Dark Sun: Children of Blood

The Templar Catacombs

Emboldened with the quest to stop Kalak’s resurrection, the Children sought out the Key, a mystical artifact able to open the lowest chambers of Kalak’s Ziggurat. After a bloody yet victorious battle with their rivals, the Red Bones, the Children traveled to the burial ground of one of Kalak’s most ruthless templars. Routing Kalak’s hired Toothcutter slavers, the Children entered the Templar’s catacombs and defeated his restless spirit before recovering the key.

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House Shom

The job was supposed to be simple. Break into House Shom, a noble house of Nibenay, and steal a black obsidian dagger without the fury of Nibenay landing on the Children themselves. It began well. The Children stole the clothes of some Red Bones thugs and sent them fleeing across town without a stitch of cloth between them. Heading to the bars filled with drunken bravado and Arena-fueled blood-lust, they began a riot between the workers and the Tyr nobility.

Donned in their Red Bones armor, they snuck into House Shom and into the vaults below only to be faced with the most dangerous creature they had ever known – the Beholder Xanathar. Though they fought like wild animals, the beholder disintegrated Roland and sent the rest fleeing into the waiting arms of Templar Delexa, matron of House Shom and wife to Nibenay the Sorcerer King.

Her negotiation was simple. Keep the dagger and stop the Ashbringer from resurrecting Kalak. Nibenay seeks no returned competition in Tyr. In exchange, she lets them leave alive.

It was an easy choice.

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The Deadbeat Fram

After recovering a magical bowl from the lost vaults of House Madar, the party traveled into the Undertyr to retrieve The Deadbeat Fram. After defeating the Toothcutters holding Fram, Fram revealed the sinister truth of the Ashbringer, former Templar of Kalak. The Ashbringer seeks a series of magical items for a sinister plot – the bowl among them. Now the Children seek to recover an obsidian dagger from the vaults of House Shom before the Ashbringer’s agents can do the same.

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Vault of Madar Part 2

The Children continued to hunt down the Bowl of Madar, a bowl of mystical power kept in the ancient vaults of House Madar. In the final chambers they faced a black pudding, vengeful spectral concubines, and Lord Madar himself. The mummy lord defeated, they returned to Tyr and gave the mystical bowl, a bowl capable of generating a constant trickle of fresh water, to Karlin of Karlin’s Eye who rewarded you handsomely.

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The Vault of Madar Part 1

The Children of Blood accepted a job to hunt down the Bowl of Madar, an ancient artifact lost in the the treasure vaults of House Madar. The house, loyal to Kalak, had been destroyed before his own assassination by a rival house. The Children learned that House Madar was one of the few houses allowed to practice the arcane arts of necromancy, but only outside the city.

The Children traveled across the Tablelands to the rim of the Ringing Mountains where they found the Vault of Madar.

Within its halls they nearly succumbed to a rotating hallway trap before entering the Chamber of the Guardian. There they battled a Skeletal Tomb Guardian and continually respawning skeletal minions until their thief managed to disarm a mechanical device that poured necrotic gas onto piles of bones to reanimate them.

In the next hallway the party failed to discover a huge stone juggernaut that crushed them against the wall of the hallway.

In the next chamber they faced terrible stone gargoyles while traversing small unstable stone platforms across a 50 foot pit.

After carefully avoiding many pit traps, the party entered the Chamber of Serpents where they battled….serpents. The ruby eyes of a serpentine carving over a barred doorway burned the party with terrible radiant beams until the party’s spellcaster deciphered the runes on a squat idol in an alcove in the room.

Now the party journey’s further into the Vaults of Madar seeking the bowl. What horrors will they uncover now?

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The Cistern

The Children travel through the city of Tyr, gathering supplies for their journey into the desert. They meet a band of Red Bones, a rival mercenary band, and a skirmish erupts. The Children send the Red Bones back, humiliated in defeat.

Traveling across the desert, the Children weather the brutality of the dark sun and the inhospitable land of Athas as they head into the Tablelands for a week-long journey.

On their third night, a shadowy beast attacks them, killing one of the party’s two Erdlu and then fleeing into the night after being stabbed by the Children’s Dray barbarian.

Three days later the party finds the Cistern, a huge head of a statue, mouth agape, uncovered from recent sandstorms. The party battles a band of Gith, creatures once descended from the Githyanki of the Gray (AKA, the Astral Sea). The party defeats them and heads into the cavernous mouth.

Inside they battle three crystaline spiders who made the cistern their lair. After defeating them they found a large chamber with a manmade well inside. The well boasts pure clean water.

As they begin to return, the shadowy creature that hunted them in the night descends upon them. It is a Tembo named Arathe. The tembo battles the Children, killing the Dray who had stabbed him earlier, before being defeated. The beast surrenders, offering his service in the Tyr Arena in exchange for his life and for information.

He tells the party that a darkness descends upon the throne left vacant by Kalak in Tyr and that he, the Tembo Arathe, was sent specifically to hunt down the Children of Blood and the Cistern they discovered.

Returning back to Tyr, the party sells the Tembo to the Arena master for a great sum and then returns to the Red Sands with word to Dren, the leader of the Children, who cheers for their great victory.

Their next mission: to find an ancient treasure vault of House Matar thought lost for hundreds of years and recover a bowl, an ancient artifact, from within.

Yet as they celebrate their victory, something else happens at the cistern of the Tablelands:

The dark silhouettes of two Erdlu flickered in the heat of the Tablelands, the dark sun overhead. They approached the huge stone head uncovered in the deep earth, carefully avoiding the tangleweed that dotted the sands. One figure dismounts on agile feet and swings down a bundle onto its shoulder.

“Take me inside,” whispers a raspy voice. The figure carries the bundle into the caverns below, carefully stepping past the glass strands of the crystalline spiders.

“Bring me to the water” the voice whispers, breathing hard. The cloaked figure carefully lays down the bundle next to the ancient pool of clean water.

A clawed hand reaches out, the skin of its fingers stretched, veiny, and gray. It’s fingers touch the surface of the water. The raspy voice whispers dark words, horrible to hear.

A black cloud erupts into the water like a squid’s ink. It soon fills the entire pool, turning the water into a fetid pool of decay. The green life that found sustenance in the pool soon turned brown, then gray, and then fell into ash. Outside, in the clawing darkness of dusk, the thick green tangleweed too cracked, withered, and fell to dust. For nearly a mile, any root that had ever found footing in the horrible Athas wasteland found what little life it had sucked dry.

The standing figure pulled back her cowl revealing a beautiful Eladrin woman. She smiled.

“Welcome back, lord Ashbringer”

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The Arena

A rag-tag group of gladiators battles in the arena only to watch bedlam explode around them as news of Kalak’s death reaches them.

Your blood splashes across the sand and the crowd roars. The sound is deafening. They come to the arena of Athas for one purpose, to watch you die. You can remember nothing before the moment the warhammer smashed into your face. It is as though you were born that very moment, born in blood. Whether your past led you hear with petty crimes or political missteps or simple enslavement, all you care about now is the hammer of your enemy and ensuring it does not hit you again.

“Stay strong!” shouts an older gladiator, massive in build and scarred from dozens of battles. You recognize him as Dren Foehammer, the gladiator slave underdog champion of the arena. “We may yet live to see another day.”

The crowd roars again at the sight of death. Breath rips in your dry throat and sand bites at your eyes. High above the uncaring dark sun of Athas continues scorching the city of Tyr as it has for thousands of years. The city of Tyr sits like an infected wound in the burning sands of Athas. From his ziggurat in the center of Tyr, the sorcerer king Kalak rules over all creatures in his domain as he has for a thousand years. His law is absolute and any violation meets, at best, with death. All feel the pressure of his tyranny, those in the arena, and those in the stands.

The ground rumbles underfoot as a large cage of strangely emblazoned bone rises from the sandy floor. A serpent within hisses, and it is only after a moment that you realize you heard that hiss not with your ears, but with your mind. The cage falls away and the serpent is free. From the depths of the cage, the serpents brood slither free. Another cage at the far side of the arena opens and two more serpents slither out. “I have these two!” shouts Dren, his bone-bladed axe rising into the air. “Kill the larger one in the center!”

The roar of the crowd erupts as the serpent’s blood sprays in the air. You stand for a moment, basking in the glory of bloodlust. The crowd suddenly goes quiet as a figure stands from the royal boxes. He is robed in red and flanked by four armored men. “Ashbringer” you hear the crowd whisper. “He’s going into the arena!” Emblazoned on his tunic is the sign of Kalak himself.

“It would appear today is our last, my friends.” says Dren. “Let us go down swinging.” The gladiator veteran rushes the defiler but gets caught in a skirmish with two of the defiler’s guards.

“Kill him!” Dren shouts, his axe blade parrying against the bone swords of the bodyguards.

Something changes in the air. The sun of Athas appears to grow even darker. Looking to the crowd, you see that they see it too. Sarus screams out, reaching for the sky. The aura of desolation around him seems to fade.

“He is dead!” shouts a thin man running into the crowd from outside the arena. “Kalak is dead!” The crowd shifts in confusion but other voices soon join the first. “The Sorcerer King is slain!”

“I cannot believe it,” says Dren Foehammer. “So many years and now…we are free.” His eyes narrow as he looks to the kneeling form of Sarus Ashbringer, defiler of a dead God. Sarus looks small, thin and weak in contrast to Dren’s massive form. Dren seems to care not for the pitiful look of the hollow man. He draws a jagged bone dagger from his belt and stabs the defiler in the heart.

Two years pass and the city of Tyr has changed forever. With Kalak’s tyranny gone, factions split and blood spills in the streets of the twisted city. You find yourself in the Children of Blood, a mercenary company of twenty three ex-gladiators and ex-slaves.

Though maimed in the battles of the arena long ago, Dren found himself leading the Children of Blood. His leadership in the arena has served the Children well in the chaotic streets of Tyr. Though the Children found themselves with nearly every job requiring muscle, edge, or spell, Dren had only one rule for his band: No slaves.

With the money won in the arena and acquired from these jobs, the Children bought Red Sands, a small warehouse in the Caravan district. There the Children hire themselves out as caravan guards, mercenaries, bounty hunters, debt collectors, and many other jobs requiring muscle and teeth.

Dren smiles as you as you sit down at his table in Red Sands. "I have need of you, my brothers and sisters. Our coffers grow light. Luckily, we find ourselves with many potential tasks that might fill them once again. Choose which job you will:

Karlen, the half-giant proprietor of Karlen’s Eye, hunts down an old bowl once said to hold the blood of the Dragon of Tyr. It was lost in the ruins below Tyr but Karlen believes some of the street urchins in Tyr know of its location. He will hire the Children to investigate the rumors and hunt down the bowl.

The dead beat Fram has fled to the deserts with debts owed all over the city, including us. He’s apparently cashed out all he could and hired our rival gang, the Redbones, to protect him.Go get what you can from him and leave him as you will.

A traveler, Sosha, crossing the desert says the sand has uncovered a source of water. Confirmation and information would be worth a great deal to the Children.

Venay Wavir of House Wavir in the Merchant District, seeks baby Tembos. There is a cave rumored to be the lair of a Tembo on the outskirts of the Ringing Mountains.

Note: The group chose to find the source of water in the desert.

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