Split session. We had to finish up from last time, where the PCs were lost in windy tunnels and had just finished a fight with the rampaging minotaur known as the Lord of the Maze.
Characters: (approximate net point total)
Vryce, human knight (260 points)
Koric, human guardsman (NPC hireling) (62 points)
Orrie, human guardsman (NPC hireling) (62 points)
Honus Honusson, human barbarian (260 points) (run temporarily by Volos's player since Honus's player had work)
Inquisitor Marco, human cleric (255 points)
Borriz, dwarf knight (255 points)
plus Mikal (Status Unknown) and
Red Raggi, rescued berserker barbarian (unknown points)
We last left with Red Raggi standing screaming on top of the fallen Lord of the Maze. The party commenced dealing with the aftermath - Inq. Marco started in on first aid and healing after check Mikal and Volos (dead and dead). Borriz kept watch after retrieving his hatchet, while Vryce did the same but also called out repeatedly for Aelfred (there was some confusion about who died). They also took a trophy - Red Raggi hacked off a bit of horn and the group claimed the LotM's spear - which turned out to be fine (+1 damage) and balanced (+1 skill).
The group decided that although they wanted to keep tracking the gnoll chief, they were really hurt. They also wanted to find the minotaur's treasure (they are certain he must have some) but again, too hurt. Vryce announced no one would be left behind, although they didn't mention Mikal's corpse on their "to take" list . . .
In any case they dumped the random weapons and junk they'd accumulated on the litter and used that for Volos's corpse instead. Honus and others smashed the minotaur's skull into little pieces.
The group re-traced its steps back to the secret door into the gnoll cave thanks to markings and drippings from dead glow beetles. However the secret door back was closed. It was easy enough to find, but there was no latch or trigger to release it. Borriz tried to pry it open with his crowbar and failed, and critically failed (18!) on his second try. Crank. He bent the crowbar and it sunk in to the stone deep enough to wedge the door shut. Oops. Back the other way!
They trudged back into the caves, keeping left. They heard a lot more of the hooting and flapping noises they heard last time, and as they came into a larger chamber, a swarm of stirges attacked them. Borriz nailed one with his thrown hatchet and then he and Raggi got swarmed. Borriz ended up with three on his face, sucking blood, and Raggi with four on his body. Borriz had to carefully smash them off his face with his mace, pulling his damage from 2d+8 to something a little more likely to drop an 18# bird-thing but not potentially break his own face. Raggi tore them up with his hands. Vryce killed a couple, Inq. Marco scorched one to death with a sunbolt, and Honus helped Raggi and Borriz with theirs. He'd grab a strix, yank it out (ouch!) and then smash it. It worked and in the end, they finished them off. They lost a lot of HP, though. Stirges are f-ing nasty in GURPS, and they can hit the eyes in a pinch so even a greathelm isn't certain safety against them.
The group decided to rest, but realized that a) there was big thunderstorm coming (thanks to Honus's nose and Weather Sense skill, he knew what that rumbling was, even distorted by the tunnels) and b) they were close to the exist. They debated resting in the caves until Borriz said, "Seriously, we're more afraid of rain than of monsters?"
They looked at each other and left the cave. The moved to the gnoll cave and set up shop there, eating rations and then adding some ale and wine from the gnoll's stores. Vryce kept checking on the storm, and once when he did he came around a corner and smack into two hunting gnolls! They attacked at once, which was a split second too late - Vryce killed both of them with a Rapid Strike. He looted them, and found they'd been carrying a trussed-up-for-cooking human hunter's corpse. He looted him, too, after determining they didn't know the guy.
Long story short after this - storm cleared up, the PCs headed home, and successfully avoided any wandering encounters (they've been extremely lucky on the rolls, and Honus's good Survival rolls have helped there too).
They went back to the keep, Vryce warned the guards that Raggi is trouble, and they sold their loot. The farrier said he's in the market for any furs and exotic monster furs, which got Honus interested.
They also found a plot of land outside and designated it as a cemetary. They dug a nice grave for Volos, and put him there sans equipment. Each in turn said something about Volos, giving him a brief eulogy. Vryce just shook his head, but the others all had a colorful bit to say about him - his magically created food, his Dehydrate spells, and so on. Even Raggi said a few words - "He died in battle." It was nice, actually. They also cast Final Rest on him to keep him from coming back to haunt them (literally)
Honus headed for the hills, and the group took a week off to recover from injury and so on. Raggi headed to the bars and said he'd come with them again if they wanted.
Part 2 will come a little later - same session but some different PCs.
Some things that got my players wondering:
Who the hell built all these secret doors? The caves are riddled with them. I guess Gary built them. But is there an in-game reason besides the wahoo effect of rolling to detect secret doors?
If there are only a few dozen orcs, hobgoblins, gnolls, etc. in each cave, where is this big army of goblinoids they heard about? My answer was simple - I never told them they heard about an army. Huh, I guess that's how rumors get started.
Funerals are fun. Seriously, having everyone say a few words about the departed is amusing, especially when the departed's player is sitting there listening to the eulogy.
Everyone thinks litters are made of "stuff lying around" and stuff on them weighs nothing. Er, no, limestone caves don't have "stuff" lying around to make a litter out of. Stuff on it is full weight, but GURPS says it's half-weight on smooth surfaces for determining what you can pull around.
Better character sheets - I need to bash around the Phoenix GCA sheets a bit so they have less of the info no one actually looks at and more of the stuff we end up needing ("How much do I weigh with all my stuff, now that I'm unconscious?")
Part 2 is here