Atlantian Loyalists, or Anti-Sorcerer Dissidents may stage a jailbreak (for someone else, as they players were last seen as pro-sorcerer) or an attack. providing cover under which to escape. The biggest question that i have, is what non-powered skills do your PCs have? These are one of the biggest pieces of need to know information. If you do not have a skill monkey, you will need to recognize that while putting things using these skills is an option, it is one the players can't take.
Second figure out the layout, the number of attempts (if more than one), and most importantly a timeline.
(possible tl:dr ahead)
Let us say that we are saying all of the above are facts.
Timeline may look like this:
22:00 Betrayal. Ritual noted to start on the next sunset as the dying of the light grants darkness power.
Taken to cells arrive at 22:30
Given time to examine cell: force field, dampner collars, bars, guard.
Guard mocks them at 23:00
Guard gets changed with female/male guard (whichever would be attracted to your most attractive PC) 24:00 if you want the sorcerer's daughter/son to come in now is the time.
Guard gets changed again at 04:00 New guard is unattractive but more gullible
Guard falls asleep if the players have been keeping quiet at 05:00 otherwise at 07:30
Servant comes to bring the guard food at 08:00 they players may convince the servant to bring then food as well (and so tools) but if they do not the guard tells the servant to not get [the PCs] anything.
Guard is changed at 08:30, and the new guard looks a little strange.
at 09:00 The new guard pulls a weapon commands everyone to be quiet and releases someone from a cell nearby. He then leaves with the prisoner.
The scruffy new guard is Brought back in, beaten at 12:00 if the players (and other prisoners) were quiet, and 10:00 (and dying) if they were not.
Two more wary guards are posted at the cells. If the players were good at 1400 they begin playing cards and chatting, if not then they remain suspicious and watchful; paranoid if two attempts have been made.
The anti-sorcerer dissidents finish their preparations and attack between 1600 and 1800.
The sorcerer finishes his preparations early at 20:00 and is unaware of the attack until it heats up further with explosions at 22:00
At 21:50 the bars/force fields are wrecked as the cells are damaged (as are the occupants) if the scruffy was dying he is now dead, if the scruffy was unconscious he* is now dying. (the scruffy need not be male, but is presumed to be so)
At 23:40 the players are taken to the sacrifice room.
At 23:55 start a doom counter (take a D20 or similar, and start counting down)
at 24:00 (depending on your setting and plans) the last panel goes black, make new characters.
I do not have a 3rd or second ed book handy at the moment.
Skills useful: for the bars strength, internal weaponry, extra effort to use a power (the power also has side-effect) escape artist, open lock. For the force field technology (3rd), disable device, computers. for the guard, any social skill intimidate does not work on the servant however (as the servant must leave your presence for several minutes to complete any task). For the scruffy only diplomacy and bluff work. For the second set of guards you can challenge them to a game of chance (rp) or, if paranoid you can convince them one of your party is sick, injured, or a danger to you. Intimidation is responded to by attacks.
As with all complex puzzles, allow the players to come up with creative ideas, and if they are not unreasonable for the mechanics of the device or surroundings, say yes. if they are, feel free to say no.
i hope that helps!
edit: ps. the above are also rather good, perhaps better than this.
Oblivious Man Strikes Again!
"Sometimes I think you are more useful dead than alive!" -A Friend regarding one of my characters.