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SpellJammer: Bralian Exploration Society

Into the Darkness
What danger lurks within

The crew of the Tireless Wanderer pressed on into the darkness below. After several tense minutes of descending crumbling stairs and pausing to search the debris for any more signs of monstrous danger the explorers arrived at an obsidian plateau. It’s surface was covered in fine black powder and etched with strange symbols that nether Lucien nor Winnifred could identify. Leading from the plateau were two doors and a pillar that had fallen over from a nearby balcony.

The first door revealed a large cylindrical chamber covered in the same black powder and small, bead-like shards of crystal. In the presence of light the crystal glowed, seeming to collect and amplify the light. Quickly discovering that the casting of a simple light spell on the crystal itself produced a blinding flash they collected a sample to take back to Bral and continued to explore.

The second door, unlike the first, was sealed and cold to the touch. Only the combined might of Lucien and Lord Tubby Fuzzywumple was enough to slightly budge the stone door. For the moment the door was cracked a gale of arctic wind which forced the door shut again. Captain Harlocke elected to press on and return to this mystery on the return trip.

Using the fallen pillar as a makeshift bridge the crew discovered what appeared to have been once a lavish apartment, though the untold centuries had reduced most of the furnishings to dust. The building shook and they discovered that at some time in the ancient past the tower they were on had cracked down the center, the door from the apartment led into a room that tilted away at a sharp 45 degree angle.

The crew descended through a series of ruined hallways, fallen pillars, precarious gaps, and debris strewed rooms until they came to a harge hall near the base of one of the towers. Like all the rooms before it was coated in the fine black powder that they determined was some sort of soot. Turning the corner they were shocked to find the desiccated remains of a spell-weaver. Or at least half the remains. The creature appeared to have been torn in half at the waste. The trail of blood suggested that it had crawled to it’s final resting place before expiring.

On alert to a new and potentially deadly threat in the darkness the group of adventurers encountered one of the ancient protectors of the city. What once had been a great and powerful stone golem in aeons had been reduced to a mere shambling statue my the ravages of time. The crew pressed their advantage, not allowing the stone fists to break upon their armor, and destroyed it before any harm could befall them. Examining the remains there was no blood on its hands. It was not what had killed the spell-weaver.

Near a great staircase that led still further into the darkness beneath the city they encountered the missing half of the spell-weaver. Taking it’s strange possessions for later analysis they followed the stairs, ever cautious, until they began to hear a strange thrum. At the bottom of the stair case they discovered a cube shaped chamber who’s every surface was covered in the same strange symbols they had encountered before. In the floor there were four square pits, at the bottom of which lay summoning circles and in the center of the room, floating a yard above an obsidian pedestal was a metallic cube churning with magical energy. Before they could question its purpose a flash of light from one of the pits summoned a powerful demon.

They readied to fight or flee the monster but the cube struck it with a strange glow and it cried out in agony. The demon lifted into the air, contorting pain as it was seemingly crushed by the enveloping energy. The sound of bones breaking and grinding together accompanied the look of horror on the crew’s faces as the demon was reduced to its very essence and into the cube. The energy pulsed out from the cube along the channels of strange runes on the surface of the chamber.

The crew decided that the device was too dangerous to allow it to continue to function and attempted to determine the safest way to disable its operation. Attacking the channels of symbols caused the energy to arc wildly throughout the chamber and no one dared brave the summoning pits, so Captain Harlocke boldly threw one of his masterwork daggers at the device, decisively damaging it’s delicate magical workings and ending the arcs of energy. That was when the deep thrum begain to raise in pitch.

The energy it had been collecting was building to release, so the captain ordered the only sensible thing: retreat. The crew were half way up the stairs when a massive explosion rocked the building, collapsing the staircase behind them. A wave of arcane energy expanded past them in all directions, causing Winnifred’s faithful companion Lord Tubby Fuzzywumple to vanish and every source of light to extinguish. In the darkness all was silent.

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The Shakedown Cruise
Every journey starts with a single step

While readying the Tireless Wanderer for her maiden voyage an official message arrived from the head of the Brelian Exploration Society, commanding the captain and the ship to make sail for the inner system moon of Coal, and to investigate the ruins of the ancient city identified as Zalu. No reason or definite goal was given in the message, only that it was vitally important to Brelish interests. Once supplies and crew are aboard the ship departs on their mysterious mission.

Thanks to the skill of those aboard the Tireless Wanderer made excellent time to the system’s innermost world. In orbit around the world’s second moon (and the ship’s ultimate destination) they encountered a tradesman crewed by a lone elf. Pleasantries were exchanged and the elf captain warned them away from the moon, stating that as the shifting of the sun draws closer the activity of both the undead and fire elementals that make up the only remain inhabitants of the charred moon is on the rise. The elf mentioned that his crew was currently investigating the surface to determine the cause of the catastrophe that destroyed the moon. The captain of the Tireless Wanderer thanked him for the warning but proceeded with the mission he had been charged with.

It was not long before their destination was spotted. Rising from the surrounding desert and half buried by its sands were the ruins of Zalu, the fallen city. Its once majestic towers had crumbled and fallen inward on the city to form a cone that shielded the interior. In the distance massive Roc-like creatures composed of flame floated in the oppressive heat of the moon’s atmosphere. With Coal’s utter lack of water it was impossible to land the Tireless Wanderer, so the captain took members of the crew to the surface via the ship’s dry lander, and ordered the Tireless Wanderer to maintain a ready position.

Once on the surface the crew were troubled almost immediately. The dry lander had sunk nearly a foot into the surface dune, and the growing winds threatened a sand storm that would strip the crew to the bone if they did not retreat to the shelter of the ruins. Bones were also a concern, as digging itself out of the sand was a burning, undead abomination, the general shape of a man, its four arms sprouted from odd angles from the pelvis and the eyes of its jaw-less skull were absolutely dark even surrounded by its own unnatural flame. It was quickly dispatched by Edward Morgan, ship’s quartermaster.

Within the darkness of the ruins the air was stale. The crew stood upon a plateau formed of rubble and surrounded by ancient towers that leaned precariously against one another. The crew opted to ascend into the closest of those towers rather than to start their explorations descending into the darkness. Millennia of decay had left little to be found in the strange structures. While investigating a glint spotted in the ruins the crew were again attacked.

A smoldering skull lay at the center if the creature, surrounded by a tumbleweed like cage of ribs. Connected to the cage were over a dozen bony arms of various lengths, almost bleeding a greasy black smoke. The crew were shocked to discover that their position on a higher level offered no protection as the monster rolled to a wall and climbed as if it were a gravity defying ball, the black orbs that passed for the creature’s eyes remaining locked on Mr. Morgan as it made its way up the wall and across the ceiling, lashing out at the crew with many arms. Everywhere a shot pierced or a sword blow landed true an unholy flame would erupt from the wound. The creature eyes seemed to absorb the light from the crew’s torches and its fists rained hammer blows against anyone foolish enough to brave its reach.

The battle was swift and the crew sent the monster to its final rest with no loss of life. Now free to investigate what drew them to the lower chamber they discover the fragments of a gilded statue of an unknown warrior. His strange features were similar to elven, but did not match any race of elf the crew had previously encountered. Etched into its surface the crew found a tale written in the oldest dialect of celestial about this “warrior of the heart” and its defense of the city against some manner of “burning peril.”

With a find that could be proudly displayed in any museum or collection in the sphere the crew could have turned back, but chose to press onward into the darkness.

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The Adventure Begins!
A new ship, a new crew, a new adventure

The sun dawned and brought forth a new day of adventure and discovery on the Rock of Bral. Prince Andru comissioned the newly formed Bralian Exploration Society to go forth and expand the city’s knowledge of the universe (and increase the wealth of the city in the process). After a rousing speech by the Prince four newly commissioned ships were launched into Wildspace. This is the story of the Tireless Wanderer and its intrepid crew.

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