DF Whiterock Session 52: Against the Stirges




Warm, a few clouds

Player Characters:

Elias (Wiggles), Wood Elf Cleric, 306 points
Garreth (Zuljita), Half-Orc Fighter, 377 points
Ibizaber (Demented Avenger), Human Thief, 372 points
Polly (Kalzazz), Wood Elf Archer, 360 points
Seépravir (Archon Shiva), High-Elf Wizard, 394 points

Significant NPCs:

Lord Flitwick: Noble, artist
Vulgaris, Minyad druid and mushroom farmer
Many stirges
Many stirge swarms

The group started in town, except for Garreth, who had spent the week in the dungeon trying to learn Underground Survival.

Zaber heard a rumor that Cillamar is warmer than is used to be, because of red dragons.  When casing Flitwick's town house, he found an envelope tacked to the door.  He stole it when nobody was looking.  The envelope contained a summons to the Lord's Gate Citadel to answer questions about Gord's death.  Seépravir cast Repair on the envelope and Zaber put it back.

Elias researched holy artifacts and heard of the lost Basin of Cleansing, which can create holy water, heal wounds, and even (if enough gems were inserted) raise the dead.  He spent $500 to have the holy symbol of Elyr expertly painted on his shield, making his shield Ornate.

Seépravir cast Flight on everyone, and they flew to Castle Whiterock.  Except for Polly, who pushed the wheelbarrow in Garreth's absence.  Upon arrival at the castle, Zaber noticed signs of disturbance on the top two levels.  It appeared a small group of man-sized humanoids had visited, but had not found the secret doors to the elevator or the next level down.  After a bit of tracking, the group headed down the elevator to the underground river level.

Meanwhile, Garreth rolled to see how well he learned Underground Survival from Vulgaris.  He initially rolled a 13, but used Luck and rolled a 5, so he mostly ate the correct mushrooms.  He also helped move a lot of dirt and fertilizer around.  After reuniting wtith Garreth, Zaber immediately tried to get him to show him which mushrooms were the most fun.

Everyone piled into a skiff and Garreth started rowing toward the immense cavern.  Unfortunately, he rolled a 17 on a Boating check, and rammed some rocks near the giant clams.  Elias was the only one who missed his DX check and fell in, but he dodged the sharp rocks (with the help of his shield) and then used Flight to get out of the water.  Seépravir almost fell in, but used Luck to reroll.  Garreth managed to row the rest of the way to the northern dock without further drama.

Everyone got out of the boat and walked through the tunnel and then south through the immense cavern, past the black pyramid, to where Zaber had seen stirges flying.  Past the stalagmites where the ettin and their wolf lived was a field full of large lizards.  Zaber looked for brands on the lizards, and didn't see any, but saw a large puncture wound on one.  Eventually some stirges appeared and started feeding on some lizards.  Polly and Elias wanted to shoot the stirges, but Zaber was more interested in following them back to their lair.  Eventually one flew back into the cave and Zaber was about to pinpoint its exact location, on the south wall of the immense cavern, about 40' up.

Some more stirges flew out and attacked a lizard, but Polly shot them until they flew away.  A discussion on whether it was really worth killing stirges ensued.  Zaber said he would prefer something with loot.  Seépravir cast Seek Earth for gold, and didn't find any nearby.  She then cast Seek Magic and found some, in the direction of the stirges' lair.  That settled that debate: if they had magic items, they definitely needed to die.

Seépravir cast Drunkenness on Garreth for -4, but this appeared to be *too* drunk for his Drunken Fighting perk, and just gave him -4 to IQ and DX.  She cancelled it, and tried again at -2, giving Garreth -2 IQ, -2 DX outside of combat, but (somehow) +2 DX in combat against a real opponent.  (This is of course the famous Naburu Peak.)  Then Seépravir cast Concussion and grew it to 7d, and was ready to stun some stirges.

Seépravir rested.  Garreth tried autohypnosis to improve his Will, but failed the first attempt and rolled a 17 on the second, lowering his Will instead.  (If the stirges had mind control, he was in trouble.)  When everyone was ready to go, Zaber started sneaking along the side of the immense cavern, then led everyone up to the stirges' cave.  The opening was stinky and slippery with bird droppings, but no stirges where there.  Zaber scouted forward, until he spotted stirges.

The plan was for everyone to hang back until Seépravir threw her Concussion, but the plan failed to survive contact with the enemy.  Polly fired a couple of arrows, then ran back.  Elias ran forward.  Seépravir threw her Concussion toward some stirges far away from the PCs, intending to stun, forgetting that she put 7d into it and really wanted to target more precisely and kill something with it.  She missed her target hex, but got lucky with scatter rolls, and the blast scored a near-direct hit on one swarm of stirges, dissipating it.  The other stirges within 10 yards of the blast all had to make stun checks, and most were stunned.

With the opening spell off, everyone was free to engage.  Zaber tried fast-drawing a strength potion, but failed with a 17, and slow-readied it instead.  Polly shot arrows at stirges, but they were crazy good at dodging.  Seépravir cast Great Haste on Garreth.  Garreth ran up and chopped at a stirge with his katana but rolled a 17 for a fumble, and used Luck to avoid it.  Once he managed to hit a stirge, it died horribly: they were good at dodging but forgot to bring any DR or HP in case their dodges failed.  Elias flailed away at a stirge swarm.  Seépravir cast Great Haste on Polly too.

Polly kept shooting stirges and stirge swarms.  A swarm bit Elias for a bit of damage.  Zaber decided to go with an agility potion instead of a strength potion, since high ST appeared unnecessary to kill stirges.  Garreth helped Elias finish off the swarm, and the group was out of stirges.  But, not wanting to waste their Great Haste spells, Garreth and Polly charged ahead looking for more stirges.

Seépravir caught up to Zaber and gave him a Great Haste too.  Garreth rounded a corner in the cave and was face to face with a bunch of stirges, which he immediately starting stabbing.  Polly, right behind him, shot a couple then switched to her rapier for deceptive attacks versus their high dodges.  Elias, sadly without Great Haste, and Zaber, who had stopped to wait for a spell, took a few turns longer to reach the battle.  By the time they got there the stirge mass had been thinned a bit, but there were plenty for everyone.  Zaber got in several rapid stabs with his knife and took down a large stirge.  Elias womped on a swarm with flail and shield.

While Polly was circling around some stirges looking for a back attack, she noticed another group of stirges to the north, who saw her and came to join the battle.  It took a lot of die rolls, but eventually all the stirges in both groups were killed, at the cost of a few minor wounds to Garreth and Elias from swarms to the face.  Seépravir had cast Create Fire and was just about to start pushing it forward into stirge-filled hexes with Shape Fire, when they ran out of targets.  Everyone's Great Hastes were just about to expire as well.

We paused at that point.  We were out of time for the evening, but the players all wanted to keep pressing forward rather than going back to town.  Will they finish off the stirges?  Tune in next week.

GM's Comments:

The Drunken Fighting perk and the Drunkenness spell are a great combo.  It would be quite expensive to get Garreth drunk the old-fashioned way, since he's a huge half-orc with Resistance to Poison, but he can voluntarily decline to resist the spell.  Seépravir casts the spell with a one-second duration and maintains it every second, which means that if Garreth suddenly needs to be less drunk, she can just stop maintaining the spell and have him sober almost instantly, for free.

The Dungeon Fantasy RPG Monsters 2 PDF just came out this week (for Kickstarter backers who paid for the PDF), and I mixed in some of its version of stirges with the stirge swarms that were previously in the adventure.  I think that made the slog of a stirge fight a bit more interesting by adding some variety of targets.

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