Friday, 10 March 2017

GURPS Free Cities Session 40: The Mystery of the Druids

Locke Landen - Human Bard (252 points)
Morgan Merkle - Human Mentalist (259 points)
          Brother Maurice- Human Initiate of Avandra, the goddess of freedom and luck (126 points)
Sindri Blackshield - Tiefling Knight (258 points)
Virgil the Grim - Human Barbarian (258 points)

Day 117:
Weather: Rainy
Date: Peris 4th, 2526
The group decided to head back to Heyfield, as from there they could follow one of the streams from the lake on their map, and wouldn't risk getting lost.  They made good time, and, after passing by a very familiar glade with a giant tree, arrived in view of the lake by nightfall.  Virgil didn't have a tent, so he lost 1FP for sleeping in the open.  Fortunately, they weren't attacked.

Day 118:
Weather: Rainy
Date: Peris 5th, 2526
The rain continued as they travelled west around the lake.  Around noon they found a marble statue of a woman wearing a crown, and whose legs were replaced with swirling water.  Brother Maurice identified this as Melora, the goddess of the wilderness and oceans, and suggested that he could probably sanctify it if given an hour.

The rest of the party agreed to rest, and, once the hour was up, a warm breeze gently caressed them and gave them a level 2 Bless.  Now slightly faster (thanks to boosted Hiking from the Bless), they continued on, and passed by a pool of crystal clear water, where Virgil washed his face, and the others filled their canteens, though nobody drank any.

They camped for the night just shy of where they suspected the druids were.  This time, Virgil found a good campsite, and didn't lose any more FP.

Day 119:
Weather: Sunny
Date: Peris 6th, 2526
Thanks to Melora's Blessing (Hiking and Weather Sense success, Navigation critical success), and the good weather, they covered a lot of ground, and quickly arrived at a small hill with a cave entrance a ways up.  The forest had been cleared in a semi-circle around the front of the hill, and there were wooden spikes arranged around it, to prevent charging.  After watching the area for a bit, Virgil realised that the cave was abandoned.

Because Morgan was Curious, they explored the cave, and tripped a tripwire which dropped an oiled net, though thankfully their light source was a lantern.  Beyond they found a small network of tunnels, but found nothing other than old bedding, severely rotting humanoid corpses (possibly furred humanoids, though they could have just been wearing furs), some cheap spears and tower shields, an altar to Magubliyet, a goblinoid war god, and a strangely unworn patch of rock.

The party continued on to the west, and the weather got drastically worse, slowing their progress.  Torrents of rain fell as thunder rolled through the forest, and the party took this as a good sign.  After all, druids control the weather, so bad weather = druids.  At one point, Morgan noticed a large eagle far above them, nearly invisible except for during the lightning strikes.

Later, Virgil noticed that a nearby puddle rippled, and soon they heard giant footsteps, followed by a bestial roar.  They tried to follow, but instead of a monster, they found a 10' high wall of brambles.  Virgil tried cutting through it, but made little progress, so they decided to circle around.

They found the entrance, and proceeded down a long hallway flanked by the thicket, only to find a clearing with ten butchered, brown-robed humanoids.  There was also a slope with stone steps leading towards a grey fog that obscured everything behind it.  They were hesitant to proceed, until a lightning bolt thrown from behind the wall narrowly missed Sindri, which started Locke talking.

The same voice they had heard at Cosium responded, accusing them of despoiling the forests, and explaining that they needed to die that nature might live.  Thanks to (very) good rolls, Locke was able to convince the other person that the party was here to help him, and they made it through the fog without coming under further attack.

On the other side was a circle of standing stones, with an altar in the middle covered in demonic iconography drawn in blood.  The druid stood in front of the altar, flanked by two red men with razor sharp claws, a giant eagle, and a storm elemental.  Two dire wolves stood ready on either side, and a large gorilla with giant fangs and horns was hanging from the standing stones to the right.  Maurice informed the party that the red men and gorilla were demons, that they were resistant to non-magical attacks, fire, electricity, and cold, and that wounds from the red men caused severe bleeding.

Virgil then drew his greatsword, and the druid shouted out that he'd been fooled, and would have to kill them all anyway.  Sindri crit his Tactics roll, netting the party 8 rerolls, and the red men charged at Locke and Virgil, though they both missed with their claws.  Locke played a sweet song and Mind Controlled one of them, while Virgil and Morgan attacked the other.  Sindri readied his morningstar, and Maurice started Haste on Locke, who was on the front line for some reason.

The gorilla-demon pulled itself up onto the standing stone and the wolves charged in from the flanks, locking the heroes down, while the druid cast a Pollen Cloud in the centre of their formation to no effect.  The mind-controlled demon attacked the other one at Locke's command, but missed badly and fell prone.  Luckily, the distraction worked, and the second demon fought back.  Locke Mind Controlled one of the wolves, while Virgil and Sindri killed one each, Morgan stunned the last one, and Maurice finished Haste.

The storm elemental hit Virgil with a lightning bolt for minor damage, and the druid cast a Windstorm, again in the center of the PC's formation.  The gorilla-demon jumped 30' through the air and swung its mighty fists at Virgil, but was parried.  The red men continued attacking each other, and the eagle continued to hang back.  The party moved out of the Windstorm that was about to form, Locke and Morgan to the left, Sindri, Virgil, and Maurice to the right.  On his way by, Virgil managed to hit the gorilla-demon's neck, stunning it.

The druid moved to cast Frostbite on Morgan, but he resisted, and the storm elemental missed Virgil with another lightning bolt.  The mind-controlled wolf and demon attacked their counterparts, both of whom fell prone due to the Windstorm, and Locke failed to Mind Control the druid.  Virgil and Sindri landed a hail of blows to the gorilla-demon's skull, stunning it again, and Maurice cast Minor Healing on Virgil.

Morgan responded to the druid's attack with a Kinetic Lash to the skull, stunning him and knocking him back into the altar (and also past three death checks).  The elemental hit Sindri, but didn't stun him, while the last remaining wolf died to the mind-controlled one, and the giant eagle finally acted, flying towards Morgan and furiously pecking him.

Locke All-Out Defended, and Virgil finished off the gorilla demon, allowing Sindri and Maurice to move towards the druid.  Morgan used Mind Stab Light to drain some of the eagle's FP, the druid started to stand up, the air elemental missed an attack at Locke and was attacked by the friendly wolf, and the eagle managed to claw Morgan for mild damage.  Locke tried using his Rapier Wit on the druid, but rolled poorly and failed.

Virgil put in another attack on the gorilla-demon (thanks to Bloodlust), while Sindri killed the druid with a Rapid Strike to the skull, and Morgan missed the very agile eagle with a Kinetic Lash.  Maurice moved to help finish off the last non-mind controlled demon, and the air elemental flew up, and threw a poorly-aimed lightning bolt.

Click to Zoom
Here's a crappy phone picture of the map.  You can faintly see the circle with DRUIDS in the center, which is where they'd narrowed their search down to.

The glade they passed through on the first day was the dryad's from last session, though she wasn't there for some reason.  Can't imagine why.  Luckily, Virgil didn't notice this, thanks to a crit failure on memory.

There was actually a night-time random encounter on their first night in the woods, but Virgil's Camouflage and Locke's bad Perception meant that neither group noticed the other.

Nobody recognised the abandoned cave, which is kind of surprising.  To be fair, they probably thought that the stone wall at the entrance was still in place.

Someone asked who builds statues of goddesses in the middle of the wilderness.  It's probably best not to ask too many questions about statues that gives you a level 2 Bless.

Locke asked if they could get a level 4 Bless if they sanctified the altar to Magubliyet, but Maurice suggested against it.

Locke talking them through the fog was hilarious, though Virgil very quickly put an end to subtlety.

Mind Control might be a tad overpowered, we'll have to see.  We ran it as -2 for multiple targets instead of -1; otherwise Locke could have mind-controlled just about everything, and it'll only get worse if he buys more Bardic Talent.

Mind Stab Light is Mind Stab from DF, limited to 5 max points of damage to cut down on the cost.

Double XP to Locke, and 1 extra point to Sindri and Virgil.  Everyone is now caught up.
2 for general success
0 for combat (the fight's not over)
0 for loot
0 for quests
1 for roleplaying (Morgan and Virgil)
MVP went to Morgan for damage-dealing

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