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#1 2009-07-03 08:27:18


Sartosa 4: Dark Waters (The End! Week 13 News added)

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Sartosa 4: Dark Waters

Life on Sartosa is starting to get back to normal; many of the pirates who had fled to the small islands around the coast of the Southern Sea, Black Gulf and the Gulf of Sufaga have returned and the business of plunder has returned. The pirates are preying on passing shipping once more, the inns and taverns are full of drunks celebrating successful cruises (or commiserating unsuccessful ones!) and the harbour towns are being rebuilt.

But everything is not quite as it was; the island is under a darker ruler than in years gone by. The current Pirate King is rumoured to be a mere puppet of a Daemon Prince, a hollow shell of a man who rarely appears in public but rules with an iron fist. The worship of the Dark Gods, once forbidden under Sartosa law on pain of death, while not common-place seems to be grudgingly accepted by the more pragmatic of the Buccaneers. Small, secretive, sects have appeared in most of the island’s port towns, often under harmless-sounding names but clearly not following Empire or Bretonnian strictures.

The shattering explosion of the chaos-infused herdstone of immense size, known as the Bloodfane, two years ago caused untold mayhem on land and at sea. Showers of corrupted rock fell across the island, mostly in the east. Earthquakes and landslides opened a great canyon across the eastern peninsular of Sartosa and cutting Vercuso off from the mainland. The volcanic Mount Ertinia erupted for the third time in living memory. Many sailors reported that the ocean floor was rent and cracked in many places, releasing poisonous fumes to rise bubbling through the waters. In the past two years tales of sea monsters have been more and more common in the taverns and inns around the coast and most lay the blame for the increased size and aggression of these beasties squarely at the foot of the Daemon Prince Nethrag and his nefarious schemes.

Rackham’s treasure

Like most of the world the island of Sartosa was, in ancient times, in the dominion of the Old Ones – long before even the legions of Khemri became cursed with undeath. Occasional traces of this long-gone time can be found in the overgrown ruins, deep in the jungle of the interior: crumbling stone temples, toppled pillars and broken statues entwined with vines and creepers litter the island but they are rarely seen.

About a month ago a party of treasure hunters and grave robbers made an expedition into one such temple and only one man returned. This in itself was not unusual, nor was the madness the lone survivor was clearly suffering, since many bands of pirates turn on each other when given half a chance and ancient treasures always come with ancient curses. What was unusual was what he did with his cursed treasure.

The man was called One-eyed Rackham and the treasure was a heavy golden disk, about a foot across and covered with engraved symbols and pictograms. After the usual ranting and raving Rackham took the disk to a blacksmith’s and had it broken into pieces. Then he handed the fragments to any ship’s captain who said they were about to leave the island, with instructions that the trinkets should be dropped into the sea as soon as their ship was clear of Sartosa.

Whether the pirate captains took any notice of the ravings of this madman is open to debate, but it seems unlikely a pirate would willingly throw gold into the sea. Word of this strange tale soon spread around the island, though no one seemed to agree on who the captains entrusted with the gold fragments actually were. Suddenly the “nonsense” that Rackham was spouting on his appearance from the jungle became of increased interest and any who heard it found they could dine out on recalling his words. Eventually the scraps of the story were gathered together and it became clear that the golden disk was not the treasure itself, but “The Key” to finding a greater treasure, hidden in a temple of the Old Ones that no one even knew existed. Only if the fragments of The Key could be re-assembled could the location of the ancient loot be discovered!

The hunt is on – the fragments of The Key must be located and reunited, its clues deciphered and the treasures of the Old Ones found.  So set sail, me hearties! Fortune and glory await; fortune and glory!

The Fortress of the Pirate King
Sartosa is administered far more harshly and efficiently than any other city in the Old World. Within the bounds of the harbour, Pirate Law applies, forbidding theft, and offering frequently terminal punishments for murderers, thieves, swindlers, and traitors. Disputes between captains are settled by the King of the Pirates, elected annually from and by the pirate captains then in port. The Fortress looks down over Sartosa, so with a good telescope it's possible to watch the entire town's comings and goings.   

Sartosa City
Sartosa is known as the Pirate City, for good reason. Pirate ships of every shape and size lie at anchor within the great harbour, while the city grows rich with the plunder of the sea - gold from the south, silks from Araby, jewels from the New World, and fine wines from Bretonnia. The whole city thrives upon plunder, secure in its natural defenses and the fighting reputation of its citizens.
The city lies behind solid walls, protected by huge engines of war sheltered within the city and sunk inside heavy bunkers carved into the surrounding cliffs.   

Dead Man's Point
One of the few safe landing points on the north-west coast of Sartosa. Dead Man's Point is still a treacherous beach in anything but a gentle breeze.

A town built into the mountainside, Roba is hidden from the sea and sheltered from bad weather.   

Mount Ertinia
A largely inactive volcano, Mount Ertinia still occationally spews great clouds of smoke and ash into the atmosphere.   

Pirate's Current
The straight between Sartosa and the mainland is subject to a deadly current, the so-called Pirate's Current, which makes it almost impossible for any ship to land on the north side of the island.

Howling Marsh
Even more horrible than its name suggests the Howling Marsh is not to be travelled lightly; a tangled mass of thorny scrub and foul sticky bogs often covered with heavy fog which has been the death of many an unwary traveller.

Osso Hills
Bleak, wind-swept rolling hills with very little going on of any interest. Rarely travelled and thought to be home to many small scavenging goblin bands.   

Volcanic Lake
Below the inactive volcano of Mount Ertinia there is a large body of pure, fresh water inhabited by several of the larger monsters that now plague the local waters.

A small town with a very bad reputation, even for a town on Sartosa! If you want to be press-ganged, cudgeled or given a Mickey Finn, this is the town for you.   

Fort Senelite
On the southern slopes of the Osso Hills at the end of Monkey Cove the former harbour town of Senelite is a veritable bastion – its arsenal brisling with guns and its walls strengthened! The gates were reinforced with steel and sorcery; the walls were manned by bitter, hardened Alliance warriors.

Bay of Wrecks
A swirling eddy of fast flowing waters hiding many reefs, rocky islands and wrecked ships to entangle the irresponsible sailor.   

A small town on a mountain pass. Too close to the old Penitentiary for the comfort of most Sartosans!

A large town surrounded by farmland overlooking Scurvy Point, with views over the south-western seas. Location of the Broken Cutlass inn.

The Penitentiary
Where there was once a mighty Dwarven Hold, now there is nothing but a hellish pit of despair! Smoke pours from a hundred furnaces as thousands of slaves work round the clock on infernal tasks. Conditions are extremely harsh and many end their days working in the pit.

The Scupper’d Mermaid inn is still open but most of the population have moved away after boarding up their homes. A lot of the timber buildings have been stripped for ship repairs.

Once a seedy, disreputable and dangerous place, Vercuso has gone downhill recently. Cut off from the mainland, by a steep ravine in the west and the mutated sea monsters in the harbour, Vercuso has become isolated from the rest of the island. A few small warbands struggle for dominance of the blighted town and its abundant prizes of valuable Bloodfane shards. The Cod and Cutlass was ruined months ago but the denizens of the town still consider the tavern a focal landmark.

Skull Point
The cliffs here are riddled with caves and tunnels, which made it popular with smugglers and ship-wreckers for years but like the rest of the island Skull Point has not seen many ships of late.

Cave of the Damned
Often the source of Sartosa's worst troubles, the Cave of the Damned is a terrifying name to the islanders.

An all but abandoned cliff-top town overlooking the Skull Sands, once surrounded by a large farming community, now over-grown and fallow.

Strange lights are often to be seen over Vermunte at night. No one seems to know what they are and few are willing to find out!

Dragon Tooth Castle
Once the location of a light-house. The light was used for many years to lure ships to their doom on Skull Sands until ill-discipline and poor maintenance meant the machinery broke down. Now the tower is all but gone as well.

Skull Sands
An ever-shifting sand bank where careless ships run aground. Only the pirate's pilots can navigate the treacherous sands, and to reveal its secret is an act of treachery punishable in the most heinous manner imaginable. Even pirate ships occasionally fall foul of the Sands, in which case Pirate Law maintains that the ship is salvaged and free for the taking before wind and tide break it up. This leads to viscous fights between rivals and the crew of the wrecked ship who resent their hard-won cargo being snatched from them when they are within sight of home.


#2 2009-08-10 12:10:28


Re: Sartosa 4: Dark Waters (The End! Week 13 News added)

Week One News:

We’re back mates, and no mistake!






And so we’re back. Back to campaigning on the pirate isle! Huzzah! Yaaarrr! &c! Even though the island has been united under a single black banner, in the typical fashion of pirate politics divisions between internal factions have erupted once more into open hostilities, so nothing really changes. The thrice-cursed Naval Alliance is even here trying to bring their brand of so called law and order to Sartosa.

All this over a bit o’ gold plate an’ all. Apparently the trincket what everyone is calling Rackham’s Key was engraved with names of Sartosan towns before it was broke into four bits. Why? Blessed if I know mate. The first part has been located and secured by the Black Gulf Corsairs. It wasn’t dropped into the briny as that fool Rackham instructed but it was given to an inn keeper to pay off a thirsty sea captain’s bar tab. It was discovered nailed to the wall above the bar in the Waterlogged Monkey tavern in Caprio.


Let’s face it though, whether ye be honest pirate, back-stabbin’ buccaneer or even indolent landlubber, the discovery of a lost city of the Old Ones, stuffed to the gunwales with Ancient Treasures is always good news. As the fair weather o’ the summer months evanesces before our very eyes, there is small consolation to be had in the thought of a full glass o’ grog and a warm fire for the months beyond.

Keep ye powder dry!


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#3 2009-08-14 09:57:28


Re: Sartosa 4: Dark Waters (The End! Week 13 News added)


Week Two News:

A Storm is Brewing

A busy week that was me hearties! All the factions made headway this week with a surprise jump from the Naval Alliance. They made safe the second piece of Rackham’s Key after they discovered that it was traded for a shipload of black powder and cannon balls by a rascally captain from Brionne. The gun powder merchant was about to have it melted down and turned into jewellery for his… um… lady friend, when the agents from the Alliance convinced him that it was not in his best interest. Something to do with an oil lamp, a powder warehouse and an unfortunate accident that could be avoided…


The Brethren of the Sea have had no kind of luck on the battlefield but their agents have made several moves in key location: cloak and dagger ain’t in it! The Black Gulf Corsairs have had their usual successes but to a more modest degree than last week. The Sufaga Swordwind have not been idle (having more success than the Brethren) but can’t be called dynamic just yet.

Things are shaping up to be very interesting over the next couple of months shipmates, the Rackham may not have been as mad as he seemed. He’s been plied with drink and questioned closely (so closely that he hasn’t been able to stand unaided after several interviews), but he ain’t forthcoming with tidings about the whereabouts of his Key or the answer to its puzzle. That’ll be up to who-so-ever finds all the parts!

Fair winds and blues seas to ye!






#4 2009-08-21 10:25:41


Re: Sartosa 4: Dark Waters (The End! Week 13 News added)


Week Three News:

Prepare to Repel Boarders!

The weather may be cooling but the action is heating up! Several towns felt the sting of the factions falling upon one another in this thoughtless hunt for Rackham’s Treasure. Cargio changed hands twice as the Black Gulf Corsairs got there first and hoisted their flag over the town, but the Sufaga Swordwind took it from the Corsairs just days later. The Osso Hills were taken by Corsairs. Roba is contested by the Corsairs and the Naval Alliance, while Caprio has been reinforced by Corsair forces.


The storm that paralysed Vercuso has abated but a strange fever seems to be reaching epidemic proportions in the port town. We advise steering well clear of Slippery Jack’s habitat for the next few weeks if you haven’t already been exposed!

The blasted Black Gulf Corsairs found the third piece of Rackham’s Key this week. Roba is in uproar and it’s not clear at all who controls the little cliff town but the Corsairs hold a portion of it; they discovered the gold plate in a sack of loot being smuggled out of the town towards Sartosa City by a cowardly ship’s chandler. He claimed to be about to bring it to them anyway and escaped with his life but they say that his new hook hand will make chandelling a lot harder.


It seems like this here conflict is going to escalate before it is resolved – already there are slights to avenge and scores to settle. Don’t heave-to yet lads, there’s loot to be found!






#5 2009-08-28 14:19:31


Re: Sartosa 4: Dark Waters (The End! Week 13 News added)


Week Four News:

Heads or Tails? The Fast Fish Takes the Bait.

Great sea-beasts have been the staple of fire-side tales all over Sartosa since time immemorial but they have never been told with such earnest fear as those circulating of late. The waters around our little haven must be fair teaming with monsters if half of them are true!

Regardless of that danger, the Naval Alliance took charge the Bay of Wrecks early in the week while Roba and Dead Man's Point fell to the Corsairs a day or two later. The Cave of the Damned is now contested by the Corsairs and The Sword Wind, but no doubt that particular matter will be settled in the days to come. Skull Point was captured by the Brethren of the Sea, in a dawn landing that surprised even the other Brethren. Vercuso was quiet again as more storms wrack the east coast.

The Corsairs found the forth and last piece of Rackham’s Key buried on the beach at Dead Man’s Point. They were led there by a blind man who had been wronged by the Pirate Captain who hid it there a few weeks ago. Spite can be a powerful motivating force in a community of buccaneers, brigades and pirates: ye be warned. They now hold three of the four fragments and may be able to begin working out its meaning… Or maybe not; we will have to wait and see.


The other factions will now most likely turn against the pernicious Black Gulf Corsairs in a concentrated effort lest they get the Lost Treasure!






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~ ~ ~


#6 2009-09-08 08:03:10


Re: Sartosa 4: Dark Waters (The End! Week 13 News added)

Week Five News:

All quiet, but for the critical strike…

So much for the concentrated effort against the pernicious Black Gulf Corsairs!


In an otherwise quite week on the island the only report of fighting (outside of the troubled Vercuso) has come from Caragio: The Corsairs ambushed a Naval Alliance force escorting the Alliance’s solitary fragment of the Key.

Do the Naval Alliance have a traitor in their midst who betrayed the movement of their bit of Rackham’s Key? Spies are also a possibility, as are the dark arts. Either way, the Corsairs seemed to know where the Key was and attacked the army escorting it at its most vulnerable point. They now have all four fragments and possibly the location of the Lost City of the Old Ones!



In the aforementioned Vercuso after a concerted effort the Brethren of the Sea have edged into control of a slightly larger portion of the harbour town than the other factions. More trouble is to come no doubt – it seems like the clash of warbands there will go on as long as there is loot to be found.






#7 2009-09-14 11:02:54


Re: Sartosa 4: Dark Waters (The End! Week 13 News added)

Week Six News:

Relaxed Robbery Reaps Rich Rewards


The Naval Alliance pulled off another minor coup over the Black Gulf Corsairs this week. In revenge for the ambush last week they sent in a small team of agents to the Corsair’s stronghold at Caprio and stole the first fragment of the key from under their noses! Apparently the Alliance party, dressed unconvincingly as Pirates, walked in through the Corsair’s guards with being questioned and extracted the fragment of Rackham’s key from a locked strong-room. They hid it in a folded jolly roger and walked out of town with it tucked under the arm of their smallest agent, again without being check or challenged. I imagine the cat o’nine may well still strippin’ the flesh from the backs of the Corsairs on guard that day!


Vercuso was this week the same hotbed of activity it was last week. Street fighting among the small warbands, sent by their factions to secure the town and its loot, continuing to spread throughout the harbour town as each group struggles to take possession of key landmarks. The warbands are not limiting their aggression against their rival factions either – they seem just as happy to stab an allied warband in the back!

Elsewhere, Ragil and Roba were the focus of the Swordwind and Naval Alliance attentions respectively. Both fell quickly to swift and concentrated attacks. The Brethren of the Sea and the Black Gulf Corsairs were both conspicuously quiet beyond the walls of Vercuso.

It ain’t over yet mates, not by a long chalk!






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#8 2009-09-22 13:18:00


Re: Sartosa 4: Dark Waters (The End! Week 13 News added)


Week Seven News

Time and Tide

Arrrghh! The Corsairs were back in the thick of it this week – they focused their efforts on Roba and the Cave of the Damned, breaking the Naval Alliance’s hold on Roba and reinforcing the Corsairs’ hold on the Caves.

Vercuso was the scene of protracted skirmishes; the small bands of fighters were locked into vicious struggles for dominance of the port, often at all hours of the day and night. The Brethren of the Sea have once more edged a narrow advantage over their rivals.

The Corsairs took back the first fragment of Rackham’s Key from the Naval Alliance. There were no underhanded dealings this time though – a straight-up field engagement decided the matter. No faction seems to be able to hold on to a fragment for long when the Corsairs are in the mood for a fight.


Fights broke out within factions again as well - the Brethren in Beffardo and the Corsairs in the Howling Marsh. With so many internecine battles it will be a shock if anyone actually finds the Lost City at this rate!

Hall hard mates, the autumn is here for certain and with the prospect of storms fast approaching the island will be once more battening down for a long hard winter.







#9 2009-10-08 14:03:37


Re: Sartosa 4: Dark Waters (The End! Week 13 News added)

http://i654.photobucket.com/albums/uu263/WBKurgan/Pirate%20Orcs/Sartosa/PirateGunnerLeft.jpg http://i654.photobucket.com/albums/uu263/WBKurgan/Pirate%20Orcs/Sartosa/PirateGunnerRight.jpg

Week Eight and Nine News

Deluge and Despondency

The weather has closed in on Sartosa again; everyone has battened down hatches and taken refuge below decks. There are signs that the storm will blow over soon and the swashbuckling will resume but for now most buccaneers are riding it out safely in port.


Vercuso has seen a recent upsurge in Corsair aggression; the picaroons have muscled in on four key areas of the shattered harbour, squeezing the other factions out somewhat and wresting control of the majority of the port from the Brethren of the Coast.

The gap in the weekly updates is due entirely to the storm and has no connection whatsoever to the rumours that I am on trial for smuggling Warpstone off of the island to Estallian traders. These baseless accusations will very soon be proven to be simply the wanton vindictiveness on the part of my enemies. I am in no danger of being hung for treason at all. In any way. Nor am I writing this update from a cell beneath the Fortress of the Pirate King.






#10 2009-10-15 12:28:11


Re: Sartosa 4: Dark Waters (The End! Week 13 News added)


Week Ten News

A Lucky Cut!

The Naval Alliance pulled off an inadvertent triumph over the Corsairs this week. In a cutting-out mission they stole a Corsair ship from its anchorage. Under the cover of darkness Alliance sailors in several ship’s longboats rowed into Dead Man's Point and crept aboard the ship, Hangfire. The small watch was quickly over-powered and the ship was taken out to sea with the land breeze as dawn broke. In itself a fairly small success, but for one fact! In the Hangfire’s strongbox there was the third piece of Rackham’s Key!



Vercuso was strangely quite this week – it seems like a bad batch of rum has put-pay to the boisterous buccaneering that normally fills that little corner of Sartosa with noise and nonsense has reduced the population to just the nonsense part. Strange things are happening in wharf-town but none of it is any of yer actual warfare.


No long now ‘till the winter storms will completely close down the campaigning season – if’n no-one has stepped up to stop ‘em, there is a good chance the Black Gulf Corsairs will have had away with the loot of the Lost City… If they ever find it that is!

~ ~ ~




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#11 2009-10-21 13:19:22


Re: Sartosa 4: Dark Waters (The End! Week 13 News added)


Week Eleven News

Cutlasses and Cut-throats

Even though the Naval Alliance was the busiest faction this week they haven’t managed to hang on to the fragment of The Key that they accidentally stole last week. The Sartosa Harbour Independent Trading attacked Syndicate the Skaven of GreySeer Rowland in Roba and between the frothing, frenzied hordes and the counter-mining tunnelers, the Skaven cut the attacking army to ribbons. The GreySeer picked up the piece of the key from the wreckage left on the field.


Out at sea the Alliance got bested by the Brethren of the Sea; Ironprow II was boarded and taken by the crew of the Hogwasha. The Ironprows were marooned on a mere spit of land and had to watch the Hogwashas sail away with their ship. Rumour has it that the Orc Pirates got so insensible with the strong spirits they discovered in the Ironprow’s hold that the Wrecker’s Guild were able to steal the Alliance ship back without much effort. The drunken Orcs on Anchor Watch were simply tipped overboard in the night.


Vercuso was a busy place again – the whole town is now under the control of one faction or another. Now it just remains to be seen if one group can put enough pressure on another to shift them from their strongholds!

This here campaign ends on 31st October lads, so don’t lollygag about the deck, a-waiting for something to happen: get out there and grab ye’self a piece o’ the action!

~ ~ ~





#12 2009-11-02 16:46:20


Re: Sartosa 4: Dark Waters (The End! Week 13 News added)


Week Twelve and Thirteen News

Cursed Corsairs: Lost City? Tis Found!

The winter storms have closed in once more and the residents of Sartosa have battened down the hatches to hide from the worst the elements will be a-throwin’ at ‘em.

There seemed to be little doubt about the Corsairs getting’ the upper hand in the search for The Lost City of the Old Ones, and while they have dominated the fighting on this here island and found all four pieces of Rackham’s Key in reasonably short order, they didn’t seemed to be able to work out the clues it contained. All manner of random wanderin’ about and lookin’ under tree-stumps went on but they didn’t have any definite ideas about the Lost City’s location.

Yet by pure chance they seem to have found it! One of their scouting parties, one of many sent out to thoroughly examine all their possessions, realised that it was right under their noses: in the empty and unpromising Osso Hills!

Work has just started in stripping the place of all it valuables – with a thin vale of lies to convince themselves that they are “protecting” the artefacts from looters! The next job is getting it all off the island. I can’t wait to see what happens when they try that!


The Brethren of the Sea and the Naval Alliance ended up with equal shares of the island while the Sufaga Sword Wind was left to pick at the table-scraps. Staggeringly there are still three areas that no one seems to be interested in. The Fortress of the Pirate King, Skull Sands, and Dragon Tooth Island were all ignored for the whole campaign. Presumably once word got out that the lost city was inland all coastal and sea areas lost their attractions.

Vercuso was the most hotly contested city – even though it was clear from the start that it was not the location of the Lost City. Many small bands of scurvy sea-dogs struggled and strove to claim the bigger share of the seedy harbour town. While no single warband could rival The Knights of the Woeful Sense of Direction (members of the Naval Alliance), who ended up with the strongest grip, the combined might of the Brethren of the Sea added up to a larger portion overall; especially since the Ogresuns and the Gentlemen of the Inferno (both Brethren of the Sea) held comfortable second and third places!

Well done though shipmates: It was a campaign well fought, especially in that south-eastern corner!

~ ~ ~

Just to make it clear, this is Rackham’s Key in full:


And this is the location of the Lost City plotted on the Sartosa map using the landmarks from the Key:


~ ~ ~




Brethren of the Sea - 4 locations
Naval Alliance - 4 locations
Corsairs - 9 locations including the Lost City
Sword Wind - 2 locations

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