Sunday, July 3, 2016

Adventures in Xanthandu

So far a party of adventurers have made two expeditions from their rented rooms in a merchants house to explore the deserts to the south east of the city.

While they planned their quest for the Eye of Set in a Turkish coffee house they were approached by a desperate looking man named Kojata who told them he knew of a tomb filled with riches in the desert that had recently been uncovered from the dunes by a storm.  He offered to lead them there for an "investment" of 25 silver and a full share of all valuables recovered.  After debating on whether or not they could trust this destitute hobo who wanted to be paid to lead them into the desert they eventually decided that if they want to be in the Royal Adventurers Society they will have to be adventurous.  The wealth from the tomb will fund their future expeditions.

So they set out,

Kojata the tomb raider on his bactrian Camel
A British cavalry officer on his loyal horse
An Anglican missionary, barefoot with a bible and walking stick
A wealthy English twit with delusions of grandeur
A French jewel thief
An upper class eccentric seeking true magic

They wandered the desert at night following Kojata but were delayed by a sudden sandstorm.  They saw a group of nomads roaming on camel back,  but decided to maintain their distance with a few polite words before resuming their trip to wherever Kojata was leading them.

They arrived upon a small stone structure set into the dunes, a stone lintel flanked by two small obelisks. Entrance further into the tomb was frustrated as it had been sealed by a massive stone slab The slab was damaged in the corner by someone having hacked at it with chisels or a prybar, breaking the seal and letting a breeze escape.  Kojata had previously peered inside and new it went deeper underground.  The priest looked at the obelisks which contained writing or symbols of some sort,  but they were far to ancient for him to have any idea the meanings.  He vowed to come back with paper and charcoal to make rubbings.

With the horse, rope, and great effort they managed to pull down the stone slab with a loud thump onto the ground.  Shortly after a band of jackals crested the hill and made unwholesome yowlings that sounded almost like language.  Disturbed the party attempted to drive them off with gunfire,  but the unusually brave jackals attacked.   It became a swirling melee and the party broke and attempted to make it back to Guam-yaiv.

This is because events came up and the group had to leave early for the week.  This meant they needed to roll on the table for the next week.

The British cavalry officer and the the eccentric both (through bizarre coincidence) managed to each secure a pouch of 25 gold as they stumbled upon a recently dead merchant with several arrows in his back.  Each pocketed a pouch,  but with bandits fast approaching the cavalry officer parlayed with them and bargained for passage for a skin of wine.  The eccentric used this diversion to escape deeper into the desert where he suffered severe sunburns before he managed to flag down a friendly band of desert nomads who helped him return to the city.

Those same bandits later caught up with the priest and stole all his coin, but left his bible as they sought not to gain the attention of any evil eyes.  The Jewel Thief was chased off by an angry tribe of nomads and became panicked as he was lost in the desert.  He should be able to make it back to Guam-yaiv next week.   The wealthy English twist wasn't seen again  (his player got a new work shift where he could not longer attend).

The next week:

  The jewel thief is playing a big city magician/illusionist who seeks to learn true magic in the far off lands of Xanthandu.  Each player is allowed a stable of characters.

The party makes another attempt with Kojata towards the tomb.  They purchased a bactrian camel from the market, and loaded with a multitude of clay jugs of water and a few sacks of cheap millet to ensure they would be well supplied in case they got lost in the sands.

They once more head out at night, commenting that there is no reason to head out during the day.  They shortly find out that some monsters are nocturnal only as a massive camel spider,  larger than a horse,  springs forth and ambushes them in the low light.  It grapples the cavalry officer and prepares to rush off into the darkness,  except the cavalry officer became caught in his saddle and the spider had to pause to wrench the poor Brit free.  Due to horrible incompetence with missile fire the spider managed to avoid injury and race off into the desert,  before taking a stray bullet from a trade musket and finally taking a pair of exceedingly lucky pistol rounds to its head, killing it.

Injured and exhausted the party reached the site of the tomb.  They saw signs of a simple camp, and signs of a sudden and rushed retreat since their last visit a week prior.  

The priest took rubbings of the text and they headed into the tomb while Kojata guarded the animals. He wasn't sure what exactly transpired down there,  but he heard a gunshot...then a few minutes later a great gust of wind blew up dust from the entrance of the tomb.  There was then more gunshots and screaming and the flicker of light.  Up from the tomb returned the stage magician and the cavalry officer,  bringing part of the hacked up and slightly burned body of the priest.  (this may get released as a module, so details will be limited).  

But oh, they brought treasure as well.  A wooden staff.  Kojata was not impressed and wondered if there was a difference in value judgments between the British and the people of the lands of Xan Than Du.  Did they value sticks over gold?  He would need to reevaluate if he had found the right investors.

The remaining party hurried to return to Guam-yaiv,   but by supreme luck and fortune they encountered a great face of sand that emerged from the dunes and offered them each a single treasure of their hearts desire.  Its mouth spawned wide and showed a great staircase leading to the underworld.

All three (including Kojata) descended and saw a vast cavern with endless treasures.  The magician was drawn to a crystal ball and took it,  the officer was drawn to a sword with a sheath bearing saphire dust encrusted engravings of blue smoke, and Kojata took a single pearl studded ring.  Each felt a supernatural drive to touch and see more treasures but (somehow) no one gave into to a lack of willpower and passed their saves.  They hurriedly exited the cave which sank into the ground.

The party returned to Guam-yaif.

Notes:  If a character dies, their next character can inherit 25% of his xp if it is not a TPK.  If they return the body for a funeral, its 50% xp.

The first spells were found as the players discovered the quirks of magic I am using in this particular campaign.  Rather than text that can be written down, each spell is an item.  Casting the spell requires holding the item.   The magician currently has two spells:  The staff, and the crystal ball.

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