13 July 2020: The End of an Astral Voyage, a D&D Adventure
Updated: Jul 14, 2020
One of my D&D groups has finally finished our campaign, a story that started over a year ago and, due to scheduling issues, has been a struggle to finish. Luckily, we were all finally able to get together (minus one player) to finish the game, and it was an absolute blast.
The story started in the Moonshae Isles off the cloast of Faerun, in a place called Mahabali, and our group was a bunch of scavengers who would dive into the ocean to get junk to sell. My character was a half-orc fighter named Nish, and she originally fought with an anchor (totally badass). Also in the crew was a sea elf druid named Sumavia, a halfling monk incapable of speaking Common and could only speak his name, Beebydee, a paladin of Torm named Hezekiah, a teenaged sea elf ranger named Aroth, and a human cleric of Umberlee named Lazav.
After our island was attacked and we decided to go after the attackers, we ended up coming across a strange ship that shot us across the Astral Sea, where we encountered The Unsinkable 2 - a flying ship reminiscent of Treasure Planet. The Unsinkable 2 had replaced The Unsinkable, which sank.
The ship was crewed by a unique group of people: Captain Ironjaw, so named because his jaw had been replaced with a metal one after it was lost in a battle; a golem named DaVinci and his companion, a gobbin (yes, gobbin, not goblin) named Nipple, a young man named K-11, and a cartographer cat-man (not a tabaxi, but specifically a sentient cat) named Niles.
As it turned out, nobody in this area of the Astral Sea had any idea of where Toril, our planet, was and so we were stuck there with no way of returning home. Captain Ironjaw kindly offered us a position on his crew and we accepted, though we were quickly diverted by other things. Specifically, we were diverted because of chrome: a scarce but powerful source mined in the Astral Sea, more valuable than anything else and used to power certain ships and other technology.
The chrome was largely controlled by Quessirians, an elvish race that wore indestructible suits of armor and either killed or enslaved humans to mine the chrome. The humans were entrapped in the Hale, where they mined the chrome until they died or until they found a shard, another valuable resource that bonds with a person and gives them the ability to cast magic through their blood. Once someone bonds with a shard, it can only be used by them and it fuses into their body; removing it kills them and the shard loses its power - this is important because Sumavia, our druid, bonded with a shard. If a human found a shard, they were "freed" from the Hale, though we later found out that they were actually brought to a place to be drained of their blood, which was used to make "spell spikes" (rather than potions, though they had the same effect).
As a result, we were caught in the crossfire and had since been trying to find a way to defeat the Quessirians, who we learned had a mode of travel called the Shimmer that could transport us back across the Astral Sea to Toril.
We traveled to multiple planets and other places:
Bastet, a planet with sentient cat-people, bird-people, fish-people, and an extinct race of dog-people. We learned that this was the result of a humanoid race experimenting on animals, who eventually evolved into these races.
Florin, a planet that, when we found it, was surrounded by a piece of Quessirian weaponry meant to attract meteors to hit the planet. After we destroyed it, the planet began to heal, with symbiotic plants, and the people who formerly lived in tunnels and caves underground were able to go back up to the surface.
Gilgamesh, a planet populated by automatons fulfilling the last demands of their centuries-gone masters, and the lone dragon god, the Architect, who was a firm believer in creation and never destruction. The planet was plagued by Set, the Architect's son, who had committed the planet's first murder when he killed his brother over jealousy of a woman. This act poisoned the planet, so only machines survived. We defeated Set, fixing the planet.
Raman, a planet that had previously been rich in chrome but was a sandy, desert planet devoid of water, and was now populated by vampiric monstrosities.
Morningstar, a large city on a giant morningstar, where being violent kills the person who committed that violence, making it a peaceful place by default.
Heavyside, a port constructed of the remnants of old ships, where many people come to buy and sell wares, find jobs, drink, fight for money, and so on.
Araroth Prime, the extravagant planet of the Quessirians, which they claimed as their home when they rebelled from slavery.
We learned that the leader of the Quessirians, Contel, was actually enacting revenge against humans for enslaving his people to mine chrome. He had been a slave miner who found a shard and was to be freed, but he was in love with a woman named Ahna Rylin and he didn't want to leave her. She convinced him to go and he promised to come back for her, but when he did, she was sick with the shine, an ailment like black lung for coal miners. He led a revolt of the Quessirians and enslaved humanity as punishment for their crimes against his people, while he kept Ahna in stasis until he could find a cure for her. Unfortunately, this punishment has outlasted humanity's memory of events and it's been so many generations that they don't know what they're atoning for.
Fast forwarding through a lot, here is a brief summary:
Lazav's soul was sucked into a mirror and replaced by a rogue named Jayce, who was from an ancient humanoid race of Bastet which had long been extinct, though he stayed in Lazav's body.
Niles was killed, RIP.
An assassin rogue named Audra joined our crew and was on a mission to get revenge against Contel for killing her mother.
We obtained awesome weapons that merged together and turned into a ship - Nish's weapon was a halberd that, on a critical hit, could automatically decapitate the target.
Sumavia obtained a weapon that was able to crack the indestructible Quessirian armor, which allowed us to actually fight the Quessirians.
DaVinci almost died but then merged with our ship and became its computer system.
We actually defeated the Quessirians and found Contel's hiding place: a citadel wedged into the edge of the universe. We went there to kill Contel, only for him to release phaerimm, beholden, and the Man in Yellow from a crack at the edge of the universe, and then Ahna Rylin became a beholden.
We learned that the only way to defeat the phaerimm is to 'join all the gods' together and then sacrifice one of those planets, its people, and the god of that planet, so we traveled to each of the planets to obtain a magical god-weapon from each to help us defeat the phaerimm.
Contel, in his guilt after seeing the violence wrought by the phaerimm and beholden, agreed to sacrifice his planet and people to atone.
Finally, we reached the citadel at the edge of the universe, where the crack was, to end everything. People from all the different planets came to our aid in this final battle, fighting against the beholden in an effort to get us into the citadel itself. In the process, our ship (and the corresponding weapons and DaVinci) were destroyed as we charged our ship through an enemy ship.
We got into the citadel, where we started to experience hallucinations. Nish saw a vision of her mother, an orc blacksmith who she had thought died, and was compelled to impress her with her forging skills, only in reality she started bashing in Jayce's skull. He did live, for the record, but he had brain damage for sure. Beebydee saw a bird that had stolen one of his gems, so he was chasing it and trying to get it back, pulling it out of the bird's mouth, only he was actually trying to pull out Sumavia's shard, which, again, would have killed her. Luckily he realized what he was doing and we were able to fix her.
Anyway, we fought the whole way in until we reached the throne room, where Ahna Rylin sat upon the throne and convinced Contel to turn against us. He declared he would kill anyone who got close to Ahna. He had been fighting with us or against us long enough to have learned our techniques and patterns, so he had the upper hand.
Jayce tried to taunt him and get Contel to focus only on him, but Contel determined that Audra was the biggest threat, and it's true because she had made it very clear that when everything was over, she wanted to be the one to kill him. However, she shocked the hell out of absolutely everybody, including the DM, and shot a disintegration arrow at Ahna, and crit on her attack.
Now, our house rule for critical hits is maximum double damage on a crit, plus Audra is an assassin rogue, so she had sneak attack and an ability that if the creature she's attacking has not yet been hit and is surprised (she definitely was), then they must make a constitution save or the damage is doubled. Ahna failed the constitution save. So, the disintegrate arrow was 10d6+40 damage = 100 damage + 10d6 of sneak attack (60 damage) = 160 damage, doubled for the critical hit = 320, doubled again because of the failed constitution save = 640 damage.
Ahna immediately disintegrated with one hit and Contel became a broken man, ending the fight.
We still had to deal with the phaerimm and the Man in Yellow, however. The phaerimm were awful, tentacle-y, and laid eggs inside people. It was disgusting. At one point, Nish got banished home and she just was so happy, drinking banana rum, only to be brought back when the creature's concentration ended, and she slaughtered it. Finally, the phaerimm were all dead and the Man in Yellow was the only one left, so we all rushed to sit on the thrones in the throne room with our god-weapons, which held the Man in Yellow until Contel fulfilled his promise and sacrificed himself and his planet to lock the Man in Yellow away again.
When it was all over, Audra reunited with her father, Beebydee somehow began speaking perfect Common and ran off with a Githyanki woman, and the rest of us returned to Mahabali using the Shimmer.
The whole campaign was essentially our group being thrown into a world we didn't understand, trying to get home without killing ourselves in the process. It was wild and I'm a little bit sad that it's over, though now I'm excited for the next campaign to start.
The fact is, while we started off the campaign with Hezekiah, the guy who played him had moved away somewhat towards the beginning of the campaign, and was coincidentally able to rejoin for the final game of the campaign. Considering he was a paladin and had been our only source of healing, we were very grateful to have him back.
In the next game, I'm thinking of playing a paladin as well because I enjoy melee characters, but not having a healer for a majority of the campaign was a pain.
If it isn't abundantly clear, I love this game.