While thinking about how Temian should spend his character points, I remembered that there are a couple of things that need to be cleaned up before Temian can really start his next adventure. Hence this mini-session.
There are two things I’m going to try to accomplish this session.
- Toward the end of the last adventure, Temian got in a tough fight with a Hawkman, and came out of it with a crippled hand. But how serious is the injury to his hand? Will the hand recover? If so, how long will it take? We need to determine this before going much further.
- Temian is currently located in the middle of the rugged Wistwilds – which is to say, he’s far from civilization. I think I’d like to get him home to Eldervale before he starts the next adventure. This Journey home could be over in just a couple of rolls – or it could turn out to be much more complicated. Only the dice will tell. In any case, that’s another thing I’d like to get done during this mini-session, before starting a new adventure properly next time.
Right! So without further ado..
Mini-Session Part One: How Bad is Temian’s Crippled Hand?
Temian has crippled his hand. How dire is the situation?
In most systems, we’d have to just hand-wave this whole issue (as it were…), but of course GURPS in all its simulationist glory has us covered. The relevant rules are on p. B422, under “Duration of Crippling Injuries.” This tells us to roll vs Health at the end of combat (whooops.. forgot to do that last time!). Success means the crippling is temporary, failure means it’s lasting, and critical failure means its permanent.
Temian’s Health is 12, so he has a decent chance of making this roll.
(Note: just to be hard on myself, I’ve decided that since this session is a mini-session rather than a real session, Temian’s Luck re-roll is unavailable. So hopefully this roll goes well…)
Well, here goes.
(Rolling…) 13: fail.
Damn! I could really have used that Luck re-roll about now…. But no. It looks like the injury is lasting – a broken bone, badly torn ligament, or similar. P. B422 tells us that, in cases like this, we need to roll 1d to determine how many months the hand takes to recover.
Right – 3 months.
Temian tests his left hand gingerly, and, to his dismay, it turns out that it’s in as bad shape as he’d feared. He’s got some very serious bruising around the bones and – even more seriously – his middle and ring fingers both appear to be broken, or at least badly fractured. He’s pretty sure it will be months before his is back in working order.
Harsh! That puts him at a disadvantage for quite a while. It might also have an effect on my decisions about where to spend his character points – for instance, it looks like he’s not going to be getting much practice with his new magic bow any time soon….
Mini-Session Part Two: How Does Temian Fare During His Journey Home?
Sighing, Temian constructs a makeshift splint for his broken fingers out of a thick stick and a piece of old cloth. Then he begins his journey home. It ought to take about a week or so, he thinks – unless he runs into trouble… And with a busted hand, it’s likely that any trouble he runs into could prove very challenging indeed.
Time to head over to the Journeys system.
Temian’s not in a position to do any Research into the dangers of this Journey, and nor does he have Area Knowledge (Wistwilds), so I’ll skip the first step, and just go into the Journey unprepared, with no Research Re-Roll up my sleeve.
On the way here, the Journey was rated at Peril 1, so that’s what Temian expects it to be on the way home, too. Is he right? (Rolling…) 10: Yes. Peril 1 it is.
Since this Journey spans a “Far” distance, Temain will need to make 1 Navigation roll, 1 Surivival roll, and 1 event roll. All are at -1, due to the Peril rating.
Navigation: Temian’s effective skill is 10. (Rolling…) 9: success! Nice. For some reason I didn’t really expect that.
Survival: Temian’s effective skill is 11. (Rolling…) 9: success again! Looking good so far.
Event: (Rolling…) 13: A choice of two mishaps. Damn! My luck ran out at the last moment…
Okay, what are these two mishaps we’re choosing between?
Mishap option one: (Rolling…) 6, 5: “You must do something that will earn you -5 points in social disadvantages such as an Enemy, a negative Reputation, or similar.”
Mishap option two: (Rolling…) 5,2: “You must convince, sneak past, or fight a Standard Encounter” . Fair enough. Who or what is Temian encountering, I wonder? Let’s head over to the Monsters system – specifically, the What Type of Monster is This? Tables. (Rolling…) 8: “A monster belonging to the Region’s secondary monster type.” Ahah! As we determined in Episode 7, the secondary monster type in the Wistwilds is Troll-Kin -specifically, troll-wights, Temian’s old foe!
Ok – so it looks like Temian is going to have to choose between encountering some Toll-Kin, on the one hand, and gaining a new Enemy (or similar) on the other. Interesting. Now it’s time to work out what all this means in practice…
For the first few days, the trip goes quite well – Temian heads south through the beautiful Wistwild ranges, heading toward Eldervale and Dunmoss. The weather is fine, and if it weren’t for his aching hand, he’d have been feeling pretty good about himself. After all, it’s not everyone who can say they went up against the Witch of Dunmoss, and won.
On the third night of the journey, things get more difficult. Temian makes camp in the shelter of some old standing stones, and then gets a small fire going for warmth.
This would be a good moment for a roll against his Hidden Lore (Troll-Wights) skill, just for flavor. His skill is 11. (Rolling…) 17: critical failure! Ah, sweet! That just fits the story perfectly.
Looking around, he notices that the old standing stones have some funny markings on them – but hey, what significance could they possibly have? Probably none, right? Right. Plus he’s tired from a long journey, and his hand is aching – it’s too much bother to investigate that sort of thing right now. Instead, it’s time to get some sleep.
Hours later, Temian suddenly finds himself wide awake in the darkness. What was that sound?
Then, he hears it again: “Ghawwoooooooo! Hchaaaawoooooo!!!” It’s the guttural howling of an enraged troll-wight!
All in a rush, it dawns on Temian that he’s made a terrible mistake. These aren’t just any old standing stones – they’re the sacred breeding ground of the troll-kin! Temian swears at himself silently – only a fool would set up camp right in the heart of a troll-kin breeding ground – that was a rookie error. Even worse, he lit a fire – and, as everyone knows, the troll-wights call down deadly curses on anyone they discover lighting fires in their breeding-grounds, since they consider it an awful act of desecration.
“Ghawwooooo!! Hchaaawwoooo!!!” The furious cry of the troll-wight is louder now: Temian can even hear it snuffling its way toward him in the dark. It hasn’t found him yet, but it’s only a matter of time.
Temian has to think quickly. Does he flee? If so, the troll-wight will certainly call down some sort of curse upon him – and the curses of the troll-wights are not to be taken lightly!
…in fact I’ve already decided that the curse would result in him being haunted by angry troll-spirits. This would be a -5pt Enemy, as per our result on the Journey tables, above.
Or does he try to kill this troll-wight before it can conduct any kind of ritual to call down its curse? That seems the obvious solution – but in his present state, wounded (he’s currently down 5 HP) and with a crippled left hand, a fight seems a somewhat risky proposition.
(especially since I’m not allowing myself to use Temian’s Luck)
Whatever he’s going to do, he’d better do it quickly…
Recall that Temian has the “Bold” quirk…
“Bah!” Temian says to himself, dismissing his fears, and deciding to confront the matter head-on. “If I can’t take on a single Troll-Wight, what good am I?”
But there’s no point in being stupid about it. The Troll-Wight seems to know roughly where he is, but it hasn’t yet located him exactly… Perhaps, Temian thinks, I can turn the tables here by setting up an ambush?
Moving as quietly as he can, Temian slinks off behind one of the standing stones, easing his sword from its scabbard as he does so.
Temian’s Stealth is 11. (Rolling…) 10: made it by 1. So he’s hidden – in theory!
Now let’s see how many troll-wights are actually hunting him, and how perceptive they are… To the Monsters system! Sadly, I don’t have my Troll-Kin generator set up yet, so I’ll have to just use the generic monster stat block. Still, I find that this works surprisingly well in GURPS, since there are so few crucial stats in any case. (Rolling, rolling…)
Ok, so we have one Peril 1 Troll-wight, with Per 10. Not too bad at all!
Temian hears the snuffling as the creature approaches. A few moments later, there it is: an irate troll-wight (thankfully quite a small one), prowling on in to the area between the standing stones.
Does the troll-wight spot Temian? Its Per is 10. (Rolling…) 10: made it exactly. But Temian made his Stealth roll by 1, so no, it doesn’t spot him. Just.
The troll-wight sniffs around, clearly confused not to find a living creature here – but then its attention is drawn by the still-warm ashes of the fire. A fire here, in the sacred mating grounds!!?! With an awful, awkward speed, it lumbers over and stomps on the ashes, crushing them, destroying them, scattering them to the four winds…
Does it come close enough to Temian’s hiding place to allow him to launch a surprise attack, without the need for another Stealth roll? Let’s ask the Solo 6. 5: no. Ok – so Temian will have to move closer, stealthily, before attacking…
Sword in hand, Temian waits behind the standing stone, willing the creature to blunder over within striking range – but it doesn’t. Instead, it just keeps stomping down the remains of the fire. So when its back is turned, Temian creeps out, and tries to sneak closer…
Temian’s Stealth is 11 (Rolling…) 11: just made it. The Troll-wight’s Per is 10 (Rolling…) 10: made it exactly. A tie! It looks as if the creature spots Temian just as he’s about to takes his swing. So Temian isn’t going to be able to the normal things GURPS allows you to do when you’re attacking an opponent who is totally unaware of you: things like All-Out attack and Telegraphic Attack. Instead, the troll-wight is going to have at least a chance to react in time.
Let’s handle this by using the Basic Set’s surprise rules (which I, like many players, usually ignore). They’re on p.B393. Each side must roll 1d for initiative, with +2 for Combat Reflexes, and +1 for higher IQ. Temian has both – so that’s a +3 for him. But does the Troll-wight have Combat Reflexes? The generic monster stat block doesn’t include it, but I think there’s a chance that a troll-wight might, so let’s ask the Solo 6. Does this troll-wight have Combat Reflexes? (Rolling…) 4: “No, but…”. Ok, so it doesn’t have combat reflexes, but it is a bit quicker than the standard stat block would suggest – let’s raise its Basic Speed by 0.5, when that becomes relevant later.
Now, to roll for initiative. (Rolling, rolling…) Temian rolls a 3, +3=6; Troll wight rolls a 1. Excellent news! As per p.B393, the troll-wight is stunned, and has to make an IQ roll at the start of its turn to snap out of it, with a cumulative bonus for each second that passes. Solid.
Temian creeps closer to the creature. Closer, closer… he’s within striking range now.. he raises his sword…
… “Ghawwoooooooo!!” The troll-wight cries out! The beast turns, and is somewhat startled to find Temian with his sword raised right behind it. Trying to move quickly, Temian swings his sword…
Who acts first? Temian’s basic Speed is 6.00; the troll–wight’s is 5.25, raised to 5.75 by our roll earlier. So we resolve Temian’s attack before the troll-wight has a chance to snap out of its stun.
Temian’s Broadsword skill is 13. (Rolling…) 13: just hit. The Troll-wight is stunned, and so it doesn’t defend. Damage is 1d+3 cutting (Rolling…) 2, +3=5. The Troll-Wight’s tough hide gives it 1 pt of DR, so 4 pts get through, x1.5 for cutting=6pts of actual damage. This is a major wound, so the troll-wight need to roll vs HT to avoid knockdown and stunning. Its HT is 10 (rolling…) 10: success.
…and lands a strong blow, carving a long gash into the flesh of of the creature’s abdomen. The troll-wight howls again – “Hchaaaawoooooo!!!” (I’m really enjoying those) – and…
…and what? Does the troll-wight manage to break out of its stun? Its IQ for this purpose is 10. (Rolling..) 14: fail. It’s still stunned.
…flinches back, in a daze of confusion and pain. Trying to press his advantage, Temian tries for a thrust…
(Rolling to hit…) 15: miss!
…but it seems that the strength of his first blow shifted his grip on his sword, and this thrust goes wide. The troll-wight…
(Rolling to come unstunned, with a +1 bonus now…) 15: fail!
…still seems dazed, so Temian thrusts again…
(Rolling to hit….) 15: miss! Wow, these dice really like their 15s today.
…but he hasn’t taken the time to correct his grip, and again the thrust goes wide. Damn! Now the creature…
(Rolling to come unstunned, with a +2 bonus…) 10: success! Let’s say it tries to claw him. Its Brawling skill is 10. (Rolling…) 11: just missed.
…finally recovers itself, and leaps for Temian’s throat, howling “Hchaaaawoooooo!!! Hchaaaawoooooo!!!” – but it’s not quite fast enough to catch him.
With a much more active opponent in front of him, Temian needs to finish this fight quickly. He thrusts again, hoping that the third time will be the charm…
(Rolling to hit…) 7: hit! The Troll-wight attempts to Parry….
(No, I’m not penalizing it in any way for attempting unarmed parries against weapons – those rules are more realistic, but in my experience they tend to cripple tooth- and claw-using monsters, so in this genre it seems best to say that natural weapons can parry weapons without penalties)
… (Rolling to parry, vs Parry 8…) 10:fail. Temian rolls for 1d+1 impaling damage (Rolling…) 2, +1=3, -1 for DR=2, doubled for impaling =4pts of actual damage.
…and feels a surge of triumph as he finally manages to stab his blade deep into the monster’s already-bloodied abdomen. The troll-wight howls in pain (yes, I’m doing it again) – “Ghawwoooooooo!!” – and…
The troll-wight had 9 HP, and it’s taken 10 pts of damage, so it needs to make a HT roll to stay conscious. (Rolling…) 8: success. Since it has a -4 shock penalty this round, it feels it had better take an all-out defense.
…steps back, trying to keep its distance from that biting blade. Seeing how wounded it is, Temian decides to hang back and assess the situation, in the hope that it’s only a matter of time before it collapses.
Which is to say, he’s taking an Evaluate maneuver, for +1 to his next attack, rather than attack the troll-wight while it’s all-out defending. I wouldn’t normally dd this, except that I’m playing for safety, and time is on Temian’s side, since each turn that passes gives the Troll-wight a 50/50 chance of passing out.
Now it’s the troll-wight’s turn. Does it pass out? (Rolling…) 11: fail. It passes out.
And as it happens, he’s right – a moment later, the troll-wight succumbs to its wounds and falls to the ground, unconscious.
Temian rapidly dispatches it.
Cleaning the green ichor from his sword (yes, I’ve just decided that troll-wights bleed green ichor) Temian decides to move on – and fast, before that creature’s godawful (but absurdly fun?) howls draw the attention of any more of its fetid ilk.
The rest of the journey is not easy, but it does turn out to be uneventful – and four days later, Temian finds himself back in his home town of Dunmoss, safe and sound.
And that’s it for this mini-session! No XP, no plot points – but at least he’s safely home. The journey turned out to be a bit more fraught than I’d thought… But I’m pleased he’s back. Hopefully the net adventure is just around the corner.
Thanks for sticking with me here – and stay tuned for a post soon in which I finally allocate all those experience points he’s got saved up – and then, after that, the next adventure!