Xórin, fox-man scout
Mayhem, short barbarian
Villûdē, guide who held the horses
They quickly got the horses inside and shut the door, lest the evil turkeys kill the horses. From there, they started down the stairs. Kim went first, and when she stepped on a flagstone at the bottom, a strange music played. Loudly.
Kim was also blind, so Caleb told everyone else to jump off the stairs lest they step on it and go blind too. They took stock of the room, and found they were in the middle of a good-sized room. Instead of normal corners, the walls went slantwise, making an irregular octagon. There were four ways out: one to their west, one to their south, and two to their east. Kim’s sight came back after a few minutes, so they started west.
After a short flight of stairs down, they found themselves in a room with scorch marks. There had been a four-poster bed, but only some of the posts were left, the rest gone, likely having gone up in flames. On the south wall were scorched bookshelves, with no hint of the books that had been on them.
They heard a rustling in the wreck of the bed. Ash went to check it out, and a carpet viper struck at him. It missed his legs, and Ash cut off its head. Caleb tried to get some poison out of its fangs but couldn’t, while Mayhem took its body for later eating.
On the south end of the room, Kim saw that there was a door in the southwest corner. Caleb came near and felt its magic aura, but nobody could find a keyhole or other way of triggering it. Caleb thought it had a command word, but, being Caleb, blasted it with an Acid Jet. Nothing. Kim yelled out, “Open sezme!” but nothing happened other than Kim sounding dumb.
They walked back to first room, and found there was a squad of six skeletons. It was a short fight, with Xórin falling down and trying to kick a skeleton while on the ground but missing, Kim dropping her sword, and Caleb, after lobbing a Fireball, trying a new idea: Flaming Weapon on Kim’s dagger. Kim didn’t hit, however, and wound up picking up her sword. While she did so, she saw the words “Undying fame” on one of the skeletons’ blades. As she did so, five big centipedes came, but after Xórin killed two with his two strikes, the others fled.
They sat down for a rest. However, after only a few minutes, four skeletons came from the northern-most of the two eastern hallways. Caleb mostly held his torch with Continual Light, not wanting to waste his energy, while the gang quickly took care of the skeletons, with only Kim getting hurt. From there, they rested to let Caleb be at full strength, and then went down the south hallway. It did nothing but curl around and come back to the room with the stairs as the hallway in the southern of the two east wall hallways.
Though they thought that “undying fame” might open the door in the scorched room, they chose to go down the one hallway they hadn’t checked out—the northern one on the east wall. After a few turns, they came to a room, with eleven shady beings—skeletons, with one in bandages.
They held the breech as the hallway became room lest the skeletons put them in the middle, and two skeletons, one with a broadsword (the others had shortswords), came up to strike Kim and Xórin. After some misses, Ash and Mayhem moved to the sides, and Caleb, seeing the bandages on the one, started casting Flaming Weapon on Ash’s sword. It was a good move, as more skeletons came up to fight, the one with the bandages came into full sight—a mummy. This frightened Kim into doing nothing.
The gang held its ground, and the mummy moved up to strike Xórin after he felled a skeleton. Caleb cast Flaming Weapon on Xórin’s swords, and Ash tried to hit the mummy. Instead, he dropped his sword. A skeleton hit Mayhem, but he held his cool, and the mummy, trying to end Xórin’s life, dropped his sword. Xórin, for his blow, hit the mummy, but couldn’t get through the mummy’s armor, Caleb started casting Flaming Weapon on Xórin’s other sword. Kôštē, the cleric, moved up to Kim. Mayhem took out a skeleton, while Ash reached to grab his sword.
The mummy lunged for the knight in shining armor and tried to bite Ash. Ash’s armor stopped him, but he lost his grip on his shield. The cleric moved Kim out of the way while Ash tried to do the same to the mummy, but couldn’t. Mayhem’s axe nicked Mayhem’s leg. Caleb got off Flaming Weapon, lighting up Xórin’s second sword.
And the mishaps kept going, with a skeleton, trying to hit Ash, hitting the mummy in the back. The mummy, realizing that it couldn’t get through Ash’s armor, tried to bite Ash’s face, but missed. It was near enough that its spit would have dripped onto Ash’s face if it still were alive and had spit. Xórin, seeing the opening, stepped behind the mummy and put both hit swords into its back. The mummy dropped, and a voice came into Xórin’s head, saying, “Thank you. Your reward is behind the painting of the blonde woman in the hall.” Xórin, of course, had no idea what that meant.
Kim, after the cleric’s jostling, snapped back to the world. Ash got his sword and shield ready, and Kôštē, seeing him hurt, moved up to Xórin. The skeletons let out a flurry of blows, but only hurt Mayhem, who dropped his axe trying to ward off the blow. Mayhem gritted his teeth and punched the skeleton, doing nothing to it. Kim got back into the fight, Ash smacked a skeleton, and Xórin tried to take out a skeleton, not bothering to defend. He missed, and Kôštē got up to Xórin cast Major Healing on him. This was good, as a skeleton hit Xórin right after that.
Xórin again went all out, ignoring the pain, and tried to take out a skeleton, but dropped his sword. Mayhem grabbed his axe, while Kôštē cast Minor Healing on Xórin. Xórin came back and took out a skeleton, while Kim’s sword broke. Mayhem and Ash both hit but couldn’t take down skeletons. A skeleton stepped up and smacked Xórin, while another hurt Kim to where she was dizzy and seeing stars. She staggered, but stayed up.
Mayhem took down a skeleton, while Caleb and Kôštē handled healing—Caleb gave Xórin a Minor Healing potion while Kôštē cast Major Healing on Kim. Mayhem and Ash took down the last two.
Roman’s nephew Joseph was supposed to join us with a new character (a holy warrior), but slept in. Roman, who was supposed to bring a new character (a war cleric), instead ran Caleb, while I handled Mayhem. With the NPCs, I often let the players direct what they do in a fight as much as reasonable. I don’t want to be handling NPCs and leaving the players on the sidelines.
So, how do you handle gaming after your gaming buddy of 15 years died? Surprisingly quickly. As a result of being in the nursing home, our games went truly slowly. We had to deal with Chris’s meal times and sometimes wound dressings, so it took awhile to even start games. One of the front desk staff was a busybody and at one point made us move for no good reason (an administrator who saw it told us as much), there were the aging zombies who had never seen a roleplaying game, and the usual friendly chatter on top of all that. I wouldn’t have traded those last months of Chris gaming for a fast game, but I did like things flowing fast again.
For some reason, I had critical successes on parries become automatic hits against the original attacker. While this wasn’t according to Hoyle (and I had to explain that phrase to Roman for some reason during the game, incidentally; obviously, Roman’s father didn’t have Hoyle’s book of card games in his house!), it did speed things up a bit since the parry often took down a skeleton. No, I shan’t do it again, as it’s a bit much; I wasn’t thinking.
Two other matters for the players here, that happened at the end but I didn’t resolve as we were leaving:
- Everyone will lose FP according to their encumbrance level. Yes, this means the cleric and Caleb will lose 2 FP, which will make everyone rest even more.
- Caleb can see that both the mummy’s and the skeleton’s broadsword are magical. No, he doesn’t have Analyze Magic so he can’t be more specific.
A last note on Mayhem: running him made me realize just how well optimized Chris made him. Chris originally made him many years ago, for GURPS Third Edition. We updated him to GURPS Fourth Edition and tweaked things to fit the point level, which at first weakened him. But, now, the guy swings his SM -1 greataxe and parries as, for him, it isn’t unbalanced, and he’s at no encumbrance (ST 15, and armor sized for SM -1). He doesn’t have the reach a bigger barbarian would have, but he’s a tough little bugger.
Two days after the session, Roman and I went to Chris’s funeral. Roman, who also went to the visitation (I had to get stuff done at work before the funeral, and am not one for open caskets), put one of his minis in the casket with Chris, and I got to be a pallbearer at the cemetery. At the funeral, we may have picked up another player. Life works in strange ways.