembling. If Anders and Skabswerth delayed any longer, their absence would be noted, and punished.

“There… ausgezeichnet!”
The gnome stepped back from the pair of ballistae, a look of satisfaction spread across his sweaty face. To the untrained eye, his work area looked exactly as disorganized and cluttered as before.

“So we are going now…to save the ship?”
Skabswerth scuttled in a tight circle, before crouching. Four short jets of steam issued from his release vents.

“Not just the ship,”
Anders secured his pack to the leather harness strapped to his friend’s carapace.
“…there is also a damsel in distress, don’t be forgetting.”
He steadied a boot against a large rivet on rear of the crab’s shell. Then, with a practiced flourish, swung up into a riding position.

“There will be more of those seegoblins, Anders.”
Skabswerth lurched up the steps to the deck, a motion resembling an angry fishwife, pushing through a crowded marketplace.

“Oh I am counting on that, Skabswerth.”
Anders adjusted his wide-brimmed hat to block the sun.
“More grindylows, more adventure, and more FAME!”

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Pirates Log
OF COURSE you can bildge that

Life aboard the wormwood has become harsh for the heroes. Master Scourge has singled them out for the worst tasks on the ship and enforcing every minor infraction.

Two swabs loyal to Mr. Plugg attempted to Murder Tiberon in the bilges but were slaughter when Ononion and Richard came to help. While dismembering the bodies, Tiberon and Richard were caught and taken above deck to be keel hauled the following morning. Before justice could be meted out a ship was spotted.

The Dutch sailing vessel Man’s Promise was overtaken and after a brief bloody assault the pirates secured the ship. With two ships under his control, Harrigan gave the Man’s Promise to Mr. Plugg to bring to Port Peril. Plugg took with him the crew of the Wormwood while Harrigan kept his officers, with the exception of Fishguts, and left to meet them at their destination.

After three days aboard the Man’s Promise many of the heroes allies was talking of mutiny with the crew split into three groups. The heroes and those friendly towards them, Mr. Plugg and his loyal cronies, and Sandra Quinn who has a group who will follow her lead but won’t side with either group otherwise. Before any mutiny could take place the ship ran afoul of a storm during which several Grindylow came aboard abducted Sandra and another crewmember. They also attacked the PC’s but after a few of their number were thinned they fled.

The following morning the crew Discovered that they had run afoul of a reef just North of a small island. The hull had been holed through the ships water barrel so despite Plugg’s dismissal of Sandra Quinn the heroes were headed ashore to hopefully rescue their ally.

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Pirates Log
We came for the water, we stayed for the Grindylows

After the Man’s Promise was holed along a coral reef the heroes headed ashore Bonewrack Isle. They were charged with refilling the ships water stores but their main purpose was to rescue Sandra Quinn from the grindlows who had attacked the ship.

After they came ashore the discovered that the island was home cruel monstrous creatures which they had to fight their way through. The island was also home to several ghouls who came ashore when a Spanish Naval scout wrecked along the reefs. One member of the crew survived long enough to construct a stockade on the island before succumbing to ghoul fever himself. From the stockade the heroes discovered the grindylow cave where Sandra Quinn was being held.

The heroes stormed the cove and made efficient work slaughtering the guards driving deep into their tidal caverns. In the deepest sea caverns they discovered the Brinebrood Queen who ruled over grindylows as well as her gigantic son The Whale. Sandra Quinn and young Jack Scrimshaw we help captive here as well and were plunged into the water when the heroes arrived. The battle that ensued was brutal and brief as the heroes tore apart the Queen’s guardians’ including her son whom was torn apart from the inside after swallowing Richard. Terrified, the Queen fled and the heroes were able to rescue both Sandra and Jack Scrimshaw.

Now the crew members must return to the Man’s Promise and wrest control from Mr. Plugg and take their rightful place among the Free Captain’s of the Caribbean.

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A heroic return by boat
off the coast of Bonewrack Island

“My condition is not improving, Anders.”
Skabswerth was hunched in the stern of the boat, optic lenses trained on his friend.

“Hush, schatzie.”
Anders turned away from the carvings on the whale skull to regard the clockwork crab. He whipped out a brightly colored handkerchief and began to dab at the brackish fluid leaking from Skabswerth’s joints.
“We will be making you right as the rain soon enough.”

The shuttle was riding low in the water, loaded to its fill with crew, treasure, fresh water and a scrimshawed whale skull. To the north, the Man’s Promise rested on the waves, repairs completed. Behind them, Bonewrack Island sat covered in the morning haze.

“Will the new captain reward you, Anders? For accomplishing your mission?”
Skabswerth raised his large right claw to allow Anders access to his stained undercarriage.

“Ha. I would not be thinking so.”
The gnome examined the stained handkerchief in the morning light.
“And I suspect Herr Plugg will not be the captain for much longer.”
Anders leaned over the edge of the small boat to rinse the small piece of fabric.

Skabswerth hooked his left claw onto the back of Anders’ belt, to prevent the tiny man from accidentally falling overboard.

Anders straightened, and wrung out the now-ruined handkerchief into the ocean.
“What the ship is needing, is a captain with…”
He paused, searching for the words.
“…a PIRATE captain, with some character, and principles.”

“Principles, Anders?”
Skabswerth shifted his optics to the rest of the shuttle’s passengers, who were beginning to take an interest in this small talk of mutiny.

“A pirate captain should be a daring rogue, not some murderous scoundrel.”
He spit out the last two words like a grindylow curse.

“Anders, you are not a scoundrel.”
The crab’s insight provoked a round of badly concealed chuckles from the crew.

Anders drew himself up to his full height and straightened his hat.
“Thank you, Skabswerth.”
He looked to the Man’s Promise

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The Dark Musings of Richard Percy Stonehammer III, part 2
In which we steal a boat, kill some sea goblins, I get eaten by a fat goblin and then destroy him, and then mutiny

I’m on a boat

Quite a bit has transpired since my last entry in this tome, so I will endeavor to keep this brief. Once again, my condolences to anyone unfortunate enough to break the code which I use to secure my thoughts. You deserve better, you really do.

First, we stole a boat. Piracy is merely a synonym for seafaring theft, so I am going to call a spade a spade and a stolen ship a stolen ship. On the upside, we stole it from the Dutch, so fuck them.

Second, we split from the old captain. I’m not quite sure what Harrigan’s deal was, but whatever it was, it was a bit crazy. I suspect he has some sort of crippling social disorder, otherwise speaking to the crew is usually a good plan for a captain. I have a feeling we will be seeing him again if he ever realizes we’re on a boat that he expected to get back, and more so, that we mutinied. But I get ahead of myself.

Third, we were attacked by grindylows, which are sea goblins, which are chittering shitbags that tried to kill me. This problem was taken care of; they dragged one of our shipmates overboard at the same time our ship ran aground. We had to travel to a rather run down island, where we managed to kill some ghouls (including, and I am not exaggerating, a whoregoul), then kill some grindylows. A giant, disgustingly fat grindylow tried to eat me, but I put an end to that. More to say about that in a bit as well.

Fourth, we mutinied. When we returned to the ship, it was clear the so-called captain and his first mate had plans in mind other than allowing us to keep the treasure we collected and allowing us to keep living. Unfortunately for him, he underestimated the determination and skill of our group, along with our bloodthirst (or, in one particular case, cold-hearted mechanical sense of purpose). He now sleeps with the fishes, by which I mean we burned him, stabbed him, and the broke his neck. Oh, and in the middle of the mutiny, the grindylow queen returned; I tore her hand off when she tried to attack me, and then several of my more aquatic allies dove into the water and finished her off.

Fifth, something strange is going on with my latest discovery. The mutagen I have created is fantastically powerful; I’m able to grow claws and fangs, as well as becoming far stronger than I was before. However, something bizarre happens when I drink it. More and more, I feel almost detached from myself as it happens; perhaps that is because of the awesome power that it unlocks, or perhaps something stranger is going on. I will write more on this later. It also has the additional benefit of terrifying the rest of the crew (this may be correlated to seeing me tear apart opponents in combat while under the influence of powerful magic), so they give me more space and treat me with appropriate respect despite my hairless nature.

Sixth, I have allowed Anders to become captain. He should be easy to manipulate, as his simplistic and optimistic worldview (typical for a gnome) has filled his head with dreams of romantic piracy; I am sure that right now he is dreaming of swinging from ropes with his mechanical crab, shouting implausibly long-winded speeches while wearing the fanciest hat he can find, while liberating distressed maidens and ever-fancier clothing from evil pirates and raiders. In reality, we will need to be a bit more practical, but I can see that several others on this ship share this view with me. As the powers behind the waist-height throne, we should be able to keep things on track such that we can continue our journey and I will be uninterrupted in my studies.

Now I just have to figure out what is going on with this mutagen. Also, we nominated Tib’run as the ship’s surgeon, and I have been given dominion over the sails, which leaves me ample time to tend my laboratory. I might have a few more discoveries in my hands, and the large cache of healing potions we have currently reside in my laboratory. I am near to a method of watering them down without reducing their efficacy so that we can double our supplies, but this will take a bit more experimentation as well. This begs the question of why I bother, as the rest of the crew regards me with a mix of horror and trepidation.

Chariots.

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Pirates Log: Not anymore you're not.
You'll be following me now please? yes?

Sailing aboard the soon-to-be-renamed Man’s Promise the stole aboard at dawn as roles were being read out by the officers. [[:Anders van der Smoot]] boldly declared that he would be seizing control of the ship from Mr. Plugg and Master Scourge. Not overwhelmed by the gnome or his companion’s, which included Sandra Quinn, Mr. Plugg ordered the mutineers executed. An all out brawl ensued between the members loyal to Plugg and Scourges and those to the heroes and Sandra Quinn. Casualties mounted on both sides, but the heroes were gaining the upper hand and it seemed well in hand when Scourge was blown overboard.

Suddenly, and without warning the Brinebrood Queen seized this confusion and combat to attempt her revenge for the murder of her son at the hands of the heroes. This new threat added to the swirl and confusion of battle but the heroes continued to prevail. Anders was the one who finally felled Plugg with a well place crossbow bolt to the back of the head and Richard drove the Queen into the sea after removing her harpoon hand. Once the tide of battle had turned the pirates formerly loyal to scourge set upon the Grindylows and make quick work of them. Several party members gave chase to the fleeing Queen to guarantee that she would never harass them again.

After wresting control of the ship the heroes convened to divvy treasure and decide upon the officer roles. Anders was chosen as Captain, in part because of his indomitable good will and passion for the sea, in part because he may have been the only choice that no sailor felt directly threatened them personally. While a few grumbled that this fancy jacket wouldn’t be able to hold a ship, let alone become an infamous Free Captain, few would say such while within range of his mighty summoned monster who seemed to be grow with each passing day.

The officer and crew are as follows

Captain: Anders Van Der Klaw
First Mate: Ibn Mar, “Mr. Mar”
Bowson: Marlo (or “fishman” as most have taken to calling him)
Master of Sail: Richard Percy Stonehammer III, whom it is generally agreed upon is a cannibal
Ships Surgeon/Carpenter: Tib’run
Master at Arms: Ononion
Master Gunner: Gustaaf van der Waals
Cook: Ambrose “fishguts” Kroop
Quartermaster: Sandra Quinn
Cabin Boy: Jack Skrimshaw

Crew—
Master Scourge hostile
Chonchobar Shortstone Rigger
Jaundiced Jape hostile Swab
Kipper hostile Gunners Mate
Patch Patchsalt hostile Bowsun mate
Maheem hostile Swab
Aretta Bansion hostile Swab/Harlot
Crimson Cogward Swab
Barefoot Samms Toppin Rigger
Giffer Tibbs Swab
“Ratline” Rattsberger Rigger
Tilly Brackett Swab
Shivikah Swab
Fipps Chumlett Swab
Owlbear Hartshorn Swab
Rosie Cusswell Swab
“Badger” Medlar Swab
Jack Scrimshaw Swab
Slippery Syl Lonegan Rigger
Bram Van Der Hoef Swab
Serhat Elban rigger
Vogel Van Ness swab

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