Sunday, April 7, 2013

Actual Play: Calvinball in the Shrine of Duplicity

Savage Tides: Fogmire Part 3

Today's game picked up immediately from where last week's game left off: the delvers are in an evil shrine, wounded after killing a bunch of demons, and huge statue-golem is animating and coming to kill them.

Plans Change

I'm adapting the Savage Tides Adventure Path for these sessions, and I'd already done the prep work and monster conversions. In the adventure as written, the golem wakes up a few rounds after the delvers kill the demons and attacks. It's a big pile of hit points, DR, and magical immunity and I'm sure it's a lot of fun in D&D. In GURPS, it's a bit less overwhelming, and I always figured it was going to be a bit boring after the "oh no, emergency!" surprise ended. The swashbuckler, the saint, and the scout would hardly be able to hurt it, and so it would really just be a solo combat with the knight.

Then as I was reviewing my notes this morning, I had an inspiration: put some cursed artifacts on the altar behind the golem, and have the golem continue to revive every time it went down as long as the artifacts where in the shrine. The delvers would have to fetch the artifacts, dodge the golem while moving them out of the room, taking damage all the time, and then kill the golem again. It sounded a lot more fun.

Slow Start

The play of the game started slow. For some reason, the delvers decided to evacuate the wounded before fighting the golem. There was about 5 rounds of people being picked up and carried around while everyone argued whether it was a good idea to fight the golem in the shrine or in the hallway. Finally the half-ogre knight threw the cabin boy into the wall (he was aiming for the door but missed), drew his flail, and began wailing on the golem.

The golem had DR10 and 45 HP. Big Al decided to go for the leg, on the general principle that things that have fallen over are easier to fight. Without being specific, I warned them that the golem was huge, and it would be really hard to cripple its leg in a single hit, or even in multiple hits. So on his first shot, Big Al rolled 23 damage (on 4d), added his +12 bonus damage from Weapon Master, and totally crippled the monster. A couple more rounds of beat down and the golem was out.


Then the chaos started. The artifacts wreathed themselves and the golem in an impenetrable field of evil light, healing the golem in the process. The saint recognized what was going on, and alerted the other delvers that as long as the artifacts where in the shrine, the golem would heal and get stronger every time in went down.

The golem rose up and engaged the knight while the scout and the swashbuckler ran for the altar. The swashbuckler picked up a cursed knife (taking 1d-3 irresistible toxic damage every second) and starting running for the door, followed by the golem. The saint said a prayer and pulled the other two artifacts off the altar, one of them landing near the knight. Who proceeded to play croquet or maybe jai alai with it, giving it a massive wallop with his flail.

Over the next several rounds, the golem and the delvers played a really weird game of rugby or field hockey, kicking the various artifacts across the floor of the shrine, picking them up and tossing them to each other, and dodging the deadly golem. Everyone really got into the experience, with the swashbuckler gleefully dodging between the golem's legs to retrieve an evil skull and the scout running up and down the walls while impaling artifacts on his arrows and shooting them away. It was crazy fun.

Finally, the delvers got all the artifacts in the hall, the golem fell over, and we wrapped that sequence of play with the assumption that Big Al could just beat the golem to death again.

Elated and amused, the delvers looted the place, sanctified the shrine, and left.

The Colony of Farshore

The rest of the session was mostly role-playing. The delvers walked south to the Great Wall of Tanaroa, got through the gate, and sold an annoying NPC's horse to the natives for passage to the colony of Farshore. Finally! Back to civilization, of sorts.

The delvers were annoyed to discover that their ship still hadn't made it around the island after dropping them off a week earlier. They were more annoyed when they discovered that thanks to the gold trade with the natives, inflation was rampant in Farshore and meals at the tavern were costing 80 times normal. They were somewhat relieved when they discovered that local pirates were attacking the fishing fleet, and that was artificially raising the price of food even more - there was an obvious solution for delvers. All that pretty much went as I had anticipated and planned.

I introduced the morally ambiguous antagonist of the Farshore social scene, Lord Manthalay Meravanchi, at the very end of the session. He's an obvious villain in the adventure as written, the rival of the delvers' long-standing patron. I wanted the question of whom to support to at least be a bit tricky, so I introduced him as a devout follower of the same religion as Daughter Joan, the saint. He fawned over her, praising her wisdom and thanking the gods for sending her to his island, and then commiserated with the other delvers about having to travel with his annoying nephew (aforementioned NPC). As I had hoped, the delvers were charmed, though some of Manthalay's more comments about how to deal with the natives made them a little squeamish.

What Next?

That's the end of Here There Be Monsters, and a good pausing point in the campaign. I'll be writing some Changing Tide articles about my preparation for Tides of Dread, the next adventure, but I won't be in a hurry. One of the other players will take over running Dungeon World for a while, and that should take us through April and mid-May.


  1. Great play report, thanks for posting! I like how you altered the fight with the golem, that really allowed the fight to turn into something non-standard. and i love how you segue into the next part: "The rest of the session was mostly role-playing." that made me laugh for some reason. I realize that your game is a Dungeon Fantasy style game so the focus is often on combat. It just tickled me for some reason.

  2. The combination of a DF game and a Pathfinder adventure path really does tend to smash the role-playing opportunities. It's not just combat, actually, since I'm the only one who really likes GURPS combat in and for itself. It's just there's been a lot of combat and puzzle-solving recently and a lot less talking to people.

    Tides of Dread has some opportunities for people to goof off, relax, and socialize, and I hope we'll take advantage of that.

  3. That's a totally kickass session.


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