Monday, June 24, 2019

GURPS DF Session 118, Felltower 90 - Into the Orc Hole IV

Players were thin on the ground today, so a very short-staffed group debated three things: a gate, the crystal lenses, and the orcs. Having no good ideas on the gate and the lenses, despite a long brainstorming session, they went with the orcs for a third consecutive attack.

Date: Sunday, June 23rd, 2019

Weather: Hot, clear, sunny.

Ulf Sigurdson, human cleric (250 points)
     Antonios, Demitios, and Leonitus of Meepos, human spearmen (?? points)
Galen Longtread, human scout (409 points)
Gerald Tarrant, human necromancer (355 points)
     5 Skeletons (~35 points)
     Skull Spirit (?? points)
Wyatt Sorrell, human swashbuckler (265 points)
Red Raggi, human berserker (?? points, NPC)
Orcish Bob, not-orcish orc brute (approximately 125 points, NPC)

The group gathered in town, after a long debate session about what to do. They scrambled and found Raggi, Orcish Bob, and the Meeposian Brothers. They bought a rope ladder, Wyatt managed to find an Agility potion - and Ulf was given a Minor Healing potion while panhandling! With some other assorted gear, they headed up to the top of the mountain. They avoided the "Giant Cave" entrance, formerly known as the "Dragon Cave" entrance, because there is a giant and a pack of dire wolves there.

Instead they went down the trapdoor entrance - a skeleton opened it and was not zapped. They'd heard a rumor that orichalcum armor will block that black energy, but Wyatt claimed the guy spreading the rumor was clearly a blacksmith selling orchalcum armor.

They made their way down into the dungeon, then to level 2, and then towards the orcs. The spelled-up Galen and sent him ahead to scout as they got close.

He found a barricade blocking a T-hallway right where they'd previously had a big to-do brawl with the orcs and an Earth College-expert caster. It was 6' high and fronted with oil and caltrops covered with some odd black sticky stuff. Galen cleared them aside and peered through narrow eyeslits and saw nothing behind it. He came back and reported to the group. Then he went back, hopped the barricade, and saw two crossbows strapped to stools, set with rope triggers going to the left and right up the direction the party meant to go. He snuck up there and saw orcs - three to the right, one to the left, mostly being lazy but one on guard with the crossbow rope trigger around his wrist. The solitary one in the back was just resting.

So Galen shot down two of the guys on the right, dropping his usual Invisibility. One fell and triggered a crossbow harmlessly.The next second he shot down the orc in front of him and spun to put down the other. (Actually, I realized after he can't do that in one second - Double-Shot required he be able to see both targets, as he's firing two arrows off of the bow at the same time, so loosing two arrows 180 degrees away from each other doesn't cut it.)

The group came up and cleared the rest of the caltrops, put Silence up and had the skeletons chop apart the barricade. Wyatt wanted Raggi to do it but he didn't want to and gestured at the skeletons. As soon as there was space Gerry slipped through and cast Zombie on one of the orcs.

They made their way, again with Galen scouting, over to the orc hole. There, they used Silence on the hole and went kicking down doors to make sure no one was in the rooms nearest the hole. They didn't find anyone, although one door was jammed and Raggi couldn't kick it down, and Wyatt couldn't turn the handle to open it either.

They nailed in pitons and dropped a rope and climbed down.

Again, Galen went ahead to scout, and ran into no opposition. He checked for secret doors to see where rear attackers could come from, but found nothing. Gerry followed when Galen reported back and they used the usual Invisibility, Dark Vision, See Invisible, now No-Smell, and Levitation to check the cliff-face exit. There was the fishing net again, hung with bells and noisemakers. Behind it were six armed goblins relaxing after a dice game, and six flasks. All were back by the far end.

So after some discussion they got ready to basically rush the cliff, send Ulf up there to put Silence and hand a portable ladder from the cliff. To make sure no goblins could escape, Gerry came up with Galen - far back this time - and used Great Haste. Galen shot down four of the goblins in one second, and as the other two jumped up in surprise he shot them twice each. They all dropped, clearly dead.

They began their plan. As they did, though, two dark-skinned and well-armed orcs came running up. Galen shot at both of them, nailing one in the vitals with a 4, and missing the other - clearly Missile Shield! He shot both of them again, and missed both - so both had Missile Shield, but he managed to shoot through it.

The orcs taunted them from the top, as Ulf pushed away to avoid getting stabbed in the face by one spear-armed orc. The other, sword-armed orc basically waited for a chance to fight. Galen kept loosing arrows and missing. Wyatt climbed up the cliff face to fight the orcs and allow Ulf back up. But then Galen shot one of the orcs with another 4! Shortly after, he got yet another 4. The skull spirit was sent into the action as well. Soon both orcs were downed and the PCs managed to slice through the net, noisily. Meanwhile, they heard the noises of orcs organizing in the big cave beyond the cliff face area.

They managed to get their forces to the top - and Wyatt tossed the six bottles by the goblins, not wanting to get nailed somehow from behind with oil flasks they'd left. He chucked them into the water. (This led to some discussion of stashing zombies all over the dungeon for later use. I restrained from pointing out this would require them to move there, thus becoming dungeon monsters.)

They formed up quickly and moved into the cave, Wyatt quaffing his potion as he went (and getting +5 to DX.)

They confronted a loose formation of 21 brute orcs backed by seven two-headed ogres - three really big ones and four "smaller" ogre-sized ones. (Wyatt consistently refers to these as ettins, which is clearly what they call two-headed ogres where he's from.) Also were eight orc archers, one big brute one and the rest normal warriors. Well, Galen was confronted with that - Gerry had cut down his buffing spells so only Galen had Dark Vision.

The PCs began to advance, the main combatants - Raggi, Wyatt, and Orcish Bob - in the lead, with Galen and the orc zombie behind, and then the Meeposian brothers backed by Ulf, then Gerry backed by his skull spirit and skeletons.

They advanced in more-or-less methodically, with Galen shooting down orcs - and finding these brutes tough and often staying up after two shots to the vitals, or blocking with their shields. The orcs launched arrows as well from the darkness and hit PCs, but mostly the arrows plunked off. Wyatt took one but shrugged off the venom on it, as did one of the Meeposian brothers (who Ulf then healed.)

The PCs kept moving into the fray, fighting the orcs - who then pulled back, steadily, at the command of something back in the darkness (one of the big two-headed ogres, according to Galen). The PCs kept pressing, and soon Raggi was wounded and went berserk. A couple of orcs disobeyed orders and tried to attack Raggi while he was vulnerable and wounded him, but they soon went down. Wyatt killed an orc or two as Orcish Bob mostly moved to keep his flanks covered. Ulf held his paralyzation wand and cast healing on Raggi after a hard initial hit.

Galen systematically shot down all of the archers, basically from right to left, after a single shot at an ogre showed it to be Missile Shielded. The orcs continued to pull back, leaving the flank open to the ogres. The PCs moved up, Raggi taking steady damage as he killed and wounded orcs. Meanwhile the Meeposian brothers had been advancing slowly - 1 yard per second - formed-up. But at the urging of Wyatt and Ulf, they rushed up a bit. At this time, Raggi critically missed on a swing and dropped his axe. Orcish Bob took a terrific hit at this point, too, and dropped, badly wounded and stunned. The zombie and Wyatt moved to protect him.

Then one of the ogres yelled to the surviving orcs - many were already down - "Now! Surround them!" Galen couldn't understand what the ogres said to one another but caught that and relayed it to the group. The orcs surged forward, the four "regular" two-headed ogres threw eight spears at Raggi (many hit, hurting him badly and leaving him at negative HP) . . . and suddenly two trolls attacked from their right flank. One clawed Ulf twice and bit him in the neck, dropping him straight to heavily negative HP and knocking him out. Another attacked the Meeposian brothers, biting Antonious in the neck and clawing Demetrios and Leonidas in the neck - the attacks ended Invisibility. In a second, the orc/ogre and now troll counterattack put the PCs in a bad situation.

The troll on Ulf ripped at his neck a bit and mortally wounded him, then dropped him to concentrate on the skeletons that Gerry commanded to charge it. Their solid defenses kept it busy. The one on the Meeposian brothers mauled Antonious and dropped him unconscious but it passed its Bloodlust check and moved on to better targets - the other brothers stabbed it repeatedly and hurt it. Galen loosed arrows into the fray and blinded the troll that had mauled Ulf and wounded the other. But with regeneration, the trolls weren't terribly worried.

The ogres advanced. Raggi had no weapon, but had a nearby foe - a two-headed ogre. He rushed it and grappled its right-side head and started to punch it. It couldn't effectively fight back until it dropped its axe and punched back, the club-armed left hand trying to swat Raggi. An orc ran up and started to hit Raggi in the back with his axe. He was heavily armored on the torso so it didn't hurt much, but by now he was at -96 HP and only 24 injury from automatic death.

Gerry ordered the skeletons and skull spirit after the trolls and put Great Haste on himself and then Galen, and then put Haste on himself so he could move up closer to Wyatt. Galen started to seriously massacre orcs at this point, even past the heavy damage he did to them so far.

Orcish Bob passed out at this point, and he was stabbed by an orc who called him "traitor!" according to Galen. But Galen shot that orc down. The orc zombie fell, and the remaining orcs rushed the PCs. Galen shot one and wounded it, so two skeletons deployed to fight him.

Waytt moved up after the ogres, and stabbed one four times - once in each eye. His heavily Deceptive attacks got through and the ogre dropped. The others closed in, including the big brute one.

The trolls kept fighting, but didn't make much headway against the skeletons. One went down after several more hits and more of Galen's arrows, which he plunked into the body - his experience in the Troll Wars told him there weren't any vulnerable points on a troll. Once it went down, Gerry ran up and spiked down an Alchemist's Fire on the downed troll.

One of the ogres rushed the Meeposian brothers and quickly killed Demetrios. The troll took down Leonidas (he'd die, too) and the ogre smashed down one of the skeletons with a 3 for a max-damage club hit. Galen shot into the orcs and killed the one hacking at Raggi, then one that tried to close in with Wyatt, and then finished another one. Other orcs collapsed from their arrow wounds, too, leaving no more orcs.

The second troll was soon down, and two skeletons hacked at it to keep it down. Meanwhile, Wyatt had fought most of the other ogres. He blinded all of them, including the big guy and the two spellcasters, and put one head lolling on the one fighting Raggi. But he saw they were regenerating and the ogre casters had put Great Haste on themselves. So he focused on them for a bit, eventually stabbing them all in the eyes with more attacks, all at a higher Deceptive, than they could defend against. Soon they were all dead, including the one on Raggi.

Galen had no more targets, so he dropped his bow and rushed around behind the ogre (he's Base Move 12) and stabbed it through the chinks in his armor, wounding it. Wyatt (and Raggi) rushed it. Galen stabbed it again, but then Wyatt got around it and killed it. Raggi didn't snap out of berserk at first, but a default Leadership roll by Gerry did the trick.

He collapsed unconscious.

The PCs spent a few minutes on finishing the trolls (with another Alchemist's Fire and wooden weapons and arrows as fuel) and checked the wounded ogres and orcs to see who was dead and who Gerry could drain FP from. They bandaged up the wounded and looted everyone of the obvious loot - swords, purses, etc. and searched the ogre cave. The ogres were loaded, and one of the wizard-types wore a plainly magical corselet - which shrank down when they took it from him.

After maybe 10 minutes of this, they headed out, leaving the battlefield behind. They had enough skeletons to haul their wounded teammates, with help from Galen and Wyatt, and eventually made it back to safety.

Ulf held on through several HT checks and made it back to town, where he could be healed. Orcish Bob recovered with some church healing as well, and so did Antonios. Leonidas and Demetrios, however, had died, and Antonios announced his plan to return to Meepos with their remains. Raggi was fine, eventually, presumably, as he always is. The armor turned out to be a Mythic Corselet. The PCs gave a fine spear one of the ogre's threw to Antonios in thanks and offered (but were rebuffed) when they offered to pay extra to help him get his brother's corpses home.

The divided up the loot and we ended there.


We forgot to make Ulf's roll against HT loss or horrible scarring. We'll do that next time!

The orcs, again, tried some new tactics. They aren't great engineers but they do vicious fighting well. They sacrificed six goblins as part of a "defense in depth" plan that left pickets to trip an alarm on an attack while their main force was out of the range of damage. Waiting orcs just kept watch on the goblins, to see if they'd die. They did, and thus they knew to organize for a fight.

The final fight against the orcs was excellent. The PCs used excellent tactics, and only really got mauled because the orcs/ogres used clever tactics and magic back. Had Gerry had See Invisible up, they could have forstalled those as well. Even after that, they recovered well and didn't fall apart and kept fighting soundly. The orc/ogres used revised tactics based on what worked poorly for them last time - Missile Shield extensively, Great Haste on the casters, Invisible fighters instead of relying on a crowd to shield the big guys plus hasted trolls.

What's interesting to me is that the final fight was basically the second fight the PCs faced - and retreated from - way back when. The orcs weren't quite as well equipped, but had better odds against the PCs than the previous time. This time, the players committed to the fight - not once did anyone even bring up trying to cut and run. It was win, period. And they did that. Wyatt also was very good about staying close to his buddies, and helped keep Raggi (and fallen Orcish Bob) from getting mobbed and potentially killed until he was needed to attack ogres, and sometimes even then.

The orcs clearly suffered an appalling defeat here. It remains to be seen what happens next with them. Wyatt opined that if he was the orc king, he'd find somewhere else to settle. Ulf said he's heard the orc king's body is buried somewhere in Felltower, so it was likely they'd stick around anyway.

MVP was a tough call. Galen was the runaway favorite early, with his 3 (!) 4s rolled against a foe with Missile Shield. Based on a ruling I liked back in Roleplayer magazine. It's happened, rarely. It's never happened twice in one fight, nevermind by the same person. Galen did it three times - including on his first shot. But then Wyatt killed every single one of the two-headed ogres - which one them the battle and was the whole point of the attacks on the orcs. In the end, Galen's once-in-a-lifetime triple was the winner. We've played with that rule since the someething like the late 80s/early 90s and I've never seen that happen before.

I'm not sure of the exact loot, it's being done by email, but it was plenty. Wyatt claimed the Mythic Corselet. He immediately asked about getting Lighten on it but sadly, it's not something you can add additional enchantments to. He's stuck with all 35 lbs. of it. It's really a better deal for an SM+1 type stuck with heavy armor, but Wyatt wants more DR and this gives plenty.


  1. Very tragic about the poor Meeposians, I really thought they would have done better

    Any chance of us getting to see NPC writeups now that they are removed from play?

    Any idea how many kills this time? Really curious what the running total for 3 assaults now is

    1. ~30.

      I'll post the brothers up when I have some time.

  2. The Meeposians are missing from the opening Character list... and I was really hoping they'd end up a Corsican Brothers thing where the surviving brother would be more powerful for his brothers falling.

    1. No, they're there. Check under Ulf, sought them out and thus was the PC they technically reported to.

  3. They keep pushing deep into this hole and not achieving satisfaction. Perhaps it is the wrong hole?

    1. Sounds like they earned some fabulous prizes this time

    2. Oh, it was incredibly satisfying. This appears to be, when combined with the last excursion, to have put a tremendous dent into the orcs’ forces. Two wizardly two-headed ogres, one huge two-headed ogre with regeneration, four two-headed ogres, two trolls, 30+ orcs and everyone made around $2,500 each (plus the Mythic Corselet)? Very rewarding and satisfying.


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