Black Flags

Rami's Backstory

I was born on a ship, that’s supposed to mean something, or it does to the old timers. They say it means the Pirate Goddess favors me. Well, I guess that could be true, I’ve always felt at home on the ships and never quite so fresh on land.

Back to my birth. My mother was a passenger on a ship that was attacked by pirates. During the attack she was giving birth to me, and it wasn’t until I was born that the pirates stormed into the room and found her dying from blood loss. She said my name and then passed on. Being a superstitious lot, they decided to take me and take care of me. They said I was their good luck charm and I was raised on the ships. No one knows who my mother’s people are, but they were something unusual because I’ve always been able to see in the dark, see when people are sneaking up on me and have feathers in my hair. I’m told this makes me an aasimar, and people seem to expect kindness from me because of it. Sometimes I will, but I offer no guarantees for my friends or if loot is involved. I’ve asked people from time to time about my name, but no one has ever heard anything like it. I was told by one old crone that it was from a dead language, but I’m not sure what that means.

Otherwise there isn’t much to say. I’m the best damn archer that you’ll ever see. I can shoot the eye off of a gnat on the other side of a moving ship. And my sharp eyes mean that few can spot something that I can’t.

One day a strange man who claimed to be a priest of the Pirate Goddess crossed my path and told me that my fate would be found in Port Peril, in a bar called the Formidably Maid. I changed ship crews a few times to make it to the dump, and have been sitting here waiting ever since. If that geezer sent me on a goose chase, I’ll gut him when I next see him. Well, while I’m here I might as well have some drinks and find a pretty looking man to entertain.

Arakor's backstory

I’ve always been on the water. Even as a child we spent all of our time on the water. Our entire community lived on the water, only to dock in safe waters during storms and then back out onto the sea once it was clear. My parents would go into town for trade or to buy what we needed, but that was the extent. I only went into the port a few times. For the most part, the sea provided. Until it was all taken away.

I remember the day clearly enough, though I don’t know all the details. I remember the elders of the community arguing with a large group of people and them calling us scavengers and pirates, taking from others what we could find in the ocean that was left behind. I don’t know exactly what was said in the end but the people got back on their boat and started to sail away. At least that’s what I thought they were doing. All of a sudden, my father is covering me and telling me to swim away as fast as I could and that’s what I heard it. The explosion of our huts and wooden building being splintered and shredded from whatever the ship was firing at my people.

I don’t remember how long after the attack before I was found, clutching a flag they must have fired at us so pirates would know who attacked this place. It was a flag with mark of the mariners. The boat that hauled me in could tell I clearly was not one of the mariners and I heard whispers of being blessed by someone named Besmara, since I clearly had been the only survivor of the attack.

For years I was the cabin boy on the ship. I learned a lot about ships and being on the water this much was fantastic. I was shown how to properly steer a boat and all the ins and outs of making her fast, reading star charts and navigating through the dangerous areas. I didn’t get to do it much but when I wasn’t doing other things on the ship, I was helping sail it.

I’ve come upon my 60th birthday and am becoming my own man(so to speak). The captain says it is time I find my destiny, but it won’t be on his ship. He sees greater things for me in the future and must find them elsewhere, though I can still count him as a friend and he will help me if the need ever arises. This is how I came to find myself in the Formidably Maid in Port Peril. In search of my greater destiny. and a good drink….

Surhlock's Backstory

Fetchlings in this world are often looked upon strangely. Crippled Fetchlings even more so. Having lost a leg while swimming in the ocean as just a child, Surhlock was out-fitted with a peg leg. The mental and emotional scars of growing up as an outcast have clearly left their mark. He craves acceptance and understanding, but he does not let anyone in. People cannot be trusted. They will hurt you. They always do.

Despite his physical set-backs, Surhlock always dreamed of joining the pirates on the open ocean. He could take what he wanted. He would not have many others to deal with. He loved the ocean. Unfortunately, his parents clearly expected more from their son. So he ran away from home at the first opportunity, stowing away on a merchant ship as it left port. He hopes to see his parents again some day back on their home plane. He really does care for them even though they do not understand. But for now he has plans.

Having no other skills, the ship’s captain threw him into the kitchen where his peg leg would cause the least harm. He learned to cook, but honestly never cared enough to get great at it. He had greater ambitions. At every chance possible he learned engineering; how the siege engines worked, how the wheel steered the ship, how the rigging worked. But he also knew he needed more to be welcomed as a pirate. If he could not fight with sword and dagger, he would find another path through the arcane arts. And so he harbored a deeper secret. At night, every night, he practiced the arts and summoning. He knew the captain of his law-abiding merchant ship would never approve. He also knew he wouldn’t stay with this crew forever, despite the captain’s growing faith in his knowledge and abilities.

So the next time the ship paid a visit to Port Peril, Surhlock gathered his meager belongings and slipped away. With no other place to go, he visited the Formidably Maid. It had been a long time since he had tasted such a stout lager. Another one or two surely could not hurt…

Joka Mjusi's Backstory

My kind does not wander. Our numbers are too small, birthrates too low. We are not like the humans or halflings in the world, who breed like rats and fill their homes quickly, forcing them to expand, encroach on other’s lands. Deciding they need our territories for themselves, forcing war and destruction on each other. And they wonder why everyone else wants them dead. Perhaps keeping their grubby hands off each other for five minutes would help. Pawing at each other with those weak hands in a communal bed every chance someone would look twice at them in an interesting fashion.

But I digress. Perhaps my disgust of humans and their breeding habits shows too much. It certainly hasn’t helped my relations with the other, warm blooded inhabitants of the waters. My story doesn’t start with disgust of humans. It starts with disgust of tribal leadership.

I was hatched, 36 years ago almost to the day, to a small tribe of lizardfolk known as the Jesunsa in the southeastern reaches of the Sodden Lands. The same day I was hatched, our Tribal chief, Kurka Mjen, died. It’s said to be a prophecy of a new, great leader to rise up. On that, we’ll see.

I grew quickly. You have to in our lives, the world will swallow you up too quickly if you don’t. For the next twenty years, I hunted. I fished, guided the skimmers we used to quickly move around the swamps. And yes, ran into humans who wanted our lands. Most left quickly, though some had to be persuaded a bit more harshly. For that I was well suited. Though many of our tribe preferred the saber and teeth, I found my balled fist worked better for me.

Things change slowly for us, though when they do, it all seems to change so quickly. At the age of 22, four major events happened within six months of each other. First, our neighbouring tribe the Kaza and ours decided to join their tribes together. Second, we moved 28 miles to the east, towards better, unmolested hunting grounds. Third, I met my wife. And fourth, a group of serpentfolk led by Nagas, unbeknownst to us, moved within a day’s travel to our northeast.

And so we moved. And things were good. And then they weren’t.

My wife, Josa Mjusi, had laid four eggs, when I was 28 and she was 20. It was to be both of our firsts. Our tribe, renamed the Kajesu, had grown in the years, supported by fertile lands. Indeed, we could even farm a litttle. Mostly spices to trade with roaming Elven tradesmen. I had no love for it, but apparently our cumin was the rave of some towns within the Shackles, unimaginably far north for a tribe that rarely moved more then five miles from their homes. And then things changed again. And again, it was all at once.

My hunting party was out, approximately two miles away from the village, when we heard the horns. The entire story is not known to me, as I was not there and had no time to ask when I returned. Though from what I can surmise, the Serpentfolk decided they wanted our lands. They attacked in force, destroying what they could and killing those who got near. It was violent, bloody. A massacre.

We arrived as soon as we could, though perhaps two minutes too late. The Serpentfolk had fled for the most part, though those who were still around do not breathe anymore. The damage had been done.

Again, three things happened immediately. First, the eggs in the hatchery had been shattered, almost to a number. Second, Our chieftain, Yohance Yondra, had been killed in the battle, surrounded by around a dozen dead Serpentfolk and four terrified, living children. Third, our tribe fell apart.

The death of Yohance was particularly troubling as he had no children of his own eligible for chief-hood. And so the line was broken. For weeks, this caused no small amount of strife. Now, I know what you’re thinking. I’m the one of the prophecy. The one to band the tribe and neighbouring tribes together in a great offensive against the Serpentfolk and lead them to victory. If that were true, a singer looking for a fascinating story to get paid with would be telling you this story and not me.

No, we fought. Bitter. Violent. To no end. Eventually, we divided into two camps about the leader. I backed one, others backed another. I chose poorly.

I realized my mistake when Yakenza, the current tribal leader I think, was standing over Juza’s dead body in an unmistakable declaration of his leadership. Now, you’re probably thinking, this shouldn’t be too much an issue. If Lizardfolk don’t have that many children in the first place, and I’m an decent fighter, surely they’d want me there. And they might have. If I hadn’t threatened to kill him over my brother’s death. Oh, right. Juza was my brother.

And so I ran. Along with five others, Jonsa, Yohance, Terrag, Indira and Liza. We fled to the unimaginable north that was the Shackles. Turns out the unimaginable is only a three day boat ride. We stayed together as long as we could, though work on ships and violence against others slowly separated us. I think Terrag is dead, a corpse on the bottom of the ocean somewhere. Liza runs some tavern Called the Lizard’s Egg on some small port to the west of here. Indira went north to fight the Demon infestations. Her body filled the last little hole that the demon horde could’ve come through into one of Iomodae’s fortresses after filling the rest of the broken wall with demonic corpses. She always was terrifying. Jonsa and Yohance went north, probably still on whatever ship picked them up five years ago. For me? I was working on ships as I was needed. Until three things happened and changed everything immediately.

First, I got back from my last job, richer for it. Second, I went to the Formidable Maid for a drink and to see if the cumin was around. It’s not by the way, it seems the tribe stopped farming. And third, I must’ve made someone mad because I was beat to a pulp outside the tavern on the beach. Then I woke up here. Something out there doesn’t like us much, doesn’t it seem?

Merisa's Back Story

Being the illegitimate daughter of a common prostitute, there wasn’t much expected of me in my journey, to make it much worse she even left me on a hill to die.

But, a poor warrior and his wife rescued me from sure death. There was a tale of my father’s brave fight with horror from beyond, it was alien to all life. Many have said it was a demon, a ghost, or even an angry god. Many believed my father should have taken our tiny village from our cowardly chiefton because our chiefton hide while it atracked our home. Once rumour of this spread, the chiefton out lawed my parents for 6 years.

For those 6 years we made do in a my mother’s home village, a few miles southeast. When we arrived we learned that my grandmother was very ill, and a few short weeks later she passed while I was caring for her. Seeing the life leave her eyes was one of the most horrid events in life. I doubt I’d like to witness such events again. The weeks after didn’t bring much excitement, until we learned the chieftons son had overthrown his father’s rule and wished for my father to return.

Once our affairs were in order we returned home with a welcome embrace from our old family. My father soon learned an audience was requested of him in front of the new chiefton and he was to bring mother and I. They appeared to be setting up for a large gathering. There was food, wine, and decorations everywhere! We soon learned the gathering was for us, the chiefton wanted to honor my father. The chiefton raised my father’s status to sub-chiefton. The festivities lasted until dawn broke.

After some much needed sleep, we were moved into a much more comfortable home and lived without any concerns. It seemed like we had it all. Until a neighboring village attacked in the dead of night. Houses were burned down, including our own, and many of our people’s lives were lost. Mother and I tended to the wounded as much as we could, but still many were lost.

Afterms losing everything, and almost everyone we decided to move to a city in the northwest. It was a large, civilized city. Getting use to there different ways took a lot of time, and got a lot of stares. Eventually we settled in and found things to keep us entertained. Father taught new warriors, mother helped establish a new hospital, and I told stories of our past or stories I had heard in passing. One night I decided to the formidably maid to earn some extra coins. When a quite handsome man offered to pay me with a drink. That’s when everything started to go foggy.

Session 1 - Suhrlock

I am not sure what happened. But I think I know. One minute I am drinking a few beers and the next minute I wake up shackled with a bunch of others and taken aboard a ship. We have apparently been conscripted by the pirate ship Wormwood. The captain makes it clear that he is not to be messed with by skewering one of the other prisoners who dares to defy him. And then we are put out to work. I volunteer to help cook while most of the other new guys are either climbing ropes or swabbing the decks.

I quickly make friends with a few of the other prisoners. We are a mottled bunch. There is a lizardfolk, Joka, who is very brash and I am not so sure he is very smart. He is going to get himself in trouble, and hopefully not me in the process. Worse yet, he apparently only speaks draconian and cannot understand our new handlers most of the time. I try to translate for him but I can see this may be a challenge. He is not of the patient kind.

I keep Shatral hidden. No one knows of my powers and I suspect it may be better to keep them hidden for now. I surely do not want him to be enslaved as well. My friends seem to be obsessed with getting our stuff back, but I have plenty of my power without a possession in the world.

Together we scout out the ship and find the location of our stolen gear. We also learn that the Orc quartermaster is perhaps not the most reliable – an ugly, lonely drunk. We hatch a plan to sneak in and get out stuff back, and maybe a few other trinkets. The first attempt goes well and the thief finds our gear. We hide it in a cache. Unfortunately another crew member takes the fall for the theft. Too bad for him. Good for us.

A few days later a strange magically enhanced ship passes by ours. Our captain was strong and resolute during the passing. Or so I thought. The others think he was scared. I doubt it. Another day I was assigned fishing duties. Not good. Joka on lookout found a whole school of beautiful mackerel but I wasn’t able to catch a single one. Bilge duty for the whole next day. At least I could summon Shatral in the privacy, and of course he did most of the work for me.

Another day we were sent in the dingy to fetch some crabs from the reefs. But that turned into a bit of an adventure. We were attacked by a bunch of reefclaws. The others were more formidable fighters than I was expecting. I summoned a shadow squid to help in the fight. I am not sure the others even realized that I called it to help us. Then I gave most of the others a speed boost before shielding myself as those creatures closed in. But my friends finished them off just before some sharks showed up attracted to the violence. We killed two of them and suddenly found ourselves with much more food than we were expecting.

Back at the ship I made some killer shark fin soup and personally took it to the captain. I gained a little Intel into his chambers, met his cabin girl, and perhaps found a way to enter his room undetected if we are ever brave enough to do that. Even better though, he rewarded me with a Bag of Holding with a couple of nice swords, a bit of gold, and some magical gloves which I deduced are probably really useful to the thief. I gave the gloves to Arakor (he did get me my stuff back after all) but kept the rest for myself.

A storm hit the ship. Big waves, lots of wind, the usual but I almost fell over-board. This damn peg leg sometimes… We were called to the deck to help batten down the hatches when one of the crew fell overboard. I risked giving away my secrets by levitating him back up out of the water. But not before Joka had already jumped in the water. The others threw a rope to floating man but Joka didn’t reappear for a bit. Suddenly we realized he was being eaten by sharks behind the ship. I summoned another squid to create a smokescreen while Arakor jumped In and rescued his ass. Merisa was able to bring him back, which I admit was impressive, but not without a few new scars. Honestly though, it is amazing Joka does not have even more….

A few nights later Joka was persuaded to have another soirĂ©e with the ogre quartermaster. He complains about the assignment but come on. They were meant for each other. While she was “detained” we quietly made our way back into her warehouse and stole a few items that seemed to be unwanted (and hopefully unnoticed that they are missing) along with the first mate’s pretty glowing blue sword. We came up with a devious little plan and planted it in one of his friend’s trunks. That should be enough to make him take the fall for stealing it. Tomorrow should be fun.

Session 1 - Arakor

I do no think this is the destiny that Besmara had for me. I know destinies are not all fun and games but does it have to start out so bad? I woke up to being chained up on a ship to some other people I had remembered seeing at the Formidably Maid(note to self: never drinking THERE again if I’m ever back in port). We were informed of the rules and one smart ass decided to defy the captain so we found out pretty quick why HE was the captain with his 2 badass looking rapiers(I wants them) running some guy through and making him explode. Nothing says badass more than making someone explode. Our first day on the job I got to run messages around. Gave me some time to really get to know the ship and it’s places as well as some of the people. But apparently the First Mate, some dude named Plug(Butt Plug by those of us that hate him) really has it in for those of us that came together from the Formidably Maid. They ever took on some lizardfolk guy. Seems odd but who am I to judge, right? I’m an undine with blue swirls under my skin that look like tattoos but aren’t. Either way, we were all forced to do crappy jobs day after day, although we did start working together to map out the ship and possibly find a way off of it, or create a mutiny. We started by finding out own stuff. I had heard that sometimes, when the ogre quartermaster gets drunk that she forgets to lock the door to the loot room. So one night I waited and sure enough she forgot. I snuck in and gathered our belongings. I was able to create a hidden compartment on the ship so they couldn’t find it although someone did find out something got taken but luckily for us the quartermaster did not take inventory so she could not say exactly WHAT was taken. Also, luck was on our side because the person taking the fall for it was some drunkard who only casually saw me in that area but was too drunk to remember. We continued on day after day and by day 13 we took another shot at the look cage. This time we needed some more time to look around and to be able to bring one of the guys who can cast Detect Magic so we can find some nicer things a s well.To do that, we needed the lizard guy take one for the team. Apparently the ogre quartermaster female took a liking to him after she got drunk. He did his part and got us the key so we could have a look around and found some neat stuff, including some gloves that help me be more sneaky as well as be more quiet dong stuff like disabling traps and inlocking doors WHILE stealthing around. We also found a really nice sword that we knew to belong to First Mate douchebag Butt Plug so we had the brilliant idea to frame one of the other officers who was on Butt Plug’s to cause a little dissension among the ranks. And she’s a thief by trade? Perfect. Now to see what the fruits of our labors brings us. We need to get enough people on our side to turn the tide of battle. We’ve acquired about 6 other buccaneers on our side but more are needed….

Session 1 - Rami

Ugh, I must have drank too much beer last night because I got a splitting headache and found myself aboard a new ship. The captain seems like a right prick, and killed people just for talking to him. Most of the people on the ship have hated us and the bastards stole our gear.

We got our gear back and are making friends, but I still don’t see why Mr. Plug hates everyone and everything and still has a job. Guess evil is the way to the top, but I find that too exhausting to do.

Others have had lots to do in downtime on the ship, but I’m just not built for sneaking about or schmoozing.

Most exciting thing to happen was to be “punished” to catch dinner. I got to kill things and be useful.

Session 1 - Joka

Where was I? Ah, yes. Being beat on the beach.

So, after that particular string of affairs, I woke up. Turns out I’d wake up in chains and suddenly find myself a part of a new crew. Wonderful news as you can imagine for me. We’re led up, or rather forced up, to the deck upon which the captain of the ship begins to give a speech about the rules of the ship. In the human tongue. This is an issue as it turns out, since I don’t speak that particular language. My kind doesn’t exactly like using invader’s tongues. After a quick explanation in draconic, and an execution of one of the prisoners, we begin our wonderful tasks.

Turns out they aren’t exactly hard, though my particular ways certainly haven’t won me many friends with the officers. I’m not exactly concerned with them though. There’s one curious fellow, though. He’s a bit different, much darker then the rest and seems to disappear in the low light of the ship at night. We do get along well enough, though, seeing as he can translate for me without too much issue.

Several days pass, and then things change as they always do. First, I was pulled from rigging duty to go on a hunting party. To find crabs. We don’t find them, though we do find reefclaws. Fine with me, they put up a better fight. Then sharks show up. In the water. In which I’m the only one around. They get killed quick enough, we gather our supplies and head back. Apparently the dark one can cook something well, so we end up with extra food and drink.

Now, there’s an ogre here, a mean brute who doesn’t like me and I don’t like her. There’s one drastic issue, she has our gear. So in an attempt to placate her a bit, I decide to share drink. She takes this the wrong way. Turns out all warm blooded creatures are the same, pawing at whoever looks at them in an interesting way. Well, it does seem to put her to sleep effectively and we find our things that night. Some poor sod takes the blame though, I do feel bad about that.


If they would have asked me to join, in all honestly I might have anyway. The kidnapping was a bit dramatic for my taste but I suppose if they asked us to sign up it would be the navy and not a pirate ship.

The threatening wasn’t so bad to be honest, because it made the rules pretty clear. It also made it clear that this ship is run on routine and gaining favor. Bonus, they give rum out like treats to good puppies. You know who likes rum, everyone.

I have made a few friends, mostly the ones that were in the tavern when we were all “assimilated.” They have proven to be loyal and talented. Together we have secured a number of items that we have safely hidden away for a rainy day, as well as opportunities to gain favor with the captain. I have to admit, hunting for his dinner wasn’t ideal but it showed recognition of our abilities and he is quite generous when he’s happy. I recognize this as a completely dysfunctional relationship, but the truth is I know our opportunity will arise to gain our own name. Besides, I’d rather be a well fed and friended pet for a while over a dead one.


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