My kids have split off and started a separate adventure while the rest of the group completes the Valley of the Brain Collectors and Starfall adventures. Both of which I think are too horrific (former) and adult themed (later) for them. So I have cracked out and updated Expedition to the Barrier Peaks for them. This is the first session of that “side” campaign. They will re-join the main group in adventure six – Divinity Drive.
Our Brave Band of Adventurers the Crimson Lotus:
- Heidt, a ranger who has traded an affinity for nature for an affinity for machines. This android has mastered cybertheurgy as well as the lasgun. Has chosen the mechromancer archetype (blog post at some later point!). Seeking to learn more about his history he has become an archaeological expert on all things related to the Rain of Stars.
- Rikku, an elven rogue who was adopted by Khonnir Baine when he found her wandering the wasteland near Torch more than a decade ago. She claims to be a blood elf from a far-away land. Her history is tied up with a nearby ruin.
Return to the Barrier Peaks
By Rikku Yuffina Kyrus
We find the tank, and Hiedt and I get dropped off at Torch with our loot. Khonnir had called us about a problem somewhere outside of Numeria. The others go on to the Scar of the Spider. We enter the tavern and Khonnir calls us aside. He says a friend of his had established a small kingdom outside of Numeria; next to a technical ruin. The metal door opens once an hour every day, and monsters come out. The friend can handle the monsters, but they do a lot of damage. The friend’s seer had heard an evil brainwave saying help directed to space inside the ruin. The language was not understandable, but the seer could tell it was calling for assistance. Khonnir says we need to travel to the kingdom, which is outside the borderers near the Scar of the Spider, and fix the problems.
We thank Khonnir and Hiedt buys a mutant purple horse, and names in Twinklerot. I get on Bandit, and we start traveling to the kingdom. We pass rough grass that cuts our skin, and soft ground. We travel around the Scar of the Spider. We are between the Scar and the kingdom when something in my bag starts beeping. I search my bag and pull out the Sin’ Dorie chip. I swivel it around and Hiedt and I follow the loudest beep.
After passing deserted lands, we come to a small river with very little water left in it. Protruding from the bank is a ship, painted green. There is a glass dome, tainted yellow, pointing skyward and the tip, the rest, if there is any, is buried.
We try to climb the sides, but they are too slimy and wet. Hiedt pulls out the grappler and we use it to boost to the top. We go towards the yellow dome, and peer in. We can’t see much, except that it’s dark. We climb up the dome to the top to get a better look, when the whole thing collapses. We fall to the ground, and Hiedt falls face down next to a panel. I backflip and land on my feet. The floor tilts, so I slide down anyway.
There are numerous spider webs festooned into corners, and the inhabitants scurry away as we search. There are paintings hung up on wood walls, some are of the Sin’ Dorie symbol, and there is a city that seems vaguely familiar to me. I examine the walls. They are not metal, and are painted green. But when I try to take a board apart, it doesn’t budge. Hiedt says it’s probably magical. The walls and floor look like an ancient battle occurred here. A stairwell goes down in the centre of he room, and there is an old fashioned elevator. Next to the elevator is the panel Hiedt bumped into. We search and find a broken butt rich looking broom. There are little gems embedded in it, and the broom looks like horsehair. We also find a deactivated gold golem.
When we get to the panel, we examine it. There are various buttons and control switches, but it doesn’t seem to work. Stuart Little says it uses magic, and Hiedt says it also uses technology. We find a small slot, with nothing in it. Hiedt puts in a battery, and the whole ship hums. The lights go on from an unknown source. The gravity seems stable, for even though the ship is half buried in the river, we can walk straight.
Hiedt and I have a look at the elevator. It’s jammed. We try to use the grippers to open it, but we fail. We don’t want to spend an hour bashing it open, so we sneak down the stairwell. From about halfway, we can see that some water is being pushed back to the right side of the room. Bigger spiders scurry away to their webs. A broom, much like the one above, is valiantly trying to sweep the mess clean, but is failing miserably. We go down the rest of the stairwell, and I approach the broom. It continues to sweep. I grab it, and it stops, and I can sweep with it. I let go, and it magically stays up, then I command it to sweep. It does just that. Hiedt does the same thing. He can sweep with it, but when he commands it to sweep, it seems it loses all its magic, and topples to the ground.
We take the broom and we search. We find three more broken golden golems, and further signs of battle. There is another elevator, which is not stuck. We also find to holes in the floor, and I jump through. Hiedt rides on Deathtrap and floats down. We land in another large room.
More signs of a battle are here as well. There is a closed door, and a door that looks like it was blown open. Radiant orange light is coming from inside. I open the closed door. There is a half water logged, half crumbled corridor. At the end is another door, next to tied up barrels. As soon as I enter, the ship shifts in position, and I hear a snapping sound. The barrels come rolling down towards me. I dodge a few, but get hit. Hiedt and I open the barrels and find still fresh elven food. Stuart Little says the barrels are magical.
(DM’s note: Since this group exists of only two characters I gave Stuart Little Arcana +6 to help with the magical insights and Deathtrap became a full blown robot warrior with fighter class levels to help them survive).
We stack the barrels and walk towards the orange light. Stuart Little says he feels uneasy about it. We enter anyway. Inside is a magnificent ivory throne, decorated with gold paint and red jewels. Sitting on the throne is a skeleton, wrapped in crimson robes. Around its finger is a gold and red ring with unknown writing pressed into it. Scattered all around the floor are gold coins of unknown value. Hiedt approaches the skeleton, and its slumped body comes to life. It says in a dry voice, “Welcome adventurers. My name is Keelleiel Autumnsinge. Put aside your weapons and speak in peace if you would- I mean you no harm. I’ve waited so very long for someone to find me. I’m looking for a few true heroes- to help me find my daughter lost on this world.”
I come forward too, and as soon as he sees me, he turns into a living blood elf, familiar to me. He says, “By the Light, could it be the first person to find me after so long on this dead ship is my own daughter?!” I know why he’s familiar, for he is my father! He explains that while him, me, and my mom where flying in this spelljammer – a magical ship that can traverse the stars – called the Dusklight, we passed the Divinity. The captain captured us, but fortunately he was kind and took care of us. When the Illithids attacked, my Mom and Dad fled to the Dusklight. When the Divinity used a warp to get away, it sucked the Dusklight along with it. Both ships crashed, and while my mom and me got away, dad stayed behind to fight off the Dominion of the Black agents that had boarded the Dusklight, and to give us time to flee. Dad and four Sunreavers Guardians lost, and he became an undead creature. He was bound to the Dusklight until he found me.
(DM’s Note: I decided to use the Iron Gods side quest Dusklight and link it to Rikku’s backstory. Her family fled Azeroth when Silverymoon fell to the undead Scourge. And since its spelljammer it gives them some transportation to replace the loss of the Rhino. I underestimated how much they would both love the spelljammer and they spent most of the rest of the session rebuilding it, drawing floorplans, redesigning it and getting a crew. Since they are kids I am much more lenient with what they want to do in game terms so let them customise to their hearts content).
Dad gives me the Dusklight. He also gives me the ring, an heirloom, that is a ring of invisibility (DM’s note: I ask my players for magic item wish lists and, Rikku, my 11 year old daughter had been asking for this soon after the campaign began 12 months ago. It coincidentally occurred after she read the Lord of the Rings and the Hobbit. Her patience is rewarded). It and the throne together control the ship. After that, he disappears. We can hear a faint clicking, coming closer and closer. Stuart Little shouts that the Dominion is coming, and hides. Coming through the door, is a giant spider swarm. Floating on top is a cyborg spider the size of a cat with one eye. It turns its red eye towards us and attacks.
The ugothokra, as Stuart Little calls it, bites Hiedt with its venomous fangs. Hiedt doesn’t look too bad, and pulls out his lasgun. He shoots two lasers at the ugothokra. I fire my two pistols. The ugothokra, who looks like it is mind controlling the spiders, sends the swarm to us, and they start crawling everywhere. Then, the ugothokra sends poisonous quills that stab me. Hiedt immediately reacts and fires two more crimson lasers. The ugothokra shrieks, and turns its one eye to Hiedt. Deathtrap shoots his own lasgun, and the ugothokra falls to the ground, the light in its mechanical eye going out
(DM’s note: The Dusklight encounter was originally meant for the whole party to deal with at level 7 so the ugothokra poison/disease was actually designed to only affect humans. In this case it was fighting an elf and an android making its PAX poison attack completely useless making the “Black Prince” much less dangerous than it could have been).
We look for any valuables, but all there is are robot parts. I sit on the throne, and many controls for the Dusklight fill my mind. I tell it to rise, and there is a creaking and groaning sound, as the thousand-year-old ironwood ship rises. I fly it to Torch, and tell Khonnir what happened. We ask him if he can repair the Sunreaver Golems and the dead broom. He says he’ll try, and we depart for Chesed, where I pay men to repair the Dusklight. We stay with Gleeman and the Azers, for three months. After all the repairs are done, I hire a crew, take one of the Azers we nickname Bomber, and fly to Torch. Khonnir has fixed the broom and made one Sunreaver from taking bits and pieces out of the four destroyed ones. We thank him and fly to the Duchy of Geoff.
(DM’s Note: Yes, I didn’t bother remaining the original Greayhawk kingdom. It’s all new to my kids and this adventure path crosses so many streams throwing in Greyhawk makes little difference 🙂 )
We get there in two days, and land at a small camp next to a huge metal door. Hiedt and I get out, and see that an army is camping there. They greet us and the captain of the army says the king stationed them there. We are to go inside the caves, and find out what’s going on. If we can, we need to fix the problem. The king gives us two weeks, if we do not return by then, the army will advance in, and fix the problem themselves. But he would rather not use such a blunt instrument. Once a day the door opens automatically, we have that time to get inside. We head for the caves, but before we go in, the king’s psionic seer tells us about another mission between him and us. He says he disagrees with the two-week limit, and that the army shouldn’t go in. He knows the thing that is calling for help is monstrously evil, and he is afraid of what it is calling for. The king won’t listen to him, so he asks us to try to kill the creature, or at least find some more about it.
We agree, and wait for the doors to open. In a short time, the doors do open. Hiedt and I enter, and the doors close, as if sensing that we had walked in. Bright, working lights are everywhere, and we can see without a torch. This place is like an airlock, when the doors behind us close, metal doors straight ahead open. A small closet like door to our right has a purple access card. I try to E-pick it, but I fail. We continue through the doors. Everything seems to be in good working condition, as Hiedt, our expert in cybertheurgy, says.
We go through many winding corridors, and end up at a yellow access door that says Laboratories. I pick it open into a small room. Three more doors are at different corners. Each has a yellow access. I try to break all of them open, but I fail. We exit and wander through more corridors
(DM’s Note: I am not using the original map of the vessel from Expedition to the Barrier Peaks. To represent how vast the ship is I am essentially randomly generating it as I go along from the original rooms provided plus my own additions).
We find a door with no access slot. We open it. This is a small room. Piles of dirty and clean uniforms are everywhere. Small white, dwarf sized boxes are neatly piled onto of each other. Each has a clear circular door. I guess this is some kind of laundry, and those are the washing machines. We pick up some clean Imperial Navy uniforms that fit, and leave.
We come to another door with an orange access. Words in Gothic say: MASS CANNON TURRET. I unlock the door, and we can see a huge gun, pointed out to the kingdom. There is a seat in front of it, and Hiedt pretends he’s shooting while I investigate a smashed robot. It looks like one of the worker robots that we encountered in Torch. It looks as if someone smashed it, and was trying to fix it. There are five unknown gems, and I try to take all of them out. I take four without and trouble, but the last one attracts a small spark of electricity. I stow the gems away and we leave.
We eventually come to a glass doors. Hiedt says it’s an elevator, and there are only two buttons: one to go up, and another to go down. As soon as we press the up arrow, the doors open…