At one evening of my regular face to face game the GM and two other players were absent, so the rest of us decided to play an Electric Bastionland game, but with Into the Odd character generation (equipment table based on attribute/HP) instead of the failed careers.
The resulting party:
- Jayne, a long-axe-wielder who carves wooden figures in the streets and earns her pennies with this skill, then sells the resulting artwork for a bit of cash.
- Henry, a jobless sailor who spends most of his days looking for a job at the docks and hangs out with old friends. Proud owner of a saber, dagger, and bomb.
- Mary, an exotic dancer, out of work and out of luck, with a WIL/CHA of 3! In her possession, a musket with three shot — and another bomb. Most of her gigs involve no outright payment, but the chance to keep her tips – yet with her attitude and looks, she usually fails to bring in more than the odd beer or leftovers from tavern kitchens.
- John, nicknamed “The Dwarf”, and Mary’s great-uncle and laid-off mine-worker, who was very fond of his gigantic moustache. He owns a pistol and a bottelette of ether.
Getting out of debt looked impossible for this crew, until Henry met his old pal Constantine, who works on a ship that has just been booked by some rich dude looking to send out an expedition. Constantine knew that Henry was short on cash but strong, so he put forward Henry’s name and told the rich guy’s people that Henry’s crew had ample experience in that kind of job.
Everybody needs a rich patron
The party was fetched with a rare automobile and brought to the luxurious townhouse of the industrialist and inventor Ekon Musl, excentric creator of special new automobiles and other innovative technologies, who treated his guests to fine wine and told them the job: There was a rare musical instrument, a Pinzetti-piano, handcrafted by the late master pianobuilder himself, rumored to be left behind in castle Nut on the island of Nut. The family had died out decades ago and the property fallen to the city council and long forgotten, but now there was talk of razing the castle and building something fresh on the island, and so Musl had heard of it and gotten wind of the Pinzetti. He needed it secured right quick, and would pay for the ship passage, and he was ready to shell out 5.000 to get the piano nice, safe, and dry; less if there were any damages to the rare item.
Jayne negotiated an advance of 400 and a bonus of another 5000 on top on the off chance that there might be danger and trouble on that supposedly abandoned island. Ekon Musl agreed, and John also begged for ammunition for his pistol, which made the rich guy laugh; he good naturedly ordered his bodyguard Richard to give the old man some 30 shot. They also asked to have a piano-sized transport box on the ship, and the industrialist promised it.
Money among friends
Jayne kept the 400 under lock and key to make sure nobody squandered them, and the next day the team boarded the ship “Mary Rose”. Their sea voyage of four days to the island of Nut began.
On the ship’s maps the island of Nut looked to be 3 miles across, and with a bay on the western end that might make a good natural harbour. John played at cards with the sailors, and cheated, while his grand-niece distracted them with undulating dances. Plus, she had to help him out with 4 to pay the 5 coins minimum bet to play.
Thanks to her efforts, he made 50 out of the 5, and rewarded her by not only paying back her 4, but giving her one coin extra for her troubles.
Finally they reached Nut and saw it covered in dense, thick forest, and the castle overgrown with vines on top of the highest elevation in the center, looking spooky. They cruised closer to the bay, when suddenly a pirate frigate came out of it, flying the black flag.
The pirates opened fire with cannons, missing; the sailors wanted to flee, the PCs wanted to fight and opened fire (Impaired for ship to ship over distance), wounding one pirate they could see, and narrowly missing the captain. Then they figured, since the pirate ship was clearly superior, that they should jump overboard and swim, and meet their ship again on the other side, with the piano. But the pirates next shot damaged the ship, and the fourth sunk it, so all jumped to swim. The transport box was lost, but personal effects, four rifles, a box of bullets, and two ropes were rescued.
The pirates still cruised closer and executed the stragglers in the water, but the 4 PCs and 11 sailors made it into the cover of the woodland. Expecting search parties soon, and with the sun already low, they decided to move directly on the castle at once, evaded a snake, and reached it as the darkness set in.
They figured that the pirates would hold the castle too, because why would they suffer others to have it? They debated tactics, including an attack on the bay, or a diversion attack on the bay by the sailors with the four rifles, but Great-uncle John protested staunchly that he was not prepared to sacrifice even a single one of “his” men.
Another idea was to contact the pirates and trade the info about the value of the piano for their lives, but the casual murder of swimming sailors gave them pause. Maybe the pirates would just kill them all? So too risky.
Jayne climbed up the vine-covered wall and used windows and the corner between tower and wall for leverage, taking the rope up. She saw an old man with alchemist equipment in the tower and identified a single guardpost on the forward wall, above the gate. Covered by the darkness, she let Mary and Henry climb up too. John failed, but the 11 sailors pushed him up far enough so he could grab the rope, and the other three pulled him up, while the sailors sought cover close to the walls.
Covered by darkness and an onsetting rain, the forward party took off some of the roof to the main building and entered the attic. They snuck in and found 9 bunk beds and only a single pirate at a desk. They roofied him with the ether, looted his 4 pound, writing equipment, pistol and hack-knife, then debated at length if they were to throw him down the wall or tie him up with ripped-up bedsheets.
On his desk was a letter starting with “Mother Dearest, ….” followed by some good son rethorics, so most saw the man’s good heart, and Jayne was the only one advocating for a killing.
The captive was bound and stowed in the attic.
Sneaking around, they noticed that more pirates were in the building, and they hid in the attic for several hours until they would go to sleep, assuming that they would not raise hell just because letter-boy was not at his desk. That proved correct, and soon the pirates went to sleep.
- The party sneaked down to the ground floor, and found the Pinzetti standing right there in the room carelessly used as an extra table.
- But how to transport it?
(carrying with the help of the ropes is the plan)
- How to get it out of the castle?
(just boldly walking past the guards was toyed with, but not agreed upon)
- How to protect it from the rain?
(covering with rugs and bedsheets is in the cards)
- How to get a new ship?
(conquering the pirate frigate was suggested, if necessary by employing the bombs)
- How to, if necessary, stand victorious against the pirates?
(that remains an unknown)
To be continued, with more players who can be sailors of the “Mary Rose”.
Image: Tadas Mikuckis, Unsplash.