Solo Lady Blackbird 10: the Chained Star

Prior events: [0] 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, [1] 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.

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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.
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Baroness Tatiana Von Hexen
  • 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:

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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.

Solo Lady Blackbird 9: death in the pyramid

Prior events: [0] 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, [1] 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 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 and Silas leave on the Owl and reach Nightport, a stalactite city below the surface of an artificial planet. [8] Silas can go his way. Vance meets an old friend, the goblin Ashen, hoping to get informations about how to find Uriah Flint. Ashen’s boss Jorga of Nexis (a powerful drug dealer) is kidnapped: the party and Ashen go after her in a pyramidal building. Most of the heroes are imprisoned by a trap. Snargle and Vance kill the Orcs that were keeping Jorga into custody.  

[I ran this session using FURPG dice as a qualified boolean oracle, and my basic Solo Universal Random Crawler for general inspiration.]

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Floor C: Snargle and Vance free Jorga. Is she OK? FURPG:yes. The three move back to the other room to interrogate the drunk orc. Can he reply? FURPG:no and… he is now unconscious, possibly dead. “Too much mushroom juice, is Jorga’s comment”. Kale, who is still imprisoned with Ashen, Natasha and Naomi, handles his laser gun to Jorga through the grating. Vance, Snargle and Jorga move downstairs in search of a switch to deactivate the trap and free the others.

Floor B: They reach a room occupied by a large cylindrical container full of water. Snargle moves to the next room. From the container, two Squidmen emerge. Cyrus and Jorga open fire, but the Squidmen manage to wound both of them. Cyrus kills the larger Squidman and Snargle the other one. In the next room they find an elegant sky car and a switch to open a hatch in front of the car. Is the switch for the trap in this room? FURPG: no. They move downstairs again.

Floor A: A single room with a desk on which there is a folder full of letters and notes and an ancient stone statuette representing a naked woman: a rare and valuable image of the Stone Goddess! The heroes pick up these things, but once again no switch for the trap can be found. They walk up again. The other four are still behind the grating and nothing happened. Snargle, Vance and Jorga now move upstairs.

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Floor D: Is the switch here? FURPG: yes but…it is not easy to operate. There is a sphere in the middle of the central wall: a control for a number of devices in the building. Snargle examines it, trying to understand how to free his friends. In the meantime, two orcs arrive from the next room and open fire. Jorga is killed. Vance and Snargle put the two orcs out of combat. Snargle manages to open the secret door from which the party entered the building. The four who remained imprisoned in the trap leave the pyramid from the secret door. Vance and Snargle take away Jorga’s body on the sky car they had found on Floor B.

 

Solo Lady Blackbird 8 – Pyramidal trouble

Prior events: [0] 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. The Owl is captured by the Imperial cruiser Hand of Sorrow. Lady Blackbird, her bodyguard Naomi, and the crew of The Owl (the captain Cyrus Vance, the goblin pilot Snargle and the mechanic Kale) are detained in the brig. [1] They escape from the Hand of Sorrow on the Owl, [2] but the Imperial soldier Silas Canter has remained trapped in their ship. [3] They land on the nearby Stingwitch planetoid, in search of fuel and they find it infested by mantis-like monsters. [4] The Owl goes adrift for a few days. It is rescued by a Free Worlds galleon, the Ripe Melon, whose commander Dr. Salacia Paldo offers to cure Naomi, who has been infected by the mantoideans. The Compulsor Uad Balentin will refuel the Owl and will not kill the crew, if they steal from the Arrowshield monastery on planet Wooddock the sacred scaly tail relic. [5] The heroes reach Arrowshield. [6] A dust golem defeats the party and hides himself in the box containing the relic. [7] The party delivers the relic to Balentin: the Golem comes out of the box and attacks the compulsor. The heroes and Silas manage to reach the Owl and make route towards Nightport.

 
I previously defined this hook using Vornheim’s character generation tables:

“Cyrus Vance once worked with Ashen, a goblin who now works for the Nightport oligarch Jorga of Nexis, officially as one of her body guards but actually helping her sell drugs in Nightport. The heroes want to contact Ashen because they think that he and Jorga could help them get in touch with Lady Blackbird’s once secret lover, the pirate king Uriah Flint. Jorga blackmails Mazlowe Gon Grolsh, the rich and esteemed official composer of the Free Worlds Federation: how will this interfere with the plans of the heroes”?

When the Owl reaches Nightport, Vance lets the Imperial soldier Silas Canter go his way.

Vance goes to meet Ashen, but when they are together Ashen receives a telepathic alarm from her boss Jorga of Nexis: she is in danger! Ashen and Vance run to Jorga’s house, but when they get there they see a vehicle leaving and Jorga cannot be found. Ashen’s telepathic power tells him that Jorga was on the vehicle: he will also be able to locate her. Ashen asks Vance to call the rest of the party to help him free Jorga, who clearly has been kidnapped by one of her numerous enemies. Following Ashen, the party reaches an upside-down pyramidal building (Nightport is a stalactite city, built inside a huge cave) that apparently has no doors.

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Kale manages to find and open a secret door. The party enters a room dominated by the huge image of a chained star.

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They move to the next room, a large corridor, but they trigger a trap and a grating entraps them in a small space: only Snargle is quick enough to avoid the grating. In the corridor, he is attacked by an Orc, and manages to put it out of action. He moves to the room the Orc came from, hoping to find the control to rise the grating and free the others, but he only finds another Orc drunk from a strange green juice. Vance uses his teleport power to bypass the grating and joins Snargle. The two try another door, but they cannot open it. They open the last door in the corridor and enter a room where Jorga is bound and gagged, guarded by three more Orcs [Dungeon Squad II Challenge 3]. Snargle and Vance manage to defeat the Orcs, but Vance is wounded in the fight.

Solo Lady Blackbird: Nightport / Vornheim adventure seed

I defined this adventure scheme for the city of Nightport, where my Lady Blackbird party will soon arrive. The scheme was meant to be filled with the help of the Vornheim city kit NPC generation tables:

[A random PC] once worked with NPC A who now works for the powerful NPC B. The heroes want to contact A because they think that he could help them get in touch with Lady Blackbird’s once secret lover, the pirate king Uriah Flint. NPC B has a specific relation with NPC C: how will this interfere with the plans of the heroes.

The PC I rolled was Cyrus Vance (the captain of the Owl skyship).

These are the NPCs I rolled using Vornheim [my additions in square brackets]:

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A. Ashen: a [goblin] lunatic. He is an amateur doctor and takes scholarly interest in any disease. [In the past he worked as a mercenary for an Imperial corporation and he met Cyrus Vance at that time]

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B. An oligarch: Jorga of Nexis. She believes that Nightport is a living entity hostile to her, but is afraid to leave. She controls much of the trade in illicit substances in the city [I can see why she has an amateur doctor at her service and she might well be in touch with the pirates]. Jorga has protruding eyes, greenish veins, eerie. Jorga blackmails…

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C. Mazlowe Gon Grolsh, the [richly remunerated] official composer of the Free Worlds Federation. Mazlowe believes that much of the oligarchs of Nightport are in thrall to a creature from the lower depths [the serendipitous appearance of the “lower depths” gave me an instant of pure joy]. Mazlowe is bow-legged, slow, talkative. [I guess that Mazlowe helps his creative efforts with some of Jorga’s stuff and she is trying to make all the money she can out of the rich old man].

The final result is:

Cyrus Vance once worked with Ashen, a goblin who now works for the Nightport oligarch Jorga of Nexis, officially as one of her body guards but actually helping her sell drugs in Nightport. The heroes want to contact Ashen because they think that he and Jorga could help them get in touch with Lady Blackbird’s once secret lover, the pirate king Uriah Flint. Jorga blackmails Mazlowe Gon Grolsh, the rich and esteemed official composer of the Free Worlds Federation: how will this interfere with the plans of the heroes?

Solo Lady Blackbird: Nightport prep

Lately I have been doing some world preparation for my solo Lady Blackbird campaign. I have been mainly thinking of planet Nightport and its capital city. The ruleset says: “Unlike other worlds, Nightport does not rotate, which means one face is always in darkness. It is on this side that pirates and smugglers have built a hidden port city in which to carry out their nefarious dealings”.

I have decided to use here two ideas I have had for some time:

1. Using the great Vornheim city kit to run the city (the module is packed with random charts that will provide a lot of action).

2. An upside-town city. It is built inside a huge cave, above an uderground sea. The buildings are like stalactites, hanging from the top of the cave, towards the sea.

Here is a cross-section of how I imagine Nightport. Skyships will land on the surface of the planet, above the city.

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And here is a retouched photograph meant to give an idea of what Nightport could look like (but the pirate city will not be so glamorous… I should try to come up with an illustration in the cool punk style used by Zak for Vornheim).

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Because of the strange cave and underground sea, I made Nightport an artificial planet, built by some long-forgotten civilization. To visualize the planet, I painted a small watercolor, wrapped it in a cylinder, applied a circular mask, and here it is:

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Finally, to provide some context for the events in the campaign, I used the idea of Factions from Stars Without Number to build a simple scheme of the main forces. I only used the basic idea of defining factions, without adding any of the many details provided by SWN (yet).

The factions are:

  • The Lower Depths – i.e. the mysterious entity living below the Wild Blue;
  • The Empire – the place of origin of Lady Blackbird;
  • The Free Worlds – the other main political organization in the “system”;
  • The Pirates – which our heroes hope to contact in Nightport;
  • The Cult of the Stone Goddess – was suggested by me by Chris Stieha, via RND Issue 1: I ran a couple of sessions in the Arrowshield monastery.

I rolled a few dice to define the nature of the relationships between the factions. Appropriately, the dice did not point to any friendly relationship. I have not made sense of all the results yet, but they seem to be interesting:

  • The Pirates have hostile relationships with all the other factions;
  • The Cult of the Stone Goddess is neutral towards everyone, but the Pirates and the Free Worlds. Since the Cult is rooted in the area controlled by the Free Worlds, the reasons for tensions between state and church are rather obvious:
  • The Free Worlds and the Empire are declared enemies. This is perfectly consistent with the setting and with what happened in my previous sessions. The two sides are in some kind of cold war.

I still have no idea of why the Cult is particularly hostile towards the Pirates (and vice-versa). Ethic reasons could be the simplest explanation, but we will see.

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Solo Lady Blackbird 7 – A Golem on the Ripe Melon

[A solo campaign based on the setting and characters of John Harper’s Lady Blackbird, using Jason Morningstar’s Dungeon Squad II and a mix of OSR rules, mainly White Star]

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Prior events: [0] 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. The Owl is captured by the Imperial cruiser Hand of Sorrow. Lady Blackbird, her bodyguard Naomi, and the crew of The Owl (the captain Cyrus Vance, the goblin pilot Snargle and the mechanic Kale) are detained in the brig. [1] They escape from the Hand of Sorrow on the Owl. [2] They find that the Imperial soldier Silas Canter has remained trapped in their ship. [3]  They land on the nearby Stingwitch planetoid, in search of fuel, but they find it infested by mantis-like monsters. [4] The Owl goes adrift for a few days. It is rescued by a Free Worlds galleon, the Ripe Melon, whose commander Dr. Salacia Paldo offers to cure Naomi, who has been infected by the mantoideans. The Compulsor Uad Balentin will refuel the Owl and will not kill the crew, if they steal from the Arrowshield monastery on planet Wooddock the sacred scaly tail relic. [5] The party (without Naomi) reaches  Arrowshield. A fortune teller tells Vance that he will soon be changed. The party fights the monks and finds the relic in a crypt. [6] They receive five mysterious golden apples from a monk. A dust golem defeats the party and hides himself in the box containing the relic.

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Natasha, Vance, Kale and Snargle flight back from Arrowshield to the Ripe Melon galleon. They eat the golden apples they received from the Scimitar Monks and their wounds are immediately healed.

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1) Compulsor Balantin receives them in his office: a few of his exacters and Dr. Salacia Paldo are present as well. He opens the box containing the Arrowshield tail relic and the Dust Golem forms from the dust collected inside the box. The Golem immediately attacks Balantin. In the following confusion, the heroes defeat a couple of exacters and moves aft through a door.

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2) They are now in a large storage room. In a corner there is the dead body of a strange six-legged creature. While the others move forward, Kale cannot resist looking into a large trunk and grabs a bronze statuette representing what seems to be a winged goddess.

3) The others move through the main passage of the ship. They are confronted by two exacters who are fleeing from the Golem. The exacters are quickly put out of combat and the crew reaches a small room where they find Silas Canter, the Imperial Soldier that remained locked in the Owl when it was captured by the Hand of Sorrow. Silas asks them to take him away with them. He offers to lead them to were Naomi is kept.

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4) Silas leads them through the main passage again and through a navigation room, occupied by a great spherical model of the Wild Blue.

5) They reach a green-house room, apparently where Dr. Paldo keeps the plants she collected in her journey.

6) Silas takes them to a small room, where they find Naomi who is still recovering from the infection contracted on Stingwitch. They give her her golden fruit from Arrowshield, she eats it and she is immediately healed.

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7) Now the six people move towards a side hatch from which they can reach the Owl. They are confronted by Dr. Salacia Paldo who placed in front of the hatch a large carnivorous plant. Naomi attacks Paldo, but she initially misses. The others fight against the plant. Silas, Natasha / Lady Blackbird and Snargle are wounded by the plant, but Vance manages to put it out of combat. Salacia is defeated as well.

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The party is back on the Owl and Snargle makes route for Nightport.

Solo Lady Blackbird 6 – Arrowshield: the Crypt

[A solo campaign based on the setting and characters of John Harper’s Lady Blackbird and a mix of OSR rules, mainly White Star]

Prior events: [0] 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, so she could be with her once secret lover, the pirate king Uriah Flint. The Owl is pursued and captured by the Imperial cruiser Hand of Sorrow. Lady Blackbird, her bodyguard Naomi, and the crew of The Owl (the Captain Cyrus Vance, the goblin pilot Snargle and the mechanic Kale) are detained in the brig. [1] They fight their way to the Owl and escape from the Hand of Sorrow. [2] They find that the Imperial soldier Silas Canter has remained trapped in their ship. [3] The Owl is out of fuel, so they land on the nearby Stingwitch planetoid, but they find it infested by mantis-like monsters. [4] The Owl goes adrift for a few days. It is rescued by a Free Worlds galleon, the Ripe Melon, whose commander Dr. Salacia Paldo offers to cure Naomi, who has been infected by the Stingwitch mantoideans. The Compulsor Uad Balentin, who is also on the galleon with his paramilitary exacters, will refuel the Owl and will not kill the crew, but only if they steal from the Arrowshield monastery on planet Wooddock the sacred scaly tail relic. [5] The party (without Naomi, who is left on the Ripe Melon) reach the Arrowshield monastery, where the Autumn Market is taking place. A fortune teller tells Vance that he will soon be changed. The party’s plan is to hide in the Monastery and wait for the night, but they are discovered. They successfully fight a few scimitar monks. In the crypt of the sanctuary, a monk offers to each of them a golden apple and points them to a shrine where they find the relic.

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(1) When our heroes pick up from the altar the box containing the scaly tail relic, all the doors of the shrine disappear, and a new one appears at the other end of the room. The party moves in that direction and they reach a small room (2) where a scimitar monk is floating in the air.

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The monk says “the Meteorite Goddess will put you to proof” and disappears. The party moves on throw a circular room with a turning corridor (3).

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They reach what seems to be a dead end, but Kale finds a secret door (4) leading to a larger room, where a dust golem stand between two pillars (5). The golem attacks the party and puts Vance, Snargle and Kale out of combat. He asks Lady Blackbird to open the box containing the relic. He says: “take me to the Compulsor”, and turns in a handful of dust that falls into the box. The party leaves the underground room through a stair (6) leading out of the monastery.

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Open questions:

  • Is Count Carlowe in search of Lady Blackbird?
  • Where are the Stingwitch mantoideans beings from?
  • In the Arrowshield monastery, a fortune teller told Vance that “he will be changed”. What does this mean?
  • What is the meaning of the golden apples that a scimitar monks donated to the heroes?

 

Solo Lady Blackbird 5 – Arrowshield: the Autumn Market

[A solo campaign based on the setting and characters of John Harper’s Lady Blackbird and a mix of OSR rules, mainly White Star. The Arrowshield Monastery was created thanks to RND Issue 1 by Chris Stieha]

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, so she could be with her once secret lover, the pirate king Uriah Flint. The Owl is pursued and captured by the Imperial cruiser Hand of Sorrow. Lady Blackbird, her bodyguard Naomi, and the crew of The Owl are detained in the brig. The Captain of the Owl, Cyrus Vance,uses his Warpblood power to teleport out of the cell and free his companions. The crew manage to fight their way to the Owl and escape from the Hand of Sorrow. They find that the Imperial soldier Silas Canter has remained trapped in their ship. Since the Owl is almost out of fuel, they land on the nearby Stingwitch planetoid, but they find it infested by insect-like monsters: Naomi and Vance are badly wounded and they barely manage to escape. The Owl goes adrift, without fuel, for a few days. It is rescued by a Free Worlds galleon, the Ripe Melon, whose commander Dr. Salacia Paldo offers to cure Naomi, who has been infected by the Stingwitch mantoideans. The Compulsor Uad Balentin, who is also on the galleon with his paramilitary exacters is upset by the presence of an Imperial soldier (Silas). He will refuel the Owl and will not kill the crew, but only if they steal from the Arrowshield monastery on planet Wooddock the sacred scaly tail relic.

The next day the Ripe Melon reaches Wooddock. Natasha (Lady Blackbird), Vance, Kale and Snargle leave on the Owl directed to the Arrowshield Monastery. Compulsor Balentin has provided them with light armor that they can wear under their cloths and star swords. They reach the place which is crowded, because the Autumn Fair is taking place in the first yard of the building.

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(1) They enter the building through and impressive archway. They can see the column on which the sacred Meteorite is displayed. Two monks direct them to a room on the left.

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(2) Another monk with scares on his face takes a drop of blood from each of them and carefully stores each drop in a separate phial.

(3) They enter the main yard. It is rather crowded. On the right, a woman with a big doll is telling fortunes. When the party passes by she says to Vance: “my doll says that you will soon be changed”.

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Natasha is attracted by a seller of jewels and perfumes. When the party moves that way, somebody tries to steal a jewel and run away. Everybody is screaming and running. The party takes advantage of the confusion to enter a door unobserved.

(4) They are in a tool storage. An utility robot is also stored there. Snargle manages to turn it on and to have it lead the party to a quiet place where they will wait for the night.

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(5) They follow the robot, but when they enter a large dining hall, a monk enters from a door on the right. The party attacks and Vance puts the Monk out of action. The robot start “screaming” a loud siren. The party runs in the direction of the sanctuary.

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(6) They open a door and they find in the open, in an area where part of the ancient monastery collapsed centuries ago. They are confronted by four more monks, but Vance deafeats them all thanks to his mercenary fighting skill and his star sword.

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(7) They enter the sanctuary, but the relic is not there. It is completely empty but for two stairs that lead to a crypt. The party goes down on of the stairs. 

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They reach a small room where the monk with the scared face is waiting for them. He is surrounded by what appears to be an energy shield. The monk smiles and gives to each of them a golden apple. He gives them a fifth fruit and says: “this is for your sick friend”. The monk points them to the door leading deeper into the crypt. After receiving the apple, Natasha feels the essence flowing from the relic to her. She knows they are near. In fact, just below the pillar with the Meteorite, there is a small underground shrine. The sacred scaly tail relic is in a wooden box on a stone altar.

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Solo Lady Blackbird 4: The Ripe Melon

[A solo campaign based on the setting and characters of John Harper’s Lady Blackbird and a mix of OSR rules, mainly White Star. The Ripe Melon has been generated using the Starship from Hell by Rafael Chandler]

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, so she could be with her once secret lover, the pirate king Uriah Flint. The Owl is pursued and captured by the Imperial cruiser Hand of Sorrow. Lady Blackbird, her bodyguard Naomi, and the crew of The Owl are detained in the brig. The Captain of the Owl, Cyrus Vance, uses his Warpblood power to teleport out of the cell and free his companions. The crew manage to fight their way to the Owl and escape from the Hand of Sorrow. They find that the Imperial soldier Silas Canter has remained trapped in their ship. Since the Owl is almost out of fuel, they land on the nearby Stingwitch planetoid, but they find it infested by insect-like monsters: Naomi and Vance are badly wounded and they barely manage to escape. The Owl is now out of fuel, adrift in the Wild Blue.

The only chance of the crew is to ask for help to passing ships, but Stingwitch is not close to any main route. Vance recovers well from his wounds, but Naomi keeps getting worse: she is catatonic and her skin is becoming darker. The members of the crew fear that she has been infected by the Stingwitch insectoids.

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After four days, the Owl is boarded by the Ripe Melon, a Free Worlds galleon. It is a scientific ship under the command of Science Officer Salacia Paldo. The ship also transports a dozen paramilitary exacters under the command of Compulsor Uad Balentin. The occupants of the Owl are transferred to the Ripe Melon. Dr. Paldo immediately understands that Naomi has contracted a mantoidean infection and has her put into quarantine. The Compulsor is very upset when he finds out that one of the occupants is an Imperial soldier, still he will refuel the Owl and let the others go if they obtain a rare biological item for the Ripe Melon’s collection.

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Dr. Salacia Paldo and Compulsor Uad Balentin

[The following has been generated using  Saga Creator by Roryb Bracebuckle and icons from RND issue 1 by Chris Stieha]

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The crew is tasked to steal the sacred Scaly Tail relic of Arrowshield. They must go to the Genetic Sanctuary of the Scimitar Monks. There they will face the powers of the Meteorite venerated in the Sanctuary.

It is a good time to attempt this mission, because the Sanctuary is usually unaccessible but for the Autumn Market that takes place in the yard of the Sanctuary once a year.

Naomi will stay on the galleon and her infection will be cured. Of course, she will be killed if the Arrowshield mission does not achive its goal. The Compulsor also takes the additional precaution of installing a time bomb on the Owl: it will explode in ten days, or if someone tries to remove it, or whenever the Compulsor activates a remote control.

The mission will start on the next day, when the Ripe Melon will reach the orbit of planet Wooddock, where the Arrowshield sanctuary is located.

Solo Lady Blackbird 3: Deadly Stingwitch

[A solo campaign based on the setting and characters of John Harper’s Lady Blackbird and a mix of OSR rules, mainly White Star. This session makes use of RND issue 1, by Chris Stieha. RND is packed with stuff and I only used a tiny fraction here. Icon sets numbered 1,2,3 below are encounter seeds from RND that I used to generate room descriptions and events]

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, so she could be with her once secret lover, the pirate king Uriah Flint. Just before reaching the halfway point of Haven, the Owl was pursued and captured by the Imperial cruiser Hand of Sorrow, under charges of flying a false flag. Lady Blackbird, her bodyguard, and the crew of The Owl were detained in the brig. The Captain of the Owl, Cyrus Vance, used his Warpblood power to teleport out of the cell and free his companions. The crew managed to fight their way to the Owl and escape from the Hand of Sorrow. Since the Owl is almost out of fuel, they sail towards the nearby Stingwitch planetoid. They are granted permission to land, with the warning that the colony has been stricken by an infection of unknown nature.

[The locations of the RND map are referenced in parenthesis below]

map1*

ic1

(1) The Owl lands near the North West pod of the Singwitch colony, where a ship recharging facility is located. The Crew are asked on the wireless to enter the colony from the East door. Natasha and Kale are left onboard to keep the prisoner soldier Silas under watch.

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ic2

(2) Vance, Naomi and Snargle enter the colony and meet a woman, Veronica, whose strange is weirdly hairy. Veronica has a large hammer hanging from her belt. From the South, a persistent whistling noise. Venronica says “That’s our energy generator, the boss is trying to fix it so that we can ref-fuel your ship. Maybe you can have a look and help him with that?”. They move towards the source of the whistling sound.

ic3

When they pass in front of room (3), a metallic scratching sound can be heard from the inside, like blades hitting the metallic door. Next to the door, an alarm light is flashing. Veronica says: “Some people here got sick. We must keep them temporarily secluded. They will be OK in a few days”.

ic4

(4) They cross a room in which there are a few bunks. On one of them there, under a cover, a be-headed corpse can be perceived. A thin, hairy, black limb is not covered by the blanket: it does not look completely human. Veronica says: “Poor Oswald did not make it”. Veronica points to the next room: “Here is Eli, the boss”.

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ic5

(5) The whistling sound comes from this room. A man in frantically working at an energy generator: he has dismounted part of it. He cuts a wire and the whistling sound stops. He explains the problem with the machine and Snargle immediately offers to help: it looks like something he can fix in a few minutes.

Suddenly, a crash is heard and Veronica rushes in. “Edgard is out” she screams. Naomi and Vance go and see what happened and they are confronted by a huge, black, hairy instectoid entering the room. Vance shoots but misses. The insectoid attacks in melee, with his four blade-like upper limbs. He puts Naomi and Vance out of combat but he is also wounded by Vance.

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The insectoid enters the generator room. Snargle fires but misses. The insectoid put also Veronica and Eli out of action. Snargle fires again and this time he manages to kill the insectoid.

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Naomi and Vance can barely walk. Snargle helps them to the Owl and they leave the deadly planetoid. Half an hour later, they are completely out of fuel, adrift in the Wild Blue.