Friday, 5 April 2013

Dark Sun Marauders (Season 3, Chapter 3)

These posts are from our DnD group's latest game.  The current adventure is a return to the world of Dark Sun.  In the previous seasons (the first run by me, the second run by Richard), the party were involved with hunting through Kalak's pyramid, confirming if the Sorcerer-King was truly dead, and retrieving the Orb of Dust.  The group is currently readying Tyr against the invading Urik army. 
Kulo, did not like the dark.  Some might even say that it made him angry...but he was already angry.  The dark merely made him broody as well.  And the sled ride did little to change either emotion.

The smugglers had disappeared by the time the party was well enough to continue after them, and though there was only one tunnel leading out from the cave beneath the potter's shop, it soon became two; and their paths continued to split.  This was not an easy game of chasing down their foe, rather, they had to search slowly, and after their first slip-up, a little more carefully, too.

The tunnels were lined with a rickety set of tracks, most likely used by the smugglers to quickly take their stolen goods away. In all, one could say it was an impressive infrastructure, large and well-maintained, if you could look past the occasional pit-fall.  How it had been built under Tyr was a mystery they didn't bother with just yet.  Rather, the group grabbed some of the simple sleds, attached them to the rails, and raced off into the darkness.

Kulo, took the lead, trying to hold onto the wooden sled with one hand, and the flickering torch that threatened to go out at every turn with his other.  The small sphere of light revealed all too little of the passageway, and with the others clacking their way behind him, thoughts of controlling the sled were left behind.  There were a few occasions where the opportunity to catch a lever as he raced past were presented, which would have sent him down one of the other paths, but he did not want to risk dropping the torch - or letting go of the sled.  Plus, he thought, if the others raced passed here, chances are they didn't have time to change the levers after they went down one of the forks!

Unfortunately, though it seemed a sound hypothesis, Kulo, had never even heard of the term "hypothesis", and they ended up sprawled over the floor of a damp cavern...without Kuoroar!. Kal'kin was quick to take the other torch around, scouting the edges of the cave, until his light went out.  As he struggled to re-ignite it, Kulo,'s torch went out, and the party were left in inky blackness. And, naturally, were attacked.

The skirmish proved difficult, as none of the party excelled at attacking things they couldn't see, but once they managed to get a light back on long enough to reveal the creature, it was easy enough to finish it off.  The shadowy, slimy lump left behind was curious, but Kulo, was more interested in his son, who had finally returned to the group after taking a wrong turn.

Together once more, the team back-tracked to the last turn, and continued on the descent, hoping to find their foe without another dead end.  Fortune was not with them, as they were instead lead into a spider's den - spiders that were as large as a horse, and who could phase through the air as if the concept of space meant nothing.  That fight was decidedly more sticky, with Kal'kin's fast-moving attacks being turned away by the creature's ability to throw its enemy through space.  Even Beren struggled, his usual slow nature only accented by the webs used to catch the party.

Once more, they trekked back up the tunnels, and took an alternate route.  This time, surely, they were going the right way...but they did not have the opportunity to confirm it.  Underneath Kulo,'s bulk, a section of weak tracks collapsed, throwing him, Beren, Kal'kin, and Paelias (their eladrin tinker companion) down the crevice below.  Kuoroar! only just managed to stop before he, too, fell down the gaping underground hole, but that stop allowed him to descend at a much more leisurely pace.  

They had fallen into a collection of rooms - caves, really - connected by smaller, man-sized tunnels.  Everything was, of course, dark.  It took time to get the torches set up, but nothing seemed to stir - not until they had made their way through four different caverns, each with their own collection of dead husks of other lost folk - adventurers, smugglers, prisoners, or whatever they once were was unclear.  What was known was that they had died down here, and not by natural causes.  Their life, their bodily fluids, all had been sucked away, leaving just husks of their former selves behind.  Dried husks, scattered over the floor.  

As the group was starting to think that climbing out quickly was a good idea, the thrax attacked.  They must have waited until the party was in the worst possible position - Kal'kin, out front and scouting, took the brunt of the attack, whilst Beren and Kulo, were trapped in the tunnel, and Kuoroar! was prevented from charging into battle.  Thankfully, Paelias was ready to empower the group with his restorative magic, keeping them not only on their feet, but giving them numerous enchantments to tip the scales in their favour.  The thri-kreen almost ended up being a husk a number of times, but the dead were, ultimately, returned to their proper state, and the all-but-broken party huddled together, their torch-light flickering low, and their thoughts on just how they were going to get out.

And Kulo, dwelt on just how much he hated the dark.

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