Monthly Archives: April 2016

5th Edition Spelljammer – Favors of the Arcane, session 7

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Prior to Boccob’s Barge’s departure, half-a-dozen armored men marched up to the dock. Brother Maynard from the Pantheist Temple of Tyr led them. The senior priest told Straxius and three of his men were prepared to travel with the crew on their quest to deal with the Wand of Orcus. The extra two men were just there to carry their effects. They loaded the priests on the ship and were on their way.

The journey through Realmspace, into the Flow, and into Greyspace was uneventful for once. Though the voyage took several weeks, the gods of travel were with them. As they crossed the void to Oerth, Straxius consulted his charts to find Lake Quag and Flinterlord Island.

As they approached, they saw there was a dock in the crook of the dogleg-shaped island. Boccob’s Barge set down in the water of Lake Quag and came to rest at the dock. Straxius, Sumner, Veya, Flint, Zinniana, and Kagark disembarked and approached a shack at the end of the dock. A lone dwarf was inside sleeping.

Flint roused the dwarf and learned the domicile of Dalshar Stormstone was but a few miles inland. They needed only to follow the road. After about twenty minutes of walking, they spotted movement through the grassy hills in the distance. Zinniana sent her raven, Nevermore to investigate, but by the time the bird arrived, there was nothing to see.

BuletteThey continued their journey, but were interrupted by an armor-plated beast bursting from the ground. The bulette attacked savagely, but forewarning of its attack allowed Straxius and Sumner to take to the air with fly spells. They blasted the landshark from above while the rest engaged it in melee. A judicious use of hold monster stopped it in its tracks and they put it down.

Zinniana remembered something about bulettes having indigestible treasures in their gizzards, so she dove in with a knife and managed to recover a corroded bone scroll tube and four small gemstones. After cleaning up a bit, they continued their walk to Dalshar’s stronghold. A few more hours of walking and they crested a hill to see a small fortified building under siege.

Dwarves held off half-a-dozen attacking bugbears led by a burly bugbear riding a wyvern. The crew made some quick plans, then rushed to help. Kagark and Veya concentrated on helping the dwarves while the rest worked on bringing down the wyvern.

The battle raged and the wyvern and its rider savaged Sumner, causing the minotaur’s fly spell to fail. He fell to the ground, forced to feign death long enough to quaff a potion. In time, however, the crew of Boccob’s Barge and the dwarves fought off the bugbears and slew them.

The dwarven female leading the defenders thank them for their intervention and introduced herself as Dalshar Stormstone. She invited them in for a celebratory feast. During the celebration, she revealed she was once served on a spelljammer under Herzog, until she led a mutiny against his poor leadership and deposed him as captain. She was pleased he seemed to harbor no ill feelings and promised to discuss trade in the morning.

With bellies full of roasted pork and ale, the officers of Boccob’s Barge stayed the night in Stormstone Stronghold.

After several weeks of pulling my punches with encounter design, as I tried to get a handle on just what the PCs capabilities were, I finally put forth a real challenge. The bulette was an appetizer, so to speak, the real challenge was half-a-dozen bugbears with a bugbear leader riding a wyvern. According to an online encounter calculator I found, this was rated to be a “deadly” encounter. I didn’t take into account the helping dwarves, but their contribution, frankly, was minimal (as it should be, since this is not their story). I was confident that the PCs could handle it; one thing I’ve learned over the years is that online encounter calculations can’t take into account clever tactics and PCs can easily punch above their weight. The randomness of dice rolls can affect that, too. The online calculators can be a good place to start, but shouldn’t be relied upon as the end-all-be-all of encounter design.

And now that they’re on the World of Greyhawk, I could really lean on the nostalgia button hard, so I choose to indulge…

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5th Edition Spelljammer – Favors of the Arcane, Session 6

spelljammer logoThe return voyage to the Rock of Bral was an uneventful flight through The Flow. Boccob’s Barge passed several traders, all intent on keeping to their own business. Meanwhile the crew discussed what they were going to do with the pommel stone from the Wand of Orcus. They decided it would be best if they try to find a temple of a powerful good-aligned power to take possession of it.

drakkar-gdBoccob’s Barge arrived at the Rock of Bral to find a smoldering drakkar in the berth next to theirs. Lizardfolk scrambled to quench the last of the embers. The crew discovered they were attacked by a ship of ghouls who searched their ship as they attacked. They abandoned the drakker when they couldn’t locate what they were looking for, leaving the lizardfolk to drift. They made port at the Rock of Bral for repairs so they could continue their search for a new home world, a world said to orbit a black star.

The crew wished them luck and proceeded to the market to sell their trade goods. There, they encountered Herzog. He approved of their initiative in finding profit, but suggested there were better places to sell the furs than a city where the temperature was mostly constant. He happened to have a friend on Oerth, in Greyspace, who traded frequently with northern nomads, and winter was coming. He told them to seek out Dalshar Stormstone on Flinterlord Island in Lake Quag.

That night, Sumner dreamt.

You fall into a deep sleep, a sleep more restful than you can ever have cruising through Wild Space or the Flow.
A dark void.
Endless stars dot the background, like pin pricks in a black cloth hanging in front of a sun-flooded window. A shape comes into focus, approaching you from the endless black. It is everything and nothing at once.
An untempered schism.
It engulfs you, fills you and surrounds you. For a moment, you know the unknowable, see that which you cannot comprehend. A vision fills your mind: an emaciated man wearing fine robes that would not be out of place on royalty. His fingers are bent, sharp talons. His mouth is fill with cruel teeth flecked with dried blood and ragged flesh. He throws back his head in silent laughter and holds up a blood-red human skull.
The man stands atop a stone platform, surrounded by ancient columns. The columns lined an avenue leading toward a statue of a grotesque, ram-headed man with an enormous belly and cloven hooves. A black star rises behind him.

He told the rest of Boccob’s Barge’s officers of his vision from his patron, Krivbeknih. After breaking their fast, they sought out and divided their time between the Pantheist Temple of Tyr and the Library of Spheres.

At the Library of Spheres, Straxius researched the Wand of Orcus. He learned what it would take to destroy the artifact: it must be cast into the Positive Energy Plane by the hero whose skull tops the wand. Obviously, no small task. His research revealed nothing about why the wand was broken or where any other pieces might be. There was no mention of the hero’s, Hrothgar the Penitent, final resting place. He did find a reference to Varlden Dod, a world orbiting a Black Star.

At the Pantheist Temple of Tyr, they spoke to priests who shared their concern over the reappearance of the Wand of Orcus. They pledged to aid the crew of Boccob’s Barge when they were ready, but would not take possession of the pommel stone.

The crew returned to their ship and prepared to shove off once more….

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