Rule of Three

World Wide Wrestling - Session 4
Suplexing Hitler

The wrestling world is still reeling from the impact of the last OTW event, where almost the entire roster vanished into a time vortex. The only remaining wrestler is Jean Loup-Garou, and an packed RSL audience watches him reel drunk around the ring, complaining that no-one will come fight him. Suddenly the big display TV comes alive with static, and in it can be seen- El Gastro! The loo-chador shows the audience that he was thrown back in time to 1945, where he met Winston Churchill and suplexed Hitler. He then fell through time to 2014, where he existed in a ghost-like form, haunting the East Brunswick RSL as Over the Top Wrestling was formed – yes, it was El Gastro who actually was behind the mystery of the curse! Finally, El Gastro materialises in an explosion of static and sparks, returned to this reality and determined to rescue the rest of the OTW roster. He and Jean put aside their differences and hook up the remaining weird machines to the glitterball over the ring, which briefly pulls Lady Insane back to 2016 – she takes their hands and they all disappear again.
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Mars, 2066. The red planet has been subjugated by the armies of Emperor Trump, led by the mad scientist Doktor Colossus, who now amuses himself with death matches in his battle arena. With most of the OTW in stasis pods (including RSPCACE!), a weary Debra comes out to fight a championship match against the Highwayman, now enslaved by mind control implants, in front of a crowd of human soldiers and dejected Martian prisoners. But before the match can start, Lady Insane, Jean and El Gastro appear in a shower of sparks and glitter! They call out Doktor Colossus, but he refuses to fight as this is a singles match. Lady Insane objects that she is the #1 Contender, and Colossus is forced to turn it into a triple threat. With her friends held back by armed soldiers, Lady Insane convinced Debra that they need to work together to take down the controlled Highwayman – once he is out of the ring, they fight one-on-one for the Championship title! The battle is fierce, but Lady Insane takes advantage of the lower Martian gravity to get the upper hand and overpower Debra – only for the Highwayman to return to the ring! Lady gets him in a submission hold, rips out the mind control implants and pins him – she is the new Ultimate Champion! The crowd goes wild, and the Martian prisoners rise up to fight back against the human oppressors!

With their army and plans in tatters, Doktor Colossus and his tag partner Glamazon head for an escape shuttle, only to be faced by El Gastro and Jean Loup-Garou – former enemies, now teaming up to form a new tag team. It’s a four-way fight! Jean and El Gastro do their best, but their opponents have the advantage of teamwork and experience, and soon take the advantage. Faced by a beating at the hands of Glamazon, El Gastro tries a new and appalling tactic – he drops his tights and… um… well… look, he poops himself. Just rivers and rivers of shit, all over the ring. The tactic is so shocking that the forces of evil lose all focus, and before Doktor Colossus can (reluctantly) pin El Gastro for the win, Jean pulls him crotch-first into the ring posts, then rolls him up for a three-count. El Gastro and Jean Loup-Garou are the new tag team champions!

In the aftermath, Jean throws Glamazon directly at Doktor Colossus, activating the time-travel circuits in their tag team belts, and all of the OTW roster are explosively returned to 2016. The crowd goes wild! The new champions are held aloft (except for the shit-covered El Gastro) and vow to stop the terrible future of 2066 from ever taking place! The curse is lifted from the RSL!

And the Network 10 executive offers Sadie Sledge a five-year contract to bring Over the Top Wrestling (okay, except for the pooping-in-the-ring part) to national television. Everybody wins!

…someone please get a mop and some bleach.

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World Wide Wrestling - Session 3
King of the Hill

In the fortnight between live events, Sadie Sledge assembles the Over the Top roster to discuss the Network Ten situation. The audience loved the match between Lady Insane and Jean Loup-Garou, and footage is going viral on social media. If OTW can leverage this interest into ticket sales then the Network Ten deal may go through – and Sadie has a big plan for the promotion to really get attention…

The next live show kicks off with Lady Insane in the ring, while the audience pop and show off their signs and Bowie makeup – they can’t get enough of her! She thanks them for their support and uses the opportunity to call out El Gastro to explain his recent behaviour. But El Gastro is already there, hiding under the ring – he jumps out to attack Lady and a match begins! The two trade blows and high-flying moves, while RPSCAce! joins the commentator to observe the fight (and fend off questions about her own clashes with Debra and Jean). In the ring, El Gastro pulls out what tricks he can, but Lady Insane strings him up from the disco ball above the ring, hits her finisher and wins the match – while Ace! drops the shocking revelation that she actually hates puppies!

As the two wrestlers finish the confrontation, the lights come up, and out comes Sadie Sledge to announce that it’s time to choose a Number One Contender to face off with the Highwayman for the OTW Ultimate Championship. But rather than choose someone, or make two contenders face off, she wants something bigger – a King of the Hill match!
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After a match between Yass Queen and Break Neck Need, ring announcer RSLvis croons to the crowd while technicians assemble something in the ring behind tarpaulins. Lady Insane and El Gastro cool off, while Debra cuts a promo about her growing animosity toward RSPCAce – which grows even further when Ace interrupts the promo to deliver a few snide remarks.

With intermission over, the techs pull back the tarp to reveal a high-tech platform in the middle of the ring, three metres high and covered in flanges, gears and lights. Sadie calls out Lady Insane, El Gastro, Debra and RSPCAce! to enter the match – she also calls out Jean Loup-Garou, but apparently he got drunk at an art exhibition in Fitzroy and hasn’t made it tonight. Doctor Kolossus fits every wrestler with a high-tech wristband, while El Gastro notices that the platform looks like a larger version of the device he found within one of the RSL’s malfunctioning poker machines. Sadie then explains the stipulations – Lady Insane starts as ‘King’, but any wrestler can touch their wristband to the top of the platform to become the new King. No pinfalls or submissions, but wrestlers can throw their opponents over the top rope to eliminate them – and whoever is King when the match countdown hits zero is the new #1 Contender.

Now ring the bell!

Lady Insane scrambles up the platform to defend her position as the others grapple to take control. El Gastro fights his way clear from his rivals, climbs the platform and attempts to push Lady Insane off, but she’s too strong for him – not only does she retain her position, she throws him out of the ring and out of the match! El-G joins the commentators as Debra and Ace! fight, until Ace! lifts herself on a growing mountain of adorable, squealing puppies to reach the top of the platform. Lady Insane grabs the disco ball and smashes it over Ace’s head, dazing her and allowing Lady to throw her out of the match. Now it’s down to just two, and Debra and Lady Insane fight it out. Ace! and El Gastro continue commentating, noticing that the platform continues to vibrate, whirr and throb with energy as the match escalates. Just before the countdown reaches zero, Ace! and El-G storm the stage to attack the platform, while Lady Insane throws Debra back down to the mat.

Zero! Lady Insane is the #1 Contender! The platform explodes into a flash of blinding light! Every poker machine in the RSL shorts out and spews out coins! When the glare clears, the ring is empty – and every OTW wrestler in the building has vanished into some kind of… time vortex?!?!?!

Where do we go from here?

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World Wide Wrestling - Session 2
Iron Chef Smackdown

As a new instalment of Over the Top Wrestling begins, the audience seems footage from earlier in the day, as El Gastro investigates the RSL’s poker machine banks in an effort to learn more about the club’s mysterious curse. An angry nonna points him at a malfunctioning machine, and he finds a strange cylindrical device inside – and is then interrupted by the Highwayman! The OWT Champion has a score to settle after El Gastro interfered with last episode’s match with Sucker Punch, and he plans to settle scores in a ‘friendly’ (ie non-title) match. Tonight!

In the first match of the night, Debra calls out RPSCAce!, while Debra’s new rival Yass Queen watches from the sidelines. The crowd expect Debra to work stiff and use her Muay Thai moves, but it’s actually Ace that snaps and goes to a hardcore style, beating Debra so hard around the head that the referee yells for the bell and the match ends in a no-contest.

Debra is taken away to get any injuries treated, while Ace heads to the locker room to cool off. There she’s approached by Doctor Kolossus, the mad scientist half of the champion tag team, who says that El Gastro is poking his nose where it doesn’t belong. He wants her to take El-G down, leaving his involvement out of it – and if she does, he’ll use his future technology to change her puppy-summoning powers to kitten-summoning powers! Ace is noncommittal, but promises to think it over.

The second match is Jean-Loup Garou versus Lady Insane, but Jean ups the ante, calling Lady out and escalating the fight to a cage match! Jean is in his element in the cage and dominates the early part of the match, but Lady holds her own and starts taking back control. At a pivotal moment, Ace runs in and throws a chicken parmigiana through the cage into Jean’s face! Blinded, he can’t fight back as Lady hurls him out of the cage and onto a barbecue in the dinner tables, lightly frying him as she pins him for the win. The crowd goes wild for Lady Insane – they can’t get enough of her!
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The Highwayman comes to the ring, ready for a fight – but the ever-unpredictable El Gastro has turned the match into an Iron Chef cooking contest, with stoves, counters and ingredients on display! The masked marvel busies himself making a chicken burrito for his opponent, but the Highwayman is unamused, and the match becomes an all-out brawl with kitchen implements and foodstuffs as weapons. Meanwhile, Ace watches the match, with Doctor Kolossus telling her to interfere now or never possess kitten powers! No-one tells OTW’s resident anti-hero what to do, and she punches him out just as the Highwayman piledrives El Gastro through two stoves to win the match.

As the night ends, the Highwayman pulls El Gastro from the wreckage to thank him for the match and show him respect, but the brawl on the outside disrupts the show as more wrestlers come out to join the melee. It’s a schmoz! Clear the hall!

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World Wide Wrestling - Session 1
Blood and Glitter

Indie promotion Over the Top Wrestling (OTW) is a theatrical wrestling promotion full of fantastic and weird elements like aliens, time travellers and monsters. OTW puts on shows every second Saturday night at the East Brunswick RSL – which would be a great venue if it wasn’t cursed – and has a low-budget TV show on Channel 31.

But change may be coming. One night at training, OTW owner Sadie Sledge confirms the rumours to her team – the Ten Network is interested in signing a deal with OTW for a national TV show. It would mean money and exposure for all of OTW’s talent – but the deal may not go through unless the promotion can prove they can bring in a significant audience. And for that to happen, the wrestlers need to step up and bring in more fans over the next six weeks.

The pressure is on.
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The announcers discuss the Network 10 rumour as the first match starts – El Gastro versus Doktor Kolossus, a time-travelling mad scientist and part of the Future Shock faction. El Gastro puts up a good fight, and gets into the head of his opponent, but Kolossus manages to pin him for the win. After the match, OTW Creative meet with El Gastro and ask him to prove his awesomeness by solving the mystery of the RSL and breaking the curse – and if he can’t do it, then he’ll be fired!

Before her Triple Threat match with Jean Loup-Garou and Break Neck Need, RSPCAce! cuts a promo about her difficult alliance with Jean and their failure to win the Tag Team Championship in the previous show. The promo doesn’t go down well with the audience, and Creative quickly change the booking of the match. During the match, Ace and Jean take out their frustrations on each other, allowing Break Neck to take the win, assisted by interference from his stablemate Glamazon.

After the match, Jean cools off in the locker room until he is approached by the Highwayman – the OTW Ultimate Champion, returning to the promotion after recovering from an injury. The Highwayman commiserates with Jean over his failure to win the Tag Team belt, and suggests trying again or going after Mr Crinkles – the evil clown who carries OTW’s Batmania Belt (for the weirdest wrestler) – as another option. The OTW Ultimate Championship Belt, though… maybe one day. Maybe.

Before his match with the Highwayman, Sucker Punch meets with OTW Creative, who tell him that Channel 10 is unconvinced that he’s prime-time material; unless he can make an impressive showing against the Highwayman, they’re more likely to give Break Neck Need a push. Bitter about this, Sucker Punch prepares to take on the Highwayman, but the match is disrupted by El Gastro, who claims that he’s taking Sucker Punch on as his new protegee, ‘Fidel Gastro’. Sucker Punch angrily rejects El Gastro’s ‘help’, and the angle leaves the audience confused; he goes on to fight the Highwayman, who overpowers him despite El Gastro’s interference.

As Debra trains in the gym, she’s approached by someone from her past – Irene, a former Muay Thai competition teammate. Irene is also joining OTW, as a rival to Debra named ‘Yass Queen’, and says she’s looking forward to beating Debra in the ring – again. Irritated by this, Debra interrupts a promo that Lady Insane is making before their main event match; the two argue and escalate their fight into a Casket match, firing up the audience!

In the main event, Debra and Lady Insane have an all-out, no-disqualifications brawl that can only end when one of them locks the other in the ringside ‘casket’ (actually one of the porta-potties El Gastro uses in his ring entrance). They work a hard match; Debra uses her martial arts skills to beat down Lady Insane, but the Martian always comes back for more. At the end of the match, Lady Insane pulls out one of her insane moves – but she’s so high on glitter that she forgets what’s happening! RSCPAce! runs in to interfere, brawling briefly with Debra to distract the audience, and once Lady Insane gets her head together, Debra buries her in the casket to take the win.

At the end of the show, feuds are heating up and future matches are in the offing – but there was nothing to really electrify the audience and bring up the numbers. Can the team kick it up a notch or five next time?

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Don't Rest Your Head - Session 2
Nothing Rhymes with Orange

As the Black Frequency spills into the Nicholas Building, Burgess and Cribbins run away up a long flight of stairs, pursued by one of the stall-holders, wielding a meat cleaver and screaming that this is all Cribbins’ fault. They emerge from the stairs into the ground-level parking lot of a supermarket; they block the door behind them.

On the train, Dylan meets the leader of the Button Men, Velvet – an animated tailor’s dummy with a metal deer skull for a head. She speaks cryptically about the Court of 3am Eternal, led by the Black Frequency and the Devil, who are wresting control away from Brother Singer; she says that Dylan must act as ‘the bridge’ and carry away regret. It’s all very confusing, and Dylan is relieved when the train stops and lets him off at Flagstaff Station – where he gets a phone call from his distressed father, asking him to come right away to the family home in Brighton.

Burgess speaks to his handler in the Carlton Mob; the lawyer he was sent to kill had other contacts, and now Burgess needs to eliminate someone in Brighton. Meanwhile, Cribbins checks his phone contacts and finds an entry for someone called ‘Young-mi’ who he doesn’t know – it’s the girl in the yellow ballgown he tried to rescue. He calls, but she isn’t happy to hear from him and tells him to leave her alone – he’s done enough to ruin things already. As Burgess and Cribbins compare notes, trying to work out what’s going on, they’re attacked and chased by the furious brothers of the girl Cribbins left behind in Queensland (along with their baby).
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Dylan drives past in a cab, headed to Brighton, and sees the two men being chased – and the bottle of orange liquid Cribbins took from Young-mi’s bag. He stops the cab and picks up Cribbins and Burgess, and they get away from the attack. When the cab driver starts playing the black frequency on the radio, they all pile out of the cab in a Richmond back street and again try to make sense of things. When the brothers catch up, Burgess holds them off at gunpoint, and Cribbins convinces one of them to drink the orange liquid. The substance overwhelms the man with sadness, then turns him into a long-limbed monster; the three insomniacs escape in the brothers’ car.

In the back seat, Cribbins finds a home-made music CD for ‘DJ Devil John’, who looks exactly like Burgess; the final track on the CD is the black frequency. Cribbins calls Young-mi again, and she tells him to meet her at an address in Brighton; it’s the same address as Dylan’s family home, and Burgess secretly realises his target is Dylan’s father. He asks to be let out near the house, and he watches as Dylan and Cribbins meet Dylan’s father in the back-yard bungalow. He confesses that his business is going under, and he’s been financing a speed manufacturing operation to regain the family fortune, but it’s all going wrong and he thinks the Carlton Mob is after him. There’s no sign of Young-mi, but Dylan’s father knows her – she was the chief speed cook of the operation.

Outside, Burgess photographs the house with his phone; the photos show details that aren’t present in the real world, such as a security camera watching Burgess and DJ Devil John emerging from a door and walking through the photos towards him. He turns off his phone and hears a car approaching and playing the black frequency – and Young-mi appears outside the bungalow and sets it on fire! Cribbins and Dylan escape the flames with Dylan’s father in tow, and Burgess runs into the yard with the rave gang on his heels; all three of them chase Young-Mi through a strange door in the family home.

They find themselves in a wax-lined tunnel, with Dylan’s father left behind. They follow Young-mi to a locked metal door; through a viewing panel, they see her slumped in what appears to be the inside of a crashed plane. She says that she’s too sad and too weary to go on, and apologises for hurting Dylan’s father; she just wanted to stop Cribbins before he made things worse. As Cribbins searches the valise for a key, Young-mi drifts off to sleep, and the silhouette of the long-limbed monster appears in the plane; when they finally get the door open, the girl is gone.

The three emerge from the plane onto the roof of the Nicholas Building. They see the skyline of a jumbled, over-stuffed Melbourne, with too many buildings from too many eras; walls and buildings are littered with misplaced windows and the partial fuselages of planes. They go down into the building, following a staircase into a massive room filled by a impossibly huge, old-fashioned industrial sewing machine, which stitches together dream-threads and spits out rolls upon rolls of velvet cloth. Dylan sees Young-mi’s face in the cloth as they realise she’s been fed into the machine; she tells them she’s sorry for what she and Cribbins did as the door shuts and the black frequency begins to play again…

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Don't Rest Your Head - Session 1
In the Beat of the Night

Dylan visits his dealer to buy some speed, only to find him dead, possibly poisoned by some kind of orange substance. He grabs what drugs he can before he’s accosted by a trio of muscular ravers, seemingly high on the orange liquid; he jumps down the stairwell and flees.

Burgess watches the Nicholas Building, waiting for his target; when he moves to intercept, he finds the lawyer shot dead in the elevator by a man in a 1930s suit with giant buttons for eyes. He climbs the stairs to investigate.

On Swanston Street, Danger Cribbins peers into the closed-down Golden Palace diner to see a woman in a ballgown retrieve a valise. He immediately feels a connection, and when she is chased by a sledgehammer-wielding raver, he goes through a strange door to give chase.

Dylan escapes the rave thugs, but receives texts from his dead dealer telling him to avoid the black frequency and not to trust his father. He gets an Uber back to his apartment; the driver has a crease down the centre of his face and plays strange ‘music’ by a band called The Black Frequency. When the rave thugs show up, Dylan escapes through a gate in his back fence that he’s never seen before.
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Passing through a gate on the steps, Burgess finds the Nicholas Building is packed with people, buying and selling antiquities from stalls that claim to be little museums. One stall sells music boxes, and he hears a snatch of the melody that’s keeping him awake, but the stall-holder wants memories or wax coins rather than cash. He decides to leave, but finds the stairs and elevator are gone, and the body of the lawyer lying in an alcove.

Danger runs down an impossibly long hallway lined with windows into impossible locations, armed with a fire extinguisher. Finally he finds the woman being menaced by the raver, and he caves the man’s head in with his weapon. Somehow the woman knows him – and somehow the raver revives, weird music spilling from his collapsing head. Danger kicks in a window and climbs through; the woman hands him the valise but is captured by the raver. She screams at him to escape, and he panics and runs away.

Dylan emerges in an underground train station that he doesn’t recognise, the speed in his pockets turning into orange liquid. He catches a train, but somehow the rave thugs pull up alongside in their car and board via grappling hooks! Dylan tries to escape to the next car, but it’s guarded by a button-eyed man. He manages to fend off an attacking raver by offering the orange substance; the button man shoots the raver, then allows Dylan to pass, calling him a ‘friend of Velvet’.

Danger jumps through a window into the museum trading in the Nicholas Building, running through the crowd until colliding with Burgess. Something follows after him – a strange sound that manifests visually as a kind of smoky static, and that possesses those it touches! As the crowd screams about the ‘black frequency’ and tries to flee, Burgess fights his way through to grab the music box – and hears a snippet of the mystery melody in the core of the frequency. Meanwhile, Danger feels something moving inside the valise, and opens it to see a bottle of orange liquid vibrating in time with the terrible sound…

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Freeport - Session 4
The Stars Ain't Right

The crew race for Ape Island, using every bit of Roger’s navigation skill and Erik’s maritime nouse, and manage to reach a hidden inlet before the Murder Circus’ ship. Following Jawbone Jack’s map, they navigate the island, watched all the while by every variety of ape and monkey found there.

Eventually they come to a lake at the foot of a mountain, with a building rising from its side – an ancient observatory carved from black stone. When they venture into the observatory, they trigger a trap, and Farn and Pete are separated from the rest of the crew. Before they can find a way to rejoin the others, Farn rips away his magical disguise to reveal that he’s actually Dr Mirablis- he paralyses Pete with magic and drags him off towards the building’s centre.

The real Farn wakes up, bound and gagged in the hold of the Circus’ ship – he escapes and runs through the jungle, guided by his ghoulish senses to rejoin the rest of the crew as they wander the observatory, fighting off cultists and the terrifying form of Orcus, now with Charlie Chuckles’ severed-yet-still-laughing head stitched crudely to his chest.

In the centre of the ancient ruin, a giant ghostly gorilla guards an altar underneath a basalt orrery. Mirablis places Pete on the altar, and the building rumbles – it’s built on a dormant volcano that’s returning to life! Everything has aligned, Mirablis tells Pete – he lured him here to this island as the stars were coming into their right arrangement, and once he sacrifices Pete, the cult’s dread master will rise from Hell!
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Before the sacrifice can be made, the rest of the crew burst in and a brawl breaks out, even as a lava-filled rift in the earth splits the chamber in half. With Mirablis distracted, Erik frees Pete from the altar and lies down in his place – the mystical star tattoos that Estrella marked him with disrupt the ritual, stopping the dark powers from rising! Before Mirablis can hatch some new plot, Pete tackles him down into the rift, giving his life to take revenge on his grandmother’s murderer. The observatory shakes, but the way out is barred by Orcus – and Jobu too makes the ultimate sacrifice, grappling the unkillable monster and dragging it down into the lava rift.

The remaining crew make it outside just as the observatory breaks apart and collapses into the lake. They return to the inlet to find both The Travelling Lady and the Circus’ ship – now their ship, along with whatever artifacts and treasures it holds. They sail away from Ape Island, giving Pete’s peg-leg and Jobu’s whaling spear a symbolic burial at sea, and head back to Freeport to seek new fortunes.

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Freeport - Session 3
Red Tide at Night

Recovering from their encounter with the ‘Murder Circus’, the crew dedicate themselves to their plan to recover Jawbone Jack’s treasure map from the sunken wreck of The Guiding Star. To do this, they need a diving bell, and Erik knows an old crewmate who now works for the seabed-exploring Society of Lobstermen. The crew visit the Society’s remarkably secure, remarkably well-appointed compound on the Docks, and Erik negotiates to hire a diving bell – with a brief distraction as Estrella breaks into a large wooden lobster-like submersible and almost goes on a mechanical rampage through the Lobstermen’s headquarters.

Almost.

With the bell installed, the crew take The Travelling Lady out right away, sailing through the night rather than risk further incidents. In their dreams, they recall the terrible battle with Jawbone Jack and his ghoul pirates, the battle in which Captain Rudder died and the Star sank. It’s a sad, traumatising series of memories – and a disturbing one, as Estrella suddenly remembers seeing Captain Rudder being stabbed in the back while fighting Jawbone Jack. Did one of the crew betray their captain?

By midday, the Lady reaches the site of the battle, in an area where schools of red algae leave the waters permanently red as blood. Jobu and Pete swim down in the diving bell to find the wreck, while the others keep watch on the ship. Roger sees a ship on the horizon, and sounds the alarm – but there are nearer dangers, as the ship is attacked by merfolk and a giant albino moray eel, the same creatures that have been sinking ships in Freeport! As the crew battle the attackers above, Jobu fights off a monstrous jellyfish in the wreck of the Star, and Pete discovers the map in the skeletal hand of Captain Rudder’s corpse – a corpse that grabs him as he attempts to take it!

In a frantic fight, Farn kills the merfolk leader and savagely tears into the moray with his ghoulish claws, and Roger witnesses the cabin boy’s inhuman power as he dispatches the other attackers. Jobu rips apart the jellyfish, and Rudder’s corpse releases Pete after whispering in his ear, ‘The monkey murdered me.’

The crew reunite on the ship, crack the case and examine the map – etched on cured human skin, it shows some kind of ruins deep within nearby Ape Island. As they prepare to weigh anchor, Roger checks the horizon to see that the other ship is also headed for Ape Island – and it flies the flag of the Murder Circus!

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Freeport - Session 2
A Night at the Circus

In the working-class shanties of Tent Town, the crew find a marquee – the big top of Dr Mirablis’ Carnival of Wonders. The tent flies a black flag sporting a pair of scales, something the superstitious Jobu takes as an evil omen; he heads back to the Docks as the rest of the crew enter the packed tent.

Inside they find the circus in full, creepy swing. Dr Mirablis – the same ringmaster Pete saw in his dream – introduces acts including knife thrower Sirena, wheezing clown Charlie Chuckles and Orcus, the strongest orc in the world. Pete and Farn enter the ring to be part of Orcus’ act while the others creep out behind the tent to investigate the Circus. Erik shows off his star tattoos to an overly-interested Sirena, Estrella recites her terrifying poetry, and Roger is abducted when he wanders off to look at a pygmy hippopotamus.
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As the show winds up, Dr Mirablis invites Pete back to his caravan for a drink, where he reveals that yes, he was behind the disappearance of Pete’s great-grandmother decades ago. The stars are coming right, he says, and Pete has a part to play. As they talk, Roger is locked in a box, Estrella fends off a packs of crawling mummified hands, Sirena attempts to strangle Erik and Farn is stalked by the stealthy, razor-wielding Charlie Chuckles.

Pete tries to leave but Orcus stands in his way; he sprays flaming rum on the strongman, who doesn’t react despite being on fire. Mirablis lets him go, but Pete’s dander is up and he attacks the ringmaster, only to be stopped by Orcus, who throws him right across to the other side of the circus enclosure, where Erik has knocked Sirena out, Roger has escaped the box and Estrella has destroyed the hands. As the Circus’ crew – revealed as more of the cultists they encountered last night – close in, the crew beat a retreat, stopping to collect Farn just as he savagely kills Charlie Chuckles and devours some of his flesh. They head back to the Docks, Dr Mirablis’ laughter ringing in their ears…

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Freeport - Session 1
Drama Down the Docks

Following the death of Captain Rudder, the crew of The Guiding Star have been locked up in the Tombs, Freeport’s prison, awaiting trial for piracy. Suddenly they are all released – a mysterious benefactor has paid their fines! The crew heads off to a dive bar on the Docks, hoping to get drunk on the little money they have left. As they pass through town, Peg-Leg Pete spots a poster for a circus – Dr Mirablis’ Carnival of Wonders – and it stirs hazy memories long since buried.

At the Rusty Anchor, the crew try to come up with a new plan to get rich. Farn and Erik recall that Rudder was killed by Jawbone Jack after he’d stolen the ghoul pirate’s treasure map – and that the map, sealed in a waterproof case, might still be salvageable from the wreck of The Guiding Star. To reach it they’ll need a diving bell or similar- and a ship to get them to the wreck. They’re approached by Harcourt Horkel, a drunkard with a ship that’s seen better days but still floats; he strikes a deal with them to use his ship, The Travelling Lady, in exchange for a share of the treasure.
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After Pete goes outside to relieve himself, a cloaked man comes looking for him; the pirates fob him off, while Farn also goes out to the alley. The two pirates hear strange music coming from the Docks and decide to investigate. Estrella comes looking for them, notes that the stars in the sky are in a peculiar alignment – ‘The Devils’ Scales’ – and is then entranced by the music. When she wanders away, the rest of the crew follow her, and everyone winds up on the Docks when a small gang, led by the cloaked man, come searching for Pete. A fight breaks out, and the pirates manage to defeat the gang, who turn out to be cultists of some kind – and during the fight, the strange music peaks as a creature of some kind rears from the water and smashes into a nearby ship, damaging it!

With the fight over and the creature gone, the pirates scatter before they can be arrested again. They go with Horker to The Travelling Lady, which turns out to be a travelling carnival ship – albeit one that’s seen far better days. They turn in for the night, and Pete is plagued by dreams of a dark, twisted carnival, where he is captured and tormented by its sinister ringmaster, who tells him that ‘the stars are aligned, and your time has come’.

The next day, nursing bruises and hangovers, the crew put some effort into repairing the Lady, and hear that a number of ships have been rammed and damaged over the past weeks. Once the sun goes down, Pete persuades them to investigate the mysterious Carnival of Wonders, and they set off to Tent Town to check it out…

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