After an unfortunately long hiatus due to scheduling issues - last game was April 15th - we're back to our DF game. We also welcomed another player, one of the fabled Hellions credited in lots of GURPS books' credits pages, for a try-out.
Sunday, June 3rd, 2012
Characters: (approximate net point total)
Vryce, human knight (286 points)
Nakar, human wizard (275 points)
Honus Honusson, human barbarian (283 points)
Fuma, human thief (252 points)
Galen Longtread, human scout (250 points)
Borriz, dwarven knight (280 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)
Reserve (players couldn't make it)
Inquisitor Marco, human cleric.
We had to split-session this one, as we left off last time with the group questioning their hobgoblin prisoner, who as always they nicknamed "Friday."
They asked him a few things - here are the questions and the answers:
"How many Goblins and Hobgoblins are in the dungeon, and are they all allied?
"Some friends, some enemies. We was living in the mountains and then a
goblin said come work for my bosses they pay lots and we can kill
orcs! So we come in by stairs and was part of Ruzlik and Kralkar's
army. Ruzlik and Kralkar are big tough ogres and they have dog-men and
goblins and feed troublemakers to monkeys. They don't pay well and
they beat the goblins too much so one hand of us left."
"We left and we killed that goblin what suckered us and then you came
and killed us. F*** you for killing us."
"Are there other demihumans/humanoids with whom the Goblins are in conflict?
"Orcs! We hate the orcs!"
Has Friday ever been to any of the lower levels? Have his friends? If so, what did they see there?
"The bosses say stairs are not for goblins."
Any other monsters/is there any single big threat (read: Boss) on Friday's home level that is especially significant/dangerous?
"The bosses told us not to go north or big lizards would eat us."
Then they tied him up in the room outside the now-fallen tower, left him a week's worth of rations within crawl-and-eat range, and headed back to town. After roughly a week, Nakar, Fuma, Honus, and Vryce headed up the mountain and checked on him - they wanted to see if the ghost or anything else molested him. They found a pool of long-dried blood, a few gnawed hobgoblin bones, and that's it. Some big lizard tracks clued them in to what might have happened.
They headed back to town and we passed five weeks of downtime. They group did some training, carousing, information gathering, and so on. In the meantime Honus met Galen Longtread and he joined the group. Vryce also run into Red Raggi and, eventually, they invited him to come on their expedition. They also had a local carpenter build them a sturdy 24' ladder with metal runs suitable fold holding spikes on either end, and enough very heavy planks to tightly fit into the ladder to make a bridge out of it. It wasn't cheap (north of 1000 sp and over 300 pounds in weight) but Vryce insisted they have a fast exit route out of the dungeon over the pit (remember this?) if necessary.
They headed up the mountain and reached the ruins at the top around the afternoon, and camped out for the rest of the day and overnight. Around the middle shifts, Fuma heard the moaning of the ghost in the (now-ruined) tower. He warned the next guy but then hit the sack. The ghost didn't molest them and neither did anything else.
In the morning they headed in. They spent a little time in the entrance way, first scouting it out. Fuma spotted some glittering at the bottom of the pit in the water, muck, and grue at the bottom. So they moved to the edge and Nakar the Unseen levitated Honus down. He reached bottom and as he stood in the muck and urine and filth and looked around, a big (5-hex) brown slime/ooze thing erupted and attacked him. It stuck a pseudopod out and Honus blocked and it stuck to his shield. His morningstar bash didn't phase it, but luckily it let go when Borriz chucked a hatchet into the extended 'pod and cut it badly. Nakar levitated Honus up and used Create Fire to fill part of the pit with flames. Nasty smoke came out and it stank but the slime oozed away. They ignored it after this, and just laid down their ladder-bridge. They secure it along the right wall and then used iron spikes to nail it in place while their scouts - Fuma and Galen - watched the portcullis entrances and the arrow slits. Borriz and Honus stood close guard over Vryce as he nailed in the dungeon side and Nakar hung out invisibly near Raggi on the exit side. They banged their iron pitons in to secure the ladder.
As they did this, Fuma's keen hearing saved them a surprise. A couple of hobgoblins came up into the "right" pillbox and started to fire crossbows at the PCs. Fuma's warning let Borriz and Honus block the bolts and shield Vryce. Nakar came across, and as another hobgoblin came up the other pillbox he was spotted by and shot by Galen. Galen stuck there and shot him a few more times, hitting him first in the hip, then helmet (ineffectually), and then body, and then face. He left him for unconscious after that, blocking quick access up the trap door. Meanwhile on the other side Fuma ducked around between hobgoblin sniping and shot a bolt at one but missed. Nakar put Missile Shield on Galen and he ran across, just in time to see the hobgoblins fleeing down the trap door. He shot the last one in the arm as he left, transfixing it with an arrow. After that, they hobgoblins left them alone.
They tried to lift the main portcullis to the double doors, but Vryce, Honus, and Raggi combined only lifted it a few inches before it hit a locking mechanism. There was no easy way to unlock it from this side and they were unable to break it with sheer strength, so they left off. The lifted the right-side small portcullis and retrieved the notched log they'd found and used before, and then installed it on the left side after lifting the portcullis. To make sure, Borriz then spiked the portcullis up.
[GM note - Yes, this is all extremely noisy. But honestly, metal-armored guys with bright lights and having combats in sound-channeling tunnels shouldn't be able to sneak usefully anyway, so it's not like this mattered that much. They also got lucky on wandering monster rolls.]
They found the iron-covered no-handle door and Borriz had to try twice to pry it open, but he did. It could be double-locked, but wasn't, and double-barred, but the bars were missing. They managed to pass the next door as well, and found themselves in a 20 x 20 room with three more exits. One was partly open and a slimy trail led back from there to the door on the right. So they went left. This door was easily opened. Beyond it they turned left and headed a ways down a corridor. A long room (roughly 18 x 10 yards) ended with a mortared up stone wall. They investigated and found the central stone was a) magical, b) dangerous, and c) covered with something like scratched-in writing. Nakar was unable to decipher it (Critical Failure on Hidden Lore - Magic Writings) due to its cryptic and unusual nature. In front of the stone wall was the scent of long-dry fuel oil, broken bits of wood, and a rusty barrel hoop. In the corner was a broken wheel and bits of what could have been a hand truck of some kind long ago. They left a lightstone halfway down the room and retreated back to the entrance.
Galen aimed and shot the stone with his bow. He hit it dead center and FWOOOOOOOOM! A 4-yard gout of flame belched out and flung bits of stone as fragments, scorched the ground black, and set fire to the wood bits. When the coast was clear, the PCs advanced on the wall and Nakar used Shape Stone to clear it.
Beyond the stone was a hallway, and about 25' down were doors on either side. Nakar announced he needed rest, so the PCs stood guard and Honus and Fuma headed down to scout. They reached the doors and Fuma's Danger Sense triggered like crazy. Before they had time to retreat, the doors on either side banged open. Out burst five wights! They swarmed out fast and ran to cut off the PCs. From further on, more doors opened and zombies began to shuffle up towards the PCs. Fuma started to back off rapidly, backing up to face the wights. Honus was partly cut off from the way back to the PCs, so he retreated into the room some of the wights emerged from. This move would affect the whole rest of the fight.
Borriz, Vryce, and Raggi moved to the fray, as Fuma continued to back off and try to get out. The wights followed fast, with zombies after them. One wight and three zombies peeled off to trap Honus and four wights and nine zombies went forward after the others. Vryce and Borriz backed off out of the room in a fighting retreat as Vryce was Great Hasted by Nakar.
To make a long slog of a fight short, Honus was trapped.
He crippled one zombie and backed further into the room pursued by the wight. He dropped his flail (it's on a lanyard) and got out an vial of alchemist's fire. Meanwhile, Nakar used Create Fire to light the whole corridor on fire almost up to the point that Honus lit up with his vial. The wights shrugged man-killing blow after man-killing blow, seemingly only lightly harmed by each hammered shot. The fire clearly hurt them, though, so Vryce had to take one for the team. He stood in a hex of flame, himself on fire, and fought the wights off in close combat with wrap shots using his greatsword, while Borriz and Red Raggi took shots into the melee to help beat up the wights. Vryce got burned and barely avoided being paralyzed, but his heavy armor his extremely fearlessness helped him avoid their terror aura and his blade kept their energy-sapping claws off of him. He kept them penned up so they couldn't break out and attack the others. Galen sniped from the back and Fuma took a shot or two with his crossbow. Nakar let loose a monster Stone Missile (6d+6 damage and he rolled 38 - 4 6's and 2 4's) and knocked a wight down, so Vryce could finish it before it finished getting back to his feet. The wights eventually got battered down by flames and sheer numbers of successful hits, while the zombies, unable to advance and lacking the initiative to do anything else, stood in the flames and burned. Once the wights fell, the zombies were easily diced up.
Honus meanwhile dropped the wight he was facing as a half-dozen skeletons, and then more zombies and wights, marched out outside his door. Honus closed the door on them.
They wouldn't enter the flames, and Honus couldn't fight his way past them. The rest of the group yelled at Honus to bust out and run to them, it was his only hope. They kept up arrow, bolt, and stone missile fire at skeletons and wights. Borriz stepped up into a Create Fire hex and chucked a hatchet, too, killing a skeleton but caught on fire (it took Raggi tackling him down and both of them to pat out the flames when his clothes caught on fire, too.) Then Honus opened the door and ran out. He took two Critical Hits from waiting skeletons but they didn't penetrate his armor. He kept running through the flames and they pursued. He ran as fast as he could (which wasn't that fast) but they couldn't cut him down before he got through the gap. Nakar sealed it with Shape Stone and they fled to the entrance.
Nakar argued he needed to rest but no one wanted to rest with their backs to the wights and no other exit. They ran back to the door and as they went through, they heard flapping noises and stone-on-stone scraping. They fled through the doors (no one mentioned closing any) and back to the portcullis. Borriz desperately pried out the iron piton and the portcullis fell. Nakar burned his last energy shaping up two pitons and Vryce and Borriz pried up the other two. Fuma watched the portcullis. A stony winged creature - a gargoyle! Came up to it and stuck an arm through and reached around a bit. It then started to try to lift the gate. They scampered across the bridge and finished lifting it up and took it with them. They hotfooted it back to camp, and then to town, worried the gargoyle might follow and fly after them. It didn't, and they finished heading back to Stericksburg.
Tough session - no loot and lots of expenditures - arrows, bolts, two hatchets, a bunch of pitons, some gear and clothing burned, and paut and healing potions sucked down. But it was fun in any case and Vryce really showed what a gutsy knight can do to hold back enemies.
I was a bit critical of Honus's decision to run into the room. I have been avoiding commenting on tactics, but I couldn't help it tonight. I think they got lucky, and while trying to run through the wights would have been bad running into an unknown and unexplored room and leaving enemies between you and your help (and only known escape route) was extremely risky. I think the idea was to hold out there as the PCs steadily beat down the undead but as more and more came, it was clear they couldn't do it. He got out, but I personally think it'll bite adventurers in the ass to run forward into unexplored areas. IMO, anyway, Honus got lucky. One bad roll could have left him helpless and hopeless there, while a bad roll while trying to escape would at least left him near possible rescue. Had the wights been willing to suck up a little flame damage and rushed his room, he'd have been trapped. I expect my players disagree with me, but having said my bit I'll let them risk their PCs as they choose. I kept my mouth shut during, just spoke up after. :)
I'll edit this tomorrow and stick in a few pics.