Escaped Slave

"No one is my master—not anymore. You think you’re free? At least I had bonds to break. You can’t even see the prison that surrounds you."

The cities of the sorcerer-kings crouch upon the backs of slaves. Slave bones litter their alleys. Slave blood makes mud in the dust of their streets. Almost everywhere you go in the city-states you see someone with a yoke around the neck and eyes cast toward the ground. Tyr presents the only exception, but Tyr has depended upon the labor of slaves just as much as any other city. Even it sells criminals into slavery beyond its walls. How long can such “freedom” last?
    Slaves have always been a part of Athasian society. A harsh world calls for harsh justice. Those who cannot obey the laws that protect all or who are not smart enough to bow before those stronger than themselves do not deserve the water it takes to keep them alive. People become slaves by angering or offending those more powerful than themselves. A slave might have owed a debt, stolen a crust of bread, or not bowed low or fast enough when a person of importance passed. Citizens are declared slaves for owning items desired by nobles, for being captured instead of killed during war, and for knowing information above their station. Those born to slaves are slaves owned by the mother’s master. After all, the master lost work from the mother during pregnancy and must pay for the child’s care. Such a child owes the master labor equal to the period of time until it can do the work of a full adult, and by then it has no doubt done something to warrant its continued slavery. Even the kindest master realizes that a child raised in slavery is ill equipped for freedom and would likely die shortly after release. Though a slave lives a harsh life with no security, a master must provide for a slave’s needs or accept the loss of that investment.
    Once declared a slave, a person becomes property. Slaves change hands like money. They are won and lost in bets, sold at auction, and brought to market. Slave owners with slaves that have specialized skills or unusual attributes seek out buyers with particular needs. A slave owner can do what he or she likes with a slave, and it’s no concern of anyone else. Masters expect slaves to work incredibly hard to earn their keep or face death in the arena, a quick execution, or whatever other cruelty the master dreams up.
    Few slaves even dream of escape. The declaration of slavery is like a death sentence in its finality. Even if the leather and bone manacles are broken, even if the guards are evaded or killed, the rest of the world hates and fears an escaped slave. Those who aid an escaped slave—even unwittingly—can expect to become slaves themselves. Those who turn them in often receive a reward worth as much as half the slave’s value. Only Tyr offers a slim hope of sanctuary, and if a slave has angered the master enough, many ways exist to take someone from that city.
    An escaped slave’s only hope is to see freedom as a rebirth. Old haunts, one-time friends, even family—all need to be avoided for fear of being recognized and turned in. Hide the brand, disguise the tattoo, cover up the scars, explain the calluses away—successful escaped slaves do all this and more. Escaped slaves must take up a new name, a new history, and if one can manage it, a new appearance. Some escaped slaves do all this, but the strong will and sharp mind such a life requires often drives successful escaped slaves back toward their former owners, exchanging one master for another: revenge.

Escaped Slave Feature Hidden Strike

You disguise your movements so that no one suspects you are at fault.

Encounter        Martial
Free Action  

Trigger: You make an attack

Effect: Make a Bluff check. If your result exceeds the passive Insight of creatures observing you, they believe something or someone else was the source of the triggering attack and treat you as invisible until the start of your next turn.

Escaped Slave Utility 2No Bonds Can Hold

You were imprisoned once. Never again.

Encounter        Martial
Immediate Reaction      Personal

Trigger: You are affected by a grabbed, restrained, immobilized, or slowed condition that can be ended by an escape attempt or saving throw

Effect: You make an escape attempt or saving throw (as appropriate) to end the triggering effect with a +2 power bonus.

Escaped Slave Attack 3Repel the Siege

With the fury of a caged beast, you lash out at those who would hem you in.

Encounter        Martial, Weapon
Immediate Reaction      Close burst 1

Trigger: An enemy moves to a square to flank you

Target: Each flanking enemy in the burst

Attack: Primary ability vs. AC

Hit: 2[W] + ability modifier damage, and you push the target 1 square.

Effect: Until the end of your next turn, you do not grant combat advantage to creatures flanking you.

Level 13:

  Hit: As above, but 3[W] + ability modifier damage.

Level 23:

  Hit: As above, but 4[W] + ability modifier damage.

Escaped Slave Attack 5Turn the Tables

You feign vulnerability and suddenly turn the tables on your foe, putting it in a terrible position.

Daily        Martial, Weapon
Immediate Interrupt      Melee weapon

Trigger: An enemy makes a melee attack against you.

Effect: You shift 1 square. If you are prone, you instead stand up in an unoccupied adjacent square. The triggering enemy is pulled into the square you vacated and is knocked prone. You make the following attack.

Target: The triggering creature

Attack: Primary ability vs. AC

Hit: 2[W] + ability modifier damage, and you gain a +2 bonus to all defenses against the triggering attack.

Level 15:

  Hit: As above, but 3[W] + ability modifier damage.

Level 25:

  Hit: As above, but 4[W] + ability modifier damage.

Miss: Half damage, and you do not gain the bonus to all defenses.

Escaped Slave Utility 6Wary Defense

You remain light on your feet as you eye your foes.

Daily        Martial, Stance
Minor Action      Personal

Effect: You gain a +1 power bonus to AC. As long as you can make opportunity attacks, the first time an enemy moves adjacent to you on its turn, you can shift 1 square as a free action.

Escaped Slave Attack 7Astonishing Wound

Your weapon appears to come from nowhere and stops your shocked enemy in its tracks.

Encounter        Martial, Weapon
Standard Action      Melee or Ranged weapon

Target: One creature

Effect: Make a Bluff check. If your result exceeds your target’s passive Insight score, then the target grants combat advantage to you for the following attack.

Attack: Primary ability vs. AC

Hit: 2[W] + ability modifier damage, and if the target grants combat advantage to you, it is immobilized until the end of your next turn.

Level 17:

  Hit: As above, but 3[W] + ability modifier damage.

Level 27:

  Hit: As above, but 4[W] + ability modifier damage.

Escaped Slave Attack 9Who Is Master Now

You use your weapon to draw your foe in close and then entrap it in your arms, where you command its actions like a puppeteer.

Daily        Martial, Weapon
Standard Action      Melee 1

Target: One creature that is your size, smaller than you, or one size category larger.

Attack: Primary ability vs. Fortitude

Hit: 1[W] + ability modifier damage, and you grab the target and it is dominated (save ends both). If the grab ends, the target is no longer dominated.

Effect: While you have the target grabbed and dominated by this power, you can exchange positions with the target as an immediate interrupt triggered by an enemy making a melee or ranged attack against you. The triggering attack affects the grabbed enemy instead. Exchanging positions with the target ends the grab and the dominate.

Miss: 1[W] + ability modifier damage, and you do not grab the target.

Escaped Slave Utility 10Opportune Distraction

You draw the attention of your foes elsewhere and make the most of the opportunity.

Encounter        Martial
Free Action      Personal

Effect: Make a Bluff check. If your result exceeds the passive Insight of creatures observing you, they cannot make opportunity attacks against you until the end of your next turn.

Published in Dragon Magazine 390.