Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Session Sixteen: Encountering Slavers

Note: For those unfamiliar with Dark Sun, psionics are called the Will for wild talents and the Way for trained psionicists.

Stony Barrens
The group traveled down the road, surrounded by stony barrens. Other caravans passed them, traveling to and from Altaruk. They stayed away from the other caravans and did not try to speak with them.
Just before high sun, Vashti spotted a dog stuck in a patch of cactus. She alerted Shade, who went to speak with it. The dog seemed friendly, if not smart, and Shade helped free the dog. He asked the dog to stay with him and the dog agreed. Shade named the dog Spike. They then rested during high sun.

They continued to travel to Tyr on the main road after high sun. As the stony barrens were giving way to the sandy wastes, the group saw a wagon with a broken wheel on the side of the road. There was also two pack erdlus with the wagon. The group moved closer.
There were four guards and a bald merchant arguing about the broken wheel. Built into the wagon was a small bone cage, which took up the rear half of the wagon. The cage was empty, but under guard, next to the wagon, were four human children and two dwarven children. They were wearing bone and rope collars that were joined to each other by lengths of rope. All of the children were staring at the ground.
"Slave children?" Julius whispered, "Oh, these people are going to die."
The group quickly agreed and Vashti cast a spell, which prevented the bald merchant from moving. The bone spear wielding guards were already on alert and were not surprised. Even so, Julius attacked the merchant with the way, lowering his body temperature. Alaxander also used the way to throw rocks at the merchant, fearing that the merchant may know how to use the way himself. Kalino and Jamil engaged the guards with their weapons.
The guards fought hard to protect their employer, but were not match for the experienced heroes. Shade beat the helpless slave merchant to death with his bone club. Julius and Alaxander relied on the way to slay one of the guards. Spike was helping, but had to fall back after being badly wounded. Kalino and Jamil beat one the guards bloody. The guards surrendered after they realized that they would not be getting paid.
Julius demanded that the guards strip down to their loin cloths and flee. Not having any room to negotiate, and being happy to be alive, they did as they were told. The guards limped back toward Altaruk. The group gathered the children and unbound them. They invited them into their wagon and told them that they were free. The children were confused, but got into the wagon.
The group put all of the guards belongings into the groups wagon. Kalino removed the three unbroken wagon wheels from the slave wagon and placed those in the group's wagon too. Vashti used the way to destroy a good portion of the bone bars on the slave wagon. They gathered the pack erdlus and continued toward Tyr. Once they were a good distance away, the group witnessed a flock of vultures fly down and feast on the bodies of the slavers.
"Thanks for the feast." - Vultures
The group traveled until night fall. They could not find anywhere secure to camp in the sandy wastes, so they just set up camp along the side of the road. Atkil visted Vashti during her watch and Vashti verified that Atkil's body needed to be returned to just outside of Tyr. She also unloaded the two bodies that Atkil did not recognize out of the wagon. She planned on burying them in the morning.
During Kalino's watch, Shade was awakened by some talking. He saw Kalino speaking with one of the children and, thinking nothing of it, went back to sleep.

Day 10, Week 2, Dominary, Friend's Vengeance, 190th King's Age, High Sun

The vultures fed on the two unloaded bodies, eating their dried flesh and picking their bones clean in a matter of minutes. The group was not concerned, after all, the vultures had to eat too.
The group ate a meal that Kalino had prepared, and they fed the children as well. Vashti provided water for everyone, including the erdlus. She then preached her morning sermon and memorized her spells. They packed up and drove their small caravan toward Tyr.
Other caravans became less frequent and the wind picked up. Sand was being blown around, irritating, but not harming the adventurers. Shade informed the group that this was just the beginning, that a much larger storm was on its way. The group continued traveling, but were looking out for places to wait out the coming storm.
During high sun, the winds calmed down and it appeared as if the storm would not be coming after all. Shade warned them that the storm would arrive as the sun moved toward the horizon. The group believed him and continued to look for shelter.
Vashti, who was driving the lead wagon, spotted a rocky outcropping being scoured by the blowing sands. They group thought it was a good idea to investigate it, hopefully finding a cave or jut of rock to hide behind. Kalino, Shade, and Spike went to investigate the rocks.
As they neared them, the rocks moved. They weren't rocks at all, but the tough, rocky looking hide of giant lizards. Two of the lizards were thirty feet long, while the third was a mighty fifty feet long. Shade was surprised, but Kalino and Spike were not. They engaged the largest lizard, Spike with teeth and Kalino with a bone longsword.
"I love humans. Tasty, tasty humans." - Giant Lizard Monster
The largest lizard bit Kalino and tore great gashes in his chest and side. Vashti ran toward the fight, to heal Kalino. Julius used the way to throw rocks and Alaxander did the same. Shade recovered from his initial surprise and attacked with his alhulak.
Vashti reached Kalino and healed him. Jamil followed his employer and began defending her from the monsters. Spike was bit by one of the smaller lizards and was wounded badly. Julius changed tactics and ran forward with his longsword. He tried to summon energy from within himself to use the way, but failed. Alaxander telekinetically lifted and threw the cyclopes' spears at the giant lizard. Unfortunately, the spears bounced off the creatures thick hide. The giant lizard bit Kalino again, but not as bad as before.
Vashti continued to run around, healing Kalino, Spike, and Shade. Alaxander teleported onto the giant lizards back and began beating on the monster with his obsidian battleaxe. Kalino and Shade continued attacking the giant monster, while Jamil fought one of the smaller creatures. Julius used the way and then lowered his defenses.
When the giant lizard bit at Kalino, Julius threw himself into the creatures mouth, so he could be bitten instead. Alaxander lept from the large lizard while using the way to pull another spear to him. He brought the spear down onto one of the thirty foot lizards, impaling it. Everyone was fighting for their lives and it showed in their determination.
Julius was protecting Kalino, by throwing himself into the giant lizards mouth. Spike was wounded badly and Shade sent him away. When he did, he saw that the vultures had returned and were pecking at Atkil's body. He yelled to the kids to chase the vultures away with the extra spears in the wagon. The children did as they were told and yelled and waived the spears at the vultures.
Julius was storing the kinetic energy of the bites, preparing to unleash it on the giant lizard. Unfortunately for him, Shade stabbed the giant lizard in the eye and ripped it out, along with bits of brain. The giant lizard was dead. Julius tried to release the energy into one of the smaller lizards, but they drove beneath the sands and vanished. Julius reluctantly released the energy into the ground, creating an impressive sand explosion.
Shade and Kalino gutted the giant lizard and butchered as much of it as they could carry. The sand storm was getting worse, so they propped the fifty foot carcass onto its side to block the blowing sand. They slowly pulled and pushed their wagons, which were free of vultures, through the sand and toward the carcass. The wagons helped prop up the carcass against the coming sandstorm
The wind and sand began picking up, just as Shade had said. They group huddled together with their newly liberated kids and prepared to wait out the storm.

Join us in two weeks for another exciting session of Adventures Under the Dark Sun.

2nd edition AD&D Dark Sun Cast of Player Characters
Julius: Human male psychokinetic. 22 years old. Played by Dave. Speaks Balican, Tyrian, and Giant.
Alaxander: Human male psychokinetic. 17 years old. Played by Ben. Speaks Balican, Tyrian, and Elf.
Kalino: Human male fighter/preserver. 20 years old. Played by DM. Speaks Rammin, Tyrian, and Balican.
Vashti: Human female clairsentient/water cleric. 20 years old. Played by my wife. Speaks Nibnese, Gith, and Balican.
Shade: Half-Elf male ranger/thief, 18 years old. Played by Chad. Speaks Elf and Tyrian.

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