11 May 2024

Remixing: Spelljammer Light of Xaryxis Part II

With the campaign over, diving into a chapter-by-chapter pull-apart of Light of Xaryxis and how I turned it into a sandbox.

In the first part of this remix I wrote about what I did
Read through Light of Xaryxis (LoX) and rework the framing of the campaign.
Adapt the adventure by breaking it up into 'plot chunks' which could be separated.
Created a system for all the action to happen in.
Dropped the various plot chunks into places that made sense.

This post is going to go into more detail on the last point now - how exactly I pulled apart the adventure into how many chunks. The broad toolkit I was looking towards was The Alexandrian 'How to Remix an Adventure' in making a node based structure - where all the nodes here were planets. My initial work up had Chapter 2 happen then direct to Chapter 4, then Chapter 5 and after into 'sandboxing' where Chapters 3, 6, 7 and 8 were the recruitment quests for a different faction. Chapter 6 ropes in the vampirates, chapters 3 and 8 the mindflayers, chapter 8 the local barons and chapter 7 the local imperial loyalists.

To recap the system I rolled up:
0. The Snuffed Star – the guttering remains of a star
1. Gorondirs Throne – small, with a fiery moon that makes it habitable, dwelling of the Sussurans
2. Mystra’s Mirror - small, flat waterworld
3. Hrungirs Roar - titanic air world with a fiery moon and a habitable earthen moebius-strip, seat of the local astral elves
4. The Great Belt - chain of asteroids within an extended atmosphere, with mines and Bral-like asteroid cities
5. Obsidian Depths - vast water world, inhabited only by great beasts
6. Fanthirs Ruin – enormous earth world, once populated by dwarves, now a mindflayer hold
7. The Ring Sea – water belt with rocky clusters and a great moon within it
8. Tears of Joy – tiny warm water world, with a seafaring/spacefaring culture

Chapter 1 - tossed overboard entirely - replaced with a bridge from a 'space whaling' two-shot. I had the intro as the githyanki whaler captain be so impressed with them that they signed them up for what they figured would be a cushy number of a letter of marque with the Githyanki empire to go find a lost agent. This also served as an on-ramp to add players to the party. None of the book content got used as we never witnessed a Starseed drop from the ground. I could have recycled the Moondancer with Cpt. Sartell, Flapjack the Flumph, Traevus and his mutiny and all that elsewhere but I had no shortage of ships to use so they got sidelined.

Chapter 2 - used the Darkstar encounter more or less as is at the system boundary, just kept a more traditional hadozee crew to make the Dark Star and its mission a more orthodox fleet ship. My players, raised on Master and Commander, of *course* took the Dark Star as a prize. Rock of Bral was swapped out for main port in The Great Belt.

Chapter 3 - wreck of the Lucid Edict is a great encounter, lifted as the 'faction quest' to get the local Mindflayers of Fanthirs Ruin allied against the Xaryxians.

Chapter 4 - the Ebonsnare neogi ship got turned into a wildspace encounter - I did not bring in the Space Galleon rescuers since the PCs were well able to take the Ebonsnare apart alone. The Stalwart and Incorrigible were available for use but never got used. All the content about the Rock of Bral got lifted straight over to the local asteroid port, including the astral elf ambush; interestingly, this set the dogs running for the PCs that the Xaryxians must be running a big spy network, how to find it and rip it out? Krux gets found, mentions the Second Wind but the party has their own ship so they ignore it and head to Topolah's for intel. Fel Ardra got recycled as the Xaryxian spy network encounter later, Flinch and Starbough never got used. Hastain the reigar gets placed as an ambush encounter at the asteroid port but the PC's keep doing fast, cunning port departures and coincidentally spoiling Hastains ambush a few times.

Chapter 5 - Topolah's tower and the scavvers were used as is, placed in the Great Belt. Topolah was much appreciated as a source of good intel and her advice to find Gargenhale was taken seriously. The Kindori pod never got used; but this bunch had already been space-whaling. The Gargenhale content was used as was, placed over Obsidian Depths, the big local ocean planet. Throwaway lines in the Gargenhale set up - two starmoth wrecks, evidence of a fight - all this provided lots of investigation by the players trying to reconstruct the timeline of events which took a lot of DM prep on my side to figure out reasonable answers. The players of *course* stopped to strip the Starmoth wrecks to the deck-nails, looking for valuables and intel.

Chapter 6 - Gargenhale and his mutinous crew played as is - though the TPK potential of the explosive cargo of the Last Breath was something I watched nervously as people split up during the fight. There was also a good chance to blow Xedalli to kingdom come before ever meeting her if things go sideways in the fight with Agony. Xedalli was however found and promptly re-imprisoned by the party aboard their own ship.

Chapter 7 - Xedalli got used as is. Pretty much all the long-haul voyage content is here in the voyage to Doomspace so that got repurposed into general travel encounters. Aartuks of Aruun got recycled as the 'faction onboarding' quest for the ssussurans of Gorondirs Throne, including the bulettes. Doomspace itself got chucked - I kept everything in-system, especially since it turned out to be large with weeks of travel between planets.

Chapter 8 - Vocaths base got re-framed as the mindflayers orbital trade station over Fanthirs Ruin. Arena of Blood got turned into the "mindflayer alliance quest" and went by the numbers. Prince Xeleths ambush of his sister was recycled to trip once Xedalli showed herself in public (wherever). Xeleths back-up snatch team got repurposed into the Xaryxian spy network as an ambush on the capital of Hrungirs Roar.

Chapter 9 - Alliance in Doomspace was re-painted and used as a faction-building challenge series to recruit the quarreling local eleven remnants on Hrungirs Roar, the local capital planet. The goals/ambitions etc remained but I switched the races to be residents of Hrungirs Roar.

Chapter 10 - From here on the adventure ran pretty close to 'script'. Citadel assault was played straight up apart from the githyanki knight encounter getting thrown overboard. With the players allying with mindflayers and *being* the local githyanki force it did not feel like a good fit.

Chapter 11 - Trial by combat went more or less by the numbers - some villain monologuing then a beefy fight with a Zodar.

Chapter 12 - Betrayal, fight-back and then final decision to destroy Xaryxis were used as is.

So after I pulled all those bits out and scattered them around, I threw in another faction on Tears of Joy to be an accelerator - they would join once a majority of others were onboard.

I unleashed the players and after a fairly direct route in to liase with Krux they found themselves aware of the problem (sun is cooling due to starseeds, Xaryxians are assholes, they are attempting to reconquer the place, we need to get the locals off their butts by doing things to get them on-side against the Xaryxians). After that they had a bunch of leads to chase down corresponding to encounters from the book set on different planets and off they went. I did not worry too much about what level things were tuned for because with my experience 5e players can usually nova their way through whatever you throw at them and this table were some hard-bitten 30yr D&D vets.

I retooled the milestone levelling to be check-list - once a certain set of encounters were done, they levelled, which meant that it took a while as they cruised around doing bits and pieces then they started completing things and levelled relatively rapidly into the end game.

All in all it worked pretty well - the players went off on some tangents I was able to catch and over all 80% of the campaign sessions worked through at least some content from the book so we got good use out of it. I will walk through how the players interacted with all this on another post.

Light of Xaryxis lends itself well to remixing this way as there are lots of elements that can be swapped around without greatly impacting it

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