Game Day 04/06/2013.
After a hard night of drinking and, in one case attempted thievery, you awaken to find yourselves press ganged into service aboard the Wormwood under Captain Harrigan. Your equipment and money are now the property of the Captain.
Master Scourge, the Wormwood’s boatswain, master-at-arms, and infamous disciplinarian, has entered the hold to wake the PCs and get them up to the main deck. Six rough-looking Wormwood pirates, armed with saps, accompany him.
“Still abed with the sun over the yardarm? On your feet, ye filthy swabs! Get up on deck and report for duty before Cap’n Harrigan flays your flesh into sausage skins and has Fishguts fry ye up for breakfast!” , snarls Scourge.
You quickly discern the aftertaste of oily nutmeg on the tongue. The aftertaste is a clear sign of oil of taggit poisoning. You also remember seeing the face of Master Scourge last night as well.
When you reach the main deck, it’s quickly apparent that they are on a sizable ship in the middle of the ocean, far from any land. Port Peril and the mainland of the Shackles are just an ochre haze many miles astern. Figures cluster around the ship’s mainmast, looking up at the higher deck on the stern, where two figures stand. One of them is a broad, muscular Garundi man with a shaven head, a long beard bound with gold rings, and an eye patch— clearly the captain. The other is a younger, balding man with a long black ponytail, wearing a long coat and carrying a well-used cat-o’-nine-tails.
At this point you also notice that they are not the only new recruits—four others are standing with them on the deck, set apart by their relative cleanliness and their apparent unease with their newfound situation. A dozen or so other pirates, clearly existing members of the crew, stand about on the deck or in the ship’s rigging.
Once the PCs are on deck, the captain addresses the crew.
“Glad you could join us at last! Welcome to the Wormwood! My thanks for ‘volunteering’ to join my crew. I’m Barnabas Harrigan. That’s Captain Barnabas Harrigan to you, not that you’ll ever need to address me. I have only one rule—don’t speak to me. I like talk, but I don’t like your talk. Follow that rule and we’ll all get along fine.
“Oh, and one more thing. Even with you new recruits, we’re still short-handed, and I aim to keep what crew I have. There’ll be a keelhaulin’ for anyone caught killin’ anyone. Mr. Plugg! If you’d be so kind as to make pirates out of these landlubbers, it’ll save me having to put them in the sweatbox for a year and a day before I make pies out of ’em.”
At the end of his speech, the captain walks away, leaving behind the man with the cat-o’-nine-tails. This is Mister Plugg, the Wormwood’s first mate. He looks down at you and other impressed captives and smiles unpleasantly.
After and a climbing test, Gallen becomes a rigger. Joenah becomes a Cook’s Mate. Katarina and Thadius become swabs. The group is quickly befriended by Sandara Quinn a cleric of Besmara. She was recruited to assist Habbly Quarne, the ships surgeon and carpenter.
Your first day aboard the Wormwood sets the pattern for the succeeding days, as they get used to the routine of the ship and her crew. In general, days always follow the following format of work, leisure, and rest, unless other events take precedence.
The first day on the ship does introduce you to “Bloody Hour”. The crew gathers on deck at dusk to witness the keelhauling of Jakes Magpie, a pirate caught stealing from the quartermaster’s store the night before. After a brief interrogation at the hands of Mr. Plugg and Master Scourge, Jakes admitted his crime, and is now brought up from the bilges to be slowly keelhauled before the evening meal.
On day two, mere seconds after the bell tolls to summon the crew on deck, four pirates—Aretta Bansion, Fipps Chumlett, Jaundiced Jape, and Slippery Sy Lonegan—block your path. “In a hurry?” one says, and laughs, blocking the way. Master Scourge has already talked to the four, telling them he doesn’t like these new swabs, and that the sluggards need to be knocked into shape. The four of you handle the situation without much trouble and make it on deck in time to the scowling of Master Scourge.
At about mid-morning on the fourth day, young Jack Scrimshaw rushes onto deck. You can notice his ashen face as well as overhear what he reports to Mr. Plugg. Jack was below on rat-catching duty when something big swam out of the bilge water and bit him. Plugg immediately looks for volunteers to investigate, and selects all of you, telling them to get down to the bilges and not bother coming out until whatever is down there is dead. On the way to the bilge, you are stopped by Quinn who gives you and your crewmates your preferred weapon. You and your fellow crewmates kill 6 dire rats and find a little treasure in the process.
On the fifth day out, Plugg and his cronies lead Owlbear onto deck just after the evening meal “for a bit of sport” and dare Thadius take him on—bare-knuckle fists or wrestling only, no magic tricks, and the last one conscious wins. Thadius wins the fight.
On the 8th day out, a major storm hits. You do manage to rescue a crew member
On the 11th day out, approaching the Slithering Coast, the waters become shallow and navigation is tricky. As the afternoon wears on, Mr. Plugg calls the PCs together on the main deck. At his feet lie four crab pots. Plugg informs you that the captain wants fresh crab for supper. Plugg points to a reef lying some 200 feet north of the ship and instructs you to swim to the reef, fill the pots with crabs, and swim back. Plugg brooks no further discussion. You are your crewmates are attack by to reefclaws. Instead of crabs you stuff the pots with the reefclaws, which are a delicacy. Once they are back to the ship and Harrigan sees what you have brought back, he rewards you and your crewmates with the return of the rest of your equipment but not your money.
During your days at sea you have also made may a friends and enemies of the crew and a couple of the officers.