DARK SUN 2: THE FIRST COMBAT
The first full session of the game was dominated by the fight between the crazy interlopers and the party. This was preceded, however, by a scene of confusion: two thri-kreen manservants, one apparently dead Mask-of-Jade. One of the manservants was Kyahasha shapeshifted, and Aya was simultaneously certain of the shapeshifter’s being a shapeshifter, and adamant that no action should be taken until after the crazy people were dealt with. Trevia and Thom were intrigued by the possible shapeshifter, but the question was tabled until after the combat.
The interlopers — a brute, two artillery, and a bunch of minions — were a pack of nomads who had stumbled upon the watering hole but been possessed by spirits leaking out of the portal. This did not become clear to the group until the third session, when the party was questioning them, though. That night they were just a band of crazy people crackling with lightning who wouldn’t listen to reason. The players had never played these characters in combat together before, so it was a little rocky tactically speaking, but the group triumphed. Kyahasha managed to shapeshift into yet another identity while most of the party was unconscious and she was around the corner from the rest, becoming the elf-maid Sunlight who roused the dying after the fight with "bardic magic." Trevia was just happy to see Sunlight, and didn’t ask questions, while Aya was certain that Mask-of-Jade, Jay, and Sunlight were all one shapeshifter. Thom played it cagey, and found the interlopers’ treasure while the others argued.
The players were aware he was pocketing some of the treasure, but their characters didn’t notice; that this didn’t provoke an OOC argument I took to be a good sign (i.e. there’s a certain amount of trust around the table).
The thing that didn’t work as well as I’d have liked, this session, was the confusion at the beginning about how far out the interlopers were; Aya might have responded differently if they hadn’t been right on real-Jay’s heels. I wasn’t willing to change up established facts too readily, though. Aya also got severely punished for her first-round tactics, coming out to parley with the interlopers and getting surrounded, then using a daily on a minion (though it was labeled as such; I think Carla didn’t notice and wasn’t interested in changing her action).
I think we need to keep a counter track of how many times Trevia almost dies.