Dark Sun Blood and Silt

Hmmm...

Does anybody read this?

Tell me you read this in an mail and I’ll give your character something cool.

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The Forest and the Temple

Kha’Chul and Xendrik were on watch when Xendrik left to make water, but never returned. Searching the party could not find the bard. Deciding he was either taken off by a forest spirit or left, they could look no longer and continued on.

After traveling for two and a half days the part was ambushed by 3 halflings and their kirre. It was a tough battle, but they pulled through.

Trudging on they came to a wide open span of forest where sparse grass and deformed trees pushed up through defiled ash. It was said that this grass and the trees were a recent happening. The temple in the middle of this defiled circle was obscured by trees and distance.

As they walked toward the temple they saw the trees bleed a thick black sap. As they came through a ring of trees they saw, over a small crevasse, the Temple of the Eye. However, they were not alone in discovering it. A large goat headed half-giant and two cloaked figures were near the temple entrance.

Drawing neared a conversation was started. It was eventually found out that the cloaked ones revered Ul-Athra and Aspara was attacked from behind by some strange worm with tentacles. Additionally the cloaked figures through off their cloaks to reveal strange creatures the likes of which the group had never seen. One had two large tentacles jutting from the back of it’s head. The other had several dusty tentacles sprouting from its face, ringing a strange beak.

The half-giant also had a brown dusty tentacle from it’s back which it used to great effect, knocking down his foes. The fight was vicious, but these followers of Ul-Athra retreated into the temple. Too damaged, the party decided to rest before persuing.

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Nibenay Pt II

After Aspara lost them, Xendrik Waveharp and Kovit split up as well. Kovit was off to see his family and Xendrik went to find out more about the city.

Xendrik inquired about hiring a messenger to find out about his family at home.Unsure of how they would get a hold of him again he left the messenger service, trusting that his family would be safe.

Kovit went to see his elven contacts, and luckily so, for he found out that his Aunt Temmya ha seemingly taken over the family and his father had not been seen in a week. Luckily his eleven friends let him stay in the elven district, however; in the morning he had a rude awakening as his contact informed him that the elves wanted some money to keep his whereabouts unknown.

Meanwhile Khal’chu was sent by Consort Bellarosa to find help for the group as to travel through the forest to the Temple of the Eye. The thri-kreen had recently seen a halfling that he had previously met in the forest and who would make a good scout and guide. Finding the halfling, Orli Gren hunting small animals in the slums he convinced the forest warrior to join him. They were then off to find Consort Aspara.

The next day Xendrik and Kovit asked around town and eventually tracked down when Aspara had recently been and chance had it that she showed up there as well. They had a heated conversation at the Lazy Logger when Aspara told them that she had given the Fragment of the Crown of Dust to someone, although she didn’t say to who.

Kha’Chul and Orli were told to find and protect Consort Aspara by Bellarosa. Finding them in the Lazy Logger they were just in time to witness some strange chunk of metal that the others were arguing about glow and pulse several times. A strange scratching sound came from the floor as scythe like appendages burst through the floor. Unnatural creatures crawled out of the ground who’s color was that of the metal, black with red swirls. Three came out of the ground, two about the size of an erdland (ostrich like creature) and one the size of a kank.

The strange creatures seemed to be interested in Aspara nd the rock, which they chased out into the cramped streets of Nibenay. Once in the alley the quick creatures spit acid and poisoned barbs. The halfling started an alley on fire, but managed to take out one of the smaller creatures. Eventually the other creatures were defeated, but Aspara barely made it out alive. The party escaped the flaming alley and eventually got a room at an inn owned by Duh, a contact of The thri-kreen.

The next morning they met up with Bellarosa and two guards. The small party followed the road into the forest toward the Temple of the Eye.

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Nibenay

Aspara quickly left the rest of the party as they entered the city-state of Nibenay. She made her way to the Nagarramakan, the heart of Nibenay and asked audience with High Consort of the Kings Law, Djena. Djena was not available and so Aspara left to speak with Sawat, a member of the Drywell Consortium.

Owing much to Sawat and the Consortium Aspara gave a good portion of the treasure gained in her travels to the fixer as well as ultimately handing over the Fragement of the Crown of Dust to him.

After leaving the Lazy Lumberjack, Aspara noted a thri-kreen was following her. The thri-kreen, Khal’chu, did not seem comfortable in the city and Aspara, being right at home easily doubled back on it and confronted her follower.

SHe found out that the thri-kreen was sent to spy on her by a fellow templar, Consort Bellarosa.

Returning to the Naggaramakan Aspara met with High Consort Djena. The High Consort believed Aspara’s lie that she did not find any of the crown and announced that if Aspara did not return soon with another piece the mul templar would be live for long.

The next day Aspara was summoned by Consort Isra Anand where she met with her superior as well as Consort Bellarosa. Over the course of the conversation the templars revealed that Djena is the one who originally stole the fragment from the Temple of the Eye and was attempting to smuggle it back out of the city and the she is part of some subversive group called the Broken Builders. However, they didn’t have any proof. They also revealed that Djena had ordered Bellarosa and Aspara to go search the Temple of the Eye, which was really a ruse for an ambush to have them killed.

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The Treasures of Darom Madar

As the roaring of the banshee that was Darom Madar dies down an eery silence settles over the ancient vault. The feeling of grief and guilt still exudes from the black monolith in the center of the room, but its strength is no longer sufficient to manifest your own emotions into wisp wights.

Upon closer inspection the monolith is carved with all the names of the ancient Knights of Madar.

After rooting through the ancient treasures, much of which has fallen into ruin over time you find the following:

17gp of ancient make 40sp of ancient make two 500cp gems one 100cp gem one 1,500 cp art piece, the stand for the Fragment of the Crown of Dust

One Masterwork Metal Battleaxe 15gp
One Masterwork Metal Spear 5gp
One Masterwork Scale (Non-metal) 200cp
One Masterwork suit of chainmail 40gp

6 psi-crystals of regeneration (Potions of Healing)

A journal of Darom Madar which states….We the last of the Knights of Madar believe that Gallard has one piece of the Crown of Dust hidden away at a site known as the Temple of the Eye near Nibenay, while the other is held by the Thri-Kreen’s “Great One”. Rumors have it that Gallard, King of Nibenay punished the Knights of Shom for attempting to get the piece of the crown from his own knights and their punishement was to take away their right to field Knights. It appears they have become a craven lot of merchants and have forgotten the Knightly ways.

The Fragment of the Crown of Dust (this fragment appears to be part a a diadem made of silt colored tentacles). As you look at it the tentacles appear to to writhe a bit and you are tempted to touch it.

What do you do with the Crown Fragment? Remember you have the Box of Mysteries that was given to the party by Wheellock.

Assuming you put the Crown Fragment into the box, you’re surprised when you open the Box of Mysteries to find a small chunk of reddish unworked metal. It it swirled red and black with flecks of silver and is unlike anything you’ve ever seen.

Questions of note:

  • What is this new red metal?
  • Do you keep the metal in the box? What do you do with the writhing Crown fragment?
  • What does Shom know of the Crown?
  • Who is Gallard?
  • Where is the Temple of the Eye?

All of these questions point you to Nibenay. You travel to Nibenay by way of Shazlim to the north then Fort Isus and finally you are rewarded by the standing stones then the gloriously decorated gates of the city. The road to Nibenay was long and hard. Aspara and Kovit have been gone for months and are overjoyed to see the city.

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The Canyon of Guthay
To find the Vault of Darom Madar

After buying supplies trio of adventurers headed to the Canyon of Guthay. Their travels were fast paced and other than a dust storm they were unimpeded. Arriving at the stone tower that guarded one side of the road the party descended the canyon and began searching.

After a day of looking in various caves and crack along the canyon floor they found a cavern littered with corpses, some ancient and a few fresh gith corpses. While investigating they noticed that the ancient once had the symbols of Madar and Tsalaxa on them. And that the gith bodies were killed by the ancient weapons. Just then…the bodies started to move. The small band took out the skeletons, zombies, and an ancient zombie defiler in short order.

Next they moved into a crypt room where several wraiths awaited them in the form of Darom Madar’s wife and children as well as some large black obelisk of grief. Again, overcoming the undead the group examined a murky silvered wall and determined there were traps hidden in the mechanisms as they tried to open it. Aspara was hit with a poisoned trap, but her dwarven heritage helped her quickly overcome the poison just as Kovit, psionically tinkering with the wall, caused a magical trap to be triggered. Thunder roared in the small room disorienting the party. After a bit more tinkering the wall was opened to reveal the treasure room of Darom Madar and the dwarven banshee that was once Darom Madar.

The party overcame the oath wight despite several times being dominated by the undead.

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Tyr

Arriving in Tyr the party asked questions about House Madar and found out about “The Belly of the Noble”and the “Road of Crypts” sections of Under Tyr where ancient houses had crypts.

They encountered some members of House Shom, some where friendly other’s were not. Apparently a struggle for the leadership of the merchant dynasty was just beginning and people were choosing sides. Hirik who dealt with the warhouse seemed friendly enough Kovit while Jaleen, who ran the House’s house in the noble’s district was not.

Cybrian of Athas Revealed got them intouch with a dwarven noble named Bailer who offered his son to guide them into UnderTyr.

The party explored UnderTyr and eventually found the Cryps of Madar where they battled some ghouls and various other undead. Finding the crypts of Aru Madar, they unearthed some ancient books.

One story gives account of the Knights of Madar and their allies the Knights of Shom and how they assisted in fighting back the swarms of silt demons while The Great One defeated The Mouths of Thirst, a great corrupted silt elemental.

It explains that after the fight Aru-Madar, champion of the Knightly order fled with a piece of the Crown of Dust struck from the head of the high-priestess of Dust, Muldrea.

The champion was given high-honors and buried in a secret location sacred to the order in “the canyon where the moon shines”

Another book is found titled, The Decline of the Great Orders. It talks of a demonic incursion into the tablelands, and how the Knights of the Great Houses fought in an uneasy alliance with the Champions of Rajaat to push back the demons from the Tablelands. Apparently the Champions were able to hold back the demons with great magic with something called the Periphery. It was then up to the knights to eradicate the remaining demons in the surrounding lands.

The knights turned to mostly guarding caravans while they traveled through from town to town. That soon became their primary source of income as the demons influences lessened. Eventually they began to sponsor their own trading caravans and eventually they ceased guarding other’s caravans and only thought about their own.

The thri-kreen that had come along as a body guard to their dwarven guide knew of a canyon where the moon shines, The Canyon of Guthay.

Exiting Under Tyr the party asked a few questions about the Canyon of Guthay and made preparations to head there.

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Altaruk Escapades
What the....?

Altaruk

Trying to take a relaxing bath after being on the road for weeks Kovit was disturbed by a dwarf with a sun addled mind by the name of Birk Suntouched. After a few minutes of conspirital conversation in which the dwarf raved about the second coming of Kalak and something called the True, Kovit left.

After leaving the Burrowing Jankx with his friend Ictinus, Xendrik began asking questions about his missing troupe of friends. At the same time Aspara, Doren, & Noname finished up a conversation with the elf named Kivrin about the Jewel of Muldrea and Yarnath the Skull.

Xendrik found out that a cult had previously been kidnapping people in town. While going to check the slave market he and Ictinus ran into Aspara, Noname, and Doren who had left from the meeting with Kivrin. Together they decided to look around the slave market. There they were referred to a man named Bad-aek, who it turns out was a Priest of Fire.

At the old priests home they were told of the Cult of Exquisite Agony and it’s previous incursions in Altaruk. It turns out that Tellemon one of the guard captains along with Bad-aek had rooted them out before. Bad-aek recognized that Noname was a fellow fire worshiper, but the halfling had little to say. While leaving the flame infested home of Bad-aek, Noname had a vision of a plane of ash, all freshly burned, not defiler ash. From the ash on the ground a single green sapling rose and grew into a mighty tree taller than any he had ever seen.

The next morning the party went to the arena to fight for their goods that were contested with the Black Sun elves, led by Kaldraas. In the arena they faced the elves while trying to place 7 disks into their “goal”, at the end of 5 rounds the tall was counted. After the 2nd round a trio of ferocious Jhakar trapjaws were released into the contest and the characters had to not only dodge the brambleweed and elves, but also this new threat. After the contest was deemed finished and a few of the elves had met their end, either from the trapjaws or the brambleweed it was determined that the characters, or the “waste landers” as they were called were victorious.

Prior to the fight Tellemon had approached the party in their waiting cell and told them he would give them a job if they won because they seemed like the kind of people he needed and asked to see them after the contest. He was originally supposed to give the job to the Dancing Dragon Troupe, but hey hadn’t shown up. After the fight as the party approached Tellemon the crowd shrieked and surged as the cry of “Murder” could be heard. It was soon obvious that Tellemon was down and poison was involved. After pulling a sack of coins, a dagger, and a scroll off the body the party quickly exited the arena to get there winnings from the guard district. The scroll said something to the effect of "Here’s the list, send word to the Golden Inix in Tyr when the job is done. The list was of 5 names, four of which had been crossed off and the fifth was Aristiphaneles, Altaruk’s Governor.

In the guard district, after talking to some guards and telling them that Tellemon was dead they learned that a certain dwarf had been asking questions about the dead guard captain. While the found their way to the holding house Kovit spotted a cloaked dwarf hurrying down an alley, but paid him no mind.

After getting their good, then selling them the party asked around town about the strange gith raiders, to which they found that they were snatching not only goods, but slaves as well, and that they all fought to the death. Additionally, House Rees apparently had captured a few of the flying disks. They also learned that the Cult of Exquisite Agony was holed up somewhere in the mountains. Thinking they could get more information from the fire priest they returned to his abode.

However, there Xendrik spilled some information, that Aristiphaneles and Tellemon could have been at odds. After some questioning Noname said something about Xendrik’s troupe being brought into town to kill Aristiphaneles and that really go the fire priest…hot.

Needless to say the party exited town quickly, not wanting to raise the ire of the local citizenry. They stopped by the Burrowing Jankx and Xendrik told Ictinus that they would not be looking for the rest of the troupe. Ictinus was enraged and stormed off to look for his troupe-mates.

Now the party heads to Tyr, leaving behind a dearth of questions.

• What happened to the missing troupe members and what exactly is the Cult of Exquisite Agony?
• No more questions were asked about this strange tribe of gith and humans who had apparently stolen a piece of the Crown of Dust.
• Yarnath still has the Jewel of Muldrea, a piece of the Crown of Dust. Kivrin knew it’s location and seemed willing to give the party the information, but the second meeting with him was never held due to the party’s hasty retreat.
• What was the business of Tellmon’s murder, Birk Suntouched and Governor Aristiphaneles?

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To Altaruk
Undersupplied, will the party make it to Altaruk?

A Day South of Fort Kalvis…

After the Battle of Stones the party searched the splintered rubble of the argosy searching for their damaged gear and supplies, all the while dispatching the zombies that were left by the dead Nganaga. After finding supplies Kovit began shoring the hair of the dead giants to sell as rope. As he did so and elf approached who, after introductions was known as Kaldraas (of Blood Sand Arena) of the Black Sun tribe. It seemed that the elves had lost much as bystanders in the battle between the giants and the gulgans and they offered the use of their kanks to transport the giant hair in exchange for protection on the way to Altaruk.

The party, in tow with Mazzax the Tarek assassin and the elves left the battlefield before the bestial scavengers posed danger and traveled for several hours of the night, pushing the limits of their endurance. Finally they stopped and made camp.

In the morning it was decided the Mazzax needed to talk, and after some coercion involving NoName, the halfling cutting off one of Mazzax fingers and eating it before him the assassin began to speak. Not many words left his lips regarding the locations of Yarnath the Skull’s Slither, before the two hearted humanoid shook violently and died. Moments later his dead body was animated by a presence they were soon to find out was Yarnath. The lich more or less apologized for attempting to kill them and let them know he no longer was in search for the Crown of Dust because he had found what he needed, whatever that was. They learned he had been betrayed by a red headed elf named Kivrin (See Revenge of the Marauders) and the elf had taken the Crown piece he had.

The road to Altaruk was fraught with the dangers of Athas and with little food arriving at their destination was not certain, as they traveled the Peoples Road south they came to village that was burning their dead from a giant raid fended off the desperate villagers with some fierce words by Doren the 1/2 elf, and further words and action by Aspara of Nibenay.

After another day in the verdant belt the path left the Peoples Road after finding a cache of fruit trees for another day of food as well as a dead giant, who had succumbed from his wounds from the Battle of Stones, which NoName the halflign sliced up for some means. The road and headed NW into a small strip of the sandy wastes where one of the elves’ kanks wandered off during lunch. Finding the kank being savaged by a “Kank-lion” in a deep sand funnel the characters spent a few moments saving a comrade who had slipped down the side of the funnel. After Doren was out, the group watched the kank-lion finish it’s meal, mourning the loss of only the profit from the giant hair on its pack saddle.

The next day the sandy wastes gave way to rocky badlands and cresting a ridge the party saw a group of humanoids riding strange sail craft, floating above the Estuary of the Forked Tongue to the south west (See Raiders of the Chanth (Polyhedron #44)).

The party made their way as a silt storm blew in only taking cover when they couldn’t see any longer. They camped in a depression in a canyon wall to wait out the storm. The storm raged over night and into the next day, but with little supplies the group decided to press on despite the storm. Braving the wind and silt the party made it’s way through the canyons, not know if they were on the trail or not. A small argument broke out as to which way to go among the elves and the party, eventually the party relented and went the way the elves advised and were rewarded as the silt storm died down they found they were indeed on the right trail.

The rocky badlands turned into foothills, then the mountains of the Altaruk Range. Silt from the storm still piled in cracks and crevices and footing was dangerous on the narrow mountain trails. On the second day a kank slipped after being startled by NoName and slide into a raving, breaking its legs and carapace in the fall. The party quickly left, lest the rank smell of dead kank overwhelm them.

Half-way through the next day the party paid the fee to enter the protected mountain fortress of Altaruk. They followed the elves to the elven district to unload their giant hair only to be betrayed by Kaldraas and the Black Sun elves who demanded that the goods were his. A small skirmish started but before too many elves could die Tellemon, captain of the guard arrived with a dozen heavily armed and armored town guards.

While Tellemon seemed to agree with the characters that the elves were liars, he also didn’t know if he could trust the party, as such he commanded them to fight in the area on the morrow to decide who would take ownership of the disputed giant hair.

Leaving the elven district the party left to find a bookey to take the bets they wanted to wager on themselves for the next day arena match. The met Derekk the Dwarf at the Jankx Burrow Tavern, a seedy place worthy of its name. Just as they were about to leave they saw a talk cloaked figure entered with a shock of red hair hanging from beneath his hood. They assumed this was Kivrin, the traitorous elf that Yarnath the Skull spoke of.

Someone slugged Xendrik in the arm playfully and the minstrel turned to see a friend of his, looking somewhat haggard.
Ictinus of Balic and of the Dancing Dragon minstrel troupe, an old acquaintance stood before him. Turns out that Ictinus had come to Altaruk with a small contingent of the troupe to do a job. They arrived in town the night before and had gone carrousing. Ictinus had gotten sick and went to his room early, but the next day he could not find his companions. Seeing Xendrik, he implored him to find his friends so they could meet their employer the next day after the games. Xendrik and Ictinus left suddenly to search for the missing members of the Dancing Dragon troupe.

Noname and Dores stayed to keep an eye on the red haired elf and were shortly joined by Aspara who had previously been with Kovit searching for suitable rooms. Not wanting to beat around the bush Aspara approached the elf and began talking. After a few minutes she made some headway, learning that Kivrin has stolen the piece of the Crown of Dust, but the Yarnath had taken the Jewel of Muldrea (Blood Jewel) from it already. Asking where the Crown piece was Kivris lowered his hood to show his bruised face and bruised neck where it looks like he had been strangled. Apparently he had been ambushed and beaten by a group of gith riding the most peculiar wind sailing craft in the mountains a few days ago.

Up next…
To the Arena! The characters face the Black Sun tribe for the giant hair
What happened to the Dancing Dragon troupe?
What does Kivrin know and what does he want?

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The Battle of Stones

As the adrenaline from the battle slows down you look around to take in the scope of destruction. Huge boulders and spears the size of tree trunks litter the ground. The obliterated ruins of the argosy cover the old village center, surrounding it houses are crushed by giant thrown rocks and a few were crushed beneath the weight of a fallen giant.

Several Giants fell during the fight and their blood creates ponds of red mud. The remaining giants pick up their wounded comrades and retreat to the south after carrying away some of the villager’s farm animals. The Gulgan’s seemed to have suffered the worst losses. Wails of crushed soldiers can be heard from beneath rocks that have pinned them to the ground. Broken bodies flung from the booted feet of giants or the swing of a club are everywhere, dead and dying. Several Naganga, their skull-like death masks caved in, their brains leaking out. Stumbling around the battlefield are the remnants of defiling magic, zombies raised by the Nganaga wander about, their masters slain or ran away.

Huge swaths of this verdant area are now only ashen field from the Gulgan defilers, all around you is death. Many villagers wander about in shock at the destruction of their homes and their loved ones, some crying, others wailing, and still others stare catatonic. This is Athas, where death comes often, but never easily.

With these giant bodies and scores of gulgan dead there will no doubt be bestial scavengers coming soon. But before the bestial scavengers arrive the sentient scavengers have already descended upon the battlefield. Villagers and what few remaining Gulgans survive began looting the bodies of the fallen, keeping a weary eye out for a return of the Giants.

Attached are the things you find from looting the dead and dying. You still have Mazzax, the Tarek Assassin to interrogate.

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