Ye Gilde

Climax in the Oasis
Kalitharius

After some healing and checking the bodies and securing/questioning the prisoners, Egglantine and Iseret are sent up out of the Temple of Set to report to the Sheik. The 30 minute deadline comes and goes without anyone returning.

XP: 4,700
2,000 for Iseret and Egglantine

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Rumble in the Temple

The exploration of the forgotten Temple of Set.

Two major battles and more. Orko commands a scary thing called a blood wight and send it to attack a group of humans and bugbears that have recently tunneled into the temple. Then they fight and defeat the survivors in a savage battle. The last survivor, a sorceror, is chased down through the tunnel into the basement of another building. Then the group ambushes the cultists as they arrive for their nightly evil rituals. It’s a large fight agains lots of sturdy cultists plus the high priest Corga and one of the sheik’s sons plus two of his guards and the leftover zombies. Both Egglantine and her camel mount are narrowly avoid disaster in the form of Slay Living spells from the high priest. In the end the heros win but they are awfully drained by the fight.

XP: 6,114

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Return to While Palm
Temple of Set

Back in the oasis they continued their mission to find the first son’s betrothed. They checked out a few places including an ancient broken-headed statue to the north east (which a mustache was inscribed upon) and the monolith located in the trees between the Sheik’s camp and the Sandvoyagers compound. There they decoded some inscriptions (one saying this place was for all and dedicated to the old gods) and a secret door built into the monolith. They were being watched though so they decided to enter later.

One of the spies was a young boy that Enzo Fascinated then spoke with for a little bit. The kid took off after a short while though and Helsha followed him invisibly flying. She caught him updating a guard back at the tent camp and the guard later met with one of the Sheik’s sons. Interesting. They all went back to Happy Hogan’s Desert Igloo (and were followed by another man who had been watching from the palms. Egglantine ate “hosepipe soup” which turned out to be made with camel penis.

At sundown they took the solar barge for a ride into the desert but looped back and hid it among the dunes to the west. The returned on foot and after dark went through the secret door in the monolith. It was 10 o’clock.

They discovered a forgotten Temple of Set below ground. But the temple was not forgotten by all. It was empty of all but two acolytes and a trainee. The two acolytes were subdued to death but the trainee was charmed and befriended. He had valuable information. The temple was used nightly by a cult that worshipped Set and desired to return to open worship of the old gods. The high priest was none other than Corga the waterbearer that they had roughed up days before. The Sheik’s second son was also one of their members. In fact he was to be there for tonight’s ceremony. They planned an ambush and disposed of all three bodies in the sacrificial zombie pit.

More of the temple was explored – it wasn’t big. There were some small rooms with evil idols, or torture equipment. There was one tortured prisoner that was freed but then he ate some poisoned food and died without revealing anything. There was another trapped passage that released a thick mist and everyone ran away. Then they found a secret door that appeared to not have been used in a long time.

That led to a second temple area that had recently been breached by a crew of goblin miners. Skritek started up a conversation with them but some bugbears came through the tunnel. Orko used an Aqueous Orb to slurp up and drown six of the seven goblins and a bugbear. The remaining goblin and two bugbears fled and Skritek jammed the lock.

Then the killed some spiders and some of them were trapped in a room fighting summoned jackel headed creatures before they tipped over the big statue of Set. They left there to treat their injuries and plan the ambush for Korus and Corga.

XP: 2300

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Phoenix
Aeraldoth

They scouted the area from the air and found what they thought was a sinkhole, or at least a spot where sand was falling through a crack in the dome. Iseret was first to let herself be submerged. The others followed and ended up in the streets of Phoenix. Much perhaps most of the city underneath the dome was filled in with sand after 4000 years.

They began exploring. First there was a cabaret where Skritek set off the burglar alarm. Then across the street they moved through “Khalif Mubrek’s” where “My fun is your fun” and they were hit by creme pies and had their footwear taken off. Then they exited back to the street on the other side of a sand barrier and entered “The Secret Maze of Kharan” after declining to sign the liability waiver. Inside there was first a maze of darkness with a teleporter that sent them to a brightly lit maze of mirrors. They made it through there but popped into the “Death Trap of Chininsk Ambar” – which they avoided. Skritek, Iseret, and Egglantine did get bounced around in his ballroom however. They returned to the streets and walked up on the Baths of Garimsharr where they encountered Gamal the All Seeing.

Their lights winked out as the undead beholder, aka a death tyrant, descended a hill of sand outside of their vision. Nobody knew what was going on but they heard something and scattered in the darkness. Gamal the death tyrant floated down the sand slope so it could see into the baths. It turned off it’s anti-magic beam and three of its eyes in the front focused in on Skritek, Djelzeem, and Iseret. The first two were missed but Iseret was Held. Egglantine ran up and others flung sling stones or shot arrows at it. Orko conjured up three lantern archons that helped illuminate the area and shoot beams at the beholder. Djelzeem put Daylight from his shiny new Pectoral of Horus on a slingstone.

Two of the lantern archons had moved to the left and right of the beholder and exposed themselves to a new set of eyes. One of the archons turned to stone and the other just perished. Then Egg was telekinetically thrust backwards on a collision course with Djelzeem. He dodged and she sailed into one of the bathhouse changing rooms with Enzo. Skritek made another save miraculously. Djelzeem hit it with a sling stone and Orko fireballed it. Then Skritek scored a critical hit on the floating globe and skewered it with an arrow. It deflated and hit the ground. They won the fight.

After pausing for some healing from the paladin, they climbed one of the sand hills and found an ancient plaza with a large statue of a djinn. It was the resting spot of Aeroldoth! The marble statue’s bronze abs were two doors protected by a Greater Glyph with a Geas spell and while Skritek and Enzo were investigating that, the face animated and began babbling about “thieves beware”, “Aeraldoth waiting for a person of pure heart”, “Aeraldoth needing to rest until the Great Evil is awakened” , etc. Enzo and Skritek played a game of Senet which Skritek won. Feeling lucky he tried to disarm the Glyph and succeeded. The doors opened and the star gem was removed. Like in Pazar, the star gem acted as a cork.

A blinding flash of blue lightning leapt from the con tainer, followed by a peal of thunder. The statue was pulverized into atoms. swirling away in a gust of wind. Sand and rocks from the dome above rained down into the street, and clouds of choking dust rose from the sand. A cloud ol thick, icy-blue smoke rises and coalesces to form a 30-foot-tall diinn, his arms folded and his eys glaring. Slowly the apparition begins to circle the base of the ruined statue. Faster and faster he moves, and the air around him begins to turn into a tornado of dust. The Wind swirls, tugging at clothing and equipment. Faster and faster the djinn moves until he is nothing but a blur of dust, sand, blue smoke, and a giant head. ln one final movement, all who watch are swept up in the tomado. Equipment and loose clothing are torn off as each of you tumbles, alone and disoriented in the roaring malestrom. In one spasmodic burst of energy, the diinn breaks through the dome of sand that covers the city, whirling out into the light of the desert. In a cloud sevenl miles high, he roars a challenge to Khnlitharius, the Evil One, and then flies off to do combat. The dying wind drops you gently to the soft sand, stripped of your weapons, loose clothing, and equipment. As the cloud dis- appears into the desert, the sky rains down the missing articles, the heavy ones first. All around you, the desert sands stretch away to the horizon. But now, there is a great gaping hole exposing part of the city below, and through the sand protrude hundreds of roof-tops. The loot city of Phoenix, like the legendary bird. is beginning to emerge from its own ashes.

Success though it might not have felt like it. They took their time and gathered up all their belongings.

The three day trip back was almost uneventful. There was a brief encounter with a roc but it was convinced to look elsewhere after a barrage of fireballs, magic missles, sling stones, and arrows. Then that night they witnessed a running fight between Khalitharius and Aeroldoth. In the end the efreet seemed to be chasing the djinn.

XP: Helsha 2,428
Everyone else 6,694

I’ve included information from the storyteller in the section below.

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Oasis of the White Palm
Not Finding the Princess

After meeting with the Sheik and later the younger of his twin sons, the group decided spend some time that night investigating the disappearance of the betrothed princess. They did a lot of legwork and almost instigated an incident at the Sandvoyager’s headquarters but didn’t end up any closer to cracking the case. There are several factions at play: Sheik vs Ruarindi, Skeik’s twin sons possibly against each other, and oasis dwellers that have returned to worshiping the old gods, and friction between the Sandvoyagers guild and the slaver caravans that may be moving slaves taken illegally.

So everyone returned to the sky ship were the revelers were winding down. When morning came, the Sheik was there to great them with his retinue. He brought guides and a storyteller. He hoped they would be able to free the djinni and then return and help with his problem.

Flying day and night, they estimated 3 whole days to arrive at what was left of Phoenix. They departed immediately and their journey was boring until the third night when on the last watch an efreeti rose off the desert floor and launched itself at them. The pilot dropped the ship down to the 10 ft level and they began trying to attack the approaching efreeti. Lucky for them it had started 600 feet away so they had some opportunity to try a few things. The conjured air elemental was annihilated instantly by a double shot of Scorching Rays however. A concerted effort led primarily by flying Egglantine and Iseret killed the efreeti before he could do any more damage.

It seemed like they came upon the efreeti as it discovered a stone dome peaking out of the sand. They had found the lost city of Phoenix.

XP: 1700

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Pyramid Treasure is Never Cursed, is it?

When Skritek looks around from the floor, he can see that he is not alone. To one side was a hulking minotaur rising to its hooves and hefting a wicked ax, and to the other was a slight native woman flicking a scarf. She wiggles into a combat stance (you think that’s what it is) and you notice that she seems to have three boobs. Or maybe that is a trick of the light.

The fight commences while Enzo tries to figure out the trapdoor mechanism and the others run to join up. The minotaur fought bravely and delivered terrible wounds to Iseret and Skritek in turn. The two strangers ganged up on the bull man and killed it in spectacular fashion. Iseret’s bladed scarf crackled with fire and lightning and dripped almost as much blood as her wounds did. Skritek faired almost as bad. By then Egglantine was below the trapdoor hanging from a rope. Skritek climbed out, followed by Egg, and then their new friend, Iseret a Raurindi Scarf Dancer.

Egglantine provided some channels to heal their wounds while the others caught up. Iseret the Raurindi Scarf Dancer introduced herself to the group and they asked her questions. Skritek and Djelzeem climbed up on the statue to investigate the sparkling gem in the forehead of the Pharoah. There was illusion magic on the head and some sort of magical trap that Skritek disabled before prying out the gem. It turned out to be glass worth 1 copper. They decided to return upstairs and finish searching there.

The three unexplored rooms on the level above only gave up a heavy magic book which Orko took. There was nothing else of interest besides the water flowing from the hole in the ceiling. Skritek was first to figure out that it was a magical elevator. He answered the three questions and the water reversed its flow. He stepped into it and was whisked upward. The others did the same.

Each found themselves at one end of a 30 foot tunnel with bronze doors on the other end. The doors were loosely bound with a soft cotton rope. Above them in ancient hieroglyphics was written, “Thieves beware. Nothing inside will comfort you in old age.” There was no aura of magic or traps so they cut the rope and pushed open the doors.

There were three rooms beyond. Each had the aura of necromancy permeating the whole environment. It was the Pharoah’s tomb and filled with grave goods to take on his journey in the afterlife. There were many clay pots (uninvestigated but believed to be full of food and drink), expensive cloth, statues, all manner of valuable treasure, a chariot, and even a 70 foot river barge. The floor was decorated in a mosaic of the ancient land of Bakar showing the course of the River Athis and location of settlements. Amun-Re’s sarcophagus sat in the center of it all. The lid was heavy but slid off with some work. Inside were the mummified remains of the Pharoah in a gold mask holding a scepter and the Star of Mo-Pelar. Enzo and Orko snatched those two things up. Skritek lifted the mask and took the magic cloth eye covering.

There were other magic items in the rooms too – weapons and armor mostly but other miscellaneous magic including the 10×70 foot boat. There was a lot of discussion about what exactly they could and should take and whether there were any curses to worry about. Then they noticed Helsha filling her pockets. They didn’t spend much more time arguing. On a hunch they got on the boat and Enzo placed the star gem into a pedestal. The boat shifted and Enzo started working one of the rear rudders. The boat responded and he successfully piloted it out through a desert mural on the wall.

They didn’t know where to go next and looped around the pyramid spooking the locals, but discovering that the giant bowl at the foot of the temple was filled with water that spilled over into the sand-choaked channel. They had succeeded!

They headed off in the general direction they thought was downstream. After about a half hour they realized that they had left their caravan’s behind, so they dropped off Skritek and Egg. To make a long story short, they avoided the Raurindi that had been following the slow moving sky-boat and got the caravans moving. They all eventually met at the ruins of Pazar and the guides took them to the Oasis of the White Palm which had been part of the ancient country and still remained an important oasis in the desert. It was close and they were met by pegasus riding lancers that guided them the final little bit to the oasis and to the Sheik’s tent.

XP: 3,000 Enzo, Helsha, Orko
4,000 Those characters that didn’t steal from the Pharaoh’s tomb.

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Pyramid of Amun-Re III
Munafik and the Fist of Fury

They almost slept peacefully. During the last watch a wraith floated out of the wall near Skritek and jammed his cold hand into the hobgoblin severely draining him. Half the group kept their distance and the other half tried to help. It was a spirited defense that took out the wraith but not before Djelzeem and Egglantine felt it’s chilling touch.

The party pressed it’s luck exploring numerous side passages and rooms before exiting the level buy climbing up out of the domed waterfall room and passing through some doors with a glowing warning into a 30×100 foot ascending stepped hallway the original architect dubbed “The Gauntlet”.

Ten foot wide stairs climbed the middle and on either side was ten feet of rushing water. There were three landings evenly splitting the long room and at the very top a large sculpture of a man-sized fist sat in front of the stairs. Sampson and Lulu Spider Climbed the back wall and everyone else started preparing for a fight in their own way.

Sampson and Lulu climbed across the ceiling. From there they could plainly see a dried up husk of a person in priestly clothes in a chair directly behind the fist statue. As the two of them passed the bottom step, they activated the magical trap. Two clay men stepped out of the alcoves on either side of the fist landing and ineptly threw spears. And so it began.

Each person to ascend the stairs brought out another pair of clay men. Orko told people that they could be split by a slashing weapon or crushed by a bludgeoning weapon but couldn’t be killed. Those with the skills tried to disable the magic trap while the better warriors ran up the steps and started pushing the clay men into the cascading water on either side. It was a good plan.

Meanwhile Sampson and Lulu continued climbing an activated the second trap, a wall of fire. They continued past and activated the third trap. I duplicate of Sampson and Lulu appeared but they couldn’t follow up the walls only shoot the occasional slingstone at Sampson. About this time the fist moved. It dropped to the floor and scrambled spiderlike up the wall clearly headed toward Sampson and Lulu. Sampson also reported that the dead guy in the seat seemed to be whispering and wriggling his fingers.

And so the gauntlet fight started. Poor Sampson and Lulu were left to fend for themselves against the fist and Munafik the former High Priest of Terbakar while a spiritual khopesh took swings at the young druid. The others cautiously advanced using the many rogues to disable the traps as they went. It was looking dismal for Sampson when he surrounded the priest with 3 summoned creatures and two of them were promptly annihilated by a Flame Strike.

Once the Wall of Fire was removed Munafik began wiggling his dried up fingers in their direction. And so the fight continued with the party slowing closing the distance between themselves and the top. Egglantine tired to Detect Evil on him and was stunned by his evilness. The high priest pointed at her and she aged into middle age. About this time the fist statue was finally destroyed and it turned to a pile of clay.

Munafik was heavily protected by spells but still took a lot of damage. They began to realize they weren’t really hurting him and recalling a verse found on a wall downstairs, they knew they would have to find his heart to kill him. They rushed the top platform and surrounded him. He tried and failed to turn into “dust form”.

Sampson led the rush through the two bronze doors behind Munafik. Skritek, Egg, and DJelzeem surrounded him. Orko trapped Munafik in a Pit with a small earth elemental. Now everyone followed Sampson.

There were a couple ways to go but the room containing the heart was quickly located. However it was guarded by a mummy that strode up and crushed Sampson’s skull with its fist. What’s with Sampson and fists? The mummy paralyzed half the people to see it with fear. The other half made quick work of the undead.

Skritek broke into the chained cabinet in the room while Orko warned them that Munafik was free. As the bronze doors opened and Munafik’s shadow could be seen on the floor, Enzo smashed the clay jar containing the heart and Munafik dropped to the floor. Victory.

There was some very quick healing courtesy of Egglantine’s channeling and some scrounging then Skritek and Enzo ran off after hearing about a room downstairs where earlier Egg and Sampson had found a huge statue with a big gem in it. They left the others rummaging the bodies and praying over Sampson.

Unfortunately Skritek and Enzo triggered a pit trap directly in front of the statue. Enzo dove to the side but Skritek fell 40 feet into the minotaur lair a level below.

XP: 4,000

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Pyramid of Amun-Re II
Don't Split the Party

The androsphinx didn’t know the answer to Orko’s riddle and roared in frustration. He declared that nobody must find out about this and prepared to pounce. Orko was ready and Dimensional Slid into the hallway and moved into the rusty mist out of sight. Others rushed the door and then the angry sphinx roared again frightening half the group into running blindly out of the room. In the mist many of those people fell. Elspa wasn’t affected and moved into the doorway to heroically block the sphinx from entering the hall. The sphinx roared again and several of the adventurers were paralyzed with fear and deafened. Others continued running for their lives. Thus the group was split up and other denizens of the maze alerted to the presence of intruders.

Meanwhile Egglantine’s group had made up for starting a day behind and reached the ruins. After talking to Achmed and Wa’de, they rushed into the temple and then on to the pyramid. They successfully figured out the secret teleporter that transported Egg into the maze in an empty octagonal room. She heard the roars, sounds of hooves running passed the door to the north, and soon shouts, and the sounds of combat. She took off in that direction.

Three separate fights broke out. Sampson and the fear crazed Lulu, Orko, Enzo, and Djelzeem had rushed along until stopping at a closed door where 4 of the 5 were out of the mist. A pair of minotaurs had come up behind and the one in the lead was trading blows with Djelzeem in the blinding mist. Back at the last intersection, Elspa had rescued paralyzed Skritek and dragged the hobgoblin out of the mist and started fighting the second minotaur. When Skritek overcame his paralyzation he got up and ran off into another direction eventually opening a door to a room with 3 desert elves that began chasing him.

A fourth fight started when the door to their backs opened and 9 desert garbed humans began launching arrows and slashing with scimitars into Sampson, Lulu, and Enzo. Djelzeem and the minotaur were still swinging at each other blindly in the mist and sometimes connecting. Elspa and the second minotaur were battling back at the intersection. Egglantine and Skritek met in the hall and talked down the pursuing elves but then were joined from behind by another minotaur. That became fight five.

Fortunately the Orisani in the room were not a match for their adversaries. Orko popped in and began burning them. Sampson cast Flame Blade and followed frightened Lulu inside slashing at the desert people. Enzo and Djelzeem began backing into the room. Poor Enzo took a wicked hits from the minotaur’s battle ax and gore attacks. Elspa was cut down the in hallway and beheaded by the other minotaur. Skritek and Egg were locked in a deadly struggle with the third minotaur while the elves watched. Unbeknown to them, another of Egg’s adventuring comrades had joined but was staying hidden while waiting for her opportunity.

Back in the room of Osiriani, the adventurers consolidated their position. Orko created first one pit inside the room then another to catch the minotaur. The others fought hand to hand. Orko used some of list last magic to kill the pair fighting with Djelzeem and Sampson. The minotaur that killed Elspa wandered through the mist toward the fight and fell into the conjured pit in the hallway. The last two Osiriani at first wanted to work together against the minotaur but then the leader grabbed Orko and tried to barter with his life. Djelzeem stepped up and bashed the skull of his remaining follower with his light mace.

Egglantine and Skritek finished off their minotaur but then the elves turned on them. They walked up to the paladin and their faces changed into copies of hers. They they dropped their weapons and instead slashed her with their claws. Helspa moved invisibly through the area observing and Skritek stepped up to fight his original foes. Egg managed to trip one of the dopplegangers before going down in a flurry of bloody claws. Helspa started firing arrows into the fight and Skritek cut down one then another doppleganger. The last one died about the same time as the Osiriani leader perished back in the room.

The last magic pit disappeared and freed the remaining wounded minotaur. The other had been killed by a summoned giant ant before it had been killed. The minotaur hacked Djelzeem before retreating. It was chased down and caught by Lulu, Sampson, and Djelzeem in the intersection where Elspa died. It hit the ground and was beheaded by Sampson with his Flame Blade as a partially healed Egg and Skritek arrived. The fighting was over for the moment and they quickly looted the bodies before coming up with a plan to pass the sphinx.

Sampson and Egglantine went back to the sphinx to barter for passage back through the room and into the water passage. It took a little convincing but after providing the large creature with some fresh meat and some stories, it let them pass and they climbed or were hauled up a level and into the illuminated tropical room where Sampson ran from the fruit flies.

There they caught and ate a few of the fruit flies which did indeed give them a temporary strength and dexterity bonus. They explored the room finding two secret doors in alcoves, gathered some fresh food, and peaked into the next domed room from which the water issued from a giant stone lion head. Being pretty ragged, the group decided to rest there before stretching themselves too thin. They set up camp for the night.

XP: 2,287

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Pyramid of Amun-Re
To Rob a Tomb and Lift the Curse

A few days of research revealed a lot. There was much rumor of course but also some fairly reliable information on the ancient nation state of Bakar. It seemed they had two missions. First, after releasing Kalitharius, they were honor bound to find and release his rival, the Djinn Vizier Aeraldoth, held in Phoenix for just this occasion. Second, they needed bring water back to the desert by lifting the ancient curse on Amun-Re. That required them to steal his staff of rulership and a star gem from his theft-proof tomb. The former was more important but the location of Phoenix remained unknown so they decided to travel to Amun-Re’s pyramid first. Their main concern were the notes they found in Q’dan’s third warehouse that indicated that the pyramid complex now hosted a group of Raurindi. The Raurindi were the descendants of the people of Bakar and were known to be hot tempered and not disposed to foreigners. They also protected the old ways including tombs and holy places of the old Gods of Ancient Osirion. Violators are subject to “Bloodquest”.

They used the previously contracted guides Achmed and Wa’de to manage the small caravan. Sampson led the group with maps they had created and Q’dan’s notes. Skritek helped guide but nobody put much stock in what the hobgoblin had to say. Djelzeem, Enzo, Orko, and the dwarf Elspa rounded out the group.

Back in Ipec, Egg met with her personal trainer Chad. She was resolute and didn’t allow herself to be pressured into a yearly membership even if this was the “last day for the special rate”. With her trial membership started and personal evaluation by Chad complete, she found a small group of adventure-seekers headed to the recently discovered pyramid in the desert hoping to catch up to the others.

They made good time on the five day trip through the Parched Dunes and only had one mishap when six sandmen elemental creatures popped into their camp one night and started pummeling people and putting them to sleep. If not for the timely intervention of Orko’s summoned gorilla there might not have been any survivors.

When their caravan reached the pyramid they found Q’dan’s sketches to be accurate and that there were some Raurindi camped out. There was also was appeared to be a caravan from Ipec sheltered within the ruined walls of a city building. The humans decided to approach the caravan and see what was up while the others remained out of sight.

Sampson did the talking with the two guards posted at the entrance to the tumbled down building. They weren’t very talkative and seemed to think Sampson might be lost or need some help. In the end they indicated that Sampson should just walk over to the small temple in the wall around the pyramid if he had questions about the temple and the Raurindi.

With some trepidation they approached the Raurindi guarding the temple in front of the pyramid. They passed a sand choked channel that led to a large dry basin. Then they hiked up the curved stairs to the front doors. Djelzeem did the talking. The guards wore fancy four mirror armor with conical helmets and bucklers. They were armed with shiny khopeshes. They wanted to know what brought Djelzeem and Sampson to this holy place. Djelzeem told them that he also worshiped the Old Gods and they wanted to visit the temple. The guards opened the doors and let them pass. Djelzeem told them they might have some friends coming along.

Djelzeem and Sampson were in a large dark hallway facing another giant set of doors. They pulled them open and entered a large room with statues and five Raurindi in breastplates and another dressed like those outside but also wearing a tunic with the Eye of Horus and holding a large white book. Outside, their companions rushed to catch up, leaving Achmed and Wa’de to watch the animals and supplies.

These Raurindi were also formal and polite and answered some questions about the Gods. By then the others had joined and Orko proved to know quite a lot about the old pantheon. Their leader was impressed but also mistook Lulu the sheep for a sacrifice. He had four of his men escort them out the back of the temple and told them to cross the courtyard and ascend the stairs into the pyramid. There they would find a place to make sacrifice.

Once inside the cool inviting interior they began searching the rather large room carefully for secret doors while Orko snuck down a side hall were he heard murmuring. Orko’s investigation revealed a 30×30 room with a statue of a Pharaoh. It was filled with worshipping Raurindi and a priestly character on a stair tossing what appeared to be an animal part into a fiery brazier. The flames shot high in response. He got the impression that the priest might have noticed him so he acted nonchalant like he wasn’t trying to spy and watched for a little more before leaving.

In the main room, they had found a secret door behind a large statue. After figuring how to swing it open they disappeared inside and closed it behind them. Then began a lengthy exploration of numerous rooms and hallways and even a couple of big water-filled shafts. It appeared to be a plundered tomb but they decided it was a fake decoy tomb complete with an empty Pharaoh’s sarcophagus. After re-searching the tomb with a Detect Secret Door they decided to continue exploring via the sluiceway dumping water into the shaft.

Using Spider Climb, Sampson investigated the large diameter pipe supplying water to one of the shafts. He was able to climb all the way up the pipe where he found a side passage with a trapdoor and a tall vertical shaft where the water thundered down from above. He stuck his head up the trapdoor and was surprised to smell animal. The 30×30 room was the lair of a 12 foot tall, 1,000 pound regal, bird-winged lion with a human’s head, clad in the golden raiment of a powerful pharaoh. The beast wanted to play a game of riddles and gobble up the shepherd should he lose. After getting licked, Sampson excused himself and climbed up the vertical shaft. After 35 wet feet, he exited into a hallway with a narrow walkway on one side and a channel of fast moving water on the other. Following that, he could see a large, well lit room filled with tropical plants. There was even a huge bowl of fruit but as he approached the fruit turned out to be a type of fly with a fruit-like camouflage. He didn’t recognize the species of “fruit flies” when they flew out of the bowl in a big cloud. He ran away.

When Sampson realized that he wasn’t being swarmed, he returned. The fruit flies were buzzing around the treetops mostly. Occasionally one would land back in the bowl and rest. He asked Orko’s summoned lantern archon to search ahead to find the source of the water and then he turned around and descended to the rest of the group. The lantern archon very quickly passed him on the way down. The water came out of a lion’s mouth, it said.

With Sampson’s report the six felt that struggling up the sluiceway was the way to go. With Spider Climb, Fly, and a rope the six of them made it into and up the slick 500 ft tube. The water level appeared to be lower than in the past otherwise it would not have been possible at all and even now it was only possible with magical assistance. They grouped up in the shallow pool where the shaft became visible. Orko was very excited to play the riddle game with the sphinx so he crawled up through the trapdoor and started a conversation with the creature.

The man-headed sphinx was delighted to hear the “little mouse in his house” speak the language of the sphinxes. He also wanted to play riddles with Orko but Orko didn’t like the stakes. He didn’t want to risk getting eaten just to be able to ask a question. He proposed his tasty body for three of the sphinx’s body parts which he figured were rare magical components. The sphinx agreed and moved off the trapdoor to let Orko bring up one of his friends to help. The rest of the group filed into the room too. Most of them took a position near the only door out of the room (which opened into a mist-filled hallway).

The sphinx asked his riddle. Orko and Enzo didn’t know the answer. The sphinx was growing impatient as the minutes passed. Minutes turned into tens of minutes and the sphinx wanted an answer but they didn’t have one. The sphinx padded up to Enzo and gave him a sniff and a lick. Suddenly out of nowhere the answer came to them (they rolled for it) and the sphinx was very disappointed. Then Orko excitedly demanded the sphinx’s mane, wings, and tongue. The sphinx angrily told him that isn’t how the game is played and demanded they ask him a riddle. Orko did and the sphinx began to ponder.

XP: 3,000 (this is 1000 more than given out at the game) +500 to Sampson (I did double check the XP given out at the session and it was 2,000 not 1,500)

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Sunken City of Pazar
There wasn't anything down there, certainly not a Noble Efreet

The group now including Uth and A.P.I.S. treks across the desert, lost at first, and finds a wandering dwarf separated from her scattered caravan. They brave numerous natural hazards including a “Shaitan storm” that scoured the flesh from their conjured camel while they hid in portable holes.

One night they encountered the spirit of a long forgotten Pharaoh named Amun-Re. He beseeched them to plunder his tomb for that was the only way to break a curse and let his contrite spirit pass on to the Land of the Dead. The spirit pointed the way before fading away. The story was met with mixed reactions and ultimately the group decided they couldn’t break into the unplunderable tomb in their current state so they would continue back to Ipec as planned. Each night Amun-Re returned to point them in the direction he wanted them to go and each night they tried to tell him that they would come back.

Though they skipped Amun-Re’s pyramid, Fate led them to the sunken city of Pazar. It was marked by a minaret jutting through the sand and a large statue with a tablet describing the sad demise of Pazar. They climbed up into then descended down the tight staircase in the minaret. Skritek needed to hack through some giant scorpions with a little assistance from Egglantine. The cool darkness was pleasant and inviting. Uth and APIS watched their backs from the top of the minaret.

The group left the stairs and began exploring a large porch. The roof was held aloft by numerous columns and a huge slope of sand spilled in from the outside entrance. The walls had some drawings and hieroglyphics preserved on them that Djelzeem spent time examining with interest. Two large bronze doors stood partially open and after dispatching a giant centipede the group peeked into the 20×20 room beyond. All seemed quiet.

There wasn’t much left to explore. The found a set of large golden doors with some magical hieroglyphs that Orko mistranslated as “No entry. Treasure inside.” They almost couldn’t enter until finding some clues written on a broken tablet in a scroll room. The with a wave of the hand and a passphrase, the doors opened. Orko’s little Lantern Archon was flash frozen by a trap inside but again consulting the tablet allowed the group to bypass the three deadly traps and arrive at an altar with a giant pulsing star gem.

The gem was seized, releasing an imprisoned Efreet noble. They attempted to trap him inside while still in evil mist form but he transformed and flew past them to the patio. He announced himself as Kalitharius, Efreet Pasha, Vizier to the Fire Sultan. He said that he would spare their lives in order that they might spread the word of his release and plans to lay waste to all civilization. Then he shimmered away.

With that, everyone quietly climbed back out of the minaret. When Uth and APIS asked what they found, they replied “Nothing”.

Compared to that misadventure the next several days hiking back to Ipec was easy and without incident.

260 xp Uth and Apis

1660 xp Everyone else

Shares of group loot:
542 gp
13 sp
7 cp

The group made it back to town (even finding a lost camel along the way) and spent 3 days later taking care of stuff in the city. The group then started doing research on stuff they learned and even hiriing some sages to help.

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