Sorry It has been so long since I’ve posted an update here! I kept running the campaign after this; just wasn’t keeping up with making the posts. And so our story continues…
Our Heroes left off promising the crowd of treasure seekers a chance to bid on the treasure’s location at an auction. This was simply a ruse, however. After going to the trouble of renting out a warehouse on the docks (with a clear escape route leading to the ship), the Heroes have a change of plans.
Even though they’ve spent money and made reservations, and sent out invitations to some possible “high rollers” to prepare things for the auction, the PCs ended up ditching it entirely, leaving the port the day before the auction was to take place. I had a cut scene back to the warehouse where the auction attendees first are surprised by El Vago showing up to stop them, and then later, the building being surrounded by the guards (a building full of obvious pirates attracts a lot of attention).
The Grinning Pelican
So the Heroes were on their way in a ship called the Grinning Pelican, outfitted with a special crane and diving bell. Although they managed to ditch many possible followers, they did notice their ship being followed by a few others they had met previously. Molly Makepeace, captain of the Queen’s Rascal, Venji Tookman, captain of the Gleaming Coin, and a Vodocce ship called The Courtesan’s Smile (the captain of which was another Explorer’s Society member).
At one point, the PCs caught members of the crew of the Gleaming Coin, trying to chum the water for Sirens. This foolhardy effort almost led to the deaths of the men in the rowboat, and despite Diego’s protestations that they should have been left to the Sirens that showed up (and began tipping their boat over), the captain agreed to allow them to remain aboard the Grinning Pelican, assigning them to the worst jobs on the ship.
Shore Leave? Noooooooo!
The ship arrives at the Straits of Blood, where it is going to resupply. This island port also happens to be a notorious nest of pirates, where all the captains have an accord. Essentially, it is the one place where pirates can spend their booty in peace, as there is a strictly enforced truce on the island. Though I had planned several potential interesting events on the island, the PCs surrounded Rachel Longfellow and refused to let her leave the Grinning Pelican, fearing she’d be kidnapped (those fears were well-founded).
So the Grinning Pelican left the island without incident, other than noticing that their anchor had been wedged into some rocks, and cost them a few hours leaving. In addition, the news of the treasure spread allover the pirate island, and now instead of a few ships following them, the Grinning Pelican was now being followed by a flotilla of pirate ships, too.
An Alliance of Convenience
Of all the new pirate captains to begin chasing the PCs, the most serious threat comes from Jacques LaRoque, captain of the Rake of Charousse. His ship, a stolen naval frigate, would easily overpower any ship it took on. Rather than have him as an enemy, however, the PCs decided to Parley with him, offering him a share of the treasure in exchange for helping to “discourage” other pirates from following them. He agreed, and the PCs got to see The Rake of Charouse capture another small ship, and also bombard a few others with her guns until they decided discretion was the better part of valor and turned back. Only the Gleaming Coin, Courtesan’s Smile (already an ally), and Queen’s Rascal continued to follow, managing to stay clear of captain LaRoque, despite threats and warnings to them to stay away.
Several days after leaving the Straits of Blood, The Grinning Pelican has another problem. The food has gone bad. Nearly all of it. The entire crew is put on half-rations. The PCs and the captain immediately begin sweeping the ship, searching for the possible saboteurs. The two crewmen from the Gleaming Coin, are immediately suspected by all, but could not have been responsible because they had been watched like hawks the entire time. It seems like there is a spy aboard the ship… or some sorcery is afoot.