Heroes of the Sky

Feedback interlude

((Yeah I’m still That guy, that DM who wants to know what he can do to improve the play experience for his players. To that end, I made a topic on our site about feedback. Please take a moment and respond if you have any feedback on the campaign so far.))

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4 - Into the Shadow

((The players for Eve and Ash joined the adventure half-way through))

With the Skystrider’s core repaired, the crew prepared for their journey to the Shadowfell to free Captain Kenneth Raptor’s soul from the clutches of Lord Vyse Endshade. As they are about to make the set sail, they are visited by Phosta, the Deva contact of Gahzrital. He suggests that this trip is for naught, that they clearly don’t need Captain Raptor to find the Compass given how well they’ve done so far. While Claudia and ‘Rys argue that the Captain is an important part to the crew being at “100%,” Caelestis Nailo, who was spying on them at this point, insists the Orcus worshiper there must pay his dues to the Raven Queen, the captain or not. Phosta gives up his case and leave the crew to depart.

They successfully travel to the Shadowfell and land in the town of Balestone, a city of Shaddria, a mortal friendly kingdom believed to be a puppet of Gloomwrought, and an effort to resist the efforts of two nearby Vampire kingdoms over the fertile lands nearby. The group splits into smaller groups, and Ten, Norlan Donaaran, Sin (Sintera Barona), and Caelestis going off into the streets to find info, while Letharyis Skyedge, Claudia Aspiria, Vas “Ruin” Samuel, and Karlsvanberg (Karl) went to look into an old contact they had in town. While ‘Rys’s group was more or less unsuccessful, Ten’s group fought off a group of bounty hunters, made some friends at a local in, and rescued a Gnomish cartographer named Vuul after saving his map shop from Dark Creepers trying to hide the way to Endshade’s fortress. Vuul awarded them a map, and an old suit of plate mail worn by an old friend, to aid them in their journey.

With a map there, our heroes approached the fortress. They were then contacted by Endshade who told them that if more than 5 people showed up, he would crush the Captain’s soul. Together our heroes hatch a plan to use the emergency feather-fall belts to drop un-noticed into the fortress while a skeleton crew remains behind to feign handing over the ship to Endshade. The away party consisted to Ten, Cealestis, Norlan, Sin, Ash, and Eve. As the party on board the ship negotiated with Endshade, Ghouls spotted the away party and a fight broke out. Still managing to avoid raising an alarm, the away party fought their way past Endshade’s Orcus worshiping lieutenants and made it into his throne room.

Our heroes fought the self-styled “Sword of Orcus” with all their might, putting him in his place. Yet the humanoid never faltered in his confidence, and when he was struck with what should have been a mortal blow, a powerful burst of energy fired the party away from him, and a massive hole appeared below him. Our heroes had just enough time to catch their breath before Endshade revealed his true form: A young black dragon! Already drained our heroes struggled a little more with this monster, and it taunted them, telling them their quest for the The Arcanist’s Compass, as well as Ghazrithal’s Brood, were doomed. In the end however, Ten produced an amazing feat of sword play and delivered upon the dragon it’s deathblow.

Shortly after the dragon’s demise the castle began to crumble. A zombie hulk’s defeated corpse crashed through the ceiling, followed by a rope ladder tossed by the Skystrider. As our heroes climbed it, they were greeted by the now very well Captain Raptor, who explained that the entire “holding his soul captive” thing was a ruse to trap our heroes and steal the ship. His soul was indeed delayed in the Shadowfell, unable to escape through a bargain the dragon made with Orcus, a bargain that ended when he died. Now he is quite alive and well, though he remembers nothing from the moment of his demise.

The captain welcomes Eve and Ash formally onto the crew, and sympathizes with the plight of their tribe. While he tells them he wants to do all in his power to help them, he worried about their goals with the Compass competing with the dragon’s. They may need to act quickly when the find the item to save their tribe, before the dragons find out that they didn’t bring it back immediately.

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3 - Silenced Gears

((For official record, Ten and Sin (Sintera Barona)’s players could not attend the session, and Karlsvanberg (Karl)’s player was MIA. Karl’s player has since spoken to me about family issues that have been keeping him away and the likely-hood that he might not get to play in the campaign anymore. This campaign record will now reference when Karl plays instead of references every time he doesn’t show up.))

Following their adventure in Shorne the crew of the Skystrider spend another day recovering from their adventure. Ash learned some rituals, Norlan Donaaran learned more about the ship, and Caelestis Nailo broke up her time between taking care of her flower boxes and getting to know Hadron Rook. During the process, Hadron suggests more than once that he’d like to take a tour of her body with the robes on it, which makes Caelestis decide she’s not talking to him anymore – for the time being.

The following day breakfast is ended when Letharyis Skyedge arrives to announce they have a new job. Claudia Aspiria’s contacts in Bahest have picked up a distress message over psionic pathways coming from deep inside the Golden Dunes of the Dry March. It sounds as if the source is an airship factory, which is a mystery as to why anyone would build one there. While ‘Ris initially thought to have us go just as a mission of search and rescue, Claudia was reached by their contact with Gahzrital, a Deva named Phosta that he would reward the crew of the Skystrider if they acted on Bahest’s behalf and scouted out who built this factory and to what purpose, possibly taking technology or plans to learn more. At the mention of Gahzrital, Norlan Donaaran instantly expresses his interest.

After an afternoon of travel, the ship arrives at the facility named Erziest. Due to Ten needing maintenance, ‘Ris accompanies Caelest, Norlan, and Ash into the facility. Once inside, it is clear that Erziest was attacked although by what is not clear. As our heroes track the dead bodies they eventually find the inner part of the facility where an airship larger than the Skystrider was being built. The party finds two forges, defeating brown-colored Kobolds protecting each. In the second, an intact Skyjammer Core that can be salvaged to help repair theirs. Interrogating the Kobolds reveals that a Young Brown Dragon was ousted by its mother and is now searching for a lair, an decided this keep would do until it could find a better one. On their way out of the area, they attract the dragon’s attention as it prepares to feast upon the adventurers. After a harrowing battle, they defeat the dragon, but barely, and decide to return to the ship for a rest.

The following morning the party is joined by Eve for their second trip into the facility to find out what was going on before the Kobolds attacked. This time they explore the city part of the keep, finding more Kobolds running its streets, pillaging and killing what hasn’t already been taken. They find a barracks in which spinning blade traps are wreaking havoc upon an entire squad of Kobolds. The party dispatches these kobolds easily and Ash decides to deal with the remaining blade trap by trapping it in the training room. Our party then finds survivors hiding in the command room of the barracks. A dragonborn guard captain and his best men are the last line of defense for the noble running this operation. The noble demands that he get to keep the full details of the facility secret as they are important to the national security of the city state of Zulik. When the noble finds out that our heroes had already looted the facilities forges and planned to do more, he orders his men to attack the party. While Caelest intimates them, Norlan and ‘Ris try and convince the guard captain that his boss is being unreasonable. Words win out and the party helps the guards tie up the noble. They spend the rest of the day working the facility to rescue a handful of survivors and take the new Core aboard the Skystrider. They finish their work just in time to escape a patrol of Zulik airships coming to the facility. The Skystrider makes it back to Bahest without being intercepted, but some of the crew can’t help but worry that they’ve made an enemy of Zulik from this action.

((There. That’s what you’re getting from me. If you feel there are role playing details pertaining to your character that are inaccurate or missed, please feel free to add them))

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2 - Getting Shipshape
Skystrider: Session 2

((For reference, Sin and Karlsvanberg (Karl)’s players did not attend this session in its entirety. Ash and Eve’s players have joined the campaign.))

Our party gathers around the corpse of Kenneth Raptor and along with the crew ponder our next move. After an emotional outburst from Claudia Aspiria, it decided that we will go to the nearby town of Shorne, and try to find clerics to resurrect the dead captain. Upon arriving in town, a temple to Bahamut provides them a place to try the ritual. It works, at first, but then rather than being raised a Smokey apparition appears, identifying himself as “Lord Vyse Endshade, sword of Orcus, bane of the Raven Queen.” He claims that he is holding the captain’s soul hostage and will release it in exchange for the Skystrider. Our heroes resolve to stop him, if for nothing else than because he’s an Orcus loving, hater of the Raven Queen. A Gentle Repose is cast upon his body and he is taken to the captain’s quarters to lie until the party can achieve their goals.

There’s a catch though. The ship’s skyjammer helm was damaged in a fight against someone the crew calls “Tyson,” and needs 5000g worth of materials to be repaired. Without it, they can still fly, but they can’t travel to another plane, which they’ll need to get to Lord Endshade in the Shadowfel, let alone the Feywild to find the The Arcanist’s Compass.

The following morning our heroes wander into the town of Shorne again looking for work. On the job board they find a bounty placed on nearby goblins serving someone named “Fingersnapper”, as well as a bounty for a rogue wizard from Ever Spire named Hyleth Runemane. Our heroes find the goblins hiding out the Bael’eth Ruins, to dispatch the goblins. On the way, they meet up with Eve and Ash, shifters who are also searching for the Arcanists Compass. Together they confront the goblins and find them aided by the undead. Somehow Runemane has taken control of them, and now uses them to his own sinister ends. After several harrowing battles, our party defeats both Fingersnapper (twice after Runemane reanimates him) and Runemane, and collect the bounties from both.

They wander back to the ship, recruiting Ash and Eve on their quest, and have reduced the repair costs 3,840g. With any luck, they can pay off the rest of this repair bill soon. . .

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1 - Goodnight Captain
Skystrider: Session 1

While on the search for work, our heroes are contacted telepathically by someone from the Skystrider. She invited them to come to the Savvy Sow tavern in a couple of days to see about joining the crew as new hires. After arriving at the tavern and making friendly with each other, our heroes are introduced to captain Kenneth Raptor and the one who contacted them, Claudia Aspiria.

Ken interviews the party one by one, and then offers them a job to prove their effectiveness. For 200g each, our heroes can work together to retrieve a painting from stolen by a local minor crime lord named Roger Furdon. Through searching the town and asking questions, our heroes find his secret warehouse, and convince his minions to allow them in. Roger doesn’t fall for it however, and our heroes are forced to strike down his guards and his powerful half-orc bodyguard. The painting is saved and Roger is slain for continuing to run his mouth.

As our heroes bring the painting back to Ken, he and asks the party to walk with him. The painting is returned to the grateful young woman it was stolen from and a portion of her payment to Ken is used to pay our heroes. Ken then explains to our heroes the reason for him hiring them: A member of the dragon Gahzrital’s brood contacted his ship about the retrieval of an artifact called “The Arcanist’s Compass.”

Our heroes board the Skystrider and are briefly introduced to the crew before they take off from Bahest. They only make it a little bit out of town however a strange assailant makes her appearance and uses the element of surprise to shove Ken off the ship, causing him to fall to his death. The ship’s crew are forced to assist in keeping the ship aloft while our party defeats the assailant. Before she can be captured, she uses her considerable agility to escape and leap willingly from the ship. Her fate is unknown. After a few hours of searching our heroes find the corpse of the captain and take it aboard. Our adventure ends with our heroes wondering what to do next now that their new would-be employer lies dead at their feet…

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Session zero (Set up)
Pre-game talk

Our adventure will begin on the continent of “Touria.” At the center of this continent is a massive city state called “Bahest.” It is a powerful city-state, a center of culture, trade and learning. It is lead by a very old Gold Dragon named Gahzrital (Gahz-rit-al), and is populated by all manners of people. To the west, on the other side of the Cascade Mountains, lies the Sub-continent of “Seraph,” where two primarily human kingdoms, Acktavia and Riddel, vie for dominance in an on-going struggle that’s currently in a peaceful state.

The setting is more or less at Eberron technology level, so still fantasy, but people are starting to figure out how to power machinery using magic. Still no guns though.

There’s more to the world than this, including a vast and dangerous desert, another empire to the East, and several unexplored continents, but this should be enough to get your feet wet.

Our Heroes

Your character can be any class published currently in an official D&D product, be it a Dragon Article, or a book. This includes classes from Eberron and Forgotten Realms. Your character’s race is restricted only to player-races presented in the following books: Player’s Handbook 1 and 2, Eberron and Forgotten realms. I would prefer not to have to deal with Kalashtar from Eberron or the PHB 3 races, but if you make a good case for your character, I might allow it. Setting specific feats like Spellscars or Dragonmarks are not allowed without good reason.

The adventure will begin in the massive city-state of Bahest, and will start out primarily concerning itself with the sub-continent of Seraph. Your character can be from other parts of the continent, if you wish.

In party planning, assume I am not playing. I will not roll something to balance your party. I probably won’t have a single dedicated character, though I will have a number of NPCs I can fall back on in the event someone is absent from a session, at which point my NPC will fill their void. In the event that someone else DMs, I’ll decide in advance which character I will play in that session.

As session one begins, your character has chosen to become an adventurer. You don’t have a nailed down party yet, though if you wish you can choose to have met members of the party before and possibly made an agreement to collaborate ahead of time. Your search for gainful employment has drawn you to the massive city of Bahest, figuring you’d have the best chance to hear of work opportunities in this legendary city. In your search you have heard of a Captain Ken Raptor who claims to be the captain of an airship. Rumor on the street is he’s on the lookout for dedicated adventurers to aid him and his crew as “extra muscle.” You have arranged to meet him at the Savvy Sow’s Tavern in the middle district of Bahest.

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