A translucent something ahead of you pops. Suddenly, you find yourself freezing and gasping for air!
Type: magical; Perception DC 34; Disable Device DC 34
Trigger location; Reset none
The air in and around the party vacates and the temperature drops. Up to 9 creatures in a 40-ft.-radius take cold damage and suffocate. Vacuum (1d6 cold damage per round, DC 23 Will Save per round for 18 rounds. If one save is failed, target falls unconscious and is dropped to 0 hit points. The second failed save reduces the target to -1 hit points and he is dying. The third failed save kills the target); multiple targets( 9 creatures within 50′ of the of the airship)
The airship immediately falls 50 feet (as there is no air immediately around it) and continues to fall, spiraling out of control before crashing in 1d10+6 rounds without a DC 25 Profession (sailor) or Profession (soldier) check; alternatively, a DC 30 Knowledge (engineering) check can be used as a substitute.
The airspace above Nyamo contains secret defenses that few know about, and several spheres of airspace have been mined with vacuum mines. Even in the official Nyamo air brigade, only the captains and a few select officers know of the existence and location of these dangerous traps. The vacuum mines are housed in small, 9-inch glass spheres that float in the air—they are very difficult to spot and burst if an airship gets within 25 ft., setting off the above trap. An old story that circulates in Nyamo tells of an attack from a griffon mounted wizard army. As the citizens huddled, the onslaught of spells never materialized—instead, frozen griffons and asphyxiated wizards rained down on the city.
This attack is the only known attempt to take Nyamo by air.
If the adventurers aided the Banlan Brotherhood with their sabotage, the party finds that just outside the Production Yards, their allies are waiting in a swift ship just recently stolen—a gift to the PCs for their help disrupting the doings of the mages of Timeaus!
Black Arrow Large air vehicle Squares 12 (30 ft by 10 ft across); Cost 25,000 gp
DEFENSE AC 9; Hardness 5 hp 180 (90) Base Save +3
OFFENSE Maximum Speed 160 ft.; Acceleration 40 ft. CMB +1; CMD 11 Ramming Damage 1d8
Long, narrow, and entirely black, the Black Arrow is an exceptionally uncommon ship in the Timean air force. Built with speed and stealth in mind, the airship is constructed from lighter materials and gains a +16 bonus to Stealth checks made to travel at night. In addition, it contains within its engine a lever that can be pulled to make the ship entirely invisible for up to 10 minutes in a day, or until the lever is depressed (used in 1 minute increments that need not be consecutive). Rather than a ceiling, the black-hulled ship instead has an open roof, providing those on deck an opportunity to lean over the railings and fire upon targets below (which is sometimes essential, as the ship doesn’t contain any onboard weapons of its own).
The Black Arrow can comfortably carry eight, plus a driver, and can lift up to 2 tons of weight. In a pocket on the side of the drivers seat is a map depicting the Klavek Kingdom, and a sheaf of instructions to collect and return with any ‘mind-magic’ the operator can get a hold of. [More on that in November, I swear -MM (the editor MM; I swear I’m done with this gag! -MM)]
Propulsion 2 squares of magic engine at rear of ship Driving Check Profession (sailor) or Profession (soldier) Forward Facing the ship’s forward Driving Device magical Driving Space one square adjacent to engine, providing limited visiblity below, but excellent visibility ahead. Crew 0 Decks 1 Weapons The Black Arrow can be equipped with any one Large siege engine at the front of the ship. A weapon so mounted can fire in a 180 degree arc ahead of the ship, and reduces the number of people the ship can carry by 4.
Cutting the Skies for the Mages of Timeaus
If the PCs aided the Order of the Staff and stopped the sabotage of the Production Yards, the mages of Timeaus reward them with one of their newest model of aircraft: a skyfang.
Skyfang, Class 3 skyship Huge air vehicle Squares 14 (30 ft by 25 ft cross); Cost 25,000 gp
DEFENSE AC 8; Hardness 20 hp 560 (280) Base Save +1
OFFENSE Maximum Speed 80 ft.; Acceleration 20 ft. CMB +2; CMD 12 Ramming Damage 2d8
A fifteen foot hemispherical base makes up the body of this skyship, with a wooden deck covering the engine within. Unlike most ships, its base isn’t made from the shell of a giant tortoise, but carefully fitted iron plates that mimic one. Above, a similar but much smaller roof gives protection from the weather and aerial attack. The railings that run around the edges are broken only by a ten foot long neck that connects to the pilot’s seat (where all the controls are mounted) and a pair of light, side-mounted ballistae that can swivel around to fire anywhere in a 180 degree radius.
The ship has limited capacity to carry soldiers or supplies—what can fit on deck (20 passengers in a pinch, or 10 fully equipped soldiers)—but is still capable of lifting up to 10 tons of weight. Tucked into the drivers seat is a package wrapped in thick fabric that contains an odd compass carved from crystal that doesn’t point to the true north, but slightly north-northeast instead [more on that in November, folks! -MM (not this post’s MM, the other one. The regular MM. -MM)].
Propulsion 3 squares of magic engine Driving Check Profession (sailor) or Profession (soldier) Forward Facing the ship’s forward Driving Device steering wheel Driving Space one square at the end of a 10 ft. ‘neck’ ahead of the ship, containing steering wheel and seat for driver provides improved cover from below and partial cover from sides. Crew 1 Decks 1 Weapons The Skyfang comes equipped with two light ballistae, one mounted on either side. However, they could be replaced with any Huge or smaller siege engine. They can be swivelled to any direction before, beside, or behind their side of the ship, as well as 45 degrees above and below.
Depending on what choices the PCs made in yesterday’s Sidequest Saturday, they either run afoul of an Order of the Staff Commandant or one of the Banlan Brotherhood Resistance Leaders!
Order of the Staff CommandantCR11 XP 12,800 Human barbarian (superstitious) 7/fighter (weaponmaster) 5
LN Medium humanoid (human) Init +3; Senses low-light vision; Perception +17
DEFENSE AC 23, touch 15, flat-footed 19 (+8 armor, +1 deflection, +3 Dex, +1 dodge) hp 109 (7d12+5d10+36) Fort +11, Ref +6, Will +5; +4 vs. spells, supernatural abilities, and spell-like abilities
OFFENSE Speed 40 ft. Melee+1 shock greatsword +17/+12/+7 (2d6+7 plus 1d6 electricity, Crit 17-20/x2) Ranged longbow +15/+10/+5 (1d8, Crit x3, Range 100 ft.) Special Attacks rage 18 rounds/day, reliable strike 1/day, weapon training 1 (greatsword)
TACTICS Before Combat The commandant drinks the potion of fly and the potion of haste as soon as intruders are revealed, then throws a fireball before swooping across and attacking one target with Improved Vital Strike, Power Attack (taking no penalty to attack due to Furious Focus), and Spring Attack, ending their movement out of line of sight. During Combat After determining who is a spellcaster, the commandant targets them first with a charge, taking a full attack action as soon as possible. As soon as the healer is revealed, the commandant goes after them next. Morale The commandant flees when reduced to 35 hit points or less, summoning more guards and reinforcements (along with healing potions, to get back into the fight).
STATISTICS Str 14, Dex 16, Con 14, Int 10, Wis 14, Cha 9 Base Atk +12; CMB +14; CMD 29 (30 vs. disarm and sunder) Feats Dodge, Furious Focus, Improved Vital Strike, Mobility, Power Attack, Spring Attack, Vital Strike; Improved Critical (greatsword), Weapon Focus (greatsword), Weapon Specialization (greatsword) Skills Acrobatics +14, Climb +13, Intimidate +11, Knowledge (engineering) +7, Knowledge (local) +5, Perception +17, Survival +9; Armor Check Penalty -3 Languages Common SQ chosen weapon (greatsword), fast movement, improved uncanny dodge, rage powers (knockdown, renewed vigor 3d8+4, superstition), sixth sense, uncanny dodge, weapon guard Combat Gear+1 shock greatsword, +2 breastplate, necklace of fireballs type II, ring of protection +1, longbow (20 arrows), potion of fly, potion of haste; Other Gear climber’s kit, everburning torch, 376 gold
Banlan Brotherhood Resistance LeaderCR11 XP 12,800 Human alchemist (vivisectionist) 12
CN Medium humanoid (human) Init +6; Senses darkvision 60 ft.; Perception +15
DEFENSE AC 26, touch 16, flat-footed 20 (+6 armor, +6 Dex, +4 natural) hp 90 (12d8+36) Fort +10, Ref +11, Will +3 Immune poison
OFFENSE Speed 30 ft. Melee+1 corrosive claws +16/+11 (1d6+5 plus 1d6 acid) and +1 corrosive bite +16 (1d8+5 plus 1d6 acid) or +1 corrosive claws +14/+14/+9/+9 (1d6+3) and +1 corrosive bite +14 (1d8+5 plus 1d6 acid) Ranged daggers +15/+10 (1d4+4, Crit 19-20/x2, Range 10 ft.) Special Attacks sneak attack +6d6 Alchemist Extracts Prepared (CL 12th; concentration +13)
4th—dragon’s breath, freedom of movement, echolocation
3rd—cure serious wounds, fly, haste, nondetection
2nd—darkvision, flame breath, invisibility, protection from arrows, resist energy (fire), see invisibility 1st—comprehend languages, deathwatch, disguise self, endure elements, negate aroma, shield
TACTICS Before Combat The Resistance Leader drinks a greater feral mutagen along with darkvision and endure elements extracts about an hour before the combat (these are worked into the statistics). If aware of enemies and given a few moments to prepare, the Resistance Leader drinks extracts of haste, nondetection, fly, freedom of movement, protection from arrows, resist energy (fire) and negate aroma—but most importantly—echolocation. After drinking this crucial extract, the Resistance Leader pulls the stopper out of an eversmoking bottle attached to their belt by a weapon cord. During Combat Moving into range of enemies, the Resistance Leader unleashes a dragon’s breath extract to confuse foes, targeting anyone that casts a spell first with a flurry of claws and bites. Morale Those that flee and run away live to fight another day—the Resistance Leader retreats when reduced to 30 hit points or less.
The PCs may be on either side of the conflict between the Order of the Staff and the Banlan Brotherhood; depending on their allies, their objectives for this week’s Sidequest Saturday can be completely different—they are either preventing sabotage or are the ones doing it! Either way the adventurers’ patrons offer protective suits that grant a +20 circumstance bonus to checks made against severe heat, though they incur a -4 penalty to Perception checks made by anyone wearing one. The smelting of alligotonium has strange effects however, and any illusion magic within the building suffers the consequences; each round, there is a 30% chance that a spell or magic item of the illusion school temporarily fails.
All of the smelting occurs in an isolated ovoid warehouse 500 feet across, 600 feet long, and 70 feet high with walkways suspended 30 feet in the air criss-crossing the expanse. Machinery is everywhere and of varying sizes (taking up anywhere between a 10 ft. x 10 ft. square and 30 ft. x 30 ft. square) but the central lanes for travel are clear (30 ft. wide). Only one door leads in or out of the warehouse, guarded by four Order of the Staff thugs at all times (two inside the building and two outside).
Sabotage with the Banlan Brotherhood
In order to disrupt the production of aircraft engines, Banlan Brotherhood members have tainted large amounts of alligotonium that need to be smuggled into the Nyamo Production Yards. They have stashed it all (it is a considerable amount—perhaps even a ton or more) inside of three bags of holding. So long as two of these caches of adulterated corrupted material are mixed into different smelting stations (of which there are four, one in each corner), the mission is a success.
The Order of the Staff are keen to the plan, however, and have dispatched additional agents to oversee the Production Yards. Evokers are walking the catwalks, looking for intruders and carrying orders that command them to blast any trespassers into unconsciousness.
Sneaking into the district the Production Yards are located is easy enough, though unpleasant—the Banlan Brotherhood has been secretly developing a tunnel directly to it. Once topside however, the PCs have only 1d6+3 minutes before a patrol wanders nearby. They must either convince or enchant the guards (or remove them and take their places) to walk through the front door, and breaking in along the roof is a dangerous prospect. Any creature on the roof of the warehouse takes 1d6 fire damage each round, and working through one of the hatches or vents requires a DC 25 Disable Device check to circumvent or DC 18 Strength check to wrench away. Clever PCs that deal at least 5 points of cold damage to one of these accesses reduces the DC of these checks by 5.
To complete the sabotage the PCs need to avoid being noticed by one of the workers (each smelting station is manned by four of them, and there’s a 10% chance every minute that the party comes across one while traveling through the warehouse), switch “good” alligotonium with the Banlan Brotherhood’s corrupted material, and escape without alerting the Order of the Staff. As soon as the job is complete or the facility has realized that trespassers are present, an Order of the Staff Commandant [see tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! -MM] arrives on the scene, ready to mete out justice!
Working for the Order of the Staff
If they’re working with the mages of Timeaus, the party is out to stop the Banlan Brotherhood’s sabotage instead! They play the roles of the evokers, walking the catwalks and keeping an eye out for the subversive agents. In this scenario however, one out of each quartet of smelting station workers is corrupt and accepting a very large bribe to help the resistance movement, distracting their peers so the five Banlan Brotherhood agents can strike them down quickly and quietly. The group moves quickly and efficiently, and each time they gain the aid of another bribed worker to move their plan along. When the sabotage is complete, they escape through the same vent they came through, a Banlan Brotherhood Resistance Leader [tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! -MM] staying in the back, attacking on anyone that attempts to follow.
First thing in the morning, I wake up. Waking up is good, and not something you should take for granted—you never know when you won’t. I see my wife sleeping in the bed next to me, which is a small blessing. Her day won’t start for another hour, but I give her a nudge to let her know I’m just off to work.
I go to our bathing hall, it’s not grand, just a small room with a basin set into the ground. As I step into the chamber it conjures hot water from one of the city’s reservoirs. I make sure to scrub my hair—I have duty on the south side of the wall today. Not only is it law to wash before and after a shift, they’ll be issuing me a wand for spot cleaning. I certainly don’t want to catch any of the diseases that are so abundant in the outside world. Once I’m clean, I change into a simple shift. I’ll be given a proper uniform when I get to the station, so there’s no point in getting into anything complicated.
I’m never particularly hungry in the morning, but I don’t want to have to wait in line for lunch at one of the few safe places to eat. It’s rather amazing they’re not all dead, those travelers. Maybe they just get sick often. I have some bread and milk in the ice-chest. It’s a new invention—a box crafted from ice that never melts. Saves me time almost every day when I don’t have to go down to the market.
I don’t open the shutters. Looking outside at this hour of the morning you might see someone whose family didn’t wake up, and that would ruin my day, and then when the wife comes in for her breakfast she would probably see the same thing. Not that they wouldn’t have deserved it—if they didn’t wake up they must have been doing something wrong—but some of them are still my friends. I can open the shutters when I get home.
I arrive at the station a few minutes before my shift begins, so I don’t have to hurry to change. I work at a traveling house outpost. Packages are teleported here from across the country and we run them around town. At the end of every day we draw straws to see who will be delivering to the South side of the city—yesterday it was me. I have all the rotten luck.
I’m given my day’s uniform, which is a lot more elaborate than our normal uniform—they want to make sure I stand out when I’m out and about, and I want to make sure I‘m not rushed getting ready. As much as I hate crossing the wall I’m eligible for a bonus if I make the traveling house look good. The wife and I put in an application to have a child, and I’ve been told we’re going to get approval soon. I might have to volunteer for a few southside shifts and build up a nest egg.
Like my uniform, they give me one of the good bags for deliveries—it’s only a few pounds but it can hold anything you can fit through the opening, and no need to fish around inside for it, either. Edith assures me it’s already been loaded, but there’s a case I’ll need to deliver, too. I pick up the bag and head outside to where the carts are. Like the bag, they give me one of the good carts for the deliveries, though I know that’s also because I’m here early. This one doesn’t even have wheels, There’s a little flight engine in the bottom that holds the whole thing a few inches off the ground, I just have to provide the pull.
Waiting for my gate pass is the second most dull part of my day—the worst is actually crossing the wall. The Order of the Staff keeps a firm control at the gates, making sure we are who we say, and that we didn’t pick up anything dangerous while we’re out. I heard, once, that a merchant tried to bring someone back through the wall with them. An outsider! They must have been crazy; who knows what outsiders are thinking, they’re dangerous and constantly warring with one another.
Eventually, I do get through the gate and onto the other side of the wall. It’s drearier out here, the walls are grey stone instead of white, the streets aren’t as straight or as clean, and the people especially are almost dim. Not even just in how dirty everyone is—I’d bet not one in five of them could cast a spell if they tried. It almost made you pity them. Most of my deliveries on the list are fairly mundane, but there’s nothing of priority today. I decide to get my case out of the way quickly so I don’t need to carry the cart around all day; I’ll deliver it, drop off my cart at a lockup, and finish the rest of my deliveries. I might even be home early at this rate.
The case, according to my list, contains depleted crystals. They’re usually broken up and used to do things like recharge wands, or craft nick-knacks for travelers. Apparently it’s quite a good business. I don’t recognize the man I’m delivering it to—a grim-faced, haggard blonde fellow with a poorly trimmed goatee. Still, he shows me his papers and everything looks in order, so I help him unload the cases into his workshop.
The rest of the day is much the same, after I drop off my cart. I move quickly, both to ensure my deliveries are prompt, but also to assure I don’t have to spend too long touching anyone or anything out here. There are all sorts of strange races and people in the harbor, and any one of them could be plotting against us or carrying some sort of dangerous disease. They always act friendly, but we’re reminded every time we cross the gate that it’s just to mask their jealousy. I can see it in their eyes— they look at my elaborate outfit, my pale, healthy skin, the magic I have at my fingertips, and they crave what I possess.
I deliver my last few packages not far after lunch, which I skipped, and get back in line to cross the wall. As I near the front of I hear shouting ahead of me, someone trying to smuggle some unapproved fruit through the wall. There’s a figh, and one of them lands at the ground near my feet. I wouldn’t have been able to tell it was dangerous by looking at it, but that’s why the Orders have to keep such a close eye on us. The outsiders are constantly trying to rob us of what is rightfully ours. I kick the tainted produce away.
Returning my cart, bag, and uniform at the station, I sign out for the day. The boss is nearby when I do, and he looks happy to see me back so soon. That’ll bear well on my next review. He even offers to teleport me home so I don’t have to walk the rest of the way, and while I don’t mind the walking I agree to let him. I step into the chamber, and instantly I’m standing in front of my house.
I open the shutters, tidy the dishes from breakfast, and check the sundial—which magically works even while inside, or flipped over. I would have nearly two hours until the wife gets home. I sit down and find a book to read. We only have a few, there was no need to go looking for too much reading material. The Order of the Staff provided a few tomes for every household. I settle on The Adventures of Tarrex, a series of short stories of a hero of Xio who wars endlessly against the undead on the northern border. Some of the stories are so incredible it’s hard to remember they’re all true.
The wife comes home, we kiss, and have dinner. She tells me of her day at the factory, where she oversees a handful of craftsmen who create parts for larger clockwork assemblies. I tell her of the strange and terrible things I saw on the other side of the wall. As the sun sets, the lights on the street automatically flare to life. There’s an optional reading at the school down the street and we decide to go; our application to have a child is going well, but it isn’t approved yet. We want to attend everything we can, even if it means we don’t have as much free time.
Tonight the reading is on abjuration, teaching a simple spell that we can work into our clothes to keep the dirt from sticking. It’d be especially handy for us with a child, as even the best child has a tendency to get dirty. I go to shake the speaker’s hand afterward, telling him that I’m going to put the spell to good use. He looks happy to hear, and gets my name so he can come by next week and make sure I’m not having any trouble with it.
My wife and I go to sleep not long after getting home, after trying the spell out on some of our clothes. It’s a little harder than the speaker made it look, but his talents were one of the reasons he was in the Order of the Staff and I was just a delivery man.
The Production Yards are one of the most prized features of Nyamo, reaping great profits from the industries related to crafting airships. Valuable secrets lay within, however, and it is one of the most highly guarded areas in any Timean settlement. Each factory has a slightly different technique in smelting the ore and molding it into the engines, and the process of working alligotonium into one is complicated indeed.
First the alligotonium is gently set into a large heavy metal pyramid with cold iron, bolted down to keep it from floating off during processing. A round viewing window with a cylinder hatch is set onto one side of the device at its peak—once sealed, wizards cast extend heat metal on it. As soon as the alligotonium starts to boil, great globs of the glowing red ore float down to the base of the odd crucible and the process is repeated until the ores are thoroughly mixed. When complete, workers attach a thick glass cylinder to the hatch to float precise amounts of it away while beating on the sides and bottom to agitate and loosen any stuck bits.
After the ore has cooled and the glass removed from around it, the bits of alligotonium-cold iron alloy are fitted into square boxes of varying sizes, attached firmly to the base of the engine and spaced very closely to one another. A small cannon is faced directly at the box that fires magic missile at these ore rods every few seconds, agitating them to lift the aircraft above the clouds
The propulsion part of the engine is also assembled in the Nyamo Production Yards, though its area is less secure than the region where alligotonium is involved. Circular blades cut into four slightly bent fins, fusing them to a sturdy metal rod—this attaches to a small device that spins at great speeds. Power generated by the device’s rotation generates a lightning bolt spell that bounces between two coils tipped by copper balls. An attached fulcrum allows it to be pointed in any direction of a hemisphere, and sometimes is attached to the side of an aircraft, allowing it to strafe.
In either case, these areas are extremely warm and any creature within must make a Fortitude save against severe heat every ten minutes (DC 15 + 1 per previous check) or take 1d4 nonlethal heat damage and become fatigued. Nyamo Production Yard personnel wear garments specifically crafted for the task and receive a +20 bonus to these saves, though the hoods reduce the vision of anyone that wears one (incurring a -4 penalty to Perception checks).