Sunday, November 27, 2011

DF Game, Session 4, part 2 - Caves of Chaos

Saturday, November 26th, 2011

Characters: (approximate net point total)
Vryce, human knight (265 points)
     Koric, human guardsman (NPC hireling) (62 points)
     Orrie, human guardsman (NPC hireling) (62 points)
Inquisitor Marco, human cleric (255 points)
Borriz, dwarf knight (260 points)
Nakar, human wizard (250 points)
Red Raggi, berserker barbarian (NPC co-adventurer) (unknown points)

After a week off to recharge and refresh, the group decided to head back to the caves. They still wanted to raid the orcs before taking a shot at the shrine. They rounded up Red Raggi (who was in jail, and the guards said they'd waive bail and charges if they'd take him to the caves). They also met Nakar, who was looking to raid the caves. So they headed up to the right-most cave, climbed up and headed in. They had all the stealth of a pack of stampeding elephants running over a brass band. Deliberately, really - they didn't care if they had surprise or not.

They entered the cave and found themselves facing a wall of skulls and decomposing heads. They gave them little more than a glance and then turned left and marched ahead, keeping an eye behind. They found a big room with a soft glow of a charcoal fire - and charged in. As they did, a wave of orcs charged back from the other side! The fight was on in a huge banquet hall full of tables and chairs.

At the same time, orcs they'd bypassed charged in from behind. Something like 12 orcs from the front, 8 from behind. Red Raggi and Vryce were in the lead, and Borriz turned and ran back to the rear guard, Korric and Orrie, who Vryce ordered to stand and All-Out Defend. Nakar started casting Great Haste and Inquisitor Marco lit up his mace with Flaming Weapon.

The fight turned messy but never went badly, really. Korric and Orrie tried to defend but they just don't have the defenses to stand against massed orcs, and got stabbed repeatedly. Red Raggi charged into the fray with his axe, and started hewing down orcs even as they stabbed and chopped him badly. Vryce maneuvered carefully and killed orcs in singles and pairs. Borriz, forgetting he had his stubby throwing hatchet instead of his mace, ran right into melee and attacked the orcs in the rear. More orcs came in - the chief and his two mates, one of whom was a fire shaman and started tossing fireballs. Borriz got Great Hasted and used his doubled turns to just tear orcs apart. He does a mere 2d+5 cut with that hatchet but a few skull shots helped, as did lots of very high damage rolls (like 10-12 on 2d repeatedly). In one especially brutal second he took his pair of turns and cut down 5 orcs, dropping 4 for the count and leaving one badly injured, stunned, and prone. Next turn he chopped that guy down, spun 180, and threw his hatchet back into the fight he'd left behind and hit a fleeing orc in the back, killing him. THAT is Dungeon Fantasy, right there.

Red Raggi, meanwhile, cut down like 4 orcs and then the chieftan ran up and smacked him one. Raggi made his death check and unconsciousness checks, and then critically hit the chief for a lot of damage and dropped him. Red Raggi now can claim the final blow on the Lord of the Maze and an orc chief. After he fell, along with 6 or 7 other orcs in that same turn, the remainder broke and ran. They didn't make it, although the shaman escaped. One orc female took a sunbolt in the back and caught on fire. She fled off and the PCs didn't find her again. Red Raggi finally fell after this, having taken like 50-60 damage.

Fun fight - a big knock-down brawl with all the orc minis I had (with appropriate WYSIWYG equipment). The second it ended, Nakar got off a Seeker spell on the shaman, found her despite a boatload of penalties (-8 or -9, I think) and then Traced her. They could find her relative location with ease, now. They set to looting, barricading the room, and looting. Oh, and killed orcs. Vryce refused to cut throats and decapitate them - these aren't animals. He stabbed them instead. Borriz did some throat cutting.

After an hour (!) in the room, the PCs headed out. They felt pretty safe resting, what with 20+ dead orcs in the room including the chief, and a trace telling them the shaman had fled somewhere and stayed there. They were right - they'd killed all but her out of the tribe's adult combatants. After looting they headed on and found the chief's room. They searched it, found his treasure niche, and pried out a boulder they thought concealed the shaman's escape nook. Nope. Just some treasure. They kept looking and eventually found a secret door. They figured out the tricky catch and in they went to a dank secret room. The shaman was waiting and tossed a fireball at Vryce, hitting him squarely and setting his clothing on fire. He ignored that and charged and chopped him, dropping her. He saw a bucket of dank liquid, and splashed a little on himself as he burned - water. He splashed more and put the flames out. Nice caution - yeah, it could have been lamp oil or something and he'd need a new PC not some extra healing magic.

They searched this room too, and found another secret door. And pressed on, hoping for more money. They went down a long corridor with a door on the right side. Borriz opened that with his hatchet in hand and met the oncoming axe of a lurking orc guard. The guard got initiative and got in 2-3 good swings before Borriz could respond and cut him down. Vryce advanced down the hallway and Borriz went for his crowbar to wedge the door shut. But too slow! Arrows came out the darkness and one hit Inq. Marco and injured him. A female orc, as big as a male and wearing mail, pushed the door open and swung her axe. It didn't help - Borriz brained her with his crowbar and broke her skull into pieces (Weapon Master - All one-handed axe/mace weapons - does include crowbars). Vryce ran past the door and told Borriz to hold it. The chief came behind her and attacked, throwing a hatchet into Vryce's back and injuring him. Vryce ignored it and stood his ground, waiting for the orcs. They came and died. Chop, chop, chop. One also took an arrow in the back from a miss-aimed friendly attack, and fell to his hands and knees. Vryce ignored him. Inq. Marco and Nakar teamed up with a sunbolt and a stone missile and burned and crushed another orc. Borriz turned on the chief, drew his mace, and killed him, breaking his skull through a pot helm and mail coif. The remaining orcs fled, and a few dropped weapons as they did. The chief, his mate, his guard, and four of their best warriors died horribly in seconds. A bad morale check and gone, run away!

Just at this moment Inq. Marco (run for the moment by Nakar's player, because the real player has a long trip home) decided to heal himself. That's heavily penalized in GURPS, and he rolled a 17 - critical failure. BAM. My (brutal) house rule is you take 2x the damage you tried to heal as damage. This dropped him negative and he had to make a death check. 12 or less . . . clatter, clatter . . . 11. He lived.

But now with everyone damaged and a late hour, they decided to hightail it out of there. They grabbed a few things off the chief and his mate, took his gem-pommeled broadsword, and quickly looted the orcs. Borriz killed the crawler and finished the dead off. They grabbed some stuff, headed back, looted the orc chief's room (which they may have done first), and then headed back to civilization.

I was nice because of the late hour and didn't ding them with wandering monsters. They got back to the keep and that's where we ended.


Some notes.

Borriz got the +1 bonus XP for this session, as voted by the players, because of his awesomeness. Voting for himself helped tip the balance though.

- I'm using the Partial Surprise rules/Initiative rules, which I hadn't before. I like the effect but I doubt my players like occasionally going after slower critters that jump them. Oh well.

- Genre rule: fodder fail all HT rolls automatically. Who isn't fodder and gets to make them normally is my decision. Editing later: I mean "fail all HT rolls for consciousness and death checks automatically." They still get HT rolls against poison, disease, spells, etc. I just don't care what happens to them after their HP go to 0 or lower.

- 62 point guys with halberds shouldn't All-Out Defend. And they can't stand up to multiple attacks from multiple orcs. It's not that they suck, it's that 4-1 odds isn't something they can handle against equally powerful foes.

I need tighter game notes, and spreadsheeted NPCs not a document of stats. That's fine for writing them up but too annoying in play. My "how to manage a fast game with lots of enemies in multiple fights" skills are improving. My old game was "slower game with one single big-ass incredibly nasty fight per session or three" which didn't require so much page flipping. That said Foxit Reader + all of my DF and GURPS PDFs open at once + word docs of the adventure = very easy to run game and look stuff up for rulings fast.

Here is my setup for game.

Red Raggi has SM+1 and 19 HP. This means spells are 2x cost on him. At 20 HP, healing spell effects are doubled. So he's just shy of the sweet spot and he's freaking hard to heal. Bad design on my part, he needs to get one more HP with his XP!

Worth noting that Vryce is SM+0 and 20 HP, Honus is SM+1 and 22 HP, and Borriz is SM+0 (dwarves are short but broad, and SM isn't just height) with (now) 18 HP, closing in on 20 HP. That doubled effect is very useful.

Borriz's player remarked that the fact that the group is totally profit-motivated makes it fun. They always push too far trying to get a little more treasure, and risk too much trying to get extra loot home to sell. The only answer to any question is, "Will it get us more loot? Then yes."

The group is really afraid of the wights they heard about, and want to find magical weaponry before they go for them. Magical weapons are pretty high-value treasure, though, so they aren't exactly common.

I need more orc minis, just because I have too many with swords and not enough with spears. And wide-stance minis with widely-held weapons are freaking annoying on the battlemap.

Part 1 is Here


  1. Maybe it's just me... I'm a pretty technical sort of person, but I try to keep computers off the game table. Still, a basic PDF reader isn't too bad...

  2. It's either I keep open my PC, or I print out the adventure, the monster stats, the price lists, keep hand-written notes instead of typing them, and keep the books handy.

    I find the laptop with everything on it is both faster and easier. No shuffling and bumping around, and I can keep multiple books open at once with no loss of desk space.

    I could run game without a laptop, but I no longer want to!


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