Actual Date: 6/6/2022
Game Date: 4/10/2022
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)
Crogar, human barbarian (375 points)
Ulf Sigurdson, human cleric (366 points)
Wyatt Sorrel, human swashbuckler (379 points)
We started off in combat, with the PCs facing out with a swarm of norkers and some unarmed norkers with hunched posture, green-grey splotchy skin, and softer hide.
Right away, the PCs were looking to get out of the fight. They backed off, carefully, holding a tight line with Bruce as a bulge in it, as Ulf began to call on the Good God for help, spending 5 character points to boost his roll by +5.
And it came! Ulf made his roll by 3, asking for the Good God to put the fear of the Good God into the norkers.
It worked. For three seconds, the norkers and norker-alikes backed off and away from the PCs, unwilling or unable to attack. They made sounds of consternation and confusion.
The PCs made it back to the mouth of the hallway behind them, just inside the room, and formed four across - Crogar, the skeleton, Bruce, and Wyatt.
The spellcasters had continued to back off slowly, Varmus creating a fireball to tote with him as he went.
Then after a few seconds, the norkers and norker-alikes charged them. They ended up in a brawl in close combat, with a rank of norkers behind them. At that point, Ulf ran to the levers for the door and grabbed the left and middle ones. He then threw the middle one down. The door shut . . . partway, and then swooshed back up. With all of the melee in the way, it couldn't close.
So they fought a few more seconds, and layed down Stench and Blackout (Gerry) and two layers of Create Fire (Varmus). That plus some shoves drove the enemy back . . . and Ulf threw the switch and the door closed. He collapsed unconcious just as he did it. (Dramatic, eh?)
The foe left behind an axe that Wyatt had kick-disarmed out of the hands of a norker. Gerry Apportated it over to himself and then handed it to Crogar.
We stayed in combat time as the PCs set up for an attack. Wyatt ran around to a wall looking for the levers - but they were gone! Turns out, he'd remembered the wrong wall (see below.) Ulf tried to throw another lever, and got fried with black fire . . . and was stuck to the lever!
He yelled in pain and Wyatt ran over and tried the third switch. No effect. So he tackled Ulf aside with a Flying Tackle, yet couldn't get him free of the lever. Another yank and he was free. Varmus, meanwhile, found the six levers on another wall. So he threw the only one that was down, up, and then threw the rightmost one from up to down. He was fried by black fire. Wyatt ran over and slammed him, hurting him but freeing him from the handle.
They milled around for another 10-20 seconds or so . . . checking walls for levers and doors . . . before the door opened again.
Beyond was a single downed norker, but then a rush of norkers and norker-alikes swamped into the room. The PCs left the flaming hexes undefended, and the enemy rushed right through - the chitinous hide of the norkers made the fire not much of an issue for a partial-second exposure. The others clearly didn't like it but ran through it anyway. The others didn't seem bothered by stench, either.
The fight broke down into two knots. Bruce and Wyatt to the PC's right, trying not to get surrounded, and quickly backed by Varmus. Crogar and the skeleton to the left, surrounded by foes. Crogar cut one unarmed type down, unclear if it's dead, but then tried to jump over a norker crouching to pick up an axe dropped with a critical failure. He failed. He tried to evade again, but still failed.
The PCs continued to fight, with Wyatt dodging around and having a hard time inflicting solid damage on either kind of norker, Varmus throwing a few ineffectual Fireball spells, and Bruce kept trying groin punches to no effect as the norkers dodged most of his attacks. Wyatt kept slashing at random and trying disarms.
This is where we had to call the session.
- Quote of the day, from Ulf's player, "Felltower is all about safety."
- We had a lot of weird VTT issues today. One especially irksome one was that whenever I, the GM, did anything, I did it as the last person to do anything before me. You rolled and then I roll a die to see what happens? Shows up as you did it.
Another is that if you target a foe, it tells you their name. And you can see who is in the initiative order . . . even guys you never saw in the fight. So I, as the GM, can't put everyone into the fight and then dramatically reveal them. Nope. They show up, by name, on the list, and you know when they get to go. "Hey, there is a leader type . . . and he's going this turn." Great. Another reason to prefer tabletop.
- At some point, in the player's minds, there were some tiny lightswitch-like "switches" and big-ass "levers." There never were such. There were just panels of three or six 4-5" long bronze-like metal levers. Not easy to see in dim light, but not that big. Either way, it's a Ready to grab a lever/switch (I use the terms interchangeably) and a Ready to throw it. You can do two at a time if the setup is reasonable.
- I don't often ask for guidance on the prayer option, but Ulf spent 5 points on the roll and I wanted to have some idea what he wanted other than "miracle us out of here!" or "miracle them out of here!", both of which require criticals. He made the roll by 3 and asked for the Good God to make the foe flee with fear. So what the hell, I gave them three seconds of backing off and being unable (or feeling unwilling) to attack.
Unfortunately, the PCs didn't take very good advantage of either opportunity. With the three-second window, they backed off and formed a line at the door, which was good, and layed down Stench and later Blackout and Create Fire. But they really backed off slowly. I understand the caution, but the spellcasters also mostly backed off slowly, taking All-Out Defend (Dodge) and refusing to turn away. An out-and-out run for the switches could potentially have closed the door before they needed those spells to seal the deal and let them close the door.
After that, it was just a case of throwing switches . . . and not remembering which switches to throw. Or choosing to throw different combos. Either way, they didn't throw any combos that would "move the room" as they now feel it is doing. I thought they'd figured it out last time, so I was a little amused when they showed it was just lucky random actions and no one remembered what they were. To be honest, I couldn't tell them what they threw. I didn't keep track of all of the combes they went through in order, because I didn't need to, so I can't even have given someone an IQ roll to remember where the switches were. The fact that multiple people threw switches at different times is as good an explanation for that as any.
There was also an issue of Wyatt going to the wrong wall to throw switches. I didn't correct him, and he's sure the switches were described as being there. It must have been a miscommunication last time, and cost them a little time.
So now they're in a really bad spot. Only two PCs are armed - Wyatt with an axe, and Crogar with an axe - and they cannot seem to make any headway against the norkers and their soft-shelled buddies. They've put one down probably and one down maybe, and it cost them Aldwyn, all of their FP, Ulf, and heavy damage to Bruce, Varmus, and moderate damage to Crogar and the skeleton. They lost any tactical cohesion on the second attack, as it took them slight out of position. We played all of the turns in combat time, so this wasn't the GM declaring they were out of order. They were where they wanted to be. Their own fire prevented them from blocking the doorway with three, and they only had three guys for four hexes and left two mostly open except for fire.
So now the question is, what to do?
The players are legitimately considering options including surrender, just declaring everyone dead instead of spending the time on it or surrendering and hoping for the best (certainly they all won't just be killed outright, I'm willing to vouch for that out-of-game, too.) We'll have to game that out as Gerry will try to escape, since he's floating around invisibly. So that's a game session no matter what, I think. But it's clear they feel pretty defeated. I get why - they have two sub-optimal weapons against foes with enough native DR to make most of their attacks only somewhat effectual, and no supernatural help, and no one to spare to play with levers until they've downed a good 17-18 foes.
So we'll see.
MVP was Ulf for his dramatic actions, prayer, and quote.