Welcome back to the story that never stops: Tales From the Plunderbund Consortium. We are back on our normal schedule. I like leaving YouTube videos as my contribution to this, so this week I give you one of the genuinely most terrifying music videos ever.
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Tales from the Plunderbund Consortium
Dark Sun Campaign – Chapter 6
After accomplishing their “mission” for the Nibenese army, Coraanu, Dimebag, and Alexa reported what they learned (or at least what Hamanu had told them to report) to Captain Ke’ku’che. The Captain appeared to be disturbed by the news, but thanked the three for their hard work and efforts. As a reward, he gave them each a week’s worth of leave. The three then left the army, never to return.
From there the three, along with Ilana, planned to head south to Gulg with the intention of catching a House Inikia caravan to Balic, although Ilana was hoping to stop earlier so that she could talk with the mad spirit of the stream back at her old home, “the Rez.” As they traveled they ran into their old bug-buddies, Pane-Pan and Uk’Chataa-Hookeri, who had been off doing “bug shit.”
As the reunited six traveled on, they felt the ground shake beneath them, obviously an earthquake had hit the area. Traveling further still through the stony barrens, they saw an old fort ahead. Coraanu and Pan snuck ahead to investigate, and were nearly dragged into the crack in the earth had had formed due to the earthquake. Luckily, their natural dexterity saved them from death. Searching the old fort, Coraanu found a handful of silver coins. As he went to search for more, per random encounter sub-table H, a hunter cactus that was obscured by the sand and the crack in the ground shot it deadly spines at both Coraanu and Pan. As cacti have terrible aim, they missed, and the two ran from the ruins as fast as their legs would take them.
The party continued to travel by night, and as they settled in to rest the next morning, Coraanu and Pan went out to scavenge for food for the group. Unfortunately for them, a dune runner, an undead elf that forever runs through the sands and takes others with them until they die of exhaustion, ran right by them. While Pan’s mental fortitude as a Psion protected him from the lure of the run, Coranuu’s elven instincts could not resist getting a morning jog in, even if it would cost him his life. Pan followed the two as Coranuu sweated to the oldie undead. As luck would have it, the dune runner’s path took them straight through the party’s encampment and other’s began to feel the insufferable desire to talk about how they just accomplished their first half-marathon on Athas-Book. After a team effort to slow the movement’s of the dune runner and to protect Coranuu and any others feeling the runner’s effects, Pan unleased a thought spear that broke the runner’s concentration and freed the party members.
Battle ensued, with Dimebag, who had just learned to rage after training with Alexa for so long, asked his mentor for advise as to whether now was a good time to rage and gain damage resistance. Alexa told him, “I never rage when it is just one opponent.” Taking her advise to heart, he forwent raging and instead leveled an all-out attack at the vile undead. When the dune runner’s turn to attack drew near, he turned his attention to Dimebag as he had done the most damage to the runner. Swiping with its deadly claws, the runner proceeded to disembowel Dimebag, leaving him unconscious and near death. Luckily, the party was able to destroy the creature without any further casualties.
While Pan was able to use his psionics to stabilize Dimebag, without clerical (or Templar or druidic) healing, the extensive damage done to Dimebag could not be healed. The party spent the next day and a half tending to a comatose Dimebag as they finished their journey to Gulg.
Upon reaching the forest city of Gulg, the party found the nearest members of House Inikia and asked them for help. They were told to bring Dimebag to either the house head, Andiama Inikia, or to his brother, Darkius Darksmith, at the House Inikia headquarters. Ilana, Pan and Hookeri took it upon themselves to bring Dimebag to the headquarters.
After entering House Inikia and throwing Dimebag’s body on the ground, Ilana asked for help. Darkius was summoned and he quickly sent for a house cleric to heal his brother’s wounds. He told Ilana and company that Dimebag would be healed within an hour or two. Darkius also took that opportunity to offer them a job. After much back and forth, it was learned that, since Dimebag had been declared dead, Darkius was planning on marrying Dimebag’s three now ex-wives. He asked them to accompany Dimebag to the nearby Fort Harbeth, an Inikia trading outpost, and convince Dimebag to retire there and spend the rest of his days in middle management under Waltian Inikia. The party would be paid one silver each for taking job, and one gold each if Dimebag accepted the job. Pan and Hooki offered to attend the wedding and play “bug music,” but their offer was rebuffed.
Rather than face any resistance from Dimebag, the party decided to have the house cleric keep Dimebag in a medically induced coma until they reached Fort Harbeth. Pane-Pan had significant issue with this, and tried to wake Dimebag ahead of time; unfortunately, his psionic power was not able to do the job. Four days later, upon arriving at the fort, Dimebag was fully healed, and upon coming out of the coma, was immediately told by Pan about his brother’s weeding. Dimebag was understandably enraged. Ilana then went on to discuss the situation with Dimebag and told him that he either needed to accept the job at Fort Harbeth, or pay everyone in the party the one gold each they would have earned getting Dimebag to accept the job. Knowing that Fort Harbeth is where Inikia careers go to die, and also knowing that if he died without finding the obsidian man he would become a dwarven banshee, Dimebag refused to take the job and refused to pay the money. Ilana responded in the worst way possible and cast charm person on Dimebag. Dimebag paid the five gold, but also now has a deep seeded resentment for Ilana and is likely plotting his revenge.
Having resolved that matter, the adventurers joined a House Inikia caravan and traveled the Great Ivory Plain south to North Ledopolus. Upon arriving, they took the silt skimmer ferry to South Ledopolus, and geared up to travel to Ilana’s old home, the Rez, which resided in a salt flat, an area so dangerous and desolate and few beings are able to live there outside of the strongest ravaging beasts.
Time passed slowly as the adventurers slugged through the salt marshes and salt plains on their way to the Rez. No man or beast was seen for most of this journey, however, avians constantly flew above the group waiting for them to die. One evening, as they neared the Rez, the party was taken by surprise as a number of bone spears attached to white ropes burst forth from the ground, impaling and pulling to the ground a number of them. Those that dodged the attack saw what looked like a giant turtle with missile tubes attached to its shell rise from the ground, they were being attacked by a Chn’thrang!
The adventurers soon learned that if they tried to remove the beast’s living harpoons from their bodies, it simply fired more at them. As such, they choose to remain impaled and engage the horrid creature in hand to hand combat. Most disturbing to some of the party members, it was at this time that Ilana revealed herself as a defiler, enhancing her magic to the point that the white salt surrounding her turned to black ash as her spells were brought forth. Serious wounds were inflicted on all of the party members during the battle, including Hookeri’s new pet, but in the end they stood victorious. In celebration, Hookeri attempted to eat some of the Chn’thrang. It did not taste good.
A day and a half later the group reached the Rez, and immediately sensed something was wrong. They were approached by High Chief Steve Miavia and Rain Cleric Tyrone of the Land Orca tribe. While they welcomed Ilana back with open arms, it was painfully obvious that these elves were now intelligent undead. Specifically, Coraanu deermined that Steve was a Kaisharga (basically a lich in other worlds) and Tyrone was now a Krag (an undead made when an elemental cleric is killed by its opposition element). High Chief Steve told Ilana that “Rez” was waiting for him. She entered the camp and headed back to the stream as the others waited with the seemingly friendly undead.
As Ilana approached the stream she heard a female voice in her head, the voice introduced herself as Rez, the spirit of the stream. Rez explained that nearly a millennia ago she was the protector druid of these lands, which had been very lush with foliage. Eventually, she became the spirit of the land herself. Then, 600 years ago, the sorcerer-king Andropinis killed her in a magical battle so intense that it turned her beautiful lands into the salt flat it is today. Further, though her spirit body was destroyed, her mind lived on and remained bound to the land.
Over the years, alone in a salt flat, Rez became obsessed with getting revenge on Andropinis. Indeed, she became convinced that all humanity was the enemy and needed to be scrubbed from the land. As such, approximately 400 years ago, she began manipulating events so that every 50 years or so new refugees would be sent to “the Rez.” Once these refugees arrived and attempted to set up some form of civilization in this blasted land, Rez would spend her time mentally, emotionally, and, when possible, physically abusing these refugees. For the past 400 years, this only severed to drive them insane and eventually result in their deaths; that was until now.
Rez explained that the reason she had been mentally torturing these people for years was to create her great champion. Someone so cynical, jaded, and morally loose, that they could care less about the fate of the planet if it meant more fun and power for her. Ilana, Rez believe, was finally that champion.
Becoming her champion, Rez explained, involved turning Ilana into a dragon. According to Rez, the sorcerer-kings were not merely powerful defilers and psions, but beings who had combined these power sources and used it to travel the path of the dragon. While the Dragon of Tyr is the only known individual to have completed the metamorphosis, all of the sorcerer-kings are on the path to dragonhood. Rez wanted Ilana to become a dragon and to kill Andropinis (and any other humans or demihumans warrenting killing).
In exchanged for being her champion, Rez offered Ilana the following: 1) Knowledge of how to become a dragon, including the need for a ton of gold to start crafting obsidian orbs; 2) the undead army that was formally the Land Orca tribe (100 skeletons, 100 zombies, 50 kraglings); and 3) use of the Rez as a base of operations, which includes unlimited water. Rez was also willing to share the location of one of the obsidian orbs known as the orbs of Kalid-ma; artifacts coveted by all sorcerer-kings. Ilana gladly accepted Rez’s offer.
Ilana returned to her “friends” while being pushed forward by her new goal, if not her new destiny. A destiny she had no intention of sharing with her pawns . . . er . . . compatriots anytime in the near future.