Chris (Tiberium), Dean (Thic Duc), Tim (Otto), Cody (Warin), Jeff (Amathar), Mariel (Leah), and Matt (Barron) are returning cast members. Navin (Simon) is new.
As we left the party, they were finishing up their affairs at the inn (now named the Peg Leg Inn^2), and planning to travel to Highport to see what they could do about a wedding. One of the guests at the inn, Simon, overheard their discussion and decided to volunteer, figuring it was safer than traveling alone in bandit territory. They left their chef in charge after a discussion on disciplinary policies (“firing, not stabbing”) and traveled to Restenford. Tiberium donated to his church while the rest of the group loaded their cart and treasure onto the ship they had captured earlier and set sail to Highport.
Things got awkward when the customs inspector boarded the ship upon their arrival at Highport. The ship’s captain claimed he had nothing to declare beyond the personal possessions of the passengers. The inspector questioned the lack of cargo, something that certainly seemed unusual for ship coming in to dock. The captain was trying to explain that he didn’t own the ship, just sailed it, and this was just a passenger run with personal property… when Warin appeared from the captain’s cabin, holding a piece of paper and handing it to the captain. “I think you forgot to show them the manifest!”
The list contained “rations” and “gold”, neither of which were in the hold, no quantities were listed, and the ink was still wet. It had clearly been forged by someone with no knowledge of forgery – or the contents of the cargo hold. And judging by the ink stains on his fingertips, likely by the very man who brought the document over, despite his priestly vestments. As the inspector read through the short manifest, the captain glared daggers at the priest. Finally, the inspector finished reading, and turned his gaze to the captain once more, asking, “I presume you can somehow explain this?”
The captain sighed and gestured towards the cargo hold, whose door was slowly closing as someone slipped inside. “You’re welcome to inspect the hold. I don’t recognize that document and certainly did not write it. We have no cargo to declare; merely a handful of passengers and their personal possessions. While I understand from your perspective this is unusual and perhaps suspicious, our lack of cargo was not by my choice. I merely sail the ship, I do not own it. The passengers do, and they set the schedule. And the cargo, or lack of it.”
In the background, a hue and cry from the side of the ship arose. “Man overboard!” The inspector was not deterred, but Tiberium raced to help.
With that, the captain and the inspector disappeared below deck, followed by Warin. The door hung in the air for a very long moment before slowly closing behind them.
The inspector’s face remained inscrutable as he observed a nearly empty hold. A pair of horses and a pony, a small cart, a decorative chest with a feline figurine reclining on top, a half-elven sailor asleep on a large coil of rope, and the usual ship’s gear and stores were the only evident objects. After a moment he harumphed. “Alright, Captain, I don’t know what your game is, but rations are a normal part of ship’s stores and pretty much worthless and inedible if they have been in your hold for long. But let’s see the gold listed here so I can figure out how much of an import tax you owe on it.” From somewhere deeper in the hold came a momentary clank and splashing sound as the ship rolled on the gentle waves in port waters. “Open the chest, Captain, let’s see it!” The captain took a step towards the chest with a sigh.
From behind them both, a voice rang out: “You will not be taking our chest today, sir!” It was accompanied by the prick of a sharp dagger to the neck of the inspector. From the back of the hold, a faint voice was heard muttering something about being up a creek filled with shit trying to row a handbasket without a paddle, and are we in hell yet?
“This is a piracy!” continued the voice, accompanied by a pungent smell. The pirate gestured at Warin. “You there! Tie this man up and put a hood over his head! If the captain moves or anyone resists I will cut this man’s throat!” Warin complied, visibly confused.
“You’ll hang for this!” the inspector spat as Warin bound his hands and covered his head.
“But I’ll hang a rich man. Now open the chest!”
The captain stared at the two men with a look of shock and horror covering his face. No one moved to open the chest.
“You’ll never get away with this, you know,” the inspector said casually from beneath his hood, “The captain has seen your face even if I have not, and you are trapped in the hold of a ship filled with crew and my own soldiers are above us. Even if you kill me, you will never escape the ship.”
On the deck above, Tiberium was hauling one of the sailors back into the ship. The heroic moment was perfectly framed; surrounded by a crowd of admirers watching as the paladin pulled the soaked sailor back hand over hand, the ocean breeze ruffling his hair, the gentle cooing of dock whores seagulls… unfortunately the moment was ruined when Tiberium asked how he fell overboard. The sailor opened his hand to reveal a pair of gold coins. “Why, yer friend the baron paid me to!”
Struck by a sense of impending doom, Tiberium rushed towards the hold below.
Almost simultaneously, the pirate realized the gig was up. He gestured Warin over to him, further implicating the poorly reformed priest, and cast Invisibility on the man. Warin disappeared, but a steady clanking could be heard whenever he moved. The pirate himself slipped a ring onto his finger and disappeared as well. Warin’s clanking slowly receded as the inspector, no longer threatened, called for his guards. Tiberium arrived first, followed shortly by the inspector’s two guards, and the man spluttered out his explanation of what had occurred. He demanded the captain describe the man who held him at knifepoint. Reluctantly, the captain described… Barron, though not by name, and Warin, by name. Under closer questioning he admitted Warin was a passenger and, technically, part-owner of the ship. But neither could be found, so a search of the ship began.
There were some brief disturbances on desk, where some of the searchers heard mysterious noises, but could not catch whatever might have been making them. It seems the mysterious pirate made a clean getaway.
Leah was rudely awakened by the searchers barging into her cabin. The inspector and his men were pawing through everywhere an invisible human might hide, and a few places that seemed quite implausible. Leah was annoyed in her nightclothes, Pyro was annoyed in his fur, and the inspector was just annoyed. There was a great deal of shouting and accusations. Finally, trying to sort out the truth, Tiberium prayed for divine guidance… and grimaced, as if finding half a worm inside an apple. Something was truly amiss here.
Acting quickly, Tiberium put the inspector under arrest, claiming the man was evil, but without the ability to specify any evidence of crimes supposedly committed. The inspector promptly told the paladin that the arrest was mutual, for consorting with pirates, attempted pirates, and incompetent smugglers. The argument escalated until Tiberium resolved it with his fist, knocking the inspector out with a single blow.
While everyone was distracted, Thic Duc emerged from the bilges where he had been hiding the whole time and concealed the highport badges in a safe, clean place. Being a hero is truly a dirty task for which no one will thank you!
The inspector’s subordinates did not take this well, but just as they were laying their hands upon Tiberium, Warin punched the ship’s hull (thus deactivating the Invisibility effect) and turned himself in to the baffled guards. Barron was nowhere to be found. After significant negotiation over who exactly was under arrest, the guards agreed to convey everyone involved – Tiberium, Warin, and the inspector – to the harbormaster’s small brig where a priest of Pelor and the harbormaster himself could be summoned to sort everything out.
Night falls with Tiberium and Warin in holding cells, and the rest of the group staying at a nearby inn.
To be continued…
For reference: 200 cp = 20 sp = 2 ep = 1 gp = 1/5 pp -100gp for identify from party fund Treasure: 0gp (0gp each) Current Party Funds: 8582gp
Base xp for showing up (total): 800xp No significant combat this session, so I will award an extra 1000xp for roleplay Treasure XP: 0xp Total: 8800xp ()
Roleplaying moments and quotables
"Is it really piracy if I own the ship I'm pirating?" "I have a very important quest for you. The fate of the world rests upon it." "I'm ready! What do I have to do?" "Go into the basement, kill four rats, and bring me their tails."
Dangling Threads of Fate
Who was the strangely well-dressed gardener Gunnar spent time over roots and vegetables with? That would be the Baroness of Restenford. Something is up with the Baroness. She was nervous when asked about disappearing babies. Probably not anything with the wererats, but something is up. No one has checked recently to see if the Princess is still in her castle Warin owes the church a lot of money for his restoration spell How to invest your ill-gotten gains...