Travelling to the Phoenix Ruby Tournament

I took the Phoenix Ruby Tournament and updated it to 5e and for my campaign – details on how I changed the flow and individual battles you can see in the adventure path flowchart. The flowchart will make sense of the individual posts in this series.

They first had to get there and they decided to trek overland and then go by boat. I hand-waived the overland portion of the trek with some narration but had two encounters while at sea – one on the way to the tournament and one on the way back.

The map I am using for context. The PCs travelled from near Phrhtust to Storui, then by ship to Gorath.

Banner Art Credit: Alex Aparin


ATTACK OF THE OCTOPI!

One encounter while in the Bay of Peyclin with a pair of octopi controlled automatons called apricari sneaking on board to kill everyone.  An octopi ship will surface and start pelting the PCs ship with gunfire (equivalent to bows due to the fact the submersible is actually quite small by human standards).  They will also make a racket using sirens of strange sounds. This is a ruse to distract the crew from the boarding party of two apricari.  Creatures have disadvantage on detecting the boarding party. An apricari is an automaton that looks very much like an ice devil. It is controlled by an octopi in its chest.

This encounter occurs in The Bay of Peyclin.

APRICARI

Medium Construct (octopi), lawful evil

Armor Class 19 (hardened coral-plasteel body)
Hit Points 127 (15d8 + 60)
Speed 40 ft., swim 40 ft.

STR        DEX        CON        INT        WIS        CHA

18(+4) 16(+3) 18(+4) 13(+1) 14(+2) 10 (+0)

Saving Throws Int +5, Wis +6, Cha +4
Skills Athletics +8, Deception +7, Insight +6, Stealth +7
Senses darkvision 120 ft., passive Perception 12
Languages Octopi
Challenge 9 (5,000 XP)

Localised Teleportation Device. Local teleportation-field bracelets encircle the apricari’s arms and tail. These devices allow it to make its claw and sting attacks remotely, though still on the apricari’s turn and using its actions.

ACTIONS

Vorpal Claws. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach LOS, one target. 
Hit: 8 (1d8 + 4) slashing damage. On a critical hit it decapitates its target. A DC 12 Intelligence (Arcana) check identifies the vorpal claws for what they are and a DC 12 Wisdom (Perception) check notices them.

Sting. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach LOS, one target. 
Hit13 (2d8 + 4) piercing damage plus 17 (5d6) poison damage, and the target must succeed on a DC 14 Constitution saving throw or become poisoned for 1 minute. The target can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

DEVELOPMENT

When reduced to 0 hit points the automaton stops moving (but does not fall down), its chest cavity opens and an octopus crawls out and tries to make it back to the ocean. If the other apricari is still active it will attempt to protect the octopi.  Use the octopus statblock for octopi with the following changes:

  • Change its INT to 10.
  • Languages Octopi, Telepathy 15 ft.
  • It gains the following additional action:
    • Tiny Mind Blast. The octopi manifests psychic energy in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area must succeed on a DC 10 Intelligence saving throw or take 4 (1d8) psychic damage and be stunned until the end of its next turn. A creature can repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns, ending the effect on itself on a success.

DM’s Note: One of my PCs became obsessed with the octopi of the Peyclin Bay after this encounter and wants to recruit them as part of the army to fight Anumaramon.


SIREN’S SONG

This encounter occurs on the way back from the tournament triggering in the Bay of Hannah but occurring much deeper out at sea.  Inspired by the Samurai Jack episode “The Sirens“.

Play The Sirens Song – Through the Gloom.

A mist rolls in as the sun goes down which is soon followed by an eerie song. The ship’s crew become mesmerised almost instantly turning the ship this way and that.  Not being mariners you have no idea if they are going of course or not.

Depending what the players do the ship arrives at the sirens mystical island.

The ship emerges from the mist and an island can be seen up ahead – clearly the source of the enchanting song. The island has a skull shaped mountain on it and is surrounded by beached, derelict and half sunken ships.  The crew deftly avoids the flotsam and jetsam and beaches the vessel. They then all as one grab the ship’s cargo and anything else of value and begin marching up the mountain.

Assuming the PCs follow.

Following your bewitched crew you enter through one of the skulls eyes into a vast cave glistening with treasure. High above the floor on a stone outcropping you see three beautiful, almost ethereal women – the source of the song.

PCs need to make a DC 15 Wisdom saving throw or become charmed.  Women have advantage on this saving throw.  Assuming some of PCs pass the sirens will speak to them – in song – each minute the PCs talk to the sirens they must repeat the saving throw.  Some phrases to use (DM’s Note: only the PC geisha passed and began countersigning which triggered the fight):

Siren 1: ♫ One seems to resist…

Siren 2: ♫ Are you not affected by our song?

Siren 3: ♫ Don’t you love us?

Siren 4: ♫ Adore us?

Development

Once battle starts the music changes to battle/combat music.  If a bard/geisha tries to outperform the sirens and she wins the opposed performance roll the geisha wins and the surround crew are stunned as they spend their turn covering their ears.  The siren coterie does the same.  This will trigger phase 2 early. Female characters have advantage on this roll.

Terrain

Treasure. The room is littered with treasure making it difficult terrain.

Combat

Phase 1 – Siren Coterie

Though the sirens are quite formidable melee combatants they remain at range as long as possible.  Once combat begins the sirens will command the bewitched crew to attack. They really do no damage to the PCs but impose disadvantage on any PC who specifically do not harm the crew (for example being careful with aiming, trying to knockout crew members etc). Characters who use lethal force against the crew do not have disadvantage but 1d4 crewmen die each round.  If too many crewman die they will not be able to sail away. Once the siren

When the Coterie is reduced to 0 hit points phase 2 starts.

Phase 2 – The Three Headed Siren

The sirens hair grows and intertwines eventually forming a gargantuan 3 headed snake with black and white scales, humanlike face and blue fire for hair. She bellows as, one by one, each head turns to regard you. Then she lurches forward, three jaws opening wide.

Victory

Even if they win it takes a week to get back on course. The room is filled with more treasure than they can fit on the ship, after stuffing the hold full of sen (and the captain takes his cut) the PCs can take 20,000 sen.

Design Note: This was a way for me to give my PCs a bunch of gold as they need it to build their castle.


SIREN COTERIE

Jennifer, Janine, and Tara
Medium fey (spirit), chaotic evil
Armor Class 17 (vile comeliness)
Hit Points 195 (30d10 + 60)
Speed 40 ft., climb 40 ft. swim 40 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
21 (+5) 12 (+1) 14 (+2) 13 (+1) 14 (+2) 20 (+5)
Saving Throws CON +5
Skills Deception +5, Perception +5, Performance +7
Damage Resistances cold; bludgeoning, piercing, and slashing from nonmagical attacks
Condition Immunities enchantment
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages Aquan, Common, Giant, Sylvan, Oni
Challenge 6 (2,300 XP)

Innate Spellcasting. The siren’s innate spellcasting ability is Charisma (spell save DC 16). She can innately cast the following spells:
• 3/day each: disguise self (including the form of a Medium humanoid), fog cloud, charm person, greater invisibility, polymorph (self only)

Amphibious. The siren can breathe air and water.
Coterie Life Force. The three sirens share a single hit point pool. Once reduced to zero hit points they transform into the three-headed-siren hydra.
Coterie Spellcasting. See the sidebar.
Magic Resistance. The siren has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Spider Climb. The siren can climb difficult surfaces, including upside down on ceilings, without needing to make an ability check.

ACTIONS

Multiattack. The siren sings (or maintains) her Luring Song and then either casts a spell or makes three Immaculate Nail attacks.

Immaculate Nails. Range or Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 5 ft. or range 60/120 feet, one target.
Hit: 15 (3d6 + 5) slashing damage (melee) or piercing damage (range). If the target is within 5 feet when this attack hits they are also exposed to stupefying touch.
Stupefying Touch. The siren touches one creature she can see within 5 feet of her. The creature must succeed on a DC 16 Intelligence saving throw or take 36 (9d6 + 5) psychic damage and be stunned until the start of the siren’s next turn.

Luring Song. The siren sings a magical melody. Every humanoid and giant within 300 feet of the harpy that can hear the song must succeed on a DC 16 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed until the song ends. The siren must take a bonus action on its subsequent turns to continue singing. It can stop singing at any time. The song ends if the harpy is incapacitated.

While charmed by the siren, a target is incapacitated and ignores the songs of other sirens. If the charmed target is more than 5 feet away from the siren, the target must move on its turn toward the siren by the most direct route, trying to get within 5 feet. It doesn’t avoid opportunity attacks, but before moving into damaging terrain, such as lava or a pit, and whenever it takes damage from a source other than the siren, the target can repeat the saving throw. A charmed target can also repeat the saving throw at the end of each of its turns. If the saving throw is successful, the effect ends on it.

A target that successfully saves is immune to this siren’s song for the next 24 hours.


THREE HEADED SIREN

Huge fey (spirit), chaotic evil
Armor Class 15 (demonic hair)
Hit Points 172 (15d12 + 75)
Speed 30 ft., swim 30 ft.
STR DEX CON INT WIS CHA
21 (+5) 12 (+1) 20 (+5) 13 (+1) 14 (+2) 7 (-2)
Saving Throws CON +7
Skills deception +5, perception +5
Condition Immunities enchantment
Senses darkvision 60 ft., passive Perception 15
Languages Aquan, Common, Giant, Sylvan, Oni
Challenge 8 (3,900 XP)

Amphibious. The three-headed-siren can breathe air and water.
Coterie Spellcasting. See the sidebar. Expended spells and slots from phase 1 are not refreshed.
Heroslayer. While a the three-headed-siren is under a condition, she gains advantage to attack rolls and a +5 to damage rolls against the creature that inflicted the condition.
Magic Resistance. The three-headed-siren has advantage on saving throws against spells and other magical effects.
Multiple Heads. The three-headed-siren has three heads. While she has more than one head, the hydra has advantage on saving throws against being blinded, charmed, deafened, frightened, stunned, and knocked unconscious. Whenever the three-headed-siren takes 25 or more damage in a single turn, one of its heads dies. If all its heads die, the hydra dies. At the end of its turn, it grows two heads for each of its heads that died since its last turn, unless it has taken fire damage since its last turn. The three-headed-siren regains 10 hit points for each head regrown in this way.
Reactive Heads. For each head the three-headed-siren has beyond one, she gets an extra reaction that can be used only for opportunity attacks.
Wakeful. While the three-headed-siren sleeps, at least one of its heads is awake.

ACTIONS

Multiattack. The three-headed-siren uses Deadly Screech (if available) then makes as many bite attacks as she has heads. She may forgo one bite attack and instead cast a spell.

Bite. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 15 ft., one target.
Hit10 (1d10 + 5) piercing damage. A target hit by more than one bite attack in a round takes 10 extra damage.

Deadly Screech (1/Day). The three-headed-siren releases a grating screech. This screech has no effect on constructs and undead. All other creatures within 30 feet of her that can hear her must make a DC 16 Constitution saving throw. On a failure, a creature drops to 0 hit points. On a success, a creature takes 10 (3d6) thunder damage and is stunned until the end of its next turn.

Constrict. Melee Weapon Attack: +8 to hit, reach 10 ft., one creature.
Hit: 36 (9d6 + 5) bludgeoning damage, and the target is grappled (escape DC 16) if it is a Huge or smaller creature. Until the grapple ends, the target takes 36 (9d6 + 5) bludgeoning damage at the start of each of the three-headed-siren’s turns. Until this grapple ends, the creature is restrained, and the three-headed-siren can’t constrict another target.


Coterie Spellcasting

While all three sirens are within 30 feet of one another, they can each cast the following spells innately from the wizard’s spell list but must share the spell slots among themselves:

For casting these spells, each siren is a 12th-level spellcaster that uses Charisma as her spellcasting ability. The spell save DC is 16, and the spell attack bonus is +8.

Spell Order

    1. To Do Eyebite.
    2. To Do Phantasmal Killer
    3. To Do Hold Person
    4. To Do Bestow Curse
    5. To Do Lightning Bolt (keep 1 slot for counterspell)
    6. To Do Phantasmal Killer
    7. To Do Hold Person
    8. To Do Phantasmal Killer
    9. To Do Hold Person
    10. To Do Ray of Sickness

Design Note: I put this together to help me run both phases so I didn’t have to think about what to cast. Basically a script for spell casting. Ticks show how far I got before the PCs won.