Waking up is the most difficult thing to remember. Your first memories are of shivering blackness, uncontrollable convulsing in the void until your thoughts became coherent enough to realize … this is physical. The shivering continued in waves as your eyes slowly opened and acclimated to a different kind of flickering darkness. You were naked, huddled, alone, lying on a field of red fungi, the noise of a rhythmic machine humming in the distance. Around you, hulking steel beams and plates converged in a cavernous, triangular tunnel, dimly lit by a slowly pulsating light. The expanse of the tunnel was enormous. The corners of the triangular skeleton met in darkness. You would soon learn, however, that this massive structure is little more than an insignificant hallway within a superstructure that is much larger and far more enigmatic than your re-awakening mind could begin to fathom.
Somewhere in the tangled nest of the Sarkash Forest lies a staircase that leads down into a crypt known as The Accursed Den — a dank and rotten underground structure in which no free man would willingly choose to descend. You and your companions, however, are not free.
Standing before the south Verdant Gate, one of four entrances to the fabled Garden of the Gods, your party stops for a moment to take in the sight. Just past the entrance, rays of light cut through the humid air, dispersing and refracting off the lush foliage, creating a myriad of rainbows like a weave of spiritual luminescence. Butterflies and birds flit to and fro, playfully chased by tiny sprites and faeries. Colors saturate the landscape. The empty space in between things even looks tangible. Substance seems to permeate everything.
“So it’s actually true,” …
Beneath the unforgiving dual suns of Cha’alt, the week-long trek through the desert wasteland known as S’kbah has left your party of adventurers hanging by a thread. Armor has been shed to avoid exhaustion, loot has been forsaken in favor of water, and with radiation pills in short supply Cha’alt’s irradiated landscape has taken its toll. Three members of the group suffer from mutations that have left them permanently and horribly disfigured — one’s face now resembles a rat, another’s eyes have sprouted stalks and the third has grown a scorpion’s tail. The perils of Cha’alt are numerous, but the rumors of vast treasure hoards hidden within the legendary Black Pyramid drive your party forward — despite the knowledge that few, if any, have ever returned from the maddening journey within. Mutations be damned. Endless riches await.
As the heavy bronze doors open outward, a gust of cold air escapes the tomb with an icy howl. The delicate sound of swishing sand and faint, ghostly whispers can be heard inside the entryway’s dark hall. Within the chilling blackness ahead lie clues to the mystery of disappearing nearby townsfolk and of this vast structure that, inexplicably, has somehow “grown” from the very earth itself.