Session One: Escape!
A handful of the prisoners began to conspire, hoping that by working together they might escape the slavers. These included:
Sylas (Bill), a young human from Gulg whose merchant background provided insight into how the caravan worked, and whose charm allowed him to gather useful information;Tserick Icemind (Ryan), a member of the mysterious Pterran race, whose mastery of the Way allowed the group to communicate telepathically, and who was able to understand the workings of the explosive collars; Nalin (Danielle), his sister, who used the Way to enhance her formidable fighting skills; Nambok (Mark), a halfling priest of Air whose healing powers and skill with animals allowed him unusual freedom of the camp; Albicades (NPC), an elderly human scholar from Balic, a skilled healer, kind but strong-willed; Guna (NPC), a female Mul, strong and tough but shy; Rephet (NPC), a half-elven ranger from Urik, who had experience as a caravan scout; Morgan, Lars, Karl and Seamus (NPC), four dwarven cousins from South Ledopolis, skilled craftsmen who had been heading to Tyr on a mission of their own.
Tserick used his understanding of the Way to figure out that the exploding necklaces were controlled by a psionic artifact in the very top chamber of the tower atop the mekillot wagon. Nambok provided a distraction by causing the mekillots to become unruly, which required most of the slavers to join the attempt to control the large and dangerous beasts. Sylas, who counted smooth lying among his skills, convinced those who remained within the wagon that they too were needed outside, thus clearing all the guards out of the way. The group then entered the soldiers’ barracks on the lowest level of the wagon and armed themselves. Leaving Albicades, Guna, and Rephet to guard the door against the return of the soldiers, they headed for the stairs. The door to the stairs was locked, but Sylas proved a skilled lockpick.
On the stairs they met Pyra, the elven pyrokineticist. The staircase was too narrow for more than one person at a time. Nalin engaged Pyra, using her skill in the Way to enhance the effectiveness of her claws. However, Pyra was a much more experienced psion than Nalin. Pyra grew claws as well, and hers were surrounded by an aura of flame which burned Nalin severely. Nambok used his priestly powers to shield Nalin with an aura of superchilled air, eliminating Pyra’s main advantage. The fight became equal then, and the two clawed females bloodied each other badly. The fight was finally decided when Sylas, using a long flexible Mekillot goad, struck Pyra by surprise, knocking her unconscious. The group moved upstairs, looking for the psionic artifact. Nambok lingered long enough to crush Pyra’s head with a Draji warclub, ensuring that the elf would never burn anyone else again.
As they reached the top of the wagon, the heroes had a good view of the surrounding area. The revolt had become general. Everywhere slaves had taken up whatever makeshift weapons they could and were fighting back. But they were outmatched. The slavers were better armed and organized, and no one could stand against Nereb Chad or Egghead. Furthermore, slavers manning the ballistae atop the wagon were firing with devastating effect into the crowd. The heroes acted quickly to adjust the balance. They killed the slavers on the top of the wagon and threw the ballista bolts down so that the rebels could use them as makeshift spears. Nambok used his priestly magics against Egghead (or was it Tserick?), who proved as weak in mind as he was strong in body. The rebels swarmed the paralyzed half-giant, stabbing and hacking his helpless body.
Some of the slavers saw the disturbance on top of the wagon and ran to its doors, only to find them barred and guarded by Albicades, Guna and Rephet. As the two groups faced off, Rephet abruptly switched sides and joined the slavers! The elderly human and the timid Mul proved unable to resist the guards. They fell and the guards began beating them. Guna shielded the old man with her body. Sylas, seeing this, hurled a ballista bolt at their attackers. The bolt transfixed the treacherous Rephet. Nambok hurled a rock that cracked the head of one of the slavers who had been beating Guna. Guna, encouraged by the assistance, shot a look of glowing gratitude at Sylas. She then took up a club and bashed in the head of another slaver. The rest fled towards their leader. Guna and Albicades followed them and joined the battle.
The lock on the door of the tower-top was very difficult, but Sylas’ skill, aided by Tserick’s telekinetic skills, proved equal to the task. The group entered the tower-top and finally saw the device which held their lives forfeit. It was an obsidian obelisk some four feet high, covered with glowing gems, wires of various metals, and flasks of strange bubbling fluids. Tserick moved forward, eager to learn all about this strange device. But the obelisk had its own guardian. A thri-kreen dropped down from its hiding place in the ceiling and attacked. Once again Nalin found herself in lethal claw-to-claw combat. With aid from the others, she dispatched the insect.
Tserick laid his claws on the obelisk and mentally interfaced with it. He was able to recognize that Nereb Chad was controlling it through a crystal mounted on a bracer. However, he also sensed that Chad’s bond with the obelisk was imperfect. Tserick was able to establish a stronger bond and take control of the obelisk’s operation. He then commanded the crystal mounted on Chad’s wrist to explode.
Nereb Chad was in the midst of a bloody battle, single-handedly holding off a dozen ragged rebels, when a sudden explosion blew off his left hand. As he stared down in shock at his spurting stump, the rebels rushed him and tore him to pieces.
The heroes were victorious. Not only had they regained their freedom, they were also in command of a caravan carrying a small fortune in trade goods, some potentially incriminating documents, and a rare psionic artifact. They sat down to discuss their next move.
Sylas, black sheep of a merchant family, saw this as his opportunity to start his own merchant house. Tserick wanted to study the artifact as well as learn the Way from the human masters of various cities. Nambok was on a quest to recover the Heartwood Box, a sacred artifact stolen from his people. The dwarves were also on a quest, to rescue a kidnapped architect who had been hired by their village. Everyone agreed to travel as independent merchants to the city of Tyr, where each of them could advance his agenda.