5E Al-Qadim Moving Through the Flame

The map to Jabir bin Hayyan’s tomb, former moneylender to the Sultan, was deciphered, and the tension with Nimar al-Solak’s rogues resolved with diplomacy.

Eventually, only embers remained of the campfire. The snoring of the rogues, having indulged in too much palm wine, was matched only by Ajan’s nomads of the Young Camel. One could have felled several trees with the sawing sounds of their snoring.

From atop a moonlit rock, both the watchful handmaiden “Amina” and the invisible gen Easifa observed a messenger pigeon alight next to Fereshte, the silent sister of the rogues contracted to help you explore Badu al-Kabir. There was no trace of string, wax, nor note. Who was she communicating with back in Tajar, City of Trade? It was a mystery that would have to wait…



Day 3 – Al-Yabki Pass



GM: This is not a long rest, in terms of the rules.

When it comes to travel, I require you to find a sanctuary (e.g. oasis, amidst an entire desert tribe, settlement, a tower/ruin you fortify) to gain benefits of a long rest.


GM: Day 3 - morning encounter
17+ is an encounter while traveling with Ajan and his nomads: 3d20 20, 13, 2

Al-Yabki Mountain Pass

http://orokos.com/roll/516895: 2d10 12 Merchants

http://orokos.com/roll/516896: 1d4 4 Caravan of Fahad al-Zakir, buyer/seller of art objects, gems, and rarities


Ajan breaks camp before sunrise as promised, the camels rising to their feet with groans almost as ornery as the sextet of rogues. To the east, the sun slowly creeps up from above the distant Golden Gulf, sending long shadows across a landscape basking in the morning light. Soon enough, you make your way into Al-Yabki Pass.

Precious little sign of water at the base of these arid mountains. Upthrust stones reach to heights of 1,000 feet. The nomads whisper that once giants lived in the Al-Yabki mountains, but were turned to stone for not following the way of the Loregiver. It is easy to see how such a tale could come to be – enormous chunks of rock are split, revealing the dark interior speckling with reflective minerals in the sunlight. The clatter of rocks echoes in the distance as you navigate your way to avoid the rougher rocky terrain. In the midday heat, the pass would be brutal. Ajan was wise to choose an early ascent.

Only a few hours into crossing the pass, and you can make out a small line of pack camels wending their way down an escarpment, with several men wearing black and white checkered keffiyehs leading the camels. Upon noticing you, a large man excitedly waves a thick hand, hollering. Several rocks clatter down the escarpment. One of his smaller more sinuous fellows cuffs the oaf about the ears for speaking too loudly in a place of giants.
 
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Matthan

Explorer
Husam motioned for those behind him to wait a moment and nodded to Prince Harun. "I will go and see who these people are and report back. Unless, you would like to accompany me?"

OOC: @tglassy what do you say?
 

tglassy

Explorer
Harun shrugs, "May as well. Nothing happens to those who wait."

Harun looks these people over to see if he recognizes anything about them.

OOC: Harun is a Desert Rider. Would he recognize these people?



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GM: These travelers do not bear the colors of any large desert tribe [MENTION=6855204]tglassy[/MENTION] They are likely pilgrims, mercenaries, thieves, or merchants. It's an unusual route to take, however, looking at the map of the land. Where would they be coming from?


[SECTION]As Harun and Lal Qalandar meet the small caravan halfway, a lanky man in a brown aba (robe) and black-and-white checkered keffiyeh (head scarf) hands his camel's reins to his oafish lackey. The camel bays in fatigue at the journey across the rough stone escarpment. Approaching cautiously, he takes measure of your party. "It is rare to see other travelers amidst the Giants' Caltrops! I am Khafaz ibn Dahz, a most humble servant of his mercantile magnificence, Fahad al-Zakir, most renown merchant of the High Desert. You come from Tajar? To whom do I have the pleasure of speaking, travelers?"

His words are just loud enough to carry across the intervening space as you close the gap, but his voice steadily drops to a much softer volume. His eyes shine with the clarity of someone used to the desert, his weathered caramel skin assuming an ageless quality somewhere between 30 and 50. At his side are several belt pouches, a short sword, a jambiya (curved dagger), and he carries a camel whip in one hand.[/SECTION]
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Lal commented, as an aside but with just enough volume for his voice to carry "An interesting merchant, who chooses to dwell in an area with little clients"
 

tglassy

Explorer
As they approach, Harun spends a little time studying them. Their mannerisms, the way they talk, how they ride. By the time they are close enough to respond, Harun has mirrored their mannerisms and accent perfectly, making himself act, sound, and look like one of them. People are always more forthcoming when they think someone is like them.

"Greetings, Khafaz. It is good to see kindred spirits out in the harsh desert. I am Harun, and this is my esteemed companion, Husam. Tell us, what brings you to this end of the desert? Surely there are more comfortable routes you could have taken?"
 
[SECTION]Hearing the informal introductions using only first names, Khafaz grows wary. While Harun and the others do not appear to be bandits... well, good bandits would devise ways to conceal their nature. Furrowing thick black brows, the lanky caravan master glances back at the line of a dozen camels behind him coming down the escarpment. "You'll forgive me if I practice discretion, Harun al-Tajar (of Tajar). In the Giants' Caltrops, voices echo across the stones, and there is no telling who could be listening. Maybe even the raiders who've been attacking caravans." Khafaz's insinuation is artfully handled to avoid delivering insult; clearly he's a man used to hard negotiating.[/SECTION]

[SECTION]Upon sensing that Khafaz grows suspicious, his lackey advances to several paces behind the caravan master. Standing nearly seven feet tall, his lackey is a shy homely man with slumped shoulders suggesting low self-esteem, a bulbous nose, droopy eyes, and unusually large ears. He wears a white aba (robe) and a black-and-white checkered keffiyeh (head scarf) like Khafaz, with a jambiya (curved dagger) and scimitar at his belt. Clearly not grasping Khafaz's insinuation, he leans in and whispers, "Khafaz, the camels are tired. May I water them with the magic decanter from Qaybar?" Qaybar, as you know, is the mystical City of the Jann whispered to have returned to Zakhara.[/SECTION]

[SECTION]Cursing under his breath, Khafaz massages his temples to ameliorate his anger at his lackey's poor social skills. "Yes, Turin, water the camels. I am sure your graces are well-received among the camels. Gods above, save me from impatience."[/SECTION]
 

tglassy

Explorer
OOC: This is one of those "Have no idea what I'm doing moments" that's going to mess up the narrative. It's what I was talking about before.



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Shayuri

Villager
(OOC - HE HAS LOOT! GET HIM! Hee hee, kidding of course. Tglassy, don't stress too hard. These are just merchants crossing our path. Be polite and make smalltalk. :))
 
GM: Yes, [MENTION=6855204]tglassy[/MENTION], one thousand times what [MENTION=4936]Shayuri[/MENTION] said. Is there some question I could answer that would help you feel more at ease?

And generally, my philosophy is... if the PCs aren't messing up the narrative, then what are they doing wrong? ;)
 

tglassy

Explorer
OOC: I was mainly referring to the use of only first names being taboo. But then, Harun is a Saluk. He'd buck tradition anyway.



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Matthan

Explorer
“Peace to you and your family, noble merchant,” Husam offered. “Our company has been warned of the recent attacks in the area, but fate has been kind to us so far. We have traveled from Tajar with no troubles to speak of. May I ask where you have traveled from? It may help us continue safely on our journey.”

OOC: Are we sure we aren't murder-hoboing this adventure? Magic waterskin sounds pretty sweet...
 

tglassy

Explorer
OOC: Can I try to steal the magic waterskin? You know, after they're leaving? I have a +18, I think, on Sleight of Hand, and I can't Roll less than a 10...



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Shayuri

Villager
(OOC - As amusing as it would be, Ankabut would have issues murder-hoboing random merchants. She only murder hobos in self defense, or on orders. :))
 

tglassy

Explorer
OOC: For the record, I said nothing about murdering them. Just borrowing their more valuable items.



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GM: The answers to "can I try to....?" is always "yes, are you sure you want to?" ;)


[SECTION]One look at Husam's mamluk tattoos gives the caravan master Khafaz pause. Despite Khafaz's misgivings, the half-orc's stoic face seems trustworthy in a way Khafaz is at a lost to explain. "Ah, Tajar," he says haltingly, the jaded Khafaz unused to being so readily disarmed by a trustworthy face. "Then your debarkation is our destination. My master Fahad al-Zakir waits eagerly for his caravan in Tajar."

Gesturing ambiguously over his shoulder, Khafaz skillfully answers Husam's question without entirely answering Husam's question. "We left the Qa'lat (tower) of the Broken Stone yesterday evening and crossed the pass at night to avoid the heat of day. It was quiet and secure, the only visitors of the tower ourselves. You should find a good night's rest unmolested there."[/SECTION]
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Lal took a few steps forward.

"You will be reassured to hear, good merchant, that the route between here and Tajar has been devoid of incidents. Fates willing, you will see its wall soon. I am Lal Qalandar, incidentally, of the Purple Lands. Do you know more about these raiders?"

Lal hoped that on this topic the merchant would be more forthcoming.
 
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[SECTION]Raising his brows at the bearded Qalandar, Khafaz is clearly perplexed at the mention of the Purple Lands. A well-traveled caravan master, Khafaz thought he knew the geography of the High Desert well. "That is a relief," he says with a fading smile, glancing over the rest of your party and caravan, including the nomads of the Young Camel and Nimar al-Solak's rogues. "It seems that the one thing we can thank these raiders for is scaring away bandits of the House of Dhi'b (the Wolf)," he adds with an ironic sense of humor.

"I saw, or may have seen, men resembling these raiders in black in the markets of Qaybar... but it is hard to say with certainty. Every man and his cousin and his cousin's camel seems to have a different story about how one can tell these raiders from common bandits," belabors Khafaz. "Head and shoulders above other men. Faces like men on their death beds. Burning eyes and fiery skin. Black robes. Red turbans. No, red robes and black turbans. They are jann, spirits of the storm and sand and stars, not men at all. No, they are ogres, for they hit with the strength of two men. With such an array of dishes...I must taken them all with the salt of skepticism."[/SECTION]
 

Ancalagon

Dusty Dragon
Lal lets out a hearty laugh

"Ah, an honest merchant! Wonders of wonders. It takes a wise man to realize that his information is incomplete, and a humble one to admit so. Besides... you've informed us that the raiders are *not* bandits of the House of Dhi'b, and already that is something

I thank you for your salt, oh Khafaz ibn Dahz, you are a credit to your master. May the fates bless your every step". Lal concluded the exchange with a beatific smile.
 

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