Dark Sun: A New Dawn

A "Former" Slave's Log - Week 1
Last of the Clutch

I don’t think this was how my clutch envisioned our journey turning out. Two days ago I was a slave, property of the state, headed towards a life of never ending fighting in Tyr. Thankful my kind only live a few decades if we are lucky, but I was determined to make the best of them in the Arena. I had formed a clutch with my new companions who suffered the same predicament, and I was their fearless leader. We were strong, 2 fearsome Mul a painfully intelligent human. Fearsome in the arena, but no match for the desert storms of Athas. I’m not sure even “bad luck” can accurately describe their fate.

I awoke, none of my clutchmates survive, I am alone again in the desert. There are few survivors, and they consist completely of my former guards. How unfortunate. I briefly toyed with the idea of finishing them off and carrying one of the bodies into the desert to survive. Probably one of the elves, some say they taste like chicken. I think this does them a disservice, they taste much better than any of the bland chicken I have ever had. They all awoke quickly, so much for that plan. It may be best to have them alive anyways to distract whatever that is I hear behind the overturned carts.

“Slave, don’t try anything funny or I’ll finish you”. Cute. As if this human, choking on obsidian dust and barely alive had any authority in the wastelands with nothing but a few mercenaries far more worried about their survival than being punished by the Templars. Should I bolt into the desert? There would be little chance for them to catch me. Surviving unarmed and with no food would be a tall order even for me. I should at least take care of those problems before escaping with my life. It seems we are a team for now. Wait a minute, two elves and two humans? These won’t do for proper distractions, not for very long anyways.

I kick a silt runner off the weapons crate where my trikal resides and head back to the group. A few moments later the battlefield is strewn with dead silt runners, easy meals to carry into the desert. Unfortunately it seems we are close to their tunnels, as I hear more approaching from behind the carts. My new comrades seem to be aware of this as well, and begin to fall back into the storm, hoping the silt runners will lose interest. I finish off the last of the injured runners and break away before the next wave arrives. Wait. What is this? A dying elf? How lucky, armed and fed, mission accomplished. I guess this one did assist me, I’ll do him the favor of helping him retreat with us. Worst case scenario (or best?) he ends up sustaining me instead of fighting for me.

We run, the elf is heavy, but its not like I had much other property to haul along with me. He is awake, shame, we patch him up when the storm breaks for a moment.

“Let’s continue to shelter” says their leader.

“One moment, if you want my continued assistance, I need to know my status among your group. Does any evidence remain of me being property of the caravan?”

“Yes, but that matters little now. We must stay together to survive, and I don’t think showing up in Tyr with one slave will matter much after we lost an entire wagon of dyes.” He breaks the clay tablet tying my existance with that of a slave, and helps to remove my brands. This will do for now, but once back in civilization I should find a way to make my status official.

“All that is left now is the elves, if they don’t object, I will continue with you.”

No objections from the elves. I guess the one I “saved” assumed my actions were just me being polite. The other I am unsure of, but with the way he fought the silt runners I am not sure he is completely here mentally. When injured he appeared as a hairy, clawed beast. This may be one elf that proves useful. I think I should stick with this group for now. Not as good as my last, but beggars can’t be choosers.

I suspect the other human of practicing the dark arts. The others may still believe him to be a psionic. We come across an apparent oasis but find it ruined by an arcanists defiling. He does seem particularly upset by the state of the oasis. Maybe there is more to him than first appeared.

We realize a bit too late we are being stalked by a kank hunting party. If these creatures were a little more evolved they might make a good clutch, but they are only interested in their meal. The ensuing battle goes better than the last, just 5 targets instead of a never ending stream of lizards. My suspicions about the human are confirmed, a magic user for sure. I’m willing to tolerate this out here but he will prove troublesome for us closer to civilization. One of the elves is no elf, that is for sure. There is no reason for an elf to transform into a beast in the heat of battle. This group is proving interesting to say the least.

The oasis may be ruined but these rocks should provide decent shelter from the elements. We hunker down and get in some much needed rest.

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Session 1, The Treacherous Road to Tyr
Or, "Welcome to Athas, prepare to die!"

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

Our group humbly formed after setting out on a journey that would bind them together as companions on the harsh road to Tyr, banding together as dependents for survival. Their trial began as they were embedded with a caravan from Merchant House Torg en route from Altaruk (half-way point from Balic) to Tyr. Merchant House Torg was contracted by Merchant House Wavir to transport large quantities of highly valued dyes and a number of slaves for High Templar Tithian, regent to the Sorcerer-King of Tyr, Kalak. Jorn, Dwarven leader of the caravan, hired three additional mercenaries to protect the high profile goods. Lead by Jorn and his lieutenant of the guard, Idris (Human, ?), the mercenaries Felegar (Elf1, Seeker), Markus (Human, ?), Athaerien (Shifter, Ranger), and the rest of the caravan began their journey into the harsh Athas tablelands. Approximately mid-way through their journey, they encountered a violent and deadly obsidian-sand storm which decimated the caravan, un-bonded its mekillot, destroyed its goods, and left only one surviving slave, T’kkyl (Thri-Kreen1, Warden), who was freed from his cage by the storm.

As the storm raged on, the survivors were ambushed by vile silt runners, set upon them as creatures of opportunity to scavenge the caravan’s remaining small goods, and to feast upon the victims. Our small band had no choice but to rally together and defend themselves against the onslaught. Though they had dispatched a number of the silt runners, they were out numbered and overwhelmed and were forced to retreat. Though a number of them were bloodied or unconscious, they managed to salvage some healing fruits as they made their hasty retreat and their foes did not pursue them. After some time passed, and they felt safe enough to rest, they found shelter among a stone outcropping near the road and set up camp. During their rest, it was agreed that T’kkyl’s slave token be destroyed and although his brand is visible, efforts were made to obscure that he was a slave. As the group had traveled beyond the half-way point from Altaruk, they were determined to continue their trek toward Tyr. Once fully rested they continued their journey on foot.

Nearly another full day of travel in the hellish heat of the Athas desert passed and our party encountered an oasis near the road. Tempted by the visible trees and other plant life and potential for water or food, the companions were drawn to investigate. After spending a brief time in the area, they heard chittering noises and movement as they were surrounded by kanks. This time the companions were better prepared and able to defend themselves as they handily dispatched the smaller spitting kanks, using the high ground to their advantage. The larger soldier kanks were very well armored and their massive mandibles ensnared2 a number of the group, drawing out the battle. Eventually, the group was able to whittle down their opponents and declare victory. It became obvious to the rest of the group that Athaerien was not in fact entirely Elven, but a Shifter, as he employed his regenerative abilities and took a beast-like appearance. Additionally, although the form of energy is unknown, it’s obvious that Markus uses magic or psionics.

After their victory, the group was able to focus their senses and recover some some sweet nectar produced by the spitter kanks, increasing the group’s survivability. Additionally, they had the feeling this group of kanks was not tied to a hive but rather hunting for food. Felegar was also able to glean that the trees in the oasis had been defiled by some powerful form of arcane magic, turning them to a dead, stone-like state.

Foot notes:

1 Apparently Thri-Kreen like the taste of Elf meat, and we happen to have an addict in the group.
2 When conditions are right kanks have been known court Thri-Kreen.

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Session 2, Refuge and subterfuge

“It’s the id in you.”

The party continued their trek to Tyr on foot after resting in the defiled oasis where they fought and defeated a kank hunting pack. The group made successful efforts to cover their tracks and evidence that they had made camp at the oasis. However, as they travelled onward they noticed that they were being followed. They pressed on, noticing that their pursuers tracked them despite their best efforts at subterfuge. Using their abilities to make and break camp on their way to Tyr, they managed to stay just steps ahead.

As they came within days of reaching the city, they encountered a large outcropping of rocks and large cacti with enormous razor sharp spines. As the group closed to investigate the plant life for any sign or opportunity of nourishment, they were suddenly startled by a whistling noise and a flying impish creature. The creature managed to steal fruit from the group and hastily retreated toward the outcropping of rock. As the creature retreated, Felegar reacted to save the group’s rations and loosed an arrow at the creature. Struck but not phased, the creature returned safely to the outcropping as the group was surrounded by goblins and attacked.

Outnumbered but working as a team, the party managed to defend themselves against the goblins. Many of them held high ground and fired volley after volley of arrows. Not disregarding their surroundings, the party realized that the large cacti nearby were entirely too dangerous to approach and managed to avoid their penetrating spines. In fact, as the battle raged, they used these dangerous plants to their advantage, impaling some of the goblins and observing the damage caused by the apparently carnivorous plants. The fight drew to a close as the team worked ever closer to the high outcropping of rocks to attempt recovery of their rations. They managed to defeat the leader who, in a last ditch effort to defend himself, had called the flying creature to his aide.

The group attempted to capture the creature but were only able to recover their fruit as the beast flew away and out of sight. As they collected themselves after the fight, one observant member noticed a hidden entrance that led into a cave within the rock. The party decided to investigate the darkness. They were cautious as they entered, though unprepared for the danger about to befall them. Avoiding what appeared to be a latrine for the goblins, most of the group circled around a hallway into a larger chamber. There they saw a couple of goblins that appeared to be worshiping an id fiend. As they entered the space, they were attacked by the goblins, apparently defending their god. Little did the group know at the time, but they were about to have their toughest battle yet. As they inched their way out of the confining space of the narrow entrance and into the chamber, their attackers managed to keep the group at range. Although the party made quick work of one goblin, they soon realized their true foe was the gigantic lizard-like creature dominating the space.

The id fiend, preying on the worry, doubt and fear of the group as they entered unknown territory, tore into their minds, debilitated and froze them in place. Felegar, either out of self-preservation or strategic thinking, stayed safely behind the wall of the entrance and utilized his talent for projecting his sight. He fired wave after wave of spirit bonded arrows, trick-shooting them around the corner at the monsters in the chamber. Once the group realized that the id fiend needed to be held in place long enough to damage it, they collectively overcame its grip. As the battle neared completion, and the id fiend was gradually reduced to unconsciousness and death, one of the goblin minions seemed to suddenly come alive as if awoken from a nightmare. He yelled, “Me Chunkra! No kill!” The group ceased their assault, confident that the id fiend lay defeated. Chunkra pleaded that the group spare him and in return he would reveal treasure and help them however they wanted. He kept his promise, digging up rewards for the group and promising to lead them safely away from the area. The party agreed to keep Chunkra alive as long as he remained civil. “Chunkra, no funny stuff,” he agreed.

The group took some time to rest and collect their wits. As they broke camp and worked to cover as much of the carnage as possible, they realized their pursuers were much closer now having picked up their trail again. They had lost precious time and pressed on the road to Tyr. Fearful their unidentified pursuers would catch up quickly knowing they were closing in fast. The party mustered as much energy as they could and pushed themselves to their limits running without rest for nearly a day and a half. They could finally see the city walls of the city state of Tyr! However there was little time to celebrate, they realized their pursuers were a gang of wild elves and pushed on harder and faster toward the gates. As they neared the city, they felt some relief as the pack of elves eased their relentless pursuit. Though there is still much uncertainty as they approach the gates, their reluctant “guide” Chunkra in tow. Before making their final approach to the city gates, they hastily imprint the brand of a slave on Chunkra, hoping their quick thinking will aide them in some way as they enter the city unsure of their fate after the loss of the Torg/Wavir caravan.

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Session 3, Rabble, Rumble, Rabble

“Do you like movies about gladiators?”

Before approaching the gates of Tyr, the party realized they needed to establish a more convincing ruse and present their “slave prisoners” in (loose) bonds. The guards of an outgoing caravan kept a weary eye on the rag-tag group as they approached the city. The gate templar, guards, and bowmen maintained a steady and watchful eye as well, but it was obvious the approaching group was not a true threat. The gate templar held in place but called out, demanding to know the business of the group. After a relatively brief conversation regarding the destruction of their caravan, and some successful subterfuge regarding their slaves, the templar agreed to grant passage. His conditions for passage included insisting that the slaves be processed and registered in the slave quarter – and a hefty entry fee.

Once the group was in the city, they decided to first head to the Caravan District, having learned from the gate guards that The Golden Inix is a popular refuge for travelers entering the city. Having established The Golden Inix as their staging area, the group ate, rested, and spoke with the inn staff about finding work. They were directed to Merchant House Tuk’ra and set off in search some work to sustain themselves as they decided what to do next. On their way to House Tuk’ra, they were unfortunate to quite literally “run into” and ruin a fruit merchant’s entire crop. In fact, the guards of Senator Verasi of House Churic shoved members of the group into the cart, causing the entire scene. Protesting the incident, the group had the misfortune of learning the hard truth of politics in Tyr. One of the templar guard arrived to “save” the Senator from the riff-raff, allowing the eldest son of House Churic to depart. After what felt like an eternity, the templar agreed to allow the group depart if they paid a hefty fine.

Having lost a majority of their wealth entering the city, paying the templar’s bribe, and reimbursement for the street vendor, the group realized the corruption of Tyr. It was imperative that they find work, so they spoke with Durin, the Mul ledger keeper at Merchant House Tuk’ra. He offered a caravan guard detail but the party opted for something more local considering their recent misfortune on the road. Durin offered them extermination detail at a warehouse in the Artisan District. They decided to keep their options open and split the party to investigate two different paths. Markus, Tykkl, and Chunkra depart for the Elven District to seek contact with the Veiled Alliance, as guided by Markus. In the meantime, Idris, Athaerien, and Felegar headed for House Wavir to deliver the bad news about the caravan.

Markus’s contact at The Flinging Drake, a beautiful elven woman named Shivani, informed the three companions to seek additional Veiled Alliance contacts the following night at The Laughing Giant in the Merchant District. As the group departed and evening approached, they were confronted by two thuggish elves named Nandlex and Prithen. Diplomacy failed quickly and the group was set upon by a gang of elves, were overrun and beaten badly. Chunkra managed to stay out of sight only to be captured just as the lights went out for Markus and Tykkl.

Meanwhile in the Merchant District, Idris, Athaerien, and Felegar spoke with Bilak at House Wavir. While he was displeased to hear the news of the loss of the caravan, all of the slaves, and distinct cargo, he did not take his displeasure out on the companions delivering the message. Instead, he scowled and commented that Merchant House Torg is responsible and would pay for the loss. Additionally, he mocked the group when they suggested that the sandstorm was in fact an unnatural obsidian sandstorm, the likes of which are an extreme rarity. Bilak sent the group on their way, less their papers for the caravan and the late Jorn. As evening approached, the small band made their way back to The Golden Inix only to be confronted with more misery in the wretched streets of Tyr. Within the confines of a merchant square, a brute squad blocked all exits and began forcibly rounding up many of the poorer citizens with the intention of selling the lot into slavery. Those affluent enough to pay the toll were allowed to leave. Unfortunately, our disheveled group was out of money and were forced to surrender themselves to the slave pits.

Reunion of a merry sort this was not, as the party was reunited in the Slave Pits. As Idris, Athaerien, and Felegar found their semi-conscious companions accompanied by the impeccably ironic Chunkra, they learned about the encounter in the Elven District and the thugs there had sold them into slavery after robbing them blind. Inexplicably managing to see the bright side of the situation, Chunkra gleefully took a bite of tough bread, handed the remaining bit toward his companions and piqued, “Hungry?”

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Session 4, That's the Sound of the Kreen, Workin on the Chain . . . Gaaaang . . .

Our careers as slaves in the great city of Tyr have taken a turn for the . . . interesting. We secured a nice corner to call our own, with the help of the ever-helpful Chunkra, who has gained a useful position handing out equipment to slaves in the pit. Markus’s contacts in the Veiled Alliance have enlisted our aid in locating an artifact in the Ziggurat that may be key in freeing the city!

Idris, T’kkyl and I were assigned ziggurat duty, along with a dwarf. The dwarf (whose name turned out to be Balderdash) turned out to be fairly handy in defeating a flying snake-thing and its spawn, whom we disturbed during our important duties (our guards predictably vacated the premises and returned once we had dispatched the vermin, probably claiming the victory themselves that night in their quarters).

We returned to the pit area and met with Felegar and Markus, who had pulled inside duty that day and discovered that the artifact we needed was in the possession of a particularly nasty gang of tarek. They were easy to find – but not to defeat! However, our band emerged triumphant with the help of our new comrade Balderdash (though I nearly perished again!). The artifact retrieved from the staff of the tarek leader, we retired to lick our wounds and plan our next moves . . .

Flyingsnakes

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Intermission, Toil in the pits...

After recovering the stolen amulet from the Tarek gang, the PC’s learned that it was stolen from Jovan an elderly sorceror, and member of the Veiled Alliance in Tyr tasked with placing it in the ziggurat during construction. The arcane power of the amulet would prevent the ziggurat from being completed by blocking the arcane energy that was to be channeled through it’s corridors. This would buy time for the Veiled Alliance to find out the true purpose of the ziggurat and Sorceror King Kalak’s intentions.

Under Jovan’s instruction, Markus and Felegar were able to complete Jovan’s task, sealing up the amulet into the walls of the inner passages of the ziggurat.

The fight with the tareks had another side benefit, respect. Few of the other slaves offered the group any quarrels, and many openly thanked them for removing the scourge from the pits.

The days toiling on the ziggurat seemed unending, but it could be seen that the work would come to an end eventually, and with it many rumors circulated in the slave pit. Some believed all the slaves would be set free on it’s completion, others argued they would all be sacrificed to the dragon. Some mentioned they saw other slaves digging mass graves outside the city walls, others still mentioned preparations for a grand games commemorating the opening of the ziggurat.

Work on the ziggurat is now nearing it’s completion, and the rummors are more rampant than ever. While the amulet did slow it’s construction, it was eventually found and removed. If it did buy enough time for the Veiled Alliance, rumors of their discoveries did not find their way into the slave pits.

Now with no more work left, everyone is wondering what the next day holds…

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Session 5, Down with the King!
Long live Chunkra!

“Kalak Kabobs! Get your mediocre arena food! Kalak Kabobs!”

Act I

As the final stone and mortar were laid for the ziggurat, the slaves of King Kalak were left pondering what their fate may be. Would Kalak murder them in some defiling ritual? What will happen in the pits and the arena? Surely most assumed chaos would ensue and all would be left to die. Then, as day light waned on the final day of toil, all slaves were granted brief solace and perhaps false sense of security with hot food and quality perhaps at a level of the poorest attending the games. It was welcome nourishment and reward from “the honorable and merciful” Sorcerer King Kalak.

On the dawn of the day most assumed was their final day, the slaves learned that they would be treated to day-long games in the arena to celebrate the Sorcery King Kalak and his most epic achievement with the completion of his mighty ziggurat. Not as fodder for mighty gladiators or monsters, but as the audience! Truly, the King is gracious. Our adventurers, along with Chunkra and their obfuscated Veiled Alliance ally Jovan, join the masses in the stands to witness the celebratory games along with many lower class and nobles. The day was more than half over, the crowd having witnessed fantastical creatures and kin alike dispatched to their merriment and amusement. As the hottest portion of the day approached, the blood caked earth in the center of the arena began to part. To the amazement of the crowd, and the companions, a scale version of the ziggurat rose from beneath the arena.

The platform was adorned with a still, serpentine statuesque figure of which the group was not immediately familiar, but their interest was certainly renewed. The four remaining groups of champions on the field also emerged from the pits. Unnaturally booming, the crowd was graced with the voice of Kalak himself, “People of Tyr, hear me. I, your omnipotent ruler. Your ultimate leader and generous provider. Your God! I, I have brought you these games. I have shown you true power and harnessed that power to build my mighty ziggurat. Now, I give you this final test. Bring me the figure on the field and you,” pointing at the center of the arena, “You will be CHAMPIONS!”

The crowd erupted into a frenzied roar while many of the slaves watched in uncomfortable silence, their own fates yet to be determined. The final pairs of gladiators fought fiercely and without remorse. The battle raged quickly and brutally. It was not long before there remained only two pairs. Many recognized the gladiator heros Rikus and Neeva, they moved with grace and determination. Just as it appeared they would be defeated, one of their remaining foes, a half-giant reached the apex of the platform, an astounding blast, flash and commotion erupted from a level below and across the arena from the companions watching the events unfold from the stands. In what felt like a matter of heart beats in time, suddenly Rikus presented a spear the likes of which appeared unmatched in history. The Heartwood Spear, presented by the Tree of Life itself, was unmistakable. In the blink of an eye, Rikus hurled the spear toward Kalak’s form, high above the arena floor in his box. His aim was true and the spear pierced the King through the chest!

Many in the crowd were stunned, stricken with not with fear, but with an unnatural sensation that sapped their energy and life force. Some remained motionless, helpless and mute. Others withered and collapse in silence while others still screamed in horror and agony. Soon, however, it became clear that many fearful cries were of the people reacting to the appearance of a dragon! The Sorcerer King Kalak had retreated toward the ziggurat, pursued by the dragon where they were assumed to engage in mortal combat.

Act II

Our companions, having been subject to the fear and sickness, were not entirely blinded to the opportunity of freedom presented. Knowing their counterpart Jovan was almost certainly aware of this plot to destroy the evil King Kalak. They were spurred into battle as he unleashed arcane furry toward their captors, who were themselves dumbfounded and distracted. After stealing some weapons from their poorer counterparts in the crowd, and with the aide of Chunkra and Jovan, they managed to dispatch their guards. They made their way down toward the arena wall. With some number of inspired slaves in tow, they attempted to climb down into the arena itself, making for one of the main ground level heavy gates. Not without some clumsy effort, the group made it to the arena floor. They patched up themselves and some of their followers, while leaving some corpses of slaves, nobles, and poor alike behind in the chaos.

The group found themselves confronted with massive stone door, their freedom waiting on the other side. They were sure the only way out was to move the massive stone door by way of the gatehouse. As they forced their way inside, they felt waves of pressure and energy emanating from the direction of the ziggurat. Surely an epic battle was underway and the urgency of escape was only heightened. Within the gatehouse they were confronted by three half-giants and a templar. All of them with a bad attitude and unwillingness to let the companions escape. As their battle raged on, they saw their freedom perhaps slipping away. Some fell into unconsciousness while others were battered nearly into the same state.

When all hope seemed lost, the companions dealt a final blow to the templar and his half-giant guards. In nearly the same moment, a sudden gargantuan release and deafening boom was felt from the ziggurat and then utter and still silence. They could only assume the King had been defeated. They rushed onto the arena floor to see Rikus emerge in the King’s box along side High Templar Tithian. Tithian held in his hand the King’s Crown, presented it to the onlookers and spoke, “King Kalak is dead. His reign of terror is over.” As he uttered the last word he put the crown to his own head, and with Rikus at his side said, “I am your King now and I declare, as my first high order, all slaves in the City State of Tyr are now free. No longer will any man be owned by another in our city. This I swear as your ruler. Justice be served.”

Deafened by a roar from the remaining crowd, King Tithian’s speach was punctuated as the companions were approached by Jovan and Sadira, accompanied by the Agis of Asticles. Jovan presented the group with treasure and gold, hard earned rewards for their part in the toppling of the most oppressive ruler ever known to Tyr, and perhaps Athas itself.

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Session 6, The well runs dry ...
What's that Lassie, Timmy fell down a well?

With King Tithian established as the new King of Tyr, many weeks have passed and much has changed in the city-state. The economical and physical landscape of the city is transformed. Some of the more affluent parts of the city, most notably the Noble District near the Artisan District, have been overtaken by former slaves and gladiators, setting up ad hoc trade districts. Black markets for goods, services, and even gladiatorial events have sprung up. This shanty town is home to an apothacary house owned and operated by Jovan, with Chunkra as stock hand. Jovan has provided room and board to the companions. The heros have remained loosely banded together, working odd jobs here and there. Along the way they have they have gained information, allies, and even some followers.

As the dust settles and complacency begins to set in, rumors of disruption around the city begin to surface. The companions hear of water wells around the city mysteriously drying up, the poorer citizens of the city suffering the most. Prominent chatter regarding the miners in the iron mine to the north of the city refusing to work, the reasons unknown. Finally, reports of caravan raids south of the city, leaving desperately needed supplies to Tyr un-replenished. Brom, T’ykkl, Athaerien, and Balderdash all hear of these rumors from various sources around Tyr.

The Elven minstrel Ramsydor sings praises of the prophet sun-healer Balderdash and eagerly follows in his footsteps. He spreads word of Balderdash’s deeds while seemingly always watching the shadows over his shoulder. Balderdash appears vaguely annoyed at the presence of this Elf, but tolerates and feels compelled to watch over him, perhaps out of the kindness of his heart. Ramsydor made no small point of the lack of water in the wells, even weaving it into song, certain that the prophet Balderdash will save the people.

T’ykkl became aware of an issue with the iron mine while meeting with the mul Glot. He is a weapon merchant, black market trader, and proprietor of an illegal underground fighting ring or “fight club” where his patrons bet on former gladiators. T’ykkl has been secretly fighting in these events for Glot to earn extra wages and keep his skills sharp. Glot is eager to see iron flowing from the mines again to maintain his livelihood as an arms dealer.

As the companions realize their contacts in the city are aware of common patterns forming, they decide they must spring into action. First and foremost, the people of Tyr need water. It is the lifeblood of civilization and it must flow. They find the nearest well and make their way down into the city aquifer. After some time exploring the winding natural caverns and passages, they find themselves surprised by living molds, slimes, and oozes. Fighting their way free of the burning acidic grip of the creatures, some of which spawn more creatures from themselves, they escape largely unharmed. However during the fray Felegar was nearly killed and had to be teleported from inside one of the creatures!

The group carried on finding themselves wading further into mucky, thick mud. They came to a solid mass of hardened mud blocking one of the passages. After forcing themselves through, they heard voices on the other side, further down the next passage. The crept ever forward to confront the creatures, which they soon realized were not of Athas, but rather Outsiders (Bullywugs). Certain they were not welcome and determined to find the cause for the aquifer drying up, the companions engaged the creatures. After a swift but harrowing battle they were victorious. They discovered a golden fiery statuette on one of the creatures. Finally, they had an idea of who their foe was and continued on.

As they came to yet another of the many chambers deep below the streets of Tyr, they encountered something they had never expected to see. Before them, one of the Outsider creatures was in the middle of an arcane invocation that appeared to be binding a water elemental in the middle of the chamber! Realizing the elemental was likely in trouble, the group decided to attack the Outsider, disrupting the spell. The Outsider cursed them in what the companions could only assume was its own common tongue, and was rendered unconscious. Broken from the binding spell, the water elemental addressed the group. “How dare you attack me! This is my realm, you must stop!” Realizing the elemental had mistaken them for its attackers, they quickly realized they needed to reason with the creature. After some conversation, they decided to present the fiery statuette to the elemental. It reacted angrily, but favorably to the companions. It told them this figure represented the elemental’s natural enemy and that the aquifer was an extension of his realm on the material plane where Athas exists. It became clear that the Outsiders were intent on caging and ultimately destroying the water elemental, which would in turn eliminate the water supply for most of Tyr. As soon as the elemental acknowledged the efforts of the group it commanded them to leave and suddenly and rapidly the chamber began filling with water. The companions made as hasty an exit as possible, pleased they had succeeded in replenishing the water supply!

As they made their way to the surface, they realized the danger the city is facing even with the water supply restored. If the city is not producing iron from its mines, it has no commerce with other city-states nor iron to replenish its own armories. Without rest, the group decides to hurry to the mines, determined to meet the next challenge head on.

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Session 7, They all float down here
Never underestimate animated corpses.

After the events at the aquifer, the companions shared their experience with Jovan. He was surprised and alarmed by the presence of the bullywugs, elementals, and oozes. He informed the group he will speak with his contacts in the Vieled Alliance regarding the appearance of these creatures and their intentions. Jovan also referred to ancient myths that Athas was once entirely lush, a rare sight like the mountainous regions north of Tyr, and considered impossible by most. As the group mentioned the troubles in the iron mines, he stressed that iron trading to Balic is paramount and insisted that action be taken immediately.

The group continued to the iron mines with haste and without rest, departing Tyr and traveling north-east into the mountains toward the mines. The main road to the mines seemed strangely devoid of activity. Feeling cautious and concerned about time, the companions decided to trek off-road, along a path that no caravan or cart could manage to traverse. Some of the group was weakened as the day progressed, the sun beat down and the air became thin as they climbed the high mountains. As they neared the entrance to the mines, a sudden rock slide narrowly missed Felegar as the elf tumbled away from the the bounding boulders. Whether the slide was malicious or natural remains unknown.

The group was shaken but carried on, finally arriving at the mining encampment near the entrance to the mine. There was a mix of humans, half-elves, dwarves, and few elves idly resting, conversing, or otherwise not actively engaged in work. They were in fact keeping an obviously safe distance from the mine entrance. Aetherian and the rest of the group approached a small group of dwarves playing dice, with a half-elf watching nearby who they addressed directly. The half-elf introduced himself as Tijora and said the workers aren’t willing to return to the mine — they are no longer slaves to the Tyrant King Kalak. Furthermore, they believe something happening in the mine and anyone who enters to investigate has not come back. An eerie, necrotic presence was felt and some have said disturbing moaning has come out of the mine.

The dwarves speak of the Curse of Kalak and felt that with his death his spirit is haunting the mines to prevent anyone from continuing to mine his ore. It is clear they are not kidding and although superstitious, they are serious enough to that they are absolutely not willing to enter. They told the group to speak with their foreman, Bilarok, a female Tiefling. The companions approached the foreman’s tent to speak with her about the situation. She informed the group that her top lieutenant Chria, a Thrikreen, was sent in with two dwarves and two humans, and they have not been heard from in several days. Bilarok has since ordered the mine boarded-up hoping that nothing will come out. Tithian is raising hell to reopen the mine, so Bilarok compels the group to help but insists that she is not willing to lose any more men. It’s clear the companions are on their own. Bilarok continues and explains that the problems appear to be on the first level of the mine, and that when Kalak was defeated they sealed off the lower levels of the mine. They have been out of commission for months due to the turmoil in Tyr and the sudden ‘haunting’. She also gives the team a brief rundown of the naturally formed caverns, indicated that although there are a number of man-made passages, the mine is not an impassible labyrinth. With that, she handed the team a piece of chalk to aid in their underground navigation. Afterward, the companions visited the camp merchant to acquire rations, healing fruits, and were talked into purchasing a lantern with a glowing mushroom inside.

The group entered the mine, the air wet and stale. The cavern before them appeared to be thousands of years old. Carts appear before the group indicating a depot must be nearby. The temperature was noticeably cooler inside the mine than in the oppressive heat of the desert. The path started no wider than a caravan however in the darkness the companions noticed the cavern widen, the ceiling disappearing out of view above them. Before the group appeared lay a dead man, the smell of death surrounding them. Aetherian tossed a torch into the room and the group immediately saw two corpse-like humans standing off to either side of the dead man, staring vacantly toward them. Felegar, nervous and feeling trapped underground, lets loose a volley toward one of the standing corpses. The creature explodes in a storm of insects, a swarm of spiders erupting from within. The group is surrounded by spiders and the smaller swarms and battle ensues.

After a fierce combat, the team is confronted with a choice of paths. Three corridors are visible before them, leading into more darkness. After some discussion the group proceeds into the left-most path. Some time later the group heard faint chittering and what sounded like discussion in a language they were not able to understand. Ty’kkl attempted to sneak toward the figures in an anti-chamber when he was discovered and attacked. They managed to fend off their attackers, after reinforcements arrived, but they were weakened and tired. Deciding they did not have time nor the option to rest, they carried on further into the mine eventually arriving at a large cavern, a faint glow drawing them inside. As they entered the expansive room they realized the glow was coming from deep within a natural chasm directly in front of them. A small man-made bridge was visible just outside of their torchlight, and they had the immediate sense they were not alone. Moving toward them from the bridge they saw more of the insect-like creatures encountered previously, and to either side of the cavern, covering the expanse of the chasm into darkness they saw crystalline webs. They were immediately set upon by the monsters, and volleys of psychic attacks by giant crystalline spider-like creatures. Just when they felt things could not get any worse they witness a floating grotesque orb of flesh with dozens of eyes drifting toward them above the chasm. Furiously, the companions advanced, making short work of the creatures before them. Using the chasm and bridge to their advantage they managed to force a couple of the creatures over the edge, their fate sealed as they tumbled into glowing mushrooms that closely resemble the fungus within their lantern. Although the battle was close the group was able to overcome their foes. The beholder kin nearly made short work of some of the companions, but in the end it was the heros who were victorious. It seems the mystery of the mines was solved and they only hope that when they resurface the workers are willing to return to work in the iron mines, restoring trade and commerce to the city-state of Tyr.

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Session 8: DRAFT

>> DRAFT

Foreman disturbed by the presence of the beholder

Gave the group Surefoot Boots as reward

Foreman also offers the group a tent to rest and clean themselves up, the team rests.

Tyr has not received shipments for several weeks from the caravan encampment/route in the south, Dwarven merchants.

The group decides between traveling directly to the encampment, about 3 days, versus stopping in Tyr first, which would be about 4 days plus whatever time spent in the city.

The party departs the mines and down the mountain trail they travelled previously. They make decent time, arriving to rolling foothills. The group expends survival days – keeping themselves and their pet mushroom alive.

They encounter a caravan making their way out of Tyr. They hear that Tyr may be mobilizing for war. They make some trades with the caravan and promptly return to their journey.

After some time they are attacked. They learn this bounty hunter, with his pack of animals. After a fierce battle, they group is victorious. They search this bounty hunter and learn that he has killed Marcus (they find his dogtags).

DRAFT <<

The group carries ever onward, making their way toward the Dwarven village. Soon they see thick billowing black smoke on the horizon, in the direction of the village, and they realize the situation must be worse than anyone feared. Some hours later, they arrive at the outskirts of the village and are greeted only by an eerie, calm silence. As they approach, they observe no movement and see thick layers of silt covering patches of the ground. Upon closer inspection, they are shocked to realize that some large depressions in the ground resemble the humongous feet of what they can only assume is the Dragon of Athas. Fear begins to creep in but the group continues into the village. Keeping their senses honed to their surroundings they see sudden movement, as lizard-like creatures dart between the broken, rubble strew huts.

>> DRAFT

Incomplete account, more to come

DRAFT <<

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