You remember the night before – the ringing laughter of a wild night, the heady joy of excess, the scents of rich stewed meat and perfume lingering in the nostrils. Now you feel a pounding headache, the sickly taste of cheap wine in your mouth, the hard floor, a rhythmic swaying, as if you were still drunk. The footsteps from above reveal you are aboard a ship and not in a Port Peril wineshop.
You had been press ganged aboard the Wormwood. A pirate ship captained by the fearsome Barnabus Harrigan, a shaven headed garundi giant. His key rules: do not kill other crew members and do not bother him. He delegated responsibility for your training to the sadistic bo’son Master Scourge and the sly First Mate, Mister Plugg. It soon became clear that Mister Plugg was a tyrant, who took every opportunity to denigrate you, assigning Tua’tara to the rigging as the fastest climber, and Avery to the kitchens to serve as cook’s mate. Blackmatch was left to swab the decks.
Plugg’s coterie of lackies and lickspittles tried to bully you in the hold before your punishing day of duties, but fang and blade soon taught them that you were no easy meat. Your duties were not so easily dealt with, a punishing routine of work in difficult conditions leaving you exhausting at the end of the day. Avery seemed to have it easy, but the ships cook – Ambrosius Kroop was catatonically drunk as often as not, leaving him to prepare food for the seventy odd crew of the ship. Despite this he was able to recover most of your belongings from the quartermaster. In the evenings you got roaring drunk the strong grog and made friends among the other pirate crew. Slowly you realised who was firmly in Pluggs camp and those not. Rosie Cusswell, Badger Medlar and Sandara Quinn were all friendly once they came to trust you. Even one of the thugs that accosted you on the second day, a half-orc named Jaundiced Jape.
Slowly over time you became accustomed to your role. However Scourge enjoyed punishing any infraction and Blackmatch suffered worst, being regularly lashed by the ‘cat’ and even locked in an iron box for a seemingly endless amount of time. Finally Blackmatch was pushed too far and refused a direct order from Plugg to handle his only recently regained saw-toothed sabre. Locked in the bilge as punishment Blackmatch was scheduled to be keelhauled the next day.
His fate was averted by the appearance of a sail on the horizon. A rahadoumi schooner named the Man’s Promise. Throwing newly slaughtered livestock into the sea the pirates launched their attack – a brief cannonade followed by a grapple and the bloody slaughter of a pitched battle on deck. You were part of the boarding party and cut your way to take and hold the bridge of the ship. At one point Avery warned Harrigan as a rahadoumi sailor tried to sneak up on him Harrigan nodded and decapitated the sailor smiling as he did so.
You were rewarded for the successful assault with a share of the loot and Avery receieved an amulet from Harrigan himself. You were also picked for the skeleton crew to return the Man’s Promise to Port Peril for sale. Mister Plugg and Master Scourge commanded the vessel but a few days after leaving Harrigan and the Wormwood behind they were holding secret talks in the captain’s cabin. The bearing indicated that instead of Port Peril, the ship was heading to a secret cove called Rickety’s Squibs where ships called be disguised – your new Captain intended to steal the ship from Harrigan!
You redoubled your effeort to recruit the crew to your side. This was interrupted by a terrific storm that forced you all to the rigging to save the ship. Fighting the elements for nearly twenty four hours straight there was a lurch as the ship struck rocks. When the storm subsided it became clear that Sandara Quinn and Badger Medlar were gone. Strange slimy tentacle trails gave the clue that they might not just have been swept overboard.
The ship was beached off the coast of a strange isle. A rocky ridge rose out of the centre beyond a dismal mangrove swamp. Mister Plugg ordered you to shore to find fresh water to refill the ships water stores that were damaged in the storm. You took the Jolly boat and headed inland, hoping to find what happened to Sandara and Badger.