So here is the latest journal entry about the Friday night Atlantis: The Second Age game from last night. You can read about the previous game session in this journal entry here. This post is somewhat long, so I've put it behind a cut so that folks who don't want to read any detailed rpg posts don't have to.
20th Simanu, Year 506 Second Age (SA)
The undead sailors, some fifteen in all, swarm to the attack, and the Heroes defend themselves against the unexpected onslaught. Koomara Hadansi (Angela), Calfuray (Joanne), Orgaskemisqak (David), and Melucene Palleremos (Ellie) and the four pirates engage the creatures, two of the pirates falling before the cutlasses of the foul creatures. Orga is able to beat several of the undead creatures off with his warhammer, and the others do the best they can, but as several more undead pirates join the fray, it is obvious that the Heroes will fall to them. Help arrives in the form of the other Heroes with Sahauviia the Green (Kathy), Sadikar al Tarnufeh (Tom), Mahoo of Aquaga (Nick), Segetori, Ograg and the three pirates. The combined forces of the Heroes and the pirates are enough to defeat the undead creatures, though another of
the pirates falls in the struggle.
Once the Heroes and the pirates regroup after the fight, Ograg and Segetori are horrified to see that several of the undead pirates are their crewmates from the Zapporo's Folly, and inform the Heroes. Sahauviia and Sadikar identify several of the others as likely being Khemites given their dress, but that raises other questions. However Ograg points out they still haven't found Captain Lorca. As if in answer to their questions, the hatch to the hold opens up, and the handsome face of a bearded pirate pops out. Ograg and the other pirates are pleased to see Captain Lorca, who advises all the characters to quickly descend to the hold where it's safe before "the creature" returns. With the exception of Segetori, who has come to trust the Heroes, the pirates do not question their Captain, and are quick to descend into the hold, but Sadikar and Koomara's intuition tell them not to descend, and the other Heroes are not so inclined due to their friends' advice. Captain Lorca tells them that it's their lives on the line, not him and his pirates, so as they choose, and when Sahauviia confirms the other Heroes' decision, Lorca gives up his efforts and closes the hatch.
Once the Heroes are on their own, Sadikar tells the others they have to go back to the quarterdeck cabin, as he needs to examine the sarcophagi again. The others are divided on whether they should, but Koomara convinces them to do so, as she is ready to loot the sarcophagi and see if there is a way to scavenge what they need to get the Zapporo's Folly seaworthy again. They spend some time back in the cabin with the sarcophagi, and Calfuray, Orga, and Melucene marvel at the workmanship. Koomara allows her greed to get the better of her, and she grabs several of the discarded jewels from the sarcophagus of Mephrekhet (unseen by the other Heroes). Sahauviia, Sadikar, and Melucene try to piece together what they can of the writing. When Melucene and Calfuray tell the Qaddani scholar about the "bandages" they saw on the rower's deck, the scholar comes to realise what has happened - Mephrekhet has come back to life, no doubt due to some enchantment on the treasures that were enshrined with him, and the fact that he was/is a powerful black magician indicates that he may well have killed Captain Lorca and assumed his guise. Before they depart, at Sadikar's request, Koomara opens the second sarcophagus and slashes the bindings on the remains of Atemun, Mephrekhet's mate.
Horrifed, the rest of the Heroes realise that by abandoning Ograg and the others, they may have caused their deaths, a fact that Segetori is dismayed at, but he's a survivor. However, Orga tells the rest of the Heroes that they know what they have to do - if they have any hope of salvaging enough materials to make the Zapporo's Folly seaworthy, they will have to deal with Mephrekhet (and possibly his mate) first. As one, the group heads below for the hold.
Arriving back at the rower's deck near the area of the hold, Melucene shows the characters where she found the pile of linen bandages, stiff and yellowed as if with great age. Sadikar immediately recognises them as Khemite mummy wrappings. Sahauviia sees the remains of the shrivelled corpse, and tells the others that she will try to speak to the spirit of the dead, and learn who he is. Impulsively, Orga tells them they have no time; if the pirates aren't already dead, they soon may be. Using his strength, the Lemurian crafter opens the hatch with one mighty pull, breaking it off the hinges that hold it. A charnel odour greets the characters.
Seeing no sign of anyone, Koomara says she will lead the way. Sahauviia tries to stop her, but the scavenger will have none of that and descends into the darkness and gloom of the hold, a kerchief wrapped around her face. Segetori tells the Heroes that he will remain at the hatch, prepared to help them as needs must. The rest of the Heroes follow Koomara down, although Mahoo expresses his misgivings about this. The hold is pitch black and partially submerged, sea water having flooded the front third of the ship to a depth of almost 1.8 metres. Conjuring light in the area, Sahauviia and the others can see a grisly sight: Pirate bodies are strewn everywhere, dessicated husks for the most part, but there are places where parts of pirate bodies can be seen with large, blood red rings on them. A handsome, hook-nosed man with kohl-rimmed eyes wearing pirate gear stands facing them, several of the pirates surrounding him as a protective guard.
Mephrekhet greets the Heroes warmly, and says that he welcomes them to his new army, and that he promises their deaths will be quick. While Melucene is somewhat scared, Sadikar mocks the returned to life Pharaoh, and tells him that his time is done. With that, the battle is joined. The Heroes engage the undead pirates of the Zapporo's Folly, and while they are relatively easy to fight, the fact that several of the Heroes had started to consider some of them friends makes the conflict much more difficult for the characters. Mephrekhet seems to target Calfuray, a fact not lost on both Sadikar and Koomara, and the two move to her defense. Forced back towards the water at the keel of the hold by several of the pirates, Orga suddenly faces a new menace, as a giant octopus's tentacles ensnare him (and several of the undead pirates) in its grasp. The Lemurian's attempts to free himself seem to be futile, but Orga's strength and stamina win out [not to mention a few Hero Points!], and while he's unable to kill the giant octopus, he is able to drive it off, blinded for a round by the jet of ink that it squirts to ensure its escape. Meanwhile, Mephrekhet brings his potent magics into play, and Sahauviia is forced to improvise several spells against the ancient Khemite sorcerer, though his magics are more potent than hers. It is only his seeming focus on Calfuray that prevents the evil sorcerer from winning the day, but when Sadikar tells him what they have done to Atemun's mummy, he becomes berserk and reckless, attacking the Heroes in a fury. In a bravado display of cooperative combat, and using all the resources at hand, the Heroes are able to vanquish the 300-year-old Pharaoh, and destroy the creature once and for all.
At the end of the battle, the Heroes assess their condition, and determine that Orga, Koomara, and young Melucene are the worst injured. The Heroes do their best to help each other out, and Sadikar and Calfuray treat the injuries of their friends.
Several days later, the Zapporo's Folly is pronounced seaworthy by Captain Frake and Carak Tinas, a pirate who has been declared the new Captain of the pirates. Segetori has been promoted to his second-in-command. Frake assumes command of the sloop, something that is not contested too hotly by the pirates. As the sloop sails away, behind them, the remains of the Pharaoh's galley burst into flames; Koomara and Sadikar, with the aid of several of the pirates, have seen to that. While the Heroes discuss matters and what has occurred, Sahauviia chastises Koomara for her greed, but the scavenger tells her that it's all in a day's work. The two share a convivial smile, as the rest of the Heroes sort through the loot that they've each taken from the barge, although Sadikar says that he is loathe to sell off any of the jewelry as he wonders if it's still cursed...
And thus ended the second adventure of the Friday night players in their Atlantis: The Second Age campaign. I had a really good time with this game session, though the two combat sequences were the major events of the session, but there was other stuff and some good roleplaying going on the whole time as well. This session saw the Heroes using their Hero Points fully and even Tempting Fate several times to achieve their goal, and the various characters accumulated some Renown through their deeds.
At the end of the game session, I chatted with the players for a bit about what they liked and didn't like in the game session. While two of the players found the combat system a bit tedious, though Nick and Joanne admitted they're still learning its ins and outs, everyone told me that they loved the game mechanics, enjoyed the adventure itself, and that they're looking forward to the next adventure.
I'm looking forward to the next session of Atlantis: The Second Age, too. :)