The Dragon airship landed and the party boarded and they introduced themselves to the crew and got acquainted with the airship held aloft by a giant red balloon. The airship’s enormous balloon is made from dragon hide that has been dyed bright red. Atop the balloon is a crow’s nest that is reached by crawling up the ropes on the outside of the balloon. The balloon is roped to a gondola that has been fitted with steel runners. The airship has a speed of 8 miles per hour while skiing across ice or snow or flying in the air. A strong headwind reduces the ship’s speed to 4 mph, while a strong tailwind increases its speed to 12 mph. By changing altitude, the ship can use air currents to move in a particular direction. A propeller aft of the gondola thrusts the ship forward and can also be pivoted. The hull of the gondola is watertight and buoyant in water, and the propeller can push it across water.
The airship can hold up to 1 ton of cargo and requires a crew of two, one to operate the propeller and one to operate the furnace. If the ship has fewer than two crew members on duty, its speed can’t be controlled, and it moves in a random direction, carried by the wind, until control is regained or until it collides with something.
In the middle of the upper deck is a 10-foot-tall, cylindrical bronze furnace with a fire elemental magically trapped inside it. A narrow hatch in the front of the furnace has a small grill through which the elemental can be seen, and the heat pouring out through the grill helps keep the deck crew warm on cold days and nights. An iron wheel on the starboard side of the furnace opens and closes a bronze valve at the top of the cylinder, which has the effect of increasing or reducing the size of the fire spilling out of the furnace. The more heat that is allowed to fill the balloon, the higher the ship can rise.
The ship’s crew consists of eight members of the Cult of the Dragon all wearing black leather armor and black leather masks. The cultists are a humorless but resolute bunch. Their names are Delsephine, Nyzroth, Brassik, Laz, Oriskus, Perella, Tralt, and Zalthia. Delsephine is their leader. Four are on duty at any time (two to crew the ship and two standing watch) while the others rest. For their part, the cultists were willing to crew the vessel so that the characters can focus on navigation, as well as loading, aiming, and firing the on board weapons. The party immediately began playing around with the on board weapons which included a harpoon gun:
A spring-loaded harpoon gun, fashioned from burnished bronze with iron fittings, is bolted to the forward upper deck. It has a 90-degree arc of fire (side to side, as well as up and down). The gun comes with a winch, a 500-foot coil of rope, and ten steel-tipped harpoons. Although it fires harpoons instead of bolts, the gun is considered a ballista.
Tying a rope to a harpoon, if desired, takes an action. In addition to dealing 16 (3d10) piercing damage on a hit, a harpoon impales its target. While impaled, the target can’t take any action on its turn other than trying to free itself from the harpoon, which requires a successful DC 15 Strength check. If the check succeeds, the target takes 5 (1d10) piercing damage as the harpoon is pulled free and is no longer impaled. If a harpoon is attached to the gun by a rope, a creature impaled on that harpoon can’t move farther away from the gun or increase its altitude until it frees itself. A creature within reach of the gun’s winch can use its action to reel in a harpooned creature, pulling it up to 20 feet closer to the gun.
A wooden ballista is mounted on an iron swivel on the aft castle. It has a 90-degree arc of fire (side to side, and up and down). Behind it rests a crate that holds a dozen bolts
A wooden door behind the furnace on the upper deck pushes open to reveal stairs leading down to the lower deck. Portholes on the landings look out to port and starboard. The porthole windows are latched shut from the inside, and each porthole is wide enough for a Medium creature to squeeze through.
At the foot of the stairs is a steel hatch bolted shut from the outside, with two horizontal-sliding iron levers in the adjacent wall. One lever is labeled Thrust, the other Direction (in Common). Behind the hatch is a steel-walled compartment that holds a magically bound air elemental. The air elemental powers the aft propeller. Moving the Thrust lever to the left opens valves that allow wind from the elemental to spin the propeller. Moving the lever to the right closes the valves, and the propeller stops turning. Moving the Direction lever to the left or right causes the propeller to pivot in that direction, allowing the ship to turn while the propeller is operating. When the Direction lever is centered, the propeller moves the vessel straight ahead. Opening the hatch frees the elemental, whereupon it attacks any creature it sees. Without the air elemental to propel it, the ship can’t push itself across ice or snow and, if aloft, it moves in accordance with the prevailing wind.
Any air elemental under the control of another creature can be commanded to enter the compartment. If the compartment’s hatch is then closed and locked, the elemental becomes trapped inside.
In the crew quarters Each of these cabins has a door that can be bolted shut from the inside, though none of the doors is locked normally. A door can be broken open with a successful DC 13 Strength (Athletics) check. Each cabin contains two hammocks (one above the other), a writing desk, a chair, a footlocker, and a porthole. The portholes’ windows are latched shut from the inside, each set in a frame wide enough for a Medium creature to squeeze through.
Each footlocker has a partition that divides its interior space in half, with room on each side for one person’s clothing and personal effects. Atop each desk are a sturdy lamp, a Dragonchess set, and playing cards.
The storeroom is packed to the ceiling with crates of rations, barrels of fresh water, and casks of Dwarven ale and fine Elven wine—enough food to feed ten people for 100 days. Nets secured to iron rings bolted into the walls prevent the containers from moving around.
the crew knew a few things about the ordning:
- The ordning dictated the hierarchy of giant society, but the giant gods have apparently dissolved it.
- Before the ordning’s dissolution, storm giants were at the top of it, hill giants at the bottom.
- The disappearance of Hekaton, a storm giant king, has prompted a number of other giants to misbehave. These giants’ efforts to rise to the top of a new ordning bode ill for the budding empires of the North.
After the party grew acquainted with the ship they discussed where to set off to 1st studying the map Harshnag drew for them, They decided on the Great worm cave to locate an object to scry on one of the giant lords. They were able to set sail when prim remembered he left Erelosa in the tower with Zephyros and went to retrieve her while the rest of the party argued on what they should name the airship. Prim found Zephyros attempting to repair the orb that was damaged by the frost giants. He told prim he might not be able to get the tower up and running for awhile so he was glad they found another mode of travel for the time being. Prim returned to the airship with Erelosa and the party took to the skies still without a decision on the name for the airship.
They arrived at the location of the great worm cave. the cavern was floor is a sheet of slippery ice flanked by 70-foot-high ledges of rock, atop which stand two totem poles of chiseled ice with carvings that resemble winged snakes. The walls of these ledges were riddled with caves in which the Great Worm tribe members live. Natural steam vents in the rock keep the caves warm throughout the year. Above the ledges, dug into the cavern walls, are narrow crypts where the honored dead are placed, their frozen corpses propped up in a standing position.
Rising from the back of the cavern is a triangular promontory of ice-covered rock, 120 feet above the cavern floor at its peak. Thereupon stands an altar of frost-covered stone, carved in the shape of a coiled serpent with great wings. The altar represents Elrem, the Great Worm. Here, the tribal warriors make sacrifices to the Great Worm in honor of Uthgar. Doing so, they believe, ensures that Elrem doesn’t return to devour them.
Bound inside the altar is a Couatl who sensed the good nature of the party and telepathically reached out to Pokeman Jones the Couatl warns him that the Great Worm tribe has fallen under the sway of an evil chieftain named Wormblod. It asks him to hunt down and slay Womblod, promising a reward for this good deed. The couatl knows that Wormblod is away, searching for a missing concubine. The characters make their way along narrow ledges to get a look inside the cave. Prim lost his footing and tried to grab onto the edge of the cliff but the icy surface did not provide and purchase and he started to plummet but his fall was slowed by a quick reaction from Draven’s belt of featherfall and Prim landed softly in a pile of snow. Pokeman Jones took out his unending rope and the party was able to pull him back up.
The Couatl urged the party to hurry as feeding time was near. The party looked around the corner and saw At the back of the cave hung what they perceived to be a relic of giantkind: a crescent-shaped gong in a crude stone frame. The gong, a circular disk 13 feet in diameter, was once the shield of a frost giant champion, but it was broken in combat and is now missing a large piece. What remains of it weighs 250 pounds. The shield is made of red dragon scales bolted to a beaten copper frame. Its leather arm straps are long gone. There are ropes holding up the gong that look like they could be cut.
The party debated as to whether or not they should go for the relic here or go after Wormblod and if they tribe was magically enchanted or if if just under Wormblod’s charismatic influence. There was further debate as to whether or not the tribe was evil or not and if they should go in swinging or try to sneak in and steal the artifact. As they discussed this at length the gong was sounded. The ground rumbled and three young Remorhazes burst from the ground and looked for food spotting the party around the corner, they party set upon the creatures but as they cut into them, hot blood spilled out burning the party as they attacked with their melee weapons. They felled 2 of them but the gong continued to ring and more began bursting from the ground and the party decided to stage a retreat.
The melee group hung in there while the casters pulled back and them everyone made a sprint for the airship with the worms in pursuit. As the crew boarded the airship they tried to throw things in the worms path but they burrowed under the difficult terrain and popped up right under Draven bursting out from the ice grasping him in its jaws, the party stopped and turned to go help him but adrenaline kicked in for the tiefling and he pried the jaws open with raw strength and scrambled out to the air ship. The party yelled UP UP UP NOW!!! and the fire int the balloon kicked up higher as Yue lit a bonfire underneath the balloon to speed up its lift just in time when the worms caught up and were snapping hungrily at the party now out of reach.
The party breathed a sign of relief as they planned to go find Wormblod but before they could rest they spotted something flying towards them. Two Young green dragons were heading straight for the ship. The party called to their crew to prepare for battle and the Pokeman Jones and Zuriel armed the harpoon gun and ballista. Prim used hypnotic pattern and sent one of the dragons falling out of the sky but the other one woke it up by ramming it. The dragons proceeded to make a strafing pass on the air ship blowing poison breath on the crew. Prim dove on top of Erelosa to protect her from the breath attack and took the full brunt of it. The party set upon the dragons firing the ships weaponry at them sticking harpoons and bolts into one dragging it on board where they were able to finish it. Prim got up and used hypnotic pattern again on the other still airborn and knocked it out of the sky and it fell out of site as the airship escaped their assault. The party brought the crew who were knocked out back to consciousness.
Along the way rowan received a message from Lor:
“Rowan my training has been going well. There have been some ups and downs. I returned to Goldenfields to speak with that Giant that looks like a tree and was finally able to get some semblance of directions out of him. I scouted ahead and with more than a little luck and Luurue’s grace I found Grudd Haug. I hope this map location finds some use to you and your party. While I was out scouting this location Shalvus Mcmanus was convicted of treason to Goldenfields and was sentenced to hang by captain of the guard Strog Thunderblade. On the day it was to be carried out the gallows let loose but so did an arrow from the fields severing the noose around his neck. The Zhentarim staged a rescue effort and were able to steal him away. I must double my training and made you proud of me to make sure this land is safe for all. I hope this message finds you safe and well.
I miss you dearly,
As the party caught their breath and floated over the spine of the world they saw a caravan on the ground and smoke coming from it. They saw some humanoids being set upon by cloaked figures. Zuriel and Draven jumped off the airship using featherfall and landed in between the two converging parties. The airship landed and the rest of the party disembarked. As they looked around the combatants seemed to be members of the worm tribe that they just left and a bunch of cloaked drow. The tribesmen seemed outmatched so the party set upon the drow squad and wiped them out in the conflict leaving only one drow and one tribesman when the dust settled.
Upon interrogation they discovered the drow were on their way traveling from Gauntylgrim to Ironslag to deliver an iron flask containing Maegera the Dawn Titan which they stole away from Gauntylgrim. The knew that it was needed in the completion of the Vonindod construction. Hearing this news infuriated Zuriel and he executed the drow. The remaining tribesman they discovered to be Wormblod and he stated he was out here trying to collect his concubine who died in the attack when his caravan was set upon but it was not as much of a concern to him as long as he survived and he asked the party to return him to his tribe. The party huddled to debate what to do with him.