Dark Sun Week 3
This was just a couple of days ago as I write this, so it’s fresher in my mind and this will likely be longer than the last couple of summaries.
This session had the group traveling overland to Thom’s home village of Watt, a day’s walk south. Annabeth’s nomad abilities and Trevia’s foraging abilities meant that the group lost only two survival days, despite having a total of sixteen members of their party (prisoners, porters, and player-characters). The interlopers, once the survivors (Ina, Euna, and four of the eight minions) were conscious, were eager prisoners, and the group decided to take them to Watt. This spawned some discussion about the possibilty of raising the dead ones, since they were essentially innocent victims of the spirit-magic of the watering hole, who had attacked the party unwillingly. But Dark Sun is a harsh land where life is cheap.
At Watt there was a little bit of discussion about the village: based on Doug’s statements, I was imagining a tiny thorp of about a hundred people, but he had envisioned something roughly five times that size, and it being his character’s hometown I didn’t fight him on it. Watt is a company town essentially owned by House Vorodon, one of the big merchant houses, as a source of gladiator-slaves; Thom, as a former slave and gladiator who had won his freedom (and fame) in Tyr’s arena, was Watt’s big success story. The villagers all crowded around to ask about Thom and congratulate him, and ask whether the story about Kalak being dead was true.
This was the first any PC had heard of this. Aya, a templar, asserted that it couldn’t be true, and the group conferred with Watt’s de facto ruler, Sub-Matron Mebe of House Vorodon. The Sub-Matron graciously appreciated Trevia’s spontaneous offers to heal the sick and wounded, and Thom’s desire to improve the lot of the Watt laborers; the village is about half gladiators, half farmers, and everyone is slightly malnourished. There was a little discussion of Athasian economics and agriculture, and the group decided that what Watt needed was dates, which could be cultivated and would provide additional nutrients,and also worked goods like obsidian knives or glass cookware, goods that in other settings would be metal.
The most pressing issue Mebe had to deal with, though, was a strange defiler from the south who had arrived in Watt just a couple of days prior with several insane claims:
1) Kalak, immortal king of Tyr, was dead. The trade caravan that had visited Watt a month earlier would be the last to come from Tyr.
2) The warlord Kra had returned from out of time and claimed his ancient stronghold, Kra-Hnur.
3) Kra had sent his emissary Sharpwit to recruit the gladiators of Watt to serve Kra’s small but growing army
4) With Kalak dead, Kra intended to conquer the southwestern Tablelands and establish an empire of half-giants and muls. Watt could join with Kra, or be destroyed.
So the PCs went to Sharpwit’s tent, pitched on the edge of Watt, to act as Mebe’s, and Watt’s, negotiators. Incidentally, I missed a chance to Dark Sun-ify the scene by making the tent a big hollowed out beetle or something. Anyway, the negotiations were brief, as Sharpwit’s (Sharpwit was a tall burly half-giant defiler, and she had a crew of a half-dozen mul and half-giant guards to boot) opening "be rude and unreasonable" gambit so incensed Aya that violence broke out even faster than I was expecting.
The resulting fight went significantly more smoothly than the first one, as far as the PCs were concerned; they got in one another’s way a little bit less and coordinated a little bit more. Bert rebuilt Trevia in between the second and third weeks, to better match his style of play. Thom started the fight by dragging Sharpwit out of line of sight of the rest of the party, and Kyahasha (who stayed in disguise as Sunlight throughout, using Bluff to disguise her wizardry as bardic magic) kept her dazed, which was good as she was an elite controller who could daze two PCs per round.
Things that worked: I don’t know; in the future I’ll ask the players at the end of the session. Bert seemed intrigued by Sharpwit’s treasure, a set of four consumable portal-to-the-Shadowfell items. I like to think investment in the game is building.
Things that need work: the party has a small troupe of NPC aides (befitting their status as paragon-tier important people), and I’d like to flesh them out; currently only Kyahasha’s manservant Jay has had any lines, and it’s not clear why he hasn’t abandoned the party with the intent of heading back to Tyr.
Future plans: Vero suggested that Aya talk Kyahasha into impersonating Sharpwit, and the group traveling directly to Kra-Hnur on a recon mission; that might be fun. I think the group plans on spending a little time in Watt, so I should flesh the village out a bit more. We might lose Bert as a player, due to scheduling conflicts; hopefully not.
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