Recap: DF Session 21, Zerst 02


Aldred - Human Wizard
Fo - Minotaur Barbarian
Sir Loam - Arakun Knight

Back in town:
Barnabus - Human Swashbuckler


3A:137, Third Spring, 7th day:

Picking up where we left off last time...

It seems that Barnabus' injuries were more severe than what the originally thought, so he returned to town while the other's continued on.

The others found the back entrance to the mine, but after traveling in for a ways they came to an area where the supports had collapses. Fo, lifted and wedged the beam back up. This covered him in dirt, but the party was able to continue on. Further down they found another collapsed pat of the tunnel, but this time it would take some digging to clear. To the east the saw part of the wall collapsed leading into a room beyond. Again Fo was able to raise a beam and get the passage open for all to enter.

Exploring this room, the group found it might have once been a kitchen or some sort of storage. There were many broken boxes and other refuse lying around. Sir Loam checked the a broken shelf and found among the broken jars and trash, a tin that contained six glow vials.

Aldred decided to check a small room on the east wall, and was attacked by two giant rats. He was able to blink out of danger while the others finished off the rats. After they checked the room, but a quick search didn't net any more loot.

They left through a door to the north and found themselves in another hall. There were some doors, another collapsed passageway, and a set of double doors bared from their side and with a faint light coming in from behind them.. After determining that they would not be able to pass through the collapsed hall without some work that would draw attention, they decided to open the double doors up and continue on.

They entered into the next hall and followed it around towards a "smashing" sound. Peeking around the corner they found a wide hall to the north with several hobgoblins smashing rocks that were placed in a sort of "trough" in the middle of the hall.

After a short planning session, Aldred buffed  up Sir Loam with Might and Great Haste, and the three of them charged into the hall. The hobgoblins were somewhat caught off guard [surprise]. With great haste, Sir Loam quickly worked his way through the enemies. Fo engaged another and Aldred stayed back a bit. Soon more hobgoblins joined the melee, each had a large hammer used for mashing the stones.

Aldred through a Glue spell [that critted] on the floor of the connecting hall that kept a couple of hobgoblins at bay. After a few more turns the four hobgoblins were down, but two remained in the glue and two more were on the other side of it.

Aldred added Flight to Sir Loam's buffs as Fo struggled to get across the glue and attack. After the two that were in the glue were defeated, Aldred ended the glue spell. One of the hobgoblins had run off after being told to, "get da boss!" but Sir Loam's flight speed allowed him to catch up and end the fight.

To the east they heard a softer tapping sound as the halls became more uneven, and to the north on the west wall they saw another set of double doors. Aldred cast Seeker and found that the door they wanted was in the northwest, so they continued on through the doors.

Here they found an intersection, They took the north path and found a door with "Da Boss" scrawled on it. Even with a good idea that the door they were looking for was further on, they decided to bust into the door and attack.

Inside they found two orcs and a large orc-ish creature standing around a table. Fo charged in and took on the closest orc. Aldred and Sir Loam moved in towards the other. The orcs fought well, with the boss tossing acid occasionally. Fo took a few nasty hits before he was able to bring down the orc he was fighting. The other orc also was badly injured and moved back. The boss tried to make a run for it, but was cut off and then offered surrender.

The orc now slumped against the wall in the back said that he would tell where "the treasure is" if he was left alive. Sir Loam played the orc and the boss off each other a bit, and got the boss to give them each a bag of copper ($300 in raw copper), a healing potion, the location of the dwarf door, and safe passage through the mines! The leader agreed, and after some patching up, they were escorted to the door, then made their way through the mine area where several goblins were picking away.

Back in town the dwarf was pleased to see that they had returned with the rubbing and paid the promised fee. He then said that he would have more work soon.


The party was down a member, but things worked out more or less. I was a bit off my game and so there were several rule issues, but things still felt smooth. Still not having lots of healing was an issue, but nobody died, thought Fo came close. Kudos for the party shaking down, er, negotiating with the mine's boss.

The rules we had some issues with were:
  • Seeker - this spell is at -5 unless the caster has something connected to the sought item. I've been lax on this, but need to remember to enforce this.
  • Healing on 20+ HP should be double. This would have helped get Fo back above 0 sooner. Can't believe that I forgot this.
  • Need to better keep track of spells "on", this hasn't been much of an issue in the past, but with a support wizard who is casting many buffs, I'll need to watch this. And speaking of...
  • Great Haste is a "lasting" spell, apparently. I should add the duration types to my spell list.


Spells as Loot

GURPS Dungeon Fantasy puts some restrictions on what spells casters of various flavors can learn, but doesn't address the issue of spell rarity. When I played D&D (B/X), I recall spells being something that you wanted to find. The spell tomb of a powerful wizard could be a whole quest goal.

While the fighter-types are getting new armor and weapons, the wizard might not need more than a new power item and some potions. Sure, their is lots of cool loot a wizard could get, but that can often pale compared to the astonishing new powers that they gain from spells.


For my DF game, I've decided make "higher level" spells more difficult to gain and turning spells into loot. I'm using spells' Magery requirement as the "rarity" level, but with a few other restrictions:
  • Spells that have an unavoidable Magery X requirement in their prerequisite chain inherit that that same requirement.
    • ex. Identify Spell has a prereq of Detect Magic, which requires Magery 1, so Identify Spell is also considered to require Magery 1.
  • Spells with prereq counts greater than 10 are treated like they require Magery 2, Magery 3 for greater than 15.
Otherwise things break down like this:
  • No Magery Req - These spells are widely known and can be studied from books and sources that are readily available (spell instruction books can be found in stores)
  • M1 - These spells are commonly taught at the Wizards' Guild (standard training fees).
  • M2 - These spells are somewhat restricted. The Wizards' Guild may require that the player perform some service or at least be in good standing (no crimes against) the guild. These tend to cost more (1.5x) for training.
  • M3 - These spells are often unknown, hidden, forbidden, or otherwise not taught. Players will have to find a lost spell tome, hidden trainer, etc., in order to learn this spell.
For starting characters I'm thinking of limiting starting spells to: Any number of spells with no magery req, Magery x 3 M1 spells, Magery x 1 of M2 spells, and M3 are off limits.

Clerics and Druids are also limited, but using the PI requirements in DF1. I'll just map PI6 = M3, PI5 = M2, PI4  M1; PI3 or less as No req. Cleric spells aren't usually found, but instead are gained via donation to the church (training cost) and prayer. A god can give a spell to a character who has performed some service. Druid spells can be found, but are more likely to require a master Druid who lives in some remote place.


Recap: DF Session 20, Zerst 01



Aldred - Human Wizard
Barnabus - Human Swashbuckler
Fo - Minotaur Barbarian
Sir Loam - Arakun Knight


A new band of adventurers find their way to Zerst! Aldred Malrune is a student of all things arcane. He joined up awhile back with the group and has been seeking to flex his magical muscles and maybe learn a new spell or two. Barnabus is a former pirate that one day woke up hungover and found his ship and crew left him behind. He joined up to gain some coin while he awaits his chance to return to the sea and reclaim his ship. Fo met Sir Loam while traveling and thought that the arakun was going to need help. Despite being nothing alike the two have worked well together for some time. Sir Loam is an arakun with a code. He tries to do what's right, but often finds that it is all he can do to keep the others (and himself) out of trouble.

This band of "heroes" came to to frontier, like many others, seeking fame and fortune. They settled into the local inn. There they met a one-eyed Dwarf named Adalorn who offered them 20 gold ($2000) to enter an old mind and bring back a rubbing of a dwarven door in there (paper and coal provided).

After the party accepted the offer, Aldred decided to do a bit of research in the town archive to see if he could find any maps on the old mine. After an hour of searching he did find one map that showed where the mine was at, and also the location of a possible back entrance to the mine.

With this knowledge, the party set off to the back entrance of the mine. Before reaching their goal, they came across a group of six orcs arguing down the road. Barnabus and Fo immediately dashed off and began to sneak around the group. Sir Loam and Aldred continued down the path and then one of the orcs called out to them. Sir Loam told the orcs that they were looking for a mine, which caused the orcs to give each other a glance, but before any more discussions took place, Barnabus jumped out of the brush and attacked the orcs.

Barnabus and Fo took down the two closest orcs quickly then began to move on to the others. Sir Loam and Aldred began to run towards the action (as they had still been fairly  far off). Fo moved in to another orc, but ended up loosing his grip on his great axe and sending it several yards away. Barnabus attacked the three [with an all out attack] in the back of the group. Unfortunately, one of his attacks missed, and the others did not significantly injure the other orcs.

Still, one of the orcs decided to make a run for it. The two remaining attacked Banabus who took some nasty wounds [dropping to under -HP]. He was hurt bad, but still standing [making his Death and Knock back/Stunning checks].

The others began to close on the remaining orcs. Sir Loam tossed his spear at the runner but missed. Aldred used Poltergeist to throw Fo's axe, but it also missed. Fo using his horns, and later Barnabus' sword managed to deal with the orcs, but the runner got away.

After the battle they (quite fortunately) found a Greater Healing Potion for Banabus [Serendipity baby!], and Aldred gave one of his lesser healing potions. They also found a bit of coin, but no clue to what the orcs where up to.

They decided to continue on and soon found the back entrance to the mine.


As a "kick off" session, I wanted to get a feel for the group and what their were going to be like. I think this session did a good job of that!

The biggest issue the group is going to have to deal with is the lack of a healer. I created an Initiate hireling that was ready to be hired, but the party didn't seem interested in looking for one. If they continue to adventure without a healer, they are going to need to carry a LOT more healing potions.

The orcs were a mix of fodder and worthy. This might have given the impression that they would be pushovers, so I sort of feel that I was a bit misleading... but hey it happens (and keeps PCs on their toes).

Next session will pick up where this one left off.


DF: Castle Von Dark - Aftermath

Most of the orcs in Verst were killed when the castle's defenses activated. Those that were outside soon learned that they had lost their leader and their access to the castle. Soon after an "Adventurer's Guild" arrived in Zerst, driving out the remaining orcs or capturing them.

Von Dark sat on the throne ending the curse on the castle and town (though he himself is still cursed and stuck as a frog). Once word of this spread out, many folks from Nustaad came. Returning to the homes of their families (with some clashes on who ones what property). Soon the (new) Baron Von Dark began to distribute the lands. Quickly the town was being built back up to a functioning community.

Some of the folks in Nustaad were not interested in returning. They recalled the stories of the old Baron, and felt no need to move into the ruins of some old town or farm house and be ruled over by a frog. This created a bit of a rift between the two towns.

Phelix, Farthing, and Noide were richly rewarded, but decided to part ways. Phelix took off on a quest to find a lost relic of Nekona (the cat-folk goddess of luck). Farthing retired to the woods to reconnect with nature and study his magic. Noide stayed in Zerst, helping with the rebuilding of the temple and became an adviser to the new baron.


It has not been several months since the Zerst was liberated and the population is growing every day. The Mage's Guild has set up a small branch to offer services, training, and regulate enchanting. The Church of Lys has fixed up their old temple and begun to hold services and offer healing. And the Adventurer's Guild took over one of the old temples and started advertising that they will take any job (for a fee), and have been attracting many new recruits (much to the detriment of independent adventurers.)


It is during all this change that a group of new adventurers enter town. They seek wealth, fame, and adventure. It is their story that is about to begin.


Recap: DF Session 19, Castle Von Dark 07


Farthing, Faun Wizard
Noide, Celestial Cleric
Phelix, Cat-folk Swashbuckler


Again the group rested up and set back out to the castle. They had no issues reaching the point where they had left off (deciding to take the new entrance that was a bit harder to get to, but better concealed). Once in they followed the hall north to a door. Beyond they could hear something but were not sure what it was.

Opening up they found several small rock-mites that rand at them and a gravely voice calling out from the darkness telling them to leave that that they were trespassing on the lands of Von Dunkle. Von Dark once again proclaimed his lineage, but the voice just repeated itself.

As the group defeated the first set of rock-mites, the moved in to find two stone golems. they also noticed a set of glowing red eyes that appeared on the far wall. They fought with the golems and mites till they had defeated them, but not before Gaz (being uncharacteristic bold and attacking from the side) took a fatal blow. Then another voice (coming from the eyes) told them that they would be killed if they continued on. After this the eyes closed and disappeared.

They went through the next door and found a long hall, halfway down it, they tripped a wire which send two fireballs from each end of the all toward them. Everyone ducked and got through without more than some singed hair. The voice also returned, now encouraging that they continue on as this would be entertaining.

The next room held had two large square columns and a floor covered in some sort of sticky fluid. The party had to use all their strength just to take each step. Once they all got in the door behind them slammed shut and one of the pillars began to move. They had to “run” as quickly as they could to avoid being smashed by the column as it moved toward the wall. Several time Farthing had to be pulled by one of the others in order to avoid the pillar.

Eventually they made it across the room and took a breather. The traps here were far more cunning (and deadly) than anything they had encountered before.

The next section took them through a twisting hall that eventually ended in a 4 way split. One of the passages had a door so they too that way, and found a large room with several cells in it. The voice returned and asked why they wanted to get into the castle.

Again they explained that they had Von Dark, the rightful heir. The voice laughed at the frog but offered to test him. It asked that they place the frog in a ring of glowing ruins across the room. The party declined, so the ring erupted with several Void Brutes.

The cells made the space narrow and they had to battle the Void Brutes in a very tight place, but still they were able to fend them off. While this fight was going on a Eye of Death also emerged from the portal and started to gaze at the melee (killing one of the injured Void Brutes.)

Once the Brutes were dealt with, they went after the eye, but found that it could dodge up just out of reach and avoid their attacks. Farthing started to put up areas of smoke that blocked the eye and forced it to move, but this only slowed down its attacks. They also discovered that it was very fast.

Eventually they got it cornered into one of the cells and it was done in with a single attack. After, the voice again asked that they place the frog in the circle, but they refused and continued on. There was a door on the south wall and as they went through they heard screaming then silence.

The next area held several cells there were converted to a sort of barracks. In each they found orcs that had recently died in a variety of ways (one burned, one melted by acid, one impaled by spikes that came from the ceiling. At the end of the hall was a sort of dining room that was filled with a deadly gas and more orcs and an ogre.

The voice again insisted on the frog as a ring appeared on the ground. Again the party refused and moved on after some purify air spells were casts.

In the next area they found they had entered the lower part of the castle. Here they found more cells and some storage, but quickly were attacked by orcs in the shadows. They had no problem taking out the orcs, but it seemed that more were advancing each turn. Again the voice spoke and told them that the whole castle would soon be upon them.

This time they decided to throw the frog in the ring that appeared (much to Von Dark’s displeasure). Then the voice said the he was the heir and asked the others to enter the ring. They did and the rest of the castle was filled with poisonous gas. When it cleared, the castle was free of orcs.

The heroes had freed the castle and set Von Dark back in power!


Notes: I had decided that this was going to be the end of the “Castle Von Dark” arc one way or another, so I really wanted to finish up. We ran a bit late (it was around 1:30 a.m. when we finally finished), so the ending was a bit “press the win button already!” I don’t think anyone minded.

The traps and mocking voice seemed to be entertaining and keep everyone on edge. The fights were ok, with nothing too easy or hard. I had hoped to get in a bit of “players must make a clever plan with the castle helping them to retake it” but like I said it was really late so things ended up quickly.


Recap: DF Session 18, Castle Von Dark 06


Characters:Farthing, Faun Wizard
Noide, Celestial Cleric
Phelix, Cat-folk Swashbuckler

Back in town:Ryder, Cat-folk Warrior (possible dropping out)


In the morning the party had breakfast then got ready to enter the dungeon under the castle. The town seemed mostly deserted, and they didn't try to find anyone (no checks for rumors, shopping, etc.).

They entered the tree line behind the castle. From there they needed to get across a short open area, then climb up the hill side to a small crevice where the door to the dungeon stood. They waited till the guard on the castle wall to turn then made a run for the side and climbed up. Farthing slipped but was able to scramble up a bit later, and the party was sure that they got in before the guard returned.

There they found a door with some sort of strange energy swirling around it. Once the key was used the energy dissipated and the door opened. They filled into a dark room filled with very old empty creates. Two tapestry hung on the north and south walls. And a door was on the east wall.

They discovered a section of the wall was broken behind the north tapestry and they crawled through to find a cavern that continued on sloping down for a ways. They doubled back to check the other door (after a bit of debate), and found that it led to a collapsed hall that they could not get through. Returning to the cavern they found a large area with a deep pit in the middle.

The saw in the middle of the pit a column (a stalactite and stalagmite that grew together) with a magical axe in it. As they were examining this area, several large Acid Spiders fell down from the roof and began to attack. Farthing took a powerful attack that took him out, while the others were occupied. Philix was able to make several attacks on each spider and one by one took them out.

After the battle Farthing was healed and they used a levitation potion to get over the pit a and retrieve the axe. Then the followed the cavern which now turned back southward and into an area filled with a waist deep pool.

As Phelix was telling the others that he wasn't going to go into the pool, they were attacked. Several Erupting Slimes were just under the surface of the water and fired acidic slime at the party. Phelix was hit and tried to get his clothes off, but the slime had made it’s way through the clothes and was working on the armor by the time he got his shirt off.

The fight that followed was one of the longest the party ever had. They didn't want to get close the the slimes (Phelix was not about to go into the water), and Farthing’s lightning attacks were being dissipated over the surface of the water. The few slimes that slithered to the edge of the water were taken out by ranged attacks, but this was slow and not the normal tactics.

Eventually they found that the slimes seemed to move away from the light (or attack it). That prompted them to cast continual light on a stone and throw it into the pool. This caused the closer slimes to come out of the water and the others to retreat away. And after more flinging of ranged attacks the slimes were finally dealt with.

Beyond they found another broken wall that led to a room that was near where they had entered (in fact across the collapsed hall they couldn't cross). Just beyond this they also found another exit on the side of the hill. This one was higher up and didn't have an easy approach, but with the key they found they could enter and exit through the strange purple force that was would have otherwise held them back.

After the spiders and slimes, the party thought it might be best to rest up before they got any further. They took this new exit and returned to the inn.



This session had a few things that I learned:

1) Allowing the swashbuckler to use more than 1 extra attack with rapid strike was insanely powerful. I had seen it before, but he was either fighting trash or buffed. This time he was just doing massive damage. After this session I've decided to go back to only one extra hit with rapid strike. 

2) Attacking the mage before the others are engaged is unfair. Not that I’m always going to be “fair”, but ambush attacks that hit everyone are going to be more deadly to the wizard. I knew this in theory, but this really pointed it out. 

3) Adaptability is an issue. Knew that having some water based enemies was going to hinder Phelix (and Ryder had he shown up), but I didn't think that this was going to take a long as it did. Water also took the wizards two main attacks down (fire and electricity). I hope that the group looks at this as something that might come up again and try to make sure that they can handle it.


DF Monster: Ratlin

I've been playing some Torchlight 2 lately, and decided to stat up the Ratlin for DF. these guys are only fodder used to slow players down. In large numbers they might cause "death by a thousand cuts" on lightly armored adventurers. A worthy Foreman might have some armor a more HP, but is still likely to be taken down quickly.


Skirmishers and Bowmen

Ratlin are smallish (averaging around 5 foot) rat-men. The have an interest in gems of any type and are often found underground mining. Most wield picks, but there are usually some archers around too. A few might also hold some bottles of Alchemist’s Fire.

| ST: 10 | HP:   10 | Speed: 5.25 |
| DX: 11 | Will:  8 | Move:  6    |
| IQ: 10 | Per:  11 |             |
| HT: 10 | FP:   10 | SM: +0      |
|Dodge: 9| Parry: 9 | DR:  -      |

Pick (12): 1d+1 imp
Bow (12): 1d+1 imp
Alchemist’s Fire (14): 1d burn (per second for 30 sec. DR protects at ⅕)
Traits: Sharp Claws; Fur; Night Vision 5; Sharp Teeth; Tail
Skills: Axe/Mace-12; Bow-12; Brawling-12; Throwing-14;
Class: Mundane
Notes: Ratlin aren't cowards exactly, but they instantly flee when they see one of their own die. This is an instinctual or reflexive action and the Ratlin will regroup and renew their attack a second later.


These are the larger ratlin that usually carry a two handed hammer around (for smashing rocks, and poor workers). The don’t suffer from the same fear of death that they other ratlin do.

| ST: 13 | HP:  14 | Speed: 5.75 |
| DX: 12 | Will: 9 | Move:  6    |
| IQ: 10 | Per: 11 |             |
| HT: 11 | FP:  10 | SM: +0      |
|Dodge: 9| Parry:10| DR:  -      |

Maul (14): 2d+3 cr
Traits: Sharp Claws; Fur; Night Vision 5; Sharp Teeth; Tail
Skills: Two-handed Axe/Mace-13; Brawling-13
Class: Mundane
Notes: Ratlin Foremen don't flee at the sight of death but are still little challenge for experienced heroes.


Recap: DF Session 17, Castle Von Dark 05



Farthing, Faun Wizard
Noide, Celestial Cleric
Phelix, Cat-folk Swashbuckler
Ryder, Cat-folk Warrior


With the key in hand, the party was ready to head to Zerst and enter the castle. Just one problem though… they didn’t know how to get there! Friedrich Von Dark knew the general direction, but was said that the would have some problems because things look different when you are just a few inches tall.

The party decided to procure the use of Gaz once again, who knew the way and would guide them on the shortest path there. He told them that it was still a week’s journey, so they would need to pay up front for a week’s service. They also had to stock up on provisions for the trip.

[No one checked for rumors or tried to learn anything else about Zerst or the lands between Nustaad and there.]

A few days after setting out, they noticed smoke from a nearby farm house. They got close enough to see two Shadow Elves burning some bodies outside the house. Without anything else to go on, the party decided to avoid them, and just kept on their path.
A few more days on the road, and they were getting to a forested area. Here two orcs wearing armor with a red eye symbol, stopped the party and demanded a toll to be payed to pass through. During the discussion, Ryder charged at them, causing the four orcs hidden on the sides of the road to fire crossbows at each member.

The shot meant for Phelix missed flew past him and ended up hitting Farthing and doing a lot of damage. The others made off a bit better. Phelix and Ryder charged the two orcs on the road who had drawn broadswords, while Noide was working on healing Farthing.

There was an exchange of blows, and the crossbow orcs reloaded and started to take seconds shots. Eventually, though the party finished off the orcs except for one who was severely injured but still conscious.

Searching around they found the orc’s hidden stash with some gold, gems, and potions in it. From the injured orc they learned that these orcs worshiped the “one-eyed god” and learned that this god’s name is Tormir. After, the left him bleeding on the road.

The next day they saw a group of Lizardmen travelling on a path that would cross theirs a bit after they had moved on. They decided not to slow down or bother with this group (though they also didn’t bother to hide themselves, either.)

When they finally arrived in Zerst, they noticed it wasn’t entirely abandoned. Many houses had fallen into ruin, and it did seem mostly empty, but they saw a few scattered persons about. Noide also felt the influence of Lys was weaker here (Low Sanctity).
On the way in they met another Shadow Elf, who explained that his people come to town some time to trade with the orcs who have taken over the castle. The party was a bit confused by this since they were under the impression that the castle was magically sealed. This elf, Drathiel, explained that the orcs had some sort of magical means to pass through the castle’s gate.

Von Dark blurted out that they were here to retake the castle and that made the elf laugh. After, Drathiel escorted the party through the town. Along the way they passed over a bridge where he spoke to a couple of orcs where the same armor as the ones they met on the road. Drathiel returned and they were allowed to pass.

In this part of the town, there were more buildings, and a few more persons. Then they came to a hill where the path to the castle lay. They scoped it out and saw several orcs on the walls keeping watch.

They decided to find a place to state, and Drathiel showed them to the “Cursed Inn”. They stayed the night and got ready to sneak into the castle’s hidden entrance in the morning.