Until this session....
This session couldn't have turned out more differently.
I will analyse why it went so differently later on, after I've done the post of What Did Happen on Thursday. The analysis will touch on the campaign as a whole as this isn't just a "Oh, players did something unexpected" and more of a "Wow, I've lost touch with what the campaign has become". As to be honest, I *should* have expected what happened. In hindsight, it makes perfect sense that the characters did what they did. It just didn't match my presumptions of the game I thought I was running (but really haven't been).
Now onto the session plan of what didn't happen....
Oh, and if you're a player of my campaign, I don't mind if you read this. These aren't epic spoilers and you might be amused to find out how my plans differed from reality. Your insight into the analysis would also be appreciated.
The Actual Play That Never Happened
------------------So our daring crew of pirates and privateers are seeking Kitsy's Chelish ex-boyfriend, Carnegie, to seek out the information he stole from the Chelish ambassador. They've learned that the Red Mantis Assassins are after him and that he's likely still in the city. One of the their best witnesses is now manically obsessed with Lhye due to a Major Curse he levied against her, which has likely left her sister more angry than anything else. The two of them are likely to be coming after them, one way or another.
When they head back to their respective ships, Archer finds an aquatic elf in his cabin with an enchanted dagger to dear Kitsy's throat as the elf uses her as cover. The elf, who dresses in a black camouflage, makes demands as to who they are and why they're after Carnegie. The elf dives through the cabin window (left unfastened for this express purpose) and into the water if attacked or at the end of the conversation. Kitsy swoons, if it seems appropriate, to get the Captain to catch her.
Kitsy identifies the Aquatic Elf as Carnegie's slave, Sellanarius, though questions about town identify him as the fearsome Black Smoke thief from the sleek vessel, Denarius. He'd been out of commission for a few years following a ship wreck and stranding on the Inner Sea islands and no one knew if he were still alive for the past six years, though perhaps the legends have changed and someone knows if he's resurfaced. The vessel, Denarius, now that he thinks about it looks rather like his own....
Alyssa returns to the ship with Wellard and a few other crew members who are each carrying a shipmate who had attacked them in a bid to kidnap them. They're all unharmed. Alyssa's work with her sap knocked out six of them without taking a fatality of their own.
I've told my players that Alyssa is significantly higher level than them. She has to be, considering her work smuggling tiefling babies and children away from Lastwall and the area of the Worldwound where they are summarily executed when found. I've gotten player approval to keep her around and told them that she can always do the work of a thief if they need a lock picked as they have no one to manage it themselves. Having Alyssa show off her skills in the background in an area that the players didn't realise might be an issue, is a good way to do it. This way she steals no limelight from them but manages to be a functional and useful crew member. Why does she need them? She has no crew of her own nor knows the first thing about piloting a ship or making those sorts of decisions. Besides which, she doesn't think of herself as high level.
Back To Actual Play That Never Happened
In their interrogation of the crew members they find out that the Black Smoke has identified Proteus' ship as his own and he wants it back. He is quite a skillful ranger just as Carnegie is a skilled sorcerer. The crew are quite confident that Carnegie will win, though they also state that he isn't without honor, and that they can be assured of having a nice ransom for their return - even though they're just sailors. They have little fear of Lhye, especially since they have a half-orc among them, and seem rather immunised to fear effects and intimidation (they have a paladin in their midst). Wellard can also tell that none of them are evil.
The paladin (if detected) is a female 2nd lieutenant known as Charlie Schmidt, and she is a cheerful Shelyn paladin willing to offer them a game that she's sure Carnegie would approve of. She sees that none of them are evil and her buddy, Denny Weiser (midshipman Desnan Inquisitor), has even noticed that a few of them are good. The terms are this....
The crew members are ransomed back for 10gp each with an officers ransom of 25gp. This would net them a nice little 110gp and goodwill from their lot. If the papers are mentioned in the same breath as the Andoren cause, then copies of such are likely to be forthcoming anyhow - especially if they take the wager.
Then a wager is to be made. There is a good little archipelago of islands not too far out from here where ships can play hide and seek to their heart's content. Carnegie's vessel against their choice of vessel. All crew are to be provided with saps or otherwise must do subdual damage. Magic is perfectly acceptable. Damage done to cripple the ship is also acceptable. Both ships have three days to find and engage each other.
If Carnegie wins, they get to keep the good ship Denarius (also known as the Egress).
If they win, they can take two of Carnegie's canons, a keg of gunpowder, and a rather special firearm whose design is a secret recently invented by Carnegie's Dwarf / Gnome powder room expert team.
Either way, winner has to pay for a night of drinking and carousing at a local inn of the winner's choosing.
Lieutenant Charlie Schmidt also wryly notes that Carnegie is a massive worshipper of the Chaotic Good god of drink, Cayden Cailean, which is why he grew quickly fed up with Cheliax despite his own (at the time) Lawful Neutral ways. He is a true buccaneer, all about the experience, though he has a price on his head from Mantis Assassins, the Aspis Consortium and the Hurricane King himself is also none too fond of him.
One way or another, there is an attack by the Red Mantis Assassin sister, shocked and horrified by what has happened to her sister.
Anywho, see you on Thursday for what actually happened last session....