Sunday, 26 March 2017

GURPS Free Cities Session 42: The Temple of Baphomet

Locke Landen - Human Bard (265 points)
Morgan Merkle - Human Mentalist (260 points)
          Brother Maurice- Human Initiate of Avandra, the goddess of freedom and luck (127 points)
Sindri Blackshield - Tiefling Knight (260 points)
Virgil the Grim - Human Barbarian (268 points)

Day 121 (Cont.):
Weather: Perfect
Date: Peris 8th, 2526
Morgan, Sindri, and Maurice rested, but Locke and Virgil grew bored and decided to explore.  Virgil boosted Locke up the north wall before climbing up himself, arriving in a cavernous room.  To the west was a set of tarnished brass double doors blocked by collapsed stones, to the east a brass statue of a minotaur holding an axe overhead situated on a brass disc on the floor, and to the north a narrow passageway.

Virgil walked up to the statue to examine it, but when he set foot on the disc the weight of the statue shifted, and the axe slashed across his torso before he could dodge.  Locke noticed that there was smoke coming from the "wall" behind the statue, and realised that it was illusory.  He walked through and found a 30' long, 6' wide hallway, ending at a small circular chamber containing a broken pentagram.

In the center of the pentagram were an evistro demon and a six-armed woman with a snake tail instead of legs, but neither Locke nor Virgil got close enough to see exactly what they were doing.  Not quite willing to engage the demon(s?), they walked back through the "wall" and returned to the party.  After two healing potions, a bunch of healing, and two hours of rest, Sindri was back on his feet and Maurice had recovered enough FP to be somewhat useful.

Everybody climbed back up the north wall, the party formed up in front of the statue, and Virgil and Sindri passed through the illusory wall, only to discover that a vrock and gorilla demon had reinforced the snake woman and evistro, who were able to actually notice the party this time.  The evistro and vrock charged at Sindri and Virgil, who shouted for the rest of the group, still on the other side of the illusory wall, to back off so that they could retreat out of the bottleneck.

Locke obliged, and Sindri stepped backwards after smashing the evistro with his morningstar.  Morgan and Maurice both backed off as well, waiting for the demons to come into line of sight, while, on the other side of the wall, the snake woman drew six swords and the gorilla demon charged down the hall.

The evistro charged through the wall, only to be immediately Mind Controlled by Locke, followed by the vrock.  Virgil followed in turn, and landed two attacks to the back of the vrock's skull, but it kept its feet until Sindri landed another blow.  The gorilla demon then slammed into Sindri and Locke, but both dodged.

Virgil attacked the vrock some more and Locke moved in to stun it with his new bard-song, while Sindri turned and attacked the gorilla demon in the skull from behind, stunning it.  The snake woman emerged from the illusory wall, made six poorly-aimed attacks at Sindri's unarmoured neck, landed two, and he dropped, his head attached to his body by a thread..

The vrock stopped moving, but Virgil caved its skull in with another attack anyway, and the gorilla demon recovered from stun, only to be bitten in the neck by the friendly evistro.  Locke tried Mind Controlling the snake woman, but failed, while Morgan Mind Stabbed her fatigue away, and Maurice attacked the downed gorilla demon's neck with his broadsword.

The snake woman moved on to attack Locke, but the only attack she landed was blocked by a sacrificial dodge from the evistro, while the gorilla demon passed out.  Virgil landed a double attack to the skull from behind, stunning her and knocking her prone, and Maurice landed the "killing blow" before she, too, passed out.

The party carved up the unconscious demons, and then bashed the evistro's skull in before it could break free.  They took the snake woman's six swords, and then dragged Sindri into the pentagram chamber to rest and stabilize his wound.  Maurice and Morgan decided to watch over his body (again) while Virgil and Locke went exploring (again).  Rather than clearing the rubble, they went north.

The passage forked, and they arrived at a bunk room, with many straw-filled mattresses lining the floor.  While searching for loot, Locke found an apparently freshly severed bull head.  As he observed it, its milky white eyes opened, and it whispered "the veil is torn; the great beast roams free" before disintegrating into dust.

Somewhat disturbed, the pair headed down the other fork and found a nicer room, with a proper bed and a crude altar, upon which lay a pulsing fist-sized blackish-red mound of flesh.  After some hesitation, Virgil touched it, and, after not being visibly cursed, he picked it up to take back to Maurice.  Locke found some loose copper coins, and they headed back.

Maurice determined the pulsing flesh to be a demonic heart separated from the body, that it was tying some demon to this complex, and that it required magic to destroy.  Virgil tested the different swords to see if any were magical, and while he was capable of cutting it into pieces, the heart simply regenerated from any damage almost immediately.  He did notice that one of the elven longswords made of a strange glass-like material hindered the regeneration slightly.

With the complex now (somewhat) secured, the party rested overnight, and Maurice used his new Healing Slumber spell to get in some more healing on Sindri.

Day 122:
Weather: Light Drizzle
Virgil spent all morning clearing the rubble in front of the brass doors, and, once they were opened, he and Locke continued exploring.  There was a smashed wooden door to the north, three passages that went off into darkness to the west, and a closed wooden door to the south.  They took the easy way and went north, where they found an old storeroom full of rotted food and five skeletal former adventurers, one gnome and the rest human-sized.

They took two holy symbols of Melora, which Virgil recognized, a spear with a fish engraved onto the haft, and a broadsword, but left the rest.  The pair decided to wait until they had a light source before going into the dark passages, so Virgil ripped the south door off its hinges and they continued down the ramp beyond.

It ended in a chamber which contained many torture implements and several skeletons, some in a large iron cage, others tied to the wall in handcuffs.  To the east was a balcony overlooking the pit where the dead evistros still lay, and to the west a dead-end hallway.  They headed back to the pentagram chamber and got Sindri, who was now conscious, to take a look at the swords and spear with Armoury.

He found that the silvered elven longsword was also fine, and that the bastard sword was orichalcum and very fine, but couldn't tell anything about the rest, including the strange glass-like elven longsword and the black metal cavalry saber that smelled of blood.  Maurice noticed that the spear was divinely enchanted, and Virgil stabbed the demonic heart, destroying it in a cloud of smoke.  The party rested for the rest of the day, and Maurice tried to figure out how the spear was enchanted using Religious Ritual, but failed.

Day 123:
Weather: Light Mist
After a bit more healing (and their last potion), Sindri was ready to go, and they headed into the right-most dark passage with Morgan's lantern.  They wandered through the narrow caves while holding on to the right wall with one hand, but Morgan noticed that everybody else seemed disoriented and they got turned around a couple times.

They arrived at a roughly 50' mostly round cleared cavern with many branching paths leaving, and discovered a large pile of bodies, some with spears and tower shields, though species couldn't be determined due to rot.  Maurice figured that some had been killed by spear wounds, but the rest had been gored by something.

Virgil got the bright idea to call out to the minotaur they all assumed was in the labyrinth, and heard a low roar in response.  They made more noise, and soon something charged out of the shadows, though it wasn't what they'd expected.  A hunched-over bipedal frog monster with black iron horns, razor-sharp teeth, and spines running down its back ran directly at Virgil, then Morgan, with intent to gore, but both dodged out of the way at the last second.

Maurice warned that this was a hezrou demon, and that it had an extremely toxic bite and a noxious aura, but the warning was unnecessary as its back was exposed to the party's heavy hitters and it was stunned almost immediately.  It recovered, but Locke played a song which stunned it again, and it was quickly finished off.  Before continuing on, they searched the pile of bodies for valuables and found about forty silver coins for their troubles.

They continued on through the darkness, and arrived at a smaller cavern filled with bones arranged in strange patterns.  Locke noticed that part of the wall was actually a boulder that could be moved, and Virgil pushed it aside, revealing a small room on the other side.  There were a bunch of scattered coins, an iron chest with integral lock, a minotaur figurine on an altar (identified by Maurice as a shrine to the demon lord Baphomet, the King of Horned Beasts), and a set of medium plate torso armour.

The armour was surveyed by Sindri and discovered to be meteoric, which Locke estimated to be worth about $40,000.  Virgil stabbed at the minotaur figurine with the fish spear, but this had no noticeable effect.  They then set about figuring out what to do with the chest.  Virgil decided to use the unbreakable orichalcum bastard sword as a lever to force it open, only for the blade to snap almost immediately.  Turns out Sindri had gotten that one wrong; woops.

Virgil then tried prying it open with his bare hands, but only succeeded at getting poisoned by a small needle.  After throwing the chest at the walls a couple of times (and hearing the jangling of many coins), the party agreed to give Maurice a shot at using Exorcism to purify the shrine, and they spent the next three hours figuring out who had to carry what so that they could get as much valuables as possible back to town.

As the ceremony reached peak intensity, Maurice was flung backwards on his back, and declared the exorcism a failure.  Virgil picked up the chest under one arm and they set off, eventually arriving back at the entrance to the darkened area, and proceeding through the brass doors, down into the pit, and up the spiral ramp to the surface.

Looking at their map, Virgil insisted on going by the statue of Melora on the way to Kral Barakzar, so that they could drop of the holy symbols they had found, and possibly earn her favour.  They only had a half-day to travel, though, and they made even worse time as Maurice is poorly suited to travel, and critical failure on Survival (Woodlands) meant they ended up setting their camp on top of a fire ant colony, which lead to a restless night losing everybody 1FP.

Day 124:
Weather: Heavy Rain
Thanks to poor weather, they made it only 6km in 12 hours, and ended up just a hair away from the statue of Melora by the time night fell.  Virgil wanted to continue on to the statue that night, but backed down when the rest of the party demanded rest.  This time they didn't camp on top of fire ants.

The entire dungeon, except for the labyrinth, is lit by candles and a sort of malevolent ambient glow that gives -3 to Vision.  Sindri doesn't care, because he has 60-degree Dark Vision.

Virgil took 4HP damage that will last the week after failing his Survival roll to cut down on upkeep, in spite of Outdoorsman 4, because he has the wrong specialization, and no personal basics.

It was discovered this session that Locke, Sindri, and Virgil all have no clothes.

Let them boost people at just DX instead of Acrobatics-2/DX-8.  Considering it still requires an ST-based Climbing roll afterwards, it seems like massive overkill.

The snake woman forced Sindri (who admittedly wasn't at full health) past four death checks in two hits.  20 damage to the unarmoured neck is a big deal.

Sindri was pretty late to the session, but rather than starting a fight that he wouldn't be able to participate in once he did show up, we all decided to wait and get him into fighting shape.  When he finally arrived, he was almost immediately knocked out anyway.

Maurice has gained the quirk "claims he landed the killing blow".

The snake woman's swords are as follows, though they aren't 100% sure of the qualities after breaking the "orichalcum" bastard sword:
-1x Broadsword, fancy dark inlay of three panels on one side of the blade: lizardmen in a desert, lizardmen finding some valuable material, and a city in the desert
-1x Bastard Sword, silver-coated with a black feather along the hilt
-1x Thrusting Broadsword, silver-coated
-1x Cavalry Saber, made of jagged black metal, smells faintly of blood
-2x Elven Longsword (aka Katana), one fine and silver-coated, the other made of a strange glass-like material with blue tassels in the hilt and an enamel pattern of the eight-pointed star of Corellon, the god of magic, on the pommel.

This party has nobody even remotely capable of picking a lock, so they're going to struggle to open chests and deal with traps.

It was suggested by Virgil that they hire somebody to carry stuff out in the future, because pretty much everybody else is within 10lbs of the next encumbrance tier, and he'd have less spare weight once he gets armoured up.  He's also currently wearing a greatsword across his back, and an elven longsword at either hip.

No random encounters out of four rolls when travelling, which is surprising given the odds are just shy of 40% (<9 on 3d).

2 for general success
1 for the demon combat
0 for the hezrou combat
1 for clearing the Temple of Baphomet (except for the cursed altar)
1 for loot (only the loose coins, the rest still has to be sold and will probably get more XP)
MVP went to Locke for shutting the demons down hard.

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