The players and the GM must figure out the how and why behind the PCs presence on the ship. In my case, the Bosmer guard of the Silvenar (now sadly out of a job) drank too much and passed out on the street - and was taken from there; the Dunmer merchant was given a doped drink because the kidnappers considered him a traitor; and the third Dunmer had been trying to sneak her way to Auridon and so smuggled herself aboard their ship.
Ooh, also ensure the PCs have a name, too, at this stage. When in doubt, this name generator can help a lot.
One of the PCs has been cuffed using the trick cuffs Captain Irinwe keeps in her room for entertainment purposes. It's necessary that at least one isn't properly cuffed so that they can loosen the others - ideally a larcenous type. All are bound though none are gagged, without weapons or armour. Odds are they'll notice Captain Irinwe first.
Just as a pointer on Maomer ships, the ship has membranous sails and a rugged chitin hull with a rather narrow waistline that gives it an insectoid appearance. Internally it is much like most sailing ships.
The PCs have company:
- Captain Irinwe, a strong-willed and rather scathing Maomer who normally makes runs between the Maomer Embassy on Khenarthi's Roost and Pyandonea on her vessel, the Sea Viper.
- Vicereeve Pelidil, an Altmer supremacist male who serves Prince Naemon and prefers him to Queen Ayrenn.
- Ulondil, a Maomer who had been imprisoned in his own embassy following the Tempest Unleashed who sees no value in Khenarthi's Roost now that it has breached its own treaty to allow the Dominion safe harbour.
- Harrani, the Headwoman Khajiit who leads the people of Khenarthi Roost and who is generally both cautious and unassuming.
The group may plot quietly together though naturally there are many recriminations. Vicereeve Pelidil is quick to order the deaths of the two Maomer. Ulondil tries to purchase his freedom while retaining dignity though he won't bother convincing any Bosmer once they figure out who he is (since he did orchestrate the death of their holy Silvenar). Harrani cautions careful consideration of one's choices though she won't argue against anyone killing Ulondil now beyond a token effort at remaining civilised. Captain Irinwe has no interest in Ulondil and bargains for herself - stating that she can reclaim her ship since her own people crew it and that she will let the others free if they help her escape (she isn't sure if she's telling the truth or not).
Only Captain Irinwe will offer to assist them in a battle as the others have no skill at it.
Weapon To Be Stolen (6 dice to use)
Armour To Be Stolen
She automatically gains +3 bonus to stealth checks while remaining still and enemies take a -2 penalty to see her even when she is moving so long as she is over 20 yards away.
Summon Sea Serpent
You may summon a small sea serpent (Size 3) out of the ether to fight by your side for 6 rounds once per day. It has 6 dice (0 lethal) and a Toxicity 3 bite.
Once there is some semblance of order, generally once the door is picked, they will hear a single set of footsteps echoing across the wooden boards. Only two can attack at once. If they leap out at the figure they can get a single turn worth of attacks before it goes to initiative. The figure is a Sea Viper crewman with a sword that will take a turn to draw (giving the players two turns to take him out even if he wins the initiative). If he gets the chance to draw his sword, he will also call out to his friends. If all of his health boxes fill with bashing, he will fall unconscious.
-1 Iron Sword (5 dice to use)
Hide Armour 1
Minor Health Potion
The other room, whose door stands open, has two sleeping Maomer still fast asleep and snoring (unless awoken by shouts). Naturally Captain Irinwe, if alive, will want them unconscious. She will also direct the players down into the hold to get their equipment from a chest (within which is another set of manacle keys should any of the PCs still be cuffed because the lockpicking roll failed).
NB: All characters at this level have either a simple destruction staff, iron weapons and armour or novice mage robes. They may also have 50gp OR 2 Minor Magicka Potions OR Minor Health Potions. If a PC should have had better gear beforehand, assume that it was stolen away from them or they have otherwise lost it. In a game like this, loot is an important part of the puzzle.
There are three Maomer around the table, each armed with swords, who will be taken aback if Captain Irinwe is seen but upon seeing her with the prisoners will believe that she is the Dominion caster kidnapped by their captain (the caster called Gathwen). They will therefore attack.
Allow the PCs to be clever about this if they would like. I instituted a semi-move action, like you get in Pathfinder, so that they could do things like shut a door between two enemies without giving up their full action to do so - while forcing the enemies to spend a turn reopening it.
Once they're dealt with they'll see a door leads to the companionway up into the aftcastle where they'll find Captain Irinwe's cabin. Should they explore her cabin they will find a series of her maps overlaid on the table as well.
They will also find Hamasel the Innocent who was sleeping in a sheer shift on the bed and who pretends to be a Nord slave, claiming to have been taken from the First Auridon Marines as they had considered her a traitor to her kind (9 dice on Subterfuge). She will allow herself to be tied up (8 dice on Athletics to later escape) or will alternatively trail after them unarmed and will attack them if the tide of combat turns on them. If they subdue those abovedecks too rapidly, she will continue in her role of innocent ingénue and see what information she can gather before ultimately betraying them. She is a sociopath and will happily see the Dunmer die to protect her cover. She also won't overplay her position - she has no interest in actively seducing anyone though she might happen to flirt to see them squirm.
Captain Irinwe will not be pleased if they loot her cabin though at present she has merely 3 glowing mushrooms (alchemy ingredient - 5gp), 2 bowls of moonsugar (alchemy ingredient - 50gp), salt shaker equivalent to 3 salt piles (alchemy ingredient - 2gp), and 5 small pearls (alchemy ingredient - 2gp). There is also a tankard of Reedwine (weak alcohol provides a +1 stamina buff to all stamina-based dice rolls) and a honey treat.
There are five individuals above decks including the Dunmer, Mivrose Rilrethi. Four of them are just the regular crewmen and they all assume Mivrose is the captain - an illusion which will stand until Mivrose is either rendered unconscious or slain. Mivrose, an accomplished illusionist, will use spells to subtly set events in his favour.
+0 Steel Sword (3 dice to use, doesn't use)
Fire Resistance (takes bashing damage from fire)
Novice Mage Robes of Illusion +1 die rolls
Minor Health Potion x 2
Anchorstone Amulet: Increase healing times by 25%.
Created from a chunk of rock broken off of a Dark Anchor dolmen, this amulet still whispers Coldharbour's secrets.
Cloak self in flame for 6 rounds, once per day,
those who strike you in melee range take 1 fire damage
Gathwen, Rurelion's Apprentice and a Bosmer member of the Mage's Guild, is gagged, bound and locked in a small cage on the deck. If freed, she would join the fight but unless the key is taken from Mivrose, it will take far too long to pick the lock on both cage and manacles and remove the gag. Thus her combat statistics are not included in this article.
Presuming that Captain Irinwe is still alive, once Mivrose Rilrethi has been knocked down, she will command any remaining crew to lay anchor and have a meal in celebration regardless of Gathwen's desperation to return to stop the other kidnappers. They lack the numbers to sail the ship, after all (require 5 plus the captain to get the vessel going).
The PCs may gather their wits, converse and make plans at this stage. They might interrogate Mivrose, if they like, though he has little information immediately relevant to their plans and won't give up Hammasel the Innocent unless tortured.
If Ulondil lives, his mere presence may convince Captain Irinwe to set sail for their home island with their valuable cargo and she will feign heading in the direction of Khenarthi's Roost to set them at ease (subterfuge or survival rolls will reveal the ruse) and a further battle is required to send them in the right direction. If he is killed or otherwise kept tied up and out of her way, she will put up the white flag to meet the Aldmeri Navy and hand them over. The Navy will allow her to leave ... though with gritted teeth. To do otherwise would doom their own people. Hammasel the Innocent will aim to leave with them, if at all possible, and if still alive.