[GM: Next time we are back to WEDNESDAY on 25th October. We were missing a lot of players this week, but went ahead with the Journey Into Space]
First, something important that I missed from the previous write-up…
When the Death Knight (Lord Stagmork) leapt onto the edge of the deck, he emitted a Destructive Wave of energy that knocked most of the crew off their feet. It was clear that he was a formidable opponent.
Clayton the ranger came up with a way to use his new clerical cantrip (the lighting version of Thorn Whip). The spell can only pull victims towards you, not push them, so Clayton slashed one of the rigging lines and ran across the deck, propelling himself out beyond the side of the ship. Swinging from the line, he cast his spell, struck the Death Knight and yanked him out over the side.
He had a ring of Feather falling, so he wasn’t killed by the fall, but he fell slowly, just too far out to reach the netting and pull himself back aboard.
Now to what happened at East Port…
They were forgiven their misdeeds – the whole Fog Cloud thing; the stealing of the Horn of Torkas and even the alliance with devil-worshipping red Orcs (in the view of the citizens).
However, if it was widely known that Clayton was now a priest of Torkas, the Inquisition would hunt him down and execute him for heresy. [GM: they would execute Abraham too for allowing this blasphemy to occur!]
It is widely suspected that some old sailors (and pirates and smugglers) make secret sacrifices to Torkas to pray they survive storms, but it is considered Black Magic by the Inquisition.
As well as the four red Orc Heroes (Magnus Hammerhand, Raef the Warlock, Captain Rakk the Arcane Warrior and Rudma the Ranger/Corsair) there are 12 red Orc crewmen. The City supplied them with a Carpenter, a Smith and four other human crewmen – all willing to undertake this apparent suicide mission in the hopes they would manage to return with the Ship, freed from its pre-programmed flight path, so they could use it to win the war against the White Orcs.
They got in touch with Gaston’s “friendly” Alchemist – he seemed to be doing very well with the sales of his magically-boosted mushrooms. He had some information about how Black Powder was made – it seems this is a material known about in distant Kara Tur, many thousands of miles to the south, where they can make fireworks with it. He has some books that discuss it. Clayton agrees to buy the books in exchange for a tour of the ship and some money. The Alchemist uses spells of detect magic and identify on the Chart and explains that they Auto-pilot will force them to spend most of their time following a pre-programmed destination, but with occasional days-free. They can steer a little and adjust speed a little even while on the pre-programmed course.
Clayton paid for an Inn to be made available for his crew on the last night, raising morale with that and with a stirring speech (with all the Torkas-worshipping parts delivered in Orc so the new crewmen weren’t upset – Abraham can absolve them of their sins later when they do realise they are on a heretical quest).
The Black Beyond the Blue…
As the ship rose through layers of clouds into the blue skies above East Port, they hit the big button in the Chart Room, the prow swung around and they accelerated rapidly, passing through the blue in the blackness of space where the stars gleamed brighter than ever seen before. The Chart began to fill-in with them at the centre of a small circle. As they flew on the line grew on the Chart so they could tell it would take about 4 or 5 days to reach the edge of the circle (representing the Crystal, multi-faceted sphere that encloses the whole solar system of Jade).
Captain Rakk worked his crew to practice various maneuvers with the Sails. They could increase the ship’s acceleration and steering. However, without the Arcana skill, Rakk found it difficult to control the ship. Davidian had been their most skilled Arcanist, but he had not wanted to leave Jade so had stayed behind.
Clayton, though he had no Arcana skill either, found that he had a reasonable feel for the Ship (because he was the one attuned to the Horn when it was placed aboard – he gets Advantage on Helmsman rolls).
When they reached one of the billions of hexagonal facets of the sphere, they realised it was dark smoky glass but semi-transparent and a storm seemed to be raging behind it. Just before they crashed into the glass, it shimmered and the storm raged about them, slashing across the deck as sleet with lightning flashing and great gusts of wind that drove the land-lubbers below decks (except for Clayton – lashed to the Helm and Mulan, strapped to the Crow’s nest).
They steered dangerously through a net made from cables of fire some 20 feet thick. Streamers of fire lashed at the crew as they went through, but nothing that couldn’t be healed.
The next day they went through an ordeal of wind, cold, fire and lightning but on the second day found themselves in an area of comparative calm passing between great columns of rock, shrouded in mist. Huge boulders of coral flew across the gap, smashing with explosive force on the great columns and rebounding back across. Clayton (on the Helm) with the help of Captain Rakk and the crew (trimming the sails) managed to steer between the debris. A few times they passed close enough that anemone-like plants that lived in the coral managed to latch on and the weight of the boulders slowed down the ship.
Raef and Jock manned the Ballistas and managed to blow the coral boulders apart.
Over the din of all the smashing rocks, Mulan called out that another vessel was pulling towards them from behind a curve in the rocks. The approaching ship was clearly little more than a wreck with shattered timbers and trailing pieces. The main shape was a huge iron Nautilus, but there were holes ripped in the metal.
Mulan’s familiar – Mooshoo – could just make out, through the holes, that a swarm of small white beholders, trailing strands like jelly-fish, were pouring past the hole towards the centre of the shell, where a brass tube (a cannon) jutted out.
They were forced to tack back and forth to avoid the coral boulders and the oncoming ship, as it drew close enough, it fired a torpedo towards them. Raef managed to hit it with a ballista and it shattered revealing its cargo of a dozen of these flying jelly-fish with eye-stalks. Beholder Spawn!
A few of them survived the impact and began slowly flying towards the ship. Clayton was forced to ram through them and only one managed to get aboard. Mulan shot it before it could do much damage, but it seemed to have eye-rays and poisoned tentacles. The enemy ship fired a couple more times but thanks to all the missile fire, only a couple got aboard. Clayton let Rakk take over as he fired his bow at the approaching swarms. They seemed to have orders to take out whoever was manning the wheel. They went after Rakk one hit him with a telekinetic push that flung him off the ship. Mulan managed to Featherfall him and he drifted slow enough to grab on to the rigging.
The approaching Nautilus gathered a few coral attachments but kept coming. They cleverly decided to shoot the coral boulders and the wreck accidentally lurched forwards and smashed itself to smithereens on the side. From the splinters, a Death Tyrant (undead beholder) drifted out and gave chase.
They could easily out-distance it and flew circles around it, shooting it until it eventually shattered.
They searched the wreckage and managed to recover an intact barrel of black powder (about 6 shots) and also a mysterious object of blue metal about 15 feet long, shaped like a golf tee, with a 5 foot diameter.
Through some experimenting, they discovered it was the Helm of the wrecked ship. By touching it and casting a spell, Clayton managed to bond with it and it glowed blue and floated upright. He could sit (uncomfortably) in the bowl at the top and fly it around. It was clearly a spike meant to be stabbed into a ship to provide the propulsion. Bonding with it instantly drained all spell slots (including the ability to cast Cantrips) requiring 1 hour before cantrip ability came back and a full eight hours before spell-casting slots returned (at which time the Helmsman would need to touch it and cast a spell to re-attune). As soon as Clayton broke contact with it, his attunement was broken and it fell back to the deck and he would need to wait for his spell slots to recover before he could re-attune.
[GM: Next time we are back to WEDNESDAY on 25th October].