One of the fun things that happened in yesterday’s romp through the Castle of the Mad Archmage+Joseph Bloch ) is that we were able to clear out quite a few rooms. Each combat was short, sweet, to the point. The enemies (and if we screwed up, the players or friendly NPCs) fell like mown wheat, more or less.

This allowed us to probably do 6-10 short, lowish-risk combats in the three hours we played.

In contrast, in the GURPS Banestorm game I played with +Brian Ronnle and his crowd, we roleplayed for a while – a long while – but when we got to the final combat, it took a long time to resolve.

What’s going on?


I still mean to do a post on not fighting the rules, but that doesn’t mean you can’t help them along.

The S&W truth is that at the levels we’re at, and maybe even in general, you don’t have too many choices as to what you’re doing, especially as a fighter. Rul Scararm is a 2nd level fighter. His options are basically:

  • Roll 1d20+3 to hit with a magical bow; 1d6+2 damage if successful
  • Roll 1d20+3 (or 1d20+5) to hit with a magical sword (extra good against undead), and 1d8+3/1d8+5 vs undead if I hit
  • Roll 1d20+2 to poke with a mundane spear or bastard sword (which I probably should get rid of). 1d6+2 for the spear, 1d8+2 for the sword.

The spell users get to pick from a list of spells, but unless things have changed, they pick some spells each game day, use ’em up, and until the day passes, that’s it. Then they’re back to trying to hit with a crappy dagger, club, or mace. The foe’s ability to defend is all rolled into AC. Rul has +1 banded mail and a shield for AC 18. Mirado ( +Peter V. Dell’Orto ) has plate armor for AC 17. So their chances of getting hit by someone with similar ability is about 1 time in 3. If the foe can last longer than three turns, it can be assumed that the bad guys are going to start digging into Team Ogre HEDS hit point pool.

GURPS isn’t better or worse, but it is different. GURPS Martial Arts is so awesome I have yet to play with a game that doesn’t use it, but even in the Basic Set, there are a lot of tactical choices you can make/must make in a fight. If nothing else, you may, as a fighter, at the very least:

  • All-Out Attack
  • Attack
  • Move and Attack
  • All-Out Defend

But that’s not all. If you strike your foe, he must choose what options to use.

  • Block with a shield, if he has one
  • Dodge more or less nimbly
  • Parry with a weapon or unarmed body part

So you can throw a notional hit with a blow, and then find it parried. Each turn, you choose what maneuvers you use, and you can add Combat Options, like Telegraphic or Defensive Attack on top of those, or the popular Deceptive Attack if you’re skilled. There’s also goodness like Feints (or Setup Attacks, if you like Delayed Gratification), as well as a Riposte, a defensive version of the Deceptive Attack. Most of those (but not all) are found in Martial Arts. In many, but not all, cases, the defender may Retreat, gaining a bonus to defend that varies slightly depending on what skill you’re using it with.

So after all those choices, you may or may not have hit. If you hit, you roll damage, but if the guy has armor, it might bounce off.

The “good” news is that once you do reach the chewy center, it’s a big deal. It can set off a “death spiral,” where the bad guy’s skills go down, and you might get a turn or so where he’s less effective.

After all that, one second has elapsed.

That’s Bad, Right?


As I said, it’s not bad – it’s different. But what I’ve found it does – and I tried to write The Last Gasp to help address this – is a sort of view of the world where you feel like “I take a turn to catch my breath” is a big deal. Your turn might not come again, or it might be a while.

It’s a bit of self-reinforcing pseudo-complexity, because if each turn is that valuable, you might as well do as much as you can. Whether that’s to be effective, awesome, awesomely effective, or effectively awesome, in any case you try and get a lot done.

Heck, in the Banestorm game I just played, the only thing that made Radskyrta effective was he had a horse in an open field, with Move 8/Move 16 in a straight line. Even so, there was a time near the end where he had to take a few seconds to chase down a bad guy, and my instincts were telling me “find another way!”

Old habits die hard.

Whittle Down the Choices


Most usual fighters do not reach deeply into a big bag of varied options. They have things that they like ( Chuck Norris’ roundhouse kick) that become staples of what they do. For a rapier fighter, it might be a thrust to the vitals, or to (because the vitals might be well armored) a leg or something. An axeman may have a penchant for trying to chop off legs.

Each fighter should have a couple of if-then moves they like, and they should write them down. In many cases, GCA can help you.

Note that this doesn’t imply that you have to buy Targeted Attacks or Techniques, though you can, and probably will. But in a front-loaded game, why not front load a bit more so that you can do the things fast in play that you’ll probably wind up doing anyway?

Once things can happen faster, they will naturally happen faster for everyone, as the group (and the GM) get used to having more “Do Nothing” time in the game. Pausing for a single second to take stock, or get your breath, or whatever isn’t a big deal if you’re going to be asked for your next action in a brief moment.

Roll 1d6 for how to use your Cuisinart

GMs can play too, with a similar trick. Make a quickie d6 table, and roll against that each turn. Maybe even scale it with more aggressive numbers being higher, so you can penalize it if you get hit.

Something like this for an experienced fighter

  1. All-Out Defend, taking +2 to Best Defense
  2. No matter what, Step backwards, disengaging. Use  Defensive Attack if in range*. Wait otherwise.
  3. Defensive Attack, step forward if necessary to close distance
  4. Attack to the torso, step forward if necessary to close distance
  5. Attack to a lesser armored or higher value target like the legs, arms, vitals, or head
  6. Committed Attack to the head

What’s not on this chart? Lots of things. No All-Out Attacks (those are not the refuge of trained fighters). No deceptive attacks (only bring those out if net skill is 16 or higher), and no telegraphic attacks. Actually, there’s so much that could be on there that while one would be tempted to expand it to 2d6 or something, I wouldn’t. Keep it simple. Is the chart above a good one? Probably not. It’s the concept that matters here, not the details.

Animals are even easier, and so are unintelligent monsters. They will do one of several types of behaviors: hunting/eating behavior, killing for fun or territory, or dominance display or challenge.

Parting Shot


What I’m trying to say here is that one need not invoke all of the available tactical choices and options in GURPS every single turn. You will probably get more satisfaction, and certainly the game will move faster, if you don’t.

Or if you must do this, have the courtesy to your GM and fellow players to have it worked out ahead of time. People will thank you. In VTTs, this can even be automated in a macro. MapTools and Roll20 both have built-in macro capability, and Fantasy Grounds can have skill listings with everything pre-figured. Just drag it into the dice window. Again, that’s having a list of favorite options or stratagems.

That can also make your character pretty unique. A warrior who is always trying to stab or chop his foes in the legs, to reduce their mobility and make it hurt to even think about moving (plus, legs are crippled at a lower threshold) will play very differently than one that always goes for head shots, or just attacks the body the entire time.

It also isn’t a prescription for stupidity in the face of tactical situations. If a foe clearly has an inch of steel on their chest, don’t have a pro warrior hacking away with a sword at the heaviest part of the armor. That means, also, for GMs to give out visual and visceral clues about the foes being faced. Reward a player taking a turn to Evaluate, by telling them that they notice that the armor is particularly thick on the torso and left shoulder. Or something like that.

+Peter V. Dell’Orto points out in a comment that he’s covered this before. One on how he runs combat fast, the other on limiting your own choices. This advice was not new to me (they were both spawned, it looks like, from comments I’ve made before), and I kept thinking “I’ve read/said this before.” Still, it always strikes me as an interesting point when it comes up.

We’ll see if I can pull this off in my upcoming Alien Menace Game. The first one will be interesting. And holy crap . . . only three weeks away.

We gathered after a long hiatus, mostly caused by real tragedy in +Erik Tenkar.

We all wake the the same dream. Skeletons, charging a village called Aberton, a skeletal foot crushing a signpost.

Hmm. No cleric. Crap. This will end badly, and we just woke up.

+Peter V. Dell’Orto and I both have a vision of a glowing blue longsword – just for added push.

We shake down a character who isn’t there for the potions we picked up (Extra Healing), for some reason Peter bought us all horses at 25gp a pop – but the fighters are flush, so we’re good.

We arrive at Aberton, to find the sign we dreamed about covered with a black rag, a sign of plague and death. We joke about just saying “OK, too bad we can’t stay.” One +Joe D suggests we loot the town, and we joke he’s “Neutral Good . . . at looting things.”

We backtrack over a hill that looks like a feature we all dreamed about.

We hear flapping and thrashing as we go, and Mirado Ogre Slayer readies his head-mace. We discover a thrashing zombie, and Rul (me) puts two arrows into it to kill it. (Rul only needs 156XP more; I joke if I can kill him five more times I can level up).

We look at him. He’s been dead a while, dressed in rags. We can’t tell if he’s been dead for hundreds of years or days, but he’s been gone a while.

+Jason Hobbs checks out Mr Twice-Dead Zombie; nothing cool. Looks like he’d wandered off the path and stumbled into brambles.

The pathway opens up, and we see a mine entrance, with a partial collapse going on. Even without getting too close, we can tell that the collapse was pretty recent. We check out the area around the mine entrance. We approach, dismounting from our horses, and disturb a bunch of skeletons.

We win initiative, and start shooting. A crossbow from Joe and an arrow from Rul put down a skeleton, and Mirado and Irbin wade in and drop another two, one with a cleave.

Irbin steps up and hits a skeleton, finishing the last one. Four up, four down, and that does it. They’ve got nothing good, so we move on. We finish the perimeter search, and head for the area subtly marked “1.”

We have to clear the debris. The fighters volunteer to stand guard while everyone else clears rocks. That suggestion is . . . not popular.

The cave opening smells like death. Mirado posts the man-hours rule: 1 person takes 2 hours. 2 take 1 hour. 2 + supervision = 3 hours+.

Mirado gets caught in a minor cave-in for 2 HP of damage, and uncovers about half dozen non-animated skeletons. As we’re done, we all have to Save vs. Poison for the stench of death. We all more or less make the saving throw, except Jason, and Irbin is at -1 due to being nauseated.

Naturally, we put the thief with the lowest hit points in front.

There’s a chorus of moans in the darkness ahead – we decide it’s not a porn movie, more like a wheezing guy asking for food. You can’t see undead with darkvision, so we know stuff’s ahead. Rul and Mirado head forward, Mirado on the left, Rul on the right.

Five zombies coming at us. Of course. An arrow from my bow hits for 6, one charge of a magic missile wand leaps out for 3 HP, leaving the zombie still up.

Mirado steps up to attack and hits for 6, cleaves for 11. He takes down three zombies in one turn. There are two zombies still standing, and they come for me and Jason. Zombie misses me, and whiffs totally.

Irbin and Rul both hit in melee, and we total 5 and 4. Mirado comes back, and has used up all his skill in the first attack, and whiffs.

The zombies do minor damage, and then get hit a lot, killing one. Erik keeps rolling an actual 0 for initiative – we kill ’em all.

We search them, but this time, though they have no valuables. They are dressed in town guard uniforms. Hmmm. They would appear to be from a nearby Abbey. We head North through the narrow cavern.

We see silouhetted against the wall, in the shimmering light of nasty phosphorescent glow, a skeleton in plate armor wearing a shimmering sword. Four more skeletons rise from the areas on the floor that glow.

We cast a web spell, and then set the web on fire. All creatures in the web take 2d4. They all take a bit of damage, but not enough. We have to pull out some old AD&D rules to adjudicate this one. The King Skeleton doesn’t make his saving throw.

We roll for initiative, and tie. DEX for the win, but the crossbow misses.

I take 6 points of damage from one of the skeletons, Joe gets hit for 4, and someone else gets nailed for 4. Four more skeletons rise from the ground.

I kill the skeleton in front of me, while Mirado hits for 7 damage and hits for a cleave, killing another. And a third! We are left with four skeletons and the king in the web.

We burn the web, doing slight damage. Peter rolls a natural 20, and rolls twice for damage, doing 11; he gets to cleave again, and again rolls a 19, killing a second one with 11 HP. Hits the third, and another 11 damage slays the third. Only one stands.

Three more skeletons rise, and another stands. Rul takes 4 more and is unconscious. The King starts to stride forward.

The skeletons all miss; the King Skeleton comes after Mirado, and misses vs. his AC 15.

We magic missile the King for 6 HP . . . having burned him twice, and hit him with two magic missiles, he falls to the ground.

Mirasdo continues to be a machine, hitting and killing two.

The remaining skeleton attacks Mirado and hits, really pissed. Does 5 damage, and hits me up with a healing potion for one dose at a time (d8+1). Two doses of three fixes me right up. The mage steps up and rolls another natural 20, killing the final skeleton.

We go loot the King. Usable but battered plate armor. Shield. Wielding a shimmering longsword, which Rul picks up, since the magic user that killed the king can’t use it. It’s a +1 longsword, +3 vs undead . . . but always glows when unsheathed in a 15′ radius.

Peter takes the plate armor, and we circle around and head south at a fork.

We realize that we’re playing one of +Tim Shorts entries from the Manor. Sweet.

A ton of goblins start shrieking at us in bad Ferengi. They disarm themselves. “We have not much in way of goats.” They give us 15 cp and 5 sp. “Dead. Dead. Dead. They try to makes us Gobs blackendead. I see. They take Gobs, they kill, they go black, and they throw away.”

The other goblins look pretty darn ill. Peter wonders if he stabs each goblin lightly, if he gets 1 HP back from them? No, the blood-drinking sword likes combat. He’s looking for Strormbringer and Mournblade. We decide he’s wielding Sighblade.

Goblins are likely infected with plague. Peter is morally opposed to flambeing sleeping goblins, but he has oil and flint and steel. We promise each other that this is for the Greater Good. We are become Nazis.


The Goblin we captured, who we’ve named Raymond, points down the passage and the “black-maker” and the “black lord” are ahead.

This former coal mine area has 8 skeletons with longswords and black shields rise from the ground. They form up like a bad Sinbad movie

Peter and I form up at the bottom of the ramp, with the magic user and thief at the top.

Three skeletons attack; one on Peter and two on me. One misses huge; the other barely misses. The third misses Peter as well.

I use my magic sword against the undead, and manage to hit and kill two; 1d8+5 vs. undead kinda awesome. Our mage decides to whittle down skeletons for easier cleaving. One dies, another wounded for 3 HP. Jason’s up, Irbin misses.

We lose initiative, and the remaining five skeletons come for us. We all attack at once with +1 to initiative from DEX. Peter and I both take a hit; me for 1 HP, 5 HP for Peter.

I take out one, Peter nails another. Only two left. Irbin gets to go, and nails one for 3 HP. Rul nails two more with a cleaving strike, finishing off what is likely the foot soldiers.

Last one standing, and he misses . . . and then Peter and I both roll natural 1s (as did Jason). Here comes the mage to show us how it’s done, and he whiffs too. The comedy of errors continues, and the skeleton hits me for 1 HP.

Rul finishes off the final skeleton, and Peter takes two doses of an extra-healing potion. Nothing on the skeletons other than longswords and shields. We look around, and find a collapsed passageway.

We kick off a big pile of undead off to the northwest of area 5. We follow around and come to the area we know has undead in it. The creature comes from the side, like a living shadow.

Irbin goes first, hits for 8 HP; Rul uses his undead-slaying sword and nails him for 9HP more, and he falls. We generally acknowledge

We find 63 gp and a crude amulet with a symbol our mage does not recognize etched into the metal. We take it, carefully putting  . . . “what are the possible negative effects from wearing it, and why are we not putting it on the goblin?”

Nice.

The amulet has no chain, so the goblin doesn’t want it. We put it back in the sack, and head back to 5 to journey on.

We enter a naturally-formed cavern. The walls are worn smooth by water, black banners, piles of skulls, and a pool sits at the north end of the cavern. A horrific creature is draped over an altar. Two skeletons are there. A hunched figure comes out, whispers “Kill Them” and most of the room falls into darkness. Two skeletons, two non-undead, then.

Only Rul, with the +3 undead-killing sword, can see. Joe detects undead, and they light up like radar. He blasts one with two magic missiles. Jason casts detect magic to try and find the lantern, and he succeeds.

Depressingly, that’s all we can do. Those who can, press themselves against the wall.

Two skeletons attack Joe; both miss. He magic missiles two-on-one again, hitting and killing one.
Peter wades in and nails the final skeleton with a natural 20, falls in with 10 damage; the final skeleton is still up. Attacks Joe again, and misses; we can hear booted feet charging towards us coming from the north. Rul puts the final skeleton down.

Joe does detect magic again, and sees lantern-boy swinging a mace at his head. He’s tagged for 6 HP of damage. In response, he fires a magic missile wand at the lantern. Instant house rule; saving throw at -1 for each 2 HP of damage done. Two missiles, he has to save at -2 . . . he’s angry, but fails to drop the lantern.

He continues to go after Joe, and nails him for 7 HP. He’s at -4 HP.

We try and attack Black Lantern in the dark, and miss; he attacks me and misses. I hit him with a natural 20, 9 points; Peter does another natural 20, for 11 HP. 25 HP and he’s still standing.

Lantern-boy just misses attacking Peter. Peter hits and kills him. We heal up Joe.

We loot the lantern. The cleric is wearing magical +1 banded mail (AC +5); the mace is magical, also +1. The lantern is magical, but we can’t use it because we have to be a cleric.

On the altar is an Otyugh. We feather it with arrows from a distance.

We find 250gp and 10 small gemstones worth 50gp total. We find a leather-strapped necklace with a bloodstone set in gold worth 20gp. We destroy the magical evil lantern to earn 2000 XP.

108 gp and 1138 XP each. 1309 for me with this blog post (+10% bonus! and the 5% for attributes).

Parting Shot


This game was true proof that the OSR is pure fun. Lots of good banter and gaming, a couple off-the-cuff rulings, and lots of felled undead. Rul walked away with AC 18, +1 banded mail, a +2 longbow, and a +1 longsword which is +3 vs undead. As a 2nd level fighter.

Not too shabby.

I should note that with GURPS Horror, GURPS Zombies, and maybe Dungeon Fantasy Monsters 1, this mini adventure from the Manor #3 would be a complete cakewalk to do with GURPS Dungeon Fantasy (or GURPS anything, really. Amp up the monsters and you could make this Monster Hunters or Black Ops without trying hard).

I joined +Erik Tenkar‘s B-Team for Swords and Wizardry, which is basically DnD. +Peter V. Dell’Orto  hooked me up.

We entered into the ruins of an adventuring guild house that both exploded and imploded. We immediately start looking at barrels, and Rul (me) and Mirado (Peter) guard the open corridor. There’s a ghast in it – and I kill the ghast with a good hit and a max-damage roll with the spear. We recover, all told, a gold chain (150gp), a few barrels of alchohol, backpacks, 6 suits of leather armor, and a shirt of mail.

Continuing on, we enter into a room which has coffins strewn about, as if they fell from above. One coffin is a huge, marble, ornate thing. Sounds like a rhythmic scratching is coming from inside. This can’t be good.

We start looking through the fallen coffins, and hit ’em up one by one. First has a thin gold ring worth 25 gp. The second one the guy looks sucked dry, and he turns to dust. For the rest, 1 silver chain, 20gp. Platinum ring worth 125gp.

Is all that’s left now is the heavy marble coffin. With the “stronger than what we just fought” cue in it. We decide to live to fight another day, and leave the BBEG alone for now.

We gather at the original entrance, and pour a bit of water next to the door, it runs inward. We decide to pop the lock, open the door, and then fling Holy Water inside the door, just to keep them away in time for  . . . ah, hell. Nothing there anyway. So we waste a vial of water, and move on.

Rul and Mirado continue in the lead, exploring the place, and see four straw mattresses on the floor, and also 4-5 Zombies walking away from us, towards some sort of light. They’re ignoring us. We shoot arrows and throw stones at them, and then they notice us. We continue to mess with them.

And they mess with us back. Bandorous ( +Ray Case ) and Ellis ( +Paul Wolfe ) are both hacked at to negative HP as we struggle for a bit, then crunch the zombies down. All of the zombies look remarkably similar, even if dead.

We search the pallets, and find a flattened-out parchment under one of them. As Starlander Beck ( +Joe D ) grabs for it, it bursts into flame, defending itself. Starlander makes his saving throw, and retrieves a second-level Invisibility spell.

We wander north a bit, and find a large silver mirror standing in the room. We check it out, and as Irbin ( +Jason Hobbs ) looks into it, he sees himself – pulling off a piece of his own flesh. He quickly steps away from the mirror, but five Irbin Zombies shamble out of the mirror.

Starlander flings a Web spell at them, enwebbing them. We throw oil at ’em and light it up. That takes care of them; Irbin actually feels warm as his zombie selves burn. His ST increases by 1, and his Charisma decreases by 1. The mirror itself flashes and slags; whatever enchantments were on it are no longer.

However, the mirror itself is worth about 200gp.

The elves look for Secret Doors, and one finds one! Irbin checks for traps and listens at the door. Nothing. We use a wand of detect undead. Nothing there either.

Brave Sir Irbin opens the door and bravely runs away. The walls of the room are decorated and festooned with any weapon one could possibly imagine. We Detect Magic, and find one dagger that detects positive for magic. Ellis grabs a heavy crossbow, Mirado snags the composite bow. The dagger glows with light in a 15′ radius, and it has engravings of fish on it.

Peter says: dagger, +1, +2 vs. goldfish, carp, and koi

He also runs back, and finds that the marble coffin detects something strongly magical within it. Hmm.

We pop open the unlocked door, and find a corridor, that eventually slopes down. Rul leads, and hits a flooded underground passage, The chamber is about 8′ tall, and the moat, for lack of a better word, is about 20′ across. There’s a slight current and brackish water, maybe 8′ deep.

There’s a ladder, kinda rickety, but not too bad. We try and toss a grappling hook across, but dump the entire kit in the water, where it gets hung up. We all yank on it for a few turns, and it’s not comin’ out.

Starberry (or whatever) takes his fish dagger underwater and assumes it’s a water-breathing thing. He proves that theory incorrect. He chokes, sputters, and recovers the tattered remains of his dignity. The hook is well and truly stuck. He climbs out near the end of the ladder.

Coming out from the opening are five goblins, flinging sling stones, and trying to overbear the naked elf. They succeed, and dogpile him. We yank on the rope, and he flies through the air. One goblin falls into the water, the other lets go, and Starnekkid is wet again.

Three sling bullets come out and miss. We reel Starfish in, and those with ranged weapons manage to kill a goblin, despite a -2 penalty.

Irbin runs across the ladder, trying to hide in shadows, but Elis manages to miss a rung and get stuck on the ladder.

We Christen this room the Room of Lost Dignity.

We all go across, and find a decent sized irregular cavern, with a defensive position that’s unoccupied. We go into the room, and see an extended corridor, and see flickering light, and smell cooking meat, up ahead. There’s an abandoned cookfire, but nobody’s there.

There is a wild boar and some fish; we discover that the knife actually does have magic powers to fillet fish. Who knew?

We proceed down the corridor to the north, in standard combat formation, and enter a very large room. There’s a statue of a crab, in front of which is a huge Ogre, 11-13 goblins, and he speaks to us with a Russian accent. “Pay the tithe and leave,” he says.

We start flinging missile weapons. And a sleep spell that downs 11 of 13 goblins.

Mirado chucks an axe for light damage, and readies his bastard sword. Irbin jumps into the water and hides among the drowning goblins. Joe, Mirado, Rul, and Ellis are up close and personal.

The ogre swats at Rul with a very large mace, and hits him for 5 points of damage. The ogre wins initiative, but rolls a natural 1 to hit. So here we go. Mirado crits, Irbin hits, and we wind up doing 30 damage cumulative to him  We get 7 gems: 150, 200, 75, 250, 500, 750, and 500 gp! Plus some coinage and a big-ass mace.

Mirado takes the head, He plans on turning into a skull helmet, like the Kurgan. We search for nasty stuff and don’t find any. The statue seems crabby, but normal.

We check out the stairs that we see, but can make out only a sliver of light. We form up and head up the stairs. There seems to be some sort of thatch cover. We throw off the thatch with spears . . . and we’re outside in blinding sunlight. In a wooded glen area outside the population limits, between two large trees and a small mound. Huh.We actually go back overland to the stairs, and enter the first room, and go to the north way we didn’t go before.

We Detect Undead (nope), and the thief tries to pick the lock, which pops open for us, falls to the ground and we stare at it. We kick in the door and go looking for trouble.

Four 3′ tall toy soldiers bang their spears on the ground, and a portcullis drops behind us. Someone cuts loose with a pair of Magic Missiles for 8 damage. Mirado does a dual-weapon attack: bastard sword and ogre head. He hits the one that’s  damaged, and nails him . . . and the cleave rule cuts in. He nails the second one too.

Rul also rolls very well, and downs 1 and injures the other. Three of four down in one set of rolls. The next round, after Rul takes 1 HP of damage, Mirado also hits again with the Zaphod maneuver, and destroys the last one.

We look at the chest in the middle of the room. Yep, blade trap. Irbin goes for disarming the trap, and can’t. We trigger the trap, which hits Irbin for half damage (4 points). He takes it, and picks the lock – unsuccessfully. We crowbar the thing open after all.

Inside is a man-sized suit of leather armor, a cloak, a bow, three potion bottles, sitting on a bed of coins. The potions say “Healing,” “Extra Healing,” and “Flying.” The mix of copper, silver, and gold is about 3,000 coins in total, we guess about 1,500 cp, 1,000 sp, and 300 gp.

We decide to loot the area completely, go back to town, heal up, shop if we need, then come back for the BBEG.

The total stuff from room 1-1 is about 200gp. The vile smelling potion is extra healing. 30gp for the Dwarven chain. The magic dagger winds up being a +1 filleting dagger on 19-20 crit, with 1d6 on a crit instead of 1d4, which goes to Irbin.

The huge supply of weapons nets us 700 gp. Mirado keeps the ogre’s mace; the leather is +1 and the Cloak is +1 to AC and Saves – that goes to Starfish. Rul claims a +2 longbow. The other three potions are as labeled. Rul takes one, Mirado takes the other, and the final healing potion goes to our thief.

We consider how to stomp on the critter we learn is some nasty evil fighter with a blood-drinking sword. Mirado will open the coffin, we will cast Protection from Evil and then Web, nail him with Holy Water, and then sprinkle him liberally with ranged weapons.

When we pop the lid, it literally pops. The room fills with a deathly chill. A warrior wielding a terrible sword, looking brittle, comes from the sarcophagus.

Irbin goes first, and hits for 5 points of damage. The undead warrior misses . . . giving us an opportunity. The Magic Missiles from Starfish slam into him for 10 HP – max damage. A crit on a bow attack delivers 12 points, and Ellis hits for 3. Bandorus casts Faerie Fire, and so all are +1 to hit.

Irbin nails another crit, and scores 10 HP, at the same time the warrior misses him.

The rest of the party lays in 9 HP more, and kills him. We pour Holy Water on him to permanently lay him out . . . and collect the sword as loot. It’s called Woundlicker; +1 Longsword, but any hit by the sword heals the user for 1 HP. But if you roll a natural 1, it drains a HP from you. It’s not an intelligent weapon; any alignment can use it. It goes to Peter, who will wield the longsword and the ogre head.

Total loot: 4343 gp, for a 723 gp, 8 sp each. Plus the magic stuff. For adventuring and combat, we get 880 XP. Total 1604 XP. +10% for this blog post and 5% for attributes. Total 1844, and that puts me at second level in one adventure! just 156 XP short of level 2. I roll 5 HP, +1 for CON bonus. Booyah.  For some reason I thought Fighters leveled up at 1500 XP. Alas.

Good session!