The story so far
With four hours before slavers are due to take them away to a living death in the mines, desperate prisoners stage a breakout! Guards’ staves and boots beat half of them senseless, while six make it outside!
First-drop characters currently in action
Crazy gnome female savant;
Sly half-elf male scoundrel;
Brawny human female survivor;
Brawny human male survivor
It is so dark and heavy with rain that only night-sighted folk can make out much of their surrounds. They are inside a timber fort, quite close to a wall. Peering about the gnome spots a few chinks of light, stocks with someone in them; and way across a fort compound, light from a guard tower. Smell indicates the unlit shack nearby is the jakes. Finally, whistling and chatting outside the wall tells the half-elf that a guard patrol is moving past their position, clockwise.
Crazy gnome leads brawny female along the wall towards the first crack of light. It comes from a long building, like a barracks. She heads further clockwise, hoping the patrol will offer a chance to escape. But before any useful information is learned, the four guards they have left alive downstairs are out and sounding the alarm!
Meanwhile brawny male gropes his way to the stocks, speaks to the old woman there, can’t see any way to free her, gropes his way back and walks into the jakes pit. A small shadow looms! It is sly half-elf, who has been attempting to scale the timbers of the fort wall, and the pair shelter at the near end of the barracks.
Two new-wakened guards bundle out of the barracks at each end! While the wider garrison is organizing, vicious mini-fights between one pair of weak, starving prisoner and one pair of shaken guards break out.
Crazy gnome scores a huge coup, sneaking a shortsword out of an unwary scabbard! Brawny female holds the guard, hoping to use him as a pawn to bargain for freedom.
Meanwhile things are going badly for half-elf and brawny man. So badly that we cut to…
Terrick blinks. He’s awake and aching all over. The prison cell is empty save for corpses, and there’s no sign of guards. He creeps out, finding that the guards have left open the door to an armory! He takes a sturdy dagger…
There’s a noise behind him – Vinny the brawny half-orc has risen from where he fell in the passage. Terrick shows him the armory and waits while Vinny chooses a sturdy bludgeon. They move up and out…
Crazy gnome and brawny female, whose name we can now reveal is Denna, race back to try to rescue their comrades, but it is too late. Ahead of them Terrick is in the process of hurling himself down the jakes. They follow suit! Denna has to lose the bludgeon she has. Vinny has also checked out the stocks but, lacking an idea for swiftly freeing the witch there, follows on last.
They all know where they are bound for and who they are bound for! “Lady Elaydren, house d’Cannith, in Free City.”
As the storm continues bloodhounds are thrown off the scent and the slaver carriage passes the escapees by, oblivious to them!
Owing to the obscuring rain, Vinny has volunteered to take the van. Denna, flanked by crazy gnome lady and Terrick, is walking at their pace. They reach bush-clad wilds, between fort and city.
“Smeared in poo like this, we have no chance of getting to see the lady,” Denaa declares, stripping and bush-diving, then scrubbing as much filth as she can off the clothes.
The others follow suit. Then, freshly envigored, they take to the road to make better time.
Three graves to the right of the road, their headstones blurred with time.
A d6 determines that two skeletons rise!
“Let’s run past them!”
Inits: Denna, Vinny, skeletons, Terrick, Gnome lady/Bran
Terrain proves vital in the fight. The skeletons manage to intercept the party. There’s an outcropping of rock nearby, and some loose stones. Vinny (who survives four slam attempts by the skeletons!) grapples one and slams its head into the outcrop, shattering it. Denna hurls a good-size stone, unsuccessfully. She is slammed unconscious. Crazy gnome lady is already unconscious and Terrick chooses to reinforce success, helping Vinny rather than reviving her. In desperation Vinny attempts the same maneuver with the other – but it is merely chipped!
Bran, the male half-elf bard, has been following much the same course. He has had the luxury of merely following the hunting party, then hiding as they give up in the storm. Now he ventures out to help his ex-prisoner comrades! He succeeds in reviving Denna as Vinny catches up that rock she threw and brains the skeleton with it!
Loot: two rings and grave-gold
Free City’s gates are surrounded by filthy slums, but the party has a few weapons (including one femur!) and shows no signs of wealth. They arrive safe (mainly because we are running out of time) at the guarded east gate.
“I think this is where a bribe is called for.”
Vinny steps forward, but Bran (just in time) offers:
“Vinny, don’t you think this may be my task? It’s what I’m good at.”
Bran successfully charms the guards and hands over the grave-gold, leaving two rings. One of the guards offers:
“Sure Lady Elaydren warned us to look out for an odd lot… she’s incognito, at the inn there, third door right, can’t miss it.”
And as the survivors head to the next session we confirm they are
Bran, half-elf bard, scoundrel background;
Denna, human gunner, survivor background;
Terrick, gnome wizard, savant background;
Vinny, half-orc thug, scoundrel background
The campaign proper will begin with characters at level 2. Look forward to it!
Props: Escaping Edgewild is another Dragon Age product and is recommended by Bryce. It is not designed as a funnel, just as a particularly brutal level 1.