Well, the title is meant to be a summary (of sorts) of our last Sky Pirates game. We hand nearly the entire complement of players, so it was a great time to work out the "what do we do next" part which occasionally crops up in campaigns. In fact, I have found this to be true of nearly every campaign I've run or played in. The group accomplishes one of the major goals...and then looks around for what to do next. As a DM, that's tough because I don't believe in railroading. There's absolutely zero fun in riding the rails of the DM's story. As a player it's tough because unless you were really paying attention to the NPC's and history and hints presented by the DM, you don't know what's out there to investigate. Once, long ago, I tried to write up a "what every character should know about the world he/she is currently in". It was at 3 pages when I stopped and realized, no one wants to read this. So, I have worked hard to make my worlds active and interesting places, and I am not above doing a recap of "what your characters know" when the group appears to be lost.
So, back to the story, we were lifting off with the flying ship. My character's "girlfriend" had always been earmarked to be the pilot, so that sort of eliminated her role in the game in terms of helping us or anything. She was busy flying the ship. We had a quick pow wow and one of our "story driven" players throws out a suggestion. (This is the guy who hands you 2 pages of back story, with notes that contradict your campaign world's assumptions, when you asked for 5 lines. And his is in 6 font, narrow margins, and very poor punctuation.) His psionic dwarf character claimed to have been exiled onto the island where we found him because he discovered a serious problem with the theocracy running his homeland. He found out that an artifact which was supposed to keep the God Killer asleep had disappeared and was missing....had been missing for who knows how long. Thus, he felt maybe we could help him go find the missing artifact.
Since we had nothing else better to do, and because I pointed out that our boat was significantly different from all the flying boats of this land, all of which were owned by ONE Elven guild, that we would soon become targets of this guild. Also, the orcs which had raided our home had actually raided and invaded several areas. They were a growing force which we couldn't deal with by ourselves. The only logical answer would be to run, either into space or to another dimension. (And no one really commented on how "roguely" my thinking was.) Everyone then felt that a trip to find an artifact was good. But we had one thing to do first: Go to the tower of the sorcerer we had defeated and steal her lightweight ballistae since our ship was unarmed.
Thus we rapidly flew to the tower and had to deal with a batch of odd zombies and two goblin things which grew to 8 feet tall and attacked us. They shot first with the ballistae, hitting our sorcerer and missing our psionic dwarf. The cleric jumped onto the tower with the barbarian and started laying into the zombies. Our finesse fighter also jumped in after checking on the sorcerer. I tried to jump in because we all learned that Pathfinder allows for critical hits and sneak attacks on undead and constructs. (Now he tells me, after several, SEVERAL battles in which he denied this to me. Ugh...no, I'm not bitter....) I attempt to sneak attack a zombie and fail. I attempt to sneak attack the goblins, and fail. I see we're getting clobbered so it's Rod of Wonder time! First shot was a 16d8 cone of cold on one of the goblin things. 72 points of damage and it only had 20 left.
The surviving goblin Suggests I use the rod on the guys on the tower (two zombies, the cleric, the barbarian, the fighter, and the psionic dwarf). I fail the Will save and turn the rod on them. The first shot there was to produce torrential downpour centered on me. No one can see beyond 10 feet. The zombies get wiped out. Those that are out of the rain cloud can see a drake approaching. The next (and last shot) of the Rod is Chain Lightning. However the heavy downpour makes it difficult to target the tower so it goes sailing off into space. The goblin gets smacked by the barbarian and the finesse fighter and the cleric, so he Dimension Doors out. I'm still Suggested but now I can't fire anymore today, so I just sit down and wait for the rod to recharge. The sorcerer Dispels the cloud of Despair sent by the goblin (which we learned later was a Greater Barghest) and then Dispels the Suggestion on me. We ready the ballistae for the drake, I try to use my magical clothes to Disguise myself as the female sorcerer who owns the drake. Two rounds later, we see she's on the drake...failed plan.
Thus, the lizardfolk who've been avoiding combat had scurried onto the tower, grabbed the ballistae and ammo. Three of the ballistae make it back on the ship before the drake is in range. We crank up and shoot. One hit, two misses. The next round, we reload the ballistae while those of use with missile weapons attempt to shoot. Next round, three ballistae shot, three misses. The psionic dwarf casts Ectoplasmic Ball or some such odd psionic spell which wraps up the drake. The drake plummets from the sky to take lots of damage on the rocky ground below. The sorcerer looks irritated as she now has to fly using Boots of Flying which slows her down. Two bow shots miss her because of some Displacement effect while two hit her. Our sorcerer casts Hypnotic Pattern and she fails her save. She's flying 40 feet off our starboard and can't do anything unless we attack her. Our cleric then chooses to cast Hold Person, thinking this will cause her to fall to her death. (Always read the spell description, kids, and ask questions.) It's an attack, so spell broken and Hold Person fails as well because she made her Will save. Two more arrows shots land and in desperation, she pulls out a rod and slams it into the ship. All magic turns OFF. We plummet. My girlfriend is screaming. And we fall THROUGH the ground into the Ethereal Plane.
All one time magic items have their magic sucked out by the ship. All permanent magic items have their magic sucked out for a day by the ship. The three dryads (reincarnated humans and lizardfolk) are sucked into the wood of the ship. All our Orb based objects (my sword, the barbarian's sword, the wookie, the helm, everything) is absorbed by the ship. My girlfriend is grafted to the flying throne chair (think Farscape and the Navigator). And we're lost on the Ethereal Plane.
We sorely missed our ranger, but we managed to survive. The next game will be quite a challenge as we try to figure out "how do we get back home"....