Crosswinds Keep was built upon the head of a dead god that has long since turned to stone. It is the single largest settlement within the Elserryn Cluster, and it opens its doors to visitors who hail from other locations throughout the planes. Before gaining entry, each visitor must agree to put aside any regional conflicts they may have with one another and be peaceful during their stay. Despite the fact that visitors must agree to this one rule before they are allowed entry, conflicts commonly arise not only within the keep, but in the space surrounding it.
Home to 2,500 people, Crosswinds Keep was founded by an adventuring company, originally from the Material Plane, who called themselves the Stalwart Lions. This group consists of Bran Oakenshire (male human fighter 14), Syussa Broar (female half-elf rogue 12), Elthure Vildenof (male human Wizard 16), and Moala Addrell (female elven cleric 15). Originally from Aber-toril, this group of adventurers chose to retire to this location after Bran pledged his love to Moala. Knowing this was one of the few planes in the multiverse where they would never grow old, they made the decision to settle here, and their companions opted to remain with them to help them run the keep.
Githyanki raids from their infamous astral ships are a constant threat here, but one which the keep has countered by employing its own astral ships. The first ship was salvaged from a wreck near the Pyre in the Material Plane (see Spelljammer: Shadow of the Spider Moon in Dungeon Magazine #92), and since then, a small fleet of five others have been built based on the same design (part 2 of this Astral Encounter series further details these ships). They do an adequate job defending the keep, although the githyanki constantly probe the defenses for weaknesses they can exploit.
One of the methods Crosswinds Keep uses to defend itself against the possibility of raids includes using an astral balloon, which serves as a lookout. One of the keep's employees (usually a fighter or a rogue) sails the balloon away from the god's head and utilizes goggles of astral seeing. The vehicle remains tethered to the god's head at all times, and it has been attacked and destroyed several times in the past, but since it is easy to patch up and replace, it has provided the most effective method of watching out for danger.
Goggles of Astral Seeing
The lenses of this item are made of amber. When placed over the eyes of the wearer, these magic goggles allow the user to see through the astral "fog" up to a distance of five miles. Within this range, the wearer can see all objects that he or she would normally see in an ordinary world in the Material Plane from this distance on a clear day. Additionally, the wearer can also see as if under the effects of invisibility or improved invisibility. The goggles of astral seeing function only on the Astral Plane and do not have any unusual effects on any other plane. Both lenses must be worn for the magic to be effective.
Faint divination; CL 5th; Craft Wondrous Item, true seeing; Price 29,000 gp.
Trouble within the keep isn't unheard of, but neither is it allowed to wreak havoc. If the traveler is here through the use of the astral projection spell, Bran can cut their silver cord with a githyanki's silver sword that he has acquired. In the extremely rare cases where these measures are not enough to combat the danger, the retired party can fight off most threats in outright combat since they remain in the same physical condition they arrived in due to the timeless nature of the Astral Plane. In the past when this has become necessary, they have been supported in battle by the patrons of this establishment, who are usually accomplished in battle themselves. Because of past difficulties with certain races, those in the keep forbid entrance to any githyanki, devils, demons, yugoloths, and illithids who seek entry.
Coming in Part 2 of Crosswinds Keep and Environs
Take a look at some ships you can use (or come across) around Crosswinds Keep.
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