Dark Dawn

Ree'at - The Ruins of an Ancient Battle
Heroic Tier - Session 1

It has been six months since Sorcerer-King Kalak was deposed and killed. Templar-King Tithian, leader of the Deposers of Kalak and new ruler of Tyr, has commissioned an expedition caravan to search the expansive ruins of Ree’at. Ree’at is located in approximately 6 days south of Urik and an overall 15 days from Tyr. It is an ancient city whose existence is common knowledge but only recently has come under the attention of Templar-King Tithian.

Tithian personally saw the expedition off and for some of the expedition, that was the first time they had ever seen the Templar-King.

The expedition leader is Aaron Asticles, younger brother and only sibling to Agis Asticles, one of the Deposers of Kalak and advisor to Tithian. Aaron, while not directly invovled in the deposing of Sorcerer-King Kalak, is still a member of the Noble House of Asticles and hence, part of the most powerful house in Tyr.

The second in charge of the expedition is Templar Ratebourne, the highest commander under Tithian’s watch and a reputedly powerful sorcerer.

This story begins just as the caravan reaches the city walls of Ree’at after a relatively uneventful journey. Several times the caravan had to fight off desert creatures and raiders but they were no match for a fully guarded and stocked caravan (ding you are now level 5).

The expedition’s members were divided up and sent into the ruins to search for anything of interest. In one squad, Aaron Asticles placed the dregs and rabble that Tyr had to offer.

Dust was a caravan guide who moved to Tyr to seek opportunities, finding one as guide for this expedition. Elton, a Toothcutter conman managed to steal an official expedition letter and con his way onto the caravan to seek his riches. Ichtaca the Thri-Kreen was employed as a teamster and mercenary. And finally Tiran Arslan, a disgraced noble, was allowed into the expedition after his older brother begged Aaron to allow Tiran on.

After gathering rations, the newly acquainted party headed into the city, aiming for the city-centre. After defeating a group of halflings, tattooed with the symbol of Hamanu, Sorcerer-King of Urik, the party eventually came to Ree’at’s city square (or circle).

In the centre was a solid gold statue of a king they assume once ruled this city. Beneath the statue was a staircase that led down a series of catacombs beneath Ree’at. Guarding some metal doors was a Primordial Spirit named Igni, possessing the body of a minotaur. The party defeated the minotaur and descended down further into a natural cavern.

The party encountered members of the Red Wing Tomb Raiding Group (which they’re sure wholly consist of those members) who were also seeking the same treasure under Ree’at as the party. But as they were tomb raiders, not fighters, it didn’t take much to scare them off.

Inside the cavern was a gigantic steel cage, as if designed to hold an enormous beast. Inside the cage was an unopenable white-stone sarcophagus and an undead, injured male. They helped the man they named Barman with his crushed leg and led him out of the cage. As soon as he was out, his leg healed itself and his demeanour changed. He thanked the adventurers for freeing him and stated that when he ruled Athas, he would allow them to sit by his throne in Giustenal.

The party dragged the sealed sarcophagus back out of the cavern and up through the catacombs. At one point they encountered unruly homonculus, their wards long gone. Elton the Psion was mortally wounded during this battle and bled to death. At the end of the path was a small smugglers cave which led back to the surface, outside of Ree’at.

After mounting a dune, the party were able to see the ruins of Ree’at, and the remnants of a battle that had taken place not long before. The entire expedition caravan had been destroyed. Tents burnt and people slaughtered.

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Ree'at - A Caravan Destroyed
Heroic Tier - Session 2

After searching through the ruined expedition, it becomes apparant that it was attacked by a force of the same halflings that were encountered in the ruins. The squad of explorers found three alive out of hundreds. Calder, another noble who was seeking redemption, though he had lost his noble name in the recent Tyrian civil war. Razak Kamras the knowledgable Dray who had been hired on a sorcerer specialising in magical artifacts. And one of the enemy halflings. The party tortured and killed the halfling, managing to find out little asides from he is a member of the Ogo Tribe, he was ordered to attack the Caravan by the Sorcerer-King of Urik.

After a strange battle at the gates of the city with warrior ghosts, seemingly locked in an eternal battle, the party set off in the morning. It was several days before they encountered another survivor (just) of the caravan, Templar Ratebourne, the second-in-command of the expedition and one of Tithian’s closest advisors. Ratebourne was in no condition to be anything but a hindrance, but they took him along anyway, perhaps a sense of duty.

The party set out for Silver Spring, the logical step on their way back to Tyr and also apparently the first stop on a treasure map they had found in a small smuggler’s hole near the caravan’s site. About halfway through their journey, the party dispatched with a some over-confident highway bandits and continued on their way to Silver Spring.

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Tyr - Welcome Home

The party eventually found their way to Silver Spring. It turns out the treasure map/riddle they found was an invitation to a hastily organised treasure hunt by Chief Toramund, the chief of the Silver Hand tribe. There was a 100gp reward for whoever could find an heirloom that was buried in the desert. When it became apparant that it was either a wild goose chase or that there was not enough information, the party decided to ignore the trivial treasure hunt and move on to Tyr.

On the way back, the group defeated a party of raiders who had a picture of Ichtaca. Upon reaching Tyr the group were immediately taken to the Golden Tower, the palace of the Templar-King. Along with Templar Ratebourne, the party described EVERYTHING they had experienced and knew since arriving and departing Ree’at.

Tithian told the party that he believes the Sarcophagus is what he sent the expedition to look for. Recognising the party’s talent in staying alive and their ingenuity in bringing the Sarcophagus back to Tyr, Tithian asked them to return to the council room in the morning where he would divulge more information on the nature of the expedition.

In the meantime, he asked the group to investigate the obvious information leak which allowed the Halfling Scouts of Urik to ambush the caravan.

After doing some investigating, the party encountered a young tower servant who claimed to relay information to a man in the Artisan’s District. Being lead by the youth, the party came across Xalos the Stonecutter, a prominant figure in post-Kalak Tyr. Xalos, while being an information dealer and half-arsed spy for Urik, said he had no idea what the expedition was actually for, asides treasure hunting.

Using his own methods, Xalos told the adventurers that rumours indicate that a highly-placed Templar is also a spy for Urik, most likely Templar Ratebourne himself. But this didn’t quite add-up.

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Tyr - The City of Opportunities

For the first night back in Tyr, the party stayed in the household of Arslan. The next morning the group reported back to Templar-King Tithian, basically saying that they had inadequate information on the informant within Tyr.

Tithian then explained that after the death of the Sorcerer-King Kalak, he found reference to an ancient artifact hidden below Ree’at that held the power to destroy the Sorcerer-Kings. He believes that this artefact is the Sarcophagus and it contains a being of great power.

The Sarcophagus was used to lure Sorcerer-King Dregoth during his rise to power 2000 years ago. The other Sorcerer-Kings united to defeat Dregoth under Ree’at. Though it would seem that he was not defeated but merely trapped in a gigantic steel cage, a cage from which the adventurers freed him.

Templar-King Tithian told the adventurers that he found one reference to the key to unlocking the Sarcophagus in the word ‘ Slither

Using the resources of the library of the Golden Tower and the word on the street, the group managed to divine that ‘’ Slither’’ is the name of a citadel/fort that once belonged to a band of raiders nicknamed the Snake Skull Raiders who were led by the Mul defiler Yarnath. The problem is that the citadel is made of Mekillot bones and moves on its own accord, its current whereabouts unknown since the demise of Yarnath and his raiders 30 years ago.

According to the ex-Snake Skull Jaker, remnants of the Snake Skulls set up a village in The Black Sands.

After gleaning this information, the party continued their investigations into the informant in Tyr. After investigating their main suspect Templar Ratebourne, it seemed that there was no evidence of an informant of Urik being in Tyr.

After returning to Xalos the Stonecutter, they forced him into leading them to Sand Street, the location of Xalos’ source. Inside an abandoned house, they found what seemed like a cult lead by a Psurlon named Gear, an entity none of the party had heard of before. Gear explained that there was no informant for Sorcerer-King Hamanu. Templar-King Tithian had not grasped the idea that the Sorcerer-Kings were very aware of what was under Ree’at and would do anything to not only protect the artifact but most likely prevent Dregoth’s discovery.

Gear explained that he led the adventurers to believe that Ratebourne was the spy because in the future the Templar would become a danger to the party and to Tyr. Now that Gear had this direct communcation with the party, it requested that they kill Ratebourne, to prevent this from happening. It also requested that they no passon information of Gear to anyone.

At the end of the day, the party reported back to Tithian on their findings. They would journey to The Black Sands to look for Slither and that there was no informant.

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The Black Sands - The Ex-Raiders of the Yarneth

With a clear goal in mind, to find the remnants of the Snake Skull Raiders, the party set out for The Black Sands. It would take them approximately 10 days of travel to reach there, something which they adequately prepared for. The first part of the journey to Silver Spring was uneventful. While resting in Silver Spring, they met with Chief Toramund, who showed he had the real amulet in his possession, the one he had requested the adventurers and other groups to find a couple of weeks ago. It turns out he always had it and was just trying to see how desperate people were for 100gp.

The party continued on their way, encountering a pack of Anakore at night, which they managed to fend off, almost losing Calder to the sand. The next day they encountered several raiders mounted on Kanks lead by a man Dust recognised as Zeburron the Iron Rider, a raider leader who is well-known throughout all of Athas. The party managed to defeat Zeburron and kill his escorts. Zeburron surrendered and the party forced him to reveal that he is a tailess Tiefling. With Zeburron in tow – minus his magical items – the party continued onto the Snake Skull’s camp, this time mounted on Kanks.

They finally arrived and were met with appropriate caution. There they met the current chieftain of the tribe, Alec. The party traded Zeburron for a guide that would lead them to Slither. The blood that runs through all Snake Skull Raiders lets them know the location of Slither. In the process (can’t really remember how) Dust accidentally wed the guide, who also happened to be the chieften’s daughter, Andorra. They also found out that the key to Slither’s front door is currently the amulet in the possession of Toramund. Leaving the camp with their guide/wife accompanying them, they started to make their way back to Silver Spring.

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Silver Spring - Attrocities at the Caravanserai

The party made their way back to Silver Spring, intent on taking Toramund’s amulet which is the key to Slither. They arrived at Silver Spring with no problem, but this didn’t extend to Silver Spring itself. The party plain out asked Toramund for his amulet which he of course refused. The party then devised a hasty way to steal the amulet out from under Toramund’s nose.

At nightfall, thinking on the fly, Calder devised a devious plan. Teaming up with a bunch of Thri-Kreen who felt cheated by Toramund’s pointless treasure hunt several weeks ago, Calder used them to distract the guards from the party’s actions. Sneaking into Toramund’s chambers, they found Toramund and only one of his guards.

Killing the guard and Toramund himself, the party took the the amulet and the fake one they had created back at their first visit. The party made a hasty escape but not without people noticing. Calder and Ichtaca made their escape over the walls, in the same manner as the Thri-Kreen they betrayed. Dust secretly made his way back to the inn and feigned ignorance. Razak descended from Toramund’s balcony wrapped in arcane fire in full view of guards and merchants and was expelled out of the Caravanserai immediately.

In the morning, Dust was questioned by the Elven guards and successfully convinced that he knew nothing of the night’s events or where his companions where. Dust managed to leave the Caravanserai with all but one of their six Kanks.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party encountered the Thri-Kreen who weren’t pleased to say the least. But through some careful diplomacy/bullshit, Calder, Ichtaca and Razak managed to talk their way out of it. The next stop was Slither.

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Slither - The Crawling Citadel

Under the guide of Andorra, the party immediatly headed towards Slither, which was roughly due south of the now turned-hostile Silver Spring. On the way the party encountered two escaped female slaves, Penivia and Talithra, who had killed their slavers and were now heading towards a settlement called Freedom. Freedom was supposedly a haven for escaped slaves and ex-raiders fleeing everything. The party agreed to help the two ex-slaves in return for the Slave’s aid in their quest for the Sarcophagus’ Key.

The party of seven found Slither easy enough, perched in some mountains between Black Sands and Altaruk. As soon as the party drew near to the Citadel, it pried itself from the rocks started descending down towards them. Using the speed of the Kanks and grapel hooks, the entire party were able to snag onto the massive pylon legs as it moved through the desert.

The amulet was a front door key and allowed them easy access to the ground level of the bone-made fort. On the first level, the adventurers encountered two Bone Golems which nearly killed the party. The two golems were guarding an armory full of hundreds of bone weapons and some interesting types of armor.

On the next level, the party enountered a room with 48 skeletal warriors. While they seemed inanimate, they were animate enough to hold onto their weapons.

On the second floor, the party walked into an ancient library that was worked entirely by skeletons. They were scribing down information in a strange language. The party were tolerated only as far as they kept quiet and didn’t take the books off the shelves.

On the third floor, they recklessly opened a door which unleashed a wave of bones. The bones poured out from a room which had collapsed. On the fourth and final floor, the party finally came to the top of the Citadel. In the middle of the final circular room was a lamp on a pedestal with a wrapped up carpet at its base. From the roof, a draconic bone construct watched as Calder picked up the lamp. The skeletal lizard dropped from the roof, intent on attacking.

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Lands within the Winds - Fire in the Winds

At the peak of Slither Citadel, Calder picks up the lamp, causing the draconic bone construct to drop from the ceiling and attack them. Realising that the Bone Dragon was much too powerful for them in their weakened states, the party fled like cowards (Dust making his getaway on a magic flying carpet).

Dust found a Giant Skull Helm that would have long ago controlled the small skeleton army hold up in Slither. Unfortunately, it was broken and only caused the skeletons to attack the wearer. Dust attempted to utilise the magic in Zeburron’s Helm to repair the Giant Skull Helm to its full capacity. Unfortunately, the magical engineering failed (just) and the magic of Zeburron’s Helm was destroyed, and the Giant Skull Helm restored to a shadow of what it once was.

Meanwhile, the rest of the party discovered a cache of maps, some of them very valuable. The party spent the night in Slither, despite its dangers and set out in the morning. It wasn’t long (1 minute) before they realised that they had no idea where they were.

They were also able to summon a Djinni called Malik from the lamp. Who didn’t seem pleased with his current situation and also claimed to no nothing about the Sarcophagus’ Key

The party followed the fading tracks and magical traces of Slither’s path towards the North-East. It wasn’t long before the the party’s tracking methods started to fail, a sandstorm blowing away the imprints. Fortunately, the party encountered a strange woman named Sariel who claimed her home was being burnt away by an primordial spirit.

After cautiously agreeing to help, the party followed her, taking odd turns through the sands until the eventually came to a strange forest on a rocky plateau. This was the beginning of the party’s first visit into the Land within the Winds and their first encounter with Eladrin.

They were met by a wary middle-aged looking Eladrin who quickly explained, along with Sariel that there were survivors in the castle that needed evacuating and that the fire caused by the elemental was destroying the magical forest.

The party tracked down the elemental spirit which happened to be Igni, the same fire elemental they freed from a minotaur-esque binding under Ree’At. Igni explained that he needs a host since the only thing keeping him alive was this forest as a fuel sorce. After Razak refused to be a host, the party decided to offer Igni the lamp in which Malik resided, though they figured that would have to kill Malik first.

Pitching elemental against elemental, it was very apparant that Malik was the better. The party then decided to kill Igni (not before making it apparent to Malik what their plan had been). After quenching the eternal flame of Igni, the fires in the forest dimished, but not before the the forest was forever damaged. The essence of Igni embedded itself into Penivia’s war-axe, a single rune appearing on the blade.

The party then evacuated the rest of the Eladrin from the delapidated castle. Upon returning to the apparant leader of the Eladrin, he barely thanked them before asking for help relocating the Eladrin to a new home. He also told them their current location is in between the two arms of The Trade Road.

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Ledopolus - The Bridge of the Estuary

You head towards the twin towns of Ledopolus which staddle the Estuary of the Forked Tongue. Upon arriving, the party encountered Jerome a representative of the Merchant Dynasties, House Wavir, who usually spends his time in Tyr. Jerome recognised the adventurers from Tithian’s court. After being led to the headquarters of House Wavir, they met the Dwarf Chieften Bruthambar, who is also the mayor of Ledopolus.

He tells you that they are having a problem building the Ledopolus Bridge from North Ledopolus to South Ledopolus. They needed to build a support structure on Ledo Island but the island is occupied by a settlement of Hill Giants. Until recently, the Hill Giants were reasonably friendly with Ledopolus but lately they’ve turned hostile and are refusing to trade their flint or let anyone on the island. Bruthambar also said that if the party could resolve the problem without causing harm to the Giants, they would recieve a bonus.

On a side note, Bruthambar told the party the Eladrin could stay and utilise the town as long as the adventurers stayed but when they moved on, the Eladrin had to go with them.

The party decided to head to Ledo Island and investigate what could be irritating the Hill Giants. On the extremely expensive ferry ride over, the adventurers discovered that all the silt skimmers were owned and ferrymen employed by the merchant dynasty, House Tomblador.
At the island, the party met with the Hill Giant chieften Grak. Grak explained that they had caught several dwarves attempting to steal from their flint deposits and that the bridge was just a ploy to steal more of their flint. Looking at the bodies of the dwarves showed no insignia or markings.

The party figured the ferrymen would know who these dwarves were, though their current ferrymen claimed he didn’t know. They headed to North Ledopolus and the headquarters of House Tomblador, who they assumed would have records of not only who all the ferrymen were but also who was travelling on the silt skimmers.

Inside House Tomblador headquarters, they met with the Ledopolus’ representative, a Thri-Kreen named Ye’Tich. Ye’Tich refused to show the lists of their employed ferrymen, telling them to go down to the docks and see for themselves. And despite how many times the party asked to see them, Ye’Tich claimed they did not keep records of who travelled on the silt skimmers.

This was enough for the party to suspect House Tomblador. After being thrown out of the headquarters and interrogating some ferrymen, they found out that once the bridge is built, the ferrymen would become useless and House Tombaldor would lose its monopoly and control over the passage from North to South Ledopolus. At that current time, House Tomblador charged extra fees and levies to opposition merchant houses wanting to use House Tomblador’s services.

Thr party headed back to Ledo Island to further question and negotiate with the Giants. Upon arriving there, it didn’t take long for them to work out that House Tomblador was the one sending in dwarves to upset the Giants. The party convinced Grak to attack House Tomblador in revenge. They also found out that their ferryman had abandoned them on the island, probably hoping they would be killed by the Giants.

The Giants offered to carry the party on their shoulders back to the mainland. Dust flew on ahead to North Ledopolus to warn Bruthambar that the giants were there to only attack House Tomblador. Bruthambar seemed happy with this as he had no great love for Tomblador.

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Ledopolus: Attack of the Hill Giants

The party rode on the shoulders of Hill Giants to attack House Tomblador on the north side of Ledopolus. Naturally, attacking Hill Giants gain the attention of towns so civillians and guards came to see what was happening. This also meant that House Tomblador was prepared for it.
The battle was long but the party were eventually victorious without a single Giant losing its life. The Giants departed back to their Island and Bruthambar was grateful for a minimal amount of damage to the greater part of Ledopolus. He payed them the agreed upon amount plus a bonus for eliminating House Tomblador.

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