Wednesday, February 9, 2022

Play Report: Broodmother Skyfortress

I found this in draft form from April 2017... nearly 5 years ago! It is incomplete, but I no longer remember many details about this adventure, other than that it was very fun. I release it as-is!


Original text begins below


I got the opportunity to drop this adventure into my ongoing Rod of Seven Parts campaign. Here are the results!


  • Jolly Angie Straw. Human DEX-based Fighter 8 (Champion) with pirate background. Dual-wields with a rapier and hook.
  • Balky Bartokomous. Rock Gnome Wizard 6 (Abjurer) / Cleric 2 (Life). Also the bearer of 3 segments of the Rod of Seven Parts.
  • Fizgig Crayoneater. Forest Gnome Druid 8 (Circle of the Moon)
  • Quigley with the good hair. 6-foot tall Kobold Paladin 8 (Vengeance)

The party was returning from their successful expedition to the Ghost Tower of Inverness, which I placed on a far-off western island. They were sailing through the water on their spelljammer. It only has a lifejammer helm, and they don't like killing people to power their ship when it can be avoided. They had previously taken ownership of Castle Ravenloft in Barovia. Angie had previously pulled a card from the Harrow Deck of Many Things that gave her two visions and the knowledge that one was true and one was false. I had been sitting on this one for a while, and I hadn't come up with anything better, so I had her envision that the Githzerai monastery they had previously visited was burning to the ground, and another vision that their castle was being stomped to smithereens by creatures too big to fit in the visions. All she could see was giant elephant/dinosaur feet.

At this point, the players went back and forth about which area to check out first. I had them pass a burning, smashed town on the shoreline. They stopped to check it out, and with a single elderly survivor, I gave them bits of info as outlined in the "Near-Encounters" chart on page 11. They also had an encounter with a group of Spyder-Fiends. I impressed upon them that travel to either place would take several days, and pointed out that Barovia was quite far inland, so travel by sea/land could result in arriving too late! This prodding led them to get the paladin to volunteer to be LIFEJAMMED so the ship could fly and make much more efficient work of this investigation. This is the first time they've actually gotten this ship flying, so that was cool!

Since Barovia was on the way to the monastery, they checked there first. Of course they found a giant fucking cloud ship hovering over their castle, with four big-ass chains anchoring it down. Meanwhile, on the ground there were three giant hammerhead shark-elephants (Swordmaniac, Chainmonster, and Vomitboy) busting the crap out of their castle! Balky could sense the presence of the next rod segment on the cloud ship. Since the archenemy of this campaign is the Queen of Chaos, I decided these giants look exactly as described in the adventure, but they are actually space demons in the queen's service. They fly around the galaxy, looking for signs of the rod segments.

Here are the 5E giant stats I worked up

The druid and the wizard flew down to engage the giants, while Angie flew the ship back and forth, using the shearing ram to sever the anchor chains. The giants on the ground began breaking off pieces of castle and hurling them at the spelljammer ship. Every 10 points of damage they caused resulted in one point of hull damage to the ship. This started adding up relatively quickly. While all this is happening, the paladin is stuck in the lifejammer helm. I ruled that if he got out the ship would lose power. If I could go back and do it again, I would change this. Going forward I will allow a PC to get up from the helm and do other stuff, but they must maintain concentration (as per the 5E spell mechanic) in order to keep the ship powered up. This means they can participate, but they still need to be very careful because any time they take damage they must make a concentration check to prevent the ship from plummeting out of the sky. The paladin's player ended up taking the reins of a 3rd level NPC they had previously rescued from a dungeon, Shonda the Archer. Unfortunately, since I gave the giants DR10, this character wasn't able to contribute much in the way of direct damage-dealing.

The party slowly ground the giants down, staying cautiously at range. The giants had 200 hp and DR10, so it took quite a while.

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