The Firseid Sandbox
The Great Phoenix of the Desert
The party is seeking out the mythical Phoenix, which is said to live in the Great Eastern Desert. The Phoenix was suggested by Tallismo and the rest of the Scarlet Order as one of the few entities old enough and wise enough to know how to destroy the Swarm creatures forever.
A group of nomads in the northern nations — lead by a Skald skilled in lore of the regions in the north — told the party a story of his ancestor, who roamed the desert for years in search of the Phoenix and was granted wisdom in return for a riddle that the Phoenix had never heard. He said that if he were to ever meet the Phoenix, he would pose it a riddle about something the bird of fire would never have encountered. He gave the party this riddle:
That downward thrust,
That never rust.
The party spent the night conversing and trading stories with the Skald and his family, and set off in the morning toward the The Gateway to Great Eastern Desert.
The Gateway turned out to be a small settlement with a monastic order and traders who make excursions into both the real desert and an interdimensional pocket accessible through an ancient arch erected near the settlement. Entering the arch required a guide, someone recognized by the Sphinx Guardian. On the inside, the party discovered a horrific shadow land, populated by outcasts from societies ringing the desert, who forage for food to maintain their miserable existence and trade with those who are allowed free passage through the gateway(…s?). They were attacked by a dragon, who apparently kidnapped their guide rather than simply eating him on the spot. A network of roads also exists in the desert: and it leads to the City of the Dead, a massive construction of meteorite, magically sealed against intruders. The party gained access through their willingness to sacrifice themselves in their quest, and they woke up receiving medical care from the monastic order that forms a crude theocracy ruling over the settlements of outcasts in the desert.
The party’s quest to locate the phoenix remains; but they have been granted an audience with the ruler of the City of the Dead. Might they know where to find the phoenix? With no other structures in this barren landscape, is the phoenix even still here? What sinister plots are hatched in this dark prison of a city?
Find out on the next episode of “It Can’t Possibly Get Any Worse.”
Upon meeting the chief cleric of the City of the Dead, after learning more of the history of the city, the party discovered that he was keeping the Phoenix prisoner,. because the phoenix was the ancient ruler of the demiplane. The phoenix was weakened severely by the means of the Meteor Heart, a large clear rock with anti-magic properties, which had been placed in the top of its cage.
Seeing the creature in such woeful conditions, the party was incensed with righteous rage and decided to free it. Or they just wanted to put some arrows in something. Who can tell sometimes? Shrug.
The party tried to conspire in gnomish, but the chief cleric had tongues up and was not surprised. He began casting an extremely powerful summoning spell, but Niowin, with some quick thinking, flew above the anti magic sphere, and, upon falling onto the stone, chucked it at the cleric …
who of course promptly ceased being able to cast spells. The phoenix grew into its usual guargantuan flaming self (setting Niowin on fire), and emerged from its cage in its full power. The party and the phoenix made short work of the chief cleric and minions left in the main hall, and after resting for a time, the phoenix imparted some knowledge to the party in exchange for their answer to the following riddle:
“The wisdom you seek is greater than the single word that can answer a riddle. So I will tell you a tale.
Many years ago, in a land so far away its borders do not lie in this world, there was a man who wished to be a father but had no love except that of his art; and he made himself a child. But his art was not skilled enough, and the child-thing was ugly in his eyes, and he turned it away, and did not teach it to live with the other children, so it became cruel and heartless and full of hate. The people called it a monster, and they came to the creature’s father and demanded it be destroyed as all evil things must, and threatened him if he did not do it.
So the father went to the village elder, who was a very wise man, and asked for his advice. He said to the Elder: ‘They have demanded that I destroy the monster. Elder, what shall I do?’
The Elder thought for a moment, and then told the father what he must do if he wished to destroy the monster. The father thanked him and left.
What did the wise man tell him?"
Nester answered that everyone was the monster.
The phoenix provided two ways for the party to destroy the swarm creatures:
1. They could craft a weapon of great power that could harm the creatures and drive them from the world for an epoch. The phoenix gave them a single feather to use as a component.
2. They could sever the entire world’s connection to the surrounding planes, cutting off magic on their plane forever, and destroying the swarm creatures (along with all other magical creatures) forever.