Our group has been together and playing DnD for two years now this week. Some names have changed along the way, but the stability of the group has remained true. Before I go into the gritty details of todays game, I want to thank the current members of our weekly gaming group: My wife Lori and our 3 children, all of whom played with us today, Raven, Jackson and Audrey; our good friends Tim and Shannon. Along the way we have had many friends stop by for gaming, including Mike, Jason, Karen, and Will. Plenty more joined us as a guest player for a night, and we are always bugging them all to come back. This is a social activity, and it takes all of these wonderful people to achieve the success and fun that we have on a weekly basis each Friday night. I hope everyone else has had as much fun as I have,
For the marathon event, I created a delve style adventure, The Buried City of Nazerak, which is a continuation of the current campaign. This is a 4 encounter adventure designed for 6 6th level characters set in the deep deserts of Athas in the Dark Sun campaign world. I created this adventure using Masterplan version 8.5. At some point I might publish it on the web here, but I would like to go through it and re-write the shoddy parts and emphasize the awesome parts. We ll see. Without further ado, the recap.
A new dawn in Dark Sun saw the band of stout adventurers encamped at the ruined tower. They had driven off the war party of the savage mantis men and surveyed the nearby ruined city from their vantage point on the edge of a wide valley. The valley contained the remnants of a vast forest – only petrified trunks like the broken columns of a lost civilization stood among the shifting dunes. But in the center of that ring of forest was a buried city in the sands. It offered their only option other than setting out for the mountains dark on the western horizon, or to stay until the urn of whiskey was dry. Perhaps it was the whiskey emboldened them to set out for the deserted city.
The sun sickness was past and now they developed a necessary survival instinct on the world – to avoid the sun and its menacing glare whenever possible. Nonetheless, their instincts told them it would be better to explore the city during the day. They set out, and after two hours of travel the broken trunks began to give way to a few tumbled stones of civilization.
As they crossed the long piles that used to be the city walls they saw a statue standing before the open walls. He strode forth with a missing arm pointing forward, probably once with a sword, and in his other he grasped a kingly scepter with an orb on either end. But the face of the king of that city was none other than Gagnasdiak the Eldritch giant and Lord of Time and Space. Twas he whocast the party into this forsaken world, him and his 7 Northern Daughters.
A figure swathed in robes shouted while charging around a corner and into the center of the boulevard atop his enormous war camel. He held a long bone-headed lance in one arm and over his robe was a shirt of rings cut from petrified bones. After him came his three fellow desert warriors, two with whirling scimitars and a third with a longbow that fired arrows fashioned of sand. Tara and her lions leapt forward into combat. The lions went for the archer whilst Tara engaged one, then both of the simiter dune warriors. Meanwhile the dunesniper teleported away from the lions and put an arrow into each one, instantly dispelling them.
This was bad news for the party. The camel charged forward and Poppy met his charge with the edge of her greatsword. They battled long and hard while the camel pawed with its armored fore-legs and the Dune Captain struck with his lance. Mad Molly brought her missile firing frenzy to bear in this battle and she cast arcane bolts and magic missiles into every corner of the melee but her focus was always on the Dune Captain, which she struck with her fire burst. The Vulpix, Poppys fairy familiar, was possessed of sun radiance mutation which caused it to grow to 10 times its normal size and develop fiery skills. This sort of magic is common in the land from which Poppy hails. The vulpix cast ray after ray of fire into the captain until together the three of them brought him down in one final flame burst of Molly. But it was not before Poppy was knocked unconcious by the ferocity of his lance.
Across the field Tara found herself surrounded, and she went down under the twin scimitar attacks of the dune warriors. Thokk rushed forward and took on Dune sniper, but the fey creature somehow turned to insubstantial sand and shifted away across the battlefield to fire arrows with abandon while maintaining his insubstantial sand-blown form. Thokk went down under the rain of arrows, and Tara went down a second time after being revived by the aid of the Vulpix casting the shroud of recovery over the fallen elf.
Felipe finally caught up with the rest of the party and entered the fray to find her allies nearly dead after holding off the enemy. Felipe saved the ranger and the barbarian from wslaughter with her blast of insects before taking on the dune sniper. The hoard of insects buzzed among the whirling sand until the Dune Captain finally fell. The camel reared and screamed, the Dune Cpatain falling down into the sand with a smoking hole in his forhead where Mollys missile struck him. The sniper surrendered and offered to aid them. A few more Eladrin stepped forward to aid their fallen comrades while the party did the same. Only one, the captain was slain, the others would recover.
After trying unsuccessfully to communicate, the eladrin, as he is revealed to be, holds out a crystal ring. Felipe takes it and is instantly able to communicate telepathically to the eladrin in a language clearer than words. The eladrin proposes an agreement, where his tribe will give them all they need to croos over to the mountains and enter into human civilized lands, if they will perform a service for them. It seems a door has recently opened in the once sealed door to the tomb of the Tyrant of Nazerak. The door is open but a field of madness which instantly slays eladrin blocks their entry. if the party will go to the tomb of the tyrant and take the scepter from the chamber, they will supply them. In addition they may keep what treasures they recover as long as they do not disturb unnecessarily.
There is one more component to the quest, and that is a small human child who was seen playing un-molested in the dangerous gardens of the tyrant which guard the entry. They have been unable to capture her as she can dart in and out of the madness field without apparent affect, and they are loathe to harm her without first learning her origin. To retrieve her unharmed was another component of their quest. The eladrin made camp and prepared for dawn. The eladrin warned the party against travelling through the city at night, as his ancestors haunted the streets, and they would not hesitate to attack. Indeed, neither was it safe to navigate the buried city during the day as his breathing cousins would also attack on sight.When dawn came, they escorted the party to the center of the city to the Ziggurat of Gagnasdiak, Tyrant of Nazerak. It was a truncated, stepped pyramid, and they could see leafy green vines with bright white blossoms hanging over the edge of the flattened top. A wide set of steps led to the top and it looked like there was an invisible dome protecting the garden from harm, though it was possible to pass through it. The ranger sent his lion ahead to scout the area, and he was able to discern the overgrown area was covered in vines with long dagger-like thorns and roses, white roses.
A little girl played on a set of stairs at the other end of the garden, and at the top of that flight of stairs was a doorway to swirling madness. AS the party entered the garden area the girl skipped p the steps and through the doorway with no apparent hesitation or ill affects. Thokk charged into the garden and saw that there was a large plant near the base of the stairs that attacked anyo09ne who came near. There was also a small ledge going around the upper level of the garden and most of the others got onto this ledge to go around, but were soon caught in the sifting rubble trap that tried to knock them down off the side of the ziggurat. Finally as Thokk chopped down the vicious man-eating plant, the entire garden was in array and the party had the chance to rush through the door of madness.
As the party entered the doorway into the ziggurat, they felt the pull of the far realms and it came in waves of insanity. The characters had to penetrate from the top floor of this mansion down into the basement, but every step closer to their goal brought them deeper into the madness of the far realms. The upper floor were tame and each of the heroes fought through those twisted hallways. A magical chest appeared before Tara and she knew that it contained either her fondest dream or her worst nightmare, but she had to open it, and she did – only to find it empty. Thokk walked down an avenue of trees and each of them tried to intimidate him, but he would not be cowed by the trees.
Eventually they found the stairs and walked among the even more mad-filled first level, where each one of them faced even worse challenges, but they all pulled through and wound up tumbling together through another doorway at the bottom of the stairs leading to the cellar. With nary a chance to rest, they were confronted by a party of shadow eladrin, those souls were taken when the city was ruined from within, who now must serve the ruined city in spirit after their mortal lives are taken. They were sitting around a rack of cheap wine, waiting for the chance to release some pent up rage. The battle was fast and furious, and the night eladrin went down cackling with glee, for madness had taken their souls.
The party moved down the hallway to the last room, where they heard the cries of the girl. There was a hole in the wall the mist crawl through and came out in to a room with an island surrounded by putrescent water. In the water stood two ghasts, and hovering above an alter upon which the child huddled was a pale reaver, a spectre of evil undead. Also hovering in the chamber were four motes of utter madness, all tentacles and fangs, made solid by the thinness of the walls between this realm and the far realms of madness in the tomb of the lord of time and space. A vortex of sheer madness spun in the center of the room between the party and the child. It sent out waves of psychic energy attacks until the motes were all destroyed.
The ghasts caused mayhem and pinned the party at the doorway whilst the reaver shot at them with his lightning bow, and the motes got in a bite when they could. The reaver then dominated Thokk but the half orc soon shook free of the domination, and the tide of battle turned in their favor. The pale reaver fell to their combined efforts and the party rescued the child and in the sarcophagus upon which she lay they found the golden scepter the eladrin so hoped to reclaim. The end.