Thursday, May 4, 2017

Magical Style: The Way of the Rookery

Point-blank, this style is inspired heavily by the Dishonored series of games, and there are many bits that call back to it.  The character classes from the first few Elder Scrolls games (especially Daggerfall) are also a big inspiration.  I've always found the Nightblade mage/assassin class to be an interesting concept so this style is based around making that happen.

The Order of the Raven

The Imperial Nightblades of the Empire of Man, the Ravens are the Mage-assassins of the most powerful and wicked nation in the West.  The leader of the Order serves the Emperor directly as a left-hand man.  Legend and rumor has it that they have “retired” more than one Emperor whose reign became a burden to the Empire, the People, or the Order itself.

The Way of the Rookery                                                           13 points

Style Prerequisites: Magery 1, Callous, and either Duty (to the Empire, Extremely Hazardous, 12-) [-15] or Enemy (Order of the Raven, 6-) [-15].

Athletic ability is as necessary as mental acuity to the Ravens, and they have the right within the Empire to conscript those they think would make able members.

The style focuses on stealthy killing and combines the elements of a martial and magical style.  A damaging blow from behind is preferred to open battle, but an Imperial Nightblade is expected to hold his own when a fight can’t be avoided.  Wrestling grapples followed by precise strikes to the vitals are the standard methods of attack.  As an assassin's style, a student is expected to pick his battles wisely and avoid armored opponents by striking them at a time they're unarmored.

A favored magical tactic is to use Beast Summoning to summon a Swarm of rats or ravens and using them to dispose of or to mangle a corpse (see the Basic Set, page 461.)

Required Skills: Acrobatics, Body Sense, Climbing, Crossbow or Guns (Pistol) or Guns (Musket), Shortsword or Knife, Stealth, Wrestling.

Required Spells: Dark Vision, Great Haste, Haste, Scryguard, Sense Foes.

Techniques: Acrobatic Stand, Arm Lock, Breakfall (Acrobatics), Choke Hold (Wrestling), Disarming (Wrestling), Evade (Acrobatics), Feint (Knife or Shortsword), Ground Fighting (Knife, Shortsword, or Wrestling), Head Butt, Targeted Attack (Knife Thrust/Vitals), Targeted Attack (Shortsword Thrust/Vitals), Targeted Attack (Wrestling Grapple/Neck).

Spell Techniques: Long Step.

Cinematic Skills: Blind Fighting, Flying Leap, Invisibility Art, Light Walk, Mental Strength, Power Blow, Pressure Points, Pressure Secrets.

Cinematic Techniques: Pressure-Point Strike, Roll with Blow, Timed Defense.

Combat Perks: Acrobatic Feints, Improvised Weapons (Any), Special Exercises  1-3 (Striking ST), Sure-Footed (Slippery), Sure-Footed (Uneven).

Magic Perks: Knower of Names, Reduced Footprint (Dark Vision or Scryguard), Secret Knowledge (True Name of the Raven Lord), Secret Spell (Summon Rat Swarm, Summon Raven Swarm, Summon the Raven Lord), Unique Technique (Long Step).

Secret Spells: Summon the Raven Lord.

Optional Traits

Attributes: Increased DX and HT.

Advantages: Combat Reflexes, Enhanced Dodge, Enhanced Parry (Knife or Shortsword), Fearlessness, Fit or Very Fit, Hard to Kill, High Pain Threshold, Recover Energy, Trained by a Master.

Disadvantages: Bloodlust, Overconfidence.

Skills: Acting, Disguise, Garrote, Jumping, Knot-Tying, Lockpicking, Mind Block, Poisons, Ritual Magic (Ceremonial), Swimming, Symbol Drawing (Ceremonial), Thaumatology, Traps.


These are the basic spells the Ravens consider to be necessary for any assassin.
Dark Vision
Great Haste
Sense Foes


A Raven focuses on spells of intelligence, access, preparation, and defense. Advancing to Junior Nightblade requires knowledge of no less than eight of these spells.
Beast Speech
Beast Summoning
Bird Control
Boost Strength
Detect Magic
Lend Energy
Mage Sight
Sense Life
Share Energy
Mammal Control

Junior Nightblade

Junior Nightblades begin to learn the Order’s spells of assault and stealth.  It’s normally unlikely that a Junior Nightblade will get a single person kill-order issued to them until it’s time to advance in rank.  For the most part, they take part in group actions, or act in support of those of higher rank.  To advance to Nightblade requires learning eight of the following spells, and the prospect must have completed an official solo kill mission to the satisfaction of his superiors in the order.
Rooted Feet
Wall of Silence


These are the true assassins of the order, and are capable of highly risky solo kill missions. To advance to Old Crow requires knowledge of four of the following spells, and the assent of the Left Hand of the Emperor.
Beast Possession
Dispel Magic
Magic Resistance
See Secrets
Shapeshifting (Great Pike)
Shapeshifting (Rat)
Shapeshifting (Raven)

Old Crow

Old Crows are expert killers, and are also the leaders of the order.  Seldom are they seen in each other’s company, and they are considered some of the deadliest people in the Empire.  They have access to the greatest spells of the Order.  The Left Hand of the Emperor is chosen from among their number.
Alter Visage
Divert Teleport
Summon the Raven Lord†
Teleport Shield
Trace Teleport

New Spell Techniques

Long Step                                                             Average

Prerequisite: Teleport at 20, Unique Technique (Long Step).
Default: Teleport-10, may not exceed base skill.
Additional Energy Cost: 3.

Long Step allows you to use your Teleport spell for a Step as part of an Attack Maneuver.  You may not move farther than 10 yards using this technique. It requires an immediate Body Sense roll for you to act after the Step, and if you fail this you Do Nothing.

Secret Spells

Summon the Raven Lord (VH)
As Planar Summons, but it specifically summons the Animal Lord known as the Raven Lord.  You can attempt to control him with the spell as for Planar Summons or Summon Demon, but he is widely considered a powerful spirit to anger and has the ability to Plane Shift so a bargain is usually considered wiser.

The Order of the Raven has a longstanding agreement with him to provide them information, but anything beyond a simple question will cost you...

This is an Animal spell.

Duration: 1 hour.
Base Cost: 100.
Standard Prerequisites: Unknown.

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Interesting Problems in GURPS: Bullywugs

I haven't posted in quite a while, but I had an interesting problem come up while I was working on something so I thought I would share.  I wanted to create a Frog-man racial package based on the AD&D Bullywugs, as I've always found them an interesting bunch of swamp-dwelling jerks since the days I was watching the old Dungeons and Dragons cartoon in the '80s.

The problem I encountered was that in making their racial package, I wanted to give them a froggy tongue for grappling.  Most of the elements of that made sense to me: Extra Arms with Temporary Disadvantage (Mute), Extra-Flexible, and Long.  The problem I came across is that Long is just too expensive as an enhancement when it's applied to a limb that can't grasp a weapon (that probably applies to Extra Legs, too, now that I think of it.)  It's +100% for each level, and for a frog tongue at SM 0 you need at least two levels, making the final cost for a grappling tongue 33 points.  That's a bit much.

I can always just handwave costs, but I usually prefer a more methodical approach.  It occurred to me that it didn't count as a fine manipulator, so I applied the limitation for that.  I also decided that NFM should reduce the cost for the Long enhancement, halving its value.  It's just not as useful when you can't use the limb to handle weapons.  That made the cost a more reasonable 21 points, which is still above my own gut reaction of its being worth about 10 points, but  I can live with it.

One of the things I like about GURPS is that there doesn't even have to be an absolutely correct way to approach this issue or any related costs.  There might be a half-dozen people ready to say that advantage should be 33 points, or others who say it shouldn't even be 10, and there's nothing wrong with that provided you're prepared to do it my way when I'm running.

Here's what I came up with, if you're interested in the work in progress. I still need to figure out how to model the whole drying out thing (Dependency seems obvious), though I may not use that, as well as trying to get a ballpark for how long they can stay underwater.  I know some frogs breathe through their skin but I don't know if they all do.  Sadly, our GURPS community buddy Pizard has never done frogs so I'm on my own on this one.

Frog-men (27 points so far)

Attributes: DX +1 [20], IQ -1 [-20].
Secondary Characteristic Modifiers: Per +1 [5], Will +1 [5].  SM 0.
Advantages: Amphibious [10], Extra Arms 1 (Tongue; Extra-Flexible +50%, Long 2 +100%, Not a Fine Manipulator -40%, Switchable +10%, Temporary Disadvantage (Cannot Speak) -15%) [21], Super Jump 1 [10].
Disadvantages: Appearance (Unattractive) [-4], Bully (12) [-10], Callous (Not towards other Bullywugs, -20%) [-4], Social Stigma (Barbarian) [-10].  I'm not sure if the Social Stigma shouldn't be upgraded to Monster.


AD&D 1st Edition Fiend Folio
AD&D 2nd Edition Complete Book of Humanoids

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Magnificent Samurai - Session 10

I ran Session 10 of the Magnificent Samurai on Sunday the 9th.

Session 9 Log
Magnificent Samurai Campaign Logs


  • Augustus Scitiori - dual-weapon master of shortswords
  • Catonio - a Catfolk Swashbuckler
  • Eliot de la Frau - A Saber-master and pirate.
  • Erland - a Jotun wrestler.
  • Markus - A Hobgoblin Paladin of the God of Chivalry.
  • Melek - a Nephilim greatswordsman
  • Tonokai - a Kazanjiman horse-archer


  • Mother Helen - A priestess of the Goddess of Healing 
  • Sister Marie - Her junior priestess
  • Altan - A Meng guide

To Find the Cause

From the tower, the party traveled to the largest building nearby, a temple or civic structure of some sort.  As with the tower, they entered by climbing up a dune to a second story window.  Located inside was a goblin, working on something on a table made of various gears and of a metal similar to their Spirit of Order.  One of his arms was missing, replaced with a mechanical contrivance.  Half his face was replaced by metal in a similar fashion.  They decided to speak with him before attacking, and found out a few things.

They discovered the golden skull, the Spirit of Order, and the other goblin each held a piece of his soul.  He had to replace bits of his body because he's been cursed so that no Healing spells will work on him.  Finally, the whole reason that he did all this was that he wanted to "balance" his spirit, and instead of giving himself up to a lifetime of meditation and contemplation, he decided to use magic to split the imbalanced pieces from his spirit. It worked, but ultimately too well, as he was now totally without strong emotions of any sort and didn't care what the party did with him one way or another.  They also found out that while the angels were there out of choice, to keep the basement demons contained, the demons were working on how to permanently remain on the material world.  The group decided killing the devil they had met was preferable to trying to kill a milquetoast sorcerer.

Back to the Tower

They left the spirit-shard people with the wizard, and went back to the tower.  When they entered, they found it abandoned, and the upper and lower floors deserted and normal looking.  The "basement" level, which was actually the first floor, now had a basement.  Melek, Augustus, and Markus went down, as Markus had been told several times "He's waiting for you in the basement."  They found a golden monkey statue there.  The monkey represented was odd looking, having two faces on the same head.  As Markus approached, they heard an intensifying sound of jungle drums, and so they smashed the monkey.

Weirdness and Price Paid

The three of them were instantly transported elsewhere, to a steaming but oddly silent jungle.  The Dark Powers were so potent here Markus got a headache.  Noting they were in the bottom of a bowl shaped depression, they moved to the top of the ridge.  They saw a leathern hut with smoke coming out, and entered.  Inside was a barefoot woman in blood-red robes, stirring a pot, and a monkey in a cage.  Markus used Demon Lore and recognized her as an aspect of Demogorgon, often encountered in dreams.  Some say she represents the self-defeating insanity of the Prince of Demons, as she was the intellect of one head and the monkey that of the other.  She offered to send them home for the cost of one level of Will each, with the guarantee it would not be used against them.  After a long discussion and much soul-searching, they paid and were returned to the tower.

The Death of Melek

The party got the spirit fragments and returned to the tower.  Leaving them on the second floor, they went down and fought.  There were many demons slain, but in the course of the battle, Melek got separated from the rest of the group, two frog-demons managed to glue his legs to the ground with sticky spittle, and he couldn't retreat or turn.  The devil they sought stepped behind him and stabbed, stabbed, stabbed.  Melek decided to hit him by thrusting the sword through his own body, which I ruled was such a surprising maneuver the devil got no defense.  This was enough to effectively remove the devil from the fight, but Melek just kept getting hit.  By the time the party was able to come to his aid, he was down to 1 HP from being dead, dead, dead (down to -5xHP +1.)  He got healed by the healers, but was hit again, and died.  This even after Augustus stood astride him and All-Out Defended with bonuses to his Parry and the Sacrificial Parry Perk.

The party took his body to the Kingdom of Prester John for a proper Western burial.  Melek's sword became an enchanted object after his death, gaining Flaming Weapon (he used the fiery Imbuements, so I thought it appropriate.)  Markus decided to take it up in his honor.

Artifacts Located by the Scarlet Wizard

They stopped in on the Scarlet Wizard on the way and he gave them the locations of some magic items they had traded some Favors for.


GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 6 - 40 Artifacts, p. 11.

Location: This bow is in the hands of Blue-Belly the Eater of Children, an Ogre Mage who hold a fortress several days' travel west.


This is a pair of excellent quality, large butterfly swords. They appear to be of silver, but are as hard as steel and don't tarnish or rust.  They were made by Gutye Zhu (Ancient Iron Master) for Beifang Xuezhe (Northern Scholar), the last of the Silken Robes school of martial artists.  He defeated the Nine Demons Sect single-handedly and disappeared from the martial world.


  • Blade Quality: The Blades are a pair of Balanced, Very Fine large butterfly swords, giving a +1 to hit, +2 to damage, and -2 to breakage.
  • Shatterproof: The weapons are enchanted to get a further -4 to breakage.
  • Magical: The Blades count as magical weapons.
  • Silver: The Blades count as silver, but without the penalty to breakage.
  • Quick-spin Strike: For 2 FP, the wielder may make a Feint followed by a Dual-Weapon Attack as a single Attack maneuver, with no other penalties.

Weight: 6 lbs total.

Blades of the Northern Scholar

sw+3 cut
+1 to Shortsword skill.
thr imp

Location: The Blades of the Northern Scholar are held in the martial academy of the Sons of the Nine Demons sect, an evil martial school.


The Bilesword is a gladius, and drips yellow acid when drawn from its sheath.  It was brought to the East by the gladiator "Undefeated" Gaius Maximus, who traveled far after his retirement. He died fighting the Shell-Ghost Crab at Silver Lake.

  • Blade Quality: The Bilesword is a Very Fine shortsord, giving it +2 to damage and -2 to breakage.
  • Accurate and Puissant: The Bilesword gets +1 to hit and +1 to damage from its enchantments.
  • Acid Weapon: The Bilesword deals an additional 2 corrosive damage with each attack.  As a free action the wielder may increase this to 1d until his next turn by paying 1 FP.

The Bilesword

sw+3 cut
+1 to hit, +2 corrosive damage followup
thr+4 imp

Location: The Tomb of the Western Warrior, in the countryside well north of Shengdu City.

Monday, October 17, 2016

House of Conti - Session 4

I ran Session 4 of the House of Conti on Saturday the 8th.

House of Conti - Session 3
House of Conti logs

Cast of Characters

  • Luca Conti - A swashbuckler
  • Raphael - A capable wizardly spy
  • JD - a Sorceror
  • Baradiel - A half-fallen angel


  • Goldie - Raphael's familiar, a special rat
  • A Swarm of Fancy Rats - Raphael's other Allies

Out of the Sewers and Back In Again

Luca, having been Geased to leave, dropped his weapons and headed to the initial entrance.  Once they got upstairs, they looked for the mage they had tied up on the surface but she was gone, and also found a silver piece Raphael had dropped in her pocket as a Seeker target.  They went to her apartment nearby, and found a dead man on the bottom floor, as well as bloody boot-prints leading out of the building.  Searching the room upstairs, they found a room conspicuously free of treasured possessions, stray hairs, or anything else that could be used to Seeker her easily, like it had been swept clean by a woman with Paranoia...

Goldie, Raphael's rat familiar, tracked the boot-prints to a tavern across the street.  The Golden Rooster, famous locally for its high-quality pasta.  They asked the bartender if they had seen anyone suspicious, and he admitted a man went into the basement earlier, but that his bar didn't even use it for storage any longer, having moved everything to a shed outside as worms kept coming up from the sewers and spoiling the food.  At this point, the group was suspicious of the bartender, as he gave them lots of grief, but they went down anyway.  They found the very cultist meeting place they had just left.

An Unwitting Donkey Kong Reference

The cultists they had left sleeping were missing.  The dead ones were still here, so they started to search.  As they were walking north, a lit barrel of gunpowder was thrown at them by the stone ape statue, hidden in the prison cell. It didn't even occur to me that this was totally Rock Donkey Kong until the players pointed it out.  Baradiel and Luca both tried to cut the barrel in half as it flew past, but they had no such luck.  They wanted to cut the fuse, but it was too far inside the barrel at this point to even see.  Both Luca and Baradiel took considerable damage from the blast, Baradiel being taken down to a death check and Luca being taken below 0 HP.  As they were reeling, the missing cultists all came from the north, with the Berzerk spell active on them.

For a couple of turns, it looked really bad for the party, as the cultists were All-Out Attacking and landing hits because of the reduced defenses.  Baradiel also failed a Consciousness Check and passed out.  Raphael saved the day with a timely Terror, which all the cultists failed to resist.  This stunned them long enough for Baradiel to be healed and Awakened, whereupon he failed a Bloodlust Self-Control roll and started choppin' off heads.

In the midst of this, Raphael located another bomb, even bigger than the first, on the roof of the room.  He ducked back, then on the next turn Luca leapt up using Baradiel's back as a footstool, cut the fuse with a single stroke, and landed perfectly with a critical success on Acrobatics, and was promptly annoyed when he realized literally no one in the room saw that.

After the cultist were taken care of, JD used Telepathy to send a message to Sazano the Wizard to get him to contact the Inquisition.  They went back upstairs to check out the tavern and found it burning down.  Luca used Leadership to organize the people around to put out the fire and save whomever they could.  After all this Sazano and Inqusitor Fedduchi arrived.  Fedduchi was a man both Luca and Raphael had met in the affair of the Bishop's murder, and they remembered him as as a just and reasonable man from their prior dealings.

An Agent of the Inquisition?

Back in the cultist temple, Luca made such promises and boasts that it had Sazano worried; Raphael took the lead from Luca and used Diplomacy to convince the Inquisitor to make Luca an agent in this affair, so they might freely track the Gath cult down.  Fedduchi agreed, and promised to send a letter granting Luca authority in the matter complete with the local Bishop's seal.  The day being complete, the party rented out the top floor of a local inn and partied until dawn.  Or dusk, perhaps, as by the celebration's end they could only agree that in some way the sun was shifting positions with the moon.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Thoughts on Adapting Published Magical Styles, Part 2

I'm going to followup Thoughts on Adapting Published Magical Styles.  This one covers the styles from GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic.

The Fluidists

(GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic, p. 6)

This style fits without much tweaking for my gameworld.  I don't see anything in it which would forbid it from being a sanctioned Brotherhood style.  I could even see the fairly radical members of the school accepting female members in a direct violation of the Brotherhood tenets.  I already have style that's part of the Brotherhood, the Fraternity of Gideon, that does so.  It certainly wouldn't make them popular, and I imagine few Fluidists would hold office in any guilds.  It strikes me that the last thing a Fluidist would want that sort of responsibility, anyway.

The Guild of Iron Mages

(GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic, p. 10)

The Iron Mages fit in well, with few changes needed.  As a conservative style, I don't think they'd support female members, so they'd certainly be a Brotherhood school.  In my opinion they need Enchant and some Weapon and Armor Enchantments added to their spell list.  I don't run straight Dungeon Fantasy and those are spells it seems like they should have even if PCs never use them.

The Old School

(GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic, p. 13)

Necromancy is one of the big no-nos in my gameworld, and is illegal almost anywhere.  However, I think that unlike the Onyx Path the Old School could work as a Brotherhood school of licensed Necromancers, especially since is says in their description they fight that identification.  They wouldn't be able to wander around in public with a gaggle of Zombies but they could get away with a lot just from being official.

The Order of the Sun

(GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic, p. 17)

Straightforward boom-boom mages?  Sure, why not?  I don't see anything that makes me hesitate in throwing this bunch in.  It seems like the sort of group that wouldn't necessarily seek to be a part of the Brotherhood as a whole school.  Certain teachers might be, but there's room for those who aren't.  They don't teach anything that's treated as Black Magic and are often Impulsive and Overconfident, which says to me they're too erratic for the Brotherhood to try to control them all.  Plus, when an orphanage gets burned down by a misplaced Blast Ball the Brotherhood could then say "Not our fault!"

The Sisters and Brothers of Echoes

(GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic, p. 20)

I'd use this style as it is, and since it readily accepts women it's not a Brotherhood school.  They teach Mind-Search, which skirts the edges of Black Magic, so the Brotherhood might try to run them off on occasion, but they know enough useful spells, and they practice their magic in a public enough manner, that secular officials probably allow them to practice magic in spite of the Brotherhood's distaste.  The Brotherhood isn't absolutely powerful and I think it's a good thing for there to be reminders like this school scattered about.

The Tower of Pentacles

(GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic, p. 24)

Another school that fits right in.  This would definitely be a Brotherhood style.  They strike me as filling a need for judges and negotiators within the Brotherhood, and they are respected enough that their ties to the Echoists would be overlooked. For that matter the Pentaclists probably have enough pull that they're the reason the Echoists continue to exist outside the Brotherhood framework.

The Wizards of the Mirrored Gaze

(GURPS Magical Styles: Dungeon Magic, p. 29)

The Bene Gesserit... I mean the Wizards of the Mirrored Gaze fit in great with a few adjustments.  Firstly, they're now the Sisters of the Mirrored Gaze and are female-only.  They get around the legal prohibitions against female mages by claiming to be a religious sisterhood, they're just vague about the gods they serve.  They have a number of spells that politically powerful people would find useful, so I think they'd often be found among the connected, and could use this to guarantee their continued existence.  They definitely know spells that qualify as Black Magic on my gameworld but since they cast them for the right people they can probably get away with it.  For a while, anyway, as I could see a King Philip vs. the Templars situation happening if the Sisters aren't careful or get too rich too quickly.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Magnificent Samurai - Session 9

Session 9 of the Magnificent Samurai was held this past Sunday.

Session 8 Log
Magnificent Samurai Campaign Logs


Augustus Scitiori - dual-weapon master of shortswords
Catonio - a Catfolk Swashbuckler
Eliot de la Frau - A Saber-master and pirate.
Erland - a Jotun wrestler.
Markus - A Hobgoblin Paladin of the God of Chivalry.
Melek - a Nephilim greatswordsman
Tonokai - a Kazanjiman horse-archer

NPC Companions

Mother Helen and Sister Marie - NPC healer priestesses
Altan - A Meng guide

Rescuing the Scarlet Wizard

The party made its way to the enemy encampment in the Underdark.  They saw a set of three low, wooden buildings surrounded by fences.  An unusual stable was noted, with its currently empty berths too large for horses.

One of the buildings was smaller than the others and separated.  The three members of the group with an effective ability to use Stealth (Catonio, Eliot, and Tonokai) snuck up to this shed and climbed it, while the rest of the group "snuck" towards the gate, getting almost 70 yards from it before being spotted.  A dude in heavy plate with no Stealth skill, plus another who glows like a torch make sneaking up a bit difficult.

The serpent-folk guards saw the larger group, and two patrols of guards charged towards the fence to grab some muskets and fire on the party.  While they did this, the stealthy group looked in the shed thanks to a convenient knothole.  They saw a man who looked like the false Scarlet Wizard manacled and alone.  Catonio and Eliot dropped down on the two shed guards, hitting them with skull attacks and taking them down silently.  They found the keys, opened the door, and Eliot questioned the prisoner.  When he saw them, his appearance changed to the one they were familiar with.  Asking him some questions about how they knew each other, they were satisfied they had the right man.

When his manacles were unlocked, he cast an Area affect Glimpse of Hell (modified on the fly) that hit Catonio, who had climbed to the second building, and every opponent who hadn't been engaged yet.  Following this, he cast a huge Create Fire over their shrieking forms, and then a Create Gate to his tower, advising the party to follow.  The Create Gate finally forced a Calamity Check, which gave him a 10-point Disadvantage (which changed his Bad Temper from a 12 Self-Control to a 6 if you're curious.)

Finally, the group was able to ask the Wizard for his help in getting there and back.  He promised to make them a Universal Scroll of Create Gate and to Gate them to where they wanted to go.  In addition, he promised each party member an individual Favor as he felt their help had been invaluable.  Augustus immediately asked him to research the location of any enchanted shortswords he could find.  The group stayed at the pagoda of the irascible old coot for a month, and Catonio went and collected his Blue Demon's Hide armor.

The gate created, they went to the abandoned desert city.

Wierdness Increases

In the abandoned city, the party was faced with a number of buildings, partially buried in sand.  The main street of the city had seemingly been swept clean.  Knowing the regalia they were searching for were in a tower, the group headed towards the nearest.  They were ambushed by Sand Mummies, a form of desert undead that has the ability to Dehydrate anyone they can grab in both hands.  Erland and Melek both got hit, but other than that the fight was over quickly.  I sure write "the fight was over quickly" a lot about this campaign.  An entire party of 250+ point warriors are good at that.

They were able to enter the near tower by climbing dunes and entering a second story window.  This room was a charnel house mess, with a human corpse chopped up and the bits strewn around.  What was left of the corpse raised its head and said "He's waiting for you" as Markus entered the window.  The party noted that the door was barred from this side, and found a secret door on one of the walls.  That led to a storeroom with another secret exit.

In the main hallway around the stairs, a half dozen or so men with grey skin and pupil-less eyes stared at the group.  They moved to block the stairs.  After a couple of minutes they declared various members of the party "Balanced," "Lawful," or "Chaotic" (based on their Disadvantages and actions during the campaign.)  They didn't impede the Balanced group: Augustus, Catonio, and Eliot.  This group looked around and located a woman's bedroom, then next to that a much larger man's bedroom that contained normal bedroom furnishings and a golden skull in a Pentagram. The skull kept whining that it wanted to be picked up, and Augustus eventually did so.  Another room contained a nude goblin man washing himself and the final one a pyramid shaped Spirit of Order.  The goblin was Chaotic, and could be paroled, according to the grey-skins, by a Lawful person, and the other by a Chaotic.  Markus paroled the goblin, while Melek paroled the Order being.

The top floor was filled with a bright light that only Markus and Melek could see within.  A female spirit came up to Melek and gave him a hug, and they discussed things.  It seems that this tower had accidentally been caught in a magical experiment that unfortunately duplicated elements of a famous disaster (a spell research Critical Failure) that created the Blasted Plains in the West some 8000 years ago.

The lower floor, by contrast, had flesh-and-gore covered walls, with lidless eyes following the group, and a handsomely dressed Weishanese man (actually a Devil.)  In speaking with him, they gathered he held the regalia they were here for and that he'd be happy to give them over if the party gave a "violent resolution" to the life of the wizard who had trapped them there.  He also happily greeted Markus, standing at the top of the stairs.  The session ended here.

Magic Items

Blue Demon's Hide

Crafted in the Kingdom of Prester John for Catonio the Swashbuckler, this is made of the preserved hide of the Enslaver of the Flames of the Hearth, the Demon Lord Catonio defeated in revenge for his family's murder.

Material: The Blue Demon's hide is a full suit of Heavy Leather of Quality (DR 4, -1 vs. imp.), but is very light weight (1/2).
Quality: Being Masterfully Tailored, its weight is reduced by a further 30%.
Corrosion Proof: The Blue Demon's Hide is undamaged by corrosive attacks, and its DR will not be reduced by such.
Bascinet: The wearer has Hard of Hearing. He also has No Peripheral Vision with the visor down.  It comes with a spare Skullcap for when these are unacceptable.
Ferocious Visage: The facemask is of a ferocious demonic visage. With it down, the wearer gets +2 to Intimidation checks and can use it against demons of less than Lord rank, regardless of any of their Indomitable or Unfazeable advantages.
Nice Boots: The boots (alone) count as Ornate, and give +2 to Reaction Rolls from anyone who likes really good shoes.

Weight: 21 lbs.

Monday, September 19, 2016

The House of Conti - Session 3

We had a session of House of Conti this weekend.

House of Conti logs

Cast of Characters

  • Luca Conti - A swashbuckler
  • Raphael - A capable wizardly spy
  • JD - a Sorceror
  • Baradiel - A half-fallen angel

Down to the Sewers

Immediately following the last session, the party headed down the ladder into the city sewers.  Raphael, having See Secrets up, noticed an engraved plate on the floor which included the coat of arms of several local guilds and the date the sewers were constructed.  A Traps roll revealed that the plate could be lifted and rotated, and that it was some sort of combination lock.  A few minutes passed while they tried various combinations, eventually figuring out it was related to the three guilds listed on the plate.  When they figured it out, a Scryguarded secret door opened up into a small cavern lit with faintly glowing funguses.  Inside, there were more of the Sewer Worms they had fought on the surface, as well as two gigantic Fleshworms (a SM 2, 40 HP juvenile form of Purple Worm that hasn't developed a stinger yet.)  Raphael noticed a Sewer Crocodile trying to sneak up on the party.  He told JD, who Stunned it and when it recovered it decided it wasn't looking for a fight and left.

Baradiel got hit with an early Critical Hit from one of the Fleshworms and took enough damage to take him down to 2 HP in one blow.  Luckily, JD has healing spells, so he was able to recover quickly.  Luca and Baradiel took the Sewer Worms out quickly, and focused on the Fleshworms.  One of the Fleshworms went Berzerk from a big hit from Baradiel, so it took quite a lot of damage to bring it down.  The other one never took enough damage in one blow to trigger a Self-Control roll.

After the vermin were defeated, they examined the area.  It was strewn with the bones of fish, a crocodile, and three humans, two of whom were tied to crosses and had probably been eaten alive.  They found another door on the other side of the room, Raphael detected spells on it, which he used Thaumatology to deduce were Meta-spells and Protection and Warning spells.  He burned a 2-hex Dispel Magic-25 Scroll and eliminated them.

The Summoning Room and an Affair At Dinner

They entered a circular chamber which featured a wheel-like symbol in the floor, well lit by Continual Light stones in a regular pattern around it.  A dead woman, her heart missing, lay in the center.  It was an enchanted Pentagram in a pattern "conducive to the spirits of Order."  There was a chalk mark across it, meaning it had been purposefully broken.  The pentagram itself was as old as the sewers, at least, meaning it had been there for at least two hundred years.

In a niche opposite the door they entered through, they found an enchanted statue of a white ape with bloody fangs, surrounded by offerings of various sorts.  To the south, there was a door with yet more spells upon it.  Raphael ceremonially cast Dispel Magic, and succeeded.  Entering the next room, the heard voices in conversation.  Raphael cast Insignificance on each member of the group and they snuck in to a meeting hall, with several cultists around a table and a guard at another door.  JD cast Mass Sleep and critically succeeded (again!)   It knocked out all the cultists at the table, another pair in another room he couldn't even see, and a wizard with a half-face mask on that the party hadn't noticed, because he had Insignificance on, himself.  Raphael managed to notice him, and snuck up on him while the warriors engaged the guards.  While they were doing this, JD got a thrown knife in the kidneys from behind as a woman he never noticed took a free shot from where he couldn't see her.

I should say here that I really like the Roll20 dynamic lighting options.  They drive my players crazy.  I've restricted the PCs to a 300 degree arc of vision, so even though she was on the map literally no one noticed her until she struck.  This wouldn't happen on a tabletop map unless I didn't place her until after the attack.

The triple damage attack forced a Major Wound check, and JD failed by 5 so he was out.  Luca engaged the woman, she Commanded him to stop, and he missed his resistance roll.  On the next turn she cast Madness on him (one turn as she had it at 20), and even with Magic Resistance 3 he failed to resist.  I ruled his Bless went away and he resisted instead.  He attacked her again, she failed to Command this time, and he hit her, at which point he discovered she wasn't affected much by normal weapons and was actually a demon. A Succubus.  She took only 1/5 injury from his attack, and even with him rolling 3d+2 damage that's only going to be a couple of points in the end.

In the meantime, the Half-masked Wizard stirred from his slumber, and Raphael struck him with his wooden rapier.  The wizard got hit for a couple of points of damage, said "You've got to be kidding me," and cast Deathtouch.  On the wizard's next turn, he hit Raphael, and I rolled 10 (on 2d) points of crushing damage and 18 points (on 3d) of Deathtouch damage.  Ouch.  Raphael succeeded on a Death Check, a Consciousness Check, and a Major Wound check in one go and was still standing.  On his turn, Raphael stayed conscious cast a 5d Deathtouch himself ("This is how it's done!").  Baradiel by this point had healed JD, got him on his feet, and went to Raphael's aid.  He defaulted Intimidation to get the wizard to surrender and rolled a 3.  The wizard surrendered promptly.  The Succubus, somehow aware of this, Teleported behind the wizard, made Baradiel drop his sword with a Command, then Teleported away with the wizard on her next turn.

Clean Ups and an Interrogation

Examining the area thoroughly, they came across a cell with a skeleton manacled to the wall.  A Search roll revealed a key in a pouch on the skeleton's belt.  They tested it and discovered it was the key to the cell itself (prompting "What a bunch of assholes!" from the players.)  The room the Succubus came from was a small study, with a couple of Scrolls on a table, a magical scrying bowl (which gives +2 to Lecanomancy, as if it was a Crystal Ball,)   and an enchanted painting on the wall.  JD identified the painting as a Painting of Entrapment, which traps the soul of a viewer in an extra-dimensional prison, except this one seemed to be programmable as no-one in the group had been affected so far.  They woke a cultist and interrogated him.  He was extremely cooperative, and when asked why he said "You're going to kill me anyway, so I figure if I help you, you might kill me quickly."  He revealed the password to the painting, which allowed them to move it and pull a lever for another secret door.  They knocked him back out and continued into a small, mostly empty treasury.  Luca opened a magical chest in the room, that hit him with a Lesser Geas to "drop what you're holding and leave this place."  The session ended there.