Sunday, October 25, 2015

Creepy Image of the Day

What's the first thought to spring to mind?

Saturn Ascends Session 2: The Castle Assault Part 1

Nakist “Kist” Anamyra – Human Mystic Archer Assassin (300 points)
Zubira Mgadwar – Human Messenger Cleric Thief (300 points)
Nibaw Velor – Human Knight (300 points)
Gilran – High Elf Wizard Knight (300 points)
Wossnam – Human Barbarian (300 points)

The session began in Vir, a good-sized town that serves as the main trading point for the valley. There, the party did some rumor-gathering in the form of pub crawling and schmoozing with the upper crust. While no sponsors were to be had, information about a castle on the northern ridge was plentiful. The castle was a stronghold of pale-blue skinned giants who serve as sergeants in what amounts to a jungly version of the Wild Hunt. After a little more research, they found that there are a couple dozen giants, plus their household guard and servants – less giant but still, just as blue humanoids. After picking up some extra rations, they decided it was time to head out.

The first day passed uneventfully as they slogged through about five miles of jungle, but the second saw some fun after lunch. In a particularly level and clear area, they heard some noises in the trees. Some quick glances revealed three monkeys armed with staffs ahead of the party. Another party member spotted a fourth, and Gilran decided to send a conjured servant out to talk to them. While it was approaching, three more monkey-men appeared from the trees on each side of them, firing darts from blowguns. After some quips about them being clever girls, the party sprang to action.

Kist sprayed four of them with bolts to the vitals from his repeating hand crossbows amped up with a dose of Homing Weapon; this put down three monkeys and severely injured a fourth. Wossnam charged toward the four monkeys in front of the group, while Zubira shielded herself, Gilran began charging up Concussion, and Nibaw sang taunts at the monkeys. The latter-most action proved the most useful, even if it was the most painful to hear: provoked by his singing, all but one monkey-man started going after Nibaw.

Next second, Kist sent out more homing bolts, taking down a pair of monkeys, but by now, the party was starting to notice that the monkeys were getting tougher as they tried to avenge their fallen brethren. This didn't stop Wossnam from playing cricket with one of the monkey ninjas and sending his corpse flying six feet through the air. It didn't stop Gilran from stunning two monkeys, either, but Zubira's attempt to smack the first monkey that came in reach got dodged. Nibaw missed a few more monkeys as he tried to skewer something on his shield, but having drawn their attention, Kist and Wossnam were able to keep dropping monkeys. Eventually, Wossnam wrapped up the encounter with a homerun of a hit from his tetsubo that sent a monkey ninja corpse flying nine feet.

Picking over the corpses didn't yield much in treasure aside from the weapons they were carrying - staves, chakram, a pair of katars, an urumi, some blowguns, and a bottle of monster drool. There was also some discussion about how much monkey-man meat would sell for, but ultimately, the bodies were left for now.

The rest of the day's travel passed quickly enough, and the party made it to the castle by nightfall. Gilran sent a wizard's eye to see what the castle looked like, which revealed a, well, giant castle. Its curtain wall stood about six and a half men high, with towers reaching ten men high and the main keep twice that height. Sentries were sparse though – only four. Unfortunately, the party would have to cross one hundred yards of open field without being spotted.

After some discussion, the party decided the best plan was to attack under cover of night, then have Gilran use Invisibility to sneak up to the wall with their rope and a grapnel. He'd then use Levitate to ascend the wall and fasten the rope at the top so the others could climb up. This worked until Levitate was cast. As soon as the wizard began to rise, he found himself unable to move. Kist traversed the field and took the grapnel from Gilran and climbed the wall while Gilran ended his Levitation, dropped to the ground, and was able to start moving again. He also dropped his invisibility, since he didn't want to pay to maintain it.

Kist scaled the wall successfully and secure the rope while the others crossed the field. Then they began to climb to the top, one by one. Everything was going well until one sentry noticed the party on the wall walk. Kist put a Silencing Homing arrow in his throat, which alerted his partner. Soon two house guards had arrows in their throats. The party carefully hunkered down, while Nibaw put an arrow in the third tower guard, leaving only one long shot hit the guard on top of the keep itself. Kist used another Homing arrow to accomplish this.

The party then entered the tower where the nearest sentry was located and climbed to the roof to check the guard's body for possessions. They got his mail shirt and helmet, along with 17 copper pieces. Then Kist wrapped up the night by killing the two guards who were still flailing about with arrows in their necks.

The party has made it over the wall. We shall see what happens next.

Nest Time: The Castle Assault Part 2.

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Creepy Image of the Day

Eight years before The Hunger Games was written, there was Battle Royale.
What's going through this little girl's head?

Creepy Image of the Day

With Halloween approaching, let's have some thoughts on these strange images. What's the first thing to spring to mind when you see this?

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Flame of the Heart’s Desire

You’re sure to love today’s offering, which provides both Ritual Path Magic and Sorcery statistics!

Flame of the Heart’s Desire (Ritual Path Magic)

Spell Effects: Lesser Destroy Body.
Inherent Modifiers: Damage.
Greater Effects: 0 (x1).

You cause a single living target within range to erupt from within with burning desire that inflicts 3d injury. Dressing, moving, gesturing, or posing provocatively in a way that is observed by your target should give a traditional trappings discount.

Typical Casting: Lesser Destroy Body (5) + Damage (8) + Range, 10 yards, (4) + Weight, 300 lbs. (3). 20 energy (20x1).

Flame of the Heart’s Desire (Sorcery)

Keywords: Resisted (Will).
Full Cost: 6 points/level.
Casting Roll: Will.
Range: Unlimited.
Duration: Instant.

You can engender such a burning lust within the hearts of others that it literally consumes them from the inside out.  Take a Concentrate maneuver while engaging in some sort of provocative act directed at your intended target, who must be able to see you. Your target resists with Will normally if attracted to your gender, or at +4 if not. Failure results in the target taking 1d burning per spell level that ignores all DR as his lust wells up and consumes him from within.

Statistics: Burning Attack 1d (Accessibility, Only on Living Feeling Beings, -20%; Malediction 1, +100%; Requires Concentrate Maneuver, -15%; Requires Gestures, -10%; Sorcery, -15%; Vision-Based, -20%) [6/level]. Additional levels add further dice of burning damage.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Saturn Ascends Session 1: Laying the Foundation

Players: Calum, David, Litvyak.

I met with my new gaming group, Tuesday. We chatted a little via Google Hangouts and ran over some player preferences regarding play style, house rules, character generation, and plot hooks. We settled on running standard, unmodified Dungeon Fantasy in a megadungeon that isn't in a cold/arctic environment. Rules-wise, we aren't running house rules until such a time as we see where we need them, so that simplifies things a great deal.

For the party composition, I set a couple requirements to facilitate play:
  • Everyone already knows each other prior to the game's beginning
  • Everyone already works together prior to the game's beginning
  • Everyone is already in town together prior to the game's beginning

This way we don't have to spend session time getting everybody together. The players were understanding with this and quickly sorting out rolls. David wanted to play a wizard, Litvyak wanted to play a thief, and Calum wanted to play a tank. Unfortunately, that left the critical role of Party Healer vacant, so after a little brainstorming, the suggestion surfaced to let everyone add a 50-point lens to their templates, effectively multiclassing. This sparked some more thought, with Litvyak quickly gravitating to Thief/Cleric of a Messenger God. David is pondering adding something less squishy to his wizard, and Calum might go straight 300 points of barbarian badass.

Lastly, I presented half a dozen plot hooks or so to the group for consideration. Since I haven't mapped out the megadungeon yet, I wanted them to choose their first adventure beforehand so I could map what was needed instead of trying to draw up a couple dozen rooms for each hook. They chose the Giant's Castle perched atop the mountain ridge.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Gnoll Brute

Elric clenched his teeth and charged the beefy, grayish-green beast with his spear. The gnoll grinned, brandished his savage axe, and reciprocated. Lurking in the trees, at least another dozen of his brethren watched on in silence. The trap was baited, and the ambush would shortly be sprung on the unwary knight.
These aggressive and warlike fae are the spawn of trolls and gnomes. The result is a strong, tough, inherently magical monster fond of sadistic tricks and cunning tactics. They are the least fond of hiding of all fae, and often gather in massive underground hives from which they raid the surrounding inhabitants – even other fae.
ST: 15                                                     HP: 11                                                    Speed: 6.00
DX: 14                                                    Will: 10                                                  Ground Move: 6
IQ: 9                                                       Per: 10
HT: 13                                                    FP: 12                                                     SM: +0

Dodge: 10                                             Parry: See Below.                                DR: 0

Weapon (16): Roll 1d to determine the weapon:
1 – Axe: 2d+3 cutting. Reach 1. Parry 12U.
2 – Mace: 2d+4 crushing. Reach 1. Parry 12U.
3 – Morningstar: 2d+4 crushing. Reach 1. Parry 11U. Parried at -4 or Blocked at -2; fencing weapons cannot parry.
4 - Great Axe: 2d+5 cutting. Reach 1, 2*. Parry 12U.
5 – Flail: 2d+5 crushing. Reach 1, 2*. Parry 11U. Parried at -4 or Blocked at -2; fencing weapons cannot parry.
6 – Maul: 2d+6 crushing. Reach 1, 2*. Parry 12U.

Fade and Remain (Resisted with Will+2): Whenever anyone makes a Perception roll to notice or spot a gnoll that is actively trying to hide, he must first roll against Will+2. On a failure, he suffers a penalty to all such rolls to spot the gnoll – including Quick Contests – equal to his margin of failure.

Traits: Acute Taste and Smell 3; Appearance (Ugly); Bloodlust (9); Combat Reflexes; Curious (12); Gluttony (12); High Pain Threshold; Long Arms (+1 SM); Magery 0; Night Vision 5; Overconfidence (9); Recovery; Regeneration (Regular, 1 HP/12 hours; Not vs. burning or corrosion); Resistant to Sickness (+3); Sadism (15); Unfazeable; Universal Digestion; Very Fit.
Skills: Brawling-15; Fast-Draw-15; Hiking-13; Intimidation-11; Melee Weapon Skill-16 (Flail or Two-Handed Flail at 15); Observation-11; Wrestling-15.
Class: Mundane.
Notes: May negotiate if offered something of value, often double crosses. Usually wears a cheap light plate breastplate (DR 2 protects the chest) worth $200 and a cheap light plate pot helm with padding (DR 3 protects the skull) worth $84; gnollish brutes using one-handed weapons prefer a heavy medium shield (DB 2) worth $60.

Thursday, October 1, 2015

It's Not Dead Yet!

I think it's getting better!

This year has been incredibly eventful. Above the Flatline has suffered for it, but that doesn't mean this blog is dead – far from it, in fact! One of the following new features will grace these digital pages at least monthly:

A Dark Menagerie will feature either a monster converted to GURPS from another source or one created whole cloth.

Of Steel and Vacuum will provide detail a new spacecraft each month, and provide a full GURPS Spaceships stat block.

A Book of Shadows will conjure a new spell or mystical ability for use with GURPS Magic, GURPS Powers - Divine Favor, GURPS Psionic Powers, GURPS Thaumatology - Ritual Path Magic, GURPS Thaumatology - Sorcery, or any other system that gets released in the future.

In addition to these, posts covering the usual session reports and world building will resume. It's an ambitious schedule, but I hope to maintain it. At worst, the regular articles will provide continuing content and a reason to come back, though I truly hope to add more and better content in the future.