Midnight at the Oasis

December 18, 2011

In which the party gets presents under a tree

The party wakes up to find that one of Dalworth‘s scouting parties has gone missing. Dalworth assembles a party to search for them: Alanna, Gerxis, Mardukai, himself, and a human Draji dune trader named Flik. Dalworth, an expert tracker, begins following the scouts’ tracks through the badlands.

Eventually they come upon a small camp where the scouts had rested, only to find the tracks end there; similarly, there is one set of hooved footprints and signs of a fight. The hooved tracks lead away from the campsite — and oddly enough, are wet — so the party presses onward across the rocky terrain.

The trail eventually leads to an ancient ruin in the walls of a canyon. The party goes inside, and the inside is noticeably colder than the outside. Furthermore, as they go in deeper, they find the walls oddly lit up in a multitude of colors, and a strange, low hum coming from deeper inside the cave. As the party descends an old spiral staircase, they find a strange white substance — snow — at the bottom.

The party trudges through the snowy corridors and enters a room with two snow effigies — “snowmen,” if you will — that throw snowballs at the party. The party quickly defeats them — Flik beheads one, while Alanna’s magic makes one scream and tear its own head off. The party proceeds further and finds a room with an enormous 9×9 grid, as well as nine inix statues. Gerxis notes that one of the inixes has a red nose, puts him in the front, and assembles the rest behind it — correctly opening the door ahead.

The party is soon met by a ghost missing its left eye and warning that the ruins are prowled by the Krampus, a supernatural being that punishes the wicked around this time of year, using its preternaturally long tongue to ensnare the guilty, beat them with switches, and dump them into his sack to die. The ghost explains that he was a trader who cheated his business partner in this area, then was carried away by the Krampus; when he tried to fight back with his crossbow, he accidentally shot his eye out.

The party confronts Krampus beneath an ancient, petrified tree, where his victims lie nearby. After a quick fight, the party stabs and kills Krampus. They then free his prisoners, and loot his sack, finding a bag of holding, candies of friendship, mountebank’s dice, endless chalk, a totem for Gerxis, and a new dragon’s paw for Flik.

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