Sunday, 16 July 2017

GURPS Free Cities Session 55: The Brass Dragon

Damien - Human (?) Sorcerer (250 points)
Morgan Merkle - Human Mentalist (311 points)
          Brother Maurice- Human Initiate of Avandra, the goddess of freedom and luck (156 points)
Virgil the Grim - Human Barbarian (298 points)

Player Absent:
Sindri Blackshield - Tiefling Knight (302 points)

Damien grew up an orphan in Zerakim, where he was bullied by humans due to his horns and red eyes, and Tieflings due to his lack of a tail.  Eventually, he discovered that he had powerful magical abilities, and resolved to track down his parents.  He visited an oracle, and (for a nominal fee), they told him that the path to his ancestors went through Carda, and he immediately set off.

Flashback: Day 169:
Damien met the Dragons of Carda mercenaries fighting some goblins on the road to the city.  After he displayed his arcane might by frying some with lightning, they offered to help him get into the city if he would assist them with a rescue mission.

Day 170:
Amothius 10th, 2526
Weather: Clear
As the orcs at the camp opened fire, the elf wizard Sabriel put up a cloud of Darkness, blocking line of sight, and the party ran off towards the barn where they had stashed a pair of horses, followed by a troll, 4 fire elementals, the Dragons of Carda mercenaries, and Kayra.  The idea was to get Kayra and somebody who could guard her onto the horses, while the rest of them fought the orcs.

Unfortunately, when they were only a short distance away, a large group of orcish cavalry caught up and the party (except the troll, which ran away) turned to face them; Luccio quickly drew his rapier and ran off to hide and spring an ambush if they tried to flank, the fire men threw balls of flame (though only one managed to hit at this range), and Kayra hid in a stand of trees.  At the last second before the cavalry could close, Sabriel put up another wall of Darkness, blocking some of the orcish horse archers' line of sight.

Virgil did a sick backflip over the fence as an Acrobatic Dodge, and then took down the horse of the leader, sending the orc prone, where he was immediately dogpiled by a pair of fire men.  Sindri and Bertio took down another rider each with flail and halberd, and several orcs were forcibly dismounted when their horses failed to jump the fence in the darkness.  The orcish horse archers who still had line of sight loosed a volley, but Morgan knocked an arrow out of the air with PK Lash, and only one of the mercs ended up getting hit.

Some of the horsemen tried to flank, and one was ambushed and stabbed in the eye by Luccio.  Virgil failed a check for Bloodlust and had to keep attacking the downed orc leader until he died some time later, while Sindri and Bertio cleared the area around them of orcs, and Damien and Morgan hit those out of reach with Lightning and PK Lash, respectively, though the bad lighting put the orcs at an advantage.

One orc who had been thrown free of his mount was lit on fire by Sabriel, who then cast Reverse Missiles and charged the rest of the horse archers, who had by then ridden around the Darkness.  Morgan took two arrows, and Damien took one, but the rest went wide.  Luccio ambushed another group as they tried to flank, and took two out with vitals stabs.  Two of the fire men brought down an archer with fireballs, and the others held the orc leader down and continued to burn him with their touch.

Virgil finally finished off the orc leader, but by the time he went to attack the rest, they had already all either fallen or fled.  Only one of the mercs had been severely wounded, and some quick healing got him back up.  Rather than test their luck trying to tame the horses, which may have taken long enough to allow the orcs on foot to catch up, the party continued onto the farmhouse, with Maurice healing Morgan on the way.

They made it to the barn where they had stored the horses, and Bertio, as the only person with experience riding horses, was chosen to escort Kayra.  Morgan notified Hestius of their imminent arrival with Telesend, and the rest of the party hoofed it after them.  Two hours later, they arrived at the entrance, Sabriel opened it with Shape Earth, and they headed down the passage with Damien.

In the throne room, they found the duke talking to Bertio, and angered that the Dragons had been forced to reveal themselves before it had been necessary.  Still, Kayra was back, and they party were paid their due (minus Locke's).  The duke then noticed Damien, who introduced himself, and explained that he was there to follow a prophecy.  Hestius noted that the story sounded perfectly normal (for a prophecy, anyway), and Damien was allowed to leave, escorted by guards.

The rest of the party soon followed, and Virgil hired Damien to join their party for 10 gold coins ($1,000).  They tried to pay him with Locke's coins, only to discover that they had melted together into a chunk.  His ring had similarly melted, but still chimed.  With a new party member, they headed back to the Jovial Unicorn Tavern for some rest.

Day 171:
Amothius 11th, 2526
Weather: Clear
Over breakfast, as the rest of the party tried to explain their backstories to Damien, Sindri noticed that church bells were ringing, and they went outside to investigate.  They found that all of the nearby peasants were looking up in the sky, and followed their gaze to a large orange-brown metallic lizard (which Morgan identified as a brass dragon) flying high above, surrounded by some smaller flying beasts.  It let out a large gout of flame, and then retreated to the south.

Virgil received a sealed letter from a child, and, after tipping the messenger $1, read it to discover that someone named "H" was offering to tell him the whereabouts of his brother, Dante, if they were brought the Tears of St. Carmine.  He was able to persuade the rest of the party to come with him to try to renegotiate with Dugald Ironheard, master of the Brotherhood of Divine Order and the local church of Erathis, for the Tears.

They had to make a meeting for later in the day, as Dugald was very busy, so some people got Blessed while others did some shopping.  Later that afternoon, they were escorted through the church's winding halls to Dugald's office, where Virgil told him the story of growing up in Hell with his brother, and his brother finding an infernal sword which cut a portal to this world.  Astonishingly (Virgil rolled a 4), Dugald was convinced of the danger of a sword which could potentially let infernal hordes through a portal, and agreed to let them take the Tears of St. Carmine.  First however, he would do some investigating into who "H" might be.

As the party were leaving, Morgan received a Message from Hestius summoning them to the throne room.  They went up the hill and past the betrayal garden, and arrived at the throne room to find the duke, Hestius, and Kayra waiting for them.  Hestius told them that the beasts flying around the dragon earlier were drakes, which were being ridden by orcs.  Their mission would be to take the drake-riding orcs out of commission, and to deal with the dragon by any means necessary.  The party would be given their entire payment of 300gp ($30k!) up front to barter with the dragon, and Morgan was given a tome on dragons and told to get to work.

There were a total of 34 combatants in the big battle today, so it took a fairly long time.  Not too bad, though, all things considered.

Sometime after the big battle, Virgil said "Man, hopefully some day we can be as cool as the Dragons".  I then revealed that all of the NPCs in that fight were substantially (>100 points) worse than them.  The main difference is that Sabriel had higher skill with Dispel Magic than Brother Maurice, and so actually had a chance to take down the Force Wall.

Luccio has Run and Hit, which is a great power-up for 10 points, and allowed him to spring around the battlefield and knock people off horseback.  It goes along well with his Overconfidence.

While Morgan was probing one of the priests of Erathis to find out where they might store artifacts, they discovered that the church was deliberately complex and difficult to navigate, but that those who had read the teachings of Erathis could use them to find their way.

What they know about Brass Dragons so far:
  • They're incredibly rare, with most people believing them to have been extinct (pesky adventurers love slaying them and taking the hoard for themselves)
  • There are unreliable reports of dragons in the plains to the west, but the odds of the creature being a genuine dragon and not simply a wyvern or other draconid are low
  • They breathe fire
  • They're highly resistant to fire themselves
  • They particularly like hoarding hand-crafted objects of bone, stone, and wood, as well as weavery
  • They have a mercenary attitude, and could probably be paid off
  • They are innately magical, in a similar manner as Sorcerers
  • They love to bathe in the sun, like lizards
The party has thought about bringing Tiefling hirelings, who are naturally fire-resistant.

2 for general success (convincing Dugald to part with the Tears of St. Carmine)
1 for combat (outnumbered heavily by fodder)
1 for loot ($1000 each)
1 for roleplaying to Virgil (Bloodlust during the fight)
MVP went to Morgan for sniping more people off of horses than anybody else

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