Sins of Aethas
Aethas a world without gods, devils or magic. Twin suns bare down unrelenting heat upon the planet's surface. Large expanses of sandy wastes sprawl across the continent of Hebyrea. Massive mountain ranges shade regions of jungle. In turn these jungles hide away large forgotten tombs deep within. From giant sand drakes out in the wastes to large carnivorous birds hidden by the thick canopies of the jungles, Athas has many dangers. The only question is, does your thirst for power out weigh your thirst for water?
In a long forgotten age, Aethas was a paradise. Beautiful oceans took the place of the deserts and the dangerous regions of jungles were island chains across the face of the world. The firstborn of this world built great wonders, they had unimaginable technologies. These beings had the power of gods, it would ultimately be their downfall. In pursuit of more power, they waged war on each other for supremacy. Psionics were discovered and in conjunction with technological advances they destroyed their world.
Aethas is a world cutoff from other realities. Neither god nor infernal power may step foot here. It lay within a pocket dimension inside of its own space time. Without gods, the inhabitants of the world came to grow reliant upon the use of their own psionic energy to accomplish what we would call magic. Water is just as powerful as psionics here, control of natural resources is key to survival.
Across the desert, humanoids have created settlements to ward off the dangers of the wilds. From small backwater outposts, to large citadels built around alcazars, there are many places to take up residence in Aethas.
The larger citadels are ruled by power Psionic wielders known as sorcerer kings. These warlords battle over scarce resources with armies of psionic warriors to dominate the world.
A small town with no real outstanding features. No large grand structures or true system of self government. This is a place for merchant and mercenary alike to come and spend coin. Local shops offer what little resources the town can provide. The town's economic system is supported by the under belly of society. Labbon has one claim to fame, its red light district. Exotic animals and courtesans are purchased. Bars filled with strong drinks from all four corners of the world find a place here along with other mind altering substances.
A capital city, named after its founder, a sorcerer king from the age of the great dragon. The height of what the current age has to offer. Many sights are spattered along the city. A grand colosseum rising well over the walls of the city, libraries containing vast collections of knowledge, beautiful amphitheatres complete with hanging gardens. As beautiful as all of these things are, they are dwarfed in comparison to the palace of the current sorcerer king. Lady Zulsola, the current magistrate of the realm. Known as the crimson hand for her bloody campaign, she is as beautiful as she is blood thirsty.
In the shadows of the mountains, thick canopies stretch over vast expanses. Fed by an underground water table and a permanent thick mist, vegetation thrives here along with a variety of carnivorous monstrosities. Deep within, mysterious ruins lead into deep cavernous tombs of forgotten civilizations. Be wary any who enter here, the trees will take you. Many adventuring parties enter and never leave. Both the environment and the wildlife want you dead, prepare for both, or pay the price of fools.
Tomb of Entropy
You can run, or fight. Either way death is your destiny. This is inscribed at the entrance of this tomb. Unfortunately it is written in a language long dead to time. The firstborn believed in an afterlife, they practiced rituals in preparation for it. One practice is the creation of grand structures to house their dead. The tomb of Entropy is largest ever built. Inside the first sorcerer king was buried. Many more dead lay inside with him. As the firstborn died and abandoned these great structures, monsters made these caverns their home. As adventurers descend deeper into the cave, maddening effects begin to take root in the mind. If your party isn't prepared with the means to fight off these effects, permanent damage and the loss of your psionics can be a result. Tread carefully adventurer.
Colosseum of Tyraxxes
Sand and blood shift as the crowds roar with excitement. Exotic beasts combat fierce warriors from all over Hebyrea. Lady Zulsola regularly attends the gladiatorial events and circuses held for her people's amusement. She goes to great lengths to secure the most entertainment for the masses in order to keep the people docile. In return the city receives revenue from games held there. Many strong warriors have fallen to the infamous Blight apes of Tyraxxes.
The Red wastes
On the outskirts of the town of Labbon vast dunes of ferrous sands wash away any other signs of civilization. The occasional formation of scraggy rocks tear gashes in the landscape providing shelter for sand drakes. Travel throughout the night is extremely dangerous due to bandits and nocturnal creatures. Caravans take extreme care whilst traversing these expanses. Ruins of towns litter around dried oases.
In Aethas many races have risen and fell. Through natural selection or bloody conflict many of the races that once called this world home have now long been gone. Those who remain have taken on more federal forms in efforts to survive the harsh new world.
The tribes of men came soon after the fall of the firstborn. As their descendants they rose to be the majority of the inhabitants of Aethas. These humans look slightly different from humans from other worlds. More prominent canine teeth, more hair and darker skin are a few of the most noticeable features of these humans. The mutations causing the use of psionics has a side effect of vibrant eye color. The most common is a golden amber.
Those who descend from the fae exposed firstborn live out in the wastes. They lives as carefree nomads, never finding the appeal of permanent settlements. They herd desert ibex and raise large desert impalas for mounts. They are swift and fierce warriors who make excellent archers. Aelfin use psionics to increase the accuracy of ranged weapons and create physical barriers to parry attacks in close combat. As a right of passage, young male Aelfin mush venture out into the wastes and return with a sand drakes egg. Once they return with the egg they drink its contents to gain greater psionics and become more in tuned with the world.
In the jungles of Maastubala, only one sentient humanoid race thrives. The pygmy are a proud people as the chosen of the firstborn. They are prophesied to inherit the world and usher in a new age of peace. Yet far from their prophecy, they have became little more than organized animals within the jungle. Cannibalism and other dark practices of dark psionics occur deep within the jungle. The savage settlements of the pygmy are mostly large trees hollowed out into homes and buildings for their society. Traps and barbed range weapons are the main form of offensive. The pygmy are extremely good with psionics and make for excellent warriors of the mind as well as the body. Rumors of pygmy shamans taking over the minds of travelers and turning them into zombified forms of themselves has kept many out of Mustabaala.
In the beginning firstborn lived on many islands across the world. Some of these islands remained isolated for long periods of time. Those firstborn left alone began to increase in stature. As war found their home the population of these giants dwindled down to near extinction. Yet through some miracle they managed to hide themselves. When humans rose into power they finally came out of hiding and lived amongst the young human race. They began interbreeding and the result is the Kuba. These large humanoids have no psionics, but what they lack in mental power the more than compensate for in physical prowess. The word Kuba means children of Woot, the first human. Being the direct descendants of the first human, the Kuba believe to be the perfect form of humanity even though they are much larger than their normal human brethren.
The animals of the world take many forms. Over the ages megafauna came into being. These large beasts were seen as the closest thing this world knows of gods. The towering creatures lorded over their realms in the wilds. As time progressed they learned to take on the shape of other creatures. Interbreeding created races of monsters and beasts of legend that now roam Aethas. As the humanoid races came to be, the beast lords took favor to them and had offspring with them. Those descendants of those bloodlines are known as the Enkeadim. They come in many forms depending on the bloodline and how much DNA is from the original beast lord. Features can be as subtle as a pair of horns to as exaggerated as the head of a lion. All Enkeadim have a healthy respect for each other, seeing other bloodlines as distant relatives. Each bloodline gains the abilities from the founding beast lord and the weaknesses of that beast lord as well. Due to the interbreeding with other humanoids that potency of abilities from the beast lords has extremely weakened. Now they usually act as merchants and shopkeepers in towns.
From below they came, down will they return. As the waters left the once submerged caves and caverns of the world, many made those caves and caverns their home. And with them the monstrous descendants of the beast lords. The earliest human tribes that lived in these caverns once fought against the things that lived in the dark. They soon came to envy their power. Sadistic rituals took place, and the worship of these monsters led to mutations. Beings with large carnivorous teeth, glossy black eyes and pale skin came from the depths. They raided villages, murdering and taking captive whom they pleased. They sacrificed to their dark lords. In blood they bathed to appease their bloodlust. These were the first Dark bloods. Large brutes with dark manes and matted fur. What little skin that is exposed is pale blue. They live in frigid caves and feast upon sentient life. In their culture strength is power, the strongest receive the most food and the right to mate. The weak are shunned and abused until death or banishment. Banishment is equivalent to death. On the surface they are hunted like other monsters out of fear. In some cases they are captured and used in gladiatorial events as wild beasts for sport. They have very animalistic psionic abilities, ranging from sensing fear to seeing in pitch black and tracking prey by body heat.
Non player characters
Description: Bronze skin, violet eyes, dark flowing hair, tall slender. Violet flames calmly erupt from her eyes and hair. Dressed in fine silk and light gold jewelry. Subtle and warm like the flames that come from her body.
Race: Enkeadim ( Dragon Mantis)
Occupation: Sorcerer king of Tyraxxes
Description: Large four armed humanoid, cream colored skin with insect pattern scales. Curved horns , long antennae and red scales protrusions along the back of her head acting as hair. An intricate crown rests upon her head. Long flowing robe as clothing. Very regal in appearance, yet in her large red eyes you can see the true nature of a predator.
Occupation: Templar captain of Tyraxxes
Description: Athletic, slender male. Pointed goatee and dark sunken eyes. Long black hair tied back. Dressed in dark steel armor and red cape, long pants and black leather boots. As menacing and dark as his armor, very cunning and cruel.
Race: Dark blood
Occupation: Headhunter chieftain
Description: Large monstrous humanoid. Huge wet glossed over eyes with a maroon tint. Large curved tusks with piercings and scarring all over the visible parts of his face. His hair is a huge mane, dark and matted fur covering most of his face. His hands and feet are clawed covered in blood stained wraps. His armor is a gauntlet and shoulder guard stolen from previous victims. A skull belt holds up the tattered rags that cover his lower body.
Race: Enkeadim (Harpy Eagle)
Occupation: Shopkeeper and alchemist
Description: Grey feathers cover the eyes of this old shopkeeper. Tattered fabrics of various materials sewn crudely together to form a long robe covering a majority of this large avian creature. Usually smoking herbs grown in his garden out of an old wooden pipe, Zeraqueal sits and minds his store. A rope acts as a belt holding his makeshift robe and bottles containing elixirs and tinctures. He is a reliable source of psionic attuned items and ability enhancing supplements.
Race: Dark blood
Occupation: Head hunter assassin
Description: slender muscular female. Like her brother Karrak, Kullala is vicious. She hunts primarily at night for enemies of the Head hunter clan out in the Red wastes. Her head is shaved on one side whilst the other side of her head is covered in a large mess of tangled fur reaching the back of her legs when standing straight. Her fangs are coated in steel making them a close combat weapon. Her claws are painted with scorpio venom, ensuring the death of her targets. She has been taken as a gladiator in her childhood. She learned multiple forms of combat. She eventually became bored with her life as a slave, resulting in the death of her captors and a substantial bounty on her head.
Description: a rumored entity that terrorized the firstborn and the sorcerer kings who came after." The one who waits", only one of the names given to the scourge of the world. Many tales from the dark times of Aethas speak of this monster. None alive know his appearance or of his true origins. His current whereabouts are unknown. Speaking the name of Ennairdda leads to maddening nightmares and severe illness.
Monsters/ Combat encounters
Act I "Out of the gate"
Our party starts in a brothel. Scum come here to sate dark depravities and desires. The party meets Laputa, a courtesan who enlists the help of our heroes to help her escape. As the party begins to help her, the city becomes crawling with low level foot soldiers and mercenaries sent to capture them.
Our adventurers must escape the city with the aid of Laputa. Many foes will stand in their way. They party is timed to leave the city before more reinforcements arrive to capture them.
Time is of the essence. The longer it takes the players to leave the town the more difficult the encounters will become. If the party takes too long they will encounter the Templar's captain, Jabuul. He will go to great lengths to capture them and send them to Tyraxxes as prisoners.
Pass: Leave The town and go into the Red wastes.
Fail: Captured by Jabuul and sent to the city of Tyraxxes.
Map area: Labbon, Red wastes, Tyraxxes
Act II "Bottom dead center"
Once free from Labbon the travelers set out into the Red wastes. Our heroes make their way towards the East. Night falls and in the distance strange lights appear on the horizon. In efforts to leave the wilderness the party treks towards the lights. Now in a large ravine, a town appears. Lanterns struggle to pierce the darkness. The town's streets are empty, silk dust devils whip through the roads as the group make their way to an inn to lay their weary heads. The innkeeper is a strange little man with bulging yellow eyes. The party dismissed the creepy elder and makes their way to their rooms. In the middle of the night, screaming coming from Laputa's room echo through the halls of the inn. Now the party is met with cultists that are ready to sacrifice Laputa to their dark god. This mission is an onslaught. After rescuing Laputa. The party must survive until dawn.
Pass: Laputa is saved and the party leaves the town westward
Fail: Laputa is taken to the jungles of Maastubala and the party head East to rescue her.
Map area: Kulcottu
*Act II (Alternate) "Hunter hunted"
The party awakens to find themselves in chains. Thick wooden posts surround them creating a primitive cell. The sound of mechanics churning is deafening. The floor begins to raise the cell and piercing sunlight meets the eyes of the party. As they rise the churning of metal gears is drowned out by the roar of applause. A massive crowd sits in the seats of the Colosseum of Tyraxxes. The crowd cheering tapers down.the top of the Colosseum a large platform sits mounted on the side of a cliff the colosseum is built into. A woman stands towards the stone railing of the platform staring down into the arena. The ruler of the city of Tyraxxes, Lady Zulsola. She surveys the arena and holds up one hand, signaling the beginning of the games. Now our party must fight five rounds of enemies from the colosseum. Each fight is more difficult than the last. Do they have what it takes to survive the games?
Pass: win their freedom and the audience of Lady Zulsola
Fail: remain prisoners until they win five matches
Act III (Alternate) "It can't rain always"
Westward of Kulcotta, the vast sea of red sand sprawls far past what the eye can see. Thirst begins to set in. If the party doesn't receive water soon they will perish. Just as all hope is lost, our heroes find an oasis. They glutinously drink from the pool of green water. As they sate their thirst, one by one they begin to feel weak. This water was a toxic pool filled with bacteria. As the party wakes they find themselves in a large tent. On the sides of their cots goatskins filled with fresh water. As they drink the tent door opens revealing a frail Aelfin elder. She welcomes the party and offers hospitality. Her tribe is nomadic and frequently moves through the wastes herding their livestock. The elder goes on to say her people are constantly raided by a vicious tribe of Darkblood known as Headhunters. The party is then employed by the elders to ward off these invaders. This mission is a multi staged war of attrition. The party must out strategize the Headhunters and save the Aelfin tribe.
Pass: Receive ancient Aelfin artifact that leads to Tomb of Entropy
Fail: Continue to battle the Headhunters until successful
Act IV "Welcome to the jungle"
Our party reached the mountains of Mustabaala. As they descend into the deep vegetation, sweat begins to bead up around their heads. They continue east further into the jungle. The canopy and shadow of the mountains create a darkness that makes travel difficult. The twist and turns continuously lead the party in circles. Every minute the jungle grows darker and warmer. The party finally comes to a clearing, yet as they enter they are entangled in ropes made from thick jungle vines. A tribe of feral pygmy warriors capture the party and throw them into a dark pit. Once at the bottom the party must fight their way through caves to the other side.
(If Act II Bottom dead center pass)
Laputa begins to have visions. She guides the party to the end of the caves into an ancient outcrop of temples.
(If Act II Hunter hunted pass)
The party blindly makes their way through the caverns until they reach a stone archway leading to the Tomb of Entropy.
Act V "Controlled chaos…predetermined fate"
Now inside the Tomb of Entropy our party is immediately set upon by the horrors within. Our party will find no respite here. The maze-like caverns twist and turn revealing monsters and traps set to dispatch the heroes. As the party goes further into the tomb, their minds are muddled. They continue onward until they reach two giant marble doors outlined with fine gold. The floor is a smooth cold alabaster. They enter a large hall. White flame erupts from a moat of fire outlining the room. In Front of a large obsidian throne a lectern stands. A book rests on the face of the lectern. The book is opened to a page. Laputa's voice echoes the words scribed in the book. As the room becomes silent again the flames of moat die down. Suddenly a black portal erupts above the throne. A large humanoid body drops from the portal and lands on the throne. Marble colored skin stretches across the emaciated giant. Wooly dreaded hair drapes from the head of the corpse like being down into its lap. The large head raises to reveal a ghoulish face. Laputa's eyes change color to pale fire as a twisted smile stretches across her face. "Die where you stand".
Pass: Ennairdda falls back into the portal leaving Aethas forever
Fail: Ennairdda escapes the Tomb of Entropy and wreaks havoc upon Aethas