Monday, July 19, 2021

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Session 154, Cold Fens 13 - Hexcrawling the Cold Fens (Part I)

Game Date: 7/18/2021 - 7/24/2021

Aldwyn Hale, human knight (345 points)
     Varmus the Hanged, human apprentice wizard (170 points)
Bruce McTavish, human barbarian (329 points)
Crogar, human barbarian (350 points)
Galen Longtread, human scout (498 points)
Gerrald Tarrant, human wizard (418 points)
     Rahtnar the Skeleton (~125 points)
Wyatt Sorrel, human swashbuckler (354 points)
Ulf Sigurdson, human cleric (353 points)

Before the session, Ulf took swimming lessons. Otherwise, the PCs just gathered up food, purchased potions, and otherwise got ready for a trip. They decided on exploring the area between Sakatha's island the the giant's island, to see if anything was there.

They headed out into the swamp. They contended with the usual - biting flies, mosquitos, leeches, leaping leeches, wasps, etc. - but the weather held up. They were able, in general, to avoid any real trouble.

However, one night, Aldwyn and Varmus heard some rustling. Aldwyn stalked out to see what it was - some kind of rodent-like thing in the bushes. When he approached, it flung spines at him, twice. They clunked off of his armor. He waved his knife at it as it fled. In the morning, they found short quills tipped with a sticky, probably toxic, substance. Galen didn't know of any animal that fit that description.

Another night, a big anaconda - 21' worth of anaconda - slithered out of the darkness and towards the camp, right around dawn. Galen and Bruce were awake. Bruce moved into its way. The snake tried to bite him in the groin (11 on the random hit location table is still groin to me) but he was able to dodge, and then grabbed it with both hands for 9 CP after dodging aside. The snake tried to grapple him back with its slinky coils, but missed. Bruce proceeded to start punching it in the skull. The snake writhed and tried to grapple, but ultimately failed as Bruce punched it over and over in the skull, breaking its skull after a few hard hits.

They spent an extra hour skinning the snake and then Ulf used Create Food on its meat to make it edible without having to cook it. Galen skinned the snake for Bruce so he can make boots.

Still another night, as they began to do a circuit of the giant's island (seeking, apparantly, a trail that reaches the water's edge to follow into the island - they didn't find one), they camped not far off on some other dry-ish land. A quarter-mile off they saw a light moving back and forth, like a lantern. They woke Galen and Ulf put Resist Lightning on himself. They got the others up and buffed away. Galen shot the light but it moved aside, and then went out. Nothing else came of that as they hopped into a Sanctuary and Ulf put Vigil on himself so they could camp within.

The next day, they ate some food that Ulf made with Create Food . . . but he'd rolled an 18. He ended up spoiling all of the food, but subtly. They ate it . . . and most of them (except Wyatt and Crogar and Bruce) vomitted it back up and were nauseous for the whole next day, and got very little proper sleep.

Despite that, they headed to the giant's island and spent some hours exploring the coast until they found their previous landing point.

For some reason, they headed back right to the area they'd seen that light, and camped close by. This would have fateful consequences.

That night, as Varmus and Aldwyn were on watch, a 6" sphere-ish of light appeared less than a yard from Aldwyn and touched him - zap! He took 3d electrical damage, burning and stunning him. He shook it off as Varmus yelled for everyone to wake up, and moved closer to Ulf. They started to get up - some quickly, some less so. The light - Galen called it a will-o-the-wisp - kept shocking Aldwyn, putting him to negative HP and barely holding on to consciousness. Ulf woke and cast Resist Lightning, which seemed to stop its attackes. Wyatt tried to stab it with a wooden sword, Galen shot arrows at it (one seemed to pass through it, and maybe did something?) The wisp then disappeared. But Aldwyn was badly hurt, there was a lot of noise of people yelling for Resist Lightning and whatnot, and the sound carried far.

They finished buffing themselves and then looked around . . . nothing. So they went back to sleep. Ulf heard the sound of something in the water - it sounded like something big, wading. So they decided that they needed to get into another Sanctuary. Ulf made one, and they piled in, putting Vigil on himself again.

They next morning, though, when they emerged, their boats were gone. Galen had concealed them, but clearly not well enough. Something had dragged them out into the water, clearly, and they were gone. Bruce had left his snakeskin in the boat, and was inconsolable.

They decided it must be the giants. They debated going home and giving up on the boats, but took a vote. Going after the giants narrowly won - with a few undecided voters like Crogar and Varmus.

So they crossed overland to the north, and camped overnight after Galen did a little scouting to ensure they were west of the giant's island.

We ended there, with the PCs determined to get their boats back.


- the PCs almost went home, but they had a big discussion and settled on killing the giants. Wyatt's player argued that in-game, there was no way the PCs would just walk home. I usually let them discuss on their own . . . but that just didn't seem correct. They'd walked off from sunk costs and from potentially lethal challenges in the past. That they might not walk away from this one was fine, but not the logic that they wouldn't. They had multiple times in the past. This is more of a break with the past than a continuation of prior conduct. It sure suits the couple of guys with Overconfidence.

- in typical adventurer/PC logic, I'm sure they'll now justify every thing they ever do and have done to the giants and/or their allies in terms of justice for the stealing of their boats. Not that they'll do anything they wouldn't have done just because the giants have money and they want it. If it somehow turns out the giants didn't steal their boats, they'll justify it based on that, instead - for allowing their boats to get stolen. Nothing sets off the righteous anger of PCs more than people fighting back.

- Bruce was MVP for punching a snake to death. XP wasn't otherwise handed out as the delve is not complete.


  1. “Nothing sets off the righteous anger of PCs more than people fighting back.” So true!

  2. Hexcrawl logic:

    * Monsters encountered in the wild have little treasure with them.
    * Intelligent monsters keep their treasure in their lair.
    * Track intelligent monsters back to their lairs to get more treasure.

  3. Those evil giants! Remember the Boats!

    1. I gots two shineys on it not bein the giants. Who wants in on this action?

    2. I'll take that. Sure sounds like giants to me

  4. Have they talked about any plan for dealing with Diffuse to avoid a repeat of last time?

    1. Not yet. But the plan is to get to the island, have Ulf cast Vigil on himself, cast a Sanctuary, go in the Sanctuary until dawn or so, plan out their attack while in the Sanctuary, and then try to get them before they turn invisible, Great Haste themselves, cast Missile Shield, etc. Sadly, Desmond could have helped somewhat with the water issue (he knows Dehydrate, but it's expensive), but then Ulf wouldn't be there, and they would have no healing. They need to be far more tactical this time, and Ulf and Varmus need to take a page out of Gerry's playbook (would be nice if Ulf was invisible and could run around invisibly healing and buffing people).


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