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Airts and Anchors

A Pathfinder 1e Adventure for 3rd to 6th level characters

By Sable Aradia & Erin Righ
Content Warning: Mention of Psychoactive Drugs, Inferred Prostitution
  This is a Pathfinder 1e adventure designed for characters of roughly 3rd to 6th level. It takes place in the broader universe of the Toy Soldier Saga, nearing the start of the Second Interstellar War (IW2). Since the characters will be playing independents who are neither loyal to the Avalonian Empire nor the Fomorian Empire, they may choose to side with either or neither. Their motivations could be benevolent or malevolent, or simply selfish (maybe they're looking to enrich themselves.) We strongly suggest to the GM, however, that all the players be on roughly the same page (a good-aligned party, an evil-aligned party, or a neutral party, not a mixture of the three.) Players and GM should meet prior to the game, and discuss expectations in a Session Zero.  
Text in the red boxes are GM notes. Some may appear behind Spoiler Boxes
See? Like this!
. Spoiler Boxes are also where most NPC, creature, and encounter stats will be located.
 
Text in the blue boxes is meant to be read aloud to your players.
  For this adventure, the players may either play the pre-generated characters provided(see Sidebar,) or may play their own characters with the GM's approval.  
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:  
    Goblin cover
    by Leo Matthew Duncan
  • Aasimar
  • Gnome
  • Goblin
  • Human
  • Half-Elf
  • Half-Orc
  • Tiefling
 
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:  
  • Finoc (catpeople)
  • Nissling, Draconian (similar to kobolds, but with dragonlike traits)
  • Otterfolk (otterpeople)
  • Ratatosk (squirrelpeople)
 
If You Have Elves or Orcs in the Party
If 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.

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Structure

Exposition

The player characters are the crew of a corvette that is typically hired to serve as an escort for merchant vessels. The GM should assume that the characters know each other and have been working together aboardship for at least a few months. This will make it easier to introduce the party to the adventure.   If there is a player who is familiar enough with the world or terminology to do so (ie. was in the Navy, played Spelljammer, etc.) you can have that player assume the role of Captain, either by playing the appropriate pre-generated character, or by designing their unique PC accordingly. Otherwise, it is probably best that the Game Master run the Captain as an NPC.  
You have been in port on Dragon Rock for about a week, staying at an inn with the unlikely name of The Crater Pit . The drink is excellent and the food is fair but served in generous portions. Unfortunately, you're running out of money; it's been a while since you've been hired to escort a merchant flotilla, what with the war going on. The Avalonian Navy seems to be undertaking the escort of their supplies themselves, and everyone else has been keeping their heads down. So your heart lifts a little to see a voluptuous woman with fiery red hair approach you.   You've heard of Katerina Jade of course. She's the captain and owner of The Plucky Jade, which boasts that she hosts "every pleasure known in space." You've seen her in the docks, but lacking funds, you have not taken advantage of the opportunity.   She casts a winning smile upon you, and you suddenly know why the madam has such a glowing reputation. That smile has to have broken hearts on a thousand worlds. "Good evening," she says. "Do you mind if I join you? I have a business proposition I'd like to discuss."   GM Only: Katerina Jade
STAT BLOCK GOES HERE
  Assuming that the PCs are interested, continue:

Conflict

1. The Introduction

 
Katerina sits down at the table and orders a glass of brandy. You didn't even know this place served brandy, but apparently, they serve it for her. "Thanks, sugar," she says to the barmaid, and you can see a flash of silver in the tip she puts in the girl's hand. She sips delicately at her drink and turns back to you.   "It has come to my attention," she begins, "that a gnome merchant who has done a favour or two for me in the past, is shipping a rather valuable cargo for the elves. For a... reasonable fee, shall we say? ... he might be persuaded to part with it on my behalf. It's a bit more than I've asked of him previously, but he's a good fellow, and I'm sure it would just take a bit of convincing. I'm looking to hire someone to speak to him about it for me, and to bring those goods back here. I'll cover expenses and the cost of the cargo, plus a reasonable markup to sell it back to me. What do you say?"
  There are probably a number of questions that the PCs will have:
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?
"Well, hon," she says with a warm smile, "you know that star mushroom spores cure radiation poisoning, right? We sometimes travel the Deep Void too. You just never know."   GM Only: The Real Deal
Ask the PCs to make a Sense Motive 1d20 (DC 12) check. Success means that they can tell she is hiding something.   The players may then attempt to decant this hidden information. Ask them to make a 1d20 Diplomacy check:
  • 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?
"Well..." she settles back into her chair, "I mean, of course there may be other interested parties. And they might want to seize the goods for themselves, you see. We're a peaceful ship; we're not equipped for trouble. But trouble is what you do, isn't it?"   GM Only: What She Isn't Telling Them
On a 1d20 DC 12 Sense Motive roll, the PC gets the sense that Katerina expects trouble. This should make them a bit suspicious and want more information:
  • 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?
Katerina smiles. "His name is Qeezoom Beadlethorn, and he and I go way back. He often runs cargo for the Navy, but he's got a good heart. He's been known to do me a favour from time-to-time."   GM Only: More Information
Katerina will not speak a negative or revealing word about Captain Beadlethorn, no matter what the characters do or think. But a 1d20 DC 14 Gather Information or Knowledge: Local check, when talking to the local criminal element or the local gnome community, will reveal that Mr. Beadlethorn is known to "skim" from his more valuable cargos frequently for the gnome community, or for the poor or disadvantaged. He also donates to orphanages, and smuggles badly-needed supplies in thin times. He is well-known and well-liked.

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.  

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2. Negotiation

The 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 Described
Taking on the mission means that you should move to the next section, "4. Making Sail."
Double-Crossing Katerina by Turning Her In
The 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.  
You make your way to the Naval office here on Dragon Rock -- a small brick building near the docks. "This is a restricted area," the Marine Sergeant in his bright red coat says to you as you approach.   Once you've explained your business, the Marine nods and allows you to enter. A Sidhe elf nods to you from behind the desk. "Can I help you?" they ask.   Once you explain your business again, the Sidhe elf stands up and says, "Wait right here please." They step briskly over to an office and knock on the door. "Elana," they say, "there's a group of people here who have information on an illegal trader."   The office door opens, and an Alfar woman in a blue Navy Captain's uniform steps out. "Thank you for coming forward," she says. "I'm Captain Songbird. Please, come in." The marine and the sailor from the desk discretely close the door behind them as they exit.   GM Only: Captain Errayne Songbird
STAT BLOCK GOES HERE
  You are ushered into a small but well-furnished office with a few high-backed chairs. The captain interviews you in a brisk but friendly manner, asking you for names, locations, and other details. You tell her what you know. She writes it down on some paper with a gold-tipped quill.   When you are finished, she reads back the information you have given her, and asks you to sign the statement. Once you have done so, she selects another piece of paper from her desk, this one a printed form. She scratches something on it, adds what looks like it might be a signature, and then sands it, and seals it with the Navy Crest. She blows on it a little to remove the sand. Then the Captain opens the door and says, "Sergeant?"   "Elana," says the same marine you saw before.   "Please take this warrant and your squad, proceed to Dock 12 where the The Plucky Jade is berthed, and arrest Katerina Jade on my authority."   "Very good, Captain," says the marine. He salutes her by touching his closed fist to his heart, and sets out briskly, presumably to follow his orders.   "Thank you for bringing this to our attention," says the Captain to you as she takes a key from her pocket and opens a drawer under her desk. "Please accept this as reward" -- she takes out a piece of paper, signs it, sands and seals it, and hands it to you. It turns out to be a bank note. "You can redeem that at the treasury on you way out, which the Lieutenant will direct you to. The Navy appreciates your service." She smiles and nods to you, then goes back to her paperwork. Taking this as a dismissal, you take your leave.   GM Only: The Navy's Reward
The characters receive a reward of 500*G and a favourable view from the Navy personnel in the Telasian System (+2 bonus on reaction rolls and other social interactions thereafter)

Planning to Betray Katerina Later
Characters 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."

Rising Action

In this section, the characters will track down Qeezoom Beadlethorn's ship, The Gizmo , discover that he does not have the cargo, and pursue the pirates who stole it from him.  

4. Making Sail

You resupply your ship and prepare to make sail. You depart the port of Dragon Rock and set your course into the Void. Qeezoom Beadlethorn is expected to make a stop at Manannan to resupply water and perhaps some food; you figure this may be a good place to intercept him. You expect the journey to take about a week.   You lend your hand to the tasks before you: setting sails, raising anchor as you put your back into turning the capstan, or settling into the Pilot's chair. You pull away from the Rock. The sight of the stars around you and the asteroid community below lifts your heart. When you have made some distance away from the other gravity wells of ships and the port, the Captain calls, "Helm; take us out!"
 
Navigation Check
If 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:  
Starfaring is a unique experience. Being in the Pilot's chair, you sense the universe around you as if you were the ship itself. You can sense the crew moving about your decks -- you can feel the pressure of their bodies, and sense, if not quite see, an outline of their bodies, as gravity forms the natural shape of their matter. You can hear what they are saying as vibrations against your hull, although it's difficult to discern individual voices wherever they are clustered. Around you, you can see the interplanetary Airts; currents of gravity, time, space, and magic, that seem to you like shifting, swirling currents in violets and blues. You can sense that one of them will take you to your destination. As the captain cries, "Navigation; plot us a course!" you select one of them as the current you will travel.
 
Piloting Check
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.
 
Space Storm
Suddenly the streaks of light surrounding you shorten into the dots of stars once again. The Void Treader suddenly falls out of interplanetary speeds. Looking around for the source of the interfering gravity well, {the Pilot} senses numerous small fluctuations in the Airts. Deck crew, you see a whirlwind of dust and rocks streaking towards you!
  The ship has encountered a space storm -- in this case, the remains of an ancient collision of asteroids, still hurtling through space.  
Running the Space Storm Encounter for the Pilot
The Pilot must roll 3 successful 1d20 Profession: Pilot checks (DC 15) to escape the storm. They may make 1 check per minute. Each failed check worsens the situation; each successful check improves it. A successful check cancels out an unsuccessful one, and vice versa.  
Score Result
-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.
Running the Space Storm Encounter for the Starfarers
The other members of the ship's crew must roll 3 successful 1d20 Profession: Starfarer checks (DC 20) to escape the storm. Characters out of other campaigns may also use Profession: Sailor at a -2 penalty. They may make one check per minute. The Captain or Sailmaster (players may choose whichever one of them has the best Profession: Starfarer score). Each failed check worsens the situation; each successful check improves it. A successful check cancels out an unsuccessful one, and vice versa.   Any PC wishing to help may roll 1d20 Profession: Starfarer, or Profession: Sailor at a -2 penalty, (DC 10) to assist the Captain or Sailmaster on this roll. Each successful result gives a +2 bonus to the Captain or Sailmaster's roll.   If a PC wishes to roll 1d20 to use Acrobatics, Dodge, or similar to avoid the damage of the debris, they may do so, but they cannot also simultaneously assist the Captain or Sailmaster. Effectively, they led go of the sheet (rope) on the sail they are working with the crew to avoid the damage. Their +2 bonus, if any, is lost until they return to their duty.  
Score Result
-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.

Star Kraken
Suddenly the streaks of light surrounding you shorten into the dots of stars once again. The Void Treader suddenly falls out of interplanetary speeds. Looking around for the source of the interfering gravity well, {the Pilot} senses a relatively small disturbance. The deck crew spots a floating, many-tentacled shape in the Void. It is "swimming" towards you.
  A Paralarval Star Kraken has become lost from its parent and shoal in the Void. It is hungry, and the characters would be a nice light snack. It is therefore aggressive, and will attack.  
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
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Star Kraken Tentacles by Diane Morrison (composition)

CR 9

Star Kraken, Paralarval

N Huge Magical Beast, Stellar
Initiative: +7 Senses: Low-Light Vision, Dark Vision (10 hexes)

This is the larval stage of the dreaded Star Kraken

Defense

AC: 20 Flat-Footed 17, Touch 13 (+3 Dex, +9 Natural, -2 Size)
HP: 114 12D10+48 ( Fast Healing 1 )
Fortitude: +14 Reflex: +13 Will: +5
Defensive Abilities: Ink cloud (30-ft. radius) Immune: Cold, Fire, Radiation

Offense

Speed: fly 60 ft (Average)., jet 260 ft.
Melee: bite +14 ( 2d6+7 /20), 2 arms +14 ( 1d6+7 /20), tentacles +12 ( 4d6+3 /19–20 plus grab)
Special Attacks: constrict ( 4d6+10 /20)
Space: 15 ft. Reach: 15 ft. (30 ft. with arms and tentacles)

Statistics

Str 25, Dex 17, Con 19, Int 2, Wis 12, Cha 2
Base Attack: +12 CMB: +26 CMD: 29
Feats: Combat Reflexes, Great Fortitude, Improved Critical (tentacle), Improved Initiative, Lightning Reflexes, MultiattackB, Skill Focus (Perception)
Skills: Perception +22 , Fly +15

Ecology

Environment: Any Space
Organization: Solitary or school (2-20)
Treasure: none

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.


 
  Special Note: Using Wild Empathy
It is possible that a character with Wild Empathy may wish to try to befriend the baby Star Kraken. This should not be suggested to the players for ease of play, but they could possibly come up with the idea on their own.   This ability functions just like a Diplomacy check made to improve the attitude of a person. The character rolls 1d20 and adds their level and their Charisma modifier to determine the Wild Empathy check result. The Star Kraken, however, should be considered Hostile -- as stated earlier, it is hungry.   To use Wild Empathy, the character and the Kraken must be able to study each other, which means that they must be within 30 feet of one another; so the Star Kraken must have at least already grappled the deck. Further, the creature is trying to stuff any organic matter within reach into its maw, including the PCs. The characters must defend themselves against the creature while the Wild Empathy is attempted, and harming the Kraken will negatively influence its reactions. Influencing an animal in this way takes 1 minute but, as with influencing people, it might take more or less time.   If the character succeeds, the Star Kraken may accompany the PCs on the rest of their adventure, and even help them out -- provided that they keep it fed, which is no small feat! The Kraken is CR 9, so Challenge Ratings for future encounters in the adventure should be adjusted for the new effective Character Level of the group. Assuming a 5th level party CL, as our pre-generated PCs represent, the rest of the encounters should be adjusted for a well-equipped CL 6 party.   Successfully befriending the baby Kraken still counts as having defeated the encounter, and experience and treasure should be awarded accordingly.

The Doldrums
A couple of days into the flight, {The Pilot} begins to notice a drag on the starfaring engine. You find you are travelling at about three quarters of the rate you should be travelling at, and you are slowing down even further.
  Escaping the Doldrums
The PCs can make a 1d20 Profession: Starfarer check to determine that they must be caught in a Doldrum , which is a natural becalming of the Airts that occurs when two strong gravitational currents press against each other. If they have not yet fallen below 50% speed, they may simply stop, drop anchor, and recalculate a new course to escape. The journey takes 1d4 additional days. Note that Rangers with Space as their Favoured Terrain get a +4 bonus on this check, and may even roll for it untrained.   If the PCs continue until they are reduced to less than 50% speed, however, The Void Treader will eventually become becalmed. Every 1d4 days thereafter, the crew may make a combined 1d20 Profession: Starfarer check (DC 20) to find a gravitational wave that will carry them out. The crew member with the highest Profession: Starfarer score makes the check. All other crew members may make a 1d20 Profession: Starfarer check (DC 14) to assist, with each successful check giving the lead crew member a +2 bonus.   A clever player might also be able to come up with ideas that should grant a situational bonus on this check. For instance, they might be able to see the way that dust particles swirl around the ship, and find a sluggish Airt that way. A clever Star-Pilot might simply allow the ship to drift until they feel a sluggish Airt pulling at their gravity well. A clever (and probably desperate) PC could toss a Starmetal Talisman over the side, and watch where it goes. For any such clever idea, give the character who is making the Profession: Starfarer check a +4 bonus.

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5. Qeezoom Beadlethorn

The streaks of colour fade into stars again as you approach the gravity well of Manannan . This waterworld is like a translucent blue-green jewel in space; you can almost see through it when the light of the sun is behind it. You manoeuvre your ship into a tight orbit, and quickly catch up with an odd-looking ship that resembles a bubble with legs. The brass nameplate reads The Gizmo .   More Details About The Gizmo
No statblock is provided for the Gizmo because the characters are not intended to get into a fight. If they try, the ship will simply surrender, since they have no ammunition for their one weapon, and nothing of value to steal. However, if the players would like more details about the ship or its crew, those details are provided in the Sidebar under "Ships."
  You exchange signals to greet one another. Not being as large as you, they come alongside, aligning gravity wells, and dock up with you. You toss mooring lines to one another and fasten them securely; then you lay a plank across so that the captain, Qeezoom Beadlethorn, can come over.   GM Only: Qeezoom Beadlethorn
STAT BLOCK GOES HERE
  "You have to hurry!" the flustered gnome says. "They've got my cargo! They've got it all!"
  Once the PCs get Mr. Beadlethorn calmed down, he explains that a pirate has taken the entire shipment of mushroom spores, along with anything else of value, including, he laments, his pocket watch. He asks the characters to pursue the pirates and get the cargo back, in return for a 1000*N (gold Novae) reward. Only belatedly does it occur to him to confirm that Katerina Jade sent them. If the characters indicate that she did, he seems relieved.   Assuming that the characters agree (or appear to agree, even if they plan to double-cross him later,) read the following:  
"Bless you, bless you!" says the disheveled gnome, pumping your hands. "They headed south-southwest. I've heard that there's a pirate port in Glyth's rings. I can't imagine where else they would go, unless they're planning on leaving the system! Good luck, and thank you!"
  Anyone with even a single skill point in Profession: Pilot or Navigation knows that the greatest gravitational influence in a given system is North. South-southwest indicates that the pirates are headed out of system. A basic [roll=1d20] Navigation check (DC 8) tells the PCs that they will, indeed, intercept Glyth if they bear in that direction along the ecliptic.

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Climax

6. Tracking the Pirates

The 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
The pirates have been contracted by The Blackheart of the Fomorian Navy to acquire the spores. They intend to meet the Fomorian ship at Port Drakon to exchange the goods. The PCs will have to search Glyth's rings to find it, however. If one of the players is playing Yipish the Navigator , Yipish is capable of tracking through the Void; have them make appropriate Tracking checks, as normal.   If the party is not lucky enough to have a space ranger with them, they will have to try other methods. Use whatever makes sense to you based on the party's skills. An extended Search test may be appropriate, or they may just find a logical way to solve the problem without rolling dice; maybe they search for another ship and try to follow it (which may lead to another fight; if so, just use one of the corvettes already given in the adventure as a base, change the name and the description slightly, and run it that way, with appropriate XP rewards if they are successful.)   Either way, don't make it too difficult. It's important that the pirates are confronted. Be generous with allowing them to be found. Remember, we're here to maximize fun.
 

7. The Confrontation

When 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.  
After searching through the tumbling rocks and ice of the rings for a few hours, {character who made the Spot check} sees the outline of a ship moving between the rocks up ahead! What do you do?
  If the PCs choose to attack immediately:   GM Only: Complications
If the PCs choose to attack the ship without confirming that it is, indeed, a pirate ship, substitute either The Starbird or The Bloody Fang for The Sharktooth as a nasty GM trick to remind your players to look before they leap.
  If the PCs stop to confirm the identity of the ship, have them roll a 1d20 Search or Profession: Starfarer check (DC 10). If successful:  
You see that the ship -- another corvette -- is clearly flying a pirate's jack.
 

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Space Pirates by Linnaea Mallette

  If there is a surprise round to resolve, do so now. Otherwise, have the ship's captain or Pilot roll initiative for the ship.   The adventure could reach its conclusion in a variety of ways, depending on the decisions of the PCs.   GM Only: Options for the Characters
  • 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.
  There are a lot of variables here, and it is impossible to anticipate all potential outcomes. Adjudicate things to the best of your ability and trust your judgment.  
Resolving Ship Combat

Resolving Ship Combat

ERIN, WRITE THIS LATER

Resolving a Boarding Action

Resolving a Boarding Action

ERIN, WRITE THIS LATER
Stats for the Sharktooth (Pirate Ship)

The Sharktooth

STAT BLOCK GOES HERE
Stats for the Starbird (Avalonian Navy Ship)

The Starbird

STAT BLOCK GOES HERE
Stats for the Bloody Fang (Fomorian Navy Ship)

The Bloody Fang(

STAT BLOCK GOES HERE
 

This adventure is still under construction, and will be finished soon!

Components

Goals

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.

Hooks

Things Going On Behind-the-Scenes: GM Only
There are a number of things going on behind-the-scenes that are not common knowledge that the PCs may stumble upon. These might be especially useful if this adventure is going to be a jumping-off point for future adventures in this world:
  • 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.

Stakes

Whatever the PCs choose to do, their actions should result in real, long-term consequences:
  • 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.

Cruel Tricks

Cruel Tricks: GM Only
The PCs may choose to work for the elves, on the assumption that the elves are the "good guys." But in the Toy Soldier Saga universe, there are good and bad people, but there are no "good guys" per se. The Avalonians are serving their own interests; just as the Fomorians are. If anything, it's the struggling independent factions who are caught in the middle, which is the reason why they tend to act in ways that are not entirely above-board.
Don't forget that you can click on the blue compass on the left to access the Table of Contents at any time!
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Adventure Synopsis

The 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?

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Table of Contents

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Related Information

Plot type
One-Shot RPG Adventure
Related Characters
Related Organizations
Related Locations

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Creatures

These are articles providing more information about creatures, beings and monsters relevant to this adventure.
Star Kraken
Species | Mar 2, 2021

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.

 

NPCs

These are articles on important NPCs that your characters may meet.
Katerina Jade
Character | Apr 23, 2021

Kat is the owner of The Plucky Jade, and a hooker with a heart of gold.

 

Ships

These articles feature ships the characters may encounter.
The Void Treader
Vehicle | Apr 24, 2021

The Void Treader is a repurposed Fomorian Damselfly corvette that guards merchant caravans.

The Plucky Jade
Vehicle | Apr 23, 2021

The Plucky Jade is a starfaring cathouse. The crew travels from system to system and port to port, offering a variety of entertainments.

Player Characters

These are pre-generated PCs that your players have the option of picking up and playing with this adventure.  
Minji Shadowstar
Character | Apr 20, 2021

Minji is an up and coming 5th level Ip-Aradare Lifer with a huge desire to prove themself.

Yipish the Navigator
Character | Apr 20, 2021

Yipish is a curious, happy-go-lucky 5th level Nissling Ranger who wants to explore the Universe.



Cover image: Space Pirates by Linnaea Mallette

Comments

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30 Apr, 2021 11:41

This is looking really fun!

Feel free to check out Garb of the Acolytes!
30 Apr, 2021 18:06

That was really fun! I particularly liked that you gave the option to straight in betray the NPC and tell the soldiers about it. While sure, that would make the one-shot rather short, it is an option people may well consider, and the rewards (such as the reputation/social rewards) will be useful for players if they are playing this as part of a larger adventure, rather than a single one-shot.   I was really excited to see another Pathfinder 1e one-shot for Adventure April. But after reading on, I am surprised that you are using Pathfinder instead of Starfinder. Is there a reason you are sticking with PF rather than SF?   I also liked that you used your entry for the plant challenge as a key component for the one-shot! Including, the "surprise" that the cargo holds both blue and green spores. You managed to include quite a few of these "twists", but they still feel organic in the one-shot. Cool job!

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