2018-09-25

DF Whiterock Session 21: Clockwork

Date:

2018-09-21

Weather:

Overcast, chilly


Player Characters:

Bojack Axeman (Infinitepudding), Dwarf Martial Artist, 180 points
Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 204 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 249 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 237 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 223 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 259 points

Significant NPCs:

Animated pushcart
Xorn
3 Shocker Lizards


After successfully plundering a small dragon horde, the party spent a week in Cillamar training and shopping.  Zaber looked for some high-quality lockpicks to get a better shot at picking the excellent lock on the Clockwork Academy's front door, but couldn't find any.

Seépravir took the magical jade strings from the dragon hoard, and went looking for an expert who might be able to figure out if they went with a harp.  She found a gnomish luthier named Russet, who thought the strings were kind of thick for a harp, and might go better with a bass lyre.  Russet offered to build a harp for the strings, but Seépravir decided to wait.

Zaber and Garreth spent some time drinking and looking for rumors, and heard more tales of undead gnome wererats in the sewers under Cillmar, and secretive arcanists meeting at Castle Whiterock under the full moon.

Elias visited the templates of Elyr and Justicia, looking for help and quests, and found out that swamp rot was going around and that anyone with Cure Disease could do some good.  So he went looking for a scroll of Cure Disease, but failed to find one.  Then Garreth went looking for a scroll of Cure Disease, and rolled a critical success.  So Garreth gave Elias the scroll and Elias learned Cure Disease and spent some time helping sick townsfolk and refugees.  (How does a half-orc warrior find a cleric scroll that a wealthy cleric can't find?  I'm not sure.  Maybe I need to change the rule to one roll per item, rather than one roll per PC.)

The party gathered at the Inn of the Slumbering Drake in Cillamar.  There was a dwarf there, looking confused because it's more of an elf inn (lute playing, hard carrot juice) than a dwarf inn (drinking songs, bobbing in kegs of ale for more ale).  Immediately recognizing a new PC, Garreth introduced himself to the dwarf, whose name was Bojack, and who had no armor but incredibly thick and tough skin.  He gave Bojack his extra beer (Garreth is a big guy with Resist Poison so tends to order two drinks at a time) and immediately made a friend.  Polly quizzed Bojack to make sure he didn't like orcs, which he didn't, so that was good enough for her.  Ixnay the shoulder dragon saw Garreth giving free beer to the dwarf and decided to get in on that action, then went back to sleep.  Polly enjoyed some hard carrot juice.

Everyone decided they'd had enough town and started heading for the exit, then Garreth remembered they had dragon scales to sell, but Quintus the alchemist wasn't in the room, and at that point the party was hiking, so they decided to deal with dragon scales next week.  They were pushing four wheelbarrows (the thrifty adventurer's wagon) between the six of them.   Bojack critically succeeded on his Hiking roll, showing a real knack for leading the way.

Seépravir had learned some annoying interesting new spells, Seek Magic and Seek Earth and Shape Earth and Seeker and See Secrets.  So suddenly the GM needed to know the nearest spell, magic item, magical being, and every kind of metal and stone.  The first couple of castings were foiled by finding stuff on the party, but then Seépravir remembered to exclude those and it was time for the treasure sonar.  She found some silver and magic in a spider cave that had been cleaned out last week; the PCs had searched a pit, and searched the walls for secret doors, but hadn't done a proper search of the whole room.

They went back down to the cave with the Flowstone Organ, the imprisoned air elemental, and the locked (and hidden behind an illusion, that Katanya had showed them how to bypass last time) door to the Clockwork Academy.  Garreth tried the key that they'd found on the draconic troglodyte priest, and it fit!  He told Bojack to just walk through the wall, as it was an illusion, but the dwarf was skeptical.  He made his Will roll to trust Garreth and just walk smack into the wall, and managed to walk through the illusion.

At that point, an intra-party debate ensued.  About half the group wanted to go forward to the Clockwork Academy, and the other half wanted to go loot the spider cave for leftover treasure first, then visit the Clockwork Academy.  After about five minutes of indecision, I asked the players to just vote so we could move forward.  It was 4-2 to get the treasure first, so they went to the spider cave.  

Now, knowing there was leftover treasure there, they headed back and started looking for treasure, but nothing was obvious.  So Seépravir cast Seek Magic again to home right in on the right part of the room, against the wall behind some webs.  Seépravir was adamant that nobody burn any webs because they might be valuable, so some labor-intensive minimally-destructive web clearing was needed.  Garreth rolled a critical success (the third one of the session already, all on little minor things) and figured out that a little bit of spit in the right place could disentangle webs from walls.  So he made a nice pile of spider silk in the corner, while others looted.  Zaber found a short sword (which Seépravir thought was fine quality), a pouch with a few coins, and a copper scroll case.  The scroll case contained a magic scroll, which Seépravir rudely grabbed from Zaber, and which ended up being a scroll of Shape Earth, which Seépravir had just learned.  Zaber did a bit more searching in the other corner, and found a silver necklace, with a black spider on it.  It looked like creepy Drow jewelry, but it also looked valuable, so they took it.

At that point Polly announced that it had been enough time playing with webs and treasure without killing any bad guys, so everyone headed back toward the Clockwork Academy.  Behind the door was a straight passage, only 5 feet high (so everyone but Bojack and Polly had to duck), with some writing in Gnome on the walls, and also some happy pastoral art with squirrels.  Rather than being pitch black like most dungeon passages, this one was dimly lit by occasional permanent Continual Light spells, so that the people with Night Vision could function fine, and those without it could at least see a bit.

Nobody read Gnome, so Elias cast Gift of Letters on himself.  He was at -5 for maintaining Bless spells on everyone else in the party (including Bojack who got Blessed about 5 minutes after he showed up), so it took him a bunch of tries, then some rest, then some more tries, but he eventually cast it.  And found out that the signs said "Right: Dormitory" and "Left: Assembly Hall."  The group picked left.

The passage went left for a while, then there were some stairs down into a room.  I said "stop" because I wanted to read the room description, but before I could finish reading the room description, half the party went running in, while the other half stayed put and waited for more information like good adventurers.  Oops.

The room was a workshop, full of bits of metal and tools and with a crane on one side.  The ones who charged forward got ambushed from behind by an animated pushcart.  It slammed into Elias from behind, with total surprise, hard enough to knock him prone and leave a mark.  Then it went after Zaber, and hit him, but not hard enough to knock him down.  By that time the PCs had recovered from surprise and were turning to face the pushcart and fight it.  But Polly didn't have to run up, just shoot it with her overstrength bow, and she did, and the pushcart stopped moving and became a regular pushcart with a broken wheel.  (Animated pushcarts have a pretty good failure mode, like escalators.)

Zaber jumped on the cart because he could, and the rest of the PCs ambled into the room, and Elias used some Major Healing scrolls to fix his back where the cart had run him over, and Polly recovered one of her arrows.  And then something tried to Death From Above Garreth.  He made his hearing roll, and wasn't surprised, but the dropping monster rolled a critical hit.  Of course he used Luck, which turned the crit into a regular hit, and then he dodged it.  And found he was standing toe-to-toe with a trilaterally symmetrical rock creature with 3 arms and a huge centrally-located mouth.  Nobody knew what it was, except that I had labelled the token "Xorn" in Roll20, so I guess everyone kinda knew what it was.

Garreth fast-drew his katana and chopped at the xorn twice, but it dodged.  Bojack used Uninterrupted Flurry, a chi power that would let him move at double speed for a few seconds, after wasting a second to start it up.  Seépravir started casting Death Vision.  Polly fired arrows, but it dodged them.  Zaber fast-drew his knife.

The xorn tried to bite Garreth, but he parried.  This time he went with a single Deceptive Attack to greatly reduce the xorn's defenses, and it worked, with the penetrating katana taking out a big hunk of rock.  Elias ran up.  Bojack readied his pick, then went for an All-Out Attack (Double) to smash the xorn, but he didn't do enough damage to penetrate its thick rocky hide.  Seépravir finished casting her Death Vision, and the xorn was stunned, No Saving Throw.  (That's a joke because this is a converted D&D adventure; of course the proper GURPS / DFRPG terminology is No Resistance Roll.)  

Polly fired a couple of arrows into the stunned xorn, and it failed its consciousness check.  Which didn't stop Garreth from chopping it up a bit more just to be sure.  Elias healed Zaber.  Polly recovered arrows then rested (firing that huge bow is tiring), then went to check out the beam with the crane on it.  The crane had a crank, but it was rusted stuck.  Zaber climbed up to check it out, rather than using the nearby stairs like a normal person.  Garreth ambled over to exert strength on it, but it still just made a lot of noise and didn't move.  Seépravir then tried a Grease spell, which unstuck things, but it still didn't do anything useful, as something had been broken.

Zaber started scrounging around the room for useful stuff, and found a few pieces of interesting-looking metal without too many Xorn bite marks.  Seépravir found a glass panel under the crane, with some Gnomish writing near it and a magical scarab behind it.  Elias cast Gift of Letters again, and the writing said "In emergency, break glass."  Seépravir decided to cast Analyze Magic on the scarab, a multi-hour process.

While she was doing that, Polly got bored and decided to do some exploring.  She found a rubble-filled passage to the east.  After a few minutes of clearing rubble, it led to a room, with a small hatch, leading to a very narrow vertical passage down.  Polly couldn't help herself, and atttempted to squeeze in.  She made an amazing roll on her default Escape check, and squeezed in, as the other players cringed.  Polly went 20 feet down a chimney, and found an iron door.  She opened the door, and saw 3 small blue lizards, which charged her.  Polly fired a couple of arrows at a lizard, which dodged them.  Then two lizards run up next to Polly and attacker her with lightning!  One hit, but she resisted with DX for half-damage, which caused some mild complaints as that wasn't a very GURPSy mechanic.  The other missed, and the third one closed up.

Outnumbered 3 to 1 by lizards that could shock her, Polly did the sensible thing and slammed the door.  Unfortunately, lightning attacks go through metal doors, and a big electrical zap came through.  Polly made her DX roll for half damage, but half damage was 15 hit points, enough to put Polly in deep trouble.  At that point, her trusty Bless spell decided that, nope, she wasn't hit by that lightning after all, and fizzled out.  And Polly started climbing up the shaft as fast as she could.

Eventually, Seépravir's Analyze Magic finished and determined that the scarab had Detect Golems, and more powers still to be detected.  Garreth decided that was good enough, smashed the glass, and took the scarab.  It didn't zap him or anything, so he passed it to Seépravir.

There were two more small hatches in the workroom, and Zaber checked them for traps, but they were full of rubble.  Zaber tried to squeeze in, but failed.  Seépravir tried detecting golems with teh scarab, but didn't find any.  We were just about out of time, so the group decided to go back to town.

GM's Comments:

I was surprised the group missed the spider's treasure last session, because they're usually pretty good at remembering to search everything.  But Seek Magic and Seek Earth (for silver) both led to that room, so they only postponed finding the treasure for a week.  Long-distance divination spells are annoying for the GM, because it's that much more information that he has to have ready.  But I'll figure something out.

The animated pushcart was pretty good at slamming, but not so good at taking damage.  The Xorn was pretty buff, but not quite up to being chopping by Garreth and shot by Polly while being stunned by Seépravir, who now has at least 3 different ways to stun you.

Impulsiveness almost killed the elf.  The skinny little chimney meant that nobody could help Polly, and the three lightning lizards almost shocked her to death.  But Bless is the most broken spell in GURPS, and it saved her long enough to run away.  Those might be the first enemies in Castle Whiterock that the PCs have fled from.  (Granted, it was only one PC.)

Elias once again saved someone's life with Bless and multiplied the value of all the treasure found by 2.5 with Very Wealthy.  And he can cast healing spells, though not particular well because of the -5 from keeping 5 Bless spells up.  I think basically every adventuring party on the planet would try to recruit Elias.

Bojack's an interesting character, but we didn't get to see him do much yet.  His pick didn't penetrate the Xorn, and then it was unconscious before he got a second try.  Stay tuned to see his varied talents.

Next week, I suspect the PCs will be back for another shot at the Clockwork Academy.  Do they go down the skinny shaft after the shock lizards, or do they turn straight or right instead of left?  We'll find out next time.

2018-09-16

DF Whiterock Session 20: Red Dragon

Date:

2018-09-14


Weather:

Hot, Mostly Cloudy


Player Characters:

Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 199 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 244 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 232 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 218 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 254 points


Significant NPCs:

Hugin, Human mercenary
Katanya Glimer, Gnome sorceress
Colossal spider
Skeletal Wyrmling
Red dragon
Cave Moray (a.k.a. Ceiling Snake)


We started in the dungeon, in combat time.  In the previous session, Elias had found a secret door, and Elias and Ibizaber had started exploring and found some huge webs behind it.  But we didn't have time to fight a huge spider, so we paused there.

Now, Elias tried burning the webs with his flail with Flaming Weapon cast on it, while Ibizaber backed away from the smelly smoldering webs, and Polly acrobatically jumped off the dragon statue she had been climbing on to come join the party.  Ibizaber spotted a trap door under some of the webs.  (It wasn't easy to spot through all the webs and smoke, but he had crazy-high magically enhanced Perception, and I rolled a 3.)  Everyone clumped up and waited for the webs to burn.

Eventually, the colossal (SM +2) spider that was waiting above the pit decided that nobody was going to fall in it, and got impatient and decided to hop down and bite Seépravir.  Garreth had taken a Wait maneuver, so he got to attack its front legs as they came into range, and he lopped off both of them.  Fortunately for the spider, it still had 6 legs left, so it got to keep moving, and tried to bite Seépravir, and rolled a critical hit.  Unfortunately for the spider, Seépravir used her Luck to negate the crit, and the spider rolled a 16 on one of the forced rerolls, a whiff.  Polly then fired a couple of bodkin arrows into her best guess at the spider's skull area, and guessed right, and killed the spider.

After waiting for more spiders, which didn't appear, Ibizaber dissected the spider's poison sac and collected some poison.  Then Garreth chopped up the spider corpse into manageable bits and moved them away from the pit, so that Zaber and Polly could search inside.  They didn't find anything good in there.  Then Zaber and Polly went around the room searching for secret doors, and didn't find any of those either.  Polly got herself stuck in a web once, but was able to wiggle out.

Eventually the PCs decided there were no secret doors, and Seépravir recast Invisibility and Mage-Stealth on Zaber and then they all returned to the giant room where they had killed the dragon/trog cleric.  Zaber started methodically searching all the walls for secret doors, and found one.

But while that was happening, somehow Elias got lost and wandered outside the room, and ran into a wandering monster.  It was a human-sized skeleton of a dragon, and it tried to kill him, while he tried to kill it.  The other PCs heard the commotion and tried to come to Elias's aid, but he was several seconds of running to the west, and by the time they got there, Elias had destroyed the skeleton, with two solid hits.  (Its bones appeared rather brittle and vulnerable to crushing damage, and he had a flail.)  The party started trying to loot broken draconic skeleton bones, but they seemed pretty crushed and worthless.

Zaber encouraged everyone to stop smashing stupid bones and come with him to the secret door, and they eventually did.  On the other side of the secret door was a narrow, hot, humid passage, which opened into a huge cave.  The cave contained a big pile of hot rocks, and big broken cage, and a red dragon.  (Invisible) Zaber and Polly and Elias were all next to each other, and the dragon ran up and breathed a cone of fire at Polly that happened to also threaten the other two.  Fortunately for them, the dragon missed, and the cone went in a direction where no PCs were standing.

Polly responded by firing a couple of bodkin arrows at the dragon's skull, and it only dodged one of them.  Invisible Zaber started moving into an ambush position, the others moved up, and the dragon breathed fire again, this time in the direction of Elias and Zaber.  Both managed to jump out of the way.

Polly kept shooting bodkins at the dragon's skull, but this time one missed and the dragon dodged the other.  Garreth charged forward and tried taunting the dragon, but this had no effect even though he rolled a 4!  Elias took a swing at the dragon's snout (all that was within reach), but the dragon retreated and dodged.  Seépravir started casting Death Vision, which takes 2 turns to cast.

The dragon breathed a third cone of fire, this time at Polly, Garreth, and Seépravir.  All three dodged, and Seépravir even managed not to mess up her concentration on the spell in progress.  Polly fired two more bodkins, and this time the dragon decided to Drop and Dodge.  It dodged one, but the second slammed into its skull.  Garreth ran up and Rapid Struck the dragon twice, and it failed to dodge either, and the dragon was very badly wounded, but still alive.

Seépravir stopped maintaining a bunch of spells (Dark Vision, Keen Vision, Mage Stealth, Invisibility) to reduce her penalty, then cast Death Vision on the dragon, mentally stunning it with no resistance roll.  (She initially rolled an 18 which would have been a nasty critical failure, but her Luck had recharged, so it worked.)  The dragon's turn came immediately after, and it recovered from mental stun, but that cost it its turn, so it didn't get to breathe fire or try to escape.

Polly put two more bodkins into the dragon's skull, resulting in another death check, which the (very resilient) dragon passed.  Garreth smashed his katana into the dragon's skull twice more, resulting in another passed death check.  Finally, Zaber ran up and All-Out attacked the dragon's eye.  This hit, resulting in a brain shot, and enough damage to bring the dragon past -5 * HT, where it didn't get to roll any more death checks.  (This particular dragon didn't have a Nictitating Membrane over its eyes, though some do.)

There was a pile of coins inside the broken cage, so Zaber went over to investigate.  In addition to the coins, he found some jade strings, a long knife, a silver scroll case, and some gems.  Garreth and Seépravir also searched the pile, and found a couple more gems.  The scroll cast contained a scroll written in Dwarf.  Zaber reads Dwarf (not very well), and figured out it was 3 wizard spells.  The jade strings were magical and Seépravir suspected they were part of the harp they needed to help free the air elemental.  Zaber and Garreth checked out the knife, and decided it was fine and balanced, a pretty nice weapon.

The hot rocks contained a bunch of eggs.  Seépravir took a close look and decided they were probably troglodytes.  With the obvious treasure found, the group decided it was time to harvest dragon bits.  Polly used Garreth's penetrating Katana to remove as much dragon hide as she thought they could fit in their wheelbarrows, and Seépravir extracted a gland from the dragon's throat that she thought might have something to do with fire breath.

They searched the dragon's room for secret doors, didn't find any, and considered heading home.  But they had some time left, and decided to instead explore more of the maze of tunnels where Polly had earlier been attacked by a "ceiling snake" that came out of a hole in the wall.  Invisible Zaber took the lead, with Polly right behind him, and once again a cave moray surprised Polly and bit her from behind.  It was a pretty solid bite, enough that she needed to make consciousness checks.  After some discussion on whether Bless would prevent that attack (it didn't because Polly didn't get a defense roll because it was a surprise back attack), everyone started recovering from surprise.

Zaber moved closer, then the Cave Moray attacked him, despite his Invisibility, but he critically succeeded on his dodge and it lost its balance.  Polly stayed conscious, then drilled the moray with impaling arrows twice at close range.  It tried retreating into its hole, then lost consciousness from the arrow wounds, and Garreth stepped up to cut it into pieces, then pulled the pieces out of the hole and looked for treasure.  Unfortunately there wasn't any.

Elias cast Stop Bleeding on Polly, and rolled a rolled a 3, a critical success.  I ruled that it healed 4 HP instead of the usual 1-3.  That was enough to get Polly out of the passing out range, and also out of the reduced Move range.  Everyone then packed up the loot, fetched Hugin and Katanya and their wheelbarrow, and headed home.

GM's Comments:

The spider's ambush was foiled by Zaber rolling a crit on the Perception roll I gave him to detect the pit.  The spider then got mad that Elias was burning its webs, and tried to pounce on Seépravir.  It probably would have been better tactics to Web some people first.  But one spider, even a really big one, was no match for this party.

Elias getting lost and having to fight the skeletal wyrmling solo was mostly a Roll20 fail.  Our group has a hard time keeping their tokens together.  I've decided that if they give a strict instruction like "ignore where I move my token; I'm always next to Garreth" then that works.  (Unless they put their token somewhere unexplored and reveal something new, in which case they're there.)  Otherwise, if you move your token randomly down the hall, your character is wandering randomly down the hall.  This was the first wandering monster I'd rolled in a long time.  (I roll pretty often, but the likelihood per short time period is usually pretty low, and I always fail to roll low.)

The dragon was supposed to be tough, but the combination of good dodges and attacks to the skull and eyes took it out.  I deliberately had it fight from the ground instead of the air because it was a small dragon who'd lived in a cage most of its life and had never had to fight anything tough before.  If it had stayed out of melee range and concentrated its fire on Polly, it might have done better.  Amusingly, Polly and Garreth beat it to within a few HP of automatic death, then Zaber stabbed it in the eye to get the glory.  (If it had had Nictitating Membrane it might have survived that eye stab and lived a fraction of a turn longer, but one more arrow or katana slash would have finished it anyway.)

The "ceiling snake" that was probably the wimpiest monster they fought all session did the most damage, thanks to ambush.

Next week: a new player joins the party.  We'll see if they manage to break into the Clockwork Academy, or get stuck fighting more Ceiling Snakes.

2018-09-11

DF Whiterock Session 19: Invisible Flying Alpha Strike

Date:

2018-09-07

Weather:

Warm, Overcast

Player Characters:

Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 194 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 239 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 227 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 215 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 249 points

Significant NPCs:

Cookie, Ogre Bouncer
Lord Granger Flitwich, Human Noble
Katanya Glimer, Gnome Sorceress
Hugin, Human Guard
Aeraelith, Air Elemental
Draconic Troglodyte Priest
7 Troglodyte Zombies


As usual, Elias visited the temple of Justicia, and as usual they had no holy warriors for him.  They were all off smiting evil in the Warlands.  He informed the priest that he had gone ahead and exorcised their temple for them, which made them happy.  He tried to hire Cookie the ogre to carry large objects, but Cookie was too busy working in the Inn of the Slumbering Drake as a bouncer.

The party (minus Polly who was off in the woods) thought they needed a gnome to help them open the door to the Clockwork Academy, so they went to visit Katanya, who they had rescued from orcs.  She was still a bit unnerved by her experienced, but agreed to go along and be gnomish.  They also hired Hugin, a caravan guard who they'd also rescued from orcs, to guard her.  Hugin had some bad news: their mutual friend Bernard had been killed defending a caravan from bandits.

Ibizaber, still annoyed at Lord Flitwick, got Seépravir to cast Invisibility and Mage-Stealth and then went to case his house.  Nobody was home, so he broke in and searched for anything of interest.  He found a lot of nice clothes and some art (including a statue of a little boy that was a bit too realistic for comfort) and some documents indicating that he was off visiting his tailor in the capital Galeron, but nothing very interesting.

Seépravir did some research on the town of Mystenmere and found that it was to the north, near the Anseur Forest, and that elves and wizards lived there.

Eventually the group got bored snooping around town and decided to hike to the dungeon.  They had Hugin push the wheelbarrow, since they were paying him.  Seépravir cast Dark Vision on all the PCs, Lighten Burden on Elias, and Invisibility/Mage-Stealth/Alertness/Keen Vision/Keen Hearing on Ibizaber.  They went down three levels, to the room with the flowstone organ, imprisoned air elemental, and possible secret entrance to the Clockwork Academy.  Aeraelith wanted to talk, so Elias cast Gift of Tongues and told him that they hadn't found the other two musical instruments needed to rescue him yet.

Katanya checked out the door that the party hadn't been able to open.  It turned out that there was an illusionary wall that she was able to walk through, and beyond that was an iron door with a very high-quality lock, an icon involving gears, and some signs in Gnome.  One sign said "Forward progress one gear at a time" and the other said "Advanced Studies Wing."  Katanya tried to pick the lock, but failed.  Ibizaber then tried, and also failed.  The group then pulled out their collection of keys and tried all of them, which also failed.  Katanya indicated there was some kind of enchantment on the door and walls, probably to stop annoying earth mages from just tunneling through.  And Seépravir tried casting a spell on the lock, which failed, indicating it was probably made of meteoric iron.  With no way through, Katanya's work was done.  Ibizaber considered finding some better lockpicks, and Elias figured they needed to find the key.

With the door checked out, the next task was exploring more of the level.  So Seépravir made Elias Invisible to make his Flaming Weapon spell invisible, and the four PCs (Polly still hadn't caught up) went exploring for new troglodytes to kill.  They went through the big room with the noncombatant troglodytes, who ran when they saw Garreth.  Then Ibizaber continued down an unexplored passage to the west, which led to a huge room.  The room contained a ledge around the outside, a depression in the middle, a large statue of a dragon on the far side, a pit in front of the statue, and a pillar in the center of the room.  On the pillar was some kind of odd draconic troglodyte priest leading some kind of religious ceremony, and on the floor were a bunch of zombie troglodytes dancing.  The two invisible PCs watched for a while, undetected, then went back to get their friends.

Seépravir made herself and Garreth Invisible as well, and then they snuck along the ledges to the outside of the room, in ambush position.  The plan was that Seépravir would Levitate Garreth over to the pillar where the priest was, while Elias shot the priest in the head with his crossbow.

The plan worked pretty well.  Elias used Divine Grace to raise his dexterity, then used Luck when he didn't like his roll, then shot the priest in the skull with his crossbow (he would have gone for the eye but the priest was facing the wrong way) and injured him badly.  Then Garreth floated over and did some katana rapid strikes while invisible, and the priest went down without a fight.  Operation invisible flying alpha strike was a success.  Meanwhile Ibizaber got into position to backstab any zombies that ran up to attack Elias. 

Right about then Polly showed up in the dungeon, a bit outside the room where the fight had just started, and ran at top speed to try to get to the fight before it was over.

The seven troglodyte zombies did their best to avenge their leader, but it wasn't much of a fight.  Polly shot a couple with her bow, Seépravir Levitated Garreth back over from the pillar so he could cut them up, and Elias started bashing them with his flail.  The zombies didn't have any weapons besides their claws.  One of them landed a hit on Elias (critical hit, and he had already used his Luck in the last hour), but he was armored enough that it didn't hurt much.  Seépravir cast Grease under the last four zombies to penalize their defenses and movement, and there was some slipping and sliding and (re-)dying, and then there were no zombies left.

Zaber went over to the statue to check it out.  It had 7 teeth made of some kind of black gem, which he took.  The deep pit in front of the statue looked worth investigating, so he climbed down and started searching through all the remains of various sacrifice victims, finding two large red gems that had been the statue's eyes.  Then he climbed back up and tried putting the eyes back to make something happen, but nothing happened, so he re-burglarized the gems.

Seépravir Levitated herself over to the dead priest's pillar to loot his body.  He had a pretty valuable-looking holy symbol of some dragon god, an enchanted spear-thrower, a potion, and a mace.  She then kicked his body off the pillar, which was harder than expected because the dragon-trog-priest was a really big guy, and Seépravir is a rather small elf, but she made her Strength roll and knocked him down.  Splat!  That was a good move because it made it easy for Garreth to also search the priest, and he found a key that Seépravir had somehow missed.

With all the obvious loot looted, Elias started wandering around the room, and found a secret door.  He and Ibizaber wandered in, and found some webs.  He reached out with his Flaming Flail to burn the webs, and a huge spider rolled for surprise, and that's where the session ended.  (We only had about 25 minutes left, and I didn't think there was any way to finish another fight in that time, so I just stopped the session there so we could resume next week.)

Just how big is the spider?  How much trouble are Ibizaber and Elias in for wandering away from the others?  Tune in next week to find out.


GM's Comments:

The plan to get Katanya to help with the Clockwork Academy door was a pretty good one, as she's pretty talented and can also read Gnome.  But neither she nor Ibizaber could pick the super-fancy lock.  I told the players that it was a one-try-per-picker lock, unless you come back with higher skill or better lockpicks.  So we'll see if they can pick it next time, or if they need to find the key.

Good magically-aided stealth plus good tactics plus a priest too busy with his ceremony to watch his back made the battle against the dragon-troglodyte priest a total joke.  Surprise in GURPS is nasty, and the combination of Elias's over-strength crossbow and Garreth's rapid strikes to the skull did brutal amounts of damage.  In hindsight I probably should have given that priest some unfair advantages like a Bless spell of his own to give him a fighting chance to survive long enough to fight back.

The secret door leading to the spider was a little to easy for the players to find, because I forgot to put a visibility blocking line in Roll20's dynamic lighting layer.  Doesn't matter though, because Elias rolled a critical success on his Perception roll and would have found it the "right" way anyway.

2018-09-03

DF Whiterock Session 18: The Net

Date:

2018-08-31

Weather:

Warm, Overcast

Player Characters:

Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 189 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 234 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 222 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 210 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 244 points

Significant NPCs:

10 Troglodyte warriors
One Troglodyte leader
Some kind of cave eel


The group spent a week in town, resting and training and looking for information and equipment.  Garreth found a very fine knife for Ibizaber.  Seépravir went looking for more dirt on Lord Granger Flitwick, and found that his uncle had fathered a child with an unidentified elf from Mystenmere.  Ibizaber heard a rumor about goblins on the move, trespassing on a farmer's property.  Garreth heard that giving Ixnay the shoulder dragon your first drink of the night was good luck.  Elias once again tried to find clerics interesting in exorcising the tainted altar to Justicia, and once again failed.

They met up at the Inn of the Slumbering Drake to compare notes, then decided to hike to Castle Whiterock to try to exorcise that altar themselves, then explore more of the troglodyte level.

Seépravir decided to only cast Dark Vision on herself and Ibizaber and Polly this time, making Garreth and Elias rely on Continual Light.   Zaber also got Alertness, Keen Vision, Keen Hearing, Invisibility, and Mage Stealth.  He scouted the path to the altar, and found no enemies.

Elias used his newly learned Exorcism on the altar to Justicia, using his high holy symbol and a couple of vials of holy water to try to improve the odds.   It appeared to work.  He thought he saw a glow and heard a voice asking him to smite orcs and demons, but wasn't sure.

The group then headed downstairs to the room with the flowstone organ, where Elias cast Gift of Tongues to be able to communicate with whatever was trapped inside the organ.  It turned out to be some kind of air elemental named Aeraelith, who had been imprisoned there by an elf named Lyria, and wanted out.  To break the spell required finding some music inside the organ's bench, then having three musicians play it correctly on the three jade Sorrowsong Instruments: a flute, a drum, and a harp.  Elias asked about the door to the east, and the creature said he thought it was the entrance to the Clockwork Academy, and a lot of gnomes used to go that way, but not in many many years.

With this hint, the group started trying to open the bench.  Ibizaber found a secret compartment, but couldn't figure out how to open it.  Seépravir tried Apportation, which failed.  Zaber eventually found a tiny hair inside the crack of the compartment, and managed to wedge his knife in there and open it.  Inside were three stone tablets, with some inlaid jade musical notes in Elvish notation.  Seépravir tried playing one of the songs on the jade flute, but it had no effect.

After some Lend Energy and some resting, Ibizaber started scouting ahead again.  Polly followed him, despite not being invisible or silent.  When Polly entered the big troglodyte cave, some noncombatant troglodytes saw her and ran away.  Zaber took the passage to the south, then the west, and found a room containing a troglodyte, a pile of mushrooms, and a bunch of spells.  He decided to go back for the others rather than start a fight.

Meanwhile, Garreth tried to bash down the door to the Clockwork Academy, using Elias's flail, but it had no effect.  The door wasn't budging and he didn't appear to do any damage to it.  Seépravir said there was some magic on the door.  They decided to try again some other time, maybe with a gnome.

Polly went wandering off to the south, through some twisty little passages, and got ambushed by some kind of large cave eel, sticking its head out of a hole in the rock.  She acrobatically dodged, and then filled it with a couple of arrows.  It retreated back into a hole in the rock, where they couldn't get it.  At that point Zaber and Polly went back to rejoin the group.

The group snuck over to the lone troglodyte that Zaber had found.  They tried to ambush him, but failed.  He had leather armor and a big club and a javelin and a bad smell.  Polly shot him with an arrow, and he threw his javelin at Polly but she dodged it (needing Luck).  Polly shot him several more times and he fell over, and then Garreth stabbed him in the eye.  The club had shiny purple studs on it, which looked valuable.  The skulls and mushrooms turned out to not be very interesting, but Zaber found a secret compartment, containing a spellbook and a (magical) Elven mail shirt and a fine bastard sword.  And the troglodyte's (very stinky) leather armor was also magical.  Quite a haul for a troglodyte.

After some rest, the group continued to the south, with still-Invisible Ibizaber a bit ahead.  And then a giant net, that he'd somehow missed, fell on their heads.  Ibizaber in front and Seépravir in back were at the edges of the net and both managed to dodge out of the way, but the other three were trapped.  And then ten troglodytes with clubs and javelins attacked from ambush.

Zaber started trying to find a good ambush position.  Garreth pulled out a knife and started sawing at the net.   Polly pulled out a cutting arrow and started sawing, but it didn't work very well.  Seépravir was nauseated by the troglodytes' stench, but still managed to throw up a Smoke spell to block the troglodytes' line of sight while her allies tried to get out of the net.  Elias used his Divine Grace to improve his dexterity before trying to wiggle out of the net.

Polly figured out that wiggling out of the net was more effective for her than cutting it.  Elias, who didn't carry a sharp weapon, did that too.  Garreth, after cutting up the net for a while, eventually decided to stop doing that and just wiggle out.  It took a few seconds, but eventually all of them were free, and Polly started moving around the smoke to try to shoot some troglodytes.

Then Seépravir dropped the Smoke, intending to cast another Smoke in a better place.  But all the troglodytes were waiting for any sign of a visible enemy, and ten javelins flew.  Fortunately for the PCs, there's a penalty for Opportunity Fire, and the troglodytes were not great marks, er, beings, so they all missed.  (One rolled a critical hit on Polly, but she spoiled it with Luck.)  Seépravir needed Luck as well go get her new Smoke where she wanted it, blocking line of sight to the troglodytes to the west while allowing seeing the ones to the south.

Polly tried shooting a troglodyte, which dodged, but then the arrow hit and killed the one behind him.  Garreth ran up and killed one with his katana.  Elias ran through the smoke to attack one-on-four against the western troglodytes, and shield rushed one to the ground.  The other three ganged up on him for a second, but he blocked and parried and dodged and then flailed them in the skull.  Meanwhile, Polly and Garreth started rapidly killing the others.  Without the net, ten troglodytes versus five PCs turned out to be not enough troglodytes.

We were out of time, so the group looted the troglodyte bodies and headed back to town.

GM's Comments:

Boss monsters should stay close to their troops.  The boss troglodyte enjoyed his private cave with his mushroom bed and skull decor a bit too much, and so had to fight separately from his minions, which got him killed.  If those two battles could have been combined, it would have been a bit harder for the PCs.

Smoke was a very effective fight-slower to give 3 PCs time to get out of the net.

Gift of Tongues is a really great spell, when you need to speak to someone who only speaks some silly language that no PC would ever take.  Now the PCs think they need to find two more jade instruments to free Aeraelith, and they think they need a gnome to open the door to the Clockwork Academy.

2018-08-25

DF Whiterock Session 17: Piercers and Trogs

Date:

2018-08-24


Weather:

Warm,  cloudy


Player Characters:

Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 184 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 229 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 217 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 205 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 239 points


Significant NPCs:
Lord Granger Flitwick, noble and artist
Lady Chauntessa, inn owner
20 Piercers
9 Troglodyte Warriors and assorted Troglodyte non-combatants


The party met at the Inn of the Slumbering Drake.  Elias had visited the temples of Elyr and Justicia, but again failed to find an exorcist willing to travel to Castle Whiterock.  Ibizaber and Garreth had been around town, looking for information and beer, but hadn't found much information.

Garreth was able to commission a penetrating katana at Bao's Blades.  Elias tried to purchase some heavy dwarven plate armor from Alrux at the Sign of the Silver Armiger, but did not like the asking price.

Lord Granger Flitwick offered to sell copies of his drawings from inside Castle Whiterock to Lady Chauntessa, which rubbed the party the wrong way, since they thought they had exclusive rights, even though Flitwick had explicitly refused to sell those.  Some threats were exchanged and Ibizaber stalked Flitwick to find out where he lived, but Elias eventually talked the others down.  Seépravir did some research on Flitwick and his family at the Hall of Worms, looking for dirt.

Polly, bored of all this town nonsense, talked the others into going back to Castle Whiterock to kill more bad guys.  It took them a long time to hike there, because they were pushing a heavy wheelbarrow, but the weather was good, and nothing accosted them on the way.

Elias cast another Bless on Ibizaber, since the previous one had been used up saving him from a crossbow bolt.  Seépravir cast Dark Vision on everyone, Keen Vision on Ibizaber, and Lighten Burden on Elias, and they went down two flights of stairs to the level where they had fought the orc zombies.  They opened the secret door leading to more stairs down, Seépravir cast Invisibility and Mage Stealth on Ibizaber, and they went downstairs with Zaber scouting ahead.

The stairs opened into a large cave, with stalactites on the ceiling and a few small piles of faintly glowing rocks arranged in kind of a double-square pattern.  Invisible Zaber went forward to check out the rocks, and saw that they were covered with some kind of plant life or fungus that emitted light.  Polly though the pattern of rocks was interesting, and asked Zaber to stand in one place while she stood in another to complete all the corners of a double square, but nothing happened.  Then Seépravir wandered across the middle of the room, and a piercer dropped on her from above with total surprise, wounding her pretty badly but not enough to be life-threatening.  Garreth ran over to help, and Elias lifted his shield over his head in case there were more.

While Polly filled the first piercer with arrows, keen-eyed Ibizaber scanned the ceiling for more, and found a bunch, which he then called out to the others.  (He couldn't point effectively because he was invisible, but he yelled out general locations.)  A battle then ensued, where Ibizaber found piercers, Polly rapidly murdered piercers at range with her bow, while Garreth stood wherever he thought piercers were going to drop, waited for them, and then killed them with his katana in flight.  One almost got Elias, but he had his shield up and it bounced off.  Eventually, twenty piercers died.

Garreth started collecting dead piercers, but found that they exuded some kind of caustic fluid.  It didn't damage him through his heavy leather gloves, but he thought better of picking them up.  Elias healed Seépravir, everyone rested a bit, and then the group started exploring two exits from the cave, to the northeast and southeast.

Ibizaber started down the southeastern passage, but then saw something suspicious on the floor, which turned out to be a pit trap covered with debris.  He thought about triggering it to explore inside, but decided it would make a lot of noise, and chose to jump over instead.  Four of the group jumped over the pit, but then Polly saw a second pit on the other side.  Elias was stuck, as he couldn't jump far enough to clear either the pit without a running start, and had no space to run.  He asked Seépravir to come cast Levitate on him, while the three better jumpers jumped over the second pit, and found a third pit.  They jumped over that one too, and found no fourth pit.  Seépravir Levitated herself and Elias and the wheelbarrow across, and then needed to rest.

While the group was resting in the tunnel, three troglodytes with javelins and clubs came around the corner and ambushed them.  They led with their stench attack, which everyone managed to resist, and Polly resisted so well that it turned out she was naturally immune to these troglodyte's stench.  Then they followed up with some thrown javelins.  Despite being surprised, Elias managed to block one with his shield.  Another troglodyte horribly missed Garreth.  The third hit Polly with his javelin, but not very solidly.

The group recovered from surprise quickly, as the troglodytes readied their clubs and stepped toward the intruders.  Polly shot one in the vitals twice and killed it.  Ibizaber pulled out his long knife.  Garreth tried chopping another one, but it dodged.  Seépravir, not really a fighter, and a bit behind the others, took a little while to notice the ambush.

Polly was suspicious of the wall behind the group, and asked Zaber to guard it, while she shot another troglodyte.  Zaber checked it out, and found that Polly's suspicions were right and there was a secret door there.  Garreth chopped up the third troglodyte, Elias cast Stop Bleeding on Polly, and the group rested again, then went up the secret passage behind the secret door.  It ended in a dead end, which seemed like an obvious spot for another secret door, which was there.  Ibizaber opened it, and it turned out to lead back near the room with the piercers, just a secret bypass passage around the one with the pits.

The group explored the passage to the northeast, and found a big pile of rubble.  It looked like it would take a while to clear, and that sounded too much like hard work to some, so they decided to go back south and keep exploring.  Elias and Polly got a bit too far ahead of the others, and ran into another ambush, this time six troglodytes.  This time the troglodytes failed to achieve surprise.  Their stench didn't affect anyone too badly, and Polly started shooting while Elias started smashing with his morningstar.  They each took a troglodyte down before their friends caught up, and then the numbers were on their side.

Garreth missed one with a thrown sai (with Continual Light on it), Polly shot another couple, and Seépravir cast Smoke to mess up the last two.  (She botched her casting badly, with so many spells on, but used Luck to fix that.)  Elias hit the one in front but not very hard, then shield rushed the one in back to knock it prone. Ibizaber moved into position to finish the one in front off, and then Garreth ignored dibs and chopped its head off with his katana.  Polly ran around the smoke to shoot the one that Elias had knocked down, and that was all the moving trogs.

At this point the passage was very stinky with dead and unconscious troglodytes, but Seépravir remembered the orcish recipe to harvest troglodyte stench organs and make stenchpots out of them, and started cutting.  She got most of the stench organs out intact, but pierced a couple, which made the smell even worse.  Elias had to hide in the corner to get away from it.  Eventually the butchery was complete, everyone rested, and Seépravir cast Invisibility and Mage-Stealth on Ibizaber and Polly so they could scout ahead.

They found a huge cave, with many small cave alcoves coming off the sides, which appeared to be a great troglodyte living area.  A few noncombatant troglodytes were spotted on the far side, but they ran away and the group decided (after some debate) not to hunt them down.  The two invisible scouts found various primitive pottery and stone furniture, but no treasure.  One side cave contained meat, corpses of cave lizards and sheep or goats and orcs.  One had some graffiti in Common: "Bronwyn was here."  They also found two passages leaving the big cave, one to the west and one to the south.

The scouts went back to the others to report their findings, and, after some debate, the group decided to go back to the northeast and clear the rubble.  It took about an hour, with Garreth and Polly doing most of the rock-moving, Elias smashing rocks with his Penetrating Morningstar (which worked better than you'd expect), and the others standing guard.  Finally, there was a wide enough passage to squeeze through, and they did, with Ibizaber in the lead.

They found another cave, long and narrow, this one with a weird flowstone rock formation to the south, leading to some kind of stone pipe organ built into the rock wall, complete with stone piano bench and stone keyboard.  Unlike the rest of the caves, this one did not smell like troglodytes.  When Ibizaber approached the organ, some moaning speech in a language nobody understood came out, like something was trapped in there.  Seépravir's best guess based on the windiness of the language was that it might be Auran, but she wasn't really sure.  Nobody had any spells to speak or understand random languages, so communication seemed impossible.  Seépravir tried playing the magical jade flute that they had found earlier, and whatever was inside the organ said some other things that nobody understood in response, but it didn't have any obvious effect.  Ibizaber tried playing the organ, which had no definite effect.  He found a bump on the piano bench, but pushing on it didn't have any clear effect either.

The group decided to go back to town and come back with a way to speak and understand more languages.  They made it out of Castle Whiterock and back to Cillamar with no significant difficulties.


GM's Comments:

I thought we might see some violence toward Lord Flitwick over the rights to his drawings, but somehow calmer heads prevailed.

Polly was onto something with the positioning of the glowing rocks, but nobody knew it was piercers above, until one dropped on Seépravir.  Twenty of them was a lot, but the piercers had no tactical coordination, and the PCs were lucky to have positioned themselves so that not many piercers got to attack at once.  Once the group stopped panicking and figured out how to group together and let Garreth kill them as they dropped, and Polly kill the rest at range, it was not much of a challenge.

The first few troglodytes also achieved surprise (very difficult against high-Perception PCs who tend to send invisible and silent scouts ahead, but they got lucky while the wizard was messing around levitating things over the pits), but the one javelin hit was a weak one, and then the PCs recovered from mental stun quickly, and five on three wasn't a fair fight.

A couple of PCs wandered ahead, briefly leading to a six-on-two ambush, which could have been fatal, but this time the troglodytes failed to achieve surprise, and Elias and Polly did a good job fighting them off until their friends arrived.

The group failed to solve the mystery of the stone organ, but I suspect they'll be back next time with Gift of Tongues to figure out whatever's in there.

2018-08-20

DF Whiterock Session 16: Art!

Date:
2018-08-17


Weather:
Warm,  cloudy


Player Characters:
Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 179 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 224 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 212 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 200 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 234 points


Significant NPCs:
Lord Granger Flitwick, noble and artist
Hugin, mercenary fighter
11 Orcs of the White Roc tribe
Green Slime


Four of the party met at the Inn of the Slumbering Drake in Cillamar. Polly was off in the woods somewhere, and Bernard was still out of town.

Ibizaber had spent part of the week carousing for rumors, and heard that the symbol of the swan is used by the local thieves' guild.

Elias had checked with the temple of Elyr, and found they were concerned about the poor refugees from the Warlands entering Cillamar.  He had also checked with the temple of Justicia to see if they had anyone available to help exorcise a temple, but all of their holy warriors were smiting other evil.

Seépravir had researched mining at the Hall of Worms, and was convinced that the tunnels that the White Roc orcs had dug were looking for something, rather than mining for minerals.  She asked if Chauntessa wanted to come to Castle Whiterock to see the murals of cloud giants and white birds, but Chauntessa was unable to leave her Inn. 

Seépravir then came up with the idea of hiring an artist to copy the murals for Chauntessa.  After some asking around, the group found that Lord Granger Flitwick, a local minor noble often found drinking in the Inn, had some artistic talent and was willing to go on a little adventure.  They also found that Hugin, a mercenary they had previously rescued from orcs, was available to go along as Flitwick's bodyguard.  The negotiated deal was that Flitwick would come along for free, owned the originals of anything he drew, but would be willing to make copies at a reasonable price.

Flitwick got his horse and his art supplies, everyone else got their gear, and the group traveled to Castle Whiterock.  They made it there unmolested, Flitwick left his horse in the castle's stable, and everyone proceeded down two levels.  Seépravir cast her full ensemble of scouting spells (Dark Vision, Invisibility, Mage-Stealth, Keen Vision) on Ibizaber, and he went off by himself for a while, making sure he knew the way to the tower, and that there were no hostile creatures around.

Ibizaber came back, and the group followed his voice (since he was invisible) to the tower.  Once they got there, Flitwick started sketching the mosaics on the bottom level.  Ibizaber got bored waiting, and was persuaded not to open the giant iron doors while the artist was working, so went exploring a bit more.  He eventually found a blue gem, with some green dripping slime on the ceiling above it.  He went back to get Seépravir, who followed Ibizaber back to that area and Apportated the gem away from the green slime.

Flitwick finished his drawings of the bottom level, and went up the ladder to the huge middle level of the tower, with its great spiral staircase surrounded by murals on the walls.  Hugin, Garreth, and Elias also came up, to guard him and watch.

Eventually, the art was all done, and the group was ready for Ibizaber to open the iron doors.  They were too heavy for him though, so Garreth helped.  They were also too heavy for Garreth, and Hugin also helped, and eventually they managed to open the doors.  Behind was just a blank stone wall, though.  It looked like the tower was somehow thrust into the ground here, and the current entrance to the tower was dug through the back wall, and the actual front door didn't lead to anything.

With Flitwick's work done, he and Hugin went back up to the stables at ground level, to rest and watch his horse and wait for the rest of the group.  Polly showed up, late as usual.  Everyone else went to the northwest corner of the level, where they thought there might be some places they hadn't explored.  They found the passage past the desecrated temple of Justicia continued south a bit, ending near door leading east and a stairway up to the west.

Ibizaber listened to the door, and heard sounds of humanoid conversation inside.  Everyone else was watching him, when suddenly a barrel came bouncing down the stairs.  First Garreth, then Seépravir (needing Luck), then Elias, and finally Ibizaber all heard it coming, and all managed to dodge it.  (Polly was a bit north of the others, out of the line of fire.)  The barrel crashed into the door, and some yelling in Orc came through the door.  It appeared the group was between enemies on both sides.

Polly charged up the stairs, fired an arrow into the darkness, and didn't hit anything.  Garreth and  Ibizaber and Elias set up an ambush next to the door.  Seépravir dropped 4 spells (leaving 7 on) and cast Smoke on an area centered on the door, including some unseen space on the other side.

Polly kept going up the stairs, saw an orc, and shot him, taking him down.  There were four more orcs up there, with crossbows and flails and barrels to roll down the steps.  Garreth decided to follow Polly upstairs, leaving the other three guarding the door.  An orc threw a barrel at Polly, but she saw it coming and jumped it, as did Garreth when it reached him.  This one stopped at the bottom of the stairs, before the other three had to dodge it.  The remaining three orcs upstairs all aimed crossbows at Polly.

Garreth threw a sai (with very bright Continual Light on it) at one of the orcs, and hit, but didn't do much damage.  Polly shot another orc.  All three orcs fired their crossbows at Polly.  Two missed (and the one that had Garreth behind Polly also missed Garreth), and one was an accurate shot that Polly acrobatically dodged.

The door opened, behind the smoke.  An orc ran through it, right next to Ibizaber, who was hiding behind the smoke waiting to backstab.  He stabbed the orc in the face, and the orc failed its stun roll by enough to be knocked out instantly.  Seépravir started casting Death Vision.

The orcs upstairs dropped their crossbows and readied their flails.  Polly shot at another one, but he dodged it.  Garreth fast-drew his katana and tried to chop off both of an orc's arms with a Rapid Strike, but the orc retreated and dodged both blows.  With a reach disadvantage, the orc needed a Committed Attack to do a two-hex step to get close enough to swing his flail at Garreth, but Garreth retreated and dodged in turn.  Another orc ran up behind Garreth, trying to surround him.

An Alchemist's Fire bomb that someone had flung blind came flying through the smoke and the open door, and didn't hit anyone, but left an area of floor in front of the door on fire.  Another orc came through the door, and Ibizaber stabbed him, missing his face but accidentally hitting his (well-armored) torso.  Seépravir stopped casting Death Vision and cast Stun on the orc instead, failing because of the penalty for lots of spells on.

Meanwhile, upstairs, Polly shot and dropped another orc.  And Garreth chopped the weapon off clean off another orc.  It fell into the well in the center of the room, with a loud splash.  Garreth suggested that the orc go get it.

Ibizaber tried stabbing the orc in the face again, and this this time hit the face and stunned him, also knocking him down and causing him to drop his flail.  Elias followed up with his morningstar, and the knocked out and stunned and weaponless orc failed to dodge and was knocked out.

The one-armed orc upstairs decided to keep fighting, by trying to kick a barrel at Polly.  He missed.  This made Garreth angry, and he said that would cost him that leg.   True to his word, Garreth attacked the leg that kicked the barrel.  Initially the orc rolled a critical success on his Dodge, causing Garreth to critically miss, but Garreth used Luck to make the orc reroll, and the dodge failed, and the leg was crippled.  At that point there were no armed orcs left upstairs, so Garreth decided to help out downstairs.

Seépravir decided to cast Shape Fire and used it to move the hex of Alchemist's Fire onto the unconscious orc that had foolishly come through the door.  Adding to the already severe wounds the orc had taken from Ibizaber and Elias, this killed it, probably Seépravir's first direct kill in this game.  (She has a ton of assists though.)

No other orcs came through the door, so Seépravir dropped the Smoke and continued using Shape Fire to move the fire into the room, trying to burn more orcs with it.  The others weren't unconscious on the ground, though, so they weren't such easy targets.  One was hit, but the fire damage wasn't enough to penetrate his armor.  Polly, having just reached the bottom of the stairs, fired an arrow at a recently revealed orc, initially missed badly, used her Luck, and then rolled a critical hit that knocked out the orc.

Ibizaber ran into the room to try to stab an orc, and a waiting orc with a crossbow shot him.  He failed his Dodge initally, used Luck, failed to dodge twice more (he chose not to Drop and Dodge), and took a solid crossbow shot that would have wrecked his day.  At that point his Bless came into play, turned the hit into a miss, and was dispelled.  The bolt kept going at Seépravir behind Ibizaber, who failed to dodge, but used her Luck and dodged.  The bolt then continued into a barrel, but nothing interesting came out of it.  (Ibizaber was hoping it was full of booze.)

Elias was in the room, and the remaining three orcs ganged up on him.  The first fired a crossbow bolt, which he blocked with his shield.  The second swung a flail, which he dodged.  The third swung a flail, which he parried with his morningstar, despite the penalty for parrying flails.  Seépravir cast another Smoke, covering all the orcs around Elias, but not Elias.

Polly shot and downed another orc.  Elias used Divine Grace to give himself +4 to DX for 9 seconds.  The last few of orcs swung flails at Seépravir and Polly and Elias, who dodged and dodged and was missed.  And then Divinely Graceful Elias killed one, and the final two surrendered.  Surprisingly, the last two were allowed to run away, after having their gear taken.  I guess Garreth and Polly, the Bloodlust twins, were too sleepy to argue this time.

We were out of time, so that was the end of the session.  The group returned to town.  They had gotten Flitwick to paint pictures of the mosaics and murals in the tower, and had cleared two more rooms of orcs and earned a small fortune in scale and mail armor, flails, and crossbows.  (Elias's Very Wealthy advantage means that he can sell loot at 100% of book value instead of the usual 40%.)


GM's Comments:

Hiring an artist to draw pictures was an interesting move.  We'll see next time what the pictures are worth.

Everyone has Luck, and almost everyone needed it this session.  Everyone also has Bless (Elias can cast it), and it saved Ibizaber from a nasty crossbow wound.  It's really hard for the orcs on this level to hit the PCs.

I thought the orcs throwing barrels down the stairs was amusing, but in practice the PCs dodged them all and then Garreth and Polly murdered the barrel-throwing orcs.

Smoke is a nasty spell.  Blocks all vision past one hex, plus causes rolls to avoid blindness and nausea.  Seépravir cast it on an area that spanned both sides of a door, which felt a bit wonky, but I don't think there's a rule against it, so I allowed it.  (She knew there were enemies on the other side, so it wasn't completely cheesy, just a question of whether a closed door should affect casting area spells through it)

Divine Grace is really good.  Elias used it kind of late in the fight, so only got to demolish one orc with it.  I suspect he'll get more use out of it in the future.  Weapon Master is also really good, but Garreth was already wrecking these orcs without it, so it didn't make a really obvious difference.

The PCs have now explored all of that level that they have found, so they'll probably have to go deeper next time.  Stay tuned.

2018-08-12

DF Whiterock Session 15: Rocks and Zombies

Date:

2018-08-10


Weather:

Warm, mostly cloudy


Player Characters:

Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 174 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 207 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 197 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 229 points


Significant NPCs:

Katanya Glimer, Gnome sorceress
Durkerle, Dwarf cleric of Danethar
Cookie, Ogre bouncer
Or'dimisas of Kassantia, Human sage of Delvyr
2 Rasthnums, spiky poisonous rocks
7 Orc Zombies


After a week of training and selling loot and looking for information, Elias, Ibizaber, and Seépravir met at the Inn of the Slumbering Drake in Cillamar.  (Bernard and Garreth were out of town on other business, and Polly was out doing something in the woods.)

Seépravir then taken the sheet of paper written in Gnomish, which the party had found in the laboratory of an orcish alchemist, to Katanya for translation.  Kat revealed that it was some kind of advertising flier for a gnomish institution of mechanical learning called the Clockwork Academy.

Seépravir had visited the Hall of Worms, a library and temple of Delvyr, looking for information about the Ring of Water Breathing (and possibly other abilities that Analyze Magic wasn't able to discern) that Nemoura the nixie had given the group in exchange for killing a giant crayfish.  The sage Or'dimisas was quite impressed with Seépravir's knowledge of Thaumatology, and allowed her free admission to the library as a professional courtesy.  But there was no information about the ring to be found.  The library did contain a book that mentioned the Clockwork Academy, but only in passing.  Its location was specified as "near Castle Whiterock."

Ibizaber had visited most of the taverns in Cillamar, and someone had told him that a secretive league of arcanists congregates at the castle ruins on moonless nights to conduct terrible rituals.  But he couldn't remember who told him that.  The moon was currently about half full.

Durkerle showed up to collect his share of the loot from the previous delve, then left to serve Danethar in another town.

Elias needed someone to cock his overstrength hand crossbow, and Garreth wasn't around, so he got Cookie, the Inn's ogre bouncer, to do it in exchange for a small tip.  Then the three left a message for their friends that they were heading for Castle Whiterock, and set off with Elias pushing a wheelbarrow.

This time they reached the Castle without incident, and then went down through one locked door (they still had the key), two secret doors, and two flights of stairs to the level that had been occupied by the White Roc orcs.  Seépravir cast 11 spells: 3 Dark Vision, 3 Invisibility, 3 Mage-Stealth (which allows talking), a Keen Vision, and a Lighten Burden.  And the invisible and silent (except when talking to each other to make sure they were still in formation) group started exploring the level, looking for anything they missed before.

Eventually, Ibizaber found some writing on the floor in Orc: a rune and an arrow.  None of the three could read it, so Elias cast Gift of Letters, which revealed that the rune said "Danger".  Thus warned, the three went that way anyway.  At that point, a spined rock on the ceiling (a creature that Quintus the alchemist had identified as a rasthnum, and which Polly the elf had identified as containing poison by drinking said poison), tried to fall on Ibizaber's head.  (How it detected him, they weren't sure.)  Zaber saw it coming and jumped back, and then a fight ensued.  Seépravir dropped some spells to reduce her "spells on" casting penalty, and tried to Glue the rock to the floor, but failed.  Ibizaber tried stabbing the rock with his knife, but it dodged.  Elias smashed the rock with his very fancy morningstar, and did some serious damage.  Seépravir tried Glue again, and it worked the second time.  The severely wounded rasthnum stopped struggling against the Glue and reverted to acting like a rock.

...At which time a second rasthnum had moved into position and also tried to drop on Zaber's head.  He dodged again, Elias crushed it with his flail for excellent damage, and it quickly stopped struggling.  Then the looters went to work extracting treasure: Ibizaber removed the poison from both rasthnum into empty vials, Seépravir borrowed a scalpel from Elias and de-spined one rasthnum, and then Polly, who had just come bounding down the hallway, removed the spine from the other one.

After a quick rest, Seépravir cast Dark Vision on Polly (to avoid having any lights to give them away), and recast Invisibility on herself and Ibizaber, and they resumed exploring.  Far to the northwest, the group found two doors they hadn't seen before, and also, nearby, the desecrated altar to Justicia that they had tried cleaning up before, before getting distracted by a fight between Durkerle and a rasthnum.  This time, the whole group tried cleaning up the altar, with instruction from Elias.  Nobody knew Exorcism, but they figured some elbow grease and heartfelt prayers couldn't hurt.  They also moved some orcish archery targets out of the room with the altar, as disrespectful, though Polly couldn't resist shooting one first (and wasted a critical hit on it).

With the altar cleaned up as much as possible, they proceeded to the southern door, which Zaber checked for traps, found was unlocked, and opened.  Inside was a huge bed, about 12 feet long.  Also a desk covered with papers written in Orc.    Polly looked under the best, and found a chest.  Ibizaber checked it for traps, didn't find any, picked the lock, and got a sheet of fire in the face.  Oops.  Fortunately it only singed him a little bit.

The chest contained some coins, a small pretty box which in turn contained a silver and onyx necklace of a bird, and a magical silver and jade flute.  Zaber tried playing the flute and made a high-pitched flatulent noise.  Seépravir tried playing the flute and made a few pleasant notes.  Nothing obviously magical happened either time.  Seépravir found a secret door in the southern wall, which led to a small room containing a heavy stone model of Castle Whiterock.  The upper level looked familiar, but the model showed a lower level that did not, which looked like it would be under the lake now.  Seépravir also searched the chest for a false bottom, and found one, which contained a parchment with a few runes of Orcish.

Having taken everything except the (very heavy) model castle, the group continued to the northern door.  This one was locked.  Zaber picked the lock, and opened the door.  This revealed a large, roughly circular, room, with niches in the walls, containing dead orcs.  Or, rather, undead zombie orcs, which started coming out of their niches to attack.

Polly started the fight by shooting an arrow into an orc zombie in mail, and downing it.  Ibizaber (still invisible and silent) snuck around behind a zombie to the north to backstab it.  Elias got his flail ready to smash zombie skulls.  Seépravir invisibly moved into position.  And the zombies all charged forward.

Then Polly unluckily dumped her whole quiver of cutting arrows.  She decided not to use her Luck and just to rely on impaling arrows for the fight.  (They're not as good against zombies.)  Zaber backstabbed a zombie in the foot and scored really good damage, cutting its foot off.  The zombie hit the floor.  Elias whomped on a zombie with his flail.  Seépravir noticed that the nearest zombie was wearing a silver necklace, decided it might be important, and tried Apportation to filch it.  This succeeded but didn't have any noticeable effect on the zombie.

Polly fired a couple of arrows that zombies were lucky to dodge.  Zaber, happy with his foot attack, tried it again on a second zombie and chopped off another foot, but now had two one-footed  angry zombies crawling at him.  Elias was fighting two zombies, but managed to block two attacks and parry one.  (His fancy morningstar is Dwarven, allowing parrying after attacking.)

Not liking the two-on-one odds, Ibizaber decided to All-Out Defend (Dodge) and run away from the crawling zombies a bit, so he could return and fight one at a time.  Elias, fighting two zombies, took the wounded one down with a second solid flail hit to even the odds.  Polly and Seépravir and two more zombies were in another melee, but both Polly and Seépravir dodged every attack that came close, and Polly kept shooting arrows.  Seépravir decided Polly wasn't shooting fast enough and cast Great Haste on her.

Eventually Elias finished his last zombie, Polly took down both of the standing zombies near her, and all that remained were the two one-footed zombies crawling around after Ibizaber.  They were slow enough for Polly to dispatch from a distance at her leisure, but both Ibizaber and Elias felt the need to come within range and get another shot in.  Then all the zombies were dead for good.  Each had a necklace, several had maces and tattered leather armor, and one had a mail shirt.  Searching room revealed some stairs down.  But the group had enough treasure that they decided to return to town, and save those stairs for another time.


GM's Comments:


Invisibility plus Mage-Stealth plus Dark Vision is a great combination for stealthy exploration.  With all of them up, the party can explore with a small chance of being detected, but still talk to each other.  (Of course talking increases the chances of being heard.)  But with only one mage casting all these spells, eventually the penalty for number of spells on gets ugly.

The three PCs who started the session "forgot to bring any damage".  No Garreth, no Bernard, no Polly.  But Elias and his super-flail actually put a pretty good dent in the rasthnum.  Seépravir's Glue spell wasn't really needed.

Polly rolled 18 on a Fast-Draw (arrow) roll, a critical failure which spilled the whole quiver.  I think everyone expected her to use Luck, but she preferred to save it for something more lethal, and just used her other quiver of arrows.  That worked out okay, since the zombies weren't super-tough.

Elias has Bless, so now the entire party (including Elias: you can't Bless yourself but there was a scroll) is running around with Bless, for +1 on every die roll.  Plus when something horrible happens to one of them, the Bless will prevent it then go away.  The combination of Bless, Luck, Seépravir's combo of stealth spells, careful exploration, and good luck on defense rolls means that nobody took any damage this session, except Ibizaber getting burned a bit by the fire trap on the chest.  I think that despite their low starting point totals, this group is starting to feel a bit overpowered for the current dungeon level.  But, they just found some stairs down, so we'll see if that continues.

DF Whiterock Session 21: Clockwork

Date: 2018-09-21 Weather: Overcast, chilly Player Characters: Bojack Axeman (Infinitepudding), Dwarf Martial Artist, 180 po...