Saturday, December 16, 2017

Rescuing slaves in Kenshi, part 2

Sinkum (click the pictures to enlarge)

OK, this is the conclusion of my story (Part 1 is here). We're rescuing slaves in Kenshi, and now need to make our way south, through or past both the United Cities and the Holy Nation.

Note that both societies keep slaves. Both will eagerly capture escaped slaves. And the Holy Nation, at least, will attack non-humans on sight especially hates non-humans. (With the ex-slaves, I have two different species of non-human in my faction right now.)

My plan was to skirt United City territory on the west. I'd never been there before, but we'd seen a Hive Village just south of us. So far, the Hive people have always been peaceful. (I'm not sure why. I doubt if human beings have treated them well.)

When we got there, I left the escaped slaves hiding nearby, and the rest of us went in to trade. We were able to sell all of those skimmer claws, but they didn't have anything we needed. So we moved on,... into Sinkum.

As soon as we crossed into Sinkum, my guys started warning me about the dangers there. Apparently, this wasn't going to be simple. So I tried to stay just inside Sinkum, but not very far. We needed to head south, and I figured that our best chance was to stay near the border between Sinkum and the Great Desert.

That first night, we were ambushed by two heavy bandits. I don't know where they came from, because I didn't see them coming. And there were just two of them against 13 of us - 14, if you include the pack bull. But they were very tough.

Red, our pack bull ("Red Bull," get it?), in Sinkum

It was probably lucky for us that they focused on our pack bull at first. (I forgot to order the bull to stay out of the fight.) But after the battle was over, everyone needed bandaging, and we had to carry not just the pack bull, but also two of the ex-slaves we were rescuing. (Again, there's no magical healing in Kenshi. You can bandage people and splint their broken limbs, but it takes time to heal - more time if you can't sleep it off.)

So we slowed down - and started sneaking, which made everyone move at a crawl - and I tried to keep a better eye out for danger. Sinkum was clearly a dangerous place, but it still seemed like the best option. (For one thing, it wasn't sand dunes, so skimmers couldn't wait in ambush. There was a type of skimmer in Sinkum, but they appeared to be solitary, and they could be avoided.)

As we got further south, we started to run into canyons, which limited our options and made it hard to see what was coming. And there were both United Cities patrols and Holy Nation patrols (looking for each other, but we had to stay clear of both).

At Drin, a heavily damaged United Cities outpost, I finally gave up and decided to try the desert again. Partly, that was because of the scary cannibals we saw (luckily, they'd already captured their lunch - an unlucky slave they'd grabbed at Drin - and didn't see us). But when both factions have patrols out, it doubles the number of people we have to look out for. And it's just so much easier to see what's coming on the open desert, too.

So we stayed right on the edge of the desert and made good time for awhile. Then we reached the Skimsands near the mountains south of Okran's Fist. All we had to do was get across the mountains and we'd be in Holy Nation territory (not safe, but a lot safer than we had been!).

The first trail led directly to Okran's Fist, apparently. (At least, there was a wall with a guarded gate across the trail.) So we tried to get to the next one, further south. What a nightmare!

The dangerous Skimsands, looking towards the mountain pass

First, there was all sorts of traffic here - manhunters, slavers, mercenaries, bandits, and military patrols from both sides. Even worse, this was the mother lode of skimmers, apparently. I've never seen so many in one spot! (I had to reload a saved game once when my entire party was wiped out by a skimmer ambush. That was the only time, luckily.)

Eventually, I had everyone stay put, hiding in the sand dunes, while other travelers tripped the skimmer ambushes. The patrols were always a lot stronger than we were, so they'd defeat the skimmers and move on, at which point I'd loot the skimmers for meat (and ensure that they didn't get back up again).

At one point, Rebecca - one of the human women I'd recruited before rescuing the slaves - ran up to a huge Holy Nation patrol which had easily defeated a skimmer. She was intending to wait until they left, then loot the corpse. And normally, that would have been fine.

But the Holy Nation is a patriarchy which doesn't like women a whole lot more than they like non-humans. Usually, that doesn't affect us too much. Women just have to pretend to be submissive. But in this particular case, they got suspicious because she was in disputed territory - a woman in disputed territory, with no man keeping her in check. Clearly up to no good, huh?

Luckily, she was fast enough to run away and lead them towards a huge United Cities patrol, where the two sides began an epic battle (larger than I've ever seen in this game). She ran off a bit, started sneaking, and made her way back to the rest of us.

But we weren't going to survive there much longer. It was just too dangerous. So when a group of manhunters got distracted by dying bandits (just like the last time, they'd been ambushed by skimmers and now were going to be enslaved), we made a run for it.

The Holy Nation has some of the richest farmland in Kenshi

I sent my fastest character up the path through the mountain, to see if the way was clear. (Luckily, it was.) And I sent my second-fastest character to lure another skimmer out of the way. Everyone else, with fingers crossed, ran up the mountain path and across the border.

It was night by then, and there didn't seem to be anyone around. In general, Holy Nation land is a lot more peaceful than the rest of Kenshi, provided you're human and not an escaped slave or a heretic. We still had to keep our eyes open, but the rest of the journey was a piece of cake, compared to what we'd just gone through.

We stayed to the rough land on the east side of the mountain range, where there was unlikely to be much traffic. And we skirted a Holy Nation village in the middle of the night. Just as it got light again, we crossed the main road between Blister Hill and Okran's Shield, running south on a well-maintained road that seems to get no traffic at all except for bandits. (We avoided them.)

Technically, we were still in Holy Nation land, but not the populated part of it. There were a couple of ruins there - former Holy Nation mines, now completely destroyed - and I was able to leave our ex-slave recruits hiding in relative safety while the rest of us made a run to Blister Hill for backpacks and food.

When we got back, everyone loaded up with construction material looted from the ruins. At that point, my new recruits had only ten hours left, out of that initial 100 hours, to stay out of sight (at which point they'd be under no risk at all of being identified as escaped slaves).

So we headed further south, out of Holy Nation land and into the Border Zone, looking for a place to build a settlement for ex-slaves. (I've decided that my goal will be to rescue slaves - mostly from the Holy Nation, no doubt - and bring them back to build a new life with us.)

Lots of fun!
PS. We did start a settlement, too. Now, the Dust Bandit king is trying to extort money from us. It's just one thing after another! :)

Beginning to build the Phoenix Aerie, sanctuary for ex-slaves

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