Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Session Forty-Nine: Fade to Black

Note: For those unfamiliar with Dark Sun, psionics are called the Will for wild talents and the Way for trained psionicists.
Julius ran past the members of his group, into the cave opening. He urged his fellows to follow him, yelling about the giant arachnid. Abilkisu and Shade also noticed the large scorpion-spider.
Alaxander didn't see the creature, but trusted Julius and used the way to make himself insubstantial. He then ran through the cave wall, into the raging sandstorm outside. Vashti, spurred on by Abilkisu, ran for the door as well.
Shade saw another passage way and ran toward it, instead of following the party. Kiara followed Shade, believing he saw something she did not. Kalino decided to follow Vashti and Abilkisu, believing that Shade was just crazy.
The creature scuttled forward, ignoring Shade and Kiara, and going straight toward Abilkisu. Abilkisu fired his crossbow, but his bolt bounced off the creature's chitin. Kalino cast magic missile, but the creature's natural magic resistance ignored the spell. 
Vashti cast a spell and a hammer made of water appeared next to her. Alaxander moved back into the cave, when he realized that no one was following him into the storm. He then used the way to punch the monster. Julius used the way to throw a rock at the spider-scorpion, but missed. Shade fired two arrows at the creature, but both were unable to penetrate its carapace. Kiara magically healed Shade, who had been damaged by the storm. Kalino unsheathed his chitin-bladed khopesh and waited for the creature to approach.
The monster rushed forward and grabbed Abilkisu in one of its claws. Kalino attacked and wounded the creature, but it did not release Abilkisu. With its other claw, the arachnid cut Abilkisu in half at the waist. As the halves of Abilkisu fell to the cave floor, Vashti screamed.
Vashti sent her water hammer to attack the creature and it was able to beat the monsters spell resistance. Alaxander moved away from the creature and used the way to punch it again. Julius tried to throw a rock at it, with the way, but failed to concentrate. Shade shot two more arrows and this time one found a gap in the arachnid's chitin. Having no ranged weapons, Kiara held back. Kalino slashed at the monster again, doing superficial damage.
The spider-scorpion grabbed both halves of Abilkisu and retreated away from the group. It was moving toward the passageway that Shade and Kiara were not occupying.
The group used their ranged attacks as the monster retreated, but no one rushed forward to attack it. The creature quickly retreated into the the darkness and was lost from view.
The group waited a few seconds and then Vashti declared that she was going to follow. Her plan was to use some of the unknown liquid they had recovered from the ancient ogre ruins to bring her back, the same way she was raised from the dead. Abilkisu may have plant issues, Vashti reasoned, but at least he would be alive.
Shade and Kiara agreed to assist Vashti, but everyone else wanted to hold back. Vashti used her scroll of firelight to create a fire on a rock. The fire gave off no heat and would not burn, but it provided light. Vashti, Shade, and Kiara moved slowly down the tunnel.
They reached an opening and saw the spider-scorpion feasting on Abilkisu's corpse. Vashti's magical hammer was almost depleted, so she quickly ordered it to attack. It missed. Shade fired two arrows and one was able to damage the monster. Kiara held, waiting for it to come to them.
The creature dropped its meal and charged forward. It sliced into Shade with its claws and stung him with its tail. Shade felt extreme pain, but the feeling quickly passed with no ill effect. Kiara attacked the monster with her bone wrist razors and was able to crack its carapace. Upon hearing combat begin, Alaxander and Kalino ran down the passage to assist.
Vashti used the water hammer again and, again, it failed to strike the monster. Shade dropped his bow and grabbed his bone alhuluk and iron dagger. He missed with his alhuluk and the dagger slipped from his grasp and got lodged in the cave's roof. Kiara was able to strike the creature and caused some ichor to drip from the cracks in its carapace. Kalino and Alaxander arrived.
The creature slashed Shade again with one claw and tried to crush him with the other. It also stung Shade with its tail. Shade felt agonizing pain for a moment, but it quickly passed again.
Vashti's hammer disappeared and she had no ranged weapons, or healing spells, so she offered moral support to her companions. Alaxander used the way to punch the monster and its chitinous carapace cracked open. The creature's sandy colored ichor ran from its many cracks and wounds. The monster stumbled and twitched, before collapsing to the ground in its death throes.
Vashti ran forward with the jar of blue liquid in her hand. Upon seeing Abilkisu's corpse, however, she knew it was pointless to try and raise him. The monster had devoured Abilkisu'd head.
While everyone was gather the remaining pieces of Abilkisu's body, Julius was waiting in the outer cave. A large shadow blocked the cavern entrance and Julius turned to investigate. He saw Jessel standing in the entrance. Jessel greeted Julius with a smile.
After gathering Abilkisu's body, Shade and Kalino searched the spider-scorpion's liar. Among the remains of the creature's previous victims, they found three pieces of fruit that were unspoiled, a cherry, a banana, and a prickly pear.
They took the remains of Abilkisu to the main cavern chamber and greeted Jessel. Jessel explained that he had been lead to the cave by his elemental lords. He had some healing spells available and healed the group the best he could. He gave his condolences for Abilkisu's untimely demise. He used magic to entomb Abilkisu's remains and create a cairn for him.
He also used stone shape to write Abilkisu's name on the wall. Kiara, who could read and write in the Urikite language, showed Jessel how to make the marks. Jessel secretly wrote Abilkisu's name on a rock to take with him. He was planning to use it to begin his study in literacy.
After the burial, the group rested for twenty minutes. They drank some water and ate some of their rations. Shade watched the storm raging outside and guessed that the storm would last until midday tomorrow. 
The Eye of Earth jumped down from Alaxander and ran to Jessel. Alaxander and Julius explained what the eye of earth was, where it came from, and what it had told Julius. Jessel accepted the eye of earth as his companion. He questioned it a bit to see if the eye could understand him. It could.
The group decided to follow the second passageway and see if danger awaited them. They walked down the passage and Jessel could see that it had been carved by intelligent hands. The tunnel grew smaller and everyone was forced to crouch; Jessel had to crawl.
The passage was long and showed many alcoves and short hallways. The tunnel eventually opened into a larger area, with a dozen small stone huts. Inside the huts were old, tattered blankets, and stone furniture. In the center of the small cavern was a well.
Jessel and Vashti peeked into the well and saw that it descended into pure darkness. Vashti threw a stone into the well and waited. She heard nothing.
Shade approached and threw a torch into the well. They watched the torch fall into the darkness and disappear. Alaxander was the most curious and gathered ropes from everyone. Vashti tied them together and then to Alaxander. Alaxander took the stone with the false fire for light.
Jessel lowered Alaxaner into the well and lowered him slowly. He saw the bottom after approximately one hundred thirty feet and yelled for Jessel to stop lowering him. Strangely, there was no torch, or stone, on the ground. Alaxander took a wooden spoon from his pack and dropped it on the dirt. It sat there, unmoving for a few moments, but them slowly sank into it and disappeared.
Alaxander yelled to Jessel to lower him again. Jessel did so and Alaxander touched the ground. He began slowing sinking into it and was surprised that it was not quicksand and was not wet at all. As the sand was approaching Alaxander's neck, he felt his foot break through the sand and felt like it was touching nothing.
Alaxander called out for Jessel to stop and Jessel stopped. Alaxander explained what he felt and that he was planning to sink al the way through the sand to find out what was in the void below him. Since he could not shout, he would wiggle the rope instead. Jessel shouted that he understood and began lowering Alaxander again. It wasn't long before Alaxander's head sunk below the sand.
Alaxander emerged from the sandy ceiling of a cavern. It was extremely dark, but he could see the torch, still burning, below him. He used the way to move the false fire stone around the cavern. There were stalagmites and stalactites, with carved pathways on the ground. He saw three short tunnels leading out of the carven also. Not wanting to drop to the floor yet, he wiggled the rope.
Jessel had no idea that Alaxander was okay, so when he felt the rope being wiggled, he pulled Alaxander up as fast as he could. Alaxander hit the sand ceiling and edge of the well's walls. He suffered some minor scrapes, but was otherwise okay.
When he was drawn up, he explained what he had seen and everyone was intrigued. Jessel asked the eye of earth to investigate the well, since it was a skilled climber. The eye left Jessel and went into the well.
The group planned to all go into the well, but decided to rest first. There were a few hours left in the day, so they made sure their pack animals were well, and then rested. They then setup a watch rotation and went to sleep. The eye of earth did not return.

Day 17, Week 2, Fortuary, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, Sun Descending
Upon waking, Vashti preached her sermon and created water. They made sure they had food and water. Jessel said they could not go too far from the well, as the plane of earth had no natural air source. Everyone understood. They made sure to feed and water their pack animals before leaving them.
Vashti checked their ropes to make sure they were still tied together well. She then tied one of the ends to a stationary carved stone near the well. Jessel wanted to go first and barely squeezed down the well. Some of the stones scratched his broad shoulders, but Jessel thought it was a small price to pay if the well was a portal to the plane he worshiped. Alaxander went next, followed by Vashti, Kalino, and Julius in the rear.
Upon entering the cavern, Jessel couldn't see much, but felt the connection to his elemental lord strengthened. When he reached the ground he moved his torch around to get a good look. Standing near him was a humanoid made of rock and earth with a large, unblinking, orange pupiled eye. He recognized the creature as the eye of earth.
In the elemetal plane, the eye of earth was able to speak and informed everyone that the lords of earth had lead them all to the plane. It explained that the plane was fighting for its very survival against the forces of silt and magma. It agreed to show them to a community of living creatures nearby.
They followed the eye into the small tunnels. The tunnels were very cramped and Jessel was forced to crawl through them. They emerged into a wide, but low cavern. Jessel had to stoop. In the cavern were more small stone huts and many strange little people.
The people were the height of dwarves, but were not as broad. They had dark brown, gray, or yellowish skin. Their eyes were completely white and had no pupil. They looked up in wonder at the elemental and the other visitors.
They tried to communicate with the people with the various languages they knew. After awhile, they found a person who could speak gith. Vashti spoke gith and served as a translator. The little person said his people were called pechs and he had learned gith from a gith earth shaman from Athas.
Jessel, through Vashti, asked if they could possibly get assistance for their battle against the sorcerer kings. They asked to trade for any metals, or gems that could assist them. The pech did not have much use for gems, but metals might be available; although the war was making excess metal extremely scarce.
Suddenly, there was a crash from the opposite side of the cavern. There was shouting and panic among the pech. Vashti asked what was going on and the pech replied that it appeared that they were under attack.

Join us in two weeks for another exciting episode of Adventures Under the Dark Sun.

2nd edit Join ion AD&D Dark Sun Cast of Player Characters
Julius: Human male psychokinetic. 22 years old. Played by Dave. Speaks Balican, Tyrian, and Giant.
Alaxander: Human male psychokinetic. 18 years old. Played by Ben. Speaks Balican, Tyrian, and Elf.
Vashti: Human female clairsentient/water cleric. 20 years old. Played by my wife. Speaks Nibnese, Gith, Tyrian, and Balican.
Shade: Half-Elf male ranger/thief, 18 years old. Played by Chad. Speaks Balican, Elf and Tyrian.
Kalino: Human male fighter/preserver. 20 years old. Party NPC. Speaks Rammin, Tyrian, and Balican.
Special Guest Star: Jessel: Half-Giant male earth cleric. 30 years old. Played by Nate. Speaks Giant and Tyrian. 

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