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    Barbarian in the Playground

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    Oct 2016
    Orlando FL

    Default Re: 2e Black Crusade intro If anyone is interested

    The second night of adventure.

    Run the adventure of the Mordenheim’s monster. Book of Crypts.

    -PCs ended up exploring the lower floor and all getting stuck inthe wine cellar until they could come up with a plausible means to climb up to the kitchen because the stairs broke.

    -Fight with Mordenheim was tougher than expected. Sure he only had a d4 damage butcher knife, 7AC and 20 Thac0 but he does have 55 HP and since players all were at level 1 still, both the paladin and the cleric failed their Horror checks and were stunned for most of the battle.

    Burned the house down when he dies and it burns unnaturally fast.

    They learn of a port town several hours away from Katrina during the night where they can pick up supplies and some information of which is fairly limited. They are in the port town of Fairhaven. Maybe they pass a trader or a courier on the road.

    “The town is typical of hundreds you have been through in years past. A collection of stone and mostly wood cottages with thatch roof tops. The roads by the pier are paved with irregular sized cobblestones making it easy to turn an ankle but that is preferable to the sucking muddy rutted paths leading past some poor dirt farmers’ fields and into the country like the ones you walked in on. The smell of fish is strong in the air and the small harbor has a number of dilapidated fishing boats pulled up on the rocky beach with fishers working on their nets while families hang fish to dry. A single long rock pier juts out into the harbor but appears too large for any of the fishing boats you can see. Near the docks is a long low building with stone walls and a single two story structure lay near there as well. People stare at you as you enter, not hostile but more curious as it would appear land bound visitors are not very common.”
    This is the inn/harbormaster’s residence. The small town only has a hundred and fifty or so people. Its chief export is a red trout which is very common to the area and several tradesmen come by every week or two to collect the catch which is dried and treated with a special herb which also grows locally.
    People here do not know who the lord of the land is and pay no taxes except to the mayor who for once doesn’t give you the vibe of being corrupt and using the taxes for his own benefit. Current talk is about how the mayor is making a deal to import cut stone with a mining town several days away so they can finally pave the streets with something better than cobble stones from the ballast of passing ships. Room and board at the inn is 1gp. Food is of course fish and mead and imported wine are the drinks of the day.

    -The thief who had looted many bodies during the fight through Jerusalem(go figure) walked into the tavern since it was the first true tavern he had been to in several years of fighting across the Holy Land. Walks up to the counter and slams a pouch of 20 gold on the bar and waits for the bartender who speaks a dialect of French to count them. Party ends up having the best meals and drinks in years.

    -Basic town amenities can be found here. A blacksmith, a general store, a non-magical apothecary.
    -If PCs look around, have them make a Wisdom check. They notice there is no town church.

    “In the morning after breakfast, you hear a piercing loud high pitched noise. In the harbor you notice a peculiar giant vessel sitting at the dock. It almost appears to be a white painted, multi-leveled boat but very large in size. Its locomotion is not in fact sails, of which you don’t see any place to attach them, nor oars like a galley. Instead there is a large wheel at the back of the vessel, a quarter of which is sitting in the water. Two column sit near the back belching a small amount of white smoke as if the ship was on fire. However you do not see the chaos of a bucket brigade or anyone hastily abandoning ship. On the white painted sign is the emblem of a golden eagle. Under it is some lettering”

    Roll an Intel check: PCs who speak English are able to decipher the name Sultana

    “Also on board are a large number, almost overflowing number of men in dark blue uniforms milling about.”

    A boy runs over to you if the PCs don’t investigate the ship itself after about an hour of being in port. He says the ship’s captain requests their presence specifically.

    “When the PCs approach the ship you can see the sailors going about their work without much distraction or talk. The porters and dock workers wait on the dock and do not board the ship as a small crane and pulley system lowers and raises crates from the deck to dock or vice versa. A man you assume is the captain leans comfortably against the railing watching the cargo being moved.
    The captain is an older man with a wild beard. He wears fairly utilitarian pants, short boots, and a grey buttoned up shirt, a heavier seal skin jacket and a wide brimmed hat designed to provide shade from the sun.
    “Ahh my friends, you have arrived. Come aboard, come aboard, our mutual benefactor awaits!” He boisterously says with his arms outstretched.”

    - Lord Anton of Soureign is the benefactor who has paid him to come and transport the PCs to him. Apparently he wishes to speak to them about something.
    -The Sultana is the name of the vessel. It is a steam powered riverboat that occasionally makes forays into open water when the weather is calm.
    -His name is Captain Mason (MAKE A REAL WORLD INT CHECK ie. look it up on google)
    -Allow PCs to leave and get what they need from the town while he finishes loading the crates of fish.

    The woodwork on the vessel is very well done with many intricate carvings along the walls. Most of the paneling is painted a white with touches on the trim of red. The captain runs a very clean ship. He shows you into an internal hallway and up a grand staircase to an upper level where you see a large table with large glass windows, glass so clear its like theres nothing there. A large fan with pulleys and rope leading to the back wall is hung from the ceiling providing air flow although several of the windows are canted open. “This be the dining room, meals are served three times a day, you will hear a double whistle at the 10 minute mark. “

    “As you move through the ship, you are shoulder to shoulder with men, mostly raggedly dressed in tattered blue uniforms. He says that they shouldn’t mind the men in uniform, they wont interact with the party.
    He then shows you back downstairs to the hallway with doors along the walls. Lord Anton has paid for two rooms, so these should be sufficient. The rooms are fairly nice and they are the only ones available on the ship. The beds have sheets and pillows stacked neatly. The floors and all the woodwork is laquored and shined and there is a sea chest for each of you with a key in the lock. Down the hall is a green door, he says you can get cleaned up in there, the red knob is the hot water, beware it can get extremely hot so do not use it without the cold water and do keep your showers short. You will find soap on the shelves in there. Please clean up before dinner, you aren’t the most pleasant smelling.
    My number two will handle cleaning your armor and equipment and will be around shortly after they are under way to collect it. He would rather you not track dirt and mud around the ship more than you already have. These other poor lads have been giving him a conniption fit as it is.
    The vessel’s loud whistle blows three times and you suddenly feel the deck lurch under your feet. If they go outside they see they are moving away from the docks. The crew continues about its work. If the PCs try to talk to one, he will acknowledge them maybe with a minor head swivel or a nod but will not verbally answer any questions. If PCs get too persistent then the Steward or Captain make an appearance and intervene. “Don’t disturb the lads, they are dead tired and have had a rough couple days. We don’t normally come out of the rivers this season but Lord Anton paid us handsomely. How about you return to your cabins and Ill send Williams to collect your things?”
    The steward Williams is a rat faced man with pockmarked cheeks, he leads another crewman and asks for your gear so his staff can clean it. He is fairly polite but doesn’t make small talk and doesn’t answer any questions other than their equipment will be cleaned and brought back before dinner. The other crewman doesn’t speak or even acknowledge being spoken to. “Don’t mind him, he has been dropped on his head a few too many times.”

    -Several hours later, the steward returns your equipment. The chain links of your armor have been sanded and oiled and repaired. Patches have been repaired in your newly cleaned tunics and gambesons in somewhat correct colors. Swords sharpened and oiled. Leather scrubbed and oiled and no longer smelling like wet horse. “Captain says to wear your finest for dinner this evening.”
    Give PCs a chance to do stuff and wing it
    - The whistle blows twice. The large dining room table has a red tablecloth and is covered in silver bowls, plates and utensils. The food smells better than anything you have eaten in your long crusade and is on par with lordly meals back in Europe. The captain sits in fine unfamiliar clothing and several men stand silently in white and black sets of clothing whose style is just as unfamiliar. Buttoned at the front, odd clothe ties around their necks, even their shoes are shiny. They each hold trays with dark wine bottles and glass flutes.
    “He stands and motions them to their seats. There is only he and the PCs sitting at the table. “Welcome, welcome! The Sultana is delighted to have you aboard. Now that we are underway, here are some ground rules. Feel free to wander the vessel during day light hours. At night however you must remain in your quarters. Further, try not to engage the crew and disturb their work. If you have a question, find Mr Williams or myself and we will gladly help you. Other than that, enjoy the hospitality that the Sultana presents. That there is in our crowded conditions that is. And remember, don’t bother with the other passengers, they are poor conversationalists.

    -The food is delicious.
    -He passes around a Bottle of something called Kentucky Whiskey but gives no indications of what Kentucky is. He will follow his orders he was paid to follow and try to avoid disclosing information about his world and about this world. I had them take glasses of the whiskey and roll con checks to see how they reacted. The ranger and the cleric(who is still remaining mostly silent and usually hiding her identity) passed their checks with a 1 and didnt even wince at the whiskey. The thief passed but not by alot so he had a lot of wincing. The Paladin failed and over reacted to it and chose not to have more.
    Info the PCs might be able to get out of him
    -We are sailing on the Sea of Sorrows and will arrive in Soureign in 3days.
    -Will not answer further questions about where they are. “My employer who had me collect you gave specific instructions that I wasn’t to clue you fine folk into where you are for fear of discouraging your progress. I will say if you were still unaware, you just left the land of Lamordia and we are bound for the island of Soureign.
    -We do not normally sail out during this season. I anticipate extremely rough weather and possible hostilities once we round the cape tomorrow. Have no worry, we shall endeavor to keep the Sultana afloat."
    -"I was paid a hefty sum to meet you 4 days ago that was worth braving the elementd"
    -He likes to change the subject to where the PCs are from and the year.
    -Remember to stay in your room at night. The watch may mistake you for…something else and react accordingly.

    First night nothing happens. During the day the weather gets worse. The boat proves that it is not a sea going vessel and waves and water pour across the gunnels. "Never fear my friends, she can take it." Everyone who fails a CON check gets seasick.-Only happened to the ranger

    During travel the second day a harsh storm blows in. It calms a bit before the evening but the wind still howls and water still spalshes over the deck. The captain appears with a lantern a tin and some shredded cotton rags. No time to explain, we might be needin’ your help, you might want to put that fancy armor on. Also, what you are about to see, is something you likely don’t expect, remember your allies may not look like allies and don’t let their looks fool you. Quick put the cotton in your ears as deep as they can go. He then uses a wooden spoon and slathers the contents of the tin on your ears. Searing pain as its hot wax. You can only hear the loudest of noises.

    When PCs go out, lanterns are lit around the ship swinging from their mounting hooks. The wind buffets you and water sprays from time to time over the side. You can vaguely hear some kind of haunting song from all sides. Oddly you don’t see any of the ragged men you have seen the last couple days.

    “Along the wet wooden deck stand several corpses in various states of decay armed with rusty sabers. They look outward however and not at you.” Wisdom check. “They appear to be wearing sailor’s clothing.”
    A blow glow appears from around the corner and the spectral form of Mr. Williams walks/floats over to the large form of what appears to be the Captain. He gives an evil broken toothed grin at you. He wears some sort of dark uniform with brocade and a stripe down the sides but its all shades of glowing blues and greens.

    The Captain turns to speak with him. He is corporeal and wears the tattered remnants of a blue uniform with gold buttons. He is missing part of his face and beard. In the wavey light of the laterns you can see living things in the tears of his skin and clothing. Above his right eye he even is missing his eye brow and yellow bone is visible. He carries a rusty saber and some sort of short tubular item with a small wooden handle. Several more are tucked into his stained yellow waist sash. On his head he wears a stained and tattered brimmed hat with a tarnished brass emblem. A black feather is stuck in the hat band.

    Roll a horror check.- everyone passed

    He yells loud enough to be heard over the wind, song and wax ear plugs “Prepare to repel boarders!”
    If PCs look over the side they see several beautiful women in the water staring back at them. “Come to us. Please, save us.” They beckon. Make a save vs spell at +5 if they have the wax. Females are unaffected. If affected, the PC will just stand dumbly and stare at the railing for a complete round.
    Roll initiative. Anyone affected still rolls for the battle but goes last. Anyone affected by failing the horror check suffers those affects as well. Each PC is held enthralled by one siren. The rest engage as follows.

    -On round 2 the women swim to the edge of the boat next to the stupefied PCs. There is faint sound of combat from the other side of the ship. PCs get to roll another save, this time with no bonus.
    Round 3 the women will grab any PC at the rail and try and pull them over. Touch attack followed by a strength check. 50% chance the captain will yank a PC back. Any PC pulled from the rails will fall to the deck and awaken. If no one grabs a PC and the siren successfully grabs a PC and pulls them overboard and they are wearing armor then they will sink, they also awaken from their stupor. Make a Str check to stay afloat and a dex check to shuck their armor which takes 3 rounds.

    -The women growl, their skin seemingly pulls back and reveal rows of sharp teeth and black eyes and propel themselves on board with their tails. There are 12 total of the siren things.
    Corrupted Sirens- hp10 AC6 strength14. Spears and harpoons. When they lose half their number, they will start to retreat. Any PC in the water has a strong chance of being killed in the water and drug away.
    8 will leap onto the deck while 4 stay in the water and hurl harpoons.
    -This was a rough fight, no one died but 3 of them were enthralled and couldnt shake it until the thief managed to kill one revealing their true nature turning it into a slugfest. I think the paladin actually threw a harpoon at one and fumbled and hit the cleric.

    And this is why we don’t sail during this season. Return to your room, your assistance was appreciated.”
    Dawn breaks but its only noticeable due to it being a cold grey and not the pitch black. In the distance you can see the dark of trees indicating land. Your vessel chugs towards the dark coast slowly revealing a narrow beach of driftwood littered sand followed by an interior of dark twisted trees covered in grey moss. The boat steers for the mouth of a wide river of inky black water flowing out into the sea. All the men in tattered blue uniforms are back and are milling around.
    You have no concept of direction with the leaden sky not even giving a glimpse of the sun. The clouds to your left seem darker and more threatening as you enter the mouth of the river. The breeze stops immediately. You see thick swamp on both sides.
    Ahead in the river you see what appears to be a small flat bottomed boat simply floating in the river and your steam boat steers towards it with a lurch. The captain, now looking alive approaches you, “Fair travelers, it would seem our host has seen fit to send you a raft to finish this trip”
    You notice your vessel is riding lower in the water the closer you get to the boat. “I would hurry if I was you. It seems that we have caught fire.” He says twirling his mustache between his fingers. The few crew you can see carry on like nothing is going on despite water starting to run across the deck. However the rear of the ship is aflame with smoke pouring out of the doors and windows.
    -The ship continues to chug forward despite the water now ankle deep and flames hundreds of feet into the sky. The tattered men in blue are jumping over board with cries of “I cant swim!” and the like. Most are swimming only a few dozen feet before disappearing under the water. The captain nor the crew seem to notice. “I would go East if I were you.” Pointing to your right. ”I do wish I could tell you more. I recommend you mind your manners, our gentleman host tends to have a bit of a short fuse. I bid you a due, maybe our paths will cross again.” As the boat bumps the side of the ship you note now that the water is knee deep that it doesn’t seem to even get the crew’s clothes wet. As the last PC gets on the flat bottomed boat the riverboat continues forward angling down. Mr Williams nods his hat to you as he stands on the bridge which quickly submerges. Soon only the tall smoke stack is visible and even it quickly disappears beneath the inky black water. The cloud of smoke vanishes with the ship.There is silence, none of the men in blue are visible and none made it to shore. Oddly, none went to the skiff you are sitting on. There is a 12 foot pole in the boat.” You see what appears to be a large storm gathering to the west.

    After this I gave them more exp and the thief/rogue leveled to level 2. A good thing since he seems to be the most commonly knocked unconscious character. Like any DM I dont read this word for word and often have to do stuff on the fly like the whiskey thing I added and left them wondering what a Kentucky is. I pretty much ran the siren fight to re-learn how the morale system works. Its great. I ran that fight pretty easy. I let the players fight whoever they were fighting and after two rounds I simply started rolling d20s for the other combatants. If one rolled more than 5 higher than the other I called it a win for that roller and killed the other. For the two officers, I just narrated theirs and had them move to help whoever was closest. Super easy on the fly. Bonus points for anyone who recognizes the Sultana and its characters reference.
    Last edited by Corsair14; 2021-09-02 at 10:38 PM.
    PCs are not exceptional. They are normal Joe Shmoes stuck in exceptional circumstances.