Culture Clash

Zyn is elected captain of the smalljammer. The new captain then names Angus as bossun (since he shouted it really loud) and names the ship “Nia” after her own mother. Crew assignments (silverwing smalljamer deck plan): Zyn in 2, Mal in 4b, Xax in 3b, Hanos in 3a, Angus is in cargo (converted to the galley since Angus also likes to cook.) The designated galley space is converted for additional storage to make more room in cargo for Angus.

High over the eternally dark moon called Nightfall, Xax mindlinks all the ship’s captains (Zyn, Tenth, and Sterl) to prepare to get underway for Moil Colony. Tenth gathers supplies uneventfully from another port; Mal offers all of his coin to help get the ship stocked. The journey back to the colony will take a little over a week. Xax suggests taking on passengers between ports for money in the future.

With all ships underway, Mal asks Xax about how to become a champion of Sanguine. Xax advises Mal to look inside himself on how to become the kind of warrior to Sanguine he thinks he should be, not ask for instruction.

With Xax watching over, Zyn tests her limits helming the smalljammer. To the surprise of them both, Zyn eventually falls asleep at the helm, yet the ship stays on course and speed. With Xax continuing to watch over, Zyn sleeps almost seven hours at the helm, waking only once and with no detriment to the ship’s operation. Even Zyn’s spellcasting ability seems unaffected by helming, but further experiments prove that Zyn can command the ship merely by being in contact with it (even usurping command over someone wearing the crown of stars), but everyone else must wear the crown to direct the living ship. Meanwhile, Hanos spends his time focusing on Sterl’s sphere charts and on ways of getting back to Rivershire; he has also mapped out the first planet chosen by Sterl as a candidate.

All the ships make planet fall on the storm-ridden surface of Moil Colony. Xax meets with the priestess he left in charge and is happy to find she’s reached 1st level. On a hunch, he tests her for psionics but finds nothing. Elsewhere, the crew and captains scour Moil Colony for the means to start an economy, locating viable quantities of granite and marble as well as iron and silver veins. Sterl and Tenth are charged to find miners (read: dwarves) and other workers while keeping things quiet and opportunistic.

Zyn makes excuses to go back to the ship often until Xax corners her in a friendly chat. She admits to Xax the ship is “clinging” but that she can relate and understands. Later, both Xax and Zyn attempt to meld with the geode. While Zyn seems successful, Thald appears again to taunt Xax. While Xax ignores Thald with ease, he cannot get access to his “world” in the geode. Zyn awakens afterward and expresses her sympathy for Xax being cut off and made to endure Thald, but Xax takes it in stride and manages to turn it all into yet another of his “lessons for life” sermons.

After parting ways with Xax, Zyn sends for Mal to meet her on the observation deck of the smalljammer and asks him indirectly about their relationship, referring to their shared dream. When Mal answers obliviously to her inquiry or any intent behind it, Zyn mentions their dream-time nakedness more directly, prompting Mal to ask factually if Zyn is petitioning for sex alone or initiating a relationship with a forgone conclusion (which he isn’t sure he’s ready to commit to.) Reminding herself that her dwarven friend’s directness and lack of subtlety are among his more endearing qualities, Zyn smiles, hugs Mal, kisses him on the cheek, then orders him away with mock sternness. When Zyn no longer hears Mal’s footsteps, she imagines it is quiet enough to hear the ship breathing.

A day later, the Last Born make preps to get underway. Goods are collected and stored for their cover as traders. The ship needs to cross two spheres to get to “candidate one” (three days to cross Moil Colony’s sphere, two days to cross an intermediate but colder sphere, and three days to reach the center of the planet-centric binary sphere.

The trip is uneventful up until one day out from the central planet, the ship slows. Xax and Mal instantly spot a craft five miles out. Hanos attempts to render their smalljammer invisible, but this fails. Risking the encounter to learn what who the other ship might be and who’s on board, Zyn recognizes the ship as a Aparusa vagabond, one she encounters while aboard the Demeter. Vouching for the sky gypsies in spite of their reputation, all decide to go aboard. Zyn hides the crown of stars under her headband in spite of a protest from Xax.

The interior of the vagabond ship (pieced together from at least four other damaged or derelict spelljamming ships) looks like the interiors of a gypsy camp, from trinkets and baubles hanging everywhere to layers of overlapping rugs covering every inch of the floor. Tiev, beloved grandfather of the Astralusian clan, welcomes the Last Born to their ship. His enchanting granddaughters Anna and Ezra seat the visitors at a knee-level table.

Tiev invites his guests to dine before trading. In the course of conversation, Teiv reveals himself to be a bard (and capable of helming a spelljammer.) When he asks what the crew is doing hanging out with a deckhand like Zyn, she happily reveals that she’s the captain, much to Tiev’s sexist discomfort. After Hanos again throws out the name “Rivershire” (since Mal couldn’t reach him with his foot to kick his shin), Tiev mentions he has heard of the place.

When pressed for more details, Teiv tells a story of Rivershire, mentioning the legend of it being frozen in time to prevent the anti-magical Sargasso the elves erected around it from destroying it. Mal reciprocates by recounting Thald’s defeat at the hands of the group, capturing a living ship, and freeing two golden slaves. In Xax’s head, Thald warns Xax of the trouble he’s in just before an elven druid comes in and begins making demands. The self-proclaimed commander says he has captured many of the male members of the vagabond and demands the surrender of the Last Born since they have admitted to theft of a ship and assassination of a city lord. The elf further reveals that his own ship is waiting just outside to destroy them should they attempt to flee.

Although Xax stood to address the challenge, Zyn had already sensed what was lying in wait. Accepting command of her ship and for the crew, she tells the druid that another helmsman is still back on board (a bluff) and will maneuver both the smalljammer and the vegabond to keep the enemy craft lined up on the wrong target (not a bluff.) If the elven ship attacks, the druid will bear the brunt of the attack himself, and to prove it, Zyn mentally commands the ship to swing around in kind (which it obeys.)

Purely for the brashness of the move, Angus loudly declares he would SO sleep with Zyn right then.

After coordinating with the group via mindlink, Xax reveals his illithid face and takes the moment of shock to dominate the druid. Wholly unprepared for the onslaught of his attack, the druid falls helplessly under Xax’s control and is commanded to surrender his crew. Having no apparent contingency plan or backup orders, the crew of the elven ship follow their leader’s orders and evacuate the craft.

With unfettered access to the druid’s ship, an Imperial Cultivar, the brainwashed druid gives the Last Born a guided tour, freeing the five captive gypsy “blades” imprisoned aboard and taking nineteen elven prisoners total. Ordering them stripped and bound, only a staff of withering is found among them, owned by the druid in command.

The crew decides to allow Tiev to choose the elves’ fate, one he turns over to Anna, the youngest and most innocent. She does not want their blood on her hands or her clan, so an alternative is decided, abandoning the elven ship in space and marooning the elves on a small moon a few days away. Tiev thanks Mal and gives him a charm to prove that the Astralusians are indebted to the Last Born. Mal also suggests the gypsies go to Moil Colony while Xax presents them with a Sanguine scroll and holy symbol.

After setting the elven ship adrift and parting ways with the vagabond, Mal questions the captured elven crew while Xax holds a conversation with their druid leader. Mal is unable to convince the elven warriors who speak with him that what they are doing is wrong; at every point, the elf seems convinced that his ways are for the better. The druid commnder, who gives his name as Nevarus, admits only to a pursuit of criminals, but gives his word to do nothing in exchange for the lives of his crew and two officers. When they reach the exile moon, the druid tells Xax to keep watching over his shoulder because the elves will never stop hunting them after this. A few miles away but in sight of the elves, a few weapons are dropped to the ground to give the elves a fighting chance to survive.

With the encounter concluded, the smalljammer returns to the planet-centric binary system to see if the their first attempt to find a new Kaldera will also be their last…


Session XP: 4150 per player (before applicable 10% bonuses)

About Kevin A. Ranson

Content Creator, Horror Writer, Film Critic. Heeding a macabre calling listening to "Mother Ghost Nursery Rhymes" in kindergarten, Kevin started writing in grade school and filled countless notebooks with story ideas while touring the Mediterranean in the US Navy. He is the author of The Spooky Chronicles and the vampire thriller series The Matriarch, creator/critic for and "ghost writer" for horror host Grim D. Reaper. WEBFACEBOOKTWITTER
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One Response to Culture Clash

  1. Pingback: “Butterscotch” « SPELLJAMMER: BIRTHSTONE

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