The Known Sky

Session 3
Meeting Tomo and Journey to Hillspar

The party and Dr. Garo went back to The Black Bard’s ship, the Tower, to tell her what had happened. They related their adventures.

The Black Bard was worried about the approaching barge full of refugees. The huge influx of citizens would greatly task their ability to support – they had been planning to resupply on Yovar, which of course was impossible now that Yovar had apparently been destroyed somehow.

Luckily, Convoy was currently near the city of Hillspar. Convoy usually traded with Yovar because of Finnan Krommly’s contacts there. Most islands were reluctant to trade with Convoy, as it is largely viewed as a pirate city engaged in illicit activity. But in these dire straits, the Black Bard wanted to send the party to Hillspar to attempt to negotiate for food and water to see them through the emergency. She gave them a letter of marque to barter in her name and the name of convoy. She tasked the party to find someone willing and able to supply them with the provisions they would need on Hillspar.

Having grown up on neighboring Skalld, the dwarvish homeland, Ingvar knew a bit about Hillspar – it had once been run by a dictator named Maalthir who had expelled all non-humans from the city, but he had been deposed 20 years ago and a merchant council had ruled ever since, last Ingvar had heard. Hillspar was said to feature one major city (called Hillspar), the Cormanthor forest that was home to some wood elves, and the rest was largely agrarian land.

As a reward for saving Dr. Garo and ending the robot crisis, as well as to speed them on their way to Hillspar, The Black Bard offered the party an infant Ship’s Soul, born from the soul of the Tower itself. Ship’s Souls are incredibly precious and rare. She also offered them a small ship to attach it to. They could choose from a frail but swift Pinnace, a slow but strong Cog, or a middle-of-the-road Keelboat. The party decided on the Keelboat.

Ships need two things for good luck according to sailorly tradition: a name, and a cat. The party named their Ship’s Soul Tomo. The Black Bard also provided them with a cat, which they named Pebbles.

With that, the party was underway. Perrin, Erven, and Ikki each expended a spell slot to become psychically linked to the ship, with Perrin taking the lead on piloting it. The ship had no concept of language and communicated through pictures and emotion. Perrin explained what direction they wanted to go, and after a few missteps, Tomo got going in the right direction.

The party explored their new ship. Erven chatted with Pebbles, who had a disinterested lounge singer sort of vibe. Perrin chatted with Tomo, and Gareth and Ingvar went into the captain’s cabin to look at maps of the area.

Eventually, the party settled down to sleep. Perrin stayed awake with his loot, keeping the ship company. He was the first to hear the Aarakocra attack. At a flap of wings, Perrin shouted for the party to awaken as they were boarded. The whole party awoke, except for Gareth.

Combat began and the party managed to take down the Aarakocra despite Gareth’s grogginess and their reluctance to use fire-based spells on a wooden ship. When they killed and mutilated the Aarakocra, they found them riddled with the same green pustulence as those Ingvar and Erven had fought on Convoy. Spells and checks to determine the nature of the blight proved fruitless, as somehow whatever it was evaded easy identification. Their best guess was that it was some sort of parasitic infection or virus or plague, and that it might be influencing the aarakocras’ actions in some way.

One of the dead aarakocra began to thrash and Ingvar sliced it up. But then a second head began to vibrate and thrash, and it began to speak in an unearthly voice, despite the fact that it lacked lungs to provide air to its severed vocal cords. It spoke in Aarakocra, which only Ikki understood. It spoke as follows:

_"There is a message from this land’s new master, but it is hidden three-fold.

“The first is at the place where dandelions rise above and cover the people. The virile and the virulent can be one and the same. The infernal one is lost, and then several are found.

“The second runs red with the blood of the roots, where an heiress lies and hides her pain in long wooden boxes. She hides more than that though, but only to keep what is hers.

“The third is at the spring of blessed life, where the haunters protect and the protectors haunt. The water runs on, of course, and must be freed for all.”_

Perrin and Ingvar worked up a plan to save the bodies and use the blood and gore to convince whoever they might find on Hillspar of the veracity of their plight, and to appear beaten down and not much of a threat.

The party took a short rest and used their Hit Die to recover health with some help from Perrin’s Song of Rest ability.

As dawn broke, the party approached the island of Hillspar. They saw a city broken in half by an inlet with 3 bridges spanning the sky between them. In the mouth of the inlet sat four islands, one of which held a tower, and the rest of which held outposts of soldiers standing at attention by siege weapons like ballistas and mangonels. These soldiers wore red uniforms with marching-band style hats with red plumes sticking out of them. There were two docks in the city, a northern one for large freight vessels and a southern one for smaller passenger and mercantile vessels.

Ingvar shouted out to the soldiers that they needed help on their way to the docks, and the soldiers whispered to each other and signalled someone at the docks with a pair of flags. A dockworker waved the party into a slip at the smaller southern dock. He made to tie up their ship, but stopped when he saw them. He told them they’d better leave, as the law said only humans were allowed in the city of Hillspar. This aggravated the party, especially Ingvar, who was getting frisky when a troupe of a dozen red-plumed soldiers arrived.

Their leader stepped forward and introduced herself as Dessandra, a captain of Hillspar’s Red Plumes. She told the party that the Great Law of Humanity barred entry to the city to all non-humans and that if they didn’t leave they would be shipped off to the arena. She told them they could dock at the village around the east of the island where “their kind” gathered. She and Ingvar got into a dick-measuring contest, each threatening the other should they ever meet again, but the party shoved off for the village without further incident.

The party followed the coast of the island east until they saw the “village.” It looked more like a shantytown or refugee camp than a village, filled with tents and ramshackle huts made of driftwood and scrap. The people they saw looked unclean, unshaven, and harrowed. At the far end of the camp sat what looked like a farm settlement, its buildings with bright green painted walls and round roofs painted bright yellow. There was a farm house, a barn, and three big silos all painted with this color scheme.

The party beached Tomo and tied her around a nearby tree and stepped ashore, ending the session for the night.

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Session 2.5
Ingvar and Erven fight some birds

We began with a mini session exploring what Ingvar and Erven were doing while the rest of the party was inside the Brass Gear. They were waiting in a hidden spot to the side of the main catwalk when they heard a young girl’s voice calling for help. Ingvar ignored it but Erven went off to see what was wrong and Ingvar grudgingly followed him, bleeding a lot.

They discovered a small halfling girl with curly red hair. She introduced herself as Kithri Krommly and said she had been sent to Convoy ahead of a barge of refugees from the island of Yovar, which had somehow just been destroyed. She said that convoy’s freight docks, the only place their barge could dock, were closed and that their ship’s soul was dying. If the docks weren’t lowered quickly, the barge would sink and all the refugees aboard would die. She tried to radio the docks but no one answered so she came looking for help. She said when she tried to climb the control tower herself, she was attacked by some sort of creature she didn’t get a full sight of. Ingvar and Erven agreed to help her (Ingvar a little reluctantly due to his wounds). Happily, Kithri came equipped with healing potions and got our heroes back to full health.

Kithri led them to the control tower. As they approached, two Aarakocra with black and green feathers swooped out of the sky holding javelins. Kithri urged the party to attack them, and combat was joined. Ingvar and Erven managed to subdue the Aarakocra, including a third who emerged from the control tower. After that, Erven identified the right button to lower the docks (and Ingvar identified the incorrect button, which instead dropped sections of the dock away from Convoy when pressed). Kithri got in touch with the barge over the radio – they said they were under attack. Kithri said there must be a lot more aarakocra attacking if the barge is in trouble, as it has thousands of passengers. Kithri thanked Erven and Ingvar for their help and went off in search of her father for reinforcements in the Monastery. Ingvar decapitated a bird’s head to show others what they had dealt with and it seeped viscous green blood and was covered in enlarged veins, pustules, and boils filled with green grossness.

The gnome and the dwarf headed back to the Brass Gear to rejoin with the party.

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Session 2
To the Brass Gear

We started off in the center square of Convoy, next to Blackbeard’s ship called The Tower. Some crab-like maintenance robots had just dropped the crates they were hauling and began attacking bystanders, who had gathered to watch the Prisoners’ Carnival, which involved lots of murder and torture.
Our heroes leapt into the fray, though they were on opposite sides of the square, the two halves of the party not having met yet. Erven, Gareth, and Ikki were attacked by one of the crab robots as well as a flying robot that looked like a Golden Snitch with a big eye and two little pokers. Perrin and Ingvar were attacked by two of the crabs as well as a snitch. Eventually, the party managed to take down the robots, though not before Ingvar had managed to embarass himself by failing to lift and supplex a robot and later by bruising his knuckles in a failure of a punch. Perrin began to wonder if Ingvar was worthy of the epic song Ingvar wanted written for him. He coined what is likely to be an ongoing catchphrase, “We’ll fix it in post.”
Just when the party thought they were in the clear, a 10-foot tall robot golem, usually used to shift heavy freight, clambered up onto the square from the girders below. The party got a little freaked out. The golem started toward Perrin and Ingvar, but as it did the door to the Tower, Blackbeard’s huge airship, opened, and a tall half-elf black woman with twin scimitars stepped out. She leapt into the air and drew both her swords at once, cleanly decapitating the Golem in one strike. The woman then looked around at the party, demanding to know what had happened. She was followed out of the airship by half a dozen more figures, including a Tiefling, a Halfing, and a tall slim figure wearing a veiled sombrero. The rest were various assorted minions.
When he saw the woman, the robot with the broken antenna who had been rescued by Gareth, Erven and Ikki in the previous session excitedly began to head toward her. Ikki stopped him, worried that she might harm him. Eventually, the robot managed to convince Ikki to let him go, explaining that the woman was Blackbeard.
The woman levelled her swords at the robot until the party made clear that he hadn’t gone berserk with the rest of the robots in the city. She introduced herself as the Black Bard (which has been widely corrupted to the more pirate-y name Blackbeard). She introduced the Tiefling as Barakas, and the Halfling as Finnan Krummly, two of the captains of the Convoy. The sombrero-wearing figure raised a hand to stop himself from being introduced. Learning from the party that their robot had not been controlled due to his broken antenna, she sent a minion to let everyone know to target their antennae.
The Black Bard was still trying to figure out what had happened – the party learned that Garo, one of the 5 pirate captains of Convoy, ruled the mechanical district, which was largely populated by robots. Since resources are scarce on Convoy and almost everything has to be shipped in, robots do much of the labor on board since Convoy can’t support a humanoid population large enough to do everything that needs doing. The little robot explained everything to the Black Bard, who seemed to have no problem understanding it. The Black Bard translated for the party – Dr. Garo, who controlled all the robots on Convoy, had had something terrible happen to him and he needed rescuing. The Black Bard also looked at the little robot’s serial number and introduced it to the party as Pi-R-8.
Just then, the whole city trembled – the Black Bard explained that Convoy was held aloft by the 5 incredibly powerful wind elementals tied to the ships of the 5 great pirate captains. Garo’s had suddenly stopped carrying its weight, putting the rest of the city in danger of collapse. Barakas told the Black Bard that her pirate city experiment had failed and he wanted to take his ship and leave. the Black Bard asked him not to, since it would tear convoy apart and kill all those who lived between the ships. Barakas said he would give her a little while to sort things out. But the Captains had to stay at their ships in order to give power to their elementals to make up for the lack of Garo’s contribution – so the Black Bard tasked our party with dealing with Garo, with the carrot of a great reward and the stick of them all dying if they failed to save the city.
After some introductions, the party headed toward Garo’s ship, the Brass Gear, in the southeastern Mechanical District of Convoy. The party noticed some more of the crab robots ahead of them on the main road to the Brass Gear, and Ingvar remembered another way to get there that would take them away from the main concourse. The party went down below the main thoroughfares on to a rough-and-tumble walkway full of shuttered ships and twisty alcoves. They didn’t encounter any resistance there and managed to come back up to the main level just 50 feet or so from the Brass Gear.
There were a few more robots on duty guarding the front of the ship, and party managed to dispatch them, but not before Ingvar was seriously injured. Not having any time to waste, Ingvar urged the party to go on without him. Erven stayed with him to keep watch.
Perrin, Ikki, Gareth, and Pi-R-8 approached the ship. The ship resembled its namesake – a huge gear made of 3 concentric circles, each rotating in opposite directions. The outermost ring had six faces, each with a closed door in the center. Unsure how to get in, the party studied it for a moment until Pi-r-8 stepped up. His hand flipped back and an interface tool emerged from his arm, which he used to plug into the ship on a port next to one of the doors. The outer ring stopped rotating and the door swung open, letting the party inside.
Inside they were greeted by an empty room and an annoying voice playing through the loudspeakers. The voice (which turned out to be the Brass Gear itself), seemed to delight in pain and violence and look forward to their demise. He introduced him to their first trap, as the walls on the left and right of the room began to close in on them like a trash compactor. An investigation of the room revealed 3 doors, one on each of the enclosing walls and one in front of them. Pi-R-8 leapt into action, r2-d2-ing another port while the party attempted to slow the walls with their bulging muscles.
Eventually Pi-R-8 popped the door open and they found their way into the next room.
Each room of the ship held a different trap for the party. Some things they encountered include:
⁃ A menagerie of strange beasts including a giant caterpillar, baby griffon and flying daggerfish
⁃ A battle with former members of Dr. Garo’s crew, whose brains had been replaced with robot parts to turn them into fleshy cyborgs
⁃ A bathroom which the Brass Gear attempted to flood with them trapped inside
But perhaps the most interesting find was Dr. Garo’s bedroom, which contained his journal. The party read about his discovery of true artificial intelligence, and his horror when he realized he had been experimenting upon living, thinking creatures. He resolved to set the newly sentient robots free.
The penultimate room the party found itself in was a room with two tables, one with a Pi-R model robot connected to a helmet and one with an empty helmet. The door leading to the center of the ship featured two robo-ports, so Pi-R-8 couldn’t open it on his own. The party realized they needed to mind transfer someone with the robot, and Gareth volunteered. Pi-R-8 threw the switch, and Gareth’s mind woke up in a robot’s body.
Unfortunately, a robot’s mind also woke up in Gareth’s body. The party managed to knock Gareth unconscious without too much trouble, while Gareth looked on in horror. Gareth and Pi-R-8 opened up the door and then did a body switch-back…
Forgetting to knock out the robot which was now awake in its own body. It attacked them and they managed to put it down. Gareth got a quick heal and the party went into the central chamber of the ship, which resembled an operating room theater. In the center of the room was an old dwarf body on a table, presumably Dr. Garo. He was linked by another helmet apparatus to a Pi-R robot. A second Pi-R robot threw the switch and Robo-Garo awoke for a final showdown.
Robo Garo could shoot bullets out of his fingers and had a nasty scimitar he could use to slash at the party. He also could emit a thunderwave from his body knocking everyone around him to the ground. The Brass Gear pitched in to the fight, too, spinning the central chamber around to knock the party off its feet from time to time.
After a hard-fought battle, the party managed to win the day, knocking Robo Garo out and returning Garo to his body. Garo managed to dis-entangle the robotic Brass Gear consciousness from the Wind Elemental that controlled the ship and get his elemental back to supporting Convoy. The party expressed an interest in keeping the Brass Gear despite its violent tendencies, and so as a small reward Garo transferred it into a little robot dragon chassis so it could accompany them on their journey. It agreed to go, since its greatest desire was to explore the wide world rather than be trapped and tied to Convoy.
Garo also rewarded the party with the following treasure:
2700 cp
900 sp
40 gp
7 50 gp gems
Lantern of revealing
⁃ when lit, this hooded lantern burns for 6 hours on 1 pint of oil, shedding bright light in a 30 foot radius and dim light for an additional 30 feet. Invisible creatures and objects are visible as long as they are in the lantern’s bright light. You can use an action to lower the hood, reducing the light to dim light in a 5-foot radius.
Potion of animal friendship
⁃ When you drink this potion, you can cast the animal friendship spell (save DC 13) for 1 hour at will. Agitating this muddy liquid brings little bits into view: a fish scale, a hummingbird tongue, a cat claw, or a squirrel hair.
Rod of electric arc
⁃ This rod has 15 charges. Can use your action to cast electric arc, a ranged weapon attack with 4 to hit, range 20/60 feet., one target. On a hit does 1d42 lightning damage.
Robo command patch
⁃ Can be attached to one robot of your choice with a successful melee attack. Robot must succeed on a DC15 Wisdom saving throw or be charmed by you for 8 hours. It follows your commands and those of your companions for 8 hours.

The party left the Brass Gear to pick up Ingvar and Erven and head back to the Black Bard for their promised reward.

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Session 1
Exploring Convy

Recap: We started with Erven, a 15-cm high elf who was looking to learn about Convoy. She asked a passing human monk for directions to somewhere she could learn about history, but he scoffed and said Convoy was only 10 years old and had no history. Instead he pointed Erven to a corner meditation spot (one on every corner, just like Barstucks) where she meditated with two halfling monks amidst some pungent incense.
Next we moved on to Ikki, a half-human-half-aarakocra who had come to Convoy in her search for knowledge. Her target was the Library ship in the Keep quarter of town. Hiding high in Convoy’s girders, she stealthily swept down into the Library. She thought she had gotten away without anyone seeing her, but as soon as she touched a book the librarian, a half-elf named Timofey, swept over to her and demanded she sign in, muttering about his assistant Gerald. Once Ikki signed in Timofey forgot about her and let her get to reading.
The halfling bard Perrin Leafwater was also new come to town, and wanted to check out Kairon, the seediest part of town. Looking for an inn where he could play his lute for his supper, he stumbled upon a likely looking watering hole and attempted to bypass the three Drow who stood outside its door, their leader named Beau. The drow, however, wouldn’t let him pass, and got a little frisky when he mentioned his “loot.” Realizing he was about to get his ass kicked, Perrin made a 180 but he was saved as a dwarf barbarian Ingvar appeared from within the tavern and told the drow off. They appeared to have had run-ins with Ingvar in the past and were appropriately chastened, letting Perrin back into the tavern as Ingvar’s guest.
Ingvar and Perrin ordered drinks from Orga, the orcish barkeep, which consisted of some kind of yellowish-green sludge. Ingvar got progressively drunker while Perrin proved he had a steel liver, which made Ingvar like him even more. Perrin made to play some music, but Ingvar stopped him, pointing to a rowdy orc named Dave who was currently in a fight over at the dice table, saying he hated anything other than Fart Metal. Not being familiar with fart metal, Perrin acceded and they kept drinking. Having taken a liking to Perrin, Ingvar decided to have the bard write an epic about him as he sought an honorable and bloody death.
Meanwhile, Gareth Kewd-Sturi, a gnomish purveyor of religious relics of questionable veracity, had a meeting with the Little Sisters of the Innocent, who wanted to buy some of his goods. They showed up, five white-robed and cat-masked figures who each stood a head higher than their compatriots. They demanded the relics before giving over the coin, and Gareth had a bad feeling about the whole thing. He cast thaumaturgy to make the ship shake, frightening the Sisters like cats and sending them scurrying to the walls. Gareth attempted to run past them, but the tallest Sister (7 ft tall) grabbed him by the wrist. Gareth promptly stabbed this Sister in the throat, killing her at once, and escaped, running through the city with a blood-stained knife and hand. He realized only after he’d left that he’d left his relics and other wares behind in the ship – but at least he’d escaped with his life.
Meanwhile, Erven the gnome had finished meditating and decided to go looking for a library again. She asked a passing young halfling monk woman, who energetically pointed Erven in the right (if vague) direction. She did an acrobatic monk flip and Erven went on her way, eventually coming to the Library in the Keep. A young man and a woman were holding hands and looking frisky on deck, but Erven bypassed them and entered the ship. There she met Ikki, who was nervous at first but put at ease when Erven didn’t judge her based on her birdy appearance. Ikki, overcome, forgot to tell Erven to sign in, so she got accosted when she attempted to read a book on the Ruler in the religion section. Timofey appeared and signed her in before going off in search of his truant apprentice, one Gerald, who was busy consorting with what Timofey described as a Strumpet. Erven and Ikki set to reading.
Soon after, a blood-encrusted Gareth showed up, demanding to see Gerald. Without his wares Gareth needed cash, and Gerald owed him money for accepting his suitor Merigold’s confession and wingmanning her into dating Gerald. Gerald didn’t have cash, but he paid off the debt with what he described as a rare and valuable book. Gareth made the acquaintance of Ikki and Erven, who were understandably perturbed by his bloodiness. Seeing that Gareth was dressed as a priest of the Faceted God, Erven asked some religious questions and had her roll a d12 to determine which god she should follow. She rolled the Explorer, which she thought was fitting. Gerald wanted Gareth to get out of there, lest Merigold see him, and Ikki and Erven decided to accompany him and go see the Carnival that was on in the center of town.
But Ikki needed some sort of clothing to pass through the crowd, and so they went into a nearby shop, a purple-and-red sloop that stunk of perfume. There, after some haggling, Erven managed to purchase a black and red cloak for Ikki, but not before the purveyor stank it up with pungent perfume. Despite her keen sense of smell, Ikki was glad of the disguise and they made to set off for the carnival.
Meanwhile, the boys decided to leave Orga’s, and found crowds heading toward the center of town, talking about a carnival. A member of the town criers’ guild, wearing powder blue, called out that the carnival was about to begin, and rattled off other news, including the weather, the approach of a barge from Yovar, and more.
As Perrin and Ingvar crossed into the Keep, they came across a pair of carnival attractions: a bear fighting ring and a dunk tank. Ingvar was drawn to the bear fight ring, and told Perrin to lay bets for him. He told Perrin to punch him, activating his RAGE. He got into the ring but found that the bear was a sad, sickly thing. Angry at the lack of a proper challenge, he tossed the bear out of the ring but activated his levitation charm, saving the bear’s life and depositing it into the crowd near the proprietor. The bear got its own rage on, and cuffed the proprietor into the ring, where Ingvar beat him bloody. Perrin pretended it was all part of the show and managed to get some silver from the crowd. Ingvar left the proprietor bear-ly alive, intending to teach a lesson, but the bear made its way back into the ring and tossed its old master over the side, killing him when he hit a girder below.
Perrin and Ingvar made to bypass the dunk tank, but just then a millennial (it’s the year 4009) hit the target and sent the slave sitting on the chair down. But instead of a water dunk tank, it was just a hole, and the slave went falling down to their death. Deciding they couldn’t in good conscience let more slaves die, Perrin raged up Ingvar and he challenged the top-hat-wearing Goliath proprietor. The proprietor and he got into a shoving match, and after just a few shoves, the Orc tripped backwards over the dunk tank and fell to his death, robbing Ingvar of a good fight once again. The rowdy crowd cheered Ingvar on.
Meanwhile, Perrin snuck into the tent in back that housed the rest of the slaves. There was a blind dwarf, two half-elf siblings, and a human man chained in a circle around the central tent pole. Ingvar came in and asked Perrin to go make a distraction. Perrin went out and played music, when he saw Dave in the back, who started singing Fart Metal. Perrin picked up the tune and accompanied Dave accurately, if not beautifully. The crowd loved it and eventually Dave got it on with a female orc. In the back, Ingvar had snapped the tent pole and Perrin put up an illusory tent so that no one else would see it. They got the slaves away and rescued the one from the chair, using the key that had caught on his toe when the orc fell to free the slaves. Unfortunately, the slaves were obviously slaves, wearing only rags as they were. Perrin and Ingvar decided to buy them some clothes to mask them.
They bought clothes from another purple establishment and Ingvar killed the proprietor when it became clear he was an asshole.
The girls’ party runs into some robots wearing cloaks and defeat them in a fight, and the friendly robot pantomimes that it wants them to take it to see blackbeard, which is in the center of the city where they were going anyway.
Both they and the other party on teh other side of the city made their way to the center of the city, which turned out to revolve around a huge gallows. But just as the two groups entered the center plaza, all the machines began to awake and attack.

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