Empire of Sand

Welcome to the Hotel Calimshania

You elected to rest in the bandit's cave during the heat of the day. Jasmal, the mage girl who assisted you, quickly gathered her things and left – saying she had business to attend to elsewhere and assuring Hitash that she could not continue on with you. The next evening you departed to travel to Memnon, and Hitash and Asad were able to guide the group in the proper direction. The night passed uneventfully. 

As dawn approached, you began to feel sleepy. Suddenly you smelled smoke, bringing with it the scent of cooking meats. Up ahead in the distance, you saw a shimmering light. As you approached, you saw an inn with an oasis behind it. You knew of no historical record of this inn, but the location of it just off of a main trade route made sense. A young woman stepped out of the inn and began putting out the lantern. She heard you approach and beckoned you to come stay at her lovely inn.  She called to her bellboy, Buus, who helped tie and water your horses.  Unbeknownst to you, the woman attempted to Charm Drumpf, but she was unsuccessful. A bell began to toll, and looking up you could see the inn had a third floor bell tower.

The woman led you into the inn by candlelight down a long, dark hallway to the oasis garden in the back of the inn. A band was playing, people were dancing, and the woman informed you to call for Buus or The Captain if you needed anything. Tagrid recognized the song the band was playing, a classic piece by his long-dead hero Afe Taciki. Asad grabbed some food and then ordered Buus to take him and Adhem (in disguise as Asad's cousin from Calimport) to their room. Hitash sent his newly acquired familiar, Buttles the Invisible Imp, to monitor the situation.

Drumph proceeded to order roughly 14 beers from The Captain. The Captain wore an old-fashioned naval hat and seemed thrilled about your presence at the inn. Drumpf began to get suspicious (and irritated) at the fact he wasn't getting drunk. Just then the bell began to toll again and Hitash noticed something strange. The band had begun playing the same song and the Captain and patrons seemed to be repeating the initial movements and conversations they were having when you arrived.

Hitash informed you of what he saw, and you observed the situation through several bell tolls. You were now all convinced that some sort of magical timeloop event was occurring.  Tagrid went to speak to one of the musicians, the band lyre player. The man seemed to have forgotten his name, where he had come from, and how long he had been at the inn. He warned you, "Whatever you do, don't . . . fall . . . asleep." Following this cryptic message, the bell tolled and he went into another loop.

Meanwhile, Asad was lying in his room trying to get some shut eye. Suddenly he felt a strange presence take hold of his body, rendering him unable to control his body. The presence did not feel malicious, but rather full of sorrow and fear. The presence imparted a message in his mind, "Stop her . . . go to the master's chambers," before departing and giving him control of his body. As the presence left, the rest of the party banged on the door. 

Asad led the group up to the second floor. Down the hallway, you saw a large door with the words "Captain __________" in gold foil letters. You kicked the door down, blasting it nearly off of its hinges. The room was large and contained an ornate, four-poster bed and a large mirrored dresser – the glass was missing from the dresser. Hitash found an old book on the dresser, which upon closer inspection seemed to be the Captain's journal. It discussed his struggling business, the arrival of a beautiful woman and her manservant, and the strange events that followed. Meanwhile, Tagrid pulled out a mirror and began inspecting the room. In the reflection, the room appeared dusty, rundown, and covered in blood.

Just then, you heard Buus approaching. You followed him back downstairs and demanded to speak to the woman, hatching a plan to try to attack her by surprise. When shown the journal, she said it likely belonged to some criminal who had stayed at the inn previously. You saw through her deception, and Asad plunged his dagger into her shoulder. Though not seriously injured, she shrieked and fled up the stairs. Hitash and Tagrid followed close behind while Asad blocked Buus from going up the stairs.

Asad attempted to attack Buus, but his steel sword was ineffectual. Buus began to transform, growing long claws and his head assuming the form of a jackal. Asad managed to defend the stairs and slay the creature with his silvered dagger.

Upstairs, Hitash, Drumpf, and Tagrid tried to take down the woman. She proved resistant to Drumpf's weapon, but was easily damaged by Tagrid and Hitash's spells. Just then, a large, misty figure materialized out of the wall and stood between the party and the woman, allowing her time to escape up to the third floor. The Captain, clearly a ghost, managed to frighten Tagrid so badly that he aged about 40 years, sprouting white hair and a beard to match. The bell tolled again, and the Captain disappeared – presumably to reset in the time loop. 

Drumpf was the first to reach the third floor, discovering the woman within the 10×10 bell tower. The room contained nothing else, save the massive bell suspended from the ceiling by a chain. Tagrid and Hitash were able to deal significant damage to the girl, who, in her rage, showed her true form – a nightmare of a woman with red skin, wings, and horns. She attempted to Charm Hitash, but failed. The Captain made another appearance, but before he could deal any more damage, Drumpf had the insight to attack the bell. When he struck it with his axe, the Captain howled in rage and disappeared. The woman moved forward to strike at Drumpf, placing her beneath the bell. Drumpf smacked the bell with a second blow so powerful it cracked up the middle and came loose from its moorings. The bell crashed down, pinning the monster beneath it. Near death, she reassumed her human form and pleaded with Drumpf to save her – he, of course, refused. 

The reverberations from the bell were so strong that Hitash was knocked off his feet. The shaking did not stop, and instead grew heavier – as if the whole building were collapsing. You ran down the stairs and could see the hallways beginning to contract. You ran into Asad and Adhem on the first floor and managed to run out the front door before the entire inn reverse-big banged into itself. 

You watched watched from a nearby sand dune as the inn was erased. In the dawn light, you could see dozens of wispy figures ascending into the sky. Two of them, the Captain and his daughter, Ana, expressed their gratitude to you before fading from view.  You notice that the oasis was still intact and 6 of your 8 horses returned to your sides. You decided to investigate the oasis further. Hitash discovered a row of graves as well as a mysterious object poking out of the sand. Upon closer inspection, the object turned out to be the fine lyre that the musician was playing. Tagrid recognizes it immediately as Afe's Lyre and Asad's use of Detect Magic revealed that it was once a magical instrument, though it is now too damaged to function. Hitash decided to loot one of the graves, and discovered 100 gold coins, impressed with an image of a syl-pasha from three hundred years prior. The rest of the party wasn't thrilled about grave robbing, but allowed it – Tagrid forbidding him from looting the grave of Afe, should Hitash stumble upon it. 

<u>XP</u>

Killing Buus – 500

Killing The Woman (totally a succubus) – 1100

Dropping the Captain to half hp – 600

Holding your drink (Drumph) – 100

Memories revealed (Hitash) – 100

A fine performance (Tagrid) – 100

In Ana's possession (Asad) – 100

Destroying the Inn – 500

RP – 500

3600/4 = 900 per player

Everyone is now at 1937.

<u>Loot</u>

100 old ass gold coins (Hitash)

Afe's Lyre (Tagrid)

From the graves

80 additional gold pieces (looking at the coins, they range in age from 300 years old to present)

A scroll case containing a Scroll of See Invisibility

 

 

 

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The Bit Bandit's Lair

You sped away from the destruction of the [[Friary of St. Amahl]]. Not soon after, Octotillo slows the caravan and begins bearing north, back towards Memnon. You were able to convince him to continue and that you would keep him safe from harm.  He asked for  some sort of insurance in case you were slaughtered by the bandits, and you relinquished a few healing potions and a scroll. As night fell, Octotillo once again halted the caravan, saying he would go no further. He agreed to stay until dawn and gave you a healing potion and the scroll – he kept the more valuable potion for insurance.  Azir and Soseke elected to return to Memnon to spread word of what had happened.

As you crept over the dunes, you saw the cave oasis where the bandits were holing up. Drumph and Tagrid were able to sneak close enough to overhear the conversation of two of the bandits, the female mage and a man. He tried, and failed, to convince her to leave with him before he took off on his horse – straight towards Asad. Asad came face to face with the bandit, who introduced himself as Hitash and insisted he was deserting the Bit Bandits. He informed you that Adhem was badly injured and being denied his medication. He also agreed to help you take out the bandits, as long as you promised not to harm the mage, Jasmal. You agreed, though Asad stipulated that if she became hostile he would neutralize her.

Hitash went back to the oasis and convinced Jasmal to come over to you. Jasmal was a nervous wreck, but was easily swayed to assist – or at least not hinder – your progress. You hatched a plan which involved shoving burning brush into a small ventilation crack on one side of the cave and setting a trip wire and additional fire at the front of the cave. Tagrid cast his unseen servant and bid it to begin untying Adhem. Two bandits, Khmed and Jasir, exited the cave to begin their watch but were quickly ambushed and killed by Asad and Drumph.  A third bandit, out to take a leak, was similarly dispatched. Once the fires were set, it wasn't long for one of them to come up and notice – alerting the others to the fire.

The remaining bandits charged out of the cave, all but one of them tripping and falling into the flames. The leader, Atala, managed to vault over her fallen comrades and immediately spotted Drumph and Asad. She was, however, not much of a match for Asad's keen blade and Drumph's mighty axe. She fled back into the cave as you began hacking at the other singed bandits. Asad, determined not to let her get a hold of Adhem, raced in after her. She was so intent upon stabbing her hostage, that she didn't notice him – until he lopped off her head. The remaining bandits were dealt with – including Atala's right hand man Haseid who had taken an arrow in the rump earlier in combat. The final bandit, just coming out from under the effects of a well-placed sleep spell. You tied him up, hung him upside down from a tree, and tortured him a bit. Confident that he knew nothing of import, you killed him. 

Asad, who had drug Adhem from the cave, began checking him over. The boy was pale and barely breathing – not to mention having lost a lot of blood and a finger. Tagrid healed him with a spell and Asad was able to properly administer his medication.  Inside the bandit's cave, you found  jewelry, a set of dice carved from bone, a silvered dagger, and a scroll of sleep. Drumph began harvesting fingers, which is no doubt when the Ring of Protection was discovered. On Atala's body you found some Bracers of Defense and a letter detailing the plans for Adhem's capture. When Adhem was shown the letter he said, in disbelief, that it looked like his father's handwriting. 

While the cave was being looted, Tagrid decided to tell Ocotillo to get the caravan ready for departure. When he arrived, the wagon, camels, and Octotillo were gone. Asad rode out to look for signs of the halfling, and found some debris and some abnormal indentations and tunnels in the sand. 

You have decided to remain in the cave, at least for the time being. Adhem has seven doses of his medication, enough for the next 4 to 7 days, and you have plenty of water. 

<u>XP</u>

Atala: 450

Haseid (Arrowass):  200

Bandits: 600

Planning: 500

Adhem lives: 500

RP: 500

Total:  2750/4 = 687

This puts everyone at 1037 so . . . LEVEL UP

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Bandits on the road/The Friary of St. Amahl

Your party, consisting of Asad Naqvi, Drumph, Azir Jassan, Soseki Domohiro, and Tagrid al-Zalam have all accepted an offer from the wealthy Bollus Talbet of Memnon. You were tasked with protecting his 18 year old son, Adhem, on his journey from Memnon to the Friary of St. Amahl, some 75 miles into the Calim Desert. 

The party awoke on the third day after a rather uneventful journey. After helping the caravaner, the halfling Octillo Sandburrow, hook up the camels, you set off for the last day of travel. Several of the party were concerned about Adhem's apparently ailing health, but the lad ensured them that he was fine as long as he had his medication. 

About an hour after Octillo turns the caravan in the direction of the Friary, you spot a man ahead of you. He wears all black and tries to wave you down. Tagrid cautiously approached the man and questioned him. It was obvious that his story about being ambushed by bandits was false. Asad and Azir shoot him as he reaches to pull something from under his shirt.

Suddenly, you heard the hoof beats of at least a dozen riders. The bandits, clothed in black and red, quickly close to surround you. Soseki hid beneath the wagon, Asad took up a position inside of the wagon, while Azir positioned himself between two of the camels.  Drumph managed to stick a javelin in the arm of one of the riders before the leader approached to parlay. She demanded that Adhem be turned over to her as a hostage. Despite Tagrid's best attempt at persuading her otherwise, she insisted. A female bandit mage managed to blind both Drumph and Tagrid and the other bandits began to close ranks. Before an all out fight could break out, Adhem voluntarily went with the bandits, to prevent any further bloodshed on his behalf. Before Adhem can be carried off, Tagrid notices he does not have his medication and Asad throws it to him. Adhem then disappears in an easterly direction with the majority of the riders. Two other riders ride to the north. The bandit leader laughs and leaves behind four of her riders to "ensure that you make it on the right road."

After the rest of the bandits disappear, the other four attack. You deal with them easily – Tagrid decapitates one of them, Drumph smashes one of them into the ground with the flat edge of his greataxe, and Soseki creeps out from beneath the wagon to eviscerate and then kick through a third. One of them manages to attack Drumph, but the half-orc's greasy, hairy skin is highly resistant (4 damage). 

After the skirmish, you search the bodies and find 2 scimitars, two short bows, twenty arrows, 4 water skins, and a simple tin whistle (the object the first scout had been reaching for when you shot him). Asad is certain of the direction the bandits are heading in and that they are going to their base of operations. Despite this, you decide to head to the Friary to restock on supplies and possibly get some help tracking them down.

Before long, you notice that the sand has been superheated in places and there are glassy patches all around. You also see a body – charred and desiccated from intense heat. When you enter the Friary, you find more charred bodies. Nothing remains alive. Inside the main hall, you discover that the well, thought to be limitless, is bone dry. Azir searches the shelves along the walls and finds 6 potions of healing and one potion of greater healing that survived the event. On a nearby podium, he also finds a Scroll of Aura of Vitality.  Asad was anxious to leave and urged the group to hurry. 

Once outside of the Friary walls, you saw a line of some 20 black clothed riders watching you from a high ridge of sand. The leader, Bardeid Pashar, rode down to speak with you. He called the place "cursed" and insisted that you leave quickly, though he could not answer what had caused the devastation, saying only that it was an "ancient evil". When asked about the bandit group, he named them as the Bit Bandits and their leader as Atala. He said that their order, the Madeen, do not interfere in the affairs of the bandit groups; nonetheless, he gave you some water and told you the location of the bandit's hideout, an oasis with a small cave that you should be able to reach by nightfall.

You are now on your way to rescue Adhem . . . 

<u>XP</u>

killing the scout: 100

4 bandits: 400

giving Adhem his medicine: 100

investigating the Friary: 300

talking to Bardeid: 100

RP: 750

Total: 1750/5 players =  350xp per player

LEVEL UP!

 

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