GURPS Alternate Star Wars session 15

Summary

  • The guardian droid opened the battle by disabling Morr and Shen with a strobe grenade, but met an embarrassing end after it crippled its own leg through a critically failed defense and then critically failed a resistance roll not to get blinded by Joshua.
  • Investigating the tomb of Duke Borregar, Shen, Morr and Beast got separated from the others and trapped within. Nerve gas released by the trap critically injured Shen and corroded Morr’s and Beast’s armor seals, after which they got electrified by the floor. Shen managed to blow a hole in the door to escape just in time.
  • After recuperating, the party discovered a highly advanced and secure locking mechanism at the back of the tomb with a peculiar keyhole. They opted to search the tombs for the key before Shen attempted to bypass it.
  • Searching the whole area took about 10 hours, but in the tomb of Duke Vongyr the party found a signet ring that fitted the shape of the keyhole.
  • On their way back the party checked a tomb they skipped, and Beast got affected by some kind of sonic trap which caused him to go berserk and attack his companions. Luckily, Joshua was able to keep him at bay by using Force Push and Tariq by crippling his foot until he came to his senses.
  • The session took about twelve hours in-game.

Date: 2020-05-20

Player Characters (420 points):
789-4 (aka Beast), cyborg lasat telekinetic grappler
Hae Shen, kel dor tech-commando (NPC’d)
Joshua Wolfe, human Sorcerer of Tund
Morr Charasis, thisspiasian alchemical bioengineer/cyberneticist
Tariq Ordo, human mandalorian
Tarnem, chiss force duelist

NPCs:
Professor Flynn, human hired archaeologist

CP awarded: 2

The session started with a large guardian droid in the visage of a knight engaging the party. It fired a strobe grenade which stunned and blinded Shen and Morr, and then released a swarm of micromissiles at everyone except for Tariq, who was behind it. Beast telekinetically deflected the missiles headed for himself, Morr and Shen, Tarnem dodged, while Joshua failed at his dodge and drop but his force armor absorbed the blast. Beast and Tarnem moved to engage the droid in melee, Joshua refreshed his force armor and started getting up, and Tariq started locking his own missile onto the droid. The droid popped a smoke grenade between itself and Tariq, proceeded to spray everybody in front  with its assault cannon, and joined the melee with its sword and shield. It dodged a missile fired by Tariq after he got out of the smoke and severely injured Shen with the cannon. Tarnem jumped on top of Beast and somersaulted over the droid, attacking it from behind with rapid strikes. The droid critically failed one of its parries and crippled its own leg, and before it got to act it critically failed a resistance roll against Joshua’s attempt to blind it with the Force. The party had no trouble dealing with it then, and Tarnem could barely be persuaded into not hacking it up into pieces so there was something left to salvage.

Shen’s wounds, while severe, were not critical, and after some first aid she was able to continue. The party went to investigate the highly ornamented tomb to the north, and as Morr, Beast and Shen entered it, its blast door closed shut and separated them from the rest of the group. A toxic gas started rapidly filling the room, critically injuring Shen. She managed to stay conscious and frenetically proceeded to set up a breaching charge on the door. As she was doing that, the floor became electrified, but luckily didn’t make her injuries any worse and failed to significantly injure Beast or Morr. The gas, however, destroyed their armors’ seals. Tarnem managed to discern a weak point in the door and stuck his lightsaber into it, but then received a radio transmission from Shen to get back. She blew a hole in the door and Tariq reeled her in with his zipline just as she passed out, in time to prevent her from taking more damage from the electrified floor. Morr was not so lucky and got critically injured by the electricity, passing out as well, but Beast carried her outside. Joshua blocked the way by conjuring an atmosphere dome with the Force to prevent the gas from spreading, and it dissipated entirely after a couple minutes. He then put Shen and Morr into a healing trance after applying first aid, which cured their injuries completely.

After resting for about an hour Shen went carefully back in, managed to find the traps’ sensors and disarmed them. The party examined the tomb, which turned out to belong to a Duke Borregar, who according to the writings deciphered by Professor Flynn was credited for bringing the House out of its chaotic early years into its golden age. Morr instructed Beast to search it, and he found a locking mechanism on a large square pillar, covered in reliefs depicting the Duke’s exploits and extending out of the back wall. Taking a look at the mechanism, Shen determined it was highly advanced, very secure, and that she’d maybe be able to bypass it if given a lot of time. It had a peculiarly-shaped socket for a probable key, so the party decided to search the tomb for it before Shen attempted a bypass.

The search took many hours as the party decided to once again go through all of the areas they already visited and search them in greater detail, because the key was small and they would have likely missed the first time when they didn’t know what to look for. After not finding it, they proceeded to the previously unexplored corridors, and found another cemetery chamber. Two of the tombs connected to it were unremarkable, but in one of them, belonging to a Duke Vongyr, they found what they were looking for. The Duke’s statue included a ring which was not part of it, and the ring’s signet matched the shape of the locking mechanism’s socket perfectly.

On their way back they investigated another tomb, the last one remaining, for the sake of completeness. This turned out to be a bad decision, as some kind of a sonic trap put Beast into a berserk rage, attacking his companions. Luckily, Joshua managed to free Tariq and Tarnem from Beast’s grip by Force pushing him away, giving Tariq enough time to cripple Beast’s leg with his blaster. This, and further pushing away with the Force was enough to keep Beast at bay until he snapped out of it. Joshua put him in a healing trance to restore his leg and the group rested for a while.

GURPS Alternate Star Wars session 14

Summary

  • The party investigated the next “private” tomb, belonging to a Duke Zallow. It turned out the statues of the Duke and his guards were droids which activated when the group tried to remove his sword.
  • Even after a couple brain hits the droids could not critically injure Beast, and they were soon defeated.
  • The party looted Duke Zallow’s sword after resting.
  • The final tomb around the cemetery, belonging to a Dutchess Mivayne was explored, but nothing of immediate interest was found in it.
  • The group explored a corridor leading north from the cemetery hall, which itself was a smaller cemetery for the house’s retainers, leading to another large cemetery hall to the north-east.
  • One of the doors from this cemetery led to the tomb of a Dutchess Lyr Bo, where the party looted the Dutchess’ power fist without any trouble.
  • Approaching another door from the cemetery, apparently the resting place of the most highly esteemed noble encountered so far, caused a large droid to rise from the floor behind the party and attack them.
  • The whole session took about two hours of in-game time

Date: 2020-05-13

Player Characters (419 points):
789-4 (aka Beast), cyborg lasat telekinetic grappler
Hae Shen, kel dor tech-commando
Joshua Wolfe, human Sorcerer of Tund
Morr Charasis, thisspiasian alchemical bioengineer/cyberneticist
Tariq Ordo, human mandalorian
Tarnem, chiss force duelist

NPCs:
Professor Flynn, human hired archaeologist

CP awarded: 1

After Beast got his armor corroded last time and the party was convinced there were no hidden treasures left to find, they decided to check out the other “private” tombs around the cemetery. The entry into one directly opposite to Dutchess Crozyn’s looked the same, except without traps. Shen hacked the locking mechanism, and the party entered through the door into what looked like a depiction of a throneroom. There was a lifelike statue of an older, bearded man in highly ornate heavy armor leaning on a bastard sword standing in front of the throne, surrounded by similarly lifelike statues of many armored guards along the walls. Zooming in with their visors on the inscriptions above the throne, the party learned that the bearded man was Duke Zallow, another head of the House. Examining the room, Joshua noticed that the Duke’s sword was slightly imbued with the Force and not part of the statue, so Beast tried to remove it. However, the statue came to life and brandished the sword instead. It also turned on a force shield bracelet, along with two guard statues besides it who readied their flails. Half a dozen statues along the walls readied their pike/blaster rifle combination weapons as well.

The battle was engaged. Beast tanked while Tariq ate away at the guards’ armor with his flamethrower from in front of the tomb, Shen stuck to a corner and fired her blaster, and Morr and Tarnem sliced the guards in half. The highlight was Beast getting a nasty feint + deceptive attack combo into his corroded armor from the Duke, but it did not injure him significantly. After all-out attacking, one of the guards with flails and the Duke hit him in the skull, but that merely caused him to reel. And shortly after that, all of the guardians were defeated, turning out to have been droids. After resting and tending to their wounds for about an hour, the group took the Duke’s sword (further examination revealed it was a balanced cortosis weave dueling ornate (+2) superfine vibro bastard sword giving its wielder +1 to Leadership and Strategy) and continued on.

One of the tombs along the cemetery was caved in, so they went to the only remaining one. It depicted a throne room similar to that of Duke Zallow, but the occupants were different. A statue of a woman wearing a luxurious gown was sitting on the throne, and many statues of what appeared to be nobles and other courtiers were spread out across the room, concentrated in front of the throne. The inscription above the throne revealed that this was the tomb of Dutchess Mivayne, who ruled in a time of stability and economic prosperity. The tomb depicted her holding court.

Having found nothing interesting, the party left the Dutchess and opened the door leading to the north of the cemetery. Beyond was a wide corridor with no illumination and many graves along its sides. They were much less decorated than the ones in the cemetery, and a brief examination revealed they belonged to retainers of the House, mostly knights and high ranking officials. It turned eastwards, ending with another door. Beyond, there was another cemetery hall very similar to the previous one, except it was larger and had three other doors, one in the middle of each wall. The graves inside were more ornate, revealing upon inspection that they belonged to the highest echelons of the house.

Deciding to check the southern door first, the party discovered that a corridor beyond it branched in two, one side being caved in and the other leading to another private tomb. It too represented a throneroom, with a woman clad in exquisite silvery armor sitting on the throne, surrounded by a couple guards and apparently holding audience with several nobles. According to the inscriptions above the throne, she was Dutchess Lyr Bo, who in her time defended the House’s lands against a great onslaught and held firm. Inspection revealed that one of the Dutchess’ gauntlets was larger than the other and actually a real gauntlet and not a part of the statue, so the party removed it. It turned out to be a cortosis alloy power fist, having all the benefits of a superfine vibro weapon, granting the wearer 4 levels of Striking ST for purposes of punching with it and having a shock generator. The statue didn’t come to life when it was removed.

Returning to the cemetery hall, the party examined the northern door with their zoomed-in visors. It was decorated with inscriptions indicating that a noble more esteemed than any encountered so far was entombed behind it. Approaching it, they heard the sound of machinery behind them, and turned around just in time to witness a large droid rising up from the floor, causing a holographic disturbance in it as it arose. It blurted out an archaic but comprehensible “Intruders! Elimitate!” in a heavily robotic voice, and we ended the session with the cliffhanger.

GURPS Alternate Star Wars session 13

Summary

  • The party defeated the charric-equipped drones with Joshua suffering a major wound, but that didn’t prevent him from burning a path through the room with his Force abilities
  • Investigating the statues in the center of the “park” revealed they depicted high-ranking members of an unknown Great House from after the fall of Xim the Despot’s empire
  • A switch hidden among the statues disabled the grabby vines
  • Beyond the stone passage leading west from the “park” the party discovered a chamber serving as a cemetery, depicting early nighttime and containing many luxurious graves
  • Investigating the cemetery revealed the name of the Great House: Zuur
  • Shen disabled a trap in one of the corridors leading to individual tombs around the cemetery
  • The tomb represented the war room of Dutchess Crozyn, a ruler of the House
  • Beast looted the Dutchess’ heavy, exquisite charric pistol but got his armor corroded by a triggered trap
  • The whole session took about half an hour of in-game time

Date: 2020-05-06

Player Characters (418 points):
789-4 (aka Beast), cyborg lasat telekinetic grappler
Hae Shen, kel dor tech-commando
Joshua Wolfe, human Sorcerer of Tund
Morr Charasis, thisspiasian alchemical bioengineer/cyberneticist
Tariq Ordo, human mandalorian

NPCs:
Professor Flynn, human hired archaeologist

CP awarded: 1

We opened up after concluding the previous session in the middle of a fight against six flying sentry drones assisted by grabby vines in a large chamber decorated with synthetic plant life to resemble a verdant park.

Having gotten out of the treeline along the chamber’s walls with her lightfoil in hand, Shen spotted the vegetation ending where one of the two corridors opened up on the western “side” of the room. She beelined for the stone corridor, and once out of the vines’ reach, started taking aimed shots at the drones. Having gotten back on top of the entry platform via his autograpnel, Tariq started aiming at the drones as well. Joshua succeeded on improvising a ball lightning spell and started aiming with it, Morr continued chopping up vines around her and Beast attempted swinging toward a drone with his grapnel once more.

Shen landed the first hit on one of the drones. Smoke started pluming where her blaster hit, and the drone plummeted down to the ground. Upon impact, it exploded in a blast similar to that of a thermal detonator. Tariq was a bit less lucky in that he got hit by the drones and knocked down by the force of their charric guns, but avoided any of their stunning effects. In the end, Shen took down most drones with Tariq coming close behind.

Joshua got attacked by two drones before they were taken down, and had to waste his aim with ball lightning to defend. One of the shots hit him and was absorbed by his force armor, but knocked him down to the ground. There he was grabbed by a vine which started cutting into him, causing severe injury. Having previously hardcore improvised a spell, he was left without an active one and couldn’t switch to any because of not being able to concentrate while grappled. His cries for help were answered by Morr, who was able to make it to him and hack up the surrounding vines before it was too late.

Meanwhile, Beast swung towards a drone and missed it, but grabbed it during the reverse swing. After establishing some more control he ripped its gun out which caused the drone to explode. Beast managed to put some distance between the blast and glided down to the floor with his wings.

After receiving first aid, Joshua burned away the synthetic plantlife in a path from the entry platform to the cluster of statues in the center, as well as from there to the western passage where Shen was waiting. The group gathered around the statues to investigate them. Shen found a hidden switch which deactivated the grabby vines. This convinced Professor Flynn to join the group from the safety of the entrance tunnel. The statues themselves represented high ranking members of a Great House from the time after the collapse of Xim the Despot’s empire but the party couldn’t identify it because its heraldry didn’t match any of the Houses surviving to this day.  There was a plaque in front of the statues written in an early version of Galactic Basic so everyone could make out a couple words, but the Professor deciphered it fully as “From chaos we have created order, and brought prosperity to our people”. Having found nothing else of interest here, the group decided to check out the western stone corridor.

It wasn’t long, and ended in a security door. It wasn’t as thick as the trapped one leading into the entry chamber, so Beast cut a section out of it using his trophy lightsaber. Beyond there was another hall, somewhat smaller than the entry chamber. It too had an illuminating surface as its ceiling, this one depicting an early night sky. The room itself was a cemetery, containing numerous graves of various construction; stone, metal and synthetic materials. All of the graves were luxurious, with large, intricate headstones, statues and other decorations. Along the walls and between the graves synthetic trees and other plants were tastefully arranged, completing the ambient in stark contrast with the planet’s parched surface.

The party investigated the graves and found that they belonged to members of the Great House of various ranks, mostly major nobility but also some of minor nobility and gentry. The Professor was amazed by this find, and from the epitaphs and other inscriptions he was able to discern the name of the House: Zuur. Nobody in the group ever heard of it. There were five corridors (aside the one they entered through) leading out of the cemetery, and Joshua noticed something in one of them while exploring the area with a See Secrets spell active. The corridor seemed to be the entrance of a tomb belonging to a noble of very high rank, and on one of its walls there was a hidden panel. Shen carefully opened it, and found visual and chemical sensors behind it. She also found some small holes in the walls, and deduced that the sensors trigger a trap that shoots something at whoever passes through the corridor and matches certain criteria. She disabled the trap by disconnecting the sensors.

There was a keypad beside the door to the tomb; Shen cracked the locking mechanism it was connected to and opened the door. There was a single room beyond, a bit larger than 10 by 10 yards. It represented a war room. There was a large holotable in the center surrounded by lifelike statues of military officers. Various video screens, mock furniture and banners were along the walls and there were a couple statues of armed and armored guards as well. One of the officers was depicted much more vibrantly than the others, and her uniform also bore more ornate decorations. Inscriptions on a memorial wall indicated that it represented Dutchess Crozyn, ruler of the House in her time, known as the “Scourge of Ronnel”. Searching through the tomb, the party noticed that the Dutchess’ heavy, exquisitely made charric pistol was not actually a part of the statue but was instead a real weapon. Beast grabbed it, and after a few moments several party members noticed beeping and rolling sounds. Beast was not among them, and four hand-sized metallic balls rolled out from underneath the furniture and jumped at him, exploding and covering him in a corrosive chemical. A couple seconds thereafter, the same thing happened again, and Beast once more failed to notice them. Morr was able to stop one of the balls with her sword, but the rest of them found their mark. Beast was not injured, but his armor was noticeably corroded – DR reduced by 20. That’s where we stopped.

GURPS Alternate Star Wars session 12

Some of you may remember that I started this blog with session recaps from my games. I ceased publishing them because it took me too much time to write. After a while I resumed the practice for my Dungeon Fantasy campaign intending to write shorter recaps. I kinda failed in making them any shorter, but I brought the campaign to a close so I didn’t get to a point where I would have had to make further changes.

This time, the purpose is similar to the previous bout – to have these recaps primarily as a campaign log for myself and my players. My note taking has lately been abysmal and we’ve had to play bi-weekly instead of weekly, so we all forgot a lot of the details and it wasn’t easy recapping the news to a player who missed the last game.

We’ll see how this run will fare. I once again intended to write brief recaps, but as you’ll see below I was inspired. It took me about 45 minutes to write the recap, with an additional 30 or so minutes to write the rest of this post. That’s way, way more than I can afford on a weekly basis if I intend to prep for the game regularly as well as blog about other topics, both of which I value higher than writing detailed session reports. So expect shorter posts and other experiments with the format in the future.

Finally, excuse me if I don’t write any kind of exposition about the campaign at this time and go totally in medias res. For now, it shall have to suffice that it’s my personal take on the Star Wars universe set in roughly the time of The Old Republic MMO where the political situation is somewhat different, Force use is much more widespread, and the GURPS treatment is based on TL11 but the technology is substantially toned down to allow a more pulpy and cinematic experience.


Executive summary

  • The stone door behind the cleaned up cave-in was opened, revealing a stone corridor leading further.
  • A blast door terminated the corridor, surrounded by statues. It unleashed a lightning trap upon the party.
  • After dealing with the trap, Shen blew a hole in the door which revealed a large circular chamber on the other side.
  • The room was covered in plantlife which proved to be synthetic upon examination, illuminated in daylight provided by an emitter covering the whole ceiling. There was also a cluster of statues in the middle.
  • The party was ambushed by hovering, charric-equipped drones lowering themselves from the ceiling and vines forming from the grass grappling them from below.
  • We stopped in the middle of the battle as the party was regrouping and starting to try out different approaches from their disadvantaged position.
  • The whole session didn’t take longer than an hour of in-game time.

 

Date: 2020-04-29

Player Characters (417 points):
789-4 (aka Beast), cyborg lasat telekinetic grappler
Hae Shen, kel dor tech-commando
Joshua Wolfe, human Sorcerer of Tund
Morr Charasis, thisspiasian alchemical bioengineer/cyberneticist
Tariq Ordo, human mandalorian

NPCs:
Professor Flynn, human hired archaeologist

CP awarded: 1

Previously, the party cleaned out the caved in tunnel using their archaeological drill, revealing a massive stone door beyond the former cave-in. Professor Flynn scanned and photographed the couple heraldic markings on them, confirming that they belonged to a Great House from the time after the collapse of Xim the Despot’s empire. After Joshua couldn’t budge the door telekinetically from a safe distance, Beast tried slamming into them, also to no avail. He lost his temper, and started banging on them with his arms and body, eventually managing to budge them slightly in one direction. Having noticed that, he applied his strength to properly push them further in that direction, and eventually managed to push them all the way into the wall. Beyond, there was a roughly four yards wide, four yards tall corridor neatly carved out of the cavern stone, sloping downwards. After about 30 yards, it evened out.

The party walked down, with Shen at the point searching for traps. She didn’t find any, and as the group reached the bottom where the corridor evened out, they saw a door at its end some 20 yards further ahead. Beast ran ahead, not triggering any traps. The corridor widened a bit about 10 yards before the door, and the door was flanked by a line of six statues on each side along the walls. The statues looked made of stone, and depicted what appeared to be Great House knights in full battle attire styled in the era after Xim’s empire. They didn’t move or attack the party.

This door was four yards wide, similar to the previous one, but it was made of a smooth metal-like material. Beast and Tariq went to inspect it, and found two handles built into it, one on each side. They pulled them simultaneously. The door flashed in extremely bright light, blinding and stunning Tariq, and emitted an electrical discharge covering the area 3 yards in front of it. Beast dodged and dropped between the statues, getting out of the blast in time, but Tariq couldn’t because he just got blinded. Luckily, the discharge failed to penetrate his beskar armor. The door continued shining the bright light with its whole surface. As the party was figuring out what to do next, bolts of lightning started zapping from the door. Several hit Beast and Tariq, Shen got missed, while one hit Joshua. They failed their dodges so Beast got hurt lightly, Tariq severely enough to cause a major wound but not reeling while the one hitting Joshua got absorbed by his force armor. Lightning continued zapping them for two more rounds, but not to any worse effect. Joshua created a force wall at the point where the corridor widened, leaving only one yard open. Shen took full cover behind one of the statues.

As the lightning stopped zapping, the wall stopped glowing. Morr moved in to take a look at the door but didn’t find anything at first glance, and Tariq took position with Joshua behind the wall. As the group decided that Shen should look at the door more carefully without triggering it again, Beast drew his trophy lightsaber and stucked it into the door. It flashed and emitted the blast of lightning once more, injuring Morr before she could take cover between the statues. And so the previous scene repeated once more, with the door glowing and zapping the party with electricity. Luckily, they suffered no worse injuries this time around. After the door deactivated once more, Beast almost pulled one of the levers again before being talked out of it.

The party licked their wounds, performing first aid on Morr and Tariq while Shen started to construct a breaching charge. Once they patched themselves up Shen applied the charge to the door and detonated it. This produced a hole in it large enough for even Beast to pass through and disabled the trap mechanism, but didn’t demolish the door otherwise. There was daylight coming from the other side.

Passing through the hole, the party found themselves on a stone platform overlooking a circular chamber some 40 or so yards in diameter. The platform was on the south side of the chamber, no wider than the corridor and extended only for a couple of yards further. The floor of the chamber was 5 yards below the platform, covered with grass and scattered patches of trees, with a thick treeline extending for about 5 yards from the walls all the way around save a passage to the east and another to the west, both at roughly 90 degrees from the platform. The treeline was just a bit higher than the platform. The daylight came from the ceiling which was obviously one giant illuminating surface and not open sky, and there was a cluster of statues in the center of the chamber. They were not made of stone, but in “full color” instead, some 3 yards tall, depicting what looked like nobles in various attire ranging from evening gowns to uniforms and full armor. Tariq pulsed his ultrascanner, revealing that all of the plantlife was in fact synthetic and confirming that the ceiling was indeed a light-producing machine.

As the party entered the chamber, Shen and Tariq heard the telltale whirring noises of repulsor engines and noticed six SM -1 robotic drones hovering down from the ceiling. At the same time as the drones shot at the party with charric weapons, they were also grabbed by vines quickly formed from the grass.

In the ensuing battle Shen got stunned and knocked back into the treeline, Joshua retreated toward it while protecting himself with force armor, Tariq moved to exit the treeline into the grassy area, while Beast defended both himself and Morr from the vines and drones. Noone was significantly grappled. Lacking ranged weapons, Morr attempted to hack away at the vines. Beast threw a grenade at one of the drones but missed, and then tried to reel it in with his autograpnel but missed that shot as well. Joshua started concentrating on a lightning bolt but got interrupted by taking minor damage from one of the drones. On the bright side, he got knocked back deep enough into the treeline so the drones didn’t see him anymore. Tariq shot his autograpnel at the stone ledge in order to reposition. Shen eventually unstunned and went deeper into the treeline.

We ended the session mid-battle after Joshua made his hardcore improvisation roll for a ball lightning spell, Shen went toward one of the drones to exit the treeline with her lightfoil in hand, Tariq got stunned mid-flight but unstunned as the autograpnel reeled him in on top of the ledge, and Beast shot his grapnel at the ceiling in hopes of swinging at one of the drones but missed the intended spot so he can’t in fact swing toward any of the drones.

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.