Operation: Summer Wind
A Short Manifold Sky Adventure for One to Four 1st Level BCGR Characters
Eurymaxim is one of the most important religious holidays in the Rostran Archipelago Confederacy. In addition to a week-long celebration of the summer solstice, Eurymaxim is also a time for romances to be stoked or rekindled with the blessing of Ixaumaika, the Rostran Esotericist goddess of love and family. It is considered terrible luck to break off a relationship just before the holiday, but, unfortunately, it does sometimes happen. Such an inauspicious breakup has befallen an old friend of yours. Luckily, Rostrans are known for their deep sense of community, and so you have been called upon to ease his pain with a day of fishing and fun. But this day is not destined to play out as it would seem, and a fluke of circumstance might see the beginning of something new for our lovelorn hero. Can you help your heartbroken friend tack his sails and chart a new course into...the SUMMER WIND?
Niko Vipsted is a personable fellow who has a tendency for speaking from the heart, lending him a knack (unusual among Rostrans) for building friendships with outsiders. He is also something of a pacifist, believing like the famous Arxid Sagan that peace should be strived for through reason first and foremost, but by no means a coward. In any case, he should always be roleplayed as a likeable enough individual that the party is invested in helping him get over his heartbreak, as this forms an important plot hook for this adventure. The GM should feel free to adapt his personality to suit this purpose, but remember that the driving theme of this adventure is overcoming the perception of weakness (see below). Niko and his similarly affable friend, Irido Ivand, are basically inseparable, making it so that the party knows both characters if they know one of them. Ivand is currently in religious training and likes to show his knowledge of the Esotericist religion when he gets the chance, but other than some gentle scolding isn't pushy about spiritual matters. Rostran members of the party are assumed to have met Niko and Irido during their formative years in the RAC, perhaps as old childhood friends or in dealings with Niko somewhat well-connected industrialist parents. Others will have met him through his occasional travels to other cubes on business ventures for his family, whereupon he might have sold them supplies and befriended them in the process. In any event, it is this personal connection that leads the party to recieving this message, which draws them to come visit the pair on the island of Peuli:
Our mutual Rostran friend needs us. Niko's beau, Eirin, broke up him - something about him not being 'tough enough' for her tastes - and just before Eurymaxim to boot. Spiritual issues aside, what a mean thing to do just before the season of love! Anyways, I've got a little excursion at sea set up for him around the time of the celebration to take his mind off the whole thing. Unfortunately, as a hierophant's acolyte I'll be busy on the day making offerings and scribing sigils and the like, so I can't go with him. Can you take him out on the water for me, please? Niko needs his bros right now!
The party meets with Niko and Irido in a tavern near the municipal docks. Niko is visibly down in the dumps, but tries to catch up with the party as best as possible through his crestfallenness. Irido explains the situation:The party can try to get Irido some time off by speaking to Heirophant Tara Renko in the temple of Eosept Lengi on the western side of the island. Upon entering the temple, the hallucinogenic properties of the incense burned there may effect the party (Illusion 5/2). Those who fail their Tech Defense rolls spend their time in the temple and the next hour thereafter under the illusion that the world has more vibrant colors and that they can hear the voices of unseen spirits whispering on the wind. Mrs. Renko tells the party that letting Irido go won't work out given the Eurymaxim events planned for the next day. Her denial comes from a place of understanding, but is irrevocable. If the party tells her about the situation, she sympathizes and does offer the blessing of Ixaumaika 'to mend the broken heart' and Ixaumosana 'to keep (the party) in temperant weather and spirits.' If the party has been respectful to her, treat this blessing as a positive Influence pool (4/2) for each party member.
"Mrs. Renko won't let me get away, understandably, but I took the liberty of stocking up the ol' pontoon boat for all the fishing you can handle. There's beers and Rostral breeze stashed in the cooler under the aft passenger's seat - probably enough to get you all swaying with 'Osana herself - but make sure you out past the coast guard buoys first so they don't catch you. Now get out there and have a good time, bud!"The party might ask what happened with Eirin or suggest trying to talk to her. If this happens, Niko denies the possibility:
Niko stares hard into his beer. "It's like this," he begins. "She says I'm 'too weak' of a man for her. I think she interprets my tendency to talk things through as a way to avoid confrontation, like I'm too scared to stand up for myself. That's not true, but try telling her that. I hear she's already on the rebound with this 'Travin' fellow from Eudoxia. Probably half-way to the mainland already. Eirin..." His lower lip quivers a little, but then he takes a long drink and his expresson hardens again. "Let's get out on the water, eh? Those fish aren't gonna catch themselves."
Niko and the party get about a mile out from Peuli and spend about an hour fishing, drinking, and relaxing on the water before Niko notices a catamaran on the horizon with an orange signal flag being waved from one of the portholes on the starboard hull. Someone is trying to call for help using Rostran signal flag protocol. A Navigation roll (minimum 10) lets a character intuit that something is amiss: for some reason, whoever it is isn't flying the flag from a line or rigging like they would in any other situation, and a Perception or Search (minimum 10) lets a keen-eyed character know that, despite the flag's presence, the man visible on the top deck seems pretty still and at ease for someone facing an emergency. Niko reminds the party with some trepidation that, as a man of the RAC, he is obliged to respond to a distress call like this, but that he's getting 'bad vibes' about the situation.When Niko and the party boards the catamaran, they find that there are two Rostran men manning the ship. These are actually avarix pirates, but they play along that they are just a couple of sailors looking to enjoy the sights. These pirates have come to get revenge on Travin for swindling them in the past (see below), but haven't decided what the best way to make him suffer would be yet. Their weapons are hidden (Search 10 to spot) but always within easy reach. A successful Social Awareness versus either man's Bluff or Disguise allows a character to determine that these men arent what they seem (see descriptions). Both are reticent to share their names and offer only vague statements about where they came from or where they are going; if separately probed long enough, one claims they came from the port of Eudoxia while the other claims they came from an excursion in the Ovinex Island Tribes territories. If pressed much further, they might invite the party to come into the galley for a snack and a chat. This is a setup for an ambush.
Once the party realizes that they are potentially dealing with pirates, they might seek to defuse the situaion in a number of different ways:
They might try to fight the pirates, whereupon both Rostrans and both ovinex attack simultaneously. Niko fights, but isn't well-armed and tries to restrict the enemies' movements (i.e. via Force Movement) more than directly attacking for damage. A savvy player might spot the pirates' hidden weapons and sieze them before they can be turned on the party.
They might try to intimidate the pirates. The Avarix may be strong, but they dont' have much of a spine and will agree to leave (but not turn themselves in) if sufficiently frightened. In this case, the pirates mention that 'maybe Travin bit off more than he can chew this time. This is a hint that Travin has some kind of history with the Avarix.
They might try to use Bluff or Negotiate to trick the pirates into leaving. This should be handled at the Game Master's discretion, but gambits involving working for the pirates' bosses are particularly effective and may lead to hints of Travin's true nature (see above). Niko uses his actions to aid the party if possible in this endeavor, as his skills are geared more towards social encounters.
In any event, once the party clears the ship of pirates, they can then rescue the captive Eirin and Travin.
If the party asks Travin what the pirates wanted or why they came aboard, Travin initially professes no knowledge to this effect. Social skill rolls may be applied to him to learn the truth. He once joined the Avarix and helped them muscle in on local aerospace smuggling rings in Eudoxia for awhile before swindling his fellow criminals, using the ill-gotten proceeds of this to buy a luxury catamaran and put on airs of wealth and power, which he then used to weasel his way into the hearts of women all over the archipelago. What the party decides to do with this information is up to them, but there is no bounty for turning him in to the authorities, as his crimes were heretofore unknown to law enforcement. Use the stats for an Avarix pirate (see sidebar) for Travin if necessary. When the party rescues Eirin, she and Niko express shock at seeing one another again. She asks if the rescue was his idea, and the party may chose to inflate his influence on events. If this happens, previous events and discussions with the party (at Game Master's discretion) determine whether he goes in for the story to regain her favor or comes clean about it. In any event, Eirin expresses that she has seen a new side of Niko and expresses disappointment with how much of a coward Travin turned out to be. Use Niko's stats for Eirin if necessary.
On the way back to shore, Eirin says she is willing to give the relationship with Niko another try. Depending on the party's influence, Niko might decide to reclaim their relationship. Alternatively, he might have been convinced by the party and the events of the hostage situation that he deserves someone who will respect him for who he is, leaving her for good and coming away happy in his newly single life.
AchievementsIxaumosana's Wrath: Destroy the pirates' pontoon boat during a pursuit.
Ami Aika!: Rekindle the lovers' relationship.
Ami Aika?: Rekindle the lovers' relationship by exaggerating Niko's bravery in the hostage situation.
The Real Captain: Show Niko that he deserves better than Eirin.
Criminal Hearts: Expose Travin's secret.
Niko Vipstead (11 xp)
HP: 22 | PD: 1 (3) | TD: 1
MA: 1 (3) | RA: 1
Skills: Social Awareness 1, Negotiate 1
CF: Species Trait (+P/-C)
DescriptionSee Exposition for details
TacticsNiko prefers to avoid physical combat if at all possible and will assist party members in attempting to de-escalate situations or otherwise win the day through social means (i.e. deception).
Pontoon Boat (15 xp)
HP: 60 | PD: 1 | TD: 0
MA: 4 | RA: 1
Skills: Speed 1, Swim 1
CF: Size (up x2)
Syn: S D EE
EquipmentUp to 1000 lbs cargo or 4 passengers
DescriptionThis dieseltech pontoon boat is a common sight in the RAC, often taking the place of the family car or light truck in local islander culture. A bimini roof keeps the back two-thirds of the craft shady and comfortable, and the seats can be rearranged to provide a stage for cargo.
Luxury Catamaran (45 xp)
HP: 450 | PD: 1 | TD: 1
MA: 10 | RA: 1
Skills: Speed 1*, Swim 1 (22/2)*, Navigate 1 (4/1)
CF: Size (up x9)
Syn: S6, D6, E6, I6, P6, T6
This 50' long sailing catamaran is decked out for comfort more than performance. Its twin hulls are lined with windows indicating a living space below decks. The main deck features a lounge and sundeck, and more spaces for sunbathing can be found next to the helm on the roof of the lounge area. *Requires wind to move
Avarix Pirate (11 xp)
HP: 22 | PD: 2 | TD: 1 (3)
MA: 1 (2) | RA: 2 (4)
Skills: Manipulate Mechanism 1
CF: Species Trait (+P/-C)
This well-tanned and otherwise unassuming Rostran man doesn't seem to be dressed for the occasion. His workmanlike overalls are smeared with engine oil in places.
TacticsThe avarix pirates aboard the catamaran persist in their attempts to masquerade as regular boaters while they decide what to do with their captives. If caught out, they may attack, but they might also be willing to 'pass the buck' to others they assume to be undercover avarix pirates. In combat, they prefer to use their grease guns. If one goes down, the other makes a break for a pontoon boat and tries to flee, covering his escape with bursts of grease gun fire.
Ovinex Tough (11 xp)
HP: 33 | PD: 2 (4) | TD: 0
MA: 2 (4) | RA: 2
CF: Species Traits (+E/+P/-I/-C)
This ovinex is dressed in a woolen neo-gambeson and carries a darkwood ba'amba staff. He doesn't look like he's in the mood to talk.
TacticsThese ovinex toughs react as soon as they hear a commotion, hoping to protect their Rostran cohorts at all costs. Simple and blunt, they rush headlong into melee regardless of the danger, though they may attempt to grapple opponents if that seems more likely to ensure a swift victory.
This was really great!
This was a really well knit together read! It interweaved several plotlines, and came out great. Good job! :)
This was really well written. I love the subtle world building with the holidays in the background and Irido's obligations. The story has a nice introspective vibe to it. I'd be tempted to add another complication to the pirates, but I think with Eirin as the captive it works well regardless. I have to see, I am firmly in the camp that Niko deserves better! Really good adventure, well done!