El Vago's 7th Sea Campaign Converted to Honor + Intrigue

Land Ho!
A Sea Battle and the Turn of the Tide

Fight on the Island
At first, things with Tookman are simply two sides talking, and making veiled threats at each other under the guise of offering assistance. Surprisingly, the Professor agreed to go aboard their longboat back to the Gleaming Coin. This was a ruse, however. While eyes were not on him, he spilled a vile of powerful acid into the bottom of the boat. Soon, there was a big hole in the bottom as the acid sizzled away. A skirmish breaks out, but the PCs manage to get away unharmed.

Her Majesty’s Secret Service
The Queen’s Rascal signals that they wish to parley. The Captain of the Grinning Pelican allows her to come aboard with a few men. Initially, they are mistrustful of her, but Quinn and Merida both have reason to vauch for her. Like Molly, Quinn is also loyal to Queen Elaine and Molly and Merdia are both members of Sophia’s Daughters (they obviously cannot say this out loud, but they do meet secretly and share information at one point).

Molly discloses that she has information from the Avalon navy that Jaques LeRoque is in fact, not a pirate, but an officer of the Montaigne navy. His ship is not stolen, and he is not an ex-patriot pirate, but is truly loyal to Le Empeur. His mission, they guess, is to stop the Golden Head from getting back to Theah because if the Castillian army continues to go unpaid for much longer they will either have mutinies or the Inquisition will take over, which will cause the Castillian people to be less interested in preventing the Montaigne from invading (some might even see them as liberators from the Inquisition).

Of course, if he CAN get the head, LeRoque is planning to do so; but if he cannot, he wants to sink them to ensure it never gets back.

With this in mind, the Heroes plot their attack to take LeRoque by surprise. Meanwhile, LeRoque has a surprise for them. He knows that Molly Makepeace is aboard, and can guess that his cover is likely blown. Therefore he has made an offer to Vengi Tookman to work together to take out the Grinning Pelican. The next day, a mighty sea battle shall take place!

The Sea Battle Plan
By cover of darkness, Remiro swims out to the Rake of Charousse with a powder keg (inside of a barrel along with a tin containing dry matchcord, flint, and steel). After kick paddeling his way there, Ramiro sets the charge, lights it, and dives into the sea, swimming as far and fast as he can from the explosion that is about to take out the rudder of the Rake of Charousse. This will allow the Heroes’ ship to approach and board without having to face a broadside from the frigate’s deadly gunports. (they’d prefer to capture the ship as a prize rather than simply sink it).

Meanwhile Molly Makepeace and the Sea Dogs attack the Gleaming Coin. I allowed the players to roll for this sea battle in between running rounds of their boarding action against the Rake of Charouse.

This is where the session ended. The player playing Ramiro was unable to attend after that, so sadly, it seems like he was killed in the ensuing explosion that took out the rudder.

Crew of the Rake of Charouse
Captain: Jaques LeRoque, Commodore in the Montaigne Navy, Spy, and (secretly) Porte Sorcerer
First Mate: A Caligari family member seeking the head for his uncle; also seeking to get the Cube from the Professor.
Bosun: A huge Vesten covered in scars (he’s a Berserker)
Navigator: El Craneo Rojo, mortal enemy of Diego!

The Heroes pair off fighting various members of the crew. Merida fights the Bosun, her massive claymore and his pair of axes taking savage swipes at each other, splintering the rails with every miss! The First Mate goes after the Professor, but Reggie keeps him at bay. Quinn was aboard Molly Makepeaces’ ship and fired volleys of fire arrows at the Gleaming Coin. Doctor Cervantes assists Luis as he takes on Captain LeRoque! Shockingly, LeRoque surrenders before being slain, and Luis spares him.

But there is no mercy for El Craneo Rojo. The Montaigne who blinded Diego’s Father after killing his sister and burning his house to ashes! This was his day to die. Diego fought him across the deck of the ship like a man possessed. So far out at sea, his Porte sorcery is not strong enough for him to teleport away this time, and Diego finally runs him through. His sister’s soul can now rest in peace. At this point, Diego “completed” his Obsession Flaw, and lost it. He also lost his “Voices” advantage; his sister’s ghost no longer spoke to him in dreams now that her soul was at peace.

Diego also discovered how El Craneo Rojo had tracked him all this time. He had blooded Teresa’s locket (which Diego always wears). As he’s dying, El Craneo Rojo tells Diego that he had loved his sister, and thought she loved him as well. He gave her the locket marked with his own blood so he could be close to her. When he discovered she was only pretending to love him; that she was using him to pass on information to a spy (who was her “real” lover) he flew into a rage. He stabbed her father (who had always hated him anyway) in the eyes and when Teresa came to save him, El Craneo Rojo grabber her and strangled the life out of her with the locket. He left it around her neck, then burnt the house to the ground while the old man cried out in grief, powerless to do anything else.

The Gleaming Coin realizing it had no chance to win, eventually turns around and is driven off. They will live to fight another day…

The session came to an end with the Heroes sighting land: THE island.

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Par...ley?
Three New Heroes!

Par..ley?
Now desperate for food, the crew lands on an island. Quinn and Rachel take a few crewmembers to hunt and search for edible plants. As they come out of the jungle, they see Vengi Tookman and a dozen men standing on the beach, next to a longboat, the Gleaming Coin, behind them (they came to the island from the other side as the PCs).

Tookman insists that he only wants to talk. When asked if he was also searching for food, he replies “Yes, of course” which some PCs take to mean his ship has also been sabotaged, while others presume the silver-tongued Vendel is simply pretending.

He tips his hand, however, by saying that he’d seen their rowboat adrift on the other side of the island, and that he’d be willing to give them a lift… back to the Gleaming Coin of course.

Introducing New Characters
At this point, we began a new game session. The size of my gaming group doubled, from 3 to 6 players! Even though we left off on a cliffhanger, it was easy to incorperate the newcomers into the scene: I simply replaced the generic crewmen that Quinn had taken with him for the hunting party with the new PCs. Diego and Luis, however, were still aboard the Grinning Pelican. Having a split party gave me a chance to utilize the suggestion in the Honor + Intrigue book on how to do this; having all the players roll initiative, and move back and forth between parts, rather than run each part fully to conclusion separately.

I also had fun incorperating the “Destiny Spread” into the game. We just used playing cards. Removed the face cards. Diamonds = Coins, Spades = Swords, Clubs = Staves, and Hearts = Cups. After doing the spread, I just on the fly decided what effect each card would have. So some characters got a free Boon or Flaw out of it, others got +1 to certain rolls, etc. I did make one rule: If you do the Destiny Spread and don’t like what you get you can throw the whole thing out (but you don’t get to re-do it).

On the beach, our newcomers are:

Merida MacGuffin
(yes, inspired by the Heroine of the movie Brave, which incorperated rather nicely into making a Sophia’s Daughters character)
Highlands Noblewoman Motivation: Independence
Backstory: You were born the eldest daughter of the Clan Chief Fergus MacGuffin, a mighty warrior with a booming voice. You loved your father and wanted to be just like him, but your mother wanted you to be “a lady” and when she began calling suitors to woo you at the age of 15, you decided to seek help to “change your fate”. That’s when you met the old witch in the woods, who gave you a potion to help change your mother… and change her it did! After working together to undo the transformation, you had your mother’s blessing to follow your own heart. It was not long after that you ran into the old witch again. She told you that she was a “Daughter of Sophia” and that you were as well. Now that you had passed the test, you were ready to follow your own path, and help other women to do the same. Under her tutelage you learned to make potions yourself, and also grew into a mighty warrior like your father. Now the time has come when other young women need you, and you are ready to help them change their fate.

Qualities: Might 1 Daring 1 Savvy 2 Flair 1 Lifeblood: 11
Combat: Brawl 0 Melee 3 Ranged 0 Defense 1 Fortune: 4
Careers: Noble 0 Sorcerer 3 Swordswoman 1 Spy 0

Boons: MacDonald Sword School, Daredevil, Maneuver Mastery, Member: Sophia’s Daughters
Flaws: Hot-Headed, Trusting
Languages: Avalon (N), Vendel, Cyrmic (N)


Guilders Equipment: Scrying Kit (silver bowl, pitcher, small bottles, various reagents), Noble gown, Fighting Clothes, Claymore

(1d6+3 Dmg, +1 Moulinet), Potions

Note: Merida uses the Sophia’s Daughter’s Scrying sorcery. I just added it to my Conversions Wiki!

The Professor An expert on syrneth artifacts, obsessed with finding the island of Cabora, convinced that the Golden Head will yield some clue

Professor Thomas Percival Portarlington Travers-Forsmythe
Avalon Scholar of Syrneth Artifacts Motivation: Curiosity

Qualities: Might -1 Daring 0 Savvy 3 Flair 2 Lifeblood: 9
Combat: Brawl -1 Melee 0 Ranged 1 Defense 2 Fortune: 5
Careers: Scholar (Archeologist) 2, Physician 1, Treasure Hunter 1, Craftsman 2, Alchemist 1

Boons: Syrneth Artifact/MacGuffin: “The Cube”, Jack of All Trades, Membership: Explorer’s Society
Flaws: Non-Combatant, Obsession: Finding the Isle of Cabora, Hunted: Caligari (he wants the Cube)
Languages: Avalon (N), Castillian (F), Thean (F), Eisen, Crescent

Equipment:
“The Cube” dang blasted thing seems to be the key to uncovering Cabora… if only I could make the devilish thing WORK! It is a syrneth artifact modeled on a DnD “Wand of Wonder”.
Diving Bell (attached to the Grinning Pelican), 1 small vial of acid (enough to do 1d3 dmg, or burn through 1 cubic inch of metal or wood).
Alchemy Kit, Doctor’s Bag, “Treasure Hunter’s” Tools, Smith’s Tools, Books and Charts detailing information about Cabora,
Blunderbuss: 1d6+6 Dmg, 10’ Range Inc., range penalties apply to damage instead of attack roll, 3 Minor Actions to load, Misfire 2-3; Hits 1d6 tightly-grouped targets

Shieldman: Reginald Perbright
Might 2 Daring 1 Lifeblood: 10
Melee 2 Defense 1 Advantage: 1
Swordsman 2 Explorer 1

Boons: Shield Man Sword School
Flaws: Obligation: The Professor

Maneuvers: Dirty Fighting, Bind, Shove/Trip, Riposte, Dodge*
Benefit: No penalties with Improvised Weapons. You can parry for a companion

Remiro Sentido
Castillian Buccaneer Motivation: Excitement

Qualities: Might 2 Daring 2 Savvy 0 Flair 0 Lifeblood: 11
Combat: Brawl 1 Melee 2 Ranged 0 Defense 1 (2 on ship) Fortune: 3
Careers: Ruffian 0 Pirate 2 Swordsman 1 Explorer 1

Boons: Rogers Sword School (Master), Maneuver Mastery (x2), Contacts: Los Vagos / Brethren of the Coast
Flaws: Drunkard, Hot-Headed, Pressed into Service: Keired-Din
Languages: Castillian (N), Montaigne, Vendel, Avalon

Equipment:
Cutlass (1d6+2 Dmg)
Flintlock Pistol (1d6+1 Dmg, 10’ Range, Misfire 2-3, Reload 3)

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To the Auction
Rise from your grave!

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…

The Auction
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.

Sabotage
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.

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The Golden Head Rush

After a few days journey, the party makes it back to San Gustavo. Each PC makes a report to their superior who they are surprised to find waiting in the city for them. (Quinn is debriefed by General Cristian Acedo de Lopez del Torres, while “El Vago” himself appears to Luis and Diego). Both however have essentially the same mission briefing (unknown to the PCs they are in fact, the same person) so I run it as if all of them are there, turning my swivel chair back and forth between the Players to sort of represent a cut-scene conversation that is not taking place simultaneously.

What their superior has to tell them is bad news, however. The Royal Army has been suffering from a series of mutinies. Aparrently, the soldiers have been unpaid for the past 6 weeks, and things are only likely to get worse. Good King Sandoval wants to pay his brave soldiers, however the creditors are now refusing to lend any more money to the crown, whose finances have been tapped out by the war as it was. During all this, Cardinal Verdugo has offered that the Holy Inqusition will happily donate money to see the troops are paid. El Vago/The General sees this as a power play by Verdugo to consolidate more power in his own hands while discrediting the king even further. Furthermore, he has a feeling that the Inqusiiton may have something to do with those creditors suddenly cutting the king off… Needless to say, Castille needs money if it is going to defend itself from the Montaigne without selling itself to the Inquisition. The story of the Tablet and All Seeing Eye and the Golden Head is no secret. The inquisition loves publicizing the “confessions” of captured “heretics” like Edmund. When it was discovered that Edmund was alive and well, word got around. So it is no surprise that El Vago knew about it. Indeed, it seems that there are quite a few new ships in the port as well these days, and the PCs have felt like they’re being watched all the time… So the General / El Vago gives the PCs a mission: for the realm and their king, they must try to find this Golden Head. The Explorer’s Society has arranged a ship to go on an expedition to find it, and the PCs are invited to come along: after all they have experience with Syrneth Ruins now, and saved the lives of two of their members. In exchange for helping the Explorer’s find the Golden Head, the Explorer’s Society will offer to buy them out of their share of the Golden Head (they want to study it, not melt it down for the gold). This could be just the cash injection that Castille needs. It will be a few weeks still before Edmund is fit to travel by sea, however, and they’ll need time besides to figure out how to use the Eye with the Tablet to discern their destination. In the meantime, more and more unsavory “merchant ship captains” have been arriving in port. The PCs noticed themselves being followed by a pair of Vendel Twins who tried to bribe them to sell them a map to the treasure, agreeing to pay them a share of the treasure when they recover it. Most of the PCs took this Vendel for some kind of a rich dandy, until a Vesten came into the tavern and tried to bury an axe in the Vendel’s head. He quick-drew a pistol and shot the great viking between the eyes and he fell dead at his feet. “Barkeep; have somebody clean this s**t up off the floor!”. The Vendel then paid for the drinks, and tipped his hat, asking the PCs to remember his offer. However Quinn decided instead that they would auction off the map to the highest bidder. This is where the session ended, with preperations underway for an auction to take place. I have no idea what they’re planning to do during this auction, since they themselves don’t know where the final destination is, however the potential bidders don’t know that, now do they?
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The Castillian Inquisition!

So the Heroes had stumbled onto the inquisition. Knight Inquisitor Sergio Aldana y Montenegro demanded that Rachel Longfellow surender herself and all “heretical” Syrneth artifiacts they recovered from the ruins, and in exchange they would be taken to Vaticine City where they would receive a “fair trial”. If they refused, they would be executed here and now (along with this other fellow tied to the stake).

Luis pretended to comply, but had readied a concealed knife for the moment he got close enough, walking forward with his hands up (the knife was attached to the back of his hand). He then held his action… then

Rachel was faltering; the horribly beaten man tied to the stake was in fact, her boyfriend (this whole expedition was a plan by her to bring her boyfriend’s kidnapper out of hiding). Before she could surrender, however, Diego charged on his horse at full tilt right at the Knight Inquisitor. He lept over the inquisitor’s head, with a half twist and a flip; stuck the landing, and immediately began a flurry of attacks pushing the stunned inquisitor back (in game mechanics terms, the player rolled a Mighty Success on the roll to leap from the charging mount successfully. Following the rules, a mighty success in combat for a non-damaging action gives +1 Advantage and also some additional benefit. I allowed a free extra action for it. So the player attacked with bladework. The Inquistor yielded advantage. Then the player decided to “Press the Advantage” and burned a point of advantage for another attack after taking his regular attack. So 3 attacks were launched from this single turn! He ended up yielding 2 Advantage and then having no choice but to take the damage from the final attack. However, the Inquisitor’s armor completely soaked the damage from the final attack. Quinn, who had been hiding in the woods setting up an ambush (against another squad of Defenders of the faith who were also planning to attack from ambush themselves) changed his corse of action and used the Mad Jack Glamour knack to walk out from behind the wooden stake and toss the burning torch that was sitting next to it in the river. He then used the same ability to go back to his hiding spot. The guards standing nearby noticed nothing. Montenegro attacked Diego, and managed a mighty success on his own with the Beat maneuver, but failed to disarm Diego with it. However, he did regain +1 Advantage and also forced Diego to yield 2 (with ANOTHER Mighty Success) which now made them on even footing as each now had 2 Advantage remaining. Montenegro fought his way away from the edge of the cliff, forcing Diego to roll back away from the savage swipes of his heavy serpentine sword of Solomon. Diego found himself backing INTO a group of Defenders of the Faith, however. He was surrounded on all sides. He also managed to defend himself from an assault by four of them WHILE fighting the Inquistor at the same time! He truly was living up to the title of “Master” in this fight! One of the Knight Inquistors with a Halberd decided to make an attack on Luis at that moment, and Luis responded by managing to grab the Halberd and use it as leverage (against a nearby tree) to FLING the inquisitor into the river. Rachel, seeing what was going on made a bee-line for Edmund, her betrothed, and used her whip to grab a Defender of the Faith by the neck and fling him into the river. She then dismounted and prepared the begin cutting the ropes. The ambushing group of Defenders of the Faith fired on the party, but missed (thanks to several Fortune Points) while the halberdier commanding them slid down the hill to fight beside Montenegro (basically replacing the one who went over the falls). When his Defenders of the Faith followed suit the next round (their vision was impaired by smoke from their current position; smokeless powder doesn’t exist yet), they ended up losing their balance and lost their round skidding down the side of a hill. Each phase of combat, I had anyone in the river roll or be moved one square closer to the edge of the falls. All failed. The halberdier found himself screaming as he fell over the side. I said that he managed to use his halberd to catch himself between two rocks about 100 feet further down. The Defender of the Faith was not as lucky and landed on the sharp rocks at the bottom.

The tide began to turn in the Heroes’ favor. Rachel handed Edmund a sword, and despite crippling injuries visited upon him by the inquisition, the shear distilled revenge / murderous rage within him allowed him to cut down several Defenders of the Faith, while Rachel casually shot another one in the head. Diego then got off another impressive series of attacks on Montenegro, who then asked “Who ARE you… I must know” to Diego. Diego gave him his full name. After that, one of Quinn’s arrows hit Montenegro in the cheek. Realizing the odds were against him (fighting Diego one on one would be too much for him; let alone Diego plus several allies) Montenegro shouted “You have not heard the last of Inquisitor Montenegro” and then lept over the falls! Montenegro used one of his “Miracle Dice” to give himself a Fortune Point, which allowed him to automatically make a successful getaway from the heroes, meaning he survived the fall without hitting any jagged rocks.

In fact, I asked one of the players to pick a number between 1 and 10. He picked “7”. I rolled a d10 and it came up 7… so I ruled that Montenegro’s fall was partly broken by the other Inquisitor who was holding onto some rocks below. At the top of the falls, this left Halberdier #2 and a few Defenders of the Faith. Luis demanded their surrender, and the Halberdier agreed, but the Defenders continued to fight on, though they were quickly defeated by Diego. Questioning the halberdier, they discovered that Montenegro possessed a Syrneth Tablet that he suspected was to be used in conjunction with the “All Seeing Eye”. The inquisition believes there are some things man was not meant to know, and planned to destroy them both together. After capturing and interrogating Edmund (he was the original owner of the tablet) they found out about his destination up into the mountains to search the ruins looking for the Eye. They also knew that Edmund suspected that the Eye and Tablet would reveal the greatest Syrneth treasure ever imagined: the golden head of Korlak ur-Nagath. A few weeks later, Rachel came looking for Edmund, and unable to find him went looking for the Eye herself in hopes of bringing Edmund’s captors out of hiding. The PCs were the strong and able party of adventurers she needed to take on the kidnappers (as well as the ruins).
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Syrneth Ruins Part 2

The Heroes recovered another gem along in a room that was filled with seering heat; the body of a dead Syrneth monster (some manner of gigantic centipede creature). The creature was coiled around a clutch of eggs (the source of the heat in the room) and also a gem. Luis decided that the threat those eggs might pose was not worth the possible sale value of them, and decided not to try to carry them out.

The Heroes also figured out how to get the correct gem from the three armed statue. Seeming to have most of the gems, they move northward where they discovered a band of Vodacce mercenaries (hired by Caligari; they were the ones who laid the boulder trap) finishing off a horde of giant ant-like bio-machines. They have also recovered some gems. They offer to work with the heroes so that the gems can all be placed in the beholder statue. Of course, once the gems were placed inside the beholder statue and a secret door to the “real” treasure was revealed, the mercenaries double crossed the PCs. In the ensuing fight, Diego managed to subdue the leader of the mercenaries into surrender (he was “between the sword and the wall” quite literally). The PCs took their firearms (they left them their swords so they would not be helpless) and left them in the ruins. Luis made sure to warn them “whatever you do; don’t remove those gems from the eye statue”. Within 15 minutes of the party leaving the ruins, they hear the sound of the ruins collapsing in on itself and the beholder statue can be seen flying away! Clearly, the warning to “leave it alone” went unheeded. The treasure they found in the secret compartment consisted of two things: a pair of earings (one white, one black) and a large amber disk (about the size of a frisbee). Inside the amber was a bracelet with all sorts of arcane markings allover it. Looking through the bracelet part of the amber distorts the view of the holder, so the heroes are pretty sure it has some sort of “seeing” power. The earings were discovered to hiss in whatever ear it is worn in. Putting both earings on makes this hiss unbearably loud. Eventually they figure out that if two people wear the earing seperately, they can communicate with one another remotely. Rachel is content to let them have the earings, but warns them that syrneth artifacts often have some sort of downside to their use; there may be somebody else listening too, or the earings may burn out after so much time, for instance. Rachel takes possession of the amber disk, which she has begun to refer to as the “All Seeing Eye” from an epic legend. Even though Luis thought he had taken it, when he looked in his pack, it turned out to be a rock (courtesy of some glamour magic, any time Luis tries to steal the disk, he will get a decoy instead). Making their way down the mountain, the heroes round a bend where there is a waterfall. Quinn had gone ahead of them, cutting through trees rather than taking the switchbacks. He sees a group of men readying an ambush, and is sneaking up on them. However, the PCs round the bend just in time to see a Knight Inquisitor who is also a member of the Swords of Solomon standing in the middle of the path. With him are a squad of Defenders of the Faith, and a halberdier as well. Behind him is a man tied to a wooden stake. They weren’t expecting the Castillian Inquisition…
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The Syrneth Ruins Part 1

So, obviously this session was a bit different from most 7th Sea games, because this was a bona-fide dungeon crawl. I made some changes to make this be more of a Syrneth Ruins and less D&D in style, however.

Giving a room by room description of everything would be a bit too much so I’ll just hit the highlights here: So the Heroes first found Room 2, and there was a giant, winged, horned ape in there which charged at them. It took some doing, but the Heroes finally killed it. I used the Demon template from the Honor + Intrigue book for it. They proceded south, where they wisely chose to ignore the room with the “rats” in it. Actually these were not rats, but “boca” creatures that are like combo of kangaroo rats and piranhas, probably was the deadliest encounter of the dungeon. Moving west, they see a horrifying Syrneth “statue” which was the exact likeness of a D&D Xorn. It had several gems fixed onto its body, each was one of its three “eyes”. Luis tried taking the wrong one, and the statue came to life; he quickly replaced it, and the statue ceased moving. They left this room and continued west, then south, crossing an underground river and seeing a large metal statue of a bull. This statue had no eyes, and its body was covered in scales, and I tried my best to convey that it looked like something that belonged in “Pan’s Labyrinth”. It also had a blue gem in its chest, that pulsed and hummed. They left this room without touching the thing. In the next room, they found a slimy green lichen with a feint glow covering the walls. Burning it off the wall, the discovered a green gem and some pictograms underneath which showed the beholder statue and the gems that must be placed in a specific order on it. Next door, they spotted yet another statue, this one of a cyclops holding a spear, ready to hurl. Luis cleverly noticed that there was a trap in the floor, and avoided it, then managed to pry the gem out that was serving as the creature’s eye. Hearing the boca on the other side of the next door, they doubled back and decided to investigate the underground river, and found it led to an underground lake, but there was nothing of further interest to them here. In a bold move, Luis and Quinn yanked the blue gem from the “bull” statue and it chased them right towards the cyclops statue. Leaping over the trap, the cyclops impaled the bull with its spear when it touched the pressure plate in the floor. However, the bull did smash into the cyclops, making a huge “boooooong” sound (the statue was hollow and functioned as a sort of alarm bell). The boca on the other side of the wall began chewing the wall itself trying to get in, and they left in a hurry.
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An Old Flame
Quinn's ex invites the heroes to investigate some ruins...

Act I: A Spark with an Old Flame

Rachel Longfellow, one of Quinn’s old girlfriends, who is also a member of the explorer’s society visits Vaticine City unexpectedly. She seems affable but is also nervous. She says she is on Castille because the society has found what appears to be a big lead on some Ruins within Castille and she means to find them. She’s nervous about being in inquisition territory.

Revealing the possibility of treasure, Luis’ interest is piqued and his skills seem especially useful for this mission. Diego’s sword arm will likely be necessary in case of any ruin monsters, and Quinn’s wilderness skills will be invaluable in finding the place. Further, Los Vagos communicate to Luis and Diego that the should accept the mission if only to find out what is in the ruins (before the inquisition does).

Her predecessor, Edmund (who is also her boyfriend, unbeknownst to Quinn) has gone missing and she suspects the inquisition is behind it. Her true purpose is to be “bait” for the inquisition in the hopes of finding Edmund’s holding place. But she does not tell this to Quinn, instead making it seem he has another shot with her.

Act II: Getting to the Ruins

The ruins are in the Sierra de Hierro (Saw of Iron) mountains of Rancho Soldano, close to the Vodacce border.

Entry to the Mountain Passes
The entryway to the Sierra de Hierro is guarded by a garrison of troops. The PCs have a pass from the General that lets them by (but the Inqusition does not need a pass).

In the Mountains
The weather there is extreme, and as it is fall, cold blasting winds will be blowing through the peaks and crags. It is very cold (but not snowing yet). The PCs purchased adequate supplies for the trip, using money they got from selling the horses and the bounty on the giant Black Wolf.

The Mysterious Cave Paintings
In the mountains, there were some rocks with paintings portraying an ancient culture of fire-worshipers, seemingly ruled by a great king who wields fire from his hands. The cave paintings are very ancient indeed, according to Rachel, over 2,000 years old!

The Boulder Trap
Taking point, Quinn somehow managed not to spot the tripwire across the path. Luis shouted out a warning, but the words left his throat a second too late as a boulder rolled down the hill right at Quinn. Quinn spent a Fortune Point, and ended up with a Close Call instead, as the boulder smashed into a tree adjacent to him. Obviously, someone was here before them; and does not want any followers. Quinn’s tracking was able to reveal there were no less than 5 people up in the place where the boulder dropped from, and their footprints appear later on the path and lead into the ruins.

These guys are not with the Inquisition, however; they are mercenaries employed by Vincenzo Caligari (these mountains border Vodacce after all). And they want access to the ruins for themselves alone.

Next… Arrival at the Ruins…

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Chapter 3: The Prison Break and Escape
Now all the PCs have to do is break Ramon out of the prison and escape Montaigne unnoticed...

Part III: The Prison Break

Last time, our heroes had had a rough night, being attacked by a huge black wolf, seemingly infused with Porte sorcery. Though it was a terrifying experience, they made it to the next day.

Traveling overland through the forests of the La Motte province, the dark and wild trees gave way to the orderly rows of an orchard. When the PCs saw the La Motte estate, they chose to give it a wide berth and avoided any potential confrontation. Traveling by night, and resting in an irrigation ditch during the day ensured they were not spotted by any laborers.

In a short time, the PCs had made it to the prison: a three story stone tower manned by over 20 guards. Across the (what passed for a) street, there was a tavern and stables. Closer to the tower was a barracks and smithy.

Then our heroes hatched a cunning plan to help Ramon to escape. I should point out here that there was no pre-decided “right way” for them to do it. I wanted to see what ideas they came up with on their own without having to pull them down a “path”.

At night, Luis snuck into the smithy and stole some hot coals. He took these and placed them adjacent to the tavern, where a good number of the guards spent their time off. In a short time, it was ablaze, and the guards on watch at the top of the tower began shouting “FIRE!” “FIRE AT THE TAVERN!”

At which point, the guards on the ground began shooting their muskets in the general direction of the tavern. With this distraction created, Diego climbed a rope grappled to the other side of the tower (in the chaos involved in the fire, the guards did not notice the grappler landing behind them). Upon reaching the roof, Diego’s player performed a Stunt that seemed to be an homage to the Three Stoogees, cracking all three heads together at once from behind.

The guards safely asleep, Diego began to open the trap door on the roof. From there, he spied something terrifying: the flames of the tavern turned into a giant snake made of flames and began slithering its way towards the tower, climbing the walls and going into the tiny hole that served as a window for one of the cells.

Quinn maintained a lookout from the treeline, ready to give covering fire should the other party members need it. Luis, meanwhile was half-way up the rope. He saw a Vaticine priest kneeling in prayer in one of the cells, then saw the fire snake burn its way through the heavy oak door and immolate the priest into a skeleton of black ash! The snake immediately turned around and left the room.

Making it to the roof, Diego and Luis began to make their way downward. They encountered no guards on the inside, and found 2 cells where the door had been burnt to ash; otherwise all the other prisoners remained untouched. One by one, Luis began picking the locks to the cells, freeing the prisoners.

Among them was Ramon, who informed them that the “Fire Mage” was in fact, his own cousin, who had gone mad. The priest who was killed was a member of the Inquisition, which the sorcerous cousin was determined to exterminate. Then, he burned his way out of the front gates to the prison. All the guards’ attempts to shoot him failed as their muskets mysteriously could not strike a spark. The gigantic fire snake encouraged even the bravest of the guards to flee for his life rather than try to return the sorcerer to his cell.

In addition to Ramon, the prisoners were mostly a mix of Castillian POWs and Montaigne political prisoners. The one exception was an Avalon privateer who had been captured by “The General”, an Eisen mercenary employed by L’Empeur to round up all pirates in Montaigne waters. The fact that he was alive at all and in this prison meant he must be some VIP in Avalon that the Montaigne did not want to upset by executing him.

Finally among the more interesting prisoners was a Montaigne Porte sorcerer sitting in between two mirrors. He cast no reflection on the mirrors, but instead there was a ghost “trapped” inside the mirror, pounding on the glass with non-existant hands (his wrists ended in bloody stumps, and bloody pits were all that remained of what should have been his eyes). Luis decided to free him, and after they got clear of the tower (very careful not to disturb the mirrors that imprisoned the ghost) he was able to use his Porte again. Before leaving, he gave the PCs his marker so that they could call on him for a favor some day in the future, and told them his name was Gilbert Rois et Reines du Rogné

Because they had an Avalon Privateer captain (I named him “Archibald Hornblower”) and a few other prisoners who were handy at sailing, Luis decided to forgo being smuggled across the river to Barcino, and instead walking to another port, where they could steal a ship to take them all back to Castille. He asked the Porte sorcerer to deliver a message to his contact in Buche, telling him not to wait for him.

Meanwhile, the Heroes determined to stop in Bastogne on the way to the port, as it was a region known for its exceedingly valuable horses (3-5,000 guilders apiece). Using the Prefect’s signet ring, and donning a Montaigne army uniform, Luis began preparing a writ to grant him two of the horses in the name of the Prefect of Barcino (and to be paid for by General DuToille, the Montaigne commander of the Castillian front).

The Road to Bastogne

On the way to Bastogne, the PCs were again traveling off the main road to avoid patrols of Montaigne troops, but they encountered a squad of Musketeers nevertheless. Because the PCs were dressed in Montaigne army uniforms, the Musketeers signaled them to approach.

The seargent in charge of the squad told the PCs that they were on the lookout for a group of bandits who had recently kidnapped a duchess, Therese Rois et Reines du Rogné (the mother of the noble Gilbert who they had freed from the prison the day before). Luis agreed to do all he could to find her (much to the annoyance of Diego) on their way to Bastogne, and was given a blooded coin that the Seargent could use to pass a message to him to update him on his progress the next day at noon.

Quinn was able to pick up their trail, leading to a shack in the hills. Catching the bandits in the shack by surprise, the PCs quickly dispatched them both, with Quinn making a nigh-impossible shot to hit one holding a gun on the duchess in the neck to sever his spinal cord, thus preventing him from pulling the trigger as he fell.

Duchess Therese, whose hands they unbound, was now able to use her Porte sorcery once again. The PCs made no mention of her son Gilbert (a good thing since she is the one who sent him to prison). At that moment, the Sergeant’s Porte coin activated and passed a message through asking about his progress in the search. The Duchess sent her own reply, confirming her rescue, and agreed to return the coin to the Sergent, which Luis happily passed to her (he did not like the idea of a Musketeer being able to track him).

With the Duchess rescued, she used her Porte to go home, while the PCs rode the rest of the way to Bastogne (she’d have offered them a lift if not for the horses).

Horse Trading

Arriving in Bastogne, Luis’ plan to swindle the garrison commander out of some prized horses went off without a hitch, and the Prefect’s signet ring worked like a charm. They billed General DuToille for the 6,000 Guilders for the horses!

Trouble At the Dock of the Bay

Arriving in the small port of Entour, Luis tried the same trick on the harbormaster to commandeer a ship in order to “deliver a pair of prized horses to his excellency”. This time, it did not work, and the Harbormaster claimed that because the Prefect was dead that the order was void.

At this point, a subtle conversation steering towards bribery ensued. However, Diego had lost all patience with this type of thing, and proceeded to steal a ship with Captain Hornblower in broad daylight. With the harbormaster distracted, they began pulling away from the dock… without Luis, Quinn, or the valuable horses!

The Harbormaster rang the bell and troops ran onto the docks, firing in vain. Some dove into the longboats to go after them, and the boats promptly sank thanks to the holes Hornblower and Diego had drilled into them.

Then “The General” the Eisen Mercenary charged with capturing all pirates in Montaigne waters, the very same who had put Hornblower in prison in the first place, stormed out onto the dock. He effortlessly pulled one of the Montaigne soldiers out of the water with one hand, shouted “YOU IDIOT!” and punched him back into the water!

He turned to the harbormaster and said, “Open a portal onto that ship” as he began lighting a grenade. The harbormaster happened to be a Porte sorcerer, and had blooded the wheel of each ship under his care as a precautionary measure against just this sort of thing.

While Luis was now sweating bullets at the prospect of having to fight The General (and lose the horses) to stop him from blowing up his friends, Quinn interjected and used some Glamour to “turn off” the Harbormaster’s Porte hole, leaving them all standing on the dock with a live grenade sizzling at their feet!

As terrified characters began diving into the water, the General picked up the grenade and put out the fuse with his fingers. Furious that all nearby longboats had holes in them, he stormed towards the far end of the dock to take a boat out to his flagship to give chase, though by this point, it would be hopeless.

This left Luis in a difficult position in regards to selling the horses vs. getting onto the ship. There was no way the ship would have time to stop and pick him up, given the General was in pursuit. Quinn was able to get aboard using the “Mad Jack” knack of his Glamour Sorcery.

Essentially, the PCs were now forced to split up, with Luis going overland with the horses, calling upon Gilbert to use Porte to get him into Barcino, after selling him the horses. From there, everybody reconvened in Vaticine City, where they were debriefed by their superior.

At this point, people had quite a few Advancement Points to spend, and we decided to pick up the campaign taking place a few months in the future, after they’d had time to spend them (and their share of the loot from selling the horses).

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Who's NOT Afraid of the Big Bad Wolf!?!?!

The creature that Diego is facing is a “Black Wolf” a monster described in the Montaigne sourcebook. I did not have the creature statted out for Honor + Intrigue, and instead used the stats for the Beast of Gevaudan instead.

At first, Diego is alone, but he let out a scream when he saw the creature (and what it did to the deer) and the other party members began moving in to help. Quinn used his “Mad Jack” Glamour in order to appear closer to the monster, essentially halving the 200 yard distance between it and himself, and opting to fire at it from the safe distance of 100 yards.

Luis had to get there the old fashioned way, and began sprinting towards the noise. Since we were not using any maps or miniatures, I just had him roll 2d6 + Daring. Next round, I had him roll the same thing, adding his result to the previous total. Once the total exceeded 20, he’d be close enough to try to attack the monster.

Before Diego had a chance to act to defend himself, the beast was leaping at him, attempting to swipe at him with both of its mighty claws! And then it rolled a Calamitous failure! I declared that Diego ducked just in time and the creature’s paw was stuck in a hollow in the tree behind him (its claws impaled the wood as well). This also had the effect of canceling the creature’s second attack and threw it enough off balance to reduce its Defense by 1.

Seeing that the creature was exposed, Diego opted to go for maximum damage and performed a Lunge at the creature, knowing it would not be able to exploit an opening as it was currently stuck. Since he has mastered Lunge, Diego did 2d6+1 damage, which ended up being 12 damage to the creature. This ought to have been extremely impressive, since the average Hero has 10 Lifeblood. However the creature was only angry about this attack!

Then, Quinn showed up and one of his arrows found its mark in the beast’s shoulder.

Next round, Diego did something extremely brave/foolish. He lept up onto the creature’s back, clutching at its fur with one hand, and holding his sword by the quillions in the other, and impaled it yet again. And yet again, the beast was only angered! But for such an audacious action, I immediately awarded a Fortune Point to Diego’s player!

The beast tried to buck him off (I made Diego roll a Might check against the creature’s 6 Might… and Diego SUCCEEDED by rolling boxcars) but could not. Diego knew if he let go, he was a dead man.

Quinn managed to hit the wolf yet again, even though he had the added difficulty of having to aim around Diego, but thanks to the Robin Goodfellow Glamour Knack, he was able to ignore the ranged and cover penalties and his arrow flew true; hitting the beast in its hindquarter. By this point the creature had taken 22 damage, at which point I announced that it was down to about half its Lifeblood. Jaws dropped.

Then Luis burst forth from the bushes, about 15 feet from the creature. I immediately had him make a Daring roll against the beast’s Terror rating of 3, which he failed and lost 1 Composure. His throwing knife struck the creature in the shoulder, and it immediately fixed its gaze on him!

Next round, the creature went first, and tried to bite Luis. The attack succeeded easily, but I allowed Luis to yield advantage; saying that he had stumbled backwards over a root, which the beast promptly bit in half.

The beast was stabbed and shot another time, but still clung to rage and its life; intent on taking ONE of the humans that had hurt it with it into death. It leapt to kill Luis, who killed it with a Stop-Thrust, pulling his knife from the monstrous beast’s throat. Diego managed to roll off its back before it crushed his leg under its collapsing body.

Quinn began getting to work preparing the deer and skinning the wolf (believing, quite rightly, that its hide would be worth a large sum of money; there is in fact, a bounty on these types of wolves). The other PCs ate and tried to get some sleep, but the thought of the monster they faced, and knowing that this part of Montaigne is the “most haunted” part of the whole kingdom makes their sleep less than restful…

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