The Dark Eye Narrative Report from ITE Campus Gamefest

On 25th June, Chris ran a The Dark Eye role-playing game at the SOG Mega-gaming event, part of the annual Campus Gamefest at ITE@AMK.

In his own words:

This past weekend at ITE Campus Game Fest, we have played a role-playing one-shot using the Dark Eye system. Our setting is the world of Aventuria, a classic medieval fantasy environment.
We will be starting a regular group as well as do further one-off sessions using the Dark Eye setting and ruleset. If you'd like to join or host a session yourself, please contact Chris Hennigfeld or let us know in the comments!

In this session we had four players hosted by Chris as GM, playing a scenario called "The Temple of Ssrr'Khem'Nazz". Below is the writeup from one of the player characters' perspective.

Expedition into the swamps of Selem

Day 1: We begin our quest to find the ancient lizard artifact at the bequest of Retha of Grangor. Joining the group are:
Ahmad Kashutar, young member of the ruling Old Families of Selem
Ku’Izz Nakh’Ssri, a lizardfolk scout
Halima saba Meliban, fine mechanic
Cosimo of Chorhop, mercenary
Mondo, Retha’s manservant (NPC)
Me (Miranda), maid to Ahmad Kashutar
Several porters (NPCs)
Not much to report yet. 

Day 2: Awakened in the middle of the night by the porters on duty. Discovered a family of wild cats near our encampment. Set torches around the perimeter to scare them off. 

Later in the day we encountered tribal lizardfolk. Although initially they seemed distrustful, Ahmad built rapport with the leader. The lizards fed us and accompanied us as far as the edge of their territory, to the first marker of the ancient road we are to follow. 

The porters are complaining. They seemed spooked by the ancient writings on the marker and worry about curses.

Day 3: This morning we find the porters are gone. Footprints indicate they fled in the direction we came. After brief deliberation, we determine that they have abandoned us. Most of our equipment is still here, including valuable possessions. It isn’t worth the effort to chase after the porters. We bury the food and Ahmad’s personal chest, leave nonessential equipment at the camp, and continue onward without them.

In the afternoon, we run face to face with a Gorger! After battling this ferocious, mythic beast, Ku’Izz and Cosimo finish it off. We take a portion of its hide, for it is said to be of great worth. 

Day 4: We come to a large rock face jutting out of the ground. Cosimo climbs to the top and yells to us that there is no way down on the other side, as it is sheer, overhanging rock. The cliff forms a circular shape around a shallow crater lake with a pyramid temple in the center. It is 60 meters to the bottom, 500 meters across. On the ground, we decide to walk around the perimeter to try and find a way in. After some time, we do find an overgrown tunnel. Halima led the way through to ensure there were no hidden traps. We pass through the rock walls into the crater.

Ahmad conducts extensive investigations on the temple exterior. He discovers a hole in the ceiling at the top of the pyramid. It is not wide enough to enter. Later Ahmad explains to us that he detected a powerful line of magic that enters the temple through this hole.

We find an entry point through a crumbled wall on the 4th level. Inside, we find ourselves in a large hall with eerie glowing runes inscribed on the walls. Ahmad investigates these also. We discover a spherical indentation at closed doors around the hall. Some kind of lock.

We follow a stairwell downwards, to the bottom-most floor. In the middle of a grand hall, there is a glowing orb. This is the artifact which Retha seeks! Not knowing what will happen if it is removed, we instruct Mondo to wait by the door so that he can make a quick escape. Ku’Izz scampers outside and returns with a stone roughly the same size as the artifact. Cosimo removes the artifact, and immediately the room is dark and strangely quiet. Ku’Izz stumbled, and it took him a moment to regain his footing and put the stone in the artifact’s place. We hear muffled cries from the way we came: the door has closed on Mondo, leaving him separated on the other side. 

We explore the chambers. Mostly they are empty; there is not much of interest in them. Broken glass, broken wood. Halima finds a few traps and disarms them or alerts us to be careful. 

In one room we find a pit in the ground. It is a meter deep. There are wooden paths that cross it. At the base there are small holes. Perhaps the size of an animal? In the pit are scattered bones and dark lumps. Ahmad whispers something about blood magic. 

We follow a staircase to the second level of the pyramid. It is clear we are locked on the perimeter of the pyramid, in the rooms behind the locked doors we saw from the main stairwell. 

We hear the scurrying of light feet. Halima and Cosimo walk ahead. They are the first to discover a body lying face down, fallen out of a small chamber. It is strange – like a lizard, but Ku’Izz tells us it is not. One of the party says it is called a Maru. It has the head of a crocodile and is wearing light leather armor. Its body is cold to the touch, nearly freezing. Cosimo whacks his head off, to be certain it is dead.

Ahead, Halima sees Maru standing at attention, and pulls herself back around the corner out of sight. She also sees animals that look like chicken-sized lizards. Cosimo calls them cliff hoppers. Ahmad and Cosimo use a mirror to peer around a corner. They see 3 Maru standing guard with spears. We consider attacking, think better of it, back track and go upstairs.

We climb to the top of the pyramid and find ourselves in a small room. On the ceiling is the hole we saw from the outside. There are stars. Runes are written on most surfaces. There is a table-like stone that has deep grooves cut into it. It looks like a temple. What rituals were performed here?

Ahmad examines our surroundings. I focus on the altar, then the stairs. It comes to me that I am looking at Zhayad glyphs. Some of the runes are protective. I understand that there is powerful magic in this place. Ahmad announces that we will stay for the night and take turns at watch.

Day 5: At daybreak we are awakened by a loud grinding creak as the stone blocking the door slides away and sunlight fills the temple. Lizards stand at the platform opposite us. The one in the middle is dressed and decorated magnificently. We see Mondo bound and carried by two lizards. 

They are angry and agitated. “Why did you come here? Who sent you? What is your purpose?” Ku’Izz attempts to translate at first, but then the lizard addresses us directly in our own language.

Ahmad announces, “We were sent by Retha of Grangor, a powerful mage. There have been disturbances. We came to investigate the cause of these disturbances.”

The lizards hiss something unintelligible. The eye us viciously. I understand that we are in danger. We must tell them the truth.

Ahmad continues to speak, trying to win them over.

I step forward and say boldly, “We took an artifact. Retha wants it for herself, for her own purposes.”

The lizard says, “The orb at the heart of the temple! You have it! You are cursed! You will destroy us all! The temple will fall!”

“How do we undo the curse?”

“You must return the orb to its place in the heart of the temple. We do not dare get involved. You must undo the curse on your own.” He shows 2 stones roughly the size of the indentations we have seen in the walls. He hands one of them to me. “These are the keystones. You will need them to complete your task. There is a place for a keystone on the pedestal from which you stole the orb. It must be used to activate the orb again.”

Mondo is untied and dumped at our feet. “We found him sleeping outside the temple.”

We unlock a door and take the main stairs down the pyramid.  Cliff hoppers follow us. Ahmad tosses them food from his bag. They gobble at it ravenously. More cliff hoppers join. The jump on his back and scratch at his bag, looking for more food. Cosimo swings his axe and splits one of the creatures in half. Two of them jump on his back and claw at him. 

We forge ahead with a sense of urgency, while fighting off the vicious creatures, which scratch, bite and claw back at us. 

As we reach the main hall on the ground level, we find the three Maru. Cosimo attacks one with a harsh blow. I blind it. Ahmad wields a flaming sword. While Cosimo and Ahmad fight the Maru, I dodge past and run toward the pedestal with the orb, which I have taken from Ahmad. Cosimo slays the first of the Maru but is injured himself.

I put orb in place and fit in the keystone. A grey cloud above the pedestal shrinks, the room becomes warmer, the white glowing light returns, and a hum fills the room. 

We fight the remaining Maru.

Our party has taken considerable damage. All have wounds. Ahmad and Cosimo have ugly gashes, bleeding heavily. We take a few moments to treat our wounds and then flee the room back upstairs.

As we run up the stairs, a loud, deep voice declares:


It is dark. I feel someone grab the keystone from me.

I know Mondo has taken it and intends to take back the orb. We run after him. Water rushes down the stairs after us.

The room at the bottom is dark and chilly. The grey cloud is there again, growing larger.

“FOOLS!” Mondo shouts, “Stay back! You almost sabotaged the mission! For this you will pay!” He takes the keystone and plugs it into the large statue of a Leviathan at the head of the room. It comes to life. “Kill them!” Mondo commands, pointing towards us, “Kill them all!”

The Leviathan stumbles forward looking this way and that. It sees Mondo, lifts its giant foot, and stomps on him. Blood splatters. The orb rolls across the room. 

Cosimo rushes towards the orb. I rush to the pedestal. Ahmad uses his fiery sword to attempt to unlock the keystone from the leviathan’s belly. The Leviathan thrashes about, confused. It seems unable to see us, but knocks us to the floor with its thrashing. 

Cosimo rolls the orb to me but I fumble. Ahmad dislodges the keystone from the Leviathan’s belly. Cosimo grabs it and runs to the pedestal. I run after the orb. I pick it up. In a moment of clarity, the Leviathan stabs his spear directly at me, but I dodge. We replace the orb once more. 

Slowly the grey cloud shrinks and the orb glows white. The leviathan looks around again, seems pleased, and stops moving. 

We run out of the temple.

The lizards greet us. “I sense you have been successful. You have done our people and this whole world a great service. For this we are very grateful. But you may never, ever speak of what you have seen here.”


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