Memorial Day started with a gaming session to preface our cookout. When last we’d left the characters, they were jailed by the chua te or pirate “lord” Van Trihn in his citadel outside of the trading port of San Antonio. They’d figured out Dr. Gould was of Atlantean blood and planned to sell him to the Vril-ya. The boys were in one cell, the girls in another, and Captain Santiago — a pirate they’d had a run in was in the third.
As the pirates didn’t look to speak English, the characters had been plotting in that language how they were going to effect an escape before they could be sold into slavery or worse… Gus was still badly injured from his run in with the formidable major domo of the chua te, a 7’2″ monster named Tongo from darkest Africa. Hunter was still dressed, and even had his stiletto, and assured the others he could get the lock open with it. Santiago, it turned out, spoke English, and pointed out the only way they were getting out of here was with his help — his crew would surely be waiting for him, to aid his escape; if they release him, he will aid their plans.
Zara had formulated a way to keep the pirates’ minds off of the boys. She and Olga distracted them (and Gould) in fine “scandalous” fashion (one of Zara’s flaws.) While the pirates were ogling their affections, Hunter got the door open in a flash with his Larcency skill and he and Gus were on the guards. Gus’ injuries hampered his efforts, but he wound up pinning the one to the cell door, where Olga promptly ran the guard through with his own dragon sword. Hunter continued to impress with his combat skills, taking on a pirate with his stiletto.
Freed, the group armed up and stealthily reconnoitered the ground floor of the fortification Trihn castle sat on. They came on some of the guards and subdued them for more firearms, but through the rife port, they noted ships maneuvering out to sea…then a sudden barrage of smoke from the broadside of one. Moments later, the rescue plan Santiago’s people had put in motion was cause chaos in the citadel, as the two ships fired on the castle and Trihn’s flagship Sea Snake, a 6-mast war junk.
Through smoke and falling masonry, the character rush to the main courtyard, dropping a few bad guys in the process, and find themselves face-to-face with a half dozen pirates. An exchange of fire left most of them downed, and Olga and Hunter quickly did for the others…then the main event started: Tongo arrived, throwing his mongwanga, which would have taken Hunter’s arm off but for a judicious use of style points. Gus put a 4 gauge round through his pecs, but that only served to bring the monstrous giant down on him.
Lady Zara bravely took the man on, and was thrown across the courtyard. Gus used that moment to knock the man back through a cannon hole behind him. (The player is another writer, and understands the importance of villains that can come back to pursue you…) Cannon shots tore through the castle and forced the characters to flee to the main gate, just as it was blown open with a keg of powder by men from Santiago’s Hercules, and Curiosity, commanded by Captain Tomas Franco (or as he calls himself, Professor Franco of the Academie des Sciences) who was determined to rescue his acquaintance’s niece.
Into a longboat and rowing for their lives, they catch up to Curiosity and make good their escape. Behind them, the Sea Snake is getting ready to pursue. With 20 16 lbs and 16 32 lb broadsides, she’s more than a match for Franco’s 16 gun sloop of war, which is already shot up by their exchange. The characters aid in repairs and Gould in seeing to the injured, and soon they are pulling away from the junk.
In this place, however, there is no horizon, and the white and red sails of the junk fall further behind, obscured by distance, but always visible in the spyglass or binoculars. After discussing the man’s arrival in “the World” — in this case through some kind of portal in an Olmec temple in the Yucatan in 1924 — he has been exploring the place, first as a hand on a ship, now as a “pirate” captain.
After some rest and thinking on the matter, they convince him to put themashore with letters for home, and copies of notes and other materials for the Academie, and they arrange a meeting with him in a few months, after they’ve had a chance to resupply and come back for a real expedition.
They make their way with an incredible Survival test to orient themselves and after three weeks of trudging through the interior of the mountains, find their way back to Argatha — the city of the devi and asuras, and now home to the apemen. The rules for working together (badly positioned in the core rulebook just before the skills chapters — seriously, these need to be back with the other rules for die rolling!) gave the party an incredible Survival dice pool of 13! Trapping, fishing, knowing the botany well enough to fake it, etc. was assumed to be skills that one or the other character had an expertise in, and they easily arrived.
Finding the German, Dr. Heiser, still in the town, working with the ape’s natural philosopher Kordas on the manuscripts and other inscriptions on the buildings, he’s been compiling evidence to take back to the Surface World. This includes the skeletons of the devi that were entombed under the temple floor. After a few days of recovery, the characters finally drag all their discoveries to the cave with the Eye of Shambala, or whatever it is called, and go back through to Tibet.
They are surprised to find monks waiting sentinel over the device. Quickly, they call for the Dalai Lama and Billy Fish, their Ghurka guide. It turns out that although they’ve been, by Hunter’s watch and estimation, gone for 42 days, they have only been gone three days since the firefight with the Soviets!
At that point, we broke for the week, to celebrate those that gave all to their country.