May 31, 2012

RPG Play: Monkey Pirates Session Five

Previously in the Monkey Pirates RPG blog series:
Introduction to the game
Character Creation
Actual Play Session One
Actual Play Session Two
Actual Play Session Three
Actual Play Session Four

(Blogger's Note:  My kids continue to show imagination and creativity in the parts which they narrate - they all compliment each other well and help to collectively tell their parts of the story, which is fun to see.  Obviously, some of the adjectives and adverbs in the text below are a bit above their grade levels and were added in by me for flavor at the time of transcription.)

Monkey Pirates and the Precipice of Doom
Date Played: May 19, 2012
1 hour, 3 minutes

As the adventuring band debates how best to begin searching for Captain Squawk, newcomer Lilly decides to use her first Treasure point to get a bottle of vitamins that will keep her healthy and fit to aid in her Climbing tests.

Still stinging from the humiliating defeat at the hands of Captain Jack Squawk, the four piratical monkeys agree to seek out Jacquette at the Pearlie Mist.  She’s strange and her place smells weird, but she seems to be a fountain of knowledge and may know how to reach the scoundrel.  They make the trek to her establishment in a lonely part of the island.  Approaching the door, they note it is slightly ajar and so they cautiously enter looking around the dimly lit store.  Jacquette is wearing an oversized cloak and rustling through some papers, with her back to the entrance.  Hearing the quartet enter, she raises and turns her head to the side and rasps, “What do you need?”

“We’ve come for some more answers,” says the captain with urgency.

“Really,” is the one word reply.  Her voice creaks.

Blue Tail raises her brows, asking, “What’s wrong with your voice?”

Jacquette stands, slowly turns around, and lowers her hood…to reveal that she is not Jacquette, after all!  Instead, standing before the confused quartet, the cloaked creature is a bugged-eyed frog, with the collar of a royal naval uniform protruding from the top of his robe.

“Who are you,” asks the captain, drawing his sword.

The mystery intruder smiles with embarrassment.  “Please, I know this seems awkward, what with me being here, and all, but I can explain.  My name is Commodore Christopher Greene of HMS Jumper.  I am looking for Captain John Smith and my contacts led me here, to the Pearlie Mist, as there may be some association between him and the owner of this establishment.”

The four pirates look innocently back and forth between each other.  “Why are you looking for him,” asks Patchey McNuttey.

Lilly rolls a Chatter test to pry the information from Commodore Greene needing a 3 on the monkey die, and a 2 on the chatter die.  She rolls a 3,6 and passes.

The amphibian thinks for a brief moment and sighs.  “I’m on official, yet sensitive, business for Governor Longneck and must retain a low profile.  His lordship would like to enlist Captain Smith’s services in dealing with the notorious criminal Captain Jack Squawk.  So you can appreciate our need to stay ‘out of the picture.’  And let’s just say the governor is aware of their little rivalry.  Do you know Mr. Smith?”

“We’ve heard of him,” replies Patchey.

Shiver Paw pipes up, “What do you want him to do?”

“You see,” replies Greene, “Squawk has something that the governor wishes to keep out of criminal hands.  Smith knows of it, we’re told, and his grace would like him to retrieve it.  In return, he is prepared to give him the whereabouts of Captain Squawk, to pay very handsomely for the object in question, and to give a full pardon for all of the captain’s crimes, plus pardons to his crew, as well.”

“I think he’s dead,” Patchey quips quickly.  She does not trust the frog.

The commodore looks sadly to the floor.  “Oh, dear, that’s…unfortunate.  We’d not heard that, although we knew his last destination was Cannibal Island, so perhaps,” his voice trails off.

The others pull Patchey aside and whisper to her, “Look, we need to find Squawk and this guy knows where he is. What if they’re already summoning Orangebeard?  We’ll have to trust him for now.”  Patchey does not like it, but Captain Smith makes the call.  “Can you prove your story?”

Greene pulls an envelope from his cloak.  “These are my official orders, and the governor’s offer to Smith, with his signature.”

Smith removes the letter from the envelope and scans the document.  He seems satisfied and stands straight.  “I am Captain John Smith.”

Greene’s wide eyes brighten.  “Excellent!  I suspected as much and the governor will be grateful for your services, sir.  So, it is agreed that you will acquire the, ahem, ‘special object’ in exchange for a generous reward and full pardons for all?”

“Agreed,” confirms the captain.  “Now, where is he?”

The officer places his hood again upon his head and begins to walk out of the Pearlie Mist.  “In one of the clearings on High Pointe to the northwest of this island,” he says and adds, “Good luck,” as he exits.  The monkeys all stare as he leaves and then gather their courage to confront Squawk.

Hope rolls a Sailing test to find a path to High Pointe needing a 3 on the pirate die, and a 2 on the sailing die.  She rolls a 5,6 and passes.

[Hope narrated] Blue Tail leads them outside and looks out in the direction of High Pointe.  “I know that place,” she beams brightly.  “On the ship I used to serve on, before this one, the whole crew would go up there to camp and drink slushies!”  She heads off down a rough trail and up to the Pointe and then sees some light ahead with faint smoke trails climbing up into the air.  “That must be them,” she declares.

The four walk up to the clearing and peer through the wall of greenery.  There’s a small gathering of weasel pirates with Captain Squawk and his first mate, Oliver le Peel.  They’re all circled around a large boulder on which the amulet rests.  Stooped over the natural altar is the wily, gypsy fox, Jacquette, chanting some gibberish which the monkeys don’t understand.

“She’s trying to raise Orangebeard,” exclaims Patchey in a frantic whisper.  The sneaking pirates quickly decide they must act fast, though not rashly.  So they nonchalantly stroll out into the clearing and join the crowd watching Jacquette’s ritual as if nothing is abnormal.

Squawk and his gang gaze transfixed on Jacquette and her strange ceremony, oblivious to the intruders.  The gypsy continues her exotic incantations until, as if pausing mid-chant, she stops and looks straight at the new arrivals.  Then Squawk notices them, too, and draws his cutlass.  “What in me bloomin’ pantaloons is going on?”  He is obviously concerned.  “Ye just never learn, Mr. Smith!”

John Smith answers back with a challenge.  “I think you have something of mine, Jack, and I’ll take it back, now!”

The macaw glances to Smith’s three companions and then at his own weasel crew and smiles mischievously.  “I tell ye what, sir.  How about a personal duel?  You beat me champion mate Oliver le Peel and you can have the amulet.  If’n ye lose, well,” he paused, “I’ll think of something.”  His beady eyes widen above his beak.

Captain Smith contemplates the challenge while he stares at le Peel, a massive and hairy gorilla with a large broadsword.  While Squawk’s diminutive rodents seem easy to overpower, Smith realizes that he and his friends are still out numbered, plus they have the thuggish silverback on their side.  With seemingly little alternative, Smith says, “Agreed, sir!”

Brendon rolls a Swords test (vs. Oliver le Peel) needing a 3 on the pirate die and a 2 on the swords die; meanwhile le Peel will need to roll the same.  Brendon rolls a 4,2 while the ape rolls a 6,3 and beats Brendon on aggregate!  Brendon fails but applies his Luck point to pass.

[Brendon narrated] Captain Smith and Oliver le Peel frown at each other and start to circle around like preying buzzards, waiting for a chance to strike.  The rest of the animals all gather to from a ring and crowd in closer to get a good glimpse of the battle.  They all start to cheer as the two fighters begin exchanging the first blows and Smith soon sees that the gorilla is going to be much stronger.  He has trouble attacking le Peel, but instead is driven back and then to the side, then back again, always having to defend.  Just then, a weasel sailor whelps in pain.  So intent on watching the duel, he had inadvertently backed into the campfire, setting his butt alight!  He panics and scrambles around hitting other weasels like a pinball, setting more fur on fire.  Mass chaos ensues with weasels running in all directions in pain and fright.  One such combustible ferret bumps into le Peel and knocks him momentarily off-balance.  Smith sees his chance and swings a fortuitous knock-out blow which sends the oafish ape to the ground.

Captain Smith pauses to catch his breath and the four monkeys happily look about the clearing.  Flaming weasels are dashing off to the beach, le Peel is out cold, Jacquette is gone, the stone alter is empty, and Jack Squawk is racing off into the jungle with the amulet in hand.  Who would have thought a notorious pirate would not honor his word?!

“He’s getting away,” shouted Patchey.

“No for long,” resolved Shiver Paw.

Cory rolls a Climbing test (chase vs. Jack Squawk) needing a 3 on the monkey die and a 2 on the climbing die; meanwhile the macaw will need to roll a 5 and a 4 on the same.  Cory rolls a 4,4 while the captain rolls a 2,6.  Cory succeeds.

[Cory narrated] Jack Squawk flies away through the trees, staying low.  Shiver Paw darts off after him and climbs into the first tree and starts swinging from vine to vine, slowly gaining on the bird.  Squawk looks behind him to see if anyone is following, but he does not look up to see Shiver Paw.  The monkey swings directly above the macaw and then drops down and grabs him by the feet, pulling him to the ground.  They both tumble down, wrestling, and Shiver Paw pins him down and snatches the amulet.  Jack has a broken beak for his troubles.

The other three monkeys join their nimble companion who is astride the former baddie.  With hostage and amulet in hand, the quartet exudes hope with the anticipation of fame, fortune, and a forthright future.

Before wrapping up, I replace Brendon’s Luck point used in the fight with le Peel.  Well-earned, I thought, for the butts-on-fire incident.

May 22, 2012

RPG Play: Monkey Pirates Session Four

Previously in the Monkey Pirates RPG blog series:
Introduction to the game
Character Creation
Actual Play Session One
Actual Play Session Two
Actual Play Session Three

Monkey Pirates and Journey to Cannibal Island
Date Played: May 5, 2012
1 hour, 20 minutes

Before leaving for Cannibal Island, Brendon spends a Treasure point to acquire a parrot to aid in his chatter.  Its plumage and linguistic skills will no doubt impress others, in addition to just rounding out the genre.  Cory spends a Treasure point to buy a musket to help his swords category.  Hope rolls a Sailing test to reach Cannibal Island needing a 3 on the pirate die and a 2 on the sailing die.  She rolls a 4,6 and passes.  This is all uneventful; but excitement still awaits.

The four monkey pirates once again board the Sea Snail to sail off for Cannibal Island.  Captain John Smith makes a mental note to buy a new ship…maybe with the money they get from selling the amulet?  Blue Tail takes the wheel, much to the nervous anxiety of the crew, but this time she redeems her past nautical misadventures with a smooth voyage to the remote and ominous island.

After a few days of sailing, the crew welcomes the sight of land, even if savage tribesmen may be waiting to serve them up well-done in a coconut glaze with a side of fried plantains.  Anchoring in the bay, the quartet rows ashore and secures their dinghy on the beach, alertly scanning the environment for any fearsome natives.  Just as they hesitantly begin their trek into the jungle, a shrieking squawk pierces the heavy air.  “Cap’n Smith! I’ll be havin’ words with ye, if’n ya please, sir!”

Smith turns around.  It’s Captain Jack Squawk!  The notorious sea brigand has his pistols drawn and his oafish first mate, Oliver le Peel, commanding a pack of weasel sailors behind him.  John Smith glares.  “What do you want, Jack?”  He knew the scoundrel paid little heed to the code of monkey pirate brotherhood.

“I’ll be taking the amulet ya got there, sir.”  The bird pauses to see the crew’s surprise.  “Ha, don’t be foolin’ yerself.  Ain’t nothin’ goes on in the Ape Isles without Cap’n Squawk hearin’ about it!”  His weasel gang laughs behind him.

“There’s plenty more treasure out there, Squawk.”

“Oh, it’s not the treasure I be after, Cap’n Smith.  It’s the amulet that will be helping me conquer the seas!”

“You’re dealing with powers you can’t understand, Squawk!”

“Shut your gun port, mister!  Enough talkin’.”

“Well,” replied Captain Smith unsheathing his saber, “You’ll not be getting it so easy.”

Squawk beams brightly, tosses his pistols back to le Peel, and draws his own sword.  “Ah, it’ll be me own pleasure, sir.”

Brendon rolls a Swords test (vs. Captain Squawk) needing a 3 on the pirate die and a 2 on the swords die; meanwhile Squawk will need to roll a 3 on both die.  Brendon rolls a 2,1 while Squawk rolls a 4,4!  Brendon fails and Jack will get his prize.

The two captains lunge at each other like gladiators in a Roman arena.  Their respective crews watch intently, cheering on their own champion.  The two skilled swordsmen strike and parry, and parry and strike.  The clang of steel rings throughout the spectacle and a cloud of dust wafts upwards from their dance in the sand.  Each time one formulates an attack, the other responds with a deft defense.  Back and forth, on and on, the struggle continues through the evening.  Gradually and by increments, the spectators’ vigor wanes, then they sit, and they yawn, and finally fall asleep as the combatants duel on into dusk.  As their stamina drains, the fighters’ blows weaken and falter, their fancy footwork turns to molasses.  Finally, Captain Squawk lands a strike on Smith’s head, but it’s too spent to be of mortal damage.  However, the last thing Smith remembers before waking up again is the exhausted smile of the macaw.

When Captain Smith comes to, he sees his mates still fast asleep and snoring away.  He quickly rouses them with rough insults and looks around.  They are alone on the beach, with just the sound of the lapping, ocean waves to accompany their despair.  Captain Squawk, his crew, and his ship are nowhere to be found.

Captain Smith issues orders to ready the Sea Snail for hot pursuit so that he may seek his revenge, but cooler heads prevail.  Blue Tail convinces him that they should at least look for the dagger, Bombus, before hunting down Jack Squawk.  There is no telling what Squawk’s plans with the amulet are, but if he is able to resurrect Orangebeard’s ghost before they can get it back, they’ll need the dagger.  A grumpy John Smith barely acquiesces and mostly under the other three’s concerted insisting.

Hope rolls a Sailing test to find Skull Cave, resting place of Bombus, needing a 3 on the pirate die and a 2 on the sailing die.  She rolls a 6,1 and blows up the ‘6’ to re-roll the failed sailing die and gets a ‘3,’ which passes.

[Hope narrated] Blue Tail sees some high, rocky ridges off in the distance towards the middle of the island and begins to lead the other three in that general direction.  As they near the rocks, they begin to see a few, small caves around the area, but she figures that this cave will be higher up and harder to reach.  So she takes them around the bottom of the ridge and then they see it – a large indentation on the face of a cliff that resembles a skull.

The pirates peer up at the rocky, cliff face.  About fifty feet straight up, right in the middle where the skull’s nose should be, is an opening.  The captain, Blue Tail, and Patchey all turn their heads to look at the spindly Shiver Paw.  Before he can answer, they hear the deep echoing of drums off in the distance.  “Um, you better hurry Shiver Paw,” exclaims Patchey.

Cory rolls a Climbing test to climb up to the cave needing a 3 on the pirate die, and a 2 on the climbing die.  He rolls a 1,1 and fails grievously, but will use his Luck point to succeed, anyway.

[Cory narrated] Shiver Paw quickly starts up the stony face finding little cracks and knobs for his paws.  He hurries up, scared that cannibals are on the way and makes good time until he reaches just a little higher than tree-top level.  Just then, the drums seem to get louder, so he turns his head to look and loses concentration.  He slips and falls.  Flying backwards and waiving his arms, a skinny palm tree catches him which bends down to the ground with his weight and then flings back up like a catapult which hurtles him through the air – and right into the opening of Skull Cave!

Shiver Paw collects his senses, brushing himself off as he stands.  The sun pours through the cave’s mouth providing the only source of natural light.  Yet in the center of the cavern, the rays bounce off of a pile of gold, silver, glass, and jewels to warmly illuminate the cold environment.  And there, in the center of the glittering mound, sticks Bombus, a splendid, gold-hilted dagger standing straight up like a ship’s mast.  The hesitant monkey slowly walks towards the fortune, crunching on coins and gems beneath his footsteps.  Upon reaching the dagger, and in a moment of the greatest example of determined focus known to history, he snatches the dagger, and only the dagger, from it’s resting nest of bullion, and scurries out of the cave, down the cliff face and rejoins his friends…leaving all that booty behind!

Returning with the supernatural knife, Shiver Paw and the others quickly head back to the ship, anxious to get off the island.  They can still hear the menacing drum rhythms pounding in the not-too-far distance.  As they near the beach, the drums only grow louder and louder.  Pausing at the edge of the forest line, they stealthily peek through the foliage and see a crowd of cannibal tribesmen gathered around their dinghy with a large cooking pot over a giant bonfire.  Their path is decidedly blocked!

Brendon rolls a Swords test (vs. the cannibals) needing a 3 on the pirate die and a 2 on the swords die; meanwhile the culinary natives will need to roll of 4 on both die.  Brendon rolls a 3,4 while the cannibals roll a 1,4!  Brendon wins.

[Brendon narrated] Captain Smith and the others gather some coconuts and vines that are lying about the ground.  With each one grabbing a vine, they tie a couple of coconuts to one of their ends.  With their makeshift weapons they burst out of the jungle together, screaming like crazy, running towards the water, and swinging their coconut slings in big circles above their heads.  The surprised and scared cannibals freeze in panic just long enough for the pirates to dash straight into the crowd.  Whirling coconuts knock against heads and splatter against faces, sending the natives scattering in all directions.  Like lightning, the monkeys jump in their little row boat and furiously pull out against the waves to the Sea Snail.

The cannibals regroup to angrily launch their spears and some other projectiles at the fleeing buccaneers, yet futilely for they are safely out of range.  Boarding the Sea Snail, the quartet is happy to be on their floating home and head back to Pirate Island.  They have a score to settle…

Cory and Lilly were particularly creative in their contributions to the group narration so I awarded Cory a Luck point and Lilly a Treasure point.  Brendon and Hope were doing fine on both stats, so we left it at that.

May 17, 2012

RPG Play: Monkey Pirates Interlude

Previously in the Monkey Pirates RPG blog series:
Introduction to the game
Character Creation
Actual Play Session One
Actual Play Session Two
Actual Play Session Three

Monkey Pirates and the Nutty Stranger
Date Played: May 5, 2012

The Captain, Shiver Paw, and Blue Tail head to their favorite watering hole, the Leaning Banana, for some banana slushies.  They have much to decide.  Should they sell the amulet now?  Or first find out what it does, if anything?  Do they wear it to look pretty?  Walking down the creaky boardwalk to the tavern, they see a disheveled monkey lying about just off the path.  She has a strange spark in her eyes.  As the three approach, the loiterer straightens up proudly and brightly beams, “I love an adventure!”

The trio exchange glances and Captain Smith noncommittally replies, “Uh, that’s nice.”  Increasing their pace, they try to sidle past.

“Wait,” says the homeless primate, “I’d like to join your pirate band.”

The captain looks at her seriously.  “I’m sorry, we have no use for pirates who don’t do anything.”

“I can work,” she exclaims.  “And I’m good at getting things from other monkeys.”

He thinks quickly.  “Hmmm, good debater, eh?”

She looks up innocently.  “Well, not exactly.  They just get tired of listening to me so they give me whatever I want, so I’ll go away.”

“Well, I’ll tell you what,” Smith begins to bargain, “you find some bloke named Reginald Coxcomb for us, and you can join us as a full pirate.  But,” he cuts off her growing smile, “if you fail, we’ll make you the butler.  Deal?”

She seems overly excited.  “Deal!”

“So, what’s your name,” asks the friendly Blue Tail.

“Patchey McNuttey!  Now, follow me,” she shouts over her shoulder as she leads them into the tavern.

“Oh, snap,” says Shiver Paw.

(Lilly's character) Patchey McNuttey
  • Pirate - 5
    • Swords - 6
    • Sailing - 4
  • Monkey - 3
    • Climbing - 4
    • Chatter - 2
Quote:  "I love an adventure!"
Reputation:  Insanely crazy.
Description:  Stripped tail, always smiling, awkwardly nutty.
Favorite Thing:  My invisible friend, Jack.

Lilly rolls a Chatter test to find information on Coxcomb needing a 3 on the monkey die and a 2 on the chatter die.  She rolls a 4,4 and succeeds on her first ever test!

[Lilly narrated] Patchey starts right away with the first tavern-goer she sees, some ugly raccoon.  He says he’s never heard of Reginald Coxcomb, but points to some other pirate in the room that might.  Well, that pirate has never heard of him, but he also points to a different pirate in the room who might.  Strangely, he’s never heard of the man, either.  But, as you might guess, he points to another.  Watching the episode, Shiver Paw whispers to the other two over in the corner, “She must have been here before.”  Anyway, Patchey bounces from pirate to pirate like a rubber ball asking the same question until she finally comes to the last one at a dark table in the back.  There slumps an alligator with a look of defeated exasperation as Patchey approaches.

“Do you know where Reginald Coxcomb lives,” asks Patchey in a bubbly voice.

“Yes,” the gator replies gruffly.  “How long’s this gonna take?”

“I just want to know where to find him.  My new friends are looking for him.”

“Oh, well,” he says happily surprised, “you know the caves on the southeast part of the island.” Patchey nods in affirmation.  “He’s in the smallest one.”

The new pirate band member says, “Thanks,” and turns to rejoin the others before the informant adds, “Oh, uh, watch out for the bats.  And, um, especially the bat droppings.”

The four seafaring brigands basically run to the cave complex in their excitement.  They did not realize anything lived there.  The caves are used for hiding loot, storing the ice for the Leaning Banana’s slushies, and weddings.  Arriving at the geological abode, they see Coxcomb – a large, plump, red New Hampshire rooster – pecking and snacking off the ground.  His head pops up as the pirates enter and he nervously looks around.  He blurts out, “What do you want?”

The captain approaches with the book in hand.  “We want to know if you can read this, sir.”

“Can’t you see its supper time?”  He shakes his head.  “The manners of some people!”

“Well,” shrugs John Smith, “we are pirates.”

Lilly rolls a Chatter test to get Coxcomb to translate the book needing a 3 on the monkey die and a 2 on the chatter die.  She rolls a 3,2 and barely succeeds.

[Lilly narrated] At first, Coxcomb says, “No!”  But then Patchey gives him a sad puppy dog look, which is really hard for a monkey, and so he says, “Oh, fine, give me the book!”

Coxcomb flips to the page that Smith already has marked and looks intrigued as he scans the page.  “Interesting,” he hums, “this is a very old Orangutan script.  I have not seen this for many years.”

“Can you read it,” asks Blue Tail.

He squints at them impatiently.  “I will try, but I may be a bit rusty.  I presume you’re looking at this amulet, here.”  They all nod in unison.  “It seems that it is called the Amulet of Bongo and it gives its owner control over nature itself – but only at the price of resurrecting the ghost of the Dread Captain Orangebeard.  Evidently, Bongo was a powerful sorcerer and set the amulet to defeat a mad witch who aligned herself with Orangebeard and gave him strange powers.  Then suddenly at the great showdown, and sadly anti-climatically for those who love great adventure, Orangebeard died from a hornet sting.  It seemed he was allergic to bees and went into analeptic shock.  Before his witch could save him, Bongo cast his soul into the amulet's jewels.  That was over 600 years ago.  However, resurrecting Orangebeard today would be…”


“…unpredictable, I think is the best translation.”

“Let’s just sell it to some rich person who doesn’t know what it is,” plans the captain.

“No,” warns the chicken.  “It must be destroyed.  The longer it remains in this world, the greater the chance it will fall into the wrong hands.  If Orangebeard is summoned, he cannot be stopped by mortal monkeys, and the Ape Isles could be destroyed.  But,” he pauses reading more intently, “there is one way to stop him.”

“How,” asks Shiver Paw, starring intently.

“It says here, the dagger, called Bombus, and forged by Bongo himself, can slay the Dread Captain’s ghost.  Its last known whereabouts was in Skull Cave on Cannibal Island.”

Blue Tail sighs, “Not another cave…”

May 15, 2012

RPG Play: Monkey Pirates Session Three

Previously in the Monkey Pirates RPG blog series:
Introduction to the game
Character Creation
Actual Play Session One
Actual Play Session Two

(Blogger's Note:  My kids showed a good deal of creativity in the parts which they narrated; and they all kind of helped each other tell their parts of the story, which was fun to see.  Obviously, some of the adjectives and adverbs are a bit above their grade levels and were added in by me for flavor at the time of transcription.)

Monkey Pirates and the Hand-Me-Down Chest
Date Played: April 28, 2012
Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

The weary, yet intrepid, crew put in to Death Island.  Their stolen merchant caravel, the Sea Snail, needs repairs, and the Captain wants to be as quick as possible.  Surveying their surroundings, they notice a faint column of smoke rising into the air a short distance inland amongst the jungle greenery.  They agree to check it out, hoping to find assistance or answers.  The source of the smoke emits from a ramshackle hut in the midst of a small clearing.  There is not much else around the property but for some empty and broken crates and barrels.  As they approach the undiscerning shack, a grizzled voice calls from inside, “Get off my lawn, ye land lubbers!”

Immediately stopping in their tracks and looking at each other, Shiver Paw replies, “Who goes there?”

“None of ye bees’ wax, little boy, now leave!”

Cory rolls a Chatter test to get the occupant out of the house needing a 3 on the pirate die, and a 4 on the chatter die.  He rolls a 3,3 and fails, but uses his Luck point to pass, anyway.

[Cory narrated] Shiver Paw yells again for the guy to come out of his hut, but there is no answer.  The pirates sit there and wait patiently wondering what to do next, when all of the sudden, the man inside yelps in panic.  There is a lot of noise coming from inside and then more smoke billows up in thick plumes.  It is then that Shiver Paw realizes that the back of the shack is on fire!  Since it is made of wood and leaves, it begins to burn very quickly and the owner runs out to avoid death!

The former occupant is an old, crusty-looking turtle with one foot in the grave.  He sneers angrily at the three primates and snarls, “Oh, hang me jib, what do ye want, then?”

“Who are you,” asks Shiver Paw trying not to snicker.

“Me name’s Cap’n Rogers Iron Brittleshell,” he replied impatiently.

Shiver Paw looked around.  “And what are you doing here?”

The bitter sea captain sighs, “Well, if’n ye must know.  I was taking me crew to find an amulet that is worth more gold than a hundred galleons loaded with treasure.  We searched for years and years until the lads thought me addled, and so they mutinied!  The scurvy knaves hornswaggled me out of me cap’ncy and left me for shark bait.  So, I be shipwrecked here all them years.”

“How long has that been,” asks Blue Tail incredulously.

“Seven years, me lass.  And I would have died too, if’n it weren’t for a chest of su-, er, uh, I mean, the best coconuts and dates in the Ape Sea that grow on this island.”  He looks away and laughs innocently.

“So you never found it,” interjects Blue Tail, “the amulet?”

“Nah, but I was on me way back home to Pirate Island before they keel-hauled me.  I found a scroll about the amulet that was written in some daft language and a gent, there goes by the name of Coxcomb, could have read it, or so I heard.”

During the conversation, Captain Smith surveys the area and is certainly more concerned with the pressing matter of boat repairs.  “Can you help us fix our ship, Mr. Brittleshell?  If you help us, we’ll help you off the island.”

“No,” he grunts.  “I’m finished with civilization and a pirate’s life!  This is home, sweet home, now.  And now I’ll be thanking ye to get off my island.  Good day!”  He storms back to his blackened hut and slams the charred door behind him.

Left to themselves again, the captain focuses on the banana trees as a source of wood to repair their stolen merchant ship and Blue Tail suggests they look for Brittleshell’s chest that he seemed to have accidentally mentioned.

Hope rolls a Sailing test to find the chest needing a 3 on the pirate die and a 2 on the sailing die.  She rolls a 6,6 and succeeds!

[Hope narrated] Blue Tail follows a path of trampled grass which leads off behind the hut and into another beach section.  There is a little circle area of rocks and logs in tall grass.  She walks through, stepping on the stones and logs.  While wandering around and looking, she suddenly hears a hollow sound beneath her foot.  Bending down, she notices this “log” looks different than the others and she digs around it a little bit to see that it is actually Brittleshell’s chest!  She pulls it out of the ground and then calls to the other two.

The captain and Shiver Paw arrive on the scene and the monkeys’ excitement is quickly subdued when they discover that the chest is locked – with three latches.  Around the front of the lid’s trim, is a quizzical riddle that reads: “Name three keys found in the wild that unlock no doors.”*

The three pirates stand puzzled, clearly realizing they’re better at plundering and pillaging than logical deduction.  They think and ponder and strain, until finally Blue Tail looks within herself, or perhaps at the other two, and arrives upon the first obvious answer.  “Monkey,” she beams with a smile.  At that utterance, the first lock snaps open and the three jump in excitement.

With that epiphany, they quickly run through a mental list of the animal kingdom.  Shiver Paw is the next to answer, blurting out, “Donkey!”  And with that, the second latch pops open.  Then in short order, the captain chimes in with a loud, “Turkey,” releasing the last lock!  With baited breath and tense anticipation, they slowly open the chest’s lid.  And find…just three things, none of which are treasure.  It appears that Brittleshell took everything he wanted or would be helpful on the island, leaving only a blunderbuss, a compass, and a jar of perfume.

The three adventurers shrug their shoulders and divvy up the “plunder.”  Shiver Paw grabs the perfume.  It should adequately mask his banana breath when talking with other people.  Despite her blundering navigational skills to date, Blue Tail picks up the blunderbuss for greater combat strength.  And lastly, the captain nabs the compass to improve his sailing skills.  Maybe even take the wheel next voyage?

Heading back to the Sea Snail with their hand-me-down booty, the crew grabs some wood and other natural items lying about for their nautical repairs.  It seems the dog soldiers back on Apeston’s piers didn’t completely miss, after all.  There are several holes at the ship’s waterline that need covering.  Evidently, Captain Smith is fresh out of gorilla tape.

Cory rolls a Climbing test to repair the ship needing a 3 on the pirate die, and a 2 on the climbing die.  He rolls a 2,1 and fails, receiving a nasty work-related injury which will give him a -1 to his climbing stat.  This is in the days before OSHA, you know.

Shiver Paw strips some of the driftwood they collected into small planks, just large enough to cover the holes.  He starts whistling away as he nails them to the hull with a coconut.  But he is dreaming about bananas, loses focus, and smashes his thumb with the husk.  Yelping in pain while dangling from the overboard lines, the other pirates laugh at his misfortune.  This hurts his feelings, but what do they care?  They’re pirates.  He gingerly finishes the rest of his crude, patchwork repairs and hopes it will hold as they continue sailing home.

The crew does not have long to wait before the seaworthiness of Shiver Paw’s repairs are tested.  Another vessel not far in the distance sails into view and approaches fast upon the rickety caravel.  It is flying the skull and crossbananas of their rapscallion brotherhood.  Captain Smith recognizes the boat as the Sea Kitten, Captain Persia’s ship.  Before long, she carefully approaches within hailing distance and calls out, “Avast, and heave to!”

Captain Smith replies, “Ahoy, Captain Persia, ‘tis I, Captain Smith.  We’ve got nothin’ but this crippled merchant bucket.  Nothing of interest to you here.”

He can see her smile beneath those luminous, green eyes.  “Oh, but I think not, sir!  I’ve heard you’ve been treasure hunting.”  She pauses.  “I think you may indeed have something of interest to me!”

The cute and cuddly captain looks around and thinks fast.  They can fight, run from, or try to outsmart the feline buccaneer.  But none of those options are particularly appealing.  They have only one gun, their ship is slower than a sloth, and Persia is legendarily known for her charm and quick wits.  His stomach turns at the thought of fleeing or debating.  Perhaps, instead, he can use surprise to get the upper hand?

Brendon rolls a Swords test (vs. Captain Persia) needing a 3 on the pirate die and a 2 on the swords die; meanwhile Captain Persia will need to roll a 4 on the pirate die and a 5 on the swords die. Brendon rolls a 6,5 while Captain Persia rolls a 5,3!  Brendon wins.

[Brendon narrated] As they argue, Captain John Smith sneaks over to the one cannon trying to hide what he’s doing from Captain Persia.  He’s still trying to talk her out of boarding his ship while he aims the cannon with his feet.  Then he suddenly grabs a cannonball and jams it down the barrel with some powder.  Persia sees him but is too late as he aims for her wheel and fires the cannon, blasting it to pieces!  Then turning the ship away, he orders Blue Tail to shoot the Sea Kitten’s sails with her blunderbuss, putting numerous holes in them.  Crippled and unable to turn, Persia yells at the Sea Snail as the three monkeys sail off laughing all the way.

Arriving back home at Pirate Island, the primate privateers take advantage of the lull in their adventures to rest a bit and heal.  Blue Tail makes another visit to the sailing master Webrique in hopes of healing her eyesight, injured at the Temple of the Baboon Queen.  The mallard proves more amicable this time and gives her some carrot juice and sea water droplets.  Jacquette swears it works every time!  Shiver Paw takes his mangled injury to the blacksmith, Red Stubble, who fashions a nifty peg thumb for him.

As the three just acquired objects this session in the hand-me-down chest, I only awarded each one Luck point – the rolls have proven somewhat unforgiving at important points.

Now, about this translator, Coxcomb…

*They actually started on the right track about “key” being in the answer, yet they were stuck on compound words and ones having nothing to do with nature. So the only clue I gave them (out of story) was that they were on the right track, that the three letters ‘key’ were in the word, and to think closely about “the wild.”

May 10, 2012

RPG Play: Monkey Pirates Session Two

Previously in the Monkey Pirates RPG blog series:
Introduction to the game
Character Creation
Actual Play Session One

(Blogger's Note:  My kids showed a good deal of creativity in the parts which they narrated; and they all kind of helped each other tell their parts of the story, which was fun to see.  Obviously, some of the adjectives and adverbs are a bit above their grade levels and were added in by me for flavor at the time of transcription.)

Monkey Pirates and the Leap Into the Lion's Den
Date Played: April 22, 2012
Time: 1 hour, 8 minutes

Having risked life and tail in retrieving the amulet from the Baboon Queen’s statue, the crew of the Dirty Bunch wanted to know just what they had – and, okay, how much gold they could get for it.  Sauntering into Jacquette’s store, the Pearlie Mist, in the heart of Pirate Island, the three ruffians know to choose their words wisely.  At the Mist, the exotic gypsy deals in all kinds of esoteric and mysterious wares.  Just what exactly such a shop is doing on an island populated by nothing but unwashed, ignorant miscreants is a question that no one had ever seemed to consider.

The trio walks through the rough doors.  The creaking floor beneath their boots causes Jacquette to look up from the workbench that she is hunched over.  Her face grows cold in the warm light just as she recognizes the gang.  Her eyes indicate she is thinking cautiously, but quickly.

“Ah, Captain Smith,” she begins softly, “I did not expect to see you again after the rumors I heard.”

The Captain squints inquisitively.  “What rumors would those be, madam?”

She smiles innocently.  “Some said you ran off on a fool’s errand to find the amulet.”  Then after pausing, “Any luck?”

“Maybe,” offers Shiver Paw, interrupting.  “Tell us more about this amulet.”

Jacquette shrugs, “I’m afraid without seeing it, there’s not much more I can say.”

Cory rolls a Chatter test to pry more information from Jacquette needing a 3 on the pirate die and a 4 on the chatter die.  He rolls a 2,1 and fails badly.  They’ll have to go elsewhere for the intelligence.

“All I know is that it’s caused quite the stir.  That scoundrel Captain Squawk is after it for some reason and even the governor is looking to get his hands on it first – if but only to keep it out of other’s.”  She thinks a little harder.  “Come to think of it, I believe there’s an old book that has some information on it in the Royal Library at Apeston.”

Dejected, but only slightly, as the Mist is a creepy place, the troupe troops out and heads back to port.  The prospect of going to the capital of the Ape Isles given their current professional status is not exactly attractive.  Not to mention the fact that their library card is long expired.  Yet trying to look brave and undaunted, the three decide on a little cruise to Apeston, the capital and crowning jewel of the Ape Isles.

Hope rolls a Sailing test to navigate to Apeston needing a 3 on the pirate die and a 2 on the sailing die.  She rolls a 1,3 and fails.  They’ll have a “welcome” waiting for them.

The piratical crew of the Dirty Bunch knows the way to Apeston like they know their own smells.  They’ve been cruising the Ape Sea for years.  But the trick to getting into Apeston is to do so without being detected.  As the Captain and Shiver Paw head below to play some cards, Blue Tail takes the ship’s wheel and stands proudly like a stalwart monument, gazing out at the horizon as the ship rolls with the waves.  And rolls.  And rolls.  And rolls.  Until the gentle breeze and rocking vessel lulls her to sleep!  Alas, the ship, with the skull ‘n crossbananas flapping high from the main mast, sails right into Apeston’s harbor.

Hearing commotion topside, Captain Smith and Shiver Paw rush up to the main deck.  With looks of horror and panic, the two jostle Blue Tail awake and the crew frantically works to raise all sails and lower anchor.  Their feverish efforts only succeed in slowing the ship to a crawl.  Staring at the alerted soldiers awaiting on the docks, the captain’s will is tempered with a steely resolve.  “There’s only one thing to do now,” he affirms.

Brendon rolls a Swords test (vs. two Royal Dog Soldiers) needing a 3 on the pirate die and a 2 on the swords die; meanwhile the dog soldiers will need to roll a 4 on both die.  Brendon rolls a 3,6 while the dog soldiers roll a 2,1.  Brendon succeeds.

[Brendon narrated] Captain John Smith orders a charge into the middle of the two royal guards and they all jump onto the dock.  While he and Blue Tail fight against the soldiers, Smith tells Shiver Tail to run behind his man and bite him in the ankles.  The dog soldier jumps in pain and the captain quickly takes his feet out from under him mid-air.  The poor fellow lands with a thud and rolls off into the harbor.  The three then gang-up on the second canine, pinning him to the planks while Captain Smith whips out his handy-dandy gorilla tape (again), and wraps his hands and feet and tapes his mouth shut.

Running off into port before the rest of the Governor’s guards arrive, the three pirates hope to lose the crowd’s wandering eyes in the town’s hidden alleyways and the evening’s growing darkness.  It will not be an easy task to find the library and stay hidden as all of the capital has doubtless now been alerted to their presence.

Hope rolls a Sailing test to find the Royal Library needing a 3 on the pirate die and a 2 on the sailing die.  She rolls a 2,4 and fails, but uses her Luck point to pass anyway.  Cory rolls a Climbing test so that the party can avoid detection needing a 3 on the monkey die and a 2 on the climbing die.  He rolls a 3,6 and succeeds!

[Cory and Hope narrated] Running into the nearest alley, the three monkeys run through puddles and buildings as fast as they can.  Blue Tail spots a large dumpster up ahead with cloth hanging out of it and so they run over to it and see that it’s full of old clothes!  Quickly taking off their pirate clothes, they change into something less noticeable and then, looking around, discover that they’re right next door to the Library!

Sneaking along the wall, they examine the first floor windows, looking for a way to get in.  Just then, a short, doughty rabbit with white hair hurriedly approaches from across the cobblestone street, unlocks the main door, and enters.  The three pirates look at each other, shrug their shoulders, and follow.  Inside, the startled hare jumps at their entrance and worriedly looks around them.  “What do you want,” he squeaks.

“Well, we’re looking for a book, of course,” replies the captain.

“At this time of night?”  He squints.  “I heard there were pirates ashore and so I rushed back to protect my books.  Are you sure you’re not pirates?”

“Do we look like pirates,” asks Blue Tail.

The timid librarian frowns and says, “Hmphf!  And what book would you be wanting at this hour?”

“One about jewelry,” replies Captain Smith.  “Specifically an amulet we’ve heard about belonging to an old Baboon Queen.”

Cory rolls a Chatter test to get the book from the librarian needing a 3 on the pirate die and a 4 on the chatter die.  He rolls a 1,3 and fails badly.  The bunny ain’t giving them the title.

“Baboon Queen?”  The rodent thinks, then whispers, “There’s only one place something like that might be.  Wait here.”  He shuffles off back towards the door – and doesn’t stop.  Walking right out of the building, the surprised band hears an ominous bolt as the librarian shuts the door!  They’re left alone in the dark silence, pondering their next move.

Gazing around the room full of shelves with books upon books, finding the one they need will be like looking for a worm in a shipload of bananas.  But then they notice a back room, tucked away in the corner.  Its entrance is surrounded by bizarre accoutrements such as star charts, engraved stones, and anatomical models.  Venturing in cautiously, they browse the titles on the spines and see books such as Jungle Arcana, The Alchemy of Fruit, 101 Frog Spells, and How to Turn Your Mother-in-Law Into a Goat: If She is Not One, Already.

Brendon rolls a Sailing test to find a book they can use needing a 3 on the pirate die and a 4 on the sailing die.  He rolls a 6,5 and succeeds.

[Brendon narrated] Captain John Smith looks up to the top-most shelf near the ceiling and sees a section marked ‘A.’  Thinking that any book about amulets will be in that section, he looks there.  But there’s no ladder, so he rips a bunch of shelves out and builds one.  Climbing up, he throws all the ‘A’ books down where the three of them start flipping through pages.  The captain finally comes across an old book that has a page with a drawing of the amulet.

Leafing through the book, Smith reads the title, “Amuletes Primatus: Or A Tome of Magikal Amulets Pertaining to the Praktice of by Gorillas, Chimpanzees, and Orangutans, Volume 3, Orangutans.  However, the main text is in a language or dialect that none of them has seen before, let alone can read.  Not knowing the intentions of the disappearing librarian, the pirates slink out the window and make for the docks.  The town is alive and crawling with activity, yet the trio blend in with the locals this time, thanks to their fortuitous textile discovery.

Back at the main pier, they first notice that their ship, the Dirty Bunch, is swarming with royal dog soldiers and there seems little chance of re-taking it.  However, they see off in a quiet part of the harbor a small merchant caravel readying itself to set sail and decide to commandeer it.  They are pirates, after all!

Brendon rolls a Swords test (vs. the caravel’s crew) needing a 3 on the pirate die and a 2 on the swords die; meanwhile the merchants will need to roll a 5 on both die.  Brendon rolls a 5,1 while the sailors roll a 6,5!  Brendon fails badly, but uses his Luck point to win.

[Brendon narrated] Captain Smith yells, “Charge,” and leads his men into battle.  The yell only alerts the merchant crew, though, who turn around and club him over the head, knocking him out cold.  Shiver Paw runs to help him, but trips over a harpoon gun which sets off the trigger and shoots a harpoon that pins one of the crewmen to the mast by his shirt.  Always hungry, Blue Tail stops running when she notices a crate of spices.  She opens it just as one of the crewmen swings a club at her, but he hits the spices instead which fly up into his eyes and burns them.  He runs off screaming in pain.  The third crewman sees the other two, panics, and jumps off the ship to get away.

Now in possession of a stolen, merchant ship, the Sea Snail, the fugitive crew rolls out of the harbor, trying to stay unnoticed.  About half-way out, they see a pack of royal dog soldiers running down the pier.  The screaming survivor must have alerted the authorities to the incident.  The soldiers ineffectively fire their muskets off towards the ship, but it’s out of range.  But if the army is aware, then the Royal Navy is probably getting underway, too!  Thanks to their slow and weakly armed vessel, it will not be an easy voyage back home to Pirate Island.

Hope rolls a Sailing test to shake the Royal Navy needing a 3 on the pirate die and a 2 on the sailing die.  She rolls a 1,1 and fails!  Looks like home will have to wait.

After sailing for a fair piece, Blue Tail remembers what happened on the last trip to Apeston.  Determined to stay awake, this time, Blue Tail makes a special concoction of lime juice, peanuts, and vinegar that she once read gives monkeys energy.  After ingesting the formula it makes her extremely ill and she gets sick all over the deck.  Captain Smith storms over to order her to swab the deck immediately, but slips in the vomit and slides across the planking like a surfer, just catching himself on the main boom.  Unfortunately, he swings the boom around and sends the ship veering off course.  With Blue Tail doubled over in pain and Shiver Paw obliviously below eating bananas, the captain works furiously to re-set the sails.  However, by they time he does, the ship is hopelessly off-course and Blue Tail is hallucinating about her childhood in Madagascar.

When they finally spot land two days later, they sail in to investigate and procure supplies.  As they approach closer and closer, Captain John Smith squints.  He’s been here before.  Thinking back, his memory focuses and he then recognizes that shoreline – Death Island