Monday, March 28, 2011

In The Beginning, and Deadly Mermaids

I have decided to provisionally name the project I have been calling the "Pre-Cluster" as "StarCluster 3: In The Beginning". I like that name - it's got a good ring to it. I'm setting it in 2240 AD, about ten years before the problem that led to the Diaspora was detected.

I started my In Harm's Way: Napoleonic Naval game on IRC last week. This is my Sunday Morning group. Last week's game was a meet and greet thing. This week we really began play in earnest. The day began on Lieutenant Alex Sinclaire's cutter, the Imp, in Bridgetown harbor, Barbados. The Imp had been caught in a hurricane near the Bahamas along with her sister ship the Afrit, and had come in last week late. The Afrit never showed at all. Alex had anchored the Imp at a Bahamian cay and performed some immediate repairs, enough to get the Imp to Bridgetown, but the Imp looked haggard, and the rigging was spliced like crazy, so it needed some permanent fixing.

Alex got line and paint from the Navy Yard at Bridgetown, but the paint was thinned with oil and the line was mostly old and used, hidden under new rope on the surface. Alex' Bos'n's Mate, Grim, noticed it and brought the gray old hemp and paint to his attention. Alex realized the yard had jobbed him, selling off the new stuff for a hefty profit to merchants on the black market. He detailed Grim, Midshipman Bobby, and Marine John Kent (All PCs, along with Alex) along with half a dozen seamen to make things right. As this was an entirely extra-legal proposition, he phrased his orders in hints - if you should chance to walk through the Navy Yard tonight, you might want to pick up a few odds and ends, and you might as well bring this rot back, so they won't be inconvenienced by an inventory discrepancy. Oh! And should any guards there happen to have an accident while drunk, it wouldn't be any skin off his nose, etc. - and a nod's as good as wink.

Midshipman Bobby took the cutter that night with the crew, and they rowed over the harbor to somewhere near the Navy Yard pier. She - Midshipman Bobby is a 16 year old girl masquerading as a 16 year old boy, BTW - ordered Grim and Kent, who were good swimmers, to swim in and take care of the guards quietly, and she and the boat would come in in ten minutes. Kent and Grim swam up silently - Grim underwater and Kent using a quiet breaststroke - and got under the pier. overhead they heard two guards chatting, Jack and Will. Jack and Will had heard some soft splashing and were thinking there might be turtles, and as turtles were delicious, they were hoping to catch one. They were bored, but talked about a "soft retirement" indicating they were in on the black market dealings.

Grim swam to where he heard Wills voice coming from and spotted him, leaning on a bollard at the side of the pier. Unfortunately, Will spotted Grim at the same time. He also failed his intelligence check miserably and shouted for Jack to come and see a mermaid under the pier. Jack, of course, came runnign up to the edge to see for himself. At this point, Grim leapt up and, grabbing Jack's ankles, yanked him into the water. Kent climbed up on the other side of the pier, coverd by Jack's splashing and yelling. Will tossed Jack a line and was hauling him up when Kent hit Will on the temple with the flat of his hatchet from behind. Unfortunately, it was just a grazing blow. Grim climbed up as he turned back to see who struck him, and got Will in a choke hold from behind until he collapsed, unconcious.

Meanwhile, Poor Jack was drowning, splashing and calling for help, then gurgling and falling silent. Kent dove in with a line and started to tie it around Jack's waist when Grim threw a heavy lignum vitae block at Jack, hitting him on the head and pushing him under. Kent was aghast, but Jack was surely dead. He climbed back onto the pier as Grim cut the line holding Jack by the waist to the bollard, tied another heavy block to it, and tossed it into the harbor. "Captain said to leave no witnesses." said Grim. He pointed to Will and said. "Alls he saw was a mermaid. Mermaids pull sailors in an' drown 'em. Happens all the time."

By now, the boat was coming in with Midshipman Bobby and the other sailors. They tied up and started unloading the old crap they had been foisted. Bobby asked Grim and Kent for a report, Grim said "That one there is unconcious and didn't see nothin' but the other fella drowned, accident like." Kent said nothing, white faced and staring. Bobby got them going, switched the rotten stuff for good stores, added in an extra crate of muskets for good measure, and then poured rum all over sleeping Will, leaving the bottle in his hands as they left.

Obviously, Grim had misinterpreted his Captain's hints as license to murder. The question is what will come out? How wil lthey all handle it? Kent is scared, Bobby is suspicious, there's a body tied to a heavy block in the harbor, an extra case of muskets is missing, Will saw a mermaid and there is at least a bruise on his temple. Will they be found out? Things await next week to be resolved.

I love it when the PCs create their own problems! :D


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