Monday, November 23, 2020

GURPS DF Session 142, Felltower 110 - The Lord of Spite (Part I)

Date: November 22nd, 2020
Weather: Cool, cloudy, dark.

Ahenobarbus Barca, human swashbuckler (286 points)
Aldwyn Hale, human knight (313 points)
     Varmus the Hanged, human apprentice wizard (145 points)
Crogar, human barbarian (326 points)
Gerrald Tarrant, human wizard (408 points)
     3 skeletons (~35 points)
Heyden, human knight (307 points)
"Mild" Bruce, human barbarian (315 points)
Sir Bunny Wigglesworth, human holy warrior (286 points)
Ulf Sigurdson, human cleric (306 points)
Wyatt Sorrel, human swashbuckler (321 points)

We started off in Sterickburg. The group purchased some potions, spell stones, and gathered rumors. Mostly what they did was stock up for their planned assault against Durak, the Uncaring, the Lord of Spite.

The group headed out and into the dungeon via the trap door under the fallen tower.

They made it unmolested to level 2, to a room near the GFS. They planned to fight the Lord of Spite there, because they'd decided corridor was a bad idea. Probably because the boars smashed any formations to bits with their charge.

There they decided to rest up in the "illusiory library" before summoning Durak. So they did so, but heard a scraping noise outside. They got ready if it was the Lord of Spite, but when they popped open the door a pudding was lurking outside! It smashed its way in and tried to maul Galen and then the others. They cut it to death, but it took a while - Crogar, Aldwyn, and first Wyatt (with a wooden sword) and then Ahenobarbus (with Magebane) cut it up. Of course, Varmus threw a fireball into the fray and hit Aldwyn by mistake . . . and it was an Explosive Fireball, naturally. Bruce got set on fire but they put him out, and Aldwyn was under Resist Fire so he was okay.

The pudding down, they moved it aside and rested more (and healed Crogar with the staff, from his 2 HP fire wound.)

They then headed to the room nearest the stairs. They put on Oil of Puissance (aka Oil of Sharpness in DFRPG Magic Items) on a couple of people's weapons (Bruce and Wyatt's, IIRC), Aldwyn called out Durak's full name, challenging him to come each time. On the third, he felt a lilt and fluttering in his stomach. They waited. Wyatt and Galen were at the top of the stairs to spot the Lord of Spite and his boars coming up.

They waited, 5, 10, 15 minutes (roughly - no one has Absolute Timing or used a timing candle.) Nothing. Aldwyn said his name again . . . and this time, he felt a little worse of a fluttering in his stomach and something . . . he couldn't put a finger on (he blew his IQ roll.) They decided he wasn't coming, so they formed up and rushed down the stairs, not wanting to be caught there. They reached the gate level, and then moved the hexagonal room where a previous group had once used a wish to escape onrushing gnolls. They formed up there, and waited. Still nothing.

The bad air wasn't so big of a deal this time - only Varmus (Unfit since his cut-rate resurrection) suffered a penalty from it thanks to some good rolling.

As they waited, they spotted a slugbeast coming toward them from down the hallway. Aldwyn got his wooden sword ready to fight it, and Galen just filled it with arrows for about 4 seconds and it stopped coming at them. Meanwhile they downed potions - Agility and Strength, mostly. Ahenobarbus downed three Agility potions until he got a "good one." (He rolled a 1, a 2, and a 4.) Several rubbed Dark Vision ointment on their eyes. So they left it there and forced the door. They moved to the cave area Galen had found last time, briefly pausing to send Galen down the baffle-filled hallway to check the area.

They reached the cave, and Galen and some others could hear the "sleeping" Durak - a low rumbling, wetly rattling breath. (One player said, "Like Darth Vader." No, specifically not. This sounds like a wet chest rattle through hole-punched lungs and not a steady, machine-line sound.)

They moved into the cave area, slowly, fanning out. As they did, a blackness suddenly appeared, and then heard the breathing turn to a low chuckle. They heard the drag-STOMP, drag-STOMP and ground-vibrating rumble of steps.

They began to activate spellstones and cast spells. Blur, Walk on Air, Strengthen Will, and others. As they did, devil maws spun out of the impenetrable darkness and a couple of doomchildren ran out. Their lightstones began to wink out, but they had a few glow vials going. Ulf put Protection from Evil 6 on himself and 1-2 others as this went on.

Galen shot down and killed one of the doomchildren, blowing it apart. Wyatt fought one of the devil maws and cut it down with a myriad of slashes. Moment later, more came out - three more devil maws, plus more doomchildren. The PCs waited outside the darkness and engaged the guys who came at them, but otherwise waited.

Then Durak and his two boars appeared. He spoke a word of such vileness that it harmed all around. Ulf resisted. Aldwyn went into a coma and had a heart attack; he fell, stricken. Varmus was deafened. Crogar went into a coma. The others were mostly defeaned . . . Bruce was fine, and Sir Bunny was utterly unaffected (he had ~26 with Higher Purpose and maxed Resistant to Evil Supernatural Powers and Strengthen Will.)

The boars charged into the group, one trampling comatose Crogar and rushing the back-ranked fighters. The PCs attacked them, aiming for the legs. Wyatt, by now under Great Haste, managed to crippled both of one's back legs. It slashes out with its tusks but wasn't able to connect.

Bruce turned his back on Durak and a devil maw to attack the boar, cutting one of its rear legs off. He paid for this as the devil maw grappled him with five claws and held him in place. Then the Lord of Spite smashed him with his club and cut off his left hand with his axe (he rolled randomly, as he usually does.)

Ulf used Rebuke Evil but rolled poorly, inflicting relatively little damage and panicking only a single doomchild.

Meanwhile, doomchildren kept charging in - a total of 13 came in the end. They ran in berserkly (something several players just never noticed - they kept using Feint, Deceptive Attack, etc.) Galen would put 3 arrows a turn into one at a time and kill them. The doomchildren were generally spaced out enough to avoid fraticide although they took some damage from fragmentation. Varmus took some fragments, though, and fell unconcious. Heyden smashed the hamstrung boar on the skull for a huge amount of damage . . . wounding it. Then Heyden backed away from Varmus to lure a doomchild back with him, eventually killing it - but the hamstrung boar crawled over to try to maul Varmus.

Meanwhile Sir Bunny moved up toward Durak, but a doomchild rushed him and critically hit him in the right foot - and sliced it off. Sir Bunny fell. Wyatt stabbed the doomchild to death, blowing it up, and then engaged another one. Sir Bunny ended up getting to his knees, knee-walking forward in the hopes of cutting off Durak's necklace or breaking the skulls, but he was at the wrong angle for either (besides, the necklace is below Durak's mane of hair, and thus not an easy slice.) He swung at a doomchild instead and rolled an 18 and hit himself, but harmlessly.

Durak kept chuckling and swatting at Bruce. He landed a solid club hit to the leg and crippled it; now Bruce is badly wounded and held up mostly by the devil maw. His attempts to break free kept failing - it too easily parried his attempts to reduce the CP on him.

The fight continued, with the devil maws mixing it up with the PCs. They took fragmentation damage frequently but just regenerated it all too quickly.
Galen kept dropping doomchildren, one at a time. One explosion lit Bruce on fire, and another lit him on fire. Meanwhile a skeleton started to hack onto one of the boars and steadily inflict a little damage at a time to it. Wyatt stabbed the eyes out of a devil maw but two more just popped out. Ahenobarbus, now under Great Haste from Gerry, slashed out the legs of another boar and put it down, and then chopped a devil maw repeatedly but couldn't finish it off.

Ulf used Walk on Air to walk up 2 yards and over a devil maw. It just reached up and grabbed him. (I think he was thinking 6' off the ground was out of its reach - nope. It can reach that high - they'd ball-like but not really short.) He was stuck. It got 16 CP on him and he was stuck. Wyatt was grabbed as well, on the right arm. Wyatt managed to slash the arm holding him repeatedly and managed to get free.

Meanwhile Galen was slashed by a doomchild and hit - and it crippled his right arm. He dropped his bow and off-handed drew his shortsword - his blew his Fast-Draw (Sword) roll and just drew it normally.

Ulf prayed to the Good God for help - and sacrificed 8 saved xp to get a +8, bringing him to a 16 (Theology-12, Power Investiture 6, base -10, +1 per xp sacrificed permanently.) He rolled an 11, and succeeded! Coincidentally, his armor tore and he sprang free of the grapple, and is able to walk away in his new War Shorts. He's heading over to Crogar to try and wake him up (and Aldwyn, too, presumably - he doesn't know he's dying, just out.)

We left it there - Ulf freed from the devil maw, Bruce stunned, Wyatt broken free by slashing the arm that held him . . . and the Lord of Spite totally unharmed.


They made a good effort to summon Durak to them. But they had a backup plan or two just in case he didn't come - as Sir Bunny pointed out, the stories said he was spiteful, not stupid. In the end he didn't come to their challenge. When they went down stairs, they heard him "sleeping" (their term), but he didn't seem unprepared for them. They had designated targets, planned how to take out the boars and doomchildren, and so on. They did it all without my input - I specifically didn't even want to know their plans.

Some seem obvious - Galen to kill Doomchildren, in the hopes of causing a chain-explosion-death of them (they're dumb, but they spread out, so that's rare), chopping the legs off the boars and spacing out so they didn't get trampled in turn, Strengthen Will spellstones to beat the utterance, etc. Some of it worked, some didn't. The Rule of 16 saved a few of them from far worse fates.

Durak and his companions have a long run of removing linbs. Sir Bunny lost a foot, Galen's arm is crippled, and Bruce lost a hand and has a crippled leg. Aldwyn going into a coma along with Crogar probably count for something, too. Poor Crogar's player - every big fight, through no fault of his own, he's out for most of it. Luck would have been useful there.

Oddly Bruce lost that leg to a hit that he tried to Dodge, giving up a superior defense to attempt that. I'm not sure why he was "saving" the defense or for what.

The grapples by the devil maws have messed people up badly, and they're hard to escape from. I get some glum, "Oh well, what else can I do?" responses in these cases . . . but often the same people have 2 points in Wrestling and that only if their template required it. Superior grapplers are dangerous foes, especially in such a wild melee.

Roll20 had a complete outage during our game - our first. It derailed play for a while, though, during the combat.

We finished the next-to-last-turn at 8:48, and the last turn ended at 9:31. Even given a little distraction, that's a good indication of how long it can take.

Rules questions of the night - can you aggresively parry a weapon with a weapon? No, we're not going there. And does Protection from Evil caused a lot of questions - I'll explain what they were and deal with them later this week.

It was that last turn where we saw our first using of character points sacrificed to get a bonus to last-ditch prayer. And it worked! Sacrificing 8 to bring an 8 to a 16 was a good move, I think. Costly but it was going to succeed unless he rolled a 17 or 18.

Note to self for next time: How many people have Glow Vials going? Only a few characters have Dark Vision, the skeletons still shining light are yards back of the fight, and the rest of the light stones were blotted out by devil maws by now.

MVP was Ulf for the epic use of character points to bail himself out of a grapple.


  1. Ulf has his glow vial around his neck and going as part of the preparations before we went downstairs. He also actually made his roll v. the utterance (not deafened).

  2. Good summary. One minor point to remember: Ulf actually made his check versus the utterance, so he is not deafened. As per the question about glow vials, he bought one explicitly for this purpose before the delve and has it active around his neck.

  3. Ate Devil Maws published anywhere? If not they need to be

    It is beginning to look ugly for our heroes

    1. It's not looking good but they've largely neutralized the minions, it seems. I'm not sure if the strategy was "keep the Lord of Spite busy while we kill his minions" but that's how it has worked out. Bruce has kept him busy cutting off Bruce's body parts.

      The devil maws aren't statted anywhere. They're based on the Chainmail-era mini for an Abyssal Maw (not a good name, IMO) and what I figured would be fun in GURPS. I don't think they share much in stats or special abilities. I could be wrong; I've never actually read their stats beyond what was on the Chainmail combat card for them. Think five arms, three legs, 360 degree vision, bit bitey teeth, and solid strength. Oh, and they're quite noisy and they wipe out magical (and holy) light in their vicinity.

    2. "Bruce has kept him busy cutting off Bruce's body parts."

      I bet Bruce is quite pleased to have done his part(s)!

    3. I believe he was laughing maniacally as, and after, it happened.

      There might be something wrong with Bruce, in a clinical sense.

    4. He willingly enters a dangerous place and engages in risky behavior on a gambled chance of reward.

      Arguably there is something clinically wrong with //all// 'dungeon delvers'.

      I mean if they are questing to rid the land of evil or trying to rescue kidnapped villagers or some other "doing for a good cause that isn't 'maybe money' reason" then yeah, it's for a good cause. But for 'maybe reward'? They're addicted to gambling, just not with cards or dice, but with their skills at murdering other humanoids and monsters.

  4. Outstanding session! My congratulations to the players for coming prepared with a strategy. Such a big group, and you don't usually seem to have a plan for combats. I have personally rarely, maybe never, seen a group set aside tactical goals for individual characters in a coordinated way. It's usually "I know I'm good at this, I'm going to do this" with no discussion with others, so any alignment of objectives purely coincidental. Peter made it sound like you are a squad that actually work together.

    1. They generally cooperate well, but just don't have those well-oiled squad tactics together. This time, maybe - the disruptive effect of the enemy certainly didn't help them, but they're probably in less worse shape than it could be. We'll see if they can coordinate a way to win it out without it becoming a last-HP slog.


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