Dark Sun: The Scorched World of Athas

The Ruins of Yaramuke

In the ruins of Sielba’s palace, they party found no rest, for what they thought were the denizens of desert that were howling and screaming was more in their minds. This haunting persisted and they eventually gave up and continued to search the lowest level of the palace. There they found something more precious than the gold above – knowledge. Sielba’s chambers were filled with wonderous knowledge of magic, nature and otherworldly machines. There were also tomes of history that appeared to contain knowledge of Athas that none but the sorcerer-kings knew. They, somewhat reluctantly, dropped most of their coins so that they could bring this knowledge back to the surface.

Banoc discovered a powerful scroll that he was barely able to decipher. This Scroll of Blue Waters appeared to be capable of reversing the curse on the Black Waters Oasis as well as restoring those who had drank from it. They needed to be journey to the oasis to use it, and the spell was so complex that Banoc was not sure he could successfully use it. Knowing that their refugees were running low on time, they hurried back to the surface.

Their path was blocked by animated obsidian statues that appeared to have been activated by the group attempting to leave with the treasure. Although the party could have defeated them, their animation also triggered a collapse of the ceiling. Daqiq lead the charge with Phyll and Way-lynn covering the rest of the party as they attempted to escape. Jax was brilliant and used her magic to temporarily banish the golems from Athas to avoid the majority of them. Gwyn used her staff to create an impenetrable wall of force blocking their pursuit.

Eventually clear of the ruins and running as fast as they could through the rising heat of day, the party reached the gith water cave and began to mobilize the refugees. They could only hope to reach the oasis and complete the spell before the golems caught up with them.

Ruins of Yaramuke

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The Ruins of Yaramuke

With the last rays of the setting sun, the Cerulean Orb and the Eye of Earth blazed to life and illuminated the entrance to the palace of Sielba. The party decided to leave the refugees in the gith cave as they were deteriorating quickly and would likely be of little use in the palace. Banoc feared that without additional intervention by Gwyn, the refugees would not last more than 2 days.

The party made their way through the palace finding little of interest, save for some loose coins and half-giant skeletons that appeared to be guarding long-forgotten chambers. Much to Phyll’s dismay, there was not sign of the druidic lore rumored to have been sequestered by Sielba. A secret door was discovered leading down to a lower level and Daqiq lead the way.

The lower level held the treasury of the sorcerer-queen and many more skeletons, who were alerted to the groups presence by a crack of thunder created by Jax. Banoc blasted the majority of the skeletons into dust and the rest were destroyed by a combination of Gwyn’s magic and Way-lynn’s weapons. Hundreds of metal coins of all types were found in the rooms and they all loaded up as much as they could carry.

Palace Treasure

In a magnificent bedroom, which they assumed belonged to Sielba, another stairway leading down was uncovered. As hour was getting very late, they only briefly looked below before retreating to a safe room to try and rest before exploring further

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The Ruins of Yaramuke

The party continued to explore the ruins in an attempt to location the proper positions for Earth’s Eye and the Cerulean Orb, and although they encountered many difficulties, they faced no opposition. Gwyn detected a spectral sensor that was trying to spy on her. Banoc fell into a trap and found himself stranded in the Astral Sea for some time. Phyll fell into a sinkhole and would have suffocated had he needed to breathe. Daqiq and Way-lynn discovered a warehouse with construction supplies and an unstable floor filled with obsidian shard lined pits.

Jax located the statue with an outstretched hand that accepted the Cerulean Orb and they were confident they found the location of the tower to hold Earth’s Eye. As the tower was in ruins they didn’t know the height that was needed to reveal the palace of Sielba. Banoc communed with his elemental patron and narrowed down the location, but when the sun set the beams did not converge.

Their night was interrupted with screams so horrible they none were able to get rest. The following day they continued their search and discovered a mural depicting the statue and tower as it was during the rule of Sielba. With this information they could accurately place the Eye. And at the next sunset, the beams united to reveal the entrance to Sielba’s palace.

Visitor's Center

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The Ruins of Yaramuke

Ruins of Yaramuke

WIth the ruins of Yaramuke the adventurers have embarked on a quest to recover knowledge stolen by the sorcerer-queen Sielba from druids and preservers of old. They hope to use the knowledge to reverse a powerful curse on the nearby Black Waters Oasis and possibly to bring about a new Green Age of Athas. They race against the hours as their survival supplies are limited an the cursed refugees continue to wither, despite the efforts of Banoc and Gwynn.

At the Temple of Earth, the party wrestled with how to obtain the Earth’s Eye from the Dwarven Banshee guarding it. They had learned that in order to reveal the location of Sielba’s palace, they would need the Earth’s Eye and the Cerulean Orb in their proper places as sunset. However, the structures had been destroyed when Yaramuke was sacked by Hamanu, making it impossible for task to be completed. After all their attempts to reason with the creature had failed, Daqiq resorted to sleight of hand, but the Banshee was not deceived and attacked. The party was easily able to defeat the undead and gained possession of the Eye.

The following day, the group continued to explore the ruins, discovering a cave inhabited by silt runners. The weak reptilian humanoids were easily defeated by Banoc and Jax who took their supply of water for their own. Gwyn and Way-lynn were less successful in finding anything of interest, but were affected by some strange magic which hurled Way-lynn into the air and caused Gwyn to temporarily grow a third eye.

In the afternoon, the party unearthed the ruins of a museum containing many displays of art from the past. After exploring rooms filled with mirrors and statues, they removed rubble blocking a chamber containing many different orbs of all makes, shapes and colors. Using a dagger they found the templar barracks days earlier, they were able to deduce which of the orbs was the object of their quest.

Now in possession of both Earth’s Eye and the Cerulean Orb, the party only needs to discover how to use them to reveal the palace of the sorcerer-queen…

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The Ruins of Yaramuke

The Gith Cave
Given the size of the ruins of Yaramuke, the party decided to split up to cover more ground and hopefully locate a safe place to rest.

Daqiq, Jax and Gwyn searched in the northeast corner of the ruins but found nothing except an aggressive patch of spider cacti. They suffered a few injuries, but nothing too serious.

Banoc, Way-lynn and Phyll had more success and discovered a cave entrance in the side of a small cliff. Alerting the other half of the party, they headed in. The cave showed signs of inhabitants, and they were quickly discovered to be gith. The gith tried to ambush the adventurers, but it was no contest. After having slain all but two of the gith, the party explored the rest of the caves and discovered a room with gith young cowering in fear.

Taken aback, the party tried to make amends, but the gith were not willing to trust those who had invaded the caves and slaughtered their family. In the morning the party left, leaving the gith and their treasure behind. Phyll created extra food for the gith, to appease the guilt.

Ruins of Yaramuke

The Temple of Earth
Banoc and Phyll used their magic to try and learn about the ruins and what else they may encounter there. Banoc’s elemental spirits lead him to believe that the palace was protected by powerful magics making it difficult to discover even when the city wasn’t in ruins. Phyll sensed a strong elemental presence and the party headed towards it, having no better course to take.

Eventually they found what appeared to be the entrance to a temple. The doors were barely visible and covered in an immense pile of sand and rubble. The party and the refugees worked for several hours to clear it all out and gain access to the interior.

Inside the discovered several rooms each containing an ancient relic from the past. One room contained an ancient fountain that still had stale, but drinkable, water. Another room appeared to be a workshop of some type that had several desiccated corpses.

The final room held an altar to the elements of earth and resting atop was a large crystal sphere made to look like an eyeball. Pictograms of mountains and earthen wonders decorated the white of the eye. As the party moved to take the orb, a corpse emerged from the shadows . The party recognized it as a dwarven banshee and prepared for combat. The creature instead spoke, warning the party to not disrupt the eye.

The conversation continued and the party learned that the dwarf was tasked to place the eye atop a tower which allowed Sielba’s palace to be blessed and its location revealed. As the tower was destroyed the dwarf was unable to fulfill his focus and became cursed to undeath. The dwarf was stubborn in death, presumably as it was in life, and unwilling to entertain alternatives to his focus.

The party pondered how to obtain the eye…

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The Road of Kings

Reflections
Looking out over unending stony barrens, the party realized they were nowhere near Nibenay and only had Gwyn’s sense they were north of Nibenay to help. To the north and east, the land appeared to give way into scrub plains while the south and west appeared to be all stony barrens as far as they could see. Although the scrub plains might have been slightly more hospitable, they decided to travel south in the hopes of getting their bearings.

Phyll proved to be a valuable asset as his mere presence invigorated the party and allowed them to travel longer during the days. He also used his primal magic to create some food and water which helped stretch their supplies. Having fled the Shadow Viper quickly, they were low on the essentials needed to survive in the hot deserts of Athas.

Stony Barrens

As the party traveled for days, their thoughts turned towards the recent events and they reflected on their actions and the consequences…

  • Gwyn felt overwhelmed and that she had betrayed her personal beliefs. Their actions regarding the giants and dwarves horrified her.
  • Daqiq cared less about the dwarves and gaints and felt they were simply obstacles for a greater good. He was worried about the return of Ul-Athra and the safety of people in the cities.
  • Jax shared her husband’s worries about the common people but that the ends justify the means. She was slightly more hopeful about the eventual outcome.
  • Way-lynn was rather stoic, but admitted leaving behind the crew of the Sinful Kraken was wrong. They felt unfocused and really wasn’t sure what they were fighting for.
  • Banoc felt lost and as questioning his beliefs. He had no real issues with leaving behind the crew as he admitted to himself he was somewhat of a coward.
  • Phyll simply wanted to restore Athas and put an end to the defilers, no mater the cost.

During their first night Banoc communed with his elemental and felt better about their decision to travel south. According to his divinations, they had enough supplies to reach civilization and that going further north would not have been helpful for their cause.

Kenku Traders
The following morning, the group awoke to a horrific discovery – Gwyn’s lips and nose had fallen off leaving her face terribly disfigured. Too shocked and disturbed to offer any guidance, Gwyn stood still as Banoc used his magic once again to restore her body. They worried about her deterioration but could think of nothing to do except try and repair the damage once it happened.

During the following day, they happened across a group of Kenku traders. These merchants only communicated using phrases they had heard before, but the general meaning was ascertained without too much trouble. The party purchased a large number of supplies to make their journey easier as well as provide some comforts – wine, food and water were to top priorities. Banoc purchased some diamonds to use with his spells and a toy Wooshwagon was found a purchased by Way-lynn.

They parted ways with the Kenku and continued south until they needed rest. Banoc felt as if the elements had spoke truly to him and that the Kenku were some form of a blessing.

The Walking Dead
The next morning came with more horrifying events. All of the goods obtained by the Kenku had turned to ash overnight. The food was gone, the water was gone, the diamonds were gone, everything. Phyll was on watch and there were no intruders in the camp. They could only guess that they had been deceived by the Kenku. Daqiq was furious and wanted to track them down for revenge. The rest of the party decided that while they were poorer of coin they were richer of knowledge and that is was best to let the Kenku go. Reluctantly Daqiq agreed.

Additionally, Gwyn’s ears had fallen off over night. Once again Banoc’s magic was able to reattach her body parts, but he still could not determine for sure what was causing the decay. The parts that he had previously restored appeared to be just fine, although every so slightly more draconic in appearance. Gwyn suffered no pain or other debilitating effects, so no believed it was the same affliction that Thea suffered from.

This next day and night were without incident or encounter and the following morning Gwyn remained whole.

Around mid-day, the party encountered a group of thirty individuals wandering from the southwest and the two groups approached each other. Never had they seen such a dismal lot of humanity. Mostly humans, they were all limping and walking somewhat erratically. As they got closer still, the traveler’s tattered clothes became apparent and their exposed flesh was seen to be covered in boils and suppurating abscesses of the skin. They were moaning unintelligibly at first, but soon a few words could be made out – “food” “water” “help us”.

The leader introduced himself as Sil Dresh, and Way-lynn knew of him from their time in the Shadow Guard of Nibenay. They learned that this group was made up of refugees from the battle at Urik, which did not go well for most of the troops, even though a shadowy dragon was driven off with the combined power of Hamanu, Lalali-Puy, Nibenay and the Dragon itself. This group had fled and wandered for several days before coming upon the Black Waters Oasis. So great was their thirst that they drank from the cursed waters and now were wasting away.

Phyll tried to help by making more food and water. Although the refugees were able to eat and drink, they were unable to hold down the food and came back up within seconds. Gwyn dared to use the Dark Lens to try and restore the refugee’s to health, but even her wishes were unable to completely restore them. They symptoms decreased in intensity, but the underlying affliction remained. Whatever the cause, it was more powerful than her wishes.

The Ruins of Yaramuke
The refugees elected to remain with the party as they had no better option and felt that the party was their best chance for salvation. They party was glad to have the extra hands as they decided to head toward the Ruins of Yaramuke, which were just north of the Oasis. They now knew their approximate location and that gave them a slight bit of hope.

Jax knew a little of the story of Yaramuke, a tale that she had heard from another bard. Phyll knew a little as well, that the sorcerer-queen Sielba was particularly vengeful in the purging of the druids and preservers, but that it was rumored she kept their knowledge for herself rather than destroy it like the other sorcerer-kings. They hoped that her knowledge might help in their quest to restore Athas.

With the refugees following them, the party made the journey to the ruins of Yaramuke, arriving there in the early afternoon of the following day. The treacherous ruins would not provide a safe place to rest, unless an intact building could be located. They prepared to search the ruins, looking for a secure place to act as a base of operations. The size of the ruins and their treacherous nature would likely require days to explore.

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The Road of Kings

Gwyn falls into a dreamlike state as she is transported across Athas by her Wish spell. Though the Teleportation is instantaneous, it is as though she has hours to contemplate her journey.

Where are we going? I can tell just by the pull of the wind that we aren’t headed to Nibenay. Why should we be? What’s one more thing going wrong? Shit.

Gwyn sees the forms of two noble men, each decorated with the signets of great houses of Athas. They rise up toward her from the desert, before vanishing into dust.

Even as a child among the Sky Singers I knew I had the power to preserve, to respect and maintain balance among the life contained within my arcane gifts. As I mastered this art I came to believe that it might allow me to become a hero…to bring growth and vibrancy to this place. Was that too naive? Perhaps in the unforgiving dryness of Athas no one is able to become a hero. Vinara, Morg, Elleandra, Jarvix, Kelvor, Thea, and the others…they came so close, and now they are dead. And for what? So that I and my current compatriots can let loose Ul-Athra? Allow a sorcerer-king to roam the Silt Sea and do as he pleases with our crew? I fear we have made one too many mistakes.

Gwyn has visions of two hideous floating heads bouncing around in the ether – each growling hungrily. One of them snarls, “We will never taste your blood now.”

I’ve never believed in fate. My mother and my birth father were both evil – I never once allowed myself to think I would go down a similar path, instead believing that I would make my own meaning. Now I question whether there is even such a thing. After leaving Moil, which nearly broke me, I was ready to start anew, taking flight on these scaled wings and moving ever faster toward our triumph – toward a brighter day for Athas. Now I can’t bring myself to imagine that this day will ever come.

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Return of the Dust Kraken

Fleeing the Island of Mytilene aboard the Shadow Viper, the party traveled east deeper into the Sea of Silt looking for Ehwahla and the final piece of the Crown of Dust. As they searched they discussed their actions on Mytilene and their next steps. All agreed that Ul-Athra was a dangerous ally, but they felt that the rewards were worth the risk.

Banoc and Phyll use their magic to help guide the boat and eventually the reach a small island where they find Ehwahla. After some negotiations, the Crown of Dust is handed over the Ehwahla and she completes the Crown, allowing Ul-Athra to be reborn. For a moment they party has some hope, but Ul-Athra proclaims that to save Athas it must be torn down and rebuilt from the ruins. To further complicate matters Ul-Athra used the Crown to summon the party’s old nemesis Yarnath back to Athas.

Ehwahla

Realizing the error, the party launched themselves at their enemies attempting to catch them by surprise. Daqiq fired a series of arrows at Yarnath and dusted him, the Blood Jewel in the Crown flashing brightly. Ul-Athra and Ehwahla were not so easily defeated and proved too much for the group. Phyll, Gwyn and Banoc were flung back when they were hit by a wall of dust and sand. Jax, Daqiq and Way-lynn managed to keep their footing, but retreated to stand with their friends. Gwyn used her magic to teleport the party to the Elven Market in Nibenay, but something went wrong…

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The Island of Mytilene

New Hope
With their plan for stealing the Oracle set, they started to execute it. Sacha and Wyan reminded them it would be easier to just slaughter the giants and take the Oracle, but the party was not swayed by the heads. Daqiq took the helm of the Shadow Viper and moved it to a closer location to the giant’s cave, in case things went wrong and they needed a quick escape. Although he only had some experience controlling vessels such as this, he more more than up to the task.

As they left the vessel and prepared to let Jax’s magic turn them into sand, a strange being entered their sight. As tall as an elf, but not quite as large as a half-giant, the creature appeared to be made of wood and stone. Banoc felt the power of nature from the creature, who introduced itself as Phyll. They quickly learned that it was drawn to the magic of Banoc and appeared to be interested in rejuvenating the world. Wary, but in need of allies, the allowed Phyll to join their quest to steal the Oracle.

Complications
Assuming the form of sand and dust, they moved past the guards in the giant’s cave and settled near the Oracle. Jax materialized first and as she did so, she assumed the form of Jo’orsh. She got the attention of the nearby giants and when she had an audience, Jax told a tale of the Saram conspiring with evil beings in an attempt to steal the the Oracle. Her words were inflammatory and the giants appeared to believe every word of it, as they gathered themselves into a mod and moved out to bring the fight to their neighbors.

After they were sure the giants were gone, Gwyn materialized and flames erupted from her. She touched the Oracle and attempted to bond with it. As she did Jo’orsh and Sa’ram materialized and attacked. The group had been so concerned with the sorcerer-king and the giants that they forgot about the dwarven banshees. Even as the two told Gwyn to stop they moved to attack her.

The rest of the party was helpless as Jax battled the two banshees while they attacked Gwyn who was focused on bonding with the Oracle. Jax alternated using her magic to attack and heal, and found that the undead were very resilient to her magic and still capable warriors. Gwyn made progress with the Oracle bu the wounds started to accumulate faster than Jax could restore. Gwyn unleashed a powerful wave of healing to restored her and Jax to full health.

Jo’orsh finally fell to Jax’s magic and was banished for a time. Just as the others finally reformed into their bodies Gwyn finished her bonding to the Oracle and gained access to its tremendous powers. They all joined the fight with Way-lynn and Phyll moving up close to attack the undead. Banoc bolstered his friend with his healing magic while Daqiq rained arrows down on the creatures, turning Jo’orsh into dust.

Not wanting to leave loose ends, they ambushed Sa’ram when he returned from his banishment. Out numbered and already wounded, the banshee was finally defeated as Gwyn launched volley after volley of rays of fire.

With the threats eliminated, Gwyn caused the Dark Lens to shrink in side and placed it in the magic bag she took from Krampus. They all assumed the form of dust again and returned to the Shadow Viper, amazed that they were successful in the heist.

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The Island of Mytilene

Hard Choices
In the biting sand and intense wind, a debate among the party raged on whether to go back to their ship to try and save the crew or follow the head’s advice and leave them to die. The party was split and arguments were made that swayed everyone back and forth. Way-Lynn in particular was conflicted while Daqiq was steadfast in his belief that there was nothing they could actually do for the crew.

Eventually everyone’s minds were made up and the party spit. Iulius and Lena could not leave the crew to the whims of Andropinis and headed west towards the landing point. The rest of the party followed Sacha and Wyan towards their vessel.

Although none said it, they all feared it would be the last time they saw each other….

The Shadow Viper
After a half-day march through the terrible weather, the party found themselves in a somewhat sheltered part of the island. There, partially covered by the sand and silt, was the vessel that the head spoke of. Gathering inside the hull, the party found two corpses that had been badly bludgeoned, by the giants according to Sacha. Gwyn recognized them as Tithian, the king of Tyr and Agis, a noble of House Asticles, both of whom were responsible for the death of Kalak.

Although they had been dead for months, some of their gear was still in excellent condition and the party recovered two magic rings, a sword and a pair of bracers. Within the ship itself were a pair of goggles fitted with purple crystal lenses. The party had no problem helping themselves to the items, as the former owners were clearly not needing them. Banoc briefly contemplated using his magic to try and return one to life, but that wouldn’t be feasible until the present situation was resolved.

AndropinisDictator Andropinis
Lena and Iulius marched through the wind-blown sand, attempting not to choke on the silt. As they neared the shores, the weather abruptly calmed. They had spent enough time around Banoc to recognize when the weather was being controlled.

As they arrived at the shore, they saw a magnificent vessel out on the Silt Sea and the wreckage of the Sinful Kraken on the shore. A small army of half-giants and soldiers from Balic were on the beach, with the crew of the Sinful Kraken bound and on their knees before them. Andropinis stood in the middle of them.

Lena attempted a diplomatic approach and tried to bargain with information on Dregoth’s plans as well as invoking the name Rajaat. Andropinis appeared to be mostly confused by Lena’s “knowledge” and apparently knew much of it already. Lena’s guesses about Rajaat appeared to amuse the sorcerer-king more than intrigue him. However, hard Lena tried, she could not get the Dictator of Balic to release the crew and eventually grew frustrated and called him out.

The sorcerer-king obliged and engaged with Lena while his troops looked on. Lena’s lance was able to make contact with the monarch, but was unable to pierce his preternatural flesh. Drawing a flaming sword and conjuring a black shield of arcane and psionic energy, Andropinis continued to deflect Lena’s attacks are rained blow after blow onto her. As tough as she was, there was no contest and she was battered down in seconds.

The last thing she saw was Iulius being taken captive by the soldiers of Balic.

A New Plan
While huddling in the boat, which they learned was called the Shadow Viper, another debate began on how long to wait for Lena and what the next actions should be. Wyan told them that unless they obtained the Oracle, they would have no chance of defeating Borys and the sorcerer-kings. He proposed a simple solution of slaughtering all of the giants, but the party was not keen on that plan.

The eventually decided on moving the Shadow Viper closer to the crystal caves and having Jax assume the form of one of the dwarven banshees to try and draw out the giants. She could also use her magic to let the party infiltrate the caves and there, Gwyn would attempt to take control of the Oracle and they could then all escape. It was a bold plan, but the best they could come up with.

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