Tuesday, May 14, 2019

Session Nineteen: Bringing Home the Dead

Note: For those unfamiliar with Dark Sun, psionics are called the Will for wild talents and the Way for trained psionicists.

Ral on the left and Guthay on the right.
The group set up watch and slept under two waning moons, Ral and Guthay. Julius kept the first watch, followed by Shade, then Alaxander, and lastly Kalino.

Day 15, Week 2, Dominary, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, High Sun

They awoke after a quiet, peaceful night. Checking on Vashti, it was obvious she needed more time to heal. They fed and watered the group, the children, and the livestock. Kalino and Julius worked on Kalino's chitin khopesh. Shade played with Spike. Jamil watched over Vashti and fed her tiny bits of water. Alaxander decided to go look for water in the sandy wastes.

He spotted a clump of cacti standing tall in the dunes. Thinking water might be available, Alaxander went to investigate. While Alaxander was looking over the cacti for signs of acquirable water, he did not notice something circling around him. Just as he noticed something slowly and stealthily moving to encircle him, he felt the creature tug tight around him. He was being crushed by a large desert snake. Alaxander tried to cry out, but was unable to collect enough breath.
He gathered the strength inside of himself and used the way. He teleported back to camp and out of the serpent's coils. Alaxander took a few lungfuls of air before explaining that there was a large snake just to the north of camp. Shade and Julius waited and searched for signs of the approaching snake, but after a quarter hour, they decided the snake was not coming toward their camp and stopped their search.
Hours later, Jamil left Vashti to answer natures call. Upon his return to the wagon, Vashti was gone. Jamil caused a commotion, as he could not speak to the rest of the group, and the others came to investigate. Shade looked around and determined that a snake had slithered off with her. The group was ready to follow Shade, as Shade followed the tracks.
Julius reminded the group that the children needed a guard. No one could ask Jamil, because no one spoke his language, and they were pretty sure he would insist on coming. So, Kalino volunteered to stay behind and guard the children.
Fifty foot snake and a six foot human.
Shade lead the adventurers through the sand dunes, following the trail of the serpent. It was spotted a couple hundred yards away. The snake was fifty feet long and had an obvious bulge in the center of it. Shade, Spike, Jamil, and Alaxander ran up to the snake and started attacking it, trying to hit its head and not the Vashti bulge in its middle. Julius used the way to begin freezing the snake.
The snake lashed out at Shade, biting him. The snake was not venomous. Julius, Alaxander, Shade and Spike continued their assault. Jamil accidentally hit the Vashti bulge with his obsidian battleaxe, damaging the snake and Vashti.
Shade and Spike were giving the snake a severe beating, but Julius was the one who gave the snake the final blow. As the snake collapsed, Jamil went to work, chopping quickly just below the reptile's head. Once Jamil finished his gruesome work, he reached inside of the serpent to pull out his employer. They checked to see if Vashti was breathing and were relieved when they saw she was.
Jamil carried her back to the wagons and did his best to clean her up. Kalino congratulated the group on successfully killing the snake. Julius asked Kalino if he could cook the snake for their daily meals and Kalino said he could. Kalino cooked the snake using the hot Athasian sun and everyone agreed it was quite good.
They rested for a few hours more and set up their nightly watch. They laid down on their bedrolls and used their blankets and cloaks to keep warm. The children slept in the wagon with Vashti. Jamil slept on the ground outside.

Day 1, Week 1, Sedulous, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, High Sun

As the sun rose, Vashti opened her eyes. The children shouted to Jamil, which woke up everyone in the camp. Vashti looked at her clothing and skin. She asked what happened. Shade told her about the cat, which she remembered, then Julius told her about the snake. Vashti asked Jamil if she was really eaten by a snake and Jamil confirmed she was, but that they saved her.
Vashti preached a sermon, as best she could, and then used magic to heal herself. She was feeling much better after a few spells, so she healed Spike as well. Everyone broken down their camp and got ready to head out. Afterward, Kalino cooked everyone breakfast and they continued toward Tyr.
After a couple miles, they could see Tyr in the distance. They were excited that they were getting close. An hour before high sun, two large insects burst forth from the sand and attacked Julius and Spike. Spike was severely wounded when the creature crushed him in its mandibles and simultaneously spit acid at its victim. Shade told Spike to flee, which he did. Julius was hurt as well by the insect's vicious attacks.
Ankheg by Tony DiTerlizzi.
Vashti was surprised, but everyone else heard the creatures burrowing upward. Kalino cast a spell and tried to disguise it as the way. He failed to do so, but luckily for him everyone was distracted. Julius used the way to absorb the kinetic energy of the insect's attack and Alaxander ran up to it and attacked with his bone club. Shade struck at the insect, but was having trouble getting through its chitinous shell. Jamil was having similar problems.
The insect bit Shade and its acid burned his exposed flesh. Julius was also bit, but only the acid did damage. Kalino charged the insect and stabbed it with his bone longsword. Alaxander stabbed at the insect with his iron dagger. Vashti used her animal affinity to grow a wyvern's sharped tooth maw. Jamil just kept hacking away at it.
One of the insects bit Shade again and doused him in acid. Shade tried to counter attack, but the creatures chitin was proving difficult to penetrate. Julius continued to absorb the kinetic damage from the second insect's bite, but was still being burned by the acid. Julius tried to use the way to throw rocks, but was having trouble concentrating.
Kalino stabbed the insect attacking Julius and Jamil attacked the one on Shade. Vashti tried to bite the insect attacking Shade, but only left scratches on its chitin. Shade was hit again and fell to the ground. Julius managed to slip his sword between two of the insect's chitin plates and stabbed deep into it. The creature was leaking yellow-brown blood from it's abdomen. Alaxander took advantage of the creature's weakness and finished it off.
Vashti dragged Shade into one of the wagons to heal him. Kalino ran to help Jamil and they both struck at the insect. Alaxander teleported above the remaining bug, so he could use his momentum against it during his next attack. However, before Alaxander could strike, Julius charged the insect and stabbed it fiercely with his bone longsword. Along with the stab, Julius released the kinetic energy he had been storing and the upper portion of the insect exploded upward. Alaxander came down on the insect's carcass and was covered in it's ichor.
Vashti managed to heal Shade enough to get him up and limping. Kalino checked to make sure the children were okay. They were. They continued on toward Tyr.
Tyrian Gate by Tony DiTerlizzi.
As the sun touched the horizon, they reached the farro fields surrounding Tyr. They saw the Templars in their black cassocks and half-giant guards patrolling the gates, they saw the merchants and Elves milling about outside. They didn't know exactly where to go, so they turned around and went back to where the farro fields began. They set up camp outside of the fields and waited.
During Julius' watch, Atkil appeared. He complained that they were so close, all they had to do was take his body to his home. Julius reminded him that they had no idea where his house was. Atkil provided directions and then told him that he would go prepare his reward. Julius was nervous that Atkil might be up to something. He didn't say anything and went to bed when his watch was done.

Day 2, Week 1, Sedulous, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, High Sun

The group was awoken by the smell of cooking sand alligator meat. As they were packing up, Alaxander noticed that his iron dagger was not in its sheath. Alaxander notified the group and they started searching the camp. Shade discovered Elf tracks that lead from the farro field, all around their camp, and back into the farro field. They discussed what to do. They may not have enough money to bribe a Templar, even if they did find the Elf who stole Alaxander's dagger. In the end, they decided to just finish their mission with Atkil.
They followed Atkil's directions through the narrow lanes between the farro fields. They came upon a small hut that met Atkil's description. In front of the hut was a moderately attractive human woman working in the farro field. Vashti approached her, alone as not to startle her. Vashti attempted to speak with her, but it was obvious she had no idea what Vashti was saying. She returned to the group and Alaxander went next. He walked up to the woman and it was obvious she liked the way Alaxander looked. She introduced herself at Serena and he quickly discovered that she was Atkil's sister.
Serena by Rahaf Dk Albab
Alaxander explained that Atkil was dead and that they were bringing his body home. Serena reacted angrily, calling Atkil all sorts of nasty names due to his foolish behavior and brashness.
She thanked the group for returning his body and invited them inside. They brought the children inside and Serena provided some water for the group, which everyone but Julius drank. Julius had convinced himself that something was going to go wrong. Serena explained that her mother was enslaved due to owing a debt of fifteen ceramic pieces. That is why Atkil set out to sell the clothing he had made.
Vashti gave Serena the fifteen ceramic pieces needed to free her mother. Serena couldn't believe that the group would do this out of the goodness of their hearts and struggled to understand. Vashti explained that there was enough desperation and misery in the world, if they could relieve a little then fifteen ceramic pieces was a small price to pay. Serena finally understood and thanked the group profusely.
Suddenly there was a loud banging on the door. Julius grabbed the hilt of his scimitar, expecting an attack. Serena opened the door to a wild looking man with ragged, but well repaired clothes. He smiled when he saw them gathered in the hut. He held out an old, weathered, paper that was rolled into a scroll. He begged them to take it, so he could get some rest. When they took it, he ran away shouting that he was free.
Everyone agreed that it was a strange encounter. Serena excused herself to go pay her mother's debt and invited them to stay as long as they like. She looked at Alaxander and told them that she wouldn't mind at all.
After she left, the group unrolled the wax coated map. It showed a path leading south out of Tyr, hugging the Ringing Mountains. There was an obvious X at the destination, but all writing on the map was undecipherable by the group. Alaxander jokingly suggested that maybe it leads to the mountain of silver Atkil promised them.

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

2nd edition AD&D Dark Sun Cast of Player Characters and other Major Characters
Julius: Human male psychokinetic. 22 years old. Played by Dave. Speaks Balican, Tyrian, and Giant.
Alaxander: Human male psychokinetic. 17 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, and Balican.
Shade: Half-Elf male ranger/thief, 18 years old. Played by Chad. Speaks Elf and Tyrian.
Kalino: Human male fighter/preserver. 20 years old. Played by DM. Speaks Rammin, Tyrian, and Balican.
Jamil: Human fighter,  24 years old. NPC hireling. Speaks Gulgish and Nibnese.

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