Pirates of Drinax Episode 14: The Star Dragon

After extensive discussion of how best to deal with Donus the Star Dragon, the party settle on levelling with him and giving him a free choice of what to do, then rather spoil that honourable approach by using Xaronne’s psychic powers to ensure he selects the option they want, which is that he and his family return to Drinax with them.

They return to Drinax via Marduk (where they check up on the Yarrow, which is still on the expected course) and Torpol (where they join in Provost Falx’s semi-permanent yacht party). For the first time they remember, Princess Rao is flummoxed when they return with both the heir to the throne’s approval of restoring Drinax and the heir himself; they stuff him and his family into the Scholar’s Tower where he can learn more about the outer world, the Tower can identify how the party can best help him, and Princess Rao can figure out how he should fit into her schemes.

Lord Wrax and Cap’n Jade review the burgeoning fleet of Drinax, which is now roughly double the size it was two years ago; a significant fraction of the crewmembers are now Vespexers brought on by the party, and Wrax is starting to wonder whose side they would be on if Jade ordered them to turn on him.

However, rather than stay in the Elizabethan play which is court politics on Drinax, the party head out again, as Stoner is keen to investigate the rumours that the Sindalian Empire’s treasure was buried in catacombs beneath one of the cities. Gathering clues from Donus and the Scholar’s Tower, the party returns to Noricum in the Lady Mary, and after casting about for a while discover some sort of Sindalian installation at the bottom of a lake. They tool up with battledress, plasma rifles, snub pistols, grav belts and the obligatory cutlasses before descending into the dark, cold, toxic waters…

GM Notes

We are regularly hitting fast forward for transit between adventures now, which means that each session covers about 4-6 months of game time. I’d intended to switch to the secondary party for the next session, but it didn’t feel right to do that while one of the players was absent, so we didn’t.

One of the things I like about running the Pirates of Drinax for this group is that they have realised the long-term social impacts of their actions and are really trying to figure out the right thing to do for the various planetary populations affected. Their favoured approach to getting the military manpower Drinax needs is to co-opt the surface-dwelling Vespexers, which can’t help but upset generations of social stratification on Drinax and shift the balance of power among the surface clans. They want to help the impoverished farmers of Noricum, but how to do that without painting a big target on Donus, upsetting the established custom which amounts to ritual suicide for all males over 40, and thereby increasing the requirements for foodstuffs beyond what the local farmers can produce?

I am also consistently impressed with how easy this game is to run. More or less wherever the players go, there is an adventure to run, and it is easy to tie it back into the overall story arc. Admittedly they are now well into game year three and so far have not committed any acts of piracy, but we’re all having fun, so what does that matter?

Finally, the scoutship Red Adder turned up again, and they ignored it again. It will play a medium-to-large sized role in the penultimate adventure, but at least it will have been foreshadowed. The players haven’t realised yet that one implication of the “all killer, no filler” approach required for Savage Worlds is that anything I mention will be important at some point.

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