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  • A. R. Frayre

Session Nine


Still wondering about the madness that took their companion Vargass, the following morning was a quiet and somber affair, as they packed their gear and continued North towards the fabled city of Oz-Oka.


The afternoon sun beat hard upon the backs of the party, all save but the few who managed to stay within the shady confines of the covered wagon. As they crossed this sandy territory, the party noticed several sizable expanses of scorched shrubbery and mesquite trees burned nearly to ash—all signs of a recent blaze that seemed to have swept through this region possibly? What could have caused this fire? The more that the group’s resident Fire priest, Blazing-Sun pondered this question, the more that the fire that devastated this region looked more deliberate...

After crossing the fire-scorched region, the party enters an expanse of desert seemingly riddled with great mud-crafted mounds belonging to giant insects of some sort. Certainly not the most exotic or strange site on Athas, but still giving the party reason to pause from the structure’s sheer enormity. A quick look with Lokti’s spyglass revealed that the hives seemed to have been abandoned long ago, and there was no giant insects in sight.

Satisfied that the expanse of giant mud-hives were safe, the party continued forward through this valley, though understandably, with their guard a wee-bit higher...

Travelling through this area was unsettling, to say the least, as an eerie quiet surrounded this place. All that could be heard was the echoing of wind through this region, that, in Leth’s strong opinion, was not a good thing. For several days now, the Air priest has been sensing a storm brewing in this region, and from the looks of a large cluster of dark distant clouds, a fierce storm was due to hit this territory very soon…

Suddenly, the party’s kanks come to an abrupt stop! The ebony insectoid beasts of burden become shaky and refuse to move any further. In the distance, the clanging of weapons and screeching can be heard. Out of nowhere, a load droning buzz from above is heard; two massive wasp-like monsters flay past the caravan and head to the commotion ahead. “Wezers!” Chuul Kwan shouts. These winged monstrosities are gigantic and deadly wasp-like insects that infest the Athasian wastes, and are a bane to all desert travelers.

Up ahead amongst the tower-like mud-crafted hives, the party spots a lone Ssurran Warrior fighting for his life against a large swarm of these creatures, and at his side, a small, but no-less fierce companion, a snarling Jhakar!

Without delay, the party approaches the Ssurran and joins in the battle against the Wezers, hacking and slashing through the ranks of these vicious, winged desert killers!


During the chaos and mayhem of battle, the elvish rogue Lokti get separated from his companions and is surrounded by these monstrous insects. In typical elf-fashion, he showed courage and ferocity as these giant wasps swarmed him from all side, taking several of the Wezers down, until eventually, the elf rogue collapsed from a brutal stinger impalement. To make matters worse, the great sandstorm Leth had been warning his companions about for days hit the region with a bloody vengeance!


In a flash, a great sandstorm sweeps across the Wezer valley, devastating everything in its path. It was only a matter of minutes before it blasted through the party’s current position, so they had to act fast. Seeing no other option, the group headed towards the inner hive system, as facing a horde of these buzzing giants was a far better choice than being torn to shreds by the oncoming sandstorm. Without delay, the party retreats into the closest hive entrance, with some of the party trying to reach the fallen Lokti, but weighed their options of escape of course, as the elf had succumbed to the dust a great distance away from them, and time was not in their side. It was every man for himself, and they opted to rush into the hives instead...


For more than a day, the party stewed within a portion of the underground hives, which were thankfully empty, save for a few squirming larvae which they easily dispatched. Not many words were spoken about the fate of their companion, only that the elf tribal had fought with bravery and heart, and, according to the priest Chan, he would surely be received by his ancestors for his final deed.

The ssurran the party assisted in battle was Kassak, a hunter and a tracker from the Scorched Plataea, far north of the Tyr region. Like the current party, he had escaped slavers a few days east—vicious Gnolls—and now was stealthy hunting them, tracking them north.

The next morning, the great sandstorm had passed the region and the party exited the hives. The storm had destroyed many of the wezer mud-hives, and had altered the surrounding landscape, adding massive dunes where there once were none. Lokti’s body could not be found, though the party did put in an earnest search. The group’s supply wagon, as well as their kanks were also gone, taken by the sandstorm's fury. What little water and rations they still did possess was nothing compared to the healthy stock they traveled with. Though they felt like giving up, they pressed on…


Two days after the great sandstorm and the loss of their companion Lokti, the party finds themselves entering a vast expanse of Salt Flats, as far as the eye could see. Harsh as this country was, Kassak the Ranger was incredibly-talented in survival, and was able to provide food and water in this bleakest of regions.

As night drew closer, the party set camp near a cluster of large salt pillars. Terric gathered kindling from nearby mesquite trees, as Chuul Kwan began preparing the evening meal consisting of a simple stew made of turnips, a few wild potatoes, and scant chunks of 3-day-old gila monster meat.

As they settled in front of the roaring fire, a lone figure appeared, his hands raised in peace, towing behind him a large war-crodlu. The man was a Urikite, as was apparent from his dark hair, pale eyes and skin, and of course, his large hawkish nose. He introduced himself as Hassimir of Urik, and claimed that he was traveling north towards Tyr. He explained that he was on the run from a group of unsavory gangsters from Celik to the south, over a misunderstanding concerning a gambling debt. From the looks of him, he seemed like a foppish scoundrel at first glance, but soon Hassimir’s charisma and natural charm began to warm-over the group, as he recanted tales of dragons and demons, wizards and women!

Seeing safety in numbers, and from the looks of the various battle-worn blades the charismatic Urikite sported at his side, the party came a conclusion that he may be a valuable ally in the coming days…


Of all the inhospitable regions of Athas, the salt flats has to be one of the worst!

The salt flats of Athas are just what the name implies: immense plains of salt-crusted ground. As a sea dries up in the extreme heat of the waste, it leaves behind a vast stretch of dry land that was once a sea floor. Ancient salt seas leave behind salt flats dotted with occasional high-saline lakes, streams, or saltwater marshes.

Salt flats are generally level and packed as hard as stone, so traveling over them is fast and easy. However, forage for pack animals and prey for hunters is all but nonexistent. Those traveling through a salt-flat are well advised to take along enough food for themselves and their beasts. They should also carry an ample supply of drinking water. Although there are oases in the salt flats, the water is usually so bitter and salty that it is undrinkable. In some cases, water can be found that seems safe to drink, but is tainted with a slow-acting poison.

The absolute worst obstacle of the salt flats, it should be noted, is the large amount of undead that endlessly roam the pearl-white landscape. Great vigilance should always be used when camping with an open fire within the salt flats, for at any moment, a ravenous pack of salt-encrusted mummies, zombies, or worse can descend upon you or your party seeking to satiate their eternal thirst for water with your blood…


The party eventually comes upon an area riddled with salt pillars and steaming pools of scalding, bubbling mud. Amongst the pillars, a small pool containing some semi-fresh water is discovered by Kassak the ssurran ranger. As the party begins to refill their much-needed water stores, they are suddenly attacked by a savage pack of Bonesnappers! These vicious reptiles are the foul descendants of the ancient great reptiles of old. Though far smaller than their mighty forefathers, these ravenous reptiles are no less brutal in their savagery when it comes to hunting prey.

The scaly-creatures quickly descend upon the party, snapping wildly with their massive teeth, sharp hind-talons, and stinging, whip-like tails. Though outnumbered by these prehistoric beasts the party manages to slay most of the creatures and send the remaining fleeing. After the battle, all eyes were on Hassimir. He had proven his skill with the blades to be most useful. Perhaps the tall tales of his swordplay was not so fantastic after all…

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