Monday, 8 May 2017

GURPS Free Cities Session 47: The Broken Swords

Locke Landen - Human Bard (274 points)
Morgan Merkle - Human Mentalist (270 points)
          Brother Maurice- Human Initiate of Avandra, the goddess of freedom and luck (141 points)
Sindri Blackshield - Tiefling Knight (267 points)
Virgil the Grim - Human Barbarian (283 points)

Day 137 (Cont.):
Weather: Rainy
Date: Peris 24th 2526
With some time left in the day, Morgan found an instructor to train him in how to notice and disarm Traps, while Sindri met with an old adventurer to learn Slayer Training (Skull).  Virgil borrowed some money from Morgan, and went to find a smith to reforge his greatsword to be Very Fine.  He ran into a bit of a problem when he asked if he could stay in the room while the work was happening, because he doesn't like being separated from his sword, but was denied to "protect guild secrets", and decided to loiter across the street for the next two weeks.

Day 138:
Weather: Clear
Morgan and Sindri completed their training while Virgil leaned against a wall for 8 hours, and they all returned to the Crimson Boot to rest.  That night, a halfling wearing a cloak with a raven pin approached Sindri and Morgan, introduced himself as Albrecht, and sat down at their table.  He asked if they, being adventurers, would be interested in finding a cloak that had gone missing from his possession.  They would be paid $5,000, and any transgressions by the group who had taken it would be forgiven.

They realized that Albrecht was from the same faction as the man they had stolen the Nightmantle from, but before Morgan could negotiate, Sindri chastised the halfling for violating protocol; he should have gone to the Adventurer's Guild first, and then the Guild would have hired them..  Albrecht said that he would rather not involve the Guild, as that might lead to them discovering that the group who had taken the cloak had broken Guild rules by operating against "innocent" civilians in Adusia.

Virgil finally noticed the confrontation, and went over to intimidate the halfling, but his heart wasn't in it, as he was distracted by his concern for his sword, which was all alone in a smithy.  Morgan asked how long they had to decide, Albrecht said that he would be leaving in several hours, and they quickly adjourned to their rooms to discuss what to do.  Virgil wanted to tell the guy to screw off because they had stolen it fair and square, while Morgan and Sindri (and Maurice) voted to sell it.  Locke was strangely quiet on the matter (his player was running late).

Before Morgan could give the cloak back, however, Virgil told Albrecht to get bent and never come back.  The halfling took his leave, but Morgan hastily followed him outside, only to notice that Albrecht was being escorted by 4 men, and that another 10 soon emerged from the tavern behind him.  Realizing that he would be in serious trouble if the situation escalated any more, Morgan gave Albrecht the Nightmantle, free of charge.

Day 139-142:
Morgan completed some more training, while Virgil continued to anxiously loiter outside the smithy.

Day 143:
Weather: Raining
After several days of building up courage, a group of three guards on patrol told Virgil to go back to the docks with the other criminals, or be arrested for "loitering and conspiracy to commit loitering".  Figuring he'd rather not be a wanted man (he may have stolen several magical artifacts, but he's not a criminal), Virgil headed back to the docks district, looking for trouble, but instead found an old beggar with no legs.

Virgil briefly conversed with the old man, before lifting him onto the beggar's makeshift cart and dragging him to the docks, against his will.  Luckily, the beggar was timid enough not to cause a scene, and they made it to the docks uninterrupted.  The beggar pleaded for Virgil to take him somewhere else, as he was terrified of the water after a fish had eaten his legs at sea.  Virgil got bored and headed back to the Crimson Boot to brood instead.

Day 144-152:
Morgan and Sindri relaxed in the Crimson Boot, while Virgil moped for 5 days but and then found out about an underground fighting ring and spent his time betting.  He even won $20!

Day 153:
Weather: Clear
Virgil's sword was finally reforged, so they picked it up and headed to the Adventurer's Guild to look for work.  The guilder inside was bouncing a ball against the wall, and handed them a briefing; Bruno the Crimson of the Enchanter's Guild was looking for a group to escort him to a ruined city along the Grey River, east of Carda, in search of an artifact.  That was good enough for the party, and they headed out to Cosium immediately, arriving that evening.

Day 154:
Weather: Raining
With bad weather, a failed Hiking roll by Locke, and the poor roads through the Iron Forest, they didn't make it to Kral Narthis, and made camp just off the road instead.

Day 155:
Weather: Clear
The journey continued, passing Kral Narthis early in the morning, but they didn't make it the rest of the way to Carda; Brother Maurice sprained his ankle, and the roads here were poorly maintained.

Day 156:
Date: Peris 43rd, 2526
Weather: Clear
They arrived at Carda in the afternoon, and went to the local Adventurer's Guildhouse to get directions to Bruno.  The halfling working the desk, Stennal, was more than willing to help after Locke showed the remarkable courtesy of asking his name.

They went right around the corner to Bruno the Crimson's Splendiferous Magical Goods, where they found a half-orc in crimson robes waiting for them, and followed him into the back room to discuss the mission.  The artifact, the Index of Ioun, was said to answer any question written within its pages.  Bruno had painstakingly gone through ancient shipping records, the notes of other wizards, and even local legends before realizing it was probably in the abandoned city of Orisia, far to the east.

Orisia had been a colony of the Empire of Nerath, who had also built Adusia, Carda, Pontera, and Veria, but had been mysteriously abandoned.  Church bells rang in the distance, but Bruno seemed not to notice, and the discussion turned to logistics; they would be travelling down the Grey River by boat, which was ready to go and manned by three porters.  Bruno's apprentice, Daen, would also be accompanying them.

Just as they started to discuss payment, a young, red-headed man in plate armour jogged through the front door, and called for Bruno.  Locke and Sindri identified him as a Paladin of the Brotherhood of Divine Order, a group serving Erathis, the goddess of civilization and law, by the cog and crossed hammers on his breastplate. They also noticed that he carried a flail with two interlocking cogs as the head, a copy of the three they had recovered in their last mission.

The paladin, who introduced himself to the party as Cuthbert, explained that a large orcish army had emerged from the forest only several hours to the west, and the Duke was requesting Bruno's presence.  Bruno suggested that the party should tag along, and Cuthbert agreed that the Duke would likely have something for them to do.

The group proceeded at a jog, through the inner wall to the Duke's District, where mounted knights, paladins, and clerics mustered near the noble estates and cathedrals before continuing up the hill to the Ducal Palace.  At the entrance, they were asked to part with their weapons, and all but Virgil did so (Locke even put aside his completely harmless magic chiming ring, somewhat worrying Cuthbert and Bruno), and Virgil resolved to stay outside and brood.

They were ushered into a great hall, where the Duke, a middle-aged man, sat on a throne, with another, overweight and slightly flush man in flowing golden robes sitting in a smaller chair beside him.  Bruno was ordered to do whatever he viewed best in the several hours before the orcs arrived, and the party was asked to help in the upcoming battle.

The Duke offered $1,000 each for their assistance, with more to come if their services continued to be needed, they agreed, and Cuthbert was ordered to lead them to the west gate to assist captain of the guard Adalhard.  They left, but were distracted by an argument in the palace courtyard, where a group of knights and paladins were arguing over strategy.

The group seemed evenly split; one side wanted to valiantly charge forth and send the filthy orcs packing immediately, while the other suggested doing the sane thing of holding the enemy at the walls, and using cavalry to reinforce or flank out of another gate later on.  Sindri made his Strategy roll and sided with the "reinforce" group, which tipped the argument in their favour.  This earned him the thanks of Dugald Ironheart, Master of the Brotherhood of Divine Order, before they continued on their way.

The party arrived at the west gate, where a harried-looking man, who turned out to be Adalhard, was talking to three or four different people at once.  Cranes lifted stones to fill in gaps in the 30' high and 6' thick, yet ancient and poorly-maintained, walls.  Bruno and a human in grey robes, likely Daen, were talking to the men working on the arbalests, and groups of messengers were constantly coming and going.

Adalhard was thankful for the party's help, and noted that their main problem would be morale.  Most of the men being rallied to fight were peasants, and even the guards were more used to catching pickpockets than fighting wars.  The nobles were slightly better, but were similarly untested, and the captain asked if anyone in the group would be able to give a rousing speech to raise their spirits.

Locke (who "only" has Public Speaking 16) said "No", so Sindri, who would be rolling against a default of 5, went to go rouse the men, hoping his good Leadership would be enough.  The party turned to leave, but a cry went out as one of the cranes snapped, and a large piece of stone crashed to the ground, nearly crushing two men.  Virgil easily lifted the (400lbs) stone to the top of the gate, and the party was on their way to the mustering grounds.

Sindri realized, as he stood on the walls, overlooking 500 unarmoured peasants with spears, 50 guards, and several lances of knights, that he was out of his element, but Locke dramatically stepped in to give a rousing speech, focusing on how orcs weren't anywhere near as tough as they thought, and how he, personally, would be able to carry the day.  His critical success elicited cheers from all those assembled, and morale would seem to not be an issue.

The party made their preparations (Morgan grabbed the one spare paut that Bruno had), and stood atop the west gate alongside Cuthbert and 5 other paladins of his order, ready to respond to problems as needed.  As the orcs came within range of the defenses, they began to charge, and it became apparent that here were no siege weapons present except for ladders, and that the famous orcish cavalry archers were being held in reserve.

The left and right flanks of the orcish force were made up of a number of minor tribes, but the center was made up of well-disciplined, armoured members of the Broken Swords, which Locke and Sindri knew to be led by the fierce orcish warlord Agdug avhe Incavrong.  Many orcs were felled by crossbow and arbalest, but there were enough to make it through by sheer numbers alone.

The walls at the gate formed a "U", with two towers flanking the access to the gate itself, and any orcs who tried this direct approach had boiling oil and crossbow fire dumped upon them to the point that the party barely needed to assist, knocking over a ladder here or there.

However, there were two less-defended areas where enough orcs had reached the walls to be a problem.  To the south, a group of peasants were being overwhelmed, while to the north, a nobleman and his guards were in trouble, as all the forces near them were busy.  Figuring that a noble might reward them, they headed north, and left the peasants to Cuthbert and the paladins.

By the time they arrived, the noble and guard were already unconscious and bleeding out, and more orcs continued to come up the ladders.  Locke Mind Controlled one, and it turned around pushed over the ladder it had come up, crushing many orcs below.  Sindri and Virgil charged forward into the near-helpless orcs, while Morgan cast PK Lash, knocking one off and onto the ground 30' below.

Maurice cast Haste on Virgil, but forgot about the increased cost due to SM and immediately regretted it afterwards.  The controlled orc continued on, shoving Sindri aside so that he could push another ladder off, while Locke stunned one orc and mind controlled another, which was ordered to defend the party.

It charged past Sindri and into the orcs, but was critically dodged, and flew off the side of the walls.  Sindri sent one of the orcs backwards and off the wall with a heavy blow, but, rather Unluckily, missed the next badly, and his morningstar left his hand, landing behind the remaining orcs.  Virgil killed one, and Locke stunned the rest, dooming them.  The last ladder was removed, and the controlled orc was sent over the walls to his death.

Maurice got the noble up, careful to conserve energy, and claimed to have rescued him personally (thanks to his Glory Hog Quirk), while the rest of the party looked to the south and saw that, with a little assistance from Cuthbert, the peasants had rallied and pushed the orcs off, probably due to Locke's motivating speech.

The party headed back over to the gate, lost a bunch of FP for encumbrance, and realized that this was going to be a long battle, as hundreds, if not thousands of orcs remained.  Virgil noticed groups of orcs with shields encircling other orcs that were in robes with staves: wizards.  And they were only 7m from the gate.

This session had the most in-game days passed in one session, at 19.  This is bad for Virgil, who has almost no money.

Locke missed the first three hours of the session; luckily that was when we did all the bookkeeping.  I would have preferred to do it beforehand, but nobody seemed interested until game time.

Sindri has the quirk "By The Book", after the incident with Albrecht.

Sindri paid for, and completed, the training for Slayer Training (Skull), but didn't pay the XP cost.  I've ruled this is okay, as it's not an issue if someone pays cash for training they might not ever use.

The entire party, except for Virgil and Morgan, has Move 3.

Another 6 rolls and still no random encounters.  It's a 37.5% chance every time, so the cumulative odds of this happening between the last two sessions is 0.2%.

Somebody made a joke about the golden-robed overweight man in the throne room being the Mega-Pope, and I said something along the lines of "yeah, basically", but that was misleading.  The man had no religious iconography visible anywhere.

Locke, when his mind-controlled orc went flying off the walls: "Still counts as a kill for me"

On the Mind Control subject; it continues to be overpowered against fodder.  On both attempts, Locke "only" succeeded by 3, but the orcs failed their checks by 5+.

When I announced that there were orc wizards, Virgil immediately said "shamans!".  No, they're wizards, which is, admittedly, quite strange for orcs.  Then again, so is being heavily armoured and organized.

2 for general success
1 for the combat on the walls (fodder, outnumbered 2:1)
MVP went to Locke for his mind-control shenanigans

No comments:

Post a Comment