Friday, December 21, 2007

Fate: Dark and Stormy report #12

It was our last day of work before Christ's Mass vacation, and it was a Friday (roleplaying day), so we filed into the conference room for one last session before the new year.

Last session, the party had finally defeated the monstrous spider after a long and tense battle. Today, they began by resting up. Leo and Elros had sustained some minor injuries, which Rwake was determined to heal. Pulling a bowl from his hide-sewn travel bag, Rwake began cooking some herbs in the dead spider's lair. Purple smoke filled the room and the other party members cringed as Rwake rolled up wads of spider web silk, coating them with his pungent herbal concoction. He then placed one makeshift web-bandage on Leo's wounded arm, and one on Elros' side. Rwake also took time to investigate the spider's dead body to see if he could locate a storage cavity for the spider's venom. Succeeding with +3 on his Anatomical Knowledge roll, he found the venom and soaked it up with more wads of spider silk. He then coated the poison balls with leaves from his bag and stashed them away.

Leo was eager to leave the room, so they agreed to go back to the central chamber where they rain was dripping through a hole in the ceiling. Here, they pulled out food and chomped while regaining their strength. Rwake pulled out a flattened banana-potato vegetable thing and offered some to the others, which they declined. Elros, weirded out by Rwake's food, shared some bread and dried meat with the tall jungle dweller. Rwake in turn handed Elros a handful of small nuts, which Elros accepted and found that he actually enjoyed. Elros listened in the quiet for signs of the storm dying, but thunder could still be heard above them.

After recuperating for a spell (and erasing all stress boxes - no one had any consequences), the party headed for the last unexplored corridor, just off the entry chamber. Rwake headed stealthily down the passage . . . then rolled a -3. Suddenly he managed to dislodge a large stone with one hand on the wall. The stone tumbled down, causing a loud thud and the hissing sound of many falling pebbles, kicking dust up all around them. Waiting quietly, they heard nothing in response. So Rwake, throwing caution to the wind, lit up a torch and proceeded into the room at the end of the hall. On the far wall of the room, they see an upright sarcophagus with a strange winged head.

The head of the sarcophagus began moving, in an instant revealing long tentacles and flying toward Rwake, swinging a tentacle at him. Below, the party enters the last room of Hightower Tor:

The creature was recognized by Leo (using his Academics roll of +2) to be a gronuluk. This was fun for me because the gronuluk was a creature I had created long ago, when drawing creatures for an RPG game I was creating for fun. So this was my first chance to actually use the gronuluk for something.

Rwake rolled a +3, dodging and rolling to avoid the gronuluk's suction-cup-covered tentacle. Rwake then loaded his blowgun (-1 to his action), firing a dart at the hovering creature, rolling a +4. The gronuluk rolled a +5 for flying and barely dodged the dart as it whisped by.

Elros, ready to deal some damage, drew his sword (-1 to his action, -1 for the spin earned on the gronuluk's defense) and cast some energy magic, hoping to squash the gronuluk to the floor. He rolled a +3, which the gronuluk defended against with a Flying roll of +4, resisting the force of Elros' spell. You can see Elros below, casting his energy magic, Leo at his side:

Meanwhile, Leo had pulled out a dirk, launching it at the gronuluk's open mouth. Leo rolled a +4 against the gronuluk's defense of +0. The gronuluk attempted to shrink itself, but was caught too quickly by Leo's dirk, dealing 4 stress. The gronuluk returned to its full size and shook the dirk from its mouth, swinging a tentacle now at Leo, attempting to grab him. It achieved a +1 on its roll, which Leo dodged with a +3. He had been ready for the gronuluk's retaliation and made his move flawlessly.

Rwake sprang back into action, blasting another dart at the floating creature, rolling a total of +4. The gronuluk, rolling a +5 on its Hide skill, shrunk quickly to the size of a small ball, tentacles wrapped around itself, still hovering. The dart flew past, doing no damage.

Elros, fed up with the size-shifting gronuluk leaped forward once more, slashing out with his sword. Both Elros and the gronuluk rolled a +1. Elros spent a fate point to gain +1, finally dealing 1 stress to the creature.

Leo followed Elros' attack by drawing and flinging two knives at the gronuluk's face. Again, both rolled +1s. The knives swept by the gronuluk as it dodged with its mad flying skillz.

At this point, the gameplay was beginning to feel stale. Long ago, they had defeated the "boss" of the dungeon - the dagwir zombie. Then, they faced an even tougher foe in the spider's lair. Now they were rolling poorly against this goofy little floating octopus creature. We were out of time, and weren't going to meet again until January. I had to think quick. Here is what followed:

Me: Suddenly, the gronuluk starts to shift and shrink again. It begins glowing, blue, then purple, lowering to the ground. It slowly floats down, still glowing, until it touches the ground, forming a new shape. When the glow dies down, you see a Lufan man standing before you. He coughs for a minute, then says, "Thank you! You have freed me! I was trapped in the body of that gronuluk by a magic spell and you freed me by attacking the gronuluk spell!"

[shock and laughter from the players]

"What year is it? I've been trapped here for, I don't know how long..."

J (as Leo): "How did you get like that?"

Me: "I remember I was exploring the tor for treasure. I came into this room and a wizard of some sort was there. He cast a spell on me and I've been a gronuluk ever since, mindlessly hiding out in the head of that sarcophagus. Allow me to introduce myself, my name is Renk."

[more laughter and joking]

"Are you coming or leaving? Can I go with you? Are you able to heal me? I'm hurt."

[The party takes to treating his wounds from the short battle.]

AC (as Elros): "Yeah, we're leaving as soon as this storm let's up."

Me: As you are treating Renk's wounds and chatting, you hear the thunder stop. There is no more pounding of hail. Everything becomes quiet. The storm has moved on. J, tell us how you convince the others to join you as you head for our next adventure. (I had told J before hand what was coming up and that he would need to convince these guys to come with him.)

J (as Leo): "Well, I'm heading for the city of Gryborn to attend the Craftsmen's Convention. It only happens every few years. You're welcome to come with me."

[Elros and Rwake agree]

Me (as Renk): "Do you mind if I come with you? I need to get of here. I have no idea how long I've been trapped here."

[They accept his company. He gives them a ring from his hand and tells them it's a Translator's Ring. It allows the wearer to understand the languages of Mrug, Noggit, and Dagwir. They comment on how that would have been useful earlier. They exit through the main entrance to the tor and behold hail piled at the base of the hills. Leo's cart is slightly damaged and filled with hail as well.]

So that ended our little learning adventure. We all gained a better understanding of the new Fate 3 mechanics, as written in SotC. Next year, we will take a break from this campaign to play a SotC adventure using the recent released Spirit of the Season. AC will be GMing. When that is done, we plan to continue this campaign as the party heads northeast to the city of Gryborn for the Craftsmen's Convention.

For fun, here's a scan of my original sketch of a gronuluk:

And here are the special item cards I created. When the PCs found these treasures, I handed the players these cards. They are a combination of the original adventure's treasures with my own mods. The sketch art is my own. The drawings were scanned, then modded in Photoshop to create the cards.

There was much joking about this one, no one wanting to wear it for "style" reasons.

May you enjoy much good roleplaying and gaming of all other sorts during the Christmas season. Until January, it's going to be mostly board gaming posts, but keep your eyes out because I plan to write a little something about a recent RPG system discovery. Thanks for reading!

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