Player Characters:Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 290 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 355 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 352 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 336 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 370 points
Vulgaris, Minyad Druid Alchemist
Charithmysis, The Bard Blade, Rapier
Morro River Trading Boat Crew
3 River Pirates
Master Nabaron, Martial Artist
Valfors Bay Fishing Boat Crew
Ashryn, Half-Elven Student Enchanter
Ilvisar, Elfen Wizard/Professor
The PCs had been discussing travelling from Cillamar (a small town near Castle Whiterock) to Galaron (the capital and biggest city in the Kingdom of Morrain) for a while. With winter ending and Seépravir having raised her Flight spell to level 25, long-distance travel was finally practical. (Though not exactly convenient since Flight is at 5 miles per hour.) Everyone wanted to go shopping in a city, Garreth wanted to find a martial arts master, Zaber wanted to find some dirt on his nemesis Lord Flitwick, and Seépravir wanted to find information about the Order of of the Sundered Scale. (Previous information had indicated that the order had come from Galaron to Castle Whiterock to kill the great red dragon Benthosruthsa, several decades ago, at the urging of Lady Chauntessa.)
Seépravir did some research on Charithmysis, The Bard Blade, but didn't find anything. Apparently Charithmysis was not quite as famous as it thought it was.
Garreth had heard that Master Nabaron in Galaron favored interesting liquors, so he and Seépravir took a quick trip to Castle Whiterock to try to get the Minyad alchemist Vulgaris to brew or distill something suitable. They successfully used Flight and Invisibilty spells to make the trip fairly quick and uneventful. Vulgaris had some mushroom wine available to trade to the local derro, who hadn't showed up to trade in a while as a result of being killed by the PCs, so she was happy to sell it to Garreth. With the mini shopping trip completed, Garreth and Seépravir went back to Cillamar to join the others.
Meanwhile Polly went looking for hard carrot juice (always in stock at the Inn of the Slumbering Drake since she was such a reliable customer) and rapier training (also available in Cillamar). And Flitwick went looking for information on Lord Flitwick and heard that his bodyguard Gord had beaten up the wrong guy in the wrong bar and was currently imprisoned. Hugin was in the Inn, and Polly and Zaber thought about trying to hire him to either do something with Gord in jail, or guard the Magic Portal next week when they went through it, but Hugin said he had a caravan guarding job next week, so they'd have to wait until another time to hire him.
With everyone back together, the group began plotting their trip to Galaron. The initial focus was to reduce and redistribute the equipment load so that nobody was encumbered, to fly as quickly as possible. A combination of Lighten Burden spells and leaving some armor behind accomplished that. Elias learned Create Food to reduce the amount of rations that everyone needed to haul for the trip. Seépravir then cast Flight and Invisibility on everyone, along with Warmth (for comfort) and See Invisible (for keeping track of the others) on herself, and everyone took off. Nobody actually had any points in Area Knowledge (Kingdom of Morrain), but Seépravir's 18 IQ gave her a default (as a native of Morrain) of 14, enough to have a reasonable high-level map of the kingdom in her head and know that Galaron was about 150 miles northwest, where the Morro River ran into Valfors Bay. So all they had to do was fly mostly west, prudently avoiding the dangerous Ashwood Forest (home of the vile Blackwood Druids) rather than flying over it, until they saw the (impossible to miss) Morro River, then just follow it north to Galaron.
At the end of the first day's flying, the group was in the middle of the Ice Mire, with no small town inns or even small farm barns nearby for shelter. But they did have the advantage of being able to scope out a camping spot from the air, defaulting Survival (Swamp) from Seépravir's very high Naturalist. They found some reasonably dry high ground, took turns keeping watch, and made it through the night without being ambushed. Then Seépravir recast all the same spells, and Polly added some Keen Vision to help spot things from the air. The group flew northwest, until they spotted the Morro River, then followed it north. As night approached, they decided to try to see if a boat would give them a ride, so they could keep moving while they slept. Seépravir asked a passing small trading riverboat for passage, and the captain agreed that they could crash on the deck for $75 for the group, or double if they wanted the cabin. Garreth said the deck was fine and paid the $75 to save money, but then Seépravir slipped the captain another $100 for the more comfortable cabin. Everyone went to sleep, except (being PCs) they decided to keep watch in shifts just in case.
And this caution was a good idea this time, because around midnight, a small skiff pulled up alongside the boat, threw grapples across, and 3 pirates boarded. Unfortunately for the pirates, Polly was on guard and attentive and started filling them with arrows, while the crewman on watch yelled for the rest of the crew to wake up and repel boarders. By the time the other 4 PCs and the other 2 crew had awakened and emerged from their cabins to fight, the pirates were full of arrows. A deal was struck where the PCs got to keep the pirates' knives, and the crew got to keep their (beat-up) skiff and ropes. While the crew were awestruck by her pirate-feathering abilities, she asked if any of them knew how to get pearls out of giant clams without killing them, and the captain said you had to use a big metal stick to keep their mouth open, because they'd snap a wooden one.
Everyone (except whoever had guard duty) went back to sleep until morning, then Seépravir recast all the spells and the PCs flew toward Galaron, because flying was faster than boating. As they approached the city, keen-eyed Zaber noticed its green walls in the distance first. As they got closer it was obvious that the walls were glowing green, obviously magical. The group decided to drop their Invisibility and walk in through a gate like normal people, rather than flying over the walls.
A city guard asked their purpose in town, and got the honest answer that they were on a shopping trip, except that Garreth was looking for a fighting master. The guard waved them in without trouble, and Garreth started asking passersby for directions. Zaber's high Carousing skill meant he'd heard of two bars in Galaron, the Warrior's Rest and the Landshark. Garreth had also heard of the Warrior's Rest, and they agreed that would be a good place to ask. Elias knew that the biggest temple in town was the Temple / Observatory of Ireth.
Seépravir didn't know about any bars, but knew about the local Temple / Library of Delvyr, and headed that way, saying she'd meet the others at the Warriors Rest later. She managed to impress the half-elven librarian / priestess enough to gain free admission as a visiting professor, then tried to research both the Sleep of Ages spell and the Order of the Sundered Scale. She found a book that mentioned Sleep of Ages but said it was just a fairy tale myth, not a real spell. She had better luck with the Order, finding a few sources with information that jibed with what she'd found before, and using the Copy spell to make copies.
Garreth walked into the Warrior's Rest and someone immediately tried to hire him. The large man who failed to hire him indicated that Master Nabaron was a regular and would probably be in later. Polly tried and failed to order hard carrot juice. Garreth got everyone some beer instead. Then since it appeared that Master Nabaron wouldn't turn up for a while, they decided to go shopping.
Seépravir went looking for a Smoke wand, but failed to find one. Garreth went looking for Bless scrolls and rolled a critical failure, learning that not only were Bless scrolls not available, they were sacreligious and even asking about them was very rude. Bless was reserved for powerful clerics to cast directly on the few who were worthy enough to receive it, not something to be sold to the highest bidder. Polly went looking for a very fancy magic rapier, and found almost what she was looking for, minus the silver.
Elias went looking for someone who could turn his already fancy enchanted flail into a Holy Weapon. It was highly unlikely that anyone could do that in a hurry, but he rolled a 3 for a maximum critical success, so not only was there someone who could make a weapon Holy in only a couple of weeks, he could get it at a discount due to his past services to the Church. Polly went looking for a Cornucopia quiver that made fine bodkin arrows. She rolled a 4, a critical success, so she found it. She rolled again looking for meteoric arrows, but her luck ran out. Garreth went looking for a fancy katana, but didn't find one.
As night approached, the group went back to the Warrior's Rest. Master Nabaron eventually appeared, and Garreth bowed to him then presented a gift of the mushroom wine. Nabaron chugged the bottle, then asked Garreth to back away from the bar, and do a backflip. Garreth made his Acrobatics roll (using Luck to get three tries at being impressive), and Nabaron invited Garreth to visit his dojo at midnight. At that point Garreth began a training montage.
With Garreth busy, Seépravir and Zaber decided to fly to Mystenmere, a small town full of elves and wizards in the Anseur Forest, about 100 miles to the northwest. Seépravir wanted to look for more information about dragon hide and spider silk armor there, and Zaber wanted to find more dirt on Flitwick, who he'd heard had a daughter there. Meanwhile, Polly decided to get a temporary job as a guard onboard a large fishing boat, just in case any pirates or sea monsters attacked.
It was Polly's lucky day, because the fishing boat was attacked by giant shark. Polly was on duty when it attacked, so she got the honor of filling it with bodkin arrows from her new Cornucopia quiver. It was a very large shark so it took a lot of arrows, and it was also smart or lucky enough to keep its eyes out of Polly's view underwater so the arrows were in the back, not the eyes, so it survived to get next to the boat. Meanwhile a couple of harpooners aimed their harpoons, and another crew member readied some flaming pitch. Eventually the shark was filled with a lot of arrows (though the magic ones disappeared when new ones were created), a couple of harpoons, and on fire. Then it reared out of the water, revealing its eyes at point blank range, and Polly managed to shoot both eyes, into the brain, and kill the huge fish before it ate any crew members. Then Polly wanted to hoist the monstrous shark into the boat. It was a bit bigger than the fish the boat was equipped to catch, and the harpooners didn't think they could lift it, but Polly made her ST roll (with help from Luck) and they managed to get it on board, where the captain thought that, while shark wasn't the tastiest fish in the Bay, there sure was a lot of it, so they might as well chop it up and salt it for sale. Polly took one of its huge teeth as a souvenir, and earned enough money to pay her cost of living during the trip.
Having reached Mystenmere, Zaber went looking for information about Flitwick's daughter Ashryn. He heard that she was a stuck-up rich student, so he bought some fancy clothes to look less like a drunken thief, and eventually found her, hanging out with some a couple of other young half-elven wizard students. He decided to use Propaganda to spread rumors about Lord Flitwick being broke. A few days later, he heard Ashryn screeching to one of her friends that she might have to get a job as a measly enchanter to afford school.
Meanwhile, Seépravir approached the oldest wizard she could find, who turned out to be Professor Ilvisar. He said his classes were full, but she persisted and asked about Sleep of Ages. This freaked him out a bit and he made it clear that that spell was Banned and Not To Be Researched, Especially By Students. Because it was Permanent and only the Original Caster could ever dispell it and if the Original Caster wasn't available, the poor subject would never wake up. And Elves Don't Do That. He told her that if she behaved he might have an opening next semester, and went off in a huff.
Still looking for a Smoke wand, Seépravir (in disguise) approached Ashryn to try to get her to make it. She agreed, but said it would take a couple of months (because she has class and can't just drop everything to make a stupid wand), and Seépravir couldn't tell anyone who made it, and that she needed a couple of gold coins ($800) up front for supplies. Seépravir gave her the money.
Seépravir also went looking for the rumored armorer who could make spider silk armor, and found where he lived, but he wasn't home. He was apparently off in the woods doing something.
Zaber and Seépravir flew back to Galaron to meet the others, Elias picked up his now Holy flail, Garreth finished his initial Kung Fu training, and everyone flew back to Cillamar.
This was an ususual session: all town and travel and shopping, no dungeon (except for the brief trip to the dungeon ... to go shopping). It was also largely improvised: I had a few buildings and a few NPCs detailed in Galaron, and a few more in Mystenmere (which I had no idea the PCs would visit, but once they have Flight, PCs go places you didn't expect...)
We never actually broke out a hex map, because I didn't have one ready for either of the two fights, which both happened on boats. (One river trading boat, one saltwater fishing boat.) So both were played out without a tactical map, in one dimension, with me just tracking the range from the enemies to Polly. The pirates were pretty much mooks, and once the PCs were smart enough to post a guard and the guard happened to be Polly and the pirates failed to achieve surprise, it was just a question of whether Polly would kill them all before the other PCs arrived or whether they'd get to help a little. The shark was not a mook, and was actually a pretty big bag of HP and DR and ST with lots of big pointy teeth that would leave a nasty mark if it bit you (or even your boat), but Polly spotted it far enough from the ship that she had several turns to fill it with arrows while it closed range, and then she had two harpooners and a flaming pitch grenadier to help her kill it. (I know fishing boats where you live probably don't have flaming pitch grenadiers, but Valfors Bay is a pretty nasty place, and some sea monsters are afraid of fire.)
Shopping rules in Galaron aren't that much more generous than in Cillamar (it's a city but not a huge one), but the PCs rolled two critical successes and a near-critical success, so they got three interesting items. Seépravir failed to find her Smoke wand with a dice roll, but found an enchanter to make one for her, in a coincidence so unlikely you wonder if she paid for the Serendipity advantage. Seépravir also found information about both the Sleep of Ages spell and the Order of the Sundered Snake. Zaber found more dirt on Lord Flitwick and his family. And Garreth got Trained By A Master and started buying various martial artist abilities, including Drunken Fighting because Master Nabaron makes that a prerequisite in his school. (It is traditional for GURPS Martial Arts styles to make students waste some points on things they don't want to teach them humility and respect for tradition.)
Next time, they're planning on heading back to the dungeon, probably checking out the stalagmites south of the black pyramid. Will they find anything interesting there, or just tall pointy rocks?