I wanted to give Kamal’s new followers, the pygmies, something unique. Magical items are a way, but just picking from a list did not seem sufficient. My earlier thoughts about their weapons being local but described by standards in the book gave me an idea. Since they are (future Indonesian) tribes-people the idea of magical tattoos suggested themselves. It did not take much of a search to find this reference. The mechanics do not matter: it’s just to get the feel of things. With a set of random rolls I now know that the leader Sukarto has a Warrior tattoo, giving her a bonus in attack. The brothers Tirto and Tirta have tattoos that increase movement and boost strength respectively. Susila has a tattoo that gives him the constitution of a bull meaning extra health (hit points) and Verawati has a tattoo that grants a form of telepathy.
And now on with the story.
The party headed to sea. After a few days [and a single hop along the map] they came to the Islands of Camphor. Apparently friendly merfolk were questioned about the fugitive Okil but they denied any knowledge. Later that night, however, they returned and after secretly talking to the captain made their way to Kamal’s cabin and kidnapped him.
The furious pygmies took revenge on the double-dealing captain before making to the nearest island. They searched for three days before they found a shallow pool that they observed merfolk entering and exiting. Steeling themselves for a swim they entered the pool and dived. In a short time they came to an open chamber and sneaked ashore.
Two merfolk guards were dozing as the silent avengers approached and silenced them. But in the short scuffle Susila took a shallow hit. His bull’s-hide protective tattoo meant that the damage was minimal and they crept further into the cave.
Verawati reached out with her mind and found Kamal who was bound in a cage with his enemy Okil. Kamal had been approaching despair and thought that he too would go mad as Okil already had. He had been there for the months that Kamal had been recovering from his wounds. The stolen gem now formed a centrepiece of a small alter the merfolk maintained. Verawati assured him that the voice he was hearing was real and that he should keep up his hopes as his deliverance was near at hand.
At the next corner a merman was lounging in a pool. Tirto expertly smacked him in the head with a well-placed stone from his sling, but the ‘clunk! glug!’ sound attracted another merman further along the passageway. As the fellow advanced Tirta nailed him with an expertly thrown dart. When this fellow flapped and thumped to the ground the rest of the merfolk just around the corner were alerted. They charged towards the pygmies but checked when they saw their own fallen [the morale check gave them a success, but only just] and then they charged on.
Another fell to a sling bullet and this enraged them. They closed with the pygmies. But the little jungle people were skilled and wily and soon all of the remaining five were dead. Only Sukarto sustained injuries, and her companions revived her with a potion.
They found Kamal and released him. He immediately went to the shrine and recovered both his own gem stolen by the merfolk and the second stolen by Okil. At last he had all the pieces that fulfilled his destiny. He fell to his knees and prayed in thanks.
Meanwhile the pygmies made sure that Okil paid the price for stealing from their friend. And that’s the last we’ll hear from him.
[From the Arabian Nights boardgame point of view what happened was the Islands of Camphor card was drawn, which gave Friendly Merfolk. Kamal Questioned them. And the result was that they kidnapped him and acquired the status of Enslaved. To lose the status of Enslaved you need to give up Wealth. All of which made sense but I needed to make a story out of it. The rest I made up using my randomisation story tools and by asking endless ‘what if’ questions.
If he were enslaved by merfolk, what would that look like? Eventually he would have to escape otherwise that’s the end of the story, right? So what did his followers do? They found him, of course. And what did that look like? A battle of course. And so on.
The other important finding is that after all the work figuring out how to track Okil to Samarkand, turns out he didn’t get there himself. So much for the villain’s master plan. Kamal can now resume his journey home at normal pace]