Monday, 16 January 2017

GURPS Free Cities Session 34: The Great Skeleton Battle

Arc Sol - Human Cleric of Pelor, the god of the sun (358 points)
Aurum Red-Brand - Human Wizard (354 points)
Mor'ath Enanqua - Elven Swashbuckler/Thief (329 points)
Zaxod - Half-Orc Knight (364 points)

Day 76 (Cont.):
Weather: Underground
Date: Coreli 7th, 2526
The pale, rotting dwarves (which everybody correctly called "ghouls") advanced from the north towards the party, while four more appeared in the hallway to the south, across the false floor trap.  Zaxod and Mor'ath started on the ghouls in front of them, Arc turned to face the southern ghouls, and Aurum cast Flaming Weapon on Mor'ath's saber.

The ghouls noticed and tried to jump over the trap, but two failed and only managed to cling to the close side of a pit, but the others landed and attacked Arc, who then channelled his True Faith.  Zaxod finished the ghouls to the north, the two hanging on to the sides of the pit let go and fell in to escape, one was killed by Mor'ath, and the fourth jumped the pit and fled to the south.  They killed the ghouls in the (15', water-filled) pit, by throwing Fireballs and then metal slabs at them.

They continued into the northern hallway, and found three doors.  The first was locked, and the room beyond contained several skeletons lying upright in burial alcoves.  Arc activated True Faith, but nothing happened, so Mor'ath Searched the skeletons and found some jewellery, which Aurum figured was worth some money.  The second door was ajar, and contained more skeletons.  Again, Arc used True Faith, and this time the skeletons proved animate and tried to flee, but were hopelessly destroyed.

Mor'ath checked and found more jewellery, some coins, a potion (determined by Aurum's taste-test to be a Potion of Mind Probing), and a stone tablet engraved with strange, non-Dwarven runes.  Arc volunteered to read it, and, though he couldn't understand the script, experienced a vision of a mountain of scrolls, with the sky replaced by bookshelves, which boosted his IQ by 3.  Aurum determined that the tablet was still magical, so they chucked it on the levitating disc.

The third door was also ajar, and contained seven stone burial slabs, two with statues of dwarves lying down, and five empty but surrounded by shattered bits of thin statue.  Mor'ath Searched, and found some coin purses, but suddenly felt an icy force grip his spine and was possessed by a ghost.  "Mor'ath" turned around, drew his saber, and yelled something in ancient Dwarvish at Arc, the only one in the room.  He started casting Dispel Possession, but would need ten seconds, while Zaxod and Aurum ran in, weapons ready.

Zaxod ran up to Mor'ath, but the possessed elf let out a keening wail and paralysed him (by exactly 1 MoS).  Aurum started casting Dispel Magic to (possibly) cure Zaxod, and resisted a paralysing wail, only for Mor'ath to then stab him twice in the lungs, stunning him.  Arc cancelled his spell to cast Armour 5 and defended against Mor'ath, who seemed to be relying on All-Out Attack (Double) rather than skill.  Aurum regained his feet just in time to fail an HT check and collapse, leaving only Arc still standing.

Arc started casting Dispel Possession again while defending himself from Mor'ath.  After his sixth attack was parried, Mor'ath stepped back, pointed his sword at Aurum's unconscious body, and said something in Dwarvish.  Unsure of what to do, Arc continued casting, and Mor'ath began hacking away at Aurum's neck.  Worried for Aurum's life, Arc advanced and crippled Mor'ath's hand with the blunt end of his urgrosh.

His weapon-hand useless, Mor'ath attempted to grapple Arc with his cloak, but was parried again.  Somewhat out of ideas, and realizing that he was going to have a hard time finding ten seconds to cast, Arc activated True Faith to see if it would have any effect.  It did, and Mor'ath ran out the door and north up the hallway.

Arc stopped concentrating and followed while starting Dispel Possession yet again, and found that Mor'ath was still keeping his distance due to the residual effects of True Faith.  Once it was fully dissipated, Mor'ath charged back in, but Arc was able to finish casting without being grappled.

After all that work, the ghost resisted the spell, and so Arc crippled Mor'ath's foot to keep him from running away.  Its vessel disabled, the ghost abandoned Mor'ath, and tried to possess Arc, but failed.  Arc cast Astral Vision to see the ghost retreating into the room (via the door, strangely), followed by Affects Spirits to be able to finish it off.

Now that the ghost was out of tricks, Arc killed (?) it, dragged Mor'ath back into the room, closed the door, and began resting.  Shortly thereafter, Zaxod regained control of his muscles and congratulated Arc on his victory.

Over the next 160 minutes of rest, Arc cast Great Healing and Awaken on Aurum, a giant lobster with strange tendrils in place of its mouth attacked but was killed by Zaxod and thrown into a corner, Arc cast Great Healing on Mor'ath, and a group of zombies attacked but were killed and then thrown into the same corner as the lobster.

With everyone back in fighting shape, they looked at the map and (after some confusion over areas that have been drawn twice) decided to head back to the t-intersection south of the room with the statue and investigate the western fork.  They found a wide rectangular room, lined with about 35 skeletons in priestly garb lying on burial slabs, some engraved with the silver forge of Moradin, others with a death's head.  There were also three stone statues of dwarves wielding axes and shields at either end.

Never one to trust a room full of skeletons, Arc activated True Faith, and the majority of them proved to be animate, fleeing to either side of the room.  Aurum cast Create Fire in one corner, charring a bunch of skeletons, and essentially kicking the hornet's nest.  As one, the statues yelled out something in ancient dwarven and began to advance.  At the same time, the skeletons that hadn't fled from Arc began to stand.

The party started a retreat to the entrance, so that they wouldn't be encircled, and the statues charged, followed by the unturned skeletons, who rushed through a gap in the lines and towards Arc.  One of the statues tried to jump on the levitating disc, but failed, and collapsed to the ground, while another landed on it, forcing it to the ground.  Arc cast Shield 5, while Aurum was hit twice by the statue on the disc, and was only able to retreat several steps before collapsing.

With Arc no longer concentrating on True Faith, the weaker skeletons began to swarm Mor'ath and Zaxod, while the statues continued landing a mass of attacks, including two crits on Mor'ath.  Zaxod killed one of the statues with three Mighty Blows, but another filled its spot immediately.  At the same time, the three unturned skeletons advanced on Arc and proved to be trained in Karate.

Arc managed to defend against the first two, but the third sliced through his mail with razor sharp hands, and knocked him unconscious (with a crit).  Zaxod was grappled by two more skeletons, while Mor'ath was able to keep another kung-fu skeleton at bay.  The three near Arc began digging into his neck, not changing focus to any other target.

The fight will hopefully be concluded online before the next session, as we ran out of time and people had work the next morning.  It looks bad (especially for Arc) and people are already talking about making new characters.

The ghouls were actually properly identified with out of game knowledge only, which is impressive.  The nothics were also almost identified by Aurum's player a while ago, though he thought that it was a specific variant.

Between Zaxod being paralyzed, Mor'ath being possessed, and Aurum being unconscious for the first fight, and Aurum and Arc losing consciousness in the second fight, there was, sadly, a lot of downtime tonight.

The one time Arc didn't use True Faith immediately after entering a room was, of course, the one time it mattered most.

Arc had actually meant to cast Shield 5 during the ghost fight, but said Armour.  It didn't end up mattering, though Armour was probably the better choice, as Mor'ath only does 2d+1 cut, and DR9 has a reasonable chance of avoiding that.

The party spent so much time in that one room waiting for Arc to recover FP/ER that there were two random encounters.  It didn't help that when the lobster showed up, he preemptively cast Strengthen Will 5 on Zaxod.

The party didn't commit to battle with the skeletons/statues, and were probably punished for it.  It's hard to say if it could have gone much better, though, as one of the main reason they're in trouble is due to three crits in two turns.

The stone statues were using AoA (Double) every turn.  Their high DR meant that Mor'ath struggled to hurt them at all, and even Zaxod wasn't able to one-round them.

Similarly, the kung-fu skeletons were using AoA (Double) every turn to crit fish, because True Faith hadn't fully decayed, and Arc had rolled really well (something like 15 MoS).

Zaxod used a Tactics reroll to stay conscious in the last fight after he took a major wound from one of the statues, but I only later realised that Tactics is only for attack/defence rolls.  Woops.

1 for general success
1 for rolepaying for Mor'ath
2 for combat (Boss foe, not outnumbered)
0 for loot (not quite enough coin, as they need $500 per person)
MVP went to Arc, for 1v1ing the ghost

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