Monday, April 30, 2018

The Rest of the Galaxy

Inside the Sol System, the locations of the known bodies—Wodan, Freya, Homeworld, Tyr, the Asteroid Belt, Thunar and Kronos—can be represented by their relative positions on a single plane. When it comes to the planets that orbit other stars, however, the system of location becomes more complicated. Given that they were the first to explore beyond Homeworld's system, it was the elves who devised a means of finding one's heading for interstellar voyages. 

For this they use the eighty-eight commonly recognized constellations, names given to groups of stars based on what people thought they resembled. They also assigned letters to the stars that comprised them, such as alpha, beta, gamma, etc. For example, the North Star, otherwise known as Polaris, is alpha in the constellation ursa major, the Great Bear. Taking a heading on it means that a vessel is traveling straight upward from the plane in which this system's planets orbit Sol.
More information about the creatures that inhabit these worlds can be found in another article, Planetary Ecologies:

This world orbits the triple stars Alpha, Beta and Proxima Centauri, some 4.25 lightyears from the Sol System. It was the first planet beyond the Sol System to be visited by an elf arkship, and the crew of that vessel was astounded to find it filled with plant and animal life. Sylvanus is almost a perfect natural paradise, with few intelligent inhabitants except for the arborlings, creatures similar to treants who act as caretakers. For this reason the elves have kept the location of Sylvanus a closely guarded secret, hoping to preserve its pristine environment.

More information about arborlings can be found in a supplement from Clockwork Gnome Publishing.

Orbiting a single red dwarf star, this world lies six lightyears from the Sol System in the direction of Ophichus. It his home to two main intelligent species, the shobhad and the kasatha. The prior live in nomadic bands that survive by hunting fearsome wild creatures, while the latter form small enclaves and are known to trade with visitors. This world was discovered by an elf arkship, but has been further explored by an agent of the Royal Interplanetary Company, Captain Eli Barnard, who trades imported goods for the shobhad's two most famous inventions—black powder and firearms.

Details of a kasatha caravanserai can be found in a previous article.

Interstellar Space
While it might seem unusual to include this region—it is, after all, a vast nothing—it's important to note that the open void is sometimes home to the greatest dangers that spacefarers can encounter. These include the oma, which is sometimes used for transporting passengers; the enigmatic entity known as a sentient nebula; and the massive astral leviathan. There have also been reported sightings of dragons, ones different from the kinds that once lived on Homeworld. Finally, although explorers have not heretofore encountered travelers from other star systems in craft of their own, most believe that it's only a matter of time before they do.

The Black Hole
Although the elves and their arkships have made numerous discoveries on their interstellar missions, at least one ended in tragedy. That crew had set out to visit a body shaped like a star, but utterly black. It was located next to a star from which it continually drained light, heat and material. Lurking in that volatile area was something that attacked the crew, corrupting the elves along with the animals that they were transporting. Some of them turned murderous, and eventually only a handful of survivors escaped aboard the arkship's longboat. After passing back through the interstellar portal, they used magic to seal it against pursuit. 

More information about elf arkships and their missions can be found in a couple of previous articles.

Other Stars and Planets
At this time, elven exploration beyond the Sol System is still in its early stages; having made contact with the inhabitants of two worlds. They have other expeditions underway, however; these are left up to the GM to develop further. For inspiration, Wikipedia has a good list of other stars with orbiting planets not so far from Homeworld's sun.

Monday, April 23, 2018

PDF Compilation #11

Here's another PDF compilation of recent Aetherial Adventures material.

Aetherial Adventures #11


Sunday, April 22, 2018

The Freebooter's City Review

I downloaded this adventure, Part 4 of the Return to Freeport campaign, more than seven months ago, and it's been sitting on my hard drive since then because I've been busy with other things—and I'm still waiting to see Part 6 published before I start preparing to run this campaign. Just now I finished reading it, however, and thought I should review it. First and foremost, this scenario involves plenty of roleplaying situations, with very little combat actually required. That is, in my mind, both good and bad, for the following reasons. 

On the downside, I think a GM wanting to use it with a typical group of players would need to add more fighting to it. I've run the occasional session that didn't have any combat, maybe once each campaign, but having that happen over and over again would eventually be disappointing for may players. The scenario suggests using random encounters from the table in Part 1, but I fear that they'd not be challenging enough for eighth-level characters. Even so, there are lots of potential enemies in the Freeport: The City of Adventure and Freeport Bestiary books, so it shouldn't take too much for a GM to create more combat-oriented subplots for the PCs. 

The upside of the emphasis on roleplaying is that it really weaves the PCs into the fabric of the city. That is, after all, for me the most appealing element of the campaign setting; it starts to feel familiar, and like the PCs are an important part of the city's history and future. With that in mind, I'm pleased with the direction this campaign is taking, and I look forward to the next two installments.


Saturday, April 21, 2018

Lizardfolk of the Great River Delta

In the swamps that fill gaps in the many branches of the Great River, before it spills out into the Middle Sea, there live scattered clans of reptilian humanoids known as lizardfolk. Presented here is the layout for a typical lizardfolk village, along with suggestions for incorporating them into adventures and campaigns set on Homeworld. 

1. Scion's Hut
The largest hut in the village is occupied by the lizard scion who leads the tribe. There are very few furnishings, outside of baskets for holding foodstuffs and various tools. Of far greater value, however, are the tribe's eggs, which are kept here for protection.

Lizard Scion: Refer to page 148 in the Monster Codex for stats.

2. Buried Cage
This circular chamber, twenty feet in diameter and ten feet tall, is where the lizardfolk keep any prisoners that they might take. That can include members of the tribe who have committed some sort of offense against the others, or interlopers, either of whom are awaiting judgment by the scion or the rest of the tribe.

3. Communal Area
Log posts support a roof made from bundles of woven reeds. In the middle the lizardfolk have dug out a firepit, surrounded by stones. All around it there are stools or benches also made from logs. This is where the tribe takes its meals together, sharing in whatever food they've acquired; it is also where they hold council, led by the scion, to make important decisions about tribal business.

4. Other Huts
Each of these domiciles is made from bundled reeds attached to a wooden frame. Some are home to a mated pair of lizardfolk and their offspring, while others are occupied by unmarried males or females. In general there are few furnishings outside of containers for storing foodstuffs, tools and other items.

Lizardfolk: Refer to page 195 in the Bestiary for stats.

Using the Lizardfolk in an Aetherial Adventures Campaign
This location can tie into all sorts of adventures, including the following possibilities.
  • Characters who are just starting to make voyages around Homeworld and beyond could find valuable trading partners in the lizardfolk, who would barter foodstuffs, wood and other natural goods for manufactured items.
  • What is more, the lizardfolk's relative comfort in the water make them a connection to aquatic races such as merfolk, locathah, tritons, and possibly even sahuagin.
  • In this way they could provide a link to more adventurous opportunities, such as recovering the valuables in the cargo hold of a ship that sank in the Middle Sea.
  • A curious lizardfolk who wanted to see more of Homeworld—and possibly what can be found beyond its horizons—might seek out a ship's crew and ask to join it. Of course, others in the tribe might not approve of such activity.
  • If the lizardfolk encountered a threat that their tribe is not able to handle by itself, then they might seek the help of trustworthy outsiders in order to deal with it.

More about the Lizardfolk
In addition their entry in the Bestiary, the Monster Codex (pages 138-149) provides a great deal of information about the lizardfolk, options for characters, and how they interact with the world around them.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Martelli and His Officers

Here are stats for Arturo Martelli and his two officers.


CR 3
XP 800
Male human warrior 5
N medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +1
AC 14, touch 12, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor, +1 Dex, +1 Dodge)
hp 42 (5d10+10)
Fort +5, Ref +1, Will +2
Resist None
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Shortsword +6 (1d6+1)
Ranged Light crossbow +5 (1d8)
Special Attacks None
Str 13, Dex 10, Con 14, Int 9, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +5; CMB +6; CMD 16
Feats Dodge, Skill Focus (Knowledge, Profession)
Skills Climb +5, Knowledge (Geography), Profession (sailor) +8
Languages Common
SQ None
Combat Gear Leather armor, masterwork shortsword, master-work light crossbow, case of 10 bolts

Emilio is a veteran sailor, having seen every corner of the Middle Sea and even what lies beyond it. While he loves the freedom and devils-may-care lifestyle of being a pirate, however, this corsair has begun to think of late about taking his wealth and settling down into a more predictable and permanent situation.
CR 2
XP 600
Male human rogue 3
CN medium humanoid
Init +3; Senses Perception +6
AC 16, touch 14, flat-footed 12 (+3 Dex, +1 Dodge, +2 armor)
hp 23 (3d8+6)
Fort +4, Ref +7, Will +1
Resist Fearless
Spd 20 ft.
Melee Shortsword +5 (1d6)
Ranged Shortbow +5 (1d6)
Special Attacks Sneak attack +2d6
Str 11, Dex 17, Con 14, Int 12, Wis 10, Cha 8
Base Atk +2; CMB +2; CMD 15
Feats Dodge, Mobility, Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +9, Climb +6, Disable Device +9, Escape Artist +9, Knowledge (local) +7, Perception +6, Sleight of Hand +9, Stealth +9, Use Magic Device +5, Swim +6
Languages Common, Draconic
SQ Trapfinding, Evasion, Trap Sense +1
Combat Gear Clothing, leather armor, masterwork shortsword, shortbow, quiver of 20 arrows, masterwork thieves' tools, elixirs of hiding and tumbling, 50 gp

Julius is the ultimate opportunist. He has signed up with Martelli's Men because they present a relatively fast and easy means of obtaining wealth, power and glory. That is why he is committed to their cause—and the purpose of their new incarnation, the Crimson Company—so long as it keeps him satiated with money, food and drink, and female companionship. Should those circumstances change, then he might be open to other options.

Captain Arturo Martelli
CR 6
XP 2400
Male human bard 7
NE medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +13
AC 13, touch 11, flat-footed 12 (+1 Dex, +2 armor)
hp 42 (7d8+7)
Fort +3, Ref +6, Will +6
Resist Bard abilities
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Shortsword +5 (1d6)
Ranged Light crossbow +6 (1d8)
Special Attacks Bard abilities
Str 10, Dex 12, Con 12, Int 16, Wis 12, Cha 16
Base Atk +5; CMB +5; CMD 16
Feats Alertness, Dodge, Persuasive
Skills Appraise +13, Bluff +13, Diplomacy +13, Intimidate +13, Knowledge (local) +13, Perception +13, Perform +13, Profession (Sailor) +11, Sense Motive +11
Languages Common, Dwarven, Elven, Halfling
SQ Bardic knowledge, bardic performance, cantrips, countersong, distraction, fascinate, inspire courage +2, versatile performance, well-versed, inspire competence +3, lore master 1/day, suggestion
Combat Gear Leather armor, short sword, light crossbow, case of 10 bolts, musical instrument, logbook, quills and ink, bloody banner

For many years, Arturo Martelli was little different from any of the other corsairs who preyed upon the shipping traffic of the Middle Sea. That all changed when he was almost killed while raiding a ship on the Great River; having suffered terrible burns, he was taken in by a cleric of Luna and nursed back to life. At the same time, he realized that there are two types of people in this world—those who waited to be given their just rewards by the gods because they'd lived good lives, and those who took for themselves. That was why Martelli swore an oath to Lamashtu, vowing that he would claim for himself all that he'd ever wanted.

Sunday, April 15, 2018

The Pirates' Hideout

Here's a layout for the pirates' hideout, as described in "Darkness and Light."


The Pirates' Hideout
The cache used by Martelli's Men is located along the southern coast of the Middle Sea, east of the point where the Great River empties into it. Refer to the map below regarding the area descriptions that follow it.

1. Cave Entrance
The entrance to this cave is completely covered by water at high tide, but partially exposed at low tide. For that reason, it takes a DC 26 Perception check to notice it when the water is high, and the DC falls to 14 when it is low.

2. Tunnel
From the mouth of the cavern, a tunnel with a sandy floor leads up into the main chamber. This requires a DC 0 Climb check, something that isn't likely to matter unless combat is involved. The tunnel rises ten feet at each dotted line, so that the cave's main interior is above the waterline. What is more, the tunnel is protected by a stone of alarm.

3. Collapsing Floor Trap
The pirates dug out this section of the floor, and then covered it with woven reeds covered in loose sand. Noticing it requires a DC 20 Perception check; those who move across it unaware must make a DC 20 Reflex save or fall through it. Those unfortunates plunge down onto the spikes that jut up from the ground on the lower level, suffering 1d6 falling damage along with 1d4 spike attacks at +3 for 1d6+2 damage.

4. Ladder
A hole in the ground here leads down to the cavern's lower level; the pirates have built a crude ladder to allow easy passage.

5. Spikes
Scores of sharpened wooden stakes jut up from the floor here, ready to impale unwanted visitors.

6. Living Space
The walls of the cavern's lower level are lined with furnishings and supplies brought here by the pirates. Martelli's hammock hangs against the western wall, close to a large table at which the pirates can take their meals and discuss plans for future raids. Opposite them stand another half-dozen hammocks along the eastern wall, where the crew sleep. Of greatest interest, however, is the collection of chests, crates and barrels that rest by the southern wall. These contain X, Y and Z.

Using the Pirate Hideout in an Aetherial Adventures Campaign
This location can tie into all sorts of adventures, including the following possibilities.
  • If the PCs possess their own sailing ship, then they might suffer an attack by Captain Martelli and his pirates.
  • The PCs could also be hired by an influential person—such as a merchant from the Free Cities of the South or even an agent of the Northern Empire—to infiltrate and eliminate this band of freebooters.
  • It's always possible, of course, that the PCs are part of Martelli's Men, and thus use this location to recover from raids that they've conducted.
  • In the event that Martelli and his men are killed, the PCs might find a map leading back to the cache, or they could be hired by someone who found such a map.

Martelli's Men
CR ½
XP 200
Various warrior 1
N medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +1
AC 11, touch 11, flat-footed 10 (+1 Dex)
hp 6 (1d10+1)
Fort +3, Ref +0, Will +1
Resist None
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Shortsword +2 (1d6+1)
Ranged Light crossbow +1 (1d8)
Special Attacks None
Str 13, Dex 10, Con 13, Int 9, Wis 12, Cha 8
Base Atk +1; CMB +2; CMD 12
Feats Skill Focus (Profession)
Skills Climb +5, Profession (sailor) +8
Languages Common
SQ None
Combat Gear Shortsword, light crossbow, case of 10 bolts

Saturday, April 14, 2018

Tale: Darkness and Light

This tale continues the story that started with "Act of Faith."


Tale: “Darkness and Light”
As he did every evening, Marwan the hermit emerged from his hut at dusk, just before moonrise, and walked down to the shore where the Great River flowed down into the Middle Sea for a bath. Then he wrapped himself in a thick woolen robe and kindled a small fire for boiling tea and baking a loaf of bread. Once everything was in order, he settled in to wait for Luna's appearance. 

Although his attention was focused on the far horizon, from the corner of his eye he noticed a dark mass of debris floating along the rippling silver surface of the river. He was about to dismiss it as a cluster of uprooted papyrus reeds or something similar when part of the mass shifted and and gave up an all-too-human moan.

Rushing to the shoreline, Marwan waded into the water up to his waist and, using his gnarled walking stick, just managed to snag the drifting mass. With an effort he dragged it to the shore. There, by the light of the rising moon, he could see the source of the sound; it was a male human, and one who'd clearly suffered terrible burns.

Carefully, and with strength belied by his frail appearance, Marwan lifted the unfortunate man and carried him into the hut, and then laid him gently on his sleeping pallet. Next he retrieved a battered brazier, scooped some coals from the fire into it, and grabbed some of the brush that he'd gathered for fuel. Taking it back into the hut, he seated himself beside the pallet, opened his healer's kit, and started to work.

* * *

The next week was a grueling one, for both the cleric and his charge. Marwan's vigil was ceaseless, consisting of changing bandages, preparing and applying salves, feeding the man a thin gruel, and praying for recovery. For his part, the man drifted back and forth between feverish, delirious outbursts and occasional, fitful sleep.

Then, on the seventh day, the man settled into peaceful slumber.

* * *

Not wanting to leave his charge's side for his normal evening ablution and meditation, Marwan decided instead to read aloud from his small collection of religious texts. One of these was a treatise that told of Homeworld's creation.

Once, when the Universe was new, Ptah looked out and decided to start filling it with living beings. To do that, he set out to create two beings, one male and one female. What Ptah did not expect is that each creation actually produced two beings, twins. The male progeny were Sol, who would inhabit the Sun, and the entity known as the Void. The female offspring were Gaea, the Earth Mother, and Lamashtu, Mother of Monsters. Whereas the prior manifested the Earth's potential to provide for all of its children in abundance, the latter embodied the wild nature of living things, survival of the fittest, and thus an evil outlook on life.

Recognizing the danger that his two unintended offspring represented, Ptah made a difficult decision. He created a star for Sol, so that this deity could be a shining beacon of virtue in the Universe, and also made a planet for Gaea to inhabit. Through the interaction of the two deities, the Earth came to be populated with all manner of plants, animals and other living things. Even so, the situation was not an idyllic one. While the Void absconded to the farthest, darkest reaches of Space, Lamashtu was jealous of her sister and thus took up residence on Earth. There she began to spawn offspring of her own, including many of the monsters that now exist, corrupted versions of the ones that Gaea and Sol created.

What many humans forget is that the Creator had three female offspring, not two. The third was Luna, who embodied qualities of both Sol and Gaea. For that reason she was given dominion over the moon, a dwelling that illuminates the night sky in the same way as the sun, and that is a companion for the Earth in dark times. She provides light for those who travel in the night, those who explore the Earth but choose to do so without submitting themselves to the dominion of the sun.”

This, then, is the origin of good and evil in the Universe, and thus the source of all conflicts that have plagued Homeworld—along with the rest of the galaxy—since time immemorial. And so,” Marwan concluded, “all of us are given the opportunity to choose, between benevolence and wickedness, between independence and obedience. It only remains for each of us to decide just how we want to live—following the laws of society, or doing as we please; working to help others, or taking what we want without regard for them.”

Seeing his charge lying motionless, but with slow and steady breathing, Marwan closed his book and allowed himself, too, to nod off into sleep.

* * *

Marwan was still snoring when the man stirred and sat upright. Surveying the inside of the hut, and seeing his rescuer asleep, the man pushed himself unsteadily to his feet. Stooping, he retrieved the knife that the cleric had used to chop herbs for poultices. Then, after considering the older man for a moment, the burned man stooped and cut his throat.

“I've made my choice,” he declared. Then, after gathering what useful items he could find, the man took Marwan's cloaked, used it to mop up the cleric's spilled blood, and departed.

* * *

Along an otherwise desolate stretch of Middle Sea coastline, east of where the Great River flows into it, there is a small cavern whose entrance is entirely concealed by the water at high tide. For that reason it had been chosen by the band of pirates known as Martelli's as the place in which they would lie low after a successful raid, celebrating and waiting for the fervor of enemy pursuit to subside.
This time the mood was anything but celebratory.

“How did they find us so quickly?” asked Emilio, a grizzled old pirate with a head shaved bald and a patch over his right eye.

“It doesn't matter how,” grumbled Julius, a younger who wore his long black hair clubbed. “What matters is, what in Hell are we going to do about it now?”

After being caught unawares while fleeing from their foiled attack on the Skylark, the pirates had suffered heavy casualties defending their own vessel, and then had been forced to abandon it when its hull was holed. By that time had begun to fall, however, and so those who could jumped overboard and made their way under the cover of darkness back to the hideout. Now they sat in the sandy cave, with the light of a single lantern turned down low.

The older man surveyed the younger with a sneer. “Do you have a plan?” Emilio asked.

“No,” Julius conceded. “But—”

“I do.”

That voice came from the hideout's dark tunnel entrance. For a moment the pirates froze, and then they lunged for their weapons. Emilio grabbed the lantern and turned its beam on the cave mouth. 

“Who goes there?” he demanded.

The sight that he saw there made even the veteran cutthroat's stomach lurch. It was a human, but one with most of his hair burned away and his skin marred by other burns that had left terrible scarring.

“What in Hell?” Emilio asked.

“Don't you recognize me, Emilio?”

“Bugger me,” the veteran stammered. “Captain Martelli?”

“Aye. Our enemy defeated us, but did not kill me.”

“Captain?” Julius was astonished. “Captain, what would you have us do?”

Martelli smiled. “Rather than cowering here like rabbits, waiting to be caught by the foxes, you should go forth like dogs to the hunt.”

“But Captain,” Emilio objected, “we have no ship, and we've lost most of our men.”

The burned man shook his head. “No.” He pointed back down the tunnel. “There are a ship and crew, ready for the taking, if only we are bold enough to go and claim them.”

“How?” Emilio persisted.

“Julius,” Martelli turned to the younger man. “Do you still have your thieves' tools?”

“Aye.” The pirate nodded and touched the kit that he kept wrapped in the sash about his waist.
“Good.” Martelli retrieved an item from his satchel. “All we need is that, and this.”

“What is it?” Emilio asked.

“This,” Martelli replied, “is our covenant. Previously we served only ourselves as corsairs. Now we will serve a higher purpose, a higher power—Lamashtu. She is the mother of all who are bold enough to take what they want in life instead of begging for it.”

“What must we do?” Julius asked.

Martelli drew a knife from a sheath on his belt. “First we must be bound together. Then I will explain what we do next.”

* * *

The sunrise found a Middle Sea galley—the Resplendent, pat of the Nothern Imperial Navy—lying at anchor along the coastline. As the sky began to brighten and the crew moved back into activity, Captain Francesco Chiaro started issuing orders. “Search parties to the longboats; let's scour this shore until we find those scallywags and bring them to justice!”

His men hastened to comply; soon the boats were lowered into the water and crewed, and rowing toward the shore. At the same time, a figure came swimming, underwater and unseen, between them, and made his way to the anchor line that ran down from the galley's stern. Climbing that, Martelli lunged for the galley's transom and then hauled himself up and over it.

“Ahoy!” he declared. “I am Captain Arturo Martelli, and I have come to parley with you.”

Chiaro stared at the newcomer, and then glanced about at the sailors and soldiers who remained from his own compliment. “You have?” His words dripped with scorn. “And what could you possibly offer, with which to parley?”



“Yes. The right to live as men should, unhindered by moral or ethical limitations.”

As Martelli continued his diatribe, Julius swam up to the surface alongside the galley, next to the port from which one of its massive oars protruded. As the rowers reacted to his sudden appearance, he shushed them with a finger to his lips.

“If any of you will join us,” he whispered, “then I will set you free.”

He received numerous nods in response.

“Does any among you know how to use these?” From his sash he retrieved his set of thieves' tools and opened it for them to see.

One of the rowers raised his hand just a fraction. Julius closed the kit and passed it along to him. Then he handed over a number of knives, small but very sharp. “Be ready to attack on our signal,” he instructed, and then swam away.

Captain Martelli, meanwhile, was still extemporizing about his philosophy regarding liberty, self-determination and other related subjects. Just as he was building toward a rousing finish, one of the soldiers shouted, “Hey, some of the rowers—”

“Now!” Martelli bellowed. Drawing his concealed rapier, he rushed to engage Captain Chiaro. At the same time, his crewmen—led by Emilio and Julius—came clambering up over the galley's siderails. When the soldiers moved to intercept these newcomers, they found that numerous rowers were free of their chains, armed, and eager to vent their anger. Even those who were still shackled did what they could to grapple and pummel the soldiers. Seeing that, the attacking pirates pulled out shortbows and began sniping targets as they could. The galley's captain and crew fought valiantly, but the tide of battle turned inevitably against them. In the end, Martelli distracted Chiaro with a lunging feint, and Julius stabbed him in the back. When they saw their captain slump, lifeless, to the ground, the other crew members threw down their weapons and surrendered. Those crewmen who'd set out in the longboats, recognizing that they stood no chance of retaking the ship, headed for shore.

* * *

As the pirates went about their business of chaining the surviving soldiers and organizing the newly liberated crew, none paid much heed to the parrot that perched on a spar of the galley's mainmast. After observing them for a time, it took to wing and flew southward.

Thursday, April 5, 2018

The 'Larks

In an earlier post I presented a short story called "Act of Faith;" it involves characters that I use for running Freeport adventures at conventions and game days. Below I present stats for them, retooling them for use on Homeworld in the Aetherial Adventures setting.


Note: Some artwork copyright Claudio Pozas, used with permission. 


CR ½
XP 200
Male human fighter 1
NG medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +2
AC 15, touch 13, flat-footed 12 (+2 Dex, +1 Dodge, +2 armor)
hp 12 (1d10+2)
Fort +4, Ref +2, Will +2
Resist None
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Longsword +5 (1d8+5)
Ranged Light crossbow +3 (1d8)
Special Attacks None
Str 16, Dex 14, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 12
Base Atk +1; CMB +4; CMD 16
Feats Dodge, Weapon Focus (longsword), Weapon Specialization (longsword)
Skills Profession (sailor) +6, Swim +7
Languages Common
SQ None
Combat Gear Leather armor, longsword, light crossbow, case of 10 bolts, pouches containing a captain's logbook, 9 gp and 9 sp

Horace is the captain of the bark Skylark. While he and his fellow adventurers discuss and vote about all business matters, such as which cargoes or passengers to take, or what course to set, but during battle he gives the orders. This human loves nothing more than the freedom of commanding a vessel under sail—except, of course, the chance to cavort at a tavern in port and, most importantly, his trademark mustache. 

Horace hails from Alcudi, a small fishing village on the northern coast of the Middle Sea. The sailor learned to handle a ship while serving aboard fishing vessels, but always dreamed of greater glory. He found the opportunity to pursue it when a group of individuals who shared that desire decided to combine their funds and purchase their own ship, which they named the Skylark. While for the most part they make their living through traditional charters and cargo runs, they are always open to more adventurous opportunities. 

CR ½

XP 200
Male half-orc ranger 1
CG medium humanoid
Init +1; Senses Perception +6; Darkvision
AC 14, touch 12, flat-footed 12 (+2 armor, +1 Dodge, +1 Dex)
hp 13 (1d10+3)
Fort +4, Ref +3, Will +2
Resist Orc ferocity
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Longsword +5 (1d8+4)
Ranged Longbow +2 (1d8)
Special Attacks Favored enemy
Str 18, Dex 12, Con 14, Int 8, Wis 14, Cha 10
Base Atk +1; CMB +5; CMD 16
Feats Dodge
Skills Climb +8, Heal +6, Perception +6, Stealth +5, Survival +6, Swim+8
Languages Common, Orc
SQ Intimidating, orc blood, orc ferocity, weapon familiarity, 1st favored enemy (humans), track, wild empathy
Combat Gear Leather armor, longsword, longbow, quiver of 20 arrows, 50-ft. coil of silk rope, pouch containing 6 gp and 4 sp

Uriel was born and raised among the tribes of the Barbarian Lands to the east of the Middle Sea. Indeed, he even trained to work as a scout for some of the mercenary bands there, but found he could not stomach working for blood money. That was why he left home, wandering westward until he reached the territory of the Northern Empire. There he faced tremendous intolerance because of his ancestry, but found that it was better among sailors and their ilk. Indeed, that was how he met up with the other crew members of the Skylark, with whom he is now fast friends. 

The half-orc now leads shore parties and boarding actions, when needed. He is especially fast friends with Maximilian, and is secretly enamored with Lucinda. 

CR ½
XP 200
Male halfling rogue 1
CG small humanoid
Init +5; Senses Perception +5
AC 18, touch 16, flat-footed 12 (+5 Dex, +2 armor, +1 size)
hp 9 (1d8+1)
Fort +2, Ref +8, Will +0
Resist Halfling luck
Spd 20 ft.
Melee Short sword +6 (1d4)

Ranged Short bow +6 (1d4)
Special Attacks Sneak attack +1d6
Str 10, Dex 20, Con 12, Int 14, Wis 9, Cha 9
Base Atk +0; CMB +X; CMD X
Feats Weapon Finesse
Skills Acrobatics +11, Appraise +6, Climb +6, Disable Device +6, Escape Artist +9, Knowledge (local) +6, Linguistics +6, Perception +5, Sleight of Hand +9, Stealth +13
Languages Halfling, Common
SQ Fearless, halfling luck, keen senses, sure-footed, weapon familiarity, sneak attack +1d6, trapfinding
Combat Gear Leather armor, shortsword, short bow, quiver of 20 arrows, set of thieves' tools, pouch containing 5 gp and 9 sp

Max was born in the City of the Sun, at the heart of the Northern Empire. He never had much use for religion, however, nor any affinity for “drudge work.” What is more, he saw hypocrisy in many of the high and mighty from that city, and thus took to a life in the shadier parts of town. In general he tried to do good for the people around him, but the powers that be didn't necessarily see it that way. Before trouble could catch up to him, he signed up with a ship's crew—and that's how he met his companions aboard the Skylark

The halfling serves as lookout aboard the ship, and thus can often be found perched in the crow's nest, but also throws himself into fights when necessary. He also acts as quartermaster when needed. Max is fast friends with Uriel, and sometimes assists Lucinda with navigational work. He knows that Konrad doesn't always approve of his methods, but he has also come to learn that he can count on the dwarf cleric in a pinch—and afterward, if that pinch involved throwing, and taking, punches. 

CR ½
XP 200
Female half-elf wizard 1
NG medium humanoid
Init +2; Senses Perception +2; Low-light vision
AC 12, touch 12, flat-footed 10 (+2 Dex)
hp 7 (1d6+1)
Fort +1, Ref +2, Will +2
Resist Details
Spd 30 ft.
Melee Quarterstaff +0 (1d6)
Ranged Light crossbow +2 (1d8)
Special Attacks Spells
Str 10, Dex 14, Con 12, Int 18, Wis 11, Cha 12
Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 12
Feats Scribe Scroll, Skill Focus (Spellcraft), Spell Focus (evocation)
Skills Craft (writing) +8, Knowledge (arcana) +8, Knowledge (geography) +8, Knowledge (history) +8, Knowledge (local) +8, Linguistics +8, Spellcraft +11
Languages Elven, Common, Draconic, Halfling, Dwarven, Orcish
SQ Low-light vision, adaptability, elf blood, elven immunities, keen senses, multi-talented, arcane bond (familiar), arcane school (evocation), cantrips
Combat Gear Clothing, spellbook, pouch of spell components, quarterstaff, light crossbow, pouch containing 5 sp
Spells per Day: 3/2+1
Spells Known: All cantrips; burning hands, identify, mage armor, magic missile, shield, shocking grasp

Lucinda was born and raised in the vast tract of sylvan forest known as Arcadia. Her father was a human wizard, and her mother an elf druid. She inherited his interest in arcane magic, leaving home at a young age to seek a tutor so that she could study evocation in particular—something of which her parents disapproved. It was while traveling that she met the crew of the Skylark; although they didn't seem like fitting company for her at first, she won their respect through her spellcasting ability, and they earned her friendship because of their open-mindedness and willingness to visit new (and sometimes dangerous) places. 

The half-elf serves as the navigator aboard the bark. She enjoys conversation with Max and Konrad the most, and tolerates Horace's good-natured flirtation. For some reason, Uriel seems kind of standoffish around her. 

Polly the Parrot
CR --
XP --
N tiny animal
Init +2; Senses Perception +6; Low-light vision
AC 14, touch 14, flat-footed 12 (+2 Dex, +2 size)
hp 3 (1d8-1)
Fort +1, Ref +4, Will +4

Resist None 
Spd 10 ft., fly 40 ft. (average)
Melee Bite +4 (1d3-4)
Special Attacks Details
Str 2, Dex 15, Con 8, Int 2, Wis 15, Cha 7
Base Atk +0; CMB +0; CMD 6
Feats Skill Focus (Perception), Weapon Finesse
Skills Fly +5, Perception +6
Languages Elven
SQ Alertness, improved evasion, shared spells, empathic link

The mascot of the 'Larks is Lucinda's familiar, a parrot named Polly. She uses the bird for spying on foes, delivering messages to allies, and even in combat when needed. During quiet moments Polly usually finds a place in the rigging to rest, or a perch in the captain's cabin if there are treats available.   

CR ½
XP 200
Male dwarf cleric 1
LG medium humanoid
Init +0; Senses Perception +4; Darkvision
AC 14, touch 10, flat-footed 14 (+3 armor, +1 shield)
hp 11 (1d8+3)
Fort +5, Ref +0, Will +6
Resist None
Spd 20 ft.
Melee Warhammer +1 (1d8+1)
Ranged Sling +0 (1d4)
Special Attacks None
Str 12, Dex 10, Con 16, Int 10, Wis 18, Cha 13
Base Atk +0; CMB +1; CMD 11
Feats Details
Skills Diplomacy +5, Heal +8, Knowledge (religion) +8
Languages Common, Dwarven
SQ Slow and steady, defensive training, greed, hatred, hardy, stability, stonecunning, weapon familiarity, aura, channel positive energy 1d6, domains (artifice and knowledge), orisons
Combat Gear Studded leather armor, light steel shield, warhammer, sling, pouch of bullets, silver holy symbol of Ptah, healer's kit, pouch containing 2 gp, 6 sp and 9 cp
Spells per Day: 3/2+1
Spells Prepared (Typical): Detect magic, guidance, resistance; bless, comprehend languages, protection from evil

Konrad, son of Kazmir, grew up serving in the temple of Ptah in the Holy City on the southern coast of the Middle Sea. There his life was steeped in religious tradition and ritual, and he developed a zeal for learning. Part of learning, however, is exploration, and that's why he chose to leave the insular life of the temple behind. When a bark with an adventurous crew, the Skylark, happened to be passing through port, he asked to join them and was accepted. 

The dwarf serves, not surprisingly, as the ship's healer—but can also hold his own when it comes to a fight. He finds Lucinda to be a font of knowledge and, due to their varied backgrounds and exploits, the other officers. Although they tend to be less disciplined than he would prefer, at least when they are ashore, Konrad appreciates their sense of wanderlust.