We left last session off in the dungeon because a big fight had run long and I couldn't stay late. Today we finished it. This might be a little confusing, and there are a lot of little details I left out. A full-session fight, consisting of a lot of little combats, is like that.
I wasn't originally thinking we'd spend the whole session on one fight, but it was a good fight and a good session, so, hurrah for that!
Characters (in the dungeon): (approximate net point total)
Asher Crest-Fallen, human holy warrior (270 points)
Koric, human guard (~70 points)
Orrie, human guard (~70 points)
Bjorn Felmanson, human barbarian (252 points)
El Murik, dwarven cleric (254 points)
Galoob Jah, goblin thief (256 points)
Gerald Tarrant, human wizard (250 points)
Hannibal the Flammable, human wizard (254 points)
Rahtnar the Vegan, dwarven martial artist (254 points)
We picked up where we left last time, which was mid-fight in the dungeon.
We also had Bjorn's player there. Since it was only his second session, it felt less fun to have him run one of the PCs of a player who couldn't make it (this session, only Galoob - Gerald being unconscious). So we went with Option 3 on the Bjornforcement roll. At the suggestion of Dryst/Rahtnar's player, I didn't tell them the target numbers, just success or failure. Heh. That was a great addition.
The "bad guys" (Or "good guys", as I always insist on referring to NPCs as) had gone, and the PCs took their turn.
Rahtnar was now alone, the zombies having fallen. The halberdiers and their axe-wielding leader were closing in on him, and the archers were in the darkness aiming at him (probably). So first Rahtnar engaged the swordsmen's leader and slashed him badly on the neck, inflicting a terrible but not fight ending wound. He then axed his foot and put him down, even as Great Haste petered out. His foes formed up and closed in.
So Rahtnar charged right into the darkness, so no one could engage him. He ran along the edge of the dim light from the Continual Light stone, trying to circle around so he could either engage without risking back shots from arrows or move to a better position. He managed to do so, but just as he circled around and attacked, he was blasted with a fireball from behind that lit his backpack on fire.
Meanwhile the fight at the doorway went badly right away. Asher scored an immediate hit on the sword-armed red-crested swordsman, going for a maxed-out Deceptive Attack and making his roll. The -3 he inflicted was enough to cause his foe to fail to defend, and he hit . . . but roll a pathetic minimum damage and just pinged off of his plate armor. His opponent returned the favor in short order with a swing and a spearman with a stab that put Asher right down, stunned and gravely wounded. They'd follow up almost immediately after that and knock him out, with a slash and another stab. That let them form up on the doorway.
El Murik backed up, as the swordsman moved in and the spearmen and their leader re-arranged to stab more effectively.\
Meanwhile the spearman lit on fire by Galoob kept trying to roll out the flames, so Galoob did an All-Out Attack (Strong), rolled max damage, and pierced his vitals for 15 injury. The guy stayed awake for a few seconds longer, but that was it, and passed out while burning under alchemist's fire, and eventually died.
As this happened, Bjorn dropped down to the top of the stairs, huffing from the exertion of, uhm, running full speed into the fight and not stopping to gaze longingly at the sleek, watery, busty, naked forms of the murder nymphs. Any dampness about his shirtless person was not from groping or clasping or anything, but merely from exertion from running, and you have no evidence to the contrary. (I'd chosen 6- with a +1 each turn, and he rolled a 9 on turn 4).
The other spearman fenced with Hannibal a bit. Hannibal put a Burning Touch spell on his staff, but he didn't get to land it. The spearman and he faced off for a few seconds, but his companions cried out, "Form up, form up!" and he ran back to rejoin them.
Meanwhile Hannibal laid down two one-hex smoke clouds to obscure vision, just as the fiery embers of the Fire Cloud spell wound down and Bjorn ran up.
Rahtnar kept fighting with his foes, but it didn't go well. With a -2 DX for his backpack being on fire, and some terrible damage rolls meant he'd spent more than 3 seconds face-to-face with a lightly armoured inferior foe and barely managed to cripple a leg to put him down. That meant he not only couldn't follow up, but that he was being pressed badly.
Another fireball smacked him from the darkness, but still didn't inflict any harm. His scale armor helped a lot here, as did his native Dwarven DR. The halberdiers pressed him, and their axe-and-shield carrying leader ran wide and around to cut off Rahtnar. Rahtnar maneuvered to keep them all in view, giving up his back to the mage in the darkness, holding them off despite some injuries. But then he failed a defense roll and took a shot to the leg from the axeman and went down with a crippled leg. Although he'd become unstunned and hold on for a while after re-readying his axe from the floor, that's all he did. It would be significant, in that it let the doorway fight wind down first, but he didn't take anyone else out.
The doorway fight continued. Bjorn was pressed back by the swordsman and his spear-toting friends, but a timely 3 put a max-damage shot into a random location - right leg. He did so much damage (26 basic damage!) that it hacked clean through the leg. He made his roll to hit the other leg, and sheered through that, too. Ouch. The swordsman fell face-down, but was neither stunned nor unconscious, and cursed Bjorn! Bjorn responded with an axe to the back, inflicting more damage, but still he wouldn't die.
Bjorn backed up, and took more injuries, including some arrows from the archers who'd fled from Rahtnar's charge and re-formed up by their mage buddy. They fired the bodkin arrows they'd had ready to deal with Rahtnar's scale armor into the steely and Shatnerian chest of Bjorn, which hurt him badly. That, plus more wounds from swords and spears, put him in a bad way. Meanwhile El Murik had engaged in melee and put his pick into a foe, but couldn't take the time to pull it out and simply left it in him as he backed off. Meanwhile Bjorn accidentally hacked himself in the left arm.
Galoob tossed the first of a couple smoke nageteppo to disrupt line of sight, which kept more arrows from coming in.
Eventally Rahtnar passed out, and his foes put in a final round of hits and then formed up and advanced on the door. Meanwhile Hannibal kept up some fireball fire, systematically damage his foes and igniting them on fire - he toasted their leader into a human torch, who fled in raving terror only to die elsewhere from the flames. El Murik put a Sunbolt at the mage but missed, and then had to move to stay alive.
Bjorn dropped unconscious after another hit, even as Galoob handed him a healing potion. Galoob bravely stepped up and stabbed at incoming foes, as did El Murik, who left his pick embedded in a foe he'd engaged in the doorway earlier but tried to shield-bash a foe aside. Hannibal just kept fireballing, and no one took a swipe at him because they had more direct problems to either side until he'd gotten himself relatively clear.
With Bjorn down, El Murik started casting Awaken. It took 3 tries, but on the last one he got him awake. Bjorn managed to stay awake long enough to (Q)uaff a Potion, and grabbed his axe and stood up. Even as he finished readying his shield, the halbierdiers arrived.
It didn't go well for them against the group. Hannibal had hurt them with an Explosive Fireball earlier, and Bjorn dealt some serious damage. Galoob got in a timely and effective vitals stab with his rapier (which stands at least as tall as him). Meanwhile one of the fighters who'd lost a foot had been Levitated and sent into the fray but he was torched by Hannibal and killed by Bjorn.
At this point, the fight suddenly went quiet. The enemy mage put a Darkness(?) spell over himself and his archers, and the PCs backed out of view. Bjorn hacked down the door to use as a mantlet.
They spent a few minutes discussing what to do, even as the enemy was heard regrouping and dragging off wounded.
That pretty much ended the fight - the enemy abandoned the field (which turned out to be 100' long, 70' wide, with another door on the far end and double doors to either side) and anyone out of easy reach. They'd stabbed Rahtnar a good one before they left him for dead, not wanting to mess around too much. They left his axes, mysteriously, despite their obvious value (cough, cough, Signature Gear) but otherwise were gone.
The PCs finished off the wounded, and dragged those with valuable stuff to the surface. They stripped those there and left the dead for dead, and headed out.
Long story short, despite some Boating roll mishaps, they managed to make it safely back, with barely enough food to make it (Bjorn didn't have enough, so they all had to chip in). But they were alive, and well, and had done some serious damage to the opposition.
Final loot was some saleable armor (including the suit of plate, which Asher deemed too heavy), a Potion of Strength (kept by Rahtnar, since Bjorn said, "I AM a Potion of Strength," a fine thrusting broadsword with Puissance +1 (kept by Asher), and some assorted weapons. Most of them were sold, but Bjorn kept a knife and an axe as backup. No cash, because like Col. Bat Guano, the bad guys didn't go into combat with loose change in their pockets. Still, with what they sold, they made enough for full XP.
MVPs: First session, Hannibal (nominated by Hannibal, for his excellent fight-shaping spells), and Bjorn (by everyone, for his timely 3 that double-dismembered the foe they feared the most.)
Why didn't that axe-wielder use that Potion of Strength? You can't take two doses. He'd taken one (and rolled a lousy 1, too, boosting him all the way from a 13 to a 14.) He carried the other because you never know.
We went with the always-5-hex-diameter 1-2/3-1/3 damage bands for explosive spells. Only one was used but it was fun.
The foes in this fight are still going to be there for the next fight - albeit in a reduced state, what with so many casualties. They were mostly much weaker than the PCs, one-on-one, but contrived whenever possible to not be one-on-one with the PCs. That came true in this session more than the last, which is why the PCs suffered for the damage they caused. A good example was Bjorn, who felt a slam attempt against the big guy was risky, but worth it. Almost 20 damage later, and having done nothing but get shield-checked back (a Block), he realized that one vs. many is bad even if the one is much better than each of the many. That probably saved him later - he wouldn't rush ahead to finish the fight, instead they backed off to regroup, use the door as a mantlet, and - as the former U.S. Marine who runs Hannibal put it - stack up, and then advance with cover and in unison.
Having Rahtnar run ahead in the first place was to not "waste" any seconds of Great Haste, but there was some discussion that maybe putting on Great Haste right away on the fast guy was the wasteful tactic - perhaps next time it'll be better to wait until the fight develops, and put it on someone right in the thick of things. That way there isn't the "run out and use this before it runs out" issue to be concerned with. Plus, I think everyone felt like they'd made a mistake frittering away some resources early. They went all-in on the fight, though, to good effect.
Bjorn immediately purchased Slayer Training (Axe/Mace Swing to Neck) and improved Axe/Mace with his leftover points. I like the offensive bent of this guy. He's not defensively weak, although some awful rolls mean that he took a lot of damage. He missed a pile of easy rolls. But when he hit back, you knew it.
Asher is considering putting points into Broadsword and pushing off his Cleric lens until later - he's already bought the +1 IQ, but the PCs desperately need more offensive melee firepower right now. Asher's plan dovetailed nicely with the original lineup, but now he's one of the guys they needing fighting from. We'll see what he does with it. I generally stay out of what they do, but I did let Asher know it's fine to partly buy the Cleric lens, and then come back for the rest later.
I'll post some details on the casualties they inflicted, and some pictures, tomorrow night.