Sunday, January 13, 2013

DF Game Session 20 - Felltower 11

January 13th, 2013

Characters: (approximate net point total)
Dryst, halfling wizard (250 points)
Galen Longtread, human scout (262 points)
Honus Honusson, human barbarian (292 points)
Vryce, human knight (about 325 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)

Still in town:
Borriz, dwarven knight (290 points)

We started in town, with four players in attendance. We spent points and got organized. Raggi showed up (he's around on a 15-, on a 16+ I assume he's either off hunting or sleeping off an epic drunk) with a new axe he'd purchased with his money from last time.

Honus showed up with Dryst, who he'd apparently been out drinking with but he couldn't recall meeting - he'd realized after a few days Dryst had been there at least a few days, and that was good enough for him. "He can sure put away the ale. Well, we had two barrels of ale and when I woke up it was all empty, so it must have been that halfling." So they brought him along.

They pooled their rumors - the usual stuff about killing trolls, how the dungeons lead all the way down to hell (Honus said that's why he's here - looking for his friends and his father whom he sent there), one about how an underground river empties from Felltower into the Silver River (because fisherman sometimes catch blind white fish near the docks at the end of town), and one about some maroon-clad strangers who've been asking about people who've been to Felltower.

The PCs took a trip to see the Mage of the Tower, aka Black Jans, aka the Enchanter of the Dark Marches. They (Honus, Galen, Dryst) marched up and knocked on the door with the big knocker. They were let in to the sparten interior by the Kio, servant of the wizard. The servant was a gnome, with curly-toed shoes, orange pantaloons, and a black velvet jacket. And horns growing out its head.

The visit was brief - they asked if the mage needed anything special, which he did not, and said they'd come back with any cursed or weird items they found. They were sent on their way by the Kio, admonished to make the next visit more . . . productive.

Next they headed off to find these maroon-robed guys Raggi told them about. They found the inn they'd stayed at. There were six of them, five men (one older, four of indeterminate age) and one woman. The men all kept their faces covered, and wore maroon and black and wore pointed hats with face masks. They had odd customs, brought their own drinks, were particular about their foods, and allowed no one in their rooms. They asked general questions and then specific ones about the group once they heard they'd been raiding into Felltower. Then they left town about a week ago.

The players immediately dubbed them "the mind flayers" and we ended up with jokes about how they all covered their beards with bags and needed brains to examine. Oh, and how they might be tentacle-less mind flayers without mental powers. Heh.

Finally they stocked up on healing potions and headed up to the ruins.

For the first time, I forgot my mantra of "cross the stone bridge, reach Sterick's Landing, pass the statue of Sterick with his axe and sword upraised" - I think because every time I started someone said "And we go and do (whatever)" until I just forgot. Damn, I had a streak going.

Once at the ruins they checked out the trap door in the tower, which they'd dug out previously. Honus carefully searched the area and found that someone had been here recently - booted feet tramped the grass around the towers, as if on patrol, and folks had been near the trapdoor. (Dryst - "Big boots, or small boots?" Me - "Human sized" Dryst - "So, medium.") Nothing was nearby now so they headed down.

They'd left the trap door unlocked, and it was unlocked now. They opened it up and headed down. They lacked See Secrets but knew the secret doors extremely well and went straight for them. They went slowly, mapping as they went - their maps had been destroyed the last session. There were copies of the (semi-accurate) first level map available in town, but unluckily for us Kullockh's player took them home last time and they weren't handy. "Lucky" for them, Nakar's player's new PC, Dryst, was also quite the cartographer. As usual, he made another player map.

They headed right down to level 2 and started to re-map in earnest. On their way down the trap door to level 2, they heard a clanging noise distant in the tunnels. They ignored it and headed down.

They took the other of the two trap doors off the odd rough-hewn 'tween levels tunnel they'd used before. They opened it and immediately a loud gonging noise sounded surrounding them. They dropped down, pulled down their rope, and closed the stone plug - and it stopped.

From there, they basically just explored "new" territory that turned out to be a small area between already-explored areas. The first thing they found was a (metal?) door of great smoothness, black in color, with no visible handles - only a six-fingered hand etched in the center with a depression in the palm. Honus tossed a knife at it but nothing happened. They kicked at the door to no avail, and couldn't find a way to crowbar it. The wall it was mounted in curved away slightly, as if the door was mounted in some kind of bulge. They decided to leave it for now.

They basically explored around, finding some odd stuff in different areas:

- another corridor of small (20 x 20) mostly empty rooms, several trapped. One was trapped with a hollowed out door full of beetles ("Northern Reticulated Biting Beetles" - thanks Honus & Galen) which Vryce smashed free with a crowbar and Honus torched with alchemist's fire. Another was trapped with a wax-plugged trigger of some kind, and another with a pressure plate releasing acid into Honus's upturned face as he examined the ceiling - he washed it off with wine quickly and suffered minimal scarring.) They took the acid-holding bladder as loot, and noted it was initialed "GG."

- a room with an illusion of foodstuffs which disappeared upon touching, and then slowly re-appeared.

- the corridor in which they'd originally encounted that gnome and his norkers, they used Create Object to make a "turkey baster" (a reverse bellows, basically) to suction up what they thought was mercury. Hazardous Materials skill plus Create Object is an interesting combo.

- they basically filled in their map to connect the hobgoblin areas to the stairs to the "ogre room" on level 1.

- in the middle of this, they returned to the illusionary luxury rooms, and used Earth Vision to examine the privies and see what was in the old nightsoil. In the first one, Dryst saw a key. He used Create Servant plus Create Object (for a shovel) and had an 8" brass skeleton key dug out. It wasn't magical but it was clearly special.

Once they had this key, they headed down to the next illusionary luxury room, and found nothing further of interest. But as they headed down the corridor, they passed a "blank" wall that suddenly glowed, revealing the ghostly outline of a third set of double doors.

They produced the key and put it closer - the doors solidified, and the key got warmer. So Dryst touched it to the doors . . . and they opened.

Inside was a duplicate of the illusionary luxury rooms. They headed in. As soon as they entered, the doors disappeared, as did the illusion.

Instead there was a gleaning pile of treasure - the old-fashioned kind, with potions and gems and coins all mixed up and an axe-handle sticking out of the lot. Materializing in front of it was a wealthy-dressed man who was slightly translucent. It was a spectre, and it immediately flew at them at high speed and attacked.

The leaped to the attack, with a pretty good plan in mind. Raggi forward, Vryce too (armed with his undead-slaying sword), and Honus to follow once Dryst cast Affect Spirits on him.

It went badly immediately. Raggi's axed sailed through the creature, and in return he was struck catatonic by a Madness spell. Vryce slashed at the spectre but it dodged and struck him catatonic as well. Dryst's Affect Spirits, a one-shot try thanks to Wild Talent, failed to overcome Honus's high magic resistance. And Galen's arrows went right through. Uh-oh.

The spectre kept attacking, and its deadly touch ignored armor. Honus's Flail of the Gales couldn't harm it, so he dropped it and wrested Vryce's sword from his hands. Meanwhile, Dryst tried to run interference, protected by Shield and dodging. This worked for a little while the spectre tried to kill Dryst and Honus, who flailed at it with his default Two-Handed Sword skill. Once in a while he got lucky, though, and the sword did serious harm to the otherwise-insubstantial spectre. Galen shot Vryce a couple times with arrows to injure him and hopefully snap him out of his catatonia - but it didn't work.

Meanwhile Galen quick-searched the treasure pile, and came out with a wand (which he stuck in his teeth) and a greataxe. He attacked the spectre from behind but the axe didn't harm it, and he couldn't make the wand work. He dropped them and tried slapping Dryst and Vryce to get them aware, but it wouldn't work.

Honus kept fending off the spectre, popping potions out from his delver's webbing and quaffing them down to stay standing. One bad roll and he (and the fight, and the game) would have been over. But he stayed up, and he kept rolling well enough to stay in the fight.

The spectre did attack at Dryst a few times, but then it simply struck him with madness and later struck him twice with his deadly touch. Dryst (barely) lived, unconscious but nearly dead.

Honus kept at it, and finally, after shrugging off a few Madness spells and lots of damage, struck the spectre again and did enough damage to dissipate it. It felt to ashes and dust at his feet. Unaware of what he was doing, he scattered the ashes with his boot (Dryst would later point out it was 200 sp an ounce for the stuff.)

The spectre dead, it was just a matter of time before everyone recovered. The treasure was recovered (and it was a lot - a few thousand worth of coins, 115 gems worth 25K total, 6 potions, a wand, a magic axe, and a couple pieces of jewelry) and wounds patched.

The group got themselves together and searched around. They eventually found the walled-off room they'd passed up before (and which Krug said held a bird that looks at you and you die), and another room they'd bypassed. They heard crunching noises in that room. Long story short, they busted in (taking a few bodkin crossbow bolts) and killed two dire apes and four hobgoblins . . . and "rescued" some goblins the hobgoblins had been using as food. They interrogated them briefly and then moved on.

Some more mapping later, they headed up to the surface and home. They had to stay overnight on the fringes of the slums because they left the ruins so late, and the town closed (and locked) the gates. But the next morning they made it to town.


MVP this session was Honus, for obvious reasons. His quick thinking and good rolling kept them alive. He saw the spectre dodge Vryce's attack and ignore the others, snapped up his sword, and fought with it to kill the spectre. Nice.

The rich treasure they found was an Easter egg. How so? Well, I rolled up Special for that room on my stocking table. So I decided, what the heck, a specially tough monster. I casually put down "killer spectre" and marked the double doors as concealed and how. Then later I needed to put in the details. I'd found the hand-written 8-level dungeon I'd used for my 1st edition GURPS game on the Forgotten Realms. I'd used the Dungeon of Death as the location for that dungeon, and in it was a room with a killed spectre in it with a rich loot. It was a horribly hard encounter for those PCs (they had to take that 1st ed. spectre down to -200 HP, 1 HP at a time). So I literally copied the loot word for word and just changed the money values to match. The axe? In that 1st ed. game it ended up on the wall of a PC's tavern in Waterdeep, and Vryce's player's half-ogre fighter in my 3rd edition game years later borrowed it for a time from the retired PC who'd taken it from the wight during his active days.

So yeah, Easter egg. A multi-referenced axe, much like Michael Park's sheriff in Tarantino movies.

There was some discussion about how they couldn't just give a Fine Dwarven Greataxe (Accuracy +2, Pussiance +2) worth 41,400 sp to Raggi. But they decided it was silly to sell it (for 16K or so) instead of having a much tougher NPC. So they gave it to him. I'm glad, because if he was a PC they'd have done the same - and that logic probably made them feel like they should anyway. Oh, and the potions turned out to be mostly powerful healing potions and another antidote and gaseous form aka body of air potion.

Raggi did groan he'd spent a good portion of the last haul getting himself a better axe, and now he's got this one. He'll put the other one aside for now. After all, this one does sw+7/cut.

Another big haul this time - everyone took home more than last trip, which was the best to date before today. That's even without selling the wand, axe, or a gold ring with uncut diamonds mounted on it, which Dryst will use as a (17-point) power item.

They did get obscenely luckly on wandering monsters. Oh, and on restocking rolls that kept most of the area they entered empty.


  1. About how long are your sessions on average?

    1. 8-9 hours from start to finish, although the first hour or twp so is just people showing up, chatting and getting organized. Last 30 minutes is cleanup. So call it 6-7 hours of play, including a few breaks.

    2. My own group plays between 4 hours and 9 hours, including goof off time, but it is always longer when they are all there. The time scales in a linear fashion to the attendance, afaict. Partly that is spotlight allowance, partly it is the much longer time combat lasts with more players combined with a greater beligerence on the part of the PCs when they are all there ready to rumble. Two player side sessions never really see big fights, as they so far always decide to watch and report back before biting off more than they can chew.

      The first time I ran a game for this big group (8 players) I was exhausted by the end. I am coming to prefer the big full party nights, now.

    3. In contrast, my group has a strict three-hour time limit, because the game store where we play closes the doors at ten and we start at seven. In addition, there's at least one ten-minute break in there, and we don't get situated until seven-thirty, of course.

      Combine that with a table that likes to talk and goof around (we have some really funny people in the group), and we're lucky to get an hour and a half of gaming in a night.

      Last time we met it was more like fifteen minutes or so.

    4. We can - at best - play twice a month. That's pushing it, and we can't sustain that for long. It's easier to have fewer long sessions than many shorter sessions.

    5. Back when I had a regular FTF group, I could only sustain 3-4 hours of gaming once every 3-4 weeks, by comparison.

  2. I am sorry to nitpick, but I am wrestling with treasure awards right now in my own campaign, so this small detail caught my eye.

    I'm confused about the value of that axe. A dwarven axe (+4 CF), with Accuracy and Puissance +2 ($20k each) should cost about $40250, or about 10,062 sp. You mention it being worth 41,400 sp, which by ordinary DF currency exchange is more like $165,000! If I were Raggi's player (I know he lacks one), I would toss that axe I'd just bought carelessly aside and start getting used to the feel of my new chopper. I believe you use different coin from vanilla DF, but this seems like a big discrepancy.

    Is there a typo? Are you using 25 cent silver pieces? Am I doing the math backward somehow?

    In any case, good on your players for treating Raggi like a person.

    1. A greataxe is base cost $100, Fine is +9 CF, dwarven is +4 CF, for 14 x base cost = 1400, plus enchantments. 41,400.

      We use a different monetary system because huge amounts of copper and small piles of gold is a world full of suck, IMO.

      Treating Raggi like an equal with that kind of loot on the line was painful, I'm sure, but it would have been inconsistent with their "stuff goes to the guy that can use it best" approach. In game it would be hard to justify that he's not "really" a member of their ad hoc looting group. Raggi actually has seniority over everyone except Vryce and Honus and Borriz, anyway, if you think of him as a group member.


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