Prior events:  Lady Blackbird is on the run from an arranged marriage to Count Carlowe. She hired a smuggler skyship, The Owl, to take her to the far reaches of the Remnants and secret lover, the pirate king Uriah Flint. Lady Blackbird, her bodyguard Naomi, and the crew of The Owl (the captain Cyrus Vance, the goblin pilot Snargle and the mechanic Kale) are captured by the Imperial ship Hand of Sorrow,  but they manage to escape. [2-4] The Owl is out of fuel and goes adrift for a few days. It is rescued by a Free Worlds galleon, the Ripe Melon. The Compulsor Uad Balentin will refuel the Owl and will not kill the crew, if they steal from the Arrowshield monastery of the Stone Goddess on planet Wooddock the sacred scaly tail relic. [5-7] The party brings the relic to Balentin: but a dust Golem comes out of the box containing the relic and attacks the compulsor. The heroes eave on the Owl and reach Nightport, a stalactite city below the surface of an artificial planet. [8-9] Vance meets an old friend, the goblin Ashen. Ashen’s boss Jorga of Nexis (a powerful drug dealer) is kidnapped: the party go after her in a pyramidal building. They defeat a number of orcs and a couple of strange Squidmen: Jorga is killed in the fight. The heroes leave the pyramid taking with them a folder full of notes and an ancient statuette of the Stone Goddess.
[Having collected a number of mysteries in the previous sessions, I now try to make sense of some of them, establishing relationships between the Chained Star, the Water Melon galleon and the Cult of the Stone Goddess. I am am loosely applying the GMless Mystery Explainer by Richard Williams]
Ashen and our heroes examine the papers they have collected in the Chained Star pyramid.
Here are their findings:
- The renowned composer Mazlowe Gon Grolsh is a member of the Chained Star: an illegal organization aimed at reintroducing slavery and bringing back the monarchy to the Free Worlds. Ashen’s boss Jorga of Nexis had discovered this and was blackmailing Mazlowe.
- Mazlowe is supported by Baroness Tatiana Von Hexen [an aristocrat I rolled on Vornheim‘s tables]. Tatiana is the current regent of Nightport, this is of course well known to the party. What is new to them is that she summons creatures from the lower depths for unsavory purposes. Tatiana is in love with Mazlowe: she is covering his illegal activities and she is also actively helping him. She procured the two squidmen that the party fought in the pyramid.
- One of the goals of the Chained Star is the eradication of the Cult of the Stone Goddess: the cult preaches the equality and dignity of all sentient beings and it is not compatible with slavery.
- Mystics of the Cult of the Stone Goddess know the Secret of the Sky Song [mentioned in Lady Blackbird’s rule booklet]: they can call sky squids and communicate with them. Mazlowe and Tatiana are trying to acquire this same power, that they intend to use to subvert democracy in the Free Worlds. The couple managed to get hold of the ancient statuette that the heroes found in the pyramid: it is a powerful Essence-channeling artifact.
- Compulsor Balentin, that the heroes met on the Ripe Melon, was also a member of the Chained Star. Tatiana had ordered him to fetch a number of items that she intended to use to augment her magic powers.
Given the situation, the heroes decide to keep secret what happened in the pyramid.
The next day, the newspaper publish with great evidence news about the Water Melon: the galleon reached Stingwitch, where it left all the human crew. A number of mantoideans went on board of the ship that is now sailing in an unknown direction under the command of the Arrowshield dust golem. Compulsor Balentin is dead and his figure is presented as that of a national hero.
What will Ashen and the heroes do?
To answer this, I decided to use a set of icons from RND issue 1:
The heroes want to see more clearly what the situation is, in order to understand how to make justice and revenge Jorga’s death. They will give the statuette to the Stone Goddess monks in Nightport temple and ask for their help and guidance. Since Mazlowe and Tatiana are using magic for their evil purposes, the heroes need the help of people who can channel the flow of Essence even more effectively.