Monday, June 11th. Steiner not present.
Greg services Zach. Well, his desire for beer, anyway. Greg also takes over the roll of Krhul of Thorg.
There is a dramatic reading of last run’s log by Ryan.
Loot is divvied up. The blowdarts are poisoned with immobilizing poison, but can’t be transfered to other weapons.
We take an extended rest. There is much rejoicing, yay.
It is noted that Ryan has a Passive Perception of 20, but no one has Thievery.
So we will be well aware of the traps we have no way of disarming…
After half a night’s journey led by Elhorn and his low-light , we see a cart, buried in the sand, in the distance.
(“It’s a trap!”— Admiral Akbar, via Tom)
Aram takes a look at the cart, but it doesn’t see anything unusual. Aram summons
Blue Moon, and has him walk around the cart in case anyone is ready to jump us.
Nothing happens. We investigate, and Elhorn looks into it. There are no goods in the
cart, just some broken pots and marks of small, three-pronged feet. Kruhl of Thorg tries to lift the cart, but it falls with a thud.
We hear a rumbling noise in the sand beneath, and in a moment six subterranean digging
creatures pop up— one large, two medium, and three minions. They’re recognized as kruthiks,
insect-like creatures that are mindless and live beneath the sands. The adults are likely to have poisonous spikes.
Krhul takes a swing at the big kruthik, but misses. The kruthik backs up and tenses,
showering Krhul and Elhorn with spikes, doing damage and poisoning both. They are slowed
and take continuing poison damage. Elhorn summons his spirit and hits the big kruthik,
dragging him into range of Krhul, who takes an opportunity attack and wounds it, but doesn’t bloody it.
Darok hits one of the mediums and damages it. One of the mediums tries to hit Jathras, but swings wild. The hatchlings advance, and one hits at Elhorn. Jathras tries to mind blast the medium one, but falls off the rock into the range of one of the hatchlings, who claws him. The second medium one misses Jathras.
Round two, fight! Kruhl does some more damage, Elhorn heals himself, and Darok explodes one
of the minions. One of the hatchlings is killed in an opportunity attack as it runs by Blue Moon. Blue Moon then goes over and heals both Elhorn and Kruhl, while Aram blasts one of the medium kruthik, bloodying it.
Round three! Kruhl swings and misses! It’s like he’s not even here…
Elhorn tosses a dagger at the big one, and also misses. Darok takes a shot at one of the medium
ones and causes it to burst into flames. Jathras shreds everything around him in a crazy burst
of anger, doing a bunch of damage to the last medium-sized one and knocking him back. Aram runs over and heals Kruhl.
Round four! Final push! Kruhl swings and misses! (STEINER WHERE ARE YOU?!?)
The big bad one attacks Kruhl and does him a pile of damage, bringing him down to 5 hit points.
Elhorn moves forward and smites the big one. Jathras misses, again. Aram heals people.
Round five! This time for sure! Kruhl tries mightily and… misses! Sigh.
The big one starts to retreat and sprays Kruhl and Elhorn; Elhorn falls to his wounds.
Darok shifts away and slows the medium one, and then shoots it, causing it to explode.
The big one takes more damage from Jathras and Aram and is bloodied.
Round six! Kruhl swings… misses! Darok (most assuredly NOT whispering at his arrows)
shoots at the big one and…misses! But he shoots again and wounds it! Jathras tries to strike
but misses again, and then spends an action point to strike again, and it falls! There is much rejoicing. Yay.
The looting begins! Well, inasmuch as you can loot insects. But we realize that the hide of the adult kruthik can be turned into armor. We skin them. The cart has two jars of olive oil, and some grain. We remember that it’s not the cart we’re after, but the special package— the orb with the color of sand.
We take a short rest and venture to the northwest, following tracks that lead away from the cart.
We continue for half a day and we see in the distance the ruins of an old stone tower. Much like
the rest of what we’ve seen, it’s buried in the sand— only one story is visible. Aram remembers
that there are ancient ruins all over Athas, but maybe this was Alteric trying to expand its area? It’s not clear, but it looks like it was abandoned some time ago. Darok thinks there were half a dozen creatures making these tracks.
As we sneak up, we see that there has been more activity nearby— a fire pit has been used recently, and the sand is packed hard. The tracks end at a set of stone steps that lead down into the sand, and, presumably, the tower.
We head down, and listen at the door— we hear more siltrunners, and a low, groaning voice. No one has thievery, so we smash the lock! Very unsuccessfully. By the time we get the doors open, they’re ready for us, and we grimly look on a large stone area with debris scattered around. There’s a pool on one side, and three captives— two humans and a dwarf— tied up and blindfolded in the corner.
They’re ready for us, so the four siltrunners, the leader (who knows The Way) and a giant lizard thing (poisoned scale collector) attack. The leader causes a psychic detonation to explode in the middle of us— two are missed, but Aram takes damage and Jathras falls down from the blow. The ragers attack and do a pile of damage against Kruhl, but two of them break their spears.
Then, the fight begins in earnest. Elhorn strikes one of the ragers. The leader tells the scale collector (in Draconic) to kill the prisoners, and then has the two speak carriers shift back and attack again. Then the ragers drop their spears and draw daggers, provoking Krhul to hit one of the ragers (a hit! a very palpable hit!) and Elhorn. Another rager’s spear breaks, but not before Krhul falls. The Ssurran kills one of the dwarves. Darok shoots and misses, but burns an action point to hit the tight clump of siltrunners with a burst of damage. Aram summons Blue Moon next to the prisoners, and bursts against the group, and two fall, and heals the party. Jathras revives and rages against the remaining three siltrunners fall. He calls out to the remaining Ssurran— “Stop now, and you will be spared.” Elhorn chimes in, and the scale collector drops his weapon and surrenders.
We interrogate the scale collector, and he says all the goods are here— he was hired to help strike the caravan. The tower is supposedly collapsed. Jathras gives his word that the scale collector will be let live. The dwarf (Jossin) prisoner seems serene, with a half smile, while the human (Milos) is thanking us profusely and begs to be let free. Jossin says the orb belongs to him, but after answering some questions he seems happy to let us take it back to Rotan Vor. He says he is one of The Disciples, who practice the Way.
Ssuran (named Ss’K’Nn): Dagger covered with dripping poison, which we leave for him.
One spear, one bone sword (1d10 bastard sword)
Plus goods TBD.
The cistern seems to have reasonably clean water.
We cut a deal with Ss’K’Nn to help us get the cart and bring it back, and he can keep whatever
loot we can’t fit. He agrees. Kruhl, Elhorn, Jossin, Darok, and S’kthrin go to the cart. They
pull it up and bring it back to the tower, about a day’s work.
When we rest for the night, on Elhorn and Jathras’ watch, Jossin speaks:
“The lion of the desert is coming.”
“What is that?”
“I have seen him. He has yellow eyes. He caused the storm. He is coming to a free city.”
“A free city? Tyr?”
“Tyr is ruled by Kalak.” (We do not enlighten him.)
“How do you know this?”
“My brethren see the past and the future.”
Ss’K’Nn takes several survival days, but nothing else except the dagger. He says that we have treated him fairly, and gives us a Ssurran-marked coin, saying “You have treated me fairly. This will ensure that my brethren do so as well.”
We let him go and spend several days of hard work getting the cart back to the city, tired but otherwise unharmed…