Half brothers, Quinton and Bortle Thornycroft, have recently purchased a “serviceable” spelljammer, yet to be named. They’ve recruited a gnome artificer, Digger Ticktockclock, to keep the alchemical engine running, and a half-elf sorceror-ninja, Mablung Sergon, as crew. Sailing upriver during their initial voyage, they discovered a stow-away, a halfling gunslinger monk named simply Nikko.
The crew finds itself on Calistra. Standing in overgrown ruins of Fort Crimson, where the brothers fought against the dictator in the People’s Rebellion. An old half-elf comrade, Feydean, interrogates Quinton about whether he was, in fact, a traitor. He tells Quinton to watch out, because someone is bumping off squad members. Then he offers Quinton a job hauling 40 tons of plunder, that they looted from some local plantations.
They ask for 800gp, which the party kicks in…
Need to find a good off-world location to sell the plunder. We go to see a local “businessman”, Frankie the Noise, who hangs out at the Legitimate Social Club. Frankie turns out to be a rather large ogre. Frankie asks Quinton which side he fought for, and Quinton answers that he was with the People.
We strike a deal with him for 40% of gross. He asks if we’re familiar with General d’Periousia, and suggests that he may be interested in our goods. Frankie sees this as an opportunity to open up a new business relationship with the General. We ask whether he could move any merchandise that the General might be interested in shipping back.
The General is located on a la grange asteroid, estimated to be 4 weeks of orbital travel in each direction. The crew spends approximately 900gp for raw materials, and Digger spends a day mixing fuel.
Digger expertly fires up the engines, and they are so well tuned that it should take only 3 weeks to get to the asteroid. Bortle takes the helm, with a stunningly poor launch. However, the ship makes it into space and sets course for the asteroid.
About a week into the voyage, we notice a speck against the sun and suspect it may be a another ship. As we continue, we get approach the unmoving ship. Dancing lights come from the ship, conveying an “SOS – out of fuel” message. Nikko notices a group of people huddled on the deck, covered in a large blanket.
Digger uses dancing lights to have an exchange with the other ship. We offer to trade some fuel for payment, and they accept (possibly offering payment in “human” currency).
We pull up within 60 feet and the ships’ atmospheres merge. A strong stink washes over the crew. Captain Skoodge of the derelict ship, apparently a kobold, holds up a bag with something heavy in it, offering it in trade. At that moment, a lizard-man runs up the stairs from the ship’s hold carrying a sealed barrel. Digger throws a clockwork centipede in front of the figure, ordering him to drop the barrel.
Skoodge conjures a ball of fire that floats over the crew’s deck. Nikko fires at the barrel, and it explodes with oil across their deck. Nikko, with extra effort, tosses alchemist’s fire at the lizard-man and he bursts into flame and dies. Skoodge lets out an exasperated sigh.
The enemy crew reveals a hackbut on the stern of their ship, and fire it at Quinton. Digger launches a bomb and takes out the two kobolds manning the hackbut. Skoodge takes cover, and threatens to damage the crew’s ship with his fireball if they don’t forgive him for his “bad joke”. The crew pulls the ship away, leaves them behind, and continues on their way.
The crew approaches the asteroid, which appears covered with forests and a large town. Digger sends up dancing lights, announcing the crew’s intent. The asteroid responds that they are willing to trade, but the crew needs to store its weapons. The ship lands at the docks.
The crew is met by a man Quinton recognizes as Farrion Green. He gives a look of terror upon seeing Quinton, and announces himself as Farrion “Wolf”. He extends hospitality to the crew and indicates that the General will be happy to meet them.
Farrion asks Quinton to avoid mentioning his half-elf nature (his ears are rounded and he passes for human), and Quinton agrees. They begin haggling over the price for our cargo, and agree upon 750gp per 10 tons.
The General’s daughter, Emilia approaches and gives Farrion a knowing look. The General follows shortly after and his wife, Margarite, then descends the stairs and asks if we will be staying long. She asks if the crew could help with a “problem” they have.
The General explains that they have a bot of a goblin problem on a nearby asteroid. The crew agrees to deal with the problem. They will be taken in a skiff while their crew has shore leave. They will be accompanied by Farrion. The General’s son, Derrik asks to go along, but the crew declines.
Quinton has dinner with Farrion while the others enjoy the local scene. Farrion admits that he and Emilia are lovers, and confirms he is Frankie the Noise’s contact. Farrion repeats his desire for Quinton to keep this knowledge and his heritage quiet.
The next day, the crew boards the skiff and travels a half-day to the asteroid. There is a large cave on one side of the asteroid. The cave is littered with filth and crude tools. The crew hears goblins voices within.
The crew follows a tunnel and finds a group of three goblins arguing about what to do about the ship that just landed. Digger sneaks up and blows away two of the goblins with a spellbomb. The third goblin throws up his hands in surrender. Nikko shoots him with an arrow. The goblin says, “I knew we shouldn’t have trusted that pirate.” We ask him which pirate he means, and he says Captain Skoodge. The goblin says Skoodge promised them good money if they helped him. Quinton twists the knife and kills the goblin.
Nikko locates a secret door. Digger disarms the trap, and they find about 40gp of loot.
The crew hears footsteps coming down the corridor, and they set up an ambush. The door opens, a goblin jumps out and looks around. Quinton shoots him in the head. The crew presses the attack against the following goblins down a hallway that leads to a waiting ship with the hackbut trained toward them.
As Skoodge pulls the ship away from the dock, Digger yells at him, “We beat your ass twice now! Looking forward to the next time!”
Skoodge responds, “My ass is just fine. Have fun back at the dutchy… I know I will!”
As we head back on the skiff, we see a shadow cross the sun and everything goes black. We think some large object is blocking our vision of the sun. It’s definitely not a natural phenomenon.
We continue to head back toward the duchy, and find an enormous ship hovering over it. Cannon fire is being exchanged.
We see an insignia on the ship, but can’t make it out. Farrion isn’t familiar with the ship, and has no idea why they are firing on the duchy. He directs us to land on the dark side of the asteroid and we can use tunnels to get to the dock where our ship is moored. Quinton ends up landing the skiff in a tree. We climb down and head toward the tunnels.
About 30 minutes after landing, we are halfway there. The cannon fire stops.
Farrion tells us that the tunnels exit either in the royal apartments or the main hall. We choose the latter. Digger listens and hears the General’s wife speaking to a group. They are asking how she is, and she is praising the Imperium. She asks about her children. A soft-spoken voice, Lord Ithron, says her children are undergoing “the process” now, and then they will have to deal with the General.
We head back toward the royal apartments. Bortle overhears the General yelling at some people evidently guarding him. The party decides to rush in and rescue the General. Digger blocks the door with a tanglefoot bag and the party rushes in, guns blazing. On the guards, we notice a symbol: a figure eight with pentacles in each opening.
The General tasks us with saving his wife and children. We explain to him that his wife appears to be helping the Imperium, but may be under the influence of their “process”. Quinton and the General argue over strategy. He suggests we find his family, hide, and wait for an opportunity to escape.
The party isn’t inclined to take the risk. Quinton and Farrion have a falling out, and Farrion storms off to search for the children. The party heads off to find their ship. We use the listening holes at the dining room, and hear voices. Suggestions of “complications” in the process when there is resistance. The leader indicates that they need to leave within the hour on the “Eight of Pentacles”. They will leave quelling of resistance to the new duke, Lord D’Stelo.
The party argues about whether to help or leave. Finally, they agree to listen from the tunnels as the forces leave, assess the strength of the remaining force, and make a decision about their course of action.
Bortle hears them speaking about having picked off other la grange duchies.
Nikki hears that the halflings have been separated to be made into slaves.
Quinton listens back in at the royal apartments. The General appears to be in chains, and is growling and ranting. It seems that resistance to the process has broken his mind.
After an hour, we hear shuffling toward the courtyard. We head to the stables to listen. Ivan D’Stelo addresses the populace, saying that the General has abdicated his position and returned the duchy to the Imperium. He has appointed a new sheriff to deal with any disruptions.
Nikko sneaks out to scout, but a Pentacle guard senses something and moves in his direction. Nikko climbs up toward the roof to escape detection. The guard starts poking hay bales, seeking an intruder. He senses Nikko and summons additional guards. Nikko attempts to lead them away from the party. After an intense chase, he escapes. He hunkers down until the speech ends the crowd disburses.
Farrion steps out with a pistol, yelling “Emiliaaaaaa!”. The General’s wife waves her hand and wraps Farrion in vines. A man in black consults with her, and then orders a guard to shoot Farrion dead. The wife and children head toward the Eight of Pentacles. A half hour later a black cloud envelopes the ship and it disappears.
We head back to the ship, and find that the crew and a number of halflings are loading stuff on board. We walk to the ship and speak with Merv. He suggests that he was made captain and he renamed the ship “…o the Humanity”. Quinton and Nikko pull their guns and shoot him dead.
Digger offers the rest of the crew amnesty, and most lay down their arms. One crew member takes a crossbow shot at Quinton, misses, and runs below deck. Bortle gives chase. Quinton tells the halflings on the dock that the ship is leaving in three minutes and they are welcome to join the crew. A few board the ship while the rest scatter.
Bortle, Nikko and Digger peruse the lone crew member down to the engine room and subdue him. Digger needs to repair the damage to the engines he caused. The crew manages to withdraw from the dock and Digger fire up the engines.
Digger finds that Merv loaded more fuel in his attempt to take the ship: 2 atmospheric, 3 tactical, 10 orbital. He also loaded 20 tons of sellable loot.
We land the ship on Calistra after four weeks (using 4 orbital and 1 atmospheric fuel).
The crew travels to the city of Fortune. Bortle reaches out to her contact in the mayor’s administration. The rest of the crew meets with Frankie the Noise and pays him his 40%. We tell Frankie about the regime change at the duchy. He asks whether we’ve shared this information with anyone else, and we tell him we’ve informed the mayor. Frankie asks whether we want more work, and we agree to some short-term work.
We then meet with the mayor and tell him about the situation at the duchy. He appreciates the information and our ship is formally registered with Fortune.
We decide to do some more work for Frankie so we can make some money and upgrade the ship. Frankie offers us a job to smuggle some elven goods that they may be unwilling to trade above-board.