Friday, 21 April 2017

GURPS Free Cities Session 45: The Great Beast

Locke Landen - Human Bard (274 points)
Morgan Merkle - Human Mentalist (266 points)
          Brother Maurice- Human Initiate of Avandra, the goddess of freedom and luck (139 points)
Sindri Blackshield - Tiefling Knight (267 points)
Virgil the Grim - Human Barbarian (283 points)

Day 130 (Cont.):
Weather: Sunny and Warm
Date: Peris 17th 2526
The party went to the Merchant's Quarter and met with the dwarven merchant Gylium at his spice shop.  He brought out some dwarven pastries and fine wine before they getting down to business: another merchant, an elf woman named Cathney, was three days late on her journey to Carda.  Seeker spells cast by the Enchanter's Guild had found that she was in what looked like an inn, but that one of the horses was still on the road.

The party would be paid $500 plus 20% of whatever trade goods they could recover to rescue Cathney, and were supplied with a cart and drover, Eward, to haul the goods.  They inquired about what kind of security she'd had (six guards, none well-known), whether there was any unusual bandit activity in the area (no more than usual), and if they knew which inns she might be in (probably either the Wench and Flail in Cosium or the Silver Axe in Kral Narthis, as those are the towns on the road to Carda) before heading back to the Crimson Boot to rest for the journey ahead.

Day 131:
Weather: Clear
With everyone but Virgil in the cart, the party made it to Cosium in about four and a half hours instead of the usual 8, and were given a hero's welcome in thanks for solving the wild animal problem (though Locke managed to convince the villagers that he was a new hire).  On the way to the Wench and Flail inn, they noticed that the wall that had been destroyed by the cactus bear was still being repaired.  Inside, the innkeep was able to tell them that Cathney had come through with six guards about a week ago, but that nobody else had come or gone along that road since.

Despite Locke's insistence that they stay at the inn and party, they continued south for several hours until they discovered an overturned cart, loose jars and crates scattered in the middle of the road, and a set of giant, 3'-wide hoofprints that came out of the forest to the west before continuing south.  There was a dead horse near the cart, though there were harnesses for two, and a human corpse face down, who had seemingly been impaled and crushed by whatever had made the hoofprints.

The party spent half an hour loading up their cart with the jars and crates, and discovered three fancy morningstars with interlocked cogs functioning as the head, which Sindri identified as the holy symbol of Erathis, the goddess of law and civilization.  At Sindri's behest, they also loaded up the dead man so that he could receive a proper burial, and headed back to Cosium on foot.

They were just outside of town after sunset, so they continued on for another half-hour to make it to the safety of the walls for the night.  Thanks to the party's reputation, the guards let them through with a corpse openly displayed with only minimal grumbling, and, after some arguing, they took the body to the temple of Pelor, the god of harvest and the sun, and the cart to the local merchant's guild office, to be stored until their return.

In the Wench and Flail inn, Locke challenged the local bard to a rock-off, but broke a string during his performance and was booed off the stage.  While he headed off to brood in a corner, Virgil learned from a drunkard that there was a group of people with shaved heads and strange robes who lived at the top of the mountain south of Carda.

Day 132:
Weather: Clear
With Eward and Maurice on horseback, the party headed back to the overturned cart, righted it, and attached the horses to it before continuing on with most of the party in the cart.  Only 5 minutes later, they found the rest of the guards, and half of the missing horse, dead in another stretch of road covered with the 3' wide hoofprints, which eventually went off-road to the west.  Virgil and Morgan tried to recall what kind of beast what might make such prints, but came up blank.

After some looking, Virgil found a small trail of blood and drag marks leading along the road to the south, so the party followed.  After several hours by cart, they arrived at a hamlet on the outskirts of Kral Narthis, and found that the drag marks ended a short distance from a peasant hut, which was empty.  The blood trail continued on to a stable, where wheel ruts headed back onto the main road.

At this point, they heard a ferocious roar, and noticed a 40'-tall bipedal minotaur-like beast covered in reddish-orange fur tearing a building apart some kilometres away.  Virgil wanted to fight it now, but cooler heads prevailed, and they made it the rest of the way to Kral Narthis without being noticed by the beast.

Along the way, Maurice explained that it was a goristro, a greater demon, and that, other than being really strong, twice as fast as a horse, and capable of seeing in the dark, it had no special magic powers.  However, between hide as tough as steel, magic resistance, immunity to mind control and terror, and resistance to non-magic weapons, even a "mundane" greater demon would be practically unkillable.

At the town walls, a group of dwarves with crossbows hastily opened the gate and yelled at the party to come inside.  They were led to the town square, where a rabble of dwarves, led by an elder with white hair, were arguing with two men: one with black hair, an eye-patch, and plate armour, and the other wearing a dashing pirate hat, breastplate, and rapier.  Sindri noticed their Heraldry of a black dragon on a blue field and identified them as members of the Dragons of Carda, a mercenary company that had fought in the recent war between the cities of Etriada, Isserno, and Mefalis to the far west.

The dwarves were upset that they had paid the men for protection, but now that there was a threat, they wanted to wait and let the beast destroy the villages and ruin farmland, which could result in them all starving come winter.  Meanwhile, the man with the eye-patch argued that two men and several dwarves had been killed, and many more wounded, when the beast first attacked two days earlier, and that the most prudent course of action was to wait for reinforcements, which would arrive in two days.

Virgil agreed to help kill the beast, but they decided to wait for the reinforcements, much to the dwarves' chagrin.  While Locke and Virgil took stock of the troops, Morgan and Sindri went to the Silver Axe tavern, where they found an impromptu hospital.  Many dwarves, several soldiers of the Dragons, and an elven woman were all being tended to by a harried-looking medic and two priests of Moradin, the god of dwarves and craftsmen.

After conferring with the medic, the pair talked to the elven woman, Cathney, who turned out to be mostly fine, except for a broken leg, which would take a month to heal.  Maurice inspected her wounds and determined that the priests were doing a good job, so they left her to rest.  The party reconvened and found out there were no wizards in town, but were told to try talking to Dumvir, the high priest at the temple of Moradin, as he might be able to banish the demon.

Sadly, Dumvir informed the party that the only way he (might) be able to Banish the demon were if it were practically within the temple, as the energy required for such a spell would easily kill anybody who tried it.  Still, he offered them a blessed hammer (Puissance +1, Accuracy +1), and told them that the priests could make holy water, healing potions, or paut, if needed.  They asked Dumvir to work on holy water, and Morgan took some spare paut.

With information from Dumvir and Maurice, Sindri and Virgil then spread the word of where the beast's vitals were to the soldiers, and recruited the displaced peasants to throw holy water and axes during the battle.  They then cooperated with the mercenary leaders, Bertio Addon (eyepatch) and Luccio of Valonde (pirate) to form a plan of attack.

While planning, the party learned that the goristro had almost broken through the walls when it first attacked, and that the mercenary crossbowmen each had a single magic bolt (Puissance +2, Penetrating Weapon (3), Flaming Weapon).

The party, except for Virgil, set up their tents in the town square, alongside the mercenaries, while the hordes of displaced peasants filled into overcrowded houses or lay out in the cold.  Virgil slept on the walls, able to respond in case of a night attack.

Day 133
Weather: Normal
Date: Peris 20th, 2526
The party and the mercenaries worked on their plan throughout the morning, but at noon, shouts of "It's coming right for us!" were heard from the western wall.

The party's down 1FP from their forced march, as they still haven't had the time to recover.

The merchant guilder in Cosium doesn't really do much; he's mostly there to enforce the guild's monopolies.

Locke when first seeing the goristro: "If only a talking, severed bull head had warned us of this!"

Opinions on how well the battle will go vary from "We just need to cripple a foot!"-Virgil, to "We're all going to die!"-Morgan.

Sindri has started asking, even in the small towns of Cosium and Kral Narthis, if anybody has a pair of Gauntlets of Climbing for sale.  Unsurprisingly, this has failed.

Speaking of Sindri and climbing, he wants to climb the goristro and bash its skull in.  Similarly, Luccio has proclaimed that he will climb the beast and stab it in the eyes.

There are enough bodkin bolts for 4 volleys, after which they'll be down to normal bolts.

Because it isn't clear how much damage holy water should do (and none of the existing demon monsters have a Weakness to it), I've ruled it to do 1d, ignoring DR.  It can be added to a weapon, in which case it adds its damage as a follow-up, though it evaporates after a minute.

The current plan is:

  • Virgil, Sindri, and the mercenaries take the field and brace against the goristro's charge.
  • The crossbowmen and Locke, with a new bow, take shots at it, using the magic bolts in the second or third volley once it closes.
  • The peasants stand on the ground behind the (20' high) walls, and throw holy water once it's visible.
  • Morgan will levitate at the top of the wall (30' total) while invisible using the Nightmantle, and will use Mind Stab on the goristro to deplete its FP once it gets close.
In addition to the party, Bertio, and Luccio, they have the following troops:
  • 12 dwarven guards with crossbows
  • 2 initiates of Moradin who can provide healing or buffs before combat
  • 30 peasants with a single throwing axe each
  • 60 peasants with a single bottle of holy water each
  • 9 mercenary spearmen
  • 5 mercenary swordsmen
  • 4 mercenary crossbowmen

2 for general success
0 for combat
0 for loot
0 for roleplaying
MVP went to Morgan

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