Sunday, March 24, 2013

Actual Play: Savage Tides Fogmire Part 2

I just got back from running the second Fogmire session of my DF:STAP game (here's the link to the first). This session was mostly a big brawl.

SPOILERS for Savage: Here There Be Monsters below

This session started where the last one ended: the delvers have opened a bunch of magically locked doors, and are staring down a corridor lined with monkey statues. Some Scout! and Thief! rolls later, and Blackjack the scout was convinced there are proximity traps on the statues, and Simon the swashbuckler-thief was convinced the hall was safe. He failed his roll against Overconfidence, and ther was a flurry of diplomacy and physical grapples to keep him from setting them off.

The proximity traps didn't go to the ceiling, so Blackjack activates hid Sailor Slippers (letting him walk on walls and ceilings) and Chi the elementalist cast levitate and floated past them. On the far side, Chi spent a lot of fatigue to effectively disarm the traps and everyone else walked down to the doors to the final shrine. No traps were found on the doors, everyone got ready, and Big Al kicked the door opens.

Inside, a pair of teleporting ape demon martial artists and their spirit naga wizard pal were torturing some captives, suspended thirty feet over a fire (it's at time like these I cop to the fact that my game is over-the-top gonzo). Knowledge checks were made, and Big Al shouted "the snake-woman is like a medusa! Don't look at her face!" to general scoffing.

Blackjack quickly learnt that Big Al did know something: looking at the naga triggers her gaze attack and he was inflicted with Pacifism: Reluctant Killer (Naga only). There was some whining about the power of the effect, but that's how Afflictions work in GURPS and I was unmoved. Honestly, it could have been worse: Blackjack narrowly missed gaining a Sense of Duty to the naga. He hit the naga with his arrows anyway, but she burnt some Destiny points to make her Dodge rolls. Everyone else advanced into the room. The naga activated her Delay spells, granting her Armor 5, Blur 5, Walk on Air, and Great Haste. The demons ready to attack.

A general melee ensued. Blackjack ran around on the walls, complaining all the time that he can't really do much against Homogeneous enemies with DR10 (true) or against people that he a -9 or more to hit. I continued to be unmoved. Sister Joan the saint starting smiting demons, only to find that one of the demons is wearing a cloak of Cosmic Fire Resistance +10. There was more whining, and then someone remembered that that Simon can actually pickpocket the cloak in combat (yes, there's a massive penalty, but he has Thief! points).

The lesser demon tried to teleport to kill Blackjack, but critically failed and ended up unsupported over the ceiling. Two rounds later, it landed and got murdered by Big Al (with ST22, Weapon Master, and an silver oversized flail, he was much less concerned about their DR). Blackjack ended up shooting the naga, killing it with meteoric iron arrows after it took out Chi with a 6d lightning bolt. The boss demon, without its cloak, got worn down by Sister Joan's smites after spending a couple of round trading Knight! and generic destiny points with Big Al.

With the monsters down, Sister Joan went to heal up Chi while the others rescued the captives. People were celebrating their victory and admiring Simon's fancy new cloak when they heard an ominous growl - and the Lemurian Golem, previously looking like a statue, began moving. Sadly, it was 5pm and we had places to go, so the session ended there.

This was a pretty good session. The delvers did really well, killing 3 highly abusive enemies that were often tailored against their specific strengths. Chi went down, and Sister Joan was hurt, but everyone else survived without wounds (though Luck and Destiny points had pretty much been exhausted). I don't think it's the kind of session that I want to run very often, but it was fun this time.

One thing I realized again is that I really need to play every weird monster at least twice before I get a feel for its best tactics. The bar-lgura where a lot more effective this time, since I remembered to use their teleport this time. It just makes me sad, since I tend to generate a lot of my own monsters and I don't often play them to their best potential on the first appearance, and there isn't always a second time.

Escapism versus Struggle

Some people play role-playing games for the struggle, and some people play it for the escapism. I'm much more the latter than the former, and I think most of my players are the same way. I don't think that one style is better than the other, but it is an aesthetic preference that most people on the table should share for maximum enjoyment. This was much more of a struggle session than an escapism session.

(Snide aside: I do have the same derision for the people who think they're proving their superiority by beating arbitrary imaginary fights that they do for me for playing in "wuss mode." Fair's fair. But that's not directed at people like Peter V. Dell'Orto, who seem to prefer a more struggle oriented style without casting aspersions on people who don't share that preference.)

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