Sunday, July 21, 2013

DF Game, Session 29 -Felltower 20

July 20, 2013

Characters: (approximate net point total)
Chuck Morris, human martial artist (251 points)
     Lucky Pete, one-handed human guard (not many points, NPC)
     Larry One-Eye, one-eyed heavy crossbowman (even less points, NPC)
     Arn Ulfgard, aka Arnie, barbaric warrior (unknown points NPC).
Dryst, halfling wizard (286 points)
     Father Hans, human cleric (?? points, NPC)
Galen Longtread, human scout (311 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)

Still in town:
Borriz, dwarven knight (310 points)
Christoph, human scout (258 points)
Honus Honusson, human barbarian (292 points)
Vryce, human knight (346 points)

Against all odds, Raggi was around despite clearing 13,000 sp last session (that's 26 pounds of silver, or over a pound of gold.) His roll to show up was only a 9 or less, and I rolled an 8. The joke was Raggi was now rich enough to hire other people to drink themselves to death for him - "That guy's my liver doner - look at him knock those back!" Father Hans was around, too, so he was promptly hired. And three volunteer hirelings offered to come along, and while Galen and Dryst were arguing about whether it was even useful to bring one, Chuck Morris told them all to come.

They did some shopping, and point spending - Galen bought up his Night Vision, which is allowed if really kind of funny ("I found this great eye doctor!") But what the hell, he took a lot of +1 Vitamin A. Dryst ordered some enchanted Dwarven plate, Galen went shopping for (and easily found) some giant spider silk cloth armor and a helmet (he's never had one so far, which is really funny to me.) Chuck finally got his armor enchanted.

As usual, they paid upkeep - I really need to put that as an entry on their GCA record sheets so they can just tick it off - and got some rumors. Raids by orcs on the outlying communities to the north, a failed hobgoblin raid a week back on Falcon's Keep (aka the Keep on the Borderlands), and one about how Baron Sterick was the king's right-hand man before suddenly turning on him. Oh, and Chuck heard that there isn't one set of dungeons below Felltower, but two - the one dug down, from the surface, and one dug up, that met in the middle. They decided on the spot the one coming up was dug by the six-fingered guys.

They decided to head right down to level 3, but this plan quickly got derailed.

They headed out, and started up the mountain. Just then Chuck said, just for grins, let's check Sterick's statue. You know, for secret compartments, if there is another way into the dungeon from there, etc. It was a great thought, but no, it wasn't. It's - as far as they can tell - just a normal stone statue. Good thought, though, and there is a rumor of another way into the dungeon from closer to town . . .

They reached the castle ruins above. They scouted, as usual. Galen found some significant traffic from the castle to the surrounding area, some clear signs of work on the broken castle walls to clear a path, and missing stone. They decided someone is taking stone from the ruins to build fortifications inside the dungeon.

Their usual entrance - the well - was untouched, although there was traffic nearby. They were cautious and headed down, Galen in the lead.

They got down to the first level, and heard some echoing noises - clumping and thumping. Maybe stone on stone? Not wanting to leave a real threat behind, they headed in that direction. They found their way to the "big room" and started to check the rooms and halls off of it. They saw evidence of spiders up one (webs on the ceiling), but decided spiders probably don't keep treasure so aren't worth dealing with. Behind another door was an empty room. Behind a third was a small room with a series of small round holes in the walls, in four rows going from hip height up to over head height. They sent a servant in to check but he couldn't see anything in the holes.

They checked another room, and found some cloaks on the floor. A servant was dispatched to check them, and put one on. But as Dryst leaned in to look at them, he saw movement - red fleas! So they dismissed the (now itching) servant and made a new one. They sent the new one out of the exit, but it hit a section of floor and writed briefly as wounds opened up on it, and it disappeared. They created a magical 10' pole and told Arn to go. He refused. So they sent another servant. He tapped and waved ahead of him but hit the same spot and died the same way. They decided to go another way. Their final attempt to reach the sounds connected them up to an area they'd been before, and they gave up and headed down.

The did their usual - down the stairs, stealthily passing the side passage, avoiding the arrow on the floor and the broken crystal hemisphere, checked the "chimera room" for monsters behind them, and headed to the fire-men. Still gone. They started to check some side passages they'd avoided last time. This lead to some undiscovered territory.

They found some side rooms - one trapped, with a level that temporarily sealed the room off (trapping a servant, who was no worse for wear after the trap reset, and a room where the phase snakes lived (they gathered some scales, which proved to be of no value. The sound of the trap going off attracted something, so they set up for a fight - and ambushed three gnolls and their four hyena-looking pets. It was a brief fight, but Raggi took a heavy flail shot, and with his hatred of gnolls went berserk. The animals died fast, the gnolls died soon after from arrows and axes and such. They were quickly looted.

The next room they found was a hexagonal shaped room with one of those rotatable statues in it. There were three doors. They forced two - one led to another hex-shaped room with stairs down, pretty deep ones, too. Another went to an empty 10 x 10 room, another they couldn't open but seemed to be a false door. They skipped the stairs and went to exlore more of the second level.

Next previously-bypassed side passage led them to a hide-covered door. They forced it, and found it could be (but wasn't) barred. Inside the door was further "fireproofed" and there were buckets of sand and stale water nearby. Also, one side door had a watch slit with its cover torn off. Beyond it were two goblin skeletons and their spears, behind a small barricade. They decided they'd been set to watch and died once they couldn't get back in after "some guys" killed their hobgoblin masters. Heh.

They head some noises - stone-on-stone clumping, and smashing wood, spaced out over time. So they headed in that direction.

They headed further in, and found a room with some torchlight leaking from underneath and goblin voices speaking. They tried to force it but failed, so they started in on it with axes (Raggi and Arn) and horse cutter (Chuck) until they chopped it down. Over the axe chops tGalen heard retreating footsteps, and they saw the torchlight fade. But finally the door came down and they moved in. A brief fight erupted. Arn took a bad turn, getting hit repeatedly in his body and neck, and dropped making death checks. But otherwise the hobgoblins got butchered. They tried, but they couldn't penetrate Raggi's armor or anyone else's defenses. Still, one female managed to escape down a flight of stairs, but she tripped and fell in the process. Raggi stopping killing to roar with laughter. Father Hans checked Arn, who'd surprisingly held on through a few death checks, but he was poisoned by the monster drool on the hobgoblin's swords and that pushed him over the edge to death on his last check. They grabbed his axe and left him with the hobgoblin corpses.

They looted them, finding some change and some salvageable weapons, but nothing else. There was a throne-like chair with cheap furs surrounding it, and a crudely-painted black six-fingered hand above it. They checked for hidden treasure, found nothing, and moved on - they didn't want to go down until they'd dealt with the sound. They managed to track it down, while also connecting their map to the area they'd had a huge brawl with hobgoblins.

They found the source of the sound in the storage area - what turned out to be two humanoid-shaped "rock men" with glassy orb eyes and gemstone teeth. They bounced arrows, broke a cheap sword when it hit them, and otherwise ignored attacks. They pounded with fists and bit with gemstone teeth, including biting a chunck out of Raggi's unarmored face ("You call that a bite? Hah!"). The floor was bad footing from the shattered crates and barrels and spilled food. The PCs ordered Lucky Pete to attack, but he said he didn't want to break his sword on no rock. Gah, volunteers aren't reliable! Damn it! But one attacked him so he attacked back, and naturally, his sword broke. The rock-man bit him back, randomly, and I rolled hand. It did a lot of damage, and bit off Lucky Pete's only hand. Damn, not so lucky today. Pete started screaming in shock and horror.

The group managed to eventually finish them off, with a few more hard hits and lots of terrible, terrible defense rolls by their foes. Father Hans tried to use Faith Healing on Pete, but couldn't heal his hand. So he closed the wound and gave him the amputated hand to bring back to town.

They started to loot them, but their rear guard reported more were coming. So they regrouped and attacked the oncoming next pair. They didn't do well - one killed servant, but Raggi and Chuck broke arms and legs and then finished them quickly. They looted the corpses of their eyes and teeth, with Shape Stone.

They headed off to the barricaded area, with the goblin skeletons, and climbed over the barrier. Beyond it, they found another hex-shaped room with a rotatable statue. They realized now it was a puzzle, where they all had to be facing the right way in some combo. "We're not a puzzle-solving group" said Dryst's player. He's not wrong, but it does mean some other group can give it a go.

They found a trapped room with a spiked wall. Servant was sent in, and died as the wall slammed into him, a false door (which caused the statue to zap Raggi unconscious with black fire when he opened it), and a way out. They revived Raggi and moved on, finding that weird altar again (TPT2), and all the "new" guys except Father Hans touched it. Larry got some improved magical effect on him (it never came up), Dryst got temporary Danger Sense (which also oddly didn't come up), Chuck had 3d30 of his silver coins turn to gold (He got 69, and was mightily happy with that result.) Raggi shoved the still shocked and ashen and handless Pete into the altar. I rolled . . . and got heal all injury! His hand was healed, too (more on this below). Pete's lucky finally turned!

From there, the group moved on. They found room with a stone "button" on the ground - a servant pressed it, and fell into a pit and died. Oops. They found another hex-shaped room, this time with an iron door amongst its others. They forced nothing, just to be safe, but exited out a side door. There they found the end of the orc-filled hallway from a few sessions back, and Galen skirmished with some orcs. He took a few arrows but killed a few orcs, thanks to Dark Vision and Missile Shield. They also found a hole in the floor, almost 10' across, with a steep (45 degrees or so) rough tunnel down. As Galen shot the orcs, one sounded the alarm, another blew a horn, and they heard and answering gong from below. While Galen shot a climbing orc in the foot even as he covered himself with a tower shield, it was clear they were getting rushed from multiple points by low-profit foes. They retreated, and Mage Locked the door behind them.

After this, the group basically retreated to the surface. All the noise and gongs had set the whole dungeon off. They heard lots of stuff moving around. As they headed to the first level stairs, they heard clopping of hooved feet and a shambling stomping. They decided this was bad, possibly "bit blue ogre!" bad, and ran. They managed to get to level 1 and the surface, and heard move nearby activity. "May as well keep running now." They took off to town as fast as they could.

They made it to safety, but were tired and a bit worried. What was that?


I forgot to pack my hobgoblin minis - I took them out to paint and never put them back. "We fight this combat under protest!" But I had my standby - I had five actual hobgoblin minis (well, orcs painted grey) and a bunch of hobgoblin beer beercaps. Haha! Protest withdrawn!

Those rock-men are new. I'm using old TSR vilstrak minis for them, but the concept is a little more Discworld troll and my own concept of what a rock-shaped humanoid should be like. They'll see publication someday, next time I get a contract to fill a book with monsters. I use some quick-and-dirty rules for breaking weapons on the attack, and cheap weapons are quite susceptible.

Chuck's player said we should have been keeping a log of how servants die. So we started today, at least in ours heads. One dismissed after getting fleas, one died in a pit, one died from a slamming spike wall, and one died from a rock-man's bite, and two died from that magical trap. 5 down from violence this session.

Penetrating Weapon came up in discussion - I'm either going to make this a rare spell (you can't just go and get it) or more expensive (all weapons use the Missile Weapon cost). It's not that I mind the power of it, really, but that it's offloading a lot of math on me. Plus it is really effective for the cost. It's kind of an equalizer for weak fighters vs. heavy armor, but honestly the heavy fighters (Raggi, Chuck Morris, Vryce) would end up getting it first. So maybe it'll be a "you can find it but not buy it" kind of thing.

Lucky Pete got very lucky. Raggi made him touch the altar, and I rolled on my little table of results. He got one about healing all injury. It said crippling, but what about amputated extremities? I sat pondering and Chuck's player said "Throw the guy a bone, come on." So I did, and ruled since it was a recent amputation, it would (slowly) heal. So his hand is attached, now, but it'll take at least a month of rest before he could use it.

Doors in DF go from "easy to force" (Light) to "hard to force" (Average) to "get an axe" (Heavy). This is believable to me, since we're talking one-second attempts to force. But it does mean a locked and barred heavy door is a significant obstacle. Against a seriously built door, the best bet isn't a crowbar and a forcing roll but skipping right to "smash it down with heavy axes and All-Out Attack (Strong)." A portable battering ram could help, too.

They also got lucky on where wandering monsters were in relation to themselves, so they didn't get too jumped. That they finished off two of the rock-men before the next two attacked from behind helped, too. They realized they'd be dangerous in numbers.

All in all, a good trip - lots of exploration. They've found 4 of those statue rooms, 3 ways down, how to get back to where they were from three different directions, and took some loot home.

Oh, and the volunteers? One died, one crippled but healing, and one useless (the heavy crossbowman only hit once, and his max-strength siege crossbow was useless the one time he hit against a rock-man). Chuck paid them each 2 gp ($40) out of his 69-coin weird altar effect.

Good session. Galen was the MVP. Yeah, scouts are totally unfair vs. normal folks. Also, totally unfair + Missile Shield and Dark Vision = oh come on.


  1. In my next DF game, I'm going to disallow dual-weapon attack for archers and only allow them to make either Ranged Rapid Strikes (2 shots at -6 each, halved for Heroic Archer or Weapon Master) or shoot multiple arrows as normal rapid fire attack (with -1 damage per extra shot and Rcl 6, again halved for Heroic Archer or Weapon Master).

    I think Scout will still be dominate against normal foes, but not to the stupid level they are in standard DF, where dual-weapon attack makes even shields useless against them.

    1. It's not a bad idea, although real people can shoot two arrows at a time, so it's not crazy for a guy with Bow-22 to do it in combat.

      And the solution to Dual-Weapon Attack might be Dual-Weapon Block. One Block at -1 gets both arrows. Allow it for Large Shields, or at an additional -1 for a Medium or smaller shield. Allow default use, of course.

    2. I'm in the middle of a game right now, but how does Blocking work for guns? Dodging eliminates one hit per point you make your roll by, Block would then be either the same or per 2 (due to 1:2 for Dodge vs. Block I seem to remember reading somewhere)

    3. It's two separate attacks, not autofire. So you get separate defenses.

    4. Ah, so subject to the -5 per additional block? I'd treat them both as one block, as you say. Or just DO treat them as autofire, so you sweep up an additional shot if that would tamp down the uber.

    5. Real people can't shoot two arrows at a time with full power. Energy / 2 should give damage / 1.41, or roughly -2 per die for realism. For cinematic, add panjagan arrows! Particularly poisoned penetrating panjagan arrows.

    6. Seriously, though - so what? This character has:

      ST 13
      Heroic Archer
      Weapon Master (Bow)
      the Double-Shot powerup to completely buy off DWA penalties.
      . . . and a pretty good bow. He's shooting at something well under maximum range (less than 1/3 of maximum).

      Changing it to Rapid Strike would be -6/-6 for the shots, halved to -3/-3 for Heroic Archer, and down to -1/-1 with Weapon Master per MA 119.

      All double-shooting does, really, is give an additional -1 to defend to a target if it gets hit with both. Mark's idea is to give them Recoil and presumably treat multiple shots as a higher ROF, and thus subject to one attack roll for all of the shots. That's not the RAW, though, and it seems unfair to do it for two arrows but not for 2 melee attacks. If shooting two arrows a turn means one attack roll with a non-existent ROF bonus, opponents get one defense that affects both arrows, and damage is reduced . . . then the same should happen to all multiple attack situations, period.

      I'm not ready to do that, so I'm not doing that to the Scout, either.

    7. All that said, I'm going to write up Dual-Weapon Block for tomorrow.

    8. I don't think it's quite fair to the two-handed swordsman that the Scout gets to learn a technique (dual weapon attack) that has lower penalties than rapid strike to start and can be improved cheaper than a combination. Forcing archers to use ranged rapid strike puts them on the same footing as everyone who uses a single weapon in two hands.

      The Scout is my RAW F2F game always shoots two shots, always bodkins to the vitals, and almost always hits with a predictive attack. Targets with shields block one attack and then get hit with the other and fall down and die. He's pretty much capable of killing anything with vital organs, and if the combat starts out at any appreciable distance, he finishes the combat before the other PCs get done aiming their crossbows. Moderating that a bit does not seem unfair.

    9. But what does the two-handed sword guy gain?

      - swing damage (and Weapon Master is a per-die damage bonus)
      - improved parries (-2 per, not -4, or -1 with WM)
      - Two attacks per second at -3.

      I don't think Scouts are unfair vs. melee guys - I think they're unfair vs. non-Heroic Archers - all the more so if the Scout has a wizard backing him and his enemies don't. But guys with WM are unfair vs. guys without WM. That's all I was bitching about. Nerfing the scout seems unfair to me - giving enemies options to make the "easier" (by 1 point . . . ) multi-attack also easier to block seems more fair.

      In my game, at least Vryce is a death machine with Skill 23 or 24 or something, a magic sword, 3d+10 cutting damage. The scout is doing 1d+6 pi or imp. Things with vitals and moderate armor? Dead. Things without, or with heavy armor? Welcome to "good thing imp has a minimum damage" territory. So this doesn't bother me.


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