June 23rd, 2013
Characters: (approximate net point total)
Dryst, halfling wizard (2576 points)
Father Hans, human cleric (?? points, NPC)
Galen Longtread, human scout (300 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)
Still in town:
Borriz, dwarven knight (310 points)
Christoph, human scout (258 points)
Chuck Morris, human martial artist (251 points)
Honus Honusson, human barbarian (292 points)
Vryce, human knight (346 points)
Really light turnout today. Between some scheduling conflicts and illness and other issues, only two guys showed up - and one of them had to leave for a few hours of work right in the middle and then come back. If that seems odd, well, we play at his house so he'd come back anyway.
I ruled that Raggi was available without a roll, because it would be a major issue if he wasn't - enough to spell the difference between "Of course we go into the dungeon" and "What should we do?"
They also managed to locate a healing cleric hireling, which they'd asked for last time and I'd totally forgotten to stat up. Pre-gen NPCs in DFA1 to the rescue, and Father Hans was available and willing to enter the dungeon for a small fee.
That done, they got some rumors (about an enchanter taking residence up in the dungeon, about grey-and-brown bodied giant spiders whose poison eats through armor, and that the best way to kill a gas demon is with a wind jet) and headed out, crossing Stone Bridge across Silver River, to Sterick's Landing and past the statue of Sterick the Red, self-proclaimed Baron, and up to the ruins. They created their light stones (Dryst rolling yet another of his endless critical failures, this time negated by his recent purchased of Magical Stability) and headed in.
They found that the main entrance to the ruins had been traversed - both side portcullises were up, the doors were spiked open, and the pit was full to the top with broken rubble from outside and fascia made of bracken and such. They put down their bridge after some scouting and headed in.
First stop was the four-way room near the otyugh's pit. It was wet, as usual, with drag marks back to its lair. They left it alone and explored some nearby areas to fill in their map - finding the place they'd first fought the wights, finding the gargoyles again (this time they backed off and left the party alone),
We had a discussion at this point about Dryst's long-term plan to use the Enslave spell to get a gargoyle ally. And just how expensive it would be on an SM+3 otyugh, which otherwise they'd love to get on their side. (120 energy, and it's resisted)
After this they explored some areas they had bypassed. They hit a room full of caltrops with a sealed door in it. They cleared the caltrops (well, magical servants did with a magically created broom) and bashed the door down after forcing it failed. A draugr waited beyond, and attacked. It managed to carve Raggi up a bit but ate arrow after arrow from Galen while Raggi pounded on it. It eventually dropped.
They looted its armor and sword, and found its shield and armor were marked with the symbol of Baron Sterick's army. At first they though it mean a bodyguard but out-of-game I corrected them (their characters would know his regulars wore this symbol, his bodyguards special additional ones.) It had nothing else of value.
After this they headed down the long hallway they'd discovered a previous trip, and checked a few more rooms on the way, finding nothing but some signs of recent visitation. They also took a careful listen at the iron door that frustrated them that trip - they heard nothing, but Galen heard the sound of leather scraping against leather and a quiet footfall in another suite nearby. They geared up, Raggi kicked down the door, and they charged in - right into an orc ambush!
They were prepared for that, though, and although the orcs fought in formation and ranks with flanking archer support, it didn't help them much. Galen's arrows killed their archers in a split second, then shot down their horn-blowing sentry when he tried to wind the alarm. Raggi stepped in to face the seven other orcs and decapitated one of them with a maximum-damage neck shot (he hit and I rolled boxcars for damage.) Dryst zapped one with a lightning spell. then started in on Great Haste. Raggi then smashed into their ranks with his Cleaving Strike and rolled something like two max damage criticals and several near-maximum damage strikes. Galen kept shooting as well. The orcs died so fast Dryst never finished his spell before seven had died and three surrendered.
Galen took over at this point (Dryst's player headed in to work.) Raggi herded the prisoners to the side, Galen stabbed the wounded in the eye to finish them (he's a cold-hearded bastard, really), and Dryst used Wild Talent to cast Gift of Tongues. Then they interrogated the orcs. The foolish orcs were so happy not to be killed outright they didn't try to bargain, just answer questions. They provided a lot of information, including:
- they've moving in from overland and from "the caves" into "the tunnels downstairs" to take over, now that the goblins are gone.
- the goblins were wiped out by a smaller force in a couple of big fights.
- there are six fists of orcs in the area, including two patrols.
- they have two more apes in the area.
- there is a door downstairs right at the end of the hallway.
- they've never been past that metal door, the shamans told them it's forbidden and bad magic is there. Also, the shamans can't get in either.
- there are a lot of orcs tribes under one orc king.
Once it was clear they had nothing left to answer, Raggi asked if he should "make them safe to leave behind." Galen was all for that, so Raggi lined them up and went for a triple-decapitation. It didn't work but they were all fatally injured. Galen stabbed them each in the eye to finish the job, because Raggi didn't care to.
They took some loot and headed downstairs (for those counting at home, it was a 45-degree angle stair, roughly, and dropped down to a floor 30' below)
There they found a hex-shaped room with three doors and a statue in the middle, of a cone-hatted humanoid with its face covered, robes down to its feet, six-fingered hands, lobeless ears, and its left arm pointed to the door to the left. That door was barred shut, with a fairly recently added wooden bar. The door to the right showed no signs of traffic at all. The door head showed a lot. They headed that way, covering their lights and sending Galen to scout. He saw a bar on the far side, currently not in place, and a T-intersection.
To the left he head orcish voices echoing, not sure how far away. To the right he saw a chamber with six men carrying sickles, just standing there. A quick plan later and they got ready. Dryst ditched his servants and readied a lightning spell, and then Great Hasted Raggi. As soon as he slapped Raggi into action Raggi dropped the hand he'd used to cover his continual light stone and charged into the room. Galen opened up on the further of the six, putting an arrow into the heart of each. They took it and didn't flinch. The fight was on. Raggi charged and attacked, cutting down a couple but not killing them, and Galen kept his arrow attacks up. It was quickly clear these guys were fast, were constructs, and that luck wasn't on their side. Raggi critically failed and fumbled his axe, and then ate a sickle hit (the swing/impaling kind) and dropped prone. Galen kept shooting, and Raggi shot a double-leg takedown and then punched the corpse-golem (as they'd turn out to be) twice, rolling a ridiculous amount of damage and killing it. He ate more and more extremely high damage hits as he tried to get up, and although he took down another golem he was hit again and went below -HP. I rolled, and froze - we'd just been saying "Raggi rolls really well, but he'll probably die in some stupid anti-climactic way." "Yeah, like the scout sending him in to die." And there it was - a failed death check, missed by one, even counting Hard to Kill.
So I quickly flipped to Berserker in my notes - yes, the +4 also counts for death checks. That 15 wasn't a failure, it was a solid success by the margin of his HT + Berserk + Hard to Kill. He was out (he'd missed his consciousness roll with a 17) but not dead. Whew!
Raggi was down, and meanwhile Galen never missed with his arrows but only twice rolled better than 1 or 2 on his damage roll. He'd hit twice, and roll a 1 and a 2 for damage. Every time. This kept a lot of golems coming. Dryst blasted one down with lightning, and then charged up another spell. Galen blinded one with arrows to the eyes, and then Dryst zapped it and Father Hans whacked it with his mace and finished it. Galen's arrows did for the others, the 3 or so Raggi hadn't killed.
After the fight they patched up Raggi with Faith Healing and a bunch of potions, and headed further down the corridor, despite the risk of being cut off by orcs. They checked a small side room, and as they left, they were attacked. Three trigers (three-headed tigers) jumped them from behind!
One killed the trailing servant, and one each tackled and mauled Dryst and Father Hans. Galen and Raggi turned and attacked, quickly dispatching one triger and wounding another. But Dryst was mauled again, and had to make a death check - and Galen's player had to roll it as Dryst's player wasn't there. He needed a 12 or less, and rolled - 6, 3 . . . and 3. Made it, barely! More arrows and more axe blows and the trigers were dispatched and faded into smoke - summoned creatures of some kind. With their priest badly injured, Raggi hurt (he was hurt every fight), and Dryst near death, they couldn't stick around. They poured potions into the priest, stabilized Dryst magically, and then scooped him up and headed out. They left most of their loot from the orcs and draugr there, taking only the coins and the (more valuable) swords. They fled to the first level, taking some arrow fire from orcs (Galen shot back into the darkness but didn't hit anything.)
There, they found rats and giant rats were into the orc corpses, so they fled up the corridor and found a room to hide in. They covered their lights and waited. They soon heard orcs killed the rats and kicking down doors. So they waited, quietly and in the dark. When their door was kicked open, they uncovered their lights, Great Hasted Galen, and attacked. Eight orcs waited outside, armed and ready - and died in seconds. Galen didn't miss much, Raggi didn't miss at all, and the orcs died hard and fast. A couple tried to run but were shot down with arrows. The group looted them and headed off in pursuit.
"Nobody summoned creatures to maul Dryst and lives!"
So they headed downstairs, and over were the orcs came from. They passed a room padlocked and barred from the outside ("Treasury?" "You don't bar your treasure inside the room.") The next door their servant opened, and a swinging pointy log trap with bells on it splattered him and forced Raggi and Galen to jump aside.
The bells presaged doors banging open and a two-way orc ambush, but again, they were ready for it (and frankly were looking for it). Two ranks of big, brute-sized orcs, backed by a leader and an ogre hurling spears, faced them. Raggi charged when Galen told him "Kill!" and found he was in defilade from orc archers and a shaman.
What followed was a pretty good fight. The orcs fought in ranks, shield guys in front and polerms (and a long axe) in the back rank, arrows from the flank, lightning spells from the flank, and their leader using his large shield to cover a spear-throwing ogre. They did well, although some piss-poor damage rolls when they hit Raggi meant even their envenomed bodkin arrows didn't penetrate and a few botched defenses and a critical hit or two meant they couldn't stop Galen's arrows. But Raggi was critically hit by a spear from the ogre and badly injured (although he didn't go berserk), and Galen knocked down and out by a high-damage hit. He was awakened by Dryst with an Awaken spell stone, healed by Father Hans, and hit with a Great Haste spell by Dryst. Then they started to mow down the orcs despite their team tactics and mutually supporting positions.
Galen shot down the leader with four arrows to the face - he stopped one and ate three and dropped. When the ogre charged he ate four arrows to the face as well and dropped, dead.
Raggi charged the archers and shaman and once again used Cleaving Strike to cut a few down, decapitating two (two instant-kill extremely high damage rolls in a row, to Neck), sucking up a lightning strike (the shaman rolled abysmal damage), and then killing the shaman with the old standard mage-buster, the Defense Swamp (AOA Double, one as a Rapid Strike - Shaman Iron Armed one, Dodged one, failed to Dodge the other, and took max damage). The sole remaining orc archer tried to run and ate four arrows as well, each of which did enough to incapacitate him.
Some quick looting and room searching followed, but the group was in a rush to leave. They did find a room with a scorched floor, walls, and ceiling, with a sack in the corner and scrawling writing in orcish - something about magic. So Raggi headed in to the sack and Dryst cast "Gift of Letters" to read it.
The whole place erupted in flames! Dryst cast Extinguish Fire before the flames could do more than singe him, and saved the day. Then he read the sign - it said "Danger! Magic Bad Here!" Sigh. Yeah. But at least the sack had some loot in it (as well as someone's lunch).
Atfer this, they basically backtracked to the surface, with a profitable trip in the bag and everyone pretty low on healing potions, energy reserves, and interest in pushing it further.
They passed close to the otyugh on the way out, and Father Hans felt the sudden conviction that some poor soul was stuck down that short hallways there! We really need to go in there and (YANK!) - Raggi grabs him by the neck and says "No, there's an otyugh in there. Ignore it and let's go."
They got back to town, divided up the loot three ways, payed Father Hans a bonus, and spent the assorted copper coins they'd found (and were too lazy to money-change) on a big booze fest.
- They gave Raggi MVP on the "we couldn't have won all six fights without him" principle.
- Apropos our Enslave discussion, I said I was 100% okay with them abusing it to get monster allies. However, I nixed part of the spell I never liked - the using the eyes and ears of the Enslaved creature to see/hear from. It doesn't make sense based on the lesser versions of the spell (Loyalty, Charm) and makes it too much. I'm fine with the mental communication aspect, powerful as it is - although equally, it seems to have no precedent in the lesser versions of the spell. Enslave has a lot of "also this extra cool stuff" in it - isn't suicidally total loyalty permanently good enough? I think so.
- it's important to remember all the modifiers for death checks and HT rolls. Galen forgot he had Fit on his first roll to wake up with Awaken. Then Dryst's player said "Put Fit on your list of things to buy - then you'd had a +1 to HT rolls." "Hey, I have Fit." Me: "Then you made your roll. You wake up."
- Faith Healing is very powerful - 1 FP per 2 HP healed (works out to 4 HP for 20 HP Raggi) and no mention at all of multipliers for size. So healing Raggi 28 points cost only 7 FP for the priest. Wow! First time in my GURPS life anyone ever used that advantage so I had to look it up and walk though it, and it's well worth the cost if you've got a big guy to heal.
- Raggi's rolls are no less than silly sometimes. He rolled 15+ damage maybe 1/3 of the time this session, and as always did near-maximum or actually did maximum damage on a strike immediately following taking damage from someone. Three max-damage criticals and at least 3 normal strikes rolling 18 on 3d this session . . . geez. He did have one bad moment, though - hit someone for 4 damage on 3d. Plus 7, of course, for 11 cutting to the body, still enough for a major wound and stunning and knockdown.
- Cleaving Strike is an awesome choice for a berserker. AOA Strong will multiple targets, provided you knock them down or back? Yeah, that's for Raggi.
- We got through a lot of exploration and six fights tonight (orcs three times, corpse-golems, trigers, druagr) and a lot of looting.
- the otyugh and its empathic attempts to convince prey to come close is starting to get really funny.
- An NPC Healbot is handy. A PC would be better, but this guy is okay. They better hope he's available.
- Again, not a huge haul at all - something like 1700~ sp each. Profitable, but not a big haul. Still they're getting closer to things of real interest.