Date: October 9th, 2016
Weather: Rainy into warm and sunny.
Dryst, halfling wizard (422 points)
Hasdrubul Stormcaller, human wizard (292 points)
Hjalmarr Holgerson, human knight (283 points)
Brother Ike, human initiate (135 points)
Mo (his momma call him Kle), human barbarian (301 points)
Vryce, human knight (489 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)
We started in town. The group purchased some potions and torches and gear, and gathered rumors, some of which mentioned big mangy rats and highly intelligent rats in the dungeon, and a few other tidbits, like not trying to kill living pits with arrows and spears and bolts.
They headed out, bringing the "Stone Book of Teleporting" with them. They reached the summit talked to the orcs. Hasdrubul went up this time. The orcs complained that "last time" the group had caused them a lot of trouble with the Lord of Spite. Hasdrubul said, "That wasn't me. I was at Wizard Court, I had jury duty, it happens." It took a while to get the orc negotiator, Lern, to come and talk to them. Dryst was annoyed by the delay, since he had to lurk invisibly nearby ready to re-cast Gift of Tongues.
(Hasdrubul's excuse sparked a lot of comments interspersed all game about Wizard Court, Hasdrubul's trial for electrocuting Larry - "I plead not guilty because of reasons, and also because I'm a wizard." "You're a wizard you say? Case dismissed! Also, we find Larry double guilty." - what wizard court actually does, and other amusing nonsense that is now pretty much canonical.)
They got down to brass tacks, with Hasdrubul arguing that the delvers would be able to kill the Lord of Spite. The orc said, "5000!" Hadrubel said "You pay us 5000." They eventually settled at the PCs paying 2000 sp for entry, and 1/4 of the loot, and they'd kill the Lord of Spite. But the orcs had to help them lure him out of his door. They agreed and paid and headed in.
So that's what they did - they headed to the Lord of Spite's area, escorted (the long, long way) by the orcs. The orcs brought a wizard, a half-dozen or so guards (including Lern), and a number of "musicians" with trumpets, gongs, and drums. The PCs set up, and then realized they had a few people who hadn't touched the mysterious stone altar. So they went and did that, which didn't make the orcs very happy - they had to stand around for a good part of an hour as the PCs went off with escorts, did the touching, then came back.
Hasdrubul, Hjalmarr, and Brother Ike all touched the altar. Hasdrubul got +1 to all of his attributes for one day (useful, since most of his spells are at 19 . . . ), 33 of Hjalmarr's silver coins turned to gold, and Brother Ike got +2 HT and Attractive for one day.
They went back and finished setting up. This involved a Mystic Mist over themselves and the orcs, putting Oil of Puissance on their weapons, putting in earplugs, and so on. Mo put his man trap in front of the door to get one of the boars. The orcs began to make noise - lots of noise. Banging on the door, drumming, horns, gonging, etc. It was noisy - nearly deafening.
Finally, the orcs pulled back at a sign from their wizard. They got ready.
A few minutes later, the PCs felt the rumble of the Lord of Spite, and the door opened. Out stepped Durak. He stomped right down on the man trap, and it bent and snapped shut on his clawed foot. He ignored it, and walked with a clang for a while. His boars clopped out after him - big red-eyed monstrous ones. Durak took one look at the Mystic Mist and stood there motionless for a few seconds. Then he dispelled a big chunk of the Mystic Mist.
Once he'd done that, he and the boars advanced. One boar went left, one went right - with Durak, right at the PCs. Durak advanced slowly, with his club and stone axe in his hands. Then as he saw the array in front of him, he chuckled and said something in a language no one understood, and then spoke a vile utterance of some kind.
Everyone on the battlefield - it was a tight T-shaped hallway - had to roll Will against his power. Most of the orcs failed, and ranged from being merely deafended to stunned to being comatose . . . and at least one fell over clutching his chest. Mo and Hjalmarr dropped in comas. Vryce was deafened. Ike was deafended. Raggi and Hasdrubul as well. Dryst was fine - only he managed to resist, thanks to a Blocking spell Boost Intelligence, which upped his Will by 6.
Durak moved into melee. Dryst started to Great Haste people, starting with himself.
Meanwhile, one boar charged the PCs and another the orcs. The orcs, let's just sum it up by saying it wasn't pretty. None of them were able to fight back, and the ones most ready got rammed down by a demonic war boar and gored and slashed and trampled. In a few seconds, it rampaged through the orcs, killed the wizard (who had remained up, and starting casting), and then tore up the "musicians" (who had weapons out, but mostly had been incapacitated by the vile utterance.
On the PCs end, Raggi got charged by a boar. Vyrce feinted the Lord of Spite, won by a large margin (he was rolling amazing on feints - 18-19 point margins on his roll, leveraging his Two-Handed Sword-27), and went for two of the three skulls Durak wears on his neck. He hit with both, and shattered two of the skulls. Dryst's player quipped, "And we were afraid of this guy?" A second later, he smashed the third one. Hahah!
Nothing spectacular happened. They may be the secret to defeating him, as they learned from a sage, but they are clearly not the way to directly kill him. Likely, they're mitigating some problems he has or acting as an Achilles' Heel on some of his resistances and defenses and so on.
Durak fought back, but even his strong attacks didn't bother Vryce (who has a base Parry 20 and a heavy sword), but each club hit he parried caused a HT check from some reverberating force. Raggi, Great Hasted, took on a boar. He wounded it but got gored and went berserk. He took four swings at its skull, hitting all four times - but it Dodged all four. Vryce took a second to try and cut it up - he also being Great Hasted, and he sliced it a bit. Dryst hit it with a Stone Missile and injured it further. Hasdrubul shocked it with Lightning hoping to stun it (nope).
Durak took a step back and put down a Blackout spell over much of the area. Vryce ran back, knowing he needed to get out of the pitch darkness. Raggi kept fighting, swinging wildly in the dark while a boar attacked him. Dryst put Dark Vision on himself, then Vryce. Durak stepped up to attack Raggi, and clubbed him in the leg and chopped him in the arm. The club strike was a 3 - max damage critical - and he pulverized the left leg and kept going into the right leg and crippled it. The axe took Raggi's left arm off in a single swipe. Raggi fell, screaming in rage. The boar trampled him and moved in.
Vryce charged up. The casters kept casting or preparing spells. Brother Ike had been frantically casting Awaken every turn, but despite some good rolls Mo and Hjalmarr wouldn't wake up (lots of poor rolls by them).
Vryce and the Lord of Spite fought mano-y-mano (マンツーマン, if you don't speak Spanish) and inflicted a series of nasty cuts on him, thanks mostly to a nearly-ridiculous series of extremely good Feint rolls. He eventually managed to cut the boar down, too, just as the other one charged in after finishing the orcs.
Meanwhile, Mo and Hjalmarr woke up after another pair of Awaken spells - first Mo, then Hjalmarr. Both were deaf, and in the dark, but scrabbled for weapons to try to get up and fight. The board charged in and attacked them. Even Dryst got mixed up in the fight after getting too close, and the boar tried to slam him. He managed to block - despite its size and power, Dryst rolled a 3 and turned him aside and let him by. Mo knifed it from the ground as it gored him and ran him over, and Hjalmarr armed up with his axe once Dryst put Dark Vision on him. Somewhere around this time, Durak put Curse on Vryce, which went off went it turned a critical hit of his into a miss.
The boar eventually got taken down through sheer damage. It dropped and Durak was alone. He kept backing up, using his clear rear area to Retreat and his long arms to fight at the same distance as Vryce. Vryce rushed him and got hit with the club, knocking him backwards and over the corpse of one of the boars. He got up immmediately with his Great Haste. Mo and Hjalmarr joined Vryce, cautiously after seeing what happened, and moved in, backing off the Lord of Spite.
He kept backing off until he was in the doorway. Each time, he would set up with a Wait and force the PCs to advance to him, then Retreat to open up space after inflicting some mayhem (he got parried, but never missed a shot). Once in the doorway, Mo moved in on him with his demon hunter machete readied. Durak's weapons snapped out and his axe cut off Mo's arm (even average damage by Durak was enough to cause automatic dismemberment.) Hjalmarr moved up and Vryce as well.
At this time Hasdrubul - who had Dark Vision on - took Brother Ike's hand and led him through the darkness towards the fray, hoping to get him healing the injured, like now-unconscious Raggi.
In the stairwell, they were out of the darkness. The Lord of Spite was clearly horribly wounded - many slashes, lots of dripping ichor, very ragged looking. Still, he wasn't done. He fought Vryce for a few more seconds. Hjalmarr got pancaked into the wall inside the stairwell and went down, but not out. Mo moved him.
And the Lord of Spite stepped backwards off the landing into space, and fell to the bottom (visible with Dark Vision). He smashed into the ground, but got up seemingly not worse for wear, and walked off.
The PCs quickly got together and - despite everyone except Dryst being totally deaf (see below), managed to decide to pursue him. Dryst cast Walk on Air on everyone after they dragged Raggi into the stairwell along with his axe, healing him a few times, drank a few potions, and then closed the door. They moved down the air to the bottom, avoiding the difficult spiral stair climb down.
They meant to finish him.
At the bottom, they found only tiny obsidian chips from their previous fight. Mo motioned for them to follow him - he found the trail. It led right, then into a room. That room had a black glass hemisphere in the ceiling and some rat droppings, and the shattered bits of the man trap. They ignored it and moved on, finding a long room some distance later.
In it were a pack of ravenous maned rats, who charged en masse and attacked. There was a brawl, where the rats tried to overrun the PCs. Hasdrubul put up a small Spark Storm and Dryst threw Explosive Lightning to stun several of them. The fighters meleed them, taking a fair amount of damage from bites and spines, often getting surrounded on all sides. Mo smashed himself in the leg with his morningstar once, then dropped that and tried knifing them since it's easier to use a Reach C weapon at Reach C. In the end they carved them up, and Hjalmarr slammed his way out of the rats and into a corner where he and the lightning from the mages finished most of them off. One rat ran off, but Mo couldn't catch it and Vryce wasn't going to bother.
My only picture from the session:
In the room was a pair of double doors, maybe 18' across and that tall as well. They were decorated with rows and rows of pictographs of animals, birds, fish, weird symbols, etc. Someone had painted a big triangle on them with white paint.
They continued past the doors and out a corridor on the other side that Mo discovered by flinging a lightstone ahead.
They found another room, blocked off by a Force Dome. Hasdrubul cut an ingress and then, once they moved to the other side, an egress with Dispel Magic.
Down more corridor they reached a door. Dryst created a servant to deal with it, but it couldn't open it. It took a few tries but they forced it. Inside was a rectangular room with four doors, and the ichor seemed to go the left one. Mo forced that one, and a purple light limmed him - but did nothing. He felt briefly paralyzed, but that was all. Ike spotted the source - a purple disk on the ceiling. So Mo smashed it, and they went back to the open door.
Beyond it was a short corridor connecting to a cave. So in they went. Dryst put See Secrets on himself to investigate an "alcove" but found nothing (Which just goes to show you, words matter. I was trying to describe small dead-end bit of cave, but I said "alcove-like" and they decided they must investigate the alcove. Descriptions can be tough.)
They moved into the cave, which opened above them and to the sides. They decided to hug the right wall, then saw some glittering. A few coins?
A tossed light stone revealed a lot of scattered coins, but also a big pile of thousands upon thousands of coins. Silver, some gold, some gemstones, all topped with a stone head.
After some discussion ("Is this the demon-ape room? Is this the same demon-ape type in a new room? Is it an illusion?") they decided. They sent a servant to go and get treasure, and to check if the head was the top-end of a monster playing possum. Nope. It walked over, grabbed a cupped double handful out of the pile, and walked back, coins dribbling. It had a mix of silver with some gold and semi-precious stones in it. Meanwhile, Mo watched their back.
Hasdrubul heard a wet sloppy noise, but couldn't place it. A few moments later, they heard it - a gigantic hunting slime, all of 20-24 feet in diameter and a yard high - rushed them at 5-6 yards a second. Hjalmarr turned but had no where to go - it was simply too big to dodge. He took the slam on his shield, which hurt him a bit and stuck the monster to his shield. Vryce moved over and slashed it, and his sword had considerable trouble getting into the goop . . . and was stuck for 19 CP, exactly what he'd inflicted. The wizards hit it with Lightning and Fireball spells, for no effect.
Hjalmarr had a second to start ditching his shield, but didn't want to, and tried to break free. He got it partly loose, but then the slime oozed over him and Vryce. Within a few seconds, even as they struggled to break free, it started to envelope them. Mo, who'd seen the lightning flash, turned and rushed it, drawing and hurling alchemist's fire near it. Hasdrubul threw one into it - and it just stuck there, whole, unshattered, because slimes aren't hard surfaces. The slime started to suffocate Vryce and Hjalmarr and crush them, and move away. They successfully blew up the alchemist's fire with an Explosive Lightning spell, used Lend Energy to keep the FP of the suffocating guys up, and Dryst used Fast Fire to triple the burning speed (and thus damage) of the alchemist's fire. Mo accidently spiked himself in the foot with one flask and set himself on fire, but Extinguish Fire took care of that.
Eventually, the slime expired - but not before a really scary moment when it seemed like they'd die or, at least, need Flesh to Stone or Body of Air to preserve them or allow them to escape. Even as they finished this, Mo moved over with his axe choked up and started to carefully slice Vryce's face free so he could breath. It took some doing - it was very sticky, and slow work, and they were in deep. He got him free.
Dryst created another servant, intending to send him over to the pile with the first one for treasure. The first one he'd already dispatched to get the stone head this time. It had it, but was struggling with the weight and awkwardness (they're ST 9, DX 9). But then they heard a chuckle, and heard drag-stomp, drag-stomp, drag-stomp. The Lord of Spite was slowly walking up from deeper in the cave, from the far side of the treasure. He still looked very ragged, but not as bad as before, and he was armed and ready. He was walking just fast enough to overtake the servant.
Hasdrubul frantically started to get out the big Stone Book of Teleporting.
The original plan was, send a servant over, get Durak to look in it, and then grab the treasure and get out while the orcs deal with him. Realizing they couldn't fight him in this condition - and that Vryce and Hjalmarr would still be stuck when he closed in - Hasdrubul had a plan. He ran over, and started showing the book. First, the new servant. Gone. Then Vryce - gone. Then Hjalmarr, just after Mo freed his face. Gone.
Dryst next, as his servant with the head was casually double-amputated by the advancing Lord of Spite. Hasdrubul heard crawling clawing noises - Durak wasn't alone. He looked in the book, and it fell to his feet. Only Mo was left.
Mo tried to escape with the book. He grabbed it and ran. He made it as far as the Force Dome room, but one sprang up as he moved quickly through, boxing him in. Defeated, he sat down with the book on his lap and opened it up and looked in, hoping it would come with him. It didn't. He appeared in the room with the others.
Using a glow vial, they got themselves out, and then hiked the long way to the original fight scene. The orcs had brought reinforcements, and were dealing with the dead and mortally wounded and merely comatose orcs. They weren't happy. Mo touched the door with his right hand - nothing. His left? Worked. The door opened. Dryst belated tried to screen the orcs from seeing how it was done, but it was done before he said they should do so.
They found Raggi within, conscious, and he said, "What the hell happened?" They explained, a little, and helped carry him out along with his limbs and axe. They told the orcs, "We'll get him next time" and handed over a few hundred in coins. The orc leader on the scene said, "NO NEXT TIME!"
The PCs left, escorted out, and took that as a declaration of war. They limped back to town with a little bit of treasure, knowledge of where there is more, and a need for a lot of supplies.
After the other players left, Dryst's player busted out a universal charged scroll of Restoration and used it on Mo since it needs to be done within an hour of limb loss to work to reattach. It took three rolls (thanks to Luck) but he managed the 10 or less to reattach a lost limb. So Mo's arm is back on, but out of commission for one month.
Raggi lost one leg and one arm permanently, and had one arm crippled. He's got the resources to get healed back up, however, he doesn't have Instant Regeneration level cash around. So he's out for one month. That might not be an issue because of the delay before out next session, which might be a month.
So, maned rats, finally. Actually, this is the first time they've met them, having avoided the others through pure chance (and some pure "we're not going there"). So the first encounter with giant maned rats was with ravenous giant maned rats. I love that prefix. I wish I could remember if that was Sean's idea or mine. Doesn't matter, really.
Final tally - a few hundred silver, which was divided to the lower-point characters to ensure they hit their loot threshold. Yes, that's valid. Game-y, but valid, and not a viable long-run strategy.
I was actually surprised their plan sort-of worked. I set up, let them stack up, made the noise, and I made the rolls for the Lord of Spite, fairly sure we'd just move things along and they'd go down the stairs. The roll chance wasn't that great (witness the times it succeeded - once before - and failed - at least twice before) but the dice rolled quite low and that said, he's coming. So he came. Had the dice said no, they'd have had to go down. That might have been worse for them, maybe not, but it would have been way better for the orcs.
I think next time we have deafness, you'll have to write notes to talk to deaf players. Seriously. We had everyone deaf at one point, and this didn't interrupt total awareness of the battlefield. We had multiple people deaf at one point, including the tracker, and again, no issues. Out of game, they had full input on tactics, goals, yes-or-no decisions about actions, etc. in the usual play-by-committee approach my gaming group likes. So basically, it was a totally non-disadvantageous condition, and it should have been a problem. Much of that was meta-game discussion, but it was about in-game decisions - fight or flee, doors or tunnel, what to do this time based on what to do next time, etc. Either I need to swap in actually in-game dangerous conditions (Blindness, dizziness, illness, etc.) or enforce some actual rules on interacting with people who can't hear a sound over the roar in their heads.
So there doesn't seem to be a magical counter to the Coma condition. I ruled it was a -8 roll for Awaken, despite it being a mortal condition. -10 might have been fair, too. Stop Bleeding didn't make sense. I didn't have time to think through lingering effects - it might be fair to give someone who has had a coma ended early with magic a temporary penalty - say, Unfit for a period of time, or require a secondary HT roll to see if they suffer from lingering effects. Right now, it's not important, but I'll think on that. The GURPS Magic healing spells don't neatly blanket the conditions in GURPS Basic Set.
Speaking of spells, my players again argued that Gift of Tongues should be cheaper if it's increasing your ability. My view? Again, no. It's not increasing you from "None" to "Fluent," it's giving you Fluent. Some spells increase abilities, some apply new abilities. This is one of the latter, and the argument for changing it to the former is basically, we don't want to pay 6 energy. No, sorry, no.
We also had to fix Fast Fire, which has many issues, and I debuted (and modified) a change to Dispel Magic that worked just fine. Expect posts on those later this week. I'll have to play around with Spark Storm, which is one of those spells which makes other spells less attractive and useful. Sigh. Those windstorm spells . . .
XP: Dryst and Vryce got 1 xp each (a "clean run" - no deaths) and 0 xp for loot, the others, 1 and 4. Not enough exploration for 1 for that. MVP was Mo for trying to save the book.
I put up a post of pictures.