266 Crashed Nautiloid

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About this Resource

This resource features the general description of an adventure location for RPG adventures or general inspiration. Not all releases are the same; some may include rules material for Dungeons and Dragons 5e but mechanics are left to a minimum.

These adventure ideas are appropriate for low to mid-level (Levels 1 to 10) adventur­ing parties. As the DM, you are free to change or modify any or all the information found here. NPC names and settlement names are the first you should consider changing to accommodate any homebrew-world lore.

When monsters are referenced, the creature’s name is noted in bold. Only creatures from the D&D5e Monster Manual are cited.

Background Lore

 The existence of other planes is not what someone would call popular knowledge. One must have a certain level of education to understand their mere existence, and a savvy intellect if one is to comprehend how they work. Traveling through planes is even more complex and dangerous. It should not be a task taken lightly as not only the means of the travel are key to a safe trip; every minute spent on a plane that’s not your own is a big risk for the ill-prepared.

Many dangers and horrors await in the depths of other planes. From getting ambushed in the Shadowfell to facing evil beings in the Feywild. From fighting against the elements in the inner planes to bumping nose first into another traveler. This is where adventures might get perilous, for one thing is to face dwellers of a certain plane and another, to find a foreign creature with the power of traveling through planes.

Mind flayers are a great example of this. With their incredible mind powers, they are the last foe you would want to fight if it came to it. Illithids do not exit their lairs often, as their main goal is usually to protect the Elder Brain. However, it is a fact that mind flayers are often on the lookout for prey and potential slaves. They travel through the astral sea and when they do so, they ride a Nautiloid.

An enormous flying monstrous ship, shaped like a nautilus shell. Giant tentacles protruding from its front, and fins on its rear to help it steer. These silent predators roam through the worlds surfing the astral sea. A dozen mind flayers plus twice that much in slaves conform the usual crew of a Nautiloid. That is why stepping into one of these deadly vessels is pretty much the last event anyone will witness.

Thabrax, a powerful mind flayer leading his crew on the Nautiloid Xarrlar was sailing the astral sea when a group of Githyanki pirates intercepted the ship. Gith people are the only race illithids do fear; having enslaved the gith for many generations, they are familiar and aware of the mind powers illithids possess. Gith trained for generations, strengthening their minds to match those of the mind flayers. They succeeded and broke free from their enslavement. However, the hatred towards their former enslavers never stopped.

Githyanki did not think twice and aimed to destroy the Nautiloid. A brutal and merciless battle took place. Githyanki silverswords were too quick and their minds too sharp. In a quick and desperate escape maneuver, Thabrax locked himself in the hibernation chamber on the main deck while he programmed the Nautiloid to launch itself into the material plane. His plan succeeded, but there was no one alive to drive or control the ship’s course. Nautiloid Xarrlar drifted through the skies while descending erratically, making its collision imminent. The Nautiloid crashed in the mountains, causing a rockslide to block the access to the other levels of the ship.

The hibernation chamber where Thabrax was at the moment of the crash protected him from harm. However, the blow messed with the main controls and the chamber cannot be opened now. Thabrax, being a powerful mind flayer, managed his way out to consciousness, realizing the situation he was in. He tried communicating telepathically to any living being around. He tried to open the chamber using his thoughts. He tried teleporting himself but could not meet the somatic components of the spell. He tried everything he could but it was no use.

Thabrax lost the track of time. Roaming his own thoughts over and over, he started to taste the bitterness of his own frustration. Impatience grew to an unbearable point where his hunger for brains hurt. Thabrax was out of ideas. He was desperate, and the more he thought about it, the more it hurt. What a conundrum for a creature that lives to think. Thabrax’s thoughts became more and more violent and uncontrollable. Voices filled his mind, whispering, insulting, mocking… He unleashed the darkest side of his brain for this task and surrendered himself to the wickedest demonic anger and resentment.

One day a pair of human treasure hunters were exploring the mountains. After some hours they found the ship. They were filled with joy for having discovered something so strange. They were talking about how they would become rich when they noticed the hibernation chamber. They got closer to see what it was and gasped in fear when they saw the creature inside.

Thabrax could have tried to communicate with these humans. This could have been his opportunity to escape his terrible prison. But the illithid’s mind was sane no more. After so much time trapped, the only thing he could think of was the hate he felt for gith and the urge to destroy and kill them. He blasted one of the humans’ minds, killing him instantly. The other explorer ran for his life out of the tunnel they had come from.

 Thabrax did get out, but not the way he wished to. His body is still trapped in the hibernation chamber, as a simple cocoon. His thoughts, on the other hand, found a way of materializing themselves in the material plane. A big pile of flesh, guts, and bones engulfing one another over and over. A hundred sharped-teethed mouths and eyes, hungry for everything, snapping at their very own existence. Thabrax chased the explorer with his new physical form and ended his life.

Githyanki signed an act of small revenge in attacking Thabrax’s Nautiloid for this is what the great Thabrax was reduced to, a mockery of the great illithids minds. A bizarre, repugnant, abhorrent version of his brain is what dwells now in the caves around the Nautiloid.

Area descriptions

1.- Dwarven Shrine. This is what the explorers found first. They searched every corner of the place and found a tunnel that led to the Nautiloid. Blocks of stone mark the floor of this chamber. Eight pillars hold the ceiling 60 ft. above. The remains of a Moradin statue lie on the ground, covering part of the tunnel behind it.

2.- Narrow Tunnel. This tunnel is only 5-feet-wide and 75-feet-long. The tunnel is considered difficult terrain due to the stone pebbles, rocks and the irregularity of the floor. 

3.- Main Deck. This is the main bridge of the Nautiloid. A big pile of rocks covers access to the other levels of the ship. In the center, a strange device of clockwork and arcane purpose hints at the origin of the vessel. There are a couple of slave cells on the top right corner. 

4.- Hibernation Chamber. Used as a safe spot to protect from the arcane ravage of extraplanar traveling, it is usually reserved for the leader of the crew. 

5.- Main Controls. These are the controls of the ship. They control the frontal tentacles, steer the ship, or activate available weaponry. These also monitor for the Nautiloid’s conditions and trace its course. The ship is not operational and the controls glow and beep in alien patterns. Only an illithid can recognize that the logistic system is broken and the vessel needs years of repair to be operational once more.  

 6.- Caves Entrance. The caves are 10-feet-wide on average. A thick, gruesome slime is all over the floor. Adventurers who step in the cave start hearing the whispering of the gibbering mouther on Area 8. 

7.- Cave Tunnel. This tunnel may serve as a trap. If the adventurers head into this tunnel before going to Area 8, the gibbering mouther will try to trap them. The tunnel is dark and has some of the sticky slime. 

8.- Cave. This is the lair of the gibbering mouther. The room is dark and it feels humid. The chamber is empty except for some rocks. The slime on the tunnel is more present here. It smells foul and rotten as if piles of corpses had been there for days.

 General features

 Terrain. The Nautiloid is dirty and full of dust. Although the ship is not in great shape because of the crash, it is possible to notice how great the vessel was and admire it. The caves are dark and humid, filled with heavy air.

Doors. The entrances to the Nautiloid are not doors. They’re holes on the ship’s structure due to the blow.

Light. Some of the main controls of the Nautiloid still emit soft weak blue and red lights. However, there is no way to know what they might mean.

 

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Published by Derek Von Zarovich
I am a D&D and GURPS player and DM since 2000. I enjoy reading fantasy and sci-fi books. Recently I started writing and creating my own content. I love to share what I write.

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