Friday, 4 February 2011

Dark Sun Marauders (Season 1, Chapter 5)

These posts are copies of the summary emails I write for our DnD group.  The current adventure is a return to the world of Dark Sun.  Whilst effort was taken to follow Dark Sun canon, there are undoubtedly bits where our story strays or contradicts stuff.  We're aware, and not playing to create new canon, but to have fun.  So, read on and enjoy!
 Silver Spring oasis has long stood as a vital stop on the trade route between Urik and Tyr. Its longevity in a desert filled with dangerous monsters and brutal bandits is a testament to the skill of the Silver Hand elves who have guarded the fortified oasis for generations.  Rhotan Vor believed that their chieftain, Toramund, could tell them much about the dangers that infest the nearby canyons, as well as give advice on what areas may hold such things as the vault.  This information, he hoped, could prove invaluable to them, and aid their search greatly.

Unfortunately, the party were not the only ones trying to get an audience with Toramund.   Kuoroar! was initially mistaken to be another slave of Ulruun the Repugnant, who was currently camped on the northern side of the oasis. Fortunately, the elves did not know that Kuoroar (as well as Gretchan) was indeed one of Ulruun's slaves - an escaped one, at that.  Whilst they do not like or wish to trade with the slavers, they would also not harbour escaped slaves, lest that bring the wrath of Ulruun and his men down upon the oasis.

Garidius was eventually able to win them some time with the elven chieftain, and with a lot of bartering, displays of endurance and skill, and a considerable amount of smooth talking, Toramund was won over to their cause.  He even let them know of their hidden psionic potential, with which Garidius and Gretchan immediately displayed ability.

That evening, as the sun set and the desert cooled to merely uncomfortable levels of heat, the team set out for the Canyon of Gothay. Although in part an actual canyon, a natural rift many centuries ago resulted in half of the canyon to fall a hundred feet or more, throwing the other half up just as far.  The resulting terrain was not only dangerous, but riddled with numerous caverns that needed exploring. 

After numerous hours of searching, and a few near-misses with what appeared to be ankheg lairs, a large cavern filled with dead bodies was discovered.  These bodies included the fairly recent dead, other natural predators that had died over the years, and two teams of dwarves from decades ago.  It was the oldest dead that attacked.

The undead soldiers of Madar, as well as what was once an assassin of House Tsalaxa, were still fighting, though their lives had long since ended.  Something in this area had destroyed the natural order, and their conflict seemed eternal...even if it were stilled at times.  With the dead defeated, the party moved into the vault proper.  Rhotan elected to stay outside with the wagons and his men.

The inside of the vault was carved stone, and aside from a large crack in the entrance chamber (through which Kuoroar! dropped, and decided that the continuing tunnel was clearly not part of the vault, and thus wouldn't lead to the treasure), the place looked quite untouched.  That was, until they reached the Ancestor Hall....and discovered that they were the ones disturbing the tomb.

Wisps and skeletal soldiers leapt at them, whilst arcane glyphs on the tombs caused creeping, incorporeal hands to lash out at those who strode too close by.  And by the time Tak-tha had discovered the hidden compartment beneath the stone throne, Zadusic was unconscious.  Not even Beren's expert healing skills could revive the ranger before he had taken serious damage.

Once the glyphs had been destroyed or deactivated, the compartment and it's strange door could be further examined.  A huge slab of smooth, dark, smoky-coloured material stretched across the recessed wall, charred bones and small heaps of ash rested at its base.  There was no visible means of shifting, raising, or lowering it, leaving Tak-tha to wonder if it was a door at all.

The monk tried to approach it, but a blast of energy knocked him back.  Garidius and Gretchan moved up and together disabled the traps and spells protecting the silver wall, finally allowing it to slide downward into the ground, and reveal a short passageway that leads to another room.  Even from the small alcove, chests, racks of weapons, and other amazing valuables could be seen piled around the chamber.  The treasure of Darom Madar had been found!

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