I run a 2nd edition PbP over two secret groups over Facebook. I’ve run play by posts on and off over the last 12 years or so and have playing in them since college. I used to run message board games, but I found the player retention was horrible. It’s harder to get people to check a website or even their e-mail every day. Over FB I’ve had the best retention and honest day-to-day posting. I use the online die rolling chat room, www.rolz.org for player rolls (which can be set up to run on a smart phone even) - I use my physical dice when near a table or desk. Our current game has been going on since March of 2019 and I only tend to rotate out a player every now and then.
Our current team: [Not counting the character tree characters. Four of the players are currently utilizing trees. We have have some switches made in game.]
Asvir the Half Giant Gladiator 5th Level
Gracus the Half Giant Mercenary 5th Level
Kri-Kcht the Thri-Kreen Scout 5th Level
Shanav the Half Elven Bard 5/Preserver 4/Psionicist 4
Sachet the Old, Human 5th Level Bard
Lokee the Halfling 5th Level Cleric of Air
Vadanya the Half Elven Cleric of Earth (4) & Rogue (5) Explorer
The Story Thus Far…
The group had met in Nibenay, assembled as hired help for a Shom caravan to take goods to Tyr. It was a strangely small caravan for the house, seemingly an experiment in cutting costs and turning higher value items… at least that was they told the new hires. Led by a caravan master named Zaethus (an ex-gladiator) and his half giant friend, Vor, they had around 30 people working for the inix and kank train. Magnak, a dwarven trader (& psion) from Ledopolus had joined in hopes of learning the trade from a larger house and was quickly drafted by Zaethus to keep inventory and arrange pay. Before they left, a templar of the Shadow King compromised the dwarf (or so she thought) asking the trader rub some strange chilies upon any odd obsidian in the caravan. She promised coin and favor if it was accomplished. Other members of the group consisted of Gracus, the ex-military half giant, Nendo the fist fighting sensai mul, Karlok the ex-slave mul earth cleric, Alas a half elf earth cleric rogue and Kri-kcht the thri-kreen ranger scout.
They left through the stony barrens and encountered a small band of One-Eyes (cyclops kin) that they vanquished quite handily. Some precious stones were found. As they made to leave the barrens, Gracus was approached by a strange hooded man with seven motes shining beneath the hood… and no visible face. He promised the half giant a favor if he would ring a tower bell for him three times. It gave it’s name as Ningauble. Gracus agreed to do so if he ever saw such a thing.
They continued on towards Fort Isus. The night before, they encountered some sable sandcrawlers… luckily Kri-kcht identified the fuzzy worms for what they were and the party avoided having to birth sandcrawler eggs. They captured the little things… eventually selling them in Fort Isus to a scummy elf named Raith (for 7 silver coins!). The gems were also sold. They carried on towards Shazlim only to find themselves in a sandstorm! It caused some dune changes that revealed a break in a buried building’s domed roof. Inside they encountered some strange living statues, it was at this point that Sachet the Bard joined the group… he had been working with the caravan and had befriended the heroic “away team”. Underneath they found some strange pots (some with old honey!), an abandoned work space, and a strange obsidian bottle that was plugged and sitting within a ring of wards.
They opened the bottle. Thus releasing a female efreeti that then vowed vengeance upon a “Graytch”. They were spared from fiery death as the elemental spirit recognized the cleric of earth and did not wish to offend another elemental kingdom’s vassal. They would hear the name Graytch soon again, as they also unwittingly released a strange beast named Skanter from a stasis in honey. Once they figured out the thing had no good intent and had it reveal itself through a bit of bartering, Zaethus reacted and put the thing down.
They made it to Shazlim and only stayed briefly. Zaethus had Nendo steal a House Inika flag for future use. From there they saw the awe inspiring Dragon’s Bowl before moving on. Eventually the scouts came across the remains of a giant dead sandworm. It was being feasted upon by scrabs that were hacking the carcass apart to bring to their hive mother. They saw the party and split into two groups, one of which staged an ambush in front of a sand cactus while the others circled back around the worm to flank the party. But the party had split up and managed to have an easy success due to Sachet’s poison and the scrab’s inability to properly subdue Gracus with their mental powers to inflict pain. With most of the scrab’s defeated, the hive mother got worried that they would hunt her and her remaining brood down, and brokered a deal through a remaining scrab to buy peace with a gift they had no use for other than trade… a magicked suit of drake’s hide leather!
After looking closely at the armor it was determined that it was probably once owned by a famous raider/freedom fighter named Mardaluion. Sachet laid claim to the suit… and after a few days was contacted by a strange he-she voice in his head… it thought he was Mardaluion! Apparently the voice wanted to offer Sachet a similar deal to what Mardaluion had made and promised to visit him soon.
There was a point on the trail that Zaethus approached Magnak in private, asking him what his focus was and if there was anything he could do to help, rightly figuring that the dwarf had some goal that led along trade. Learning that it was to establish his own house and learning that the dwarf intended on making separate ways at Tyr, the caravan master offered him some kanks, a wagon, and the promise of coin as long as he could remain an investor and carry on some of the profit in the future. Discussion to meet some day in Nibenay after was had as well. Zaethus asked for the chilies from the templaress… it had all been a game of trust, for Zaethus had given Magnak free rein to go through the goods in the caravan and even a few chances to root around in his personal effects. Apparently Zaethus had spent more time among elves than he admitted.
They pressed on to Tyr. They bypassed the other forts along the way as they were carrying enough food and water and it did not look like they wished to make much an impression for some reason. Zaethus split at the gates, taking Kri-kcht with him to the Noble’s Gate and the rest went onto the Caravan Gate with Vor. Kri-kcht witnesses a sale of an obsidian orb to one Dote Mal Payne for 6,000 pieces of Tyrian Gold! The entire sum is transferred to Zaethus’ bag… now obviously magical as it could store such an amount easily and without burden. Dote asks if there can be another made if needed, Zaethus agrees and Dote insists on the caravan master’s attendance at the games celebrating the completion of the Ziggurat. Zaethus agrees somewhat with trepidation.
The rest of the group passes a crier next to a group of dead bodies, apparently a group of dissidents and traitors that plotted against King Kalak. There’s a mul, a pale human woman and a tanned lady among the corpses. [Player knowledge: Rikus, Sadira & Neeva.] Zaethus unbeknownst to the others arranged through Dote Mal to expedite the group’s entrance into the city. They stable and carry on to meet at Shom’s trading house. Here, Magnak makes his exit, promised some of Zaethus’ kanks if he makes contact with the Veiled Alliance before he leaves… (switched character tree here enter Shanav). He does so and introduces Shanav to Zaethus and makes a hurried few preparations before making his own plans to supply and leave the city.
Nendo gets into it with Vor before they get to Shom’s trading house proper over the scrab’s chitin. It was being formed into armor for sale to the crew at a discount. Nendo insisted on brokering and keeping more of the sale as it was from his and the parties’ kills. Vor disagreed, stating that Nendo had been hired to do a job and he was lucky to get anything. Nendo storms off after being fired on the streets to a moderate sized crowd. Much drama was had. Along the way back, a half giant Vor once fought with in Nibenay’s arena was seen and called out to Vor. The half giant felt mercy for his old compatriot and made a point to broker a sale for him in the future (switched character tree, Nendo for Asvir).
At the Shom House, Jebea Shom is found talking to his sister Temmnya. Kri-kcht is introduced and led to the pantry to meet with a halfling cleric of air, Lokee, who saved Jebea from a fall in the Ringing Mountains. The halfling and kreen seem to get along well right off the bat (Enter new PC). The entire group finally gets together at the house after Temmnya leaves. It turns out she is the one who owns Asvir, who refused to throw a game costing her much coin. Vor pleas to Zaethus to rescue his friend and arranges for Sachet to purchase him from Jebea’s sister (who wants to kill him; he’s aware) to avoid any bullshit. Jebea arranges for an invite to Temmnya’s party that evening at the Shom Estate north of Asticles Vineyards outside of the walls. The group goes to arrange the sale with Shanav playing second to the older bard, pretending to be from Balic.
The party is interrupted by a bulette burrowing through the estate. The party minus Shanav and Sachet attack… and eventually Asvir makes an appearance. They defeat the beast through a series of incredible attacks, much to the amazement of the slaves and fieldworkers. Temmnya is happy she didn’t need to exert much effort and agrees to the sale of Asvir to Sachet. Fast forward to the next day.
It was holiday in Tyr. The arena was completed. The group enjoyed a luxurious stay with Dote Mal Payne, some senior templars and some high ranking military types. The arena was full, many in the crowd from the outlying areas lured in by the promise of free food, broy and fights. As the day went on, Kalak ascended the Ziggurat and commenced a ritual of foul evil. Sucking the very life from the crowd he attempts to become a God. However, the orb that Zaethus had supplied, while not technically poisoned took advantage of Kalak’s low tolerance of spice, subtly fouling his spell as his throat closed… the spell requiring the Mad King to swallow the dark stone to activate it. The ritual still had a horrid effect, killing the younglings and anyone with a weak constitution. The partial defiling spell opened up a crimson vortex above the City State.
As the locals fought off the effects of the spell, Zaethus and Company fled double time through the City, back to the Shom House and then out the front Caravan Gate. Bribes had been paid in advance (as well as other purchases, such as additional kanks, the Asticles’ Estate, and other seed monies?) as Zaethus and Jebea had gambled and won in overthrowing a mad King.
And here we go, making an exodus of Tyr. Death Year 1.
So they left Tyr, and a growing blood red vortex behind them as they paced themselves well ahead of the first refugees. The plan was to head for Altaruk, a well-known trade hub south and to the west through the deserts of the Great Alluvial Wastes. Zaethus and Jebea kept them a tad north of the actual road, using the stars as their guide. A couple days out they felt a great ground tremor. Was it because of Kalak’s death? Who knew. But the earthquake caused the sands to shift revealing a way beneath that was once obscured. The Shom masters sent their away team into the depths… which we would soon see as heights, oddly enough.
Below they found entrance to an underground tower… that seemed to defy gravity itself. As they each made way through the entry, the very ground became what was once the ceiling. A large stairway led up - and further down at the same time. Eventually they came to a door, which led to a ladder, which led to a room containing a lonely spirit of a once great wizard. If he was to be believed, the actual fourth wizard ever. The wizard ghost seemed to be guarding over some sort of creatures in stasis, outside of the tower’s walls. He pleaded with them to take care of a threat that had taken roost in the tower’s crown - a giant undead barbed scorpion that kept any intruders from ringing the bells that would awaken Lorn’s wards.
So they fought a tough battle, the creature’s fear causing Gracus to miss the majority of the fight. Asvir was able to prove himself thoroughly and the beast destroyed, leaving Lorn’s staff and circlet to be taken as loot. Gracus eventually rang the bells, awakening a blue sun-like object outside of the tower and beginning the incubation awakening. Before leaving, the group took Lorn’s tome as well. They didn’t even leave the tower grounds before accidentally setting off it’s fiery trap. The party made it topside to find the caravan had been attacked and had to move off a bit. There was a bit of drama over an elven couple that had fled Tyr. They accompanied the caravan to Altaruk before moving on. Gracus was rewarded his boon from Ninguable, a shiny metal lotulis named, Grayswandir.
Altaruk was a town built on trade and old ruins. Balic ran this place as an outpost for trade and kept it heavily fortified to discourage attacks from the silt estuary’s native giants, that had destroyed the town multiple times in the past. The group spent a little time here and Shanav managed to make a new Alliance contact who had recently fled from Tyr himself. He promised to get her information on the strange wizards that Gracus and Sachet were mentioning lately. The caravan moved on as refugees from Tyr were beginning to arrive. The Shom caravan had apparently been at the lead of those who’d left the now King-less city-state.
They followed the road towards Gulg and Nibenay along side the silt estuary. After some time of travel a strange house on crodlu feet was seen running through the silt towards the party. Investigations were made. Sachet got to meet Sheelba of the Eyeless Face and pledged his vassal-hood after a bit of conversation. The group learned of many things, including Dote Mal Payne’s quest for immortality and theft of Kalak’s corpse and exodus to the north. Sheelba wanted him stopped and especially wanted Kalak’s body. The group agreed to this quest and the odd wizard told them of a shortcut through the dead fae wilds… whatever that was. They also learned of Lorn’s stave, circlet and book… but mentioned there may be more to learn about the staff. He also promised Asvir a magical axe if he were to help deliver the dead sorcerer king’s body - just needed to return home to get the thing (wherever home was). They eventually moved on.
The party spied a caravan flying the flag of House Tsalaxa, a sinister reputation prone merchant house from Draj. The caravan mistress traded war crodlu for poisons and coin after mistaking Sachet for the former owner of his red drake armor. She was especially interested in why they wanted to buy from her having so clearly having left Altaruk recently. Even though they seemed sinister, no ill fortune occurred from this transaction… at least on the surface. It was almost time for them to separate from the rest of the Shom caravan, just prior they encountered a bird woman that was fleeing some kenku thugs. She briefly traveled with them through the fae wilds until she was shaken enough to leave, but not before the group found a pair of living pixies - a race long thought dead, just sealed away in the fading realm for 3,000 years.
The two faeries were in a bind as their Queen was long dead and the surviving fae were all of similar rank… they needed to tie themselves to a “player of the Game” as they phrased it, in order to gain stature and possibly reinvigorate their dying home. They tied themselves to a reluctant Shanav, who wanted no one to know that she was a wizard, but the pixies thought she looked the part (all wizard’s play the game according to the wee folk, whether they know it or not). As the party traveled through the grey, dying place, they encountered giant barrow worms that they handily defeated in combat… the half giants finally working in tandem.
They eventually made it to the exit, but not before noticing some tremors and evidence of worm activity heading towards the peaks. Asvir thought there might be loot left from the dead worms at their source. As the party peeked out, they encountered some herdmen, got an idea of their location, contacted their friends and then balked at a huge Urik led war caravan in the distance. They decided to instead head back into the fae wild and check out the worm’s volcano lair… a long forgotten sign was seen that the faeires translated… “Beware of Griknar.” Griknar turned out to be a giant worm-like magma drake that almost ate Gracus. He got better though and the party left to head back to Athas proper. Decisions were made to head north west towards Makla and the Lake of Golden Dreams to secure more rations, water and intel. Dote Mal was at least 40 miles north east from their camp at this point, but moving too fast for the group to bank on catching before they ran out of supplies.
Loot was found within Griknar’s lava abode - a jaunty red cap and a trio of stones (that Toot-Toot likes to juggle). The hat looked like it might be small, and it was given by the fae to Lokee… unknown that at the time the hat was possessed by a dark fae. A “dunder” or Red Cap as they were known in the ancient past.
[There’s more. I need to write it up later. Currently the party is Urik as Dote Mal assembles a small army of mercs, undead and other fun tricks north by the bandit villages surrounding the Troll’s Grave Chasm.]
Cast of Characters
- Nibenay, the Shadow-King & Sorcerer King of Nibenay - have not met.
- Arrantha, a templaress. Bedded Nendo.
- Nisha, a brunette templaress. Gave Magnak the peppers that were used to kill Kalak.
- Telb, a corpulent Shom warehouse worker & merchant. Knows Jebea. Met by Kharloz.
- Aram, the addled, old (and toothless) date rice vendor.
- Jimmy da Colorful - Gracus’s old army buddy. A kankshitter. Teller of tall tales.
- Zaethus Mal, Caravan master & ex-gladiator. Carries a beautiful, ornate obsidian scimitar. Has a bag that defies reality. Responsible for killing Kalak.
- Jebea Shom, Zaethus’ boss
- Vor the One-eyed Half Giant & ex-gladiator. Let Asvir borrow his massive obsidian axe - once taken from a tarek chieftain. Cautioned Asvir to use the entire party’s skills in battle and pre-plan when able.
- Giovvo Shom - Jebea’s father. Not met yet. Vor has mentioned that he has disturbing hobbies or tastes beyond that of just gluttony.
- Temmnya Shom - Jebea’s sister. Rumored witch, sadist, & holder of orgies. Owner of Ger the black panther. Also has been seen carrying a weird, thin blackened scepter. Former owner of Asvir. Hates her brother.
- Farlahn Mordis - an agent that Jebea, Zaethus and Vor would most likely want removed. A direct thrall of Temmnya.
Encountered on the roads:
- Mardaluion - never met him, but was apparently the previous owner of Sachet’s fire drake leather. Presumed dead. Was/is the leader of a band of self righteous marauders. May have fought his way out of Urik’s Pit of Black Death.
- Bloated scrab queen - met out in the wastes, bought off the party with a suit of armor that didn’t have any immediate use to the earwig-esque monsters.
- The pregnant elf woman Ittee; the dour elf man Nuuko, of the Airhunter Clan of the Wind Dancer tribe. The saw Dote Mal heading north with two severed heads during Tyr’s refugee exodus. Kri-kcht threw a blade into Nuuko’s eye which never healed proper.
- A strange deep purple beetle-like thing with lips grown out of it’s back. Spoke to Gracus after delivering Greyswandir. Knew the half giant’s name and both Ninguable and Sheelba. Said his wizard friend would reward a similar boon in kind for further services rendered. “I gotta run, its a bitch and a half to get here from no-when. Lot more turns and twists than normal.” “Catch you later, Gracus.”
- Rha - a shifty aarakocra that ran from a group of kenku. Ditched the party in the Fae Realms. Probably somewhere in the Smoking Crown area.
- Ur-Draxans. The name given to the roc riders by Hamanu himself. The fae call Ur-Draxa the City of Ebe, from across the Sunrise Sea to the east. Ebe was a nation that supposedly ruled superior to the other City-States. If it exists, who rules it now?
- Two unnamed defilers - part of the King’s Claw… one may have been Gennik. Unconfirmed.
- “Skanter” - a strange little creature. May have been Graytch’s familiar. Mentioned the efreetess’ name. Now dead by Zaethus’ blade.
- Graytch - haven’t met. Mentioned by fire lady in the bottle. Gained immortality through some sort of help from Liandrin… at least according to Skanter. Lorn said that an apprentice of Kalak was named Graytch - a defiler and adept of the Way, but not as strong as Lorn in his prime. Sheelba claims that the last he heard, Graytch was laying waste to the realms south of the Obsidian Plain.
- Liandrin the Efreetess - a giant fiery red woman wielding a huge barbed metal sword. Said Graytch would pay in entrails for his betrayal. #metal
- Locutus. A name given by Skanter. Thought he may be dead.
- The shade of Lorn the Lonely, Fourth Wizard of Athas, Apprentice of Rajaat & Master of the Inverted Tower - guarding Rhan Thes-onel and his loyalists. Mentioned Borys still living and then that that was the name of the Dragon! Happy Kalak died. Mentioned the Game and Players. Does not know Ninguable; seemed worried that another was aware of the tower’s existence. [See condensed Lorn Story Doc.]
- Kharloz. Mul ex-slave & priest of earth. Kinda lazy, doesn’t take to direction well.
- Alas. Half elf woman. Priestess of stone and rogue to boot. For some reason is mistrusted.
- Hadig - worker
- Marin - worker
- Byl, Sachet’s friend and driver.
- Kardash - carpenter and chitin worker. Very talkative, muscular and obsessed with fixing and building things.
- Timon - Kardash’s sometimes assistant.
- Ningauble of the Seven Eyes. Gossiper of the beyond. Warlock of time & space. Paunchy. 7 light motes for eyes. Smells like hookah and damp. Gifted Gracus with a magical lotulis, “Greyswandir”, for ringing the watch tower’s bell thrice.
- Sheelba of the Eyeless Face. Has a 6-legged hut. The inside bigger than the outside. Sachet’s ward to whom he’s sworn servitude to. He wants Kalak’s corpse. Dote Mal Payne, while in possession of said corpse is not the essential component of the given quest. Told the party of the path through the Fae Deadlands. Identified some items for the heroes. Told Shanav that discovering Lorn’s stave’s other power “would be good practice”. Knows something of Life-shaping magic.
- Dote Mal Payne, Kalak’s Chief Necromancer & Defiler - currently traveling with two undead heads, and undead crystal spider and rumored to have employed some hands in Makla. Seen using a wand to animate the crystal spider. Used to sup at the Hungry Halfling (knows the owners!). Powerful enough to raise more than one giant war roach.
- Kalak/Kalak’s animate corpse - traveling with Dote Mal Payne somewhere north of Urik.
- Sacha & Wyan the mummified heads. Names verified by Sheelba. Wyan could very well be the slayer of faeries Toot Toot and Lacuna are so worked up about and Champion of the Warbringer.
- Ktandeo - a wizard of Tyr’s Veiled Alliance. Carries an obsidian globe topped cane. Big pimpin’. Can cast darkness, invisibility, suggestion(?). Believes that Sheelba and Ningauble might be off-worlders. Aliens.
- Galine - One of Shanav’s cell contacts in the Alliance. A dark haired elf woman. Has a reputation for being a bit cocky.
- Twile - Leader of the warren gang, “the Ragtags”.
- Granth & Fent - Two half giant gate guards
- Wek B’juk - Owner at the Messenger’s Mount - stabling near the Merchant’s Gate
- House of Fingers - while not an NPC, this location was mentioned as a safe place for bards and their illicit dealings
- Ugly old crone in the Warrens. Told Magnak how to find urchins. Asked for a bit.
- Agis - a missing noble winemaker from Asticles Vineyards, according to Zaethus was a hidden Veil asset before death. Zaethus and Jebea have bought said property.
- Lady Cadee & Sir Yeros of Mericles - Tyrian nobles that only know Sachet’s assumed names. Attended the orgy.
- Samel - old mul housemaster at Temmnya Shom’s Tyrian estate
- A half dozen or so nobles that you don’t know the names of, but would be mutually recognizable to Sachet and Shanav due to the intimacy involved that one crazy evening no one ever talks about.
- Rikus and Neeva - a pair of popular gladiators that had been executed as traitors to the State.
- Ren - a young child, perhaps five that perished due to Kalak’s failed ritual.
- Fendmar the Templar of Kalak - that most likely got his butt whupped by a datchi-club wielding half giant.
- Merl the dwarven potter - Sold Sachet some small clay jars.
- Belial the blond elven weapons dealer - Her tent is next to Merl’s. Very market savvy. Also seemed interested in Asvir’s advances, but not enough for a passing fling.
- Nial - Dwarven assistant to Belial.
- Andras - An owlish, dark bearded shopkeeper for a store that sells papyrus, papers, parchment and ink. In his mid 60’s. Musical lilt to his voice. Very interested in the details of the efreetess’ ruins. A front for the Veil in town.
- Arisphistaneles - a name or place mentioned by Ktandeo and Andras, overheard by Sachet
- Uvall - dwarven barkeep at the wineshop in town
- An unknown platinum blond haired male elven assassin with flame tattoos and flaming sword - spell casting, psionic and clerical abilities? Hat trick!
- Lawbringer Heroc, templar in charge
- Ardi-Ea, templar that reports to Heroc. Very inquisitive. Enjoys Tyrian fare; has never been.
- Ipos the Brown [House Stel] - an elven man with braided brow. Knows Jebea and has traveled to Nibenay in the past. Telepath. May have put Warlock Payne up during his stay in town.
- Haures - Ipos’ female companion & partner - used mental (possibly magic) psychoportation
- Three others in similar robes that were sitting with Ipos when first encountered outside Makla’s walls.
- Phegor. A King’s Claw. One of Hamanu’s personal defilers, stationed in Makla. Probably responsible for the bolt of lightning that hit the cloud ray. Dealt with Dote Mal Payne when he was in town.
The Dead Fae Realms:
- Toot-Toot and Lacuna, faeries who survived the Cleansing Wars
- The Dead Fae Queen Liliana, mentioned
- Wyan, the Slayer of Fae; Destroyer of Dreams, and Champion of the Warbringer, mentioned
- Gallard, the Murderer of Gnomes, came with Wyan to the Fae Realm 3000 years ago with iron and flame. Also a Champion of the Warbringer, mentioned
- Inenek and her hunters; murderers of the Bird-folk, mentioned
- “The Mantle” - apparently something needed to possess to rule the Fae Realm
- Ky’l. Ky’l’s a knob. Makes illusionary monsters such as worms. Fuckin’ Ky’l.
- GRIKNAR! - you killed him! You bastards! A magma drake. Very worm-like.
- Dunder - possessed in a red powrie cap. A creepy fae spirit, a redcomb, aka bloody cap.
- The Almighty Hamanu. Warrior King of Urik. A large, regal leonine figure, perhaps twelve feet tall, half man and half feline. White cloaked, with silver trim. Carries a large red obsidian capped stave of blackened wood. Finds Lokee amusing. Grateful for his saving Makla from cloud ray destruction. Maybe also be Manu, one of the Warbringer’s Champions of old. The destroyer of trolls, whatever those were.
- Cyren, adopted manager of House Gaetan
- Dwarf Gallu, chief of security for House Gaetan
- Mistress Lilu, in charge of drying, fruit production, and water management
- Thamuz & Toyol, traders of House Shom
- Hargan Stel, lord of trading House Stel
- Tara Stel, daughter of Hargan of trading House Stel
- Fern & Phyurn - two templars that worked for the burly one that held the half giants for questioning.
- Kelso - another templar. Lower rank than “Burly”.
- “Burly” AKA: Tiberen - a templarate watch commander at night.
- Gennik, one of Hamanu’s personal warlock defilers… so most likely a King’s Claw. Very interested in Gracus’ blade. Has cast a spell to detect magic upon Vor’s axe and Greyswandir. Very interested in Gracus’ blade and the fae writing.
- Sthen Gaetan - deceased; beheaded. Previous murderous actions against two women caused this noble to lose rank and divest many funds in his unsuccessful defense. Said to be a passionate sadist and lover of art.
- Eury Gaetan - said to be an accomplice of his father and killed in the pits. Other family members sent into slavery in the mines.
- Hazzan - an artist that sold kreen sculptures to the late master of House Gaetan. Has a shop somewhere in the Old District. Met by Kri-kcht and Gracus. Deathly scared of some night intruder. Doors of his house wickedly scratched up.
- Hargan Stel the III - warrior-trader and master of House Stel in Urik. Fond of drink and war stories.
- Tara Stel - Hargan’s daughter and heir to the Stel House. Wears a full suit of metal armor.
- Lerner and Ganten - a pair of Lokee’s guards
- Martus of Ledopolis - a dwarf fond of the gladiatorial games
- Sanders - Martus’ mul friend
- Mad Eyed Roy - a fighter in the pits, sentenced for some transgression
- Tahk - half giant gladiatrix . She easily dispatched two antloids. Gracus gave his winnings to her. She knows of House Shom and Gracus’ name.
- The hunched, shuffling statue maker
- Kreen clutch of would-be statue thieves… possibly in the Old Market
- Tok Tok. Leader of a clutch in the Old Market. Claims to have worked for Hazzan in the past. Lost some of his clutch to a basilisk and one of Hazzan’s friends. Claims to have killed the stone lizard.
House Stel (Urik):
- Ipos, see Makla
- Hargan Stel III, see Urik
- Tara Stel, see Urik
Fort Isus, a M’Ke merchant house outpost:
- Master Lathas, emissary of M’Ke
- Chk-tyk, the kreen helm buyer
- Raith, a very tall elf that bought the black silkies from the party at the Red Cactus Inn. Seemed to be in a hurry at the time. Shady. Met a second time in Urik - at the Old Market. Not the Elven Market. Sold Vadanya a critic lizard for 8 Ceramics - offered to sell the remaining black silky. Much more relaxed the second meeting.
Shazlim, a House Inika property, near the Dragon’s Bowl:
- Lenn Swiftdancer of the House Inika. Miss-gendered Kri-kcht. Bought his pretty feathers though.
- Maldrik of Inika, human male trader. Wary of Sachet’s literacy.
- Nisid, the right hand of Yarsha. Wears a big dark feathered Draji headdress and a brace of flint tomahawks. Mistook Sachet for Mardaluion. Bought a load of poisons from the bard and promised more business if they meet again or if he decides to sell at Fort Klavis. Sold the party two war crodlus with gear. Killed a slave in front of the party to determine if the venom was the real deal.
- Borys is the Dragon?! The Dragon is Borys?!
- Dregoth. Slayer of Giants? Someone that Hamanu and the others (?) “put down”.
- Fabled City of Plenty - said to be located in the Silt Sea
- Maranita - a rumored sea to the north. Of water?
- Unnamed sea or seas to the far west
- Daskinor - aided in the slaying of gnomes, one of the Champions of the Warbringer. Alive, dead? Who knows?
- Tectuctitlay - Slayer of the “Changed Ones”. Current SK of Draj.
Keep up the stuff. I’m no longer writing much, but I still enjoy reading young blood and their adventures.
I’m not that young blooded any more. A few of my players are 5E converts, so that’s nice. I just never participated as much on the message boards in the past (well, I ghosted them)… and I’m still mainly a 2E gamer. My PbPs in the more recent past were 1E/2E hybrids and I only just came back to Athas. I was running it in 91’ or 92’ with just the boxed set and it was some great memories with the old crew. It’s been fun DMing it this last year or so as I think having more time to grow up has put a completely different spin on my games.
[This is a little disjointed, as it was taken from game play with a lot of dialogue. I condensed it so the players would be able to reference. Pretty sure you can get the gist of it though. The party has made it into an inverted tower underground, revealed only after quakes affected the region after Kalak passed. There’s a reverse gravity effect once you enter the tower under the sands - so up is down. One of the players was tasked for ringing a bell in a tower thrice to fulfill an alien patron wizard’s whimsy (this happens to be the proper tower) - which is guarded by a kaisharga variant.]
There’s some murmuring and a brief blue glow. A translucent blue figure, of an older bearded human male wearing odd, heavy looking robes stands and turns from the chair. “Yes? And you are?” It speaks in common, with an odd lilt.
“I am Lorn. The fourth wizard. Or what is left of me.” He gestures at his incorporeal form. “I’ve never seen one as large as you. Are you a small giant? You have not the look of an ogre. Come in, I have not had visitors since I sealed my halls so, so long ago.”
“A half giant? Hmm. Much must have changed… This place, you say? Well, best let your friends come up as well. I always did hate repeating myself. There’s a slight matter of your character and ties before I get too in depth… Who you work for and the like.”
The specter replies in an ethereal wizardly voice. “Well, out of the choices after death, this one seemed the best alternative. Unfinished business, too stubborn to move on, better than getting dissolved in the Grey. Or at least it seemed at the time.” The apparition sighs. “Only so long before you can watch the dust gather before you begin to wonder why you thought it was a good idea in the first place. I am very happy to have visitors though. Do sit down. Tell me everything. If the door was breached, the stars must be right - so give me something to ponder anew.”
He sits cross-legged whilst floating in the air before you, ghost-beard dangling past his ankles.
“Borys still lives, eh? Kalak is dead?” The ghost laughs. “Insufferable prick finally got his comeuppance. And yes, yes. I know the world is fucked above. It’s the reason I’m guarding Rhan Thes-onel and his loyalists here,” He gestures about him. “and not laying somewhere entombed and long dead while my soul gets chewed on by the great beyond.”
“Tell me more.” The spirit smiles. “In life, I was a great teacher. If there’s one thing time has not taken from me, it’s my need to know. Everything. Tell me everything.”
“Hmmm. Graytch, you say?” His eyes narrow as if in deep thought or recalling old events. “Kalak had an apprentice by that name once. The name was feared by the people… a defiler and adept of the Way. No where near as strong as me in my prime. I learned from the font; the source of the mystic arts though. I also had more respect for life… in my life.” A pipe appears, also ghostly, as Lorn takes a puff. A smoky ghost toking spectral smoke. “So what do you know of this place?” Posits the dead wizard.
“I have a little problem I’d like to have you take care of.” Drag. Puff. “A pest issue, really. It seems that the time is right to awaken my wards; perhaps even take my rest. My issue is, to awake my friends, I need to ring the bell a top this tower but three times. Alas, I have no physical form to do so… and an old foe left a guardian beast above. A large undead beastie, loud as feck… always skittering to-and-fro. If you take care of this nuisance and clamor the bell, I’d be highly grateful. I would even go as far to tell you where to find a suitable bell clanger.” Ethereal smoke rings followed.
“My foe? Borys, of course. The Dragon to you young ones… and he ranges far. While my magics are enough to keep him from destroying this haven, it has not kept him from hiding us or making life difficult for those who would advance life on this Athas of ours.” He squinted. “Who is this Ningauble? Very few should know of my tower… even less that my bell needs ringing. Is he an oracle? One with the gift of foresight? Tell me more.”
Concern crosses Lorn’s eyes. And he tokes a few before answering. “Apparently, I have been away from the game too long & other players have taken my place.”
In reference to Shanav asking about the title Fourth Wizard: He smiles widely. “Why out of all of us, of course. Did more harm than good if you ask me. My life’s passion was reversal, restoration really. Look outside the window, dear.” He gestures with one hand.
Sachet’s history lesson: “How is your knowledge of history, my red leathered friend? Let me give you a bit of a lesson. Stop me if it’s common knowledge.” The ghost cleared his ghostly throat and began to orate. "There have been many Ages we refer to on Athas… The assumed first was the Blue Age… encompassing the earliest recorded history of the planet. There was a giant, world-spanning ocean broken only by a few small islands, and the sun was a pale blue. The only intelligent inhabitants were halflings and some sea creatures.
The halflings, who called themselves rhulisti, were masters of a now-forgotten science known as life-shaping, altering living organisms in to all manner of useful roles. However, something went wrong, and the Brown Tide - a contagion that spread through the oceans, killing life-shaped organisms - was created. The rhulisti attempted to destroy the Brown Tide, but it also changed the sun to a bright golden colour and caused most of the planet’s water drain away, revealing fertile plains and valleys. This was the beginning of the Green Age.
The Green Age of Athas began after the waters of the Blue Age had receded, leaving fertile valleys and plains that quickly became verdant. The rhulisti began to use their knowledge of life-shaping to transform themselves into other races - such as humans, giants, dwarves, pyreen and many others - as they spread out into this new world.
One particular pyreen, known as Rajaat discovered the secrets of magic, powered by the life energy around him. He taught this to a few… including me. I was taught balance and respect for my environ. However, my Master also taught different techniques he’d discovered to the more ambitious and favored students. I was not one of these, as I’d branched out and begun my own experiments with the Art."
“It has always been my belief that magic should run side-by-side the rhulisti’s tenets of life bending. There were parts of this that Rajaat agreed with - so I was left alone to my studies. But my studies also, in their own way threatened the structure the Champions of Rajaat had built. I threw most of my magics into an act of defiance, sealing away this place and protecting it from unwanted intrusion. However, nothing is to be truly eternal - so certain caveats needed to be worked into my dweomers. This is how you breached my sanctum. The stars are right. The earth broke the seals. And now the bells must ring.”
[Pods and water are seen outside of the tower’s window]
The ghost host turns back to Sachet and says, “Defiling was the mistake. To take so much life from anything that it dies, gets taken beyond the life cycle is nothing short of an atrocity. Even in regards to plants. Eating a plant is fine as the life force is reintroduced into the living, but rendering the very earth barren and taking away that potential for a fleeting moment of power… that is entropy at it’s purest.”
“Borys left a beast he subdued in the sands. A large spiny scorpion thing… then used a trick that our master taught him. It’s more usually done to reward sentient beings with unlife, but it’s a little known fact that it can be done to any loyal subject. Kaisharga is the proper term.”
To Shanav: “Our undead monster problem. You see, if the rhulisti awaken… the first steps to healing our world will have begun. They will pave the way for a new Green Age. And when the Messenger next arrives in the sky and brings their kin home, their work will begin in earnest.” He turns to Asvir. “I never kept an armory and the damp rots even metal over time. The beast also stands over my physical remains… and my staff and circlet. If you defeat the beast, you may have those.”
“Further up the stairs. At the tower’s crown.” He turns to Gracus. “I need the beast dead… ringing the bell won’t be of value if the thing survives, my protections will have dropped and it will be free to destroy those I have vowed to protect. My guess is your benefactor would feel the same.”
Lokee asks “Life shaping? Is something that can be taught?”
“Yes, but the last I saw of your kind using it, they had lost the ability to grow new, er different life-shaped creatures and tools. Everything was dealt with ritual and stagnation. Very little true comprehension of what they were actually doing… too afraid to develop techniques further - as mistakes of the past were feared to be repeated. I assume if any rhulsti are still practicing, that much of the same occurs. I wholeheartedly believe that there is a way to reverse the sins of the past, but it requires certain deeds to be done. The first is to reawaken those that lie below. They will need to reintroduce themselves to the world and prepare for their brothers arrival. They shall grow the beacon to light the way.”
After the Blue Sun shines, the bells having rung and the lich-scorpion vanquished…
“My friends can awake soon; then I may rest. They stir even now. Thank you.” Lorn turns. “I see you have found my staff and circlet. May they serve you as well as they served me in life.” He then fades, leaving the room much the same as they first left it, but now with a blue din coming from the window.
The group absconds with his book as well.