Dark Sun: The Scorched World of Athas

Festival of the Cooling Sun
The City of Tyr

Crodlu Racing
The fourth day of the festival opened with a series of crodlu races as the individual contests began. Morg, Gwyn and Castri found themselves competing against each other and two other gladiators. The objective was simple, be the first to guide their crodlu across the finish line after two laps around the area.

The three friends vowed to work together to help Morg win the competition, knowing that only he would be available for the final day of competition. Morg pushed his crodlu hard trusting his athleticism and endurance to help his lizard carry him across the finish line. Gwyn pushed her crodlu hard, while hanging on with all of her strength, all the while maneuvering to prevent the other gladiators from overtaking her friend. Castri had more difficulty keeping up, being unused to the animals, however his skill with the Way caused a great difficulties for the others as he caused debris from the track to blind and hinder them.

Near the finish line Castri collided with another rider sending both of them tumbling across the finish line just behind Morg who finished first and Gwyn who finished in second place. After the race, the three collected their winnings and stayed at the arena to watch the other races. Members of the Red Cord were eliminated but an elf of the Moonrunner tribe showed impressive skills in the racing and looked to be a top contender for the final match of the festival.

Across the Wastes
During the fourth day, Vinara left the city to journey with the Wastewalker to a hidden location to receive training on the ways of a primal guardian. After a day of travel, where she listen to the Wastewalker discuss how all aspects of nature were interconnected, they arrived at a hidden oasis in the foothills of the Ringing Mountains.

The spirits of fire challenged her to destroy the defilers and their allies in order to prevent more damage to the world. The spirit of earth warned her that she would need to endure great hardships if she were to take up the task of restoring Athas to its former state. The spirit of water tasked Vinara with healing the world that had suffered so much at the hands of the sorcerer-kings. Finally the spirit of air challenged Vinara to be cautious in her approach to restoring Athas, knowing that the entrenched power of sorcerer-kings and their allies would not be easily overthrown.

Accepting their challenges and demonstrating her ability to overcome her adversaries, the spirits invested her with the power to become a primal guardian. She learned the power to summon a new companion to help her in quests – a living zephyr that could obscure the vision of her enemies and push them about. Satisfied that her training was complete she began her journey back to Tyr.

The Veiled Alliance
Gwyn journeyed back to the The Warrens to meet her Veiled Alliance contact Jarvix and complete her initiation on the night of the fifth day of the festival. They traveled deep into the Warrens and down into the depths of an abandoned building. From the basement they traveled down into the Under-Tyr, the ruins of the old city of Tyr.

At the gates of an ruined building Gwyn demonstrated her skill in preserving magic by opening the door without harming the fragile lichens nearby. Inside the building she found other members of the Alliance who tested her moral character and dedication to the cause of preserving magic.

More than satisfied with her responses, she was inducted into the Veiled Alliance. She learned that the cells were currently debating divulgence – whether to maintain the secrecy that has protected them for so long, or whether to reveal themselves to the population and capitalize on the death of Kalak to promote good-will towards their members. With the future of such actions uncertain, Gwyn returned to the surface to watch Morg’s final match.

Agis of Asticles
Castri to the estates of Agis in the hopes of learning more about the events surrounding the death of Kalak. Although initially suspect about his motives, Agis eventually divulged much that was previously unknown, hoping that Castri would use such knowledge to help bring about a positive change to the world.

We journeyed to the Forest Ridge where the halflings granted us the use of a Heartwood Spear, pulled from an ancient Tree of Life. They told us that Kalak was attempting to transform into a powerful dragon, and if successful he would bring great destruction to the lands. They instructed us that only by working together could we hope to overcome Kalak’s potent defenses.

During the gladiatorial contest, we struck at once; I used by talents with the Way to weaken his mental defenses, Sadira used her arcane powers to breach his other defenses. Rikus then threw the spear and landed a mortal wound, one that should have killed him, except for the massive life force he was draining from the crowd. We, along with Tithian, followed Kalak into the Ziggurat of Kalak.

Once inside, we found Kalak in the midst of his transformation and attempted to finish him off, but he was too strong, still empowered by the life forces he had stolen. Only the quick actions of Tithian, who began smashing the obsidian orbs around his chamber cut him off from the energies and allowed him to be finally defeated.

If you hope to defeat other sorcerer-kings you will have a much harder time than we did, for the other sorcerer-kings will not be distracted by the rituals that Kalak was attempting when he was slain. Even at your peak, you will need all the help you can receive, you should look find powerful artifacts to aid your quests, but where to start looking is unknown to me.

Armed with this knowledge, Castri returned to watch the final games of the festival.

The Final Duel
Aric of the MoonrunnersThe final match of games was between Morg and and elf named Aric, from the Moonrunner tribe, had earned a reputation for ruthlessness. The two gladiators closed on each other taking cover behind pillars as they did so. When they were close Morg stepped out from behind the pillar and taunted the elf into attacking.

Happy to oblige, Aric charged forth swiping with his massive obsidian blade and landing a deep wound on Morg. The wound began to sting and burn from the poison that was coated on the blade, clearly showing his intent to kill. Morg became enraged and his fury gave him the strength to ignore the wounds and continue fighting. Both gladiators maneuvered around the pillars and patches of brambleweed. The elf’s use of poison and magic during the attack gave him a slight advantage, but the crowd clearly favored Morg. A couple attacks that were parried by Aric appeared to be the turning point, but the combat ended quickly as a massive swipe from Morg’s axe removed the elf’s head.

After the celebration, Morg and the others collected the winnings from their bets and began to prepare for their next journey. They decided to search for the Face in the Stone as the urgency seemed greater. They let a disappointed Rhotan Vor of House Wavir know that when they returned, they would help him search for the lost tomb.

Festival of the Cooling Sun
The City of Tyr

Coins in the Coffer
After a night of rest, team Obsidian Storm entered the arena once again, this time to find themselves playing against members of the Red Cord mercenary group in a game of coins in the coffer. Morg, Vinara and Gwyn formulated a strategy with Castri as the rules of the game were explained: No attacks on opposing team members, each coin placed in the teams coffer scores one point, the team with the most points after five rounds wins.

During the first round both teams moved quickly towards the center of the area, avoiding the treacherous brambleweed. Morg began to work the crowd as he taunted the other team and moved to block their coffer. Castri attempting to disrupt the charge fired arrows, but his opponents were not deterred. During the second round Castri’s arrows proved equally ineffective, however Gwyn grabbed a coin and deposited it in her team’s coffer. The Red Cord moved to the pile of coins, grabbing three, and headed towards their coffer. The halfling forest keeper conjured vines to ensnare Vinara.

Intercepting his opponents, Morg knocked them back with a ferocious roar. Gwyn’s elven speed allowed her grab a coin and drop it in the coffer, then carefully using her arcane powers, she leapt through the air and knocked the halfling down.

Seeing potential trouble, Castri used his abilities with the Way to move the remaining three coins from the center of the arena to Vinara’s feet. Still entangled by the conjured vines Vinara grabbed and tossed a coin, it just landing short of the coffer. Morg continued to push his opponents back from their coffer and making a good show of it for the crowd. Gwyn chased the halfling, who had ducked beneath he legs and grabbed one of the coins as Vinara’s feet. She used her magic again to summon claws that lifted the halfing and the coin into her coffer. Too late she realized that her attempt to conceal her magic might not have been successful. Vinara, finally free of the halflings vines, deposited the last coin into her coffer and closed the lid, with the halfling still inside.

Morg continued to do battle with his human opponents, with neither side making any real progress. When the final gong signaled the end of the game team Obsidian Storm had won with a score of 4 to 0. The members of the Red Cord retrieved their halfling and walked out the arena as the crowd cheered for team Obsidian Storm.

Finding Friends
After resting, the heroes ventured out into The Warrens to the Elven Market to collect their winnings a place new bets on the outcome of the gladiatorial contest. Although their team was gaining some amount of fame the competition was as well, making the outcome of the tournament still uncertain.

Castri left the Elven Market to meet up with Khalos the aid to Agis who was supposed to be arranging a meeting between them. Pleasantly, Agis had agreed to meet following the third day of the tournament.

JarvixGwyn and Morg made their way from the arena into the Warrens, attempting to create an opportunity to make contact with the Veiled Alliance. After a short while they realized they were being followed and maneuvered to follow their tail. Neither Morg nor Gwyn were particularly subtle and they were lead into a quiet alley where they could converse with some degree of privacy. Their new friend was a red-skinned Tiefling who introduced himself as Jarvix. As they expected, he claimed to be a member of the Veiled Alliance and announced that they had noticed Gwyn and were intending to make her an offer, once she passed their final tests. She was to meet them at dawn on the fifth day of festival.

Later that evening a freak sandstorm blew across the city, and the Wastewalker appeared to Vinara. He spoke of terrible visions that he had where a great sandstorm began to devour the world. In the vision, he saw a lost shrine where evil stirs called the Face in the Stone, and a powerful defiler who is searching for the Face, to unleash the evil. He tasked Vinara with taking up her true destiny and stopping this defiler. However, he felt she was not strong enough to take on this task, and so he offered to train her, starting at dusk on the third night of the festival. He departed with the sandstorm.

The Gaj
The following day was the last of the group battles in the arena, and Obsidian Storm intended to continue their winning streak. The arena was refitted with numerous pillars, blocking their view of the opposing gate. However, the suspense was ended when the announcer revealed that they would be fighting a dreaded Gaj.

Knowing the speed was of the utmost importance to defeat a powerful foe, the team moved quickly. Castri moved to to get a clear shot but his arrow bounced harmlessly off the creatures thick carapace. Gwyn summoned an orb of shifting arcane energy and hurled it toward the Gaj, but the nimble creature ducked just in time avoiding it despite her elven accuracy. Morg and Vinara moved up keeping cover between. The Gaj, slower to react than its opponents, moved forward and unleashed a blast of psychic energy, injuring them both. As Morg’s shrunken head amulet cackled some of the Gaj’s psychic attack was rebounded.

Castri let loose another volley of arrows, but although his aim was true, the arrows failed to penetrate its defenses. Gwyn attempted to assault the Gaj’s mind and remove all evidence from her foe’s senses, however the Gaj’s mental defenses withstood the attack and all she accomplished was to drawn the attention of the beast. Vinara used her primal magic to heal Gwyn and boost her allies defenses. The Gaj moved in while Morg waited for the most opportune moment to strike and sunk its mandibles into Gwyn, holding her in place. She was able to avoid it’s feathery antennae but her wounds were severe. Summoning all his rage, Morg unleashed a furious set of blows on the Gaj, scoring two serious wounds while the creature was occupied with Gwyn.

Finally penetrating the Gaj’s armor, Castri’s arrows finally struck home. Gwyn again failed to wound the Gaj, but she did manage to escape its powerful bite. Vinara moved into melee with burst of primal power trailing after her bronze staff, causing a halo of primal magic to surround her strengthening her allies. The Gaj, its attentions now focused on Morg, savagely ripped into Morg with its mandibles and antennae as it unleashed another blast of mental energy. Morg, barely conscious, was unable to connect with the Gaj, but he was able to escape its grasp.

Castri’s bad luck returned as his arrows bounced off the Gaj’s shell. In desperation Gwyn unleashed a blast of lightning wounding the creature but also Morg and Vinara. Vinara drew the last of the life energy out of the Gaj, renewing Morg’s vitality as it died. Once again team Obsidian Storm was victorious.

Festival of the Cooling Sun
The City of Tyr

Setting Up Shop
Having spent a few days in the city of Tyr, the heroes decided that their best course of action was to establish a base of operations in the Elven Market. The new shop, Free City Tattoo, would require an investment in order to set up shop. Gwyn, Morg and Vinara traveled about the city attempting to sell some of the treasures they had uncovered in their flight from the Wastewalker. They had little luck in the Smith’s District, although they located several interesting shops including the Tarnished Cup.

About the same time the disgraced noble, Castri, wandered into the Artisan District to look up an old friend, a Half-Giant named Karlen who was the proprietor of Karlen’s Eye. Although Karlen was unable to directly aid Castri, he did pass along a rumor that he had heard about a recently uncovered ruins called the Face in the Stone, which could contain valuables that he would be happy to sell and give Castri a commission. Karlen also suggested that Castri be on the lookout for new arrivals in the city, a group of adventurers who arrived after the last obsidian storm.

A short while later Castri found the adventurers making their way about the city attempting to finance their new venture. After a brief introduction the entire group returned to Karlen’s Eye and arrived at a satisfactory price that would let the group get enough seed money for their shop. Karlen also suggested that if they needed money and were so inclined the city was holding a gladiatorial contest during the upcoming Festival of the Cooling Sun.

Morg set out to enter the group under the name Obsidian Storm for the five day gladiatorial contest.

First Arena Game
Arena of TyrMorg and his companions entered the Arena, not knowing what their first contest would be. The beast masters released a pair of Ankheg and their broodlings, and with that the fight began. The large Ankhegs moved forward towards the gladiators but were unable to close the entire distance. Castri let loose a series of arrows and felled one of the broodlings. Vinara and Bear targeting the closest Ankheg along with Gwyn (who was careful to disguise her arcane abilities) and Morg. The beast was bloodied but still was able to grab and hold Morg, dragging him away to be eaten by the broodlings. Eventually the beast went down under the constant assault of Castri, Vinara and Morg, but not without inflicting serious wounds on the party. The second Ankheg and the remainder of the broodlings were defeated by Vinara, Gwyn and Castri, leaving Team Obsidian Storm victorious.

Personal Business
Following their success in the arena, each of the gladiators placed bets in the Elven Market on the outcome of the next match. Morg also placed bets on him winning the entire competition. After that, they went their own ways to take care of personal business.

Morg and Vinara traveled to the Merchant District to see about securing more supplies to their former village. They were able to locate the warehouses of House Wavir and found their associate Rhotan Vor in Tyr. After arranging for supplies to be sent to the village, Rhotan asked for help in locating the fabled Vault of Darom Madar, a storehouse of treasure for a merchant house that was destroyed many years ago. In exchange for acting as guards, they would receive a cut of the treasure and percentage of the profits.

Gwyn began her search for the Veiled Alliance in the city. Although the group is as elusive in Tyr as any other city, the recent overthrow of Kalak has given the Veiled Alliance a slightly improved reputation in the city. Although she had not made contact with any particular cell, she felt confident that she would be able to be able to subtly use magic in the upcoming arena games to be noticed.

Castri attempted to make contact with Agis a noble of House Asticles and one of the Deposers of Kalak. Although he was only able to make contact with one of his assistants, Castri was determined to continue to pursue this, in hopes of helping his new friends learn more about the events leading up to Kalak’s death.

Later that night, Vinara was awoken by a raspy voice carried on the wind. The unmistakable voice of the Wastewalker simply said “Prepare for my arrival tomorrow night, I bring dire news.”

Fury of the Wastewalker
The Flight to Tyr

Wind and Stone
Finally confronted by their pursuer, and still suffering the wounds of their long journey out of the mountains, Morg, Vinara and Gwyn took stock of the situation. Remembering their encounters over the past days, they prepared to meet the Wastewalker.

Morg moved in quickly to attack the Ssurrans and Storm Shard having trouble connecting with the lizardmen, but greatly wounding the storm. Vinara made the most of her healing to to keep Morg alive during his assault, while wounding several of the lizardmen. Gwyn used her magic from behind the lines, having taken many serious wounds during their march from the Forest Ridge. The group was able to defeat several of their opponents, but the outlook was bleak, as the Wastewalker had yet to enter the combat.

During the battle, the Wastewalker held back, trying to convince Vinara and Morg to turn upon Gwyn, but they never wavered in their support of the friend, knowing that she was one of the few true preservers in Athas. The Wastewalker began to listen as they recounted their encounters with the elemental spirits, who had charged them restoring Athas. Although skeptical, he listened as they told him the information imparted by the Halflings. Finally, when Gwyn herself showed the tattoo given by the Halflings, did he call off the rest of his attackers.

The hero’s debated the fate of the Wastewalker, trying to decided between killing him, taking him to Tyr and setting him free, promising to only hunt defilers. Eventually they settled on sending him and his follower free, trusting that he appreciated the difference between defilers and preservers and knowing that he could be a valuable ally in the future.
The Free City of Tyr
The Golden City
With the black clouds that had pursued them for what seemed like ages finally gone, the group approached the gates of the city of Tyr. Looming over the skyline of Tyr, the great Ziggurat of Kalak and the Golden Tower were visible at first, then the rest of the city rose above the horizon. The group entered the Caravan Gate and began their exploration of the free city, determined to continue on their quest to restore Athas to its former state and topple the defilers that were the cause of its fall from Glory.

Fury of the Wastewalker
The Flight to Tyr

Clear the Path
Vinara continued to lead her friends through the jungle, stopping only long enough to forage for food, they quickly made their way to edge of the Forest Ridge. As the area cleared, they found a deep divide separating the Forest Ridge from the Ringing Mountains. A long slice of the nearby cliff face had recently sheered off from the mountain and fell, wedging itself precariously between the two sides of the chasm.

GithWary of danger, they proceeded cautiously and Gwyn sensed an odd energy about the stones. Carefully making their way across the bridge, avoiding they pockets of energy, they noticed the corpses of several individuals on the ledges below. As they neared the far side of the chasm, they were set up by vicious Gith.

With a burst of arcane energy, Gwyn vaulted over the Gith and landed, knocking several of the piercers off the edge and down into the chasm to their deaths. Morg engaged in a fierce battle with the Gith leader, a spearhead, and was nearly overcome. If not for the vitality granted by his rage and the cackling shruken head he wore around his neck, he would have been killed.

Vinara attempted to keep her companions alive by channeling her primal magic while engaging the spearhead and the hobblers. Eventually their opponents were defeated, but the heroes were greatly weakened by the encounter. While they rested, Morg ventured down the cliff face to the ledge with the corpses. While most was ruined, he recovered some useful gear, and a priceless treasure for Vinara – a bronze staff shaped like a rigid cobra.

Twisted Desert Denizens
As the group descended through the Ringing Mountains back into the desert surrounding Tyr the sun began to move towards the horizon, casting long shadows of the rocky landscape. The shadows were abruptly snuffed out by a bursting darkness that overwhelmed the area. The sickening familiar clatter of falling stone shards rung out once again.

A clutch of warped lizardfolk jumped onto the rocks as the sky continued to darken. One of them lets out a blood-curdling shriek and the others responded in similar tones. With their cries the hero’s skin begins to crawl as a static charge began to build in the dry desert sand.

As they continued to cry out the ssurrans attacked, the three sandwarped ssurrans moving into melee with the group, while the twisted ssurran began chanting. Gwyn’s magic clawed through the attackers, while Morg moved in to interrupt the chanting. Too late a swirling mass of sand formed behind Vinara and blinded her before blasting her with stinging sand.

Once again the party was victorious but greatly weakened from the fight. Gwyn finished off the last of the sandwarped lizardfolk with a burning spray of fire while Vinara and Bear dealt the killing blow to the twisted ssurran. The Dust Devil was finally finished with a combination of Gwyn’s lightning and Morg’s axe.

Wastewalker Assault
With only a few moments to catch their breath, a whirlwind of sand and stone swirls at the top of the nearby boulders. Flanked by three yellow-skinned ssurrans is a black-scaled lizardfolk with deep purple eyes and a spiny back. “You cannot essscape me, arcanisstsss!” Seemingly called into existence by his words, flying bits of obsidian coalesce into two human sized lizard-shaped elementals that pulse with lightning…

Fury of the Wastewalker
The Flight to Tyr

More Than One Way Out
In the middle of the Forest Ridge, the party was surrounded by Halfling warriors who demanded they surrender. Knowing the fate that would likely await them, none of the hero’s wanted to surrender and they prepared for a fight. The halflings, knowing the adventurer’s must be powerful to survive the tomb, were reluctant to fight and a compromise was reached, whereby the adventurers were blindfolded and lead to the halfling village. Vinara’s innate capabilities with the Way allowed her to track their course, unbeknownst to the halflings.

When the long march ended, the heroes had their blindfolds removed found themselves in what appeared to be a ruined temple. A few remains of prior guests of the halflings were visible around a blood-soaked altar. The smell of fresh cooked meat made their stomach’s churn. Distant conversations were heard in the language of the halflings and although what was being said was unknown, the party quickly realized they were near a larger halfling settlement.

Negotiating with the Halfling Elder
Halfling of The Forest RidgeBefore long a large procession of halflings arrived at the temple. The elder of the Halfling tribe demanded to know why the party had intruded into their sacred forests. The Gwyn told their tale of being pursued by the obsidian storm and their encounters with the elemental spirits of earth, water and fire. The Halfling Elder was delighted with their tale and believed that they could help bring about a new Green Age for Athas.

The elder explained that if they were to pursue their goal, they would need to master the many powers of the world: mental, primal and arcane as well as have sufficient physical prowess to survive the many dangerous encounters that they would face. Their lack of training in the Way would need to be compensated for if they were to have any hope of success.

The halfling elder told the heroes of how the Deposers of Kalak had sought their aid and were gifted with a magical spear they used to help defeat the sorcerer-king Kalak. This spear was crafted from the sacred Tree of Life and could not be made again, unless another tree were found. They also learned how the Dwarves of old were able to resist the sorcerer-kings longer than many others, as evident by their survival of the Cleansing Wars. Finally they told how the sorcerer-kings were on the path to become Dragons and suggested that a powerful preserver could aspire to such powers as well.

As a gift, the heroes were inked with tattoos resembling flame wreathed heart representing their friendship with the halflings and to provide them with assistance in times of need. Gwyn took a particular interest in the tattoos and the process for enchanting them.

Hacking the Thick
The heroes left the halfling village and headed north toward the less treacherous western approaches of the Ringing Mountains. Within the Forest Ridge, the group felt rather odd, as if they were walking through two lands at once. They felt like they were moving between one land with firm earth and another atop clouds of mist. None in the group, including Morg, had ever seen such lush and thick trees with broad leaves. None had ever felt such cool and moist air. Hacking through the forest was difficult and they needed to rest often.

One of their short rests was interrupted by exotic screeching sounds and the underbrush erupted and a large group of Zairtail, vicious reptiles, emerged. The party was stunned by the gaze of a larger lizard, while swarms set upon Vinara and Morg. With some effort Morg cleaved through the swarm to attack the gazer, while Vinara was attacked by anther larger creature who latched on to her leg. Gwyn used her magic to summon flames that consumed a second swarm. Just as the party was gaining control of the fight, a large beast with orange and black stripped fur emerged from the jungle and began to attack Gwyn.

The party eventually defeated their attackers, but suffered serious wounds. Eager to reach Tyr, they only took a short rest to bind their wounds and recover a bit of their strength. With Vinara guiding them, they continued on through the forest.

Fury of the Wastewalker
The Tomb of a Long, Lost Age

Restless Spirits
Taking a moment to catch their breath after the fight with the Hejkin the party took the opportunity to search the room. The majority of the containers contained foul food, but the heroes were able to locate some usable food. In addition, several healing fruits and numerous trade stones were recovered.
Evil Wind Spirit
Crossing the entrances to the hejkin caves, the party approached the last remaining alcove, containing a sarcophagus. As they approached it, the heroes began to feel a psychic drone in their minds. Their vision began to blur and when it cleared, a human figure was standing before them, wearing archaic robes that flowed into the room like a mist. Its fingers extended into long sharp claws. With it jaw jutting forward, opening, its words infiltrated the heroes minds.

“You should not have come here. The time is not yet right.”

Gwyn attempted to reason with the apparition, but its intentions were clear. It sought punish those who had plundered and desecrated the tomb. Moving swiftly, its claws tore into Morg, freezing his flesh. When Gwyn struck it with lightning, it became enraged at her use of magic, and summoned forth additional specters to attack the party.

Morg and Vinara make quick work of most of the new specters but not before they were assaulted by their chilling claws, and Gwyn finished them off with her magic. The fight against the haunting spirit was long and painful, with all of the heroes suffering serious injuries. At last it was defeated when Morg’s axe decapitated it, causing it to disperse.

In the Presence of Another Time
A heartbeat later, two figures emerged from the ground behind the heroes: a creature with skin like stone and a living wave of water, both vaguely human.

Our wind brother became one of the defilers and brought down death and evil to this peaceful place. But no matter, the time it not right for such trifles. you have proved worthy to carry our message back to the surface to show others that not all arcanists are defilers. You can become examples by preserving the arcane knowledge our people once held. The path you have chose might one day repair the damage done. We can only wait and hope the elemental prophecies are indeed true. Go now, and show the misguided that arcane energy can be used to preserve instead of destroy.

We shall open a way for you out of the mountains, for you are still being hunted. Know too that the one who hunts you is not entirely lost; he can be reformed.

With that the spirit of earth and water moved into the hejkin tunnels, reshaping them into passageways large enough to accommodate their heroes. Exhausted the heroes took a much needed rest before venturing into the tunnels. After several days travel in the tunnels, the party emerged back on the surface.

As they approached the surface, the familiar smell of dusty air entered their lungs, but the air was was strangely cool and humid. As their eyes adjusted to the daylight, it took them several moments to comprehend what they saw – a forest of trees, lush and green stretched before them. A loud crack rung out and they glanced around for the clearing. Unnoticed at first, the party found themselves surrounded by dozens of spears pointed at them.

Their eyes trained downward to the short creature holding the glittering iron spear. Less than four feet tall, and wearing primitive masks and clothes adorned with feathers and other trinkets, their captors were instantly recognizable – halflings. One wearing a headdress of feathers and skulls stepped forward.

“You are our captives now. You will come with us.”

Fury of the Wastewalker
The Tomb of a Long, Lost Age

Broken Relics
The heroes descended and discovered a worked stone tomb, the walls of which appeared to be inscribed with the symbols of an unknown language. Most of the delicate items that were once stored here were broken or scattered across the floor. Down a short flight of stairs, however, the relics remained untouched. Barely visible in their torch light, a rusty iron grate was seen, leading into a dark passage.

Vinara moved towards the unbroken relics and found a pair of braziers, still containing oil. The oil sputtered into flame with the touch of her torch, casting a dim light throughout the room. Morg and Gwyn moved to investigate the undamaged relics. When the brazier was lit, two large, man-shaped beings of blue crystal appeared out of the shadows and moved menacingly towards Gwyn and Morg.

Shard GolemThe battle was fierce, as the Shard Golems radiated an unnatural aura, stabbing at the minds of those nearest to them. Their fists caused many bruises as well as additional psychic trauma. Morg assaulted one with a series of savage blows, knocking it back and shattering it. The heores were able to defeat the last golem, but both Gwyn and Morg took serious injuries in the process.

Among the ruins for the shard golems, Morg discovered what appeared to be the key to the grate. After quick rest to finish searching the tomb, they unlocked the grate which made a horrible screeching sound as it opened. They passed through and moved down the dark passageway, behind them the grate closed.

Who’s Trespassing?
As the party moved down the passage the sounds of chattering voices were heard. The scent of fresh meat assaulted them, but the darkness beyond their torch’s light concealed the next room’s inhabitants. Throwing caution aside, Morg entered the room, revealing large number of alcoves containing jars and other containers. A large series of cracks in the floor led deeper into the caves. Vinara located and lit several sconces along the outside wall, casting dim illumination across the room.

Apparently drawn by the light, half a dozen creatures emerged from the cracks in the floor, a group of Hejkin. With an evil, murderous glares, they moved to attack the party, hoping for a new source of food and treasure. The heroes were not caught unaware and met their attacks, quickly dispatching two of the hejkin who were babbling mostly unintelligible phrases. Driven deeper into their madness with the loss of their kin, the remaining hejkin waded into battle with slashing claws and two with lightning discharging from their bodies.

The battle was costly for the heroes, with Vinara’s staff breaking and more wounds for the party. However, they were able to defeat their enemies, with the last two bloodied hejkin fleeing into their tunnels. Not accustomed to his enemies living, Morg dumped oil down the tunnels and lit it on fire. The sounds of the Hejkin burning giving him some satisfaction.

Fury of the Wastewalker
The Tomb of a Long, Lost Age

A Broken Bridge
Trapped by the obsidian storm outside, the heroes decided to trade the perils of the wastes for the unknown of a cool, dark cave. Ralo used his magic to create a light as they moved deeper into the underground passageway, and they noticed the caves were not entirely natural. Steps have been carved in the rock to make the route easier and many of the tunnels have been widened. As the heroes passed through larger area, they noticed ruined relics of log ago adorning the walls. Closer examination revealed that these items are likely debris dropped by vandals who previously raided here.

Moving through the caverns, the party reached a large chamber where the air defied their expectations. Instead of the harsh hot air of the desert, the air here was fresh and a slight breeze cooled their backs. Ahead a crude rope bridge was strung across a wide underground canyon. On the other side, a glimmering of metallic objects was barely visible.

Not trusting the rope bridge, Morg climbed down into the canyon in order move to the other side. In doing so, he uncovered a section of the floor containing a sink hole, narrowly escaping being trapped. On the other side he began an examination of the treasure pile, while Gwyn and Vinara examined the bodies.

ZombiesWithout warning, a wave of cold necrotic energy washed over the area and the shriveled bodies of what might have been adventurers began to twitch and quiver, attacking Ralo. At the same instant an incorporeal creature appeared before Morg, pulling the heat out of his body and then vanishing again. Behind Vinara, a large oozing creature dropped from the ceiling and attempted to entrap her, its body beginning to dissolve her armor.

The corpses emitted a foul stench, nauseating all those nearby, and possessed unnatural vitality causing their wounds to regenerate. They mercilessly attacked Ralo, who fell to their claws, and when the others managed to defeat them, they exploded in a blast of gore and necrotic energy. The ooze slowly worse down Vinara who fell unconscious and would have perished without the aid of Gwyn who managed to use a healing fruit to revive her friend. Morg was able to defeat his spectral opponent by carefully anticipating its appearance.

Eventually their foes were defeated, although they suffered many wounds and the death of Ralo was particularly painful for Gwyn. Within the remains they uncovered a piecemeal suit of chain armor, old but still intact. Vinara claimed this for herself, as her armor had become badly damaged by the ooze’s acid.

Crystal Caverns
Now moving forward with crudely fashioned torches, the party pressed onward. Working their way further down into the tomb, the adventurers entered a chamber with crystalline formations and bones littering the area. As they continued downward, the cool air they felt became a small breeze. The heroes found themselves in a large cavern with many purple crystals in the walls. Although not trained in the Way, they could sense psychic energy inside the crystals and each decided to take several for themselves.

Further in the crystal cavern they spotted a large section of crystalline webbing over a large pit in the floor. Near the pit, a number of broken bones were barely visible. Morg positioned himself near the pit while Gwyn and Vinara moved to investigate the corpses. The bones sprang up and attacked, with half a dozen animated crawling gauntlets grasping at their legs. Expecting such an attack Morg cleaved through his attackers with little effort. Gwyn summed magic fire but was surprised by the quickness of her foes. Vinara dispatched one and move out of the way so that Gwyn could use a more powerful spell, which destroyed all but one of the minions with slashing spectral claws.

As Morg moved to help, he was set upon by a large crystal spider who blinded him with a beam of light. Despite his impairment, Morg swung his axe true and caused a serious wound to the beast who attempted to bite the Mul but was unable to overpower his defenses. The combined efforts of Gwyn and Vinara were able to defeat the spider and remaining foes.

The group was able to recover a suit of scale armor made from a crystalline material and although none could easily wear the armor, Morg decided to carry it with him surveying the chamber, the heroes found no means of escape, save for the large pit covered in crystalline webs. Morg was able to removed the webs, but suffered many cuts from the strands snapping. Gwyn sent her dragonling, whom she had named King, down into the pit in order to determine what might be waiting for them. It reported that the room below was man made had the look of a tomb about it. Deciding to investigate further, the heroes prepared to descend into the darkness.

Fury of the Wastewalker
An Obsidian Rain

Devilish Dust
Despite nightfall, the heroes continued to press on, fearful that the Obsidian Storm would catch them. The cold desert mountain night tested their endurance, but persevered and managed to stay ahead of their pursuers. As the first morning light began to appear, a small campfire was noticed and in need of a short rest they decided to investigate.

RaloSitting near the campfire was an old dwarf who was surprised when the group announced themselves. Morg conversed with the dwarf in his own language asking about the dwarf and telling him of their encounters with the obsidian storm.

My name is Ralo and I was once a miner in the iron mines of Tyr, but my mine was destroyed by a frightening band of brigands known as Hejkin. They burrow through the earth and have a particular dislike for arcanists, even preservers such as myself, and pointy-eared folk.

Sandstorms are commonplace here, but I’ve never seen obsidian rain from the sky before. I have heard tales of a twisted lizardfolk shaman called the Wastewalker who uses storms and other primal forces of the destert to destroy arcane magic users. It could be that you’ve aroused his wrath somehow.

The heroes and Ralo came up with a plan to avoid the obsidian storm by using caves in the area to hide out. Ralo led the way deeper into the mountains where there were likely to be caves. Along the way Gwyn learned some of his magic that he used to escape detection while out in the desert.

After several hours of travel, dust began to kick up all around the party, swirling in ever denser patterns. Steeling themselves against the alkaline taste of the sand in their mouths the heroes were suddenly set upon by the desert itself. The blowing sand coalesced into three whirlwinds which attacked Vinara, Morg and Ralo, while a lizardfolk magus attacked Gwyn from a distance.

Hampered by the blinding dust of the whirlwinds, the heores attacks were much less effective. Vinara, who was able to resist the blinding sands of the whirlwinds, was able to dispatch her foe and assisted Ralo. Morg was able to quickly defeat his attacker but ended up being pushed into a pool of deep silt while helping Ralo and was immobilized. Gwyn was able to defeat the magus with a conjured orb of poison.

After the whirlwinds were defeated, the group attempted to interrogate the shaman before the poison finished its work, however none spoke the creatures hissing language. Just then the small drake they had encountered earlier descended and perched near Gwyn, who was then able to make out some of the creatures words. He was apparently sent by the Wastewalker to find and kill Ralo and Gwyn. He then died, a combination of the poison and a sharp blow to the head by Gwyn’s staff.

Backs Against the Wall
Ralo continued to lead them on into the mountains, searching for the cave entrance. The day was particular dusty and windy, with no relief from the heat of the day. After a few hours their path was blocked by the sheer face of a cliff which towered above. Although the obsidian storm still pursued them throughout the day, it halted it’s advance when the reached the cliff face. In the distance hissing and screeching could be heard while Ralo continued to look for the cave entrance.

With little surprise, the group was set upon by four lizardfolk who attacked with spears and javelins, causing severe injuries to Morg and Vinara. The leader of the ssurrans called forth the power of the sun which barely missed Gwyn and blasted the sand at her feet into glass. The tide of the fight turned with the arrival of a giant scorpion which Vinara was able to influence into attacking the shaman. With the ssurrans distracted by the insect, the heroes made short work of them without taking any more serious injuries.

When the lizardfolk were defeated, the scorpion turned on the heroes, Vinara’s influence broken by the creatures hunger for food. Weakened by the ssurrans, the scorpion was slain in short order. The obsidian storm clouds began to move in again, but Ralo was able to locate the secret cave entrance and they fled underground, and were finally able to rest after their long journey across the desert.