Campaign of the Month: May 2016
PYRAMID OF THE BLACK SANDS
Pyramid of Black Sands Short Notes
To be continued after The Howling God.
Still to decide if there is to be a concert at the beginning of this section. Perhaps not. Perhaps move straight into this adventure after despatching the Assassin in THE HOWLING GOD.
All Party Members should still be on Level Nine from previous adventure (Howling God)
Extend desert travel to give a flavour of desert and allow some Ley Line stuff.
GROUP: Account of Kenneth Zabinda – this could be either to Goran or to Saabu. If it is done through Goran, the main thing will be that it concerns a Black Pyramid seemingly unplundered, but possibly guarded by the strange human and dwarven residents in the nearby village. Kenneth’s party only stayed one night. They didn’t like the feel of the place. The villagers seemed friendly enough, but a little odd.
SAABU: If Kenneth’s story is investigate by Saabu, it will have more of a leaning towards his own private quest for the last resting place of the Tablets of Emerald Wisdom. (See Extra Hook below)
See PLAYER AID Kenneth Zabinda (Saved in Adventure Notes Modules)
Saabu Theet has his own hook for this as well. Before THE HOWLING GOD he had been reading info in the old library re EMERALD TABLETS OF WISDOM. “…for before the closing of the Temple, the sacred tablets were taken south, through the desert to a place of black sands….” He has also read that this place is located South of Makuria, near the source of the Green Nuria River.
Saabu Theet had been researching stuff pertaining to the Emerald Tablets of Wisdom, reading about the Pyramid of Black Sands. Just before gig at Blue Water Inn, he heard that a caravan from the Deep South was staying at The House of Mehmet and that one of the merchants, Kenneth Zabinda, had been talking about “The Village of Black Sands”.
On hearing information about the Black Pyramid from Kenneth Zabinda, the group will travel south for about two weeks to reach Black Sands. Prior investigation may unearth some ancient stories of the serpent king Vaashkennathka and possibly even details of the Plateau of Leng.
The villagers will seem friendly at first but their sacred duty is to prevent anyone from entering the pyramid at any cost, but worse than that, their beliefs have become corrupted over the ages so that they also now believe they should turn over any travellers to their rulers for enslavement and experimentation. They did not attack Kenneth Zabinda because he had a very large caravan and they left very early. However, they will try to capture the party on the first night. None of them even know what is in the pyramid any more, just that they need to guard it. They believe that their rulers, Kesophoth, Aharamun and Tahnakophet and about nine other upper class members are descended from some great saviour in their past, although they do not know his name.
Not even the three Fiendish rulers have any idea of what is in the pyramid. All that they know is that they are descendants of the great saviours Tsourga and Vuldeng who long ago returned to the DIMENSION OF DREAMS.
The party will inevitably make their way inside the pyramid, overcome the false ways, unnatural corridors, and false tombs to eventually find the eternal rising place of Vaashkennathka, guarded by the Ubashti. When finding the Phylactery they will not be able to destroy it without a WISH spell and must decide what to do about the rising of the ancient serpent lich.
Vaashkennathka had found denizens of Leng and brought them back to experiment on them and torture them to get their secrets. Much power he gained as he tortured and killed all but two of the people of Leng. These two had encouraged the villagers to rise up against the serpent at the time of his LICH awakening, disrupting the spell but unable to stop it completely or destroy the phylactery. The Pyramid was set up by Tsourga and Vuldeng using magic from the DIMENSION OF DREAMS to build the pyramid to stop the rising of Vaashkennathka. Eventually they returned to their own realm, leaving the citizens of the village, now ruled by offspring of the people of Leng – fiendish humans and dwarves – to guard the pyramid.
There is no ley line in this area. It is completely suppressed by the magic of the Black Sands. However, on the way to the area, the line from Siwal, which was a WEAK LEY LINE (lev 3 spells): Locked: Penetrating Spell becomes TITANIC when it joins the Green Nuria River – Locked: Echoing Spell DC= 10 + Lev of Spell to use!
Travel to the Sands
This will involve over 2 weeks’ travel by caravan (approx 18 days), 6 days if by sandship. Stop at desginated oases along the way to avoid death by thirst and exposure. Steps should also be taken to protect against the elements. First week of travel: Locked Leyline: Penetrating Spell/Oases/Encounters: 2 x Caravan Train/2 x Monster (Sand Drake + Swalllows); Second Week of travel: Along the line of the Green Nuria: Locked Leyline: Echoing Spell//2 x Monster – 1 to be experienced GEOMANCER/; Last day or two of travel: Locked Leyline: Echoing Spell (until Black Sands)/No encounters/All very quiet….
1. Sand Drake – will chase until better chance of food is presented
2. Drought Swallows see Southlands Bestiary p47
3. Rustlords (pack of three) See PFSRD
4. God: No NEED – Thoth has already appeared in Siwal
5. Slavers from Nangui – Slave Ship embarking – Demon + Geomancers
6. Black Monk of the Southern Sarklan
Arrive at the place in the desert from the North. Journey would be about two weeks from Siwal.
Pyramid is the first thing to be seen. Dark and somewhat crooked. Read description p121. All sand is black and a small village nestles next to the pyramid. Details of town on p121. Humans/Dwarves and small upper class of 12, ruled by Kesophoth, Aharamun and Taknokophet.
Under no circumstances will the villagers sell magical items or any spellcasting services to visitors.
Most forms of teleportation and planar travel do not work in the area of the Black Sands.
Detect Magic cast on the sand will reveal ancient traces of abjuration, conjuration, transmutation and necromancy!
There is one very large building in the village, which seems to sort of Church like, although it is not like any church you have seen before, and it is locked and boarded. If villagers are asked, they will say it is private council chambers for the elite. They tell the party that the elite will often lock themselves away if they are not to be disturbed.
This building is the Laboratory and Inner Sanctum of Vaashkennathka, now used by the fiendish elite. The rest of the village consists of small dwellings and workshops.
There will usually always be four fiendish villagers inside. See p123 and p124.
The plan of the villagers is to be friendly and hospitable – but remember +2 bonus to any Sense Motive – and attack the players at night to drag them into the laboratory for experiments. The leaders will avoid contact but one of the main three may have a short conversation with the characters. At all times, they will all advise against any approach of the Pyramid.
Read description on p126.
Can enter by themselves or in escaping from villagers. See pyramid details p125.
GENERAL: Passageway ceilings 15’/ Chambers 20’/ Doors H8 HP150 Break DC30. Most unlocked but DC12 STR to open. Locked doors require DC28 Disable Device. No Lights Inside
Take special note of WIERDNESS of corridors, etc. on p125 – See Unnatural Corridors and Unnatural Points. Get Familiar with TABLES on p126
PLAYER AID Random Encounters – Get details ready See p125
Entrance and False Tomb p127
See Trap and UNDEAD (Outside, Chaotic, Evil, Extra Planar) with SYMBOL OF INSANITY on sarcophagus lid. Unless PCs are incredibly quiet, Mummy throws off lid when nearest person comes within 10’. This immediately sets of SYMBOL Trap Get INFO SYMBOL OF INSANITY
Note SECRET DOOR – hard to find.
4 Bars of Silver 200GP each, Alexandrite Choker 1500 GP, Sandals of Quick Reaction, Assorted Gold Ornaments 5,000 GP
Secret Door and Passage – See p128 and p129
Area 4: The Door that is NOT – See p129 (See Unnatural Points and Unnatural Corridors)
Down to 5. Second False Tomb: Ghost and Guardians/Pillars p130
Ghost will follow the characters anywhere except AREA 8 and can only be fully destroyed when the Phylactery is destroyed. Crystalline Demon fights to the death. Pillars also fight until destroyed.
Check Ghost details, get info for Demon – Southlands Bestiary p36 and Pillars p78
Area 6: Servants’ Chamber
Living Statues and Animated Furniture Get Info from PFSRD
Spiral Staircase up to Room 7.
Room 7 VAULT OF NIGHTMARE – leakage from DIMENSION OF DREAMS p131
ANIMATE DREAM and BAD DREAMS IN THE WALL – see p131 and GET INFO from PFSRD.
The Four Ankhats cannot leave this room. The ANIMATE DREAM can leave the room to follow PCs but as soon as it does there is a 95% chance it will be whisked to Room 8.
Room 7a EMERALD CHAMBER
A dark green passageway cut and tiled with jade leads into a small room that has a strange green glow. There are two lecturns in this room on either side of a teleportation circle next to a small device that looks something like a sundial. There is a jade plaque on the wall with numbers and names. On closer inspection, the dial looks like: “Show Roulette Wheel”
LECTURN ONE has two buttons that appear to be connected to the dial. They do not work.
LECTURN TWO has four Emerald Clips at the corners of depressions that seem to be made for writing tablets of some kind. These depressions are now empty.
This whole room was once magical but this has long ago been destroyed by the seepage into the chamber from the Dimension of Dreams. This was once a very important teleportation chamber. It is now permanently broken and will never work again.
AREA 8: Dimensional Engine p132
Read this carefully. There are currently a few creatures trapped in here. All will be hostile. The ANIMATE DREAM may also be here if it tried to follow any PCs out of Room 7.
GET INFO on Xharsh – Southlands Bestiary p114 and Hound of Tindalos PFSRD
Area 9 THE GREAT GALLERY p133
Need to go back through the DOOR THAT IS NOT. (See p129 and Unnatural Corridors/Unnatural Points)% Then new Door DC 28 Disable Device Many carvings and writings in many languages:
”Cursed and damned be he whosoever opens these doors”
Delayed Summon Monster Trap as well as Life Draining Floor Trap and Symbol of Stunning. See p133. Summon Monster is 3 Large Air Elementals that only arrive 2 rounds after trap is sprung.
Three Ushabti in the Last Chamber with the mutilated body on the floor. They are continually mutilating the body so that it never forms. If attacked, two of them may chase after the party but one will always remain mutilating the corpse. This is, of course, the corpse of Vaashkennathka
The Phylactery is in a small tube 20 feet further back in the wall of the tomb. It is protected by the BREATH OF THE DESERT Trap p134 and it is also hard to get hold of.
RE-READ AREA 11 PLAINS OF NOWHERE p134
Not sure of how this fits in – there are two Hounds of Tindalos
END OF ADVENTURE:
Read p135 – Whether the PCs take the phylactery or leave it here, it once again begins reforming the ancient Serpent-Lich. Best course would be to allow Ushabti’s to carry on. Phylactery needs a WISH spell or MAGE’s DISJUNCTION to be destroyed. If this is not done quickly, Vaashkennathka will form and immediately come looking for his phylactery.
Possibly explaining the pyramid to the villagers will convince them to take on guardianship of the Lich Mutilation, but they will still want to kill the PCs.
See if players come up with any ingenious plans. IT WOULD BE EXTREMELY BAD NEWS FOR ALL OF NURIA NATAL FOR THE SERPENT LICH TO COME TO FRUITION!
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