From the Deck of a Sandship: More Encounters within the Mhalmet Expanse

From the Deck of a Sandship: More Encounters within the Mhalmet Expanse

Despite its size, the Mhalmet Expanse remains a relatively busy territory with the Mhalmet Road connecting various settlements and sites. To help populate this space, we present a number of encounters involving the inhabitants of the region, should the PCs wish to become involved…

Encounter: The One with the Wagon

Along the White Sea, the small villages subsist on the bounty of the ocean. And when blessed with extra or with a rare delicacy, anglers seek larger markets. The elders of Eayan Hawris are currently preparing their yearly shipment of prized fresh and salted seafood delicacies for market in Mhalmet. A wagon will travel inland to meet a caravan at the Mhalmet Road’s junction and turn south. However, the local priest of Horus warns that danger looms for the merchants in the future.

The PCs may learn about this opportunity when visiting the village, either by announcement, town gossip, or perhaps an agent of Horus. They may also encounter the wagon as it travels to the Mhalmet Road or perhaps be part of the caravan the wagon is to meet west of Eayan Hawris. Alternatively, priests of Horus might contact the PCs directly and request their assistance.

Encounter: The One with the Glow

A few hundred aasimar live in Mhalmet, and a significant portion belong to the local temple of Isis. Recently, an aasimar newborn manifested a potent, glowing aura hours after birth. The high priest of the temple, Lubbuu, has declared that the baby, Mandaa, is a blessing and likely a prophet of Isis. Additionally, Mandaa radiates a sense of calm over everyone who simply spends a few moments in their presence. The temple members gathered and decided such a baby could not reach their true potential in a town of thieves, so they and Mandaa’s parents—Hamiltan and Lellisee—planned a journey to the temple of Isis along the Mhalmet Road. The group consists of the family, five guards, and three priests, and they travel in a covered wagon or else ride camels.

The PCs learn about this opportunity while in Mhalmet. The temple seeks good-hearted PCs planning to travel the Mhalmet Road in the near future. PCs who inquire at Mhalmet’s temple of Isis learn about Mandaa. They also get a chance to meet with her and witness her special calming light. Lubbuu needs the party to leave soon, for rumors claim the Ivory Promise’s soldiers plan to attack soon.

Encounter: The One with the Cactus Theft

When most of the people at the shrine slept, they came without warning. The Drifting Raiders, a relatively new sand-pirate crew, struck the shrine’s greenhouses, took almost all of the violet prickly cacti, and burned the greenhouses to the ground. Fortunately, the greenhouses stand separate from the main shrine, resulting in no new injuries. However, with only a few cuttings left, the priestess needs some of the medicine in the next few days.

The PCs must be in the shrine’s immediate area for this encounter. The priestesses feel the theft of several mature cuttings as well as some prepared healing medicine means the pirates must sell it quickly, given the short shelf life of the harvested plant. The priestesses ask the PCs to follow the raiders and retrieve what they can of the stolen plants.

Encounter: The One with Retribution

The Order of Horus gathers in Eayan Hawris. Recent incidents, like the attack on the shrine, weigh heavily on their minds. After much debate, they decide cementing certain alliances offers enough strength to take action against the evil plaguing the Mhalmet Road. After divining the current location of the surviving Drifting Raiders, they plan to bring them to justice. The raiders currently occupy a fruit merchant’s manor house with orchards growing east of the Mhalmet Road on slopes descending toward the White Sea.

Based on their reputation, the order asks the PCs to aid in the action. Alternatively, if they pursue more nefarious activities, an ally of the raiders has foreseen or heard of the plans and asks the PCs to either stop the order or assist in defending against the action.

Encounter: The One with the Fatal Error

Semet the Short-Fingered arrives one evening in Mhalmet. The heru thief appears haggard, exhausted, and even more paranoid than usual, refusing to speak until a trusted friend manages to get a few drinks into them. The story tumbles out in bits and pieces after, spiced with evasion and half-truth. Semet had heard of a score and managed to break the secret desert vault it led to, find some coins and loot, specifically an unusual amulet (see below), and escape. Ever since though, Semet has sensed something following on their heels. A band of accursed defilers (see Tome of Beasts) has paralleled Semet from Per-Maraut to Mhalmet, following the Lotus Road. Once the defilers reach Mhalmet’s outskirts, they will have enough strength to leave the ley line and search the city for Semet.

The PCs can be present when Semet arrives and overhear their tale, or they may hear it from others. The PCs may also hear that local shepherds have seen a shape moving along the Lotus Road in the hills. The local wildlife and domestic herds give it a wide berth. The next day, the PCs may discover or Semet may reveal that they think they are cursed. The character who found the thief finds their shadow points toward the Lotus Road, south of town, exactly where the defilers gather strength and await for nightfall.

Amulet of Horus’s Aegis

Wondrous item, rare (requires attunement)

The amulet is fashioned like a golden talon clutching a stylized eye of carved ivory and obsidian with a yellow gemstone iris. It grants you immunity from immense environmental heat, though not direct flames or damage from fire effects. Once per long rest while attuned, you may cast create water as if you had used a spell slot equal to 1/2 your character level. Additionally, three times per long rest while attuned, as a reaction that does not provoke opportunity attacks, you may gain advantage on saving throws against effects created by undead creatures, or you may expend two uses of this power as part of an attack action to gain advantage on an attack against an undead creature.

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