Friday, 10 February 2017

GURPS Free Cities Session 37: Into The Ruins

Darrude - Human Wizard (252 points)
Grohk - Goliath Barbarian (253 points)
Morgan Merkle - Human Mentalist (252 points)
          Brother Horace - Human Initiate of Avandra, the goddess of freedom and luck (128 points)
Sado Con - Human Martial Artist (257 points)

Day 85:
Weather: Light Breeze, Clear
Date: Coreli 16th, 2526
Darrude and Morgan went to talk to Hue the Many-Coloured about the things they had seen in the dwarven ruins.  With a bit of help, Morgan figured out that the green light was probably a psionic portal, possibly leading to the Far Realm.  Hue told them that several subspecies of troll had been observed before, though anything psionic was probably due to Far Realm radiation, and he wasn't sure what to make of the glowing stone in the ceiling.  Sadly "we saw a flying blob-thing way off in the distance" wasn't enough to go on.

Meanwhile, Grohk challenged Sado to a drinking contest, which Sado (surprisingly) won.  They then went to the orcs to try to ask for help, but the guards wouldn't let them in to talk to Gordag, so they turned around and headed back to the rest of the party.  Despite Sado's urging that he was fine, they decided to postpone their adventuring by a day so nobody would be drunk.

Darrude used Speed-Reading and Research to find out some things about trolls (nothing they didn't already know) and the ancient dwarven empire Thael Ruthak (for fun), while Morgan tried to find something on the area around them specifically.  Sadly, very few records of Thael Ruthak survived, especially in a small private library in a newly-funded town, and he was unable to find anything of note.

Day 86:
Weather: Strong Wind
Date: Coreli 17th, 2526
Before Grohk could get drunk, the party headed out to the south, more quickly thanks to Grohk's Navigation and Weather Sense.  They passed the troll-hole, moved the boulder, passed through the orc camp and the portcullis, and arrived back in the ruins.

They decided to head left to check out the tower they had seen earlier, and arrived to find closed iron double doors, though there was a narrow ledge, suggesting there might be a window on the other side.  After Grohk (and Sado) failed to force the doors, Darrude cast Metal Vision and took a look inside, where he saw... nothing, because there was no light source inside.

He cast Create Fire and illuminated the room, revealing an open window on the far side, stairs down on the right, a table with many stone tablets and a glint of metal on the left, and a 3' red humanoid with wings and vestigial horns sitting in the middle of the fire, confused.  After some debate, Darrude followed up with Shape Metal to make a small hole and then Body of Air to pass inside.

Once inside, he saw that the imp was inside of a pentagram, and it started chatting him up and trying to negotiate for freedom.  It introduced itself as Karrag, and said that it could translate the slabs nearby, which contained great arcane secrets, but were written ancient Dwarven.  Naturally, Darrude walked over to the tablets and found the glint of metal to be a "book" of engraved metal pages written in arcane code.

Darrude then spent the next 90 minutes reading the metal book (which turned out to be a spellbook), and all 5 of the stone tablets to commit them to memory, while the rest of the party sat out on the walkway and waited.  He then remembered to open up the doors to let the rest of the group in, and they headed down the stairs despite Karrag's protests.

The stairs arrived in a library, with many crumbled stone tablets and another set of stairs down.  Darrude and Morgan searched the room and found several intact books and scrolls, all made of the same engraved metal pages as the spellbook upstairs.  They gave them all to Grohk, except for one scroll they were unable to identify, which was accidentally broken ("I put it in my pocket." "It's too big." "I fold it in half." "It's metal."  "Right, Grohk, fold this in half." *Snap* "I put the halves in my pocket.").

At the bottom of the stairs, they found an alchemy lab, with a set of locked iron double doors, shelves of expired reagents and alchemical glassware lining the walls, and a 3m diameter stone sphere set into the ground in one corner of the room.  Darrude took a look and realized that the sphere was a drained arcane resevoir, an artifact that served like a primitive version of the Power enchantment, allowing you to power a spell remotely.

Looking around the room, he figured that he could probably use the alchemy setup to produce synthetic residuum (the dust used to recharge power items and enchantments) to fuel it, activating whatever it powered, and the rest of the party settled in.  Darrude sorted through the ancient reagents to get what he needed (involving a rarely-seen Hazardous Materials (Magical) roll), and started the refinement process, when something banged on the door from the other side.

They took up positions, with Grohk holding the door shut, but five 8' tall, muscular, inside-out humanoids with shark's heads attached directly to their torsos wielding clubs one-handed forced their way through.  One was even bigger and more vividly red, a second had what appeared to be useless vestigial wings, and another was swollen up like a balloon.

Thanks to Hidden Lore (Far Realm), Morgan identified them as Forsaken, beings that had been corrupted by aberrant energies and servants to Mind Flayers and their ilk.  They frequently go Berserk, are Unfazeable, and have No Peripheral Vision.

Grohk activated Stone Skin, and Sado punched one for 0 damage, while Morgan cast Mind Stab on the winged Forsaken, to no visible effect.  After cursing Grohk for being too big, Darrude cast Lightning Weapon on Sado's gauntlets, and the Forsaken attacked with clubs, except for the winged one, which somehow flew away on its tiny wings.

Sado missed a pair of Pressure Point strikes, while Grohk landed a good hit with his maul but was then grappled.  Morgan used Mind Stab on one of the "normal" inside-out sharkmen, again to no visible effect, and Darrude critically failed casting Spark Storm, draining most of his FP but thankfully doing nothing worse.

After parrying several attacks, Sado was grappled by the swollen Forsaken, and the winged one came back into view, flying at high speed.  Grohk broke free, but Sado struggled, while Morgan continued using Mind Stab, and Darrude cast Shocking Grasp.

Sado narrowly avoided being bitten and clubbed despite being grappled, but Grohk took a big hit, knocking him back and sending him into a Berserk rage.  With the line broken, the big one pushed through the gap and smashed Horace in the torso, knocking him out, and the flyer followed through, clubbing Grohk on the way by.

Grohk made a flurry of blows on the "normal" Forsaken near him, and landed all three hits, sending it into a Berserk fury.  Morgan made another Mind Stab on the flying one, while Darrude hit the swollen one that was grappling Sado, crippling its arm with the burning damage from Shocking Grasp and adding another Berserker to the fray.

Grohk took a pair of blows to the skull from his berserker, taking "only" 20 damage after the multiplier, but he was still stunned and fell over.  Sado was hit by the swollen Forsaken for minimal damage and managed to stay on his feet and cripple an arm and a leg in retribution, taking it mostly out of the fight.

Morgan missed the flyer with a Kinetic Lash, destroying most of the alchemical equipment behind it, while Darrude readied up another Shocking Grasp.  The berserker continued to rain blows on Grohk, and Sado was clubbed again, sending him into the negatives, while Morgan barely dodged the winged one's attacks.  Out of targets, the big Forsaken tried to finish off Horace, but missed.

Sado crippled the non-berserk normal one's leg, while Grohk woke up and grappled the flyer's legs from the ground.  Morgan tried another Mind Stab, and Darrude swung and missed.

Wasn't sure of the drinking rules and made it last 20-HT hours, when it's only supposed to be 1d hours.  Oh well, it cost them a day, but unless they start truly dicking around, losing a day or two doesn't matter.

Sado has a base -3 on all reaction rolls except with children, occasionally with worse penalties due to Quirks.  Grohk has a base -5, more when drunk.  The orcs didn't care for them.

The tablets that Darrude read contained the following information:

  • 3 spells, Adamantium Missile, Hail of Adamantium, and Flesh to Adamantium
  • A diary by a nameless wizard, logging his attempts to create permanent adamantium from nothing (and ultimately succeeding with Flesh to Adamantium)
  • Research notes for creating the 3 spells above
  • Research notes from the dwarves of Nal Grungi, described as surface dwarves, and how they were able to create permanent gold by making a diabolic pact
  • Research notes of which of the various kinds of devils would be easiest to make a deal with
  • Research notes involving creating a large but temporary portal to another plane

The Forsaken were one of the nastiest random encounters possible, and I rolled the max number.  Oh well, they kind of deserve it for spending an hour standing still wearing bright-as-day light sources in the open.

Sado rolled a crit on Tactics, giving him 5 rerolls.  All of them were gone inside of three rounds.

Grohk has 25HP, so he can take a LOT of punishment before going down.

2 for general success
MVP went to Darrude for opening the door.

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