Race for the Egg
This adventure began with the group of adventurers led by Shale returning to the city of Agropthos after driving the Hades cult out of the ruins north of the city. Upon entering the city, the party went their separate ways, intending to regroup the next morning at the Eastern Palms Inn.
Tying up loose ends
Shale and Siege headed to the temple of Nevis, where they briefed Yves on everything that happened in the ruins. Bardo returned to the School of the Sea, where she discussed matters with Allagaeira. Solidus did the same at the temple of Varice, where he was instructed to search for additional portals that the cult members might have secreted in the city. Emi went to her contact at the temple of Helandra, where she exchanged some of the crystal pieces she'd gathered for a device that would help her see invisible things.
Back at the Dune Trail Inn, the group was briefly joined by the Waterbuck brothers, Andy and Paul. They discussed the beholder-like creature they encountered, and determined that it was likely some kind of related monster rather than an actual beholder.
The next morning, everyone met at the Eastern Palms. Gairevander had been reprimanded by his superiors with Carrolwood, so could not call upon their aid to help find Rakeor, who had disappeared in the ruins. Rin used personal reading to determine that he was, at least, still alive. The group discussed how they might fund his recovery as well as Illiger's raising, and whether they might return to the ruins to see if they could find more information -- and more treasure. The party again separated, and as the performers went to the festival grounds, Klaven went to the temple of Nevis with some of the crystal pieces. There, he met with Yves and Lucretia, who were concerned that other such pieces might make their way into the wrong hands and thus requested Klaven recover the remaining ones.
Meanwhile, Shale and Siege paid a visit to the temple of Sedric. On the way, they spied what appeared to be a sailing ship floating in the air above the temple. As they were standing in awe, they met a local noble, Fa'Zu, whose father, Nata'Zu was its owner. They then entered the tent, where they explained their recent doings to one of the priests. Siege gave him one of the holy symbols as they discussed the possibility of searching for portals, as well as what would be involved in raising Illiger. From there, they proceeded to the temple of Laurent, where they ran into their Dark Elven acquaintance Alton, who pointed them to Enchiklo, a diviner who might be of help to them. Solidus went to his temple to ask about aid in raising their comrades, and they told him they would not aid Illiger due to her chaotic nature, but he might find other temples more amenable.
Bardo paid another visit to the School of the Sea, and she and her mentor adjourned to one of the private rooms beneath the library. Alla described the difference between the beholder and the spectator, and suggested that it was possible the one they'd met had teleported Rakeor to its home plane of Nirvana. She further explained that the easiest way to get there would be to first go to the city of Sigil, but the information on how to get there was held dear by her fellow wizards.
The party gathered in Klaven's room at Gladdy's Boarding House to exchange information more privately. Gilbert told everyone about the possibility of using the Red Dragon Inn to reach Sigil. After lunch, they departed again.
Klaven and Shale returned to the temple of Laurent, where Alton promised to pass their message to Klaven's old friend Al Sha'in. Makoto and Solidus paid a visit to the garden of Lady Sofistia to ask for aid, but neither the Druid nor her houseguest Lady Cragganmore was inclined to leave the city. Siege and Rin to the local mages' guild to find Enchiklo, using the cloud escalator to reach the Rock of the Djinn. He agreed to help them locate Rakeor if they could show him something unique. As an example, he mentioned that a blue dragon had recently been slain -- rumor had it that there was an egg left behind in its lair, and Enchiklo had never seen the birth of a dragon.
Finally, Gilbert, Bardo, Emi and Shale visited Sedric's to ask about the use of the flying ship for a return to the ruins. Claryonne, a priestess whom Gilbert knew, arranged a meeting with Nata'Zu aboard the ship the next morning. When Emi showed her a piece of the Crystal of Ix, Claryonne mentioned that two of those might be worth enough to buy Illiger's raising.
Back at Dune Trail, the group set about discussing what they might have to satisfy Enchiklo, and also what to do with the crystal that they now knew to be quite valuable. After Shale went out to see if Kernaar, the blacksmith, had anything for her to do, Al Sha'in paid a visit, and says that given the ongoing Day of Change festival, it would be impossible to prepare for a raising ritual until nine days hence.
Kernaar told Shale that, while he was closed for the day, he would have plenty of work tomorrow. He had received an order from none other than Sheik Zu, who was also seeking the blue dragon's lair. He also said that the dragon had been slain by the famous Riders of Ramond. When Shale returned to the inn and told the tale, Andy mentioned that he and Paul had been approached by a wizard named Mozenrath to help him locate the dragon's lair. Paul speculated that others, including the Riders, might also be in the hunt.
Joining the crew
The next morning, Shale went with Rin and Siege to meet Enchiklo at the Outer Rim Café at the School of the Wind, which was located next to the mages' guild on the hill. They negotiated, with Enchiklo agreeing to locate Rakeor in exchange for Rin's mustard packet from Cresilla and a masterwork clock of Enchiklo's design to be made by Siege's mother.
Meanwhile, Bardo, Emi, Gilbert, Klaven and Makoto went to meet Sheik Zu aboard the ship, named the Mutaradat al'Barq. Fa'Zu told the guards to let them board, and they proceeded past the bustling crew to the forecastle. Bardo and Gilbert describe the group's plight, and the sheik agreed to help them if they would provide a service in return. He asked the party to join the ship's crew for the egg hunt, and upon its completion he would do whatever he could to retrieve Rakeor and Blaven, and also to raise Illiger for her desert expertise. The group met the ship's captain, Mirk, before departing.
At lunch, Siege received a message from Enchiklo, saying that Rakeor was in the city of Automata in the Outlands. Shale said that she would not be joining the group, as it was her task to go get her Dwarven comrade. Leaving the group in the hands of Bardo, she set off to look for Isu, the only dimensionalist she knew, to help her get there.
With Shale departing, the group realized that their warrior complement was down to Klaven and Siege. The latter noted Hafsa at a nearby table and asked if she'd be interested, but the Desert Elf wanted more information first. Meanwhile, Klaven went to the festival grounds, where he ran into Eckhorn. The retired soldier expressed interest in the flying ship, and agreed to meet the group for breakfast.
Bardo returned to meet with Alla, and on the way she ran into a mage from the School of the Wind delivering a message to her mentor. He introduced himself as Zammocaz, and the two went to meet her. Zammocaz was interested in Sea's electric eel mascot, so they went to the private library rooms to talk. When Bardo mentioned Mozenrath, Alla advised her to beware his servants, the shambling mamluks, and told her student she would ask to see if any others might be willing to join the party. Solidus also returned to the temple of Varice in an effort to get aid, but he inadvertently insulted one of the priests and was chased off.
At dinner, Zammocaz joined the party as they discussed what other items they might sell to raise the money needed to pay the currently-inflated prices for nearly everything in the city. Hafsa also visited the table, saying she'd probably need to decline as she had previous guarding commitments. Siege suggested that perhaps Rusus might relieve her of those duties, but when Klaven met her at The Barking Bunny, she told him she'd already been hired for the same mission by Prince Dazeem of Daro.
The next morning, the party was joined for breakfast by Eckhorn. He told them he'd been unable to recruit any Dwarves, but had met one named Drax who had been hired by yet another player in the egg hunt. Siege and Klaven went on to the temple of Nevis, where they invited old friend Yves to come along. The paramander was tempted, and said if he could get away he would join them on the al'Barq.
The ceremony and its aftermath
The party gathered on a rooftop for the Day of Change ceremony. Sultan Bedou dan Yuwar addressed the crowd, congratulating the Riders of Ramond for making it safe to trade to the north and east again. Their leader then vowed to find the blue dragon's lair and return with its hoard. Sheik Nata'Zu then ascended the platform and vowed to bring the hoard to Zunimal. Prince Dazeem did the same in regards to Daro, and then a man named Tycho Chervil said that he had been hired to bring the dragon's egg back to Mason Segers in Gascar. Finally, Mozenrath himself appeared to speak for the Land of the Black Sand.
At this point, the Sultan announced that whomever returned with the hoard or the egg first would be granted the hand of his second daughter in marriage along with a personal gift from him. This angered Maialen, who vowed to stop such insulting conduct toward women, and she immediately took off through the crowd. The rest of the group, fearing the chaos to come, decided to beat an early retreat and head for the ship.
After gathering their belongings, the party was allowed to board the al-Barq. Siege damaged the ladder with a loose knife, and Captain Mirk advised one of the guards, Nyla, to keep a close eye on the Elf. She then led the party to their quarters, and after stowing their gear some of them went up on deck. As they explored the ship, they met other crew members, including the ship's cook -- a Halfling priest of Sedric named Sgoc Llewsgoc -- the storesmaster -- a local named Harud -- and Kardano Quint, the designer of the ship and its engineer. Just before sunset, Enchiklo arrived, having signed on to help maintain the ship's magical conveyance. Fa'Zu then arrived with his retinue, and the ship's company was complete.
Dinner was a celebratory feast, with Gilbert, Makoto and Bardo giving performances and Solidus performing a blessing of Varice. Makoto developed a suspicion of one of the prince's servants, a mage named Roorat, and decided to check him out that evening along with Emi. Klaven and Quint had a drinking contest, which the engineer won, and which resulted in both having to be helped to their quarters. Bardo's familiar, Hecate, also checked out the prince's quarters, but backed off when she smelled an unfamiliar feline.
As the two rogues went on their investigation, they heard some odd noises behind a storage room door. They mentioned it to Harud, who came out with a dead giant centipede, proclaiming that the ship was infested with them. After that, Emi and Makoto returned to the quarters and everyone did their best to get some sleep.
The next morning, the ship was loosed from its moorings and rose into the sky. From there, the party was able to get a good look at its competitors. Prince Dazeem's team was riding flying carpets, while the Riders of Ramond were among several groups on horseback. Tycho and his group were astride camels, while another team led by a large man with a horned helmet was riding a purple worm. Finally, Mozenrath appeared with his own familiar -- some sort of flying eel -- and sent his mamluks into the earth before disappearing himself. The al'Barq got off to a slower start than expected due to being laden with extra food, but finally set off over the city wall.
Shortly after clearing the Rock of the Djinn, one of Dazeem's carpets was spotted approaching. In addition to Rusus, it carried two other old acquaintances: Tummy the Gnomish fighter and Spot the thri-kreen mage. Tummy delivered a message from the prince that they would beat Fa'Zu, punctuating it with a raspberry.
After learning that the party was familiar with some of Dazeem's hired hands, the prince's butler Noh-rar invited them to meet with Fa'Zu to discuss their abilities. Makoto also volunteered to pitch in as a deckhand in an effort to gather information about the ship and its crew. They arrived at the prince's cabin, which was obviously much larger inside than it appeared. They told them what they knew about Rusus, Tummy and Spot, with Gilbert adding a bit of information about Tycho.
After lunch, another centipede was found on deck, which Klaven quickly dispatched. The Dwarf went back to the party's cabin with Eckhorn, where they disposed of two more dead bodies. They then found and plugged a hole in the deck near Solidus' hammock. While means of deterring further infestations were discussed, Bardo and Zammo were granted access to the library in Fa'Zu's quarters. At Bardo's invitation, Rin copied a map of the area.
After dinner, Zammo created a cloud for Rin to attempt a cloudviewing. She was able to spot four groups, including the barbarian-led group and Tycho's group, but could not identify the others. Tycho spots Rin and approaches, and Fa'Zu invites him aboard along with his party -- Viensa, Drax, Burt, Isabella and Poluch, who stayed behind with the camels. The groups exchanged info, with Tycho identifying the worm-rider as Molbo, a barbarian from Odiferous.
Later, Emi and Makoto decided to investigate the group behind them. They gathered the rest to discuss the matter, then informed the prince and the crew of their intentions. Armed with invisibility from Bardo's spell and Gilbert's potion, the two rogues set off with Rin. Once they came within sight of the dune, the three spotted what appeared to be a campfire formed from the same flames they saw used by the cult of Hades. The trio quickly returned to the ship, but it was decided that the information could wait until the following morning.
When that morning arrived, a tired Makoto tried to get some extra sleep, but Klaven pestered her. While the party was off to get breakfast, the kitsune disappeared, causing the party to execute a search so that they could discuss the previous evening. Her hiding spot was found, and she received a tongue-lashing from Klaven and Bardo.
After discussing their findings, the party immediately went to inform Prince Fa'Zu. After some discussion of strategy, the prince advised them to talk to Enchiklo. Meanwhile, Noh-rar arrived to inform the prince that a promising spot for a dragon's lair had been spotted, and he ordered the ship's course altered toward it. The party left to plan their means of investigating the cave.
During the visit with Enchiklo, Rin seemed to grow concerned, and the party made an excuse to leave. Back in their quarters, the priestess noted that after comparing her paintings, the flame from the campsite did not quite match that of the cult. After consulting with Kardano, the party resumed planning their approach. Shortly thereafter, Zammo received a visit from Ozone, a lightning mephit messenger sent by his mother, and he told the party the creature would be watching over him during the remainder of their journey.
Investigating the cave
Once their planning was complete and the ship was in position, the party made its way around the outcropping toward the cave entrance. An invisible Hecate informed the party that there were many tracks outside, but not large enough to be a dragon. A loud noise scared her, though, and Makoto -- also invisible and in fox form -- went in her place. She climbed up a boulder that partially blocked the entrance, but something reached out to try and grab her. After initial speculation that it was a bugbear, the creature poked its head out of the cave, allowing Eckhorn to identify it as a troll, desert variety.
The party regrouped to decide how to deal with it, and determined that they would try and eliminate the troll. Makoto created an illusion of a troll to lure it back out, but neither Solidus' sunscorch nor Bardo's acid arrow had much effect. The troll turned to chase the casters, and a timely fog cloud by Gilbert allowed the main body of the group to escape.
As this was happening, however, Makoto took the opportunity to explore the cave. After finding an interesting wooden stick in the debris, she moved further inside. Unfortunately, she encountered a large snake in a side passage, which bit her with its poisonous fangs. She barely escaped in time to let Rin delay the poison's effects, but the priestess had to carry her limp form back to the ship.
Seeking an antidote
After filling in the prince on their foray, the party asked about bringing Makoto back to Agropthos, but after learning they would need to return on foot they decided to seek other options. The ship was commanded to proceed, and Fa'Zu told the party to make their decision by morning.
Upon examining Makoto, Solidus determined that the snake which bit her was about fifty feet long. Sgoc told him that he had none of the ingredients for any of the antidotes on board. The healer mused that he remembered a great garden back in Agropthos that might have what he needed, and Solidus remembered the estate of Lady Sofistia. Upon reviewing a book on desert animals, Rin narrowed the possibilities down to three. The group hoped to get Enchiklo's help with determining exactly which type was the culprit.
Meanwhile, while filling Mirk in on the party's performance, Nyla learned of a group of nomads who might be able to aid with both the ship's quest and the party's healing needs. Zammo had heard of these nomads, as they were janni -- the kin of his mother, Nah'lii, who would be willing to help for the right price. After Ozone confirmed the location and markings of the encampment, Zammo stated that Sah'lii, his aunt, was among its residents. He also suggested that the party should prepare a gift for the janni to curry their favor, and the party proceeded to discuss the specifics of such a gift-giving ceremony.
That night, during Siege's watch, the first mate, Darvic, heard a sound from below deck. Unable to get below quickly due to his peg leg, he asked Siege to go. When he did, he spotted a small item hovering in the air, then two dark figures in the corridor. He called to Darvic to sound the alarm, and the rest of the crew were roused along with most of the party. Recognizing the intruders as mamluks, the crew members were spooked. Nyla dashed off to fetch Solidus to attempt turning them. Klaven quickly arrived, but the mamluks continued to attack despite being dismembered. A moment later, Enchiklo emerged from his cabin, only to immediately retreat and retrieve a magical rod. He pointed it at the mamluks and they quickly fell to pieces. However, the device also rendered visible another person who had emerged from the chamber containing the device providing the ship's flight capability. The party attempted to capture him, but a portal opened in the wall and a hand reached through to yank him out. Enchiklo immediately stated that it could only have been the work of Mozenrath.
After the incursion, Enchiklo and Quint examined the flying device and discovered that something had been attached to it. The diviner proclaimed it to be made of a substance similar to the Crystal of Ix, and after its removal placed it in a magic-proof container. The damage, however, had been done, and the flight device had been drained of most of its magic. This gave the ship's journey to the janni camp greater urgency, and Mirk ordered the ship underway immediately.
The next morning, Makoto woke, but was still too weak to shift to human form. After breakfast, the party met with Prince Fa'Zu and his aides to discuss the events of the previous night...
Cast of characters
This adventure is currently being run by Shelley Proulx. Below is a list of characters who have been involved at one point or another:
- Bardo - run by Syd Howard
- Eckhorn - NPC
- Emi - run by Shelley Proulx
- Gilbert - NPC
- Klaven - run by Syd Howard
- Makoto - run by Lou McLeary
- Nyla - run by Lou McLeary
- Rin - NPC
- Siege - run by Phil Vlasak
- Solidus - run by Phil Vlasak
- Zammocaz - run by Shelley Proulx
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