Crosswinds Keep

By Darrin Drader

8/26 Faze
8/23 Raiders of the Silver Sky
8/21 Sailors of the Silver Sky
8/19 Crosswinds Keep
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Crosswinds Keep and Environs

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Astral Encounters
Crosswinds Keep and Environs
By Darrin Drader

Raiders of the Silver Sky

The most frequent menace to Crosswinds Keep and its visitors are the githyanki raiders. These creatures hail from their city of Vala'Koth, which is built upon the stone body of a dead god and is home to 15,000 githyanki. Despite the comparatively low number of individuals living at Crosswinds Keep, the githyanki have yet to successfully conquer the keep, and they have not found a way to exact tolls on anyone using that place as a stopover point. Because of their frequent raids within the area, they are among a select few races that are not allowed into the keep.

Vala'Koth maintains a total of three planar raiders, five astral brigs, and twenty astral skiffs. These ships use the vehicle rules presented in Dragon Magazine #294 and the Arms and Equipment Guide and can be found on page 75 of Dragon Magazine #309. Despite the larger number of vessels they possess, they frequently find their city under attack by individuals using small armies; this usually occurs after the githyanki first send a small party to raid the interests of the individual. In these raids, astral skiffs are dispatched first to surround and board target vehicles while one of the astral brigs accompanies them in case their targets are more of a threat than they first anticipated.

Githyanki raiders are considered part of the fighting force of Vala'Koth. Soldiers within the city's army usually remain with the city to defend it, though the soldiers are rotated regularly onto the crews of their astral ships. Because of the constant cross-training the soldiers receive, the army is as capable of fighting aboard a ship as they are when faced with an enemy on the ground.

When raiding, the githyanki kill any victims who resist them, steal the ship's cargo, and occasionally take hostages to trade away later. In many cases hostages that cannot be sold back to their families are sold into slavery; these unlucky beings find themselves in this situation either because the families cannot be located or because the family refuses to pay the fee the githyanki demand. Those sold often find themselves taken to another plane and forced to work in inhospitable conditions until they eventually die of exhaustion.

A typical astral skiff raiding party consists of three 4th-level fighters. Each astral brig is staffed with twenty-five 4th-level fighters. After a successful raid, the ill-gotten treasure is left with the astral brig and taken to Vala'Koth. The amount of treasure normally contained within an astral brig is equal to a CR 15 creature.

Githyanki Fighter: Male or female githyanki Fighter 3; CR 4; Medium humanoid (extraplanar); HD 3d10+9; hp 25; Init +6; Spd 20 ft.; AC 16, touch 12, flat-footed 14; Base Atk +3; Grp +5; Atk +7 melee (2d6+4/19-20, +1 greatsword) or +5 ranged (1d8/x3, longbow); Full Atk +7 melee (2d6+4/19-20, +1 greatsword) or +5 ranged (1d8/x3, longbow); SA psionics; SQ darkvision 60 ft., spell resistance 8; AL CE; SV Fort +6, Ref +3, Will -1; Str 15, Dex 15, Con 16, Int 12, Wis 6, Cha 10.

Skills and Feats: Climb +4, Intimidate +4, Jump +2, Ride +6; Cleave, Improved Initiative, Power Attack, Weapon Focus (greatsword).

Psionics (Sp): 3/day -- blur, daze (DC 10), mage hand. Caster level 3rd. The save DC is Charisma-based.

Possessions: Scale mail, +1 greatsword, longbow, quiver with 50 arrows, backpack, bedroll, flint and steel, waterskin, 18 gp.

Bringing the Parts Together

With foes awaiting your PCs, the shelter of Crosswinds Keep may become even dearer to them. Can the PCs fight off these githyanki well enough on their own, or will it take some assistance from the squidships?

Coming in Part 4 of Crosswinds Keep

Player characters may stumble across a new danger when they traverse the Astral Plane: fazes.

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