Voyage of the Nimbus – Session 1
Posted by blaster219
The Tribulations of Scabby Jack, Part 1
We begin in that most traditional of places, an inn. It’s early in the morning, early being defined as the hour hand of the clock only just hitting double digits, and the Nimbus’ command crew have dragged themselves out of bed, looking for breakfast. They’ve spent the last few days squandering the helio’s they scored on their last job relaxing at Port Helena, a sleepy community of merchant’s that doesn’t object to strongly to “mercenaries” as long as they don’t make their illicit activities too obvious.
While they’re arguing about what to have for breakfast, who’s paying, what certain crew members got up to last night, why on earth do they have a one-eyed pilot and a one-eyed engineer (“Because between the two of them we have a pair of working eyes.”) and whether Captain Sirocco has done anything about lining up another job, the door to the inn opens and a lad a few years their junior scans the inn’s patrons. Spotting the party, he walks straight over to their table and inquires if they’re the crew of the Nimbus as his boss has a job for them if they are. The lad, who looks less than impressed by their bickering and banter, informs them that the boss is one Scabby Jack, and he’s prepared to pay them a good amount of helio’s for their efforts. Although the lad did hint that the only reason that they’re being hired is that they’re the only ship currently in port.
After finally getting the captain to delay breakfast until after the meeting, the lad led them across Port Helena. A pall of steam from the geothermal vents lay over the town like early morning fog. They eventually get to an estate on Helena’s upper terrace. The house is surrounded by railings and a pair of cannons are situated rather conspicuously on the front lawn. Jamie studies them as they walk past, noting that their barrels are longer than usual and the cannonballs are shaped more like rifle bullets. Guards armed with needle rifles patrol the grounds.
Inside, the décor is gloriously tacky. They are shown into a large, wood-panelled, study where an overweight and middle-aged man sits behind a large desk. He gestures with a withered left hand to a series of chairs lined up in front of the desk and introduces himself as Jack Cutter. Jamie, ever observant, notices as she sits down that a seam in the floor runs around the chairs; almost certainly a trap door. Saying nothing, she sits down but prepares to leap up at a moment’s notice.
Jack doesn’t beat about the bush, the reason why he’s called them here is that his boy, William, has gone missing, kidnapped by persons unknown. There is a near faux-pas moment when Captain Sirocco asks if William was good-looking in an attempt to determine if there was a motive other than money for his disappearance. Jack, misreading Constantine’s intent, virtually years “HE’S EIGHT!” in response.
Once that is cleared up, Jack hands over the ransom note he’d received. He wants the crew of the Nimbus to get his boy back for him. When asked how he wants it done, Jack is frank. “I love my boy, but I ‘aint handing over 10 grand. I do that, and the next time it happens they’ll ask fer 20. No one messes with Jack Cutter.”
Jack is willing to pay the crew of the Nimbus 3’000 helios for rescuing his son; 1’000 upfront and the rest when they return with William.
After getting a description of William, and noting that it was unusual that Jack had no paintings or photographs of his “beloved” son, they accept the job. Constantine and Xanatos immediately set off to have their “long delayed” breakfast while Jamie and Zeke return to the Nimbus to being preparations for departure. The crew, returning in dribs and drabs helps load the last of the provisions and they are done by the time that the Sirocco brothers return.
The kidnappers had left instructions for the ransom to be dropped off at 4PM at a point some hundred or so miles south of Port Helena. Departing at midday, the Nimbus arrived at the site several hours ahead of schedule and took the opportunity to conduct a high-level flyover to reconnoitre the site; pretending to be a simple merchant airship leaving Port Helena bound for ports south (and eliciting “fly casual” jokes).
Their flyover gave them the layout of the location but they were too high to get any specific details like the number of people present or if William was down there. They did manage to locate the old pylon where they were supposed to moor up and the canal barge they were supposed to bring the ransom money to.
The crew put their heads together to come up with a plan. In order to convince the kidnappers that they had the ransom, they decide to fill several sacks with stones and pebbles harvested from an abandoned quarry in order to simulate sacks filled with money. Xanatos and Jamie worked together to modify the Nimbus’ grappling hook launcher to shoot a weighted net which they could use to snatch up young William if a quick getaway was needed.
As the clock inched towards 4, they finish their preparations and head out to the drop off site, typing up at the pylon. Through telescope, they can easily make out several armed men on or around the barge, one of whom has a knife to the throat of a small boy. The Captain and the rest of the “officers” climb down the pylon and load their sacks into a hand cart left at its base by the kidnappers.
A dirt path leads through the long grass towards the canal and as they approach, they are challenged by the kidnappers. Yes Scabby Jack sent us, yes we’ve got the money, no Scabby’s back at Port Helena. The kidnappers seem upset at this but only for a moment. Firing a flare into the sky, they draw cutlasses and leap to attack.
They split up to engage the crew of the Nimbus. One on each party member except for Zeke who seems to warrant two attackers. He engages both in a displayed of flashing cutlasses, acrobatic dodges and waving great coats. It takes a little effort to incapacitate the first one but once he’s down, the second is a pushover. Whilst attempted to disarm him with a shoulder strike, he catches a lucky blow, cleaving the man’s arm off. Looking around, Zeke rushes off to assist his captain who doesn’t appear to be doing too well.
Captain Sirocco, drawing his steam pistol, has been using the cart as cover; keeping it between him and his attacker. The cart is only small but it does cause the kidnapper to lean over if he wants to strike Constantine. Exchancing sword strike and gunshots, the two combatants have injured each other by the time Zeke runs over to assist, but the captain is looking a little worse for wear. Zeke finishes off the kidnapper with a quick one-two.
Across the battlefield, a seemingly unarmed Xanatos faces off against an armed kidnapper. It turns out that the one-eyed engineer whose nickname is amongst the crew is “dead eye”, also deserves the nickname “two-fisted”. The youngest officer, slips on a pair of knuckledusters and lashes out at the kidnapper. First breaking his nose and then, after holding his own for a while, lashing out with a devastating right-hook, sending the man crashing to the floor.
Meanwhile, Jamie has made short work of her attacker, taking him out in just two shots. Unobserved by enemy and ally alike, she slips into the water and climbs up the far side of the barge. Taking careful aim, she shoots at the man holding William hostage. Unbelievably, she misses. Merely grazing the man’s ear. The shock is enough to make him drop William, who scrambles clear. A few seconds later, another kidnapper is lying bleeding on the floor.
Jamie, being the first of the Nimbus’ crew to see William close up, realises that something is slightly off about the young boy. His skin and eyes are just too perfect. He’s an automaton. While she’s digesting this fact, and her crewmembers deal with the captured kidnappers, she hears banging from inside the barge. Following it, she discovers and frees the family of bargefolk the barge belongs too.
After exchanging pleasantries and a promise of help whenever they need it, the Nimbus crew set off back to the ship. As they get close, they notice one of the lookouts waving at them and frantically pointing at something.
In the distance, rising up from behind a hill is another signal flare, followed closely by an airship.
GM Commentary 🙂
The first session was a little truncated since we went through the basic rules at the start, what the numbers mean, how dice are rolled and read, that sort of thing. The result of which was that an adventure which is supposed to take only a session overran at the end. No to worry, the break point between part one and part two was convenient (almost as if I planned it that way). We were also down a player for the first session. Jonathan’s player was unable to make it this week (he had let me know the week before). Luckily we didn’t need the medical automaton’s skills this week, although he’ll need to patch up the captain pretty quickly. Double lucky is that the player owns a (PDF) copy of the book so he should at least be familiar with the basic rules.
I do need to reread the rules on combat I think as there was some discussion as to whether you can use Firearms to defend against melee attacks and whether you can defend against a point-blank firearm attack using Swordplay. In the end, to keep the game running, we decided that if gunfu can be used in Equilibrium to defend against close combat attacks than Firearms can be used defensively for the time being. I also need to keep a better eye on reloading during combat. Of the two firearms using characters, only was using a revolver, the other was using a Steam Pistol. He really should’ve been reloading between each shot (either shooting every other turn, or splitting his pool).
Next time, The Tribulations of Scabby Jack, Part Two