Thursday, 29 December 2016

GURPS Free Cities Session 32: Back Into The Mines

Arc Sol - Human Cleric of Pelor, the god of the sun (349 points)
Aurum Red-Brand - Human Wizard (354 points)
Mor'ath Enanqua - Elven Swashbuckler/Thief (329 points)
Zaxod - Half-Orc Knight (364 points)

Day 75 (Cont.):
Weather: Not a Cloud in the Sky
Date: Coreli 6th, 2526
With the battle over, Arc healed up the rest of the party, and Awakened Zaxod, who immediately fell unconscious again while trying to chase after the still-retreating orcs.  Mor'ath and Aurum searched the chief's hut, but only found a few coins.  Arc tried to heal one of the wounded ogres, but the ogre didn't let him come close, clearly not trusting his foul wizardry.  Another, particularly fat ogre, walked out of one of the animal hide huts carrying a crying orc baby, which it began to eat.

Thanks to Public Speaking, Arc managed to convince the ogres to not eat the babies, and they took their fill of the dead orcs instead.  He healed the bitten baby with the last of his FP, and then handed it off to a fleeing orc child before resting.  After a couple of minutes, a heavily-wounded orc berserker nearby woke up and started coughing up blood, and Arc went to help it, only for Mor'ath to try to finish it off.

Arc heroically jumped in front of Mor'ath's attack with a sacrificial dodge, and Mor'ath backed off.  10 minutes later, Zaxod woke up again (now at positive FP) and the argument over killing the orcs intensified.  Arc refused to back down, however, and Zaxod stormed off into the forest to rest and then head back to town on his own.

Mor'ath removed the chief's head as proof of their deeds, and the party left, Aurum setting the wooden walls of the settlement on fire as they went.  The ogres ran off to the south in fear of the flames, and the party walked back to Chryssa's Rest.  They refilled power items, interrupted Harthex's dinner to show him the severed chief's head, and were healed by Arc before going to sleep.

Zaxod showed up around midnight, thanks to default Navigation with no compass.

Day 76:
Weather: Chilly, Windy
Date: Coreli 7th, 2526
In the morning, the party (minus Zaxod, who was still sulking) debated over whether they should go after the Falling Rock orcs, to end the potential orc threat, or into the mines, to end the potential troll threat.  After remembering that their research from the Grand Library on the heyena was due, they decided on the mines, and went to see Hue the Many-Coloured.

Hue told them that the creature they had seen was actually called a nothic, and gave them the following info:

  • It's an aberrant creature from the Far Realm
  • Its gaze rots flesh
  • It can see the truth of things, even without its eye (See Invisible/Dark Vision)
  • Its body isn't made of normal flesh, and lacks many organs (Injury Tolerance (Homogeneous)), though it does have "brain" and "vitals" analogues
  • Its laughter drives men insane, though cotton ear plugs can block out the sound entirely.
  • They tend to show up in places of learning, and "read" books

He also informed them that Zaxod's sudden baldness was likely due to energies from the Far Realm, and that there may be an active portal to that dimension somewhere in the mines.  The party was very surprised at the thoroughness of the answers, but Hue just replied that the Grand Library was the greatest store of knowledge on the continent, so they tended to be quite adept at research.

Mor'ath went and bought 8 pair of ear plugs, so they'd have spares, and they headed out to the mines, where Zaxod was waiting.  Arc Blessed the others, cast Continual Light on his amulet and Mor'ath's left glove, Zaxod activated his magic axe of light, and they walked down through the mines, reaching the stone-filled archway they had left as the sign of the entrance of the dwarven ruins one hour later.

Aurum cast Shape Earth to bring down the wall, they put in earplugs, and then they backtracked through the dungeon, following their map.  Zaxod touched the wall of flesh on the way by, and they arrived at the room where they had seen the nothic through the hole in the wall.  Zaxod checked the hole to make sure the nothic was still there, and after lighting the room by holding up his axe, confirmed that, yes, it was still there and, yes, it still shoots death-beams out of its eye.

Everybody kept their ear plugs in, and, after some failed Gesture rolls, Zaxod searched for the sledgehammer they had used last time.  He couldn't find it in the nothic-adjacent room, but remembered dropping it in the pudding room, so they retreated backwards (still with ear plugs in), and he searched it.  He found a fair bit of coin (36gp/$3,600!) and a gem, but left it, and then a 10' long, semi-upright, grey slug with five tentacles, no eyes, and a large, toothy mouth suddenly appeared in front of Mor'ath.

Only Mor'ath and Arc noticed it (thanks to the ear plugs), but Mor'ath cut off a tentacle with his saber while Arc frantically tapped Zaxod on the shoulder.  The beast then disappeared, and reappeared beside Arc, who succumbed to mental stun as it distorted reality around him.  It slapped at Zaxod and Aurum with some tentacles, and then grappled the stunned Arc.

Zaxod, with his new and shiny Extra Attack, removed the remaining 4 tentacles in one turn.  Aurum tried to cast a Fireball, but found that his magic didn't work, and the beast disappeared again.  Arc healed Aurum, and the party removed ear plugs to discuss their plans.  After waiting for a while in case the beast came baack, they decided to go find another way into the nothic room, and explored some small alcoves nearby.

Mor'ath took 3 gold rings with rose heraldry from some skeletons, and Aurum identified the symbol as identical to the one they had seen on the ancient dwarven weaponry in the mines near Carda.  Down a hallway and right at a four-way intersection, they found a room with an open hallway, a closed iron door, and a statue of a dwarf pointing towards the door with a series of Ancient Dwarven runes on its base.  Arc cast Gift of Letters to see what they read.
At night they come without being called, by day they are lost without being taken.
The rest of the party puzzled over that for a moment, but after briefly inspecting the map, and before anybody could put in their ear plugs, Zaxod opened the closed door.  Inside were stone shelves filled with metal slabs, some stone furniture, and two nothics chuckling softly.

This was a short (3 hour) session, so not a lot got done.  We also got sidetracked talking about Rogue One a couple of times, so we lost probably another half an hour or so.

Arc has Charitable, Zaxod has Bad Temper and Obsession (Slaughter Orcs), so that's what caused the bit at the start of the session.

They actually got all the way to the bottom of the mines before anyone (myself included) realized that they'd forgotten to bring any light sources.  Woops!  A quick retcon, and we were good to go.

I instituted a rule while they were wearing ear plugs: nobody could talk about the game.  Worked out well, made Gesture useful.

Aurum realized once they were in the nothic-adjacent room that he couldn't lower the wall.  I didn't press on it, but I'm pretty sure that he could, but that it would cost too much FP/ER.

People complained about enemies with attacks that are resisted with Will because they're "unfair", and yet at the same time, nobody has bought Will (or even taken spells to buff it) since the start of the campaign, for some reason.  Also worth noting is how reliant they've been on Aurum casting Panic.

People (though not all of them) are finally starting to loot the dungeon, though they still fear being cursed.

Roleplaying XP is going to change going forwards, because right now it's basically a free point.  If your disads don't come up, you get 0.  If they come up in a mechanical way (losing some money due to compulsive gambling, failing to convince somebody to listen to a proposal because you're too gruff), you get 1.  If they come up in an important narrative way (refusing to accept peace even though continuing to fight is bad for both sides out of sheer bloodlust, risking your life to defend the weak), then you get 2.

0 for no progress
1 for roleplaying, 2 for Arc
0 for combat (a single Worthy enemy and that's it)
0 for loot
MVP went to Arc for mass heals, because nothing else very important happened.

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