Monday, May 18, 2020

GURPS DF Session 133, Felltower 103 - Lost City 11

Actual Date: May 17th, 2020
Game Dates: May 17th-18th, 2020

Weather: Cool and cloudy near Felltower, sweltering and rainy in the Lost City of D'Abo, then beautiful and clear.

Aldwyn Hale, human knight (297 points)
     Varmus the Hanged, human apprentice wizard (145 points)
"Mild Bruce" McTavish, Jr., human barbarian (267 points)
Crogar, human barbarian (294 points)
Galen Longtread, human scout (456 points)
Gerald Tarrant, human necromancer (374 points)
     2 Skeletons (~35 points)
     Skull spirit
Ulf Sigurdson, human cleric (306 points)
Quenton Mudbourne, goblin druid (317 points)
Wyatt Sorrell, human swashbuckler (293 points)

We started out in Stericksburg, with the PCs gathering rumors. Amusingly, Crogar, Varmus, and Gerry all heard the same rumor. Clearly, they were all at the same bar. One rumor Wyatt picked up was that a dwarf wizard and his companions came down from Felltower . . . and they'd been there a year. He couldn't find them to talk to them personally.

Ulf did some Panhandling after giving a big speech and took in about 12 sp in donations.

They gathered a lot of Strengthen Will spellstones and Paut and headed out. They made their way up to the dungeon and made spellstones and Gerry created a Skull Spirit, and noted he was running low on skulls. Wyatt took specifics of what he needed (sapient creature skulls.)

The headed through the trapdoor, which was unlocked. They made their way to the next level, to the stairs down, and to the gate. Even in their brief time on the "gate level" Aldwyn suffered from the thin air. Again, they remarked they needed to "do something" about the air.

The gate was open, and they headed through. As usual for winter/spring, rain was sheeting down in the Lost City. They settled in for the rest of the day, waiting out th weather with Galen and Wyatt and Quenton outside in a Weather Dome and the others inside. In the evening the rain slacked off, so they set pairs of guards, each with two one-hour shifts, and waited for morning.

Overnight Varmus spotted some blueish/white lights flashing in the southeast, but Aldwyn wasn't able to see them. No one else saw anything in their shift, but heard a lot - bugs, rockfalls, splashes, slitherings, scraping, and other less pleasant noises.

In the morning they headed to the vegepygmy fort, taking the long way around to avoid the shielded temple. They made it to the vegepygmies over the flooded path, and sent Quenton in via Levitation. He brought up their offer to help find Rangol Grot and they agreed to do so right away. Their chief designated one druid and six others and two thorn hounds to go with them. They left by the north "gate" which just opened and closed itself for them. They made their way across town, picking up more vegepygmies as they went.

Eventually they reached the switchback path that Gerry and Quenton and a previous group had used to come down into the lost city, where they fought vegepgymies.

There they picked up a last batch of vegepygmies - given them an escort of 34 vegepygmies including 4 druids plus 6 thorn hounds. They trekked off a few miles, stopping once on the way. The vegepgymies tried to give them an idea of distance but couldn't get it across; they'd end up going about 5 miles. A mile out from Rangol Grot's place they stopped to eat on the tight trail. They wanted the vegepygmies to scout ahead, but not if they couldn't assure they'd be undetected. They said they could go but couldn't assure they wouldn't be sensed. So they spelled-up Galen and sent him, including Invisibility and No Smell.

Galen moved off and found the came, right at a three-way path intersection. The path was guarded with two covered pits, with only a narrow path in between. There were five small one-man tents, and a cave mouth. Walking around were two gnolls with bows, and Galen spotted an orc in one tent, clearly sleeping. There was a firepit that had been used frequently, set up for the smoke to dissipate against the canopy before escaping to the sky. Galen scouted around and determined there were three orcs, three gnolls (another showed up with a large monkey on its shoulder, which the gnolls began to butcher), and two tents with unknown occupants. Galen tried to check the cave but a heavy curtain was set up inside to block all light.

He headed back, after briefly considering just killing them all.

Once back, he told the others and they geared up and headed out. They left the vegepygmies behind after they said they'd done what was asked showing the group where to go. Galen was given a 30 second lead, and then they followed - all as stealthily as possible. Galen watched the camp and saw the gnolls had posed themselves to guard better - two of them, anyway, one was missing - and the orcs were awake. They'd clearly heard his friends. He moved into the camp and lined up a shot at the curtain, waiting for something to emerge. Wyatt was also invisible, and was also to go and wait near the curtain to kill Rangol Grot as soon as he came out.

The PCs advanced and engaged the waiting orcs and gnolls. The orcs took up stations behind the concealed pits, but Galen's directions were explicit and no one walked into them.

The orcs threw javelins but Crogar and Aldwyn deflected those. The PCs moved ahead, slowly so Wyatt could move past as the fighters moved up. Gerry immediately began a cycle of Great Haste spells on himself and on the fighters. The orcs were quickly slain, lasting only a few seconds as Aldwyn and Crogar moved into them. Aldwyn took a shot from a gnoll concealed out of immediate line of sight - and it rolled a 4. The arrow hit his mail and didn't penetrate.

The PCs moved into the camp, and as they did so Mild Bruce took a blowgun dart in the face. As he ran to attack the tiny many who'd stepped out of a tent to shoot him, another dart hit him from another angle. He raced after the first horde pygmy, who fled. Bruce followed, only to be shot and wounded by a gnoll archer waiting down a side path. He slammed the pygmy down and for good measure tried to run down the gnoll. That didn't work and the gnoll dodged, and bit him on the shoulder as he went by; Mild Bruce critically failed his Dodge and fell. Crogar ran up and right over a concealed pit!

Lucky for him, he had Levitation on from Gerry, who wanted it as a way to neutralize him if he was charmed. Crogar didn't fall in the pit but he was stuck. He managed to wound the gnoll but was stuck. Gerry paused and dragged him back to "land." Crogar moved off to deal with new prey.

Meanwhile the curtain parted about halfway. A shadowy form was glimpsed behind it - Galen took three shots. All three should have hit, but narrowly missed. Missile Shield! Out from behind the curtain swarmed 5 hexes worth of black bats! They came right out and attacked invisible Wyatt, who was next to the cave mouth. He took some cuts on his exposed skin from bat bites (and would later need a HT roll.) Gerry saw this as he advanced and changed up an Explosive Skull Missile. A moment later he threw it in the midst of the swarms. It blew up, wounding Aldwyn and Crogar, and Wyatt, but demolished all but the bats swarming Wyatt. Those would go down a few seconds later from cumulative attacks and another Explosive Skull Missile.

By this time, Galen had gotten bored and engaged the two gnolls, killing one and wounding the other. A moment later the other was slain, too, by a combination of attacks. He also shot down the other horde pygmy he'd seen hit Bruce, firing through the tent slit to kill him.

Aldwyn rushed the curtain and cut it down. Beyond was a cave floored with rugs, and he glimpsed booted feet beyond.

Meanwhile, as Bruce and the gnoll fought - and eventually both ended up prone thanks to critical failures. Bruce jumped down and mounted the gnoll and tried to punch him, as the gnoll tried to bite back. They ended up rolling around on the ground for a while, before eventually Crogar came back and took a few swings into the fight and hit and wounded the gnoll. Bruce disengaged and Crogar finished the gnoll off.

At the cave, Gerry put Great Haste on Wyatt and Aldwyn. Wyatt threw in a visibility dust grenade but didn't reveal anything. They sent in the skull spirit and it attacked a man standing off to the side. Wary for pits, Aldwyn pushed his sword into the doorway and found one. Galen shot into the cave and killed the man standing there, being attacked by the skull spirit. The figure dropped. Aldwyn jumped in after probing for a safe spot, and then Wyatt followed shortly after. They shrugged off charm spells thanks to Hide Thoughts, but then Wyatt was put down with a Sleep spell. He dropped. A mahogany-skinned woman wearing nothing but a leather bikini bottom, a cape, and thigh-high boots grabbed sleeping Wyatt and lifted him one-handed and brought a black knife to his neck and said, "Hold or I'll stab your friend." Aldwyn attacked immediately, slashing her arm twice. She parried one but the other hit, and slashed her arm nicely . . . but the cut healed instantly on the other side of it.

As this happened, a loud voice echoed around the room saying, "Let's talk! We want to negotiate."

Gerry sent the skull spirit to attack the woman but it missed and hit grappled Wyatt, instead, waking him up! He immediately (see notes) broke free thanks to two turns of Great Haste. The woman stabbed him but he defended. They ended up in a three-way fight. Aldwyn was put back to sleep, and the woman grabbed him and pulled him into close combat. Wyatt drew his wooden sword and tried that as well as his magical sword. The magic sword did nothing, but the wooden sword made contact and left a mark. So he kept battering away with the wooden longsword, wounding her a bit. Aldwyn was woken up by the skull spirit attacking him, but the woman was faster. She bit Aldwyn on the neck and started drinking his blood. She also stabbed him as Wyatt kept hitting him. Aldwyn tried to break free but kept failing, and she kept stabbing him and draining 3 HP per second from his neck. Soon he was making rolls against death. Ulf cast Sunlight, wounding the vampire. Its effect was immediate, but slow - she'd hold on for a while.

Gerry used Hidden Lore (Undead) to try to figure out vampire weaknesses.

The voice kept yelling, "Parlay, dammit, let's negotiate!"

Eventually even with her on him he freed up a Great Healing potion and drank it (lots of DX rolls), putting him to positive HP again. The vampire woman, still getting battered by Wyatt, tried to cut Aldwyn's throat. It took three tries but she finally cut him through his armor and wounding him terribly. He managed to escape from her grasp. Wyatt had kept hitting her and trying to Disarm, but her ST-based Knife skill well outdid his DX-based Broadsword skill.

Galen came into the cave at this point, and started looking around. He spotted a shallow grave that had skins and cloths tossed aside from it, like it was an unmade bed.

The voice kept demanding a parlay, and calling them murderers for not listening to his pleas to talk.

Galen looked around more. Eventually Gerry decided Rangol Grot must be behind an illusion, not Invisible, since Galen's See Invisible didn't help any. So he sent the skull spirit around bumping into walls. That eventually broke an illusion of a cabinet, which hid Rangol Grot. Wyatt immediately broke off and ran over and attacked him, cutting off one of his legs and then stabbing him four times in his one good eye. That killed him outright.

They went back to work on the vampire. Aldwyn got out a wooden stake. Galen ran over to Ulf's calls and caught one that Ulf tossed him. They ran over. Aldwyn managed to stab her with the stake and left it in. She was wounded but not dead, and slashed him in the neck. He rolled a 17 on his death check . . . and despite HT 13 and Hard to Kill 2 he was still mortally wounded.

The PCs piled on the vampire. Bruce ran in and slammed her, took a lot of damage, and fell down. Wyatt splashed her with holy water and injured her. Galen moved up. As Aldwyn went down, Galen stepped up and stabbed at her twice. One hit . . . for 1 damage / 3 injury. That was just enough to put her to a death check, and she dropped.

They poured holy water on her face, damaging it a bit further. Then Bruce punched the stakes in deeper. Then they stripped her naked and Entombed her after using Shape Earth to destroy her resting place.

That done, they used the Bell of D'Abo and searched. They found an orichalcum key with an orange tassel on it (magical), her knife - a black piece of obsidian (magical), and the other bell. They gathered up the weapons, the cash on the gnolls and orcs, and the heads of everyone intelligent (minute the pygmies, who Bruce stomped on the head for poisoning him), and then dragged out of there.

They found at this point that the "mage" that Galen had shot down was a dressing dummy that had been covered with Illusion Shell.

Wyatt made a HT roll after the fight not to catch disease from the bats.

Bruce later made his HT roll not to catch GNOLLVID-20, too.

The PCs made it back to the gate, escorted by the vegepygmies. They camped out there, healed everyone up, and returned to Felltower and from there to Stericksburg.

Back in town they sold off the salvaged gear, got the orichalcum key and knife analyzed, and eventually sold off the knife and divided up the loot.


The weather was terrible again in the Lost City - I rolled 15+ on the weather table most of their recent delves. The second day I rolled a 5, though, for perfect weather, so that probably made up for it. They had to hike ~5 miles from start to finish to Rangol Grot's place. In even usual rain that would have been a slog.

The PCs had no interest in parlaying with Rangol Grot. Wyatt scoffed at Galen's interest in Rangol's call for negotiation, as if Galen was the only one the guy was talking to. In the end, they killed him. It got me thinking, though - are there any disadvantages that essentially make you talk to civilized foes who ask to? I can't think of any in DF. Pacifism, maybe, but you're not likely to be fighting in the first place and it's not a PC disadvantage in DF. Someone, I can't recall who, suggested that Rangol Grot had a lot of nerve asking to parley after trying to kill first Gerry back in the day. You know, the first time the PCs barged onto his property and started killing everyone. Delver logic is actually among the most painful forms of spurious logic.

Also gamer logic, there was some discussion about how the vegepygmies promised to help them fight Rangol Grot, and that the plantfolk need the shielded temple dealt with to purify their city. The vegepygmies said they'd show their druid friend where the one-eyed elf is. They never mentioned the temple.

Spell question - can someone with Levitate fall, if the spell is on them but the wizard hasn't actually moved them around yet? It hadn't come up until Crogar knocked the cover off of that pit. We went with no. But that also means a person with Levitate can't jump down (and probably shouldn't be able to jump across, something I forgot later.) Part of why I ruled this was is that in Bard's Tale you used a levitation spell to avoid pits. I did rule that Walk on Air would be different - a fall breaks the spell, so falling would happen and the spell would be broken. They used the old "run one inch off the ground" thing, which I figure is playing it way too fine, but whatever.

I rolled a lot of criticals with the gnolls - lots of 4s and 17s, specifically. I rolled none with any other NPC. Lucky for the PCs - a single 4 by Rangol Grot would have meant a charmed PC or someone sleeping until the fight was over (or longer), no resistance.

The usual "oops" moments. One was the gnoll shooting Aldwyn in the chest. He went vitals because they're all in leather armor, right? I rolled a 4. Sweet! Except Aldwyn says, "Good thing I have my full armor on!" He does? He did. I didn't ask. The gnoll wouldn't have put a broadhead through mail; he'd have gone for the less-protected face. Sigh. What should have been the shot of a lifetime bounced off of the DR. Annoying, but I'd already called the shot. More annoying still was the PCs "discovered" the way to deal with Sleep is with the skull spirit just hitting the sleeping PC to get a HT roll and wake up. That happened by accident with Wyatt, who immediately sprang into action and did 4 Break Free actions a split-second later, followed by 3 more on the second turn of Great Haste. I forgot that - and the players who looked up the spell didn't note that - you are mentally stunned. Oh sure, Wyatt would have recovered with his 16 or less (IQ 10 or 11 plus Combat Reflexes) but it gain him a full turn of successful CP depletion that foiled the vampire's next move and got him away a full second earlier than would have otherwise. So yeah, that was a big deal error. I should give out XP rewards to people who inflict the full extent of the rules on their own characters. It would just make my life easier.

I'm still of the opinion that 17-18 is a critical failure and death on a death check unless you have 16+ on your roll. But I let it go.

The vampire was fun; I've used that mini before (as the vampire of the Evil Stone Head island in my last campaign.) She could have made some better decisions but her disadvantages limited her options a lot once triggered. Spoiler alert - I use a few different kinds of vampires, with overlapping traits but not identical curses. I was surprised they didn't immediately deploy weapons suited for vampires, though - Sunlight, holy water, garlic, and wooden stakes seemed pretty obvious choices, especially since they carry these items and took that spell to deal with vampires. It's like running into werewolves and trying to beat them to death with normal weapons while your silver dagger is in your belt sheath. Even more strangely, they didn't deploy some of these until after Gerry rolled Hidden Lore to remember what he could about killing vampires. Wasn't staking a vampire kind of an obvious choice? Wyatt had nothing better than his blunt wooden sword, but they really frittered away a lot of time before helping him with specifics. I know the players will say they didn't think of vampires, but geez, bat swarms! Sunlight-proof cave! Fangs!

They took Rangol Grot's head to use for Summon Spirit. We'll resolve that email (or more likely, the beginning of the next session because folks are too busy to get to it before then.)

They also salvaged the orc and gnoll heads for Skull Spirit spells, took every weapon (not the armor, it wasn't in great condition), and everything salable or portable - such as the vampire's thigh-high boots, leather bikini bottom, and cloak. They'd have brought her, too, if they thought they could sell her (Wyatt suggested her fangs were loot.) Just goes to show with delvers in general, and especially with a necromancer in the group, everything is loot down to the bodies themselves. I'm glad I've been so strick with Repair spells or every single thing the PCs find needs full dimensions, weight, price as-is, price new, and materials needed to repair. And I'm not even kidding.

They're not sure what to do with the key. It summons something, but they need a command word (at least.)

The knife was obsidian, but fine quality and both Puissance +1 and Shatterproofed - value $15,000. They spent a good 5 minutes or more debating the knife. Bruce wanted it until Aldwyn pointed out that his ST exceeded the maximum of a "normal" large knife. They sold it, in the end, because they needed the cash for loot and no one needs a knife especially much. They got $6,000.

XP was 4 each for loot, 1 xp for exploration - 2 and 1 for Galen who only took home $800 not the $4K he needs. MVP was Wyatt for keeping the vampire busy.
(Speaking of "needs" I really shouldn't have gone with my hybrid loot levels system; I did that to quiet complaints about sudden rises in loot needed back in the day. I think the smoothed, heavier progression is actually more logical and more fair risk-to-reward. In other words, I'd do Method 2, not Method 3, from this page.)


  1. "It got me thinking, though - are there any disadvantages that essentially make you talk to civilized foes who ask to? I can't think of any in DF."

    Charitable, is the biggest on the all they have to do is "ask" side.
    Xenophilia is the biggest on the all they have to do is "ask and are weird" side.

    I have both of those on the same Character in DF (okay, the Charitable is Quirk and only on 50% of the time). I have full blown Charitable on a Dungeon Saint.

    The following might not be immediate "Oops, okay let's talk" but it should at least give the PC pause.

    Sense of Duty (Good Entities) or Gullibility if they throw in some "but we're the good guys" language. SoD (Nation) if they're of that nation.

    Code of Honor (Gentleman's) and those above it, if the enemy is civilized. At the least you'll set aside your weapon and fight them unarmed if they are unarmed.

    Lecherous if the enemy is sexy and looks willing to "turn parlay into 'extended diplomacy' wink, wink, nudge, nudge"...

    "Just goes to show with delvers in general, and especially with a necromancer in the group, everything is loot down to the bodies themselves."

    I have a witch (Wizard/Druid) with Prepare Game specifically to leave nothing useful behind...

    I actually surprised they didn't keep beating the vamp until she was dead. Entombment is not a guaranteed "and we'll never see her again" method.

    1. That's probably about right for disadvantages. Even the guys with Chivalry (Aldwyn) and Gentleman's (Wyatt) just flat-out ignored him - a civilized person asking for parlay. Oh sure, he might be an outlaw, but they don't know that he is, and it's neither chivalric nor gentlemanly to assume your foe is an outlaw. Not being able to prove a negative is, alone, a logical argument for assuming they're on the up-and-up. But clearly, "accepts offers to parlay and respects truce flags" is not part of either code, or his asking would have been enough.

      She dropped apparently dead after a stake to the heart, and didn't react to additional damage from sunlight or holy water. She's in all likelihood dead. But putting her in Suspended Animation was not necessarily the best idea.

    2. And actually that's a good point - Wyatt has Code of Honor (Gentleman's) - but he killed a civilized foe (an elf), who is not known to be an outlaw, without making the slighest effort to balance the situation. I think that's probably cause for some kind of repercussion, even if I'm not deducting character points. Buckler-and-short staff vs. twin swords while Great Hasted isn't a fair way to deal with civilized foes . . . otherwise that part of the Code is meaningless.

      Unless he's got Code of Honor (Delvers): I'll do whatever I like that benefits me, but be really, genuinely, and righteously upset if you do anything that doesn't benefit me. I think that comes with a hefty reaction penalty from people who know you.

    3. I'd say that Wyatt was fine until he broke off combat with the vampire to kill Rangol Grot. When you're in the middle of combat with someone who threatened to cut your throat while you were asleep, you don't have to listen when her ally wants to negotiate. But leaving her alone to viciously murder a non-combatant is definitely no the action of a Gentleman.

    4. Being fair to Wyatt: The fight with the vampire chick was ongoing when the request for peaceful negotiation came down. So that could go either way depending on other disads (and he was being held as a hostage).

      However the guy hiding who was murder-hoboed in flurry of murder-hoboery without ever offering violence and only offering parlay? Yeah... I'd be a might bit judgy about that. Granted, I'm sure the stories of Grot's "charm person" prowess have been greatly magnified... and one could argue that living the way he did, amongst savages and monsters might have tarnished Grot's 'civilized' status.... but still, judginess.

    5. Sure, she kept attacking . . . but she passed up an easy one-shot kill to grab Wyatt. She literally could have gacked him in the eye for 2d+2 impaling but chose to grab him and call for negotiations. And Aldwyn attacked.

      And yeah . . . I need to figure out what kind of repercussions that Wyatt should suffer. If you have to spin your way out of why your CoH applies . . . you probably don't have a CoH.

    6. Of course, Wyatt was unconscious when she grabbed him, so all he knew was that he woke up with a knife to his throat...

      What disads does Aldwyn have? I don't think his were listed in the disadvantage post.

    7. Wyatt, sure. Aldwyn? Code of Honor (Chivalry) amongst others less bloodthirsty.

    8. "Aldwyn? Code of Honor (Chivalry)..."

      Yeah... going right on the attack with Great Haste and superior weapons?

      To me this comes down to "how do you define civilized". Since "outlaws" aren't under that rubric, Aldwyn might just get a pass (I mean, she turned out to be a vampire, but are vampires automatically uncivilized?). Though the last time the group faced Grot (or maybe the first time) he was a leader, in a manor house, and seemed to be putting on the airs of one used to civilization. Does being downgraded to "living in cave with enslaved savages" reduce a civilized being from being civilized?

    9. The question is, if it doesn't apply under cases when the opponent might be considered an "outlaw" because of association or location, when would it apply? This is a campaign that takes place nearby 100% in dungeons and wilderness locations. If it doesn't apply to people there unless they're in a house, even when those people (an elf!) are clearly called out in the disadvantage as counting as civilized, how does that portion of the disadvantage work? It's clearly not very limiting to your actions if it doesn't apply in the dungeon or wilderness in a campaign set there.

  2. Replies
    1. Typo. It was Aldwyn; I fixed that. They eventually healed him up.

  3. Why does Gerry only have 2 skeletons, can't get more?

    1. He can, he's debating downsizes to 2 better skeletons. I told him we'd discuss costs, etc. by email and we'll figure out if that's the right plan for him.

  4. I think if the subject is moving under his own power, then Levitation isn't active. I'd probably rule the subject falls five yards, as with an immediately re-cast Walk on Air. The exception would be if the caster was taking Concentrate maneuvers (or maybe Waits?) to catch the subject as soon as he started to fall.

    1. I think that's a fair ruling. We literally stopped in place and discussed it. Gerry's player is very good and fair when it comes to these kind of things - he's one of my go-to playtesters for rules because he can see a lot of follow-on effects of a ruling. We figured this was generous, but not unfair, and should make for interesting play. So we'll stick with that.

  5. Yeah, for whatever reason, we didn't realize right away that she was a vampire. Once the fangs came out and were visible, yeah, the very next turn Ulf busted out the Sunlight. Didn't realize that Vampires didn't take damage per second, but damage per *minute.* D'oh. And Sunbolt would have been *great* but for that missile shield. In retrospect, maybe Dispel Magic would have been a decent idea (I guess one hex only, so it wouldn't nail anybody else). He *did* know about the wooden stake, though (I think that's *fairly* common knowledge, has Undead Lore at 13), and carries one (as does Aldwyn!).

    There were some odd tactical decisions during the fight, to be sure, but for once we at least had a good plan to start and the outside foes really weren't much of an obstacle, all things considered. Rangol Grot had a pretty good defensive position, and if the group didn't have Hide Thoughts / Strengthen Will, and some decent luck with HT rolls, it could have gotten really bad, really fast. I'm not sure if the Vampire was just immune to metal weapons, or if she had Steelwraith on, or what, but that took a few seconds. Wyatt figuring out that a wooden sword might work (pretty quickly) was key. And Gerry having the Skull Spirit skim the wall helped also.

    Regarding Rangol Grot's request to parley: that was a tough call: Gerry and Quenton--back in the day--had heard rumors about him, and the talking statutes on the "Path of Kings" said that Rangol Grot keeps them trapped, and that we needed to free the Princess. So I think everyone believed he was straight up evil. Also, he was consorting with a vampire, so Ulf assumes he's not a worshipper of the Good God, but opposed to the Good God. Ulf makes a lot of assumptions...maybe inappropriately so at times. But he certainly doesn't have Charitable or Pacifism--and he is totally intolerant of true worshippers of evil religions (if they don't convert).

    In the end, I think everyone figured, if we actually try to parley, he casts some horrible spell on everyone, the vampire heals, etc. It just seemed like a death trap (at least to Ulf, who was at the cave mouth and assumed Rangol Grot was evil). But it was an interesting situation posed to Wyatt: if he didn't completely incapacitate him (by at least knocking him out), he was likely to magically try to kill us. Yeah, perhaps in retrospect, he should have tried to knock him out. But Rangol Grot also can probably cast spells even while bound and gagged (if he has them at Skill 20, as I recall), so mages are tough to capture, it seems.

    It was a good, challenging fight. That vampire was fun and scary when combined with Rangol Grot. It's too bad Roll20 makes things take a lot longer. In an in-person session, we might have done that and then high-tailed it right to the Domed building.

    Finally, regarding the vampire, we didn't give a whole lot of thought, I guess, to the suspended animation thing, but I guess we figured that if she was dead, we destroyed her coffin, stuffed garlic in her mouth, and put her where nobody else can find her very easily...that was a pretty safe bet. I still wonder if we shouldn't have just tried to burn her body to cinders. And I don't think we can convince Quenton to un-entomb her so we can do that. ;)

    1. I was wondering if you guys would bring up what the statues told you about Grot. It's true he had Charm, but he skipped a few turns of casting to try to negotiate, and used non-lethal spells exclusively. So it's a lot of assumption that says that you had to kill him just in case he got off a spell and did bad things with it. He did associate with a vampire, which is probably an evil creature, but is there guilt by association? Is "worshipper of evil religion" defined as "not a proven worshipper of the Good God"? It's worth asking. And I ask because if Disadvantages don't really limit you actual actions in play, then they aren't really more than Quirk-level character traits. "My guy hates evil!" "Oh cool, my guy only wears black and has a tattoo of a mermaid and he can make it dance!" I'm not saying Ulf needed to negotiate, but I am saying that if disadvantages only limit you when it's 100% clear they must and not when they could, they're not really worth the points.

      FWIW, Steelwraith doesn't seal up wounds behind attacks, it makes weapons pass through you.

      And Sunbolt - maybe, yes, if vampires have Vulnerability (Light-based attacks). If not, it's just damage in a different form.

      Gerry told you guys burning wasn't actually relevant. Fire doesn't solve all problems, whatever Has' used to tell you.

    2. Hmmm, these are good points. So now Ulf feels guilty, or at least very concerned that they killed someone who wasn't flat out evil. If Rangol Grot worshipped the Good God--which seems doubtful--he'd be really upset that they killed him thinking that he was an infidel. But I think there was a good point made somewhere here: the Vampire could have probably stabbed Wyatt in the eye with some ease... I doubt she was being charitable, but probably saw she was outnumbered and figured not outright killing him was the only chance she had to get away with her life. Once we gave no quarter, she then had no choice but to try to kill others, like Aldwyn. I'd like Gerry to ask Rangol Grot about whether or not he worshipped the Good God (or who he worshipped) and why he was consorting with a vampire if he can successfully cast Summon Spirit on him. Probably would have been better if we had done that on the spot where we killed him, but it is what it is. And you're right--Ulf isn't intolerant of all religions, but "evil" religions. No telling who or what he worshipped, but he didn't seem like a coregligionist. If he was, Ulf has some atoning to do between sessions. Maybe self-flagellation!

      I think that with some of the points that Ulf gains in the future--since he is 100% going to take Dismissive Wave with 10 of his 11 saved points--he's going to learn spells like things like Compel Truth, Truthsayer, Sense Evil, etc. It still would have been really risky to try to negotiate with Rangol Grot, and there's like zero chance he would have allowed the Vampire to live (unless not all Vampires are evil, he assumes they all are). Worth thinking about for future encounters with humanoid races that aren't clearly evildoers.

      We probably also should give some thought to whether or not there's a good way to capture a mage with high skill levels. If a mage with Skill 20-24 need not complete any rituals at all, but can just stare into space to concentrate to cast a spell, then binding and gagging won't work. Sure, we can knock him or her out, but what about when the mage awakens? Something to think about.

      Ulf will probably also get Rebuke Evil, which would have been helpful here as well. More effective than Sunlight, anyway. Sense Evil probably pairs well with that if we think there's a chance that some undead or other creatures might be capital "E" evil. As far as I know, skeletons and zombies aren't by default (at least that's what Gerry told me), but other things...Wraiths? Wights? Draugr? Who knows? Wouldn't want to waste 11 FP on a 6d Sense Evil if nothing we're fighting will be affected by it!

      Finally, as far as Wyatt and Aldwyn are concerned, yeah, I guess they assumed he was an "outlaw" based on what Gerry and Quenton relayed (or wherever we got that knowledge). It's a very good and valid question as to what should be done when we get a request for a parley against someone who we thought was a real bad guy.

    3. Capturing a wizard and neutralizing their power is hard. If you'll only negotiate based on ability to capture and 100% neutralize, though, that's a different issue.

      Lots to think about, really, with the disads. I'm fine with the party being totally ruthless . . . but then your disads need to reflect it. That's why I'm flexible with people changing their disads to reflect how they really want to play their paper man.

      Assumption being the basis of action is not wrong, per se, but it's a bit convenient. It should come with a cost in earned XP if and when hindsight tells you that you were wrong. There is no chance Gerry would describe Rangol as an "outlaw" or "evil;" Gerry neither knows nor would it occur to him to even consider it. All you're going on is what you heard from the statues on the Path of Kings, and assumptions based on that.

  6. It's hard to imagine anyone consorting with orks and still claiming to be civilized. Gnolls and Vampires I can give a pass, but orks?

    1. So, when the PCs adventure with Orcish Bob, they can't claim to be civilized?

      Or when other non-Gerry wizards use Mind Control spells to mind control monsters, they're technically monsters, right? Gerry controls a Skull Spirit, which is monstrous and the free-roaming versions are "Truly evil."

      Slippery slope, guilt by association . . .

  7. Yeah, associating with Orcish Bob is indeed very uncivilized.

    Mind control of non orks and Skull Spirits are probably okay though, same as vampires and folks.

    Orks and Demons though are suspect.

    Trolls by virtue of association with rust monsters are probably uncivilized to. You can't civilized rust monsters.

  8. Probably more seriously I would go with majority of group. An elf who hangs out with a bunch of orks is uncivilized, an ork who hangs out with a bunch of elves is civilized.

    1. What about an evil but clearly noble enemy of a civilized race who leads an army of "uncivilized" types, then? Not civilized, not sufficiently noble enough?

      It just seems too lawyerly of a definition. A disadvantage that does not restrict your actions even in the majority of cases where it might, because of hairsplitting of when it counts, doesn't seem like a good rule for play. A disadvantage that doesn't actually disadvantage you is worth no points.

    2. Pretty much I simply cannot wrap my mind around anyone claiming to be civilized while hanging out with a bunch of orks. Gnolls, vampires, mindwarpers, dragons, liches, goblins, maybe even rust monsters, dire spiders or gelatinous cubes, but if you want to hang out with a bunch of orks you forfeit being civilized.

    3. Intolerance (Orcs) - Quirk-level intolerance, -1 point.

    4. "What about an evil but clearly noble enemy of a civilized race..."

      'Evil' explicitly doesn't matter. As for the rest, as you say, 'noble' and 'civilized race', that's two descriptors that fall under Gentleman's Code, so the other two codes should fall in line as well.

    5. That's really what I meant - it's explicit that "evil" doesn't count. Given that, if ratio of gentlemen-to-savages determines if you're a gentleman than, well, almost no one will ever count for the codes. At that point it's not even a quirk.

  9. Negotiating with powerful dungeon dwellers is a sucker's bet for delvers - even if 90% of the time it turns out to their benefit or at least they detect the treachery before it is disastrous, that means there's a 10% chance they're going to be tricked by something that is a tough fight when it isn't tricking them.

    That's one reason why CoH Chivalry is 15 pts. It's a big easy-grip handle your enemies can shamelessly manipulate you by.

    So yeah, tactically I's say no quarter was the *sensible* choice here, but a Chivalrous delver must offer it.

    1. In Felltower at least, negotiation has mostly been a sucker bet for the NPCs. The orcs, the ifrit, the Warden and the sunken prisoners, the hobgoblins . . . the ones with treasure have all been eventually killed unless they willingly handed over all of their treasure and didn't even hint that they knew of treasure elsewhere. Heh.

      I tend to agree on CoH: Chivalry. It's clearly too late for Rangol Grot, but Wyatt (Gentleman's) and Aldwyn (Chivalry) probably should have been honor-bound to negotiate. The only code that lets you really be ruthless is (Soldier's) and it has its own complications.

    2. "In Felltower at least, negotiation has mostly been a sucker bet for the NPCs"

      That's not too surprising, given the folks they are negotiating with. Negotiating in a dungeon setting is a classic prisoner's dilemma with little or no sanction for defecting. One side is professional break and enter and murder and rob types, and the other side is literally monsters. (Even the respectable races become "monsters" in dungeons.)

    3. "In Felltower at least, negotiation has mostly been a sucker bet for the NPCs."

      Your delvers should have developed a reputation at this point...

      "Even the respectable races become "monsters" in dungeons."

      I disagree, otherwise as mentioned, suddenly Code Of Honor Gentleman's, Bushido, and Chivalric lose one of their edges.

    4. Unfortunately it's common players but not common PCs, so a rep doesn't really fit.

    5. Durak leaned back in his chair, watching the hellfire bubbling up from the great pit off his back porch. He reached down and scratched the spikey head of the massive boar dozing at his feet. Mussing idly in an unknown tongue, "That's what's wrong with this generation of delvers, can't trust them to hold up a bargain..."

  10. I hate that Sign out button! I loose so many posts by hitting that instead of Publish!!!

    Short summary of lost post:
    1. Why does it seem like the players never try anything to overcome the bad air zone? Purify Air or Create Air, use of some apparatus with either spell on it, etc.

    2. Wyatt was fighting for his life so maybe gets a pass on the disad, but anyone but a delver would probably choose to negotiate rather than fight with a knife at their neck when given the choice, and his disad should make that a choice to weigh. Aldwyn on the other hand seems to have violated his guiding principles.

    3. Why is it assumed the statues are trustworthy? They are talking statues in a dungeon, so by definition "dungeon dwellers". Nobody trusts other dungeon dwellers implicitly, so why do statues get special treatment?

    1. I'll just empathize with you on that stupid "sign out" button and leave the rest to sit there until my players come by to comment.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...