The Spectral Corsair campaign – “The Way It Was…”

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She was the ship that was destined to become the Spectral Corsair, a class III light freighter with a few modifications that a trader-turned-smuggler might like. But she had been abandoned, and was found buried in the depths of the shipyards of Halgria, in orbit around Kua, battered and space-beaten. She was bought up cheap by the robber-baron from Djachroum, Jubal Aldair: bought cheap because everyone knew the ship was haunted.  No one knew what had happened to her previous crew, but the ship was in decent working order, and Captain Leo Valdez had no hesitation when his friend and patron, Jubal, offered to go halves with him and his crew mates.  Valdez needed a ship, and Jubal was offering him one, and thus the Spectral Corsair cleared the tower…

Years before, Leo Valdez had fled the Altai system and his pirate life.  He had just been trying to make ends meet in desperate times, but his pirate brethren were happy to kill to order, if the money was right.  Valdez wasn’t happy and the money could never be right for what they were being asked to do.  But it’s not so easy to leave, and his sudden departure was seen as treachery by his former allies: they left a high price on his head for deserting them.  While Valdez knows the Spectral Corsair is haunted, he knows as well that the Icons favour him, and will protect the Corsair at the last, whenever she most needs it.

His engineer, Sebastian Fenwick (better known as “8 Bit” as he has lost the middle finger of both hands – but won’t explain how or why…) is also running from his hidden past.  Something happened and the law is still out there looking for him.  The curse of Ijma’urf shadows his movements, and his captain is too cavalier and reckless, making too big a splash wherever they go.  8 Bit fears this will, sooner or later, call the attention of the law down on them.  But it’s not just the law that haunts him, as his conscience plagues him too, for the things he has done, or at least, those things he blames himself for.  He tries to avoid leaving the ship and his happiest moments are spent in his engine room, tinkering with gadgets and gizmos.

Hanbal the Humanite hails from some dreadful back-water planet, and was born with a rough and tough skin to withstand the high winds and scouring sands.  How he learned the skills to be a pilot no one knows, and Hanbal hasn’t said – and what he did before meeting Valdez remains a mystery too.  But the targeting cybernetics in his eye hint at a violent past.  He is Zenithian through and through, so much so that he has trouble hiding his disdain, even hatred, of the Firstcome and everything they stand for.

Callum Karter is the muscle of the group, a cybernetically enhanced soldier with big weapons and at least one grenade.  He is also the Corsair’s gunner, with a taste for gunning down fleeing people with spaceship scale weapons…  as well as firing countermeasures to keep them all safe.  However, his love of shiny cybernetics is a real problem, an addiction even, and his reckless desire to try new things will get him into trouble one day.

The final member of the team is Ajit Mehr, once the Corsair’s sensor operator but who left some years ago to take up a new life as a freelance spy and covert operative.  Having worked many questionable jobs Mehr ended up employed by the Legion in the Aiwaz system, running infiltration ops on Trini.  Despite, or maybe because of, his multiple licences for weapons and gear he ended up heavily indebted and implicated (unfairly) in the assassination of a leading Draconite official on the planet. Mehr was trapped with the noose closing, and needed a last ditch chance to escape.  Only to find the Icons had brought the Spectral Corsair, and his old friends, right to his door just when he needed them most….


View from the GM’s Chair:

My players immediately wanted to have a haunted ship, even before they’d seen the rules, and Valdez had named the ship long before we sat down to create the ship and the crew. But it worked with the Cursed Ship Problem really well, although that said the problem is pretty “un-problematic” if you play it literally to the rules. So I’ve shined it up, spending Darkness Points (DP) to give the ship an almost poltergeist feel, and have it do things it thinks are funny or mischievous.

PC problems work out well, with an addiction (to shiny cybernetics), a hatred (of the Firstcome), money troubles, and a bounty on one and a law enforcement warrant on another.  

As smugglers they took “Everything Is For Sale” as their group talent.  Icon talents include two of them with the Deckhand’s Talent, giving them an immediate +1d6 to the Corsair’s Hull Points or Energy Points, should either hit 0 – damned powerful, and even more so with two of them!  The Spectral Corsair is a bit of a tank!  The others have the Traveller’s Talent (can ask the GM a yes / no question), the Gambler’s Talent (any skill roll can be a critical +3 success), and the Merchant’s Talent (you can find a favourable loan).  Interesting combination.

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