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.

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Magnificent Samurai - Session 8

Session 8 of the Magnificent Samurai was held on Sunday September 11th.


Augustus Scitiori - dual-weapon master of shortswords
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 hired in the Kingdom of Prester John
Altan - A Meng guide the party hired in the Kingdom of Prester John

Not Present

Catonio - a Catfolk Swashbuckler

Post-Combat Healing and Another Battle

After killing the Enslaver of the Flames of the Hearth, the party had to rest as they had several very injured people.  Markus had to handle all the healing as their healing priest had been killed during the last battle.  They also used up their entire supply of healing potions.  They had time to heal, and got a brief half-hour rest when they were attacked by three chainsaw wielding demons and six flaming skulls coming from a secret room they had missed.

This was a nasty fight, made even worse by the fact that Melek was already at half Move and Dodge from the earlier fight.  The chainsaw demons ended up being little to no threat, but the flaming skulls were All-Out Attacking for two attacks and were slowly chewing up the folks engaged with them.  By the time it was all said and done, the party won with no deaths, but Markus had to rest for a day just so he could heal the others without penalties.

Return to the Kingdom of Prester John

The group returned to Prester John's settlement, and discussed what to do next.  They decided they wanted to investigate why there are so many more demons than normal showing up lately, but wanted to gear up first so they could fight them properly.  A friendly sage told them he suspected that at least two items of a Demonhunter's regalia remained in the lost city of Diushi. This city had long ago been conquered by Orcs and had then been lost beneath the sands of the Tamadere desert, but had been recently exposed by a savage windstorm.

To save time, the party chose to return to the Scarlet Wizard to ask him to create a Gate to the city, to prevent them from dying in the desert having no appreciable survival skills.  They hired a local guide, and two western priestesses of the Goddess of Healing before they left on a continuing, monthly basis.

The Wrong Wizard

When they arrived at the Scarlet Wizard's pagoda, they noted that the hobgoblin guards who had been here before had been replaced by Imperial soldiers.  The soldiers didn't recognize the group, and allowed them in.

The "Scarlet Wizard" they met wasn't the same man they had worked for before, and didn't recognize them.  When challenged, he said he had always been the Scarlet Wizard and the party attacked.  Three of the PCs held the doors shut while the rest of the party attacked the wizard.  After he was defeated, they discovered he was one of the Serpent Folk, and they had kidnapped the actual wizard.  Interrogation backed up by complementary Intimidation revealed his location, a nearby stronghold in the underdark.  The party went to the rescue...

Magnificent Samurai Campaign Logs

Friday, September 9, 2016

New Spell: Fire Darts

I've been working on my campaigns so I haven't done as much rules-tinkering or worldbuilding as I normally do, but here's a spell I wrote to add a high rate of fire option to a mage's arsenal.

Fire Darts


College of Fire

Creates a collection of darts of flame that can be shot in rapid succession.  Each dart does 1d burning, and should the caster also know Essential Fire he may double the base casting cost for darts that do 1d+2 burning.  The caster may create up to his Magery darts each turn, for up to three turns.  The darts have 1/2D 15, Max 30, RoF=number of darts, and Rcl 2.

Cost to Cast: 1 per dart created.
Time to Cast: 1 to 3 seconds.
Prerequisites: Magery 1, Create Fire, and Haste.


I'd change the prerequisites to Great Haste instead of Haste, but I really don't want to give a spellcaster any more excuses to take it...

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The House of Conti - Session 1 and 2

In addition to my tabletop campaign, I've also started running a Roll20 campaign for a couple of my friends who used to play GURPS with me back in the day, and a couple of other friends who are new to GURPS.  I ran the second session on Saturday the 27th of August.

Cast of Characters

  • Luca Conti - swashbuckler and member of the merchant House of Conti in the Northern Thorinian Kingdom
  • Raphael - Luca's companion and friend, a capable wizardly spy
  • JD - a Sorceror and master of spells that skirt the fringes of legality
  • Baradiel - an angel cast down to the mortal world for his failure to protect Luca's uncle

Session One

This campaign actually started last year, in a week of gaming some of my old gaming buddies get together each year to do.  In that campaign, the party investigated the death of Luca's uncle, a powerful Archbishop of the Storm God.  They discovered he had ties to the Underdark, buying Black Lotus from the Drow to sell on the surface.  He had helped them kill off a rival family but was murdered when he protested them raising their prices.  Luca and Raphael returned to their home city of Sparra, and were joined at Luca's ancestral home (the Green Palace) by JD and Baradiel.

For the first session, Raphael was absent.

JD had been accused of several magical crimes by the Brotherhood*, but the head wizard of House Conti, Sazano, imposed his veto in the trial and invited JD to join him in Conti service. JD agreed, since House Conti wasn't going to bind his actions with magical Oaths...

At around the same time, Baradiel had been exiled to the mortal realm to aid the Conti family, since he'd failed to protect the Archbishop.  Luca found him being theologically grilled by the household Chaplain.

The three of them (Luca, JD, and Baradiel) were instructed to follow up on a couple of house guards who were sent to check on a break-in at the house's spice warehouse.  Lord Conti suggested that Luca take some time to familiarize himself with his new companions, but Luca hotly objected, insisting he would check on the household guards immediately, while also berating his father for his opportunism in JD's case and ranting about the ridiculous Brotherhood laws.

When they arrived at the warehouse, they discovered three dead bodies, one of which was no member or servant of the Conti.  Searching further, they opened a door and a pulsating green heart, bound in brass, rose from the floor and sent beams of green to each body, which materialized into Demon Jesters, a powerful type of minor demon (Baradiel classified them as "Type III level.").  Baradiel, a soldier angel, succeeded on both Demon Lore and Physiology (Demons), so he knew what they were and that their weakpoint was the heart.  A battle ensued, and Baradiel was heavily injured, while JD spent much of the fight mentally stunned by a Rapier Wit attack by one of the demons.  (This was unlikely, as his IQ is 14 but he failed four turns in a row.)  They also managed to break the heart, which JD used Magic Item Lore to identify as a "Soul Trap," an evil artifact from the remote ages of the ancient demon-worshipping Catfolk, around 9,000 years ago. Soul Traps were used to trap the soul of anyone who died near them and allowed a spellcaster to use the souls therein to power magical effects, like an extremely naughty Powerstone.

They took the bodies and the remains of the heart back to the Green Palace.  They noted a tattoo of the face of a raging ape on the unknown man.  This is a known symbol of the demon lord Gath, the White Ape, a demon lord rumored to be physically present on the Material World. He has a sizable and dangerous cult.

Session Two

While the rest of the party was away, Raphael was using his (Ally Group) rats to sneak into a local office and steal some love letters written by Lord Conti.  He used his rats to chew them open and read what was inside.  He noted that they'd been sealed with the House Conti seal, or a good fake, so he had the rats mar that as well, then delivered the notes as instructed.  A Streetwise roll led him to suspect the Red Eagle House, House Conti's most heated rival merchant family, as the most likely group to have stolen the letters.

Luca was called to speak with his mother, who chided him for his thoughtless berating of his father, especially in the view of the servants of the house.  Luca defended himself but promised to be more careful.

The whole party returned to the warehouse, since Raphael has both the Mage Sight and See Secrets spells so he's capable of spotting things the others might have missed.  He found a second secret compartment in the chest the heart had arrived in, sealed with a poison trap.  In the compartment, they found a bundle of letters bound and sealed by magic.  Raphael used a Dispel Magic scroll to dispel the seal (Delay-Sense Life-Disintegrate if you're curious.  Even the minimum damage would have reduced the bundle to dust.)  The papers were written in a demon language, and the very letters were so disturbing that seeing it required a Fright Check from everyone but Baradiel (he's an Angel, he's seen it before.)

They used Raphael's familiar, Goldie (a special rat,) to track another person who had been present.  The trail led to an alleyway, where the party heard cries of "Help!" from a woman overtaken in the alley by thugs.  A fight ensued, the thugs were all disabled early by a critical success on a Mass Sleep from JD, and "sewer worms" and bronze spiders joined the fight as it progressed. Someone cast an Awaken spell on the thugs, then the "victim" slipped away during the fighting, but in a rather sneaky way that led the party to track her down.  They entered a kitchen, and faced a woman cutting into a joint of beef.  When challenged, she told the group she'd been paid a silver coin to cover a strange woman's escape.  Raphael, having Mage Sight active, asked if the cook was a mage (she was.)

Luca knocked her unconscious from behind (I use the "kayo" rules in my fantasy campaigns.)  JD then used Mind Search to discover that she was a guard for a group using the sewers as a base, she didn't know if they were demon worshipers, but she knew that they had just received a "necessary shipment."  We left it there.

*Brotherhood Charges Against JD

JD was charged with Witchcraft, Unsanctioned Spellcasting, and Uncontrolled Sorcery. Witchcraft being the casting of spells in secret, Unsanctioned Spellcasting is not being a member of the Brotherhood, and Uncontrolled Sorcery is casting a spell as a Sorceror that leads to a Calamity Check.