Wednesday, July 13, 2011

The Aldelle Group – Session 34 – Into the Uskar Desert

Sessions 34 happened Tuesday, June 28, 2011.  The adventure log is a bit long.  Let me know if you'd rather there be a cut to hide it behind and I'll do that next time.

This campaign used the Dyson’s Delve dungeon pages on A Character forEvery Game as a starting point, but has now moved on to new material from the DM-in-training. I heartily recommend Dyson's Delve as a beginning adventure.

Adventuring Group:
Tre-ba Bel a sheer (female elf alchemist)
Brek'nok (male dwarf druid)
Frankie Hu, Master of the Distracting Fist (male dwarf monk)
Luna (female elf sorcerer)
Wednesday (female elf rogue)
Harkaitz of the Red Soul (male human cleric of Ra)

Aziz of the Light (male human paladin, cohort of Harkaitz)
Sarisvati the Suntouched (female Ifrit oracle, cohort of Aziz)
Midnight (female half-elf witch, cohort of Frankie Hu)
Short John Copper (male halfling expert)

Evening, June 6, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light will return.

A sandstorm blew up this morning and has continued all day. I created a small stone hut with wall of stone to protect us. It is cramped, but it is keeping the storm from flaying us.

Early afternoon, June 7, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who banishes the storm.

The storm finally died near Noon. After getting out to stretch, we packed our gear. We are now resuming our march to the Uskar Gate.

Evening, June 7, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who leads us true.

Late this afternoon we spotted a black scorpion [a gargantuan vermin] and chose to avoid it, even though Tre-ba was making noise about wanting a sample of its poison.

We came upon a funeral structure just before making camp. We are camping on the far side of a very large sand dune for the night. I’ve used wall of stone to create a low arc of stone to provide a roof and keep sand from sliding down on us.

The structure looks like a place of burial. There is a large rectangular building on a raised stone platform. There are six pillars lining a path from stairs at the edge to the stone doors of the structure. I’m curious as to what we will find here.

Morning, June 8, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, whose light cleanses the world.

Slightly after midnight, an immense flock of undead, mostly skeletons, arose from the sands and started milling about the area. Wednesday, Frankie, and Midnight were on watch and woke me up. After looking around, I could see that the undead were milling around the structure and could not sense us on the far side of the sand dune. Only a few were far enough away from the structure to possibly see this side of the dune and the stone arc was hiding us well enough. I asked that they keep an eye on things and wake me if any of the undead actually noticed us.

Near dawn, the third watch observed the undead all enter the structure ahead of the rising sun. We may have to destroy all those undead during our investigation. There were quite a large number of them, but Aziz and I look forward to putting them down and cleansing the desert of them.

Evening, June 8, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, His light reflects in the most unexpected places.

The structure turned out to be dedicated to Ra! The upper level was the burial places of paladins in the service of Ra along with a few priests and was surprising clear of wandering undead. After verifying that there were no undead in the any of the stone coffins, we followed a set of stone stairs down to a lower level. This level was a temple to Ra with side shrines to honor the departed.

The undead had clearly moved through this area as their tracks greatly disturbed the dust on the floors. There were also the tracks of a lone figure wearing boots. Brek’nok was able to follow the tracks to the main altar where they stopped at the altar. Wednesday cautiously approached the altar and found a hidden compartment. Inside was a blessed scimitar, dedicated to the service of Ra [a +2 holy flaming scimitar to be precise].

We worked out that someone was sending waves of undead into the temple. The compartment the scimitar was in was trapped to disintegrate any evil-aligned entities opening it (Wednesday found the trap itself). After some discussion, we decided to take the scimitar, feeling Ra led us here for a purpose. We swapped it with Aziz's enchanted scimitar, leaving his in the original's scabbard to continue to lure in, and destroy, the undead seeking it.

Finding no gate here nor any further paths to follow, I cast locate object again and found that the temple was on the path to the gate, not the location of the gate itself, more evidence that Ra directed us here for a reason. We left the temple and continued west. Shortly later, we observed a lich walking the crest of a large dune. It also noticed us and, after trading a few verbal barbs, I struck it with a flame strike. The unclean thing responded with a teleportation spell and disappeared. With no immediate counter attack, we could do little else but move on.

Near the end of the duration of the locate object spell, the spell guided me down. There was no entrance visible there or anywhere nearby. We spent the rest of the afternoon looking for an entrance, to no avail.

We are making camp now. Tomorrow I will commune with Ra for guidance. Short John is cooking a stew for the evening's meal. The air was terribly hot when he started, but once the sun went down, the temperature dropped with it. By the time it is done, the warmth will be much appreciated in the cold, cold night. It smells delicious. Hiring Short John as our cook has been well worth the coins.

Morning, June 9, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who sends us unexpected allies.

During the night, a small group of storm giants moved past the camp and Brek'nok went out to talk with them. They are pleasant folk and agreed to help us once we explained what we were up to. They used their ability to manipulate the weather to create a windstorm, which blew the sands continuously away from the area. Near dawn (as the storm died off) we could see...more sand. Brek'nok wild shaped into an earth elemental at this point and earthglided down into the sands. Deep under the sands he encountered an underground structure. He could not enter the worked stone, but he could follow it around and seek a surface entrance. There was none he could find.

At dawn, I communed with Ra. It was an almost indescribable experience to be directly in communion with Him. He confirmed that there was no surface entrance to the buried location of the gate. He also made known that this gate could wait, the swamp gate needed us urgently.

We are packing up camp now to make our way to Lagaskia, a river town where Aziz was born and where we both spent time training to be paladins. While my path led elsewhere, it will be good to see some of the old masters again.

I have asked the storm giants to carry the remains of the pilgrims back to Uru for burial. They have agreed to do this, both for us and for the souls of the pilgrims. They are good people. I should have asked their names before they left.

Evening, June 11, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who blinds our enemies to our presence.

Yesterday was mostly quiet as we marched. We saw the ancient blue dragon fly by again, flying from the west and heading east. Brek'nok cast hide camp and the dragon never saw us.  (It says much about my life now that a dragon flying by is almost mundane.)

Today has been an entirely different thing. The morning started with us fleeing another gargantuan black scorpion, followed by a fire elemental crossing our path. Sarisvati conversed with the elemental in its native speech and convinced it to let us pass unharmed. Near the end of the day, the ancient blue dragon was spotted heading near us, but on a course for Lagaskia! Brek'nok hid our camp again and we observed. Aziz and I were ready and willing to attack the dragon if we could stop it from attacking the town, but, as it turned out, we did not have to.

The dragon landed ahead of us a short ways. Wednesday and Frankie scouted ahead to see what it was doing. From what they saw, it appeared to be landed for the night and was “arranging things” to get comfortable. Needless to say, we are having a cold camp tonight to avoid drawing its attention. Tomorrow, we will either attack it or sneak past to warn the town, whichever seems wisest.

Late Evening, June 12, Year of the Earth Rabbit
Praise Ra, who lights our path.

The dragon slept in and so we quietly skirted around it and made best speed for Lagaskia. It was a tiring march and we pushed on at dusk to guarantee we would arrive in one day. When we finally spotted the town, we saw a dragon circling it and thought we were too late!

As it turns out, Lagaskia has a guardian, a bronze dragon named Alatthan. This is new from the last time Aziz and I were here, and we had not expected it. When we realized the difference, we changed our plans again. Aziz took all but Tre-ba and myself in to town. Tre-ba and I went to a rocky outcropping near the town where the dragon landed for the evening. We hailed the dragon and spoke with it in Draconic, which it seemed to appreciate. We warned it the ancient blue dragon was encamped to the southeast of the town. Alatthan seemed to be aware of the situation, but thanked us for the information anyways. He informed us that he had allies nearby (but not going into details) who could keep the blue at bay.

After further pleasantries, Tre-ba and I made our leave and returned to Lagaskia. Alatthan was a very polite host and seems to have the situation in hand. I am suspicious that the blue and the lich are working together, but I have no hard proof, only a suspicion.

Tomorrow we will hire a boat and sail for the Great Swamp. Tonight, Aziz and I are introducing our newest friends to some of our oldest friends. It is a good time to be alive.

*End of Session*

[Half this log was written in Microsoft Word, half in LibreOffice Writer, part of a free office package that comes with Ubuntu 11.04, which I loaded onto a personal laptop. The OS on the laptop was broken and I did not have the CD with the software (its a remaindered laptop from the DayJob), so I'm giving Ubuntu a whirl. Seems OK so far. The interface is a bit more like Apple than Microsoft, so it's taking some getting used to. I'll make more comments as I knock it around and such.]

[UPDATE: 12/22/2019 - I finally fixed the black text on a black background issue.  I had to go into the HTML code and hand-remove the additional text formatting as the Blogger interface failed to touch it in Compose mode.]

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