August 14, 2016 at 4:51 pm #7699
For those that are interested, I’ll post updates about the campaign here. I named the campaign after the ship the gang started out on.
Note: This campaign is basically Wiggy’s adventures + the AD&D Desert of Desolation Series. Spoilers be warned!
Cast of Characters
Ahmed ibn Zafir (Bedu Whirling dervish)
Araceli (Elven Archer from Rassilon)
Menivis Steeltooth (Cakali Mameluk)
Tabari alim-Yanalak (Cakali Priest of Qedeshet)
Salim al-din Yassan (Earth Jinn Blooded Sand mage)
Most of the first session was character creation. Opening scene is on the Spirit of Suleiman, a ship on its way from Akhmim, City of the Devoted to Qarah, City of Knowledge. At the insistence of Aziz ibn-Jamal, the PCs patron/employer, the ship was sailing during the new moon, which is the time of Iblis/Druj (bad luck, so -1 bennie).
An unnatural storm formed and “Shark Devils” attacked. The priest led with _Whirlwind_ in the form of Sharnado :). Unfortunately (for the GM), Araceli the “Ilf” pegged the priest, which brought down the whirling spout of water and sharks. While the remainder of the gang dispatched the Kreana, one of the priest’s bodyguards plunged his spear deep into the Araceli’s belly. They then threw her into the ocean and the priest fled. Near mutiny as the group wanted to search for the elf but Aziz wanted to press on, but to no avail.
Between the storm and looking for the elf, the trip took nearly three days instead of one. But on the morning of them about to pull into port at Qarah, they found the elf asleep on the fore deck of the ship, healed of her wounds. She made claims of visions of mermaids and an undersea coral city, with her savior having rich red hair.
Left is Death!August 14, 2016 at 9:05 pm #7701
Please continue… 😀
High Priest of Hoenir & Champion of QedeshetAugust 15, 2016 at 1:02 pm #7703
I agree with Enno – give us more! It’s great to see LOF getting some love.
Triple Ace Games Creative Director
email@example.comAugust 15, 2016 at 1:30 pm #7704
I’ll keep ’em coming. We game every other week for the most part, expect that as timing.
To tide you over, two of the PCs picked Enemy (Major) – the Elf and the Mamemluk. I have something that eventually ties into one of the adventures. Here is the backstory for the Enemy, from the POV of the elf (and yes, its a blatant ripoff of The Mummy):
You are from the great elven realm of Angarion. The patron god of your particular tribe is Sigel, the god of the sun. Unfortunately, in the North both Sigel and Kenaz (god of fire and hearths) have weakened considerably during Thrym’s (god of ice/winter) ascension in power. Some believe they have even gone “missing”, if such a thing can happen to a god.
Sinrilli Sunray is the priest of your tribe. He claimed to receive a vision about Sigel, and organized a party to go to the Land of Fire. You can decide your reasons to go (related, believer, assigned by the tribe elders, bored, lovers, etc). Three other elves started in your group with you two.
You traveled south through the Magocracy to the city of Dragomir, the capital of the realm. Sinrilli was rather agitated at the reception of others to his quest. While the Magocracy generally worships Maera, the goddess of the moon and magic, there are shrines and a few churches to Sigel in the realm. But, it seems as not a day goes by that a priest or paladin of Sigel receives a vision to some place or another. Your group did receive basic hospitality and a “good luck”, but that was it.
In Dragomir you took on five more people for your quest, but they were mercenaries, not believers. You boarded the Spirit of Suleiman in Dragomir and sailed to Rawdah in the Free Emirate States. Your group hired Arad, a Hyaenidae Pathfinder (paladin) of Upuaut (the LoF god of travel). After describing the visions, Arad was none too pleased to discern your journey would take you into Hekata, the Withered Empire. You hired on locals, hired a couple of Mameluks for guards, and formed up your expedition.
Travel was harsh. Hekata is desolate and the land is poisoned. Sinrilli, however, was upbeat and more energized. In the many skirmishes with undead on the way, his powers seemed stronger here in the Land of Fire. Finally, you reached the Pyramid in Sinrilli’s vision. From there, it was all a nightmare. Many died in the traps and undead sealed in an unspoiled tomb. Eight of you made it to the tomb and the curse was unleashed.
The Eight Who Were Cursed
Arad, the Pathfinder
Menivis Steeltooth (Cakali Mameluk)
Fafhrd, a Saxa warrior (since deceased)
Anara, an Anari tomb robber (since deceased)
Hazim the Bold (a Haradee from Rawdah seeking his fortune (since deceased)
Jabbar – a Jinn Blooded Bedu and Jinn Mage (earth) (since deceased)
There was, of course, a 9th member of the survivors. Beni, the Sand Goblin, fled from the chamber screaming about a curse before Sinrilli opened the sacred chest filled with Canopic Jars that cursed you all. You have not seen him since.
Arad led the group back to the Free Emirate States. Anara and Fafhrd died horribly on the way – drained if you will and only the Canopic Jars missing. Anara and Jabbar died after your return to Rawdah. You did have horrible dreams each of those nights, but the details would always slip away after the scream of the victim woke you up.
Sensing the Jars are tied to the Curse, you have thrown them away, smashed them, etc, but the next day you just find it in your pack again. After both trying to get rid of the Jars and also trying to lift the curse to no avail, it was then the group broke apart. Sinrilli pretty much has given himself up to whatever fate awaits, although last you knew he did book passage back to the North. Arad immediate hit the road.
You have traveled with Menivis the Mameluk (his contract is paid up and leaving Al-Shirhuk was not part of the contract – Sinrilli assigned him to you). As of late, the feeling of dread had lessened as you drifted southeast to Akhmim. But after putting into port in Qarah after your little swim (see first session summary), you do have a feeling of unease.
Left is Death!September 1, 2016 at 1:58 pm #7730
Session 2 – Bizarre of the Bazaar
Aziz, being in his element in the city of Qarah, gave the heroes a few days off. While breaking their fast at Ishmel’s Coffehouse, each shared a bit of their past. Araceli talked of her drive to raise her family’s standing back in the North. Ahmed talked of how his past greed resulting in great pain to him and his vow to give half his gains back to the tribe. Salim talked of an incident of his youth where he turned a poor prank against him into his love of the desert. Finally, Tabari talked of his pilgrimage back to the Plain of Ash to bury his wife at the Black Oasis. Ishmel,overhearing of the travels of the group offered free breakfast if they would tell more tales to his assembled patrons.
The heroes, having received their pay for the last month of service, headed to the local souk. Bustling with sounds, smells, and colors, the wanderers all partook in the frenzy of the marketplace. Salim found himself in Jabbar’s Curiosities and, haggling poorly, obtained sand from the Heart of Fire. It is purported to potentially catch an enemy on fire when used as part of a spell. Tabari haggled like the veteran trader he is and earn a big discount on vials of Sand Troll Blood (healing potions).
As things were winding down, Araceli spotted her old “friend” Beni the sand goblin trying to pick the pocket of Ahmed. Ahmed was amused that the fumbling attempt and Araceli walked up and smacked Beni upside his lumpy head. A few coins flew as Beni snatched his hand back. Araceli grilled Beni about the curse that has been plaguing her since the pyramid. Beni claimed no knowledge and asked the fate of the others, which was not good. Beni slunk off as Araceli explained the nature of the curse on her and Menivis to Tabari. He worked on a bit of research while they still had time in the City of Knowledge.
Then a commotion broke out as an old fishman was yelling about a stolen fish while chasing a young porter. The boy ran to the well in the courtyard of the Souk. Trapped there, he threw the fish into the well. Ahmed had the best look of the scene – the fish was a wondrous ruby color – and it spoke to him in his mind! In a female voice, it said “save me, as I saved your friend!”.
The group quickly pieced together that this might have something to do with the mysterious sea creatures that saved Araceli on their ocean voyage to Qarah. After some back and forth with the fisherman, they lowered Araceli down the well. She found a side tunnel that eventually led to cistern and then an abandoned bath house. She was able to communicate with the creature, but it was clear she was weakening quickly. She came to the old hot room of the bath house and found an old crone with the fish amongst many useless things. Araceli quickly figured out that the old crone always said the opposite of what she meant. After some interesting discussion, she cleaned up a bit and combed the old crone’s hair in exchange for the fish. Araceli quickly got the dying fish to the harbor and jumped in. The fish turned into the read-hair mermaid that had previously saved her. After a quick recovery, she came back the next day and presented Araceli with a pearl that in their time of need would provide her and her friends sanctuary in their undersea city.
Final, the group sets out into the desert. Nearing their destination, they spot vultures circling nearby. Convincing Aziz its the right thing to do, the heroes head to the scene. They find bones of a small caravan, but there is one person badly wounded crawling. They rush down and he says “Ghibli – unnatural”. It is then the Salim recalls the tales of the desert and the ripping wind and what it can do to one’s soul. As the man expires, two of the skeletons rise up in a storm of sand. Sand blasts the group, but they quick to avoid. Ahmed rushes to attack one but is blinded by all the sand (crit fail on the vigor check to soak damage). Salim, knowing the ways of all things sand, counter strikes one of the Flayed Ones (bolt), destroying it. Araceli, with an powerful shot the penetrated the protecting sand, strikes the skull of the other and putting it to rest.
After dealing with the bodies in an appropriate manner (a good table discussion, BTW), the group rejoins Aziz and meet up with 4 Bedu that represent the Sheik with whom they are to trade.
Left is Death!September 1, 2016 at 2:47 pm #7731
High Priest of Hoenir & Champion of QedeshetSeptember 15, 2016 at 9:31 pm #7754
Session 3 – Murder Most Foul!
After the battle with the Ghibli, our heroes rejoin Aziz and head towards the meeting place.
The camp is not yet in sight, but your presence has been detected. Up ahead, four riders, their faces concealed beneath sand hoods, sit upon camels. They carry weapons, but all are safely in their scabbards. One of them waves and urges the mount forward at a trot. The rest follow.
As the figure approaches, it pulls back its scarf to reveal a beautiful female face, with large brown eyes and soft, delicate features. Only the steely look in her eyes reveals this is a woman accustomed to the harshness of desert life.
She touches her hand to her heart, mouth, and forehead, a traditional greeting across Al-Shirkuh, and smiles broadly. “Greetings and the blessings of Suleiman upon you, illustrious travellers! I am Beyah Salima dar-Hassim dar-Alaghari,” she beams, “the daughter of Sheikh Hassim. I trust you are the merchant Aziz and his escort?”
After a positive response, the group heads towards the camp Salima peppers Araceli with many questions about her homeland. She also warmly welcomed Salim as his tribe was favored by the Alaghari, while Ahmed was ignored by as his tribe was not. At the camp, the group was welcomed and refreshments were provided. Salim prevented Aziz from committing a few faux pas and informed him of the specific traditions of the tribe. All went well for the evening. The group picked up a rumor – wise men say this region is haunted. There is a necropolis somewhere nearby where the dead do not stay in their graves, and sometimes they wander onto the trade road.
Araceli and Menivis have a shared dream about the pyramid that they obtained their curse, reliving much of the horror of the place. They awake and discover a scarab in the common room of the guest’s tend just sitting there, “looking” at them. Menivis carefully puts a clothe over the scarab and backs out of the tent. They wonder if the rumor they heard is tide to the event.
The group spent the next day meandering around the camp as Aziz negotiated with the Sheik. Then all Abyss broke loose as Aziz come running out of the tent and screams “murder!” As people run and scream, men made of sand rise up from the ground! A fierce battle breaks out in the oasis. Araceli is gravely wounded, but the heroics of Salim and Ahmed save her life. Tabari is also injured during the battle. But Ahmed and Menivis turn the tide of the battle, eventually destroying the living sand creatures.
As people try to figure out what happened Aziji the Ugly claims that the newcomers did this. As tempers flair, a partially recovered Araceli seeks out Salima, who is in shock at her father’s death. She rallies the girl, and she backs the tribe down. They seek out Bushra the healer, who is said to hear the words of the Jinn on the wind.
“Your father was a good man, Beyah Salima dar-Hassim,” she says. “He will be sorely missed in this world, but it was his time to pass over and join Asha, and nothing could prevent that.
“A terrible evil is awakening beneath the desert, an evil that has slumbered for long centuries. The jinn do not speak its name, for even they are fearful, but there is perhaps one who knows it and who will whisper it into your ears. You must visit the Old Man of the Dunes and seek his wisdom. Be warned, though, his services do not come easily.”
Salima quickly makes up her mind.
“I shall ride out with the warriors and make a bargain with the Old Man. Then my father shall be avenged and his spirit able to rest peacefully.”
The group quickly steps in and volunteers to go, as Salima’s people need her in the aftermath of the attack. Tabari has head of the Old Man of the Dunes and knows he is a greater Jinn that was spared when we agreed to follow the ways of Suleiman. Salim added that he heard that the Old Man was very fond of honey.
The tribe’s honey was all used up in the feast. Salima tells them where they get their honey. Arriving at the spire, the group sees football sized bees flying about. After a bit of plotting, they are able to get a total of seven pounds of honey, including one pound that was from the Cloak of the Feast. Salim was the top honey collector.
Left is Death!September 16, 2016 at 2:22 am #7755
Note: This is Session 2 from Ahmed’s POV.
Of the Curse of Treasures
“Coffee is the seducer of tongues,” quipped Ahmed as he drained his cup and waved for more. The group was enjoying a break from their duties to the Great and Wonderful Aziz in the coffee house of Ishmael the Lame. Ishmael’s is reknown in Qarah as a place all sorts of people patronize creating a lively and talkative crowd.
For Ahmed, the atmosphere brought out the need to tell tales, perhaps to confess.
“Tabari, you remember my cousin, Kalem, don’t you?”
The elderly Cakali nodded solemnly. “The lame one.”
The term seemed to pain Ahmed’s face but he nodded. “When I was young, Kalem and I were like brothers. We did all things together and thirsted for adventure and treasure to impress girls. Being truthful it was my eye that sought out treasure the more but Kalem would always go along on my adventures. After a three day sandstorm, we journeyed away from the oasis to see what the sands might have revealed. We were rewarded with the sight a stone building, quite ancient and just peeking out of a dune where the counter wind of the gale had eaten away the sand.
“We approached with less caution than was prudent. I was talking about how there would surely be something valuable hidden away from time and bandits in such a place. Kalem followed along. We searched and found a way into the stone structure, passing from chambers with sand to those untouched by sand. We could not go far because we did not have enough light with us but as we burned a strip of cloth from my robe, I saw the glint ahead, the glint of gold.”
“My mind forgot all other things as I rushed to find it, to pry it out of the clutched of time. It was only when I heard Kalem scream that I turned and saw that a nest of scorpions had been disturbed by our passage and Kalem had been stung. Of course, proper Bedu would not be surprised by the proud scorpion nor let it get close enough to sting. But I was not by his side being watchful. I had rushed forward in greed.
“The poison spared Kalem but not the leg he was stung in. Healers have never been able to undo the poison and so he walks with the limp of age he is far from achieving.”
Ahmed paused, the boisterous sounds of the tent a silence in his ears. “That was the day Asha showed me truths. First I must temper my desires for wealth by being selfless. I took an oath that half of everything Asha saw fit to deliver to me would not be mine but would be given to my tribe or other worthies. Second, my impetuous ways showed a lack of understanding of the Hamad. I became much more attentive to my studies, understanding that Suleiman’s wisdom could guide me to a truthful and good life.”
More coffee and sweet cakes were served as Ahmed’s friends nodded and pondered what he had revealed. In time, each of the others spoke. Salim spoke of falling in love with the deep desert, no doubt the source of his sand magery. Araceli also was seeking to atone for things but was less forthcoming. Tabari told of the death of his wife, of taking her ashes to the Plains of Ash, losing his way on his return in his grief until Ahmed found him. Only Menivis seemed unwilling to speak of his past though he could be seen exchanging knowing glances with Araceli.
Hearing stories told had brought a bit of crowd to their table. Tabari acquiesced to requests for more stories and told of their journey mere days in the past. He spoke of their powerful patron, the Great and Fortunate Aziz, merchant of wonders and balm to the suffering of all men. The sea voyage was described in humble terms even though the battle with mermen and sharks in water spouts brought gasps from many and snorts of disbelief from a few. He even attempted to describe Araceli’s journey to the kingdom under the sea, a place known only in nursery tales. The group can feel that strangers look at them differently after the tale-telling, the first wisps of glory gathering despite their studious attempt to appear uninterested in it.
A visit to the Bazaar with their pay from Aziz gave them the chance to purchase wonderful elixirs of healing, a true necessity for adventure. A young boy ran through the market place being chased by a fisherman. When the boy stumbled by a well, a brilliant red fish flew from his hands to disappear into the well. The fisherman was distraught having lost his prize, swearing that the fish could speak. Ahmed aided Menivis in lowering Araceli into the well where she disappeared for a time, proving again that Ilfs love the water. When she finally returned, she had the red fish who seemed to be ailing and croaked “to the sea!” Running through the crowds, they were able to hurl the fish into the sea at the last moment. Once in the water it was restored in health and to its true form, a mermaid with long wavy hair named Salana. Araceli had won the favor of the mer-people with her brave action.
The next day, Aziz’s caravan formed up and headed out of the city and on to Suleiman’s Road. The Road had travelers, other merchants, and tradesmen seeking their fortune in Qarah or the next settlement on the Road. It curved through bad lands near the Caliphate though there were farms fed by underground aquaducts. After a time there were no more farms and the Road became a series of landmarks.
On the third day, Menivis called a halt to the caravan, pointing out the circling of vultures in the desert some few miles off the Road. Investigating, they found the remains of a caravan whose dead appeared to be skeletons of long exposure but also with bits of bright flesh upon the bones. One had survived but spoke only “Ghibli!” before dying himself. It was Salim who gasped and explained quickly. The Ghibli was a terrifying little sand storm of such intensity that it flayed the flesh from bones. As he spoke, two of the dead rose, their spirits as flayed as their bodies. They destroyed the atrocities quickly.
Sure that the Ghibli and its tortured victims were not going to attack them, our heroes buried them all in the desert with trinkets of some value with them as was custom. They loaded their wares on Aziz’s camels and continued on their way to the oasis of the Bedu.
Left is Death!September 16, 2016 at 5:36 am #7756
Again very entertaining.
High Priest of Hoenir & Champion of QedeshetSeptember 16, 2016 at 3:21 pm #7758
From Ahmed’s perspective, how the crew met (I used Interludes to help drive this process since there were no immediate links between the PCs). However, the meeting of Araceli has changed – She and Menivis met up in the Emirate States and got themselves Cursed.
Meeting of the Five
“Wise one, tell us a story of the Five!” asked an eager youth gathered around the central fire. All of the Kebeti clans’ young ones were attentive to Azfar the Storyteller, one of the oldest men in the clan. Azfar feigned exasperation at the demands of the children, stealing a glance over to the quiet man sitting in contemplation on the edge of the clan’s oasis encampment. That man could speak with first hand knowledge but he was not one to tell his own tale. Few in the clan would even acknowledge out loud that he was one of the Five though everyone knew.
“Don’t you want to hear about Ubi and the Camel? Don Fernando and Colin and the Curious Lady Sphinx?”
“Five! Five! Five!” chanted the children giggling, knowing that Azfar would acquiesce.
“How did they meet?” asked Barru, the dark and serious child. His question served to quiet the others so Azfar nodded.
“Do you all remember the Cakali?” The children immediately began yipping and clacking their teeth as they imagined the jackal race might sound. “The story of the Five began with Tabari the Cakali. Tabari was a priest, a seeker of knowledge, wise and faithful. They say his wit rivaled even singers of Sha’ib! Well, for all his wit and knowledge, he found himself lost, separated from his caravan as he traversed the Land not far from here. The Land is not forgiving to those who lose their way and Tabari’s life was about to be forfeit when another traveler came upon him.”
“Who was it?!” called out the children though most knew full well the story.
“It was Ahmed the Swift, Ahmed the Dervish! The sands are like a mother’s embrace to Ahmed (and all of his clan) so he was able to share his water with the Cakali. Death was staved off and Ahmed helped Tabari back to this very oasis. It was here that the Cakali was given succor and healed of his injuries.
“At that time, the Maiez clan were our guests. Ahmed’s childhood friend Salim Al-Din Hassan was visiting with his clan. It was around this very fire that Tabari, Salim, and Ahmed spoke late into the night of adventures, glory, Suleiman and the gods. They became the steadfast friends they were the rest of their lives.”
The man sitting outside the light of the fire smiled to himself. If they only knew…
“In time, Tabari returned to his temples and the Maiez returned to their lands. Two summers passed before Ahmed took up his path of destiny!” The storyteller motioned for water to refresh his throat before continuing. “Ahmed’s time with the Cakali was not over!”
“Menivis!” chirped a little girl, recognizing her favorite character from the stories. The Storyteller nodded with a smile to the girl. Perhaps in the years to come she might be the clan’s Storyteller.
“Ahmed walked the Land alone, watching and learning, always seeking to discover things, protect the weak and fight the Druj. One afternoon Ahmed spied someone lying in wait along the roadway ahead of him. Using his softest step, he snuck up on the fellow and sat behind him with no weapon drawn. The stranger was a Cakali but not Ahmed’s friend, Tabari.
” ‘What are we waiting for?’ he asked politely. The Cakali leapt up and turned around, sword drawn but Ahmed was too many steps away to be in danger. After staring at each other a moment, the Cakali sheathed his sword.
” ‘We wait for bandits who prey upon the weak on this road.’ ”
Ahmed was wise and did not betray himself too soon. ” ‘And why do we wait for them?’ he asked for this Cakali could be one of their number.”
” ‘I have been given the task of killing the scourge by my captain,’ explained the Cakali seeing no reason to lie.
” ‘Captain? Whom do you serve?’ ”
” ‘The mameluks. Soon I will count myself among their number. If I kill these bandits.’ ”
” ‘I am Ahmed ibn Zafir and I am no friend of bandits.’ ”
” ‘I am Menivis and I am glad to hear it. I would hate to have to kill you and the bandits.’ ”
” ‘Were such a test to ever occur I’m sure we would both be quite surprised at the outcome,’ grinned Ahmed. ‘For now though, would you allow me the honor of fighting at your side? Bandits are truly a scourge and caused much suffering to my clan when they strayed too far into the desert. My scimitar thirsts for their blood.’ ”
“Menivis looked Ahmed over and finally nodded. Both remained wary of their comrade but they took up hiding places and waited. What they saw first was a woman! But no woman like you have ever seen. She was an Ilf! From the far, far north where rain is hard and stings like a sandstorm. This Ilf was running down the road but would pause and loose an arrow from her great bow back the way she had come for behind her were the bandits of the Rotten Dog!” The children acted appropriately scared as Azfar leaned near to the fire and the shadows the flames played across his face.
“The Ilf was hurt, bleeding, and unused to the Land. The Rotten Dogs were playing with her, dodging her arrows and hounding her. When she reached the place where Menivis and Ahmed were hiding, they quietly got her attention. She did not seem to understand their words too well but with gestures she knew they were allies. She took up her place behind rocks and drew her bow once again.”
“The Rotten Dogs came on in a disrespectful swagger shouting vile suggestions worthy of no man or woman. Truly, they were lost from the truth of Asha and all decency. They had almost reached Ahmed and Menivis’ hiding place before they realized that they were the ones being ambushed. Ahmed spun his dervish magic and his sword flashed with great accuracy. Menivis marched forward in his armor and cut down the ragged outlaws. The Ilf showed great accuracy with her bow, killing several herself. Within only minutes, the Rotten Dogs were carrion for vultures and our heroes stood victorious!”
“As the Ilf was in need of further aid, Menivis and Ahmed invited her to journey with them. As they walked together, they spoke of their own journeys, of glory, and of destiny. The Ilf whose name was too difficult to pronounce properly so they called her Ara-Selly told her story of coming from the far northern lands. Menivis spoke of becoming a Mameluk and becoming a great warrior. Ahmed talked simply of his curiosity and desire to do good in the world. Though already a great man, Ahmed would never boast of himself.”
“When the Ilf was safe back in Qarah, the new friends went their separate ways. But the strands of destiny would come to bring all Five of them together. Great adventures they would have together, changing their lives as they became the Legends we know today.”
Azfar went on to tell other tales, sing silly songs, and then stories from the life of Suleiman.
Ahmed stood and quietly took his leave, eventually joining the other four of his friends and the waiting horses.
“Is all well?” asked Araceli. Ahmed nodded. He levered himself up into the saddle, drew up his face scarf against some blowing sand and followed the others as they headed off on their next adventure.
Left is Death!
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