Instead of a normal review, for Call of Khalris I have something rather special planned ;) Please enjoy below the journal entries chronicling my journey into the Lost City of Khalris. (Tomorrow I'll post my actual feedback for Stuart's Call of Khalris)
Being an account of the travels of the esteemed scholar and adventurer Madrigal Venible. Found upon a tattered parchment by a later adventurer into the Lost City of Khalris, these chronicles contain valuable insight for any future comer who would dare the trials of Khalris for themselves.
Journal Entry #1
I do not know what will happen on this adventure. If I did, I would not be so uncertain, and excited. Or perhaps it is the high desert moon that makes my heart beat thus. I dream of fame, of glory... above all, of finding knowledge, the lost knowledge of the ancients of Khalris. I do not fear death... no, I fear only that which would make me lose myself. As long as I risk only death, I do not mind the risk. The call of Khalris is worth it.
Journal Entry #2
I have been at Khalris for a week, and the fates themselves seem to conspire against me. My camel vanished. I can find no sign of it, not even tracks in the sand. Without transportation back to Quis, I fear I may die in this place. But I am at peace, for I am pursuing a noble and worthy work.
The surface of this city is dead and lifeless. The tribal nomads I met on the way here say that none come to this city, but I know they lie, because all areas of the city that are easily accessible have been picked clean. I have drawn a map and marked the buildings I would like to explore further.
One thing more is certain: the dark magics of this place have not been entirely invented. The dead here do not sleep deeply. I delved into a tomb earlier today and was able to pry open a golden chest with my crowbar. A warhammer of excellent craftsmanship, carved with mystic runes, was found inside. But its former master resented my theft--the dead body itself rose from the grave.
Even the dead cannot stand against my skill. The enchanted warhammer put the half-alive creature out of its misery. Yet something of the encounter has left a chill upon my skin. I must sleep, there is more exploration to be done on the morrow. But as I close my eyes, I find myself strangely uneasy about what other horrors I may find in the deeps beneath this place.
Journal Entry #3
I lie here shivering as I write this. My wounds ache, and no matter how I bandage them, they do not seem to wish to stop bleeding. I truly do not know how I can survive to return to Qis now, as my camel has still not made its appearance. I hope only that some future explorer can find these meager writings and learn from them.
I explored the north tower~~
Please excuse the scribble. A fit of coughing interrupted my pen for a moment.
There was a beast there, a half-man, half-ape, with skin and hair white like bones. I fought it valiantly, but it had the strength of ten men. Though I defeated it with a solid blow to the skull from my warhammer, I fear the injuries it gave me may yet tell.
Once again, the evil magicks of this place haunt me. For once I had destroyed the beast, it simply vanished, leaving neither hide nor hair. Sadly, the wounds it left upon my body were more material.
I grabbed but a single piece of treasure from the tower to show for my adventures: an eight-pointed star of gold. It seems designed to be worn about the neck. Once again, the dead stirred once I touched their precious goods, but this time I was prepared, and fled before they could reach me.
We shall see what tomorrow brings. This city may defeat me, but I shall not surrender. I will rip every bit of knowledge that I can from the bones of Khalris before giving her my own.
As I shiver against the desert night, I find myself wishing I had brought more first aid kits.
Journal Entry #4
Hah! Life still clings to my body, despite the best efforts of this place. I found the remains of another explorer today. This time, I opened the sarcophogus in the tomb of the east tower before reaching for the good there, thinking perhaps I could destroy the mummy first, then plunder at my leisure. But inside was a young man, his face frozen in terror.
I know not what possessed him to leap into a sarcophogus with an ancient mummy, close the lid above him, and die of fright. And I suspect I would rather not know.
After I helped myself to his posessions, strange shadow beasts rose from all around. If they were what did for the young man, they did not have the same effect on me. I attempted to beat them off with a torch, but they simply enveloped it within their own shadows and extinguished it.
Fleet feet saved me today. Sometimes, in this place, the wisest thing to do is simply to run.
I live on to explore another day. I may be getting the hang of this place.
Journal Entry #5
It is with a heavy heart that I must admit defeat. I reviewed my food supplies today and determined that, if I leave now, I have just enough to get back to civilization.
I may be willing to risk death for this cause, but it is not worth consigning myself to certain death simply for the opportunity to explore the true secrets of Khalris. My wounds have healed enough that I can travel, and logic forces me to admit that I must depart, even if my heart yearns to stay.
My explorations since last entry have revealed little new. Yet I suspect that there is some great mystery to this place that I have not yet discerned.
Perhaps I shall come back again someday, this time armed with the knowledge of experience.
Until then, Khalris. This is not over, only sleeping.
Journal Entry #6
Three long years have passed since I last explored the dead city of Khalris, but its call still haunts my dreams. I toss and turn, wondering what I missed, what great truths remain yet unexplored.
And so it is that I have pooled my earnings from the last three years and prepare to venture to that great city once more. This time, I have the benefit both of my prior experiences, and of the loot I saved from before.
I was forced to sell back all the good I had bought in Qis, to get enough to get started on. However, I was able to keep everything I found in Khalris before. I could have sold some of those items for great riches, but it is not worth it to me--not until I know the secret of Khalris. Not until I answer the call.
Khalris, I hear you. I am coming.
[OOC: Started over again, just like starting new, but keeping the same background and with all the codewords and loot from last time still on my character sheet. Not my original purchased equipment, though. I ditched anything I had originally bought, and am taking another 50 sp to buy new equipment. Only things I actually found in Khalris am I keeping for this time around. Oh--replenishing Hero Points, too.]
Journal Entry #7
The secrets of this place begin to unlock to me.
So far, the journey has treated me well. By chance, I happened to run into the same tribal nomads on the way here who I encountered last time. It seemed to me a blessing. They were surprised to see me alive, and even more surprised to learn I was headed back into this place.
Vipers and walking dead continue to be a problem. And to make matters worse, my camel has already vanished again. Blast it all! This city must have a curse against camels.
This time I was able to spend less time mapping the city; only long enough to confirm that my old maps were still correct. I began my explorations today. The tombs of this city are truly filled with treasure, but one must be swift and careful to retrieve it without arousing the ire of the dead.
This time, with only time enough to grab one item, I made sure to grab an old scroll I found, marked with the same 8 pointed star on the amulet I found three years ago.
Perusal of the scroll has revealed that the entire layout of the city is built along the lines of an eight pointed star. This symbol clearly had mystic significance to the people who once lived here.
Perhaps there is something special to be found at the center...
I met a brave man today. He had been an explorer, like me. He picked up an armband studded with green emeralds, believing it woudl give him power, but instead it cursed him, and he was slowly turning to stone.
He told me of a Grand Temple, where he believed he might find a cure--this confirmed my suspicions that something of importance is at the heart of the city--yet when we joined forces to continue exploring the city, he fell prey to a terrible trap in the southern tower.
I am loathe to return there, for it was there he met his fate, yet he believed that something of purpose may be found in that tower, so I fear I must.
Rest well, brave Garrod.
The southern tower was as perilous as I feared, yet I have survived, and I return with a great treasure indeed. A book of ancient lore, as old as the city. Here, if anywhere, I hope to find the answers I seek.
I shall study it on the morrow. For now, I must rest, and my bandages need changing. I am grateful that this time I learned the lesson to bring plenty of first aid supplies. I thought I had brought more than enough, yet this one deep injury may demand nearly all of them.
My skin on the left arm seems afflicted with the same curse that affected Garrod. Does the city claim me, now that it has lost him?
I explored the last tower today. Snakes. Why does it always have to be snakes?
I am exhausted, so this entry will be brief. Let it suffice to say that I survived, and I came away with a gold headdress decorated with a jade snake upon the crown. It seemed the most likely to have mystic significance of the items that I saw, and yet, I am pragmatic enough to consider that it will have excellent market value once all is said and done.
For now, sleep. Tomorrow... the Great Temple. My food supplies are dwindling. It's now or never.
If you do not see another entry in this journal, know that the temple itself proved too much for me. May you learn from my mistakes.
I have entered the great temple. It is painful to write, my hand does not work as it should. The scales grow across my whole body now.
No! It must not end like this. All I wanted was a peaceful death. Not to be... changed.
It's happening so swiftly now... It was the book. The book cursed me. Don't touch the book!
Agh! It hurts... the transformation will soon be complete. I will be just one more snake in the temple.
When you kill me, oh ye who finds this, remember that I was once a man.
Please, kill me swiftly.
Truly these tales tell of a terrible fate. Let all who would journey into Khalris beware...