Monday, August 30, 2021

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Session 158, Cold Fens 16 - Sakatha's Lair Do-or-Die (Part I)

Game Date: 8/29/21-8/31/21

Bruce McTavish, human barbarian (336 points)
Crogar, human barbarian (350 points)
Gerrald Tarrant, human wizard (418 points)
     Rahtnar the Skeleton (~125 points)
Heyden, human knight (308 points)
Wyatt Sorrel, human swashbuckler (354 points)
Ulf Sigurdson, human cleric (362 points)

We started in Swampsedge, with the PCs having purchased potions and paut and rations . . . and two replacement boats, since one was a bit too small for their 7-man crew plus potential loot.

They headed out. They headed south into the swamp.

The trip to the island took 2 1/2 days, dealing with nuisance insects, stinging wasps, and even 11 leaping leeches that swarmed the group (they didn't last long but some damage, including four of them on Crogar doing ~10 HP injury). They got mildly lost a couple of times due to Bruce's poor navigation (he has Navigation-12, but even so, he just rolled very poorly), and lost an hour to a big downed tree snag. The second day featured bad storms which slowed them down. But in the end, they made it to the ruins mid-day on the 31st.

They ran in to avoid the nymphs, and did the "coin trick" to open the trapdoor. Down they went.

They moved through the deserted corridors and rooms, eventually reaching the temple. Wyatt recalled there was a secondary temple, according to the session logs, so they took a detour to check that for holy water. They found nothing - it had been thoroughly looted and its contents trashed and destroyed by the previous group (mostly by Dave.)

They splashed half of their holy water on the secret door in the temple after Ulf outlined it with chalk. They rushed through.

Beyond they found another room, triggered a mechanism behind a destroyed fake door and opened another secret door. They found a counterweighted trap door down. They headed down the big staircase, careful to avoid the 5th step. Ulf had See Secrets on this whole time, but saw nothing special about the steps to indicate a trap.
At the bottom, they moved over to one of the mounds on there side of a large, flowing river and Ulf pulled people in it, one by one - into a High Sanctity area covered with a Holy Avoid spell for non-holy people. Ulf cast a bunch of Affect Spirits spells, and then let some expire after casting them on magical weapons, and then cast again on non-magical ones.

All prepped, they headed to the river where it met the wall (and came flowing out of it, not from under it.) Bruce prodded for the bottom with an 8' pole and then a 10' pole, but found nothing. He stuck his glove into the water but still didn't hit bottom . . . and his glove came out dry.

Not willing to climb down into the "river" and risk climbing in the face of wights, they headed to the center of the river. After a few moments, a boat appeared. They called to it, and eventually the boat came. They climbed in, and the boat headed off to the other side.

And halfway across . . . the boat, and the "river" underneat their little craft, disappeared. They fell down and into a lined pit full of extremely corrosive acid!

(Bwahahahahahahahahahah. Sorry.)

None of them were blinded by the splash and none swallowed any. They climbed out as fast as they could. For a couple, this was 1-2 seconds. Ulf got lucky and climbed out quickly, losing a bit of DR and some HP in the process but otherwise making it out. Gerry was able to concentrate on Levitate and pulled himself out, again with some lost DR and HP but not too much. Crogar and Heyden also got out in reasonable time, and both turned to help their friends despite the additional injury from sticking their hands back into the acid to grab arms.

Bruce, Wyatt, and Rahtnar, though, got badly hurt. Wyatt and Bruce were eventually pulled out, after Gerry used Levitate to pull out Rahtnar and Ulf put Resist Acid on Wyatt.

All out, they surveyed the damage. Everyone had lost DR - some 1-3 each, mostly. Lots of equipment went down. Bruce lost his knives, potion belt (and potions), backpack and its contents, and all of his clothing and boots. His swords barely survived but are pitted and damaged, and they're just about all he has now. Heyden lost his pouch, potions, javelins, and so on (oddly his golden sword never came up . . . I think we didn't assess damage on it.) Crogar lost his clothes but not much else. Wyatt had most of his gear packed in his frame pack, and that barely held out and so he didn't lose his "fighting loadout." Scrollcases, spellstones, lightstones, potions, etc. all went into the acid, never to return. Rahtnar lost his axe and armor and came out with only a badly damaged shield.

Once out, they gave what was left of a pole to Bruce. They found the river still "flowed" around them, but the current was unclear (and Bruce felt none) and its origin and substance unclear . . . just that they stood around a lined pit in the "dry" air. They sent Gerry up to look around and see which was was the wall, and headed that way after Bruce prodded the "water." It was safe to walk in and breathe, but felt odd and restricted vision. They moved as a group holding a rope, avoiding another pit thanks to Bruce prodding ahead.

They reached the wall and started to climb. They tried to get up all at once, but with two people Invisible, Gerry using Levitation on two (Crogar and Bruce), one using Walk on Air (Invisible Ulf), and two climbing . . . all while unable to see each other . . . that proved impossible.

In the end, Bruce and Crogar were desposited on top as Ulf walked up and Gerry floated up. And the wights on the far side, 10 in total, saw them and rushed them. In a nasty brawl in close Crogar and Bruce managed to cut a few down but got mobbed in close. They kept fighting but lost FP from strikes (and even from a bare-handed wight parry) and Bruce rolled an 18 and dropped his sword. Gerry pulled him up out of the fray, and the remaining four wights mobbed Crogar. He was pulled up, too, just as Wyatt reached the top and stood up. He drew his swords and attacked, and in a couple of seconds put them all down.

They skipped burning them because Ulf said they didn't need to (relying on a 4 on Hidden Lore).

They healed up a little and restored FP and moved on.

They hurried along the wall to the triangular structure they sought.

Once there they followed the wall to the doors and called out, "Hail Sakatha!" The doors opened.

Beyond they found a trap-lined corridor, blocked to one side by a solid stone block.
Ulf outlined the trigger for another trap, and they bypassed that. Standing around in the hallway, Wyatt handed out some Universal Scrolls of Resist Poison, and he put it on himself, Gerry on Crogar, and Heyden on himself.

They tried the next door with "Hail Sakatha" but it didn't open.

Wyatt tried again - still no. Ulf said, "You have to say it with feeling!"

Wyatt tried that and it worked.

Beyond they found a triangular room with a long table and chairs and a throne, set with lizard man delicacies - other than a few rare fruits, it was mostly meats, animal heads, bats, weird birds, etc. They looked for the trap door, which they found under the table. As they investigated, lizard men stepped out of mosaics along the wall, holding platters with more food. They offered it up as the PCs ignored them, and pushed the table and chairs aside. They found the trapdoor.

At this point, Ulf asked if they wanted to duck into a Sanctuary and rest for a few hours. After remarkably little debate, they went for it. Ulf created it, they piled in, and he pulled it closed. It dumped them back out with a sickening twist, leaving them on the floor, disorientated and injured (all except, oddly, for Rahtnar skeleton.) Ulf and Gerry felt something . . . like they were being watched. Gerry said it might be some kind of scrying.

They went back to the trap door, opened it up, and climbed down - with Ulf bowing and making solicitous gestures - and closed it behind them.

They found themselves in a room with two large block doors opposite the stairs they'd walked down. They got ready, called out "Hail Sakatha!" and . . . nothing. There were basins once filled with unholy water on either side of it, but which were dry and empty.

We left it there, with the PCs unsure of how to proceed. They tried "Hail Sakatha!" to no avail. They have more unholy water, if sprinkling that on the doors would help. But that would mean no way back . . . they're not sure what to do.


I don't think I reminded anyone to pay upkeep. So this is a reminder for next time. "But I stayed at Ulf's house!" is not a valid way to avoid it, especially not since everyone goes any buys stuff in town and thus must be in town to buy that stuff. Plus upkeep isn't free even if you have a dirt plot and a shack to your name.

Ulf, after a lot of waffling, bought Turn Zombie-20 for 2 points. It's a very restricted spell - in my game, if not in the RAW, it only works on animated undead created with the Zombie or Mass Zombie spell. That's it. Not wights, draugr, vampires, horde zombies created by infectious attack, etc. He took it anyway, just in case.

Heheheheh, free boat ride! I didn't think they took the boat before, but they did in one session, and managed to cross safely. Not this time. What was the difference? It's unclear from their side of the screen. I think they lack enough information to really know but probably can hazard some guesses. Anyway, yeah . . . I'm still not sure why "climb down into the "river" and then climb back out the other side" was the plan for several past delves but the existance of a steep dropoff and climb stopped them this time. Oh well, it cost them a lot of gear. I didn't expect the acid traps to ever work again after the first time. Guess not. Only a few things proved unaffected - the Mythic Corselet and the Finger of Necros were fine. Everything else took damage . . . lucky for Heyden his Belt of Might was sturdy enough to make it through.

Thank goodness for the weapon damage tables I did up for Low Tech Companion 2 (p. 22-24), and for the Object HP Table table in Basic Set, pg. 558.

The wights didn't do much damage, which isn't a surprise, as the group is very high point for a bunch of guys mostly a threat if you lack magical weaponry. The acid really mauled them and cost them a lot of equipment. I expect at some future date the group will come back here in a clean-up delve with Resist Acid and try to fish for potions on the assumption that crystal vials wouldn't corrode like everything else. We'll see.

MVP was Wyatt, since his player did a lot of prep work to get everyone ready. And also slew wight Bjorn, Hannibal, and El Murik.

We'll also have to see how this all turns out - they're badly damaged (you'll see the status tomorrow) and lost a lot of gear, but still have their main stuff. Their foes - if similar to last time - are tough and numerous. Should be fun!


  1. Is the golden sword actually gold, an alloy, or merely golden in appearance? Gold is non-reactive to acids so items of pure gold (or silver or platinum) should not be damaged by acid (though items with gold and silver only over some parts would be subject to the non-gold/silver components corroding). Of course in fantasy games you may create super-acids that work like magic on metals that are non-reactive in the real world.

    1. It's golden colored but is some kind of hollow bone.

      It's alkahest, anyway, or close to - it'll dissolve almost anything. Fantasy acid is just liquid-form disintegration.

  2. I expected them to assemble a larger party for this push! Galen, Aldwyn and Varmus will be missed


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