March 14th, 2150 AD
It is approximately two days later, and the player characters and crew of the Bountiful Queen continue to travel, in pursuit of Scurvy Jack Flanagan-Cumulus and the Scurvy Princess. Behind them at some distance, the crew have been able to make out the Liberty, doggedly pursuing them.
Over dinner in the crew mess, Captain "Red" Angela Stormfist, First Mate Henry "The Axe" James, the player characters (Emily Harrington-Boothe, Peter Bear Redwood, Andrew Hartwell, Jeanette Storm, Haley Deuce, and Arthur Quentin-Smythe) and the crew discuss their options and strategies. It is decided that the Bountiful Queen will continue after the Scurvy Princess, but that they will first deal with the pursuing Liberty behind them. Since they cannot allow the Liberty to actively pursue them, possibly causing them to be caught between Scurvy Jack's ship and the Liberty, it is decided that the next morning, the Bountiful will turn back and attempt to deal with the Liberty and her captain. Several of the player characters are skeptical of the plan, but are still willing to go along with Captain Stormfist's orders. The crew are actually looking forward to the ship-to-ship combat, as they've been quite bored with the chase situation between the two airships. And they have no love for the crew of the Liberty.
The next morning, the Bountiful Queen turns back and approaches the Liberty with a modicum of caution, communicating with her via heliograph. The Liberty's Captain makes it clear to Captain Stormfist that they are there to bring the Bountiful to justice. The two airships engage in combat, and the battle between the two is swift and violent. While the Bountiful Queen and the Liberty are an equal match, Captain Stormfist is the superior tactician to her opponent, and the Bountiful wins the contest relatively decisively, the player characters distinguishing themselves during the boarding action, though the Bountiful takes some losses herself. Captain Stormfist and the player characters learn that Captain Blackcloud has been removed from command and imprisoned by Jonas Helvan Nimbus, the leader of the Righteous on Sanctum, and thus the Liberty crew had no choice but to follow the Righteous's orders. When Stormfist and the player characters free her, and fight their way to the Liberty bridge, the command of the Liberty is returned to her rightful owner, and Captain Blackcloud decides to give Captain Stormfist and the Bountiful the benefit of the doubt...this once. Liberty's captain promises that she will assist the Bountiful and her crew just this once in dealing with the Scurvy Princess and her master, a decision that Captain Stormfist and the player characters are pleased with, given that the Scurvy Princess is a bigger ship than they are [she's a Barracuda, not a Tigerfish]. Blackcloud tells Stormfist that if anyone's going to take out the Bountiful and her captain, it's going to be Liberty for the debts and feud owed between the two, but that for now, she's owes the Bountiful for returning her command to her. So there will be peace.
The Bountiful Queen and the Liberty turn about, and return to the course in pursuit of the Scurvy Princess. The Liberty limps along somewhat behind the Bountiful, the damage to her engines and sails requiring some time for repairs. The player characters are told by Captain Stormfist that they need to approach the situation from two positions. One being the need to take on Scurvy Jack and his ship, but the other is the need to address the matter of the cargo taken from them in Sanctum, and thus they will need to deal with Cecil Oakendale, the Neobedouin who is the new buyer for said goods. The Bountiful sets a course for Dergobah, a small oasis that the Neobedouin use as a contact point; the Bountiful has used this location before as a marketplace, and Captain Stormfist, Jeanette Storm, and the rest of the crew have some good contacts there. While repairs to the Bountiful Queen continue, the ship heads for Dergobah.
Several hours later, the Bountiful approaches the ground oasis of Dergobah, having left the Liberty several hours behind while she continues to make repairs to her engines. After the Bountiful moors herself to the rocky outcropping near the oasis (there is only one other airship presently moored at the outpost), the player characters led by Jeanette Storm venture into the Neobedouin oasis. Jeanette goes in search of one of her contacts, Raoul Pagine, while the others decide to explore some of the areas of the oasis itself. They agree to meet up shortly at a central place in the oasis community.
Raoul greets Jeanette warmly, having not seen her in some time, and the two get down to bargaining for the information she wants. She cuts a deal with Raoul, and then gets down to business, and learns some information about Cecil Oakendale and the Oakendale tribe, much of it unsavoury. Raoul tells her that the Oakendale tribe can usually be found at this time of year some 150 miles to the northwest in a small forested valley. She is told that she can learn more information from a Herbert Alsands-Jones, a former business partner of Cecil Oakendale's who now resides in Dergobah. She decides not to go in pursuit of Herbert alone, and heads back to find her friends and get their assistance in the matter.
Meanwhile, Haley Deuce goes with Calliandra Shade to a small emporium, and purchases the girl a doll that she seems drawn to, as well as a small shell necklace for herself. Haley spots a man that she appears to recognise, but is distracted by something else that Calli points out to her. Elsewhere, Arthur Quentin-Smythe accompanies Lady Emily Harrington-Boothe in search of some clothing accessories that she feels she needs - namely scarves and an armoured corset! The two find her shopping needs, and after a hard dicker over the merchandise, go in search of some ammo for one of Arthur's guns as well as some personal armour for him, but have little luck finding any of the latter. Peter Bear Redwood encounters several members of the Goldeagle tribe, one that was friendly with his own tribe, and they are devastated and shocked to hear of the disappearance and/or destruction of the Redwood tribe. They promise Peter to send any word they hear about those responsible for the death of the Redwood tribe. They are also able to tell him a little about the Oakendale tribe, and he is not encouraged by what he hears. Andrew Hartwell walks around the Neobedouin oasis, and sees that there are more than a fair share of other Neovictorians present in the oasis community. He cannot fathom why this should be, and goes in search of several bottles of good alcohol to take back to the ship. His arrogance gets him into trouble with one of the merchants he approaches, and he ends up paying 10 times the cost for the bottles of vodka then he planned.
The characters meet up with Jeanette Storm at the agreed upon rendevous point. She tells them what she's learned, and Peter shares what he has found out about the Oakendale tribe. The party decides to go quickly and confront Herbert Alsands-Jones and learn what he can tell them, and follow Jeanette's lead. They arrive at the small wadi where Alsands-Jones's home can be found, only to find the building on fire. As the characters move cautiously towards the burning structure, they see several Neobedouins and a couple of other shady characters carrying a struggling man who matches the description they have of Alsand-Jones. Haley pushes Calli to the rear, as the Neobedouins quickly knock Alsand-Jones unconscious, and menacingly head for the player characters, weapons drawn!
As you can see, the players had a pretty busy game session of the Abney Park's Airship Pirates rpg, though an enjoyable one. The one thing I want to comment on here is the airship combat system. I had run a few sample ones myself to see how the system works and all, but it's not the same as actually doing with it other players and their characters. I have to say that the sequence of airship combat between the Bountiful Queen and the Liberty went much smoother than I had expected. The system for ship-to-ship combat in Abney Park's Airship Pirates is truly eloquent and relatively simple as these things go, but takes a little bit of time to get the hang of, as all new systems to the players and GM do. The player characters got to do individual things during the course of the battle, and had some heroic moments that were rather good, and showed their individual abilities and strengths off. Yes, the multitudes of dice being rolled at times could be intimidating, but the players have gotten the hang of the game mechanics in that sense at least, so they weren't bothered by the dice rolling during combat, and actually had some Awesome! bonus moments during the fight as well. The airship combat sequence had me worried here, especially since I wasn't necessarily expecting it, as two of the player characters convinced me as the Captain to engage the Liberty in battle, but it went more smoothly and cleanly than I could have hoped for.
Overall, the game session of Abney Park's Airship Pirates was a fun time, both for me and the players, and I have to say that this is one of the best game systems I've run in the last ten years. Sure, it's taking me time to get used to some of the mechanics and how the game handles (or does not handle) certain situations and the like. Looking forward to Friday night's game, arrrrrrrrr!!!!! :)