We started a new MERP campaign tonight, with Matt DMing for the first time. He did a great job; an awesome job for a first-timer.
Our party included four members. First was Grafarlig the Dwarvish warrior, a doughty warrior in chainmail but altogether too naïve to be left on her own. Second is Delcaranan, a Sindarin fire mage who seems aimed down the wrong path. He is far too interested in throwing lightning bolts and fireballs, even against defenseless foes, and it seems likely that corruption will stalk him. Opposed to him is Drogo Longfoot, a Hobbit mage who excels at movement spells but tries to make the world a better place wherever he goes. Finally there is Feldeneith the Dorwinian rogue, skilled both in combat and cunning. He is an old sailing comrade of Drogo’s, though Drogo views him with some suspicion because of his involvement with smugglers and the Cult of the Long Night.
They met in the Dead Bear Inn in Shrel-Kain, capital of Dorwinion. As they sipped their Blackbeary Wine, Captain Leif Barlen entered to offer them positions on his boat. He was leaving late in the season and needed hands. He paid Drogo and Feldeneith three quarters up front, and even paid the other two half up front. He was that desperate.
On the first night aboard the Ocean Noise, the adventurers attended a lively dinner at which Capt. Barlen told of the sunken treasure of Tulric Hamrammr, a popular legend. All were having a gay old time, when a wealthy female elven passenger named Lorfalmas abruptly died. Drogo came to check on her, and while doing so, slipped the expensive bracelet she was wearing into his pouch. He was observed by a slender figure who left the room, and was later tentatively identified as Lomeilinde, another female passenger. Drogo noticed the white substance coming from her ears and identified it as a sign of Catharnon powder, a deadly poison. Grimwasa the cook had prepared a special chicken dish for her, one that no-one else had touched. It was clear that was the vector for the poison, but Grimwasa claimed ignorance. Everyone was questioned, and Lomeilinde was searched, but no powder was found.
It was at this point that pirates associated with the Cult of the Long Night attacked the ship. Drogo and Grimwasa were downstairs, along with the men of the Second Watch, who were guarding the various private cabins. Grimwasa proved to be a pirate himself, but Drogo escaped and ran into Lothmeilinde’s room, where a locked door kept him safe while he chatted pointlessly but pleasantly with the woman he now believed to be some sort of spy or thief. He did not drink the wine offered, but instead departed and headed for the Fo’c’sle.
Meanwhile, the rest of the party was engaged in a desperate battle. Grafarlig was dealing out destruction on the poorly armed and armored pirates, as was Capt. Barlen. Feldeneith was also holding his own. Redmane, the ship’s wizard, ran downstairs to hide but Delcaranan tried various fire and light spells with little success. When Drogo came on deck, he found himself behind one of the pirates. He had hoped to jump to the pirate ship and wreak havoc, but could not spot it, so he clobbered one of the pirates over the head. He was about to flee the angry pirate when they gave up the ghost and fled. Only three remained. One went over the port side into a longboat and escaped. The enemy captain was downed by Feldeneith and then Delcaranan fired a lightning bolt at him that thankfully failed. The last went over the starboard side and smashed his already aching head on the side of the boat and slipped under the water. Drogo jumped into the longboat and gaffed the pirate up again and into the boat with the hook on his staff that he usually used to hang his lantern.
After the battle, they found Grimwasa weeping and scared, and Redmane, also with lost nerve. The entire second watch was found murdered and neatly stacked, and Lomeilinde was gone. While the rest of the party guarded the captives, Barlen, Grafarlig, and Drogo went searching for Lomeilinde. Drogo cast Wolf Senses and smelled someone in the supplies in the hold. Grafarlig entered and found a pregnant woman who claimed innocence. Inconceivable! The party returned to the deck. Drogo asserted that none of the captives (including Redmane, now tied up) smelled like Lomeilinde, but he did detect a scent coming from the room with the dead bodies. The party feared that one or more of the captives were shapeshifters, and Delcaranan argued that they should be killed outright. Drogo resisted this without further proof. The party decided to go back to the dead bodies, but feared what they might find there. And there we ended for the night.