Actual Play: GURPS Jade Regent – Win the battle, end befuddled

We picked up where we left off. Shiba, Thumvar, and Staver were in the thick of it on the right side of the battlefield, while Cadmus was preparing to invoke Smite again against something like eleven targets in range.

Well, good plan. The other guys managed to not get too badly grappled and mangled by the hordes of undead, and screaming Undead Lich Lady tries to land on Cadmus’ head, trying to grapple him with her freakin’ hair. Cadmus had a plan, though, so he didn’t move – and Crazy Hair Lich Lady landed nearby. Then Cadmus invoked Smite on his turn, killed nine frozen dead or mammoths, wounded a few more, and singed and really pissed off Lich Woman.

Next turn, she grapples Cadmus with her hair, but Shiba takes his turn to chop through first her hair, then her neck, beheading her. Cadmus uses Protection from Evil (Enhanced) to clear the field of undead . . . and a Very Mad Mammoth slams through all of us. I think the rest dodged and whatnot, but Cadmus takes one in the back for 19 pi++, less DR. Still takes 14 injury through DR 12.


But then the others make short work of those remaining nearby as Cadmus makes two critical successes and a regular success to not lose concentration when hit by Giant Angry Mammoth. So with all the mooks forced to stay a minimum of 12 yards away, we finish off all that remain at our relative leisure.

Combat Over; Confusion Starts

At this point, we discover that we’ve arrived on the set of Skin of Evil. The big monolith thing is actually some sort of extruded and hardened essence of pure nasty. When those of us with good intentions walk on it, it begins to burn and scorch our boots and armor. When Staver the Infernal enters the circle, he feels like Old Uncle Evil is welcoming him home, and he’s ready to teach him all those things that he was too young for before. In short, we looked at the nasty evil thing, saw the three-clawed symbol from Turok’s Bore (Tanuanak? Tura lura lura? Fantasy names. Sheesh.), and went back to camp.

We spoke to Ameiko, healed up, and generally decided that we should probably go on to the Creepy Towers of Doom from which None Ever Return (except hopefully our heroes). When we woke up, the blizzard we’d been in had ended, and no sign of the monolith was visible – it had just disappeared, taking the storm with it.

We ended there.

Lessons Learned

  • Not a surprise, but getting dogpiled by undead sucks. And since most Learned Prayers and other things require a Concentrate maneuver, which by RAW can’t be done while grappled, it sucks even more. Technical Grappling allows you to keep concentrating with a Will roll, penalized for how good the grapple is.
  • Ranged weapons in a blizzard? Not so useful.
  • Never, ever, ever turn your back on an angry mammoth. It never ends well.

5 thoughts on “Actual Play: GURPS Jade Regent – Win the battle, end befuddled

  1. The undead never do well against dedicated anti-undead PCs in DF, do they? Even this massive swarm of combined-arms undead on their ideal battlefield managed to just do a bit of damage before being wiped out.

    I might need to swipe that concentration rule from TG. My players have been whining about how mages are "automatically dead" if you grapple them, and asking me if they can use Phase as a get-out-of-grapples-free spell. A crushingly hard Will roll is just the answer – you can, but it might not work.

  2. Do Phase, and blocking spells generally, actually need a Concentrate maneuver? "Blocking spells may be cast without concentrating, during a foe’s turn, to defend against an attack." could imply that a foe is needed but that leads to silly land. I'd say the character can use it with any maneuver that allows a defense.

    1. No, they don't need a concentrate maneuver. But my players have argued that Phase means if the Phase-casting wizard is grappled and anyone attacks him, he can Phase, which thus frees him from the grapple as well as avoids the attack. Or less extreme, does so if the grappler attacks in any way. Also, they want to be able to cast Phase on their own turns, not as a defense, to get out of grapples. My response has been, no, no, and no, mostly because it's incredible underpriced if you allow all of that to work. Or any of it, really. It's a successful Dodge with no downside, and Dodge doesn't free you from grapples, so clearly, to me, neither does Phase.

      Read literally, it should, but using the standard of "read literally" is going to make your life a living hell with magic. IMNSHE.

    2. Does Phase always cost an FP (or more) to use? Having it cost oodles of FP to phase while grappled would be another way to balance it.

      Heh – I will admit I'd forgotten the penalty to Will is equal to your foe's Trained ST, less any CP penalties you have on HIM. For a credible foe of ST 12 to 16 who's manhandling you . . . well, that's a lot.

      I think we flirted with using the CP you're suffering as a penalty as well. That would make a GURPS-standard grapple at -4 DX the equivalent of an 8 CP grapple (giving -4 to ST and DX), which would be Will-8, rather than something as high as it is now. Not sure why it didn't end up that way. I think we figured that since the default is "disallowed," the crushing Will penalty was better than that, and I didn't want to accidentally break stuff. This is combative, lethal grappling, not fracking around like frolicking kittens.

  3. Phase always costs 3 FP to use. Blink is 2 FP and obviously will break a grapple. Unless it takes the grappler along? That could be weird.

    Blocking spells can be used in reaction to non-existent enemies, effectively on the caster's turn. The alternative is that it works when your buddy shakes a stick your direction but not when alone. IMO of course. Besides, you want them to Phase during the middle of the grand ball because they critically failed when a rival looked at their Danger Sense cross-eyed.

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