What's all this barmy stuff?
Want to find out what has been forgotten in the Styx?
Not enough barminess for you?
Finishing off Astral Week we have Laughs, Giggles, and Cackles of the Planes, at great personal risk, with a slight delay because Tom wanted to play basketball with the mimir and a dreadoughnut. None the less, we have the mysterious laughs of the Astral Dragons, Devourer, Psurlon, Astral Streaker, and Githyanki!
Fluffyness in Nothingness
Background: The Speck of the Void, one of the most visited spots on the Astral, hosts a wide range of interesting characters passing through, and even a few permanent ones. One, a githzerai by the name of Hojy (Pl / Githzerai / W2 / CN), a self confessed lover of birds and trainer of astral streakers, he is a regular the tavern and its main source of information, straight from the streakers that come to and from Sigil. Amazingly anyone you ask on the Astral knows "old Hojy", yet he never visits anywhere on the Astral beyond the tavern, in fear of the githyanki. Though tending only to make it through half the conversation without cursing when a streaker swoops in and pecks him on the head, or worse leaves him a little present, he's not known as much for his talk as for his second passion, games, from darts to poker to chess.
Though he tends to loose good naturally to the passers through in the common bar games of darts and poker, he is an absolute fiend when it comes to chess. Wining against almost anyone passing through the tavern, from a bemused astral deva to an embarrassed baatezu, he set about looking for some one for a real challenge. And he found it, in the shape of a small fluffy (and slightly pink) kodragon named Klieki (Pl / Kodragon / T3 / N), or actually, the pair of mated astral dragons she presented, convincing the pair to play a game with Hoj if she passed the messages of moves back and forth. Their game has been going on for the past two months now, at least until Klieki disappeared, her absence at a truly crucial point in the game, as Hoj is positive he's two moves away from winning. Not able to search the Astral himself, he's sent off to hire a group of adventurers.
1. Streaking Streakers. The adventure starts out in Sigil, the PCs walking down the street when an overly large bird buzzes past at ear level, followed huffing and puffing by a young bariaur tout, Hsaggy (Pl / Bariaur / F1 / Free League / CN) who bowls into them. Once everyone's landed in a heap, the streaker flies back down, sitting on top of the pile and chirping in triumphantly just before Hsaggy's hand comes and grab him with a equally triumphant "Bloody got you", though diminished a bit by the fact that all four of his legs are pointing different directions in the air. Once all the feet are sorted out again and everyone's standing, Hsaggy, still puffing and red faced, opens up the letter that was attached to the streakers foot, brow furrowing as he makes out some of the harder words, then squeaks at the PCs "Slaadi spire spelunkers! Some sods taken Old Hojys friend out Astral way! He needs to find some berks to get her back! Sod it.... You look like canny bashers, want the job?". He then looks pityingly at the PCs and twists his cap in hands, looking much better then when he had the thing on his head.
If the PCs accept the offer, Hojy letter saying that he'd pay up to 50 jink and 300 letters free on any astral streaker message for a month (prohibited in Baator, all rights reserved), then Hsaggy takes them to a portal in the Guildhall ward, saying it leads to a small rock isle near the Speck in the Void. The gatekey is a perfectly ovoid speck of dust, though a handful of dirt tends to do the job. The isle is simply a small rock about four feet in width, with the archway on it seemingly taking up more space then the isle. The Speck in the Void can be seen in the distance, and if the PCs have any trouble finding it, they can just follow the slew of astral streakers (who wear small bags of dirt around their necks along with the message tube) that pass between the tavern and the portal, occasionally chirping annoyingly at people as they fly by.
2. Follow the Fuzz. When the PCs arrive at the tavern, sure to take in the sight of the three swirling color pools nearby, and step into the taverns common room, Hojy is playing darts against a psurlon (who has interesting way of shooting them out his mouth with a "pslunk!" and then smoothly guiding them with telekinesis). Laughing as he pats the large leach creature on the back, he wanders over to the PCs and explains about the missing kodragon (and if the PCs don't know what a kodragon is, he takes them to meet one of the proprietors of the tavern, a kodragon, who appears as a small fluffy dragon with human hands, which he's flipping pancakes with) and his game of chess with the nearby astral dragons, who've sent word with another kodragon that they are also deeply upset at Klieki disappearance. Once he's got the PCs all straightened out on the story, he tells them the best way to find her will to be follow the trail of pink fuzz she tends to leave behind, the very excitement and creativity of her making it pop off. If the PCs investigate outside the Speck of the Void, the find a few small pieces of floating fluff leading further into the Astral's silvery sky.
If the PCs follow the trail of fluff, a bit stuck to a conduit here, some clumped up and blowing in a a slight psychic wind, it will eventually lead them to a stony dead god isle, a bit of pink fluff hanging down from its nose marking it as the place. The isle appears only to be the gods head, with a large nose and cavernous ears.
3. Mr. Fluffy. As the PCs land on the dead god isle and a slight gravity takes hold, it only takes a quick walk around the place to find the kodragon, and her captor. Lying on the top of the heads bald spot, one arm hugging Klieki, and glancing up wonderingly into the astral sky is the most scarred, large, and muscled githyanki githwarrior you've ever seen. He's still talking to the kodragon as the party comes up, the conversation floating over to the PCs, "... like that Mr. fluffy, all the pretty chords like spaghetti flying all over the place, I just want to cuddle them all up!".
The githwarrior, one Anchin-kashg ("Passionately Evil Guy") (Pl / Githyanki / F9 / NE) is one of the most feared member of the queen's army, having killed thousands of illithids, githzerai, and anyone else that got in his way, but as can be seen, he's not himself anymore. In fact, he's been taken over by an astral searcher, completely destroying his original personality, which is probably a good thing. And this of course is no ordinary astral searcher, as instead of being created by an act of violence or fear, it was created from an extreme emotion of cuteness, when a little girl in the swallowed city wanted to hug a passing hollyphant. The astral searcher created, it now strives to recreate the situation of its creation, taking over Anchin-kashg when he passed through the village to "raze the place for fun". Luckily, the astral searcher gained control of him before then, and he instead went around telling everyone he loved them. Eventually he left the city to find more cuteness, when along came Klieki, a spitting image of fluffy incarnate, so he took her to the dead god isle where he could huggle her forever and ever.
When the PCs show up, they have a number of options. Klieki explains to them that he only wants to huggle and love everyone, but its bloody boring when your on the receiving end. They can either try and explain this too the searcher (possibly succeeding) or they can try and take it away by force, which though a searcher can be deadly, this one tends more to want to hug you then attack you. The worse case scenario is if the hulking warrior drops the kodragon and picks up one of the PCs instead. Good hearted PCs might take the searcher back to the Void to be cared for there, or even send him off to the Asylum in Sigil. Other PCs might just take the kodragon and run, leaving some other pour traveler to later be um... excessively hugged and loved by the searcher.
Either way if the the PCs return Klieki both Hojy and the pair of astral dragons are in there debt, along with Klieki of course. Oh, and the astral dragons eventually win the chess game, but Hojy still argues Kileki must have gotten a message wrong. He's now trying to best a lich from the bone cloud at backgammon, would the adventurers mind taking him a message with the next turns move?
Barmy Spotlight of the Week
From: Guide to the Astral,
"Its that day again, the Vlar bringing in all the eggs for my blessing in growing up as strong young githyanki. Bah! How do they think I feel seeing all those eggs and knowing I'll never have my own to cuddle in a blanket or accidentally drop it on the floor for a Mlar to fix as an amusing happening? That I'll never know the pitter patter of little feet walking around on the walls? But I bless them anyway, and then go have an omelet for breakfast."
"The Ilithiads hunter brought a bag of mind flayer heads today, like they think a bag of stinking heads is going to impress me. It's not like I even enjoy the taste of calimari! And then you have these swary ship captains bringing me astral whale. Do people think I look like a sea food person? One of these days I'm going to make a law about that, "No stinking rotten fish guts in the presence of the queen" has a nice ring to it."
"Yesterday was my manicure day. It was supposed to be a good, relaxing day (that's what my therapists says I need), but the girl kept on shaking and shaking... what's wrong with having a bit of bloody under your nails? As if she'd never seen it before? So, she gets all frantic, Queen Vlakith this and Oh Queen Vlakith that, and botched up the nail job. Now I'm not pretty. My life is one big downward spiral, I think."
"I know dreaming is manifestations of the subconscious... but I didn't know my subconscious was that guilty about eating them. This huge doughnut with bloody claws was coming for me." - Sniloc Snobby, a copper who was astrally projecting
The astral dreaddougnut is, or at least used to be, an astral dreadnought, but the githyanki have so changed it that its considered a completely different subspecies. Created as a secret weapon by the githyanki who have tried years to tame the dreadnought to their own ends, they finally seem to have had a breakthrough. Currently there are only three astral dreaddoughnuts that have been created, which even their existence is hidden from all but a few privileged githyanki. They don't want their enemies knowing about the doughnut until they've created enough (or more accurately, found enough dreadnoughts to trick) to do major harm.
Astral dreaddoughnuts appear very close to their original dreadnought form, having two pincers, purplish bumpy skin, and the same evil eye. However, instead of the cord disappearing into the astrals sky, it wraps around to the dreaddoughnuts mouth, were it appears to be eating it, creating the appearance the creature looks like a torus, or doughnut. There's also a saddle often attached at the bottom of its torus like shape, where a githyanki rider sits and carries his gear. The dreaddoughnut also has a large amount of sweet crystal-like substances covering it, giving it a more whitish and grainy skin.
"On thee creation of the dreaded and horrible dreaddoughnut. One must first
start with the following ingredients: One astral dreadnought, three barrels of special
crystallized sugar (imported), six pounds of butter, and handful of salt. One then must
entice the dreadnought by means of an astral projected wizard with good flying skills,
whilest three others go about marinating thee dreadnaughts tail with the special mixture
of sugar, butter, and salt (brushes being helpful here). The final step is for thee astral
porjectee to fly near the tail of the beast, thus tricking it into eating its own tail.
Wait one hour and allow to cool."
The process of creating the dreadoughnuts was thought up by Old Mk'nlr, a githyanki farmer, who is considered to have had to many mushrooms when he thought of it. Amazingly, it worked. The githyanki now have managed to create three dreaddoughnuts, though not without the loss of almost two hundred githyanki in the process. The three dreaddoughnuts are named respectively, "Mr. Dunky", "Ms. Glazey", and "Sir Creamfilled", thus belaying in suspicion if mentioned in the company of other ears. Mr. Dunky, the first dreaddoughnut and a bit of a failure, a he just whimpers allot, resides out a githyanki fortress in the deeper astral. Ms. Glazey, currently the githyanki's best weapon, is the only one actually in service, so far destroying a number of psurlon establishments, and wrecking a pair of astral dragons' tea time. The third dreaddoughnut, Sir Creamfilled, is certainly the nastiest and uncontrollable of the lot, but unfortunately has been caught on the long silver cord of a conduit, which passes through his center, allowing him to only travel along its line. If the githyanki ever manage to make twelve dreaddoughnuts (if there's even that many dreadnoughts), they will be called a dunkin dozen.
"You want me to ride that thing?"
Truly the most courageous and risk taking of the githyanki, the Ver'gn-Exstnaknk ("doughnut riders") are those who ride the astral dreadnought, taking care of it, and more importantly, telling it where to attack. A newly created group in the githyanki hierarchy, they are mostly githwarriors, warlocks, and gish transferred over, and number at this point almost forty. Though forty is obviously to much for only three dreadoughnuts, they tend to lose a member weekly via getting snapped in half or the dreaded doughnut squeeze. They also tend for dreaddoughnuts, who being what they are don't have to eat and such, but do enjoy a nice rub behind the eye ridges. The Ver'gn-Exstnaknk dress in a special uniform adapted from the more normal githyanki attire, but wear all white clothing and their armor tends to have the bumps and spikes mirroring there dreadoughnut charges. Their symbol (worn as a special amulet) is a donut with an eye in the center.
All content copyright 1999 Jeremiah Golden or credited authors.