As the party finishes the first third of the journey from the Hanging Village of the K’naghi to the forbidden temple, they see an exasperated, terrified child running towards them across the sands—if the PCs got to know the Ayaxan nomads, they recognize the youth.
Across the badlands there’s not a great amount to see, and the plume of smoke at the temple in the distance tends to dominate your eye. A boy—perhaps ten years of age—comes dashing toward you from the horizon, his eyes full of fright. Looking more clearly, you see wagons dipping into the sand a half mile away.
The boy isn’t certain as to what happened exactly (whatever hazard befell the caravan, it was too fast for his young mind to comprehend) but he knows that many of his fellow travelers are still alive—and in great danger. To the untrained eye of an explorer new to the Disputed Territories, it looks as though the gypsy wagons fell afoul of a series of sand blast traps and quicksand. Only a local—and an old one at that—would know the true dangers that these hazards can portend.
There are a total of 6 wagons, each with 1d4+1 gypsies on board. By the time the PCs arrive, all six are sinking. The wagons are 15%, 30%, 45%, 60%, 75%, and 90% submerged. At least one gypsy is in the sand waist-deep, nearby a rope they were trying to haul the wagons out with. Pulling out a gypsy in the quicksand is a DC 15 Strength check (as well as a DC 10 Strength check for the gypsies, who have a +2 bonus) but getting a wagon out is much harder, requiring a DC 17 Strength check.
Once rescued, the gypsies are enormously thankful, promising a gift to the party. If it hasn’t been 15 rounds yet (see below), the remaining time is spent rifling through the bags and sacks the gypsies on the wagons managed to salvage. On the 15th round, the Ayaxans find a gypsy bag [see the upcoming Magic Item Monday! -MM] and offer it to the adventurers in thanks—though the PCs are interrupted before they can collect the reward!
It has been many, many years since enormous beasts regularly roamed the Disputed Territories; the gyeongsa warp storms only began to appear recently, and the strange, teleporting tempests tend to spend very little time in the badlands. The recent troubles between the tribes, however, have woken a true horror beneath the sands, one that burrows underground with ease. Released from its slumber and sensing the impacts of the Piseogach Clan’s attack on the distant forbidden temple, the creature has risen from deep beneath the earth—using the caravan as bait in hopes of trapping more prey. Once its full meal has arrived (15 rounds after the PCs reach the scene) it springs forth from the ground and attacks! [Check out the monster in tomorrow’s Statblock Sunday! -MM]
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