Had a session of the Shadake game on Friday. Saying it's Golden Compass themed is misleading, since I'm also pulling in stuff from all the books I've been reading lately, so as not to have to come up with any new ideas of my own.
The airship that had come in response to the distress call was small, and lightly crewed, with most of the crew being guards, thanks to the talk about the killer seals. Neither the children nor Brother Wren could get a straight answer out of them about *anything* -- all they knew was that they'd been sent to rescue people in response to a distress call, and to repair the lighthouse.
Since no one could convince them to leave a guard behind on the portal, Wren sent the children off with them alone, with urgent instructions to find a telegraph and get in contact with the order at the number he'd told them earlier. He would stay behind to guard the place where they suspected the portal would soon reopen, since that was the more dangerous task.
The bear, who was conscious despite being heavily wounded, thanks to Caihong, went with them, since he wasn't up to fighting anyone yet, and the airship might have doctors or at least medicine to help him heal. The engineer was leery about taking the bear on the airship, but thought it made sense to try.
Engineer: "If he's too heavy, we can just throw him overboard, I guess. He's half-dead anyway."
Bear: "I guess I'll just stay here then, I don't want to be thrown overboard."
Engineer: "Oh! Sorry, I didn't know he was a panzerborne. Don't worry, we'll probably have the capacity, and there's other things we can throw overboard in an emergency. Valuable things, but not worth a person's life."
As it turned out, they didn't actually need to throw away anything, although the airship was flying mighty low to the water. After an hour or two (during which Jana and Caihong searched the parts of the boat they were allowed to move around in, but couldn't find the telegraph they knew had to be on board, and Eric cleaned his gun to test if the guards considered them prisoners) they reached a really *big* airship -- large enough to land the smaller airship on, in a massive open hangar.
Me: "It's sort of like a star wars docking bay, with the ships just landing on an open floor, with big openings to either side for them to fly out through. No force field, though."
Murdock: "So it's as big as a star destroyer, then?"
Me: "Um... I'm not sure how big star destroyers are. It's really big, though."
Lord Wright welcomed them to the Grand Phoenix, and after giving them some time to wash up (Lissar and the bear in particular were all covered in blood from butchering seals) and be insulted by his underlings (the bear was forced to sleep in the cargo bay, and they wanted Jana to sleep there too, since they only had rooms for humans -- although Jana refused, and they eventually let her share Lissar's room) he took them to his study, where they told each other ghost stories. They told him about the fight with the poltergeist and the seals, and he told them about his previous run-in with the order -- how he'd been researching something *completely innocent* but the order had insisted he was trying to travel to another world and come in to smash his machines, and then how afterwards his people had started getting sick.
"The order blamed it on those 'spectres' you were talking about, but the funny thing is, when they stopped coming around to 'hunt spectres', my people stopped getting sick. I'm not sure how much you should really trust them."
"But that's why I built the Grand Phoenix -- it's my workshop now, and the laws of the sea give me a lot of power to toss off any nosy church types who start getting too pushy."
Afterwards, he took Lissar off aside to talk to her about her family -- they'd apparently put out a bounty for her safe return, since she'd been kidnapped by the order of the shattered blade. "They mentioned the order by name, that's how I thought to check the picture when you came on board." Lissar reassured him that she did *not* want to return to her family, since she knew it was really her brother who must have put up the money, and she wanted nothing to do with him.
Oh, and Lord Wright told them that he'd sent word to the Order already, but hadn't heard back yet, and that he'd let them know as soon as he heard anything. The next day, he had his men show them around the ship, and play games with them, and distract them with food and chores and otherwise keep them busy.
In the process, Caihong noticed that there was something *wrong* with a few of the sailors on board the ship -- their chakra was... not quite right, although they didn't have any physical symptoms. When he approached them about it, they got all defensive -- obviously, they knew something was wrong, but didn't want to talk about it. So he talked to the doctor about it, after getting one of their names, but his record didn't have anything special in it -- a broken bone here, a day off work from a cold there. Eric theorized that maybe they were the people who'd gotten 'sick' from the spectres, but the records to confirm that weren't on board the Phoenix. The doctor said he'd look into it, though.
By noon, they were all getting sick (and bored) of the endless tour. Eric and Caihong ran off and went looking for the telegraph, Lissar ran off and went looking for shinies, and Taegan ran off to the workshop to look at Wright's machines. Their escort didn't want to leave Jana unguarded, so they got away... he took Jana to the shooting range and martial-arts training area and left her there to practice fighting with the ship's guards, while he went and rounded up some people to go track down the other kids.
Eric and Caihong couldn't find the telegraph -- it looked like all the equipment of that sort was in the forward control section that most of the crew (and guests) weren't allowed to go to. Jana did find some shinies though -- the smashed remains of a dimensional portal machine (according to the label) and a big stuffed, taxidermied polar bear in a suit of armor. GASP! She stole the helmet from the armor to go show their bear (and see if it would fit maybe), but on the way back to the cargo bay she was intercepted by a group of sailors, who grabbed her from behind and pressed a chloroform-soaked rag into her face. Oh no! Kidnappers!
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