Sea of Thieves

Two Arses and a Donkey: A Lesson In Stubbornness and Manners.

I’ve been playing SoT for 4 days. Bought the game after it hit Steam. I’ve had my eye on it ever since it was announced, so I am so stoked to get to finally play. I’m avoiding reading too much on the wiki and stuff, because one of the big joys of this kind of game is the discovery and the mentorship that comes along with community games. It makes some of these kids days to be able to proudly teach you about some mechanic that you didn’t understand (dousing gold skellies in water, who knew?). Point is, I’m not very far along into the game, and I have a pretty loose grasp on the mechanics still. On to the story!

I have been open crewing due to my rl friends not having the game yet (working on them!), and I have found I enjoy crewing on brigs waaaay more than the galleon. So I finished up some writing for my weekly D&D game, and had a few hours to kill before the session started later in the evening, so I hopped on SoT and jumped into a brig crew. Spawn in to an island that I’ve never been to (nothing new right now), and a running fight with this bloke called Briggsy. I say hi on voice comms, but I don’t get a response back (a common enough occurrence), so I figure these guys are just keyboard warriors and we are currently in the middle of a fight, no time for chatting. I throw myself into battle with this very strange pirate, and slowly learn the mechanics of the fight via trial, error, and a lot of getting flung across the island and dying. The fight went on for maybe 10 minutes before we finally triumphed. Awesome! The message on my screen informs me that we have completed a step for a Tall Tale, something I hadn’t looked into yet, neat.

And now I’m in the brig. (The brig of the brig)

Me: (I switched to typed chat because I had an inkling of where this was going) “Oh ok, why am I in the brig?”

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FatherDominator: (Not the real user names, but very close, his pal’s name was BootyGetter): “You didn’t earn this reward. Leave.”

Me: “Why? It’s not like me being here makes your reward less.”

FatherDom: “Just leave bro, we don’t want you here.”

Me: “So why do you have an open crew?”


Me: “No, I’m not going to leave. I earned my fare share.”

At this point, my hackles were up. I haven’t played that long, and this was the first crew who was treating me like this, so I knew it was unusual, and also unnecessary. Also, I HAD participated in the fight, even though I had no idea what I was doing. I’m a very stubborn person, I wasn’t leaving. So I settled in for a long wait.

Have you ever heard Happy Birthday played on a Hurdy-Gurdy?

I have. I was the one playing it. I picked it because it was the most repetitious of the shanties available, and because it’s an earworm. I whipped out my trusty Hurdy-Gurdy and started serenading those salty sea bois with rendition after rendition of Happy Birthday.

For two and a half hours.

At first they whined at me in chat. They came down into the hold and started drinking and throwing up on me. I weighed my mouse button down and went to make a sandwich.

Then their story started to change. “Oh we have a friend who wants to join us, can you leave so he can join?” “If you had asked me that nicely at the beginning,” I said, interrupting my lovely Hurdy-Gurdy playing for the first time in twenty minutes.

Then it was a keg. This one was funny because they didn’t even place it that close to the brig, and I was at full health. I backed away to the other end of the brig, and after the explosion they had to run around fixing the ship while my Hurdy-Gurdy cranked away.

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Next it was firebombs. They proceeded to set themselves and the ship on fire, but after about four tries, they finally hit me and sent me to Davy Jones’ Locker. But 30 seconds later I was back, cranking one out (On the Hurdy-Gurdy you sick).

After they realized death wasn’t much of a deterrent, they mostly left me alone for the next hour. I weighed my mouse down again and sat their reading a Conan the Barbarian story (Ironically he starts that story in prison), reaching over to my muted laptop to tap forward or backwards on a timer I kept going on my phone. FatherDom and BootyGetter had abandoned ship, most probably to get away from the sweet sweet strains of my Hurdy-Gurdy.

After an hour and a half, the strategy started. At one point one of them unmuted their mic, and noticing the talking symbol above their head, I turned up my own volume. The plan from FatherDom was to take the loot off the ship, stash it somewhere, then start a new ship and go retrieve it. BootyGetter didn’t like that plan, though they did move the loot off the ship. The next plan was to yell at me some more. Maybe appealing to my sense of adulthood (“Bro, why are you messing with two 15 year olds bro!”) would get me to leave. Nope. Next it was more fire bombs. Must have been a little cathartic.

Finally an actual pretty decent plan. They spiked a hole in the ship and filled it with water, almost to the point of sinking. Then fixed the hole. Now I’m underwater, and Happy Birthday has taken on a decidedly wetter tone. Now I had to pay attention more, to move my pirate off the Ship of the Damned every couple of minutes. No biggy, I was here for the long haul.

Around the two hour mark, FatherDom decided to begin his own psychological warfare and started playing rap music through his mic, and singing along with it. He actually wasn’t that bad. I muted the crew mics.

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I don’t know if what happened next was part of a genius plan, or a mistake, but around two hours and fifteen minutes I stepped off the ferry and into a brand new ship. The message “Emissary Flag Lost” hovered over my screen for a few seconds. “Oops,” I said, and stowed my Hurdy-Gurdy, since I was now alone.

About ten minutes later the crew joined the ship, and I dutifully cranked up the music again. They did the sinking trick again, but their heart wasn’t really in it. They would come down and sit outside the brig, watching me as I played and respawned. They let the ship sink all the way again.

It was on this third ship, while they were yet again entreating me to “Just leave bro”, that the world froze. Ghostly words began to hove into view. “The world is changing.” I began to laugh.

As the world came back into focus, the whole crew was greeted with the sound of ominous trumpets, and the words “Briggsy’s Skull has been lost!” hovered over all of us, “Tall Tale Failed”. “I hope you learned a valuable lesson today,” I said. “Kindness gets you a lot less hassle in life.”

They left.

TL;DR Two and a half hours of me playing Happy Birthday on a Hurdy-Gurdy, locked in the brig to get back at a couple of jerk players who ended up losing everything in the end.


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