Too Easy an Escape?
Later that same night, Garthak came in to the barracks. "OK, boys. You get the fun job of getting rid of the dead tonight. Take the cart into the Ghost City and get these bodies to the city's crematorium. I'll send a couple of my guards with you so's you don't try no funny business." It was Zylyss, Sarunin Tay, Dar'ag Tan, Yvaak (played by Kyle), Fillin and Barlos who were in their bivouac at the moment and who were tasked with taking the corpses to be burned.
The cart creaked out on the road. It was a dark night. Four torches in sconces in the corner of the cart were the only light. The track back toward the city was deserted. As they wagon came to a bend, the group thought they heard some stones skittering down the hillside to their left. The slavers, one in front and one behind, grunted for them to slow. The wagon then stopped. The slaves looked around and Filling detected a grunt followed by a gurgle behind them. Zylyss hissed for the front guard to go see why his buddy was missing. But another grunt and gurgle and he saw the guard's shape drop to the ground. Suddenly above and below them on the hills, five raiders appeared, spiked spears slashing and dagger's dully illuminated in the torchlight. The slaves, having been armed for just such an eventuality, sprang into action.
Three were grabbed by the prickly spears of the raiders. Zylyss ducked away from the cart into the shadow as he flung rocks with his sling. Fillin, using his telekinetic power flung a torch from the wagon at the nearest raider but he dodged aside and the torch was snuffed out by its flight.
The raiders were quick and deadly with their daggers drawing lots of blood and bloodying some of the party. They shifted, trying to stay close to the wagon to keep in the light. Dar'ag Tan whirled on one of them and brought down his weapon with might, nearly killing the man outright. Sarunin Tay sent blasts of mental energy eliciting a scream from one as blood trickled from his ears. Barlos moved around the wagon, trying to take control of the encounter and support the others.
Dorvan, the man sent by Sarunin's father to find him, trembled in the meat wagon. The sour stench of urine was amplified in the stifling heat of the still night. Dorvan sat up, saw what was going on and fainted. Around the cart, Zylyss sent rocks hurtling out of the darkness. Fillin continued to scoot back, launching arrows at the raider who continued to advance on him.
After three raiders had been put down, the other two, bloodied, made their escape. They dashed up the hill into the darkness while the party stopped to catch their breath.
Now these slaves found themselves on the road to Raam, the lights of the city dim in the distance, and apparently free! They discussed their plans. If they left the wagon, it would be evident that they had escaped. They briefly discussed taking it on to the crematorium in the Ghost City. After a few moments, Dorvan spoke, having climbed out of the cart. The woman and man who had also still been alive, had likewise hopped out of the pile of the dead and run off into the darkness.
Dorvan spoke. "There is a rendezvous point in the city where Barlass and I are to meet. If we can get into the city, we can find him and get out." He looked around at the others. "You have aided my master's son, Sarunin Tay. Master Tay will reward you well if you accompany us back to the city of Tyr." The others agreed to go along for now.
Sarunin suggested they stage a complete attack scene. Using the remaining torches, they fired the wagon and shoved it down the hill. Hitting a rock, it overturned and landed as a pile of burning corpses and smashed wagon pieces. The party then turned toward Raam...
The kids had fun and the story moved forward. Baxter was excited to use his shadow hiding skills in the darkness during the fight. Kyle, new to the group, took Yvaak whom Nick was never able to play in this campaign. In retrospect, the encounter was on the easy side. (I don't suppose the same raiders who could be defeated by the players could so easily dispatch the slavers, but it was a sneak attack). The point was to move the story forward.
Most of the players had new sheets printed from Hero Lab. I find that we haven't played enough for their powers and abilities to be second nature to them. I think, also, that unless a person makes their own character, it's tough for them to assimilate their alter ego. The environment of the teen section of the library can also be a hindrance. But overall, they had fun and as Ben noted, one of their more successful encounters.
It bothers me that there is still no Dark Sun Creature Catalog information in the Compendium. The subscription service and its integration with Linux (via third party stuff) is still somewhat irritating. But we muddle along and have fun playing and that's what counts.