The characters all knew Henrich, my universe-spanning NPC. That is how they were all, with the exception of our wandering nomad Sleve. They were given a task to stop the mining off in the mountains to the west when the girl in the library pointed out the running figure and the small skyship that had just landed on top of the chicken coops.
Ordo took his musket and shot, and plinked the running man, who grabbed his leg but kept on going, with a second man climbing down the ship to help him. Harmony-Rose took a shot that went wild, and Ordo's second shot took out the picaroon (they do not have many hit points). The other, a pirate from the look of him, was climbing back up the rope ladder as the sky ship was launching when Harmony-Rose's second shot took him out and he fell to the ground, dead. The ship took off as fast as the lift lugs would take it, catching the wind. A quick inspection of the bodies revealed one was in the livery of the estate, and Sir Dayton Griffiths recognized him as one of his staff. The other was a pirate through and through. Ordo inspected the body and found 12 silvers there. During the inspection, Captain Eugene of the Fools Errand (the now named ship), caught a young stowaway, Sleve McDicheal and his lute. A hurried introduction as Harmony-Rose was to be the new quartermaster, Ordo the new master gunner, and Ylervan Runehammer the new sailing master. Lacking a crew member, Sleve joins the group as they board the ship. Captain Eugene offers his arm to Miss Baudelaire and the ship takes off, Ylervan shouting the orders to Billy, the coxswain and they take off in pursuit.
It takes more than a little time as the pirate captain is almost as good as our stalwart crew. Yet the do get within firing range, and the first round they miss. The next round a canon ball heavily damages the port lift lug, and the next removes the rudder. With the pirate ship listing, and an excellent sailing roll, they board the craft, crew fighting crew while Harmony-Rose and Ordo head to the captain's office and Sleve and Ylervan tend to the lift lug to see if it is salvagable as the joined ships slowly plummet towards the island below.
In the captain's cabin, there is a tense stand-off but Captain Petey shoots first, not even grazing Harmony-Rose, who returns fire, plinkng the pirate captain. While the first two are reloading, Ordo fires off and gravely wounds the pirate, the stack of papers in his hand fluttering about. Demanding answers, they find that one Edmund Altes had paid good coin for them to get to the estate. Before getting any additional info, the decks lurch even more, though it seems the plummeting is slowing.
The joined ships start to slow their flight downward as Ylervan shouts orders to Billy as they attempt to safely land both ships. They do manage with some hull crumpling to the pirate ship and its rudder and control mechanisms crushed beyond repair. Captain Petey smashes against a wall, and dies between that and his earlier wounds.
In the battle before they hit the dirt, the Fools Errand had managed to kill all but a handful of pirates, and suffered no loss themselves. While the decks were awash in blood and bodies, our valiant characters made successful acrobatics rolls and avoided getting hurt. The pirate ships had a stash, or a reasonable take. As the ship took no damage, Miss Baudelaire distributed out the silver to the crew, leaving 30 solvers apiece for the players.
And that is where we lest the game.
A few notes: I messed up on the ship to ship combat: there was one more roll to see if they actually hit. Ordo had a draft of 3, which meant that Harmony-Rose (I was spreading out the rolls) should have rolled three dice against the to-hit chart instead of the directly on the location chart. While it worked out, there could have been more or fewer hits. But it was a fun mechanism and worked pretty well. They wanted to do an aimed shot, and while there is nothing specific in there, I used a 2d6 opposing roll to see if that would have succeeded. What I may do is allow them to adjust the hit location up or down based on the draft. So if they get a 2 draft and roll a 2 for the location, then can pick from 1 to 4 for the location.
Personal combat went well. The opposing rolls are interesting, and at least well documented for each skill. I like that the players get to roll all the dice - the only dice I rolled was for how many silvers the dead pirate had. We did not do the initiative process. First, we're playing over Skype, so despite me having a lot of card decks, it was not really feasible. We ended up just using a d6 when we needed to worry about initiative.
There are some potentially good backgrounds that may end up in play: Harmony-Rose was a quartermaster for the Alderil Empire. Like Han Solo, she is wearing parts of the uniform, and it is well recognized by those in Teboa, As that came up during our early character discussions, the ramifications did not sink in. But there could be a certain amount of tension between her and the island residents. Even between her and Ylervan, though the Alderil Empire has never directly attached the Anvil Aerie. Ordo could care less as his islands were buffered from all the empires by rough skies and distance. Sleve, being the nomad, would not care in all likelihood but that's just a guess on my part. I will have to remember that should they visit any of the towns on their journey. Ylervan has family back home, as does Ordo. Sleve is literally the wildcard in this game, and has both helped and hindered via signing and playing a ludicrously large lute (perhaps not, but we did find some fun images of a really large lute).
What I need to do, as always, is get better organized and print out more to have it all ready in a binder or something. Bouncing between screens is not working for real-time playing. Works fine for my solo game, not so much here. I also need to figure out what was on those papers (and there shall be some lore and/or skullduggary rolls involved) and what happens next. The papers should yield some clues as to where they may want to go next as the mountain range is fairly large, and finding the mines may be more difficult than expected.
Overall, I think it went pretty well. The game itself is fairly abstract but rich in role playing. I do like that the players roll all the dice for the most part. The Pirate Petey I rolled for, and they never got their guns to bear on the Fools Errand. And we always love exploding success rolls, so this game would be even more fun at a table and watching the handfuls of dice rolling.
One of the dozen or so floating islands of the Anvil Aerie: