Friday, 30 December 2011

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 15

The group finally ascended the magnificent stone edifice that was the ziggurat of Kalak. Each layer of stone was coloured to match that of a rainbow, with red at the top and descending through the colours. Two guards stood implacably at the obsidian stone door and they stood aside at Mavar's command. He gestured and they opened the doors, which swung silently open. The group headed into the darkness, lighting torches as the went in, the door softly clicking into place behind them.
Moving out through one of the 2 doors that led away from the initial pillared room. The walls fashioned entirely from obsidian as the first door was. Making their way along the passage they emerge into a small room, which sported three darkened arches on the far wall. Each arch had an inscription that was written above in common.

The first arch had "Your spirit shall soar with the kestrekels", the second was inscribed with "Your name will go down in the annals of history" and the third was "Your thirst shall be slaked a thousand times".

After some debate the centre arch was chosen and one by one they disappeared through the magical blackness, only to arrive in a small alcove that opened onto an empty room. Exploring further, they came to an enormous room lined with many diverse tapestries and statues, all commemorating famous victories in battle. All were carefully created so that the figure of Kalak was prominent in all of them. The statues were made up of ones of Kalak himself, and some of perhaps his closest military and high ranking Templars.

Garidias was fascinated by one statue of Kalak in particular, in that the weapon seemed to be real rather than carved from the same material as the statue. Along with help from Kulo, and Kuroar! they managed to pry loose the obsidian-bladed spear from the statue.

Taking their new prize, they ventured further into the ziggurat, coming across a series of halls that contained yet more statues. This time, more warrior-like, they stood on guard all around the three rooms. The group investigated the statutes as the moved through the rooms, but once they were all within the centre room, the stone warriors stepped down off their pedestals and moved toward the group, weapons held high.

All fought hard to avoid being surrounded by the stone warriors. Their attacks seemed to cause the stone of the floor to form around their feet, pinning them in place, the shards of obsidian digging into their flesh. Each warrior was surrounded in a palpable aura of dread that only seems to intensify the more there were.

With Kulo, and Beren holding down the warriors at either end, it was up to Garidias, Kuroar! and Gretchan to clear out the centre and then move to help the goliath and the mul as they weakened from the warrior's assault. The fight was bloody and vicious, with several of our heroes succumbing to unconsciousness, but the inspiring words of Garidias kept them in the fight on more than one occasion.

The heroes did triumph and took stock of their wounds for several minutes after they secured the area. During that moment of rest, Garidias received a mental image of an unknown hand driving a spear much like the one he wielded through the body of what appeared to be a defiling mage clad in rich robes. The image came and went quickly.

Continuing on the group emerge in a large room with stairs descending away on either side, but the room also contained several bodies left on the stone floor. Quick investigation of the bodies revealed they had died from blows by a bladed weapon, or claw some time ago. The approx time seemed to coincide with the entrance of the last group sent into the ziggurat. On one of the bodies a small amulet was found around the neck and a check revealed it to be an Amulet of Life, which had clearly not helped its previous owner.

There was however a streak of blood that led off down one set of stairs. Gretchan's healing knowledge concluded that there had clearly been another member of the group that was either dead or dying and had been dragged from where they fell and down the stairs. With that ominous thought, the group descended the stairs, which wrapped around the main body of the room and descended below...

Friday, 11 November 2011

Tyr's Ziggurat!

If you have read at least Episode 14 of the trials of the Dark Sun Marauders, then you will know that they are about to enter the huge ziggurat in the centre of Tyr to look for (potentially) Kalak's body and definitely for an object named the Orb of Dust. Here is a description on the huge monument:

¨The great ziggurat towered above the squalor of the sun-baked city. Each level of the terraced pyramid was finished in glazed brick of a different color: gleaming violet at the base, then indigo, azure, green, yellow, fiery orange, and, finally, scarlet. In the center of the huge structure, a pair of mighty bastions marked each of the seven levels. The bastions flanked an enormous staircase, which ran straight from base to summit, reaching for the flaxen moons that hovered over the monument’s lofty crown and infused the hazy predawn sky with an amber blush.¨

Of course, my mind has been turned to what sort of fiendish creations and horrible things might lurk within the ziggurat! Now, I won't reveal too much here, lest some of my players happen to drop by.

I would like to hear any suggestions from my global readership as to nasty, vicious, horrible, interesting, surprising things that I could throw at the group within the pyramid. Just leave your suggestions in the comments area of this post :)

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Weekly sports round up!

Another week of sporting brilliance in the books and the results were good, if not spectacular...

Man Utd 1, Sunderland 0
Putting in a rather nervous performance to celebrate Sir Alex Ferguson's 25th anniversary in charge of the Red Devils (yes, I can remember when he started!). The only goal coming from a rather generous own-goal from Man Utd old boy, Wes Brown, who obviously could not bear to see Fergie lose on this auspicious occasion. Next game is a trip to newly-promoted Swansea after the international break.
Full match report here on

San Francisco 49ers 19, Washington Redskins 11
The Niners continue on their merry way, moving to a 7-1 record with a solid defeat of Washington, who are on a 4 game losing streak. The 49ers defense forced 3 turnovers and kept the Redskins out of the end zone until the final minute in a dominant display. Frank Gore set a franchise record with his 5th straight 100yd+ rushing game.

Next up is a home game back at Candlestick Park against the in-form New York Giants. A win would go a long way to securing the NFC West title, potentially by Week 11.
Full game report here at

Toronto Maple Leafs 5, New Jersey Devils 3
Toronto Maple Leafs 4, Columbus Blue Jackets 1
Boston Bruins 7, Toronto Maple Leafs 0
Two good road wins ended in a sudden halt as Boston thumped the Leafs at home on Saturday. It will remain to be seen how they bounce back this week after that demoralising loss. Overall the play has been good, but a good start needs continued work to make the playoffs.

Clarke McArthur has been on a hot streak with points against the Devils and Blue Jackets to keep the wins coming. Phil Kessel still leads the Leafs in points, despite being held scoreless for the third time against his old team, the Bruins.

Full game recaps here:

Upcoming games include a home date vs Florida (played today), a trip to St Louis on Thursday and then two more home games against Ottawa & Phoenix on Saturday and Tuesday respectively.

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Tuesday Morning Quarterback

The latest edition of Gregg Easterbrook's long-running column is available!

Mostly worth a look if you are a fan of NFL football, but he waxes lyrical on many other topics, including government waste, the inevitable creep of celebrations earlier and earlier each year (Christmas decorations in stores in August, for example), picking apart the crazy premises of Hollywood sci-fi and action films, as well as TV (Terra Nova recently attracted Gregg's ire!).

Get all the information on ESPN's Page 2

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Weekly sports round-up!

With the sporting weekend now at a close once more, my teams had a pretty good time of it, recording mostly solid wins!

Everton 0, Manchester United 1
Man Utd get back on the horse, so to speak, with an uninspiring, but effective win to grab another 3 points and stay second in the English Premier League. Javier Hernandez grabbed the only goal to keep the champions 5pts adrift of the summit with a long way to go in the season yet. Read the report here on

Next up is a Champion's League game against Otelul Galati (yeah, I have no idea who they are either) early Thursday morning, which should prove no problem before welcoming Sunderland to Old Trafford next Saturday.

Cleveland Browns 10, San Francisco 49ers 20
The 49ers continue on their winning ways with a solid win over the Browns on Sunday, their 5th consecutive. This sort of commitment and consistent performance is something we haven't seen since 2002! Keep it going, I say. Read the full story on the Niner's win on

Frank Gore has been back to his best of late and the defence is performing exceptionally well. Just 3 more wins could see the 49ers clinch the NFC West by the end of November, with a trip to Washington to face the struggling Redskins next on the agenda.

I have included a link in my "These are cool too..." links to Mike Sando's ESPN NFC West blog, which is a great read for fans of the 49ers and the other teams in the division.

Toronto Maple Leafs 2, Ottawa Senators 3 
Pittsburgh Penguins 3, Toronto Maple Leafs 4
Back-to-back games for the Leafs this weekend, splitting the two results. A very good performance at home vs Penguins was undone by a determined Senators team keen to keep their winning streak going. All signs for the Maple Leafs are good, though, with a nice start to the gruelling 82 game season (7-3-1) and star Phil Kessel banging in the goals (a league-leading 10 now). Full recaps available on
Just need to keep the effort going to establish themselves as a playoff contender, a stage they haven't reached since 2004, much to the chagrin of my wife. They travel to New Jersey to take on the Devils on Wednesday night followed by a trip to Columbus on Thursday before returning home to take on the Bruins on Saturday.

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 14

With Kulo, retrieved from the clutches of the demon drink in Silver Springs oasis by his son, the group was together once more. The addled brain of the goliath warrior was confused and puzzled by the fact that Mavar was still with the group and they seemed to be transporting a caravan of slaves toward Tyr. Adding to the confusion was the fact that Kulo, was inside the caravan too! After sorting things out, as Kuroar! explained things slowly to his father and the rest of the group keeping a comfortable distance, they travelled on to Tyr and avoided the potentially awkward discussion with the gate guards as to why they had a slave caravan by letting Mavar do the talking and using his influence as a templar.

Bringing the slaves into the city, the group organises with the templars to remove their slave markings and introduces them to their assistant and erstwhile retainer, Bundaberg, still keeping an eye on the buildings that used to be the headquarters of House Shom.

With various longing looks from the group at the ziggurat that dominates the centre of the city, the group follows up on the Urikite spy contact known only as "Minder". They are given the location of Sculptor's Square at midnight and with a wisdom uncommon to the group they scout out the area first, asking questions of the merchants around the Artisan district and coming across a local personality known as Xalos the Stonecutter as he wanders around nearby his own stonemasonry shop. He is a friendly Mul of middle age and quite a jovial fellow.

The witching hour comes around and the local traffic slowly reduces to just a few hurrying figures through the square as the group lay in wait, until two cloaked figures meet in front of one of the many crumbling mansions that line the square. From their observation points, none can hear any exchange of words before they head inside the building. The group then approach the door and using Gretchan's mental eye, they can see signs of the meeting towards the back of the building where a flicker of candlelight is visible. Eschewing the chance to check around the property, the group heads in. Their stealth, or lack of, alerts the two figures and the candlelight is doused and the larger of the two figures heads for the exit, while the other remains.

"How do you know about this meeting? What are you doing here?!" hisses the figure loudly at the group. Their response, while deceptive in nature, fails to have the desired effect and the cloaked man unsheathes an obsidian sword and it was Kuroar! who broke the stare off by charging in, with the others a step behind.

At the sounds of the scuffle, 3 spies, dressed and armed similarly to those the group fought outside Nibenay almost 2 weeks ago, rush down the stairs and the battle take sup in earnest. Kulo, tries to pin down and shackle the spies and their leader, but their ability to disappear into shadow and appear from another direction confounded the group, particularly Beren. Garidias, however, kept the group on track, encouraging the group's warriors to hit harder and more accurately despite the enemies trickery. The eladrin was surprised to then see the ghosts of eladrin past rise up out of the floor to slash ghostly blades at Gretchan and Kuroar! Their attacks were not as formidable as those of their corporeal allies, their scream ad they were vanquished unnerved all nearby

The spies eventually began to fall and finally, so did the leader as he was caught in the middle of the room and then the last of the eladrin ghosts was given eternal rests. The group searched the bodies, finding on the leader a small purse of 100 ceramic pieces and a small, battered notebook. Careful examination of the book revealed that it was a careful ledger of monetary transactions between "Minder" and the unknown figure that escaped the attack. Regular payments of 100 ceramic occur every 2 weeks over the past several months, dating back to just before the fall of Kalak.

The other item of note recorded in the book was that of a single mention of something called the "Orb of Dust". Confirmation with Mavar sometime later revealed this to be the name of an artifact rumoured to be in the possession of Kalak, but upon his death, no sign of such an item was found in the palace. Great power is attributed to the orb to command a great storm of dust on a grand scale that could encompass an entire city. Perhaps this is what the spies are looking for?

Mavar suggests that if Kalak did possess this orb, the only place it could still be was the enormous ziggurat, into which a wounded Kalak was seen entering, presumably to die. Garidias raised the question of gaining entrance to the ziggurat, and Mavar promised to do what he could to persuade the Council of Templars to allow the group inside. He expressed his desire to not only confirm the location of the orb, but also to verify the death of the Sorcerer-King for certain. Only one group has entered and returned from the ziggurat and they failed to find the body. A second group has entered more recently, headed by a mercenary dray (dragonborn) but nothing has been heard of them since.

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 13

Following Kulo,'s swift departure from the group, the remainder decided to head off towards Nibenay with the grateful Mavar cracking the whips on the purloined kank caravan. The approach to Nibenay was breathtaking indeed, the city towering above them, the walls covered in stone carvings, pillars and columns decorating the towers alongside the Mekillot Gate. The city sat alongside a vast forest, certainly a greater amount of trees than any of the group had ever seen in one place before. The forest ran along a mountain range that disappeared into the distance away to the south.

The group headed into the city, whose noise and activity, even in the evening made Tyr look small and rustic. It was clear that Nibenay was older than Tyr, and far larger. Gretchan recalled that the city was one of the original city states and contained a large and decadent noble caste that supported the sorcerer-king. With Mavar guiding them, they were easily able to locate the House Shom trading building that the meeting between Ulruun and the mysterious Urikite delegation that Mavar had mentioned during the interrogation.

Upon arrival, arguing is heard from a small back street down the side of the House Shom building and careful examination reveals a couple of armoured figures, a noble of some sort and 4 clad in slave rags. Having identified the Urikite delegation by their square beards, the group found out that the noble, Maetan Lubar, was understandably annoyed at Ulruun himself having carelessly let himself be killed. Despite this initial setback, the group agreed with Maetan that they would organise a slave caravan to hide the spies (the 4 clad in rags) within for transportation to Tyr, as this is presumably what had been agreed with Ulruun.

A rather uncomfortable trip to the slave markets for the former slaves took place, with Beren heading off to find a templar on the trail of his master's son, Flame. He was able to deduce that Flame himself had contacted the Shadow Brides (Nibenay's templars - all of which are female) to relay a message to Beren that Flame's father and head of the House had been kidnapped and Flame was trying to find him! <insert jarring piano chords> Although, Beren couldn't work out how this all came about, the situation remained.

The rest of the group sold 2 of their crodlu to pay for the slaves to go in the caravan and met back up with Beren before heading outside the city gates next morning to meet with Maetan and his group. The meeting went well, but as the conversation went along, Maetan became more suspicious of Mavar and the others. Relations degraded to such a point that Mavar lost his cool and took a shot at Maetan, which kicked off a nasty scuffle.

Maetan weighed in heavily at the start, but soon his cronies were handling the fight against the group well enough, and stood to the back. Slowly but surely the group began to gain the upper hand in the fight, despite Mavar unleashing his defiling power upon all around him. Eventually the battle-weary group dispatched the cronies (and took one minor templar captive) and took a half-hearted swipe at Maetan but his power was too great and the group cut their losses, letting Maetan leave, heading into the forest not far from the main road.

With a caravan full of slaves and a captive, they learned that this operation had been going on for some time and his information corroroborated with Mavar's tale of a potential Urikite invasion of Tyr, predominantly for the Iron Mines that Tyr possessed. Now with this information and Mavar being ever so slightly more trusted the decision was made to head back towards Tyr and potentially free the slaves and they might even find Kulo, on the way back...

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 12

The group, mounted upon their war crodlu made good time as they caught the slower moving caravan train of Ulruun and his guards. As they approached a bend in the track as it rounded a large, rocky outcrop, Gretchan's eagle eye spotted 3 archers lurking across the dunes, their weapons drawn. Ulruun's caravan headed around the corner as Beren approached the rock formations and was able to identify the creatures as gnolls.

The Mul decided direct action was required and charged off across the sand towards the gnolls and found himself at the bottom of a 30ft deep pit with his crodlu scrambling to get out. The others came to his aid, Kuroar! in particularly getting right in among the gnolls. As they did so a group of men, dressed as caravan guards appeared from behind the large rocky outcropping and began to assail Gretchan and Kulo, the latter found this terribly annoying and spurred his crodlu amid the guards and laid into them with his chain, bringing them down.

Throughout the pitched battle a desperate cry had entered the minds of all who neared the large outcropping, though it was largely ignored. It stopped suddenly and from the sandy ground emerged a grotesque montrous creature, identified as a Gaj Mindhunter, whose feathery modus operandi caused much consternation among the companions. It clamped its jaws around Garidias, but the eladrin escaped via fey means of transport, which gave it little option but to use its mind prode against the mostly granite brain of Beren. However, the companions rallied despite the threat of being swamped by a rogue sand dune and the final beast was felled. There was barely time to gather themselves and their crodlu to round the rocky outcropping and face Ulruun, whose caravan had pulled off the track some way further down the hill.

As they rounded the rock, they could see Ulruun's guards and slaves arrayed before them with the dwarf himself at the centre near the caravans, flanked by two huge guards, a Mul and a Goliath. Kulo's rage could be held back no more as he charged in among the guards, drawing Ulruun to him. The slaves had strange blue glow to their eyes and attacked using their minds and after a while the group realised a mental link existed between the slaves and the guards.

Kuroar came barrelling in after his father with the eladrin Garidias close behind guiding their actions and exhorting the two to heights of skill while directing their war crodlu. Beren took on some guards and slaves alone as Gretchan provided long range support from the back.

The concentrated force of both goliaths and Garidias made relatively quick work of Ulruun, but his cronies fought on. The Mul and Goliath guards absorbing tremendous punishment while dishing out tremendous blows of their own. It was as the battle was coming to a close that a familiar figure emerged from the caravans. It was Mavar, the templar from Tyr who had released the group from their bonds of slavery!

He launched into a few attacks on the group, mainly hindering them as they attempted to close, before he took to the air in an attempt to escape them, but the crodlu proved swift and soon caught up to the templar fleeing across the sands. Surrounded and knowing he was outmatched, Mavar screamed in frustration, "You fools! You don't know what you are getting involved in. Let me go and your life will be far better than it will if you capture or kill me. That is a promise!". He stands defiantly as the battle-weary group move in on their crodlu mounts, his eyes moving from one to the next wondering which will respond.

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 11

The group recovered from their brush with the burrowing Anakores and headed back to the road toward Silver Springs Oasis, a further 2 days journey. The sun beat down on them as they plodded along, chatting to passing caravan merchants and plying them for information about Ulruun's House Shom carriages, but none were able to provide any new information.

Just before dawn on the final day before Silver Springs, Gretchan's keen ears detected the jingling of bells from out in the sand dunes to the north of the road. Though faint, the noise was familiar to Gretchan and she recalled it was a signature call from a group of evil fey, known as Belgoi. They roam the desert sands in nomadic groups preying on lone travellers and poorly defended caravans. It is rumoured that they even eat the bodies of their kills! Fortunately no sign of the creatures emerged and the eerie jingling died away.

The group made it into Silver Springs Oasis without any further interruption and upon arrival set about divining information from the locals and other travellers throughout the encampment. The sheer lack of any kind of tact, knowledge or diplomacy evidenced by the group failed to provide any information about Ulruun until Gretchan again, probably as a rare, educated female, was able to prise the knowledge that Ulruun had left at dusk the previous day and headed north from the encampment. This reinforced the group that they were on the right track.

Just as they were discussing the information, they were approcahed by a sly, suspicious and greasy looking fellow approached the group, appealing to their good-natured side to convince them to fight in a mini pit fight staged by the encampment's chief. He confidently reassured all of you that you would be well compensated with money & even some crodlu! Slowly they managed to also determine that there had recently been captured a creature of gigantic size that was to be the pinnacle of the fight, and should they defeat that, then the Chief himself would personally donate two items of great power for the spectacle.

The group agreed to fight, hoping that the crodlu mounts would give them an advantage in catching up with Ulruun. They entered the arean and climbed atop several 20ft high columns with bridges strewn between them. An opposing team of 2 tough looking Mul's and 3 savage halflings from the forest beyond the mountains took their place and the fight began. Through the goliath's charging and leaping between columsn and Gretchan's ranged mental bombardment, the halflings were quickly taken down, but the Muls proved tougher, their hammers taking great toll on both Kulo & Beren before they too fell into unconsciousness, giving the win to the group.

The arena was then cleared and two human soldiers with spears acted as handlers for a giant elephantine creature, warped by the desert. The creature was unnaturally fast and loped into the Beren, driving him off his feet as the handlers rushed to catch up. The group began to surround the creature as Kulo saw to the handlers and Gretchan sent the massive brute flying across the arena, scaring the front rows of the crude stands that had been erected. Though Beren and Kulo again took the brunt of the creature's attacks, it allowed Gretchan and Kuroar! the freedom to attack and will and despite the creature growing to a collossal size as its wounds mounted, it was eventually felled, to the adulation of the crowd.

The battered winners were given time to recuperate a little before the elven Chief came good on his promise and presented Gretchan with a bundle of cloth, that on closer inspection turned out to be a robe of intricate make wrapped around a belt that is styled like a wretling champions belt, wide and made of sturdy leather and bone decoration. The group were also awarded a cash prize of 100 ceramic pieces each and of course the crodlu.

Climbing on board their new mounts, the group set off north in hot pursuit of Ulruun. The road took the deeper into the sandy wastelands than any had been, then up into a range of mountains at the southern end of the Dragon's Bowl before spotting a caravan ahead on the road from a vantage point on the downslope from the hills.....Ulruun was in sight...

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 10

The group briefly discussed future options among each other at the tavern overnight and the overwhelming theme was to pursue Ulruun after his disappearance the previous day from the area near the Slave Pits. Resolving on this course of action, they attempted various sorts of diplomacy and all-round streetwisery to recruit some assistance in finding the dwarf. There were varying degrees of success, Kulo, was able to identify some likely former slaves and Kuroar! was able to convince a fellow by the name of Bundaberg, after some rather horrendous efforts by Beren to rally the ex-slaves into an anti-Ulruun crusade.

With Bundaberg being dispatched to see what he could find, the group itself decided to take to some investigating of its own. Garidias decided to have a chat to the guards on the main merchant gate and through various charms, he worked his magic and the guards revealed that a caravan bearing the markings of House Shom, who Ulruun works for, left hastily in the previous day or so. Armed with this information, the group decided to head for the buildings that House Shom use in Tyr. They were able to locate an office-like building attached to a carriage-house that belonged to the slave trading house. With the rest of the group watching from a safe distance, Beren decided to destroy the lock on the gates to the office building and then began to lay into the doors, but was duly rebuffed by the tough wood. A back entrance was found and the place searched from top to bottom, but it was almost entirely empty, save for a few boxes of provisions (from which the group added to their Survival days - now 15) and a single slave cart. They headed back to the tavern where they met Bundaberg who had some information confirming the disappearance of Ulruun and had heard rumours they were headed toward Silver Springs, possibly on their way to Nibenay (some 350 miles away) where House Shom was based.

With belongings gathered up and Bundaberg presented with a new temporary house, the group headed out along the road toward Silver Springs, along which they had so recently raced. The first couple of days were uneventful, passing a selection of merchant caravans heading to and from Tyr. The third day brought a different sight, that of a small hamlet just off the main road. The group recalled it was populated on their way past recently, so to find it devoid of all life was slightly disturbing. The group approached with caution, Kulo,'s call yielding no reply, but as they entered the collection of huts, they all spotted movement among the far huts. Edging closer they could see that the movement was made by a gang of Ssurrans, who attacked the group, but found themselves overmatched, the dune mystic going down under the onslaught from Gretchan and Beren. Just as they finished off one of the last Ssurrans, a final one appeared around a corner but immediately and without any apparent cause, died. Beren checked out the suspicious death, but only brings down an horrible creature known as a Tembo upon himself. The creature was lurking invisible and the mul could feel a dangerous, malicious aura of death emanating from it. The group came to the fighter's aid and Kuroar!'s powerful charges combined with Kulo,'s chains dealt significant wounds to the beast, but its claws and bite took a terrible toll to all who drew near. Garidias lent his considerable tactical knowledge to the fight along with Gretchan's long range assault, wounding it still further. However, it was a nimble creature and shifted this way and that, bringing its dangerous aura to bear on already wounded companions. One by one they succumbed to it, even the healing granted by Garidias' inspirational words seemed to diminish in the presence of this dread creature. After all the others lay bleeding on the ground among the rude huts, it was left to one final last-gasp charge by Kuroar!, a powerful war cry upon his lips as he brought his enormous blade down one final time, carving the creature's head from its torso and it collapsed to the ground leaving little but silence.

Through sheer desperation over medical knowledge, the goliath was able to rouse Kulo, who in turn roused Gretchan. Between them they were able to stabilise the others and take stock of the surroundings.

While the huts were of not great quality, they provided good enough shelter for the night. It seemed the Ssurran group had stumbled across a population already thinned by the aura of the Tembo and decided to take advantage of it, until the party came along. The Tembo then returned to devastating effect...

Early in the morning, the group rose before dawn to continue their journey but as they set foot upon the sands several creatures burst forth and grabbed the group. However, despite the advantage of surprised, the Anakores were quickly dispatched. Gretchan and Garidias transporting through space to escape the grasping claws of the creatures, while Kulo, & Beren set about coralling the ambushers and taking them down quickly.

The group then rejoined the road to Silver Springs, with another 2 days to go until reaching the oasis.

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 9

And so begins my part of the campaign with Episode 9!


As Kulo, begins to get acquainted with the group in general, except perhaps Beren, they muse on some possible courses of action. Finally they set upon an idea formed from Tak-tha's intelligence gathering before he left. The sighting of Ulruun's slave caravans getting ready to depart Tyr sparked the group into action and they managed to slip in through the Market gate. Beren had a clandestine meeting with a message courier in the Merchant district which revealed his master was getting impatient with Beren's apparent lack of progress in his mission.

As they made their way from the Merchant's district, they were diverted by a struggling armed guard controlling some kind of anti-slavery demonstration. The soldiery were hard pressed to keep them back and as Gretchan tried to get near, they waved her back and gave instruction to go around by a different route.

As they made their way down a narrower side street, strewn with small market stalls, piled boxes of provisions, from the shadows of the alleys to either side stepped a gang of dwarven toughs and their leader. He intimated that they had been sent by Ulruun to treat you to a roughing up on his behalf. It was clear that these fellows were spoiling for a fight and they closed in, wielding gouges and greatclubs to decent effect at times. With Kulo, locking down a couple of goons with his chains and Kuroar! charging about, his fullblade carving chunks from the enemy while Gretchan stepped through space to appear on a nearby rooftop and Beren & Garidias teamed up to take on the chief. All were subdued, quickly and their bodies hidden before the group made a getaway down the street toward the slave markets.

Reaching the large, open-air area around the slave markets, which brings back some memories for those who spent time here before, Gretchan spots 4 caravans that seem to be marked with House Shom, whom Ulruun works for. Just as they head towards it, the kanks begin to move and the convoy gathers speed. It is clear that they are on their way out. Just as that happens a small boy raced past shouting, "They are free!! We are all free!!!!" as a roar, similar to that made by lots of people, erupts from the Slave Pits.

Fortunately, the only way back out toward the Merchant gate means the convoy has to come right by the group's position. Hoping to derail Ulruun's plans and possibly the dwarf himself, the group position themselves into an ambush position on the road, ready to attack the caravan as it flies by.

As the first two caravans approach, Beren & Kulo, leap into action followed swiftly by the others, blocking the roadway and dealing with the caravan drivers in various nasty ways, including being teleported into the slave caravan and being torn apart by desperate slaves. The rearmost caravans were forced to divert around the others and generally got in each other's way.

The fight dragged on a little, the kanks not giving up easily and the source of the earlier roar was now clearly a swarming tide of released slaves, some jubilant, some exuberant, but all heading right towards the group. With the caravan's neutralised, the group got out of there in a hurry, the two goliaths making good use of their innate knowledge of just how boxes can be strewn behind to slow down a pursuing enemy to create some distance between them and the mob.

They finally were able to lose the mob and catch their collective breath in a side-street. They were promptly approached by a detachment of the city guard and asked to accompany them to the Templar district. Despite some general nervousness about being escorted, the group followed orders and the patrol sergeant explained that they were gathering up the freed slaves to remove the markings of their former masters. Along the way, they gather other former slaves and are made to wait in a long queue to be processed.

Each of the group are then attended by a young Templar by the name of Mavar who will be performing the removal of the slave markers. Kulo, insisted on standing guard over some of the group while theirs were performed, which Mavar had no particular objection to. The procedure was quite quick, but painful, but the ministrations of the Templars are such that no ill effects are suffered by the group.

As you are all escorted from the Templar district, you make your way back towards the Merchant district looking for a place to stay for the night, the streets are quieter and on one of the more deserted ones, you are again ambushed, but this time by 3 centipede-like creatures, two of which had been waiting on rooftops and slithered down the walls with great speed and agility. The group defended itself against the attack, but without Beren, Gretchan was left exposed and the creature's pincers and antennae proved too deadly. Vicious wounds were dealt out on both sides, but the valiant work of Kurorar! enabled Garidias and Kulo, to get back into the fight, rescuing Gretchan. Inspection of the dead bodies reveals them to be species of cilops. Garidias' knowledge of these things indicates that they can be trained to track and kill for their owners. He says he has heard of Templars doing just such a thing.

Following their close call, the group calls it a night and heads for the tavern that Beren had earlier met his messenger in and settle down to their first night of freedom for many years, if ever...

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 8

The dust cloud approached too quickly.  Knowing they were unable to escape their pursuers, the group turned and prepared to meet them.  There were three assassins, armed with long knives and crossbows, the leader of which had ample poison spread over his bolts, which Garidias seemed to take a liking to.  They all rode Crodlu, each bearing down upon their foes with a thirst for blood.

Kuoroar! and Tak-tha charged in, with Garidias close behind, and as they moved between the enemies, Gretchan teleported two of the riders off of their mounts.  Even though they were still strong and dangerous, without their mobility, the tables turned in favour of the caravan.

Thanks to his resilient skin and the uplifting words of the eladrin warlord, the barbarian shrugged off three mortal blows, and kept harassing the would-be assassins, and by the time Gretchan picked up one of the beasts and used it to club the leader to death, the remaining Crodlu's realised their problem, and turned to flee.


The skirmish had been hard on everyone, even (somehow) the caravan drivers, but Rhotan Vol did not want to pull over just yet.  The assassins, clearly part of the Tsalaxa household, were most likely scouts - when they did not report back, Ulrunn would definitely assume the caravan was the cause.

After some deals were made for what little water was left, the decision to move at a forced march towards Tyr was agreed upon, the group made their last decent rest, and then charged, head first, into the harshest five days of their lives.  By the end, the Kanks were barely able to pull the caravan, and one driver had not woken since the previous night.  All but for Garidias had succumbed to the Sun Sickness, and many were ready to collapse from exhaustion.

Tak-tha, being the only one without a slave marking, entered Tyr with Rhotan; the caravan leader promised rewards, if the party would come and visit him in a few days time.  Until then, the thri-kreen purchased much needed supplies, and returned to the others...whilst being trailed by someone short, and fat.  He thought.

The shadows turned out to be elves (at least he managed to get the "someone" part right), and they turned out to be more scouts for Ulruun.  Hiding behind a crop of rocks, the exhausted party waited to see what would happen, the psion's invisible eye allowing them to watch without being seen.

Soon enough, Ulruun arrived, bringing with him two slave-gladiator-bodyguards and another axe-crazy dwarf.  The fighting was vicious and one-sided, so much so that Ulruun watched from a rock.  Until, that is, Kuoroar! convinced one of his slaves to turn against him, and join their rebellion.

His remaining men quickly dispatched, the dwarf ran for his life away from the battle, being trailed only by Tak-tha.  At first, he tried to keep the monk at bay by tripping him up with his cane; when that didn't work, Ulruun fell back to more basic methods: a dagger deep into Tak-tha's side.  By the time the others caught up with the badly-bleeding Kreen, Ulruun was long gone.


The slave, who was still wearing his helmet (made to obscure their identity, prevent them from talking, and make it a whole lot harder to run away), was eventually freed, even though Gretchan burnt a sizeable chunk of skin off of his neck as she broke apart the magical lock.  It was then that Kuoroar! could finally get a glimpse of the face that surrounded those familiar eyes.  In a raspy voice, Kulo, looked at him and said "Kuoroar!! I am your father!", before embracing his shortly-lost son.

Kulo, went on to explain how his manifested psionic ability had allowed him to fake death long enough for the gladiatorial 'execution' to have passed, and how his craftiness had caught Ulruun's attention.  Having lost his prized gladiator, Ulruun thought it humorous to keep his father, and force him to do what he had planned for the son.  In truth, he had not expected Kulo, to make it this far, but the half-giant had proven his worth, once the desire to reunite with his son and see Ulruun defeated was there to fuel his training.  "Together, we will take him down, Kuoroar!, and we will put an end to his torment!"

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 7

Moving up from the ankheg nest, when Tak-tha motions for silence, and the torches are doused.  Ahead, past the room of eternal conflict (where the undead remains of dwarves continue their fight every now and then), silhouettes are seen.

Carefully, the group approaches the cave, and realises that one of the figures is Beren - being held between two bulky individuals, and roughed up by a third, an assassin like the one confronted almost a week ago.

A few more blows were given to the mul, as he refuses to answer the assassin's question, and the party start to creep forward.  Despite his stealthiness, Tak-tha alerts the ruffians of his presence before they can all close in, but the party, fighting from the dark, still have the advantage.

The assassin quickly dispatches of Beren, as combat is met.  Two more thugs lurk around outside, along with three elves armed with swords and bows.  Rhotan Vor and his men have already been subdued, but Rhotan hired the team for this very purpose.  Tired, worn out, and near exhaustion though they are, they make short work of the would-be assassins, and although one escapes to warn Ulruun, the rest are eventually killed.  A new name is heard, as the leader is slain (for the second time); with his dying breath, he lets out a curse upon Kuoroar!, crying "Tsalaxa take you!", as he falls to the sandy floor.

The rest of the day is spent hurriedly moving all the remaining goods from the treasure room to the carts, before Ulruun and his soldiers can catch them.  Strangely, Zadusic was no where to be seen.

They rested briefly over night, and left early the following morning - instead of returning to the Silver Springs, where Ulruun was most likely still stationed, they made a wide arc around the area, adding a day or two to their travel time, but hoping for a whole lot less angry, treasure-hungry guards.

The next days passed slowly, as the drivers fought to keep the heavily-loaded carts from sinking too far into the shifting sand dunes.  The heroes helped out where they could, with Garidias and Gretchan seeing to the kanks injuries and inevitable tiredness.  It was not until late on the second day of travel, when the road to Tyr was once again visible, that the wildlife fianlly grew tired of their trespassing.

A large silk wyrm, along with a number of her offspring, assaulted the caravan, trying to gain some tasty humanoids to feed upon.  once her attack was repelled, and her kin slain, the wounded beast retreated to the wild, hurt and seeking shelter.  Although some wished to hint it down, the knowledge of the more pressing danger - Ulruun's scouts - took them to the road.

Throughout the next night they moved, foregoing sleep in order to put more distance between them.  But though they sacrificed much, as the sun rose, so did it reveal the dark cloud of running crodlu on their trail.  With the kanks already slow from their pricey loads, their need for rest was dropping their speeds to a slow crawl - the crodlu and their scouts would be upon the caravan within the hour...

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 6

Toramund had provided you with good information, for you had found your way through the Canyon of Gothay to the vault of Darom Madar easily enough, and though the restless dead within it were not happy with your presence, you persevered, and discovered the hidden treasure - Rhotan Vor would be pleased, his life searching could now end!

As Gretchan undid the last arcane sigil binding the protective wards to the silver wall, it slid downwards into the ground, revealing a short passageway which in turn lead to a small room. Via the flicker of torchlight, you can barely make out chests, racks of weapons, and other amazing valuables piled around the chamber.  The glint of gold - real gold! - drew the party into the chamber, and almost too late did they see the final guardian.  Standing in the middle of the vault, was a withered, ragged figure in rotting finery, it's gaunt features dreadful and unearthly.

Tak-tha and Kuoroar! charged forward, leaving Gretchan and Garidias to face the wight's other attack: Zadusic possessed.  From behind, the tiefling fired down arrows upon them, quickly sending the young girl to the floor, bleeding badly.  Her eladrin companion of so many years didn't stop for her, instead charging in to confront the cause of the ranger's betrayal.  The battle there was fierce, Darom being as focused in death as any dwarf was in life, and playing with the minds of the others - especially Beren, with whom he shared some blood.  Turning the party against itself was not his final trick, though!  As he was destroyed, the party moved to rest, electing to leave those unconscious that way, and not waist their magic on them...and then Darom returned, with a vengeance!  At less than half strength, and with some of their number still down, the final fight was very fierce, and the treasure of the Madar Dwarves was almost lost again...but they managed to prevail in the end.

Not wanting to leave the treasure just yet, everyone started sorting through the great wealth - even their smaller-than-desired percentage of this wealth was still a small fortune each, more than they would have ever thought possible to set their eyes on.  Only Gretchan had seen anything approaching the wealth she now wore on and held in her hands; but that had never held the magical power that her gloves and staff contained.

Electing to rest there the night, instead of moving out and alerting Rhotan, Zadusic watched over them.  The tiefling still felt uneasy around the party - especially Garidias, who had not forgiven his magically-caused betrayal - and wanted to prove his worth.  He had no sleep that night, and remained behind the next morning, as the team moved off to search out more of the vault.

Apparently, not only Darom had been so strong to remain behind with a vengeance; his wife, Dynera Madar, and their two children, Lyos & Taran, still clung to a semblance of a presence.  All three were now phantoms, wraiths lurking around a Sorrowstone, which was itself a trap for those who might happen across it's path.  Many fears and sorrows were met that morning, and a lot of crying was done amongst all, until the stone could be destroyed, and the wraiths all dispersed back to wherever they were meant to rest.

The final stop before returning to the surface was the tunnel under the main hallway's floor.  Feeling that it would not be a difficult challenge, and that Rhotan and his men really should be alerted soon, Beren returned to the caravans, whilst the others moved into the tunnel.  It lead into a cave, mostly natural, but with enough scratch-marks to cause them to think that their earlier suggestions of ankhegs were going to be correct.  Indeed, they wandered right into a brooding next, with a pair of adult ankhegs trying to protect their young.  After Tak-tha was dragged away, Garidias made a valiant stand, giving Kuoroar! the time and courage to take out the dangerous pair of overly large burrowing creatures, even as the warlord was himself dragged away.  Gretchan narrowly managed to save him, and remove him from the male ankheg's pincers before it retreated down a hole, and the threat was dealt with, ensuring safe passage for the workers to remove the remaining treasure from the vault.  All that was left, now, was to go and meet with Rhotan Vor.  And, at some point, have a rest!

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 5

Silver Spring oasis has long stood as a vital stop on the trade route between Urik and Tyr. Its longevity in a desert filled with dangerous monsters and brutal bandits is a testament to the skill of the Silver Hand elves who have guarded the fortified oasis for generations.  Rhotan Vor believed that their chieftain, Toramund, could tell them much about the dangers that infest the nearby canyons, as well as give advice on what areas may hold such things as the vault.  This information, he hoped, could prove invaluable to them, and aid their search greatly.

Unfortunately, the party were not the only ones trying to get an audience with Toramund.   Kuoroar! was initially mistaken to be another slave of Ulruun the Repugnant, who was currently camped on the northern side of the oasis. Fortunately, the elves did not know that Kuoroar (as well as Gretchan) was indeed one of Ulruun's slaves - an escaped one, at that.  Whilst they do not like or wish to trade with the slavers, they would also not harbour escaped slaves, lest that bring the wrath of Ulruun and his men down upon the oasis.

Garidius was eventually able to win them some time with the elven chieftain, and with a lot of bartering, displays of endurance and skill, and a considerable amount of smooth talking, Toramund was won over to their cause.  He even let them know of their hidden psionic potential, with which Garidius and Gretchan immediately displayed ability.

That evening, as the sun set and the desert cooled to merely uncomfortable levels of heat, the team set out for the Canyon of Gothay. Although in part an actual canyon, a natural rift many centuries ago resulted in half of the canyon to fall a hundred feet or more, throwing the other half up just as far.  The resulting terrain was not only dangerous, but riddled with numerous caverns that needed exploring.

After numerous hours of searching, and a few near-misses with what appeared to be ankheg lairs, a large cavern filled with dead bodies was discovered.  These bodies included the fairly recent dead, other natural predators that had died over the years, and two teams of dwarves from decades ago.  It was the oldest dead that attacked.

The undead soldiers of Madar, as well as what was once an assassin of House Tsalaxa, were still fighting, though their lives had long since ended.  Something in this area had destroyed the natural order, and their conflict seemed eternal...even if it were stilled at times.  With the dead defeated, the party moved into the vault proper.  Rhotan elected to stay outside with the wagons and his men.

The inside of the vault was carved stone, and aside from a large crack in the entrance chamber (through which Kuoroar! dropped, and decided that the continuing tunnel was clearly not part of the vault, and thus wouldn't lead to the treasure), the place looked quite untouched.  That was, until they reached the Ancestor Hall....and discovered that they were the ones disturbing the tomb.

Wisps and skeletal soldiers leapt at them, whilst arcane glyphs on the tombs caused creeping, incorporeal hands to lash out at those who strode too close by.  And by the time Tak-tha had discovered the hidden compartment beneath the stone throne, Zadusic was unconscious.  Not even Beren's expert healing skills could revive the ranger before he had taken serious damage.

Once the glyphs had been destroyed or deactivated, the compartment and it's strange door could be further examined.  A huge slab of smooth, dark, smoky-coloured material stretched across the recessed wall, charred bones and small heaps of ash rested at its base.  There was no visible means of shifting, raising, or lowering it, leaving Tak-tha to wonder if it was a door at all.

The monk tried to approach it, but a blast of energy knocked him back.  Garidius and Gretchan moved up and together disabled the traps and spells protecting the silver wall, finally allowing it to slide downward into the ground, and reveal a short passageway that leads to another room.  Even from the small alcove, chests, racks of weapons, and other amazing valuables could be seen piled around the chamber.  The treasure of Darom Madar had been found!

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 4

The trek back to Altaruk went by without incident, and when Rhotan Vor received his goods and personnel back, he was quite happy.  However, a quick look over the goods brought out a questioning nature in the dwarf - eventually, it was revealed that the map was something he had spent considerable time and money tracking down.  He had been searching for the fabled vault for some time now, and although he wasn't certain that the map was legitimate, it was the best lead he had in over seven years.

With promises for sharing of the possible treasure, as well as  Rhotan agreeing to feed and water the team, if they helped protect his caravan, they are given a day to rest and collect supplies.  The following morning, the caravan heads north, following the Great Road towards Silver Spring.

They made good time the first day, stopping to camp further north than the party had travelled in their previous trip.  The second day, however, was not as pleasant.  A few hours into daylight, a crodlu cry gave small warning of an attack - a small band of elves, lead by a rider with dark, defiling powers, assaulted the caravan, and only after much fighting were they repelled.

The unusual thing was that although they fought well, ultimately they seemed to be more interested in getting to Rhotan than escaping...

Finally, the small unnamed oasis was reached - and good reason was discovered for it's lack of name.  It was little more than a shallow mud pit, surrounded by scarce bushes.  With some work, drinking water could be recovered from the mud, but it was not what they had hoped for.  And, nor were the "Crimson" bandits who had moved into the place and demanded payments for their goods.  Yassi and Drokan were clearly ill-informed on the abilities of the party, and had expected Rhotan to have fielded less able warriors.  Yassi was especially surprised as Gretchan began to throw the halfling around the oasis!

Their weapons and small stash of goods were claimed as compensation, although doubts were raised over just how well the weapons would work, given that half the bows had broken in the skirmish!

With two attacks on them already, Rhotan was concerned that they would not reach the safe plateau before sunset.  Baazrags inhabit the local area, and move swiftly through the sand to catch unsuspecting foes.  Swarms of the creatures can swiftly devour a helpless individual, and would make short work of the caravan, should it be caught.  As the creatures came forth from the ground, Garidias and Kuoroar! each found themselves assaulted and poisoned; only with the help of Gretchan's blasting psionics did they survive.

A weary, bloodied, and ready to collapse group camped on the solid plateau that night, and with much relief, they made it to the Silver Spring Oasis barely after noon the following day.

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 3

With Rhotan Vor raising the reward for his missing caravan to 170 ceramic pieces, and Garidias proving interested in searching the caravan out, too, the team packed up their scarce belongings and headed away from Altaruk, into the desert.

For four hours, the party moved towards the north, following the rough path the trade caravans used.  Eventually, Garidias told them that they were near where he woke, after the storm.  Some searching eventually showed up remnants of the caravan - including a few bodies.  This time, Tak-tha was able to study the correct end of the dead, and discovered that not all of them had been killed by the storm - some had wounds suggesting blowguns, and many had small bites, as if by a hungry reptile, over their bodies.

Before the party could study the site further, eight silt runners leapt up and attacked them.  Clearly, these little creatures were the cause of a few of the deaths - their blowgun venom was potent, and their cries (which Zadusic could understand) were only a longing for the fresh meat upon the party's bones.

After a few close scares, the party managed to chase the creatures away; once their wounds were seen to, the fleeing creatures were then tracked back to the location of a wagon, which had been run aground over a kruthik hive.  These creatures were also fought off, and the silt runners tracked some more - to the ruins of a tower.  Beneath the desert sands, a few rooms had been recovered, and the remnants of a silt runner tribe had taken up residence.  Three remaining caravan drivers, now prisoners and "spare food", were tied up to the back of the dark chamber, which had multiple sarcophagi and crumbling rubble throughout it.

Here, the silt runners fought their final battle, their leader inciting them on to heroic deeds and almost sending Kuroar! and Tak-tha from this world.  A solitary ssuran foolishly tried to poison Beren, but the mul smacked him down - as he did to the silt runner leader, after Gretchan threw it across the room.  Zadusic was also taken down, having fared poorly in the previous encounters, but again, Garidias' presence kept everyone that little bit more alive.

In the end, they had an underground base, three half-starved caravan workers, and close to 500 ceramic pieces of trade goods to themselves.  The next question was - what were they going to do with it all?

Return to Altaruk today was not a wise decision - that distance of travel was dangerous when people were fit and lightly packed.  Carrying the former prisoners and all the extra gear, on top of being so injured, was beyond crazy.  So the party cleaned the tomb up a little, and made to rest there overnight.  Whist they worked, some further searching was done, to work out why the silt runners had been here, and what their plans were - a map showing the location of a number of different ruins was found on the ssurian's body.  The current 'tower' was marked, as well as another of small other locations.  However, one ruin in particular was circled in what appeared to be blood - Madar's Vault.  It seemed important, and it seemed that the ssurian was collecting supplies and followers to head that way - further north, away from Altaruk.

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 2

After a few weeks of odd-jobs and low-level gladiator bouts, neither of which netted the group any more money or supplies than they needed to survive from day to day, they decided to be more active.

Beren put himself forward in a solo-championship challenge; whilst the others (except Magnus, who had disappeared a few days earlier, muttering plans of revenge upon Kaldras) put themselves forward for a high-risk, high-reward challenge.  In this battle, they faced off against four gith savages, with the restrictions on killing removed.  The battle was fierce, and for a moment, victory was in their grasp, but a lucky hit on Kuoroar! took him down, and by the time there was only one gith left, only Tak-tha remained to oppose him.  Moving from pillar to pillar, the thri-kreen tried to evade the javelins hurled at him, hoping for the creature to run out, but his wounds caused him to be too slow, and the match ended with the arena medics running to stabilise the fallen team.

They were not the only ones to fall that day - Tellemon, the local captain of the guards, was murdered; the poison used fast-acting enough to prevent anyone from interfering.  Being outsiders, the bruised team was asked to search for the murderer on behalf of the Governor, Arisphistaneles.  He feared it was an inside job, and promised to reward them, should they find the culprit.

Tak-tha didn't help much when it came for questioning witnesses, the kreen continuously falling back to his native tongue.  And Kuoroar!'s knowledge of anatomy lead to a great study of Tellemon's feet (instead of the puncture wound by his kidney).  But together, and with the aid of Gretchan and Zadusic, they located the murder weapon - a dagger, coated with poison, and empowered with arcane magic.  They also tracked the murderer to the gladiatorial quarter, and eventually confronted him and his dwarven accomplice in a deserted barracks.  They put up a fight, but were eventually overpowered, and brought before the Governor...who recognised the dwarf as a friend...

It turned out that Arisphistaneles was the head of the Veiled Alliance cell in the city, and Birk one of his agents.  Tellemon had been part of the True cabal (a group of individuals who were quite the opposite of the Veiled Alliance; they wanted more power to the Sorcerer Kings, and revelled in the power that Defiling brought).  He had recently discovered the Governor's ties to the Alliance, and planned to assassinate him: Birk had caught news of this, but didn't have time to pass it on before the attempt was to be made, so took matters into his own hands.

Arisphistaneles was most pleased with the group's work, and as well as a future friendship, offered to look into certain matters that the party were struggling with currently.  He also rewarded them as promised, and gave them a fine set of armour made from Kank hides, which fitted Zadusic quite well.

With high spirits after a job well done, the group returned to their camp, rested, and then re-entered the arena, intent on winning!  There, they faced a half-giant who was almost large enough to bring great question on the "half" classification.  He was fierce, moving about the battle quickly and dealing a lot of damage, but they slowly worked him down, and in the end, he fell with a thud - atop Kuoroar! and Tak-tha, but fell all the same.  The team had won, allowing them to regain a little of the crowd's favour after their last loss.

After the battle, a familiar figure approached Gretchan, congratulating her and asking for a word.  This was Garidias, a former servant of her father's whom she last saw when their caravan was attacked, back before she was made a slave.

Garidias had also been made a slave, although apart from the small mark on the inside of his left wrist, one might not notice.  His way with words and insightful grasp of tactics had kept him well in the past months.  His 'owners' had been part of the caravan that had gone missing in the recent sandstorm; he alone had made it to the settlement.  He asks Gretchan (and the others, should they be willing) to help him search it out: there was a rare item in the caravan that he would hate to see left to the desert...  As it happens, Rhotan Vor has increased his asking price for help to 170 ceramic pieces, no doubt in part due to the difficult nature of finding the caravan at all, should many more days pass by.

Aside from this, the only other offers of work are Karlen's desire for treasure hunters to claim rumoured artefacts at a fabled ruin; and generic caravan guarding duties.  Sadly, none of these are returning to Tyr, as the turmoil over there (because the Sorcerer King, Kalak, has remained absent this past month, fuelling the rumours of his death) has caused many merchants to fear for their safety in the unruly city.

Monday, 31 October 2011

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 1

We began this 4th edition D&D campaign back in August 2010 and so you can all enjoy the detail of the adventures to date, I will be posting recaps from our adventure sessions. We meet once a month and I have taken over DMing the group since May 2011 and its my first long term stint at DMing.

If anyone feels like leaving comments about the campaign, please do :)

In the early episodes, I played Tak-tha, the Thri-Kreen monk. So on with episode 1 of the campaign...

Episode 1

The trek from the turmoil of Tyr through to the relative peace of Altaruk was long and harrowing.  The Highsun heat, coupled with the intense cold of the night, wore out more than a few of the caravan guards.  When the raiders attacked the caravan, the guards were almost overwhelmed - and indeed, Gretchan fell, much to her disappointment.

It was most likely this tired and exhausted state that convinced the elves to try their ploy - and allowed it to go mostly unnoticed.  Still, the elves did not prove to be as sturdy as the guards they had hired - which would explain why they were hired in the first place!  If it were not for the prompt response of Tellemon and his guards, Kaldras may well be dead, and the party free to continue their lives as wanted criminals...

Instead, they were challenged to a game in the arena, largely to allow Tellemon, and Governor Arisphistaneles through him, to profit off the disturbance.  The half-minute race around the thorny briars was intense, and went into overtime; but even with Gretchan being disqualified and Zadusic fainting from overwhelming pain (as the trapjaw munched on his leg), Kuoroar!, Magnus, Tak-tha and Beren were able to catch Kakdras and steal the final coin away from him, for a final result of 4-3.  They had their moment of glory, reclaimed the item he had gifted and retaken, and were eventually paid for their earlier work.

Tellemon even promised them a share of the earnings, whenever they wanted to call on him.

As the weeks wear onwards, a number of jobs come up which could prove to be interesting:

  • After a few days in Altaruk, a fierce sandstorm blows over the town.  Later that week, a ragged caravan crawls through the town gates, reporting that one of its wagons has gone missing with valuable cargo aboard. Once the storm has passed, Rhotan Vor (a Balican dwarf affiliated with the caravan) offers a reward of 100 gp to the group that finds the lost wagon and retrieves its cargo of grain, wine, and wood.
  • A dwarf messenger is wandering Altaruk, seeking someone to help repel desert raiders who continue to harass and disrupt their caravans.
  • The arena, after the excitement of the game last time, continues to call to you.  There is always a prize to be won, or fame to be found in the games.  
  • Karlen (a half-giant shop owner) is looking for someone who could seek out a ruin, and possibly collect some interesting items for his shop.
  • There are rumours of the Veiled Alliance, a secret order of preservers and opponents of the sorcerer-kings.  If the stories are true, Altaruk, with it's reasonable laws and lack of oppression, would seem to be a likely place for them to have some measure of power.  They would no doubt be able to help supply food to "refugees", or track down certain missing persons.  Finding them could be of good value.

Welcome one and all

Hello everyone (yes, that means you!)

Welcome to Deluge of Bronze, an intensely witty play on words, or 'pun' if you will, that only a small percentage of my readers might work out. Of course, it could also mean I only post third-rate material, unworthy of being either silver or gold, but that might be a debate for another time.

Save yourself a spot on the chesterfield in the corner, move the cushions out of the way and settle in for a ride that you might want to get your money back on later...