Ancient Kingdoms: Mesopotamia and Conan

A

Anonymous

Guest
here`s a write up of our first Conan adventure in Combination with AK: Mesopotamia. Enjoy.

Khal Salladhor Saan (one of my Players) is a „prince” of Khoraja. He and his followers (the other players) are pretty adventurous and serve as a special “foreign legion” for their Country. The prince is no real prince at all, but his mother Sirane is at least the half-sister of Yasmela. Still, the royal blood is there, and the decadent Khossus doesn`t bother them wearing the title at all, as long as he gets his little diversions. In some ways they are even the power behind the throne. So the kingdom has many princes and a lot of princesses, at least in name.

Khals half sister Shuzure is a real hot beauty and worse still, the curse of salome is within her.

http://www.conan.no/modules.php?set_albu...=view_photo.php

Pelis, who is the real father to Shuzure, had an affair with Sirane (Khals mother) 16 years ago. Pelis knows about the curse, he consulted the stars, and plans to profit from the raw power, a sacrifice of a salome, heigtened by her being his own daughter, too ! This will provide him power undreamt of.

At Shuzures birth, he devised a ritual that supressed the curse in Shuzure, until her body unlocks the whole power. At her 15th birthday, things get out of hand and he knows that the time runs short. The curse will overpower the surpressing spell, so he started to contact some forgotten gods from the stars, who seem to be somehow connected to the curse, which also manifests in a blood red crescent birthmark.

Also he found out, that the mesa between Khauran and Khoraja called the Zamans Mesa is also somehow connected to Salome. (also a deviation from the Canon). A birds view shows that the Mesa looks like it has been spilt into two parts.
It is a rock from the stars, that would look like a crescent, if somebody were able to put the parts back together. Between these two parts there is a an old sacrifice site, where some forbidden culture built a ziggurat from the stone of the rock. On top of the ziggurat is an ancient altar, devoted to the gods, but the old rituals are lost in time. Pelis knows that this will be the place of the sacrifice of his daughter shuzure.

So the time has come for him to end the surpressing spell, and lure Shuzure to the mesa.

(He tried to get hold of the information by pacting with an Demon from outer space, made from liquid starlight. This whole ritual swallowed his tower and covered it in unearthly ice. That was just the beginning of the story)

That`s were my players came in.

Khals mother knows the parts of the story and will tell him only half the truth. She wants him to lead Shuzure to the plateau, while the curse starts to take hold of Shuzure. She tells him of the curse and wants him to go to the mesa and kill her, when the time is right. What she doesn`t tell is that Shuzure will accumulate more and more power on the treck, which is exactly the point. The more power she accumulates, the more powerful the sacrifice will be.
Also she wants her son to poison the whole group of players, once the deed is done, so that no witnesses are
left behind.

Things will happen quite differently as Sirane expected.

(Now the Turanian / Shemite border is the place where I put the places of Mesopotamia : Ancient Kingdoms. )

The players accompany Shuzure through the pass, telling her that they will visit Khauran in some minor official affair of state.
While on their way Shuzure unlocks her unearthly powers by and by (basically oh Hypnotism, curses and seduction) and starts to seduce and influence the soldiers and also her own bodyguard, called Azhud.

She realizes the ruse of her brother and plays with it. The first showdown takes place at the “Sea of bones”, where a violent sandstorm threatens the players. They dig in, but the prince is swept away at the height of the storm, while trying to save his price horse.

He barely but wonderously survives and is found by the Sons of Saram, who plan to hold this rich Khorajan for ransom…..

In the meantime (the group is divided by now), after the storm, Shuzure finds the The Sickle Sword of Naalfesh which has been uncovered by the Sandstorm. She takes it and then talks the players (and not the prince, of course) into helping her. The players agree and accompany her. That`s when they find the tents of the Sons of Saram.

Shuzure vaguely sees her possibilities, because she knows instinctively, that theres more to the sword, which is still unblooded and thererfore inactive. She offers it to the Shayk who is tongue tied and deeply moved to see this unholy sword offered to him. Of course, he knows that the Kalabites look for it, but he wants to hold council with his people.

(That’s the state of the adventure right now.)

In the meantime the Sons of Saram will be betrayed by a woman of their own, who wants her sick boy Khrulus to be healed. Urim, the vulture priest, didn`t really bother to help him, so she flees to the Khalabites, who are known for their magical powers. She hopes for a healing, so in exchange she tells them of the Sword and that its in the hands of the Saramites.

The Khalabites don`t hesitate and will seek the Saramites and try to get hold of the sword in a mighty battle. The Khalabites travel in an unearthly mirage of an oasis (somehow materialized) and will fall upon the Saramites with wraiths, Skeletons and some of their sparse warriors and lots of chariots. The battle will be devastating for all sides.

After that the Sickle Sword will be certainly bloodied, Urim will probably die there, as much as most of the Saramites as well as the Khalabites. Shuzure will rejoice and somehow get the information about Ibnath, which lies hidden somewhere in the desert. She knows that a key to even more power lies there. She is obsessed by her new faculties.
Also, she realizes, that she might even sacrifice her own brother, because as we already know, spilling family blood provides a lot of extra bang for the buck.
So the hunter really becomes the hunted (you should have seen his face). Also the prince - should he survive - will be very surprised about the involvement of his mother.

I don`t know what happens from then on, but I will use Ancient Kingdoms Mesopotamia as a basis. Ideas are more than welcome, to tie the two plots together
 

thulsa

Mongoose
(I've also posted the reply to this thread over at the NG messageboard for AK: Mesopotamia, which can be found here http://p082.ezboard.com/fnecromancergamesfrm69 ).

Very nice. It's great to see the material in the book being used in new and creative ways. I find your background plot very Conanesque, with a rich background for the PCs to discover, and several factions interacting with different motivations, and some "plot twists" that shake things up. As an advice, just be careful not to railroad the players too much, but let the story develop based on what happens in the game and what the PCs do (however, it seems like you already do this, since you say that the story told itself and everyone has had a blast so far). So just keep going :D

Regarding connecting the two plots, how about this:

It is said that the first queen of the Askhauri dynasty (the noble house of Khauran) had traffic with a fiend of darkness and bore him a daughter, the first Salome. And from then on, a witch with the moon of hell burning upon her ivory bosom was born each century. (As per the Conan canon.)

This "fiend of darkness" was none other than Arukurshu, an Acheronean noble/witch-king (and possibly either a half-demon or demon in human form). Arukurshu survived the fall of Acheron and in time came to rule the city of Ibnath, founded by Pelishtim scholars and priests fleeing from the west. When the Hierophants of Ibnath discovered his true nature, they confronted him and forced him to flee to the nearby mountains (possibly the Khrosha range if you place the ruins near Khoraja/Khauran).

After confronting the Kalabites at the oasis, Shuzure learns of the ruins of Ibnath and realizes that the very father of her ancient bloodline is imprisoned somewhere nearby. She seeks to free him, and as such effectively plays the role of Nikartha (as described in AK: Mesopotamia).

Pelis (Pelias?) learns of this through divination spells, and is not too happy to see his intended sacrifice try to release a centuries-old witch-king, who could very well spell his own doom. Pelis might decide to ally with the Kalabites to defeat Arukurshu, or he might seek to free the sleeping Hierophants to enlist their aid against the Acheronean lord.

Hopefully some useful ideas... let me know how things go in play! :D

- thulsa
 

sbarrie

Mongoose
Anonymous said:
so this module is Not a dungeon crawl?

No, it's a collection of ruins, abandoned cities, camps and plots all set in the same desert area. Also prestige classes, religions, rules and equipment, if you're into that. It's a real A+ effort.

Read more about it here:

http://p082.ezboard.com/fnecromancergamesfrm69

and here

http://hyboria.xoth.net/adventures/mesopotamia_conversion_notes.htm
 

cornelius

Mongoose
I had a flick through this at my FLGS and it looks stunning . Might have to be my November purchase since there's no Conan release next month . Did anyone notice the Cthulhu mythos gods in one of the scenarios ( well statues of them with slightly more arabic sounding names ) , even more crossover potential if you like including the Mythos in Conan .
 

Mijoro

Mongoose
cornelius said:
Did anyone notice the Cthulhu mythos gods in one of the scenarios (well statues of them with slightly more arabic sounding names ) , even more crossover potential if you like including the Mythos in Conan .

Yeah. A nice touch. To add even more Cthulhu goodness I'm converting the pit-worm over to a Chthonian. Thulsa's conversion guidelines suggest a Dhole (egads!) or a "low-intelligence" Chthonian, but I see no problem with adding in an "intelligent" (and advanced to 16 HD) one. Seems to me an intelligent Chthonian would be scarier and better than just having a bunch of wackadoos running around the Red Waste worshiping a giant worm.
 

cornelius

Mongoose
I'd probably use a small Cthonian , these were used well in a desert setting in Richard Tierney's " The Worm of Urakhu " , one of his Simon of Gitta / Scroll of Thoth stories which is basically a biblical - era rewrite of Dune .
In fact quite a few of the Simon stories use Cthulhu mythos variations on Mesopotamian legends so they're worth a look for ideas , there's a bizzare Star Wars rip off where Conan's sword ( complete with Phoenix) appears as a magical artifact ( " The Soul of Kephri " , which also refers to the scroll as The Scroll of Thoth - Amon) and " The Ring of Set " doesn't really need any introduction .
If you can find The Scroll of Thoth ( printed by Chaosium ) it contains all of the above tales , since they contain links to Conan and ancient Mesopotamia there's quite a lot of useful crossover ideas , as well as being good stories in their own right .
 

Mijoro

Mongoose
Speaking of Chthonians, here's a rough conversion from CoC d20. I included an advanced version up to the hit dice of the pit worm included in the adventure, but IMO it's got TPK written all over it. :shock:

CHTHONIAN

Huge Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 8d10+40 (84 hp)
Initiative: +7
Speed: 20 ft.
DV: 21 (-2 size, +1 Dex, +12 natural)
DR: 6
Base Attack/Grapple: +8/+23
Attack: Tentacle +13 melee (2d4+7/AP 7)
Full Attack: 4 tentacles + 13 melee (2d4+7/AP 7)
Space/Reach: 15 ft. (3)/15 ft. (3)
Special Attacks: Improved grab, drain Constitution, crush, trigger earthquake, dominate
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., intuit direction, fast healing 5, heat immunity, water vulnerability
Saves: Fort +11, Ref +7, Will +7
Abilities: Str 25, Dex 13, Con 20, Int 17, Wis 17, Cha 13
Skills: Concentration +13, Hide -7, Knowledge (geography) +15, Listen +15, Spot +5
Feats: Alertness, Blind-Fight, Iron Will
Climate/Terrain: Any underground
Organization: Solitary, pair or brood (3-6 with eggs)
Advancement: 9-15 HD (Huge), 16-32 HD (Gargantuan)

ADVANCED CHTHONIAN

Gargantuan Magical Beast
Hit Dice: 16d10+112 (200 hp)
Initiative: +15
Speed: 20 ft.
DV: 24 (-4 size, +1 Dex, +17 natural)
DR: 8
Base Attack/Grapple: +16/+39
Attack: Tentacle +23 melee (2d6+11/19-20/AP 11)
Full Attack: 4 tentacles +23 melee (2d6+11/19-20/AP 11)
Space/Reach: 20 ft. (4)/20 ft. (4)
Special Attacks: Improved grab, drain Constitution, crush, trigger earthquake, dominate
Special Qualities: Darkvision 60 ft., intuit direction, fast healing 5, heat immunity, water vulnerability
Saves: Fort +17, Ref +11, Will +8
Abilities: Str 33, Dex 13, Con 24, Int 17, Wis 17, Cha 13
Skills: Concentration +22, Hide -4, Knowledge (geography) +23, Listen +19, Spot +20
Feats: Alertness, Blind-Fight, Improved Critical (tentacle), Improved Initiative, Iron Will, Power Attack
Climate/Terrain: Any underground
Organization: Solitary, pair or brood (3-6 with eggs)
Advancement: 17-32 HD (Gargantuan)
 
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