Skull & Shackles - Slug style

Sessions 1-X

Hoodwinked!
It all went down in Port Peril. Three lads stopped for a drink in a seedy bar – the only kind in Port Peril – and left in shackles. On the Wormwood they left, but not of their own will. Pressganged by the infamous Barnabus Harrigan, they were set to work under the “tutelage” of the cruel Misters Scourge and Plug. For weeks they toiled, each day towing the line between life and death, until they finally saw their chance – and took it.

Free…er
Aboard the Man’s Promise, a hijacked merchant vessel, the three took up arms against Scourge, Plug, and their loyal fiends, and won the day – but the three paid a price, and became two. Now only half a skeleton crew, a sudden storm shattered them on the rock shore of Bonewrack Isle – with a crew member kidnapped in the bargain. A shore expedition was organized, and the newly ‘freed’ pirates set out. The island was frought with peril, and the company was soon divided. A new “friend”(frienemy? – KB) was found, in the form of a weathered and withered Witch. With her “help” the new crew of the Man’s Promise made it off the island, but an important crew member was lost in the process.

Man’s Promise
Aboard the Man’s Promise, the crew of five(four plus one; the Witch is no sailor – KB) struggled to keep the sheets asail, but a duck could not sit more nicely. Practically stranded, they were soon set upon by a crew of opportunists. Through sheer luck, and a solid boot to the head, the hapless two emerged victorious, and in tenuous control of a new ship – the Black Hydra. They split the crew, and attempted to sail to Rickety Squibbs (the high seas equivalent of a chop shop – KB) to refit their ships.

Rickety Road
Squibbs drove a hard bargain, but both crews arrived mostly intact, so now self-styled Captain Evian called it a victory. With new lines on both ships, the crew set out to find a questionable harbor to sell one of the ships in. However, a misunderstanding ashore led to a nasty run-in with the notorious Merill Pegsworthy, a Free Captain of the Shackles(aka badasser – KB). Evian impressed Pegsworthy with his high-wire antics – as well as a declaration of war upon Barnabus Harrigan – and was allowed allowed to leave with the Black Hydra – but lost the tattered Man’s Promise as payment.

The Falling Leaf
Evian was now Captain in fact, accepted at least partly by most of the crew. After a meeting with the ship’s new leadership, consisting of Fishguts Krupp, Caldur the Barbarian, Pharis the Navigator, and The Witch the Witch, it was decided that the crew of the Black Hydra ought avoid the Shackles for a time, as rumor of Evian’s words against Free Captain Harrigan would spread like wildfire. The crew sailed south, toward elven lands, making a quick stop to buy a few things from the locals annihilate an entire community of Mwangi tribals. Plunder in hand, the crew continued south. They were soon set upon by an Elven scouting ship. The Elves could not abide piracy, and attacked. Evian’s blessed luck again came through, and the Black Hydra emerged victorious. A new ship – the Falling Leaf – came under Evian’s control.

Triumphant Return
With the Elven navy in close proximity, the pirates turned back north, to return to the Shackles and refit the Falling Leaf. Rumors of a pirate hideout drew them to Desperation Bay, but soon their inexperience brought peril. Lookouts from Eledor spied their Jolly Roger flapping in the breeze, and alerted the bay of pirate presence. They were set upon by the Sargavan navy, and the Black Hydra was run aground near Smuggler’s Shiv, a deadly island known for destroying ships. Many of the crew – Caldur included – were able to escape the claws of the haunted island, but a ghastly congregation of shipwrecked souls dragged a few unfortunate men to the depths. Less one ship, the new crew of the Falling Leaf sailed roughshod out of Desperation Bay.

Yet Another Near Miss
The Falling Leaf headed north for the Shackles, and soon sighted a pirate ship in combat with a Chelaxian pirate hunter. The crew set down to free the Pirate ship, and quickly overcame the weakened hunters. Recruiting any pirates or soldiers who would join, looted what they could and left rest on the burning ships as they sank to the depths. A day later, the crew sighted five massive Chelaxian galleons, and were hailed to stop. A Chelexian commander came aboard their ship, and demanded to know their allegiance. Evian attempted to weave a tale of mercantile intentions, but the lie did not pass. The commander summoned a devil aboard the ship, but when Caldur murdered the commander with a shot from a plague bag (once in a very great while the Witch comes through – KB) – disfiguring Evian in the process – the demon was set free. Evian quickly offered the devil a deal, and signed – in blood – a contract of unknown scope. The devil dispatched the rest of the Chelaxian navy ships in short order, and went on his way, now free in the material realm.

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Session X+1

Senghor Nights
Rejuvenated after four days of rest and jubilation(the most this crew has seen in some time – KB), the crew of the Falling Leaf prepared to set sail for the Shackles. Too bad for them, the Chelaxian navy had wind of pirates in Senghor, and was waiting at the mouth of the Bay of Senghor, blocking their exit. Evian, high off a string of victories, struck out to infiltrate the ship – alone – and free the Falling Leaf from the pirate hunting vessel. A potion, a hefty axe, and a powder keg were all it took to sink the ship to the bottom of the Bay of Senghor. Evian was blown away from the wreckage, landing in the nearby jungle in the Kavaa Lands. Pharis charged into the jungle and retrieved the heroic captain, both barely making it back to the fleeing Falling Leaf.

Fevered Retreat
The crew put out into the Fever Sea, with a new destination in mind – the storied Tidewater Rock. On it lay Tidewater Keep, a bastion which, if rumor was to be believed, had never successfully been assaulted. At dusk that day, a ship was sighted riding the horizon – but quickly disappeared. That night an eerie fog descended over the boat. The next night, a ghostly whaler was seen chasing the Falling Leaf through the same fog. The Falling Leaf almost evaded the ship, until the ghost ship sunk into the waves, then burst out of the water directly in front of the stunned crew. Undead creatures boarded the Leaf, but the living crew prevailed. The ghost ship faded into the night, and all went to rest.

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X+2

Groundhog Day
The next couple of nights passed uneventfully, but soon the evil fog returned. Whalebone Pilk and his fell crew had not yet returned, and the crew sighed relief as Tidewater Rock came into view. Evian began to plan his assault – in plain view of the defenders of Tidewater Keep – with the intention of striking out at nightfall. However, that very night, Whalebone Pilk returned to haunt the crew. This time, the crew succeeded in destroying the ship’s woeful bell, and its host with it, but took heavy losses. Captain Evian nearly drowned, and Caldur lost the use of his favored arm. Caldur sought the Witch, who bonded a gorilla arm to his tattered stump. The arm did not take, and Evian was forced to improvise, replacing the gorilla bones with the arm bones of the recently slain Whalebone Pilk. The crew nursed their wounds, and limped onward toward Tidewater Rock.

A Match Made In…
Evian put in at the “hidden” cove behind Tidewater Rock, and marched directly to the door of the keep. He demanded to parley with the lord there, and was welcomed under the condition that he provide a hostage. Caldur volunteered, and was stripped, manacled, and led away. Evian leveled with Agasta Smithy, the Lady of Tidewater Keep: he wanted use of the strategic position, in exchange for the use of his ship and crew. During the Parley, Caldur’s cursed arm assumed control of his body, and he broke from containment. Though he was quickly slain, he managed to nearly kill the Sergeant At Arms of Tidewater Keep. Evian managed to charm the Lady, using the tales of the crews various debacles, and it turned out The Lady had heard of Evian and the escapades of the Falling Leaf, and his blood feud with Free Captain Barnabus Harrigan. She had some apparent discord with Harrigan, and agreed to a temporary marriage with Evian to share resources.

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X+3

Lord of Tidewater Rock
With the marriage contract signed(not in blood, for once -KB), Evian, Caldur, Pharis, and the crew of the Falling Leaf were soon ‘motivated’ by Lady Smythee to seek fortune on the seas. Inspired by tales Evian’s tales of daring-do, Smythee’s son Martis sought to come along. Lady Smythee gave her grudging ascent, and sent three Tidewater Guards along to protect him.

Fucking Fishmen
Evian’s first test of fatherhood came immediately after. Martis had forgotten his sword, and had chosen an unfortunate time to retrieve it – the ever present Sahuagin had chosen this very moment to attack Tidewater rock. The crew barely beat back the vicious fishmen, though they left Tidewater Cove with a shark infestation(which came back to bite Kaeldur in the ass! – KB).

Lady of Storms
The crew assessed the damage from the Sahaugin invasion, finding that Tidewater Keep’s supplies had been decimated. Evian tended to his husbandly duties, while Pharis attempted to salvage what he could of the remains. Kaeldur, preferring to sleep on the ocean, swam back to the Falling Leaf, but met with a pack of hungry Sahaugin pets. The sharks tore him to shreds, nearly killing him while the Witch looked on. Unfortunately, this would not be his only trial tonight. Soon after the Keep began to settle in for the night, a mist rolled into the cove. Lady Isabella “Inkskin” Locke brought her ship, the Thresher, into Tidewater Cove, her intentions clear, her motivations not as much. She assaulted the weary defenders, and found little resistance. Meanwhile, Kaeldur fought fiercely with her First Mate, and eked out a slim victory. Pharis brushed with death for the second time, while Isabella charmed Evian into peace. Pharis came to, and tried to rally the battered Tidewater Guard, but found only Sergeant at Arms Royster willing. They bravely(foolishly? -KB) swam into the shark infested waters, and climbed aboard the enemy ship. Meanwhile, Isabella was negotiating with Lady Smythee over control of Tidewater Rock and the Falling Leaf. Suddenly, the Thresher burst into flames, and Pharis and Royster were seen fleeing the blaze in a longboat. Isabella ordered ballistas to open fire, and the longboat was readily destroyed. Pharis managed to escape the waiting teeth of the hungry sharks, but Royster quickly fell victim to a springal arrow volley. Enraged at the death of her most loyal servant, Smythee attacked Isabella, piercing her heart with a single rapier thrust. Freed from Isabella’s spell, Evian took control of the sorceress’ crew and ship.

Damn Near Free
The crew began repairs on both ships immediately, and restored Tidewater Keep’s supplies from the newly commandeered vessel. Pharis found a cryptic treasure map tattooed on Isabella’s back, and set to copying it. After poring over the map, the crew was able to decipher the riddle. It pointed to Mancatcher Cove – an infamous trap for treasure hunters. Undaunted by its deadly history, Evian ordered the crew aboard, and set sail to seek the Old King’s Hoard.

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Catching up :: 012914

Much has happened in the previous months for the crew of the Left Hand of Besmara. Their previous captain, Evian Likethewater, was killed in a smoldering wreckage in Port Peril. His first mate, Khaldur Maul, was also killed. Control of the Left Hand was left to Free Captain Pharis, who had just lost half of the leadership of the Left Hand.

A brief overview of events since:

- Pharis contracted Gnorman Callus of Ballistria Barro to revamp the Left Hand’s armaments, including the glorious Dragon’s Maw cannon
- The Left Hand freed a group of prisoners from the Port Peril prison, including a druid, a Stryx warrior, and an old friend – Pierce Fruitypants McUseless
- With an untested crew with only weeks to train, the Left Hand headed to – and was victorious in – the Shackles regatta
- Victory at the regatta granted title of the Isle of Empty Eyes, a land which has proved notoriously difficult to tame
- The crew of the Left Hand has spent the last 12 weeks taming the land and dealing with potential threats

After taking the crew on a quick plundering mission to raise morale before the inspection by the Master of Gales, Pharis’ fort, crew, and island was subjected to scrutiny:

- Pharis led an uneasy tour of the fort for the visiting Pirate Council members, during which Avamere of the Bloodmoon tested Vekeros’ skills as a siege operator – sacrificing a member of his own crew in the process.
- During an argument over loyalty vs piracy, Vekeros was challenged to combat by Avamere, but was backed down by Pharis
- A feast was held, with Gnorman schmoozing the visiting Free Captain’s, especially the mysterious captain of the Wavecrest.
- An inebriated(severely, perhaps dangerously so, in fact – KB) Lady Bloodmourn challenged Pharis to a duel, which she won handedly, then challenged Gnorman to a duel, which she won handedly; she finally challenged Vekeros, who proved more than a match, both in dueling and in lovemaking
- The kitchen at the feasting hall became overrun by plague-infested rats; Pharis and Gnorman used some quick evocation magic to deal with it, but upon inspection found evidence of foul play – someone was trying to destroy the Left Hand’s efforts on the Isle of Empty Eyes

As the morning drew near, and the pirates had gone to their quarters to sleep off the night’s festivities, Pharis sat wide awake, pondering his impending fate…

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