The Ruins; Tamoguna

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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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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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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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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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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DM Log - Session 4

TBA!
Rough notes:
-Drove through pass
-Found hitherto unknown patch of Stitchfruit plants (“Stitchthorn”) and obtained 4 fruit. One of them was super large, and Ahren & Aster ate it.
-They travelled during the night to Arakur. During that time Ahren had a crazy dream & learned a martial art from it. Aster has a dream too, but nowhere near as vivid
-Got to Arakur. Opened a locked (puzzle) door and spoke to Meril.
-During the night a salt factory was attacked. It’s name was Windblown. Meril pleaded for party to stop Bodach’s People.
-The party examined Windblown, but there were no tracks. So they went to the other zombie attacked unknown village. When they got there they found a lot of blood.
-There was also a zombie hiding in the salt. It seems that Bodach’s People burn in the sunlight.

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DM Log - Session 5

The party had just slain their toughest enemy yet in the abandoned slave village of Saltborn. It was a zombie who had been forced out of hiding and into sunlight. He was slowly degenerating, but he was determined to go out with a fight. His moves were martial, and his ripostes were amazing as he attacked the entire party. Drumm found his spirits slaughtered quickly, their primal flesh easily being torn asunder.

After he was finished off, the group dragged him out of the ankle-deep water and onto dry land. Whilst the group plundered his corpse for treasure, Ahren told the group he needed to meditate and reconnect with the (defiling) magic he had been taught. After Ahren had turned around a corner they could hear him trying to imitate the sounds of Egg, Crow’s pet monkey.

On the corpse they found an ancient amber necklace that would be several hundred years old, which if nothing else, its antiquity would make it a valuable item to sell. On his decaying hide chest-plate they found a strange sigil which Aster remembered was an old Heraldic symbol used for the Bodachian guard. They cut this from his body to later show Meril of House Ianto.

A further investigation of the town revealed a Mul Pictograph Diary that was hidden under a loose floorboard, a day’s worth of food secreted behind some pipes and a magical item {the first magic item for the campaign}. It was an obsidian kesteral that had been infused with shadow energy from The Grey. Aster at once felt a kinship with it, and when she held it she could feel that this item helped her tap into her potential {+1 to hit, +1dmg, when hitting an enemy can move their shrouds to something else}. In due time they felt like they had exhausted their possibilities, and followed the bloody trail the zombies had left. The group tried to convince Ahren to join them, but he was too busy meditating and promised to catch up.

They entered the salt marsh proper. It stretched over the horizon, and was covered in a thin layer of very salty water. The group as a whole waded and waddled through it, and occasionally would walk on the grassy islands. A strange feature of the salt marshes was the complete lack of life: even the insects were absent. The only sounds were their sloshing footsteps and the occasional sigh of wind through the dry grasses. With no warning {successive stealth check} a pair of javelins flew out from the tall grasses, pinning Aster and Drumm in place. A ‘bloodthirsty degenerate’ gith ran out of the grasses and fumbled with Aster’s pack. She proved too wily though and foiled his plans to steal it. Combat was afoot, with the 3 gith aiming to steal a bag, and the party trying to slay the 3 gith attackers as quickly as possible. The gith quickly turned to fleeing once they had a backpack, but 2 of the 3 were slain as they fled. Aster was hurt during the battle, and the salt stung her wounds. Drumm & Crow attempted to make a water tight binding for the wound, but failed. Drumm was contemptuous of the pain Aster was feeling, and suggested she learn to ‘Mul it up’ and resist the pain. Aster eventually agreed. Across the next 2 hours she let her wounds fester in the salt, but after a number of successful endurance checks gained a resistance and learned to block out the stinging. Crow attempted to follower her leader’s plan, but eventually gave up after she made no success.

They had captured one of the Gith and tried to interrogate it. The creature knew not a lick of the Common tongue though, and kept just repeating ‘Poopoo’ at the party. Drum cold heartedly suggested they drag the still-living thing behind them as a warning to any others, but Crow informed the group that any more Gith would not be dissuaded by such an action,

and killed their hostage. With nothing else to do, they followed the trail until it ended in a comparatively open area. After some poking about they found noticed that the blood had just been diluted by the passage of some massive beast, and and the grass in one direction was crushed. When they went to see the grass, there was a massive foot print at least 5 foot wide. Aster voted to head back to Saltborn and wait til the next morning before they explored any further, but Drum convinced the group to at least travel for a little longer. They had barely begun to follow the beast’s tracks when they were sprung upon a second time. The gith who had previously escaped had found a friend and tried again, but this time with even less success. Drumm, Aster and Crow efficiently took them down, and with no survivors they feel like their gith troubles have ended.

The tracks of the beast continued forward, and as they moved further into the salty marsh they could see 3 ramshackle towers poking above the waterline in the distance. Judging from the current angle the beast was travelling, the group believed it may have passed nearby.

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DM Log - Session 6

With worry in their hearts, the group set off to the 3 towers. As they neared they noticed scaffolding near the top, and that three towers appeared to still only be partially built. They could hear the sound of sawing. The group held a brief discussion, with Drumm repeatedly suggesting that Aster had best lead the way to check how safe or not it was. The elf reluctantly agreed, and she slunk through the water. The thick mud slowed her down, and Aster had to walk much slower than normal to make sure she didn’t create any waves. She crept up to the nearest tower and stuck herself against the wall, where she began to slide herself closer & closer.

Now that she is nearer, Aster noticed that the towers had no doors at ground level, but there was an old frayed rope that dangled from a window close to 10 meters off the ground (6 squares). As she continued to shift around the tower she saw the back of a Halfling who was busy sawing away at a piece of wood. She critically watched him for a few moments to divine his intention, before she returned to the group & explained.

They decided to hail the builder openly, in the hopes that a non-aggressive greeting may be returned in kind. When they thus approached him, the halfling turned about and looked confused at their entrance.

“Hi guys! Could you come back later? New Erathis isn’t quite ready to be populated yet, and it would be ever so terrible for you to come here before then! I know you must have heard there is a wonderful city to live here … but it’s not ready. Pretty great idea, isn’t it?”

He went on to explain that this was the city he had been building for the past 2 years by himself. He found the stones (as he called them – a successful dungeoneering check revealed them to be existing masonry blocks) nearby, and was using the expert construction knowledge he recently was gifted with to build his own city ‘on the water’. Erathis, for that was his name, explained he was on a personal pilgrimage to reinvigorate the civilisation of Athas, which had been decaying.

The party was very curious about his survival, especially how he avoided Bodach’s People (“these zombies try to colonise my village, but when they see no doors they give up. Not too bright are they? They won’t be building any cities, no siree!”), and what he ate (“Why, the reeds of course! They make a darn fine soup too!” He was very excited to share his Grass Soup recipe with Drumm). In due time they asked about the beast, and Erathis was happy to oblige.

“Oh! You mean that darn skeleton Mekillot? Yeah, I know all about that. It started about a month ago I think. It only comes past somedays, and always goes south-east during the day and then north-west during the night. Some strange pacing, hey? It even broke down once not far from here. Zombies all over the place. Eventually they found this big ball and when it entered the skeleton mekillot it started walking again. Weird, hey?”

When the group requested if they could stay the night, Erathis refused. Crow turned on her female charms (diplomacy natural 20) and he readily agreed, as long as they slept in the same tower. As they were now honourary workers, the team was expected to fetch some rocks to help build. They were given directions, so off they went. Drumm suggested that they skive off work & just laze about, but the rest of the group knew what it meant to earn a bed for the night. They found heavy stone masonry blocks that seemed to be one of the Kalton forts that had been built centuries ago (natural 20 by Crow & Aster). The group, except for Drum, carried stones back for Erathis to aid his project. When Erathis suggested they had enough time to do 1 more run before sundown, Drum requested if he could look out from the towers. He had some difficulty climbing to the door, but when he got up he tapped into his shamanic instincts to sense the mighty beast (1st natural 20 for the beast). Drum realised that it was South East of them, and heading in a Northerly direction. It was walking slowly, and he could feel the faint vibrations run up his feet. When the rest of the party joined him, he passed this on.

Dinner was a strange affair, but in the end Erathis successfully convinced them to try his soup. It tasted bland, but it had some crunchy bits that were surprisingly fulfilling to each. No-one got sick, but one or two people did look a little pale while theey digested it. Whilst they were sleeping, their watch heard the baying of Bodach’s zombie dogs, which could only barely reach New Erathis on a good day. The dogs circled around the towers, following the new scents, before leaving an hour or two later back to Bodach. Morning came, and Erathis left without so much as saying hello to get back to his work.

The group opted to slip out, and they went East until they spotted the beast. It was built from a gargantuan skeleton of a mekillot dirk. Turrets and sharp spires rise crookedly from the drik-shell structure, and a hodge-podge stone tower has been built into and onto its back. It looks as if it has the ability to crawl across sand, scrub plains, salt marshes, and ridged foothills with equal facility.

Wary of any dangers, the group waits and watches.

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DM Log - Session 7

Drumm, Crow & Aster stood some distance from the beast, opting to watch from afar to learn its weaknesses rather than rushing in. They carefully looked for any outlooks on the stone tower or patrolling inside the hollow carapace. Drumm thought he saw a flicker of movement pass across one of the eyes, which was back-lit by a greenish glow, but no-one else saw a thing. Drumm therefore suggested that they walk some distance in front of it, and see if the skeleton reacted in any way. The beast was walking half of their usual pace, so this wasn’t much of a feat. They got a few hundred metres in front of it and waited as the minutes dragged by for it to slowly but surely step closer, and closer, and closer. The heroes were the first to break the game of chicken and retired to the side to watch it pass. As it hadn’t reacted in any discernible way yet, it was decided they would attempt to jump up & grab onto the shell, which was full of small cracks, dents & minor protrusions. The skeleton mekillot stood a good 13 feet off of the ground, so they knew it would be difficult.

They discussed a few options before deciding that Aster, with a rope in hand, would rely on her superior acrobatic reflexes to get onto it. They got ahead of the beast once again then Crow & Drumm stood firm as Aster climbed onto their shoulders. Together the group waited as the beast stomped closer, and timing her moment perfectly, Aster leapt up into the air. She had a terrifying moment where she grabbed at nothing but air, though a moment later she found purchase and swiftly pulled herself up. This close to the edge she found it hard to keep her purchase, as the shell was practically cliff-like. She tied a rope through some cracks in the carapace & signalled the others to clamber up. Crow easily did so, but Drumm failed three times before he got a good enough grip on the rope. The moment that Drumm touched the Mekillot shell a surge of knowledge poured into his mind. From it, he learned that:

  • He got the sense that the Mekillot is known as ‘Crawl,’ in homage to something else. This seems to have been burned into its very essence.
  • He knew that Crawl is far larger than it was when it died, and he got the feeling it has been grown through some unnatural means. The mekillot approves of this change though.
    *You also get the sense that a “False Heart” is powering Crawl, and without the ‘False Heart’ Crawl would return to a full death.
  • After some more divining, he learned that the False Heart was towards the top of the tower

Together they found some stairs which had been carved into the shell & made their way upwards towards the stone tower. Climbing the stairs they suspected that this was how Bodach’s People were able to expand beyond their normal limitations. As they neared the top the smell of decay choked the air that wafted out of the tower in front of them. From here, they could see inside a dark
passage that revealed another staircase going up. Darker patches indicate that the kennels were built inside the tower as well as outside. They glimpsed glowing pinpricks in the gloom ahead and a faint shuffling noise that grew louder. Those dots of light were the faintly glowing eye sockets of horrid, rotting zombie dogs with blackened claws.

2 such dogs leapt out at them teeth bared. The moment sunlight touched them small flames began to erupt on their bodies, and the dogs quickly returned to the safe darkness of the tower. At the orders of Drumm Aster pulled one of the dogs out, which was quickly finished off by Aster. The second dog took more goading, and it was only when Ahren, the party’s fourth & most arcane member, appeared that the second dog ran out of the tower to savage the group. This too was quickly reduced to a mere pile of flaming, twitching meat.

Now that they had time to catch their breath, Ahren & the group exchanged tales of what they had been up to. Ahren seemed different to before. When they had met him he had been stoic, strong of mind & mercantile to the extreme. Before now stood a dray that seemed just that little bit wilder. His grip on the axe was loose, and small magical flames danced between his fingers. The look in his eye was more wild & excitable, and he held himself casually. Ahren kept making reference to ‘the monkey,’ and praising it like some powerful primal spirit. He insisted to Crow that her pet, Egg, was a ‘god,’ reincarnate & would bring Mad Monkey Wobbles to all.

The group didn’t quite know what to make of their companion, and shrugged it off. Ahren had always been a little bit boisterous, so they put it down to drinking too much salty water or the like. Besides; they had bigger fish to fry than Ahren’s sanity, so together they plunged into the tower, with the goal in mind to somehow stop the mekillot from spreading the zombies further afield. Inside the tower was dark and cool. The stench was overpowering, and in the limited light that pooled about the entrance they could see more bloodstains. More canine growls issued from the darkness & half a dozen dogs rushed forward to greet the guests. The action became hectic.

Ahren first glowed dimly, slashing at one dog whilst casting his defiling spells at another. Aster whipped about the battlefield, lashing at enemies with her shadow-wrought nooses. Drum waded his spirit into the midst of battle to swat at the dogs whilst lighting a torch to allow all to see what was going on. Crow fired at the rottweilers from afar. Sooner rather than later Ahren got in over his head as the dogs latched onto him, with one managing to swallow Ahren’s whole head inside its own. Rather than flail about desperately like the rest of the party imaged though, the spellscale dray inhaled deeply and expelled a thick, heavy blanket of fire {{dragonbreath: element fire}}. The fire burst out of the first dog and burned at those nearby. Thus freeing himself, Ahren made the most of the situation to aggressively set himself on fire, harming those about him while remaining safe himself.

While the fight was raging Crow & Aster found a grate thickly covered with blood. Just seeing it made them unreasonably angry, and they found themselves brutishly attacking with renewed vigour {{Critical on 18-20 while next to the grille}}. The dogs refused to die, often hanging onto their half-life with extreme tenacity. One by one they became still, until there were just 2 left, which fled.

160 EXP Earned

After that, the group examined the room. They didn’t want to be set up by a horde of zombie on a level where they couldn’t easily escape, so they tried to find any likely entrances if the zombies were below. There were a number of thin holes that the rottweilers used to access lower levels, but other than the bloody grate there was nothing too suspicious. They examined the badly made cells, finding a number of still warm blankets. Finally, they came across some dank water in a fountain. It would be enough to sate all their thirsts, but the group was wary of it. Drumm finally plucked up the courage to test it, and as his cupped hand entered the water it sizzled painfully. He retracted his hand, suggesting they shouldn’t drink it.

Ahren, on the other hand, had other ideas. He emptied one of his waterskins and carefully filled it up with the necrotic water, before carefully annotating a skull & crossbones on the cap to remind himself of its contents. Feeling lost between exploring the grille & heading up the stairs the group turned to Drumm. He tried to speak with Crawl’s spirit once more, but Crawl could not be found. He was able to sense that the False Heart that powered Crawl was above them though. Thus sated, the group opted to head upstairs.

{{Final notes: I realised I made a mistake. I had been giving Drumm resist 3 damage, rather than resist 3 to ongoing damage (such as ongoing damage from being on fire).}}

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DM Log - Session 8

The party milled about in the relative cool on the steps inside Crawl. The floors smelled terrible, and many of the flagstones were stained with old, dark blood. Inside the cells they had recently explored there was fresh blood & still warm cloaks, but it seemed the living had been restricted there. Drumm was certain that the False Heart that powered Crawl was further up, and urged his companions not to dawdle or explore the zombie rott-wieler kennels. They were all feeling worried & scared, so they slowed inched their way up the staircase, ready for an attack. Half-way up the slowly curving stairs they found a boarded up window. A silent glance passed between the four of them, and while they began a whispered discussion on who should do the honours of shattering it, Crow stepped forward and unleashed a mighty flurry of claws & fists. The wooden & hide barricade practically exploded {natural 20} from the window, and a few seconds later they heard the splash! as it fell into the swampy waters below. Sunlight flooded their eyes and created a powerful, hot bar of sunlight that dissected the upper and lower staircase. Drumm & Aster nodded their approval – with this at their backs they would have a shield from any of Bodach’s People who tried to sneak up behind them.

Feeling more confident, they strode up until they reached a door at the top of the staircase. Aster requested the others to pull back a little, and pressed her elven ears against the door, straining to hear any sounds.

Nrrrgg … shf shfff … wierrng

There was the sound of shifting bodies, and an irregular drip of liquid splattering onto something. There also seemed to a low murmur, but she couldn’t quite make out what it was. What really stole her attention though was the smell. The ground floor of the tower had smelt rotten, but whatever was on the other side was otherworldly in its powerful stench. She cracked the door open ajar and peered inside. It was pitch black, but the minimal light from Drumm’s torch was enough to make out what looked like bodies heaped on top of one another. She gently closed the door & retired back to her new found allies. After explaining what she’d seen, Drum was unusually energetic to fight, and Ahren was his usual, monkey-like self. They organised themselves about the doorway, before suddenly bursting out. In the strong light of the torch they made out a gruesome sight.

Bodach’s People. The 40 foot circular room was filled with a veritable mountain of zombies, and they lay unmoving on the floor around you. Their skin was a wasted brown, and drawn tightly against their dehydrated flesh. Their faces were contorted into various death masks like the mummified corpses found in a bog. Standing at guard to the next door were 2 strange zombies. They contrast markedly to others, which are dry & still. These wobble on their feet, and were bloated like a murdered victim left in foul waters. Strange, dark liquids oozed from their bodies, and at times a small weal would pop by itself, showing the area about it in a haze of pus.

Without so much as glancing at the zombies, Aster rushed to a southern-facing window she spotted. With one swing of her broadsword she cut away the lower half of the thick hide that had covered the window, and a ribbon of sunlight bloomed into the room. Because it was only early morning during the High Sun, only a small portion of the room was lit, but the piles of deathly still zombies that were caught in the sunlight began to gently smoulder. Despite what must have been a fatal attack, none of the dry, bog-zombies moved at all.

Meanwhile, Drumm had spent his time examining the room. He noticed that the 2 bloated corpses (“Corruption Corpses”) were not guarding the door like the group had imagined, but were guarding a figure who was neck-deep in zombies. Drumm summoned his Spirit of Athas with a flourish of his totem, and ducked back towards the doorway where they had entered. Crow and Ahren had raced to take down the most potent threat they could see- the corruption corpses. Flames seemed to erupt from every one of Ahren’s attacks, with some of those fires flying towards completely unrelated enemies. The group seemed to be doing amazing, until the zombies finally reacted. The not-quite-unison the Corruption Corpses dug their swollen hands into their chest and brought forth of a handful of rotting, pussy gunk. They threw this at the sunlight-bringing elf, and the imposing stone spirit that Drumm had brought forth. Upon striking Aster she was so disgusted she at first failed to notice it was sapping her strength and robbing her of her mental clarity {weakened ; all damage is halved}. The mostly buried zombie called forth in a deep, crisp tone.

”Lend.”

At his command one of the still, dry zombies began to move. It’s hand jittered about randomly, as if life had suddenly been infused into it. The hand began to powerfully scrabble about, and with a surprising turn of speed pulled the still body behind it to lunge at Ahren. The spellsword Dray was able to nimbly avoid the attack, but suddenly all eyes turned to the Deathlock Zombie Master. The battle raged on, with Aster & Crow teaming up to kill a Corruption Corpse, which upon its re-death exploded in a shower of disgusting gunk. The longer the battle raged, the more power the Zombie Master could use. His words of power became longer, and the number of Crawling Hands he could raise increased. Between the flaming might of Ahren and the empowering words of Drumm the second Corruption corpse had been taken down. Crow had focused her attacks on slaying the revived hands, which tried to swarm towards a target, distracting their enemy until one leapt to attack {all but 1 Hand would use Aid Another to “lend a hand”} trying to deal with the problem before they were overwhelmed with hundreds of partially-mobile Bodachians. The Zombie Master spoke his final line:

”Lend. Me. A. Hand. Now.”

5 hands were raised. Calling for help from the primal spirits that ruled Athas, Drumm unleashed his most powerful chant {daily}. Strange ripples appeared about the Zombie Master, and the rest of the party discovered that their next subsequent attack could hurt the Zombie Master more & more. Across the entirety of the battle Aster had been carefully examining the master for his weakest point, and in a fashion that would have made her Elven assassin masters proud attacked the Zombie Master when he was at his most weak {4 assassin shrouds (4d6) + maximum benefit from Drumm’s daily (3d6) + encounter power = 3d8 + 7d6 damage} to deal the killing stroke. The hands began to lose their vitality, and after a few seconds the Crawling Hands lost the strength to pull the corpses, before finally returning to the stillness they had originally shown.

Feeling exhausted but impressed with themselves, the group climbed halfway up the staircase before falling against the cool stone walls. Drumm & his spirit tended to their wounds, and gave them small words of encourage to help get them back to their prime {full HP}. While the group was resting Drumm tried to smash the boarded up window, which seemed to be in every staircase, but couldn’t muster the strength. Feeling slightly indignant at being bested by hide & wood, he requested that his spirit finish the group. A western facing window was opened up, and once again the group felt better for it.

Feeling ready for the danger that lay ahead, Aster snuck to the door and tried to listen carefully for what may be on the otherside, but couldn’t make anything out. She carefully opened the door and peeked inside. A powerful beam of light from Crow’s Sunrod helped to illuminate the room. From the crack in the door Aster could make out an empty, stone floor that had a dry zombies that had been cut powerfully in two. She closed the door & let the others know about her investigation. After quite a bit of worried wispering, it was decided they would try what they’d so successfully used in the below room; just rush in & hope to overwhelm whatever was inside. They burst inside, eyes wide with adrenaline to find an empty stone room that had thin grooves set evenly throughout the floor. Three steps in, there was a SCHK! noise and a powerful obsidian razor burst out from the far wall. It was a foot thick, and pushed forward like a battering ram. Luckily for the group the razor sliced through an unoccupied column, and served to only heighten their fear. Aster and Ahren noticed on the far wall there was a control panel that was connected to a complex looking lock on a door. Trusting to their skill & luck they quickly darted across the room and started to get to work. Crow hovered behind the two, giving them helpful hints to both of them, but never trusting in her own skill to deactivate the controls. Once one of the 6 razors had been disabled Drumm rushed to the safe area, and began to watch out for the group. He knew if he devoted his time to watching for the razors, he would be able to command his spirit to pull a companion out of the way. Across the next few minutes, and a few false starts, they were able to disable the trap and unlock the door. It has been a few harrowing moments, and Crow had taken a greivous wound that had to be patched up by Drumm.

They knocked out another Eastwards facing window, and were ready to continue on when they heard the murmur of voices. Suddenly worried, the party snuck up to the door to hear as much as possible.

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