March 15th, 2150 AD
It is approximately two days later. The player characters who were seriously injured wake to learn that Edmund Churchill-Wintermute has died of the wounds he sustained in the fight, and that the Daedalus has been completely destroyed. Pieces of the ship's remains are scattered over a 1/2 mile area. The player characters learn that twenty of the 40 Neobedouin died or were seriously injured in the fight with the pirates, although only three of the eight Outriders were lost.
The player characters learn that the Scarlet Lady was not unscathed in the attack by the Daedalus. Only 40% of her cargo space remains, only 17 of the 47 crew survived the attack, the hull took extensive damage, only eight of her sixteen cannons survived the fight, two grappling hooks were eliminated, her extra sails were taken down in the battle, and the ship has been virtually stripped of most of her armour.
Finnius Cloudbody talks to Harlan Tamarind, and learns that the Neobedouin now consider the crew of the Scarlet Lady friends for life, and that Captain Katharine Tempest had actually come to ground and talked to them for many hours after the battle.
The player characters decide to head back to their airship, but choose to leave the body of Churchill-Wintermute behind until the Captain makes clear her decision of what to do with the body. The Neobedouin warn them not to leave it too long, for there are "natural forces" at work in the area. They reach the tank, where the Scarlet Lady is now tethered, and see the damage, it becoming worse the closer they get to the ship as they climb the mooring ropes. When the reach the deck, they are confronted by several crewmen with swords, who are quite pleased to see that they have survived. They see the bodies of both their fellow crewmen and the Daedalus scattered around the deck, but are told they need to see the Captain. She's down in the cargo hold area, that has been turned into a make-shift medical facility.
They find that Captain Tempest is in one of the beds, she's haggard, and has a broken arm, and several sword cuts and gashes. They learn that Black Angus, Peg Leg Davis, Jesus Ortega, Donovan Wake, Nathan Windfall, Owen Kincaid, and Victoria Falcon are all well, or at least recovering from injuries. Angus tells the characters to leave the Captain, as she needs her rest, and that he's in charge until she's up to the task. The player characters and Angus talk of what has occurred, and he tells the characters that their salvage mission must proceed, as the funds from the selling of the dolls will help with the repairs to the Scarlet Lady. They aren't going to be able to use the ship's hogtrike, as the winch has been damaged. Emma Whitlocke asks a passing crewman, Andrew, whaat supplies are needed, and he laughs hysterically and says that a lot of stuff is required given what they lost.
Finnius goes down to the cargo bay, where he checks to see if the shipment for Jeffrey Cloudbear is still intact, and finds that it is. However, he sees that the cargo materials with the confetti and the horned heads inside is missing. With the help of a couple of other crewmen, he fastens the cargo to the intact walls. The other characters arrive down there, and they talk about what they see as their options.
Emma heads topside, but finds that she doesn't have the skills necessary to assess the damage to the airship. She does spot rather large, black birds circling the area. She looks in the direction of the funhouse and ferris wheel, but can't make out much due to the plumes of smoke in the air. She can see the Neobedouin yurts that have been destroyed, as well as a steam truck, several destroyed hogtrikes, and can also make out the tribal folk setting up and lighting funeral pyres.
Aaron Cheetah returns to the engine deck, where he finds Nathan Windfall working on the steam engines and converters. He asks where Aaron's been, since they've got a good ten hours of work before the ship can go anywhere. When Aaron stupidly asks what's happened, Windfall replies, "air battle". When Aaron asks him what they need and what needs doing, Windfall loses his patience and says, "Look around!" Aaron wisely decides to volunteer and go and check the gasbags of the airship.
Down in the cargo bay, Finnius and Green Harry talk to Donovan Wake about the cargo, and learn the status of what's happened and where stuff is and what's not accounted for yet. A raven flies into the ship through one of the holes in the hull. Harry goes to check the galley out, and finds that the food stocks are intact, as the galley suffered almost no damage. Finnius goes to check out the diesel in the storage room, and finds it is missing. So is the hogtrike. As he leaves there, he comes upon Owen Kincaid. He learns that the airship was lowering the hogtrike to the ground at the ferris wheel when they were first attacked. He is somewhat surprised to see that Owen has several burns on his face and hands.
As the player characters get ready to resume the salvage mission, Finnius goes to get Aaron, but is told that he's working on the gasbags by Windfall. He tells the chief engineer that Angus said that Aaron has to get back to ground duty, and after Windfall agrees to that, Finnius goes up on deck and fetches Aaron down. Seeing that morale is poor on deck, Finnius gives one of the crewman a skin full of Tamarind liquor, but warns him to share it with the others and that it's pretty strong and heady stuff.
The player characters descend to the butte once more. Instead of following Finnius and Emma, Aaron and Harry go to the edge of the butte and see the smoking ruins of burning, twisted wood and metal from the debris of the Daedalus, as well as burning vegetation and the like. They can't make out the funhouse at all.
Over at the Neobedouin camp, Emma and Finnius talk to Harlan, the leader of the Neobedouin. In a surprising development, he offers to sell them some sailcloth, which is a surprise to the two airship pirates. Harlan says they'll negotiate the deal later. When asked if they can borrow it, Harlan offers the characters the use of the steam truck. They decide to also take Harlan's offer of an Outrider by the name of Henry with them in order to go find the dolls in the funhouse ruins. Henry and Harlan suggest that the characters can't descend the butte the way they came up, as the airship that was destroyed smashed into it, and it is still very hot. They will go around it.
Henry and the player characters travel around the butte through thick gorse and bramble, he and Harry chopping a path through with machetes. They reach a small stream, and Emma makes a big deal about the fish in the water. Henry spears a fish, and offers it to Emma, but she refuses it, appalled by the whole thing. Harry takes the fish and packs it in a sack in his pack for later eating. The player characters and Henry continue on, and come across several animal bodies, some burnt and some clawed and gutted, and some both. Aaron and Henry conclude that it was sabre-toothed cats that did most of the killing here. Henry uses a large hunting knife and cuts four "steaks" for the evening meal. Harry takes the meat, wraps it up in his tattered blanket, and puts it in his pack.
The group continues walking to the funhouse, and encounter a hyaenadon. Alerted by Henry who becomes the brunt of the creature's attack, the player characters gun down the animal in a hail of gunfire before it can attack the Neobedouin outrider, who dodges it several times.
Moving on, Henry leads the player characters around the crevasse that they nearly lost their lives to earlier, and they continue on through the smoky terrain. Finnius spots a body on the ground that is revealed to be a pirate. They loot what little they can off the body, Finnius claiming the He3.00. Finnius hears the sounds of propellors, and looking up he spots what appears to be an Imperial Air Navy Barracuda-class ship in the air, some 200 metres above them. The player characters decide to send Henry back to the butte to warn the Neobedouin and Captain Tempest.
Once Henry leaves, the characters move off toward the funhouse once more, concealed somewhat by the smoke and vegetation. Emma and the others spot what might be a flag or perhaps sails behind the funhouse. They are worried that it may be a Guppy off the IAN frigate...
I thought that this session of the Airship Pirates rpg Sunday group went well, and was much happier with it than with the previous session, for sure. The players were definitely a bit surprised by the sheer damage to the Scarlet Lady, and I think they were surprised that the planned salvage mission was going ahead (although they understood the reasons why). The fate of Churchill-Wintermute was mutally agreed upon by the players, and I was glad that I left it to them. I did have to fudge somewhat on the Medicine rolls made by the tribal healer, as the player characters (with the exception of Doug's character) were so severely hurt that they needed major recovery time. The outcome of the airship battle will bring about some changes in the make-up and nature of the crew, and I suspect that the players are going to be surprised about what's in store for them in future sessions, but for now the outcome of the salvage mission remains to be seen.