June 25th, 2017
Alaric, human scout (255 points)
Hasdrubul Stormcaller, human wizard (329 points)
Hjalmarr Holgerson, human knight (304 points)
Brother Ike, human initiate (148 points)
Antonios, Demitios, and Leonitus of Meepos, human spearmen (?? points)
Mo (his momma call him Kle), human barbarian (331 points)
Quenton Gale, human druid (301 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)
Vryce, human knight (493 points)
We began as usual in Stericksburg, with the PCs gathering rumors, buying spellstones and potions, and recruiting help. No one was volunteering since the PCs were coming back broke recently, but they did manage to find the Meeposian brothers and Raggi. Raggi was tan and broke, having blown all of his money on "parasol drinks in coconut shells and shell necklaces." At least possibly.
The group took their bridge (remember their bridge? They finally did.) They headed up to the castle. That's when they realized they needed magic to get it over. Wrecking the gate closed once again caused the PCs problems.
(GM's note - a closer inspection determined the PCs didn't even have more than 10 yards of rope, yet climbed walls higher than 30' with it. Next time, I won't trust their rope total until they verify it.)
They did get over the wall, and then found their rope across the pit was gone, along with the far side spike. No matter, Mo jumped across, they wedged the bridge across (but didn't spike it down) and went in.
They forced open the jammed right portcullis, wedging it in rather permanently into an up position. Before they went on, though, they got distracted by the giant portcullis blocking the main doors of Felltower. Since they had a lot of strong guys (Hjal ST 17, Mo ST 20, Raggi ST 21, Vryce ST 20, Meeposians ST 13 each) they went for the 20' wide, 12' tall gate. They set up and lifted. It was hard but they got the gate - which weighed well over a ton - lifted up. They examined the main doors. On close inspection . . . they were fake! Clever fakes, but not good enough from close in. From 20' away behind the gate, yes. And they looked the part until you tried to see how they'd swing or open - standing in a crossfire killing zone between two pillboxes. Makes sense for a fortress, and explains why it's harder to get through the side doors than the front. But there is a keyhole on the door, so the group suspects the right key might activate . . . something.
They headed down to the second level through the noisy room, the L-shaped room, the big room with the Deathtouch door (Hjalmarr set one off because their notes weren't clear), and past the now-blocked well entrance and down to the "ape room."
They opened the secret door to the secret room with the red six-fingered hand. Alaric and Vryce touched it, taking 1 HP of damage (heal by rest only), 5 FP (recover by sleep only), and -1 DX and HT for a number of hours. They left (accidentally leaving it open, assuming it would close itself) and headed deeper.
They ran into some stirges - three flew out of the darkness ahead of them. Alaric shot one down, the other two got cut in pieces but only after a second or two of combat. Mo blocked one and was disappointed that "block" doesn't mean "do a shield bash and the Targe of the Tiger eats whatever I hit." (GM note - That's what Wait is for!)
They made their way to the Giant Fantastic Staircase and opened the door. They waited on the landing for a minute or so until it closed itself. They went down and planned.
The idea was, penetrate towards the gnolls and set up Mystic Mist waypoints to pull back to and to stop them from circling behind them. They did this, setting up a mist in the first octagonal-shaped room. They advanced past where the giant crossbow was, but didn't see it. They moved deeper and then found a door and a hallway to the right, and a passage to the left. They went left.
They moved on and found another octagonal room, which they entered via a door. Alaric spotted a slight shimmer to the air - like a heat shimmer (GM note - never say this if you want to avoid five heat-related questions) or a very thin fog. Air Jet seemed to move it aside. The PCs discussed the most energy-efficient way to move the mist, send it down a corridor, leave it in place to discourage the gnolls, etc. but Hasdrubul just said, "I cast a 5-area Purify Air" and was done with it. They stopped and put up another Mystic Mist after cancelling the first one.
They explored a few more hallways and found another door. They forced it open, and Hjalmarr found himself facing a large room with two tentacle-covered spheroid creatures with a giant central eye and a huge mouth.
Actually, no. But that was fun that they worried.
Hjalarr threw an axe at one but it dodged it, and it fixed him in place with its fascinating gaze. He stood stock still.
There was a short, nasty fight. The two creatures - Eye Beasts aka Ravening Eyes - attacked, and the PCs had to push past the doorway to avoid getting double-teamed by the beasts. The monsters had a gaze that could lock you helpless, eye-tipped tentacles that grappled (and the eyes of which wept corrosive tears!), a giant maw ending in no throat that tried to bite and eat them Cookie Monster style. They dodged well, and grabbed Raggi by his leg and crippled it and lifted him up, grappled Hjlamar started to corrode off his armor and chew off his leg, and were strong enough to Dodge freely even holding a couple hundred pounds of grappled delver! Vryce used a Strengthen Will spellstone in this fight as well.
The beasts didn't have a lot of staying power, though, and eventually got cut down and disintegrated - clearly unnatural creatures not native to this world.
They checked the room and saw one of those black rune-marked hemispheres on the ceiling. So Mo smashed it. They've smashed a number of these, and they're pretty certain they are trap triggers or surveillance devices of some kind.
They took one of the two exists out of the place and found a natural cave. They moved into it, avoiding some side passages and moving down (a noticeable slope down, around 1:15). They reached a point where they could go left and up, or right into a wider cave. Before they could really decide, though, four more eye beasts flew out at them. Three were reddish or red-orange, but one was yellow (and albino eye beast).
The albino eye beast had some magical powered - twice it used Lightning Stare and once it used some spell on Vryce but failed completely. (I rolled appallingly bad on Lightning Stare - like 11 damage on 4d+4 and 13 damage on the next 4d+4 - average is 18.)
This fight was much nastier, and consumed a lot of resources. Vryce got grabbed from behind and bitten badly, but managed to swing over his own shoulder twice and severely damage the beast. Hjalmarr was bitten and grabbed, Alaric was stunned with lightning, and Mo went berserk from injury. They took down the eye beasts but Mo was still berserk - he turned to the nearest foe and hit him - Raggi, right in the brain. BANG. He rolled poorly and Raggi has DR 15 on his skull. Raggi said, "Oh, that's it!" and threw down his axe and did a Flying Tackle on Mo and took him down, slammed down still-stunned Alaric. Hjalmarr and Vryce used Leadership to get Mo a chance to snap out of his state. Vryce managed it.
With the eye beasts gone, they healed up and explored the cave. They found a 15' across, 12' at the bottom, 10' deep sinkhole. A dropped lightstone revealed a floor about 100' or so down, inside of a large cavern. They also saw a chest sitting at the bottom. Alaric shot an arrow into it, verifying it wasn't an illusion.
Since they'd found no loot and it was getting late, they went all-in trying to get the chest. The following took about 90 minutes of real time.
First, they tried to just send down Alaric with Levitate on him. Turns out the cavern is full of gargoyles. As they discussed what to do, I pointed out Has was levitating him down. After about 60' they decided to bring him back up. Alaric got clawed, horn gored, tail slashed, clubbed in the foot, clawed in the back, etc. by gargoyles. They knocked him out but they fled when a keening noise was heard. They got Alaric back up and healed him. His bow had dropped.
Second, they send Gale down, having drunk a potion of strength (to lift the chest), a potion of invisibility, with Levitate on him overcast to take a full, heavy chest along, inside the eye of a tornado-force Windstorm. Gargoyles flew around the storm until it was about 30' or so off the ground, give or take. He made it down. At the bottom, he was stopped just above the floor - the delvers didn't specify how they'd manage that, so I ruled they'd had to be talking VERY LOUD over the storm. He saw the chest, Alaric's bow (which hadn't blow around, for some reason) and his arrow (ditto), all stationary. So he turned flat to try to get his fingers under the chest. It seemed a little too smooth of a floor.
As he reached, the floor came up at him, swelling up like a rising bread loaf. He pulled back (a very lucky Dodge) and called for help. He had to do it again (another lucky roll) before he was Levitated up as the floor followed him, the chest stuck to the side.
He made it up.
They discussed a lot of other plans - get the chest but the floor won't react, open the chest and take out treasure (Gale heard shifting contents), smash the chest so coins scatter and they could pick the up little by little, etc.
Eventually Has' Levitated down, protected by a Windstorm and put Glass Wall on the chest. It was full of copper and silver coins - but nothing showed as magical to Mage Sight. Has' flew back up, refusing to go back down and try anything.
The PCs started to hear the Lord of Spite at this point, and decided it was time to leave. They took the long way around the GFS so as to avoid him. They reached the "first room" and heard a door close. They headed up, and after a number of wrong turns made it out of the dungeon and dragged their ladder with them.
No loot, but lots of exploration - 2 xp each. MVP was Has' for all of the spells and lots of funny commentary (goat-men eat your armor right off of you, Raggi's shell necklaces, etc.)
I knew when they found the chest I was in for a long night from that point - I just did stuff and waited for the inevitable "okay, we cast the following 12 spells on this one guy" plan. It wasn't that bad, but it did take a lot. It didn't work, because the chest is stuck to some floor-monster that's bigger than the circle of a lightstone's light. They did take good precautions like checking for NMZs, covering their sides, etc. but still, it's always time consuming when the Book of Answers (aka GURPS Magic) is consulted to see if there is a sentence in there that says how to get the treasure. This is why I don't do rule lookups, but it's unavoidable when people have 40-60 spells and don't know the rules on them inside and out. I don't either - it's a concession to the depth of the game. Happened in AD&D, too, actually, and Rolemaster. Might be the nature of magic systems.
How do they tell the Meeposian brothers apart? Hjalmar's and Gale's players suggested player names on the back of their armor - A. Meepos, D. Meepos, L. Meepos. I like it. I may need to freehand paint that or print labels and glue them on. Not that their last names are Meepos, but what the heck. I should have them pronounce Meepos differently, like the Mironov brothers did (Mi-RAH-nov, and MIR-a-nov). I actually treat them like the Hanson brothers, but with a different accent. Yes, they brought their freaking toys with them on the delve.
I'm very sorry I didn't paint those eye beasts Cookie Monster blue. I really am. They "eat" you but have no place to swallow you, and spew chunks everywhere once they chew you up to -10xHP. And thanks to Mark Langsdorf for trading me one - he didn't need even one, and I needed to get at least two more and got to use them! Hurrah!
Fun session overall. I'm sorry they didn't find any loot they could actually get to. They mapped a good amount of new territory, found a way to go deeper (although it currently requires a lot of magic to get even a couple people down and more to get back up), and had a few fun fights.