All was quiet except for the moan of pain of the lizardman shaman and the tremors of something large approaching. Several trees split apart as a huge, two-legged Thunderlizard stepped onto the broken cobbles of the temple plaza. It sniffed around, and gobbled up several of the dead lizardmen that were lying about.
Ahmed positioned himself for action. When the beast came over to the impaled shaman, it sniffed, pondered as if recalling something from days of old, and turned to eat a different body. Ahmed struck like lighting, racing across the plaza and striking the beast on its him. The group struck, infuriating the Thunderlizard. Its roar and massive head were a fearful sight. So much so, Salim now has fear of such powerful beasts.
After the battle, the group gave succor to the shaman. He bade the group to save the lizardmen from themselves. He placed his hand upon Tabari and bid him to remember. Tabari felt something pass from the shaman to him. The shaman them passed out from the pain.
Tabari naturally knew how to enter the temple. They arrived at chamber with four large statues. In front of the statues were stone biers with mummified lizardmen. Over each mummy’s chest was a small glowing sphere, each light different. In the center of the statues was a dias 15’ square. Along the edge was a thin grove in the stone.
The struggles of the Gatormen and Lizardmen is carved into the very walls of the chamber. Tabari’s granted his ability to read and speak languages to the group such that they could fully understand the story.
Qutelxztl, the Trying Times
Quetzal, the Feathered Serpent, is the Father of all the reptilians. One of his aspects is wind so that he can fly about to keep tabs on his children. He also sired the gods to look over his creation. He kept the aspect of knowledge and wisdom, to help guide all his people over time.
Early on, it was the Gatormen that showed ambition and a desire to live beyond just being an animal. The gods nurtured them, giving them culture and civilization. The children of the gods, Quetzal’s grandchildren, took a liking to the Lizardmen. Since the lizardmen did not have the driving desire that the Gatormen did, they did little more than acknowledge the gods. As such, neither they nor the Children (as they came to be called) grew much beyond their long-time existence.
As the Gatormen grew in power, they and their gods treated all others as children. Soon, there was not much distinction between treating other races as children and other races as slaves. Quetzal was saddened to see some his mortal children treated as such. But he nurtured where he could, for he foresaw a time when the Gatormen would fall and the Lizardmen would have their chance to rise.
Then came the Qutelxztl, the Trying Times. The Gatorman empire, which supposedly spanned Rassilon and Al-Shirkuh was under terrible duress. Sarkeb, the god of war and vengeance, rose in prominence as the Gatormen sought to save all they had built. As the empire slipped into decline, Sarkeb blamed the weakness of the gatormen on the other gods. Cursing their names, he devoured them one by one. As he grew in power, Quetzal hid the Children away from Sarkeb. As the flesh of the Gatormen gods was torn and ripped by Sarkeb’s colossal teeth, so the knowledge they imparted to the Gatormen was wiped from existence, lost forever. Today, the gatormen remember no god except Sarkeb, not even Quetzal. Sarkeb, flush with the power of the souls of the gods, demanded that his mortal followers follow suit. As the Empire weakened more and more were sacrificed upon his alters. In hindsight, it was much like a reed boat with too large of a hole – no amount of souls would fill it.
As their knowledge was lost, the Gatormen relied more and more upon the Lizardmen. While they were no where near as advanced as the Gatormen had been, they still kept to their hidden gods and Quetzal still smiled up them. They kept the day to day aspects of the Empire running. But both the Children and the Lizardmen were still weak. They needed a god that could challenge Sarkeb.
Amongst the Children Ssslak stepped forward to take on the mantle. This did not surprise Quetzal. But all knew he could not fight Ssslak alone. The Children dare not reveal themselves least Sarkeb devour them all. They needed a strong god to directly war against Sarkeb. After much debate about worship options to strengthen him, reluctantly Quetzal imparted the ways that Sarkeb strengthened himself through absorbing the other gods. He tempered this with methods that Ssslak could not fully devour other Children’s souls, but for them to join his. But as the gods sacrifice to strengthen Ssslak, mortal followers must sacrifice to keep the absorbed gods aspects strong, least Ssslak follow the same path as Sarkeb.
Huitzilo sacrificed to lend his strength and tactics of war to Ssslak. Xipe provided her influence over the Thunderlizards. Chalchi sacrificed himself to give the power of the waterways. Unexpectantly, Tezcatli, the god of darkness and vengeance sacrificed himself. At first the other gods were glad to be rid of him as he was a constant thorn in their sides. But Quetzal worried at the implications of this. Ssslak would have hard decisions to make in his battles to free the Lizardmen, and having Tezcaltli’s dark influence could prove disastrous.
Flush with power, the Lizardmen made their move. The Gatorman empire was a rotted hut and they brutally kicked the door in. As Ssslak grew stronger in the Purge, the remainder of the Children grew dissatisfied with the traditional offerings and sacrifices of animals and wealth. All the Children saw the power that fueled Ssslak and his aspects obtained through the sacrifice of souls. All the Lizardmen gods grew strong on the blood of the Gatormen.
But over time, there were only so many people to go around. Inevitably, the strongest god got the most attention. However, this weakening of the other gods had its problems. Huehuet, the god of fire seems to have withheld his fiery hand from the bonfires. Tonati, the goddess of the sun, can barely push the sun through the sky these days."
Help from the Gods
Tabari cast Insight was was able to divine how interact with the statues that would then activate a lift of some kinda on the dais. As they prepared to descended into the depths of world, the globes of light flashed. The gods understood the intent of the heroes and let them a bit of their strength a their reward. Gifts from the gods can be double-edged at times. The heroes will need to make a choice – take a lesser gift free and clear, or take a stronger gift and become more aligned to the god.
- Quetzal (father of all reptilian kind)- No Maintained Penalty on Speak Languages (but it can still be disrupted on damage); +1 Die to Knowledge Folklore in exchange for Quirk (minor) – a bit too into Reptilian Lore and wants to share. Tabari
- Huitzilo (strength) – Boost Trait (strength only) – Spirit to Cast – Get Raise effect in exchange for Quirk (always shows off strength in social situations – arm wrestle, lift things, challenge to wrestle) – Menivis
- Xipe (animals) – Summon Monster Power – all are Thunderlizards (Spirit to cast. Get Raise effect you must always have a Thunderlizard summoned, which will be odd in social situations – Areceli
- Chalchi (water) – Healing Power (if no AB, use Spirit – Faith ). Water Trapping. Get Raise effect Quirk (Minor) – cleanliness (must use some water every day to stay clean – this is can be very negative to desert people – wasteful) – Amhed
- Tezcatli (darkness) – Gain a power on your Spell List. Darkness Trappings. Can have your own trapping in exchange for Vengeful Minor (or upgrade to Major) – Salim-Sphere of Might
The lift ended in a secret chamber with multiple levels. The two-headed cleric of Ssslak was about to perform the ritual. Of course, the golden plate of mathematical symbols was up by the ritual. The Fury of Ssslak, the massive multiheaded behemoth, stood guard.
Once again, Ahmed called upon his dervish powers. He initially struck the Fury, then used his speed to rush to the top of the chamber. The group then noticed that the various platforms were in motion. The battle was fierce but short, with Ahmed decapitating both heads of the priest of Ssslak. The Children were saved and the heroes now had the last piece needed to free Sinbad!
Amhed’s Telling of the Tale – Of the Reptile Gods
It has been many leagues and weeks since I wrote in this journal. We have seen many wondrous and terrible things, seen victory and death. I feel we are learning what the life of Sinbad and the other legendary heroes of our lands was like.
I sit, recovering from yet another battle. Deep in the heart of an island we found jungles and lizard people. Through Tabari’s magics, we were able to read their writings and understand their speech. Tales of the struggle of their gods was fascinating but it was being played out before us. Factions of these lizard people fought each other, the victorious seeking to perform a dark ritual to destroy some of their elder gods. We have seen what great power does to a person and the thought of a god (or spirit who thought itself a god) taking more and more power to itself was not going to bring good to the world.
I faced down a lizard so large and terrible that it was like walking thunder! I felt my blades sing as I charged the monster, slicing through armored skin, steel tendons and stone-like bones until it fell to the earth with a earth-shuddering crash! Oh, the rest of the Five were there too.
We entered the temple still seeking the mysterious clue to the riddle of Sinbad’s final journey only to encounter a many-headed child of one of their gods as well as countless lizard people all seeking to bleed us and pitch our bodies down bottomless pits. After landing a few blows on the gargantuan god-child, I spied a dark shaman hurrying to finish a foul ritual. I ran from the god-child, leaping up stairs and between ferocious lizard people guardians. Again, my blades did their terrible work until the shaman expired and fell to the ground, his ritual failed.
The Five rallied to slay the god-child and put an end to this lizard god plot. I believe we sided with the right people in this fight and were rewarded with a golden disc of symbols sure to be our clues to Sinbad.
Perhaps our days sailing the seas will soon be over as we discover what truly happened to the legendary hero.