Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Underdark Monsters, Session One

I haven't been doing much with the blog, lately, and I'd like to change that.  I've got a couple of campaigns going, and these logs are useful to me if for no other reason than that they make me take decent notes.  Since I'm starting a new campaign with my in-person group, I can start from scratch with this one, and go back to keeping logs of my online campaigns as well.

The theme for the new campaign was "monsters," as in everyone needs Social Stigma (Monster) either from their race or as a personal Disadvantage.  I didn't pick this, the players wanted to have a common theme.  I have been wanting to run another campaign in the Underdark for a while, so this seemed like a good place to start this group off.

This is for the session played Sunday, August 14th.

The New Characters

Balint Kiss, mute Bale Sorceror with Body Control and Earth spells
Rhadamanthus the Minotaur, a Flail-wielding monster with a PK Shield wild talent
Sir Balor the Death Knight
Slob, Doppleganger Necromancer
and Snarl, a Gnoll Archer.

The Set-up

The PCs are the last survivors of a Drow slave ship that crashed on the shores of a sunless sea.  A couple of them were slaves, and the others were passengers.  At least two of the party have Intolerance (Drow)  so the lack of other survivors was guaranteed..

They equipped themselves from the stores that weren't destroyed in the crash, and were faced with a sea to the east, the lights of a settlement to the north, a cliff and fungal forest to the south, and the sheer rock face of a cavern wall to the west.  They approached the settlement, and encountered a stockade populated by a group of shabby male Drow and their Dwarf slave-miners.

The leader of the Drow spoke with the party members who approached, and they chatted a bit about the local area.  The party learned a nearby Drow city had been conquered by an alliance of no less than three foreign powers, one of which was an imperialistic empire of heretic Drow from the east of the sea.  Seeing the party as disposable, the leader offered the group a cash reward for a spellbook from a nearby abandoned wizards's lair.

Heading west, Balint was nearly captured by a Cave Fisher, but saw the trap before he was caught.  The spiderlike form moved away, and Slob tossed a Fireball at it, missing entirely and sending up an "eat us" sign to the local area.  This was answered by an Ettin and his Hill Giant slave, who attacked in short order.  Snarl tried a quick Camouflage to hide himself in a few seconds, but rolled an 18 and failed miserably, making him target #1.

Balint kept the giant and the ettin down with repeated use of Tanglefoot, which was very effective against the two relatively low-DX monsters.  The Hill Giant was able to impale Snarl with the first attack of the battle, tossing his spear, and Snarl took 30 points of injury in that single blow, taking him more or less out of the fight as he struggled not to pass out.

However, a properly made Death Knight and Minotaur can do a LOT of damage, and with opponents struggling just to regain their feet, it was a short fight.  Slob created a Zombie out of the Ettin's corpse (SM 2, so it cost 24 energy.)  The Hill Giant took two big crits to the skull so it was too damaged to raise.

From there, the party traveled to the caves.  Snarl used Tracking to determine that the two opponents had come from the first of the caves, marked with a primitive totem.  Balint, using Heraldry (Religious), was able to determine that the totem was the symbol of a cult of devil-worshippers.  The third cave, the wizard's lair,  was high (around 30') up, but Snarl was able to climb to it and send a rope down, and with the help of the ettin Zombie the party climbed up.  We called it there.

The Mulligan Rule

I allow players to redo their characters after the first session a character is played, retconning whatever I need to to make the new version or character make sense.  This is mostly because GURPS is a system where flaws in a character's design sometimes don't show up until well into play.  So, when I'm running a campaign where combat is a regular feature, like fantasy, I always have a semi-tough fight in the first session to shake the characters down.  This usually works well, and I seldom have more than one or two players make big changes.

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