The Ruins; Tamoguna

DM Log - Session 3

The Wagon trundled on. The erdlu seemed to have a limitless energy to drag the heavy load and the 2 dray were not conversationalists to say the least. The large, red sun beat overhead, scorching the surrounding sands until grand shimmering waves danced in front of the party’s progress. The sandy dunes filtered away, leaving a hard packed salt pan. In front of the party was the Great Ivory Plain. They found it a little unusual to cut across the salt flat, as usually a merchant house will stick to the comparatively cool & lush edges. Drum in particular seemed curious, and asked Vicgretor & Norven. The dray replied that it was to hopefully avoid bandits and monsters- anything that valued its survival would never cross the salt flat. With this disturbing news, the party set across it.

The sound of scrunching sand was replaced by the crackle of the salt crust being broken. The wagon left a deep and obvious trail, and occasionally one of the party’s feet broke through. The heat of the salt flat was intense, and across the next few hours Crow and Ahren both had a hard time keeping up with the wagon. Ahren was thrown onto the wagon again, if only to stop his complaints, whilst Crow stoically tried to not let her exhaustion show. When the sun finally began to dip towards the horizon a breeze kicked up from the east, bringing a cool gust to the sweating party. The breeze seems to worry the dray though, who have kept their eyes peeled to the east since it started. They explain in a slow voice that with High Sun just starting, a breeze from the East means a Silt Sand Storm is coming. They are troubled, and suggest going to a nearby ruin they know about. It isn’t ideal, as they wanted to travel further, but there’s not much choice.

Everyone agreed to go ahead. The ruin looked like a single, run down house with the southern facing wall knocked down. Aster told everyone to wait and bravely snuck ahead. The building had been hollowed out and a basement had been dug under the foundations of the building. A wide ramp lead into the darkness, which Aster slowly snuck down. Lying on her belly, she could make out a fire near the entrance, and a number of humans laughing and talking amongst themselves. She waited for a few moments, before returning and advising the group of what she saw. The dray were eager to get in and get the erdlu away from the oncoming storm.

Inside there was a group of humans huddled about a fire near the entrance. 1 of them had shaven his head and chuckled a lot, a pair whose straight-backed stance implied a military history, and 4 people who looked like they would prefer to be tilling farms or in a slave compound. When they saw the group they instinctually reached for their weapons. Then paused, and smiled. Ahren tried to divine their intentions {failed insight check} and determined they were friendly and honest.

During the night, as the fire was to burning low, the 2 groups got to swapping tales. The humans were a bit cagey about what they do- apparently ‘performing’- but they keep talking about Bodach’s People. Apparently there are a lot of cursed undead there who travel out looking for tasty morsels each night, and at dawn they all retreat. Just in the last month or so a village nearby on the other side of the Mekillot Mountains was taken overnight. The people were taken that is – every coin, jug and grain of wheat was left behind.

After all of the gossip was swapped, the 2 groups retreated to the opposite sides of the basement. While you were cordial and friendly about the fire, the world is a desperate place and it never is safe to sleep near strangers. Drum opted to not sleep that night, instead sitting on the wagon watching the room and listening to the siltstorm pass overhead.

With minimal warning, the humans jumped to their feet and ran at you, weapons drawn. The chuckler lead the way with his greataxe lifted high overhead. The 2 soldiers shouted ‘For Survival!’ and jumped in as well. The rabble (for want of a better word), reluctantly joined in. Drum and Aster tried to parley with the group, asking them to drop their weapons, but desperation drove the humans to fight and raid those more fortunate. Aster summoned her most fearful face and screamed at them to stop. It froze some of the humans in their tracks, before all the colour left her body, leaving her a strange black silhouette. Ahren and Crow had no such moral quandaries and took to attacking those who would attack them. When one of the rabble were attacked they would drop to the ground and beg surrender, until one of the soldiers came over to ‘encourage’ the rabble to continue fighting. The chuckler was a suicidal fighter, but proved no match for Ahren, who destroyed his weapon trying to prove to the chuckler who was the strongest. In due time the enemies were whittled down, until the last soldier opted for escape over death, and ran recklessly into the storm. Peace resumed, and after Ahren took the Chuckler’s greataxe (which Ahren is not procifient at) and 2 handaxes, the group reluctantly went to bed. Vicgretor gave Crow a stitchfruit in thanks for their help defending the wagon from attacking.

No further assault came, and in the morning the party set up. The siltstorm had left a residual layer of silt on the salt-flats, giving it a strange coating of dusky fog that swirled about the ankles. After four hours of travel, Drum’s elemental stumbled across something. With a little bit of poking about they figured out it is the tracks of another cart that got lost in the storm. They decided to risk the potential trap and followed the tracks.

They followed the cart tracks until they saw the wreckage in the distance. The silt is still swirling about like a low fog, so giving the area poor visibility. When they were 5 or so meters away what they thought was a rock moved, and the group realised it was a kruthik. Aster knew all about these {another natural 20} and warned everyone- particularly Ahren- about the poisonous spikes they have. Now that they knew what to look for, they saw several more scavenging on the wreckage. There was no sign of the driver, so with the adage ’finder’s keeper’s’ they cleared the area of the monsters.

Battle was joined. Ahren and Drum’s elemental waded into the middle of the battle where they lashed out with sword and claw. Crow, usually the first the fire, was stuck dumb. After a moment of hesitate Crow approached one of the smallest Kruthik and chirped at it in its native tongue {sucessful nature check to passify}. For the entire battle Crow and the Baby Kruthik conversed and hugged, and in just a few short minutes she had performed the most basic of bonds between it. During all of this Ahren, Aster and Drum heroicly fought, using unforeseen tactics to efficiently end the threat.

After the battle they found the remains of the driver & inix pulling the cart. Their cargo seemed to have been boxes of meat jerky, and also several large jugs of wine. 2 of the boxes were being eaten by the kuthrik (10 piece of which Crow scavenged for food for her new pet), but that still left 4 boxes, and the 3 jugs of wine. Ahren, always one to earn a few extra coppers, fixed The Cart up and lashed it onto their load. Vicgretor said it was impossible- the extra load would be too much for the mounts to bear. With a small smile, Drum silently commanded his elemental spirit to help out and lead the cart. It’s extra strength seemed enough. They went back onto the main road and continue on. The dray seemed to begrudge the party for the delay, but did not say much about it.

They briefly passed a Water Merchant but declined his expensive offer.

The silt has mostly blown to the east, and the heat was back with a vengeance. With the sun overhead and the ground radiating heat Ahren and Crow once against nearly fell to exhaustion. It was early afternoon when another gust from the east came. Everyone knew what that meant – a siltstorm. However, the cloud seemed too low, and with Crow’s perceptive eyes she knew what it was- the self-generated wind of a Siltskimmer pirate. She and Aster quickly explained that pirates frequently patrol their grounds looking for people or merchants to raid before darting away on their sail-powered buggy. The entire group stepped it into overdrive. Through an impressive display of stealth from Aster, who put bags under the wheels to hide the tracks, and Ahren, who used his magic to un-crack the salt the group got off the salt plain and into the rocky badlands. However, the wheels could not easily take the weight. They still needed to rush, so Crow used her knowledge of nature to navigate the cargo through the rocks. Drum whispered into the ears of erdlu and used to expert knowledge of Endurance to know just how far he could push them.

They got to the pass between the Lesser & Greater Mekillot Mountains, and the Siltpirates drove past.They made it!

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Day 1
morning - mid afternoon

Ka’tho’s version of events, for a more comprehensive log, see “Log #2 – Starting The Adventure”:

I cannot read or write, and materials to do so are scarce. Today I have learned a great deal, and have found a new clutch with which I might travel, thus I would commit these events to memory in the hopes that they might be strong enough to reach future generations of thri-kreen.

Egg and I had found the end of a long journey in a small cell with three strangers. We had been taken from the Silt Sea and purchased by House Shom, taken to the Nibenay arena where we expected to die. Soon the guards outside our cell grew impatient with their task and left to indulge in drink. At the time I was scornful of their lack of diligence to their roles. Almost immediately we began to talk amongst ourselves. Seeing no reason to keep secrets I spoke briefly of my circumstances. Like my last clutch, these ones recognise me under the name ‘Crow’. The others introduced themselves, bar the sullen looking mul, who only opened his mouth to say that he should not be a slave.

The sprightly elf Aster quickly freed herself of the shackles, intending to escape, as did the drey, Ahren. Although I knew how to do this myself, I could not quite reach the weak point of the devices, but luckily Ahren assisted me in their removal. The final member of the party seemed forlorn, and would neither help himself or give us his name. We freed him in any case, and were promptly out of our cell when the drey used his psionic powers to retrieve a key that was easily within reach. He seemed obedient to Aster’s will. Only a few steps outside our cell there was a rack of weapons, and no guards.

Initially we were cautious, but as it seemed the guards were gone we became more bold. Aster managed to pick the lock on the door to let us out of the building, once again leading the way, and showed us how to sneak down the stairs to a small parade ground. The drey did not follow her advice in this case, jumping to the ground only to fall prone and injure himself. He does not seem very intelligent, but his large muscles proclaim that he has another role to play.

With the help of egg, we quickly scaled the wall and found ourselves out in the streets of Nibenay, where there were many people in black veils. These were in honour of the Shadow Wives – a useless bunch who serve little practical purpose as far as I can tell. In our search for veils to disguise ourselves, we ran into some man that Aster recognised as Bronta from House Ianto. He did not seem surprised to see us – in fact I recognised the guards from our cells nearby. We had been released on purpose, or so Bronta claimed, to spoil the reputation of House Shom by giving them no offering for the arena entertainment. He explained that he had a task for us – to guard a caravan. He did not offer a specific reward for this and could not be pinned down on the subject. On the other hand, he had just freed us from certain death, which certainly requires some repayment. Still I am no negotiator, and I found myself deferring to Aster, who was happy to sign us up for the task.

We are to guard a load of healing fruit called Stitchfruit. Everyone seemed happy with this, and even our glum, nameless mul friend offered advice on disguising our apparently valuable wares. Aster quickly came back with a number of sheets to cover the load, and Ahren brought back an expensive sack, which (after being mocked about his haggling skills) decided to keep for himself. After these preparations, and meeting the brusque drivers for the caravan (a pair of drey) we set off.

We exited the city with no trouble at all, and as we travelled the unnatural plants soon gave way to a more healthy desert. Unfortunately it was hard work keeping up with the cart, and I have not worked under the sun in a long time. I felt as though I was frying over a halfling fire or some such. Our mul companion soon became more chatty and advised us that his name was Drum, and this chatter helped keep my mind from the blazing sun. Drum seems much more cheerful with the long shadow of Nibenay behind us. Soon after we entered a rocky area, we heard the first hisses of a silt runner attack.

The first to get attacked was Aster, taking a dart to the neck. It was only then that I recalled the poison of the darters, and their hatred for elves – too late to warn anyone, I am ashamed to say. Luckily Drum seemed to help Aster, who recovered quickly and became like a living shadow, diving in amongst the runners and taunting them mercilessly to draw their fire. With the relief granted to us by this distraction, both Ahren, Drum and I whittled away at the creatures until only one remained, then Aster burst forth from the shadows, and with the help of a creature summoned by Drum, she lashed out at the runner. I fear it did not survive her mighty blow, and was struck down immediately, without even the time to cry out.

Scouting into a narrow hole from which the runners had been operating, I discovered 400 silver pieces, and gave them to Aster to do with as she thought best. She redistributed them amongst the group. I have never considered amassing my own wealth and I am not sure what to do with it, but I will keep a firm grasp on this share of the money for now. The drey driving the cart also handed one of the healing fruits to Aster.

We travel onwards now, and although the day is starting to get late, it is still hot. I like the way the group is turning out. I first had my doubts about him, however Drum has proven reliable so far, as has Ahren (although he should never be trusted with money). I will wait and see how events turn out from here.

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Log #2 - Starting The Adventure

As always, this is the brief version. I encourage people/someone to write their own version of events from their character’s point of view. I will include some of the important features & facts, but details might be left out for you to remember!

The party to be found themselves inside a small cell, shackled and behind a very sturdy wooden door. The dray, elf & Thri-Kreen introduced themselves, but the the mull was silent and sullen for the most part. Two of the party {on a successful perception roll} heard the guards nearby talking about what the party would soon be fighting, and how near certain their fate was.
‘Have you heard what House Shom has organised this year for the High Sun Festival? An entire flock of Crodlu that haven’t eaten for a month! Man, they’re gonna eat those slaves in there alive! And to top it off? Whatever survives then gets to fight some Dray Mercenaries in heavy armour.’

The soldiers then came from the guard’s room to your cell to leer at you all, before they left to get some Kank Nectar. The party was left alone, in an empty guard house and near-certain death waiting for them. With that, the party decided to try to break out {with a poorly designed skill challenge made by your DM}.

The first step was to break the shackles. The mul was resigned to his death, but the Thri-Kreen, Krow, the Elf, Aster, and the dray, Ahren, all managed to pick their locks. They helped the Mul, who in thanks found the key to their cell door on a nearby table and psionicly levitated it to the party. Aster quickly snuck from the room and extremely stealthily peered about the corner, where she soon discovered the way was clear. The party followed and found themselves in the guards room. There they plundered some of weapons on the weapon rack, and 6 waterskins {owned by Aster}.

They carefully broke out from the guard house and found themselves on a balcony on the second storey. There were a number of similar buildings next to them, which they deduced to be similar slave compounds or cells. There was a scarcely manned parade ground, and a 15 foot wall. Aster carefully lead the way down the stairs, and Crow dutifully followed the elf’s careful steps. Ahren opted for a more direct approach and jumped from the building, landing on the packed earth ground with a painful Thump! The mul, watching how his companion fared wisely used a rope to slither down to the ground, showing them how a pro did it. They snuck about the corner of the building where they would be away from sight, and tried to get over the wall.

They first tried to used Crow’s trained monkey to take a rope over the wall, but when they tried the rope they found it slack {DM note: after looking at that theme, the monkey would be about as useful as Alladin’s pet monkey, so might have been able to tie the knot on!}. Instead, Ahren and the mul boosted everyone over, and then they all helped each other down on the other side of the wall. They were in what passed for an alley in Nibenay- it was no wider or less cared for than the other narrow streets, but traffic tended to avoid the area. At this stage, the party got a glance at the locals and noticed they were all wearing black veils or shrouds, and without them they would stick out like a sore thumb. Undeterred, the party left the alley to try to obtain some of the veils.

However, they came face to face with Bronta from House Ianto. He was standing confidently in one of the side streets, almost as if waiting for them. He did not seem surprised to see the escaped slaves, and further down the alley there were the 2 guards who had earlier left the compound looking smug.

Bronta explained that his house dealt with slaves usually, but after the events in Tyr, where slavery was made illegal, his house has lost its primary trading source in its primary town. Since then they have been trying other items, and he has secured an important load that needs some extra guards. He let it slip that this was an excellent chance to shame House Shom, because they were the house that had bought the party for the festival, and also a great chance for your party to survive and earn some coin.

The party agreed, and after some preparations set out of the city. The Wagon trundled happily along. The vegetation steadily decreased as you travelled from Nibenay heading towards the small town Arakur. Several hours into the trip, just as the afternoon shadows were beginning to lengthen, and the monotony of the trip was becoming obvious there were high pitched squeals from all around. Ahren let the party know that whatever was coming was shouting ‘Meat! Meat! Meat!’

A number of Silt Runners burst out from an outcropping. The battle was quickly under way, with the Mul, who had introduced himself as Drumm, summoning his spiritual companion. The Silt Runners seemed to focus their attacks on the elf, who turned insubstantial {DM note: I found out insubstantial just gives half damage, rather than no damage. Oops!} and mocked the silt runners. The remaining members of the parts made the most of the distraction and efficiently ended the threat with only a few scratches. The 2 Dray mercenaries that were driving the wagon had no lifted a finger in help, claiming it was not in their contract while the adventurer’s were about. When the battle was won, Vicgretor reached into his voluminous robes and gave Aster a single stitchfruit in thanks for keeping the cargo entirely safe from the first set of raiders. Aster also carefully took 10 poisonous darts from the dead Silt Runners, and a blowgun {DM note: Assassins are not proficient with the blowgun, meaning Aster will not get the +3 bonus to attack when using them} Crow searched the Silt Runner’s warren and found 400sp and some mostly decayed armour inside; Silt Runners were known to pile inedible possessions of their victims into one corner.

The party had survived its first encounter as a caravan guard, but it was still a long way to Arakur.

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Log #1: Prequel
Adventure Log

Here is a short log, sticking to the main facts. Some clues and details are left out, either deliberately because I want to preserve the mystery, or because I am lazy.

I might have got this out of order as I forgot to take notes at the time- oops! I apologise in advance for the purple prose!

The characters had a recurring dream. It has haunted them for a number of years, but somehow this time details that had been murky before seemed crystal clear. They found themselves at the side of a rounded, orange hill. Looking back, they see numerous other orange humps trailing back away like a train of Mekillots. There are 3 others, but their faces seem to shift from one person you know to the next every time you see them. Their details shift and fade, giving a dozen different familiar sensations.

In front of them was the inviting cave that promised a respite from the pervading heat. Hesitantly, they walked in. Almost at once a buzzing echoed down the cave, and an angry Tarek barrelled in. It swung at a man with fists as hard as obsidian, and while each blow solidly connected with the man it seemed to phase him little. With the Tarek’s attention thus devoted a pair of nimble assassins flickered into view. They darted and teleported constantly, making it hard to keep track of their location or intent. One paralysed the Tarek with a fearful gaze full of murderous intent whilst the other lanced shadow after shadow towards the beast. Three buzzing Stirges came into play, and rapidly latched themselves onto a tasty morsel to earn themselves a meal.

The Tarek was quickly overwhelmed. His plaintive cries urged another Tarek to come out of hiding. The female saw its companion fall to the party of heroes and launched herself at them. Never one to back down from a challenge the group divided their attention between the stirges and the remaining Tarek. The mysterious shaman had kept to the entrance of the cave, and skillfully supported the group by the manipulation of the local primal spirits. Some burst into gouts of fire that lingered on the foe, whilst owl-like spirits protected the flitting assassins like night-time guardians. It seemed that no matter how hard the female was hit her vengeance knew no bounds. Long after she should have died she continued to fight on, slamming her bone pick into one unlucky fellow or another. Finally, with one mighty blow the Tarek was noosed by shadows and brought in. As the stirges fled the cave, the dream began to fade. The solidity of the dream was evanescent, and in the last lingering seconds you felt like you had finally freed a farmer from nightly raids.

150 XP!/

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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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