Saturday, June 6, 2020

Rulings update

As I noted in the original post, I'm going to keep updating the Felltower Rulings to Remember.

Since I last posted to it, I added:

- our house rule on Missile Shield and some slap-downs to "but isn't that now a missile?"

- rulings on potions. We don't use the Potion Miscibility Table, to my regret, which is why you see people drinking a ST potion, a DX potion, a Speed potion, etc. etc. in the same fight. I waffled back on forth for a while on "replacing" rolls with new potions but I decided it's cheesy, and doesn't work well with multiple doses of hostile potions - hey, at a steep penalty for some hostile effect? Get doused again and odds are you're better off! Ugh, no.

- remembered to add our Staff rulings.

- added some notes on spells that drop Invisibility. We have a very strict interpretation of what counts as a combat action.

- rule search order of operations.

I have more to come, as I remember to write them down, so you might want to bookmark that post and drop in occasionally.

Friday, June 5, 2020

Random Links for 6/5

Links to entertain you for a few minutes on a Friday.

- There is a Tunnels & Trolls-based app game. I've downloaded it but I haven't tried it - I have a smartphone and a Kindle, and it's tricky at best to get Android apps downloaded to a Kindle and I hate reading off of my phone.

- Akratic Wizardry describe's my friend Ryan's gaming group as "Elite." Now all I can think of is that What's New with super-rich gamers.

- Sometimes I amuse myself and others - check the Troy McClure reference in this Battletech summary and then my comment.

- Speaking of Battletech, GOG has it on sale for 75% off - $9.99. I'm really, really tempted, but I've gotten sucked in War in the East and I don't like to set down a prior purchase for a new one, or buy a game to play "later." I bought Tides of Numenera (or whatever) on that principle and I've gotten about 3 minutes in the NPE and given up.

- Two looks at experience - one for D&D based games, and one (well, one article and two systems) for GURPS DF.

- How to win the heart of a dryad? Not by cutting her up looking for it. Geez, delvers are horrible.

Thursday, June 4, 2020

GURPS 1e/2e Skull Spirits vs. DFRPG Toxic Skulls

In my current game, the PCs have been accompanied by a Toxic Skull (DFRPG Monsters, p. 27), aka a Skull-Spirit, for most of their recent sessions.

Back in the day, "skull-spirit" was synonymous with a hard fight or a quickly lethal foe. These days, not so much.

What's different?

Let's look at the first version I know of, in GURPS Fantasy (SJG6001, 1986). I'm calling it 1e because it's the 1st edition, but it's possible this was written with reference to the 2e rules. I never saw or had those - I bought the GURPS boxed set as soon as possible. In either case:

"Skull-Spirits
Evil spirits, each created from the life-force of a human skull . . . A Skull-Spirit has a ghostly, vaporous form with ST 0, DX 14, IQ 10, HT 20. Speed 6. . . . strikes with a chilling touch which cannot be blocked or parried - it must be dodged. This touch does 2 hits of damage; armor is no protection. . .
The fight a skull-spirit, use Fire spells or Air Jet; other combat spells are ineffective. Magic weapons do normal damage. Swords, axes, and other large metal weapons do 2 hits of damage, arrows, bullets, etc. do 1 hit of damage. Beam weapons do no damage at all!
"

I won't replicate the current version (look it up, buy the book!)

Here is what I see:

- It's interesting to see what's likely the very first published version of Diffuse (with a limitation: not versus magical weapons, Air Jet, or Fire spells.) What is a "magic weapon" isn't defined.

- HT 20 makes a big difference. It's where it gets its HP - 20. Not the lack of automatic death/destruction at -1xHP. These suckers could potentially go to -5xHP before destruction, and fail HT rolls on a 17-18. Instead of 40 HP to automatic destruction it's more like 120 points.

- Vulnerability to magic weapons. Undefined as to what those were - we always used, and still use, Puissance, but that's a house ruling - but there you go. You can bypass the maximum of 2 with a magic weapon.

- No special vulnerability to explosive spells.

- It's slow for its DX+HT; the modern version has the same speed, but twice the move and specifically defines it as Air move - the 1e version.

- Offense is the same. The type of injury is explained - and that it's injury, not damage (a more nebulous term in 1e/2e) is defined.

- the DFRPG version contains a lot more specified abilities - Doesn't Eat or Drink, Doesn't Sleep, etc.

- the DFRPG version is evil; the 1e/2e version doesn't make a judgment but does call it an "assassin." That's never a positive statement of morale rectitude.


On balance, the 1e/2e version is more vulnerable to well-equipped delvers but has a more HP, making it much harder to defeat if you aren't such a person. I think in my own games the guys who came up on the early version still have that "relentless, hard to kill, lethal" image in their head when it's more like "eventually lethal foe, unless you dump explosive spells on it" type of foe. And yeah, it might explain the occasional attempts to kill them with Flame Jet or Air Jet.

Wednesday, June 3, 2020

War in the East: Operation Mars

Over the past week I've played out the 11-turn scenario Operation Mars. That's the counterattack in Nov/Dec 1942 against Army Group Center near the Ryzhev salient, just outside of Moscow. Yes, the Germans were basically still just short of Moscow in 1942; they got pushed back but didn't fall back very far after Typhoon.

I managed to turn this:






into this:











A Soviet Minor Victory.

bec
Historically, this wasn't far off. The Soviets didn't manage to do much against the dug-in German troops in front of Moscow. They managed some advances. I did about the same. Equally, I ground up a lot of Soviet troops to inflict a fraction of those losses to the Germans. But when you've got the manpower advantage it's foolish not to use it, I say. I say that so easily yet I lost over 500,000 casualties and inflicted ~180,000.


Some notes:

- Red Soviet units are Guards units - units can get promoted to Guards based on their success in combat. The units in the German rear with P are partisan bands. They hassle the Germans but do nothing really directly.

- Black and Black/Grey German units are Waffen SS. IIRC Black is elite, Black/Grey don't get the elite morale and effectiveness modifier.

- Since the map is chopped off I couldn't use rail to move my troops very far. Maybe with the full map I could have, but maybe I could't have, moved units around. It depends on where the rail lines go!

- I should have diverted a few more units to the Northwest near Velikye Luki sooner. I could have smashed the Germans there a little faster and probably grabbed another VP and the ones I grabbed, grabbed them a little sooner.

- It was interesting to view the map at the end and see how many of the German units were static - stripped of their horses and trucks.

- One nice bit about WiTE is attrition. Units suffer it all the time, so you don't fret over minor damage. And units adjacent to each other engage in low-level conflict. That line of Germans and Soviets? They're inflicting casualties on each other - slowly - the whole time. Neat.


I really want to play the full scenario now . . . as the Axis. But in my head I think I should try Road to Smolensk again and see if I can whip that, instead of getting a draw as I stall out on the river line near Smolensk. Hmm. Head vs. heart?

Tuesday, June 2, 2020

Felltower Rulings to Remember

Here is a collection of random rulings we've made in our GURPS DF / DFRPG Felltower campaign. Some of these might actually be the rules as intended, some are not, some are just how we like to have things run for this specific game. Use this as a rules reference at your own risk; it's really for myself and my players to look at when we try to remember some specific ruling we've made in the past.

This will obviously grow and change - and I'll use strikethrough to mark specific deletions and changes.


Rulings for GURPS DF / DFRPG Felltower:

Order of Operations

Rules apply in this order:

- this document
- DFRPG rules
- DF rules
- GURPS Basic Set

For spells, the order is:

- Revised GURPS Magic posts
- DFRPG Spells
- GURPS Magic

(Most of the issues, questions about usage, and other conflicts come from out-of-order consultation.)

Invisibility

Control Zombie and other control / charm / mind control type attacks are hostile.
Dispel Magic and Counterspell are usually hostile, but under certain circumstances (total non-combat use) will not drop Invisibility.

Levitation

Subjects under Levitation cannot fall into pits, off ledges, etc. even if they're not actually held up in the air at the time. However, the equally cannot jump down, either. They can fall down! Walk on Air is broken by a fall, so even an accidental step off a ledge, above a concealed pit, etc. so the spell will just break and not save you. You'd need to be in the air for it to work.

Missile Shield

Protects against missiles, but not all objects moving through the air - specifically, it won't shield you from a Flying Tackle, a Slam or other attack from an airborne foe, etc.

A 3-4 on an attack roll will ignore a Missile Shield as long as the attack has any chance to hit (1+ skill.)

Missile Spells

The reduction in cost for high skill applies each turn when building up a Missile spell.

Potions

Unless specifically noted, potions of the same type don't "stack." You cannot drink a potion of the same type for any effect until the previous potion has worn off (or been countered with Universal Antidote.) Thus you cannot "replace" a bad roll by consuming a new potion, or extend the duration of an effect with additional consumption.

Spellstones

Crushing a spellstone takes the Concentrate maneuver. However, unlike most spells, you can crush a spellstone while grappled if you have it ready and the hand holding it can potentially crush the stone given the circumstances (which is usually the case.)

You must crush it willingly to complete the spell. You must crush it with your hand and will it to activate, it can't be done accidentally.

You cannot crush more than one spellstone at a time. It takes a full second's concentration to complete the action.

You can hold them in your mouth, but remember, they're small (1-5 carats for 1-5 power). You will have issues if you're wearing hand armor beyond light (cloth or light leather) - this may require a DX roll with Ham Fisted modifiers.

You cannot learn Fast-Draw (Spellstone.) They're too small.

You cannot hold one ready in the same hand as another item unless you have the "Third Hand" perk.

You cannot use a spell stone on another person by crushing it against them. Known Exceptions: Gem of Healing, Gem of Awakening.

Only Wizardly magic can be made into spell stones, with the exception of the Awaken spell. Gems of Healing and Gems of Awakening are made by the church in some secret process, and are available for sale.

Staff

The staff spell only works through 6' or less of wood or formally living material.

A staff reduces the range to the target by -2; a wand or short staff by -1. Range minimum is -1 unless you actually touch the subject; that's the only way to get a -0 range penalty.

Monday, June 1, 2020

GURPS DF Session 134, Felltower 104 - Lost City 12 - the Dark Temple (Part I)

Actual Date: May 31st, 2020
Game Dates: May 31st-June 1st, 2020

Weather: Cool and cloudy near Felltower, raining and hot in the Lost City of D'Abo

Characters:
Aldwyn Hale, human knight (287 points)
     Varmus the Hanged, human apprentice wizard (145 points)
"Mild Bruce" McTavish, Jr., human barbarian (267 points)
Crogar, human barbarian (294 points)
Galen Longtread, human scout (456 points)
Gerald Tarrant, human necromancer (374 points)
     2 Skeletons (~35 points)
     Skull spirit
Hayden the Ebon Page, human knight (307 points)
Ulf Sigurdson, human cleric (306 points)
Sir Bunny Wigglesworth, human holy warrior (250 points)
Wyatt Sorrell, human swashbuckler (300 points)

We started in Stericksburg. The group was joined by Heyden and Heyden's friend Sir Bunny Wigglesworth, a holy warrior. Quenton was too scared to follow up with the evil temple. The PCs spent a pile of money on spellstones and potions, as usual, gathered rumors, and tried to raise money. Ulf's speechifying didn't amount to much - he didn't attract a real crowd this time and raised nothing with Panhandling.

The rumors included one about how been bitten by a vampire passes on the curse. Aldwyn became worried; he's already sun-sensitive, he noted, so clearly it's starting to take hold!

Some of the PCs gathered and had Gerry cast Summon Spirit. Combined with Power Items, Lend Energy, timing on Energy Reserve, etc. they could swing 28 questions. They used every single one of them. They started with his real name - which he said he couldn't say to a non-elf. (This caused some concerns - how can he refuse? He has to answer to the best of his knowledge . . . but what if giving the answer actually violates some closely-held belief or requirement, or supernatural compulsion? Clearly, my ruling is Summon Spirit doesn't override everything.) From there they asked questions about his religion (He doesn't worship the Good God, as an elf he respect nature), his vampire companion (he met her and, as a woman, she couldn't resist him), did she have other resting places (he had no idea), something about the princess (she's a ghost who appears at night in a blue glow), a question about the headless kings of the Lost City (he didn't know what Gerry was asking about), did he do something to the headless statues in the Lost City (he didn't know what Gerry was talking about), valuables in the lost city (he looted all that he knew of), the protections in the temple (he didn't know much, he was confident his will would overcome the priestess within because no woman can resist him), what's in the temple (a demon-god he was going to master with his will and take its power), where did he get this orichalcum key (he made it), what did it do (it summoned a chest), etc.

A lot of the questions were on the same thing - would opening the chest harm the opener (no), others nearby (no), did it need to be opened in a specific spot (no), how do you summon it (command word), tell me the command word (he did - his name backwards plus the Elvish for "come"), what's in the chest (he listed his treasure) - and some seemingly low-value questions - what was your power item (the key) and such like that.

They headed out after that, originally planning to fetch Galen, go back to town, open the chest, stash the loot, then leave again . . . but more time-conscious delvers shot that down. Off to a late start, they hiked up the mountain, arrived well past the usual lunchtime, and headed into the dungeon.

They made a straight and unmolested trip to the gate (and I forgot to have them roll their HT rolls for the thin air - note to self, I'm marking it on my map as a required roll), and headed through after their more vulnerable types put on Resist Fire. Despite this, Gerry and Sir Bunny were affected by the heat a bit and were down 2-3 FP each.

They headed across town to the "Prophecy." (That is, the obelisk in the walled plaza first explored by some delvers back in Scene 23 Lost City 2.) They headed in, and four of them (Wyatt, Bruce, Ulf, Aldwyn) felt a warm feeling and found they could read the central pillar. Gerry pulled out a scroll of Mystic Mist and used it to cover the entire 42 area needed to blanket the area. Inside, they stood guard as the readers - well, not Bruce - read the prophecy. The guards saw vegepygmies watching them, and a large snake and some beetles were seen but didn't penetrate the mist, but otherwise they were left alone.

They had to puzzle over a lot - culturally the D'Aboans tell stories with a conclusion, followed by the causes of the conclusion, then the next conclusion, then the causes that link it to the previous one. Readable, but difficult to understand at times. They spent four hours going over it. It wasn't really a "prophecy" exactly, but a story of how things came to be and how they could go. Based on the situation in the city, it seems like it may have happened already. Basically, "The princess can be sacrificed to summon the demon-god. Only the chiming of the bells and the voice of the princess in the temple can “undo the curse upon all.” The story claims that they who release the demon-god, if they are masters of themselves, can master the power of the god."

That read, the PCs decided they needed to find the princess, and bring her into the temple. They couldn't recall where they'd seen the glow, exactly, but their recall and information from Rangol Grot pointed them to the southeast.

They headed there and scouted out a number of cul-de-sacs, before eventually finding one with a door off of it that interested them. They broke it down, and explored some empty rooms until they tired of that. They came out into the post-sunset gloom and sent Galen up on a roof to look around. He couldn't see a glow of any kind. ("How about one of a different color?" No. "Any auras?" No.) He climbed down.

They gathered around and pulled out the bell Gerry had - the one they recovered from the tower aka the left bell - and rang it. Nothing happened.

They waited five minutes and then rang the other one - Rangol Grot's bell aka the right bell - and rang it. Nothing happened.

They decided to ring them both - Wyatt had been concerned that ringing the new bell, or both together, would trigger something they weren't prepared for over at the temple while they were far away (I think.) Ulf tried to ring the bells by clanging them together. All that caused was a toneless "chink" and a feeling of doing it wrong. He had to gently hold them in two fingers and a thumb and gentle ring them with his ring fingers and pinkies. That worked - they both chimed a new high tone, a perfect B note.

An apparition appeared, limned in blue and translucent:



Ulf started to speak to her, and she spoke over them and pleaded for help, saying they planned to sacrifice her and the only hope was to destroy the evil in the temple so the curse could be lifted. She disappeared after her plea.

Wyatt had taken the moment she showed up to go see a man about a horse in a nearby alley. He came back, hitching up his armor, and realized he missed the whole thing. He'd been banking a long discussion, not an impersonal visitation.

The PCs decided to sleep until the morning, unhappy that they couldn't get the princess to talk to them and come with them to the temple. They holed up in one of the rooms they'd explored and closed the door.

Night was filled with weird noises, shrieks of things being horribly killed, and the occasional bangs and crashes. But nothing bothered them.

In the morning, they headed out to the temple.

They reached it without encounters and set up outside. Wyatt crushed a 1-hex Bravery spellstone. Wyatt decided he'd need a quaffed a Dexterity potion - and rolled a 6. Heyden crushed a Bravery spellstone, too.

They rang the bells, and the shimmering dome over the temple dropped, and the stone gates blocking entrance behind the dome also disappeared. The way into the temple was open.

They moved up, and looked at the two statues on either side. They were of a crouching, clawed, dome-headed, tentacled creature with bat wings. They were roughly hewn, and the PCs decided they couldn't be petrified real things. They wanted to know what kind of demon or whatever it was - Sir Bunny said it wasn't a demon, but an elder thing. Not good or evil, but rather orthogonal to both . . . and hostile to non-elder thing life.


They climbed the stairs that led up to the top of the odd-shaped building. As they reached the top, they saw the world shimmer around them (the people still on the stairs, too - it's a long group) they were . . . elsewhere.

(I had them all roll 1d12, rolling for unique numbers. Those turned out to be their landing sports. Crogar's player deserves an attaboy for suggesting it was rolling to see which dungeon each person went to.)

They all appeared in a room, roughly in a circle, all facing inward toward a roughly 10' tall statue looking just like this:


Standing in front of it was a feminine figure wearing hooded robes holding a skull-tipped rod, next to a stone bowl with some liquid in it. Silver and gold coins and greenish stones were scattered in a semi-circle around her and the front of the statue. Surrounding the all of this were a dozen crumpled skeletons.

In the four corners of the rooms were piles of skulls. In the center of each wall crouched a jet-black stone (obsidian?) jaguar.

Gerry, oddly, ended up between his two skeletons. The skull spirit didn't appear at all.

The PCs each needed to make a Body Sense roll and a Fright Check. Those without Unfazeable needed to make a check at -5; those with, a straight check. The statue was warpingly, upsettingly wrong.

Varmus missed both, and critically failed his Body Sense roll. He fell, disoriented and stunned. Several others missed a turn to Body Sense (which Heyden actually has, thanks to a timely critical long ago) and more failed the Fright Check and were stunned.

The hooded figure called out, "Arise and protect me! Kill them, my serpent sisters!"

As the PCs stood, stunned, four skeletal figures with snake staves (ciuaclá) attacked by surprise, from behind, on their chosen targets - Wyatt, Ulf, one of Gerry's skeletons (it was the only close one it could see), and Galen. They struck them all, inflicting heavy crushing damage plus cosmic toxic damage. The skeleton was quickly destroyed.

For the first 1-2 seconds, much of the party was unable to do anything. The ciuaclá continued to attack. The PCs got very lucky when they missed a few attacks. Gerry's other skeleton had its right arm smashed off (after which it was ignored). Galen managed to dodge, despite great injury and behind attacked from behind.

The PCs were forced to fight where they were against the ciuaclá.

Unengaged Heyden turned around and rush the jaguar statue behind him, and then stood and waited. In a moment, he turned and ran off toward Gerry's skeletons, guessing (okay, out-of-game knowing) Gerry must be there.

Wyatt moved to engage one, and quickly feinted it out of position and whacked it several times. It ignored all of his strikes - he did nothing to harm it. Galen turned away from the ciuaclá attacking him, grabbed out a great healing potion, and managed to down it, while Dodging the whole time. Healed up, he drew up his bow and started to shoot at the ciuaclá. He managed to hit it three times in the face, and knocked off a lot of bone.

Wyatt decided he wasn't strong enough, and quaffed a Strength potion - and rolled a 6. That made a huge difference, taking him up to ST 17 and adding 2d+4 or so to his damage.

Gerry kept his skeleton after the ciuaclá as Heyden ran up - and Gerry put Great Haste on himself and then on Heyden. Heyden attacked the ciuaclá and drove it back. Gerry basically headed toward Wyatt so he could Great Haste him, and did so.

Wyatt attacked the ciuaclá facing him and Varmus (just now rising from stun and falling) and hit it multiple times in the face. This time, with ST 17, he managed to smash its head apart. It collapsed into dust, leaving a snaky staff behind.

Meanwhile, Bruce tried to slam the ciuaclá attacking Ulf, who'd backed up to Sir Bunny. It dodged, and he moved past and it struck him and wounded him. He tried again, but it dodged aside. Sir Bunny ran off to engage the robed figure, as did Aldwyn. The ciuaclá near Sir Bunny struck him from behind, knocking him out. It shortly put Ulf down, too. Bruce slammed it again, rolling a 3, and knocked it prone.

Heyden fought his, and it managed to drop its staff thanks to a critical (parry, I think). But it dissolved into thousands of tiny snakes and wriggled back into its hands immediately! (Aldwyn was like, I want that on my sword. Shut up and take my money!)

A ciuaclá kept attacking Galen, and he parried its strikes with his Iron Arm bracer and then backed off and shot it until it was destroyed. Meanwhile, Crogar guarded his back and then rushed the skeletons guarding the center.

The one fighting Bruce was next, finished off by Bruce and possibly Wyatt. Heyden backed his up toward Galen, who shot it three times in the head because turning your back toward Galen is a cardinal sin. (So is turning toward him, or giving him the side eye.) Heyden finished off the ciuaclá after Galen's arrows damaged it badly.

As all of this went on, Aldwyn hacked down a bunch of skeletons, with his wooden sword and metal sword. Crogar did the same - first advancing cautiously, and Waiting, but then realizing his foes wouldn't advance on him he went for them. They attacked with their skeletal fingers. One eventually got lucky and hit him. His high natural DR meant the blunt claws couldn't harm him . . . but its skeletal hands flashed black and he took 1d toxic damage - Deathtouch! Still, he managed to press the skeletons back.

The entire time the hooded figure had been concentrating on a spell. She got it off as Aldwyn moved in close on her and stabbed her multiple times in the vitals - to no effect. His blade came out clean, with a sucking feeling of a wound closing around it. She made no attempt to defend, and instead finished her spell.

A six-armed snake-bodied figure appeared, just as Bruce ran up to try and melee or grapple the robed figure, too. Lucky for him a skeleton attacked him first and blocked an easy path for the snaky opponent.

(At this point, Ulf's player typed to tell everyone go for the arms. I scolded him - he's unconscious. I don't ask for a lot of in-game/out-of-game knowledge seperation, but I do ask that you only kibbutz and help out and give advice if your PC is actually there and able to give it.)

Alwyn and Bruce attempted to fight the demon. The robed woman yelled, "Kill them all!" The skeletons, which had mostly been waiting and blocking, started attacking everything close to them.

With the ciuaclá down, Wyatt ran over to Sir Bunny and Ulf and used a 4-area Awaken spellstone. It woke up Sir Bunny, but not Ulf. He moved closer and used a 3-area Awaken and this time it worked.

Varmus, meanwhile, was attacked by two skeletons. He fled, and eventually surrounded himself with Create Fire. Gerry took a shot at one with a 5d Skull Missile and narrowly missed it (and Varmus.) The one-armed skeleton of Gerry's ran down and shield-bashed the other skeleton but didn't hit hard enough to harm it. Wyatt chopped down the skeletons in short order, and Gerry renewed Great Haste on him (and he took a pro-rated 3 FP.)

Galen shot the peshkali a few times, but the wounds didn't do much to her.

Sir Bunny took a good look at her and took a turn to figure out what kind of demon she was, with Hidden Lore (Demon Lore). He yelled out she was a peshkali and to cripple all of the arms.

Aldwyn, Heyden, and Crogar moved in after the demon. Crogar systematically cut down the skeletons, taking wounds from one in the process but otherwise smashing them up nicely. Heyden fought the peshkali but took some hits and critically missed at one point and fell down as his leg was crippled by a scimitar blow. Bruce tried to fight her but took three hard strikes, and just barely missed having a hand and a foot crippled. Aldwyn went for the arms, taking two out right away. The peshkali swung back at him with the other four swords and he managed to fend them off. Bruce turned to a skeleton attacking him from behind and punched it to pieces over the course of several seconds.

The PCs kept after her; she backed up as Galen tried shooting her arms off (it didn't work, despite 2d+5 impaling). Eventually Crogar moved in and tried to cut off her last arm after Aldwyn crippled three more in several seconds. He failed to do so, and she attacked back six times - 5 hits and a critical. He managed to block, parry, and dodge all 5 attacks and then stagger back wounded from the last slice. Finally Aldwyn took out the last arm, and then Galen shot her down with arrows.

The demon going down, the PCs decided to attack the robed woman. Galen put three arrows into her vitals, but she ignored them entirely. "Well, she doesn't have Missile Shield," he quipped.

Sir Bunny had stood by this point, but his right arm had been crippled in the blow that knocked him out. Left-handedly holding his sword, he dropped it and started digging for holy water. He resisted a spell from the robed woman, and then failed to resit another - Strike Blind.

Bruce tried to grapple her neck, but she managed to just barely dodge away as she stepped out of the hex she'd been in the whole time. The PCs regarded that as a victory of sorts.

Wyatt went for a quartet of disarm attempts; he was able to fairly easily sweep the wand aside.

The hooded female figure said, "Hey! My wand!" as it dropped at Wyatt's feet. She sounded more playfully annoyed than angry or surprised.

Then she laughed, and said, "You've destroyed my friends and my servants. Perhaps I'll make you into my servants when I'm finished killing you."

We left it with her turn about to begin.


***

The foppish demon-fighting holy warrior Sir Bunny is a returning player - the guy who ran Mo, back after an 18-month absence. Real life intervenes hard sometimes. According to his player, Sir Bunny Wigglesworth is cousins with Bunny Carlos from the Land of Cleve, who is a master of two sticks and the smoke of confusion.

We started at 11 am, got rolling after shopping, chatting, etc. by 12, when they began to question Rangol Grot. That took about 40 minutes (in game, 28 minutes, but I had to pause at times). It's weird. The NPC has to answer, but what do you do when there is a compulsion not to, such as a secret true name? Which will, of course, be used to summon the NPC again for multiple rounds of followup questions. Totally logical but a real drain on the GM. The spell really needs "One Try" or "One Try Per Year." That would mean each casting was even more valuable, so players would probably spend even more time on each casting, and even more time prepping the questions, but it's not like they don't maximize each time already.
     If the PCs have Summon Spirit you need to know, or be able to generate, all of the knowledge of everyone the PCs encounter and kill, or who dies, or who was dead when they find them. And they'll ask for the full name of the victim first, to eliminate the -5 for the next time.
     I shot down a few questions. One was, "What obscure facts do you know about vampires?" I couldn't think of a way to answer that. Just rattle off random crap about vampires for 60 seconds and hope it seemed "obscure"? What does that mean for Hidden Lore (Undead)? Does Gerry get a situational bonus from now on? Do they have to depend on writing it all down and then pulling up next time someone mentions fangs or blood and run through the whole list? Just no, I didn't even know how to deal with that or what to say in answer to it.
Knowledge skills complicate these kinds of player-knowledge-heavy games.

Quenton is going to be right upset when he finds out Ulf considers the Elven reverence for Nature - shared to an extent with druids, who lack the Sense of Duty but draw their power from it - is not really "good."

I don't know why, but I honestly thought the PCs would go right to the temple. They didn't last time because it was late and we wanted to wrap up game; had there been unlimited time I'm sure they'd have recuperated and then gone right for it. So this time, they went right for it . . . after an hour of Summon Spirit and followup, then a trek to the "prophecy" to read the whole thing, then a trip over to find Princess D'Abo and talk to her, and then to the temple. I'll give them points for thoroughness but it did feel like avoidance pretty quickly. No one was in a hurry to go to the temple and got less in a hurry the more outside exploration they did. I've experienced that happen before - the decisive plan of action "right after we check A and B" turns into a real reluctance to do the actual thing. What you don't know can kill you, but what you do know tends to paralyze you. So can the perception of having many options. I think it's easy to just try to get one more item, one more double-check with NPCs, one more look around "in case we missed anything," etc. and never feel really ready.

It's also kind of amusing that they've been carefully avoiding the blue glow whenever they saw it, or refusing to investigate it. Now, they had to seek it out.

It probably feels unfair to have things that can inflict a Fright Check right through Unfazeable. Sure, but that's how GURPS Cthulhupunk handled Great Old Ones, and I figure it's a fun thing to put on them - Terror (Cosmic: Ignores Unfazeable). Making Unfazeable wipe out any penalties to the roll seemed fair. The people with it were basically fine, but threatened, the ones without . . . had issues.

Right after the peshkali lost two limbs in one second, I had her attack 4 times. The next second, I went back to 6. I realized nothing says she has some limited form of Extra Attack that's tied to the number of limbs. DFRPG doesn't limit you to different attacks. She attacked six times with one scimitar at the end.

We'll see how it goes next time - the PCs have wiped out the skeletons, the ciaucla, and the peshkali. They've got four black stone statues of jaguars and this priestess who seems unimpressed by their attacks. Wyatt just disarmed her, and the PCs are calling for Gerry and Ulf to get out the Bells of D'Abo for next time. Will that solve their issue? We'll see. They've been very reluctant to use them since they determined they give off different notes near each other.

MVP was Aldwyn for crippling all six limbs on the Peshkali. No other XP; the delve isn't finished. Seems like there will be loot, if they can survive.


By the way, is there a Roll20 "Invisible" switch somewhere? It would be nice to set it so invisible folks are visible to the GM and themselves, but not others. I'm guessing "no" or "If I spend a lot of money and then use some special .api and hours of my time to get it working." It would be so helpful and tactically interesting to have "Invisible' and "See Invisible" powers interacting automatically.

Sunday, May 31, 2020

Felltower / Lost City Pre-Summary

Part I of a multi-part delve today as the PCs are stuck in a combat.

they:

- brought along a new companion, a Holy Warrior of most flamboyant mien (a returning player),

- summoned up Rangol Grot's spirit and played 28 questions with him,

- read the prophecy in the Lost City,

- went out at night in the city to try to meet the ghostly princess, and did so,

- penetrated the "evil temple" and got into a big brawl with an evil priestess or witch of some kind, deathtouch skeletons, snakey skeleton women, and more.

We ended mid-fight as the PCs crushed much of the opposition and found their final foe didn't seem vulnerable to things like "attacks" or "damage."

Full summary tomorrow.
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