The Warlock’s Curse

The Chilote warlock, Tinieblas, is lashed to the mainmast of Deens Brand, his grim face illuminated by the flickering of an oil lamp. The vessel surges forward in the dark, heedless of the danger posed by rocks or reefs in the coastal waters of Chiloe. The night is silent as you scour the sea for any sign of the Caleuche. You shiver as you find the warlock staring at you, and your hand automatically makes its way to the coin in your pocket. During the battle in the abandoned mission, the warlock found his powers to be ineffectual against his assailants.  The mysterious coin proved ample protection, and Tinieblas was captured. After the doppelgangers were disposed of, Old Ironbeard had the warlock hauled onto his ship. Tinieblas was forced to divulge his means of locating the Caleuche, and he produced a compass from within his robes. Using this, the crew now pursued the famous ghost ship.

“Watch it, there!” warns Old Ironbeard as the helmsman brings Deens Brand near a massive seastack. “No need to follow the compass so closely that we scuttle the ship!”  The helmsman puts more distance between the ship and the towering rock face. At once, a clear laugh is heard. Then a woman’s voice, raised in song. The hairs on the back of your neck rise as a large white ship heaves into view from the other side of the seastack. Five sails billow from each of three masts, lit up by numerous lanterns. Shadows fall upon the water as the revelers dance to the sound of woodwinds and stringed instuments.

The crew of Deens Brand stand aghast and transfixed at the sight of the legendary vessel. “Shiver me timbers!” says Old Ironbeard. Then he quickly regains his composure. He shouts, “Don’t stand ‘round like a barrel o’ dead fish! Bring us about! Bos’n! Ready the lines and prepare to board!”

Deens Brand comes alongside the Caleuche, and grappling hooks are thrown into the rigging. You secure a line and take hold, hanging and climbing hand over hand toward the ghost ship. You clamber over the rail of the Caleuche. A cold wind blows as your feet touch the deck of the ship. The lights go out, and all is silent. Light is produced, and you see the deck empty of revelers, without sign that merriment of any kind has taken place recently. A sick feeling in your gut makes you want to rush back to Deens Brand, and only the fear of the cap’n stops you.

“Search the ship, ya lazy lot! Or I’ll have ya measured fer yer chains!” shouts the captain as he steps onto the deck. Behind him some hands drag up the warlock, and toss him onto the deck. You take hold of him to prevent his escape. A large canvas bag is also brought on board. Old Ironbeard looks earnestly at the bag, then draws his falchion and cuts it open, revealing a cadaver. You are surprised to see the face of the captain’s eldest son, Ignaas, who was killed in battle months ago. The corpse stinks, despite having been well-preserved.

Men are scurrying about the ship, laying hands on all they can find. The voice of Tinieblas then scratches forth, “I warned you to take nothing! You bring certain doom upon yourself!” Old Ironbeard ignores him. He pulls Ignaas into a sitting position and holds him there, whispering something in the dead man’s ear. You begin questioning the sanity of your leader for the first time. Then you gasp as the eyes of Ignaas open and fix on Old Ironbeard, who pulls him to his feet.

“Ah! ’Swounds, yer alive! Son of my flesh! T’was true, what they said!” The two smile, and the captain shakes Ignaas by the shoulders in a friendly fashion. The previously dead man looks confused, but fully alive. You had heard the tale of dead men returning to life on this ship, but you never expected it to be true. You look at Old Ironbeard with a new feeling. The captain’s faith won out, and his son lived again! What a tale! Surely you could get a free drink for this one!

A cry comes from the pillagers. “She’s goin’ down, cap’n!” The ship is sinking! Men are securing their loot and returning to Deens Brand. Ignaas is helped down to a longboat. The warlock, Tinieblas, says to the cap’n, “You’re greed will cost you your life!” Old Ironbeard snarls and hurls himself at the man. He slashes his throat, saying, “Go back to yer master, the devil, and tell him this vessel is mine now!”

The warlock collapses upon the deck, his lifeblood flowing. Despite his severed windpipe, his voice rings out clearly with an ominous echo.  The warlock intones, “Three moons shall not pass away, and three of your most trusted followers will turn against you!  Your empire will crumble away, and your life shall be stripped in a place of shadows and terror.”

Old Ironbeard’s face goes white and fearful, then he purses his lips and heads to the longboat. You are waiting below in the boat when you see a knife spin past the captain’s face as he weaves to the right. An unseen combatant leaps at the cap’n from the shadows. The two wrestle, and a pistol goes off. Water is pouring onto the deck of the Caleuche as Old Ironbeard’s assailant leaps onto the longboat, followed by the cap’n.

The cap’n shouts, “Heave to, coxswain!” The two men stand in the boat, blades drawn as they face each other. You realize that the attacker is none other than Black Jack, the first mate. Meanwhile, you and the others paddle furiously to escape the pull of the sinking ship.

“I’ve a mind to send ye to Davy Jones’ Locker fer this!” yells Old Ironbeard.

Black Jack shrugs. “Ya can’t blame a fellow fer tryin’! Tain’t nothin’ personal, Cap’n. I jus’ thought it was my turn to command, is all.”

The cap’n grins. “I s’pose yer luck’s run out, matey! Lower yer blade an’ I’ll give ye an easy death. Blimey, despite yer caprice, ye’ve been a good first mate, and I’ll even let ya pick the means.”

Black Jack sees he’s a dead man, and sheathes his blade. Once on ship, Laurelia Cariño convinces the cap’n that there might be a better use for the mutinous first mate, and his life is temporarily spared; as, Old Ironbeard owed a life to some Incans he had once dealt with, and Black Jack would pay that debt…

Now a shadow looms over the crew. The doom the warlock pronounced has begun, and you exchange worried glances with your crewmates, wondering if this spells the beginning of the end…

The Shrunken Skull

The new moon is on the horizon. Hammerhead’s place is sure to be packed, but only the best’ll gain the prize he offers: the skull of Black Jack himself! Legend goes he was the first to turn against Old Ironbeard, actin’ out the beginning of the curse pronounced by the Chilote warlock, Tinieblas. But the cap’n was savvy, and fell not to the wiles of his treacherous first mate. Though he’d a mind to send ‘im direct to Davy Jones locker, Laurelia Cariño, Old Ironbeard’s lover, reminded the cap’n he’d an old debt to settle, and Black Jack would fit the bill. The cap’n acquiesced, and Black Jack was given as a gift to a band of Incans who’d survived the Spanish conquest.

Now, the retired pirate captain, Hammerhead, says he has Black Jack’s skull.  He says that accordin’ to his source, the Incans traded the gambler to a shaman o’ the Shuar tribe, who shrunk the traitor’s skull and used it to bolster his dark power.  Not only that, Hammerhead claims he has compasses that’ll guide a feller to Old Ironbeard’s treasure trove! And as proof of his words, he is offering the victor of his competition the ol’ pirate king’s infamous ship, Deens Brand!

Get ready to pull every trick in the book, and watch yer back, ‘cause gold ain’t worth much when ya ain’t around to spend it!

Take a look at the leaderboard improvements: on Arena and on main.

The Chilote Warlock

“Have a care, lads,” mutters Old Ironbeard.  “We know nary a thing about this place, and there may be a surprise or two in store fer us.”

You and a few of your mates slink down a long corridor of an abandoned Spanish mission, now the demesne of the Chilote warlock, Tinieblas.  The place seems empty, but there are signs of habitation, such as the half-drunk glass of mote con huesillo (wheat and peach) and a fragment of leatherwork on a nearby wooden bench.  They were likely left by the warlock’s men now out in the town, trying to restore order.  You search each alcove for lurking warriors, but so far none have been found.

The captain suddenly swings his iron-shod staff toward his first mate, Black Jack, restraining him from moving forward.

“Hold, Jack!”  Old Ironbeard peers around at the walls, then says, “Step back, all o’ ye!”  He then crouches and presses with his staff on a loose paving stone in the floor.  The air hisses as a dart flies across the hall and strikes the staff.  The captain picks it up, then gingerly tastes the tip and spits.

“Poison!” he warns.  He opens a canister of rum and swishes it around in his mouth, spewing the contents onto the floor.

Jack steps back, saying, “Oy, Cap’n! Watch me boots!”  Some men snigger.  Black Jack always did favor his footwear.  The boots were green sea turtle carapace, lined with cashmere wool.

The captain grimaces and glares at his first mate.  “Even your luck wouldn’t hold against curare poison, Jack!  Then the only gamblin’ you’d be involved in’d be vicarious, as the men here drew lots over yer precious footwear!”

Black Jack shrugs, but tugs at his black mustache in concern as he steps a bit more lightly down the corridor.  Reaching the end safely, Old Ironbeard orders two men to throw open the doors under the archway.  A cold wind tasting of death blows from the chamber.  Within stands Tinieblas, the Chilote warlock, tall in dark robes, staring blankly upon the invading company.

Old Ironbeard shouts, “Stop swingin’ the lead, me hearties, and bring the dark picaroon to me!  Alive, I say!”  You rush forward with the others and then slide to a halt as Tinieblas raises his hands and speaks a foreign word.  Thunder detonates, and the smell of sulfur reaches your nostrils.  Standing before you are mirror images of Old Ironbeard’s crew!  They draw weapons and attack.  Now it’s time to see if all of your recent training will pay off!

Follow the forum topic for details on the next storyline competition!

The Black Spot

Blimey!

Scuttlebutt is that quite a few scurvy dogs’re interested in learnin’ the whereabouts of Old Ironbeard’s motherload. Not that a bit’o competition ain’t good fer the soul, but you’ll take any chance to hornswaggle a rival!

Rather than hang the jib, p’raps it’s time to blow the man down. And if ya can’t do it yerself, find a swabbie who can! Or many swabbies! Many hands make light work. Of course, many mouths deplete the stores. So keep yerself in good shape and maybe you can outlast yer opponents, and gather some booty, besides.

Surely one o’ them strange coins’ll make its way into yer pocket, givin’ ya access to the big shindig at month’s end. And if ya already have one, another surely couln’t hurt! So go find a rapscallion with whom ya’ve a bone to pick, and give him the black spot.

The April competition plans have been released on the forum!

Old Ironbeard’s Gambit

Old Ironbeard’s Gambit
The sea is roaring in the night with the passing of a distant storm, waves lashing against the hull and setting it to rock. You sit in the galley of Deen’s Brand, enjoying grog while you play a game of one-and-thirty. Your fellow pirates are enjoying merriment of many kinds, or taking a caulk, as they await the words of the captain, who has called for a gathering. The crew of Deen’s Brand, as well as other ships owing allegiance to the red-haired pirate king, have been sailing south along the Chilean coast in search of a Chilote warlock.

At last, Old Ironbeard enters and addresses the crew.

“Show a leg, mates! I be about to run a rig, an’ all ye squiffy scallywags’ll be my gambit! All ye need do is what ye do best! Tonight is a night for all manner of delinquency! I care not whether ye steal a pig or make a lady into a strumpet! Plunder yer brother, fer all I care! But do it well, and keep each other out o’ the brig. I go to secure the services of an infernal man o’ the cloth, protected by the fiercest warriors of the isle of Chiloe. The bigger the raucus, the more of his men ye’ll draw down upon yerselves, givin’ me a fair chance to reason with the Serpent’s pawn in peace. I’ve a present for each o’ ye as does right by me this night.”

He holds up a strange coin that seems to glow and emanate darkness at the same time.
“Trust me…you’ll be wantin’ it, where we’re headin’ next. Now, we way anchor! Smartly hurl yerselves overboard and bring down trouble on this town the likes o’ which’d shame the devil himself!”

See the forum post for more details on the competition.

Three Cursed Skulls

After much talk’n and brawl’n far more know’n in yer thick skull, ye find that tis be about some three old cursed skulls!
They once belog’n on the shoulders of ye Ol’ Ironbeard’s most trusted crew!
They done got cursed and much power was infused into their bones…

Three Skulls

Three real skulls! The April victor will earn the skull with face cards imprinted on it. The other two must be won in a different major competition. There will also be a skull game item with great power awarded to #1 winner in each tier of the competition.

What is your score in the competition?

The Gambling House

The Gambling House

The rumormongers are always goin’ on about shady deals, conspiracies, and damaging gossip. They seem to know more about yer mother’s activities than you do! And that’s not the kind of thing any son or daughter wants to hear about. But lately their lips’re flappin’ about something else. Something that has to do with the legendary pirate, Old Ironbeard (related to the current Iron Beard? Ye’ll have to ask him yerself)…

Word is that someone might o’ found a way to get to his stash. And there are some mighty fine items in there! World-changin’, if ya know what I mean? The kind ya don’t wanna be lettin’ other cutthroats get their hands on! His ship alone, Deens Brand, would be worth more’n its weight in gold!

All ya know is that something big is going down at Hammerhead’s Gambling House ‘fore the month’s end, and yer gonna need a pass to get in for the special event. Lucky fer you, the gambling house is giving them away as a reward to their big spenders. So buy some chips and get in the game! (…and by chips, I mean fish ‘n chips, don’t cha know?)

Competition is sure to be happenin’ this Friday, so bring yer dice!!
Also watch for updates and details in the Gambling House forum post here: The Gambling House Competition