The Bumblebee is a skyship bearing three sets of masts standing in a star-shaped configuration (60 degrees from each other—three masts upright, three on the lower starboard side, and three on the lower port side), for a total of 9 masts, plus one bowsprit. The three lower starboard and lower port masts can be accessed through hatches. An enchantment on the ship's decks enable artificial gravity on the horizontal plane. A sphere extends just outside the edges of the masts which provides life support for high-altitude flights or travel through space. The hull and the ship’s main structure radiate levitation enchantment providing basic lift, which can be controlled by the helmsman. Actual maneuvering comes from a separate device inside the skyship (lower deck area 1), also controlled by the helmsman. The Bumblebee has five decks:
H.H.M.S. Bumblebee: AC7, HP120, MV 120’/round or 72 miles/day, #AT see below. Due to crew limitations only two main deck weapons can be used simultaneously, or three ballistae; boltmen are not trained on these weapons. Crew: 1 captain, 10 boltmen, 20 sailors. Special Abilities: can sail at double speed for one game turn, once per day. Armament:
- Upper Deck (incl. the forecastle and the stern deck)
- Main Deck
- Lower Deck
- Ship’s Hold
- 6 ballistae: AC4, HP9, #AT 1/2, Dmg 1d10+6, Range 100’/200’/300’
- 4 light catapult (2 each, starboard & port): AC6, HP18, #AT 1/5, Dmg 1d8+8, Range 200’/250’/300’ min 150’
- 1 heavy catapult (aft): AC8, HP 27, #AT 1/6, Dmg 1d10+10, Range 250’/325’/400’ min 175’
The Bumblebee Map Key
This adventure is Part III of Flight of the Bumblebee, originally run at the Lucca Games 2013 convention. Click here for Part II, Windstone Tower. Give the players the handouts showing outside views of the manor, and read them the text printed in brown.
From the Outside: Shadowfall is of a square design, 50’x50’ at the base, with a tower dominating its northeastern corner. A six-foot-tall outside wall featuring an ornate wrought-iron gate encloses the domain. On the house’s north side lies a small cemetery. The surrounding yard looks somewhat neglected, with weeds overgrowing what once was an elegant garden with topiaries and flowerbeds. A small statue smudged with bird droppings stands in a pool now filled with dead leaves. A gravel path leads from the gate to a set of double doors in the manor’s southeastern corner; a wooden awning keeps in the shadows an open gallery just above. A terrace on the third floor partially surrounds the tower. Judging from the windows, the gray and black, Gothic-style manor stands six levels high, including a peaked roof on the tower. All windows are heavily barred. Heavy in the day’s gloom, clouds run steadily to the south, chased by the hills’ cold bluster. A murder of crows caw in the distance.
The manor’s walls are built mostly of stone, while floors and roofs are made of wood. A chimney conduit near the N-E. corner leads from the ground floor to the tower’s roof. A creature the size of a cat could get through this opening. Unless listed otherwise, window panes are colored and hard to see through from the outside. Windows can be opened from the inside. Most rooms have one or more windows. For simplicity, they will not be mentioned in the individual room descriptions that follow, unless players ask about them. Levitating incorporeal spheres provide a faint and sallow lighting in windowless rooms. There are no mirrors in the house. Secret doors reset themselves within a few rounds of being opened. A bell from a grandfather clock somewhere in the manor tolls every hour.
This adventure is Part II of Flight of the Bumblebee, originally run at the Lucca Games 2013 convention
Map Key: Windstone Tower sits on a small cloudstone island, at about 10,000 feet altitude above the town of Ailpon in Floating Ar. Clouds mask the island’s approach and give the site a forlorn appearance. A large boom and gangway extending from the island’s rocky base provide mooring to visiting skyships. Based on the position of windows, the blue-gray tower stands five levels high (including an open-air level on top), about 50’ in diameter. All windows are heavily barred.
The tower is made of levitating cloudstone. Unless indicated otherwise, incorporeal spheres provide lighting in all rooms. Secret doors reset themselves within a few rounds. All "pie-shaped" chambers larger than 10’x10’ (except for the Main Hall) have one window centered on their outside walls. Glass panes are colored and hard to see though from the outside. Windows can be opened from the inside. If the party circles around the tower, they will find a dead Heldannic Knight lying on the rock. His armor and helmet are slightly crumpled, and blood has poured from his nose and ears. Closer examination should reveal his cranium was badly fractured (he was a victim of the trap in Area 9).
Bruce Heard—Lucca Game Fair 2013, Part One of Four.
H.H.M.S. Bumblebee is the party’s skyship, a vessel recently purchased by King Qissling of Floating Ar for his air fleet. Pre-generated characters are randomly distributed to the players, along with player handouts depicting the skyship’s deck plan and key. Player characters should be top-ranking officers: Captain, First Mate, Master, Captain-at-Arms, Master Artificer, Master of Engines, etc. Include the Purser in the initial party to make sure a character with thieving ability is available. Additional NPCs can replace eliminated PCs. The adventure is intended for a party of 5-7 adventurers, levels 7-9.
To the players: You are skyship officers in Floating Ar’s air fleet, currently assigned to the H.H.M.S. Bumblebee. Your standing orders are to patrol the skies of Floating Ar for smugglers and other intruders, and actively pursue them. Your vessel is presently moored in Skyreach, awaiting resupply.
To the Captain and First Mate: You have been invited to a reception at Prince Qirklin’s residence. You know he was an illustrious peer of yours from your time at the Skyship Academy, so you do trust him. While you attended the reception, the prince spoke to you privately, asking for a favor, one with a good reward for all among the crew and officers of the Bumblebee. He requested your ship quietly make for the floating isle of Windstone, just a few hours away. Your secret mission is to secure its owner, Belsaphet the Sage, as well as a magical mortar carved out of malachite and a large silver flagon full of a refined oil bearing strange properties. All must be brought to Skyreach as soon as possible as treachery may be in the works. The sage’s research is critical to the kingdom’s security. Should the sage meet an untimely end, his complete remains must be brought back as well so he may be revived to continue his work. The mission is secret but should not interfere with the Bumblebee’s current standing orders.
Prologue: By the time the party reaches Windstone Tower, the Heldannic warbird Talons of Faith hides in a bank of clouds, waiting fort the Bumblebee’s crew to explore the tower. The knights will ambush the party’s ship when she attempts to set sail from the tower.
Windstone Tower: Heldannic Knights already stole the malachite mortar and decapitated Belsaphet. The oil is still hidden in secret vault with a few other valuables, which the party may, or may not discover at this time. If questioned, the sage’s raven companion, Nevermore, will reveal clues about who committed the crimes: Craak! Men on a big eagle in the clouds killed Master. Took Master’s head. . . took Master’s head. It agrees to join the party—useful since it can talk to other birds in the area which will help the party track the escaped skyship (there are plenty of other ravens, hawks, seagulls, and geese to be found if one looks for the knights). If the game bogs down, Nevermore can help get the party going in the right direction.
Ambush: Soon after the Bumblebee’s departure from Windstone Tower or as the crew attempts to set sail, the Talons of Faith ambushes the party. After a short aerial battle, the knights board the Bumblebee and fight to the death. The knights will try to make a run below deck. While some stay behind to block access to the companionways, the others seek to destroy the Bumblebee’s steering mechanism, after which they will look for the silver flagon in the captain’s quarters. If the party gains the upper hand during the battle, the knights’ commander retreats to his quarters and sends a message to the Heldannic Order’s high priest. When the party finds him, he burns his magical communication scroll, seizes his sword, and fights his ultimate fight.