Dark Sun: A New Dawn

Session 16

An umber hulk's got your back

Session 16 – 7/28

Freedom is set into a craggy alcove of the Singing Mountains. The freed slaves have build balistrade towers for archers, among other defenses, and there are two massive boulders blocking the entrance. Guards watch the companions approach, there are half-giants on either side of the blocked entrance. Guards from the wall yell, “Who goes there?” The companions respond announcing themselves as the Brotherhood of the Sun and that they intend to see Jovan. The guard, puzzled at first, receives a light tug at his side. The group sees a glimps of a goblin hand; Chunkra is vouching for them. Some time later, the guard yells for the half-giants to open the gate. Chunkra meets the group just inside the city walls and happily leads them to Jovan’s new establishment.

The buildings of Freedom are made of sun-hardened mud with meekalot carapaces for rooves. The group is relatively silent as they wind through the hodge podge structures. Chunkra finally reaches their destination and leads the group inside Jovan’s building. Jovan greets the companions, perhaps less jovially than normal, and updates them on some happenings in Tyr. He confirms that Hammanu has retreated from the battlefield and Tyr is recovering from the war. He also informs the group that Tithian is clearly not happy with the Brotherhood of the Sun. The king has been cracking down on supporters of freed slaves and anyone who has helped the companions …

Jova next introduces Gidayu to the group as a member of the arcane arts. The group exchange introductions and get to know one another. Jovan recommends that they join forces. He then offers to complete the analysis of the potions that they discovered at Dragon’s Horns gnoll encampment. However, he cannot offer them room at his establishment any longer, there just is not enough room. So, the group sets out to rent or buy their own building in Freedom. They settle on renting, putting down 3 months of rent in advance for a 3 room building with a loft space (-1050gp) and also pick up an edrlu to pack out their equipment (-250gp).

Jovan meets the Brotherhood of the Sun some time later. He offers some good and bad news: “The good news is these potions have successfully been converted. They will now make you appear as undead for 1 day. The bad news is to complete the alchemy, I need a very rare element. You can travel either to the Dragon Alter or the great ziggurat at Tyr.” After much deliberation, the group begrudingly decides to head to Tyr. Jovan informs the group that he has remained in contact with some old friends in the city guard, and asks Aetherian if his thief friend Kelden might be of any assistance. They discuss further and plan to depart together in the morning.

Aetherian’s friend Kelden will enable the group to enter Under Tyr, ultimately gaining them access to the pyramid. First, however, they must enter the city undetected. Considering that Tithian is obviously looking for them, they must be very cautious. As dusk approaches, they near Tyr and Jovan stops to discuss the rest of their plan. As short time later, they are approached by a figure who Jovan introduces as Sandtozar, captain of the guard of Tyr. They are instructed to wait for dark to approach the Merchant Gate. Sandtozar holds serious disdain for Rikus since he has taken over as leader of the guard of Tyr. He says his guards will allow the group to enter the city without question. Night falls and the group enters the city.

The Brotherhood of the Sun quickly set out to find Kelden near the outskits of the Warrens and the Elven Market. The must move quickly and quietly, avoiding being spotted by any of Tithian’s loyal guards. As the temperatures of the day begin to receed, and after some time spent scouting and moving carefully through the growing crowd, Arzakon spots a crippled merchant closing up his cart for the day matching the description of Aetherian’s friend Kelden. Aetherian approaches his old friend quietly asking if he’ll stay open just a little while longer. As Kelden looks up to see his old friend, he is shocked to see who it is and asks what in the world they are doing back in Tyr. Aetherian informs him simply that they must enter the ziggurat undetected and he knows Kelden will be able to help. Kelden puts on a sly smile and says, “Of course I can help you, my old friend, for a small fee.” Kelden and Aetherian talk for a while and Kelden accepts 100gp worth of gems from the group now, and another 100gp worth when they reach the entrance the base of the pyramid that is hidden and accessed via Under Tyr.

Kelden leads the group to his hide out, after some time his limp becomes less obvious, and by the look of his established lifestyle, he is clearly more successful than he leads people to believe on the street. He grins and quips, “The end of Kalak’s reign and war from Hammanu has been good for business.” The space is lavish, filled with silks and gems. Kelden searches for a short time and finds a thin hide map proclaiming, “Ah, here is it. Altak!” As he shouts the name, a lumbering massive creature at least 14’ tall emerges from an alley way adjacent to the space. The creature has large claws for hands and appears somewhat insectoid (umber hulk). Kelden and Altak lead the Brotherhood of the Sun away from the Warrens and deeper into the city center, entering an unremarkable building, and heading into a cellar. From here, the group is very much at Kelden’s whim navigating the dark parts of Under Tyr. He flips a hidden switch and reveals an entrance to the darkness below.

After some time navigating the hidden space below the city above, they reach what appears to be a dead end. Kelden simply reaches his hands forward as if to part curtains, and the wall moves like fabric. Before he allows the group to proceed he asks, “Would you like Altak to stay behind and block anyone following us from entering?” His grin widens again as the group agrees to pay his fee (an additional 200gp worth of gems, a deal for old friends), realizing they need his assistance and that he is clearly in charge as Altak blocks the path back and grunts in confirmation of Kelden’s amusement. They allow the group to proceed, Altak left to stand guard, and as they enter the broken wall of the ziggurat they see glowing gems protruding from the cave walls.

Upon entering the man-made halls of the lower portion of the pyramid, they realize they are in some sort of holding area, with locked cells nearby. There is a small room adjacent to the broken entrance that appears to be a ransacked guard quarter. At first glance, the room appears to have been picked clean. Some close inspection yields some healing fruits (3x) hidden within a chest under a false bottom. There is a forebodding sense that this small bit of luck will be needed as they move ahead deeper into the ziggurat.

The next room appears to be a hallway at first, but with archer battlements on either side of the hall, and two closed doors leading to what is asssumed to be more guard quarters. This was clearly meant as some last resport of defense and to prevent escape from the cells in the previous area. The group advances immediately ahead and after the first person crosses a threshold near the battlement, the floor suddenly drops out from the middle of the group. Luckily, they catch themselves and do not fall victem to the 10’ drop to spikes below. Felegar and Aetherian spend a moment inspecting the two guard rooms and realize they can set two timed switches to the trapped door. The group advances once again, making note of the placement of the floor plate to not trigger the trap once more.

Upon entering the next area, they see additional sleeping quarters that have nothing of interest within them other than old musty blankets and overturned furniture. Across the hall from these rooms there is a collapsed stair well leading up. Ahead is a faint but terrible odor, and to the left is another apparent hallway. The group decides to inspect the left most hall. The room appears to be some sort of arcane chamber, the walls are made of glassy black rock and there are symbols etched into the floor and walls. They advance inside but are surprised from behind by a horrific, rot smelling beast and a mob of giant rats. They battle the creatures fiercely and manage to kill them. They circle back to inspect the area the monsters emerged from and find only a terrible, horrific smell.

The room with with black walls is adjacent to a set of very large double doors that appear to be locked, and another hallway leading further away from their original entrance point to the pyramid. They boldly step into another area that appears to be filled with alchemical regiments, books, and scrolls. Felegar strays a little too close to a table in the center of the room and a skull on the table comes to life and attacks his mind. Arzakon and Felegar strike out at the skull and destroy it. There are two doors and two hallways from this room. They realize one door appears to be warded, and there is fant chanting in a language they do not understand and some blue light emerging from behind the door. They decide it would be too dangerous to attempt opening that door at this time. The other room appears to be an additional library. Gidayu inspects this area further and determines the arcane nature of the materials is too dangerous to touch and the group should move on.

The room to the west holds an additional two doors and a hallway leading north. In the middle of the room appears to be a massive crank, to what the group is unaware at this point, but it would take one very strong individual or all of the companions to turn it. They inspect the doors and one is unlocked and just a storage area of some kind with nothing remarkable. The other door holds only a collapsed hallway. Arzakon advances into the north hallway and another trap is triggered as blade swing from the cieling spaced about 5-10 feet apart, and continuing into the hallway to the north and west. Arzakon is able to tumble away to the south and rejoin the group as the blade trap continues swinging. The group circles back south, east, and north to inspect a space north of the arcane room. It is more living ransacked living quarters and a hallway west toward the blade traps.

The group at this point realized they should try turning the massive pivoting crank. Some distance away toward their entrance to this room they hear movement of some mechanism. They realize this is the massive double doors they encountered in the obsidian arcane chamber. They decide to tie off the crank to one of the doors in the room using some of their giant hair rope. The rigging will clearly only hold for a short time so they quickly collect themselves and charge through the massive doors (actually a false door that retracts to the ceiling). Soon thereafter the rigging on the crank fails and the massive door comes crashing down behind them. They have the sensation of being trapped and the only way out is forward.

In the room before them the see doors to the west and and south. They check the doors for traps and locks and determine them to be safe and unlocked. The door to the south is nearly falling off the hinges, they open it and advance down a short hallway. The room appears to be a storage area. They are surpised by two carion looking creatures which they are fortunate enough to have the upper hand and dispatch very quickly. They inspect the space, find an additional antichamber with some loot and take the time for a short rest [needs some detail about what they found, my notes are lacking] …

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monkey

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