City of Crypts

Tricked by a Prostitute

We clear things up and head to the left at the first door. The door was trapped but our rogue evaded neatly. The room behind has a sarcophagus in it that had a specter pop out of it before anything could happen. We kill her after a short fight and investigate the sarcophagus. While we are looking, outside in the hallway four Mohrgs materialize near the half giant archer while he is alone. Inside the sarcophagus is loot, 80 gp of copper, 720 of silver, 1200 gp, 1800 gp in gems, (3800gp), 2600gp jewelry, bronze death mask worth 4000gp (10400gp).

Grugnir almost drops when the Mohrgs swarm him but we get in and save him and defeat the Morhgs. We then proceed to the next door. Behind is another Sarcophagus and the room is clear to explore. Inside the sarcophagus is moldering corpse and 60gp in copper, 500 gp in silver, 900 gp, 2 arts worth 1800 and 3000, (6260gp total).

Continueing on to the next door to the left. More of the same with a mummy in the sarcophagus. Defeat him, +4 turn resist ammy and 15 fire resist, +2 midean bronze armor, +2 midean unholy glaive, Iron midean death mask +2ac, 1500 gp in silver, 500 platinum, 1 scroll – flesh to stone, fear, wall of iron, necklace of fireballs 7 beads (type 6), 2 healing potions 12d6, bracers prot +4.

Over to the right side we check and there is another room as the others with a green glow coming from the sarcophagus. We head in and a witchfire (hag undead) and she asks us to get out of her home and we basically intimidate her. We agree to free her in exchange for her stuff and her going to city of crypts to necromancy tower. She gives us a tiara (1600g), Jeweled boustie (2700gp), elven silk robes (3600gp), +2 shield, 320gp, 1200gp. The next two rooms are the wives of the master (a mummy cleric).

Next room the same as last with wisps of black smoke coming from the sarcophagus. We open it and inside is a burning corpse. Loot it: 400 gp, 3000gp, 2000gp, jewelry – 1500gp and bronze death mask 2500g, 2 art – 2500gp and 1800 gp, 1000gp rare perfume, 2000gp in spices.

Next room the same with another smoking sarcophagus. Inside is a gaunt figure writhing on fire babbling something about some bitch got to her and then combusts. Looks like what the witchfire could do. +2 human leather armor, boots of haste, +2 bracers of prot, +2 cloak resist, 600gp, 2000gp, 5000gp, statue worth 1500gp. Witchfire is gone, she lied to us obviously.

Total gold – 59800gp _whatever armor and weapons sell for

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Talk with Chaos

Standing before the door, the rogue checks the door and says he isn’t sure but he thinks its clear. Nimoch tries the door and blades come out and cut him up a little. But the door opens and we see two statues and a raised dais with a sarcophagus. We enter and the rogue finds a trap on the dais. He disarms it but someone coalesces from the tomb four ghouls four wights and two clay golems come forth. We kill them all and loot the room. Mummy in the tomb – +2 midean bronze armor, +2 unholy mace of bleeding, +2 electrum death mask, ammy fire resist 15 turn resist 5; coffin – elven longsword (it starts speaking in elven) – it insults grugnir’s stench and tries to get Asheron to jump, +3 longsword reptile bane +2d6 vs reptiles (extra +1), +2 shortspear, 2 potions of mind reading, 35291 copper, 63120 silver, 10942 gold, 372 platinum, 2 150g gems, 2 250gp gems, 4 500gp gems, 2 1000gp gems, 3 javelins of lightning, bag of holding V (for rob), staff of black/red metal with a red glow that keeps changing its schools of magic and whether it is magic (chaos). We divvy up loot from the tomb. Gold total:210,706 – 50K each, 10706 for the cleric.

Asheron tries to pick up the staff but it says hell no. It says it will have to deal with us and calls up a glowing red stone and says none of us are chaotic. It will travel along with us and we will try to sell him to a chaotic person. We agree and ask what he can do – Staff of the Chaotic Mind he gives a random stat bonus or penalty every day and has a random chart for stuff – pain in the ass. We head back and sell stuff to the blackmarket and then head back to our house to recoup and get ready for Asheron’s tea meeting and a party the next night.

While we sleep the staff starts glowing and says it is to be a bridge for us to talk to someone. We talk to the current proxy of Tithys about the possibility of how we are being screwed. The Unborn is a host of divine energy left from the last talthos unborn god, the eaten gnome god, the mideans etc. If we go there since it is at a weak point in the far realm we can become the new Morhkhall, become 4 new gods under his control, and the gods all have plans for it. Other option is for us to get an Orham artifact and talk to him. We decide we are going to stay for the tea and the party and then head to the City of Crypts.

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Tower of Blood

We prepare to go to the tea party with the Princess (which Asheron thinks is a naga or snake blooded somehow). The columns outside are carved with snake motifs, doors and walls as well. We knock and a bald servant answers. They lead us out to the garden, the water in the fountain is drugged but we all shake off the effects (Grugnir sparkles for a second). New servant comes to get us but it isn’t the same guy, he just looks the same. They ask for our beverage choices and bring them and a few minutes later, three identical naked girls come out (enchantment and necromancy on them) and start playing music. Princess Kastanel il-Balak, one of the first founding families of the midean empire, a great house. Some guy comes in and sits down near us and doesn’t introduce himself. He says the princess told him to meet us. A little while later four guys carrying a litter bearing the princess (smoking hot) comes in. (SNAKEY CHICK!!). Interested why we (touched by the gods) are in her pissant town, because it was closer. She wants to offer us stuff since we are in power. We ask about the City of Crypts.

15 years ago a pyramid exploded, undead started ranging, gnolls everywhere, a huge chunk of the city was killed (half the population) and the others pulled back to the once dry lake which isn’t anymore. Rebuilt walls and everything, an individual proclaiming himself as “Prophet/messiah/ foretold one”. No one knows who he is, not midean descendant, demons and undead obey him, including the 5 faceless lords. Jack is his hated enemy, he rules the humans and survivors in the city. There is a sort of war going on in the city now. Talzonnis (the foretold one) – means child of vengeance – ruling out of the palace of emperors with the pit fiend there is his general. The faceless lords only followed the Dark Queen (must be a representative of Morhkaal then). He has restarted the Dark Realm. The towers moved to the new part of the city, Jack talked to the keeper of the tower of ancient magic – Prince Rahk-maal. The towers aren’t functioning as they used too (their powers are being blocked by him and vice versa). Jack has called for heroes to come and help the city. She wanted me to impregnate some Halfling girls so that she could eat my grandkids. We leave after Asheron tells her that he will remember this.

We go to the palace to get Keira’s mask, we get in because Thorax is a lord here now (Lord Yogurt). Asheron makes a deal to get us to the City of Crypts, we walk through a gateway to end up a half a day from the city. We enter a gateway with Ythrag serpent glyphs and the castery types open the portal and send us on our way. We step through and find ourselves in the midst of ash and dust in the Bastion of Despair. An eerie presence is near us, a short guy steps out wearing a mithral death mask and exquisite mithral robes. We hear a disembodied voice (childlike), if we came here before we were ready it could be very dangerous. The betrayer knows we are here, thaos the son of Zhon, he has sent a number of faithless after us, thaos is talzonnis in a mortal form working for Morkhaal to get vengeance on everyone he hates (everyone really). A dozen guys in midean bronze armor come around with war lizards for us to ride. The guy is Vashaan al-Malik, emperor of midea, the child emperor. We ride toward the city and we see signs of camps, watchfires, smoke over the city and he talks to Lord Yogurt about how he hates Jack but keeps running into his kids and grandkids. Keira finds out a secret about the blood tower from Vashaan and then gains a skill power (roll two dice every time she does a skill check), and we pick up the pace as the faithless are at our heels. Tower of Necromancy did not move, he asks where we want to go, the tower of necromancy, midean stronghold – Great citadel of Ashok the great with the combined might of the midean houses, or the temple of gentle repose where Jack is set up. We decide to go to the Temple of Blood. Blah blah blah, stuff happens, tower talks and is all wibbly wobbly and non dimensional. Keira wants to change but stay the same, tower tells her to start all over. The tower fixes the gnome (the fleshcrafting was imperfect), and then Keira decides what she wants and Rachel shows up and says that’s it? She says yes and Rachel tells her that she would get the same package that Jack had.

Red glow covers Keira and she turns to gloop for a bit, then it pops and she is back but looks no different. Rachel looks and asks if she got everything she wanted. “I didn’t get everything I wanted but everything I asked for.” She has the Oramite symbol of the Crowned Pheonix on a burning throne on her now – symbolizes rebirth. She also has the symbol of Rachel intertwined with the pantheon symbol she already had on her.

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Ashok's Return

ABA’s – Micky – $5, Rob – $15, Will – $10, Eddie – $0, Ian – $0;

Rachel looks at Keira and says she is not happy with her. She needs to sit down and listen. She has fucked up things hard, Rachel has worked on things for 30 years and she has screwed things up. We have one try to fix this and she vanishes. A messenger shows up from Lord Jack asking for an audience with us when we have a chance. Outside we see a man in Terak Nomad robes that is a lycanthrope that bears a striking resemblance to Lord Yogurt. He says alright lets go and leads us into the city which looks kinda crappy and lots of guards dressed as terak nomads for the most part. Lots of people going in and out and a fair number of people that bear a resemblance to Lord Yogurt. And leads us to a large building and a large central room with a big table and maps, a big guy handsome and dressed in terak nomad robes. He introduces himself as Jack and we talk to him about killing faithless. Jack charms Keira for a meeting later and recommends we go see Sovan in the Tower of Divination. And we do.

We ask him about what we need to do to make Rachel happy. He says that we have to talk to Zhon about getting the Mideans back on board. Talk to Princess Moon to talk to Mhoram. We head to go talk to Urza at the Tower of Universal Magic for the Princess. Keira gets them to enhance her mask and we ask about items. During the night she goes out to try and start a cult but runs into problems. Outside the town are refugee camps and she tries again out there with better luck. She does have a run in with some chaos monger but hits him with the chaos staff which laughs at it. We head out the next day to go find the temple of Zhon so Lord Yogurt can talk to him. On our way we get attacked by faithless. We end the fight when Asheron makes all of them nauseous from noxious blasts and we kill them all. – 100gp each – 24 faithless ears.

We continued on to the temple of Zhon, it looks like it exploded from the inside. It appears devoid of all life, the altar is centered and there is a large black stain in the center of the room. We make a chant to Zhon and drop some of Lord Yogurt’s blood on the altar and we summon up lord Zhon. We asking him what he wants to free the Midean’s to work for our side, he asks us to basically owe him a favor at a later time and it screws over the Talathos. Keira asks for his help. And we all agree to due so, he takes Rob’s death mask, puts it on the altar and it turns Mithral.

“The party of the first party, Grugnir, Asheron the Gnome, Nimok (formerly known as Thorax), Valeera Scourgeborn formerly Princess Keira, do hereby acknowledge that after the completion of their task of preventing Mhorkhall from using the power of the unborn from forming a new avatar that they shall perform for me, Zhon, one service to be decided by me at my discretion that will be within their physical, mental and moral abilities, not to exceed their mortal capacities. In return, I, Zhon the Pale Lord, do hereby agree to use my hidden asset to bring the midean houses that are allied to the coalition back into the fold and keep them there.” We agree, prick our fingers and sign the paper that appears from the goop.

Zhon vanishes, a figure comes out and grabs the mask and puts it on. Ashok the Great, former Avatar of Zhon, is now the Emperor of Midea again again… He tells us that its time to go. We follow him out and there is Torak WhiteEyes and he says ” its funny how things come full circle”. We head back towards where everything is now, and Ashok says his one comfort in all this will be the look on Jack’s face.

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Dustburn, City of Shattered Spires

It began on the 7th Day, of the Month of the Beast, in the Year of the Bloodstorm. An explosion engulfed the Scarlet Pyramid, an explosion that could be seen as far away as the digger camps in the ruins of Gha’harash and Mha’garaan to the south west. The energy that emerged was felt by every divine and arcane caster in the city, as well as resonating with sites of unholy power. In the heart of the City, in the White Tower, Sovan knew what had happened. Thaos the Betrayer, the eldest son of Zhon, had been set free from his prison. Unwittingly aided by adventurers, and helped by Tythis the Chaos Lord, he set about seeking revenge upon his unholy father. They sought an alliance with the Talathos, and gave them the secret to tapping upon the energy on the Unborn God, increasing their power. Immediately, the Dark God Morkhaal the Death Wyrm moved to prevent his millenia old plan from being disrupted, and he sent in his legions of followers, the dreaded Faithless, to make war upon the undead of ancient Midia, who adhered to the Talathos. The battle between the Midian undead and the Faithless spilled over into the City itself, as the armies of both threatened to overwhelm the desperate defenders of the City.

The final straw came when the demons that infested the ancient Acropolis, led by great demon of the Acropolis and a mysterious figure in a white Midian death mask calling itself the Silent Emperor,assaulted the City. In response, Jack One-Eye, the Defender of the City, made a decision to retreat from the occupied area to a more secure location closer to the remnants of the Great Bastion. He and Ashok the Great, former Emperor of ancient Midia, channeled their connections to the Towers of Magic protecting the City, and they moved, melding into new positions to protect the relocated City, except the Black Tower of Necromancy, which remained as it always has, near the Great Midian Necropolis.

Now, the landscape around the City has changed. Unable to brave the dangers of the City itself, which was now more dangerous than ever due to the constant warfare around it, the smaller settlements, perched on top of the ruins of the cities of central Midia, which were now seen as prime site for looting, maybe not as rich as the central City itself, but still packed with more than enough wealth for the streams of looters desperate to hit it big. Now the caravans stream to these settlements, subject to raids by the Faithless warbands, or roving undead, while the Knights of the Circle have joined the fray to protect pilgrims visiting the shrines to the Pantheist martyrs in the area, constructing strongholds, and raiding both the Midian undead and the Faithless. One of these settlements is Dustburn, once the great Midia city of Duras Buram, located on the edge of a plateau shattered by might, ancient magic into shards and spires of rock, riddled with ancient Midian crypts built into the cliff faces. Here, in the center of a raging war, lies the start of new legends, new adventures, and new fortunes.

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A Clash of Steel & A Welcome Greeting

A cleric and a young child are alone together in the desert. Really? No priest jokes? Not even one?
Sun 7/26

Where to begin… It’s hard to remember through the rotting nausea and disorientation after surviving being lost in the desert. But it comes back fleetingly. It was the death of the human male that pried my mind loose. That death bothers me…

Somehow I found myself wandering the desert with a wood elf monk and a half orc fighter. We were seeking out other survivors and a caravan to join before dying, lost in the desert. That was when we came upon the raiders (perhaps slavers) about to kill the man and the children.

The monk leapt into action diving down the cliff as if walking on air while the half orc threw me over his shoulders as he climbed down carrying me. As we leapt into the fray it was then that I noticed a cleric (though I saw no visible symbol of his god) with a young child moving forward from the far end. The battle was hectic, but decisively quick. The only point of note was that the child is not what it seems. It blasted a bolt of purple energy through one of raiders leaving nothing but a hole in its chest. And it speaks telepathically. I can only surmise it is a warlock who has made a pact with some unknown force.

We rescued a middle aged man and two young children. The young girl wouldn’t speak and seems traumatized. She worries me though. For if it were something more…had she been warped by the ancient Midian forces we might be forced to kill her. Something I’d abhor. But you can’t screw around with those susceptible to Midian mind control. They have to go. I’ll keep an eye on her. Hopefully watching her caravan getting slaughtered just messed her up. Considering the alternative, that would be best.

Back to the young boy and the man, they seemed to have some kind of abnormal hatred and disgust with the half orc who I have found to be most pleasant and agreeable. The two also seem to have below the average IQ. They could not tell the difference between a half or and an orc (they think he’s an orc). The man says that he’s working for some merchant recovering artifacts and the boy says that he and his sister are seeking out their father. The kid seems like a sketchy racist (speciesist?), but I’ll let it go since he’s a kid.

The rest of what happened is vague for me as I floated in and out of dementia. I remember pulling my own gold piece out of that child’s ear instead of a copper (foolish, just foolish). We all got our own riding lizards now to ride (I call mine Cloppy! I just wish he had hooves… War ponies…) and our half orc friend seems to be quite the tracker and survivalist.

But I remembered the fighting. The Faithless and then undead zombies came after us. And then that demonic hell storm of wind that can rip the flesh from you skin too? I don’t think so. I made my own pacts and deals just to get here. I’ve studied the arcane and the histories of these empires so that I could some here to seek my future. And then three Midian incidents happen after we pick up that man and the two kids.

I considered for a second that it might have something to do with the girl, but she just a little girl. I decided to give her the benefit of the doubt to start (though after meeting the creepy alien kid that may not be a wise decision in the future). I pulled my trusty hand crossbow Betsy and called the human out saying that he was bringing this down on us.

I’m not sure if this new group was already thinking the same as I. We hadn’t communicated that much. But everyone swung around in full force when I got the ball rolling. Though, that teaches me to watch out for unintended consequences. Once I knocked over the pebble that man’s death was as sure as if I had stabbed him myself.

We found an old box that was warded somehow. And it dealt with the Talathos. I don’t know much about their religion (never could stay awake in religion class) but I do know they are as bad as it gets on the evil meter. Supposedly this guy was retrieving it for some merchant. Some debate ensued and tempers flared. However something about this man enraged the wood elf and the cleric to the point where they practically fought for the right to kill the human. Though the monk beat him to the punch.

Looking over at the young boy who was horrified I considered jibing him about the half orc not killing the human. An elf did it. But I thought better of it. Something about that kid bugs me though. Unlikeable little bastard he is. Instead I helped calm him and his sister down while the rest of the party went through the human’s things and disposed of his body. One nice thing about being a Halfling. No one even thinks to ask you to carry the bodies, heh.

My mind is clearing and my appetites have returned. With a little luck…well we’ve had quite a bit of both good and back luck actually. With a little skill we can find ourselves to an outlying minor city from the City of Crypts and that’s where I throw the pitch. See if these guys are willing to stay together to start raiding some Midian crypts. That’s where the real money is.

I can take care of the traps (hopefully) and we have an honest to god cleric (pun intended) with front liners. Give me a nice bottle of Einsley red wine and a buxom Halfling girl on my lap and we’ll be right on spot. And once I have enough money and items I can move to the City of Crypts and try to start my guild.

That creepy kid has some good ideas… A guild of scholars, sages, and lore masters? I’ll have to come up with a good name of course. Something that helps sell it. Maybe I’ll ask the creepy kid again. A repository of knowledge and lore. I like it. Hopefully these guys stick around to help me get there!

-Zander Blackbarrel
Sage, Scholar, and Trap Finder

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Leave him buried!!

The orc was right.
Sun 8/2
I woke up the next day refreshed and feeling much better. And not only was the storm over with but the body was nowhere to be seen! We headed out and continued west. By midday we saw something burning in the distance so we decided to check it out.

We found a burning caravan off the beaten path where there was a man putting things into a fire. Concerned those “things” might still be breathing we rushed down to get a closer look. When we get closer we hear muffled cries from under one of the wagons which we initially ignore. No telling if crazy fire pants man is gonna jump yet.

The guy is putting any random item he picks up in the fire including spoons. And we he greets us he offered us tea. I wasn’t about to drink anything he had to offer but my companions accepted. But it was confirmed he was on the crazy train once he brought out cracked tea cups filled with sand. Matters were further reinforced when he introduced us to his beautiful wife. A corpse.

While the group is dealing with crazy fire pants I went and talked to the man under the wagon. He’s a heavy set fellow who starts whining right off the bat. But he’s dying of thirst and stuck under a wagon while his companion is ignoring him. So I figure he’s entitled.

The guys get him loose of the wagon (which he apparently got stuck under while hiding from the Faithless raiders) and he introduces himself as Saeliesh Murthadi. He’s a merchant from the Arad Empire travelling to the City of Crypts and offers us 50g each if we transport him safely to Dustburn. Considering I’ll need some start up money I agree and thankfully the rest of the party does as well.

But that’s when I consider crazy fire pants over there drinking his sand tea. I asked if anyone knows how far we are from the closest town and the cleric pipes up, “7 days exactly” (which surprised everyone, including our half-orc survivalist). And then I checked on our total rations and water which could be stretched if we had to.

The party decided to leave the crazy guy behind and didn’t want to waste resources on him. But I figure I’ve got the food and water to keep him alive and the space on my riding lizard. Only I don’t trust him to ride with me or sleep with us. I try to explain to him that if he lets us tie his hands then I’ll bring him, but he doesn’t go for it. He’s crazy enough to think a corpse is his wife but sane enough to not be willing to be tied up by a Wind Runner Halfling. Go figure…

Sidebar: The Talathos box is in a sack tied to the monk’s lizard

Group Loot: 50g goods, 1 riding lizard, 2 rations

We continue on and the half-orc finds us some shelter in an area covered in rocks, ash, and sand. Retiring, I start dreaming. Forewarning, any time someone feels they have to include a dream in their logs they are either pretentious or the dream was supernatural. I am the latter.

Dreaming: I’m on a couch with black velvet and silk drapes and there are two smoking hot chicks rubbing my hair while feeding me grapes and pour me wine while calling me master. They’re just so glad I came by to visit because they don’t get visitors. They ask where I’m headed while molesting me (which I didn’t mind) and I tell them Dustburn. They start to ask me where it is but I don’t know and honestly didn’t much care about anything beyond the two girls rubbing their hands all over me.

So right at the good part of the dream things start to get creepy. Doesn’t that always happen?!?! It gets darker and off putting in the room. And that is when I realize that there’s no real light source, just a weird greenish glow. All of a sudden I hear a strange hissing from the girls and when I look at them they are wearing death masks. As they say that I look plump and delicious I wake up screaming in a cold sweat. Fucking hate this place…

I found strange, thin finger like marks (bruises) on my body and red welts on my neck. The group tries to figure out what happened to me but we got nothing.

The next day we set up a mini camp midday to rest from the heat. However it was interrupted by a group of Dry Husks that attacked us. They were very easy to hit, making almost no effort to dodge. But did they ever take a long time to take down. They actually dropped our cleric in the middle of the fight and we almost lost him.

But the odd part was that crazy fire pants guy was one of the Dry Husks that attacked us. We hauled ass out of there to make camp in some ruins we found far away from where we were. The monk starts asking about why that specific guy had been turned into a Dry Husk and whether “they” were after us (I’m not sure who “they” are, should have asked…). My personal opinion is that it is an ongoing effect from the Talathos box, kind of like a light tower.

While we’re discussing the box the merchant over hears us and chimes in that he can show us to some merchants who would be willing to pay good money for items that that. For a small commission (of course) he can show us to the right people in Dustburn.

The group however seems adamantly set upon destroying the item so we all turn in for the night after we’re done. Several hours later however we are woken to the sound of singing in the distance. When the cleric announces that it is a Talathos hymn I move stealthily out to scout for the sound.

However as I moved out (thinking my companions were right behind me) the group stopped, not wanting to leave the box unprotected. They woke the young boy and merchant (no realizing the little girl was missing) and debate over what to do. The creepy kid ends up grabbing the sack holding the box and they followed me out.

However a few minutes passed during that time which lead me to two realizations. It firstly put me into a moral dilemma and secondly made me rethink how far I should scout out again if I can’t see the rest of the party behind me.

About fifty feet out I found a large fifteen foot tall statue of a bearded man, tilted to the side and half covered in sand. In front of it is the little girl singing the hymn, which leads to the moral dilemma. She’s obviously being twisted and turned by evil forces. And out here there’s no telling how much trouble that could cause. I remember what happened to Master Talonius Constantine when he read that forbidden book. Countless apprentices died. Yet if I kill the little girl now my Lord would be angry with me for not discovering the why of this first.

Making a snap decision I whistle for the group so they know my location and walk out to talk to the little girl. The girl is looking at me expectantly (she stopped singing when she heard me whistle). When I asked her if she’s talking now she says that she didn’t realize she’s been out of it for days at all.

I asked her to touch the statue and nothing happened when she did. And when I asked her where she knew that song from she said it just popped into her head. So I did the obvious and asked her what else was popping into her head (note that my primary concern is that it will pop into her head to slit my throat while I am sleeping). She said that she had been thinking on how this place was once green and dotted with farms but that it’s all gone now and isn’t that weird?

The group arrives shortly after and I test her twice more by speaking to her in Midian C (which she doesn’t recognize) and having her hold the Talathos box. She said that it felt creepy and warm. Warm… I didn’t catch that before. I don’t remember it feeling warm. I’ve got to go touch the box again damnit. I’m the only one in the group who has had direct physical contact with it.

As we left I examined the statue more closely and could make out some Midian Cuneiform in Midian C and B at the base of it saying the word Kashgazar. We head back to camp and go to sleep.
The following day we continue on westwards where I suddenly smell something delicious. Really delicious! We debate for a while whether we should go out of our way for my nose because the monk really does not want to go. He thinks I’m delusional. (Gotta watch the monk too now. I’ve heard stories how people kill people they think are crazy out here in these lost Midian lands.)

Anyways, the kid points out that it might be Faithless cooking people and I say they might have innocents there. Which I already assumed it was people cooking and really just wanted a fresh meal. Was thinking too much on my stomach. Should have gone straight to saving people.

When we find the fires there is a group of Faithless roasting people for food (omg it smelled amazing!). We jump them from behind and drop them quickly and decisively with no losses to ourselves. However we were too late to save most of these people as there were only 3 survivors (1 in the end as two died in their sleep from their injuries).

On the upside the wagons hadn’t even been looted yet and were in perfect condition. I did think on whether it was right for us to take everything considering it technically was owned by the pilgrim who survived. But then I realized that it had already been stolen by the Faithless. So when we killed the Faithless we were totally justified in taking the Faithless’s possessions as our loot. Plus the pilgrim should be happy we’re feeding him, that we saved him, that we healed him (well the cleric did), and that we’re conducting him safely to the next town. Yes. He should be grateful even!

Group Loot: 140g goods, 4 days rations, 6 riding lizard, 6 wagons

The next day we wake up with no problems and head west. It’s then that we finally discuss the pace that we’ve been keeping and decided to start going faster to cut the travel time down to 3 more days instead of 4.

Lore Sidebar: I forgot that the monk told us that the Faithless are difficult to hit due to the unholy runes and sigils burnt into their flesh dedicating them to the Death Wyrm.

Later in the afternoon we come across a wrecked caravan and can hear someone calling for help. Upon examination there is a man buried to his neck crying about what the Faithless did to him (with hindsight I should have realized the Faithless would never leave someone alive unless it was for a very dark purpose).

While the monk was digging them out I saw an interesting method of religious indoctrination by the cleric. When the survivor said that Voxis (his god) was a dick for getting the three druid goddess knocked up he converted the pilgrim’s beliefs. He asked the man that if he had the opportunity to sleep with three of the most smoking hot goddesses wouldn’t he do it? And 3 of them no less (snicker). Watching the man nod as the light when on behind his eyes made me see that the cleric has serious potential to convert many to the worship of the Talazhon.

The reverie was interrupted when the man (the buried guy from before my tangent) leaps out of the sand attacking the monk. He’s screaming now and we can see that is body is infested with strange worms with gnashing teeth burrowing through his body. And that is when the Flayed Husks leapt from their ambush in the sand to attack us.

Lore Sidebar: They are called Flesh Worms and are an infestation created by Midians to create ancient monstrosities. A favorite tactic was to use them as “bombs” by catapulting them into their enemies.

The fight goes smoothly and we end up finding a small chest with 60g in it.

Total Group Loot Total: 250g, 7 riding lizards, 6 days rations, 6 wagons

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Jack the Younger

Holy fuck, Yagra was in a little girl’s bracelet!!
Sun 8/9

So we decided to move on and look for shelter and our trusty half-orc survivalist helped out again finding a series of caves in rock outcroppings. While setting up we noticed the little girl was looking at something in the back of the cave. Since she’s been so…odd…we’ve been keeping an eye on her. So the creepy kid and the monk went to see what she was looking at.

In the back of the cave there are several detailed, faded cave paintings depicting colossal being on fire with black skull shooting energy out of their eyes as they destroyed cities. The monk realizes it’s a depiction of the fire elemental lords summoned by the Malaval in the war which destroyed the Midian Empire. I didn’t catch what they spoke about but the little girl is definitely exhibiting strange behavior.

The monk and the creepy kid tried to convince me that sleeping next to the painting, which were dedicated to destroying Midians, would probably help me sleep. But I wasn’t having any of it and slept far, far away. And I slept great!

The next day we got hit by a sand storm which slowed us down, but didn’t stop us thankfully. Later we stumbled across a caravan that wasn’t already destroyed for once too. So we approached and joined them.

The caravan was being defended by the Border Legion which happened to be the half-orcs previous regiment. The caravan is a group of religious pilgrims that they came across on their patrol. It’s just a group of poor peasants but the Border Legion is spending time protecting them as long as their patrol route will allow. That’s mighty nice of them actually. Seems like the same values the half-orc has.

Though I will say that poor peasants are probably poor for a reason. Stupidity. They marveled at the pantheist monk asking for his blessing and they ended up giving him money too. Giving someone your money when you have almost none because they say, “Wooga wooga, insert god’s name, bless you wooga wooga.” is just nuts!!

At least they shared their food and I got to eat a decent meal instead of rations for once. I also wanted to note that the young boy seems to have potential. Before he went to sleep he tied a rope from his sister’s wrist to himself with a loaded crossbow at his side. Solid paranoia with problem solving skills.

After going to sleep I woke up, while standing and not laying down, being grappled by the monk. Apparently I sleep walked for some reason (fuck you Midia, leave my sleep alone you fuckers!). It was then that the monk and I saw there was a shadowy figure made of darkness with two glowing red eyes roughly in the direction I was walking. And when we blinked, the figure vanished without a trace. Before going back to sleep I tied a piece of rope from my ankle to the young boy’s. I figure if he’s already on “random walk away” duty for his sister he can cover me too.

However before falling asleep it hit me that I forgot about the box being warm to the girl when she touched it. The monk’s concerned about me wanting to touch the box right after the sleep walking and the shadowy figure but after I explain about the box changing he comes around. He sure as shit didn’t want to be the person to touch the box, lol. So, I touched the box and it was now warm and pulpy (soft) feeling with the faint sense of a pulsing heartbeat almost coming from it.

We immediately woke the group up and discussed the problem. Since everyone had already gotten enough sleep we decided to pack up and leave early in the morning. We didn’t want this box with us any longer than it had to be.

Later that day we came across a canyon that had statues carved into the sides, a good 60’ tall. They were statues of the Talathos gods and we got a seriously creepy vibe while passing beneath them. Something about them…I just don’t know. But the monk and I ended up getting very shaken by the experience. We were just off of our game after that.

That evening we found some rubble and rocks that must have been buildings at one time in the past. So we took shelter there to get some protection from the wind. It was later that night that the fuck up “wandered” by.

While on watch the monk and I heard singing in the distance and after a few moments we see a man walking our way. It’s an average looking man wearing travelling gear and playing a lute. He introduces himself as Zaradok, a wandering bard asking for a spot by our fire. After the monk says that he doesn’t think the bard is out to get us we let him join us.

I found the bard boring so I go back to sleep (making sure I was tied up the young boy of course); however, I found myself thinking of the strangest things and unable to go to sleep. Apparently this was some kind of Aura that was affecting all of us.

The warlock (getting tired of writing creepy kid, warlock is easier, and less confusing when there are other kids) was also feeling “disconnected from his bond”. Just so you know, I’m not using any of his weird as words for shit. Bond, pact, big fat donkey dick for all I care!

Anyways, he reached out to the mind of the Bard (keep in mind this is his recounting the details here) and went completely bat shit. Walking in random directions, talking about how butterflies tasted purple, and more. This lasted for about 5 minutes before he went back to normal. And by normal I mean creepy and asking the group whether we could kill the bard. Which apparently we should have done in hindsight.

While all of this is going on the young boy and I hid in the shadows of one of the wagons with our crossbows trained on the bard. Just in case. The monk isn’t for killing the bard but says that he won’t stand in the way if the group wants it. I keep my mouth shut and hide for the rest of the night. Just in case.

The monk later notices a tattoo on the bard’s hand signifying Tythis the Chaos God. In discussion later I suggest that maybe the odd things happening are just some side effect of being around someone who worships a god of chaos and he hasn’t done anything to us. So we end up letting him stay figuring we were less than a day away from Dustburn. Though again in hindsight we should have dumped him. It really bugged me that he survived alone in the desert.

The next morning I check the box again (no change in status) before we head off to Dustburn. About midday we see some smoke in the distance. So we head that way. It was at this time we found out that the young boy is sick. He’s cold and clammy with his eyes rolled back into his head and having a hard time breathing.

The sister seems concerned but there’s an odd distance and she doesn’t seem like herself. We discussed our options and decided upon having the bard go with the warlock and monk scouting while separating the girl from the boy. Just in case. I flat out told her I was worried she was causing the effect which didn’t go over well with the little girl or the party. Doesn’t bother me though. I wanted to make sure that she understood there might be evil inside of her.

The monk, warlock, and bard found a roughly assembled, shitty house by some rubble while scouting. The smoke was coming from the chimney. There’s 3 men outside praying with ash covering their faces. When the monk gets closer he figures out that they are worshipping Khestros the Unknown. He’s a god that none of the other religions have heard of and say doesn’t exist, but his clerics are being granted power. His priests are called the “beggar priests”. Nutjobs.

They leave the bard behind to scout out the men in case they come after us while the monk and warlock head back to camp. At this time we noticed a bracelet made of black beads with a silver holy symbol of Zhon on the little girls wrist. The half orc finds out that she found it days ago and that it will not come off of her wrist. So we have the cleric take a look and he says that it is a reliquary.

Now thanks to fuckwit the bard we get jumped by the ashen men (best guard duty ever). Seven of them come rushing us screaming “Death to The Heretic!!”. However we killed 3 of their numbers before they could even take an action so the last four fled.

After we looted the bodies and scouted to make sure they were gone we come back to the sounds of fighting at the camp. We find the bard is choking the little girl screaming about how she has to die for the benefit of everyone and there’s something in her head.

We managed to stop him and save the girl, so we questioned his crazy ass. While the guys arguing over whether to kill him and pumping him for info I examine the bracelet more closely. When I do so the young girls talks to me in hushed tones (sounded like a cultured male, not her) commanding me in the name of Zhon to put the bracelet on the boy’s wrist.

So I take off the bracelet (which came off easily now) and the bard tries to attack me. I moved away, hid, and listened to them interrogating him. Long story short he only seems to want to stop this bracelet from possessing someone because he hates Zhon. It’s got nothing to do with the safety of the children at all.

So I talk over the details with the cleric and he says we should put on the boy and see what happens. Once it’s on him the boy looks healthy again and sits up. He sounds like a cultured adult male (like with the girl) and thanks us. When he does the warlock asks for a reward. Oh yeah, they killed the bard at some point while all of this was going on. Stupid fuckwit.

The young boy walked over to the girl and tapped her on the cheek, saying she’ll be alright. It turns out the spirit possessing the boy is the legendary Lord Yagra the Necromancer, one of the Tower Lords from the City of Crypts. We get everything together and head towards Dustburn.

He told us that he will eventually get his own body and let the boy free later. Later the monk brings up the box and Yagra looking at it. I said it was a great idea! He told us that it was an undead relic inside seeking a host like Yagra was. And it had already started it’s work on me, but if we get rid of it I’ll be fine. The girl eventually comes around.

When we get to Dustburn you can tell that there was once one plateau that overlooked a valley. Some force in the past cracked it up and there are now fissures and canyons in it. And you could see a sizeable, walled town on top of one of the lower mesas.

There were also 4 windmills and the base of the road leading to the town had a lot of smoke coming up. Near the town there’s a half dozen more mesas with ruins all over the place and a few makeshift bridges over the canyons. Carved into the cliffs are also several large faces as well, but not sure of whom.

When we got to the road there was a huge pit about 30’s across and 15’ deep with a massive fire burning in it. Some men wearing protective leather were dragging 6’ bundles (read bodies) to the fire and throwing them in. That was when Yagra told us to call him Jack for now to avoid attention. He said that the fire may be big enough to destroy the box but when I brought up concerns over all of the dead bodies he said that it was probably a bad idea.

An old ugly guy walks up and welcomes us. Severin, head of the corpse burners guild. He told us to always burn the dead or they come back up. They also don’t kill crazy people here. They get turned over to the Order of the Circle. Severin tells us that there is a Pantheist Church here but Borelon (the cleric) is not usually not sober.

We noticed that the ruins are impressive engineering wise and the town was mostly built from the ruins as we ride up the road towards Dustburn. At the gate the guards stopped us and asked whether we’re visiting or want residency. When I found out that there were no rights to a trial if you’re not a citizen I told him that I was appyling. Visitors have to leave after 1 week of visiting the town.

We find an inn, The Virgin and the Lich, and go inside in order to buy some booze for the Borelon. It was fairly crowded and filled with adventurers. Once we’ve got the “bribe” we run down to the church (a ramshackle old thing) Yagra purifies the drunken, sleeping priest.

Borelon was freaked out about the box and how evil it was telling us he couldn’t do anything about it and to get it out of there. So we gave him the booze as hush money and left. The monk and the warlock discuss what to do with the box and end up agreeing to sell it for us. So we give it to the merchant we escorted to town to sell it for us.

It was around night time then and it turns out Dustburn locks their gates at night so we headed back to The Lich and the Virgin to get some rooms.

The next day we find out that Dustburn was run by a council of the guild masters from the guilds in the city. It was once run however by “Water Lords” who controlled the water supply. But they got killed years ago because they used slaves and some adventurer slaves they took were not pleased. Ashburn is run by the Tomb Robbers Guild (the thieves guild) and where the darker and evil things are dealt with.

Group Loot: 390.8g each after all items were sold from the past 3 adventures

Healing Salve 1d6 healing & Advantage on save vs disease next roll: 40g
Healing Potion 1d4: 20g

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I see you brought your pet with you.

“Damn. That ain’t right…”
Sun 8/23

After we get our loot we go back to the Lich and the Virgin and Yagra says that this was convenient timing. His eyes are dead black now. He wants us to collect Illithid Protoflesh from some pyramids so that he can form a new body, but they are beyond our reach for now. So it’s in his best interest to help us get to the point where we can.

There are a lot of opportunities at the City of Crypts where people would bet on their luck to make it through. But nowadays, even beyond the the War of Three (really Pantheon vs Talathos vs Morkhaal) there are still other fuckwits screing things up.

He thinks we should focus on quick and easy loot options with a moderate amount of success. He’s aware of a necromancer downstairs that is looking for gainful employment. There is also a man downstairs named Zheist from overseas. He is hiring people to clear out ruins if we bring back specific items that he is looking for.

We head down stairs to look for the necromancer. About 1/3 of the people in the tavern are adventurers. We head to the back and find the half elf necromancer. We start talking to him and he seems put off with the half-orc. WHen I talk to him he says, “I see you brought your pet with you.” My response, “Damn, that ain’t right.”

Krom (Robert), ? (Doug), Aust (Michael), Thess (Rob), Zander (Micky), Theodin (Shawn)

While they are all getting to know the necro better I look for Zheist. Also the monk was back in the back arguing with the brewer over the quality of his beers. There is a guy sitting in the back matching the description.

He is wearing solid craftsmanship robes and the sides of his head are shaved with tattoos. He’s got whitish hair and a scar over one eye. He is drinking water. The warlock opens up by saying we wish to enrich him and ourselves.

The warlock wins him over so I ask for terms. He says that since we are risking the bulk over the dangers. So he will offer gold rewards for the items he is seeking. He says that we should beware when the items speak to us. The monk says that the half orc speaks. I start bawling laughing while there is dead silence after. The half orc says it’s not funny but the monk says that it must have been lost in translation.

There are the ramins of what was on a Midian Villa on the 3rd messa outside of town. He’s hired two previous groups and neither have returned. However they were peasants and desert rats. He is looking for metal tablets written in midian a, b, or c. There may be an old crypt beneath the villa as well.

We head out to the dungeon.

There is a slight greyish mist as we head out. As we move through it we feel weezey and coughing. The necro starts coughing up a gooey reddish fluid that smokes and evaporates as the sun hits it. The third mesa is about 1 1/2 to 2 miles wide. There are more ruins here that have been scoured over and possibly burnt that are several thousand years old. It was obviously an estate at some time when we get to the edge.

There is a man sitting down in ragged clothing by an old fountain in the ancinet estate ruins. I search for traps as we move forward. We find the guys is stacking skulls in different patterns until they fall over. Then he stacks them up in a different pattern. When the half orc throws a stone knocking over the skulls he only sighs again before restacking them.

The mans face is blotchy and pock marked and his eyes are red and leaking red fluid. He turned around when the half orc tapped him on the shoulder. The monk realizes he’s insane and infected. While the half orc is talking to him the man says, “Shhh, I can hear the voices.” I shoot him without hesitation and he falls over the pile of skulls. When we kill him a jet of red fluid fires out and hits me.

The half orc goes into another are behind one of the walls and calls for me. I get boosted to on top of the wall by the monk. At this point a section of the wall collapses. The half orc found a trap. Six scavengers scream, “Free loot!” and charge the half orc.

We drop them and and I cut off their heads and cave them in with maces. We find out from the necro that if we do that they instead may come back as incorporeal undead. The necro thinks the skulls were being used for divination.

We look in the next room and the rocks (pile of rubble) look like they were done that way deliberately. It’s a trap. We start trying to figure out how to move forward and then the monk stops me. Then 3 scavengers jump out to attack us. And we drop them.

We go search the bodies and the ashes. 36 silver, 74 copper

We go to the next room and find Blood Hawks. They get Pack Tactics and have advantage if they flank. Also they frenzy when hit and can grapple targets they’ve attacked.

We took a short rest.

We find red glassy fragments, like volcanic glass, scattered abut the area. 30g
Fragment red ceramic vase or tablet with midian cuniform. Midian C.
25g blood hawk feathering
18 sp, 16 cp

6 entipededs with reddish brown carapace, Con save or Poison, camo skin

One further room has a rope tied to a pillar going off the edge of the mesa. Next room no traps. We check the rope first. The monk desceds to a ledge 20’ down. This part of the cliff sheared away and there isa large set of double doors (metal and pitted) with 3 dead scavangers near the door.

We call him back to make sure there is nothing else up here.

25gp from the spiders we killed

Desert Spiders, burrowed, camo skin, poison

Next room weird smell, coppery like, musty. Then a fluttering noise. Stirges, auto hit once hit you.

20sp, 40 cp, bronze tablet with midian c, red crystal on a pendant

The pendant was a magic item at one point but no longer. It’s a residual effect.

Next room after stirges has faded paintings on the wall. We get a weird creepy feeling from them. The monk says there is some kind of residual magic in them.

Crossbow

Next room strange musky insect smell and hear clicking and chattering.

Sand Scorpions – camo skin, poison on hit

3 midian bronze tablets midian c, necklace 75g, bronze death mask,

When the monk gets back in after making his drawings we see that his sketch isn’t of the room. The half orc looks at it and it looks like the room as it was, not as it is. There is a woman in a flowy, low cut dress wearing a midian death mask.

Last room has 75gp that may be collectible

Check the bodies 20’ down, the faces and chest are coated in metal. Some kind of liquid metal spray trap. Examine the door and there is residual magic on it. I start picking the lock. Second wheel rolls around there is a hand. The doors swing in inwards.

There is a 10’ corridor that goes 15’ deep before the cooridor turns and there is a cold breeze. It’s made of a smooth stone that’s polished. I smell a faint scent of murr and cinnamon. I hear a faint whispering voice staying, “Stay with us.” I lock the place back up and make it look like I wasn’t there.

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Holy shit!! Lair actions are OP!!

Cleric got a 21 AC…gl Bill!
Sun 9/6
Well my feet hurt and I’ve got sand up my butt. That’s the City of Crypts for ya. We met up with our merchant contact at The Lich and the Virgin, but our first haul was pretty paltry. A measly 25.96 gp each. Hopefully there is more down in the crypt itself. We were just killing vagabonds and wandering monsters above.

Checking in on the little girl and Yagra ended up being an upside for going back before night fell however. He’s obviously making an effort to take care of the little girl by crafting makeshift, tattered curtains and the sorriest excuse for a bed any Halfling’s ever seen. We pooled together enough money to properly feed both the girl and Yagra with the best food we could get our hands on for the next 10 days (wealthy life style). That should help with their malnourishment. I hope.

Once squared away I went to sleep but didn’t get a comfortable night’s sleep again. At least I got some rest. But I had the oddest taste in my mouth…like I was kissing the grave…and my pants were “soiled”. I wonder if those undead harpies are trying to feast upon my soul still, even from this distance. If it continues I’ll ask Yagra about it.

We gathered together for the next day and the warlock child is now dragging a doll by it’s head in the sand while a disc floats around his head and glowing, purple mist vacates his eye sockets. Yeah. Nothing says, “Don’t mind us!” like your very own creepy kid. Which is of special note due to the Circle Jerks, ahem, the Order of the Circle who took special note of our own creepy mascot.

We managed to get back to the crypt without serious issues after that; however, a new trap on the door that was not there before got me. I would later notice inside that the doors were well oiled and maintained and that there were signs of recent and frequent use inside. Combined this speaks to entirely too much activity for a locked and sealed crypt. I’ll come back to this in a moment.

When we entered the crypt and turned down the hallway glowing red runes lit up on the bottom half of the walls running down the corridor. They were written in Midian B, but I did not risk reading them. While it did seem to have some kind of negative effect upon the cleric, I doubt this was simply a trap. More likely this was some kind of effect set to not only hamper and slow intruders, but also warn and awaken the guardians inside.

The first room we entered had no guards or traps inside. There was an altar dedicated to the Talathos with a statue for each god while Zhon’s statue was shattered and destroyed. Also there was a large concave disc resting in the center of the room. Inside of it is a depression coated in metal that is about half a foot wide. And lastly the columns were covered in weird distorted faces.

As we entered we could hear a low rustling sound and a strange cinnamon scent. Which again is odd since there are no traps or guardians inside. And this room is obviously highly important enough to warrant an religious altar. Something that was not in any of the other rooms that we explored later. And when we moved towards the altar its significance became even more apparent.

First the eyes on the distorted faces on the columns started leaking whispy, green smoke while glowing green. And then the warlock’s disc floated over to the large disc on the ground and settled into the metal depression. The kid looked thoughtful for a moment and said, “The mechanism is not whole”. The disc on the ground emitted a strange humming noise for about a minute before the disc floated back to resume it’s orbit around the warlock’s head.

Closer examination upon the altar revealed it was made of a black stone with red flecks going through it. Also the greenish vapor coming from the eyes of the altar flowed straight up, ignoring the air currents. We would also later realize that the vapor causes some sort of miasma of the mind, clouding your thoughts and weighing heavily upon your mind. If the magic in this place wasn’t dissipating I think the effect would have been greater.

We cleared the rest of the crypt without major incident. Only the Wight proved somewhat difficult to manage. Hell, I think the traps did more damage to me than the creatures inside did. We did a once over on the place making sure we didn’t leave anything behind and then we left, heading back to town. I made sure to lock everything up as we left…just in case.

We found our two contacts back at Dustburn and unloaded our haul. Much better this time. 539gp each versus only about 30gp the previous run. Not too shabby and a decent start. I managed to pay the warlock back and now I’ve got a nest egg with which to move forward. Now it’s time to start on my book. Just need a title…

“The Marvelous Adventures of a Daring Halfling!!” No. “How to Survive the City of Crypts!!” No. “Monster Encyclopedia!!” Eh, too bland. “Monster Manual”? Maybe…

Midian Corpses
These shambling undead move faster than they look, so don’t be surprised. They usually have some kind of metal fixtures bolted to their heads and are reanimated undead. They are resistant to most types of damage, though Force does fine. And they are vulnerable to Radiant damage. They also case a Fear effect the first time you see them when they can act which can paralyze you with fear for a round.

Undead Midian Priests
Those lower nobles wearing electrum death masks seem to be standard undead with the ability to shoot an energy beam for life drain damage versus a Con save.

Tomb Spiders
They hide in the shadows and have a greyish appearance with red glowing eyes. Their chitin also pulses with red veins. They are undead and vulnerable to fire. Also they cause Poison when they hit you, Con save.

Wight, Midian Lesser Noble with Copper Death Mask
The one we saw was dressed in antique bronze leather armor with a copper midian death mask wielding a bow and sword. He had red glowing eyes. He made two ranged attacks per round and also had a Lair Action for an extra attack. He did a lot of damage. In melee he could Life Drain twice a round which would heal the Wight and reduce the max hp of the target as well. Kill him from ranged.

Exps:
1525 total w/all previous awards (lvl 3) (everyone, including Michael and Shawn)

Loot: (Midian Armor on Wight never awarded to party)
25.96 gp each (everyone from prev session)
539 gp each (everyone but Michael)
Shawn: Red Crystal Amulet (1 necro slot = 5 temp hp 24 hrs)
Rob: 2 scrolls of Healing Word
Michael: 1 potion of healing from the book
Doug: 1 potion of healing from the book.

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