Tuesday, August 6, 2013

As The Sun Rises Over Koufonisia, The First Day


Feb 23, 1651, Tuesday morning
With clear skies and cool temperatures, and a moderate breeze prevailing from the north east.

As the wind swings around again, it brings with it a stiff wind, though nothing to cause the ship and crew trouble.  The Captain wakes early, before the sun lifts above the horizon, and climbs on deck in the dim light of dawn; she calls the party up, for she sees that the yawl in the harbour is making preparations to get underway.

She is considering raiding it; it is not very deep in the water, says the glass, and it is in the party's backyard ... so she is interested in asking.  As the sun rises, she shares with the party a map she obtained in Zakynthos; she has used it to steer the boat in these waters, with which she is unfamiliar.

Granted, its not drawn in the medieval style, and I'm not interested in drawing passage lines on the map (which would be expected for the period, so let's just assume they're there).  Primarily, the map gives the following information (please ignore the grey hexes, this map for the game is still in development):

The party version
(the DM's version has more information)
 The Captain will abide by the party's decision ... but it does seem that the appearance of the Petrel has the Ottoman crew somewhat concerned.  The glass indicates they are shouting at one another and moving quite quickly.

What would you like to do?

97 comments:

Lukas said...

While I enjoy the thought of more XP from raiding the ship, and goddamn would love a good pirate raid, I have concerns with raiding ships INSIDE our own port area. We'd never get any trading ships to dock here if we got a reputation for that!

That said, gouging them through borderline extortion in fees with the thought of our nearby pirate ship buddies possibly hanging over their head is also a possibility. (At some point)

Finally, there's always just not strangling trade at all. Might be better to get a lay of the land first.

OR we could pull up and demand they hold to investigate their presence in Venetian waters... If we think that's reasonable. For all we know they could have been extorting the locals or something.

Alexis Smolensk said...

This map is the result of my recent improved Group VIII hex-filler generation ... which hasn't been posted because I only conceived of how to calculate the presence of things on Sunday afternoon. It was a very intense process, hard to get the hang of in the beginning, but producing results that were, to say the least, exciting. I found myself actually getting a rush while randomly placing the interesting things here - for the first time in my history as a DM, I feel I've actually worked out how to calculate how much a hex has in it, to determine how much work it would take to 'clear it out.'

The hexes are 2 miles across on this map, and the map shows islands that aren't visible on my big Greek map, that's been posted in the past. What's visible here would be the top two thirds of the small hex that shows Koufonisia on that map.

The port town is on Greater Koufonisia, a small gray area below the natural spring on that map.

At this time, I don't know what birds swarm at the breeding ground--they're normal birds but large, I have to look up what's typical in the region.

On this map, only Greater Koufonisia shows any human habitation. The large piece of half-drawn land in the top left is Naxos, and the side facing Koufonisia is a largely uncivilized mountain area on the south side. The lighthouse at the top right is inhabited, likely something along the lines that Neumark was in Germany.

This was such fun. I had to fight with myself to stop doing it yesterday and attend to responsibilities.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The Captain has no Venetian flag available.

Lukas said...

We do have a writ citing us as rent takers (newly though). I don't know how much credit that will gain us, but I would hope it would gain us something...

I thank the captain for informing me of their lack of Venetian flag and swear to myself.

(Note to self: Get Venetian flag)

Lukas said...

By the way, the birds have me interested, so I will want to investigate at some point. I will also want to investigate the natural spring at some point as well.

Lukas said...

If we have to act quickly, I say intercept and investigate, then raid and pillage if they're doing something illegitimate.

Maximillian said...

You three being the owners of this bit of rock, I'd say it's your decision.
points:
The ship is unlikely to be wealthy.
We can't count on protection from anyone.
Getting the ottoman military involved would be bad.

I ask the captain, when raiding a ship such as this, are there usually any survivors? How does she handle the scrying eyes of the ship's owners, who might seek to regain their loss?

Maximillian said...

I think if we don't leave survivors, and take other reasonable measures to prevent retaliation, it would be ok to take the ship.

Alexis Smolensk said...

She's not a brigand, and she is interested in plunder, not souls. A few will die, those who fight, but she has no use for the ship, so she would plunder the vessel, tear all but the boatsail and send it out of the harbor on its way.

Lukas said...

I'm for intercept and investigate. Anyone who tries to fight I would like to try and sleep spell.

I say, intercept, Ill be ready with a sleep spell, Andrej speaks for the group, and then we swoop in if they're doing something they shouldn't (or that we don't like) and let the captain have her way with them. (We'll help too of coarse)

Lukas said...

(If they don't fight immediately I would like to have the sleep spell on standby, this means I probably can't talk much.)

Andrej said...

I don't believe the captain is necessarily offering her ship and crew to be our police force, rather just extending the courtesy to us of vetoing whether or not she raid this ship in our port. I think, therefore, the decision here is more binary and less nuanced then we're treating it. If we say raid, she and her crew are let off the leash. If we say not, apparently they're not.

Given this belief, let's just do it. We don't owe the Ottomans anything. Indeed, as landlords of the Republic of Venice they are by default our enemies. Also, what better way to impress upon our tenants that we mean business. First impressions being what they are.

Maximillian said...

I'm not sure we get to board their ship and then decide to turn around. If you are seeking some moral high-ground, I don't think you'll find it on their ship, but don't think that if the positions were reversed they'd hesitate to fleece you for everything you own...

Lukas said...

My only remaining concern is if the locals LIKE the ottoman vessel that just showed up. If perhaps it is one of two vessels that show up yearly with supplies or something.

That said, looking at it from the big picture, we could probably use it as a negotiating point with Venice to get more supplies from THEIR ships if we're using this port to pirate all the ottoman ships.

Lukas said...

Let's do it.

Can I get two people blocking me as we get in range for the sleep spell? I want to, if possible have it held until the engagement starts.

I'd also like to ask the captain for the best spot to cast without being bumped or jostled by her crew, and would like by flesh wall to help enforce that.

Andrej said...

Sofia and Andrej will block for Lukas. The latter is arming himself with Sofia assisting.

Andrej said...

Of course we still need Ahmet's agreement. Max I took your responses as being generally in favor of a capture, let me know if that was in error.

Lukas said...

Probably a good combo. Andrej understands casting and Sofia has her monkish abilities.

After the initial cast let's assess the situation and break formation or hold depending. If they overrun us a hold is probably a good idea, if they're not using a lot of ranged and we're on the aggressive breaking might be for the best.

Alexis Smolensk said...

As you debating it, and the Captain is asks for confirmation one more time before calling to her crew to move faster than they are (she's already begun making the first moves to raise the necessary sails), the party sees another sight.

There is a group of people moving along the island spit which points into the gap between the harbour and the sea. The spit has a road atop it, and is fashioned of large rocks with dusty earth and gravel atop it. This group of people seem even more agitated than the crew of the Ottoman ship. They are having trouble making headway, as three times - while you watch - they stop on their way and have an argument. Apparently, there seem to be eight people all arguing simultaneously with each other.

This is a few hundred yards away, so you can see them clearly with the glass, but you cannot hear them.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Sorry, I should have added that the group on the spit are in loose-fitting clothing, two or three of them in something like bed clothing. None are armored, all are over 40, and one in particular is portly like a big round cherry in a blue robe, five and a half feet high. That one looks quite hilarious, as he keeps losing his sandles as he's rushing along.

Andrej said...

Andrej guffaws, shrugs and looks to Lukas and Max, "The welcoming party? Perhaps they have our rent."

Maximillian said...

I am not opposed to raiding the ship.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The Captain stands expectant; the yawl is beginning to get underway.

Maximillian said...

I think we're just waiting on Ahmet, Alexis. Please give us some time to let him catch up.

Alexis Smolensk said...

I'll wait for him; assume the moment is frozen in time.

Lukas said...

Casters on the hill. Interesting, can we keep ourselves outside 500 feet from that spot?

Andrej said...

Unless Ahmet vetoes our action, consider Andrej as having called for Detweiller, his master-at-arms. Assuming the Austrian is at hand Andrej commands him to make the men ready, though should the captain raid the vessel they are to remain on board the Petrel's Wing and may act to defend it, but will not otherwise participate in a boarding of the other ship.

Lukas said...

I warn the captain to try and stay at least 200' from the men on the hill. If necessary I comment that I would look in such a state at this time too if I we're at home.

Lukas said...

(As soon as time regains it's pace)

Andrej said...

Andrej amends his orders to Detwieller thusly: Rainer and Manfred, the crossbowman, are to be stationed at advantageous positions out of the way of our crew and told specifically to be on the lookout for spell-casters upon the yawl, whom they are instructed to shoot immediately should these begin any kind of casting.

Lukas said...

(FYI if 200ft distant isn't enough to protect us we're in for some hurt. That said, I'm not certain if it is possible to be that distant.)

Andrej said...

For clarity, Alexis, can you describe what you mean by a yawl? It was my previous understanding that before the 20th century a yawl was a big rowboat used as a ship's boat, and some older naval terms were still consistent with this reference. I'm assuming the kind we're engaging with is a small sailing vessel instead. About how big is it and how many crew do we see?

Maximillian said...

I help mareo into his armor, and ready myself for the potential combat.

Alexis Smolensk said...

A 'yawl' in my world is a two-masted sloop, 35' long, carries 26 tons; min. 1 crew, 1 stateroom, with a maximum speed of 8 knots. It is typically used for fishing or light transport. This is a fairly typical example, and the sort of thing that comes up when you type 'yawl' under images in google.

Ahmet said...

Sorry, been in meetings and about to jump into another one. Give me a minute to catch up.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Herr Detweiller will maintain, rather stuffily, that it is not in his mandate to protect or defend the Venetian authority here, nor to defend your personal property against interlopers of any color. "We are here to guard the mission, to bring you safely there and to ensure its survival in the first years. We shall do that best by NOT involving ourselves in unnecessary ventures for personal gain!" states Detweiller clearly.

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: I'm going to be hung up for a couple of hours going forward - been waiting for material to make itself available and it has just done so. Ahmet, I expect, will want to jump in)

Ahmet said...

Hm... does it appear the men on shore are agitated about US or agitated about the Ottoman ship?

Ahmet, Enrico, Tazio, and Carlito prepare for combat. Ahmet puts on his studded leather +1; Enrico puts on his plate; Carlito in scale; Tazio in ring.

Ahmet two-thirds loads his heavy crossbow, while Enrico, Carlito, and Tazio ready their short bows.

Ahmet said...

(As a player, I'm with Detweiller, but Ahmet is all for battle!)

Lukas said...

(OOC: Let me just say... 8507 XP till fireball.)

Andrej said...

Andrej informs Dertweiller, even stiffer still, that unless he intends to carry out his duties from Koufonisia, which is precisely where he'll be left if he continues to prove himself so inadequate to following simple instructions, he'd best do as he's been ordered.


(OOC: I mean it. I'm feeding these fuckers everyday and I'm in debt for their services... if they can't toe the line I'd just as soon unencumber myself from them.)

Andrej said...

(OOC: You know, this seems as good a time as any to bring up something to the party that has been on my mind. Why not shorten our journey and set up a mission here in Koufonisia rather then try for Cumana at this time? It seems our interests are here and we have further cause to stay here and develop the port and our holdings and think of what adventures we could have here at the crux of disputes between the Ottomans and Venice.

The Count who had originally commissioned Andrej's mission was bought out by the church, who only care about money and followers... I don't imagine there would be a particularly odious blow-back if Andrej set up a mission here, gained followers and began giving the church its cut, sooner than later and perhaps with eventual plans to establish again in Cumana later down the line.

Thoughts?)

Lukas said...

(OOC: That would be extremely convenient, but I don't know about the political ramifications. Do we have anything that says for sure they don't care?)

Andrej said...

OOC: No, we don't. The original writ in fact specifically calls out Cumana. I'm definitely making some assumptions. But I have thought off and on about this since we were awarded the lands. I think the worse case scenario is they find us out and command Andrej to go to Cumana and by then he can probably fund it himself if I want to, or I can tell them to fuck off if I don't. I'm OK dealing with the consequences of any of those choices, though would not intentionally be confrontational... I think everybody can get what they want/ need out of this arrangement.)

Maximillian said...

(OOC: You know, that is a very good point about the buyout, I hadn't thought through the ramifications of that. On the other hand, there is potentially more "competition" here in the sense that:
a) there may already be a church here
b) there are other nearby ports that are already developed, meaning a hefty investment before we can capture some of the wealth flowing through
c) the traffic may be less concentrated here than on the "silk road"
d) and perhaps most importantly these islands are small, and may not have the ability to support much population.

Personally, I like having our base of operations more central, but then again central is very relative. Where do we plan on going after visiting Ahmet's hometown?

I'm actually quite unclear what is expected of you Andrej, and what was speculation since then. You are to build, staff, and defend a church? Or was there more/less to it?

Alexis Smolensk said...

Okay, catching up.

The Captain is not expressely worried about keeping more than 200 feet from the shore; it's about 600 feet at present, and a third of that she's worried about tearing the hull on an unknown rock.

The Captain laughs at the sight of Ahmet's men in armor. She remarks that she hopes they can breathe water.

"There's not more than 10 sailors aboard that I can see," she says, "and I doubt there's room below for mercenaries. I doubt they'll offer a fight at all."

Maximillian said...

Very well, I believe we have all agreed she may take the boat.

Alexis Smolensk said...

The men on the spit are definitely not looking to be aggressive. One is waving at the Petrel like a chariot-racing fan, with a red cloth, while the large fat man has gotten on his knees and appears to be praying.

Detweiller will answer back to Andrej that - except with regards to the MISSION - he doesn't take orders from the Cleric. "My mandate is clear; it was made clear to me when my services were provided to you for this journey. I am not a pirate, my men are not pirates, and we are NOT Venetians but Hapsburgians, who AS it happens have been off and on at war with Venice these past 8 generations. What's more, I do not intend to wage war against the Ottomans without a declaration - so leave me here, Father, and by the will of God I'll find you in Donbass just the same."

Andrej said...

(OOC: Max, your point a) is true of wherever Andrej founds the mission. I suspect if there's a church here (we'll soon find out) it's not a Catholic one but some Orthodox one. They can always be evicted. ;)

Points b) and c) I think overlook that these islands are just as much in the midst of any trade route as a mission in Cumana.

Point d) is a valid one... but developing the island, small as it is, could be this campaign's version of a young couple purchasing a starter home with the goal of owning a bigger and better home at some future time. We can use the island to rehearse, if nothing else.)

Alexis Smolensk said...

For the record, there would be a hell of a blowback against Andrej's suggestion to build the mission here.

To begin with, the people here are already Christian, the wrong Christian, and thus unlikely to change their religious outlook as the Cumanans would be. The only way to convert these people would be to kill them, and that could easily initiate yet another war between either Venice and the Ottomans, or potentially an action directed at Andrej once it was discovered that the impetus was German and not Italian.

Maximillian said...

(OOC: Andrej, are you proposing?? ;)

By point b, I meant only that this port is underdeveloped.)

Andrej said...

Andrej to Deteweiller, "I AM the mission, Herr Detweiller, but I won't force you into a fight for which you've no stomach. Take your men and go below if you prefer. Perhaps soon we can talk and you can enumerate for me those things for which you will take my orders."

Alexis Smolensk said...

For the record, the trade pouring through Greece is incredible ... far more than would be moving along any lands of the Black Sea. What's more, because it is by sea, the trade routes are less defined and therefore more flexible ... whereas almost all the trade on the Black Sea's north coast depends on a couple of rivers, notably the Don and the Dneiper, both of which are firmly sewn up.

Andrej said...

(OOC: Oh well, it was just an attempt to consolidate our various interests. Cumana it is.)

Andrej said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Alexis Smolensk said...

The yawl, meanwhile, has been making slow its escape, and the Captain order the ship forward to pounce on it as it leaves the harbour. Lukas, as he stands aside and out of the way, looks down and sees - in the brighter morning sun - the water is crystal clear, an aquamarine blue, water such as he's never seen ...

The Petrel is moving quite fast now, and the rocks on the bottom are beginning to rush past. Despite there being two men on the prow watching the bottom, and despite the clearness of the water, a moment later Lukas sees a large stone foundation pass by with its top seemingly two feet below the surface - large enough that if the Petrel had struck it, the ship would now be sinking.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Sorry about that, Andrej. I'm just a bit pressed trying to catch up. I'll delete that last response.

Andrej said...

No worries at all, I understand.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Detweiller remains on the deck; he draws away from the party and keeps at the ready; he's not armed, and he sends any men he has below.

Lukas said...

Assuming Lukas hasn't begun casting yet... "That was close! Did we see that depth!? Anyone watching those men on land!?"

Side note, with the soldiers not watching for casters, are there any replacements for them watching?

Once it looks like were almost on top of the ship, I wont actually cast sleep if there are only ten.

Andrej said...

Andrej notes the presence of the master-at-arms, and ponders whether curiosity, duty to the mission or some other compulsion keeps the man topside.

Andrej said...

"I think the men on land pose no threat. In fact, Lukas, I am beginning to suspect that at least some of them see us as a deliverance. I'm more curious now to know what the yawl has aboard."

Andrej said...

Andrej, meanwhile, has his mace, shield and helmet equipped.

Alexis Smolensk said...

"PORT!" screams one of the men on the prow. "GIVE BACK, GIVE BACK NOW!!!!"

"Right Rudder!" shouts the Captain ...

Ahmet said...

Ahmet rolls his eyes at Enrico, Tazio, and Carlito in their metal armor, and gives the captain an eye roll and a "kids... what can you do" shrug.

Alexis Smolensk said...

"HARD! Hard Over!" roars the Captain.

And on the main deck, the Boatswain has produced an axe ... in one swing he cuts the rope to the main sail ...

Lukas said...

Lukas takes to holding onto something/anything.

Maximillian said...

If I was not already out of the way, I now do everything in my power to get myself to a secure location, with something to hold on to, and my head down.

Ahmet said...

Ahmet grabs something secure and orders Enrico, Tazio, and Carlito to do so as well.

Lukas said...

Hichem, who Lukas probably left to watch the things, is probably with the guards watching the things. I think.

James C. said...

Andrej and Sofia likewise grab ahold as best they can.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Despite everyone's best effort to brace for it, those without at least a 15 strength are thrown off their feet as the ship lurches wildly to the right, as the main sail falls to the deck. The deck on the right lifts, then drops, making the non-sailors nauseous as the crew curses.

Then, as the deck settles, the crew at once - under rapid fire orders from the Captain - climb the ropes like monkeys to sling a new tackle up to raise the main sail ... the ship rolls (and a die somewhere in another universe rolls) and a screeching, terrifying sound rises from the sea on the port side as a great stone outcrop scrapes its way along the hull. It goes on for far too long, until the party and half the crew are forced to press hands over their ears. Ahmet chances to see the Captain, her knuckles white on the foredeck railing, her face an unmastered pain, finding no relief until the sound stops and the ship is clear.

Frenzied activity resumes at once. The yawl is some 35 yards before the bow, the Petrel moving faster ... and in the direction of the spit Maximillian sees that somehow the large cherry-colored and shaped man has found his way into a rowboat powered by four young boys who are pulling for all they're worth to reach either the yawl or the Petrel.

Maximillian said...

Reading that a fifteen strength leaves me on my feet, I continue to watch the rowboat. The other people who were running along the spit, what has become of them?

Ahmet said...

Ahmet, Enrico, and Carlito remain on their feet; Tazio is thrown to the deck.

Once the ship is stopped, Ahmet -- if he's on the port side -- looks over the side to see the damage.

Enrico tends to Tazio.

Lukas said...

Lukas thanks God he was not thrown overboard, and moves back into position as soon as he steadies himself.

Ahmet said...

(I'm hoping he's thrown to the deck, and not overboard...)

Lukas said...

(OOC: I would hope Alexis would see fit to inform me I had just been thrown overboard should the event occur. As of now I choose not to test this fate by bringing up the 'if' part.)

Maximillian said...

I'm fine with the position shown here. Which side of the ship is towards the spit?

Alexis Smolensk said...

The others are still on the spit; if the glass is available to Maximillian I could tell more, but I think its in Lukas' hands.

Ahmet can see no damage from atop the deck; must be under the curve of the side.

The bulwarks catch all those who were thrown off their feet; I've checked for damage and there is none.

The starboard side is towards the spit; it is about 2 o'clock from the prow's position.

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: from the map of the ship, that should have read that the Captain is on the afterdeck; the party would be actually scattered in places on the foredeck, not on the stern as Maximillian uses the map to indicate. It is of no particular matter)

Lukas said...

I intend to have faith in the captains decisions regarding repair, damages and pursuit and will continue to wait until I receive orders from the captain. As the target ship appears to not be a particular challenge, I am all for waiting.

Andrej said...

Andrej and Sofia both manage to stay on their feet. I'm curious, Alexis, did Detweiller stand or fall?

Andrej and Sofia stand fast as they are, doing their best to keep out of the way and stay on their feet.

What do you guys make of the big guy in the row boat? I interpret his actions as in trying to prevent a fight. Your thoughts?

Maximillian said...

The same, Andrej.

Maximillian said...

I also read into his actions that he thinks himself of some importance, so I am all for meeting him.

Lukas said...

Yeah, I think we're looking at the local representatives or we have an enclave of daring wizards.

Alexis Smolensk said...

Detweiller remained on his feet; but he was against the rail on that side at the beginning.

The Petrel is very near to the yawl now and one of the men at the prow calls it out.

"STAND BY TO GRAPPLE," shouts the Captain.

Four men drop down to the deck, atop the cabin or stepping lightly upon the rail, and the right man at the prow opens a large box fixed to the deck. Andrej can see in it looped coils of rope and grapples in a separate compartment. The men at the prow and the other sailors begin fitting rope to grapples.

Lukas said...

(OOC: Turns out it's a plague ship. They're going around collecting all the plagued people. The little rowboat is trying to stop us from getting sick.)

Andrej said...

Andrej will observe the boarding as best he can.

Sofia is more interested in the rowboat and positions herself for the best vantage accordingly. While doing so, if possible, she seeks to make eye contact with Detweiller and gives him a sympathetic look.

Andrej said...

Regarding the delegation in the rowboat:

http://www.hark.com/clips/ymvttykmsd-we-represent-the-lollipop-guild

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: that's a really good encounter idea, Lukas ... shame I hadn't thought of that one)

Lukas said...

Because there is no apparent organized resistance, I am just standing at the ready, but with no spell prepared.

Ahmet said...

If necessary, Ahmet two-thirds loads his heavy crossbow again.

Assuming Tazio is OK, Enrico gets him to his feet, and all three reclaim their short bows.

Ahmet orders the three to keep watch on the approaching rowboat. Ahmet keeps his eyes on the yawl.

Maximillian said...

(OOC: I have a meeting until 4:30 Eastern)

Alexis Smolensk said...

And I'm only returning back now.

On behalf of Maximillian, lets call it a day. The Petrel will throw its lines and grab the yawl successfully - the crew will surrender at once, particularly with Ahmet and men pointing bows at them (none of the crew show any arms). The Captain will come forward and address the yawl with the beginning of a new post tomorrow.

Maximillian said...

(OOC: Also FYI, I will be offline all next week on a camping trip.)

Ahmet said...

(OOC: Typical Druid...)

Alexis Smolensk said...

(OOC: We might muddle through without you, brother druid ... but we'll make sure you don't miss anything important.

The next post is up)