Monday, March 20, 2023

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy Session 182, Brotherhood Complex 4, Part II - Demon Grunts & Torturers

Today we continued our delve from last time.

Real Date: 3/19/2023
Game Date: 3/5/2023

Ambassador Durinn, dwarf cleric (~265 points)
Belmek Battlebeard, dwarf barbarian (~260 points)
Desmond MacDougall, human wizard (~290 points)
Kel Blackwall, half-elf scout (250 points)
Sigur Hondguthann, human holy warrior (250 points)

We picked up mid-fight. But first, we had to do some quick fixing as Durinn had cast Great Healing last session but misread the casting time; so we went back and swapped it to Major Healing. He got back a big pile of energy and Sigur was back down to less HP. That done . . . we started.

The PCs were in rough shape - Sigur wounded and grappled for 9 CP, Belmek with 38 CP per opponent from 4 opponents, and six demon grunts still up.

The demon grunts on Belmek continued to grind away at him - they'd established maximum CP on him, each holding on with both hands. They used their claw hands to grind away, All-Out Attack (Strong), to try to get past his net 12 DR. Over time, they'd wear him down to death checks as the other PCs got on with saving him.

They began to concentrate their attacks, trying to pile all of their damage on one demon grunt at a time. This worked well. The demon grunts were too single-minded to let off what they were doing to respond effectively. They just worked their way around, destroying one demon grunt at a time. They managed to destroy one, freeing Sigur, and then put one down to the ground, letting Sigur move out of the doorway to engage from the side. Durinn stepped forward, only to have to fend off grapples and kicks from the fallen demon grunt.

They found that leg shots worked reasonably well to put them down, but that didn't stop them from fighting - often effectively - while lying down. Meanwhile Desmond remembered to use Hidden Lore (Demons) and was able to report that these demons were just strong, dull, single-minded, and had no brains, no vitals, and no necks - and no special vulnerabilities. With that in mind, they concentrated on cutting off legs and then focusing on just taking out their HP. The demon grunts on Belmek refused to let go. They kept injuring him, as Durinn kept healing him, trying to failing to keep pace. But Acid Balls from Desmond, arrows from Kel, and axe chops from Sigur eventually cut them all down.

The enemy defeated, the PCs immediately started healing the wounded and trying to secure the room. They soon found there were 5 doors to block, not enough free PCs to block them, and a hallway leading out of the room. So they couldn't really block everything. They gave that up.

Once most of the wounded were healed sufficiently, they began to search the room while keeping wary. This slowed them down. The room was full of junk. Junk, junk, junk. A rotted boot and the heel of its missing boot, empty chests, a spear with the butt and half the tip broken off, broken jars, a smashed lantern, more crumpled up wads of old clothes that needed mending before they went rotten, and more. They pried open a big iron-bound crate, but found it empty. They found several fragile glass jars . . . and Durinn unrolled some cotton-like material to wrap them in . . . only to drop two potions already wrapped inside the roll to the floor. One shattered, the other bounced off the floor. Desmond refused to taste the spilled potion to see what it was.

They also found a broken shortsword - most of it missing - with gems in the hilt, and a platinum-wire wrapped longsword - with the center bit of the blade missing. Oh, and burned papers, a book spine with the words worn off, and even more junk. (I described it as an attic full of old junk.)

All of this done, they decided to get out of the dungeon. Most of them were healed up enough to move, so they did so - but they had no more ability to heal anyone that day and were largely out of potions.

With some work, they were able to retrace their steps. They naturally blundered into the evil runes again, after arguing over where to turn.

Outside of the dungeon, they decided to camp out for a day a safe distance away, and come back the day after - they'd be able to take advantage of the damage they'd done, before the cone-hatted guys could muster up reinforcements. If they headed back to Stericksburg, they could re-potion up . . . but might need them even more. So they went back in the next day.

Second Delve:

This time the entrance was deserted. They were able to find the stairs down to the third level without too much trouble, and went back to the junk room. They'd search it more "on the way home." They checked the corridor out, and saw it went pretty far . . . and then decided on the doors. They forced all four open. Three led to hallways, all alike, and one to a dead end. They took one of the corridors and followed it along, based on their sense of where things "should" go. Sadly, the hallway looped around and back and around, taking them in a direct they weren't thinking it would go.

At the end of the hallway there was an intersection and, ahead, a door. They chose the door. Belmek forced it, and beyond it was an odd-shaped room full of torture devices. An old man was strapped to a chair, badly beaten. Standing to either side of him were robed cultists, only with leather hoods, in the style of an executioner's hood.

At the sight of the PCs, one yelled, "Kill him!" and ran out of sight. The other readied a sword as Belmek charged him, pausing only to ready his axe in the middle as he failed a Fast-Draw roll. The torturer stabbed the old man in the heart, and he went limp with a tired groan.

The other PCs moved in - Sigur in the front, Durrin up the middle, and Desmond to the left and Kel to the right. Kel shot an arrow at the torturer and was mystified that he somehow dodged. Sigur took a shuriken to the face, but it did minimum damage - and he was able to resist the poison on it.

Unfortunately, there were four, not two, torturers. Two stood invisibly to either side of the door, out of immediate danger of PCs moving into them. One grappled Desmond from behind, left arm around his neck and shoulder. Another threw a garrote around Kel's neck from behind.

The one behind Desmond began to stab him over and over in the vitals, aiming for Chinks in Armor. Kel was choked by the garrote. Desmond tried to dodge or break free but was helpless to do so. He was able to resist the Bladeblack poison on the blade, but was still hurt by it. Kel tried to ready his bow and shoot over his shoulder at the cultist but, despite a few tries, kept failing. Sigur turned away from helping Belmek to get the torturer on Kel.

Belmek closed with the torturer but was hit with a Fear spell, and failed to resist. That gave him a -3 to rolls against any of the hooded torturers. The one who yelled - the master torturer, had ducked out of a door.

Belmek kept after the torturer, who kept moving away, stabbing at at his right eye, and wounded him - but rolled minimum damage. Belmek was blinded in one eye, but he was able to shrug off the poison, mostly, but was still hurt - like on Desmond, the poison was Bladeblack.

Meanwhile, the master torturer, who'd ducked out of the room, ducked back in . . . invisible. He began to work his way around Belmek's back, as the torturer in front kept Belmek's attention. But somehow, no matter how he moved, Belmek took steps that just wouldn't expose his back. He fought in a cagey fashion, keeping his front to both of them.

BECAUSE THE MASTER TORTURER WAS ONLY INVISIBLE ON MY END and all the players could see him the whole time. (I only found this out when the master torturer managed to get within a 2-step reach of Belmek's back and used Committed Attack to get there, and before I could reveal him, the players bemoaned that the guy got behind Belmek somehow. I literally was the only person who didn't know he was visible . . . despite using a Potion of Invisibility. See below for more.)

Belmek was stabbed in the vitals from behind and hurt badly. He managed to strike down the torturer in front of him. He turned on the master torturer but was hit with Death Vision. He failed to resist and was stunned, but managed to recover before he could be hit. But he was hit anyway, took a massive brain hit as his left eye was destroyed, and dropped unconscious.

The master torturer moved towards the rest of the fight.

But in the meantime, Durinn tried to help Desmond. But Desmond was knocked out by a heavy stab to the vitals. Sigur managed to get his axe around the garrote wielder's arm and pull him off. That torturer drew his shortsword and stabbed Kel and knocked him out.

Sigur kept after that torturer, but couldn't land a good blow. Durinn cast Awaken several times and was able to wake Desmond up, but the torturer kept stabbing him - he was too clever to leave a knocked out wizard near the cleric who keeps healing said wizard. Desmond went right back out. Sigur fell down trying to take out his foe, who backed away and left his back to Durinn - who kept trying to heal Desmond. Sigur fell down on a critical miss, then rolled over to the torturer and tried take his leg out - and hit! But he rolled minimum damage . . . just short of enough to cripple the leg. Durinn kicked him the groin from behind, wounding him, but short of a major wound and not enough to stun him. It did send him Reeling, and the torturer hobbled off. They let him go.

The one on Desmond dropped him and readied a knife in his off hand. Sigur dropped his axe, and stood up, and readied his long spear and stabbed the torturer. He wounded him badly, in the vitals, but eventually the torturer fell unconscious.

Sigur turned and lengthened his grip on the spear. The master torturer saw this, saw he was now on his own, not rushing to make a two-on-two into a three-on-one. He escaped as well.

One Kel was awakened, he got up and walked around putting 5-6 arrows in the vitals of the fallen. They checked the old man, and found him dead.

They healed up a little, had someone - Durinn I believe - pick up Belmek, and headed out. They ran back to the entrance.


They got lost several times - once on the third level, for a few minutes. After that, on the second level, for maybe 20 minutes or more of real time. Even with a map . . . they just got turned around.

They did finally make it back and out of the dungeon. They healed up the wounded and headed back to town.


- F-ing VTT. I marked the Master Torturer invisible. He showed invisible to me. I marked off his Potion of Invisibility. And he manuevered very carefully to get behind Belmek. And couldn't. BECAUSE HE WAS ONLY INVISIBLE TO ME. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!


I had problems with Fog of War leaving exploration visible behind them - it took some work of turning things off and then on again in a certain order to fix this. I ended up with identical settings to how I started but different results.

I also found that any notes put down are visible even if the area they're written on is not visible. Not good. I deleted those. I need map objects, badly.

- I need to figure out how to paint hexes with terrain. No one - not one player - nor I, to be fair - remembered that ever hex in the room with the demon grunts was bad footing. They just moved around, attacked without a -2, defended without a -1, and so on. I remembered after.

- I'm always amused by the confident pronouncements of the players when they aren't based on reality. "We're so dead." "I already hit that guy before." "THAT guy took 12 corrosion damage." "They can't move that quickly." Etc. I trust my notes - and the VTT - more than "I'm sure I hit that guy." Well, you're sure, but he has full HP. Some other guy they think they didn't hit has more. Or they extrapolate the wrong info. "I did X and he's still up" but did X to hit location with Y DR, not to the one with Z DR, and Y and Z do not equal, so neither do the injuries. I don't provide a lot, to be fair, but I'm glad I'm not using their notes to run my game.

- The annoyance of the Repair spell is that I needed to know the value of most of the broken stuff in case people want to bring it back to town, buy steel/cotton/leather/whatever, and have it cast to fix the broken stuff they found if the cost of doing so is less than the price they could get it to fetch. Ah, brave delvers in mail and plate and wielding magic doing junkyard repairs for low-margin profit. I'd do away with Repair or limit it severely if I could.

- the broken potion? Potion of Giant Strength from DFT3: Artifacts of Felltower. The danger in the place is high, but you're not going to find a dinky minor healing potion or some coppers as loot.

- the found potions were Super Hero's Brew and Eternal Rest. Nothing else was of special value. XP was 4 for loot, 1 for exploration (lots of empty hallways is not 10+ significant areas), and MVP was Sigur for kicking ass the whole session.

- Belmek's lost eye took so much damage he'll need Regeneration. They can do that with a start date of 3/19 even though we won't be able to resolve that for a few days. No, not the in-game date of 3/10 or whenever, time lost due to split sessions is time lost.

- Here is Doug's summary.

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