The Desert of Desolation

Session #12... End of the line....

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Thing’s end rather rocky….

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Session 11 (9/26/2014)
Don't be a Creeper, Paladin!

After another two days on the Vanji River, the boat finally arrived at Fort Thunder, a large trading post surrounded by a high wood palisade. The smell of smoke could be detected some miles before the fort came in to view, due to wood sconces that burned some type of plant powder that kept the hordes of insects at bay. The town guard were friendly enough, and Jacob the Inn keeper welcomed the band. After a minor bit of chicken-coop cleaning (i.e. Poultry-Geists).

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The party landed friendship with a local shaman (who warned them of evil adventurers) as well as Fabius the Sage (Professor of Jungle Tribes/Artifacts/Lord and Geography, Esquire). He produced a copy of half a map, stating the lower was stolen by thieves, that reputed to show the location of the Elephant’s Graveyard. After procuring canoes, supplies and producing potions, the stalwart band trekked overland to the Tiger River, and took it down the rapids, eventually reaching a large lake.

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Where the river exited into the lake, the company discovered and battled the evil adventures that were hired by our group’s employer’s son. It almost ended in disaster, the Alchemist succumbing to a Charm Person spell as the evil band attacked. But eventually the group rallied and slew the evil mage and one of the twins, a male rogue. After learning they group had abandoned the son at the mouth of a tunnel, the Paladin insisted the survivors be released. The group found the lower half of the map as well…There was some confrontation between the Paladin and the blood hungry sorcerer, but they agreed to disagree.

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Passing safely around a family of Hippo, the group debarked and hid their canoes, trekking on foot toward a steam-spewing volcano. Indeed, a passage was found that led into the lost valley, many elephant tracks being evident. Large stone elephant-men statues ringed the opening.

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After a long journey through the tunnel, the group exited into a lush hidden valley, where acre upon acre of elephant tusks and bones littered the valley floor. While gazing at the serene beauty of the high cliff-ed walls, all but the sage suddenly dropped their gear and waddled over to a large plant that held large chambers; mesmerized by the pollen, they climbed in (to the wizard’s amusement), and were badly burnt by acid, many of their items melting away…
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The Sorcerer burned the plant eventually, and with an extra day camped here in the tunnel mouth, the Druid used mending as best she could, fixing much of the damage. Later the next day, the druid changed into a hawk and reconnoitered the vale. She discovered a large colony of giant vultures (avoided!) and found that beyond the bone fields were very old village ruins. One structure, a large marble temple, still stood near a small lake. Near this lake was a large cave, and the half eaten remains of an Elephant (one that had clearly been DRAGGED a considerable distance through the bone pile) could be seen at the entrance. Bird tracks of enormous size could be seen in the mud here.

The party made their way to the temple, finding it surrounded by elephant statue-capped obelisks. A lone man’s tracks led inside its courtyard gates. Within the gates, the party encountered a very large band of Banderlogs, ape-like animals of fairly high intelligence.

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The retch-plant wielding beasts were appeased when the druid assumed ape form and spoke with them. Passing into the confines of the ancient temple, the party did battle (well, slaughtered) unusually resistant skeletons, found several choice magic items and evidence of many skeletons crushed by a heavy object. A trap-laden room with a golden elephant idol was (for the most part) survived…

And then the Paladin opened her last door…the room she gazed on continue dread yellow musk creepers…their pollen mesmerized her and she entered the room…once within reach, their ghastly vines entered her mouth and nostrils, quickly draining the contents of her brain. The alchemist gallantly attempted to rescue her, but she easily shrugged off even his strong grip….eyes rolling up in her head, the paladins personality was consumed completely…

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Mourning her loss, the group none the less wasted little time crushing her skull, to ensure she did not rise as a plant zombie slave to the insidious flora. A few rooms later, the alchemist was nearly devoured by a massive (but young) giant anaconda…the beast being chased away by a flaming sphere and burning hands spells.

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HERE ENDS SESSION #11

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Session 9 & 10
(Lazy DM)

Session 9:

The adventures at long last managed to free the Vizier of the Djinn, in time to battle the arriving efreet….but to their amazement, the two seemed equally matched. To make matters worse, the fiery evil outsider summoned flaming skeletons, a magma elemental and a salamander.
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Battle was joined, and it proved that the deeds of mortal can sway the balance of power for greater beings. The efreeti was ultimately destroyed. With nary so much as a thanks, the Djinn departed to the elemental Plane of Air. The party was left to press on, passing through the stark buttes and rocky hills of the Teeth of Rovagug…defaced shrines and statues were found, but the caravan was too large to attract the attention of human cultists, though a pair of hungry Manticores attempted to pick off stragglers and were slain after inflicting many wounds.

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Eventually, beyond the Teeth, the land turned more fertile, a small savannah that ended soon at the Vanji river, where a trade outpost and ship yard were found. The party were rewarded well when they tracked down and slew a rogue elephant of massive size, returning with the blood-colored tusks.

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Here ends session 9.

Session 10:

Boarding the Wealthy Star, a rather unique paddle boat, blanketed with mosquito netting,

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that feeds on unknown alchemical fuel, the party proceeded upriver, and near the evening of the first day, encountered a log snare…this proved to be the work of a fish-controlling river monster, a huge,scaly Nisp

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…the thing’s dominated pack of mega-piranha gave the alchemist hell when he fell in the murky river. The fun continued that night when the alchemist ran afoul of an undead river ooze….A few days later, the adventures came upon Whitebridge station, and found the place had been wiped out by demon-worshiping ape-men and their massive Gorillion slave.

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Battle was had and the former occupants were avenged. Here ended session #10

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Session #8
(an oath fullfilled)

Much was gained and lost this session…a wandering mage named Dante ‘stumbled’ upon the group (no sack this time!) and the party managed to return the Sheik’s daughter after a harrowing encounter with giant scorpions…Decon used his mongoloid djinn to travel via whirlwind back to the oasis to gather mounts and reinforcements and was gone before the scorpions arrived in the wee hours of the morning…Nixxie was almost devoured the the chitinous horrors…
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After skirting the Pass of Shadows at high noon the following day, the adventurers regrouped at Happy Hogan’s Desert Igloo after the guards and Decon met them on the far side of the pass. A grateful Sheik gave a scroll to the wizard as his reward and granted a Pegasus to the paladin. The location of the dead city of Phoenix was learned, and the party agreed to finish the summoning of the Djinn Vizier, planning on joining a caravan heading south, over the Fangs of Rovagug mountains. Its final destination was some distant jungle outpost known as Fort Thunder…

Before the group could agree, Kierra put her mailed fist down and insisted the band bring a final death to the undead shadows and whatever terror commanded them to haunt the wati. The caravan master agreed to delay his start if the band would provide protection free of charge for the first week. Within the pass, a long-hidden tomb was discovered, and many Shadows were put down after the mage used a wand of Mage Armor to greatly increase the protection of the party vs the intangible touch of the Shadows.
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Decon learned the price the sword extracted for a poor thrust and cut, nearly dying as the blade corrected his aim, using decon’s own health to do so. The Shadows proved no match….however when their horrific leader, a mummy wielding a powerful scimitar know as Cyclone of the Four Quarters, stumbled from his secret throne room. it was left to Kierra and Talise to bring the thing to battle, for the rest of the party were all struck numb by the thing’s supernatural dreadfulness. The Paladin showed a berserk savageness as great as any barbarian’s, as she did not hesitate but sallied into the fray, handily crushing the ancient mummy and it’s zombie bodyguard in short order. Talise healed the warrior, keeping her alive to fight on…

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Pilfering the tomb (and many scimitar-marked gold rings), the band returned to the oasis and the waiting caravan. Decon made the only choice open to him, insisting Hassim the Fool use his wish power to return the horrible black blade to what ever hellish pit he found the thing in…. Decon hardened his heart to the djinn’s blubbering and begging, knowing that the djinn must return to the Elemental Plain that spawned him when his binding magic was broken (and probably to a life of ridicule from the heartlessly cruel djinn who would no doubt mock Hassim for a terribly long time…)

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Session #7 The Crypt of Badr al-Mosak
(Traps! Why'd it have to be TRAPS?!?)

The deadly quintet of adventures finished their exploration of the Temple of Set beneath the Oasis, bringing evidence that the Sheik’s son was to blame for the troubles plaguing the Oasis…and yet, neither he, his cult nor the slavers (that fled in the night) actually HAD the princess….two and two were put together, and the intrepid group, reinforced with new adventurers, set out through many perils to reach the lost Crypt of Badr al-Mosak, a cursed ruin in the heart of the desert, beyond a rocky wadi-veined mountain range….

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Camping in the Pass of Shadows had it’s own dangers…
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Perhaps even more dangerous was the acquisition of a retarded Genie know as Hassim the Fool
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Many traps and hard fighting later, the group recovered both the missing Star Gems and the missing princess…..

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Session #6; Oasis fo the White Palm
(or: We can spend some gold!)

Braving a vicious sandstorm from the confines of a cave, the band of adventurers dig them selves out, dust themselves off, and proceed to investigate smoke rising above the South-west horizon. Here, they find the battered and scorched remains of a human army, many obviously rotted attackers, and several Pegasus. A lone survivor tells them of the doom that befell them when a burning djinn and his army of undead attacked. Given a amulet to identify themselves, the party bury the dead fellow and move on.

After two days travel, they spot a white figure on a winged horse as it dives down onto some unseen enemy. The band sneak closer, moments before sunset, and surprise a band of gnoll slavers tormenting a hobbled Pegasus. The gnolls are quickly routed and the lone prisoner is unchained…a wood elf from parts unknown. The Pegasus is freed and fly’s away, to what the band eventually discover is the Oasis. Camping above a dune to announce their presence, the group explore the oasis. A conversation with the guard leads to an audience with Sheik Kasiem, Lord of the Oasis. He entreats the party to find his missing daughter. A pact is sealed with the gift of 3 scimitars of incomparable deadliness to undead foes.

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Exploring the walled fort nearby and its many shops and bazaar proves fruitful and the adventurers find some useful items to spend their hard earned wealth on.

That night, a shadowy thief takes the party’s star gems, though the group manage to follow his trail to the mysterious obelisk in the thick vegetation on the camp’s western side. A secret door and it’s difficult password are encountered and overcome. Battles with more undead and Cultists of Set cost the life of the recently-met wood elf…and Gary the Rogue learns that some idols (and a unhealthy penchant for greed) are more than harmless stone…
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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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