Dark Sun: A New Dawn

Session 2, Refuge and subterfuge

“It’s the id in you.”

The party continued their trek to Tyr on foot after resting in the defiled oasis where they fought and defeated a kank hunting pack. The group made successful efforts to cover their tracks and evidence that they had made camp at the oasis. However, as they travelled onward they noticed that they were being followed. They pressed on, noticing that their pursuers tracked them despite their best efforts at subterfuge. Using their abilities to make and break camp on their way to Tyr, they managed to stay just steps ahead.

As they came within days of reaching the city, they encountered a large outcropping of rocks and large cacti with enormous razor sharp spines. As the group closed to investigate the plant life for any sign or opportunity of nourishment, they were suddenly startled by a whistling noise and a flying impish creature. The creature managed to steal fruit from the group and hastily retreated toward the outcropping of rock. As the creature retreated, Felegar reacted to save the group’s rations and loosed an arrow at the creature. Struck but not phased, the creature returned safely to the outcropping as the group was surrounded by goblins and attacked.

Outnumbered but working as a team, the party managed to defend themselves against the goblins. Many of them held high ground and fired volley after volley of arrows. Not disregarding their surroundings, the party realized that the large cacti nearby were entirely too dangerous to approach and managed to avoid their penetrating spines. In fact, as the battle raged, they used these dangerous plants to their advantage, impaling some of the goblins and observing the damage caused by the apparently carnivorous plants. The fight drew to a close as the team worked ever closer to the high outcropping of rocks to attempt recovery of their rations. They managed to defeat the leader who, in a last ditch effort to defend himself, had called the flying creature to his aide.

The group attempted to capture the creature but were only able to recover their fruit as the beast flew away and out of sight. As they collected themselves after the fight, one observant member noticed a hidden entrance that led into a cave within the rock. The party decided to investigate the darkness. They were cautious as they entered, though unprepared for the danger about to befall them. Avoiding what appeared to be a latrine for the goblins, most of the group circled around a hallway into a larger chamber. There they saw a couple of goblins that appeared to be worshiping an id fiend. As they entered the space, they were attacked by the goblins, apparently defending their god. Little did the group know at the time, but they were about to have their toughest battle yet. As they inched their way out of the confining space of the narrow entrance and into the chamber, their attackers managed to keep the group at range. Although the party made quick work of one goblin, they soon realized their true foe was the gigantic lizard-like creature dominating the space.

The id fiend, preying on the worry, doubt and fear of the group as they entered unknown territory, tore into their minds, debilitated and froze them in place. Felegar, either out of self-preservation or strategic thinking, stayed safely behind the wall of the entrance and utilized his talent for projecting his sight. He fired wave after wave of spirit bonded arrows, trick-shooting them around the corner at the monsters in the chamber. Once the group realized that the id fiend needed to be held in place long enough to damage it, they collectively overcame its grip. As the battle neared completion, and the id fiend was gradually reduced to unconsciousness and death, one of the goblin minions seemed to suddenly come alive as if awoken from a nightmare. He yelled, “Me Chunkra! No kill!” The group ceased their assault, confident that the id fiend lay defeated. Chunkra pleaded that the group spare him and in return he would reveal treasure and help them however they wanted. He kept his promise, digging up rewards for the group and promising to lead them safely away from the area. The party agreed to keep Chunkra alive as long as he remained civil. “Chunkra, no funny stuff,” he agreed.

The group took some time to rest and collect their wits. As they broke camp and worked to cover as much of the carnage as possible, they realized their pursuers were much closer now having picked up their trail again. They had lost precious time and pressed on the road to Tyr. Fearful their unidentified pursuers would catch up quickly knowing they were closing in fast. The party mustered as much energy as they could and pushed themselves to their limits running without rest for nearly a day and a half. They could finally see the city walls of the city state of Tyr! However there was little time to celebrate, they realized their pursuers were a gang of wild elves and pushed on harder and faster toward the gates. As they neared the city, they felt some relief as the pack of elves eased their relentless pursuit. Though there is still much uncertainty as they approach the gates, their reluctant “guide” Chunkra in tow. Before making their final approach to the city gates, they hastily imprint the brand of a slave on Chunkra, hoping their quick thinking will aide them in some way as they enter the city unsure of their fate after the loss of the Torg/Wavir caravan.

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Session 1, The Treacherous Road to Tyr
Or, "Welcome to Athas, prepare to die!"

“That which does not kill us makes us stronger.”

Our group humbly formed after setting out on a journey that would bind them together as companions on the harsh road to Tyr, banding together as dependents for survival. Their trial began as they were embedded with a caravan from Merchant House Torg en route from Altaruk (half-way point from Balic) to Tyr. Merchant House Torg was contracted by Merchant House Wavir to transport large quantities of highly valued dyes and a number of slaves for High Templar Tithian, regent to the Sorcerer-King of Tyr, Kalak. Jorn, Dwarven leader of the caravan, hired three additional mercenaries to protect the high profile goods. Lead by Jorn and his lieutenant of the guard, Idris (Human, ?), the mercenaries Felegar (Elf1, Seeker), Markus (Human, ?), Athaerien (Shifter, Ranger), and the rest of the caravan began their journey into the harsh Athas tablelands. Approximately mid-way through their journey, they encountered a violent and deadly obsidian-sand storm which decimated the caravan, un-bonded its mekillot, destroyed its goods, and left only one surviving slave, T’kkyl (Thri-Kreen1, Warden), who was freed from his cage by the storm.

As the storm raged on, the survivors were ambushed by vile silt runners, set upon them as creatures of opportunity to scavenge the caravan’s remaining small goods, and to feast upon the victims. Our small band had no choice but to rally together and defend themselves against the onslaught. Though they had dispatched a number of the silt runners, they were out numbered and overwhelmed and were forced to retreat. Though a number of them were bloodied or unconscious, they managed to salvage some healing fruits as they made their hasty retreat and their foes did not pursue them. After some time passed, and they felt safe enough to rest, they found shelter among a stone outcropping near the road and set up camp. During their rest, it was agreed that T’kkyl’s slave token be destroyed and although his brand is visible, efforts were made to obscure that he was a slave. As the group had traveled beyond the half-way point from Altaruk, they were determined to continue their trek toward Tyr. Once fully rested they continued their journey on foot.

Nearly another full day of travel in the hellish heat of the Athas desert passed and our party encountered an oasis near the road. Tempted by the visible trees and other plant life and potential for water or food, the companions were drawn to investigate. After spending a brief time in the area, they heard chittering noises and movement as they were surrounded by kanks. This time the companions were better prepared and able to defend themselves as they handily dispatched the smaller spitting kanks, using the high ground to their advantage. The larger soldier kanks were very well armored and their massive mandibles ensnared2 a number of the group, drawing out the battle. Eventually, the group was able to whittle down their opponents and declare victory. It became obvious to the rest of the group that Athaerien was not in fact entirely Elven, but a Shifter, as he employed his regenerative abilities and took a beast-like appearance. Additionally, although the form of energy is unknown, it’s obvious that Markus uses magic or psionics.

After their victory, the group was able to focus their senses and recover some some sweet nectar produced by the spitter kanks, increasing the group’s survivability. Additionally, they had the feeling this group of kanks was not tied to a hive but rather hunting for food. Felegar was also able to glean that the trees in the oasis had been defiled by some powerful form of arcane magic, turning them to a dead, stone-like state.

Foot notes:

1 Apparently Thri-Kreen like the taste of Elf meat, and we happen to have an addict in the group.
2 When conditions are right kanks have been known court Thri-Kreen.

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A "Former" Slave's Log - Week 1
Last of the Clutch

I don’t think this was how my clutch envisioned our journey turning out. Two days ago I was a slave, property of the state, headed towards a life of never ending fighting in Tyr. Thankful my kind only live a few decades if we are lucky, but I was determined to make the best of them in the Arena. I had formed a clutch with my new companions who suffered the same predicament, and I was their fearless leader. We were strong, 2 fearsome Mul a painfully intelligent human. Fearsome in the arena, but no match for the desert storms of Athas. I’m not sure even “bad luck” can accurately describe their fate.

I awoke, none of my clutchmates survive, I am alone again in the desert. There are few survivors, and they consist completely of my former guards. How unfortunate. I briefly toyed with the idea of finishing them off and carrying one of the bodies into the desert to survive. Probably one of the elves, some say they taste like chicken. I think this does them a disservice, they taste much better than any of the bland chicken I have ever had. They all awoke quickly, so much for that plan. It may be best to have them alive anyways to distract whatever that is I hear behind the overturned carts.

“Slave, don’t try anything funny or I’ll finish you”. Cute. As if this human, choking on obsidian dust and barely alive had any authority in the wastelands with nothing but a few mercenaries far more worried about their survival than being punished by the Templars. Should I bolt into the desert? There would be little chance for them to catch me. Surviving unarmed and with no food would be a tall order even for me. I should at least take care of those problems before escaping with my life. It seems we are a team for now. Wait a minute, two elves and two humans? These won’t do for proper distractions, not for very long anyways.

I kick a silt runner off the weapons crate where my trikal resides and head back to the group. A few moments later the battlefield is strewn with dead silt runners, easy meals to carry into the desert. Unfortunately it seems we are close to their tunnels, as I hear more approaching from behind the carts. My new comrades seem to be aware of this as well, and begin to fall back into the storm, hoping the silt runners will lose interest. I finish off the last of the injured runners and break away before the next wave arrives. Wait. What is this? A dying elf? How lucky, armed and fed, mission accomplished. I guess this one did assist me, I’ll do him the favor of helping him retreat with us. Worst case scenario (or best?) he ends up sustaining me instead of fighting for me.

We run, the elf is heavy, but its not like I had much other property to haul along with me. He is awake, shame, we patch him up when the storm breaks for a moment.

“Let’s continue to shelter” says their leader.

“One moment, if you want my continued assistance, I need to know my status among your group. Does any evidence remain of me being property of the caravan?”

“Yes, but that matters little now. We must stay together to survive, and I don’t think showing up in Tyr with one slave will matter much after we lost an entire wagon of dyes.” He breaks the clay tablet tying my existance with that of a slave, and helps to remove my brands. This will do for now, but once back in civilization I should find a way to make my status official.

“All that is left now is the elves, if they don’t object, I will continue with you.”

No objections from the elves. I guess the one I “saved” assumed my actions were just me being polite. The other I am unsure of, but with the way he fought the silt runners I am not sure he is completely here mentally. When injured he appeared as a hairy, clawed beast. This may be one elf that proves useful. I think I should stick with this group for now. Not as good as my last, but beggars can’t be choosers.

I suspect the other human of practicing the dark arts. The others may still believe him to be a psionic. We come across an apparent oasis but find it ruined by an arcanists defiling. He does seem particularly upset by the state of the oasis. Maybe there is more to him than first appeared.

We realize a bit too late we are being stalked by a kank hunting party. If these creatures were a little more evolved they might make a good clutch, but they are only interested in their meal. The ensuing battle goes better than the last, just 5 targets instead of a never ending stream of lizards. My suspicions about the human are confirmed, a magic user for sure. I’m willing to tolerate this out here but he will prove troublesome for us closer to civilization. One of the elves is no elf, that is for sure. There is no reason for an elf to transform into a beast in the heat of battle. This group is proving interesting to say the least.

The oasis may be ruined but these rocks should provide decent shelter from the elements. We hunker down and get in some much needed rest.

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