Rain spattered upon the deck of the Misty Mourner, the sailors eyed the Chelish Captain with wary suspicion. The Chelish Navy was powerful even in the free waters of the Shackles, and with the secret of gunpowder stolen from Alkenstar many a ship in the Chelish navy had found itself fitted with a powerful compliment of cannons.
“Everything seems to be in order, and I hope you find yourself sailing with fairer winds than these. Captain…”
“Ackles,” spake Captain Morgan, “Captain Shamus Ackles.”
The Chelish Captain walked up the gangplank back onto his boat. The crew breathed a sigh of relief.
Yet, just as the Captain Morgan was about to give the order to release the grapnels from his ship words could be heard over the patter of rain.
“Fire all cannons men! Burn that ship to the waterline! If that man isn’t a pirate, he once was and I’ll be damned to the deepest of hells if I’ll let him free to commit another act of devil-blasted piracy!”
The Thrune’s Fang opened up her cannon ports:
“Blast it all!” Yells Captain Morgan, "The Misty Mourner won’t last a minute under this assault! ALL HANDS TO THE BOATS! ABANDON SHIP YOU SCABROUS DOGS, AND THAT’S AN ORDER!
Four members of Morgan’s crew leapt to, and needed little convincing to man the emergency boat. Lowering themselves down into the ocean the mighty half-orc woman, and an imperious looking Tengu began rowing with all their might. The hull of the Misty Mourner shattering to splinters in their wake. Then after less than a minute of bombardment. A mighty explosion caused the dinghy to bob from the waves. The Misty Mourner’s powder had gone up, lit by Morgan no doubt, to give the boats more time to escape. Whether by luck or Besmara’s blessing the sails of the Thrune’s Fang II were burning and torn. Morgan’s Crew had a small chance of survival.
The four aboard the dinghy were:
Peter Backbeard – Male Dwarf Witch: Hunting for the ancient secrets of Ghol-Gan, Peter signed on to the Misty Mourner under Captain Jonas Morgan in the hopes of meeting a contact in Port Peril about a map. A tiny dinosaur rests atop his shoulder, and his long back-hairs seem to move of their own accord.
Sally Dread-Morgan – Female Half Elf Buccaneer (Bard): A storyteller from Port Peril, Sally signed on to Captain Morgan’s ship in order to learn the Captain’s life story, and to learn if they were indeed related.
Buttons – Female Half-Orc Juju Oracle: Called by the wendifa to the ocean, Buttons is named so for the bizarre collection of buttons she keeps, some of which she sews onto raggedy dolls for her own inscrutable reasons. Captain Morgan took her aboard the ship believing “Having juju sea spirits on your side might be worth a button or two.”
Samrow Seaspirit – Male Tengu Corsair (Fighter) – Signed on to Captain Morgan’s ship in the hopes of becoming an officer, Captain Morgan hired Seaspirit to absorb the bad-luck aboard the ship (a job he is still doing aboard his new boat).
The days were long, and while they told stories over rum, to keep down the boredom, soon the rum was almost gone. They rolled the bones to determine who would get the last swig, and though Sally Dread-Morgan lost many of her fine possessions to her fellow boatmembers, the taste of rum was oh-so-sweet.
But then another day passes in the heat, without shade. Even watered, the unrelenting heat caused each to pass out in turn. First Samrow, insulated by his fine black feathers, then Sally, with her slight elf-blooded frame, and then Buttons passed out mumbling about the wendifa. Peter Backbeard was last, but upon the horizon he spotted a sea serpent?
Chapter 1: Welcome to the Sweet Trade
The crew of the Mourner found themselves rudely awoken by a savage looking man with a long black beard, and cracking a whip to punctuate his points.
“Still abed with the sun over the yardarm? On your feet, ye filthy swabs! Get up on deck and report for duty before Captain Harrigan flays the flesh into sausages and has Fishguts fry you up for breakfast!”
Half-dazed the crew realized that they had been rescued from death by a crew of pirates, and there would be no illusions they had been press-ganged onto the crew.
The Mourners raced upstairs to the Main Deck where they learned that they served on The Wormwood under Captain Barnabas Harrigan, not that they would be speaking to the man. They were given to Mr. Plugg to shape into pirates as he saw fit. He quickly made it clear to the party that they were to obey without question and the smartmouthed Backbeard earned his first lash for insubordination at that point. Ordered to climb the rigging to determine who had the skill to serve as a Rigger on the ship, Buttons proved herself more than able to perform the task (rolling two twenties in a row to make the accelerated climb checks).
Plugg then asked for a volunteer to serve as cook. Backbeard volunteered, if only to get out from Scourge’s zealous punishments. “If I find even one hair in my soup, I’ll flay you alive got it.” Threatened Plugg.
Sally Dread-Morgan, and the Tengu Samrow were made swabbies, their first task to catch rats below decks. Samrow tried to use the opportunity to look around, letting his work suffer severely (rolled a 2). Sally on the other hand worked diligently at her task to catch as many rats as possible.
Meanwhile in the rigging Buttons was having the time of her life making the repairs needed to keep the ship in sailing trim (rolled a 19 on her Dex check. Button’s dex mod is -1.)
In the kitchen Backbeard bluffed Kroop telling the old cook that he was in charge. Kroop found that hilarious, and said: “Well then Master Cook, if you’re so smart then you’ll at the very least know how to fish for turtles. So why don’t you go and do that.” Working diligently Backbeard managed to catch enough Sea-Turtles to make stew that night.
The day seemed to pass quickly as the clock struck its terrible tone. Samnell was brought up for shirking his duties and received 3 lashes from the whip-happy Master Scourge. Then came the main event. A sailor by the name of Jakes Magpie was keelhauled, dragged beneath the ship on a terrifying deadly trip. The price paid for stealing from his crew-mates, by the end all that was left of him was a messed up mass of pulped flesh.
That evening Sally Dread-Morgan and Buttons drank deeply of their rum ration. Buttons fell almost immediately ill and rushed to a hammock to sleep off the booze. Sally slurred her way through their origin tale, drawing a few interested listeners among the crew, but no new friends. Samnell and Backbeard sipped their ration, and while Samnell went straight to his hammock in the hopes of sleeping off some of his wounds, Backbeard challenged the only other dwarf on the crew “Narwhal” Tate to an arm wrestling match. He used a touch of fatigue in the hopes of weakening Narwhal, but the Dwarf sailor seemed resistant to the magic. His strength though was no match for the mighty Backbeard, and the dwarf with the animated back hair one a pouch of gold and silver for his troubles. Still though, he was beginning to grow worried about the whereabouts of his familiar.
Thus ended the first day upon the Wormwood, the first of many to come.