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Summary[]

Join Alex, Helen, Bryn, Lydia, and Ben as they plunge once more into Wild Magic.

This week Cel checks the engine, Hamid dives, Azu keeps an eye out, and Zolf finds some cheerful party decorations!

Synopsis[]

Body swap graphic

The ship is going along at 88 knots per hour; Zolf has woken up and is ready to steer the ship. He casts read weather, which will allow him to understand any natural weather issues coming up while he pilots them through the borealis. There isn’t a storm due, although there may be something coming in a few days. Before Zolf goes up to the wheel, Hamid casts heroism on him again, which will last for 90 minutes. He gets ready; the borealis seems to be similar to the one they flew through before. Zolf does realise, however, that he can see tracks in the distance - ones that clearly belonged to something the same size as the leviathan skeletons that they saw earlier - and they look more fresh and recent.  

A digital two-panel sketch of Hamid casting Heroism on Zolf. The first panel is of Hamid pressing his forehead to Zolf's (who looks a bit shocked/surprised), with "magical mumbling continues" written next to the image. The second image is the same, except Zolf has closed his eyes and looks incredibly at peace. Hamid is a halfling man wearing cold weather gear with a fuzzy hood, and Zolf is a dwarven man with an undercut, a beard, and freckles. The background of the image is tan.

Hamid casts Heroism on Zolf again. Art by @hobbitgeiszler on twitter. Used with permission.

Everyone apart from Zolf sequesters back into the antimagic cage, with Cel having done the work to hopefully try and reverse the effects of the body swap. Azu is near Kiko in the corner, and has allowed herself to fall asleep since she’s still afraid of the wilde magic. Hamid, meanwhile, is attempting to stay awake to ensure that everyone else is okay, but he starts to feel drowsy before too long. Every NPC apart from Earhart has fallen asleep; she is willingly trying to stay awake. As Zolf flies the ship into the borealis, the tones begin again. The gentle lulling begins, and Zolf, Cel, and Earhart are struggling to stay awake.

Zolf starts to feel the ship coming to life under his hands, again; it’s attempting to anticipate Zolf’s moves before he makes them. It feels very similar to before; before long, he and those who have stayed awake can feel the drowsiness settling in again. Zolf manages to fight it off, but Hamid shares a few final words with Cel and then will let himself fall asleep. Earhart, meanwhile, goes over and sits next to Cel, thanking them for everything they’ve done to help with this situation. Cel tells her not to thank them until it’s all fixed. Earhart doesn’t think that Cel is going to make it worse, but Cel says that it’s their fault in the first place. Earhart tries to reassure them, saying that they could have all turned into potted plants or something, and that this is better. Cel actually does laugh at that, but it’s clear that they’re still incredibly tense. They say that even when you try your best, it’s hard to know when you’re actually doing your best or just being arrogant and destroying people’s lives when you’re trying to do what’s best for them. Earhart seems very confused for a moment, but then realises that Cel is talking about themselves. Cel says that things have gone wrong before, and that they lost everyone. They pause for a moment, and then lean back into their cheery persona, telling Earhart to go to sleep and they’ll continue maintaining the box and watching what’s happening.  Earhart heeds their suggestion, but then tells them that if this does go wrong, it isn’t their fault. She tucks herself into a corner and starts to nod off as well. Cel is left the only one awake (also, they have put the flagon and the rope in the corner, just outside of the cage, and are sitting next to Cel’s bed).

As the drowsiness tugs at everyone, Cel succumbs, unable to stay awake. Zolf continues to fight to stay awake, casting bless to give himself a burst of energy.  He is now the only person left awake on the ship. Time skips forward a bit; the ship is continuing to reorganise itself and make subtle moves before Zolf can. It starts to dismantle the bar that Wilde has constructed, tucking all the components back into their proper place. Zolf yells at the ship to stop it, but the ship doesn’t; he yells for it to at least bring him a drink, which it does. It’s a standard tankard of grog, which Zolf picks up, sniffs, and then downs, before putting it back on the floor. The ship moves more quickly dismantling it than Wilde had moved setting it up, so it isn’t long before the bar is completely gone and all the bits and pieces of it are returned to their proper places. Zolf realises that this is going to be a weird conversation to have with the rest of the team.

At this point, things start to go a bit different than the prior time. The density of the borealis is much heavier than last time; Zolf is feeling the need to sleep even stronger, but he continues to fight it off. Visibility is starting to get even worse, with colors surrounding Zolf. He is able to see the whole ship, for a while, even though the ground disappears. As time continues to pass, the fog of colors begins to creep in even more, and soon enough Zolf isn’t able to see the bow of the ship. The instruments are also starting to go weird; the speed is being maintained, but the horizon meter begins to shift, looking as though it’s the wrong way up. Zolf covers up the instrument. The altitude meter starts swinging back and forth, making no sense, so Zolf covers it up as well. The visibility continues to decrease; half of the deck is now covered by the fog, and he can no longer see the trapdoor that leads down into the hold where everyone else is. Zolf starts to nervously hum, continuing to pilot the ship and trust that things won’t go wrong. The ship continues to try and steer itself, and Zolf has no points of reference for where they are and how long they have to still be in the borealis. He’s flying completely blind.

The only instrument that had been continuing to work, the speedometer starts to change. The speed ticks up, from 88 to 90, and then to 100, and Zolf can feel a gradual increase in their acceleration. He tries to slow the ship down; it does decelerate when he does, but the ship begins to vibrate the longer Zolf keeps it at a lower speed. Eventually, he gives up and goes with the flow; the speed continues to tick up. Zolf is feeling the drowsiness even more now, and it’s brutal for him to resist it, but he continues, slapping himself in the fact, casting create water over his head, anything he can do to stay awake. The fog continues to creep in, until the only thing he can see is the wheel in front of him and the instruments. He can barely see his own feet, at this stage.

He glances down at the speedometer again, and realises that it has to be broken; there’s no way for them to be going that speed without him being flat against the wall behind him. At this point, visibility drops to zero; he cannot see anything, regardless of if his eyes are open or closed, and so he just attempts to keep the wheel steady. The exhaustion presses in against him, but just as he’s about to succumb to it, visibility begins to return. He has no idea how long it’s been, and can’t tell, but he is able to see the wheel again, and then the deck, and then the visibility begins to rapidly improve.

A messy sketch of Zolf standing at the helm of the Vengeance against a white background, looking resigned and tired. A lemon sapling is growing from the deck behind him and every inanimate object in sight is a randomly-picked color. He is saying or possibly just thinking “well” in small letters.

Zolf with his new wardrobe. Art by @eliasdouchard on tumblr. Used with permission.

Zolf looks around the ship and notices that the ship looks completely different. There are green ropes, and purple rigging, and half the deck is bright pink, half of it is matte black. It looks completely random and ludicrous. He looks down at himself, and realises that all his mundane clothing has changed colors, leaving him in the worst color combination possible (meta note: Ben explicitly states that it is the worst color combination; he only specifies that his left leg is ‘an unsettling bone color’ and the other is a bright yellow). He additionally sees that the ship looks incredibly shipshape; he goes to check the instrumentation, but it’s all completely useless still. He casts Dispel Magic on them, and they begin to repair themselves, going back to normal.

As he continues to examine the ship, he realises that some of the bits of the ship have just turned into plants; not potted plants, but plants (e.g., a barrel turning into a lemon tree). Zolf locks the wheel in place and then runs to the back, checking the engines. There are three; two of them are fine, but one of them - the starboard engine - is not there. It doesn’t look like it’s been ripped off, but it’s just not there - leaving a trail of streamers where it was. Zolf seems to stall for a moment, but visibility continues to increase. It seems to be coming upon dawn.

He checks the instrumentation; while he can’t see the ground yet, according to the instrumentation, the ship is beginning to slowly lose altitude. He starts to stamp on the floor, yelling for everyone else to wake up. Cel, Hamid, and Azu wake up, and look around the hold. The lurid colors have crept in here as well; the rope and the tankard that Cel had set up near their bed are gone. Hamid checks his hands, and recognises them as his own; they do appear absolutely filthy. He checks on Azu; she is also within her own body. No one else has woken up yet. Hamid hugs Azu; there’s a moment where Azu hugs too tightly before acclimatising. Zolf continues to yell about how they need help, and Hamid and Azu realise that they should be helping. Cel confirms that they’re in the correct bodies, and then tells them to go help Zolf while they stay here to wake people up. Skraak starts to wake up, and then Azu and Hamid run up to the deck.

Azu and Hamid both notice that the ship has drastically changed immediately when they get on deck; Azu loves it. Hamid asks Zolf what he needs help with, and Zolf also confirms that they’re in their correct bodies before telling them that they need all hands on deck and explaining that an engine is gone and that the ship is going down. Azu goes and rings the ‘oh no’ bell, alerting everyone to the emergency.

A purple-toned digital sketch of Cel Sidebottom, a non binary half elf sitting with their knees to their chest in despair. They bury their head in their knees, leaving only their light, spiky hair visible. They are wearing a long coat, a pair of calf-length lace-up boots and a pair of lab goggles on their head. The background is purple with a light spot behind where they sit fading outwards radially.

Cel cries from relief. Art by @eldritchflamingo on tumblr. Used with permission.

Down in the hold, everyone starts waking up. It seems that everyone is back in their original bodies, and they get re-used to it for a moment before everyone scrambles up the stairs and runs out onto the deck. While everyone is leaving, once it’s clear everyone is alright, Cel starts crying from the emotional overload. As everyone gets on deck, they are stunned a bit by how drastically the ship has changed, and Zolf immediately starts yelling. He tells them to give a status update immediately, and figure out how to go down without a massive crash. Earhart starts giving orders immediately, leaving Zolf at the helm; she asks Cel to do an inventory of the engine, requests all the crew to take their posts, and tells the kobolds to do a complete inventory.

Cel runs over to the engine. They notice that the engine is just gone, and they start to take an inventory; a lot of the innards have been changed from the wild magic. They realise that there’s an excess of coal powder on the ship. The ship will be able to continue flying for a bit, but they will be going down sooner rather than later, and need to make it be on their terms. The center mass is going wrong, since the engines are now out of balance, and it is slowly starting to worsen. They know that they need to land immediately; they won’t need to make a new engine, but due to the lack of balance, Cel needs some time to re-fit the engines so that they can continue on with two. They go over and explain this to Earhart; they continue to reiterate that every solution to this problem means that they need to be on the ground or at a port somewhere so that Cel can actually check the engine. It’s not immediately possible for them to know how long it’s going to take. Earhart listens to all of this and then shifts her orders to figure out where they are going to land, asking Hamid to find her a solution. It’s not reached emergency status yet, but they need to land ASAP.

Cel asks if there are any maps that they can use; Hamid says that there aren’t any ports nearby, so they need to drop down below cloud cover in order to visually scan. Visibility is still not great, so they will need to check themselves. As far as Hamid can tell, they do seem to be heading in the same direction, but he has no idea where they actually are. He says that he can try to triangulate at night using the stars, but that for now they need to focus on finding a spot to land. He offers to take a few others to scout ahead and fly, ideally to find a clearing to land in. Earhart approves the plan and tells Zolf to delegate; Zolf asks Hamid to go, telling him not to disappear or die. Hamid says that Cel could help but should stay on the ship, and then asks if Skraak could help instead; Skraak agrees. The visibility is still bad, but is improving, so Hamid decides that they’ll spend a few minutes preparing and then go. Zolf warns him not to go outside of visual range of the ship; they may never be able to find him and Skraak again. Azu gives each of them a compass, just in case they do get lost.

A digital sketch of Skraak, a kobold drawn entirely in red. Skraak wears a shirt and dark shorts. They extend both arms, revealing that they have webbed flaps between their arms and back.

Skraak reveals their wing-flaps. Art by @jaysdraws13 on Instagram. Used with permission.

Visibility is still poor; there’s a decent bit of cloud cover, so it’s no longer borealis weirdness, just weather weirdness. Hamid pulls Skraak aside and starts to brief them on what it’s going to be like to fly through the storm. Zolf casts endure elements on them both before they leave. Skraak actually seems relatively unworried, and then reveals that he has those frond things that lizards have that allow them to glide. Hamid will still cast fly on them, to be safe. Skraak asks if he’s familiar with a dive bomb, and then suggests that they do that to get down quickly. He then makes it clear that none of the other kobolds have this power. Cel clearly wants to volunteer as well, but Earhart has told them to stay on the ship.

Digital art of Hamid, a brown-skinned halfling man with short black hair. He wears a yellow diving suit with green, purple, and orange elements. He is dive bombing through the air with his eyes open in a focussed expression.

Hamid dives. Art by @brinnanza on tumblr. Used with permission.

Hamid changes his outfit to be a sort of flysuit, in as lurid a color as possible so that he will still be visible in the storm. Azu watches both of them as they jump off the ship. They both stay close to each other as they swan dive, moving quickly toward the ground; Hamid looks at Skraak, who doesn’t look too bad. For a moment they lose sight of the ship as they move through cloud cover, but it doesn’t disappear. They both continue to drop, and then the clouds part; they are over the outskirts of a very thick, icy, snowy evergreen forest, and they are significantly lower than they thought. They both pull up very short before hitting the ground. Hamid and Skraak realise that the ship is not high, and that they need to scout ahead to find a clearing more urgently than they thought. They go up a bit higher, and Hamid says that they can travel in slightly different directions for four minutes before returning. As Hamid is searching, he sees a small clearing ahead of the ship (which has slowed). The ship would need to aim for it now if it wants to hit it; the tree density is increasing, rather than getting better, so it’s very likely that this is the only clearing in the area ahead.

They return to the ship and inform everyone that they need to land now, with Hamid explaining where the clearing is up ahead. He adds that the forest increases, and that they need to start decreasing altitude now. Zolf cuts him off, asking Earhart, who approves it with a word. He adds that he needs to teach Hamid some brevity, and then they all start attempting to land it. While everyone is working, Hamid casts fly again and goes to lead the ship, casting dancing lights over and over to create a simulated landing strip for the ship to follow to the clearing. They are coming in much harder than they wanted; Hamid’s work is helping, but the cloud cover is not helping with the visibility. Azu is struggling to see it. Cel is doing a great job maintaining the engines, until realising that they’ve been doing the work for three engines as opposed to two. Zolf is nailing the piloting, but then starts being able to feel the ship begin to list. They are coming in very steep, but are on target. There’s nothing else Zolf can do to improve the situation, really, so he just yells for everyone to brace.

The ship breaks through the cloud cover. Hamid is casting dancing lights still, and then he sees the prow of the ship plunge through the clouds, moving very fast. Zolf accounts for the speed, but trees begin to clip under the bottom of the ship as it careens toward the clearing. Everyone braces; a number of the crew are thrown bodily from the ship as it starts to hit the trees.

Quotes[]

Dice rolls & mechanics[]

  • Zolf makes a Perception check: 27
  • Zolf makes a Will save against the borealis: 30
  • Cel makes a Will save against the borealis: 18
  • Hamid makes a Will save against the borealis: 15
  • Zolf and Cel make another Will save against the borealis: Cel gets 12, Zolf gets 23
  • Zolf continues to make a Will save against the borealis: 28
  • Zolf makes a Perception check in the borealis: 14
  • Zolf makes another a Will save against the borealis: 27
  • Zolf makes another a Will save against the borealis: 28
  • Zolf makes a Perception check in the borealis: 15
  • Zolf makes a Perception check on the ship: 16
  • Everyone sans Zolf makes a Perception check: Cel gets 21, Azu gets 30, Hamid gets 28, [Skraak rolls high enough to hit the DC, the kobolds do not. Numbers aren’t said.]
  • Cel makes a Knowledge (engineering) check on the engines: 18
  • Hamid makes a Profession (airship navigator) check: 10
  • Hamid and Skraak make a Fly check: Hamid gets 21, Skraak gets 21
  • Azu makes a Perception check to track Hamid and Skraak: 21
  • Hamid and Skraak make a Reflex save: Hamid gets 21, Skraak gets 19
  • Hamid and Skraak make a Perception check: Hamid gets 27, Skraak gets 18
  • Hamid and Skraak make a Fly check: Hamid gets 31, Skraak gets 26
  • Everyone sans Hamid makes a Profession (airship crew) check: Zolf gets a nat 20, Azu gets 8, Cel gets 5
  • Everyone sans Hamid makes a Reflex save: Zolf gets 20, Azu gets 13, Cel gets 24

Plot Notes[]

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