When last we left our heroes, they were relaxing in a bath, discussing what comes next. They removed themselves from the bath of truth, and went back to the ship. But Amalia spied a familiar building, and a plan sparked.
“Let’s steal some shit.” She said. And so they did.
So, to preface the idea behind this heist, I have to explain a fun thing I had the players do early on. I gave everyone a piece of homework. Whats a place in the known Spelljammer universe. That was it. Everybody gave me great ideas, and I’ve been slowly seeding them throughout the adventure. Still a long way before they run into any of them, but one in particular, the one that Kili came up with, just had to be done today.
You see, Matt couldn’t make it this week. So we needed a small one-off adventure to keep the other three occupied. Instead of having them just run errands for four hours, Kili mentioned they could pull off a heist at her homework location. The Chamber.
The Chamber is a jewelry store, that is five stories high. It starts with a small one story building, and then goes down, ending with a floor that has tunnels to the docks. Each floor has a separate form of jewelry, and the place is also used as a vault for various private people who are incredibly rich.
But no, Amalia wasn’t here for just anything, she wanted a specific item. A ring called “Independence”. Her patron incepted the idea into her head while she slept, and so she was determined and driven to get it.
In order to prep for this session, I meticulously crafted a five floor jewelry store with various puzzles, items, treasures, traps, and spells. It was a rad thing to put together, and I’m going to be putting the map and a big breakdown of everything on my Patreon when I get the chance.
All they knew going in was the general use of the place, who owned it, and what they were there for. This led to a bit of crazy improv, and it paid off big time.
The key things I kept in mind while designing this was facts. There needed to be solid facts about this building, or the heist wouldn’t be fun. Manufacturing a dramatic entrance, exit, and multiple encounters? That’s not the fun of RPGs. Designing a sandbox area, letting the players handle it however they like, and then seeing what happens? That’s my style. That’s how it goes.
Five floors, each floor had a purpose, a difficulty, a treasure, and a unique style.
Three entrances. Ten creatures. Five Magic Treasures. One Magic Tool. Two Crates of Drugs. Seven Valuable Jewels. Four Traps. Several Alarms, Arcane Locks, and Glyphs of Warding.
So lets see how they did?
The planning went about as disastrously as you could hope for. Leo was still wanted, so while he staked out I was rolling two d20’s for every day he watched the place. Finally, on day five, while he was checking out the roof from a neighboring building, he noticed a very intelligent rat sniffing about and watching him. Then, later on that same day, he was forced to hide as the owner of the building came out to investigate. A White Dragonborn named Theia Chase. She’s known as “The Ivory Jeweler”
Meanwhile, Amalia and Jason were exploring the markets of Bral, looking for some equipment. Jason nabbed twin scrolls, one of Detect Magic, one of Feather Fall. Amalia grabbed some paint and potions.
Once they reconvened, they discussed their options. Go through the docks, go through the front door, or go through the chimney on the roof? Eventually, they decided on the chimney, and went about it. After sliding down they nailed their stealth checks and investigated a kitchen on an unknown floor. Some more moving around and listening had Amalia hear the distant sounds of the beast with two backs. They had heard that Theia Chase lived her, and she had a weakness for bad boys, so clearly she had company over. They explored this room more, and found that it had a kitchen, and storage for food and alcohol. This was the ring sales floor, and was used for engagement parties and small celebrations/fittings.
Thankful that she was distracted, they moved down the central staircase, into a room filled with mannequins. These were used to model several different kinds of bodies and genders and species with Necklaces. There were five large paintings in this room as well. One of a blue diamond, with a simple “S” behind it. One with a red star. One with twin yellow lightning bolts, one with a green sun, and a final purple moon.
Each painting had several spells attached to them, which Jason noticed when he was using his detection of magic. After investigating the blue one, which Amalia had a suspicion was tied to her Patron. The patron spoke to her and explained that she was striving for independence, and that he could give her that.
Suddenly, they all heard a squeaking noise, and hid behind mannequins. They decided then to move on to the next floor, which they’ve started to realize is the 4th. Meaning the chimney came in through the 2nd floor. This room is filled with hands and heads of mannequins. Made to model the bracelets and earrings on the floor. When passing through an area, Amalia suddenly jumped out of the way as a hand shot a bolt of lightning at her! Jason detected magic again, and noticed that four hands were rigged to shoot lightning at anybody who stepped into the paths of the bolts. This was visualized as green lasers triggers.
The crew kept going, this time towards the fifth floor. This was the ground floor. There was a velvet rope blocking off the way down, and with Jasons detecting magic, he could tell that it had a few different spells rigged on it. They leaped from the balcony after Jason blessed them all with a bit of Feather Fall. Amalia and Jason failed their stealth checks, while Leo dived under the staircase. Twin Bugbears who were guarding the dock entrance came up to investigate, but Jason had an excellent bit of roleplay and a good excuse to wave them off. He made it seem as if he was Theia Chase’s new toy, lost on his way to the bathroom.
They laughed it off and went back to their thing, but suddenly, Leo heard squeaking from another tunnel. The players had heard squeaking coming from each tunnel pretty quickly, and a fat little rat had come through. The same one that Leo had seen. They thought at first it was a rat problem, but Amalia quickly noted that it seemed to be purposeful, not a rat problem, a rat solution. When Leo sent a dagger flying at the rat, it bounced right off, and transformed into a hybrid form. It was a wererat!
Here is where it all kicked off. The three fought against the Wererat, the twin bugbears, and time as things got bloody. Once they won, they hid the body of the Wererat in a crate nearby, and grabbed some of the drugs inside. The remaining Bugbear was convinced by a large sum of gold to drag his friend out and hide.
The players were in a hurry now, and booked it up the steps. Jason accidentally triggered an alarm on the velvet rope, and it all kicked off. They ran to the third floor and as Leo started to pile jewelry into his bag, Jason burned down the blue painting, revealing the ring Amalia was searching for on the pedestal. There were footsteps rushing down the stairs towards them now, and as Amalia put the ring on, her patron roared into her mind to flip the sapphire on it. She did, and as she did, the three of them became invisible.
The owner rushed down, looked around, and kept going. Ordering her Gnolls to find the characters and screaming in rage and anger. As the players rushed up the steps to get back into the chimney to climb it up, they realized that door had a Glyph of Fireball placed on it. They turned around to run another way and Amalia met the gaze of the man Theia Chase was in company with.
It was her sisters husband.
This was huge, because Amalia was convinced that Theia Chase was sleeping with her father, who uses The Chamber as a front for some of his more diabolical activities. This was because Amalia found him with her before. But no, it was her sisters husband. Devious.
The crew sped off as quick as they could, and got away!
We ended the session with a bit of a hint at whats to come. Amalia’s patron revealed himself to be Zefiro, the Ancient Sapphire Dragon. He’s a great psionic being, and he wants her to kill him?! (He’s specifically a Matt Colville Ancient Sapphire Dragon)
What I learned
The thing I learned was to not every underestimate the pure length of time my players will use to talk about stuff and argue about what solution is better. They will argue and argue and argue, and not much will come of it unless you limit them.
Also, I learned that despite all the treasure and items and just pure “things” they could have made off with, they went for the specific thing they were there for, plus some gold. That’s fair and all, but I was expecting much more looting. Oh well.
As always, Kili, Jake and Chris did fantastic. Everybody finding out that Jason Steel uses a playbook on his wrist to keep his spells written down was my favorite part of the session. Just absolutely glorious.
Next session will probably be more like a “Tales from Ba-sing-sei” type session, with folks going around and doing errands in preparation for their next step. Chris won’t be with us, but Matt will be back, so we’ll have our three characters.
Spelljammer Summaries is a simple Campaign Diary article series about my time running a 5e Spelljammer game. It is filled with many details and lore about Spelljammer, with a good portion of my own homebrew details.
If you have any more questions about how to run your own Spelljammer game, Contact me! I’ll be happy to share any personal resources I use.
Here are a few resources from across the web that got me started!