Flotsam & Jetsam

THE CURRENTS OF CARIBDUS

Scene 1

Jim is walking along an alleyway in the Port district of Baltimus, heading for a small tavern that he frequents. It is dark and pouring with rain; possibly the reason Jim didn’t see his assailant before they leapt out at him from the shadows. The attacker was an Ugak, a loathsome brute with matted black hair, an ugly expression and swinging a huge club. Jim leapt back and pulled his cutlass; to his surprise the Ugak stumbled across the alley and fell against the opposite wall. In the dim light, Jim could see the gaping wound in his side. Thinking to finish the brute cleanly, he stepped forward with his blade raised.

“Help me”, croaked the Ugak.

Jim nearly dropped his weapon. Not only had the brute spoken, but he had spoken in ENGLISH! He stepped closer and looked hard. Now he could see, this was not a savage Ugak but one of the reviled half-breeds known as Red Men.

“Help me. Bad men say I know where great treasure is and hurt me to tell them. Gan does not know where treasure is and ran away, but bad man hurt him. Please help me.”

Jim helped the Red Man to his feet and supported him to the tavern; herding him into a dark corner. He ordered two flagons of ale and sat opposite.

“Tell me, where did you learn to speak English?”

“He can speak English because I taught it to him” came a female voice at Jim’s left shoulder.

End of Scene 1

Threads

Find William Redruth

                Hunted by pirates after Flint’s treasure

                                New >What is the Red Man’s secret?

Chaos

There was no combat so the Pressure Cooker +1 to Chaos 6

Characters

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

Female, Unknown

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OK, already the Game is going off in a direction I didn’t anticipate.

The great battle I have with Mythic GME (and in fact, any other system) is letting it take over and going with the flow. I find myself always locked in GM mode and trying to plan ahead too much. For example; I already know what Gans secret is IF I was writing this as an Adventure; but I’m making a conscious effort to ignore this and go with the dice and logic.

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Flotsam and Jetsam

1.

I’m putting the Currents of Space on temporary hold as I want to try a different solo Game. As I’ve just finished a successful run in pantomime appearing as a pirate in “Peter Pan”; I was given “50 Fathoms” as a gift. This setting is great, I love the blend of pirates, magic and non-human races set in a doomed world. I’ve skimmed the Plot Points and they look well-written and intriguing.

I’m going to start at the beginning, with a single character and see what develops. As a solo engine I’ll use a blend of Mythic GME (as GM), Story Cubes (mainly to give NPC’s character) and my own stuff (off-time table, solo combat). Anything else I’ll write as needed.

Introducing Jim Hawkins

I’m going to give a little bit of back story, in order to get a better handle on Jim, because he is the same Jim Hawkins from ‘Treasure Island’, now grown up.

When Jim returned from Treasure Island he had a modest amount of treasure, enough to buy the ‘Admiral Benbow’ and settle down with his mother. However, there was always the rumour that there was more treasure on the island and that Ben Gunn didn’t find all of it. After all, who is to say that Captain Flint didn’t pay more than one visit? Over the years the treasure was spent, yet still Jim lived happily at the inn. Rumours spread though and increasingly there came callers at the inn, visitors enquiring after the legendary Treasure Island, and wanting to hear the story.

One day, Jim was in Bristol buying supplies for the inn, when his eye was caught by two ragged sailors disembarking off a ship. To his horror he recognised them; one was Blind Pew, who had been left for dead outside the ’Admiral Benbow’ years ago, and the other was Israel Hands, Flint’s gunner, who Jim though he had killed on the ‘Hispaniola’. In a hurry, he packed the wagon and headed back to the inn. He sent a message to the squire to ask for help for he had no doubt where they were heading.

As a real storm raged overhead, Hands, Pew and a gang of cut-throats attempted to take the inn that night; Jim had sent his mother away and was lying in wait with some soldiers and his friend William Redruth, son of Tom Redruth. In the ensuing fight, bottles were smashed and lanterns knocked over; the inn was engulfed in flames. Jim and William escaped to the coast and sailed off in a small sloop that Jim owned. Jim was unsure of where they were heading. Struggling in the teeth of a howling gale, they encountered the ghostly Maiden…

JIM HAWKINS

Human, English

8.6.6.6.6 // 6.7.6(1).0 // [6/10/14/18/22]

Boating 6, Climb 4, Fighting 8, Know (Masaquani) 6, Notice 6, Shooting 8, Stealth 6, Taunt 6

Hindrances:

Curious (always wants to know what’s going on)

Wanted (pirates after Flint’s treasure)

Squanderous (can’t keep hold of money)

Edges:

Acrobat (+2 Agility rolls, +1 Parry if unencumbered)

Steady Hands (no penalty for shooting off a moving platform)

Booty: Silver 55

Stash: Silver 150 (behind the bar at “The Shipwreck Surprise” on Azy Cay

Gear:     Total Enc: 26 (30/60/120/180)

Leather armour (+1) [15]

Dagger (Str+d4) [1]

Cutlass (Str+d6) [4]

Flintlock pistol (5/10/20, 2d6+1) [3]

Powder & Shot (10) [1]

Leather satchel [2]

Personal Threads

Find William Redruth

Hunted by pirates after Flint’s treasure

 XP: 0

Advances:

Free Edge: Acrobat

Curious: +1 Smarts

Wanted and Squanderous: Steady Hands

5

10

15

20

OK, that’s Jim done. Now to see what’s happening on the world of Caribdus.

Mindjammer – the Novel: sales numbers

Sarah Newton

Mindjammer-Novel---cover-imageSo, with the tax man never far away, I’ve been doing some sales reports this week to get a handle on how things have been going here at Mindjammer Central. One of the very pleasant surprises has been the sales figures for my far future transhuman science-fiction novel, Mindjammer, which I wrote back in 2011 and was published via Cubicle 7 Fiction and then via Mindjammer Press in 2012. In the two and a half years since publication, I found out today that we’ve actually sold a little over 3600 copies.

That actually blows me away. All but 230 of those were ebook sales. Of those 230 paperbacks, 160 of them were sold via Amazon Createspace – the other 70 were sold direct at conventions. The Createspace figure surprised me somewhat – although Amazon seem to be selling paperbacks at a more reasonable $12 or so these days.

Now…

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Episode 9 – A Cry for Help

20th Storm (Embarking), 2510, in Kularni

Still puzzling over the mysterious and terrible death of Khasis the scribe, Drogo, Galadiir, Geoff and N’Dula took service as caravan guards for one or Orrando’s forays to Caldeia. Galadiir was hoping to gain access to the library in Caldeia. As Raven was still being hunted by the Kularni guards in connection with the death of Khasis, Spark stayed behind with her.

Orrando had not hired top-quality guards this time; Drogo inspected them and found that they were nothing more than hotbloods, armed with clubs and enthusiasm. They were not too enthusiastic on finding out that Drogo was their commander.

“We can’t wait to beat on some savages,” said one. “Do you think we’ll be attacked?” Another asked Geoff, “Is he any good? I would have thought that you would have been in charge, being like us, from the Empire.” Geoff merely answered “Yes, he is good and he’s in command.”

The caravan consisted of seven horse-drawn wagons. Drogo stationed the guards around it, then rode ahead on Deneris Stormborn, whilst Geoff rode his horse Taylor “the Swift”.

Storm Season was well underway and it rained heavily most days and nights, with only brief lulls at dawn and dusk. They had another attempt at curing N’Dula of his Khav addiction; he stuck at it over several days and managed to succeed!

It was on the evening of the fourth day that the event happened. They had erected the centre shelter in order to light a fire and get some hot food; the rain had slackened and the air was damp and humid. Suddenly, one of the guard’s water flasks exploded in a shower of steam, fragments and hot water. He was startled, but unhurt. Then, Drogo’s flask also exploded, as did the man’s across from him. Drogo jumped up, readying his club and looked for attackers. Then he noticed that the spilled water formed a pattern on the ground; Galadiir looked at it and realised it was a message: –

“Me Help”

Both of the guards had the same message. Realising that the flasks had exploded in a line; they worked out that whatever had done it was somewhere in the jungle to the south. A plan was formed; Drogo and the guards would continue west with the wagons whilst Geoff, Galadiir and N’Dula checked out what was to the south. They would then catch up with the caravan.

25th Storm (Embarking), 2510

The day dawned in a foggy haze as the sun came up, as they broke camp the clouds massed and soon the rain started. Geoff, Galadiir and N’Dula set off south, Geoff was riding Taylor. After a short time they reached the edge of the jungle; it was so thick that Geoff had to dismount and lead Taylor. The air was full of lush smells and colourful orchids grew in abundance on the dripping branches. Under the canopy they were more sheltered from the rain, Galadiir took time to gather some orchids and store them in his belt pouch. They pressed on, here and there they remarked upon low mounds of earth, although they did not stop to investigate. After a few hours they emerged into a clearing, in the centre of the clearing was a circular pool with an island in the centre. On the island was a blurred, indistinct figure; it raised a bow and shot an arrow at Galadiir. The arrow missed and stuck in a tree. There was a message tied to it; written in a straggly script in a blue ink.

“Help please me. Am being drunk am I. Too many drink me kill. Help come soon quick”

Looking back at the island, the figure had gone. Approaching the pool, it was obviously artificial, with the island being the top of a tower going down into the pool. The surface of the water roiled and fish could be glimpsed in the pool. Galadiir used “Rose’s Thorns” to take out a bird singing happily on a tree branch and dropped it in the pool. The subsequent reaction of the swarms of fish confirmed their suspicions – the fish were piranha! The tower was 18’ (3”) from the bank, too far to jump. Galadiir circled the pool, he found no way across, although he did stumble upon a skeleton in the undergrowth. The skull had a large hole in the top; he used his knowledge of medicine to determine that it was caused by something burrowing its way out.

Meanwhile, back on the other side of the pool, Geoff and N’Dula had been busy. Finding a tree with weak-looking roots, they hacked and used brute strength to topple it; forming a bridge. They quickly crossed to the tower roof. They found a bow and two arrows; both the arrows had the same message attached to them. A hatch and ladder led down into the tower. At the bottom was a wide ledge, overlooking a pit. Water streamed down the opposite wall of the pit from narrow slits in the walls. Looking into the pit, they saw a pool about 50’ below. Geoff rigged his rope and grappling hook and began climbing down the wall.

“N’Dula. Stay here and guard the way out”

N’Dula was not happy about this. “I swore to serve and protect you for rescuing me from that hell-bound caravan. I am not a weakling, to be left behind”. But Geoff had already gone down over the ledge.

At about 20’ down he found an opening in the wall and swung into it, then called Galadiir to come down. Galadiir was not so skilled at climbing and nearly fumbled the climb, but Geoff caught his belt and pulled him in. In a chamber, seated on a stone chair, was a man. He had straggly white hair and a greenish cast to his skin. He held an empty cup in his hands. He turned sad eyes towards them.

“You must help her”, he whispered wetly. “If you do not help, she will die”

“Who will die?” asked Galadiir. “Who is she?”

“The Mistress of Water, she is. I cannot say how to help her. Only she can tell you. But she will also fight you. She has no choice, it is her duty.”

He closed his eyes and water began dribbling out of his mouth onto the floor.

Galadiir’s curiosity was sparked by this. There was another doorway leading out of the chamber, he went to the door; Geoff elected to continue to climb down the rope.

Just above the surface of the pool was another ledge; Geoff went to swing towards it when from out of the pool erupted a huge snake form, its armoured scales glistening. Tri-partite jaws opened and it dove towards Geoff, still hanging off the rope…

Galadiir opened the door, to see the top of a spiral staircase. Flanking it were two humanoids, like the one he had spoken to. They opened their hands to reveal long claws and with a slobbering sound, lurched forward towards the Tricarnian…

* * * * * *

Meanwhile, on the road to Caldeia, the caravan had stopped for the mid-day meal break. The leader of the guards approached Drogo.

“We’ve been talking, me and the boys, and we don’t like being led by a savage. So, we’re taking over. Best get going back to savage-land, which is that way. Oh, and there’s five of us, and only one of you, plus your cow.”

To be continued

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A Cry for Help – Part II

(An apology for the long delay between postings; due to a lot of RL intrusion we haven’t had a lot of RPG time on Mondays. This was the last session run back in September and I can’t find all of my notes. This is a summary of what happened.)

Drogo was attacked by all of the renegade guards; they used gang-up and various other tactics. Drogo still beat all of them bar one, who surrendered at the end of the fight. Drogo took one Wound in the entire fight (and Soaked several using his Loincloth Hero Edge.)

Back in the tower, Galadiir and Geoff fought their way down to the lowest level; a large room giving the appearance of being underwater. Warily avoiding a huge skeleton of a creature resembling a cross between a whale and an octopus; they were commanded to enter a room but not to look to their left else they lose their minds. A bubbling, watery female voice told them her story: – she was Manda, a water “nymph”. One day, when swimming in her pool, part of her was scooped up in a pail by a child from a nearby Savannah tribe. Now she is slowly being drunk; which is killing her. She urged Galadiir and Geoff to take two stones from the pool outside; when placed in a pail of water, the pail will never be empty of fresh water. This is her gift to the Savannah people in exchange for her body. Galadiir took the two stones from the pool and they climbed up out of the tower.

N’Dula and Taylor the Swift were gone.

“I think you upset him”, remarked Galadiir. “He did swear to protect you, and you wouldn’t let him fulfil his oath.”

Within a day they had caught up with the caravan and reached Caldeia two days later. They were paid for their services and went to find a market for some gear.

It was Geoff who first remarked on the WANTED posters at the street corners – there was a 250 Moon reward out for Drogo and Galadiir “for criminal activities, escape from custody and aiding in the release of slaves.”

Episode 8 – Panic in the Streets

Storm Season (Embarking), in the Verdant Belt

Returning from the Eye of Cissirrus bearing several green gems, a bagful of money and two boxes of Khav; they decided to try and cure N’Dula of his Khav addiction. N’Dula agreed and over the course of the next few days he resisted the temptation to take a fix. Alas, the attempt failed, on the evening of the fourth day he lapsed into unconsciousness and was carried on Deneris. Drogo was still mourning the loss of his buffalo lance to the Lava Demon.

As they approached the town, they saw a cloud of dust heading towards them. It was Sergeant Vilir and twelve of the town guards on horseback. Galadiir and Geoff hid in the undergrowth. Vilir reined in his horse.

“Travellers. We seek a dangerous fugitive, one Raven Gallowglass. Have you seen her?”

“No,” replied Drogo. “We have not.” Spark shook her head in agreement. “What has she done?”

“She is wanted for the foul murder of Khasis the scribe, brutally done to death on the night of the last full moon.”

“We shall keep an eye open.”

The soldiers spurred their horses off down the trail leading to Caldeia. Above them, on the horizon, large clouds were building, presaging the heavy rains of Storm Season. The air was heavy as they rode in through the town gates.

The market was in full swing; Galadiir headed off to find a merchant to sell the jewels to. He was offered 80 Moons per gem, after some haggling he secured a price of 600 Moons for the lot. They sought out Gallmus and paid over enough money for him to buy his plot of land.

The gossip in the market was about the death of Khasis, with a lot of speculation about how it happened. Apparently, he had been found dead in his locked inner sanctum, a look of sheer terror on his face and both eyes sucked from his head. The group decided to check it, Galadiir was very curious about whether a demon was involved. At the house, they were met by Aurelianus, the Syranthian scholar they had met on the way (Narrator: Episode 2 – The Road to Kularni.) He asked them to find out what happened to his friend Khasis.

Investigating the house (basically two rooms, an outer “office” where Khasis did business with his patrons, and an inner area containing a bed and bookshelf. The bed was surrounded by a drawn pentacle and burnt-out candles. Geoff began looking through the books; one fell open at a marked page: –

‘Beware the moon-beast; it is not to be seen’

Interested, Galadiir looked further through the book, recognising it as written in a Tricarnian script, he found another marked passage:-

‘…and Helgrane, Lord of the Seventh Tower of Akoit, spake thus to his patron (demon) xxxxxxxxxxx and asked why he might not see as mortal men do. Thus he learnt the summoning of the moon-beast such that suitable eyes might be harvested.’

There was a commotion outside; Sergeant Vilir and his soldiers had returned. Geoff approached the sergeant as he dismounted and handed over the full box of Khav.

“Our debt is settled.”

Thunder rumbled in the distance as they made their way to the western sleeping hall, carrying the unconscious N’Dula. There was someone waiting for them in the shadows.

“Raven,” breathed Geoff.

“How did you get back into the town? Galadiir asked.

“I never left it,” replied Raven. “When it was obvious that I was going to get arrested, I ran through the market, always doubling back. Three guards nearly got me, but I escaped up onto the western roof walkway and climbed back down into the market, then made my way here. I can’t trust anyone else. Look, you must believe me. I did not kill Khasis. The door was locked on all three nights. The last night I remember settling down on guard; the next thing I was being kicked awake at dawn.”

“Who was there?” asked Galadiir.

“Aurelianus; I recognised him from travelling with him. The other man was a priest; I think he is the priest of the True Faith here in Kularni. The third man, the one who kicked me, I don’t know.”

Thunder rumbled and from outside came the sound of rain, increasing to a heavy downpour.

The following day dawned humid and sticky, as the sun heated the wet ground. N’Dula was still unconscious, Spark and Raven stayed to look over him. Galadiir went out into the market to see what else he could find out; Geoff and Drogo went to see Venarius, priest of the True Faith.

“Khasis came to see me some days ago. He was very superstitious and had read omens in the stars that said he was heading for a great darkness. It was somehow connected with scroll he had translated for a client; how he would not or could not say. I offered him the blessing of The Faith.”

“Thank you”, said Drogo.

“A small donation never goes amiss”, smiled the priest.

Out in the market, Galadiir came across Blind Pew, a beggar sitting against a wall. As he approached, Pew turned his white, blind eyes towards him.

“A fine day for business, master”, he whispered. “Tell me, how is N’Dula? Haven’t seen him for some time.”

Galadiir realised immediately who Blind Pew was.

“Tell N’Dula I’ve got some fine Caldeian dust for him, when he’s ready.”

“What do you know about what happened to Khasis?” Galadiir asked, squatting down by the beggar.

“Business is bad today”, was the reply.

Galadiir held out 30 Moons. With unerring accuracy, Blind Pew scooped them up and put them into a pouch.

“A Kyrosian tale tells of a wealthy merchant who went blind at an early age from the Red Fever. One day, he rode south into the Red Desert with several retainers and servants. He returned with a miracle cure, his eyes and sight were restored. His servants did not return. Every year he makes a return journey.”

Back in the centre of the market, the group were met by Aurelianus; he wanted to know what they had found out. Basically being told nothing, he walked away. As he did so, Pulin, servant to Orrando the merchant, approached them.

“Greetings. Orrando has a caravan to Caldeia which he needs guards for. 10 days at 25 Moons per day as usual. The caravan leaves tomorrow.”

“Caldeia has a large library of the arcane and occult”, said Galadiir. “I might be able to find out more.” He turned to Pulin. “Tell your master that we accept his offer of employment.”

To Be Continued

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GM: I used my solo system to generate the whole Raven episodes. The chase was run as per the rules, with Raven being chased by the guards on foot.

N’Dula going cold turkey was run using a Dramatic Task, with the time increment in days. As it turned out, he drew a load of Clubs and so really didn’t stand a chance. He is still addicted to Khav.