Red Runs The Tide!
The aftermath of our assault
We gather arrows (callously plucking some from bodies we leave lying) and take stock. One of the nearby huts smells of tar and proves to be a chandlery, with stores of rope, tools, and buckets of tar. Another nearby hut contains five shackled captives. One is an ex-shipmate of ours, Slim Fred, pressed by the pirates and perhaps suffering punishment for some misdemeanor. Martel “Hammer of Justice” Guerra seems more interested in recruiting the ex-captives – ½-Jack the Halfling rogue has made short work of the locks – than in judging Slim’s actions. Slim and a would-be warrior we name Mook accept the offer to take up arms, while the other three insist on their status as humble fishermen.
Martel, accompanied by Slim, and shadowed by ½-Jack, now walks west to throw down a challenge to the west tower. Pirates in the north tower spot them as they move between huts and randomly snipe and wound ½-Jack and Slim.
“You have the chance to surrender! A second will not be given!” – Martel, addressing the west tower
Meanwhile back on the beach several pirates have raced down from the huts, run one of the two outriggers out, and hoisted sail: all before Red the Elf ranger has so much as sounded warning from his vantage in the south tower. He must still be exhausted. An outraged shout from Br Abram Gaunt, angry cleric of Tempus, alerts us.
“You have until I return to accept my offer of clemency!” – Martel, running back east
Red plies his longbow but to no effect [he still has disadvantage from Fatigue] while Carrick and Gaunt are joined by ½-Jack who practically teleports back from the west: he is the only competent sailor. He drums the fishermen into a makeshift crew and the remaining outrigger is launched in pursuit. Gaunt, still heavily armored, wisely stays as shore guard.
Carrick and Red have range, and wound a pirate badly. The fishermen and ½-Jack manage the craft expertly and soon gain on the fugitives. Red drops a second pirate. Jumping up and down in bloodthirsty excitement, ½-Jack screams “Magic Missile” over and over again until Carrick is within range: the mage blasts two pirates with streams of blue fire! The Halfling’s own shot goes wild in his excitement. But the remaining pirate, badly wounded, is easy prey and the outrigger is seized and taken in tow with a prize crew of two.
Meanwhile back on shore:
Martel and Slim work their way north, but alas the north tower pirates do manage to snipe as they move between cover: and Slim falls dead. But Martel spots perhaps ten pirates assembling ready for a counter-assault! Falling back on Br Gaunt and the village warrior Mook, Martel apprises Br Gaunt. Perhaps reflecting on his close call earlier in the day, Gaunt advocates a measured retreat on Red in the south tower, using range to make the pirates pay.
This works well for Martel who carries a heavy crossbow. Mook and Br Gaunt have shorter-range options so simply fall back cautiously alongside the paladin. Red, no longer distracted by events out to sea, provides covering fire with his longbow. We drop four of the nine, though Martel is nicked and Gaunt wounded. Then Martel draws his Warhammer and challenges them:
“Flee from Tyr’s Hammer of Justice!” – Martel, getting 20 on Charisma check
Three of the remaining five hide or run and Red brings down one of those; the remaining two charge Mook who ducks and weaves, causing them to miss. Br Gaunt and Martel execute those two fools.
Mook and Br Gaunt advance on the hut the cowardly pirates fled to but by the time they enter it, their quarry has already vacated it. And cries of triumph as ½-Jack and Carrick and the fishermen land the outriggers cause the pursuit to be postponed.
They have a prisoner. We press him (literally in Martel’s case) for more definite information about defenses and crews. He dies gurgling a warning that “Greg’ll get ye!” Br Abram expresses disappointment at his swift exit. 1/2-Jack wonders if either paladin or cleric quite understand the connotation of “Lawful Good.”
“I’m Lawful Good, not Lawful Pantywaist!” – Br Abram Gaunt
The west tower is abandoned. Martel climbs it and studies the village and out-wall area. The north tower also appears empty now. He notices an earth entrance in the tower mound below him, as though to an escape tunnel. Summoning the others, Martel asks Red to check tracks. This [poor check] merely confirms it has been used in recent hours.
We head in, Gaunt’s shield lighting the tunnel redly. The tunnel leads to a cavern, probably artificial, in which we find a strongbox. While ½-Jack checks thoroughly for traps and opens it, we others explore the cavern and at length find a well-concealed door, leading to a 5’ diameter escape tunnel.
The strongbox contents include a plentiful supply of low-denomination coin, a bag of gems, and a scroll. The scroll is a Shield spell, good news for Carrick. With the rest of the loot we hope to clear our expenses at least.
Resting and planning
We have liberated 11 more captives, all of them local villagers from Tanaroa, Pinatube and so on. ½-Jack has been counting lots of coins (and 17 gems) and Carrick has been resting. Now, with tools and coins more or less distributed, and stores to take roughly allocated to each boat, we are tiredly making plans to sail first to our own ship and then on to Tanaroa. The villagers seem in accord with this plan. And so to sleep, some of us wondering why the villagers seem blasé about their rescue. Possibly the sociopathic way we have left bodies to lie and swell in the sun, including Slim’s, makes them treat us less as heroes and more as dangerous freaks to humor until a safe distance intervenes.
Much later our sleep is interrupted by Carrick’s cry. He has been on watch in the west tower, and has spotted a lateen sail bearing on the island! It’s running in from the North-East so will come under the north tower as it anchors. Carrick hastens to Martel to report.
Martel outlines a plan to use range weapons to attrite the crew before they can transfer to landing boats. He exhorts villagers to take up crossbows and braziers to be lit and cloth to be tarred and tied to missiles. Meanwhile the escape tunnel will be rigged with tar ready for our exit. Villagers are detailed off to help with these tasks under Br Gaunt and ½-Jack’s supervision, and Red, Carrick and Martel and three villagers (including Mook) carry range weapons and a brazier to the north tower. Once all is near ready, ½-Jack and Br Gaunt wait at the supply hut. The others will whistle to signal relocation from the tower ready to receive invaders on the beach!
The dread pirate Greg (if it is he) commands his vessel, the same caravel that bested ours, to sail close in to shore but not so close that we can use short range. Our burning missiles arc across, setting the sail and spots on the deck alight. As they draw right under the tower the crew take fire as well and several drop. Carrick and Red seize crossbows off the villagers once their longbow arrows are exhausted and keep shooting. Some dozen rascals drop or writhe screaming with burning missiles lodged in them.
½-Jack and Br Gaunt wait ready. They hear the whistles of the tower crew as the ship drops anchor and a lighter (or whale-boat or something of that size) is dropped on the far side of the ship. By the time the pirates have boarded the lighter and are making for shore, Martel, Red and Carrick are waiting with crossbows ready. Even Br Gaunt has one: he might get lucky! Mook sticks with us. But ½-Jack decides to “wait” in the supply hut from which he can try a longer-range shot.
Our first volleys are a disappointment but as the lighter draws in to within 100’ Carrick’s Magic Missiles accounts for three and ½-Jack and Martel one each. Despite losing all these from one side of the benches the lighter crew keeps way and surges up through the shallows and onto the beach, some 13 pirates of all shapes and size leaping out with fierce cries!
Some bear crossbows and return our fire as we withdraw, loosing a parting shot. Carrick and Br Gaunt are hit, Carrick severely. A good thing we rested him fully! As we flee west, the pirates give chase, still shooting, but only Gaunt takes a further nick. ½-Jack has plenty of extra pace [cunning action] and is already at the tunnel entrance as Martel arrives, crossbow slung and weighted down with his usual heavy load.
“Here’s where we make them think twice about close pursuit! I’ll back you Martel, as you and Gaunt stand champions of Tyr and Tempus!” – ½-Jack
“I don’t see why I should get shot to bits when we already have our exit planned” – Martel, throwing down caltrops and retreating down the tunnel
As we flee through the cavern to the escape tunnel ½-Jack briefly regrets not loading each villager down with all of the supplies and coin. But we have most of the coin and a few tools, so he lights the tar and we retreat.
The caltrops and burning cavern delay the pirates convincingly and we make our way along the tunnel, lit by burning torches and Br Gaunt’s light spell, to what appears to be a series of natural caverns. Pools in each, with sea-creatures and tide-marks, suggest that at high tide they are submerged. It is here we pause and plan our next move.