Abderaz

Adventure 1: The First Step

Having trained at Jura’s Sanctuary on the island of Lahar, Jura sends forth the heroes to travel the world and rally them against the coming Nezuran threat. After boarding the Sea Snail, a vessel the heroes suspect may not be a simple merchantman, they run across a merchant ship being attacked by pirates. The heroes convince the reluctant Captain Jarishi to come to the merchant’s aid, at which time the Sea Snail bears it’s teeth in the form of a concealed cannon of Tanathan make.

After rescuing the merchant, the heroes eventually arrive at the great port city of Kvajapur. Seeking opportunity, they begin to look for work that will carry them eastward. While traveling in the merchant distract, they stumble across two merchants bickering, one of which seems to have brought mercenaries to make his point. When a fight ensues, the heroes side with the overwhelmed merchant, eventually defeating the aggressor. The thankful merchant introduces himself as Bhagram Bhish, a seller of rare and exotic herbs.

The heroes accept an offer to work as bodyguards for Bhagram, who is traveling to Jangir to peddle his wares.

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Adventure 2: In the Footsteps of Legends

Having signed-on with Bhagram, the heroes begin their long journey to Jangir. A few days outside of town the group is attacked by a pack of red-furred Grimstak. Kaz and Rashanu recognize the creatures as Wazafti, Dar-Guhal War Grimstak. The party notices that the creatures seem to focus their attacks on Kaz and Rashanu, but not much is said about it.

A few more days along the trail the heroes encounter a troupe of harlequins (aryashi) and share their camp with them for the evening. The heroes make a good impression, in particular Kaz befriends them, and the two groups part ways.

Another day down the road Tima scouts a group of armed Rapput blocking the road east. When she describes the symbols worn by the soldiers, Bhagram indicates he may have had a misunderstanding with the Svarda who these men serve. With some convincing, he leads them to a secret path through the jungle in an attempt to bypass the blockade.

In the jungles they encounter the Vigiri (preservers), who had forbidden Bhagram from using this path. After some mediation, the preservers bring the group back to their camp located in a Trangyar ruins. On the site are two large statues, one of Ran and one of Sun. The heroes learn that this is where Ran and Sun were slain in a fight against a living god. Jura could not bring them back, suggesting they had finally found peace and fulfilled their destiny.

After the Vigiri decide to let the group go, they encounter bandits several days down the path. The bandits are disposed of with little trouble.

Several days later the group encounters the annui Jixxel at his sacred pool. Some accept his challenge of a riddle, with one hero guessing correctly and another having to pay the price in the form of a future trick to be played on him.

A few days later the group exists the jungle and the session comes to a close with a large explosion knocking down the lead members of the group.

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Adventure 3: He Who Lies Beneath

As the smoke clears from the explosion, the heroes are confronted by a group of Dar-Guhal and more Wazafti (war grimstak). Only Kaz and Rashanu recognize these as their fellows from the Syriam and during the fight they learn that their entire class has been dispatched to kill them in order to restore their honor. The heroes are victorious, but the non-Dar-Guhal members begin to wonder at the connection between Kaz/Rashanu and the attacks.

One day down the road, the group takes shelter from a storm in the barn of a local farmer named Atrama Shan.

The heroes travel a further three days, eventually reaching the town of Bishwara, where Bhagram indicates they will be staying two days for some trading. During their stay, the locals hold their annual celebrating on Punmeda, a festival dedicated to the goddess Urdu. The group participates in prana (wrestling), bidram (a gambling game involving dice), rona (foot race) and kunar-sota (cow jumping). Winners received an asabra wreath as a prize.

Three days on the road to Nagupta, the group finds a flier that reads: Praise to he who lies beneath, his shadow stretches over you. Keep his covenant and he will reward you with boundless gifts. Leave the path and he shall remove his countenance from you.

When the group arrives at Nagupta, two of their number have come down with a tropical flu. The group takes rooms in Nagupta while Bhagram trades, and the sickened members get some rest. Tima encounters a crying girl named Nari, who says her sister Chandi was given to he who lies beneath. Tima encourages the group to rescue the sister.

After doing some investigation in town, the group learns that a priest named Jarshen started a cult worshiping something in the swamp. The group makes their way to the altar at the edge of the swamp and ambushes Jarshen and his acolytes. Jarshen appears to have supernatural powers similar to death magic.

After slaying the priest, they make their way into the Shankra swamp by borrowing boats from the locals. Utog, using a ritual of the wildkin, detects the corruption and guides the heroes to it. As they travel the waterways, they are attacked by zombie-like creatures with veins and skin permeated by moss and mold and whose touch causes necrosis. After a hard-fought battle, the group dispatches the creatures.

Eventually they make their way to an island with walls made of thick foliage and a narrow path. Inside they hear the crying of a girl, so they forge into the center, only to find the path has sealed itself. The creature known as he who lies beneath attacks them with tentacle-like vines that come up through the ground and then screeching corpses that come out of the walls, and finally a great maw made of roots. Once these have been defeated, they cut Chandi free from the back wall, but Utog indicates that the corruption remains somewhere below, and so they descend through a hole left by the destruction of the maw.

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Adventure 4: He Who Lies Beneath Part 2

Descending into the tunnels beneath the island in the marsh, the heroes press forward to confront the creature posing as a deity. While making their way through the slimy warrens, they come across a pile of corpses. As the heroes move closer to investigate, creatures that look to be little more than sharp-toothed maws surrounded by flailing tentacles burst forth from the mound of rotting flesh. As the heroes move to engage, horrors are piled upon horrors as a roughly humanoid monstrosity arises from the mound made up of would looks like partial melded parts of bodies. The creatures are dispatched with reasonable alacrity and the heroes press on into what Utog calls the main chamber, based on his wildkin rituals sense of the layout.

The main chambers is made up of roughly hewn rock walls and is partially flooded to about three feet in depth. Small patches of dry earth dot the otherwise water-filled landscape. As the heroes make their way to from island to island, an aberration bursts from the water and attacks Kur-Dan. It is a mass of roughly spherical flesh approximately six feet in diameter covered in malformed mouths and eyes of various shapes and sprouting throughout are long, rubbery tentacles. Several of the heroes flee, momentarily overcome by the horror of the abomination, while the others try to hold the thing off.

After an extended battle with the creature, it’s mass falls into the water, having suffered many grievous wounds. But alas, the true monster then bursts forth from the corpse to continue the fight. Resembling a pig-fleshed stingray, the creature slashes at the party with hit-and-run tactics. The fight is long, as the heroes struggle to compensate for the creatures speed in the water, but eventually they bring it down. The price is high, however, as Kur-Dan is left suffering several grievous wounds that will haunt him for weeks to come.

In the creatures lair the heroes find the second piece of the famed Vel Blade and a crystallized shard of necrotic energy. Taking these prizes, they escort Chandi back to her family and are celebrated as champions.

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Adventure 5: Justice Done

Having defeated the abomination posing as a god, the heroes continue their journey with Bhagram, reaching the town of Banustan four days later. The heroes settle in for what they hope will be a few relaxing days in town while Bhagram concludes his affairs.

Attempting to recover from his painful wounds, Kur-Dan takes refuge in his room, self-medicating with copious quantities of alcohol and generally avoiding getting caught up in his companions hijinks. It is at this time that he first encounters Nikana Ura Sa Siloon, also known as Nika or the beer fairy. Nika was attempting to steal some of Kur-Dan’s beer, but was caught when Kur-Dan awoke at an inopportune moment. The two enjoyed drinks and conversation, during which Kur-Dan learned something about the fae.

Meanwhile, Tima, having discovered alcohol for the first time, is convinced by Shir to aid him in his quest to recover a statue stolen from the local temple. After a somewhat chaotic investigation, the two discover the thief, but fail to recover the statue as it had been melted down.

At the same time, Kazinnar strikes a deal with the local smith to use his forge in exchange for two buckets of mud from a pond just outside the city. After traveling to the pond with Nacu, they find that the pond is being guarded by a grumpy annui, shaped like a giant toad, who tires of the smith harvesting mud from his pond. They eventually come to terms with the annui and bring the mud to the smith.

Having returned the statue, Tima and Shir find themselves in the establishment of the famed Oracle of Banustan. The Oracle, a rotund Punjal with bangles on his arms and legs, greets the pair with his assistant. Shir is convinced the Oracle charges too much and in all likelihood is a charlatan. The argument escalates until Tima drunkenly strikes the assistant. The local authorities banish Shir from town and lock up Tima for the night in jail, after which she too is banished from town.

Near the end of their stay, Bhagram asks the group to free the slaves held by a man named Sanjif Ironbands, a deed for which he is willing to pay. Though slavery is illegal, it is rumored that Sanjif runs illegal slave fights in town. After investigating the matter, and with the assistance of Utog, they discover that Sanjif has structures beneath his manor that may be cells and a fighting arena. After sneaking Tima and Shir back into town, the group breaks into the manor, defeats Sanjif and his guards, and free the slaves.

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Adventure 6: Rock, Tree, and River

The heroes travel four days across open grassland until they reach Dalikan. Here they spend two relatively uneventful days before booking passage on a ferry across the mighty Ganidata river (also known as the Sajuna in some dialects). As they cross the river, they spot a bloated corpse floating in the river and bring it along side. It appears to be the body of a Punjal farmer who’s heart has been cut out. Shir comments that in the stories of Ran there are mentions of a death cult in the Punraji, though he cannot remember the name exactly.

Upon reaching the eastern shore, the group heads north along the river to the village of Nari along the southern edge of the jungle. When they arrive, most of the group heads into town while Shir goes hunting in the jungle. While in the village, the heroes learn that several people have gone missing over the past month. The group decides to investigate, following up leads at two of the farms that have lost family members. At each location they discover hidden fetish dolls, which they identify as being associated with worship of Baka-Gitana, the god of murder. After completing their investigation, they decide to follow the evidence into the jungle at night.

The group gathers, save for Shir, who has not yet returned from his hunt. They head into the jungle in search of the cults meeting place, eventually sneaking up upon a clearing in which masked figures surround a demonic looking stone idol and an altar. Lying on that altar, bound at the hands and feet, is Shir praying to the god Shir for deliverance.

The heroes attack, and as they do Shir slips a concealed knife from his bracers and frees his hand. As the group engages the cultists two imps spring from the bodies of the fallen. Shir notices that each time this happens, the eyes of the statue flash red. After cutting his feet free, Shir grabs his weapons and proceeds to smash the statue. Once the statue was destroyed, the imps stopped springing from the corpses and the tide of the battle turned in the heroes favor. After a difficult battle, the heroes eventually vanquish the cultists.

After a short recuperation period, the heroes travel east on the road to Jangir. A few days out purple lightning strikes from a clear sky, creating a chasm into which the heroes wagon and derbas slide, though the heroes themselves manage to avoid falling in. The heroes pull the damaged wagon free and begin repairs, but shortly after an elemental being of stone crawls from the chasm and attacks them. The heroes manage to bring the creature down, but their wagon suffers irreparable damage during the engagement.

Now on foot and burdened by an extra load, the heroes press on with Bhagram towards Jangir. Two days later, Utog hears a voice on the wind beckoning him north. Compelled to investigate, he detours north an hour or so and encounters a tree with a face that introduces itself as the Keeper of the Ways. He asks Utog to help cleanse the Sanctuary of Odalon of it’s now mad annui.

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Adventure 7: Sanctuary of Odalon

At the request of the Keeper of the Ways, Utog leads the group north into the jungle to slay an annui named Seoud Oui Odaloni, the mad king of the broken wood. Eventually they come upon the entrance to the Sanctuary of Odalon, which was once a garden of unique character. Using his powers of nature and an application of will, Utog opens the thorn gates (large interlocking thorns sealing the entrance).

The heroes encounter three paths, each pointed to by a tree with limb-like branches. When asked, the tree indicates in a disembodied voice what is down each path. Turning west first, the heroes encounter an ancient tree in a clearing with acorns scattered across the ground. When the approach the tree, creatures resembling twisted saplings blackened by disease burst forth from the surrounding brush. The heroes form a defensive position at the tree and dispatch the foes with relative efficiency thanks to Rashanu’s magic.

They then go back and take the center path, a cavern whose floor is covered by large mushrooms. The mushrooms are red, white, and green. Utog and Nacu recognize the white and green mushrooms as dangerous, and so the heroes navigate the cavern by stepping only on the red mushrooms.

Emerging from the cavern, the heroes discover three new paths. The heroes again opt to go west, coming to a stone gate with the following words inscribed in it (deciphered by Kaz): Strong is the back of the oak, made to lift even stone, but the journey from nut to tree is not so easy. Soil of superlative fecundity, sweet water from on high, and nourishing life from the stillness will see it grow.

The heroes than go back to the central path, which leads to a clearing covered by churned soil. There are tree roots crisscrossing the area and a refuse pile near the back. Fearing that creatures may lurk beneath the earth, Kaz uses his natural agility to navigate the roots, take some soil, and search the refuse pile.

The heroes then backtrack to the great tree and take an acorn, then go east until they come to a series of increasing large mushrooms leading to an island of land held aloft by long, thick roots. Several of the heroes jump their way to the island, finding a tree shading a wooden basin in which mystical waters lay. When they approach the tree comes to life, animated by the will of an annui named Dayoon Nina Asayee. The heroes battle the tree, all the while trying to remain on the island as it rocks to-and-fro. After a drawn out battle, the heroes eventually defeat the annui despite the endless complaints of Shir, and they gather some water. Kaz opts to spare the annui, whose unconscious body lay in the broken remnants of the tree.

The heroes make their way down the last path, coming to still pond in another clearing. When they approach, a hag arises from the water with a number of Riyopi (a water fairy). She challenges them to answer a pair of riddles or else she will take all of their possessions. Knowing they are not prepared to fight so powerful an opponent, they opt to answer the riddles.

Having answered correctly, the heroes puzzle at the stone gate for a time, eventually coming to an answer. When they pass the stone gate, they confront Seoud, engaging in a vicious battle as Seoud turns the plants against them. With Seoud defeated, the heroes return to their journey towards Jangir.

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Adventure 8: Settling Debts

Having cleansed the Sanctuary of Odalon, the heroes continue on to the city of Nani. Bhagram announces that he will be trading in the city for three days, so the group has some time to themselves.

While going about his usual routine, Shir runs across a lone Sidd wandering the streets proclaiming that the end is coming and that only by turning to Shir can they be saved. After a very Shir-like conversation, the man wanders off to continue his mission. Meanwhile, some of the others in the group who are in the bazaar run into a traveling merchant calling himself Sabu Panish, purveyor of potions. Having heard of the groups good deeds, he offers to sell them some of his wares at a deep discount.

After gathering back together, one of the heroes mentions that he saw a bounty for an escaped warlock named Bhaharashta Blackbeak. The heroes decide to recapture this fiend and collect the bounty. After investigating, they head into the jungle lead by Tima tracking for the group. They discover Bhaharashta in a small clearing and set up an ambush, but a botched attempt to sneak-up on him by Shir ruins their surprise. Bhaharashta summons imp-like creatures to his aid and Kaz dives into the fight, left hanging out to dry by Shir who retreated from the scene. After an intense fight which resulted in the death of Kaz from blackfire, the heroes eventually vanquished the warlock. Using their resurrection herb, they bring Kaz back from the dead. On his body they find the Shadowshroud cloak, which was what let the warlock teleport repeatedly during the battle.

After a short recuperation, the heroes decide to investigate the disappearance of several merchants over the last month. Their investigation eventually leads them to decide that the victims are being taken after parties at the homes of various nobles. Using her status as Tariti, Tima secures an invite to the party of Svarda Pasharesh. Most of the heroes remain outside, while Kaz and Rashanu accompany Tima into the party. After a relatively uneventful party, she takes her leave and sets out for home with the party shadowing her. Along the way she is attacked by Svarda Basaranand and his compatriots. Soon after engaging their foe, they learn that the Svarda and his companions are ghouls. After a tactically interesting fight in the streets and alleyways of Nani, the heroes eventually slay the last of the creatures.

The next day the heroes set out on the last leg of their trip to Jangir, but along the way they are ambushed by Svarda Namreshi and a group of his men. The party is given a choice, surrender Bhagram or die.

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Adventure 9: First Opportunity

The heroes, forced to choose between defending their employer or handing him over to Svarda Namreshi, find themselves in a moral quandary. After some heated conversation, a battle ensues as the Svarda and his men descend on the wagons. The heroes are hard-pressed, but eventually break out and cut down the surrounding archers. The Svarda’s heavy armor and shield make him a much harder nut to crack, but eventually magic and brute force bring him down. Amongst his things they find an enchanted clockwork bird, which they will later put to good use.

Three days later they finally arrive and Jangir and receive their hard earned money. While Bhagram thanks them for their service, he suggests that too much trouble follows them to make them desirable guards. As the group takes a few days in the city, Utog encounters the Keeper of the Ways outside the city, who thanks him for his service at the Sanctuary of Odalon.

Meanwhile, Shir sees a glowing holy symbol on the door of a house as he passes through the merchant district. Investigating, he engages in a strange conversation with a shady Punjal named Baramashta. Baramashta insists he sees no symbol on his door and that he is a symbol clothing manufacturer. After roping several friends into helping him, Shir and company break into Baramashta’s house and discover that he is using children as slaves to make his wares. During the attempt to free the children, Baramashta is slain and his home is sent on fire.

The heroes then hear word that Svarda Chandreshi‘s son has gone missing and that there is a reward for his return. After inquiring, the heroes begin an investigation into the disappearance. The trail first leads to the son’s friends, Basha and Jangali, who say that they were attacked while leaving a club named Bashrai. When pressed, the two mention that they heard about the club from an “exotic goods” dealer named Kasresh. After interrogating Kasresh, he reveals that he was paid by a member of a gang called the Gloved Hand named Anjali.

After several attempts at tracking this fellow down fail, the heroes eventually bribe Nika (the beer fairy) with a keg of fine Tark. After consulting other annui in the city, Nika leads the heroes to Anjali’s home, where they interrogate him until he reveals the gang’s hangout and that their leader Ashrangi set up the kidnapping.

The heroes ambush the gang in their hideout, a bar in the poor quarter, and quickly dispatch many of them with a fiery blast from Rasha. Most of those not killed in the initial blast surrender immediately and Ashrangi is captured in a wall created by Nacu. The heroes discover that Chandreshi’s son was kidnapped by the group for a Svarda named Masrangdal, who is now holding the boy at his estate. The heroes inform Chandreshi’s people, but are told that they cannot move against Masrangdal without more solid proof; so the heroes resolve to rescue the son on their own.

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Adventure 10: Fatal Assumptions

Having concluded their investigation, the heroes scout out Svarda Masrangdal’s estate and plan their next move. After some deliberation, Kaz is sent in to investigate the house. Avoiding patrols, Kaz makes his way into the house and eventually down into the cellar, but as he makes his way deeper he trips an alarm and a trap that he failed to detect. With armored creatures with a rodent-like appearance charge towards him, he uses the shadowshroud cloak in desperation to teleport straight up. Fortunately for Kaz, he was not too deep and he appeared some five feet in the air above the ground.

Regrouping just outside the estate, the group decides to have Kaz and Shir incapacitate the guards and then have the group follow-up. Use stealth and swift attacks, Kaz and Shir take down the guards/patrols and hide their unconscious bodies.

Moving into cellar again, the group follows a passage leading into a catacomb. The hall leads to a large room with locked doors to the left and right and a central path forward. The room contains an altar to the god of the dead and offerings to the ancestors. Zekezarin, rat-like creatures known to serve the Nezura storm from the right path and attack the party. A swift but intense battle follows, but the heroes emerge victorious. The group quickly checks the right path, finding a serious of stone sarcophagi set into the walls on two tiers in a circular room. Bedrolls and other basic camping material are arrayed around the area.

After investigating the central path and bypassing a poison gas trap, the heroes come to a room with a barred iron door. They can see a large, ape-like creature with a long maw prowling in the room, which Nacu identifies as a Skrull, a creature native to Heru-Ardesh. On the other side of the room is a small cell in which they can see Rajesh trapped.

The heroes double-back and investigate the left path. Kaz unlocks the door and they make their way down the hall, which opens up into a room containing Black Vel relaxing and consulting maps on a table. The Vel are initially surprised, a fact which the heroes use to fallback to the main room and create a choke point at the hall. The Vel recover quickly and press into their groups frontline, using their shields to push the heroes back and create a breach. Once they break through, a chaotic melee ensues. The battle is difficult, as the Black Vel are all wearing plate armor, but the heroes eventually prevail. During the melee, Shir is taunted by the leader who calls himself Fistleader Kargarak, but Shir ultimately prevails. On the fistleader’s body they find a magical key.

Kaz, in a moment of inspiration, feeds one of the bodies to the Skrull and uses the distraction to unlock Rajesh’s cell. As they make their way out of the catacombs, a group of Shezar-Ki teleport in from of them, wearing armor decorated in a thorn motif. The leader, introducing himself as Thornlord Walikh, calls for the groups surrender. A brutal melee ensues, with the Thornlord unleashing magic upon the heroes, but eventually the Black Ishnah are defeated and the Thornlord teleports away when the last of his men fall.

The heroes bring Rajesh back to Svarda Chandreshi, and per Jura’s advice ask for a boon rather than payment.

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