- “Ecks”, Unique Human-Cog Hybrid Assassin (431 points) (played by +Travis Ellis): TBA. Tagline: “TBA”
- Hópgehnást “Keel-Breaker” Nihtbealumann, Beastly Minotaur Barbarian (404 points) (played by +Emily Smirle): TBA. Tagline: “TBA.”
- Nergui, Half-Orc Scout (395 points) (played by +Josh Burton): TBA. Tagline: “TBA”
- Rashi Talonfurr, Human Cleric of Fire (404 points) (played by +Christopher D.): TBA. Tagline: “TBA”
- Ashe, Shen of Fire Skirmisher (410 points) (NPC): Likes to make things burn. Likes punch things. Likes to punch and burn things. Also, dances. Tagline: “[disconcerting giggle].”
- Kinnmonaqro “Crow” Rikah, Half-Elf Cutpurse (0 points) (NPC): Tiny terror. Karemesie wanderer and half-breed. Tagline: “I’m small, but I’ll still cut you and you bleed just fine”
- Niranash “Nash”, Shen of Knowledge (570 points) (NPC): Deadhead. Spirit of wisdom, knowledge, and death. Incurable lech (not lich!). Never shuts up. Ever. Tagline: “Your eyes are clearly not down here, but let me look just in case.”
Previously . . .
When we last left off we were coming out of the sewers, refreshed via Keel-Breaker’s magic wand of Clean but mentally traumatized. The players call the GM a monster for his excessive use of excrementals. The GM laughs harder. The players find themselves in the nice part of Aramore and to the east of the building that Nash’s pickpocket victim went into.
The PCs seem to have no particular plan in mind and happily flaunt my direction of “Hey, guys, this is a sneaky sneaky stabbity stabbity mission.” They decide to just wing it. A lot. Great. No GM’s plan survives contact with the PCs. Like, ever.
No Sneak, Just Stab. Stab So Much
Ecks, Keel-Breaker, Nergui, and Rashi Talonfurr
Bahart (Third Month), 3rd, 981 F.R., 11th Hour of the Moon (11:00 pm)
Aramore, Northern Veneficia, Sicatra
Nergui climbs up a neighboring building (with effort, he’s been putting on some weight) (he fails his Climbing roll by 2, but I allow him to succeed by simply taking more time) and lurks on the balcony while Ecks climbs over a fence into the backyard and “waits for all hell to break loose”. Ecks manages to spot members of the Crimson Serpents inside (as hoped/expected).
Rashi walks up to the door and knocks politely (why do they always knock on the bad guy’s hangout’s door?!). When a gang member comes to the door suspiciously, Rashi tries to return the note with an explanation of what happened. This confuses the gang member and Nash pops in through the door and bites the ganger on the face. All hell breaks loose, signaling Ecks.
Ecks busts in through the window and flings two daggers at the necks of gang members (a duelist and a wizard). He succeeds on his Thrown Weapon (Knife) roll, surprises both, and rolls a massive amount of damage causing a death check for the wizard – who dies. Ashe rushes in and punches a ganger in the back of the head lethally with her cestuses (11 points of crushing damage). Nergui shoots a goon twice in the left shin. Keel-Breaker pops up and hacks off the goons right leg at the knee, taking him out of the fight. Rashi holy bolts (a variation of the Mana Bolt power-up from GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 11: Power-Ups) another goon in the leg – he surprisingly keeps his leg! Why? Because the GM critted his on the fellow’s HT roll, that’s why.
Ecks shanks a goon in the vitals (scoring a massive 12 points of impaling damage), clearing out the room he arrived in. He declares it to now be HIS room, and he will pee in all four corners. Downstairs Rashi, Keel-Breaker, and Nergui clean up the third goon, while in the back room Ecks runs into another goon, and beans him in the face with a flash nagateppo (poor fella fails his HT roll to resist the blinding effect, but saw through Ecks dirty trick). The blinded guy is tidied up nicely in a couple of rounds of combat with knee-slicing action (9 points of cutting damage to the knees with their nice, soft 1/3 HP crippling threshold).
Unfortunately, out front when Ashe impetuously runs up the stairs she gets murderated with hungamungas and dies, due to being Unnatural (the duelists hit with all three ranged attacks and do 62 points of cutting damage before injury multipliers; hungamungas are skill, yo). The Crimson Serpent elite are wielding hungamungas charge down the stairs (oops, pulled the second encounter!) and swarm us, pounding at Keel-breaker but finding four arms hard to get past (and a potion injector) to be frustrating. Rashi casts Shield giving Keel-Breaker a +4 Defense Bonus, making the already dangerous minotaur even more dangerous.
Nash bites a duelist on the crotch and critically hits (doing 7 points of crushing damage and rolling an 8 on the critical hit chart – double shock penalty – ouch). This effectively takes the guy out of the fight, but Rashi mopped him up anyways with a hit to the head with his staff. With Ecks pinning the remaining duelists from the far side and Nergui firing in through the window, an angry Rashi, and Keel-Breaker parked at the bottom of the stairs, the second group of duelists turns out to be outclassed in melee and the group deals with them quickly.
Upstairs, the PCs find an unconscious man (the brother of Amaryllis, the leader of the Bitter Rose) chained up and drugged unconscious (with makatholon, a drug that causes deep dreamless sleep). While the PCs are upstairs rescuing (well, unchaining) him, Rashi is downstairs grieving his lost companion Ashe. He’s grieving by burning the bodies of the Crimson Serpents (dead or merely unconscious . . .) in the fireplace using a combination of Create Fire, Shape Fire, and Fast Fire (which he crits on so I declare that the fire also gets the benefits of Essential Fire).
A rattle at the door guards the entrance of a poshly-dressed gentleman who then exclaims “Oh no! The rats are here too! Oh my terrible luck!” And then expresses some confusion about dead bodies, adventurers, etc. Rashi attempts to communicate with him, but it seems they’re on different wavelengths (Rashi – rage and grief, fop – full bore “eccentric”) but does manage to keep him roughly out of the way of his actions. It turns out this guy is Luirlan Iarrel (who was offering a reward for getting rid of the “rats” plaguing his rural estate), and this is his urban estate, which he bemones is now also infested with “rats”. It is not clear if “rat” is a slang word or if he’s hallucinating. Maybe both.
Ecks convinces him that there was a plot to kidnap him, and we foiled it, and we each get a shiny gold coin (a $500 in GURPS “bucks” coin) for our part in this (of course, there’s no evidence that this guy didn’t hire the Crimson Serpentss or leads them or whatever and this is a fantastically funny front he’s putting on). We agree to clean up the bodies and he says he’ll send round a boy to clean up the gore.
Luirlan appears to be absolutely fascinated by Keel-Breaker’s pelt, and insists on commissioning a custom leopard-print weave soon. He kept petting Keel-Breaker’s arm, but does seem to be clear that *wearing* Keel-Breaker is not a good idea. For the moment. We agree to have a look at this “rat” problem after getting Amaryllis’ little brother back to her. Once at the Brass Skull, members of the Bitter Rose take Amaryllis’ brother to a back room, she pays the PCs the agreed upon amount, and informs them that things might “get bloody” as she withdraws her coerced support of the Crimson Serpents and begins to hunt them along with the rest of the city’s underworld.
After Action Report (GM)
Today’s game was amusing on a lot of levels. First, my frustration: predicting this group of players has proven challenging, in part because we’ve lost two players and only replaced one inside of nine game sessions. That much change causes issues for players and the GM alike. I literally set this up as a sneak-and-stab for the PCs, told them what I was doing out of game, gave advice in game, and they still decided to just smash-and-stab instead. That said, it was still very fun and there were moments where the sneakiness came to bear a bit. The more interesting bits involved the players being tactically mindful even though I’m pretty sure they weren’t aware of it. Keeping the Crimson Serpent duelists (250-point knights) on the stairs and buffing Keel-Breaker just worked about perfectly.
Killing off Ashe was a bit of a shock as I misremembered a portion of the NPCs character sheet; but currently she’s dead. I was also expecting this to take an extra hour to wrap-up – but instead it took about 30 minutes less than our usual play time. Overall, a great game.