Flotsam & Jetsam

THE CURRENTS OF CARIBDUS

Scene: Six

Opening: Aboard the ‘Celaphon’, Gan and Dulce are wounded from the fights with the Skeletal Warriors.

Dulce refused any attempts at healing and ran below. It appeared that only Aurelianus knew anything about medicine; he attempted to heal Gans wounds. He was unsuccessful, but he did notice something strange. He called Jim to one side.

“English Jim”, he said. “The Red Man, he has many scars and marks from old wounds. They have been done deliberately; they form a map of some kind.”

Jim went to examine Gan and the old scars. Seen up close, they didn’t look to be anything; but from a distance they formed into marks and symbols. “This could be a ship, this looks like an island and this could be another ship?” One of the fresh wounds cut right across the markings. “We’ll have to wait until this heals”.

Aurelianus was interested; Jim saw fit to trust him as he would need a ship.

They weighed anchor and sailed north-west. The following day dawned clear with a good wind and the ‘Celaphon’ made good progress. Dulce emerged from below and joined Jim at the wheel.

“I am ashamed that you saw the demons that possess me. Some years ago, I loved a lady; daughter of a crafter. I was the son of a crafter; we were well matched. We took a small boat out on the water; a sea demon rose and attacked us. I do not recall everything; I grabbed my sword and fought the demon; alas, when I had driven it off, I was sorely wounded and my lady was dead; killed by the demon’s slashing claws. Now, I serve Torquemada as a hunter of demons; yet sometimes the demon’s poison takes control of my body. Only when they are all dead will I be free of the curse.”

Jim felt compelled to ask. “When we dock at Calib’s Rock I will need stout companions to help me. Will you join me?” Dulce looked out to sea for a moment; then turned back. “I cannot at this time. However, I will name you friend, English Jim.”

At mid-morning on 17th February they sighted land ahead; in the early afternoon the ‘Celaphon’ sailed into Calib’s Rock and moored. Jim and Gan went ashore to find lodgings and to enquire about the ‘Lady Evil’.

End of Scene Six

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Threads

What is the Red Man’s secret

                > The marks on his back have some relevance

Rescue Bronwyn from Black Bob

                Has Bronwyn gone willingly?

Chaos

-1 to 5

NPC’s

Gan, the wounded Red Man with a secret to a great treasure

Bronwyn, Ships Surgeon

Black Bob and his crew

Aurelianus, Kraken captain of the ‘Celaphon’

Dulce Decorum, Masaquani Questor

Places

Baltimus

Unknown Whip Island

“The Tarred Rope” tavern in Baltimus

Calib’s Rock

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GM Notes:

  1. a) The whole map thing and Gan came out of a series of Events, Mythic questions and a Story Cube that was a map. So I hit on that Gan himself was the map
  2. b) I’m very interested to see how Dulce is going to develop. The Mookmaker assigns three personality traits based on the Story Cubes; two of these are obvious and the third is a secret; to possibly be revealed when a Random event is rolled. Dulce’s Berserk Edge was a surprise to me; especially as I’d already sketched out his backstory with the death of his girlfriend. What could his Secret be?
  3. The Island with the Skeletal Warriors has been added as a treasure map to the Loot table

Next Scene: Will be run using the Card Off-time system. I’ve already determined that the ‘Lady Evil’ will not dock until 24/02*; giving Jim and Gan seven days to wait.

* This was done using the normal sailing rules and taking into account the storm on 15/02.

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Flotsam & Jetsam

I’ve been doing some background prep and tidying things up.

1) The map or Caribdus given as a download is a mess; it is gridded into staggered squares on an isometric grid and the squares are barely visible. I’ve repainted it onto an orthogonal grid (ala PoTSM); there has been a very slight loss of scale but not enough to worry about. Ships sail normally along the grid and use a d8 for random movement. It also allows me to use coordinates to place stuff; the island with the Skeletal Warriors is at (13,21).

I’ve also started to list all Locations and the prominent people found in them. I know this isn’t necessary (or desirable), but one of the great advantages of a solo Game is that you can indulge yourself as much as you like. Having some NPC families sketched out means that a Mythic result of “Remote / Ambiguous Event” can be given more meaning / relevance. I wrote a card driven system years ago that creates noble dynasties that I’m resurrecting.

Flotsam & Jetsam

Game: The Currents of Caribdus

Scene: Five

Opening: On board the ‘Celaphon’ making for Calib’s Rock

Captain Aurelianus was impressed with Jim’s handling of the ship, but took the wheel once they rounded the headland. Even after eight years, Jim could not get used to how close to his own world this one was. If fact, if it wasn’t that he was standing next to a frock-coated squid-headed humanoid wearing a captain’s hat, he could almost be at sea anywhere on Earth.

The ‘Celaphon’ had no passenger quarters; they slept in the hold along with the cargo and the guns. There were other passengers aboard; a dark-skinned Masaquani and his family, who spoke little and kept to themselves. Jim learnt he was a woodcutter seeking a new life in Calib’s Rock.

Perhaps the reason for their silence was the fifth passenger, a pale-skinned Masaquani wearing the black and silver robes of a Questor! A long sword hung at his belt; his eyes had a reddish tinge and he had waist-length braided hair.

“You are a human, a Newcomer”, the Questor said in a low voice. “I would speak with you, to learn of your world. I am Dulce Decorum and I hunt demons.”

That evening, after the meal, the passengers swapped stories. The woodcutter ventured that he had heard that The Company were starting a new venture; you paid a sum of money to journey on a large ship round the islands, seeing various sites. Jim and Dulce laughed at this; that people would pay money for such a thing?

The 14th February dawned bright and clear and the land had been left far behind. Jim looked at the compass; they were heading north-west.

“Spell you at the wheel captain?” he asked. Aurelianus stepped back and Jim took over. “Keep her on this heading, English Jim, and we should raise Calib’s Rock in two or three days”.

Jim revelled in this life, being behind the wheel of a ship. Ahead, a school of flying fish leapt out of the water, pacing the ship. Dulce went forward to look at them; then joined Jim.

“They are harmless; see, they have curved wing fins. If you ever see ones with jagged wing fins; steer away; they are deadly”. He looked at Jim with his disturbing red eyes. “Tell me something of your world. Do demons stalk the land?”

“Not demons as such”, replied Jim; then started to tell the tale of his adventures as a boy on Treasure Island. They talked long; as they did the seas began to build. The sun set in a mass of dark cloud.

“Captain!” called Jim. “We are heading into stormy weather.”

“Reef the sails”, ordered the captain. “I’ll take the wheel. Everyone else, get below and batten the hatches.”

The 15th February was a confused maelstrom of driving rain, howling wind and plunging seas. Jim had a partial reef on the mainsail to give some headway; sometime during the day the sail ripped and the ship was blown downwind.

When the storm passed, the ‘Celaphon’ was anchored off a small rocky islet; in the centre stood a low stone building with a gaping doorway. Captain Aurelianus set the woodcutter and family to repairing the storm damage and the mainsail; Jim, Gan and Dulce set off to explore the building. Gan carried a torch from the ‘Celaphon’.

A stairway led down to a series of passages running in all directions. Many of these were dead ends; at one point Jim stepped on a loose floor stone and a side passage opened up. There was some debate about whether to take it and in the end they did. It led to a large chamber. There were no other exits. They turned; to find the exit blocked by four Skeletal Warriors; wearing tattered pirate rig and carrying cutlasses.

There was no chance to avoid combat; the warriors blocked the only exit. Jim, Gan and Dulce stepped forward; weapons ready to attack; however all four Warriors attacked Dulce. The result was startling; Dulce fended most of the attacks but then one bit deep. Dulce howled something unintelligible; his eyes went blood-red and he attacked in a berserk frenzy. Two of the Warriors went down; Jim narrowly escaped a blow from Dulce. Dulce took a Wound from a Warrior; undeterred he swung back in a frenzy and took out the Warrior. Snorting for breath, heedless of the blood running down his chest; he readied his sword.

“Dulce!” screamed Jim. “It’s us, friends. Only friends left. You understand?”

Dulce dropped his sword and sank to his knees; his head in his hands. “The demons have come and possessed me again. They took my love from me and now they are coming back to take me.”

“Listen, Dulce”, said Jim, “you are wounded; as is Gan. We need to get out of here. Get up and walk.”

Jim tried to find a way out, but a wrong turn landed them in a room of Skeletal Warriors guarding two large chests. They beat a hasty retreat but Gan was Wounded twice (-3) and Jim found a small wood chest (500 silver) hidden in a room. A final encounter with a pack of Vroat led to one Vroat dead; the PC’s escaped unharmed. They returned to the ship, Jim half-supporting Gan, who was bleeding profusely and Dulce limping from a leg wound.

End of Scene 5

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Threads

What is the Red Man’s secret

Rescue Bronwyn from Black Bob

                Has Bronwyn gone willingly?

Chaos

Remain at 6

NPC’s

Gan, the wounded Red Man with a secret to a great treasure

Bronwyn, Ships Surgeon

Black Bob and his crew

Aurelianus, Kraken captain of the ‘Celaphon’

Dulce Decorum, Masaquani Questor

Places

Baltimus

Unknown Whip Island

“The Tarred Rope” tavern in Baltimus

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GM notes

  1. a) Dulce was created using my Mookmaker system, a NPC generation system run on an Excel spreadsheet. His name literally translates as “Sweet Right”; maybe I should put in the ‘et’ to make it “Sweet and Right”.
  2. b) The sea voyage was run using a bit of my stuff to generate the overall weather and the encounter tables from the CR.
  3. c) The ruins were done using a Quick Ruins system I devised for Beasts and Barbarians; it is handled by a series of card draws (it wasn’t until I started playing SW that I realised what a fantastically versatile Game Engine a simple pack of cards is).
  4. d) Dulce going Berserk – this is where I’ve modified the Edge somewhat. Berserk is fun, but very powerful, which is why you have to roll to trigger it. However, I’ve ruled that to ‘snap out of it’ needs the Smarts roll @ -2 and until this is made the character is a danger to anyone near to him. Roll Fighting die and on a ‘1’ a target has been hit, roll damage as normal). Friends may help by yelling to the character (as Jim did), using Persuasion or Spirit as a cooperative roll.
  5. e) The ruin has been added as an Encounter Site in my GM notes; I’ve stripped it down to: –

* A small rocky island, grey stone building. Entrance has steps down to a passage; large chamber contains 5 Skeletal Warriors guarding two large chests (2 x Pillage)*

  1. f) The Combat system has been refined again and is now totally map less. It is also nasty; ALL of the Skeletal Warriors attacking Dulce in that first round could have had a fatal outcome.

Flotsam & Jetsam

THE CURRENTS OF CARIBDUS

13th February 13AF

Opening: Jim runs down to the docks to intercept the “Lady Evil” before it sails

Gan pulls at Jim’s arm, shaking his head. “Bonnwin said no, to wait. Go later”. Jim shook his hand off and carried on along the alley.

“If we wait, they will have sailed. They were sailing on the tide”

“Bonnwin said wait, they not wait”.

Jim paused and thought for a moment. What Gan was saying was that Bronwyn thought it might be a trap; that some of Black Bob’s crew might be waiting to ambush them. He waited some time, then he and Gan made their way down to the Piers. They arrived in time to see the “Lady Evil” just doubling the point.*

Jim spoke to some of the stevedores, asking if anyone had seen Bronwyn go aboard the “Lady Evil”. None of them had, but they did confirm that the ship was bound for Calib’s Rock. Jim reflected on this; he hadn’t seen any reason to doubt what Black Bob had said concerning where the ship was sailing to.

Jim, with Gan in tow, starting asking around the taverns to see if any ship was sailing for Calib’s Rock. He struck lucky; he was referred to a chandler and told to ask for Aurelianus.

The chandler’s stores, like all such places, was dimly lit and cluttered with ship’s gear; smelling strongly of tarred rope. The chandler, a Masaquani, was deep in conversation with a purple-skinned Kraken, haggling over some ships stores. They both turned as Jim entered, leaving Gan outside.

“I am here to ask for Captain Aurelianus”, said Jim. “Is he here?”

“I am Aurelianus” said the Kraken in a gurgling voice. “Why are you asking for me? Be hasty, I sail on this tide.”

“I am told you are bound for Calib’s Rock. I, and a companion, would take passage with you. I am a seaman and can work my passage if you wish.”

“And your companion? Can they work their passage too?”

“They have a strong back and can haul their weight”.

The Kraken regarded him with yellow-green eyes. “Agreed. Ten silver each to pay for your provisions.” He turned to the chandler. “Have the extra provisions loaded aboard; he will pay.” To Jim he said “Pay the man, we sail in one hour on the turn of the tide. Look for the skiff ‘Celaphon’.”

Jim paid over 20 pieces of eight and he and Gan made their way along the Piers. The ‘Celaphon’ is a single-masted skiff, with one gun port and starboard. Aurelianus was waiting on the main deck for them.

“Stow your gear below then come topsides. Let me see how you handle a ship; you can take her out of port.”

End of Scene 4

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Threads

What is the Red Man’s secret

Rescue Bronwyn from Black Bob

                Has Bronwyn gone willingly?

Chaos

Drop one to 6. (I’m going to abandon the Pressure Cooker and revert to the original rules. Under the PC rules Chaos would now be 8!)

NPC’s

Gan, the wounded Red Man with a secret to a great treasure

Bronwyn, Ships Surgeon

Black Bob and his crew

Aurelianus, Kraken captain of the ‘Celaphon’

Places

Baltimus

Unknown Whip Island

“The Tarred Rope” tavern in Baltimus

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GM’s notes

* This was the result of an interrupt; the overall message was Procrastinate and Expose-Wishes, which I took to mean that Bronwyn wanted them to wait until the ship had sailed. Hmm. Has she really been kidnapped or has she gone willingly? I’ll add that as a sub-Thread.

Again, a combination of events and answers to questions are throwing this Game in a totally different direction to what I had originally envisaged. However, It IS only like being a player with a GM; you don’t know what they have in mind for the adventure.

Next Scene: The voyage to Calib’s Rock.

Flotsam & Jetsam

THE CURRENTS OF CARIBDUS

Scene: Three

13th February 13AF, in Baltimus

Jim left Bronwyn and Gan in the room at “The Tarred Rope” and went down to the Piers to look for a ship they can take passage on. There were several ships docked and loading cargo; almost all of them were Company ships.

“I need a small merchantman, a sloop or a schooner”, thought Jim as he moved along the docks. Just then, he saw a small ship, a Hoy moored up ahead; with several people moving around. Jim hurried forward; then he spied the name on the transom.

“Oh no. It’s the “Lady Evil”.

Still, curiosity caused him to move closer. He was anxious to get a glimpse of Black Bob.

“Ahoy shipmate”, called a voice from the deck. Jim saw a tall, dark-skinned Masaquani standing at the rail. His braided hair reached to his waist.

“Captain Bob Blacken’s the name and I’m looking for good seafaring men to join my crew. We sail for Calib’s Rock on the tide. Will you take a berth?”

Jim politely refused the offer; but was not expecting the reaction. Captain Bob roared “Refuse me, would you? Then two of my lads will see you right.” He gestured and two of the seamen loading stores dropped what they were doing and pulled cutlasses.

The pirates advanced, lazily swinging their cutlasses. “You’re outnumbered, my fancy” grinned one, whilst the other mad a sudden rush. Jim deflected the flat of the blade and jumped back. He realised that he had a slight advantage in that they didn’t want to kill him. That, however, didn’t mean that they wouldn’t hurt him. They tried every dirty trick in the book to intimidate him; Jim backed away and narrowly averted a solid blow to the head that would have surely floored him. He escaped into the dockside alleys; looking behind him he was not being pursued.

Back at the “Tarred Rope”, he found the room was empty! There was no sign of Bronwyn or Gan; then came a knocking at the window. Gan climbed in, he had been hiding on the roof.

“Bad man came and took Bonnwin”

End of Scene 3

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Threads

What is the Red Man’s secret

New > Rescue Bronwyn from Black Bob

Chaos

  1. No change. There was combat but the kidnap of Bronwyn has complicated things

NPC’s

Gan, the wounded Red Man with a secret to a great treasure

Bronwyn, Ships Surgeon

Black Bob and his crew

Places

Baltimus

Unknown Whip Island

“The Tarred Rope” tavern in Baltimus

===============================================

GM Notes:

The solo combat system seems to work ok, possibly needs some tweaking to allow more non-attack Actions

The kidnap of Bronwyn came from a random event

Flotsam & Jetsam

GM Notes

I’m going to simplify the calendar even more; when the humans arrived they just named the months after the ones they were familiar with. The Game Start was thus on 12th February, Year 13 AF (After Flood).

I have also given Caribdus a moon, equal in size to Earth’s moon. The moon has a 28 day cycle; the 28th of each month is the night of the full moon. This allows for tides.

Flotsam & Jetsam

THE CURRENTS OF CARIBDUS

Scene 2: At the “Tarred Rope” Opening: Jim Hawkins, a wounded Red Man called Gan and an unknown female are in a secluded nook in “The Tarred Rope” in Baltimus.

Jim looked up, his hand straying to his cutlass. He saw a tall, brown-haired Human woman at his side. She wore ship gear and had a medicine pouch on her belt alongside a long dagger. Without asking, she sat down and reached out a hand to Gan; who grabbed it eagerly.

“Who are you?” asked Jim, in English. “You are English.” The woman smiled. “Actually, I’m Welsh and despise the English. I am a daughter of the hills and cwms and the blood of Dafydd Ap Owen runs in my veins. My name is Bronwyn.”

“Who is he and how did he come to learn English? In fact, why did you not teach him Welsh and not English?”

Bronwyn leaned back and called for a flagon of ale; then leaned forward.

“I taught him English because my captain ordered me to do so. I am a surgeon and was hired on by Captain Bojan in Jomba Town. Gan was his personal bodyguard; how and where he gained him I don’t know. I did find that Gan is a quick learner; he looks like a stupid savage but he is not; he can be taught.”

She glanced at the door and took a long draught of her ale, then called for another. “I knew Bojan and his crew were pirates; the swabs on the lower deck were full of tales of terror, designed to scare me. The stories stopped when there was an outbreak of boils and I had to take my lancet to them each in turn. I love seeing grown men squeal.”

Jim started and looked full at her. Bronwyn had brown hair, a lissom figure and piercing pale blue eyes. He shuddered; behind the eyes was a hint of madness. Bronwyn downed the flagon and called for another.

“We anchored off an uncharted island somewhere in The Whip Islands. Captain Bojan, Gan and three crew rowed ashore. It was then that Black Bob, the First Mate started the mutiny amongst the crew. Black Bob took three men ashore to follow Captain Bojan. Only Bob returned, streaked with blood; he said later that Bojan and his men had attacked them. Shortly after, Gan came out of the forest carrying the mortally wounded Captain. I tried to save him but to no avail; he died just before we made port. I came ashore to seek a safe haven; obviously Black Bob and the rest of the crew think Gan knows where Bojan has hidden his treasure and tried to make him talk.”

“Does he know?” asked Jim, looking at Gan; then glancing round the room.

“I don’t think he knows anything, but the crew obviously do. They will come looking for him.”

“And you,” replied Jim. “They may well believe Gan has told you. We need to get out of town. I’ll get a room here where we can lie low and I’ll go looking for a ship in the morning.”

“We?” Bronwyn was amused. “Are you coming along too?” “Why not,” grinned Jim. “I’m looking for adventure.”

End of Scene 2

Threads

What is the Red Man’s secret?  

Chaos

Pressure cooker +1 to 7 (something’s going to blow soon!)

NPC’s

Gan, the wounded Red Man with a secret to a great treasure Bronwyn, Ships Surgeon Black Bob and his crew

Places (this is a new list I’m starting, not sure if it’s any use yet)

Baltimus

Unknown Whip Island

“The Tarred Rope” tavern in Baltimus

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