Sunday, 9 September 2018

Golden Sands

I have finally made it to 200 posts. The first 100 posts took a few months as I was posting almost every day with a pile of old material to post. Since then I have had to write new material as I go which has taken a lot more time. I am attempting to keep my posts up to at least 5-8 per month. This week I add a very short, pulp sword and sorcery adventure.

Golden Sands
A short adventure that takes place in an empty expanse of the desert far from civilization. I have written it for Sharp Swords & Sinister Spells since I recently reviewed the rules.


Background
The City of Namrut was the center of a large kingdom in the distant past. Despite being located in an area of the desert that rarely gets rain. The discovery of an enormous underground aquifer allowed the deserts around Namrut to be farmed. I some point a catastrophe struck Namrut, the origin of which has been forgotten, the people left and the sands of the deserts covered over the city. Recently, some nomads claim to have discovered some ruins they claim are those of Namrut and they have been selling maps to the location.

Golden Sands

(1). Ruins of Namrut
Not much of the city is visible above the sand. One large, stone block building and a few piles of rubble. The building is 30 by 20 feet and 20 feet tall. Built of cyclopean stone blocks it is crumbling but intact. There are 3 alcoves on the west side. In two of the taller alcoves stand stone statues of a god-like figure. One is missing its head which is nearby on the ground. The third alcove is only 4 feet tall and appears to be a glyph-covered stone door.

In the shadow of the building, a skeleton of a man sits upright in the sand. The skeleton has been completely picked clean by the blowing sand. On his lap rests a pitted sword and he is clad in studded leather armor. About him, several leather sacks and equipment poke out of the sand.

The door can be opened by depressing one of the glyphs.  Characters must make an Intellect check (-1) to spot the glyph that can be depressed. The door will grind slowly upward and then become stuck. No amount of pushing will move it further up. The level of sand against the door drops as it goes up suggesting that it is spilling into the chamber beyond. The door has actually moved up 4 feet. Characters need only scoop out enough sand to slip under the door. This takes about 30 minutes. While characters are digging a group of desert bandits on camels attack.

Once a few feet of sand are removed characters can slip under the door but they will immediately slide down a short ramp of sand leading to the pit in area 2.  Characters must make an Agility roll at -2 (quite easy) to avoid tumbling into the pit.

The skeleton has the following equipment:
2 Short swords (small weapons d4 damage)
2 bundles of rope for a total of 120 feet.
10 iron spikes
1 hammer
2 empty clay bottles (water bottles)
1 bag of dried out food
1 tent
1 bedroll
1 change of clothes
1 suit of studded leather armor (Medium, -1d damage reduction).
1 pouch with 45 silver coins in it.

Judging by the state of the equipment and the vintage of the coins, this unlucky traveller died no more than a few weeks ago.

Bandits: No appearing 4, HD 1, Gains positive die if attacking with 2 companions.

(2). The Abyss
Inside the ruin is a roughly 20 by 30 foot chamber with a 15 foot high roof. A 3 foot wide ledge goes around the edge of this chamber around a shaft descending into darkness. The shaft drops sixty feet to the roof of area 3 below. There is an additional 50 foot drop to the stone floor at area 3. Characters falling in the pit will be killed when they strike the stone floor 110 feet below.

The Shaft


(3). The cistern of Namrut
Beneath area 2 is a large cavern. The rock of the cavern is hard and smooth and holds in most of the water that falls (rarely) as rain in the desert above. The cistern is enormous and is the reason Namrut could exist in the first place. A huge lake of water fills most of the cavern. A narrow ledge of stone on the west side of the lake is above the water level. The shaft from area 2 is over a path of cut stones that runs along the west side of the cavern to area 4 which is 80 feet to the north. The water in the cistern is clean and very cold.

(4). Temple of the Forgotten One
There well-preserved temple along the north wall of the cavern. Doric columns hold up a stone roof 40 feet above. In the front of the roof, stone stele depicts several unknown gods. Stone steps lead up to the interior of the temple. At the back of the temple is a 14 foot tall stone statue of a forgotten god. Before the statue the stone slabs of the floor of the temple appear to be loose, covering an empty space beneath.

Temple of the Abyss

The stone floor stones are too heavy for one character to move. Two or three characters would need to work together (allow a Physique check). However, as soon as anyone comes within two feet of the loose stones they are flung aside by a multitude of green tentacles.

The Thing in the Pit (1 appearing) HD 6, makes 6 attacks dealing 1d6 damage each (tentacles), gibbering voices force any within melee range to make a Willpower test or suffer a Negative Die to all actions until they leave its presence.

The creature is a nameless entity summoned by an evil sorcerer of Namrut. It caused the destruction of Namrut by cutting off the population from their water supply. It looks like a six foot in diameter blob with six, 15 foot long tentacles. In the center of the blob are three yellow eyes and a large mouth filled with 2-inch teeth.

The creature is resting on a large sum of Silver and gold coins (450 silver, 250 gold).

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