Red Rock Funeral
A Scenario for use with ADF and Troika or whatever else you might want. I’m not your dad.
Where the red sand becomes red rock a settlement, Ignear, is tucked amongst the folds of stone. Their harvests of barrel-fruit cacti and hardy desert maize are fat - every year a glut.
The people of Ignear are offering a months worth of fresh water - a small fortune - to someone who is able to clear their path to the Graveslab - their ancestral burial site. They are keen to impress upon visitors the sacred nature of interment within this natural fortification - and how no outsiders are allowed to enter within. Those breaking this taboo must pay in blood.
The dead - Shamal - died when a rock fell and crushed their skull. May their water serve the village.
Travelling to the Graveslab from Ignear means either a three-day scramble over the jagged rock or a five-day journey around the stone, over the yellow-red striped sand.
The crags are infested with Rockborers. There is a 2-in-6 chance of attracting their attention each day. Once alerted, they will mercilessly harass the party, attacking at night, killing pack animals and the like.
The desert is wide open, the edge of the Thousand Sultanates visible from this borderland. Encounters are seen a ways off unless they are lying in ambush. Roll 2d6 per day and consult the chart below.
|2||Wormsign in the deep desert.|
|3||Distant dust-trails of caravans in the Sultanates.|
|4||A twinkling in the sky.|
|5-7||Nothing but the wind.|
|8||Hyenamen, poorly hidden beneath dunes.|
|9||Pack of Sandmantis - 50% chance of already converging on your position|
|10||Nomadic Pastoralists with their herd of Sahg|
|12||Dust-storm, coming in fast - 1d6 hours to find sufficient cover or risk having your flesh stripped from bone.|
The Graveslab, a tower of cave-ridden rock, stands in the centre of a clearing amongst the broken rock of the area. It is being used by a Rogue Warflock (only 15 remain) as a temporary base. They are led by Kresh - jovial despite the dire circumstance. They failed to complete their contract for one of the Thousand Sultans, and are here to lick their wounds. As such, they are not in a trusting mood, taking potshots with their looted laser weapons at unexpected guests. They could be convinced to parlay, but have no good reason to move on currently - especially whilst they are being pursued.
A member of the Warflock - Sett, the sniper - is a Nanite Sand agent. They are being directed to investigate the truth of Graveslab - the Sands know there is more here than meets the eye. Kresh is suspicious of a traitor, but cannot fathom a way to flush them out. One suggesting a good enough plan could begin negotiating favourably - if able to avoid offending Kresh by insinuating a traitor in the ranks.
The target of their mercenary contract - a warband of Slough Lizardlings (20 in number) - has remorselessly stalked them across the desert. They will be here in 1d6 days. They have massacred 2 villages for information, leaving their infamous limb-structures as a warning. Originally, they sought to recover a stolen religious icon, a mummified Warlord Head, from the Sultan who hired the Warflock. Now they have shifted targets. Without intervention, the Warflock will perish, killing 2d6 of the Slough Lizardlings. The Lizardlings will desecrate the tomb with the Warflock corpses, and destroy the secrets of the Graveslab.
Hidden amongst the surrounding rock is Tariq, a Technician of Esteemed Acquisitions. They know the truth of Graveslab, and were planning a theft. The Warflock has complicated this. If the party seem competent, Tariq may make contact using hidden notes smuggled into their camp, offering them a cut of the proceeds if the heist can be pulled off. If agreed to, Tariq will join them the next night, and explain -
The Graveslab is not just sacred - it is the secret to the wealth of Ignear. Within the sealed chambers are ancient machines, capable of extracting the water from a corpse and purifying it. Tariq wants to steal these machines and sell them to the highest bidder - almost certainly a Freshwater Grub in Shurupak. The journey there will take months with delicate, expensive cargo.
What Tariq doesn’t know is that these machines only operate due to control circuits hidden beneath the Graveslab. They are useless without this. If sold to a Freshwater Grub, assassins will be dispatched in revenge.
If the Warflock are told about the machines, they will entrench themselves and begin raiding the local area for corpses to turn into water. They will try and use this water to buy off the Slough Lizardlings - unsuccessfully.
If the people of Ignear are confronted about the secrets of Graveslab, they will bribe the party for their silence before dispatching assassins in 2d6 weeks.
How’s that for a starter adventure? Just combine and recombine the elements until you think it would get boring to add more.