The Al-Qadim Game 5


Game Master: Andrew
Game Edition: 2nd Ed. AD&D
Players: Jeff, Dave, Elijah, Adam
Starting Level: 1
Current Level: 1-4

Quote of the Evening:
"
I am sure you will all attend Hakim's funeral in the morning?"

"(*Awkward Silence*)... sure."

Introduction

For our fifth game of the Al-Qadim we were joined by JADE regular Adam, but sadly Chris was unavailable to reprise his role as Hakim ibn Optical.

However, the show must go on, and we picked up where the party had left off.

In the Al-Qadim Game 4 the Sha'irs Nyrexes and Husam ibn Tamir (Jeff and Elijah), the Gnomish Desert Rider Zubayr ibn Nijad had agreed to help Hakim ibn Optical (Chris) -an Askar from the village of Kafra- battle a Heway that was poisoning his village's oasis.

They traveled across the desert for two days, arrived at Kafra and easily defeated the creature. In fact, Hakim was able to kill the Heway in a single blow without any aid from his hired adventurers. With the beast slain, the people of Kafra  burst into cheers, and Hakim looked forward to their praise. But his hopes were dashed when the villagers lifted the Sha'ir Brothers and Zubayr above their heads, ignoring Hakim entirely.

Disappointed and a little angry, he trailed behind the party feeling unappreciated.

Poor Hakim ibn Optical. We can only hope he is looking towards better times.

Scene 1 The Reward

The crowd brought the adventurers to the the village priest: the man who had promised them a statue of a winged emerald serpent for their help. His name was Aalim ibn Khaldin, and he was being played by Adam. Aalim thanked the party for their help, and presented them with their prize.

Like this, but Emerald
Husam took the statue and studied it, there were no identifying marks: just the perfectly smooth, exquisitely carved emerald. Wanting to study it mroe, but also wanting to keep the crowd enthralled, he held it up for the crowd to see and they all cheered.

Aalim the priest thanked them again, and asked that they stay for a feast in their honour. The thought of a decent meal was too much to pass up and the three agreed to wait for their food.

It would take a few hours to prepare the feast, and Aalim invited the group to relax and spend the time in the Kafra.

Scene 2 Killing Time Kafra

The first thing the brothers wanted to do was get their new statue appraised, but they didn't know where in the small town they would do that. They asked Aalim who they could speak to, and he told them that Kafra's small market would be the best place to look, but he was doubtful.

Aalim took them to the market, which turned out to be little more then four stands with dreary looking merchants selling mundane house hold items items: wooden bowls, clothing, wool, lamb, etc. It would seem that none of the shop keepers would know much about the statue, but the merchant on the end was trading in jewelry, and although the make and design of their items was rather plebeian compared to finery the aristocratic brothers were used to, it seemed the best bet.

The Merchant didn't know much about the serpent: it had been the property of the Mosque in Kafra for many years and he had never had an opportunity to study it, but giving it a quick glance he was able to tell the brothers that it was most likely worth between 2000 and 3000 gold pieces.

Aalim scowled a little, having not realized the value of the statue he had promised as a reward, while the brothers chattered excitedly to one another. They had finally made their first real profit!

Nyrexes asked the Merchant if he would be interested in purchasing the statue from them. The Merchant laughed, claiming that was more money then was in the entire village! Aalim cursed his luck under his breath.

For a moment Nyrexes and Husam considered trying to buy Kafra from the villagers, but decided against it and decided to speak with Aalim about any happenings around the Village.

What to do, what to do.
Aalim explained that he, like the brothers, prayed to Zann The Learned, and kept a long chronicle of the village in the Mosque. The Sha'ir's felt that studying the mosques literature would be a wonderful way to spend the time, and they followed Aalim in the Mosque. While the Sha'ir Brothers studied the scrolls while Zubayr and his Tiger slept under the shade of a palm tree by the oasis.

In the few hours that passed, the brothers learned that Kafra had been built on the site of a great battle fought 400 years ago during the Sha'ir wars: When a group of a dozen Sha'irs attempted to control the globe with their powers. Interesting, but not very useful.

Scene 3 A Feast Interrupted

The brother's studies were interrupted by the smell of food in the air, and the sounds of merriment outside the mosque. The sumptuous smells coaxed the brothers out of the mosque and awakened the slumbering gnome, leading them to the village square where the entire village had set up tables covered with food fit for a feast! The three heroes were then ushered towards a table, where they were served food and presented with gifts from the townsfolk.

Hakim ibn Optical watch the proceedings form the shadows, and scowled. Though he had traveled to Qudra to get the "heroes" and even slain the beast without their help, these outsiders where getting the glory that should of been his. He was angry, but what could he do? Reacting would only hurt his village and himself. So, summing up his courage, but with a head held low, Hakim joined his fellow villagers in celebration and kept his feelings to himself.

The eating and drinking went well into the evening, and the spirit of celebration was only enhanced when the villagers brought out instruments and the dancing began.

All seemed well, until the earth beneath the village began to shake! The townsfolk screamed as tables and people were thrown to the ground, and a great chasm opened by the oasis, revealing an ancient dungeon that burrowed underneath of the village. The earth stopped shaking, but the horrors were far from over. Out of the ancient tunnels three monsters of mud slopped out, grabbing villagers and swallowing them whole!

Seeing the terror of his wards, Haklim let out a mighty cry and charged at the monsters with his axe raised. The mudman turned at the sound of the rushing warrior and countered with heavy blow from it's muddy fist.

The impact hit Hakim in the head, and breaking his neck. He died almost before he knew what hit him.

The Party then sprung into action.
Nyrexes and Husam used their gens to fetch spells and turn away the monsters while Zubayr attacked them atop his tiger. The three Mudmen fell into dust and slop before the heros and again the Village burst into cheers. But the victory was bitter sweet, Hakim lay dead, and the chasm still gaped by the oasis, hiding only the gods knew what in the tunnels.  

Scene 4 The Death of Hakim

Aalim tended to the body, and had the villagers take it into the mosque. He then thanked the heros for saving their village yet again, and asked if they would stay for the funeral, and thus the quote of the evening was born:

"I am sure you will all attend Hakim's funeral in the morning?" Aalim Asked the adventurers

"(*Awkward Silence*)... sure." Husam replied quietly.

Each member of the party swore that they would stay, but they all secretly hoped to sneak away before the ceremony. Zubayr and Nyrexes went so far as to begin packing the camels for the next stretch of their journey when Aalim asked what they were going to do about the tunnels.

Nyrexes, Husam and Zubayr pasued for a moment discussed it among themselves. They had all thought their deed in Kafra was done, and had not really considered staying to help, but the priest was insistent, and the mystery of the ancient tunnels was enough to peak the interest of the Sha'ir brothers.

They agreed to enter the tunnels on the condition that Aalim join them and heal them if they needed. The priest nodded, feeling a need to protect his village, and the party approached the exposed dungeon

Scene 5 The Tunnels

The desert floor had collapsed on one of the tunnels, leaving a pile of mud in one of the corners and two entrances. One of the entrances was sealed by a large stone door, the other lead into a dark tunnel.

Zubayr approached the tunnel with the stone door, intending to see if it had any markings when 2 mudmen rose from the ground and attacked.

During this first encounter, Husam found a creative use for one of his spells to defeat the muddy creatures. He asked his Gen to get him the spell Waterbane which makes anything resistant to water. He then cast it on the wet sand comprising the mudman, reducing him to powdery sand as the water was slicked away to the surface. It was a brilliant use of a spell and as the DM I had to allow it!

After drying out one mudman, and Zubayr slicing the other with his scimitar, the party approached the sealed door and wiped away a layer of dust. Carved into the sandstone were words scrawled in an ancient text.

Using his proficiency,  Aalim was able to read the ancient text and said aloud:

"What is a room you enter but never leave?"

NOw I must mention that as the DM I stumbled a bit the first time I said this and may have mixed up Tomb with Room, and the party guessed the correct answer "Tomb" right away. What could I do but give it to them?

At the utterance of the password, the door shuddered and sunk into the ground. The party entered a well lit room, finding it adroned with elaborately carved walls, and filled with treasures.

An aba of beautiful cloth hung on a pedestal in the corner. Across the room and a beautifully spun carpet depicting the heavens, lay an open tome and a large orb of rough cut Amethyst. But perhaps the oddest thing in the room was the skeleton laid out on a table, dressed in beautiful golden jewelry.

Looks like that from above.
Nyrexes grabbed the orb, while Aalim took the book on the stand and the group proceeded to the next door. None of the them needed a carpet or an aba, and they felt disturbing the dead would only have negative consequences. So they left the room heading toward the next exit, but their way out was blocked by a door with another riddle:

"What is a room you leave but never enter?"

To which Aalim quickly responded "A womb."

The door slid into the ground and the party followed a hall to a large square chamber. There was a door on each wall, and in the four corners stood large stone statues soldiers, each of which was slightly askew on its stand, facing one way or the other. In the center of the room there was a large fountain, but much of the earth in one of the corners had melted into the center filling it with mud.

The biggest room in the dungeon
Nyrexes looked into the pool around the fountain and saw that it was full of hundreds of gold coins. Thinking it would open a door, He took one of his own coins and flicked it into the fountain... Nothing happened.

Husam suggested they trying turn the statues so that they were all facing the right way, which was easy with the first three, but the fourth was buried in mud. Husam asked his gen to summon a Move Sand Spell, while the others climbed the slippery slope to move the statue. As they stepped out on the muddy surface three mudmen bubbled up from the slop.

They dispatched the mudmen quickly usinfg Zubayr's scimitar and the Waterbane trick, and Husam's Gen successfully returned with the Move Sand spell. He used it to move the earth around the statue letting the others turn it.

When all of the statues were facing the center, a beautifully crafted metal door opened revealing an room with four cages, each holding a rare exotic beast. Behind the bars sat an Elephant Bird, an Ammut, a Buraq and a Vishap.

The Bird, the Ammut and Buraq, though loathed their capture, where not the cunning beasts that the Vishap was, and when he saw the players enter the chamber he knew this as his chance to escape. Being a dragon meant he knew many tongues, and he tried to weasel his way out of the cage, asking the characters to come closer in common tongue.

A Vishap. Not something you want to mess with.
The creature's speech was strange and archaic, but the party listened as the Vishap told the players that he knew where a great treasure lay and that if they let him out of the cage, he would show them where it lay.

The palyers had noticed a large key on the wall when they entered, releasing the beast would be simple enough, but no one in the party believed the serpent, and Aalim discreetly cast a detect alignment spell on the creature. It turned out the beast was Neutral Evil, and the group refused to help. They left the Vishap and proceeded through an open archway, leaving the beast howling in rage.

The hallway stopped at a final room, where they found the creator of the tunnels. A Djinni was furiously building the chamber: his arms a blur of motion, a tired look etched upon his face.

And the Djinn mini gets its first appearance.

Scene 5 The Djinni

The Djinni paid the players no mind and continued tunneling out the chamber, Until Nyrexes just flat out asked him what he was doing. Without ceasing his work, the Djinni turned his head and said that he was creating the dungeon. Husam asked him why he was creating the dungeon and the Djinni told them an interesting tale.

During the Sha'ir Wars he was bound to magic ring which forced him to serve who ever wore it. But the ring was later cursed so it would slowly cause its wearer to go mad. His master had worn the ring until utter lunacy set in and ordered him to never stop building this dungeon.

That was four hundred years ago, and it had been about 350 since he had last seen his master. He had been building for so long, that he knew how to do little else.
He had become a Tasked-Builder/Architect Djinni.

Aalim asked if he knew about the Mudman that had attacked his town. The Djinni replied that the water from the oasis was dissolving the walls he had created. And would continue to do so until he was freed. After which the tunnels would collapse into the ether from which they came.

The group tried a few ways to convince him to stop, but the Djinni could not cease his master's command. In the end the Djinni told them the only way to free him would be to destroy the ring. 

Nyrexes was convinced that the Djinn's master was corpse that lay back in the riddle room, but they weren't confident they could find their way back. After some deliberation and a few failed attempts to change the Djinni's mind, it was Zubayr who figured out how to trick the Djinn it building them a tunnel directly to the chamber. He tricked Djinn by claiming a really impressive Djinni would build secret passage ways and that He was unimpressed with the lack of secret passage ways in the dungeon. Feeling his pride wounded, the Djinni agreed and began tunneling towards the riddle room and the corpse.

Tunneling through the ground, the Djinni paused for but a moment to consider the placement of the secret entrance to the riddle room deciding to create a wall that would melt away at the touch of he or his master.

Once inside the room, the Djinni could still not stop building, and in a flurry of motion the room changed many times around the party as they investigated explored. It turned out the corpse was not the Djinni's master but the remains of an ancient pharaoh. Stumped, the group thought about how to proceed, as a blur of interior designs unfolded before them.

Again it was the Gnome desert Rider Zubayr who found the right question to ask. He asked the Djinni to build another secret tunnel leading towards the last place he had seen his master. Feeling freedom was just within his grasp, the Djinn agreed started burrowing away, quickly leaving the party behind.

Scene 6 Leaving the Dungeon

The group followed the tunnel for the better part of a day, and it showed no sign of ending. The group thought about turning back and leaving the place, but in the end the enigma of the place got to them and they continued on... For five days.

They slept on the floor, removing the torches left by the djinni to create a small area of darkness, and ate sparingly from their rations, washing them down with mouthfuls of water. It was a grueling and seemingly hopeless trek.

At the end of five days their feet hurt, and they were exhausted but they reached the end of the Journey. They found the Djinn hurriedly redesigning a large chamber with a throne at the far end.

On the throne sat a skeleton wearing nothing but a beautiful gold ring with a sapphire in it: clearly the cursed ring they sought. The Sha'ir brothers began bickering between themselves about how best to destroy the ring, when Zubayr walked up to it and struck it with his scimitar. The ring shattered into a thousand pieces along with the remains of its master.

With that the Djinni stopped work and disappeared from sight. The room started shaking very lightly. Minute later, the Djinn returned to the party and thanked them for freeing him. He also presented them with a gift: a clear gem clasped in a golden eagle claw. Husam asked him about the Emerald Winged Serpent, and Djinn only smiled commenting that he had found one of the set, and vanished.

Nyrexes grabbed the prize from the Djinn, and the room began to shake violently around. The adventurers scrambled to find an exit as pieces of the room collapsed on them. Aalim found a pull chain behind the throne which opened a stairway leading to the surface.

The Dunegeon collapsed around them as the rushed up the stairs. They reached the surface only to find themselves on a rocky outcropping, and watched as the desert shook and the dungeon tunnels collapsed, pointing the direction home with a could of dust. Now all they had to do was travel three days through the desert; on foot.

Scene 7 The Return to Kafra

They waited until the sun was setting before they started their journey and headed off into the night.

It was going to be a long journey.
After a few hours of walking they came across a camp of Al-Badia, the desert Nomads: A people that Zubayr could count himself among. They were greeted kindly and invited to join them for dinner. The Brothers told them the story of their journey, much to the amusement of the Nomads, and they rested in the care of the traveler.

The Al-Badia leader asked them where they were going next, and they all agreed they would return to Kafra. The Nomad leader offered to escort them a cross the sands, in exchange for more stories and their company, to which the party readily agreed! It was just the break they were looking for.

It took them two and a half days by camel to return to Kafra, where they were greeted by the cheers of the villagers who had taken them for dead when the
tunnels collapsed. Aalim was thankful to be home and invited the Adventurers to rest in Kafra and begin their journey the next day. Weary from their travels the Group agreed, and they were offered places to stay for the evening.

Before they departed each other's company for the night, a thunderous boom erupted in the distance. Aalim commented on rumours of a powerful Sha'ir who lived in the mountains, and they turned in.

Conclusion

The next morning, Nyrexes, Husam and Zubayr left for the desert as Aalim and the Village of Kafra waved them fair well.

We ended the game that evening with the three of them bickering about where they would go next: Should they investigate the rumours of a powerful Sha'ir to the North or travel to Hiyal the city of intrigue to South and seek their fortune among the thieves and bandits?


                          
The Al-Qadim Game 5 The Al-Qadim Game 5 Reviewed by Jade GamingNews on 8/14/2014 12:23:00 pm Rating: 5

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