This summarizes several sessions.
Recap: The adventuring group Black Hand of Seval along with their Vrock allies-of-the-moment are riding in “The Jenny” and a half-destroyed goblin vessel. They are travelling in an enormous Astral-like Void in the Elemental Chaos. Such voids are mentioned in legends of ancient Dawn War battlegrounds, deific tombs, and places where the eternal Astral intrudes into the Elemental Chaos. The void is also reminiscent of the Black surrounding Aresh.
Off in the distance, central to the void, they see dozens of ships swarming around a hive of activity. Three towers tumble about each other turning in a continually crushing, grinding circle that ignores the downward pull of gravity. The towers must surely be the cast-aside remnant of some aeons-old forward base of the gods. Ships dart in and out of the tumbling towers, some fresh arrivals, some leaving scarred and battered, some viciously attacking their peers. A valuable reward indeed must be enticing them all to risk this dangerous place.
BHoS approach a smoking, smouldering vessel adrift in the void. Approaching close, they see four humans on deck—easy pickings. Or, so it seems. As BHoS approached the ship to board, shutters hiding a panel burst open to reveal a huge harpoon that flies across in a burst of flame to impale The Jenny. The party wastes no time on parley and opens fire on the four humans.
Leaping into the fray, Krom learns these foes are not as human as they appear. As he closes for battle, his opponent’s illusion vanishes and the large Efreet is revealed. A few of the Vrocks begin a battle dance; the others join battle against the Efreet, dropping their human illusions during the fight. After the Efreeti fall, the Vrocks continue their battle dance. N’Krumah recalls this dance will not end well, likely destroying the Jenny! The BHoS quickly turns on the Vrock and puts them all down. Some loot gathered. Beginning to explore the smouldering ship, the party takes damage from the blazing heat emanating from belowdecks. Suddenly, the deck reverberates with a voice from below. “Argh, ye scurvy deckswabs, me deck had best be clean, else yer gonna be on the dinner plates!” The party decided it was not worth the effort, burst the chain and harpoon, and escaped to colder climes.
The Efreeti sight the Jenny, and pursue. Quigeon sacrifices himself by piloting the trapped goblinoid ship into the Efreet vessel, vanishing in a gloopy blast of toxins and fire. The party evades the Efreeti, heading toward the tumbling towers.
Cazzian hailed a hermit sitting atop a slowly drifting earthnode. The Githzerai is Liricosa, here to observe and await his Zerth so they may go to battle the Githyanki here. He will only answer questions asked thrice; the first is fury. The second is frustration. The third is forever. He explains a bit (reminding the party) about what causes voids like this in the Elemental Chaos.
Nearing the fortress, Nkrumah has a bad feeling about this. Zimbarso points out the brief flashes of black nullspace outlined in silver, and claims they are somehow related to the Far Realm. A shiver runs down his spine as vague memories of his time in the Far Realm pluck at the strings of his soul. Many ships from various ports of call swarm around the central hub, constantly weaving amongst each other, constantly weaving amongst the towers, constantly in danger. Some ships collide with each other, or with the towers, some are The towers sometimes collide with themselves, grinding stone upon stone, sending clouds of crushed rock into the air. Other times the tower seem to stretch, impossibly avoiding each other. And, when you watch very closely, you can sometimes see one tower pass directly through another. Indeed, now that your attention is on the towers, you notice that when a tower is damaged, it seems to restore itself, regenerating as though it were a living creature being healed.
Ryu joins N’Krumah below deck to help with navigation in this complex region. N’Krumah pilots the Jenny close into the swarm of ships, to observe their tactics. Counting the ships exactly is practically impossible, but N’Krumah uses the extended senses of the pilot to estimate one hundred ships of at least twenty recognizable races are orbiting the hub.
Some type of construct (ooc: they look like Warforged)
Angels or Divine emissaries
Elves or possibly Eladrin
The other civilized races: Humans, Dwarves, Halflings, Gnomes
Holding position at the fringes of the frenzied activity, BHoS observes various groups send in teams of explorers. Some send in a tentative single, others go in small groups, and still others send in large raiding parties. When anyone leaves the tumbling towers with objects in hand, the nearby ships and crews scramble to ambush them and steal their bounty. In the resulting chaos, ships collide with each other and with the tumbling towers, shattering and crippling many vessels and adding to the wreckage orbiting the hub. Well-armed ships turn upon their crippled neighbors, taking what they can from their fellow explorers. Amidst all this, random blasts of silver-lined black void tear ships apart, sending the contents and lucky crew members falling in random directions- toward the hub, away from the hub in a random direction, fixed in one place, or slowly orbiting the hub. The unlucky crew members… well, lets’s just hope you don’t find out where they go.
The immensity of the tumbling towers, the Astral-like void leaving an enormous trail in the Elemental Chaos, and the sheer number of beings around it all have the party reconsidering the importance and the feasibility of the mission. Perhaps the party would be better served by letting their hidden temple be exposed or lost, and simply joining the raiders. The decision revolves upon whatever is inside the tumbling towers.
N’Krumah throws a Dimension Door in front of an sack-carrying Efreet leaving a tower, bringing it back to The Jenny. He won’t surrender, so he is quickly slain. His sack contains some gems and some gold, but nothing very valuable. Looking for more generous rewards, BHoS decides to raid a likely looking vessel. The nearest ship happens to be giants. (What is it with Giants and Efreet around here?) Oh, and a titan is also on the ship, she he has really angry eyebrows. Chain into Infinite + Anvil Beats Rock + natural gravity = GIANT BANDSAW! After a bit of finesse, the giant’s ship breaks apart and scatters. BHoS gathers what they can.
Consider their next action, BHoS debates whether there’s much point in trying to save their hidden temple. Instead, they might be able to get enough treasure here to build another. It’s time to give up on the temple, and go get some! BHoS prepares an exploratory group. N’Krumah and Ryu will stay on The Jenny, but N’Krumah casts a couple fly spells to aid the party in their dangerous crossing to the towers. He pilots the ship in close, dodging a few curious onlookers. The party flies across to the towers and enters a door.
Inside the door, a group of Githzerai are heading outward. BHoS surprises them. When they notice Zimbarso, they believe he is Githyanki and assault him severely with lightning-empowered crossbows. Another couple rooms of Githzerai, then Cazzian almost tumbles into a Far Realm void. Behind the void waits a huge blue dragon named Xan Pelucitor! Cazzian uses his impressive personality to make all friend-like. The dragon crushes its way through walls to help destroy a nearby web-filled room full of odd spider-wolves, or wolf-spiders. Did you know? Webs burn!
The party takes a short rest and prepares for the next level. The dragon shares a story, that he was once imprisoned by aboleths that used his draconic nature to filter some chaos fluids, and he is here seeking information or perhaps individuals related to that. They were the ones who pierced his body, leaving massive chain links embedded deep within Xan’s muscles. The party hadn’t heard anything related. Xan also said he hears, although he cannot verify himself, that the towers all have four levels. When you pass the fourth level of possibility, you emerge into the fifth, impossible, level. He couldn’t explain any more, as whoever told him that died shortly thereafter, and was quite gristley indeed.
When the rest was over, Xan asked the party to head upwards inside when he went outside. He offered to let the party ride on his back, though he couldn’t promise their safety when he forced his way back in through the walls.