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Tuesday, 20 June 2017

GURPS - Watery Grave - Session 5: The Battle of Raptor Shores

Session 5

Arlong - Fishman crossbow-enthusiast; Wrestling/Sai/Dual Crossbows - 130 points
Vils Mageblood - Human Mage/Swordsman; Magic/Shortsword - 140 points

The party returned to the dungeon with Dave, and continued on from the ogre's room. They eventually came to a cavern with some tents set up, and the walking corpses of the adventurers who'd presumably set them up. They dealt with them quickly and looted the cavern for some potions, and an Explosive Fireball scroll, and another black gem on a podium. There was a long and steep climb down to the East and another passageway to the North blocked off with rubble. They decided they'd have to do it eventually, so they returned to the other rubble-blocked passageway and Vils moved it away with Apportation. This led to the bottom of one of the tower's spiral staircases, blocked by an invisible force, and with 5 gem-shaped slots. They only had three so they headed back up to the tent room and dug the rubble there away.

After the debris had been cleared, they headed through to find themselves on a 50-foot-or-so high platform above a lake of goo, with a podium and two skeletons. Arlong shot at them while Dave charged them, throwing one into the goo and stamping on another one once Arlong had taken a leg out. They took the gem and headed back to the tent room. Seeing no way to get down, they decided they'd need to fetch Seam to cast Walk On Air for them. On the way back to the inn they explored the towers they hadn't already from the original complex, but found nothing but a few gold.

They fetched Seam and headed back to the dungeon, sounds of undead were audible from rooms they'd cleared out before, but they managed to avoid them. Seam Walked them down the drop, which led to two rooms, one full of goo, and another with a large circular hole in the ceiling, which opened up to the jungle. Arlong heard something on the surface and they all attempted to hide, they were however spotted by a lizardman-looking creature that peeked through the hole before leaving.

Seam Walked them up out of the hole, and he informed the party that the creature was a Raptorman (a venomous variant of the lizardmen that are common on the Southern mainland). Seam spoke to them, and said that they told him they had the last gem at their village, so the party reluctantly went with them. The village was made up of about 30 makeshift huts, and they were lead to the chief, who was adorned with bits of jewelry. Seam translated for the party. The gem was in the raptormen's sacred crypts, and to be granted entry, must prove their worth by either granting the tribe great riches, or by defeating their best warrior in combat. After offering a fair few items, and this being insufficient, Vils offered to duel their warrior in a fight to first blood. The chief accepted.

The tribe formed a circle to watch Vils and the warrior, who slightly larger than the other raptormen, about Arlong's size, and wielded a makeshift spear crafted from bits of wood and stone. After a few moments the raptorman lunged at Vils, who parried and sliced into its leg. It fell to the ground, the first useful result of Vils' fairly high shortsword skill. Vils healed the warrior and lifted him to his feet, and their passage to the crypts was deemed approved of by the gods. The chief ushered them in and warned that danger lay within. Seam informed the party he had to leave, and did.

The crypts were fairly intricate, and they encountered a few undead that they handled fairly easily, one of which was memorably shoved into a goo-pit. They also saw a dead raptorman that had been stabbed through the eyes into a wall with two bone-carved stakes. Fun. They left the majority of the loot out of respect for (or fear of retaliation from) the tribe. They finally found the gem, which was next to a large pile of coins with a rotted hand sticking out from it. Having dealt with this before, Arlong prepared to slice at the arm while Vils fetched the gem. To their surprise, nothing happened, but Arlong wanted the coins so he gave the hand a little poke to hurry it along. The corpse got to its feet, taking a decent mace-hit from Arlong in the process. The corpse had rotted into the coins, with gold sticking out of and melted into its flesh. It then proceeded to vomit molten gold at Arlong, who was lucky to recieve relatively little damage. He then crippled its leg and he, Vils, and Dave proceeded to beat it to death. Vils put a few armfuls of the coins into his pack, and also picked up a glowing green crystal, much like the one Seam had studied, before they headed out, and back into the other complex.

The forcefield dropped once the gems had been placed, and they proceeded up the staircase, Vils first, Dave last. They eventually emerged in a large, circular room. This room had goo dripping from the walls, three pots collecting the goo around the room, and a goo-filled coffin in the centre. A figure climbed out from the coffin. It appeared half-undead; its flesh had completely gone in places, and was totally intact in others. Its right arm was not there, instead a large sword carved from bone protruded from the joint. Vils called out to it, and it informed them of a few things. It was one of the 'Ancient Ones'; those that built these towers. It had a mission to stop all death, and it planned to achieve that through the undead powers of the goo, which he designed. Now that he had been awakened, all the undead that had been risen would march in the morning, to kill all, and raise them so that they might live forever. And that the party would be wise to leave if they did not wish to be first.

Vils pulled the Explosive Fireball scroll out of his pack and cast it as the half-lich (as that's what it was, although its classification wasn't the party's greatest concern right then) ran towards him. The half-lich swung his sword-arm at Vils' fireball-holding arm, and sliced the whole thing off. The fireball then hit the floor with the arm and exploded, heavily damaging Vils and knocking the lich over. Arlong and Dave jumped over Vils and proceeded to violently beat the lich for a few seconds with mace and broadsword respectively. Arlong managed to pull off a very impressive critical failure, and threw his mace behind him, and down the enormous staircase. He drew his sai knives as the lich got to its feet. Dave remembered the crystal that Vils had picked up earlier and went to get it from Vils' pack in the hope it would do something (I'd given Vils' player control of Dave in Vils' absence from consciousness). The enraged lich swung at Arlong, who caught it with one of his sai knives, and proceeded to stab the living hell out of the defenceless lich with the other. The lich tried to break free, but failed. So it then attempted to summon a fireball with its free hand, so Arlong placed his free sai through it, which foiled the attempt. Eventually, the lich went for the old-fashioned method and kicked Arlong in the groin. This proved to be terribly effective, and Arlong fell to the floor. Now having a free shot, Dave launched the crystal at the lich with amazing precision. It did nothing. The somewhat confused lich began to move back to its coffin. Dave rushed forwards and Arlong got to his feet. They both then beat on the lich until it hit the literal bottom-end threshold for death in two consecutive groin shots from Arlong and Dave, which was found to be rather amusing. With its final breath, the lich said, "They march... in the morning...".
Arlong picked up Vils and his arm, grabbed the stuff they'd dropped, and promptly ran back to the inn in terror of the recently-prophesied army.

The party dropped Vils off with a healer to recover, and went around informing everyone of the threat. Due to his reasonable strategy skill, the fact most of the warriors on the island were not used to large-scale conflict, and that all the ships had fled without them, Arlong was put in charge of the forces. There were about 100 men overall, Arlong set up a few skirmishing squads and archers, and left the rest in formation with him at the front. Vils had frequently suggested they flee, but Arlong insisted on staying to help the adventurers trapped on the island.

As the first light crept over the jungle, they were visible. 1000 skeletons marched towards the beach. Vils, again, used this information to try and justify escape, but Arlong insisted they had no leader anymore, and these were seasoned adventurers, fighting a mass of mindless bones. Arlong said they would win, and stayed to fight. Arlong was leading from the front, while Vils was standing behind the front line to heal and cast Turn Zombie. The men had set up some defensive spikes, and Arlong said to stay behind those as the skeletons charged. The undead were smashed upon the men's line of defence. Within half an hour, over half the skeletons lay shattered, with only a few of the men being dropped. Arlong told the men to hold their ground and within the hour, all the undead lay destroyed.

Celebrations rocked the beach, Arlong was granted the title 'Headcrusher' for a particularly impressive piledriver he pulled off during the battle. They were given a share of the spoils once the ships returned, and they sailed back to the mainland, where they had Vils' arm reattached, and they were hailed as heroes.

Arlong was very much the MVP of this session, considering the battle and Vils' absence from the lich fight. I'll make sure to reward Arlong's player with recognition in later games (I gave him Reputation for his victory). Interestingly, the players never investigated the eagles (which had left while they were underground).

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