Monday, November 13, 2023

DF Session 186, Felltower 125 - Return to Felltower Part II - Gnolls & A Level Too Far?

This is a continuation of the session started on 10/29/2023.

Actual Date: November 11th, 2023
Game Date: October 29th, 2023

Weather: Light rainy, cool.


Chop, human cleric (298 points)
Duncan Tesadic, human wizard (297 points)
Hannari Ironhand, dwarf martial artist (290 points)
Persistance Montgomery, human knight (298 points)
Thor Halfskepna, human knight (297 points)
Urbaine Fabre, half-elf bard (298 points)
Vladimir Luchnick, dwarf martial artist (250 points)

We picked up midfight. The PCs were caught, halfway between falling back to hold the hallway to the stairs and holding the hallway ahead. A dozen gnolls charged in, wielding shields and morninstars.

The gnolls rushed towards the PCs, and the front two were quickly cut down by a combination of an arrow from Vlad and blows from Thor and Persistance - and both rolled 17s on Dodges, putting them down even as they got cut apart. Urbaine followed up with a Panic spell to block the hallway. The gnolls kept rushing in, but more than half of the remainder panicked from the spell and ran off. The remaining four charged in.

They didn't last long; they managed to rush through the wide-open "front line" of the PCs. A rash of critical failures frustrated the PCs here. Persistance swatted a gnoll and then dropped his flail with an 18. He rolled a 17 when attempting to quick-ready it, and knocked it across the floor ahead of him. A gnoll bypassed him and hit him twice on the skull with a morningstar, severely wounding him and knocking him cold.

Thor swung around chopped at the gnolls as another rushed Urbaine and slammed him back, crippling his arm. Hannari engaged that one, and sliced him up a few times. Vlad shot him with an arrow and Urbaine stabbed him, as well, eventually putting him down. Thor broke several gnoll shields and carved up the gnolls carrying them. In short order, the PCs killed the four gnolls, but not without lots of damage. As the last gnoll was going down, Duncan threw a 6d Stone Missile and rolled an 18 and hit Thor from behind, wounding him heavily. The fleeing gnolls got away, although the PCs heard a different voice barking out angrily down the hallway.

They decided to cut their losses and end the fight there. Duncan used Create Earth and Earth to Stone to create a pair of walls to block the hallways. He left a small hole in the one facing the gnolls in case they needed to shoot them.

They finished off the wounded gnolls, looted them of a bunch of coins and their remaining shields and their weapons, and headed back up to level 2.

There, they recovered a little FP with scrolls of Lend Energy and began to explore. They found their map indicated a blockage but there wasn't one, but decided to check some rooms near where their map indicated stirges.

The group found a couple of hallways lined with rooms - more rooms than their map indicated, many of which had notes on them that didn't match the actual contents.

Thor bashed the doors open, and using See Secrets they searched them all. They were mostly empty, but they found:

- a secret compartment, long overlooked, with five potions - Duncan froze his tongue taste-testing one . . . they turned out to be 3 Liquid Ice, 1 Perception, and 1 Fire Fountain. (Someone said, "Saleable loot" but I pointed out they're all $100 base value in town, not list price, per DFRPG Exploits, p. 76)

- an old, water-filled pit. Sending a servant down, and then Vlad when the servant got killed after grabbing . . . something. Seek Earth detected steel . . . and it turned out there were just bones and rusted old spikes. There was a human skeleton, in old bits, and the skeleton of a long-dead razor fish.

- a trapped chest full of rocks. They disarmed the traps and dragged the chest out and bashed it apart only to find the rocks. "Why trap a box full of rocks?" Because you don't trap the chest you actually use, you trap the trap.

- an empty old small wooden chest, which they took as loot despite its poor condition.

- an old child-sized broken cot.

- and a whole lot of nothing.

It was getting late, and they skirted the stirges and headed to check the "Orc Hole."

The group made their way their, bashing down doors and checking places as they went. In one area near the base of the pillboxes, they found a room with 18 2-man bunks. A second door in that room led to a common area . . . full of dead women and kids, all goblins of some kind, long dead and dessicated. A few near the door were clearly cut down with bladed weaponry, but a few just behind the door were not. The corners, especially the far two, were packed with bodies . . . there were a few dozen. They showed signs of having choked to death, with hands over mouths or holding throats, kids under females. The inside of the door was badly scratched, as if if they tried to claw their way out. Gruesome.

They headed from there straight to the orc hole, insisting as they went that it was the main goal, they were just about out of time, and it was important to not get distracted. They immediately turned aside to check out some stairs on their map, from the wholly meta reason that if they went down and explored a bit they'd get +1 XP. So they did that . . . and walked straight into an attempted ambush by a trio of werewolves!

Lucky for them, the sharp-eared Chop and Vlad heard them coming and prevented surprise. Hannari has a silver-coated kama and Vlad some silver-coated arrows, and their fighters do enormous damage, so they managed to wound and chase off one werewolf and put another one down. Naturally, Persistance dropped his flail on a critical failure.

We had to cut the session there, with a total of five werewolves attacking them, because of real world hard stop time constraints.


- So much for not ending the dungeon. It's amusing because had they just left after they found their loot, they'd have sufficient loot to get 4 xp and +2 for two new level touches, for 6 each. Instead they're spending another session in the dungeon.

And so much for the exploration bonus. The PCs have gone to all of the "easy" levels for +1 XP, so that's all done. They don't get exploration XP for mapped areas. Urbaine said they shouldn't have gotten the map, as they'd get exploration XP. Kind of. I'd delete the maps entirely, and let them explore, but not count empty, looted areas as exploration . . . and not allow player knowledge about the levels. So it's not a realistic option, and even more stupidly gamey than "let's do one room on level 3."

- Werewolves are pretty tough, but 4d+10 is also really tough.

- Vlad wanted a gnoll prisoner to take home. The plan was to bring him to town and question him there, after hiring someone to cast Borrow Language. The issues with this were legion. Getting a wounded gnoll home, getting it into town (probably requires a bribe), hiring the someone, questioning the gnoll, and then probably killing the guy all in town. Not impossible, but literally getting away with murder would cost resources. It's only legal to loot Felltower and kill to do it due to a legal loophole. You can't murder folks you found in Felltower in town.

- MVP was Persistance as a consulation prize for a long list of 17s and 18s whenever he tried to do anything.

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