Pyramid in the desert – by Ignis Spark

Session 19 January 2022


The Order gave me a home after the slavers killed my family
The Order gave me training
The Order gave me a purpose
The Order also bored me half to death

I yearn for adventure, to fight evil, to be the hero and save the day. But all I did in the guild was learn the ancient ways, in the dusty halls and never put my skills to use.That’s why when the opportunity showed itself, I took it with both hands.

I was finally going to see the world and be the hero!

At Heroes Roost, the first opportunity to prove myself showed itself quickly. We were going to have a BATTLE ROYALE!  Finally a chance to show how I measure up against all these tough adventurers.

I got off to a good start, managed to nearly knock someone out on the first strike….. it all went as I pictured in my head, I was going to win this thing. But…. Then I fell into my old trap: I got too fired up, I made a mistake and found myself in the middle of an aerial bombardment worthy of the old sagas that I’ve read about in the Orders library. Next thing I know I woke up back in the guild, a rookie berserker the new Champion, but I’ve learned a valuable lesson.

Don’t be such a hothead!

The Battle Royal was a great way to have some fun and make yourself known, but now….. Now is when the real work starts. The quest board has been filled with some interesting requests and one of them caught my eye.

The Pyramid in the Dessert! Everything about this quest is calling out to me. The mystery, the history, stories I’ve read in the Order are coming back to me. This is the one, this is the quest for me. But who will join me on this quest?

Who else could it be …

The first person to join this quest is the only person I managed to knock out during the Battle Royale, Anki! (I hope she isn’t too mad at me for the knockout)

As I soon found out, she wasn’t . She is a Cleric and one of the Life Domain at that. She is a healer! And I for one am so happy that she has joined the party, no matter how confident I am in my own abilities, there is no way for me to do this quest without backup. And in this case she is a literal lifesaver.

Next on the list was a Warlock named Mervin. I don’t recall this person from the battle. I know he participated, but I have to admit that I lost consciousness before seeing what this person could do. Warlocks do always give me the creeps a little. You never know whether they get their powers from good or evil …. If evil does rear its face though, I don’t know if I can hold back…. For now he has the benefit of the doubt.

Last but not least, is one of the oddest creatures I’ve ever met. A RABBIT AND HE CAN TALK!

I’ve read about these humanoid rabbits, but I’ve never actually met one (I wonder what he would say if I told him I have eaten rabbit before). This is very exciting. On top of that, I can’t seem to pinpoint what it is he does best. After a short introduction, where he told me his name is Snuzzle McPuzzle, it was made clear to me, he’s dabbled in a lot of different areas of magic. He can do a bit of Warlock magic, some Cleric tricks and even some stuff that points to an even greater magic source maybe even some wizardry. We’ll have to see how this works out, but I am very excited!

Guild members aside, I’ve never met these people and I can’t put all my faith in them, I have to prepare myself! As the order always said “Expect the unexpected”. Preparations not only come in the shape of gear, magic weapons and fancy skills. Preparation comes in the form of knowledge, knowledge is my best friend when facing the unknown.

But new as I am to the guild. I don’t know my way around as well as I should. But I know I can always find some information at the front desk. Violet is my first stop!

I am so ashamed, I made such a fool of myself. Around Violet I just can’t seem to focus, there is an otherworldly attraction to her. I stumble over my own words, forget what I was talking about and my mind just seems to go blank. Eventually though, I found out that my best chance for information on this mysterious pyramid would be in the library. And after walking off, taking the wrong stairs and being corrected by Violet, I eventually found Hohla, our librarian.

Hohla was more than happy to aid me in my search for information. Together we searched far and wide for myths, legends, stories and history books on pyramids in the area. Unfortunately we didn’t find out much, books on that time period are rare and scarce. We only found out that the rulers of that era were called Pharaohs and that they suddenly disappeared, no reasons why or any other occurrences of mysterious pyramids… I was getting quite impatient to be honest and I guess Hohla felt the same way (it seems she was quite upset with all the scorch marks I left on some of the books).

Almost at the end of my patience I decided to get a couple of drinks to take the edge of. I took a seat, ordered some whisky and waited and waited and waited….. This bartender is the slowest being on this plane of existence! How the heck does he have a job !? Eventually I got my drinks and we started chatting. Slow Manfred might be, but he does pay attention to what happens around here. Through him we found out that another party (not related to Heroes Roost) has gone up to the pyramid, but though they returned quickly, not all of them returned. This just confirms to me that we’ll have to be cautious. I thank Manfred and make my way to Gladios.

If anyone knows what kind of dangers we might face is Gladios. She is obsessed with fighting and becoming stronger. There is no way she hasn’t been in the desert yet. It turns out I was right and she was able to calm our minds, at first, by saying there isn’t much in the desert. “You have to look out for the Purple Worm though” she quickly mentioned. Dammit, I knew it couldn’t be that easy. The only thing we can do when that thing shows up is hide, we are no match. According to Gladios we need to be quiet about it though since it can detect motion. Well that’s just great, I not the most stealthy person in the world with all the gear I’m carrying…

Talking about gear, it’s time for shopping!

A couple of gold coins, some haggling and a good deal with Rogma later, I have the company of a new pet (Avis) and all the gear I need. Bring on that pyramid!

The day is here! It’s time to set out to the pyramid. Snuzzle, Mervin, Anki and I meet up in the common hall of the guild and make our way to the reception where Violet is already waiting for us. Some quick pointers in the right direction and we’re off! It’s roughly a 9 mile route to the pyramid, most of which we can travel by a conveniently placed route. The last couple of miles though we have to track through the desert sand. I hate the sand, it just gets everywhere! And oh yeah Gladios did mention something about that worm.

Fortunately (but a little boring for my taste) the worm doesn’t show itself and we manage to find our way to the pyramid. No wonder I couldn’t see it from the citywall! The thing is pretty much buried in the sand! A quick scouting trip and Anki spots the way in. A stone has been moved and there are some signs of another party being here before us (must have been those adventurers that fled earlier) and Anki quickly spots a way in. We make our way up to the hole and I have a look inside.

A hallway spreads out before us that seems to go down at a slight angle, we’re not able to see far though because it soon takes a turn. Always one for caution though, this is where my plans come into action! I grab my bag of ball bearings and drop roughly 100 of them on the floor. Powered by gravity the balls start rolling down and we can hear them making their way down. So far we can’t hear any signs of traps, collapses or anything of the kind, yet it seems not all the balls keep moving. I am so excited, what mysteries lie ahead in this ancient structure!?

Since I’m the sturdiest of the bunch and I’m quite good at finding hidden constructs, we decide I will lead the way into the pyramid. Around the first corner, the mystery of the stopped ball bearings is already revealed! It’s that adventurer that decided to stay here forever. At first we can’t make out what got to him, but a closer inspection quickly shows several arrows sticking out of his body and from different angles at that. We must be careful if we don’t want to turn into pincushions ourselves! Our quick witted Snuzzle comes up with the idea to poke the body with his mage hand. Moving the body, we hear a click and we see a small part of the floor move, we all freeze…… But nothing comes flying at us so we assume it’s safe, it does confirm that this old civilization took its security seriously though, we need to be careful moving forward.

A quick search of the body reveals little useful items but we still take what we can. I mean finders keepers right? And this guy doesn’t need it anymore. After pitching some ideas back and forth (dismembering the body and using the arms and legs to look for more traps was a little too gruesome for most of us. never let a bunny handle my dead body, that’s all I say for now), we decide to push the body ahead of us and hopefully trigger more plates before we ourselves do it.

We switch turns and, of course, at my turn we find a trap. The body of our new friends rolls onto a pressure plate and with my quick reaction I manage to jump back quick enough to avoid getting pierced by 5 different bolts. They slam into the wall and fall to the ground harmlessly. Heart pounding, adrenaline rushing, I think to myself “Fuuuuuuck”, but I’m loving the experience. I do wonder what else is waiting for us.

After a while, the hallway starts to open up a bit and we find ourselves at the entrance of a room. The room is smallish, about 15ft long and 10 ft high and there seems to be something in here. In the room we can see some brightly colored (we assume magical) balls, roughly the size of a small watermelon. Now this looks interesting!

Still on our guard, we decide to throw the body into the room first to, you know, just to see if the floor would collapse or something of that sort. While we all duck for cover, preparing for the worst……. nothing! Let’s go see what we can find.

On closer inspection we can see that beside the balls come in 7 different colors, are of extreme beauty and they seem to be made of some sort of magical crystals. Even more so, they seem to contain words. The words are (from red to violet): 

together find their way to the afterlife

The wall at the back of the room has 4 indentations that seem to fit the balls perfectly. The way to solve this puzzle seems clear! But there are 7 balls and 4 indentations and no matter how hard we look there are no hints or tips that show us the right order. What are we going to do?

Anki seems to lose her patience first (which is odd, because I thought I was the hothead) and suggests we place the first stones in an order so that it will make a logical sentence. We try…..  and fail! We can hear a rumbling sound and all of a sudden fire comes pouring down from every angle. To me it stings a little but my party members suffer some more serious burns. Darn it, this is not a great start.

All the balls disappear from the wall, but not all of them return ….. This is interesting, it seems the ones who created this trap were at least kind enough to give us a fighting chance. Since fire doesn’t hurt me as much, the others move back to the hallway and leave me to try again, We try again, and fail again, more fire, more burns but this time it does hurt me slightly more. I can’t take much more of this if we want to make the finish. Some of the balls have stayed on the wall now though. This is new and promising!

Even better, Snuzzle comes up with a plan…. What if we pick up and place the balls using mage hand. We all share a face palm moment, why didn’t we think of this sooner. We can stand in the hallway and use mage hand to solve this puzzle. After some more attempts, some more fire but fortunately no more damage we solve the puzzle and another hallway appears. But not just a hallway, a young ghost shows up and says:

Kill him regain peace and

What the heck does that mean!? That is something for later concern. The way is free and we can move on. Our new friend has turned into barbeque meat though, we can’t take him with us and leave him in the room.

But wait, all the balls have returned this time around. These things are magic, valuable but even more so. What if we need them later on, let’s take them with us! I lead the way into the new hallway, I take one step, the ball disappears and everyone that is still in the room gets another fire shower. These damn traps are going to kill us if we’re not careful! We leave the balls and move on.

By moving carefully and keeping our eyes open, we manage to avert any more traps and we soon find ourselves in a new room. This one is slightly larger, roughly 30ft long, 15ft wide and 10ft high. Along the wall there are 6 bowls that seem to be filled with different liquids. These are opaque but all have different colors.

  • Yellow
  • White
  • Blue
  • Gray
  • Black
  • Red

Besides the liquid, we again find words on the bowls. We note them down in case they provide a clue to the answer of this puzzle, they read:

And his most precious son dead

No matter how hard we try, we fail to find a connection to this puzzle, but on the furthers wall we find more text. These come in the shape of a poem:

One will bring death.

One will show you the way.

But for the others,

bane is all they may.

Blindness comes with the color they’ll see.

Though those that can see in darkness, their hearing gone will be.

Stay away from the sun,

our land will show the way.

Our sky will tell deceitful truths

and blood will bring you sway.

 Now this is more like it! Some quick thinking allows us to link most of the lines to the different colored liquids, we get stuck on 2 of the lines though. And of course one of these seems to point at instant death (or at least something bad).

We are left with the yellow liquid and the white liquid, of the lines we have “Stay away from the sun” and “our land will show the way” left. Depending on how we approach this, there is something to say for the sun to be represented by the yellow liquid and the white liquid. Choose the wrong one, probably something bad….

But, we have Avis (I still feel bad about this bit)! Maybe we can get Avis to take a sip and see what happens. Darn it, I was starting to like this bird, but we can’t come up with a better option. It takes some coercing but in the end we manage to get Avis to take a sip from the yellow liquid, and now we wait…… 


Is this good, is this bad, we don’t know but Avis seems to be fine (a little grumpy, but fine). Mevin decides to take the risk and takes a sip from the bowl, we all look in anticipation. No sudden fireballs, no explosions, but then… the wall in the back seems to have become translucent. No one can see this but Mevin (and maybe Avis). We all take a sip and manage to pass through the wall. These old pharaohs had some amazing magic at their disposal. How did they manage to do this!? No time to stand around in amazement, onwards to find more rooms and riddles.

Again we walk for a while and this time we find a Y-junction. The left shows us some steps that lead down, the right is another hallway. While we stand there, trying to figure out where we need to go, that ghost shows up again! That guy really needs to work on his timing, he nearly scared us enough to join him in the afterlife. This time he spoke the words:

May our great pharaoh khufu

We’re seeing how all of the words so far are starting to make a sentence but what do we do with this information? While we are trying to figure that out we decide to take the right lane and find ourselves in the next space. And what a space it is! It’s so big we can’t fully see the extent of it. Some cleverly shot Firebolts by Snuzzle light up the room and we can finally see what is here.

A massive room roughly 80/90ft in length and slightly less in width, filled with stone columns. Moreover we are standing on a platform, placed around 10ft above the floor and we look out over the top of the columns. In the far corner we can make out what seems to be the exit. Below us, sand covers the floor as far as we can see. We don’t know what dangers hide below the sand, but we are in no hurry to find out. These crazy pharaohs have surprised us before.

It seems clear we need to find our way to the other side of the room, but how do we get there. Maybe we can use the platforms on top of the columns, these look slightly fragile but big and strong enough to hold one or two of us.

We tie a rope around my waste and while the others hold on, I jump to the first platform. It seems okay, nothing is moving, no traps are going off. But what now? There are a lot of ways to go and nothing that points me in the right direction. 

Anki decides she wants to join me on the platform. I brace myself and wait for the jump. She jumps and seems to make it. But there is where it all goes wrong. Anki can’t hold her footing and falls off the platform. She falls halfway down before the rope catches her. Fortunately she seems to be fine, no major damage done. “Lower me down”, she calls out “I want to explore down here”. 

Anki reaches the bottom and a quick search later, she finds a staircase leading up and some writing at the base of the column. It’s a strange language that she can’t read and doesn’t recognize. I’ve studied quite a few languages, and I join her to see if I can make something out of it. I can’t, but we recognize that it is Loxodon.

Snuzzle never stops surprising us, because he actually does! I make my way back up and help lower Snuzzle down to the floor where he has a look at the strange writing. He manages to decipher it and now we know it says “May”. That’s a weird word for a column, but then again nothing really seems normal here. Snuzzle sets out to see if the other columns contain similar writing. They do! 

It takes some time but as Snuzzle looks at different columns a pattern seems to appear. The first couple of columns contain the words; “May”, “Our”, “Life”, “Great” and “Pharaoh”. We’ve seen these words before! Or maybe not seen, but heard. This is what the ghost was trying to tell us. The words that we’ve found must lead the way through this maze of columns. We link together all the words that we’ve found and heard up until now and link them up with the words on the columns. The way is clear! When we line up the columns this is the path.

May our great pharaoh khufu and his most precious dead son that killed him regain peace and together find their way to the afterlife

So it was the son that killed the father? The mystery thickens, what would cause the son to kill the “great” pharaoh Khufu? We might be able to find out further on.

We make our way to the other side of the room and reach the exit without issue. What comes next takes me by surprise. This room is very different from the others. Again we see columns, these are more refined, marble covers the surfaces and the quality of it all is on another level. 

We make our way across the room and find two sarcophagus, some statues that resemble snakes and we can see a statue that resembles some sort of ancient deity. This is it! This must be where the old pharaoh and his son are entombed. We might be able to find some answers to the mystery here! 

We cautiously make our way to one of the smaller sarcophagi to see what we can find. While I’m standing next to the first sarcophagus I can see Snuzzle move closer to the snake statues which suddenly burst into pieces. It’s a trap!! Loads of snakes move in on Snuzzle and I, we are entangled in the slippery bastards! They are in my coat, in my armor, they are everywhere and they bite. Before we can even react the bastards have pumped their venom into me and Snuzzle, and that hurts dammit! I can feel my consciousness starting to slip and I’m bleeding all over.

Snuzzle seems to be doing a little better than me and he manages to heal himself a fair bit. His Hellish Rebuke seems to be doing a lot of damage. Luckily Anki is not in the fight and she manages to keep me conscious enough to continue. When she is not healing me, she is trying to deal damage with her magical knife that appeared out of thin air, I believe she called it a Spiritual weapon. Mevin is aiding in the fight by dealing ranged damage with his Eldritch blast.

Snuzzle manages to kill his snakes first and makes sure that he is fighting fit in case we encounter some more nasty surprises. I’m still fighting though and these bastards are taking as well as they are giving, they seem to wiggle out of the way of my rapier every time I try to stab them. They are definitely taking damage but not as much as I was hoping. 

Eventually we do manage to kill all of them before they get the better of me though. I fall to the ground to catch my breath and regain my composure. Thankfully we managed, but dammit I now really really hate snakes now.

We take our time exploring the rest of the room. The statue of the deity turns out to be Anoubys, it resembles some sort of dog. I wonder what it’s purpose is. Ironically enough, one of its eyes seems to be loose, and it turns out to be a cat shaped stone! We don’t recognize the stone, but it’s clear that it’s not an ordinary stone. Let’s take it with us.

We inspect the other sarcophagus and find some precious stones embedded in the lid. Mevin decides to pry them out of their sockets and I instinctively take some steps back. The first stone pops free and I hold my breath. Nothing. They turn out to be ordinary gemstones, worth a fair bit of money I assume. They also go into the bag.

Empowered by this success we decide to open this sarcophagus. In it we find the remains of what used to be Pharaoh Khufu II, this must be the son of the “great” pharaoh Khufu I. The other sarcophagus must be the father then. His body is long decayed, only a mummy is left and even that is not in a great condition. Oddly enough there are some leather gloves and a ring that seem to be in pristine condition. None of us knows what they are, but they can’t be ordinary if they’ve survived for such a long time in this condition. We’ll find out later in a save spot. 

While we were looking at the father, Anki got impatient and decided to open the other sarcophagus. This dead body wasn’t going to stay dead though…. Slowly a hand reaches out of the sarcophagus and engages Anki in combat. Goddammit Anki, have you learned nothing from the snake trap! 

Time for reprimands and arguments later, we need to kill (if killing is the thing you do to mummies ?) this thing before it gets all of us. One thing is good though, I’ve managed to maintain my distance. This gives me time to grab one of the prepared items, an oil flask! While Mevin and Anki are distracting the old pharaoh, I managed to throw the flask against his body, shattering it on impact. This walking bandage is now covered in flammable oil. 

Snuzzle doesn’t skip a beat and lights him on fire with a well placed firebolt. The fire seems to be dealing a massive amount of damage and Khufu is now resembling a walking torch instead of a proud pharaoh. Anki manages to disengage combat and get to a safe distance, Mervin fires more eldritch blasts and I use my Burning Hands to really light him up. I rush in to keep his attention on me and while I do that the others manage to deal enough damage to kill Khufu, permanently this time. This must be it right?

WRONG, not 1 but two ghosts show up this time. They resemble the old pharaoh and his son and thankfully they seem to be content and not angry at us. One of the ghosts starts to speak to us:

Thank you adventurers. My fathers body was trapped here by my fault for almost 1000 years. I killed him when I was this age because of the evil influence of the council. The council had the Loxodon make a pyramid to bury him in. They cursed my father’s body in his tomb, trapping his mind, and made my mind wicked and corrupt, so I ruled with an evil heart. I destroyed the council in the years to come, because I wanted to rule alone. It was not until my final years that a young boy, pure of heart, befriended me and made me see that there was a better way. When I died, he became the new ruler, as king of our lands. He buried me here with my father in the hope that we would find peace together, but the curse made this impossible. I waited for someone to destroy his body to lift the curse. I thank you again, young adventurers. To show you my gratitude, you may take whatever you find in our tomb, we don’t need it where we’re going.

So that’s what happened! The mystery is finally solved! Plus we get a nice little bonus in the form of whatever we can find in the tomb. We managed to find another ring and decided to head back to the guild to recover and find out what all these items are.

Back at the guild we found Violet at reception and told her of our adventure. She was grateful for our information and promised to pass it on to the city counsel. We accepted our reward and headed to Rogma to identify the items so we can give everyone their fair share.

In the end we ended up with a ring of protection and a ring of warmth. The gloves turned out to be gloves of missile catching and the stone that we found in the statue is a Stone of Good Luck. Carrying around the stone, I felt like everything I did was going in my favor so I managed to keep that one for myself.

At Sue’s place we managed to sell the gems for a tidy sum of money and that was the end of our exciting adventure! We all made it back in one piece with some amazing stories to tell and a clear conscience after helping out those ancient pharaohs.

While having a drink at the bar and chatting with Mandred a thought occurred to me. Leaving the Order buildings to come here was the best thing I could have done. I down some more whisky thinking about the next adventures!

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