Saturday, March 30, 2013

022 - Hush! We are in a library.

This encounter pitched the members of the Palantir Commission against the Guardians of the Royal Library of Annuminas. The combat lasted pretty much the whole evening and involved a number of pretty awesome twists and turns. Most combat options got used at least once as the players discovered the awsomness of GURPS tactical combat. Enjoy. 

October 29th FA 15

It all started in the previous encounter when the company members finally found their way into the secret vault of the Royal Library of Annuminas. The vault, sealed for a thousand year was a richly decorated location made of a circular room and two halls going in opposite directions. They proceeded down one of the hall and discovered that the fine artwork on the wall depicted Lake Evendim. In the middle of the hall there was a shallow pool with the statue of Linluile, the patron saint of Annuminas, lying under a few inches of water. Her hand was extending out of the water, and around her wrist there was a bracelet. When Arnadil attempted to get the bracelet, a stone knight ripped himself from its wall and started to spin around his flail. Both hobbits froze in panic while Sir Galdor ungracefully passed out at the sight of the lich-form wraith.

The scene at this point looked a bit like this:

Arnadil (A), Halin (H), Finbert (F), Irina (I), Kasper (K) and Sir Galdor (G). The big dowel at
the end is the Stone Knight.

The original reaction to the company was to send Halin and Arnadil ahead while Kasper would pull Sir Galdor to safety. At this time, Finbert and Irina remained in complete panic. Arnadil quickly realized that thrusting the knight with the blunt end of his sword was unlikely to fell the wraith. Halin, however, with his special hammer having one blunt and one impaling end, managed to shake the foe successfully. All three engaged in a series of exchanges where Halin and Arnadil forced the knight into parrying and thus unreadying his flail. This combined team work got them to have the advantage on the knight. As they began to push him out of the hall, Finbert picked up the team's only torch that Arnadil earlier dropped on the floor. Irina helped Kasper to try to wake Galdor up. By the time that the knight was pushed out of the hall, he was already in pretty bad shape.

Finbert the hobbit, fully aware of his inability to hurt the knight, attempted to get pass him. Unfortunately, as he slipped by, he ran into a second knight slowly walking towards the melee. Like a big boy, he kept it together and didn't panic. Halin managed in a heroic charge to hit the first knight with such force that the knight was left lame and knocked back out of the room. Moving the first knight out of the way exposed the second knight and triggered a new round of fright checks. Kasper was then overwhelmed by terror and entered a mental stun. Finbert, readied his sword and jumped in front of his stunned friend, declaring an all-out defense and uttered at the top of his lungs "You shall not PAAASSS!". Hobbits...

Halin, emboldened by his last great blow stepped forward to face both knights.  He failed to hit but in return got a crushing blow to his foot. The GM isn't a failure anymore: the PCs are provenly not invulnerable! Both sides then engaged into a weird staring contest, evaluating each other in hope to score decisive blows. Arnadil finally jumped in: burning through a tremendous amount of FPs to make a giant step forward and placed two rapid strikes: one got parried and the other made a shiny sparks on the guardian's granite chest. The counter-attack came from the other knight who hit his shield in full force. Arnadil replied with a defensive feint, but his finesse wasn't enough and soon got hit on his right arm. Arnadil persisted against the lame knight and received in return another mighty blow, this time to his chest. He was then reeling from his wounds. He limped back as Kasper the pudgy squire stepped forward on the stairs, parrying and dodging both flails.  

Finbert slipped behind the squire, dropping the torch on the ground and, running a circle around the slow knight jumped in to grapple from behind. With the help of Finbert, Kasper followed suit and grappled the fresh knight by the torso. All three were now sharing a single hex, both PCs trying to takedown this seemingly impossible to hit foe. 

The other knight got parried by Halin's hammer. Halin took the opportunity to beat the flail to the ground and threw the knight's active defense by no less than 5. Both Arnadil and Halin engaged in rapid strikes, making a lots of sparks. Halin's last blow smashed the knight's head clean off. As the knight crumbled, a giant flash of green light and a deafening wail filled the room. Most of the party members' armor absorbed the blows of flying rock shards. However, Finbert wasn't that lucky.

The release of the wraith from the stone statue triggered a fright check for all present. Kasper re-entered a mental stun while Finbert, hanging from the knight's rear-end simultaneously received a schrapnel wound on his buttock AND paralyzed in horror. Both Finbert, Kasper and the stone knight were then standing up in the same hex: huddled like commuters in a Tokyo subway car. Finbert then, in fact, became afraid of all statue as a trauma-acquired quirk!

The remaining knight took on the chance to step sideways and deliberately crushed under his foot the torch that Finbert had dropped. The only lit torch in the entire vault... All were plunged into pitch darkness (-9 to Perception checks). There was nothing to see but a faint light coming from the stairs leading outdoors. The two closest allies to the remaining knights were stunned, Irina fell into a catatonic coma out of sheer terror, even Galdor woke up from his coma only to be re-exposed to another fright and sent back into a mental stun! Good thing that the player taking care of Galdor wasn't there for that session. Halin was squinting in the dark. Arnadil was still reeling from his wound and on the verge of collapse. He dropped shield and sword and meandered to the stairs. We were getting very close to a death spiral.

Halin, as a dwarf, was less affected by darkness but still suffered a -4 to see. Halin swung in the dark, hoping not to hit his stunned friend nearby. A critical hits happened at the best possible time. Unfortunately, the stone knight didn't suffer the doubled effect of shock that the critical called for. The flail's head flew by the heads of the three PCs. Halin used a telegraphic attack to negate the effect of darkness. Dramatically, this telegraphic attack caused a second explosion and a giant flash of green light. Schrapnels flew again, and badly hurt Finbert once more, leaving him reeling. Bad day to be an unarmored hobbit.

By the time that Arnadil managed to come back with Araliniel and a new torch, Finbert was lying on the floor while the others were teetering in the dark as the dust of the knight starts to settle on the ground. The place was eerily quiet. The danger seemed to be gone.


  1. Awesome! Im curious, what darkness modifiers were you assessing BEFORE the torch got stomped on?

    1. I was nice. All were equally affected by darkness so I applied no penalty within 5 hexes of the torch. A -1 or -2 would have been ok, I think.

  2. I think Fin's brave but ultimately unnecessary defense of his paralyzed dinner companion deserves more page time. Also his game changer first failed grapple.... Come on he is a real Shire hero! Uncle Meriadoc would be so proud.

    Fantastic synopsis Christian.

    1. it is also noteworthy that, the noble defense of Kasper, as it has become known in legend, was the first time Finbert had ever drawn his sword in anger.

    2. I was tempted to write the whole post from Finbert's perspective, actually.

    3. I would have loved that! I am starting to get the hang of this system and better understanding of the character too. Despite getting seriously hurt by two flying pieces of rock I think I can play Fin with a little more gusto but still keep true to a concern for his personal health. I am very much loving this campaign.

  3. I am still laughing. The story was great! Finbert is turning out to be a true hero, and a definite asset to the party.

    1. You should have been there. It was a fantastic session.