One evening in Ogden…
“Stay away from my rubble!” shouted Tim, the local crazy person. Everybody steered a clear path around him. Young Quincy “Fitz” Fitzroy, on his way from his family’s farms to Moe’s Bar, noticed a lot of new people in town today, either at or on their way to the bar. There was the large guy, the friendly guy, and the exotic lady. Fitz didn’t notice the sneaky guy.
Zeek, the sneaky guy, waited until the streets were pretty much clear. This being such a small town, that didn’t take too long, as everybody either went home or to Moe’s Bar for dinner. Zeek snuck up to the nearest house first, and peered through the windows. It was a small building, with one main room, including kitchen, and a small bedroom. There was a man standing around in the main room and a woman working in the kitchen. Zeek managed to hear talk of local animals found dead. As the woman glanced toward the window, he quickly ducked and hid in the bushes behind the house.
Meanwhile, back at Moe’s Bar, introductions were made. Fitz, of course, already knew Tim, who had been the town’s resident loony for a few years now. The friendly guy introduced himself as Lysander, a traveler of the wastelands. The exotic woman’s name was Orisha, and she had studied exotic weaponry. The large guy’s name was Maxwell SilverHammer, although Fitz wasn’t sure how he knew that, as Max just sat at the bar, staring straight ahead, not saying a word.
Moe, the owner of the bar, served up dinner and talked about rumors in town. Apparently, several small animals, and even a few brahmin, had been found dead around the town. No one knew what happened to them, although men’s footprints had also been seen. The town didn’t plan on doing much about it, as their resources were extremely limited.
Eventually, as the evening wore on, everybody started getting tired. Moe mentioned his longstanding policy of allowing anyone without a place to stay for the night to sleep on the floor of the bar. The travelers were all very happy to take him up on the offer. After making sure everyone was comfortable, he left the bar to walk up and down the main street in town to make sure no one had been missed.
As he passed the house next door to the gunsmith’s guild, he thought he saw something out of the corner of his eye. As he stopped and looked closer, he realized he must have been mistaken. Nothing was visible. What he didn’t see was Zeek breaking into the house. He searched the kitchen, finding some fruit, which he quickly and messily scarfed down, then snuck back out of the house. He walked up to the front door of the gunsmith’s guild, picked the lock, and opened the door. As he stepped through the door, he heard a voice. “And just what in tarnation do you think yer doin’?”
“Uh,” he said, as a man stepped out of the shadows with a shotgun trained on him.
“Why ain’tcha get yerself back on up back to Moe’s Bar and get to sleep stranger.”
Zeek left and headed back towards the Bar, with the gunsmith’s eyes on his back the whole way. As soon as he saw the gunsmith look away for a moment, he used the opportunity to sneak past the bar and find a nice, shallow ditch in the fields to sleep in.
He was awakened around 3 in the morning as the smell of acrid smoke entered his nostrils. He sat up and looked around. The field he was sleeping in was on fire, and the fire was rapidly approaching him! He got up and ran towards town. As he stepped into town, he saw chaos everywhere. Buildings were on fire, townsfolk were running and screaming, and evil-looking men were charging through town. As he paused to survey the scene, he felt a jolt of electricity and the world faded to black.
Meanwhile, back at the bar, the travelers were awakened by the same sounds. They stayed hidden in the bar, until a few molotov cocktails shattered through the glass window and lit the bar on fire. They all rushed out onto the streets, where they were all knocked unconscious by men wielding cattle prods.
Fitz, Maxwell, Zeek, Lysander, Tim, and Orisha awoke the next morning with huge headaches. They found themselves in manacles, chained together with a number of other people. The men who had invaded the town the previous night were slavers. The slavers explained that they were going to be marched past the Salt Lake valley to Provo, where they would be sold. Zeek’s eyes got extra shifty.
They spent the next few days marching through the wastes, past ruins of buildings. As they traveled, some of the other slaves occasionally got too weak to travel any further and dropped to the ground. Whenever this happened, the entire train would stop, the slavers would beat the fallen ones for a few minutes, and if they survived the beating, they would be given some water then forced back to their feet to continue walking. Several didn’t make it.
A few slavers didn’t make it, either. After traveling for several days, the group was attacked in the middle of the night by a bunch of radscorpions. The slaves watched as the slavers fought them off, but some slavers were poisoned and died during the night.
After traveling for about a week, the group was resting at night. The slave shackled next to our adventurers introduced himself as Medved, a tribal from around Ogden.
“I be out hunting. I be tracking an animal when these men capture me. Now I be slave. I listen to men, they say we travel Provo. When we arrive Provo, we escape. I have plan. Secret plan.”
Lysander pressed him for details of the plan, but he refused to reveal any, saying he would only reveal the details when they arrived in Provo, for fear of word leaking out.
After they finished talking to Medved, with some amount of doubt in their hearts about his unknown plan to escape, they were approached by the slave chained up on the other side of them. He introduced himself as Ol’ Blakey.
“I am from Provo. I was scouting to the north, to try to find new markets for trading with the tribals, and maybe even do some prospecting for mines. I made it into the southern Salt Lake valley when I was captured by these men. Back in Provo, the local militia hate slavers, so if we can manage to get to the militia guarding the city, we’ll be fine.”
“If the local militia hate slavers,” asked Lysander, “why are the slavers taking us there?”
“Well,” said Blakey, “the city is walled. The militia only care about what happens inside the walls. The slavers live and operate outside the walls of the city. There is a very uneasy peace between the slavers and the militia. The militia will protect escaped slaves who make it into the city, but they won’t do anything about slavery happening just outside the city. What’s more, owning slaves is not actually illegal in the city, as long as they are not bought or sold within city limits, and the owner understands that, if the slaves escape, they’re free.”
“So it sounds like we will be okay, as long as we can make it into the actual city.”
The adventurers felt at least slightly more heartened by this news. Perhaps Medved’s unknown plan would have a slight chance of working.
After about two weeks’ travel, they arrived outside Provo. The slavers lead them past several rundown shanty-houses, some occupied, some falling apart. As they got closer to the town, the group was stopped by a group of gangsters wielding knives and spears.
“Hey, you bastards! What the fuck do you think you’ve done? You’ve enslaved one of our gang members!”
The slavers all pulled out their guns, some with shotguns, some with pistons, and a few with rifles. “Yeah, and you’d better watch your asses, or we’ll be enslaving you next!” yelled the leader.
The gangsters all mumbled and made threatening gestures, but backed off, clearly overwhelmed by the slavers’ better weaponry.
The slaves were all then thrown into a pen, made from wire fence, supported around the bottom by wood and metal, with barbed wire along the top. There were already several slaves in the pen, which looked horrible and squalid, and smelled worse. There was no shade from the oppressive sun except for small tents slaves had constructed out of their own clothing. It was clear these slaves had been in this pen for several days, if not weeks. They were skinny, many close to death, not only from malnutrition, but also disease. These slaves all tended to keep away from the newcomers, not having much in common with them.
Nothing much happened that first day in the pen, although the adventurers got a good look at the walls of the city. They were high, about twenty feet, and there was a guard tower at every corner, and another one at the main gate. There was a smaller gate a ways away down the side of the rectangular city.
That night, Lysander and the others took Medved aside. “So, what’s this big plan you have?” Lysander asked.
“Slavers no like they property damaged. During long walk, I find flint, and two sharpened stones. This my plan. We use flint, start fire. Or, we start fight with others. Slavers open gate, we hit them with rocks, we escape. Run to city gates.”
“Sounds like a plan,” said Fitz. “You go stand over by the gate and get ready to hit the slavers. We’ll take care of the rest.”
“Here, give me one of those rocks,” said Orisha.
Orisha approached one of the slaves who had been there for a while. “Hey old man, you want to help us all escape?”
“Well, you know, much as I want to escape, I just don’t it can be done,” said the man. “I’ve been in this pen for two weeks now, and haven’t seen anyone escape. Even if something happened, I doubt I’d have the strength or energy to escape now.”
As he spoke, Max, the big guy, walked up and grabbed him from behind, and started attempting to pull his arms off.
“Hey, what the hell do you think you’re doing?!” yelled the man. This had just the effect Medved intended. A fight broke out among the slaves. After a few moments of heated argument among the three guards, one of them opened the gate and came in, where he was immediately clobbered by Medved in the back of the head. He dropped to the ground, unconscious.
The group fought hard and valiantly, especially considering their complete lack of weaponry. Zeek showed special courage in climbing up on the fence and attempting to kick the guards from there. However, it was Medved who saved the day, taking down the other guards with his trusted sharpened stone. The players quickly looted the bodies of the unconscious slavers, and started heading out.
As they left the slave pen, they heard the cries of Ol’ Blakey. He had been shot in the leg during the struggle, and was unable to move on his own. “Please!” he yelled. “Help me out of here, too!” The group decided to do the honorable thing, and helped Ol’ Blakey stand up and hobble out of the slave pen. They approached the main city gates as fast as they could, which was not very fast with Blakey in tow. As they approached the gates, another couple of slavers came running out of the main slaver’s den, chasing after them. Luckily, they crossed through the open gates of the city, past the militiamen standing guard, just ahead of the slavers, and the militiamen stepped out from their posts, blocking the slavers from entering the city after the newly-freed slaves.