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Spacefarers Campaign Journal

Player Characters:

  • Kate – Arvene: Female aasimar fighter/rogue, traveling companion of Matteice.
  • Sarah – Jainey : Female kalashtar sorceress (wildmage), sister of Strakx.
  • Greg – Matteice : Female deva paladin, traveling companion of Arvene.
  • John – Strakx : Male hobgoblin artificer/fighter, brother of Jainey. There is a background story reason why Jainey and Strakx are not the same race. Strakx controls two constructs. The first is GH-88, a golem of healing (homebrew creation by Chris). The second is SD-01, a steel defender.

Adventure 1 – New Frontiers (podcast episodes #4 & #5)

Stardate 0107.80 (Jan 7, 3080. We also launched our podcast on Jan 7, 2020). Two pairs of travelers arrived via transport ship on the Rock of Bral, seeking to join the crew of a Spelljamming ship for various reasons. They included: a quirky kalashtar wild-mage with purple hair named Jainey, her “brother” Strakx the stand-offish hobgoblin artificer, a petite female aasimar samurai with metallic blue hair named Arvene, and her traveling companion who was a towering blue-skinned deva paladin named Mattiece. As the travelers descended from the transport they observed a mob of strangely shaped creatures wearing cloaks who fanned out from other transport ships, who then cast off their cloaks and revealed themselves to be members of a warmongering race called the Neogi. These zealots began to attack the Bralians in the area.

The four travelers wasted no time jumping into the fray, and helped the locals to defeat the attackers. During the fight, a Giff (hippopotamus-like humanoid) ship captain named Braun noticed them and announced just after that he was looking for warriors such as themselves to help fill crew positions on his ship the Starrunner. Arvene had seen Braun in a vision from her guide Mayaheine – so her and Mattiece approached Braun. Jainey and Strakx followed suit. Captain Braun showed them his ship, but then sent them on a mission to the Rampant Lion to seek the whereabouts of a missing crew member of his, an aarakocra (bird-like humanoid) named Zeed. Braun sent another crew member, a warfarged druid named Ruffian, to accompany them.

Along the way, the group of five booked rooms at a nicer establishment, the Laughing Beholder, and spent time on a drinking game and also chatting with the owner, who was an abnormally sociable (and knowledgeable) beholder named Luigi. He taught them much about the local population given they had never been to the Rock before, and then they continued on their way to the Rampant Lion. Just outside the seedy bar, the group was forced to fend off a gang of Adrenaline-junkies who wanted to force them to buy their wares. The group stepped away with some gold and one partially used Adrenaline Shot just before they were about to step inside to continue seeking the one called Zeed.

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Adventure 2 – Missing Persons (podcast episodes #7 & #8):

Stardate 0108.80 (Jan 8, 3080). The party stepped inside the Rampant Lion tavern, and took in the shabby space with patrons seated around, and a surly looking human male at the bar.  Walking over, Arvene and Matteice ordered drinks and offered extra coin for information.  The barkeep insisted that he hadn’t heard or seen anyone matching Zeed’s description (aarakocra with some blue feathers), and the party stepped away from the bar to regroup.  Strakx decided on the direct approach and shouted his offer of 5 gold for any patron who knew of Zeed – but this only got the party kicked out of the establishment by the bouncers the barkeep motioned to at a nearby table.

Back in the alley, the heroes debated what to do next.  They roved the building and tried speaking with some nearby residents, one of whom suggested they could have started by getting rooms at the Rampant Lion.  Then they went back to stake out the alley again.  Seeing one of the bouncers leave, the party fired a ray of frost and a laser blast at him, causing him to flee for his life. They nearly lost him but managed to chase him through the lesser market, down to the docks, and into a warehouse.  Inside, the apparent owner of the building insisted that he hadn’t seen the man – and sicced his dogs on the party when they refused to leave.  The heroes defeated the man and his dogs, and later defeated the bouncer who had attacked them from his hiding place in the warehouse.  

Interrogating their prisoners, the heroes learned from the warehouse owner that they could return to the tavern after midnight, at which point the bouncers would be gone and the bar keep would be different. He said to seek out Room 10 in order to get the answers they sought.  Wary of this info, they locked the prisoners in a crate in the warehouse before they left to run some errands a the lesser market, and to take a short rest at the Laughing Beholder later that day.  

Then they returned to the Rampant Lion after midnight and bought rooms.  Strakx picked the locked door to room 10 to get them inside.  Jainey found that the bed appeared to have been slid across the floor towards the door in the past.  They moved the bed and saw a stairway leading down.  At the bottom of the stairs was a holding area with six cells – and one heavily muscled guard.  A female dwarf prisoner was in one cell, but no aarakocra.  The guard said if they were not with Daren the barkeep or Nurgil the resident spellcaster that they had to be dealt with.  A battle ensued, during which Arvene was knocked unconscious.  Jainey knocked the man out with her staff however, and the heroes bound him and locked him in one of his own cells.  Then they freed the female dwarf, who had stayed in Room 10 before finding herself locked down below.  The dwarf said an aarakocra matching Zeed’s description had been taken that morning by a man matching the description of the warehouse owner.

The party returned to the warehouse.  The owner and the bouncer were not in their crate.  The heroes searched the warehouse and found the tattered remains of a blue feather on the ground, just outside a larger crate with an ornate lock.  Strakx once again picked the lock.  The crate opened at the top, and the front side dropped flat, revealing a staircase leading down.  With few resources left, but hoping to help Captain Braun’s crew member before she disappeared further into the slave trading system – the heroes stepped onto the stairs.

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Adventure 3 – Lost and Found (podcast episodes #10 & #11)

Stardate 0108.80 (Jan 8, 3080). With no time to lose, the heroes extinguished their lights and descended the hidden stairway from the warehouse.  Arvene peaked around the corners at the bottom, and saw long corridors stretching away in both directions.  Two guards were visible in the left-hand passage, but other people could be seen crossing the halls in the distance on both sides.  Across from the stairs, there was a small alcove with crates.

The party quietly debated which approach would be the most stealthy one to help them find Zeed in such a large place. They were interrupted when Arvene heard faint voices overhead and realized that the warehouse owner was approaching with additional people.  They decided to sneak across the hall to hide in the alcove on the other side.  Everyone but Ruffian and Strakx had crossed when the hobgoblin jostled his armor just a bit too loudly, and a guard headed their way…  Ruffian was still on the other side, and the war-forged stepped out and surrendered to the guard to protect the rest of the group.  They heard the clunk of a cell door being opened and closed down the hall, and then the warehouse owner and two more guards descended the stairs.  As he talked, the heroes learned that his name was Merin.  One of the guards in the hallway told the owner about the capture of the intruder, the rest of them overheard as Merin instructed the guards to help him move their most recent purchase, “the bird,” to another location immediately. 

Arvene peeked out from the crates as the last of the guards rounded a corner carrying Ruffian’s gear, and she and the others hurried after them – stopping only briefly for Strakx to pick the lock on Ruffian’s cell.  A couple more turns (and some tripping over crates) led them to a hallway where one guard stepped inside a store-room with Ruffian’s gear, while the others congregated with Merin at a cell door further down.  Arvene snuck across the hall and dispatched the one guard in the store-room, and the others followed her inside. Then the heroes ambushed the remaining guards at Zeed’s cell while Ruffian slipped inside to help her to her feet. Merin yelled at the heroes angrily, but managed to escape.

With their mission accomplished, Ruffian lead the group swiftly back the way they came. Along the way, a few guards came into the passages due to the noise, forcing the party to run and gun.  They climbed the stairs back to the warehouse and locked the crate shut again.  Then they headed for the Starrunner in order to return Zeed to her crew.  They had to fight off one more squad of guards who attempted to cut them off near the docks.  With no other pursuers in sight, the heroes hurried over to board the ship.  The crew took Zeed to rest, and asked them to return in the morning to report in to Captain Braun.  Then the heroes returned to the Laughing Beholder without further incident, and got some much needed rest. 

The next morning, they returned to the Starrunner, and Captain Braun paid them for a job well done.  Then he asked if they’d be willing to take on another mission.  Braun had a human ally on the Rock named Nacen, who brokered in information that he often used for the ship’s missions. Nacen had gone missing after he told Braun that he would meet him later with important information – so Braun gave the heroes an address, and they journeyed to the run down boarding house to investigate.  There, they found the door to Nacen’s quarters broken open and the interior tossed.  There was no sign of a struggle, so Strakx concluded that Nacen had likely made his escape before his enemies arrived.  Then Jainey spotted a hidden compartment in the floorboards under the bed, and found an envelope addressed to Braun inside.

Back at the ship, Braun took their report and paid them as promised, and then explained that the envelope contained a set of coordinates for a ruin from an old Dwarven Citadel ship in space near the Rock, which he and his crew were hoping to scavenge – but Braun looked at them expectantly and stated that he also needed additional crew to get the job done. He asked the party if they might be up for this kind of job, and they agreed.  With some final shopping tips, Braun sent the party off with instructions to return for their journey into wild space within the next hour.

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Adventure 4 – Salvage Mission (podcast episodes #13 & #14)

Stardate 0109.80 (Jan 9, 3080). The party returned to the Starrunner and joined the crew for a briefing on deck.  Captain Braun introduced them and in turn introduced the rest of the crew.  He reviewed that the mission was to scavenge an abandoned dwarven citadel ship in wildspace near the Rock, and then gave the order to take off. 

With a hum the ship journeyed into space, and the heroes took in the sight of the stars and planets as they flew past.  When they reached the coordinates provided by Nacen, at first they saw nothing but then Zeed picked out some reflections coming from a large dark object floating nearby.  It appeared to be a black crystalline asteroid, with small parts of a space craft protruding from the rock. Braun directed the ship to fly near to the largest section of the citadel still visible, and then ordered the heroes to take a lifeboat and to fly over to investigate.  Arvene steered the craft over that way, and then Strakx managed to spot a door so they tied off near that. 

 Boarding, they explored a dimly lit hallway, but a feeling of unease grew among all of them.  When they entered an old galley space, Jainey was the first to be haunted by visions that only she could see: dead villagers laid around the room and sat up to point accusingly at her.  Then in the next room, Matteice heard sounds of familiar evil laughter that triggered a feeling of dread.  Then they all heard very real skittering noises and turned as a pack of white metallic bug-like beings broke through the ceiling into the room behind them.  The heroes fought them off, but at the cost of much of their resources, and with Matteice nearly being killed as they swarmed her.

With trepidation, they recovered some treasure, and continued into a large crew bay. Arvene shook her head as suddenly she saw a vision of the villagers from her home-world calling her “Aasimar!” for all the world to see.  Then Matteice saw an old bounty-hunter foe, Balizar, stepping up with his laser rifle to Arvene’s head…  Matteice shoved her aside to safety, but just like that Balizar was gone.  Strakx tried to accuse them all of cracking under the pressure of the job, when suddenly he was haunted by a vision of the chief deity of hobgoblins, which had a look of disappointment on its face.  Growling at the vision, he scoffed and tried to play it off as nothing, though Jainey didn’t believe him.

The heroes then explored a small work shop off the main bay, guided by Strakx’s detect magic ritual.  Strakx saw pieces of what looked like an automaton of some kind, but then before any of them could react there was more skittering overhead, and creatures broke through to surround them on both sides. Things looked bleak as they desperately fought off two of the mid-size metallic beings, and tried ineffectively to shut the door on the large one outside in the bay.  Jainey was knocked out, but quickly revived by Arvene’s healing hands ability.  With all normal healing exhausted, Strakx finally dosed both Arvene and Matteice with an adrenaline shot in order to help keep the warriors on their feet.  Fueled by their euphoria, and by Jainey hitting some lucky wild surges, they finally turned the fight and dispatched all of their foes. 

 With Arvene and Matteice exhausted, the heroes quickly gathered up the pieces of automaton, more treasure, and some samples of the black rock that they had found seemingly growing into many of the rooms.  Strakx had a vision of his God swinging a giant bloody axe on him, and then they quickly departed for the Starrunner.  Back on board, they reported to Braun and gave him 10,000gp of treasure to distribute among the crew.  Braun also thanked them for their efforts, and offered them a permanent place on his crew.  They accepted, and then Matteice and Arvene rested while Jainey and Strakx went to the ship workshop to assess the black crystalline rock during the journey back.  They found that it was a living organism.

Back on the Rock of Bral, Jainey and Strakx worked with the ship’s alchemist to build a containment vessel to safely store the black crystal as quickly as possible.  The party stayed at the Laughing Beholder, which gave Strakx and Jainey an opportunity to work on assembling the automaton. Once they had it up and running, they learned that it was a Golem of Healing named GH-88.

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Adventure 5 – Space Station Omega – Part 1 (podcast episodes #16 & #17)

Stardate 0109.80 (Jan 9, 3080). The heroes had been back on the Rock for a month when Arvene had a dream from her Aasimar guide.  The Goddess Mayaheine showed her a distant space station with a great evil that she wanted her to defeat. Arvene explained her dream to the rest of the party at breakfast that day, and Matteice assured them that her visions were never wrong. They agreed that they should approach Captain Braun to see if he might be willing to send the ship on such a mission.

Back on the Starrunner, Braun agreed that Arvene’s “intel” sounded like a worthy cause, so they set out right away.  The journey was longer than expected, but after 14 days in wild space, Arvene’s “source” was proven right as they approached the space station with a single dragonfly ship on its dock.  

The heroes set out on the lifeboat and landed at the dock. Almost immediately, they found a trail of blood leading from one door and decided to check the dragonfly ship just in case.  They found research papers but nothing more.  They returned and prepared to enter a door to the first level when they were attacked by an Avatar of Death.  Jainey’s Kalashtar heritage saved the day when she realized that the creature was hard to hit but very frail.  With the creature defeated, the party explored onward and found a room with a symbol of Orcus drawn on the floor.  Matteice used her Deva racial power to see visions of a ritual that had taken place, in which a member of the research station’s crew had recruited two fellow researchers to his cult.  They had attacked the Chief Researcher and sacrificed him to feed a ritual in that very room.

Warily, the heroes explored further on the same floor.  They encountered a pack of zombies in the next hallway, and in spite of the undead beings’ resilience they managed to finally defeat them all.

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Adventure 6 – Space Station Omega – Part 2 (podcast episodes #19 & #20)

Stardate 0223.80 (Feb 23rd, 3080). With zombies defeated, the heroes continued exploring the lowest level of Space Station Omega where they were supposed to defeat a “great evil.”  They found a few more rooms, but nothing of interest, and then they took the elevator to the second level.  Almost immediately they were attacked by an invisible poltergeist with telekinetic powers.  After a tough fight they also defeated this foe.  Exploring the rest of the second level revealed some rooms with extra personal atmospheres that they recovered, but most disturbingly another room with a bloody ritual marking on the floor.

Matteice used her Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes again – and this time saw a vision of Venrath the insane researcher and his two followers, who committed suicide in this room and had risen again as undead skeletons.  It became apparent that the party had stumbled across a powerful following to Orcus which was surely the great evil that Arvene’s guide had directed them to find.

Cautiously, the heroes journeyed up to the top/first floor, where they continued to explore.  They recovered an adrenaline shot from the medical bay, more personal atmospheres from some crew quarters, and discovered defense cannons for the station.  Then they circled around, and entered a large galley where they found the skeletal cult members.  Venrath cursed at them for ruining his plans, and the undead beings attacked.

Despite Venrath hurling acid at them, the heroes quickly dispatched his underlings, with Jainey hitting a lucky wild surge yet again.  Venrath however teleported away and caught the elevator ahead of them down to the second level.  And then the heroes heard a self destruct sequence initiated…

With no time to lose, they fled back down to level three and rushed out the dock to their life boat.  The dragonfly ship, and Venrath, were long gone.  Quickly they returned to the Starrunner and they blasted away just as the Space Station was destroyed.

On the journey home to the Rock of Bral, the party rested for a few days until one night all four of them had dreams with similar visions from the past to what they had seen on the derelict Dwarven Citadel ship they salvaged six weeks ago.  Immediately suspicious, the heroes woke Captain Braun and got permission to inspect the entire ship.  They found nothing at first, but eventually went outside where they discovered the same black crystalline corruption from the dwarven citadel. It had started to take over one of the life boats, part of the Starrunner’s hull, and the interior of one cargo bay.  Quickly they set the crew to removing the contaminated parts of the ship so they could jettison the corrupted material into space well before they continued their journey back to the Rock.

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Adventure 7 – Mysteries and Revelations (podcast episodes #22, #24, & 26)

Stardate 0226.80 (Feb 26th, 3080). The crew journeyed five more days on their way back to the Rock, when the ship’s pilot and navigator Hal told the crew of a black void ahead of the Starrunner in wildspace. None of the party had encountered this and Jainey only knew some Black Hole theory, but this didn’t seem to be the same. They attempted to turn away from the void and it moved to block them. Then they approached it more closely and tossed a glowing coin at it, which disappeared inside. Next they tried a rope tied around a rock from the catapult, which disappeared as well. An outside force attempted to pull the Starrunner into the void by pulling on the rope. Arvene quickly cut the rope. Suddenly the void grew bigger and enveloped the ship.

They experienced temporary loss of communications with Hal. When Arvene visited Hal in the spelljammer helm room Hal said she had no bearing of any kind in the void She moved the ship ahead while Strakx dropped another glowing coin over the side, and they saw that they left it behind. Confident that they were at least moving somewhere, they then became less confident when the same coin approached them from ahead! Next a Neogi Deathspider ship appeared and fired a catapult at them. Jainey fired back at the Neogi catapult with magic missile, and was shocked when it detonated the entire ship. Then Arvene noticed that their hull hadn’t been damaged at all where they were hit.

Another Galleon-class ship appeared. There were no signs of life, so they pulled alongside and sent over a gangplank to investigate. The heroes, including Strakx’s new Steel Defender construct, crossed to the other side. They were perplexed to hear each others’ screams echoing throughout the ship, though they knew they were all standing together. When they went to the Captain’s cabin, they were shocked to see that the door instead led to a mirror reflection of the ship’s deck. From there, Strakx crossed back to the Starrunner to make a report given their comms were temporarily out once again. Suddenly, the other ship disappeared from underneath the rest of the party as they waited on the far side of the gangplank. The Starrunner’s crew hastily retrieved them using ropes, and Captain Braun stated that it almost looked like someone was testing them…

Suddenly a giant humanoid face appeared in the void in front of them. The face spoke, and could be heard by the entire crew. It commented on the variety of races they had on-board to study, and asked about their “limited existence” – and Braun confirmed that most of them did. The creature stated that it wished to study this concept, and then it summoned a leathery single-horned creature on the Starrunner’s deck, which advanced on the crew. Braun’s crew fled to safety while the heroes stepped forward to engage. They figured out that the fiendish creature was resistant to most attacks and fire, and concentrated damage with force-based weapons. The demon made some ineffective physical attacks, but managed to weaken both Matteice and Arvene with a magical effect. Jainey was trying desperately to stop the creature with her magic, when suddenly her spells spun out of control. First her hands caught on fire although they weren’t being burned. Then she accidentally cast fireball on herself and everyone around her, grievously wounding several of the party and catching the ship’s deck on fire. Strakx managed to gun down the demon as Captain Braun rushed his crew back up on deck to put out the fire, and asked them what had happened. Jainey fled to her quarters in tears. Strakx tried to lie on her behalf, but Braun wasn’t sure whether to believe him or not. The face told them that he had learned all that he needed to know before it, and the void, disappeared. The Starrunner was back in wildspace once again.

Three more days passed. Arvene was standing on deck when she received another vision from Mayaheine about a small planet that they were passing. She saw a wall of ice, with what appeared to be a large fin, like that of a fish, frozen inside. Thinking that it would be important to check out, she first spoke to the party about it and then took Matteice to speak with Braun. Meeting in private, Arvene realized she could no longer lie about the nature of her “sources.” She explained to Braun that she had visions, and when Braun asked why she hadn’t felt she could trust him with that before, she partially used her Aasimar transformation to show him her true nature. She explained that she was secretive about this because those with celestial influence were always hunted, and that she didn’t want to place him or his crew in danger. Braun asked Matteice about her connection to Arvene, and learned about Matteice’s many lifetimes which included one she sacrifices in order to help protect Arvene. Braun conveyed that he appreciated their honesty, and their character – and said that he thought journeying on his ship might be a relatively safe place for them to stay. Braun also encouraged them to tell Jainey and Strakx that his door was open if they ever wanted to speak with him about more of their past.

Matteice and Arvene then found Jainey and Strakx and asked to speak with them in private. In the ship’s conference room, Arvene explained that she wanted to share something with them, given she had just shared the same secrets with Braun. She showed them her true nature as well, and explained that it was her celestial Aasimar heritage that gave her the connection to her goddess Mayaheine, and also that it was the thing that could place her and those she cared about in danger. She shared that people had died for her, and Strakx and Jainey both intuited that Matteice was the person she was talking about. With new understanding, Jainey told Matteice that she understood what it was like to have the burden of past lives, but Matteice told her that she believed such things had happened to her in order to make her stronger. Arvene also told Jainey that she didn’t think that she was evil, because Mayaheine would have told if she was. Jainey asked Strakx if he would be willing to share their story, and Strakx agreed. The hobgoblin explained how an accident with Jainey’s wild magic had supposedly killed half of her hobgoblin village, including herself. Feeling that she didn’t deserve what had happened, Strakx struck a bargain with some shamans near to their community, and had her reincarnated, but she had returned as a different race than she was before. Because hobgoblin culture was xenophobic and valued loyalty to the clan above family or anything else, Strakx and Jainey had been kicked out of their community for their actions. Strakx was unsure if he wanted to tell Braun anything yet however, because he worried that the wild nature of Jainey’s abilities might get them thrown off the crew, when he viewed the Starrunner as the best chance he had to travel and eventually discover something that might help to bring her wild magic under control.

Captain Braun had agreed to check out the planet based on Arvene’s vision, so they landed there a half-day later. The ship settled hovered above the icy surface, and as everyone donned cold weather gear, the heroes set out towards a cave in a mountainside that Arvene felt a pull toward. Carefully exploring forward, Strakx’s sharp ears picked up on some scraping sounds such that they weren’t surprised when a giant white ice monster broke through the icy floor behind them. The heroes quickly surrounded and took down the beast, with only Matteice taking one powerful attack from its claws before it died. Then they cautiously journeyed onward…

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Adventure 8 – The Thing (podcast episodes #28, #29, & 30)

Stardate 0304.80 (Mar 4th, 3080). With the ice monster defeated, the heroes cautiously continued exploring the cave.  They came to an area where mechanical lights lined the passage, and suddenly they saw a shadow from a strange leggy looking creature approaching from around a corner.  The monster that appeared and moved to attack them was nothing that they had ever seen before – it was a morphing mix of slime and dog heads and tentacles.  Horrified, the heroes surrounded it and went on the attack.  The monster attempted to grapple some of them with tentacles, but soon it had taken heavy damage, and it managed to squeeze past Arvene to flee in the direction it had come from.  They heard a crashing noise and followed to investigate.

They carefully climbed through a hole broken in a set of metal doors and explored a cargo room that appeared to be part of a base.  From the trail of slime on the floor they could see that the creature had fled into some duct work in the complex.  The heroes were about to explore further, when they heard voices and footsteps approaching from another hall.  Hiding behind some crates, they spotted a team of 6 humans who entered the space with some makeshift weapons and some kind of flame generating apparatuses.  Quickly the humans discussed not knowing where the “thing” had gone, and they started welding metal pieces over the hole in the doors.  Arvene stepped out to speak with them and they warily explained that the monster they had been fighting was capable of masquerading as any creature.  The leader, who called himself Mac, explained that they were geological researchers who had brought a stray dog into the station. When they left it with the other dogs they had, it appeared to attack and partially absorb some of them into its own being.  They didn’t know if the heroes might be the creature in disguise, even when Arvene and the others insisted they were there to help.  That said, the leader Mac also agreed that for now it would be best to explore the station further together because the creature would likely reveal itself again in time.

They journeyed together to a larger storage bay, where Arvene was surprised to see a block of ice with heaters pointed at it, and a large fish-shaped wooden fin visible inside, near the ice’s outer surface.  She explained to the group that this was the object that her “intel” had driven her here to find, and when pressed further by Mac and his crew, she revealed that she was an Aasimar and had been driven by her goddess to locate this item, and likely to help defeat the monster as well.  Strakx asked if they could stay for a few minutes so he could analyze the object further, and he determined that it was likely a 40-50′ craft with spell-jamming capability, because its magic was similar to that of their ship the Starrunner.  Meanwhile, Arvene asked Mac if they had any supplies in the station that would enable them to test if each individual in their party was normal or not, and Mac agreed that they might be able to figure something out if they got to the medical bay.

The heroes and the researchers moved on, only to be attacked by the creature again, which dropped out of the ceiling in a three way intersection, flailing with additional wings and claws to scatter them around it.  Getting back to their feet, the heroes realized that they had been separated from the other researchers, most of whom quickly fled the area except Mac and Childs.  The creatures’ attack abilities had advanced, and it was able to damage them with shrill noises while also dealing heavy damage.  In spite of that, a combination of their attacks and Mac and Child’s flame throwers soon drove it away.  The corridor collapsed, but luckily they had a map of the station so they journeyed to the medical bay and found Mac and Childs and the other four researchers.  Mac explained that he thought they could test blood samples with heat, and that the monstrosity’s survival instinct would cause its blood to respond differently than others’.

Everyone provided samples in petri dishes, and Mac applied a hot needle to each one.  When he tested Palmer’s, the blood jumped away from the heat with a squeal!  As the heroes looked at Palmer in horror, they saw him transform back into the monster, with his head splitting into a huge toothed maw that crashed down on Windows, killing him instantly and leaving his body twitching strangely on the ground.  The party once again surrounded the creature, leaving space for Mac and Childs to continue burning it from one side.  In its final form, the monstrosity now had increasingly damaging psychic and poisonous attacks, and its tentacles had gained longer reach.   After Jainey managed to wound it badly with burning hands, the creature grabbed her and then repeatedly bashed her into walls, stunning her as the others watched in horror.  Strakx was frightened by the monsters’ psychic attacks, but still managed to cast fairy fire on it successfully.  Matteice and Arvene slashed at it repeatedly, in spite of tentacles reaching out to grab Matteice, and the creature managing to poison Arvene.  Finally, Matteice struck a mighty smiting blow and managed to sever the creature in two. It crumpled to the ground for only an instant before one piece started moving to join with the squirming body of Windows.  Mac and Childs wasted no time in using their flame throwers to burn the remains completely.  

They finished the blood tests and when they were confident that all was safe, they returned to the large storage bay to rest and to allow the object in the ice to melt overnight.  Strakx contacted the Starrunner with his communicator brooch and explained the situation, and Hal piloted the ship closer to the ice cave.  Captain Braun agreed that he would be willing to take the researchers back to the Rock, so they could escape the place that had exposed them to so much trauma and death.  The next day, the ice had melted and revealed that the object was indeed a finely crafted small spell jamming craft.  Hal tutored Jainey in the basics of piloting such a craft and then they all agreed to maneuver both ships back to wild space, where they could then tie the new craft alongside the Starrunner and journey together back to the Rock.

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Adventure 9 – The Arena (podcast episodes #31)

Stardate 0305.80 (Mar 5th, 3080). The Starrunner returned to the Rock of Bral without further incident following their adventures at Space Station Omega, followed by encountering a strange void in space, and lastly traveling to an ice planet due to a vision from Arvene’s goddess Mayaheine.  The heroes returned to the Laughing Beholder tavern for rooms once again, and at dinner that night they shared some stories from their travels with Luigi the barkeep.

Jainey asked Luigi about current happenings on the Rock, and he shared that Prince Adru, ruler of the Rock of Bral, had decided to hold contests at the Arena of Frun to help keep the people entertained.  A team fighting contest had been announced with a special prize: a discounted land lease on the Rock.  This piqued Strakx’s interest because he’d been hoping to set up his own smithy and workshop at some point soon.  The heroes agreed that having a space of their own might be nice, and while Arvene was wary about being recognized during an arena fight, she concluded she could wear a disguise to help keep her identity a secret.

The next day, the heroes set out from the Inn to sign up for the team contest.  On the way there, Arvene spotted a pick pocket who managed to snatch a pouch of gold off of Matteice.  Quickly alerting the others, she walked ahead and confronted the thief face to face.  The thief tried to deny what he had done, and then several of his own friends stepped out to threaten the party.  Resigned to fighting, the heroes drew weapons and managed to quickly drop two opponents while the others fled.  Matteice retrieved her gold, and the party moved on to sign up for the contest.

In two days, the heroes returned to the arena to fight under the team name of “The Beholders.”  Their opponents were a group who titled themselves “The Mind Flayers.”  Their chosen name was appropriate, because the heroes soon learned that they fought using a variety of psionic powers.  The party quickly took significant damage from a Psionic Soul sorcerer using psychic damage, from two Psi Knight fighters, and especially from a Soulknife rogue using psychic blades.  Focusing on the rogue, Arvene first did some damage before she was downed by a volley of attacks.  Any combatants who went unconscious were protected from death by a magical enchantment which stabilized them until the end of the battle.  The remaining heroes fought back and quickly downed the rogue along with one of the knights.  

Jainey hit a streak of wild surges which caused her to become confused, to levitate in the air, and to spawn a unicorn on the battlefield – all to the puzzlement of their opponents and the amusement of the arena audience.  However, she soon recovered her senses and cast an enhanced fire spell which devastated the two remaining foes.  From their, Strakx and Matteice quickly finished them off.

Victorious, the heroes left the arena to return to the Laughing Beholder, where they rested and then returned to a city office to discuss the specifics of their land lease the next day.  They were offered a land lease in Low City, upon which was a building that had room in the front for a shop and a small space in the back for living quarters.  The party signed the lease and began making preparations to move into their new space.

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Adventure 10 – Rivals (podcast episode #33)

Stardate – 0410.80 (Mar 10th, 3080). The heroes spent a month on the Rock settling into their new shop and living space, which was on Eel St. near the Laughing Beholder and another shop named Houwe’s Ballistas and Catapults. Strakx largely stayed in the shop setting up his space, and stocking supplies to make his wares. The other heroes established a daily routine where Jainey would help in the shop, Arvene and Matteice would do some sparring practice on the roof, and then the women would run errands as a group to check in with the Starrunner, to complete whatever shopping was needed for the day, and for Jainey to search for prospective customers and also a shop assistant.

One day, Jainey had four potential employees visit the shop for interviews with her brother. They all showed up at once: a scruffy looking dwarf male, a female elf in fine blue clothing, a shy looking female halfling, and a towering bugbear. Strakx had them wait outside while he interviewed them one by one. He quickly dismissed the dwarf who seemed too interested in booze, and the elf who had concerns about getting her hands dirty. The bugbear however proved to have experience with forge work and repairs, and seemed like a decent and trustworthy person. Strakx hired him on the spot and told him to return the next day for tasking.

That night, the heroes and Strakx’s steel defender (SD-01) went out together as a group to the Laughing Beholder, where dinner and drinks were their usual routine. They were almost home when suddenly a laser rifle blast cut through the center of the group, somehow managing to miss them all. Before they could react, a group of cloaked figures rushed at them from all directions. Arvene and Matteice reacted quickest, engaging the closest foes. One cloaked figure tossed a net over Arvene, while another laser shot from hundreds of feet away missed her once again. Matteice concentrated on the foes around Arvene, while Strakx tossed an oil slick under some of them and did his best to hold off the attackers surrounding him and Jainey. Jainey blasted a couple foes with burning hands but was dismayed to see that they appeared to resist the fire damage. Arvene broke free from one net and attacked a foe next to her, while Matteice finally cut another foe down. The fallen figure’s cloak fell back and revealed it to be a tiefling.

With a sick feeling, Arvene and Matteice braced themselves as more foes disengaged from Jainey and Strakx to focus on netting and attacking Arvene. Strakx and Jainey struggled to stop their foes so they could help, but finally the sniper managed to hit Arvene with two precise shots, and she collapsed in the street. Matteice cut down foes around her, while Jainey finally eliminated several foes with Magic Missiles, freeing Strakx to rush over and give an Adrenaline shot to Arvene. With her footing regained, she helped the others to finish the foes on the street until one remaining enemy fled and the sniper’s shots went silent.

Strakx harvested some tiefling horns from the bodies, while the women rushed back to the shop. They found the front door still locked, but realized that there appeared to be a small metal point sticking through it. Waiting for Strakx, they then shifted to the side door and found it unlocked. Stepping quickly inside, they checked the living quarters for foes and found no one there. Moving forward to the shop, they saw GH-88 standing by the wall, but otherwise there was no one there. However, they did see a piece of paper pinned to the inside of the front door with a knife. It was Arvene’s registration sheet from the arena contest, with the word “CARELESS” scribbled across it. Turning to GH-88, Strakx asked him what he had seen and the message on his display screen indicated that one person had been there with a cloak and hood. However, the person had spoken to him – and asked him to tell Arvene that his name was Balizar.

Cursing herself for her carelessness, Arvene turned to Matteice. Quickly, they told the others that it appeared that their past had caught up with them, and they doubted that any of them would be safe until Balizar and possibly his associate Kalista were taken care of. Strakx wanted them to focus on resting first, so he reinforced the lock on the side door, jammed both doors shut from the inside, and ensured all of the curtains were drawn so that they could at least get some sleep and then focus on a plan of action the next morning.

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Adventure 11 – The Bounty Hunter (podcast episode #34)

Stardate – 0411.80 (Mar 10th, 3080). The heroes awoke the next morning after the tiefling attack, and sat down to discuss what they wanted to do.  Strakx roved the property to carefully inspect everything, but didn’t find anything amiss.  They agreed to wait until the forge’s new hireling Earl showed up for training, and then to set out to seek information from Luigi after that.  With Earl running the forge, they walked to the Laughing Beholder for lunch.  Luigi didn’t know much other than the fact that he had heard the commotion nearby the other night.  They gave him names for Balizar and and his associate Kalista and asked him to keep his ears peeled for them.

The party headed briefly to the lower market to buy some healing potions, and then headed to the docks to check in with the Starrunner.  Captain Braun agreed to talk in the conference room, and they explained what had happened the previous night.  Braun seemed surprisingly unfazed, given he had other crew members who were also on the run from various things, and who had been involved with “scuffles” if those things caught up with them.  The captain also agreed to keep an eye out for tieflings, and anyone named Balizar and Kalista.  

The heroes headed back to the forge to check in with Earl.  They argued in the back room about what to do next.  Finally, Arvene reluctantly agreed with Strakx’s suggestion to check out some more “shady” parts of town, specifically the Rampant Lion.  They headed that way and entered the tavern, finding a fight between patrons in progress near the bar.  After a failed attempt to sneak to the back rooms of the inn, they bought drinks and settled down at a table to people watch instead.  With some careful listening, they soon heard a conversation at another table about someone who had seen the fight near the Laughing Beholder the other night, and how he had seen a tiefling flee the fight to board a ship at the docks, which then took off.  Jainey used her powers of persuasion to learn from one of the drunken men that the ship had been a Tradesman class vessel, and then left him with a shocking grasp as a parting gift before the heroes departed.

The party journeyed to the docks again, and learned from the harbor master that the tradesman class ship that had boarded two passengers and then departed the previous night was called the Stinger.  They paid him to notify them at the Hammered Unicorn if the Stinger returned to port, and then they returned to the forge for the evening.  

Another month passed without incident, and with no word of Balizar or Kalista or the ship.  One day, Dimble, the Starrunner’s gnome alchemist, showed up at the forge.  He asked Strakx about working some projects together in his forge, and the hobgoblin agreed.  He also shared that they needed to get back to the Starrunner right away for a new mission that had come up. Leaving the forge in Earl’s care, the party headed to the ship and learned that Captain Braun intended to scavenge a lizardfolk ship that had crashed on a nearby asteroid.  The party accompanied the ship and it was a quick mission, which they returned from by mid-afternoon after having found a substantial hoard of gold for the crew.  

As they walked through town to return to the forge, suddenly Naivara, the elf who had applied to work at the forge, appeared in front of Arvene.  Snidely, she asked Arvene if they had hired the halfling, the dwarf, or the bugbear.  But then, like lightning, she slashed at the Arvene with a scimitar!  Arvene managed to dodge out of the way, but then the heroes saw a group of other elven rogues appearing from the crowd with more scimitars, closing in on them.  The heroes braced themselves as Matteice, Arvene, and Strakx struck out at some of their attackers with the aid of Strakx’s steel defender SD-01 and his healing golem GH-88.  Then several of the elves closed distance and, with the party pinned down, they all started throwing nets at Arvene, the party’s Aasimar fighter.  Narrowly dodging these, the Aasimar still took a brutal attack from Naivara, before Jainey attempted to blast several foes with burning hands and the heroes realized that these “elves” were strangely resistant to fire…

The heroes struggled against their foes as Arvene got in a couple more good hits on Naivara, before she herself was struck by several vicious attacks from Nivara’s goons and collapsed to the ground.  To the party’s horror, Nivara then scooped Arvene over her shoulder, and with roguish speed she took off and disappeared around the corner of a narrow alley between buildings.  

Jainey didn’t hesitate however, and she used misty step to escape the mob and dashed to catch up with Naivara and Arvene.  Using her action point, Jainey managed to grasp and shock the elf with shocking grasp, finally bloodying her badly!  Naivara broke away from Jainey and dashed still closer to a ship on the docks, still carrying Arvene, before Jainey launched a large volley of magic missiles at the elf, finally taking her down.  Then she rushed over to Arvene and fed her a healing potion to wake her up.  With a start, the Aasimar sat up and took in her location, then grabbed Jainey’s hand to stand up.  Then with a scream she transformed fully into her angelic form, and carried Jainey into the air towards the fight.  Jainey fed her another healing potion and then Arvene carried them up to a rooftop in sight of the battle where they could switch to ranged combat without making targets of themselves. 

From the rooftop, they took in the scene below.  Strakx and Matteice had been desperately trying to hold their own against the mob of rogues slashing them with scimitars.  GH-88 and SD-01 had helped with healing and discouraging some attacks, but concentrated attacks on Matteice had repeatedly knocked her down despite the hobgoblin’s best efforts to keep her on her feet.  They had managed to take down a couple of foes, but Strakx was being forced to use spells which discouraged their attackers from targeting him.  The mob had figured out that SD-01 was problematic and they quickly damaged the automaton until it ceased to function.  Jainey and Arvene started targeting the foes one by one with magic missiles and radiant-boosted laser rifle attacks.  This helped to thin the numbers such that Strakx and Matteice could make more effective attacks against the mob as well. With only two foes left, the “elves” figured out that the fight had turned against them, and fled. 

Arvene flew down from the rooftop with Jainey, and the heroes regrouped down below.  They decided to check if Naivara’s ship was still docked, and found it gone.  They did however find Naivara’s body still laying on the dock.  Inspecting it closely, they quickly figured out that the body was under the effect of an illusion spell with a time duration of some type.  As they debated what to do next, the illusion suddenly faded.  Arvene and Matteice were shocked to see the dead body of Balizar!  With a sigh of relief, the heroes quickly went back to check the other bodies and found them to also be tieflings.  Then they headed back towards the forge to invite Earl out for a much-needed drink.

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Adventure 12 – Asteroid (podcast episode #35)

Stardate – 0509.80 (May 9th, 3080). The heroes stopped by the Hammered Unicorn Forge to drop off the automatons for repairs following their tense fight with Balizar and his minions, then they grabbed Earl and invited him to join them at the Laughing Beholder for a drink. Luigi was keeping busy with customers, but he did stop by briefly to tell the party that he had managed to locate Kalista, Balizar’s associate.  Strangely, he also explained that he had heard she was working on the rock as a liberator of slaves.  As the party debated this, Luigi stopped back and encouraged them to speak to Kalista directly, given she was sitting at a table over in the corner.  The heroes briefly looked at the tiefling woman in fine studded leather armor sitting at a table by herself, before Jainey took the initiative and skipped over her way to say Hi.  

Kalista was less than friendly, and tried to tell the party that she preferred to drink alone.  Matteice shared that they had business with her however, and Arvene explained that while they had heard she was doing good work by liberating slaves, that they were perplexed because they also had heard that they knew she was associated with a man named Balizar.  Kalista smiled dryly and explained that the only association they had was that he was her father – but otherwise that she thought he was scum and had hated the fact that he hunted people.  Matteice explained that Balizar was now dead, and the woman showed no trace of emotion other than to thank them for the “good” news.  Arvene told her that as someone who Balizar had hunted, that she wanted to at least thank her for taking a different walk in life.  And then the heroes left her to her drink.  Matteice brought her a beer later on, but Kalista barely acknowledged it.

Olo, the tortle quartermaster from Captain Braun’s crew, appeared in the bar.  With his large turtle’s shell bumping into everything, he worked his way clumsily over to the party and explained that Braun wanted them to report back to the ship as soon as possible to embark on another mission.  The heroes left and grabbed the damaged GH-88 and SD-01 from the forge, then turned things over to Earl and headed to the Starrunner.  On board, Braun explained that he had learned that there was an asteroid passing near to the Rock which someone had spotted structures on.  He hoped to scavenge the asteroid before it left the vicinity in the next couple of days.  The heroes agreed that they should get out to the asteroid as soon as possible to stake their claim, but they also asked if they could take time to rest once they arrived so they could recover from their battle with Balizar and his bounty hunters, although she spared Braun the details.  Braun agreed that this was wise, so once they arrived near the asteroid, the heroes recuperated overnight and Strakx had time to make repairs to his “team.”

They took a life boat over to the asteroid and soon spotted what appeared to be a temple with some surrounding buildings, and broken mining equipment. They set down near the two biggest out-buildings, and went to explore.  They needed their personal atmospheres given the air was deadly.  The large building to the left of the temple proved to be a lodging quarters of some kind, with nothing of value left behind.  The large out-building on the right proved to be an equipment storage facility of some kind.  With careful investigation, the heroes recovered some fine hammers that Strakx could use, and they also uncovered an ornate box. Strakx picked the old lock, and when they opened it they found a finely crafted laser sword hilt.  Matteice took it and then they continued onward towards the temple.

As they walked, suddenly the ground ahead of them on the rocky asteroid cracked and shifted, and two large masses of jagged rock rolled along the surface and slammed straight into Matteice and Arvene!  Matteice managed to block the hit with her shield, but Arvene wasn’t so lucky as the boulder tore badly into her armor.  Each boulder then sprouted legs and arms and they stood upright to continue their attacks…

The heroes attempted to fight off the monsters but soon realized that they were resistant to all but magical types of damage.  Arvene swapped to one laser sword and one katana once she realized this, but her attacks still weren’t connecting well as the two monsters eventually ganged up on her and smashed her into the ground.  Matteice discovered that her new laser sword was more effective (+1) and put it to good use against the monsters, as Jainey used her spells and Strakx used a mix of magical crossbow and bonfire attacks, along with directing SD-01 to hinder their foes’ attacks and GH-88 to repeatedly heal Arvene.  The monsters’ hits soon bloodied many in the party however, and then Jainey hit an unlucky wild surge and started blowing pink bubbles which disabled virtually all of her spells.  After the party smashed one monster into rubble, and had just about defeated the second, a third, larger boulder sprang up from the ground and rolled into Matteice, wounding her severely.  The heroes finished off the second monster and turned their focus to the third.  Arvene and Matteice both managed to avoid the worst attacks and finally started landing better hits of their own.  Strakx damaged the rock monster multiple times with fire, before Jainey finally landed a solid quarter staff hit on its head and it crumpled into a rocky pile on the ground.

Badly injured from the fight, all of the heroes agreed that they needed to take a short rest in the barracks so they could attempt to recuperate somewhat before exploring the temple. With this done and Strakx’s automatons mended from the battle damage that they also took, the party walked up to the temple door which was flanked by magical runes.  Jainey determined that they were abjuration based, which would indicate that the temple entrance was meant to keep something out…or something inside.  After some trials to ensure that the entrance wasn’t trapped, the heroes stepped through and walked by the light that Arvene cast on one of her swords as they explored the long rectangular room about 40′ wide.  The space was built into a mountain-side with no other hallways or exits.  As they reached the far end of the room, they saw a distant throne with a creature seated on it.  

The creature appeared to be a red-skinned fiend who was tightly wrapped in barbed chains.  As it regarded the party, the fiend almost seemed to look through them, and then it spoke in a strange hissing abyssal voice as they soon heard common words over the unnatural sound.  It greeted the heroes, explaining that it meant them no harm.  Instead – it wanted to offer them their dreams – for a fair bargain of course.  Scanning over the heroes, it suddenly focused on Jainey and asked her if it could help her to take…control…of something?  Taken aback, the party reeled as each considered what to do.

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Adventure 13 – Devilish Details (podcast episode #36)

Stardate – 0510.80 (May 10th, 3080). The heroes stared down the red skinned fiend wrapped in chains where he sat on his throne.  One of them asked what had happened to the previous occupants of the asteroid, but the fiend only replied snidely that they “hadn’t liked me very much.”  Strakx had a goal however, and asked the creature what it would want him to bargain in exchange for the ability to make some more powerful magic items.  The creature stared back at Strakx and stated that it would want the hobgoblin to give up one of his eyes.  

Strakx considered this as Arvene asked Matteice to use her Memory of A Thousand Lifetimes to see what had happened to the dwarven miners.  Matteice accessed her past memories and returned from the vision shaken, explaining that the devil had wreaked havoc, killing most of the dwarven miners before a smaller group of dwarven warriors had fought valiantly to drive the devil back into the temple where a priest then cast a spell to create the runes which bound it there.  One of the warriors had been wielding the very same magical laser sword that Matteice found in a nearby building.  

As Matteice finished explaining though, Strakx stubbornly brushed off what she had said and turned to the fiend and made a counter offer – he wanted to set the creature free in exchange for what he wanted.  Arvene argued vehemently against this, stating that there was no arrangement in which setting such a creature free would sit well with her or Mayaheine, no matter how they tried to make the devil promise not to hurt them or others on their crew.  Furthermore, she suspected they couldn’t trust anything that it would promise anyway.  Jainey did some investigating of her own via a telepathic conversation with the devil who was watching Arvene and Strakx grow increasingly heated with great amusement.  From her own conversation she gleaned just how dangerous the creature was, both in general and from a standpoint of warning Strakx that it would likely twist any words or agreements he made against him.  

Finally, Strakx reached a point of ultimate frustration and gave up the negotiations and stormed out of the temple.  The others followed him, observing with some alarm that he had seemed to disappear as he stepped through the doorway.  As they left, Arvene noted that the runes on the door were glowing red…  Strakx called the Starrunner and Hal brusquely explained that they needed to return quickly because Braun wanted to depart.

When they returned to the ship however, the party realized that something seemed wrong.  Everyone on the crew was being uncharacteristically short tempered and blunt, causing frequent spats and infighting.  Braun was in his cabin and didn’t want to be disturbed.  Perplexed, they traveled the rest of the way back to the rock and watched as the crew departed as quickly as possible.  Returning to the forge, they found Earl throwing a “mouthy customer” out by his collar.  Jainey and the others tried to talk to him about what had happened, but it didn’t take long for Jainey to conclude that this wasn’t “her” Earl!

Fully convinced now that the devil had done something to manipulate the outside world, the heroes returned to the Starrunner in order to convince Braun that they needed to go back to the asteroid.  Braun shouted sleepily from his cabin and denied their request.  Deciding they might have to take the smaller spelljamming vessel, the Skycoach, on their own, the heroes reluctantly fought and knocked out the small contingent of the crew that tried to stop them.  Then they boarded the smaller vessel, and Jainey wore the crown to control the vessel and flew them back into space.

Back at the asteroid, they hid in the barracks and took a much needed long rest before returning to the temple to confront the fiend.  The chained devil seemed amused and happy to see them, and even directed Arvene on how to open a hidden door that she found in the temple wall, which revealed a large cache of treasure. Then they faced down the fiend and asked what it had done.  The creature admitted that it had tried to manipulate the runes to free itself –  and that this may have had some impacts on the outside world.  Then it turned to Strakx and asked him if he was still considering its offer.  

Grimly, Strakx stated that he had learned patience in his long life, and that he had decided to decline.  With an unsettling laugh, the creature stated that this was unfortunate and said, “Let’s have some fun!”   It stood up from the throne and waved its hands, and four sets of barbed chains that were piled on the ground animated and lashed out at the party!  

The heroes desperately tried to defend themselves as the barbed chains grappled several of them, and then tightened and shredded them every round.  With great difficulty, Arvene managed to destroy one chain, only to be grappled by another.  Matteice battled directly with the fiend, who grappled her and made repeated attacks with its own chains – while Strakx cast fairy fire on the fiend, and then attempted to help the others until he himself was knocked out and subsequently revived by GH-88.  Jainey had been grappled, but then wisely used misty step to escape to a safe distance, before striking the fiend directly with numerous spells in the hopes that killing it would stop the chains.  Matteice landed some brutal attacks on the fiend as Arvene attempted to shift her focus to attacking the devil as well before the chain grappling her finally crushed her into unconsciousness.  Finally though, Jainey struck down the devil and the remaining chains tumbled back to the floor.  

With a sigh of relief, the party revived Arvene and then they all left the temple and discovered that the Starrunner was back in wildspace near the asteroid, and that only a small amount of time had passed since they first left the ship to explore.  Seemingly back in their own universe, they took the lifeboat back to the ship and distributed their treasure while the crew piloted back to the Rock of Bral.

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Adventure 14 – Welcome to the Jungle (podcast episode #37)

Stardate – 0511.80 (May 11th, 3080). The heroes returned to the Rock from their adventure at the dwarving mining asteroid.  Two weeks later, Arvene had another vision from Mayaheine.  She saw a jungle planet with an ancient city in a clear dome, and knew that there was an evil she needed to defeat within it.  She awoke to share what she had seen with the party, and then they went to the Starrunner to propose the mission to Captain Braun.  

Braun agreed to go, and the Starrunner set out shortly from the Rock in the direction that Arvene’s instinct felt they must go.  Five days later – they arrived at the jungle planet.  As the Starrunner descended through the atmosphere, suddenly the ship was attacked by flying reptilian creatures of some kind!  The heroes used a mix of spells, firearms, and the ship’s powerful ranged weapons to repel the assault.  Then the ship settled in a cove which was the closest landing site they could find to the dome Arvene sought, which was still nearly a mile away.  They spent a night on the ship to rest and recover.

The next morning, the heroes piloted a lifeboat over to the shores of the jungle, and began carefully making their way towards the dome.  Suddenly they heard a loud rustling approaching from the dense trees ahead.  Before they could react, a giant reptilian creature (T-rex) broke through to the clearing they were in and attacked!  After a tough battle, the heroes managed to defeat the creature.  

The heroes attempted to take a short rest to recover from the fight, only to be attacked again by a swarm of smaller dinosaurs from the surrounding jungle.

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Adventure 15 – Mad Strakx Beyond Jungledome (podcast episode #38)

Stardate – 0530.80 (May 30th, 3080). The heroes defeated the smaller swarm of dinosaurs and decided to continue onwards towards the dome in the hopes of finding a better resting place there.  They finally reached it, and found a ring around the dome where the jungle did not grow. It extended 100 feet from the dome.  As they started to approach to investigate, they heard shouts in draconian and a group of lizardfolk riding mid-sized dinosaurs and firing laser weapons attacked from the jungle  Feeling overwhelmed, the heroes fought back against their foes using Arvene’s transformation, Jainey’s fireballs, and some of their more powerful attacks.  

Jainey’s fireball scared the lizardfolk into calling off the attack. They addressed the party in broken Common.  The leader introduced himself as Achuak and asked why they were going to the Yuan-ti City.  The party asked him what that was, and he explained that the snake-like creatures who occupied the city had taken it from the lizardfolk who lived there before, and who were constantly at war with the lizardfolk all over the planet.  Achuak told them that the dome had only recently appeared around the city, and that it appeared that Yuan-ti priests had to open it when they sent raiding parties out, or had raiding parties return with captives from the planet who would then be used as slaves.  The heroes explained that they knew there was an evil that they needed to stop within the dome.  They asked Achuak if he could help them to find a safe place to rest while they planned a way to get inside the dome, and he agreed to take them back to his village for the night.  

With more rest the next day, the heroes returned to the dome and Strakx attempted several things to get inside.  First, he and Jainey shot at the dome but it appeared impervious to damage.  Then Strakx attempted to provoke the guard who had been posted at the site of their attacks, but got no response for his effort.  He demonstrated a new Rope Trick spell to the party, but reluctantly agreed that a 60′ rope climb for non-climbers and constructs would not be ideal for a successful ambush.  Finally, Achuak’s patrol team passed by them and explained that the parties that came and went from the dome sometimes did so at night – and then he asked if he thought they might be able to launch an ambush to get through the dome then.  The heroes agreed, though Achuak did warn them that it might take a few days for the next Yuan-ti raiding party to return.  They camped at the village and in the woods nearby for a couple more days, before one night Achuak told them a Yuan-ti group had been spotted approaching the dome.  The lizardfolk helped to disguise the party in branches, mud, and jungle foliage so they could hide in the open space near the dome in the dark.  The plan succeeded as the Yuan-ti walked nearly on top of them, and a Yuan-ti priest opened a 40′ hole in the dome.  Before the snake-creatures could respond, the heroes sprang up and rushed inside the dome!  They eluded their foes through a mix of effective distractions and strategic hiding places, and eventually made their way to a giant temple at the center of the city, directed by Arvene’s instinctual pull that resulted from her vision.  Strakx used a final noise making rock to distract the guards so they could sneak by the Yuan-ti patrols and step inside, as Arvene still felt the pull towards the evil that awaited them inside.

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Adventure 16 – The Temple of Merrshaulk – Part 1 (podcast episode #39)

Stardate – 0603.80 (June 3rd, 3080). The heroes have stepped inside the temple at the center of the yuan-ti city. Carefully avoiding the guards’ patrols, they explored first a pantry and then a room containing basic weapons.  Following the pull from Arvene’s goddess Mayaheine, they located one set of stairs and ascended to a long hallway on the second floor.  They carefully avoided a yuan-ti and watched as the creature ascended another set of stairs.  Then, hearing someone approaching behind them, they decided to go up the stairs to the third level of the temple.  Reaching the third floor, they peered in on a huge room with a giant pit covered with metal grating in the floor.  The pit was filled with panicked creatures from many races – and it was surrounded by several yuan-ti who appeared to be conducting some sort of ritual.  The ritual was led by a head priest who was focusing her magic on a glowing green gem.

The heroes realized another yuan-ti was approaching the bottom of the stairs below.  Sensing that this space contained great evil, Arvene used her laser rifle to open fire on the priest.  The yuan-ti paused their ceremony and converged on the heroes in a tough fight.  The evil creatures used a mix of melee attacks and suggestion spell effects in their attempts to subdue the heroes.  However, a mix of melee attacks by Matteice and Arvene, a huge fireball and other spells from Jainey, and clever use of crossbow and spells by Strakx ultimately defeated all of the foes…except for the one in the stairway behind them who managed to get away.

The party focused on rescuing the prisoners and checking the room.  They recovered an intricate looking staff and the green gem from the priest’s body. They saved all of the prisoners except for three who had not managed to dodge Jainey’s fireball.  Unfortunately Jainey noticed the charred corpses in the pit and was traumatized by recollections of her past.  Meanwhile, Matteice used her deva Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes and learned that the room had been used many times in recent weeks to sacrifice different groups of monstrous humanoid slaves who had been captured by the yuan-ti on the planet.

The heroes knew it was time to leave, so they found one prisoner who spoke enough common to help them guide the group down to the first floor, before they realized that a predicament had occurred because of the one guard who got away.  The bottom floor of the temple had four entrances, and all of them were swarmed outside by hundreds of yuan-ti.

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Adventure 17 – The Temple of Merrshaulk – Part 2 (podcast episode #40)

Stardate – 0603.80 (June 3rd, 3080). The heroes paused to consider what to do given the yuan-ti outside the temple seemed hesitant to come in after them.  Arvene asked Strakx to reach out to the Starrunner to see if they could hover over the city and possibly locate the leader of the lizardfolk patrols, Achuak, to help create a distraction.  Then, having armed the prisoners and checked other rooms on the first floor, the group returned to a large mess hall on the second floor in order to barricade themselves and attempt a short rest.  While they did this, Jainey and Strakx spent time identifying the magic items that they had found.  Jainey realized that she now possessed a Staff of the Adder which had potent snake-like abilities in addition to enhancing her normal spell attacks.  Strakx realized that the green gem was a powerful energy storage device that was certainly the power source for the dome – and that it could be easily destroyed.

Contacting the Starrunner again, the Strakx learned that the ship was hovering overhead – and that they were having some difficulty finding Achuak of the lizardfolk because the entire city was surrounded by hoards of the planet’s monstrous humanoid races.  Soon however, the Starrunner’s pilot Hal succeeded and the heroes discussed with her and Achuak that they had found a way to destroy the dome.  Achuak agreed that the other species of the planet would launch and attack on the city as soon as the dome was down. Returning to the first floor, the heroes readied their escape and then Strakx hurled the gem across the hall such that it broke in a room on the other side.

Then they waited, as the hordes of yuan-ti warriors outside sounded first unsettled and then there was a roar of other voices as the monstrous humanoid army descended on the city.  The heroes and the prisoners left, and used the chaos of the fighting to head towards the north side of the city where the Starrunner was waiting.  They nearly made it out, when a mid-sized patrol of yuan-ti attempted to stop them.  Defeating these foes, they then noticed that the yuan-ti were being quickly overwhelmed by the monstrous humanoids.

When the battle was won, Achuak found them and invited them to stay for a snake dinner in the city.  The party contacted Captain Braun and passed on this invitation for the crew as well.  The heroes stayed one night to feast with the monstrous humanoids of the planet, where they eventually learned that the yuan-ti had been attempting sacrifice rituals with the creatures in the temple because they hoped to learn a secret to the gem which would wipe out every other species of humanoid on the planet, leaving the yuan-ti in total dominance.  

Grateful to have stopped this genocide, the heroes and Braun’s crew bid farewell to the other humanoids the next morning, and departed on the Starrunner for the 5-day journey back to the Rock of Bral.  

Arriving home, the heroes set out to the lesser market to see if they could sell the pieces of the gem which Strakx had recovered.  As they arrived, they found a fight in progress.  Arvene peered to the center of the brawl and realized that Kalista, the deceased Balizar’s estranged tiefling daughter, was struggling to hold her own against a myriad of attackers.  Arvene and the other heroes rushed without hesitation to join the fight.

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Adventure 18 – Slime and Punishment (podcast episode #41)

Stardate – 0609.80 (June 9th, 3080). The heroes rushed into the brawl in the Lesser Market, where a bunch of goons were attempting to overpower Kalista, the estranged tiefling daughter of the now deceased bounty hunter Balizar who had died attempting to collect his bounty on Arvene weeks before.  The goons scattered and attempted to overpower the party members as well, but many of them quickly fell.  The final two fled the scene and Kalista told them to “let the cowards flee.”

The party asked her what had happened, and she explained that the thugs worked for a group of slavers known as the Chainmen – and that they were sent by Merin the warehouse owner whom they had encountered once before.  Merin was actually a member of House Eirenfezt which is a front for the Chainmen. Kalista explained that there were three levels to the Rock under the streets: the basements/tunnels, then the sewers lower down, and the underdark below that.  She asked if the heroes would be willing to help her to free a cache of slaves she had discovered at the sewer level. The party agreed.  The party asked to take a quick rest to sell some things and return to their shop before rejoining the tiefling at the Laughing Beholder, and she agreed.

After they sold the gemstone pieces for a massive quantity of gold to split among the Starrunner’s crew – the heroes stopped through the shop and found all in good order.  They returned to the Laughing Beholder for lunch.  They joined Kallista at her usual table in the back.  Then they decided it might be best to head to the sewers right away.  The tiefling guided them to a square grate in an alley where they descended into the sewers.

They journeyed for a while on pathways that followed a river of sewage, and occasionally crossed wooden plank walkways, which proved to be treacherous as they were slippery with slime.  Jainey slipped and Matteice tried to catch her, but both of them ultimately fell in and were mildly poisoned by the sewage – though Matteice’s paladin protections helped to shield her from the worst effects.

As they journeyed on, suddenly four figures silently stepped out of two alcoves by the walkway to surround them.  There was a dark skinned human female, a male dwarf, an elf female in an overcoat, and a halfling male wearing chainmail.  The strangers ignored attempts to question them and instead focused on their own questions – asking the party why they were in the sewers and trying to assess their fighting capabilities. Suddenly the dwarf focused on Strakx and said “it’s going to be alright” – and Strakx managed to shrug off a magical effect that had attempted to intrude on his mind.  In a rage, he started to storm forward to confront the dwarf, only to be slapped on the shoulder by the elf female.  Her hand landed on him and he actually cried out in pain as she severely injured him and nearly took him down with one blow!

Shocked, the heroes sprang into action.  Arvene assumed the worst and transformed into her angelic form, filling the tunnel with light.  She swooped around to flank the elf who had just severely injured her friend, but found that the elf seemed unconcerned at being surrounded. It also seemed that Arvene’s katana attacks were not as potent as they might otherwise be.

The heroes fought back frantically against the strange beings as it became apparent that they were not what they seemed.  Matteice used her paladin Lay on Hands to bolster Strakx, while Jainey attacked the foes with spells and Kalista and SD-01 focused on the foes in front of them.  However, the four beings seemed to retaliate as one, as Strakx suddenly grabbed his head and screamed in pain and collapsed!  GH-88 was able to revive him, though Strakx appeared to be suffering from partial memory loss.  Then, still more disturbing, the female elf suddenly morphed and shifted such that she now appeared as Strakx!  Arvene continued to focus on Strakx’s doppelganger, hovering overhead as Matteice used misty step to teleport close by to do the same.  Matteice used divine smite to land a devastating blow, and Jainey pummeled the creature with a huge barrage of magic missiles, but the false Strakx only appeared to be missing parts of its body. It appeared to be very much alive, albeit badly damaged.  

Next, the creatures focused their will on Matteice, who also screamed out and was also heavily damaged by a psychic attack.  She suffered the same memory loss and watched in horror as the halfling standing by her morphed into a duplicate Matteice.  Further enraged, Arvene continued to rain blows on the false Strakx until suddenly, all four foes cried out and collapsed into pools of slime!  Kalista asked Arvene to bring the light to her, so she flew over.  There, the tiefling pointed out strange trails of stringy slime that she had noticed extending from each foe on her end of the group.  The heroes looked closer and discovered the same strings of slime running from all four creatures.  The strings ran back into one of the alcoves, where they found a very large pool of collapsed slime on the floor that appeared to be the source.

Wearily, the group agreed that they needed to rest briefly before approaching the slave holding area with the guards that Kalista knew she would need their help to defeat.  Strakx used his rope trick to hide the party in a pocket dimension, while they left SD-01 on guard down below.  After a short rest, Matteice and Strakx both found their memories recovered, and Jainey and Matteice had shaken the effects from falling into the sewage.

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Adventure 19 – Sewerside Squad (podcast episode #42)

Stardate – 0609.80 (June 9th, 3080). The heroes continued through the sewers after their short rest. Suddenly Kalista motioned for them to stop at a corner. Stepping forward, Arvene peered around the corner and saw why they had stopped – the cross-passage to their right connected to another tunnel, and a guard was posted at that intersection. Quietly the party debated how best to eliminate the guard without drawing undue attention. Kalista insisted they needed to avoid combat…unless they could lure the guard to this passage where the sound might be muffled somewhat. Strakx recalled his noise-making devices that had helped them so much before, and promptly enabled one and set it down at the corner while the party set their ambush. The guard walked over to investigate the sound, and as he stepped around the corner he was struck down by the volley of attacks.

The heroes continued on to another cross passage which led to an opening with some crewd wooden bridges over another long sewer tunnel. Across the tunnel they could see numerous caged cells lining the wall, and a small group of guards stationed outside them. Strakx created a bonfire just across one of the bridges, but only one guard walked across to investigate. Jainey dropped a fireball on as many foes as she could without hurting the prisoners, and the battle was joined. The heroes quickly took down the guards, as Arvene pursued one who ran North to warn others – but she lost him around several corners as the rest of the party finished off those remaining by the cells. Quickly they set the prisoners in the slave pens loose, and led the group out of the sewers before more slavers could arrive.

The heroes had two months of downtime on the Rock, in which Strakx completed a fine set of armor for himself. While relaxing at the Laughing Beholder tavern, Luigi visited the party’s table and told them about a tidbit of news he had heard that he thought they might be interested in. He had heard of a large pyramid shaped ship that was cruising through wildspace only two days from the Rock, and that it appeared many ships were avoiding it. The heroes agreed that something like this might interest Captain Braun so following lunch they gathered supplies and headed to the Starrunner to check in. Braun agreed that they would set out shortly to investigate the mysterious ship.

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Adventure 20 – Walk Like an Egyptian – Part 1 (podcast episode #43)

Stardate – 0811.80 (Aug 11th, 3080). The Starrunner was pursuing the pyramid-shaped ship at a distance.  The party agreed with Braun to journey over with Ruffian piloting the small Spelljamming craft that they had found before (the Skycoach), so they could investigate up close.  The heroes approached the pyramid within 100 feet and could make out ornate runes and inscriptions on all four sides, and they also saw three recessed areas that ran around all four sides of the pyramid, and numerous beings moving about on the decks. Gaining Braun’s approval, they closed within 60ft to look closer.  At this range they also spotted a host of ballista and made out more details on the ships’ crew…who appeared to be mummies!

Somewhat unsettled, the heroes radioed Captain Braun and he agreed that they should return to the Starrunner to regroup.  However, when the heroes approached the air bubble that they had entered with the Skycoach, they noticed that their craft appeared to bump into an invisible force field which prevented them from escaping.  They contacted the Starrunner again and advised them to keep distance while they investigated further.  Searching the bottom of the pyramid and finding no other points of entry, they ended up docking in one of the recesses.  It did not take long for one mummy to approach them, directing them to follow.  They journeyed inside the pyramid as they were surrounded by a squad of additional guards.  They walked a grand hallway until they reached a glowing column of light.  Their guide stepped into this column and did not fall, so the party followed and realized that it was an elevator of sorts that would be controlled by the mind.  

The party journeyed up to what they assumed was the top of the pyramid over a hundred floors above. They found themselves standing before a dias with a throne which turned to face them.  An unusually tall and thin mummy with a crown gazed down at them, before exclaiming that he was Rahthotep and that their lives as they knew them were over – because from here forward they would serve him.  Rathotep directed their guards to take them to the preparation area for mummification.  

Still in shock at this one-sided meeting, the heroes allowed themselves to be escorted back to the elevator, and back down many floors until they stepped out into a hallway of prison cells.  As the guards moved to confiscate their belongings, the party sprang into action, fighting fiercely to defeat their foes.  The mummies proved to be tricky enemies who could frighten with their gaze, and swung at them with necrotic blows that threatened to infect them with some kind of illness.  The heroes shook this off, and managed to kill all but the leader who fled to seek help.

A captor in a nearby cell sprang up once the guards were all dead, and begged them to set him free, explaining that he knew of a place to hide.  They listened, and quickly followed through winding hallways to a large storeroom where they were able to shelter behind large stacks of crates.  There, they rested briefly, speaking in whispered tones with the man, who explained that he had been captured along with the crew of his ship several days ago.  All of the fellows on his crew had already been taken to the embalming chambers, or sickened by a mummy disease that turned them into dust, leaving him as the sole survivor. The heroes heard terrible screams nearby as the man explained that there were four classes of mummies.  Those who worked as laborers (khalasi), those who worked with embalming (embalmers and acolytes), those who were warriors (ankhana), and the Sahn-Fah who led regiments of ankhana.  The man also explained that he had overheard the guards speaking about a power source for the force field that prevented ships from leaving once they approached the pyramid.

On two occasions the party hid among the crates and boxes as a group of khalais entered the chamber to remove wrappings and herbs and other materials from the crates.  Strakx suggested that they could disguise themselves as mummies to move more easily around the pyramid, and the others agreed.  They disguised everyone but SD-01 who they squeezed into Strakx’s bag of holding instead.  Then they set out with more supplies and journeyed towards the center of the pyramid.  On the way, they passed by one embalming chamber where they witnessed an unfortunate elf female strapped to a table, who was brutally killed before Matteice and Arvene could move to stop the embalmers who removed her organs while still alive.

Cautiously, the heroes made their way to another elevator where they decided to journey down towards the center of the pyramid.  Jainey and Strakx started to decipher some small portion of the language that was inscribed in signposts on various floors, understanding from her knowledge of lore that it was from a place called “Earth.”  They managed to find their way back to the docks.  There, they narrowly averted disaster as a Sahn-Fah directed them to return to the embalming floors with their supplies, so they quickly headed back the way they came.

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Adventure 21 – Walk Like an Egyptian – Part 2 (podcast episode #44)

Stardate – 0811.80 (Aug 11th, 3080). The heroes journeyed back inside the pyramid, and quickly noticed that the worker mummies on this level were carrying different supplies to support work at the docks.  Stashing the embalming supplies in their packs, they picked up dock supplies from nearby piles and continued their exploration.  They finally found the side of the pyramid where the Skycoach was docked, and then they returned inside to search for the energy source that powered the force field that had trapped them there.

  After a half hour of exploring, they located a chamber with glowing consoles and two guards stationed outside.  They attempted to enter but resorted to force as Jainey cast Hold Person and managed to paralyze one of the two.  The others quickly helped her to finish them off.  Arvene and Mattiece swapped out their yellow belts for the blue ones worn by the warriors and dragged the corpses out of view, and then posted themselves by the door.  Jainey helped Strakx to investigate the consoles, and they quickly deciphered the runes and determined how to disable the force field, and how to disable the panel such that it couldn’t easily be switched back on.

The party moved swiftly back to the dock and headed towards their ship.  They were challenged by a Sahn-Fah (regiment leader) who frantically called for reinforcements when Ruffian piloted the Skycoach away from the dock while his back was turned.  Warrior mummies dashed to man the ballistas, but they missed Ruffian repeatedly while the heroes returned fire and protected the druid as he moved the small vessel further away.  Clearing the force field, they headed back towards the Starrunner.

The pyramid ship slowed to a stop and turned around however, launching four long boats loaded with mummies.  The heroes returned to the Starrunner and helped to man the heavy weapons on deck, using them to take out three of the four boats.  The fourth boat broke apart as it approached the ship, but not before three mummies jumped on board.  The party fought a tough battle to take them out, as Jainey hit another uncontrollable streak of wild surges and Strakx contracted the curse of mummy rot.  Next, the heroes worked with Hal and Braun to maneuver the ship into an asteroid field (Strakx’s suggestion) so that they could hide until the Pyramid ship gave up attempting to pursue them further.

With the enemy threat gone, Mattiece tried to heal Strakx but nothing happened.  The prisoner they had brought with them identified this as the same condition that had eventually turned some of his crewmates to dust.  The party and the crew of the Starrunner had no means to stabilize Strakx, so the race was on to return to the Rock in two days while he grew increasingly ill.  By the time they arrived, he had grown noticeably grey, dehydrated, and frail – but he was still alive if only barely.  Quickly the party carried him to the temple of Mayaheine where they begged the resident clerics for their help.  Identifying the mummy rot, the acolytes rushed the hobgoblin to their healing chamber where they conducted a ritual and restored him to health.

Jainey gratefully paid the clerics for saving her brother – and the party returned to the shop for a much needed rest and some downtime.

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Adventure 22 – Invasion (podcast episode #51)

Stardate – 1111.80 (Nov 11th, 3080). After three months of downtime on the Rock of Bral, Strakx was nearly finished with a fine suit of plate armor for Matteice. Matteice and Arvene had done some work for the local Temple of Mayaheine, earning several future favors for their efforts. 

One night, the heroes were returning to the forge from the Laughing Beholder when they heard a loud explosion. Suddenly neogi warriors started swarming around every corner and it was clear that a large-scale invasion was taking place. The heroes fought hard to strike down several foes, and then Luigi emerged from the bar and destroyed several more enemies with his beholder eye-beams before ushering the heroes inside.

The heroes took a brief break and then emerged to fight their way back to the Hammered Unicorn Forge. As they arrived, it became apparent that a combination of the Rock’s citizens on the ground, and various ships in space had managed to finish repelling the invaders. They found Earl, the bugbear shopkeeper, outside the forge with a huge battle axe in hand, and a pile of dead enemies all around. They had another drink at the Laughing Beholder and then called it a night.

In the next week, Strakx finished the armor for Matteice. The heroes also did some more exploring in the Greater Market where more expensive and hard to find wares could be located. Strakx acquired a recipe from an aarakocra shopkeeper for what he needed to create his own Bags of Holding, and Arvene found sellers who carried magic armor, albeit at a cost that was higher than she could afford to pay right away.

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Adventure 23 – Rescue Mission (podcast episode #52)

Stardate – 1211.80 (Dec 11th, 3080). The heroes were enjoying another meal at the Laughing Beholder when suddenly Arvene had a vision. Her goddess Mayaheine showed her a familiar place – the futuristic planet Da’koor and Tomular, City of the Ancients located there. She saw a blue thri-kreen mob boss placing a bounty on a blonde human woman, and a red-armored bounty hunter capturing her – and a building where the woman was being held captive in a cell. Arvene understood that it was important to rescue the woman, and also that she would be able to find the building where she was being held if she was nearby.  

Arvene shared the vision with the party who agreed that they were interested in the mission. Matteice recognized the mob boss as her old employer Meilfole from a previous life. Captain Braun was also interested in exploring the futuristic planet with his crew, so they set out the next day for the two month flight to reach Da’koor. Mayze, the Starrunner’s changeling entertainer, knew something of the planet’s history, and they explained that the planet was entirely artificial, possessing a power source rumored to have been constructed by an ancient race of beings known as “The Arcane.” 

Reaching the towering buildings and floating walkways of Tomular, the crew docked at the spaceport and disembarked to explore. Arvene and the heroes quickly located the building where the woman was being held, and spent the afternoon doing recon to determine that it was an outpost for the Illithid Empire, and that it was manned by white-armored guards and frequent shuttlecraft which came and went from a landing zone on the roof.

The heroes decided to infiltrate the building in disguise the next day. They jumped two of the guards, and Arvene and Jainey put on their armor. They escorted Matteice as a prisoner, while Strakx used invisibility devices for himself and GH-88, and placed SD-01 in the Bag of Holding that he already had. They made it inside the building and used computer terminals to locate the cell block several floors above. Arriving there, they quickly took out some guards and an officer manning the control room. They freed the woman just as more troops arrived, and they fled with her and the rest of the prisoners to an elevator to the roof. There, they fought more troops to make their way back to the Starrunner which had flown in to pick them up. Later, they learned that the woman was named Yarina and that she was a rebel leader from a planet that had been taken over by the Illithid Empire. Their rescue would enable her to continue her rebellion.

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Adventure 24 – Prize Fight (podcast episode #54)

Stardate – 0411.81 (April 11th, 3081). The heroes returned to the Rock with Yarina Mendar. She thanked them again for the rescue and she went on her way. Relaxing at the Laughing Beholder, they perked up when Luigi told them that there was a new challenge at the Arena of Frun, which no heroes had yet been able to defeat. A potent team of fiends had thus far beaten everyone who attempted to challenge them – and the fights were now to the death! There was a huge prize for the fight including thousands in gold and several magic items. The party decided it was too good to pass up.  

Again they signed up under their team name “The Beholders” – and three days later they entered the arena to fight in the challenge. The fiendish team consisted of a barghest and eight hell hounds. They rushed at the party with fiery attacks and attempts at mind control, but several foes were quickly repelled by Matteice’s paladin “turn fiend” ability. Arvene used her Angelic Shroud on seeing such a large number of fiends, while Jainey used powerful spells, and Strakx used numerous weapon attacks and artificer tricks to help cut down the remaining foes, before the heroes focused on those who had fled from Matteice to the far end of the arena. The crowd was greatly entertained to see such a showy fight where the challengers were victorious – and Strakx was happy to use the opportunity to help advertise his forge. They left the arena with 1000gp each, a +1 laser pistol, a +1 laser sword, an energy shield, 3 potions of superior healing, and a ring of protection as their prizes for winning the fight.

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Adventure 25 – Ravenloft (podcast episode #55)

Stardate – 0525.81 (May 25th, 3081). The heroes were sleeping one night when GH-88 woke them up, saying “Something strange outside” on his eye-screen. They stepped into the front of the forge where they observed glowing mist swirling outside the windows, and seeping under the door. Further – it appeared that there was moonlight outside even though the Rock had no moon! They heard a cart rolling down the street and someone knocked at the door three times. Angrily, Strax answered, and an old woman attempted to get them to buy her pastries to “eliminate their worries in Barovia.” Perplexed, Strax told her it was late and sent her away. Curious, the heroes stepped outside where they observed not only a moon in the sky, but strangely shaped buildings with peaked roofs merged in with the rest of low city, and a huge castle perched up on a hill where middle city had been!

Before they could process that, they heard distant howls which rapidly converged on them as a pack of wherewolves attacked! They fought back with fire, cross bow, and swords and eventually beat back the horde. Arvene had been bitten however and suddenly felt very strange… The heroes looked around and noticed at the moon had disappeared and that the buildings of lower and middle city now appeared normal once again.

Before they could head back to the forge to regroup, they heard more carts rolling their way as a caravan of travellers approached. They were lead by a tall dark-haired man on a large black horse. The man looked down at them and asked them what land this was. Jainey explained that this was the Rock of Bral – and when the man asked why there was no moon, the heroes explained that this was an asteroid in wild-space. The powerful figure mused about no sun and no moon and directed the caravan to move on its way, seeming pleased about the idea of making his home in this “new land.” As he left, he thanked the heroes and told them that he was in their debt.

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Adventure 26 – A Barovian Werewolf in Bral (podcast episode #56)

Stardate – 0526.81 (May 26th, 3081). Two months passed after their encounter with “Barovia.”. Arvene had visited the temple of Mayaheine right away to learn that she had contracted lycanthropy in their fight – and she used a favor to have her condition cured. The heroes had done some research to determine that it was possible a demi-plane had briefly merged with the rock in what was called the “Conjunction” – and Arvene and Matteice’s temple had taken their report of the events that they witnessed and offered the theory that the tall dark-haired man that they encountered might have actually been a vampire. Additionally, in that time the heroes heard of two other concerning events. First, the old woman who had offered to sell them pastries in her cart before was said to be doing booming business, with so many people wanting to spend all of their money on pastries that the local taverns and even the forge were losing customers. More pressing though, the party also heard rumors of more wherewolves killing citizens inside the elven forest in the middle of the Rock of Braal – and that there was a 1000GP award offered for any who could eliminate the threat.

The heroes briefly investigated the pastries after Matteice bought one and they brought it to Dimble the ship’s alchemist in order to see if they could learn why they sounded so addictive. Unfortunately, Dimble was actively eating a pastry when they arrived and he soon fell into a deep dream-filled sleep and couldn’t be roused – so he wasn’t any help. Jainey was intrigued by the pastries and wanted to try one – but she followed her brother’s lead when Strax made the case that eliminating the wherewolves seemed to be the higher priority. The heroes journeyed to the elven forest and the guard allowed them entry. It did not take long before four larger wherewolves found them! In a brief fight, Matteice used her moonbeam spell to shift three of the wherewolves back into human form, and Jainey used her Sickening Radiance spell to blast the one unrepentant human-wolf into oblivion. They killed the final wherewolf and they spoke to the two remaining wherewolves in human form to determine that they also wanted to have their curses lifted if such a thing could be done. They escorted the two out to the Temple of Mayaheine, where Matteice and Arvene called in two more favors to have the Barovian wherewolves cured.

Next Jainey went and bought her pastry, and the heroes went to the Laughing Beholder to eat lunch and discuss their next actions. Jainey ate her entire pastry and soon fell into a deep sleep herself. Concerned, Matteice and Arvene wanted to bring her to the Temple, but Strax wanted to bring her back to the forge to let her “sleep it off” so that is what they did.

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Adventure 27 – Dream Pastries (podcast episode #57)

Stardate – 0727.81 (July 27th, 3081). Under the pastry’s influence, Jainey had beautiful dreams about the life she wanted most, but they were soon twisted into nightmares where her magic exploded beyond her control and killed those she cared for. She woke up screaming the next morning and the heroes worried about what to do. Strakx consoled his sister, who looked exhausted and wanted more pastries to go back to her dreams and “make things right.” They decided to investigate the old woman, though one of the ex-Barovian-werewolves at the temple had warned them that she was extremely powerful and feared by those in her homeland. Approaching the tent where the woman had set up shop, they saw a huge line of customers waiting for the business to open. They decided to sneak around the back, and Strakx cut a hole in the tent with his knife. The old woman yelled at them and told them that they should really be afraid of “the Dark Lord Strahd” who had come to the Rock through the conjunction, and she warned that he would “corrupt this land and everyone in it.” Strakx was unimpressed by this and Matteice decided to eliminate the pastry problem by destroying the pies with her lasersword. This brought a swift rebuke from the old woman, who cast magic missile at the deva paladin. The rest of the heroes jumped into the fray, where they learned that the “old woman” not only hit extremely hard, but that she was a talented magic user as well. Still though, the party eventually turned the odds against the old woman who suddenly snarled and cast a portal spell and vanished.

Stepping outside the tent, the heroes next confronted the line of angry customers who saw the tent rapidly burning from Jainey’s spells and assumed that the old woman must still be inside. Strakx used his pipes of haunting to scare most of the crowd away, and intimidated the few who still remained. Then the heroes swiftly retreated to the Laughing Beholder to come up with their next move. They agreed it might be time to pay Lord Strahd a visit, since he had said he was in their debt. The party figured if anyone would be able to help them track the old woman down, and possibly to put a stop to her, it would be him. They sent a letter ahead and went to rest for the night.

That night, Jainey had another nightmare and woke up looking even worse for wear the next morning. This time Strax agreed that she should go to the Temple of Mayaheine, where Matteice used another favor to have Jainey’s fatigue (max HP reduction) cured. Then the party went to a recently built manor in Low City where Lord Strahd had made his home. A pale thin human female unlocked the gate and allowed them entry with a hiss. The doors to the large stone building opened by hands unseen, and they ventured inside the dark, torch-lit foyer where the lord of the manor greeted them and asked what he could do for them. Strakx inquired about the old woman, and Strahd explained that she was a shapechanger and that she would likely appear again in a different form to sell more pastries. He also explained that Jainey’s ill effects from her pastry would likely wear off in a week as long as she didn’t eat any more. Beyond this he offered no help given the woman was of no concern of his. Strakx thanked him for his time and the heroes turned to leave as Strahd’s gaze lingered on Arvene.

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Adventure 28 – Coven (podcast episode #58)

Stardate – 0728.81 (July 28th, 3081). Several weeks passed while Strax worked on some new inventions.  Jainey’s nightmares stopped occurring and she recovered from her pastry addiction.  Matteice and Arvene worked at the temple to earn more favors.  The heroes heard about a new bakery that had opened in Middle City with suspiciously similar circumstances to Morgantha’s former pastry tent.  They decided to go check it out.  During the day, it appeared that the bakery was staffed by three generations of women with an older woman, her adult daughter, and a teenage girl.  Throngs of people were waiting in line to eat, so the party decided to rest and return later that night to try to confront the women.

The Rock never fully shuts down at night, but it appeared the women closed their stand at around midnight.  The party went behind the counter and Jainey stuck her head through the doorway that led to the small area in the back where the confections were made.  She was confronted by the teenage girl, who refused to allow the party to enter.  The girl’s mother then confronted the party and Strakx pushed his way into the back.  Jainey cast Mind Sliver on the mom and a battle ensued.  The women quickly dropped their current forms and revealed that they were actually hags!  The youngest girl became a sea hag with a frightful appearance, the middle aged woman was green, and the eldest was Morgantha, a fearsome night hag.  All had powerful magic that was amplified by their fighting together as a coven.  In spite of this, the heroes managed to resist their fear effects and they concentrated on taking down one hag at a time.  The sea hag fell first, followed quickly by the green hag.  Morgantha used her portal spell to disappear once again!

This time, the party thought to search through the hags’ ingredients and located what seemed to be their “secret” in the form of a special green herb packaged in small  jars.  Arvene took one and then the party destroyed the remainder of the baked goods and ingredients in the tent.  Then the heroes went to rest, though for Jainey her sleep was anything but restful.  She was visited once again by a terrible dream.  This time she killed everyone on the Starrunner with a wild magic surge.  The stars overhead transformed into a giant face of Morgantha, who threatened to kill her and the rest of her friends for interfering with her plans.  Morgantha reached down and grabbed Jainey, squeezing painfully until she woke up screaming once again.

Concerned, the party decided to take Jainey and the herbs to the elven forest to see if anyone could help them there.  The guards recalled that they had helped to eliminate the werewolf threat, so they had them wait while they spoke with others in their community.  The heroes were brought to meet a female alchemist named Elan.  Elan agreed to take the herbs to attempt to identify them, and said that she would also research possible means to confront Morgantha without her escaping.  Jainey also communicated with her telepathically, and told her that she thought the party was under even greater threat than they knew.  Elan agreed to keep her confidence in this, though she warned that the next couple nights would be difficult.

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Adventure 29 – Vision Quest (podcast episode #59)

Stardate – 0802.81 (Aug 2nd, 3081). The party waited two days to return to the elven forest.  In that time, Jainey hid from the party that she was having more terrible visions at night where she was tormented and drained of vitality.  They could still see that she was having nightmares however, and all were secretly concerned.  When they returned to the woods, Elan ushered them quickly to a huge tree at the center of the forest, which housed a large lab space inside its trunk.  Inside, she explained that the secret ingredient they had found was an addictive hallucinogenic drug, but she could not learn much else.  On the subject of Morgantha however, Elan shared her research where she had learned that a night hag had the power to reach through the ethereal plane to touch a sleeping creature.  If the hag maintained contact for an hour, the creature would see terrible visions and gain no benefits from resting.  Worse yet, the creature’s life force would be slowly drained until death occurred.  Elan then turned to Jainey and asked if she had been the target of such attacks, and Jainey admitted that she had.  Elan cast Greater Restoration on Jainey and quickly cured her of the worst of the ill effects.

The elf went on to explain that she had devised a spell which would enable the party to journey to the ethereal plane to confront Morgantha.  Elan supplied a special amulet that would prevent the hag from teleporting away.  Elan stated that they would need to wait until that evening so she could make her preparations.  She asked if the heroes would be willing to undertake a quest to seek out a specific artifact for the elves as a payment for her help.  The party agreed to do this, and took the opportunity to nap and catch up on rest until the evening came.  That night, they bedded down in the tree and went to sleep, as Elan cast a glowing circle that filled the majority of the room.  Suddenly, the party awoke to find themselves in the ethereal plane with the room in the tree still faintly visible around them.  Morgantha was standing next to Jainey with a shocked look on her face.  Morgantha attempted to portal away and found herself stuck!  She vowed to kill the heroes once and for all, and transformed into a huge monstrous centipede with monstrous talons, the body of which wrapped around the entire room.  

The party had a tough battle as Morgantha attempted to madden them through the monster’s gaze and smashed them violently with its teeth and claws.  She nearly downed Matteice in one ferocious set of attacks.  In spite of this they were victorious, and eventually the creature dissolved into a pile of goo.  As this happened, a burst of magical energy exploded from Morgantha’s remains and the party found that they had returned to the room from the ethereal plane.  Elan sat up from the chair where she had been dozing and asked if they were successful.

Strax and Arvene started to explain what had happened, but then realized that they heard Jainey and Matteices’ voices speaking instead!  The party quickly realized that something about the hag’s death throes had caused them to switch into different bodies.  Elan agreed to research this as the heroes headed to the temple of Mayaheine to see if the priests could reverse their condition.

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Adventure 30 – Freaky Friday (podcast episode #60)

Stardate – 0803.81 (Aug 3rd, 3081). The heroes visited the temple of Mayaheine late that night and spoke with Toliver who had helped them with other favors before. He was perplexed at their body-swapped condition and agreed to do some research if they would return in a couple more days. Strax (in Jainey’s body) in particular, was annoyed at having to wait, but with little else to do the heroes returned to the forge to rest for the night. The next morning nothing had changed. Jainey (in Strakx’s body) had a very awkward conversation with Earl before the heroes went to the Laughing Beholder for brunch. Luigi was also perplexed at their condition. They left to head to the library so they could do research but suddenly the streets darkened as glowing fog rushed their way, quickly surrounding them.

A hoard of dark shapes appeared from the fog and attacked! The party was surrounded by a massive hoard of zombies. Each member of the party fought within their new, unfamiliar bodies in order to protect themselves. Strax (Strainey) managed his sister’s spellcasting abilities quite well given the circumstances, and likewise Jainey (Jax) managed to use her brother’s crossbow tricks and constructs effectively. Matteice (Marvene) took joy in her newfound speed which allowed her to make more attacks, and Arvene (Artteice) enjoyed her height/strength and the ability to deal heavy amounts of damage on each hit using divine smite. Despite being badly outnumbered and some of the zombies hanging onto life seemingly longer than they should, the heroes eventually destroyed all of their foes. The glowing fog cleared as quickly as it had come, and the party was left wondering what had caused it. They continued their trip to the library to finish doing research.

Strax (Strainey) searched through books and lore and only found very vague mentions of the concept of a body swap, both in the forms of intentionally cast spells, and also as an incidental effect. In cases where the effect was incidental there were some mentions of it ending eventually on their own, but overall the party didn’t find much to learn about their own situation. Frustrated, they returned to the Laughing Beholder for dinner and then headed back to the forge to rest for the evening. The next morning the body-swapping effect had worn off, much to the relief of the party. They returned to the elven forest to report this to Elan, who was happy for them. Elan asked if they were ready to undertake their quest as promised. They agreed, and she provided them with a star map to get to a planet, and a planetary map with the approximate location of the artifact. As to the artifact itself, she didn’t know much beyond the fact that it was powerful, and where they would find it. They thanked her and headed to the Starrunner to see if Captain Braun was up for such a mission. The Captain agreed and they started preparing for the two week journey.

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Adventure 31 – Desert Planet – Part 1 (podcast episode #61)

Stardate – 0805.81 (Aug 5th, 3081). The heroes stocked up and joined the Starrunner for the two-week journey to the planet on the star map provided by the elf Elan.  When they arrived, they saw a world that appeared to be a reddish yellow color.  As the ship descended to 100ft over the surface, they realized that it was a desert world.  The party took the warforged druid Ruffian and debarked with him helming the Skycoach so they could investigate the area of the map where Elan had indicated the artifact would be.

As they hovered closer to the surface, Arvene noticed a small post protruding from the ground a small distance away.  Flying over, they saw that it was a pole with legs to stabilize it on the ground, with a device that moved up and down while thumping in a steady rhythm.  Suddenly the party noticed a swell in the sand near the device and a huge worm-like creature with spines and a tail stinger emerged to ram the Skycoach!  The vessel and the heroes were knocked flying, and everyone landed scattered in the sand…except for GH-88 who was swallowed whole as he fell.

Scrambling to their feet, the heroes struggled to gain footing in the loose sand in order to deal with their attacker.  Strax was also consumed before he could take any actions, and Jainey was swallowed soon after.  Arvene used her angelic shroud as she and Matteice tried desperately to attack the creature so it would spit out their friends.  Inside the worm’s belly, Strax realized that the acid from the creature was deadly, so with some quick thinking he conjured up his rope trick to allow them to hide inside its dimensional space.  He and GH-88  scrambled inside, but Jainey was rendered unconscious by the creature’s acidic belly before she had the chance!  In a stroke of strange luck however, Matteice was swallowed by the creature just in time to heal Jainey so they could both scramble into hiding, while still popping out to cast spells and hurl attacks at the creature from inside.  Meanwhile, Arvene did her best to dodge the worm’s attacks while still swinging at it from the outside, with SD-01 absorbing some attacks and helping to prevent the worm from hitting her as easily.  Finally, she managed to behead the creature and the rest of the party climbed back out.

As they took in their surroundings, they were approached by a party of humans dressed in strange black suits.  The leader said his name was Maud’Dib, and that they were on the planet Arrakis. He apologized for their unfortunate encounter with the “baby sandworm” and explained that the pole device, or thumper, was used to draw the worms so that they could forage for “spice” elsewhere without being attacked.  The heroes explained their search for an artifact in that area, and the man offered that there were many old caverns in the rock below, which they might access by using the tunnel that the baby sandworm had just dug to the surface.

The heroes thanked him and then took to the skies with Ruffian to take a brief rest before venturing underground.  Once inside the tunnels, they came to a junction where Matteice used her Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes to see what had happened in the past.  She saw visions of the large blue alien race known as the Arcane, as the creatures did battle with worm attackers, and seemed to be fleeing from one tunnel more than the others.  The heroes ventured down this path and soon noticed that the stonework had changed to smooth surfaces with engraved images and scenes on every surface.  They entered a large circular chamber, which had a ring of different colored stones on the floor.  The outer ring had eight circles with images carved into them. The images were of a planet on the path they had just entered, a mosquito spelljamming vessel, a tree, a neogi spider spelljamming vessel, a dragon, a dragonfly spelljamming vessel, a sword, and a wasp spelljamming vessel.  The non-vessel points all had passages at the edges of the room near them.

Arvene investigated the differently colored stone ring and noticed that it appeared one of the sides of it might be able to move given a small separation in the stone faces.  Strax used detect magic and found that the four spelljamming vessel images on the floor were emitting an aura.  The heroes decided to stand on those points.  As they did, the outermost ring of stone that they were standing on slowly lowered down until it was one story lower than the rest of the room.

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Adventure 32 – Desert Planet – Part 2 (podcast episode #62)

Stardate – 0819.81 (Aug 19th, 3081). The heroes explored the circular passage that had dropped down in the floor of the chamber, and found one tunnel heading outward. They navigated this and entered another large space with a tunnel and a low solid track on the floor, and a control panel on a platform by the tunnel. After some analysis they managed to operate the panel, and a vehicle rumbled into the chamber on the track. Its doors opened and the party boarded to see where it would go. They arrived in another similar terminal, with a passage that connected to a large chamber with columns down both sides.

There were steps up to a hemispheric indentation in the floor at the far end of the room, and a glowing orb of magical energy was spinning over the indentation. Arvene and Strax explored the space until Strax stepped onto the platform and the orb scanned him and then released a clockwork behir into the chamber. The party defeated it, and the orb or energy disappeared and a brass astrolabe was left in its place. Assuming this was the artifact, the party rested until Arvene heard noises and they hid inside Strax’s rope trick. A squad of Illithid Empire shocktroopers explored the room and then left!

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Adventure 33 – Desert Planet – Part 3 (podcast episode #63)

Stardate – 0819.81 (Aug 19th, 3081). The heroes finished a short rest inside the pocket dimension rope trick, and then ventured out. Arvene immediately received a communication from Hal saying that Captain Braun had been killed and the Starrunner was being searched. In shock, the heroes defeated a squad of shocktroopers down the hall and stole their uniforms before boarding the train back to the original terminal. Once there, they blended in with other shocktroopers who were swarming the caverns, apparently searching for the artifact. Exiting, they saw scores of Illithid Empire Nautiloid ships overhead, and Ruffian on the Sky coach being held captive by another squad of troopers. Arvene hid the thumper behind some dunes and activated it. The party continued their ruse as shocktroopers and convinced the squad on the skycoach to head back to the caverns.

Soon, rumbling filled the air and massive sandworms with Freman (Muad’Dib’s people) riders erupted from the sands, attacking the fleet of Illithid ships! Using the distraction, the heroes took off in the Skycoach and helped to destroy the fighters on the decks of one of the Nautiloid ships as they made their way back to the Starrunner. The sandworms and the Fremen eventually drove the attacking ships away. The heroes reboarded the Starrunner to learn from Hal that Braun had been interrogated by the leader of the empire ships, a mechanical-tentacled Mind Flayer named Xaxos. Braun had denied knowledge of the artifact and lied about their mission – and Xaxos had sucked out his brain in return. The heroes checked in with Muad’Dib and the Fremen, but confirmed that no one possessed healers with the ability to bring one back from a death under these circumstances.

Deeply saddened, the party took off with the crew of the Starrunner and conducted a funeral for the Captain in wildspace, sending his coffin along the gravity plain of the Starrunner towards a star. The heroes then learned that Braun had actually willed the ship to them – so they took charge of the Starrunner and headed back to the Rock. There, they drank to Braun’s memory and then delivered the artifact to Elan, asking her to investigate its meaning given it came at great cost.

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Adventure 34 – And Now for Something Completely Different (podcast episode #64)

Stardate – 0902.81 (Sept 2nd, 3081). The heroes researched illithids in the coming days, until they returned to meet with Elan. The elf explained that her elders had shared that the artifact was a compass that could guide one to a specific type of spelljamming vessel – but that they had been evasive about providing any other information. Arvene warned of the danger that the artifact posed to everyone on the Rock, as Jainey made a strong case that they should be granted an audience with the elders to discuss the artifact further, given its deadly cost to the Starrunner’s crew. Elan said she would try to get the party an audience with the elders.

The heroes then bedded down for the night, until they were awoken by GH-88 whose eye screen indicated that a bird was destroying the forge. It was Strax’s bird homunculus, glowing with a golden light. It had broken doors and windows and damaged every piece of inventory in the forge shop. The heroes attempted to stop the little bird, but every spell they tried only caused the bird to flash with damaging magic and then grow larger in size! First their neighbor’s shop was destroyed, and then much of the Laughing Beholder as the giant yellow bird rampaged across Low City.

The heroes cornered the giant bird in the Lesser Market and defeated it, only to see a tiny fey creature flying in its place. The little creature laughed and said they could wake up now – revealing that the entire episode had been a crazy shared dream!

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Adventure 35 – Fire Planet – Part 1 (podcast episode #65)

Stardate – 1102.81 (Nov 2nd, 3081). The heroes passed two months at the forge. Strakx had purchased a recipe for a ring of fire resistance which he wanted to make for Jainey – but it required one specific ingredient which they would need to journey to a fire planet in order to obtain.

One night they heard a soft knock at the forge door. It was Elan, the elven woman who had sent the party to retrieve a rare artifact. She shared her frustration that her elders would not meet with the heroes or acknowledge the danger that the artifact posed to her people. She also shared that she had done her own research to learn that the artifact, an astrolabe, was a key to finding not just any spelljaming vessel, but rather the Spelljammer itself. With that she tossed a bag on the floor and the astrolabe fell out. She left it to them, and left the forge after brief farewells to flee the Rock on the next transport ship.

The heroes decided to journey to the fire planet for Strakx’s ingredient, which conveniently got them off the Rock for a while in case anyone might come looking for the astrolabe. They reached the planet and journeyed inside a cavern where they encountered and defeated an Efreeti, before encountering a fiery face in an archway that said it was the Oracle of Fire. The oracle answered many questions for the heroes, who made offerings for information.

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Adventure 36 – Fire Planet – Part 2 (podcast episode #66)

Stardate – 1102.81 (Nov 2nd, 3081). The heroes asked many more questions of the Oracle of Fire, learning things about the Spelljammer, Arvene and Matteice’s pasts, and current threats that they might face. The oracle also produced several Fire Elemental Myrmidons for Strakx. The armor they wore was the material component he needed for Jainey’s Ring of Fire Resistance. They thanked the being and then turned to the task at hand. The heroes fought a long and hard battle against the three elementals inside a lava-filled cavern, but ultimately defeated them and obtained the armor that they needed. They quickly departed the fire planet in order to rest and recover and study the astrolabe on the way back to the Rock.

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Adventure 37 – Underdark (podcast episode #67)

Stardate – 0217.82 (Feb 17th, 3082). The heroes spent three months of downtime, during which they journeyed to wild space and learned how to activate the Astrolabe to search for the Spelljammer. Meanwhile, Captain Braun’s old contacts came up with information for a prospective mission to an abandoned Drow temple. The heroes decided to undertake this mission, and journeyed to the Underdark the next day. They journeyed to the temple location without incident, but were immediately surprised by a Pit Fiend who flew from the old building and attacked them. After a furious battle where Matteice nearly died and Arvene was knocked unconscious, the party was victorious.

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Adventure 38 – Stargate (podcast episode #68)

Stardate – 0218.82 (Feb 18th, 3082). The heroes explored the temple and found a huge trove of treasure in one of the side rooms around a main hall. The main hall contained a fascinating device – a large, vertical, stone ring with triangles around it. In front of the ring was a pedestal with a ring of buttons around a larger red domed button in the center. As the heroes finished collecting the treasure, the ring started to spin and a watery portal appeared. Another fiend emerged from this portal, and attacked the party. As the heroes fought to survive, two more fiends emerged and joined the fight. Strax succeeded in disabling the portal, and the party eventually killed all of their foes.

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Adventure 39 – Time Stop (podcast episode #69)

Stardate – 0218.82 (Feb 18th, 3082). The heroes journeyed back to the surface of the Rock intending to get some much needed rest. When they arrived, they found that everything on the surface and in wildspace was strangely frozen in time! After exploring the phenomenon for a bit and finding no answers, they decided to rest at the forge and investigate further the next day. In the morning they went to seek answers at the library, but before they walked far they noticed an undead creature with a rotten face and tattered robes floating down from the sky overhead. The lich confronted them and stated that it was the cause of the frozen time, and that it was searching for them because it had learned from the Oracle of Fire that they possessed the Astrolabe. The heroes struggled at first to combat a foe who remained flying while lobbing spells from a distance, but they eventually defeated the lich and time on the Rock resumed as normal.

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Adventure 40 – This Is the Way (podcast episode #70)

Stardate – 0319.82 (Mar 19th, 3082). Another month of down-time passed. Strax finished a ring of fire resistance and gifted it to Jainey, and he started training to re-hone his combat skills with Matteice as well. One day the heroes were returning to the forge from Luigi’s tavern, when a spherical device landed amongst them and emitted a magical pulse. The party found themselves slowed in various ways, and watched as a bounty hunter in red armor flew in with a jetpack and attempted to drag Matteice away using a grappling hook and rope. This failed however, and the heroes did battle with yet another flying creature until the bounty hunter detonated another spherical device and slowed them further; before flying away from the group and disappearing as quickly as they appeared.

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Adventure 41 – Aliens – Part 1 (podcast episode #71)

Stardate – 0326.82 (Mar 26th, 3082). The heroes took a mission to a terraforming colony on an exomoon designated LV-426. A supply ship sent there had never returned. The Starrunner approached the colony within a quarter mile – they could see that all looked dark and abandoned other than some emergency lights. The party approached with Ruffian on the Skycoach, and debarked to investigate. Inside, they found a lab with mysterious creatures in small tanks and notes showing how they had attached to the faces of some of the colonists, resulting in death by acid blood if they were removed. The heroes briefly fought and killed the remaining specimens in the tanks. They explored further and found a young girl named Newt, who explained that the colonists had all been kidnapped to the processing station by monstrous, humanoid creatures. The heroes took Newt to the Skycoach and left briefly to check the power station. When they returned they found Ruffian unconscious and learned that Newt had been kidnapped by the alien monsters. Flying to the processing station, they entered and explored the first few sublevels. On sublevel 3 they found that the walls were coated with a hive-like substance made from what looked to be a hardened excretion. They found a woman pinned to the wall, who had a smaller monster burst from her chest before they killed it. Suddenly they heard hissing and the aliens began to rapidly approach from all directions.

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Adventure 42 – Aliens – Part 2 (podcast episode #72)

Stardate – 0402.82 (Apr 2nd, 3082). The heroes were attacked by a swarm of the alien xenomorphs. In spite of taking heavy acid damage from the creatures’ blood, they managed to destroy their foes. Arvene heard screaming in the distance down the hall and realized that it was Newt! The party dashed to the opening of a large chamber, with its floor filled with alien-looking eggs. Set above them was a queen alien who was laying more eggs to build her hive. The heroes spotted Newt attached to a far wall in the chamber, with an alien face-hugger crawling out of an egg, about to attack her. They killed the creature and rescued Newt as the queen watched them warily. The party backed away to the entrance to the chamber, and Jainey set the entire chamber on fire with a giant fireball. They ran away as the queen screamed and her eggs were destroyed. With many of the party badly wounded, they decided to hide in Strakx’ rope trick spell to take a short rest.

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Adventure 43 – Aliens – Part 3 (podcast episode #73)

Stardate – 0402.82 (Apr 2nd, 3082). The party took a short rest in the rope trick pocket dimension. Strakx peeked outside and heard warning announcements going off. The heroes had eight minutes to evacuate to a safe distance given the colony was going to self-destruct. They left the rope trick and sprinted away with Newt. Boarding the Skycoach with Ruffian, they returned to the Starrunner and boarded the ship. They turned to look back at the colony, just as a crew member was killed by an alien tail lancing up from below. The alien Queen emerged from the bottom of the Skycoach where she had been hidden, and moved to attack the crew. The heroes fought a tough battle, but finally destroyed her, and knocked her from the ship’s deck before her acidic blood could do more damage to the decks below. The crew then returned to the Rock, where Newt decided to join the ship’s crew going forward. The heroes collected their award and tried to plan their next quest.

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Adventure 44 – T2 (podcast episode #74)

Stardate – 0502.82 (May 2nd, 3082). The heroes were returning to the forge one day when suddenly they heard a commotion on the street.  They saw a thin, human male figure killing a thin, muscled, human female using a sword that seemingly formed from its own arm!  A teenage human male screamed “Mom, no!” before fleeing down the road with his mother’s killer in pursuit.  The heroes fought the man until he dissolved into a pool of liquid metal and started to reform itself.  They fled with the teenage boy, who explained that the man was sent from the future to kill him, and that he seemed virtually indestructible given his liquid metal body would always reform no matter what was done to it.  The heroes fled to the Skycoach and hovered above the Rock to come up with a better plan.  They agreed that trapping the man in Strakx’s bag of holding and disposing of it through the Stargate to the Astral Sea was the best option, given the man would almost certainly never escape from the bag of holding, at least not in the teenager’s lifetime. They flew the Skycoach to the sewer entrance that led to the underdark, and arrived at the abandoned temple just as the terminator caught up with them.  They quickly used spells and attacks to dissolve their foe into its liquid form, and then Jainey used her dragon’s breath to freeze it.  They gathered the frozen metal into the bag of holding and discarded it into the Stargate and into the Astral Sea.  The boy, named John, thanked them for their help and hoped that he would now be safe.

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Adventure 45 – Unknown Plane (podcast episode #75)

Stardate – 0602.82 (June 2nd, 3082). The party spent another month on the Rock and decided that they wanted to explore one unknown plane with a name that was scratched out on the Stargate.  They journeyed to the temple in the underdark once again, and Strakx opened the Stargate.  They stepped through into a world that was dark and oppressive, which dealt them heavy necrotic damage and caused them to want to give up hope.  In the distance, huge dark shadowy creatures started to close in on them.  Realizing their mistake, Strakx dialed the gate back home from the Negative Plane.  They arrived safely back at the temple, but Arvene spotted shadowy figures leaving the temple doors.  The heroes stepped outside to see who had followed them there, and were confronted with dark shadowy versions of themselves.  The shadow versions readied their weapons and the heroes realized they were in for a dangerous fight as each foe used abilities that nearly mirrored their own against them.  The party concentrated their attacks and managed to take down the Shadow-Jainey first, then the Shadow-Matteice, and then the Shadow-Strakx and Shadow-Arvene.  The party returned to the surface of the Rock to rest and heal, and resolved to never visit that plane again.

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Adventure 46 – The Illithid Empire (podcast episode #76)

Stardate – 0703.82 (June 3rd, 3082). The heroes were relaxing at the Laughing Beholder Tavern when Luigi floated over and told them about a nautiloid ship that had pulled into the docks.  The ship had the emblem of the Illithid Empire emblazoned on it.  Suddenly a small squad of white-armored shocktroopers entered the bar.  They attempted to get Matteice to come with them, and ignored Luigi when he told them to get out.  The party and Luigi engaged in a brief battle with the shocktroopers, defeating them easily.  Strakx took a comm-piece from one of the bodies and could hear traffic from the ship saying that their leader wanted at least one party member alive, that there were additional ships on the way to the Rock, and that they were looking for the astrolabe artifact that was currently in the party’s possession.  Thinking of Earl, the heroes departed to the forge and found another squad of shocktroopers posted outside.  Sneaking in the back, they sent Earl home for the day and took a short rest while they attempted to make a plan.  Arvene messaged Hal and told her to prepare the Starrunner and the crew for a longer journey.  Meanwhile, Strakx decided to open the door to attempt to draw the troopers inside the forge.

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Adventure 47 – Rumble at the Forge (podcast episode #77)

Stardate – 0703.82 (June 3rd, 3082). The heroes fought the squad of shocktroopers outside the forge.  Earl suddenly appeared with a greataxe and joined the fight!  With the squad defeated, the party traveled to the docks and debated boarding or disabling the nautiloid ship.  Before they could however, the remaining troops withdrew inside and the ship launched to wildspace, presumably to regroup with the additional ships that Strakx had heard were still a few weeks away.  Deciding that it was not wise to stay on the Rock any longer, the heroes went to the Starrunner and instructed Hal to take off once the crew was onboard.  Once they were well away from the Rock, Strakx activated the astrolabe and used it to set a course for the ancient spelljamming vessel known only as the Spelljammer.

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Adventure 48 – Revel Station (podcast episode #78)

Stardate – 0903.82 (Sep 3rd, 3082). The Starrunner journeyed for nearly two months until they were running low on supplies. One day Zeed the lookout spotted something in the distance with bright and changing lights. On approach, they found it was a space colony named “Revel Station.” They decided to stop there for rest and supplies. The heroes explored the shops on the promenade and acquired some magical charms and elixirs for themselves. Then they were drawn to a fighting arena where three golems were in a cage match against each other. Suddenly the cage broke open and the fight spilled out onto the promenade! The party squared off against the clay, stone, and iron golems; and eventually defeated them. Then they were approached by two figures in cloaks and hoods, who revealed themselves as Arvene’s parents!

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Adventure 49 – Stranger Things (podcast episode #79)

Stardate – 0903.82 (Sep 3rd, 3082). After a tearful reunion, Arvene introduced her parents to the party, and they all sat down for a meal on the promenade of Revel Station. Arvene shared some more of her previous life with the party, and she told her parents how the party captained a ship and operated out of the Rock of Bral. Her parents shared that they were now working as guardians for a lord on a nearby planet, and that they had difficulties with orc raids that drove them to occasionally restock supplies at Revel Station. After the meals, they said farewells. Arvene agreed to her parents request to visit them on the planet Arketh once the party’s current mission was complete.

The Starrunner departed the station and journeyed six more weeks till the astrolabe directed them to a green and blue planet with heavy tree cover on its surface. They took the skycoach and landed at the point the astrolabe directed them too, where a large tree was located. There was an opening at the base of the tree that formed a tunnel covered by a thick, web-like substance. After pushing their way through the tunnel the party arrived in a dark “stranger” version of the same forest. There were floating spores of some kind that seemed relatively harmless, thankfully. They heard a series of growls and were swarmed by a pack of strange creatures with heads like the bud of a flower, containing tooth-petaled mouths. The heroes defeated their attackers and used Strax’s rope trick to take a short rest.

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Adventure 50 – The City of Tahl’Maylar (podcast episode #80)

The heroes left the rope trick in the strange dark dimension and followed the astrolabe until they reached a large dome. The astrolabe caused a door in the dome to open, and the heroes stepped in to find a large, futuristic city populated entirely by the Arcane, a race known for creating and selling spelljamming equipment. They were approached by one Arcane who introduced himself as Galmore. Jainey explained how they arrived at the dome and Galmore was fascinated by their story. He explained that they were in the city of Tahl’Maylar, where the Arcane had fled thousands of years ago when the sun at their home planet went nova. He offered to introduce them to the CIty Council, and after some debate, the party agreed that this would be wise. As they walked to the city chambers, Arvene noticed that two Arcane were following them. Strax attempted to hide the astrolabe away while feigning putting it back inside the bag of holding. At the City Chambers, Strax sent a tiny servant for a walk with the bag of holding, telling it to hide until they returned. The heroes spoke to the one council member who was present that day. He was very concerned that strangers had managed to access the dome. Galmore and the heroes explained how the astrolabe had granted them access. The heroes asked him for information on the astrolabe and also the history of the Arcane. At the end of the discussion they agreed that Galmore would escort them while they continued to seek the Spelljammer. As they left the city chambers, Strakx recalled his tiny servant and Arvene noticed that the two Arcane following them had returned. Jainey managed to cast hold person to freeze them. Strakx detected magic on them but not illusions – and the heroes decided to hurry on their way while their pursuers were still paralyzed.

They reached a dead end alley and the astrolabe opened another doorway, which led to a different dimension. They stepped into to a dimly lit chamber with a gargantuan mechanical guardian standing inactive inside. When they approached, the construct activated and said “Greetings Jorin, please state the password!” – and gave them thirty seconds to provide an answer. Strakx and Galmore both attempted guesses with no success, so the creature drew back its sword to attack.

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Adventure 51 – Jorin’s Laboratory (podcast episode #81)

Inside the dimly lit pocket dimension, the heroes fought a brief, intense battle with the construct guardian but managed to destroy it.  When they did, another doorway opened.  They stepped through into a large laboratory space.  They saw maps of galaxies and solar systems. There was also a map of the Spelljammer on a wall. The ship appeared to have a city at it’s center.  As Strakx stepped near one area with the astrolabe, a hologram of an Arcane activated in the center of the room.  Jorin greeted them and explained that he must be long dead, but that he had sought the Spelljammer long before them.  He explained that a device in the cabinet would help them to find the ship’s location, but that they had to act quickly given the ship could travel at great speeds, as well as plane shift.  He wished them luck and hoped that their intentions for the Spelljammer were pure of heart.  The heroes explored the rest of the lab and quickly found the data pad that Jorin spoke of, along with a host of helpful magic items, and a transporter device which Galmore explained could relocate them to any space with another definite set of coordinates, or another transport pad, in an instant.  The party agreed to jump first to his quarters, and then to the outskirts of the city just beyond the dome.  Their goal was to reach the Starrrunner while also giving Galmore time to report back to the council to explain what they had found, while withholding certain key details about the locator tablet.  Galmore also gave the party a device which would permit him to locate them to transport them back to his quarters if the need arose.

The heroes returned to the Starrunner and explained to the crew what their quest was, and how they hoped they would all support their goal to locate the Spelljammer given Captain Braun gave his life to protect it.  Strakx activated the data pad to determine that the current location of the Spelljammer was inside the Elemental Plane of Water!

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Adventure 52 – Sigil, City of Doors (podcast episode #82)

The party debated how to get to the Elemental Plane of Water. Arvene explained that she knew of a place called Sigil which was nicknamed the City of Doors. She had used it previously to reach the Astral Sea when Matteice reincarnated into her next deva life. Arvene knew a planet that they could reach with the Starrunner in order to find a gate to Sigil, which lived in its own separate plane. The heroes decided to do this, and had Ruffian drop them off on the planet near the gate once it opened. They distracted a tyrannosaurus rex who was sleeping by the gate just long enough to rush through. At Sigil, they spent several days shopping for magic items and managed to purchase a key to a gate to the Plane of Water. Strakx helped them to purchase a portable boat so they would be able to navigate once they were there. They journeyed through the gate to a stormy island on the other side. They took shelter within Strakx’s private sanctum spell and rested while they waited for the storm to clear. The locator tablet showed them that the Spelljammer was located across an ocean away from the island.

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Adventure 53 – Pirates in the Fog (podcast episode #83)

The heroes set out on their folding boat (a galleon) after their long rest.  As a storm was threatening overhead a cloud of fog surrounded them and a ship called the Elizabeth Dane approached along their port side.  Dozens of zombie pirates were on board. They used the fog to teleport to the party’s galleon and attack!  The heroes fought a long, intense battle, but they eventually destroyed their attackers.  The pirate ship vanished along with the fog.  Using Jorin’s data pad to home in on the Spelljammer, they sailed on for another hour as the storm opened up with full force. They finally approached the ancient, manta-ray shaped ship known as the Spelljammer as it was gently riding out the storm in the waves.  Suddenly, a point of light approached rapidly from the ship.  It was a giant laser blast which tore through the hull of the galleon, splitting it in two.  The party was tossed into the stormy seas…

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Adventure 54 – The Spelljammer – Part 1 (podcast episode #84)

After a harrowing swim, the heroes managed to make their way to one of the giant fins of the Spelljammer and they clambored onboard.  Exhausted, they stepped forward and spotted a tower nearby which was shooting more random laser blasts out into the sea.  As they approached closer, several dark shapes emerged from the storm and a small group of amphibian creatures called Sahuagin moved in to attack.  The heroes fought them off and managed to take one caster hostage as two other Sahuagin fled back into the sea.  The party went to the tower where the laser fire originated, and climbed up to a chamber where the weapon was located.  They locked the tower door and hunkered down for a rest.  Feeling slightly less exhausted, they explored the rest of the ship, but found even the city at its center to be deserted other than some corpses in a few locations.  Checking the captain’s tower, they found a hidden door behind a bookcase, and found a dias with a crown on it.  Jainey donned the crown.

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Adventure 55 – The Spelljammer – Part 2 (podcast episode #85)

Jainey put on the crown and was instantly connected to the Spelljammer.  She gained awareness of everything on the ship, but additionally was shown emotions that indicated that the ship was alive!  It was capable of birthing “Smalljammer” spacecraft like they had seen on the ship’s landing strips, and also “Shivak” constructs to help operate the ship.  Further, the ship was ancient and after so long on its own it longed to have a crew, to have beings living in its city, and to travel wildspace with its passengers in peace.  Jainey shared these revelations with the party, and they journeyed to the Shivak Terminal to greet its first creation, Vincent, who was the leader of the Shivaks.  Vincent had access to all of the history from the ship’s logs – and he journeyed with them to the combat tower where Matteice confirmed with her Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes that the petrified umber hulk resulted from a battle between Duergar Dwarves and a Medusa long ago.  Vincent confirmed that this incident had occurred 6000 years ago, and the heroes realized that Mattiece’s powers were being amplified by the emotional powers of the Spelljammer such that she could see events from much further in the past than she normally could.

The heroes waited two days while Vincent constructed the remaining Shivaks that he needed to fully operate the ship, and then they plane shifted back to the material plane, near the planet where they had first departed to Sigil. Arvene eventually reached Hal on her communicator and confirmed that the Starrunner was nearby.  She gave them orders to return and land on the Spelljammer.  The party welcomed the crew and gave them a tour of their new home, and Hal eagerly worked with Jainey to take over duties with the crown in command of the legendary ship.  Arvene and Mattiece and Strakx worked to train some of the crew in operating the Smalljammers just in case they needed to defend themselves.  Then the party decided to set out for Arketh where Arvene’s parents were located in the hopes that they might have heard rumors of the Illithid Empire fleet’s activities.  As the Spelljammer raced through wildspace, they realized that it was travelling twice the speed of a normal spelljamming vessel.  Suddenly, as Hal piloted through an asteroid field, a large asteroid approached the ship and revealed ten legs as it grabbed onto a tower in the city and started shooting webbing everywhere

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Adventure 56 – Arachnoid (podcast episode #86)

The party sprang into action as the asteroid spider attacked the Spelljammer.  Arvene commanded Hal to muster the crew to the Smalljammers to help fight off the attack as the heroes dashed from the Captains Tower over a skybridge to the next building to engage the spider.  They used powerful attacks and spells and endured vicious web attacks and acidic bites,  but managed to defeat the monster just as a second monster attacked the aft portion of the city.  The Smalljammers took to the air to help fight off that threat while Jainey and Strakx also ran to the laser towers and helped to fight off other asteroid spiders emerging from the asteroid field around the ship.  Arvene directed Hal to fly the Spelljammer away from the asteroids.  The heroes directed Hal to activate the ship’s cloaking device after the attack, which appeared to function as they journeyed to planet Arketh without incident after that.

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Adventure 57 – The Tarrasque (podcast episode #87)

As the party journeyed to Arketh, Arvene had a vision of her parents fighting in a massive orc raid on their village. Hal asked the Spelljammer to increase its speed and it did. The heroes arrived three days later to find they were too late. Arvene’s parents’ village had been destroyed with few survivors, and her parents were missing. Matteice used her Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes and saw the battle ending and Arvene’s parents being carried off by orcs towards the mountains in the distance. The party flew that direction in the Star runner until they reached a low valley surrounded by the mountains they had just crossed. Down below they could see the orcs gathered around a pit by a large cave in the side of the mountain. Jainey launched a fireball as a diversion, and the heroes attacked as Arvene confirmed that her parents were laying unmoving in the pit. Suddenly the earth shook and a giant Tarrasque emerged from the cave and quickly destroyed the remaining orcs. The heroes fought a difficult battle in which Arvene was swallowed, GH-88 and SD-02 were destroyed, and both Matteice and Jainey were nearly killed. They prevailed however as Mattiece beheaded the monster just as it was about to swallow an unconscious Jainey!

The party found Arvene’s parents deeply asleep in the pit and determined that they had been drugged. Mattiece confirmed with her Memory of a Thousand Lifetimes that the pit had been used by the orcs for years as a location to sacrifice captives to the Tarrasque. The party returned to the Spelljammer with Arvene’s parents and the two survivors from their village to seek medical attention.

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Adventure 58 – Attack on Revel Station (podcast episode #88)

Once Arvene’s parents woke up, they were sad to hear what had happened to their village, and they asked to journey with the party on the Spelljammer instead.  After healing the other survivors of the orc attack and returning them to the planet, the party decided it was time to return to the Rock of Bral to determine what had happened in the months since they had fled.  As they journeyed, their route passed near Revel Station however, and the heroes saw that the station was under attack from an Illithid Empire Nautiloid ship and its smaller fighter craft known as Paralarva.  Some visiting craft were attempting to defend the station but the battle was not going in their favor.  The heroes rushed to man the Spelljammer fighter craft, the smaller of the Smalljammers, and to help defend the station.  After a pitched battle, several Paralarvae were disabled and the remainder fled along with the Nautiloid ship.  The heroes agreed to collect prisoners from these craft on the Starrunner and to dock at the station to check in on the inhabitants, hopefully to confirm why the Illithid Empire was there.

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Adventure 59 – Unicron’s Head (podcast episode #89)

The heroes spent two days getting much needed rest and helping to repair the damage to Revel Station.  As they were preparing to leave for the Rock of Bral, they noticed a large robotic head in wildspace drifting slowly towards the station.  The party approached in the Starrunner until Jainey was close enough to make telepathic contact.  The giant creature identified itself as Unicron and stated that it needed a new body and could test the space station for compatibility.  Jainey attempted to distract the creature and warn it off with no success as it grappelled the station with robotic cables and started assimilating it.  The heroes attempted a few external attacks with no success until they spotted a possible entry point in the bottom of the robot’s neck and flew inside.  There, they journeyed through electronic corridors until they reached a larger chamber that appeared to host the robot’s core.  They fought off vicious robotic tentacles and endured electric shocks from the core until it was finally destroyed and Unicron started to self-destruct.  They directed the Spelljammer to ram Unicron’s head while cloaked and the head drifted a safe distance from the station before exploding.  

With the day saved once again, the heroes set course for the Rock as Arvene had a vision of a large brain-shaped space station firing a beam and destroying an entire planet.

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Adventure 60 – The Death Brain (podcast episode #90)

The heroes set course for the brain-shaped space station.  En route, Arvene shared that her vision had also shown her that there would be a vulnerable node at the top of an exhaust port in a trench running between the hemispheres of the brain.  If the node were destroyed, it would cause a chain reaction into the exhaust port and into the core of the station which would cause it to explode. The party planned to keep the Spelljammer cloaked while sending out a decoy smalljammer camouflaged as the Starrunner.  Then they would approach with smalljammer fighter craft, camouflaged as space-faring shark creatures known as Starlancers, and attack once they got closer to the trench.  The party executed this plan easily, fighting off Paralarvae craft and gun turrets located in the trench.  When they got close enough, Arvene fired a precise shot at the node, destroying it and setting the chain reaction in motion.  The party and the other fighters from the Spelljammer sped away as the “Death Brain” exploded!  

The heroes were ready to celebrate and collect salvage when suddenly Arvene had another vision.  She saw the Illithid Empire fleet attacking the Rock of Bral on a large scale.  Arvene also saw Yarina Mendar, leader of the rebellion against the Empire, on the bridge of the Illithid Command ship held captive with indistinct figures around her.  With no time to waste, the heroes flew the Spelljammer to the Rock and once again the heroes took off in fighter craft camouflaged as Starlancers and approached until they landed on a deck on the command ship.  They mowed through shocktroopers until they reached the bridge of the ship.  There, not only did they see Yarina bound with elite shocktroopers surrounding her, but also the Red Bounty Hunter, Mattiece’s old mob boss Meilfole, and Xaxos, a mind flayer with metal face tentacles who was wearing black robes, the leader of the Illithid Empire.  After a brief exchange of threats the heroes prepared to attack their greatest foes.

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Adventure 61 – Battle with the Empire – Part 1 (podcast episode #91)

Arvene transformed and launched at Meilfole, smashing him while Mattiece followed close behind.  Arkanos, the Red Bounty Hunter, launched slow-down grenades at different parts of the party while also attacking with their fibercord whip and flamethrower.  Xaxos however ignored the heroes and first killed Yarina in front of them in a display of power, then launched a psychic blast which stunned several members of the party. The elite shocktroopers fired on Strakx and Jainey.  Strakx frantically threw up a wall of stone in order to protect himself and Jainey while she fought to overcome being stunned.  The first part of the fight ended with Jainey, SD-02, and GH-88 being stunned, Mattiece restrained by Arkanos’ fibercord whip, and Arvene impacted by the reduced effects of one of the slow-grenades.  Xaxos had closed in on Mattiece but fortunately did not succeed in grappling or stunning her with their tentacle attack.

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Adventure 62 – Battle with the Empire – Part 2 (podcast episode #92)

The Illithid Empire’s fleet was still attacking the Rock of Bral. Our heroes’ battle on the bridge of the command ship of the Illithid Empire was continuing. Strakx stepped out from the wall of stone to fire on opponents but remained hidden to protect Jainey. Arkanos and the shocktroopers rained damage on Mattiece and bloodied her while she was restrained by Arkanos’ whip and more vulnerable to damage. Jainey managed to shake off Arkanos’ stun effect on her own, but remained hidden behind Strakx’s wall.  Desperate to give Mattiece a chance to escape, Arvene taunted Xaxos with her Swashbuckler ability, enraging them and weakening their attacks against others. However, Xaxos mocked her in turn as they said they would kill her friend in punishment, and then cast Power Word Kill on Mattiece who fell dead on the floor.  Strakx heard Arvene’s scream of rage as Mattiece fell, and dropped the wall of stone so he could fly down and quickly and cast the spell Revivify on Matteice.  Jainey wasted no time, grabbing GH-88’s final adrenaline shot, and then she used Misty Step to quickly reach Mattiece and heal her.  Jainey also managed to kill Meilfole and badly injured Arkanos with a Magic Missile spell from her Robe of Stars. Jainey’s Misty Step triggered a wild surge that permitted her to give Mattiece the ability to fly!

Arvene landed some powerful attacks on Arkanos before returning to cover on the walkway above.  Xaxos first attempted and failed at grabbing Mattiece, before targeting Arvene with a disintegrate ray, which thankfully did little damage.  Mattiece managed to Misty Step to the walkway above, where she healed herself with Lay on Hands.  Arkanos and the shocktroopers then concentrated damage on Jainey, while Xaxos grabbed Strakx but failed to stun him.  Jainey cast Globe of Invulnerability around herself and hit Arkanos with more damage, and then Arvene and Mattiece flew out and concentrated damage on Arkanos. With a mighty smite from Mattiece, Arkanos finally fell.  Seeing this, Xaxos unleashed another psychic blast at three quarters of the party. Jainey was stunned again and quickly knocked unconscious by shocktrooper laser fire.  Strakx was quick on his feet however, and struck Xaxos with a round of attacks while using his Arcane Jolt ability to heal Jainey.  Jainey stood up and unleashed her Psychic Scream on her remaining foes, injuring and stunning the shocktroopers and also damaging Xaxos. Jainey’s spell triggered another wild surge which allowed her to bloody three of the shocktroopers with lightning damage!

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Adventure 63 – The Final Frontier (podcast episode #93)

The pitched battle with Xaxos continued.  The Mind Flayer and four shocktroopers (three of them stunned by Jainey’s psychic scream) were the only enemies remaining after the heroes had finally defeated both Meilfole and Arkanos.  Jainey stood badly injured, barely healed by Strakx’s arcane magic.  Arvene was flying overhead as Mattiece and Strakx were both engaged with Xaxos on the ground.  Xaxos had Strakx grappled with their metal face tentacles, but not stunned.

Arvene wasted no time, first swooping down to dose Jainey with an adrenaline shot.  Then she flew to flank Xaxos with Mattiece, landing a huge hit and bloodying the Mind Flayer.  Xaxos was growing desperate as they held Strakx in their grapple but were also surrounded by other foes.  With Jainey healed and no longer highly vulnerable to their spells, Xaxos opted to attempt the dimension door spell in order to escape and attack with their Mind Blast from a distance.  However, Jainey reacted quickly and countered their spell, forcing Xaxos to remain cornered and outnumbered.  Mattiece attacked with a series of powerful divine smites.  Badly wounded, Xaxos rendered themselves invisible in an attempt to stave off further attacks.  However, Strakx used the heat metal spell to do further damage through the metal tentacles that held him grappled in place – gritting his teeth as he also took the same damage.  Finally, Jainey both attacked the shocktroopers with Flaming Hands, and she followed that with a firebolt attack on Xaxos, taking advantage of the additional accuracy for attack spells that she had been granted by the adrenaline shot.  This proved to be enough as her bolt found Xaxos even as they were invisible and harder to attack!  And suddenly Xaxos reappeared and released Strakx as they fell to the ground, dead at last.

Arvene ordered the one un-stunned shocktrooper to call off the Illithid Empire’s attack, and the fleet of enemy ships scattered and fled.  Then she communicated with the Spelljammer’s pilot Hal and learned that unfortunately, the Rock of Bral had been completely destroyed by the scale of the Illithid Empire’s attack.  Hal explained that she and the Spelljammer crew had managed to evacuate nearly half of the Rock’s citizens onto the Spelljammer – but unfortunately the ruling family and over half of the Rock’s population had failed to survive.  Further, Maze, the changeling bard, and Dimble, the gnome alchemist, had also perished in their efforts to help the Rock’s citizens during the attack.  Reeling from this information, the heroes returned to the Spelljammer and quickly learned that both Earl and Luigi were among those who had survived the attack.  They also learned that enough clerics had escaped from the Temple of Mayaheine to perform True Resurrection on Yarina, the leader of the rebellion against the Empire, who returned to life to continue her leadership and ensure the Empire did not regroup.

In the weeks that followed, Yarina learned that much of the empire had ceased to exist once the fear of Xaxos’ leadership was gone.  Earl asked Jainey out (finally) and they continued to date while she worked to start a magic school on the ship.  Arvene and Mattiece ensured that Yarina had a sending stone just in case she ever needed their help in the future, and then Arvene worked with her parents to start a combat academy to train future guardians of the Spelljammer, while Mattiece worked with the church to further redeem herself from the choices she had made in past lives.  Strakx both worked with Earl to re-build the forge, and also ran for mayor to help govern the new city of citizens on the Spelljammer while Arvene and Hal maintained their roles as captain and pilot for the ship itself.  If there was one point of concern, it was that the vampire lord Strahd Von Zarovich appeared to have escaped the Rock successfully to the Spelljammer, and had a following of young punkish human males with long hair with him.  The heroes resolved to leave them be for now, but to monitor the situation.

Finally, Jainey was pleased to sense a general empathic feeling of contentment from the Spelljammer itself, as it was happy to finally be travelling while populated with a large and diverse group of beings once again.

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