Parley & Plunder & Sugar

This week we partook of Parley & Plunder by Stephanie Godfrey, a hack of Lasers & Feelings, as a crew of privateers charged by His Majesty’s government to disrupt French attempts to corner the sugar trade. Our command crew consists of Commander McTrick, who must lead in the Captain’s stead while he lies ailing in his cabin; navigator Leyola Aster, who loves maps above all else; and our helmsman Harrrvey, who hopes to become captain himself one day. In the lower decks, we have Kyrie, our adventurous gunner who loves nothing so much as a good fight; Storm Hawk, our dashing rigger whose romantic notion of piracy makes it hard for him to advance; and Ned Oldham, the grizzled old swabbie, who has previously held every job aboard ship but now only hopes to survive until retirement.

Our story begins with McTrick, Aster, and Harrrvey finding the directive to stop the French in the Captain’s quarters and debating how we should proceed. Aster eventually gets her wish and plots a course for us to sail seldom traveled seas to complete her maps. Meanwhile, below decks, Storm, Kyrie, and Ned entertain each other by relating yarns and memories. Ned tells the tale of how Captain Bancroft was able to sail his ship between two enemy craft in a deep fog to launch a broadside against each, thanks to the crew’s silence and his keen hearing. Kyrie talks about legends of another fog, one that ships sail into but only emerge empty, without her crew and no sign of what happened. Storm relates stories about mermaids and the paradise they live in below the waves, a paradise he wishes to see someday. Their tales turn to what’s going on with the Dauntless and how none of the crew seem to know where we’re headed or why. We beseech Commander McTrick to give the crew some guidance, but he seems miffed and suggests we direct all questions to navigator Aster. Aster’s answers fail to satisfy the crew, but she promises that we need sail but four more days before all will become clear.

Before those four days are up, however, we spot another ship slipping in behind us, a French Fleut. On the orders of Commander McTrick, Harrrvey wheels us around and we charge the French ship. McTrick leads the boarding party onto the other ship himself and fights his way through the throng to capture her captain and obtain his surrender. Among her spoils, Kyrie brings back a unique pewter mirror with strange carvings along its rim and handle. Upon examination, she, Storm, and Ned discover that the glass reflects an older version of the viewer. They take the mirror to Aster, not willing to risk the Commander seeing it, but worried it might be demonic or possessed. Aster uses it to see the finished map she’s been working on, and uses that glimpse of the future to complete her map and pinpoint the location of the island that we’ve been seeking.

McTrick, Aster, Kyrie, and Storm take the launch to explore the island. With Kyrie and Aster arguing over the mirror, McTrick finally learns of it and warns that it is the cursed mirror of Asperalda Nilda, the sea witch, and believed to drain the life from whoever looks into it. McTrick orders the pair to get rid of it before it kills someone, but Aster becomes such a pest that Kyrie lets the navigator keep it rather than bury it. Harrrvey comes ashore to warn them he saw a group of French soldiers marching through the jungle; they must surely have seen the ship. After regrouping aboard ship, McTrick takes another party ashore to ambush the French troops, which allows us to overwhelm the five soldiers, despite Ned sneaking off during the fighting. Before McTrick can question them, however, Ned returns with a warning that the fighting drew the attention of another squad of soldiers. With that warning, we leave Ned and Harrrvey in the clearing as bait, and when the second group arrives, our second ambush nets a bevy of prisoners for questioning.

This episode ends as we interrogate the prisoners and learn that this island is the focal point of the French efforts to monopolize the sugar trade. On the other side of this island is their fortified port and a large sugar growing and processing operation.

Fall of Magic: Ravenhall

This week we dipped our toes into Fall of Magic by Ross Cowman for an abbreviated session, getting through only a single location (in a game designed to require a dozen or so locations to complete).

Fall of Magic logo and scroll image from Heart of the Deernicorn.

We start with Fawn, a Ranger of the Mist Woods, relaxing on the footbridge over the river into Ravenhall, home of the fabled Magus. She notices oddities in the walk patterns of the various pilgrims and travelers. When someone ends up in the river, she decides to help the victim out of the water, and walks over, offering the end of her staff to pull the man out. From this soggy fellow, Fawn learns that people avoid Ravenhall now, driven off by the pall of dread that hangs over it.

Next we find Justice, the Crab Singer of Istallia, in the Rose Gardens. She wears a purple velvet dress and carries what looks like a lobster trap with her. She walks into a secret portion of the gardens, which are overgrown and wild from lack of attention. Once secluded, she sets down the cage and pulls out a few crabs, then begins to sing. The crabs scurry away and begin hunting the garden spiders, eating as they go.

Finally, we meet Azure, a Raven from Ravenhall, who stretches her wings and struts through what was once a fantastic menagerie, but now seems filled with sad mundane animals collected from the nearby fields and forests. Talking with the animal handlers, she learns that the wondrous magical creatures who once lived here are all gone now. Some of those creatures had been her friends—she recalls a hippogriff she was particularly close to. Is she—bird folk who walk upright but maintain the wings and feathers of their forebears—the last of the impossible creatures?

We three meet each other in the Great Hall awaiting an audience with the Magus, whose servants have laid out a great feast upon the table and invited them to eat. “The Magus will join you shortly,” they say, so we gather around the table and introduce ourselves, learning what calamity has brought each of us here: Justice summoned from Istallia to cull the spiders, Fawn sent by the Captain of the Grey Rangers, and Azure concerned over the disappearance of magical creatures. Just as we begin to suspect our concerns are related, the double doors across the room swing open and the Magus stands before us. We don’t know it yet, but we’re being recruited for a crucial mission to escort the Magus across the world, for magic is dying and so is the Magus.