I didn’t want to leave this one hanging any longer, so we pressed on even without Athienne and Garstrewt.
To recap, the players were tracking a group of bandits away from a village. Since Athienne is the only one who can actually track, the party were forced to improvise, and this really started to diverge from the script when their overnight camp was attacked by a Lizard Of Unusual Size – about as big as a rhino. The Warforged decided to grapple it, intending to add it to his menagerie (currently one giant fighting bird, one warhorse, and two desert scorpions).
After watching it drag him about the camp, yelling and flailing, for some minutes, the group decided to use a combination of Beast Friend and Puppet powers to gain control of it, which worked.
Under party control, the dominated beast tracked the bandits to their lair, whereupon The Warforged used "OMG It’s A Giant Fire-Breathing Lizard Attack" as a trapping on his Fear power to scare two of the guards into the open, Puppet to get another one to reinforce the trapping with shouted warnings, and Bolt to set fire to the nearby bushes. (I allow people to change trappings pretty freely, especially for powers like Fear and Puppet, which I imagine work using illusions).
All this flushed the enemy out into the open, whereupon Gutz took them out with archery and thrown axes. I have never seen blow-through with a thrown axe before, but now that he has Dead Shot he got up to 38 damage, and considering he had enfilade fire on them, his Quick Edge had seen him draw both jokers, and they were right next to each other, I did allow him to get two with one axe.
The 20-odd other bandits, still thinking they faced a giant lizard because of the warnings from the Puppet-controlled guard, formed a phalanx across the mouth of their cave lair, and were obliterated by a Blast spell, leaving the group with possession of the field. Throughout, Nessime had supported the others with Boost/Lower Trait and Beast Friend to control the LOUS.
Astonishingly, prisoners were taken this week – the first time ever, I think – and some NPCs and beasts were allowed to escape with their lives. They’re going soft, I tell you.
No spoilers on the Big Secret of the scenario, but The Warforged got a benny for working out what was going on just from the description of the cave. The party left with a prisoner of considerable interest to the Sister Queens of Ascaia, and the intent to share the Big Secret with the Temple of Hulian, who are well-placed to make use of it, but not with the Alchemists of Gis, whom they believe will misuse its power. Meh, they could be right on that one.
We leave them heading back towards Gis, although their actual destinations are undecided. Dramatically, it makes most sense if The Warforged goes to Gis, Athienne and Garstrewt return to Ascaia, and the rest of the party head for Jalizar; but we can sort it out later.
And with that, Season 1 of Shadows of Keron draws to a close. As a group, we’re taking a break from that for a while now, with the intent to play some Shadowrun and All Things Zombie. I already have enough material for another season, so I expect us to return to the Dread Sea Dominions sometime in 2013.