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.

Parley & Plundering the Dreadnought

Tonight we played Parley & Plunder, a Lasers & Feelings hack by an unknown author. We are the crew of the good ship Dauntless, a fast sloop sailing under an English letter of marque, out to find our fortunes and stop French domination of the Caribbean. Our captain has been incapacitated but is well-tended by our experienced medic, so we senior members of the crew must guide the ship until Captain Maynard’s full recovery, which isn’t easy with such a disgruntled crew. Aquila is our dedicated navigator who seeks to master navigation through study of the stars. Our charming quartermaster is one John Silver, out more for his own fame and glory than anything else. Emerson, the adventurous cook, is more interested in culinary experiments even than stealing cool treasures. Two-Tonne Thad Thompson is a grizzled old gunner whose ready to finally get away with his buried treasure. Sheyron the Steed is ship’s carpenter and dedicated to his faithful dog Hendry.

We start our tale with the Dauntless sailing into the Port Royale with smoke billowing toward the sky from the thatch-roofed buildings as we see an enormous ship flying a French flag slipping away on the horizon. We dock and fan out into the town. Emerson leads a shopping trip into the quayside markets seeking supplies for our next foray, especially unusual fruits and vegetables such as rare peppers, while John Silver unsuccessfully tries to convince the rum runner to part with his wares on credit! (The cheek of the man.) Sheyron and Two-Tonne seek out intelligence on the French attack at the Squeaky Door Tavern and learn about the cost of the regular French assault, led by the Frenchman Commodore Fromage Aigre commanding the mighty Dreadnought. We end our story in Port Royale with the British unfurling posters offering a substantial reward for the capture of the Dreadnought or her captain.

We know that the great French ship was designed and built by the Marquis Rochefort, newly retired to French Guyana, and we intend to infiltrate his estate and steal the plans to the Dreadnought in order to take her. Using forged papers, Sheyron and Hendry join a large ball being thrown at the estate by the Marquis, and while they distract him, Aquila manages to serve the Marquis a drugged drink, which leaves his lovely wife alone. John Silver begins a concerted effort to charm her, and she takes him upstairs to show him the scale model of the Dreadnought on the landing. Emerson works in the kitchen and manages to lift the head butler’s massive keyring and pass it to Aquila, who leaves the party and sneaks past John Silver as he’s proposing elopement to Eliza the wife. She enters the Marquis’s study, emerges with the ship’s plans locked away, and is spotted by the butler just as she’s about to slip the keys back into his pocket, but covers by pretending to have found them fallen on the floor. As the rest of the crew melt away into the night, John Silver gallops away from the villa with the model under one arm and Eliza clasping tightly to his waist on the back of the Marquis’s best horse.

After studying the plans and learning the Dreadnoughts secret to being heavily armored without losing speed is a special paddle wheel propulsion system, we track down the ship moored in Port-au-Prince. Sneaking aboard at night, we set about sabotaging the ship to ensure she runs aground on British soil. Two-tonne knocks out some of the paddles themselves while Sheyron uses his carpentry skills to kink up the wheel. John Silver gets into a fight and Emerson returns with a bag of croissants and other French delicacies. Aquila steals the French star charts and replaces them with new charts that would be sure to lead them astray. We return to the Dauntless and follow the Dreadnought to be on hand when her charts and broken systems lead her to crash onto the beach at Port Royale.

When we visit the British governor, we collect our reward, agreeing to keep half the cash if we get to keep the Dreadnought herself. Aquila also gets copies of the royal star charts and Emerson collects some lovely papaya from the Governor’s gardens. And we sail our two ships off into the sunset.