----About this Game ---
This is a home brew campaign that I have run before.
The world is pretty standard fantasy setting.The areas you are worried about for now are the Capitol city of Ipsardine and the Great Desert of Sa’ull. The capitol city is enormous and is where Governor Geordin runs the kingdom. He is a servant of the Great Tyrant who is more than a thousand miles away and really doesn’t interfere out this way much.
The Myth of the Mage-King Hsalma
Hsalma is an ancient legendary king. His actions supposedly brought about the fall of this kingdom from what was once a golden age of prosperity and peace. The last in a long dynasty of kings, he began building his legendary tomb in the Jungle of Sa’ull more than 2000 years ago. All of the writings that survived from that time speak of the Mage-King as being incompetent and unable to properly rule. The tomb’s construction consumed more that half of the wealth of the kingdom and beggared the nobility. It is said to be a nearly complete underground city where the King, his court and all buried there would live on in the afterlife in a style and level of comfort like no other. The construction turned the surrounding area of Jungle into wasteland with all of the industry and began the slow transformation of the area into what is now the Great Desert. Before he died he had all of his courtiers and most of his advisers killed and entombed with him. On his death bed he cast one final spell that sealed him and his tomb beneath a huge wave of earth and stone. He left behind a kingdom that had no heirs, no leadership, no money, and no military strength. The kingdom was swiftly overrun by barbarians and descended into chaos for a few centuries before the current Empire of the Sun settled the continent and this area.
News has come to every village and town that the Lost Tomb of Hsalma has been found. The governor is offering a large reward to any explorers who want to delve into its depths. The problem is that so many explorers and other forms of mercenary have signed up to explore it that there would be little control by the governor over this expedition. This Tomb has some great historical value and the Emperor and governor want some control as to how the expedition is to be handled. So far only the governor, his explorers and the Archmage know the location of the tomb.
You arrive in the capitol to find that it is bustling with more people than usual, many of them seem to be of similar occupation as you. In fact the line to sign up for the Tomb expedition almost wraps around the entire coliseum. A few moments later a crier comes into the street and calling to the line and accompanying crowd --
“Since there are so many applicants, there will be a contest tomorrow. Each applicant will need to front a fee of 1000 gold to enter. You may enter individually or in teams, teams of less than 6 will be assembled by random drawing. Teams may not be larger than 6 members. The winning team will be selected to the Tomb expedition.”