Lighthouse for the Blind

Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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Character Creation, First Pass

So, we had a great time discussing the general themes and possibilities of the campaign. Still in early planning stages, but despite everything being more complicated, it’s looking better and better.

New Players Joined!
  • Cord Krohn (I don’t know why, but this name screams at me CONAN THE BARBARIAN)
  • Andy Ho
Additional World Facts Established:
  • Multiple Genders for Humanoid Races (there’s some difficulty in reproducing)
  • Giant Nocturnal Mechanical Sand Worm – He Does Not Like You!!!
Some character ideas:
  • Ardent | (social class)
  • Swordsage | Shadowcaster
  • Templar | Incarnate
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Character Creation, Second Pass

So John and Aiden dropped by and we discussed the game’s concepts and what they’d like to play.

New Players Joined!
John Yut Sang Cheung Groenvold
Aidan Price

Additional World Facts Established:

  • There’s ancient technology of some unconventional sort buried beneath the sands of Athas, possibly including da-vinci-inspired airships, nuclear reactors, and other fantastical things
  • There’s an enormous Underdark-like world with multiple races and continent-sized interconnected caverns

Some character ideas:

  • Elven Rogue | Ranger
  • Human Noble | Swashbuckler
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First Session!
Stormpeace
Session theme song (listen while you read):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wordp9vBB38

Adventure Background

Named after the countless plateaus that span the region, The Tablelands consist mostly of barren desert, arid badlands, and intermittent patches of baked mud, dried-out scrubs or petrified forests. This desolation is bounded by the Sea of Silt to the east, the Hinterlands to the west, the Endless Sand Dunes to the south, and an Ever-Waring Battlefield to the north. But the Tablelands are much more than wastelands and boundaries. They are the last shroud of hope for survival in the dying shadow of the blistering sun. Huddled around the last few fertile oases, the inheritors of Athas’ terrible legacy live in small, isolated points of shade scattered across this vast, scorching, and dangerous world.

No strangers to hardship, the people here have carved out their own place from the sand and stone, and the landscape is dotted with hallmarks of their effort. Tombs (called Tors) in particular are revered as tributes to the sacrifices of previous generations, and are frequently found in crags near other important sites.

Once a welcome to weary travelers plodding along the trade routes of the Ivory Triangle, the Tor now known as the Lighthouse for the Blind sits beneath a ruined lighthouse on a cliff overlooking the Estuary of the Forked Tongue. Buried within are unknown warriors who died in vain defending the light of the tower, and the shipwrecks wreathing the base of the Tor add grave insult to their grave injuries. Though it is neither the largest nor the most famous of the Tablelands’ Tors, the Lighthouse for the Blind does represent a typical example of this kind of structure.

However its story does not end there. The mysterious cerulean storms that have plagued the area in recent months have been quite severe, and a few weeks ago, a stray lightning bolt broke open the stone seal separating the lighthouse from the tor. A few humanoids have since been seen wandering inside, and superstitious folk talk of the dead rising to defend their ancient charge.

Tonight, yet another terrible storm is sweeping through the wastes, driving all creatures to take shelter where they can find it. The Lighthouse for the Blind looms on the horizon, and its door is no longer blocked. Will you dare to enter its silent halls?

Characters & Setup
  • Zwaithe, Dahloy, and Morrah were travelling together in the desert looking for another tomb to raid.
  • Aeislun and Jerri (the Kank Herder) were discussing the recent sightings of undead and other foul beasts around the Lighthouse for the Blind.
  • Très was wandering the desert alone, looking for a warrior that could challenge his martial skill.
  • Toan was in some unknown location, completely unaware of where he was about to go.
  • The Dray’s condition and location were unknown.
Player Introduction

The sky has been slowly darkening all day, and the stinging smell of acid rain has been thick in the air. Now it has finally begun to fall, accompanied by loud peals of thunder that seem to roll across the landscape. The great red sun is hidden behind massive blue storm clouds, and a blistering wind blows from the Sea of Silt. As bolts of lightning begin to slam from cloud to ground and choking dust devils climb up the dunes, the need for shelter becomes obvious.

Ahead in the distance, the large ruin of a tower rises from the ground, its form illuminated by the occasional lightning bolt. The cliff on which it is perched seems rocky and solid, and though climbing it in this weather would be folly, it might have some outcropping that would provide safety from the storm. The only alternative is to endure the weather.

Coming together

The massive tor towers above the surrounding desert. A few narrow ledges offer scant protection from the elements, but a closer inspection reveals a massive, arched entryway at least 20 feet tall and 10 feet wide, set into the side of the cliff.

The ground just outside it slopes away from the doorway, directing the falling water out and away. Given this fact and the sturdy nature of the hill, whatever space lies beyond the door should be both dry and safe from lightning and hail. The construction inside seems quite sturdy, so the likelihood of collapse, even in severe conditions such as these, is remote (although the doorway itself seems damaged from prior strikes).

Zwaithe, Dahloy, and Morrah are by chance the first to arrive in the Tor’s entrance. They discover an old bonfire in the center of the chamber, a fresco on the western wall, and a bone gate with a lock beetle on the southern wall.

As the other character enter, Dahloy waves his hands non-threateningly and speaks “Storm-peace” in a few languages – reminding the other characters of a local tradition:

STORM-PEACE

The custom of storm-peace evolved long ago in response to the sudden and severe storms that plague this area. All characters native to the region should already be aware of it.

The basic concept is that an automatic truce exists between all individuals and groups who seek shelter in neutral territory during a lightning storm. Such weather is simply too dangerous for fighting, regardless of people’s feelings toward one other.

Storm-peace is assumed to be in effect unless someone specifically rejects it. Even so, whenever two strangers meet during a lightning storm, they often greet one another by asking “Storm-peace?” simply to ensure that the other knows and respects the tradition.

Storm-peace applies to any thinking humanoid, though not necessarily to other creatures. Many people assume, however, that it applies to any creature able to ask for it, and many legends tell of bards singing songs to giants or other dangerous monsters during a storm-peace. Any character who makes a successful DC 15 Knowledge (Local) or Knowledge (History) check knows and can repeat at least one or two such legends.

In the interim, Aeislun introduces himself as the future king of Tyr while Très rekindles the bonfire. Out of nowhere, Toan appears in front of the bone gateway, utterly confused. Jerri seems depressed at the loss of all his Kanks. The Dray, gravely wounded, seems to be slumped over on one of the Kanks. After a few tense moments, everyone calms down and becomes acquainted.

Deciphering the Fresco

Zwaithe first notices the fresco depicting the Sorcerer-Kings as the gods of the light defeating the evil goddess Rajaat in the time before time. It is a story with which everyone in the tablelands is familiar. On closer inspection, Zwaithe notices that there is actually an older Mosaic behind the peeling fresco. With the help of several other characters and a little bit of fire, the fresco is melted (damaging only one panel of the mosaic). Dahloy is able to translate the ancient tyrian language, though the imagery is plain for everyone to see:

The Mosaic of Kelanen

Long ago, a hero named Kelanen mastered all nine disciplines of the martial art known as the Law to protect against the alien menace of the Far Realm. At the time, the individual schools, philosophies, and traditions of the Law were scattered haphazardly across the world. Adherents of the various disciplines were the fiercest of rivals, each seeking to prove the superiority of his or her own school over all the others. None understood that the divisions they wrought were the true threat.

But having mastered all nine disciplines, Kelanen set out to end this rivalry. He returned to each place where he had studied and took its single most promising student as his own apprentice. Then he led his nine apprentices to the Koschak mountains – where the very edge of Athas grazed against the forbidden secrets of the Far Realm. Here he founded the Temple of Nine Swords to guard the Living Gate that separated beauty from horror, reason from madness. For many years, Kelanen and his Nine Masters sought the path to perfection, walking farther down the road of the Law than anyone had before – or since. Hundreds of students came to them and learned much from their temple.

After a century of study and teaching, Kelanen called his masters together and told them he was leaving to complete his epic quest: to sever the world’s connection with the Far Realm, once and for all. Age had never touched him, other than to whiten his hair and line his face. The masters begged him to stay, but Kelanen refused. Before he left, though, he gave each master a gift – a sword that embodied the principles, skills, and philosophy of the recipient’s first discipline, each forged from a shard of the Living Gate itself. “As long as these swords remain together, the Temple will never fail,” he told the Nine Masters. “Now I go.” And he set off alone through the portal, on foot and unarmed, because he feared nothing in the world. No one ever saw him again.

(this panel was damaged) A lifetime passed, and one by one Kelanen’s original disciples … something shattered the Living Gate … the nine swords were cast … stole Supernal Clarity … dooming them all … Kelanen himself carried the vorpal blade … corruption from within … simply a myth.

Whatever the case, the temple is no more and even its true location has been lost to memory.

The Descent into the Tor

After these revelations, the cerulean storm increased in strength and seemed to be centered on the Tor.

With an almost deafening crack, a staggering bolt of lightning strikes the doorway to the Tor, causing it to collapse abruptly. As the dust settles, you realize that the rubble would take days to clear, although the damage seems confined squarely to the doorway.

There’s no going back.

Morrah was buried and Zwaithe was knocked unconscious by the collapsing entrance. Though Morrah was able to escape the rubble, Zwaithe would remain unconscious for the rest of the session.

Deciding to venture deeper into the Tor, Toan strikes the bone gate with his mighty Minotaur Greathammer – first lodging it in grid of bone before simply ripping the door from the wall. When Jerri, the Kank Herder, tries to make a run for it, Très warns him of the likely dangers ahead. Jerri stops just in time, as Aeislun discovers a trap just inches away. Toan strikes the crumbling ground, revealing a pit lined with sharp bone spikes. With a some more pounding, the giant destroys the spikes entirely. By climbing into the pit and kneeling, he provides a convenient platform for the other characters to move safely across into the next room.

First Encounter with the Sauren

The stone chamber beyond the entrance measures at least ten paces square. Peeling glaze and broken sculpting suggest that it was once decorated with some care, but now only dust remains.

Dominating the center of the room is a long trench filled with a glowing green substance whose smell nearly causes your hair to stand on end. Likewise, the pungent smell of mildew emanates from the wet dungeon walls…

For a moment you consider taking your chances in the storm, but on second thought the room seems safe enough. Three passageways lead deeper into the tor – one each to the left and right, and one directly across from the entrance. The way forward is barred by another bone portcullis.

Once everyone files into the room, a strange-looking sauren opens the bone portcullis with a depressed but curious look on its face. Aeislun takes the first shot.

An action-packed battle ensues when the sauren reinforcements arrive to assist their injured brethren. Several of the player characters are injured, but none gravely. Toan instantly splattered one skirmisher before Aeislun attempted to test the healing qualities of the glowing green substance. Both dying test subjects choked to death under his care. The last sauren was impaled by spears and pulverized by sling stones when he turned the corner beyond the forward passage-way.

The party gains the following items:

Glue Shot Sling Bullets (6), 2 bone daggers, 2 leather armors, 2 leather slings, sling bullets (37), 2 hide armors, and 2 bone spears.

Rest and Revenge

After the battle, the party decides to regroup. Dahloy investigates the next area, where he sees a large spiked, slime-covered skull swinging towards him. Dozens of laughing Sauren in the rest of the room taunt him as he retreats.

Back at the bonfire, Zwaithe and the Dray seem to be slowly stirring awake from the gaging smell of the green substance. Jerri pukes in the corner as he realizes what has become of all his beloved Kanks (their innards are at least one ingredient of the green sludge), and with some nudging by the other characters, vows revenge on the sauren for their terrible deed!

As the party regains their strength, they resolve to push deeper into the Tor to discover a way out of its haunted tombs…

Wrap Up

Everyone that showed up decided to award their character points evenly. So Toan, Aeislun, and Très each received 3 CPs, Dahloy earned 2 CPs, and Zwaithe earned 1 CP. Please keep track of how many CPs you’ve invested and how many you’ve earned in total!

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Second Session
Stormpeace
Session Theme Song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uKP-Jbo5Hr0

Characters & Setup
  • Zwaithe and the Dray are unconscious after taking a beating from the storm and resulting collateral damage.
  • Aeislun was tending the wounded and devising a plan for what to do next.
  • Jerri was vowing to avenge his dead kanks by slaughtering every last Sauren.
  • Très was trying to calm down Jerri.
  • Toan was resting and trying to shake off a feeling of déjà vu.
  • Dahloy and Morrah were resting happily by the fire.
Quick Summary:

After resting by the fire for a while, someone produces a fiddle (you forgot who brought it in) and everyone sings and has a good time. The commotion manages to awaken Zwaithe and the Dray, who is seemingly suffering from short-term amnesia after his bout with the storm. After filling them in on what has happened so far, Aeislun decides to investigate the western room while Très and the Dray investigate the eastern room. The western room looks like a Balic Burial Chamber with a line of salt across the entrance-way (probably to keep an evil spirit contained within the room). The eastern room is filled with the webs of an ambush spider and is largely concealed. Deciding to avoid the western room for now, Très sets fire to the spider’s webs – clearing out the chamber. Aeislun rushes in and attempts to finish off the little spiders, but doesn’t count on their gigantic mother hiding behind the stone tiles. A quick venomous prick to his neck puts him down for the count and the other characters loot the cocooned corpses quickly before running out. Fortunately one of the corpses held the body of an alchemist-turned-archaeologist with a few unused healing extracts, so Aeislun is back on his feet in no time (that’s two remaining healing extracts for those counting).

While the characters are deciding what to do next, the Dray is able to translate some of the chanting from the other room: “Skull-Skull, SKULL-SKULL.” He reveals that this is a sport of some kind among the Sauren and quickly a plan is hatched to try to beat the Sauren at their own game. This plan fails due to a few poorly chosen words. Then the characters try to goad the Sauren from their easily defensible position into a small funnel where they can be easily dealt with. They don’t take the bait. When the characters finally try “Storm-Peace,” it’s way too late and the Sauren unleash the “Spitters.” A fight ensues in which the characters mercilessly slaughter a pack of swindlespitters and guard drakes that try to ambush them, but Toan is temporarily blinded in the process.

The conclusion is a dramatic standoff between the Sauren and the characters, with neither willing to give up their easily defensible position. However, the Sauren seem to be blocking the only apparent exit from the Lighthouse for the Blind…

Wrap Up

Everyone that showed up decided to award their character points evenly. So the Dray, Aeislun, Dahloy, Jerri, and Très each received 3 CPs. Please keep track of how many CPs you’ve invested and how many you’ve earned in total!

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Third Session
Stormpeace
Theme Song for this Session (listen while you read):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cDZXHjxmpXQ

Characters & Setup

After having defeated the swindlespitters and guard drakes of the sauren, the party finds themselves in a dramatic standoff with the Skull-Skull clan – with neither willing to give up their easily defensible positions. A long corridor with a sharp corner is all that separates the combatants.

  • Zwaithe, still in his skull-skull disguise, waited with whip in hand to punish anything that turned the sharp corner to the skull-skull room.
  • Medrash (the Dray), heaving from the recent use of his icy dragon breath, stood squarely in the center of the entrance.
  • Aislun stood a fair ways off since he could still feel the spider’s venom coursing through his veins.
  • Jerri was flanked by his kanks guarding the eastern side of the makeshift barricade.
  • Très was ready to catch whatever the sauren threw at him in his scorpion claw gauntlets.
  • Toan, reeling from the swindlespitter’s blinding attack, was desperately trying to clean the sticky, acidic glue from his eyes.
  • Morrah maintained the shapesand barricade as Dahloy rested his hand crossbow between the custom-made arrow slits.
Summary:

The session began with a few tense moments as the party waited for the sauren to make the first move. When the sauren simply started another game of skull-skull (seemingly out of boredom), the party decided to try to find another way out. Half the party ventured back toward the western room (the Balic Burial Chamber) to investigate the line of salt across the entry-way, while the other half continued to guard the southern corridor.

The Balic Burial Chamber

As they crossed the line of salt, a low hum stirred the wind, “Beware! He that hides a dark soul and foul thoughts, benighted walks under the mid-day sun, for he, himself, is his own dungeon!” And slowly smoke from the dozen or so candles wreathing the shrine in the back of the room coalesced into a roughly humanoid shape. After a few moments of startled hesitation, the assembled investigators took a few steps closer and triggered a pressure plate beneath their feet! One of the standing armors’ visors flicked up to reveal a firing mechanism – an action which was immediately followed by a volley of darts.

Très, Toan, and Medrash dodged the darts while attempting to appraise the threat posed by the spirit. Upon seeing Toan among the group, the spirit raised its ghostly arm in a non-threatening manner. Over the next few minutes, Aislun disabled the Balic Dart Traps while the party learned more about the spirit hovering before them. It called itself the “Initiate,” and had summoned Toan to this place to finally complete the task that was its life’s work. In exchange for aiding it in this task, it would show the party another exit and spare them a certain death at the hands of the dishonored Balic soldiers interned in the chamber.

The party agreed. With some work, Toan was able to draw the seal and bind the spirit to the pact – conferring upon him some small measure of the spirit’s power, but also granting the spirit a vessel through which to experience the world again… and perhaps, achieve its life’s purpose. This time, the Initiate would stop at nothing to attain Supernal Clarity, the greatest weapon ever forged by Kelanen and the greatest symbol of the martial arts styles he mastered (collectively known as the Sublime Way or the Law). He advised Toan that only masters of the Sublime Way could properly wield the sword, and to the uninitiated, it might not even appear as a weapon.

Loot:
20 darts, 4 psishards (trap targeting components)

Halls of the Blind

As the spirit crept into Toan’s mind, it provided him a glimpse of his means of escape and the threats they all faced, “I can see what you see not. Vision milky as eyes rot. When you turn they will be gone, whispering their hidden song. Then you see what cannot be! Shadows move where light should be! Out of darkness, out of mind, cast down into the Halls of the Blind!” Behind the shrine to King Kalak lay tunnels to the Lighthouse for the Blind’s terrible secret, and it’s exit. The tunnels were guarded by soul-sucking shades which could only be warded off by bright light. Hence the candles. After quickly prying the shrine from the wall, Très activated his natural iridescence to stave off the creatures while all the party members but Aislun and Jerri took shelter in his glow.

With the other party members gone, Aislun attempted to loot the sarcophagi in the Balic Burial Chamber (against Medrash’s and the Initiate’s advice). As he moved one lid, it sparked to life displaying the crashing of a fleet of ships onto the Lighthouse’s unlit shores. One of the very men that failed to defend the beacon of the lighthouse lay motionless in the sarcophagus. Given a new opportunity to avenge his honor, the creature’s bones began to shake as he stirred to undeath. Aislun quickly devised a new plan: lead the shades and the rising undead to attack the sauren in the other room! When he went to check on Jerri and his kanks, they were nowhere to be seen. Confused, Aislun took the shrine’s candles and made a break down the halls of the blind, but not before being snagged by a few of the tenacious shades. It seemed his plan worked as the shades and skeletons seemed to move toward the commotion of the Skull-Skull game. The Initiate’s only comment: “In the back of your mind there’s a whole open wide where the darkness creeps in from the outside. You can light rows of candles to cast the dark out, but it’s always there hiding… in shadows of doubt.”

The Door Before the Law

At the end of the Halls of the Blind was a room clearly much older than the rest of the tor. In it stood a giant circular slab presumably blocking a doorway. Engraved upon the slab was a similar scene as that depicted on the Balic sarcophagi: the lighthouse with a blackened light; its shores wreathed by shipwrecks. The Initiate insisted that Toan roll aside the slab. Once he had revealed the corridor beyond, the two split momentarily as a light flashed from the face of the slab. In the eye of the beacon, the two creatures acted out their ancient roles: Toan as the guard, and the Initiate as the man he once was…

Before the Law, there stands a guard. A man comes from the desert, begging admittance to the Law. The guard does not admit him. The man thinks about it and then asks if he will be allowed to enter at a later time? “It’s possible,” says the guard, “but not now.” The man tries to peer through the entrance. He had been taught that the Law should be accessible to every man. “Don’t even think about it,” says the guard. “If it tempts you so much, go ahead and try it. But beware: I am very powerful. Yet I am weakest of all the guards. There are many guards before the Law, and each guard is more powerful than the last. I dare not even look upon the third…” By the guard’s permission, the man sits down by the side of the door, and there he waits. For years, he waits. Everything he has, he gives away in the hope of bribing the guard, who never fails to say to him, “I’m taking this only so that you don’t feel like you’ve accomplished nothing.” Keeping his watch during the long years, the man has learned to know even the fleas in the guard’s fur. And growing childish in old age, he begs the very fleas to persuade the guard to change his mind and allow him to enter. His sight has dimmed, but in the darkness he perceives a radiance streaming immortally from the door of the law. And now, before he dies, all he’s experienced condenses into one question, a question he’s never asked. He beckons to the guard. Says the guard, “You are insatiable! What is it now?” Says the man, “Every man strives to attain the law. How is it then that in all these years, no one else has ever come here, seeking admittance?” His hearing has failed, so the guard yells into his ear, “No one else but you could ever have obtained admittance! No one else could enter this door! This door was intended only for you! And now, I am going to close it."

As the vision ended, Toan and the Initiate re-bound and regained control of themselves. This time, instead of closing the doorway, the two simply walked through, toward the Law (whatever that really is) and the rest of the party followed…

Royal Chamber of the Law

The next chamber was just as old as the first one, perhaps from the Green Age, with large stone doors to the left and forward. Standing, weapon drawn, in the center of the room was the guardian of the chamber. What was once a masterwork splint-mail armor and Katana were little more than rusting heaps of metal held aloft by the strange warrior. Vines crept from the dirt floor up over the boots of the creature and its glaring orange eyes provided the only illumination in the chamber. Hardly noticing the creature, the party darted for the southern door…

This room was truly the site of a royal burial! A jade and gold encrusted sarcophagus sat prominently on a raised platform at the center of the room. Was it King Kalak’s?! Sure enough, royal embalming pots lined the left and right walls of the chamber, magical glyphs adorned almost every surface, and more gold pieces than the party had ever seen was practically overflowing from a chest in the back of the room.

Just in front of the sarcophagus, a well-adorned pedestal held a pillow aloft. Upon the pillow sat a strange looking chastity belt of masterwork quality. Its buckle depicting the profile of what could best be described as a Zhackal (a psionic athasian jackal) with nine tails that wrapped around the waist before melting into the shape of nine tongues which reconnected with the buckle. Upon closer inspection, the tails/tongues were bladed and appeared to be part of the locking mechanism of the buckle, which doubled as a hilt of some kind, indicating that part of the belt doubled as a weapon of some kind. Strangely, the metallic ribbons appeared to twist and wave slowly with a life of their own, as though the Zhackal were trying to speak but was restrained by its own tail…

Convinced that Toan was the only guardian that really stood between him and the Law, and that the strange blade-belt on the pedestal must be the fabled blade Supernal Clarity, the Initiate urged his vessel to take it and find a way to activate it. As the party looked on, Toan somehow managed to take the legacy item without activating any traps, however the spirit of the Initiate was thrust from his body and proved unable to climb onto the central platform. Dahloy surmised that the largest glyph covering the entire surface of the central platform must be that of an Antimagic Zone coupled with a Magic Circle Against Spirits, which prevented the use of magic and blocked the passage of spirits anywhere within its bounds. As Toan stepped outside the bounds of the zone and unhinged the buckle (it was already unlocked), streams of fire shot out of the mouth of the caricature Zhackal and into the open air. Just as the smoke had coalesced into the Initiate earlier, these smokeless flames began to take on a roughly humanoid form.

In a flash, the creature became solid in the party’s midst. Completely naked, his exotic figure, chiseled features, and copper-toned… assets appeared too perfect to be true, and you suspected illusory magic was at work. “I think he’s an elf,” someone says. Soon after you noticed some tell-tale magical signs: a lock of his otherwise golden-red hair was an ivory white, his eyes were an unnaturally bright shade of blue, and he sported nine Zhackal-like tails. Evidently confused and embarrassed, the creature somehow hid his tail from view before speaking in a language that could only have been the dead language of Ancient Tyrian. With some guesswork, Dahloy was able to learn that the Elf’s name was Aaromal, that the party sounded like slaves to him, and that he wanted the sword and belt back. By this time, someone had identified that the sword was not Supernal Clarity, but instead was the “Tail/Tale Spinner” – a famous hoax sword said to have convinced many seekers of the Law that it was any number of the fabled blades forged by Kelanen. In fact, it was created by an infamous group called the Forsaken. The Initiate was crushed. After some convincing, Toan decided to give the items to the stranger, but not before he promised to help them escape from the tor. Aaromal agreed.

As a first gesture of his new allegiance, Aaromal identified the burial chamber as belonging to his former master the Efreeti Pasha Quor’Ash yn Memnon adh Shoon. He then advised the party that tampering with any other part of the room would almost certainly lead to instant death. This was enough to deter any more experimentation…

The Second Door Before the Law

As the party entered the previous chamber once again, the guardian addressed them:

“Storm-Peace? I am Umata, splinter of the Living Gate, mindful of the Way of the Law, although you may think of me simply as a guardian, a telepath, or a student. I am also these things. However, I am still perplexed by the bounds of this physical realm. I appear to be… stuck? Yes, stuck. I yearn for the taste of these lands, these things, these dreams… will you help me?”

“And what do we gain by helping you?”, the party said, almost in unison.

“For many years, I upheld my oath to guard the second door before the Law. As was my skill, I maintained the traps to ward away those unworthy of admittance. Once I became… stuck… and was unable to physically fulfill my sacred duties, I spent much time in contemplation of the Law. If you show yourself to have the wisdom to pass beyond this door, then I shall disable what traps remain and go forth to seek the Way of the Law in the lands beyond these walls. In doing so, I shall leave you in peace.”

Before the party fully agreed to the deal, Aislun kicked the shin of Umata’s armor, shattering it in one swift motion. Beneath the broken shards laid a writhing mass of desiccated vines, out of which two bulbous orange eyes appeared like eye stalks. “I thank you.”, the plant-like creature said into the minds of those present, as its humbled form began to shamble toward the doorway from which the party had come. Medrash gave Umata a word of warning, “This world ain’t as nice to plants as it used to be…”, but the creature didn’t look back as it crossed the first door before the Law. Confronted now with the second doorway before the Law, the party realized this steel doorway could not be as easily bypassed as the first. Beside the doorway were carved three inscriptions. Each seemed to be a poem… the answer(s) would like be the password to open the magical door. The three riddles were thus:

In the dark night flies a many-hued phantom.
It soars and spreads its wings
above the gloomy human crowd.
The whole world calls to it,
the whole world implores it.
At dawn the phantom vanishes
to be reborn in every heart.
And every night ’t is born anew
and every day it dies!

If you break me
I do not stop working,
If you touch me
I may be snared,
If you lose me
Nothing will matter.

I am a double-edged sword, a fool’s crown:
Raise me up high, and I’ll cut you down.
Push me down low, and mark my word:
The call of the ages will be answered.

After many attempts to guess the correct answer, Aislun began reading the horticulture manual the party found on the alchemists body earlier in the tomb. With a bit of effort and a lot of luck, they stumbled upon the correct answer: “Hope.”

Another flash of light emanated from the door as the beacon of the Lighthouse for the Blind swept across the chamber. This time, another phantom (the Initiate’s father?) played opposite the spirit. The much younger looking Initiate spoke:

“Which way is the right path, as I stand upon
this chaotic crossroad of hate…
How many ways are there to roam
on this dark and damned road of Fate…"

“There are many ways, my son,
to find where the souls of Demons remain…
But it takes only one second of despair and of doubt
until at last, your soul, they will gain…
Inherit these lands, these things, these dreams
that are yours, forever, to adore…
For there is no life, in the depths of Chaos, my son,
for you to explore…"

And with that, the door opened seemingly under its own power.

The Final Door Before the Law

The final room was an expansive cavern. What the party initially mistook for rock formations turned out to be dozens of uncannily detailed humanoid statues of various adventures, treasure hunters, and tomb raiders. Each faced the very center of the cavern where a reinforced steel door blocked access to a solid drake-bone outcropping that likely led deeper into the dungeon. It would be impossible to bypass except by rather explicit means. Carefully, the party made their way down to the center of the room and discovered a simple stone sarcophagus, a long inscription, and three large statues looking down upon them. The Ancient Tyrian inscription read:

Here lies Sahanna Al’Shadar, Master of the Sublime Way, and Final Guardian Before the Law. Challenge her if you dare to attain the greatest Honor a Warrior shall ever have. But heed this: The Law also values intelligence – one should not needlessly take to battle. Show that you are not blind to this truth before the three judges above and you shall have proven your worth in their eyes…

The inscription goes on to describe how one might do this, in summary:

These three animated statues, one made of Limestone, one of Marble, and one of Jade are haunted by the vestiges of the ancient refugees, in no particular order, Kelanan, Rajaat, and Ikxtli. Kelanan always speaks truly, Rajaat always speaks falsely, but whether Ikxtli speaks truly or falsely is a completely random matter. Your test is to determine the identities of the Limestone, Marble, and Jade statues by asking a series of yes-no questions; each question must be put to exactly one statue. The statues understand all languages, but will answer all questions in their own language, in which the words for yes and no are da and ja, in some order. You do not know which word means which.

* It could be that some statue gets asked more than one question (and hence that some statue is not asked any question at all).
* What the second question is, and to which statue it is put, may depend on the answer to the first question. (And of course similarly for the third question.)
* Questions may be as complex as desired, so long as they may be answered with either a yes or a no. If a question cannot be answered with a yes or a no, for any reason, the statue will simply remain silent.
* Whether Ikxtli speaks truly or not should be thought of as depending on the flip of a coin hidden in its brain: if the coin comes down heads, it speaks truly; if tails, falsely.
* The penalty for incorrectly naming the statues is instant petrification of the speaker.

The party is allowed three free questions. Each additional question will require the sacrifice of an eye-ball from a still-living, sentient creature. If fewer than three questions are required to correctly solve the riddle, the remaining questions up to three may instead be wishes as the “Limited Wish” spell granted by the vestiges on behalf of the whole party. If the sarcophagus, other statues, or doorway are disturbed in any way, the guardian will test the party in battle.

After considerable discussion, the party eventually figured out from the Initiate and Aaromal that “Ja” means “Yes” and that “Da” means “No” in Ancient Tyrian. In the alchemist’s/archaeologist’s journal, the party found references to the puzzle. The delver seemed to indicate that the first step was to resolve which statue was Ikxtli. They then resolved to ask the following questions:

Q1: To the Limestone Statue, “Are you Ikxtli if and only if the other two statues would answer ‘ja’ to the first part of this question?”
A1: Silence.

Q2: To the Marble Statue, “Are you Ikxtli if and only if the other two statues would answer ‘ja’ to the first part of this question?”
A2: Silence.

Q3: To the Limestone Status, “Are you Ikxtli?”
A3: “Ja.”

The party then addressed the three statues:

“The Marble statue is Kelanen, the Limestone status is Rajaat, and the Jade statue is Ikxtli!”

Once again the door flashed with light, but instead of another scene with the Initiate, the party was greeted with a shining corona. It seemed like a living, flowing gateway emblazoned along the edges of the door. As the shape of nine swords were withdrawn from the archway, the millions of points of light were scattered like splinters and the doorway grew painfully dark…

And with that, the final doorway opened and everyone let out a big sigh of relief.

Rolling Thunder of a Shining Shore

Down a long petrified dragon-like maw the party tread. Rib bones lined the walls, providing extra reinforcement for what was likely a well-guarded secret millennia in the making. At the bottom, the party could hear the sound of the silt sea’s winds and the faint clangs of battle. A small cove exposed to the elements (likely below the lighthouse facing the sea of silt), revealed itself. The tragic shipwrecks were now closer than ever just at the mouth of the cave and for some reason the sand seemed to shimmer. A rope and bucket dangled from the ceiling in the a small pool of freshwater streaming in from an underground stream to the south. It must be a well of some kind. In the center of the chamber, just before the shelf descended to the lower entrance to the cove, above a pedestal floated two cylindrical objects about the side of a sword’s hilt.

Then they realized: the entire floor of the cove was covered with Silver Pieces! Just as they were about to start shoveling them all into their pockets, a strange creature flew out of the shadows from behind a stalagmite. Enormous, with bony, spiked chitin covering every gap of its long and slender body, it flew gracefully through the air directly at the party. With a final glimpse before it attacked, they were able to recognize a single large jewel pulsating in its forehead…

Wrap Up

I don’t think we really had a chance to distribute character points, and we technically got a little further into the battle, but I’d like to rewind to the start for any newcomers and give you guys some credit now for all the awesome stuff you pulled off above. So Aislun gets 3 CPs, Toan gets 3 CPs, Dahloy gets 2 CPs, Jerri gets 1 CP, Medrash gets 1 CP, and Aaromal gets 2 CPs.

Not much loot in this session, but now everyone’s standing in the room full of silver!

View
Fourth Session
Stormpeace
Theme Song for this Session (listen while you read):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lRsycxGgyuI

Characters & Setup

After completing the third and final trial before the Law, the party descended down through the maw of the ancient tunnels to an underground cove leading out to the Sea of Silt. The tragic shipwrecks were now closer than ever – just at the mouth of the cave. For some reason the sand seemed to shimmer. A rope and bucket dangled from the ceiling in the a small pool of freshwater streaming in from an underground stream to the south. It must be a well of some kind. In the center of the chamber, just before the shelf descended to the lower entrance to the cove, two cylindrical objects floated above a pedestal (each about the size of a sword’s hilt).

The Initiate screamed out, “At last! The Law is mine!” as he flew over to the hovering metal cylinders. Grasping the cylinders in both hands, he became fascinated by some unseen vision in the space between them. After a few seconds of wonderment, the smoke of his form was somehow sucked into the empty space between the strange objects. In a fraction of a second, the last vestiges of his lingering spirit were sucked from existence…

Then the party realized: the entire floor of the cove was covered with Silver Pieces! Just as they were about to start shoveling them all into their pockets, a strange creature flew out of the shadows from behind a stalagmite. Enormous, with bony, spiked chitin covering every gap of its long and slender body, it flew gracefully through the air directly at the party. With a final glimpse before it attacked, they were able to recognize a single large jewel pulsating in its forehead…

  • Toan, Medrash, Très, Dahloy, and Morrah were in the lead of the group, ready to face the creature in the tough battle sure to come.
  • Zwaithe, Aeislun, and Aaromal took up the rear.
  • Jerri’s fate was still unknown.
Rolling Thunder of a Shining Shore

The battle was intense, but short. Zwaithe, Aeislun, and Dahloy all attacked the creature from range while Toan, Medrash, and Très attempted to engage it in melee. After a few failed attempts to penetrate it’s armor, Zwaithe and Aeislun went about the task of collecting silver pieces. Toan managed to slam the ground and blind the creature with a hail of silver pieces, while Medrash yelled something in Draconic (seemingly to calm the monster). In that moment, a dead skull-skull sauren fell from the top of the well into the water at the bottom of the well. It appeared to have been slain during whatever battle was raging above.

After a failed attack on Toan, the creature attempted to withdraw from the current battle by flying up the well. This drew attacks from its immediate attackers, and Très even managed to latch onto its tail with his scorpion chain. By gaining control of the grapple, the creature wrapped its spike covered exterior around the poor gladiator and constricted – bringing him to within an inch of his life before dropping him into the well. As it flew further up, Medrash followed while Dahloy used the second of the party’s healing extracts to resuscitate Très. Together, Medrash and Très felt a weight on the well’s rope, and jerked it down. An undead skeleton in ancient Balic armor fell down into the pool, helplessly. It would seem Aeislun’s plan to lure the undead Balic guards and the shades into attacking the Skull-Skull clan worked!

Around this time, Dahloy and the others had been examining the cylinders floating above the pedestal. They seemed simple and unadorned while the pedestal itself was richly engraved. Like a living bridge, the pedestal crossed from one side of the stream to the other, its arches intertwined with vines and leaves, while its path was of natural wood. Words of Ancient Giustenal were engraved on its sides. No one in the party could understand them. However, everyone in the party could see that the space between the floating cylinders seemed completely devoid of material whatsoever. Silt blowing from the sea seemed to phase out of existence as it passed through the space, and when one looked out into the sea, it appeared like an uncharacteristically calm sky and sea.

Seizing the opportunity, Dahloy took one cylinder in each hand, seemed to focus on an unknown task, and then held the two cylinders toward the flailing skeleton as one would hold a great, two-handed crossbow. A second later, the simple toothpick from his mouth had been fired clear through the creature’s skull – splintering it into a million pieces. A wide grin crossed his face as he realized he had found a truly powerful weapon…

In the meantime, Très and Medrash continued to pursue the spinewyrm up the well. Medrash yelled another phrase in draconic which Dahloy was able to translate to the party later, “We are not a threat to you – we mean only to help or to hide!” Someone noticed the shades descending down the sides of the well. When it looked like Medrash was about to be surrounded by the darkness, the spinewyrm let out a mighty roar and swallowed him whole (cutting off the rope in the process). Très fell down the well for a second time as the remainder of the party regrouped, fought off the shades (even by firing a sword from a vorpal crossbow), before realizing their only remaining means of escape: the shipwrecks. With some searching, the party was able to spot Umata repairing one of the damaged silt-skimmers, and so the party loaded it up with all the silver they could carry as the sound of hurried footsteps blew down from the tunnel from which they came.

Loot:
5,780 silver pieces, 115 copper pieces, 10 gold pieces, an ivory necklace, a ruby, an amethyst, a jade ring, a silver and bone ceremonial dagger, an ornate snuff box, and 10 dyed feathers.

The Silver Lining

With Dahloy at its helm wielding Supernal Clarity, the silt-skimmer carrying the party and its massive treasure pulled away from the lighthouse for the blind. The tiny vessel seemed to occupy the very eye of the storm raging outside, but through the lens of the skillful weapon, Dahloy was able to witness events beyond the hurricane. The massive battle outside was being fought by none other than King Tithian’s allied rebels and King Kalak’s loyal templars. A small party of heroes seemed to be turning the tide toward King Tithian’s favor when a small object went hurtling from the group toward the spinewyrm (now swimming through the storm clouds). The party surmised that the object must’ve been the fabled Heartwood Spear that had been used to kill Kalak the first time, and had it not been for one of his loyal templars that flew in at the last second, it might’ve succeeded the second time. In the end, the spirit of King Kalak showed its terrible might – blasting out of the gem on the forehead of the spinewyrm -with an unimaginable display of arcane magic. Soon, nothing remained of the group of heroes loyal to King Tithian. By then, all that could be seen through the lens of Supernal Clarity was the strange, blinding light of the lighthouse as they drifted further out into the now calm Sea of Silt…

Wrap Up

Toan got 4 character points, the GM got 3 (muhahaha), Medrash got 4 character points, Dahloy got 3, and Très got 1.

New Players

Dan, Russell, and Vlad joined us this session. Everyone give them a big welcome!

Here’s their world facts:

* There is a well where once a month you can change alignment. guarded by the spirits of all those that turned to evil but were once good. To become good you must kill a spirit guarding the well. If you want to turn evil, your spirit will haunt/guard the well. For good→evil, you may choose one person to die (like a curse of death). For evil→good, you may free one spirit from haunting/guarding the well.

* Nobody knows when it will come, it’s totally unpredictable, but for one full day (from sun up to sun down) all magic ceases to function. If you happen to perform a very specific ritual in the moments before that full day, then your magic continues to work normally (like Initiate of Mystra feat).

* Somewhere in Athas, there exists a being who knows the True Name of all things. The Truenamer has appeared in legends and fables of many cultures since before the Blue Age, and has taken on many different forms. The Truenamer is never the hero or the villain of the stories, but is often seen as the guiding hand of providence that appears when most needed, whether it be as a beggar who gives the hero advice, or as the inexplicable path that leads a protagonist through a sea of flame. The existence of the One Truenamer is debated among those scholars that have studied such things, but all will readily agree that there is a pattern found in the legends and fables that could be explained with the existence of such a One Truenamer, or Truenamers.

The Truenamer exists – has always existed, and will exist until the end of Athas’ days.

View
Fifth Session
Good Intentions
Theme Song for this Session (listen while you read):

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mUPDzniTrWs&feature=BFa

Characters & Setup

With Dahloy at its helm wielding Supernal Clarity, the silt-skimmer carrying the party and its massive treasure pulled away from the Lighthouse for the Blind. The tiny vessel seemed to occupy the very eye of the storm raging outside, but through the lens of the skillful weapon, Dahloy was able to witness events beyond the hurricane. The massive battle outside was being fought by none other than King Tithian’s allied rebels and King Kalak’s loyal templars. A small party of heroes seemed to be turning the tide toward King Tithian’s favor when a small object went hurtling from the group toward the spinewyrm (now swimming through the storm clouds). The party surmised that the object must’ve been the fabled Heartwood Spear that had been used to kill Kalak the first time, and had it not been for one of his loyal templars that flew in at the last second, it might’ve succeeded the second time. In the end, the spirit of King Kalak showed its terrible might – blasting out of the gem on the forehead of the spinewyrm -with an unimaginable display of arcane magic. Soon, nothing remained of the group of heroes loyal to King Tithian. By then, all that could be seen through the lens of Supernal Clarity was the strange, blinding light of the lighthouse as they drifted further out into the now calm Sea of Silt…

After taking some time to collect their treasures and wits, the characters realized that they were now the richest Athasians they had ever met (unless that really was King Kalak back there). Each took a moment to appraise their situation:

  • Dahloy, the Fool, stood at the helm of the silt-skimmer smirking to himself while trying to guide it toward the city of Nibenay.
  • As the Initiate’s summoning magic wears off, Toan says a quick goodbye to his fellow survivors before being teleported back to his previous location.
  • Umata is falling unconscious as he was gravely injured by defiling magics unleashed during the cerulean storm.
  • Très, a bit disheveled from his near-death experience with the spinewyrm, removes his shirt to better dress some wounds.
  • Aaromal, on the other hand, finally put some clothes on before realizing how desolate the world had become.
  • Aeislun began the tedious (and satisfying) task of counting all the silver aboard.
  • Zwaithe reiterated that he only lived for the thrill of dungeon delving, but as one of only educated party members, nevertheless double-checked Aeislun’s accounting.
  • Somewhere else, Aliin, the Self-Shade, prowled through the night in pursuit of those that called for his death…
  • And the Rhetorical Rymyr ran with her bodyguard Xaus of Alfala up a long, barren, coastal road…
Abreast of the Situation

It was late at night, the party was resting after their narrow escape, but not all was well. The silt-skimmer, heavily weighed down by the party, treasure, and collecting silt, was nearly sinking and in need of repair. Umata, seemingly the only one capable of shaping wood to his will, was slowly dying. Dahloy considered using the last healing extract to save him, but ultimately decided against it. Before falling unconscious, Umata blabbered something incomprehensible about finding the sword-splinters to recreate the living gate which separates reason from madness. Someone commented that perhaps it was only the strange-plant man that was mad. Umata’s final telepathic words were, “Now I must feed…”

It was about this moment that Toan disappeared and the boat rocked violently from the lost weight. Dahloy and Aeislun cursed the situation as they realized their time at sea was limited and once on shore, it would be extremely cumbersome (and dangerous) to carry all the silver without Toan’s help. Braiding some hair, the Scarlett Scorpion advised the party that giants commonly target silt-skimmers in this area, and that with silt blowing from sea to shore, some creatures down-wind could likely sniff them out. While listening, Zwaithe noticed something himself in the flickering light.

“Those curves on you Très… you’re either a woman or a shapely six-foot scorpion!”

“And which would be worse? I’ll show you mine if you show me yours,” she said, subtly comparing the blade at the end of her thickly braided hair to Zwaithe’s limp whip. Both weapons lay in their masters laps.

“Doesn’t matter,” he snapped sharply, “They’re both the same anyway.” But his retort did little to stop the grins sliding up the party’s faces.

In the end, Très revealed that she was indeed a woman better known as Scarlett. Originally from Nibenay, she preferred not to reveal any more about herself, but offered that the city of the Shadow King would be the best place to sell their loot. The party agreed, and together began to formulate a plan…

A Change in the Wind

Meanwhile, the last remnants of the Samarah Scribing Guild were running for their lives. Caught up in their own plan of intrigue and betrayal, they sought a final meeting with the infamous Rae-Jsha. It would seem that the mythical order of assassins was indeed just that, a myth, as they had failed to execute a simple trader who chose to compete with the wrong guild. As perhaps the two groups most known for being “as good as their word” in the region, Rymyr bet the assassins would honor their agreement by protecting her company from their vengeful mark.

Desperately in need of some fresh air, Rymyr and Xaus climbed the embankment separating the Salt Meres from the Estuary of the Forked Tongue. Though a wave of silt was the first element to greet them, a recent storm had cleared the air of other pollutants and left it with an almost pleasant breeze. The pair took a moment to find their bearings. Rymyr, with a quick look at the sigils in the stars, confirmed they were on a coastal road a few miles south of the village of Alfala. Somewhere nearby should be the “Hanging Tree,” or the ominous final meeting place with the Rae-Jsha. They were told they would recognize the site upon seeing it, and Xaus wondered aloud if the Rae-Jsha really meant to honor their agreement or just add a few more trophies to their collection.

Before Rymyr could respond, she saw some strange, kank-like tracks in the sand of the embankment. This would be an odd place for a herder to graze given that the tracks seemed to hug the barren silt shore. Figuring that the tracks might indicate something that could be bought (a guarded caravan) or tricked (a wild Athasian monster) into defending what remained of her enterprise, she decided to follow them south. Better chance than the Rae-Jsha, she thought. As she and Xaus turned to head down the embankment, the grit-filled wind began to blow toward the northwest carrying the sound of silent tension and a fiddle’s tone…

Strange and Strident

The Rae-Jsha’s mark was just starting to get the hang of his new body. Its webbed hands and feet were surprisingly sprightly and flexible, although it’s naturally crouched frame made it an ungainly runner. He relished every step anyway, since each one brought him that much closer to revenge upon all those that would write off the name of Aliin Al’Shadar. He had seen in the final moment of his death the grace and subtlety with which the assassin had killed him. This was the body of a natural killer, he thought. I will learn this skill as I have learned so many others. The old man had delved into far darker magical experiments than most, some even darker than the double-crossing Samarah Scribing Guild, and now his greatest experiment had succeeded. He had mastered the shadowy mysteries of the Necromancers of Bodach, and with his dying breath cursed his murderer to be the vessel of his own mind and soul… the vessel of his revenge.

Such were his thoughts when he found the tracks of Rymyr and Xaus, last conspirators of the Samarah Scribing Guild. They seemed to meetup with kanks before heading south, Likely reinforcements. Won’t matter. Then his attention turned to the sound of tumbling metal as he witnessed the survivors of the cerulean storm unpacking and distributing their stolen hoard. Ironically, with Toan gone, Scarlett was the strongest of the party, and so she took the heaviest bags of silver. It helped that Zwaithe claimed entertainment as his only reward.

More for me. Despite his icy mission, Aliin still possessed the instincts of a trader, and he knew an opportunity when he saw one. Striding low to the ground behind a petrified log, he reached out with a stitched, freezing hand toward one of the scorpion woman’s bags. Safely in his clutches, he darted to the marshy side of the embankment and continued north with a plan. Moment’s later he would hear the uproar as the party learned of the theft.

Kanks of a Different Color

Never had the wild kanks of the Salt Meres seen so much traffic on the coastal road of the embankment. First, flinching their mandibles even while hiding, they saw one of the silent ones scuttling along – making entirely too much noise in the process. It smelled like carrion. Then, the pink, fleshy ones that could’ve been masters or predators followed holding what looked to them like large nectar sacs. Except the clashing and clicking of the sacs was louder than a thousand starving, newly hatched clutches. Seemingly even hungrier than that, a pack of brown kin waved their antenna as they followed the scent of the strange sacs. Finally, a weathered pair of pink, fleshy ones continued the strange pursuit. The colors of scorching dawn had nearly banishing all cool shade by then, save one spot. When the kanks saw the slightest outline of a silent one in the final fading shadow, watching the road with them, they chose to face the blazing sunlight instead and scattered.

The Forks of Alfala

Aliin came to a fork in the road.

Down the left path, sloping into the salty bog, was a well kept, terraced graveyard. Flat tombstones with intricate designs but no writing marked what were obviously shallow graves. Out in the marsh, a large tree grew on an island just large enough to support its roots. Stuffed effigies hung by rope from its bare branches – a warning, a tribute, or maybe both. This must be the Hanging Tree.

Down the right path was the village of Alfala itself. Though he often traded with Alfala from Samarah in his youth, it occurred to him that he had never approached the village from the southern road before. He proceeded carefully as the locals were fierce, he knew, and would attack anything that didn’t look like a merchant’s caravan. Slinking off toward the nearest watch tower, he managed to stay out of sight until the very last second. The tiny halfling stood no chance once it was in his icy grip. Before he had time to properly appraise the situation from his new lookout, however, the party of rich adventurers showed up.

Predictably, Alfala’s militia sounded the alarm and confronted the adventurers spear point first. Seeing the rush of halflings, squat humans, and quarterlings with their favored birds of prey, the Chorvedoc, the party decided this battle was perhaps better won with diplomacy. Aeislun and Dahloy managed to calm the ankle-biters down long enough to negotiate for their lives. Though the locals had poor trade-tongues, they spoke Gulgan well enough and between the two the party was able to explain their situation. To prove their worth, Aeislun offered their commander a silver piece. After biting down to ensure its authenticity, the commander changed his tone and allowed the party to enter the village. Aeislun and Dahloy wondered aloud if staying there would be a good idea… halflings are notorious cannibals after all.

Before a decision could be reached, the rust monsters finally caught up with their prey. Without hesitation, the militia of Alfala fought off the costly pests with a hail of bone-tipped spears. As the rust monsters retreated into the marsh, the party decided that the villagers couldn’t be too bad, and so they wandered toward the village’s center. There, on the party’s insistence that they remain together under one roof, the halfling hosts put them up in a small barn-like structure where some foodstocks were kept. Though they wondered what the halflings true intentions were, everyone needed a rest and they fell asleep…

Oh the Stability

When Rymyr and Xaus finally made it to the town in the early morning, they realized they had been following the creature feared most by all merchants across Athas – Rust Monsters. Few other common vermin had such power to destroy a trader AND his metallic legacy. The thought sent shivers down their spines before it gave way to the welcome relief of making it to Alfala in one piece. After some rest and restocking, the two might stand a chance against their stalker or maybe even the Rae-Jsha. They signaled their peaceful intentions before being allowed to enter the village. As they came close to the center, Rymyr overheard several local merchants haggling over a few pieces of silver. It would seem that there were other guests – wealthy guests – resting in the barn. Rymyr made a note to hawk a few books to them the next day, before a quarterling showed her and Xaus their accommodations: in the stable with the kanks. One of the kanks gave them a look like it had seen them before. Rymyr was not accustomed to playing second fiddle to a bunch of grave-robbers… she needed to know more.

The next day passed relatively uneventfully. The party and remnants of the Samarah Scribing Guild rested for a time before meeting in the open market of the village’s center. Rymyr introduced herself as a scribe and collector of illegal writings (as the Sorcerer-Kings have heavily restricted writings within their city-states). Aeislun introduced himself as the next king of Tyr while Dahloy said nothing about himself or his intentions. Umata, still in terrible shape, was lifted and transferred into a newly purchased pot of fertile soil. With a splash of some water, he awoke and introduced himself as well. The effort seemed to do him some good. Rymyr then proceeded to sell the party a few books and papyri from her collection. Dahloy cashed in on a legend of Kelanen and his nine swords. Aeislun bought a map, Scarlett perused a martial arts manual, and Aaromal picked up a copy of the Athasian Kama-Sutra.

Over the next few hours the group discussed and debated the advantages of keeping a trader around to help them manage their new-found wealth. Rymyr made a veiled claim that she needed some protection, and upon some digging, the party realized that she was running from an assassin somehow connected to the Rae-Jsha. Given this new revelation, everyone agreed to part ways for now and return to the stables at night. Aaromal entertained some children with the mime and dance of an heroic tale. Rymyr found a new book, “Whose flesh is the sweetest? 1001 Cannibal Recipes.” The other characters found nothing particularly sinister about the halflings of the village and Aliin was no where to be seen.

A Road Paved with Good Intentions

The party discussed their options with Rymyr late into the evening. Ultimately, they opted to just sleep in the stable. When the two moons of Athas had both climbed into the merciful sky, a figure found its way into the room. Morrah, not needing sleep, noticed it first and awoke Dahloy. The earthen psicrystal and its master beheld a creature like a shadow rising to cover the room, but it made no threatening gestures. The mysterious figure spoke first:

“I am Aliin Al’Shadar, and I am here to warn you.”

“Warn us of what?” He tried to buy time for everyone else to awaken.

“If you stay here you will die. But I can save you.”

“That sounds more like a threat than an offer. What proof do you have?”

“You will have to trust me. If you do not, you will die – I am sure of it.”

Scarlett came to her senses next, and while Aliin was distracted, she grabbed her scorpion pincer gauntlets and dove into the soft earth with hardly the sound of a footstep. Rymyr awoke next, and shook Xaus, whispering:

“Aliin is here, get ready.” Then she got up and turned to Dahloy, “I know this man. This is Aliin, the assassin trying to kill me!”

“I am Aliin, but I am not here to kill you. I have no reason now. But if you stay here, you will die.”

Confused, she looked to Dahloy and then to Aeislun, who was rubbing his eyes bewildered. “Then what do you want?” the self-righteous elf blurted out.

“You must allow me to… live, and protect me as you protect each other.”

Dahloy, seeing Scarlett ready to pounce beneath the feet of Aliin, said, “How could you offer to join us? Aren’t you the one that stole the silver from Scarlett?”

“That doesn’t matter now. What matters now is that we all survive. I… can’t be seen like this. I need your help to survive. And you need my help. Surely we can strike a deal?”

Rymyr, sensing what he was going for, produced a parchment and some ink. “In words there is the power to bind honor and punish dishonor,” she said cryptically, “We shall make an honor-bound contract to protect each other. Sign it and you shall be beholden to its conditions.”

Aliin agreed. Dahloy called Scarlett from hiding, and the party spent several minutes negotiating the terms of this new contract. They would form a new group or guild, named “Good Intentions.” Failure to uphold the terms of the contract would result in a debilitating curse for any of those that signed it. Finally, when all present had made their mark, Dahloy demanded to know why they were all in so much danger.

The Self-Shade showed them to the barn next door. All the food was gone. Aliin explained that he had hidden the food to make it appear as though the party had stolen it. They were tricked. Dahloy and Aeislun let out a few verbal curses but dared not strike Aliin for fear of being bewitched by a real one…

Wrap Up

The party lost 6 silver pieces for room and board. Rymyr paid 10 ceramic pieces for the cannibal recipe book, invested 11 pieces of parchment and 1 bottle of ink into the “Good Intentions” contract, and received 3 silver pieces from other members of the party for book purchases. Character point awards: Umata 2, Rymyr 3, Aeislun 2, Vlad 4, Dahloy 3, GM 1.

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6th Session
Good Intentions
Theme Song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MHpwDatfso

Summary:

Our adventure starts with our party in the dusk, after signing a paper that will bond them, considering a way to put the food back before the townspeople would notice.

Even though late, Rymyr sees Aeislun’s hand in her pocket. She finds a few pieces of ceramic pieces. Rymyr doesn’t understand why Aeislun would do this, and so Aeislun gives 10 pieces to Rymyr and apologizes.

With a lot of effort, Aliin manages to put the food back before it is noticed.

As the morning closes by, there seems to be a commotion at the side of town.

Aliin goes to investigate for the party wearing a hat of disguise (borrowed from Zwaithe), also using his shadowy skills.
He manages to see that the halflings are holding little ceramic-filled bowls while some creature has appeared nearby, and halflings are jumping around.

Without noticing, Aliin makes a move and a small creature nearby says in gulgan : “mommy, who the tall-ling ?”

Aliin hides before the mother manages to see anything, even though the child points at him, the mother is too preocupied, so she tells the kid to help her jockey for position.

Scarlett has followed underground just in case something goes wrong, and can hear the roar of the crowd but doesn’t know exactly what is happening.

As soon as the party awakes, Aliin comes back and tells them about the commotion.

Aeislun tries to talk to a halfling, yet he quits since he cannot speak their language. Rymyr talks to a halfling and the halfling wants to speak to Aeislun, knowing that he has a lot of silver pieces.

The halfling seems interested to trade his tools for some money. (In fact, he seems desperate for money).

Aeislun helps Rhemir talk to the halfling and back.

halfling : “do you not realise it is just past high sun? there is just ONE FRUIT every high sun. Sligs – sell a fruit – every mid year, they travel with it and put it up for auction.”

Aeislun gives 10 ceramic pieces to the halfling for the information, and wants to ask for more but the halfling seems to be already gone.

Aeislun and Rymyr go to the auction while Aliin sneaks careully out of the village, because he does not want to be seen, and they all agree to meet later outside on the trail.

While nearing the haggling place, they notice that the slig has the look of a muscular humanoid – lean, blunt black claws, crucked jugged teeth, and he is holding a single piece of a fruit : a very large, extremely juicy and ripe fruit, which looks like a mixture between an apple and watermellon.

Laying at the sligs feet are two lizards, one dead, one alive.

As they get closer, they hear the halflings complain about the price.
Aeislun shouts – “Rymyr wishes to know what the fruit does”
A halfling from the crowd : “it is the miracle fruit”
Aeislun – “What does it do ?”
Same halfling from crowd : “look, my father is dying, are you going to give me silver to buy it or, do I have to get it myself ?”

Aeislun notices that the halfling that was talking is hanging on to a bone pitchfork, ready to turn it down at any second.
Also she notices that there is a small group of halflings that has been walking nearby the crowd, holding sharp things.

Aeislun thinks forward and he jitters with anticipation.

Rymyr shouts “he’s got a knife !” pointing at the
The halflings that were moving around the backside of certain ‘moshy’ parts of the swamp, at which point sligs pop out and grab the halflings.

A captain halfling comes out : “Don’t listen to the outsiders ! we should solve this our own way !”

Everybody seems frozen for a second.

The Slig yells : “sold ! for 500 ceramics !” to this woman ! and hands the fruit to a woman that seems to be crying.
As she gets the fruit, she gives the slig papyri equivalent of 500 ceramic pieces – which seem to have the financial importance – and the slig accepts it.

Once they pull out the bodies, Aeislun yells : “Revenge! for the halflings!” luckily the halflings don’t understand and Rymyr convinces Aeislun with simple logic that it wouldn’t be the best thing to do.

Rymyr hears a few lines of lore from the local halflings. At low sun, the same fruit, brought back, would be poisonous, or if there would be people killed around, the healing fruit becomes poisonous.

Aliin : “Where are we going?”
Aeislun : “Faraway from here, right Dahloy ?”
Dahloy: “The answer is correct. Perhaps we should go before other problems arrive.”

After a while of walking.
Aeislun – shoots 5 silver arrows into the town. Aeislun thought that the arrows, since they are made of silver, could also be melted and reput into silver coin and poorly thought this would be a goodbye present.
The Halflings sound the alarm and they start throwing spears, luckily these are not in the range of touching our party’s flesh.
In the silence of the sky, one could hear sounds of squatting birds as they were being set free.

Aliin walks aside of the group not to be seen together. He does not wish to be noticed as a part of the group and would like to protect the party and he believes that they would be better off without an assassin such as himself.

Aproaching the main group there seem to be some birds, they are enraged, yet have a miniature size, and seem to be flying very fast.

Aeislun quickly fires his bow twice, yet misses both times, due to the fact that the birds are pretty far.
Rymyr – looking at the birds ( nature check )- notices that they use their powerful beak that allows them to attack at night. They are weak individually but strong as a group.
Dahloy – hits one of them with his hand crossbow, he doesn’t consider using his magical weapon at this point, simply because he doesn’t want to attract too much attention.

Aeislun fires twice, two lucky shots that manage to take down two birds.
Two other birds fly towards Aeislun.
The first scratches Aeislun leaving a visible flesh would ( 2 damage ) , while the second one misses him by a touch of a hand.

Meanwhile Aliin notices a petrified tree on the beach, the tree has fruits, and these look like Petrified amber, and there is a little dingling that looks like amber coming out of the tree.

Aliin touches – What looks like a slowly dripping liquid – and feels a strong burn on his hand ( extremely burns for 4 acid damage) at the same time his cold hand seems to hurt the tree, which shivers in pain, showing a lot more feeling than a simple plant.
The tree swings one of its branches with acid towards Aliin but Aliin manages to dodge it in due time.

Meanwhile, the birds try to attack Dahloy but his armor stands in the way of their piercing beaks.

Rymyr – uses syllable of entropy – 3dmg takes, doesn’t die.
Another bird attacks Rymyr and wounds her lightly ( 2 dmg ) .
Scarlett gets ready to hit the first bird as it gets in the range of her scorpion chain.

Aaromal misses the birds with his spinning sword
Dahloy uses his weapon dealing a heavy blow to one of the birds and nearly killing her ( 4 damage ) .
In the exchange, Dahloy suffers a mild wound ( 1 damage from bird ) .

Aeislun quickly pulls up the weapon, and shoots but breaks the weapon while the arrow lands very close to Aromal.

The birds spin around and attack again. They manage to hurt Zwaithe, the Delver (1 damage) which in return furiously hits a bird killing it ( 4 dmg + kill) .
Aaromal is also the victim of a bird attack, suffering a small wound ( 2 damage ) , and focuses his rage into an attack that unfortunately misses.

Aliin casts voice of shadow on the tree, and commands the tree : “disarm”.
At the sound of this, the tree drops all it’s fruits.

Rymyr – gives the weapon to Aeislun (arrow) and casts on Aeislun a (commandeer ?!) (+2 ranged attack) helping him improve his ranged attack.

One of the injured birds runs away.
Scarlett, Aaromal, Zwaithe and Dahloy shoot at the birds yet non of their missiles manage to get lucky. Dahloy reloads his weapon.

The bird provoked from the spear of Rymyr misses Aeislun. Rymyr also manages to hit a bird ( 6dmg ) which falls dead.

The other Chordevocs ( birds ) run away.

The tree shines very bright – Aeislun and Aliin are temporarly blinded ( also the birds ) .
With a lucky shot, Aeislun manages to kill another (blinded) bird.

Aeislun takes some of the birds and party and run to the nearest village ( Samarah ).

Aliin stays behind and takes the fruits of the tree using his umbral hand ( since they were covered in acid) , and as soon as he hears the halflings nearby he follows the tracks of his companions.

Character Points:

Rymyr 3
Aeislun 3
Aliin 3

View
7th Session
Good Intentions
Theme Song:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FjQfyK65gKQ

Summary:

The explorers reach the village of Samarah in the evening after being chased their by angry halflings, irrate over their random acts of violence against their community. The villiage of Samarah is the hometown of Rhymyr and Aliin. The town is eerily quiet, the usual nightlife absent.

At the center of the village something dark and shadowy waits. Dahloy notices the outline of the cloak and realizes that inside the magical darkness lurks a Rae-Jsha (ninja guy). He is using a magic lantern to generate the darkness.

As the group approaches they notice a tree covered in effigies behind the Rae-Jsha. He speaks to Rhymyr, “Since you could not bring yourself to the hanging tree, we brought the hanging tree to you”.

The Rae-Jsha gives the group three choices.

1. Quit adventuring and live life in Samarah.
2. Go to through the wild lands of the Ivory Triangle and hope we make it alive to destination. But we now have enemies. King Kalak is still alive and probably wants to punish those who stole his treasure. If people hire the Rae-Jsha to put a contract on our heads the Rae-Jsha will accept it. Plus the Dragon is coming… and if neither King Kalak nor King Tithian can amass sufficient slaves to sacrifice to the creature, then it may destroy everything in the tablelands.
3. We compensate the Rae-Jsha either through $ or deed. If pay them money they wont accept contract on our head or we can do a favor for them. They will show us a secret way undergound to the city we hope to reach (Nibenay). But while crossing Bodach we cannot spill a drop of blood. We need to do reconisence about a new stealthy creature lurking in the land and finally find missing hatchlings. If we complete the finak task Rhymyr will recieve refund for botched assaination.

While pondering options Aeislun (aka Aslan :P) tries to negotiate a deal with the Rae-Jsha to wipe out halfling village, deliberations ultimately breakdown.

Group choses option three. Rae-Jsha tells us the people will sleep for a day then leaves.

Group begins to pillage the lovely town of Samarah :(
1. Zwaith and Dahloy break into the Dictator’s house. They try to take a chest but keep waking up the dictator. Multiple times they disguise selves as his children than run away. Ultimately Dahloy gets the old man to chase him out of the house while Zwaith unlocks the chest and leaves behind a note, “Sorry bout this. Thanks for the stuff. Lolz”. They take a few magical scrolls.
2. Aeislum wakes three elvish girls up to tell them to run because the world’s prejudice may mean they will be blamed for the group’s looting. He gives them money and they leave.
3. Aeislum and Nebes raid the shops. 2 chainshirts, bronze bastard sword, whistling mace, cloak clasp with face amulet (feels more onfident when wearing, charisma?). 20 random potions.
3. Rymyr cleans the carnage from the Trader’s hall and loots his friends supplies and weapons. The group gains 9 meat skewers, 2 brown croulou meat and rice, 1 egg, 10 Broy Beans, 2 gourds, 50 gallons of water. Rhymyr finds a Caudfil shard, a light steel whistling mace, tome of truenaming (teaches someone their true name), other book TBD.

Group prepares to go to sleep. Awoken from all the earlier commotion the dictator is prowling the town checking for disturbancea. Aliin and Nebes are sparing with new weapons. The dictator hears the fighting and comes to the trader guild. After locking Aeslun up in the backroom so he wont say anything stupid, Rymyr and Dahloy greet him and are successful in getting him to go home and back to bed. Convincing him the noise and commotion was just “kids being kids”.

Due to the hot day the group leaves the following evening.

The group follows Zwaith who gets grabbed by a tentacle on his boot. Rhymyr knows that this creture is a serpant root. It is unmoveable plant that drains vitality. It is extremely hardy. Dahloy shoots a silver piece but misses. Aslans two bronze arrows also miss. Zwaith hits with arrow. It does -2 points of hit damage, but arrow bounces off because bark is so thick. Zwaith’s energy bolt misses. Zwaith tries again and does 9 fire damage causing the creature to retreat into the ground. The party moves on.

Umata informs the group that he can talk to intelligent plants, but that the serpant root was not one. The party consumes nine gallons of water on the hike.

After imbibing, Rhymyr notices the path to the skulls. Rhymyr also sees a long broad bladed green grass with shaking tentacles moving towards her. It is the Marsh blood grass. It is one plant that camflogues itself as part of a field of grass. Nobles plant it as a home defense device. The grass is not as vulnerable to fire.

Dahloy swings his sword like a scythe, but misses the aims high and misses the Marsh Blood Grass. He tries again provoking an attack of opportunity. This time he hits the plant, knocking it unconcious. Rather than stay and fight the adventurers walk away.

We come to a body of water. Aeslun observes some Jesus Stones allowing us to walk over the water. While crossing Dahloy falls in and is pulled under. Aeslun makes waves by shooting into the water but he fails to hit the creature. Nebes grapples with the creature and grabs Dahloy’s arms. The massively strong bodyguard yanking teenage Dahloy from the clutches of what lies beneath.

The group sees the circle of skulls, proclaiming “Do Not Enter” in the distance they see a shadowy figure move behind a tree.
Dum DUM DUM! …

Character Points:
Nebes 3
Aeislun 2
Dahloy 4
Rymyr 3
Zwaithe 3

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