Desert Winds

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Turns out flying warships are mean

Leaving Turnbridge in a hodgepodge fashion with several false starts and a going back to the city once after leaving it the party got their first experience with a Shade flying Warship.

Sent out to survey the city it eventually spotted several members of the party with Althea walking out, then Diamond with the coffin lid over its head a few minutes later, followed by Slick a shortly thereafter. Fleck was left buried in the city temporarily.

In a bold strategy Slick fired on the airship with Althaea standing nearby.

Kendove and the remaining animated statues hightailed it north before being discovered. With Kendove sending the statues into the river to walk a mile up stream under cover of the water.

The strategy to attack the airship managed to inflict several dents and the loss of a spyglass from the ship, but Slick and Althaea ended up needing to use creative tactics and a ton of luck to stay alive.

Restarting the adventure

Finding themselves standing in front of a smoldering crater and two badly damaged sand skimmers in the early dawn light our adventurers started in again after a couple hear hiatus.

They made their way into the now ruined and empty town of Turnbridge following the lead of Ash who is completing Lorn’s last request. They found the ruined library and started to clear the rubble into the basement. During this time, they were discovered by three ogres carrying large packs of food gathered from the city. A battle ensued and went decisively (though slowly given the new rule set) to the party. They let the minautars keep digging during the battle.

Searching the Ogres they found pendants that are the symbol of Ugan. One of Ja-Rooms generals.

As the basement entrance was uncovered they started down and found a secret, but poorly constructed, secret burial room under the fireplace. The coffin had a riddle, a compass that was designed wrong, and a metal cog inside. The tablet led the party to think they need to proceed back to where Ja-Room’s palace in the desert where they first encountered General Pius.

Should have been a movie

They continued to travel under cover of dark to conceal their small army of magical guardians, but south of Turnbridge they started to encounter refugees, troop carriers on the railway filled with wounded soldiers, and armored cars going north. Before long they cam across a huge military encampment complete with sky ships, sand skimmers, and an wall running for miles in either direction. Across a desolate expanse of blasted desert covered in bodies, blood and black sand were the far off smoking ruins of Turnbridge.

Thinking fast, they infiltrated the camp (not hard when the enemy is coming from the other direction) and decided to set fire to one sand skimmer and steal two others when it got dark. The plan worked with aid from the nightly attack from sand creatures. As they careened through the encampment with soldiers, armored cars, and machine gun turrets coming at them from a ll directions they broke through a gate and flew into the teeth of a full on assault.

Slick was driving while shooting his pistols at anything within sight while Kendove battled atop the roof keeping enemies from overrunning the craft. Altheae drive the second skimmer with Auridon making them shin like a spotlight to draw the attention of Giant sand worms toward them. As they weaved through enemies and Auridon’s goal was achieved (at the loss of their sand skimmer’s outriggers) eventually they arrived at Turnbridge. Empty but for a lone figure standing on the bridge. His voice was that of the old man from the stone chair, but his body was young.

A battle ensued finally ending with Slick throwing down a pack of explosives at their enemies feet (which mostly killed him) and Althaea firing a shot through his head at point blank range. The remaining sand creatures collapsed. Leaving them all nearly dead (including their stone guardians), two severely damaged sand skimmers and a pissed off army on their tails.

Your marching orders are…Go through that river of shit….

Using the car salvage, Ash and Silt are given suits of “armor” to hide their magical nature. This allowed the party to continue, but highlighted a major issue. Stopping in the town of Hollyhead they procured the services of a blacksmith to create much better armor. They told him it was just a shell they would be putting steam power into. Silt and Ash wear this armor including have a small boiler that sends out steam. From there they made their way into the city of Blackpool led by Silt who was following directions given to him by the Book Binder so many years before. Blackpool is a seat of power for the Shades but it was once a large Rinn city. Silt led them deep below the city through gates and sewers to a concealed door. Inside this room they found many things.
4 more stone Minotaur sentries instructed to follow them. They are also instructed to help and protect. These are much less functional, smaller, and mute. Silt “These are less powerful creations than I am, Lorn must have been limited in the resources he could put here without being noticed.”

A cache of weapons that are much more effective against the sand creatures.
And a large copper ball suspended above a funnel with a riddle.
The globe of copper was suspended over a stone pedestal. The pedestal acted as a funnel and channeled the copper when melted to make a connection. When the connection was made a hologram started to play, it was Lorn:

“I don’t know how long this will record, it is old. Far older than anyone has realized. so I will try to tell you everything. Ja-Room really was turned on by his generals. All of them. Including his daughter. All for power. The World Snake is real, and Ja-Room was its champion of sorts I think. When Ja-Room fell, Balar was killed, but the others may have survived if what you told me was true. They were searching for something, something old. Something that can destroy the world. These constructs are yours to command. Silt, take them to the last places on the list I gave you. Then protect them. We Luminaries may have been terribly mistaken, Ja-Room may not have been our enemy. There is much more going on then we know. You must find the World Snake, but I don’t know where?"

They had little time to take this in before Althea noticed back sand blowing into the room. A fierce battle with Gremlins ensued with dozens and dozens of them flooding the room. Making a break for it they encountered a new kind of beast. A giant worm made of sand with teeth as long as a man’s arm. This worm and the Gremlins pursued them through the catacombs. Several skirmishes killed all but the worm. But to escape they found a river of sewage and traveled atop the shoulders of their stone guardians out to the river. The sand worm unable to follow. Once there they had their minautars clean the shit from themselves in the river and stay hidden underwater. Under cover of night they started back north to Turnbridge.

Striking Some Deals

On their travels east towards the Shade territory and Silts promised treasures the party stopped in at the ruins they had defended so many weeks before. The place was abandoned and mostly in ruins. They were able to make their way back to the secret room they had found though and there they struck a deal with one of the Minotaur guardians to travel with them. And so the party grew by one more to include Ash as Altheae dubbed him. They also salvaged a vehicle…
coal
Sniper rifle
Explosives
New Contact
Armor for statues
Tore apart the car

The Hive

Taking the old woman’s advice they waited till the rise of the full moon before trekking north. They traveled through a blasted landscape filled with bones and very little life. Splitting up, Altheae and Auridon stumbled onto a well hidden door made of a metal similar to all the metal creations being destroyed in the past. After getting the others they opened the door and made their way through several devious traps that upon closer inspection were noticed as being added after the original construction. Inside they found secured cases filled with valves and pipes, and further in still a compound of staggering size filled with alcoves much like a giant bee hive. After much experimentation they determined the Hive was where Slick’s people were manufactured and born. They would have created an army except time had run out. Malformed constructs of machine and animal attacked and Silt made a bargain. He would help them escape if they agreed to turn off all the valves. Unhappily the agreement was struck and they battled free facing a mechanical snake creature far beyond the abilities of the Shades to build. With the snake dead, the animals scattered and they explored just a bit further coming upon a large building swarming with more dog and snakes. They quickly decided to run away, avoiding Merd and taking the snakes body with them.

Traveling to Merd

Deciding to take Silt with them, they totally ignore his directions on where to go for a buried treasure and weapons cache. Instead they keep going towards the city of Merd, shown to them on the map while in Eleesiums study in the past. Getting to Merd, Kendov wooed the populace of the desperately poor town with magic tricks while the citizens kept vague about any ruins in the area. Finally they stumbled upon an old woman who directed them north, to the seat of Balar’s power, at the rise of the full moon. And only during a full moon if they wanted to live.

Time Travel

After searching the tower for their mystery figure, enduring traps and finding its sleeping quarters, the pcs found a doorway closed by powerful magic. It said simply “Knowledge is the key. The Book will open the Future.” Taking out the book which was once again showing a hand and flame the PCs ended up back inside the book. This time they ran into a problem, sneaking out from the shadows the halfling warlock bound them into the book by wrapping it in a leather thong. Trapped inside the book after the intended vision ended, the PCs found themselves thrust into the past where they met the books creator Lorn Adeck. Few people could or seemed able to interact with them except Lorn and one of his guardians Silt, an animated stone Minotaur statue. They eventually developed a plan to create the doorway that didn’t yet exist and place stolen goods, and Silt inside to help them escape. Additionally, Lorn added magic to the book so theyr tatoos would help them fight Ja-Room. The plan worked and as the magical door was created they found themselves thrust back out of the book to be attacked by the warlock. After a fierce battle and the halfling nearly escaping with the book itself our adventurers sit at a crossroads. Align with Ja-Room, Silt and Lorn, or the Shades.

To the Mystery Mobil!

Deciding to head for the mysterious fortification they saw in a vision from the book. Our intrepid adventurers headed further into the mountains, eventually getting lost. Attacked by wolves, outsmarted by trees, and eventually facing a mountain climb that went moderately well they arrived atop the wall of the fort. Below was an overgrown garden area and a seemingly abandoned fort. The central tower was all but falling down, and two supply caches had been dug into the mountain face. The whole scene was one of desperation and desolation. After taking pot-shots at a statue for a while (paranoid bunch), they got the feeling of being watched. deciding to explore one of the caches, they saw signs there was a desperate and failed attempt to by the defenders to tunnel out. This was shortly before being attacked by ghostly apparitions, and a pelmel, race for safety. Once outside, Althaea glanced a figure hiding in the upper reaches of the central tower…

Fight on a Mountain

Entering the secret room, the group encountered a temple, along with its giant metal Minotaur statue guardians. The guards only required the Three Teachings for a password, which Kendov was able to surmise off of engravings around the structure. He also called Kendov a hero, Slick and Auridon traitors and Althaea a coward. The minatours also called Slick a Created and seemed to know he was not human despite his appearance. A secret compartment revealed documents they copied down including an encrypted letter. The book activated again and took them through a series of visions displaying past events and the history of the Luminairies and how they started as a sect of Ja-Rooms deepest followers. The guardians would let them leave with nothing, despite Auridon’s insistence that an army of Created were coming. So Kendov pulled off a fast one and handed back a blank book instead of his notes and the minotaurs showed them a secret exit that led into the mountains. There, they faced a giant. Kendov threw himself from a cliff, Auridon was thrown from a cliff, Slick tried to tie up a giant and finally ran away, while Althaea hid in a cave and stairwell and used a well timed teleportation to get out of the giants grasp before getting clubbed like a baby seal.

How all Archaeologists Work

A successful trip to Stony Pass and a pick up from a scarred elven woman named Rosa. The gang wound up deep in the foothills of the mountains when Kendov noticed the book radiating magic. Its cover showed a glowing hand which Auridon suggested should be touched. Kendov disappeared. The others followed suit touching the book one by one out of curiosity. They saw three visions each, where they could make a decision to either help someone, sit back and wait, or hurt them. Finally they ended up laying on the ground a quarter mile from their camp the book closed solid once more. Rosa took them the rest of the way to the dig where they worked for McCathers for several days. A room with a riddle and mural were found and Althaea and Kendov were in the middle of trying to figure it out when the camp was attacked by a small battalion of soldiers from the north. Slick was at a Gatling gun, Auridon at his side blasting people with his rifle and eventually devastating half the troops with a single blow. Kendov and Althaea held a flank to great success. And the team eventually took out a small tank. Going back to the door Althaea in a stroke of genius figured out the riddle just as the game ended.

A successful mission, and no one good died!

As strange as it seems the latest adventure included helping Idora deliver a package successfully, and even helping the printer they made the delivery to escape creditors. It still ended with a printing press being burned down and Idora starting to suspect Slick is far more different than most people give him credit for. Slick was also followed by a mysterious fellow who seemed to know when traps were laid for him. Following this, the team loaded onto a train and headed for Stony Pass.

We all get there, just by different paths.

Armored trains full of troops, Rumors of battles to the south, small bags of black sand, Elliot the genial pickpocket, Idora the criminal, sand gremlins, sand snakes, train battles, and a flying dive from a train with a sack of books.

Don’t Split the Party!…Dammit…

For the first time ever the PC’s created a true total split of the party with each person on their own for at least a week. I think they hate me. What started off as a simple book swap with a geriatric librarian turned into a public murder with rooftop chases, prostitution, and camel trading. Althaea turned states evidence/prostitute and picked up an attractive male friend after degrading herself for the captain of the guard Deudermont II. Slick murdered the old man (staining Kendovs brand new white duds with blood) and then snuck aboard the train in the baggage compartment. Kendov morphed his appearance and boldly walked aboard the train. And Auridon finagled a deal with One-Legged-Pete involving one camel for a book. Pete’s offer of money for rare artifacts from a northern ruin still holds. He is also willing to share the profits if they dig out the city with the Stone Man.

Robbing a Library…The stuff legends are made of.

Meeting the old elf at the Station, he gave the PC’s a key and instructions on where to find the books along with a couple books he wants to have before leaving promptly. The group slept on it and woke up the next morning ready to storm the library. Wit the backdrop of a coming sandstorm the players snuck in and stole the books. Althea was left outside to guard and noticed a light start flashing on the outside of the library. Unbeknownst to the other three, they had set off a pressure plate/alarm. Mass chaos and burning books ensued when some city guards made their way down to check. Slick made off with a sack of books and left the others to fight for their lives. Having made their way back to the inn eventually, all blame for their troubled lives fell unsurprisingly onto the old elf.

So I might have overreacted…

Our intrepid adventurers found themselves fighting for their lives against Obsidian Jackals by a river. They made short work of them despite a gravely injured Kendov and Slick, and also made a note that these creatures are filled with sand under their hard exteriors.
After the battle wound down when they were confronted about the obsidian creatures, a bad poker face and a savvy caravan leader led to a fist fight, that ended with four dead, five nearly burned to death, and ten missing camels. That was just on the caravaneers side, and yes, that was a fist fight. The caravan leader went down with one last mighty strike putting Kendov unconscious and nearly loosing his penis to a pissed off Althaea. Two were burned to death and Althaea shot another couple in the head for good measure. Slick tracked the Jackals far enough to realize they came from the abandoned city. Auridon had one of the remaining caravan people swim away while they searched for camels. And Althaea assassinated one of the other remaining caravaneers out of paranoia and embarrassment when she fell on her ass. The remaining caravaneers ran for their lives. The PC’s then took all but 5 camels (why they only left 5 out of 24 I don’t know), and they tried to burn and electrocute the remaining 5 to death. That failed but trusty Althaea killed one as it tried to tag along with the other camels they were already taking with them. Leaving that bloodbath they trekked for a few days north based on The Hand. The Hand also told them the caravan leader was still alive. Althaea fixed that.
Reaching the town of Turnbridge they noticed the classes within the city are very distinct and saw their first glimpses of real Shade technology. Metal ships, cannons, mechanical guard cheetahs, Luxury ships, trains, mechanical body augmentation, and other things. The others sold off everything they had stolen from the caravan including the camels. Meanwhile Auridon went to the library to do some research and discovered the prohibitions about discussing the Lord of Sand. As he functions as a rallying point for rebels and dissidents within the Shade territories. He also found out Eleesium is Ja-Room’s daughter, the desert expanded drastically after his death, and he died a hella long time ago. This of course all came from books that were obviously propaganda talking about how horrible, stupid, and cruel Ja-Room was. An elderly elf librarian passed him a note though telling him to meet him at the Station at 7pm that evening to talk. Tune in next week for more gross overreactions, and questionable storytelling.

Brave Sir Robin Ran Away!

After hours of trekking thorugh the desert in the night with mixed results. At one point the crossed a ridge and below them stood a shadowed figure. Quick thinking put a light spell on a copper coin and a good arm put it right beside the figure which was the man from the stone chair from before, he spoke to them saying “I will find you cursed ones”. Reactions were mixed. Althaea froze, Slick started chugging healing potions, Auridon waited to see what would happen and Kendov shouted his belief it was an illusion, gave a battle cry, and charged down the hill shooting magic missiles. Althaea’s sharp eyes noticed sand floating in a circle around the figure and when Kendov arrived (after many misses) he found himself still running but with his feet off the ground floating a few feet off the ground. The figure whispered one last comment to Kendov and disappeared. After the encounter the party talked amongst themselves and realized the language they heard from the figure was whatever language they knew best. While debating what to do next, Kendov broke out what is likely going to be a favorite ritual. Hand of Fate which tells him answers to three questions.
They asked where the crazy tree man was, where the nearest town was, and what the best direction was to travel. All three answers came up different and with no food, virtually no water and some debate they decided to head off in the “best” direction. They traveled the rest of the night through the desert but eventually found themselves at a river. Spending the night there the group recovered some. Althaea killed several snakes for food, and Kendov discovered using his lightning breath is great for stunning fish. That same day the encountered a group of merchants consisting of the native folks of the land. Gnomes, Eladrin and Dragonborn, the leader is a Dragonborn. They agreed to let the party join them, but seemed very cautious about how well armed and armored the group was. Kendov and Althaea agreed to give up weapons, Auridon declared his faith (A god of the Dragonborn) and mollified the leader, and Slick used his Shapechange ability to merge his weapons into his slime body. Trading also took place with small baubles being purchased, Slick managed to find some poisons, and Auridon some scrolls on history he hopes will lead to some understanding of the last few days events. As a group they have decided not to tell anyone what happened. They also noticed a pronounced increase in nervousness about magic items, magic spells, and an increase in derision towards the Shades. That night they set up camp again along the river and Kendov got himself several face piercings along his jaw frills and eye ridge on one side so he appears to have a giant crescent of metal on his face. The caravan leader is also pierced and did the honors on Kendov, he also agreed to “get Kendov the best price, because I know a guy.” on metal wings. While this was taking place, once again Althaea noticed something with her sharp eyes. A glint off something obsidian outside the firelight. Going to investigate she came face-to-face with a giant obsidian jackal. She teleported back into camp and warned the group…

A Beginning…

Trekking through the desert as part of a caravan, a glint of gold on a far off stone spire enticed the players and the caravan leader to make their way towards what turned out to be the top of a very large structure buried in the sand. The caravan leader set to work taking the copper off the spire while the players went in search of anything else of interest. Althy noticed a half buried structure away from the caravan and all four proceeded to dig it out, then slither into what turned out to be a large hallway painted with motifs of war, sacrifice, and godlike figures. Auridon and Kendov the groups Dragonborn both noticed that these godlike beings were defaced. Upon further exploration, passing collapsed hallways and rooms, and walls scorched by an intense fire the adventurers came upon a large room. The room was a large dome with a large rock throne and the figure of an old man seated in it. This could be seen because there was a tree half growing out of the throne, and half out of the figure, and the tree glowed with a silvery light. Waves of evil emanated from the room but that didn’t dissuade our intrepid explorers. Slick started sneaking up behind the figure while Kendov tried to make the statue sound like it was moaning with a spell t scare people. Lucky for him, the ceiling cracked with a loud boom at the same moment and the figure in the chair jerked awake/alive at the sound and cast a spell of detection.

After, the old man lifted up his left arm and seemed to clutch the air and a ceiling section collapsed in spilling stone, sand, bleating animals, and shouting people into the room in a giant pile. Even as the caravan members struggled to rise to their feet the old man shifted his hand again and large coils of sand rose up and brutally plunged through limbs, chests and appendages pinning animals and people to the walls, instantly dead. The sand coils sticking out of them like giant spears.
One figure was drawn away from the wall only pierced through his shoulders. The old man’s deep, gravely voice filled the room and asked “Are there any others left above?” The cart driver sobbed out a “yes” and briefly begged for his life before another sand coil pushed through his skull.
The old man in a deep elated voice chuckled “Ah! Eleesium you were right my love! Our time has come again!”

Even as the words echoed around them several other figures were drawn towards the tree man three of them still struggling slightly. As the players watched, one of the camels turned to dust and seemed to absorb into the sand. Then one of the moving figures screamed out in absolute agony for a several seconds, then fall to the floor below as it was let go. The same happened to the next two figures as more dead figures turned into black dust followed by screams of agony. Then rising from the floor were three manlike creatures looking made of obsidian and sporting deadly claws. The old man whispered “Go, find me the rest.” And in a flash the three creatures rushed the walls and started climbing them, stone chips flying as their claws rend stone to clasp the wall.
Within seconds of their arrival on the surface shouts, then screams were heard, and then people started being thrown from above through the hole in the ceiling, each one being speared mid-air by tentacles of sand.

Seeing all this carnage and power, the obvious solution for the players was to attack of course. The attacks failed to do anything except get the attention of the old man. Scattering like roaches after a light switch was thrown, the players tried to run away with everyone but Althia (smart enough to run away before shit hit the fan) nearly dying as sand tentacles pierced their bodies. Barely escaping back out into the desert, Slick and Kendov scouted out the obsidian claw guys up by the caravan, while Althia and Auridon were attack by swarms of obsidian rats. The claw fellows eventually caught wind and a scuffle ensued where everyone survived except the rats. The claw fellow buried into the sand after severe injury and the players started out in search of shelter.

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