My morning of flagellating slaves on the ziggurratt a couple weeks ago was interrupted by an urgent courier from the tyrant himself. Called to his outer chamber I soon learned from the Templar Superior that The Tyrant had stumbled upon mention of an ancient magical amulet in his endless studies, and he wanted it for himself. Unfortunately the amulet was held in the ancient ruined city of Bodach, and he had hand-picked me to lead a small force to retrieve the amulet.
Why he wanted this amulet I will never know, as it is buried within the most dangerous place on all of Athas. Once the mightiest city-state of Athas, Bodach is now under centuries of sand and undead foes. I was assigned a very capable Templar of Tyr as well as a force of seven Tyr Shock Troopers and their leader, an outstanding Mul Captain. Equipped with a dozen Crodlu, 2 dozen erdlu, plentiful supplies and a half-dozen healing potions for each member of the party, The Tyrant was sparing no expense to make sure we were successful in our quest to retrieve the amulet. We set out as night fell across the ringing mountains, and our journey across the sand was uneventful. Bodach is just beyond the Ivory Triangle and the worst foes in that area are bandits and elven raiders until you reach the Sea of Silt, and even then most giants can be fairly easily killed by the epic defiling magic of a Hierophant of Tyr, of which I am one.
We took the north route around the swirling silt lakes to the eastern land bridge to Bodach. The city itself rises out of the sand, as defense was not part of its design and thus there is no city wall – being the mightiest city state in all of history has its benefits. We made sure to time our journey into the city ruins for early morning, as the undead do not venture outside during the day unprovoked. This meant myself and the Templar of Tyr could use our arcane magic to try and sense other powerful arcane sources and locate the general whereabouts of the amulet.
After two full days of searching every above-ground street and alley of the giant city, we decided the best place to begin looking more specifically was what appeared to be an ancient academy of magic. As we made our way through the first level hallways that weren’t yet destroyed, we came across ten zombies behind a large pile of rubble – our first encounter with the undead! Trapped in a narrowed passage due to the rubble, unprepared for the ferocity of the zombies’ attacks and unable to execute trooper tactics, one of the troopers was killed before we were able to completely destroy the zombies. After the encounter we continued searching, as we had to push forward to try and gain possession of the amulet despite the loss of a trooper.
We finally found a stairway down to a subterranean keep, and soon after descending the stairs we came across a handful of skeletons. We were much better prepared this time and the troopers barely needed my help in dispatching these foes. After winding around for a while myself and the Templar of Tyr began to get very strong arcane indications that we were coming close to a very powerful magic source.
The lead trooper, a very courageous fellow named Fred, opened a set of double doors and we had found it. We saw a huge room that was empty except for an alter flanked by two dragon statues. The room also had murals that covered every inch of the walls and depicted the birth of the dragon itself! Inside this room was also a Lich reading the inscriptions on the mural, as well as his personal guard of a half dozen skeletons and four wights. We immediately saw that the Lich was wearing the amulet we sought, and the battle was joined. While myself and the Templar of Tyr engaged the Lich in long-range arcane combat, the troopers protected us by quickly forming a battle line and obliterating the wights on our right flank. Fred valiantly protected our left flank from four of the skeletons that approached us by himself. Once the initial wave of wights and skeletons was dealt with, the troopers expertly fanned out to eradicate the remaining foes, and myself, the Mul Captain and Templar of Tyr focused on finishing the Lich. At this point we were surprised as more undead streamed into the chamber from a side door, called by the plight of an undead leader, and we were once again outmanned.
The valiant Mul Captain and his troopers held the day however, as they defeated wave after wave of skeletons, wights and zombies, even after we were able to kill the Lich. The battle was long and fierce, and the party ended up depleting over half of the healing potions, although we did not lose a single man. Now we have the amulet, although we do not know what it does nor how to operate its magical powers.
By my count it is going to be sundown soon – Bodach is dangerous during the day, but deadly at night. Some of the worst undead legends come to life in Bodach once the red Athas sun sinks behind the ringing mountains. If we do escape Bodach this night and return to Tyr, I must give the Mul Captain’s superior my hearty endorsement – he may be the finest front line commander Tyr has. But that day must wait, because the Templar of Tyr is signaling that he senses approaching magic. They are coming…