Sky Pirates of Faerun

The Villa of Miklos Selkirk

Gulls wheel and caw in the blue sky above as you dock in the bustling port city of Urmlaspyr. Although dark clouds on the horizon warn that the autumn rains will soon return, for the moment the weather is pleasantly cool. You note with approval that the docks are in good repair and as clean as docks ever are. The sailors, longshoremen and merchants who crowd the area are busy and industrious, but many call out friendly greetings as you pass. Sembians have a reputation for haughtiness, but Urmlaspyr would seem to be an exception.

Your guide is a middle-aged man whose pale skin, brown hair, comfortable belly, and elaborate costume of vest and trousers mark him as almost too typically Sembian. Movori, as he calls himself, is an amiable, talkative man but says nothing of real consequence. He leads you along a canal into the heart of the city, through a noisy and colorful marketplace, to a handsome mansion on the city’s edge. In typical Sembian style, the house is stuccoed and whitewashed, with a roof of orange tiles. The guards recognize your guide; they relax their grips on their halberds and open the black-iron garden gate.

The gardens are meticulously maintained; not a blade of grass seems to be out of place. Flower beds are arranged to supply a pleasing vista from every angle; both the view and the aroma change every few steps along the winding garden path. From time to time you catch a glimpse of the mansion’s private canal, where a beautiful riverboat is docked next to an aging boathouse. The garden path ends at an elegant patio shaded by a green-and-white striped tent. Guests dressed in the styles of half a dozen nations mingle and sample a generous selection of snacks and wines. Although Sembians are in the majority, a large number of Cormyreans are also present.

Movori leads you through the marble-floored salon and up a sweeping staircase to the second floor. He knocks on an elaborately carved double door of some dark exotic hardwood. The doors open onto a spacious, airy library, containing hundreds or thousands of tomes of all descriptions. Although the room is flooded with natural light, it offers no view of the outside; all the windows and skylights are of pebbled glass.

At the other end of the library stands your host, Miklos Selkirk, the Silver Raven. Miklos is a retired adventurer, a scion of one of the wealthiest families of Sembia, and by all reports is a patriot deeply devoted to his country’s prosperity and independence. He’s a fit, middle-aged Sembian with a striking blaze of silver in his dark hair. He dresses in fine blue silk but wears a rapier by his side. Nearby, a raven perches on a bust of Lathander; disappointingly, however, it is an ordinary black raven. Its beady black eyes follow each of you as you enter the room. Movori bows out, leaving you alone with Miklos and a couple of lean, wiry, well-armed men who pace the room and watch you warily. Miklos ignores their presence.

“Greeting, my friends,” he says with a white-toothed smile. “As you may know, I’m a man with an eye for talent. I’ve been looking for people who have talent, initiative, and a grudge against this Empire of New Netheril. I’ve been hoping to speak to you for some time. For those of us who wish peace and freedom in the Sea of Fallen Stars, this is a dark time.

“The Empire is only two years old, and already dominates more than half of our Sea. No one ever expected Cormyr or Halruaa to throw in with Thay, a nation that both of them have long mistrusted. And all the smart money was on Mulhorand conquering Unther – certainly not the other way around! We’ve always counted on Aglarond to hold back Thayvian aggression, but the – they can’t do the job alone, not this time. Most of the other states around the Sea are too weak or disorganized. Only Sembia can take the lead in fighting off their aggression.

“Fortunately, we have a few advantages. Many Cormyreans are dissatisfied with their new King and his alliance with New Netheril. Some of them have already moved here, to Daerlun or Urmlaspyr, and they’ve brought their intelligence and resources with them. And my Silver Ravens have been working tirelessly for the benefit of the state. We’ve been spying on the Empire’s activities all over Faerun. We’ve learned a lot about their activities.

“If you know Thayvians, you might not be surprised to learn that the Emperor is a puppet, and that wizards are the ones really running things. And to the wizards, conquering us is – as galling as it is to say – only a sideline. They’re really after something else.

“But I don’t know what. My agents have thus far failed to learn the real identity of the wizards’ leader, much less his plans. That’s what I’m hoping you can help me with.”

Miklos unfurls a map. In the background, you hear a rumble of distant thunder. The raven startles and looks around nervously.

“My agents have been able to report on Imperial activity in most areas,” he explains, “but a few areas have been too heavily guarded, and it’s precisely these areas that I think hold the secrets of what this so-called “New Netheril” is really up to.”

He points to the Sunrise Mountains on the eastern side of Thay. “My spies report intense activity around this mountain peak. Both heavy labor and high-level magics. But the area is too remote, too heavily guarded, for them to get any more information.” Thunder booms again, closer this time. “Do you know what’s special about this particular mountain?

“Nothing! Faerun is full of ancient ruins, treasure hoards, historic sites, and monster lairs. But no sage in Sembia knows anything in the least unusual about this mountain. So why are wizards of the first rank of power – and from the description of my scouts, there must be at least three archmagi involved – so interested in it?

“I want to know, and I think that your talents are uniquely suited to the plan I’ve come up with. You see – ”

The boom is loud and close, this time. The raven caws loudly. Miklos frowns. “Wait a minute,” he says. “That’s not thunder!”

Then the screaming starts. Cries of pain and fear, throat-wrenching howls of agony, sound from the garden below. Flickering orange light plays through the windows.

Your host’s jaw drops in horror. “That can only be – ”

Then, with a crash, the ceiling caves in. You look up to see a flaming roof beam swinging down at your head. Then everything goes black.

Campaign Concept

Sky Pirates Campaign

Concept: A new empire has swiftly come to dominate the Sea of Fallen Stars. It has an immensely powerful navy, including a large number of Halruaan skyships. The PCs are rebels fighting this empire. At first they do so as pirates: they raid shipping and ports and generally try to make trouble for the Empire however they can. However, as they learn more about the Empire’s true nature and plans, their efforts shift to attempting to beat Imperial explorers to a number of powerful artifacts hidden all over the world. If the Empire gains enough of these, it can change Toril forever.


Motivation: Characters should have a good reason to oppose the Empire. This can be relatively general (“I’m Chaotic Good and opposed to Evil Empires on principle”) or specific (“The Empire murdered my parents!”) But the beginning scene will assume that you are willing to fight against the Empire. You can start as an established corsair crew, or you can meet in the initial scenario – in which you are recruited by enemies of the Empire for a dangerous mission.

System: Pathfinder.

Level: 8. If you play a member of a powerful race, your HD count as levels.

Character Generation: 25 points for characteristics (for characters of “normal” races.) Hit points: max for first level, then rolled, but you can take low side of average (e.g. 5 on a d10) if you roll low. Everybody gets two “background” skills which will automatically level up with you. These should be Craft, Knowledge, Profession, or Perform skills not directly related to your character class. One of these should be Profession: Sailor, unless you want to be a comic relief character.

Approach: I’m open to unusual characters. If you want to play a weird race or class, or to do something that the rules don’t allow for very well, we can work it out. As long as you’re more or less balanced against the other PCs, it’s fine. In unusual cases, we may have to sit down together and work out an approach, and then correct it during the campaign. If you’re playing a powerful race, I’ll probably make your stats closer to an “average” member of that race rather than reducing your Hit Dice/levels.

Equipment: You’ll start with 20,000 gp worth of equipment. In addition, each of you will possess a “signature” magic item. This item will be a part of your character and will level up with you. I will assign its stats in game terms, but I want you to tell me its nature, theme, and what sort of abilities you think it should have or eventually acquire.

You must specify the following about the item:

1. Its name.
2. Physical description.
3. How you obtained it.
4. The nature of its powers – some sort of theme that will aid me in selecting powers for it.
5. (Optional) Its history before you obtained it.

If you’re really not interested in the signature item concept, you can opt out and start with 33,000 GP worth of equipment.

Setting: This will be in large part an aquatic/aerial campaign. It would be especially appropriate to have an aquatic or flying character/animal companion/mount. Rangers and druids especially should keep this environment in mind, although we will visit many exotic terrains.

Action: Some of the action will be dungeonish, as the characters explore ancient ruins in search of powerful artifacts. Some will be urban, as characters make contacts in cities to organize the Resistance. But I also plan to have ship-to-ship combat, so you should plan to have something to do in such combat – whether as pilot, gunner, sniper, or flying boarding party.

Shipboard Roles: There are a number of roles that need to be filled aboard ship. I’ll fill them with NPCs if need be, but PCs should consider them:

The Captain: The captain has nigh-monarchical power aboard his ship. He is a leader first and foremost. He should have a high Charisma and skills that allow him to motivate and command the crew. If he can actually improve their performance – with Bardic Song or something like it – so much the better. If a PC captain takes the Leadership feat, he can acquire a crew loyal to him personally. I’ll allow such a character to start play with a free ship (although I make no guarantees about how long that specific ship will last). (Bill expressed some interest in this role).
The First Mate: The First Mate is the second-in-command aboard the ship. He should have some seamanship skills (less than the Pilot needs, unless he is also the Pilot), and some leadership skills (less than the Captain).
The Pilot: The Pilot is chief in charge of maneuvering the ship. He should have as high a skill in this as possible. In a storm or other hazard, it’s up to him to keep the whole ship afloat. In combat, his maneuvering of the ship affects the whole crew’s tactical position.
The Navigator: The navigator is the guy who ensures that the ship gets where it’s going. His Survival skill should be as high as possible.
The Boatswain (Bosun): The Boatswain is in charge of the rigging. He sets the sails and is in charge of the motive power of the ship. He usually has a small sub-crew of Bosun’s Mates that work directly under him. The Bosun needs a high Profession: Sailor, but also Climb and Acrobatics skills; a good Bosun is as agile as a monkey in the rigging.
The Lookout: The lookout is the eyes of the ship. His job is to look for other ships and navigational hazards. The sooner the ship sees these, the sooner it can react – and the crew needs time, because sailing ships, even flying ones, need time and space to maneuver. The Lookout should have a very high Perception skill; Survival would also help; so would low-light vision and a telescope. (Ryan’s character might be well suited for this role.)
Weapons Crews: In ship-to-ship combat, good weapons crews make a vital difference. Weapons Crews characters should take Weapon Proficiency with weapons such as Catapults, Arbalests, Greek Fire Projectors, and Cannons. They may even take additional feats such as Weapon Focus, Weapon Specialization, and Improved Critical with these weapons.
The Spymaster: Since you will be outlaws, making contacts in urban areas is dangerous. The Spymaster is in charge of urban operations, whether fencing goods, gathering information, or organizing Resistance cells. He should have a high Diplomacy and Knowledge: Local (and maybe others such as Nobility & Royalty).
The Sage: The enemy employs ancient magics not seen in the Realms in millenia. A scholar who can understand these magics will be tremendously useful. Other knowledge skills, such as architecture/engineering and history, will also come in handy, as will certain obscure languages (some of them realms-specific.)

Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.


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