G'tok-Dra

Caravan

“The spirits protect their own. They have tasted our blood and sweat in the desert and rewarded our perseverance”

Expech prayed to the elements for their release from the desert. Now it was up to them to survive Tyr! The foul smelling, gaudily worked structures punctured the earth and he told the rest of the Gith-attala to remain in the shelter of some caves as they obtained supplies in the city of man.

Korek waved an antennae for Expech to climb up a rocky outcropping and pointed to a small caravan winding its way up the trade road. Expech nodded in agreement and they headed towards it to see what news they could obtain from the traders. As they approached they saw it was a band of Elves en route to Alturuk. In fact the elves saw that we were well acquainted with our environs and asked us if we sought work – and offered us 50 ceramic pieces apiece if we would guide and protect them on their journey. It was too good to be true, to be certain, but still an offer as such could not be overlooked – so we discussed it briefly and took it – risky or not.
Under a dark sun by jasonengle
The trade route was almost as bad as being on the open desert. They needed to tend to the pack animals and avoid bandits and such. The journey was relatively uneventful and it appeared to be the easiest money the two would make till they made it into town. The elves gathered in a tent and Expech and Korek were conversing with two other guards they met who happened to be ex-gladiators from Tyr – Ilikan and Lo-Kag both half giants. They were wary of the elves as well and when they spotted them talking to some slavers in a silk tent they confronted the elves – who at once prepared to silence us. One of the giants took the elven leader, Kaldras, out with a ponderous hit from his gouge and the town guards rushed in to uphold the peace.

Tellamon – the Captain of the Altaruk town guard, who wielded a magnificent metal long sword, apparently worked as a judicator in town. The man listened as each side presented their perspectives as to what had transpired. With some excellent social skill, Toox convinced Tellamon that they, indeed, were the victims of the elven tribe.

We celebrated our victory against the elves with much libation, but, ran afoul of a Balican noble. To make up for the insult, we were sentenced to fight in Bloodsand Arena.

To the roar of the crowd we were pitted against the elves and had to get these giant ceramic coins into colored baskets on opposite sides of the arena. It was not too hard with the giants and my elementals blocking their route and the nimble tri-kreen monk with multiple appendages juggling multiple coins. In fact it wasn’t even a contest. But the crowd must have enjoyed our performance as I thought our case won – once we defeated the elves…

So then came spiders and gith and the giants squished the bugs easily enough. They seemed to enjoy it – in fact the arena was where they were raised. I merely raised their spirit and refreshed their souls with my primal magic and they could withstand the utmost punishment! Korek seemed to take to the giants as well – with them keeping the foes attention he was able to strike where it did the most damage with little fear of retaliation. There was one other that fought with us in the arena Toox and I did not understand her nature. She was a beautiful specimen who seemed to conjure crystals of force that exploded. Of course the giants did not like the shards of force that struck them as well, but, when they understood to get out of her way, the matches got easier that they had us “perform” as a grand spectacle for the people. I think if we were less impressive the event would have been much shorter.
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Then, in our last bout, there was a scream from the stands—it appeared that someone was thrown from the upper balcony! There was much panic in the crowd and the guards came out and ushered us back into the gladiator pits and attempted to disperse the crowd.

While we were in the pits a half elf approached us and applauded our performance in the arena. “My name is Selonius and I work for Lord “Aris” Arisphistaneles the lord baron here in Altaruk. He was most impressed by your show today and requests your service in another manner. You saw the disturbance in the arena today I presume? Aris would like an outside counsel to investigate this matter. Aris rewards those who please him and is offering a prodigious amount of ceramics a piece. What say you?”

When the group stopped their open mouth gaping they readily agreed and they were led to a group who they were told witnessed the event. It was Tellamon who was murdered. It was also quite obvious the witnesses had already been bullied and were not cooperating. But the giants had an intended effect upon them as they most certainly saw their performances in the arena – Aris choose his inquisitors wisely! The culprit was wearing gladiator sandals and a white tunic. The group also found a dagger laced with a poison made from arcane magic – which few in the city would have access or knowledge about.

Investigating around a bit more they saw a suspicious looking dwarf running off into a shady section of town and shadowed him. Following him into an a gladiator house, they met him talking to a muscle bound brute wearing a white tunic and sandals. Surprised by our entrance, he challenged our intrusion and being forthright we told him we were investigating a murder. He saw that he could not fool us, so, he came clean; explaining that it was indeed his plot and had hired his friend here to kill off Tellamon. He went on to clarify that Tellamon was seeking to depose Aris, and that the captain was a member of a secret society called The True. Tellamon had found out that Aris was part of the Veiled Alliance and was planning to assassinate him.

Taking him at his word, we went back to Aris and exposed the plot. He was pleasantly surprised by the news and swore us into secrecy about the whole affair. He went on to propose that we be inducted into it – I don’t think we had much choice in the matter.

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The Face in Stone
the new party heads back to Tyr for an initiation to the Veiled Alliance

Having stayed in Altaruk, the party is summoned to the estate of it’s governor, Lord “Aris” Arisphistaneles.

“My new friends, the time for your initiation into the Veiled Alliance has come!” The lord hands you an unsealed scroll of papyrus. It reads:

Greetings from House Shom

We’ve sent messengers throughout the Tyr region to deliver this communication to those of a mercenary guise. If you be such, and you wish to earn a great reward, read on. Desert raiders harass and disrupt our caravans, yet the Revolutionary Council of Tyr will not lift a finger to help. Thus, honest merchants must find aid elsewhere. The raiders claim that our caravans know the site of a ruined temple called the Face in Stone. They say if we give up the location, their attacks will cease. But we know nothing of the ruin. Moreover, a Shom caravan seeking to find the Face in the Stone never returned. Our request is this: Find the Face in Stone, learn the fate of our lost caravan and provide assistance to any survivors. All we have concerning the ruin’s location is a line from an old song:

‘Where the devil’s horn threads the tunnel in the sky, a stony visage rarely blinks its hollow eye.’

Return with your findings to our emporium in Tyr, and you will be heralded as heroes of House Shom.

Regards, Delem Shom."

Eagerly awaiting the chance to join with a force for good in this godsforsaken place, you all make haste to leave Altaruk, en route to the mountains around Tyr. Making your way through the myriad stalls, booths and tents of the Elven Market, you’re set upon by a large group of dwarves, thri-kreen and men. The apparent leader, a human named Sarhan, who bears the roaring lion symbol of Urik, steps forward and speaks.

“This is your lucky day, dogs of Tyr! The Lion God, Hamanu, has chosen YOU to join the ranks of His worshipers. You should feel honored! However, I’m afraid this is going to hurt. A lot!"

A group of elves, armed with throwing chatkchas appears on the roofs of two nearby buildings. Then, a group of sturdy looking dwarves advance on the party, followed by Sarhan. Finally, a pair of bounding thri-kreen warriors blocks any possible exit from the melee. Although strong, your group doesn’t fare well against this numericaly and tactically superior force. You are quickly defeated, but, surprisingly, left alive and unconcious. When you awaken, you notice that three of you have small lion-head tattoos on your wrist. No sign of Sarhan or his forces is found.

Disturbed by these events, but undeterred, you set out for Tyr to find this Face in Stone place-wherever it may be. Outside of Tyr, you’re ambushed by large spiders, seemingly made of crystal.
Crystalspider

These are easily defeated (it seems that the spiders didn’t have enough time to take advantage of their terrain… ). After several more hours wandering through the desert and foothills of the Ringing Mountains, you come across a large gathering. A huge dust devil swirls amidst a cliff-face. Several large rock beds are surrounded by Tarek raiders and a few human bandits. Also, you spot several unarmed humans who are bound and being held captive. Several are being thrown into the midst of the Dust Devil—not to return.

Tarek by ben wootten

Combat is joined and, soon enough, the Tarek are routed, but only 4 humans remain alive. You briefly interrogate the humans and learn that they are all that remains of a large caravan sent by House Shom to find the Face in Stone. Although they failed to find it, they believe that it lies beyond the Dust Devil.

All of you make it through the immobile dust storm and there, in front of you, is a giant humanoid face carved into a cliff face. You’ve found the Face in Stone!

Face stone

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Cave Massacre

The party makes it’s way inside the Face in Stone to discover a tribe of vicious hejkins. One of the beasts swaps places with Lo-Kag via teleportation and the goliath is set upon by several of the small monsters. The mouth of the cave is bordered by two large columns which reveal themselves to be traps when Ilikan moves between them. Expech Tuhuy is also a victim of the trap. The battle is hard-fought but eventually leads to the party’s defeat. At the last minute, the monk, Ulmo, appears and saves the survivors of the massacre and proves instrumental in turning the tide in the heroes’ favor.
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With the cave entrance cleared, finally, the group penetrates deeper into the cliff face to find another cavern—with more hejkins! A hejkin chief sounds a chitinous gong that reverberates through the chamber, summoning a Chuul from a nearby pool of water. The chuul attacks Expech Tuhuy with its vicious pincer-claws and severs the shaman’s body into 3 separate sections—lifelessly tumbling to the stone floor. The only sound to escape the shaman’s mouth is a mewling whimper, as a still-surprised look is frozen on his dead face.

Joined, as luck would have it, by a Mul fighter Bost the surviving party members defeat the hejkin and find valuable treasure.

Oblidai felt the Shaman’s death before he was even told. The elements called out to him in mourning, Expech’s spirit was no longer part of this world but had moved beyond the veil into the next. The spirit called out to him as Oblidai had a connection to the mystical leader of the qwam. The tribe needed him and he felt it essential to follow in his master’s footsteps and find the face in the stone. Hopefully he could find Korek riikqhari the Thri-Kreen monk there and bring peace and honor in remembrance of Expech Tuhuy (DEAD).

Oblidai requested a mul battlemind accompany him from the Gith-attala as they attempted to find this “face in the stone”. The spirit of Expech called to Oblidai and they had little difficulty finding the giant dust devil concealing the temple’s entrance. The dust storm hung in place over a cliff wall. A twirling twisting pillar of blowing dust and sand ascended at least 50 feet into the sky. It screamed over the dead plain, promising stinging death to those who entered its skirts.

A few remaining dwarven obsidian traders confirmed that Expech and the other adventurers went into the storm to find the Face in the Stone. They were on their way to Kled as they were attacked by raiders who for some reason threw the rest of their caravan into the storm to die. These raiders were apparently led by the infamous Yarnath the Skull who operates from a mysterious citadel known as Slither. They waited a few days now, recovering from their wounds and had not seen any signs of the party – not wanting to wait any longer, as their supplies were dwindling, and they felt they were now strong enough to brave the desert. They wished us luck as we headed into the storm and probable death.

As the storm tore at Oblidai and his friend he used his own dust devil companion to shield them from the worst of it and they made it through to the eye of the storm relatively unscathed. Coming to a strange carved face they knew they had reached their destination. Passing into the cool dark cave they came across several remains of goat-like creatures, they passed a cool stream which they paused to refill their depleted water skins and came upon Karek and the rest of his crew. He greeted them in typical Tri-Kreen coolness but with respect. He explained to them the passing of Expech and the sacrifice he had made for their Quam. Expech’s body was cut in pieces and Oblidai ceremoniously rubbed oils on his body and prepared a sacred funeral pyre. They told stories of the wise shaman and as the pyre light flickered and went out Oblidai collected some of his ash to return to the Gith-attala.

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Marauders of the Dune Sea

After saying our goodbyes to our friend and leader we decided to explore the Cave some more. This place appears to be some sort of crypt and it held some intrigue to the events that had unfolded thus far. Exploring a side passageway we came to a door that opened into a passageway with four doors in each direction and a hejkin skeletal remains lying on the floor in the middle. Opening the northern door exposed a brightly lit room and roars of flame accompany the dancing lights from 4 massive braziers that burn, one in each corner of the chamber. The skeleton of a snakelike creature lies crumbling on the floor, its eye sockets seeming to smolder with embers. A alter carved of bone stands along the northern wall. As we hesitantly entered the room a puff of smoke indicated the entrance of a skeletal form appearing in each of the two northern braziers, burning but undamaged by the flames. Fire flares in the eye sockets of the skeletal creature on the floor, it tail rose and struck at us! Smoke puffed from the two southern braziers and shambling forms of zombies appeared next to them. Two of the zombies were encrusted with salt and their deathly groans assaulted our ears and attempted to suck the mineral from G’tok Dra’s bodies. The skeleton animates and swings it’s tail in wide arcs, hitting a few party members. The heroes manage to beat back the undead and destroy the skeletal trap.

The party delves further, encountering a nasty trap and a Boneshard Skeleton, defeating both. They encountered a room, littered with corpses which reanimate due to an unseen force, powerful defiling magic. After clearing the room, the heroes are surprised to find another party, standing in the doorway of the chamber. Turns out that others have answered the call of House Shom to investigate the Face in Stone. This group, The Red Chord, is comprised of 3 adventurers—malcontents, all.

After a brief but furious combat, the heroes emerge victorious-again. The party continues on, encountering minor distractions until they reach a large chamber with pit in the center. Shadow wraiths attack, along with an adult Silk Wyrm—a snake-like monster. The heroes easily beat back the wraiths, while Korek riikqhari jumps into the pit to discover a fragment of a powerful artifact Crown of Dust, once owned by a mighty primordial.

Silk wyrm
The party heads back towards the cavern entrance, only to discover a party of elves with Skull symbols painted on their faces. They claim to represent the raider Yarnath—a powerful lich who prowls the Tablelands in a gigantic, moving fortress called Slither. A group of outriders are seen, riding crodlu and approaching at a rapid pace. The heroes make a hasty retreat into the mountains near the cave and eventually lose their pursuers.
Slither

Several days later, the heroes return to the city of Tyr to rest and claim their reward from House Shom. Ilikan is approached by a man who introduces himself as Xorann Kreb, who inquires about Toox and the debt she owes to him. The party feigns ignorance and a fight ensues. Kreb has several allies, including a knife-master, who dances around the battlefield, slicing and dicing the heroes.

Xorann Kreb is quickly killed, as the party concentrates on taking him down. His allies throw rocks at the party, hitting several.

A female figure and a large centipede-like creature are spotted by Illikan, on top of a nearby roof. The woman begins pelting the party with arcane spells and the cilops is knocked down by Korek. The cilops makes a target of Tirshel and continues to attack him, solely, throughout the rest of the battle.

The party manages to hold their own-and then some-against the new and old foes. Suddenly, though, a group of masked men appear around the marketplace. They are led by a woman wielding a sword, who casts a spell, killing the cilops.

“You have to get out of here! Come with me!!” She yells to the party.

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True Raid
the forces of evil attack G'tok Dra!

G’tok Dra was on the run. Mere minutes ago, the meeting they were supposed to have with Sartaj and Marama was raided by half-giant and human thugs, led by a dray defiler mage. After repulsing the initial attack, the young rebels fled into the chaotic streets of the Warrens. Buildings were ablaze as an armed force of the True massacred real and suspected Alliance members. Ducking quickly into the sewers, G’tok Dra emerged a short distance away from the mayhem. Human soldiers and dray mages scoured an empty, burned-out block from stragglers and quickly spotted them in the glow of a monstrous fire elemental. The 15-foot tall inferno towered over the human soldiers and inside of it, a hairless mul seemed to be controlling it!

“You see how easy this is, Marama? Soon, I’ll crush the Veiled Alliance and the last obstacle to resurrecting King Kalak will be removed! It’s such a shame you won’t be here to witness the totality of your FAILURE.”

The elemental-wearing mul grabbed the plump and lifeless body of G’tok Dra’s tutor and threw it into the side of a building that was burning furiously. The mul quickly turned his attention on the party.

“Well, well, well! Look at this collection of baazrag dung! You must be Marama’s students! Illikan, Oblidai, and Toox—perhaps I’ll show you mercy…by selling you to the highest bidder!”

The mul laughed as the forces of the True surrounded G’tok Dra, weapons drawn._

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Slaves!

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You, your leader Sartaj, and your companions are now slaves in Avram’s caravan, leaving at sunrise for Balic on the South Road out of Tyr. You quickly learn that Avram, the caravan master, is a half-elven Balican man and you are now his property and treated no better than animals.

Under way, Avram’s caravan seems almost like a small town. A harnessed pair of mekillots pulls a giant walled wagon, while a trio of inix carries howdas with guards. Avram has hired additional guards while his caravan is near Tyr, presumably lest any of his property try to take advantage of the `Free City’.

Sartaj was grievously burned and seriously wounded in the raid. It will take much time before she is completely healed. You do your best to make her comfortable but the jarring of the wagon makes her release pitiful gasps of pain from her charred lips.

She tells you of the situation as you have much time to contemplate your fate:

She and Marama were on their way to meet with the adventurers when the attack began. Sartaj fell to Obadias while trying to cover Marama’s escape. When you tell her of Marama’s fate she is visably upset but somewhat in shock.

She explains she has heard of Obadias before. Her information suggests that while he is a warlock of some power, the elemental made him much stronger. She has heard of Obadias in connection with a group known as The True; a secretive group of defilers recently active in Tyr. She had asked the adventurers to meet hoping to secure their aid in an investigation of The True. The attack could not have been carried out so successfully without inside information on the activities of the Veiled Alliance – either there is a traitor inside the Alliance, or someone has been turned.

You also know:
The trip to Balic should take about 15 days.
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You are tied inside of the wagon’s slave hold – a dark, hot room with no ventilation and a door on each side barred from the outside. You have no possessions besides your clothing. (please make sure to adjust stats)

The wagon moves at daybreak; a hour later five guards (one appears to be some sort of psionicist) feed the slaves (gruel and water) and check your shackles. They return in the evening with an additional quart of water per slave. This routine never varies.

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You are in location F.

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Jura Dai Raid

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Outside the hold, look-outs sound the alarm. An instant later, a loud voice can be heard from outside the wagon: “The Jura Dai are not slaves your king must release our people or all his caravans will perish in the desert.” Shortly after the events detailed above occur, a loud explosion sounds at the front of the wagon. It stops amid astonished cries of “You can’t stop a mekillot wagon!” “They stopped us!” and “_We’re doomed!” (The attackers’s defiler used a fireball to sever the shaft by which the wagon is pulled.) The booming voice sounds again: “_Leave now—taking nothing with you or we will burn you out!”
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The psionicist hands you crossbows and 20 obsidian bolts each and tells you to defend the caravan.

A: Cargo Hold.
B: Crew Quarters. Twelve sleeping hammocks. Obsidian Bastard sword
C: Psionicist.s Quarters. 25 cp (hidden in bunk). +2 wand
D: Captain Avarm’s Quarters.
E: Kitchen. Gruel. 500 gallons of water in a barrel. 20 one-quart vessels (PCs can carry two per hand).

Two rounds after the party is freed, three dozen elves board the wagon, slaying the psionicist and half-a-dozen guards who remained behind. After the adventurers (slaves) abandon the wagon, they start setting fire to it.

Outside, the wagon is surrounded by three hundred elves. They don’t bother the now-freed slaves, but, offer no help either. Korek suffers a deluge of insults (the elves are well aware of the thri-kreen.s taste for elf-meat). The elves drive the slaves off with arrows that fall uncomfortably close but do not intentionally hit the group.

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Burned Wreck. When the group returns to the wagon they discover that it has been completely burned and looted. The cargo is now missing

Not much survived the fire, but, here is a list of what G’tok Dra finds:

1. Charcoal (the wagon was made of wood), for all practical purposes an unlimited supply.
2. Dozens of obsidian shards (broken weapons) as long as four feet and razor sharp.
3. Burn leather (straps and clothing).
4. Burnt bone (human).
5. Burnt cloth (hammocks. clothing. etc.).
6. Sheets of glass under wagon where sand melted.
7. Captain Avram’s burnt remains. He died when the fire ball freed the mekillots.
8. Bone case with map

As the group is searching the burnt caravan they are surrounded by 12 guards. The guards demand any water the party has. Battle ensues when G’tok Dra refuse to hand over their precious water supply.

Following this Illikan spies a thicket of vegetation a mile distant. The thicket is silhouetted by Athas twin moons, Ral and Guthay. The thicket is nearly a half-mile across. From its center glistens a scintillating, silver reflection—the unmistakable gleam of water?
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As Illikan, Korek and their fellow freed-slave Akar proceed to enter the seeming oasis, they are set upon by a green slime and several oozes. G’tok Dra struggles against the vicious pricker bushes and disgusting monsters, enduring lethal damage from both. Akar, the kenku who joined the party when freed from the caravan, is the first to be killed, while trying to escape the “oasis.” He is pummeled by damage from the slime and oozes and is finally finished off by the prickers.

Illikan and Korek soon turn the tables on their assailants with a few well-placed attacks. After defeating the slimy monsters, they discover the “water” is actually a shallow pool of viscous liquid, but, none of it water. The harsh cruelties of Athas’s environment become more evident as the group continues on, in search of the town of Kled.

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Rocky Barrens

G’tok- Dra got a respite from the heat of the day in the thorny briar. The team took turns keeping watch as the others rested. Toox created a crystal of psionic energy and cast it beyond the briar patch. This created a psychic double of herself, allowing her to see the surroundings outside the thorny wall. She saw a tiefling man approaching, wheeling overhead a kestrel squawked – apparently communicating in some way to the devil man. Watching him setup a lean-to next to the briars she hailed him. Surprised he introduced himself as Iados, a Wizard of sorts who worked with the templars from Draj. He had been on the same caravan and had been working with Avarm, as a slave, but unlike them he seemed to have unique skills the Caravan leader was interested in. Seeing how he seemed somewhat trustworthy they decided to have him join their party. As the merciless sun finally set and the twin moons rose in the night sky they set off again in search of the oasis.

There are dozens of different kinds of cactus in the Stony Barrens. Three different varieties dominate the region however: a spherical purple kind roughly two feet in diameter, a tubular kind that resembles a mass of writhing brains and covers the ground for twenty square yards and a tall tree-like kind with 1-6 branches.
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Bounding unknowingly into the middle of them the plants animated and attacked the group, seeking to draw the blood from the adventurers to feed their own roots. Sensing that they could turn the table around – the saguaros appeared to contain moisture. The group hacked away at the man-eating plants and was rewarded with a day’s supply of cactus juice which was amply satisfying for one dying of thirst in this barren wasteland.
As the PCs climb a small dune, they heard a loud frantic buzzing on the other side. The aarakocra are both coal black with naked heads entirely devoid of feathers wicked looking red eye and wingspans of about 20 feet. They are attacking a wezer. Which resembles a wasp but also has many things in common with a bee it has a red body is about five feet long, three feet in diameter and has no apparent stinger at the end of its abdomen. The sphere attached to its mouth is a ball of wax the size of a one gallon jug. The wezer is no match for the aarakocra.
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Driving off the aarakocra – the Wezer takes one last wheezing breath and gives up his ball of wax as his life-spirit left his carapace.

Over the next sand dune they see a number of hills. The size of the domes varies between three and eight feet tall but that all are about five feet in diameter. The domes are apparently constructed of sand glued together in some way. Only one, near the center of the area, has an obvious entrance. The entrance is four feet in diameter. The group deduces this must be the home of the late Wezer they found. Even though they were pretty sure to find plenty more balls of wax – they decided that walking into a hive of mad wezers wasn’t worth the risk.
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Traveling through the night they came upon another apparent group of ex-slaves sneaking up on three inix-drawn wagons, hoping to steal some water. When the PCs make their presence known, the woman angrily tells them to keep out of sight before they blow the ambush.
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Jura Dai Stronghold

The three ex-slaves are friendly toward the group, recognizing them as fellow escaped slaves, until The Tri-Kreen snuck up near the slaves and knocked scree off the rocky overlook. The group- Kollus, To-gahl, and Marista are reluctant to help them out as they’re short of water themselves. They explained how the trouble at Kled has made finding water difficult, and the tribe can’t afford to take on any more mouths. They suggest that if the groups can resolve the trouble at Kled, they can find refuge with the slave tribe. The trouble has to do with the Jura Dai elves accusing the inhabitants of Kled of telling slave takers where to find the elves. From them, they tell the group that they will be killed or returned to slavery if they try to join a caravan or return to Urik. They can also learn where the nearest oasis is and that the water there has recently turned bad. Lastly, they will find that the ex-slaves believe that the King of Urik is very evil. They find the group incapable and tell them to split before the caravan scouts captured them and took them back to Urik or worse. Feeling they had blown an opportunity to restore their water supply the party slunk away.

Traveling at night they see something slender pass before the two moons of Athas now and then. The ribbon stays at least a mile distant, it appears to be a large snake covered with an articulated shell of silver-gray chitin. The snake is about 45 feet long and two feet in diameter, and has a pair of wicked-looking fangs in its mouth. It follows all night) long, disappearing and reappearing every now and then. Just before dawn, it disappears and does not reappear.
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The party wakes to the trickle of water and find a Silk Wyrm has depleted their water supply! When Korek finally figures out the silk wyrm is caught stealing the water, it attempts to paralyze him and drag him off.

Spying vegetation in the distant they come across the Oasis the Slaves told them about. The water is scalding hot, brown, muddy, and bitter smelling, in other words, normal for an Athasian oasis. There is plenty of long green grass growing on the edge of the pool, and the mudflats are covered with healthy foliage. A closer inspection reveals that the pool is surrounded by dead birds, lizards, and small mammals.

The characters recognize two mekillots as the animals that were drawing the wagon at the start of this adventure. The one lying on its side at the water’s edge is obviously dead. The other one is confused, frightened, and angry, the mekillot moves to keep itself between the adventurers and the oasis. The huge beast attacks anyone who reaches the edge of the water or the body of the dead mekillot.
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Connecting with the Beast, Toox uses her telepathic powers to try to sooth the unfortunate animal. The mekillot is upset about its mate’s death. It is also extremely thirsty, but dimly realizes that drinking from the pool is a bad idea. Nevertheless, it is extremely defensive of the oasis, as this is the only water it knows of within miles. Because of the beast’s panicked state of mind it tries to drive the group away. With fire and food they cause it to leave them alone as they went to investigate the Oasis.
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This oasis is also dotted with yypr trees. These stand fifty feet tall and grow equally well in the muddy areas of the oasis or the sand at its edge. They are conifers, with hard, flat needles. The mud around the oasis is steaming hot. Further, it smells terrible and is
crawling with disgusting worms and beetles. A small bridge of yypr wood leads to this marble arch which was built by the preceding Athasian civilization. At the base of the arch are a dozen clay pots, all filled with various grains, fruits, and vegetables. All of these foodstuffs are moldy. Scattered here and there on the wooden bridge are leaves and stems of a purple herb. Korek recognizes the herb as methelinoc, an extremely poisonous herb found only in the Ringing Mountains. Because this herb does not affect elves or kanks, elven tribes sometimes use it to prevent strangers from stealing their water.

A group of 20 young elves has come for water. The elves plunge their canteens into the water, bring their kanks forward to drink, and spend the next several hours drinking and loading five hundred gallons of water onto their kanks.
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The group learns that these elves belong to the Jura Dai tribe (just as the raiders who attacked the caravan did) and that they have used methelinoc to poison all the wells in the vicinity as retaliation for Urik’s slave-taking.

After the elves leave the sound of giggling children drifts across the oasis. They see two dozen dwarven children moving away from the arch monument, where they have just left an offering of sugar-coated ants. They are sneaking along the mudflats toward the edge of the pond, waterskins in hand. As the party watches, a little boy suddenly disappears beneath the mud. The child has been attacked by a kluzd. After deftly slaying the massive snake-like beast the party agrees to escort the stupid children back to Kled.
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A dozen angry mothers greet the group and drag the kids away, scolding them loudly. After the party met the mothers, the village leader, an ancient dwarf named Barunus greets the adventurers. He is so feeble that he can hardly walk. Barunus asks the PCs to free the druid who watches over the nearby oasis.
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The Gok-ta dra agreed to help the dwarves, happy to extract revenge on the Jura Dia elves. Barunus explains how he founded Kled 150 years ago. His (and thus Kled’s) purpose is to uncover the lost city of the dwarven kings, Kemalok. When Kemalok is restored to its former splendor, Barunus believes, the world will once again be verdant and bountiful. The Jura Dai are mad at the dwarves of Kled because a legion from Urik watered from Kled.s well before attacking the elven camp. The dwarves didn.t want to let the legion water in Kled, but they had no choice. The elves are holding the druid of the nearby oasis prisoner to prevent him from reversing the effects of their toxins on the oasis. Pleased with the enthusiasm of the party, Barunus presents them with the Sword of Kemalok, a steel sword +1.

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As they start toward the elven stronghold they spot an elf moving through the terrain ahead of the party. Unfortunately the party failed every skill challenge presented to them to this point and the elf escaped – to no one’s surprise as this group seems totally inept at survival under the dark sun by observing their complete lack of skill…

Moving onward they hear screams of terror as a young elf maiden was surrounded by a pack of horny Gith. Filled more with the passion of killing they slashed the Gith to pieces as the elf maiden ran away.
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Following her trail they come upon the secret hideout of the elves. This region of Athas is dotted with thousand-year old ruins, but this one is unusually well-preserved. The stone walls are in good condition, but the upper floors of the towers have crumbled.
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1,2: These towers are surrounded by rubble and now stand only about ten feet tall,
with no roofs. Inside each is one sentry.
3: This road, the only castle entrance, is lined by a 6. tall stone wall.
5,6: The lower two floors of these towers still stand. An elven family including two warriors (one male, one female) and three children camps on each tower floor. In each tower a sentry looks down at the band.
7,9,11: The walkways along these walls are where the tribe’s single elves sleep. You notice many crusty socks here.

8: This tower is similar to 5 and 6, save that the lower floor is occupied by five sentries.
12-14, 16-18: An elven family including two warriors (one male, one female) and three children camps in the foundations of the buildings that once stood here.
15: At any time, there are 2d10 elves in this courtyard.
19: This is where the tribe keeps its 100 kanks penned at night.
20: At any time, there are 2d10 elves gathered around the well,
21: This dry moat is now filled with offal and refuse.
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The elves are not amused that this party of inept slaves found their secret fortress. The party concocted a plan to negotiate with the elves and they were bustled in to see their leader at spear point.

Tuga Dai cares only about his tribe. He told them that he would not release the druid, no matter what. He seemed surprised that they didn’t seem to press this issue. He was more interested in how they learned of his stronghold. When the party spoke of an alliance with the dwarves at Kled he was willing to listen. His daughter spoke up on behalf of the group seeing how they sort of saved her from getting raped by a gang of Gith.
Juga Dai knows that he has little chance of freeing the Jura Dai taken by the King of Urik, but he has to do something to strike
back. Perhaps they slaves could help him in some way… He decided to let them go back to Kled with an elf scout Fanan and Jengi his daughter.

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