Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Dark Sun Marauders - Episode 10

The group briefly discussed future options among each other at the tavern overnight and the overwhelming theme was to pursue Ulruun after his disappearance the previous day from the area near the Slave Pits. Resolving on this course of action, they attempted various sorts of diplomacy and all-round streetwisery to recruit some assistance in finding the dwarf. There were varying degrees of success, Kulo, was able to identify some likely former slaves and Kuroar! was able to convince a fellow by the name of Bundaberg, after some rather horrendous efforts by Beren to rally the ex-slaves into an anti-Ulruun crusade.

With Bundaberg being dispatched to see what he could find, the group itself decided to take to some investigating of its own. Garidias decided to have a chat to the guards on the main merchant gate and through various charms, he worked his magic and the guards revealed that a caravan bearing the markings of House Shom, who Ulruun works for, left hastily in the previous day or so. Armed with this information, the group decided to head for the buildings that House Shom use in Tyr. They were able to locate an office-like building attached to a carriage-house that belonged to the slave trading house. With the rest of the group watching from a safe distance, Beren decided to destroy the lock on the gates to the office building and then began to lay into the doors, but was duly rebuffed by the tough wood. A back entrance was found and the place searched from top to bottom, but it was almost entirely empty, save for a few boxes of provisions (from which the group added to their Survival days - now 15) and a single slave cart. They headed back to the tavern where they met Bundaberg who had some information confirming the disappearance of Ulruun and had heard rumours they were headed toward Silver Springs, possibly on their way to Nibenay (some 350 miles away) where House Shom was based.

With belongings gathered up and Bundaberg presented with a new temporary house, the group headed out along the road toward Silver Springs, along which they had so recently raced. The first couple of days were uneventful, passing a selection of merchant caravans heading to and from Tyr. The third day brought a different sight, that of a small hamlet just off the main road. The group recalled it was populated on their way past recently, so to find it devoid of all life was slightly disturbing. The group approached with caution, Kulo,'s call yielding no reply, but as they entered the collection of huts, they all spotted movement among the far huts. Edging closer they could see that the movement was made by a gang of Ssurrans, who attacked the group, but found themselves overmatched, the dune mystic going down under the onslaught from Gretchan and Beren. Just as they finished off one of the last Ssurrans, a final one appeared around a corner but immediately and without any apparent cause, died. Beren checked out the suspicious death, but only brings down an horrible creature known as a Tembo upon himself. The creature was lurking invisible and the mul could feel a dangerous, malicious aura of death emanating from it. The group came to the fighter's aid and Kuroar!'s powerful charges combined with Kulo,'s chains dealt significant wounds to the beast, but its claws and bite took a terrible toll to all who drew near. Garidias lent his considerable tactical knowledge to the fight along with Gretchan's long range assault, wounding it still further. However, it was a nimble creature and shifted this way and that, bringing its dangerous aura to bear on already wounded companions. One by one they succumbed to it, even the healing granted by Garidias' inspirational words seemed to diminish in the presence of this dread creature. After all the others lay bleeding on the ground among the rude huts, it was left to one final last-gasp charge by Kuroar!, a powerful war cry upon his lips as he brought his enormous blade down one final time, carving the creature's head from its torso and it collapsed to the ground leaving little but silence.

Through sheer desperation over medical knowledge, the goliath was able to rouse Kulo, who in turn roused Gretchan. Between them they were able to stabilise the others and take stock of the surroundings.

While the huts were of not great quality, they provided good enough shelter for the night. It seemed the Ssurran group had stumbled across a population already thinned by the aura of the Tembo and decided to take advantage of it, until the party came along. The Tembo then returned to devastating effect...

Early in the morning, the group rose before dawn to continue their journey but as they set foot upon the sands several creatures burst forth and grabbed the group. However, despite the advantage of surprised, the Anakores were quickly dispatched. Gretchan and Garidias transporting through space to escape the grasping claws of the creatures, while Kulo, & Beren set about coralling the ambushers and taking them down quickly.

The group then rejoined the road to Silver Springs, with another 2 days to go until reaching the oasis.

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