Sands Of Sumalis Part I

Yesterday was my first time ever as a Dungeon Master in D&D. Most of the players and I had created an entire fantasy world with some rather deep history using the Microscope System. When we finished, we met one more for Session 0, laying out the out of game ground rules like where in this beautiful crazy world they’d start their adventures, and setting up how everyone knew each other. The results of all this work was realized when the campaign began yesterday. I’ll be converting the pdf of player’s document of the world I made over to pages here on the site, and updating it with new stuff as they become known or fleshed out in the game. I figure it’ll help me remember the lore and NPCs met, as well as everyone else. 

I really enjoyed it, but I was over prepared in some areas, under prepared in others, found things that work and some that didn’t, made a few mistakes here and there (I forgot the Barbarian in the party doesn’t wear armor at one point and caused some massive confusion involving a magic sword), so next time should be a definite improvement over this in terms of how organized and ready I am. Now, onto the story of a small group working for The Huntsman’s Emporium of Interesting Findings and Salvage, deep in the Sands of Sumalis. 

Kaderin – High Elf Bard and Official Leader, Colgrim – Mountain Dwarf Barbarian, Dren – Tiefling Rogue, Esriame – Scourge Aasimar Cleric, and Zenaris Wheelwright – Rock Gnome Wizard

Character Notes:
Kaderin – She hails from the Elven Kingdom of Lainoi, from the prestigious House Draven. With the goal of bringing great honor to her family, she set out into the world, and through a series of misfortunes, accidents, and not a little insubordination, she found herself transferred to the most dangerous region in the world and assigned four members of The Huntsman’s Emporium of Interesting Findings and Salvage (aka the Emporium) in an expansion of Emporium interests in the area around the City of Glass.

Colgrim – An orphan out of Red Rock, he was taken at a young age and trained to be a soldier in the Army of Red Rock. His predilection for fighting and drunkenness soon found him parting ways with the Army, and striking out alone. He spent some time with the Company of the Five Hands, but soon left, disgusted by the atrocities he saw them commit due to their willingness to do absolutely anything if the pay was right. He met Kaderin and was immediately smitten, and followed her everywhere, even going so far as joining The Emporium and following her down to the City of Glass.

Dren Dragonheart – She was a Tiefling born in lands on the wrong side of the ‘newly’ restarted Dragon-Tiefling war. She led an interesting but difficult life, and spent a long time as part of a City Watch, and became rather adept at investigation into criminal activities, and gained deep understanding how they work. Her journeys gave her a taste for strong alcohol which led to her missing her flight out of the City of Glass. She took a position as an Investigator for the City Guard, and soon found her skills were highly desired by The Emporium which led to her joining that guild as well.

Esriame – Esriame grew up in the City of Ura Clergy known as Lightgarden, and took naturally to Cleric training and teachings. She especially took interest in any and all Eldritch Cult activity, and grew fanatical about seeing it purged and utterly destroyed. Her obsession began to affect her normal expected activities and cause issues within the city. She was ordered to take a Sabbatical and join The Emporium (who had need of clerics at the time) and journey into the City of Glass to take the edge off her zealotry.

Zenaris Wheelwright – This Gnome is of the great Wheelright family, whose ancestors invented the airship. He led a privileged and sheltered life, and had his scholastic pursuits at the prestigious Academia Ourabest in the Crystal City paid for by his parents.  Upon his graduation as a full fledged Wizard, he ventured south in hopes of gaining real world experiences and knowledge that he can use to make an invention the equal to that of the Airship. To that end, he joined The Emporium who were well known collectors of esoteric knowledge, magic, and artifacts.

You All Had One Job…

Dammuid Jadebane, the local leader of the of The Huntsman’s Emporium of Interesting Findings and Salvage came out to the Party’s ramshackle stone brick hut laughingly known as a secondary office, with an assignment.

Three-ish days journey into the desert, a half dozen members of the Blue Foxes (an up and coming Adventuring Group) had been seen getting wiped out by a single Gnoll and his pet Jackals. The Navigator who saw it happen described black birds flying around the area, and the Gnoll was wielding a bow as black as midnight with gold trim and very clearly magical. His further description of the bow matched that of one used by renowned Assassin Rathal, who disappeared into the desert a couple centuries ago. The Party’s job was to go out into the desert and retrieve this bow before it could fall into the hands of anyone more capable than a Gnoll. Also, chances were good other groups were going to be going after it, as that particular Navigator was well known for his loose tongue.

The party ventured into the desert after Dren spent some time spreading misinformation throughout the various bars, pubs, and taverns other guilds and groups frequented in an attempt to keep them confused and potentially away from the treasure. They traveled with Esriame keeping watch for enemies or anything unusual, Colgrim navigating with help from Dren, Zenaris mapping their journey, and Kaderin foraging for what little food or supplies may exist in the desert. It wasn’t long before they encountered a lost Merchant Caravan (seriously, it was like four hours out, the merchants would have been fine once they crested a dune or two), whom they helpfully pointed in the right direction and continued on their way. As it was getting on toward evening they discovered a pillar, half buried in the desert, but still standing about eight feet high from the sand. Surrounding it was a group of snakes that attacked them upon approach. They defeated the snakes and pulled the sword out of the pillar. Shenanigans happened and they discovered it was a sword that would pass harmlessly through anyone wearing armor, and otherwise would behave like a standard sword.

The party met the wizard Illarion who is described thus,

You come across a High Elf Wizard sitting on a floating disc. He’s writing in a book, with what looks to be an icy harpoon in his lap, and a floating spectral blue book near his head. He’s wearing a royal blue thobe, that is the same color as his eyes, his hair is white with a blue tint like a glacier. Frost is continually appearing and disappearing on his clothing and hair.

Turns out he is a herpetologist studying the formation of Kruthik Lairs, from initial migration to fully mature lair. The Party inadvertently aggravated the Kruthiks on approach though, and killed them all much to the Illarion’s dismay. Zenaris makes it up to him by being interested in his research and the party spends literal hours listening to Illarion’s animated talking about Kruthiks (well, the only one who listened was Zenaris, everyone else didn’t even pretend to listen or pay attention) but it was enough, and Illarion set off to the original Kruthik lair in hopes of finding another migration to study, after pointing the party in the right direction.

The Party bypassed a Giant Scorpion lair, and Kadarin had an encounter while on watch with a trio of Orcs from the Blue Foxes, and the Party thinks the Orcs left (they didn’t, the Orcs were following the Party at great distance, not really believing the lies Kadarin had told them). The party finds the unfortunate half dozen members who were killed by the Gnoll and Jackals. After investigating the area, collecting some of the black feathers, and removing the Blue Fox insignia in hopes of returning them to the Blue Foxes in the City of Glass, and then gave the dead a proper burial before they set out hot on the trail of the Gnoll, who it appeared may have been living in some old ruins a few hours travel away.  The party was right, the Gnoll was what looked to be a long abandoned and ruined religious fort to the deity Farrin.

The Orcs that had been following and had almost caught up to the Party called out, accidentally alerting the Gnoll and Jackals, forcing the Party into a fight. As the Party is fighting for their lives, two things happen, a sandstorm rolls in, and the Orcs appear to get involved in a fight of their own, but the Party doesn’t know with whom. The Party dispatches the Gnoll and Jackals and acquire the Bow of Murder. They scramble inside the ruins of the fort to weather the storm as the fighting from where the Orcs were stops.

Shadowy figures appear outside, barely visible in the blowing sand, apparently unperturbed by the sandstorm and demand the Party turn over the Bow of Murder. After initial reluctance and an attempt to actually use the bow (which resulted in a flock of very confused crows), the figures shattered a wall of the fort, after which the Party threw them the bow in fear. The figures disappeared into the storm, and the party remained unharmed. After the sandstorm had passed, the party looked out upon a pristine desert wiped clean of any signs of fighting, bow, or shadowy figures.

Where Things Stand

  • The Bow of Murder is with what the Party only knows are religious acolytes of some form.
  • City Guilds and Groups are confused about what is or may be happening in the desert. Dren’s disinformation took on a life of its own and things are blown way out of proportion.
  • Illarion is traveling back to his last known Kruthik lair.
  • The Blue Fox Adventuring Group have lost almost a dozen (9 to be exact) members and they have no real idea why or how.
  • A new Merchant Caravan has arrived in the City of Glass bearing thousands of pounds of goods and merchandise not normally found in the desert, and stand to make a small fortune.
  • Zenaris is the only member of the Party who holds any kind of interest in the Anti-Armor Sword, and as such is the one currently holding it.

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