“The Poop Deck is the one with the aft hole.” – words of wisdom from “Captain” Spack Jarrow, goblin pirate.
With the boarding training complete and the Wormwood on the prowl, the crew were put back to work. Mister Plugg seemed to take particular interest in making sure the goblins got the worst jobs on the ship. After a day or two of this, he decided the goblins mistakenly referred to as “Sean Dook Lasard,” actually Shahn Dook Pizzard, needed to help out in the bilge with two other sailors. He and Master Scourge made a point of searching him for concealed weapons, but since he cleverly attached a mop head to the end of his quarterstaff, they were none the wiser.
While Shahn Dook worked the bilge pump, he noticed the other two sailors were concealing weapons. One of the sailors accused the goblin of slacking off and the other maneuvered behind him, drawing his weapon. Shahn Dook was prepared for treachery, however, and used his druidic magic to summon a magical shillelagh, with which he made short work of the two humans assaulting him. He took the hand axes the humans had and tried to make their wounds appear as though they turned on each other. Mister Plugg was incensed and accused the goblin of murder. And for that, there was only one punishment: a day in the sweatbox followed by keel hauling.
The next day proved to be lucky for Shahn Dook Pizzard, though, as sails were spotted on the horizon and after a brief period, the Wormwood began its pursuit. Shahn Dook was released from the sweatbox as the ship would need all hands for the inevitable boarding action. The ship in the distance was slower than the Wormwood and by the next day, they were hard astern, ready to engage. Captain Harrigan ordered half-a-dozen pigs slaughtered and thrown into the water.
The Gunnery Master, Riaris Krine, took the goblins aside and gave them their orders for the upcoming battle. They were responsible for securing the sterncastle and the aft dinghies; no one was to leave the ship. As the ships closed and the arrows and crossbow bolts began to fly, Shahn Dook leapt overboard and swam to the other ship, Man’s Promise, sharks attracted by the chumming in hot pursuit. The rest of the goblins waited until the ship was in range and threw their grappling hooks. The battle was joined!
The goblins, Shahn Dook included (he managed to avoid the sharks out for blood), climbed onto the sterncastle. They engaged the crew manning the wheel as the rest of the Wormwood’s crew made their way onto the ship. The goblins proved formidable opponents and the crew of Man’s Promise offered little in the way of challenge for the Wormwood Pirates. After seeing Captain Harrigan walking around with their captain’s heart in his hands, they surrendered. Captain Harrigan took Man’s Promise as a prize and offered the surviving crew a choice: join his crew or die. To emphasize his point, he grabbed one of the defeated sailors and threw her overboard to the sharks. Her screams were incentive enough and the remaining crew of Man’s Promise joined the Wormwood.
Mister Plugg and Master Scourge were given Man’s Promise to sail to Port Peril to sell. A skeleton crew was selection to crew the ship: Shahn Dook Pizzard, Garagornne, Ent Cleastwood, Brodo Faggins, and Spack Jarrow were among those selected. Of the officers, only “Fishguts” Kroop was sent along. They prepped Man’s Promise to make way as the Wormwood went on her way. Man’s Promise followed, under stricter rules than the crew was used to. No one was allowed above deck in the evenings, there was no grog, no gambling, and no singing. When the Wormwood disappeared over the horizon, Mister Plugg ordered a new course, one that was not on the way to Port Peril….
About half the crew assigned to Man’s Promise turned out to be sympathetic to the PCs and the other half is relatively hostile, so it should cause some good tension in sessions to come. By this point in the 4E campaign, I was already frustrated with the system, and though Pathfinder is complex, I’m finding it easier to play. Perhaps it is because I DMed 3.X throughout its entire product cycle and Pathfinder is close enough to that. 4E was different enough that I felt really unfamiliar with it and at times, I felt as a GM, that I was not entirely necessary for the game.
The next session should see them finally get off the ship for a bit. A ship will always be part of this adventure path, but it will be nice to stretch the legs, as it were.