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)