Dark Sun: The Scorched World of Athas

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.

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.”

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.”

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…

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…

Fane of the Night Serpent

After resting and recovering from their combat with the Crimson Knights, the party prepared to cleanse the temple of the Yuan-ti for Romila and the Veiled Alliance. Banoc communed with his elemental patrons and learned that the Yuan-ti were not the only dangers they wound face within the temple but that there were items of value within the temple that would aid them in their struggle against the sorcerer-kings, including a Sword of Tyr.

Yuan-tiWith the preparations complete, the party journeyed in the Under Tyr for an hour and arrived at a pair of bronze doors embossed with snake images. Banoc detected no magical wards and Daqiq could not locate any physical traps, so Way-lynn used his massive strength to open the doors, revealing an entry hall with several humanoid, snake-like creatures, who were caught by surprise. Combat ensued and the commotion of spells and weapons drew additional defenders including a giant crocodile, a pair of basilisks and an air elemental. Gwyn’s magical summons of an incendiary cloud spelled doom for the bulk of the forces and the rest were quickly defeated.

However, Jax suffered numerous poisonous attacks but Phyll was able to save her before she perished. Banoc was turned to stone from the gaze of the basilisks and none of his allies could reverse the condition. With a moment or two to catch their breath, the party dragged Banoc into a side-chamber and attempted to rest for a bit.

However, they were not so lucky…

The Under-Tyr

In the Under-Tyr, the battle with the crimson knights continued to attack Way-lynn, Daqiq, Phyll and Jax. The knights absorbed hit after hit, showing little damage and no sign of stopping. They pressed forward as the party moved back, hoping that the advance would halt. Phyll should have fallen to the attacks, but somehow managed to keep standing.

Veiled Alliance Hideout

While the rest of the party continued to retreat, Gwyn joined Banoc in exploring the structure, looking for something to help their friends. They found altars with a few lit candles on them and eventually realized that there was a candle for each of the knights. Hoping they could help their friends, the pair started to extinguish candle after candle, and when each was snuffed out, a knight crumbled to the ground.

With the knights defeated, the party regrouped inside the structure and was startled by the arrival of a lone figure, that Gwyn recognized at Romila, a member of the Veiled Alliance. There was initially a good deal of hostility and tension as the party learned that the knights were defending an Alliance safehouse and that they could not be restored by any known methods.

Romila filled in the party on the events leading to the destruction of the Veiled Alliance and the terrible news that the safehouse they were in might be the last of the Veiled Alliance in Tyr. When Romila learned of the groups desire to infiltrate the Golden Tower and deal with Li-Am and Kalid-Ma, a bargain was struck. If the party could help clear out a new safehouse of the Yuan-ti that currently inhabited it, the party would be shown a secret way into the Golden Tower.

With the bargain struck, the party purchased some supplies and items from the Veiled Alliance and headed out…

The Under-Tyr

The party ventured into the Under-Tyr entering from the Warrens district. After many hours of searching through the catacombs and sewers of ancient Tyr, they began to sense ancient protective magics and started following the traces. Eventually the party arrived at an ancient structure that appeared to be temple dedicated to some, long-forgotten gods. Way-lynn was able to open the doors with their massive strength and a half-dozen undead knights appeared to block their entry. The creatures simply stated that only those who were pure of heart would be allowed to pass.

Under Tyr

Banoc entered the structure without resistance but when Phyll attempted to do the knights attacked him. Daqiq, Jax and Way-lynn engaged the undead guardians as they were sure that “pure of heart” did not apply to them. Gwyn had a vague recollection of this area from her initiation into the Veiled Alliance, but was more concerned with defending her friends than attempting enter the structure. Phyll took the the brunt of the attacks and suffered serious injuries, forcing him to start retreating.

Occupied Tyr

After attempting to disguise themselves, especially Phyll, the party ventured out onto the streets of Tyr to get a feel for the city and attempt to make contact with the Veiled Alliance. At the Drunken Giant, Banoc and Gwyn attempted to find members of the Alliance, but they were unsuccessful. It appeared that the Alliance in Tyr was driven into hiding following the occupation of the city by Kalid-Ma and were even more suspicious of outsiders than normal.

Gwyn headed to an old ally, Karlen, at his store, Karlen’s Eye. They found him still running the shop and he provided information on the current state of Tyr. He told them of the arrival of Kalid-Ma and his high templar Li-Am from the south and their easy defeat of the city’s guard. With a sorcerer-king once again in control of the city, the old ways had returned – templars and nobles were scheming as even and the brief freedom enjoyed was gone. Kalid-Ma had only just returned from his defeat at Urik in the north, although Karlen mentioned that the sorcerer-king had returned from the south.

Karlen agreed to fence a number of items the party had discovered and use the proceeds to try and obtain useful items and components need for Gwyn to create powerful magic tattoos. With some relief, Banoc gave up the Blade Perilous into Karlen’s care. It would be a few day’s before his contacts returned with the items the party requested.

Streets of Tyr

While they roamed the city, Phyll sensed the powerful primal energy of the sorcerer-king’s gardens and suspected that there were many Trees of Life there. Had the rest of the party not intervened, he would have attempt to open the garden to the city, surely earning the wrath of Kalid-Ma. As they made their way back to Free City Tattoo, they encountered a press gang, conscripting citizens into Kalid-Ma’s new army.

The party decided that enough was enough and a fight ensued. The thugs of Kalid-Ma were tough, but not a match for the seasoned adventurers. The combat was over quickly, with Way-lynn, Phyll and Daqiq making a good show of defeating their opponents. The crowd of citizens watch with a mixture of awe and horror. Daqiq, Jax and Phyll freed the prisoners, gave them weapons and told them to earn their freedom.

Leaving before more templars and guards arrived, the party headed to the Warrens and the Under-Tyr in an attempt to find the Alliance and escape pursuit.

Blue Waters Oasis

The discussions continued late into the night. The success a purifying the water and the brief rains that fell had invigorated the party and the survivors of the curse, which now numbered almost 200. The optimism was an unusual feeling for everyone. Everyone had their plans regarding the Blue Waters Oasis and their next steps…

  • Banoc selected this oasis as his new home.
  • Phyll was eager to help Phabum start training druids.
  • Gwyn was eager to return to Nibenay and reclaim their lost possessions.
  • Jax was eager to research the lore that was recovered from the ruins of Sielba’s palace.
  • Way-lynn was concerned about the defense of the Oasis and began preperations for fortifying the area and training defense forces.
  • Daqiq desired to return to the ruins and reclaim more treasure.

The following morning, Way-lynn awoke to a surprise – they had returned to a half-giant. The Scroll of Blue Waters appeared to have reversed the effects suffered during their time in the Ruins of Pluton. They also were surprised by the arrival of a contingent of half-giants on a nearby ridge. When they were approached the party discovered that Siemhouk, the high templar of Nibenay, was with the half-giants.

The young girl was her usual mysterious self, however, they learned from Seimhouk that Dregoth was active in Raam, Kalid-Ma had indeed been defeated at Urik and retreated and that Balic was being destroyed by the forces of Ul-Athra and Yarnath. She implied, in an unsubtle way, that if the party didn’t clean up the messes they made, she would expose this Blue Waters Oasis to Nibenay. Hostilities almost broke out, but Daqiq was a calming influence on Banoc.

Siemhouk left the party to decide their fate and after much discussion, they elected to help Tyr out first. Gwyn teleported them to the Free City Tattoo shop they once called home…