• Published 24th May 2014
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Fallout is Dragons - Stories from the Maw - Newbiespud

An anthology of short scenes related to the Fallout is Dragons podcast campaign.

  • ...

Xencarn's Great Escape (Session 15)

Previously, in Dragon's Maw...

The Dragon Mawlers party met Stalker, a slaver gang leader with a drawl suspiciously similar to Powder Keg's, who was working in the Maw and specifically targeting ex-raiders. He met them in Skyfall to deliver a message, paraphrased: "To Burner and Brass Knuckles, if you're considering attacking me, you should be aware that I have people very close to you at my camp. I am, however, open to bargain for their release, if you're interested."

After Stalker left, their medic Firelight left the room in a huff, and the zebra necromancer Xencarn followed. Firelight was privately very disturbed by Stalker's message. Xencarn suggested that they go off to Stalker's camp to investigate the truth of things. Firelight accepted, and the two of them went on ahead.

At the camp, Firelight and Xencarn were welcomed as business customers, albeit customers kept under heavily armed watch. Stalker introduced first introduced them to Trigger, a blind pony from Firelight's past, previously assumed dead. He then showed them Copper Wire, a minotaur mercenary in Stalker's employ who seemed to be Brass Knuckles' (ostensibly Tempered Steel's) brother.

Stalker explained that it would cost them 5,000 caps each, both to free Trigger from his slavery and to provide severance pay for the mercenary Copper Wire, for a total of 10,000 caps. Riches that neither Firelight nor Xencarn had available, nor did the rest of the Dragon Mawlers.

Just as Firelight and Xencarn had decided to leave and come back with either the caps or a new plan, Stalker got a call on his radio, presumably from the Executive. Stalker then informed the group that the price was reduced to 3,500 caps each, for a total of 7,000. In exchange, Firelight would have to stay at the camp until the transaction was completed.

Xencarn offered himself up as trade, to stay at the camp and let Firelight get the payment instead. Stalker agreed to this, saying that he could use a necromancer around the camp in the meantime. Firelight objected at first, but Xencarn insisted that Firelight was more useful to the party than he was, especially if they ended up taking on a dragon to earn enough loot for the ransom.

Firelight eventually relented, but insisted on trying to heal Trigger's wounds before he left. At this point, Firelight had become a miracle worker when it came to magical medicine. Between some healing potions, a doctor's bag, Firelight's innate healing talent, and a great deal of luck, Firelight was able to restore Trigger's sight. Amidst Trigger's teary-eyed gratitude, Firelight was then escorted out of the camp.

Xencarn was then put in one of the slave cages and told to wait for instructions.

The rest of the party got together and had to fight Smaug, the Blood Dragon, who attempted to attack Skyfall. When they were done and had looted Smaug's rather impressive hoard, they came back to the city to find out that Xencarn had escaped the slaver camp on his own, along with a few friends. The question of what happened there and how he got out never got a complete explanation.

This is what happened while Xencarn was at the slaver camp.

About a half-hour or so after Firelight left, Stalker came up to Xencarn's cage.

Xencarn nodded at him.

Stalker explained that one of their slaves had killed herself last night, and he wanted Xencarn to revive her.

Intitally, Xencarn was unsure he could even accomplish such a thing, but he figured he could at least try. He could reach out and invite the mare's soul back into her body. It would be easier since it was recent, but even then such a "revival" wouldn't be permanent.

"I can try," he said to Stalker.

Stalker nodded. He escorted Xencarn to the cage with the freshly made corpse. Xencarn got to work creating a ritual circle for his necromancy:

Once it was made, he channeled his arcana and reached out to the soul of the departed. To his surprise, he made contact almost instantly and was able to establish a strong link to the mare's soul.

However, the immediate feeling he got was that this mare did NOT want to come back. But between the ritual circle and his lucky break, he could easily force her soul back into the dead body.

After considering the implications of this, he said, "Stalker. The soul... I can put it back into the body, yes. But it'll reject it - I'm not all that experienced with that kind of complete revival, so I don't know what will happen or how long it'll last. Is there anything else I can do? Anything else, rather then force an innocent to come back from the abyss?"

"Hmm. Well, probably not worth it, then," Stalker drawled. "Oh well. Would've made a lot of caps if you could make it happen, but if it's not possible it's not possible. Let her go."

"Can do boss. Sorry." And with that, he severed the link and released the mare's soul.

As Stalker escorted him back to the cage, Xencarn thought to himself: I'm a necromancer, not evil. Still, good to know I can revive things outside of specific talents.

It still would've been difficult, for sure, but his necromancy was getting stronger.

That idea filled him with no small amount of glee. Yay!

Xencarn waited in his cage for some time. Firelight had apparently reunited with the rest of the group, because Flotsam telepathically bombarded him with questions for a while. Xencarn confirmed what Firelight was telling them, being sure to mention that the camp had plenty of guards, ponies and gryphons and minotaurs alike. Not to mention the mysterious sniper (with an actual sniper rifle) in the tallest watchtower.

Yeah... Xencarn thought. 'Cause mentioning a mysterious sniper isn't going to set them all on edge.

The conversation basically over, Xencarn considered the slave cages around him. The cages were stacked in box-like formations, so he was both adjacent to and beneath a number of cages.

A sickening thought occurred to him. ...Please tell me there are buckets... But a cursory glance around his own cage and the adjacent ones confirmed there were, indeed, buckets. Phew.

For a while, Xencarn listened in on the Dragon Mawlers' discussion using his telepathic link with Flotsam. They were currently talking about storming the camp, taking out the guards, and freeing Xencarn themselves instead of paying the ridiculous ransom. Aww, they're willing to go to war for me. I feel kinda loved.

The discussion soon turned into a drawn out, circular argument - par for the course with the Dragon Mawlers - so Xencarn decided to see if there were any slaves near him. About three out of four cages were occupied by former raiders, some still wearing their Four Horses Gang bodypaint.

Looking to one of the nearest slaves, he asked how long they'd been there for. But the raider seemed too shell-shocked to answer. Xencarn looked for someone a little more conscious, and settled on a mare in another cell next to his. Hmm... Is she cute? Uh, I mean, sure, I'll ask her. "How long have you been here?"

"Here?" the mare responded. "About... two days."

"I'm sorry. How did you get brought in?"

"I... Well, you destroyed my camp. You let us go."

"Me? Or the Dragon Mawlers?"

"The Dragon Mawlers. You're the zebra in that group, right?"

He grinned. "Xencarn, Novice Necromancer. At your service." And then he chuckled. "As much as I can be in here. May I ask your name?"

A guard came by and whacked his baton against the bars. "Hey! No talking!"

"Sorry, I guess."

Faintly, in the distance, there came a sound not unlike a dragon's roar.

"Okay, new question. What the hell was that?"

The guards seemed instantly on edge after that sound. The mare in the adjacent cage just shrugged, completely unsure.

"In any case..." Xencarn returned his attention to the mare once the guard had left. "Your name if I may, miss?"

"...Pearl. Why? You're not even a real slave here."

"I'm in a cage. And I'm working for the same guy who has you. Close enough to a slave. But... huh. Pearl is a nice name. Interesting choice for a raider name."

Stalker came by and tapped on Xencarn's cell again.

"What's up?" Xencarn asked.

"Got another job for ya."

"What do you need me to do? More reviving?"

"You can commune with the dead, right?"

"That I certainly can."

Stalker opened the cage and, with a group of guards, escorted Xencarn out. The necromancer nodded at Pearl as he passed, but she didn't really react, not sure what to think of him.

The group took Xencarn outside the camp to its perimeter, where a slaver guard lay dead. A gryphon.

This one was pretty simple: Speak With The Dead. He reached out to the gryphon's soul and brought him back temporarily. "You get three questions, Stalker, and he'll answer as truthfully as he is able."

The dead gryphon blinked and looked around worriedly.

Stalker nodded and said to the guard, "Who killed you?"

Terrified but compelled to speak, the gryphon sputtered out a name, explaining that one of the other guards had killed him after they'd found a stash of caps.

Stalker sighed. "Okay, that's all. You're sure this is the truth?"

Xencarn nodded back. "They can't lie. It's what the spell is designed to do. I can end it now if you wish, unless you want to ask him anything else?"

"No, send him off."

The gryphon panicked at that. Xencarn looked again at the undead victim. "Anything you want to say before I banish you back?"

Stalker shook his head before the gryphon could respond. "No, we're done here. You're done."

"...Alright, I guess. I'm sorry, rest in peace. Wherever that is for your species." Xencarn let the gryphon go back, and the body fell still once more. "Got anything else you want me to do while I'm out?"

"No, I'm done for now. Back to your cage."

Xencarn settled back down in the cage. "Hey Pearl, do they take everyone out for these little excursions?"

"No... Just you. When we get taken out, it means we've either been bought or we're past our usefulness."


Xencarn stayed quiet for a bit.

"Hang on, what happened to those other ponies you were with?"

"I dunno. We got separated."

"What about the kid in the cage? And I mean back at your old camp."

Pearl froze up at that. "...Kid?"

"Yeah. The one without a tongue."

She didn't answer. She looked very ashamed.

"Did you know his mother? Me and my friends, we've been trying to find her."

"I..." she started to say.

Xencarn waited patiently for her to continue. "I?"


For a moment, Xencarn didn't pay the explosion any mind. Dragons and explosions. With the Dragon Mawlers? I think I can make an... educated guess... as to what's happened.

But then he realized that the explosion had come from very close by the camp. The guards were up in arms. The sniper in the tower fired a shot to the east.

Ohh... Shite. Xencarn looked towards the explosion. Past the newly smoking crater, he saw a group of zombies. Laden with bombs.

"OH COME ON! THAT'S MY TRICK!" Xencarn shouted. Then he turned to Pearl. "Do you want to get out of here?"

Pearl nodded emphatically. The guards were too preoccupied to pay attention to their conversation.

"Then pray to whatever god you serve I'm not incompetent."

Using his own necromancy, Xencarn reached out and took control of one of the "bombies." With as much precision as he could muster, he steered the zombie close enough to their cages without getting too close before it went off. The resulting explosion dented and blew off some of the cage bars without killing any of the slaves.

Awesome. Xencarn ran out and checked to see if Pearl was okay. She was fine. She seemed to be tougher than she looked.

Xencarn gestured for her to follow, and searched for the nearest exit in the commotion.

Along the way, he noticed that Trigger's cell had also blown open in the blast, and Copper Wire was looking around kind of confused at what to do.

Xencarn rolled his eyes. FIIINE. He gestured at them as well. "You two coming, or are you sticking around here to die?"

Trigger blinked and looked vaguely toward Xencarn, apparently still getting used to his newly regained sight. Copper Wire, though, understood immediately and nodded back.

As a group, they stuck close together, doing their best to avoid the guards and make their way towards one of the fortified camp's exits. As far as stealth went, there were a few close calls, but Xencarn's magic spells helped them to sneak out without being bothered too much.


Behind them, the slaver camp devolved into chaos. A few slaves escape, running for the hills, but the raiders attacking the camp (Four Horses, mainly of the Death gang) are in a brawl with the slavers. The mysterious sniper was nowhere to be seen in his tower.

Man, Death is here, Xencarn thought. I want to go snuggle up with him. BUT... I have charges to look after. So...

The easiest and clearest path away from the chaos behind them was directly out west, towards the other chaos on the horizon: Skyfall and the Blood Dragon.

As they headed off, Xencarn had a thought. ...Dumb question. Did they take my stuff? But no, the slavers hadn't bothered to take his equipment, since he wasn't an actual slave - just a well-guarded guest. Phew. That would have been awkward.

By the time they reached Skyfall, there was a giant rotting corpse of an ancient bloody dracolich near the front gates.

Xencarn was honestly torn. He really wanted to autopsy the dragon right away, but he also wanted to get his miniature party of four settled.

Eventually, he decided that the dragon would still be there in about an hour. And the rest of the group seemed eager to get into town and calm down after the day's craziness.

Town it is. Xencarn went through the city gates, with slaves and guard in tow.

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