Dark Sun: The Scorched World of Athas

Galanaki

TrinthThe party passed through Trinth’s portal and found themselves in a chamber looking at Trinth and her guards. The queen was an impressive figure, standing over 9 feet tall. She was dressed in clothing and armor that could purchase a city on Athas. She held a scepter with a pulsing ruby in one hand and a large silver greatsword in the other.

I have decided to allow you a rare honor – to become my Adlishar, the first of many who will serve me. Kneel before me and pledge your undying fidelity me.

The party debated the lich-queen’s offer, but were split in their opinions about the best decision. They questioned Trinth and believed that she was not completely honest about her intentions. Birk, Phyll, Daqiq and Jax felt allying with Trinth was the better option, as the destruction of the sorcerer-kings would be for the benefit of all Athas. Gwyn, Way-lynn, Banoc and Iorskan felt that exchanging one tyrrant for another was not an acceptable option.

The situation changed when Birk knelt and Trinth used her scepter to magically compell him to follow her orders. This was unacceptable to Phyll, Daqiq and Jax who decided to leave, however, Trinth’s true definition of freedom was death and a battle ensued. Banoc, who was severely injured from the arena fights dropped to a lightning blast from Trinth. An attempt was made to push past the guards and Trinth, but the party was cut off.

Gwyn used the last of her magic to wish the party back to the gateway they used to enter the Astral Sea. Once again, her focus was off and they all arrived in a remote and empty region of the Astral Sea. They stabilized Banoc and rested, recovering their strength. For lack of any better option, they followed Way-lynn’s lead and started moving through the Astral Sea. After over a day of travel, they happened across an emeral green portal. Entering the portal, the party found themselves in a dark forest growing from swampy, brackish water. Phyll believed that they were now all in the outer plane known as the Beastlands.

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Galanki

The swarms of cranium rats attacked both physically and psychically, their massive numbers causing the party to be worn down by the repeated attacks. However, with the continued support of Iorskan and Birk, Gwyn and her allies were able to emerge victorious.

Blight LordThe final two doors were opened and a massive tree blight and black dragon emerged. Trinth justified this with the party having “cheated” by allying with Iorskan and Birk. Fighting two creatures after the swarms caused the party to adjust their tactics. These fierce creatues were tough and strong and during the fight Banoc Ma’an fell, but was kept from dying by Jax.

Following the death of the dragon, Trinth addressed the party…

Congratulations, you have survived my trials and earned your freedom. I am surprised by your fortitude and prowess in battle, perhaps you Athasians are not as primitive as we suspected. Exit the arena through the doorway before you so that you may kneel and receive my blessing. Should you not wish to join my cause and liberate Athas, you shall be granted your freedom.

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Galanki

The battle in the arena of Trinth continued. The golems released from the white door were defeated with great effort as the creatures were resistant to the majority of the weapons and spells used by the party. The red door was opened next, revealing a group of gladiators from Athas and other lands. Two of these gladiators were known to GwynBirk and Iorskan – her former adventuring companions. Birk and Iorskan joined forces with Gwyn and the others, easily dispacting the other gladiators.

More winnings were exhanged and additional bets were placed on the outcome of the next battle. Despite the turn of events, Trnith continued to look on and appeared to be satisfied with the outcome of each fight.

Zombie Tyrannosaurus

The green door was opened next and a monstrous undead lizard appeared. Although this lizard was capable of swallowing gladiators and vomiting forth zombies, the beast was defeated with ease.Only a three doors remained, their odds of finding freedom increasing with each combat.

The purple door was opened next and massive swarms of rats emerged. The rats had a strange purple glow about them, which could be seen coming from their exposed brains…

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Galanaki

In the arena, the party was given magical daggers to defend themselves as their weapons were still in the possession of Trinth’s guards. Phyll’s spear was availabe to him and he was able to create a crude bow for Daqiq. Jax was able to summon her Sword of Tyr into the arena, but the rest were left without their weapons. Way-lynn in particular felt the hardship. Banoc detected that there were undead behind the green door, but no other door registered anything unusual.

Each door that was picked released a different creature that the party. The yellow door released a multi-headed draconic creature that attacked with claws and breath weapons. The block door released another draconic creature, made of an unusual black metal, which attacked with beams of radiant energy.

Dracohydra

The party successfully defeated their two opponents with a mixture of cheers and jeers from the audience. Most were placing bets on the outcome of the matches. The lich-queen Trinth looked on commenting on the performance of the creatures and the party.

The third door opened, the white door, revealed a small group of constructs – golems made of flesh or stone.

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Sailing the Astral Sea

Stepping through the portal the party found themselves in the Astral Sea, a new experience for Phyll, but somewhat familiar for the others. As they looked out onto an endless silver sea numerous color pools were visible. The spellcasters felt cut off from their sources of magic, without land or access to the elements. As the contemplated their next move, a shape began to form in the distance. As the shape came closer it appeared to be some type of sailing ship, moving through the Astral Sea, accompanied by a large winged lizard with deep red scales.

The Astral Sea

Prepared for battle the party was surprised to find the crew of the ship somewhat friendly and eager to talk. They learned that the crew of the ship were part of an army lead by a queen with plans to rule over Athas. The captain, Raskine, invited to party to return to their city and learn more their queen and her plans. Along the way some of the features of the Astral Sea were discussed including color pools that allow travelers to enter other worlds and the psychic wind which assaulted the mind more than the body.

Eventually the group arrived at Galanaki, the city of the Githyanki in the Astral Sea. Their shipped docked at a tall tower and the group was escorted through the city towards the large central palace. Once their more guards joined the procession, which eventually ended at the throne room of the queen, Trinth. Trinth questioned them regarding what she called the unusual powers of the mind that the people of Athas possessed. After additional questions and answers, the party came to the decision that Trinth, although not trustworthy, might prove to be a valuable ally against the sorcerer-kings and a potential tool to bring about a change and a new Green Age.

Offering themselves to Trinth, the queen agreed to accept their service, if they could prove themselves in an arena. The party agreed any they were dropped some 30 feet into a large area with numerous colored doors. The queen proclaimed "You must now choose your fate. One of these doors leads to freedom, the rest have an inhabitant that will be most pleased to see you. You must select the correct door, or die trying. If you choose incorrectly and survive, you may choose again.”

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The Golden Tower

“See, I told you they wouldn’t be able to handle this!” Wyan said with a sneer. “They either were killed, captured or fled like scared crodlu.”

“It would appear that they did manage to defeat some of the simulacrum.” Sacha countered, nodding over towards the piles of sand in the large octagonal room. “I’m guessing they left for some reason, as all the door here are still closed.”

“Kalid’Ma’s forces probably just closed the doors behind them. Who knows where they are now! I don’t want to waste any more time on them.” Wyan sighed heavily, “We’ll have to start looking for others who will be able to help defeat Borys. Let get out of here before we get into trouble.”

Wyan and Sacha headed back to the elevator passageway leading back down and they floated down the passageway and out of the tower.

Arch Portals

The room was quite for many long hours, then with a pop Gwyn and her allies teleported back into the tower, using the teleportation circle as a focus to avoid the mishap that had brought them to the stony barrens near the ruins of Yaramuke. They searched through the six doorways using Banoc’s magic or Way-Lynn’s strength to open them. Two doorways had warnings of evil and were not opened.

Each of the six rooms beyond appeared to contain portals to different locations. Although none were experts on planar travel, they deduced a few of the locations: Astral Sea, The Lands within the Wind, the Elemental Plane of Fire, and the Elemental Plane of Earth. Phyll greatly desired to journey to the forests of the Feywild, Daqiq was curious about the evils contained (and if they might actually be allies for the party). However, Jax and the rest felt that the Astral Sea should be the first portal they explored.

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The Golden Tower

“Well, it was worth a try, and she did say yes.” Wyan said as he spat out fine sand from his mouth. “I guess Kalid-Ma hasn’t perfected his technique yet.”

“Not surprising as his talents always did focus on the Gray.” Sacha commented.

“They just went up a short time ago, I’m sure you could catch your friends.” The Elleandra simulacrum mentioned casually as she returned to the couch and continued to read her book.

“They are not our friends!” the two heads said in unison.

“As you say, it really isn’t any of my business. Nor is your desire to see Kalid-Ma and Li-Am defeated.” And with that the Elleandra simulacrum paid Sacha and Wyan no further attention.

“Kalak squandered the wealth of the city on building his ziggurat, I wonder what he’s done to the rooms the next level up. I doubt that they are full of treasures once again, unless Kalid-Ma brought some with him from the Gray.” There was a mixture of curiosity and anger in Sacha’s voice.

Golden Tower of Kalid-Ma

“Maybe more guest rooms? This was a surprise to find her here,” Wyan’s floating head sharply turned and his top knot jerked in the direction of Elleandra’s simulacrum. “and it appears that this Li-Am is far more social than the sorcerer-king.”

“He’ll have to get over that if he wants to attain real power. I’m sure there are banquet halls, recreation rooms and library for entertaining.” What started as a chuckle quickly turned into a dry cough. “The blood just doesn’t last like it used to does it.”

“I’m afraid not. Let’s head up and see if Gwyn and her friends have somehow managed to survive.” Sacha floated over to the concealed stairs and began to silently ascend.

“After you.” Wyan commented as he followed. He paused and looked back at the Elleandra simulacrum. “I wonder where the real you is and if she’d let me take a tiny little sip.”

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The Golden Tower

Two old friends silently moved down a corridor in the Under-Tyr. Their normally withered and parched skin looked almost healthy, and were they not literally two disembodied heads, they would have appeared almost jubilant.

Under-Tyr Sewers

Licking its lips to recover a small spot of dried blood, the head with the top-knot speaks to his companion. “I bet they didn’t follow our advice Sacha. I’ll bet they just went into the false tower and didn’t follow the signs of their Veiled Alliance. How typical.”

“Well Wyan,” Sacha retorts, “you could have made it easier for them and just told them where to go.”

“They’ll need to clever if they are to defeat the sorcerer-kings and bring about their new Green Age. And besides,” he nods in the direction of an open door and floats closer, “they defeated Kalid-Ma’s simulacrum and didn’t die. They might be capable after all.”

“We’ll see.” Sacha snorts. “I wonder of Kalid-Ma has kept up all of old defenses or if he’s been so obsessed with revenge on Manu and Borys, that he hasn’t taken the time.”

Wyan floats around to the back side of the tower towards a concealed door, slowing as cautiously tests the threshold. “Well, he doesn’t appear to have strengthened them, at least not as far as I can tell. We should go in and see how things have changed.”

“You’re not thinking of going in to help them are you? I thought you’d decided to test their cleverness.”

“Oh, they are on their own, but should they succeed, I have a feeling we’ll have much to discuss.”

“And if they fail?”

“Then hopefully we can drink the last of their blood before it get’s too cold.”

“Fine with me.”

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Fane of the Night Serpent

Combat with the Anathema began with the monstrosity taking a particular interest in Jax. Daqiq unleashed arrows while Jax and Gwyn fired off spells and Way-lynn mercilessly cut at it with his axe. Banoc did his best to damage the fiend while keeping his party members standing. After the Anathema was defeated, the party raced after Phyll.

Phyll continued to chase down the defiler, encountering more Yuan-ti along the way. The defiler drew life out of Phyll’s body to fuel the arcane spells he cast. The defiler was eventually caught in a flooded cavern and dispatched with a series of blows from the Heartwood Spear. From the water emerged another multi-headed creature – a hydra. The beast was able to inflict some wounds on the party, but was banished to another realm by Gwyn’s magic.

With the Hydra and Anathema vanquished, the remainder of the Yuan-ti proved little threat to the battle-hardened adventurers. As they cleared the temple they uncovered additional prisoners who had not yet been sacrificed to Dendar the Night Serpent, the god of the Yuan-ti. The temple also contained a modest amount of treasure, however, the defiler carried a longsword with a crystalline hilt. Banoc and Jax recognized this as the Sixth Sword of Tyr. She took the sword and performed the ritual to combine it with the other swords.

Fane of the Night Serpent

Romila was very pleased with the success of the quest and started preparations for moving their headquarters. The party assisted over the next week with the purification and fortification of the Fane. Banoc formally joined the Veiled Alliance of Tyr, having proven himself to be an ally. Romila was true to her word and provided the party with the location of a secret tunnel that would lead them to the sublevels of the Golden Tower of Kalak. She did warn the party that her information might be slightly dated as she had no knowledge of what Kalid-Ma may have changed since is occupation.

They checked in with Karlen and learned that his contacts were able to procure one item, a magical crystal ball of scrying. Although it was exorbitantly expensive, they had acquired a tremendous amount of treasure from the ruins of Yaramuke and the party was able to pay Karlen’s asking price. Phyll took possession of the crystal ball and began to study its properties.

After a week of rest the party now felt prepared to enter the Golden Tower and deal with Li-Am and Kalid-Ma…

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Fane of the Night Serpent

Phyll stood guard as the rest of the party tried to recover their strength while discussing what to do about the petrified Banoc. Some of the options discussed were rather gruesome as none had any experience dealing with this condition before. Before a plan of action could be initiated, they were interrupted by a small patrol of Yuan-ti who spotted Phyll and engaged. The rest of the party soon woke to the sounds of battle and joined in.

The fight raged down the hallway, alerting more Yuan-ti, who had moved around in their stronghold while the party attempted to rest. The Yuan-ti fought along with their broodguard and undead minions, including a pair of minotaur skeletons and an undead skeletal snake. Phyll and Way-lynn led the attack to the Yuan-ti and the minions, taking the brunt of the attacks. Daqiq’s arrows were deadly as ever and Gwyn unleashed several fireballs, decimating their opponents. Still suffering from the previous fight, Jax stayed back and supported as best she could.

Yuan-ti AnathemaAfter the combat was over, Gwyn used her magic to restore the health or her companions and simultaneous restored Banoc to life. They proceeded to explore more of the stronghold and discovered evidence of a horrible ritual having taken place while they were attempting to rest. Phyll suffered hallucinations of snake imagery after attempting to determine the nature of a foul liquid in one chamber. Following the sounds of chanting, they came to a large cathedral with a pool of blood and several Yuan-ti who were finishing a ritual of some kind.

Wasting no time Phyll started to attack and Daqiq dropped a heavily armored Yuan-ti with two arrows. Way-lynn tossed a Malison into the pool of blood and the remaining Yuan-ti fled casting a fireball at the party. His defiling nature was clear and Phyll pursued him down a narrow passage. Arising from the blood pool, a horrible creature with six snake head arose, splashing gore throughout the room and onto the party members.

The group stared at the foul abomination and wondered what it was capable of…

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