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Episode 3

Part the First: "Pirates? Pirates?! We Don't Need No Stinkin' Pirates!"

When we left our heroes, they had just pulled in to Muddy Reefs. As it was situated pretty much directly between three regional powers, I decided it was Tortuga, and described it as filled with pirates, privateers, inns, taverns, and brothels. When asked what they wanted to do, Monsoon and Orchid came up with nothing, Ranger Brad went drinking, Rabbit went to “save whores” and Hammer chose to be beaten with clubs. No, really. He wanted to train for a resistance charm, but expressed it as, “I get beaten with clubs for a few days”. After the beatings, he went to a tavern and drank, listening for rumors. He heard some vague stuff about representatives from Coral and from Skullstone had each been there recently, spreading money around, and some details about the various factions on the island. I ask Rabbit how he is saving whores, and after some confusion, it turns out that “saving” means “chatting with”. Not as in bringing them the Gospel according to Quixotic Spring Rabbit, but actually going around and making small talk with them.

Somewhere in here, they ask about whether the Jade Gull is still hanging out, whether it's blockading the harbor, etc. Yes it is, it's hailing some ships, not doing much else. Rabbit immediately proposes flinging flaming prostitutes at the ship. Ten minute discussion on how to do that. It ends when they realize that they're not actually sure what that accomplishes. Instead, they decide to leave Tortuga immediately!

They scout around for a charterable boat, but decide instead to rehash the previous plan of having Orchid make a boat out of fruit. Specifically, they will wait for nightfall, climb over the mountains away from the city to get to the other side of the island, then burn enough essence to be visible for miles. Then, still burning like a beacon, they will pilot their mangoboat to an intermediate island, then on to Coral.

So off they go. Along the way, they fail several more perception checks, but eventually figure out that a couple of ships are following them. They reach the intermediate island around 6AM, see that it is growing giant grapes, and argue about how to scam the locals into believing they are legit. That discussion ends when they instead sprint through the giant grape fields to the other side of the island, find a beach and lay down to sleep.

Monsoon changes gender to a woman, so that they can celebrate her antics by playing 'Miss Murder“.

After a full day of sleeping on the beach, they wake up and mangoboat toward Coral. More perception checks tell them that there are sharks in the water. Many, many sharks. They are approaching Coral from the secret military base side, so some triremes came out to intercept them. This time, their talking checks went much better, and they got off with directions to the harbor they are allowed to land at. Because Floral Ferry (the fruit-boat spell) only allows selecting a destination at casting time, they load into a whole new boat, and sail around.

At this point, we are way, way outside anything I had prepared, and near a major plot area much sooner than I had planned for. This session was going to be about diplomancying against deathknights in Muddy Reefs, and instead it's about finding captives in a place I have not planned out at all. So, everything slows down for a bit while I scramble for ideas.

Part the Second: "Make sure the villains have twirly mustaches"

The session continued after a short pause. The circle pulls up at a dock at about 6AM and gets off their mango. A customs official bustles over to deal with them; but they avoid all taxes and fees by feigning ignorance. This is greatly assisted by the sudden lack of mangoboat (per the spell, it disappears a few minutes after arriving). Hammer locates the nearest bar and explains that he is looking for his friends. The bartender is both tired and confused. Dismayed that J. Random Barkeep does not know the inner workings of the restricted military base, and also that there are very few other patrons at 6AM, Hammer returns to the group.

At this point Rabbit remembers that she sent her boat on ahead, and it probably should be here by now. Rabbit asks the customs official about it. Her crew showed up without money, so it was impounded. After a brief bureaucracy-off (wherin the circle does not shine), it is being held for resources 3 in fines, duties, taxes, and “fines, duties, and taxes”. Three of the circle can pay that much, but it would reduce purchasing power for whoever did it. So they ask if there are any odd jobs he needs done instead. To make this go better, Rabbit uses a charm to tell him everyone's motivation, in this case ambition and greed. “Sure,” says the customs official. “I'm pretty sure this captain is a smuggler, and my boss the harbormaster is totally taking bribes. You should rough them up and bring them to the edge of the docks behind my office.” “Cool” say the circle, and off they go, but not before getting many details on the harbormaster's butler.

After getting an inn, they track down Rabbit's crew. They are properly chastised for losing custody of the ship, and then just partying for a week. All is forgiven when it turns out that they have met Cathatk Gayman (the ship captain). He is a regular at the Pink Baboon. Rabbit deduces what kind of bar that will be, so dresses “like the male prostitute from Fable 3”. No, I don't know why. After waiting for nightfall, they go to the Pink Baboon. On arrival, Hammer sends his dire wolf around to guard ghe back. Inside is a raging party. Rabbit says he has a package for Gayman, and they are directed to a corner with a half dozen people. They ask which is Gayman, and a woman answers. Shock! Confusion! The end of what was apparently a gay seduction plot! Instead, Rabbit tries to convince her to go out back. At last, a social roll is a success and out they go. Gammon goes first, sees the wolf, and punches it (what other options does she have?). The circle blanket beat her rather easily (mortal). They parade her through the streets, and drop her off with the crew to be looked after.

Then off to the harbormaster's house. I'm not sure why they asked so many questions about everything there, because they ended up just ringing the doorbel and punching out the butler. Then they tie up the harbormaster, and search for evidence of bribery. They find it. That the harbormaster was corrupt was all the proof they need. They drag him back and hang out at the hotel until morning. Then they deliver them to the docks behind the customs officer's office. He thanks them, beaurocracies away all the fees and “fees”, and hands them appropriate paperwork. then as they walk away, they hear two splashes.

Episode 2|Episode 4