The Plot: Having gotten the last map piece from Captain Bonefist and allowed a few of his pirates and Lew Silvertongue on board, The Skidmark sailed through the maelstrom, wondering if they'd be torn asunder and if this was some cruel joke by Haworth.
The transition was strangely...easy. The other side? Odd. Crimson skies and black seas as shiny as cobalt. The search for Haworth and his ship, Devil's Wrath, had begun!
The Game: This scenario actually took two sessions to complete. Just too much fighting!
I used the wonderful board game Broadsides and Boarding Parties for the first part of this final scenario. Terry 'sailed' The Skidmark, while I captained Haworth's ship. Outgunned and outcrewed, Terry had to dance around Devil's Wrath and whittle it down before boarding. He did in spades. The Wrath's undead crew, typically relying on its guns and enormous amount of crew to quickly overtake its victims, were scuppered.
|Terry, pondering his options...|
|...and it's crew.|
Note - When the boarding action occurred, I switched from using the ship models and the board game to ship layouts provided by Jon Mark. These things are incredible. Jon Mark made upper, middle and lower decks that stacked on one another and allowed for minis to be placed on all levels without being too persnickety.
The upper deck was clear of undead crewmen, but their remains were literally everywhere (cannons are notoriously messy). The French Royal Marines, who had merely lurked in The Skidmark's lower levels for the entire campaign, were trotted out in good order and commanded to go below decks.
The middle deck was murky, but enough light came through the gun ports to allow unobstructed vision. The Marines formed a firing line as soon as enemies were spied. They then proceeded to shoot the unliving Hell out of Haworth's worthies.
The ensuing scrum saw just about everyone fighting the Wrath's crew. The Marines stood their ground, while our characters showed how much they'd improved over the course of the campaign and made relatively quick work of the the Wrath's sailors.
The lower deck's opening was available. Lew Silvertongue's braggadocios jumped in first, only to be killed. There was little to no light on this level, so our worthies were literally blind.
Mr. Harrison also acquitted himself nicely. He was continually surrounded by those who wished him ill will, but he persevered.
As our stalwart companions gained control of the lower level, Captain Haworth himself came out of a dark doorway. Bellowing as he fired his pistols, Haworth joined battle against Stevens and his men. They hacked at him, but the brute wouldn't fall. Recalling Bonefist's warnings, they kept well clear of his grasp, laying about his person with sabres and gun stocks. Finally, the horrible creature fell, never to rise again.
|A pencil sketch of Haworth's demise.|
Captain Beefheart didn't want to return to Port du Lion and have all this wealth taken by the Governor. The Marine Commander, loyal to said Governor, did. So...a Mexican standoff?
Using the game's mechanics, Beefheart parlayed with the Commander. They had to do so quickly, as the Devil's Wrath was rapidly sinking!
The Commander wasn't a fool. It was a long way to Port du Lion and he was now surrounded by hostiles. He eventually conceded that returning to port was unlikely to occur, but he also needed to present a plausible tale to the Governor. The end game? He and his Marines would be dropped off at a friendly port with half the treasure. They could then charter a vessel to take them to Port du Lion. Captain Beefheart and the rest of The Skidmark's crew would simply disappear (it was discussed that perhaps owning land in the Carolinas would be nice).
So it was done, both with the crew and the campaign!
A couple of things....
First off, thanks to all who not only played, but let me borrow various minis and terrain over the course of this campaign. It wouldn't have worked without y'all!
Second, I feel like a 500-pound gorilla is off my back. This campaign, while fun, was (to quote Ken) ambitious. I learned a lot as a GM by doing this, which is always a good thing.
Third, I had a slightly different ending I could've used, if needed. I had purposefully set this tale slightly before Ken's ongoing campaign. In his story, Port du Lion was seized by the English and renamed Lion's Port. If the Commander had parlayed or successfully fought and returned The Skidmark to the port with all the treasure, the Union Jack flying over the Governor's building would've stopped him from entering the harbor. The entire crew (Marines and sailors) would've sailed off into the sunset with the British none the wiser!