Sunday, May 2, 2021

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Session 151, Cold Fens 10

Somewhat short summary today, as not a lot happened worth recording. Also, I have other writing to do tonight. So this might be brief and sketchy.

Dates: May 2nd, 2021 - May 13th, 20201
Weather: Sunny, warm to start.

Aldwyn Hale, human knight (340 points)
     Varmus the Hanged, human apprentice wizard (170 points)
Crogar, human barbarian (336 points)
Galen Longtread, human scout (490 points)
Gerrald Tarrant, human wizard (418 points)
     3 skeletons (~35 points)
     Rahtnar the Skeleton (~125 points)
Heyden, human knight (308 points)
Ulf Sigurdson, human cleric (343 points)
Wyatt Sorrel, human swashbuckler (354 points)

We started off with the party in Swampsedge - Ulf, Bruce, and a couple others - or in Ulfhollow ("Ulfhalla"), where they spent the week.

The PCs headed out along the northern edge of the Cold Fens. Once they reached near their exploration area, they headed in.

They poled around for most of the first day, passing through some explored areas, getting eaten by bugs (some doing FP loss, mostly, once doing damage), and otherwise poking around.

One the second day of travelling disaster struck. Rahtnar was polling along the second boat, and rolled an 18 on Boating. The skeletal boatman accidentally prodded something, which surfaced under the boat, flipping it. The occupants hit the water, mostly.

Crogar fell in but swam well (he rolled a 3, and no, it wasn't enough to trip his Curse -3), Aldwyn and Varmus started to drown, Ulf as well. Gerry had Levitation on and just hovered up and out of the flipping boat. Rahtnar sank (Feature: Cannot float). The folks in the lead boat all turned to look.

They saw a hippo-sized thing with a mace-like tail and a horrible head on a long neck. They made their Fright Checks, but took injury as its very gaze took some life out of them.

As those in the water floundered, Gerry (who also made his check) cast Strike Blind on the beast, blinding it and ending its gaze attack!

A split second later, Galen put three arrows into it, two into one eye, one into another, and presumably spitted its pea brain. It had just started a mournful lowing as it was blinded, and the arrows cut that off. Its head dropped into the water, as did the tail.

They used Levitation and a tossed harpoon (tied to Bruce with a line) that Aldwyn could grab to rescue the drowning. It worked well enough. They found "dry" land and healed people up, and tossed some scrolls and maps that had been destroyed by the water. The ones they could save were given to people with actual scrollcases to keep dry. Ulf had stored his in his delver's webbing . . . .

From there, they explored a bit futher over the next couple of days. Bats had flown overhead in a long stream from SW to NE, so they scouted that way a bit, but didn't find a close-by source. They sent an invisible Galen up in the air for a slow spin around, so he could scout out the area from above. He saw a dry "island" off to the southwest with a ruin on the north side, edged with some mist. The saw a larger "island," wetter but still more dry than usual, to the south, heavily edged in fog and mist, about 5 miles in diameter. To the east and southeast he saw the wet, swampy end of the Cold Fens become drier - land punctuated with water rather than water punctuated with land.

They decided the trolls they were hunting, and they'd asked the dead fellow from last session about, must be south. They headed that way, fending off more annoying bugs and lethal ones as well.

They reached a heavy mist, and stuck to the shoreline and they explored around. They decided after a while to get out of the mist, and headed back north. Someone said the big island was 9-10 miles away, this was more like 5, so it must not be this one. But after they headed north, they headed east and southeast, looking for drier land.
Somewhere in here, they found a dry, high ground that had been used as a campground in the past. They camped there, after letting Galen explore on foot solo for a while. They'd use that as a base for a couple of days of exploring the area.

They pushed right up to the end of the western end of the fens, where swamp gives way to marshy but generally solid ground. They circled around and back after exploring for a bit, with Galen avoiding some sunning giant lizards.

Later, as they explored, they spotted a flying dragon to the west (still unable to discern a color). They hid, as it was clear it could have seen them. They hid well, and waited 30 minutes for it to stop looking. It kept diving down at something N-NW of them, but they couldn't see what.

Eventually, though, they gave up and headed back home after a significant amount of exploration and map-completing.


- The PCs asked later if the fog/mist they encountered was supernatural. I didn't allow an additional roll later on. I did have Galen roll one at the time, so see if he could figure anything out about the fog (causes, say, or anything special about it) and he could not. I often make people make rolls for perfectly normal stuff, so rolling isn't a hint. It might be totally normal. You just can retro-investigate very easily.

- The PCs headed right for the foggy island, it seemed, until they reached it and decided it was too close, it wasn't 9-10 miles away, and thus not the destination they wanted. They're unclear if it is Sakatha's lair or not. They're unclear if the island with the ruins is the dragon lair or not. They didn't want to go there and check.

- The catoblepas was good timing. I rolled up a lethal encounter, and that was in the area, and Rahtnar rolled an 18 on Boating. So it make perfect sense that it was in the shallows eating bottom plants, Rahtnar hit it with his pole, and it surfaced and knocked them over. Great convergence of rolls.

- At various points, they encountered biting insects, a poisonous insect (?) that bit Bruce, Crogar picked up dysentary (luckily only him, as no one was purifying water), land-slugs that drank blood like leeches, a venomous snake attacked Varmus and Aldwyn but gave up after a few failed bites at Varmus (his DR 2 was too high), and found some footprints of what was probably those guys they killed last time. Oh, and saw what they think were root-men.

- XP was 2 each for lots of exploration, 0 xp for loot (none!), and MVP was Galen for exploration and killing the catoblepas aka swamp cow before it could make things worse.

- I expected the next session is the Cold Fens, but it's not clear where the PCs intend to go. I'm not sure they had a plan today except to explore every area along what they think the guy they slew last session (and then interrogated) was explaining about the troll cave. They don't really understand the directions they got - how far each way, and by land or by water or both? So they don't really know where to look. Anything that seemed dry, or could be, was investigated. I think they have some places they could explore, and some signs of possible destinations, but they also have some they specifically don't want to encounter. Such as the dragon - Ulf put Resist Fire on himself along with Resist Acid whenever there was the slightest threat of it coming by.

- This was useful - a horizon distance calculator.

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