Tuesday, February 28, 2017

More Session Notes for Session 86

More notes on Session 86.

I Wish

As soon the fight started to look like it was either going to be a total disaster or a hard-won slog with a pile of dead characters, Hasdrubul's player started to write out a wish wording.

Actually, first someone said they should vote on whether to do it or not.

I shot that down instantly. A bane of my GMing fun is "talking is a free action." Because people have entire conversations, put things to a vote, discuss tactics. I know the whole, "My PC should know tactics well even if I don't" argument, except that your PC is probably suffering from combat tunnel vision and doesn't have a birds-eye view of the whole combat and know that Brother Ike just took 6 injury and 6 CP and no one nearby is available to rescue him even though that's four yards away and behind you with four foes in between. So I like to think that evens out without even adding in "I consult with the entire group to plan my action."

So no "vote." It's up to the person with the item.

Hasdrubul's player said something like, "I wish my entire party, living and dead, was back at the cave entrance where we came in."

And they got whisked away, just like that. It would have been very tense and interesting if I made them wait until the beginning of Hasdrubul's next turn, like a Force Dome forming, but I didn't. Probably for the better, as people would have started to act based on knowing they had one second's action before safety.

I chuckled at the wording. Had this been a malevolent wish, a forced wish, a wish from a being that had a perverse sense of humor (like a wish from a Talisman of Zagy), I'd have teleported them nude to the entrance. Maybe not even the dungeon entrance, as I could easily have perverted "cave" to almost any cave along the way.

But I didn't, because non-hostile wishes go off of wording and intent not wording twisted.

I was a bit surprised wishes came up right away, especially against creatures I'd expected to be a challenge but didn't see as an existential threat on paper - a dozen or so gnolls plus a half-dozen or so each of ogres and slorn. But it's probably better it got used right away instead of after a few more people had died.

Beginning Scout

Our new player was running a Scout. His dad had told him the basics, so he had all the die rolls, skills, damage, etc. on point. Still, he made some sub-optimal choices with targets and hit locations, probably due to holdover D&D "knock off the HP and it'll die" thinking. That works in GURPS, but ensuring incapacitation and death through sheer HP isn't as sure as through superior hit location choices. He'll do better next time, I'm sure, and I forwarded some specific tactical advice and a link to a GURPS 101 on the subject.

I supposed I could have done that earlier, but a) I'd forgotten about it until later that day and b) I hate when new players are basically introduced to the game via optimization methods. I just like to let people play and feel it out, not look every second over to a veteran player or a note sheet of tactics and say, "What should I do?" It's not as fun to be told what the best thing to do is as it is to try stuff and figure it out.

It would have helped a little in the fight that sparked the wish, but then again, maybe he'd have taken out an ogre and a slorn and convinced people they'd turn the tide with some good rolling only to find it wasn't adequate to overcome a pincer attack. Nobody looks at Cannae and thinks, "Geez, the Romans could have pulled that out with a little better rolling." I figure that's the case here, too. There were a lot of back shots in people's futures.

Ken Shabby

So, was he a wizard?

Maybe. Maybe not. I know but it's a secret for now, not the least of which is because it's driving Hasdrubul's player nuts and I enjoy doing that to him.

Ken was one of those NPCs people like even though he wasn't very helpful. Folks always latch onto the most unlikely NPCs and decide they like them. Raggi was useful and effective and powerful from day one, but it took a long time before anyone liked him. Ken was useless the whole time and beloved. Some of the guys I thought were interesting didn't grab the players.

Still, he was fun to have around for a session. I'm surprised he made it as far as he did.

The volunteer types aren't generally worth their weight, but the PCs tend to enjoy them, and it's plausible people would be all over the group when they come back rich and/or spray resources around. Using a wish to rescue the group will ensure a lot of publicity for the group as well!

Not very intimidating . . .

Mo wears war paint from head to toe, and not much else. He yells and curses and makes Intimidation attempts. However, he has two things against him:

1) He isn't very intimidating, thanks to a low point investment and moderate Will.

2) Mo's player rolls very badly on Intimidation.

Hopefully he'll be able to turn that around. I don't hand out a lot of free bonuses to Intimidation, either. It's circumstantial. A bunch of orcs, backed by more orcs, driven to fight in combat by their fierce nature, who outnumber you, and who live in a dungeon full of monsters because they like to - are they going to scare easily? Probably not, not so easily that a PC should get a bonus for much besides displays of ferocity themselves and superior SM if they have it. I've heard the argument of "I should get a bonus, my guy is big and strong" but being scary enough to potentially intimidate is a prerequisite for non-specious Intimidation rolls. Also, it's not everyone within earshot. Pro tip - if you want to scare a group, don't start with the whole group. You're at -1 per five people, and that's an issue when you have a low skill and a Quick Contest.

Not Tough Enough for the Lost City

I noticed a few comments in the group (and in the comments) that basically put The Lost City on the list of "stuff to do when we have a full slate of high-point guys and a lot of prep." That's ironic, because The Lost City was originally set up as a place for the new crop of 250-point guys. It's tougher to get to, thanks to the gate being near "the Lord of Spite's apartment," but the place itself is unchanged. Fear of Rangol Grot's Mind Control spells is part of it, although they beat him cold and might have captured or killed him way back when . . . but they'd chosen armor over speed and needed speed in that instance.

In any case, hearing "not ready for The Lost City" is like hearing "not ready for the Caves of Chaos." It might be true but it's not a sign of your own strength. Heh.


  1. How well did Farmer Gam and Louis the Halberdier do on the volunteer front?

  2. Farmer Gam was awesome. Louis was solid. Both were fun to have along.

    1. Neither shied away from combat, and Gam had a lot of flavor, with all of his "witch burning" comments. He was great. Louis was also cool, which is why we bought him a new halberd (didn't want him going to jail for losing his loaner weapon).

    2. Them not shying away had it own consequences - you guys had literally no one watching the other door. Louis was placed there, but he wasn't a good choice . . . deserting posts for the action is what he'll all about. And Orcish Bob is tough but he's a bit impulsive himself. The Meeposian brothers were doing other stuff, like guarding your other vulnerable flank.

    3. Right. And had Louis stayed to guard the other door, he probably would have been another casualty. Next time: stealth/scouting, and formation fighting while minimizing flanks is key. We were also afraid of a bottleneck between them and the Lord of Spite, but still...we should have fallen back to the "eastern" entryway to that room (closer to the stairs), not the "south" one door with another behind us. Bad, bad decision. Without a ring of wishes it would have been a TPK or near-TPK.

  3. I personally was thinking that Gerry and Angus (or Gerry and Dryst) would go to the Lost City--not Vryce. In retrospect, that's probably what we should have done--that recon and exploration before we went back for an all-out Rangel Grot assault. And it's a good point--we almost beat him with these same guys, who were less powerful than they are now.

  4. Mo failing at Intimidation is like Hjallmar failing fright checks. Mo probably poses too much.
    The issue with the Lost City is not being able to find a gate back.

    1. That's part of the adventure of going!

    2. I can't recall...didn't a servant come back?

    3. Ahhhh yes. I had forgotten. Hmmm. That makes a "quick trip" questionable. Perhaps we should really research that "dead" gate. Or more likely, that's the return gate...maybe it needs to be activated. Worth exploring with a full crew (regardless of Vryce/Gerry or Dryst/Angus).


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