Sunday, 11 June 2017

GURPS Free Cities Session 51: The Tower of Power

Locke Landen - Human Bard (294 points)
Morgan Merkle - Human Mentalist (282 points)
          Brother Maurice- Human Initiate of Avandra, the goddess of freedom and luck (154 points)
Sindri Blackshield - Tiefling Knight (292 points)

Player Absent:
Virgil the Grim - Human Barbarian (298 points)

Day 167:
Date: Amothius 7th, 2526
Weather: Clear
The party tried to get some Blessings, but all of the churches were still busy dealing with the wounded, and Maurice was similarly unable to find any potions or paut to refill his potion belt.  A messenger from the duke found them, and they walked up the hill to the Ducal Palace to receive another mission.

As a camp of devils had simply appeared to the south of Carda several nights ago, the duke had decided to give them the Tears of St. Carmine to buy them off.  However, he had been unable to convince Dugald Ironheart, the Grandmaster of the Brotherhood of Divine Order and leader of the local church of Erathis, to part with the artifact.  Thus, it fell to the party to try, though he would understand if they failed.  As this was a simple and non-dangerous job, they would receive only 1/4 of their usual rate, to which the party agreed.

They travelled to the cathedral of Erathis, and were lead to Dugald through a maze of offices and living quarters.  The discussion went poorly, with Locke failing to convince Dugald that it was worthwhile to give up the Tears to infernal forces, and the party returned to the duke to inform him of their failure.  The duke was understanding, and offered them a choice between two jobs: the first, to track down a missing person outside of the town walls, and the second, to follow and investigate the movements of an orc tribe into the Iron Forest to the north.

The party decided to go with the missing person's case, and were told that the duke's 19-year-old daughter, Kayra, had been travelling to the Iron Forest to the north when the first assault launched, according to her maid.  The duke normally paid little attention to his daughter's daily life, and only discovered several days after the siege had began.  When asked for leads, he suggested looking for refugees from the villages of Letun, Cloudfall, Reebury, or Wedale, which might have had a chance of seeing a brown-haired, blue-eyed girl in a blue cloak riding a chestnut horse.

He also suggested they talk to one of Kayra's friends, Angela Conbert, who might know more.  After negotiating for slightly extra pay, the party decided to track down Angela first, and found that Kayra had told her of her rides north of Wedale to meet a man, but not who.  She also suspected that the meetings were romantic in nature, but had no evidence to back this up.

The party spent the rest of the day trying to track down some peasants from Wedale, to little success.  Locke was too busy partying, Morgan tried to research details that would help pick Wedalians out of the crowd but discovered that they were frustratingly average, and Virgil asked some guards if they thought silvered weapons were worthwhile (they replied that a silvered sword would be worth more than they make in a month).  Thankfully, Maurice was able to track some people down by asking around the churches where the wounded were taken care of.

He confirmed that a girl matching Kayra's description had indeed been seen on the road west of Wedale, and the party made preparations to leave the next morning.

Day 168:
Weather: Clear
Before leaving, the party (except for Locke) were able to obtain some Blessings and potions, and went to the Ducal Palace to meet Hestius so that he could open the secret passage.  Instead, he asked them who had opened it last time, and was happy to hear that Sabriel could do so, as he was very busy and didn't have the time to walk back and forth down the tunnel all day.  He sent a Message and told the party to get on their way.

10 minutes after they arrived at the end of the tunnel, Sabriel moved the earth aside to let them by, and when thanked, said that she owed Hestius.  The party headed out to Wedale, sticking to the edge of the forest, and arrived at the section of road they were interested in around noon.  Virgil was able to pick up the tracks and followed them into the Iron Forest, leading the party directly into an owlbear nest before realising that he had lost the trail at some point.

Two owlbears were instantly slain but the third ran off, and, with some backtracking, they were able to pick up the appropriate tracks once more.  Several hours later, they arrived at a clearing which had several hoofprints; the single set they had been following came from the south, and several more from the north, deeper in the forest.  The single tracks continued to the southwest, so they continued to follow them, slew the last owlbear after it wounded Maurice in another attack, and eventually arrived at a dead horse riddled with orcish arrows, where the tracks stopped.

To the south, the orcish camps were visible, and a group of heavy footprints led back that way.  A shred of blue fabric was stuck on a nearby tree, but a quick Search turned up nothing more of note.  The party figured that the orcs had taken Kayra prisoner, probably as a slave, but after nixing plans to infiltrate the camps disguised as orcs, decided to ambush the next patrol to come by and interrogate them.

Virgil found a good spot, using his Camouflage to conceal the party amongst the foliage just outside of an abandoned farming village, and, just as the sun was setting, a mounted patrol rode through.  At the last second, the orcs spotted them and the leader shouted "Ambush!" in Giant, but it wasn't enough.  Virgil, Morgan, and Sindri each knocked out a rider, while Locke Mind Controlled the leader and a horse.

The last two orcs tried to ride away only for their horses to be incapacitated, and were then finished off before they could escape.  Virgil calmed the two surviving horses that hadn't fled, while Locke questioned the mind controlled orc, and discovered that Kayra was in the Spire of the Iron Wizard.  The orc didn't know much about it, only that the Iron Wizard had been training the orcish wizards, and that the other orcs kept their camps far away.

Locke tried to order the orc to kill itself, but it broke free and was immediately put down by Virgil and Sindri instead.  The other orcs were finished off, and the party found a barn in which to spend the night.  Because any light sources would be seen from the orcish camps nearby, Vigil was cast on the only party member with Dark Vision, Sindri, while the rest of the party slept.  In the night, a group of orcs investigated the farm, but left the barn alone, and the party were uninterrupted.

Day 169:
Amothius 9th, 2526
Weather: Clear
Careful to avoid any orcs, they headed over to the Spire, a 4-story hexagonal tower that narrowed to almost a point at the top, and looked for entrances other than the front door.  Sadly, the Spire had no windows or arrow slits, and they didn't have any spells that might be worthwhile.  They tried forcing the locked iron door, but had no success.

Locke cast Glasswall, and Morgan used his Telekinesis to unlock the door and remove a heavy bar from the other side.  The entrance was a narrow, 5'-wide, 5'-long hallway, with an arrow slit on either side, and beyond, a single table in the center of a large chamber with several tapestries hanging from the walls, lit by a magical candelabra.

 After a search for traps found nothing in the hallway, Virgil, as the toughest, was nominated to walk through.  As he did, two tinny voices cried out "INTRUDER DETECTED", and a pair of crossbow bolts fired out from the sides.  Virgil was able to dodge both, and ran past and around the corner while the clanking of a heavy crossbow rearming could be heard from either side.  He relayed that there were more arrow slits facing the interior of the room

Figuring that they could block one of the arrow slits with Sindri's shield, Virgil was sent to get the table in the room beyond and, despite hearing the warning cry of "INTRUDER DETECTED", took a crossbow bolt to the back, knocking him down.  Luckily, he was able to recover and break line of sight before a second shot could be fired.  Maurice healed Virgil at a distance, and the party didn't know what to do.

They experimented with Telekinesis to move objects into the hallway and see if they were fired upon; Morgan's smallsword was, once, but nothing else was attacked.  Eventually, Locke cast Glasswall on another section of wall, revealing a heavy crossbow on a tripod beyond, though their view was heavily obscured by a tapestry.  Morgan used his Telekinesis to move it aside, and discovered that the crossbow was actually an arbalester, a rather stupid magical construct with a single large scope for an "eye" that made it rather accurate.

Morgan decided to try to tangle it up in the tapestry, which successfully confused the construct; it repeated "INTRUDER DETECTED" continually, and spun in a circle while firing bolts before it fell over.

Negotiations for the Tears of St. Carmine failed in part because nobody could come up with a reason other than "you probably should because it'll get rid of the devils", and Locke failed the roll for that.

Locke noted that it's strange for a girl as old as Kayra to not be married, but figured out that, as the duke has no male heirs, it would be giving up the duchy to someone else when he died.  When they discovered that they'd need to rescue her from an Evil Wizard, Morgan suggested that they should get Bertio to help by convincing the duke to marry Kayra to him, legitimising him and keeping the duchy "in the family".  In other words, several people in my group play Crusader Kings 2.

Sindri wants to get silver weapons so he can "deal with" the devils.  I have a feeling Virgil would be on board were he here.

They looked into removing the doors of the Spire from their hinges, but found it to be more trouble than it was worth.

Someone pointed out that this was a somewhat similar setup to the third session of D&D we ever played, where we had to break into the "The Tower of Power".  It was interesting as only homebrew adventures created by noobs can be, involving fishmen mummies, the tower magically filling with water while the party was inside, and a friendly beholder that offered "Eye Powers".

1 for partial success (they failed the mission to get the Tears of St. Carmine)
MVP went to Morgan for taking out the arbalester

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