Airts and Anchors
A Pathfinder 1e Adventure for 3rd to 6th level characters
Content Warning: Mention of Psychoactive Drugs, Inferred Prostitution
Text in the red boxes are GM notes. Some may appear behind Spoiler Boxes. Spoiler Boxes are also where most NPC, creature, and encounter stats will be located.See? Like this!
If one of the players is playing Minji Shadowstar, the characters' corvette, The Void Treader , has a standard Spindizzy Engine with a Death Engine backup. If not, the GM may choose to have a second spindizzy engine backup, or a death engine backup, as is most appropriate for their party.As independents, the following standard player character race options are available:
In the Toy Soldier Saga universe, half-elves are known as "Changelings" and half-orcs are known as "Uruk." Calling somebody a "half-anything" is considered a rude racial slur, because it suggests that the character is not really a member of their species or ethnicity. It is perfectly fine to call a Changeling a "human" or an "elf," or an Uruk a "human" or an "orc" however, especially when speaking of a group collectively.There are also some universe-specific PC races that players will have the option to play:
- Nissling, Draconian (similar to kobolds, but with dragonlike traits)
- Ratatosk (squirrelpeople)
If You Have Elves or Orcs in the PartyIf you're using this adventure as a continuation of a Toy Soldier Saga campaign, you might already have elves or orcs in the party. This is a bit more difficult to make work, but not impossible. Such characters should have a good reason to be involved in an independent group, rather than the Avalonian or Fomorian sides. Perhaps they are expatriates with a grudge to bear against the side that purportedly serves their interests. Perhaps they are deserters who are weary of war. Maybe they have friends on the other side of the conflict, and never wanted to get involved in the first place. Maybe they are even spies, gathering information for "their side." Work together to find a reason for the character's presence. Note that Avalonian and Fomorian military will react negatively to anyone that "should" be on their side and isn't (-2 penalty to Reaction rolls) and adjust accordingly.
1. The Introduction
What exactly is this cargo?The cargo is roughly a ton of Star Mushroom spores. An Herbalism, Alchemy, or Healing check 1d20 (DC 10) will allow the PCs to know that star mushroom spores are used in potions and medicines to cure radiation poisoning; an incredibly valuable trade-good in the Void. GM Only: Deeper Knowledge
- A 1d20 DC 10 Gather Information check will tell the PCs that star mushroom spores are currently restricted cargo under the Avalonian War Measures act. All spores in the system are being confiscated by the Avalonian Imperial Navy.
- A 1d20 DC 12 Gather Information, Herbalism, Alchemy, or Healing check will tell the PCs that immature green star mushroom spores are psychoactive and hallucinogenic.
- A 1d20 DC 15 Knowledge: Nature check will tell the PCs that star mushrooms only grow on Trees of Life, and this is why they are so hard to get access to.
Why does Katerina want it?
- DC 12: They can get her to admit that she doesn't intend to keep the spores entirely for personal use. She intends to sell them to other interested parties at a substantial mark-up.
- DC 14: Katerina will admit that those interested parties include several unaligned locals who are worried about access to supply, now that the Navy is seizing all the spores.
- DC 15: Katerina will be confide in the party that the shipment also contains immature hallucinogenic green mushroom spores, and she intends to sell them to her clientele in small quantities "for a special experience."
Why isn't she just taking her ship to go and get it herself?
- If the characters press Katerina, on a 1d20 DC 14 Diplomacy or Intimidation check, she tells them that the Avalonian Navy is cracking down hard on smugglers attempting to violate the War Measures Act, and they are likely expecting her "friend" at a certain time and place. If he is delayed, they will probably look into it. She does not want to tell them this information, because she is aware this will drive up the asking price to secure the PCs' services, or even deter them.
- If the characters choose to investigate on their own after the encounter, talking to the bartender or other likely sources, such as the Dockmaster or the local criminal element, will reveal the same information on a 1d20 DC 14 Gather Information check.
What's the deal with this merchant?
What isn't she telling them?Of course Katerina denies keeping any information from the PCs, but see the spoiler boxes above. You may wish to assign a +2 difficulty to any related checks, since this is such a vague question.
2. NegotiationThe characters can now negotiate with Katerina for what their recompense will be for this service. She will offer an initial reward of 1000*G (1000 Galaxies, a platinum coin,) and will go as high as double that:
Roll a 1d20 Bargain roll:
- DC 12: Katerina will throw in a small bonus to sweeten the deal, such as a 10% danger pay bonus (1100*G,) or a small share of the cargo for personal use
- DC 14: Katerina will agree to pay 25% more than the initial offer (1250*G)
- DC 16: Katerina will agree to pay 50% more than the initial offer (1500*G,) or up to 10% of the cargo
- DC 18: Katerina will agree to twice the initial offer (2000*G)
- DC 20: Katerina will agree to pay twice the initial offer (2000*G) and 10% of the cargo
Once the agreement has been struck, Katerina shakes the negotiator's hand, thanks them and wishes them luck. She gives them a STAR CHART, including Qeezoom's planned route, writes up a trade note for the agreed-upon monetary value (the cargo exchange remains unspoken) and takes her leave. The characters can have a few minutes here to discuss their plans. Don't allow them to stray too far off-topic, but encourage discussion and roleplay. There are several options available to them:
Taking the Mission as DescribedTaking on the mission means that you should move to the next section, "4. Making Sail."
Double-Crossing Katerina by Turning Her InThe characters could double-cross Katerina by turning her in to the Avalonian Imperial Navy. This option will yield a monetary reward, but of course, that ends the adventure.
Planning to Betray Katerina LaterCharacters may decide initially to go with the flow, but plan to double-cross Katerina in the future; either to make a deal with one side or another, or to acquire more than the agreed-upon share of the cargo themselves. If so, proceed to the next section, "4. Making Sail."
4. Making Sail
Navigation CheckIf one of the players is playing Yipish the Navigator, or the ship's Navigator, have them make a 1d20 Navigation check:
If the Navigator scores less than DC 8, the ship gets lost. Pick one of the Random Encounters to run, and then have the Navigator re-roll the check. The trip takes an extra 1d4 days.If one of the characters is playing Minji Shadowstar or the Star-Pilot, have the Pilot make a 1d20 Profession: Pilot roll, and describe the following:
Either the PC who is Piloting, or the NPC who is Piloting, will need to make a 1d20 Profession: Pilot roll, DC 12:
- Less Than 12: The Pilot chooses a difficult Airt, and will add 1d4 days to the trip. This may be a good time to hit them with a Space Storm or Hazard, as detailed below, to explain the delay.
- DC 12: The Pilot makes their check, and travel to Manannan will take 7 days from Dragon Rock .
- DC 14: The Pilot finds an especially speedy Airt. Travel takes 1d2 days less than expected.
- DC 15+: The Pilot is either really lucky or really good. Travel takes 1d4 days less than expected. Do not roll for random encounters.
5. Random Encounters
Gauge the pacing of the adventure to see if you need a random encounter to slow things down. It is not necessary to the plot to add any of these, but one of them might be fun if you have the time. We advise you only choose one, however, if you are running this as a one-shot, since any more will draw out the length of the adventure.
|-3||The ship 5d6 Hull Points of damage per minute. If the ship reaches 0 Hull Points, it begins to break apart.|
|-2||The ship takes 3d6 Hull Points of damage per minute. If the ship reaches 0 Hull Points, it begins to break apart.|
|-1||The ship takes 1d6 Hull Points of damage per minute. If the ship reaches 0 Hull Points, it begins to break apart.|
|0||The ship takes 1d6 Resistance Points of damage to its Etheric Membrane per minute. If the damage to the membrane exceeds 10% of its total, subsequent damage is delivered to Hull Points instead.|
|+1||The ship takes 1d2 Resistance Points of damage to its Etheric Membrane per minute. If the damage to the membrane exceeds 10% of its total, subsequent damage is delivered to Hull Points instead.|
|+2||The ship takes 1 Resistance Point of damage to its Etheric Membrane per minute. If the damage to the membrane exceeds 10% of its total, subsequent damage is delivered to Hull Points instead.|
|+3||The ship breaks free of the storm and returns to interplanetary speeds, escaping the storm's Gravity Well.|
|-3||The deck is bombarded with debris. Each character takes 3d6 Hit Points of damage per minute, minus their armour bonus (Reflex 1d20 save (DC 18) for half damage, and all the usual rules of Evasion and Improved Evasion apply.)|
|-2||The deck is scattered with debris. Each character takes 2d6 Hit Points of damage per minute, minus their armour bonus (Reflex 1d20 save (DC 15) for half damage, and all the usual rules of Evasion and Improved Evasion apply.)|
|-1||The deck is peppered with debris. Each character takes 1d6 Hit Points of damage per minute, minus their armour bonus (Reflex 1d20 save (DC 12) for half damage, and all the usual rules of Evasion and Improved Evasion apply.)|
|0||No adverse effect on the characters.|
|+1||No adverse effect on the characters.|
|+2||No adverse effect on the characters.|
|+3||No adverse effect on the characters. If the Piloting checks also succeed, the ship breaks free of the storm and returns to interplanetary speeds, escaping the storm's Gravity Well.|
Even a Paralarval Star Kraken is a really challenging encounter for parties of this level (CR 9). You may wish to adjust the CR by having the Kraken start from an already-injured state. If so, reduce its starting Hit Points by 25%.The PCs may choose to try to fight it with the ship. A Huge-sized target is a tiny target for ship weapons, but a possible one. They may be able to hit it with a single shot before it reaches the ship. Treat it as ship-to-ship combat for 1 round, meaning that any facing weapons may attempt to hit it once, until it arrives at the ship and grapples the rail to attack the characters. If the characters choose to fight the Kraken in melee and ranged attacks, those using ranged attacks will have one shot before the Kraken arrives at the ship -- but not if the ship has already been firing at it. Once the Kraken reaches the ship, initiative is rolled normally. Note that the Kraken must hold onto the rail with at least one tentacle to attack the deck crew, or it must use a full-round action to board the ship before it can make use of all of its arms. GM Only: Paralarval Star Kraken Stats
Star Kraken, Paralarval
This is the larval stage of the dreaded Star Kraken
Star krakens are soft-bodied, multi-limbed molluscs, the family that includes octopuses, squids, cuttlefish, and nautiloids. It is likely they are some unimaginably huge version of octopuses. Like other cephalopods, they are bilaterally symmetric with two eyes and a beak, and their mouths at the center point of their radial tentacles. Their soft bodies can rapidly alter their shape, enabling them to squeeze through surprisingly small gaps -- if you can call anything on this scale "small". They trail their appendages behind them as they navigate the Airts. They have a siphon-like orifice that is used both for for locomotion, as they harness the Airts to propel them through space, and draw in the gasses they need to breathe. It is possible that they may require less air to breathe than terrestrial organisms, or that they can respirate gasses that most terrestrial species find toxic. Star krakens are almost certainly invertebrates, like other cephalopods. While it is only a presumption that star kraken physiology works the same way -- due to their size and rarity, no one has been able to dissect one -- it is a reasonable presumption. Most of an octopus' brain is, as one would expect, contained within its head in a cartilaginous "skull," but its neural tissue also extends into its tentacles, which means that they move and operate with some degree of autonomy -- and it would seem observationally that the star kraken shares this unique advantage. The bulk of their major organs are located in their mantle, which is the capelike flesh between their head and tentacles. Star krakens are immune to the effects of decompression, and they are also effectively immune to the damaging effects of cold, fire, and radiation.
Ink Cloud (Ex) A larval star kraken can emit a 15-foot-radius cloud of ink once per minute as a free action while in space. This cloud provides total concealment. The ink persists for 1 minute. Jet (Ex) A larval star kraken can jet in a straight line as a full-round action. It does not provoke attacks of opportunity while jetting.
5. Qeezoom Beadlethorn
6. Tracking the PiratesThe pirates are, indeed, headed to a pirate rock in the rings of Glyth . They are making no real effort to conceal their route, because they have no reason to think anyone might be in pursuit. The characters will catch up to and confront the pirate ship before they reach the pirate rock of Port Drakon however, so the crew will not have to deal with other pirates, nor the rock's defenses. GM Only: Finding the Pirates
7. The ConfrontationWhen you judge that the PCs have been looking long enough, have the characters make a 1d20 Spot check (DC 12) once every few minutes to spot the pirate ship. If they fail 3 consecutive checks, the pirates see them first, and may act in a surprise round. However, the odds are geared to the PCs spotting the pirates before the pirates spot them. If the PCs make the first Spot check, they get the surprise advantage. Otherwise, assume the two ships spot each other at roughly the same time.
- The PCs could choose to side with the pirates against the two Navy ships, and sort out their differences afterwards.
- The PCs could choose to side with either of the Navy ships against the other Navy ship, and the pirate ship, and sort out their differences afterwards.
- The PCs could try to manipulate the two Navy ships into getting into a fight with each other, while the PCs continue to engage with the pirates. To engineer this situation, the players can either resolve it through roleplay, or the players can use dice to resolve the issue. Succeeding requires the use of Semaphore -- meaning a 1d20 Profession: Starfarer or Profession: Sailor check (DC 12) -- and a successful Diplomacy check (DC 15). If you do choose to resolve it through roleplay, the successful use of semaphore to communicate is still necessary.
- If the players are extremely lucky, the fight between them and the pirates might be resolved before the Navy ships arrive. If so, they may be too damaged to effectively fight, and might choose to try to manipulate the Navy ships into fighting each other, or simply flee. Note that they will not yet have had time to loot the pirate ship, and if they flee, they will be abandoning the precious cargo.
- The PCs could decide discretion is the better part of valour, and leave the battle scene while the other three sort it out. If they choose to do so, none of the other ships will pursue -- the Navy ships are too busy keeping their eyes on each other, and the pirate ship is too concerned that the Navy ships will start firing on them.
Resolving Ship CombatERIN, WRITE THIS LATER
Resolving a Boarding Action
Resolving a Boarding ActionERIN, WRITE THIS LATER
This adventure is still under construction, and will be finished soon!
The GM should alter the adventure to be compatible with character goals. Does the party want to defend the underdog, support one or the other side of the war, or make a crapton of money? Their goals change with each of these foci.The PCs have to decant information from Qeezoom Beadlethorn to find out how to track the pirates. They will have to deal with, or defeat, the elves of the Avalonian Navy, and the orcs of the Fomorian Navy. They will have to defeat the pirates. If they decide to keep the green spores, they will have to figure out how to accomplish that, based on the choices they have already made.
- Even the species that are generally aligned with the elves are beginning to get a bit frustrated with their control of the stars. There are efforts to subvert their control in play; mostly by isolated individuals and small groups who are chafing against the social order. These are usually small acts of rebellion -- like supply redistribution -- but they may cause considerable damage to the Avalonian war effort.
- The Fomorian Empire is interested in advancing and protecting the interests of the Fomorian species, but they are not evil just because they are orcs, goblins, trolls and ogres. It may be possible to strike up a significant alliance with them by helping them out.
- Clearly the orcs also have access to Star Mushrooms. If you have read the article carefully, you will note that this means they must also have access to at least one Tree of Life. This is knowledge that would be incredibly valuable to the elves, and revealing it to them might lead to a favour owed in the future, a favourable view that could provide intangible benefits like being fast-tracked through customs or a get out of jail free card, or just a substantial monetary or magical reward.
- If the PCs continue to help Katerina Jade as they were hired to do, they run the risk of getting busted for their illicit cargo.
- ]If the characters choose to help the elves or the orcs, they run the risk of angering Katerina Jade, who may choose to deal with the matter... personally.
- In the long-term, if this adventure is used as an introduction to a campaign, helping the elves or the orcs will earn the wrath of the other side towards the characters. PCs who helped the orcs will find it difficult to operate in Avalonian space, and PCs who helped the elves will find it difficult to operate in Fomorian space. Helping Katerina Jade will have the same result, only to a lesser degree -- assuming that the PCs are not reported to the authorities.
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Adventure SynopsisThe characters are contracted by Katerina Jade of The Plucky Jade to acquire a shipment of Star Mushroom spores from a Gnome merchant, who is shipping them for the Avalonian Imperial Navy. The merchant's route takes them from Peridot to Telasia in the Telasian System. The merchant is known to be a bit shady, and might be convinced to part with the shipment and claim a mishap, for a bit of coin -- or a threat. However, when the PCs catch up with the merchant, they discover that his shipment has already been pirated! The characters must pursue the pirate and acquire the valuable spores. To further complicate matters, the PCs discover that there are "other interested parties." The Avalonian Navy and the Fomorian Navy have both sent ships to pursue the pirates themselves. The characters must choose to align with one or the other, or battle them both, to then face off against the pirates. If the characters are successful, they discover that the cargo the pirates hijacked includes not only radiation-curing blue star mushroom spores, but immature green hallucinogenic green star mushroom spores as well! Green mushroom spores are contraband in most systems. What will they choose to do with them?
Table of Contents
CreaturesThese are articles providing more information about creatures, beings and monsters relevant to this adventure.
It is said that some species grow to fit their environments. The Deep Void of space has... a lot of space. So perhaps it should surprise no one that with a cosmic environment in which to grow, there are creatures that grow to cosmic sizes.
NPCsThese are articles on important NPCs that your characters may meet.
Kat is the owner of The Plucky Jade, and a hooker with a heart of gold.
ShipsThese articles feature ships the characters may encounter.
The Void Treader
The Void Treader is a repurposed Fomorian Damselfly corvette that guards merchant caravans.
Player CharactersThese are pre-generated PCs that your players have the option of picking up and playing with this adventure.
Minji is an up and coming 5th level Ip-Aradare Lifer with a huge desire to prove themself.
Yipish the Navigator
Yipish is a curious, happy-go-lucky 5th level Nissling Ranger who wants to explore the Universe.