Friday, January 12, 2018

Aboard a Blood-Hunting Ship

Campaign: The Excruciata

Characters: The Excruciata are a new gang rising in the Tarnished Ward of Umberwell. They are looking to get in on the action of stealing, smuggling, and selling illicit goods. The current members of the gang are: Raymondo Cortiz (Human rogue, former entertainer); "Count" Erron Halethorpe (Human paladin, former soldier); Grumli Fellhammer (Mountain dwarf barbarian, former tribesman); Zanna Cobblestop (Forest gnome wild magic sorcerer, former urchin); Nina Kessler (Air genasi monk, former spy).

Events: In the last session, the Excruciata gang had tracked down a cask of gunpowder that had been magically enriched with sea dragon ichor. The gunpowder was still aboard the Hexencrux, a blood-hunting ship that had smuggled the cask into the docks of Old Scar. If the Excruciata could somehow board the blood-hunting ship and steal away with the gunpowder they would have a very valuable commodity with which to make their entrance into the black market.

The gang's initial casing of the blood-hunting ship turned up a member of the crew, Carson, who was unhappy with his lowly duties aboard and was liable to being turned against his mates for a cut of the proceeds. Carson was duly bribed, and was able to do two things for the Excruciata. First, he revealed that the crew of the Hexencrux had been infiltrated by a cult devoted to the Adversary; the cult leader had alchemically altered the gunpowder with sea dragon ichor because the empowered munitions that could be created with it somehow figured into the Adversary's plans to foster instability within Umberwell.

Second, Carson was able to secretly hang a rope ladder over the side of the Hexencrux so that the Excruciata might approach by boat under the cover of darkness and climb aboard the blood-hunter unnoticed. As the gang climbed aboard, they noticed that the ship stank of butchered sea dragon. Luckily, they were able to get below deck without being noticed. There were some tense moments as the members of the Excruciata were almost spotted as they sneaked down into the ship's hold, but they managed to find the cask of ichor-altered gunpowder--which was strangely unguarded.

The cask was placed in a waterproof canvas bag and...touching it activated the invisible sigils that had been branded into the wood of the cask, summoning a pair of one-eyed, grinning aberrations from the Emptiness that immediately attacked the gang. A hasty retreat, with occasional attempts to hold the creatures off by force, ensued. Unfortunately, this retreat through the ship was very loud and fraught, which brought the ship's cultic crew also into pursuit of the purloined cask.

Once the Excruciata reached topside, they realized that climbing down the ladder without they decided to forgo escape by boat and instead chose to leap into the water and swim to shore. The crew of the Hexencrux manned the anti-dragon weaponry and opened fire with the ship's Gatling guns; the already injured "Count" Erron Halethorpe was caught path of a storm of bullets, and was cut down before disappearing beneath the waves in a red mist. 

The rest of the gang managed to make it to shore and escape back to their lair. The canvas sack had done its job; the ichor-infused was perfectly dry, and promised to fetch a nice profit for the Excruciata.