Dark Sun: The Scorched World of Athas

Fury of the Wastewalker
An Obsidian Rain

The Mission
After they learned that Governor Arisphistaneles was the leader of the Veiled Alliance chapter in the city of Altaruk, the heroes were asked to decide whether or not to side with them and oppose the socerer-kings. The sorceress Gwyn had been trained by member of the Alliance and she hated the defilers. Morg, a former slave in Gulg, had no love of the sorcerer-kings had no reason to reveal the governors secret. The druid Vinara, already empowered by the primal spirits had interests aligned with the Alliance.

Pleased that he would not have to take radical action to preserve his position, the Governor tasked the group with making a journey to the city-state of Tyr to discover how the sorcerer-king Kalak was killed. Although the situation in Tyr had apparently become more calm, there was little information on the actual events that lead to Kalak’s death. What was known was that the former High Templar Tithian along with a noble named Agis and several slaves were involved.

If the heroes could discover how Kalak was overthrown, other city-states could be freed from their bondage.

Escape the Storm
Obsidian RainSeveral days later the heroes joined a large caravan of House Wavir on it journey to Tyr, posing as guards. The large Inix made slow progress during their first day but Gwyn still found it difficult to keep up, despite her elven traits. During the night, as the group ate its evening meal, a subtle meteor showered appeared in the sky, portending dire events. Gwyn recalled that the last time such a shower was seen was the night before her former master, Gavin.

The next day, a sandstorm erupted early in the morning and quickly turned deadly. The scouring sand was filled with unnatural obsidian shards that tore through the travelers and pierced the thick hide walls of the wagon, shredding the cargo. Familiar with the power of nature, Vinara recognized that only a powerful ritual could bring about such a storm. Gwyn told her companions of her masters death during a similar storm.

After a few hours the winds lessened enough to make it possible to leave their shelter. They were greeted to a gruesome sight, the rest of the caravan had been destroyed by the storm and all the supplies were scattered across the desert. From the swirling dust emerged a number of silt runners and shapes within the dust suggested more were in the area.

Unable to stay within the wreckage of the caravan the heroes attempted to quickly gather supplies and escape the hordes of silt runners. Morg and Gwyn moved to engage the reptiles, picking up what supplies they could, while Vinara focused on supporting them and getting supplies before they took flight. The battle with the silt runners took its toll on the heroes, especially Gwyn, but before they fled they managed to collect enough supplies to ensure their survival in the harsh desert.

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Bloodsand Arena
Veiled Threat

Matinée of Webs
After returning from the rescue of the House Wavir caravan, the heroes took a few days to recover from their ordeals. Gwyn continued her search for the elusive Veiled Alliance, trusting her friends with her secret. Although she was able to learn a little information that suggested the Alliance did indeed have a chapter in Altaruk, she was unable to uncover much more information.

She decided that the best course of action was to covertly display her magical skills in a more public venue, in the hopes of being noticed by a member of the Veiled Alliance. She and her friends Morg and Vinara signed up for the next available arena match in the city. Their previous victory in the arena gave them the clout needed to be accepted and their match was scheduled for that afternoon.

The late afternoon sun made the stench from the day’s games almost unbearable as they stepped into the arena. The arena had been reworked with half a dozen large columns having been erected, each adorned with razor sharp obsidian spines. Between the columns, massive spiderwebs obscured their view. At the sound of the gong, their opponents, four Gith armed with javelins and spears, entered the arena. Vinara noticed one section of the arena floor shifting and suspected one or more ambush spiders lying in wait.

One of the gith, using its talent with the Way, teleported to the top of one of the columns and began hurling down javelins. The gith moved forward and met the gladiators with spears, however each fell quickly to Morg, Vinara and Bear. Gwyn used her magic to attack the remaining gith with a orb of radiant energy, wounding him badly. However the lurking spiders launched an ambush attack on Morg and Gwyn, wounding each with their poisonous bites. With a mighty blow, Morg split his spider in two, and Gwyn nearly killed her’s with another spell, knocking into the column and impaling it on the spines, to the great joy of the crowd. It was quickly finished off by Morg who then turned to the remaining gith on the column. Eventually it fell to the hail of weapons from the three gladiators.

Murder at the Games
Mul GladiatorAs the gladiators stood victorious after their match, the cheers from the crowd turn into frightened shrieks. Over the cacophony the words “Murder! Guards, help!” could be heard. Within moments guards began to clear the stands and the gladiators were hurried into the staging area and were told to stay put. After waiting for an hour, a hooded half-elf appeared and introduced himself as Selonius, an agent of governor Arisphistaneles.

Selonius informed the group that Tellemon had been killed and that the governor was worried an insider might be involved. The group was charged with investigating the murder and bringing the criminal to the governor’s estate for questioning. They agreed and began a search of the arena and Tellemon’s body and questioned a few witnesses that were detained.

Vinara’s investigations revealed that Tellemon was killed by a poisoned blade, and that the poison was magical in nature. Gwyn, sensing the magic, located the dagger, poison still on the blade, with a cloth glowing with arcane glyphs. Morg strong-armed the witnesses who professed their innocence and claimed that a large man in a white tunic was next to Tellemon just before he died. The guards at the arena exit mentioned seeing a similar individual heading towards the barracks district.

In the barracks district, the off-duty guards were drinking, playing games of chance and participating in contests of strength. Morg eagerly joined in the drinking games, earning the respect of the guards with his fortitude. Meanwhile Gwyn mingled with the guards and learned that a dwarf had been asking questions about Tellemon earlier that day. The dwarf matched the description of a beggar they had encountered their first day in the city. Vinara spotted the dwarf and the group began to tail him.

After almost loosing the dwarf, the group eventually caught up with him in a training hall, talking to a large mul gladiator. Moving close to use his exceptional hearing, Morg overheard a brief exchange and then was spotted. Trying to escape, the dwarf was cutoff by Vinara and Gwyn, while Morg engaged the other gladiator. Although the fight was short, both sides suffered injuries, but the dwarf eventually surrendered along with the gladiator. Under interrogation the dwarf admitted to having the gladiator kill Tellemon, but claimed that if he hadn’t done so, Tellemon would have killed the governor. Both were brought before Arisphistaneles for questioning.

At the governors estates it was revealed that the dwarf, named Birk Suntouched was an associate of the governors, and that both were members of the Veiled Alliance chapter in Altaruk. Birk told the governor that the death of Tellemon was needed because the captain of the guard was spear-heading a True cabal plot to assassinate Arisphistaneles, whose leadership in the Veiled Alliance had become known. The gladiator, Arnye is exonerated for killing Tellemon to protect the governor and the group gains his trust and gratitude. Gwyn is given the chance to undergo the initiation tests to join the governor’s chapter of the Veiled Alliance.

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Sand Raiders

Dinner with the Captain
After being released from the arena the heroes split up to take care of personal business within Altaruk before meeting at Tellemon’s villa for the dinner gathering. Morg and Vinara traveled back to the Elven Market where they were able to secure supplies for the encampment in the Ringing Mountains with a shipment of goods purchased from House Wavir. Gwyn spent time searching for signs of those who could help continue her training and then smartened up before dinner.

At Tellemon’s villa the heroes enjoyed an excellent meal and learned more about Tellemon and his views on the situation in Tyr, the governor of Altaruk and arcane magic. The others at the party echoed his views that the chaos in Tyr was a terrible consequence of the Deposers of Kalak’s actions and no good comes from disrupting the order.

The party was interrupted when a messenger arrived telling one of the guests, a Dwarf named Rhotan Vor of House Wavir, of a missing caravan. Morg, using the Way to overhear the conversation, offered to help find the caravan in exchange for regular shipments of supplies to his encampment. Agreeing in principle, the Heroes stayed at Tellemon’s villa and headed out in the morning.

Hunting Party
The heroes set forth the next morning to try and find the missing caravan. The day quickly became brutally hot and although the sandstorms had subsided during the night, there was still a sweltering breeze.

After a few hours of searching the party located some wagon tracks in jumble of boulders and creosote bushes. Unfortunately, the heroes were not alone, and if not for Vinara’s keen senses, the party would have been ambushed by a small pack of silt runners. Although the battle was fierce, the heroes prevailed and none of the silt runners remained.

Plundered Wagon
KruthikAfter a short rest, the search for the wagon continued. With no luck for several hours, the party was about to give up, when the wagon, half buried by sand, was spotted in a jumble of rocks. From the distance there was no sign of the cargo or the drivers, instead the wagon was crawling with a large number of creatures with chitinous shells and spike-like claws, Kruthik. They were so focused on picking over the wagon and chattering to each other that the heroes were not immediately spotted.

Seizing the opportunity, Morg and Vinara managed to sneak close without detection. In unison they charged the largest creature while Gwyn unleashed her magic. Taken by surprise the beast was severely wounded before it knew what happened. Though they fought well, the tenacious creatures managed to inflict many wounds on the heroes before finally falling.

While they rested the heroes discovered more tracks and drag marks leading further into the hills. Although they were nearly spent, they were too close to their goal to give up, and so they continued on.

Broken Tower
The tracks ended at the weathered ruins of an ancient tower. Although nothing remained above ground, a flight of stone stairs were found in the foundation, which ended at a set of wide doors. Fearless, Morg opened the doors revealing a large vault which was home to a small band of silt runners and a Ssurran.

The battle was fierce as the ssurran demonstrated strong mental powers and the silt runners wielded poisoned blades. It took every last ounce of strength the heroes could muster to finally defeat their reptilian adversaries, but they were eventually victorious. Unable to continue, the party found shelter in the vault.

Throughout the vault the heroes were able to recover the majority of the caravan’s cargo and three of the four drivers (the final driver having been the last meal of the silt runners). After resting, the heroes, along with the drivers Milos, Alia and Flaron salvaged all they could and made the journey back to Altaruk.

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Bloodsand Arena
Betrayal At Altaruk

Kaldras’s Betrayal
Brawl in the MarketAfter the long march from Tyr the caravan finally arrived at the city of Altaruk in the early morning. At the gates Kaldras was able to move quickly past the guards with a few well placed bribes and the caravan reached the Elven Market. With the heroes helping to unload the kanks, Kaldras and the elves made arrangements sell their cargo and pay the heroes.

When the elves emerged from the tents, Vinara was quick to notice that they were fingering their blades rather than their coin purses. Alerted to possible trouble, the group was not surprised when a number of elf snipers emerged from the surrounding tents along with several kank spitters. Combat ensued as the elves attempted to subdue the heroes. A decisive blow by Morg, which nearly separated Kaldras’s arm from his shoulder, demoralized the elves. Before the raging barbarian could finish off the elves, the city guards appeared, along with their captain, ordering a halt to the hostilities.

The Captain, a human named Tellemon, who wielded a steel blade, demanded an explanation for the disturbance. Unmoved by the heroes story of betrayal by Kaldras, but not totally trusting the elves, Tellemon ordered the matter to be settled in the arena. With that, the city guards took both the heroes and the elves into the holding pens.

Coins in the Coffer
Locked in cells of the arena barracks, the heroes received their instructions for the games. The two groups were to engage in non-lethal combat by taking large ceramic coins from the center of the arena to one of the large stone coffers at the edge. Each coin scored the team one point, the team with the most points at the end of allotted time wins the arena game and will be judged to have been been telling the truth about the altercation in the Elven Market.

During this preparation time Morg used his gift in the Way to eavesdrop on the elves and learn part of the strategy they intended to employ against the heroes. Without more delay the elves were lead out of the barracks, with the party following a few minutes behind.

The arena has been planted with razor-sharp brambleweed, making it dangerous to move across many parts of the arena floor. A gong sounded the beginning of the contest and both sides moved quickly to gather coins, intercepting the opposing team and stealing coins from the other teams coffer. During the first few minutes Vinara manages to disable a few of the elves using the brambleweed and Gwyn had deposited several coins. A twist in the contest occurred when two large spiders were set free in the arena and begin harassing both groups. Morg decides to distract a spider attacking Gwyn and provide her with more coins by hurling the coins from the center of the arena to the edge.

After the alloted time, the final gong sounded and the heroes were victorious, with a last minute coin swap and steal from Vinara. Disappointed at the loss of the potential slaves as well as the humiliation of being defeated in the arena, the Moonrunner elves paid their fines and skulked off. The heroes were greeted by Tellemon who congratulated them on the victory and complemented them on their use of original tactics. Before departing, he invited them to his villa for dinner that evening for a small social gathering.

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Bloodsand Arena
Betrayal At Altaruk

A Change in Plans
The outcasts Morg and Vinara arrived at the city of Tyr hoping to find food and supplies for the encampment in the Ringing Mountains. Instead they found the city in chaos following the death of the sorcerer-king Kalak, and their hopes were dashed as the turmoil made all resources precious and unobtainable. Hoping to make some money and journey to a more stable city, they hired on with an elven caravan headed to the city of Altaruk

The Elf Gwyn, hoping to find contacts within the city to aid in her training, found only chaos within the city walls. Inadvertently crossing a couple of well-connected thieves, the city became more dangerous to her than the wastelands. Trying to escape the city undetected, she hired on with an elven merchant of the Moonrunner tribe to guard a caravan heading to the city of Altaruk…

Road to Altaruk
Kaldras of the MoonrunnersThe heroes gathered with the caravan master, Kaldras, outside the city walls and the caravan formed up. The cargo, made up of unassuming ceramic wares, was loaded onto two large kanks and they headed southeast towards their destination. Travelling on foot, the elves kept their distance from the hired guards. Morg, Vinara and Gwyn tried their best to keep up with the fast insects and elves.

The party crossed stony barrens, avoiding the many landslides through a combination of luck and skill, and made their way into the sandy wastes in just over day. Pushing through the deadly sandstorms, freezing nights and blistering days, they managed to not lose their way in the dunes. The dunes gave way into twisting canyons in the badlands on the third day.

Raider Attack
Within hours of entering the badlands the caravan came under attack by a small group of raiders and their slaves. Barely alerted to their approach by falling rocks, the elves hid with the kanks, letting their hired guards deal with the threat.

Moving quickly Morg and Vinara, with her pet Bear, moved to engage the raiders in melee, while Gwyn stayed back. The group made quick work of the slaves, Morg’s axes cutting down several in one blow each. Vinara and Bear helping to protect the cargo from being taken by the flankers. Gwyn slew one of the raiders with a jet of flame she conjured. Although it appeared to be elemental, Morg recognized it as arcane magic.

Recovering from the attack, the caravan regrouped and continued on to Altaruk. Able to reach the city in the morning, Kaldras dispatched one of his sons to run ahead and alert the tribe members of his pending arrival.

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Introduction

Death of KalakIt is the 19th day of Scorch in the season of High Sun of the Year of Priest’s Defiance in the 190th King’s Age.

Tyr is a city-state in chaos, and paradigms across Athas are snapping. Kalak, one of the nearly omnipotent sorcerer-kings, is dead. A band of rebels, now known as the Deposers of Kalak, laid low the centuries old tyrant. In the wake of the great arcanist’s downfall, the city’s oppressive order has crumbled. Factions struggle for power, snatching at scraps of influence and wealth as templars, Kalak’s agents, struggle to reassert civic authority. Howls of anarchy mix with the joyous whoops of freed slaves in a cacophony that has yet to quiet since the world was turned on its head.

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