Last night’s session was rocky, for several reasons:
1) Eunice may or may not be dropping out of the game because she may or may not be moving for a new job she may or may not have. She wasn’t at the game, probably because of this maybe-job.
2) The power went out partway through.
3) One of our dogs was sick and one symptom of that illness is pooping in the house. Really unpleasant.
4) The party’s first goal was interrogating Sharpwit, which surprised me because I had thought they’d killed her, so I hadn’t prepped anything at all for that.
5) The stuff I’d prepped for — hanging out in Watt — was stuff that the party had decided the week before wasn’t going to happen (they remembered Mebe as politely refusing Trevia’s offer of succor to the wounded, rather than her asking them to go deal with Sharpwit first).
Nevertheless, it could have been worse. The group questioned Sharpwit and considered faking a message from her to her masters in Kra-Hnur, but ultimately decided this plan was too prone to Kra or his agents figuring it out. Sharpwit didn’t give any useful info, because I hadn’t planned on fleshing out Kra-Hnur for several sessions yet, so that was a little frustrating for everyone I think. On the other hand, the group seemed engaged by Watt’s medic, an emigre from Tyr with some years-old Veiled Alliance hand signals and a mad-scientist plot to use psychic blood doping to create super-laborers. The group decried Saltast (the medic’s) system as a whole new kind of defiling, which Saltast took somewhat poorly to. Saltast’s greatest defender, a local farmer Masormas, spoke bombastically in Saltast’s defense, but the PCs deduced Masormas was working some kind of angle. Meanwhile, Thelranny, one of Thom’s old gladiatorial friends (and a friend of Saltast) showed him around the fighting pit and all the junior gladiators who idolize him.
Two of the party were invited to some kind of revival/retreat/encounter group/discussion salon/LARP run by Masormas out in the fields that night, but the session ended before that. The party is eager to move on towards Kra-Hnur, and bought Masormas from Sub-Matron Mebe, so that they could bring him along and keep an eye on him. They haven’t actually told him that he’s coming with them yet, though.
Since this won’t go live until long after this session: Masormas serves a devil, Vrelga the Duke of Lust (or so he claims), a nasty immortal entity which has been trapped on the Athasian side of the Gray for decades. Vrelga has granted Masormas the power to influence the weak-minded, hence his charisma and good standing in the community, and Masormas has been stealing Saltast’s blood-reagent and infused himself and several of his fellow-cultists. I planned out a little revelatory scene and combat for this, but the party didn’t bite.
Things that didn’t work well:
splitting the party up; Kyahasha/Sunlight and Aya questioned Sharpwit while Trevia spoke with Masormas and Saltast, and Thom toured the pits with Thelranny. In the future, I’ll make more of an effort to keep people together.
The Sharpwit interrogation got bogged down. I’m also a little concerned that the group’s reluctance to go around killing people (which marks them out as "good people" in the bleak world of Dark Sun) will result in them trucking around a growing caravan of prisoners. I tried to offer them the chance to ditch Sharpwit in the Gray, where she would be isolated, but they didn’t bite.
Things that did work well:
The group seemed to care about what was happening in Watt, and had opinions about the blood-reagent (Carla/Aya pointed out that if any of the sorcerer-kings learned about it, they’d doubtless create some kind of assembly line for consuming the bodily fluids of slaves).
I played the unnatural mental powers of Masormas extremely lightly, but PCs are very sensitive to that kind of thing; I think it worked well.