Planejammer: The Seven Stars

Chapter 8 Part 2: Baragu Network

Noticing a pile of corpses beyond the tower, the party makes use of their remaining time invisible to investigate. Kaolin casts Speak with Dead on a scro corpse and learns that “Dukagsh will wrest his power from him,” but not much else. After debate they decide time is of the essence and begin checking for an active gate out. Kaolin’s portal feel only detects one active gate, so they use that one.

The familiar circle seems twisted and pulled like taffy and sits in darkness under racing red clouds and constant bolts of ruby lightning. Those with darkvision note several corpses. Ozzy powers up his hammer, and several emaciated figures run from the light. Shadowy figure rush out and attack them, one biting Dugan on the shoulder. “Ghouls!” yells Drake and the melee begins. Theridon manifests Sever The Tie and half of them fall inert. They make make short work of the rest. Finding another active gate, Etsuriko crosses to do a recon. Finding nothing other than a dilapidated Inn and a barn inside the usual standing stones, she brings them across.

Upon closer examination the buildings have been the scene of combat recently. The doors of the barn are torn completely off and lie thirty feet away on the ground. Our heroes advance inside, weapons drawn and encounter several ghouls which they dispatch with ease. Noticing that the upper windows of the Inn are blacked out with cloth they decide to investigate. Theridon jiggers the door open just as a female vampire is rising from her coffin. She sees him and assumes gaseous form and disappears. Kaolin spins around to watch behind them and sees the figure cease reforming behind them and disappear. Immediately gathering the party together they search the place, finding another coffin in the wine cellar. Etsuriko manages to leap up and stop the trapdoor above as the vampires try to slam it shut. The group exits rapidly and Drake sends a red mouse into the building, he snaps his fingers and the first floor is engulfed in a fireball.

Finding the next active gate they exit into a landscape dimly lit by a greenish yellow moon. Rusted chicken wire surrounds the standing stones, glinting in the moonlight. Beyond it thousands of ghouls crowd around. As the heroes enter, several ghouls come in through a thirty foot square wooden shack that lies between two portals. Drake summons the power of his cloak and casts a web into the shack, while Kaolin casts Undeath To Death which annihilates the twelve or so inside the wire as well as a few dozen beyond it’s perimeter. Several cultist bodies as well as a scro corpse and four dead giff mercenaries litter the interior circle. Ozzy collects rank and insignia from the giff while Theridon and Tavist search the bodies and Drake uses his cloak’s abilities to search the interior of the webbed shack.

Theridon finds an invoice on one of the cultists for “ten ghouls to be delivered to the Ugwarael in the Adytum for necrotic tissue research.” Drake finds the interior of the shack to be set up for bringing ghouls through one at a time for collection purposes. He also finds a chest containing several cultist robes. The heroes don the robes, except for Ozzy who is much too large. Kaolin checks out the remaining archways only to find that the portal they entered through is the only active one. They return to the previous circle, staying alert and wary of the vampires.

Passing through the next active gate they find themselves floating in zero gravity with no light or substance around other than themselves and the visions seen through the gates. Several party members are almost lost, but their zero-g experience comes to their aid. Kaolin glides out and retrieves Dugan who was almost lost. Drake, who was first through, acts as the anchor holding onto a snapped rope that evidently once acted as a bridge between two of the gates. Etsuriko takes a rope and begins leaping from gate to gate making a path for the rest. About four portals away she finds the one with the other end of the rope bridge hanging from it. They make their way through to an alternate Baragu very similar to the one they first found on Oerth, except there is a settlement of some sort about a half mile out amongst the circles.

Drake casts expeditious retreat on himself and he and Etsuriko run out to the buildings to investigate. They find signs of battle including the bodies of many women and children (mostly carrying holy symbols of Vecna). After a few minutes of searching they are suddenly pummelled by an ice storm that springs up from nowhere. Recognizing combat magic, Drake leads a strategic retreat.

Kaolin calls upon her god to divine the correct course and is directed to a particular gate. They pass through it to find themselves in a stone tunnel leading to an archway. Beyond the arch they see a number of ghouls, several doors and six stone statues. As the ghouls look up with hungry eyes the statues begin to turn towards the party……

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Chapter 7 Part 5: Jowchit, The Holy City

As they prepare to disembark, a group of grommish priests approaches, followed by four EIN officers. The priests take possession of Chatka and thank the crew graciously. They tell the party that for bringing the godling home they shall want for nothing while here, food, lodging, etc will be handled by the Temple of Kong. Shore leave shifts are drawn for and pocket money distributed amongst the crew. The void elves introduce themselves as Legeadril and Sarilden and make arrangements to meet later after the crew has rested.

The city is arrayed in three districts- the Temple City on top of the cliff, the Mid City built into and around the trunks of the giant trees just off it’s edge, and Root Town around thier bases. There are numerous mushroom farms and cultivation amongst the roots.

Kaolin decides home cooking is in order and takes the rest out for a real gromm/hadozee feast. Ozzy particularly like the kestab (steak mushrooms) although after getting a mouthful of grubs asks Kaolin for details on each dish before sampling it. He and Kaolin then head up to the mid level of the giant trees and get involved in a game of monkeyball while Drake tries to investigate trading opportunities and The rest relax. After some rest she takes them to the Gromm Market where they shop for starcharts and Drake continues trying to make connections for trading textiles. While there Theridon detects a psionic signature and traces it to an elf in EIN colors. They have a brief mental chat and part ways. After the Gromm Market she takes them to the Hadozee Market where Tavist and Ozzy procure obsidian daggers for each other (matching sets).

As evening approaches Kaolin drags them off to the base of the waterfall in Root Town to see “something beautiful.” They find a large pool at the base of the waterfall with two forty foot tall statues on either side of it, one of an oak tree and one of Kong Rex the Grommish deity. Just before twilight two rays of purest light pierce the canopy above and light the statues with a glowing radiance. Quick thinking by the other party members prevents Dugan from chasing off around the statues with his wand of metal and mineral detection…

That night over another native feast they meet with Legeadril and Sarilden. Legeadril seems much more open and freindly than most void elves and even compliments Ozzy, “I’ve seen you fight on Bral, most impressive!” Discussion runs to the reconassance our heroes have obtained on the scro, culminating in Drake turning over two copies of the Book of Dukagsh to them. The “unique helm,” is also discussed, Theridon agreeing eventually that the EIN can study it. Passage to the Rock of Bral is arranged on an EIN Warbird while their psions take possession of the steamwheeler.

The next day they depart on the EIN Sword of Correllon. About a week into the Flow Drake gets arrested for sneaking about invisible and gets thrown in the brig after a confrontation with an EIN Bladesinger and is kept there for the remaining weeks of travel.

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Chapter 7 Part 4: Dinner With His Lordship

After several choice words are traded the Cmdr. receives a hearty bitch slap from Tavist. He then attempts to walk off only to have a dagger whiz by, slicing off a lock of his hair in it’s passage. Simultaneously he feels the prick of steel at the back of his neck. “We still have a matter of honor and a lesson in manners to discuss,” says the elf, ignoring Ozzy’s starwheel which is suddenly in his face. As the crew stands to arms there is a brilliant flash of light from the bow, and all three Man “O War ships begin turning towards the (unarmed) sidewheeler. Magical light glows around their weapons, all loaded and trained on The Steam Wheel XII. The Cmdr. orders all to stand down and agrees to the duel. Seconds are designated (Ozzy for the Cmdr., An Oathpack Haozee named Chewbev for the elven Lord) and plans made to meet the next day in the cargo bay of The Startide Rising.

After conferring with the command crew the Cmdr. decides that diplomacy is the better part of valor and decides to invite Elrohir to dinner planning to use the occasion to apologize. The invitation is acepted. Getting Etsuriko to assist, the Cmdr writes a formal apology while Kaolin decorates a designated area of the deck with the salvaged shou silks. Meanwhile Dugan decides to pester Drake, who has arcane locked himself in his room and refuses to be bothered, simply yelling, “I’m on to something here!” When his knock spell fails, he begins beating on Drake’s door with his battle axe. Kaolin joins him for a few rounds of the “gold song,” which lasts until Drake casts a silence spell on the door and companionway. Dugan starts beating the door with his axe again, but tires of it after a bit. As he is walking off, the door opens slightly and three web spells in rapid succession pin him to the deck.

At the appointed hour, Elrohir arrives with honor guard. Theridon’s apology seems to soften his attitude somewhat, and over the feast that Kaolin summons he becomes almost cheerful. As things proceed on to desert, the party shares with him various info they have found that should interest him. They tell of the derelict warbird they found that was off to GreySpace to warn the Admiralty that the Armistace blockade was broken. They also describe the massive creature they saw above the planet, which receives shocked mutters of ,”Witchlight Marauders,” form both the visiting elf and Ozzy (who had yet to hear the tale).

Finally he agrees to send an escort of three fighters with them to Gaya, “because of your special passenger.” Departure is set for 12 hours away. At the appointed time three smaller ships leave the strange new ship and take up an escort formation around the sidewheeler as they set course for Gaya. Over the week or so it takes them to get there, Kaolin uses her sending spells to contact The Killroy’s Folley. They got the news to Adm. Icarus of the RealmSpace EIN Fleet, and are currently still in that Sphere.

She then contacts K’Thar on The Rock, and gets her first news about the audit. When confronted with this, Tavist spills his guts telling the whole story of the Shou Town escapades of the Cmdr.’s

Over the next several days she contacts K’tel who is busy with the Royal Auditor going over the company’s assets. He fills her in on the 40K fine, and inquires after the state of the Random Access and The Door.

Gaya looms off the port bow, and Chatka points out a landing spot in the foothills of some mountains which overlook a jungle choked ravine. The Cmdr. manages to bring the ship smoothly through the storm belt and bring them in for a landing outside what appears to be a Gromm city.

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Chapter 7 Part 3: Shooting The Rapids

The strange illness seems to be spreading, keeping Kaolin busy using her restoration spells to save various members of the crew. Deciding that the situation is critical and time is of the essence they begin mobilising the crew to transfer all aboard and essential equipment (loosly defined of course) to the tinker gnome ship. The crew is apprehensive, but far more afraid of the vortex and the escaped drow than of the gnome craft. Drake mobilizes a team of ten to move his quarters over and then, with Cyril as assistant straw boss, to move the personal items of the entire command crew. While the packing up is going on Etsuriko finds some paint and paints a huge Shou ideogram on the rear of the ship (closest translation in common would be, “infernal contraption.”).

Once everything is transferred the batten down the hatches and prepare for the escape attempt. While Theridon powers up the psihelm, Kaolin casts curse of the brute on Etsuriko, Ozzy, and Tavist. With Tavist and Etsuriko in one wheel and Ozzy in the other they set course for the barrier. Drake, keeping lookout on the aft bow detects Dostrealt’s staff on a nearby neogi Deathspider. As the Steam Wheel begins to move the Deathspider activates and follows, deftly avoiding a minor image of a wall of iron Drake cast behind them. It proceeds to pace them staying just out of spell range. Careful observation shows it to be crewed by skeletons of various races.

Theridon gets off the helm just before the sidewheeler strikes the turbulence field. Both ships hit the vortex barrier simultaneously. To Drake’s arcane sight the two ships seem wrapped in a coruscating field of arcane lightning, the fields around the two ships joined by a huge arc amidships. It seems as though the magical field around the Deathspider is interacting with some other form of energy beyond Drake’s spectrum of visibility. The ships remain connected by this strange field as they are battered in their trip through the vortex.

Taking some heavy knocks resulting in a few crew casualties and a hole in the hull, the exit the vortex in the Phlo near their previous position. Both ships hang dead in space for 24 hrs while their pilots recharge. The next morning (ship time) the Deathspider begins to charge them, firing huge bolts of arcane energy from it’s mandibles. The chase ensues, the Deathspider staying just out of spell range and continuing to fire upon them. Theridon drops to tactical speed in an attempt to engage the drow, but the Deathspider overshoots them at spelljamming speed.

It takes another day to reach the GrommSpace sphere. Kaolin cheers as the planetary display lights up an illusory image of the Grommish star system. Three days in towards Gaya, they are approached by three EIN Man ‘O Wars and a strange organic looking ship like nothing they have seen before. Drake uses a Major Image to produce huge vibrant orange flashing letters in elven saying, “We are NOT gnomes!”

The ships pull to, the Man ‘O Wars flanking the unfamiliar ship. Shortly afterwards seven figures leave one of the EIN ships on gadabouts and fly towards the sidewheeler. As the command crew gathers on deck an EIN officer (rank of Hiril or Lord) lands, with six hadozee warriors in EIN colors as guard. The leader, Lord Elrohir, adopts the usual arrogant void elf attitude, to which the Cmdr. responds with more of the same. After he drops the Grand Admiral’s name things get tense

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Chapter 7 Part 2: Floating Hulks

The Capt passes out from the needle trap’s poison. Kaolin arrives and casts delay poison, buying his 10 hrs, and then awakens him. Etsuriko’s translation yields the info that both Dragonships were planning on going independent, absconding with the Emperor’s booty in the process.

A search finds more skeletons (again no sign of violence), some teakwood furniture, several chests of coins, a chest of cinnamon, and six large bolts of yellow silk. They return to The Door to find the ship in an uproar, the drow has escaped. They quickly determine that he has not only reclaimed his staff and equipment, desecrated Drake and Tavist’s quarters and seemingly disappeared into thin air. The next day is spent in tearing the ship apart searchig for him. Drake and Tavist detemine with their spellcraft that Dostrealt used extensive metamagic (Silent Spell, Still Spell, and Eschew Materials) in his escape. At this point members of the Command Staff and crew begin showing signs of some strange debilitating weakness. Kaolin begins to combat it with Restoration spells when regular medicine fails to have any effect.

The following morning the Capt once again mindlinks the party and Capt Hoopaka, and the command staff (minus Drake) set out for the Citadel ship (they chose their target playing rock, parchment, shears. Dugan won with a rock, go figure…). The place seems to have been shut down in a methodical, orderly fashion after being mined out. Following several hours of searching they move on to the more intact looking of the two sidewheelers, The Steam Wheel XII.

Upon boarding they find the gnome crew recently dead (no more thatn three weeks or so), and the ship surprisingly intact. Kaolin uses speak with dead to interrogate one of the corpses. The only useful info she gets is an extensive list of secret compartments aboard ship. After doing their best to secrure the ship they check the compartment in the Capt’s Quarters, finding a double scroll sealed with the symbol of the Order of Elegant Craftsmen. The first of the two scrolls details that the second scroll is info on a gnomish secret weapon for the war. The second simply has the cryptic phrase “E=mc^2.”

Recon of the wheels finds two dead Giant Space Hamsters and a lot of confusing machinery. Finding a level labeled in gnomish, “Do Not Under Any Circumstances Pull This Lever,” Ozzy pulls it. The room erupts into chaos as various machines activate with all the noise and fuss typical of gnomes. With a rush of steam part of the wall opens slightly revealing an access tube. Following the tube they discover what can only be a psijammer hidden within. Theridon powers it up and pulls alongside The Door. Careful examination of the helm shows it has been modified by the gnomes to draw psi enrgry from the hamsters in the sidewheels (Psionic Giant Space Hamsters!?!?!)

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Chapter 7 Part 1: Enter The Vortex

Debate ensues about the disposition of the Drow prisoner. Ozzy and Etsuriko both express serious reservations about the treatment he has received (particularly the Capt’s striking him repeatedly during the interrogations). As the argument begins to boil they hear the cry of, “Sphere off the port bow!”

Setting course for what they hope is GrommSpace, the heroes then begin a search of the ship in response to constant crew grumblings about “bad luck,” and strange accidents. It is triggered by an incident when Cyril is taking over the helm from Dugan and is obviously tripped so he lands against the helm, draining his spells for the day and rendering him useless as a pilot for the next day. After a few hours of searching Kaolin and Etsurko find and pursue a quasit that is loose on the ship. After chasing it out along the tentacles of the ship Drake manages to web it to the ballista platform. While trying to get useful information out of the small demon the ship is suddenly torqued around by unseen forces and is thrown off course.

Heavy damage is sustained during the next several minutes, including destruction of about 25% of the ship’s hull; the snapping of the mainmast, and Tavist (who was driving) suffering a feedback jolt from the helm that sends him into Spelljammer Shock!

The view of the flow receeds and fades leaving an endless vista of slate grey, the outer reaches of which give you vertigo if you stare at them for too long. Surrounding The Door float the wrecks of dozens of spelljamming craft. Once the crew’s injuries are tended to, and Tavist made stable in hope of his regaining consciousness, they discover that the helm is nonfunctional. Exploration of the surrounding hulks for a replacement is rapidly organized.

Ozzy, Etsuriko, and Drake make their way to the nearest wreck(using fly spells), a Tradesman class vessel blazoned The Phlo Trader.In response to a smart ass remark from Drake about safety, Ozzy pushes Drake’s head into the air envelope to test it. As they explore Drake continues to be verbally irate about this.They find the derelict devoid of either charts or treasure, the crew nothing more now than skeletons. No signs of combat are in evidence.

Using more fly spells they then travel to the next nearest ship, a neogi Deathspider named The Huntsman. The ship is stripped, and full of neogi and umber hulk skeletons. Again, the remains seem to show no outward sign of violence. They do find a strange helm, Drake’s arcane sight reveals a twist of necromantic magic to it’s field, a Lifejammer? When departure time is deemed nigh Drake refuses to carry Ozzy or cast a fly spell on him. Etsuriko decides to stay on the Deathspider with him. When Kaolin hears of this on Drake’s return she becomes irate and flies out herself to retrieve them.

The next day Theridon leaves Capt. Hoopaka (from the Random Access) in command and leads to command crew in an expedition to an Elven Man ‘O War seen drifting and seemingly overgrown about 3500 feet away. He mindlinks with the party and with Hoopaka before setting off. A search of the vessel (named Queen Of The Spheres) shows it to be striped of valuables and charts. It is also completely devoid of any remains. Locating the helm room they find the major helm smashed (although there is no damage to the surrounding room). A search of the Captain’s quarters reveals a secret compartment containing the ship’s log.

Next they proceed to a pair of shou dragonships which seem to have crashed through each other. The ram of one has completely passed through the hull of the other .Etsuriko translates the names as The Imperial Court and The Imperial Trader. They are flying the colors of the Shou Emperor’s traders. Using her knowledge of the ship’s layout Etsuriko takes them to the helm room where they find another smashed helm. Heading for the Capt’s quarters she locates the log and begins checking the last few entries and translating them for her companions. The Capt then decides to try his hand at the lock on the of the storeroom doors. Immediately triggering a needle trap he finds himself the subject of Tavist’s ribald mirth as he tries to shake off the poison whose burn is only slowly subsiding. Meanwhile Drake, Ozzy and Kaolin begin climbing across to the other ship’s deck.

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Chapter 6 Part 5: The Blind Drow

As our heroes once again risk the open flow they narrowly avoid several sets of Mantis Ships flying in formation. The swirling mists provide them some cover, but the phlogiston is full of surprises this trip.

In the first weeks out a Dweomerborn forms from the magical exhaust of the helm. The ensuing combat gives the group a chance to see their new hire (the monk) in action. They eventually vanquish it and speed on. As they approach GrommSpace they come across two ships floating adrift.

The first one is a dragonfly with a hopelessly fouled atmosphere. Drake’s examination of the air and ship shows that it is the residue of literally dozens of cloudkill spells. Unable to to penetrate the mystery they rapidly depart. A few days later they come across a derelict elven flitter also floating free in the flow. Drake and Tavist board it and find an old drow mage, seemingly blind, who they take captive. Attempts at interogation reveal little other than that he was left behind due to a curse cast on him by a priest during his Armada’s most recent engagement. He does refer to something called the “Nation of Eternal Twilight,” once or twice, but stays taciturn and uncommunicative. The party decide to bind and gag him and leave him under heavy guard in the brig. To remove the need to feed him they leave his ring of sustenence on.

As time progresses the crew become uneasy about the Gromm child after seeing him do various odd things (like floating above the deck crosslegged in mid air!) When confronted Galas reveals that the child is one of the Gromm Demigods, the first in fact to be born offworld. He stresses the urgency of returning the child to Gaia as the priests of his race belive that the child’s lifeforce is inextricably entwined with the planet

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Chapter 6 Part 4:Armistace

After weeks in The Flow their ship arrives at WinterSpace and opens a portal into the Sphere. Using the planetary locator they chart a course for Armistace. Two weeks of travel without incident bring them to the planet, with Kaolin making unsuccessful srcying attempts throughout the journey. Drawing on her memory of the cave the survivors were in she and Drake prepare teleport and freedom of movement spells.

Leaving Dugan, Tavist and Etsuriko on the ship the remainder of the party teleports to the cave (with the Capt traveling in Drake’s Iron Jug). They arrive in a cave laced with multicolored mineral deposits and a preponderance of odd crystals. Upon searching the area, Drake discovers a corridor hidden behind a cluster of crystals and taking a gentle downwards slope. They follow this to a sheer cliff drop of 200 ft, which they climb down to find a veritable garden. Plant and treelike clusters of the strange crystals abound, and an underground lake recedes into the distance in the caverns dim light.

Following a tunnel at the rear of the chamber they come to a large cavern lined with metal lacing and crystal formations in which they see the survivors. As they enter three large scorpion like creatures made of the same crystal attack. Ozzy smashes one with his hammer, destroying it utterly. As he bellows his battle cry the sound of his voice scales upwards into a high pitched squeak, and one of his fighting nets animates and wraps around his legs.The Capt finds himself suddenly in the forest-like confines of a mindscape, the ethereal visage of a scro before him. The figure makes no move to initiate combat, and the mindscape fades.

“Stop!” bellows a large scro (the one from Kaolin’s scrying earlier when they were cut off), and the attacking crysmals retreat. After a brief faceoff the party are left hanging as the scro, Pargatash, and the Capt. converse mentally.

Ascertaining that the scro does not mean them immediate harm, Kaolin and the others see to the survivors while Ozzy guards Theridon and Drake searches the chamber. Galas approaches Kaolin and voices great concern that they get the Grommish child back to Gaea immediately. Theridon attempts to convince Pargatash to join them on the return trip to SpiralSpace, but once the scro hears of their plan to have Ozzy use potions of flying to ferry the survivors into the upper atmosphere for pickup he declines.

Meanwhile, Kaolin and Drake have noted that the two celestian Priests who were with the survivors seem not to be here. Upon questioning Pargatash they discover that the two had left with Brool, a “dral,” after a discussion that had them very excited. Getting directions from Pargatash, Kaolin and Drake go in search of them.

After descending several hundred feet into the earth they come upon a large irregular chamber, one side of which is filled by part of a huge, ancient ship bearing the now familiar three lobed designs of the Elder Race. Hearing something approach from within they make ready for combat. Appearing in the doorway the figures of one of their crew priests and some strange amorphous humanoid fill the doorway, dragging the body of the other priest between them. Some kind of creature has attached itself to the other priest’s face…

After carrying Minos and the attached Alien back to Pargatash’s main chamber, they discover that it is seemingly immune to detect thoughts/psi/magic. Several attempts to remove it fail (causing it to tighten it’s grip around Minos’ throat almost killing him), until the Capt stabs it with an arrow dipped in spider venom. Once it is paralyzed Ozzy manages to remove it in the process discovering that it bleeds acid, Ozzy sustains some major burns. Paranoid of some sort of infestation or possession, they then proceed to piss Minos of by making him vomit as well as subjecting him to both an enema and a nasal cleansing.

After failing to convince Pargatash to accompany them, the Capt. offers passage off planet to Brool, who immediately accepts. After formulating a plan they make their way up through the caverns to the surface. Just before they reach the cave of their original arrival an earthquake hits. Large sections of the cave roof come crashing down around them injuring most of them, some quite severely.

Drake is blown back by the burst of energy that come from the crushing of his Iron Jug, but takes little harm. As the quake subsides they begin ministering to the survivors and digging people out. Kaolin performs a prayer of mass healing and restores the majority to full health (although they all suffer massive exhaustion from living in 3Gs while here).

Theridon then teleports to the ship with Kaolin, Brool, and the Gromm Child while Ozzy carries the rest of the team and survivors up to near orbit using fly, freedom of action, and invisibility sphere spells and potions. At one point in the trip upwards they are blown and buffeted by an outgoing Ogre Mammoth and he looses most of the passengers. Thanks to some rapid maneuvering and Drake’s assistance he retrieves them and continues on towards the meeting place.

After some tricky maneuvering just above the storm belt The Door manages to get the refugees on board. The Capt. orders immediate retreat and gets Kaolin to chart a course. At Galas’ prompting she pushes for GrommSpace as a destination (he stressed an intense need to return the grommish child to their homeworld). Realising that their knowledge of the situation on Armistace (i.e. the Scro bringing helms to the orcs there after having broken the EIN blockade) makes them a target Kaolin chances a course through the open flow.

As the journey through the mists of the Open Phlo drags on a Command Staff meeting is called. Brool is brought in and questioned. It turns out he is a researcher into the times of the Ancients and, while distracted, is full of information about The Elders (whom he terms The Juna). Upon seeing Drake’s bracers he becomes immensely interested asking ” where is the third one?” He also recognizes the tripartate armor and swords in the meeting room and compliments the crew on their finds. After consideration Theridon offers him a position with House Seven Stars, which he accepts.

After weeks travelling through the mists of the Phlogiston they approach a Sphere. Opening a portal they discover that they have inadvertantly returned to MoragSpace where they infiltrated the Gammaro Base of the Scro. Deciding that discretion is the better part of survival they immediately leave the Sphere and once again brave the open flow….

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Chapter 6 Part 3: House Shambrath Pt. II

After refitting the weapons on the turtle, Theridon immerses himself in conference with one of the sages of the Shambrath Court. He discovers a series of ritual meditations designed to give him greater power and control psionically. The downside is that it will involve being encased in a psi-active crystalline matrix for a period of several weeks. While in this trance state he will be completely focused inwards and will not be aware of his surroundings at all. In fact eating, breathing and sleeping will not be necessary during the metamorphosis. (This denotes the transition to Mindscape ruleset by Bruce Cordell)

Down on the docks, Dugan is approached by a female Shou who expresses great interest in meeting the captain. After a moments thought Dugan realizes that the best way to aggravate Drake would be to interrupt his lunch. He brings her to Hermes Rest (the local restaurant drake usually eats lunch in), plunks down in a chair and yells across the dining room, “Bring me something expensive and put it on HIS tab!” After a brief discussion they agree to meet her the next day with Tavist, who handles a lot of the crew hiriing.

The next day Ozzy, Tavist, Dugan and Drake meet up at Hermes Rest and interview the Shou, who introduces herself as Etsuriko. Unbeknownst to them Theridon tries unsuccessfully to scan her thoughts. That evening, after heated debate, they decide to hire her for the helm room guard detail. They also decide to keep a sharp eye on her. Kaolin upon hearing part of the conversation shrieks, “You DO love me!!”

Tavist meets Etsuriko the next day for a final interview. They go to an isolated part of the palace grounds, and talk over tea. Tavist makes her aware that she is not completely free of suspicion and tells her to “reassure,” him. She replies that he is right to be wary, and that he has brought negative attention to himself recently in ShouTown. She also tells him that she is not there to do him or the crew any ill, but also that she cannot say more.

Over the next several days Drake and Tavist become obsessed with the idea of having uniforms made for the crew. “Make them look professional,” says Drake. At great expense they search the city for a tailor crazy enough to travel with them into a war zone and do the work en route. Finally they find one just as work on the ship is finished, of course it only took a hefty down payment and a total fee in excess of three years normal wages. Killroy’s Folly and The Door cast off for GrommSpace and have a generally uneventful trip, except for being passed at flank speed by a trio of EIN Warbirds.

They zip through the Sphere from portal to portal, not even stopping to atmosphere skim. In order to freshen the atmosphere envelope Drake summons an air spirit, only to find that he cannot communicate with it (he does not speak Auran). He summons another one and Kaolin uses her gift of tongues to explain that they want to revitalise their atmosphere. The elemental responds with a massive blast of clean, fresh air.

A final scrying by Kaolin reveals an image of Galas the Grommam in a cave with the survivors of the Random Access’ crash. Suddenly moving into view comes the figure of a scro with dark blue skin and hair. It waves a crystal studded staff in front of him and the view is cut off. No further attempts at scrying are successful.

The wall of the GrommSpace sphere looms before them, stars aflame on their massive pedestals, as they activate the portal opener and chart a course for WinterSpace.

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Chapter 6 Part 2: House Shambrath pt.I

While the boys were having fun in Shou Town, the battle in the Flow proceed to get interesting. Kaolin closed on the Mantis and managed to flip it’s gravity plane thowing everybody towards the new floor. In the chaos Drake and Dugan land several plapable hits on the War Priest, who touches his amulet and fades from view.

Drake uses a locate object spell and cannot find the Priest or his amulet. Dugan takes out one of the scro as it rises from the wreckage. As it falls to the floor an iron sphere with a fuse rolls from it’s hand. Drake immedaitely creates several gallons of water right obove it as the gravity plane is reversed again by Kaolin’s maneuvers. The smoke powder bomb and water both strike Drake and knock him unconscious.

As the sound of troops intensifies below, Dugan casts a rope trick, but cannot manage to get the half elf up the rope. Leaving him hanging by the armpits in mid air, the dwarf turns and engages the incoming humanoids. Drake awakens as Dugan is mopping up, and together they secure the helm room and dimension door back to The Door.

Meanwhile, outside, The Door is laying down surpressing fire with it’s double ballistae and deck clearing shot from the catapault while one of the surviving galleons pulls alongside. Several figures fly from the galleon’s deck to The Door’s using elven gadabouts. An older human introduces himself as Rix and asks to see the Capt. He and his escort (two House Shambrath Officers and two Greysword Pirates) are brought to the helm room. After a moments conversation he remembers Kaolin as the hadozee priestess who saved his life during a heart attack on his asteroid retreat in SpiralSpace several years ago.

Rix tells her that he was in the neutral Flow negotiating with The Greysword Pirates, offering them amnesty in return for adding their forces to the House Shambrath regulars. During the meeting they were ambused by “those dratted new scro battlewagons,” and were retreating after many losses when The Door came along.

On deck the away team returns and efforts begin to try to smash the section of the ship containing hte helm off of the main body. During the bombardment the Mantis explodes damaging The Door in the shockwave.

Drake and Dugan go out on a rope and try to search the wreckage as it accumulates on the gravity plane. They see shards of what seems to be the helm, fiercely radiating evocation magics as they dissipate. They also find a few small items including a box with some kind of failing protection magic on it which seems to contain some sort of tome. While Drake sets about translating the tome (which is written in orcish, phonetically spelled out in the common tongue) they set a course for Hecht on the advice of Duke Sir Rix.

They rondez-vous with The Blue Moon, a Shambrath Hammership under the command of Adm. Darval, a wolfish humanoid who seems to be an old friend of Duke Sir Rix.

Drake and Dugan accompany Dartalon Rix and The Door to the Royal Shipyards on Thesalys (the capital planet), while Kaolin and Ozzy take Dartalon up on his offer of hospitality at his Hechtian estates. While Kaolin falls in love with Dart’s personal flyer, a Hummingbird called the Swift Swallow, Ozzy wanders the Kavve and Hops farm that comprises the majority of the estate.

On Thesalys Dugan and Drake get introduced to Bruin Shambrath, the Imperator of GreatSpace (another old friend of Dart’s) and spend their time hobknobbing around the palace when they are not actually engaged in the repairs of their ship.

After two weeks the Turtleship arrives. They take two days of shore leave at the estate, pick up Kaolin and Ozzy, and begin the trip to Thesalys. Once everyone is reunited they have a closed door meeting in orbit. Kaolin reports that her scryings have shown the Random Acess’ crew to be in dire straights on Armistace. Drake reveals that his studies of the partially destroyed tome reveal the scro to be organised, intelligent, and more. In short, much deadlier opponents than previously thought. It also contains pieces of the legend of Dukagsh, the first scro leader and possibly now thier god….

Refit and repairs are accelerated, with Drake and Kaolin taking a direct hand using make whole spells to assist the crews. Dugan sets up a forge on the site and also lends a hand. with repairs. Theridon suprevises the installation of a new dual ballista on the foredeck of Killroy’s Folly.

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