Is The Resistance Futile?
Geran nods grimly and turns towards the bow. Soon, everyone has come up from below decks. As the ship climbs higher through the clouds they all seem frozen in anticipation. Once you break the cloud cover and reach open sky, near panic sets in. A few of the more stoic individuals, Geran among them, remain standing at the rail. Most crumple to the deck in terror. Geran turns from the rail and begins hauling people to their feet. He is not gentle, and after a few minutes moving across the deck, he has managed to calm most of them down.
Allowing the drama on deck to play itself out, you steer the ship east and head out of the valley. Casting a wary glance behind you there do not appear to be any pursuers and you don’t see any other sky ships above the clouds.
Before long, you approach the cliff edge beyond the eastern range. While the villagers were terrified by their first sight of open sky, they are simply dumbstruck by what they see here. You make the descent to the cave opening in utter silence.
Eventually you are maneuvering into position in the cavern and anchoring the ship. Based on what you have seen, Geran seems to be the only leadership material in this bunch. There are 12 young men in the group who might be good candidates for crew aboard the talon. Two girls around your age could also be worthy. The remaining 5 are children ranging in age from 7 to 12.
Ursay comes over to tend to the people and help get them situated in the cavern. Before long, everyone is settled in as well as can be expected. These people have a lot to adjust to, but they are relieved to be safe from the dragonborn army.
After much conversation and questioning you gather some interesting information: Many people have fled into the hills and some even above the cloud line. This group are all from the same village and were in hiding together before they were discovered by a patrol. Geran is a stonemason and has the respect of the villagers. They are mostly farmers, but two are carpenters. The dragonborn army has been rounding people up and marching them north. It seems that they are creating labor camps. Geran counted more than twenty sky ships so far and he seems to think that there aren’t too many more. The sky ships make regular patrols across the valley but they remain in “port” at the floating city. The dragonborn foot soldiers make regular excursions into the valley to loot. They often bring wagon loads of “slaves” with them to do any heavy lifting or harvesting. They think that the mayor of Gen, Jareth escaped to the western side of the valley somewhere above the central town.
Geran approaches you later. “Thanks again Esmerelda. That was an impressive thing you did back there. Who would’ve guessed that a tiny thing like you had so much within.” He holds out his hands and contemplates them for a moment. “These can hold a weapon just as easily as a hammer. We never had much use for swords. Some of these folks are handy with a bow and arrow, but never shot much more than a rabbit. I expect we’ll be up against them dragon men in a hurry. I’m in. What have you got in mind now?”
“Well, Garen, as you can probably tell, you’re the first people I’ve managed to find. We need to save as many people as we can from the valley. But we also need to find a place for those people to stay. And we need to feed them.
Now that the first group is here and settled, I think it’s time to get our hands on some equipment. We’ll need to be ready to fight if necessary, and Ursay has told me of an old armory that’s in a ruin of one of the floating cities. I’m hoping that we can find our way in to some weapons and supplies, then load them up on the ship and bring them back here. Once we’re better equipped, we can venture out and look around in the valley.
With a surplus of equipment, we can find more people and scout out some locations for them to stay, and possibly places to strike from."
I’m assuming we don’t have any real weaponry to even give these guys to start with? If not, we’ll get a rest on and think about heading for the crashed armory.
Garen watches you intently as you tell him of your ideas. “Well, I don’t know bout floatin cities, an I don’t know much bout swords, but I’m ready fight! I’ll wager you’ll find a good lot o folks who are ready too, once we break em loose o the dragon men. Me an some o the young uns here…we’ll be proud to ride on yer flyin boat…who knows…might even be able ta figer out how it works.” He grins widely and turns back towards the Talon. He manages to convince a couple of the men to come aboard with him. They seem intent on figuring out how the ship works. At that moment, Gronk pokes his head up from below decks. “Ye Gods!” you hear Geran yell. They are clearly shocked to see the goblin. As it happens, Ursay was already making her way up the gangplank. She approaches the group and speaks to Geran. You can’t hear their conversation, but before long Geran, Gronk and the other men are moving about the ship together with the Goblin cheerfully explaining the workings of the vessel. Ursay seems to have quickly set aside any fear of Gronk.
Luckily, Ursay has enough supplies to offer food, blankets and other necessities to the vale folk. They are grateful and eventually settle in to rest. Most seem eager to help with the rescue of their fellow villagers but they realize that weapons and armor might be useful. They are all on board with the idea of seeking the lost armories.
Strangely, none of the men have questioned the fact that they looking to you for leadership. Most are older than you, and in more typical circumstances, would never allow themselves to be seen as taking orders from a young girl. Clearly your daring rescue has made a mark.
After a well deserved rest you are ready to make your attempt on the crashed city site. Ursay has much to say on the subject. “The crashed city fills what was once a pass through the southernmost peaks. The northern slope, on the inside of the vale, is a barren slope. Luckily there are no entrances to be seen. Otherwise, the dragon men might already have investigated. The southern face is a long journey around the valley, in the open. I’m not sure that is the best route. I recommend following the eastern range south, just along the cloud line. There is a hidden valley on the eastern slope of the southern peak. There you will find several openings leading deeper into the ruined city.”
Over the next day, preparations are made to venture out into the cloud layer to find the hidden valley. You choose a number of the villagers as crew for the Talon. Geran is the first to volunteer. Considering that fact that you may be venturing into a buried city you believe it to be a stroke of luck to have a stonemason along. Perhaps his skills will come in hand at some point. Once the ship is sufficiently provisioned, you consult with Ursay concerning the best route. She produces an old map that she and Sterran created over their long stay in the valley. “Sterran and I know each peak in the encircling range. You will be able to navigate from mountain top to mountain top with clear pathways between peaks already explored. Be careful to follow the route exactly as it is defined on this map.” You can see a line marked out on the map, zig-zagging across the parchment. It may not be a straight path, but Ursay assures you it is the safest.
This trip is made safest during lighter hours. Since you will be within the cloud layer for the entire duration, you are not terribly concerned with being seen by the dragon men. Once preparations are complete, you and your crew head out on the Talon.
The trip is nerve wracking, to say the least, but the map proves true and you arrive at the hidden valley safely.
The following is a brief description of the major events that occurred once Esmerelda and her crew arrived at the hidden valley. These events were played during an online session using the Wizards of the Coast Virtual Tabletop (now defunct).
After choosing a few able bodied and willing souls to serve as crew, Esmerelda set out through the cloud layer aboard the Talon. Ursay provided them with a chart guiding them on a winding course through the clouds and leading to the hidden valley. Upon arriving, she discovered a structure that seemed to be producing the cloud layer. Apparently, this was one of the devices created by Sterran to hide the valley from the outside world. She found a passage leading into the mountain. Unfortunately the passage had become the den of a pack of gray wolves. Esmerelda was able to tame them with her song and gained passage into the mountains. There she found a series of passages and chambers within the rock. She found the passages haunted by the former denizens of the ancient flying city. Finally she encountered the tortured soul of Vrack Tiburcaex, the former commander of the citadel. She was able to sooth the phantom with song and regale him with tales of glory and conquest. The reminders of his own glories in life gave him the first pleasures he had felt in over 700 years. Esmerelda gave him a temporary respite from his cursed existence. In return he gave her his magical crown with which he was able to command the great flying citadel.
Unable to resist the urge, Esmerelda donned the crown and ascended to Vracks throne. She activated the great magical engine that still hummed with life in the heart of the buried city. Unfortunately, the power of the device erupted through the unstable structure and caused part of the complex to collapse. After a narrow escape, she and the guardian found their way back to the surface only to see a gout of blue and white energy blazing upward through the cloud layer. Fearing the light might be seen, she and her crew took the Talon up to the top of the cloud layer to see what might be visible from above. Fortunately the pillar of energy did not pierce the top of the clouds. In fact, there appeared to be a massive island of rock held aloft by the energy beam and hovering below the cloud tops.
After assuring herself that the new floating island did not give them away, she and her crew returned to the vale. They were able to make their way in to the buried armory and collect a large cache of weapons and armor. The work was difficult, and when they were finished they returned to the safety of Ursay’s cavern.
You and your crew return after spending two days hauling anything useful out of the buried armory. Luckily, the new floating island you accidentally created has not seemed to attract any attention from the dragon men. They seem to have most of their efforts focused in the northern end of the valley.
So, with much to consider what now?
Well, we need an 80s montage of training the people and turning them into something useful. We’ll need ship’s crew, some people to shoot weapons from the ship and fight. And board other ships at some point I presume.
Hopefully we managed to get some sort of armament for the ship itself – we’ll need to figure out how to get that working too.
Once we’re at least a little competent, we’ll need to locate a source of food and such. Whether it stealing it or farming it.
Then I think it’ll be time to see if we can find anyone else to help out!
As Engineer of the Talon, Gronk the goblin has plenty to teach your small band. Most of the adults in your group are willing to take up arms. Including Geran, there are 15 able bodied adults. Gronk turns out to be a skilled teacher and within a few days he has the former villagers scrambling in the rigging, scrubbing the decks, and practicing with the ancient dragon born guns.
When you first brought the 12 guns aboard, Gronk was visibly impressed. “You don’t realize what you’ve found her girly.” He had taken to calling you that of late. “These are old, and they are magic! My old captain would have given his left arm for guns such as these. The art of forging weapons like this has long been lost to the dragon men. You are lucky Gronk is with you. When I was a youngling, I served as a gunner on a mighty battleship called the Maelstrom. She boasts 80 such guns and is the personal flagship of the emperor. So far as Gronk knows there are no more guns like this in all of the Dragon fleet other than on the Maelstrom.” He paused for a moment and put a clawed hand on your shoulder. “Girly…I can teach a blind goat how to fire one of these guns. With these weapons your farmers will unleash unholy terror on any ship unlucky enough to find itself in their sights.”
that was two days ago.
Insert weapon training montage here…sword swinging, armor strapping cannon firing etc….
For the time being, there is enough stored food and water to last your group for more than a month. If you start adding more mouths, you may find yourself in trouble.
The montage covers two weeks of time. Anything you want to attempt within that time? Scouting, raiding or anything of the sort?
Scouting and raiding are both things I’d like to do. Mostly looking for interesting opportunities if something presents itself. My top priority is finding more people that will be easy to rescue so we can have a couple early victories.
End of Forum