Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Session Sixty-One: Gray Plumed Mountain Part 1

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

It surprised Vashti that the giant reptile spoke Balican.
"I do not hunt for treasure. Only for a green gem that will assist me in destroying Kalak." Vashti explained.
Vashti could barely see the massive lizard through the darkness, but she guessed its body was over thirty feet long. It showed no expression on its massive face, but it did obviously look Vashti over. She was wondering if it was going to try and eat her.
"There are many green gems in these ruins." The monster spoke condescendingly, "What makes you think it is here?"
"I have good information that the gem is here."Vashti began. "It is very obvious, because it speaks to your mind when it is touched."
The lizard sighed heavily, "Ah, yes. I know of the gem you seek."
The giant creature turned into the darkness and as it did so, Vashti could see more of its body. She decided she had been incorrect about its size. Its body was likely closer to forty feet long.
The lizard turned back around and in its claw was a green gem.
It spoke again, "I believe this is what you are looking for."
Vashti reached out and touched the gem with the back of her hand, so the giant lizard would not think that she planned on stealing it. The gem spoke. It said it wanted to kill the Ogre Doom and leave the pyramid it was currently in. It tried to convince Vashti to grab it and run, but Vashti refused. She moved her hand away from them gemstone.
"That is it." Vashti confirmed.
The giant reptile obviously smiled and said, "I will gladly let you have it, after you do something for me."
Vashti groaned inwardly, but asked for the details of the task that needed to be completed. The lizard explained that to the southeast of Kalidnay is a mountain range. In that mountain range lives a mad defiler, who is also a master of the unseen way, named Keraptis.
Keraptis used his power to brainwash one of the lizard's tari followers and the tari stole three objects from the pyramid. The first object was a pearly white stone the size of Vashti's palm. The second, a golden amulet that depicts a mountain range, and third, an egg that's three times the size of Vashti's head. The egg was the most important item.
The horned lizard said that Keraptis likely told others about these treasures, so the group might find others seeking for them. The monster also told them that six tari were sent out to retrieve the items, but never returned. The lizard would like to assault Keraptis' lair personally, but that would leave the pyramid, and the tari who lived there, open to attack. The tari would likely not survive if attacked by the other factions in the ruined city. If the group did not return in seven days, it would be assumed that the group was dead.
Vashti was mind linked with Julius throughout the conversation. She had been relaying the information and then asked Julius what he thought they should do. Julius agreed to the mission and Vashti passed on the acceptance to the giant reptile. The group was invited to stay in the uppermost room of the pyramid through the night, as the dead roam the ruins at night. Vashti thanked the lizard and departed, with her tari escort leading her back to the top of the pyramid.
Vashti filled the group in on the details of the mission and everyone agreed. They agreed not only because they needed the gem to kill Kalak, but they were excited to have an opportunity to kill another defiler. The pyramid was already sealed against the night and the tari went to the lower levels. The group set up a watch and went to sleep.

Day 2, Week 1, Macro, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, Sun Descending

During his watch, Alaxander heard scratching coming from the other side of the stone door. Alaxander approached it and used the way to pass his head through the door. On the other side was a couple of zombies trying to claw their way inside. In the streets below, cast in the light of Athas' moons, Alaxander could see figures shambling around.
He quickly pulled his head back inside and shivered. Alaxander hated undead. He made sure the door was secure and then returned to the group.
In the morning, Vashti preached her sermon and Kalino memorized his spells. Using the way, the lord of the mind mind-linked Vashti's and Alaxander's minds. Vashti used the way to scout the mountain range. She saw no signs of a fortification, but saw a mountain with gray smoke pouring out of it. Alaxander used the way to open a doorway to the base of the smoking mountain. When they arrived, they could tell that it was a volcano. The group discussed what to do next, to find the lair of Keraptis, and Shade decided he should scout the area.
After twenty minutes of scouting, Shade came upon the tracks of a tari. He reported his findings to the group and they decided to follow them. The tracks lead up the volcano, so the group went up.
The tracks lead to a cave high up on the mountain. The cave was eight feet in diameter, which meant that the group's pack kank could not follow them inside. The cave was also alternately sucking in air from the outside and bellowing hot air out. The hot air was not enough to harm anyone, so the group staked out their kank and went inside.
It was dark inside, so Vashti lit a torch. At the end of a carved stone hallway was a spiral staircase in the floor. They went down, Shade first. The group slowly descended the staircase. The staircase lead to a square room with dry silt at the bottom. After prodding the silt with his short bow, Shade determined the silt was only a foot deep.
There was a hallway exiting the room. Everyone climbed down from the staircase, into the silt. Kalino used the butt of his spear to prod the silt, making sure there were no drops in front of then. Shade was checking for traps at the same time, moving slowly down the hallway.
The hallway was long, but it eventually turned left. Shade sneaked up to the corner and peaked around it. Shade saw a brown cloaked figure standing at a fork in the hallway ahead. He returned to the group to discuss what he saw.
After a very brief discussion, Shade decided that he should jump out and attack the figure with his bow. Everyone else agreed. Shade sneaked back to the corner and peeked again, the figure had not moved.
Shade jumped out of hiding and fired his bow. The arrow struck the figure in the shoulder and the figure looked up at him. The figure was a tari, whose flesh was rotting.
The tari sighed derisively and pulled its hands out from under its cloak. Shade saw that the tari had wickedly long, eight inch claws. Vashti jumped out and called upon the lords of water to drive the creature away, but the tari ignored her. It ran up to Shade and slashed him twice with its claws.
The group ran forward to assist Shade. The tari split its attacks between Shade and Kiara, attacking whichever target was most vulnerable at the time. It also acrobatically attacked Vashti, after she showed her magical healing abilities. In the end however, the group over powered the tari and killed him.
The hallway split into three different paths and the group went right. A few feet into the hall, the group encounter an invisible barrier. Kiara called upon her master to dispel the magical force. The invisible wall disappeared and the group continued forward.
Shade saw movement under the silt and as he called out, the group was assaulted by half a dozen silt serpents. Kiara, Shade, and Kalino were attacked. Most of the serpents were dodged, or were unable to penetrate the armor of the combatants. However, Kiara was bitten by one of the serpents and screamed in pain.
Kiara fell into the silt and held her right leg. Her veins could be seen and they were quickly turning brown. Vashti knew that the poison was turning Kiara's blood to silt and it would kill her. Worse, there was nothing Vashti could do to help her. Kiara knew it too and she cursed herself for not preparing spells to battle poison. She concluded that she was going to die.
Shade, Kalino, Alaxander, and Julius fought the serpents. Vashti stared at Kiara and felt useless, being unable to help her. Kiara's mouth tightened and she decided that there was only one thing that could be done, if she were to continue to serve her master. Kiara quickly pulled her obsidian scimitar from her waist.
Kiara brought the scimitar down on her own leg, just below the knee. She hacked at it twice and the poisoned portion of her leg fell into the silt below. Blood poured from Kiara's severed leg and she quickly paled and howled in agony.
Vashti ran forward and used her magic to stop Kiara's blood loss. The magic could heal the would, but could do nothing for the missing limb. Vashti then grabbed Kiara and dragged her away from the battle.
Although Shade and Kalino were both bitten, they did not succumb to the poison and were able to finish off the serpents.
Shade grabbed Kiara and carried her out of the volcano stronghold. The rest of the group followed. Outside, they tried to find a safe and comfortable place to rest, but were unable to locate a suitable area. They decided to rest in the mouth of the volcano liar's entrance.
Julius had some bones, that he had been carrying around since the large battle with the tari, and began crafting a peg leg for Kiara. Vashti healed up those who needed it.
Night came, without Julius being able to successfully craft a peg leg. The group set up and camp and kept watch.

Day 3, Week 1, Macro, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, Sun Descending

Shade was awoken by Kalino fighting. There were two gith in the cave with them. Kalino kicked Alaxander, as the gith rushed to attack him. Kalino killed one of the gith with his chitin khopesh. The second gith fell to a thrown bone dagger from Shade and a mental blast from Alaxander.
The sun would soon crest the horizon and the rest of the group was slowly waking from the noise. Vashti said it was very rare for gith to travel in such small groups, so Kalino and Shade went to patrol the area. They found no more gith and their kank was fine.
Vashti preached her sermon, as normal, and everyone ate dried meat and drank their rationed water. Julius began working on a peg leg again. Kalino used his wood working skill to try and craft a crutch for Kiara, out of the gith's spear shafts. He failed.
After a couple of hours, Julius was successful in crafting the bone peg leg. Vashti fastened it onto Kiara's leg. They then spend nearly an hour getting her, somewhat, steady on her feet. 
The group went back into the volcano, after Kiara reassured them that she would be fine. Vashti was impressed with her grit. They went down the stairs and decided to continue down the right hallway.
After a long walk, with dust from the silt irritating their lungs and Kiara keeping their movement slow, they came to a fork in the hallway. Their choices were straight ahead, or left. They group went straight ahead and the hallway soon went right.
They eventually came to a large stone door. Shade attempted to open it, but it was stuck. Kalino helped him and they pried it open. Beyond, the group saw a staircase, leading out of the silt. They cautiously proceeded up the stairs.
They came to a large, square room. Hanging from the ceiling of the room, on a rope the party could not recognize from a distance, were nine gray-tinted glass globes. The globes were large, possibly two feet in diameter, and evenly spaced throughout the room.

Join us in one month for another exciting session of Adventures Under the Dark Sun. 
2nd edition 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, Balican, and Urikite. 
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.