Sandstorm: The Witch Fires

Saturday September 18, 2010 at 12:00pm new campaign, d&d, sandstorm, game session notes Comments (0) »

First Session

Game: Dungeons & Dragons 3.5e, Sandstorm, Unearthed Arcana

Characters: Alina [Sheri], Glitch [Adam], Tisroc [Tony]



It was an evening in late spring. Alina, an acolyte of the Temple of the Sun, was to meet Tisroc, a young, local wizard at an inn called Mavani's. She had told Tisroc she had a book that may be of some help to him.

Alina happened to know that Tisroc had a small problem - his soul had been inadvertently bargained away by his parents in exchange for his mortal life when he was very young, and since he learned of this he has been tireless searching for a way to undo what had been done. Alina herself had lost her mother some years ago and knows her to be living happily in the Offering Fields - and it troubles the acolyte to think that anyone's immortal soul could be stolen from them so unfairly.

Glitch was a guardian "assigned" to Tisroc by one of the few others who knew of Tisroc's dilemma: Elmnal, his mentor in house As'Kim. As the inn was only just down the street from Tisroc's second-floor apartment, and as he would likely simply stand outside anyway, Tisroc decided Glitch should remain at his residence. Tisroc made his way down the street to Mavani's Inn. It was mid-evening by this time - after dark - but it was still quite warm.

The inn was relatively empty at this time, so the innkeeper, Erik, noticed him as he entered, giving him a hearty wave and calling out his greeting. Both Erik and Loren (Erik's wife) were friends of Tisroc's and were almost always jovial and outgoing. Their 7-year-old daughter, Isha, however, was somewhat less so.

Tisroc had taken a seat at one of the many empty tables when Isha approached him. "Good evening," she said, her expression dour, " far. What would you like to eat tonight? I'm fairly certain none of it has been poisoned." Tisroc asked for some bread and cheese with some dates (meat being rather expensive), and Isha informed him that it was probably moldy, but she'd check.

Alina arrived sometime later with a large, leather-bound book. Its weight was such that it took some effort on her part not to slam it down onto the table. The book, she explained, was full of religious tales and fables - several of which contained instances where demons were out-witted by particularly clever or pious mortals. She had hoped something in its pages might be helpful to Tisroc.

Tisroc doubted that anything in the book would be relevant enough to his cause, but he agreed to look through it anyway. Isha returned a bit later with his food, remarking that it appeared he hadn't been "stood up" after all. by this time, the Inn was beginning to become more crowded and the environment was no longer conducive to their discussions. Tisroc and Alina decided to return to his residence to continue their discussion. The two were walking back down the street toward his apartment when they heard a loud pop from further north in the city and saw a strange, spiraling flame erupt into the sky. For a moment, they simply stared at it, unable to comprehend what they were witnessing - then they heard the sound again, from another place in the city. Then again in another.

Tisroc began sprinting down the street, Alina behind him, when there was a loud boom from the street in front of him, which sent tendrils of flame out to the surrounding buildings - including Tisroc's apartment building - and a spiraling column into the sky.

After the first pop, Glitch had moved to the apartment window and so when the flames erupted in front of him, the firelight illuminated a shadowy cloaked figure in an adjacent alleyway. Tisroc and Alina saw a pair of similar suspicious figures moving along a parallel street.

Glitch leaped out of the apartment's window into the street, causing several nearby people to gasp in shock. The cloaked figure took off running away down the alleyway. Tisroc heard some nearby shouts accusing Glitch of starting the fires and, subsequently, heard his name mentioned under suspicion.

The party took off down the alley after the cloaked figures, and saw a group of three of them gathered at a dark intersection. When they were spotted, however, the group took off. The party gave chase, but the figures eventually split up. Deciding to stay together, the party followed one of the three up to a large, abandoned mansion in a largely ruined part of town.

The group approached the building, climbed the front stairs and, when no conflict came, kicked the door in. Taking a look around, the dark and debris-filled room, Tisroc noted the rotted state of the floorboards. While he and Alina might possibly be able to negotiate it without falling through, Glitch almost certainly could not.

As they were discussing this, Tisroc suddenly exclaimed in pain. Looking around, a cloaked figure was holding a hollow reed which he had used to fire a poisoned dart into Tisroc's neck. Alina immediately leaped into action, jumping off the porch and clubbing him in the back of the head with her mace before he could get away. The figure collapsed, unconscious. Upon examination, he was an ordinary looking man in a dark cloak. He had a reed in his hand and a pouch of darts on his belt. He did have a strange tattoo on the back of his neck - an image of a black serpent. Alina recognised this as the symbol of a demon lord called Set. As she looked over the unconscious body, she told the others, "I don't think this is the one that went into the house."

Tisroc decided to put his magic to use. He assumed a gaseous form and began floating around the house. He found no trace of the cloaked figure, but he did find two other automatons - very similar to Glitch, in fact - standing in the basement. When he returned as assumed his solid form, he and Alina decided to move over to a large hole in the floor to look into the basement with the help of a magical light Alina had manifested.

This plan may have been helpful if the floor hadn't given way, dumping the two into the basement. The automatons called out: "Why have you come into the darkness?" Tisroc gave them an answer, but it did not seem to satisfy them. "You are not welcome here!" they shouted, raising swords and beginning to attack.

At first, Tisroc thought to flee and ran for the stairs, but Glitch had jumped down into the basement and engaged one of the automatons in combat with his large shovel. Alina had pulled out her mace and attempted to bash the other with it.

The three fought off the robotic beings as best they could, Tisroc providing some magical support to the physical combat the other two were engaging in. When both automatons had collapsed, they looked around at each other. Before they could suggest a further course of action however, they heard footsteps on the stairs outside.

Tisroc began running up the stairs into the house. Alina and Glitch stood and waited. The dark prevented them from making out more than the silhouette of the figure that appeared. They could see a tall, thin form, unhooded and with long hair. The figure seemed to stair into the house and then down through the (now larger) hole in the floor before simply turning to walk away. By the time Tisroc reached the entry hall, the figure had gone.

Confused, the party left the building. The unconscious man they had tied up and left outside was gone. Looking out over the city to the east, they could see the dim glow of fires.

They hurried back east to aid the firefighting effort. Tisroc's apartment, however, had burned to the ground - along with several other buildings. By the time the fires were brought under control, dawn was approaching.

Alina returned to the temple to find that it had been attacked and several of the priests killed. The attackers sounded like the cloaked figures they had seen earlier. The high priest himself was gravely injured and his wounds seemed to resist the miracle healing.

Tisroc returned to the As'Kim estate to speak with his mentor and ask if he could stay there for a day or two. Elmnal obliged, also mentioning something else to him: Elmnal had found an old genealogy record of a man called Lord Artal Al'Kim. The record mentioned that he had "come to regret a deal he'd made with an evil power". The record comes from a time when the house resided in a citadel in what is now the Dead Forest - and his grave is certainly located in the catacombs beneath it. Elmnal isn't sure if there would be anything helpful there, and certainly a journey into the Dead Forest would be very hazardous, but it's the best lead he could find.

Later, after the fires were out, Glitch returned to what had been their apartment building. He had been staying out of sight during the firefighting efforts, trying not to draw attention to himself. In the wreckage of the building, he was able to find Tisroc's spellbook - damaged, but mostly intact.

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