February 9th, 2014
Weather: Cold, heavy accumulated snow and ice, later snow.
Characters: (approximate net point total)
Dryst, halfling wizard (325 points)
Galen Longtread, human scout (327 points)
Galoob Jah, goblin thief (256 points)
Honus Honusson, human barbarian (302 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)
Vryce, human knight (401 points)
6 human halberdiers, (various points, NPC)
Jon "Bort" Blackbart, human swordsman (?? points, NPC)
Still in town:
Borriz, dwarven knight (308 points)
Christoph, human scout (258 points)
Chuck Morris, human martial artist (303 points)
We started the session, as usual, in Stericksburg. The group gathered rumors, bought some gear (mostly healing potions and strength potions), and headed out. They heard rumors, including a few thematically good ones. They heard about treasure under a statue near a big staircase (or under a staircase near a big statue, one of those), two about dragons (see below), one about how pink slimes reproduce (by converting you into textured meat product too), and how there is a giant staircase so deep you can't see the bottom . . . or even reach the bottom.
So apparently, dwarves hate dragons because they steal dwarven gold . . . and dragons are magical creatures who are the living embodiment of greed ("Hey, like us - we must be dragons" - paraphrasing a bit). Interesting, if true.
The group hired on some hirelings for this trip. They wanted some quality halberdiers to come with them, not the usual bargain henchmen. I countered with a company - a sergeant and his five fellow halberdiers. They weren't all 125-point guys, but they weren't all 62s, either, and they offered to come for 240 sp for all six for a one-day trip. The PCs took them. Jon "Bort" Blackbart came too, as a volunteer.
The PCs headed out to Felltower, but the ice and snow made it hard going and they took until mid afternoon to get up their. After a rest and some scouting, they moved into the castle. The orcs had fortified it further. They put up a stronger gate on the fallen section, and mostly blocked the main gate with a wagon loaded with fallen timber and broken stones. Then, they'd iced the walls down with water and iced over their barricades, too, making them both slick and solid. The PCs were allowed in after their bribe, but no one wanted to take an orc with them. They headed down the well, which took a lot of digging by some servants and then a bit by Raggi and Honus. Some thoughts about the coming need to exterminate the orcs came up. They've certainly been spending the winter expanding their control in the dungeon and their control of the surface.
They headed down, moving directly for the curved metal "airlock" door where they first fought the Lord of Spite. They set up to fight him, putting in earplugs made of cotton ($2/pair, unknown actual value) and banging on the door with their battering ram and trying to activate the six-fingered hand panel with a servant and with the thumb from a six-fingered guy. They are really regretting selling their possibly-living six-fingered body to the orcs.
As they banged away, orcs approached from the old hobgoblin-controlled area, and tried to dissuade them from banging on the door. Honus pointed out that you know you're crazy when the dungeon monsters come to tell you to stop what you're doing. They live in a tunnel complex full of traps and monsters and think trying to get the Lord of Spite to come up was a terrible idea. Channeling George Thurogood we joked the orcs would tell them that "wife kind of funny, she said you can't come in dungeon any more, you know how it is" as an excuse to keep them out.
He didn't show, possibly out of spite, they figured, which just goes to show he's really well named.
They took the opportunity to check a nearby area to ensure their map was correct and that their wasn't any secret room they'd missed. A Seek Earth spell on gold revealed some downward, so since Borriz and Chuck hadn't made it, they decided to skip trying to smash the draugr and instead to head down a level.
They bashed a couple doors - one to pieces with the ram, another pried open with a crowbar. The orcs were pretty seriously blocked easy passage into their new area. They didn't have patrols or guards, probably out of fear of the noise the party was making attracting the Lord of Spite.
The group made it down to the next level, passing up the six-fingered statue on the landing and quickly heading to the trapped secret door. It blasted down a pair of servants who touched it, and Identify Spell showed it to be a 6d deathtouch. So they moved on, and then bashed down the newly contructed wall they found on a previous trip.
Beyond that wall was a hallway and a room. In the room was a statue of a beatiful nude woman, arms outstretched and mouth open just right, head tilted back. Galoob, lecherous goblin that he was, ran up to "investigate" and do a careful hands-on search. He did, and as he grabbed the statue by its breasts, it began to sing, letting out a low, bell-clear moaning note. Immediately a wave of ecstasy washed over them. Most of the NPCs succumbed, but all of the PCs resisted. Honus stepped up and smashed the statue's head off with a massive swing of the Flail of the Gales, taking its head off. Galoob moaned in despair, but the song stopped and the head shattered. A hissing noise revealed a hidden vent was pumping in some kind of gas. The group pulled back out, dragging noodle-limp allies with them. Honus then went back in (he's huge, he's heavily poison resistant, and he's got a solid HT score) and found the gas was poisonous but also low-lying. He hoisted Dryst up and brought him in to magically investigate. They found the vent for the poison, but also found their was a heart-shaped red stone in the statue's head. They took it.
Next up was the chain-sealed room with the blast-shadow on the wall. Long story short, the group set up with a servant in front, two squads to either side, and after Galoob unlocked the door's locked, they looped rope on and had Bort pull it open.
Out charged a loose formation of little green-grey big-eared shark-toothed guys with big knives, all laughing and cheering and giggling like dementedly happy children. Doomchildren, represented by Pathfinder Goblin pre-paints. Immediately realizing what knife-armed mini demons could mean ("Stygian Dolls"), the PCs tried to engage them at a distance with Wait and long reach and arrows. They did to a degree, shooting up some as they charged, triggered explosions as the fragile little demons exploded after a single solid hit (especially since the least damage anyone was doing usually put them well past -1xHP). The doomchildren got in amongst the group, though, as after the initial wave more came, first in small groups and then one by one. The explosions hurt several of the halberdiers badly, wounded Honus and even bothered Vryce when fratricidal explosions set off one that had closed with a foot of him, and set a couple people on fire. Raggi even grabbed one and ran away from the halberdiers to shield them, only to have the little demon chop him in the leg and drop him, crippled! Raggi went berserk. Galen kept shooting down the doomchildren, though, and after the ones that had been closed in had all been detonated before they could kill anyone with direct attacks, he was able to systematically keep back the steady reinforcements that showed up.
They group got everyone safely extinguished (with magic and Galoob patting one guy down), healed Raggi after he calmed down, and then advanced into the room. At the far end of the room beyond they found a statue of a "man" with four legs ending in stumps surrounded by a fringe of snakes, four arms ending in six-fingered claws, and topped with the head of a pretty young boy. It would bring two of its arms together and then apart, and a doomchild would appear in mid-air and drop down, ready to fight. More charged, and a short brawl took out the doomchildren. Great Haste on Vryce let him run the length of the room and hack the arms off the statue, stopping it from summoning more. After some debate, they let Honus chisel the head off the statue, and realized it was a head to one of the busts up on a level above. They put it in a pack after using Ancient History to determine it had been installed on the statue body by the cone-hatted cultists a long, long time ago.
Next up the group investigate the hydra's lair again, to ensure nothing else had moved in. Nothing had. They moved on past its area, and found a bizarre corridor and room.
First, a corridor led off in a long, smooth J-shape, 30 degrees down, with slick (but not ice-slick) floors. A servant went down, falling all the time, and told them a metal door awaited. So Dyst walked down with Walk on Air and Galoob just did so with his 16 DX, and they checked it out. A locked door with recessed hinges was there. Galoob checked for traps and found none, then popped the door open with ease.
Beyond it was a big trapezoidal room, 70' on a side, with the door at the end of one side near a point. Near each wall stood 5 "zombies" with a green gemstone in each of their foreheads, armed with clubs or bent cleaver-like blades. Tempted by the loot, they decided to go for it. So they went back (and the door closed itself), and used Create Object to make enough rope to climb up the slope without issues. They left the NPCs behind to guard the rear and hold the rope, and then went down. Vryce used a Blur spellstone, Galoob popped the lock (it took a while, this time), and then Dryst Great Hasted Vryce. They went in. What followed with a relatively one-sided fight. This was mostly because the players decided instantly that they either needed to decapitate the zombies to take them out, or destroy the green gems. They tried both. Vryce determined his undead-slaying tassel sword wasn't helping against these oddly non-undead undead, and sheathed it and went with his normal sword. He chopped off a head, and chopped through one gemstone to put one down. Raggi went to chop heads. Galen (after an amusing 18) recovered his bow and then started shooting gemstones (at -8 to hit). They found that if they fully sawed off a head, though massive damage, the zombies wouldn't get back up. Any solid damage to a gemstone also killed the zombies; well, the least done was 9 by Galen, so maybe "any" damage is a bit generous.
While the fight raged Galoob held the door to keep it from locking shut on everyone. Raggi suffered some damage when he ran in using All-Out Attack, and Honus was grabbed and held by a zombie and was unable to score a break free, but allies with ridiculous skill were handy to take out zombies with a hold or a threatening position. In short order 9 had their gems destroyed, and 11 were decapitated. It was in this fight someone pointed out the whole session was about heads, and heads with gems in them, and magic heads in general. It would have been more so if the hydra had been dealt with this time, too!
The PCs pried out the stones (which turned out to be magical within the room, not later once removed), and headed back to town.
The next score, after sending Galoob to find some especially interested parties for that very useful ecstasy stone willing to pay 10,000 sp, was 2200 sp each after giving some to the NPCs.
MVP was Galen, for turning what could have been a horrid slog through exploding Doomchildren into two rushes and a series of distant "boom" noises.
We expected Borriz and Chuck today, but neither showed, which was odd. It's rare to have no-shows after they say they can make it. No worries, but it was odd. Because of this, the plans changed - the plan was, lure the Lord of Spite out and kick his butt, and if not, go for the Draugr.
Fully 50% of the group today lived and worked in Japan at some point (the GM, Honus-san's player, and Galoob-kun's player), which is kind of interesting. I think we were northern, central, and southern Japan, too, ranging from me in Niigata all the way down to Galoob's player Kyushu. Counting visits to Japan, maybe only one of the players hadn't been. Just an odd travel note.
Plans to deal with the draugr continue. At this point, the concern is generating enough firepower to kill them and being able to minimize the effect of their high-damage strikes and reduce the odds and effects of the inevitable critical hits. Still, 33 of the guys dealing above 4d damage with real tactical intelligence in their reactions means it won't be easy no matter how loaded for bear the PCs come. Blur spellstones all around seems to be part of the thinking, though. Probably worth it - the druagr and loaded, and spending a few thousand to get extra boost to fight them makes total economic sense.
The NPCs got a 30-odd sp bonus from each player, working out to a nice little bonus for all and enough to make Bort happy he came (although not delighted, obviously). Raggi also took them all out drinking, because he has money to burn. So he says - the running joke is that either Raggi drinks all of his wealth between sessions, or that he says that but he's going to suddenly announce he has been saving it in a diversified portfolio of investments and settle down.
Dryst was thinking of keeping that stone. 3x a day, for free, 6 area, on ecstasy . . . not bad as a weapon. But it was specially 6 area, no exclusions, user too. Better for "those kind of parties" than for fighting, and worth a lot!
I usually don't reveal these kinds of things, but yes, had the gemstones not been destroyed or zombies decapitated, they'd have kept coming. There were other tricks but the PCs didn't fall for any of it.
Also, we did some grappling using bits of Technical Grappling. I like CP a lot better than binary on/off grapples. More people need better Wrestling, though. Only Raggi and Vryce had enough Wrestling to really take advantage.
Good session, lots of fun. Had the Lord of Spite come out (I rolled, and while I won't say what I rolled I will say it meant he wasn't going to come up and out) it would have been a very different but equally amusing session. It's still an open question, will earplugs help against his shout? How tough is he, really? We'll find out another time . . .