2020-04-07

DF Whiterock Session 90: Duergar Ambush and the Thane's Dining Room

Date:


2020-04-03

Weather:



Cold, session entirely underground


Player Characters:


Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 418 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 478 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 478 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 472 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High Elf Wizard, 483 points



Significant NPCs:


Wolfrik, Possessed Duergar guard
Many Duergar Guards
Duergar Commander
Destrachan
Earth Elemental
2 Stone Golems



We started in mid-battle, inside the duergar fortress of Narborg.  The party had opened a door and found a warehouse with three duergar, but one had run a pillar and summoned an earth elemental, and then a destrachan and several more duergar guards had reinforced the duergar from the north.

Fight against Duergar, Earth Elemental, and Destrachan

Polly recognized the destrachan as dangerous because of its sonic cone attack, and fired three arrows at it, but it dodged two and she missed with the other.  Garreth smashed the stone elemental with his katana, but it was too tough to notice much.  Seépravir, still inside the Possessed Wolfrik, turned Invisible.  Elias ran up to the nearest duergar and used Rapid Strike to deal two flail attacks, but one was blocked and the other parried.  The elemental tried slamming Garreth, but he dodged.

Then the destrachan breathed sonic death.  Zaber, Polly, and Garreth were all in the line of fire, but all were close enough to getting out of line of sight that a successful retreating dodge would protect them.  (But Garreth could not retreat because he just made a Committed Attack, so he ate some damage.)  The duergar near Elias tried a rapid strike, but Elias blocked one attack and parried the other.  Zaber All-Out Defended and flew to safety.  Polly shot a duergar in the skull, killing him, leading the duergar commander to yell "She killed Fark!  Everyone kill the archer!" in Dwarven.

Garreth tried a rapid strike on the elemental, which parried the first attack but ate the second, for enough damage to slow it.  He then tried Rapier Wit on the nearest dwarf, which froze in amazement.  Elias went for a Rapid Strike on the duergar again, and this time connected once with his flail, for major damage and knockback into a crate.  The elemental tried rolling into Garreth again, and missed.  Polly flew behind some duergar and put two arrows into one's skull, killing him, then one arrow into another's skull, knocking him out.  Garreth chopped up the elemental some more, but it refused to stop moving.

Seépravir Mass Dazed the destrachan.  (It's a bit of rules silliness that regular spells cost extra for large creatures, but area spells do not, so it can be cheaper to Mass Daze a large creature than Daze it.)  It failed to resist and stared into space for the rest of the fight.  Elias moved.  The elemental tried to slam Garreth again, but he dodged.  One surrounded duergar, knowing he was doomed, went for an All-Out Attack (Double) on Polly, but Garreth parried the first attack for her, and Polly Acrobatically Dodged the second.

One of the wounded duergar passed out.  The final duergar got shot in both eyes by Polly, fatally.  Garreth stabbed the earth elemental again, and it finally stopped moving.  With the fight over, Polly murdered the Dazed destrachan, and Garreth used a duergar axe to make sure the earth elemental was really finished.  Elias cast a few Stop Bleeding spells (more than intended because he kept failing, due to -5 for other spells on), while Zaber looted the duergar, finding the usual axes and scale armor, plus a few gems and potions and keys.

Eventually everyone was healed and rested enough to resume exploration, and they went north, where the destrachan and extra duergar had come from.  They found a room with a couple of chairs and several unoccupied jail cells.  Some of the keys they just found fit the jail cells.

They continued exploring west, and found a storeroom containing sundries like cloth, leather, sacks, string, ball bearings, and feathers.  Polly was offended by the feathers.  Zaber took some ball bearings.  Continuing west through another couple of doors, they found a hallway with alcoves on both sides, each containing three paintings of duergar.  Three of the duergar appeared to wear the same crown of bones, while the other three did not.  However, Art Appreciation Day was cut short, as Zaber noticed, via See Invisible, an ugly, invisible duergar with a mace hiding further along the hallway.

Zaber shouted a warning to the others.  Polly tried shooting arrows at the general area where Zaber said the duergar was, but missed.  The duergar that Zaber had spotted, plus two more invisible duergar, charged.  The PCs who couldn't see the enemy All-Out Defended.

Polly's turn came around again, and she made a Hearing roll to target an invisible duergar, then rolled a critical hit (even with the -10 for an invisible target).  The duergar used Luck to make her reroll, then dodged and blocked three non-critical hits.  He then tried stabbing Polly in the eye with his edged rapier.  He missed his first attempt, turned visible, then Garreth Sacrificially Parried his second and third attempts.    Another invisible duergar, this one with a mace, tried smacking Polly in the face.  She made her Hearing roll to get to defend at -4, then dodged, though it required Luck.  His second attack missed.  Another invisible duergar also attacked Polly with a mace.  Garreth used Blind Fighting to locate the attack, then Sacrificially Parried it for Polly.  He attacked Polly again, no longer invisibly, but she dodged.

Seépravir decided the duergar were attacking too much, and used Mass Daze on all three.  It worked on the two with maces, but the leader with the rapier managed to resist.  She followed up with Rapier Wit on the undazed one, but he ignored it.  Garreth tried Kiai on the same duergar, to no avail.  Elias teed off one one of the dazed duergar with his flail, killing him.  Polly tried shooting the active duergar, was dodged, and accidentally hit the surviving dazed one, undazing him.  She put a second arrow into his brain to finish him off, then fired at the one with the rapier, who dodged it.  Fortunately, Polly's arrow missed Elias.

The duergar fast-drew a small glass globe, then dropped it as a free action.  It shattered, releasing poison fumes.  Duergar are immune to poison, but Garreth, Polly, Zaber, and Elias had to make HT resistance rolls.  They all succeeded.  The duergar then tried to stab Polly, but Garreth sacrificially parried and rolled a critical success, causing the attacker to drop his rapier.  He fast-drew a knife and tried stabbing Polly with it twice more.  She acrobatically dodged the first, then critically dodged the second, causing him to drop the knife too.  The duergar yelled "that's not fair!" in Common.

Seépravir tried Entombment, but the duergar resisted.  Garreth tried multiple katana attacks, which were blocked and dodged.  Elias moved up.  Zaber tried an eye stab, missed, used Luck, and hit.  The unlucky duergar rolled an 18 on his dodge, smashing his eyeball into the incoming knife and falling down, stunned.  He survived the eye strike, but then Polly followed up with three more arrows to his eyes.  He somehow dodged the first, despite being slowed, stunned, and prone.  He didn't dodge the other two, and he died.

Polly immediately checked out the duergar's rapier and determined it to be nice quality.  Also, it was hanging from a metal lanyard, not the usual leather kind.  Garreth took the upgraded lanyard and attached it to his katana.  Seépravir determined that the rapier and the duergar's cloak were both magic.  Zaber grabbed a key ring and a potion from the duergar's body.  The group then looted all three duergar, and took everything back to their makeshift loot storage room.  For good measure they also took all six paintings.

Surprisingly, nothing bothered them during the post-battle looting.  Eventually, the group resumed their trek west, until they came to a dead end, with doors north and west.  Zaber listened at both, and though he heard movement to the north.  The group formed up in combat position, and then Zaber picked the lock, and right when someone was about to open the door, Seépravir mentioned that she was tired.  So the whole group retreated back east and rested until they had all their FP back, then came back to the door, and opened it.

On the other side of the door was a large split-level room with a high ceiling.  On the balcony level was a very fancy marble dining table.  On the ceiling was a huge mural featuring a red dragon, but there wasn't time to examine it closely, as several invisible duergar and a couple of stone golems were charging at the party.

Zaber, invisible, flew up and over the enemies and pretty much stayed out of the way.  Polly asked for See Invisible and waited for Seépravir.  Seépravir cast See Invisible on Polly as requested.  Polly then shot three arrows at a duergar, which blocked one, dodged one, and got nailed by one and injured badly enough to be slowed.  Garreth stepped up and All-Out Defended, preparing to parry whatever came.  Elias moved.

An invisible duergar tried All-Out Attack (Double) on Polly.  It missed the first attack, and then was no longer invisible, and Garreth parried the second.  A second invisible duergar tried All-Out Attack (Double) on Elias.  He failed to defend and was smashed in the head for 13 crushing, but his DR was more than that, so he just ignored it, enraging the duergar.  The duergar followed up with a Rapid Strike to Elias's torso.  Elias just stood there and let the duergar hit him, and once again the blows weren't hard enough to penetrate his armor.  The duergar then yelled to his companions to Enlarge.  The final two duergar, still invisible, did just that, as the stone golems moved closer.

Battle Against Duergar and Golems in the Thane's Dining Room
Zaber flew up and avoided the fight.  Polly shot a duergar in the eye, knocking him unconscious.  She then tried shooting on of the invisible ones, but he blocked and dodged.  Seépravir cast See Invisible on Garreth.  Garreth used Rapier Wit to stun the duergar that was failing to hurt Elias, then used Rapid Strike on a golem, hitting once.  Elias also used Rapid Strike on a golem, hitting once.

One golem returned the Rapid Strike at Garreth, but he dodged both.  The other returned a Rapid Strike at Elias, who blocked one and parried the other.  The parry could have broken his flail, but Elias rolled high enough that it hit his shield instead.

Zaber flew up to the dining room level.  Polly flew behind a duergar and shot him in the back of the skull, knocking him out.  She then put a cutting arrow into a golem, doing some damage.  Seépravir cast Shield on Elias.  Garreth went for two deceptive attacks on a golem and managed to miss twice, then used Rapier Wit to stun an invisible duergar.  Elias double-stuck a golem again, achieving one solid hit.

The wounded duergar that had failed to hurt Elias earlier, now recovered from stun, Enlarged.  The golem near Garreth tried two attacks with its huge maul, but Garreth dodged them.  The other golem attacked Elias twice, but he blocked and dodged.  Zaber looked around the dining room to see if anyone was hiding.  He didn't find anyone, but he did find a secret door.  (He had See Secrets on.)  Polly put three more arrows into a golem, damaging it.  Seépravir cast Haste on Elias, further buffing his defenses.  Garreth tried two more attacks on the wounded golem.  It parried the first, but the second destroyed it in a rain of stone sharpnel.  Elias tried the same thing on his golem, also hitting once, but didn't knock it out.

A now-huge duergar tried smashing Elias with his mace, but Elias defended.  A still-invisible duergar tried ambushing Garreth, not knowing Garreth had See Invisible and was able to parry normally.  The surviving golem tried hitting Elias twice more, and Elias successfully blocked and parried, and was again lucky that the parry hit his shield rather than his flail.

Polly decided that was enough screen time for the duergar, and shot both of them in the skull, killing one and knocking the other unconscious.  Seépravir gave Elias tactical advice to All-Out Attack the golem and finish it.  But before Elias had a chance, Garreth stole the advice, did an All-Out Attack (Double) with the second attack a Rapid Strike, hit the golem three times, and destroyed it.

It was late, so the night's final decision was whether to stay in the dungeon or go back to town.  Garreth maintained his position that they should stay in the dungeon until the duergar were defeated, and the others agree.  So we stopped right after the battle in the thane's dining room, before any looting or exploration.

GM's Comments:


Three fights this session, all against duergar and friends.  The sacking of the duergar fortress of Narborg is starting to become a grind.  Maybe they'll defeat the duergar soon and move on to something new.

2020-03-28

DF Whiterock Session 89: Into the Second Map of Narborg

Date:

2020-03-27

Weather:


Cold, session entirely underground

Player Characters:

Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 415 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 476 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 476 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 470 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High Elf Wizard, 481 points

Significant NPCs:

Wolfrik, Possessed Duergar guard
Talladay Arrowmelt, Halfling Chef
Many Duergar Guards
2 Destrachans
Giant Wasp
Many Giant Fire Beetles
Earth Elemental


We resumed in the Duergar fortress of Narborg, again.  After spending much of the last session looting the casualties of previous battles, Polly realized they only had 7 of 8 Zombie Ettin corpses, so the group went looking for the other one.  They eventually went north far enough to find that Zombie Ettin corpse, and a few more duergar, and dragged their loot to the south end of the level.  Garreth decided to smash the northern gate open.  Beyond it was a cave passage, but the group didn't go that way.

Instead they doubled back to the south, and smashed the southern gate to Narborg as well.  There were a few more duergar bodies and a dead destrachan on the causeway outside, so they looted those too.  Then Zaber flew out over the causeway and started looking into the deep, smelly pit underneath.  He didn't find anything interesting except a few ledges, and didn't want to go much deeper alone, so he flew back.

Polly then decided to go look for herself, as Seépravir cast Wizard Eye to scout without risk.  As Polly flew near the top of the chasm, a giant wasp flew up and tried to ambush her.  She saw it coming in time, fast-drew her Rapier, and gave it a couple good chops, stunning it.  It started to fall, as she readied her bow and put an arrow into the wasp, finishing it off.

The Wizard Eye started descending into the pit.  About 20' below the mouth of the pit, or 100' below the causeway, there were some ledges, with giant beetles swarming on them, and some caves back into the walls.  As the eye snooped around looking for treasure, one of the giant beetles noticed it, and shot fire at the eye, but failed to hit.  This drew the attention of several more fire beetles, which took turns missing the tiny eye with ranged fire attacks.  One even managed to critically fail and spray itself with the flaming substance.  Finally, a beetle rolled well enough to hit the Wizard Eye, and it was dispelled.

At this point the party discussed whether they wanted to go down into the pit, or back into Narborg.  Garreth wanted to focus on the duergar until they were finished, reasoning that they might get reinforcements or build new fortifications, while dumb bugs would remain dumb bugs.  Seépravir searched through Wolfrik's memories of the duergar and realized that the Thane and his chief lieutenants were still alive, and there was no way they would give up.  Polly and Zaber wanted to go into the hole and kill bugs, but were eventually persuaded to Garreth's point of view, and everyone headed north and west, to the unexplored portion of Narborg.

The first room they explored was a small unoccupied barracks with low-quality furniture.  They found no treasure, and continued.  The second room they explored was a dining hall, with long tables, many stools, a high ceiling, and a balcony.  Zaber explored the balcony, pulled up a loose board, and found a small pouch underneath, containing a few gems.  The group headed south from the dining hall and found a very nice kitchen, featuring some large ovens and high-quality food preparation counters.  Oddly, all the kitchen knives were chained to the wall.  Zaber heard whistling behind a barred door, so everyone formed up for battle, and Garreth kicked the door open.  Behind the door was a pantry, with a small halfling cowering in the back.

When he saw two elves and a human, the halfling held up his hands in a gesture of peace, and introduced himself as Talladay Arrowmelt, a chef.  He had been captured by slavers, sold to orcs, sent to the Bleak Theater, then convinced the Thane to keep him on as a cook rather than using him as arena fodder.  He expressed a desire to be rescued now, but the PCs wanted to go kill more duergar, and asked him to stay put until they returned to pick him up later.  They asked him for more information about the duergar and Narborg.  Talladay didn't know much, as he spent all his time in the kitchen, but he knew that duergar were immune to poison.  He'd also been using utensils to dig a very small escape tunnel, hidden behind bags of supplies in the pantry.  He said it led to a room containing three Zombie Ettins, who were fortunately too big to enter the tunnel.  Polly, Zaber, and (amusingly) Garreth all tried squeezing into the tunnel to see for themselves, but none could fit.  Seépravir cast Repair on Talladay's worn digging spoon, in case he wanted to do more digging before they got him out.

Leaving the chef, the group headed north from the dining room, opening a door straight into a duergar ambush.  A group of several duergar and a destrachan managed to achieve surprise, and swarmed around the PCs.  Polly and Garreth managed to defend against a few attacks.  Then all the PCs quickly recovered from mental stun, and started fighting back.  Zaber and Polly broke free of the swarm of duergar and headed for the destrachan, knowing its sonic attack could do a lot of damage.  Polly shot an arrow at the destrachan, which dropped and dodged, but her arrow accidentally broke the arm of a duergar behind it.  Her second arrow was also dodged, but her third hit the destrachan's skull, knocking it out before it managed a sonic attack. 

Seépravir (inside Wolfrik) threw a Mass Daze at the whole mob of six duergar, dazing five of them, with only the one with the broken weapon arm managing to resist.  She then used Rapier Wit to stun the only undazed one.  Garreth piled on, stabbing the stunned, badly wounded duergar into unconsciousness.  Elias took out one of the dazed ones, setting him on fire with his Flaming Flail.  Seépravir asked the group to spare one of the dazed duergar for Entombment; the others were dispatched.  However, when she cast Entombment, the duergar managed to resist, so Seépravir gave up and let Garreth kill him.

With that combat over, the group dragged the bodies over to the loot zone, then immediately resumed exploring, rather than giving Seépravir an extended chance to rest and regain all her FP.  They went east, then south, and opened a door to find some kind of warehouse containing three more duergar, two of them standing next to pillars.  Zaber tricked invisibly eye-stabbing one, but the duergar heard the attack coming, and managed to block it.  Polly started shooting arrows, but they were blocked or dodged.  One of the duergar smashed his axe against a pillar, making a loud ringing sound, like a gong.  Seépravir wanted to give tactical advice, but couldn't see the fight from outside the room, so cast Wizard Eye, critically succeeding.  She then got cocky and tried Rapier Wit from around the corner at long range, and rolled an 18, critically failing and managing to trip over her words badly enough to stun herself.

Elias shield rushed the duergar that had gonged the pillar and critically succeeded, causing a major wound but failing to knock the duergar over.  Then the floor started breaking up, and a large angry pile of animated rocks emerged.  Meanwhile, a door to the north flew open, and a destrachan behind it made a sonic attack at Zaber and Polly, with Garreth right on the edge of the area of effect.  With the session almost over, both Zaber and Polly used their Luck to reroll damage, and neither was that badly wounded, and both kept their hearing.  Meanwhile Garreth managed to jump completely outside of the sonic cone and was not damaged, and Seépravir managed to recover from her self-induced stunning.

We stopped their for the evening, with the original 5 PCs vs. 3 duergar fight having turned into 5 PCs vs. the original three duergar, several more duergar and a destrachan joining the fight from the north, and an earth elemental coming up through the floor.

Battle at the End of the Session


GM's Comments:

The PCs are still moving very slowly, and seem obsessed with getting all the loot.  They still sometimes have a hard time agreeing on which way to go.

The encounter with Talladay was the first time the party has met someone friendly in a while, not counting victims of Charm spells.  But they weren't ready to stop their assault just to rescue him.

The first duergar ambush almost worked, with the duergar rolling a 4 on their surprise roll, but they were too dispersed to get in any back attacks. and the PCs have good enough defenses to survive a bit of mental stun.  The destrachan spent a turn aiming, not wanting to hit its allies with its area attack, and that was too long as Polly shot it in the head before it got a second turn.  Perhaps better tactics would have been to just lead with a ranged destrachan attack instead of swarming in close.

The fight currently in progress might be a bit more interesting, as Seépravir is isolated and low on FP, and the destrachan got a clean shot off (though not a very effective one).  The earth elemental is also a different kind of opponent than the PCs have been fighting lately.  We'll see how it goes, next week.

2020-03-22

DF Whiterock Session 88: Finishing the First Map of Narborg

Date:


2020-03-20

Weather:


Cold, session entirely underground


Player Characters:

Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 412 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 474 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 474 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 468 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High Elf Wizard, 479 points


Significant NPCs:

Lance Corporal Wolfrik, Possessed Duergar Guard
Lots of Duergar Guards


We resumed with the PCs still in the Duergar fortress Narborg, in some kind of training gym featuring a swimming pool and rails high above a spiked pit, having just defeated some duergar and a stone golem.  Everyone rested a bit.  Elias asked Garreth to read a Bless scroll on him.  Seépravir heard a crashing sound far to the west.

Zaber scouted around, listening to doors and looking for traps.  Eventually, he found a room with dried blood on the floor and a large statue of a duergar with stone wings and tentacles for a beard, which Elias identified as the duergar god Sodoutym, the Dark Foe, Hellbeard, god of assassins.  Elias noticed that the room had low Sanctity for him, and said they should wreck the statue.

But just then, invisible Wolfrik wandered south, and bumped into an enlarged, invisible duergar guard.  Then into (also invisible) Zaber, while trying to run away.  Zaber flew back north to alert the others, and Polly (fortunately with See Invisible) flew south to handle the problem.  She saw the invisible duergar running south, put three arrows in his brain, and knocked him out.  Seépravir cast Entomb on the knocked-out duergar, though he was in bad shape and might not survive for long after being revived.

While the group was standing around, Polly got a glimpse of another duergar to the south.  She fired arrows, but failed to hit, and then the target disappeared out of sight.  Everyone warily prepared for a fight, but no duergar emerged.  Zaber heard the clink of armor somewhere to the southwest, and snuck south to take a peek.  He saw several enlarged, invisible duergar, lined up preparing to charge.  And charge they did.

A wild fight began, with a clump of about seven duergar guards with maces charging, while two more with crossbows tried sniping from behind.  Polly tried shooting one, but missed.  Garreth injured one badly with his katana.  A duergar tried to Slam Elias, but he dodged, then tried to get back-to-back with Garreth so they could defend each other.  Polly knocked one out with an eye shot, then Garreth knocked one out with a neck chop.  Elias tried flailing a duergar twice, but he stopped both blows, using up his block and best parry.

Melee with the Surviving Duergar Guards

Both Elias and Garreth defended well enough to make duergar lose control of their weapons.  Meanwhile, Zaber pickpocketed a crossbow bolt, not wanting to attack and lose invisibility.  Polly flew behind some duergar to avoid their shields, and shot two of them in the back of the skull for  knockouts, while Seépravir yelled tactical advice.

The two crossbow duergar in the back, having aimed for a while, both tried shooting Garreth in the eye.  He managed to dodge both.  Zaber threw the pickpocketed crossbow bolt and distracted one of the duergar, while Polly snuck nearby and shot both of them.  That left only two duergar left, who went down to Garreth's katana and Elias's flail.

That was the last resistance the party found on this part of the level.  Garreth announced that he'd like to gather up all the loot (most of which was duergar weapons and armor), so the group started dragging all the bodies to the firing deck to the south.  There Garreth decided to widen an arrow slit on the east side of the firing deck, to make a new exit.  It took quite a bit of bashing with a pick to eventually widen the slit from 6 inches wide to 3 feet wide.

After all the nearby bodies were dragged into position for looting, the group went back to the main north-south hallway, and Garreth destroyed all six portcullises with Power Blows.  Then they went back to the chapel and Garreth destroyed the large statue, while Elias spread some holy water and cleaned up the bloodstains, trying to undo the room's evil aura.  Then they went back through some rooms that they hadn't really searched before, and opened random foot lockers, collecting minor treaures.  Meanwhile, Zaber scouted around, finding a couple of secret exits from the fortress back toward the causeway, and a couple of doors that hadn't been opened yet.

When everyone else was done dragging bodies around, Zaber asked them to stand guard while he opened a door.  Behind it was a fancy bedroom, with a feather bed and a mirror and a desk and another statue of the guy with the tentacle beard. The desk contained some records of a mercenary unit, the Halved Helm.  Behind the desk was a secret spy-hole into an adjacent room, though it was blocked by a cabinet on the other side.

Zaber went back out to the second door, opened it, and found a room with four beds and some chests.  It had another door, to some kind of clubhouse, with dead animal heads on the walls (making Polly unhappy) and a cabinet containing several barrels of beer and one of brandy.   Zaber wanted to open them up and start drinking, but Garreth talked him into waiting until later.

Finally, Zaber doubled back to search the chests.  Two contained nothing of great value, just clothes and a letter of commendation from the Thane and a string of Drow ears.  The third was trapped.  He managed to disarm the trap, but then the chest was empty.

Seépravir cast Seek Magic to see if they missed any magic items.  The first casting revealed that the walls of the fortress were enchanted.  The second casting, ignoring the walls, showed no magic nearby, with the nearest unknown magic pretty far northwest.

We stopped there, having spent a great deal of time moving around the mostly cleared map, looting chests and breaking things.  The players discussed whether to go back to Cillamar, but decided to stay in Narborg for now, to avoid giving the duergar a chance to reinforce.

Southeast Corner of Narborg

GM's Comments:

Only one fight this session, versus an ambush by the surviving diehard Duergar guards that had been bypassed before.  Most of the PCs having See Invisible meant it wasn't a very successful ambush.

The very slow rate of advance continues.

2020-03-19

House Rule: Less Annoying Critical Hits in GURPS / DFRPG

In GURPS, you get a critical hit when you roll really well on your attack.  (A quick GURPS attack roll primer: you roll 3d6 and need to roll your modified skill or less to hit.  A 3-4 is always a critical hit, a 5 is also a critical hit if your modified skill was 15+, and a 6 is also a critical hit if your modified skill was 16+.  A 17+ never hits even if you have ridiculous skill.)

A critical hit gives you two nice benefits.  First, the target doesn't get to defend.  Second, you get a roll on the critical hit table.  (Assuming your GM uses the critical hit table.  Some don't.)

The annoying thing about the critical hit table is that the most commonly rolled numbers, 9-11, are all "normal damage only".  Which is fine, you still hit with no defense possible, but means you wasted time rolling on the table.  Another couple numbers are "automatic Major Wound", which is fine if you didn't already cause a major wound, but a waste if you did.  Another couple numbers reduce the target's DR, which is great if the target has DR, pointless if not.  Another one makes the target drop whatever it's holding, which is useless if your target is empty-handed.

A quick house rule to make critical hits slightly quicker to resolve and less annoying, while keeping the fun of odd results:

If you roll the highest number you needed to get a critical hit (so 6 if you had modified skill 16+, 5 if you had modified skill 15, 4 if you had modified skill 14 or less), you get the critical hit, but you don't get to roll on the critical hit table.  The target not getting to defend is the only benefit.

If you roll strictly less than you needed for a critical hit, you are guaranteed a non-trivial result on the critical hit table.  If you roll something with no benefit at all (whether that's no effect, or automatic major wound when you already got a major wound, etc.), you can reroll until you get something with an effect.

Rerolling is slow, so a better option would be to make a new critical hit table with no "nothing" results on it, but I'll leave that as an exercise to the reader, to avoid reproducing a slightly modified version of a copyrighted table here.

(Note: I'm not actually using this house rule in DF Whiterock at this time, because I don't like changing rules in the middle of a campaign unless really necessary.  But I'll try it for the next campaign.)

2020-03-16

DF Whiterock Session 87: Cleaning up Narborg

Date:


2020-03-13

Weather:


Cold, session entirely underground


Player Characters:


Garreth, Half-Orc Fighter, 472 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 472 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 466 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High Elf Wizard, 477 points


Significant NPCs:


Elias, Wood Elf Cleric (player not present)
Lance Corporal Wolfrik, Possessed Duergar Guard
Hutgreth, Charmed Duergar Watch Captain
Zombie Ettin
Stone Golem
Lots of Duergar Guards
Duergar Cleric


We resumed in mid-battle, inside the Duergar fortress of Narborg.  There was one Duergar guard in the room with most of the PCs, and two more across the hall in the room with Seépravir in the Invisible, Possessed body of Wolfrik.

Start of the Session

Things went poorly for the outnumbered guard, wedged into an arrow slit.  Garreth used Rapier Wit to insult his beard, stunning him, then chopped off an arm, then killed him.  Meanwhile Polly ran south, then west underneath the hallway to join Seépravir in the other room.  Seépravir tried pickpocketing the duergar guards' crossbow bolts, but only got a few of them, and was noticed.  (Neither she nor Wolfrik actually had the Pickpocket skill.)  One guard heard exactly where she was, and tried shooting her at point blank range, but she parried his crossbow.  The other guard followed his buddy's lead and shot where the invisible opponent appeared to be, but she Blinked away.

Polly ran into the room with the two remaining duergar, shot both of them, and stunned both of them.  Then she shot one of the stunned ones again and killed him.  A second later, she shot the just-unstunned one, knocking him out.  Garreth arrived right behind her, but found no enemies left standing in that room.  Polly went to the north end of the room and peered through some arrow slits.  She noticed a duergar facing away from her, guarding a doorway with his mace.  She shot him in the head until he fell down unconscious, then shot him in the head again to make sure.

Elias noticed a lewd statue of a female duergar that he thought was offensive to his goddess Elyr, and spent a couple of turns smashing it.  Sadly, there was no treasure inside.  Zaber searched a door that he'd been told was trapped for traps, found the trap, and disabled the trap.  Then he listened at the door, hearing nothing.  Then he picked the lock and found a tiny room containing another statue of the Duergar god with tentacles for a beard.  He played with the statue a while, found nothing interesting, opened another door, and found another statue of the same god, and a barrel of crossbow bolts.  Meanwhile, Elias found and smashed another offensive statue.

With the local population of enemies depleted, everyone stopped for rest and healing.  Elias cast Bless on Zaber, and also some of Stop Bleeding and Major Healing spells on Garreth and Wolfrik.  Wolfrik, who'd been running around unarmored (because the PCs had looted and sold his scale armor before Seépravir came back and Possessed him) then took some scale armor and a large shield from one of the dead guards.

With everyone healed, Polly and Zaber explored the area a bit.  They looked through more arrow slits to the north, and found an ettin zombie waiting to ambush anyone would came through a doorway.  She shot it in one of its four eyes, and it did enough damage to destroy it. 

The group decided to head east.  Hutgreth asked Wolfrik if they should go west to the Thane instead, since Wolfrik had an important message to deliver.  Zaber pointed out that they didn't want to lead the traitors to the Thane, and needed to kill more of them first.  This made sense to Hutgreth (mostly because he was Charmed to do whatever Wolfrik wanted) so he led them to the east, unlocking a door for them.  Zaber scouted ahead invisibly and reported a couple of duergar guards watching an intersection.  Hutgreth offered to take them out, and charged.  A quick three-way battle ensued, in which all three duergar died.

After Hutgreth's death, Zaber heard three loud crashes to the southwest.  After some exploration he saw that the three portcullises to the south had been lowered, blocking escape to the causeway.  The group chose to continue exploring to the east.

Zaber unlocked one door, beyond which was a minor armoury, with some spears and armor, and a desk with a log book on it.  He flipped through the book and saw that it appeared to be logs of weaspons issued, returned, lost, and damaged.  The group ignored it and kept exploring.  Zaber opened another door, into a barracks with a bunch of bunks and chests but no enemies.  He searched one chest and found some brass knuckles and a gem.  He grabbed the loot but they kept going.  Another door revealed a smaller barracks.

A door behind that led to a small library.  The shelves contained several books (a quick check showed that most were about tactics), and one contract, between The Company of the Black Osprey and someone named Wolfrun.   Polly was very excited, because they'd found an Important Quest Item.  Garreth stuffed the contract and books into the magic backpack.

Polly found a corner of a room that looked Very Suspicious, and searched for secret doors, but failed to find any.  (She rolled a 17.)  She then asked Zaber to search there, and he found a secret door, leading back to the small room with the statue of the duergar god with tentacle beard. 

The group continued exploring.  Zaber listened at another door, and heard a sound like scraping stone behind it.  Everyone formed up, then he opened the door.  Inside were three duergar and a stone golem, in a strange room containing a pool of water with stones next to it, and some bars high above a spiked pit.  The duergar and golem were not surprised, and a battle ensued.  Polly shot one of the duergar guards in the head multiple times quickly, and he went down.  The rest of the fight was not so easy.  The other duergar and the golem were pretty good at defending themselves.  Also, one of the duergar was a cleric, and cast Missile Shield on himself and his comrade.  That kept Polly busy for a few turns, Mysteriously Missing, before she figured out what was going on and switched to her rapier.  The stone golem had Parry Missile Weapon, and sometimes parried arrows with his feet.  He also had a ton of DR and HP.

Eventually, numbers and superior skill (plus Luck, which saw a lot of use) prevailed.  Four of the PCs surrounded the two duergar and the golem, while Seépravir used Grease spells to mess with the golem.  The golem critically failed an attack with its huge maul, injuring its stone shoulder joint and reducing it to barehanded attacks.  Garreth eventually crippled one of the golem's legs, which lowered its dodge to the point where he could pound it into smaller rocks.  Meanwhile Polly stabbed the duergar a lot, while Elias bashed the duergar a lot, and Zaber grappled one of the duergar to make it easier for his allies to stab and bash.  Eventually both duergar went down.

We stopped there for the evening, with the PCs temporarily victorious, but their path out of Narborg blocked.

End of the Session


GM's Comments:

Hutgreth's fatal charge was GM fiat with no dice involved: I was running too many characters, and we were having many similar battles against doomed outnumbered duergar guards, so he won a battle and died in the process, to move things along.

The group is pretty sure the contract is the last of four items needed to satisfy Elweiss's quest.  Which Garreth isn't in any hurry to finish because he doesn't want to return Elweiss's spear.  So we'll see if they actually get around to finishing it anytime soon.


2020-03-08

DF Whiterock Session 86: Deeper into Narborg

Date:

2020-03-06



Weather:

Cold, light snow, session entirely underground



Player Characters:

Elias, Wood Elf Cleric, 409 points
Garreth, Half-Orc Fighter, 470 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 470 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 464 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High Elf Wizard, 475 points



Significant NPCs:

Lance Corporal Wolfrik, Possessed duergar guard
Hutgreth, Charmed Duergar watch captain
Controlled Zombie Ettin
6 Zombie Ettins
Lots of Duergar guards


We resumed in mid-battle, with the PCs attacking the underground Duergar fortress of Narborg.

Progress of the assault on Narborg at the start of this session

Three of the PCs, along with the Charmed duergar watch captain Hutgreth and a zombie ettin that Hutgreth had given Seépravir the Key of Corpse Command for, were just north of the gate into Narborg.  Seépravir, still in the possessed body of the duergar guard Wolfrik, was in a room just to the west of the others, where she had flipped some levers to raise some portcullises.  Meanwhile, Zaber had turned invisible and squeezed through an arrow slit into the firing deck overlooking the causeway, and was sneaking around amidst the duergar guards, east of the others.

Seépravir Blinked back from the room with the levers to rejoin the others.  The group headed north a bit, as Zaber spied on the duergar running out of the barracks to respond to the alarm.  Then, without warning, secret doors opened on both sides of the passage, and 6 more zombie ettins, each holding two flails, poured out to ambush them.  Fortunately for the PCs, the zombies failed to achieve total surprise.

One of the zombie ettins pounded on Elias with both flails.  He blocked the first, but the second hit for enough damage to penetrate his heavy armor and knock him back a hex, into Seépravir.  Seépravir Blinked away.  Another zombie tried hitting Elias.  Garreth managed to sacrificially parry the first flail, but the second got past Garreth's parry.  Elias used his Luck to reroll a failed dodge, and rolled a critical success, making the zombie flail itself in the leg.  A third zombie went for Elias.  Once again, Garreth parried the first attack, and Elias critically dodged the second, this time resulting in a dropped flail.  The fourth zombie also chose Elias, and this time he critically failed his dodge, falling down, but was lucky that the zombie rolled poor damage that failed to penetrate this armor.  He dodged the second flail.  The fifth zombie went after Garreth, but missed its first attack and had its weapon turn in its hand on his second.  The last zombie also attacked Garreth, who retreated and dodged both attacks.

Elias spun back to his feet (with Flight I allow any Change Position as a step) and rapidly struck one of the zombies with his own flail, hitting both times (despite Shock penalty), with one being a critical hit for a  Major Wound.  The zombie was tough, though, and wasn't even stunned.  Polly shot the zombie that Elias had just badly wounded, destroying it.  She then shot two more arrows at another zombie, which dodged the first and took the second in the eye for a redeath.  Seépravir tried using the Key of Corpse Command to make the surviving zombies stop attacking and go north, but they ignored it.  She also tried Rapier Wit on the nearest zombie, which ignored it.  Garreth used Kiai to stun a zombie.  Seépravir's pet zombie ran north toward the battle, as ordered.

Ambushed by Ettin Zombies

A zombie attacked Hutgreth, who blocked it.  The stunned zombie recovered.  Another zombie tried attacking Seépravir, who Blinked further away.  Another went for Hutgreth, who parried both attacks.  Elias attacked a zombie in the back, hurting it badly with his first attack, then critically failing his second attack and losing his balance.  Unfortunately it was Seépravir's zombie.  (Ettin zombies all look alike.)  Hutgreth used the axe end of his combination axe-hammer to rapid strike a zombie, critically hitting once and missing once.  Polly fired three times at a zombie.  It dodged the first two arrows and took the third one in the eye for enough damage to kill it.  

Seépravir tried taunting a zombie, which had no obvious effect.  Garreth Kiaied a zombie to stun it, then cut its leg off with his katana.  A zombie ran at Seépravir and attempted a Slam, but she retreated and dodged.  The last zombie managed to hit Hutgreth hard after he critically failed a block, losing his grip on his shield.  Elias pounded on a zombie with is flail twice for serious damage, but didn't knock it out.  Polly, flying up near the ceiling and holding her bow sideways Assassin Style to avoid any chance of hitting her friends, shot two more zombies in the eye, killing them.  Seépravir took advantage of Wolfrik's crossbow skill and shot the nearby zombie in the vitals.  Garreth cut one of a zombie's heads off, killing it.  The last zombie rolled a critical hit on Seépravir, who used Luck to make it reroll, but still took a solid blow.  Polly shot and killed it, and the fight against the zombies was over.

Meanwhile, Zaber was invisibly spying on the duergar.  A group of 5 ran past him to the west, toward the battle.  Two stragglers remained in the barracks for a while, adjusting their armor and weapons.  Eventually, he headed west toward his friends.  He spotted them through an arrow slit, and said "Beer!" in dwarven to alert them to his presence.

Polly pulled some rust monster antennae out of the Bag of Holding, and tried using them on a portcullis to the north, but they had no effect.  Some duergar guards came over near Zaber.  One started flailing around with his mace, looking for the invisible enemy he had heard.  Zaber got away from him.  Polly heard the noise, looked through the arrow slit from the wrong side, saw the duergar's back, and shot him in the back of the skull, knocking him out.   Meanwhile Garreth passed the wineskin of healing potions to Seépravir, who drank enough to get out of danger of passing out.

Zaber repeated his trick of squeezing through an arrow slit, and again made his Escape-6 roll (though it required Luck), rejoining his friends.  He picked a lock on a door and found an empty room behind it.  Polly tried another door to the west, and found it was locked.  When Zaber approached, she pointed out the locked door, and he picked it.  Now they had two choices: west through the door, or north through some more portcullises.  They chose north.  Polly tried rust monster antennae again, and they failed again.

The passage had lots of arrow slits on both sides.  When Polly went forward to play with the portcullis, six duergar with crossbows who had been waiting behind the arrow slits shot bolts at her.  She dodged all six, though needed to use her Luck to do so.  They then backed away from the arrow slits to reload.  Some more duergar came up to arrow slits, and Polly shot at them.  They managed to dodge and drop out of her line of sight.

Eventually the duergar finished reloading and showed their faces at the arrow slits.  Polly shot at three of them.  Two of them managed to drop and dodge, spoiling their aim.  The third wasn't fast enough and took an arrow in the skull for a knockout.  Meanwhile the others moved north toward the portcullis.  Hutgreth commanded the duergar inside to open the portcullis, and they called him a coward and reminded him of the standing order not to open the doors when under attack.  

Garreth asked Hutgreth how to get to those duergar.  He replied that there was a door on the east side after the next portcullis.   Seépravir noticed three more levers behind some arrow slits to the west, so she turned invisible, then Blinked over there.  When she reached the levers, she pulled them all down, opening all three portcullises.

The PCs continued advancing, with Polly shooting any duergar that showed themselves, and occasional crossbow bolts either getting dodged, or parried by Garreth's katana.  Eventually Garreth failed to dodge one, and took some minor damage, not enough to really inconvenience him.  Garreth asked Hutgreth if the door was trapped.  Hutgreth said that door was safe, but there was a trap on one of the doors behind it.  Garreth waited for Hutgreth to open the second door, but it turned out to not be trapped either.  Garreth, Hutgreth, and Elias penetrated into the room on the other side of the arrow slits, where the duergar were reloading their crossbows.  Garreth slammed one against the wall, hard enough to wedge him into an arrow slit.

We were out of time, so we stopped for the evening at that point, with most of the duergar in the immediate area down but a few still standing.  The PCs had survived an ettin zombie ambush, opened some more doors and portcullises, and put down several more duergar guards.  But it appeared there were more duergar in the vicinity.
State at the end of the session


GM's Comments:

The ettin zombies had a lot of ST and HP, but they had Unnatural, which caused them to automatically die at -HP, rather than getting to roll death checks.  This sped things up a bit, as a really solid hit to the eye or skull tended to automatically knock them out of the fight, rather than have me make death checks and stun rolls for them.

The duergar with crossbows had the advantage of numbers, and being on the right side of the arrow slits.  Polly had the advantage of good Dodge and high rate of fire.  Advantage mostly to Polly.

Narborg is a pretty well-designed fortress, but the PCs have used both Blink spells and squeezing through arrow slits to go where they're not supposed to.  The Thane might want to consider putting No Mana Zones in the walls and making the arrow slits narrower, if he lives long enough.

2020-03-01

DF Whiterock Session 85: The Gate of Narborg

Date:

2020-02-28


Weather:

Cold, light snow, session entirely underground


Player Characters:

Garreth, Half-Orc Fighter, 468 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 468 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 462 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High Elf Wizard, 473 points


Significant NPCs:

Elias, Wood Elf Cleric (player not present)
Lance Corporal Wolfrik, Possessed duergar guard
21 Duergar guards
Hutgreth, Duergar watch captain
Zombie Ettin
Destrachan
Giant Bugs


We resumed in mid-battle, with our heroes attacking the duergar fortress of Narborg.  Seépravir was still Possessing Lance Corporal Wolfrik, and the duergar hadn't figured out that she was one of the invaders.  She was intermingled with the duergar guards and their destrachan on the western end of the causeway, closer to the gate of Narborg.  The rest of the PCs were still further east on the causeway, having survived one volley of crossbow bolts from Narborg, but Zaber was pretty badly wounded and without a Bless spell.

Progress of the assault on the gate of Narborg, at the end of this session.

Zaber drank a healing potion.  Polly shot the wounded destrachan twice, stunning it then killing it, then shot one of the duergar guards on the causeway.  Seépravir (still in Wolfrik's body) stopped maintaining a couple of spells she no longer needed, then cast Levitation on one of the nearby duergar, and critically succeeded.  Garreth, wary of more crossbow bolts, all-out defended.  Elias recovered his flail which was hanging by its lanyard.  The rear duergar on the causeway started readying their large shields, while the front ones moved up.  The ones on the firing deck Enlarged themselves, though the PCs couldn't see that.  Zaber put on his Ring of Invisibility.

Polly shot the wounded (and thus slow to dodge) duergar on the causeway in the vitals, killing him.  She then ran forward and shot the one next to Seépravir, killing him too, making the Levitation spell pretty useless.  Seépravir dropped the Levitation, and ran north toward the gate, pretending to flee from Polly.  Garreth kept All-Out Defending and ran forward.  Elias stepped toward the front two duergar and Waited.  The front duergar also stepped and Waited, which put one of them in Elias's reach, so he tried a flail shot to the skull, which the duergar blocked.  That triggered the duergar's Wait, so he tried a mace shot at Elias's torso, which Elias also blocked.  The duergar on the firing deck started cocking their crossbows.  Zaber drank another dose of healing potion.  Polly ran past the closest two duergar.  As she did, the one who hadn't used his Wait yet tried smashing her, but Garreth sacrificially parried the blow.  Polly continued until she was in position behind both duergar, outside their shield arcs.  She then shot one three times in the vitals from behind.  Because it was a runaround attack rather than an unseen rear attack, he was allowed to defend, but his only option was a dodge at -2 (for side/rear) and with no shield DB.  He failed to dodge the first one, took enough damage for a major wound, and failed his stun roll.  At that point his dodge was reduced to 4 or less, so Polly predictably put two more arrows into his vitals.  He made his first three death checks, but failed the fourth.

As she ran down the causeway toward the gate, Seépravir / Wolfrik caught a glimpse of an Enlarged duergar through an arrow slit.  She yelled for the duergar to open the gate and come help, which got no response.  Garreth used Rapier Wit on the surviving nearby duergar, insulting the length of his beard and suggesting surrender.  This resulted in mental stun.  Elias used Rapid Strike to doubly attack the stunned duergar with his flail.  The first one was parried, but the second one landed, with enough damage to slow the duergar.  The duergar spent his own turn recovering from stun, as his allies continued reloading.  Zaber invisibly ran up the causeway's support beam toward the arrow slits.  He needed to make a DX roll to stay on it, but that was easy for him.  (Of course he had a Flight spell on, so if he missed it would have just been an embarrassment not a fatal fall.)  Polly shot the wounded duergar in the back of the skull, knocking him unconscious.  Having no other good targets, she shot him again to finish him off, annoying Seépravir who always wants more duergar to possess.  Never wanting to not take a shot, she fired another arrow at an arrow slit hoping for a lucky hit, but failed to get one.  With no opponents remaining on the causeway, Garreth and Polly and Elias continued running toward the gate.

Seépravir used Blink to teleport through the closed gate.  This worked, and she ended up in a gatehouse, with a duergar guard and an ettin zombie.  She made her Body Sense roll and was free to act.  She pretended that she had been invisible (which duergar have as a racial ability) and it had just worn off.  The duergar guard was suspicious and readied his mace while yelling questions; the ettin zombie didn't do anything.  The duergar on the firing deck moved back up to their arrow slits.  Zaber flew up to the other side of the wall with the arrow slits, but well above them, and looked down at the slits wondering if he could squeeze through one.

Polly started shooting back through the arrow slits.  She hit the westernmost duergar in the face, stunning him.  Then she shot at the next one to the east.  He dodged, but this spoiled his aim.  She then shot the third one in line, hitting his face and stunning him.  Meanwhile, Seépravir tried Fast-Talking the duergar guard in the gatehouse.  She said the Impresario gave her a spell stone and she was bringing a message for the commander.  The duergar did not attack, but did not appear convinced either.  He asked to see The Impresario's seal.  Seépravir didn't have it, so she gave up on bluffing and just used Rapier Wit to stun him, followed by a Charm spell to enslave him.  She didn't like her roll so used Luck to retry it, and managed to defeat the duergar's spell resistance.  At that point Watch Captain Hutgreth became Lance Corporal Wolfrik's best friend.

Meanwhile, on the firing deck, the duergar who Polly hadn't stunned fired their crossbows.  Four aimed at Polly, and Garreth parried all four bolts with his katana and Parry Missile Weapons.  The other two aimed at Elias; he blocked one and dodged the other.  The duergar who shot stepped back away from the arrow slits, but the two stunned ones spent their who turns recovering from stun, so were still there for Polly to shoot again.  She put arrows on target for both, but both managed to drop and dodge out of line of sight.  One passed out from his wounds shortly afterward.

Zaber, still invisible, squeezed through an arrow slit and into the firing deck, where several duergar were busy cocking their crossbows.  It was a large room with arrow slits all around, and no furniture except a few practice targets and a few containers of crossbow bolts.  He looked around a bit, then headed for a door in the back of the room.  Polly ran down one of the causeway's supports and looked down into the deep smelly pit below.  She didn't immediately see much, so she fired a Continual Light arrow, which hit a ledge far below, and revealed some giant bugs crawling around.

Seépravir ordered the charmed watch captain to open the outside gate and then follow him in.  The watch captain in turn ordered the zombie ettin to spin the wheel on the wall to open the gate, then yelled for someone to raise the inner portcullis.  When it didn't go up right away, he yelled that he would throw someone in the trash pit in five seconds if the portcullis didn't start moving.  Garreth and Elias started sprinting toward the gate.  The zombie ettin reached the wheel but took a couple of seconds to make it start moving, then the heavy front gate slowly started opening.  

Polly reached the corner of the causeway, and saved a bit of time by jumping over the chasm.  (She had both a Flight spell and a Ring of Slow Fall so this wasn't as brave as it appeared.)  While flying throw the air she fired a few arrows at the arrow slits on general principle, but didn't hit anything.  Seépravir wasn't happy with the speed of the gate so tried pushing on it to make it open faster.  When she touched it, the gate screamed -- apparently there was a magic alarm.  Fortunately, her new friend Hutgreth knew the password to shut it up: "Hrolad."

Zaber turned down a passage behind the firing deck, toward the gate.  He spotted some stairs leading down to a blank wall, but didn't take the time to investigate.  He also drank some more healing potion.  Polly scanned the arrow slits looking for any duergar dumb enough to be in her line of sight, found one, and took a shot, but he dropped and dodged out of sight.

Seépravir asked Hutgreth how he controlled the zombie.  The watch captain replied that he had a key of corpse command.  Seépravir said to give it to her, and he pulled out a big evil-looking double-skull-ended magic key and handed it to her.  Garreth and Elias ran into the gatehouse.  Seépravir said "he's with us, one of the orcs."  Hutgreth asked if Garreth was a Bleak Arena fighter, and Seépravir said he was a winner.

Zaber continued down the passage, looked through an arrow slit, and saw the gatehouse with his friends inside.  He threw the wineskin of healing potions through the slit to Garreth, and hit him in the feet.  Polly, seeing no more targets, reluctantly joined her friends in the gatehouse.  They were all stuck behind a portcullis that still wasn't going up, despite Hutgreth's commands.  Seépravir looked through an arrow slit and saw a room with three levers.  Garreth started charging up Power Blow.

Seépravir orded the zombie to go north and pull out any crossbowmen.  She then Blinked to the room with the levers, and pulled the first lever, which opened the portcullis.  Meanwhile, Zaber saw some of the duergar with crossbows running down the hall to attempt to shoot the invaders through the arrow slits.  Polly picked up the wineskin of healing potions and drank some.

Hutgreth, seeing his best friend Wolfrik was gone, asked what that elf was doing there and where Wolfrik went.  Wolfrik yelled back through an arrow slit that she was on that side, and the elf look was just a really good disguise.  Seépravir pulled the second lever, opening the second portcullis blocking the passage north.  She then yelled that there were traitor dwarves, and that Hutgreth should kill any dwarf except her and the ones dressed as elves.  Surprisingly, Hutgreth fell for this, said said he knew those mercenaries weren't loyal, and asked if they were working for the Mountain King.

Zaber saw a duergar open a door to the north, into a large barracks full of duergar.  He yelled that all the lazy off-duty dwarves need to get ready to fight, as they're being invaded by elves and orcs, clearly led by drow.  Polly looked through an arrow slit and saw two duergar with crossbows on the other side.  She shot at one.  He heard the shot coming and tried dodging, but failed and was slowed and then shot twice more and then he died.  The other one yelled a warning, that the elf archer was inside and just got Rolf.  Seépravir pulled the third lever and raised the third portcullis.

Two surviving crossbow duergar ran right up to the arrow slit and fired point-blank shots at Polly.  She dodged both, as they swore at each other for getting in each other's way.  Then she shot one of them in the eye, for a critical hit, a knockout, and the right to wear a cool eye patch.  For good measure, she shot the other one in the torso, also knocking him out.

It was getting late, so we stopped at that point.  A whole lot of duergar were dead or knocked out, though Zaber found a whole more more still coming.  The passage north into the fortress was open.  And Seépravir, still inside a Possessed duergar, had both a Charmed duergar watch captain and an ettin zombie following her orders.

GM's Comments:


We sometimes forget this rule, so: critical success on a spell means no resistance roll.  DFRPG Spells page 14.

Arrow slits only expose a crossbow user's head, neck, arms, and hands, so only a shot to those hit locations will affect them.  Also, the user has the option of using their Step to move away from the arrow slit to reload after they shoot, becoming an invalid target except during the turns they actually spend aiming.  Finally, they can do a pop-up attack (step up to arrow slit, immediately fire, step away), making them immune to attacks except from someone Waiting for them to appear there, but that means no time to Aim and an extra -2 to hit.  The arrow slits don't go all the way to the floor, so someone who goes prone behind one leaves line of sight.

I ruled that Blink can be used without being attacked as a short-range teleport.  (Otherwise players will resort to asking their friends to attack them so they can use Blocking spells, which is silly.  Or punch themselves so they can try to evade their own attack, which is sillier.)  However it's still a Blocking spell, so all the drawbacks of Blocking spells still apply: you only get one per turn (so if you Blink into danger on your own turn, you can't use any Blocking spells to protect yourself until your turn comes around again), and you don't get an energy cost reduction for high skill.  (Spells that are listed as "Regular or Blocking" only have the drawbacks of a Blocking spell in Blocking mode, but spells that are only listed as Blocking have them all the time.)

I thought letting Zaber make an Escape roll to squeeze through an arrow slit was a bit generous, as those things are typically pretty narrow.  But it was also amusing, so I let him try at -6, and he succeeded.  I guess duergar are thick enough that they also make their arrow slits a wee bit wider than humans do.

DF Whiterock Session 90: Duergar Ambush and the Thane's Dining Room

Date: 2020-04-03 Weather: Cold, session entirely underground Player Characters: Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 418 point...