In to Dark Sun

What Has Six Sides and No Way Out?

After being berated for oversleeping and receiving odd looks for not eating, the group moved on with Sadiq and his men. While getting to know each other and traveling down into the lower levels of the crypt, the adventurers found themselves quite suddenly in a large room that measured approximately 100 feet in all directions. The giant cube was covered in runes, almost 1 for every square foot. While searching the room, Copia quickly found that gravity was different for each wall and that each surface of the room was the same when you stood on it. Naturally this lead to an attempt to balance between the six pulls, which Copia did and discovered a sort of pattern to the runes. Soon Kane and Kairon discovered the secret to activating the runes and found a portal on each of the six “walls”. Further exploration revealed that there were blades running through the various tunnels on the other side of each portal. After much debate, Sadiq bashed each one off so the group could explore further. But, as often happens when a group of adventurers finds a puzzle, runes were activated and levers pulled. Kairon led the way to a small area with a rune and a lever. Curious, he activated the rune, placing him in a small empty room with a rune on the floor which he promptly activated, placing him in another room like the one he started in, but not so simple. The rune in this room did not activate, but after moving the lever a few times he was released, only to find himself in the largest room full of gold and treasure he had ever seen. He quickly hid, hoping the dragon who owned the lair was not around. The rest of the group waited for him to come back, and not seeing him, decided to follow after…except Copia who decided to try the lever before the rune. While the Cali joined Kairon and Jade and Sadiq fought in vain to get out of the second lever room, the rouge found herself in a predicament: when the lever stopped moving her forward, she was forced to activate a rune which took her to a room similar to the one the others had passed briefly through, except she was not alone. There was a small green dragon who did not like the new comer. After some nervous and confused exchanges, they came to terms and the small creature told Copia what to do next. Once the entire party got to the dragon’s lair they heard a large thumping shake and decided to leave quickly, though not together. After finding two separate paths, they picked one to take only to find themselves back in the cube, but this time they found a way out, leading them back to the hall they started in. Realizing it was a dead end, they turned back and began the trek back to the entrance.

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Out of the Rabbit Hole, Into the Fire

Finally the tunnel rose up and eventually emerged into a large, square room, empty except for the four everbright lanterns in each corner of the room. Not even dust settled here. A door on the opposite wall opened into a hall, perfectly centered on the door and leading around on either edge to a pair of doors facing each other: one going in towards a crypt like room who’s walls are bound by the square hallway, and one leading to a small stair case. The small, confused group of adventurers climbs the short flight of stairs to find another door. Behind it they can hear voices and smell food cooking. Without thought to the consequences, they begin to discus what their next move is when the room falls silent. Unsure of what to do, the companions knock. Sadiq and his men on the other side of the door prepare for battle as Sadiq waits to see if the knock is followed by “Housekeeping”, but it is not, so he opens the door. The group is slightly startled by the scared, stern face with the large, stone hammer that sizes them up with a little confusion. After several awkward exchanges, Sadiq invites them in to sit and talk. And both groups begin to learn quickly about the other and find that they are not from the same world, or at least not the same time in the same world. Attempts to sound sane, make sense, and accept the change fail for the four comrades who just emerged from what seemed like a living hell, but is now the closed door they wish they could go back through. But when one can’t go back, one goes forward. And without a clear path to follow, the group decides to follow Sadiq, hoping that he will at least break them slowly into this world.

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Comfort (for a small fee)

The dwarves agreed, slightly begrudgingly, to guide the trope back to Forgehome with them. The journey took a few days, with the group stopping every 12 hours or so to sleep, though only the dwarves were able to elude the voices and nightmares that kept the group from regaining any last shred of sanity. Cali and Jade were both finding themselves more aggressive and irritable, both barely talking except in incomprehensible muttering. Copia was starting to slide away from what would be considered sanity, becoming jittery and snapy as well as fretting about how Kairon was able to stay awake and avoid most of the effects of Khyber. Finally the exhausted and weary travelers reached Forgehome and quickly attempted to find a place to rest, which was eagerly shown to them. For a small, and initially undisclosed, fee, the girls were able to sleep, far longer than expected.
Kairon took some time to relay his store to the curator of Forgehome, as advised by the miners who brought the group “home” with them. He spent this time talking with the curator and researching his interests before the rest of the group finally caught up with him. They had been given a reward for the items they returned earlier (see That Which Lies Deeper Than Dwarfs), which they redeemed, and then went through the shops, buying what they felt they needed and trying to identify some of their recent acquisitions.
As no one wanted to brave the Underdark any longer than necessary, they hired a guide who ended up chickening out a few days later and turned back, leaving the group to continue on. Without much difficulty, they traveled onwards until they ran into a group of trolls. The trolls proved to be rather challenging, but nothing compared to the creature that attacked shortly after. This unusual breed of fell troll attacked without mercy, clobbering left and right the already worn down group. Once dispatched, an odd magical object was found within the creature, likely from a previous victim. This odd golden orb, about the size of a gnome’s head, called to Cali and she has found it to be disturbing, but is slowly growing accustomed to it. While investigating the exits to the trolls’ cave, Copia heard a little girl in her head say not to leave her and began freaking out. She could not locate the voice, but did spend quite a bit of time talking to it. Kairon found another magical object, a small, ornate, decorative knife, which he has yet to identify. The group took a long tunel which skewed time to a ridiculous degree, causing a lot of tension between Kairon and the rest. While what seemed like days passed for the girls, Kairon ticked off the minutes and began to wonder how they were going to get out. Copia was going into hysterics talking with the little girl in her head which she named Sylvia (“I didn’t name her, that’s what she said her name was!”), Cali was trying to understand the odd ball she that was retrieved from the fell troll as it transformed the lines and designs on its surface to match those of the images in the sacred Book of the Host, Jade was cursing voices in her head that she latter found to be giving her directions to the surface, and Kairon was working hard to ignore the sudden bursts of laughter burst forth into his mind like dynamite underwater. Eventually Kairon realized that the voice in Jade’s head was giving them the solution and they finally made progress. Progress that gave them an exit to the maddening realm that they had learned to despise and fear.

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The Four-Tiered City

Initially thought to be abandon, the group soon found that they were not alone in the decaying city underground. A group of goblinoids descended on the unlikely travelers. Tensions were high for a moment before Kairon’s wit tricked the creatures into agreeing to exchange information and allow the surface dwellers to return to Forgehome. The group learned quite a lot from these creatures:
-They are the 5th tribe of their race
-They have been guarding the city for 24 festivals
-The festivals are a large gathering of Underdark creatures who buy and sell all sorts of rare, odd, and unusual things, including slaves of almost all races.
-The mines of Forgehome are almost empty
The group also learned a little about some of the less savory creatures that live this deep. After a short journey, another failed attempt to sleep, and some more travel, the group came across some dwarves mining the rock.

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What is Worse Than a God?

Several hours, depending on who you ask, pass as the group continues on until the path transforms from the normal tunnels the group has become accustomed to into a well carved stair case with small gargoyles holding everbright lanterns lining the walls between each arch. At the bottom of the stairs they found a door behind which lay a mysterious laboratory of sorts. Study, searching, and analysis revealed little more than that this belonged to a very cruel, power hungry creature who was strong enough to experiment on at least one god. The creature was trying to create or alter a ritual that siphons power of some kind from one creature into the caster, permanently. Also, the creature spoke, or at least wrote in, Quori, a language rarely heard except in the Realm of Madness, Xoriat.
While the lab contained several interesting things, the only thing that the group found to be more than just odd was a switch that activated barriers that ward almost every kind of creature. After deciding to leave the group also noticed a trapdoor in the ceiling and managed to climb up the shaft on the other side only to find themselves in a large, decrepit town.

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That Which Lies Deeper Than Dwarfs

Despite the thick shadows and darkness that pressed against their lights and the living stone that changed their route to be quite different from their map, the group managed to make it to Forgehome, though not without event. Besides a group of persistent Troglodytes, the group also found the corpse of a dwarf, whose possessions were graciously returned to the dwarfs.
After briefly checking their supplies, the quartet headed out again in search of grell. After passing a portion of the King’s Road, the group entered a large cavern full of fungus. Further examination revealed that the floor underneath the small mushrooms was coated with gold. The rumor of a large black dragon sprung to everyone’s mind and they decided to try to leave, but found that the dragon was not only present, but watching from the shadows and quite unwilling to let the group just leave or get a good look at her for that matter. After a few failed attempts to fight, Kairon managed to strike a deal to leave a great amount of gold with the dragon in exchange for the ability to leave without a fight. She allowed it, but not without instilling a strong fearful image as she allowed the group to see her fungal form lurking on the wall, bigger than anything the group had faced before.
A little further down the tunnel they found, or rather were found by, exactly what they were looking for: grell. Though more bothersome than truly threatening, the grell were dispatched quickly and looted for their beaks which would be used as proof of a job well done.
After several hours of travel, climbing, and exploring in search of grell, not to mention disagreements about the passage of time, the group decided to rest. Rest was not difficult, but sleep was impossible. After almost an hour of trying to ignore the voices and dreams induced by Khyber, the four companions decided to keep moving.

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A Tiefling, a Half-Elf, and Two Humans Walk Into a Forest...

After a day of carrying a heavy barrel of wine and a large amount of food for a peace offering, and yelling to make their presence known, the group rests. As they pack up and prepare to move in the morning, they are ambushed by the centaurs who refuse to deal reasonably. After killing all but one that they restrain, they finally get to talk with the vicious warrior.
The centaur directs them towards their quarry, but not without leaving a disturbing thought in their head. During the conversation, he refers to them as the “bearers of the cursed message” but could not explain to them the meaning of this cryptic title.
Another day’s travel placed them at the house of the green-scaled dragonborn, Illandra, a Gatekeeper, and her companion, a white owl. The task that the group acquired from her was to kill or disperse a few colonies of grell, an odd psionic creature native to the Underdark, that have been scouting the surface world for an unknown reason. The group agreed and was shown to the entrance of Khyber and they descended, following a map towards the city of Forgehome, a dwarven settlement in the Shallows.

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The Beginning

After a short period of rest after the last big adventure clearing out an old crypt for the Karnathi historian, the party has decided it’s time to get another job. After some minor searching, the group gets wind of a job a few days up the road and decides to head off.
Upon arrival they find that their potential employer lives out in a forest that has been avoided by the towns people for fear of the local centaurs who seem to be rather territorial and aggressive by the local accounts. The group decides to prepare for what they hope to be a peaceful encounter with the half man/half horse beings…

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