Spacefarers Campaign Journal

Player Characters:

  • Arvene (Kate): Female aasimar fighter, traveling companion of Matteice.
  • Jainey (Sarah): Female kalashtar sorceress (wildmage), sister of Strakx.
  • Matteice (Greg): Female deva paladin, traveling companion of Arvene.
  • Strakx (John): Male hobgoblin artificer, 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. 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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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)

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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