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Port Kalgyx: Extortion on the Highest Sea is an adventure for 5e set in the Astral Sea. Does your campaign feature a realm like this? The article that follows is designed to help you flesh it out.

This article was written as a tie-in to the ‘Starlight Arcana: A 5e Astral Supplement & Campaign’ which is live right now! The events of this module are not canonical necessarily, but do share similar themes of astral sea travel and peril. If you want more astral weirdness, go check it out!

In an obscure corner of the Astral Sea sits a mid-sized island, and on that island sits Port Kalgyx. Once a waystation for some forgotten faction, Port Kalgyx now survives on whatever detritus floats its way.

Port Kalgyx has stone docks on one edge, where ships berth for repairs, cargo transfers, and the all-important shore leave. Sailors here can enjoy a drink at the Split Coconut, or a game of cards at the Split Coconut, or forgotten pleasures… at the Split Coconut.

Docks of the Dead - Astral Sea - Large preview
This ‘Astral Sea’ map variant is now bundled with our Docks of the Dead map linked below

When the party first learns of Port Kalgyx, have them each roll on the table below to see what they’ve heard:

Rumor Table (1d6)
1: Port Kalgyx is run by a gang of bandits. (True)
2: Vicious swarms of insects infest the area around Port Kalgyx. (Mostly true, but it’s not insects, it’s flaming meteors.)
3: A ship carrying silver bars near Port Kalgyx was destroyed by an astral sea creature. (Mostly false. It was captured by bandits.)
4: Port Kalgyx is full of reputable merchants. (Outdated. Only bandits now.)
5: The food at Port Kalgyx is mediocre at best. (True.)
6: A powerful wizard lives in Port Kalgyx. (True. Drulus the Red is at least kind of powerful.)

Landmarks of Kalgyx

The Statue: A bronze statue of a humanoid with claw-like hands and pointed ears stands in the center of Port Kalgyx. The locals will all tell you that this is a statue of the port’s founder, Kalgyx von Groz, but it is actually a statue from the hold of a ghost ship that drifted by 200 years ago or so. It actually depicts an obscure elven prince named Faryarus Farheart. In Elven, his forename and surname do not share the same sound.

Bone Beach: Down the shore from the docks is a bleach-white beach. It’s made of tiny chips of bone that have washed up from the Astral Sea. The bones are from a dead god. None of the locals find this particularly interesting.

Dockside Warehouse: A stone warehouse sits on the docks, near a set of cranes used for unloading ships. The warehouse is full of stolen goods lifted from captured ships.

Stolen Goods (1d10)
1: Silk. This crate of fine silk would sell for about 200GP at a market. The silk is very flammable.
2: Exotic Spices. This sealed crate holds a large amount of ground Drake Leaf, a sharp-tasting herb worth a lot in some places. The crate sells for 200GP in most places, but an elven settlement would pay twice that.
3: Glowing Compass. This compass is labelled in elven. The dial moves independently from the needle. One of the dial’s letters consistently points towards what the elves consider to be galactic north, while the needle points to some unknown object. The lettering on the dial glows green in the darkness.
4: Box of Obscure Holy Symbols. This box contains religious icons from a dozen cultures, all carelessly dumped into a wooden crate. They intend to melt them down into metal bars at some point.
5: Crate of Caiman Skins. Each caiman skin is worth 2GP, and the crate contains 25 in total. This alligator-like material is excellent for leather armor.
6: Silver Bars. Each bar is stamped with “WOLFSBANE-GRADE, 100 oz.” These can be used to silver weapons, with the help of an appropriately skilled smith.
7: Copper Bars. Each bar is stamped with “EA-NASIR’S FOUNDRY, FINE QUALITY COPPER.” This copper is actually very low grade and is rife with impurities.
8: Bags of Flour. These bags are worth only 2 CP each, but if you can disperse enough flour into the air, it becomes very explosive. Treat it as a non-magical Fireball if the players decide to try this.
9: Orange Metal Device. A rectangular plate of orange metal with an orange box and an orange cylinder bolted to it. The cylinder has a smaller, silver cylinder bolted to the front. The orange cylinder has a white label with black writing on it, which reads “FLIGHT RECORDER DO NOT OPEN.” Its purpose is obscure. Possibly sinister.
10: Healing Potion Crate. A crate of healing potions, packed in straw. Only six are intact. The bottom of the crate is filled with shards of glass and a carpet of red mold, the result of the spilled health potion soaking into the straw and beginning to rot.

The Split Coconut

The Split Coconut is the local watering hole of Port Kalgyx. The food is best described as “bad,” largely a result of it being staffed by bandits and goons instead of cooks. At any time, at least four bandits are hanging around here, playing cards or dice games.

Drulus the Red lives under here. His room is accessible by a ladder concealed in a crate.

A few small pieces of bat guano lay on the ground in front of the tavern, a remnant of the spells cast by Drulus. Any character proficient in Arcana would know that bat guano is a common component of fire spells, while any character proficient in Nature would be able to tell that there are no bats in this area.

Since everything of value gets sent off to another port, or to the private stores of “One-Arm” Berengar or Drulus the Red, everything at the Split Coconut is awful. Should the party be desperate enough, their menu is as follows:

Slop. Consists of ground, miscellaneous meat in a gray gravy. 7 cp per meal.
Slop, With Lemon. Slop, but with lemons ground into it to stave off scurvy. 2 sp per meal.
Ale, various. Ale from a random keg behind the bar. Roll 1d6 for the quality of today’s ale, with 6 being “excellent,” 5 being “passable,” and 1-4 being “dire.” As a comparison, a beer in the “dire” category tastes like a popular American beer that legal has told me not to name. You know the one. Imagine that, but the can has been sitting in the sun for the last six hours. That’s dire beer. 5 cp per mug.

Drulus’ Room

Drulus’ chambers are an absolutely disgusting place. It is profoundly dank, and a dozen offensive scents permeate the air, from bat guano, to airborne metallic dust, to ground cinnamon. Books, magical and mundane, cover almost every surface. The vast majority of the spellbooks contain nothing special, just the standard wizard litany of Color Spray, Shield and the occasional Fireball.

The entirety of Drulus’ room is considered difficult terrain, due to the horrible mess.

Drulus keeps his personal spellbook on him at all times, It has a lock on it, which can only be opened with a drop of blood in the keyhole. A small spike sits beside the keyhole for this purpose.

Drulus the Red

Drulus the Red

Drulus the Red

Medium Humanoid (Half-elf)

Armor Class: 12

Hit Points: 46

Speed: 30 ft.

STR: 9 (-1)

DEX: 14 (+2)

CON: 11 (+0)

INT: 17 (+3)

WIS: 12 (+1)

CHA: 11 (+0)

Saving Throws: Int +6, Wis +4

Skills: Arcana +5, History +5

Senses: passive Perception 11

Languages: Common, Common Sign Language, Orc, Celestial

Spellcasting. Drulus the Red is a 4th-level spellcaster. His spellcasting ability is Wisdom (spell save DC 13, +5 to hit with spell attacks). Drulus the Red has the following spells prepared:

Fireball, Fireball, Fireball, Fireball. All four are cast at 3rd level.

Drulus the Red is a one trick pony.

Unarmed Strike. Melee Weapon Attack: +1 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: 1 (1d2 – 1) bludgeoning damage.

Adventure: Extortion on the Highest Sea

This short adventure can be slotted in at any port the party happens to land at. Though it is tailed specifically to strange places in the Astral Sea, it won’t be too out of place on a high fantasy sea.

The Big Picture

A bandit crew, with the aid of the wizard Drulus the Red, has polluted the environment around Port Kalgyx with flaming meteors. The meteor swarms don’t hit every ship, but the ones that they do hit get damaged severely enough to require a visit to port. Once the crew streams off the ships to engage in vice, the bandits take over the ship and extort the captain. The ships are either inducted into the bandits’ little fleet, or scrapped for resources.

Dramatis Personae

Drulus the Red, Space Wizard. Drulus was captured by the bandits years ago, but now works with them gleefully. He is paid in spellbooks and artifacts from captured ships. Drulus keeps his personal spellbook on him at all times. It has a lock on it, which can only be opened with a drop of blood in the keyhole. A small spike sits beside the keyhole for this purpose.

Ivan Kovax, dockmaster. Ivan was once an honest and reasonable dockmaster, but bandits appeared and threatened him and his child, Ivan, Jr. He’ll spill the details of the bandits’ plans and their extortion of him with little coercion.

Felix “Hatchet” Hachette, bandit. Felix is a black-haired, dark skinned man who carries a handaxe. He’s relatively scrawny but he’s fully capable of killing somebody.

Tristan “Tris” Bittencourt, bandit. Tris Bittencourt is a burly goon of a man who lives to fight and drink.

Ronald “One-Arm” Berengar, bandit leader. As the name suggests, “One-Arm” Berengar is a man who is missing his right arm. Despite this, he has led an impressive crew of goons. A few years ago, they attacked a ship which carried Drulus the Red, who destroyed their sails with a cloud of flaming meteors. Berengar’s crew managed to overcome this, capture the ship, and put Drulus’ talents to use.

Alley Ambush

A few feet away from the docks, a dragonborn captain named Ziathok is accosted by a number of goons equal to your group’s party, plus Felix Hachette and the dockmaster, Ivan Kovax. The party can easily overhear Felix monologuing. If they don’t interrupt, the exchange goes as follows:

“Well hello, Captain! What a lovely ship you’ve brought into our port. Truly a majestic sight. In fact, it’s one I’d like to see more often. Would you mind terribly handing it over to us?”

Ziathok sputters, then begins to object. “Don’t be ridiculous, that’s—”

“Oh, I’m only asking as a courtesy. You don’t really have a choice here, Captain. I know your sails are destroyed, and I know that because we are responsible for that. And as we speak, your loyal crew is getting drunk and engaging in other vices in the company of my lovely subordinates. Nobody’s coming to help you, captain, so why don’t you play nice, hand over everything you have of value, and maybe we’ll put you on a ship out of here?”

“Never!” the dragonborn captain cries, drawing his cutlass with a loud SHINK.

None of the bandits, including Felix Hachette, will fight to the death if at all possible. If they get injured, they’ll group up as best they can. If the battle turns against them, they’ll retreat to the warehouse, hoping to recruit more goons. Ivan Kovax will flee immediately and put up no resistance if accosted.

Felix Hachette

Felix

Felix Hachette

Medium humanoid (human), chaotic neutral.

Armor Class: 15 (studded leather)

Hit Points: 63

STR: 17 (+3)

DEX: 16 (+3)

CON: 14 (+2)

INT: 14 (+2)

WIS: 11 (+0)

CHA: 14 (+2)

Saving Throws: Str +5, Dex +5, Wis +2

Skills: Athletics +4, Deception +4

Senses: passive Perception 10

Languages: Common, Draconic

Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Multiattack: Felix Hachette makes two melee attacks with his handaxes, or he makes one ranged attack by throwing a handaxe and one melee attack with the other handaxe.

Handaxe (Melee). Melee Weapon Attack, +6 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: (1d6 + 3) slashing damage.

Handaxe (Ranged). Ranged weapon attack, +6 to hit, reach 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: (1d6 + 3) slashing damage.

Tristan Bittencourt

Tristan Bittencourt

Tristan Bittencourt

Medium humanoid (human), chaotic neutral.

Armor Class: 15 (studded leather)

Hit Points: 83

Speed: 30 ft.

STR: 15 (+2)

DEX: 16 (+3)

CON: 14 (+2)

INT: 14 (+2)

WIS: 11 (+0)

CHA: 14 (+2)

Saving Throws Str +4, Dex +5, Wis +2

Skills Athletics +4, Deception +4

Senses passive Perception 10

Languages: Common, Common Sign Language

Challenge 2 (450 XP)

Multiattack. Tristan Bittencourt makes three melee attacks: two with its scimitar and one with its dagger. Or Tristan Bittencourt makes two ranged attacks with its daggers.

Scimitar. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: (1d6 + 3) slashing damage.

Dagger (Melee). Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: (1d4 + 3) piercing damage.

Dagger (Ranged). Ranged Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 20/60 ft., one target. Hit: (1d4 + 3) piercing damage.

Warehouse Fight

Tris Bittencourt and three bandits are here. If no bandits escaped from the alley ambush, they are in the back office, playing dice. Otherwise, they are laying in wait with the escapees, ready to jump the party as they enter.

The last standing bandit will tell the party that the wizard, Drulus, and the boss, One-Arm Berengar, are at the Split Coconut, and if they want to take some vengeance, that’s who they need to deal with.

Captain Ziathok

Captain Ziathok


Captain Ziathok

Medium humanoid (dragonborn)

Armor Class: 14 (leather)

Hit Points: 54

Speed: 30 ft.

STR: 13 (+1)

DEX: 16 (+3)

CON: 14 (+2)

INT: 15 (+2)

WIS: 12 (+1)

CHA: 12 (+1)

Saving Throws: Str +3, Dex +5, Wis +2

Skills: Athletics +3, Stealth +5

Senses: passive Perception 11

Languages: Common, Common Sign Language, Draconic

Multiattack: Ziathok makes one Breath Weapon attack, or two melee attacks with his cutlass.

Breath Weapon (Recharge 1d6). Captain Ziathok exhales cold in a 15-foot cone. Each creature in that area must make a DC 12 Dexterity saving throw, taking 7 (2d6) cold damage on a failed save, or half as much damage on a successful one.

Cutlass +1. Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: (1d8 + 4) magical piercing damage.

Tavern Brawl

The tavern is abuzz with activity and filled with drunken sailors and bandits. One-Arm Berengar is among them, playing a drinking game in the rear with Ziathok’s first mate, Marl Riley. The game appears to involve hammering nails into the table and then drinking. A sword with a fancy looking hilt is at Berengar’s hip.

It’ll take a DC 15 Persuasion roll to convince Marl Riley to join in whatever fight breaks out here. He uses a normal Bandit stat block, save that he does bludgeoning damage, due to using the hammer from the drinking game.

If a fight breaks out, Berengar will first attempt to get Drulus from his room below the tavern, and then fight to the death. Drulus will eagerly turn traitor if bribed.

“One-Arm” Berengar.
His right sleeve is folded and pinned in place.

Captain Ziathok

“One-Arm” Berengar

Medium humanoid (human), chaotic evil.

Armor Class: 15 (studded leather)

Hit Points: 98

Speed: 30 ft.

STR: 13 (+2)

DEX: 16 (+3)

CON: 11 (+0)

INT: 14 (+2)

WIS: 9 (-1)

CHA: 16 (+3)

Saving Throws: Str +4, Dex +5, Cha +5

Skills: Sleight of Hand +5, Intimidation +5

Senses: passive Perception 9

Languages: Common, Common Sign Language, understands Celestial

Sword of Life Stealing: Melee Weapon Attack: +5 to hit, reach 5 ft., one target. Hit: (1d6+5). On a critical success, the target takes an extra 3d6 necrotic damage, unless it is a Construct or Undead. “One-Arm” Berengar then gains temporary hit points equal to half of that damage.

Typical Tavern banner
The Typical Tavern battle map

Wrap Up

With Berengar defeated, Ivan Kovax reappears and thanks the party for their service in liberating this port from the bandit menace. As a reward, he offers them the Crate of Silver Bars from the warehouse. If the party has already looted this, he scowls a little and just says, “Well, you have my thanks, then.”

Port Kalgyx and its amply-stocked ship repair facilities are now available to the party, at half price due to their heroic actions here.

Afterword

This article was written as a tie-in to the ‘Starlight Arcana: A 5e Astral Supplement & Campaign’ which is live right now! The events of this module are not canonical necessarily, but do share similar themes of astral sea travel and peril. If you want more astral weirdness, go check it out!

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