Monday, 23 January 2017

GURPS Free Cities Session 35: The New Party

Darrude - Human Wizard (250 points)
Morgan Merkle - Human Mentalist (250 points)
          Brother Horace - Human Initiate of Avandra, the goddess of freedom and luck (125 points)
Sado Con - Human Martial Artist (250 points)

Player Absent (In The Nega-Zone):
 - Goliath Barbarian (250 points)

Darrude is an archaeologist/earth wizard who left his homeland on the eastern continent due to war breaking out.  He has since become obsessed with finding the lost capital city of the ancient dwarven empire of Thael Ruthak.

Morgan Merkle, Mentalist Mastermind is a humourless psion who believes that he must become incredibly powerful to destroy the aberrants that (he claims) cause all the worlds' problems.

Sado Con is a fourteen year old martial artist who is looking for his master so that he can continue his training, and become the greatest fighter of all time.  He loves competition, and doesn't get why old people are so boring.

The party had accepted a job to help a new settlement, Chryssa's Rest, deal with the local orc and ogre tribes for $800/wk plus $150 cost of living expenses each.  Travelling in wagons along with another 10 mercenaries and some miscellaneous supplies, they left the free city of Trugo and headed south to the great plains.  The journey was uneventful until the fourth day.

Day 83:
Weather: Clear, Slightly Cool
Date: Coreli 14th, 2526
Around noon, an armoured halfling rode in from the east.  She asked what they were doing, they asked what she was doing, and she said that her deity, Avandra, had sent her here.  Brother Horace noted that he also followed the Lady of Luck, and they talked for the rest of the journey, all while Darrude rambled on about ancient dwarven burial rites to anyone who would listen.

The caravan arrived at the town of Chryssa's Rest in the afternoon, and Darrude and Sado disembarked to talk to three guards (two of whom were clearly peasant levies) while the rest of the wagons continued on to the mansion at the center of town.  The head guard, in proper armour and wielding a halberd, was less than enthused to talk to the skittish scholar and boastful teenager, but warned them of a group of orcs squatting in the south end of town before sending them on their way.

Meanwhile, Morgan and Horace, along with the halfling and the mercenaries, arrived at the mansion and met with Harthex Castus, the lord of the town, in the courtyard.  The mercenaries were sent to meet with a woman named Vel, who was waiting inside, followed shortly by the halfling, who introduced herself as Ayla Lightfoot.

Just after Harthex asked Morgan where the other three adventurers he'd paid for were, Darrude and Sado arrived, and they got down to business.  Harthex told them that the town was dealing with an orc problem, by way of a troll problem.  The orcs in the south of town claimed to have been forced out of their village by the trolls, and would be willing to go back if the trolls were dealt with.

He also updated them on the situation outside of town: the orc/ogre problem seemed to be largely solved, but the mines nearby would need to be cleared of monsters.  The last group of adventurers, who had managed to single-handedly kill an entire orc tribe, had been into the mines a few times but never returned from their trip a week ago.  He suggested they talk to Hue the Many-Coloured, the local wizard and member of the Enchanter's Guild, about both prospects before putting a plan into action, and the party decided to follow his advice.

Sado ran off in an effort to get there first, but hadn't been paying close attention and wasn't actually sure where he was running to.  The rest of the party arrived at Ye Olde Magick Shoppe and, after a brief discussion of the kinds of things in the mines, asked Hue whether troll regeneration would be negated by lightning.  It wouldn't, so they bought some flasks of acid (after realising alchemist's fire was too expensive), and planned to set off that night.

They went to their room in the mansion to leave behind any non-essential gear, but realised that they had no light sources.  Horace cast Continual Light on Sado's leather cap, and they decided to rest for the night and deal with the trolls the next day.

Day 84:
Weather: Light Rain
Date: Coreli 15th, 2526
The party went to meet with the orcs, and were led to meet "Gordag" by unarmed guards posted at the edge of the camp.  There passed by several dozen orcs and their hastily constructed shelters, before being ushered into a large tent.  Inside were several guards, and a teenaged orc sitting on a "throne" of two wooden crates with a blanket on top.

He introduced himself as Gordag, and told the party that they had lived in peace with the trolls for some time, and the trolls had no reason to attack them.  The orcs figured they had likely been fleeing from some other threat.  When questioned as to their numbers, and after conferring with an adviser named Thrak, Gordag answered that his men had seen ten trolls, as well as their far larger leader, Shorvok.

Morgan subtly asked how Gordag was the leader of the tribe despite being so young, but didn't get a concrete answer.  Gordag offered a scout to escort them to their old village, as they would have difficulty finding it, but Morgan negotiated up to five soldiers, using the orcs' desire to get their home back effectively.  Before they left, Sado vowed that he would clear the trolls out by week's end.

The party set off to the south, led by the orcish escort of five shieldbearers led by Brag, the only orc in their group who could speak the Common tongue.  After an hour of travel across the plains, they spotted a troll and tried to ambush it, but it saw Morgan and charged.

Sado missed with a shuriken, Darrude cast a 1-hex Windstorm, and Morgan smashed the troll in the skull with a 4d Kinetic Lash, stunning it.  With the troll near-defenceless, Sado and the orcs quickly finished it off.  Morgan tried using Pyro Bolt to burn the body, but gave up after several attempts, as he started to run low on FP.

They decided to bury the troll instead, with Darrude digging a hole with Shape Earth.  Sado realised that they would need much more acid, and ran back to town to buy more while the rest of the party rested.  When he returned, he gave a backpack filled with 8 acid flasks to Brag, who was told to hang back and make sure not to drop it.

Continuing south for another hour or so, they arrived at a rock outcropping, and one of the orcs pushed a boulder aside, revealing a 2m wide rough stone tunnel.  The party got into formation, with Sado (and his incredibly brightly lit cap) on point, and descended into the earth.  After a while, they could see ahead that the tunnel widened out and came to an ancient stone gate, with a missing portcullis.

They continued forwards, and were ambushed (though not surprised) by two trolls on the side of the passage.  Sado managed to parry one three times before missing the troll with a kick, while the orc that was with him had its arm bitten off and went down.  The rest of the orcs charged in, and Horace moved to help the downed orc, but was clawed by a troll and dropped his mace.

Sado took a defensive stance and defended against his troll, which missed badly and fell prone.  Morgan fired at the other troll, but missed and hit an orc instead, almost knocking it unconscious.  Brag moved up to help and stunned the still-standing troll with a lucky attack to the skull, and it was then kept stunned by Darrude's Lightning.

The orcs finished off one troll while Sado beat the other one, and both were taken out without further injury.  Horace finished healing the downed orc, but then Morgan's psionic powers overloaded and opened a portal to the Far Realm, revealing a gelatinous being with a million eyes staring back.  Everyone (except for Darrude, and one orc) were frozen with terror.

The portal disappeared, and the orcs fled.  Sado realised that Brag still had most of the acid, and gave chase after dumping the two flasks he still had on his potion belt.  Horace healed himself and then dumped another two flasks, and, with everybody standing far away, Morgan burned the trolls to ashes with Pyro Bolt.

Horace suggested they head back to the surface so that "they couldn't hear our plans", so, slightly worried for Horace's mental state, they headed back up and moved the boulder back in front of the tunnel, while Sado followed the orcs all the way back to Chryssa's Rest.  The orcs talked to Gordag in Giant, and, despite Sado's apologies, Gordag informed him that his men would offer no more assistance.

Brother Horace exists because nobody wanted to play a healer again, and Morgan's player listened when I said they could just buy an ally or pay a henchman.

The new party had a fair bit less combat strength with Grohk's player out for this session.

Attacking unarmed is absolutely terrible, even with the modification that using Karate or Judo exempts you from taking damage when parried with a weapon.  I'm adding a Martial Artist power-up to make it at least slightly more viable.  Striking ST (Chi -10%, Unarmed Only -40%) [2.5], max 4 levels.  Combined with the existing Striking ST option in DF1, it's now only 39 points to get to 2d-1 thrust damage, instead of 69.

Not sure I like how psionics can seriously hurt your entire team, when all the other powers just have accessibility problems.  I already stripped out a bunch of entries from the table in DF14, but even this might be too much.  I'm getting "Perils of the Warp" 40k RPG flashbacks.  Might reduce the table, or give a mandatory Disadvantage (probably a Disciplines of Faith requiring meditation).

Results of the Psionic Overload:
Morgan: Stunned
Sado: Quirk (Hates Psis)
Horace: Delusion (The Great Old Ones Live Underground)
Brag: Quirk (Hates Psis)
Dug, an orc: White Hair, Hard of Hearing
Lurg, another orc: Fainted, 1HP damage

2 for general success
1 for combat (the two trolls)
MVP went to Sado for being a parry master and never getting hit

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