Jarrod – Havok, half-orc barbarian
Tim – Monk, half-orc fighter
Andrew – Vorbrk, tiefling rogue
Doug – Eliza, female human sorcerer
Paul – “Salty” Bob, human cleric of Besmara
So I had a bit of a chat to the lad.
“Lad, what do you think be the good of complaining to Mr Plug about our stripes for being late? You think he be running a pretty court of law, taking evidence, making a fair judgement? You think he doesn’t know why we were late on deck? Of course he knows! Like as not, he put them up to it.
“Why? Well, well – for two reasons.
“First, it be good for discipline to give the new salts a taste of the lash early on, before they think of doing something more severe. They know who’s in charge, they’ll understand the penalty for giving sauce to the officers. Makes a man think twice, if he’s been whipped once.
“Second, this is a pirate ship, lad. There’ll be fighting, and Mr Plug needs to know if any of us be a coward. If you can’t take three strokes, you won’t be much use in a fight, and it’s into the drink with ye. Same for the girl, although she’ll like as not get the ladies’ cat.
“So lad, when he calls your name this afternoon, you step up and take your stripes like a man. Show ’em you’ve a little brass (although not too much, ye understand). Ye may scream a moment, but don’t sob or cry or beg.
“And most of all – if ye struggle, if ye fight – well, that be mutiny. Ye’ve been ordered to take three stripes, and take ’em ye will, if ye wants to live past sundown.
“I’ll clean our wounds after, but I won’t be asking Besmara to heal ’em. They’ll only whip us again, and deeper. We’ll all have stripes on our shirts for a day or two.
“Cheer up, matey. It could be worse.”
Well, the lad had a bit ‘o common sense and kept his hatch good and shut. And the rest of us. But seem he has a strictly limited supply of common sense, because that night he got into a drinking game. Damn near killed him. I spent the night making sure he and another five lads weren’t choking on their own vomit.
Our new players are learning the game. Doug is learning that a sorceress stays at the back. Andrew has learned that constitution damage is not your friend.
Each day and each night we get a single “ships action” – snooping, stealing, shopping, or diplomacising the NPCs. Keegan permitted me to do a night of “long term care” with the heal skill as my ship action for that night. 8 hours and a DC 15 means you get back 2 points of ability damage instead of 1. Salty Bob is not a big fellow, Str 10, but has good Dex and Con and Profession (Sailor) 7. I’m beginning to think of him as a middle aged, nut brown, small-but-wiry bloke who’s practical.
Maybe I’ll change his accent.
Time drags on at sea, usually, but we were not a week in when young simms comes bolting out of the hold. Rats. Big ones. Mr Plug sends us down.
Well, wasn’t a minute or two before we found them. Or they found us. Huge things they were, two foot high at the shoulder and vicious as a drunken halfling (always wear your protective, lad, when you are in a fight with a halfling). I get bitten, young Monk gets bitten badly. Bit of claret. But I fix him right up with the power of Besmara.
At the end, no serious harm done. We scour the hold for an hour or two and find some bits and bobs. Mr Plug is surprised we come out as soon as we do – perhaps we should have stayed down longer. The big lads decide to bring the barrel the rats were in up on deck for proof. That night, I call the power down to heal everyone.
A few more days, and the crew are mostly beginning to warm to us. Mr Plug brings out an unfortunate called Mr Owlbear – an idiot who they have tarred and feathered. He wants to see a fight, so Monk steps forward to oblige. But Mr Plug takes objection to my wishing Monk good luck – as if I would cheat a fair fight! And so Havok steps up instead. He gives Owlbear a bit of a beating and lays off when Owlbear surrenders. Mr Plug tries to welsh on the winnings as Owlbear was not knocked out. But most of the crew are with Havok, and he wins a very tidy purse. Monk finally breaks his silence, and blow me down if he doesn’t have the poshest, most hoity-toity accent you ever heard in your life.
We have successfully diplomacised pretty much everyone who can be made helpful. Tim was really finding that his backstory – Monk won’t speak common because he knows he has an upper class accent – was very much cramping his style. It would work out ok usually, but this particular campaign starts off with social skills being key.
The “wishing him luck” was indeed a spell – Guidance. Very minor. I think it’s something a chaotic character would do. 🙂
About a week in, a squall blew up. Twenty foot high, the waves were, and blowing a gale. All hands on deck. Took me a while to get into the rigging. Eliza didn’t manage it at all, and Plug lashed her for her trouble. Knocked her clean out. Lucky she wasn’t washed overboard, as she is a fine cook.
Right at the height of the squall it was man overboard – I forget who. Touch and go for a moment, lad, but we managed to get a line to her and drag her in, and kept everything fast.
Now hold on for a moment while I go for a slash lad. I’ll finish the story when I get back. I’m partial to the “White Rabbit” dark ale, if you’d be so kind.