We picked up mid-fight from last time.
Game Date: 11/7/21
, human knight (345 points)
Varmus the Hanged, human apprentice (170 points)
, human barbarian (340 points)
, human barbarian (350 points)
, human scout (498 points)
, human wizard (420 points)
2 skeletons (~25 points)
, human swashbuckler (378 points)
, human cleric (366 points)
We restarted in combat.
The six-fingered foes continued to back off in the line they'd formed, as did the golden swordsmen, skirmishing with the PCs as they backed off. The goldcat backed away as well. The sword-armed six-fingered types threw more smoke nageteppo. Gerry countered with Purify Air
to keep line of sight open.
The PCs kept to their line, with Wyatt spending a few seconds re-readying his sword off his lanyard. The next seconds basically consisted of the enemy backing off, repeatedly throwing nageteppo, and the PCs backing off. Galen shot the golden cat a few times but only managed to wound it a little further.
At this point, reinforcements showed up
. Goblin-sized bipedal rats streamed out of the hallway next to where the axemen stood. Three kinds appeared - ratmen studded with chunks of crystal, ratmen crackling with bluish electricity carrying crude kukri-like blades, and shifty, crackling ratmen who didn't really seem all there or all the way in the same phase as the rest of them. They ran out at full tilt, reaching just short of the PCs.
Aldwyn sprang into action, stepping up and stabbing a "blue one" three times. ZAAAAAAP. He killed it, but also shocked himself badly. He attacked a crystal one and wounded that one, and no shock. Galen shot three each with one arrow in the body, but that wasn't sufficient to kill any (I think he intended to shoot them in the vitals, but said body initially, and didn't take a -3 for vitals, so it was body.)
Gerry immediately cast an 8-area (15 yard diameter) Stench
spell over the entire room, carving out the hexes his friends were in plus the corridor they defended. Ulf put Resist Lightning
The six-fingered foes kept to their side formation, throwing another smoke nageteppo to block the vision of the PCs. Gerry couldn't clear that without clearing the stench, too. Aldwyn was in the middle, surrounded by ratmen. He took some blind shots but immediately critically failed and dropped his sword. He'd drop the other, too, on another critical failure. Galen critically missed while in the smoke, too, while trying to sword a rat to death in close combat. The PCs decided the smoke was cursed.
The ratmen were in trouble - they didn't have time to hold their breath, and so were suffocating. So they charged the PCs at a full run, flowing through the open formation the PCs were in and filling the corridor. The PCs killed a few as they came, but otherwise they managed to overrun the PCs. The electric ones shocked a few people but most of the PCs were resistant (although one skeleton was nearly trashed fighting one ratman one-on-one in close combat for the whole fight.) The crystal ones scratched up a few PCs, and their crystals gave them enough DR to hold on. The phase ratmen were exactly that - they shifted in and out of phase, their hisses and sounds muffling to silence each time they moved out, giving them an irregular sound. They easily dodged most attacks but eventually got taken down by flank shots, critical hits, and massed attacks.
Wyatt and Bruce engaged the golden swordsmen as they backed off. Bruce broke one's sword when it tried to parry his giant greatsword, but it managed to back off. The goldcat roared and hurt Wyatt and one of the ratmen, but the swordsmen backed out of the stench.
The casters in the back got mobbed - Gerry managed to stay out of it, floating above and with his skeletons (and later Varmus) providing a screen. He threw a Flash
spell behind Ulf to blind the mob of incoming ratmen. The smoke blocked most of them, but he got the lead ones, largely giving them a -3 to DX for a minute.
Varmus managed to fend off a ratman briefly, Ulf was mobbed up against the door and got a bit mauled, as Crogar and the skeletons were tied up with ratmen. Bruce, meanwhile, had long since rushed out to the fight and ended up brawling with ratmen in close. He punched one in the skull and knocked it cold, while another poked Bruce's right eye out with a crystal-clawed fingertip. He managed to eventually kill that ratman.
Wyatt faced off with the swordsmen - three of them now, down the hallway, blocking the cat - and threw a demon's brew, then a cloud of fire, and then missed a fast-draw for a second demon's brew. The swordsman came forward from the cloud, with sparks coming off of the one hit, but then ran through it while Wyatt finished readying his grenade (a muffed multi-fast-draw costs you not only the rest of that turn, but turns the next to a ready . . . be careful with those.)
Wyatt ran back to deal with rats.
The six-fingered foes backed out of the room, seemingly the way the rats came. They dragged away one fallen axeman, but not another one much closer to the PCs.
The PCs kept brawling with the rats. Varmus catch Itch
as often as he could, Gerry Strike Blind
, to disrupt the ratmen's attacks. They managed to keep a few of the ratmen from fighting effectively.
With the retreat of the swordsmen and axemen, the PCs converged on their casters and cleared out the ratmen, hacking them down.
They had little time to rest - they had maybe 4 1/2 minutes with the Stench
up, and those with hearing heard whistles and a groaning, grinding noise. They didn't want to take their chances. Over Wyatt's strenuous objections, they gestured to each other to grab stuff and leave. They grabbed their dropped weapons and shields, Adlwyn grabbed the axeman, Crogar and Bruce each a golden swordsman, and they fled.
They made it up the stairs, fronted by Galen. This took a few minutes. They heard the clomp of obsidian on stone and scraping of ratman claws on stone, too - they'd managed to get past the upper level doors without an issue. They forced the Will Wall - it took a few tries for some of them - but eventually made it through. Luckily, they made it through the "gate level" without encounters (I rolled, nothing came), and eventually made it out of the dungeon.
They made it back to town with three corpses, the gear they wore - Magescale
, some magical boots and a magic cloak, two pairs of Bracers of Force
, and two ratman blades (which proved valueless - cheap steel, poorly done, with the Crude
- to clarify, quick-readying off of a lanyard requires a flat DX roll; doing so quickly requires a Fast-Draw roll - which is penalized at -3 to -5 (default -4) for the size of the dangling weapon. A failure on a Fast-Draw in this fashion is a normal Ready. A failure on the DX roll means a failed attempt to draw at all. If the other hand is free to grasp the dangling weapon, this takes one Ready maneuver but doesn't require a roll - and can't be done with Fast-Draw
. "Fast draw" techniques assume a sheath, not just the weapon.
- Alaric fumbled around the the dark for his swords, and found them over a couple of turns. Then he parried with them right away. I didn't notice this until right after - the player clearly assumed he found them and grasped them by the handle, at ready. I was assuming he'd just found the weapon, and didn't assume it was grabbed by the handle in a ready to fight position. So he was able to defend without any issue even though he should have had one.
- Blame Matt Riggsby
for the ratmen. They were perfect, and made a good swap-in for something else I'd vaguely intended to use that didn't make as much sense. All I did was make them SM-1, because I like them smaller. But still, I basically look at monsters that Sean Punch and Matt write, say to myself, "That seems a bit excessive, who would write a monster that does that?" and then I use them as written or slightly upgunned. So I think I'm about 1% to blame, here. But it's mostly Matt's fault.
- For a long time, the PCs heard about the "six fingered vampires." Eventually, they fought one . . . and sold the body to the orcs. Since then, though, they mostly have referred to them incorrectly as the "cone-hatted cultists." This is despite a lot of clues - different descriptions, different heights, different numbers of fingers
, different equipment (cone-helmed magescale, ornate axes, very slim swords and maces vs. cone hoods over normal headgear, red and black mail and cloth, normal human weapons done up to look more attractive) . . . I even used different minis entirely, and made it clear that what you saw was accurate. They had the same colors and same-shaped headgear, but clearly some of the earlier ones (and the ones in town) are humans apeing some others, and the others themselves.
Now that they have a body I took pains to tell them they are different. The PCs should know, even if the players keep getting them mixed up. They are clearly not human - six fingered hands with an extra joint on their long fingers, slender builds, extra-long incisors and fine teeth, very palid skin, no blood, jet black hair . . . and this one had its eyes poked out so they don't know how those differ. They're looking at getting it examined, and also want to preserve the hands to open doors. We'll see how that works. They preserved Alaric's hands to do that, and we'll see how this works.
- Now that the PCs realize on a deeper level that magescale doesn't includes hands and feet, I think we can safely assume they'll want to target the hands and feet of their cone-helmed foes. A -4 for a marginal target isn't a showstopped for 20+ skill guys, although most of them either have Slayer Training or Ultimate Slayer Training for much better locations. Still, I'd bet money on increased targeting of feet.
- the Bracers of Force aren't exactly the same as the ones in DF6. I'll post them sometime soon. They specifically do not
layer with Shirtless Savage DR, and they replace it
if you wear both. No if, ands, or buts about it. If not, you'll end up with a very munchkinny approach of claiming or arguing for force field DR for the eyes (excluded from Shirtless Savage DR), DR 9 on the arms on 1-3 and shirtless savage DR on a 4-6, and the force field DR whenever the force field is a better choice. No. either wear it and get DR 3 (9 on the arms on a 1-3 in 6) or don't wear it at all.
- the PCs probably had the ability to move on - but were very low on FP, the casters had largely drained their power items, and were running low on paut. Big combats - and they're all big when a "small" group has 10 PCs/NPCs - take a while. Huge combats - like this one, with about 50 combatants - take at least a full session. Fights won't get smaller.
The PCs had to leave basically because of FP. The FP issue is tough - the PCs need to win quickly, because they can't fight everything at once - and PCs need to conserve FP, which means they can't use as many FP-costing spells and abilities to speed up the fight. They can't safely rest for 15-30 minutes after each fight to heal up. If they can't move to the next fight without a break, they can't really do anything but try to win the dungen by attrition.
- My players did well on the deafness thing. Credit where credit is due. I'm still not sure about the whole "how many HP do you need me to heal?" question in combat, though. Do clerics have the ability to instantly diagnose damage levels at a glance at a friend? "He looks to be down 11 HP." I think this is all part of that "maximize every second in combat" approach - everyone wants every action to be the best, most efficient, and most correct use of resources for everyone, every turn . . . so assuming you can identify the exact level of wounds is just a way to make that happen.
- Roll20 isn't made for close combat. It slowed us down a lot as I clicked and dragged and clicked and dragged trying to get to see who is in what hex.
- Loot was around $3K each. They sold the Magescale
(estimated value is $55,000) and one pair of Bracers of Force
. Varmus took the other pair. They wanted to give the new magescale to Gerry and then pass the damaged set to Varmus, but Varmus wasn't keen on that . . . he preferred the bracers as they're lighter and unobtrusive. So he'll be blamed for any damage he takes that would have been stopped by the damaged armor.
- MVP was Gerry for the Stench
spell followed up by an effective Flash
and Strike Blind
spends. He clearly broke the attack. XP was 5 each (3 for Galen). Gerry made his loot threshold and Galen 20% of his by Ulf giving up a portion of his loot. Poor Wyatt's player does the bookkeeping, and it took him many iterations to make this work. He'll be my firmest ally if we ever change to XP not being based on unequal distributions.