Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Evening, Neuwark Island

Monday, August 4, 1650

It takes six hours to drive out to the island, as it is nearly twenty miles due west of Cuxhaven.  The tide is starting to roll in towards the end of your journey, and you succeed in reaching the island with only your feet wet.  The sun is still up, but is quite low in the sky ... sunset is in about an hour, but given the time of year there will still be twilight for ninety minutes after that.

Neuwark Isle ... a somewhat recent photo
Note there is a somewhat diamond-shaped dike around southwest of the island, which is about eight feet in height.  The remainder of the island, including the portion inside the dike, is at it's highest four feet above the sea (and most of it is less, particularly in the fens area on the east and north, where the tides have left water pools and inlets.  The lighthouse (in my world, at least) is located in the group of trees that are centre on the map; the church is a red-roofed building to the bottom left ... a red barn stands next to it, and a pool nearby amidst the trees.  The area within the dike, just as shown, is plowed and covered in uncut, ready-to-harvest wheat, which has been abandoned by the residents.

The party lands near the very southern point of the island, near the church, next to the road that runs around the dike.  Obviously the church can't be seen from the shore, but once Gerhard has driven the wagon onto the dike it is evident.  The lighthouse is 100 feet high, with a large platform, wider than the tower, at the top for the burning of wood, with two long ropes reaching to the ground at opposite corners, and a ten foot high woodpile at each end.

You cannot see any sign of the crab.

68 comments:

Ahmet said...

The wagon jolts as it bounces along the road, waking Ahmet. He peers around, seeing no sign of crabs nor snails. He stares upward at the lighthouse for a long moment, then resumes his search for the beast. He calls to the others, "This... thing, is going to be in water, no?"

Silvius Volundr said...

"Might be, Ahmet... Might be."

"What do you think? When the time comes, we use the dike to cast the net down upon the crab? Ninetoes, you like the dike?"


(OOC: Easiest lob ever, 9toes.)

Ahmet said...

Ahmet eyes the heavy net dubiously.

Alexis said...

(OOC: with reference to 'throwing it,' the DM eyes the net dubiously as well)

Silvius Volundr said...

Seeing the look on Ahmet's face, Silvius nods. "Aye, you might be right. Tis a bit heavy... Even for you."

The smith's son let's his eyes wander then to the tall lighthouse and the ropes dangling from it. He then eyes the net and his face turns into a fist as he thinks.

Nine-toes said...

I head to the lighthouse, searching for tracks of the creature's passage. I'm trying to determine where it's been and where it goes.

"I fear the beast may be nocturnal. If we find where it's been, we may learn where it's coming from and be ready for it. I don't relish a fight at night, though.

OOC: is there any moon tonight? What will visibility be?

Ahmet said...

Pick in hand, Ahmet follows Nine-toes, eager to get in on the action, should any arise.

Alexis said...

As you move up to the church, which is near, and as Nine-toes jumps off to head for the lighthouse, you all see a priest emerge from the woods, coming towards you. Gerhard will call out to him: "Hail, Friar Zanfrancesco!"

The friar will approach, looking concerned and haggard. His cassock is ripped, his shoes torn and his hand is covered with a bandage. By first glance Andrej can see that the friar is clearly not a priest, nor even a curate, in that he does not wear the expected accessories for either (don't ask for the moment, hm? I haven't got time to search them out).

(GCI, or general campaign information: the new moon will rise in 4 days, so there's only a very bit of a sliver, and it only rises just before the sun does).

Silvius Volundr said...

(OOC: I am 88% certain that Andrej will want to talk to this man. Silvius will hold up until that happens)

Andrej said...

Andrej will stop the cart and await Gerhard's lead as far as introductions. Though also not dressed as a clergyman (armor over tunic and shirt) his wooden cross is in plain view.

Presumably Gerhard knows by now that I'm a cleric and if not Andrej will make that clear. Once introductions are complete Andrej will press the "friar" for more information on the crab. Does he know where it is currently? What parts of the isle it commonly frequents? Also, who remains on the isle (Gerhard said it was his brother, another light keeper and the friar, I just want confirmation).

Andrej said...

(OOC: good guess, Silvius ;)

Ahmet said...

Ahmet stops and waits as the others proceed with their interminable talking.

Nine-toes said...

Ninetoes will wait to see what the Friar has to say, moving over by Andrej and the others.

Alexis said...

Gerhard would know, you've traveled for six hours together. But there's no need to put friar in quotations; a friar is any individual who, like Andrej, is a leader of the church but is not a member of the church hierarchy.

Zanfrancesco can confirm that the crab is in the deep pool on the east end of the island; approaching it is dangerous, as the crab rests either under the water or in the mud, and will launch itself quickly and violently at any creature who approaches, like a trapdoor spider seizing prey. At night, the crab climbs from the water and moves over the island, typically destroying the houses, attacking the lighthouse or eating from the barn, the far wall of which has been destroyed. There are several tons of vegetables and fruits stored there.

"There's only me, and two men who watch the lighthouse, who gather wood in the day and burn it at night," says Zanfrancesco.

"My brother Rupert and Hans," adds Gerhard.

Andrej said...

"Tell me brother, does the crab eat of the barn each and every night? What of the lighthouse and the homes... does it molest these each night or only sometimes? Other than lying in the pool is there some behavior we can count on it having this evening?"

Alexis, is it possible for our party to lift the net up and place it on the roof of the barn?

Any other ideas, gents?

Alexis said...

"It is a creature of little or no intelligence," answers Zanfrancesco. The party cannot help but notice his clear, Italian background. "It behaves in the same way, night after night. It has destroyed the houses here, which may be because it is looking for food. The lighthouse is strong and it has not being able to break the stone, though much damage has been done and there will be needed repairs."

GCI: yes, probably, given a bit more than an hour...though Zanfrancesco will warn that the barn has been made unstable.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet says nothing, as plans and strategies are not his strong suit. He soon loses interest in the conversation, and stares longingly at the heavy pick in his hands. When will the bashing commence?

OOC: I like the idea of rigging something up in the barn as a trap, but let's make sure we aren't IN the barn when this thing starts thrashing about! It's OK if the barn collapses on it, as long as we aren't in there...

Andrej said...

I volunteer going up onto the barn. Anybody else? If we can get the net on the thing, that might slow it down enough to make it safer to take on.

Nine-toes said...

"Andrej, if the barn is unstable I can climb [OOC 85%, assuming my lack of toe doesn't reduce that by -2]. At any rate, let us make our way there and see if we can better assess the situation. If the barn is near collapse, perhaps we could hide when the beast approaches and raise the net when it attempts to leave."

Of course, both these options will have us fighting in the dark - not a disadvantage to you, my sharp eyed friend, but sub-optimal for the rest."

"Likely we have few options. To the barn, we can discuss on the way."

Nine-toes heads there.

Silvius Volundr said...

"It frequents the lighthouse and the barn. Sounds as if either spot would be good for an ambush of the thing, for i like not the notion of chasing it down where it could surprise us."

"So that means fighting it at night. If you lot can rig the net up on the barn and think you stand a chance o' casting it onto the beast, I shall use the wood to build a couple o' pyres, soaked in oil to light once it is netted so's we can see what we are doing... Then we cut it up."

Silvius Volundr said...

Silvius heads to the barn as well, bringing his pack with oil in it.

Nine-toes said...

"I like the idea of setting it alight. Let's roast it a bit to make the job of killing it easier."

Alexis said...

(GCI: Nine-toes, it's assumed you learned how to have the 85% without the toe)

A quick inspection of the barn by the monk shows that it has been heavily damaged. It should support the weight of up to three or four people easily, but by sight it suggests moving about up there could cause the wood to give and cause someone to lose their balance.

Upon suggesting that the wood be used to build pyres, Zanfrancesco speaks up. "I could not suggest a less doable thing," he says. "The wood is not ours, but the property of the Hanse of Hamburg, and is earmarked for use by the lighthouse...which must carefully make it last through the remaining season. Burning it for another purpose than warning ships from the island could bring with it a serious penalty...even death, if one of the Hanse ships runs aground in three months for lack of wood.

Nine-toes said...

"Or what of this: build a pyre along the barn, wait for the thing to enter, set the barn alight, and when it attempts to flee pull of the net to snare it."

"I had a thought that Gerhard might deduct the cost of his large net from our wages should we make a bonfire of it, and silver is hard enough to come by."

Nine-toes said...

{OOC sorry, posted before I saw what Alexis wrote)

"We try the net then, and take our chances with climbing the barn."

Alexis said...

"My BARN? ALIGHT?" shouts Zanfrancesco in shock.

Nine-toes said...

Ninetoes will try to climb the barn with the net.

Alexis said...

(GCI: a small error; I've called it a church several times, but its only a chapel - no full altar, and the ground is not fully consecrated).

Roll, Nine-toes.

Silvius Volundr said...

"And I shall have to make due with rigging me lantern away from the barn and leave it lit. Should give Ninetoes here a chance to see it right fine for crossbow work."

"I shall be hiding 'round the side o' the barn. Yell when you see her."

Alexis said...

Gerhard calms Zanfrancesco down with a few words, promising there will be no fires. There's about six tons of food in the barn that could not be moved, and there's still enough left that it could be repaired, perhaps by the winter.

Gerhard will then tell Silvius there's no need to set up a lantern; the island is gently lit by the lighthouse when it is fully going.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet will stick with Andrej, wherever he decides to position himself.

Nine-toes said...

74

Nine-toes said...

OOC Arggh. Lousy time for a meeting. I will be out for the next 2 hours.

Alexis said...

(I'm nearing a point where I'll be hung up anyway)

Nine-toes successfully climbs the barn. He'll take note that he's being watched by one of the men on the lighthouse, and that the sun will be sinking past the horizon in ten minutes.

Silvius Volundr said...

Silvius will ALSO be watching the area behind him, lest this sneaky crab approach from the rear.

"I was thinking, Andrej, maybe we should eat after we slay this monster. Could be fewer mouths to feed, if you take my meaning. Sure could use a dumpling however."

Alexis said...

Slowly, the sun sinks below the horizon ... and its gone.

Silvius Volundr said...

Silvius asks Gerhard to take the friar to the safety of the chapel and ensure that the mount is cared for. He straps his helm on tightly and grips spear and shield and drops his pack at his feet.

OOC: I will be incommunicado from 4 to 9 pacific time today.

Andrej said...

OOC: Sorry folks, hung up on my end.

A little more planning, if we may, before the sun sets or just after, Alexis? My intent was to climb up with Ninetoes (not a thief or monk, but have the mountain climbing skill). Once there, the plan would have been to pass the net up to us somehow. We would situate it over the barn opening the crab uses. Ninetoes would remain on the roof and be responsible for letting the net down over the crab when the time comes. Andrej, Silvius and Ahmet would hide nearby on the ground awaiting the crab.

If we can't work this out, then Ninetoes can simply fire the xbow from above and the rest of us will spring from hiding as before. Can we give the first course a try, Alexis? Is the party in agreement?

Silvius Volundr said...

I agree completely.

Nine-toes said...

I'm all for the net being dropped from atop the barn if Alexis is ammenable. I had asked in my pervious post if I could climb with the net, but perhaps that was missed. I figured Ninetoes could at the least climb up, hook the net with his staff and pull an end up or somthing.

If not, I'll snipe with the crossbow and climb down if things get really hairy.

Ahmet said...

So say we all!

Andrej said...

OK, assuming Ahmet has no objection and Alexis is agreeable that's the plan.

"As for eating, Herr Volundr, I'm hoping perhaps we can sup on some salted and buttered crab this eve. I hope the friar has a nice, big pot we can use, for good Emmanuel is watching over mine back in Cuxhaven." winks, and nudges the fighter.

"Are there any who would like to receive the blessing of the Lord God before we do battle?" (Bless Spell)

Silvius Volundr said...

OOC: Shit. Now I'm nervous. This thing could be a Sherman tank.

Nine-toes said...

"I'm all for receiving the Lord's blessing, father, if your blessing can reach me up here!"

Andrej said...

OOC: if the net deal is a go, at least it can slow it down while we run away.

Andrej said...

OOC: casting time on bless is one turn and lasts one hour. I have to touch each of you who would be so blessed, and I think you must be Catholic for it to work. Whether or not I can climb up or you can reach down to be so blessed Alexis would have to say.

Silvius Volundr said...

"Though the blood of the Old Gods runs in me veins," Silvius eyes the much larger Ahmet to be sure he can hear his bragadoccio, "If the good lord can guide me spear, I shall take a knee, Andrej.."

Nine-toes said...

Seeing as falling could be detrimental for either of us, lets skip the blessing for Nine-toes today.

Andrej said...

Also, just want to confirm that Gerhard, the friar and my Percheron are in the chapel safely before we move forward.

I'll be offline again in about 2 minutes and will able to check in later tonight (9 PM EST or so)

Andrej said...

OOC: One last thing, as I was reading to catch up on the action and got to the part where Ninetoes and Silvius were planning to burn the friar's barn down (not to mention our savory and valuable crab meet) I bust out laughing. Zanfrancesco's reaction and Gerhard's smoothing out of the situation were perfect and also funny. I could clearly imagine all of it going on.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet shrugs. "There is no God but God -- the God of Abraham, Jesus and Muhammad. If it is His blessing, I will take it. If it is not, then it is of no value anyway."

He hefts his pick, and turns his attention out to scan for the arrival of this beast. "Inshallah, I won't be needing it anyway," he mutters grimly, even as his knuckles turn white from the tight grip on his weapon.

Silvius Volundr said...

OOC: could there be a better weapon to kill a crab with than a frickin' PICK in the hands of a freak like Ahmet?

I think not.

Silvius Volundr said...

Way OOC: "Nightfall, Neuwark Island, The Case of thw Crab"

Alexis said...

Looks like I missed a bunch. I'll try and catch up.

1) The sun has set, but for all intents and purposes it is still effectively "day"...plenty of refracted light left, this is August.

2) There's no reason the net can't be brought up to the top of the barn, spread out, and dropped. It may not land hollywood-movie-perfect, but that's in the roll.

3) Every pound you eat is 20 s.p. lost. Just saying.

4) DMs like nervous players.

5) You'll be happy to know I've long since reduced the casting time of the bless spell to one round. Note the wiki. Yes, they must be baptised Catholic, which none of them are. However, as Andrej can perform the coming of age ceremony, he can baptise any of the three remaining players right now. Warning: don't take the baptism lightly.

6) Zanfrancesco does not wish to be led away. He will watch over and assure the safety of his barn, and will help if he can; he has only one spell, however, remove fear. He's tried the reverse on the crab, which is how he hurt his hand.

Alexis said...

7) Gerhard and the unharnessed horse will find a place on the dike where they have a good view of everything; there isn't a large enough door to get the horse into the chapel, and Zanfrancesco wouldn't allow it anyway. The horse and Gerhard would be in very little danger.

Nine-toes said...

"Zanfrancesco, you have the respect of Nine-toes! Here the four of us are armed and take after the crab with a net. But you engaged the crab with a single spell! If I live through the night, I am definitely making a contribution to your church."

OOC: I will be out for much of the night, but will check back in when I can - Hopefully not to find the monk crushed after the crab has demolished the barn.

Alexis said...

Let me confirm:

1) Ahmet waits (but I don't know where he's standing)

2) Nine-toes on the barn, the net pulled up and arranged for dropping. The crossbow is three quarters loaded - can't keep it full loaded, the last bit has to be pulled back just prior to firing or the sinew loses its tension.

3) Silvius's location?

4) Andrej's location?

I know you've made plans, but please confirm those so I can be certain.

Zanfrancesco will stand near the chapel, looking towards the side of the barn.

Nine-toes said...

Nine-toes has the net at the ready. Crossbow loaded, at the ready once net is dropped. Looking for the approach of the crab from each direction, periodically changing view.

Alexis said...

"It was a wasted effort," says Zanfrancesco. "The crab cannot feel fear."

Nine-toes said...

3/4's cocked it is then.

"Not for naught, my friend! Have you read Cervantes? Well, neither have I for that matter. But I believe it had something to do with the nobility of a hopeless quest and all that. But not hopeless, for you lived and brought us intelligence of the beast's movements. I would have been circling the lighthouse were it not for you, good friar."

Silvius Volundr said...

"I love Cervantes!" Silvius calls out from the left side of the barn, where he crouches low in hiding. "Especially with lots of salt!"

Silvius Volundr said...

If Andrej offers a baptism, Silvius will accept it. He loves religious ceremony, especially Confession.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet will not accept a baptism, but he will stand near the half-Orc, as previously planned by Andrej.

Andrej said...

Andrej will hold off on any baptizing for now until we can ascertain how not lightly we should take it.

He'll find a likely spot to hide amongst the nearby trees within 60' of the barn entrance where our trap awaits so that he can keep an eye on Ninetoes and hopefully enough of the barn to see the crab approach from most directions.

I'd recommend that for hiding purposes we three spread it out some but plan to convene on the crab to attack. In this manner we increase our field of vision.

We should keep each other in sight as well as between us keep each of the lighthouse keepers, Zanfrancisco and Gerhard within sight in the event they warn us of the crab's approach.

If we are all in agreement, consider those as actions I suppose, Alexis.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet does as instructed, taking up a spot in the treeline. He makes sure he picks a vantage point where he can see Silvius or Andrej, as Andrej is in a position where he can see Ahmet or Nine-toes. However, his primary focus is not on watching Andrej or Silvius, but rather for the approach of the creature.

Silvius Volundr said...

In case it was not noted, Silvius is positioned on the left side of the barn, crouched where he can cover it's entrance if he leans forward to peek around the corner.

(OOC: If you have been waiting for my instructions, my apologies. In my mind they were posted already.)

Nine-toes said...

Sorry, I am in agreement. My actions are as stated: net at the ready, crossbow 3/4 cocked, looking for the crab.

Alexis said...

Continued on the next post.