Tonight’s game turned into the largest crowd in over a year, with all 10 currently active players attending. We didn’t even use the leaf for our enormous table, and a few chairs alternated as people drifted in and out of the game. This was by intent, but going forward I Will use the leaf, since I realized that I need more attention! Otherwise the lazy susan rotation of a few people retiring to the couch or the kitchen for awhile seems to be a workable solution to the problem of hosting large games.
On the menu was meat. The grill was open, so to speak, and the DM donned his chef hat to man the grill. (It was actually raining pretty hard so I donned a felt bowler hat, which kept my head and glasses surprisingly rain-free during the grilling. Those Brits!) Brought to the table were 36 drumsticks – slathered in bbq sauce and burnt to a crisp, 14 hamburgers like big juicy (but not pink) meatballs, a dozen hotdogs variously scorched and some plump turkey-sausage. It was divine. There were few leftovers. Unfortunately the bacchanalian feast meant that our normal start time was delayed so we only played 2 hours.
The cast of characters as follows:
Dr House the Human Charlatan warlock played by Dave
Ginger the Elf wizard pregen, played by Dave’s Ginger
Zoobezoo the charlatan elf rogue, played by the hostess with the mostess
Agnes the fighting dwarf, played by Dr Karen Khar
The human Thug and sorceror, played by Shannon
The human bounty hunter pre-gen, played by Beth
Jambunathon the high elf wizard played by Joel
Marcel Proust the homeless noble, played by Jackson
Litha the wood elf sun cleric played by Audrey
And finally the gnomling Gnar, sailor and cleric, played by Erica
Not included but ever present and at the center of action were the kittens Jinx and Twinkie Pie, which acted as unstoppable elemental forces of chaos, distracting and disrupting everyone’s plans.
The evening opened on board the SS Zario, at the conclusion of a battle with drow pirates attempting to take the ship. Rather than play out the battle, I ruled the two lower drow were killed, but the drow captain vanished in a puff of darkness. One of the four barbarian swordsmen was alive, so they bound him to question later. From the drow they found a pair of seal-skin suits and strange coral air-filters that together allowed them to swim underwater. The weapons were coated in a thin oil and when the sun rose, their items decayed quickly to trash.
The SS Zario was on a mission to found a colony on a newly discovered land far to the south called Numenoria. Their first stop on the voyage was to pick up the damsel Lady Butterbridge and her three daughters from the town of Freeport. From there, it was on to the Isle of Dread to refill water and hopefully trade for food, then the final long leg across the equator and to the southern continent of Numenoria.
The weather held for a fortnight and they reached the once piratical haven which now called itself Port Freedom. The city was a nominal democracy, controlled by 4 major and a multitude of minor merchant houses. The lady Butterbridge was the widow of a rich merchant lord who now wished to leave the city and its dirty politics behind. She and her three daughters, Helga 25, Olga 20, and Inga 15, would make a new start in the new world. The Lady Butterbridge had funded the mission in cooperation with her homeland of Shalazar, and the ship belonged to her.
Port Freedom was on a spit of land protected by a mountain and deep jungle. Long stony strands encompassed a deep harbor, and the majority of the city was built on three great docks in this secluded harbor. A wall enclosed it from the sea, and ships had to pass through a well defended tunnel to reach the inner harbor. The ship was waved quickly through when it arrived, without all the normal red tape and “fee taxes.” They found the Lady Butterbridge standing behind an enormous pile of furniture and luggage. She looked distressed, and when she recognized her ship, began waving her handkerchief until it docked.
In short, her three daughters were missing, as well as the key to her vault with the Port Freedom savings and loan. She suspected foul play. The daughters were supposed to follow the wagons and meet at the dock but never showed up. After questioning the lady revealed that Helga often volunteered with the House of Grey Veils, who believed in a form of commumysticism. Olga did not want to leave and was upset to leave her boyfriend the Earl of Tallyrand behind. And finally young Inga had a best friend named Copper, an orphan who lived at the orphanage of Nurse Hatchett.
Captain Behab announced that a storm was moving in that could last for weeks and they needed to set sail no later than high tide 3 hours after midnight, so the heroes of our story had about twelve hours to find the missing girls. The Lady Butterworth was too infirm to be much help, using the medieval version of a walker. (A cane I guess, or possibly a crutch or crook?)
The orphanage revealed that Copper was missing as well as all of her stuff. The bank revealed that both a key AND a signet ring of house Butterball are required to open the vault and no such opening had happened. They were suspicious but could not gain entry to check that nothing was missing. Going next to House Grey Veil they spoke with its leader, Lord Frost, who looked rather draconic under his veil. He said Helga often volunteered with growing rare herbs, and that morning she had filled a cart with young saplings. She said she was going to the market. They found Helga at the market, with her cart of rare medicinal herbs. The plants were for their voyage, and she was purchasing a wedding dress for her sister, and was supposed to meet her at the dock soon. They all went to the meeting place but Olga never showed up.
Soon they noticed a ship parked nearby, called the Blue Nixie, was owned by the Earl Tallyrand. However, it was manned by disreputable looking pirates. A mean half orc kept eying them suspiciously from the top of the gangplank. They heard a scream from aboard and the elf rogue Zooby-zoo wasted no time but dove into the water to investigate the suspicious ship. Meanwhile others stormed the gangplank. The captain came from below and he wore an enormous pirate hat that had tassels hanging down to cover his face.
FOur pirate were aloft in the rigging and the half orc at the gangplank was soon killed. Some one scored a critical hit, incredibly doing 30 points to the captain and he fell dead. His hat rolled away revealing him to have the head of a snake. As it was time to wrap up, the rest of the pirates dove into the sea and the party was victorious. They found OLga below with her love Earl Tallyrand. He had funded this second ship and filled it with provisions to elope with Olga together to the land of Numenoria. He chose a bad crew. Little Inga was waiting when they returned the elder daughters to their mother, and they set sail with time to spare, only realizing a few days later that they had a stowaway, the orphan Copper. They also never found the key to Butterwoorth’s bank vault. (Hint: it was a pirate-ninja.)
But the tide waits for no man, and the SS Zario must continue its mission to deliver settlers to Numenoria. Next stop, watering and provisioning at the Isle of Dread.