Weather:Warm, mostly cloudy
Player Characters:Bernard (threethreethree), Human Fighter, 170 points
Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 170 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 201 (+15) points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 192 (+11) points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 176 (+15) points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 216 (+5) points
Significant NPCs:Durkerle, Dwarven Cleric
2 Orc Barbarians of the White Roc tribe
Drugila, Giant Orc Wizard of the White Roc tribe
Nemoura, Nixie Princess
We rejoined the PCs in mid-battle, against two orc barbarians and Drugila, Giant Orc leader of the White Roc tribe. One of the barbarians was down, stunned, and disarmed. The other one was barely wounded and fighting Garreth. And Drugila was Levitating and throwing boulders.
The unstunned orc barbarian tried to smash Garreth with his flail, but Garreth was waiting and unleased a Rapid Strike with his katana as soon as the orc came within range. The first stroke hit and did enough damage to slow the orc. That hurt his Dodge enough that the second stroke also hit. The orc wasn't down or stunned, but he was badly injured, and failed to hit Garreth.
Polly fired an arrow at Drugila, who dodged in mid-air, and retaliated with a boulder. Polly acrobatically dodged the boulder in return. (She initially missed her Acrobatics roll, but used her Luck to reroll.) The downed orc barbarian was in the boulder's path behind Polly, but was not hit.
Meanwhile Seépravir invisibly snuck toward Drugila, Ibizaber invisibly and silently snuck nowhere in particular, and Bernard (who had just arrived on the scene, and was given directions to the battle by rear guard Durkerle) ran toward the fight holding his crossbow.
Garreth took another double-shot at his wounded opponent, and hit once, doing a bit of damage. Seépravir, with an uncomfortable number of spells maintained, dropped all the spells she had on Zaber (Dark Vision, Invisibility, and Hush), then cast Missile Shield on boulder-target Polly. Zaber responded to his sudden visibility by diving behind some rubble. Polly took another shot at Drugila, but missed. Drugila threw her last boulder at Polly, but missed due to Missile Shield.
Garreth took another rapid strike on the orc barbarian, who had waited and got a flail attack in first. The orc failed to injure Garreth, and Garreth made the orc bleed a little more, still failing to stun him. Seépravir cast Blur on Garreth to make him hard to hit. The badly wounded orc that was fighting Garreth went Berserk, and did a double All Out Attack, but Garreth dodged the first blow (though he needed to use his Luck) and the second attack missed because of the Blur. Polly drilled Drugila through the breastplate into the vitals with a bodkin arrow, making a serious wound. Drugila responded by casting Darkness around herself. Unfortunately for her, three of the PCs had Dark Vision, so it only really helped against Bernard.
Garreth took another attack on the defenseless orc barbarian who'd just All-Out Attacked, and did enough damage to kill him. The second orc barbarian, who'd been badly wounded last session, passed out. Polly put another arrow into Drugila for serious damage and a stun. Drugila came out of stun after losing a turn, and Bernard, unable to see Drugila, aimed at the darkness.
Realizing Polly could see her, Drugila cast Missile Shield on herself. Seépravir made her Thaumatology roll, recognized the spell, and tipped Polly off (in Elvish, so Drugila wouldn't know, but Bernard didn't know either). Seépravir cast Levitation on Garreth, Polly headed for the ladder up, and Bernard kept aiming at the darkness hoping Drugila would come out.
Drugila reached the trap door in the ceiling, and opened it, but this meant leaving her area of darkness, giving Bernard a shot with his crossbow. Missile Shield meant it had no chance of hitting, though. Seépravir had been levitating Garreth up, and he finally got into reach of Drugila's feet, rolled a critical hit, and chopped one of them off cleanly with his Katana. He then stabbed her other foot, not as critically. And finally, he levitated up some more into torso range, landed a huge stab, and Drugila died. That meant her Levitation went away, and she fell. Luckily for Seépravir, she fell the other way, not onto the elf's head. Splat!
With the battle over, there was time to search the tower. This revealed mosaics on the walls, recently cleaned, showing scenes of orcs and cloud giants working together to kill humans and elves and dwarves and gnomes. Also a huge set of iron double doors, which the party ignored.
The whole party (except for rear guards Durkerle and Ibizaber) climbed up the ladder or levitated to the next floor. This revealed the 200-foot-tall second level of the tower, with a huge spiral staircase, and more mosaics on the walls. These focused on a cloud giant with a giant flail, a huge iron crown, and white birds whose size varied from small enough to ride on the giant's shoulder to large enough for the giant to ride.
After a long climb up the staircase, the group reached a room featuring an altar, a prayer mat, a wood elf in a cage, and a prone one-armed giant skeleton. The elf pleaded for rescue, whlie the skeleton started trying to punch anyone within reach (and that was pretty far). Polly started filling the skeleton with arrows, Bernard prodded it with a spear and tried to keep it off Polly, and Seépravir worked on rescuing the elf, while Garreth stood back. The skleton's huge hand almost got Polly once, but she dodged it, and then Bernard gave it a good stab and taunt.
The skeleton's attacks and dodges had been mostly ineffective due to the penalty for being prone, so it finally decided to get up. It was wobbly and only had one arm, though, and lost its balance and fell. The damage from the fall was enough to finish it.
Seépravir found the key to the elf's cage under the prayer rug, unlocked the cage, and the elf stepped out and introduced himself as Elias, a cleric. He then proceded to recover his equipment from a chest nearby. There was a nice silk banner of a diving white bird of prey, and a curious gigantic iron crown, and the group took both back down.
Garreth wanted to find the water creature that Zaber had spotted before, so Zaber led the way through twisty tunnels to the submerged cave. The little green lady was still there, and spoke Elvish. A conversation with Seépravir revealed that she was a nixie named Nemoura. She had been exploring various submerged caves when she ran into a giant crayfish, which chased her until she reached a passage too narrow for it, which led to this cavern. She could not go back out without fighting the crayfish, which was too tough for her. She had charmed some orcs which had visited the cave, and sent them to fight the crayfish, but the crayfish had killed them, and then other orcs had plugged the entrance to this cave with a boulder too heavy for the nixie to move. So she's been trapped in this cave, between a rock and a hard crayfish, for a few weeks, eating most of the small fish in the cave. She offered to cast Water Breathing on anyone brave enough to fight the crayfish.
Garreth, who had a Ring of Swimming, volunteered. Nobody else wanted to fight the crayfish, but invisible Seépravir accepted a Water Breathing spell to follow and help Garreth. They started down the passage to the crayfish, then Seépravir cast Blur and Great Haste on Garreth. He swam at the crayfish and tried to stab it with his Katana, but long swung weapons don't work so well underwater, and he missed a lot. The crayfish tried to grapple Garreth with its huge claws, but he dodged. Garreth pulled out a knife and tried stabbing the crayfish with it, but barely penetrated its hard shell. Then he noticed a ledge in the room, sticking out of the water, and decided to climb up there and try to lure the crayfish into coming out of the water, where his weapons were more effective.
The crayfish was not a genius, and exposed part of its body to Garreth's greatsword. (He had dropped his katana but had the greatsword as a backup weapon.) With Great Haste he landed several blows, severely wounded the crayfish, and the death spiral began. The crayfish started trying to swim away, but it was slowed by its wounds, and Garreth was quite fast in the water due to the Ring of Swimming, and kept after it, landed a few more blows, stunned it, and killed it. He chopped off one crayfish claw (good eatin'!) to bring back to the others, and he and Seépravir swam back to the others.
Nemoura was overjoyed that the crayfish was dead, handed Garreth her ring as a reward, and swam off. Seépravir detected that the ring was magic, and it resized itself to fit Garreth's finger as he tried it on. Garreth so no effect from the ring, so he handed it to Ibizaber, who swam around (badly) while wearing the ring until his head went under, and he figured out that it gave him Water Breathing.
Satisfied with their delve, the group decided to start grabbing treasure and headed for Cillamar. One cleric (Durkerle) was leaving the group, but it appeared that Elias might be willing to take his place.
The fight against the two orc barbarians and the levitating, boulder-throwing Drugila was a pretty good one, but they just couldn't hit the PCs very often, and when they did, the PCs used Luck. High health and good rolls to stay up meant the fight lasted a while, but Garreth and Polly just landed a lot of damage, and eventually all three foes went down.
The prone giant skeleton would have done a lot of damage if he ever hit, but -4 to hit and -3 to defend for being prone is a huge penalty, and standing up wasn't safe for the giant skeleton, and when he tried he missed his DX check, and that was the end of that. Just hanging back and plinking him with arrows probably would have been the safest strategy, but Bernard's taunts and spear-stabs sped things up.
The fight against the crayfish was interesting because Nemoura could only give two PCs Water Breathing, and only one PC could wear the Ring of Swimming. So it was essentially a solo fight, with Seépravir providing some buffs. The GURPS underwater combat rules (from Pyramid 3/26) are just brutal to land creatures: all DX skills capped to Swimming skill, -4 to hit per yard of length for swung weapons, thrust damage -1 per yard of weapon length, swing damage -1 per die per yard, Aquabatics roll needed to retreat. The ring essentially made Garreth amphibious and got him out of some of those penalties, but he still had -8 to hit and -6 to swing damage with his 2-yard swords. But he had Great Haste and Blur (at -5), which are pretty nice. He tried switching to his knife, which had smaller penalties but much less damage. Climbing up on land was a winning tactic: if the crayfish had been smarter it would have stayed out of reach in the water, but it wasn't that smart, and once it stuck part of its body out of the water, it was in deep deep trouble.
Only two players made the whole session: a couple arrived late and a couple had to leave early. So things were a bit disjointed, but I think things went okay overall.