Meet the Boss: Brutus

One of the boss monsters I used recently, this guy is taken from the excellent multiplatform ARPG Path of Exile. Originally a human prison warden, he was experimented upon by a sadistic wizard who transformed him into a hulking monstrosity. Ripping with muscle more than any natural creature should, Brutus smashed his fists into masses of pulp during a bout of anger. His only weapon aside from his inhuman strength is a hook on a chain wrapped around his arm, which he uses to reel in distant victims. He wears little more than tattered rags and the remains of restraints used during his transformation.

ST: 35      HP: 35      Speed: 7
DX: 12     Will: 13   Move: 10
IQ: 9        Per: 10
HT: 14     FP: 18      SM: +1

Dodge: 11 Parry: 13 DR: 8

Punch (18): 4d+3 crushing. Reach C, 1.
Grapple (18): 4d-1 control. Reach C, 1.
Hook Throw (18): 4d-1 impaling. Ranged, with Acc 0, Max 20, Bulk -2, Shots T(1). On a hit, apply control points to the target equal to damage rolled. The hook remains stuck in the victim; Brutus can’t use that arm to attack others without relinquishing the grapple. Breaking the grapple gets rid of the hook.
Get Over Here!: Brutus reels in a hooked victim. If the their Lifting ST is 17 or lower, he can reel them in 10 yards per turn, or 5 yards per turn if it’s 35 or lower, or a yard per turn if it’s 52 or lower. This counts as an attack but is automatically successful.
Unhook (18): Rips the hook out of a victim for 4d-1 cutting damage. On a miss, the victim remains hooked, but on a successful dodge or parry (can’t be blocked) the victim manages to “maneuver” the hook out harmlessly.
Ground Slam (18): Brutus smashes his pulped fist into the ground, causing a shockwave in a 5-yard-wide, 5-yard-long cone. 4d+3 crushing, double knockback. Costs 2 FP per use.

Traits: Bad Temper (12); Combat Reflexes; Extra Attack 2; High Pain Threshold; Nictitating Membrane 4; Injury Tolerance: Damage Reduction 2; Infravision; Peripheral Vision; Unfazeable.
Skills: Brawling-18; Dual-Weapon Attack (Brawling)-18.
Class: Mundane.
Notes: Can parry twice, once with each arm. Arms count as weapons. Unwilling to negotiate.

This writeup is for use with Fantastic Dungeon Grappling. If you do not use this supplement (which you should reconsider!), ignore the control damage of Grapple and Hook Throw, and the victim of a successful Hook Throw is automatically grappled.

Brutus opens fights with a Hook Throw or a Ground Slam, depending on the positioning of the party. He is smart enough to use his hook against physically weaker delvers or those without shields, and only uses ground slam on fewer than two opponents if knocking them away would be important. He can make three attacks per round and usually performs one of them as a Dual-Weapon Attack (smashing someone between his fists), or a Rapid Strike if he’s grappling a delver with his hook. He doesn’t grapple much otherwise, but grabbing someone and smashing them into a wall or floor could be fun. Don’t forget to spend any remaining control points when ripping out the hook! Lastly, mind his high HT score; it is here primarily to resist HT-contested spells. You will likely want to do your players a favor and just kill him once he’s the last foe remaining and deep into negative HP, instead of dragging the fight out.

I originally used Brutus against a party of seven ~300 point delvers and he had about half a dozen weaker monsters with him, one of which was a tougher “worthy” while the remainder were a bit stronger “fodder” (fodder drops at 0  HP in my games and worthies at -1 x HP). He is a bit on the low end of the boss monster “protections” I wrote about previously: half DR on eyes (as formalized by Nictitating Membrane), halves all injury due to the Injury Tolerance and can defend against attacks from behind due to Peripheral Vision. None of these (except maybe for Injury Tolerance) are the result of “special” features of his physiology, they are there to make him live long enough as a boss monster. He doesn’t have the active defenses to be fielded as a solo boss against the party I used him against. To do that I’d halve the penalties he suffers on multiple attacks and parries (he doesn’t need any extra damage so I wouldn’t give him flat out Weapon Master), raise his skill to 20, give him another level of Extra Attack and figure out another defensively-useful ability.

Lair of The Invincible Legion of Evil session 42

Date: 2019-12-14

Player Characters:
Acor, coleopteran sorcerer (~350 points)
Arwen, shadow elf fluidist wizard (278 points)
Gugro, kobold alchemist (~325 points)
Rod Steele, human cleric of war (~300 points)
Thundarr, minotaur barbarian (~300 points)

After a brief rest and healing following Barrister’s attempt at partycide, the group proceeded through the (hopefully no longer) trapped back door of the library. Beyond, there was a room with many pedestals and display cases, but it looked ransacked. The cases were either open or laying broken on the ground, and most were empty. Only a couple smaller wooden boxes remained among them. The party checked them for traps, and finding none, proceeded to open them. Within they found various jewelry: rings, necklaces, amulets, bracelets. Three of the amulets registered as magical; two of them would be later identified in town as a Pain Resistance Amulet and a Speed Amulet, while the third drew immediate attention and also registered as a holy item to Rod. Several party members, especially Acor, recognized it as the amulet blessed by the Good God to permanently lay to rest Jugorax, the notorious warlord who was entombed some two hundred years ago and whom the party encountered in ghostly form at the start of their adventures. They originally learned of this amulet while they were researching Jugorax after suffering a humiliating defeat at his hands. So now the party decided to mop up a few loose ends here before returning to town to analyze the amulet and form a plan of attack.

They returned to the “outer” corridor of the wizard’s lair, where there was a large metal hatch in a small side room and where tunnels of reddish stone opened cracks in the floor. After brief consideration, they decided to investigate the second tunnel, the one they did not come through previously. They jumped down into it, and while traversing it started hearing a continuous low grinding noise they noticed before. After a couple dozen yards of winding through the tunnel a cavern opened before the party. It had stone bones, teeth and spikes embedded in all of its surfaces every couple feet. But its most noticeable characteristic was that in the largest part of the cavern, the floor and ceiling were slowly rising and lowering again in about half a yard sections, which was producing the grinding noise (the difference in their height through this effect was a couple feet). And at the end of the cavern, there was a large bed of crystals in a multitude of colors, similar to ones that Alyssa found previously. They registered as faintly magical.

While deciding whether to pick the crystals or not risk triggering some kind of a trap or curse, the party heard (and saw, in case of Gugro and Thundarr with their Peripheral Vision) something moving behind them. A large insectoid creature made of stone arose from the floor, with six legs attached to a bulbous abdomen, a humanoid torso extending from its front, two “arms” or forelegs on the torso ending in long blades, and an insect-like head. It was joined by four flaming miscreations suddenly being released from the stone walls around the party in apparently half-digested state. Thundarr charged at the insectoid, Gugro in his backpack, while the rest of the party engaged the miscreations. The insectoid grinded its blades against each other and struck the ground, unleashing a cone of electricity at the party before proceeding to engage Thundarr. The miscreations distracted most of the party long enough for the insectoid to critically injure Thundarr (who went berserk), impaling him with its blades into the vitals several times even though its attempts to sever his head failed. But thanks to Gugro’s healing potions Thundarr was kept alive long enough for him and Acor’s stone missiles to defeat the monster.

After healing from the battle, the party decided to grab as many crystals as they could. Their suspicion of traps was justified when the cavern started closing in on them. Running as fast as they could all of them escaped the closing section in time. They decided to return to Caverntown, and we brought the session to a close.

Lair of The Invincible Legion of Evil session 41

Date: 2019-12-07

Player Characters:
Acor, coleopteran sorcerer (~350 points)
Gugro, kobold alchemist (~325 points)
Sir Barrister, minotaur knight (~290 points)
Tallus, human wrestler (~290 points)
Arwen, shadow elf fluidist wizard (275 points)
Thundarr, minotaur barbarian (~300 points)

Leaving Caverntown, the party made very safe progress towards the dungeon. Their pacing wasn’t up to par however, but some good underground navigation found a couple of freshly dug out tunnels which served as a shortcut so the group still made the average time of 2 days.

Returning to the lava sea and the stone castle, Acor led the group straight towards the pantry near the servants’ quarters on the upper level of the south-western castle building. The party was alarmed that most of the food was gone. Looking around, they also found all of the hobgoblin corpses from the battle on the stairs down missing, just like the corpses from the fight in the kitchen. The wall to the servant bedroom where they immured four hobgoblins was torn down, and there was no trace of the captives or their bodies.

After expressing their concerns, the group didn’t really do anything about it and went to investigate the courtyard to the north of the building, which they previously only glanced through the windows. There they found a training area with a bunch of junk in some crates, a 100 yard deep well ending in a stream of water, and a stone stable which was obviously not intended for salamanders due to the wooden stalls and hay inside. The whole place was vacant.

The western “wall” of the courtyard were the battlements above the island’s edge, and the eastern wall belonged to the “north-eastern” castle building which the group already largely explored. The northern wall, however, was dominated by a huge, 10 yard tall and 5 yard wide door. It didn’t seem to have any kind of locking mechanism, just a pair of handles, so the whole group got together to open it, which they succeeded just enough so they may squeeze through.

On the other side there was a “great hall”, dominated by a large stone bust of a menacing humanoid leaning out of the opposing wall, over a stone throne. The eastern wall obviously held an “upper level” gallery at some point, but it has since crumbled to the floor taking much of the wall with it. On the western wall, there was a similar but much smaller “cave-in” where probably a passage existed previously. The party looked around the hall, the caved-in tunnel, and around the throne, but having found nothing of interest they decided to enter the Red Door once more and continue where they left off after their battle with the demon.

The way to the large circular room was clear, and the party ventured beyond it through an unassuming wooden door. Gugro and Tallus remained behind. Beyond, Arwen, Acor and Sir Barrister found what looked like a study, with a large desk, a cushy chair and walls lined with bookshelves. It looked ransacked; books were missing from the shelves, some were strewn along the floor, and the desk was a mess. Among the papers on the desk the group pieced together several fragments of what looked like a journal hastily written by the castle’s “court wizard”, who was behind all of this. Apparently an experiment on the captive demon failed and caused it to die, but it managed to cast a terrible curse on the whole place before perishing. The wizard was almost killed in an accompanying blast of energy, and after that they went on to evacuate out of the place.

There was another door in the study. Opening it, the party found a small library on the other side, with books neatly stacked on shelves and not ransacked like in the previous room, though some books were obviously missing from their places. Arwen perused the books for a couple minutes and found a grimoire granting +1 to casting of the Freeze spell to those who’ve consulted it recently. The party then bunched up around a stone door they found on the other side of the library. Barrister opened it, and a blast of lightning struck everybody. But that was not the worst of it. Barrister suddenly saw red and wanted to murder everyone around him. As he turned with rage toward Acor and Arwen, another minotaur entered the room: Thundarr, whom the party hadn’t seen for almost two months. Acor and Arwen retreated, with Arwen casting Slide on Barrister. She managed to evade him until Thundarr closed in, at which point a battle between the two minotaurs ensued. Barrister eventually broke through the influence of the spell driving him to madness, and managed to snap Thundarr out of his Berserk by a rallying cry. It is there where we stopped.

Lair of The Invincible Legion of Evil session 40

Date: 2019-11-30

Player Characters:
Acor, coleopteran sorcerer (~350 points)
Gugro, kobold alchemist (~325 points)
Sir Barrister, minotaur knight (~290 points)
Tallus, human wrestler (~290 points)
Old Wizard, human wizard (275 points)

While the rest of the party rested from their battle with the monstrous brute, Gugro dug into its carcass while Old Wizard examined the surgical tomes. Their efforts revealed that the castle’s “court wizard” experimented with “enhancing” humanoids by infusing them with demonic energies and implanting them with demon body parts. Most experiments failed and the few surviving specimens were imperfect in both physical in mental ways, dubbed “miscreations” by the wizard. This changed when the they obtained a “greater demon”, as using its essence and parts resulted in many more subjects surviving the process. Implanted with a piece of the demon’s regenerating heart, the brute was the masterpiece.

Recuperated, the party continued onward. They found a trio of rooms
continuing the grisly theme: a cadaver storage room, a smaller surgical room, and a room with a pool of blood surrounded by several grooved stone tables. They didn’t dally in any of them except for the surgical room, where they found more high quality surgical instruments (most notably one each of a silver, meteoric and orichalcum scalpels) and several books on surgery and demons.

Around the corner of the corridor, the next room was apparently some kind of a magical laboratory. A section with several bookcases and desks remained intact, while the other half was ravaged by what looked like magical elemental anomalies; motes of fire and lightning floating in the air, zapping their surroundings. The party found some books on elementals and demons exhibiting elemental abilities among the shelves, but they had to risk the anomalies to get a set of journals sitting in the dangerous section. There the court wizard wrote about experiments with mixing demonic and elemental forces, and extracting elemental powers from demons exhibiting them. They were not happy with their progress using lesser demons, but the experiments improved after they captured a greater demon referenced as a “Darkflame Lord”. The name was vaguely familiar to the party, but they couldn’t recall any actionable information aside from the demon being wrapped in “darkflame” which gave it fire and darkness related abilities.

A another door opened from the laboratory into a small storeroom. There the party hit a jackpot, as its shelves were filled from top to bottom with valuable magical components and paraphernalia. After looting it, they proceeded further down the corridor, where their path was blocked by a large metal door.

Beyond, there was a large circular room with staircases going up from both sides of the door, eventually leveling at a several yards tall gallery surrounding the whole room. In the center there was a hemisphere of pure darkness. Having spied a passage leading further from the far end of the gallery, the party started climbing the stairs. As they did so, the torches in the room flickered as a strong gust of wind sucked everyone in the room several yards toward the hemisphere. The hemisphere imploded, revealing a huge four-armed demon engulfed in dark fire, wielding a flaming whip and sword. It charged at the party with a roar. Luck was with them, and they emerged from the battle without significant injuries, as the demon faded out of the world. They completely expended all of their resources however, and promptly retreated out of the dungeon and to Caverntown.

Lair of The Invincible Legion of Evil session 39

Date: 2019-11-23

Player Characters:
Acor, coleopteran sorcerer (~350 points)
Alyssa, halfling thief (~280 points)
Bennett, human holy warrior (~280 points)
Gugro, kobold alchemist (~325 points)
Sir Barrister, minotaur knight (~280 points)
Tallus, human wrestler (~280 points)
Yulia, dwarf knight (~290 points)

Beyond the prison block explored in the previous session, torchlight could be seen and slow, deep breathing sounds could be heard. The party cautiously proceeded to peer into the next room (the hallway entered into it at its southeastern corner), and were met by a gruesome scene. It was a larger hall, with a raised L-shaped platform along the eastern and northern walls, reachable by stairs on either end. On the platform along the walls, many horizontal and vertical wooden “surgery tables” were set up, most containing mutilated bodies. Further corpses were strewn between them. In the SW corner, there was a rectangular pool of blood, with a whole pile of bodies adjacent to the north of it. And in the crutch of the L-shaped platform on the lower level, a huge humanoid was strapped on to a vertical table. Almost 3 yards tall, it was bulging from muscle, heavily scarred, its hands and lower arms turned into pulpy masses of flesh. Many small spikes were embedded in its flesh, and several chains were wrapped around it. It was the source of the slow, heavy breathing.

The party cautiously entered the hall with some of them sneaking, Acor casting protective spells, and Benett slowly approaching the monstrosity from the front. It soon noticed, bellowed in anger and burst its restraints. A battle ensued where the monstrosity was joined by a blood elemental emerging out of the pool and several corpses (of the entrails-turned-tentacles variety the party already encountered) rising from the piles. Highlights include Alyssa blinding the brute in one eye at the outset of combat and Yulia jumping at it from the raised platform only to be swatted away by its massive arms. The monstrosity smashed at the ground several times during the fight, causing shockwaves that dispersed the party due to dodge-and-dropping. Tallus and Yulia engaged the brute while Sir Barrister and Bennett held off the lesser foes, which Alyssa efficiently dispatched. Eventually, Tallus grappled the brute from the ground and managed to hold it off for long enough for Yulia and Acor to cave its skull in.

After the battle, the group took a look around. They found several tomes about anatomy and radical surgical procedures, some high quality surgical implements, and noticed that the blood pool was steaming and bubbling. That is when we concluded the session.

Where we are: Lair of The Invincible Legion of Evil

I last wrote play recaps about my Dungeon Fantasy campaign more than a year ago, soon after it started. Writing detailed reports about my other campaign at that time exhausted me, so I tried a more summarized format for this one. That didn’t stick either. I’m taking it up again, but primarily as a way to provide recaps for my players since the roster changes from session to session due to the campaign being open in nature. I could use some refreshers as well since I must confess I’ve become lazy with my own notes lately.

What has gone before (sessions 6-33)

After exploring the caverns under the “hobgoblin outpost” (which I’ve started writing up in the last report but never finished), the group decided not to follow some tunnels which led deeper underground but to return upstairs and check two areas they haven’t so far. One yielded an encounter with an angry ghost who mopped the floor with the party. They managed to retreat and vowed to defeat it later. The other led out of this dungeon section and into a large, built-out, fortified cavern dubbed the “lava cave” due to a stream of lava flowing through it. Exploration ensued but eventually the group passed the source of the lava and found an enormous underground lake of it on the other side. In the lake, against the far away cavern wall, a stone castle was carved out of the top of an island. There was a bridge leading to it, so that was the group’s next destination.

Both the “lava cave” and the stone castle deserve articles of their own, but for now a fast-forward will have to suffice. Within the castle there was an ominous door heavily warded with magic. Dubbed the “red door” due to the primary magic circle covering it being made of blood which shed red light, the party eventually disabled the warding rituals and ventured beyond. This is where the last couple of sessions have been happening.

Beyond the Red Door (sessions 34-38)

The area on the other side looked like cellars belonging to the castle, but soon the party noticed that the entirety of it was both a low-mana zone and infused with a background of demonic energies, making it low-sanctity as well. A creepy feeling of otherness permeated the atmosphere, and figments of darkness were playing tricks at the edges of everyone’s vision. The deeper the party went, the more twisted the whole place looked, with the corridors themselves starting to seem jagged and sinister. The stone displayed strange properties, from slightly bleeding at places to sometimes resisting being shaped by magic. One such attempt even produced a “living” rock which sprouted spikes and attacked the group. Big Ron, the current party Wizard, concluded that the background magical aura, which was already present in the entire castle, was much stronger here. It had mind-affecting properties, and anyone staying for more than a dozen hours would end up with their mind in a haze, “claimed” by the place and unable or unwilling to leave.

The party proceeded forward, undaunted. The area was in complete darkness without any light sources. After going through several storerooms they found a “hell’s kitchen”. It was a kitchen, originally belonging to this part of the castle, but it was now inhabited by a couple of “butcher demons”, like the one the party previously encountered in the servants’ quarters of the castle. They were joined in their attack on the group by one of the humanoid corpses which they were spit-roasting; it blazed its way to the fight in a stream of fire and proceeded to display further fiery abilities. The party of course prevailed (the demons seemed weaker than the one previously encountered) and looted the kitchen.

In a room opposite the kitchen there was a crack in the wall. Following it revealed a small cave with a pool of water in it, and several smaller tunnels branching off away from it. One tunnel yielded an undead corpse crushed under a cave-in and another some large crystals Alyssa the thief pried away. The third terminated in a submerged section. Since nobody was interested in diving either through the pool or the third tunnel, they returned through the crack to the cellars.

The next storeroom had a several yards wide hole in its floor which was obviously not an original part of its design. It proved just a dozen yards deep and a tunnel lead off from it, so the party descended down. The cavernous tunnel winded horizontally and started to climb vertically, and its stone eventually took on a reddish color and a jagged texture. After an encounter with a steam vent which burned Tallus the wrestler, the tunnel’s ceiling opened up to reveal another cellar room above it. The tunnel also continued further onward, but the group decided to climb up into the room and continue that way instead.

The room exited to a corridor which terminated with a wall on one side and a large double door on the other. Examination revealed the wall end contained a discrete door which acted as “secret” from the other side, the other side being the previously explored cellar area. The metal door was locked and trapped, severely zapping Tallus with lightning. The corridor beyond led to another such door, as well as a large metal hatch on the floor before it. Both the hatch and the other door were locked and trapped, but the trap pointed to the other side. Since the side they came through was a “simple” cellar, Acor concluded through his architectural knowledge that the area beyond must be some sort of secret, secure place which also didn’t want anything escaping from inside of it.

His suspicions were confirmed as beyond the second metal door there were two rooms with rows of prison cells. They were filled with corpses and skeletons, but in one of the rooms some of the “corpses” still seemed alive (barely moving) and a trio of demonically altered humanoids (such as were previously encountered when the red door was opened) was torturing them. Most of the party didn’t pay much attention to stealth so the trio attacked, but they were swiftly dispatched by Sir Barrister the minotaur knight’s halberd and Gugro the alchemist’s death cloud potion. Gugro examined their bodies and found some left-behind surgical instruments in them. The party eventually granted mercy to the barely living wretches and proceeded onward beyond the prison block.

But that is the tale of the latest session, which I will publish in the next post. A big reason for writing it up separately is trying to get a hang of a format in which I can write about the course of my games in a sustainable manner.

State of the games

My Hidden Suns campaign, which was the primary motivator for starting this blog, has ended. Not from a lack of interest or a TPK as has mostly been the case in my gaming career, but we actually played it until the end of its story. It started as a sandboxy Dungeon Fantasy in Space, but a month or so after I last wrote about it, the players lost interest in the sandbox without an overarching story so we sat together to see how we’d want to proceed. Not wanting to scrap the large amount of effort I invested in preparing the materials for the campaign, we decided to switch to the Dead Suns Starfinder adventure path from Paizo, which was the original adventure I intended to run before I caught the Dungeon Fantasy bug. It path started off rather well, but at about half of the third of six books the quality of the published adventure took a nosedive, resulting with me often coming up with scenarios which were more sensible than the ones published. We ended up compressing much of the second half of the campaign because the as originally written, it was often short circuited by smart play. Life being short, me wanting to run a lot of different stuff, and somewhat disappointed by Paizo’s materials, it was decided already before the adventure’s conclusion that we would be ending our time in the Starfinder universe once we play through the published story. And that we did last week, having replaced the final book with something completely different because the players of course did not stick with the script the authors intended. I am still a fan of taking published adventures for various systems and running them in GURPS, but an important thing I learned this time around is that you really have to read the entire campaign before committing to running it, lest the quality of its writing takes a bait and switch somewhere during the run. As it stands, I can’t recommend Dead Suns unless you’re prepared to replace large pieces of it.

After presenting my players with several new campaign ideas, we settled on visiting Star Wars next. It will however be my own alternate version of the setting, set in the Old Republic period approximately at the time of the SWTOR MMO. I hope to write more about it here soon.

My GURPS Dungeon Fantasy game, Lair of The Invincible Legion of Evil, which grew out after a oneshot, is still going strong. I intend to run it for a couple more months however, because I want to try a similar open game concept in another setting.

One other thing I have learned in the meantime is that I’m unfortunately not the kind of guy who can write detailed reports about his sessions. I tried a somewhat condensed approach as you can see in this post (it recaps the first 5 sessions, and we’ve just had our 34th!), but that didn’t work out either. I still want to write about my games, but it will either have to be in a very summarized format or something entirely else. We’ll see. One big reason why I’d like to do it is that both the players and myself would have a reminder of the most important things which happened and which were discovered during the game. I haven’t been taking proper GM notes for a looong time, and this could be a nice way to start doing it again.

Loot distribution in Lair of The Invincible Legion of Evil

Because of its open drop in / drop out format, Lair of the Invincible Legion of Evil requires a non-standard loot distribution system with some things abstracted in order to make it fair for all participating players. For the purposes of these rules, a “delve” is a single journey to and from the dungeon, beginning and ending in Caverntown. A single delve may last for multiple sessions, and different characters may be present on each of those sessions as part of the same party, their exchange between the sessions simply handwaived away. Loot is distributed within the scope of individual delves, with all characters participating in a delve for at least one session getting a portion of the proceeds. Characters who weren’t present for a specific delve do not get to take part in its loot distribution.

The basics

  • Will be tracked on a Google Sheet.
  • On each session, characters present for that session decide among themselves who gets to keep which item, among the items found during that session. Keeping useful items a character can’t reasonably use isn’t allowed (no hoarding).
  • All other items get thrown into the “pot” to be sold after the delve is completed.
  • All loot retrieved from the dungeon is converted into $. See below how the nominal $ value of items is determined.
  • Each character gets a take ($) in proportion to how many sessions of the delve they were present for. Total delve take is based on sale price of items which itself is a percentage of the nominal value adjusted for Wealth (see below).
  • Low-value items left in the pot can be directly kept by any character present for the delve.
  • More valuable items (magical ones, very high value nonmagical gear) from the pot get put up for auction (see below).
  • The sale price of any item directly kept by a character (during a session or from the pot) gets deduced from their take.
  • Caverntown gate tax (based on nominal worth of items) is applied to each character’s take in proportion to how many sessions of the delve they were present.
  • After this process each character must pay a single weekly Cost of Living (150$) unless they can avoid it (see below).

Determining the nominal value of items

  • For most loot except coins and completely off-the-rack items, knowing their value is not automatic.
  • For such items, a character present on the session may roll the appropriate skill when the item is found, but if no present characters have the appropriate skill, after the delve the GM will roll for the character with highest skill who participated in the delve.
  • On success, the item will be sold at the appropriate price. On a failure, it will be sold at a sub-par price determined by the GM (not by a lot on an ordinary failure, but very underpriced on a crit miss).
  • Each class of items requires a different skill, as per DF2 p. 14 or DFRPGE p. 74-79. The GM will tell you which skills to roll.

Adjusting the take for Wealth

  • Wealthy characters increase the whole take for the delve in proportion to their level of Wealth and how many sessions they attended.
  • A reaction roll is made for the delver with highest Wealth for each session, on 16 or more their Wealth effectively increases by 1 (up to Very Wealthy) for that session only for the purpose of the above calculation.
    • If noone has Wealth for a given session, roll for the person with the best reaction bonus.

Valuable item auctions

  • Starting price will be the sale price of the item as determined on the take sheet.
  • Bidding will be in increments set by the GM individually for each item (you can count on a minimum increment of 100$).
  • Auctions will last for about a week of real time after a delve’s last session. Items without bids end up being sold in Caverntown (this is alrady included in the takes above; winning an auction effectively means compensating other delvers for the portion of the take they would “lose” if the item wasn’t sold).
  • We’ll still have to see how exactly we’re gonna do this, options are in the game’s channel on the GURPS Discord server, or through Google Forms and Sheets (place bids though the form and see all placed bids on the sheet)

Avoiding the weekly Cost of Living

The following options are available:

  • A successful Urban Survival roll. Failure still avoids CoL but the character also starts their next delve with 1d HP injury. It can’t be healed by First Aid since it is considered that it has already been applied.
  • Rolling 14 or less if you have Clerical Investment. You must pay CoL on failure.
  • Serving a week in the Town Watch:
    • Roll 3d. On 3 or 18 the character starts their next delve with 2d HP of injury (~1% chance). On 4-5 and 16-17, with 1d HP (~8%), on 6-7 and 14-15 with 1 HP (~22%). As for Urban Survival, this can’t be healed by First Aid.

Using Survival (Underground) is not possible because you’d have to camp in the tunnels outside of Caverntown and would get eaten by monsters.

Lair of The Invincible Legion of Evil campaign prospectus

This is an update of the original campaign prospectus for my GURPS Dungeon Fantasy open game. It is no longer a limited series mini-campaign, but will instead go on for as long as there is interest.

  • Campaign Name: Lair of The Invincible Legion of Evil
  • GM: Myself
  • Start Date: ~ 2018-09-22
  • Genre/Ruleset: GURPS Dungeon Fantasy
  • Themes: Focus is planned to be equally on combat and dungeon exploration.
  • Tech Level: TL3 with some TL4 elements (Dungeon Fantasy)
  • Power Level: 275 points, awarding 1-3 CP per session
  • Realism Level (Grittily Realistic / Realistic / Cinematic / Over-the-Top): Cinematic
  • Medium/Technology: Text-only in Roll20. Characters should be submitted in GCS. Communication between sessions via the GURPS Discord server. Games will be announced in the #game-legion-of-evil channel, and I encourage you to join the “legion” group by typing ?rank legion in the Discord because I ping that group during announcements.
  • Campaign Synopsis: You’re a previously acquainted band of adventurers based out of Caverntown, a fortified underground settlement and hub for adventures in the surrounding dungeons and subterranean tunnel networks. The town is a cosmopolitan center where many kinds of folks mingle, focused around a service industry catering to adventurers.

    Recently, you’ve come into possession of directions leading to a lost dungeon complex. A group of powerful villains calling themselves The Invincible Legion of Evil (TM) constructed a complex consisting of multiple individual dungeons connected by caverns as a staging ground for their attacks against the Kingdom and the forces of Good. However, only half a dozen years after construction was complete and the complex fully staffed, internal bickering and a happenstance intervention from an adventuring party resulted in the villains either being destroyed or running into hiding, and their troops disbanding.

    That was several generations ago, and the location of the complex was since lost… until now. You have heard of this dungeon before, of the villains’ riches and magical items still left somewhere inside. When you noticed a crazed prospector rambling about finding the way to one of the supposed back entrances of the complex, it seemed too good an opportunity to pass up, even in case his info was wrong. You bought a map to the place from the guy, and set out on your journey.

  • Format: Open game with freely drop in/out play. No lasting commitment required, attend as often as you like or can. Characters can be switched in or out on a per session basis without a lot of fuss through blatant retcons, reinforcements however implausible, etc. Even if your character wasn’t present on every session, they are aware of what has passed as if they were there the wole time. Games take place a couple of times a month, each individually advertised about a week in advance. Attendance is on a first come, first serve basis with a maximum of 5 players per session. I’m also taking on last-minute players if unfilled slots remain.

  • Important Notes
    • Characters should be submitted at least several days before a session so I have time to approve them and request possible adjustments. In case we don’t manage to finalize your character in time for a session, you may choose between playing your character with the traits I objected to simply stripped out, or playing a pregen.
    • Players who join in the last minute without a preapproved character will be able to choose from a small roster of pregenerated characters.
    • I allow a generous degree of changing a character’s traits during the first couple of sessions as you get a better feel for them, especially if you were in a hurry to finish writing them up, as long as you don’t change the concept significantly. If you played a pregen for your first session, you may both modify the character drastically or replace them with a completely different one the next time, and carry over your earned CP and loot.
    • Shopping and character improvement are resolved via Discord between sessions.
    • Due to the freely drop in/out nature of the campaign, loot distribution will follow a model based on shares, with any kept items coming out of your share.
    • You will be able to return to town any time you like between sessions (unless you end a session locked up somewhere, but I don’t plan on causing that myself). That might not always be a good idea however, since alerting an organized force of bad guys without wiping them out will allow them to regroup and be better prepared for your next encounter.
  • Social Contracts
    • I do not support intra-party conflict of any kind besides reasonably roleplayed in-character disagreements. Don’t steal from party members. Don’t pull pranks on them unless you know the other player would like to engage with you in such roleplay. And definitively don’t do anything more serious than that. In the best of such cases I will flat out refuse your actions and ask you not to continue that course, or remove you from the game in the worst. The idea is for the the players collaborating to achieve a common goal and have a fun time doing it.
    • No solo acts. If you want to wander off and do your own thing without the rest of the party (except stuff like scouting ahead, doh), the result will simply be you missing out on playtime.
    • No rules lawyering. I am willing to hear rules disputes, especially since I haven’t run a GURPS game which isn’t radically house ruled for a long time, but in order to facilitate quick play I will not let such things turn into discussions and waste playtime.
  • Setting
    • General Info: The campaign takes place within the titular Lair of The Invincible Legion of Evil, a complex of dungeons connected by caverns and other interesting underground biomes. It is a (probably magically) hidden area only a couple of days away from Caverntown, a fortified underground settlement and hub for adventures in the surrounding dungeons and subterranean tunnel networks. The town is a cosmopolitan center where many kinds of folks mingle, focused around a service industry catering to adventurers.
    • Currency: GURPS $, keep it simple
    • Major Centers of Power
      • Caverntown
        • Ruler: The Mayor. Owes fealty to The King.
        • Population: ~50000, 3/4 of which taken up by humans, dwarves and gnomes in equal measure. The remaining 1/4 is “everybody else”, including a wide range of exotica.
        • Terrain: Cavern
        • Hygiene: Clean (public sewage & plumbing)
        • Mana: Normal
        • Languages: Common, Dwarven, Gnome, Halfling
        • Literacy: Mostly literate
  • GURPS Books Used
    • Basic Set
    • Dungeon Fantasy 1: Adventurers
    • Dungeon Fantasy 2: Dungeons
    • Dungeon Fantasy 3: The Next Level
    • Dungeon Fantasy 4: Sages
    • Dungeon Fantasy 7: Clerics
    • Dungeon Fantasy 11: Power Ups
      • Every single power up will need to be individually approved by the GM.
        I do not recommend to base your character concept on a power up or otherwise get emotionally invested prior to approval.
    • Dungeon Fantasy 12: Ninja
    • Dungeon Fantasy 14: Psi
      • Instead of essentially producing random encounters when a Psi fails their 6 or less roll after using their powers, they must instead roll on the Fright Check Table as if they failed their Fright Check by 5.
    • Dungeon Fantasy 19: Incantation Magic
      • Adept (Time) is not allowed
      • Please have all spells you intend to use calculated before the session and written up in a document. While calculating them in the “background” during the game should be fine, I will not wait for you to calculate a spell when an unexpected need for one presents itself. The game must go on!
    • Dungeon Fantasy Denizens: Barbarians
    • Dungeon Fantasy Setting: Caverntown
    • The Sorcerer from Pyramid #3-82.
      • Alternative Rituals from Sorcery p.7 may be used, but any time you would cast a spell for free its casting time is 2 seconds longer than normal
      • If you have more Sorcery Talent than level 5, it counts as 5 for the purposes of determining max damage.
      • You must have all spells you improvise written up ahead of time. I will not wait on you to write up an improvised spell in the middle of a game.
    • Low-Tech
    • Low-Tech Instant Armor (only hit locations from Basic Set, armor must cover all of a hit location but front-only is ok; only the armor tables, no optional armor rules)
    • Fantastic Dungeon Grappling, but you may also use the default GURPS grappling rules if you prefer. These are just better.
    • I’m willing to consider Dungeon Fantasy related stuff from other supplements if asked nicely, well in advance, under the condition that the material in question would not slow down play
    • If an individual piece of gear or an ability writeup or anything else exists in multiple sources (for example, there are armor tables in Basic, Low-Tech and DFRPG Adventurers), I generally allow whichever version is the most beneficial to the player. Ask me before using it though!
  • Optional Rules
    • Extra Effort in Combat, B357
    • New Options for Extra Effort in Combat, Martial Arts p.131
      • Heroic Charge only allows movement in a straight line towards the enemy
    • Dual-Weapon Attacks, B417
    • Last Wounds, B420
    • Random hit locations can’t intentionally be targeted
    • You may convert damage adds to dice if you wish, but it is not compulsory
    • Telegraphic Attack, Martial Arts, p.113
    • Quick-Shooting Bows, Martial Arts p.119
    • Tricky Shooting, Martial Arts p.121
    • Cross Parry, Martial Arts p.121
    • Defense While Grappling, Martial Arts p.121
    • Fencing Parries, Martial Arts p.122
    • Limiting Multiple Dodges, Martial Arts p.123
    • Parrying with Two-Handed Weapons, Martial Arts p.123
    • Multiple Blocks, Martial Arts p.123
    • Retreat Options, Martial Arts p.123
    • Rapid Strike, Martial Arts p.127
    • Slams, Tramples and Overruns, DFRPG Exploits p.40 – these are used instead of the GURPS rules
    • Evaluate gives +3 for first turn, no extra bonus for additional turns.
    • DFRPG prices for magic items are used, which means they always cost $20 per point of energy
  • Character Creation
    • Starting Points: 275
    • Disadvantage Limit: -50 plus -5 from quirks
    • Suggested Character Concepts: Appropriate for Dungeon Fantasy. You’re a band of adventurers seeking fame and fortune.
    • Profession Templates: Templates from listed Dungeon Fantasy books must be used. Smaller deviations from the templates are allowed for the first 250 points with GM approval. The extra 25 starting points may be invested in any traits appropriate to Dungeon Fantasy, including off-template except those exclusive to certain profession templates unless you fully bought the multiclass lens for that template. All of those 25 points should ideally be listed on the character sheet in a separate section to make character approval easier for me.
    • Racial Templates: All racial templates from Dungeon Fantasy 3 are potentially allowed with GM approval, except Ogre and Half-Ogre. Those are off limits. You may buy them using the discretionary template points and the 25 extra points.
    • Attributes and Secondary Characteristics: As per Dungeon Fantasy.
    • Social Traits:
      • Low/High TL: off limits
      • Status Levels: min 0, max 3
      • Rank: Only Honorary Rank
      • Wealth Levels: no min, max Very Wealthy
      • Starting Wealth: as per Dungeon Fantasy
      • Cultures: not relevant
      • Languages: as per Dungeon Fantasy
    • Advantages: As per Dungeon Fantasy.
    • Disadvantages: As per Dungeon Fantasy, but off-template disadvantages are allowed.
    • Allies/Contacts/Patrons/Enemies: off limits
    • Magic/Psionics: as per Dungeon Fantasy
    • Trading Points for Money: up to 5 points may be traded
  • Character Improvement
    • Spending points is allowed normally between sessions, except if a session break happens in the middle of a fight. In that case you’ll be able to spend points directly after the battle.
    • Learning off-template skills requires either of the following:
    • A party member present during the last session having the skill and passing a Teaching roll
    • Finding a teacher in town between sessions (who may ask for a tuition fee). A party member present during the last delve having both the skill in question and Teaching qualifies, no roll required.

Dungeon Fantasy campaign recap

I have finally committed myself to continue occasionally running the GURPS Dungeon Fantasy campaign I started as a limited-series back at the end of September. You’ll see several posts about it in the coming days, but for now, a summary of what has transpired so far (pretty much what I give to new players):

A brief “story” exposition

You’re a previously acquainted band of adventurers based out of Caverntown, a fortified underground settlement and hub for adventures in the surrounding dungeons and subterranean tunnel networks. The town is a cosmopolitan center where many kinds of folks mingle, focused around a service industry catering to adventurers.

Recently, you’ve come into possession of directions leading to a lost dungeon complex. A group of powerful villains calling themselves The Invincible Legion of Evil (TM) constructed a complex consisting of multiple individual dungeons connected by caverns as a staging ground for their attacks against the Kingdom and the forces of Good. However, only half a dozen years after construction was complete and the complex fully staffed, internal bickering and a happenstance intervention from an adventuring party resulted in the villains either being destroyed or running into hiding, and their troops disbanding.

That was several generations ago, and the location of the complex was since lost… until now. You have heard of this dungeon before, of the villains’ riches and magical items still left somewhere inside. When you noticed a crazed prospector rambling about finding the way to one of the supposed back entrances of the complex, it seemed too good an opportunity to pass up, even in case his info was wrong. You bought a map to the place from the guy, and set out on your journey.

For players who weren’t here the last time: we’ll just “reality warp” the whole thing and say that you guys were here all along instead of the characters who are now absent (least fuss that way)

Recap of previous sessions

Session 1

Date: 2018-09-22

Player Characters:
Felicia, dwarf druid (275 points)
Florentian, wood elf thief (275 points)
Rod Steele, human cleric of war (275 points)
Thundarr, minotaur barbarian (275 points)

You’ve followed the map you acquired through the tunnels around Caverntown, eventually reaching the dungeon after only one day and a bit of travel instead of two, thanks to your navigational and survival skills. The entrance was located in a small cavern which also contained a lake (this was, according to the info you got, one of the back entrances into this dungeon complex). You’ve pushed aside the massive door, avoided the trapped entryway, and found yourselves in the dungeon. Inside you discovered some kind of a water reservoir, but the way forward led to what appeared to be a hobgoblin storehouse, judging by the 3 hobgoblins guarding it. While planning how to deal with them, Thundarr lost his patience and went to the trapped entryway, bellowing at the top of his lungs, pretending to have fallen into the traps and luring the 3 hobgoblins. The rest of the group quickly prepared an ambush, and executed it flawlessly. The hobgoblins were dead in just a couple of seconds, and you tossed their bodies into the reservoir.

Session 2

Date: 2018-09-24

Player Characters:
Bhaz, lizardman barbarian (275 points)
Bramor Stonecutter, dwarf cleric (275 points)
Myrddin, wood elf mystic archer(275 points)
Thundarr, minotaur barbarian (278 points)

The storehouse contained various hobgoblin military, survival, camping and similar gear. You eventually continued through one of the corridors past it, reaching what appeared to be another storehouse, but completely dilapidated and unused for a long time. While looking for leftover treasure, you alarmed a nest of giant rats, and set the whole room on fire (the old shelves and crates were very flammable). You ran out of the room the way you came, shutting the door behind you. After a bit of a discussion on what to do next, you decided to proceed through the room after all, and exit through one of the doors on the other side. You rushed in, thankfully not wasting any time because you were starting to cough from all the smoke, and exited on the other side. There you found a tunnel leading further away. Following the tunnel, you found a relatively large, empty room. Choosing one of the two doors on its other side, Thundarr sprung a trap, but was uninjured and you proceeded further. In the next room, you killed a lone hobgoblin archer who was waiting in ambush for you. Following the way, you entered another big room, where a band of hobgoblins waited for you and a fight ensued. Half a dozen turns into the battle, a bunch of hell hounds joined it as well. Due to some good tactical decisions and a timely countering of a Darkness spell cast by a hobgoblin cleric by your own Sunlight spell, you defeated your foes without serious injuries on your side.

Session 3

Date: 2018-09-28

Player Characters:
Bramor Stonecutter, dwarf cleric (278 points)
Myrddin, wood elf mystic archer(278 points, GMPC’d)
Thundarr, minotaur barbarian (281 points)
Vaeril Yesthana, half-elf knight (275 points)

After the battle with the hobgoblins, you decided to retreat outside of the dungeon and rest for half an hour. The journey outside, the rest, and getting back to the site of the battle was uneventful. Instead of going in the direction where the hellhounds came from (west), you took the way north, and after following some winding corridors you found what appeared to be a refuse pile/toilet. Getting back to the battleground, you encountered yet another band of hobgoblins, and a second fight ensued. This time, their heavily armored leader was with them, along with a half-orc wizard who made some trouble for you with smokey and stinky clouds. The battle started of well, with you taking down a hobgoblin heavy and their archers slaughtering one of their frontliners, but during the second half their leader proved to be rather hard to take down and seriously injured several of you. Nevertheless, you were victorious. Exploring the area where this second group came from you found a hellhound pen / alchemy lab, another barracks, and the leader’s finely appointed chambers. In a corridor beyond, there was a heavy metal hatch on the floor. You looted the area, and took a short rest.

Session 4

Date: 2018-10-01

Player Characters:
Bramor Stonecutter, dwarf cleric (281 points, GMPC’d for healing between battles)
Kilrad, dragon-blooded knight (275 points)
Kruux, lizardman knight (275 points)
Myrddin, wood elf mystic archer(278 points)
Thundarr, minotaur barbarian (284 points)

After looting the hobgoblins, the group decided to take a look at the hatch beyond the leader’s quarters. It led into some caverns deeper below, and that’s where you went after demolishing the hatch so that it can’t be bolted from above (thus trapping you). Underneath were a set of natural cavernous tunnels, and you proceeded to explore them. This, of course, started by scaring a nest of bats, but luckily no other subterranean denizens were in the vicinity. Following the “left for loot!” strategy of exploration, you ended in a damp cave where a difficult battle against a large ooze ensued. It had even gotten backup in the form of a large, stinking grub, though that one was dispatched very quickly, unlike the ooze. Eventually you prevailed, but instead of destroying the creature it split in two and proceeded to retreat! Giving no quarter, you pressed the attack and reduced the two new oozes into puddles of dissolved matter. Thundarr also decided to take a look at the pool on one end of the cave. Even though the waters stung and burned, he managed to retrieve a couple shiny coins from its bottom. You rested a bit with Bramor healing your wounds.

Session 5

Date: 2018-10-01

Player Characters:

Kruux, lizardman knight (278 points)
Rod Steele, human cleric of war (278 points)
Rognir, dwarf scout (275 points)
Thundarr, minotaur barbarian (287 points)

While his companions were finishing their rest, Rognir the dwarven scout checked out the tunnels around the damp cave. The closest one led to a small cavern reeking of rot, coming from several animal and humanoid corpses in various stages of decomposition. Through his skill with tracking he deduced that this must have been the lair of the giant grub you slew. After examining the corpses, he returned to the rest of the group who were preparing to head on. In the tunnels beyond the grub lair you found more tracks, determining that one of the tunnels was an occasionally used underground “road”. There were also several relatively recent sets of tracks leading into a tunnel branching off from the “road”, so you decided to explore it. Several caverns down you encountered a mudbowl, but instead of trying another way around which seemed a bit narrow, you decided to brave the mud. It didn’t prove much trouble thanks to Thundarr leading the way and setting up a rope “ferry”. After startling another colony of bats and avoiding a suspicious webbed alcove, you encountered a cavern with a huge pit and a narrow walkway besides it. Rognir noticed something below, and skillfully scaled the jagged pit walls down without a scratch. He found the remains of a dwarf not as fortunate as him, although examination revealed he had wounds caused by blades or claws, not by sharp rocks. He took the fellow’s axe and the group continued on. There was a large lake in the next cavern, and Thundarr dove right in. The lakebed was covered in layers of bones! But even though the water was crystal clear, he found nothing of value among them. After taking a short rest to dry off against flaming weapons courtesy of Rod the cleric, you continued down the tunnels.