Tales from the Riverlands

The ‘Annabel Lee’

Carved on a stone in front is the word Egryn.’ ‘Oh. That’s not much of a secret then.’ Felgrin just shrugged. ‘That’s what I know.’

At Smades Tavern they filled in Borgus with what they had found out; then debated how to go about getting a ship. They went to speak to the mayor; they met with Pater Ten who told them that the mayor was unavailable at the moment. He suggested that the best place to look for a ship would be down at the docks. He waved them off with a smile.

Next they tried Benji Frogwater, a halfling merchant. His ship, the “Jade Princess” is one of the ships that had gone missing. It was coming from New Port with a cargo of ironwood. His son was on board. He offered a gold token to find the ship, two tokens if they brought back his son. He didn’t have another ship; he suggested that they found a ship called the ‘Annabel Lee’ and spoke to her captain Sheila Coppertree.

‘Just don’t play her at Black Tar Dice.’

Down at the docks they found the ‘Annabel Lee’ easily enough. Sheila Coppertree was a half-elf, with blonde braided hair, wearing a tricorn hat.

‘Yes, I know the lighthouse. I could take you, but what’s in it for me?’

Borgus pointed to his badge. ‘I am Town Defender of Lantern Town and it would be in your best interests’. Captain Coppertree was unimpressed. ‘Not my town; it’s just one of my ports of call.’

‘Strange’; said Bjorne. ‘Frogwater the merchant said you would help find his missing ship.’ Coppertree turned to him, open-mouthed. ‘The “Jade Princess” is missing? Her captain, Aryn Hest is a good friend of mine. Okay, get yourself aboard, we leave on the tide.’

Just then, a shout came from along the quay; a human and a half-orc were approaching.

‘Coppertree, you thieving whore. We know you used loaded dice. You owe us your ship’

Ganthor glanced at Coppertree, who just smiled and shrugged; then drew her sabre.

‘Neeno and Gaspar. You always were poor losers.’

They were also fairly dumb, for despite the presence of three armed men (and a snarling honey badger), they drew sabres and attacked. Ganthor intercepted Neeno the half-orc and Borgus intercepted Gaspar.

‘Don’t kill them’, yelled Ganthor. *

Despite this instruction, Gaspar died as Honeysuckle tore his throat out. Four crossbowmen popped up on nearby ships and high up on stacked cargo; Honeysuckle took two bolts but survived; Coppertree swung up into the rigging and took out a crossbowman; Ganthor’s Edict Sword glowed and took down another, Borgus punched the third unconscious and the fourth died, poisoned by Bjorne’s fingernails.

‘Sorry’, said Bjorne, cleaning off his dagger.

‘I said, don’t kill them.’

‘I thought you meant, don’t kill them immediately. He took some time to die.’

Whilst they were cleaning up and binding wounds; Coppertree spoke with them. She was very grateful for the help and so will take them to the lighthouse. She also offered them free passage to any port of their choice on the Midland Sea.

GM: The next part was done as a montage. We’ve never really tried this before, so it was a learning curve for all of us.

The ‘Annabel Lee’ sailed on the tide and headed for Skyhorn lighthouse. Shortly after leaving, a fight broke out between several members of the crew, not happy that they had been dragged out of the dockside taverns and Grape Lane. The PC’s presence was enough to put down the fight; the ringleaders were lashed five times and order was restored.

Borgus was standing at the prow when he saw something in the sea ahead; whales with squid tentacles. He shouted a warning to the helmsman; the ship altered course to the south to avoid them. Ahead they saw breakers; on a reef that shouldn’t have been there, there was a wrecked ship. The ‘Annabel Lee’ stood off a cable’s length whilst Ganthor and Borgus boarded the wreck; Borgus determined that it was a Dwarven ship due to its boxy construction **

The ‘Annabel Lee’ continued on towards the lighthouse, which was now visible on the horizon. The seas were growing choppier and the boat was pitching heavily.

‘A minor blow, gentlemen’, called Coppertree, braced by the wheel on the poop deck.

‘What’s that?’ yelled Bjorne, pointing to port. A huge wave was bearing down on the ship, travelling against the tide. It slammed into the ‘Annabel Lee’, rocking it over on to the starboard beam. Several of the crew fell screaming from the rigging. Ganthor and Honeysuckle rolled into the scuppers; over the portside loomed a Water Elemental.

Bjorne staggered to the middle of the deck and called on the Elf Queen

‘Lady of Stars and the Elements; let our foe be diminished!’ ***

‘We can’t fight this in melee, we need missile weapons’ ****

The elemental recovered and surged back towards them. Remembering his last encounter with a fire elemental where his sword melted, Ganthor grabbed a crossbow from one of the crew. ***** The others did the same; Bjorne managed a successful critical hit. The elemental surged over the deck, slamming into Borgus and Ganthor and taking two more of the crew overboard. Coppertree was just able to steer the damaged ship into the small harbour at the foot of the lighthouse. The elemental didn’t follow, but took up guard as a standing wave just off-shore.

‘I’m not leaving until I’ve fixed my ship and that thing has been dealt with’.

They looked up at the lighthouse. A path and steps led up to it; they noticed that the beacon was burning.

To be continued ….


GM notes

* An unexpected change of heart and not fully understood by me!

** Dwarf ships look like floating bricks

*** Icon ice ‘6’ with the Elf Queen, elemental’s HP reduced by 50%

**** Not sure how they came to this conclusion (but sb.)

***** Obviously some kind of vision or dream because this happened in a ‘Beasts and Barbarians’ Game about 5 years ago!

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The Guvnor
Staff member
Montages can be great. Can also fall flat or create weird tales so you always need a sharp swift return to the main game. You can all mull over any meaningful outputs from montages later.