Ere the World Crumbles

A City Divided
Shumballah at night

“Shumballah is on the brink of war!” Betzallah told them. “This is the only way! The King must be deposed, his line ended, and a new theocracy, under Set, is the only way to prevent civil war and mass bloodshed!” The heroes knew that Betzallah wasn’t lying, at least about the tension in the city. The brown-skinned, mixed race Chaga who ruled loathed the black races that inhabited Shumballah, and the walls of the Capital district, El Shebbeh, served as dividers between the Chaga nobility and the majority Gallah, who lived in shanties and slums outside the thick stone noble and government districts. El Shebbeh had always been a client city of Stygia, taking orders directly from Khemi. The Gallah, with their jungle deities and resilience, never entirely grew subservient to their rich, foreign overlords. A new cult, rising out of the Witch-Finder Ageera’s acolytes, was gaining followers and fighters, and the oppressed people had grown restless against the whips of the snakes. . .

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A Late Night Stroll
the party ventures out into Punt

Their quest and promises for rewards given to them, the party left the shifty priest’s chambers, and made their way out to explore El Shebbeh before exiting through into Punt itself. The guards’ eyes never left the party as the heroes made their way through the gates of El Shebbeh and into Shumballah proper. They were to find a place to rest for a couple of days, then make their way to the necropolis eastward, meeting with the Priest’s assistant, Anul, along the road. Anul would give them supplies and provide a distraction for the patrol guards, and they would make their way to the third pyramid, and the dangers and mysteries that lie within.

The denizens of Punt walk in half circles around the group, never taking narrowed eyes away from them. More citizens seem armed than Orastes could remember before, with even the poorest carrying spears or swords or shortbows. Rumors abound that Ageera and the Ape God Jullah grow restless, and soon the snakes and oppressors that bed with the snake will bleed into the sands.

They arrive at an inn in the western part of Punt, a shoddy place, but larger and more sturdy than most of the huts in the city. The Bloated Frog. Orastes and Ramla, unable to get any information out of the barkeep or patrons, both get rooms to rest, Orastes with a bottle of wine and Ramla with her nightmares. Darvus loses most of his money to a comely Zamoran woman in games of “Barachan dice,” before retiring as well to his bed. Whispers among the patrons talk of wars, and cults, and Thoth Amon. . .

The next day is spent wandering Punt, collecting rumors, and that late night they finally make way to the necropolis.

Along the way they meet an armed group of youths, who warn Ramla, as a countrywoman, that the blacks of Shumballah are ready to rise up. Punt is boiling and soon will overrun El Shebbeh, and all of Shumballah will be autonomous. Thoth Amon is on his way from Stygia, but he will arrive too late, and will be murdered as soon as he arrives. The blacks do not fear the snakes or their magics. Jullah is strong.

Nervous, the party still continues to the east, finally meeting Anul, who gives them their weapons and supplies. He leads the party to the Royal Pyramid, and manages to pull the patrolling guards away while the party pries open the front door and slips in.

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Tombs and Treasons

Orastes Ramla Darvus
Betzallah Arrakkamani I Tananda
But Betzallah’s plans spoke of treachery and treason of the highest sort… an incursion into the tomb of the ancient King Zuulmani, patriarch of the royal house and great, great grandfather of Arrakkamani I, the King of Kush. In these catacombs, in the bowels of the Great Pyramid of El Shebbeh’s ruling family, they would find Zuulmani’s tomb, and more importantly, his bones, for which Betzallah’s plans were uncertain. But it was certain that the plans were borne of some type of evil, for Betzallah was a puppet of Thoth Amon, and therefore a minion of Set. Betzallah grew restless under what he considered Arrakkamani’s blasphemous rule, which moved further from the teachings of Set… El Shebbeh had always been a puppet city of Khemi, after all. The re-introduction of the old Kush gods, feral and petty under Set’s gaze, Betzallah thought, was begging for retribution, and Set was not forgiving. Betzallah wanted them to steal Zuulmani’s bones for a demonic ritual that would aid the cause of Set in deposing King Arrakkamani I, and his troublesome Queen, Tananda.

Orastes was reluctant to do the priest’s bidding, however, and immediately returned to the King’s audience chamber to inform him of the priest’s intended betrayal.

The King was skeptical, and Betzallah’s purring charmed the Queen, whose hold on the King was great. He sided with her and Betzallah, whom he thought was a bumbling old perverted man. Orastes was dismissed of the King’s service, replaced by the King’s young nephew, and Orastes’s loyalty was repaid with a dismissing wave of the hand. With nowhere to go and anger in their hearts, the heroes reluctantly agreed to Betzallah’s quest.

They were to break into the Royal Pyramid, make their ways down to the lower levels, and find Zuulmanni’s tomb. Therein, they would find and bring to Betzallah Zuulmanni’s bones and brains. The purpose was uncertain, but Ramla suspected that there was a demonic summoning purpose.

Betzallah phrased his reasons only in saying “That fool king started a dynasty of foolhardy heathens. It must end.” Set would return, and Stygia’s anger would be abated.

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And Together, they Came
A chance encounter

Orastes Ramla Darvus
Betzallah
13th Day of the Crone, Year of the Ape,

And thus it came to pass that, be it by the work of the gods, something diabolical, or mere happenstance, a group of unlikely companions came to find themselves on a journey that would test both mind and mettle. For it was on this day that Orastes, a grizzled Gunderman soldier of many campaigns. . . Darvus, a mysterious Zamoran of quick wit and knife. . . and Ramla, a troubled Tribeswoman from the jungles of Southern Kush, came to find themselves in each other’s company. This all came to pass in the city of Shumballah, in the inner-walled section, El Shebbeh.

Orastes was serving as bailiff in the Court of King Arrakkamani I of Kush, having been delegated down the chain of command from his previous position of Captain of the Guards some six months prior. He had seemed to have fallen out of favor with the ambivalent King and his sister’s constrictive whispers, and was on this day serving his less-than-proud role of administrator of the guards of the Court as suspect after suspect was marched forward for the King’s draconic justice.

It was on this day that Darvus and Ramla, accused of thievery, eluding the King’s Justice, and disturbing the King’s Peace, were brought forth for inquisition. These outlanders received the same suspicious scowls from the King’s Court as they had from the denizens of Shumballah, and the King ordered that they be put to Death.

It was then that Betzallah, the perverse Royal Priest of Set in charge of the Temple District of El Shebbeh stepped forward, crooning his praises for the Queen Sister. His beguiling soothes convinced her to order her brother’s mercy upon the accused Zamoran and Tribeswoman, which was carried out instead. Little did any know that Betzallah had a plan for the two. . . and for Orastes as well…

They proved an unruly bunch, waiting for their opportunity to steal away from the bailiff and guards’ watchful eyes, prior to reporting to Betzallah’s chosen location for reveal of his plan. Orastes, never besmirching his honor, resisted the silver-tongued Priest’s cajoles to serve his dark requests. Darvus slipped away into the market district, eluding the guards and priests that were set out to find him. Ever the rogue, he talked and sneaked his way from the throngs of heavily armored soldiers, until he was seized and beaten a mere three steps from freedom. Ramla resorted to the survival tactics that had kept her alive in the jungles. . . sneaking and hiding but ever watching, the Dark Presence that plagued her ever scratching its nails against the walls of her mind. She, in the end, came willingly, when the voices became too much, and upon the promise of the Serpent Priest that he would assist her with that which plagued her.

While force and persuasion captured the two, Orastes would succumb to neither. He defied the Priest’s promises and threats, and when the Priest saw that nothing short of bloodshed or appeals to the King would bring Orastes to heel, Betzallah sought out the latter. The King, in all his Omniscience, dismissed Orastes without batting a sleepy eye.

And thus Together they came, for better or worse, to serve Betzallah, the High Priest of Set of El Shebbeh.

Jeremines, Chief Historian and Chronicler of the Historical Society of Tarantia.

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Welcome to your Adventure Log!
A blog for your campaign

Every campaign gets an Adventure Log, a blog for your adventures!

While the wiki is great for organizing your campaign world, it’s not the best way to chronicle your adventures. For that purpose, you need a blog!

The Adventure Log will allow you to chronologically order the happenings of your campaign. It serves as the record of what has passed. After each gaming session, come to the Adventure Log and write up what happened. In time, it will grow into a great story!

Best of all, each Adventure Log post is also a wiki page! You can link back and forth with your wiki, characters, and so forth as you wish.

One final tip: Before you jump in and try to write up the entire history for your campaign, take a deep breath. Rather than spending days writing and getting exhausted, I would suggest writing a quick “Story So Far” with only a summary. Then, get back to gaming! Grow your Adventure Log over time, rather than all at once.

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