The Void Skipper is a Great Ship. It is not large by any means, as, being a sloop, it can only house around twenty crew members. It is neither armed particularly well, nor possesses any semblance of luxury in any way. However, the point remains.
What makes it great, is the fact, that the Void Skipper happens to be an Astral Sloop. Instead of the seas, in navigates the Great Void between worlds. From the Forgotten Realms of Toril, to the Nine Hells of Baator, From Sigil, the City of Doors, to the Far Realms of Xxiphu, nothing is impossible for the Void Skipper to reach. The freedom it offers makes this small ship so Great.
Commanding the astral sloop is Aella Drakos, the Elven captain and owner of the ship. She takes care of her crew, but expects them to be loyal. The ship has a lot of uses, but, mostly, it serves as a mobile, very mobile base for a band of mercenaries, that just happen to also be the crew.
Having recently completed a mission for a rich merchant in Faerun, the Void Skipper entered the place between realms, leaving Toril behind. Here, the crew intended to have some rest, before going on a new adventure. However, it was not meant to be.
Wilhelm, an Aasimar Paladin who serves as the ship's Chaplain, came out of his room and onto the deck, with visible worry on his face. He said out lout, to no one in particular:
"I just received a summons from my Temple, requiring immediate aid! It seemed terribly urgent and said to use the portal which would be opened as soon as..."
And with that, a golden portal opened in front of Wilhelm. The chaplain hesitated a bit, then stepping through it. The portal disappeared half a second later.
With Wilhelm gone, all of the crew began to feel worried. Aella ordered the sloop to remain within the void, just in case.
Roughly a day after Wilhelm's disappearance, a flash of gold erupted on the deck of the Void Skipper. It looked like a portal, though somewhat muddled. Through it, those on the deck could just barely see Wilhelm's face.
"It is far worse than I thought, the whole universe is in grave peril, I could only get through to you. Take this!"
With this, Wilhelm threw a small item through the portal, which fell onto the deck.
"If we are to have any chance of survival, you must use that to..."
And with that, the portal collapsed. Its energy discharge overloaded the ship and knocked everyone on board unconscious. The last thing you saw was several crewmen being thrown overboard, into the void.
Some time later (which may be seconds or hours), you were all woken up by the sound of the sea. The Void Skipper had found itself in water, acting like a standard ship. The world around seemed mundane, with seagulls flying overhead and the sun shining, though the temperature was quite low, making you feel like you at least needed a jacket to not catch a cold. A quick check made it clear that the Void Skipper's powers had become non-existent, its dimensional engine and the sails being all but shredded.
The item on the deck looked strange, not resembling anything any of you had ever seen. Even without performing any spells, though, all those attuned to magic could sense, that there was some strong power emanating from it. It looked like this:
Once ship woke up, Aella first ran to the item and picked it up, examining it but understanding nothing about it. Then, she looked around. Fear creeped onto her face, as she ran towards the end of the deck. She began shouting names of all the crewmen, but, unfortunately, not all who were named responded. Seven members of the crew seemed to have fallen into the void, no doubt dying a horrible death.
However, there was no time to grieve. With the Void Skipper not being equipped to navigate waters, it was caught by the stream. Even though, to the starboard side, a port of some sort could be discerned, the ship had no way of reaching it. Instead, it found itself crashing onto a sandy beach. For a second time, you fell onto the deck.
"Get up, all of you" Aella shouts. After complying, you see extreme anger in the Captain's eyes.
"The ship is damaged, we need to fix it immediately!" She says, though knowing, that it will not be easy. Then, she examines the item again.
"I assume none of you have any idea what this is" She says. Of course, her assumption is entirely correct.
"Wilhelm possibly gave his life for us to have this item. Our friends died, so we could survive. So, we owe it to them to find out what in Seven Hells is going on. Now, first of all, let us find out where we are".
With that, she examines one of the few parts of the ship that still works, the unimaginatively named Void Compass. On it, coordinates can be read.
Aella goes into her quarters and, then, emerges with a pile of papers. They are the notes of her father, Armon, who owned the Void Skipper before her. She reads one of the papers attentively and seems to be very unhappy as a result. She gives the paper to you to read through as well, saying "That is all there is about this world. This will not be fun".
After composing herself once again, Aella turns to you:
"Zeng, Gedyr, Bala, Bazhak, Dihek'nir and Ferdinand, you six will travel alongside the beach. I am sure you all saw that there was a town there, several miles ahead. We will need help, as we have no equipment to fix the Void Skipper on our own. Though, we have no idea whatsoever what is out there, so arm yourselves and leave only after that. You are on a scouting mission, so, find out all that is happening in this world, and try to return in a few days at most. The remaining six of you, stay with me, we will try to do what we can, so that our ship is in as good a condition as it can be".
You obey the captain, of course. Once you are all geared up, you disembark from the beached ship and start walking towards what you assume to be a town, in the far distance.
Bala, the pure white tabaxi, was trailing a few feet ahead of the group. He is wearing an rusty-red leather bodysuit, dark-blue eyes and a lax attitude to spare. He was still processing the whole 'stranded' part, then there was the 'fate of the universe' thing. He mostly left with the group so he could avoid Aella's screaming for a bit. He walked with his thumbs in his pockets, eyes glancing about the area. Suffice it to say, he liked what he saw. "Don't know what she's uneasy about. This place looks nice to me."
Before they left Ferdinand would have asked Aella if there are any maps of the area. If they would not, he would picture the area they are exploring in his notebook. Also do the notes awake any memories of Ferdinand as he is the ships navigator? Would this be the main reason the captain would send him with the others?
Ferdinand is a human, with slightly tanned skin, blue eyes and brown hair. He wears a brown shirt with a green, sleeveless overcoat. Underneath said coat he has leather straps keeping his notebooks and map cases safe.
“You are quite right, Bala. Really a nice place. Its a damn shame my spyglass broke when the ship crashed.“
Gedyr seems to fidget slightly, feeling naked without armor or a weapon beyond his dagger and seems to fidget slightly as they walk along the beach. He wears a dark blue shirt that hangs loosely over his unarmored form. "Looks can be deceiving. Why do you think Aella's father was concerned about the lack of dragons here? It would seem that would be a good thing."
"Mayhaps that implies there's something scarier than a dragon; like a fairy. Or a wish granting dog. Oh! I know, hairless tabaxi. Creepy bastards..." He shivers, then snickers. "Worry about it later. I'm just happy to stretch my legs."
Bazhak walks behind the group, glad to stretch out his muscles after the recent strange events. He stands tall, even for a half-orc and is well muscled, with arms covered in scars and tattoos. He wears a mixture of chain mail and regular clothing that wouldn’t seem odd on a sailor, but his tattoos were more reminiscent or the various barbarian tribes found throughout the realms. A large axe rests on one shoulder, the weight comfortable in Bazhak’s hands.
There is a quiet intelligence behind his eyes. Not an intelligence that would match up with an academic, but a sort of street smart that lent itself towards being a talented tactician and quartermaster of the ship.
”We should be wary, despite the looks of this place. It’s the brightly colored animal that is most poisonous. I have found that matches up with most things. The flashier it is, the more dangerous.”
Upon hearing Ferdinand's question, Aella looks a tad incredulous, and then almost shouts: "What part of THIS IS THE ONLY INFORMATION ON THIS WORLD THAT WE HAVE did you not understand? No, I have no maps! Maybe they will have some for sale at the town towards which you should be hurrying!" She seems very tense and unhappy, which, likely, has caused this rather rude outburst.
Party's average perception - 4.8, rounded upwards - 5. Plus, the perception of the the PC with the highest score, Ferdinand - 8.
Hence, the bonus of the party is +13.
Perception roll: 27
After setting off, you walk for about half an hour, when finally you realize something. It is quiet around. frankly, a beach this nice, which happens to be so close to a town, should be teeming with life. At the very least, someone should be fishing nearby. But no, nothing even remotely like that is going on.
Ferdinand is the first to see something on the horizon, within the water. Three creatures resembling fish and people at the same time seem to be swimming towards the party, armed with weapons and having a look that can clearly be identified as being hostile. Since you saw them quite a bit earlier than they expected, you have a chance to take up positions and, very quickly, discuss tactics.
Each of you can take a square on the map, but within the red rectangle. The red square is the direction from which the three figures are approaching. Simply tell me the coordinates (like, for instance, K1) and I will place you there for the first round. Once all of you are placed, there will be initiative.
The only objects on the beach nearby are a large rock (roughly 4 feet tall), which can be used as cover and a piece of driftwood, which can be hopped over, but will take an additional square's worth of movement to hop over, though will not be useful as cover).
Upon seeing the creatures, ferdinand will point in the direction and shout: „there are sails on the horizon“ and if time allows Ferdinand will cast mage armor on himself and Bala. If he only has time for one casting he wil prioritize Bala. He will position himself on J1
Dihek'nir was following the white tabaxi the whole way. He's a tall, musculed character with a green hue to his skin and elongated ears. He carries himself and his longsword like he was born to do it - not threateningly, but almost as part of his body.
"I don't know what you guys are bitching about - we get to explore a new place, meet some new people. There's definitely some exotic food to be tried, maybe even armwrestling to be done!"
He buttons open his faded blue tunic and enjoys the breeze.
--- fast forward to the combat
Dihek'nir crouches down near the rock, at G1 and seems to cast a spell, but nothing visible happens. (creating the invisible Mage Hand)
OOC: Yes, we will be using flanking, as, with online play like this, it is easy to track who faces where. Also, this means, that if you do not specify which way you are facing, I will be making that decision for you, but, of course, choosing the logical direction.
OOC: If you have it in your possession, that usually does not count as wearing it, of course, but, since this is the first time we are in battle in this campaign, I will allow it. Bala, put on your armor and Ferdinand will gain the effect of mage armor.
OOC: Since Zeng is inactive, and since beginning positions are not extremely important, I will place him and we will have initiative, so we will not lose time:
The three figures emerge from water. They look like someone crossed a fish with a person. All of them fishlike heads and tails, but the body of a human, if he was blue and covered in scales. All three look distinct from each other. The first one is noticeably larger than the other two and wields a rather large trident. The other has what can be described as a sword with a very long handle, while the third looks to be a female of the species, and only has a small dagger on her belt, but her hands glow unnaturally, indicating magical ability.
Here is how they look:
The three take up positions. The large one as well as the female one remain at the waterline, the female being slightly behind, while the smaller male takes several steps inland.
Here are the starting positions, before initiative. Red dots denote which way each character is facing:
Bonuses - Party average initiative: 2.7, rounded upwards: 3. Plus the bonus of the member with the highest initiative, Gedyr, which is 4.
So, Party initiative - 14
Bonuses - Enemy average initiative: 4.3, rounded upwards: 5. Plus, the bonus of the member with the highest initiative, the fish with the sword-thingy, which is 5.
The enemy has won initiative, so they will move first.
The larger fishman chooses to act first, and it does not seem to be particularly intelligent, so it picks the first target it sees, in this case, Bazhak, and charges to attack him. Once Half-Orc is within melee range, the enemy strikes him twice in succession with his huge trident.
Attack 1: to hit - 19, damage - 7
Attack 2: to hit - 25, damage - 11
The smaller fishman is next. He chooses not to try anything fancy either, going for Bala. However, instead of a simple attack, the Blademaster, during his run, picks up some sand from the beach and throws it into Bala's eyes, attempting to temporarily blind him. Bala must make a DEX save with at least 14 DC before his next move, or have disadvantage on all attacks for that one round. After performing this maneuver, the fishman closes in on Bala and attacks him twice with his large blade.
Attack 1: to hit - 13, damage - 8
Attack 2: to hit - 10, damage - 8
At the same time, the fish-lady remains in her place, but puts her hands up, which shimmer with a blue light. The light emanating from her hits the three who are standing closeby, Gedyr, Zeng and Ferdinand. They feel as if they are drowning, their throats and lungs filling up with water. They must all make a constitution check with a DC of at least 11 before their move, or take 2d6+3 damage.