The Star Dragon of the Pelleas Nebula

He is the star dragon of the Pelleas Nebula, he is twenty kilometres long of flying space lizard, and he calls himself Jwpehbcycjyupplcsoucuhfcdxwllddu, but will answer Jed. The humans say he reminds them of their ancient drawings of eastern dragons with his long sinuous body and four sturdy legs. The Pelleas Nebula is a vast stellar nursery nebula more than 150 light years across. Jed claims the nebula and tends to the stars and nascent solar systems as a gardener would tend to their plants. He shepherds asteroids into preferred orbits, adjusts atmospheric compositions, and tinkers with planetary properties. When asked about how he does all this, Jed gives verbose answers beyond current scientific understanding that are part poetry, part avuncular anecdote. Even his method of faster than light travel is not understood as the giant dragon grabs his own tail and disappears into a vortex.

Plot Hooks:

Jed has a moon orbiting a type Z gas giant that is almost ready. He’s been carefully arranging the crater patterns and has placed it in just the right orbit so that its argon atmosphere will reflect the star’s light back through the planet’s rings once every one thousand and thirty two years. There’s one last thing he needs help with. The moon has an abundance of holmium, a side effect from the accelerated techniques that Jed likes to use. Jed would be highly grateful if the party could arrange for the disposal of the rare earth element so that the moon doesn’t attract miners and industry that will spoil Jed’s carefully crafted star system. He’s gathered up the element into what he considers to be a small ball but it is a mindboggling amount of semi-precious minerals that will attract all sorts of cut-throats and economists.

Commodore Braarat Corthono of the 17th Fleet of the Reguluan Navy has declared a blood feud on Jed and that they will not rest until the star dragon has been killed. Jed has absolutely no idea why the commodore is so dedicated in her pursuit over the last four decades. Sometimes she’ll appear with a small fleet, sometimes it’s an elaborate technological trap, once it was a large metal spear attached to a starfighter. She has returned to the nebula this time with a large battleship with an unpleasant looking spinal mounted beam weapon. Jed does not want a fight and is concerned about what damage and harm might be done to those pulled along by Corthono’s obsessions. The star dragon humbly asks the party if they would attempt to negotiate a peaceful end to this conflict.

The party enters the Pelleas Nebula to find Jed fussing and fretting over a particular star system. It is his entry to this eon’s Solar System in Style competition and he is expecting the judges to arrive very soon. There’s too many little things for Jed to handle all by himself and so he offers the party access to his star charts in exchange for their help. He needs a comet’s trajectory changed to be perfectly circular, a red asteroid is needed to complete a rainbow set of orbiting bodies around an ice giant, and that mega-mountain needs to be reshaped into a level 6 Julia set fractal pattern. Finally, could the party find some Onnacosta Lemonix weed? Jed needs it to cover a continent quickly and this notorious robust pest flora is just perfect. Despite Jed’s apparent tension and sense of urgency, it’s only after the tasks are hurriedly complete that he’ll reveal the judges aren’t expected for another century.

As he hasn’t met anyone from the party’s organisation before, Jed is fascinated by the ship and crew. He doesn’t get to meet new people very often and so he joins the party on their mission in the nebula. He’ll happily talk for hours and hours about his work in the stellar nursery and will dispense deep wisdom at the slightest prompts. Though Jed ’s insights are quite valuable at a cultural and personal level, the actual knowledge he offers is oddly archaic, beyond comprehension, or presented via impenetrable anecdotes. His attempts to help invariably end up with him getting in the way, though things never escalate to actual danger. If the party loses patience with Jed and requests that he depart, they will need to be diplomatic otherwise they could upset and potentially offend him. Neither of these things will endear Jed into offering any wanted aid in the future.

Image Credits: Barnard 35 by NASA/CalTech CC-BY-SA-3.0, Southern Crown by Hypatia Alexandria CC-BY-2.0