The first session of the game I (and Vero) wanted to address an issue that had come up during the writing exercise: Kyahasha, Vero’s PC, was known to the rest of the group only in the form of her six or so cover identities. Vero outlined a fairly ambitious scheme wherein bad luck forced Kyahasha into the form of her thri-kreen manservant while said manservant was present, rather than miles away. In her Mask-of-Jade identity, she declared that King Kalak of Tyr needed to be informed about the magical site, and stomped off to write a letter; Kyahasha then shapeshifted into her servant Jay and returned to the group to beg them to assassinate Mask-of-Jade. This mainly had the effect of confusing the rest of the group.
A fight scene ensued, wherein Kyahasha used her paragon path ability to create a psychic projection of herself to fake Mask-of-Jade’s death at the hands of Jay… however Jay himself then appeared, injured by the pack of crazy people on his tail.
This was a shortened session because we were finishing up some character-creation material. The bulk of our playtime was discussion of what to do with the knowledge of the magical site, whether to tell Kalak about it, keep it a secret, or try to use it. Just before the session I sent out an email with, among other things, the following information about the magical site:
I’ve mentioned it a couple of times but I want to be clear: y’all do not find any hidden city of drow or otherwise, but you stumble across an easily-overlooked cleft in the mountains that becomes a chasm and then the ceiling closes up over you and you’re in a tunnel, and then there are stairs going down, and winding branching tunnels which you explore (possibly losing some NPC scouts along the way?) and deep under the heart of the mountains you find an enormous chamber, about on the scale of a medium-sized football stadium. In the center of the chamber there’s a metal doorframe, about forty feet high and thirty feet wide, wrapped with layer upon layer of chains. Every surface — floor, walls, and (you determine with some difficulty) ceiling — is covered with carvings, some ancient magical language.
One Comprehend Languages ritual (you are bring that at least right?) and one Arcana-intensive skill challenge later, you understand the chamber enough to conclude the following:
1) The metal doorframe is a closed portal to a demiplane containing an indeterminate number of water elementals, storm spirits, and the like.
2) Opening the portal is a ritual which would require about 170 000 gp worth of reagents, plus either the participation of about 200 000 people or the sacrifice of about 30 000 people. The participation, and the sacrifice, wouldn’t need to be on-site — if you could get basically everyone in the Seven Cities to do the dance and sing the song in their own homes or in the arenas, that would work fine. Same if you were to use defiling to kill an entire city.
3) The opener of the portal would be able to compel the bound elementals into service; the very simplest thing they could be made to do is replace the sea of silt with a sea of water. They could also be made to transform the opener into a dragon greater in power than the Dragon of Tyr.
4) Much of the writing in the chamber is a history of lands which no longer exist, and a record of how Athas was transformed from a pleasant fantasy realm to the blasted hellscape it currently is. Reference is made to many locations which might still exist as unlooted, lost ruins.