A nest amongst the sands…

Sunday has come and the adventure has been started. This week we were looking to keep things simple with reduced variations or options in this week’s adventure. So to wrap it all up I will see how in depth I can go.

Hope you liked this adventure and are looking forward to next weeks!

To hunt the cockatrice takes the characters into The Hollow Desert, a place where rain comes but once a year and those who travel, let alone live there, have to be made of stronger stuff. 

The denizens of the desert are hardy, resourceful and cunning, they have to be in order to survive. 

The characters find themselves entering Apituk, part of the Khizdumese Theocracy, after travelling for quite a few weeks to get to the city. Unlike the grasslands around the city the streets are paved with stone and the buildings are crudely made from sandstone and people from all races are flittering around haggling with street vendors trying to get cheaper prices for food, goods and trinkets.

The plot

After an hour the party finds themselves approached by a man dressed in a long black flowing cloak. He Introduces himself just as ‘Y’ greets them praising them for their reputation and singing praises of the party which are almost all true the and requests that they follow him as his patron has a request for them that will pay them handsomely for their involvement in the successful outcome for his patron.

The man ushers the party into a carriage that looks to be extremely well made with plush fabric covered seats and exotic furs to add that little bit more lushness to the experience. The carriage is large enough to seat 8, impeccably clean and feels overall quite expensive. A little basin with little dish of water is placed before the party by the carriage footman. The mysterious man, who calls himself Y, quite confusing really, produces a small palm sized crystal that glows with a purple light and places it in the basin.

A ladies voice, muffled by magic or something mundane, speaks from the crystal and from the tone and language used they party can tell that she owns the carriage and probably much much more.

The owner of the voice offers the party a job, go to a gypsy camp in the Hollow desert and retrieve an artefact called the Shruiabe Coin and bring it back to Y. The party as compensation would receive 1,000 gp each for their discretion and the artefact and a bonus will be provided to them if the artefact is the genuine thing and does what it is rumoured to do so. The party is to wait at the Mulberry and Cake inn within the city for their full compensation upon their return. If the party accept then Y would produce a map that indicates the known reported locations of the gypsy camp and a sum of 350gp to get provisions for the journey as the Hollow desert is not a forgiving place.

Once in The Hollow Desert if the party had hired help (a guide) or purchased/hired camels or other animals/vehicles that could travel across the sands in a desert then that would make the journey easier. For each day that the party travel they would suffer a level of exhaustion unless travelling via animal vehicle, guided by someone knowledgeable or travelling at night (when it’s cold, not hot). 

The people

Kelsei Whisper song

Kelsei Wispersong is a moonelf (tanned now) who travels with the various traders and gypsies in the Hollow Desert. She is just over 5 feet tall, a little chubby but sharp as a tack. Nothing escapes her notice and thats how she has survived so long in the desert with the gypsies that seem to travel with the change in the sands.

Kelsei knows what it takes to survive and if you ask around about her she does just that. Knowing a good thing when she sees it she is quick to make them best of good situations and she always seems to make it out on top. However she has just as quickly to know a bad thing and when to cut her losses (or avoid them altogether) and walk away.

When the party enquire about the Shruiabe Coin Kelsei gets defensive and would enquire as to how they know about the coin, why they want it and who is it for. To prove their worth for the coin Kelsei would request that they retrieve for the gyspie camp 4 cockatrices or the same number of cockatrice eggs as this particular troop of survivors has learnt how to domesticate them and use them for guardians of the camp, as currency and when times get rough, food. She would describe where they are poorly (if they have a guide they should know but wouldn’t be pleased about it) but if she notices the party have a map she would offer to mark it on there – surprised that it’s already marked on the map as the third possible location of the gyspie camp. She would explain that they had to leave when a group of marauders attacked them one night and caused many losses to the people of this camp.

The Encounters

There are three stages to the fights this week. 2 road side encounters,1 at night when they camp and 1 when they go to retrieve the cockactrices or their eggs. Let’s have a look at them

Tricks of the sands.

On the first time of travelling they would see an oasis off in the distance with what looks like a plume of smoke coming from it (if travelling at night time they would see a pinprick of flickering light). If they were to roll investigation (DC14) they would determine it to be an illusion. But not quite a mirage. If they continue on their path towards the one of the three last known encampments of the gypsies they would then be buffeted by sands and would have their wills tested (wisdom saving throw) – if they fail they would find a cave not far off the track which they would try and shelter in from the sand storm. If they pass they realise that there is no sandstorm or no cave and would be confused if anything else were to move to the bottom of a large sand dune and appear to take shelter. 

If the party does try to shelter in the illusionary cave they would suffer a level of exhaustion after an hour as the sun would continue to shine down on them and would dehydrate them. If they pass again they would be ambushed by a Blue dragon wyrmling who would fly over them and throw blasts of lightning at the party trying to scare them off. If they beat the wyrming who would plead for its life, or if it has a chance to escape the party would find out (by the wyrmling informing them, or the party stumbling at the base of cliffs where several adult blue dragons would swoop down to confront them. If the Wyrming lives he would be there and would try and persuade the party to leave (whilst asking the adults to leave them alone) as the party has stumbled upon the nesting grounds of the blue dragons which was the cause of the gypsies abandoning this rather good position to camp long term. 

The party would find shelter not far away (or could ask for shelter from the dragons) and could rest for the night. If they do rest here the dragons would fly and warn them to not go towards the cliffs but to stay in the oasis.

Blue Dragon wyrmling

Stingers come from beneath the sands.

At night if the party eats food or lights a fire they would be attacked by the human sized Sand scorpions of the hollow desert who are either drawn towards their food and the heat from the fire. 2-3 scorpions would attack them and would try and take the party members (furthest from the fire) one by one back into a nearby shallow sand burrow.

In the morning the party head towards the next known campsite and find that it is the correct one and it’s inhabited by the gypsy camp.

Blue Dragon wyrmling

Iron Tooth clan

On the way to the next camp, the following day or that night – depending on players and if they need to recover any exhaustion, the party would be ambushed by a group of these ‘marauders’ which are a mix of Tabaxi and Half-orcs. They declare that they are part of the Iron Tooth clan and that they will let the party go without bloodshed if they can take them to the gypsies of the desert so they can finish the job and kill them and their witch – who slew their last boss when they attacked them last time. 

If the party fights then it would be 1 bandit Captain and 6 bandits.

If the Party lead the bandits to the gypsies then the camp and Kelsei would fight. Kelsie would cast a powerful sleep spell that would put all the bandits to sleep except for the captain who would run away. The camp would be hostile towards the party now, not attack on sight but they would not be welcome back into the camp and Kelsei would be disappointed and request that instead of 4 creatures or 4 eggs she would require both creatures and eggs. If they can retrieve more of either that may sooth things over with the camp.


A nest of stone.

After the encounter with the bandits they would make it to the old camp and look for the place Kelsie would have described. Finding it they would find 6 cockatrice in there and 5 eggs. The cockatrice would attack the moment they realise that the party is there. If the fight breaks out amongst the nest roll a d20 for each action taken within the same 5ft area of the nest and on 1-7 the egg is destroyed, once the fight is over if any eggs were trampled then the party is unable to recover them. The party then can bring back any cockatrice that is knocked out and bring them to the Gypsies. If any party member is petrified then they will return to flesh 24 hours after being turned to stone (but the parties may not already know this – only if they have encountered a cockatrice before or recall them with a DC14 nature check will they be aware of the petrification conditions. If the party are petrified they would wake to find the cockatrices have moved their nest and only a successful DC12 survival check would reveal where they are now. Any party member left behind whilst petrified would wake to find they are where they were and would need to decide what to do now.


Credit to Dan Scott (no active links to his work could be found…)

The outcome

Upon retrieving them for the camp they would have a much more welcome return – even if the bandits were led from the camp – if they bring back the bandit captain (or proof that the captain is deasd) then they would forgive the party as long as they have the required amount of creatures and eggs. 

Kelsei would request the party to be careful with the coin as it has caused bad luck – but isn’t inherently magical – the though that it is is what has given the legend its status and many bad people want to use the coin for their own nefarious purposes.  Kelsei would also explain the history of the coin and her people as an attempt to return without the coin to the city but she offers it over as a way of keeping her end of the deal. 

Upon reaching the city after leaving the desert the party must make a decision on what to do with the coin – If they hand it over then the collector (not a priest) is happy with the coin and will give them their reward. If they do not provide the coin then they miss out on the exchange, are thanked for their efforts and another party would be requested to go go find the coin at a later time.

Thanks for joining this week. I think that’s enough for this adventure so I can say that it’s a wrap.

Don’t forget to come back next week for another round of adventures were we explore the Marsh of masks and what adventures would lie within its murky waters.
Oh, and as always don’t forget to roll with advantage,
The Brazen Wolfe