the 423rd year of the Storm Age.
Vitus meets with Vizier of Marduk at Royal Court; announces pilgrimage;
brainwashed; Marna hired as Vitus' bodyguard
258: Pilgrimage to The Lost City begins, joint expedition
with Ambassador Saralon (appointed to discuss marriage proposal between
the Royal Court and Princess Minerva);
70 persons total.
at the wrecked automaton
260: Vultures; a pilgrim falls behind; strange hounds
in the night
261: the next few days are uneventful.
theological debate erupts among the pilgrims - over whether Usamigaras
primarily a God of Magic, Healing OR Thieves - resulting in a brawl.
268: large scorpions kill and drag off some pack animals during the
the 423rd year of the Storm Age.
pilgrimage passes near a mile-wide patch of storm-warped jungle, amid
273: a guard, driven mad by the sound of dogs howling at night, commits
276: come across debris and corpses from a bandit raid.
You should reach The Lost City in the next few days...
The pilgrimage consists of:
- the player-characters
- Ambassador Saralon
- 15 guards
- 40 pilgrims
- sundry riding and pack beasts
Incidentally, Saralon's riding horse "Blessed Wind Of The Gracious
Night" is of the finest stock from the Royal Stable, and he spoils her
Death Dog attack; guardian angel visitation.
278: poisoned oasis trap; smoke on the northern horizon at dawn.
279: "salamander-men" ambush
280: Sand-Stalker tribe
281: reach The Lost City; Darius and henchmen
Things for you to think about:
* Tufala the storyteller - you've probably done the elf tribe quite a
taking her off their hands; provided the aging chieftaness doesn't die
near future, this could be of long term benefit. On
the other hand, if she dies without
begetting a daughter...
* the gnolls tell you that there is an imperial waypost roughly 2-3
days to the
North; Darius and his henchmen are probably heading for it... as are
* if you don't go after Darius, you could be in for a very long and
* the Cliff-Diver tribe, several days travel to the south, do have an
* several of the pilgrims and guards are going to start dying in
agony over the next week or so... and the impending demise of his
horse isn't going to help Ambassador Saralon when it comes to
marriage and alliance with Princess Minerva.
* speaking of her highness, she is having a tough time holding her
reach The Lost City; set off in pursuit of Darius
282: Giant Scorpion attack
283: temporarily thrown off track, then reach the Imperial Waypost at
nightfall; Darius flees down a secret tunnel
284: loot and bury the bodies of Darius' henchmen; see plumes of dust
Things to think about:
* the north and south horizons are (currently) clear, while large
approach from the east and west - these are likely Darius' allies, and
will arrive at the waypost in a few hours time.
* if you pursue Darius underground, you will likely find yourself cut
whoever is moving to rendezvous at the waypost
* if you abandon pursuit of Darius, you may be able to spy on the
and return to Cynicidea before the bandits/mercenaries/whatever attack
* you're running rather low on food and water
* If there is another way out of the underground part of the Waypost,
may have escaped and by now be several hours away... or he may be
you with who-knows-what surprises
Once again, I must congratulate you on your intelligent spell use - I
anticipated the battle with Darius' henchmen to be a more formidable
otherwise. On that note, I feel it only
fair to inform you that pursuing Darius may test your resourcefulness
you're at the Imperial Waypost, and bandit armies will converge upon
location within a few hours... you also have an unconscious prisoner. You could follow Darius, return to Cynidicea,
or pursue some other course of action - assuming another course of
doesn't pursue you...
The campaign is at a turning point. While
you probably will run into Darius again at some
future, the question is when? If you
pursue him, it could be sooner rather than later. If
you return to Cynidicea, you could become
involved in a protracted siege. If you
stay where you are, you might learn something about the forces arrayed
The Darkness is rising all over the known lands - a Dark Power from
world is to be fought with the aid of an unknown god also from another
world. Choose carefully, very carefully.
Day 284: desert tribes converging on the Imperial Waypost.
Volts incapacitate party; rest.
288: Slarris and Glib revive; occupy upper waypost, after the army has
289: abandon pursuit of Darius to follow
the army to Cynidicea.
291: catch up to army; kill the werefox
292: captured and released by the army, except Marna who flees ahead to
Cynidicea; Vitus, Slarris and Glib compelled by mysterious dark-robed
294: return to Cynidicea, shortly ahead of the army
295: the army of desert tribes, bandits and assorted dark forces arrives
296: siege of Cynidicea begins
297: zombie attack
early days of the siege, you begin to wonder where the Sand-Stalker
disappeared to... then, you see that the evil army's reinforcements are
straggling in worse for wear - most likely the Sand-Stalkers are
wastelands, picking off anyone heading for Cynidicea...
This possibility becomes a certainty when you see a different elven
on the outskirts of the ruins, waving tattered Sand-Stalker robes and
heads... they are joined by the mysterious black-robed figure, and you
chanting of a dire ceremony.
Then things take a turn for the worse (to be continued)
One of the
desert tribes besieging Cynidicea is a gnoll tribe, the Vultures - and
brought their ornithopter with them.
The Vulture ornithopter is larger than normal, perhaps a 3 or 4
crossbowmen and a wizard with some magic wands occupy the extra seats.
The ornithopter circles over the ziggurat, firing volleys and barrages
defenders... the statues take a direct hit from a Fireball and are
The crossbow fire from the ornithopter pins down your archers and
marksmen long enough for a squad of swordsmen to ascend the ziggurat
their way in through the secret door.
There is a savage melee, but the invaders are repelled - their bodies
tossed down the sides of the ziggurat before they have a chance to
Meanwhile, dark chanting can be heard coming from the edge of the
(to be continued).
tumbled stones and shifting sands of Cynidicea are stained with
blood of sacrificial victims of the risen Cult of Zargon!
Wreathed in rusty spikes and surmounted by four pillars of skulls and
the dark altar is encircled by ceaselessly chanting and cavorting
Whenever a naked slave or willing fanatic approaches the dark-robed,
knife-wielding figure hovering over the altar, the chanting rises to a
pitch... which finds only temporary release as blood flows.
The sickening, hypnotic ritual brings to mind a huge, hideous
you realise there is a low, deep booming sound, seeming to emanate from
everywhere and nowhere at once, pulsing in time to the rise and fall of
The sands shudder... the skies darken... (to be continued)
> Oooh, boy.. i think I'ld better hurriedly set up some
> Featuring me and my coat of many colours, a staff (the obvious
> symbol and weapon for a traveller god) and a big conga-line of
Usimagaras cultists.... )> Damn, but we needed that ballista up
breaking up the melted > statues is going to be an arse of a
Shame that Hamarhaz the Undying turned out to be a little lacking in
Altruism stakes, hey - I'm sure this sort of thing would have been
up his alley. (I can just picture the fireworks...)
Unfortunately, you have something else to deal with...
A tormented soul roams the lower tiers of the ziggurat, screaming
Darius... and at Vitus for having failed to slay Darius!
It is the ghost of Demetrius, an elder in the cult of Usamigaras...
Demetrius vowed to destroy the cult of Zargon - especially his evil
brother, Darius. But Demetrius was
assassinated before he could even begin his quest (thus paving the way
Auriga Sirkinos to rise to power among the Magi...)
It is no longer safe to travel the lower tiers of the ziggurat - your
and mercenaries flee in terror at the sight of the ghastly apparition,
pilgrims prayers seem to be in vain...
Has Usamigaras deserted Cynidicea in his people's hour of need? (to be
chanting from the edge of the ruins continues deep into the night...
writhing vapours from the dark altar coils high in the air like a great
The ground trembles as a deep rumble seems to answer or join the
Plumes of sand and flames erupt all across the ruins... while, in the
underground city, huge chunks of rock fall from the cavern ceiling,
buildings and Cynidiceans...
The dark voice that seems to come from everywhere and nowhere, a deep
sound that shakes you to your bones and seems to cause the walls to
resolves into a terrible chant:
zargon... Zargon... ZARGON... ZARGON!!!!!
The next day, the sun does not rise over Cynidicea (to be continued).
are all angled wrong... far on the horizon, all around, a thin band of
and blue indicates where daylight falls upon the harsh desert beyond
- but in the ruins, there is only darkness.
Night has fallen, a darkness called from beyond the stars.
Fear rides the cold winds whipping round the ziggurat, as dark forces
Evil walks openly, and Cynidicea's fall is nigh (to be continued).
next few days, the tide of battle turns against the brave yet doomed
The unnatural darkness unnerves even seasoned veterans, and combined
suppressing fire from the Vulture ornithopter it forces the battle back
Outnumbered, their morale faltering, the defenders fall back through
of the ziggurat, leading the dark forces into traps and ambushes. For a
it seems as though the darkness can be held off...
Yet, slowly but steadily, day after day, more and more of the ziggurat
the Zargonite army. The cult shrines are
deconsecrated, the royal burial chamber is looted, the dead rise up and
alongside the invaders. Soon, almost all of the upper tiers are lost.
The end seems certain (to be continued).
words were quiet, with none but himself to hear
> "They won't take my home without a fight"
(Congratulations, Vitus has just earned an XP Bonus... incidentally,
stayed in pursuit of Darius as you originally intended, you would have
up to him and stood a fair chance of preventing his completion of the
ritual - the darkness above Cynidicea would have been temporary, the
darkness would not have been so bold, and you probably would have
After two weeks of siege, Princess Minerva calls one last war council. Except the topic of discussion is no longer
war... it is evacuation and strategic withdrawal.
The Princess commends you and your Magi for having defended Cynidicea
as you were able, then outlines what she believes is her people's last
Until recently, some trade with other subterranean colonies took
means of the Lower Catacombs, beneath the Underground City. Far below, hundreds of miles of tunnels,
carved by Dwarves in ancient times, link Cynidicea to lightless realms
dwellers have never known daylight.
But the Zargonites summoned undead and other foul allies to occupy the
The plan Princess Minerva proposes is this: that Vitus and a small,
group (the PCs plus a few NPCs she'll send with you) are to descend
Catacombs, clear them, and begin exploring the passages of the
beyond. If allies or safe areas can be
found, this is to be reported back to the Princess... who will be
people slowly into the depths of the earth. If
it possible to escape to the surface, you are bid to
to lift the siege.
For this contingency, Ambassador Saralon gives you a sealed scrollcase
deliver to the Royal Court in Hieropolis, or any officer of the Horus
May Usamigaras guide and protect you in your Quest.
gone as I originally outlined:
* if you stopped Darius & co as they fled Cynidicea, his henchmen
have delayed you long enough to allow him to escape (just as they did
* mass battle being something of a nightmare to play out, you would
away from Cynidicea anyway at the time of the siege and heard of the
* on the other hand, you wouldn't have gotten such a clear idea of the
arrayed against you - this information could prove quite useful
In any event, you're still going to spend at least some time in the
Into The Depths Of The Earth...
Day 300: Darkness falls on Cynidicea
315: Tunnel between Ziggurat and Undergrond City is trapped and sealed; failed attempt to penetrate the Lower
Catacombs, resulting in the death of Slarris
322: resurrection of Slarris and fall of Assur
323: return to the catacombs, enter the Underdark
Tufala remains with Princess Minerva and soon-to-be-refugees, as every
community needs its storyteller...
When you find an area suitable for resettlement, Benumau and Tamit are
return and lead the refugees there - while you are to continue seeking
allies and an alternate route to the surface. Or at least, that's the
"Journey To The Heart Of The World" Continues...
Day 323: Enter Underdark
325: Purple Worm
326: big sinkhole
327: Giant Slug kills Tamit; rest at The Pit
328: Glib nearly liquefied by "tentacled horror" in The Pit
329: reach the Fungus Farms
Only another month (game time) until the New Year!
The Fungus Farms
330: head back to the Underground City
336: flying manta rays
337: return to the Underground City
338: evacuate the Undergound City
349: resettle the refugees in the Fungus Farms
352: dwarf envoy from Aurora Deep meets with Princess Minerva
356: refugees guided deeper into the Underdark
the 424th year of the Storm Age.
Aurora Deep outpost
12: Cynidicean diaspora begins, party heads for the surface
31: return to the surface, emerging in The Chaos Wastes, with a band of
32: Antelope Herd
34: bat-winged giant reptile attack
36: Lammasu pride
37: shelter in Lammasu lair
39: leave Lammasu lair
42: cross Thunder River
44: enter Daughters of the Tiger territory
Enter the territory of the Daughters of the Tiger.
Monster Summoning spells start to fail across
45: Vitus meets the new Mother Stripes. Flee
47: Passing by Necropolis
49: leave the river headed for Mordis
51: reach Mordis. Brawl at the Drawn
Dwarf Tavern. Meet head merchant and
thief guildmaster Ninurta. Rescue
followers of Usamigaras from the Temple.
52: The Chimaera calls Vitus of the Scorpion clan to serve the Sect of
55: arrive at Twilight Isle and meet the Twilight Archmage
And now... Into the Flow!
recovering on Twilight Isle from his journey into the Aura Flow,
Slarris has a
You stand atop a high pillar in Hieropolis, and can see all the lands
Samuria spread out all around you...
From the jungle to the desert, from the mountains to the sea, you count
winged lions in seven reconsecrated temples; and at the foot of each of
winged lions you see more and more converts flocking to hear the word
In the markets below, you see the ranks of the faithful grow and gather
And in the skies above, you see a new constellation - seven stars, each
different colour of the rainbow. And in
the heart of the constellation you see Vitus and Assur, seated at a
and talking. And you realise that the
constellation is in fact the cloakpin of a black-skinned dark-robed
towering over the world, the stars glittering in the folds of his
cloak, a wise
yet troubled smile upon his benign mien.
It is Usamigaras, in all his celestial glory.
You realise that Vitus and Assur have gone to a better place, where
serve the Wanderer of Stars better. You
also realise that Vitus was never intended to be the Prophet of the
merely to set in motion the chain of events leading to their spread
lands. It is now up to others to
continue the work that has begun.
Lastly, you see a ship heading for harbour; it is crewed by strange
lands so far distant they can scarcely be of this world.
The sail is marked with seven stars...
the legend (as garbled, embellished and incomplete as most such
helpful nonetheless) recited by Glib, as a result of the Ring of Wishes. Adapted from TSR's C2 The Ghost Tower Of Inverness.
62: Ring of Three Wishes
Return to Hieropolis
THREE: ASCENSION LOST
the 424th year of the Storm Age.
Rise of the Dead
Diverse Omens, Rumours, Incidents and Meetings
123: Set sail upon the Sun Tiger for Kentyris, seeking the Soul Gem of
137: near Necropolis - according to Glib's research, the Tower will be
sometime within the next week or two
Marna, Slarris and Tarrandor are up Thunder River...
* Scouts report to the Horus Guard that the veil of darkness blanketing
The Lost City seems to have stopped
* Rykan Lightbringer of Keoland sails his spelljammer The Seventh Star
Twilight Isle to Hieropolis, meets with Tiglath and Pileser, assumes
of the Magi of Usamigaras and converts the clergy into Specialty
Celestian the Star Wanderer.
* The dead continue to rise...
Near Necropolis. Camp on Thunder River,
fortify, upriver from Tower ruins.
138: dark forces scout the ruins at night
139: scout the tower compound, explore beneath the SW tower. Find a Key. Triple petrification from wandering
140: petrification dispelled; Acolyte With Lantern dies.
search SE tower; green slime; retreat.
141: SE tower key attained.
Adali, Champion of Marduk, joins the expedition; retreat from the Bead
142: NE tower key attained.
The corridors and few rooms beyond the Iron Throne gameboard room are
and wind around to another gleaming wall of blue-grey metal...
fourth and final key attained. Enter the
central chamber. Rest.
144: "Beanstalk" Plant Growth into the Ghost Tower, to the
145: Earth Level.
146: Fire Level. Death of Slarris and
near-death of Glib. Slarris interred in
Medusa's rose garden on the Earth Level.
148: Water Level. Reach the Soul Gem -
which steals Glib's soul.
149: Soul Gem claimed by Marna. Glib's
body buried in the rose garden.
You then are able to leave the tower. Where
do you intend to go next? Play will resume
on day 150; I will strive to have Warwick's new
character join before the start of play, along
with an NPC cleric/healer.
Malthorious and Kellamy join; remake the raft, head downriver.
152: bullywug ambush. At night: fire and
lightning sighted on the eastern horizon, before dawn (mercenaries and
from Mordis battling with hordes of undead lead by a demon)
153: improved raft
157: reach Kentyris.
159: invest in ivory, hardwood and preserved fish (3,000gpv) headed for
Hieropolis. Shaman's Council.
160: Sun Tiger Galley arrives in Kentyris. Marna
learns how to use the Soul Gem.
attack of the Evil High Priest.
sail upon the Sun Tiger for Hieropolis. Marna
meditates upon the Soul Gem.
Through Broken Swamp, along
reports to Vizier Shalmeneser.
Lightbringer has organised the Magi of Celestian to operate as
the Horus Guard in their battles against the Risen Dead.
of civilisation and light are everywhere embattled and almost
of Marduk, using information extracted from Darius, has led raids
several Dark Cult sites.
has a week or two in Hieropolis to rest, re-equip, plan, etc.
the 424th year of the Storm Age.
omen is beheld. Dark clouds gather,
arising from the sphere of darkness surrounding Cynidicea and centred
Hieropolis. The clouds form into the
shape of a shield, which is then shattered by a ram's head. The ground heaves, emitting gouts of flame -
and unleashed spirits of the Underworld. All
over the lands - from the Rainbow Jungle to the
from the Steel Mountains to the Pharos Sea - violet lightning lashes
the fury of an Aura Storm. Nergal, Lord
of the Dead, has been slain by Orcus, Prince of the Undead and demonic
interloper from another world.
Malthorius, Tarrandor, Kdal Adali and Kellamy go through the streets of
Hieropolis, calming the populace and rescuing people from themselves. Many see it as the end of the world. The next day, Shalmeneser, Vizier of the
Council of Hawks, leads the gathered armies into the desert. A Lammasu leads the Chosen of
Usamigaras to an ancient and most sacred temple in the Lemure Hills. There, seven tests are faced and a ritual of
divine rebirth is performed. Marna,
Malthorius, Tarrandor and Kdal become temporarily imbued with divine
power. As a consequence of the seven
tests, Tufala (pregnant with a Cynidicean child) flees her tribe to
at the College of Thoth, and Princess Minerva becomes an High Priestess
Prince of the Undead.
their way into the Soulwind Desert, the Chosen penetrate
the rapidly expanding sphere of darkness, bypass the advancing evil
proceed to the Lost City of
Cynidicea. There, a terrible and mighty
force for evil has been gathered from across the known lands - and from
worlds. There also, Orcus manifests.
power of the Soul Gem, Marna sows chaos and confusion in the enemy
encampment. Kellamy and Kdal each lead
bands of kobolds summoned by Malthorious and bound by the Soul Gem,
influence of the Abyssal Vortex in the sky. Tarrandor
leaps at the honour guard of vampires attending
eighteen months, the gods of Aura have awaited this moment. In the hands of the archangel Assur was
placed the responsibility of guiding and empowering heroes to face this
challenge. Everything that has happened
since Vitus and his companions first entered the Lost City has, like
moves on a chess board, been leading up to this.
and Kdal are slain in battle. Malthorius
warps the Gate in the sky back upon itself. Tarrandor
is feebleminded and slain by Orcus - but
by the gods, as reward for his passing the Violet test of
self-sacrifice. Marna turns the Soul Gem
upon Orcus, severing
his connection to the Abyss - and the Soul Gem is destroyed. In the process, hundreds of souls are
released: some ancient, many insane - and among them a 15th level Wemic
Psionicist. Glib Moltar finds himself in
the body of an alien elf.
slays Orcus, the sphere of darkness collapses, and the world is saved. The Chosen are
hailed as heroes, and made honorary Captains of the Horus Guard.