So last week's game (which, in retrospect, we probably shouldn't have done in person) opened with a quick recap of previous events. The halfling (still convincingly disguised as a child) decided to head back upstairs, awaken Venred the would-be saboteur, and ask him about who hired him. He protested that he couldn't say, so she cut off one of his fingers and it turned out that he could say. (I'm having some doubts about this whole "Chaotic Good" designation, though...) He gave her a name -- the name of one of the nobles on the Saltmarsh town council -- and she killed him, thus thoroughly spoiling my plans to have him show up and poison the Chevalier's cognac later on.
The group loaded the smuggled goods into the bag of holding that they'd acquired from one of the house's denizens (which is probably more than its capacity, but I firmly believe that every group should have a bag of holding so that I don't have to track things like that) and brought it back to town.
Their explanation was a bit muddled, with Salty Walt insisting that the house was haunted and the other three insisting that it really wasn't except for the skeletons, maybe. But they did at least manage to explain that they'd killed all the smugglers. The young noble who hired them was quite pleased, and was even willing to continue to put them up in one of his guest houses (so that his fellow noble, the Chevalier, didn't have to sleep somewhere... unsuitable). The halfling asked about the other noble, the one who'd hired Venred, and their host explained that this council member was one of the richest people in town, and liked to throw parties at least once a week; and of course he could obtain invitations for them.
This gave them their introduction to that councilman, who is... charming, but just a little bit sleazy and almost certain;y involved with the local smugglers. Raven (the halfling) and Salty Walt (human bard) circulated and talked to people, while Kane (the town gravedigger and the group's paladin) circulated to talk to people about paying up on their burial fees. During their ciculation, they met the head of the local woodworking guild, who occasionally has jobs for people willing to venture into dangerous areas to collect special woods, and an emissary from another country in the far north, who is interested in locating a particular apparatus designed by the mage Kwalish. Despite the halfling's eagerness, they didn't find any immediate jobs. (The Chevalier spent the party engaged in conversation and diversions with various of the upper echelons of Saltmarsh's social structure.) They also met the woman who leads the traditionalist faction of Saltmarsh's council.
Overall, it wasn't the best game I've ever run; but it ended with their young noble host offering them a follow-up job. After all, if smugglers were taking shipments at the haunted house, someone must be bringing them the shipments. Would the group be willing to go back and try to intercept whatever smuggler's ship is making those deliveries? They most definitely would.
So that's what we'll be doing this week. Except, we'll be doing it online via Discord, assuming that Discord can handle the traffic. If not, maybe I'll try another service.