The Astral Ship

The Astral Ship

THE ASTRAL SHIP

KNOWLEDGE (THE PLANES) DC: 17

She came out of nowhere, a sleek and silver shape of terrible countenance, disgorging her vile plague of demons. And just as swiftly she was gone, taking several of the town folk with her, their screams and pleas ringing in our ears even as we vainly searched for any trace of her.

-Excerpt from “My travels through the Cosmos” by Nordri Stonehammer

Forever sailing the Astral Plane, this demiplane is coterminous with that plane and is surrounded by it on all sides. The Astral Ship is not anchored at any one port for long but constantly sails through the Astral Plane wherever its master desires.

The creator of the Astral Ship is lost to history, and the ship has switched possession countless times. The demiplane is currently home to several demons that have taken on the role of pirates, sailing through the Astral Plane in search of treasure. The ship’s previous owners, a band of celestials that used the ship as a transport between the various planes, were slain in battle when these demons set their eyes upon the ship; the severed heads of the celestials now dangle from the yardarm.

TRAITS OF THE SHIP

The traits of the Astral Ship are:

• Subjective Directional Gravity: The strength of gravity on the Astral Ship is nominally the same as when one is walking upon a flat surface of the Material Plane, but each individual chooses the direction of gravity’s pull. Many newcomers are in fact not aware of this facet of the Astral Ship, their minds automatically orienting gravity toward the bottom of the Astral Ship as that is how it works on their home plane. It usually isn’t until the visitors see someone else “walking” along a mast or through the air that they realize things are not as they appear.

Characters on the Astral Ship can move normally along any surface or at any angle by imagining “down” near their feet; in effect, the character can move in all three dimensions within the ship as if he were on solid ground simply by changing the relative direction of gravity. Thus the individual can hustle up a mast, walk along the outside of the hull, or even run across thin air. Changing the direction of gravity is a free action that can be taken as part of a move action.

This demiplane has no gravity for unattended objects or non-sentient creatures; such items and creatures float in place about the ship unless they are able to propel themselves or are propelled by someone.

• Normal Time. • Finite Size: The Astral Ship is shaped like a large three-masted sailing ship of the type found on any number of Material Plane worlds. 13

The Astral Ship

200 feet long by 35 feet wide with four decks and sails that tower 100 feet into the sky, this silver- colored ship is an impressive sight.

Extending 20 feet beyond the ship in all directions is a pocket of breathable air in the form of a cool, blue haze (this haze does not hinder vision in any manner) that is contained within the demiplane’s shimmering translucent silver border.

SILVER NET

Appearance: This strange net is the size of a normal net, but instead of rope is made of dull silver strands that do not glimmer in the light. Picking it up reveals that it feels strangely light and cool to the touch.

Appraise Information: DC 20. These nets are employed by the demon masters of the Astral Ship in their efforts to capture creatures for the Room of Souls.

Value: 1,020 gp (20 gp for the net, 1,000 gp in enchantment costs).

Special Rules: A silver net is a ghost touch net, which means it can be used to capture incorporeal creatures. It is no stronger than an ordinary net, the silver strands notwithstanding.

• Alterable and Static Morphic: On the Astral Ship, objects remain where they are (and what they are) unless affected by physical force or magic. The environment within the Astral Ship can be changed as a result of tangible effort. The silvery substance of the Astral Ship itself is impervious to any known magical or physical effects. • No Elemental or Energy Traits. • Mildly Neutral-Aligned. • Enhanced Magic: All spells and spell-like abilities used on the Astral Ship may be employed as if they were improved by the Quicken Spell feat. Already quickened spells and spell-like abilities are unaffected, as are spells from magic items. Spells so quickened are still cast at their unmodified level. As with the Quicken Spell feat, only one quickened spell can be cast per round. LINKS TO AND FROM THE SHIP

The demiplane’s border is a rigid and mysterious substance that keeps the Astral Ship separated from the rest of the Astral Plane in which it sails while still allowing sentient creatures to pass out to, and in from, the Astral Plane beyond.

This barrier does not allow a sentient creature to pass beyond it unless the creature wills it. This does not require any special action on the part of the sentient creature other than evincing a desire to pass beyond the demiplane’s border; non-sentient creatures and unattended objects cannot penetrate the barrier at all unless pulled or carried across by a sentient creature.

While entrance onto the Astral Ship from outside is possible for sentient creatures, it does require that the ship be physically reached from inside the Astral Plane. Given the fact that the Astral Plane is endless, locating the ship for such a boarding maneuver is a difficult proposition at best. Much more likely is waiting for the ship to dock at some other plane or demiplane (the tactic used by the demons when they first boarded), or the use of fixed portals to reach the ship.

Such fixed entrances to the Astral Ship exist in several cities, small demiplanes themselves, which float in the Astral Plane. These entrances are common doors, windows, and other openings marked with a ship motif (this could be anything from a window handle in the shape of an anchor to a rough outline of a sailing ship carved into a wooden doorway). To activate

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The Astral Ship

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The Astral Ship

such a portal in one of these cities, a traveler must imagine the Astral Ship in their mind as they step through the opening; a successful Will check (DC 25) allows the user to will himself onto the deck of the Astral Ship.

A further entrance to the Astral Ship is in the eye of a sea-based storm on any Material Plane world; the entrance is activated as stated in the previous paragraph. This is an uncommon and rather dangerous link (since one has to pass through the storm to reach its eye) and its use is a secret known only to the most experienced of planar travelers.

FEATURES OF THE SHIP

Designed like a standard Material Plane sailing ship with cabins and cargo holds, the only unusual features of this ship are the Navigator and the Room of Souls.

Navigator

Among those that live upon this demiplane, the wheel of the Astral Ship is known as the Navigator.

Because of the nature of the Astral Plane, the ship moves at infinite speed or, depending on your theoretical point of view, doesn’t move at all. The Astral Ship can reach any location within the Astral Plane at a thought; one moment it is in one location in the Astral Plane, the next it is somewhere else. All the individual manning the Navigator must do is think of the desired destination, succeed at a Will check (DC 28) and the Astral Ship appears at the desired location.

The Astral Ship may only travel within the Astral Plane; it may not enter any other plane.

Room of Souls

The sails on the Astral Ship are merely cosmetic and have nothing to do with the ship’s movement through the Astral Plane. Instead, the ship is powered by stocking a room on the lower level, commonly referred to as the Room of Souls, with ethereal creatures. Such creatures must be captured (how they are captured is the

problem of those operating the ship) and deposited into this room where they are chained to shackles made of pure force that drain the life from them while simultaneously preventing the creatures from leaving.

A single ethereal creature will power the ship for one transition (the move from one location to another) per HD. Once reduced to 0 HD, the creature has been completely consumed by the ship and ceases to exist, its essence absorbed by the Astral Ship. No known means exist to restore life to such a creature.

The current demonic operators of the ship prefer to keep this room stocked with as many creatures as possible so that they need not worry about running out of power at an inopportune time.

The Room of Souls can hold up to a dozen ethereal creatures of Large size at one time.

INHABITANTS OF THE SHIP

The crew of demon pirates that currently lives on the Astral Ship is the only permanent inhabitants. The DM should select the exact number and type of demons that can be found on the ship to suit the power level of his campaign and his desired outcome of an encounter on the Astral Ship.

In addition to the demons, at any given time there are 7 to 14 (1d8+6) ethereal creatures in the Room of Souls to serve as fuel, and from 0 to 19 (1d20-1) captured creatures that serve the demons as slaves, entertainment, food, hostages, or are being held for ransom. These creatures can be of any sort the DM desires, although they tend to be creatures commonly living in or traveling through the Astral Plane.

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