Episode 7 – We Need Help
During the fight with the Grik scouting force, the Tellana savaged all three Grik ships. One of the three managed to escape badly damaged, but was still faster than a Home could hope to manage. As the Tellana was far too pre-occupied with mopping up the Grik that had managed to board her, there was no attempt at pursuit. However, as the damaged ship slowly limped back toward Singapore, a storm came up and drove the Grik ship aground killing most of what few warriors survived the battle on the Tellana. After proving to Aako-Hris-Am that the Grik have indeed returned, the mayor of Davao has kept feluccas on a constant patrol to provide early warning of any additional Grik ships. One of these patrol ships finds the stranded hulk and reports its position.
The PCs receive a summons to speak to Aako-Hris-Am from a messenger. On reaching the mayor’s chamber, he quickly informs them that the captain of one of the scouting feluccas has made an important discover. The captain, Fask-Kel-Nur, is present and tells the PCs that he has found the wreckage of a Grik ship grounded hard several hundred yards from shore. There are Grik survivors aboard, but the ship is hopelessly stuck.
An AVERAGE (7) Intelligence + Perception / Tactics roll knows that boarding a Grik ship will be a treasure trove of intelligence on the Ancient Enemy and that an expedition to the ship needs to leave immediately. Since the ship is fairly close, there is no need to risk the Macao Clipper and that the scouting party will travel with aboard Fask’s felucca the Nellick.
The PCs have an opportunity to learn some of the rudiments of sailing during the three day trip to the wreck site. Learning anything useful is a HARD (11) Intelligence + Willpower roll with a success gaining a complete novice PC the skill: Pilot d2. For anyone with an existing Pilot skill, the trip is too short to gain or improve a specialty.
En route to the wreck, the expedition will learn of and face some of the hazards of sailing in what is essentially an alien sea. On the first day out from Davao, every PC aboard and one half of the NPCs aboard will get to roll a HARD (11) Alertness + Perception / Sight test with anyone that succeeds spotting in incoming threat in time to have their full Dodge. Anyone that fails will only have their Innate Defense, while if anyone rolls a Botch they are automatically snatched by the creature that boils out of the sea. If no one rolls a Botch, then the creature will attack the person that rolled the lowest on their perception check. The creature is a Grillka, one of the more common threats in the sea, something the PCs have never seen before, but have heard of from the Lemurians. Run the combat as usual with one quarter of the NPCs joining the fight every Combat Turn after the first until the entire crew is engaged.
Agility: d6, Strength: d10, Vitality: d10, Alertness: d6, Intelligence: d2, Willpower: d8; Life Points 18; Initiative d6 + d6
Traits: Fightin’ Type (Major)
Skills: Athletics d6 / Dodge d8 / Swimming d12, Covert d6 / Stealth d10, Discipline d6 Concentration d8, Melee Weapon Combat d6 / Teeth d10, Perception d6 / Hearing d8 / Tracking d8, Survival d6 / Ocean d10
One the second day out, the seas darken and the wind picks up. An EASY (3) Intelligence + Knowledge / Sailing will realize a storm is coming up, but it takes an AVERAGE (7) result to know that the center of the storm is going to pass well to south of them. On a HARD (11) result, they will know that even though they are not going to be hit by the storm’s full strength, it is still going to be in for a rough time.
As the storm strikes and they learn this is only the fringe of the storm, the PCs shudder to think what the full force would have been like. The violent pitching of the seas requires that everyone roll against a HARD (11) Vitality + Willpower to not be sick from the constant pitching. Anyone with the Lightweight Complication, as will anyone that rolls a Botch on the above roll, is going to be miserable and will have to be strapped to a hammock to ride out the storm. If they wish to perform any activity, they will have to make another HARD (11) Vitality + Willpower roll with the standard two step penalty to Vitality.
While the ship is riding out the storm, it will take a HARD (11) Alertness + Perception / Sight to spot the line of breakers in the distance that warns of the dangerous shoals ahead. Anyone that makes the roll will be able to shout a warning in time for the helmsman to steer away in time. As failing this roll would end the adventure, if none of the PCs make the roll, one of the crew will and disaster will be avoided. After what seems like an eternity, but was really only ten hours, the storm passes and the ship can continue on their journey.
Finally on day three, the wrecked Grik ship is spotted in the distance. The ship has lost two of her masts and lies canted sharply to port. Her keel has yet to break, but with the ship being as exposed to the sea as she is, it is only a matter of time before the ship breaks apart and sinks. As Fask makes his approach, an AVERAGE (7) Alertness + Perception roll spots movement on the ship’s deck. Fortunately, due to the ship’s steep list, the Grik catapults are unable to fire, allowing the Nellick to close unharmed.
However, while the catapults are silent, several Grik on deck fire crossbows as the felucca makes her approach. The Grik begin firing at triple crossbow range (450’) with d8 + d4 skill. There are a total of forty survivors with half of them bow armed.
If the PCs take advantage of their rifle’s superior range and fire before the Grik fire, the PCs will only have to roll for hitting a surprised target (3) as these Grik have never faced firearms and are unaware of the weapon’s range. Ten of the Lemurians will open fire with bows at triple range (210’) with d10 + d2 skill. Regardless of when the firing starts, the Grik will resist on deck until suffering 25% dead or unconscious (10) before using the gunnels of the ship for Light Cover adding +4 difficulty to hit them. As the felucca draws less draft, it is able to come alongside the wreck and once boarding grapples are in position, Grik attack until they have suffered 50% casualties (20). At that point they retreat below deck of their ship. Jumping safely to the slanted deck of the Grik ship is an AVERAGE (7) roll of Agility + Athletics. A failure means the PC slipped on landing and is unable to take any action except for a Dodge for one Combat Turn. A Botch is a more serious problem with the PC suffering a twisted ankle causing a one step penalty to Agility for the next ten Combat Turns.
The fight below deck is a deadly game of cat and mouse with all sight rolls for humans suffering a one step penalty to all vision rolls due to the gloomy interior. Half of the remaining Grik (10) attack individually from ambush as the boarding party work their way through the ship. Before each attack, the character on point will get to make an Opposed Roll of Alertness + Perception / Specialty versus the Grik’s Agility + Covert. If the PC wins, they have their full defense, if the Grik wins, the PC can only use Innate Defense. However, if the PC has a ready firearm, roll Initiative to see if the PC can get off a shot before the Grik can attack.
When the boarders reach the captain’s quarters, the final ten Grik attach en mass. The cornered warriors use All-Out Attacks, starting with swords, but will fight with tooth and claw in a savage frenzy and fight until slain. On entering the captain’s cabin, the towering Grik likewise fights with the same All-Out Attack frenzy until slain.
Once the last of the Grik are slain, the PCs have a chance to search the captain’s quarters and will quickly find his charts and other documents, but the most stunning part is that they are written in English. That is until someone successfully rolls an AVERAGE (7) Intelligence + Perception / Tactics and realizes the size of the menace they all face and that this information must get back to Davao as quickly as possible.
Searching the rest of the ship finds a scene of horror beyond words in any language. The lower deck is an abattoir from the darkest level of hell with the remnants of Lemurians that have been stored alive and eaten as food. Even worse are the two insane survivors found chained up and ready for slaughter. It is a difficult choice whether to kill these wretched husks to free their tortured souls or to try and rescue them. Each PC will have to choose what option they think is best, but Captain Fask wants to try and bring the survivors to Davao.
If the majority of the PCs agree to rescue the survivors, it takes a HARD (11) Intelligence + Perception / Empathy roll to calm them for transfer to the ship. Otherwise, they fight with wild-eyed terror (they think they are being taken to slaughter, but this is unknown to the PCs) against the boarders requiring that they be subdued.
If the PCs wish to try and begin treatment of the survivors during the trip back, they face an INCREDIBLE (115) Complex Action of Intelligence + Medical Expertise / Psychology with each roll taking four hours. However, if the PC does not have Linguistics / Lemurian d10, the task becomes IMPOSSIBLE (155) with each roll taking eight hours.
If by chance the PCs choose to kill the survivors, none of the Nellick’s crew will stop them, but they will pick up a Minor Branded: Davao Fishermen Complication for their actions.
Finally, if the PCs thought to bring a camera along, they can take pictures to bring back to Davao. However, getting them developed will take a HEROIC (19) Intelligence + Artistry / Photography, a FORMIDABLE (15) Intelligence + Scientific Expertise / Chemistry, or a RIDICULOUS (27) Intelligence + Knowledge roll to produce the chemicals needed for the required emulsifiers. If by chance the PCs succeed, the photos will be all the proof they need to galvanize the citizens of Davao into action.
Agility: d8, Strength: d8, Vitality: d10, Alertness: d8, Intelligence: d6, Willpower: d8; Life Points 22; Initiative d8 + d8
Traits: Tough as Nails (Major Asset), Fightin’ Type (Major Asset), Sadistic (Major Complication), Overconfident (Minor Complication), Prejudice (Minor Complication).
Skills: Athletics d6 / Dodge d8, Covert d6, Discipline d6, Helmsman d6, Melee Weapon Combat d6 / Sword d10 / Knives d8, Perception d6, Sailor d6, Unarmed Combat d6 / Brawling d10 using 60 points of their skills. In addition, half of each Grik ship has Heavy Weapons d6 / Ballista or Catapult, and the other half have Ranged Weapons d6 / Bow d8, for a total of 68 skill points.
Agility: d10, Strength: d6, Vitality: d8, Alertness: d8, Intelligence: d8, Willpower: d8; Life Points 16; Initiative d10 + d8
Traits: Nature Lover (Minor Asset), Sharp Sense: Vision (Minor Asset), Talented: Climbing (Minor Asset), Deadly Enemy: Grik (Minor Complication), Loyal (Minor Complication), Superstitious (Minor Complication).
Skills: Athletics d6 / Climbing d8, Covert d6 / Stealth d8, Discipline d6, Knowledge d6 / Sailing d8, Perception d6 / Sight d8, Melee Weapon Combat d6 / Scota d8, Survival d6, Unarmed Combat d6 / Brawling d8 using 60 of their skill points. Each member of a Lemurian crew has a specific specialty such as Pilot d6 / Felucca d8, or Knowledge d6 / Sailing d8 for a total of 68 skill points.
Agility: d6, Strength: d4, Vitality: d4, Alertness: d6, Intelligence: d2, Willpower: d2; Life Points 6; Initiative d6 + d6
Traits: Leaky Brainpan (Major Complication), Scrawny (Minor Complication) Traumatic Flashes (Major Complication), Twitchy (Minor Complication).
Skills: The only skills remaining are Athletics d6, Unarmed Combat d6 / Brawling d8