Sunday, January 26, 2014

Session 3: Fish-men and a Guardian Spirit

Bitter cold and howling winds did not keep us from playing.

The Party:
Batista, human thief, approximately 310 points
Orivileni, who is called Ori, Wood Elf scout, approximately 310 points
Aquinas, Dwarf cleric, approximately 310 points
William Von Cromberg, human knight, approximately 310 points
Drav Emberstrike, dwarf wizard, approximately 310 points
Aelwine, human wizard, approximately 300 points

The session started with the party in town doing research, gathering rumors, and trying to arrange for a wagon team to accompany them to Castle Falconflight.
 Drav spent time at the Academy researching the guardian spirit discovered near the end of the last session. He learned that the Otoroshi would leave the group unmolested, if they had good intentions when they entered the tomb.
The rumor mill was in full swing. The PCs learned that: 1. A dragon lives in the dungeon. 2. A man recently came into town with four gargoyle heads and a large number of gems. 3. A beautiful woman lives in the dungeon. 4. Some of the trees near the castle are sentient and will attack. 5. The dungeon leads to a lost dwarven city.
After several failed attempts to hire a wagon team, the owner of the White Wyvern Inn took pity on the adventurers. Arrangements were made for the party to take one of the Inn's wagons in exchange for a small portion of any loot returned to town.  The group also rigged up a large wooden crate with long wooden handles, a la the Ark of the Covenant, to transport treasure out of the dungeon.

Once again, the group set out in the predawn hours, over the river and through the woods to Castle Falconflight. They arrived at the edge of the clearing. Here the companions decided to head for the front gate instead of the side entrance they had been using. All was quiet as they neared the Castle gate. Batista made the gruesome discovery that the portcullis had crushed a man when it fell from its rails. Judging by the state of decay, the large number of insects feasting on the corpse and the foul smell, Aquinas came to the conclusion that the deceased had probably already had his last rites. Batista then searched the body, discovered a set of Delver's Webbing and 2 or 3 minor healing potions.

Some talk was made of sending Batista up the wall of the Castle to open the gate from the inside. This plan was quickly rejected by Batista. Instead they made their way around the castle to the larger section of broken wall. They had avoided this area previously because of the large number of footprints in and around the gap in the wall.

Batista was first in. The room, part of one of the cornet turrets, was well used as evidenced by many muddy foot prints tracked in and out of the room. On one wall a mustard colored cloak hung on a peg. Batista investigated, disturbing a large colony of yellow mold in the process. Everyone made their resistance rolls, and a pearl was found sewn into the hem of the cloak.

After getting their bearings the adventurers made some assumptions regarding the layout of the castle.Taking the first staircase they came across, they made their way to the roof.

Looking down into the courtyard Ori spied movement in the waist high grass.  Sadly he was unable to spot anything more. In an effort to lure out whatever was in the grass, Aelwine created an illusion of a weak, yet oddly chubby squirrel and set it limping through the grass. Nothing attacked the squirrel so after a minute the spell was dropped. Still concerned, the idea was struck upon to have Drav set the grass ablaze with a fire ball and then control the fire to force the creature to reveal itself. Soon a grass fire raced across the courtyard. Several chickens flapped out of the grass then into one of the arrow slots on the ground floor of the castle wall.

A quick exploration of the roof revealed four balistas, one on each corner turret, in various stages of assembly. Rather than remove the balistas, and put them in the wagon, the party destroyed the disassembled ones and sabotaged the two still in working order.

The sabotage completed, they headed for the dungeon below the castle. Taking a spiral staircase the group clomped and clanged their way down.  Rounding the last turn in the staircase, Batista narrowly avoided a spear thrust from around a corner.  A school of five Kuo-toa waited in ambush for the party. Batista leaped across the hall, back flipped off the far wall, then came down with a slash of his sword, but his opponent dodged.  Aelwine was the next one off the stairs, he immediately set to casting an illusion. Ori cleared the stairs but was unable to attack. The rest of the group stacked up behind Aquinas. Sadly this position  made them unable to navigating the few stairs to join the fight. Each of the fish-men made an attack, but either missed, or the target defended. Batista flipped and twisted his way through the fish-men to get behind them. Aelwine's spell activated which created thousands of illusory cockroaches flowing from his hands towards the fish-men. This was very unsettling for the Kuo-Toa. All failed the resistance roll so believed the illusion to be real.  As did William who had pushed past the dwarves on the spiral stairs. The Kuo-Toa made another set of ineffectual attacks. Batista took a swing at one of the fish-men sadly it was not injured. Aelwine set the mass of cockroaches to attack the Kuo-Toa. This action sent the Kuo-Toa retreating towards the open well behind Batista. A trio of fish men attempted to shoulder block Batista to knock him into the water. However, Batista was a nimble one so stayed on dry ground. The fish-men all made good their escape, but left 4 spears behind.

A bit of investigation allowed the group to complete the map of the dungeon. Once that was completed the group entered a trap door in the false jail cell to the library below. Once everyone descended the ladder they made a bee line for the room which contained the mausoleum. The room was quite large, measuring 30 by 21 feet. In the center stood a small mausoleum. The floor was covered in a random array of red and black tiles. An exception being  a path of black tiles which lead from one of the doors on a far wall to the small building.  The group dropped from a small balcony to the floor below, much as they had before. Aquinas and William elected to stay on the balcony.
Ori, Batista, Aelwine and Drav  all had to make 3 jumps to remain on the black tiles to make their way to the pathway. Drav jumped with all of his dwarven might but failed to clear the distance. He fell into a 10 foot pit, taking minor damage. The others helped Drav out of the pit then headed for the crypt. As they approached a sparkle of light revealed the spirit guardian on the roof once again. Batista,  failed to see the creature thus headed for the door of the crypt. As soon as he touched it, the Orotoshi jumped off the roof, slashed his claws at Batista then landed. Batista failed to dodge so was knocked below 0 HP in one shot. Ori loosed an arrow at the eye of the creature, but missed. Drav set loose a fireball which was easily dodged.  Here my memory begins to fade so my notes are incomplete.  I know that somehow the Otoroshi fell off  the trail and into one of the pit traps. Once he had fallen , Aelwine cast a Phantasm spell  of a large stone block that fell from the ceiling which also trapped the Guardian.  That gave Ori and Aelwine time to tend Batista's wounds and poured healing potions down his throat. Seeing how terribly hurt Batista was, William and Aquinas made their way to the floor of the room. Batista, Ori, Drav and Aelwine entered the tomb. William and Aquinas stood guard outside the open door. Aelwine was out of the fight because he was down to 1 FP. Batista was just barely above 0 HP. Aquinas had cast Armor on William upping his DR. As the Otoroshi leaped from the pit and onto the pathway, both Ori and Drav let loose with missiles from the open door way. One arrow  to the eye and a fireball, both struck home! Each doing a fair amount of damage. From here the fight turned into a slug fest. William and Aquinas  flanked the creature, while Ori and Drav took shots when they could. The creature fought well but the combined attacks were just too much. It managed to stay on its feet until it was all the way down to -5x HP

It didn't take long for the adventures to loot the grave. Hung on a rack near the head of the grave was a suit of scale armor. The armor definitely had some enchantments cast upon it so the group surmised it had been made by a master craftsman. Since Aelwine needed to rest, Drav used the time to cast analyse magic, which revealed  the armor was enchanted with deflect +1. The grave itself held no treasure.

It was late, so the party made their way out of the dungeon.  They arrived back to town with no problems.

Otoroshi (shrine protector)
6.25 Class Divine Being
7 Source GURPS 3rd ed Fantasy Bestiary p 49
Per :



Melee Level Damage
Claw 15 4d-1 cut
Tusk 15 4d-1 imp
Sharp claws, tusks, does not eat, does not sleep, sense “inpiety” or lack of respect for the place it guards, healing (all HP healed after 24 hours)
Brawling 15,
Otoroshi will use stealth and pounce from the roof of the building it protects. Otoroshi will AOA if the opponent is unarmed. Otoroshi will fight to the death. If a Otoroshi is slain, a new one will replace it 24 hours later. There will never be more than one Otoroshi per building, but may be more than one if the location has more than one building.

A pretty fun night of gaming. Both fights went well.
I'm not sure why the group trashed the balistas. They could have added up to a nice chunk of change.
An entire floor of the castle walls remains unexplored.
The party is having a hard time deciding if keeping the armor is better than selling it.
They made a profit, and earned 5 xp for the night.

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Superstition and Dice

Gamers are by nature a superstitious lot. Especially when it comes to dice. Many players have their favorite set of dice. Some have that one special d20 they roll only when it "really matters". They may have dice they only use during random character generation. Other players roll one color of dice for skill tests and a differing color for damage rolls. We have most likely all seen someone change dice after a series of bad rolls. While playing at my FLGS, I once saw a guy go purchase an entire new set of dice after a string of failed rolls. Most of us own more dice than we could ever really need in a game. Some players would rather give up a kidney then let someone borrow their beloved dice. Some groups have a big ol' bucket of communal dice that players dig through to find the one awesome d8 they once got a critical hit with.

My only dice superstition is that for each new game, I get new dice. Weather I am a player or the GM, every time the group starts a new campaign, changes rules systems, or tries a new setting, I buy a new set of dice.

This habit originally started as a way to discourage myself from changing characters too often.  When playing in a long running game I would get an idea for a new character and want to play it. Our group rule at the time was; all new characters start at beginning level.  I was always behind the power curve. To limit my character hopping, I instituted the personal rule; New character, New dice. At the time we were on a pretty tight budget.  The money aspect was a real deterrent to changing characters too often.  The mind game worked, and I learned the joys of playing a more long term character.

Then I started GMing on a regular basis, and my gamer ADD reared its head once again. I would get excited about a new system, or GURPS would release a shiny new source book, and I was off the the races. Often I would spring the new game on the players without warning and with too little prep. THis bad behavior caused many a game to crash and burn. So, I put the rule back in place. New game, New dice. While I can afford new dice more easily now, the effect has been the same. I take more time to plan and prepare for a new game. I give the players more warning when changing things up. In general it just slows the process down, preventing rash decision making.

There is an up side to this little quirk. Each set of dice is like a little souvenir.  I can look at a set of dice and, in most cases, remember what game or character they were attached to.

Although we are a couple of weeks into the new game, I have just now gotten my new dice set. The delay was accidental. I ordered some dice at my FLGS, but due to back orders and then discovering that they were no longer in production, they never arrived. I purchased a set from my next FLGS, and now I feel as if I am finally, completely, really and truly  ready for tonight's session.

my new dice (and my dollar store dice tray)

Saturday, January 11, 2014

Session 2: Attack of the Gargoyles

Session 2:

We had five players in attendance on a very cold and blustery Thursday evening.

Batista, human thief, approximately 300 points
Orivileni, who is called Ori, Wood Elf scout, approximately 300 points
Aquinas, Dwarf cleric, approximately 300 points
William Von Cromberg, human knight, approximately 300 points
Drav Emberstrike, dwarf wizard, approximately 300 points

The session opened with the party at the Inn of the White Wyvern. The group spent some time gathering rumors. William learned of some very dangerous metal skeletons in the dungeon. Aquinas thought this odd, as he figured all metal skeletons would, indeed, be dangerous. Batista discovered that some of the locals believe that the tunnels in the dungeon sometimes rearranged themselves.

William tried to purchase a continual light stone, but was not able to afford it. He settled for a stone with a single casting of the spell, which was considerably cheaper, but only lasted 7 days. The rest of the gang made no purchases as they had not made a profit on the last trip into the dungeon.

Again the group set out in the predawn hours. Traveling over the river and through the woods they made their way to the valley of Castle Falcolnflight.  Upon entering the valley, the group discovered that the portcullis had fallen off of its tracks. The falling  appeared to have crushed someone or something, but they chose not to investigate more closely. The guild also spied a large pile of cut stone blocks near the Castle gate. Ori was sent to scout ahead, but found nothing worth noting in the ruined village. The party then joined him in the burnt out house that served as their rally point. Someone suggested that in the future, equipment could be hidden in the house to save time taking it back and forth to town.

From the ruined house the party scampered across the clearing towards the hole in the Castle wall they had used before.  Before they could make it across, a group of Gargoyles swooped down  from the crenelations atop the walls of the fortress. The Gargoyles made one swooping attack, then landed. There were as many gargoyles as party members. The gargoyles foolishly split up to fight the guild one on one. The first round of combat was pretty even. Batista used acrobatic dodges to keep from being hit. Aquinas blocked with his shield, and William parried with little effort.  The gargoyles were very efficient dodgers in that first round, although Drav was able to tag one with a two dice fireball and Ori hit one with a well placed arrow.
After that it went down hill for the gargoyles.  The stone beasts were able to wound both Ori and Drav, but William was able to kill one gargoyle and several others were wounded.  The gargoyles then fled, flying back up to the top of the wall. When the others asked the cleric to help heal them up, Aquinas replied " There are some clerics who can heal people, I am not one of those types of clerics."

Once inside the relative safety of the wall hallway, the delvers discussed options.  One option was to explore more of the castle. Another option was to head straight down into the lower level of the dungeon. Last session the explorers had discovered a passage in the jail cell.last session.  The majority wanted to go down, so down they went. Down the spiral staircase, through the jail cell entering the first real level of the dungeon

The passage went directly to another trap door. This door opened into a library where a bookcase made up the final few rungs of the ladder. William tied a rope to the last of the iron rungs in the passage, to help with climbing out. They also chose to leave the trap door within the ceiling open. When a quick assessment revealed no traps they exited through the only door out of the library.  The library lead into a scriptorium, which contained several tall desks and stools, some decayed parchment and dried ink jars. Another search exposed a door hidden behind a bookcase. Batista loudly announced that since the door was hidden, clearly there must be more treasure to be found behind it. Following his logic, the explorers headed into a long narrow passage. Soon they came upon a side passage, this one of natural stone rather than carved blocks. Without even so much as a "hey which way?" William led the party down the side passage. The natural cave twisted and turned, but always sloped upwards. At a sharp switchback the party stumbled on four giant cockroaches each at least 4 foot in length. Ori, let loose the arrow he had ready, striking one through the eye. William brandished his continual light stone at the insects. Startled the cockroaches fled up the passage. The adventurers followed right behind without attacking, herding the insects in front of them. Soon the bugs were able to find some smaller passages that would have been a tight fit for the group to follow. The group decided to allow the bugs to go. Moving forward the explorers unearthed a passageway.  It ended up being just to the east of the prison complex, down a hallway they had ignored before.

A bit discouraged, they returned to the scriptorium to exit via the only  door available to them.  They advanced down another hall way  into what appeared to be a receptionist area.  A large desk dominated the center while two rusty braziers sat in opposite corners of the room. One wall was painted with a mural, a sun being eclipsed by the moon.

Further exploring led them to a ransacked barracks.  On the wall hung a large tapestry which featured the eclipse design. The looters pulled the tapestry down, rolled it up for William to toss over his shoulder.  The group also located a small waiting room. The waiting room had two hallways that seemed to match up with the reception area. Batista was encouraged by William to pick one and make sure that it did indeed link up. A few steps into the hall, Batista stepped into something squishy. Shining his torch on it he discovered it to be a Reek. Batista made the roll to resist the daze effect of the reek then easily freed his foot before taking any damage.

The hall did indeed lead back to the reception area. At the urging of the player doing the mapping Batista headed down the second hall expected to link up with the waiting room. About half way through the passage a large gonging started to reverberate over and over again. Drav checked for magic and found the hallway to be enchanted. The group concluded it was an alarm spell so they ignored it until the cacophony stopped a minute later.

Beyond the waiting room the party found a one room apartment. From out of the darkness a pale semi solid figure appeared, pointed at the group then shouted "GET OUT" in a low gravely voice. Rather than leave, the party attacked. Ori sent an arrow towards the eye of the creature. The arrow struck home, paused for a split second, then continued through the target without injuring him.  Batista took off at a run for what appeared at first to be a charge at the creature.  He veered off at the last second, headed for a door on the opposite side of the room. Drav conjured a 2d fireball, unfortunately the attack did no damage. William yelled for Aquinas (the cleric) to turn the Wight. Aquinas instead blocked the Wight's attack on his shield then began concentrating on a spell.  William took a swing at the Wight, but it too was ineffectual. Aquinas completed his Affect Spirit spell on William's sword. The Wight simply touched William on the shoulder which paralyzed him. At this point, the delvers decided that discretion was the better part of valor so made a hasty exit out of the room following Batista. The Wight did not follow. William asked Aquinas why he didn't try to turn the Wight.  Aquinas replied, "There are some clerics who can turn undead, I am not one of those types of clerics."  William, upset and confused as to what the cleric was good for asked "What did you do for the Church?!!!" to which Aquinas replied " I passed the collection plate."

The next room proved to be a large kitchen and dining room. On the shelves were many dishes and pieces of cook wear. A quick tabulation estimated the value of the dishes to be  $300.00. Not wanting to be weighed down, the delvers left  most of the find behind. Aquinas and Ori  convinced William to take at least one cauldron with them.

Just off the kitchen in a hallway, a secret door was found.  Failing to disarm the Frost rune trap, Batista just barely dodged out of the geyser of frost which sprayed from the floor. Behind the door a stone staircase led down into the darkness. The party closed the door. Instead they focused on exploring more of the current level.

Through several twists and turns, with a bit of backtracking the adventurers found themselves back in the scriptorium. From here they returned to the hallway behind the bookcase. They passed the cave leading up to the castle.

The next room was rather strange. A steep, red tiled ramp slopped down the long narrow room. On either side of the ramp were several terraces. Each terrace contained a dining table and chairs. One of the terraces had a door behind the head of its table. Batista started down the ramp, but after only a couple of steps the tiles came loose. An avalanche of red tile and dust.thundered down the ramp.  Batista made a desperate leap for one of the terraces, narrowly making it to safety.
The rest of the group avoided the now bare stone ramp, climbed down the levels to the terrace with the door.
Behind the door was a small balcony. The floor 15 feet below them, the ceiling 15 feet above. In the center of the very large room was a mausoleum made of dark stone. On one wall a staircase led to the floor from a closed door. The floor was a random jumble of large red and black squares.   The exception being  a path of black squares that led from a far door to the grave in the center. Batista and Ori lowered themselves from the balcony to one of the black squares on the floor, and after several close jumps made it to the pathway. Just as they were about to enter the small building, Aquinas saw a small shimmer of light, that revealed what looked like a combination of a small bear and a large cat sitting crouched on the roof.  A successful check against his Hidden Lore skill led Aquinas to believe the creature was some sort of guardian spirit. After hearing this, Ori and Batista made their way back to the balcony, again avoiding any red squares. The party returned to town for a  time of rest and healing.  Aquinas felt more information on the guardian spirit was needed before going any further.


I may have been a bit strong in my encouragement to head down to the deeper levels.

Not taking the dishes, meant the party once again did not make a profit. This is going to make it tough to replace torches, arrows, and healing potions.

Overall a good session. I really need to make sure to take better notes. I got caught up in the exploration and combats so forgot to write anything down. Since it has been a week between playing and writing this post, I may have forgotten some things.

Aquinas really didn't do much in the fight with the gargoyles and I couldn't figure out why. His player is new to GURPS and was reading the character sheet wrong. He thought he only had 5 fatigue points. Once we figured that he really had 16 FP, he was quite a bit more active.

I updated the rumor chart, restocked the areas that have been explored, and in a effort to prevent the PCs from starving to death, upped the amount of treasure a fraction.