The Desert of Desolation

Session #5 Lifting the Curse

Crawling up from the watery passage of the Sphinx lair, the brave adventurers explore the upper levels of the pyramid, running into all manner of strange areas, bizarre creatures,
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canopic jars with still-beating hearts,

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and the final form of the curse, a mighty mummy.

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After a hard-fought battle, the band were able to lift the curse by removing the star-gem and Rod of Authority, breaking the curse and freeing Amun-Re’s tormented spirit. Once more, the intrepid crew resume their trek through the burning wastes, desperately seeking some form of civilization,,,,out of the frying pan, into the fireball…

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Looking Out.

We need to get out of this pyramid! Just when I think I’ve seen and been through the worst event, the next is worse. I think this pyramid is driving everyone to become impatient and crazy. Raenn’s death, may he rest in peace, is concerning me and reaffirming my belief that we should have avoided this cursed pyramid. When Talise, Nixxie, Raenn and I left the group to check out a course, Raenn first wandered off on his own making us all more vulnerable. Talise, Nixxie and I took on a Minotaur while waiting for Raenn to wander and return. We torn the Minotaur apart in two moves. As soon as the beast was defeated, in walks Raenn. I was happy to know the beast came after the three of us instead of him. Wandering off alone was just Raenn’s first mistake, not the deadly one, although if the Minotaur would have gotten to him instead of us his life would have been taken then. His final fate came with his second impulsive move. We approached a door that we peaked into, carefully so we wouldn’t disturb what was behind it. In that room were two huge Minotaurs, a hay stack, and more doors. Before we could talk him out of it Raenn runs straight into the room aiming for the pile of hay. None of us followed because we knew what our fate would be. It was a suicide mission. There was no saving Raenn so we closed the door with heavy hearts knowing we would never again see his brave face. He was not weak by any means just not strong enough to live through this battle. Again, I feel it is this cursed place getting inside our minds, causing us to act before thinking things though. We will miss our brave comrade.
After seeing Raenn dive into that room like he was invincible we all ran back to where we started knowing that we need to find a way out of this mad house as soon as possible before another one of us went crazy. The room with the levers was still the same as we left it but Nixxie smelled a familiar scent, it was all we had as far as hope for escaping so we followed her back through the maze. That familiar smell was Gary who wandered in by himself and was crazed, trying to attack us. He kept saying, “It’s mine. You can’t have it!” He was out for blood. Not one of us wanted to kill our comrade so we knocked him unconscious. When the sword he was holding fell away from him, he came back to us. We discovered the sword was cursed and made him blood thirst anyone who tried to take it from him. This place is a nightmare.
Gary told us Fennwick is alive. He then explained that Fennwick had been captured by a shapeshifter. The shapeshifter who was Fennwick at the time is now wandering around looking like Gary. We then left the sword on a quest to find Fennwick.
When we finally found Fennwick he was inside a box playing in gold. We are happy to have that crazy, blue, little Gnome back. He sure makes life interesting. If only we could get Raenn back now. After finding Fennwick we decided as a group to head back to the room where Raenn was. While traveling I thought to myself, “Maybe there is a chance Raenn is still with us. We found Fennwick after we thought we would never see him again.” When we arrived back at the room my hope was shattered when I saw Raenn’s body was ripped to shreds on the floor next to one of the exits. We killed the two Minotaurs that murdered our friend with no effort. We were there for justice.
Before we could recover a burly man walks in named Dragos. After we see he clearly is alone and needing our help we welcome him in. He may be of use to us in the fights to come. While still trying to find our way out of this god forsaken pyramid we fight 5 of the guards we first came across when approaching the pyramid. I got surrounded by 3 of the men. I killed 1 of the men and the others killed off the other two. I wasn’t doing too well and the others were tired from our draining day so we rested.
I can always count on a new day. I am hoping that today is the day we can get out of this place and move on with our journey. It is never ending battles I feel because we immediately get attacked by 4 Doppelgangers. After being knocked unconscious almost immediately by the shapeshifters I wake to find the whole party ready to move on. We are very anxious to find a way out. Balor heals me and we’re on our way feeling hopeful for escape but before we find our way out we had to defeat a creature with a hawk head. The creature is huge in size and wanted to play a little game. Dragos was choosen to play but when he did not know the answer we crashed down the door after the creature who went after Dragos down the well. We defeated the strong creature when it came back up the well. We took it by surprise. I got in a few good hits but it was Nixxie who tore him to shreds. Dragos did not make it. He sacrificed his life for us, practically strangers. A very honorable man. May he rest in peace.
After deploying threw the well we are sitting, resting on the upper level of the pyramid. Tomorrow I feel certain we will escape this dreadful place. Finally. Ready for a new setting and more adventures.

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Session #4 Kordan's Master Maze

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The intrepid band of would-be ghost helpers struggles to find it’s way out of Kordan’s Master Maze.

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Countless traps take their toll, as do the residents of the maze

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Session #3 In the depths of the Pyramid of Amon-Re
(death claims a gnome)

The party is approached by the wandering spirit of an ancient Pharaoh of a empire vanished many thousands of years ago.
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Conflict erupts between the brave band and a fanatical sect of Thune Dervish warriors sworn to protect all tombs from any form of desecration.

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The gallant band pressed deeper into the tomb, finding many secret passages behind mighty statues and rune-carved halls
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A magical gate through a fire pit
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led to a chamber with mist filled arches, which vomited forth DEATH

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Interlude: A wanderig spirit begs for aid...

The third night of your journey passed uneventfully. You spend the blistering day inside the tent…sleep is fitful, and you find yourself waking frequently, parched in the throat and sticky under the garments. Metal left outside must be cooled before you can touch it. No wind seems to blow in this cursed desert. After a meal of hard-tack, you gather your gear and start a fourth night of following the sand-sled tracks. You find little evidence of a camp for whoever is using the sled. The moon has been bright these past nights, making it easy enough to follow the trail. For the first time since entering The Anvil, you have heard the yell of a desert jackal. That such animals could survive here for any length of time seems unfathomable.

It must be near midnight, when you spot a lone figure cresting a dune, perhaps 100 yards away. The person (for it walks on two legs) slowly turns from his trek eastward and walks in your direction…has he seen you? The party hunkers down on a crest above the figure…as he approaches you draw steel…only when he is perhaps 15 yards away do you see that he is insubstantial and misty from the waste down….the face that should occupy the area below his ancient style of head-dress is empty…an unnatural dread seizes your spine…what does this wandering spirit want, that he manifests to the living? Suddenly he speaks, and his voice, though deep, seems to echo up from some great distance, as if talking from the bottom of a deep well…

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Session #2: Exodus

The people of Bek-Ptah prove an unfriendly and fearful lot, avoiding our intrepid adventurers for fear of upsetting the Lawgivers, those golden-masked enforcers who patrol the small city’s streets and alleyways.

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Even when valiant party saves the life of a soon-to-be-of-age Prince Jiann, the laws of Bek-Ptah proved immutable. A stay in the dungeon was only alleviated after much insistence and unseemly begging by Jiann to the steward of Bek-Ptah’s throne, his uncle Rexter the Stern. Or perhaps, the band might surmise, Rexter only relented when one of his advisers found a USE for the insolent foreigners….

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Rexter (seen below) was less than amused by what he feels are IL-bred commoners….

The telling of events follows in the Sand-voyager’s own words…perhaps their advise will be headed by those who come after…they have discovered some things are best left…buried…

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Ships of the Desert

The cantankerous camel…they have a mule’s attitude…

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For those who purchase one

N Large animal
Init +3;
Senses low-light vision, scent;
AC 13, touch 12, flat-footed 10
Saves: Fort +5, Ref +6, Will +0
Speed 50 ft.

Feats: Endurance
Skills Perception +5

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Bek-Ptah

Land at last! Late in the day, the walled city of Bek-Ptah looms over the harbor like a sinister vulture perched above a dying animal. The harbor itself if flanked by long man-mad shoals, keeping the smaller boats of Osiran safe from the ocean swells. The docks are busy with native vessels being unloaded, but much of the work stops when they see a foreign ship of the Demise’ size entering the protected harbor.

The locals are garbed in colorful robes (called Aba), when not indulging in heavy labor; the latter are garbed in loose linen and sandals. Strange beasts of burden are being fitted with packs (One of the crew tell you they are called ‘camels’, and are the preferred mount for these kingdoms of sand due to their ability to travel with little water) right off the boats. Merchants haggle over merchandise in a frantic tongue that grates on your nerves. The most disturbing thing you notice are the many shackled people…slavery is apparently an accepted practice here.

Your arrival has not gone unnoticed. A squad of warriors in leather armor, small round shields and, oddly bronze face masks push their way through the crowd, heading in your direction. They rudely shove the commoners out of the way as they approach.
“Lawgivers”, Red-Shanks mutters under his breath. “They are like a common city guard, with the exception that they can dispense instant justice for most offenses…being a noble is about the only defense someone has should they fall on the wrong side of these fellows…”
Red-Shanks moves down the gang-plank and converses with their leader. After a heated argument, he yells back to you.

“I’m off to see the harbor-master. The Lawgivers are sending two of their number up to the deck to monitor things until my return; worry not, lads. I’ll be back sometime tonight. Until then, stay on the ship. With that, he turns and departs, flanked on either side by four of the tall warriors. Two of their number come up the gangplank and wordlessly take positions to either side. Obviously they mean to bar the way of anyone who thinks to leave the Demise.

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INTERLUDE

You awaken the next morning to find the captain has altered course south. When asked why, he states he has some merchandise he needs to unload in Bek-Ptah, a closed-port city on the Scorpion Coast, the east coast of Osirian. He tells you that it should not take more than a day or two (“…you should arrive a good week before the festival of Pharisma in Wati”), and that he would also like someone to look over the damage to the hull, since Skinner is dead.

“Bek-Ptah is closed to most foreign vessels, but I know the harbor-master from of old…the folk there in general are distrustful of strangers from distant lands, and while their Emir is not what you’d call likeable, he keeps the city in good straights, and there’s little poverty…even if they’ve given up a freedom here or there. Mind you, it’s best you stay aboard the ship. Their laws can be stern, especially non-natives. I’ll see that food and supplies are brought on board…maybe even pick up some items you request…”
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The Gathering Storm

Setting out (for a 3-hour tour)…the Jezzel’s Demise saw fair weather for several days. The crew seemed amiable to the strangers in their midst. Long days of sunshine and hard work keeping the vessel serviceable were followed with laughter and singing at night as the crew shared their rum ration as well as a few farcical tales of Osirion with the band. Dinner aboard the Jezzel allowed you to meet and discuss plans with your new team-mates.

Alas, after dinner (a strange affair where items seemed to move of their own volition), things became…interesting when the lookout called ‘Bad Weather ahead!’ The sea turned foul, as massive waves sent the vessel rolling and swaying, reintroducing many of you to your recent repast. The Undine lookout, enjoying the weather above decks near the forecastle, spotted a large object rolling in swells, on a collision course…the wind drowned her attempt to war the Captain at his wheel, and with a mighty crash, wall of your quarters was pierced, wounding the paladin and letting seawater pour in, and nearly hurtling the unfortunate druid over the gunwale and into the ocean.

The ranger grabbed her just as her grip failed. Hasty repairs were made and the winds died down within a few hours (such being the nature of many a squall on the briney blue). The crews spirits were returning to normal when the gnome, poking about the cargo bay, discovered twisted and broken spectacles belonging to Rolo the quartermaster. A search of the ship, bow to stern and fore toa ft, turned up no sign of the kind old fellow. Maps and spilled ale were all that were found in his private quarters, and crew and captain assumed the fellow must have hit his head, stumbled above deck and got swept over the rail unnoticed by any.

Perhaps this would have been sufficient explanation, but the following day, the cook was discovered missing, when he failed to feed the crew at morning chow. Again the ship was searched, with similar results for the quartermaster. A mystery indeed! More men might have gone missing, were the party’s suspicion not draw to Pepperpot, the lame cabin boy, thanks to the Undine’s tiger, Nixxie. The cat hissed and recoiled when the boy approached. Accusations and interrogation of the lad proved fruitless and angered the crew.

Not to be dissuaded so easily, the ranger and oracle managed to get a concession from Captain Red-Shanks, whereby the ranger agreed to keep an eye on the cabin-boy (after the cabin boy’s hidden grins and taunts with several of the party when no one else was looking). That he was more (and undoubtedly evil) than he let on around the crew was obvious…but the little fiend was clever. That night, the cabin boy/fiend taunted the ranger. sending a chill down the warrior’s spine with calculated words.

It was when the party’s resident rogue decided to talk with the unfriendly ship’s carpenter, Skinner, that Pepperpot’s hand (fin?) was forced into the open. The rogue thought he was about to be accosted when the surly mule-skinner brandished a silver-edged cleaver and shouted “YOU!”, only to have the terrified handy-man rush past him at a grotesque shape that loomed out of the darkness….the stilted light from the lantern cast flickering shadows over a horrific fanged moth that could only belong to a massive shark…a shark that loomed on two stubby legs (one withered to the point of being vestigial) ..the shark thing laughed, its voice like wind rushing over exposed coral, as it smashed the carpenter aside with contemptuous ease. The thing laughed at the rogue, it’s mouth opening impossible wide as it rushed forward.

The agile thief, rolled away in terror, slamming the door between himself and the horrid thing. Toying with him, it scratched at the door and taunted him “Come out, little piggy….”
The ranger, finding his courage, came out with his bow drawn, but hitting the thing in the cramped, dark hold proved difficult. The noise of the battle was heard by the druid and her tiger, who roused the remaining party to action. Eventually the beast was cornered and surrounded, blows turned away by its tough shark skin, or ignored completely by its accursed nature. Realizing the silver cleaver was potent against such monsters, Bucket the fighter drove into close range, assisted by those who’s weapons were of no use, and after suffer a horrible gnawing, the group managed to lay the beast in its grave, its large finned body reverting to the hapless cabin-boy, covered in horrific wounds that would surely have killed him instantly, were he a normal child.

You later learned the boy’s leg injury was suffered when he was bitten some months ago by a monstrous shark while swimming in calm seas. Apparently the little monster had been more secretive in those he killed at first, taking sailors and crew while the ship was being refitted/scraped for barnacles in dry-dock…these crew-men were either assumed to have shipped out with another vessel, or relocated to greener pastures…

Now you are quite sure it will be a fine thing to feel solid earth under your feet again…the sooner, the better….
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