This week, we get to read about prostitutes. Seriously, if that isn’t enough to get your attention, then I am doing a terrible job at this…..which I probably am. Still, it’s an excuse to play this video on the cusp of Christmas. I am sure that most, if not all of you are unfamiliar with this song, but I do urge you to give it a listen the whole way through. This is a cover of a Tom Waites song, but I prefer this version, I think. Merry Christmas and keep the change you filthy animals.
Tales from the Plunderbund Consortium
Dark Sun Campaign – Chapter 16
The group returned to giant island where they again ate and drank their fill while regaling Rarbo and his wife Zaldurxa with the tale of how they rid Sand Witch Island of the undead pit by destroying the necromantic orb. At the end of the tail Rarbo stated that the group did indeed fulfil the terms of their agreement and that he would carry them to the shore in the morning if that was their wish. However, he noted that the Sand Witch remained a threat and asked if they wanted to battle her before leaving the island. The group discussed and decided to leave in the morning, the Sand Witch would be an enemy for another day.
In the morning, the party took extra supplies provided by Rarbo and then stepped into his good carrying net. After about an hour of walking Rarbo reached the shore. Again, Rarbo advised the group that the Sand Witch would be looking for them and they should avoid the Sea of Silt for now, less their silt skimmer be dragged down once again.
After being left to their own devices, the group discussed their next plan of action. They decided to head north-east along coast until they hit the town of Samarah. Further, they also decided to wait until nightfall to travel.
That night, as they traveled, an eclipse darkened one of Athas’ two moons. Ilana recalled the myth that when there is an eclipse of one of the moons, it means a Sorcerer King is using powerful scrying magics in an attempt to locate an individual. The group’s mood sobered up real quick after that revelation.
About an hour of travel later, the party head the screams of a woman just north of them in the desert. Worried it was a woman in distress, Darkius volunteered the party to go rescue her. They soon found a woman dressed in middle-class clothes in the Tyr style. Upon meeting up with the group she begged them for help. The woman introduced herself as Kethra Nuv, citizen of Tyr. According to her, she had gone to bed at her home in Tyr the night before, and when she awoke, she was on a stone alter and surrounded by cultists who appeared ready to sacrifice her to one of the elements. Luckily, she was able to slip out of her bonds and run from the cave where she was being held.
The party was warry of this story at first, as they were currently hundreds of miles to the east of Tyr, however, she seemed sincere, and she begged the party to find a way to get her home. Ilana speculated that the cult may have used teleportation magic to get her across the map.
Traveling in the direction from which Kethra was running, the party soon came upon the cave and saw two guards. Using his psionic powers, Pane-Pane easily tricked one guard into investigating the desert (DM Note: he was eventually eaten by a wandering monster), and the party quickly and quietly dispatched the other guard.
Stealthing into the cave, the party soon came upon a priest of the element of fire berating his subordinates for letting the sacrifice get away. While the priest was distracted, Darkius cast Silence on the priest, preventing him from casting any spells. Alexa then proceeded to go to town on the priest and his guards, not stopping until all that was left was blood and cultist chunks.
As there was no one left to interrogate, the party searched the room for any sign as to how they brought Kethra from Tyr. Ilana soon found runes drawn onto the back wall. After studying for a bit, Ilana was able to figure out how to operate the portal. They escorted Kethra through the portal and found that they were in Under Tyr. Upon bringing her to the service, Kethra thanked them for their help and said she could find her way home from here.
While the party planned to go back through the portal, Pane-pan insisted that they stay as this put them relatively close to the Temple of the Sky Serpent, where the ghost of Far Misc awaited him. After much cajoling, the party agreed to stay.
As it was now morning in Tyr, the group decided this would be a good time to unload their goods in the Elven Market. Not knowing where the eleven market was located, they hired a local peasant boy, Abu, to navigate them through the Warrens, the poorest and most dangerous part of Tyr. While the group tried to undercut Abu at first, upon reaching a rickety old bridge, Abu asked if the group was sure that they didn’t want to pay more. Relenting, group ponied up, at which point Abu told the eleven brigands hiding under the bridge that these guys were cool and not to rob them.
Wandering through the market, the adventurers were able to sell the items they looted from the undead pit. They also learned an interesting bit of gossip after selling one of the cult items they had just looted the evening before. Specifically, there were rumors of cult activity at the Blacksun Villa, the home of the Shahram noble family, however, there was not enough hard evidence for the templars to investigate. Darkius became determined to find out the truth of the matter. They also learned that a good place to buy and sell weapons would be at Grik’s Weapons Emporium in the Caravan District.
Wanting to find Far Misc as soon as possible, Pane-Pan asked the group to travel with him to the Merchant District to see if any merchant houses would be sending a caravan to the Forest Ridge in the near future. Soon after arriving and asking around, they found that a Dr. Livingslate was looking for a caravan to take him to the Temple of the Sky Serpent. Unfortunately, despite his willingness to pay, none of the merchant houses wanted to risk antagonizing the local halfling tribes.
When the group tracked down Dr. Livingslate, he agreed to pay each party member 10 gold if they would accompany him to the temple, assist in his research, and then escort him back. It was anticipated the expedition would take approximately 2 months. The good doctor told the party that it would take him two weeks to acquire everything needed for the journey.
With two weeks to kill, the group headed to Grik’s Weapons Emporium. Before the party could even begin negotiations, Grik became starstruck by Alexa. He then offered free weapons and armor for the party, emblazoned with Grik’s crest, if they agreed to fight in the next day’s gladiator games and advertise Grik’s store. Alexa enthusiastically agreed.
With no other plans for the day, Pane-Pan asked around for the best Thri-Kreen prostitute and was directed to Altsey, who worked at the Funky Ambush Drake whore house in the Warrens. The party headed over, at which point Pane-Pan spent the night with Altsey, Darkius spent the night preaching to the prostitutes, Alexa drank, and Ilana . . . did magic things.
In the morning the party headed to the area. As their fight was scheduled for the end of the day, they were invited into the social medial lounge to give an interview. After giving the most boring interview ever, they remembered to pimp out Grik’s store in the end.
As the sun began to set the group took their places in the arena as the last battle of the day. As Alexa had spoken with the master of games earlier, she had chosen for the party to face a deadly beast in combat rather than other armed gladiators. The beast that was brought before them was a Dune Reaper, a creature made of pincers and deadly psionic power. While the fight was tough, the party emerged victorious, with Pane-Pan allowing Alexa to have the killing blow. It was then announced that while they had won a purse of 10,000 Tyr ceramic pieces, they could compete next week and win up to four times their money. Greedy and overconfident as ever, the party jumped on the opportunity.
Not wanting to rest while cult activity was afoot, Darkius recruited the group to help with his investigations into the Shahram noble family. After dodging a patrol of the noble’s private military force, the party entered the noble district and located what appeared to be an abandoned house. They set up shop and decided that Pane-Pan would scout out the Blacksun Villa, the ballroom in particular. Ilana cast Invisibility on Pane-Pan, which would give him 15 minutes to reach the villa, 30 minutes to scout, and 15 minutes to return before the spell wore off.
Heading to the villa, Pane-Pan soon heard the sounds of loud music and revelry. Apparently, the Shahram’s were having a party this very night. As Pane-Pan approached, he saw guards wearing clothes similar to what the fire cultists they had previously encountered wore. After a few minutes of observation, the windows suddenly turned black, and the outside revelrers were instructed to enter the ballroom for the evening’s main event. Pane-Pan deftly snuck in behind the last party-goer.
Upon entering the ballroom the invisible Pane-Pan found himself in the middle of an “Eyes Wide Shut Party.” At the other end of the long ballroom, sitting on a stone throne, was Lady Allysa Shahram, head of the Shahram noble family. Nearby were three stone alters similar to the alter found within the cave during the party’s last encounter with the cultists. Lady Allysa asked who came before her this evening and a hush fell over the crowed. Three siblings, who introduced themselves as Kir, Idel, and Nua Balmado introduced themselves. Lady Allysa stated that she was made aware of the fact that the Balmado noble family, known for having many powerful templars, had hit very difficult financial times ever since King Kalak had been killed and the templars had lost their powers.
Noting that she had received a substantial sum of money from the Balmado’s, the last of the family fortune in fact, Lady Allysa asked the siblings if they had the “other” form of necessary payment. With that the siblings had brought out three naked individuals, two men and a woman. Kir Blamado informed Lady Allysa that the three were former slaves who worked on the Balmado plantation. The three individuals were tied down to the three alters and Lady Allysa began casting a clerical spell. At the completion of the spell, three vaguely humanoid fire elementals were summoned. The three elementals appeared to attempt to mate with the bound slaves, which resulted in a quick immolation of the former slaves. As the slaves merged with the elementals, three energy blobs formed that each flew toward one of the Balmados. As the energy blobs entered the bodies of each of the Balmados, they appeared to be infused with fire elemental power.
With Lady Allysa’s subsequent announcement that the ceremony was complete, the darkness dissipated from the windows and the party recommenced. Pane-Pan retreated to the upper balcony level of the ballroom, found a good hiding place, and then proceeded to use his mental powers to force a guest to divulge when the next sacrifice party would be taking place. He learned from a particularly drunk partygoer that the next party would be in a week after the next gladiator games. Unfortunately, using his mental powers caused the invisibility spell to break and Pane-Pan would be seen if he left his hiding spot.
After psychically messaging Darkius, the pair decided that Pane-Pan needed to get some evidence about what had happened that evening. Pane-Pan reported that there was ash left over on the alters from the sacrificial ceremony, and Darkius suspected that the ash would be infused with elemental magic. After debating the best course of action, they decided that Pane-Pan would wait until everyone had passed out from either drunkenness and/or vigorous lovemaking and then grab some ash and leave.
After about three hours had passed, everyone except for one guard had either left or passed out. Clouding the guard’s mind with his mental powers, Pane-Pan convinced the guard to leave the ballroom and to check on Lady Allysa. From there Pane-Pan was easily able to sneak over to the alter, take some elemental ash, and return to the party’s new home base in the noble district.
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