Monday, January 27, 2020

GURPS DF Session 125, Felltower 96 - Draugr II

Today we finished part II of the split-session that resulted from the fight against the draugr in session 124 running long.

Nicely, our host used his latest Instagram pic to re-create the combat with placeholders. I put down most of the draugr before I realized that some shown as up were in fact down. That's when we discovered he used a mid-session, not end-of-session, shot. Oh well. Sweep . . . and start over.

Date: Sunday, January 26th, 2020
Game Date: Sunday, December 29th, 2019

Weather: Moderately cold, rainy.

Aldwyn Hale, human knight (278 points)
Astrid Cook, human barbarian (250 points)
Crogar the Lucky, human barbarian (268 points)
Gerald Tarrant, human necromancer (370 points)
     5 Skeletons (~35 points)
Hayden the Ebon Page, human knight (307 points)
Hernando Velazquez, human knight (250 points)
Ulf Sigurdson, human cleric (285 points)
Wyatt Sorrell, human swashbuckler (286 points)

We started in the middle of the fray, with the draugr using Wait and some Ready actions in their newly formed line.

The PCs were unwilling to advance against the draugr line, so they faced each other for several seconds as they readied weapons. Hayden put away his golden falchion and readied an oversized broadsword from a fallen draugr.

Buff spells ticked down in time, and a couple of Great Haste spells ran out. Gerry gave Wyatt 5 FP with Lend Energy. One of the draugr - Sven - threw his spear at Hernando, who blocked it.

Then Wyatt moved up on his own to engage the draugr. He ran over the row of fallen draugr with Walk on Air, two hexes up. At that height, he couldn't attack their heads without them being able to attack his groin, legs, and feet. He used Move and one draugr (Bjorn) hacked at his lower body and rolled a 4. Critical Hit. Wyatt used Luck and turned it into a normal hit and a normal miss - so it missed.

He poked out one of the eyes of another draugr, who otherwise defended against Wyatt's attacks and largely ignored his Feint thanks to a good roll of his own. Another draugr slashed at Wyatt and was parried . . . and then another rolled a 4. Without Luck, it just hit the left leg (random roll) for 22 cut. That was enough to sheer off Wyatt's leg mid-shin. (I forgot to roll for extreme dismemberment here - the blow had enough power to take off both legs.) Wyatt fell automatically and his Walk on Air broke. With a very penalized Acrobatics roll he managed to fall without injury, and wasn't stunned.

The party still waited, unwilling to come forward onto bad footing against superior numbers. The draugr advanced a step, still formed up, and attacked Wyatt. He managed to parry one attack so well his opponent critically missed and lost his balance. He used his elbows and remaining leg to push himself back onto the corpses behind. One of the draugr yelled, "You forgot something!"

Meanwhile, Ulf spit out a spellstone of Walk on Air he'd had in his mouth and Astrid took it from his hand. She crushed it and advanced. Crogar dropped his backup axe and readied his better one, dropped earlier, and stood up with that.

Wyatt scurried back and the front rank parted to let him in. Astrid reach the draugr and was quickly cut twice, wounding her terribly. She fell back for healing, not having gotten in a single swing.

The PCs decided enough was enough. Levitation on Wyatt would let Gerry move him, but he'd fight without Retreat or the ability to move on his own, and at a penalty. So Gerry cast Apportation on the leg and started to fly it back. The draugr steadily advanced, not quite willing to rush the PCs. The PCs fell back, with their spellcasters (especially Ulf) sucking down Paut over and over.

The draugr pressed but didn't rush the group, although they laughed a great deal. The PCs used Purify Air to clear the smoke, and fled up the stairs.

In the wide hallway, the formed a defensive front but knew the draugr could overrun them. But for some reason, they did not. They just taunted the PCs a few times, followed them to the end of the hallway, and jeered them further.

The PCs limped back to the trap door exit, and left, leaving their spikes and ropes at the main entrance.

Their only loot was the sword Hayden took - an oversized balanced broadsword. He kept it - the extra damage is nice and balanced offsets the penalty for size.


The PCs aren't sure if any of the draugr they "killed" will stay that way. Gerry's best guess (off an 18 skill and a solid roll) is that the trio Aldwyn decapitated may stay dead. The eye-stabbed ones, unlikely. "Regular" draugr don't ever heal; some heal if they rest in their tombs. And those some definitely include these guys based on experience from prior groups. Decapitation might be enough, though . . . fire, and total destruction of the corpse by fire or corrosion, or Final Rest, or perhaps an appropriate Holy Warrior perk, could do the job. Or maybe those plus decapitation? They don't know and it's unlikely sages, etc. would be able to tell them for certain for this bunch.

Sometime very late in the fight, Hernando's player announced that he was "continuing to taunt them." He hadn't taken any actions to use Intimidation or Public Speaking, and in the tumult of the session I hadn't heard that he'd said anything. Important rule - if you want to be doing something, make sure the GM knows.

Same goes for defensive spells, too, actually. A draugr critically hit Wyatt, and then someone said - "Even with Blur -5?" Well, yes, I rolled a 4. A 4 is a critical on a 4 or less to hit. But it's worth reminding me of NPC-facing penalties thanks to buffs, etc. right at the start of an interrupted session or a new fight.

By long-standing tradition, we allow Luck (and only Luck) to replenish between sessions. We have another long-standing house rule counting all fights as a max of 1 hour, so this is a big deal - it's a second use (or two more uses, or four more) in the same fight. This house rule keeps people from stalling as a fight goes on hoping to get Luck back to turn the tide or save a PC later.

We had a discussion and had to do an illustration to explain how a 2-hex weapon doesn't out-reach a 1-hex weapon when it's wielded from 2 hexes above the target. Wyatt really needed to be 1 hex up, not 2, to take advantage of his reach against the draugr and make them move to get him.

I'd thought the PCs would have been able to finish the draugr today. Despite the cost of the first casualties they inflicted, they were in a solid position, and had a lot of very successful buffs (especially very high rolls on Strength and Dexterity potions). But they were unwilling to rush the draugr, and couldn't figure out how to make them rush the PCs. With Overconfidence steering Wyatt into a one-man rush against the draugr plus the inevitable criticals they lost a good chunk of their combat potential. Could they have finished the draugr if that's hadn't happened? The group is mixed on that. But after it happened? Unlikely.

XP was Wyatt's 1 xp for MVP last session. MVP for this session was determined in the second delve with we on Sunday. The sword could have been sold - it's worth 4500, and thus would sell for 1600, enough for loot threshold for a lot of the new guys, but Hayden needs a better sword and this is a better sword.

Next session summary tomorrow (busy, busy day for me.)


  1. Was Astrid's player able to return?

  2. For some reason I had the expectation that they were going to have great luck and defeat the draugr and go home with a heap of treasure. I don't know what I was thinking! Hopefully the second half of the session went well.

    1. It seemed so - but they just couldn't sustain their success. Had we known how it would go we'd have just run the last bit weeks ago.


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