Dragons of Blackminster

Spelljammer #11 Battle of the Beholders

[GM:They had a plan, a nice simple plan. Now we’ve finished robbing the place, trigger the distraction and then RUN. I will remind you of this later! To give the players some incentive to play the Beholders as ruthless self-centered monsters, I offered an extra level to the character of the player whose Beholder was the last one standing.]

Mulan and Deckard were floating silently on the little magic carpet, with the last of the treasure lying between them. They started less than fifty feet from the exit to the cave and only 150 feet from reaching the ship.

Skizz, their crazy goblin warlock ally, cast dispel magic on the four captive beholders, releasing them from their petrification – in which they had each been trapped by Gravallax the Beholder Lord. Skizz had been enslaved by Gravallax for many years and knew the only chance they had of getting away was to release his captives and hope they could kill him.

As soon as the magic shimmered and faded, the Beholders snapped back into screaming fleshy reality,

Mulan cast invisibility on Skizz and his mechanical fly (because Skizz’s legs have wasted away and he is strapped into the saddle of this clockwork contraption). They need Skizz to complete the repairs on their ship, so are keen to get him out with them. The terrified goblin scuttles out into the tunnel, but then, unseen by the others he slows his mount to a stealthy crawl and directs the fly to crawl up the wall and then along the ceiling, hoping to avoid the notice of the beholders. He knows that Gravallax will see everything within his lair and that the lair itself has eyes and defences, he hopes that his new expendable allies will attract more attention than he does.

Mulan floats the carpet out of site behind a bend in the tunnel and tells Deckard to peek around the corner and keep an eye on things. [GM:Remember that PLAN I mentioned?]

The Beholder SENITNELAV took in the situation at once, he and the other captives had been vaguely aware of each other for the last few decades. Gravallax had used his magical Dreamstone to torment them in nightmares. This had prevented them from fully fading into stone. The torture had knocked out their ability to use their Central Eye and left them with imperfect control over which of their eye beams they could use. [GM: 50% chance they would fire a random eye beam rather than the one they wanted]. Normally any other beholder would be either a slave or a rival and target for instant destruction but Senitnelav muttered that they had better kill Gravallax first and should consider themselves in a temporary truce.

The Beholder CARPACCIO seemed to agree and floated out, blasting an approaching Troll with a Charm ray, totally dominating the creature for the next hour. “Kill Gravallax” he hissed.

THE ULTIMATE BEHOLDER, for that was the only name it allowed, floated free of the chamber next, blasting a second troll with a petrification ray.

Finally the beholder, COPRAPHAGE floated free and joined the fray.

Gravallax approached, enraged by the betrayal of Skizz (apparently fully aware of what was going on throughout his lair). He seemed to radiate a wave of wild magic, much stronger than the one he regularly pulsed every hour. Skizz had protected the heroes from this effect, but the over-dose of the effect threatened to overwhelm his spell. [GM: they got Advantage on the save].

All the people and monsters with some spell-casting ability suffered a kind of magical surge with chaotic effects. Senitnelav swelled up to a huge size, struggling to squeeze through the narrow tunnels. Carpaccio began to exude bubbles, showing his innermost thoughts in a chaotic pattern of random images. Similar chaotic effects plagued the heroes who remained aboard the hammer-ship, waiting for their friends to come running out, so they could cast off and get away to safety.

Then an eyestalk emerged from the floor of the landing pad area. It used a telekinetic eyebeam to trigger the release of the two undead monstrosities in the covered cages. These were zombie-bird-men (half man, half vulture, and all rotten worm-infested corpse). They began squawking and flapping towards the ship.

Clayton fired the first of the forward cannon – for a moment a spark leaped from the gun towards the powder box, but it didn’t blow them to pieces [GM: first roll of the night was a 1, which would cause a black-powder mishap, but Clayton has the Lucky Feat and used it to re-roll!]. The cannon smashed into the first of the flying zombies but amazingly only half killed it. The disbelieving ranger stepped to the next gun and triggered that too, smashing the injured monster to pieces.

The second one flew to the ship and began clawing at Clayton, scattering wriggling infected worms all over the prow. He pulled his rapier to defend himself and ordered the red orcs Staines and Shebb to drag the stoned beholder from the prow and toss it off the back of the ship – if one of the other beholders emerged and flickered its anti-magic across the creature, it would pop back to life and was too dangerous to risk.

Jock, now a gnome because of an unfortunate earlier incident with the wild magic surges managed to fire a ballista into the zombie but it wasn’t as effective as the cannon. He scampered across to the second ballista but before he could fire it, he felt the familiar spasm of wild magic overwhelm him and he died screaming AGAIN. [GM:he will wake in an hour in another new body]

Abraham the Inquisitor was flying the ship and for some reason, decide to float the ship further towards the lair, unknowingly pushing it within the range of the Lair’s eye beam attacks. Soon there were eyestalks popping up all over the place and firing blasts.

In the lair, Mulan and Deckard continued to watch from hiding as the Beholder floated about balsting Gravallax and the Trolls and finally each other! [GM:Reminder – after about 4 rounds they had travelled about 20 feet – either of these rogues could have reached the ship in one round if they had stuck to the PLAN!]

Carpaccio managed to blast Gravallax a couple of times, doing a lot of damage and dragging the monster closer with his telekinesis. One of the magical surges re-activated Carpaccio’s anti-magic central eye, but before he could use it, “The Ultimate Beholder” put him to sleep with an eye beam of his own, fired as an attack of opportunity when Carpaccio moved away.

Copraphage managed to get a few more hits onto Gravallax and then tried to attack one of his fellows too. Senitnelav managed to paralyse “The Ultimate Beholder” and then used telekinesis to smash Copraphage into TUB’s paralysed form before charming him and ordering him to go outside and deal with any threats out there.

Unseen, but just heard, Skizz was blasted by an eye stalk emerging from the ceiling. The invisible goblin was turned to stone, but his mount continued to crawl along the ceiling. Mulan eventually followed and groping about, managed to unstrap invisible Skizz from the invisible fly and carry him to the ship.

Abraham and his Skeletal Warriors managed to finish off the zombie-bird-man before its worms could infect Clayton (which would have turned him into another worm-infested-zombie within moments).

When Copraphage floated out onto the landing pad, Clayton shot him with a massive cannon hit, almost killing him. But then Copraphage managed to dominate him and ordered him to kill Deckard (as the only character close to Clayton on the ship).

[GM: this was an amusing chain of events as Senitnelav and Clayton were played by the same player, so Senitnelav sent his charmed beholder out, knowing that Clayton was ready with another cannon at point blank range. Also Copraphage and Deckard were played by the same player, so Senitnelav (played by Cookie) charmed Copraphage (played by Frank), who then charmed Clayton (played by Cookie) and ordered him to kill Deckard (played by Frank)!]

Not knowing exactly what was going on in there, Abraham sent his two Skeletal Warriors back inside with orders to “Kill Gravallax” and then navigated the ship away from the asteroid.

Sadly, for the Skeletal Warriors of Mortus, Gravallax was killed before they got there and, without further orders they soon fell prey to the victorious Senitnelav who swiftly re-stoned the sleeping, paralysed and charmed beholders and cowed any remaining trolls and goblins into submission.

An hour or so later, Jock returned to life in the body of a mountain dwarf.
The next day, Abraham will be able to dispel the petrification of Skizz and set him about repairing the hammer ship.

Their plan is to exit the Chaos Portal via the other side – going to “god knows where, but it is probably safer than anywhere we’ve already been!”.

Clayton assured Staines and Shebb that he still intends to fly the ship after Torkas – Lord of Storms, but they probably have a few more ordeals to overcome before they are worthy of an audience with the god.

It occurred to them as they floated away with a massive haul of treasure, that they should have brought some of those vials of blood so that they could use the Dreamstone to communicate with Gravallax’s contact on the Rock of Braal to find out whether it had fallen to the attacks of the Vorandan Invasion Fleet.

They left behind two Helms and Starwhal horn and bones on the asteroid – items they had traded with Gravallax in exchange for him helping to fix their ship. There was also the broken helm of Prince G’Vrain’s dragonfly mini-ship.

Apart from that, and the few items Gravallax had on him, they cleaned out the entire base. If only Deckard had waited a few more days the ship would have been fixed too, but who knows if the same opportunity would have arisen again.

Somewhere, out there, is a Vorandan invasion fleet, an endlessly tumbling beholder statue, Senitnelav the Beholder (who will want his Staff of Power back and Gravallax’s Dreamstone), a missing storm god, a Starwhal sent to investigate Voranda Prime to look for hundreds of dead infant Starwhals and some Githyanki Knights who will have tortured the secret of the Hammer Ship out of their captives by now and will, most likely, be hunting for them.

All-in-all, not a bad couple of months work.

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Spelljammer #10 Trials and Trolls

The next few days were mostly uneventful. Skizz (the goblin warlock) continued to work on the Hammership, with occasional assistance from his master Gravallax the Beholder.

On the second night, Gravallax was given a feast onboard the Hammer and he brought them a strange gift- a 2ft diameter statue of a Beholder – very disturbing, very lifelike, radiating an uneasy feeling. It was glued to a wooden stand and Gravallax advised fixing it securely to the prow of the ship. When you stand near it, it heightens aggression [GM: allowing you to double your Critical Hit Range – so if you normally only crit on a 20, you now crit on a 19 or 20]

On the fourth day, the beholder wanted to see what kind of warriors humans could be. He challenged them to try fighting one of his trolls in single combat. He had somehow been in communication with the semi-Beholder on the Rock of Braal and learned of Arena combats with wagers. He offered a magical item against the spare Starwhal Horn.

Clayton agreed to try it and Gravallax promised to prevent his Troll from killing and offered to heal any damage caused with his magical Staff of Healing.
The fight was very close, but Clayton (primarily an archer) wasn’t able to keep away from the Troll and eventually fell beneath its multiple bite and claw attacks. True to his word, the beholder ordered the tagging Troll to stop, but had to telekinetically lift it off him.
The Staff of Healing brought Clayton back and the wager was paid. Abraham noticed that the beholder also used telekinesis to clean off a lot of Clayton’s blood and put some into a vial that it hid in a fold in its knobbly skin.

Gravallax wasn’t very impressed and tried to get Arbraham to fight one too. The Inquisitor agreed to fight one of the goblins instead. The wily creature was hopelessly outmatched, but managed to shoot Abraham a few times, using its “Nimble Escape” feature to duck into hiding and then attack with advantage. The Inquisitor summoned three Skeletal Warriors and they all readied to blast the goblin with sacred flames as soon as it appeared. The goblin, one of two females on the asteroid, tried to stay in hiding and they chased around a corner and accidentally killed the other female, then finally cornered the target and finished her off too.

Gravallax craftily collected some blood from Abraham but then demanded payment for the other female goblin. Abraham offered to hand over one of the Skeletal Guardians but then realised he would have lost it forever, so agreed to a second wager and fought the Skeletal Warrior. Another victory but this time the wager was just money.

When the beholder opened a concealed door to fetch the money for the wager, Deckard (the dwarf thief from Voranda) slipped into the treasure chamber unnoticed and then became stuck in there when Gravallax floated back out and shut the door behind him.
In the Treasure Chamber, Deckard found four more of the small, stone beholders – as he inspected them for value, he could hear faint whispers, multiple voices, pleading with him to “Release me”, “Cast dispel magic on me” “Let me get revenge on Gravallax”

In the centre of the room a golden column (like a staff planted in the stone floor) held up a large red gem, fastened to the tip by gold filigree. Deckard couldn’t help himself, after checking for traps, he prised it from the stand. It hummed in his hand as he put it away – he would need to attune to it to find out what it did.

There was a huge chest of gold coins – approx. 200,000gp.

There was a fancy set of studded leather armour (studded with ice crystals) on a wooden dummy. He soon stripped it off and exchanged it for his own tatty leathers. The magical suit granted him the Warlock Invocation called “Mask of Many Faces” – effectively letting him cast “Disguise Self” at will and also once per day casting “Armour of Agathys”.

On a shelf, he found about 30 vials containing blood – all of which had writing on them – presumably names.

Outside, Mulan was tempted into a fight against a Troll, with the wager being for a magical Tome that would improve her dexterity. At the start of the fight, she ducked out of sight and hid. The poor troll spent the next several rounds trying to find her and being alternately shot with crossbow bolts or Firebolted. Despite all the other Trolls and goblins pointing out where Mulan was hiding, it never even managed to lay a finger on her before it was killed by a final fire bolt.

During the disturbance of the fight, Deckard managed to get out of the Treasure Chamber (the secret door was easily open from that side). Abraham saw him sneak out and could tell by the look on his face that he had done something incredibly mad!

When Gravallax started to float towards the Treasure Chamber to fetch the magical book for Mulan, Abraham offered “Double or Quits” for another duel – between himself and a Troll. Mulan protested that she had already won a magical Tome and didn’t want to give it up, but when Abe insisted strongly, they all realised there was something very wrong and grudgingly agreed to put her hard-won reward up as a wager.

Abe then insisted he would have to rest before being ready to fight again and they would return for the Duel tomorrow morning.

Back on the ship, Deckard explained what he had found and stolen. It seemed they had no choice but to try to escape, despite the fact that their Ship repairs were still unfinished. Skizz the goblin also knew there was something going on and has become desperate that they take him with them.

The stolen red gem has the power to cast the “Dream” spell – a high-level spell that can communicate with a victim across vast distances. It can also be used to send a nightmare that prevents the victim from resting. It requires blood from the victim to enable the link.
Skizz admitted that his plan for getting away had always been to cast dispel magic on the petrified enemy and reduced beholders to cause a diversion (and hopefully all four of them could defeat Gravallax). He agreed to do the Dispel Magic and to continue trying to repair their ship if they took him with them.

They snuck back during the night. The Treasuer Chamber was locked by a magical puzzle – they weren’t sure about the solution and tried to bypass the lock and the alarms and only just detected the alarms so had to take a chance on their magical solution – it worked! They were in!

As well as the Beholders treasure, they also found the Magic Mirror (communicator used between Voranda Prime and the Vorandan warship) and the Magic Carpet that they had traded with Gravallax earlier.

They ferried the treasure out silently on the magic carpet and also found a rune-encrusted Staff of Power in the chest hidden under the gold.

They took the six Tomes (one each that can increase one of the ability scores by 2).
They took all the gold and the Staff of Power.

The only things they left were the huge chest itself, the four beholder statues and the thirty vials of blood.

With the very last carpet-load of gold, as they floated out, Skizz casts Dispel Magic and the four furious beholders instantly pop to full size fleshy monsters! Skizz has been turned invisible and is riding a mechanicla fly (the size of a pony)

Outside Clayton has all three cannons pointed at the entrance to Gravallax’s lair (he can fire one each round while the crew re-load).

They have all eaten a Starwhal’s heart and so have the benefit of Heroes Feast.

[GM: I have given out character sheets for the 4 beholders and plan to run the battle in full, even if the player characters escape easily]

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Spelljammer #09 The Star whale and the return to the Veil of Terror

Glancing around at the destruction and death all around them – corpses litering the decks of noth ships, Zerth Symron proclaimed that his life-debt was now repaid. He would continue to guard their secret, but his time on the Hammer was over. They are free to contact him in the future (by Sending Spell?) if they ever want to attack the Citadel of the Githyanki Lich Queen to rescue their captured comrades. With a bow, he vanishes.

They spend a few days disentangling themselves from the shattered hulk of the Vorandan warship and then making temporary repairs using the salvage. They dragged another valuable Spelljammer Helm aboard and also the little run-about dragonfly (space motorcycle) with room for 4 people.

They kept a watchful eye on the distant Starwhal – it had remained watching them throughout the battle and the repairs. Had it chosen to charge and ram them while they were jammed together, it could have destroyed them fairly easily. Deckard – the Vorandan Dwarf, surprised them all by telling them he had seen Starwhals before. “One of the strongholds of the Pyrussian Empire is the place where they have been building Spelljammer ships. I was liberating some equipment from there and entered the Forbidden Zone – there were corpses of dozens of baby Starwhals – all with their bones hacked out”.

They agreed to make their way to the lair of Gravalax the Beholder – they owed him money and could afford to pay their debt in plunder. To do any better repairs they would need access to a forge and maybe to hire on some crew, and maybe some help from a creature that understood the helms – they knew that Gavalax and his Goblin Warlock/slave were already working on their broken dragonfly craft (the vessel that sad prince G’Vrain had ridden into Chaos).

Just before they limped off towards the Veil of Terror, where Gravalax’s asteroid lair was, they made an astounding discovery! While their ship was within a mile of the Portal, the giant hexagon showed a clear view of “normal space”. They had skewered the Vorandan vessel as it was passing through and they could see some wreckage floating in space. They moved their ship around to the other side of the portal, expecting to see the back of the hexagon (or perhaps to see nothing) but what they saw was that the other side of the hexagon was also a portal, but it led to a different location – no wreckage and a different set of constellations. They had no idea where it led.
It gave them another option of where to go, but until the ship could at least match the speed of the Vorandan warships, it was too dangerous.

When they were ready to limp away to the asteroid lair of Gravalax, they decided to try and communicate with the Starwhal. Clayton and Abraham approached slowly on the dragonfly. It seemed skittish (if you can call a huge horned space whale skittish) but let them get close enough for Abraham to use his ability to read surface thoughts.
“what are these tiny creatures?”
“why is their ship clad in bones from one of my people?”
“why do they have another corpse of one of my people with its bones cut out?”
“how is this happening so often over the last 8 years, more of my people have perished and failed to be returned to the furnace of the stars”
“how is this happening – we have continued the practice of logansrun so there are no old or weak Starwhals any more”

When it thought of logansrun Abraham saw pictures of Starwhals throwing themselves into a Star when they reached middle age.

He was unable to communicate properly but his power let him implant a magical suggestion.
“YOU SHOULD INVESTIGATE VORANDA PRIMETHEY ARE BREEDING AND SLAUGHTERING STARWHALS THERE TO MAKE THEIR SHIPS”
The huge creature raced past them, sending the dragonfly tumbling and it plunged through the Portal.

[GM: They have only been out in space for about 3 months so far and the Starwhal mentioned that his folk had been going missing for 8 years – that roughly coincides with when Torkas would have flown through here and also when the Vorandan’s started building-up their fleet]

It took another 5 days to reach Gravalax’s asteroid, embedded in the fring of the Veil of Terror. As before, all the spellcasters aboard felt a surge of Wild Magic and experience bizarre effects.

Clayton felt an unstoppable build-up of lightning inside him and had to chose nearby targets to discharge it towards – he was at the cannons with the last two half-orcs and he killed one of them and badly injured the other!

Most significantly – Jock dropped dead!

As most of the other magical effects they had suffered on the previous visit, they decided to wait an hour to see if the “death” was temporary. When Abraham checked on the body an hour later, Jock’s clothes lay on the bed and something wriggled inside them. The inquisitor grabbed it with his gauntleted hand and hoisted out a naked gnome. It swore in Jock’s Kaledonian accent – Jock has been reincarnated as a forest gnome!.

They approached the asteroid and remembered to fly a Jolly Roger as the agreed signal.
Skizz (the goblin warlock ambassador of Gravalax) floated out on his ebony fly (pony sized mechanical fly). When they explained what they wanted, he called for his master and Gravalax used his anti-magic eye to open the veil. Clayton negotiated with the monster for half an hour or so and they agreed to a DEAL! It emerged that Gravalax, despite being a creature of insane chaos, was obsessed with the concept of deals. He refused to accept goods in trade for their previous deal of 12,000 gold pieces. They didn’t have the coin and even though they were offering almost double the value, he refused. Then they offered to sell him one of the spare Helms and he paid them in gold pieces so that they could pay him the 12,000.

There was then more negotiating (he drew it out so they experienced another wave of chaos – but again no serious effects) and eventually they agreed to give him another Helm and the spare Starwhal bones in exchange for him (mainly Skizz) fixing the ship’s speed problems. Skizz has some understanding of the relationship of Starwhal bones and the magic of Helms and how to tie them together. Gravalax can use his Telekinetic powers to make micro-manipulations of the threads. Between them, they may be able to give them back some speed (with luck getting back to being as fast as the warships). However, without more crew, they won’t get back to being faster than the warships. They also won’t get their maneuverability back without crew.

The Helms are probably worth 30,000gp at the rock of Braal, but Gravalax will only offer 10,000gp for each.

Gravalax offers to sell them some of his servants (goblins or trolls) but they decide not to go for it. He would sell them any of his creatures other than Skizz, who he needs.

When Skizz comes aboard the Hammer to look at the Helm damage, Abraham is pretending the dummy Helm is powering the ship and Skizz can tell it isn’t.

There is an awkward moment when Abraham shouts that “all deals are off” (because he doesn’t want to risk Skizz finding out about their unique ship). This is just about the worst thing to say to Gravalax as he instantly begins to attack. They manage to calm him down and explain that Abraham does not speak for the ship and can be ignored. Only one eye-beam was fired and it felt to Abraham that it was going to take control of his mind.

They realise that in order to fix the ship, they have to show Skizz and Gravalax that the actual helm power is running through the Chart Room and the Mast (but they hide the Chart itself) and it seems they don’t suspect the true nature of the vessel.

Skizz lets Abraham know that he would be willing to let them take him away from Gravalax, but they mustn’t let the Beholder know. Gravalax intends to have Skizz fit the two new helms and the Starwhal bones to the asteroid so he can drive it around.

Skizz has also got a cure for the hourly Wild Magic effect – he has a special version of Protection From Evil that lasts 24 hrs and he can affect enough people to cover all the spellcasters.

They have a banquet in the Asteroid and Clayton gives the beholder a gift of Vorandan wine (a bottle worth about 100gp). The beholder learns that it is a sort of “deal” that when you have a visitor who gives you a gift, it is proper to visit them and take a gift. He accepts an invitation to dine on the Ship the following night.

They will be stuck here for a week while the repairs are made and possibly may need to re-negotiate for a second week – the deal was very clearly that they would attempt to fix the ship in 1 week, but it might be so difficult that it would take a second week. Skiz has suggested he could work super-hard to get it done if they promise to take him with them.

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Spelljammer #08 The Dawn of War

[GM:The name of the Star system they just left is supposed to be Voranda (pronounced like veranda). I’ve been getting it wrong all over the place]

Our heroes, along with the Scro “pirate” ship, had been victorious against the two blood-crazed warships of Voranda. But it had taken a heavy toll on both their ships and crew.
The individual crewmen of the Vorandans, with their glowing red tattoos of Sun and Flame, had proved vicious, foolhardily brave and even seemed to regenerate their wounds during combat.

Half the crew of the Scro Squidship were dead. Despite sticking to their obvious pretence of being an unaffiliated “pirate” vessel, this was clearly the ship known as “Glory” they had seen before at the Rock of Braal – It’s full name is “Glorious Death In Battle Guarantees Paradise”.

The “pirate” Captain split his remaining crew in order to man his own ship and the captured Vorandan ship and they limped off towards the Rock of Braal but must have left the Flow somewhere a few hours away as the Hammer didn’t pass them when it finally managed to disengage from the ruined ship it had rammed.

They stripped out the huge throne that was the Helm of the ship and as many of the Starwhal bones that ran through its keel and masts – it appears that the magic of these helms is transmitted through the Starwhal bones. As long as the new helm (and the other spare they have) is not activated, it doesn’t drop them out of warp speed because of its proximity.

Hiding in the bilges of the ship, they find one survivor – a tough-looking dwarf who was a captive until the mighty ram of the Hammership had smashed through his cell door and set him free. His tale and the information from Vondara proved very interesting…

Deckard is from a large island on the far side of Vondara from the capital where Bu’Tross the Lord Protector rules the mainly human empire. The dwarves are sullenly independent but grudgingly have to pay taxes to the larger empire of the Sun. They are generally not worshippers of Pyruss.

Deckard is possibly a thief (although he claims to have been one of the freedom fighters who liberated items from the oppressive Empire of the Sun). He was captured and the wizard Hy’Bratan had enchanted him to act as a loyal bodyguard and spy. However, while the wizard was on the Helm (one watch out of three), he became free of the enchantment and was kept locked in the brig.

When the Spirit Guardians began to seep through the upper deck and slaughter the crewmen, Deckard had slipped through some cracks to lie face down in the filthy bilge-water and the globe of death passed mere inches above him.

He is grateful for the rescue and has some bad news about the Vondarans. It appears thay have a lot more than 15 ships now – possibly as many as a 100. For the last 5 years – since the closing of the borders, the Lord Protector has enforced stricter military rule, massive tax increases and has been preparing for war. It seems he was only waiting for the Prince to be found in order to ritually execute him and trigger the Red Sun. They now intend to conquer all the surrounding systems and convert them to worship of Pyruss.

He is aware that the third ship, the one returning with their cargo of wine as payment, will be only half a day behind them and is likely to pursue.

Only 5 of the 10 half-orc crew they hired at the Rock of Braal remain.
Only 6 of the original 20 Red Orc (Scro) crewmen have survived. This holy pilgrimage is proving to be more dangerous than they expected.
Only 3 of the 6 human crew have survived – this includes “Smiffy” the blacksmith and “Mr Hobbs” the carpenter and Seaman Staines.

They don’t have enough to crew the wrecked Vondaran warship so they strip the helm, 3 cannons and lots of gunpowder and balls and leave the wreck floating in the fastest part of the Flow – with a vague hope of their pursuer crashing into it.

Over the next week the crippled Hammership makes its way to the junction of the Flows. Smiffy and Mr Hobbs manage to jury-rig two of the new cannons to the front of the ship, but complain all the time about how dangerous it is and how they can’t be held responsible for the structural integrity – “The ship willnae take it Clayton..”

Clayton take some time to practice with the Cannons and finally gains proficiency. None of the other have spent the time on this yet.

They come up with a dangerous plan. The enemy ship will catch them, so they slow down and let it see them turn towards the Chaos Portal, rather than turn for the distant Rock of Braal. It follows them and they plunge through the Portal and turn quickly to the side of the Portal, just out of sight.

As they enter Chaos, they are shocked to see a Starwhal some distance away, clearly watching the Portal and watching them! They have no time to keep track of it in their hast to prepare for battle.

As the Vondaran ship pushes through after them, they accelerate towards its broadside. The warship fires at them but fails to do much damage, they blast it with all three cannon, hitting with two of them at close range, then Abraham steers the ram into the bigger vessel and they charge across.

This time the fighting is much more intense. The Vorandan Ambassador they met before is a wizard with Fireball spells and a magic carpet. There is a Priestess of Pyruss aboard – shimmering with some evil spell she has already cast, and she soon has a Spirit Guardians spell of her own!. There are half a dozen of the plate-armoured Templar Knights and a full complement of crew – all are empowered by the blazing tatoos. All seem to regenerate wounds even during combat (but not when they are killed).

Clayton leaps aboard, trying to take out the Ambassador, but the wounded mage flies his magic carpet underneath the ship and waits for a chance to pop up later and fireball them – TWICE.

Deckard and Mulan swing aboard into the rigging and rain down missile shots at the mage and the priestess.

Zerth Symron, their githzerai ally, dimension doors across with Staines and they ambush the priestess, but are brought down quickly by her Spirit Guardians. Finally Deckard drops her but she stands back up (Death Ward!).

Jock darts below decks and helps the out-numbered crew in close fighting with the enemy gun crews. There seems to be a mysterious voice barking orders from one of the cabins and he only discovers after they kill everyone else that it is a small round magical mirror (about 6 inches across). When they find it, it is no longer active.

Abraham comes aboard, surrounded by three Skeletal Warriors he has summoned – these are plate armoured and carry magical morningstars and can shoot Sacred Flames, but they soon fall beneath the fireballs and the heavy blows of the Templars. The Inquisitor’s Spirit Guardians spell thins out the enemy crew and wounds the Templars but they are still strong enough to hack down Clayton, then Abraham’s warriors and then Abraham himself [GM: If only he had protected himself with Death Ward]. Mulan and Deckard scurry about reviving the fallen with potions of healing, just in time to re-cast the Spirit Guardians, finish off the templars and win the day.

Deckard manages to kill the Mage and his carpet begins to drift away towards the edge of the ship’s atmosphere field. Mulan leaps on to it and manages to throw a grapple back to the ship and drag herself and the carpet back – however the body of the wizard was knocked off the carpet , drifted too far and was whisked away into Chaos.

When the fighting is over the surviving crew (other than the heroes) consists of …
Zerth Symron, who declares that his life-debt has been repaid now and he will be leaving them.
Staines – he somehow stabilised after being knocked out by the Priestess.
Mr Hobbs, the elderly carpenter
Only 2 of the original Red Orc worshippers of Torkas – Shebb and Angrabatt.
Only 2 of the half-orc warriors hired from the beholder bar-tender on the Rock of Braal.

The ship’s maximum speed is halved, it is now much slower than Vondaran warships and will take about 4 weeks to reach the Rock (if they decide to go there).

[GM:Damage to the Ship and lack of crew mean that target rolls for ship manoeuvres are 18 and ship weapons are at -5 to hit and the ship’s AC is down to 10]

The most likely alternatives seem to be…

Head for the Rock of Braal – get repairs there and hire more crew (4 weeks away and possible encounters on the way). They have THREE spelljammer Helms aboard now, half a Starwhal carcass and plenty of other booty from the captured ships – armour, weapons, a cargo of 20,000gp of Vorandan wine barrels (the rest was destroyed in the ramming) which they could probably sell for 60,000 at the Rock.

Head for the lair of Gravalax the Beholder (only 2 days away in the Veil of Terror) – they could pay him off the 12,000 gp they still owe him for the Prince – he would probably accept the 4-seater mini-ship – the tiny dragonfly run-about they have captured or maybe he would buy the captured Helm from them.

Their new ally – Deckard is likely to have noticed that they aren’t afraid of being in Chaos (especially after their “guide” Zerth Symron leave, and that their own Helm was a fake and their ship is very unusual.

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Spelljammer #07 - Dawn of the Red Sun
The Prince who hoped for rescue

Reluctantly, over the three weeks of journey time to the Vondaran Sphere, they got to know Prince G’Vrain a bit better. He was exactly what he told then he was – a Paladin who was fighting to free his people from the rule of a tyrannical religious fanatic.

At the urging of Mulan, they agreed to help him and still get their reward for handing him over. According to the Prince, they were sure they would be met at the Portal into the Sphere by at least three Vondaran warships and they would most likely be boarded and they could trust the Knights to honour the deal.

Clayton would handle the negotiations for the reward money and insisted that he not be party to any of the planning in case they used a Detect Thoughts ability on him.

Secretly the others planned to hand G’Vrain over – they would travel to Vondara Prime and land there to deliver the Prince in exchange for the money. Mulan and Zerth Symron would make their way in secret to the Manor House of K’Rakas (G’Vrain’s old tutor – a powerful wizard who was in fact the Prince’s trusted advisor and a leader of the Rebel forces). After they handed over the Prince in exchange for the reward, Mulan would use her Invisibility spell on herself and Zerth and get them near enough to Planeshift the captive away into Chaos. After 8 hours of rest, Zerth’s Planeshift ability would return and they could teleport back to the manor house of K’Rakas. They would get their money and the Prince would be free on Vondara.

The prince explained that Bu’Tross, the evil Lord Protector and High Priest of Pyruss, would probably torture him to reveal the names of other Rebels before holding a public execution. He estimated that the execution would be within a day or two after his arrival on-planet.

[GM: Clayton had not been party to any of this planning – the player walked away from the table while the planning took place].

When they entered Vondaran Space, three warships hung there blockading the Portal. Our heroes displayed the Prince and the heavily-armed warships (three heavy cannons each) held position in range and sent across a 4-seater Dragonfly ship with two armoured Knights and a Priest to helm it.

Clayton handled the negotiations alone and suddenly to the horror of all the conspirators, he handed over the captive and they took G’Vrain away on the Dragonfly.

Turning to his companions, Clayton explained that the Knights of the Sun had originally promised to return in 2 days with the fifty thousand in gold, but he had instead agreed to wait an extra day to have the value returned in barrels of Vondaran Wine (which they could sell for triple that value as there had been a shortage of it since the Vondarans closed their borders).

With two of the Warships remaining on station, with their weapons casually trained on the Hammer for the whole time, they had to float there waiting for three days. The third warship flew off immediately with the Prince. They were too far away for Zerth to Dimension Door across.

It was about 24 hours flight time to the planet. Mulan was distraught but could think of nothing she could do but weep and bite her nails.

Half-way through the third day (as they waited for their shipment of wine to be delivered) the sun of Vondara suddenly turned blood red!

Even across the distance to the warships, they saw the change come over the enemy crew – they all had tatoos of the sun – suddenly the ink seemed to burn brightly with red flame. With no other warning the gun crews pushed out their cannons and began to fire at the Hammer.

Unknown to our heroes…
It was about 1 day flight time to the planet, so on Vondaran Prime, the Prince was carried in triumph into the Palace of the Sun and tortured for a day and a night. Somehow th noble paladin resisted the tortures and refused to give up the names of the other rebels. Perhaps he was sustained by the knowledge that his rescuers would soon appear to whisk him away!
Perhaps he still hoped for the planned rescue, even as he was tied to the stake with some ancient Pyruss ritual and burned alive. At the last moment as his flesh burned away, only then did he start screaming as he perished. At the last moment, perhaps he saw the sun change colour and saw the change come over the people – where they had watched sullenly as their Prince was executed, suddenly they began chanting and screaming, filled with bloodlust and hatred for all heretics.

Back on the Hammer, the enemy cannons ripped into her, disabling the Hammer’s only cannon.

Abraham managed to swing her about and make a break for it, back through the Portal – the others did a good job with the remaining ballista, disabling one of the warship’s cannons, but were hopelessly out-gunned.

Fortunately, even with a few more of the crew killed, they managed to out-run the Vondarans, but the two warships followed them into the Flow and pursued for three days.

They could have simply out-run the pursuers but it seemed likely the blood-crazed fanatics would pursue them all the way to the Rock of Braal. Instead they planned to stay just ahead and lead the pursuers through the Chaos Portal and lose them in the Sea of Chaos. [GM: An excellent plan except I told them they would get an encounter on the way on a roll of 6 on a D6 – Carl immediately rolled the “6”]

They suddenly dropped out of warp-speed as a Scro Squidship, flying a Pirate flag, blocked their way. [GM: I didn’t explain this at the time, but the Squidship is really an Imperial Scro Warship, but they fly the Pirate flag so that the Scro Empire can deny that it is their captains doing these attacks].

It flew towards them and had two cannons ready to shoot. Quick-thinking, Clayton got his red Orc crewmen to stay on deck and the others to hide, then ran up a white flag and when the ship came close enough to hail, explained about the two pursuing warships – less than two minutes behind them in the Flow. When the two Vondarans dropped out of warp behind them and began to close, Clayton agreed with the Scro captain that they would fight them together.

It was a tense battle. The warships had a massive advantage in firepower and the enemy crew were tougher, with lots of plate-armoured knights. But the heroes have the great advantage of being experienced and powerful individuals and it was their powers that swung the battle.

The plucky Hammer was hopelessly out-gunned but Abe managed to ram their enemy, destroying their main gun and the other guns could not be brought to bear. Zerth dimension doored to the stern of the enemy ship and tried to take out the Helmsman (a wizard, stripped of all spell slots by the Helm). Unfortunately the Helm room was guarded by two plate-armoured warriors and he couldn’t get through.

He returned to help Mulan, who had swung across into the rigging where 6 of the enemy sailors had swarmed up the ropes to surround her. She managed to cut the ropes dropping the enemies to the deck where she and Zerth could finish them off.

Jock and Clayton ran along the ram and boarded the ship, clashing with the Knights while the red orcs and half-orc crewmen swung across and fought the rest of the enemy crew – all were empowered by the blood lust and fought to the death. Inquistor Abraham, in his skull-emblazoned armour, finished off the battle with his Spirit Guardians spell. As he walked the length of the enemy deck, the Spirits tore through the remaining crew, even killing the ones below decks in the gun rooms. At the end of the ship, the Spirits finished off the powerless Helms wizard too.

The “Pirate” Squidship was nearly destroyed by the heavier firepower of the Vondaran and when they finally managed to close, the plate-armoured Knights seemed much tougher because of their blood lust. with the help of the heroes, they managed to finish off the second warship too.

The Hammer of Torkas has suffered heavy losses (another 6 of the original red orcs were dead, along with 2 of the human crew and 4 of the half-orcs).

The ship was horribly damaged (about 30-50 thousand gp of damage) and the damage and lack of crew will make further travel and combat very difficult. (Target Numbers of 17 until repairs or extra crew).

On the other hand, they have taken a powerful warship (although it is damaged and has no crew and needs a spellcaster to power its helm). They can replace their cannon and gunpowder supplies, maybe even add another cannon.

They believe the third Vondaran Warship will only be a half-day behind them (possibly it will be laden with their cargo of wine?) and it seems likely that the rest of the Vondaran fleet will be swarming out in a few days, powered by this blood lust and hatred of all who do not bear the tatoos of Pyruss.

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Spelljammer #06 - Gravalax and G'Vrain

NEXT GAME Wed 10th Jan

[GM: we were missing most of the players but played anyway with Clayton and Mulan getting the spotlight]

They spent 5 more days on the Rock of Braal as the ship repairs and improvements were done by Starfire Foundry.

On the day before they were meant to set sail. A fourth Scro Squidship approached the Rock and signalled to the other three Scro ships, using flags.

squidship.jpg

They asked the Elf Ambassador what was said and learned the incoming ship “Glorious Death In Battle Guarantees Paradise” had a Captain of Captains aboard, and was giving orders to the three others Scro ships to make ready to leave in 8 hours. The “Glory” then raised a banner in common saying “Witness the fate of an Assassin” and proceeded to crucify an Elf prisoner with slow and grisly torture. As the ship was sitting in “Neutral Zone” about 1000 feet from the port, the 2 Elf ships present could not intervene.

Mulan considered a crossbow shot to put the victim out of his misery but decided not to risk it as she didn’t know what the diplomatic consequences would be.

When the Scro ships left later that day, Clayton insisted they wait a couple of days before setting out, to give them time to get out of their path.

They hired the 10 half-orc crewmen suggested by Shalaarvik – the Beholder Barman from the “Eye and Eye”. They came up with a cunning plan to hide the secret of their unique ship’s helm. A couple of the red-orc crewmen are to pretend to sit on a dummy “helm”. They have also been relying on the presence of Zerth Symron to explain how they can navigate around in Chaos.

On the way back to the Chaos Portal, Clayton tried to get familiar with the new cannon which has been re-positioned on the main deck as the new Ram now blocks its old position. The Ship’s Carpenter built a sort of pill-box around it to give the gun crew some protection.

They took some shots at a barrel, but after a few misses, he gave up.
[GM: I’d decided that it will take three successful hits on a long-range target to allow a person to get their Proficiency Bonus with the cannon – it is covered by Martial Proficiency and by Fireams Proficiency but is sufficiently different that it will take this small amount of practice to get used to. The ship has 27 cannon balls remaining after the three practice shots.]

Once in Chaos, they decided to try hunting for another Starwhal before going to collect the “Traitor Prince” from the beholder’s lair.

They spent a couple of days hunting in the same area they saw the other one. They spotted a faint silvery trail showing where a Starwhal had recently flown into an asteroid field around a “nebula” – an area of boiling hot gas.

They followed it in, dodging the asteroids – (the ship taking some minor damage) and located a Starwhal. The creature was floating in the asteroid field, occasionally flicking its tail to doge a speeding rock. [GM: it seems to have 360 senses and dodges the rocks fairly easily. Legends known to Zerth Symron indicate they are fire resistant, so would be able to flee into the Nebula]

starwhal2.png

They tried to circle round behind it so it couldn’t dive for cover in the nebula but took more minor hits from the rocks. Then Clayton opened fire on it with the cannon at extreme range (double-powder), getting a solid hit and the beast started to flee. They gave chase, weaving between the flying debris.

A second shot from the cannon – with another double powder load, misfired, killing a couple of the red-orc crewmen. Clayton called in 4 of the half-orcs to clear the misfire and reload.

They got close enough to take shots with the harpoons, one missed but the other hit and the beast started dragging them through the asteroids. Clayton fired the cannon again and got a critical hit [GM: 20D10!]. It was double-powder again but this time the whale had been in short range and the damage shredded it.

After the hunt, Zerth Symron their Githzerai passenger, looked unusually pale. As he had been within telepathic range of the Starwhal when it died, he had sensed its thoughts. “It is an intelligent creature – not just a beast – it has a language and it was wondering why you were attacking it!”

After a day of stripping the carcass they headed for the Veil of Terror and the meeting with Gravalax a couple of days from the Chaos Portal.

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Approaching the Veil,they flew up until they could see the top of it and the right-hand corner. A small asteroid nestled inside the veil with a little strip of rock jutting out almost to the edge of the shimmering spell field. To either side of the strip, stood 10ft tall cages with black cloth drapes covering them – like giant bird cages.

When they got within a mile a strange magical effect hit all the spellcasters on-board. An apparently random spell – most resisted but Mulan, in the crows-nest with her familiar, suddenly became paralysed. Mooshoo squawked to call for help and Clayton scrambled up to help her. He immediately became affected by the same confusion spell Mulan was radiating a field of “confusion” about 10’ around her. They spent the next few rounds either doing nothing or attacking each other! Clayton killed the familiar. Eventually Mulan threw off the effects and climbed part way down the mast so that nobody was within 10 feet.

Abraham used a detect magic ritual to investigate what was going on and determined that the “curse” would remain on Mulan for an hour and that the random magical attack was in an area -mile around the beholder’s lair and would trigger every hour, on every spell-caster in the area.

They approached the asteroid carefully, not wanting to enter the Veil as it would trigger the Terror attack they had experienced when they passed through it a couple of months earlier. They flew a Jolly Roger flag, as they had been instructed by Shalaarvik and a goblin, mounted on a mechanical fly, the size of a pony, scuttled to the edge of the cave mouth, looking out onto the landing strip and gestured for them to wait. The veil didn’t seem to penetrate the rock, although it did cover the short landing-strip area.

Fly.png

The goblin went back inside, and within a minute, a Beholder floated out, using its anti-magic eye to part the Veil so the landing strip became clear. Clayton and Zerth dropped onto the strip and then Mulan jumped down too, her Confusion globe temporarily cancelled by the beholder’s central eye.

Gravallax_the_Beholder.png

Gravalax asked for his 8,000gp payment and had his goblin count it. Mulan asked about the confusion spell and was told that it was a disruptive magical effect generated by Gravalax himself. The creature clearly found it amusing as he turned to lead them into the asteroid, removing the cone of anti-magic and leaving the three visitors exposed to the Veil of Terrors AND the confusion. Zerth dimension-doored back to the ship, Clayton and Mulan had another minor fight before Mulan managed to run ahead of Gravallax and get back into the Anti-magic zone.

The cavern inside the asteroid was littered with treasure – gold, jewels, two sets of magical armour, 20 barrels of gunpowder. Also, a small – two-seater starship – a Dragonfly design – with its wings removed and odd blue flickering coming from its helm.
“It seems to have malfunctioned when it came into my zone of influence” Gravalax sniggered “If I can repair it, it should be worth a lot of money”

He got his goblin lackey “Scrotum” to open a cell door and they found Prince G’Vrain of Voranda inside. The handsome, well-built man was naked and covered in elaborate tatoos of a flaming sun and a phoenix. On a rack outside the cell, he had an ornate suit of Samurai Armour master-work half-plate) and a masterwork Katana – Gravalax agreed they could take that too.

prince_gvrain_prisoner.png

G’vrain was drooling quietly to himself – clearly frazzled by the magical effect of the Beholder’s influence. Gravalax warned them – he is some kind of cleric, so keep him bound and gagged and blindfolded “I would have cut out his tongue and eyes, but the Wanted Poster offers more money for him alive and unharmed.”

Gravelax warns them not to forget to pay the remaining 12,000gp to his “associate” Shalaarvik the barman, or he will come looking for them.

They get back to the ship and put G’Vrain in the brig. Clayton suggests nobody talk to him and they keep him gagged and bound. As they have a journey of three weeks, they have to un-gag him so he can eat and drink. After a week, the dementia has worn off and he asks to speak.to the captain – but Clayton refuses.

The half-orc guards relay that he claims to be a Paladin of Pyruss, sun god of the Vorandans.

After another few days, Mulan decides to talk to him. He is polite, chivalrous and appears to be a Lawful Good Paladin of Pyruss – God of Fire and the Sun of Voranda. He tells his tale and asks her not to hand him over to the evil Lord Protector!

_“G’Vrain’s father, the R’Treel, King of Vorander is very old and came to increasingly rely on his First Minister Bu’Tross, making him Lord Protector about 8 years ago. The Lord Protector was a high priest of Pyruss who decided to close the borders of Vorander 5 years ago to avoid getting dragged into the war between the Elves and Scro. Once the borders were closed – the regime became more and more severe – executing people who tried to communicate with the worlds beyond and spreading the belief that all outsiders are Infidels who will burn in hell.

Prince G’Vrain led a faction that opposed this isolationism. Eventually the Lord Protector declared G’Vrain a heretic and arrested and executed most of his supporters. G’Vrain was convinced by his remaining supporters to flee the system two years ago and come to the Rock of Braal, a Neutral Zone. After a year on the Rock, he was pursued by bounty hunters (despite the Neutrality of the rock) and had to flee into Chaos to escape. His Dragonfly ship malfunctioned because of the Beholder’s magic and he was captured.

He says that without him as the focus of a revolution, the Vorandan’s are doomed to the religious oppression of the Lord Protector."_

When Mulan passes this on to Clayton and the others there is long debate about what they should do next. If he can be believed, Prince G’Vrain seems like a good man and it seems like the Lord Protector is an evil fanatic.

On the other hand, they will get paid 50,000gp if they hand over the Prince for execution.
In terms of pure money, because Voranda has been closed for 5 years, if they buy a shipment of Vorandan wine with their 50,000 they might be able to triple the value (or more!).

NEXT GAME Wed 10th Jan

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SpellJammer #05 - Rock of Braal
An avoidable death

During the next few days in the “Flow”, heading for the Rock of Braal, our heroes chat to Colonel Havoc, commander of the Giff marines that the elves leave aboard the “Hammer”. They describe the local region of space.

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Distances are shown in WEEKS at max cruising speed for the “Hammer” and for Elven Man-o-War ships. Normal ships take double the time. Slow ships take four-times the time.

The Giff are mercenaries, usually hired for months in advance. The money is sent to their Council of Generals back on the Giff Homeworld (out past Realms-space) via the Giff Embassy on the Rock of Braal. Havoc’s regiment was hired by the Elven Sylvarian Empire and has another month to go before the Elves need to renew the contract. They probably won’t renew as there only 3 remaining members of the Glorious 7th.
The Giff do not have any spellcasting ability and cannot helm ships of their own and are magic resistant – immune to charm and fear.

Our heroes pretend that the spare helm from the Death Tyrant’s ship is their helm so that the giff and the elves don’t realise their ship is unique.

The Rock of Braal is about one mile long and half a mile across. It has an atmosphere and standard gravity and rumour is, that it has one or more “helms” buried at the base of the rock. Most of the surface is covered in warehouses and taverns and docks and foundries in perpetual daylight with the residential areas in caverns. The top of the rock is flat and planted with orchards and vineyards and herds of goats.

No fighting is permitted on the rock – punishment is severe – upto confiscation of the offender’s ship, imprisonment of the crew and banning ships from their faction from the place for years at a time. The Scro only recently completed a period of three years banned a couple of months ago.

The one exception to this is the Arena – formal challenges can be issued and agreed to. Combat in the Arena is always to the death. Combats are fought on Friday nights. There is a lot of gambling on the outcome.

They go to Starfire Foundry and talk to Rutgert Ironhold, the Dwarven master ship-wright.
To do basic repairs to the ship – 10K
To fit the Starhal’s Horn as an effective ram – 10K
To waterproof the ship’s hull in case they want to land on water– 10K
To fit armour plating – 10K
To fit the Starwhal’s ribcage so that it becomes part of the magical helm and improves the ship – 10K
Replacing the Cannon – 10K
The work will take 5 days.

They pool together their money and gems and can pay for most of it. They sell the meat and innards of the Starwhal and Rutger buys the inner heart of the beast for 900gp – explaining it can be used as a magical Heroes Feast. He offers to let them buy it back for 2,000.

On top of all the other unique features of their ship, they are the only active “whaling” ship in space. Starwhals are too fast and manouverable for larger ships, too dangerous for smaller ships. They are almost the only ship that still has Ballista and certainly the only one with harpoons on 1,000 ft cables. Their shio is old-fashioned – even archaic as it was designed a few thousand years earlier – blueprints left by the God, Torkas.

Also the Starwhals are only found in Chaos, a dangerous zone where ships often wander lost for weeks (even with a native guide) and for months without one. The fact that they have the githzerai – Zerth Symron aboard (waiting a chance to pay back his “life-debt”) acts as a cover story for how they manage to enter Chaos and find their way out again. Githzerai and Githyanki very rarely act as guides for other races.

Clayton is still distraught about not being able to get drunk – the “curse” of the Gnome King still affects him and everything he drinks turns to pure water. He tries to make some money out of this ability by offering to drink the most-deadly booze they have, but the Rock-dwellers have seen everything before and sense a scam. They suggest doing this drinking challenge in the sight of Shalaarvik, the beholder barman at the “Eye and Eyes” tavern.

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With his middle eye open, a cone of anti-magic shines forth, negating the curse and Clayton can finally taste his beer. He gratefully gets drunk then wanders off to find “ladies of negotiable virtue”. In his drunken state he asks for the most bizarre alien available and ends up sleeping with a Thri-Kreen woman called Klaraatoo Nerada (a humanoid preying mantis!).

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The rest of the crew spend their pay in similar fashion – on drink and entertainment.

Mulan goes off on a shopping spree, converting some gems and jewellery into cash, buying some pistols and powder and shot and powder kegs for the ship and finding a female companion of her own after a month as the only woman on a ship full of men and orcs.

Raef, Abraham and Jock find themselves in conversation with the Beholder – he seems to act and talk like a human (and may once have been human) but now he has the shape and strange powers of a Beholder. He keeps them supplied with free beer as long as they are telling tales of their homeworld and their journey. He is even friendly enough not to accept Raef’s crazy challenge to a fight in the Arena. Raef has heard about the gambling and thinks he can make fast money by betting on himself in a fight to the death.

When Shalaarvik learns they have a fast ship and have a Githzerai guide, he offers them a lucrative commission…

There are wanted posters up for “THE TERRORIST PRINCE G’VRAIN OF VORANDER” 50K if he is delivered ALIVE for trial to the Lord Protector of Vorander. Vorander used to trade with the Rock, they have about 30 star-ships but over the last 10 years or so they have become increasingly withdrawn, finally closing their borders 5 years ago – some say not wanting to get involved in the Elf/Scro war, others that their religious leaders convinced them that all outworlders are heretical. Stocks of Vorandan wine are becoming very precious as the Portal to Vorander is guarded and ships that enter are either turned away or never seen again. The Wanted Poster promises the reward and safe passage. Vorandans are basically human – but with green-ish skin.

Shalaarvik has a “contact” who has the Prince stashed away in a lair inside Chaos and he has been waiting for a ship capable of making the trip with a decent chance of success. When they seem interested, and asking or a promise of discretion, he reveals that his “contact” is a True Beholder called Gravalax, who dwells in Chaos in a place called the Veil of Terrors. From the description it is the magical veil that cast Phantasmal Force on the whole ship as they passed through it. This Gravalax has a lair in the North East corner of the Veil. They have the position of the Veil marked on their Magical Chart as it fills-in automatically as their ship travels. It would take them 3 weeks to get back to the Chaos Portal and is only 2 days from the Portal to the Veil. They might even be able to hunt another Starwhal as an added incentive to return to Chaos. Gravalax wants 20K of the 50K reward and Shalaarvik has bargained him down (via some form of Sending Spell) to only want 8K in advance (for handing over the prisoner) with a promise of the other 12K delivered to Shalaarvik within 10 days of the reward being paid. Vorander is only a couple of weeks from the Chaos Portal so this sounds fairly easy and quick (maybe 60 days roundtrip).

Shalaarvik also offers to recommend some half-orc crew to accompany them – “they are all tough sailors, experienced and can be trusted to be discreet”. He could arrange for 10 of them to sign-up for a 60 days for only 900g.

They more or less agree, but have to wait around on the rock a few more days for the repairs.

Raef is bored and itching to prove himself in the Arena, keen to bet on himself to win. He manages to get into a religious debate with an office of one of the 3 Scro Squidships currently in port – he claims that Torkas must only be a demi-god and that Gruumsh is the god of all right-thinking Scro. Raef disagrees and they agree to fight in the Arena.
It turns out that “Death-Hammer” is a priest, not quite as experienced as Raef, but he has fought a few times before in the Arena and they can get odds of 2:1 against Raef.

hobgoblin.jpg

Not used to Arena fighting, Raef risks trying to cast his Darkness spell directly on the Priest instead of around himself or just in the area (which would automatically work), and the spell fails to take hold. The priest manages to cast Hold Person on him, paralysing him and then hacks him to death while he is paralysed. It is a short and bloody fight and they then learn that the rules of the Arena mean all the loser’s possessions now belong to the victor. This includes his magical armour and a lot of money and gems.

Jock decides to challenge “Death-Hammer” (who should really have refused as he had already used some of his spells that day). Jock manages to bully the Scro into accepting. As the crowd realise Jock has now seen Death-hammer fight and must know what he is risking, the odds are only even on this second fight.

Jock manages to cast Blindness on the priest and the priest fails to hit him a few times, with his own hammer and with a spiritual weapon. Death-hammer then tries a powerful Spirit Guardians spell which Jock manages to mostly avoid and backs away. The priest lumbers blindly toward him, sending the crowd running for cover (as he cast it when blind, he could not exclude anyone!). Jock continues to sneak away then shoot, while the Scro stumbles after him.

Eventually Jock shoots him through the heart and then gasps as the priest snaps off the arrow and shakes off the blindness and keeps coming. It appears the priest had Death Ward which kept him in the fight for one last desperate attempt at Hold Person, but Jock shrugs it off again and shoots him through the eye. Raef is avenged. However, when the priest saw Jock handing over his valuables before the fight, he did the same and the only loot is non-magical chainmail, a Warhammer and a holy symbol of Gruumsh.

The rest of the crew recoup some of their losses through their bets. They didn’t think to use the Re-vivify spell to bring Raef back from the dead. His body has now been tossed into a garbage pit deep inside the Rock. “It’s what he would have wanted!” sniffs one of his fellow red-orc crewmen.

[GM: Please think before you do anything suicidal and completely unnecessary – I should have had the Beholder accept Raef’s first challenge but tried to talk him out of it instead. Frank – you should be able to play Jock unless Holly comes back, but if she does, you’ll have to create your own 10th level character. I’m not going to do it for you – it took me a few hours to create Raef and write up a character sheet with all the spells]

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Spelljammer #04 - Out of Chaos
Starwhal!

The ship has accumulated some damage (making it a bit more sluggish). There is no longer enough crew to manage the sails and rigging properly – and few among the human officers (the heroes) with familiarity with ships.

As their new ally – Zerth Symron, the Githzerai – learns more about their ship, the more he declares that “The Hammer of Torkas” is unique and will draw the envy of other Star-faring races if it becomes known.

As with all Spelljammer Helms, once the “helmsman” is attuned, they become able to see the “Flow” (the rivers of streaming energy that flow through space) so can guide the ship into these rivers to accelerate to inter-stellar speeds. Ships drop out of high-speed when they approach another vessel or object with gravity.

However, their Helm does not require a dedicated spell-caster whose entire spell-casting ability gets wiped out by sitting in the Helm.

Secondly the CHART (which is almost empty) magically draws itself as they travel. By pressing on places they have been, they can set course for there and the ship will pull in that direction.

Thirdly, the Sea of Chaos is usually trackless and ever-shifting. Ships who enter it can spend weeks or months trying to find a Portal back out. This Chart/Ship appears to know the location of a Portal out of Chaos and the helmsman can sense the direction. They might even be able to sense the Portal back to JADE. This is an ability usually only seen in a few monstrous races native to Chaos (the Slaadi) although other races like the Githyanki and Githzerai can vaguely sense direction and are sometimes paid to help guide ships who want to make journeys into Chaos.

After another couple of days sailing through the dangers of Chaos, they are only one day from the Portal when they spot a small silvery moon floating ahead.

“That’s no moon!”

As they draw near, it unfurls, revealing itself to be a long thin silver-grey whale, half the length of the ship and with a glittering horn, 20 feet long, its base surrounded by diamonds.
The red orcs (and Clayton, priest of Torkas) are determined to give chase – the tomb carvings of their religion show scenes of Torkas harpooning such beasts and they believe this is an omen of great good fortune. The others agree, despite the poor state of the ship and crew.

starwhal.png

Abraham the Inquisitor is currently attuned to the Helm and guides the ship in pursuit. Raef the Red-orc Warlock (and former pirate) attempts to guide the remaining crew in trimming the sails. The others prepare the harpoons in the two Ballistas, attaching the long cables to the harpoons.

Climbing back into the crows nest, Mulan watches through the eyes of her familiar (Mooshoo the pseudo-dragon) and detects patterns in the tilt of the beasts tail and fins as it switches direction, shouting down warnings so Abe can zig and zag after it.

They get within range of a ballista shot, but too far for a harpoon cable and the beast begins to accelerate away. Raef heads to the cannon with a couple of red-orc crewmen. They load a double-shot of black powder and a single ball and take a shot.

The others hear the huge boom and the ship emits a huge cloud of smoke and then plunges through it. As they emerge, they see a spray of blood from the Starwhal and it rolls over a few times before righting itself and continuing on (a bit slower).

They manage to close and Clayton manages to shoot it with a harpoon. As it tries to flee, the cable unwinds at frightening speed. They realise that if it reaches the end of the drum at this speed, the mechanism will be yanked out of the ship! There are huge brake levers on the drum and they struggle to slow the cable. The Starwhal begins the “Nantucket Sleigh Ride” as it pulls the ship through many twists and turns, trying to shale them off.

A second cannon ball hits it, using the last of the powder and the huge beast turns and charges. It comes in range of bows and javelins and is almost killed… almost. Then it crashes horn-first directly into the cannon room, shattering the cannon, destroying the prow of the ship and the crewmen barely manage to dive out the way of the destruction. The impact kills the beast and the crew give a great cheer.

It will take them hours (if not days) to disentangle the carcass from the ship and make repairs. While the others try to prize the diamonds and hack off the horn, Raef clambers inside the beast’s mouth, squeezing through the bloody mess at the back of its throat to investigate the gullet and belly. Inside he finds remains of many creatures, shredded by the sand-paper-like mouth and throat. There are shreds of the beholder/jeyy-fish creatures they encountered a few days before. One is wounded (burned by acid) but still alive. It attacks and Raef hits it with Eldritch blasts. The thing tries to paralyse him with one of its eye-rays and then tries to hit it with tendrils coated in poison. Fortunately for Raef, his warlock resistance defends him against poison and he shrugs off the paralysis ray. However the creature engulfs him and begins to digest.

Mulan has heard the commotion and made her way through the bloody and slimy organs and emerges just in time to shoot the creature. Both bolts pass within an inch of Raef’s flesh as the creature is so tightly wound around him. But she kills it and cuts the creature off him. There is nothing else of value in the guts of the beast except for a digested skeleton of a man, still wearing undamaged leather armour of black and brown strips [GM: +2 Leather Armour, granting Advantage to Stealth checks].

The Horn is porbably worth 20,000gp. The 12 fist-sized diamonds could be worth 2,000gp each. There are various other organs and oils and fats, plus the skin that could all be valuable too.

The ship is now in a very bad way and has lost its cannon and run out of powder. They decide to fit the skull and horn over the prow and wrap the rib cage around the ship. It is messy and looks jury-rigged, but helps to hold the hull together and the horn will make an excellent ram.

A couple of days later, they find one of the hexagonal plates floating in space – it looks like the plates that formed the wall of Jade’s Crystal Sphere, but this one is floating and tumbling in space on its own. As they approach, the plate shimmers and becomes a portal into “normal” space, stars glitter beyond it. They ship passes through and it closes behind them. The single hexagon now floats un-moving in empty space. A couple of hours away, Abraham can sense a “river” of energy streaking away from right to left – a broad river, the further in they go, the faster the ship will be carried.

Zerth Symron has travelled by Spelljammer once before, many years ago, hired by an Elven Man-O-War to aid them in a raid against mind-flayers (his species is resistant to psionic attacks and dedicated to destroying these hated foes). He believes the constellations to the left are familiar and it might lead towards a place called the “Rock of Braal” – a neutral asteroid, floating in open space where they should be able to trade for repairs and provisions. He doesn’t have a clue how far away it might be – just that some of the star formations look familiar.

After two days in the “Flow”, the ship suddenly decelerates as it draws close to (what Zerth Symron refers to as) an Elven Man-o-War. A much larger ship than the Hammer, with massive wrap-around green sails (veined like leaves).

Elven_Man_o_War.jpg

This ship appears a long way in front, turns side on and opens its gun ports (6 cannon per side) then waits for them to approach, signalling with two green pennant flags, then , when they receive no answering signal, red pennants that they assume mean them to stop.
They stop and watch as a single elf, sitting cross-legged in space, not apparently armed, floats across to within shouting distance. He speaks first in elvish (nobody understands) then switches to Orcish (seeing there are red-orcs aboard).

“Declare yourselves and your business!”

They explain they are new to space travel and ask who he is.

“Ambassador DeSai of the Sylvarian Empire. Your ship appears to be allied with the filthy Scro Empire with whom we are in a State of War!”

elf_herald_DeSai.jpg

Although the ancient name for the red orcs in their own language is indeed “Scro”, they explain that they are from a distant world, have never heard of either the Scro Empire or the Sylvarian Empire. If they ever were Scro, it has been three thousand years since they have had any contact beyond Jade. They explain they are on a religious quest, following visions that their god “Torkas” has sent to Clayton.

There is some discussion of Torkas, Lord of Storms – and it appears the Scro worship Gruumsh a war god and Torkas is unknown. [GM: Jade is such a small backwater world, that it is possible Torkas is only a demi-god after all]

DeSai is openly contemptuous of their crippled ship, wrapped in the skeleton of a Starwhal but is impressed and surprised that such a vessel could have managed to catch one. He offers to escort them through the Flow (three days) to the Rock of Braal. The Flow itself is a Neutral Zone and the Sylvarian and Scro fleets obey a treaty not to attack neutral ships in the Flow. However, Desai states that the “filthy Scro” cannot be trusted to keep to treaties so the Glorious Sylvarian Empire have to keep the Flows free from Scro piracy.

They agree to being escorted (for a small fee of 300gp) and are advised to fly a white flag to indicate Neutrality. A condition of the agreement is that a small squad of troops will be placed aboard “for your safety” (but probably to raise an alarm if the Hammer loads any weapons that might threaten the “Mystery Of Morning Wood”).

The squad that comes aboard are 3 Giff – 9-foot tall humanoids with grey-brown,warty skin and faces like hippo. They are dressed in bright-red Tunics, covered in medals and bristling with Flintlock Pistols, bandoliers of bullets and powder-horns and each carrying a long Musket – with a Greataxe slung on their backs. The officer is Mister Havoc – a Colonel of the 7th Regiment. It appears that these three are all that remain of the Glorious Seventh – Booyah!

giff_mr_havoc.jpg

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Spelljammer 03 - The Silver Swords

In gratitude for their help, Zerth Symron tells them that the asteroid/world where they met, is actually the lair of a creature called a Morkoth. While these are usually sea-dwelling creatures, this Morkoth is more humanoid than most – like a fat warty human with an octopus head with many tendrils. Despite how it sounds it isn’t an Illithid (Symron spits when he says the word Illithid, as it was Illithids that created his race and kept them as slaves for thousands of years).

The Morkoth is dangerous and the place is populated by giant trolls who act as guards. That was the reason Symron went there – in the hopes that his pursuers would run into the trolls or the Morkoth and get killed. The creature is known to be a collector of magical items and strange beasts, so the place could be worth raiding.

They agree to help him fight the Githyanki Knights and about three hours later, the Githyanki return.

The First Knight appears with two of his warriors. As the first one in, he is protected by magical frost armour (Armor of Agathys).

Raef (Red Orc Warlock) casts darkness on the first Knight’s sword, which is great for Raef but terrible for all the others – particularly Mulan, Clayton and Jock who all shoot blindly.

The darkness moves with the Knight, but behind the globe, the Second Knight appears with his two warriors. They instantly slaughter 4 of the Red Orc crewmen.

One of the First Knight’s warriors teleports up to the Crows Nest and unexpectedly finds Mulan hiding up there. She swings around the mast and kicks him overboard. He drops to the dek 30 feet below and Zerth Symron attacks him.

Gaston charges into the dark and strikes the First Knight – getting “burned” by the frost armour.
Somehow he manages to push the Knight overboard – it will buy him some time, but the telekinetic Knight was soon back. Raef was hacked at by the second wave and soon loses concentration on his Darkness spell.

Raef and Gaston manage to kill the First Knight and Gaston goes to pick up the glittering silver greatsword. All the Githyanki gasp as he does so and Zerth Symron tells him to drop it, the silver blades are sacred to the Githyanki and they will stop at nothing to destroy an enemy who lays hands on them.

Gaston ignores the warning but then becomes the focus of the third Knight and his warriors.
Gaston falls [GM: the player asks if he can fall but keep clinging to the sword. He rolls high on a strength save] Symron tries to prise the sword from his grip to give it back to the attackers, but can’t manage.
Abraham meanwhile has been sacred flaming the enemy, but then casts Spirit Guardians. This affects everyone within 15 feet of him, including acting through the deck and there are screamsfrom some crew on the deck below. It is very effective against the knights and warriors and fortunately (for the crew below) he is knocked out before it kills the screaming crewmen.

Mulan and the two rangers manage to kill the Second Knight – Mulan does some impressive rope swinging to knock one off the ship and shoot it during the swing.

Of the five red orc crew who began on deck, only Staines survives. He hits a few warriors with his crossbow and manages to stabilise Abraham quickly. Gaston snaps awake [GM: luckily rolling a 20 on his death save] just as the remaining knight is about to plane shift away touching the silver sword. Refusing to relinquish the Silver Sword, Gaston is plane-shifted away too. [GM: asked if he will now let go, Gaston’s player refused. He only has 1 hp and has just been plane-shifted to the City of the Githyanki!]

Zeroth is disappointed that one of his pursuers got away and offers to leave, but they agree to him remaining as only one of the Knights can return next time.
He explains the fanatic reverence the Githyanki have for their swords. They dump the remaining body with its sword) and find two potions of armour of agathys and some silver plate mail +1

They wait for the return (after about 11 hours)

This time the First Knight brings two other Knights (one invisible!) But our heroes have a much better plan.
Raef hits the intruders with Fireball, the moment they arrive.
Milan, Clayton and Jock all shoot the First Knight and then Abe Spirit Guardians all three.
The first Knight goes down almost immediately, despite being magically boosted. Because of catching all of them in area effect spells, they manage to finish off the other two very quickly. they gain 3 potions of greater healing and 1 potion of Invis. and 3 more sets of +1 plate mail.

Zerth Symron is now free from the collar (which dissolved) and he offers to stay and serve them until his debt is paid.

There is a possibility of rescuing Gaston from the City of Githyank, but it would be incredibly dangerous. The Zerth can Planeshift up to 8 people. He knows where they have taken Gaston and the others. He describes the City of the Githyanki. Carved into the corpse of a dead god and the floating palace of the Lich Queen.

The_Lich_Queen_Githyanki.png

The palace is the ripped-out heart of the dead god and can only be reached from a portal gate in the city itself. The lost crewmen and Gaston will all have been taken to the Lich Queen and then fed into the “Mind Machine” for torture and interrogation.

Clayton is tempted to try a rescue (because of his “Leave nobody behind!” character trait) but accepts it would be too dangerous.
[GM: Gaston’s player will take over running Raef]

They are now close to the portal that leads out of this “Sea of Chaos” and will soon reach ‘normal” space.

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Spelljammer 02 - Zerth Symron

The ship continues to pass through the Sea of Chaos. Past spinning balls of plasma, through lightning storms, past asteroids teeming with brightly-coloured plants. The ship had taken some minor damage from the collisions with the coral boulders but their carpenter patched it up (though they were running short of wood).

They reached a transparent veil, like an oil slick with many colours that shifted and shimmered like flame as they approached. As it touched the prow of the ship, the shimmering flame ran along the rigging and masts and covered the ship. As it hit the crew they all experienced visions of horrific monsters. Most were able to shake them off but a few drew weapons and attacked the visions – Raef the warlock cast Darkness to fight them in the dark. Fortunately, nobody was seriously injured. Abraham the Inquisitor banged his head and was left to rest in a hammock. [GM: Carl lost his character sheet so played Raef the Warlock for this session]

On the other side of the veil, it seemed they had reached a slightly less chaotic area of space. A few larger asteroid/moons drifted by. One of them seemed to have trees and an ocean and seemed relatively free of impact craters. Despite Clayton’s suggestion that this moonlet must be being protected by something – they decided to investigate.

Due to misunderstanding of the scale, Clayton almost crashed into one of the giant redwoods – it was about half a mile high. They moored the ship next to a high branch and two groups clambered into the tree. The priest Magnus Hammerhand and the two orc rangers, Raq and Rudma and a few of the orc crewmen were sent to cut wood. Clayton, Gaston, Mulan and Raef wanted to climb down to the ground for a look around. The tree was so massive that they could easily walk down in cracks in the bark.

They had barely started down when Mooshoo (Mulan’s pseudo-dragon familiar) alerted them to a strange pale-green man climbing quickly towards them. He was gesturing at them, but any noise he made was covered by the sound of axes hacking at the tree above.
He teleported part of the way and suddenly they could hear him, his voice sounding directly in their minds – “Run, Run, they are after me – RUN”.

Zerth_Symron.png

Despite his obvious urgency, they tried to get him to calm down and explain what was happening. He jumped about 30 feet, seeming to slow-fall at the end – like some sort of Jedi! “I am Zerth Symron and THEY are chasing me – RUN if you value your lives – get to your ship and GO”.
Behind him, three new figures shimmered into existence [GM: like from star=trek transporters].

Githyanki_Knight.png

They were led by a Knight in glimmering silver armour and with a huge silver greatsword. The two warriors accompanying him bore greatswords with wicked serrated blades. They immediately set off in pursuit of Zerth Symron, apparently ignoring the presence of the others.

Githyanki_Warrior.png

Mulan, Raef and Clayton acted on instinct to defend the hunted man. Crossbow bolts, Eldritch Blasts and Arrows thudded into the Knight, mostly glancing off his armour. Zerth’s telepathic voice sighed “Now you’ve got their attention! RUN there are more coming”. The three pursuers fired Eldritch blasts of their own and then leapt from branch to branch with ease.

Ignoring the call to run, Gaston stepped in to meet the pursuers, almost killing one of the warriors but then finding the Knight was much more dangerous than he looked. When he struck with the Silver Sword, it was as though a lot of additional force flowed through the blade.

Clayton called back to the ship wanting them to cast off and hover until they got there. Staines one of the human crewmen took the wheel (un-trained) and accidentally started to drift away from the branch.

Three more pursuers appeared and climbed up to engage the wood-cutting party and then three more. The fighting was intense, one of the warriors was killed but then Magnus was cut down, then the two rangers. They watched as the enemy warriors, bandaged their fallen comrades.

Gaston managed to knock the first Knight off the branch, he plunged down, vanishing through a globe of darkness cast by Raef.

Mulan managed the jump back to the ship, and then helped Clayton over too. Even with Clayton back at the controls, the ship still yawed wildy and could only bring one of the two ballista to bear. Jock managed to kill another of the Warriors but then the two Knights by the fallen woodcutting party shimmered out of existence and took their captives with them! Magnus Hammerhand and the two Orc Rangers – Raq and Rudma, along with a couple of the red orc crewmen, were gone.

[GM: to be honest this was my intention for the encounter as I did not want these ex-player characters “cluttering-up” the ship. Clayton gets Inspiration for not willingly leaving them behind as it is one of his character traits – he could have flown away. That still leaves Jock the Ranger/Warlock and Raef the Warlock as part of the crew and I’ll want to get rid of them too. If any of the players return, I’ll try to find a way to get their characters back that doesn’t stretch the “fictional reality” too far].

Unfortunately for Gaston, the Knight he had pushed off the branch, suddenly rose back up through Raef’s globe of darkness. He had a Telekinesis power and used it to stop his fall and carry himself back into the fight. Gaston was struck down but only after almost killing the Knight – then Mulan leapt back across and cast sleep, but only managed to knock out the remaining Warrior. Raef leapt into the Darkness – then one of the secondary Knights emerged from the darkness, just as the groggy one was about to Plane Shift away with Gaston. The secondary knight said “I’ve got him, you go now!” and the first Knight plane Shifted away with his sleeping warrior.

Mulan shot the remaining “Knight”, before his disguise spell shifted to reveal that it was Raef who had saved Gaston by trickery. [Worthy of inspiration].

They all got back onto the ship, agreed to let their new guest finish his sleep/trance undisturbed. They finished gathering wood and also gathered a huge seed from inside a pine cone as big as a house.

They experimented with their barrel of black powder and Gaston managed to remember how much was in the cannon when they came on-board. They had one experimental shot – blowing a hole in the great tree, then were underway again.

They got Abraham to attune to the Ship, which de-attuned Clayton from it [GM: so now Abraham has advantage on piloting rolls – which use either the Arcana skill or proficiency with ships).

When Zerth Symron (a Githzerai “High Monk”) finally awoke (after an 8-hour sleep) he thanked them for their aid and explained something about his situation. He had not intended them to get involved, but had needed to start his rest immediately and be undisturbed as his Plane Shift ability needed the same amount of rest as the Plane Shift ability of the Githyanki Knights. They would have returned to the Githyanki Citadel, where the Lich Queen ruled. They would get healed and would rest and then would be in pursuit of Symron as soon as they were able. The three Knights they had met were psychically-linked to the Collar worn by Symron and could follow him wherever he went. They were pursuing him in the hopes he would Plane Shift home to the Monastery of the High Monks, but Symron had learned what they intended before they tortured him in their Mind Machine. He had used his own strange mind powers to forget where the Monastery was.

He intended to Planeshift away from the ship immediately to some other dangerous location in the Sea of Chaos, in the hopes he could get the three Knights killed by monsters. He hopes that the crew have not drawn the attention of the Githyanki and that they will not be pursued once he has gone.

When they mentioned their ship’s Quest to seek out the God – Torkas, and the strange nature of the ship (how it had a magical Chart and Compass and how it did not drain the magic of the Helmsman, Symron was amazed. This ship is incredibly valuable – unique among the stars! They should try to keep the nature of the ship a secret or other star-faring races will want to take it from them. All other ships helms are either Spell Jammers (which drain the magic of the Helmsman completely) or Life Jammers (which drain the soul of a sacrifice).

If the Githyanki put their captured crewmen into the Mind Machine (or break them by torture) and learn about the ship, they will come after it!

They then agree to Symron staying aboard and will try to ambush the Githyanki when they arrive. The magic of the collar around Symron’s neck allows the three attuned Knights (each with two warriors) to Plane Shift into the area – using the Lich Queen’s magic, not their own, so they have one Plane Shift each remaining and each Knight can use it once, transporting themselves and 8 others. They need an 8-hour rest to use their own Plane shift again. They can go anywhere in the Sea of Chaos that they know (or use it to reappear in the area of the collar).

The Githzerai and the Githyanki are actually natives to the Sea of Chaos (although they live in distant areas of it that are more tamed than this wild region). To the crew, Symron and the Knights look like the same race, but Symron is very insistent that they are utterly different.

The Githyanki are inter-stellar raiders/slavers who use their psychic powers to enhance their weapon strikes. They serve the Githyanki Lich Queen.

The Githzerai are a democratic and peaceful people, ruled by an elected council of the High Monks. They live lives of quiet study and meditation (but obviously this includes martial arts training and they use their psychic powers to enhance their unarmed blows and acrobatic abilities).

[GM: I’ve also given both races an Eldritch Blast cantrip (rationalised as psychic bolts) so they aren’t helpless at Ranged combat]

Symron’s only chance to avoid capture is the death of all three of the attuned Knights, or to travel to the Lich Queen’s palace (in the floating heart of a dead god) and destroy the collar’s control platform.

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