- Fyadhiel, Elven Scout (386 points) (played by +Douglas Cole): An elvish warmaster sent on a quest to be more humane. It’s not working. Tagline: “Just Damn Better than you.”
- Gaffer, Gremian Artificer (428 points) (played by +Christopher D.): Boom Squirrel. Tagline: “Stop damaging your gear! I’m the one that has to repair it.”
- Galen Fallowhide, Halfling Scholar (Physick)/Cleric of Healing (385 points) (player by +Christian G.): He’s a doctor (but not a cannibal) that can heal with steel. He’s small, but deadly and a bit crazy. Tagline: “How many times have I healed you? Let me count the holes.”
- Ryeleah Lopek, Human Wizard (358 points) (played by +Merlin A.): TBA. Tagline: “TBA”
- Waraxe Mandrake, Dwarven Knight (350 points) (played by +Rob K.): A solid dwarf with miscellaneous scars and a long red beard. Usually seen in well-maintained (ahem) dwarven armor, and with Lydia, a rather large dwarven waraxe. Tagline: “Pass the beer and look out for the axe.”
- Maxion “Twerp” Lopek, Human Cultist (Wizard) (84 points) (NPC): Twerp is a human boy (about 11, he’s not sure since his mother didn’t keep track) who dreams of one day becoming an auric knight and finally making his mother proud. Son of Ryeleah. Tagline: “Gee, I don’t know if that’s a good idea, mom.”
- Moon Moon, Dire Wolf (156 points) (NPC): Not too bright, but strong. Sometimes forgets how to doge, such dignity, wowe. Tagline: “Woof.”
Previously . . .
The PCs are looking over several maps of the city that Fyadhiel and others have drawn. The map from the airship crash (way back in Session 1) also has a map of the island of Taskar and where the city is located there, but not much else. Both of these maps are accompanied by a large map of the northwest of Abolethe that they acquired in Camronok. The PCs plan on spending a day to rest up and reconnoiter and then enter the city proper.
The Ruins of Southwestern Outer Taskar
Fyadhiel, Gaffer, Galen Fallowhide, Ryeleah Lopek, and Waraxe Mandrake
Anner (Fourth Month), 2nd, 981 F.R., 9th Hour of the Sun (9:00 am)
Taskar, Dancorra Bay, Abolethe (“The Span”)
The next day, the PCs venture into the city. They head for one of the first doors they come across. Kicking it open . . . the room is full of ghouls! With stank auras. It’s got stank. Fyadhiel steps back and fires an arrow into the kidneys (or, where the kidneys would be) of one of the ghouls. It leaks black ichor, but is otherwise unaffected. A ghoul tries to run past Waraxe, who slices at it with Lydia, and kills it. Some of the other ghouls head for and go out a window. Another steps up and touches the dwarf, trying to paralyze him. A third comes in and tries to hit Waraxe (with a Deceptive Attack giving -2 to Active Defenses), but does not hit.
Ryeleah moves. Waraxe swings and cuts off a leg, cleaving through and going on to cut off the arm of the one next over, and chopping into the wall and cutting the support beam for the door (the Cleaving Strike power-up is SOO-PER dangerous when your attack does 3d6+7 cutting damage). Gaffer ropes up to the roof. Galen moves in closer. Twerp charges in and swings for the head, damaging the ghoul (maxing out his 1d6+3 cutting damage with Heromaker, his magic sword). Fyadhiel fires but the ghoul dodges, and the arrow flies by harmlessly.
Ghouls from out the window start to mob in on Fyadhiel. Another one tries to attack Twerp; Waraxe parrys the attack (Performed using the Sacrificial Parry perk), and the ghoul breaks its hand on the impaling end of Lydia. Another ghoul does an All-Out Attack (Strong) on Waraxe; Waraxe is not paralyzed, but he does take a point of cutting damage after accounting for DR.
Ryeleah fires her lasers (the player rolled as a critical success earlier on his Sunbolt spell). She shoots through a ghoul, wiping it out. Waraxe does a Rapid Strike, missing the neck of one and thrusting the pointed end of Lydia into the badly wounded ghoul that attacked Twerp; rolling near maximum damage (24 points of cutting damage).
Gaffer, from the roof, starts shooting at the ghouls, hitting a ghoul with two syringe bolts. Galen pulls back to where the rest of the PCs are forming up into a line, and does an All-Out Defense (Double). Twerp runs forward using a Move and Attack, tries to hit and fails, and then runs back to the line with the rest.
Fyadhiel backs towards the line and pegs the ghoul that Gaffer hit, killing it. A ghoul comes forward to attack Ryeleah and rolls a critical hit (a natural 3), followed by a hit to the skull (a natural 4 on the random hit location table), and does double damage (the result of the critical success roll) for a whooping 56 points of cutting damage. This reduces Ryeleah to –4xHP instantly with only 4 more HP separating her from an instant death. She manages to make all her HT rolls, but she’s out of the fight.
Waraxe tries to avenge her with two quick Lydia chops to the torso, chopping the ghoul in half (this was another two strikes with near maximum cutting damage for Waraxe’s axe). Gaffer pegs the ghoul with three of his cutting missiles out of his automatic clockwork crossbow. Galen runs in and uses Combat Medic to use First Aid on Ryeleah stabilizing her and restoring 4 HP. He holds off on magic since he has no idea how long the combat may last and right now Waraxe is keeping the ghouls penned up, while Fyadhiel keeps the ghouls wary and at range.
Twerp, seeing his mother go down, lets out a scream of rage and goes running forward . . . moving way faster than he should (The effects of Heromaker invoking both Haste and Great Haste on its weilder). Fyadhiel tries to shoot the guy in front of Twerp in the head. The ghoul dodges, then attacks Max . . . chopping off the arm at the forearm . . . or not, as Fyadhiel throws a Tactics reroll (using the optional rules from GURPS Martial Arts) at Twerp and making the ghoul reroll (his justification is “we can smell them coming” which is good enough for me for this one thing). On the redo, Max defends himself and takes no damage.
A couple of more ghouls come around the corner and around the window. Twerp is surrounded. This is bad. Twerp is out there by himself while the rest of the PCs are all far away. Twerp does manage to Dodge their attacks thanks to the effects of Haste.
Waraxe runs forward towards Twerp, and throws a throwing axe, cleaving into the ghoul’s chest, the silver in the axe causing the ghoul to scream in pain as its flesh sizzles. Gaffer fires at the same one, and it dies. His third shot goes past and hits another one (a 6 on a 9 or less and a failed Dodge roll sums that up). Galen uses Combat Medic on Ryleah once again to restore HP (5 this time); Ryeleah remains unconscious.
Twerp runs forward again and critically hits a ghoul (doing maximum damage on his critical hit roll effect), and then runs back to a defensive posture. Fyadhiel realizes (with his tactical insight) that the sword Twerp)n is carrying is special . . . Fyadhiel runs forward drawing Winter’s Kiss, his special katana, and swings for the neck. The ghoul is cut badly, but doesn’t yet die (17 cutting damage to the neck total).
The ghoul attacks back but misses; the other one comes in and attacks. Fyadhiel dodges nimbly out of the way.
Waraxe comes forward and uses All-Out Attack (Double) on the healthier of the ghouls attacking Fyadhiel. It takes a lot of damage, but doesn’t die (a grand total of 47 cutting damage). Gaffer, from the roof, shoots over Waraxe’s head, aiming for the ghoul’s skull, but misses. Galen finds one of the Major Healing potions in Ryeleah’s backpack and manages to get it down her throat.
Twerp performs a Move and Attack and uses Heoric Charge, moving in and trying to cut off of the rest of the ghouls head. He misses, slightly, hitting the torso. Fyadhiel, in front of the two remaining (both badly wounded) ghouls, does a rapid strike. One dies, the other is barely hanging on. It tries to attack Fyadhiel and run; Fyadhiel dodges.
Waraxe throws an axe after the retreating ghoul; it hits him, but doesn’t die. Gaffer fires at it, and gets a critical hit (this is the twelfth 4 of the night). The first one hits a leg, the second an arm, the third the same leg. The ghoul dodges the one to the arm. The ghoul dies.
Ghouls are dead. Ryeleah is unconscious, and Galen is working on her (actual spellwork at this point). Waraxe took just 1 HP of damage. Galen starts giving Ryeleah her healing potions. She’ll be unconscious for 15 minutes. A few minutes after the PCs kill the ghouls, they start turning into motes of “dark” light and bits of dust and then blow away.
Rustling noises from inside the house. A door opens and a woman pokes her head out of it. Waraxe asks if she lives in the city; she lets out a laugh that sounds like she gargled barbed wire and says she is the only one in the house. Her name is Shalana Ariyeth. Seeing Ryeleah unconscious, she asks if she died; the PCs say no. She tells us you don’t want to die on the island. If you do you don’t stay dead, but you can never leave. Shalana offers to let the others hear her heart – which doesn’t beat.
Ryeleah wakes up and immediately starts asking questions of their new “friend.” Shalana says that she doesn’t know what she is, in response to a question as to whether she is undead. Ryeleah recognizes that she’s a revenant. Those can be undead with unfinished business; it can also result from a botched Resurrection or Revivify spell.
She warns of the Goblins, demons, some kind of crazy cult that lives up in the hills. At night is when the spooky stuff comes out and she suggests that they don’t go outside at night unless they have to. The city does have a vast amount of wealth though, if the PCs came for treasure. Assuming they can wrest it from the dead, damned, and demented. She remarks that the Draculari Empire sent out an expedition 600 years ago (which Shalana was part of) that never returned. The last time anybody visited here was about 100 years ago, when a ship got caught in a storm and washed ashore. The boatman doesn’t let anybody leave. Shalana is surprised to hear that the PCs killed the kraken; she says her force lost 200 men just trying to get here.
She also tells the PCs that she hasn’t really gone too deep into the city as its too dangerous even to the dead, but she wanted some booze and there were a few places that hadn’t been picked over yet. She tells the PCs to stay away from the cemetery if they want to survive at all. She asks for some “adult beverage,” and Waraxe offers to share his keg with her in return for answers. Ryeleah asks about the library. She tells us that the library is sealed, like many other buildings, with some kind of magical glyphs. She recommends the PCs don’t touch any of them – last time she saw someone do so they exploded into dust. She starts annotating the map for us with the locations of sealed buildings and other interesting sites.
With Mage Sight, Ryeleah sees that Shalana is wearing some old magical armor and has a magical shortsword. The shortsword doesn’t match the style of the armor (which is of imperial make about 600 years ago . . .). Ryeleah with her Hidden Lore (Demons), talking to Shalana, figures out that there’s almost certainly a portal to Hell somewhere in the city. Ryeleah wants to see one of the seals. Shalana warns the PCs they should do it tomorrow, as they don’t want to get stuck in the city after dark. The PCs decide to go out anyways. the PCs head out to a wizard tower (AC8 on the map) so that Ryeleah can inspect one of the seals. It’s a large tower, several floors; about 100ft up, roughly, about 30 hexes wide.
Ryeleah looks closely at the gylphs on the tower. There are mystical runes that wards the place, and that drains the life (or motivating energy) out of anybody that tries to touch them. The glyphs aren’t carved on the surface, but rather are magically “drawn” into the air. Ryeleah thinks it’s a barrier, rather than something that would affect the area. Shalana tells the PCs that the wards are pretty new . . . or, at least, she says that their mage said they were freshly cast (within the last few years) when she got here 600 years ago.
The runes only go up the bottom 20-25ft of the tower. “It’s probably a trap,” Gaffer says. Ryeleah uses apportation to raise herself up to the level of a window and look through. She can tell that the magic ends within at about a foot of the tower; there’s a dispel effect on the wall itself.
The PCs talk a while about possibly tying a rope between the window and a tree 20ft away, and trying to climb in that way (being lifted first by Ryeleah). They head back to the docks to rest there for the night and to regain lost HP and FP.
After Action Report (GM)
Having four different maps for viewing was VERY helpful in cementing to both the PCs and myself on where exactly the game was and where it was taking place. For reference:
- Overland Map: The northwest arm of the Span with each hex about 20 miles. This is a map for hex-crawling.
- Local Area Map: The island of Taskar with each hex about 1 mile. This is so the PCs can move around to places other than the city if that’s what they want to do.
- Specific Area Map: The city of the Taskar itself with each hex about 20 yards. This is pretty much required for navigating a ruined area.
- Tactical Map: For battles and combat and such.
One thing I really regret is forcing Merlin to “save vs. spectate” – from now on, if that happens I’m giving him (or anyone else) Twerp (or another NPC) to play. The battle with the ghouls revealed (or sort of revealed) a useful thing to know about the city: necromantic magic and undead are more powerful in the city. Specifically, they get a monster prefix enhancing their native powers considerably at night and decently during the day. More on that later.