Campaign of the Month: May 2016

Mysteria

SOULS UP FOR GRABS!
As characters you are unaware of this, but behind the scenes of Divinity....

In the Hallowed Halls of Anu Akma, representation is made by a Servant of Death to a senior Angel of Darkness:

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Nazgill, Servant of Death, the Eternal Darkness: My Lord Khopet Anunaki, I have two souls from the Sarklan in Nuria Natal, butchered beyond belief, awaiting final judgement.
Khopet Anunaki, High Solar of Lawfulness: By the fiery balls of Aposis, it’s FUKKIN Friday afternoon!
Nazgill: Will Lord Anu Akma not receive them?
Khopet Anunaki: He’s on FUKKIN holiday, you Moron!
Nazgill: Nonetheless…
Khopet Anunaki: Whom do they worship?
Nazgill: Ogun and Seggotan, my lord.
Khopet Anunaki: Seggotan? In the desert? He obviously cares nothing for this soul. Give her 30 days’ grace in lieu of TRUE RESURRECTION at 30 000 GP. If not claimed by mortals within that time, she gets wiped. We can send her to the great UNDEAD SANDSHIPS. What about the other one? Ogun, you say?
Nazgill: Yes, my Lord.
Khopet Anunaki: And you’re sure the KEEPER OF KEYS AND DUNGEONS hasn’t claimed him?
Nazgill: I am sure, My Lord.
Khopet Anunaki: Okay, give him thirty days as well. 30 000 GP. FUKK, these mortals are worse than Gods. Anything else?
Nazgill: Both souls were members of Arcael and the Oooze
Khopet Anunaki: So what?
Nazgill: One of them was favoured of OUR LORD
Khopet Anunaki: Are you trying to tell me my job?
Nazgill: No, my Lord.
Khopet Anunaki: Just because one mortal gets a special favour, it doesn’t mean we lick their FUKKIN balls all day, you hear me?
Nazgill: Yes, my lord.
Khopet Anunaki: Decision stands. 30 days. True Resurretion paid in GOLD or we take them forever. Anything else?
Nazgill: They are in the Pyramid of Black Sands.
Khopet Anunaki: FUKK! If those fukkin assholes let Vaashkennathka back into NURIA NATAL, I’m calling on ANU AKMA myself!

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You've Seen the Butcher
Three deaths, one Breath of Life

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Deep into the Pyramid of Black Sands and in dire need of rest, but discovering the floor of the pit where they stood was actually a slowly moving machine, Arcael and The Oooze elected to rest on the central area of the platforms above. All was going well until, just before the end of their final rest period, four clockwork guardians entered the area, dividing themselves along the various causeways and approaching from all directions with activated Dynastic Auras.

Never before, in the field of humnoid saving throws, have the lives of a party been betrayed by such a host of low rolls. The gods would have wept if they had even noticed. Within moments Karn Gudin and Xavier were hacking lumps out of each other, Arcael and Saabu Theet were finding breathing difficult and spell-casting impossible, and Goran was a new enemy, both silent and invisible.

The party climbed down into the pit, but the Clockwork Guardians followed them. Poor dice rolls also followed them. Arcael finally destroyed the grim Guardians with a heightened fireball, but by that time both Karn Gudin and Xavier were dead, killed by each other, mutilated and butchered by the Guardians, and annihiliated by the DIMENSIONAL ENGINE of the Pyramid of Black Sands.

Escaping into the VAULT OF NIGHTMARE, the group were confronted by an Animate Dream, thirsting for wisdom. Even although help arrived in the form of a dwarven paladin, whisked into the room through the DIMENSION OF DREAMS, it was not enough to prevent the death of Saabu Theet, restored only by the quick thinking and acting Arcael with his Breath of Life spell.

With the creature killed, the party entered the green glowing room that seemingly once held the Emerald Tables of Wisdom. A broken teleportation room suggested many places where the tablets might have been taken, but offered no other clues. However all was not lost, as some of the Divine energy of Thoth yet remained in this room, enough to heal the party and instill a genetic blessing on the Nkosi cleric.

At the “south” end of the room, the party now saw a spiral staircase going down….

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Who put the Turtle in Myrtle's Girdle?

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The mummy is dead. The Golden Goose screams: “There must be some way out of here.” Passageway down. Falling. Tumbing. Landing. Bumping. Back, up, down, falling. Like a white rabbit. There are passageways. There is separation. On top of the building. One man and his dog. It is not actually his dog but in the end the dog is his but he is in a pit. So are his friends.

The Howls of Tindaros. The skitter of the Xhkarths. The pit and possession. The dark and the grave. Fight magic with magic. Find a way. Back in the pit. Let’s rest here for now. Hey, Priest, my dexterity don’t feel too good.

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In, Out; Now, shake it all about!

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Silent and invisible. Past the first layer of guards and across the Black Sand. Into the village and up to the large room where Xavier was being held. Two guards at the door swiftly executed by Goran, the lock deftly picked, the door quickly opened, and a silent stone thrown inside. But that is not all: an Intnsified Fireball from Arcael is thrown in just for good measure. And as if that were not enough, Karn Gudin lobs in another.

With three out of four elite Descendants of Leng hurt in the double blast, things look grim for our medical experimenters. The Leng Fighter starts a dazzling display, but is downed by Goran instantly. The others are all invisible now. Xavier is on the slab, dilerious. The Leng Rogue drinks a potion and hides while the Leng Witch casts a Barrow Haze to cloud the situation. The Leng Wizard tries to attack Saabu Theet as he enters the room and is grappled and held by the cleric in zwani lion form, his summoned bats locating the mage, the lion-cleric’s sharp claws holding the wizard in a grapple.

Rogue, Fighter, Wizard all destroyed. The Witch escapes but Xavier is freed, and the party move fast now. Silent and invisible again. Into the pyramid entrance. Now rest for an hour. THOTH has told Saabu that the villagers will not enter the pyramid.

The next day, Goran opens two sets of double doors and avoids a dangerous trap before opening a large chamber with rows of carved columns and a sarcophagus. He enters slowly and carefully, suspicious of every shadow. But Xavier has no patience for this approach. Acting alone, he runs into the chamber up to the sarcophagus, disturbing the Mummified Denizen of Leng within. The sarcophagus bursts open with the bright activation of a Symbol of Insanity and Goran is attacked.

The Assault on The Pyramid of Black Sands begins…

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From Beyond

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Not many people know about the strange mix of dwarves and humans that inhabit the Black Sands of the Southern Sarklan and their poisoned bloodline, a legacy of genetic manipulation created by the great lizard mage Vaashkennathka and perpetuated through years of isolated procreation. Even fewer know that Vaashkennathka called forth the Denizens of Leng from their otherwordly black sailships, imprisoning them, torturing them and breeding them like wild dogs with his own people.

One by one the subjects of Leng were destroyed by Vaashkennathka, their only legacy the bloodline that ran through some of the villagers. Hundreds of years ago it was, and few remain that remember it now but some say that the last two living captives of Leng rose up against their lizard master. Even now the names of Tsourga and Vuldeng are still celebrated in the village of Black Sands though almost none of the inahbitants remember what they did, how they stopped the lizard king becoming a LICH and how they travelled the far planes of the Dimension of Dreams to find the means to hold the creature in stasis.

Bringing back a great black sailship, they used the materials of the boat to construct what now stands as the slightly crooked Pyramid of Black Sands. Most who pass by this place hurry away from it. Even the villagers stay clear of it, and it is their sacred mission to keep all people away from the place. Most do not know why. Most do not care. They follow the weird religion of their leaders faithfully since they have no other paths to follow. Prohibit entry to the pyramid and perpetuate medical experiments on passers by when the opportunity arises. These are the things that seem normal to most of the villagers.

Perhaps village elders like Kesophoth, Aharamun and Tahnakophet may know more about the rituals performed and the reasons why. Perhaps they have also forgotten, and work their evil magic under the dark shadow of Aposis. Whatever the facts, these are the histories and legends surrounding Xavier as he lies spreadeagled on a cold slab, hands and feet manacled, magically held in a non raging trance as a horned humanoid stands over him with a horrible carving tool, the like of which he has never seen before.

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I see the Black Sands rising....

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Xavier, unlike most of his comrades only needed two hours of rest, so he usually took his short sleep first, and like any wise adventurer with light armour he would usually just sleep in his armour. Sure it was uncomfortable, but at least if something happened he would be ready. Even so, that night, as he settled down for his short rest after ten days of strenuous desert travelling, a part of him wished that he didn’t have to feel such discomfort. At times, his comrades Goran and Saabu Theet felt the same. Only they and their own gods knew how much they longed for a comfortable night’s sleep in a normal bed, dressed in only a nightgown, or perhaps even less.

That very night some unwished for wishes would come true as two ravenous Sarklan Rust Lords attacked the camp in search of highly desired metal and magic. Xavier had been on guard but it was almost as if he had rolled a ONE in some game where dice determined fate. Twice he called to OGUN and OGUN answered, but the Gods spread their gifts thinly over such an area and the attacks of the Rust Lords were myriad. For some, it seemed, the Gods were asleep. Many prized items were lost in that night as the Rust Lords dissolved armour and weapons like ice in a blazing fire. The Rust Lord nourishment was brief however, as Arcael and The Oooze slayed them before they could even lick their horrid insectoid mandibles.

For a few days more The Oooze travelled south but Saabu had warned of the dangers of the Ferry Port of Nangui, so Arcael had suggested they skirt the place by moving away from the river and taking a road into the deep desrert. A few more days they travelled, tired, but grateful for their Wands of Endure Elements. On the dawn of one morning, which seemed uncharacteristically hot, Goran warned of a sandstorm approaching from the North, following their trail, it woud seem. Closer it came, and quickly, the heat becoming unbearable, insect plagues emanating from the storm, and a creeping doom erupting in their midst, only seconds before a violent earthquake heralded the arrival of the Black Monk of the Southern Sarklan. Stepping out of his sandstorm, the dread mummy cast Sunbeams at the party before moving in to attack. Goran tried to take him but was knocked down as the creature flew towards Karn Gudin to deliver a death blow. But it was Karn who delivered the death blow instead. Expertly handling her Halberd of Spell Storing, she summoned the power of SEGOTAN as she plunged her weapon deep into the damaged bandages of the mummy, killing it instantly.

The storm dissipated and the swarms receded into desert sands. The Dragon Disciple had saved the day. Now the party would travel together and replenished, into the area known to only very few mortals as THE BLACK SANDS.

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Missing
Hey, what happened to that guy....?

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Tharn Shatta-Renn glided effortlessly in the thin air above the Sarklan Desert. An immense distance separated his taut reptilian wings from the hot sand below, but this did nothing to diminish the power of his keen eyesight as he watched his prey travel slowly towards a ship on the banks of the Great Green Nuria. He had underestimated the small group when he had made his first ambush attack on its only scaled member, a lowly dragonkin female that had survived his pounce and resisted his poison. That was a mistake he would not make twice.

The company on the ship were slavers from Nangui by the looks of it, led by a demon with great horns. Troublesome quarry, he thought, tough by nature, tough in flesh. And tricksy. So very tricksy. The rest were humans, one of them a gnoll. A bit sinewy, not to his taste, and the slaves too lean. And what was this coming out of the boat? A mummy? Now, that really WOULD be disgusting. No, it was a succulent human traveller for him – soft skin and a few shiny objects to take home and admire.

Ah, they were fighting! Excellent! Some quick movers, flyers too. The nkosi was on his own but in a field of tentacles. Not a good place to land, Tharn thought. My gosh, what a flurry of magic they display. But one of them seemed to be avoiding the fight and moving into the open desert. Nice garb, some shiny metal and far enough away from the conflict. Ideal!

Tharn’s wingtips flicked slightly to change position before he drew the appendages to his side and dropped like a stone toward the young priest standing alone on a desert dune. Tharn saw the young man’s eyes just before he collided. They looked like they were praying in vain to some unknown god. Those eyes would never see again.

So ends the life of Ali Akbar, Rune Oracle of ATEN.

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The Grave Tale of a Horse with No Name

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“The Sarklan is a harsh and unforgiving place. To the North of Siwal lies the Sands of Sorrow, where many an adventurer has sealed his doom, but to the south are the great Plains of Oblivion – larger in area than the Sands of Sorrow, and teeming with many dangers. Traders are less in number but enemies abound.”

“Drought swallows swarm in flocks of utter dessication, lone demons and devils from Languria will stride forth in great malice, taking their anger out on unwary travellers. But deadlier still are the sand drakes, masters of sky and dune. Wicked, vengeful creatures that may lie unseen in desert sands, or follow prey for days upon end flying high in the air and waiting for oppourtunity.”

“Some say the sand drakes speak and indeed many sided with the Nurians in the wars against the Mharoti Empire, but they are no friends of human, dwarf or gnoll, and would much rather eat than talk.”

“Further south, along the shores of the Great Green River, the land is easier to travel. Narrow green banks offer fresh food for horses and camels, but little else. There is great natural power along the route of this river and those who can tap into the power of Leylines will attest to this.”

“Keep your muzzle clean, my brother, for the humans shall drive you hard through this land.”

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Oh my God I can't believe it....

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Achmed: Look, I know what I saw and it was a monster! Many eyes, many mouths, blobby and dangerous.
Malik: Just listen to yourself. Monster? Blobby? Are you sure you didn’t stir black salt into your tea instead of sugar?
Achmed: No, ask Emile, he saw it too.
Emile: Sure did! It was a monster alright. The size of an elephant. Three dozen eyes. Hundreds of teeth. Howled like a demon it did.
Malik: Oh, and when was the last time YOU heard a demon howl?
Emile: I heard one before, out near the Necropolis one night.
Malik: Phah! And you say those Northern SLIMES were fighting the thing?
Emile: I think they call themselves OOOZES, not SLIMES
Malik: Whatever….
Emile: Yes, fighting it.
Achmed: It swallowed their Nkosi priest.
Malik: Dead?
Achmed: Well, that’s just it, you see….
Emile: Thoth-Hermes came down from the sky and blew the monster away.
Malik: Now, you really HAVE been eating the wrong sort of spice. Thoth-Hermes, you say…
Emile: Huge body. Ibis head. Floating in the Air. Thoth-Hermes.
Malik: And what did he say as he blew away this giant monstrosity of teeth and eyes with his tiny Ibis mouth?
Emile: I don’t know what he said, but he brought that Nkosi priest back to life in an instant.
Malik: Then I suppose he just disappeared in a puff of smoke…?
Achmed: No smoke. Thoth-Hermes does not use cheap tricks.
Malik: Of course. Why would he? Well, no matter, I’m still not joining your church. I’ll say a few silent prayers to Aten tonight and ask that he keeps us all safe.

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A hunt for the Howlers
Adventure Log by Dragathorian

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Rumours were abounding, blasphemers were hunting the chosen of the Gods within Siwal. A blasphemy without bounds nor seeming reason. The name, or perhaps title, Howling God began to circulate in hushed, fearful whispers. Perhaps this was the beginning of darker things to come, the slaying of Clergymen a herald of a far more sinister end.

The Oozes had decided to investigate these dark deeds, in no small part, as an end to the tale might grant Arcael a greater inspiration on his next ballad about his mighty deeds. May-hap finally crush Peter and his lesser Dumplings on the musical stage and as such banish their fowl mockery of music forever from his divine life!

As the Oozes passed through the marketplace on their way to the great library to research this cult, a mysterious assassin passed by Xavier who was at the head of the party and stabbed Saabu. Fortunately, due to both his cat like reflexes and hardy constitution the wound was not a fatal one and the mysterious liquid oozing from the blade could not overcome him. Unperturbed by the results the assassin left at a run, proclaiming that the Howling God had come for Saabu’s life. Xavier took off after the perpetrator at a run drawing his blade and demanding that the surrounding civilians clear him a path in the name of justice. Three lowly thugs failed to heed his warnings and had the audacity to even draw blade and swing at the furious warrior. One was sent to the ground, however the other two successfully barred his path, allowing the assassin to melt away into the bustling streets. Arcael a tower of wroth at, what he saw as a personal slight to himself, sent a flaming ball of death at the three, incinerating them instantly. A short interview with the guards later and the group were back on their way towards the halls of knowledge.

The group found out from an elderly ex Paladin, Qusay abd R’ad, that the Cult of The Howling God was ejected from the great city of Siwal some twenty years ago due to the deplorable ritual of human sacrifice used in their worship. Also, that he happened to be one of the people to originally oust the group in the first place. An important part of this story, that he’d forgotten, was to be revealed later with somewhat tragic consequences. The group surmised from this information that the killings may then be some part of a grand scheme of vengeance towards certain groups of priests and that the Ex paladin may be on that list of targets. The man was now a judge for the poorer parts of the city, this would put him out in the open and thus vulnerable. So, the Oozes decided to play the waiting game and observe R’ad at work hoping the assassins may strike at him granting the perfect opportunity to pounce. Alas no attack came and even worse news another priest had been slain, Jafsa daughter of Yusra a priestess of Aten, a woman also normally surrounded by guards slain at her prayers. The group found little at the scene of death.

Back at the library an acquaintance of Saabu, Wasimah the Eldest, had learned of an artefact held by the Howling Cultists. The Bottle of Madness, that apparently contained a djinn or a demon or some other monstrosity that would serve its wielders and that the man to ask about this terrible artefact was none other than theex-Paladin they had just left. Slightly annoyed by this the party returned to the man. Seemingly a strong magic was placed on this bottle to prevent its opening but there was a bloodline flaw that (apparently) allows the seal to be broken by the blood of a priest of Aten and unfortunately a priest had just been slain.

Arcael went to the The House of Mehmet to put out feelers in the underground for the poison the assassins were using while Goran went to see a man about a dog. Memet promised that his cousin Ishmael al-Turk would try to find out more about the Cultists within the caravanserai. While Goran received some information that the Howling Cultists may well actually be operating out of, or at least through, the House of Memet. He also received a tipoff that there was a gathering of the Cult taking place a short way out of town by a local oasis. Arceal decided that should Memet or anyone else for that matter betray him, his entire family and operations would be forfeit in a sea of fire. Having little else for the moment to go on, the group followed up on the secret oasis meeting.

What they found was a group of cultish looking people howling every so often during a rather strange sermon. The original plan had been to take a couple of them alive for some ‘gentle questioning’ however as these things go only one was spared the brutal massacre that commenced, with a possible unseen second fleeing the scene. From this unfortunate soul one, Anwar el-Iblrahim, a fanatical cleric of Aten known to Saabu Theet, they learned he’d come to hopefully watch them die in recompense for killing a god. The Oooze handed him in to the church and later learned that the “secret cult meeting” was all a ruse to lure the minstrels to their death. Luckily, The Oooze are not so easily killed.

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