Last time, our heroes captured the slavers' ship, the Serüven, and freed several of the slavers' prisoners and formed them into a crew. The captain's log revealed that he sold his slaves illegally in the city of Codruscut. Our heroes agreed to travel there and find the slavers' contact to eliminate this foul practice once and for all...
Read the first part of this campaign log here.
Before our heroes head out to open sea to make for the city of Codruscut, they lay anchor at the Island of the Hook to retrieve the supplies they hid on the shore during the previous session. After they make landfall, Erdan says he wants to return to the monastery to pick up some of the alchemical supplies they had found in the Prior’s laboratory. Bogdan accompanies him, more because he doesn’t want a non-monk alone in the monastery. After a few hours, they emerge again with a cart laden with laboratory equipment. Our heroes bring the alchemical supplies aboard and continue on their journey.
Day 37 - 42
The journey to Codruscut takes about seven days. Erdan, who has developed an interest in alchemy, decides to spend that time experimenting with his new equipment. He asks Cipran if he may borrow the Blood Book they retrieved from Prior Serafim’s personal library and starts producing potions. He is unsuccessful, however, and concludes he doesn’t yet have the skills to be a good alchemist.
Characters brew potions with the Science (chemistry) skill (see Core Rulebook, page 58). This is a leveled check, so characters have to distribute their dice. The result of the first roll has to be equal to or higher than the target potion’s ‘complexity’ score (in this case, 8), and the result of the second roll influences the time spent brewing that potion: every point scored on that roll subtracts an hour from the eight hours needed to brew the potion.
As I discussed in this campaign log, this is one of the mechanics I intend to simplify through removal of the concept of leveled checks from non-combat skills. Erdan’s little brewing exercise strengthened that idea, because I found that explaining the way it works is confusing and that the mechanics are too complicated for something that should be sweet and simple in-game.
The rest spend their seven days in relative luxury, drinking pear cider and lounging on deck. Bogdan tries to pick up a few words in Yazyk with Razvan’s help, while Cipran, Erdan, and Zikan mainly relax. On the night before they arrive, our heroes head into the stern castle to discuss their plan to capture this Nicolae. They have learned from Ayat (the qarim slaver they took prisoner last session) that the slaver crew always stayed onboard while making port at Codruscut; only the captain left the ship, after which cloaked men would come at night to pick up the slaves. Our heroes plan to pose as slavers and to that end agree to ask the docheri crew if they would be willing to stay onboard and--if necessary--pose as slaves. They will spread word of their ship’s arrival in the waterfront taverns of Codruscut, hoping this will bring Nicolae to their ship. When Nicolae is dealt with, they will resume their trip to Zece-Biserici.
Once our heroes have agreed on their plan of action, they discuss it with the docheri crew. They offer them pay for the past few days and the possibility to stay on and help with the ruse (and possibly to stay on for the trip to Zece-Biserici as well). If they don’t want to help, the players will drop them off just outside the city, no hard feelings. Five of the docheri crew, including Anska, agree to help.
The Serüven approaches the city of Codruscut. Before our heroes make port, they drop off the nine docheri crewmembers who wanted out, and then head out to the city’s harbor.
Codruscut is a small city, built mainly with timber from the forest that cradles the mountains to the north. It is very close to the border with the Empire of Oest, and it is the capital and only city of an independent kingdom. As the players make port, they see that large parts of the city are in squalor: Codruscut is not doing well. For Bogdan, who has never been to a city, the first impressions are overwhelming. He stares at the throngs of folk dealing and arguing on the waterfront, the beggars, the scantily dressed women of loose morals, and the seemingly unorchestrated chaos of houses both ramshackle and in excellent state.
At the last moment, Zikan remembers that they have made no further deals with Ayat, their qarim prisoner. However, since the Serüven used to be manned exclusively by qarim, it would be good to try to keep up appearances and keep as many qarim aboard as possible. He and Erdan discuss with Ayat if he would be willing to stay onboard for just a few more days to help them do that. Erdan offers him some silver and Ayat--sensing a deal--starts bargaining for more cash and a long stop date. They agree on five silvermark for five nights of his cooperation.
Since the players captured Ayat in the monastery, they came to either tolerate him or outright like him. Zikan, who is the only qarim of the group, tried to bond with his fellow qarim, and by the time the group arrived in Codruscut, it seemed to me that several of the players no longer thought of Ayat as a prisoner.
What was interesting to me was that the players tried to get Ayat in on their ruse by paying him and ended up negotiating quite a deal with him (our dear Ayat will be able to spend a full month gloriously inebriated in Codruscut with this kind of money). It was good role-playing of characters who stick to their word, as they had promised Ayat he would be released in civilization, and no duress was used to make him do their bidding.
When the harbormaster of Codruscut comes around, Zikan identifies himself as captain of the Serüven. The harbormaster registers the ship, informs them the charges are one tenmark per day, and then leaves to do other business.
As the players had discussed, they need to get the word out that the Serüven has made port in Codruscut. Hopefully, that news will reach the mysterious Nicolae, and he will come visit them looking for slaves to purchase. Cipran and Bogdan visit a few taverns at the waterfront and make quite a show by posing to look for work while loudly announcing that they just came in on the Serüven: Cipran pushes people out of the way and Bogdan--who is quite the martial artist--gets them to back down when they try to retaliate. When they feel they’ve done enough to get people talking about them and the Serüven, they return to the ship. Everyone waits around for the remainder of the day, but there is no sign of Nicolae...