Several weeks ago, all the known lands were hit with various floods, quakes, shifting land, rising mountains, and other dramatic events that have reshaped the landscape and destroyed many towns.
Refugees from Mistwood have been looking for a new home. A scout returned to camp injured by a wolf attack, but reported that he had spotted an old keep that might still be in good enough shape to house the survivors.
The sheriff (who the survivors have turned to for leadership), has asked that a group follow the scout's direction and see if the keep can support the survivors.
Before leaving town the sheriff found the group and told them that we was going to have the people start packing up for the journey as soon as possible. He gave the party two bundles that when burned would create smoke to signal to the town if the keep was safe or not.
An Odd Gnome
The path to the keep was pretty clear, but as the group emerged from the dense woods, they spotted the keep and a small camp along the way.
When they got close to the camp the meet a Gnome who was busy building and hammering and moving about his camp.
He didn't have much useful information for the group, but did offer to sell them various tools he had invented such as a crossbow converted to a "fly swatter" (bolts had flat mesh attached), and mouse traps (which were tiny bear traps).
The party decided to pass on these and continued on to the keep.
Dead Wolves and Broken Bridge
On the path up to the keep the players found the bodies of several wolves, being fed on by large (not giant) rats. An examination didn't yield the cause of death, only that they had been devoured by these rats.
Further up the party found a chasm between the path and the keep, and the drawbridge was broken and hanging by one chain.
Kaz was able to move the end of the broken chain across the path, where the party secured it, and crossed over.
The Keep's Inhabitants
Inside the party found the keep's structures intact but worn and in disuse. While looking around, William heard sounds from around the corner and the group snuck up to check it out.
Unfortunately, they weren't very stealthy and when they got to the corner a group of strange people, in tattered clothes, turned to face them.
The party tried to identify what these "people" were, as something was clearly "wrong" with them. They didn't seem to be zombies, but had some zombie like aspects.
While this evaluation was going on, they began to shift and contort till something that resembled a cross between a man, a skinless dog, and a rat appeared. Then they charged.
These rat-man-monsters rushed the group, but Kaz through down a Grease spell and the others held their ground. The monsters began to fall one by one as they approached, the few getting around the corner were dealt with quickly.
When most have bunched together, Kaz hit them with an explosive fireball. Then dispelled the grease and the party finished off the others before they had a chance to stand.
Further in the party saw a figure dart around a corner, and also heard sounds of conflict from another direction. They decided to follow the figure they saw to an open area further in.
The group managed to be a bit more stealthy this time and managed to spot the man they saw before, who was having a coughing fit.
In the open area near him were four large persons that seemed to be malformed and bloated. And at the far end was a thin man in a cloak and speaking in a strange language.
The sick man then vomited... a rat, before collapsing onto the ground.
From there concealed position, the group took aim and fired (fireball wand and sun-bolt). Which destroyed two of the bloated men... but then they exploded into swarms of rats. The fireball burned enough of the rats that the ones remaining scattered.
Before the creature had time to reach the party, another set of blasts (and a crossbow bolt) took out the other two and the rats of the other swarm. But this left 2 new swarms and the thin man charging in.
The rats swarmed William and Penelope but were quickly sliced through and dispersed. The thin man was also hit with a powerful attack and fell down.
The party rushed him and as he recovered they finished him off before he could cast whatever spell he was preparing.
From his neck Kaz took a magical amulet that has some sort of animal control magic on it (and a picture of a rat). But he was persuaded to not put it on just yet.
We wrapped up there for the night. Next week we'll pick up still in the town.
This session went really well. First session awkwardness and a new player (new to GURPS as well as the group), didn't seem to cause any troubles. Things moved along at a good pace and everyone seemed to have a lot of fun.
One thing that I've been working on is "[The GM] should feel free to drop out of combat time whenever dramatically appropriate, and to resume combat time when noncombat action gives way to more fighting." (B362). This as speed up the "lulls" in combat when no actual trading of blows is happening (Readying, closing distances, long actions).