December 29th, 2013
Weather: Unseasonably warm, but rainy. Some snow still on the mountaintop.
Characters: (approximate net point total)
Galoob Jah, goblin thief (250 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)
Vryce, human knight (401 points)
Basher the Thug, semi-human thug (?? points, NPC)
Father Hans, human cleric (130 points, NPC)
Shieldbearer Jon, human guard (62 points, NPC)
Blurk, orc warrior (?? points, NPC)
* Joining later:
Dryst, halfling wizard (324 points)
Still in town:
Borriz, dwarven knight (308 points)
Chuck Morris, human martial artist (303 points)
Christoph, human scout (258 points)
Galen Longtread, human scout (327 points)
Honus Honusson, human barbarian (297 points)
We started in Stericksburg as usual, but this time also including a new character (and new player), Galoob Jah, a goblin thief. Galoob has the odd delusion that humans are just the result of strange elf-goblin crossbreeds, and that halflings are a crazed abomination, so I decided he clearly was recruited by Dryst who had dared him to come adventuring with them. Clearly, Galoob doesn't hold it against him.* Galoob has also met Raggi and had heard endless stories of their prior delves, yet joined anyway.
They picked up rumors in town - Raggi had heard a troubadour ("some jerk with a lute") sing a song called the Lament of Lost Sigurd's Sword, about a lost dragon-slaying sword. The also heard that goblins had been evicted from Felltower by orcs, and that still more goblins (Galoob's tribe) has been looking for work as mercenaries. And one about bloodless wizards - wizards who traded their blood for deathless immortality and power.
The gathered up some gear, including light stones from (latecomer) Dryst, and headed up to Felltower. Once there, they stashed some extra gear (blankets, overcoats, etc.) and headed into the orc-held upper works. Some gesturing and pointing and coin paying later, they headed down into the dungeon, accompanied by an axe-toting orc named Blurk. Since the group was pretty thin, Vryce suggested clearing out parts of level 2. Galoob was all for level 3, but Vryce's plan prevailed.
They headed down and to the left, past the gargoyles (who fled when they saw who was coming) and then around to the library and down the trap door.
On level two they spotted a slug trail (using Galoob's infravision) but no monsters, and dropped down. They explored to the right and found one of the statue rooms. One of the three doors in the room was iron (meteoric, Dryst told them later when he showed up to criticize their mapping skills), and showed signs of failed assault on the door and scorches in front of it. They headed out the only door that showed any signs of traffic, and into what turned out to be an orc-held area. Blurk tried to talk to them, but he doesn't speak Common or Goblinian, and they don't speak Orcish, so little communication actually occurred but both sides seemed to think it occasionally had.
They went through the orc-held area and into what turned out to be the wizard-held area, which they'd visited twice before and did little except to get Zed killed.
They encountered fewer guardians than before, but once again triggered a 5d damaging attack (Deathtouch) and a cackling laughter when they moved into one of the rooms. Vryce had set it off, and just stood there to see if it would keep killing him - it didn't, it was one-shot. So they moved on.
They found the room with the smashed wardrobes, and had just decided to head into the one room they really hadn't explored much when Dryst arrived. He took command of this venture, cancelled their foolish commands, and then said they'd head into the one room they really hadn't explored much.
Vryce forced the door open and they found a large, dusty room. After some created servants jumped around on the floor to ensure there wasn't a pit trap, the group headed in. Dryst checked the dust, and it reminded him of his old days learning alchemy. So they left the room and Dryst used Create Fire to burn a section of the dust - but it was nothing, it was inert and safe. They found a single door leading out, iron-bound wood and locked. They found no traps, either by looking or by having a servant touch the door. So Galoob picked the lock (easily) and they moved in. They found they were in a small complex of cells, some of which had skeletons in them. Vryce took out his undead-slaying sword and whacked the hand off of one - which worked out less well then they'd hoped.
Instead of disarming an animated skeleton, they woke up what turned out to be eight flaming skulls. The undead critters ignited and they flew out and attacked. They used their superior movement to dive-bomb the PCs, attacking on the pass and then flying back out of range. Immediately, Raggi charged forward, Blurk's morale snapped like a twig and he ran, Galoob melted into the shadows, and Shieldbearer Jon and Father Hans turned to watch the rear (while Hans drew his holy sumbol, in case they had a Dread.) Vryce did some good work on them with his undead slaying sword, which seemed to be proof even against their Diffuse nature. They did some harm to a few PCs (and Basher) but Dryst got to work and put Resist Fire on himself, Vryce, and then Basher.
As they fought, and as Blurk ran, Dryst presciently said "This is when the wizard and golems attack us from behind." And that's what happened. Blurk ran out, and into the fists of a flesh golem. Shieldbearer Jon saw him go down and cried out. The PCs quickly redeployed, with the flaming skulls going from menace to distraction in no time. Vryce stopped and quick-drew and then quaffed his potion of Hero's Brew, then ran back to block the door, but the golems simply charged liked giant (SM+1) sized linebackers into and through him. They trampled Hans, showed Jon aside, and attacked Vryce. Dryst had started casting Great Haste just in case, and put it on Vryce.
What followed was a wild close-in melee in tight quarters. The wizard (who controlled the golems) threw Stench over the area. Stench is a very brutal spell - 1d damage if you fail a HT roll, and you immediately begin to suffocate (since no one has time to take a breath), which means -1 FP per second. Ouch. He followed it with a Mass Sleep spell over the combatants. Combined, that choked Father Hans, put Shieldbearer Jon and Dryst (who also choked for 1d) to sleep, nearly put Vryce to sleep (Luck), and naturally didn't affect his golems. Vryce fought hard, cutting down some golems (and Raggi decapitated one), but the fight seemed to be turning against them. Dryst out, folks choking and dying, Great Haste winding down, and Vryce even dropped his sword on a critical parry by a golem. He'd cut a golem's legs off, and then couldn't really hurt it with his undead-slaying sword and it had grabbed his legs. All was going badly.
Then two important things happened. First, Vryce (resisting some takedowns from a legless golem who'd grabbed his leg) managed to recover his Puissance +1 sword. Next, Galoob held his breath and plunged into the poison gas to wake up Dryst. Once Vryce had his sword back and he started to cut his way out of the mist and through the golems. And once Galoob woke up Dryst he was able to Purify Air and clear the Stench spell. As Father Hans was desperately crawling away, burning skulls swarmed him, burning him badly. Dryst put Resist Fire on him.
Meanwhile, Vryce carved his way out of the cell area and into the next room - and even Evaded past a golem only to get zapped for 5d of Shocking Touch from an invisible wizard to his side. Naturally, I rolled awfully (16 damage, aka, much less than average), but it was still enough to hurt and stun metal-armored Vryce. Two golems too advantage. One slammed him from behind and knocked him flat, the other crouched and grabbed his ankles. The wizard moved out of range. Vryce desperately wanted to pull his Magebane grande and fling it, but realized (as one golem planted a foot on his back) that he couldn't. So he recovered his sword, and while face down with a golem standing on him swung wildly behind him. He hit a leg and chopped it off, randomly hitting the leg planted on him. The golem fell. He rolled aside only to get grabbed again, just as Raggi stormed into the fray (he'd been sparring with flaming skulls on the far side of the stench spell before this) and killed a golem (with a hard body blow followed by two savage neck shots). Vryce lopped the arm off the golem grabbing him and stood back up as his Great Haste spell wound down.
The wizard turned invisible. The group sprang into action. Galoob ran into the room and slammed the door behind him. Raggi sprinted across the room at Vryce's command and slammed that door shut. The wizard - if he hadn't run fast enough - was stuck in with them. Vryce got his sling ready with a meteoric iron bullet. Goolob tried to spot the wizard's track with Infravision, but it's rough to scan a whole room for barely-warm prints from booted feet. Raggi guarded his door.
Then, Raggi suddenly slumped over, asleep. The door by him started to open - Vryce took a shot at the spot the opener would need to be in . . . but missed. Galoob ran over. The wizard (invisibly) was escaping. Just then Druyt cast See Invisible on Vryce, after failing twice before thanks to range penalties and many spells on. Vryce sprinted after him as Galoob woke up Raggi.
Vryce caught up in the hall of lenses, and saw the wizard at the fringe of his light source, at a full run. He shot, drilling him in the back with a sling bullet. He didn't know it, yet, but the shot was enough to kill the man outright. He took a couple more shots as he advanced, putting a second bullet into him. Once he got to the wizard, against his usual principles, he cut his throat. Can't trust a wizard to be dead, he figured.
They dragged him back, and rest for 30 minutes. All the wizard had was an empty potion belt, a magic robe, and a magic staff (a normal staff with the Staff spell on it). Clearly he lived nearby and didn't tote treasure as part of his battle-load.
Searching around further in the lens room let them map it out and locate all 9 lenses and some doors out. One pair of doors was to one side, a single metal door was opposite the way they came in. The wizard was clearly headed there.
That door was locked, and after ensuring there were no traps Galoob had at it. He popped the lock easily despite its difficulty. Behind it was a maze of some sort - made entirely of some mildly magical metal that seemed ot futz with seek spells. And reflect lightning spells.
They searched the maze a bit, but only found one rune on a floor, which annihilated a servant sent blindly in to take a rubbing. Some extra exploring and Seek Earth spells didn't turn up much, and it was late, so they decided to retreat and come back again with a scout with Absolute Direction.
They never woke the orc back up, simply turning him over to his tribe and telling them, via Gift of Tongues, that next time they want a brave orc. They went back to town and sent Basher on his way without even a tip or a thank you, but he wasn't very useful this trip. The robe was a Hooded Robe of Protection, which would have been awesome for a SM+0 wizard or Father Hans. But if they kept it, Galoob's first trip wouldn't have been profitable so they sold it and netted 975 each including the staff (I said 960 each, but I forgot the Staff and the Fortify spell on the robe). Vryce and Dryst also voted Galoob MVP, because Vryce kicking ass is his job, but Galoob was purely useful and his waking up Dryst (running into poison gas to do it, after overcoming his cowardice) was really the most valuable thing anyone did all session.
Good game, and it's nice to have a roster of 8 players now!
* "Because in spite of his race, this man is extremely valuable to me." Halfing or not, he's a heck of a wizard.
My flaming skulls differ a bit from DF2, and have an Achilles Heel that can negate their Diffuse damage resistance. What does so isn't clear, but both Vryce's undead-slaying sword and Raggi's magic axe seemed to work just fine on them.
Stench is badly named. It's not a bad smell, it's a suffocating lethal gas. It's cheap - and if you can trap people in the area effect - surprisingly lethal. It didn't kill anyone this time, but it almost turned the entire fight.
Vryce is aiming now for human maximum ST and HP. 20 and 30, respectively, and then Striking ST 21 to get to 4d to maximize the Weapon Master bonus for his sword. BL 80 won't hurt, either.
As written, Sleep is like a poor man's Daze spell. You wake up at any loud noise, any slapping or whatever. Daze takes damage or spell resistance to do it. I ruled you need a HT roll to wake up from Sleep, and that loud noise has to be really loud - louder than combat. It really needs to be fixed in the RAW to work as a stronger version of Daze. I also ruled that taking damage from losing FP after 0 doesn't wake you up from sleep. Sorry, it's slow death from system shutdown, not pain.
Before anyone asks, yes, you'll see the Hero's Brew at some point. Maybe in Pyramid, or elsewhere, we'll see. When I finally put all my Felltower magic items together somewhere. Suffice to say it boots your ST and DX and Speed, but at some cost in foolhardiness. Vryce hardly noticed.