Darksun

Finding Names
Chazzon Talon and Krixos Grow Up

As the party makes their way out of the sewers of Tyr, they encounter Talara Vordon herself. She applauds their success at eliminating Templay Pythia, but also suggests that they get out of town… for a while. She hands Arya an important package and instructs her to deliver the package to the halfling village of Ogo, far North in the Forest Ridge. What a fabulous coincidence – both Talon and Krixos have an important quest to learn their true names from Talon’s tribe high in the Ringing Mountains not terribly far from Ogo! The party finds a displaced goliath named “Bear” who they drag along with them.

1) The party bribes the gate templars to get out of Tyr, where riots about melons are currently being brutally crushed by the templarate.

2) The party travels along the old mine roads and finds that House Vordon appears to be mining quite efficiently using undead laborers in the old mines. The legality of this is highly suspect (hint: it is straight up illegal).

3) The party travels further into the mountains, burning supplies steadily as the travel is slow go. Eventually, they cross the Ringing Mountains into the verdant Forest Ridge. Bear, using his nature skills notes a bush that has been transformed by a Druid. Soon, the party is visited by Eileen, a halfling druid laden with trophy skulls and surrounded by a horde of Osquips (small, gnawing rodents). She tells them of dangers in the Forest Ride, to include Kirre (giant octo-tigers) and a terrible corruption in a nearby grove. All dine well and have a delightful discussion.

4) Deeper in the forest, they discover the corruption and an undead druid who seems have some (but not all) of his faculties left. As he and a mess of zombies move in to murder the party, he uses his last good senses to tell them to burn the corrupted forest down. The party massacres the zombies and then decides to return to Eileen to ask for her advice on the corruption.

5) Eileen believes that druid rituals might be better than burning the forest down, but soon realizes that unless the source of the corruption is dealt with, no rituals will help. Despite the risk to herself, she agrees to accompany the party to the center of the corruption.

6) The party discovers that at the center of the corruption is a Dark, Twisted Treant, no doubt created by horrible defiling magicks. They proceed to attack it for a few rounds, but since it is a tree, it mostly resists their initial attacks of slings and swords. The party evolves their attacks to include fire, lightning, and radiance and finds that those things work much better on evil trees. Unfortunately, the inert tree starts corrupting Eileen the Druid, who is rendered helpless. As the corruption begins to overtake her, she cries out for them to strike her down. Krixos, who was carrying her at the time to get her away from the tree, promptly throws her to the ground. Rikus then beheads her. Eerily, she then retrieves her head and turns into a terrible undead before their very eyes. Come on!

7) The party defeats Undead Eileen, finishes destroying the dark treant, and gets out of the blackened wasteland.

8) After two more hard days of travel, the party arrives at the Kenku village. Chazzonlings (young Kenku) greet the party with wonderment and point them in the direction of the Chief’s tent.

9) The party meets Chief Severe Infection and Chazzon Talon’s (surprisingly still alive and incredibly ancient) Grandma Crushed by Boulder. After some small talk, they describe the Bok Choy (the naming ritual of the Kenku) and tell them that all Kenku participants must provide some silver, 3 gallons of hard booze, and the root of a rare plant from the Forest Ridge. The non-kenku participants still have to bring the hard booze and the Chief freely acknowledges that the effects of the ritual on non-kenku are random and dangerous at best.

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Talara *pause* Vordon's Special Mission, Part 2
The Great Melon Revolution

1) Talara Vordon is tired of not being able to trade iron and she’s done with waiting for changes. She has identified that Chief Templar Pythia (of the Chamber of Commerce) is really the key blocker in this effort, but his lieutenant, Vice-Chief Templar Tithian (of the Chamber of Commerce) seems a lot more willing to work with House Vordon.

2) The party meets Lusty Bossomteets, a perky young halfling with ample… personality and a vast array of… skills. Lusty falls right on in with the party.

3) Arya gathers her team of mercenaries: Chazzon Talon (Kenku), Rikus (Mul), Chak-ka (“Thri-kreen”), and Chavanda Cutubitch (Human). Chavanda gives sass to Lusty, who poisons the Hell out of Chavanda and then the two become fast friends.

3) The party goes to Darrogan, the bureaucrat who keeps Pythia’s schedule. They manage to chunk him a phat wad of ceramic pieces in order to get a nondescript meeting with Pythia in a few days.

4) The party goes back to the Warrens of Tyr and has a big planning meeting. During that meeting a very drunken goliath named Daz (it is a common name) start wrecking the neighborhood demanding a house that doesn’t appear to be his. The party first negotiates with and then kills him, stealing his mace and his melon.

5) The party starts spreading discord with respect to Pythia amongst the common people getting an ad hoc riot force going. It isn’t terribly effective at first, but they keep coming up with more and more elaborate lies about the templars hording melons and the like. The common people are already pretty screwed, so this stuff goes a lot farther than usual.

6) The party goes back the next day to negotiate with Darrogan again, looking for some way to pin the (soon to be) murder of Pythia on him. They give Lusty a chance to negotiate with him, but the negotiations go south and she ends up murdering him. The party steals some documents from his desk and then she takes them behind the building to show the body. They quickly hide the body in the sewers and then work diligently to find some lantern oil. This takes a comically large amount of effort before Talon just snatches some that was right there. They set the templar office ablaze and get the heck out of there.

7) Finally, the party sneaks back into the templar district at night and makes their way to Templar Pythia’s home. They sneak in the back way, finding his wife cooking. They leave behind Lusty to “deal with her.” She does.

8) The party makes their way to the surprisingly well guarded receiving room of Pythia. They babble something incoherent about trade deals or something and then get on with killing the dude. They find that he has not one but TWO pet Cilops (massive hunting beasts with deadly attacks) that rush in to his defense, doing lots of damage to the party. Pythia’s guards start flooding in, many of them getting slaughtered by Arya. Pythia himself goes down relatively fast at the hands of Chavanda, Rikus, Talon, and Chak-ka. The Cilops lay on heaping helpings of damage and things look touch and go, until…

9) Lusty comes rushing down the hall with a giant barrel of oil. She lights that mother, routing the Cilops and setting the place on fire. She explains that the fighting drew attention from templars outside and they were about to have company. She explains that she has already planted evidence implicating that Darrogan had motive to kill Pythia and it was time to move. The party gets the heck out of the blazing templar compound and makes their way back to the sewers.

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Talara *pause* Vordon's Special Missions
Why it is still good to be filthy rich

1) Talara Vordon bypasses Sariah (Arya’s Aunt) and goes straight to Arya for a special mission: to investigate the local creepy advisor dude to her grandfather, Patriarch Thaxos Vordon. She suspects that he is up to no good.

2) The party discovers orphans being smuggled to the old dude’s lair. This can’t be good.

3) The party discovers that the old dude is draining the life force from the orphans to make some sort of horrible life enhancing potions. Thaxos is a pretty old dude… might be interested in buying his way towards life extension.

4) The party informs Valara. Noted.

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On Loan to Agis, Part III
The Real Dust Suffersby

The party arrives on the makeshift island in the middle of the Sea of Silt and finds a small dock with a disassembled silt skimmer already there. Who’s skimmer might that be? Wisely, the party leaves behind Lana and Dlagus (the crusty, horny dwarf smitten with Lana) to take apart and guard the Silt Skimmer. Dlagus succeeds in taking apart the skimmer (although reassembly may be a challenge). He does not succeed in scoring with Lana due to the frequent dropping of corpses around them (read on).

They begin to climb the tip of the mountain range that helps form this island and on the way they discover a bloated, drowned body of a silt cultist. They note strange hash markings on the head of the cultist: perhaps an indication of rank.

The party reaches the crest of the range and looks down to see a stone manor, a half-finished tower rising from the stone manor, and a large stone quarry being worked by cultists. Wisely, the party splits in two: a group to stay behind and hide while the “stealthy” members of the party go forth to scout. Unfortunately, the forward party doesn’t do as well with stealth as they hoped and are intercepted by a group of cultists. After a momentary exchange, they are effectively shooed away from the island.

In the meantime, the not-stealthy party finds a separate group of cultists that are apparently a broken off faction from the main cultists. They mention the treachery of a new cultist: Dust Suffersby who is obsessed with building a spire to bring Siltos (Lesser Paraelemental Lord of Silt) to Athas… in person. This would probably be bad for all those that don’t like Silt (Hint: Most everyone). The party thrashes the rebel contingents’ hospital, leaving no dangerous medics or survivors behind. Dead bodies go flying off the cliffs to the silt below.

The party learns of “Crazy Annie” a Water cleric who protects a small well nearby on a tiny mudflat. Annie is aged and snake-encrusted, but otherwise supportive of the broader mission of “killing those damn Silt Cultists.” With some serious convincing she agrees to support the party in their quest to assault the Silt Cultist fortress.

Naeva, sister of Rikkus, says and does all kinds of crazy shit too ridiculous too recount here. That’s why you gotta show up, for the disturbingly hilarious stuff that happens in session. Some of her actions lead to dead bodies going over the edge of a cliff, cock-blocking Dlagus.

The party dresses up like Cultists and walks right into the Stone Manor. They are instructed to see Dust Suffersby who is in the stone tower that they saw earlier. As they approach, the world becomes monchromatic and flecks of light sparkle in the air. As they enter, they hear a voice leap into action to start chanting and murmuring all manner of things spell-like. They are noticed!

As they reluctantly come forward to the cloaked figure, he recognizes Arya Falconsflight and identifies himself not as “Dust Suffersby”, but rather as Aristiphilines – the very dude that they were seeking out. He explains that he used his powerful sense of persuasion and the remarkable stupidity of the Silt Cultists to divide and conquer them. He is constructing this tower to close a “fracture” that would allow Siltos to come to this realm. There is still a good bit of work to do on completing the tower, so he deputizes the party to help speed things along.

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On Loan to Agis, Part II
Finding family

The party manages to work together to get Mega-issimo back on his Mekillot and they continue to travel to Altaruk, the trading village run by Aristiphilines.

When they arrive, it is clear that the town has suffered extreme damage from attacks. They learn that the town has been viciously besieged by both silt cultists and beast-headed giants. The town is very crowded, since no travelers wants to be stuck outside the (battered) fortress when giants or silt cultists come a calling.

The party is offered a small section of the “extremities” (the euphemistic way of saying the town dump). Quickly, they split up into groups.

The first group uses its strength to help clean up the town, to the delight of the guards. At least, to their delight until Rikkus discovers his long-lost sister amongst some slaves. The slave trader is willing to part with her for 100 cp (which ain’t cheap), but Rikkus refuses to pay. A disagreement occurs, ending in violence and both the slaver and Rikkus being hauled off to prison. Rikkus’s sister demonstrates some handy abilities: she literally summons a hand of silt to try to kill the slaver.

Meanwhile, the party goes to the Deputy Mayor, Salvador Extrapants. Lana finds a crusty old dwarf guarding the Deputy Mayor and the disgusting dwarf immediately becomes disturbingly smitten with her, which she immediately begins to spin to her advantage. The Deputy Mayor explains that Aristiphilines left the town several days ago, as he is want to do and that perhaps the beautiful Greta at the Murky Mekillot Inn might have a clue as to his whereabouts.

The party sweet talks Greta and learns that Aristiphilines apparently went to “deal with” the silt cultists. Further, the party searches the ruins of Aristiphilines house, which was demolished in the recent battle with the giants.

After learning of Rikkus’s imprisonment, the party cuts a deal with the Deputy Mayor to retrieve Aristiphilines in exchange for freeing Rikkus from prison. Rikkus notes some odd behavior from Naeva (his sister), who appears to be both mildly insane and perhaps even a silt cultist herself.

The crusty old dwarf, Dlagus, “procures” a silt skimmer for the party and insists that they leave very early in the morning. He doesn’t care to elaborate as to why.

Soon, the party is skimming along at a ponderously slow pace, making their way to the cultist island. They are viciously attacked by Silt Sharks, but they prove to be nothing that the party can’t handle.

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On Loan to Agis

Shockingly, after the party lost several of Sariah’s minions in the last mission, she loaned them out to the powerful Agis of House Asticles for a mission of his choosing. Agis indicated that his mightiest compatriots had investigated the Old Tyrian mines that the party had uncovered. They had retrieved the epic opera singer: Mega-issimo and discovered terrible powers at work there. With that said, what had been there just a few days before had escaped, presumably with a contingent of mighty steel golems in tow.

Agis states that his greatest priority is discovering the identity of the forces at work. Recognizing the absolute criticality of this task, he assures the party that he is assigning the best adventurers available to him on the job. Specifically, not them.

However, while his best adventurer’s are tasked, he needs the party to go forth and get Mega-issimo cured of his terrible “Voice Curse” which causes his voice to be so bombastic that he harms all around him when he speaks above a whisper. Agis instructs the party to transport Mega-issimo to an old friend, Aristiphilines, mayor of the trading outpost Altaruk. Agis believe Aristiphilines can help fix the curse.

The party loads Mega-issimo upon a gigantic mekillot (slow, lumbering, turtle-like beast of burden) and lurches out to the terrifying wastes separating Tyr from Altaruk.

As all would expect, after a day or so of travel, the “caravan” is attacked by Elven raiders from a particularly minor and insane tribe. The party makes short work of them and trudges on.

On the second night of travel, a sandstorm becomes increasingly ferocious limiting visibility. Luckily, this quickly became low on the priority list as the party is attacked by terrifying dune freaks: Anakore. Tents and gears shredded and tossed, Mega-issimo dislodged from his mekillot perch, these monstrosities drop and drag several members of the party before finally being forced back into defeat.

Injured and disoriented, yet alive, the party goes about the business of restoring Mega-issimo to his beast.

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Iron, Loss, and Dark Magics
RIP Tianna

The party, exhausted, wounded, yet triumphant stood in the Old Iron Mines of Tyr. They were on the verge of heading back to town when a massive noise from deep inside the mines caused a cave-in, blocking the most logical exit. The party seemingly had no choice but to go deeper into the mines via the lift.

Going much deeper, the lift stopped abruptly at what appear to be some strange puzzle surrounded by flaming skeleton archers. After a failed attempt to solve the puzzle, the skeleton archers began to assault them. A little damage and suffering later, the archers were de-activated via the “Reset” button the puzzle. Eventually, the party solves the puzzle, enabling the lift to delve deeper into the mine.

When they arrive at the deepest portion of the mine, they discover a massive thriving iron mining operation. Further, this portion of the mine is huge and hosts a substantial forge. The whole place makes little sense and begs many questions: What are those hideous Ash creatures working dextrously over the mines? What carved out this massive chamber in the hard stone? Who is responsible for this place?

The party discovers crates of food, eats some of the food, and then discovers a strange, morbidly obese man who appears unable/unwilling to speak. Tianna, a bard herself, recognize the man as Mega-issimo, the legendarily obese star of the Tyrian Opera. It becomes clear that Mega-issimo is a prisoner here for some sordid purpose.

The party investigates further, discover tons of spell components for golem-making and, indeed, a number of MASSIVE STEEL GOLEMS. Such machinations are all but unheard of on Athas and a terror to imagine in battle. Luckily, the golems were not active and the party quickly extricated themselves from any perceived situation that might lead to them becoming activate.

The party discovers a small “work room” with spells and diagrams. Notably, there are specifications for a powerful voice enhancement, a defiling glove designed for lifting heavy objects, and golem making instructions. The party takes the glove and Sety attempts to understand it, keenly aware of its dark origins.

While exploring yet another lift, the lift suddenly starts to be lowered on its own (presumably by somebody below summoning it). Most of the party dives out of the lift in time, but unfortunately Tianna doesn’t make it in time. Mid-way to the bottom level, Tianna jams the control mechanism for the lift, stopping it long enough for Sety to use the defiling glove of lifting to lift the entire lift. With that, the “miners” below are alerted and begin flooding up the lift. The party begins making their escape via a combination of climbing and making use of lifts. A terrible battle between the Ashgaunts (the miners) and various splits of the party ensues. The brutality of these beasts cannot be overstated – this was a touch and go fight.

While riding a lift up, Tianna gave her life to save the life of Vakken. Tianna was raised by the Ashgaunts as a zombie servant, but ultimately that servant died as well. Sety again invokes the dark power of the defiling glove of lifting to move the stones from the cave-in that had occurred earlier. The party escapes, down one bard.

RIP, Tianna.

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Iron, Zombies, and Intrigue: Part 1
RIP Digsby Slappyhoes

Arya Falconsflight, employed by her aunt Sariah Falconsflight (Blood Agent of House Vordon) is told of the troubles in Tyr caused by the iron embargo. She learns of some old iron mines that might not be quite mined out that could, theoretically, but outside of the legal jurisidiction of King Kalak who imposed the iron embargo. While it is almost certain that King Kalak would disagree, nonetheless, Sariah gathers a few “faithful” mercenaries to support Arya and sends an iron mine surveyor (the halfling Digbsy Slappyhoes) to check out the mines and to determine business value.

On the way, the party gets to know each other a little bit. They have to sweet talk their way past some templars who are supposed to be keeping the mine roads shut down.

The party does a little mountain climbing as they approach the Old Iron Mines. They appear to gain the attention of a mighty Sun Drake, but apparently he was more interested in eating a mountain bear (who was, in fact, just interested in eating the party). The drake devours the bear and the party dashes ahead.

The party comes upon the mines which seem to be in a sad state of repair, with the exception of one quite functional explosive trap which scorches a few folks. The party discovers a barricade (breached) and some miner zombies and dire rat zombies, which they quickly dispatch. Obviously somebody was mining here fairly recently…

The party investigates further into the mines until oppressive darkness leads them to realize that something is definitely wrong. Soon more horrifying Black Reaver zombies begin to emerge from the darkness. A mighty leader in particular had a glorious metal sword… embedded in his chest (why bother pulling it out – he’s already dead). Despite the intensity of battle and several comrades being brought to negative HP, the party survived (albeit with not many Daily Powers left intact). Unfortunately, Digsby Slappyhoes perished in the ferocious combat.

A friendly neighborhood Belgoi Hunter informs the party that he wants his sword back and he thanks them for killing the foes that took it from him. Recognizing the weakened state that they were all in, the party gives away the sword to avoid another nasty fight. The Belgoi even throws them some ceramic coin for their trouble and hastily exits before they change their mind.

Tired, battered, the party rests for 5 minutes.

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Campaign Arc Info

The game is going to start in the City-State of Tyr. Tyr, a city of about 20,000 people, is ruled by the maniacal and cruel sorcerer-king Kalak who has spent the last ten years or so building a ridiculous ziggurat that consumes much of the interior space in this walled city.

Tyr has one dominant claim to fame: it hosts the last significant iron mines in the entire region. Even though they are sparse and require massive amounts of manual labor labor to extract from, iron gives Tyr a major advantage. Metal tools last longer and work far better. Metal weapons are far more effective and not prone to constant breakage. Metal gates are all but impenetrable by Athasian standards. Further, what little metal is allowed to be traded to other cities and villages fetches extremely high prices.

Every City-State has one dominant (some would say dynastic) trading house that concerns itself with the monumental task of keeping the city well supplied (and making a tidy profit while they are at it). Tyr exports iron, cloth, and pelts. It imports food, slaves, and a great deal of other stuff. In recent years, it has imported a tremendous amount of building supplies for the ziggurat. In Tyr, the dynastic trading house of interest is the mighty House Vordon, led by warrior patriarch Thaxos Vordon. They were entrusted for centuries with the iron trade of Tyr, but in recent years, Kalak has demanded that all trade support ziggurat construction and this has caused Vordon tremendous financial damage leading to quite a bit of anxiety.

Within trading houses, there is a clear hierarchy. House Leadership calls the shots and owns shares in the “company” meaning they are almost always blood relations of the House’s namesake (though there are exceptions for extraordinary individuals). Blood Agents are people directly related to the family in charge who have partial ownership and work on behalf of the house. Agents are those who have status in the House and do work, but can never actually take ownership – they are always paid a salary. It takes dedication and work to become an Agent or a Blood Agent (and to gain the corresponding perks).

Arya Falconsflight is the daughter of a blood cousin to Talara Vordon (a Blood Agent and Leader of House Vordon). Although a monk who by training cares little about the pursuit of wealth that obsesses most of the members of House Vordon, she recognizes that these are troubled times for House Vordon and the City-State of Tyr. In recent times, she has been called upon to perform services for the House such as helping to protect food shipments. This is extremely dangerous work and she has enlisted the aide of a extensive pool of mercenaries.

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Equipment Particulars

So there are several “Optional” rules for Athas that apply to equipment. I’m pretty much taking all of them:

  • Metal stuff costs 100x the listed price. For example, if you want an actual iron long sword (instead of stone, bone, etc.) it costs 1500 gp, not 15 gp. Rare metals (cold iron, titanium) cost /at least/ 1000x the list price.
  • Metal armor: If for some insane reason you insist on wearing metal armor in the blazing heat of Athas, where daytime temperatures routinely exceed 120 degrees F, you incur a -5 penalty to Endurance checks and must consume double water rations.
  • Non-metal weapon breakage: If you are using a non-metal weapon and then you critical fumble, the weapon breaks and the attack is a miss. Broken weapons do only half damage until repaired. Metal weapons do not have this property (a critical fumble is just a miss).
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