Dragons of Blackminster

Spelljammer 18 - Tentacles

After a tough fight with the githyanki zombies our heroes were victorious.
Ruruck sent his new familiar to investigate the upper tunnel but they heard a frightened squeak, then Mephistophalix was silent and didn’t return.

Before they could rest, long tentacles began to emerge from the tunnels ahead and above. The tentacles grappled and would have dragged the victims away, but each time somebody was grabbed, they managed to hack off the tentacle before it could reel the victim in.
Spririt guardians (cast be Clayton) proved to be the perfect defence as the tentacles regenerated each round, but were killed before they could do any harm.

Eventually they got close enough to the three Ropers to kill them.

The Ropers were growing out of a chamber where the dripping and pulsing blood seemed to be concentrated. Inside the chamber isa statue of the Dead God (on whose massive corpse thecity of the Githyanki is built and in whose floating heart the palace is built.

The upper tunnels are peaceful and free from the hideous whispers felt everywhere else in the palace.

Nb. They had learned more from Mephistophalix about the sleeping pods in some of the earlier chambers. These allow resting and healing. When the Lich Queen had been torturing the imp, she had put him in one of the pods so he couldn’t die.
It seems the Dead God might still be faintly alive and that Vlaakith, the Lich Queen is somehow using his blood to power her healing pods (and the whole magical palace).

Also in the blood pool chamber are two grills in the ceiling where the blood seeps down. Peering up they could see the right hand room holds mounds of glittering treasure while the other chamber is empty. There are massive ornate locks on both grills.

Despite having learned earlier that the Lich Queen’s phylactery is to be found in “an empty room in the ceiling’ Mulan was unable to resist getting into the treasure room. Diabalp, the Beholder disintegrated the grill and mulan climbed up to peer imside. She was immediately engulfed by a hideous, ornate carpet that seems to have drained her lifeforce! [doing PERMANENT hitpoin draining]

The treasure is clearly an illusion as the body of the undead tapestry moves through it as though it was a hologram.

Spelljammer #17 - Blood of the Dead God

Our heroes came up with an excellent plan using more of the exploding terracotta warriors to defeat the two demons.
Rurick made a pact with the Imp – Mephistophelix – however, he didn’t give it any instructions, so it acted on its nature and backstabbed Clayton with its poisoned sting. In retaliation, the ranger/cleric slaughtered the imp – the last part of the key fell to the floor. The Imp’s spirit was drawn into the Palace Walls to join the tortured souls trapped there – until Rurick decides to spend an hour chanting his name to re-form him. The Imp will be obedient, but is an evil creature (a devil!).

There was some magical treasure in the iron chests within the Demons’ binding circles – Diabalo the Beholder demanded a magical Tome that grants the abikity to cast 3 additional Cantrips (from any class spell list).

They push on through another Zombie door at the back of the chamber of Terracotta Warriors into some windy passages where the walls are filled with veins of red. They notice tht the level of light emitted by the walls is slowly pulsating. It brightens slightly behind them and then the area of brightness slowly creeps forward, growing slightly darker behind them.

This appears to be a “pulse” and the Heart of the Dead God must still somehow be beating.

They follow round a few twists of the tunnel and more and more veins seem to be coming together.

When they pass through a wider section, Abraham notices a slight breeze – warm air is rising into the ceiling. Mulan want a boost up too reach the ceiling and the Beholder lifts her with telekinesis. The ceiling is an illusion and there is indeed a hole about 20 feet up, then a 10 foot section of vertical tunnel to a chamber above. She pushes her arms through the illusion and is grabbed and tugged upwards out of sight.

Unseen by the others, she has been grabbed by one of two floating Githyanki Zombies – the super-tough undead warriors they fought earlier. Diabalo shone his anti-magic cone up at the ceiling so they could see up there. Mulan wriggled free and fled further along the upper corridor where the veins seemed to plunge downwards (probably into a room about 120ft further on from where the others were. It looks like the pulsing light is oozing through the rock back down into the lower level. Mulan realises that up here, for the first time since entering the Palace (except for in the Skin tunnel of writhing ghouls!) she can’t hear the whispering of the trapped souls and it even feels GOOD – maybe even restful!

Deckard threw a grapple up there and Rurick started up the rope. The two levitating zombies drifted down to attack him – (held aloft by their Psionic powers – so unaffected by the anti-magic). As he was clinging to a rope, they creatures had advantage and hacked at him twice each – all hitting!

[that’s where we had to stop for the session – Rurick is about three-quarters dead after that single round and still dangling from a rope – 20ft up. Mulan is about 60ft along the upper tunnel. One of the zombies is about half damaged – only Abraham is still to act in this round, then back to the top – Clayton and his Skeletal Warrior. Deckard, Mulan and her Skeletal Warrior, Rurick and his Skeletal Warrior, Githyanki Zombies, Beholder, Abraham].

Spelljammer 16 - Symbol of Pain

[GM:one player returns and another can’t make it]
Among the treasures found in the belly of the whale is a full length mirror. It was embedded in the stomach lining, and Deckard touched it before he realised what it was. Rurick, the red orc warrior fell out of the glass as Deckard vanished inside. Rurick had experienced no passage of time, so was confused by the change of surroundings.

They found a lot of money and jewels, and a magical bag that Clayton had to attune to in order to get at the contents. It was a bag of holding and contained a pair of tiny statuettes of golden lions.

They risked taking a long rest with Diabalo the Beholder keeping watch in the hall of corpses.
There was no way to get Deckard back until they could find another creature to touch the mirror.

They went back through the undulating membrane tunnel, with hundreds of ghouls and zombies pressing on the skin. From the chamber beyond they decided to enter the room with the terracotta army of githyanki surrounding a draconic sarcophagus, with huge red wings folded over the box.

Diabalo used his anti-magic ray to prevent the enchanted statues from doing anything and one by one they moved them out of the way. Mulan squeezed through and examined the sarcophagus itself and realised it would need its magic to open and there was draconic writing around it which Abraham could read – This was a tomb for the red dragon steed of the original Queen Gith -she and her steed had vanished mysteriously thousands of years back. Not surprisingly the tomb was empty, but when the wings curled back (after commanding them to “Take Flight”, a wraithlike serpentine form reached out and animated the nearest clay zombie. It lurched to the attack and when they struck it, it exploded. They concentrated on the wraith dragon and killed it before it could animate many more. They found more treasure – and another of the four keys.

Then using the anti-magic cone, they piled a few clay soldiers against the door with the Symbol of Pain on it and retired a ‘safe’ distance. The radius of the blast didn’t reach them, but the radius of the Pain Symbol reached everyone except for Diabalo and Clayton!

Abe, Mulan and Rurick spent the next hour writhing in utter agony. The anti-magic beam paused it, but the beholder guessed that they needed to experience the full hour of torment, so flicked it off again with a smile.

The chamber beyond the Pain Door (now blasted open), contained an altar and two magic circles. A vulture-headed demon was trapped in one circle, a toad-like demon in another. On the altar, an up-turned glass covered a 1 inch spider that strained to move it, its eyes and mandibles grotesquely magnified by the glass.

Remembering that they were looking for a ‘tormented devil’, rather than demons, they correctly guessed it was the spider they needed. It became quite chatty with them (via Abe who also knows the Infernal tongue and used a zone of truth spell!

It claims to be an Imp, and offers to bond with any one of them as a familiar if they will release it.
Sadly (for it) Vlaakith made it swallow the fourth key. It can only be retrieved by killing or banishing the Imp. Usually the Imp wouldn’t care, but a property of this Palace is that there is NO ESCAPE! The spirit of anything killed or banished from here is absorbed into the walls for incredible torture. Mulan panics at this and re-summons her familiar Mooshoo, who appears sobbing and terrified.

It appears that touching/moving the glass will release the demons, as will breaking the circles (although that would only release one at a time).

If they don’t make a deal with the imp, or manage to kill it instantly, it will probably go invisible and scuttle away – or transform into something even harder to catch.

Spelljammer #15 - Eternal Voyager

They tossed the bodies of the two Githyanki Zombie Knights into the small room with the ice-cold mirror. Their red-orc warrior stumbled over a corpse and touched the icy glass. In a flash he was gone and the mirror became a plain mirror. [GM:the player couldn’t make it and this was a convenient way to get him out of the game for a session].

The other two Zombies had fled because of Abraham’s Turning. They would be on the way back already and our heroes were worried that they might raise the alarm and return with reinforcements.

Following tracks down the corridor (in slimy mucus that thinly coats the floor) they followed into a vast chamber with a high-vaulted ceiling. The floor was littered with over a 100 corpses – humans, elves, giithyanki, dwarves, a couple of gith (hippo-men), goblins, orcs and others. Because of the strange time-flow effects of this region (that stop them getting hungry or healing naturally) they couldn’t tell how long the corpses had been dead.

Hanging above them was the corpse of a Starwhal, suspended from the ceiling by four massive chains. The Starwhal was clearly long dead too.

The low-level whispering and sense of being watched seemed much worse in here and Deckard couldn’t shake the creepy feeling – the dead were watching him and commenting on his short-comings.

Above it all they could hear a distant echo of whale song – mournful sighs and howls.

On the far side of the chamber was another one of the organic doors, but this one appeared to be dead and decayed (one of the Zombie Doors they had been told about by General Zetch’rr).

There were grime-covered huge stained glass windows. Mulan scratched a bit clean to peer out and found they were indeed in a floating palace (shaped roughly like a heart) – circling over a city – perhaps half a mile below, filled with twinkling lights. The city was built onto the titanic corpse of a roughly-humanoid creature, mostly around a jagged crater in its chest where the heart had been ripped out. Mulan jumped away from the window when a red dragon swooped by! It didn’t appear to have noticed her.

Mulan climbed a black pillar (like a warped stalactite that reached to the floor) and jumped onto the top of the Starwhal – she hid there waiting for the returning zombies to come back through the undead door.

Deckard hid behind another pillar, also covering the door and Clayton stood in the middle of the room below the whale to draw the zombies to him. Abraham and Diabalo the Beholder, remained in the corridor outside.

Suddenly the undead door snapped open and the two undead Githyanki were there – readied arrows flew at them, some hitting deeply, others clanging off their heavy armour. The two creatures ran at Clayton.

Diabalo, clearly a young and inexperienced beholder, tried a sleep ray first and then a ray of necrotic damage (which seemed to heal it) and finally blasted one with a petrification ray, slowly starting to transform it to stone.

Clayton fought bravely, with his rapier but was out-matched by the two monsters, despite lightning rebuking them when they hit him, and then a wrathful storm surrounding them when he hit [GM: the wrath of the storm let him do max damage]. Under the punishing blows, he collapsed and the zombies moved on to Deckard and towards the beholder.

Abraham used his Heal spell to restore Clayton [GM:70 hit points in one go!]. One of the zombies succumbed to the petrification. Mulan felt safe on top of the suspended whale until the zombie seemed to concentrate for a moment and then levitated up there!

Finally they managed to destroy it.

Abe then used his Awakened Mind ability to mind-link with the starwhal corpse.

It was undead but it believed itself to be alive and plagued by horrible nightmares (glimpses of its real situation). It seemed to be a “Paladin” of its species, on a noble quest. It had been ambushed by the Githyanki and finally defeated by the Queen herself. It believed it was flying through space on an endless voyage. In this room bodies would be piled up for months, then the doors to the south were opened and a horde of ghoulish naked githyanki undead flood out and devour them.

When Abe tried to explain that to the Starwhal that it was now undead and the “flying through space” was a dream, it seemed to panic and suddenly the entire palace jolted as it seemed about to fall from the sky! Clayton warned the inquisitor not to continue – somehow, the Starwhal was “flying” the palace/heart – they made plans to try releasing it from its endless torment when they had completed their task here.

Abraham had to summon his undead Skeletal Warriors so they could open the southern door.
Living minds could not command it to open.
The chamber beyond seemed to be a tunnel of stretched skin, a strong but flexible membrane on floor, walls and ceiling. All around them, pressing in against the skin were the ghouls! They could be heard moaning and seen writhing, trying to break through as Mulan went across the awkwardly tilting floor. The Skeletal Warriors walked across, not drawing as much attention as the living and opened the door at the far end. Within this “meditation” chamber for Queen Vlaakith, the sounds of the hungry ghouls blocks out the whispers of the tormented spirits trapped everywhere else.

The chamber beyond was a short hexagonal hallway. One walll held a large living Door, marked with a Symbol of Pain (deduced by Mulan’s detect magic spell). Diablo suggested he could neutralise the symbol with his anti-magic ray, but that would also negate the magic of the door.

At the other end of the hall it opened up into another vast chamber, this one holding a terracota army of 156 statues of Githyanki surrounding a central sarcophagus.

Further investigation of the hallway discovered a secret door in one of the walls. Working together, Deckard and Mulan managed to get it open.__
The secret door led to a small chamber, floor covered in white bones and an obsidian Sarcophagus The Glyph on the tomb nearly killed Mulan and half-killed Deckard too as they tried to disarm it. It went off casting a maximised BLIGHT spell. Clayton and Abe managed to revive Mulan.

Inside the sarcophagus was a regal-looking male Githyanki clad in golden helm, breastplate and bracers shaped like coiled dragons. The helm had a jagged triangle of dull grey metal stuck into it – like a torn-off quarter of a square, 18” across.

Abe used speak with dead…
Where is the phylactery ? In an empty room
Where is the room? Through the ceiling
What does the phylactery look like – don’t know – “I’m only the keeper of one of the four parts to the key”
Where are the other parts of the key? Where the statues gaze upon Gith, Within the Eternal Voyager, Where the Devil is Tormented.

They decide the “Eternal Voyager” must be the dead star-whale. Deckard climbed inside the Starwhal (through the rear entrance!) and squirmed along the twisting passage into the inner stomach. There he was attacked by another Zombie Knight who chased him out through the gullet and mouth. There was treasure inside there but he didn’t have time to examine it.

Mulan had to dangle upside down from the horn to see into the mouth to shoot the zombie. Deckard leapt away from the Knight and she trapezed him onto the horn’s tip. Then the knight tried to stamp on her fingers to shake her off the horn.

Clayton and Abe shot it and then Diablo finished it off with his petrification ray and Mulan pushed the statue off with one finger so it shattered on the floor below.

Inside the belly of the whale they will find various treasures including a second triangle of dull-grey metal.

Spelljammer #14 - General Zetch'rr of the Githyanki

Warns them that the Lich Queen – Vlaakith – has decided she wants to capture their ship and learn its secrets, then copy it and make a fleet to invade lots of Prime Material Worlds. She is insane and wants to make herself into a God – seems to think this needs huge numbers of sacrifices and conquered worshippers. She has heard from the captives – Gaston and Magnus Ironhand and a couple of other Red-Orcs – that this is the fastest ship in space! Their spirits have been broken by a device called the “Will-grinder” and they are now Vlaakith’s slaves.

She will continue to send wave after wave of her Githyanki Knights after them in ever-larger numbers.


Zetch’rr has a plan and wants their help. In return for them killing Vlaakith, he will promise to never send any more Githyanki after them and their ship.

As children, all the Githyanki are forced into a ritual of homage to Vlaakith and they give away their right to resist her magic – they cannot oppose her in combat themselves – so Zetch’rr needs outsiders to do this.

There have always been a small number of EMPOWERED servants of the Lich Queens –
Zombie Warriors


and Wraith Warlocks.


The process used to be done as an “honour” for particularly deserving githyanki. In Vlaakith’s reign this had been imposed on those who offend her in some way – turning them into totally obedient undead servants.

The Githyanki have always had a pact with Red dragons too, and have some beast-like red-dragon steeds for their elite warriors and a few intelligent red-dragon allies.
5 yrs ago Vlaakith learned from Tiamat how to make Dracogith – armoured skin, superior strength, fire breath and fire immunity. The process also left them with fanatic loyalty.
At first it was considered an honour to undergo the process although they have recently proved to lack discipline and cannot fire eldritch blasts and are prone to savage cruelty.

This year, the queen ordered all our females to mate with the Dracogith. eggs have been gathered and taken to hatcheries on the Prime Material plane and it seems they have bred a new race. Now females are ordered to mate only with the Dracogiths.

Vlaakith has finally gone too far for the General (and other senior Githyanki) !!!
The Lich Queen’s palace is the floating heart of a gigantic dead god.
It floats half a mile above the city of Tu’narath (which is built on the rest of the Dead God’s Corpse).

As well as the Zombie Githyanki and Wraith Githyanki spellcasters, the palace also holds a few warlock/priests who already worship Vlaakith as a goddess. The leaders of the sect have been promised Lichdom when she becomes fully divine. This includes her high priest Xam Kras.

Zetch’rr has not seen much of the interior of the palace. Most of the doors are semi-sentient living valves that you open by concentrating and thinking “OPEN”.


There are some other doors that seem like undead versions of the same thing. Zetch’rr was not able to open those, but they apparently open for Vlaakith’s undead servants.

Teleporting anywhere from within the palace redirects to the Entry Chamber except if you are in the Entry Chamber and teleport outside the palace.

He can provide a magical Torc (a sort of horse-shoe-shaped collar).
The Torc is a particularly powerful two-use item (in and out) and SHOULD be able to override the teleport restriction but it would be best to get to the Entry chamber before you try to leave – just in case.

You will need to explore the palace (quite a large area) and find Vlaakith’s phylactery – some item that is the anchor for her spirit. Our oracles are convinced it is within the palace somewhere.
Then when you kill Vlaakith, she will die the True Death – if you have not destroyed her phylactery, she will reform within a few hours.

There is no true flow of time in the region containing Tu’narath – no hunger/thirst, no natural healing. No NEED to sleep but you can to get Short/long rest, but you will get no hit points automatically from resting – you will need to spend hit dice or be magically healed.

The spirits of those broken by the “Will-grinder” are embedded in the walls of the palace and the whispering of them may cause you to become shaken [GM: this happened to Jake’s character – so he has -2 on ALL Rolls]. The whispers become stronger in places and are weakest in the Entry Chamber.

They agreed and were teleported into the Entry Chamber.

After a bit of experimenting with the living door-valves they discovered some chanbers containing pairs of large 8ft by 5ft pods grafted into the walls of the palace. These seemed to hold sleeping (regenerating?) githyanki. In one room they found an empty single pod and a red-dragon wyrmling that was lying on a small pile of gold and jewels. They shut the door before it could attack them and it seemed unable to get out. Each room seems to be totally sound-proofed if the door is shut.

They then found the chamber of the “Will-grinder” and surprised a group of 4 Zombie Githyanki and one Wraith Githyanki who were busy torturing a young beholder (medium-sized) who was trapped inside the Will-grinder.

Abraham managed to turn two of the Zombie-like creatures and they fled from the chamber. The wraith was fortunately killed before it could do too much damage, but it did cast a spell of complete darkness that then damaged the people within it with cold and then acid. The Zombie Githyanki were wearing plate mail and had tough skin and were very resilient.

When they managed to kill the two zombies, the released the Beholder and agreed to a temporary alliance. It wanted to teleport out, but needed them to use the Torc to get him out. They agreed to get him out if he agreed to assist in their fight.

They then explored further, finding a chamber with a cold-radiating mirror – probably some sort of scrying device.

Clayton tracked the turned zombies through a door and into a corridor, found a couple more chambers with pods and a secret door leading back into the Entry chamber (and also having a peephole into the Entry chamber).

They believe the turned zombies ran into the larger portion of the Palace (to the south east) and will be back in about 1 minute!

Spelljammer #13 - Watchers at the Gate
  1. – Watchers at the Gate

The ship is quickly surrounded by flying Githyanki Knights.
Bloody struggle – our heroes were victorious.
The Red-Orc crewman in particular was heroic – snatching-up a Silver Greatsword to draw their attacks away from Abraham who was helming the ship.
At the end, silver swords gathered-up and discarded tied to the bodies of the slain knights. One Knight plane-shifted away with a few other swords.
After the fight they drifted through the rear-side of the Chaos Portal , emerging into normal space. After a few minutes, their chart worked out where they were and showed they were to the east of the Chaos Sea, a few days (at current speed a few weeks) from their usual emergence point.
Approaching with a hand raised and a white flag was a solitary githyanki knight – clearly a commander of some kind. He asked if he could come aboard to parlay. Seems he had waited to see how they handled the disposal of the swords before deciding to parlay.

Spelljammer #12 - Black Tendrils

Jock (now a Dwarf) suddenly became possessed by the spirit of Arghul Norrimass (the Lich Priest who is his Warlock Patron). Arghul is displeased with recent events. In life he was High Priest of Torkas and had dedicated 30 years on preparing the Hammership to fly and take him to meet his god.
Arghul’s dry, cracked voice emerged from Jock’s lips while his eyes sparkled with malevolent energy.


“Three months in space and you have got no nearer to the God! I will bring Jock’s spirit to my realm, for instruction – it will be returned in 3 weeks. He must understand my displeasure and also learn to face what is to come.”

“Meanwhile, because I do not want my ship destroyed, I have a warning for you – Beware ! There are Watchers at the Gate”. They saw an image flash through their minds of the hexagonal Portal, turning slowly in space.

Then Jock’s lifeless body collapsed on the deck.

Inquisitor Abraham immediately cast Revivify on him, dragging him back to life. Jock woke screaming – even that 1 minute of time with his Master had been horrifying.

“Ya crazy Sassenach! Arghul is not going to be happy that you called us awee afore he cud INSTRUCT us!” He swore at everyone and then stomped off to his cabin to sulk.

The ship sailed-on and Skizz the goblin warlock/engineer continued working to fix the damaged connections and restore some speed and agility to the ship.
They gave Skizz the magic carpet to fly around on (as they had left his mechanical fly behind on the Beholder’s asteroid). Slowly the ship began to improve. To enable Skizz to work efficiently, they had to tell him the secrets of the Hammership – its unusual Helm and its mystical Chart/Compass that lets them navigate through Chaos and always points towards the “god” Torkas.

They flew on through a set of massive, randomly-accelerating asteroids, barely managing to navigate past them. A day later, passing through a similar area, three circles of writhing black tendrils appeard on the ship – two on the bottom deck, clawing and grasping at one of the two remaining red orc crewmen and one by the Helm, attacking Abraham and trying to distract him from steering through the asteroid field!

The circles had similar properties to the Black Tendrils spell, but also seemed to be emerging through a hole, linked by a wormhole to a larger circle of tendrils that floated half a mile away in space. The angry red orc, leaped through the tendrils and emerged on the spinning disk of writhing blackness. He struck it again and again with his greataxe. The outer tendrils were spells, but the central disk was some kind of monster and it was wracked with pain from the mighty blows.

On the ship, Abraham became trapped in the tendrils but Deckard and Mulan fought to break him out so he could keep steering. Skizz shot the creature through one of the lower circles, using his eldritch blasts.

Clayton used the ships’ cannon to blast the distant creature (almost killing his red-orc crewman!) and then he and Deckard tried to harpoon it from the ballistas.

Eventually they managed to slaughter the massive creature and Clayton just managed to pluck the red orc from it as they shot past. They cleared the asteroid field and stopped, seeing a cloud of glittering gems in the remains of the monster. Using the little runabout (dragonfly ship) they floated back to collect them. It was hugely risky as the little dragonfly would have been utterly destroyed if struck by one of the asteroids, but they managed to collect the gems which turned out to be the same dark, dark green as the centre of the tendril monster. Perhaps they are its eggs!

A couple of days later (with some of the speed and agility of the Hammer restored) they approached the hexagonal Chaos Portal. As the portal was currently just a black hexagon (not showing the space beyond) they knew this meant there was no other Helm within a mile. They flew towards it until it opened, then swung around to approach from the reverse.
Suddenly a Githyanki Knight, sitting cross-legged on a 2ft diameter silver disk appeared from the shadowy edge of the Portal and sped towards them.

Moments later about a dozen more, each standing on their own silver disk, silver swords raised, swooped towards the ship. These must be the Watchers at the Gate!

[GM: Because of Arghul’s warning, I expected them to send an invisible scout a bit closer, spot the solitary Githyanki and find a way to take him out silently before he could call in the troops…]

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.

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]

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.
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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