7th Sea: Blood Sails – Session 5

Isabella and Julianne were the two members of the crew most skilled in the arts of stealth. They decided to sneak around the Ussuran mercenaries to the back of the stables to prepare the carriage they arrived in to depart. Unfortunately, Julianne caught her dress on some hedges and knocked over some crockery while trying to traverse a short, stone wall. Isabella slipped into the shadows while Julianne, who realized she had caught the attention of the mercenaries, decided to make a scene of it to keep their attention.

Although no one could understand Ussuran, Julianne understood the meaning of their bawdy jests as they approached her. Men can be such pigs sometimes. Jacques moved closer to his wife’s location but stayed hidden in case he was needed but Julianne kept her wits about her and convinced the mercenaries she was Lady Adeliza Brosseau’s cousin, a resident of the manor, and she was searching for her personal servants. This dissuaded the brutes from making further jokes. They helped Julianne to her feet and left her to continue her search.

While this was going on, Captain Nathan Hawke and Don Diego de la Vega-Borgia took advantage of the distraction and quickly rushed to the stables via the other side of the courtyard. Inside they found an old stablehand and two stable boys. They were joined shortly after by Isabella who had completed her circuit around the smithy and into the stables from the back. The old man was a bit confused and somewhat obstinant but after some discussion (and gold coins slipped to the old man by Diego), the servants were convinced to hitch up their carriage and prepare it to leave.

Outside the stables, Julianne went on her way following the path Isabella had taken before her. It was at this moment Jacques realized he had been left alone but fate favored the young noble. From his hidden location, he spotted Captain Jean Killroy, the leader of the Ussuran mercenaries, appear. The Captain informed his men Hawke and Julianne had been spotted in the manor but had slipped away. The manor had been searched and they were no longer there. He organized the mercenaries into two squads and sent them to check the smithy and the stables. Jacques realized he needed to buy his friends more time.

Pretending to be a drunk partygoer, Jacques stumbled out into the open and intercepted the mercenaries moving towards the stables. The mercs were nonplussed and fumbled about trying to decide what to do with the drunk. One of the, a corporal, started shoving Jacques and told him to return to the party. Jacques did a good job wasting their time until Captain Killroy noticed his men were delayed and began to head in their direction. This was Jacque’s queue to leave and he began to stumble back towards the garden.

The rest of the crew, with Capt Hawke driving the carriage, burst from the stables. Jacques turned and ran for the escaping carriage, leaping to catch the helping hand of Diego. With a headstart, the carriage fled the estate and through the countryside towards Arisent. Captain Killroy ordered his men to give chase but the crew had a good headstart. The carriage has almost reached Arisent when the mercenaries caught up with them. One of the mercs moved up to attack Hawke when he caught Isabella’s blade between his ribs. A second jumped onto the carriage but was shot by Diego and slashed by Jacques. Julianne tossed pillows at the mercenaries still giving chase.

As they reached the city, Hawke took a quick turn into a narrow alley, catching bloomers hung to dry in his face for his trouble, but he managed to lengthen his lead on the mercenaries. Isabella snagged a tree branch and whipped it back to smack the next mercenary who rode by while Jacques cut down the laundry hanging between buildings to slow down the mercs even further.

Bursting from the alley, Hawke drove the carriage over a ledge and landed on a street running parallel to the main canal running through the city. One of the mercs could not negotiate the quick turn and tumbled into the water. Diego grabbed a passing post and swung around to kick one of the mercs from their horse but only manage to land in the fellow’s lap! Realizing his ally was in danger, Hawke aimed carefully and fired from long range with his flintlock pistol. His aim was true and he caught the merc between the eyes. Diego took control of the horse as the merc fell away.

With one merc still in the chase, they exited the canal street and turned onto one of the main roads heading toward the docks. The festival was still in full swing so Isabella cut one of the banners down and tried to target the merc but wrapped up Diego instead. Hawke slowed down so they could help him and Jacques finished off the merc with his blade when he got close enough.

After a good chase, the crew arrived at the docks and raced to the Ruby Star. Captain Hawke yelled for his people to cast off and the ship was quickly on its way. Sailing away from Aricent, they had survived to swash buckles another day.

END OF SESSION

7th Sea: Blood Sails – Session 4

The crew joined the festivities at Lord Petrus Brosseau’s estate and drew the attention of several young nobles. Seeing the PCs making themselves comfortable Crespin Baudet bid them adieu and disappeared into the crowd.

Isabella explored the gardens a bit and discovered another Vodacce woman attending the party. The mysterious guest did not provide a name but flashed the secret signs to let Isabella know she was also one of Sophia’s Daughters. Isabella had been sent on this mission so abruptly that she still wasn’t sure what her objectives were. The agent let her know that events were in motion that could potentially shift political power in not only Montaigne but all of Theah. Although the agent could not explain further it was important that Julianne and Jacques-Louis were successful in their quest and Captain Nathan Hawke should survive to see the end of it as well.

Meanwhile, Don Diego de la Vega-Borgia, using a false name that no one could remember, Julianne, Jacques, and Hawke were introduced to Lord Brosseau. The Montaigne noble was excited to meet new faces and invited them to play Seasons of Arcadia, a game of placing your own stones and removing foe’s stones from a hexagonal board until one of the four lords or ladies had successfully placed 12 stones. Lord Brosseau explained the game involved rather complex strategies and mused watching someone play would reveal a lot about their character. Julianne and Jacques played against Hawke and Diego. The game was tense and exciting but in the end, Julianne and Jacques were the victors.

Lord Brosseau dismissed himself to entertain some other guests while Julianne and Hawke snuck off to find the map. They infiltrated the manor and searched until they found the lord’s immense library. His collection of books and artifacts was impressive. The pair quickly searched it until they found the map Crespin had told Jacques about and Hawke found an ornate saber he felt belonged in his possession more than a Montaigne noble.

As they prepared to retreat from the library, a pair of Ussuran mercenaries appeared. The mercs confronted our heroes and demanded to know their identities. The fools unwittingly revealed they worked for Captain Jean Killroy of the Ussuran navy and they had come to the party to find and arrest Captain Hawke. Fortunately, they did not immediately recognize Hawke. He and Julianne bluffed their way past the mercs before rushing back to the rest of the crew. With map (and saber) in hand, it was time to leave.

The crew rushed to the stables but before they could reach them, they spotted more Ussuran mercenaries standing between them and their destination.

END OF SESSION

7th Sea: Blood Sails – Session 3

Montaigne, with its long history of conflicts between monarchs and knights, and of course, the other nations of Theah, has left us with a glorious legacy of fortified cities. This is doubly true of Montaigne’s coastal cities which must defend against threats from both land and sea. Ramparts, proud towers, and massive gateways ring the city and separate the dockyards from the city proper. Likewise, the people of Arisent fortify their hearts during times of danger and throw themselves into frivolity in times of celebration.

The streets and homes of Arisent are decorated in bright reds, blues, and whites (the colors of Montaigne), and the streets are filled with the sounds of music. It is Fete Nationale Montaigne and everywhere the people of Arisent wear masks. Nobility, merchants, and commoners mingle to sing, drink, and dance; equal in celebration if not truly in social status. Jugglers toss knives, balls, and various random items. Acrobats tumble through the streets and dance across tight ropes strung high above the streets and alleys. Clowns, damned clowns, bumble about making the children squeal with glee. Behind the masks, old identities are left behind, perhaps obfuscated would be the better word.

The crew discussed at length who would go to find Crespin Baudet, the artist who contacted Jacques about his discovery of information that could lead to finding Black Skull Isle. They also reviewed the need to lay low in Arisent, or more appropriately, to not kill anyone and draw attention to themselves. Likewise, they decided to use the Fete Nationale Montaigne celebration to provide some amount of cover. Julianne skillfully assisted each member of the crew with their fashion choices to help them blend in. All but Captain Hawke who was content with just a mask, that is.

Captain Hawke and Mary went looking for rum and a good game of darts and wandered into a pub called the Silver Pelican. Hawke indulged his love of rum and Mary set about winning coin with her skills at darts. Eventually, the crowd did become rowdy and tempers flared. Captain Hawke broke a few noses, made new friends, and in the end was quite proud of himself for keeping his promise. He did not kill anyone.

Meanwhile, Jacques, Isabella, Don Diego, and Julianne went to find the artist. Jacques recalled where they could find Lord Petrus Brosseau’s estate if worst came to worst, but following the gossip proved to be enough. It seemed Crespin was the talk of the town and his most recent collection was on display in a popular salon.

Finding their way to the salon, they met some resistance at the door. The bouncer, Gaston did not want to let them in. Isabella employed her dangerous beauty and charming personality to convince Gaston to allow them to enter and the big lug melted like butter on a hot day.

Inside the salon, the crew explored a bit and found Crespin’s art decorating the walls before they actually found the artist himself. This particular work was technically sound and hit the notes Crespin obviously intended (perhaps too plainly), but Jacques felt they were uninspired. Crespin found the crew admiring his work and immediately agreed. He thought the collection was shit, not ready for public consumption but Lord Brosseau had insisted the collection be on display for Fete Nationale Montaigne. And as Crespin’s patron, he gets what he wants.

Crespin exchanged warm regards with Jacques and Julianne and was introduced to Isabella and Dominique (the name Jacques quickly gave to Don Diego to hide his Castillian nationality). Crespin senses the deception but had no interest in uncovering it. He seemed to have no care who or where Don Diego was actually from. He was more interested in the rumors he had heard about an incident in La Motte between a Montaigne constable and his friends. Jacques slyly explained the incident as necessary without going into the details and this seemed to be enough to satisfy the artist. After all, Jacques and Julianne were nobles and for all intents and purposes, everyone else was below them. They could do what they wanted as far as Crespin was concerned.

The conversation turned to the reason for the meeting, the information about Black Skull Isle. Crespin explained, in a roundabout way, he had seen a map in his patron’s collection he believed could help Jacques but it was quite secure and there was no way to remove the map from Lord Brosseau’s repository. Instead, he proposed the crew join him at a ball that evening at the lord’s estate and find a way into the repository. An acceptable plan except for the only member of the crew who could possibly hope to decipher the map would be Captain Hawke himself.

The crew bid Crespin farewell with plans to meet him in two hours’ time in the city garden in the Commons. They found Captain Hawke and Mary in the Silver Pelican, both quite inebriated and celebrating the festival with new friends. Jacques explained to Hawke the task before them and convinced him they needed to dress him appropriately for the ball. Of course, the method of acquiring said clothes were left up for debate. As Julianne began looking for the right garb for Hawke, he wandered off and found a noble wandering the streets with just the right attire. One quick knock on the head, a duck into an alley, and Hawke were suitably attired.

The crew made their way to the Commons and met Crespin there who had arranged a carriage for the group. Lord Brosseau’s chateau sat outside the city amidst the rolling lands that had been completely converted to either farmland or vineyards. No forest remained as far as the eye could see.

The chateau was a grand estate surrounded by a picturesque moat and their carriage joined the procession line of guests arriving for the ball. In short order, the crew was escorted to the gardens and a waiting soldier took their names and announced their arrival. Although he thought Dominique, ie Don Diego, was a bit strange, he did not bat an eye when introducing them.

END OF SESSION

7th Sea: Blood Sails – Session 2

Tonight’s adventure began with a bit of brainstorming and chargen. I figured the crew of the Ruby Star should be as interesting as the rest of the PCs. No better way to ensure that than to recruit the players to help.

Blinsky the Quartermaster
Doc, the… doc…
Kaylee the shipwright and engineer
Mama Booga the cook with a hook for a hand
Old Man Jenkins the… no one is really sure…
Padre the deckhand
Sammie Gee the cabin boy
Susan the deckhand, and a man, yes, a man named Susan
Talon the hawk, ship lookout, and rat catcher
Wash the helmsman
Wesley the deckhand who is always doing something wrong

Captain Nathan Hawke and Jacques-Louis de la Chateaux Claurent de Mont Toppin had a long conversation about the troubles at the Powder Keg but reached no real accord. Jacques revealed he had an encrypted map but he needed a cipher he believed could be found at Black Skull Isle. Hawke had heard a hundred tales of the isle but treasure hunts had never interested him. Although disappointed, Jacques added he had a lead in Arisent and that would be their first destination.

Doc, drunk again, was trying to sew up Don Diego de la Vega-Borgia’s wounds with a straightened fish hook. Julianne de la Chateaux Claurent de Mont Toppin stepped in and quickly finished the work.

Captain Jon the Black Rose paid Hawke a visit to complain about the treatment of “his” ship. Hawke humored the ghost until it had its say and faded away.

The Ruby Star set sail. Two days into the voyage Talon spotted a ship following them, a military vessel of Montaigne. Hawke wanted to send the larger vessel to the sea bottom but others asked if running would be best. Hawke decided the job given to him by The Benefactor was more important than a fight. The Ruby Star quickly outran the larger vessel until a storm overtook them. The military vessel disappeared into the black of the storm.

For nearly three days the storm battered the Ruby Star but they managed to hold to their course and avoid any damage. When it finally cleared they were only a day from the bustling port city of Arisent.

When they arrived in port it was decided Julianne and Jacques would go find Crespin while the rest remained on the ship.

END OF SESSION

7th Sea: Blood Sails – Session 1

We begin our tale in the town of La Motte on a small island just off the southwestern tip of Montaigne in the Widow’s Sea. Warm summer winds blow salty air across the people of La Motte, a good day for sailing. A good day to stay a new story as well.

In a rundown tavern, the Powder Keg, Captain Nathan Hawke, and his first mate, Mary made arrangements to meet a new batch of passengers for their next voyage. Word was passed to Captain Hawke from The Benefactor two of them, nobles, needed passage on a long voyage that would prove lucrative to all involved although the details were vague. They needed a ship like the Ruby Star which could take them somewhere quickly and without drawing much attention. Captain Hawke’s vessel was perfect for such a task. The other passengers had been found by Mary and Hawke knew nothing about them. The pair wondered if the nobles would be sorcerers, Mary had a disdain for magic users, present company excluded of course, but Hawke did not know much about their noble passengers yet.

Julianne de la Chateaux Claurent de Mont Toppin and Jacques-Louis de la Chateaux Claurent de Mont Toppin arrived, quite intrigued by the Powder Keg and its patrons. They were on an adventure! Their efforts at being clandestine were entertaining to Hawke and Mary and they made their way into a “shadowy corner.” Hawke and Mary made bets on how long the young nobles would go before trouble brewed. The pair ordered some food and tea and tipped Ilya well (more than she would make in a few weeks normally). The food was good for tavern fare and the tea was passable for the common folk. The couple politely thanked Ilya and Julianne reached into her bag of tricks to retrieve something more acceptable to drink. Using Porte she conjured her teapot and something more fitting for them to drink. Jacques-Louis delighted in the cheese and fruits set before them. Again, they were on an adventure and intended to enjoy every bit of the experience.

Hawke, a half-blooded practitioner of Porte himself, detected

Isabella Alunni soon arrived and Mary went to greet her and introduce her to Captain Hawke but nothing before enjoying a round of darts first. Isabella, being both attractive and dangerously beautiful, drew the eye of everyone in the tavern. She faired well but was bested by the skills of her opponent. Mary remarked how she intended to win the upcoming tournament so she could drink free at the Powder Keg for an entire month. Julianne and Jacques-Louis were thoroughly entertained by the competition. Isabella introduced herself to Captain Hawke. She explained she needed passage to hand wave the destination and the Ruby Star had been recommended to her.

Secretly, word had been passed to Isabella from her contacts in the secret organization, Sophia’s Daughters, that she needed to be on the next voyage of the Ruby Star, Nothing was given as to her purpose on the voyage, but these kinds of orders were rarely given and never ignored for good reason. The Vodacce fate witches who counted themselves in the membership of Sophia’s Daughters were rarely wrong. The message also included a warning, “Beware the half-blood on your journey.” Isabella was not pleased with the vagueness of that part of the message, being more obfuscated than the purpose of the voyage in the first place.

Soon after Don Diego de la Vega-Borgia entered the Powder Keg, the last of our intrepid heroes in this tale. The devilishly good-looking rogue drew almost as much attention as Isabella and even more so when he decided to buy a round of tequila for everyone in the Powder Keg. Ilya warned Isabella about Diego’s charms and got a good swat on the bottom for her trouble. She scowled at Diego but others could not help but notice her smile as she walked away. Jacques-Louis had been watching the exchange and completely misunderstood the context. He later gave Ilya a good swat on the butt as well causing much confusion but Ilya said nothing, she still had the enormous tip Jacques-Louis had given her in hand. Julianne sensed her husband had gotten something wrong and seemed more amused than anything. Diego and Hawke continued to chat each other up and Mary rejoined them after finishing off another opponent at the dart board.

Soon though, Hawke and Mary got to see who would win their bet. Diego quickly got in on it too. One of the sailors at the bar, deep in his cups and foolishly emboldened by the recent addition of tequila, decided he wanted a dance with Julianne. He stumbled over to the shadowy corner where Julianne and Jacques-Louis (whom he mistook as Julianne’s brother) were and pestered her about a dance. Julianne politely declined but the stupid drunk didn’t know how to take no for an answer. Jacques-Louis tried to step in and got a good shove for his troubles. The nobleman began to remove his glove to slap the fellow, a gesture that completely baffled the sailor. Fortunately, Isabella stepped in before the situation could get out of hand. Using her charms and persuasiveness, she convinced the sailor his time was better spent drinking than bothering the couple, and he agreed before wandering back to the bar. Isabella introduced herself to Julianne and Jacques-Louis and got to experience firsthand their exuberant perspective on life and this new adventure they were embarking on before returning to Hawke’s table.

Mary and Diego claimed their winnings from Hawke and the first mate went over to introduce herself to the nobles. She pointed them towards Hawke at the other “shadowy corner” and introduced them to the rest of the cast. Greetings were made all around but it seemed their adventure this day had not come to an end.

A brute squad led by Magistrate Regis appeared in the tavern and started working over the crowd but it quickly became apparent their real target was Captain Hawke and the people sitting at his table. The magistrate approached the group and asked them for their “papers” which was an absurd notion since Montaigne has never been in the business of issuing anyone documentation for any purpose (other than the regular orders of Empereur Leon Alexandre du Montaigne XIV.

Jacques-Louis tried to explain to Magistrate Regis who he was but the noble’s lack of a reputation had little impact on the ruffian. Little did Jacques-Louis know nothing he could have said would have deterred the magistrate, he had orders to follow. Diego, always the charmer, tried to talk Regis down but he made the mistake of mentioning he was from Castille, a nation currently at war with Montaigne. Truthfully, this merely served as justification for Magistrate Regis to do what he had already been ordered to do, murder Captain Hawke. As Regis’ men drew their weapons, Regis whispered to the captain, “Your brother sends his regards…” The whole encounter had been a trap from the beginning.

Both sides leaped into battle as the brute squad surrounded our heroes in the “shadowy corner” of the tavern. However, Regis had been sent on a fool’s errand, the heroes were far more capable fighters than he had originally been told, and one by one his men were knocked unconscious (except for the one skewered by Captain Hawke). Diego, who had methodically waited until the right moment to act, fired on Regis with his pistol and knocked the miscreant unconscious. The group cleaned up the last of the brutes from there.

Capt Hawke, having been seriously triggered, lowered himself over Regis’ body and whispered, “He’s my HALF brother.” He then plunged his knife into Regis’ heart. Jacque-Louis was not happy with this turn of events and expressed his concerns as our heroes quickly departed the tavern.

Everyone involved in the brawl took a -10 adjustment in Reputation. Regis had done a good job of demonstrating he was on official business for Montaigne and when Diego accidentally announced he was from Castille, he won no favors for the group. Word spread from the tavern about how Captain Hawke and some Montaigne nobles were working with outsiders, a Castillian rogue, and a Vodacce witch. Unfortunately, life in Theah can be unfair like that sometimes.

As our tale for this evening came to a close, our heroes were on their way to the Ruby Star. The group certainly had some differences of opinion but that makes for good drama and fodder for future storytelling.

END OF SESSION