Thanksgiving-related complications made it impossible to run a full session on the last couple of Sundays, so we settled for a minisession to tie up a few lingering issues from last time: the fate of Archimedes, the wrath of the restless dead created when Virgid murdered the pirates, the Magpie’s journey to Lamprey, and a few other minor points.
We started with Virgid and Arch, who’d been smuggled aboard the Magpie while unconscious. Virgid had written a harsh Belief chastising herself for what had happened to him, but when he woke he was overjoyed at being transformed from a doughy, awkward misfit into a Strikingly Handsome young man. He even blamed himself for the accident, which is mostly true: Virgid made him mix the alchemists’ fire, but he was the one who screwed it up.
I ran the Arch situation this way for two reasons. First, to tweak that harsh Belief Virgid and see if flagellating herself over her actions would still be important to her if the good person who’d suffered because of them forgave her – and in fact had never blamed her in the first place. Second, to start a tonal shift for the game. This plot line with Virgid, Arch and the pirates is by far the darkest part of the story so far and I wanted to pull it toward what I felt was more thematically appropriate. We’ll see how it turns out.
Virgid wants Arch to stay around, but Arch isn’t so sure: he’s never been off the island and isn’t certain he wants to leave for a Life of Adventure™. I’ve let her Virgid’s player know that it’s a Persuasion test to get him to stay. Otherwise, he’ll head back home after they reach Lamprey. She hasn’t decided whether to take that test or not yet, but Siwan is intent on sending him home.
The truth about the murder of the pirates still hasn’t come out, but Siwan and Holger have a pretty good idea that something went wrong on Koln and that Virgid is responsible. Holger got a nice Intimidation test out of trying to get Virgid to come clean. He even FoRKed in Extortion-wise, telling her that he’d turn the ship around and leave her to the villagers – not meaning it, naturally. Virgid saw through his bluster and shut him down, but we haven’t seen the end of this.
Siwan started teaching Holger to read so he can actually use the charts and instruments they have. I predict a training montage in our future.
Siwan’s player leaped on a piece of color description I’d given for a scene and used it as preparation for the Navigation test they know is coming. I’d described a pod of dolphins playing in their wake, and Siwan promptly gave herself Low Speech: Dolphin to speak with them and learn about the waters ahead. Turns out the dolphins are hunting Sea Spiders who’ve begun a mass migration out of their traditional hunting grounds and are now plaguing these waters. We’ve also determined that the Niebrandar call dolphins, orcas and the like “fin-wolves.” Thanks, Virgid!
The main conflict of the night was the restless spirit crew of Jilde and his murdered pirates. They set upon the Magpie a few nights out from Koln, rising up out of the deep and trying to overturn the small ship. Jilde’s ghost manifested at the tiller, batting Holger aside in an opposed Will v. Power test and wresting control of the ship. With the rest of the ghosts working together, they began to keel the Magpie over, forcing Speed tests to grab on to something or plunge into the water.
Virgid and Holger went into the drink and began fending off the waiting ghosts. Holger battered them aside through main force, but couldn’t force them to lose any Will dice. Still, it bought them just enough time for Virigd to speak the name of the Fathomless they’d freed in the first session, calling it to her side. With no chance to Bargain, she was forced to pay the price of Possession for the Shepherd of the Dark Current turning on the spirits, which it devoured in short order.
Meanwhile, Siwan was still aboard ship after managing to grab hold of a spar as the ship keeled over. Jilde raged at her from the tiller, promising that they would never be rid of his ghostly crew until they had paid the price for the murders. Siwan’s respose: gun for the Reckless trait and fry him. One improbably good Destroy with Sorcerous Fire test later and Jilde’s was consumed by an orb of boiling water, once again demonstrating the dangers of villainous speechmaking.
We paused the session there, leaving the linked test for their journey to Lamprey for next time.
Next time on A Thousand Shores: untrained Navigation tests, treacherous seas, hungry Spiders, a summoner possessed by a spirit of the Old Gods, and a wretched hive of scum and villainy still bearing the scars of their guardians’ passing.