We all know what happened during your last days on the Wormwood, so I’m just going to make a simple list of that which took place on the Wormwood on each day of the month.
18th: PCs detailed to get a tasty crab dinner for the captain, and end up not only with four baskets of crabs, but also two reef claws. The captain, impressed, rewards Grims.
19th: PCs are detailed to be trained in boarding procedures by the foul-mouthed Riaris Krine, and spend most of the day in a jolly boat throwing grapples at the side of the ship and learning how to climb on board unseen. Mal demonstrates early mastery of the skills necessary. Red demonstrates that he’s not good with a grapple.
20th-21st: Typical days at sea; the PCs work on making more friends.
22nd: Ship ahoy, and a chase begins.
23rd: The Man’s Promise, a pirate/merchant ship crewed mostly by Rahamoudi, is chased down and boarded. Shrouded in a massive fog bank conjured up by Pepper Longfarthy, the two ships lock up with each other and the crew of the Wormwood boards. The PCs grapple across to the sterncastle, assigned with seizing and holding the wheel and preventing anyone from escaping in one of the two ship’s boats. Mal, due to his skill, is put in charge. The three, although outnumbered 2:1, fight cleverly and defeat their enemies. Red spontaneously manifests the ability to harm with a touch and bamphf! short distances. The PCs also capture the 1st Mate of the ship as she and some others try to escape. A big party ensues, lasting the better part of two days, during which the PCs are rewarded with coin and items for their work.
25th: Mr. Plugg is assigned as captain of the prize crew for The Man’s Promise, and tasked with selecting sailors to help him return the ship to Port Peril to be sold. Captain Harrigan makes plans to pick up this portion of his crew in a few weeks after attending to some other business. Plugg selects an interesting cross-section of the Wormwood’s crew to join him, leaving the other vessel with a mostly captured Rahamoudi crew.
It was clear by mid-morning on the 25th that although this was a new(er) ship, the same rules applied and the same or worse treatment could be expected from Mr. Plugg and his cronies. No rum rations hit Tilly Brackett hard, and the threat of punishment for anyone found on the weather decks at night was also an unpleasant surprise. The night duty roster was made for the next week – apparently the time required to get back to Port Peril – and everyone on it was one of Plugg’s stooges.
On the first day the crew oriented themselves with their temporary home and work station, finding the tools needed to perform their jobs. The ship had been stripped clean of valuables by Captain Harrigan, who’d kept all the good stuff with him on the Wormwood, leaving only the bare essentials in terms of food, water, and other supplies. Given that the ship was to be sold, it didn’t make any sense to leave additional supplies on board, anyway.
Mal, suspicious of Plugg’s motives and always eager to learn more, snuck out onto the main deck about an hour after sunset on the first day and listened as Plugg, Scourge, and a few others quietly discussed plans to keep the ship for themselves and sail it somewhere to get ‘squibbed’ before starting their own life of piracy. Sharing this news with Grims, Red, Rosie, and Sandara, he sought opinions about what to do. After a short, animated discussion it was decided that they would somehow seize the ship from Plugg and his faction…if there was going to be any keeping of a ship, it would be them who’d do the keeping.
Two more days passed with work as usual, and time to talk and explore the new ship. Grims and other others made fast friends with the mildly creepy Jaigo Mongangwa, a Mwangi sailor from The Man’s Promise who’d actually surrendered to them after offering no resistance during the fight for the ship. He’d served on board the ship for a few months, and was happy to find a new crew and the possibility of more freedom.
During this time Grims and Sandara confirmed to each other that the ship had changed course each night, and was not headed east of northeast, toward the Slithering Coast, clearly not on a return voyage to Port Peril.
On the 27th a large storm rocked the ship, forcing all hands to work all day to keep her afloat and safe. Strong winds and sheets of rain and water cut visibility down to only feet, and everyone on the deck wore a safety line. Growing disgust with the Plugg faction motivated Mal to untie Fipps Chumlett’s line at its base, and share a designated signal with his compatriots: it was time that Fipps took a swim. Mal tried to ‘trip’ into the fat bully, but the rolling deck and water prevented him from getting close enough. Grims looked for an opportunity to ‘slip’ out of the rigging and knock the man overboard – to no avail. It was Jaigo who made the next move, calling down to the swab from in the rigging and chattering at him for a moment. Given the noise on deck it was impossible for anyone to be able to tell what words were exchanged, but it was obvious to anyone looking that the Mwangi had something important to tell the swab and had his complete attention.
The final step was taken by Red, who’d come above-decks to assist as needed. Approaching Fipps, he yelled something in his ear, to which the larger man responded with a slack-jawed nod – his usual affirmation of an order – and suddenly trotted toward the gunwale, jumping or slipping overboard. Only a few sailors noticed, and the alarm was slow in being sounded ship-wide, given the noise and water and rain and wind, and the fact that everyone was so occupied doing their work.
Fipps was seen twice, bobbing up and down in the water, drifting swiftly away from the ship, waving his arms. Within a moment’s time, he was gone. The storm continued for a few more hours, finally reducing in force to merely rough seas during the small hours, giving the crew and officers no chance to attempt a recovery – the Fever Sea had claimed another victim, no doubt not its last.
Early in the morning, before sunrise, riding rough seas the ship shuddered as it foundered on a rocky shoal, a hole smashed in its port side amidships. The light of day on the 28th showed that the damage, while significant, was not fatal and could be repaired on-site. Plugg, foul as ever and yet a competent sailor, ordered the remnants of the potable water cask, which had broken loose and smashed open, as well as part of the main deck to be disassembled and used to patch the hole in the hull, which poked through in the main hold.
During this same time it was discovered that two other members of the crew – Sandara Quinn and Jack Skrimshaw – were also missing, although no one had seen them go overboard, and in fact they’d been seen, assigned to the forecastle, during the small hours after the storm had abated around the time that the ship had struck the rocks. The only evidence found was a thick, black slime staining the deck near the port side gunwale on the forecastle, and Sandara’s holy symbol of Besmara on the ground near the stain.
As best as Grims and Jaigo could determine, based on what they’d heard, this looked like the work of grindylows – nasty goblin/octopoid creatures said to inhabit such small, remote islets. They were intelligent enough to be clever, vicious enough to be a threat, and supposedly numerous enough to pose a real challenge. If their two friends had been captured by these creatures, every moment was vital if they were to be recovered alive and intact.
For his part, (acting) Captain Plugg didn’t seem to care about any of the missing crew. The sea claimed her own, he said, and the crew can’t wait for the sailor. Besides, there was work to be done!
Lacking a supply of fresh water, he ordered Grims, Mal, Red, and Jaigo to take the two ship’s boats and several barrels, and find fresh water on the nearby island – a small, hilly piece of jungle-covered land about a mile south of where the ship had foundered.
Maneuvering the ship’s cutter, and towing the barrel-laden gig, the four sailors paddled toward the islet, discovering on the way a morbid welcome sign in the form of a human skeleton, held together with twine, covered in skrimshaw and bite marks, standing upright in the shallow waters, its feet anchored in the rocks. Several more of the things could be seen along the northern shore of the island, a curious and disturbing indication of what might be on the island, and what its intentions could be.
Use the comments to determine how you’re going to go about landing on the island, and where. Consider these sorts of things: you’ve got a boat, and can maneuver around the entire island if you want before deciding where to land. If you were on horseback and were trying to decide how to enter an enemy town or camp, you’d circle it – don’t forget those things because of the different in backdrop (water).