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.

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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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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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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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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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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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The Beastlands

Shortly after their arrival, Gwyn’s dragonling flew off on its own down a game trail. The party decided to follow seaching for signs of life. They saw numerous animal tracks and heard many sounds, but no animals were found. As they traveled, each felt a hunger within to partake in a hunt and feel the wind on their face. Although the sensation was powerful, each resisted the urge.

A Test of Morality
Herman and LizzyAfter many hours of travel the sounds of a struggle and a cry for help broke through the background noise of the mangrove forest. When they moved to investigate, they saw an odd sight – a large jackalope was perched on a limb of a tree. Below it was a fox, also of large proportions, which was trying to attack the jackalope.

The jackalope looked over to your group and shouted – “Help me, this foul beast intends to make me its meal!” Equally strange, the fox turned to the party as well and spoke – “This vermin is my lunch and has great treasure. Help me defeat it and I’ll let you have first pick of his loot.”

After a heated debate, and many questions, the party decided to try and diffuse the situation by offering the fox, Lizzy, some gems in order for it to stop attacking the jackalope, Herman. Jax hoped that the animals might provide information or be guides in the strange land. Before too much more could be discussed, there was a disturbance in the forest, and two new creatures appeared.

New Friends
Bursting through the underbrush two creatures emerged. A tall, muscular and hairless male humanoid with opalescent green skin and white-feathered wings, brandishing a massive sword appeared first. It was followed by a small creature that appeared to be a miniature elephant with luminous gold fur and small, rapidly fluttering wings.

The humanoid, Abehk, and his companion, Gem, learned what had transpired and then revealed the situation was a test of the party’s intentions. Abehk appeared satisfied that the party was of a generally good heart and agreed to provide information and assistance. They party learned many things…

  • They were in a place called Krigala, on another plane of existance called the Beastlands where all manner of beasts can be found. The beasts here are the souls of animals and others of kindred lives who have died.
  • Abehk appeared unconcerned about the activities of Trinth and her Githyanki, as it was a mortal matter.
  • Abehk and the others served the god Zivilyn and were totally unfamiliar with Athas.
  • Abehk suggested that the knowledge the party sought might be found in a different level of the Beastlands called Brux, in a place know as the Library of All Knowledge.

Gem agreed to escort the party to the library and the party set off travelling through the Beastlands and now seeing a stunning variety of animals many of whom struck up conversations as they passed by. After a few days of travel the swampy mangrove forest became a temperate forest of decidious trees. A day later Gem announded they had reached the passage to Brux and, passing between two large trees, disappeared. The party followed.

The Library of All Knowledge
The party found themsleves in a similar forest, but now in twilight with the trees stretching towards the western horizon where the sun was setting. The contrast to the perpetual noon of Krigala was intense.

After another day, the Library of All Knoweldge was reached, a massive structure the size of a city. Animals and humanoids roamed the book-lined halls, going about their business. While the party did get a lot of curious looks, they were generally left alone. They obtained the assistance of the librarian, Edna, who escorted them to a particularly dusty section of the library where the history of Athas could be found.

As the literate members of the party, Gwyn, Iorskan, Jax and Way-lynn led the effort. Birk, Banoc, Daqiq and Phyll did their best to assist in locating tomes and scrolls as best they could. A week of searching finally allowed many of the pieces to fall into place and the party learned about the Blue Age and the Green Age as well as the start of the Cleansing Wars and the start of the Red Age.

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The River Oceanus

Exhange of Information
After gathering what information they could on the history of Athas, the librarian Edna approached the party with an offer. If the party would hadn over some of the books of lore and magic they acquired from Sielba’s palace in Yaramuke, the party would be allowed access to some magical tomes to enhance themselves. While eager for the opportunity, Gwyn and Way-lynn were reluctatnt to hand over the information on the defiler metamorphosis. Eventually it was agreed upon for the party to hold the dragon magic tomes and Birk and Phyll would not be allowed access to the magical tomes.

River Cruise
After a week studying the magical tomes, the party departed the Library of All Knowledge and, guided by Gem, made their way back to Krigala and to the banks of the River Oceanus. On they banks of the river, the party said goodbye to Gem and boarded a boat captained by an elephant creature called Inti.

Elysium
After several weeks of travel through strange lands filled with wondrous sites, the boat approached the waterfall leading to Elysium. Although the drop was dangerous, Inti was an experienced captain and her boat was sound.

Arriving in Elysium, ther found themselves in a paradise of crystal clear waters and scattered islands, home to the warriors of good who served their causes faithfully. Banoc prayed for guidance and, to his surprise, the vial of tears he carried led them to a tropical island.

On the island they found a simple dwelling with a solitary figure asleep. They recognized the friend Thea! She was in a deep, magical slumber, but a drop from the vial caused her to wake. With tears of happiness, she embraced each of her friends and introduced herself to those she did not know.

The feeling of pure joy they all felt upon their arrival in Elysium, swelled within them.

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Return to Athas

The reunion with Thea was made even more joyous by the nature of Elysium. Everyone shared stories about what had transpired since Thea fell in the Ruins of Pluton. Thea listened with care and sympathy at the struggles the party had endured and they were fascinated by Thea’s dream-like adventures to other worlds and times. Eventually the current situation on Athas was discussed and the party wished to return, except for Birk who elected to remain in Elysium, having endured too much on Athas. Thea offered to join the group not only to help her friends overcome a great evil, but for other reasons, which she elected to put aside for the time being.

Inti guided them across the water to a trading post called Portico where they resupplied and The left to gather her gear. When she returned they feasted and Thea told them of how she journeyed into Avernus to try and help save a city from being consumed. There she met an old friend of the party – Jarvix – who had ended up there after the defeat at the hands of Nibenay. She aslo told how, she encountered the archmage Evan Moreau and his friend Kira who Gwyn and others had adventured with.

Thea produced a strange cube and using its magic, brought both Kira and Jarvix to Portico. Another sweet reunion between old friends was enjoyed by all. And a plan was hatched – they would return to Athas, attempt to locate the Pristine Tower, bargain with the Shadow Giants there and learn how to use the Dark Lens to recharge Athas’ sun, and hopefully bring about a new Green Age.

Thea used the cube one final time and, guided by Iorskan, they traveled back to Athas, arriving within sight of the Pristine Tower. However, as they traveled through the Beastbarrens, they encountered a large patrol of Githyanki. Although the Githyanki were defeated, the party learned that they had begun to spread out from the Arkhosian stronghold and conquer the surrounding lands.

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