Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Savage Worlds - Vampirates of Caribdus - Session 2

Kicking off the Plot Point Campaign

Last night we officially started the plot-point campaign for 50 Fathoms.  Although our second game of this new campaign, the first was a set-up, more or less, for allowing Accursed player characters to explore the seas of Caribdus.  In "Maiden Voyage," the first leg of the plot point campaign, player characters find themselves marooned on a wild and dangerous island beach and in search of a way back to civilization.  

For those unfamiliar with the term "plot point campaign" I should probably take a step back and give a little explanation.  There are quite a few scripted/episodic campaigns or adventure paths on the market.  In most of these, a game master runs an adventure, and then runs the next one after, perhaps with a short deviation or side-quest.  But typically the adventure arc has to be completed in sequence.  

While plot point campaigns may have a specific set of sequences, they are buried within a full sandbox setting.  Players can pick up a plot point, follow that adventure to completion, and then return to sailing around Caribdus, gaining fame or notoriety, and completing side-quests or even full-length "non-plot point" adventures.  There are also tables for random encounters that can occur at sea or on other specific parts of the map.

So part sandbox campaign, part ship-based hex-crawl, part Wing Commander: Privateer.  Choose your own favorite analogy.  

You may note that we had an additional crew member join our campaign last night, as my good friend (and long-time Savage Worlds fan of everything other than Necessary Evil) Melinda joined up.  You may also note that she is playing a "Masaquani", a race from 50 Fathoms instead of Accursed.  Melinda prepared a couple of characters for the campaign, Alara and an unnamed Shade.  After some discussion it made sense to introduce a character that had some kind of idea about Caribdus and the surrounding isles.  For our campaign, Alara can be the conduit between the monsters of Morden and this new realm.  

The Crew

Episode 2:  Maiden Voyage


The five Accursed from Morden awaken on the shore of a tropical island, near a large piece of the Darkmaiden's Dance's broken deck.  Before they have time to completely get their bearings, a seven foot tall, blue haired masaquani (Alara) breaks free of the tree-line, rushing towards the water while being chased by three Yellow Tails (brightly colored velociraptors).  Hoping that she can shed some light on their situation, the monsters aid the woman.  Marie uses her fear magic to terrify the lizards, and Kor throws the ship's broken deck on top of one.  

After she calms down, Alara explains that her vessel, the Rebecca, sunk off the coast of this land, called Torath-ka, and she escaped on one of the ship's "skiffs".  Alara offers to take the monsters to her boat, but claimed that there was crying and chanting in the woods, and she can't leave any of her crewmates behind.  Before getting a promise of aid, Alara storms into the woods, rapier drawn.  The Accursed follow.  

In the jungle, the new "crew" finds the tracks of Ugaks, an intelligent but savage people that hate masaquani and humans.  Following the Ugak trail, the party arrives at a terrifying scene.  A single Ugak roasting the leg of a human sailor dying nearby.  Alara recognizes the sailor as Jasper Garibaldi from the Rebecca.  The lone Ugak is no match for the Accursed, who swoop in and slaughter the savage.  Alara tends Jasper's wounds and Fenster fashions the man a crutch.  Jasper claims that more of the Rebecca's crew are deep within the jungle along a nearby path.  

Alara convinces the Accursed to continue their heroic path towards saving her crew.  Two miles inland the entire team finds a massive pool of red, acidic tar, situated at the center of a stone ruin.  At one end of the ruin an Ugak shaman stands before a 20' tall statue of a Great Monkape.  Along the sides of the ruin are eight Ugak's chanting.  In front of the shaman are six captives from the Rebecca.  Before the party can do anything, the shaman pushes one of the captives into the acid, and the Great Monkape comes to life.

After a few moments of planning, the Accursed plus their new masaquani friend assault the ruin.  Fenster and Marie use their magic to pin down and terrify the Ugak warriors while Kor and Sobek slay the shaman.  Alara starts freeing the hostages while Nolan the vargr fends off the remaining Ugaks.  The main threat to the party is the Great Monkape, who can easily stand toe to toe with the mighty Kor.  Surrounded, however, the Monkape tries to flee until Sobek trips it up with his grappling hook.  Even on the ground the beast is a threat, and with a single swipe of its fist, the creature almost kills Sobek.  A sharp strike from Nolan's claw ends the Great Monkape's struggle.  

Notable Moments
  • Alara had quite the exciting introduction to our campaign!  I brought Melinda's character into the game "in media res", before she could tell the group who she was playing.  All the player characters knew was that this tall blue haired woman was running with lizards following close behind.  Frank's played with Melinda before, so he had no problem teasing her that the rest of the group should attack the masaquani AND the lizards.  To add to Alara's situation, I made Melinda roll to make sure she wasn't hit by the piece of the boat that Kor threw at the Yellow Tails.  
  • I'll say it now: Kor is a beast!  When attacking the lone Ugak, he did over thirty points of damage with his thrown anchor.  Those dice just kept exploding!  I declared that the Ugak's torso disappeared but his legs, arms, and head all hung suspended in air like a cartoon for just a moment.  The favor was returned lator when my Great Monkape did forty damage to Craig's character Sobek!
  • During the scene where Alara patched Jasper's wounds and Fenster fashioned the man a crutch, Marie played a crucial part: lapping up the sailor's blood.  Jeremy's dhampir had no problem tasting some of the pool that was on the ground in front of the man, and almost had a bite of his open wound.  
  • The brief synopsis does not reflect how much time was spent between the scene with Jasper and the ruin.  The players spent about fifteen minutes arguing about whether to help Alara with her friends, or just go to the masaquani's skiff and escape Torath-ka.  They went as far as having Nolan track Alara's footsteps in the jungle and on the beach.  But since this is an adventure game, the players eventually agreed to help Melinda's character be more heroic.
  • We've played around with some new setting rules, and for this game I allowed player characters to cancel out GM bennies with their own bennies.  I need to read the Accursed rules again, but I think I should've been doing the same... but I didn't.  I don't know if we'll continue with this rule.  My Great Monkape lost an opportunity to soak damage due to a well timed benny.  Poor thing.  


"What had fingers and toes and ended up in Kor's mouth?" - a GM's riddle.

"Now Craig, I'm going to caution you to not make assumptions here.  Just because these things are chasing her, doesn't mean they are the bad guys." - Frank had it out for Melinda's character right from the get go.

"Ah... eh... right.." - Marie frustrated at Alara heading back into the jungle.

"When we get to jungle?" - Kor asked while standing in the middle of the jungle.

"He's specialized in poo identification!" - Marc comment's on Andy's character's examination of the poo.

"That's just Kor.  He's... well he's not harmless, but he won't hurt you." - Marie sums up her cohort's strong points rather well.

"There you go dog-boy, you start lookin' for those tracks." - Fenster was so close to giving Nolan a treat.

"Jasper was the cook, which is ironic since he got skewered and eaten himself." - Melinda spent a benny to describe her former comrade.  

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