Can't Take the Sky

Session 1

Logday 1 through 6
Toiling, Maidenflight 10, 424 FY

Day dawns over Västernorr as a traveling knight by the name of Sir Albion Sheol comes to the gates. The guards grant entry to Albion, and after he asks for the location of the inn, he is directed to Sid’s Grub, Gas, and Grotto.

It seems a reasonably well-appointed, popular place with all manner of regulars and travelers there. As he breakfasts, a huddled, cloaked figure shuffles to the bar and posts something on the bulletin board. He briefly speaks to Sid before jumping on a table and announcing he has a job for any adventurers who are interested.

His threadbare clothes, ample bags, and deformed countenance mark him as a mutant scavenger from the Wastelands, likely from the nearby Phobetor.

Albion answers his summons, as do five others. Sin Tsunami the centaur and Stiletto Typhoon the elf, traveling companions and comrades-in-arms, approach the table, as do Ibrahim “Smoochie” Ogden the hunter and Rukk Kippel the wizard, both travelers from other realms. Ulek Uurtag, a half-orc cleric from Oerth, also answers the call.

The mutant introduces himself as Clash Ghostchanter and indicates that his mission is fairly simple: he wishes to speak with Professor Dinatima Chaosdreamer regarding some old drowtech he has scavenged in the Phobetor. However, she has had enough run-ins with mutants that she does not fully trust them, so he wants a few people to travel with him to show that he is not totally amoral. He will pay 200 gp for this service. All six adventurers agree to go, and so they begin walking to the tower where she works and lives. As they walk, Clash Ghostchanter whistles and a large, eight-foot tall robot emerges from a side street. It carries a satchel; Clash explains that he was not about to carry that much money and equipment unguarded.

When they arrive, they find the door unlocked and slightly ajar. Everybody readies their weapons and enters the tower. The building appears to have been roughly searched; in particular, Professor Chaosdreamer’s workspace has been tossed and signs of a struggle are evident. On the wall, there is a message written in charcoal. It reads:

Swing the hammer
Smash the walls
Grind their bones
And break their balls

A bloody thumbprint has been pressed against the wall beneath the message.

Rukk magically analyzes the wall, but can find no evidence of magic. Additionally, the group cannot really determine if anything was stolen; Chaosdreamer’s notes seem to relate either to drow history or technology, and it is not immediately obvious if any were taken.

Unable to find more information, the group heads outside and Albion begins questioning those passing by. He can only find vague notations that a group of people with a drow woman passed through, but nothing further is evident. Ibrahim attempts to track them, but to no avail.

With nothing further, the group notifies the town watch. They explain all they know and aid the watch in its investigation, but it is not long before the guardsmen send them on their way.

Once back outside, Clash Ghostchanter says that he can pay the group, or he can offer the technological item he was trying to identify if the group wishes it. It is evidently some manner of drowtech rifle, but would need someone’s attention.

The group takes the money.

After dividing the sum — Albion and Ulek refuse payment — Ulek wanders toward the market. Albion decides to see if he can investigate anymore, and then decides to find Ulek to see if she can aid in his investigations. Sin Tsunami and Stiletto Typhoon return to Sid’s Gas, Grub, and Grotto. Ibrahim and Rukk also return to Sid’s, but sit outside.

Albion manages to find Ulek, and wonders if they could find further information at the library. During the course of the conversation, it occurs to Ulek that the chant and drop of blood seem somewhat similar to markings of Erythnul’s worshippers, although Erythnul is an Oerth deity not native to Rockulon Prime. They discuss the possibility of researching further at a library, but being unable to read, Albion decides against it. He returns to the inn while Ulek moves on to find a library.

Meanwhile, Ibrahim and Rukk see a trio walking toward the inn. One appears to be a blonde elf woman in leather armor, armed with two swords and a longbow. Another appears to be a dark-haired human male in velvet and leather, covered in potion bandoliers; he has the look of a wizard about him. The last is an armored woman with draconic features bearing an ornate sword. As they approach, Rukk inquires about some local phenomenon or other, but they indicate that they are foreign. Rukk inquires further, and learns that they are from a distant world known as Khaldun, and though they have access to a spelljammer, they traveled here by portal. Rukk is quite interested and starts discussing planar theory with the wizard as the elf notes that they are seeking adventurers for a job, and if they wish to join them in the tavern, they can explain the details. Ibrahim and Rukk follow.

Once inside Sid’s, Rukk and the wizard continue to talk while the elf speaks with Sid and then posts a sign on the bulletin board. Stiletto, seeing the job, joins them, although Sin Tsunami notes the draconic woman and decides to hang back. As the elf begins explaining things, Albion joins the group and listens.

The elf introduces herself as Darrath Wolfsbane; her companions are the human alchemist Thorry Daleborn and the dragonborn swordmage Zinnanys Ankarv. They are operating on behalf of a group known as the Zookeepers, an anti-slaving organization. They come from the world of Khaldun by way of a planar portal that opened above their world; the other end joins to a portal high above Rockulon Prime. They discovered the portal with the help of a Rockulon native by the name of Dr. Dagger Nazareth.

Regardless, there is another gate between Khaldun and Rockulon Prime. It opens into the tower of the so-called Lord Vau, scant miles from Västernorr. This gate allows a slaver organization to make trades between Khaldun and Rockulon Prime, allowing the slaving syndicate from Khaldun to expand its operations significantly. They do not know if Lord Vau is native to Khaldun or Rockulon Prime, and for that matter, know relatively little about things on the Rockulon Prime side of the portal. They know that the gate connects on the Khaldun side to an organized crime facility, and that some notable personages occasionally visit Lord Vau’s tower from Khaldun. As they traveled through the portal by spelljammer, they have managed to fly over the site. Lord Vau’s tower also appears to be operating a nearby mine; the Zookeepers are not precisely certain what they are mining, but they have seen precious gems. They may be mining other materials in addition to gems, however.

Additionally, Lord Vau’s tower appears to have some manner of spelljammer parked atop it, although nobody particularly recognized the design.

The group estimates roughly a hundred individuals at both sites. The primary objective is to close the portal, with a secondary objective of liberating the prisoners. The Zookeepers feel that if they can liberate one location, they can liberate the other with greater ease. For the group’s aid in closing the gate and helping liberate the slaves, they are offering 2,000 gold pieces; 500 gp up front with 1,500 gp upon completion. The group also gets salvage rights to anything in Lord Vau’s tower.

Albion, Ibrahim, Rukk, and Stiletto agree to the terms.

The Zookeepers give the group the day to prepare, saying they will depart in the morning. Stiletto tells Sin about the job, and introduces her to the Zookeepers. [Evan] likewise tracks down Ulek, and informs her of the job. The group spends the rest of the day making certain all supplies are in order.

Albion, Ibrahim, Rukk, Sin, Stiletto, and Ulek meet with the Zookeepers — Darrath Wolfsbane, Thorry Daleborn, and Zinnanys Ankarv — the next morning and depart for Lord Vau’s tower.

On foot, the trip takes a little under three and a half days, and is relatively uneventful. When they sight the tower, they decide to retreat and wait for nightfall.

The group waits until midnight to approach the tower. Four smaller, wooden towers are placed at even intervals around the main tower. Each bears four torches and two guards armed with crossbows stand upon each tower. The main tower is composed of stone and roughly sixty feet tall and four or five hundred feet across. There are two, small windows — each of which billows smoke — and only one door.

The group discusses their options, and decides to create a diversion and enter the front door. Rukk conjures an Unseen Servant to ascend the towers and start knocking off torches in the hopes of setting the towers ablaze. One such tower is set on fire, and the guards split up and flee to notify the other towers. As Rukk does so, however, Sir Albion Sheol decides to charge off into the tower. After several attempts, he batters the front door open. In the commotion, however, the two guards on the nearest tower hear the noise and fire into the darkness. He responds by rushing up the tower and meeting them halfway. He slashes one across the chest, felling him, while the other is surprised by one of Stiletto’s arrows catching him in the neck. Albion charges up the rest of the staircase at the sound of another guardsman, and forces him to surrender. The man quickly does and Albion drags him back down to the group.

Disgusted at the display of bravado, Ulek moves away from the group to sit in the grass and contemplate. Darrath Wolfsbane opens the man’s shirt and notes the tattoo on his left shoulder, marking him as a slave. She chastises Albion for treating the guards so harshly.

Meanwhile, Rukk has been quietly moving around the guard towers, attempting to set fires. Three of the four catch fire, and the guards flee into the tower to alert the others. Rukk takes the opportunity to peek into the open door but is spotted by two of the crossbowmen. He responds by pulling out a bottle, speaking a command word, and pointing the bottle forward as it starts issuing smoke. The crossbowmen respond by shooting bolts at him.

He is penetrated by quarrels and falls to the ground. The bottle continues to smoke next to him.

As the men reload and start walking over to Rukk, Albion appears out of the darkness and lays hands upon him. The crossbowmen are surprised by the armed paladin and the revived wizard, and surrender.

The two guardsmen are brought back to the group, and it is explained that they are being liberated. With three guard slaves in the group, they begin asking about the tower’s defenses. They say that there are roughly a hundred men here, but that Lord Vau keeps some manner of monster — an Umber Hulk — on the fifth floor. Armed with this information, the group decides to enter the tower.

The tower’s interior appears to be made out of stone blocks. The halls and rooms are illuminated by electric lights attached to the walls and ceilings. The group proceeds to begin searching the first floor for supplies and the stairs. The group manages to avoid guard patrols while searching the first block of rooms, finding only a lavatory with electric pumps. Albion asks the slaves where to find an armory, and they explain where the armory is located, while also recommending that the group avoids the barracks.

The group continues to search the first floor. Although they manage to evade any guards, they do enter a room with two abandoned minecarts, stuffed with gems. The minecarts are guarded by four creatures that appear to be crossbreeds of wolves and chickens. The creatures savagely attack the interlopers, but the assembled party manages to defeat the wolf-creatures — which they term “wolf-a-doodle-doos” — and raid the minecarts. The group proceeds to the armory without incident. The slaves are certain to restock crossbow bolts and grab bucklers and clubs, while Ibrahim takes the lone arquebus along with powder and shot. Nobody else sees any equipment they wish to grab, so they continue on their way.

The group continues down hallways and finds themselves facing the stairs to the second level.