March 23rd, 2150 AD
After some minor repairs to the Bountiful Queen, Andrew Whitebreeze made good on his agreement to pay for the repairs to the ship and commission a trade run to Isla Aether. It is several days later, and the player characters are relaxing in a dockside tavern of the city called The Wayward Gull. The Captain has given them several days leave, after their work in the previous adventure. Emily Harrington-Boothe is sitting at a table nursing her drink, and keeping an eye on things in the tavern. Peter Bear Redwood is sitting and indulging in drink, to keep his mind off the discomfort he feels in the big city. Andrew Hartwell is intently attempting to convince one of the local wenches, Holli, to let him bed her, thinking she's a Doll. Jeanette Storm is trying to haggle at one of the upstairs tables with a merchant over a potential new deal. Haley Deuce is being plied with drinks by several admirers intent on expressing their admiration of her assets close up. Arthur Quentin-Smythe is gambling at one of the tables, and doing quite well for himself.
While the characters mind their own business, though several of them stick out somewhat in the Wayward Gull, the room goes silent as a person enters the tavern who sticks out even more. She's a well-dressed Neovictorian lady in a pink, somewhat ruffled dress. It is obvious to Andrew, Arthur, and Haley that the woman is clearly lost, and the music in the tavern stops. Andrew gallantly goes over to the lady to see if he can help her with directions, when a group of ill-dressed ruffians enter through the doors, and shouting, "It's her, the one 'e's lookin' for!" attempt to grab the girl.
Arthur recognises the men as Bargefolk, completely out of place in the skyloft, but before he can act Andrew immediately attacks one of the ruffians with his fists, and the battle is joined. Emily swings into motion with her drawn sword, telling Haley to stay back, and she engages one of the men. Arthur, tired of the games being played by the others, shoots one of the ruffians, and the patrons of the tavern dive for cover as what might have become a bar brawl turns into a gunfight! The player characters deal with the ruffians rather quickly, Peter getting several good melee shots in and regaining some of the confidence that he had lost due to his environs, and Andrew is able to get the girl away from the brutes, and to safety behind the bar. With the majority of the ruffians unconscious, all that remains is their leader, a seemingly burly man of Scottish descent with a horribly scarred face and brandishing a spiked whip. Before he can do any damage to Emily or Tom, Jeanette (arriving at the top of the stairs to the main tavern area) drops him with two quick shots of her revolver [and some well-played Fate points].
Andrew converges on the lady, while Emily goes over to the giant man and administers some first aid to him in her merciful state of mind. She is chided for this by Arthur, but she ignores him. The rest of the characters gather around the young woman, once she recovers somewhat from her experience, and after she has some rum, tells them her tale. The characters learn that her name is Eliza Worthington, and that she has come to Isla Aether in an attempt to help her father, Edmund. Emily recognises this as the name of the famous archaeologist. When Eliza tells them that this is correct, she adds that she had been sent a ransom demand to meet the kidnappers here in the Wayward Gull with certain items (she shows them a book with strange writing and star charts, and what appears to be a half of an insect medallion), which she was supposed to exchange for her father. Andrew suggests that the men who came to kidnap Eliza did not have her father, obviously, and thus it seems they meant to kidnap Eliza for some reason, perhaps to use her as leverage against her father, and perhaps in order to gain the book and the medallion as well.
Knowing that the sound of gunfire was bound to attract the attention of the Aetherian guards, the player characters hustled their unconscious attackers and the wounded giant down into the cellar with the aid of several of the more "civic minded" patrons. They barely succeed in the task before the guards arrive. While they see the blood stains from the fighting and learn there was a fracas in the Wayward Gull, Jeanette and Arthur are able to bluff the guards and give them a minor bribe to look the other way. The Aetherian guards decide to move on to other duties and crimes to investigate, and once they leave, the characters breathe a sigh of relief.
While several of the characters remain in the main tavern room to talk with Eliza, Haley, Arthur, and Andrew descend to the cellar to talk some more with the bound and gagged criminal scum once they have recovered consciousness. Arthur recognises them as bargefolk (he spent a bit of time among their kind), and with the exception of the giant, tthey become a bit more cooperative. They learn that the men are in the employ of Captain Edward Greenwing, a notorious independent pirate, and applying some psychological persuasion [and a couple of Fate points] learn that he is in league with one James Montcloude.
Meanwhile, Eliza tells Emily, Peter, and Jeanette that she needs to return to the establishment in Isla Aether where she is staying, the Skypeak Snows hotel, as she is supposed to be attending a ball that evening hosted by Lord James Montcloude, as he wishes to show off his latest acquisition, a gold statue of Mexican origin. Emily informs Arthur of their intent to take Eliza Worthington back to her lodgings (one of the posher facilities on Isla Aether), and those in the cellar say they will meet them there after they finish up at the Wayward Gull.
Once the player characters escort Eliza to her hotel, she introduces them as associates of her father whom she met there. Eliza uses her weight and financial wealth (the Worthington family are wealthy, but not ultra-rich) to book several rooms for the player characters (she feels it is the least she can do after the characters spared her from kidnapping), and the player characters learn more about the Montcloudes from several of the hotel staff. Peter continues to be irritated and somewhat nervous and withdrawn due to his distress about being in the city. Jeanette heads out to talk to several of her mercantile contacts in the city about what they can tell her of James Montcloude and Captain Edward Greenwing, and leaves Eliza's safety in the capable hands of Emily and Peter, despite the latter's personal and emotional concerns.
Back at the Wayward Gull, Haley, Arthur, and Andrew complete their interrogation of the attackers, and arrange with the Wayward Gull's keeper, Charlie Davis, to take care of their attackers and hand them over to the Aetherian guards (serious Helios change hands, but Arthur justifies this by saying that it's a mere "expense"), and pay restitution for the damage done to the tavern. They take their leave of the tavern, and begin the trek to the Skypeak Snows, getting directions as necessary. When they arrive at the hotel, the characters receive some opposition to entering the place, as Haley is perceived as the Doll she is, but Arthur tells the person at the reception desk that they are looking for Miss Eliza Worthington and several friends that arrived at the hotel with them. Peter greets them at the door to Eliza's suite, and the three characters learn the lay of the land and are brought up to date.
Jeanette returns from her travails in information gathering, and tells the gathered characters, after a joyful reunion with Haley, Arthur, and Andrew, that something is afoot. She says that her merchant contacts informed her that Montcloude is a wealthy Aetherian with an interest in the old world and its artifacts, and also has a strong interest in the occult. While Edward Greenwing (whose pirate vessel the Black Claw) is notorious in pirate circles, her contacts told her that he's made quite a bit of money on selling Montcloude some of the loot that he has discovered during several of his expeditions, and that he has contacts among the Oakendale tribe, among other Neobedouin. Comparing notes in the aftermath of the questioning of the bargefolk thugs from Haley and Andrew, the characters realise the commonality that Montcloude has in the matter, and this combined with a sense of responsibility towards Eliza and her father's safety, peaks the interest of the player characters (notably that of Haley Deuce). Emily comments matter-of-factly that perhaps the player characters should attend Lord Montcloude's ball, as he either has Eliza's father or knows who does and where he is being held. "Topping idea," says Arthur.
First off, I need to say that this particular scenario has been inspired directly by one that I was reading about somewhere on-line about a month or so ago. That said, the need to convert some of the elements to the Airship Pirates milieu seemed a bit daunting at first, but I've got what I think works well in the setting now.
This game session of the Abney Park's Airship Pirates rpg was quite fun to run, and featured all manner of good roleplaying on the part of the players, some memorable in-character lines, and a bit of action as well. The next session of this, which I ran of course last night, was a complete change of pace in some ways that took a distinct "Airship Pirate" twist (if you've heard the songs of Abney Park you'll know what I mean by that twist bit), and made me love this game even more, but more on that in a game session report hopefully early in the week.