Pirates of Drinax, Episode 25: Tracey Island and the Treasure Ship

Previously, on The Pirates of Drinax… our heroes have taken control of Tracey Island and driven the creatures they now call “squidheads” and their human minions back into the underground tunnels below the island. They must decide what to do next. Now, read on…

Cordan, 1108 Weeks 40-42: Tracey Island, Part 3

Vinnie thinks better of descending into the darkness when someone points out they have no rope, and no idea how many squidheads are present. (The consensus is that there can’t be that many, or they would have emerged and taken over by now, but there may well be enough to deal with a dozen intruders.) Discussion turns to options, which seem to be: Get some rope and go down to hunt squid; go down and emplace a bomb to collapse the tunnel; run away and abandon their new landhold; ignore the squidheads and hope they go away; or laser a hole through the sea into the tunnel to flood it.

After extensive discussion, they decide on a modified combination of the second and fifth options; use the ship’s lasers to cut a trench on top of the tunnel near the sea, then place charges to fracture the ceiling and flood the tunnel and whatever else is down there. This takes almost a week, but there is nothing to stop the party doing this except bad luck, which does not emerge. The tunnel is duly flooded, including the bottom few metres of the shaft they found earlier, and a surveillance drone sent down to investigate reports flooded tunnels and some human corpses, but no squidheads. As they suspect the squidheads are aquatic creatures, this does not surprise them. Vlantyn laces the shaft with explosive booby-traps just in case.

During the trench-cutting, Vlantyn repairs stuff (he is not keen on aslan, since they bombed his homeworld some centuries ago, and Ezh is taking pains not to point out it was her clan which did this). Ezh and the others, though, spend this time negotiating with the aslan, and eventually persuade them to become vassals-cum-mercenaries working for Ezh. They also make time for a full report to the High Baroness to alert her to the presence of a spy in her household, and the presence of an unknown number of squidheads.

Since Ranil and Vinnie are known to – indeed, part of – the local underworld, they are well-placed to take over Uht Vamos’ smuggling and fencing operation at the starport. Having access to what amounts to their own private port and the High Baroness’ personal landing strip will simplify their own smuggling considerably – they feel they ought to do some of this as they have led the High Baroness to believe this was their motivation for helping her, and if they don’t do any smuggling she might start to question their real motives.

This puts them in a good position to hear the news from arriving far traders that the Imperial treasure ship Martin II has crash-landed on Arunisiir. Ranil, whose primary motivation is to be the best thief evah, cannot help but remember that no-one has ever managed to rob a treasure ship.

Thus it is that the Grace O’Malley‘s engines make a miraculous recovery, she is loaded with grain from Baron Halley’s fief, and they lift for Arunisiir, leaving their aslan retainers and some hastily-hired servants and repair crews to sort out the mess on Tracey Island.

Jumpspace, 1108 Week 43

The team use the week in jumpspace to review what they know about treasure ships and Arunisiir, and make plans.

Arunisiir, 1108 Week 44: Treasure Ship, Part 1

Landing on Arunisiir, the gang split up and look for clues.

Ranil, Vinnie and Dr Agatha work their way around the starport bar, and piece together a crew manifest. Ezh discovers that the landing pads for the Grace O’Malley and the Martin II are in the landhold of one Ekaft, a minor aslan noble, and shows him around the Grace, whereupon he decides that a suitable landing fee would be Cr 20,000. Ezh is carefully non-committal but gains his agreement to visit his wife and conduct a proper business negotiation, female aslan to female aslan. Vlantyn eavesdrops on crewmen in the bar and injects a number of useful suggestions, thus befriending crewman O’Leary and Ilin from the Martin II, and a parts broker who happens to be in port and wonders what sort of price he could get from the Martin II for his wares. O’Leary is tired of working overtime because Martin II is short-handed, and suggests Vlantyn and his friends could get work on the ship helping with repairs.

Dr Agatha’s connections come into play again, as she remembers she hit it off with the ship’s doctor, Bourne, at an Imperial conference on the medical problems of cephalopod life-forms, and she goes to call on him – only to find him dead. However, he spoke well of her to the Captain, and thus she finds herself invited aboard to conduct medical check-ups on the surviving crew – a number having been killed in “an accident”. Vlantyn and his “new apprentice” Vinnie join the repair crew working on the Martin II’s engines, while Ranil gains employment as a deckhand.

“So, a treasure ship loaded with unimaginable wealth and only 14 crew remaining grounded on a Law Level 0 world,” says Vinnie. “All my Christmasses are coming at once…”

GM Notes

So, we’re back on track after a short diversion, this time heading into the Treasure Ship adventure of Pirates of Drinax book 1.

I had expected them to go into the tunnels after the squidheads (actually, mind flayers) and so prepared a chase grid, intending to run the dungeon crawl into mind flayer central as a sort on foot-based dogfight (an idea I lifted from the SWADE Chase Examples), but it was not to be. Planning it as a chase meant I only wasted about 30 minutes on that, so no hard feelings – and I can always use it at some later point, as the squidheads are now well-placed to become recurring villains.

Dr Agatha continues to be creative in her use of her medical connections (and bribing the GM with a benny for narrative control helps). Introducing the conference on cephalopod sentients to explain her knowledge of squid has done nothing to allay suspicion, as Vinnie has decided the squid put her up to it to establish her cover.

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