Monday, May 16, 2022

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy, Session 169, Felltower 121 - Second GFS - Part II

Actual Date: 5/16/2022
Game Date: 4/10/2022

Characters:
Aldwyn, human knight (360 points)
     Varmus the Hanged, human apprentice (180 points)
Gerrald Tarrant, human wizard (420 points)
     3 skeletons (~35 points)
     1 tough skeleton (105 points)
"Mild" Bruce McTavish, human barbarian (349 points)
Wyatt Sorrel, human swashbuckler (379 points)
Ulf Sigurdson, human cleric (366 points)

We began where we left off, with the PCs cornered in the depths of Felltower by an onrush of a gigantic hallway-filling white-tinged blue ooze from behind and by three identically-colored but smaller oozes from their left. There were no other exits.

They quickly headed towards the three smaller oozes, who rushed them and went right up the ceiling - heading for the wizards and skeletons. The big one oozed up just as quickly. The front-line fighters tried to stop the small oozes but they were able to evade right past. Varmus throw an Explosive Fireball at the giant ooze but it burned the skeletons a little and didn't harm the ooze at all. Wyatt and Ulf pulled out hairs - Wyatt head, Ulf beard - to cast Continual Light on, but never managed to do so.

Invisible Gerry ordered his three normal skeletons to fight the oozes. They did, and blocked access to him and Varmus at least briefly. The PCs then ran, leaving the skeletons to fight the oozes. They managed to hold off the oozes for a few seconds, which was enough for the PCs to get a lot of space between them and the oozes. They ran around left and left, and then ran straight ahead to avoid ending up in the dead end they'd emerged from. The two smaller oozes were pursuing them again from behind and the big ooze coming from their left - it had moved to get them from the other direction (!) and left them no choice but forward.

Ahead they saw a room but no exits, and ran in, hoping for side exits. Instead, they saw six small levers on the far wall. Ulf and Wyatt started their usual "let's not just flick things randomly" but then Gerry moved up and did that, flicking the left switch down and then the one next to it down. There was a black wall suddenly in front of the entranceway, then it was gone, and the oozes were gone. Thanks to Dark Vision Gerry could see the hallway out led to difference places.

The barbarians heard a scraping noise they said was clearly claws on stone, so Gerry threw some more levers and the black came back. This time, they were in another room - a larger one. They were further from the levers, but they were still there . . . just in the middle of a wider wall. There were also three switches on the right wall.

Some investigation showed them a secret door - detected largely thanks to See Secrets, and careful and specific examination by Gerry revealed the middle switch of the (new) three was the most used. So they flicked that and the secret door, to their original left, opened up, revealing a hallway to a T intersection. They stopped and did some energy transfers, and Ulf cast Seeker a couple of times on his lost clothing and shield. Both times it revealed the path from where they were to a not-so-distant location. Ulf tried to explain the path to the group, and Wyatt tranlated it into much clearer directions.

That done, they headed out and turned left . . .

. . . and saw things. To the left they just turned to, there were a bunch of norkers, but with worse posture, more gangly arms, and no weapons. To the right, there were norkers and one of them (thanks entirely due to mapping and lighting control setting issues in Foundry VTT) saw a gith with an axe (which once I rectified things, they could not see any longer because he was out of their vision range . . . I miss an actual tabletop.)

Initiative fell with the (waiting) foe, who rushed them while they were still in "turning the corner marching order" and before the PCs could neatly set up to defend a choke point. The foes rushed in.

In a close-in brawl, the norkers were able to really bring it to the unarmed PCs. Wyatt kicked on but hurt his foot. Varmus put Flaming Armor on Aldwyn, but the flames didn't disuade the axe-wielding armed norkers from attacking him. They did, and managed to land a few blows and put him down on his back. A seemingly endless randomly swung set of attacks hit his groin more often than not (ouch) and cut him down. Bruce tried to beat one of the unarmed guys to death but kept feeling a tingling even as his fists did little or nothing to them. Crogar kept dodging, as did tough skeleton. Gerry threw Flash and dazzled a bunch of foes and blinded a couple. The PCs backed off a bit. Aldwyn was eventually hacked to death, just as Bruce grabbed one of the unarmed guys by the torse, then lifted him and pitched him sideways into another norker. Neither fell, however, thanks to a good pair of DX rolls.

Gerry put Levitation on Aldwyn just before he died, and as Bruce cleared out he pulled Aldwyn to the ceiling.

Wyatt kicked to disarm against a blinded norker, and rolled a 3, and then handily won the contest of skills with his potion-enhanced DX 20. The axe went flying into the tough skeleton's hex. Wyatt stepped in and kick-flipped it up into his hands a second later.

That's where we had to leave it, with the PCs backing off and getting pushed into by their armed foes, and Wyatt finally armed.

Notes:

- the PCs did a lot better with the oozes than I expected. The lack of a Rule of 16 with spells meant the high skill levels of Gerry really could hold out well. Even so, he lost all three of his lesser skeletons. It'll cost money to replace - and equip - three more in town.

- those mana-eating oozes are basically manaplasms. Sean Punch specifically calls them out as unfair in lots of ways. I agreed, so I use them in bunches plus a giant one with more power and juiced their stats up a bit. It's that kind of game.

- Wyatt rolled a 3 on the "to hit" to disarm. That meant no defenses, but I didn't allow it to be an automatic disarm. Maybe that was insufficiently generous, but I doubt anyone would accept a more generous ruling in favor of a foe. He wanted to kick the axe out and then catch it - but he didn't want to step into the hex. He also wanted to kick-flip the axe into his hand, but at reach one. I shot both down. Yes, it would be cool. No, it wouldn't make any sense based on reach, and allowing it would allow it to be a regular thing - that you can kick-ready a weapon from "nearby" not just in actual reach. Generous ruling always come back to bite me as standardized tactics. Point of fact - there was a lot of "shouldn't their axes be totally burned up by now?" after 2-3 seconds of single hits to a foe inflicting 1d6 damage on those axes. Enemy axes are extremely fragile, but fully lootable at max value, and PC axes are immune. Eyeroll here.

- I'd advise my players to read the rules about handing items to other characters, since they're bound to want Wyatt to pass the axe to Crogar or Bruce.

- MVP was a toss-up between Wyatt (for style points in combat) and Gerry (for basically doing everything else - skeleton use, levers, Flash spell, etc.). So they rolled a die and Wyatt won.

- The game should have been much better, but we had three issues: an inability to get the manual initiative order to work, the weird lack of some actors (monsters) that I know I put into the system in the past week . . . and mapping issues. I went in and put in most of the missing actors during the session but it slowed us down a bit. Next time it'll run more smoothly.

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