Sunday, September 15, 2013

DF Session 33, Felltower 24

September 15th, 2013, but finishing up the session from September 1st, 2013

Weather: Hot, occasional rain

Characters: (approximate net point total)
Chuck Morris, human martial artist (274 points)
     Lucky Pete, human volunteer (?? points, NPC)
     Basher the Thug, semi-human volunteer (?? points, NPC)
Dryst, halfling wizard (290? points)
     Father Hans, human cleric (130 points, NPC)
     Shieldman Zed, human guard (62 points, NPC)
Galen Longtread, human scout (318 points)
Vryce, human knight (369 points)

Still in town:

Borriz, dwarven knight (310 points)
Christoph, human scout (258 points)
Honus Honusson, human barbarian (297 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)

We started in town, two weeks after the last delve (to get us back on real-time/date track). Raggi was flush with money and getting over a tremendous beating, so he was around only a 9 or less - and I rolled a 17. Nope.

The group finished making purchases - a "spare," better bow for Galen (also enchanted to Puissance +1), a new and better light horse cutter for Chuck Morris, more and better armor for Vryce (who is now entirely covered in spidersilk under his plate and mail combo), and lots of little bits of gear. They also stocked up on potions, healing potions, and the like. They also decided they wanted a piece of the Lord of Spite, who knocked them silly with some spoken spell before. So they all bought cotton earplugs for 2 sp each (pricey for earplugs, but they are good ones.)

Finally, they picked up rumors. The orcs worship a one-eyed demon god, and their shamans can summon him to aid them ("That's it, we can't fight the orcs anymore.") Also, the orcs call Felltower Grak Yorl, which means "bone yards" or "the boneyard" in their language. A rumor about some unopenable doors (location lost to time) that lead into Felltower didn't impress anyone. The others I can't recall offhand.

They headed out, picking up some volunteers on the way - Lucky Pete and Basher the Thug were both confident of success (now they'd started succeeding again) and healed up from their past delves, so they came along.

The group headed across Stone Bridge across the Silver River, past Sterick's Landing and the statue of Sterick, and through the slums and up and out of town. They arrived at the ruins, and found the the main ruin within the walls had been repaired a bit. Uh-oh. They still used their usual entrance, the well, and found it unchanged.

They went right down to level two, intending to pretty much knock on Durak's door, then lead the Lord of Spite out into an ambush - Galen would lead him on plinking him with arrows from his magical bow, then the PCs would jump Durak from behind to let Vryce and Chuck get some serious strokes in on him. They got all the way to the hidden spectre room when they had second thoughts. They decided it was a bad idea to go after him after all, and went back to finish exploring the lizard man area.

So they did that. Basically they returned to the previous session's battlefield. It stank of rot and death after two damp weeks. The lizard men had been picked over, and many giant and normal sized rats were feasting on the corpses. They made some ROUS jokes, but Dryst claimed "Rats are the natural enemies of my people. They carry off my people. They're what drove us out of our holes." Hmm, didn't realize it was rats. So, halflings hate giant rats. Despite this, they chose to avoid the rats. They circled around the temple to the other side down the side passaged they'd explored many times before (in at least three sessions, if not more, starting with TPT II.)

They basically linked up their map, showing the area they'd explored last time after the lizard man fight did indeed connect through and around with places they'd been before. They backtracked and forward tracked a few times, first determining that the lizard men had been raided in their absence - they found shattered eggs and slaughtered females in a room they'd bypassed last trip/earlier this session. Next they found something had bent the portcullis bars to get into/out of the lizard man area. They went out that way and found that just beyond the lizard man territory was a hex-shaped room with a statue in the middle - one of the statue rooms they'd been finding and fooling around with to great pain and no profit. There was also a short hallway to a set of stairs up.

They then headed into the temple to try their luck with the cabinet behind the big idol. Chuck used Breaking Blow on it and guided the battering ram in and dislodged the doors. He dented what was behind it - a black-shot green marble based goblet, made of gold and silver, studded with a dozen green-and-black stones of some unknown kind. It was 15 pounds, and non-magical, so they swiped it.

Then they backtracked to the lizard man area and explored the far end, around the big pit down they think is possibly where they came up after being dunked in the watery zone after being teleported. They decided against going down, mostly because Chuck Morris put in a pretty start light - "Do we go down the dark pit deeper into the dungeon, or up the stairs and closer to the surface?" Up they went.

They backtracked and went up the stairs, and through a door - and found themselves in a long corridor with a door to the right and a metal door to the left. A check to the right determined they were on the first level near the "apartments." They even found evidence of their brawl with the orcs a few sessions back.

They checked the metal door. It was heavy, and locked, but not magical or trapped. Lockmaster popped the lock open, and it opened smoothly and silently when a servant pushed on it.

Inside was a short entrance and a 30' circular room. In it was a bigger-than-Chuck Morris statue of a man with crossed arms wearing robes standing on a 6' wide base - but missing its head. In seven niches evenly spread along the walls were 7 busts, all equally headless. The busts included a boyish/pre-adolescent girlish figure, an armored figure, a busty woman, a well dressed man, and others - but none had a head. The ceiling above was vaulted and painted like a cheery sky.

Examining the statues showed they heads had been chiseled off, although not a speck of dust was in the room. Chuck lit and waved a torch near the big statue's base, but nothing there, either - no draft denoting hidden stairs. They tried to shift the statue anyway, also to no avail - no purchase to shift it on the smooth floor.

Dryst then cast Ancient History on it, going for the full 1000 years. He got an impression of the statue intact, with a stern, frowning bearded face on it. Many hands touched it and decorated it - and it was not always here, but elsewhere, outside. Then it was moved into another place, perhaps a temple. Then somewhere between 50 and 150 years ago, it was rudely chiseled apart by vague figures and its head bundled and taken away.

Cleverly Dryst followed this up with a Seeker spell, and found the head was on level one not far away, back around where the wights had been. They had little time to explore (in the real world, it was getting late), so they decided to go back to the surface.

They figured on going through the gargoyle area and out the fortified front, until Vryce said, "The entrance we know is occupied and has been fortified more and more?" so Dryst suggested the bugbear's tunnels.

Basically that's what they did - they took a secret side passage, then straight the bugbear's tunnels and crawled out, laboriously.

They covered their tracks as best they could (not well, but not terribly, either), and headed back to town.


No combat this session - not the end of the previous part, nor this one. The rats didn't bother them (and failed a morale check, basically, to fight, and backed off) and they didn't provoke one. No wandering monsters showed up, and they hit nothing that was restocked, oddly. They just waltzed in, grabbed a nice prize (the goblet fetched 12000 sp after it was repaired to bang out the dent), found a great puzzle to work on, and a clue to follow up. Nice session, although it's odd to think that we've got 32 sessions with combat and yet managed 1 without - in a game centered on combat. I'm sure if the other trip had been resolved that night, and this was all session, they'd have found a way to find a fight. And they went looking for one but thought better of it.

I'm curious what they'll do with the heads. They spent some time trying to figure out a way to re-lock the door to the room but not so they can't get back in. They settled for Magelock for now but it's not like it will stay up forever.

I had to rule on an odd magic item request - Puissance +1 caltrops. I ruled a hex worth of caltrops was a single weapon for enchantment, so it was normal cost for a melee weapon - $5000. That put paid to the idea of spreading hexes of magical (presumably cheap and disposable magical) caltrops in front of the Lord of Spite so he'd cripple his feet trying to get to the party. Yes, the plan is magic caltrops. Yes, my players come up with interesting stuff.


  1. Clearly, Dryst needs to learn Delay as his next spell (he should meet the prerequisites) and create some booby-trapped rocks with a suitably useful spell (Burning Touch? Fire Cloud? Flame Jet?). That'd be a lot cheaper and more reusable than the caltrops.

    Alternately, they should petition you to treat the caltrops as a single use missile weapon, reducing the enchantment cost from an unreasonable $5000 to a highly affordable $25.

    Actually, they should do both. Puissant caltrops linked to an explosive fireball would be a nice opener for a combat.

    1. They petitioned, but they failed - I don't see why caltrops are missiles, they're just small muscle-powered melee weapons. They aren't really breakable/fragile like an arrow, either, so I'd essentially be okaying the idea that you can put one-shot puissance on a routinely re-usable weapon. I can see the hell that ruling will net me in additional "but if I can put one-shot puissance on caltrops can't I . . . " questions.

      Delay would be pretty smart, though, but it's a demon lord they're after - they know he's strong against resisted magic and against elemental magic. Still, basically turning caltrops into magical mines for use against other monsters ins't a bad idea at all. You really only have a short window to use them (assuming cast, recover the FP, and then head to the fight - that'll eat up a lot of the 2 hour duration, especially at 3 to maintain). But it should work.

  2. With a 2 hour duration and an effectively 2 FP to maintain, you're looking at 5 minutes rest/hour to maintain it. That's pretty affordable, especially since it means you can do things like cast a 5 hex radius Grease spell ahead of time (Banish would be really tempting, but requires too much research. Still, Delayed Banish is probably the most realistic way of casting Banish. Hmmm.)

    I'm somewhat fond of the possibilities for shifting fatigue costs and casting times in GURPS Magic; this seems like a great trick but it does need some work.

    Alternately, getting Delay and using it to set up some Great Hastes on the fighting types would be totally worthwhile.

    1. Both are true. It's the "pay a lot to cast, pay 3 for Delay, recover it all, go fight" thing that adds up quickly, even with FP shifting with multiple spellcasters and Lend Energy.

      The Great Haste thing is interesting. It's more expensive but probably more effective to get it as a spell stone since it's not going to risk removal with Dispel Magic or NMZs on the way.

      This kind of stuff is why I slammed the door so hard on a lot of Grimoire-era Meta spells - Hang Spell and Maintain Spell, especially. It gets to be a game of "pay now, recover now, do amazing stuff later" and not a tradeoff between resources and extra costs ahead of time vs. right now. Delay acts very similarly to Hang Spell, but it's like Wait - you need to define the trigger ahead of time, not just decide on the fly when to activate a spell or not.

    2. The player's in Nate's online group should definitely start buying Great Haste spellstones. Though those are stupid expensive for a one use item.

      Some of the cost shifting nonsense is also why I want to move to Threshold Mana: you get 40 FP a day, and all the weird games in the world aren't going to change that (and alternately what I don't like about RPM in that context). Delay and Hang Spell still have uses for getting off spells with long casting times in a hurry.

    3. You have to have a one-use mindset. If you spend X to earn X+Y treasure, and X also means you win a fight you'd otherwise lose (or cost you more than X), you're good. If it's expensive, well, keep holding on to it until you need it.

      My players have some faults, but they've been really good about spending money to make money. Spellstones are a good case for those - sometimes you just need to Awaken someone, say, and the dollar cost isn't the issue. Needing a new PC is.

      Then again I think you told me your group doesn't buy potions, because of the cost-to-benefit ratio. Mine buy them in such quantities it affects their encumbrance, they buy extra potion belts, and I have to have rules about what the market will supply . . . spellstones are just more of the same - turning money into battlefield victory.

    4. And I just did the math - a spellstone of Great Haste, for a Size Modifier 0 or smaller guy, is 5 energy to cast. The stone is 450, the spell 100, for $550. If you round it up to 20xenergy its 2450, which is possibly too pricey. I get 5400 for one with doubled energy for SM+1, though. And the nice bit is you can try it cast it on a (nearby) friend, if you have to. Add that to Delver's Webbing and the appropriate Fast Draw and it's a great choice.

      Assuming my players roll well enough on the special equipment availability roll, that is. Combines two tough spells so even now it's for sale by special order or on a 9 or less. :)


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