Sunday, June 22, 2014

Game log for 22 June 2014

Cast of characters:

Yémos, human male cleric of Dōsaútōr, goddess of magic (Eric)
Anêr, human male swashbuckler (Eric, NPC)
Mayhem, short human male barbarian do the Dragon Claw Clan (Chris)
Caleb, human male wizard (Chris, NPC)

18 Žnēâns 2852, deep in the Eldalîvā Woods (2418)

The group made camp and a lean-to, and passed the night smoothly. The next morning, the day was pleasant, though Mayhem felt crummy that day anyways (missed a daily HT roll). They didn't make good headway through the woods, though much of that was from the density of the trees. They needed to forage for food, since Caleb's rations were out. Yémos got some nuts and berries, and Mayhem and Caleb got a few little rabbits. Luckily, nothing struck them through the day or through the night, in spite of their badly-made lean-to.

The next day was more of the same: a nice spring day, wandering south through thick woods, while Mayhem and Caleb had some bug bites while sleeping. They ate their small game and berries, then made camp and went to bed.

Between midnight and daybreak that night, however, Mayhem spotted a being walking towards their camp. He roused Anêr, then tried to sneak up on her. She turned and pointed at Mayhem with her spear. She asked him who he was, and he said he was Mayhem.

"The Mayhem?"

She was none other than Alligên, a woman of Mayhem's Dragon Claw Clan. She was wiry and her face was narrow, her dark brown skin was pockmarked and she had braided her brown hair and dyed it green. The two were far kin, Mayhem thought a third cousin or something.

After chatting a bit about bygone days, she got to asking why he was in the woods with the "townies," who had woken and come towards them. Mayhem told her that they were looking for a druid and some fauns at the behest of Praitanêr. This didn't make Alligên too happy, and she told Mayhem that she was the druidess.

Alligên would not help the gang, though nobody held that against her, though they thought she needed to settle down and maybe find a boyfriend. She did tell Mayhem that the men of Dībités Rock had to be following them, and of some of the other pitfalls of the woods, like the werewolves, the ettercaps and their big spiders, who had left the spider silk strands they found the afternoon of the 18th. Mayhem asked her if she could talk to the ettercaps to see if they would help for a snack of some bandits, but she would not, and said the spiders would eat them if they tried to do it themselves. She then stormed southward, and the gang went back to bed.

That morning, the 21st, Yémos took a look to the west, where Alligên had said the ettercaps dwelled, and saw nothing but thick woods. They instead slowly went to the southeast, caught their game, and went to bed. Luckily, nothing bothered them that day, nor the next, as they headed back towards Dībités rock, but staying to its south.

On the morning of the 23rd, they passed by a two-foot wide hole in the ground, and an hour later, saw a gang of six monks and a fighter taking down a bunch of man-sized spiders. Yémos knew their reddish tabards and bejeweled swords meant they were followers of Punšástōr, god of war. The man in mail armor and an old wig spoke to them, and asked them what they were doing so far out in the woods. Yémos said they were only wandering, to which the bewigged man said, "Yessssss, bullshit." Since nobody could think of anything else to ask each other, the two gangs split and our heroes wandered westward for the rest of the day. They were now out of food, and that night, the grind of the day kept Yémos from conjuring enough food to feed everyone.

A few hours after nightfall, Yémos saw a big cat the size of a man. He roused the others, who remembered it to be the caterwaul they had fought on the 12th. He cast Shield on Anêr, and the gang plugged their ears before the caterwaul's howl. However, the howl still struck Caleb with fear, and, with the wear of the day, the bad sleep from not building a right lean-to the night before, and missing dinner, Caleb passed out from fear. The caterwaul came nearer the gang, and pounced on Anêr. However, he did not do enough harm to knock down Anêr, who tried to strike back, but the caterwaul swatted away his rapier. Mayhem came and tried to strike its flank but missed, while Yémos came nearer. Now Yémos and Mayhem could see why the caterwaul was so eager to pounce: he had a big hard-on.

The horny cat tried to claw Anêr, but Anêr swatted his paw. He tried to strike his body as well but missed, but Mayhem stepped forward and buried his axe into the caterwaul, killing him. The next day, they ate Hello Kitty steak (as Eric dubbed it) for breakfast, found the cave of the caterwaul and its gems, and made their way northwest to the gnomish village of Káddrakos.


The characters got 6 character points. The gems in the caterwaul's smelly cave was the first big haul they had, since they ran away from the evil cleric in the goblin caves and striking Dībités Rock would be suicide.

We gave the rules on GURPS Dungeon Fantasy 16: Wilderness Adventures a workout, which did take up quite a bit of time at first. This does make camping and navigation much harder without good gear; Eric said he wanted Yémos to buy a tent when they got back to civilization. Foraging was a big concern since they were running out of food. I'd like to cut down on the rolls, but taking extra time doesn't give more food, it only makes you more likely to find one meal, so there's not a big carrot there, much less a big deer.

A big takeaway from this is that the Survival skill is boss. It lets you forage, move farther, set up camp, and set up shelter, and those are only the daily rolls. If you run with wilderness exploration at all, not having Survival is like putting a gun to your head and hoping no one pulls the trigger. It's even better of you have Survival for the right terrain: Mayhem has it for Plains, which befits a barbarian from the hills, but they were in the woods.

If the weather looks good at dawn and nobody in your group has a good Weather Sense skill, don't try to make that roll. Mayhem is the only one who has it, and it's only a 9. They are in spring, before the rainy season, so failing the roll takes away more than making it gives them.

I also found to speed things up that only the slowest men in the group, Yémos and Caleb, should roll Hiking. Mayhem and Anêr walk too fast to have even a critically failed roll do anything. We wound up often having a fractional hiking pace, so they hiked for 10 hours to get a round number of miles (mostly 9 or 11, as it happens: both Caleb and Yémos have laden Move 2), then they forage for an hour in the morning and another in the afternoon to get the full 12 hours.

The daily HT roll for comfort had some oddities, but made for an interesting situation when both Yémos and Caleb, the two spellcasters, failed their rolls by 5 and 6 respectively on the 23rd. This meant they were down many FP when it came time to fight the caterwaul. When Caleb failed his Fright Check, he lost enough FP to put him to 0 as well as being stunned, so he was down for the count before anything started. It gave a bit of randomness and drama to the fight. No, I don't know that a caterwaul would have fought like that, but I rolled that he was looking to mate, and I wanted to have at least one fight.

I remembered to roll for disasters most days, but none came up. I made a roll for both the ones that weather affects and the ones it does not, but none of them came up to the 5 or less on 3d that I had set. I wanted to set the woods on fire, man!

One thing that even with simulationism, you have to look at a roll to make things interesting. I normally would not have had the druidess out at night, but I had her show up anyways when I rolled her to make things less of a grind. And I do know why she was out at night, rest assured. It was Chris who came up with the third cousin bit, I only had her as one of the same clan. She is also about the only NPC with whom Mayhem would have a bonus to his reaction rolls.

A bit of chatter that isn't in the log is that Yémos and Mayhem thought it better to get the food that Praitanêr wanted from Mīstássun and bring it to him rather than bring his bandits to the fauns. I have no idea how that will work out, being that wizards are quick to anger and that adventurers are crunchy and taste good with catsup, but it does give the wizard and bandits what they want, in a way.

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